Tag: Canada

What Democrats here in the United States can learn from a major progressive victory in Alberta

The Rachel Notley-led Alberta New Democratic Party (Alberta NDP), which ran on a platform consisting nearly entirely of progressive ideas and values, is projected by CBC News to win a majority of seats in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, and, therefore, is projected to be the governing party in Alberta’s provincial government. Both the Canadian federal government and each Canadian province uses a parliamentary system to determine control of government.

The Alberta NDP’s platform is very progressive on nearly every issue they gave a position on in their platform, especially when one considers that the Canadian province of Alberta is about as right-wing as the U.S. state of Texas is. The NDP’s platform included planks supporting increasing the minimum wage to $15/hour, getting the undue influence of money out of politics, enacting stronger ethics laws, improving access to health care, investing in public education, raising income taxes on Alberta-based corporations and the wealthiest 10% of Albertans, investing in child care, providing for the safety and well-being of Albertan children and women, and, surprisingly for an oil-rich state, investing in renewable energy.

The NDP’s victory in Alberta speaks volumes about how the corrupt, corporate Democratic Party “leadership” here in the United States is failing progressives and the American people on many levels. Very few Democrats are willing to openly run as progressives, and, as a result, the Democratic Party often has trouble winning races outside of states and constituencies that strongly favor the Democrats to begin with. I would strongly encourage Democratic leaders to take a look at how the Alberta NDP won big in tonight’s provincial elections and use the NDP’s Alberta victory as a model to win back both houses of Congress, as well as many state and local offices.

If progressive-minded people can win in Alberta, progressive-minded people can win anywhere!

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My April Fools blog post has received over 4,000 views, over 1,000 Facebook shares, and international attention

Early this morning, I published a satirical April Fools blog post about Republicans in the Wisconsin State Legislature wanting to legally ban curling in Wisconsin. In reality, Wisconsin Republicans currently have no intention of banning curling in the Badger State, so curling is safe in Wisconsin, at least for now.

However, my April Fools blog post has received an unusually large amount of attention for a small-time blog like The Progressive Midwesterner. In fact, my April Fools post has received, by far, the most attention of any blog post I’ve written in this blog’s history. My April Fools post has received over 4,000 page views, has been shared over 1,000 times on Facebook, and has even received international attention via a favorable review of my post in an online article by Yahoo! Sports Canada. Don Landry, the author of the Yahoo! Sports Canada piece on curling-related April Fools jokes, wrote that I did a “nice job” with my April Fools post, and he also praised me for “densifying it with the kind of paragraph you’d expect to see in a typical legislative story and the interest groups involved in its debate”.

The Progressive Midwesterner will resume its normal operation of providing commentary on actual political and non-political happenings in Illinois, Wisconsin, and elsewhere tomorrow.

Canadians protest against bill to allow secret police to spy on political opponents of far-right Canadian government

According to a recent poll by Forum Research, 50% of Canadian voters oppose Bill C-51, proposed Canadian legislation that, among other things, allows Canadian spying agencies the power to spy on and infiltrate pro-environment organizations, First Nations (i.e., indigenous people of Canada), and opponents of current and proposed oil pipelines. The legislation is supported by far-right Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who leads the Conservative Party of Canada.

Opposition to Bill C-51, which has been referred to by political opponents of Harper as the “secret police bill”, is growing every day all across Canada. Dozens of protests in opposition to the secret police bill were held last weekend in numerous Canadian cities, including Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, and Edmonton. That’s because the secret police bill would, if enacted, violate the civil liberties of Canadians, especially those who don’t believe in Stephen Harper’s destructive political agenda.

Harper and the Conservatives aren’t the only supporters of the Canadian secret police bill. Justin Trudeau, who leads the Liberal Party of Canada, would support the secret police bill if provisions requiring oversight of spying and infiltrating operations are added to the legislation. This has led to significant left-wing opposition to Trudeau and the Liberals at a time when they’re in a position to possibly win a plurality of seats in the Canadian House of Commons in the parliamentary elections scheduled for later this year:

The poll results also revealed that while Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau supports C-51 with “added parliamentary oversight,” a majority of Liberal voters nationally (66 per cent) disapprove of the bill.

“This poll should also prompt Justin Trudeau to reconsider his stance,” said OpenMedia spokesperson David Christopher. OpenMedia is one of the organizations invited to speak before a committee hearing in Ottawa about C-51.

“With over two-thirds of his party’s supporters opposing this legislation, isn’t it time Justin Trudeau showed he can listen to Canadians, instead of backing government attempts to ram this extreme legislation through Parliament at breakneck pace?”

Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau believe that Canadians who care about protecting the environment are a bunch of terrorists. That’s simply not true, and the fact that Harper, Trudeau, and their ilk to support spying on and infiltrating Canadians who oppose Harper’s anti-environment agenda is absolutely disgusting.

