What a year.
This is said every year, but 2018-2019 was truly one to remember. With four Canadian provincial elections since September, dozens of national elections around the world, the U.S. midterm elections, the SNC-Lavalin affair, the on-again-off-again Brexit debacle, and a changing international order, this year kept us busy at MJPS.
From Flash Analysis articles providing the very first assessment of an emerging event to opinion pieces on complex political phenomena, MJPS writers produced a range of high-quality articles to match the plethora of political events throughout the year.
In September, Canada and Saudi Arabia kicked the academic year in politics off with a feud, covered by Zuleyma Caparo. Shortly thereafter, the Quebec election grasped our attention, and MJPS staff Evelyne Goulet, Katherine Cuplinskas, Ryanne Lau, and Catharina O’Donnell covered every aspect of the election in a featured series.
On the other side of the border, October was defined by the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, which Evelyne Goulet provided an opinion on, arguing that the nomination went through thanks to the cowardice of some senators. Sophia Kamps provided greater insight into Supreme Court nominations in the U.S., specifically tracing the history of partisanship in the country’s highest court.
In its own legal world, Canada entered a new era in October with marijuana legalization. Nikita Tafazoli explained that the bill hinted at a legal path for future decriminalization of other drugs, while Zaheed Kara argued that legalization of all drugs would be morally untenable. Meanwhile, Eyitayo Kunle-Oladosu analyzed the effects of cannabis amnesty legislation, finding that the Liberals’ plan provides “only a partial remedy to the historical injustices surrounding cannabis.”
Speaking of major Canadian political developments, October 2018 marked one year before the 2019 federal election and launched our monthly Election Outlook series, with the latest iteration by Chanel MacDiarmid.
In the opposite hemisphere, Chris Cadogan covered Jair Bolsonaro’s victory in the Brazilian national election.
November kept MJPS writers busy: the U.S. midterm elections took place, which MJPS covered in a week-long article series by Evelyne Goulet, Erin McDonald, Sophia Kamps, Jane Warren, Kabir Gupta, Catharina O’Donnell, and Jillian Giberson.
Meanwhile, a “new era in Chinese power” was covered by Erin Wen, who examined the history of ethnic unrest in Xinjiang as it relates to the recent mass detention of Muslims. Omar Arafeh added to this discussion with an analysis of China’s infamous Belt and Road Initiative.
Back at home, Gabe Bleyer assessed the Trudeau Liberals’ move to force striking postal workers back to work, while Jeanne Mayrand-Thibert provided a theoretical examination of Quebec Premier Francois Legault’s push for religious neutrality.
In December, Trump withdrew American troops from Syria, effectively ending involvement in the civil war. Jillian Giberson analyzed the international implications of this foreign policy move. In Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel capped off 2018 with an announcement that she would not seek re-election. In a joint article, Will Hanna and Ciprian Constantinescu assessed what this announcement means for the political landscape.
Following the winter break, the first few weeks of January gave MJPS staff a lot to work with. The iconic Canadian Parliament building closed its doors for decade-long renovations, but Katherine Cuplinskas explained why Canadians need not fret this change.
Speaking of temporarily closing down, Evelyne Goulet covered the longest government shutdown in American history. Meanwhile, Oscar Beghin wrote a flash analysis on the World Economic Forum and its discussions over globalization, while Mika Weissenberger took a look at growing ties between Russia and Saudi Arabia.
In February, the SNC-Lavalin affair took Canadian politics by storm, broken down by Chanel MacDiarmid. Patricia Sibal analyzed one of the major consequences of this moment: two former Liberal cabinet ministers being removed from the Liberal caucus.
Also shaking up the political landscape, Trump declared a national emergency in order to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border in a move Kabir Gupta called historic and illegitimate.
March would have been a major month in European politics had Brexit gone through as planned. Instead, the deadline passed and politics continued as usual, at least for now. Sam Johnston discussed the passing deadline and Christophe Bull argued that the EU has taken control of the Brexit timetable. Moving eastward, Rebecka Pieder explored Russia-Crimea relations on the fifth year anniversary of the territory’s annexation by Russia.
Speaking of complex political contexts, Julia Nguyen covered the Thai national elections, examining the confusion surrounding the democratic legitimacy of the elections. In yet another important national election, Naomi Shi assessed the obstacles to Narendra Modi’s re-election in India.
With the first week of April marking 25 years since the start of the Rwandan genocide, Erin McDonald provided an overview of the lessons that can be learned from this atrocity.
In addition to specific events, this year had us following several long-term trends. Helia Mokhber discussed the phenomenon of modernization without democratization in the Middle East, and Srijan Shukla argued that “the American-led liberal order is dying, and nowhere are the signs as apparent as they are in the Middle East,” especially following the death of Jamal Khasshogi. Further, Isabelle Shi analyzed a broader global phenomenon of local issues garnering international attention.
Back at home, we saw a provincial blue wave, with province after province electing right-leaning governments. Lewie Haar analyzed this phenomenon, discussing the consequences for federal politics. Conversely, Andie Habert found that the Green party is also making its own waves. With the Green party’s rising bringing awareness to climate change, Jane Warren argued that Canada needs to consider imperfect solutions, or non-ideal theory, in order to tackle climate change.
The 2018-2019 academic year gave us a lot to write about. In just eight months, the MJPS staff published more than 250 articles. Covering a range of topics in international relations, Canadian politics, comparative politics, and political theory, MJPS demonstrated its steadfast commitment to Getting the Insight Out.
Thank you to Editor-in-Chief Patricia Sibal, Managing Editor Ryanne Lau, Section Editors Sophia Dilworth, Catharina O’Donnell, Sophia Kamps, Evelyne Goulet, Sophia Rafuse, Will Keefe and Srijan Shukla, and all staff writers and contributors for making this year one to remember. To our readers, thanks for joining us. See you soon for our summer content!