This is a bit like commenting on a married couple who have severe marital problems, complete with shouting matches and physical abuse. While all their friends may agree that the marriage is in trouble and that the couple should get counselling, no true friend would allow the husband to repeatedly beat his wife as they wait for counselling. But Canadian political leaders seem perfectly willing to allow the "beating" to continue as they await the ever elusive negotiated solution ("counselling") between Israel and Palestine.
We're being left behind by other countries and economies while we chase an elusive ideal under some imaginary rainbow. It's time for our leaders to stand up and draw a line in the sand and stop enabling these fanatics, lest they achieve their ultimate goal of completely shutting down our economic engine.
Canadian-made military equipment initially sold to Saudi Arabia has been used in Yemen, where thousands of civilians -- many of them children -- have died. Canadian-made arms have also been used to violate the human rights of Saudi dissidents. Canada may even be at risk of complicity in Saudi violations of international law.
There is no doubt that fighting tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance will mean confronting very powerful interests who will push back with a large arsenal of resources, from public relations to lawsuits. We, as parliamentarians, cannot be intimidated.
In regards to tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) should be part of the solution. At the moment, it rather seems to be part of the problem. Over the last few years, we have seen that the CRA institutionalized various practices, eroding the trust that Canadians place in it.
Last April, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists revealed the "Panama Papers" scandal, a database of 11.5 million documents leake...
The issue of tax havens is inherently international in scope. As a result, the government can use tax agreements to fight tax avoidance schemes. Unfortunately, tax agreements haven't been used for that purpose. On the contrary, they have facilitated the outflow of Canadian money to offshore financial centres, and have done very little to break the damaging secrecy laws of these countries.
Liberal and Conservative members of the Finance Committee seem to have little appetite to pursue the matter any further and the committee will release its report this fall, and will move on to something else. As long as politicians will be timid and fearful of using their power, Canadians have little hope of seeing the issue of tax evasion or aggressive tax avoidance being addressed seriously by their politicians.
Nobody likes to pay taxes. However, the pill is easier to swallow when everyone pays their fair share. It's increasingly clear that in Canada -- and in most industrialized countries -- many are not. We have a two-tier system where the wealthy and the corporations can escape their obligations, and the rest of us can't.
I believe Canada must do more and become a global model. Canada should increase its acceptance of refugees, regardless of their home country. A refugee is a refugee, regardless of their origin. Settling a larger number of refugees each year is just one solution Canada could consider. Canada should also provide increased humanitarian assistance in crisis situations, and increase its development assistance in fragile states.
With two political leadership races underway, both of which at this point in time have put everyone to sleep, one can only hope that something happens to inject some life into them. We have had the first NDP leadership bid if you can call it that with the declared entry of Cheri DiNovo.
Luckily for the NDP, unlike the Democrats south of the border, they can scrap their party's name and orange motif without much blowback. And they should. The party's image is irreparable, tattered from years of negative election results and cemented in a state of mediocrity.
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.
Trudeau's apology is illustrative of the behaviour of a child being caught with his hand in the cookie jar, then arguing it wasn't his fault because someone else put the jar there in the first place. His so-called apology was not so much about an acknowledgement of a wrongdoing, it was more about trying to put a spin on his indefensible actions.
The prime minister should not have gone into the crowd in the first place. It is not his duty to get members back in their seats to vote, as he was doing with the Official Opposition Whip Mr. Gord Brown. While his actions were inappropriate: He did not push, attack or harm a woman.
Something got lost in all this childish behaviour, especially once Tom Mulcair transitioned from apparently laughing at Trudeau losing his cool to losing his own cool and screaming that the Prime Minister was "pathetic" for accidentally elbowing NDP MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau in the chest... What got lost was the bill they were debating, Bill C-14, the government's assisted-dying legislation. And it fell further from prominence once the NDP, the party that allegedly wants to make this bill better, saw an opportunity to use the accident as political leverage against the Prime Minister and perhaps for their own leadership ambitions.