• Courtesy of University of Toronto doctoral candidate Paul Thomas comes news that the University College London’s Constitution Unit has launched a study to “understand how the socio-economic [characteristics of] Britain’s political class has changed from 1945-2015.” In response, Samara Canada research manager Jane Hilderman tweeted that the Toronto-based non-profit has collected similar data for Canada’s 38th, 39th, 40th and 41st Parliaments. Meanwhile, those interested in the makeup of the 41st Parliament may want to look at this statistical breakdown from Canada’s Public Policy Forum.
• More powerful parliamentary committees are the cure for what ails democracy in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. That’s the prescription advanced in Democratic Decline and Democratic Renewal. In a recent review, Queen Mary University of London doctoral candidate Jack Simson Caird writes that the book’s authors argue citizens need to be better connected with the formal political system, with parliament having an opportunity to take a look at issues before final choices are made by the government. According to Caird, “the authors envisage ‘committees with a substantive role in the policy process (particularly at the emergent or strategic end of the process), supported by powers and procedures that sustain this role.'”
• The workers of the world may finally unite, according to Centre for Global Development senior fellow Charles Kenny. Writing in Foreign Policy, Kenny speculates that “as technology and trade level the playing field and bring humanity closer together, the world’s projected 3.5 billion laborers may finally realize how much more they have in common with each other than with the über-wealthy elites in their own countries.” And that may result in collaborative pressure to shut down tax havens and prevent the weakening of labour regulations and corporate taxes cuts.
• Last week, I spoke with CKNW’s Simi Sara about why more Canadians aren’t paying attention to political news. You can listen to the complete interview here, along with call-ins from the station’s listeners:
• I also spoke with Global BC 1’s Jill Krop on the same subject. You can find that interview here.
Have a news tip about about the state of democracy, openness and accountability in Canada? You can email me at this address.