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Monday, December 15, 2008

Will Wilkinson and Jacob Levy talk about Canada's constitutional crisis on Bloggingheads

Here's a nice semi-outsider explanation and overview of the recent parliamentary crisis in Canada.

It's a "semi-outsider" explanation because Levy, an American, is a professor at McGill University, and Will Wilkinson's father was Canadian. Wilkinson is, in fact, one of the "lost Canadians" (2) who are busy trying to regain their Canadian status (at least, this was true the last time I spoke with him).

It's interesting to get a view from outside of Canada on this issue, which is one reason to post it, but it turns out that Canadians are surprisingly clueless about our own parliamentary system as well. So at least a few of us might learn something we didn't know.

Here's the video:

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on December 15, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink


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Levy is smart but you can tell he doesn't know much about anglophone Canada. There are surely not many English Canadians who think of the monarchical tie as a bulwark against Americanization (Levy used this to explain why we weren't embarrassed by the existence of royal power in our constitution as the Aussies are). Fifty years ago this would have been overwhelmingly been the case; but my sense is that being British in some sense means nothing to modern Canadians (particularly younger ones).
Also, Levy failed to note that the Queen has no role in appointing the Governor-General anymore.

Posted by: Craig | 2008-12-15 6:57:18 PM

This Dr. Levy is something funny.

He pretends that Quebecers would and always rejected a referendum on Quebec's sovereignty. In fact, what happens in true life is that we saw a major run rate for pro-independence votes between the only two referendums and that independence is still very popular today. The next political party to rule Québec will clearly be the PQ.
He also failed to mention that the Federal does everything they can (legally and illegally) to assure Québec's Democracy will never be respected in the case of a referendum on Québec's sovereignty.

He then pretends that Stephen Harper is from Alberta…


This would not be inexcusable if this guy would not be a PROFFESOR of POLLITICAL SCIENCE at McGill UNIVERSITY…

This man lives inna fantasy world and I've just waste 9 minutes of my time.
Thanks to Jaworski for promising me further accurate facts on our politics!

Posted by: Marc | 2008-12-16 12:02:00 PM

Marc, you're getting a little carried away. While it's of course impossible to know how Quebeckers will vote in the future, it's fair to say that many people vote BQ/PQ without actually wanting full Quebec independence. This was true even in 1995. Levy's commentary is a simplifaction, but his basic point is valid.

Levy's commentary has many factual errors, but they're generally small. It should be noted that he was brought to McGill to teach political theory, not Canadian politics.

Posted by: Matt | 2008-12-16 12:50:03 PM

"not Canadian politics."

Dr. Levy was the Globe and Mail's expert on Canadian politics. He was employed by the Globe to answer Anglo's questions on Québec's Commission Bouchard-Taylor.
I think his explanations were more wishful thinking than a lack of knowledge on these issues.
After all, he's a political theorist as you so politely pointed out.

After years of reading lame political "experts" from the English side, you would sometimes be carried away as well, Matt. I'm not especially targeting Mr. Levy's lack of knowledge here but I'm mad after Jaworsky for promissing somthing that never came.

Posted by: Marc | 2008-12-16 3:29:50 PM

I'm a bit angry that you misspelled my name, Marc.

But you have to read my post. The context plays a major role. It turns out Canadians don't know *the basics* of the Canadian parliamentary system. The video begins with a nice explanation of that. That's the bit of info that Canadians can get from this vid.

But people like you who are wired in will not get much out of it, except the interesting "view from the outside," as it were.

Posted by: westernstandard | 2008-12-16 3:39:06 PM

Where did I misspelled a name ?

Posted by: Marc | 2008-12-16 3:54:03 PM

Ok Mr, Jaworski,
I'm sorry for that.

Posted by: Marc | 2008-12-16 3:55:27 PM

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