The unexpected rise of Margaret Thatcher

Into the U.K.’s Winter of Discontent came a woman of sharp edges and a clear mind about how change would be managed

The unexpected rise of Margaret ThatcherOn May 3, 1979, United Kingdom voters trooped to the polls and produced a result that nobody would have countenanced a mere five years earlier. Defeating the sitting Labour government, Margaret Thatcher led the Conservatives into a lengthy sojourn in office. The novelty derived from the U.K. never having had a female prime minister, let…

Who said Alberta was a bastion of conservatism?

The province has long been on the cutting edge of political innovation, despite what some would have us believe

Who said Alberta was a bastion of conservatism?Will Albertans vote for the United Conservative Party on Tuesday? The NDP election victory in 2015 is widely regarded as an accident. Many think it was an aberration in a deeply conservative province that, it’s predicted, will return to its bedrock conservative roots on election day 2019. The conventional wisdom is that Albertans are solidly…

The primary function of U.S. presidential primaries

The process should help uncover the blemishes in a candidate – providing the other choices shine through

The primary function of U.S. presidential primariesJeb Bush recently suggested that someone ought to run against U.S. President Donald Trump in next year’s presidential primaries. It would, in Bush’s estimation, be good for the Republican Party. The underlying logic is simple. Rather than being a real Republican, Trump is an interloper who executed the political equivalent of a hostile business takeover.…

Joey Smallwood’s campaign to transform Newfoundland

Force-feeding economic modernization is a tricky business, even for a Father of Confederation

Joey Smallwood’s campaign to transform NewfoundlandAfter leading the 1940s movement to bring Newfoundland into Confederation, Joey Smallwood went on to win six consecutive elections and served as the province’s premier for just shy of 23 years. It’s not the longest run for a provincial premier – Nova Scotia’s George Murray, Alberta’s Ernest Manning and Ontario’s Oliver Mowat edge Smallwood on…

The nationalist revival versus the globalist perspective

The ties that bind aren’t what they used to be – at least for some of us. For others, they are increasingly intense

The nationalist revival versus the globalist perspectiveI’m old enough to remember when nationalism was viewed as a good thing. And I’m not just referring to my Irish childhood. In the Canada of 40 to 50 years ago, many high-profile progressives self-described as nationalists. People like former finance minister Walter Gordon, journalist Peter C. Newman and the luminaries gathered around the Committee…

The failure of an American president to compromise

Woodrow Wilson failed to accept the limitations and checks explicit in the American democratic system

The failure of an American president to compromiseWhen the Paris Peace Conference opened on Jan. 18, 1919, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson seemed to be at the top of his game. America’s entry had played a critical role in ending the First World War and Wilson’s famous Fourteen Points were acclaimed as the blueprint for a just settlement and a future world where…

Will Trudeau 2019 follow in the footsteps of Trudeau 1972?

Pierre Trudeau lost favour with voters and ended up with a minority government. A similar fate may await his son

Will Trudeau 2019 follow in the footsteps of Trudeau 1972?There are obvious similarities between the political situation of Justin Trudeau in 2019 and that of his father in 1972. In 1972, Pierre Trudeau’s personal magic wasn’t as alluring as during the heady days of 1968’s Trudeaumania. The same can be said for today’s prime minister vis-à-vis 2015. The 1972 election caught people by surprise.…

Can capitalism help save republicanism – and the United States?

It’s time to give individuals personal ownership of their data and, in essence, an equity stake in the new means of production

Can capitalism help save republicanism – and the United States?Canadians turning their gaze south are becoming increasingly concerned that the United States is descending into anarchy and despotism. Apart from the chaotic White House, the dysfunctional Congress and the astronomical public debt, American society is becoming dangerously divided as powerful forces continue their relentless concentrations of wealth and power. This is a far cry…

Brexit drama has historical echoes

The battle over Brexit isn’t the equivalent of the Second World War, but the outcome is shaping up to be a disaster on its own terms

Brexit drama has historical echoesFor sheer drama – or maybe that should be melodrama – Brexit’s unfolding twists and turns are hard to beat. If you’d scripted a fictional narrative along these lines, you’d be liable to criticism for one flight of fancy too many. British Prime Minister Theresa May’s last-minute decision to postpone a parliamentary vote on her…

The political fragility of George H.W. Bush

The late U.S. president had an authenticity problem that would never quite go away

The political fragility of George H.W. BushMy first awareness of George H.W. Bush dates to the 1970 U.S. midterm elections. He was running for a Senate seat in Texas but – in an era when memories of the Civil War still made statewide office a steep climb for Republicans – he was decisively beaten by Democrat Lloyd Bentsen. Bush died on…
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