Sadly, too many public officials are all too eager to scam taxpayers and charge fraudulent expenses. That is especially true if they feel they are accountable to no one. Accountability begins with transparency. After all, you can't judge a person's actions if you don't know what they've done. Just as companies are accountable to their owners and shareholders, so elected officials are accountable to their citizens and taxpayers.
This trial is going to be a long, drawn-out examination of the prime minister's role and vast influence. Harper will take blows from both sides. The Crown has already said it believes Duffy wasn't qualified to sit in the Senate -- that the former CTV journalist and longtime Ottawa resident didn't meet the basic residency requirement to represent his native Prince Edward Island and that he should never have been appointed to the upper house. So why did Harper appoint Duffy?
Since 2010, annual funding for the RCMP has declined in every year except one. The Conservatives claim they need to put new powers in the law, but police forces and security officers cannot fully utilize the laws already there when their budgets don't give them the necessary resources. And new laws will be meaningless without the funding to make them work. The well-being of Canadians is put at risk when these things are undermined. Honest or not, dangerous or not, Stephen Harper has been prepared to compromise even public safety to concoct the claim of a balanced budget before the 2015 election.
If you're looking for more on how Harper's Conservatives will help the struggling Canadian economy they've overseen, well, that's about it. It's not much of a plan and we all deserve better.
In Canada, Stephen Harper led two minority governments before his 2011 win gave him a solid majority. Britain's David Cameron became prime minister in 2010 by virtue of a coalition with the Liberal Democrats and would clearly prefer a majority of his own. By imitating Harper's Canadian Crunch, he may have improved his chances.
Environment Canada has been telling us for years that Canada is running off the climate track and -- because of growing emissions largely from the oil and gas sector -- we are getting farther and farther away from meeting our government's self-imposed climate targets. Because of that climate failure, Canada is holding all of us back from prosperity, jobs and better health. That's according to a new study of benefits from international emission pledges made in the lead up to December's UN climate summit. Developed countries around the world -- with the exception of Canada and Japan -- are unveiling their individual climate plans, which were due yesterday.
Not only was Harper's change to the Criminal Code of no value but the real problem is one that he and many provincial governments refuse to acknowledge or rectify. Far too much mental health care in this country is left to the prison system rather than to the health care system.
The new TransCanada pipeline isn't about getting energy east -- it's about getting crude oil east. When discussing the environmental impact of oil sands development, stop using the benign sounding "tailings ponds" when we're actually talking about "toxic sludge." Ducks aren't killed when they land in ponds.
Online polls can be fun and if we want to determine the public's opinion on their favourite colour, or why they like Britney Spears better than Madonna, they can be accurate enough to be newsworthy, I suppose. I think we have to look at the differences between American and Canadian politics and culture to understand why online polls don't accurately reflect public opinion accurately enough when it comes to voting intentions.
Bill C-51 is an omnibus anti-terrorism bill that grants CSIS new information sharing powers and converts CSIS from a covert intelligence gathering organization to a covert enforcement agency. Ms. Soapbox is here to offer four simple suggestions to keep you out of trouble when Stephen Harper's majority government finally passes this monstrous piece of legislation.
MP Larry Miller, who once used Hitler and the Nazis as references to oppose the gun registry, also recently made a dumb comment about how prospective Canadians should "stay the hell where you came from" if they prefer to wear a niqab during a Canadian citizenship ceremony. He is one of a long line of Conservative MPs to make racist remarks. I hope racism, ignorance and stupidity are not becoming mainstream Canadian values, let alone values endorsed by the Conservative Party of Canada. I hope the Prime Minister understands in his awkward silence, he is giving the impression that he is actually endorsing all the ills we have seen from members of his caucus in recent months. He should not.
Lest we forget, the fact that Canada's black recent political biographies, for the most part, have come via political anointments rather than community organizations. As blacks, we are often too enthusiastic to celebrate Obama's biography in community organizations yet have neglected to follow in his footsteps.
Perhaps there is an element to which the Conservatives truly believe they are fighting a cultural and religious practice that they find repugnant. Even still, that seems far beyond the point, as has been stated many times by various commentators: a conservative man forcing a woman not to wear a niqab is effectively the same violation of her liberty as a conservative man forcing her to wear the niqab. What could be more Canadian than including someone's harmless religious practices in a citizenship ceremony, or really any other facet of public life?
On February 12, Harper vowed to appeal a federal court ruling that would allow Muslim women to wear a niqab during citizenship ceremonies. Speaking to the press about the matter, Harper said, "That is not the way we do things." He added that, "This is a society that is transparent, open and where people are equal, and I think we find that offensive." This is a classic example of opportunistic feminism, which so many white men like to make use of from time to time.
Given the parliamentary majority that the Harper government currently enjoys, official effective opposition to its typically extreme legislative proposal lies squarely in the hands of the Supreme Court. Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau's respective decisions to stand aside the bill as it makes its way in the House of Commons, preferring instead to pitch oversight-related amendments as part of their prospective federal electoral platforms, reinforces this reality.
It's pretty clear that in the public discourse around C-51, there are serious fears on each side. One side is afraid of terrorism infiltrating Canada; the other is afraid of abuse of power through government surveillance. How are we to get back to a real public dialogue, instead of talking past one another?