Thursday, January 31, 2013

Worth Reading - January 31, 2013

Certainly it has been an interesting week in politics/news. Ontario has a new premier and a few stories broke that could have long-term implications.

Cooperation. Electoral alliances. We have heard a great deal about these ideas over the last few years. Nathan Cullen (NDP – Skeena-Bulkley Valley, BC) and now Joyce Murray (LPC – Vancouver Quadra, BC) have proposed one-time electoral alliance between progressive parties to reform the electoral system to some form of proportional representation. Columnist Andrew Coyne has offered some support for this idea, but Aaron Wherry of Macleans tells us why it is hugely problematic

On Monday the House of Commons returned and the NDP had some business it would like to propose. Nathan Cullen, mentioned above, has proposed new rules to improve decorum and civility within Parliament. Serious punishments would be applied to the more unruly Members of Parliament to encourage the “proper” comportment. 

Ontario’s next Premier, Kathleen Wynne, has dedicated her government to tackling the province’s second or third (depends on your perspective) stickiest issue – gridlock in the GTHA.

Adam Radwanski, in essence, calls out Andrea Horwath. The Globe and Mail reporter argues it is time for the ONDP to step up the challenges we are facing and start proposing real policies as the Tories have, or make cooperation with the Liberals feasible. 

Eric Grenier of 308 has posted a breakdown of the recent Forum poll that showed the ONDP in first, the Tories in second and the Liberals trailing in third. In many ways we are looking at a three-way tie.

The Atlantic reported this week that the biggest housing bubble in the world may be in Canada. Unlike in the American housing bubble it is not really caused by people over-borrowing for homes they cannot afford, but high levels of property investment, especially in Toronto and Vancouver.

Peel District School Board recently released a report that highlighted some of the inequalities in their hiring practices. To correct for this the school board will be looking at more merit-based hiring in the future... which raises the question – what took so long?

I found this piece really interesting, and when added into some conversations I’ve watched on TVO over the last couple days it has me rethinking the way we pick our political leaders. If nothing else comes up I may do a full write up on this on Tuesday. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Breaking Traditional Leadership

On Saturday the Ontario Liberal Party, for the second time in its history, selected a woman to be its leader. Kathleen Wynne (OLP – Don Valley West) will now go on to be leader the Liberal Party through very challenging times.

Wynne’s victory is no longer a strange event in Canada. When she formally takes the reins from Dalton McGuinty (OLP – Ottawa South) she will become the sixth current female Premier. The next time the Premiers gather around a table nearly half of them will be women. Eva Aariak (Nunavut), Kathy Dunderdale (Newfoundland and Labrador), Christy Clark (British Columbia), Alison Redford (Alberta), and Pauline Marois (Quebec) have preceded Wynne in the current wave of female first ministers. It is a fascinating trend that is difficult not to notice. These leaders come from all political stripes and all regions of the country.

Politics is a lagging indicator. In fact, leadership in general lags behind other areas. For example, in education a majority of the teachers are women. However, most of the principals, vice principals and superintendents are men. You would think with such a large pool of female candidates to draw from that this trend would be reversed, and it is shifting, but it takes considerable time. The same thing can be seen in other professions, like law or medicine. According to statistics from Maclean’s, in almost every discipline in university women are the majority. This has been true in the Arts for a long time, and Science lagged behind, but has since changed.

As a result, twenty years from now it is possible that most professional work spaces will be easily majority female in composition. Naturally leadership positions will be filled by more women as they increase their share of the talent pool.

Politics is even more difficult for non-traditional leadership to break into. The reason is because normally the people in politics have an established career in the private sector, or held lower elected office. Local politics can be very unforgiving to outsiders. Without the support of political parties personal networks and reputation go a long way. In addition, low voter turnout probably further hurts non-traditional candidates. Take for example my city of Brampton. In City Council, of the ten members and three are women, which really isn’t so bad. Our mayor, Susan Fennell is also a woman. However, in a city with large shares of visible minorities, particularly South Asians, there is only one South Asian member of City Council. Contrast that to the local MPPs and MPs, a majority of whom are from visible minorities.

It is passing strange that white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant, heterosexual men continue to dominate our politics in this point in our history. It appears more and more that not fitting the above label is not a disqualifier for office, or even higher office. I do not mean to suggest that white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant, heterosexual men should not be present in politics, or are somehow unqualified, if they are selected by their constituents to represent them then that’s all that matters. In principle it is the ideas and policies voters are choosing, not the identity of the candidate.

