In response to the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis, our current Canadian government has reluctantly offered some support. We shall, according to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, accept 10,000 refugees over the next three years. As medical students committed to global health, we call into question this lukewarm commitment to such a pressing crisis and call for stronger commitments in line with Canada's values.
Marineland has launched lawsuits targeting myself, former orca trainer Christine Santos and animal care supervisor Jim Hammond. My latest round of legal bills totaled more than I will earn in this year -- $100,000. Our lawsuits are shining examples of the urgent need for the anti-SLAPP legislation that is Bill 52: Protection of Public Participation Act. It is unbearable to think that this historic piece of legislation -- as it is currently written -- will not apply to the very people who have largely inspired it. Why is the province turning its back on us and leaving us behind? Where is the procedural fairness for those of us who are already proceeding with unfair cases before the courts in Ontario?
With the confirmation of the Canadian recession by Stats Canada earlier this month and the government's subsequent announcement of a $1.9 billion surplus, spending has become a particular point of interest in our upcoming election. Small business owners, who make up 98 per cent of employer businesses in Canada, will be looking to see which party's proposed spend will have a tangible effect on their bottom lines.
There is a distinction between two kinds of rights held by copyright owners: economic rights and moral rights. Any Canadian politicians seeking to use a musical work at a public event should be aware of the legal issues that may arise when a work is directly linked with a political party or message.
The trend is clear: when voters are faced with a left-leaning party campaigning on centrist economic ideals, they will pick the real deal every time. Every. Single. Time. At its best, Mulcair's NDP can inspire. Bill C-51 is the best example, but its universal child-care policy and promise to abolish the senate also fall into this category. But there have been too many blunders. Mulcair's sudden love for balanced budgets not only affirms the faulty framework that inexplicably lauds Stephen Harper as a responsible steward of the economy, it cedes precious ground to Trudeau at the moment Canadians want an alternative to neoliberal pabulum.
Simon Kuzents, the economist who developed the GDP measurement, warned it was not a good meter stick for national well-being. Still, that's exactly how the GDP has been used globally since the 1940s. GDP is the total value of all the goods and services a country produces in a year. So, creating jobs and producing equipment to clean up an oil spill, for example, adds to the GDP. As does producing guns and bombs for war. GDP is blind to factors like unemployment, living conditions and environmental degradation. Make sense? Not really. Whether it's genuine progress, national happiness, or a system that blends the best of both, the global community must agree on a more holistic way to measure our nations' progress that doesn't just count the money we make.
Not all political dynasties are created equal -- one key difference lies in the calibre of their descendants. Last year, the Liberal Party elected as its leader Justin Trudeau, son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. Warren Bennis, a noted scholar on leadership, said, "The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born -- that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That's nonsense."
As a socialist, I was excited for this election as I hoped the NDP would stretch its wings and become a vocal proponent for the poor, the under-housed, the underemployed, etc.; that they would put front and centre the issues that carry the greatest ethical and moral weight for Canada's society. But no. The party of the little man -- Tommy Douglas's party of mice refusing to be led by cats -- is now courting middle-income Canadians. For me the crisis facing Canadians is not one of an attack on the middle class.
The heart-rending image of Alan Kurdi dead in the sand, as though sleeping peacefully, sparked a global mobilization to aid Syrian refugees. But while they number more than four million, Syrians still only represent one-fifth of the almost 20 million refugees in the world today -- the greatest global refugee population since World War II. While Canadians open their homes and wallets to Syrian refugees, here are some of the others we cannot allow to be forgotten.
Election season is heating up. The leaders debate on economic policy is almost upon us. And my mother wants me to say a few things to those who aspire to lead our country. She wants me to say that, as a strong woman who is the mother of a strong woman and grandmother of a strong granddaughter, we need to do better.
We have seen how "Islamicism" has become a convenient tool for the government to employ a more aggressive foreign policy. Although it's easy for Canadian Muslims to lay blame on the Conservatives and Stephen Harper for such discriminatory and exploitative tactics (and doing so would be justifiable), it would also be disingenuous. The current situation is simply a culmination of years of political apathy from the Muslim community whose voter turnout is consistently below the national average.
One of the most important steps the Canadian government can take to kickstart the economy is a large-scale program directed at renewing our national infrastructure. It will help drive job creation while generating about $1.60 of GDP for every $1 spent. And it will transform the present value of low interest rates into long-term capital assets underpinning greater Canadian productivity.
The September 15 deadline to bid for the 2024 Olympics is a big deal that boosters everywhere are downplaying. In Toronto, they are telling us not to worry, saying it's just a letter -- an "expression of interest" -- and that the letter doesn't mean anything. Elsewhere, no one is saying anything about that date at all. But September 15 is a big deal, and bid cities everywhere should be concerned.
Has a hashtag ever influenced a vote? Probably not. Did a Twitter meme ever sway a key voting demographic? We will have to ask #bathrobeguy, but I'll wager no. But when we talk about digital, we're talking about strategy far beyond these primitive social tactics. We're talking about a suite of tools that reinforce, strengthen and improve traditional and key campaign functions.
It's something the majority of Canadians intuitively feel: politics and politicians no longer seem like a channel for change or action, and so we tune them out. People and even partisans are disconnected from purpose beyond the election cycle. But in an election framed on change, maybe there's an opportunity here to reconnect politics and purpose.