The pre-election debate on improving the Canada Pension Plan is important and overdue. Despite the Harper government's reluctance, there is a broad consensus that, as a national newspaper said recently, "raising mandatory CPP contribution rates and boosting future payouts are the most prudent, most effective and least costly fix." But that's not enough.
Opposition to shale gas development has been fueled by fears that fracking could adversely affect our drinking water resources. A just-released study from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should help douse such fears. The exhaustive, 998-page report "did not find evidence that these mechanisms have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States."
Jacques Parizeau was a passionate and principled man who believed in Quebec's independence, but he was at times a divisive politician. Judging by the many hateful comments I saw last night, his "money and the ethnic vote" speech after the razor-thin Quebec independence referendum loss in 1995 will continue to haunt his legacy. The over-the-top indignation I'm seeing from some is getting on my nerves. Is that one sentence from 20 years ago the only thing some of you can remember from his entire political legacy? Parizeau was so much more than just a rant, more than just one ugly moment in time.
Jacques Parizeau was Quebec Premier for merely 16 months, but he was a great servant of the state and, above all, one of the foremost builders of modern Quebec. He was one of the founding members of Parti québécois in 1968-1969, alongside Mr. Lévesque who had just stormed out of the Quebec Liberal Party. "Monsieur," as everyone called him, was a statesman; he truly had the interest of the public at heart in the noblest sense of the expression. The interest of the state came before his own. That is something that is becoming extremely rare in politics nowadays.
Environmental and citizen groups in Quebec are demanding the National Energy Board explain why it refuses to order a hydrostatic safety test of Enbridge's Line 9 pipeline, a west-to-east oil pipeline that could come online as early as next month. A hydrostatic test or hydrotest is a commonly used method to determine whether a pipeline can operate safely at its maximum operating pressure. The test involves pumping water through the pipeline at levels higher than average operating pressures.
The plight of Quebec's maple syrup industry has caught the eye of Pierre Paradis, the province's agriculture minister. While the province's share of global maple syrup production was 78 per cent ten years ago, it has fallen to 69 per cent today. We remain the global leader, but that's still quite a drop in market share.
Hydro-Québec indirectly subsidizes the wind power sector to the tune of $695 million a year, which amounts to some $200 per Quebec household to produce a tiny fraction of the province's energy. With an estimated 40 billion barrels of oil, developing this resource would provide a minimum of $160 million a year in royalties for the Quebec treasury over 30 years.
The importance of quality palliative care gets overshadowed by our national debate over euthanasia or medically assisted death. There is a lack of understanding about what palliative care means and how it can help to ensure that we and those we love are able to make that journey to the end of life with dignity.
With jumping izakayas, creative sushi chefs and thoughtful takes on tradition, a creative Japanese food scene is blossoming in Montreal. So raise your plum wine, and let's salute a spring season of bright culinary adventures inspired by the meeting of new and old, east and west, elegance and pub and street.
A new era of darkness looms over Québec and is permeating our land. Québec's evolution as a modern society is based on core values that include clean energy and the redistribution of wealth. This is at the heart of who we are as Quebecers. This is what we aspire to be. We demand that this identity be respected.
In Canada, Stephen Harper led two minority governments before his 2011 win gave him a solid majority. Britain's David Cameron became prime minister in 2010 by virtue of a coalition with the Liberal Democrats and would clearly prefer a majority of his own. By imitating Harper's Canadian Crunch, he may have improved his chances.
It's safe to say this year's winter definitely had us looking forward to spring! We may have theoretically passed that long-awaited first day of spring, but in Canada, Mother Nature doesn't seem to be ready to give up with grace. To beat back our late winter blues, we rounded up top Canadian Instagrammers who've been capturing the beauty of Canada and the rest of the world, whatever the season.