Conservative MPs had an historic, unprecedented chance to throw off their chains and empower themselves and all MPs, and political party riding associations, to represent voters. Instead, they changed the Reform Act to the "Hope for Reform Act," essentially giving up the chance to limit party leaders' powers.
Stephen Harper has decided to be in Ottawa for Remembrance Day. He had originally planned to blow off what is arguably the second-most meaningful Canadian holiday to attend the APEC economic leaders' meeting in Beijing Nov. 10-11. The Chinese Communist Party reigns supreme and its decisions are beyond appeal. Hardly the kind of trading partner we want to own our natural resources. And hardly the kind of hosts our Prime Minister should prefer to attending the first Remembrance Day after our country survived its terrible test of fire.
The senators themselves could also aid in this democratization process by self-imposing term limits. Once again, this would come to pass over time as a matter of convention, not legislation. The senators would legally be appointed to age 75, but as a more democratic culture took hold, they would face pressure to step down after X number of years.
As one of the key institutions of the federal government, it obviously makes sense for the Supreme Court to enjoy certain constitutional protections. But to decree that even modifying the resume criteria for the men and women who sit on it should require nothing short of a constitutional amendment is to cordon off yet another enormous realm of the broken Canadian political system from even the mildest tinkerings of common-sense improvement.
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.
Every year, political corruption kills as many as 140,000 children worldwide, by depriving them of medical care, food, and water. Yet, far too often, the perpetrators of the most outrageous acts of corruption are able to use their illicit wealth and power to pervert the very laws and institutions that should call them to account.
The real scandal of politics at present is not about a number of high profile, well-attired, and well-trained political elite caught in scanda. The true victims in this very moment are all those Canadians seeking work, lining up at food banks, hoping for better Veteran's benefits, the hundreds of Aboriginal women gone missing and presumed deceased, those waiting for extensive times in emergency rooms, and those on the wrong side of the ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor in this country. They look in vain to both Houses of Parliament for a proper addressing of their circumstances.
What do you do when your opponent has the potential to challenge you in some hard-won ridings, possibly putting your majority at risk? That's the question Prime Minister Harper and his advisers are grappling with. Like it or not, the emergence of Justin Trudeau and his staying power has changed the political dynamics in Ottawa.
Big Media lobbyists and unelected bureaucrats are holding closed-door meetings in Malaysia this week, as they continue secret talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) -- a highly secretive and extreme trade deal that includes extreme new copyright rules that could end the open Internet as we know it.
Canada is a superb creation and initial credit for that must, obviously, go to Canada's founding fathers. How we came about is a fascinating tale of seemingly intractable regional disputes resolved, at least for a time, by new institutions and a new country. Thus, today, inter-provincial debates are similar to pre-1867 tussles where one province's citizens complain of how others are on the federal dole courtesy of tax dollars from the more prosperous regions. And all the provinces again regularly press the federal government for more money.
Here at OpenMedia.ca, we've already been hearing from Canadians outraged that our own Members of Parliament are still being denied access to the TPP text -- access that has now been granted to their counterparts in Washington D.C. We know that Canadians will not accept their Members of Parliament being kept in the dark
What is happening in both the House of Commons and the Senate at the moment represents a serious enough threat to our democracy that we require remedial efforts in real time, far in advance of whatever constitutional refinements to these institutions that might lie in the future. Our focus should be upon the selection process for Senators, at least in the interim.