Introducing Inroads 42.

Author:Chodos, Bob

With the last three issues having been devoted largely to international affairs, we decided early in the planning process for this issue that it was time to shift our focus back to Canada. In particular, British Columbia voters in May elected a legislature in which neither the Liberals nor the New Democrats held a majority, with the Green Party holding the balance of power. The Greens ultimately reached an agreement with the NDP, bringing into office a new government under Premier John Horgan.

The new government faces a number of pressing issues, none of them more controversial than the Site C dam on the Peace River. In its November 1 report, the BC Utilities Commission suggested that B.C.'s power needs could be better met in other ways. However, in his article in this issue, economist Marvin Shaffer argues for taking a broader view. With a stronger intertie between the two provinces, Site C power could help neighbouring Alberta phase out coal-fired generation--a course Shaffer advocates.

Another major item on the new B.C. government's agenda is electoral reform, which both the NDP and the Greens support. The NDP-Green agreement includes a provision for a referendum on the issue in October 2018. David Moscrop provides background to the referendum and expresses concern that the short time frame may result in yet another failure to pass electoral reform.

Elsewhere in Canada, Quebec's universal low-fee childcare program is now 20 years old, and Pierre Fortin finds that it has fully achieved its goal of allowing mothers of young children to enter the workforce. However, it has been less successful in reaching its other goal of enhancing child development. Fortin suggests a remedy for this flaw and recommends Quebec's program as a model for other provinces looking at childcare policy.

Meanwhile, there was no shortage of the kinds of events that had caused us to focus on international affairs. The United Kingdom's June election left Theresa May's Conservatives short of a majority and produced a surprisingly strong result for the opposition Labour Party; the weakened May government then had to pursue its negotiations with the European Union over Brexit. In the days following the election, participants in the Inroads listserv debated its implications, especially for Britain's relationship with Europe; highlights are presented here. With more distance from the results, Eric Shaw looks at the nature of Labour's support and the internal tensions the...

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