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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
John Duffy (Liberal): Horwath will be under pressure to provide greater clarity regarding her statement about the need for "consensus" in the event of a minority government. I'd imagine she'd rather not leave NDP voters with the impression that she's planning on supporting a Tim Hudak administration.
Jason Lietaer (PC): Ms. Horwath did well. Much improved from her performance on Friday. She was poised and on message, and I think most Ontarians saw her as genuine. Her ideas all sound great until you start to cost them, but that's not the biggest issue in any debate. Details don't win, impressions do.
Jason Lietaer (PC): Dalton Mcguinty's trying to make a difficult case: that things are going to get tougher and you need the same guy to continue. Do you think McGuinty did a good job under tough circumstances? Vote for McGuinty. If you think that his tax increases, high hydro rates and waste made a bad situation worse? Vote for one of the other options.
Heather Fraser (NDP): The challenge for all the leaders in tomorrow's debate is to get past the cameras and the political score cards and actually connect with voters. And if Ms. Horwath comes off as the adult in the room I won't be surprised or bothered because being premier requires adult behaviour.