In the autumn of 2015, folks at my church got very excited about the opportunity to sponsor refugee families from Syria. Plans were made, funds raised, paperwork submitted - and at one point, an apartment was rented. And then, we waited... and waited. Finally, a Syrian family arrived that our parish could sponsor - in March 2017.
Despite those who may object to free birth control, there are many reasons why prescription birth control should be free. Making birth control free saves Canada billions in health care costs. It benefits those who take it, is effective in reducing unintended pregnancies and abortions, and increases equal access to sexual health products.
With the new federal budget, Canada's government is sending a strong signal that it intends to follow through on its commitment to curb carbon pollution from our homes and buildings. By focusing on social housing, the budget also signals a resolve to ensure energy efficiency will benefit all Canadians.
We are entering a new era of identity politics -- the increasingly common practice of political campaigns throwing actual policy to the wind and instead playing directly to our emotions -- this method is defined by selfies, sunny-ways, hope and change, fear and division and class anger turned into blind rage.
Motion 103 did not come from a genuine desire to have a serious debate on discrimination in the House of Commons. The origin of Motion 103 is found in the e-Petition on which it is based. This seems to have been missed by many observers who think this motion was brought after the terrible attack on the mosque in Quebec.
Can we say we are a multicultural society if we're unable to fundamentally accept its most basic concept: tolerance of other cultures and religions? Why is there a discrepancy between the support many Canadians show to multiculturalism -- and who often feverishly argue is the basis of Canadian identity -- and combating Islamophobia? If we're (arguably) a multicultural society then why are we also not an anti-Islamophobia society?
In a country that prides itself in its gender-equal cabinet, the question of whether or not Parliament Hill is a safe space for women is rarely discussed. From hateful and misogynistic comments to sexual assault, women in Canadian politics continue to be targets of violence at various stages of their careers.
When Rebel Media sent out emails claiming that "Canada is on the verge of passing a law that would prohibit criticizing Islam" and that "If this motion passes, Canadians can be persecuted for expressing any criticism of Islam, even when warranted," I pointed out that M-103 is a motion, not a law, and that it will not change a single comma of existing speech legislation. Apparently, Prime Minister Trudeau disagrees.
Radical populism has shown its ugly face during this leadership race, and that face is the dual-headed hydra of Kellie Leitch and Kevin O'Leary. The concern is that if radical populism in the Conservative Party is left unchecked, it threatens to overtake meaningful and nuanced candidates like Bernier and Chong.
Nothing is more dangerous than the efforts to make ourselves feel good about being Canadians by telling us that we are all good and free from the toxicity of U.S. politics. We keep telling ourselves that the incidents where we portrayed our distrust and hate towards each other are all isolated incidents, carried out by the misfits. They don't represent who we are. We are nice people. We need to wake up.
When it comes to countering radicalization, Canadian policy has a different problem. While the U.S. is pursuing a response to radicalization which actually feeds the problem it is supposed to be addressing, the Canadian response of late has been to effectively deny the reality of the conflict that we are in.
During a recent visit to my hometown of St. John's, I went to a busy restaurant to meet friends for lunch. The hostess asked my name. "Bolu," I started. After she refused to take my first name, I began with my last name. "O-g-u-n ..." but was abruptly cut off by the visibly irritated hostess. My name was an inconvenience to her -- too foreign, apparently.
In light of the prime minister's recent visit with the Aga Khan, a lot of people are asking questions about who the Aga Khan is and what his objectives are. This is a real scandal which raises real questions about Justin Trudeau's ethics. It in no way detracts from the charitable work of the Aga Khan. This scandal is about the prime minister's actions, not the Aga Khan's.
The Conservative leadership race is finally attracting attention. Kevin O'Leary's entrance into the campaign has finally achieved what has been missing to date, i.e., interest. With fourteen in the race, is it time for a few to take "a walk in the snow?" Is it time for a number of the contenders to set aside egos and throw their support behind a serious candidate?
After the success of Donald Trump, multiple candidates are venturing into that version of the imitation game - in tone, in style, in tactics or in substance. Their failure to recognize fundamental differences in the political culture and the leadership selection processes in both countries will be their undoing.