Other Politics

United States abortion debate is coming to Canada’s election

Abortion law is once again a front-burner issue in American politics as that country steels itself for election year 2020.

No fewer than 300 bills to ban or restrict a woman’s access to legal abortion have been introduced in 36 states, and a dozen states have passed one – most notably Alabama where the governor, a woman, has signed into law a new measure that carries a 99-year prison term for doctors who perform abortions, even in cases of rape and incest.

Make the rich pay? A lovely idea, but not this year

A national election campaign is, or should be, the centrepiece of our democratic system, a time when great and important ideas – policies vital to the nation’s future – are debated before the jury of electors.

That’s the theory. In practice, big ideas make most political leaders nervous, especially during elections. They find it expedient to narrow their focus, to emphasize proposals with immediate or short-term electoral appeal, and to expend their energy on attacking their opponents.  

The current 2019 exercise in democracy is following the familiar pattern.

Yes, Americans deserve better and so do Canadians

“Because America deserves better.”

That’s the campaign slogan of Bill Weld, the former (1991-1997) governor of Massachusetts, who made it official last week. He is doing what other Republicans – congressmen, senators, governors – milquetoast politicians all of them, fear to do. He is challenging Donald Trump for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination.

Failure to control political corruption undermines democracy

Once a year, Transparency International, a Berlin-based NGO, publishes a massive survey on corruption among the nations of the world.

The Corruption Perceptions Index, as it is called, gives national leaders, international businessmen, academics and journalists a tool with which to compare the honesty and integrity of the public sectors in no fewer than 180 countries world-wide.

Why did the unicorn lose his job?

In Canada, prime ministers do not publicly fire ambassadors.

From time to time, they are removed from their posts for reasons of job performance or policy differences, but the axe is wielded by the foreign affairs minister or, more likely, by the deputy minister or a subordinate.

And the cause, if any is given, will be obscured in a fog of bureaucratic opaqueness.

Until John McCallum, that is.