Once again we have a spending scandal occupying the attention of Canadians. This time however, it doesn't involve our esteemed senators but two former generals, Andrew Leslie who is presently a senior Liberal advisor and Daniel Menard who retired in disgrace from the armed forces. Leslie claimed $72,000 for moving expenses and Menard claimed $40,000.
Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) remain at the heart of our economy and help create thriving, prosperous communities. Yet in the wake of Statistics Canada's latest jobs report it is becoming clear that the Conservatives' big-business agenda is failing to create quality, decent paying jobs and get the Canadian economy growing again.
This week is International Development Week. This year's theme is "We are Making a Difference." Canada should be making a difference -- a real, sustainable difference. Unfortunately, under the Conservative government, we are going in the wrong direction.
The only way to earn the backing of Canada's eastern provinces for Senate reform would be to rip open Canada's fundamental law once more, putting everything back on the table and possibly plunging the country into yet another national unity crisis. This could set Canada back by years, if not decades.
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."
Justin Trudeau probably shocked his Senate caucus colleagues more than the voting public today when he announced he was removing Liberal senators from the Liberal caucus, thereby limiting the caucus to elected members of parliament. Eventually the dust will settle and the real reason for this move will become evident, but for now Trudeau is in the limelight and he will have the Conservatives scrambling and perhaps the NDP as well. The truth is no one including Trudeau knows and we will only find that out down the road and closer to the next election.
Last month, Brian Jean announced that he is leaving the federal political scene this month. When opportunity knocks some MPs will decide enough is enough. No one can predict how many, but it is pretty safe to say we haven't seen the last member of the Conservative caucus decide that their future is not in Ottawa.
There is no discussion of the fact that part of the reason Mandela was sent to prison was because he was responsible for bombing a power plant. Though we seem to like to imagine that Mandela brought change to South Africa with nothing but wise words and a kind, grandfatherly smile, the truth is very different. Mandela fought for his freedom, tooth and nail.
So while Europe is undoubtedly a good trade partner, the question is: have the Conservatives negotiated a good deal for Canada? The answer is we can't say until we see the actual deal. Just as most Canadians wouldn't sign a major contract without reading and understanding it first, New Democrats won't support or oppose a trade agreement that we haven't seen.
Chris Hadfield truly is a remarkable Canadian. The motion, 'M-477' states that the government should "designate August 29th each year as Chris Hadfield Day." At a time when science is under attack by some, it is essential that we acknowledge its critical place in our past, present and future.
There has been much discussion this week about Michael Chong's Private Members Bill to reform some of the aspects of how our parties act and control MPs. Whether one agrees with all the details found in his bill, one thing is certain; it can't make things any worse than they already are on the Hill.
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.
So apparently Justin Trudeau fancies himself the next Jack Layton. How adorable. On Monday night he told a crowd of supporters "make no mistake, the NDP is no longer the hopeful, optimistic party of Jack Layton... it is the Liberal party tonight that proved hope is stronger than fear...." When Jack spoke of "hope" and "optimism," he was envisioning a leadership rooted in substance. Jack was hopeful that policies could be embraced based on principle, not on what the latest poll told you to believe. A word of caution to Justin Trudeau: I knew Jack Layton. Jack Layton was a friend of mine. And you sir, are no Jack Layton.
The Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan resumed sitting late last month, Members making the trek to Regina for the Third Session of the 27th Legislative Assembly.
The terrible tragedy of the Walji family has shown us that we need to discuss and reform our immigration system to prevent such tragedies from ever happening again. Compassion was always our strength. We need to rekindle that in our public policies.
Because of its inherent independence from election cycles, the Senate can provide an indispensable public service that enriches our democracy. Does this mean that we ignore the real problems in the Senate? Definitely not. Reforms are needed. Standards that were tolerated decades ago are no longer acceptable today.