Still, I have noticed more and more that those with perspectives different from my own offer a richer interpretation of the world and together we can craft a more nuanced interpretation. Despite the fact that I support equal rights for women, I have never been a woman, and that gives me blind spots in my experience that I cannot compensate for on my own. A diversity of voices is beneficial to all of us and wherever decisions are being made we should strive to have as divergent of perspectives as possible offering input.

Kathleen Wynne has made history for being Ontario’s first female and first openly gay premier. I sincerely doubt that she will be the last. Of all Ontario’s premiers, all have been men, all have come from British ancestry, and all but two were Protestants (two were Catholics). There will come a time when all those glass ceilings will be broken. However, while the symbolism is important it is not enough to be different, these candidates and future leaders must bring some personal merit and not merely an identity to the table. Being different is simply not enough.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Worth Reading – January 24, 2013

We often hear how government needs to be run more like a business. But government is not a business and it is not operated like one. Mayor Rob Ford, a proponent of this sound-bite, has some logical inconsistencies that need highlighting. From Spacing – why city hall isn’t run like a business under Ford.

Tim Harper of the Toronto Star points out a disturbing trend in our country; at the moment not one of Canada’s legislative bodies is sitting. Worse still, several of them have no firm date of when they will return. So much for holding the government to account.

This week Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario leader Tim Hudak has been releasing policy papers on education. Earlier this week he proposed that extracurriculars should not be restricted duringunion-government negotiations and teachers incentivized for participating inthem

Another piece from constitutional expert Peter Russell on the “prorogation disease”. Russell advocates better oversight and regulation of the use of prorogation based on an initiative by Jack Layton.  

A whistleblower at the Ministry of Justice has raised worrying questions about whether or not laws are being obeyed to ensure the constitutionality of bills. The Ministry of Justice is suppose to check to make sure that all proposed bills are compatible with the constitution, but apparently this has not been happening for years.

Toronto’s chief planner is working on building Toronto up. Midrise buildings will soon (hopefully) bridge the gap between low-rise suburbs and businesses and the monstrous skyscrapers. 

Martin Regg Cohn of the Toronto Star asks if the next Liberal Premier will level with voters about congestion and traffic in the GTHA. I’m generally not optimistic on this topic, but it’s a problem inching towards crisis that the government appears paralyzed on.

Here are a few links related to the Ontario Liberal leadership race I think might be worth checking out.

Earl Washburn crunches the numbers on the delegate count

Kathleen Wynne may be the best choice for Premier

Steve Paikin asks if Sandra Pupatello wins, will she be able to win a seat

Cohn reveals Harinder Takhar’s shady dealings and the embarrassment he presents for the Liberal Party of Ontario. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Ontario’s Next Liberal Premier

This coming weekend the Ontario Liberal Party will select its next leader. You’d be forgiven if you had no idea that A) a leadership contest to lead the province was underway and B) who any of the candidates are. Ontarians are not particularly fascinated by their provincial politics, especially when measured against federal matters.

Unlike the NDP federal leadership contest this is a delegated convention. This means that voting will be restricted to a relatively small number of people. Each riding in the province received 16 delegates. Votes are held among the Liberal riding associations to select delegates that are pledged to a particular candidate. These delegates will meet in Toronto and over the weekend vote to determine the new Premier. This contrasts to other systems recently used. The Federal NDP and Conservatives use a one-member-one-vote system. That is where all members of the party anywhere in the country are entitled to vote on the leader and not just delegates in one place. Delegated conventions are more traditional, and have the added benefit of being very unpredictable. For example, Dalton McGuinty was in fourth place before he was selected leader. Pollsters seem to be able to model one-member-one-vote conventions much more easily. When thousands of party members are voting they generally can be tracked, or follow public opinion, i.e. Stephen Harper and Tom Mulcair were both frontrunners going into their conventions which selected them as leaders.

There are six candidates running to be the next Liberal leader of Ontario: Eric Hoskins (OLP – St. Paul’s), Charles Sousa (OLP – Mississauga South), Harinder Takhar (OLP – Mississauga-Erindale), Gerard Kennedy (former MPP for Parkdale-High Park), Kathleen Wynne (OLP – Don Valley West) and Sandra Pupatello (former MPP for Windsor West). The order above represents their current place from last to first in terms of pledged delegates. This means little because more delegate results have to come in, and pledged delegates only have to vote for their candidate on the first ballot and then they are free to change. Check here for excellent analysis. 

