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Minister of Democratic Institutions Maryam Monsef speaks to reporters during a press conference, on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016 in Ottawa. (Justin Tang/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Minister of Democratic Institutions Maryam Monsef speaks to reporters during a press conference, on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016 in Ottawa. (Justin Tang/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Politics Briefing

Canadians open to electoral reform, but appetite for change low: poll Add to ...

POLITICS BRIEFING

Canadians are open to forms of proportional representation in their voting system, a new survey from the Angus Reid Institute suggests. Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef – who is awaiting a parliamentary committee’s report on electoral reform on Thursday – said recently that in her consultations Canadians seemed to be inclined to either proportional representation or first-past-the-past (our status quo).

That seems to be borne out in the Angus Reid Institute poll, which found roughly equal support for the status quo and two types of PR: list and mixed member. The firm explains the differences between the systems on their website. Less popular were single-transferable vote and rural-urban representation. (Instant runoff, which the Prime Minister has expressed some interest in, was not tested.)

The survey also confirmed something else Ms. Monsef said – there may just not be much appetite among Canadians right now for electoral reform. Two-thirds of the poll’s respondents said changing the voting system was a low or very low priority.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS MORNING

> The Liberal government is set to announce today whether it is supporting two major Enbridge energy projects: the Line 3 pipeline from Alberta’s oil sands to Wisconsin, and the Northern Gateway pipeline across northern British Columbia.

> The Prime Minister’s point man on legalizing marijuana – Liberal MP and former Toronto police chief Bill Blair – attended a fundraiser earlier this year where representatives of the cannabis industry were present.

> The Prime Minister will not attend Fidel Castro’s funeral.

> The Auditor-General is releasing his fall report today. CBC reports that one chapter found “significant deficiencies” in the way the Atlantic Pilotage Authority was run.

> A bill to enhance rights for trans Canadians might have a better shot at passing the Senate this time, after previous attempts stalled, Daily Xtra reports.

> Canada’s spy agency admits it might have spied on journalists.

> The head of the air force says the military badly needs the interim fleet of Super Hornet fighter jets because the government has increased its commitments to international missions. Separately, a Forces pilot died yesterday in a training mission aboard a CF-18.

> After a 45-year career in journalism, Tom Clark is retiring.

> And the CBC says it will forgo advertising revenue if the federal government gives it an extra $400-million per year. That would be an increase to $46 per Canadian, up from $34.

REGIONAL ROUNDUP

> Alberta is tightening its political financing, reducing the annual cap on donations from $15,000 to $4,000 (more during elections).

> Saskatchewan has come to a deal with the federal Liberals on reducing emissions in its coal-fired electricity sector. The province and Ottawa are at odds on another file, though: private payments in health care for MRIs.

> The Ontario Progressive Conservatives tried to cover up a contract they gave a departing provincial legislator so their new leader could run in his seat.

> The e-mail accounts of two PEI government officials involved in the province’s e-gaming scandal have been deleted.

WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Margaret Wente (Globe and Mail): “I would guess that quite a lot of Canadians heartily agree with Mr. Trudeau about Fidel. They have an extravagantly romantic idea of Cuba as an exotic land of equality and fabulous musicians and palm-fringed beaches, a picturesque time capsule of decaying architecture and ancient Studebakers kept on the road by native ingenuity. The people are so educated! Their health care is so good! They send doctors to Venezuela! Or at any rate they used to, until Venezuela ran out of currency, medicines, soap, and anesthetics. It’s easy to overlook the truth about the place. The Cuban people are equal in their wretchedness.”

Gerald Caplan (Globe and Mail): “Fidel Castro stands in a long line of great socialist leaders who betrayed socialism. The list pretty well includes all of them, from Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin, to Mao Zedong and Chou En-lai, to Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, to Mengistu in Ethiopia.”

Mark Milke (Globe and Mail): “Cuba’s ridiculously praised social model is a model of near-universal poverty. It doesn’t mean much if needed pharmaceuticals are lacking, equipment is ancient and buildings are rotting, when physicians and others prop up the system through slave-labour pay, and when Cuba already had near-universal education and high literacy rates in the 1950s.”

Paul Wells (Toronto Star): “A million Canadians a year visit Cuba to enjoy gorgeous beaches and groaning buffets at all-inclusive resorts from which most Cubans remain banned. One winter more than a decade ago, I was one of them. But millions more refuse, even today, to make the trip, believing each dollar they spend will help prop up a corrupt regime.”

Aaron Wherry (CBC): “Whether or not this familial connection was a decisive factor in this past weekend's official statement on the passing of Castro, the words of Justin Trudeau read differently if viewed as a note about the death of a family friend: a short message on the passing of Uncle Fidel. But Castro wasn't merely a pal of Justin Trudeau's dad. And Justin Trudeau isn't merely Pierre Trudeau's son. The world is far more complicated than that. ”

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Compiled by Chris Hannay. Edited by Steven Proceviat.

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