National Newswatch

Canada’s baffling party system

Oct 17 2017 — — The Canadian party system baffles outsiders and Canadians alike. Outsiders either cherry-pick details to suit a theory or just throw up their hands. Canadians wear the idiosyncrasy as a badge of honour; when looking for explanations they rarely look beyond the case. In The Canadian Party System: An Analytic History (UBC Press), I try to […]

Diversity in the public service’s executive ranks

Oct 16 2017 — Andrew Griffith — Annual employment equity reports for the public service show ongoing progress overall in the representation of women, visible minorities and Indigenous people, but lack detailed data regarding those classified as executives: from EX-1s, who hold the title of director, through EX-5s, who are assistant deputy ministers. Data recently released by the Treasury Board of Canada […]

Families and culture matter to reducing poverty

Oct 13 2017 — Mark Milke — In Hillbilly Elegy, his spectacularly successful book about growing up in a wretchedly dysfunctional and poor community in Ohio with cultural roots in the Appalachian mountains, the Yale-trained lawyer J.D. Vance identifies the reason why he could eventually rise out of poverty — the people closest to him: his mother, his distant father and his […]

Reforming the Indian Act to allow for online voting

Oct 12 2017 — — Today, more than 50 First Nations in Canada have deployed online voting, and many more communities are looking to follow suit. Online voting is seen as a way to promote voter access (particularly among off-reserve members) and to boost turnout, engage youth, enhance self-determination and modernize voting processes. But while online voting is used during […]

A chance to get affordable housing right

Oct 5 2017 — — The federal government’s anticipated national housing strategy could launch a long-term transformation of Canada’s housing system. Or it could go down as one of the most painfully squandered opportunities in years.

The West should support Kurds’ desire for independence from Iraq

Sep 28 2017 — Shuvaloy Majumdar — The cause of Kurdish independence is one of the great taboos of western diplomacy. Regardless of where one’s sympathies lie, it’s a topic more consistently avoided than engaged. Yet, Monday’s historic referendum saw three quarters of the population participate. Early results suggest more than 90 per cent voted for an independent Kurdistan. This expression of […]

The one-sided “accountability” of the Indian Act

Sep 25 2017 — — In 1886, Her Majesty, with the advice and consent of the Senate and the House of Commons of Canada, created the Indian Act, which included this line: “The expression ‘person’ means any individual other than an Indian” (chapter 43). This action and the imposition of the reserve system or Ishkoonigun (leftover) took away the autonomy […]

The flaws in a one-size-fits-all approach to tax policy

Sep 22 2017 — Stanley Hartt — The Liberal Party of Canada’s election platform in 2015 led with the theme of “growth for the middle class.” The goal was that everyone from the unionized worker putting in a meaningful amount of overtime to the successful small business owner could see himself or herself as part of this group or as close as […]

Canada and the “war without end” in Afghanistan

Sep 19 2017 — — On August 21, President Donald J. Trump did something unusual: he reversed himself. For years he was of the view, as he put it in a tweet in November 2013, that “we have wasted an enormous amount of blood and treasure in Afghanistan…Let’s get out!” But this summer, he decided not only to keep the […]

Canada’s space policy and the US’s gravitational pull

Sep 15 2017 — — Canadians have never been more prominent in space. Former astronaut Chris Hadfield has become a YouTube sensation for his video and Internet chats with schoolkids from space and has written a bestselling children’s book. Marc Garneau, now Canada’s minister of transport, flew on three space shuttle missions before serving as president of the Canadian Space […]

The wisdom of research-policy partnerships

Sep 14 2017 — — Evidence-based policy-making (EBPM) is a concept frequently invoked in political discussions and seems to enjoy broad support among governments, researchers and interest groups. This is not surprising, given the attractive underlying idea that important decisions should be made objectively, using the best available information, rather than being unduly influenced by ideology or opinion. In theory, […]

Some hard truths about Brexit

Sep 12 2017 — Lauren Dobson-Hughes — In August, the UK government began publishing its proposals on Brexit in “future partnership papers.” They provide the first substantive indication of the government’s vision of a post-Brexit Britain. The first paper concerns the customs union, the free trade area that harmonizes tariffs on goods; and the single market, a common market for trade, services, […]