Every candidate to replace Dalton McGuinty (OLP – Ottawa South) is a politician or former politician. All of them served for some time in McGuinty’s cabinet, and there is not a significant ideological breadth on offer. Kathleen Wynne is said to represent the more left-wing elements of the party, and Sandra Pupatello the right, but that might be mostly a fiction and a matter of perspective. According to Steve Paikin of TVO there leadership contest has been pretty bloodless so far. There are no major conflicts or disagreements. In my opinion this ultimately hurts the party, in my opinion. It appears several candidates are running for the next time, or a better cabinet slot in the next Premiership, which makes a certain amount of sense.

I think the Liberals may have squandered an opportunity for renewal though. As mentioned, all the candidates are insiders with close connections to the current government. Many are leading figures and faces from it, as a matter of fact. It will be very difficult for the next premier, regardless of who she/he is, to distance her/himself from McGuinty’s record. No candidates are from outside public life, which helps to reinvigorate a part, and none of the candidates are proposing new ideas, which means no regeneration is taking place.

Harinder Takhar, a potential Queen/Kingmaker, leaves a particularly bad smear on this affair. Martin Regg Cohn did some great reporting about this disgraced cabinet minister. In short, after some shady financial dealings Takhar was demoted to a lower post in cabinet. He has used his base among South Asian Liberals to win an impressive share of the delegates. This means a man who should embarrass the party will likely instead help decide its leader. It’s almost 19th century.

If you want more information about this race and contest check out TVO’s coverage. Here are two video chats with Steve Paikin that definitely help understand it the contest, first video, second video.

One bonus is this. Ontario has only been led by men, of British origins, most of whom were Protestants and two Roman Catholics. The two leading Liberals are both women, and Pupatello would be our first Italian-Canadian Premier and Kathleen Wynne our first openly gay Premier. So long as Gerard Kennedy doesn’t win, this will be a historic change. Regardless of party, that’s a positive I think. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Worth Reading – January 17, 2013

The Ontario Liberal leadership vote is fast approaching. I have therefore tried to include some articles on that and some of the surrounding issues. If nothing else comes up next Tuesday’s post will probably be on that topic.

Conservative backbencher MP Brent Rathgeber (CPC - Edmonton-St.Albert, AB) wrote recently in a blog post about how MPs need to stand up and make their voices heard. Essentially he wants backbenchers in all parties to stop being automatons for their party’s leadership. Aaron Wherry of Macleans’ presents the piece with commentary.

I found this article incredibly fascinating. According to this historian the much-revered Second Amendment was written to preserve slavery in the United States. Obviously in the course of history the Second Amendment has come to protect individual gun rights and gun manufacturers, but its origins make it seem even more out of place in a modern society.

With the Ontario Liberals getting close to selecting their new leader, Andrea Horwather (ONDP – Hamilton Centre) has restated her desire to work with the government to make the legislature work and avoid an election. This really should not be treated as breaking news. This is the NDP’s position in Ottawa and Queen’s Park. Paul Wells of Macleans’ points out that the NDP is dreaming though

Martin Regg Cohn has an absolutely amazing long interview with Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, David Onley, on the prorogation and a few other matters. Onley is remarkably frank and transparent in this interview, I found it a great read, even if it was vaguely frustrating.

Ontario badly needs election financing laws. Adam Radwanski of the Globe and Mail highlights the fundraising practices among the Ontario Liberal leadership candidates here. For example, the top contenders received tens of thousands of dollars from the insurance lobby. It is definitely galling when measured against federal legislation and what I think most Canadians expect.

This is an issue I want to get more involved in. Civic Action, an advocacy group, is asking what you would do with 32 extra minutes? Investments in public transit and infrastructure would (hopefully) save GTHA commuters half-an-hour in their commutes. It’s an idea worth talking about.

I used this as the backbone to my post this Tuesday, but in case you missed it here is Mallick’s piece in the Toronto Star discussing racism towards Aboriginal people in Canada.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Racist No More

My piece from last week on the Idle No More movement garnered significant attention over the last seven days. It is in not terribly surprising given the moment we are living in. In my discussion I touched on a lot of different aspects of the movement and response. However, over the past week there was something I want to revisit – racism.

