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The dangers of an Andrew Scheer Conservative federal government

The central argument of this post is this: the Conservative Party of Canada and (to varying degrees) conservative provincial parties, are not like the Liberals, NDP or Greens. The Conservative Party is different not because it is more market oriented or because it supports the traditional conservative, small government, low tax policy agenda. Whether one agrees with them or not, such policies constitute an entirely legitimate program for a right-of-centre party. Rather, what separates the...

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Huge legislative setback for Uber in California

California legislators approved a landmark bill on Wednesday that requires companies like Uber and Lyft to treat contract workers as full employees, a move that could reshape the gig economy and that adds fuel to a years long debate over whether tens of millions of workers globally are being mis-classified as independent contractors, as opposed to employees. California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, endorsed the bill this month and is expected to sign it by mid October....

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Why Canada needs its own Elizabeth Warren to make corporate power the central issue in the coming federal election

At the Democratic presidential debate on Tuesday night, Democratic presidential candidate John Delaney argued that some of his more left-wing opponents’ proposals simply weren’t workable. One of those left-wing opponents, Senator Elizabeth Warren, wasn’t having it. Warren fired back at Delaney: “We can’t choose a candidate we don’t believe in just because we’re too scared to do anything else.” For Senator Warren, a Harvard law professor who has spent her entire career studying business law...

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Ford government fires another Dean French connection as Ontario patronage scandal grows

  Another Ontario patronage appointee was fired Thursday as the Toronto Star revealed his ties to Premier Doug Ford’s former chief of staff, Dean French, who left government two weeks ago amid a growing cronyism scandal. Peter Fenwick, a senior bureaucrat in Ontario's cabinet office, was turfed by the Cabinet Office Secretary, Steven Davidson. Last week, Ontario Premier Doug Ford's office announced a review of government appointments which included a review of the appointment of...

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It’s time for government to take action to stop money laundering.

In 2005, Raymond Baker, a leading authority on financial crimes, used US Treasury Department statistics of illicit money flows and money-laundering conviction rates to show that US law enforcement agencies failed to apprehend money launderers 99.9 percent of the time. And there is no reason to suspect Canada’s failure rate is any better. Estimating the extent of money laundering and catching the perpetrators share the same difficulty: the invisibility of the crime. That leaves us...

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Ford friend Taverner withdraws name for top OPP job – fired Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair claims vindication

Supt. Ron Taverner, a close confidant of the Ford family for years, has decided to withdraw his name for the top OPP job “to protect the integrity of rank and file police officers given the controversy surrounding my appointment.” “This decision is not an easy one for me to make,” Supt. Taverner said in a letter to Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister Sylvia Jones, which was released by the government late Wednesday. In a...

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How social media platforms are threatening democracy and what the Trudeau government can do about it.

There is a growing sense that Facebook and other social media platforms are a significant factor in the increasing polarization of our politics and even a real threat to democracy in countries such as the U.S. and Canada - countries with historically strong democratic institutions. This post explores how the business model chosen by the biggest platforms  has contributed to the weakening of our democratic institutions and what can be done to curb the socially...

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The real story behind the NAFTA negotiations on autos and labour standards.

There is no question that Donald Trump rode a wave of anti-trade sentiment to victory in the 2016 presidential election. This included a threat to rip up NAFTA, which he called “the worst trade deal in the history” of the United States. Trump's was a populist message that tapped into long-simmering resentment over the loss of American manufacturing operations – including the loss of auto assembly and auto parts plants – to Mexico. And it...

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Can Canadian democracy withstand the era of the strongmen?

Canadians who value democratic institutions such as a free press, an independent judiciary, and fair elections, need to be vigilant in safeguarding these important democratic institutions. Ontario Premier Ford's justification in invoking the "notwithstanding" clause to overrule a judge who ruled that his legislation to cut Toronto City Council in half was unconstitutional, suggests a leader who seems to think his electoral mandate entitles him to do whatever he pleases and any opposition is illegitimate....

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The Ontario election: Why Doug Ford is the enemy of the “little guy”

Introduction A previous post made the argument that the core appeal of Doug Ford populism (much like Trump populism) is a cultural resentment against the professional class as opposed to an economic populism in which working and middle class resentment is directed against the wealthy and large corporations. In other words, the "elites" that Ford rants against are professionals such as bureaucrats, academics, lawyers, journalists and teachers who Ford portrays as "looking down" on average...

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