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Christy Clark (Province of BC/Flickr) and John Horgan (BCNDP/Flickr)

Christy Clark (Province of BC/Flickr) and John Horgan (BCNDP/Flickr)

Before I start today’s piece, a quick report on the two columns I did recently on the Canadian government, starting with the ravages of “responsible government”, moving to suggested cures.

I received substantial feedback from across the country but not one word from an MP, MLA or an ex, questioning what I said about the effect of “responsible government”.

What to do?

Two things – raise hell with the Ministry of Education and teachers and make sure that our youngsters are taught what really happens with “responsible government”, and, secondly, test the bona fides of Democracy Watch, and its Founder and Coordinator, Duff Conacher, which claims to advocate for democratic reform, government accountability and corporate responsibility issues. Read full article at The Common Sense Canadian

The Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill in Ottawa (Jamie McCaffrey/Flickr CC licence)

The Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill in Ottawa (Jamie McCaffrey/Flickr CC licence)

Last week I talked about “responsible government” – this is the sequel to that piece.

I’m horrified that we’re not taught that “responsible” has nothing to do with civilized behaviour but in fact means that government, i.e. the prime minister and cabinet, are responsible to the House of Commons, which can dismiss them on a vote of non-confidence.

What’s even more horrifying is we’re not told that this simply doesn’t happen to governments with a majority because prime ministers have created ways to nullify parliament’s ultimate power and become virtual dictators.

I stated in a parliamentary democracy the voter transfers his rights to his member of parliament to exercise on his behalf – the trouble is, in Canada, by running for his political party, the MP assigns your rights to the leader for his exclusive use!” Read full article at The Common Sense Canadian

Hon. Justice Thomas R. Braidwood

Hon. Justice Thomas R. Braidwood

It was a wonderful evening – it was a very difficult evening.

Last Saturday, June 4, 2016 was the 60th reunion for the UBC Law Class of 1956 of which I was one.

It was difficult because we couldn’t and didn’t want to forget all those classmates we have lost; it was a wonderful evening because of those who were very much alive and with us, fortified by memories of those who’ve passed.

It’s impossible to define or understand why some classes are extraordinary. I think most will have extraordinary individuals but the class of 1956 is generally considered to be one of a kind. We only graduated 56 and while it’s difficult to know for sure, it would appear that about 35 of us are still alive, all over 80. Continue Reading »

The Canadian House of Commons – 41st Parliament

The Canadian House of Commons – 41st Parliament

What I’m about to say is not about nit-picking technicalities or shades of meaning but demonstrates that Canadians are governed by a fraudulent charade called a “parliamentary democracy” and I challenge any educator or politician to debate me on that assertion.

(Throughout I refer to the federal system, it’s equally applicable to provincial and territorial governments).

Not so responsible

We operate under a system known as “responsible government,” where the word “responsible” is not meant to describe the behaviour of politicians but has a very technical meaning, namely, that the government (the prime minister and his cabinet) are responsible to Parliament and can be removed by a majority of the House of Commons upon a vote of non-confidence, whereupon the government must resign and either a new government is formed which can win a vote of confidence, or an election is held. That is an excellent technical description which bears very little, in fact no, resemblance to reality. Read full article at The Common Sense Canadian

Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw

Play ball! It’s time for my annual baseball pitching and prediction column.

I’m a bit late this year because I got off to a late start. I’m not quite sure why that happened.

I think it had something to do with the early games being the same old same old as the year before. Newcomers to this annual gripe won’t know that I am an old (very old) reconstructed Dodger fan. I am more than that really because I am a National League fan especially after the American League brought in the ridiculous designated hitter rule. Continue Reading »

Prime MInister Justin Trudeau (Canada 2020/Flickr CC Licence)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Canada 2020/Flickr CC Licence)

My Nova Scotia pen pal, the voice of common sense in this country, Silver Donald Cameron, is fond of saying “laws are made by those who have the power to enforce them.” My own variation is that the people who make the laws are the ones that use them and you can judge that from how fair they are.

How long?

In the 1960s and 70s, the buzz words were “pourquoi pas?” or “why not?”. It signalled the end of the State in the bedroom and a whole new morality developed, ironically under the current Prime Minister’s father.

