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On January 17, the Conservative Party of Canada held its only French-language debate of the leadership race. For anyone who believes that the French language should be an intrinsic part of the political life of Canada, it was an exercise in frustration. Of the 13 candidates who had the guts to participate in this sorry show, less than half were able to show the basic ability to debate in Canada's other official language.
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The U.S. election was a chilling illustration of the atrocious state of public discourse. It doesn't bode well for a country once admired for leadership in education and science. If those vying to be president of the most powerful country in the world couldn't do it, what hope is there?
Freedom of speech does not only protect one's right to be offensive, it also protects individual and communities' right to express their diversity. By staging the debate, focusing on anti-trans and anti-black freedom of speech, the University of Toronto is inflaming the toxic environment its trans and racialized students are facing.
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Yesterday, Minister of Defence Harjit Sajjan announced that Canada will commit to a yet undefined peacekeeping mission, probably in central Africa, and in doing so Canada will be a "responsible partner in the world." It will probably not be until the end of the year that we know the details -- why, where, the mission's duration, what will they do, what victory looks like and the terms of engagement. What we know for sure from minister Sajjan's announcement and follow-up questions is that this matter will not be brought before Parliament for a vote before the commitment to the UN is finally agreed upon and put into operation.
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As I sit here writing this post, coated in the slick, stench of black licorice fennel oil (for breast milk production), I can honestly say I'm more stressed now than before parenthood. And I know I'm not alone in this.
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The best hashtag I've seen in a long time is #enough. It's short, it's poignant, and it expresses what a whole lot of people are thinking this week. Enough violence. Enough discrimination. Enough hatred. We probably reached the "enough" point thousands of years ago. According to a couple of famous political thinkers, history is littered with moments of "enough".
Warm weather rolls in and with it a vision of reclining at the beach with a good book. Summer reads they are called. Those books that take you away, absorb your attention. Time stands still as you fall into another world between the covers of the book. It feeds into that endless quality of "summer' time. My book club, which is now in its fifth year, has some suggestions, and I'd like to share them with you.
Each of the leaders would present a different face of Canada to the world. Mulcair clearly demonstrated a new NDP approach to the realm of foreign affairs for Canada. Trudeau worked hard to dig into his opponents, but didn't present himself as a possible world leader. Stephen Harper managed to stay out of any major trouble and reinforced his image as a "tough on terror" PM.
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"Let me say very clearly, I’m incredibly proud to be Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s son."
When we cast our ballot, most of us believe that we are voting for a prime minister. Indirectly, we are. But we actually vote for an individual who, if elected, sits in the House of Commons as the representative of one of 338 federal constituencies in Canada. -- Despite our creeping cynicism and dismissiveness of our MPs, few jobs are as important, and the people whose names are actually on the ballot matter a lot. Yet, we rarely take time to assess whether they should be entrusted with the duties of a lawmaker. Often, our only focus is on the party leader, which comes at the expense of getting to know the person we are actually going to be voting for.
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The economy is not an abstract concept to be debated like some complex math equation. It is the day to day moments of our life that tell us whether it is safe to dream of something better for ourselves and for our children. The truth is this: on Thursday night, if a party leader does not spell out a serious plan to work with cities and municipalities, then don't be fooled. They don't have a serious plan for jobs and the economy. With that it mind, here are five questions federal political leaders need to answer in Thursday night's debate.
The Liberals supported the legislation in Parliament but have pledged to scrap controversial portions of it, if elected government come October.
India may have thrown off the yoke of colonialism over 60 years ago, but we continue our own oppression. It's easier to point the finger, or show the finger, when the 'other' is distinctly different in terms of geography, skin color, language, and culture. It's more difficult, and perhaps more shameful, to accept ourselves as the oppressor and the exploiter.