Northern Europe (and Russia) in the spring of 2016 .. and further adventures toward a Canadian republic

Posted: May 10th, 2016 | No Comments »

Harold Innis (l), Hans Seyle (c), and Alf Erling Porsild (r) on a trip to Russia, just after the end of the Second World War in 1945. And our thanks to Per Porsild from Hamar, Norway for a correction in the earlier spelling of Alf Erling Porsild’s middle name.

Late in the evening of this coming Wednesday, May 11, the entire office staff here will be boarding an airplane for our semi-regular European conference. We’ll be returning on Thursday, May 26, late in the afternoon.

This time we’re in the north of what a UK series on TV Ontario many years ago called The Mighty Continent.  And managing editor MacDonald has commissioned Citizen X to prepare his usual full report when we return. We’ll all be attending seminars and so forth, of course, hearing the latest about the fate of humanity. So it won’t just be one big party.

Meanwhile, we’re urging anyone who might be interested to check out the exciting new crowd-funding campaign “Canada doesn’t need a king!”  We continue to believe that becoming a parliamentary democratic republic within the Commonwealth of Nations and La francophonie is the next logical thing to do in the current Canadian free and democratic society. (Such places as India, Ireland, Trinidad & Tobago, and even the far northern state of Iceland provide already tried and tested “Westminster models” of just how to go about doing the historic deed.)

The dedicated team behind the exciting new “Canada doesn't need a king!” campaign, posing before bust of historic Canadian democratic reformer William Lyon Mackenzie, on the grounds of the Ontario Parliament Buildings in Toronto. From left to right: Ron Berdusco, Jeanne MacDonald, Tony O'Donohue, Ashok Charles, Wayne Adam, Randall White, Marc Cormier.

Citizen X’s report on “Northern Europe (and Russia) in the spring of 2016” will be published some time during the week of May 30. And we look forward to getting reacquainted with everyone who’s interested then. Meanwhile again, best wishes to all, as the long hot summer of the trumpet looms. And those of us who already live in Canada start to realize that we’re going to have to do something about our own northern North American manifest destiny soon. Vive le Canada libre!

Death of George Dryden (Diefenbaker?) : remembering the last prime minister of the old Dominion of Canada

Posted: May 5th, 2016 | No Comments »

Duncan Macpherson cartoon on Dief the Chief’s dislike of Lester Pearson’s new Canadian maple leaf flag.

Inevitably, the sad death of the so-called “Diefenbaby,” George Dryden, highlights the career of his “likely” unacknowledged father, John George Diefenbaker.

For those not old enough to remember, Dief the Chief was a melodramatic prairie courtroom lawyer from Wakaw (and then Prince Albert), Saskatchewan. Somehow he became supreme leader of “my fellow Canadians,” 1957–1963 — and, whatever else, served faithfully as  the last prime minister of the old British Dominion of Canada.

Like many others, no doubt, I’ve been intrigued by Colin Perkel’s Canadian Press report on George Dryden’s death (as presented on the CBC News site). There is now apparently some fairly serious evidence that Mr. Dryden’s reputed father actually had two unacknowledged sons (only one of whom was Mr. Dryden).

Personally, however, even assuming all this is broadly correct, I think it just serves to remind us that Canada had special attractions for crazy-town politicians long before the late Mayor Ford brought fresh international attention to the big smoke in Toronto.

I’ve also been thinking lately about how to summarize the career of Dief the Chief — aka the Renegade in Power (Peter C. Newman) and the Rogue Tory (Denis Smith).  For all his obvious flaws and failings, he is certainly a more interesting and important character in Canadian political history than Rob Ford. And his career marks a turning point in the story of modern Canada.

Prime Minister John Diefenbaker at May 1960 Commonwealth Prime Minister’s Conference in London, England.

Above all else, as already noted, John Diefenbaker was the last prime minister of the old Dominion of Canada. For me at any rate this best summarizes his ultimate significance in Canadian political history.

Yet it is part of the thickness of his public persona that there is more to his professional biography. He is not just the former prime minister who backwardly opposed Lester Pearson’s new independent Canadian maple leaf flag in the middle of the 1960s.

