August for the people 2018 : Canada/Saudi Arabia, Emancipation Day, global languages, Auden’s Brexit poem?

Posted: August 9th, 2018 | No Comments »

At the beach ... where we should all be in August.

CANADA/SAUDI ARABIA : To us what the Canadian federal government has done in its recent complaints about the fate of Samar Badawi, and other human rights activists in Saudi Arabia, is altogether what should be done. We have stood up on the side of the angels, and we should just have the balls to stay there.

As explained by The Independent in the UK : “Canada said last week it was ‘gravely concerned about additional arrests of civil society and women’s rights activists in Saudi Arabia, including Samar Badawi’… Ms Badawi is a lawyer and sister to [Saudi Arabian] blogger Raif Badawi, who was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison in 2012 for criticising the country’s clerical establishment. His wife Ensaf Haidar and three children now live in Quebec … The whereabouts of Ms Badawi along with Nassima al-Sadah, arrested on the same day, are currently unknown …”

Canada’s “really quite standard comments from a Western ally” here (in the words of one former Ottawa bureaucrat now in academia) have prompted a quite fierce reaction from the Saudi government and its ambitious new crown prince.

For further details see, eg, Akbar Shahid Ahmed’s (we think especially perceptive) HuffPost US piece, “Thanks To Trump, Saudi Arabia Won’t Accept Even Mild Criticism From Its Friends … That a standard statement on human rights now inspires drastic Saudi actions and troll attacks evoking 9/11 shows authoritarians are bolder and diplomacy is harder.”

Current Quebec resident Ensaf Haidar, wife of Saudi-imprisoned human rights activist Raif Badawi, and her children, meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Some Conservatives in Canada — still congenitally attached to old (and new) imperial apron strings — have been wondering on Twitter and so forth whether Canadians are really willing to “pay the price” some believe is always exacted when you stand up for principles in this way.

Our quick thoughts are that the true north, strong and free, does not do anywhere near enough business with Saudi Arabia now for any such price to be very high for the overwhelming majority of we the people of Canada. And standing up for forward-looking principles of freedom most of us do value highly, in the always troublesome short term, could do even the Canadian economy a great deal of good over the mid to longer term.

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Toronto Danforth Shooter : strong city that still ignores painful truths still joining real global village at last

Posted: July 27th, 2018 | No Comments »

Grace Lake, Ontario. Photo : LKS White.

The last time in this troubled year that some of us here heard about troubling killings in our Toronto homeland we were in northern California.  (See “Toronto van killings : strong city that ignores painful truths joins real global village at last,” 2 May 2018.)

And now, some three months later, when we first heard about “Ralph Goodale’s Office Says There Is ‘No National Security Nexus’ To Toronto Danforth Shooter” (25 July 2018) we were deep in the wilderness cottage country of the old Provisional County of Haliburton, Ontario — about three hours drive north of the present-day “global city.”

The long and short is that around 10 PM this past Sunday evening the 29-year-old Faisal Hussain, who lived with his parents in a seventh floor apartment in the Thorncliffe Park high-rise neighborhood some three kilometers away, suddenly started shooting people near the Alexander the Great Parkette on Danforth Avenue.

Hussain continued shooting as he proceeded west along “the Danforth” (as some still say), in what is now often called Greektown — until he apparently shot himself dead after an initial encounter with police at Danforth and Bowden Street. By this point he had “killed an 18-year-old woman and a 10-year-old girl and injured 13 others.”

Shortly after Toronto police had identified Faisal Hussain “a news release was sent out to select media attributed to the ‘Hussain Family’.” It expressed deep grief and regret over what Faisal had done, and explained that he had struggled with mental health issues for years.

Emergency measures professionals attend to shooting victims late Sunday evening in Toronto, July 22, 2018.

Not too long after that a statement by the ISIS terrorist group in the Middle East claimed Faisal Hussain “was a soldier of the Islamic State and carried out the attack in response to calls to target the citizens of the coalition countries” — although “‘ISIS’ did not provide further detail or evidence for its claim.”

