These next few days are like festival season for political people: in Winnipeg the Liberal Party is gathering for the 2016 Biennial Convention while over in Vancouver, the Conservative Party are also in the midst of their national convention. Gender equity and increasing the number of female candidates will be a hot topic for both. PM Trudeau and his core team have this made this a clear priority for this Liberal Party and for the Conservatives, a more gender inclusive party has to be an essential part of their renewal efforts.
Few realize that the position of prime minister in Canada has more power than the President in the United States or, for that matter, any government leader in the G7. The current government already has the majority of seats and therefore control of the legislative agenda. It can use its majority to limit debate on any given bill and it also has control over the committees studying these bills.
Don't forget, way back in January 2014 Trudeau said about Kinder Morgan, "I certainly hope that we're going to be able to get that pipeline approved." Unless we make things uncomfortable for him politically, the prime minister will force this pipeline through our communities against our will -- the public's will.
One-off symbolic gestures such as appointing gender-balanced cabinets are not enough. Like the dozens of other countries ahead of us on the international gender equality league tables have discovered, the only way to move toward gender parity in parliament is to enact laws to prompt parties into action.
Justin Trudeau, in a stunning piece of political theatre, recently stood up in the House of Commons and categorically refused to implement decriminalization, a refusal that will result in a continuation of unnecessary criminal records for a crime that won't even be a crime in a couple years. Given his history on the topic, it's a truly mind-boggling stance for him to take.
More cynical commentators in Ottawa dismissed the newly minted Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister of Science portfolios as a simple rebrand of pre-existing cabinet posts. In some ways, that was an understandable reaction. After all the new Liberal government was widely criticized by opposition parties for being heavy on style and light on substance.
This weekend, the NDP is meeting in Edmonton to decide their direction moving forward. Eugene Levy once complained about filming a season of SCTV in Edmonton because "It's Edmonton." While I'm sure it's a great city, this is a party who is dreading at the Big E. The election of the past year saw an early lead blown, notable key members of the party lose their seats in the House of Commons, and a third place finish for Tom Mulcair's rookie federal election run. As the NDP head to the Gateway to the North, it's time to begin paving the highway towards the future.
If you're in the midst of filing this year's tax return, why should you be thinking about next year's return? Well, as I wrote earlier this month, a lot of families are coming in and being caught off guard because the Enhanced UCCB, combined with the disappearance of the amount for children, is putting people in a position where they may owe tax this year.
Anyone who signs up with the Liberals (with no membership fee involved) will have the right to take part in policy development, nomination meetings, conventions and future elections of the leader. The Conservatives have gone in the opposite direction to the Liberals with their new $25 membership fee that has to be paid by cheque or credit card. In effect the Conservatives have managed to make themselves more exclusive rather than inclusive. The Liberals have broadened their tent while the Conservatives shrank theirs. Time will tell who made the right move.
Across its 4,440-km route, the Canadian provides an essential service to many communities without other public transportation options. It attracts large numbers of international tourists to the Canadian Rockies and communities like Jasper, Alberta. It is a globally-recognized symbol of Canada, and graces our $10 bank notes.