The wedge politics and fearmongering of the Conservatives in the last election were resoundingly rejected by Canadians. Whether it is Kellie Leitch playing to xenophobia with her values test or Tony Clement gleefully trampling our rights, it seems the Conservative Party still hasn't gotten the memo.
The recent revelations that Conservative Party leadership candidate Kellie Leitch has been consulting conservatives around the country about whether we need to screen newcomers to our country for "anti-Canadian values" prior to permitting them entry is both disappointing and, unfortunately, not surprising.
Canada is a young country and we lack the long history and cultural heritage like European countries. We do not share the American Dream nor America's melting-pot culture. Thus, we provide better ground for multiculturalism to flourish; we let refugees and immigrants from around the world preserve their culture and heritage.
These next few days are like festival season for political people: in Winnipeg the Liberal Party is gathering for the 2016 Biennial Convention while over in Vancouver, the Conservative Party are also in the midst of their national convention. Gender equity and increasing the number of female candidates will be a hot topic for both. PM Trudeau and his core team have this made this a clear priority for this Liberal Party and for the Conservatives, a more gender inclusive party has to be an essential part of their renewal efforts.
Does the inevitable stagnation that comes with a decade in power automatically cast a departed leader as the worst in history? Many will point at Harper's dictatorial approach to governance, his deficits, his disregard for science or his political gamesmanship as proof that he was. I don't think this type of hyperbole is worthwhile nor productive.
If Conservatives are shrewd as they convene in Vancouver this week for their party's convention, they will plead with Ambrose to run for the party's permanent leadership while requesting a not insignificant change to the party's constitution that would allow the party's interim leader to contest the permanent leadership.
One-off symbolic gestures such as appointing gender-balanced cabinets are not enough. Like the dozens of other countries ahead of us on the international gender equality league tables have discovered, the only way to move toward gender parity in parliament is to enact laws to prompt parties into action.
Anyone who signs up with the Liberals (with no membership fee involved) will have the right to take part in policy development, nomination meetings, conventions and future elections of the leader. The Conservatives have gone in the opposite direction to the Liberals with their new $25 membership fee that has to be paid by cheque or credit card. In effect the Conservatives have managed to make themselves more exclusive rather than inclusive. The Liberals have broadened their tent while the Conservatives shrank theirs. Time will tell who made the right move.