There have clearly been security lapses which need explanation -- as much to Malaysians as to anybody else. And at the outset, the crisis management could have been better coordinated. However, there is no indication there is something that could have been done to alter the realities of this tragedy. So why has Chinese diplomacy targeted the Malaysian authorities so harshly?
Over the next few weeks decisions will be made about the Pusumas, a Roma family that has lived inside Toronto churches for about two years. Pronouncements will be heard that will conclude where they live and in fact, how the rest of their lives unfold. The Pusumas are hoping they will receive a fair hearing and that our government will act compassionately and justly with the knowledge that a very dangerous landscape faces them should they be forced to return to Europe.
We believe making data free and open needs to be guided to ensure high impact and meaningful engagement. Successful open data initiatives show that artfully "guided advice" by researchers on how to use the data is important. We cannot let "open data hype" get in the way of the real goal: engagement and mashing up data to deliver high ROI.
One year ago Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) announced its Forest Conservation Policy (FCP), immediately halting all natural forest clearance across its entire supply chain. Specifically, we outlined four key priorities for 2014 to engage our broader industry and other sectors to help accelerate the realization of zero deforestation.
Unfortunately, good intentions and unwavering ethics alone do not suffice, for, if more and more journalists churn out such uninformed work, more and more consumers of it will be deluded into thinking that traditionally accepted research has been proven wrong or that they need not consider the evidence that runs against their views when thinking about policy.
This is precisely what happened in Canada in the early 1990s. Indeed, following a steep increase in duties and taxes applicable to tobacco products by the federal government and the provinces, a vast illegal trade in cigarettes sprang up. Contraband's share in the Canadian tobacco market jumped from 1 per cent in 1987 to approximately 31 per cent by the end of 1993.
The recent troubles in the south that sprung up only a month ago, and the instability that has resulted, has pressed that African region to the precipice. But just this week, the Harper government, through its Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), has recommended, "that Canada consider downgrading its development program (in Sudan), or exiting entirely."
The solutions are to either improve government transfers or to improve access to viable retirement savings vehicles. So what has Canada done? The opposite. In the name of more sustainable government budgets, the eligibility age for OAS has been raised from 65 to 67 leaving those who cannot hang on for the extra two years without a safety net.
The real scandal of politics at present is not about a number of high profile, well-attired, and well-trained political elite caught in scanda. The true victims in this very moment are all those Canadians seeking work, lining up at food banks, hoping for better Veteran's benefits, the hundreds of Aboriginal women gone missing and presumed deceased, those waiting for extensive times in emergency rooms, and those on the wrong side of the ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor in this country. They look in vain to both Houses of Parliament for a proper addressing of their circumstances.
Like most religious minorities in Quebec, I am only slightly shocked by the proposed charter of values. The people that at the short end of the proverbial legislation stick are kids. Because our kids will live the rest of their future in the shadow of the laws and governments we support, it is imperative to consult them. So I decided to put my ear to the ground, and asked my youth group girls and their friends what they thought of the Quebec charter of values. Here are some reactions by girls age 12-16, all from different backgrounds and religions.
The tragedy in Nigeria is less about the oil itself than it is about failed governance. Without radical improvements in public policy, Nigeria will continue to be a poor destination for investment. That's bad for everyone. But don't blame the petroleum for the problems there -- blame the public policy.
Health associations have long been calling for a "fat tax"; taxes on foods that some nutritionists and researchers don't want us to eat or drink. Unfortunately, the lack of sound thinking behind vilifying sugary drinks or less healthful snacks has not changed, nor has the blunt, imprecise, and unfair nature of a "junk food" or "sugary drink" tax. Overly simplistic solutions to obesity that vilify an industry or food product are bad public policy. The reality is that "junk food" taxes or sugary drink taxes are ineffective instruments that fail to recognize the complex and manifold causes of obesity. It's time we put the idea of such taxes in their rightful place: the junk bin.
Canada is a superb creation and initial credit for that must, obviously, go to Canada's founding fathers. How we came about is a fascinating tale of seemingly intractable regional disputes resolved, at least for a time, by new institutions and a new country. Thus, today, inter-provincial debates are similar to pre-1867 tussles where one province's citizens complain of how others are on the federal dole courtesy of tax dollars from the more prosperous regions. And all the provinces again regularly press the federal government for more money.
As Canada turns 146, many recent surveys show that most Canadians are hankering for a new constitution. So is Canada's Constitution a completed document? Some commentators have claimed since 1995 that Canadians are tired of constitutional talks, and while this was likely true back then there is no evidence that the fatigue continues. As Canada moves toward its 150th birthday in 2017, what more appropriate national discussion could take place than about the document that founded both our country and our governments, and about the changes Canadians want in a new constitution?
In May 2010, then-Industry Minister Tony Clement introduced anti-spam legislation that he admitted was long overdue. Clement acknowledged that "Canada is seen as a haven for spammers because of the gaps in our current legislation...a place where spammers can reside and inflict their damage around the world." Yet last week, government officials disclosed that the best-case scenario for the law is that final regulations are released late this summer with the implementation of the law delayed until the fall of 2014.
Every year, provincial health care systems across Canada dutifully reduce the volume of services they provide in preparation for the summer vacation season. This planned-for reduction has the inevitable effect of lengthening waiting times for Canadians over the summer months (and during Christmas holidays). The added twist this year is the slowdowns might be extended in a bid to reduce expenditures.
In 2013, Canadians worked until June 10, which happens to be Tax Freedom Day, to pay all their taxes. Tax Freedom Day is an easy-to-understand measure of the total tax burden imposed on Canadian families by federal, provincial, and local governments. But the true tax burden doesn't end with the revenues that governments collect.
What is happening in both the House of Commons and the Senate at the moment represents a serious enough threat to our democracy that we require remedial efforts in real time, far in advance of whatever constitutional refinements to these institutions that might lie in the future. Our focus should be upon the selection process for Senators, at least in the interim.