Both the Toronto police and the office of federal public safety minister Ralph Goodale have said that, so far, there is no evidence of the sort they find convincing to sustain the ISIS claim.

At the same time, the most sensible and constructive view I’ve stumbled across is a tweet from former Ontario NDP premier, federal Liberal interim leader, and longtime Toronto resident Bob Rae :  “No contradiction between reports ISIS is claiming credit for Danforth attack and stories that shooter had history of mental illness, and that guns are a problem.  It’s not a game of either/or.  Terror preys on vulnerable people and weak laws.” (6:27 AM —  25 Jul 2018).

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Does anyone in Canada today really care what happens with Brexit in the UK? (& why we should, sort of .. )

Posted: July 20th, 2018 | No Comments »

“U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands during a joint press conference after their summit on July 16, 2018 in Helsinki, Finland. (Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images).”

Nowadays not even anglophone Canadian political junkies follow the domestic politics of the United Kingdom with anything like the interest that was common enough 100 years ago (judging from early 20th century newspapers).

And the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)’s old role as a distributor of British TV programming to North American audiences, going back only say 60 years, has now been largely usurped by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in the USA next door.

For anyone anywhere who may be interested, however, the current UK debate over “Theresa May’s Chequers deal on Brexit” offers welcome food for thought on such subjects as high policy referendums — and just how we make decisions generally in our democracies today.

I have no Brexit expertise. My research here goes no deeper than the two dozen recent media reports listed at the end below. But (again) the current Brexit moment — in the middle of the Summer of 2018 — holds some real wider interest. And that is what I’m focusing on here.

The current moment began on Friday, July 6, when “Theresa May’s Chequers deal on Brexit” was agreed to by the UK cabinet. (Or so it seemed.)

Amani Hughes reporting on Red Velvet Cupcakes in slightly earlier stage of her career at the Express.

At 10:15 PM local time a report by Amani Hughes was posted on the Express website in the UK : “Brexit latest: Chequers showdown … A PROPOSAL on Brexit has been agreed by Theresa May and ministers at Chequers. Here are the main details agreed after a 12-hour meeting as the Soft Brexit proposal comes under fire.”

Then two cabinet ministers resigned — David Davis, Ms May’s “once-loyal “Brexit minister” in charge of “negotiating the country’s split from the bloc,” and “Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, a tousle-haired frontman for Britain’s campaign to leave the European Union.”

The deep criticism behind these resignations was that Prime Minister May’s Chequers deal is too much of a “Soft” as opposed to a “Hard” Brexit. It “keeps Britain tied to many EU rules and regulations after it leaves the bloc in March 2019.” It is “a fudge, a timid capitulation, a ‘Brexit in name only’ that ignores the 52 percent of voters who opted in June 2016 to leave the EU.”

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Happy Canada Day 2018 : Electing the Governor General could make a lot of sense in the 21st century

Posted: July 1st, 2018 | No Comments »

Meghan Markle and her mother, Doria Ragland, on their way to tea with the Queen, May 2018.

Meghan Markle and Harry Wales have now shown the world that the British monarchy does have some kind of modern future. (Though, somewhat intriguingly, what was once the website of “The British Monarchy” nowadays just calls itself “The home of the Royal Family.”)

Meanwhile, back in the most northerly North American UN member state, Canada Day 2018  may also be a good time to think further about Jonathan Manthorpe’s helpful April 18 ipolitics report on “Commonwealth countries consider life after Queen Elizabeth.”

Long before the new populist age of Doug Ford (and some would add Donald Trump), Mr. Manthorpe’s book on The Power and the Tories in Canada’s most populous province convinced more than a few readers that (strange as it may seem) Ontario politics was interesting.

Canada Day 2018 fireworks set off between the North Shore and Canada Place in Vancouver start at 10:30 PM PT.

Many years later, his report on life in the Commonwealth after the Queen usefully frames a broad policy debate we ought to be having (quietly and craftily) in all parts of Canada today.

