"Where is Canada?" In Turkey and Jordan recently, this was the question we heard over and over, from Syrian refugees themselves, crisis intervention workers, medical professionals, human rights activists and others dedicated to helping Syrians.To friends and family, I referred to my time in the region as a tour of shame, as a Canadian. There was a clear perception among the people we spoke with that Canada preferred Christian asylum seekers, and this explained the delays and inaction. As the now-infamous photo of Alan Kurdi reminds us, there is an immediate need for Canada to show leadership in developing a concrete solution.
When the Muslim Canadian Congress called for an outright ban on the wearing of the niqab or the burka, they have gone too far. But that doesn't mean that we have to celebrate such restrictive clothing. Apart from the degrading and misogynistic aspects of burkas and niqabs, they offend against a fundamental implicit tenet of our society.
Who do Canadians trust to shepherd our country though what may be a coming turbulence? Our current election sees once more a plethora of "Star candidates" that normal Canadians know nothing about -- and their victory or defeat will have nothing to do with the very little light that these stars emit.
"Fear is not a policy. It is not an election platform," Stephen Lewis, the former NDP leader, recently declared during a campaign speech. "Using fear to get power suggests a deep and abiding cynicism." It does. But it can also be an effective strategy. It has been for centuries. It distracts.
Stephen Harper is campaigning on fear, using the niqab as a wedge issue scapegoating Muslims. It is no coincidence that a senior adviser on the Conservative campaign is an Australian strategist known for dogwhistle politics against cultural minorities.
All my life I have been happy and proud to be a Canadian. The Canada of my generation has been liberal in its policies and with peaceful purpose for i...
This will be the first generation of Canadians in our history to be worse off than their parents. That blunt fact is the new reality of our country, where seven per cent of workers are officially jobless (and much more if hidden unemployment is included) and youth unemployment stands at over 13 per cent. And that reality is a direct result of the policies and actions of this Conservative government and the Mulroney government that came before it. Friday's headlines point to the 26,000 auto parts jobs at risk as Harper drives ahead to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal.
Last week former defence minister Jason Kenney said if re-elected the Conservatives would significantly expand Canada's special forces. Why? What do these "special forces" do? Who decides when and where to deploy them? For what purpose? These are all questions left unanswered (and not even asked in the mainstream media).
I am a reluctant activist. I don't like rocking the boat. But when our federal election was called in August, it occurred to me that the entries in my blog might be worth sharing. So I'm posting 78 of them to a Facebook page, 78 Days, 78 Reasons. It's my hope they'll help reasonable Canadians, particularly young people and small c-conservatives, see that we deserve better.
In response to the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis, our current Canadian government has reluctantly offered some support. We shall, according to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, accept 10,000 refugees over the next three years. As medical students committed to global health, we call into question this lukewarm commitment to such a pressing crisis and call for stronger commitments in line with Canada's values.
Each of the leaders would present a different face of Canada to the world. Mulcair clearly demonstrated a new NDP approach to the realm of foreign affairs for Canada. Trudeau worked hard to dig into his opponents, but didn't present himself as a possible world leader. Stephen Harper managed to stay out of any major trouble and reinforced his image as a "tough on terror" PM.
On Monday night in Toronto three major party leaders showed their wares and clashed swords in front of a well-dressed crowd at the Roy Thomson Hall. While the leaders debated foreign policy, the viewers, in essence, looked to gauge who looked best to represent Canada on the world stage.
My relationship with several key people in the Harper government was -- "interesting." But when I took the job as Canada's first parliamentary budget officer, I never envisioned the PBO as being involved in an "us versus them" dynamic. We were in our office to serve parliamentarians who had reasonable requests for costing or other fiscal information. But the relationship that had developed between our office and the ruling Conservative party was, to put it mildly, somewhat strained.
Data from UNHCR shows that only about one per cent of the world's displaced population resides in Canada. In fact, Canada has yet to meet its own targets for refugee acceptance when it comes to the current crisis, which originates primarily out of Syria and Iraq. Canadians, especially Muslim Canadians, interested in changing this status quo now have a lot more incentive to show up on October 19 to vote and do their part in the political process.
In an odd twist of fate, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi decided to have a change of heart and "pardon" three Al Jazeera journalists including Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy. Whether Sisi was feeling charitable on the eve of the Muslim holiday of Eid-Ul-Adha or wanted to improve his faltering global reputation before his visit to the United Nations is unknown.
I was quite taken aback by Justin Trudeau's performance at the Globe and Mail debate. We have all seen how Stephen Harper's Conservatives fail to tell the truth and mislead the public, so it's hard to believe that anyone could do worse. My issue with Trudeau has nothing to do with his performance or speaking skill. It has everything to do with the substance and content of his speech, and this speaks to his integrity.