Trudeau Obama

Canada’s soft power is back

“Real change” was Justin Trudeau’s campaign slogan last year. While these are still early days, the change – in both style and substance – has already been palpable.

Justin Trudeau is rebranding Canada as an open, progressive, plural society.

Stephen Harper

The prairie populist: How Stephen Harper transformed Canada

Sounding a note of warning for Europe’s mainstream political parties, I trace the rise of Stephen Harper and Canada’s populist right-wing Reform party in the latest issue of Juncture. Harper was able to capitalise on a public disenchantment with traditional parties that today is being felt in many European democracies.


New Hard Times

How to reconcile economic efficiency with social justice in a market capitalist society? For a long time the left relied on traditional ‘tax and spend’ redistribution to address these twin concerns of mitigating inequality and supporting growth in the postwar years. However, this approach has been controversial and divisive; its effectiveness is also questionable. Inequality in most major advanced economies has risen over the past few decades, wealth has concentrated in the hands of the few, and economic growth has stagnated. The centre-left needs to look beyond statist social democracy and offer plausible reforms that address these concerns in a world that has changed profoundly since the era of ‘Beveridge plus Keynes’.


The Greens in the Canadian general election of 19 October 2015

New article in Environmental Politics.

The 2011 election of Elizabeth May, the Green Party’s first federal MP, was a significant breakthrough for the party. In 2015, however, it struggled to build momentum in a campaign dominated by an ‘Anybody But Conservatives’ feeling where the Liberals were perceived as the best agent of change. The Greens’ overall vote share slipped slightly, from 3.9% in 2011 to 3.5%. May retained her seat with a stunning majority and 54% of the vote. Yet, this was the party’s only win among its 15 target seats; it made meagre advances in the others, managing only one runner up. It is unlikely that strategic voting hurt the Greens, which leaves the party with a big challenge to redefine its purpose and strategy going forward.


People are disillusioned

Our form of government is outdated. The established parties have to radically change.

An interview for the Norwegian magazine Agenda about The Populist Signal.


How the 11-week election campaign backfired on the Conservatives

Last week, millions of Canadians showed Stephen Harper that they are tired of his low cunning, fear, hate, arrogance and corrosive political discourse. The 11-week election campaign – the longest and most expensive since 1872 – backfired on the Conservatives.

Mr. Harper tried to convince us to fear our own neighbours, to believe that enemies are lurking everywhere. His attempts to divide the country into “old stock Canadians” and ‘dangerous others’ failed miserably and sounded absolutely absurd to Canadian ears.


The Front National: Old Rhetoric, New Practices

New special issue of The Polish Quarterly of International Affairs on Radical and Eurosceptic Parties including case studies of the Front National, AfD, the Sweden Democrats, Jobbik, N-VA as well as articles on Czech and Polish Eurosceptic parties.

Renaud Thillaye and I have co-authored the article about the FN.

Anybody but Harper

Canada’s three-way race to the finish

2011 marked a historic moment in Canadian politics when the centre-left New Democratic party became the official opposition for the first time ever. Perhaps another historic moment looms for the Canadian centre-left in a few weeks’ time. Even if the Conservatives win the most seats, the Liberals and the NDP will face public pressure to work together – 70 per cent of the country is in favour of change.


The Predistribution Agenda: Tackling Inequality and Supporting Sustainable Growth

My new book (co-edited with Patrick Diamond) is out now.

The concept of predistribution is increasingly setting the agenda in progressive politics. But what does it mean? The predistributive agenda is concerned with how states can alter the underlying distribution of market outcomes so they no longer rely solely on post hoc redistribution to achieve economic efficiency and social justice. It therefore offers an effective means of tackling economic and social inequality alongside traditional welfare policies, emphasising employability, human capital, and skills, as well as structuring markets to promote greater equity. This book examines the key debates surrounding the emergence and development of predistributive thought with contributions from leading international scholars and policy-makers.


Can politicians ever be true to themselves?

I took part in this 50 min programme on BBC Newshour about Corbyn, Trump, Farage and populism in general. With reference to my new report The Populist Signal and also the optimistic flip side – the new wave of randomly selected citizens’ assemblies and juries engaging people in a new kind of politics and policymaking around the world.

NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair waves after addressing delegates following a confidence vote during the party's weekend convention Saturday, April 13, 2013 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

The end of the Harper era?

After almost 10 years of Conservative government, Canadians have clearly had enough. The leader of the centre-left New Democratic party, Thomas Mulcair, has a clear shot at becoming prime minister after the upcoming election