Of particular interest are the arguments Mr. Manthorpe advances in the later parts of his article, starting with : “If Canadians decided they wanted to directly elect the Governor-General …”

He urges that : “Directly electing the head of state sounds like a great democratic advance, but it is not.” From another point of view, this proposition at least deserves to be challenged, in a friendly, upbeat spirit, inspired by diverse traditions of compromise — and perhaps especially at a time when a president next door actually seems to be threatening the Canadian future (in one way or another).

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If “good fences make good neighbours,” would Trump’s southern border wall make better neighbours of Mexico & USA?

Posted: June 26th, 2018 | No Comments »

The city at night.

I agreed with a lot in  Masha Gessen’s Friday, June 22 column for The New Yorker : “Trump’s Opponents Aren’t Arguing for ‘Open Borders’—But Maybe They Should.”

It fits with the “global village” that the Edmonton-born Marshall McLuhan began to talk about in the 1960s. And this has come to echo loudly in the now very diverse City of Toronto where he ended his life (and where I live today) — and in various other places around the world.

At the same time, when I finished Masha Gessen’s piece I also found myself remembering Robert Frost’s wonderfully memorable poem of early 20th century New England, “Mending Wall.” It seems to have some particular relevance for the USA today, even though it was written more than 100 years ago.

Frost’s poem captures something quite deeply rooted in the modern American experience, I think. And it is one of Donald Trump’s undoubted if still largely mystical talents that he has a crude but sometimes deadly instinct for appealing to such things.

“Mending Wall” was written not long after the decade when Robert Frost was living on and intermittently working a small poultry farm in New Hampshire, not far north of the city of Lawrence, Massachusetts — where Frost grew up after his family moved back east from his San Francisco birthplace, when he was 11 years old.

Frost farm in New England autumn today.

For better or worse, this place has now been restored as a “Frost Farm” heritage site, and you can still see the stone wall that appears in “Mending Wall.” Very briefly, the poem is about a conversation between farmer Robert Frost and his neighbouring New England farmer, as they go about their annual exercise of repairing the wall between their two properties.

Frost in this setting is not just a farmer. He is also a poet, of course — and in fact a local schoolteacher “at nearby Pinkerton Academy.” Unlike his more rigorous farming neighbour he has poetic doubts about the real utility of the annual exercise of stone fence repair.

The poem begins : “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,/That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,/And spills the upper boulders in the sun;/And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.” As was the custom, however, the poet meets his neighbour “at spring mending-time” to repair such gaps, and “set the wall between us once again.”

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Has Donald Trump pushed us into a new age of political mendacity, like Orwell’s time between the two world wars?

Posted: June 20th, 2018 | No Comments »

The still seriously unreformed Senate of Canada wisely passed Bill C-45, the government's legislation to legalize recreational marijuana, Tuesday evening, June 19, 2018, without further toil and trouble. (Mark Blinch/Canadian Press).

[UPDATED JUNE 21 (& happy summer solstice) & JUNE 22]. Something Donald Trump tweeted this past Monday morning illustrates one of the many things wrong with his view of the real world I live in.

In Mr. Trump’s own words : “The people of Germany are turning against their leadership as migration is rocking the already tenuous Berlin coalition. Crime in Germany is way up. Big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!”

As I have tried to write down what I object to in these three sentences I have fallen into what may be the ultimate depths of the issue. (A fate the stunning new information technology of our time  so easily promotes.)

Stepping back from the ultimate depths for a moment, I began my quest with : “what is wrong with these three particular Donald Trump sentences on Germany and Europe?”

In the first place, crime in Germany is way down, not way up.

(See, eg : “Actual German crime data from last month shows the national crime rate in Germany over the previous year was at its lowest level since 1992.” Or : “Crime actually fell in 2017 by 9.6 percent in Germany … Also, crimes by non-German suspects fell by 22 percent in 2017. By any measure, Germany has far less violent crime than the US.”)

This may not be a “real-life” photo of Donald Trump with a gun in his hand, of course, but it seems arguable that it at least speaks a language he admires. Thanks to North Amarillo Now — part of the rising tide that will eventually rule Texas!

