Respecting differences is rightfully Canada's claim to fame in the world, but that is not enough to guide this place to its fullest potential. Canadians cannot -- and should not -- embrace any particular race, language, or religion as their national marker, but they can and should embrace their country. Such an embrace constitutes a commitment to the people who share this land and, indeed, to the land itself. Canadians can put aside the fear that flying the Maple Leaf too high may yield a sudden intolerance in the ship's hull. It won't.
Canada's profoundly misguided approach to prostitution and treatment of prostitutes changed on June 4, 2014, with the introduction of Bill C-36, the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act. By making prostitution illegal for the first time in Canadian history, the impact of the new prohibitions will be borne by those who purchase sex and persons who exploit others through prostitution rather than vulnerable individuals.
Instead of using the recommended language that Canada takes global warming seriously and that we recognize that human-caused climate change is a serious issue that must be dealt with, the Harper Government touted their non-existent record and resorted to taking pot-shots at the opposition. It seems that Conservative Peter Braid (Kitchener-Waterloo) has grown tired of this silly cycle.
Once again, Canada's Conservatives are bound and determined to roll right over, close their eyes and sleep through the alarm bells on climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) most recent assessment is a reminder of the urgency of addressing global warming, and the dangers of ignoring rising sea levels and increasing temperatures. In contrast, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in response that the newest report released by the IPCC is a wake-up call, and "those who deny the science or choose excuses over action are playing with fire." Our largest trading partner gets it. So where's Canada's government on this critical environmental and economic issue?
It's an interesting dilemma for the opposition. They largely wasted the summer months and only once in a while popped up to remind the public about Conservative scandals. Come September they will have to make up for lost time and lost opportunities, but they won't have Question Period to do that in.
As Canada turns 146, many recent surveys show that most Canadians are hankering for a new constitution. So is Canada's Constitution a completed document? Some commentators have claimed since 1995 that Canadians are tired of constitutional talks, and while this was likely true back then there is no evidence that the fatigue continues. As Canada moves toward its 150th birthday in 2017, what more appropriate national discussion could take place than about the document that founded both our country and our governments, and about the changes Canadians want in a new constitution?
Here at OpenMedia.ca, we've already been hearing from Canadians outraged that our own Members of Parliament are still being denied access to the TPP text -- access that has now been granted to their counterparts in Washington D.C. We know that Canadians will not accept their Members of Parliament being kept in the dark
As Mike Duffy's senatorial career implosion peaked this week, I was left wondering if all was really as it appeared, or if something far more complex was taking place. If Duffy -- and Wallin, and Brazeau, and others -- are part of a some plan to discredit the Senate to the point that all citizens demand its abolition.
I wish we could call a "time out" for politicians. Wouldn't it be great if we could send them to some dark room in Parliament and make them think about what they're doing? I'm talking about the tax you pay on your RRSP and all other types of investment accounts. Tax on TFSAs, RESPs and RDSPs. Yes, you're reading this correctly.
The arrest by the RCMP of two individuals who were allegedly planning out a terrorist attack on a VIA Rail train will only heighten our level of anxiety as the scare hits closer to home. Reintroducing these provisions seems nothing more than an attempt by the Conservative government to further prove its 'tough on terror' credentials. But when our laws appear to be working -- results of brave and successful law enforcement operations -- attempting to play on our fears by using emotion over reason does not do justice to the seriousness this discussion this requires.
This societal need to prosecute potty mouths and anything deemed offensive has become a popular trend in Canada. Most recently this has been transcended into anti-bullying laws introduced in legislatures all over the country.We have to be careful about legislating offensiveness. We cannot allow the government to decide what subjective comments are acceptable and which should land you in prison. Britain is taking steps to restore absolute freedom of speech, so should Canada.
In recent months, for a variety of reasons, the atmosphere in the Chamber has been difficult. Lately, it appears that all sides have, at different times, strayed quite far from the flexibility, accommodation and balance that ideally ought to exist in this place. Our electors expect all Members to make greater efforts to curb disorder and unruly behaviour.
The Conservative government has a disturbing habit of introducing significant changes to Canadian public policy by sleight of hand. Bill C-377 would force every labour organization in Canada to file detailed financial information. It is more about helping employers, the Conservative Party and special interest groups with close ties to them. If passed, Bill C-377 will tip the balance of labour relations in Canada.
Question Period tends to highlight exactly what is wrong with much that takes place in the House of Commons. Daily insults, putdowns, and factual misrepresentation are quite common. When you combine an inept opposition with a government side that shows little respect for the intelligence of Canadians, you end up with something that is so bad that you can't even call it a gong show.
This coming week, Parliament will vote on my amendments to Bill C-299, Conservative legislation that would impose a mandatory minimum sentence of five years on people who kidnap children. It would seem as though this would be just the kind of issue on which members of all parties could collaborate in good faith. Instead, however, this bill has become a prime example of how excessive haste -- and an uncooperative attitude toward parliamentary opposition -- can make for bad law and bad policy. It should be deeply troubling to Canadians that the laws governing our criminal justice system are being altered quite so nonchalantly. Surely, despite our differences on principle and policy we can at least agree that any proposed changes to the Criminal Code should be the object of serious scrutiny and debate.
Last night the first presidential candidates' debate of the 2012 election took place in Denver. For political junkies the debate was jarring: neither debater behaved according to the expectations set over the past several months. Obama was tongue-tied at several points. Romney seemed presidential. It is the phase of U.S. presidential campaigns that most closely resembles the Stanley Cup finals. Romney has the advantage for now, but Obama has been to the finals before and is the reigning champion. Game on!
Barbara George was a decorated law enforcement officer with an unblemished 30-year track record. Then in 2007, the House of Commons found her in contempt of Parliament for allegedly "misleading" the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.None of what George was accused of was true. She vowed not to rest until her name was cleared. Last week, she came a little closer. Now is the time for the House of Commons to apologize, and return some piece of mind to Barbara George and her family.
Parliament resumes this week. MPs have returned from their 308 ridings rested, connected with their constituents and ready for another round of political gamesmanship. We here at Samara thought it was a good time to revisit some of the ideas for Parliamentary reform put forward by those who've survived politics on the front lines: the Members of Parliament themselves.
The Komagata Maru incident occurred during a time in Canadian history where there was a deep-seated prejudice against minorities and immigrants. NDP MP Jasbir Sandhu's motion today urged the Government of Canada to officially apologize in Parliament to the South Asian community in the House of Commons. I commend him.