Saturday, September 29, 2018

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Oliver Milman reports on new indications that we're far beyond any reasonable pace in trying to rein in climate change. 

- The Star's editorial board discusses why lower-income Ontarians are right to feel like they're under attack from Doug Ford's government. And Noah Smith writes about the combination of income inequality, immobility and stagnation that's leading to millenial dissatisfaction with the U.S.' economy.

- Meaghan Craig reports on new research showing how unstable housing alone correlates to a large proportion of health care costs in Saskatoon.

- Finally, Andrew Coyne points out that New Brunswick's election result provides one of the best arguments yet as to the problems with first-past-the-post politics. The Globe and Mail's editorial board is also recognizing that we should be demanding a more representative electoral system. And Tom Parkin draws a connection between proportional representation and a return to genuinely responsible government:

Under first-past-the-post, legislative majorities are too easily given, sometimes with as little as 37 per cent support.

And now fixing that problem has added urgency—because the political right now often rejects the norms and customs that previously held a check on majority power.

While well-meaning people debate which things Ford really won a ‘mandate’ to do, Ford is using his 75 MPPs as proxy votes to do whatever he wants.

Ford never mentioned anything about changing municipal elections—which normally would be discussed in the campaign and Throne Speech. But his 75 proxies stood ready to carry out his wish.

When a court quashed his bill, his 75 proxies stood ready to support a replacement bill suspending some charter rights and freedoms. When the opposition said his replacement bill violated rules of the legislature, his 75 proxies stood ready to change the rules.

And when Ford stood for pictures with a group of white supremacists—and took four days to give a half-assed denunciation under duress —none of his 75 proxies objected.

This is new. Very new.

On the right, legislative majorities are now being interpreted as a right to one-man rule—with the power to suspend charter rights and freedoms. Because he can.

So our legislatures and parliaments need to matter again. Proportional representation would result in less frequent majorities and make premiers more accountable to the legislature again. A premier’s need to find support in the legislature can play the role norms and customs used to.

No comments:

Post a Comment