Archive for December, 2008

A little bit less either/or

27 December 2008

A great insight by the always intriguing Micheal Pollan. The notion of wilderness is a beautiful thing but it has made it all too easy for us to dismiss the not-wilderness as beyond redemption – as outside the circle of care. What’s needed is an ethic of sustainability that applies to all the other part of nature not given wilderness status.

Here he is:

The Definition of Vice

9 December 2008

A vice is something that you repeatedly do even though you know it will make you unhappier in the long run.

Politics, capitalism, and morality

8 December 2008

The ever-brilliant  Jürgen Habermas reflecting on the proper role of politics and capitalism with respect to morality:

“Politics turns itself into a laughing stock when it resorts to moralising instead of relying upon the enforceable law of the democratic legislator. Politics, and not capitalism, is responsible for promoting the common good.”

It is not inherently the business of business to promote the public good and we abdicate our responsibility as political actors if we act as if it were. It’s the job of politics to enforce the public good and to pass and enforce legislation which compels business to do what needs to be done to achieve it.

Strange Brouhaha

3 December 2008

So there’s a bit of a political tempest going on up here north of the 49th parallel. The opposition parties have made a legal but highly unusual (unprecedented?)  move to replace the current government with a coalition.  Joey de V posts an excellent summary of the goings on in Ottawa.

Over on Making Light, Graydon does an excellent job of discussing the legal and tactical issues facing the Governor General in comments.

Typically, the PM requests proroguation when the business of the house has been concluded. That means that either the agenda laid out in the throne speech has been dealt with or the government no longer intends to complete it. When the house of commons returns after proroguing, the government is supposed to give a new speech from the throne which sets a new legislative agenda. So, proroguing is a process which sends parliament into recess in order to allow the government to figure out a new agenda.

If the PM’s entire purpose in proroguing the house is to avoid a confidence vote and thus the fall of his/her government then the Governor General should probably not grant this request. The government is only allowed to stay the government as long as it has the confidence of the house and the fact of the Liberal/NDP coalition establishes that it no longer has it. Proroguation doesn’t, therefore, serve the interests of Parliament or the people. It only serves the interests of the party which currently forms the government.

Canadians should remember what it is all too easy to forget. We don’t elect parties or governments directly. We elect representatives who then form the government and who may or may not become part of it.