Curtis Brown

  • Politicians should lead, not pander

    Public opinion is a very important barometer for decision-makers. But when war and terror interfere with the normal functioning of democracy and daily life, the tempestuous mood of the public is no substitute for guiding principles and a strong moral compass. Following the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris last week, public opinion has become inflamed throughout the western world, as we are all horrified by these brutal and cowardly acts.
  • Gen-X in cabinet

    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the 30 ministers sworn in to his new cabinet represent the face of Canada like never before. For the first time ever, half of the people sitting at the cabinet table are women.
  • The wobbly 'science' of predicting riding outcomes

    Someone once quipped that if you give a thousand monkeys a thousand typewriters, eventually they will produce Shakespeare. By that logic, if you give the public a thousand (or even a hundred) polls and put them all together, will it produce a perfectly predictive snapshot of public opinion?
  • Election signals last days of Harper Decade

    The perpetual and seemingly endless election campaign is finally winding down. And no matter what happens on election night, one thing is nearly certain — the campaigner-in-chief, Stephen Harper, has likely waged his last political contest. Since re-entering public life in 2002, Harper has fronted five national election campaigns on behalf of the Conservative party. Prior to that, he ran in two leadership contests — first for the Canadian Alliance, and then for the united Conservative party. Among Canada’s prime ministers, Harper is tied with Pierre Trudeau and John Diefenbaker for the number of campaigns he has led. Only John A. MacDonald, Wilfrid Laurier and William Lyon MacKenzie-King (with seven each) took part in more election contests.
  • Minister Potty Mouth?

    Minister Pat Martin. If the New Democratic Party ends up with the most seats after the federal election on Oct. 19, there is a good chance you will see those words in this newspaper on a regular basis.
  • Morning after: a Liberal headache?

    The stakes are high in every election. But in this highly competitive federal campaign now entering the critical stretch, the stakes are highest for Justin Trudeau and the Liberal party, for the wrong outcome may doom their party's long-term survival. This may seem preposterous at this particular moment. Based on the campaign, things have been going relatively well for the Liberals. Trudeau, charismatic yet inexperienced, has not committed a serious error to date, and the party is not experiencing the sort of torpor that brought it to a historic-low seat count in 2008 and then worse off, to third-party status in 2011.
  • Long campaign requires endurance... and cash

    The Ironman Triathlon is the ultimate test of physical endurance. Participants start off by swimming for nearly four kilometres. Then, they hop on a bike and cycle for 180 km -- basically, the distance from downtown Winnipeg to Neepawa. And if this wasn't exacting enough, they follow up by running a full 26.2-mile (42-km) marathon. If a typical 36-day federal election campaign is a mad sprint to the finish, this extraordinary 78-day campaign is a lot like an ironman triathlon. And right now, in the dog days of August, two months until we cast ballots, we've only swum a few hundred metres, with the gruelling cycling and running stages yet to come.
  • Seems like money can buy political love

    It's a lament as old as time. When a government is about to call an election, its critics on the opposition benches and in the media complain it is "trying to bribe voters with their own money." Regardless of how you might feel about the practice, the real question is this: does it work?
  • Public officials don't always have to side with majority of citizens

    It was a great stunt, designed to get a media response. Put up amendments that were rejected at city council on the Mayor’s office door, with the inscription “democracy denied.” This is what Transcona city councillor Russ Wyatt did Wednesday and it raises a good question: What is democracy? Usually, this is the kind of broad, philosophical question that could be debated at length in a graduate political science seminar. But it is also a very practical question, one that has real implications for how political decisions are made — or not made — based on whether a particular event or tactic is seen to be democratically legitimate.
  • Manitoba's verdict on sad history

    Words can be overused to the point of losing their meaning. But in the process of understanding the terrible things that take place in the world, words matter so much because they frame our collective understanding of specific events. When Dylann Roof, a 21-year-old white supremacist, recently entered Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., and killed nine people, there were many calls to define his horrific deed as an act of terrorism rather than the act of a depraved loner.
  • FIFA good at marketing FIFA, not cities

    Any time you go anywhere new, the first thing you experience is the airport. And no matter where you travel in the world, the airport experience tends to be comfortably yet disturbingly familiar. The duty-free shops sell the same stuff you don't need. The gift shops sell the same magazines and overpriced snacks. And food and beverages served in these places are practically the same no matter where you go. This is why I had an eerie sense of déj vu during the FIFA Women's World Cup. A year ago, I stood in another gleaming new stadium in a remote part of a large country. In the concourse and outside the stadium, what I saw, ate, drank and felt in the Estadio Mané Garrincha in Brasilia, Brazil, was almost exactly what I saw, ate, drank and felt this week at Investors Group Field. Both stadiums were plastered in the logos of FIFA and its official partners, such as Budweiser and Coca-Cola. There were many more displays outside Brasilia's stadium, but both gave a corporate, antiseptic experience.
  • Will Notley 'bump' help federal NDP in Manitoba?

    A lot of very strange and unprecedented things have been happening in Canadian politics lately. The NDP's historic win in Alberta's recent provincial election definitely counts as unexpected -- but it was what happened afterward that really caught political observers off guard. A series of national opinion polls showed that immediately following the provincial NDP victory in Alberta, support for the federal NDP started to climb. Polls conducted by EKOS Research and Ipsos Reid in late May show the federal New Democrats are now in a three-way tie with the federal Conservatives and Liberals. With Canadians set to cast ballots in a federal election in just a few months, this really sets up an interesting dynamic as there is no clear second choice for voters hoping for a non-Conservative government.
  • Party elites select a premier? There's got to be a better way

    Next weekend, roughly 2,000 people — less than 0.2 per cent of Manitoba’s population — will cast ballots to choose the next premier of our province. When you frame it this way, the process of picking the next NDP leader and premier seems elitist and even undemocratic. How can such a small number of people decide who gets to occupy the province’s highest political office?
  • NDP on homestretch

    Next weekend, roughly 2,000 people -- less than 0.2 per cent of Manitoba's population -- will cast ballots to choose the next premier of our province. When you frame it this way, the process of picking the next NDP leader and premier seems elitist and even undemocratic. How can such a small number of people decide who gets to occupy the province's highest political office?
  • Ashton, Selinger battling it out

    When one politician endorses another politician, does it really make a difference? As the Manitoba NDP selects delegates for its upcoming convention and leadership vote, party members and the public have been hearing a lot about who endorsed which of the three candidates for party leader.
  • Doer dynasty, or aberration?

    ON the morning after the 2007 provincial election, the dawn of the "Doer Dynasty" was proclaimed in this newspaper. Easily re-elected as premier the previous evening, Gary Doer had won a stunning third majority victory, taking 36 seats in the provincial election and consigning the Progressive Conservative and Liberal parties to another four long, demoralizing years in opposition.


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