FOR POLITICAL JUNKIES--AND, LET'S FACE IT, the Inroads editorial board has its share of political junkies--the fall of 2008 was the best of times. The simultaneous occurrence of elections in Canada and the United States is like a rare alignment of planets. Events strongly suggested the theme of this issue, and we did not resist.
In our Canadian section, we focus primarily on the issue that should have been, but never quite was, the centrepiece of the campaign: the carbon tax. John Richards makes the economic case for the tax, while Marvin Shaffer explains why he believes a cap-and-trade system is a preferable alternative. Analyzing the Conservative government's plan to reduce carbon emissions, Mark Jaccard, Nic Rivers and Jotham Peters conclude that the plan is unlikely to meet its targets. Ah open letter issued during the election campaign by the impressive total of 255 economists argues that some form of carbon pricing is essential, and a carbon tax is probably the best way to achieve it.
Meanwhile, drawing on insights both from public opinion experts and from the people he meets in his rural Ontario general store, Harvey Schachter examines why the election turned out so badly for Stephane Dion. Claire Durand looks at how well the polis predicted the final result, and offers explanations for where they went wrong. Columnist Arthur Milner marvels at the effect artists may have had on the election outcome.
Looking at the United States, Garth Stevenson, a longtime Canadian observer of things American, reflects affectionately but not uncritically on "the folks next door." Claude Couture takes the American voting system to task, while Frances Boylston, an American-Canadian, looks at how the campaign has been waged beyond America's borders. Both my own article and Gregory Baum's contribution focus on the role of religion in the campaign. Columnist Reg Whitaker finds the mordant H.L. Mencken a useful guide to the current state of...