Friday Fill(ibuster): New session, new MPs, new UK

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Political News Friday, September 19, 2014 View Count = 1242

Friday Fill(ibuster): New session, new MPs, new UK


There's been mayoral melodrama and reform ruckus this week. But with many great political and democratic issues churning, we've got to hand it to Scotland for raising a clear question that people cared about. Here's an account from The Guardian of five reasons to be cheerful about the way the referendum went--whether or not you voted no: "The result of the independence referendum is the beginning of a conversation, not the closing statement of a soliloquy. [...] The conversation [...] mutated beyond nationalism into a profound discussion on the sort of country we want for the future."

Books, books, books! Here’s Chantal Hébert on new books about the dreary state of being an elected representative in Canada and here’s Aaron Wherry on ex-Conservative MP Rathgeber’s book, which he calls a “nice companion to the year’s other major study in the state of Parliament, Tragedy in the Commons, written by the founders of Samara.”

Did you noticed a trend in the headlines as Parliament resumed this week? As much as Ottawa tries to reach the high ground of substance, Andrew MacDougall says that it too often sinks into the swamp of process and popularity. Speaking of the debate turning to election strategy, here’s Scott Reid on “one big don’t” for each major party.

And to celebrate the return of Parliament, we had five parliamentary stories to watch. On that note, here are a couple of recent pieces that throw light on new MPs in the House: New Conservative MP John Barlow gets into the groove while new Liberal MP Arnold Chan moves from backroom to centre stage.

As the fall session begins, might it be time to look at our old Parliament with new eyes? David Moscrop explores the idea of Question Period 2.0 in the Ottawa Citizen.

Maybe, though, it’s not about Parliament; is politics being driven away from traditional political institutions? Chris Hedges, provocative as usual, thinks so.

Speaking of disruption, here are some thoughts from Andrew Cohen about how few risks Canadian politicians tend to take: “What is stunning, in fact, is the paucity of authentic risk-takers in national politics today. Unlike Pierre Trudeau, Brian Mulroney and René Lévesque, most politicians are prepared to play it safe.” Fortunately, Cohen thinks, Michael Chong is an exception.

But is he? The other Andrew, Andrew Coyne, thinks that Chong’s own proposed amendments take the teeth out of the Reform Act. And Katy O'Malley has an account that doesn't come out too favourably for the bill either. But we have lots of resources to help you make up your own mind.

Between the centre and the periphery: MP Andrew Cash on grassroots democracy.

The Toronto municipal election had some dizzying twists and turns this week but we felt it important to give a shoutout to National Post Full Comment for a sassy video take on Doug Ford’s entry into the Toronto mayoral race. The Post seems to be producing these things on the regular, adding a bit of satire to the week’s events.

Samara gets a shout out in this account of how our democracy is sick and proportional representation won’t help. And Maclean's gives our book, Tragedy in the Commons, its own square in their new Inside Ottawa format.

Events and opportunities

The Manning Centre has a series of webinars over the next couple weeks about campaigning: messaging, fundraising and volunteers are topics still to come.

The cool crew at Artsvote is throwing a Toronto mayoral debate to "give candidates the opportunity to debate the role of arts and culture in Toronto, its impact on the economic health of the city and the role that artists play in city building". Generation Vote also dishes out some cool upcoming Toronto events.

And where will you be having dinner on October 7th? 1000 Dinners is trying to get people engaged with the Ontario municipal election one bite at a time.



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