The policy direction of the Liberal Party of Canada and its leader Justin Trudeau seem to indicate that the party is rejecting the successful pragmatism of the 1990s. Instead, the federal Liberals favour a more interventionist and activist government, much like that of the current Ontario Liberal government. If such policies are enacted, the results would be ruinous for Canada.
The point is not that specific credits or programs should be replaced or specific tax increases should be adopted -- but that it will take change on this scale to introduce a basic income that will make a real difference in terms of poverty. If we are serious about reducing poverty, we must confront these choices head on.
Trudeau's speech was largely the same old rhetoric you'd expect to hear from any "progressive" politician about "wanting to create a better Canada, a better world." Obviously any politician with four hundred or so students staring down at him is going to say how much the youth are important and how they should go out and vote.
Trudeau professes to be capable of both meaningfully combatting climate change and supporting oil sands expansion. Yet he recently went so far as to proclaim that "the opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline in the United States and elsewhere is not scientific." Leaving oil in the ground is precisely what must happen. The longer Trudeau loudly supports the oil industry without a similarly strong signal that he is committed to meaningful action on climate change, the harder it will be, should he win, to enact the bold policies the scientific community is actually calling for.
Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino's behaviour towards a group of veterans last week disgusted me. And, when he blamed his behaviour on the actions of a union I became outraged. The union may very well have told the veterans a one-sided story about how their poor members are being hard done-by. That doesn't excuse the minister's behaviour. As a free public service for cabinet ministers and others in leadership roles, I'm going to offer up some completely unsolicited advice, right here, right now, at no charge. When a veteran is angry with you for being late, you say, "I'm sorry."
In Provencher, the Liberals gained 23 per cent compared to the Conservatives who lost 12.5 per cent and the NDP who lost almost 10 per cent. Provencher is just outside the boundaries of Winnipeg further east from St. Boniface but at the same time, Provencher is one of the safest conservative seats in the country - not to mention rural.
Why is Bob Rae using a "back of the bus" analogy to defend his million-dollar mansion club? Does he realize that a number of Torontonians, and a number of voters, are indeed outsiders when it comes to this level of wealth and privilege? Borrowing the cloak of the less-fortunate to feign victimhood is too much to bear.
When Justin Trudeau said last week that he had a "level of admiration" for China's "basic dictatorship," the understandable knee-jerk reaction from some politicians and pundits was to kick the federal Liberal leader. But while that gaffe was reprehensible, it was hardly incomprehensible and perhaps entirely understandable given the structure of our own political system, the parties within it and how some Canadians feel about dictatorships.
Thursday night in Toronto, "ladies" are invited for cocktails and candid conversation (for $250 a head) with Justin -- unplugged! The Liberal Party has even been so kind as to craft an invitation specially for our gender, complete with cute cursive writing and lots of splashy colours. The only thing missing from this creepy, patronizing and unbelievably ridiculous picture are scented pages and locks of Trudeau's hair as door prizes. Fortunately, Trudeau's plan has totally backfired.
The Tories have money on their side, and lots of it. They are a powerhouse when it comes to grassroots fundraising, outperforming both the NDP and Liberals by far. In 2012 alone, when one would expect fundraising dollars to be on the low side, the Tories raked in $17.3 million from 87,306 contributors.
While much of the media and many in the opposition like to say that women's rights have faltered under Harper, the Thompson Reuters Foundation actually ranked Canada the best G20 country for women last year on account of its "strong policies against violence and exploitation combined with good access to education and healthcare."
What do you do when your opponent has the potential to challenge you in some hard-won ridings, possibly putting your majority at risk? That's the question Prime Minister Harper and his advisers are grappling with. Like it or not, the emergence of Justin Trudeau and his staying power has changed the political dynamics in Ottawa.
I must confess that there was an awful lot about Canada's 2011 General Election I simply didn't "get." But I certainly didn't get why Michael Ignatieff, a perfectly ordinary if uninspired Canadian party boss, stirred such loathing his Liberals plunged to a historically unprecedented third-place standing. And neither, it seems, does he.
Social networks' participatory power and our unfettered access to data is transforming politics -- and democracy itself. Political influence is shifting away from brokers and elites, and back to the people. Which is, generally, a good thing. However, instant communication and unfiltered flows of information are at best a mixed blessing.