It is similarly one of the marvels of the world-wide web in the early 21st century that students of Diefenbaker Canadiana today have some excellent source materials immediately at hand …

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Can Bernie help Hillary rediscover what Bill’s White House tried to hide in her Saul Alinsky thesis?

Posted: April 28th, 2016 | No Comments »

A northbound Amtrak Acela Express passing through Old Saybrook, Connecticut.

This past Tuesday’s “Acela primaries” (after the Amtrak train that connects the five northeast states of Connec-ticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island ) have stiffened the prospect that it really is going to be a Donald vs Hillary sideshow in the US presidential election this fall.

There is some excitement in some quarters about Indiana this coming Tuesday. And Bill Whalen at Stanford’s Hoover Institution is still arguing that: “California [June 7] matters more with each passing week: Trump can’t win without taking a gluttonous portion of the Golden State’s 172 GOP delegates (to get to 1,237 on June 7, I’m guessing he’ll have to score 140 delegates); as such, it’s the #nevertrump movement’s last chance to derail him.”

Donald Trump’s daughter Tiffany with boyfriend Ross Mechanic as of this past December. Mr. Mechanic is “a registered Democrat with a liking for Hillary Clinton.”

The feeling you get closely watching US TV, however, is that a conviction about the inevitability of Trump as the Republican candidate really is starting to settle in among the biggest brains in American politics — as crazy a prospect as that still does seem even to many Republicans.

Meanwhile, even though Bernie did manage to take Rhode Island, even he seems to be accepting that (as one African American young lady in the street explained on I think CNN last night) “Hillary is going to be president.”

(To me Bernie remains the only seriously interesting thing about the 2016 Democratic race. But I also think Bill Maher deftly summarized his ultimate liabilities last Friday night. Bernie looks like a guy who “has two suits and a 1993 Buick Regal” — and that just won’t fly in the White House.)

Route map for Amtrak’s Acela Express : thick red line = main route.

I was talking to one very wise guy at an event a few weeks back, who felt that some Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump showdown at the OK corral could only be good for Democrats. I only wish I felt that way myself right now. But I remain underwhelmed by what I’ve seen of Hillary on TV these days. And I wonder. Maybe an electorate that gave George W. Bush a second mandate in 2004 actually could elect Donald Trump once in 2016, by mistake

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We have still “not yet realized that the Indian and his culture” are fundamental to “Canadian institutions”

Posted: April 17th, 2016 | No Comments »

Our Home and Native Land — by Canadian artist Jen Adomeit. Thanks to Ivan Noke on facebook.

According to Susan Delacourt at the Toronto Star, the debate over the “suicide crisis” (aka “mental health crisis”) on the Attawapiskat First Nation reserve “sparked a rare outbreak of civility among rival parties this [past] week” in the Canadian House of Commons.

For a while now there has seemed to be a growing consensus among some of the country’s various political establishments that the continuing struggles of the aboriginal (aka indigenous) peoples of Canada really do need to be seriously addressed, somehow, at last. (And note that “aboriginal peoples” are the by-far fastest growing demographic group in Canada right now!)

Justin Trudeau’s appointment of former BC Regional Chief Jody Wilson-Raybould as Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada was one step in this direction. And we share the wider hope Northern Ontario MP Charlie Angus expressed during this past Tuesday night’s emergency debate on Attawapiskat : “Tonight might be the beginning of a change in our country.”

Strictly as mere voters interested in the future of the country for our grandchildren and so forth, we have just two (vaguely?) related further notes on this 34th anniversary of the Proclamation of the Constitution Act, 1982, by “Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau” on another April 17, a Saturday, in the rain on Parliament Hill in Ottawa :

(1) What we have still not yet realized — When our esteemed colleague Randall White wrote about Jody Wilson-Raybould’s appointment last November, he began with :  “According to the legendary Canadian economic historian Harold Innis (born in rural Ontario in 1894, and died in Toronto not long after he was elected first Canadian president of the American Economic Association in 1952) : ‘We have not yet realized that the Indian and his culture were fundamental to the growth of Canadian institutions’ (The Fur Trade in Canada : An Introduction to Canadian Economic History, 1930).”

