Melanee Thomas Profile picture
Associate Professor, Political Science, UCalgary | gender, behaviour, #cdnpoli @ucalgary | settler | former farm kid | lazy runner | She/her. Tweets are my own
papillon4444, rabble-rousing crone 🇨🇦 🌈 🕊🍎😷 Profile picture Norlaine Thomas Profile picture 2 added to My Authors
2 Jul
Confused about equalization?

Why is it so controversial in #abpoli #ableg when it's by far the SMALLEST transfer the federal government sends provinces?

This book will help: books.google.ca/books/about/Fi…
It's short, but like a typical political scientist, I'd focus on the first two chapters. It clearly explains why complaining about equalization legit makes no sense
Skeptical? Let me ask you a few questions.

Do you think Canadians should have access to comparable services no matter where they live?

It no, then equalization is moot. But you'd be in the minority. Most think this is a good principle.
Read 17 tweets
30 Jun
So, how much of a shift is this for #abpoli #ableg?

It depends on what questions you ask (thread)
Right out of the gate, the report observes that one of Alberta's strengths is a "best educated" population in Canada.

Does this signal a change in education policy for K-12 or post-secondary?
No. It means freezing or deferring education property taxes, and a doubling down on existing plans to "review" post-secondary.

cbc.ca/news/canada/ed…
Read 37 tweets
25 Jun
#abpoli #ableg is proposing, among other things, to remove or increase donation and spending caps for elections in Alberta.

The "rationale" is that this will make elections more "fair." Research strongly suggests otherwise: a thread
This study looks at where candidates in the US get their $$ from. Higher individual contributions = more extreme, or polarized candidates getting elected

journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.108…
Constraining corporate contributions = increases other corporate expenses, such as lobbying.

Translate that to #abpoli, and I'd expect that unfettered group spending in municipal elections will = a lot of corporate money dropped into the campaign

link.springer.com/article/10.100…
Read 18 tweets
17 Jun
Disinformation is when content -- correct and incorrect -- is presented to lead people to draw a particular, often incorrect or misleading political conclusion.

The Fair Deal Panel is an exercise in disinformation #abpoli #ableg 1/N
As a political scientist, the most painful parts of the report address the Canadian constitution.

The report could be easily read as if Alberta holding a referendum on s36 of Constitution Act 1982 could change how Canada does equalization 2/N
It can't. No one province can unilaterally amend the constitution. This would either need the 7/50 formula or unanimity. (I don't know offhand.) The point is that Alberta cannot change this on its own.

The report authors & the premier know this. Average folks probably don't 3/N
Read 19 tweets
28 Apr
I'm a big fan of bonus questions on exams. This term, I asked students about the best & worst of their experience with remote delivery b/c #COVID19, and what they'd like to see if we're doing the same in Fall 2020. THREAD:

#AcademicTwitter #AcademicChatter
Perhaps unsurprisingly, most students find mandatory synchronous Zoom lectures ineffective. Instead, many indicated they would prefer to work through materials at their own pace
My spouse is an experienced sports videographer, so we were setup to do videos in ways I don't think (m)any other faculty can, unless they have access to similar skills. But, students indicated that better quality videos did help them, at least when things were hard at first
Read 20 tweets
11 Apr
Who's going to tell the premier that being open-minded and responsive to public feedback, even when negative, is also the work of democracy?

Or that working democracy does NOT = jamming omnibus legislation through the process in 4 days?
Or that constitutional conventions are part of democracy here, too, and so failing to respect them undermines our democracy? (cough individual ministerial responsibility means those who shout at constituents should resign cough)
Or that dealing with a crisis means putting other goals, whatever their motivation (ideological or otherwise) on the back burner until the crisis is at least fully managed, if not passes?
Read 11 tweets
25 Mar
Some might ask, "Why should we care about universities, especially now? Aren't they the golden goose here?"

Fair comment. For me, let's think about who we've all needed to rely on more over the past few weeks than we ever thought possible (THREAD):

#abpoli #ableg
The obvious? Front line health care professionals. All are university trained.

Physicians
Registered Nurses
Respiratory Technicians.

