Justin Trudeau probably shocked his Senate caucus colleagues more than the voting public today when he announced he was removing Liberal senators from the Liberal caucus, thereby limiting the caucus to elected members of parliament. Eventually the dust will settle and the real reason for this move will become evident, but for now Trudeau is in the limelight and he will have the Conservatives scrambling and perhaps the NDP as well. The truth is no one including Trudeau knows and we will only find that out down the road and closer to the next election.
Last month, Brian Jean announced that he is leaving the federal political scene this month. When opportunity knocks some MPs will decide enough is enough. No one can predict how many, but it is pretty safe to say we haven't seen the last member of the Conservative caucus decide that their future is not in Ottawa.
At first glance Harper looks very much the accountant he was trained to be: dull and lacking in passion. But don't be fooled, he has a determined even subversive vision for the country. Harper is bound to American style conservatism, yet his battles are not fought in the open. As a new book illustrates, Stephen Harper's path is a subtler one.
There is an ongoing trend by our federal government to marginalize people living with HIV and AIDS. Ottawa will rightly pride itself about their investments in research aimed to develop a cure or possibly a vaccine. However, what good would it make to support research if we are not going to implement their results? InSite and HIV "Treatment as Prevention" are just two examples of Canadian successes that are simply not palatable to the federal government. And now globally, Canada has failed to match the contributions of key donors in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
For Canada's veterans the Throne Speech was a big flop. It devoted a total of 10 sentences to vets, and only two of them said anything about Harper's plans. The other six were self-congratulatory backslapping: meaningless rhetoric from a government which appears to think supporting veterans is as simple as saying those words over and over.
Whether we're talking bloody tales of yore featuring the Hatfields vs. the McCoys or contemporary Twitter nastiness between Nicki Minaj and Stephen Tyler, acrimony can be amazingly fun to watch. But these fights are only as interesting as the players are genuinely passionate, which is perhaps why the ongoing feud between the Harper Conservatives and the media has got to be one of the dullest prolonged quarrels ever. The assaults being launched and the injuries being claimed in this vendetta are just too weak and inconsequential for anyone not living in the Parliament Hill bubble to give a hoot about.
Recently, Treasury Board President Tony Clement reportedly floated a trial balloon which would see federal government retirees' annual health insurance premiums double. For my family, that would mean an extra $500 expense -- an amount which will add up to thousands of dollars over my lifetime. I deliberately chose to leave the private sector and join the government based on what was on offer.
John Baird, Canada's foreign minister, may be barking up the wrong tree. He has identified and targeted Iran as the threat to Canadians. However, it is the Saudi Arabia-based charities that pose the greatest threat. As long as the Saudi charities continue to fund militancy and chaos across the globe, Canadians must stand on guard.
Jason Kenney has ratcheted Canadian immigration to 50-year highs, and his ambitions require the public to never, ever regard this as anything but a Good Thing. But in a country where 41 per cent want immigration lowered, that's far from a cakewalk. Even Tory partisans are becoming skeptical. That leaves a scramble to suggest anyone who has problems with Canadian immigration policy must be an intolerant, racist, bigot. That's why Kenney jumped on Twitter a few days later, Kenney viciously denounced David Suzuki's "stridently anti-immigration views" as "toxic and irresponsible."
I admire politicians who are respectful, honest and principled. Perhaps that is what I find so fascinating about the Brent Rathgeber affair. But for someone as principled and articulate as Rathgeber, I am surprised he never spoke directly to the Prime Minister on the night he decided to leave the caucus.