It's pretty clear that in the public discourse around C-51, there are serious fears on each side. One side is afraid of terrorism infiltrating Canada; the other is afraid of abuse of power through government surveillance. How are we to get back to a real public dialogue, instead of talking past one another?
Conveniently, the fear appeals being made by ISIS, Al Shabab, and the other myriad terror groups we tend to lump together are quite literally textbook examples of fear appeals. What's more, the terrorists and our own government actually work together for a good part of the process, increasing the fear we feel for their own insidious ends.
Today is the World Day of Social Justice. Who among us would disagree with such a concept? The term social justice has become commonplace and tends to go down pretty easy. But what if it goes down a bit too easily? Do we just hear the word, make a mental check mark, and move on? Are we more concerned with saying the right things than actually changing our actions? As citizens of a democracy, we have both the right and responsibility to make a difference in the policies and actions of our government.
No matter how you slice it, Harper has failed to lead Canada towards a sustained economic recovery from the financial crisis seven years ago. It doesn't matter how much public money he spends on ads claiming otherwise. Facts are facts. So, what does a government facing re-election do when its top agenda item, economic management, is in tatters? It changes the channel to something else.
With much ado about crossing the floor from the Conservative to the Liberal Party, the talk seems to centre on whether Justin Trudeau's Liberals gained much, if anything. That talk misses the point: the question is not what the Liberals got, but what the Conservatives lost. Coming on the heels of the clearly unplanned departure of John Baird, the real story is not the questionable value of the asset Trudeau has acquired but the fact that a sitting government member has crossed the floor to sit with a third party.
First, assuming that the baby boom is a post-war phenomenon means we jump to the wrong conclusion when guessing the cause. The baby boom was not the result of frisky soldiers returning to Canada. It was, instead, the result of the very good economic times in the period 1952 to 1965 allowing for at-home moms and large families.
We urgently need to expand access to HIV testing across Canada, and facilitate free access to HAART, care and support. We need stronger anti-discrimination legislation that protects those infected and those most at risk for acquisition of HIV infection. We must repel federal law criminalizing HIV exposure and introduce new laws that truly protect the safety of sex workers.
Canada's colonial reality means Aboriginal people here face challenges where non-Aboriginal people enjoy opportunities. But I believe that through the hard work of many activists, leaders, and thinkers, Canada is slowly decolonizing. In the spirit of optimism that rings in a new year, I'd like to focus on some of the events that signal this gradual shift, even while recognizing that, in the words of Justice Murray Sinclair, head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, this work will not be completed in our lifetimes.
Conservative MPs had an historic, unprecedented chance to throw off their chains and empower themselves and all MPs, and political party riding associations, to represent voters. Instead, they changed the Reform Act to the "Hope for Reform Act," essentially giving up the chance to limit party leaders' powers.
The leader of that party does what he wants, when he wants, and no one dares question him. Would a Prime Minister Trudeau arbitrarily whip the vote and outlaw certain moral questions? Could Prime Minister Trudeau be trusted to make decisions for the good of the country, not just for his personal self-worth? Would Trudeau call in the police to enforce his vision? Let's hope we never have the opportunity to ask those questions.
Protecting members of our society from discrimination based on the colour of their skin, ethnicity, or ancestry is a fundamental Canadian value. Unfortunately, Canadians across the country currently face real as well as potential future discrimination based on their DNA. Genetic testing can provide diagnostic precision and more effective treatment of illness, saving lives and ultimately reducing healthcare costs. Tragically, patients all too often face a dreadful dilemma: undergo testing that could prolong and improve the quality of their lives but would make them vulnerable to discrimination, or refrain from testing and take their chances.