It is sad to observe but I fear that Mr. Harper has found such an evil but effective issue for the coming election, will exploit it, and that many will support him for it.
The legal threshold for police to obtain a warrant to arrest individuals who have committed no crimes would be lowered. Canadians could be held in custody for up to seven days without charges. Bill C-51's gives powers of "preventive detention," which means jail time for individuals even when there isn't any suspicion criminal activity has taken place.
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No matter how you slice it, Harper has failed to lead Canada towards a sustained economic recovery from the financial crisis seven years ago. It doesn't matter how much public money he spends on ads claiming otherwise. Facts are facts. So, what does a government facing re-election do when its top agenda item, economic management, is in tatters? It changes the channel to something else.
With much ado about crossing the floor from the Conservative to the Liberal Party, the talk seems to centre on whether Justin Trudeau's Liberals gained much, if anything. That talk misses the point: the question is not what the Liberals got, but what the Conservatives lost. Coming on the heels of the clearly unplanned departure of John Baird, the real story is not the questionable value of the asset Trudeau has acquired but the fact that a sitting government member has crossed the floor to sit with a third party.
On January 30, a reporter asked Harper how newly-introduced anti-terror legislation will differentiate between somebody who is "radicalized" and "a teen who's just messing around in the basement." Harper answered by saying promoting terrorism is a serious offence no matter "what the age of the person is, or whether they're in a basement, or whether they're in a mosque or somewhere else." Harper's response to this question associates hundreds of mosques across the country with the promotion of terrorism and violence and is misguided for multiple reasons.
Why hasn't my Facebook feed filled with at least the same level of indignation about our government's disgraceful treatment of our Veterans as it was about the a tobogganing hill? We must learn to calibrate our anger so it's proportional to the injustice or slight. Let's fight for the things that make life fun for us like tobogganing while also fighting the things that make life miserable such as payday loan companies, multinational corporations, venture capitalists, a failed War on Terrorism and the self-serving hacks in the media and government who enable it all.
Mexico's human rights crisis is staring Canada in the face. According to Amnesty International, there are six times more reported cases of torture and ill-treatment than a decade ago. The 43 disappeared in Ayontizapa are only a needle in the hay stack of more than 80,000 estimated dead and 26,000 disappeared in the last 8 years.
It's strange indeed to see the federal government and the central bank headed in opposite and contradictory directions. The Bank of Canada is moving to stimulate greater growth, while Mr. Harper pushes more austerity -- with the net effect of reducing aggregate demand.
Trudeau is the most impressive, practical, and smart political leader since the Jean Chrétien era. Since taking over a near-bankrupt, third place, humiliated party less than two years ago, he has made it a growing political movement. The party is now well-organized, better funded, and has attracted strong candidates and volunteers that truly represent the new Canada.
It is also interesting to note that 43 per cent of CEOs, who can afford to pay for their retirement without other contributions, have set up defined benefits pension plans that will provide them $1.9 million every year from the time they turn 65. Less than 11 per cent of the general population has a defined benefits pension plan, in stark contrast with a full 43 per cent of the wealthiest in our society. But the Couillard government is doing absolutely nothing to improve the lot of the 89 per cent who are excluded.
How did things go so badly that Canada doesn't have the heft or goodwill in Washington to add a single pipeline to a nation benoodled with them? The answer lies in the delusional hubris of Stephen Harper.
CTV News in Edmonton recently highlighted the case of John Calvin, a gay Palestinian who converted from Islam to Christianity and was recently denied refugee asylum in Edmonton by the Canadian government. We urge our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, to take action immediately to withdraw the deportation order and allow Calvin asylum in Canada.
Canadian foreign policy has often been said to be principally a policy toward the United States with other countries taking second place politically and strategically. If brokering talks between Havana and Washington was intended by the Harper government to win favour with U.S. leaders, the results were predictably mixed.
The federal government has finally backtracked on some of their cuts to the refugee health program brought about in 2012. After significant public opposition and a legal challenge on the basis of violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, in July 2014, a federal court deemed the cuts to the refugee health program "cruel and unusual" treatment.
The United States and Canada do not allow for full competition, but Americans benefit from a bigger market given their much larger population. Thus, a continental market in airline travel would serve passengers if an American airline could compete head-to-head with Canadian airlines on domestic routes. But the federal government won't allow it. The result? Higher airline fares in Canada.