Yesterday, Minister of Defence Harjit Sajjan announced that Canada will commit to a yet undefined peacekeeping mission, probably in central Africa, and in doing so Canada will be a "responsible partner in the world." It will probably not be until the end of the year that we know the details -- why, where, the mission's duration, what will they do, what victory looks like and the terms of engagement. What we know for sure from minister Sajjan's announcement and follow-up questions is that this matter will not be brought before Parliament for a vote before the commitment to the UN is finally agreed upon and put into operation.
Today, the political landscape has changed. We have a government that promised to conduct public hearings on several issues and to listen attentively to the demands of the population. Nevertheless, when it comes to solid gestures and courageous actions, there seems no political appetite to tackle Bill C-51.
Few realize that the position of prime minister in Canada has more power than the President in the United States or, for that matter, any government leader in the G7. The current government already has the majority of seats and therefore control of the legislative agenda. It can use its majority to limit debate on any given bill and it also has control over the committees studying these bills.
If all MPs and all Canadians approach these subjects with respect, we can all feel better about the outcome whether you support Bill C-14 or not. I have been part of a few interviews and discussions with MPs on the issue of assisted suicide and got to know my colleagues across the aisle and understand their motivations better. This is passion and Parliament at its best. Sadly, last week also saw Parliament at its worst when the prime minister of Canada allowed his passion to get the better of him and he stormed across the aisle to yell at, and engaged in a scuffle with opposition MPs.
This was one of the first times when I fully disagreed with our prime minister's initial actions, but the quick and stormy actions of the Conservatives and NDP turned a reasonable concern into a farce. It's the overly polite, overly politically correct narrative that turns Canada into one giant joke for the rest of the world. This time, I was laughing with them.
"Anti-Semitism" may be the most abused term in Canada today. Almost entirely divorced from its dictionary definition -- "discrimination against or prejudice or hostility toward Jews" -- it is now primarily invoked to uphold Jewish/white privilege. Inward looking and affluent, the Jewish community is quick to claim victimhood. But, like an out of control child, the major Jewish organizations need to seriously reevaluate what they aim to represent in the public sphere.
How many times did we hear the media complain that the Conservatives used talk points all the time, often reading them from prepared scripts? We are now starting to see the Liberals doing the same thing. When asked about the need to get our downward spiraling economy moving, Trudeau's stock answer was, "We are going to do this right. We are going to do this responsibly." The only thing lacking was a piece of paper while he read the answer. For the party that promised to do things differently, it is much of the same. We haven't seen anything concrete to address the sinking dollar or get the economy moving.
Just as Trudeau did when he invited the public to the swearing-in of his cabinet ministers at Rideau Hall, or by meeting with the provincial and territorial ministers for the first time since 2009, or by attending the UN climate change summit with his provincial counterparts and opposition leaders, Trudeau is signalling that his is a different government. Gone is Stephen Harper's uncaring, exclusionary and secretive government. Instead, the Liberals are saying, they will be open, transparent, collaborative and caring. Time will tell whether they hold true to those promises.
The situation for animals in Canada remains dire, with hundreds of millions of animals suffering and dying every year on farms, in laboratories, in entertainment and for their fur. Parliament has a tremendous opportunity to improve life for many of these animals, and Canadians are crying out for change. The election results offer many reasons for optimism. It's now time for advocates to roll up our sleeves, start working with the new Parliament, and help MPs pass meaningful legislation for animals.
The advocacy of terrorism cannot be separated out neatly from the violence it generates. It is not an ancillary factor causally removed from its devastating result, but an inextricable feature of the recruitment methodology employed by terror-supporting states, terrorist organizations and their supporters.
Bruce Hyer describes himself as an "independent plus." Strong on representing his constituents, he is a loud voice for conservation, sustainable resource development, small business growth and democratic governmental reform. He has pioneered climate change legislation and fought against the huge subsidies to energy companies.