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.
The past year has been very eventful for Canada and the world -- in some very good ways, and, unfortunately, in some very bad ones. I do think the next year can provide an opportunity to support more women and marginalized people to be involved in politics and run for office, but this will require our collective actions to create spaces and opportunities.
The Liberals floated the idea of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) during the election campaign, but scant notice was taken by the media or the business community. But SBIR can be a very powerful catalyst for innovation and we must not allow this idea to be relegated to the policy back burner.
While we focus on (and maybe obsess over) the nutrients, vitamins or calories in our food, food social enterprises like Newcomer Kitchen are using food's potential to open minds, build healthy communities, and open minds. "You are what you eat" takes on new meaning if we consider not only what is in our dinner, but how and with whom we are dining.
There are issues requiring tough decisions that a few selfies will not provide him with enough cover nor will they help him to change the channel to better issues or allow for better optics. His recent foot in mouth moment over his comments on Fidel Castro is just this past weekend's storm cloud. We also have other storm clouds developing on the horizon.
We have to act "preventatively." Become active before they pass bills and laws that will affect us adversely. Once it's done, it's done. When we stay silent, when we do nothing, we send a message to our political leaders that everything is just fine and dandy. Even if we believe otherwise. That has to change.
The push for open government by the Liberals after the Conservatives showed a staunch opposition to transparency has merit. Yet, previous Action Plans were also visible during the Harper era. Nearly every single federal government department website had and still has a similar if not the same commitment to public engagement.
As a Paralympian and through my subsequent experience in various positions in both the Canadian and international sport systems, I have seen first-hand the positive impact the independent World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has made in the fight against doping in sport. WADA is increasing the pressure on organizations and countries that don't comply with the World Anti-Doping Code. We are gaining traction on this. It's working. Cheaters are being exposed.