The Year in Ideas

At some point I decided I could use this tiny corner of the Internet to create the sort of op-ed page I’d like to read—filled with people like Stephen Gordon, Eric Grenier, Alison Loat, Mike Moffatt, Alex Himelfarb, Rob Silver, David Eaves, Taylor Owen, Brian Topp, Bruce Anderson and all the other names that have turned up here these last few years. Smart people—far smarter than I—with smart things to say about serious matters.

These periodic nods to seriousness—as well as my own periodic turns toward the earnest—were probably in response to the realization of just how unseriously everyone else seems to regard the proceedings here (it’s less fun to poke fun when everything is already treated like a joke). And in the same spirit, with tongue at first placed in cheek, I began issuing periodic Idea Alerts. These were attempts to identify those fleeting outbreaks of thought that periodically interrupt the daily dance of jesters. These were, for the most part, legitimately intriguing notions, theories and passing fancies.

Herein, the Idea Alerts that were issued in 2010. No doubt if you could manage to implement them all, you would have a kind of utopia. Or at least fewer plastic bags and better television programming. My favourite remains the suggestion that we randomize seating in the House of Commons. Although an end to political hackery would perhaps result in the greatest benefit to society at large.

Prison reform.
Guaranteed income.
A video-conferenced Parliament.
Banning political advertising from television.
A ban on plastic bags.
Social innovation.
Random seating in the House of Commons.
Home-care benefits.
A home-heating tax break.
Making it easier to make a citizen’s arrest.
Subsidized education abroad.
A tax credit for voting.
An end to political hackery.
A national food policy.
Refugee system reform.
Enlisting amateur athletes to improve the physical fitness of school children.
Increasing the GST.
Democratic reform.
RCMP reform.
Taxing the richest.
Legalized sports gambling.
Reducing maternal mortality in the developing world.
Senate reform.
Limits on the Prime Minister’s ability to prorogue Parliament.
Renting out the House of Commons while prorogued.

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