Pontiac : War Chief of the Ottawa — another founding father (parent?) of Canada today!

We thought again of this crucial historical truth that “we” non-aboriginal Canadians still seem not altogether ready (or prepared) to realize while perusing the “Suicide among Canada’s First Nations: Key numbers” posting on the CTV News site earlier this week. For us the short message here is that unusually high First Nations levels of “psychological distress”, “lifetime suicide thoughts”, “suicide ideation”, and “suicide rates” will start to fall, when the rest of us start seriously recognizing that what our Constitution Act, 1982 calls the aboriginal peoples of Canada have in fact been “fundamental to the growth of Canadian institutions” — as “Canada’s first and perhaps only genuine intellectual” explained at length, and with much angular charm, 86 years ago.

(Realizing the fundamental importance of “the Indian and his culture” in the story of Canada today is also something that can be done without spending a lot of money. Which, according to CTV’s “Question Period” earlier on this April 17, 2016, is more than can be said for what the Supreme Court of Canada has just decided about at least certain definitions of Métis and non-status Indians among the aboriginal peoples of Canada. For another key but difficult ingredient in any sensible and workable ultimate strategy, note this headline from the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network’s (APTN) news site : “During suicide debate Justice Minister says it’s time for First Nations to shed Indian Act ‘shackles’.” The Justice Minister, of course, is the same Chief Jody Wilson-Raybould alluded to above. And, as she wisely and bravely urges, getting rid of the current Indian Act, which goes back to 1876, is another challenging point of departure.)

Canada’s “Fathers of Confederation” at the London Conference, 1866–1867. Randall White foolishly wonders whether they should be renamed “parents of confederation” in our present non-patriarchal age?

(2) More from Children of the Global Village All this is also just one of several still current Canadian public policy issues covered in the latest installment of Randall White’s work-in-progress, Children of the Global Village — Canada in the 21st Century : Tales about the history that matters.

If you go to our Long Journey to a Canadian Republic page, on the bar above (or just CLICK HERE), you will find a short introduction to the project, along with the “Prologue : too much geography.” This is followed by links to the currently completed six chapters in Part I, and the first three chapters in Part II. Covering this section’s concluding chapter, on the founding moment of the present Canadian confederation in 1867, you will now find as well a link to Part II, Chapter 4 : “The American Civil War and the British North America Act, 1867.”

Before the Constitution Act, 1982 : Northwest corner of Bloor and Yonge in Toronto, 1960s or early 1970s. Photo by Ellis Wiley. City of Toronto Archives.

When we caught up with Dr. White and his attractive business manager at the Tim Horton’s across from Kew Gardens (though not the one in London, England, about which Virginia Woolf apparently wrote a story, nor the one in Queens, New York City), he was happy to be at work at last on PART III : Dominion of Canada,1867–1963. And he hopes it will not be too long before he can say the same about  PART IV : The Long Journey to a Canadian Republic, 1963–20??.

As far as the aboriginal/indigenous peoples of Canada go, Dr. White drew our attention as well to this passage from “The American Civil War and the British North America Act, 1867” : “Section 91, article 24 of what is now the Constitution Act, 1867 does assign ‘Indians, and lands reserved for Indians’ to the federal government. But there is no further mention of the first Canadians in the old  BNA Act. And on July 1, 1867 it would be more than 60 years before Harold Innis wrote  : ‘We have not yet realized that the Indian and his culture were fundamental to the growth of Canadian institutions.’ It would be more than 50 years again before Part II of the Constitution Act, 1982 finally addressed the ‘Rights of the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada.’” As he finished his coffee and left, Dr. White hastily remarked : “I am hoping that, here as elsewhere, Justin Trudeau will finally finish the work his father began.”

From the Regina Manifesto to the Leap Manifesto : new directions or big mistake for federal NDP?

Posted: April 12th, 2016 | No Comments »

Surprise : you can never quite figure out what they’re going to do next.

