The most exciting by-election on Thursday is in Calgary Centre, where polls indicate a three-way race between the Conservatives, the Liberals and (deep breath) the Green Party. So if you live in Calgary Centre and are an NDP voter, a Green voter, a Liberal voter, then I suggest you consider yourself, first and foremost, a progressive voter.
From a progressive's point-of-view 1 Calgary Centre is ambitious, commendable, daring, timely and incredibly brilliant. From a conservative perspective, it is a nightmare. But will it work?
The Conservative government recently introduced C-45, an omnibus bill containing provisions to create a two-tier public sector workforce in this country. Buried in the bill is a provision to raise the age of retirement for all public employees hired after January 1, 2013
Question Period tends to highlight exactly what is wrong with much that takes place in the House of Commons. Daily insults, putdowns, and factual misrepresentation are quite common. When you combine an inept opposition with a government side that shows little respect for the intelligence of Canadians, you end up with something that is so bad that you can't even call it a gong show.
What comes to mind when people think of Saskatchewan? Socialism, of course. Other things too, but certainly socialism. But since Tommy Douglas left provincial politics, Saskatchewanians have wandered back and forth on the political spectrum. Saskatchewan has 14 seats in the House of Commons. There's not a single socialist bum in those 14 seats.
B.C. Liberal party director Mike McDonald made an interesting point on Sunday. Not one to miss an opportunity for a partisan shot given the nature of his political post, McDonald tweeted: "Shocked at low NDP turnout in Fairview. Huge media, high profile candidates, less than 400 voted. NDP support not deep." Despite the dig, McDonald is on to something. But what he's on to isn't pretty and regrettably it ails all political parties in B.C.
Anyone watching Question Period the last few days would be excused if they simply turned it off and walked away in disgust. Basically the kids in the chamber are back to their old games -- insults, evasive answers and slap downs. True it can get partisan blood going, but partisans are already committed to their own side's position. I doubt too many in the public are getting much out of the daily slug-fest. What ever happened to Michael Chong's attempt to reform Question Period? If this past week is an example, those reforms are needed more than ever.
What Justin Trudeau brings to politics is a charismatic, genuine, energetic and trustworthy face. He can work a crowd like no other MP. Since announcing his candidacy, he has had no problems drawing full crowds at appearances ranging from rallies to talks on the role of social media in politics. Don't underestimate these traits. What the Liberal party of Canada needs is a young energetic leader who can reclaim the centre and encourage people who don't usually vote to do so.
Liberals made a pledge to focus on rebuilding the party from the ground up. It is essential, now that the Grit leadership race is getting underway, that Liberals honour this promise. Liberals should select their next leader keeping in mind the following difficult but unavoidable truth: The Liberal Party of Canada will not win the 2015 federal election. The worst thing the Grits could do right now is to rally en masse around any one candidate for leader early in the race and not give this candidate a chance to prove his or her worth. Better to have Grits unite around a common vision as a result of debate than to unite around a personality hoping for a Hail Mary.
I gather from all the media hype that Canadians are supposed to be waiting with bated breath and pounding heart for the "Second Coming" i.e. Justin Trudeau's non-announcement this week that he will enter the Liberal Party's leadership race. I say non-announcement as I don't know anyone who pays attention to politics who actually thought Trudeau would sit this one out.
Can the Liberals survive as a third party? Liberals can no longer claim to be the natural governing party, nor to have the same ability to garner wealthy donors or those seeking connections. Liberals cannot coast by on "we win elections," "we're not Harper," or be the "everything to everyone" party. The Liberals face a tough political environment, with the NDP trying to crowd them out, and with their own return to power far from certain. A compelling message and clear ideals to attract support is key. Liberals cannot pine for a messiah.
If Pauline Marois' government decides it wants to lead Quebec out of Canada, to my mind she's simply following the logical path that has been laid down (intentionally or not) by our Federal leaders over the past 145 years. If it turns out Quebec wants a divorce we should grant it and move on. It seems evident there wasn't much of a family to begin with, and we don't seem to want to start building one now.
Stephen Harper has stayed true to his word, maintaining his stand that the issue of abortion will not be reopened in Canada so long as he is Prime Minister. That being the case, how did we reach the point where the blame for Motion 312 and it's implications on the reproductive rights of women in this country are perceived to be solely with Stephen Harper and the CPC?
The issue of age recently exploded in the Ugandan media when a 19-year-old woman won a by-election in Usuk, Uganda. How could someone so young, so inexperienced, adequately represent her constituents? In Uganda, as in Canada, the youth are the ones bearing the brunt of the global economic crisis, and yet are facing constant criticism for being entitled for wanting a good education and decent jobs. They have a right to be represented and heard.
According to a media report, it would appear that New Brunswick MP, Dominic Leblanc, would like to limit the number of contenders for the Liberal Party leadership. Leadership races are supposed to rejuvenate a party, improve its fortunes and give it a bounce in the polls. You won't do that unless you debate new ideas, hopefully with a few new people at the table.
On the 22nd of September Liberals from across downtown Calgary will vote from 9:00 am and 5:00 pm at the Kahanoff Conference Centre, and vote for one of three (or a rumored four, with the final one being a possible star candidate) candidates vying for the chance to contest the upcoming byelection under the Liberal banner. Three candidates are raring up to challenge the Liberal nomination in Calgary Centre.