#abpoli #ableg
Next, 🙋‍♀️if you've put in a call to your accountant, or someone who works in a bank, about your mortgage, credit card, line of credit, etc. Most of them need university degrees to get those jobs

#abpoli #ableg
Read 12 tweets
7 Mar
#abpoli, let's talk about how some (mostly conservative) political elites are working overtime to try make us angry at the feds, and presumably to redirect anger away from them and their (budgetary) choices
In so doing, some elites in #abpoli are using concepts like colonialism in incorrect, gross ways.

#cdnpoli, take note, too, b/c these arguments are directed at you and they're not persuasive
The starting premise is that Alberta is treated like a colony by Canada, and that this "must" change "constitutionally" before Albertans will stop being angry or wanting to separate.

There are so many things empirically wrong about this I don't know where to start, really
Read 24 tweets
28 Nov 19
@LaurieC_21 Sure. I'll happily conceded that point.

But let's talk about other ways we can evaluate speech. There are democratic norms that govern how we expect people to use their speech and their power. A premier who attacks a citizen in #ableg clearly violates those
@LaurieC_21 Does he have the constitutional right to do it? Sure. Does that mean he should? Certainly not. Even in private life, we accept the norm that ad hominem attacks are problematic and unmeritorious.
@LaurieC_21 Why should that be different for people in power, particularly when they are acting in their formal capacity as a democratically selected head of government, in a democratic political institution?

To suggest there is nothing wrong with this kind of conduct is just outrageous.
Read 3 tweets
28 Nov 19
On Monday, the premier of Alberta attacked me by name to undermine my credentials, research, and academic freedom on the floor of #ableg.

It's Wednesday, and the press secretary for the Minister of Advanced Ed has decided to argue that this simply = free speech
The thing is, when profs in #cdnpoli teach the Charter and its rights, the most crucial point is to identify the relationship the constitution defines: it's between us as citizens and the state or government. Most rights are typically framed in that relationship
So, when we talk about Canadians having free expression, it means we are free to express, within reasonable limits, without state or government sanction
Read 10 tweets
25 Nov 19
Question Period in #ableg starts at 130 pm MST.

By 2 PM MST, I had heard that the premier of my province, @jkenney, suggested that my academic work as a political scientist, and any reflection it might have on politics today deserves to be dismissed 1/n
@jkenney Why? I decided to run as a candidate in an election under a party banner in June 2004, before starting my first graduate degree in September 2/n
@jkenney Today, when I first heard the premier's view, I had just come from an intense and productive meeting about a research project. I am currently wrapping up a year of research and scholarship leave at @ucalgary. 3/n
Read 23 tweets
12 Nov 19
Speaking of "giddy up," let's talk about how a partisan narrative about "3 million" Albertans fails to adequately or accurately represent how Albertans think and feel about #cdnpoli

cbc.ca/news/politics/…
We gathered some data about how Albertans think and feel about politics immediately following #abpoli's provincial election back in April 2019. One thing we asked is how proud Albertans are about their community, their province, and their country
*IF* the narrative coming from @jkenney and @MichelleRempel is correct, then we should see a very clear pattern: Albertans should be more proud of Alberta than they are of Canada.
Read 19 tweets
25 Aug 19
My favourite museum that I visited in 2019 (and, perhaps, of all time) is the Verzetsmuseum in Amsterdam. It documents the social context in the Netherlands prior to and during the Nazi occupation during WWII (1/n)
The museum does something smart I haven't seen in many other places: it gives visitors a frame through which to understand the possible reactions available to the Dutch people during this time. They could resist, adapt, or collaborate: verzetsmuseum.org/museum/en/exhi…
Through this lens, it's clear why one of the most common reactions was NOT resistance, at least not at first. The culture at the time was deferential to authority, and people genuinely thought that, while they didn't like the Nazis, they didn't think much bad could happen
Read 23 tweets
7 Aug 19
Some are justifiably wondering why the #UCP's 2019 interim supply bill for libraries is drawing so much more criticism than the #NDP's in 2015 #abpoli #ableg

Here's what's different (1)
The #NDP's interim supply bill was tabled in June, to start July 1 (edmonton.ctvnews.ca/mobile/interim…). Folks who work for libraries in southern Alberta confirm they received 75% of their grant then, and the remaining 25% in early Sept thru special approval of the Minister of the day (2)
The #UCP's interim supply bill has come, literally, months later and is giving libraries 50% of their operating grant with about 6 weeks left in the fiscal year (3)
Read 10 tweets