Frankly I think it's at least partially our fault as an environmental movement that this framing has stuck. We haven't focused enough on specific solutions over the years. We have opposed bad ideas like pipelines with vague notions of carbon taxes or non-specific alternative energy projects. We have rarely proposed or even broadly supported specific alternative projects.
The values we used to be most proud of as Canadians are slipping away. We used to differentiate ourselves from the States because of our kindness. Our compassion. Our politeness. Our open-mindedness. Socialized medicine. These are progressive values. These are Canadian values. Or so I thought. Our heros have been fighters for the underdog. Tommy Douglas. David Suzuki. Jack Layton. Nellie McClung. Terry Fox. Yet somehow, most Canadians seem to be saying that progressive values don't speak to them anymore.
There is a famous Chinese curse that goes "may you live in interesting times." The government ushered in some interesting times indeed on September 12...
If there's one thing that the Harper Conservatives are good at, it's message discipline. Sure, they have taken this to the extreme of muzzling everyone else they can, but you have to admit that they bring logic and consistency to all their communications. Less so Canada's opposition, which has some catching up to do.
The Western interest in dismantling the Syrian regime was motivated by two factors. First, the Syrian regime had proven to be a sustained source of discomfort for Israel. Containing Syria meant additional operational space for Israel. The second factor had to do with the Arab regimes' interest in containing Iran's rising influence in the region.
While it might sound bizarre to say so, the crises, both in Iraq and Ukraine, are playing to the strengths of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Within all of the uncertainty, Canadians have been largely satisfied with Prime Minister Harper's response.
The issue is staring our Prime Minister square in the face and a just and equitable solution is being proposed from all sides. And yet, Harper has waived off the need for a national inquiry, claiming that his government intends to treat Fontaine's death as a crime and not a "sociological phenomenon."
In nearly nine years as Prime Minister, Mr. Harper has had only two brief meetings with all the Premiers in the same room at the same time. And on the issues raised in Charlottetown -- healthcare, elder-care, pensions, the missing and murdered women, infrastructure, sustainable energy, and a "Team Canada" approach to trade and marketing -- Mr. Harper has largely abandoned the field.
Nearly one in three people employed in Ontario is a union member. If you are one of these 1.6 million workers, you enjoy a tremendous advantage because your union has negotiated a fair wage and workday for you.
Governments must make interest payments on their debt similar to families who pay interest on borrowing for mortgages, vehicles, or credit card spending. These interest payments leave fewer resources available for important priorities such as tax relief and spending on public programs such as health care, education, and social services.
We must pay tribute to the courage and sacrifices of our soldiers, past and present, and highlight their essential contribution to peace and democracy. But we must also highlight the other remarkable aspects of Canadian history. The 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation is almost here and its preparations are lagging. Mr Harper and his Heritage minister, Shelly Glover, seem unable to give the celebration a clear focus. There is room for concern that once again, they will be content with showcasing Canada's military feats and refuse to acknowledge everything else that has made our nation a source of hope and envy in the world.
Income disparity also means that working and living in the same place is a luxury few of us can afford -- not just in third world countries, but in small Canadian rural communities as well. Ironically, our stronger economy is also leading to a weaker society. We can't be there for one another as much as we once were. We're too busy making money.
If the past is any indication of the future, what could seem politically impossible for Stephen Harper today is in fact possible. Many seem to think that the next election could exclude any input from Québec. Those who think so are making a huge mistake.
With the curtains slowly opening around politicians and corporate owners, the sordid, unholy bedfellow goings-on would make Ron Jeremy blush. (Cover your eyes now children and those pure of heart.)
Why does Stephen Harper have such a sudden attachment to the Queen that he neglected to celebrate the 30th anniversary of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms? Does he despise so much our Constitution and the law generally? Was it to please Ontarians and gain seats in Ontario? Or is it just pure opportunism and hypocrisy?
The Department of National Defence is currently being hounded by Treasury Board, which had designed a system that makes it impossible for DND to manage its budget. As a result, the military keeps falling behind in equipment purchases and capacity keeps declining. The government could put an end to this stalemate if it wished to, but instead seems delighted that it is pocketing the unspent money to meet its deficit-fighting promises. Canadians already have a small military and it just keeps shrinking.