I've been getting piles of emails, Facebook messages and invites about the Conservatives 'Fair Elections Act'. I haven't really responded to the...
It was exactly one year ago today that Justin Trudeau was elected Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. A year later, the positive mood continues. Politics shouldn't be a sour competition among unhappy people about who can make voters angrier. It should, instead, be about who and what to vote FOR, and the greater country we can build together for our children. That attitude is Justin Trudeau's greatest advantage.
Like every country with an aging population, Canada will have to implement some changes to make sure care continues to be accessible and affordable, but the U.S. model is not the example Ottawa and the provinces should follow.
Nomination battles are fascinating to watch and if you are part of one it is an exhilarating experience. The hype of "open nominations" will continue as all parties try to prove to the media and public that there is a new way of doing business now. Let us see how long it takes before we start hearing complaints from potential challengers about how they were dealt with during this "open" process.
Watching the NDP's feigned outrage at the Conservative's use (misuse) of government aircraft generates flashbacks to when the Conservatives were in opposition. At that time as head of the Conservative research group looking into Liberal misdeeds, we would often check the Challenger jet flight logs. Upon assuming office in February 2006 realty set in.
In 2004 voters barely had a clue who Stephen Harper was. So he appeared in those hilariously contrived ads in which he complained about the Liberals, offered some kind of solution, and then paused and added, slowly, "My name is Stephen Harper." Viewers came away wondering about his speaking style but pretty sure, whoever this guy was, his name must be Stephen Harper.
The most troubling concern about the Fair Elections Act is the restriction it will impose on our voting rights. In the past, the Voter Identification Card (VIC) used to be a legitimate and sufficient identification of voters, which is what happened in the last election with 120,000 citizens. Potential voters will need additional evidence of identity such as a driver's license or an address on a utility bill, items which some citizens do not have. Vouching, used in the past, will also be eliminated. The net result is that many young students, the unemployed, the homeless and First Nations Canadians will not be able to vote.
Even the most ardent Conservative supporters must wonder what principled position is behind the recent government-sponsored arms deal with Saudi Arabia that will send over $10 billion worth of Light Armoured Vehicles to one of the most anti-woman and repressive countries in the world. Outside its borders, the Saudi royal family uses its immense wealth to promote and fund many of the most reactionary, anti-women social forces in the world. The Conservatives have ignored these abuses, staying quiet when the regime killed "Arab Spring" protesters and intervened in Bahrain. Worse still, the Harper government's hostility towards Iran and backing of last July's military takeover in Egypt partly reflects their pro-Saudi orientation.
As citizens of the "free world" -- North Americans, at least -- we have a great power bestowed upon us: the right to vote. Yet this basic right is often taken for granted. Understandably, enacting one's support for politicians can be frustrating, but fundamentally they are chosen by us to manage our tax dollars. And listen up: you pay taxes.
I guess Prime Minister Harper is busy finding a new finance minister along with all the other stuff involved with his single-minded pursuit of the Alberta carbon bubble. Because he sure doesn't have time to join the hand wringing over a key engine of growth in a once prosperous province called Ontario. I'm talking about the so-called "free" trade agreement with South Korea and the future of the auto industry.
Too often, these Economic Action Plan projects seemed like giant lottery tickets, bought with our money, and failing to pay off. Government -- federal, provincial and local -- should stay out of the way, and let investors take the risk on these "easy" money economic development schemes.
Canada's economy has lost its balance. Trouble looms. Those are not words you will hear from Prime Minister Stephen Harper but it is the grim reality of the unsustainable economic ethos of his Conservative government. Instead of the telling us the truth, the government is spending unprecedented gobs of our money to mislead us about the health of the country with the Canada Action Plan advertising campaign saturating the airwaves. In reality, our petro premier has transformed a balanced country into a petro-state that is "hollowing out" the economy.
The occupation contradicts the values and wishes of most Israelis. There is no need for incitement to drive a wedge of hate between Palestinians and Israelis. The policy of occupation and the behaviour of the settlers is enough. I condemn terrorism and incitement, but the truth must be said: some of us, Israelis, engage in incitement.
The Shi'a Imam spoke about the increased conflict that characterized our world, the tensions between Sunni and Shi'a interpretations of Islam and that pluralism -- an ethic in which diversity, not just in its spirit, but in practice -- needed to be valued and championed.
All people are sinners and all are good and bad in differing degrees at different times. I am not a moral relativist and am a believer in law and order, the confession and repentance of sin, and the punishment of crimes. But I also believe in forgiveness where the adjudicated penalty has been served, there is remorse and a determination to avoid past misconduct.
It has become more and more urgent to -- as the proposal for a First Nations Education Act was titled -- work together for First nations students. This agreement, and the federal budget framework into which it is embedded, is an opportunity to do just that -- whatever one's skepticism and mistrust may recommend to the contrary. On the First Nation's side, the time has arrived to take both the concept and practice of self-control and self-determination to their logical conclusions. Let's call it getting our collective Indian act together.