So the second of Mr. Trump’s sentences above is simply factually incorrect. This is admittedly not an issue that seems to worry his own art-of-the-deal political philosophy unduly. But for those who want to be at least outwardly sensible it ought to raise concerns.

From a more complex angle, Donald Trump’s three sentences about Germany and Europe (above, in italics) were tweeted in defence of his (and Jeff Sessions’) own deeply mean-spirited recent immigration policy practice of separating children from parents (just now discontinued), in migrant families who break the law along the US-Mexico border. (See, eg: “President Trump blames Democrats, doubles down on immigration amid backlash.” And, most recently : “After outcry, Trump signs order that will stop separations and detain families together … ’The border is just as tough, but we do want to keep families together,’ president says.”

[For June 21 UPDATE click on "Read the rest of this page" and/or scroll below].

UPDATE JUNE 22 : If this US domestic struggle over immigration policy finally does become “a defining moment” for the Trump presidency — with much impact on the mid-term elections this coming November — an altogether  new report will be in order. Meanwhile, the author of this report, L. Frank Bunting, passes along his lightly annotated current reading list :

The original L. Frank B., 1856–1919. God knows what he would have made of the real-life Wizard of Oz who is now President of the United States of America?

* Some families reunite in US as questions linger at border … Mixed signals continue for migrants as Trump chides Republicans.” (Associated Press, Jun 22).

* “Confusion, uncertainty at border after Trump’s about-face … Lawmakers reject hard-right immigration bill.” (Associated Press, Jun 21) … A hard-right bill was defeated when 41 Republicans crossed party lines to vote against it. The vote on a second bill, considered a compromise, was postponed as Republicans looked to rally support. Democrats oppose both measures as harsh. The second bill, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters, “may be a compromise with the devil, but it is not a compromise with the Democrats.”  Meanwhile Mr. Trump is advising Republican lawmakers to wait until November when : “We can pass great legislation after the Red Wave!” in the mid-term elections.

* “Melania Trump wears ‘I really don’t care’ jacket before visiting migrant kids.” (Mr. Bunting notes : “I really have no idea what’s going on here. I thought it was a Photoshop joke at first.)

* “Italy to seize two migrant ships for ‘illegally flying Dutch flag’.” (Westmonster, Jun 22). Donald Trump would no doubt like the new Italian populist coalition government’s approach to immigration. And note that the “Westmonster” author of this article (a play on “Westminster”, home of the Mother of Parliaments?) is a UK website that believes in a “full, clean Brexit, defeating radical Islam, ending the scourge of violent crime.”

Former Republican Steve Schmidt, who will vote Democrat in the 2018 mid-term elections this November, because “the future of our country is at stake in many ways.”

* “Americans finding ways to work against Trump immigration policy (From Rachel Maddow) ; “Record-High 75% of Americans Say Immigration Is Good Thing” ; and (alas?) Susan B. Glasser’s “Letter from Trump’s Washington” in The New Yorker : “Trump’s Cynical Immigration Strategy Might Work for Him—Again … The lesson Trump learned was not that saying shocking, untrue, and arguably racist things about immigrants was politically dangerous but that doing so helped him become President.”

* Bunting’s last update item here is another Canadian reporter’s look at the ultimate depths of the issue. In this case it’s Globe and Mail columnist Gary Mason’s June 22 piece on Steve Schmidt,  who just resigned from the US Republican party : “The warning we must hear, from a former GOP loyalist.” Anyone who watches MSNBC TV in 2018 will need no introduction to Steve Schmidt. He believes his old Republican Party has become “corrupt, indecent and immoral” and a “danger to our democracy and values.” The Democratic Party “is now called” to defend “liberty and freedom.” It is “essential that Trumpism be repudiated.” Mr. Schmidt argues the upcoming midterm elections have seldom been so crucial. If Republicans maintain control of Congress, it will only embolden the President … “There is a lot riding on these elections …. Really, the future of our country is at stake in many ways.”

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Are Trump’s US trade policies a new argument for the Trans Mountain pipeline to Asia in Canada?

