After 50 years of researching, writing, teaching, and consulting, I have been encouraged to establish this site as a way of providing periodic commentary on matters of government. Visitors are invited to respond to the postings in my blog and also to take note of my publications.
I have shifted details on recent books to a publications page and will now use this opening screen to highlight the latest blog posts.
Stay or Move Away
Is there another way of addressing the problems facing Native communities and might there be any lessons we can learn from the way we are dealing with the isolated and small communities of Newfoundland?
The Noblest of Callings, the Vilest of Trades
If politics is to be a noble calling we need more civilized behaviour on the part of the public not just the politicians.
Digging a Deeper Hole: The Scarborough Subway Saga
It is unclear why the city planner's strong opposition to the subway alternative was watered down in a report to council, but the result was a decision to abandon a fully funded light rapid transit option in a favour of an expressway (now planned with only one stop) at three times the cost and with no clear funding for it.
Democracy's Crumbling Foundation
The more the population polarizes and political parties forsake the centre for the extremes, the more our democratic foundation crumbles.
The Importance of our Unknown Head of State
The fact that Canada's head of state is the Queen, as represented by the Governor General, is not an outdated and unwelcome link to Britain. Being a constitutional monarchy with a separate head of state provides several practical benefits that merit our support.
The Senate's Tempest in a Teapot
The recent showdown between the Senate and the House of Commons was "much ado about nothing." The Senate has every right to give sober second thought to government legislation and we are fortunate to have - for the first time in our history - a more independent Senate willing to do just that.
Give and Take in Provincial-Local Relations
Continuing to build public trust by demonstrating high ethical standards is one of the best ways municipalities can deal with a provincial level determined to take as much as it gives.
Liberals Weren't Elected to Act like Harper
Since the Liberal victory was a rejection of the anti-democratic actions of the Harper Government, it is disappointing to see the Liberals continuing some of these practices.
Senator Misdeeds Obscure Senate Deeds
We need to look beyond the misbehaviour of individual Senators and notice the solid investigative work being done by our increasingly independent Senate.
Timid Toronto Budget Triggers Anti-Tax Tantrum
Even though Toronto council again failed to raise sufficient revenues to address its needs, it faced over-the-top criticisms from the anti-tax fringe.
Policy Making in 140 characters
Presidential policy making by tweet reveals lack of research and failure to consider Congress, the courts, and the constitution.
Truth, Truthiness, and the Post-Truth World
We now live in a bizarre, surreal, “post-truth” world, in which the truth is whatever Donald Trump wants it to be, even needs it to be, to satisfy his views and his image of himself.
What I Learned from Watching the Hallmark Channel
If rapidly growing cities are the wave of the future, why do Hallmark Christmas movies glorify the superior lifestyle of small and rural and how did small and rural voters prevail in the recent votes on Brexit and the U.S. Presidency?
While the growing recognition of the importance of cities has been accompanied by calls for cities to be givern additional revenue sources and more effective governing models, these requests merit a closer look.
The Governor General, a cup of coffee, and you
Seven reasons why the position of Governor General is a bargain at the cost of one coffee per year, per Canadian - notwithstanding the critical (and ill-informed) response to a Maclean's article about the cost of this office.
Adventures in Bureaucracy
Reminiscences about immortal government forms, immutable bureaucratic structures, and two adventures involving tricky questions.
Role of the Media in a Democracy
With people increasingly turning to sources that tell them what they want to hear, we need a mainstream media that is not only independent but is also willing to play a role in informing and educating the public about the issues confronting their governments.
Back to the Future with the Senate
Actions taken by Justin Trudeau are transforming the Senate into the body that it was originally supposed to be. While there may be growing pains, the changes could result in a more rigorous legislative process and an enhanced and more respected Senate.
Taxing Tale of Toronto - Revisited
Toronto's Mayor and Council continue to resist much-needed tax increases in spite of having the lowest property taxes in the GTA.
Two Solitudes: The U.S. Version
A search for causes of the great division in the U.S. and a plea for Americans of different points of view to talk to each other – instead of ignoring or yelling at each other – and to discover the common ground that they share.
From Sunny Ways to Money Ways
The cash for access events being held by the Liberal Party may not be illegal but they are inconsistent with the new open and accessible approach we were promised.
The Dog Ate My Homework (and other dubious explanations)
That student excuse is nothing compared to the creative responses of mayors when asked to justify their actions.
What Do Wallonia and Wolfe Island Have in Common?
They are both in the midst of battles involving the provisions in free trade agreements.
Municipal Mergers Don't Save Money
A recent report argues, as I have for decades, that mergers don't save money. Instead what need is greater collaboration, not only among municipalities but also with private partners.
Where Is the Liberal Government We Elected?
The first year has seen some positive initiatives but also some Harper-like actions and rationalizations. The new government can do better.