The Harper government has mastered the art of selective morality. When it is convenient, Mr. Harper takes cover behind international law to attack those he disagrees with on ideological or religious grounds. And those with whom he has an ideological or religious connection, his government wilfully ignores their indiscretions. This selective application of morality is at odds with the principles of social justice, which all Canadians hold dear.
An ad in the Globe and Mail reveals the extent of harm the Harper Conservatives have inflicted on Statistics Canada. Because of poor quality, Statistics Canada is not releasing data at finer spatial scales because the Harper Conservatives killed the mandatory long-form Census and replaced it with a voluntary survey of dubious quality.
In all of the coverage of the Ontario election and the new Wynne government, the media has completely overlooked one of the most important stories of them all. What people don't realize is that the labour movement came together in an unprecedented way to defeat Progressive Conservative party leader Tim Hudak, and kept the U.S. anti-union movement out of Canada.
The CCF assisted a taxpayer named Irvin Leroux in getting a decision from the B.C. Supreme Court, holding that Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) owed him a duty of care and breached its duty towards him. This was a precedent-setting ruling: never before had the CRA been told by any court that it had a duty towards individual taxpayers to treat them with care, and not to be negligent towards them.
George Orwell stated, "Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed. Anything else is public relations." Unfortunately, most North American journalists have acted as PR reps for Israel's ongoing invasion in a variety of ways, some subtle, others explicit.
The establishment of a Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) by the Harper Tories in 2007 has been seen as a progressive step towards ensuring that those with mental illnesses begin to receive the same level of health care as those with other illnesses. But, in my opinion, it was nothing more than a clever ploy to make it look like something positive was finally being done. Those who suffer from mental illness deserve the same level of care and treatment as those who suffer with other illnesses. No society can call itself progressive when it allows such needless suffering as those with mental illnesses, addictions and their families do.
This kind of talk about out-of-control government spending in central Canada will build and build. The right has a huge megaphone in this country and the ideas are rarely challenged in the mainstream media.
Canadian charities are experiencing an "advocacy chill" and changing the way they go about their work as a result of what they say is "bullying" by the Harper Conservative government. My just completed Master's thesis research finds that the denunciatory rhetoric of government ministers against charities, followed by stepped up audits is having its toll not only on charity operations, but also on the strength of Canada's public discussions and thus on the vigor of democracy itself.
In today's world where digital innovation is driven by the ability to access and leverage the open Internet, the TPP proposes regressive Internet regulations that would be imposed on 12 countries party to the agreement (including Canada) by unaccountable U.S. conglomerates, with little to no meaningful consultation with the public.
The failure to grant aboriginal peoples the dignity and opportunity of a land base also comes at a tremendous cost -- economic, social and moral. It is the cost of an entirely unacceptable status quo. Aboriginal rights are complicated and often poorly understood by Canadians, but behind the intricate issues of rights, title and treaties is the essential notion of sharing. Change is required. That change can come through arduous, adversarial court battles or through a more co-operative nation-building process.
Stephen Harper recently announced that dealing with climate change will not come at the expense of crippling the economy, and said that he encourages other countries to do the same. He claimed he was just being honest and that no leader really wants to take action on climate change, but based on recent actions by China, United Kingdom and the United States, this doesn't seem to be the truth.
First Nations will undoubtedly take the project to court and if need be, tens of thousands of British Columbians have pledged to stand with them and take direct action to stop this pipeline. Hopefully it won't have to come to that. Ultimately, if after everything, Enbridge still tries to ram their pipeline through B.C., it may make Clayoquot Sound look like a walk in the park. Assuming he doesn't surprise us by rejecting Enbridge outright, Harper will end up regretting that he didn't oppose this pipeline, as it will likely cost him some critical seats in a close election.
If frankness is the new ingredient for climate policy action, then governments and opposition leaders should state as much up front. Then, they could frame the economic and environmental choices before us as a country in deciding to meet, or not, stated climate goals.
Astute readers of the Harry Potter series and keen political observers may see parallels to the current Harper Government™ as it seems to operate in a parallel universe clinging to its fantasies, denying obvious facts, and not helping Canadians adapt to the profound changes climate disruption will inevitably bring. Minister Aglukkaq is entitled to her fantasies; however she is not entitled to the facts.
Obama has declared a war on coal that's taking direct aim at his country's largest polluters. In Canada, meanwhile, Prime Minister Harper is using his mandate to muzzle weather forecasters from even mentioning climate change. The two major trading partners have their differences, but seldom have they been so out of sync.
To support children as they grow into adulthood, it's essential that we make lifesaving vaccines affordable for families in poor and middle-income countries the world over. Only then will the world's generosity truly be in line with its objectives.