Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Foreign Policy and the U.S. Democratic Primaries: How Gender Enables Bernie Sanders

By Maria Tulli

There has been a lot of discussion about Hillary Clinton’s gender. A lot. Calls by supporters asking people to vote for her because she is a woman. Outrage by others admonishing those who do so for some “reverse” sexism. There have been comparisons between Hillary Clinton and Margaret Thatcher, based exclusively on gender, while there is a lack of comparisons between Clinton and men politicians – comparisons which would make more sense based on policies, experience and ideology.[i] We could say gender is featuring as a core factor in these Democratic primaries. However, it is not truly at the core, but rather spotlighted on one side. While Secretary Clinton’s gender may be a locus of attention, her opponent’s is not. In an arena of gender scrutiny Bernie Sanders remains the unmarked, the un-gendered. This un-gendering has enabled Sanders to act both progressively and radically.

To be clear, I am not arguing that Clinton is secretly socialist or pursues moderate policies only reluctantly. Hillary Clinton is substantially right of Bernie Sanders and has made conscious choices to get there. However, I am arguing that whether or not she desired to pursue more radical political action or rhetoric, she is unable to do so because she is a woman. The flipside of this, of course, is that Bernie Sanders is enabled to do so because he is a man.

There is no doubt that it is important that Hillary Clinton is a woman. Even if it does not truly matter to her politics or capabilities, her presentation as a politician is built around her gender.

But it also matters that Bernie Sanders is a man.

Friday, 19 February 2016

The Relevance and Future of Multiculturalism in Canada and Australia

By Dr. Jatinder Mann
Twitter handle: @DrJatinderMann

Discussing the advantages and disadvantages of multiculturalism has become a national pastime in Canada, and Australia has also seen some vigorous debates over the past several decades. Multiculturalism has for better or worse become almost synonymous with Canadian national identity and is often without fail towards the top of the list of things that Canadians use to describe the features of their country in surveys (Image: Monument to Multiculturalism, Toronto)

Multiculturalism has come under increasing attack by both the left and right in recent years. However, where policies of multiculturalism actually came from in Canada and Australia, and what they replaced, is less well known.
My research, which compared the rise of multiculturalism in Canada and Australia between the 1890s and 1970s, focused on these very questions. Specifically it explored the profound social, cultural and political changes, which affected the way in which Canadians and Australians defined themselves as a ‘people’ from the late nineteenth century to the 1970s. Taking as its central theme the way each country responded to the introduction of new migrants, it asked two interrelated questions: why and how did multiculturalism replace Britishness as the defining idea of community for English-speaking Canada and Australia? What does this change say about their respective experiences of nationalism in the twentieth century?

Friday, 5 February 2016

Fiscal Austerity and Health Reform: Why Can We Never Seem to Get It Right?

By Dr. John Church

Well, almost as regular as the changing of the seasons, fiscal austerity has come to Alberta once again. Nowhere is this more apparent than in health care (see: AHS Cuts). No doubt, there will be intense discussions about how to reform the health system to save money and provide services in a more cost efficient and cost effective manner. The question is this: Will this current moment of reflection brought on by economic downturn yield better results than similar moments in the past? Probably not and here’s why: Societal decisions made a long time ago have continued to shape the health care system that we have today (see: Path Dependent).