Racism, obviously, is a highly loaded word. In contemporary society there may be no more serious allegation than that of “racist”, but I am beginning to doubt that. Clear displays of racism are essentially intolerable in Canadian society. Overt symbols such as the swastika, the Ku Klux Klan and certain words (which I chose not to write) are simply not permitted and solicit strong public outcry.

While modern Canada has worked hard to eliminate overt racism the systematic and institutional racism that existed within previous systems of power continue to linger. Coming out of an Education background I became very familiar with the institutional biases that are stacked against non-majority students. Studies show again and again that non-white students underperform. Theories exist to explain it; my favourite one was essentially coined by George W. Bush as the “soft bigotry of low expectations.”

So while you would be hard pressed to find a white American who would use the “n-word” in polite conversation, you probably would struggle to find a Canadian to call First Nations, M├ętis, and Inuit “savages”. That being said, many of the institutional problems that confront these marginalized minorities persist, and worse still, they persist within the minds of their fellow citizens.

Comment sections on news articles have now been long-known to be hotbed of the most virulent and abusive of remarks. Mallick from the Toronto Star wrote an article this week about the degrading tone and what it might suggest about the Canadian public in general. I know I have my own biases, I made that clear enough I believe last week, and in general in this blog. It is my opinion that there are commonly held opinions that if applied to other groups would clearly be construed as racist remarks, but given our own cultural context appear normal.

Imagine if this comment, “The majority of them could not seem to harness the positive energy to do something constructive,” was said not about Aboriginals on reserves, but about African-Americans. If a Congressman or woman said those comments he/she would be rightfully targeted by the media and tried in the court of public opinion – harshly. Sadly, I think far too many Canadians read comments like that and say, “Yes, that’s the truth.” It’s that soft bigotry; we expect nothing from indigenous people and assume they are capable of nothing.

As a counterpoint activists on social media began to use the hashtag #Ottawapiskat to point out hypocrisy in the treatment of reserves versus every other aspect of the federal government. Given my political persuasion it is particularly galling to hear over and over how reserves need transparency as our government has rammed in massive omnibus budgets with unforeseen consequences.

The treatment of Aboriginal people and our colonial history is Canada’s national shame. Like many we want to avoid our shame and blame others instead of taking responsibility for it. We misdirect criticism, minimize abuses and misconstrue attempts at reconciliation as attacks. Perhaps the biggest problem is that for many Canadians is that the issues confronting Native peoples are Native peoples’ problems. They don’t see them, they do not feel responsible and blame those facing this issues rather than the issues themselves. When protesters and leaders try to get Canadians’ attention one can almost hear the audible sigh, “What do they want now?”

I sincerely hope we do not get to a crisis point in this country, but as I said last week it feels like the two major sides in this debate cannot even agree on terms, or the parameters of the discussion. Therefore we have these current “discussions” where at least one side, and sometimes both, chooses not to listen.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Worth Reading - January 10, 2013

Between Idle No More, Chief Spence and the First Nations meeting with the Prime Minister tomorrow many of the news articles that have come to my attention have been on this topic. Still, I like to try to offer a bit of diversity in what I present.

Highly respected constitutional expert Peter Russell raises some very interested questions in regards to the Attiwapiskat and Idle No More debate – where is the Ontario government? The provinces have an important, and even constitutional, role to play, yet they have remained universally silent.

Martin Regg Cohn discusses the problems/crises facing Canada’s premiers. There are no easy answers and the economy, especially in Ontario, looks ready to list continually.

I am always looking out for ways for us to improve Parliament. One idea is to follow the New Zealanders and create seats in the House of Commons dedicated to indigenous peoples. Worthy of consideration, for sure. Though if I was PM I imagine I would just start appointing Aboriginal people to the Senate since that sort of institutional change would be difficult.

Frank Graves of Ekos polling has been doing a series of posts at iPolitics. One of my favourite so far is this one about the changing demographics in Canada and how that has been expressed politically. Graves warns this could lead to intergenerational strife and younger people increasingly feeling disconnected from the voting process. Likewise, I highly recommend his piece on social media – here.

