From the category archives:

Canada eh

There are petitions going around urging Justin Trudeau to appoint Elizabeth May as Environment Minister.

I think that’s a terrible idea. Here’s why:

After a decade of Stephen Harper’s “war on science”, we finally have a government committed to returning to evidence-based decision making. Trudeau wants to bring back the long form census. He wants to make scientific committees independent again. He’s committed to bringing knowledge and scientific literacy back into public policy.

Elizabeth May and the Green Party, on the other hand, are a fringe party with a strong fringe lunatic contingent. Yes, they’re shiny and feisty people are prone to like them, and May in particular.

But when you chip away at the surface a little bit, you discover that this party supports or has supported all sorts of The Crazy: Anti-GMO, anti-vaccine, worried about cell phone radiation, pro-public health coverage for “alternative” medicine such as naturopathy or homeopathy. It goes on and on:

“After reading the above, I suppose what follows is less of a shock, but it’s still pretty bad. The following points are all part of the Green Party’s health care platform:

Provide funds to expand provincial health insurance to cover proven alternative therapies that are less expensive and invasive such as chiropractic, massage, acupuncture. (p. 68)

We will promote complimentary health care – through support of chiropractic, naturopathic, homeopathic, and other non-western practices. The Green Party of Canada recognizes the value of good health as a fundamental human right, and also the key to the most vibrant, inclusive and sustainable Canadian society possible. (p. 71)

Expand healthcare coverage to include qualified complementary/alternative health professionals such as naturopaths, acupuncturists, homeopaths, licensed massage therapists, chiropractors, and dietitians. (p. 73)

And sure, the above was from their 2011 platform. Since then, the Green Party has backpedaled on some of that nonsense. But not all of it. Which makes sense when you consider that it’s a fringe party, and has to pander to its fringe base for votes. If the party were to grow to become more mainstream, it’s likely that the fringe element would be calmed. But that’s not enough.

I want someone as environment minister who finally is going to make real, evidence-based policy decisions about the environment and fight climate change based on actual science. There’s just no room for woo in this job.

While I applaud the spirit of reaching across the aisle, I think Elizabeth May is wrong for the job. I’d think she was wrong for the job if she were a Liberal, too.

In my opinion, someone like Stephane Dion would make a terrific environment minister. There may be other places where Trudeau could reach across the aisle. But please don’t do it at the expense of science.


Wow. Just wow.

Prime Minister Trudeau. It’s been a long time since Canada has heard those words. Before my lifetime, anyway.

I dared hope for a Liberal minority. I never in my wildest dreams could have predicted a Liberal majority.

The Tories have been turfed out. Stephen Harper has announced he will step down as the leader of the party — the only leader the party in its current form has ever had. A long decade of darkness in Canada is drawing to a close.

The NDP dropped back to third place, its Quebec bubble having burst. One of the ridings it hung onto was my own of Laurier-Sainte-Marie, where Gilles Duceppe was defeated by Helene Laverdiere. I’m happy about that and proud to have played my part.

Overall, though, the NDP simply couldn’t compete with the Liberal surge as undecided progressive voters looked for a bandwagon to jump onto. Our broken First Past The Post system simply left no room for vote-splitting on the left, and Mulcair was unfortunately the loser on that front. I still respect him and think he ran a solid campaign. And I hope he will stay on as party leader and MP for Outremont, and participate actively in government. He and Trudeau agreed on quite a few issues, and the NDP could certainly make their mark in this next parliament.

The Bloc Quebecois won 10 seats, but got a lower proportion of the popular vote than they did back in 2011. Duceppe lost his riding and will probably retire again — for real this time.

Justin Trudeau will have his work cut out for him. A majority means he can get things done. It also means he has no excuses.

The real work begins tomorrow. And don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of it. Canada has suffered greatly under Harper, and a lot of work will be needed simply to stop the bleeding and start reversing the damage. Restoring funding to gutted federal programs, improving the status of women, minorities, immigrants, First Nations, restoring human rights and equal citizenship for all. Fulfilling his promise to amend Bill C-51. Dealing with the fallout of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, as details emerge. Healing the wounds caused by wedge politics driven by racism. Bringing back openness, transparency, science and information to Parliament. Healing the wide chasm between Conservative and Progressive voters. The list seems never-ending and the work is surely daunting.

But that’s all for tomorrow. Tonight, we celebrate.

Merci, Canada.


Pollwatch: Dirty tricks as Canadians vote


#Pollwatch: I’ve been hearing reports of people having difficulty voting, despite being on the voter registration list and showing up with multiple forms of ID. Via the Orwellian-named “Fair Elections Act“, Stephen Harper is trying to make it more difficult for people to vote, and I fear he may be succeeding. Don’t let him get [...]

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John Oliver on Canadian Election: Don’t vote for Harper


John Oliver is one of my favourite comedian-slash-pundits. Last night, he took on the topic of the Canadian federal election, as only he could: Now, it’s true that this is a bit of a lighthearted treatment of the topic, with plenty of room for moose jokes and Canadian stereotypes. But remember that Oliver is addressing [...]

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Let’s do this, Canada!


Well, it’s been a really long slog of a campaign. But either way, it all ends tomorrow. So I’ll just leave you with this plea: Please get out and vote — it CAN and WILL make a difference. If you’re not sure where or when to vote, visit If you aren’t sure who to [...]

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Pre-election thoughts


Thoughts heading into the weekend before the election: ‪ Polls showing a Liberal surge are going to help Trudeau‪‬, as anti-Harper voters get off the fence and hop on the bandwagon of the party they perceive as most likely to beat the Tories. Having said that, recent polls don’t reflect the Dan Gagnier resignation over [...]

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The Guardian on Stephen Harper


The Guardian has published a damning, point by point account of how the Harper‬ government has cheated, lied, blustered and outright steamrolled over democracy on their way to three consecutive election victories.   An unkind cartoon this summer showed the Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, kneeling before the statue of another politician, asking: “What now, [...]

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13 thoughts after watching the Vice interviews with Trudeau and Mulcair


Stephen Harper is an idiot for refusing to do this interview. They lobbed softballs for the most part, and he might have even scored some points with young Canadians. His silence speaks volumes about how little he cares about anyone under the age of 35. Then again, we already knew that. Holy crap, I’m not [...]

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Tories, Israel, and Chutzpah


Two weeks ago, like Jewish people around the world, I went to my local synagogue on Yom Kippur for Kol Nidre prayers. I saw a giant “Shana Tova” campaign poster just outside my shul in Westmount proclaiming the Conservatives as the only party that will stand by Israel “through fire and water”. It wasn’t just [...]

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Barbaric Cultural Practices and the ugly side of wedge politics


This goes beyond the pale: The Tories have announced that they want to create an RCMP Hotline to report “barbaric cultural practices”: The new pledge follows a string of opinion polls showing that the incumbent party’s hard line against Muslim headwear – refusing to permit a new immigrant the right to wear a veil during [...]

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