Federal Politics

Bianca Andreescu’s empathy and poise would be a fine model for politicians

Bianca Andreescu is the real deal. Not only is she a great tennis player – perhaps the greatest this country has produced – she possesses qualities of poise and empathy rarely found in one so young.

Bianca is just 19 years old. Yet there she was on Sunday afternoon, on her knees, consoling her weeping idol, 37-year-old Serena Williams, who had just been forced by recurring upper back spasms to withdraw from the Rogers Cup final.

How the Liberals mangled their gun control promise

“We will take action to get handguns and assault weapons off our streets” – Liberal Party of Canada, election platform, 2015.

Over the past four years, some controversial promises have been kept -- the legalization of recreational marijuana being a prominent example.

Some major promises have been broken – the Liberals having abandoned their pledge to replace the first-past-the-post electoral system when it became clear there was no national consensus for change.

In the backroom: Polls that drive political insiders

Does it matter what the polls say in late July about a general election that will not happen until late October?

For most folks, the answer is a resounding No. Just about anything that occurs today, barring some ghastly gaffe, will be long forgotten before voters bring their minds to bear on their Oct. 21 ballot decision. It’s summer, for Pete’s sake. Enjoy it while it lasts. There will be plenty of time – in the last 10 days or two weeks of the campaign – to worry about what Justin, Andrew and the rest are going on about.

Beware claims of accuracy in political polling

“Indeed! It illustrates why the ritualistic ‘within three per cent 19 times in 20’ is nonsense, when less than 10 per cent of people respond to polls.” – Political Scientist Barry Kay, Wilfrid Laurier University

Professor Kay was commenting via email on four new federal election polls in the past week. Two polls put the Conservatives ahead of the Liberals – one by six points, the other by eight points. The other two had the Liberals ahead – one by one point, the other by six points.

A few sensible ways to improve our childish and inefficient Parliament

Every now and again – perhaps once in a political blue moon – a really good idea emerges, one that is so sensible that you might think our elected representatives would trip over themselves to claim ownership.

The idea for this blue moon emerges, or re-emerges, in a new book by Dave Meslin, a Toronto-based artist, activist and community organizer, entitled “Teardown: Rebuilding Democracy from the Ground Up.”