Posted: June 16th, 2018 | No Comments »

Wild weather downs trees, wires across Toronto — as here in the St Clair and Oakwood area — 13 June 2018. Photo: Matty@mattytoophatty.

[UPDATED 4 PM]. The brief but fierce big rainy wind that toppled a huge old oak tree down by the lake is over, here in this big-urban Ontario NDP electoral district. But it also almost seemed like a meteorological comment on key current political events.

The human dramas have calmed down now, along with the big rainy wind. And like others of our citizenship — with “Protégera nos foyers et nos droits” ringing in our ears — we’re pleased to hear that the Angus Reid polling organization has discovered : “Canadians feeling confident, not cowed, post G7; prefer harder line in negotiations with Trump.”

Along the way, Justin Trudeau’s once-flagging approval rating has jumped up 12 percentage points. It is now almost back to where it was this time last year. And : “The surge in Trudeau’s approval rating comes alongside an uptick in support for his Liberal Party.”

(In an era when conspiracy theories do grow on trees, it is almost impossible not to wonder whether Prime Minister Trudeau and President Trump have cooked up their latest public quarrels, to gain domestic political advantages both could use at the moment? But of course this cannot possibly be true in Justin Trudeau’s case …  Well, probably … ?)

“Donald Trump and Justin Trudeau at the most recent G-7 summit, in Quebec. Photograph by Evan Vucci / AP.”

And then two gentlemen who may or may not be from the New York intelligentsia have acknowledged various deeper truths in : “Why Justin Trudeau Is Able to Stand Up to Donald Trump” (Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker) ; and “Trump’s Insults Are Bringing Out Canada’s Inner Fiery Nationalism” (Ed Kilgore, New York Magazine).

Finally, there are (were) Bill Maher’s warm words of love for Canada (home of several of his girlfriends?) — and the amusing Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump piece in his show from darkest Los Angeles last night. (Which also had George Will suggesting there is an argument the Mueller investigation has not been set up in a strictly proper way, or some such thing. Which may or may not mean who knows what for the increasingly absurd career of President Trump?)

In any case as of 4:02 PM ET, 15 Jun 2018, Maclean’s magazine journalist Paul Wells was tweeting : “For what it’s worth, I think the mood in Canada has shifted rapidly from outrage to ‘whatever’” …  Not too much later, we counterweights editors here can report that we (well … most of us) have now moved beyond our initial outrage too.

On June 14 the Toronto Marlies beat the Texas Stars 6-1 to win the Calder Cup — trophy of the American Hockey League championship.

Whatever else, President Trump has managed to unite the bitterly warring Canadian political classes, in both official languages, from coast to coast to coast, and from left to right and back again. That is a rare achievement.

The Trumpeter may have also provided a decisive reason for going ahead with the Trans Mountain pipeline in Alberta and BC  (while doing everything possible and more to protect Canada’s stunning Pacific coast). As Prime Minister Trudeau has noted, Trump’s US trade policies just underline the importance of diversifying Canada’s trade relationships. And Trans Mountain will open markets for Canadian oil in Asia instead of the United States.

Meanwhile, however the future develops exactly, we share the quiet faith in Canada’s unique northern North American destiny that the latest trade disputes with the USA (and Mexico) have once again laid bare. Go Canada Go. “Protégera nos foyers et nos droits”!

UPDATE 4:00 PM ET This just in, from John Bowden  : “Americans favor Trudeau over Trump on trade policy: poll … A Global News/Ipsos poll released Saturday [JUNE 16] finds that Trudeau enjoys a 20-point advantage … among Americans when it comes to which leader respondents think is better handling the discussions over tariffs and other trade issues … “Fifty-seven percent of US respondents told the poll they support Trudeau’s actions, compared to just 37 percent who said the same for Trump.”

FOX News will not believe this, of course, but … could the venerable US Constitution actually be amended so that presidents have to be either born in the United States or have previously served as head of government of a neighbouring North American democracy? (Under some updated 21st century interpretation of the old Monroe Doctrine?) Certainly not of course. But if something like that ever did happen, former US head of government Barack Obama could win a reciprocal election as Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party of Canada successor without campaigning.

