That the U.S. is changing is not news; it may be the definition of pabulum. But what is surprising is how out of touch or uninformed most of Canada seems to be with the drastically changing U.S. and also Mexico, in other words with North America.
Making the case to deepen ties with Mexico to Canadians on the basis of a thoughtful review of the arguments and the evidence of twenty years of NAFTA experience is a valuable contribution to the Canadian debate, and very much in the tradition of sober second thought on issues of the day.
Stephen Harper's decisions on Iran, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine and the United States have officially shut the last nails on the coffin of Canadian relevance in global governance. The Conservative government's hard power strategy officially commits Canada to the role of a fireman in an incandescent region, at the taxpayer's expense, with zero influence on the regional levers at the core of the Middle East's most pressing fires today. It is time for the opposition parties to fine-tune their foreign policy chops in the coming official campaign period in order for Canada to chart its way back to the world's bargaining table.
On June 16, Justin Trudeau released a comprehensive platform to modernize Canadian democracy. The plan builds on legislative proposals already presented to Parliament and commits to even more ambitious reforms.
Justin Trudeau's speech on the importance of North America on Monday echoed most of the current wisdom on Canada's standing in North America -- we're in trouble and the issue needs some serious attention. The idea for a cabinet level committee on the U.S. relationship proposed by Trudeau is good, but in reality it would have to be a committee on North America, which means including Mexico. And Trudeau seemed half way there in his speech.
People are just tired of being at the wrong end of an equation that rewards established wealth while hollowing out the opportunities for the average citizen. It's not so easy to govern anymore behind the veil of complexity and secrecy, and that's just as it should be in a democracy.
After ten years of Stephen Harper, Ottawa is broken. When he was first elected, he promised us principled government. He promised us accountability and honesty. But year after year, Stephen Harper has delivered partisanship and petty politics, broken his promise and appointed 57 senators, wasted over $750 million on partisan government ads, and grown more intolerant of dissent and closed-off from Canadians. This is unacceptable. So this week, I presented a comprehensive plan to fix this -- a plan for real change.
Now that Gilles Duceppe is back and has declared his willingness to support a coalition that would offer an alternative to the Conservatives and which is in Quebec's interest, the dilemma for voters in the province changes dramatically.
In the absence of a clear-cut vision from the Liberals, the NDP has become the reasonable alternative. The party is now on record voting against Bill C-51 and voicing a strong opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline. Mulcair has advocated for a national child care policy worth $8 billion and proposed targeted tax cuts for families.
We still have a foreign person, a queen living in a castle on another continent -- Victoria's great, great, granddaughter, in fact -- as Canada's head of state. And it's a pretty safe bet that Canada isn't on her mind a whole lot either, if at all. So why do we put up with it? Without question, Canada deserves to have its own head of state, chosen by us and from among our citizens. How have we made it this far without taking the final step to full nationhood? The reason lies with misinformation.
The fact is that nearly nine out of 10 Canadians believe the cost of living is outpacing their household income. Our economy has more than doubled in size since 1980, but median incomes have flat lined. Household debt has ballooned to over 163 per cent of disposable income. As Liberals, we believe a strong economy is one that provides the largest number of good jobs to the largest number of Canadians. But by that measure, we are in trouble. Canadians continue to work hard, but the majority of them are finding it tougher and tougher to get by.
Canada's Liberal Party leader, Justin Trudeau, has been riding high in the polls and many observers consider him well-positioned for the October general election. Yet Britain's election results contain some warning signs that Trudeau should heed. Voter behaviour in an actual election provides an insight into the complicated mood of a comparable electorate, and it would be a mistake not to observe and learn from Britain's example less than six months before Canadians go to the polls.
Last week Finance Minister Joe Oliver tabled Economic Action Plan 2015: Strong Leadership: A Balanced Budget, Low-Tax Plan for Jobs, Growth, and Security. This budget is only the latest in a long string of Conservative promises that have been made and kept, a proud record that will be easy to defend with an election only months away.
As the provinces' experience with carbon pricing proves, we don't need to choose between our environment and our economy. In fact, they go together. Indeed, Canada must be able to take advantage of the billions of dollars in investment that will be made in green technologies. Justin Trudeau is already doing the important work that needs to be done.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives in Canada for his first official visit today, drawing attention to the opportunity that India offers for the Canadian economy. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative government have made global market access a priority, and India, a Commonwealth cousin, is at the top of the list.
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau's political slogan has been "building the team and the plan." So far, his "team" will be forced to be pro-choice and pro-marijuana, and his "plan" is legalizing marijuana, being against fighting terrorism, and placing a price on carbon. The Liberals' position of vacuous nothingness should be garnering far more attention than it has been -- the Press Gallery has only started to actually seriously question Trudeau -- but Trudeau has been ably abetted by a series of New Democrats' missteps.