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.
It's not too late for B.C. to become a true climate champion.
Conservative MPs had an historic, unprecedented chance to throw off their chains and empower themselves and all MPs, and political party riding associations, to represent voters. Instead, they changed the Reform Act to the "Hope for Reform Act," essentially giving up the chance to limit party leaders' powers.
Canada's negotiators are working hard to sidestep the issue of the country's growing greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas sector while simultaneously keeping quiet about the oilsands as nations come up with their "intended nationally determined contributions" in the global climate agreement.
I am watching negotiators from impacted countries like the Philippines working earnestly on a new agreement to reduce global climate pollution. At the same time, I am reading stories back home about Prime Minister Stephen Harper telling the House of Commons yesterday that regulating greenhouse gas emissions from Canada's oil and gas sector would be "crazy." Let's be clear who is crazy here.
In recent years, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has come under fire for disallowing scientists working for the Canadian government to speak directly to the press.
Many thousands of us who love the CBC -- and love to hate some parts of it -- spend a lot of time discussing its future and not doing enough to help save it. But now, with the election only a few months away, we can do something constructive.
If Stephen Harper wants to boost tourism, why has his administration cancelled all advertising for Canada in the U.S. market? Every step he has taken (slashing access for seasonal workers to EI, cutting the programmes to allow visitors to claim back their GST and HST, and ending our advertising in the U.S.) appear geared to undermine the tourism sector. And our national parks are to be sacrificed to take up the slack.
This week the eyes of the world are turned towards Lima, Peru, and the UN climate talks known formally as the 20th gathering of the Conference of the Parties (COP 20). The road to progress in Lima is full of pot holes and is poorly illuminated. For Canadians, progress on the road to Lima passes right through Langevin Block, home to the Prime Minister's Office. To date this road has been blocked.
When a government underspends to the extent we are seeing with the Harper government, the estimates become unreliable. Parliamentarians aren't able to find out how much the government is actually spending until months after the end of the fiscal year. As a result, they can't inform the public about what programs and services have been diminished in time to make a difference. The way the underspending scheme stifles debate reminds me of the Harper government's omnibus legislation, except it's even worse.
The solution to the problem of youth unemployment is part of the greater economic action plan that Canada and other nations are undertaking.
China continues to want to do more business with Canada. However, given that many Canadians have serious misgivings about China and the communist party, various media outlets have reported that despite Chinese offers to negotiate a free trade agreement, Canada has yet to agree to such measures.
In a word, Dr. Wang's and Dr. Liu's continuing detentions are case studies of the Chinese government's massive repression of human rights defenders and violations of their own undertakings to us to respect their domestic and international legal obligations. Regrettably, the Chinese government has succeeded in having the narrative focus on the regime's openness to trade, technology, and business, and away from justice, democracy, and human rights.
Stephen Harper has decided to be in Ottawa for Remembrance Day. He had originally planned to blow off what is arguably the second-most meaningful Canadian holiday to attend the APEC economic leaders' meeting in Beijing Nov. 10-11. The Chinese Communist Party reigns supreme and its decisions are beyond appeal. Hardly the kind of trading partner we want to own our natural resources. And hardly the kind of hosts our Prime Minister should prefer to attending the first Remembrance Day after our country survived its terrible test of fire.