Authors > Akil Alleyne
By Akil Alleyne on March 11, 2013
New York - In my last comment in these pages, I cautioned federalists against allowing the Parti Québécois’ underwhelming 2012 election performance to lull them into complacency. Even with a mere minority government, the Péquistes will pounce on any political friction between Quebec and the rest of Canada, the better to roll the referendum dice again. There is no telling what developments may so offend Quebecers as to make a third referendum a realistic possibility. Separatism has appeared to go into terminal decline before and yet still experienced frightening resurgences, usually with little or no warning. It is exactly when separatist sentiment is at low ebb that federalists should prepare a strategy for dealing with the threat if it ever rears its head again.
By Akil Alleyne on October 19, 2012
I’m not sure what to make of the recent Quebec provincial election. To be sure, the results were hardly surprising, given Jean Charest’s long-dwindling popularity. It’s a shame that the outcome appears to vindicate the anti-tuition-hike movement’s unreasonable goals and undemocratic tactics. (In truth, it does no such thing, at least not without proof that the tuition issue moved more votes than, say, the Charest government’s corruption. Alas, in politics, perception always trumps reality.) Nonetheless, since the Parti Québécois was first elected in 1976, Quebecers have consistently given each major party exactly nine years in power before trading it for the other.
By Akil Alleyne on October 19, 2012
On my way to the subway station in mid-September, I was somewhat startled to glimpse a community newspaper headline screaming “OCCUPY’S ONE-YEAR BLUES” on a newsstand. Then I remembered that, lo and behold, the first anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street protests was fast approaching. I realized that I was momentarily taken aback by the headline because I had almost totally forgotten about Occupy Wall Street. Less than a year ago, the airwaves and the Internet were burning up with talk about this audacious and potentially game-changing new movement. Now, in the middle of an election campaign that will determine whether and how Washington will address OWS’ concerns, the movement itself seems moribund. What happened?
By Akil Alleyne on July 18, 2012
I am fond of griping that Canadian politics always seem to become most interesting when I am out of the country. I was away at university in New Jersey when the wily Prime Minister of my childhood, Jean Chrétien, was supplanted by his restive deputy, Paul Martin; when the sponsorship scandal terminally weakened the Liberal Party’s grip on federal power; when Stephen Harper’s Conservatives won a minority government in 2006; and when the Tories finally won a majority, and the NDP supplanted the Liberals as Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, last year. (I was here, mind you, to witness the Opposition coalition power play of December 2008, but of course that died pathetically on the vine.)
By Akil Alleyne on August 26, 2011
President Barack Obama has finally declared his intention tobegin a phased withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, in a gradual process to be completed by 2014. America is thus lowering the curtain on its long, bitter slog through a society that has already stymied more than one imperial interloper. Perhaps more significantly, the US pullout appears to be garnering something approaching bipartisan support. Even some Republican presidential candidates like Mitt Romney are now averring that the president is right to make America scarce in Central Asia. There are obviously countless ways to look at President Obama’s decision, and as many judgments to be made about it.
By Akil Alleyne on April 21, 2011
The bell has been rung, and the Tories, Grits, Dippers and Blocquistes are going another round in their bout for parliamentary supremacy. The ruling Conservatives, of course, are hoping that in their five-year quest for a majority government, the third time will prove to be the charm. Yet from the campaign’s outset, there has been one factor the Tories have lustily exploited, one having little to do with their actual fitness to govern. I refer to the specter of another coalition of Opposition parties snatching the reins of power from Tory hands.
By Akil Alleyne on December 27, 2010
In mid-November, I logged on to Facebook to be treated to the following status on the profile of a friend of mine: “What’s the matter, Harper? Afraid you’ll lose the confidence of the House if you put your Afghan war plans to a vote?” My immediate response—which I promptly posted as a comment on my friend’s status—was “Probably.” Stephen Harper’s Conservative government, of course, remains parked at “minority”, theoretically vulnerable to sudden death via a no-confidence vote in the House of Commons. Given this Damoclean threat to his political survival, Harper’s evasion of Parliament did not exactly take me by surprise. Nor was I especially taken aback at reports that the Opposition Liberals had quietly acquiesced in the Tories’ artful dodging. Michael Ignatieff’s Grits have so far struggled to create the “winning conditions,” if you will, for another federal election. Those efforts might not be helped by abandoning an honourable mission that a past Liberal government initiated in the first place.
By Akil Alleyne on December 3, 2009
I have always believed that the citizens of a free society should not be punished for acting, within reasonable bounds, to protect themselves or their property from criminals. When the police are able to deal with the robber or attacker in a timely and effective fashion, the job should indeed be left to them. When this is not the case, individuals who are able to bring the perpetrators to heel in a responsible manner should not flinch from doing so. Nor should the state penalize them for doing what needed to be done, which officers of the peace may have been unable—or unwilling—to do...
By Akil Alleyne on October 1, 2009
In the winter of 2008, knowing that the next president of the United States would be a Democrat, I decided that President Barack Obama, whatever his faults, would be preferable to President Hillary Clinton. This had nothing to do with their policy differences—which were scant—and everything to do with many Americans’ deep personal dislike of Hillary Clinton. The country had just endured eight years of monomaniacal Clinton-bashing from the Right, followed by another eight years of equally unhinged Bush-bashing from the Left. Could America not use a leader whose detractors could oppose his policy agenda without hating his guts?
By Akil Alleyne on September 2, 2009
I will never forget the surprise and disappointment I felt as a child when I first discovered that the word used to describe opponents of Quebec sovereignty was “federalist”. Even at the tender age of ten, I was dismayed that as Canada teetered on the brink of dissolution, this dry, wishy-washy term was the best its principal defenders could do. “Federalist”? Nothing more stirring, such as perhaps “loyalist”? Not even merely “unionist”? “Federalist”?
By Akil Alleyne on July 2, 2009
In politics as in so much else, talk is cheap; it is deeds that have coinage. This has been one of my key criticisms of US President Barack Obama since the spring of 2008, when the luster of his political ascendancy began to fade in my eyes as his gaseous campaign rhetoric burrowed deeper and deeper under my skin. I looked askance as his handlers and speechwriters set him up in one vainglorious set-piece after another—promising to “heal the planet” and “slow the rise of the oceans” after the last Democratic primary, speaking in front of a row of ridiculous Roman columns at the Democratic National Convention, and so on. Windy rhetoric in politics has never sat well with me, no matter how young, intelligent or charismatic the politician...
By Akil Alleyne on April 9, 2009
So President Barack Obama has delivered yet another stirring speech to a vast crowd of European well-wishers, this time in Prague, Czech Republic, on April 5th. This time, however, he threw his fans something of a curveball. President Obama made clear that he would not scrap the ongoing development of a nuclear missile defense shield. “As long as the threat from Iran persists,” he declared, “we will go forward with a missile-defense system that is cost-effective and proven.”..