[UPDATED APRIL 13]. One thing that keeps our free and democratic Canadian politics going these days — in spite of many good reasons otherwise — is its recurrent capacity for surprise. It’s like the woman (or man if it also works in that direction) who continually fascinates you, because you can never quite figure out what she’s (he’s) going to do next.

In any case I count myself among the many observers who were genuinely surprised (and even “shocked” in some cheap horror-movie sense) by what finally transpired at the New Democratic Party of Canada convention in Edmonton this past Sunday. When Thomas/Tom Mulcair managed only 48% of the assembled delegates in the ultimate leadership-review vote.

It wasn’t just that the case for staying with Mulcair for a while longer anyway seemed so persuasive to me, several days before the event.  I had also briefly looked in on some TV coverage of his crucial speech to the delegates. And it seemed to me that he was getting pretty warm applause at frequent strategic points.

NDP supporter uses phone during lunch break at the NDP Federal Convention in Edmonton, Saturday, April 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Codie McLachlan.

Such things can be expertly organized by supporters, of course, and perhaps especially at federal NDP conventions. I know this, but as a longtime student of politics I am also too impressed by the organizing, technically, so to speak. (Even though I know a sign-campaign expert who wisely says you should never judge anything from a sign campaign.)

In any event when asked by a resident bystander how I thought the Mulcair on our TV set was doing, I wildly predicted he would get what he needed on the vote. (The latest number for which among the wiser pundits seemed to be, oh say 65%.) In my defence, I hadn’t seen more than five or 10 minutes of the speech. And I did not closely follow what TV and other coverage of any part of the Edmonton convention there was.

Even so, when I was first advised of Mulcair’s 52%–48% defeat, from the depths of the TV room, I left my computer and went to consult the TV myself, because it just seemed so hard to believe! [UPDATE APRIL 13: O and btw, note the always interesting Éric Grenier's posting on the CBC News site today : "Keeping Tom Mulcair may have been safer bet for NDP, history suggests ... Parties that have lost seats but kept their leaders have had more future success." And for UPDATE 2 APRIL 13 — HELLO NATHAN CULLEN click on “Read the rest of this page” and/or scroll below.]

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Blue Jays 2016 : Last 87 days last year were magical .. this year it’s gonna be a long season .. and glorious

Posted: April 8th, 2016 | 1 Comment »

Blue Jays shop employee Nico Canavo makes Troy Tulowitzki jersey, Tuesday July 28, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch.

There is symmetry in numbers…200 of them to be exact.  For that was how many days the Blue Jays had in 2015.  A mercurial season that began in early April and ended on the 200th day in heart breaking fashion, eliminated on a cold and rainy Kauffman Field in Game 6 of the AL Championship Series.

And yet for the first 113 days of the year they were a meddling mediocre club whose performance never matched up to their promise, losing more than winning.  But oh how those last 87 days were magical…a historic run that ended professional sports’ longest playoff drought and in the process revitalized the city.

The magic began on July 28 (with the Jays sporting a record of 50-51) in a slew of trades that that netted the Blue Jays all-stars Troy Tulowitski and David Price along with key contributors Ben Revere, Mark Lowe and LaTroy Hawkins.   Just like that, GM Alex Anthopoulos had turned over 20 per cent of the roster and an end to the club’s post-season drought dating back to 1993 seemed imminent.

Playoff-bound Blue Jays celebrate in their clubhouse after beating Tampa Bay 10-8 on Saturday, September 26, 2015. STEVE RUSSELL / TORONTO STAR.

It turned out to be one of the best trade deadline flurries ever, rekindling Canada’s passion for both the Blue Jays and baseball by setting into motion a 41-18 sprint to the finish that led to an American League East title, a climatic home run winning Bautista bat flip in the Divisional Playoffs and a near World Series appearance.

From the beginning of August on, electricity and excitement returned to Toronto and the Rogers Centre. Long-time fans came back into the fold, and millions of new fans were created throughout Canada. People who had never watched a baseball game in their lives couldn’t turn away.

Merchandise sales exploded. Television ratings hit historic highs. Attendance rose nearly 20 per cent, and the team brought more fans into its stadium than it had since the glory days in the early 1990s. When the Rogers bean counters tallied all the revenues at the end of the season, it was estimated that the clubs mid-season turnaround netted its corporate balance sheet an additional $60 million dollars not originally budgeted for.

