Geoffrey Stevens's blog

Here is why politicians are held in low esteem

“Please don’t tell my mother I’m in politics. She thinks I’m still playing piano in a bordello.” – late Nova Scotia Senator Finlay MacDonald

Politicians, as a whole, do not rank high in the public’s esteem. Most polls bury them toward the bottom, perhaps a rung or two above bill collectors and telemarketers.

The chief rap against politicians is that they say one thing and do another, that they make promises and do not keep them.

Conservatives’ “Odd Couple” hits the election road

They could be billed as the Odd Couple of Canadian politics: Andrew Scheer and Kevin O’Leary.

Yet there they were last week, the federal Conservative leader and the Canadian-born celebrity from U,S. television’s Shark Tank, on the hustings together as the Tories tested their training wheels for next October’s federal election.

So what does it take to make a prime minister?

 "To be Prime Minister of Canada, you need the hide of a rhinoceros, the morals of St. Francis, the patience of Job, the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the leadership of Napoleon, the magnetism of a Beatle and the subtlety of Machiavelli." – Prime Minister Lester Pearson to a Liberal rally, quoted in the Vancouver Sun, Jan. 27, 1965.

Yep, that’s about right.

To Pearson’s list, a contemporary prime minister might add a laundry list of more mundane essentials.

What the U.S. midterm elections mean – or not – for Canada

Canadians, as a rule, do not play close attention to midterm elections in the United States.

We know incumbency fatigue will be a factor, meaning whichever party controls the White House will likely lose seats in Congress, where one-third of the 100 Senate seats and all 435 House seats are up for grabs on Tuesday.

The outcome may make a president’s job more complicated, but generally it will not provoke big changes in direction, policy or foreign relations.

That’s the conventional wisdom.

Carbon taxes are another historic political gamble

It is far too soon to know whether climate change and carbon pricing will be the defining issue in next October’s federal election.

With Donald Trump, the erratic child president calling the shots from Twitter Control in his bedroom, new issues are bound to be created and old ones re-invented. Any one – new trade demands, tariff barriers, border security, nuclear confrontation with North Korea, a Middle East crisis with Saudi Arabia, and so on – could take centre stage in the Canadian election, as could an unexpected purely domestic issue.