Beyond The Ballot

Naheed Nenshi

The Canada We Hope For

We've figured out a simple truth: we're in this together. Our neighbour's strength is our strength; the success of any one of us is the success of every one of us. But this is incredibly fragile. It must be protected always from the voices of intolerance, divisiveness, small-mindedness, and hatred. It's the right thing to do.
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Youth Mental Health Is an Election Issue That Affects Us All

In this election we are raising issues that matter to young Canadians. Mental health is a big one. A report by Alberta's Institute of Health Economics states that just seven cents of every dollar spent on health care in Canada goes to mental health. That's despite the fact mental disorders account for 40 per cent of all illnesses Canadians face. Canadian governments must dramatically increase funding, investing in accessible community-based mental health care -- if Canada could reduce the annual rate of mental illnesses by 10 per cent, it would save our health care system four billion dollars a year.
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These Are All the Election Issues More Important Than the Niqab

Canada must talk about the real challenges facing our country -- our response to the greatest threat humanity faces, climate change. We should be talking about trade deals, endangered species, protecting water resources, our responsibilities to the rest of the world and so much more. Instead, this election has bogged down into "dead cat" distractions like niqabs, an issue that affects almost no one!
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Inaction Scores Harper a Failing Grade on Climate Change

For more than two decades, Mark Jaccard has been penning "report cards" about Canada's environmental track record. The results haven't been pretty. His annual evaluations were harnessed in the mid-2000s by Stephen Harper as arguments for why the Conservatives deserved a shot at governing the country. Jaccard's latest report card, released on October 6, concludes the Conservative Party has since "implemented virtually no policies that would materially reduce emissions" despite making significant emissions pledges for 2020 and 2050. Jaccard concludes the absence of such actions shows "they must have had no intention" of dealing with climate change.
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We Need a National Housing Strategy

My patient reminded me that day of something that I have always known -- access to housing is not just a matter of rights and justice, it's also a matter of health. When his mental health deteriorates, he can indeed access the hospital care he needs, but if providing him access to housing can help keep him healthier, costs us less, and is the right thing to do, then why not do it for everyone? This federal election, when we vote, we must vote for housing for all, and no matter who is elected, we must call on them to take action immediately.
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Canada Needs a National Dementia Strategy

While each province and territory provides dementia treatment and support services, more can be done under the framework of a national dementia strategy. Other member countries of PAHO -- including Argentina, Mexico and the U.S. -- have implemented national strategies. To get there, we need to bring all the voices to the table, especially Canadians facing the daily challenges of this unforgiving disease. That's the only way to ensure we have consistent and integrated care across the country for all Canadians, from initial diagnosis to end of life.
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We Should Not Let Racialized Fear Define Our Political Future

Be aware that, in our midst, a group of Canadian citizens are being dehumanized. History has shown us over and over again that this leads to oppression, hatred, and violence. Move past your knee-jerk reaction of protectionism. Don't be fooled by rhetoric. Understand that to that Muslim woman wearing the niqab, not being able to choose what she wears is oppression, even if it makes you personally uncomfortable.
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Canada Has Become More Green, No Thanks to Harper

The environmental issue of our time is climate change, and Canada's government under the leadership of Stephen Harper has failed at every opportunity to address this issue. Does this failure mean that the last decade has been a failure for the environment? No. Fortunately, there has been leadership elsewhere. Canadians are often doing the right thing to reduce our impact on the planet, without legislation.
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Canada Needs a Federal Focus on Sustainable Youth Employment

The federal government must invest in solid labour market research and incentives for employers to hire Canadian youth, like grants and tax breaks. Industry has to step up, too, offering co-op education placements and paid internships, as well as career mentorship for young employees. We should closely watch and learn from the European Union. Facing massive underemployment, over the past four years the EU has launched a sweeping youth employment strategy, including better labour market research, apprenticeship and skills training programs, as well as government-business partnerships that are expected to create more jobs.
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Comparing the Federal Party Policies on Climate Change

Climate change is a serious problem that must be taken seriously by our elected officials. We need our federal government to take action and reduce Canada's emissions now. So when you head to the polls on October 19, make sure you know where the candidates in your riding stand on climate change, and vote for someone you can trust to stand up for a healthy environment and low-carbon future that benefits us all.
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Canada Needs to Reaffirm Its Commitment to Children

It's been nearly 25 years since Canada signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, agreeing to protect and ensure the rights of our youngest citizens. Yet there is still no formal mechanism to hold the government accountable for the way it treats its youngest citizens. Every day, Canadian children experience poverty, abuse, neglect, preventable diseases, and unequal access to quality health services and education. At the root of many of these problems is public policy that does not put the needs of children first.
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Focus on the Benefits of Combating Climate Change

Almost all of our communication about climate change and sustainability is about how bad things are going to get if we don't change our ways -- floods, droughts, crop failures, coastal cities underwater and so on. All the evidence of how we are screwing things up can overload people, but when they see a new world arriving that might be better than the old one, they get excited.
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Our Next Government Needs to Step Up Support for Long-Term Care

So what are the choices for those with elderly parents? Having adult children stepped up to their responsibility to take care of the seniors at home thereby sacrificing their career, hopes and dreams, or neglecting the seniors with inadequate care compounding the physical and mental suffering of those who cared for us when we were unable to take care of ourselves? Neither choice is acceptable. We are proposing an innovative way to find a solution to this problem.
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Leap Manifesto Sets Sights on a Green Canada by 2050

One could be forgiven for thinking climate change would be at the centre of the election. A decade of gutted environmental laws, unfettered fossil fuel expansion, missed carbon pollution reduction targets and a failure to capture the tangible benefits of shifting to cleaner energy production and use has not only lowered our collective expectations, but put us at the back of the pack globally.