Blue Jays win American League Division Series, Wednesday, October 14, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS , Darren Calabrese.

Fans of this organization were in bad need of an emotional refresher, and the Blue Jays of 2015 gave it to them daily.

They picked a city up and held it there as long as they could.

Many had forgotten, and many more had never experienced, the joy of watching their team clinch a division title, and the nerve wracking anxiety that comes with every twist and turn of each playoff game.

A season in 200 days …It was awesome.

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What would Tommy Douglas think about the NDP leadership vote in Edmonton this Sunday?

Posted: April 5th, 2016 | No Comments »

June 15, 2016 will mark the 72nd anniversary of the triumph of Tommy Douglas’s “first socialist government in North America,” in the 10th Saskatchewan provincial election of 1944.

And it is at least intriguing to bear this in mind when contemplating the strange juxtaposition of yesterday’s 28th Saskatchewan provincial election on April 4, 2016, and the imminent federal NDP leadership review vote in Edmonton on Sunday, April 10.

As explained by Éric Grenier on the CBC News site, Tuesday, April 5, 7 AM: “ Brad Wall’s Saskatchewan Party was re-elected to a majority government last night, taking over 60 per cent of the vote and sending the NDP leader to defeat in his own constituency.”

Grenier goes on : “The Saskatchewan Party captured just under 63 per cent of the vote and prevailed in 51 of the province’s 61 constituencies. The New Democrats took just over 30 per cent of the vote and won 10 seats.”

This isn’t the first time this has happened, of course. It’s Brad Wall’s third straight majority government, at the head of a prairie conservative party that tries to disguise itself with the name of the province it governs.

Saskatchewan Party supporters in Swift Current celebrate Monday night, April 4, 2016, after media outlets project a third majority government. (Peter Mills/CBC.)

(Also the province described in the American political sociologist Seymour Martin Lipset’s 1950 classic, Agrarian Socialism: The Coöperative Commonwealth Federation in Saskatchewan.)

Yet set the crash of Saskatchewan NDP leader Cam Broten beside this coming Sunday’s federal NDP leadership review vote in Edmonton. (As in : “Thomas Mulcair Hints 70 Per Cent Result In Leadership Vote Enough To Stay On.”)

And it’s all a sad reminder that the age of Tommy Douglas, old CCF Premier of Saskatchewan (1944–1961) and first leader of the federal New Democrats in Canada (1961–1971) has now truly ended. (And is probably never coming back, with or without Justin Trudeau.)

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Donald Trump and the Rob Ford funeral in Toronto

Posted: March 30th, 2016 | No Comments »

Stephanie Ford speaks at her father's funeral, standing with her mother and brother. (Photo: The Canadian Press.)

One of our wider Toronto region reporters has been complaining lately about how the local and regional media have been going overboard over the unhappy and far too early death of former notorious but widely known Toronto mayor, Rob Ford.

(“Ford died on March 22 after battling a rare, soft-tissue cancer for 18 months … He was 46.”)

We understand the complaint, and share in it ourselves.

Politically, Rob Ford is almost certainly most remarkable for the diverse constituency of ordinary people in Canada’s present-day free and democratic society that he managed to put together over his 15+-year career in Toronto local politics.

As former rival Olivia Chow remarked on cp24 TV in the immediate wake of his sad passing on March 22, Rob Ford’s progressive opponents (a category that we confess would include ourselves) could learn a few things from the former “stop the gravy train” mayor —  about real human relationships with the very voters they (we) claim to be serving first.

Clinton Leonard, a former football player coached by Rob Ford, speaks at the funeral at St. James Cathedral in Toronto, Wednesday, March 30, 2016. (Nathan Denette/CP.)

This does warrant some kind of non-partisan commemoration. And commemoration of this sort has been happening, again and again, at the public funeral today and over the past week at large.

At the same time, the choice of former hard right-wing Ontario premier Mike Harris as first speaker at the funeral service, along with brother Doug Ford’s declaration that the “Ford nation will continue” in his eulogy, also shows how those closest to the Ford family have worked to extract at least some partisan political gain from the former mayor’s tragic early death.

