Leveraging women's bodies became a political sport in Toronto this week. It began with the blurted out defence Rob Ford offered to reports that he sexually harassed a former employee, and sadly continued with Rosie DiManno's Toronto Star article about domestic violence. It's a mistake to focus on these issues.
Imagine if we celebrated Canada's democratic volunteers in the same way we celebrate our entrepreneurs, sports stars and community leaders? Samara is trying to do just that, by finding and highlighting the work of these people in the Everyday Political Citizen project. After all, politics will only change if citizens show the way.
Who needs to pay $200.00 a ticket to see Les Misérables in theatres, when we can get free, premium seats in our own courtrooms? Unreasonable fines and the threat of jail for a person's inability to pay a court-imposed fee affronts the spirit of our sentencing principles, is immoral and unconstitutional.
It's easy to understand why people get upset when politicians get raises, especially during bad economic times. If we want good public policy, we need to lure high quality candidates into politics. In order to do so, we need to pay politicians competitive salaries. It's a small price to pay for governing a nearly $300 billion organization that touches every aspect of our lives.
In perhaps the most significant line of his keynote Harper proclaimed, "As Conservatives, we believe that actions have consequences." Harper might not realize it, but this is perhaps the most telling line of the weekend and goes to the core of the Senate scandal. Opinion polls have slammed Harper for his handling of the scandal, and delegates at this conference have called for him to take responsibility and accept the consequences.
Yes, October 31 began with unfavourable news for Rob Ford. But what made it worse was his poorly-planned response, rather than the news itself. The pictures and videos of him chasing reporters were not classy. These are his fellow citizens -- the residents of the city of which he is Mayor. And that was very rude behaviour.
Is there any doubt about who Rob Ford is? There shouldn't be. From the moment he first ran for office, Rob Ford has been about "Stop the gravy train," even if he didn't articulate it that way in the beginning. What does Justin Trudeau stand for? There is no clear picture of who Justin is other than a good-looking guy who seems bright, has lots of charisma and speaks in generalities. Often politicians will say they don't want to reveal themselves until election time because they just make themselves a target for the other parties. But there is a difference between defining yourself -- who you are and what you stand for -- and revealing your specific policies.
With the Senate scandal continuing unabated, there is tremendous wear and tear on everyone involved. These scandals tend to take over your entire day, you become buried in the muck, either throwing it or slipping deeper into it. A political crisis of this magnitude wears staff down and it always impacts on the man at the top. It is time for the Prime Minister to pause and reflect.
The three-day convention is broken down into a mixture of information sessions, speeches and debates on policy and constitution resolutions, concluding in votes on these debates. The policy declaration serves as the Conservative government's mandate to implement the policies desired by the Conservative grassroots, while the national constitution governs the operations of the party.
No one escapes the blame on this one. Conservatives can't even agree if suspending the three senators without due process is the correct way to go. We have Conservative senators and Conservative MPs speaking out against the pending motions -- something that is generally unheard of in this tightly controlled government.
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?
Yesterday's Throne Speech was a Seinfeld-like moment -- it was about nothing. Instead of using the Speech from the Throne as an opportunity to finally lay out a bold vision for tackling the most pressing issues facing Canadians, the Harper Conservatives served up more political gamesmanship, gimmicks and recycled, old policies.
The detention of Dr. Tarek Loubani and John Greyson was at the forefront of all Canadians' concerns for the 50 days they spent behind bars at Cairo's Tora Prison. Dr. Tarek Loubani is an emergency room physician in my riding and John Greyson is an acclaimed film-maker and professor at York University. They are now home safe.