National Newswatch

CBC’s Perilous Future as Half Public and Half State Broadcaster

Dec 3 2014 — Frances Russell — “‘Well, first we’re going to get them on their knees and then we’re going to restructure them,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper is reported to have said recently about the future of the CBC. Ian Morrison of Friends of Canadian Broadcasting warns Canadians that “his (Harper’s) idea of restructuring…would be something along the lines of American […]

Absolute Power in the Hands of Just One Man

Nov 12 2014 — Frances Russell — There is only one word to describe Party Of One, award-winning journalist Michael Harris’ massive and powerfully written biography of Canada’s 22nd prime minister. Shocking. In the space of less than a decade, Canada has been transformed from a parliamentary democracy where the government of the day answers to the people through their elected representatives […]

Canada’s Non-Responsible Parliament

Oct 15 2014 — Frances Russell — “When the government of the day ceases to be responsible to Parliament, responsible government is lost and democracy is imperilled.” So writes former Conservative, now independent, Edmonton St. Albert MP Brent Rathgeber in his recent book, Irresponsible Government: The Decline of Parliamentary Democracy in Canada. Responsible government is the foundation of parliamentary as opposed to […]

Stephen Harper’s Conservatives Champion Democracy for Ukraine – for Canada, Not So Much

Sep 19 2014 — Frances Russell — Canada’s House of Commons erupted in wave after wave of standing ovations as MPs feted newly-elected Ukrainian Prime Minister Petro Poroshenko on Wednesday. But similar enthusiasm for fundamental democratic principles at home is under increasing threat, from social activism to scientific research. Perhaps the longest and most complete muzzling of freedom of expression has befallen […]

A Political Parcel of Rogues

Aug 20 2014 — Frances Russell — So far, the firewall senior Conservative party operatives have erected around the 2011 federal election robocalls scandal has protected every high-profile party functionary who concocted , assisted in or helped conceal one of the biggest political crimes in Canadian history. Make no mistake. These people are very smart and very determined. And no one should […]

A Centre-Left Country Governed From The Right

Aug 13 2014 — Frances Russell — Last Saturday, the Winnipeg Free Press Business Page carried this double-barreled headline over its top story: “Job numbers not pretty – Startling total of 200 new positions in nation.” That’s right. Just 200 new jobs. In all of Canada. In one month. Continued the Canadian Press article: “Trouble in Canada’s anemic jobs market continued into […]

Corporate “Citizens” Damage Democracy

Jul 30 2014 — Frances Russell — Corporate personhood is an American legal concept created by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1819. First, under U.S. and increasingly, international law, corporate “persons“ enjoy many of the same rights as actual citizens under both British common law and the U.S. Constitution. Corporate personhood is at the root of the global proliferation of U.S.-style corporate […]

Canada’s Elected Dictatorship

Jul 23 2014 — Frances Russell — “L’etat, c’est moi,” declared France’s King Louis XIV. Throughout their eight years in office, the Harper Conservatives have devoted much of their electoral mandate to denigrating and diminishing Parliament, beginning with their blatantly unconstitutional parliamentary prorogation in December, 2008 to avoid defeat on a non-confidence vote. As a result of that unparalleled assault, Canada’s parliament […]

Canada An Energy Superpower? Not!

Jun 11 2014 — Frances Russell — Remember back in 2006 when Prime Minister Stephen Harper boasted confidently that Canada was about to become an “energy superpower?” A February 2014 report by the International Monetary Fund shows that Canada never was and, probably now, never will be. The IMF report is similar to one by the Canadian Energy Research Institute in 2011. […]

From First Place to Bottom of the Class in One Bound

Jun 4 2014 — Frances Russell — Canada’s election laws used to be the gold standard among the Anglo-Saxon parliamentary democracies and countries from around the world came here to learn how to ensure free and fair electoral contests. Until, that is, the Harper Conservatives decided to blemish this country’s stellar reputation with their oxymoronic Fair Election Act now awaiting passage in […]

The prime minister and the professor

May 21 2014 — Frances Russell — Tom Flanagan has done it again. For the second time, the libertarian University of Calgary political scientist has exposed the political theories and strategies of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives just as he did in 2007 with his bestselling chronicle of the 2006 federal election titled, “Harper’s Team, Behind the Scenes in the Conservative rise […]