As of today, I put Justin Trudeau and Christy Clark on notice that the buzzwords are how long?”

My remarks today will be basically from a British Columbian, for the simple reason that’s what I happen to be. I expect that my colleague Damien Gillis and I will have much more to say about this as time goes on. Read full article at The Common Sense Canadian

Premier Christy Clark at a recent conference, working hard to build an LNG industry for BC (Flickr CC Licence / BC Govt)

Premier Christy Clark at a recent conference, working hard to build an LNG industry for BC (Flickr CC Licence / BC Govt)

Richard Zussman is B.C. provincial affairs reporter for the CBC based in Victoria, and he’s predicted that Premier Clark will win the election in a year’s time. For what it’s worth, I think he’s right and readers will know I’ve been saying that for sometime, although certainly without any enthusiasm.

The economy and nothing else

Mike McDonald, Liberal campaign chairman in 2009, says, “The strategy for us has never really changed. The program of the government is building a strong economy to ensure we have the resources to deliver, health care, education, social programs. We always put economic discipline as a high priority. We have to make it front and centre and not lose our focus”.

The Liberals won’t be talking about things like missing and redacted emails, freedom of information, scandals and death in the Health ministry, incompetence, death and despair in Children and Families, neglect sufficient for a decent minister to resign in the Ministry of Energy and Mines, economic policy built around a non-existent LNG market which has become a worldwide embarrassment, an environmental policy which takes us back to the 1890’s, the premier’s own corrupt ethics, or any other matters. She and her government will simply tell all who will listen that they have handled the economy brilliantly and that British Columbia is prospering because of that. Read full article at The Common Sense Canadian

Premier Christy Clark at her government’s LNG conference (Province of BC/Flickr)

Premier Christy Clark at her government’s LNG conference (Province of BC/Flickr)

The term “conflict of interest” poses difficulties for many people. That’s because lawyers make money by confusing simple things. If one has a public duty and private interest in the same area as that public duty, it’s a conflict, plain and simple. It does not mean that this person is a crook or making illegal profits, although they’re not excused if they do, just that they mustn’t be in a position where they can do so. There is no presumption of innocence involved – just conflicting interests.

Quid Pro Quo

Martyn Brown, former aide to both Premiers Christy Clark and Campbell, recently stated:

No corporation, no industry, no union gives the level of money that they give to politicians without expecting special consideration in return, and they do get it…For the Liberals, the housing industry, construction industry, real estate, the liquor industry, energy industry, certainly the mining industry, big forest industry — all gave exceptional amounts of money, and they got exceptional attention.

Continue Reading »

Outgoing NDP Leader Tom Mulcair at the party’s 2016 convention in Edmonton (USW/Flickr)

Outgoing NDP Leader Tom Mulcair at the party’s 2016 convention in Edmonton (USW/Flickr)

I’ve watched the NDP with considerable interest since its foundation in 1961 as an amalgamation of organized labour and other left-wing groups. I thought that it would form government within a decade because  the Conservative Party would fold and go away, the Liberals would move to the right, leaving the NDP on the centre-left in position to win the big prize. Not for the first time, I was dead wrong. There were times, however, as after the Mulroney romp of 1984 and the Tory wipeout in 1993 that the time seemed right – but it was not to be.

Why?

It’s not that the NDP haven’t had influence – they have, especially during the Liberal minority of the 70s. The problem is that the NDP, like most political parties, has power as its raison d’être.

Why hasn’t that victory happened? Continue Reading »

Former Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and outgoing Governor General David Johnston (Canada 2020/Flickr cc licence)

Former Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and outgoing Governor General David Johnston (Canada 2020/Flickr cc licence)

This is not a new story – it goes back to 2008.

In that year, the quintessential Toronto, true blue lawyer, David Johnston, received a call asking if he would write the terms of reference for a public inquiry.

Prime Minister Harper had, with considerable reluctance, committed himself to an investigation into allegations that his Conservative predecessor, Brian Mulroney, had taken illegal payments from the German lobbyist Karlheinz Schreiber and the investigation threatened to turn into a media circus. Johnston, the careful lawyer and quiet compromiser, agreed to define the inquiry’s parameters: what questions should be asked, and which issues were out of bounds? Continue Reading »

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