Ontario election 2018, VI : Donald Trump clone inevitable after all north of North American Great Lakes

Posted: June 8th, 2018 | 1 Comment »

[UPDATED JUNE 10]. At somewhere around 3:00 AM the morning after, with 99.89 % of all polls reporting, the Doug Ford PCs have 76 seats (61.29% of the total) with 40.49% of the province-wide popular vote.

Andrea Horwath’s NDP has 40 seats with 33.57% of the popular vote. Kathleen Wynne’s former governing Liberals have 7 seats with 19.59% of the vote. And Mike Schreiner’s Green Party at last has 1 seat (his own, in Guelph) with 4.60% of the vote.

Mr. Ford’s victorious majority government is not quite of the greatest in Ontario history magnitude he once envisioned. As a handy chart published by the Globe and Mail makes clear, among the now 19 Conservative majority governments in the modern province the 61% of the seats won by the Ford Nation PCs in 2018 ranks 15th.

It’s better than the 59% of seats managed by John Robarts in 1967, but not quite as good as the 63% Mike Harris won in 1995. And it pales altogether beside the 88% won by Old Man Ontario Leslie Frost (aka The Silver Fox) in 1951, or the 85% won by Frost in 1955. Or the 81% achieved by James Pliny Whitney in 1908. Or even the 80% won by Howard Ferguson in 1929.

In any case it has generally proved true that this time the pollsters were pointing in the right direction. And, eg, Éric Grenier’s very final seat projections for the CBC Poll Tracker on June 6 (PC 78, NDP 45, LIB 1) underestimated the Liberals and overestimated the NDP (and even the PCs slightly), and left out the Green Party’s first seat in the legislature. But both here and in its % popular vote estimates the CBC Poll Tracker was close enough to what has finally happened to make M. Grenier look pretty good (and even the CBC too, maybe?).

On another front, with almost all the polls now reporting, Elections Ontario’s “Election Night Results” are estimating a province-wide voter turnout of 58% — at least up considerably from the 51% of 2014 and especially the 48% of 2011.

[For JUNE 10 UPDATE on Liberals and Green Party click on "Read the rest of this page" and/or scroll below.]

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Ontario election 2018, V : Is it really “more volatile than the polls suggest”?

Posted: June 7th, 2018 | No Comments »

At Doug Ford’s final event of the campaign, Caledonia Fairgrounds, June 6, 2018. Photo : Adam Radwanski.

If you altogether accept the polls as the best guide to what will happen in Ontario election 2018, it seems clear enough that the Ford Nation Progressive Conservatives will indeed win a majority government at Queen’s Park on June 7.

There are 124 seats in the Ontario legislature now, making 63 the minimum for a majority government.

As of 11:30 PM, June 6, Éric Grenier’s CBC Poll Tracker was projecting the final seat count as PC 74, NDP 49, LIB 1.

On the earlier afternoon of June 6, Barry Kay’s somewhat parallel operation at the Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy was predicting PC 69, NDP 50, LIB 4, GR 1.

(Trying to check this later in the evening for any updates, I was greeted with “Too Many Users. Sorry, but this application has exceeded its quota of concurrent users. Please try again later.” There seems no reason to expect any large last-minute change in any case.)

Professor Kay’s “GR” wrinkle incorporates the likely enough prospect that Ontario Green Party leader Mike Schreiner will win a seat at last in Guelph.

The smart money says Marit Stiles will take Toronto Davenport for the New Democrats.

(Somewhat intriguingly, Guelph is the home of the old Ontario Agricultural College, now known as the University of Guelph. And  Mike Schreiner was born and raised on a family farm in The Sunflower State of Kansas.)

Meanwhile, if the larger prospect of the late Rob Ford’s older brother, Doug Ford, as Premier of Ontario distresses you to no end, you might take some residual hope from an Adam Radwanski article in the Globe and Mail : “ Ontario’s election outcome is more volatile than polls suggest.”