I’ve decided to join these two articles together because even though they are written in the current moment they are addressing different parts of the problem. Andrew Coyne in the National Post argues that the Idle No More movement has significant disagreements internally and that that will ultimately limit its effectiveness.  Jonathan Kay of the same newspaper looks to the historical problems of Attiwapiskat. Sadly, at least from my perspective I cannot help but agree with many of the conclusions that Kay draws. Are the communities where these reserves located capable of sustaining a high standard of living that offers residents independence from government subsidy or unsustainable resources?

Finally, with another teacher protest occurring tomorrow it seems appropriate to showcase this article from the Globe and Mail that highlights the Liberal government’s strategy, which may be to leave EducationMinister Broten to twist in the wind.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Trying to Understand Idle No More

I have a great deal of mixed emotions when it comes to the Idle No More movement. I think this largely stems from the personal context in which I view the protests. For those who may be unaware I wrote my Master’s major research paper on the topic of Aboriginal protest in the Northwest Territories over the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline in the 1970s. My interpretation was that First Nations, Inuit and Metis leaders were fundamental in halting development until terms could be agreed to more favourable to them. I took a keen interest in Canadian-Aboriginal history and the Native-Newcomer relationship throughout my post-secondary education. My mentor at Brock University was Dr. Maureen Lux, a leading expert in the field of Aboriginal history in Canada, particularly as it relates to healthcare and medicine. In addition, I am an Aboriginal-Canadian. To be specific my family is from the Qalipu band of the Mi’kmaq of Newfoundland.

That all being said I have become very uncomfortable presenting myself as an Aboriginal-Canadian. I grew up in the suburbs of Brampton, in a comfortable lower-middle class family. To the vast majority of people I appear to be fully Caucasian, and therefore have more than likely benefitted from the intrinsic biases in our culture and society. Any premise I offer as an Aboriginal living in Canada feels, at least to my mind, deeply flawed. As a counterpoint though I must wonder, should it? Does being Aboriginal in Canada mean you have to look a certain way, live on a reserve, be denied certain opportunities simply because who you are? It is a cold way to create “authentic” and “inauthentic” Aboriginals in this country, much like the debate about “blackness” within the United States.

And then there is the debate surrounding Idle No More. Debate may be too polite a word for the clashing of words and gnashing of teeth that it really represents. There are those out there that dismiss the concerns of the Idle No More movement completely, and in fact would like to see existing Aboriginal rights reduced to a minimum, if not eliminated entirely. While I would hope that these views are motivated by ignorance there is more than likely a few in the throng who have maliciousness against First Nations, Metis and Inuit people when they say what they say.

However, those who question Idle No More, its leaders or program cannot simply label these critics racists. It is lazy, and simplistic. Criticism needs to be responded to by facts, not slurs. Twitter, sadly, and all the internet, is more conducive to the quick jab and not the nuanced argument.

Some of the rhetoric around the protest on behalf of its supporters makes me very uncomfortable. To be clear I am a supporter of Aboriginal rights and want to see treaties upheld and the appalling conditions on reserves come to an end, but the language employed by other supporters of Idle No More causes me pause and makes me wonder if I am truly aligned with those who use it. I don’t think I can look at current government policy and agree with Pam Palmater that a genocide is occurring in Canada. I cannot accept that most major columnists in Canada are virulent racists.

While reading posts supportive of Idle No More a different term kept floating around that made me uneasy. Several of the posters were using the term “settlers” to describe non-Native Canadians. The term is fair enough, I suppose, but I can’t help but scratch beneath the surface of the word. The French elements of my family tree arrived in Canada roughly two hundred years ago. After two centuries in Newfoundland are my family members still “settlers”? It is not as though we know any other home besides Canada. What about New Canadians? Those who have arrived from the Caribbean, or India, or China? Are they settlers? These territories were colonized (often by the same empires as Canada) too. They have very minimal connection to the history of abuse and racism between the state and indigenous peoples.

Idle No More can be seen as a far more specific, influential and widespread iteration of the Occupy Movement, but it suffers from all of the same weaknesses: its demands are diffuse; it has no clear leadership; it is composed of diverse groups with distinct interests; it has no way to measure success or failure. Unlike Occupy, Idle No More has invested activists and supporters, but I fear if/when it produces no results it will only result in an angrier and perhaps more radical community.

