Introducing Inroads 36.

AuthorChodos, Bob

Much of this issue of Inroads focuses on elections and referendums--past, present, yet to come and even one whose very existence has been a matter of dispute.

Stephane Dion raises the Ghost of Elections Past through a review of Chantal Hebert and Jean Lapierre's much-discussed "what if?" account of the closely contested 1995 Quebec sovereignty referendum. On the basis of the interviews in the Hebert-Lapierre book, Dion concludes that the aftermath of a Yes victory would not have been Quebec sovereignty, but rather chaos.

The Ghost of Elections Present takes us from Toronto to Edinburgh and Stockholm. Zack Taylor looks at why more than a third of Torontonians voted for Doug Ford in the city's October 27 mayoral election despite the "spectacular failure" in office of his brother Rob. He points to deep economic and political divides in Toronto that have their counterparts in other Canadian cities.

Henry Milner offers a report in words and pictures on Sweden's September 14 election and Scotland's independence referendum four days later. In Sweden, he covers not just the narrow victory of the Social Democrats but also the country's political practices, which foster an informed, engaged electorate. The Scottish referendum attracted considerable international attention, especially when polls suggested that the Yes might win. In Canada, parallels were drawn with Quebec in 1995. However, Milner observes that the situation in Scotland was actually closer to the first Quebec referendum in 1980, in which a No victory was never really in doubt.

The Ghost of Elections Yet to Come is hovering over Canada, as manoeuvring begins in advance of the October 2015 federal election. Paul Barber asks what lessons from the 2014 Ontario and Quebec elections can be applied to the federal scene. Will Ontario's rejection of a tax-cuts-and-austerity agenda extend to the federal election? Do scandals matter? He concludes that the most likely outcome next October is a minority Liberal government. Nelson Wiseman looks at how the NDP appears to have gone from "orange wave" to "orange crushed," and suggests that it can take solace in the continuing popularity of its ideas.

The same ghost is also haunting Britain, where the next election is scheduled for May 2015. Eric Shaw explains why the Labour Party, although leading in the polls, faces a perilous road ahead, especially in regard to its positions on immigration and social welfare.

Finally, in light of Catalonia's informal...

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