No one can downplay the seriousness of the issue both for the individuals concerned, for the Prime Minister, the Conservative Party or the Senate itself. The accusations are very serious as the number of investigations indicates. We do have to be careful, though, to separate fact from rhetoric, and ask some hard questions to both sides of the senate scandals.
The Conservative caucus must be stunned at this on-going drama that unfolds day after day. In both the Penashue case and the recent Senate revelations the public is left with the impression that the Prime Minister is protecting individuals who have done something wrong. The public quite rightly should be asking "why?"
Fiscal responsibility has been the hallmark of the Harper government from day one. It's therefore quite interesting to see in year seven of his reign that the opposition is focused on trying to destroy the credibility the Tories have on that front. It's a good strategy on their part, enabled by some help from the government side.
Harper-bashers direct their most virulent criticisms towards scarier Harper initiatives they presume should exist but don't actually. Ratcheting back same-sex rights. Crushing the CBC. And so on. With anti-Harper straw men and conspiracy theories playing such a large role in Canadian politics these days, the journalist's mandate as neutral arbitrator of fact and fiction has never been more needed.
On April 25, 2013, renowned scientist Dr. David Suzuki attended the WFCU Centre to empower the crowd with his Wake Up Canada call. It's a campaign organized by the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition to support a day of action, encouraging kids to advocate for their environmental future through the very media that overlooked them this time around.
Trudeau is trying to find a new niche for the Liberal Party. A preliminary look indicated that he is trying to take the Conservative party's old right-of-centre spot on the ideological spectrum. With fewer differences between the two parties, Trudeau's youth and vitality may come as an asset in 2015 when Canadians go to the polls.
The death toll from the collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh now stands at over 350 people. In a wonderfully sensitive essay, Jian Ghomeshi raised the question of proximity when it came to our response to human tragedies. Distance may have become arbitrary, but how we draw the lines to connect our dots to one another has not. We can easily grieve, and most rightfully so, with the victims of Boston because we can all picture ourselves there. A feeling of complete and utter vulnerability. But when it's market forces or the lack of regulations that inflict terror, how are we to feel?
Ten percenters are sent out through the House of Commons (i.e.: using taxpayer's dollars) and they are a mail out that is designed to allow an MP to communicate a few times a year with a mass mailing to 10 per cent of their constituents. In this day and age of technology and multimedia communications do we even need ten percenters?
Justin Trudeau needs to fire his public relations team. Either that, or perhaps the Conservative Party truth ads were entirely correct in depicting Trudeau as being completely devoid of the experience."Doesn't have the judgment or experience to be Prime Minister" could not have rung clearer in Trudeau's first week as Liberal leader.
Political attack ads are designed to make you think. Their aim is to get you to look at a person or an issue in a different light, one different from what the media or the party's political spin machine wants you to look at. Simply put, they work. While it seems everyone complains about them, they still watch them.
Both the Conservative and Liberal parties have declared themselves victorious over the recent Trudeau attack ads but the real winners of these ads have been the NDP. These ads allow the NDP the luxury of not spending money on, or bearing the negative condemnation that comes with running attack ads. Moreover the NDP benefit from the actual attack that the Liberals and Trudeau are taking because attack ads do work.
During the leadership race Trudeau was rather ambiguous when it came to tangible policy proposals -- instead insisting it's not the leader's role to hand down decrees from on high to grassroots Liberals, and if elected, he would consult both partisan Liberals and other Canadians so to develop his party's platform from the bottom up. Fair point in theory, but let's wring out what little Trudeau has said so far.
Justin Trudeau claimed the Liberal Party of Canada leadership in a resounding victory, and if we believe the polls, Canadians are open to supporting their Liberal candidates in the next election. However, there is a lot of work to be done if the Liberals want more than just a temporary splash in the polls.
Attitudes and willful blindness form the basis of federal government policy as expressed by our federal Minister of Natural Resources, and that it is a sign of negligent disregard for the public interest. It is unacceptable. A revealing exchange with the editorial board of La Presse confirms that if Joe Oliver has ever had a science briefing, he wasn't listening.
While always nice to get a lot of media coverage, Trudeau should be concerned that in the long run all the hype could hurt more than help him. Expectations are so high for him that I wonder if anyone could live up to them. Remember all the media hype around the previous savior of the Liberal Party, a gentleman by the name of Michael Ignatieff. It didn't help him.
Whether or not to allow more free votes in the House is an option to consider. This allows an MP more freedom to represent their constituents on key issues and gives them some freedom when moral issues such as abortion or capital punishment are raised. Why not let government MPs stand and be recognized to ask one of their own ministers a question? If Parliament is to be relevant, it must change.
When I first heard about the dismantling of the Canadian International Development Agency in the government's recent budget, I was rather dismayed. Nonetheless, upon delving into the issue further, it became clear that my initial reaction was quite misguided. International aid from Canada is not coming to an end; the budget has merely initiated the merging of CIDA with the Department of Foreign Affairs. The aim is not to slash aid, but rather to have a more synergized approach to its deliverance in developing countries. The merger of CIDA with DFAIT ensures the money our government spends internationally will be more focused, effective and better reflect and preserve the national interests of Canada.