Two kinds of campaign
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Two kinds of campaign

Movies make political campaigns look dramatic. There’s always some veteran campaigner with rolled up shirtsleeves and a loose necktie running a “war room,” yelling at junior staffers, throwing papers around and smoking cigarettes. There’s always a huge scandal, and the chief strategist has a brilliant idea that turns the whole election around. I’ve been on…

Trudeau’s gamble
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Trudeau’s gamble

Canadians are familiar with the procedures. The prime minister visits the governor general – the Queen’s representative at the federal level – and asks her to dissolve Parliament, leading to an election. This could come at the end of the statutory four-year limit to the life of a parliament. Or it might happen after the…

How to ask the right political questions
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How to ask the right political questions

It’s election season again in Canada. You can tell, because the robocalls have started, the requests for donations are more urgent, and politicians across the country have bought some new shoes for door-knocking. This should be a happy time for Canadians. We are champions of “peace, order and good government,” which is why having a…

A hinge moment?
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A hinge moment?

Between the writing and the reading of this column, a federal election may be launched – or not. Timing is a critical factor in election planning, and sometimes it determines the outcome. Political leaders who choose an advantageous time to call an election are criticized for being opportunistic, but frankly, we do the same in…

Budget 2021 prioritizes ‘care economy’
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Budget 2021 prioritizes ‘care economy’

Part COVID response and part post-COVID recovery, the federal Canadian Budget 2021 resembles a long, expensive shopping list more than either a clear future vision or a blueprint out of a COVID-recession.  The budget is organized under three themes: 1) Finishing the job against COVID-19; 2) Creating Jobs and Growth; and 3) A Resilient and…

Disruptive Politics
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Disruptive Politics

We have lived as Canadian expats in the U.S. for nearly four years now. Shortly after arriving, we realized that bringing up politics in conversation was insensitive to the pain many of our American friends were experiencing. We needed the advice of Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady: stick to subjects like the weather and…

Biden’s Burden
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Biden’s Burden

Virtually every day when I was a boy, we heard a snippet of John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address in Peace Corps advertisements: “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” It summed up an ethos that sounds almost quaint today when confidence in political institutions…