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Romanian civic spirit at its best

Romanian civic spirit at its best

Feb 14, 2017 - by Lavinia Stan, President, Society for Romanian Studies, Department of Political Science, St. Francis Xavier University

For almost two weeks now, hundreds of thousands of Romanian ordinary citizens and civil society activists have taken to the street in Bucharest, across the country, and even in cities like London where significant numbers of Romanian migrants live and work to protest against the Social Democratic government of Sorin Grindeanu. A little known politician with no previous ministerial experience, Grindeanu was nominated as prime minister by the Social Democrats, who in the December 2016 elections won almost half of all seats in the bicameral parliament. Grindeanu’s name might have never been proposed if President Klaus Iohannis had accepted Social Democratic Party leader Liviu Dragnea as prime minister. But Dragnea was under investigation for fraud, and thus Iohannis warned that unscrupulous corrupt politicians should not occupy high-ranking government positions.

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UK election: Theresa May's uphill battle

June 9th, CBC Radio Interview "The Early Edition": Reaction to the UK Election with Oliver Schmidtke  (towards the end of the show)

June 8th, 2017 - by Oliver Schmidtke, Centre for Global Studies, Universities of Victoria

Today, the United Kingdom votes in an election that was meant to be decided before it even began. Prime Minister Theresa May had hoped for a vast majority in order to be able to negotiate the UK’s exit from the European Union from a position of strength. When Theresa May called the elections in April, pollsters gave her a comfortable lead of 21 points over her Labour contender. Predictions suggested that the Tories would receive over 50 per cent of the vote, promising them a majority bigger than the one that Tony Blair obtained in 1997.

Now, however, after a couple of missteps and floundering public support, Theresa May seems to have a veritable challenge at her hands. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has steadily risen in the polls over the past couple of weeks and it might be a competitive election after all. Some polls even put Labour into striking distance to the Tories. This is a remarkable development as the vast majority of the media have considered Corbyn and his Bernie Sanders-like leftist agenda simply as ‘unelectable’. Yet, Corbyn’s anti-austerity campaign promising to invest heavily on public services such as education, health care and transportation has resonated with the public. He has made a passionate plea to combat inequality and income disparities; not by accident the Labour manifesto is entitled: “For the many, not the few”.  Similarly, in the heated debate on migration, Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn have represented two fundamentally different visions for the future of the UK: while the Tories have promised to limit immigration dramatically (below 100,000 annually), Corbyn has pointed to the UK’s structural skill shortage and the need to treat newcomers fairly.

One decisive factor in shaping the outcome of this election will be the effects of the recent terrorist attacks in Manchester and London. The ensuing public debate on security and anti-terrorist measures has drawn public attention to Theresa May’s controversial record (as home secretary) of reducing the number of police officers by over 20,000 since 2010. Thus, it was no surprise that during the last days of the electoral campaign she has tried hard to re-focus on her key message claiming that she alone would be able to negotiate a favourable Brexit with the EU.


Opportunity to build a better Canada - a call to apply for Governor in Council (GIC) positions

May, 2017

"The Government of Canada has developed a new more transparent process for Governor in Council (GIC) appointments. Among the major changes to the process is the public posting of available positions, for which all interested and qualified candidates may apply.

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), which is the federal research funding agency that promotes and supports postsecondary-based research and research training in the humanities and social sciences and strategically supports world-leading initiatives that reflect a commitment to ensuring a better future for Canada and the world.

The members of SSHRC's governing Council are distinguished representatives from the academic, not-for-profit, public and private sectors appointed by the Governor in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister, following a formal selection process led by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. The announcement for positions on SSHRC's governing Council has been posted recently (https://www.appointments-nominations.gc.ca/). SSHRC is inviting organization to announce the attached on web sites or share it with various networks.


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