Despite repeated requests from the NDP and Canadian civil society, the Conservatives refused to increase the Official Development Assistance budget. Canada now ranks among the worst OECD countries for ODA spending. Not only does this directly limit our ability to fulfill our mandate of poverty eradication, it hurts our credibility as a reliable partner for international development.
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.
For those who readily have an extra $4500 available every year, after they've paid their taxes, this increase would be an attractive future tax break. But is a higher limit fair to taxpayers across the board? The answer to that question depends on how many taxpayers at various wealth levels will be able to benefit from the higher contributions.
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.
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.
Online polls can be fun and if we want to determine the public's opinion on their favourite colour, or why they like Britney Spears better than Madonna, they can be accurate enough to be newsworthy, I suppose. I think we have to look at the differences between American and Canadian politics and culture to understand why online polls don't accurately reflect public opinion accurately enough when it comes to voting intentions.
Perhaps there is an element to which the Conservatives truly believe they are fighting a cultural and religious practice that they find repugnant. Even still, that seems far beyond the point, as has been stated many times by various commentators: a conservative man forcing a woman not to wear a niqab is effectively the same violation of her liberty as a conservative man forcing her to wear the niqab. What could be more Canadian than including someone's harmless religious practices in a citizenship ceremony, or really any other facet of public life?
With much ado about crossing the floor from the Conservative to the Liberal Party, the talk seems to centre on whether Justin Trudeau's Liberals gained much, if anything. That talk misses the point: the question is not what the Liberals got, but what the Conservatives lost. Coming on the heels of the clearly unplanned departure of John Baird, the real story is not the questionable value of the asset Trudeau has acquired but the fact that a sitting government member has crossed the floor to sit with a third party.
With Canada's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) actually shrinking and despite having the worst economic growth record of any Prime Minister since R.B. Bennett, Stephen Harper seems keen to brag about the fiscal reputation of his Conservative Party. Well, let's take a close look. To begin with, here's an interesting question: How many Conservative Prime Ministers in all of the 20th century presented Canada with balanced budgets?
The leader of that party does what he wants, when he wants, and no one dares question him. Would a Prime Minister Trudeau arbitrarily whip the vote and outlaw certain moral questions? Could Prime Minister Trudeau be trusted to make decisions for the good of the country, not just for his personal self-worth? Would Trudeau call in the police to enforce his vision? Let's hope we never have the opportunity to ask those questions.
Justin is a natural as a grassroots politician. His father was not. He tired quickly of grin and grips, so we spent public events moving him quickly from one admirer to another. Justin revels in the book describing the thousands he met in Papineau. He credits this skill from observing the friendly political skills of his grandfather, James Sinclair. I gave a fundraiser for Justin for the Papineau campaign. He approached my daughter and immediately remembered they took a film class together at McGill. His father had trouble remembering first names! Justin has deliberately been his own man in some policies.
Over a year ago, Canada lifted a 30-year-old prohibition on gay men donating blood. However, Canada Blood Services still includes a ban on blood donations from any man who has had sex with another man in the past five years. That is why the Young Liberals of Canada want a policy that is based on evidence, because no single, loosely defined group should be discriminated against based on generalized statistics, perceptions or prejudices. A blanket ban on sexually active MSM is not merely discriminatory; it's unsafe.
Two weeks ago, Ezra Levant went on a heated, televised tirade where he criticized Justin Trudeau for supposedly "photobombing" a wedding. Levant, most notably, called Justin's father Pierre a "slut," and insinuated similar things about Justin's mother, Margaret Sinclair. Apart from the fact that Levant's rant was inappropriate and completely misplaced, there is a greater picture here that must be considered -- one of even higher magnitude than Levant's derogatory mislabelling of a deceased, former prime minister. Ezra Levant is trying to dispel Trudeaumania from overtaking the country once more.