Democracy Soup

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Archive for September 2014

New Brunswick goes Liberal and adds a Green MLA

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This column courtesy of runs here with complete permission.


New Brunswick flipped back to the Liberals, but not by much.

The Liberals took back the government in New Brunswick by an unofficial count of 27-21-1. The 1 went to the Green Party. Much more on that later.

Brian Gallant is the premier-designate. The Progressive Conservatives’ David Alward is out after one term, same as the Liberals’ Shawn Graham. Before Alward’s win in 2010, New Brunswick premiers have gone at least 2 terms since Confederation.

Gallant and the Liberals led early in the race, but the PCs made some progress toward the end of the race.

The themes of the night were very close races and frustration over getting vote counts from the new tabulation machines system. The PCs are asking for a hand count of the votes. 5 of the 49 ridings were decided by fewer than 100 votes.

David Coon will represent the Fredericton South riding for the Green Party, the only MLA not from a major party. The NDP hadn’t elected a MLA in 9 years, and NDP leader Dominic Cardy came up empty last night. Cardy says he will resign as party leader.

The People’s Alliance almost took a seat, but also fell short.

The Liberals won in great part over being vague on shale gas and the potential for fracking. Coon also won his seat in great part over the issue. If the Liberals thought about fracking, the close margin and Coon’s presence will make that more difficult. Nova Scotia is introducing legislation to ban fracking this fall.

Without shale gas and fracking, the economy and jobs and keeping young people in the province will be paramount for the new Gallant government. That, along with a massive provincial debt, will make the Liberals job that much tougher. Not having a consenus majority will also make those tasks difficult.

I watched and listened extensively to the CBC coverage last night. In all that time, the word “abortion” was never mentioned. The closing of the Morgentaler Clinic definitely weighed on New Brunswick voters. A rough economy means people can’t afford unwanted children; limiting abortion options hurts the economy even further. Unfortunately for pro-choice advocates, the close margin may make change more difficult for the Liberals.

The PC party went from 41 seats (out of 55) to 21 seats. The Liberals went from 13 seats to 27 seats. The independent seat went Green in this election. New Brunswick voters wanted a significant change for the second election in a row.

Even in the relatively poor Maritimes, New Brunswick is hurting. According to former Lt. Gov. Mariliyn Trenholme Counsell, the province has the lowest literacy rates of all provinces with the exception of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Counsell also noted that over half of New Brunswick’s citizens 15-65 “do not have the necessary literacy levels (level 3) or the workplace essential skills to compete in the workplace.”

We heard a lot during the CBC coverage about young people moving to Alberta to make more money and because they aren’t many good jobs in New Brunswick.

I enjoyed my time in New Brunswick and the province is absolutely gorgeous to see. But I could definitely see the economic concerns that plague the province. Let’s hope the people of New Brunswick can figure out some of these heartbreaking issues. And strength to the new Liberal government: Brian Gallant and his fellow Liberals will need all the help they can get.

photo credit: me


Rob Ford drops out of Toronto mayor race; Doug Ford will run

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This column courtesy of runs here with complete permission.

“Now pinch-hitting for Rob Ford … Doug Ford.”

An abdominal tumour is the reason Rob Ford is dropping out of the mayoral race, though many could come up with other reasons why this should have happened.

Doug Ford, the mayor’s brother and (Ward 2 Etobicoke North) city councillor, says he will run in his brother’s place.

Rob Ford says he “could be facing a battle of my lifetime.” Doug Ford told the Toronto Sun that the mayor could be facing “a surgery and chemotherapy and could be on his back for six to eight weeks.”

Here comes the twist that only “Ford Nation” could provide: Rob Ford will run for the Ward 2 seat in the October election.

Even with wrestling a number of issues, including the “fight of his life” with the abdominal tumour, as Doug Ford put it, Rob Ford will still run for city council.

Mike Ford, nephew of Rob and Doug, was running for the Ward 2 Etobicoke North seat. Mike will make way for Rob. Doug announced earlier that he wasn’t running for re-election, he ran and won the Ward 2 seat in 2010, replacing his brother, who was elected mayor.

Rob Ford reported to have had stomach pain for the last 3 months. This would put the start of the pain even before Ford returned from rehab this summer.

Doug Ford can’t literally run in his brother’s place, but did beat the deadline on Friday to get on the ballot. Doug Ford has to start from scratch, and the election is October 27.

For those who don’t follow Toronto politics all that well, you should consider that Rob Ford is the brother with the charisma and charm. Doug has done well behind the scenes, but hasn’t had to play the spotlight role.

The Globe and Mail ran an investigation that claimed Doug Ford was a known hashish supplier in the community. Doug Ford labelled the claims a “complete fabrication.” But the newspaper’s investigation could be an issue, especially if Doug Ford can maintain some of his brother’s popularity.

The fact that Doug Ford had little interest in continuing in city politics, even with the prospect of his brother running Toronto for 4 more years, can make some voters wonder about the long-term impact of having Doug Ford run the city. Even Rob Ford’s detractors don’t question his enthusiasm for the job.

Ford’s name recognition would certainly give him a substantial percentage of the mayoral vote. And the Ford on the ballot won’t have crack allegations.

Doug Ford’s unofficial campaign slogan could be “If you were going to vote for my brother, vote for me.” That might not be enough to get him into first place on October 27.

Rob Ford in graffiti, T-shirts, and art

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This column courtesy of runs here with complete permission.

This past trip to Toronto was the first since Rob Ford had become mayor of Canada’s largest city. Despite my pleas in Alberta in 2012, I’m not actually afraid of running into Toronto’s mayor.

I was more curious to see what the reaction was in Toronto to being run by someone who many consider a buffoon.

These are two T-shirts that you can buy at the St. Lawrence Market. We don’t know if they carry these in a size Rob Ford can wear.



I couldn’t get a picture of the Rob Ford bobblehead doll at a magazine shoppe. They were selling them for $35, if I recall correctly. But the theme was similar to the T-shirts.

This graffiti was found at Centre Island on the Toronto Islands. Not very creative, a little too obvious. But it’s one of the few spots where you see graffiti in and around downtown. Quite frankly, political speech is protected, and the city has left this up.


I saw these two art pieces in a shoppe on Queen Street West. You see a lot of fun stuff on Queen Street West.

This artist took Rob Ford direct quotes and gave them a different context. The first one is a quote that some people are still trying to get out of their heads. The second quote was one that wasn’t obvious; I had to double check the quote.

I would clarify his treatment as “reality star” more than “rock star” but Ford isn’t one for subtle distinctions.

(Editor’s note: If someone knows the artist that did these pictures, we would love to give them full credit for their effort. Please let us know.)



The 2014 Toronto Mayoral Election will take place on October 27. While there are a significant number of candidates, the 3 major contenders are Olivia Chow, John Tory, and the incumbent, Rob Ford. Winner take all as a winner does not have to get 50% of the vote to win.

Ford won with 47.11% of the vote in 2010.

photo credits: me

Written by democracysoup

September 10, 2014 at 10:15 am