The heir to the throne is in Winnipeg today, closing out a brief tour of Canada. It’s a bit spendy for the government to zip the royals around the country every so often, but hey, at least… photo-ops? It’s certainly not as expensive and wasteful as the Senate.
Speaking of Saskatchewan, wouldn’t it be great to leave a big old pile of oil waste on its doorstep? Some Bakken bandits are making that happen regularly now.
The Red-Blue alliance remains strong in Saskatchewan, with NDP support not even breaching 30% in recent polls. Unlike in Manitoba, which has separate provincial Conservative and Liberal parties, the Sask Party represents a unified front for the centre-right. That makes it highly likely that that the party will maintain its supermajority whenever new elections are called.
A landmark legal case in Canada has been upheld on appeal: Métis members continue to count as “Indians” under the Canadian Constitution, something that has important repercussions for everything from public services to border crossing. The Métis people were present all over the Red River Valley before Confederation, and the culture is still relatively organized in Manitoba and the Turtle Mountain area.
The Parti Québecois, swept to power two years ago amidst a massive student protest against the former administration of Jean Charest, will not be getting a second term, as voters sided with the Parti Libéral in yesterday`s election.
The PQ ran and lost on a francophone, separatist platform, which turned ugly during the election as rules were abused to keep younger, anglophone voters who tended toward the PL off the rolls (a lesson the Conservative Party should heed in its proposed election reforms).
The election results skewed heavily toward the Libéraux, with a first-past-the-post bonus of 15% over the other parties, all of which are slightly to significantly underrepresented. In a proportional election, the Parti Libéral would have won a minority government and the Coalition Avenir Québec would have held the balance of power.
North Dakota farmers are having trouble this year, and there’s also problems in Canada, where the shipping backlog exceeds 40,000 carloads. Speaking in Winnipeg today, Opposition leader Tom Mulcair called on the Harper Government to do more to get rail traffic flowing.
For years, Canada operated a single market for grain under the Canadian Wheat Board. The monopsony was removed in 2012, and by 2016, what remains of the CWB will be completely privatized. American farmers frequently derided the CWB’s market power, but clearly its dismantling has brought more chaos than expected.
Manitoba’s Ukrainian community has been rocked in its seats by the turmoil in Ukraine, and has raised thousands for humanitarian relief. Ukrainian-Canadians are worried that democracy in their homeland is at stake.
The long-promised lawsuit against the Manitoba Government’s questionable sales tax hike has finally hit the court docket. The NDP is accusing it of grandstanding, but the timeline and letter of the law appear to be consistent with what the Tories allege — the 1% PST hike was and is illegal. Still, Canada’s murky constitutional law may yet save the NDP government an embarrassing defeat.
Canadian rail executives are putting the finishing touches on their plan to ship oil deep into the Arctic on a creaky, ill-maintained rail line that floats on bog, muskeg, and permafrost. It seems hard to miss the obvious flaw in the plan, which involves shipping potentially explosive crude into a pristine wilderness along the only available land route.
Federal NDP fundraising efforts in December were dwarfed by the Liberals and Conservatives, raising just $800,000 to more than $2 million apiece. Meanwhile in Manitoba, The Progressive Conservatives are way ahead of the NDP.
The NDP still has time to play catch-up, though: elections aren’t due until October 2015.