(And, while it is certainly wrong to speak ill of the dead at their funerals, it does remain true that Mayor Rob Ford did actually break some laws, while hypocritically attacking others for breaking other laws. That will always be an inescapable part of his record too — even if many now urge respect for how he finally worked to “confront his demons” and clean up his act. And of course that he was guilty of being influenced by such demons, like so many of us today, only increased the warmth towards him felt by many of his strongest supporters.)

Jemila Abbulkadier wipes away tears as she writes a message in the book of condolences for Rob Ford at Toronto City Hall. Laura Pedersen / National Post.

Two things have nonetheless finally impressed us about the funeral today and earlier commemoration at city hall this week — and strengthened our resolve not to speak ill of the dead (at least until they have been gone for some respectable time!)

The first is that the thing about today which most impressed Mayor Ford’s severest critics among we counterweights editors — like many others in the city —  was the utterly non-partisan eulogy delivered so effectively and impressively “by his 11-year-old daughter Stephanie.”

The second is an assortment of thoughts about the much-used current analogy between former Mayor Rob Ford in Toronto, and current aspiring Republican candidate for the office of US President, Donald Trump.

Various characteristics of the people gathered at the funeral today — at the old St. James Anglican Church on King Street, and in the procession to there from Toronto City Hall — show that in some important ways Donald Trump is not really like Rob Ford at all.

Don Bosco high school football players (the team Rob Ford loved to coach) hug after his funeral service. Tks to Craig Robertson.

One was the sheer diversity of former Mayor Ford’s enthusiastic supporters. It seems unlikely, for instance, that you will see the numbers of black (African-American or as we say up here African Canadian) citizens at a Donald Trump rally, as have been present at the Rob Ford commemoration in Toronto. Or, in this city where half the population was born outside Canada, the number of recent migrants from other places who speak English with strong accents.

As no less a Canadian public figure than Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has observed, there are some similarities between Rob Ford and Donald Trump. But even in his worst moments Mr. Ford had real democratic populist virtues that seem light years away from Mr. Trump.

Rob Ford didn’t just appeal to”little guys” as a shrewd political tactic. Even though he was born with a much smaller silver spoon in his mouth than Donald Trump, he appealed to many different kinds of ordinary people everywhere, because when push came to shove, he really was one of them (er we mean “us”) himself.  May he rest in peace.

US Super Tuesday 2, 2016 etc : “practically all Canadians, of course, vote Democratic in American elections”

Posted: March 17th, 2016 | No Comments »

Hell 2, Hieronymus Bosch (1450–1516).

The wisest thing I’ve come across on the American presidential primaries lately urges that 2016 so far is “democracy as depicted by Hieronymus Bosch” (from the Huffington Post’s “Top 12 Reasons This Is The Most Depressing Election Ever,” March 14, 6:53 AM ET).

As best as I can tell a few days later, the so-called Super Tuesday 2, March 15, has done nothing to alter the essential wisdom of this assessment. Some say “The Stop Trump Movement Got New Life In Ohio … A floor fight in Cleveland just got a lot more likely.” Others note that “The path forward for Trump, Cruz and Kasich” still looks best (and getting better even?) for Trump.

And then there’s “Florida Gov. Rick Scott endorses Donald Trump” (along with Rudy Guliani and Sheldon Adelson?) and “Trump warns of ‘riots’ if denied Republican presidential nomination.” (And then of course “With Marco Rubio’s Florida Defeat, The ‘Great On Paper’ Candidate Finally Fizzles Out.” Big mistake for the party of Lincoln here in my view, but, like Rodney Dangerfield years ago, I get no respect …  etc, etc … )

Meanwhile, “Hillary Clinton won victories in Florida, Illinois, Ohio and North Carolina on Tuesday that cast doubt on US Sen. Bernie Sanders’ ability to overtake her for the Democratic Party’s nomination.” While Bernie remains the only really interesting thing about the Democratic campaign … (And I don’t find the thought that Ted Cruz would be even worse than Trump on the Republican side seriously comforting myself …)

Newlyweds Donald Trump and Melania Trump with Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bill Clinton at their reception held at The Mar-a-Lago Club in January 22, 2005 in Palm Beach, Fla. (Maring Photography/Getty Images/Contour by Getty Images.)

