Thursday, November 8, 2012

Worth Reading – November 8, 2012

With the American elections over they can now get down to the serious business of governing... Yeah, I didn’t believe that while I was writing it either. American politics will change now from the horserace to the struggle over power, and soon to the next horserace. I have already listened to considerable speculation in regards to the 2016 presidential elections. Before jumping four years into the future let’s consider the past week.

The Slate published an interesting response to Sergei Brin’s critique of political parties. No doubt political parties can be very unpopular institutions. Their narrow, partisan interests seem a perpetual road blog to governing. However, Slate explains the necessary function they play for governing

In local news, there is a proposal to create a grant program to help downtown businesses in Brampton renovate their facades to become more attractive. The plan seems worthwhile on face value. There are plenty of tired and worn down buildings in Brampton’s downtown that could use a touch-up. I am not sure of the fiscal wisdom or necessity for government intervention.

The Globe and Mail estimates that the U.S. election cost$6 billion. As a response this author says it’s time to enact regulations. I think as long as the most powerful nation on Earth is a democracy there is a heavy temptation to use money to gain influence and leverage. The amounts involved are simply proportional to the power of the United States government. Regardless, it is madness.

Speaking of money and politics, Martin Regg Cohn provides lovely insight into Ontario’s political fundraising. Liberal leadership candidates are not restricted in how much they take in per donor, nor how much they spend. It’s a pretty dirty little loophole. Ontario’s election financing is well overdue for an overhaul.

John Lorinc, an increasingly favourite writer of mine, authored this piece questioning Toronto’s short-sighted leadership. Juxtaposing Toronto to New York is not encouraging, but Lorinc offers poignant questions that must be considered before the next mayoral election.

Emmet MacFarlane, professor at the University of Waterloo, analyzes the decision by the Supreme Court in regards to the Etobicoke Centre case. The issue was complicated and my knowledge of the law is preliminary at best. MacFarlane nicely breaks down the matter and why the court made the correct choice.

My former home Niagara recently had its Boundary Commission hearing. The proposed changes in the region are quite dramatic and have sparked considerable debate. Local politicians, MPs, and MPPs have come out against various elements of the changes, which largely surround the transferring of Thorold out of the riding of Welland and adding the city of Fort Erie into the Welland riding. If the proposed map is enacted it will have profound consequences for the political composition of Niagara.

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