Despite repeated requests from the NDP and Canadian civil society, the Conservatives refused to increase the Official Development Assistance budget. Canada now ranks among the worst OECD countries for ODA spending. Not only does this directly limit our ability to fulfill our mandate of poverty eradication, it hurts our credibility as a reliable partner for international development.
After being imprisoned for over a decade, Omar Khadr is now free on bail. In his first public appearance and media scrum, we witnessed not a mean-spirited radicalized militant, but rather, an articulate humbled young man, and in his own words, someone eager to "prove to [Canadians] that I'm more than what they thought of me."
Canada's Liberal Party leader, Justin Trudeau, has been riding high in the polls and many observers consider him well-positioned for the October general election. Yet Britain's election results contain some warning signs that Trudeau should heed. Voter behaviour in an actual election provides an insight into the complicated mood of a comparable electorate, and it would be a mistake not to observe and learn from Britain's example less than six months before Canadians go to the polls.
The Conservative budget's failure to initiate a process of comprehensive tax reform is a missed opportunity to lift Canada's prospects for long-term prosperity and growth. Tax reform and simplification would improve Canada's international competitiveness, productivity and economic growth, from both a personal and corporate perspective.
In Canada, Stephen Harper led two minority governments before his 2011 win gave him a solid majority. Britain's David Cameron became prime minister in 2010 by virtue of a coalition with the Liberal Democrats and would clearly prefer a majority of his own. By imitating Harper's Canadian Crunch, he may have improved his chances.
Citizens in London are proving once again that the only way to get any respect from the Harper Conservatives is to talk directly to the voters. The issue is the proposed elimination of door-to-door postal delivery, an ideological gambit by the Harper government that has always seemed politically risky, if somebody were to work to make it so.
Perhaps there is an element to which the Conservatives truly believe they are fighting a cultural and religious practice that they find repugnant. Even still, that seems far beyond the point, as has been stated many times by various commentators: a conservative man forcing a woman not to wear a niqab is effectively the same violation of her liberty as a conservative man forcing her to wear the niqab. What could be more Canadian than including someone's harmless religious practices in a citizenship ceremony, or really any other facet of public life?
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.
With Canada's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) actually shrinking and despite having the worst economic growth record of any Prime Minister since R.B. Bennett, Stephen Harper seems keen to brag about the fiscal reputation of his Conservative Party. Well, let's take a close look. To begin with, here's an interesting question: How many Conservative Prime Ministers in all of the 20th century presented Canada with balanced budgets?
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.
Mulcair made the biggest blunder in the exchange at Tuesday's Question Period. His frustration in his inability to get the government to respond is understandable, but as the rules currently dictate, the Speaker was enforcing the rules of Parliament. Mulcair's criticism of the Speaker in this scenario is thus akin to disrespecting the institution of Parliament itself.
In Ontario, in the one riding the Liberals had previously held (Scarborough-Agincourt), the Party was re-elected with Arnold Chan getting some 60 per cent of the popular vote. In the seat previously belonging to NDP powerhouse Olivia Chow (Trinity-Spadina), the NDP lost to Liberal Adam Vaughan who polled over 53 per cent.
The CBC reports that the Canadian Border Services Agency raided an employer paying temporary foreign workers next to nothing to work at mall kiosks in 2011. Yet for three years, that employer was permitted to continue hiring foreign workers -- his permits were never pulled, his name was never put on the employer blacklist, and he never faced criminal charges.