Other Politics

Indifference in the face of atrocity

Published Sep. 7, 2013, in The Waterloo Region Record

Some 30 years ago in the midst of the Iran-Iraq War, when former U.S. secretary of state Henry Kissinger was asked who he supported, his answer was "both sides."

It was perhaps an unnecessarily lighthearted response to a serious matter, but it's one that might draw a comparison by some to the current Syrian civil war.

Absolutism bedevils the Middle East

Published Aug. 23, 2013, in The Waterloo Region Record

Just as one tries to digest the outrages in Egypt of some 1,000 civilian supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood slaughtered in the streets, there is now evidence of an even greater bloodbath in Syria involving chemical weapons, likely at the behest of the Bashar Assad regime.

Washington beholden to inflexible Republicans

Published Aug. 19, 2013, in The Waterloo Region Record

Just as we can observe the futility of absolutist inflexibility haunting many corners of the Middle East from groups such as the Taliban and Hezbollah, the American governing process is being similarly confounded by uncompromising absolutism.

Active Learning and Flipping my Introductory Course in Canadian Politics

In the fall, I'm teaching PO 263: Politics and Government in Canada, enrollment of 125. In the past, I've always taught this second year course using the traditional three hour lecture model.

This year, however, I'm reforming the course dramatically, not only in terms of content and assignments, but also in terms of what is going to happen in the classroom.

Step 1 was to establish some learning objectives: what are the big things I want my students to learn by the end of the course? Here are three big themes:

Connecting Academic Research to Contemporary Policy Needs

I've been thinking lately about the connection between academic research and the need for policy relevant research in government.  I've been lucky (or unlucky!) to have written on topics that have interested governments: My research on property rights and economic development on reserves and the modern treaty process have had the most effect on public policy.  Re: the first topic, the federal government is currently drafting legislation to help interested First Nations gain title and jurisdiction to their reserve lands with the option of creating fee simple interests.  Re: the second topic,