Debate

CP

French Fluency Simply Non-Negotiable For Next Conservative Leader

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.
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Committing Canadian Troops To UN Mission Deserves Real Debate

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.
J.A. Bracchi via Getty Images

Summer Reading Ideas From My Book Club

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.
CP

How Do the Leaders Rate Post-Munk Debate?

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.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Leader is Important, But Candidates Matter Too

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.
CP

5 Questions for Federal Leaders on the Economy

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.
ASSOCIATED PRESS

In India, We Are the Oppressors and the Oppressed

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.
CP

How Tories Bully Charities and Abuse Power

Canadian charities are experiencing an "advocacy chill" and changing the way they go about their work as a result of what they say is "bullying" by the Harper Conservative government. My just completed Master's thesis research finds that the denunciatory rhetoric of government ministers against charities, followed by stepped up audits is having its toll not only on charity operations, but also on the strength of Canada's public discussions and thus on the vigor of democracy itself.
Getty Images

Does Following a Methodology Make You Religious?

There is an interesting disconnect in our world today regarding religion. Being an adherent to a certain religion is simply seen, to most people, as a description of the way by which this individual achieves spirituality. This is not, however, the way that religions -- even more so, traditional religious systems -- actually view themselves.
Getty Images

Media Bites: How Will Columnists Handle Post-Election Withdrawal?

Well, the final American presidential debate is over and the Canadian reviews are in! And talk about an overwhelming consensus -- when it comes to Obama versus Romney, practically every Canuck pundit seems to agree that yes, this is something I want to talk about for several days instead of writing a column about Dwight Duncan or whatever. Look, I'm just gonna come out and say it, says Postmedia darling Michael Den Tandt, "the entire recent cycle of U.S. public politics including the Republican and Democratic conventions, have been a tour de force" -- especially when compared to the boring political shlock offered by this snorefest with igloos we call a country.
PA

How Derogatory Language Hurts us All

During the debate, without thinking, I tweeted that Romney had just been "raped" by Obama. Realizing my mistake, I deleted the tweet seconds later and issued an apology later in the debate. It may have taken an idiotic mistake on my part, but I now appreciate more than before the importance of language in advancing our values. It is not enough to pay tribute to certain laudable rights-related causes every once in a while. We must be serious about the issues in question in every aspect of our lives. We could collectively start by choosing our language more carefully and opposing the use of certain inappropriate words whose meanings have unfortunately become watered down over the years. I know that's where I'll begin.
REUTERS

The Not-So-Foreign Policy Debate

The stage was set at Boca Raton's Lynn University. The desk dusted, chairs put in place and zingers primed and ready for volleying. Oh, and it was supposed to be about Foreign Policy. Right? Well it kind of was. Kind of. According to Romney, American grade school teachers are part of American foreign policy. Confused? Wait, there's more...
HP

Will Debates Teach Canadian Politicos the Value of Sass?

The President was again in a debate with a challenger, and again Canadians were glued to their seats. It is easy to understand why Americans cared about these debates -- it is their country, after all. What is less easy to understand, and more interesting, is why Canadians did. Canadians are watching these debates because they are convinced that America and its values matter in the world. If Trudeau, Harper or Mulcair seek to inspire Canadians they would do well to take a page from our neighbours to the south and convince Canadians, no, tell them, that we are not just another country.
AP/Getty

Lorraine, was it? Highlights from The Presidential Town Hall Debate

Last night Obama needed to win. There really was no other option. Obama was so on (and then some) that you could feel Bill Maher's elation when he tweeted about the return of the "Black Ninja." Then it got seriously real when the issue of energy and drilling companies motivated both to pretty much get into each other's grills creating one of many unexpected and unforgettable moments. Moments such as a woman named Lorraine. Or was it Lorianne? In fact, there was a binder full of women. Romney attempting to spike the ball by asking Obama repeatedly if he has in fact checked his (much smaller) pension. And Michelle and Ann's fashion blunder.
AP

Watching the Watchdog: Last Night Obama Got His Mojo Back

During his first debate with Mitt Romney, Barack Obama seldom looked directly at Romney. He seldom contradicted Romney. He never raised his voice to Romney. He never really challenged Romney. So what happens in the second U.S. presidential debate? OBAMA GETS HIS MOJO BACK!!! He came out bristling for a fight. This time Obama's in charge. He dominates the fight, provides the drive, the passion. This time, no deference.
Getty Images

Twitter Was the Best Part of this Debate

Well the first debate is in the books. And I'm using the term "debate" rather loosely here. Election season brings forth probably the best reality television there is for me -- though last night was sorely lacking. Thankfully, Twitter kept it highly entertaining because if it weren't for Twitter I, along with Jim Lehrer, would have nodded off 10 minutes in.

Hey Ontario, Where's the Rage?

John Duffy (Liberal): It just doesn't feel like the anger is there this time. This is not to suggest that there aren't a lot of disappointed Ontarians, but there isn't enough fury directed at the Liberals to produce the kind of epic sacking that seemed in store for them.

Is McGuinty Starting to Sweat?

Jason Lietaer (PC): You know it's unpredictable when leaders start making things up. This week, Mr. McGuinty launched a new jobs plan that's not in his platform, announced a negotiating position for the OMA talks and cancelled a powerplant that looks more like a powerplant than a field.