We must reclaim our position as a strong advocate for human rights and peace. In order to do this, we must do more than increase our financial support to the Central African Republic. We must condemn the abhorrent acts of violence against women and children. We must advocate for religious tolerance and reconciliation. And we must denounce the international apathy that has allowed this crisis to drag on for so long.
The Syrian conflict has passed two sobering milestones. The civil war -- now entering its fourth year -- has now claimed more than 200,000 lives and forced more than three million people to flee the country. The Canadian government can and should be playing a more direct role in addressing the refugee crisis in Lebanon by immediately increasing our humanitarian assistance.
The reason Canadians do not look at the NDP as government material is obvious. Its public role has been to shout, scream and protest from the sidelines and that reality has and should not change. I would never question nor discount their public contributions -- Medicare and minimum wage -- however these admirable ideals were achieved with the adult supervision of the traditional governing parties.
As a founding partner and the only major donor, Canada committed to the Stop TB Partnership, and contributed a five-year grant of $120 million to the TB REACH initiative in 2010. Unfortunately, TB REACH is now under threat. New Democrats are alarmed by indications that the Canadian government has decided not to renew its funding to TB REACH past 2016.
Why hasn't my Facebook feed filled with at least the same level of indignation about our government's disgraceful treatment of our Veterans as it was about the a tobogganing hill? We must learn to calibrate our anger so it's proportional to the injustice or slight. Let's fight for the things that make life fun for us like tobogganing while also fighting the things that make life miserable such as payday loan companies, multinational corporations, venture capitalists, a failed War on Terrorism and the self-serving hacks in the media and government who enable it all.
Like an overwhelming number of Canadians, you said -- publicly -- that you didn't want to grant telecom providers immunity for handing over our sensitive private information to government without a warrant. But then at the last minute something changed. You voted for the Bill in Parliament, and I don't mind telling you that was a huge disappointment. I also can't help but detect a hint of shame in the blog post that you wrote explaining why you turned around and supported the Bill after speaking out so vociferously against it.
The War on Terrorism has been raging since planes knocked down the Twin Towers on September 11th, 2001. Canadians have long felt insulated from the rush to hysteria and paranoia that has gripped many of our allies but now we're right in the thick of it.
Payday loan companies have managed to fly beneath the radar of public scrutiny for far too long. I suspect it's because their victims are the weakest among us who don't have a voice.
Mark Twain once said 'Give a man the reputation of an early riser and that man can sleep until noon.' Stephen Harper and Brian Mulroney are responsible for three quarters of the national debt. Harper alone has added $170 billion. The Liberals get the rest. How either one gets away with even pretending to be fiscally responsible baffles me. Both parties have slept in well past noon. It's time for a rude awakening.
The NDP offers a unique political agenda at the federal level, capable of building bridges between Canadians of different stripes. Tom Mulcair is an experienced politician who provides reassuring, strong, well-respected, and balanced leadership. He knows the issues like the back of his hand. Under his guidance, the NDP has become a formidable Official Opposition.
Mulcair made the biggest blunder in the exchange at Tuesday's Question Period. His frustration in his inability to get the government to respond is understandable, but as the rules currently dictate, the Speaker was enforcing the rules of Parliament. Mulcair's criticism of the Speaker in this scenario is thus akin to disrespecting the institution of Parliament itself.
The values we used to be most proud of as Canadians are slipping away. We used to differentiate ourselves from the States because of our kindness. Our compassion. Our politeness. Our open-mindedness. Socialized medicine. These are progressive values. These are Canadian values. Or so I thought. Our heros have been fighters for the underdog. Tommy Douglas. David Suzuki. Jack Layton. Nellie McClung. Terry Fox. Yet somehow, most Canadians seem to be saying that progressive values don't speak to them anymore.
If there's one thing that the Harper Conservatives are good at, it's message discipline. Sure, they have taken this to the extreme of muzzling everyone else they can, but you have to admit that they bring logic and consistency to all their communications. Less so Canada's opposition, which has some catching up to do.
Labour Day is a day of camaraderie and solidarity that I enjoy, and look forward to each year. It's a day to celebrate all that we've achieved, a day to feel the power of togetherness and to recommit ourselves to the struggle ahead. From Leamington, to Toronto, it's clear that this economy is not working for people and their families. Factories continue to close, and unemployment in this province remains stubbornly high. Our once strong, stable middle class is quickly becoming a class of precarious workers.
If you hope to repeat the success of May 2, 2011, I invite you to take a firm stand against the TransCanada East pipeline and you must demand that the National Energy Board hold public hearings that are not mere rubber stamps for the oil industry.