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Opinion

House cleaning on way?

Every 10 years or so, Canadian voters take a broom and clean house on Parliament Hill. They often rearrange the furniture in ways unexpected by those who had grown comfortable in the backrooms of power.

Think back to 1984 and the ushering in of a Quebec/Alberta coalition crafted by Brian Mulroney’s Progressive Conservatives. At the time, a Conservative sweep of the Liberal fortress that Quebec had been under Pierre Trudeau was almost as unthinkable as the 2011 orange wave. Only five years before, in 1979, Quebec had so massively voted Liberal as to deprive Joe Clark of a majority. READ

Syria: The Last Chance Saloon

The fall of Ramadi to Islamic State troops last week was not a big deal. The city was deep inside IS-held territory, IS fighters had controlled 80 per cent of it since March, and we already knew that the Iraqi army can’t fight. READ

A carbon tax for us all

The stars seem to be aligning for an improved carbon tax in Alberta. Goodness knows, there’s plenty of room for improvement there. Alberta, you will recall, was the first jurisdiction in North America to institute a tax penalty for greenhouse gas pollution, back in 2007. READ

NDP increasingly appears to be Canada’s party of change

National polls five months from election day are not predictors. They merely provide a view of a thin slice in time. They do, however, offer one constant that cannot be ignored. Regardless of your pollster or method of choice, or whether you pay them no heed, they will all tell you that as many as seven in 10 Canadians are — right now — not going to vote for the incumbent Stephen Harper government. READ

West Country wildness

The May holiday weekend is just around the corner, and those suffering from cabin fever over the winter are itching to get outside and embrace the great outdoors. READ

Reacting to real threat?

Left-wing, right-wing, it makes no difference. Almost every elected government, confronted with even the slightest “terrorist threat,” responds by attacking the civil liberties of its own citizens. And the citizens often cheer them on. READ

No longer bobbleheads

We’ve just seen the week of the revenge of the Stephen Harper backbencher. Or, more precisely, we’ve seen what a backbencher is capable of once unshackled from the rows of the bobbleheads. Brian Jean was part of the backbench wallpaper here for 10 years, Patrick Brown for nine. READ

Bad owners create bad dogs

There’s an old saying among those who train dogs: To get the job done right, you have to be smarter than the dog. And if you’re not, the dog starts training you. READ

The art of toppling a political dynasty

Voters in Alberta made history Tuesday night — and they sealed it with an exclamation point. Rachel Notley and her New Democrats secured a majority victory in an election that was supposed to be a stroll in the park for a powerful Progressive Conservative dynasty that had all but swallowed up its opposition in the province. READ

The new Alberta

Rachel Notley did what Danielle Smith and countless other pretenders to Alberta’s throne could not do over the years: she got average Albertans to see something frightening looming behind them in the mirror. READ

A province in transition

In normal circumstances, Stephen Harper’s Conservatives would have fanned out across Alberta last weekend in a last-ditch effort to save the province’s Tory dynasty from a historical defeat in Tuesday’s election ... and to earn some brownie points for themselves. READ

Alberta’s changing tide

The barbarians are at the gate again — and this time the dynasty is having trouble with the drawbridge. As the Alberta election campaign enters its final full week, the Progressive Conservative dynasty — the country’s longest ever — is being entrusted to the increasingly shaky grip of leader Jim Prentice. Of course, we’ve been here before. READ

Ready for the inevitable

Of course, I have no insider’s access and I do not know what is said in cabinet meetings, but I suspect the Harper government already has a team of civil servants drafting a law to allow suffering and dying patients to request the help of a doctor to ease and aid their death. READ

Punishment fits crime

The case of self-admitted “arrogant pissant” Justin Bourque signals a new era for Canada’s criminal justice system, which now has the power to lock up killers and throw away the keys. READ

Energy agenda loses steam

Just when Prime Minister Stephen Harper declined to join other world leaders on the podium of the United Nations climate change summit, the climate for his ambitious energy agenda continued to deteriorate across Canada. READ

Tories defy democracy

There was little doubt the federal government would approve the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project, regardless of public opposition or evidence presented against it. READ

A transit system travesty

The Advocate article on Tuesday said Red Deer is the largest city in Alberta that has no program for a lower-cost transit pass for low-income and disabled people. While that is true as far as it goes, the reality behind this is actually worse. READ

The time to act on climate change is now

Because we enjoy relatively pure air, clean water and healthy food systems, Canadians sometimes take the environment for granted. Many scarcely blink if oil from a pipeline spills into a river, a forest is cleared for tar sands operations or agricultural land is fracked for gas. If Arctic ice melts and part of the Antarctic ice sheet collapses, well… they’re far away. READ

Waiting on another coup in Thailand

If you are trying to get rid of the legitimately elected government of your country, it helps to have the Constitutional Court, the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) and the Election Commission on your side. And Thailand’s Constitutional Court has come through for the opposition once again: it has just ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and nine of her cabinet ministers for improperly removing a civil servant from office. READ

Who will take charge of climate change?

It’s fitting that the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report was released during Earth Month. After all, the third chapter of its Fifth Assessment focuses on ways to keep our planet healthy and livable by warding off extreme climatic shifts and weather events caused by escalating atmospheric carbon. READ

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