Canadians' politics are local, not national. The lack of confidence in governments to take on the country's big issues means Canadians trust their governments with smaller, achievable goals. Affordable, doable policy solutions trump vague, grand promises, programs, or visions.
"Income tax has made more liars out of the American people than golf," said the American humourist Will Rogers. Indeed, but let's not stop there. In Canada, debates over taxes, government and civilization lead some journalists and others into the land of make-believe.
As one of the longest serving Finance Ministers, he introduced such initiatives such as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, the Building Canada Plan and cut the GST. He also took a leadership role in G7 and G20 leaders gatherings and showed smarts at the beginning of the financial meltdown of 2008. He was respected at home and abroad whether one agreed with him or not.
Every politician wants to leave a positive legacy, so here are some possibilities for the new federal Conservative finance minister, Joe Oliver. First, do no harm. This is not as easy as it sounds...
Put simply, the aging of Canada's population has resulted in large and growing unfunded liabilities. The funding shortfall is estimated at $792.3 billion for the CPP, $494.4 billion for OAS, and $894.7 billion for medicare. Together the unfunded liabilities in Canada's public pensions and health care programs total $2.2 trillion or $134,841 for each income taxpayer. These unfunded program obligations make up more than half of total government liabilities. And their sheer size calls into question the structure of taxing current workers to provide benefits for retirees. Ultimately, to maintain current levels of spending in the future, taxes will have to increase or benefits for other programs will have to be cut -- or both.
One of my dogs still waits for me at the front door until I get home. While I cannot understand why an individual would want to harm any animal in the way described above, I also do not think that is a question open for debate. There are numerous shelters and rescue organizations out there who would gladly offer to take your animal on an anonymous basis.
Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver attended the East Coast Energy Conference last week, where he said: "Canada is emerging as a 21st century energy...
I recall moving up those grand steps of Parliament for the first time following my election and the sense of responsibility that suddenly seemed to descend onto my shoulders. But nothing had quite prepared me for the crudeness of human behaviour that I witnessed.
General, might I offer up that, at the heart of the problem of suicide in the Forces, is that soldiers feel trapped and with no way out? That the widespread stigma against mental injury and illness, that the attitude you present -- that helping is coddling, and that your condescending attitude exemplifies the problem which soldiers face?
Tobacco is much more than money for Canada's Mohawk people -- it's a source of economic independence, a non-handout form of income that goes well with aspirations of independence and self-reliance. And these are good and necessary goals. Yes, it's also been deemed illegal and is likely going to draw the communities into a collision with the federal government, but in the meantime tobacco is a desperately-needed investment in the community. Until we discover oil or invent a better iPad (and I hope we do both), tobacco is the best we've got. We're beginning to make some real money through entrepreneurship, and if it takes cigarettes and gambling in the beginning, so be it.
This budget certainly does a lot of things. It ignores struggling families desperately in need of daycare options. In 2006, the Conservatives cancelled the Liberal National Daycare Program, opting instead for a $100/month subsidy. Canadian families know how to stretch a buck, but $100 does not stretch very far.
By not directly and creatively addressing destabilizing wealth disparities and the disaster of the drug war, President Obama and his colleagues are missing a huge opportunity.
There is a stark contrast between what Veterans want and need, and what the Harper Government is presenting. Veterans need benefits, pensions, enough money to live on, and assistance accessing programs. Veterans are in crisis across Canada -- mental health crisis, financial crisis, family crisis resulting from both -- and deserve help. Decorated Veterans are suing Canada for not providing for them; a shameful situation which decent people would settle quickly. What has Harper offered? No jobs, more expensive health plans, more emphasis on the depersonalized VAC web service.
Poet, Anatole France, once observed that, "it is the certainty that they possess the truth that makes men cruel." He could just as easily be commenting on two recent actions of our present federal government that fly directly in the face of what is supposed to be good politics: giving the people what they want. How else to explain the undue harshness against this country's veterans, or the outright attack and manipulation in the Harper government's attempts to revamp Elections Canada to its own purposes? What makes both of these instances so remarkable is the sheer arrogance of a government acting against the best interests of its own people.
Prime Minster Stephen Harper made a historic speech before the Israeli Knesset. I predict it will be considered Harper's greatest and most memorable of his political career and one of the most memorable speeches given by any Canadian prime minister domestically and internationally.
Creating laws that are overly broad and ineffective will just push sex work back into the shadows, and will continue to make it less safe for all those involved. Sex work can be safe, clean, and beneficial to those of us who choose it as a career. It can be conducted ethically, honestly, and freely, with the full consent of all participants. It can be done right, in the privacy of our own homes, without exploitation; we just need to ensure that governments do not restrict our right to choose what we do with our own bodies.