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.
Instead of using the recommended language that Canada takes global warming seriously and that we recognize that human-caused climate change is a serious issue that must be dealt with, the Harper Government touted their non-existent record and resorted to taking pot-shots at the opposition. It seems that Conservative Peter Braid (Kitchener-Waterloo) has grown tired of this silly cycle.
One of the unhealthier byproducts of a prime ministerial political system with no term limits is that the media spends an awful lot of time analyzing the vigour and vitality of the current incumbent, eagerly hoping for some subtle sign or signal that his tenure in office will be soon coming to an end. Does he seem bored or listless with the mundane tasks of governing? Is he openly grooming a successor? When's the last time he was seen in public?
Imagine that I took all the e-mails and messages that I have ever written, as well as recordings of all Skype calls that I have ever made, and gave them to a group of strangers. Should we trust the priorities these strangers will have in 10 years, or 20 or 50? Should we trust that this immense cache of data will not become a commodity, traded to other governments that exist now, or will exist in the future?
That a considerable number of Canadians traveled and paid to escape the well-known failings of the Canadian health-care system speaks volumes about how well the system is working for them. It leaves open the question of just how many more Canadians might choose medical tourism outside Canada if given the opportunity.
Surplus budgeting is a worthy goal; however, the means by which the Government gets there has to be transparent. Increasing El premiums beyond sustainment and reducing eligibility is not transparent. Sale of undisclosed assets is not transparent. Lapsing budgets by stealth is not transparent.
Canada's taxpayers have been increasingly generous to Aboriginal Canadians over the decades, but that reality is not often the narrative one hears from selected First Nations leaders. Instead, the oft-stated opinion is that taxpayers should ante up ever more. A quick look at the numbers shows us why that view will always be tragically misinformed.
The employer groups that vehemently oppose CPP hikes mostly don't offer any pension support for their employees. And their arguments are increasingly hysterical. They are still calling any CPP increase a "job killer" and managed to convince the junior minister of Finance to parrot their talking points.