As a historian I have become very, very cynical and pessimistic about Aboriginal-governmental relations. The various indigenous communities across this country do not have common goals, each one faces their own unique set of circumstances. No government policy will result in a panacea. Tailoring policies for each community will be exhaustive and take an extraordinary amount of time. There are no easy answers. Even solutions that may be commonsense, like getting the provinces to extend social services, are fraught with problems of treaty rights and responsibilities. What’s worse is that it often feels like opposing sides in these discussions not only have their own opinions, but their own facts which cannot be reconciled with each other.

Obviously this piece offers very few answers. Canada is a colonial nation with a colonial legacy. Sadly we have not done enough to change that legacy. A series of half-measures and assimilationist policies have done incredible damage to communities, and now we are left to try to figure out what to do next. Idle No More as a movement may not be providing the answers we need, but it is at least raising the questions we need to ask.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Worth Reading – January 3, 2012

Happy 2013! Keeping up with political reading over the break was difficult, but I still managed to put together a short list.

This is a great piece from the Globe and Mail that discusses the chronic shortage of affordable housing. This is not merely a discussion of low-income people unable to find homes, but the increasing difficulty confronting middle-class individuals, families, and young people. Given the stage of my life this resonated with me a great deal.

Bruce Anderson of the Globe and Mail offers some helpful tips for the federal political parties as they enter the new year. In particular Anderson continues his critique of the Conservative’s communication strategy.

Bruce Cheadle at the Winnipeg Free Press reviews the first year of the Harper majority government. Cheadle examines the government’s track record and explores whether or not it is an ideological government.

With the sclerotic structure of the U.S. federal government struggling to address fiscal management, the now infamous Nate Silver examined how the U.S. House of Representatives has become more partisan in recent decades. The shift in electoral realities is now having very substantial political outcomes.

I am not a fan of De Pape, the former Senate page who protested with the ridiculous “Stop Harper” sign at the Speech from the Throne. Colin Horgan criticizes De Pape’s remarks at a recent Idle No More rally. I think Horgan makes a fair point. The Harper majority is roughly as valid as all other majority governments in Canadian history.

Lastly, again, from the Globe and Mail reviews the political positions of the federal parties moving into 2013.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Preview of 2013

Happy New Year! I hope everyone has had a great holiday break, and has started off 2013 properly.

For my first post of the year I thought I might offer a bit of a preview for what we can expect in the coming months. Making predictions is an easy way to appear foolish, but we know a few events are scheduled to happen that we can anticipate.

In January the Ontario Liberals will gather together and select a new premier for the province. Dalton McGuinty will resign (and likely retire from public life) and there will be a cabinet shuffle that follows. Yes, some of that is speculation, but it is very safe speculation. The real question is whether our new premier will call the legislature back into session or delay and call an election in the spring. Most of the political watchers I speak to believe that Ontarians will be going to the polls before June, and I tend to agree.

In April a different Liberal Party will be holding a convention to pick a leader. The Liberal Party of Canada will do its damnedest to find a leader to take them out of the political wilderness. The obvious money is on Justin Trudeau (LPC – Papineau, QC) to win handily. However, weaknesses could be exposed in the debates that will raise Martha Hall Findlay and Marc Garneau’s (LPC - Westmont-Ville-Marie, QC) profile. The selection of a permanent leader for the third party could cause a radical change in the landscape at the federal level.

In May British Columbians will be voting. Polling for over a year has suggested that Christie Clark’s government will be wiped out in an election. The same was true for Tim Hudak’s Progressive Conservatives before the 2011 Ontario election. Campaigns matter. Many BCers could have parked their vote with the BCNDP and could be persuaded to switch.

Quebec has a minority government, and their Liberal Party will also be choosing a new leader in 2013. An election could come on there at any time. Quebec politics seems particularly unstable at the moment and so we could see any leader as premier this time in 2014.

In broad strokes I have some ideas for the Orange Tory blog in 2013. As I’ve mentioned before I hope to feature more articles about my local context in Brampton and Peel. I also hope I can shed more light in getting involved in local politics and a formal political party. I got a number of politically-themed books for Christmas and I have long considered a book review feature. We shall see how things develop as the year progresses.

I am quite proud of what the Orange Tory became in 2012, and I look forward to developing it further. As always I welcome feedback on the future direction of the blog. All the best to you and yours in the coming year, and thank you for making 2012 so wonderful.