Canadian tennis player Eugenie Bouchard treated in a sexist manner by the Australian media once again

Note to Seven Network Tennis ReportersAfter easily winning her second-round match of the women’s singles tournament at tennis’s Australian Open, Eugenie Bouchard of Canada was asked to do a twirl by a male reporter for the Seven Network, an Australian television network:

An unusual request greeted 20-year-old Canadian tennis phenom Eugenie Bouchard after she breezed her way into the third round of the Australian Open with an easy 6-0, 6-3 win over Kiki Bertens.

When Bouchard met the on-court interviewer — a man — to talk about the match, which lasted a mere 54 minutes, he asked her to “give us a twirl.”

[…]

Bouchard obliged, “somewhat uncomfortably” showing off her bright pink and yellow outfit, as the Associated Press reported…

Since virtually nobody would ask a male tennis player to do a twirl in a post-match interview, the Seven Network reporter acted in a sexist manner toward Eugenie Bouchard. Sadly, this isn’t the first time that Bouchard has been subject to sexism by a Seven Network reporter at an Australian Open. Last year, a female Seven Network reporter asked Bouchard who she would want to date if she could date anyone she wanted to, which is the type of question that virtually nobody would ask a male tennis player.

While I’m not a fan of tennis (in fact, I’ve never watched a tennis match before), I’m getting tired of the rampant sexism in the sports media. Sports journalists should stick to asking tennis players questions about their tennis game.

A vote for Keystone XL is a vote against American sovereignty

Make no mistake about it, those in either house of Congress who support the Keystone XL pipeline are effectively voting against American sovereignty.

If approved and built, the Keystone XL would not only hurt the environment in more ways than one, it would effectively make the United States of America a puppet state of Canada. Keystone XL would only add a few dozen or so permanent jobs (it’s not clear how many of those would be in the United States) and pump tar sands oil from the Canadian province of Alberta to the Texas Gulf Coast in order for the oil to be shipped to China. Therefore, Keystone XL is of no real benefit to the United States, since the risks of the proposed pipeline vastly outweigh any benefits of the pipeline to this country, and would leave this country at the mercy of TransAmerica, the Canadian company who wants to build and operate the pipeline.

I’m not going to sit idly by and watch America’s political and economic sovereignty be systematically destroyed by Republicans and corporate Democrats. I strongly encourage members of the U.S. Senate to vote NO on the bill to fast-track the Keystone XL pipeline.

Wealth inequality isn’t just an American problem…it’s also a Canadian problem

As many of you already know, wealth inequality is a serious problem here in the United States. In America, the wealthiest 1% of the country’s population own more wealth than the poorest 90% of Americans.

However, wealth inequality is also a serious problem north of the border.

The Broadbent Institute, a Canadian progressive think tank based in Ottawa, Ontario, produced this YouTube video highlighting the serious wealth inequality problem in Canada:

While, according to the Broadbent Institute’s survey, most Canadians realize that there will always be people that are wealthier than others, they believe that the wealthiest 20% of Canadians should have roughly three times as much wealth as the poorest 20% of Canadians do. They also believe that the middle 60% of Canadians should have roughly 60% of the total wealth in the country.

According to the Broadbent Institute’s data, most Canadians also think that wealth distribution is more unequal than what the believe is ideal. They think that the wealthiest 20% has ten times as much wealth as the poorest 20%. They also believe that the wealthiest 20% holds a majority (no exact number provided; judging by the pie chart provided in the video at the 1:19 mark, approximately 55%) of the country’s wealth.

However, wealth distribution is even more unequal than most Canadians think it is. The poorest 20% of Canadians own less than 1% of the country’s total wealth, in fact, the bottom 10% actually has more debt than assets. Additionally, the poorest 50% of Canadians own only 6% of the country’s total wealth. On the other hand, the top 1% of Canadians own 20% of the country’s total wealth, and the wealthiest 20% own nearly 70% of the country’s total wealth. Furthermore, the top 10% of Canadians hold 60% of the country’s total financial assets (which includes financial instruments like stocks and bonds), and the average Canadian CEO makes a staggering 206 times as much money as their average employee.

One of the reasons that income inequality has become a major problem in Canada in recent decades is, as cited by the Broadbent Institute, the declining amount of government spending on social services, such as health care, housing, transportation, and education. Additionally, recent polling by the Broadbent Institute shows that, 80% of Canadians support raising personal income taxes on those in the highest Canadian income tax bracket (all three of Canada’s largest political parties oppose this) and 75% of Canadians support raising the corporate income tax rate in Canada (the New Democratic Party of Canada supports a corporate tax increase at the federal level in Canada).

Just like here in America, wealth inequality is a major problem in Canada. Additionally, just like the major political parties in America, the major political parties in Canada are asleep at the wheel when it comes to the wealth inequality problem.