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October 18, 2011

Over time politicians have come to be poorly respected alongside less ethical used car salesman (I know an impeccably ethical used car salesman). So when I consider who I’m voting for one of the key considerations is whether I think they are straight shooters.

Jack Layton, Ronald Reagan, Tommy Douglas, Ralph Klein and George W. Bush were all straight shooting politicians. Whether you liked them or hated them, you knew where they stood.

The other criterion I use is whether I think they can execute. Being a successful elected politician requires a lot of different skill sets, but chief amongst them is the ability to get things done. Barack Obama and Gregor Robertson would be two examples of leaders that can’t execute.

My friend Christopher Gorman is running for elected office in Kelowna, British Columbia. I have served with Chris on the UBC Alumni Association board and have seen him in action. I have also been a colleague of his at UBC when I was forming UBC’s entrepreneurship@UBC initiative.

Chris is a professional, honest and capable executive. He is a community minded person and does a great job at whatever I have seen him do. If I lived in Kelowna I would vote for him in a second.

If you will be voting in the forthcoming Kelowna civic elections I highly recommend Chris for School Board.

http://www.votegorman.ca/

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I had the honour of thanking Kim Campbell for a fireside chat hosted by the UBC Faculty of Law. Check out the video below for her speech. She’s funny, entertaining, well spoken and has had some great experiences since leaving Canadian government.

The West’s Killer Apps

September 19, 2011

This Niall Ferguson Ted Talk is worth watching. He contends that the West became the West because of:

(1) Competition,

(2) The Scientific Revolution,

(3) Property rights,

(4) Modern medicine,

(5) The consumer society and,

(6) The work ethic.

The US:China per capita income was about equal in the 1500s. The UK:India per capital income was about equal in 1500. In the 1970s UK:India ratio was about 10 and the US:China ratio about twenty.

His conclusion: the Great Divergence is over, but the West is not necessarily on an imminent path to becoming a has-been.

For regular readers of this blog, you know that I take a great interest in politics – particularly in Canada and the US.  I also really enjoy English humour especially in the form of the Yes, Minister / Yes, Prime Minister and Fawlty Towers.

I think that those of you with similar interests will enjoy this vignette.  I’m afraid it might be closer to the truth than any of us would like!

David Cameron

February 18, 2010

I don’t follow English politics nearly as closely as I do US politics or, for that matter, Canadian politics.  But I found interesting this speech delivered by David Cameron to a recent TED conference.

All I know about Cameron (is primarily from The Economist) is that he is the Conservative leader and that party’s candidate for Prime Minister in the not-too-distant federal elections.  He’s running against Prime Minister Brown.  His notion of the world going from local power to central power to people power is an interesting one.

Obama’s belief in government as the solve-all to America’s ills is unfortunate.

The current administration, with the support of the Democratically controlled Congress, has used its non-negotiable belief in the purity of government to expand itself at rates not seen since WWII.

Amongst other things, it has impeded labour rights by eliminating the right to secret ballot during union drives and it has encroached on the free markets by becoming America’s biggest corporation.  All the while it is undertaking an overhaul of its health care system (look at the obscene size – more than 2,00o pages – of the health care bill in the picture below) that is going to cost trillions.

The Obama administration has done this by financing our future.

The massive deficits that President Obama is now running will be exacerbated by the following axis of evil (yes, Obama has one too – he just may not yet know it):

(1) reduced tax revenues from retiring baby boomers.

(2) increased government spending on social programs (medicaid, medicare and the current health care reforms amongst others), and

(3) a run up in interest rates (increasing the financing costs of Obama’s debt, leaving less money for his cherished government programs).

So, Obama is either going to have to reduce his spending, increase America’s taxes or, put off the inevitable to his successor by continuing to run these questionable, bloated and growing deficits.

For our sake, I hope he gets this under control quickly.

Douglas Holtz-Eakin has a short piece on this very topic in today’s Wall Street Journal.  If you’re interested then visit this link for good read: The Coming Deficit Disaster.

Irish eyes are smiling

October 4, 2009

Those of you who follow Canadian politics will remember the Mulroney/Reagan rendition of “When Irish Eyes are Smiling”, the Chretien “fisticuff” and George W. Bush’s less than flattering proclivity for breaking into dance.

This weekend Canada’s current Prime Minister took part in an impromptu performance at the National Arts Centre’s annual gala with Yo Yo Ma.  You can see the video here:

I think this was a masterstroke on the part of Harper’s handlers.  Here in Canada Prime Minister Harper is viewed as a bit distant, cold and calculating.  This performance, an admirable one, shows his human side.  It also won’t hurt with Canada’s arts community.

Enjoy!