Other Politics

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.

Trying to find sanity in the wacky world of today’s politics

Do you get the sense that political world has gone off its rails?

In Washington, the president has shut down a good part of the federal government for a month because he is in a snit over the refusal of Congress to give him $5.7 billion for a 30-foot wall to protect the United States from its southern neighbour, friend, ally and trading partner, Mexico. It’s a wall that everyone, except Trump and his core supporters, agrees will do nothing to achieve its stated purpose of keeping illegal drugs out of the U.S.

Chaos consumes Washington this Christmas

Christmas, as many of us were assured as children, is a special season, a time of kindness and generosity, of peace on earth and goodwill to all people everywhere.

That is one of the lessons we absorbed at our mother’s knee. Within a few years, we learned another lesson from teachers who taught us that the American system of government was a model democracy with its checks and balances among its executive, legislative and judicial branches. It is more perfect, we were instructed, than a monarchy or any other system of governance.

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.