There has been much discussion this week about Michael Chong's Private Members Bill to reform some of the aspects of how our parties act and control MPs. Whether one agrees with all the details found in his bill, one thing is certain; it can't make things any worse than they already are on the Hill.
The political reality of Canadian federal elections is that Canadian voters are voting for the leader of the party, his policies, his character, and his ability to govern and implement his policies. In the last three federal elections, the voters chose Harper over Dion and Ignatieff.
The Obama administration, the Harper government and the Peña Nieto administration in Mexico all hope to boost economic growth and create jobs by opening up global markets and letting the best North American firms and workers compete. Before stepping into the ring with the world's heavyweight economies, North America needs to listen to Muhammad Ali.
A great many pundits don't seem to have any problem in theory with Chong's enormously regressive idea that a small group of MPs should have the right to unilaterally depose a party leader democratically-elected by thousands of party members (or a prime minister elected by millions).
For music programs to stay and to continue being relevant, they need to be modernized. In a perfect world, students would have access to computers with recording capabilities and music editing software so they could learn to edit, produce and mix. We need to understand how music and careers in the arts have changed and find ways to teach classes that reflect this ever-shifting landscape.
A closer look at the Canada-Israel relationship reveals that Canada has exercised moral clarity by standing up to double standards, dictators, and outright hypocrisy. Canada, under Stephen Harper's administration has confronted terror, upheld international law, and promoted peace between Israelis, Palestinians and the region as a whole.
There is an ongoing trend by our federal government to marginalize people living with HIV and AIDS. Ottawa will rightly pride itself about their investments in research aimed to develop a cure or possibly a vaccine. However, what good would it make to support research if we are not going to implement their results? InSite and HIV "Treatment as Prevention" are just two examples of Canadian successes that are simply not palatable to the federal government. And now globally, Canada has failed to match the contributions of key donors in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Taken overall, the Harper government's response to the Iranian deal is symptomatic of its wider foreign policy, which has abandoned any sense of realism. Instead of welcoming the accord as a major breakthrough and a potential chance to help stabilize the Middle East, Canada appears intent on mirroring Netanyahu's futile zero-sum, intensely hostile approach to Iran.
A motion to be introduced by Tory backbench MP Michael Chong proposes giving the inner elite of Canada's political parties the power to overturn the public's clearly expressed preference for who should be PM. Under the terms of his redundantly-named Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and the Parliament of Canada Act, if, at any moment, just over 50 per cent of the MPs of the prime minister's party vote to turf a democratically-elected PM, out he goes. Though the bill wouldn't take effect until after the next federal election, 50 per cent-plus-one of all current Conservative MPs is just 81 people.
Incorrect is the claim that Stephen Harper defends the freedom and dignity of all people. Israel's occupation of the West Bank is an institutionalized system of oppression that every day denies the freedom and dignity of millions of Palestinians. When Canada votes against Palestinian aspirations at the UN, we come across as vindictive.
The solutions are to either improve government transfers or to improve access to viable retirement savings vehicles. So what has Canada done? The opposite. In the name of more sustainable government budgets, the eligibility age for OAS has been raised from 65 to 67 leaving those who cannot hang on for the extra two years without a safety net.
It takes some of the shine off of your team's win if your party sees a significant drop in the margin of victory in two of your party's strongholds. Most observers point to the senate scandal as the reason for the drop and certainly the Conservative caucus feels that way.
Stuffed into the 309-page Conservative budget implementation act, Bill C-4, that was tabled last month, are a slew of drastic changes to the federal labour relations system, which will affect the health and safety provisions, human rights protections, and collective bargaining rights of federal workers. As its number suggests, Bill C-4 is truly explosive.
Nigel Wright's problems, which we now know include RCMP allegations that he has committed bribery, fraud and breaches of trust, are entirely separate from Rob Ford's issues. But with every unnecessary television appearance Rob Ford makes -- with every fight he picks and every aspersion he casts on others to deflect blame from himself -- the Toronto mayor highlights just how much more dignity Nigel Wright has shown in the face of serious allegations of wrongdoing. The two are a study in opposites. Here's what I wish Rob Ford had learned from Nigel Wright.
Canada has been called a laggard when it comes to climate action, but the reality is that it's far worse than that, our policies and politicians are making us into a climate denier as a nation. Environment Minister, Leona Aglukkaq's statement that climate change was "debatable" is just a tiny glimpse into the harsh reality of the Harper government.
Because of its inherent independence from election cycles, the Senate can provide an indispensable public service that enriches our democracy. Does this mean that we ignore the real problems in the Senate? Definitely not. Reforms are needed. Standards that were tolerated decades ago are no longer acceptable today.