'Balanced Journalism' Amplifies Uninformed Voices

Introduction

As Ontario voters consider their choices in municipal elections, a new report by the Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy (LISPOP) went back in time to examine the dynamics of Waterloo’s 2010 controversial plebiscite to end fluoridation.

Fluoridation is one of the modern world’s great triumphs. It safely, cheaply, equitably and effectively improves dental health and quality of life for all people, with benefits focused mostly on children and the poor. And yet it has always elicited controversy.

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.

There’s history, education and fun in this new book on the press gallery

There was a time, following the Watergate scandal of 1972-74, when it seemed as though every young person in North America wanted to be a journalist.

Journalism promised excitement and glamour. Universities could not keep up with the demand for new journalism schools. A survey at the time found there were more students in J-schools in the United States than there were jobs on all the country’s daily newspapers.

That was then.

Is Doug Ford eying Justin Trudeau’s job?

Now that he doesn’t have former premier Kathleen Wynne to kick around any more, Doug Ford – being the sort of politician who, like Donald Trump, needs an antagonist to vent about – has turned his sights to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

His attacks escalate by the week.  “We’ve taken Kathleen Wynne’s hand out of your pocket … and we’re going to take Justin Trudeau’s hand out of your pocket,” he told a cheering crowd of 600 that assembled last week to celebrate his first 100 days as premier.

Stormy weather lies ahead in federal-provincial affairs

Doug Ford and Jason Kenney had a grand old time in Alberta the other night.

Appearing together before an overflow crowd of 1,500 true believers in Calgary, the two provincial leaders – one in power, the other in waiting -- pledged their mutual, undying opposition to carbon taxes, and they took turns swatting enthusiastically at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Ready or not ready – the answer is “not” – pot goes legal on Oct. 17

Forget NAFTA. Forget Donald Trump. Forget the riveting battle over his Supreme Court nominee. Forget that astonishing encounter on a Capitol Hill elevator when two furious women shamed a Republican senator into doing the decent thing.

Put all that aside and consider this moment in Canadian history.

Cannabis – marijuana, pot, weed, call it what you will – will be legal across the country the week after next, on Oct. 17.

A little humour would help to lighten up politics

Have you noticed there’s not a whole lot of fun in politics these days?

There is plenty of angst, but not much humour in Donald Trump’s Washington. In Canada, serious politicians make serious speeches about serious subjects – pipelines, climate change, immigration, border security, NAFTA, street crime, making pot legal, even the size of Toronto city council.

Aside from Doug Ford’s epic achievement – buck-a-beer for the “real” people of Ontario – there’s not much to laugh about.

Reflecting on good government in the Promised Land

Hon. Doug Ford,

Premier of Ontario,

Queen’s Park, Toronto

My Dear Premier Ford,

You won’t remember me, but I’m the fellow who wrote to you back in July to congratulate you and your valiant crew of Ford Nationalists on leading Ontario back to the Promised Land of the 1950s.

My admiration has doubled – nay, trebled – in the intervening months. Not only have you overturned everything the radical Liberal, Kathleen Wynne, stood for, you have put that stuffed shirt, John Tory, in his place.

Trudeau’s Liberals are in for a grilling when Parliament resumes next week

Summer is usually the best of times for the party in power in Ottawa. With Parliament in recess, ministers have the stage largely to themselves, free to announce whatever they wish with as much spin – and as little explanation – as they choose.

The opposition parties are left to whine about high-handed government while they count the days until the House resumes, and they can get their teeth into ministers in question period.

Opinion-Policy Nexus is a forum of opinion and commentary on topics related to public opinion and public policy. Views expressed in any blog entry are those of the author and do not reflect LISPOP's positions.

Authors

  • Ailsa Henderson
  • Andre Perrella
  • Anna Esselment
  • Anthony Piscitelli
  • Barry Kay
  • Ben Margulies
  • Christopher Alcantara
  • Christopher Cochrane
  • Geoffrey Stevens
  • Jason Roy
  • Jorg Broschek
  • Loren King
  • Manuel Riemer
  • Nikolaos Liodakis
  • Robert Williams
  • Simon Kiss
  • Timothy Gravelle
  • Zachary Spicer

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