More and more, it's appearing the provincial New Democrats simply possess no real base beyond the narrow confines of what we might call "NDP World" -- militant union bosses, anti-everything eco-extremists, dogmatic staffers of the inner-city charity-industrial complex and out-of-touch professors in fringe faculties.
Nomination battles are fascinating to watch and if you are part of one it is an exhilarating experience. The hype of "open nominations" will continue as all parties try to prove to the media and public that there is a new way of doing business now. Let us see how long it takes before we start hearing complaints from potential challengers about how they were dealt with during this "open" process.
Watching the NDP's feigned outrage at the Conservative's use (misuse) of government aircraft generates flashbacks to when the Conservatives were in opposition. At that time as head of the Conservative research group looking into Liberal misdeeds, we would often check the Challenger jet flight logs. Upon assuming office in February 2006 realty set in.
So what is my beef with the institute? It is that, while the institutes eloquently preaches high standard for public discussions on a slew of issues and demands better destinations for others, it is an elitist institutions that does not look like Canada. Just look at its employees and the board membership of the institute for instance.
Many Canadians remain concerned about the security of e-commerce transactions. To combat this perception, credit card companies have publicized their commitment to zero-liability policies. That's why it is very alarming that many consumers are finding that financial institutions are now refusing to honour their own, self-promoted zero liability policies in situations where the card has been compromised.
Tom Mulcair came to Toronto's City Hall last month and delivered this simple message: urban issues have to be a federal priority. And, he promised that the NDP would make them so. The occasion for Tom's visit was my urban summit, "Re-Imagining Our Cities II: The Resilient City."
In recent months members of Parliament have debated three of the world's major crises, in Ukraine, Syria, and the Central African Republic. There is another crisis, though, that Canada has neglected so far -- the political and humanitarian crisis in South Sudan. It's not as though the money is not available; we are nearing the end of the fiscal year, and last year the Conservatives allowed nearly $300 million of the aid budget to lapse. South Sudan is supposed to be a priority country for Canada.
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.