Last week former defence minister Jason Kenney said if re-elected the Conservatives would significantly expand Canada's special forces. Why? What do these "special forces" do? Who decides when and where to deploy them? For what purpose? These are all questions left unanswered (and not even asked in the mainstream media).
The worst kept secret regarding the economy was made official today -- Canada is in a recession. There is nothing technical about it; the definition of a recession is relatively straightforward: two consecutive quarters with negative economic growth. The fact that this definition might not be convenient for a sitting government's, which holds itself out as brilliant economic managers, political fortunes is irrelevant. By any objective standard, the Canadian economy is under-performing.
Being a soldier is a great career as long as you don't get injured or sick. Even when the military has cases of medical malpractice they do not take responsibility for their actions. If you don't believe me ask Robyn Young or the thousands of others like her who suffer at the hands of a company with no accountability. It is the only organization not obliged to take care of its injured employees.
MP Larry Miller, who once used Hitler and the Nazis as references to oppose the gun registry, also recently made a dumb comment about how prospective Canadians should "stay the hell where you came from" if they prefer to wear a niqab during a Canadian citizenship ceremony. He is one of a long line of Conservative MPs to make racist remarks. I hope racism, ignorance and stupidity are not becoming mainstream Canadian values, let alone values endorsed by the Conservative Party of Canada. I hope the Prime Minister understands in his awkward silence, he is giving the impression that he is actually endorsing all the ills we have seen from members of his caucus in recent months. He should not.
We need to understand the difference between being separate and being moderate. There is also a need to understand that most Muslim women who don't wear these emblems are still followers of Islam. The conclusion of this debate should be that wearing a particular item of dress should be a person's choice. Showing yourself -- your identity -- should be a choice made by society.
China continues to want to do more business with Canada. However, given that many Canadians have serious misgivings about China and the communist party, various media outlets have reported that despite Chinese offers to negotiate a free trade agreement, Canada has yet to agree to such measures.
Despite their relatively small numbers in Canada, practitioners of the Falun Gong and their supporters have been very active, even getting meetings with multiculturalism minister Jason Kenney. Parliament's Subcommittee on International Human Rights also heard from individuals on the issue of organ transplants and the treatment of Falun Gong members.
Missing from the plan, however, are important policy enablers for the Canadian labour force. Canada is faced with a changed economy and the labour force has to be more flexible and mobile than ever to meet the demands of employers.
Senior leaders of organizations are too engaged, meaning they question change. Although engagement is great, it often leads to reluctance to change and unwillingness to participate in and with the unfamiliar. These feelings are often accompanied by a sense of burnout or tiredness, causing leaders to be very cautious about executive leadership and new initiatives.
Despite these negative views on the Dalai Lama coming from a more assertive China (now reportedly the world's largest economy and our second largest trading partner) Canada has provided considerable support to the Dalai Lama and issues of concern to him.
On Friday, Prime Minister Harper announced that Canada would join allies, including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and others in launching air strikes against ISIL in Iraq. The announcement on Friday builds on the growing engagement that Canada has recently taken part in with respect to Iraq on a variety of fronts. Against ISIL and its genocidal agenda in Iraq, it's timely that Canada has stepped up.
One of the important figures in the democratic movement in Hong Kong is Joseph Cardinal Zen, the retired Catholic Bishop of Hong Kong. Cardinal Zen, aged 82, attended the recent demonstrations. He told Reuters that "It's high time that we really showed that we want to be free and not to be slaves...we must unite together."
In 2010, Canada imposed the toughest sanctions in the world against the North Korean regime, banning all exports and imports (albeit, actual economic activity between Canada and North Korea was extremely limited). Exceptions exist for humanitarian goods.
It seems the recent firestorm around the Temporary Foreign Worker program has brought out the very best, as well as the very worst, in Canadians. The program has some flaws. But we all need to take a deep breath and avoid the temptation to convict an employer based on a media story.
The CBC reports that the Canadian Border Services Agency raided an employer paying temporary foreign workers next to nothing to work at mall kiosks in 2011. Yet for three years, that employer was permitted to continue hiring foreign workers -- his permits were never pulled, his name was never put on the employer blacklist, and he never faced criminal charges.
PM Harper, Kenney and his crew have been careful not speak publicly on immigration matters. But Kenney slipped up while unrolling the red carpet for the Irish, not long after he cancelled 300,000 patiently-waiting skilled workers' applications. "The employers in Canada are increasingly identifying Ireland as a great source of talent, hard-working, highly-educated folks who are culturally compatible," Kenney said.