Today, March 17 (Happy St. Patrick), up here in the true north strong and free, we have been informed as well by the excellent Canadian polling analyst Éric Grenier’s “Despite Donald Trump’s wins, US primaries far from over.”

According to M. Grenier “Trump would have to win every winner-take-all state and about two-thirds of the vote in the proportional states to win a majority of delegates before the final day of voting on June 7 … Even if Trump manages to secure a majority of delegates by the end of the primary season, the drama … will likely stretch long into the summer for the Republicans.” (The Cleveland convention runs July 18–21.)

Meanwhile again, Justin Trudeau has recently compared Trump and Rob Ford, and urged : “Bien des gens ne comprenaient pas pourquoi il (Rob Ford) était si populaire, mais il misait sur un sentiment bien réel et légitime au sein de la population.” (Loosely, and I think Trudeau actually said something like this in English : Not everyone picked this up, but Rob Ford appealed to some real and legitimate popular concerns.)

But is Trudeau (like Obama and others) also right, when he assures us that Trump can never win a general election, because in the end the American people are just too wise and too democratic?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in ceremonial headdress received from Tsuu T'ina First Nation near Calgary, Alberta, Friday, March 4, 2016. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh.)

Until we know for sure the cautionary tale certainly seems to be that historical accidents can happen. As far as I’m concerned this is still “The Most Depressing Election Ever.”  And, as things look right now, the nightmare will not end until the actual US presidential election on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. (And of course there remains at least some prospect that on November 9, 2016 the nightmare will have only just begun.)

Anyway whatever happens, up here in the northern woods and so forth Barack Obama’s 10-year younger friend Justin Trudeau will remain Prime Minister of Canada. And as the late great Canadian political historian Frank Underhill explained long ago : “practically all Canadians, of course, vote Democratic in American elections.”

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Who said “In Pierre Elliott Trudeau Canada has at last produced a political leader worthy of assassination”??

Posted: March 11th, 2016 | No Comments »

Now that PM Justin Trudeau’s excellent adventure in Washington, DC is fading into the sunset, other thoughts have begun to cross our collective minds.

To take just one case in point, one interesting thing about supervising a so-called Canadian political blogazine for almost 12 years (since the late summer of 2004 in fact) is that you begin to acquire your own historical record.

As noted elsewhere, we are also now in something like our last year of regular publication, so to speak. And we editors are finding we’re getting sentimental over at least a little of what has been posted on this site since the enterprise began.

(When the Liberal minority prime minister of Canada was Paul Martin, and Republican George W. Bush was about to win a fateful second term as president of the USA, USA.)

The current most visited posting since the Canadian federal election of October 19, 2015  — “On the new era in Canada .. Alexandre Trudeau, Mélanie Joly, Harjit Sajjan, and Chief Jody Wilson-Raybould” (7 Nov 15) — is actually descended from a line of vaguely related (and often other unusually popular) articles.

Mohamed Harkat exits the Supreme Court of Canada through a side door with his wife Sophie after the Court declared the federal government's security certificate regime constitutional. May 14, 2014. Errol McGihon/QMI Agency.

And the line begins with something we authored ourselves in the early fall of 2005, as counterweights editors, called “The quiet evolution of Sophie Gregoire (aka Mme Justin Trudeau)” [25 Sep 05].

Meanwhile, it also seems clear enough that our “On the new era in Canada ..Alexandre Trudeau etc” from this past November is still drawing unusual numbers of new visitors in March (and February) 2016 because Alexandre Trudeau has been more recently in the news.

See, eg : “PM’s brother says he did nothing wrong in lobbying for Harkat” ; “Trudeau must be barred from Harkat decision due to brother’s role, watchdog says” ; “Letter by PM’s brother on behalf of accused terrorist awkward but doesn’t break rules” ; and  “Why is Ottawa still trying to deport Mohamed Harkat?

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