I haven’t read this article. (You have to pay for it.) But I think I could imagine several different ways  in which Mr. Radwanski may be right? (Or not, of course?)

Set aside all more efficient PC translations of popular votes into seats. And the vote percentages from the “last instalment of the Maclean’s-Pollara tracking poll” — PC  38%, NDP 38%, LIB 17% — capture a mood  among certain observers. They harbour a sixth sense (hope?) that some slightly bigger final surprise than a PC majority government might be in the air.

More than one forecast seems to predict that Nathalie des Rosiers will keep her seat in Ottawa Vanier — even if no other Liberal wins anywhere else.

Anti-Premier-Ford voters could take additional heart from Abacus polling chair Bruce Anderson’s June 4 tweet : “Here’s a probability forecast published by the NY Times ON THE SAME DAY Donald Trump was elected President.  As the polls closed, the model said Clinton had an 85% chance of winning.”

(According to the CBC Poll Tracker, as of 11:30 PM on June 6, Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives have an 88% chance of winning a majority government.)

I am left with two conclusions myself. The first is that I am quite certain about the allocation of the 124 seats in the Ontario legislature I, Citizen X, would like to see when all the ballots are counted on June 7 —  PC 58, NDP 55, LIB 10, GR 1.

This would soon enough, I think, lead to some form of NDP-Liberal Accord government for the next two years, say, broadly on the model of the 1985 Liberal-NDP Accord.  And as far as I’m concerned this would be the best possible outcome of the election.

Will it actually happen? My second conclusion is that I am much less certain about what I think the final result in the real world will be, when all the ballots from all parts of the province are properly counted.

. How one group of 10 politically smart Ontario people think the 124 seats in the provincial legislature will be allocated after the June 7, 2018 election. Compliments Warren Kinsella, 11:35 AM - 6 Jun 2018.

A Doug Ford Conservative majority government still doesn’t sound quite right to me.

But much of that could just be more wishful thinking.

And I certainly  am impressed both by the weight of polling evidence and by the many politically smart people who do believe a Doug Ford PC majority government is …

… what the non-believing majority of the people of Ontario will have to wake up to this coming Friday morning …

At the same time, we will be having a big counterweights TV surveillance party on Ontario election 2018,  as it unfolds over the evening of June 7.

If only to keep things interesting for this event, I will continue to urge objectively that the outcome on the eve of the election remains uncertain and unknown — in yet another place of sudden deep mystery and fascination, with god knows what for an immediate future?

Who knows? In the age of alternative facts that may even be half-right.

(And my final strictly personal thought remains : may the best woman win.)

Ontario election 2018, IV : Could unlikely Liberal blip at the end lead to bold experiment in challenging times?

Posted: June 3rd, 2018 | No Comments »

Kathleen Wynne and Andrea Horwath at discussion on electoral absenteeism among youth and minority groups in Toronto, February 2018. (CP/Chris Young.)

OLD STREETCAR SUBURBS. SUNDAY, JUNE 3, 2018. Yesterday was a beautiful sunny afternoon. At one point the sound of birds in the yard reminded me the world will still be beautiful, no matter what happens in the Ontario election on Thursday, June 7.

And the announcement on TV  — in which an “emotional Kathleen Wynne … acknowledged that she will no longer be premier after the June 7 election and encouraged voters to elect Liberal candidates to prevent the NDP or PCs from securing a majority” — may have gone to my head.

But I have concluded I like the idea myself, for my own hidden-agenda reasons.

Like more than a few Ontario voters I’ve long believed the Liberals and New Democrats should do more to co-operate at Queen’s Park — or in Ottawa for that matter. (As bizarre as that may seem, in the midst of our own local version of the early 21st century tribalist political culture, north of the Great Lakes.)

Without going into great (or even minor) detail, I agree with those who think each party, New Democrat and Liberal, has important virtues that the other lacks.

They work best together. And the people who agree with me begin with my TV-watching partner, such that the view in my immediate surroundings is unanimous.

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