The way Harper made his decision on the new foreign ownership rules is dangerous and undemocratic. Canada has legislation, the Investment Canada Act, that sets out the process and requirements for foreign purchases. Strange that the deal that prompted him to develop the policy will be immune from the policy. Can he choose to ignore his own rules the next time?
We live in a world that is sadly uninformed. A world where real issues are ignored simply, because the public likes to place anger on people who don't deserve it, while they continue to be ignorant on issues of grave societal importance.
MPs watched in disbelief last Wednesday as Conservative House Leader Peter Van Loan faced-off against his NDP counterpart, Nathan Cullen, and Party Leader Thomas Mulcair. The altercation followed a fairly minor procedural argument. But it reflects a deeper problem. Since the last election, both the Conservatives and the NDP have pursued a strategy of partisan polarization.
Last week marked the seven-year anniversary of the Conservative Party's minority government. Since Harper took office, only three countries that are part of the G-8 have not enacted a shift in their governing party at least once: Canada, Germany and Russia. Despite this longevity, Harper has not established a phenomenal connection with a majority of Canadian voters. In the annual Angus Reid Public Opinion poll that looks at past and present prime ministers, Harper was regarded as the worst one since 1968 by one-in-four Canadians. Still, the current Prime Minister has succeeded in creating a base of support, sustaining it, and growing it after every election.
Everyone is agog over the supposedly big dust up in the House of Commons yesterday, where MP Peter Van Loan marched across the Commons floor to wag his finger at NDP leaders. There was no need to cross over to the NDP side as nothing would be accomplished by doing so. The Official Opposition thought they had caught the government on a technicality and wanted to force another vote which would have further delayed passage of Bill C-45. What is so exciting about that? Why was it necessary for the Conservative House Leader to cross the floor? It is perfectly legitimate for any opposition party to use the full arsenal of tactics available to them to delay or defeat government legislation.
Ten years ago I made a documentary about migrant agricultural workers in Canada, El Contrato. I am interested in the story of workers and migration because I come from a working class family and my life has been fundamentally shaped by migration. This is the story of how immigration to Canada is racialized and classed.
Apparently, American environmentalists have put huge areas of Canada off-limits to development as de facto trade barriers that enforce a U.S. monopoly on our exports, while at the same time as they want to drop our exports to the U.S. to zero. Or something. This supposed scandal has been hiding in plain sight for almost a decade, and almost none of the key facts holds up to scrutiny. A veritable cottage industry has grown up promoting one of the most politically convenient conspiracy theories in recent memory.
This holiday season, consultation on the deficiencies in the Access to Information Act provides all of us with a chance to do our best Jacob Marley and remind the Info-Scrooge Conservatives that they once campaigned on the position that government works best when open and accountable. Don't miss your chance to participate.
It is hard to believe, but back on this day in 2005, we were all involved in an election that was forced on November 28th when the Martin government lost a confidence vote. Part of what made that election possible was the success the then opposition Conservatives had in Question Period. Today, the best you can say about Question Period is that it is pathetic and a great opportunity to take a nap.
With the by-elections over, everyone will be reading the tea leaves to see what it means for the next federal election. At this point probably not all that much as we don't know who will be leading the Liberals in 2015 or for that matter if Harper will even be around to lead the Conservatives. Just the same, the parties should see some red flags from yesterday's results. For the two main parties, i.e. the Liberals and the Conservatives, it does offer a glimpse into some potential shifts down the road depending on who wins the Liberal leadership race. The good news for the Liberals is that even in Tory Alberta they can be a contender; their brand is still pretty resilient.
The two best kept secrets in Washington are the degree to which Canadians have been rooting for a post-election American economic turnaround, and the extent to which that turnaround is dependent on removing the barriers to trade with the United States largest export market, Canada. Will Obama lead America there?
Most of us are relieved the U.S. election is over -- listening to the hyperbole of the campaign for so many months has been difficult even for Canadians who don't hear the ads and don't have the same emotional reaction to the candidates. But there are some lessons to be learned for non-politicians working on their personal brands.
During those four years there had been much sadness, wailing and gnashing of teeth and beating of breasts in the land as the tribe's riches and power ebbed, and the people lost faith in their tribe. So therefore, many leaders did arise who did each say unto the people that he alone was strong and of good courage and should be their leader to lead them out of the slough of despond and into the land of milk and honey...
At the end of the day, this "close" election was not really that close. While the race was closer than 2008, Romney's routes to victory proved limited and, ultimately, impossible. The outcome of this election will likely raise serious questions about the influence of the right wing Tea Party in the Republican Party.
Imagine the following scene with me, if you will: Marine One lands amid a fury of fireworks in the middle of Grant Park in Chicago. President Obama is wearing a full flight-suit as he struts from the LZ up onto a stage already occupied by Bruce Springsteen and Jay-Z. As he makes his way behind the podium, George Clooney unveils a giant "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" banner.
A successful Obama presidency -- one that trims the debt, shrinks the deficit, reforms entitlements, and spurs GDP growth is one dangerously likely to revive the old Canadian demons of insecurity and inferiority. Regardless of how much it may satiate our fiscal interests, an economically resurgent America almost certainly means a return to second-place status for this country.