This week, ministers from 12 countries representing 40 per cent of the world's economy will meet to discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership, one of the largest trade agreements ever. As talks are rushed to conclusion, Canada is still fighting to have its supply management system excluded from the deal. We wish the government well in its quest to protect supply management, but we wish it would go to bat for other core Canadian values and industries. Unlike our European and even American counterparts, Canadian discussion on the TPP has been limited to chickens, eggs and milk.
One of the most popular topics on the 2015 elections agenda is legalization and cannabis is by far the most widely used illegal drug in the Canada. People often compare a potential legalization model to alcohol. The way alcohol is regulated in Canada provides some really important public health benefits.
Recent events in Canada have shown not only that change is possible, but that people won't stand for having corporate interests put before their own. The people of Alberta did what was once thought impossible: they gave the NDP a strong majority. Voters in Prince Edward Island followed B.C. provincially and Canada federally and elected their first Green Party member, as well as Canada's second openly gay premier.
For a sophisticated city like Toronto, it is embarrassing to see the leading candidates passing random lines drawn on a map for transit plans. These so-called plans lack research, engineering cost and ridership estimates, and transit revenue forecasts. At best, one could call these plans the transit dreams of mayoral hopefuls. However, given the underestimated costs and overestimated benefits of these proposals, it is likely that the politicians' dream would become taxpayers' nightmare.
Now here comes my confession: I don't know how to vote. In any of these elections. It's embarrassing because I really love politics. I talk about it all the time. I mean, I work at Samara, an organization that works to strengthen political participation in Canada. I literally (and I mean literally in the actual literal sense) spend my whole day working on civic engagement. How could this happen to me?
In this strongly patriarchal culture, married women are seen as belonging to their husbands' families. So with no husband, a wife can lose her status, security, and self; she becomes persona non grata. When a woman in a traditional Hindu family becomes a widow, through no doing of her own, she often falls from grace forever.
The federal Conservatives are finally backing off on some of the measures in their proposed so-called "Fair Elections Act" (Bill C-23). Minister for Democratic Reform Poilievre is trying to claim he has listened with an open mind, but this is yet another misleading spin statement from him about the bill. The truth is much more that playing games with democratic voting issues was hurting the Conservatives with their soft supporters, and with swing voters, and they realized they would only recover by compromising.
1,000,000 people in Quebec don't file their taxes every year. If each of those people owe taxes of... I don't know... let's say $624 each (an extremely low estimate given that the average amount of taxes paid by a Quebecer is around $10,000), then I'd say an investment of $600k in "FILE YOUR TAXES" billboards, print and TV ads might have helped us to avoid this huge debt hole.
A citizen-based view of elections takes the view that voter participation independent of party is an important democratic goal in itself. That our democracy is healthier and stronger if more citizens exercised their right to vote habitually. Only one player in the electoral process has this interest at its core, and that is the independent, non-partisan Chief Electoral Officer.