Roundup: Fun with populist proposals

As the new United Conservative Party in Alberta starts to take shape, some familiar populist tropes have been tossed around, which the leadership candidates – Brian Jean especially – don’t seem to actually think through before proposing it. Colby Cosh, on the other hand, did think through some of those proposals and the problems that they would cause, particularly when it comes to thinks like local referendums on photo radar (which I will remind you is ridiculous – if you don’t want to get a ticket, then don’t speed. It’s your own damn fault if you get one), but the big one is promised recall legislation. People keep bringing this particular idea up time and again, enamoured with American examples thereof, without actually thinking through the consequences of how it would work in our particular system, especially when there are more than two parties on the ballot, making thresholds an important consideration. In BC, the one province where recall legislation exists, it’s set at 40 percent of eligible voters, making it high enough to never actually be used, but the Wildrose had previously proposed a twenty percent threshold, which would set up a constant flow of recall initiatives, at which point it becomes comical. Suffice to say, populism is not democracy, and people who treat them as interchangeable are asking for trouble.

Meanwhile, as could be expected, old Wildrose holdouts are looking to revive their now moribund party in one form or another, likely with a new name but the same policies and party constitution, given that they resolutely remain opposed to uniting. At the same time, former PC operatives and the provinces’ hipster centrists, the Alberta Party, are holding “Alberta Together” meetings, to apparently try and solidify the centrist vote in the province, for what it’s worth.

Good reads:

  • Justin Trudeau took a helicopter tour of the areas affected by the BC wildfires, and met with first responders to thank them for their efforts.
  • Aid agencies like the Red Cross say that people tend to donate more when governments match funds; they haven’t so far with the BC wildfires.
  • The three main parties are already planning for their September caucus retreats in Winnipeg, Hamilton, and BC.
  • The government has been proactively reaching out to businesses and stakeholders in advance of possible trade talks with China.
  • Canada has condemned the increasingly authoritarian actions of Venezuela’s president, but won’t follow US sanctions just yet.
  • An academic study finds that greater ethno-cultural diversity in workplaces results in higher revenues and greater productivity.
  • Alberta is topping up First Nations child welfare payments as the federal government works to reform the system overall.
  • Jagmeet Singh may have received the most donations in the NDP leadership race so far, but NDP fundraising on the whole is at a seven-year low.
  • Cheryl Gallant gonna Cheryl Gallant.
  • Jen Gerson takes to the Washington Post to try to pour some cold water on the American love affair with our PM.
  • Martin Patriquin points out the dirty hands of all parties when it comes to those LAV sales to Saudi Arabia.

Odds and ends:

Michaëlle Jean praises Julie Payette’s nomination as the next Governor General.