Visiting Canada on a European Parliament membership technicality with no federal or provincial parties willing to engage given her bigoted views (and possible stench of sulphur) has not prevented her from criticizing Canada's policies on immigration and multiculturalism. The terror attacks in Brussels have only added more ammunition to a sharp tongue already loaded with nationalist, nativist and jingoistic diatribe.
The French Riviera is exquisite, and at the time of my visit, American and German tourists were everywhere, falling in love with the city, which is tailored for tourism. Some may think that nearby Cannes and Monaco are the centre of the Earth, with their film festival and F1 Grand Prix, respectively, but Nice is a tourist centre for abundant reasons.
I cannot help thinking that, while countries rush to sign trade deals such as CETA and the new TransPacific Partnership, they cannot seem to get a binding climate change agreement. Very little at the UN or in previous climate conferences has been binding. CETA and TPP are both major trade deals that must be fought.
The neighbourhoods outside of Paris, where the longtime Muslim European residents live have become a security problem. They have become slums which the central government actively avoids. Due to a lack of government involvement, a growing detachment from the State grows within the local Muslim youth. In these lost neighbourhoods, the terrorists of today and tomorrow are raised. These are the areas were ISIS operatives look to recruit new foreign fighters.
Unfortunately, there is a stubborn quality to the Prime Minister's current commitment to meet his election promise of admitting 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by Christmas. There is an easy solution to this current impasse between the facts on the ground today and an election promise made months ago. Set a reasonable timeline and follow the responsible policies of the American government.
This problem is also a Canadian concern. A May 2015 survey of high-impact Canadian firms revealed that "finding employees to expand and scale their business ranks as one of the top challenges identified by entrepreneurs." Lower and less progressive taxation would help attract and retain highly specialized labour.
The calanques -- deriving from the Occitan and Corsican word for inlet -- is just that: a series of natural inlets spanning 20 km across from Marseille to Cassis across Southern France. These emerald fingers, as Marseille's tourism site refers to them, dip between cliffs and were formed 12 000 years ago after a gradual warming during the ice age caused sea levels to rise, consequently flooding the valleys.
Planning a trip to Paris this fall? If you've visited before, your first trip to the City of Love may have been a whirlwind tour that went something like this -- Eiffel Tower, check. Notre Dame, check. Louvre, check. As much as these 'first-time' experiences are quintessential, there is so much more to Paris.
For a quintessential Provençal experience -- one filled with wine tastings, exploring quiet villages with old, stone homes and cobblestoned lanes, cycling by poppy fields, having lunch overlooking green landscapes and relaxing at a spa housed in a centuries old convent -- rent a car for a few days from Marseille.
Denials of reality about the Jihadist roots of this violence are already feeding frustration in Western populations who know better. The well-intended strategy of protecting Muslims in the West will actually do the opposite -- it will very likely guarantee a backlash against Western Muslims by a growing right-wing movement.
Few things are more despicable than the actions of these murderous individuals. Their actions are to be unequivocally condemned. However, to use an instance where 12 lives were extinguished in order to create momentum for furthering hate is not only ill-advised and insensitive -- it is disgusting and ill-placed. This is not the time to go and inflame an already sensitive issue. Families are mourning their deceased loved ones. Let's focus instead on respecting the lives lost and not on continuing to spread hatred.
Now a few days after the horrific attack in Paris, hashtag #JeSuisCharlie floats about the Internet as a neoliberal nod of solidarity to those who were killed in yesterday's attack. While I see its good intentions, in the big picture this hashtag serves as a demonstration of alliance with that coveted icon of western identity: freedom of speech. But make no mistake, the reasons the perpetrators carried out this attack were more complex than simply freedom of speech. For what is pitifully lacking in most every media representation of the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo is the historical background of what this attack was about.
France's economy saw only a weak rebound after 2009 with real GDP growth rates of about two per cent in both 2010 and 2011 before slowing to a crawl with only 0.3 per cent growth in 2012. In comparison, Canada positively raced ahead, experiencing real GDP growth of 3.4, 3.0 and 1.9 per cent in 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively.