Trade negotiations are growing in importance as developed and developing countries alike increasingly realize that protectionism is not a path to prosperity. Federalism poses challenges for our trade negotiations that are exacerbated by elections at both levels of government in Canada, and among our trading partners. The electoral clock is also ticking on Japanese Diet elections next summer and on U.S. presidential and congressional elections next fall. If the machinery of trade talks ground to a halt every time an election approached, there would be no trade agreements at all -- which is, perhaps, what some people desire.
Instead of insisting on voting only for an ideal candidate with whose orientation and policies we fundamentally agree, and feeling guilty if we vote for the "lesser of evils," perhaps in voting for the lesser of evils we're fulfilling our evolutionary responsibility.
Let's take a look at the Harper Conservatives. Basically their ads and messages are there to create an illusion of good economy, sound fiscal management and the country under the threat of terrorism. In short, the Conservatives are faking their governing record.
If the recent frufrah over NDP candidate Linda McQuaig's comment that "a lot of the oilsands oil may have to stay in the ground" is indicative of anything, it's that Canada's election cycle is in full spin. May all reasonableness and sensible dialogue and accountability be damned. Perhaps that's the blunt and singular reason behind the Conservative Party and Stephen Harper's outrage at McQuaig's entirely non-contentious assertion that, because of our international commitments to curtail global climate change, Canada won't exploit the entirety of its oil reserves.
On a hot Sunday in August 2015, Governor General David Johnston dissolved Parliament at the request of Prime Minister Harper. Thus, the 41st Parliament concluded and Canada was thrust into a 78 day campaign, much of which will be fought over the summer months. This campaign is not about the decided voter. It isn't about keeping the base happy. It is about the undecided, meandering, and regular Canadian.
This year's election will probably mark a watershed when it comes to how the Muslims see themselves politically. Different narratives animate various camps within the community, but there seem to be sizeable movement on both ends of the spectrum.
Many say the right wing has an inferior sense of humor, and I guess it's only logical that the political right are not up for a laugh. After all, their politicians are the first to slash arts from the budget.
Traditionally, no one cares about guards working in prisons with the lowest of the low in society, yet that is where my life's work began years ago -- working as a Correctional Officer in a human warehouse that systematically destroys staff and inmates alike. Notwithstanding, I've dedicated my life to seeing through the development of this idea because I have seen, first-hand, the goodness of inmates, guards and administration who are in an out-of-control system that can't alone meet the needs of everyone, or even come near being able to deal with the multiplicity of internal issues involved.
Despite the whining by self-interested elites which has dominated the national discourse thus far, there is a silver lining to an extended writ. For many Canadians, it is a prime-ministerial present. Whatever your political stripe, take advantage of this extra time to make your vote matter.
A whole host of campaigns designed to advance the agenda of the fossil fuel industry have cropped up: Resource Works, British Columbians for Prosperity, Energy Citizens, Coal Alliance, Canadian Natural Resources Alliance, Pipeline Action, and many others.
We can't shut off the fossil fuel economy overnight, but the science clearly says that we need a real plan to leave fossil fuels like tar sands underground. Politicians need to stop treating this country like idiots and recognize that most people want an economy that's not dependent on the boom and bust of the oil cycle.
Last week new Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson continued a Harper government tradition of lauding deceased Saudi royalty. In a release the MP from Niagara Falls said he was "deeply saddened to learn of the passing of His Royal Highness Prince Saud Al-Faisal" and "impressed by his distinguished career serving the people of Saudi Arabia." Of course, Nicholson omitted any mention of the former Saudi foreign minister's efforts to undermine the Arab Spring democracy movement or arm the fundamentalist opposition to Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, which has led to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
Justin Trudeau has said that, if elected, he would end ISIS' combat mission. Further operations in the region will only benefit ISIS, as it has become a major source of attraction for foreign fighters from all over the world, coming to defeat the West and establishing the caliphate. The West is losing the war against ISIS so far.
Reducing inequalities, if well done as per the progressive Trudeau Plan, will benefit our economy; increasing inequality -- the regressive Harper or Mulcair way -- will only harm it. A strong economy, a just society, a healthy environment: why should we have to choose? If we make the right decisions, we can better achieve all of these goals, precisely because we will not have given up on any of them. Trudeau's plan for fairness to the middle class is one of those good decisions Canadians have to make, in the interest of all.
Those who support the Conservatives see their party as practicing and upholding traditional family, moral and biblical values. Even though the Conservative government is extreme and disrespectful of science, knowledge, fact and rationality, its supporters would simply overlook faults even when they are glaring.
How far has Canada's economic star fallen? Only recently Prime Minister Stephen Harper boasted that Canada's economy was "the envy of the entire world." That claim was always overstated. Now it is downright ludicrous. We must look to government for a more effective response to the recession. Unfortunately, however, that looks like another policy dead-end. Because so far the response of federal Conservatives has been as ineffectual as it is predictable: deny, point fingers, and spread fear.