Canadian policy in Africa can be summed up in nine words: Do what is good for Canadian-owned mining companies. Despite rhetoric about aid to the poorest people in the world, the Harper Conservatives have worked assiduously to ensure that Canadian corporations profit from Africa's vast mineral resources.
Canadians are stuck with $158-billion in new Harper debt -- without much to show for it. There are 160,000 more jobless Canadians today than before Stephen Harper took power. Job quality is at a 25-year low. Household debt is near a record high. Canada's trade deficit this year has topped $13-billion. The Liberal legacy was a decade of balanced budgets, average annual economic growth over three per cent, consistent trade surpluses every month of every year, 3.4-million net new jobs, lower debt, lower taxes, record high Transfer Payments to the provinces. That's what Mr. Harper inherited in 2006. But Mr. Harper blew it.
If Conservative candidate Robert Libman wins in Mount Royal on October 19 it would mark a decisive end to the notion that the Canadian Jewish community is a liberal force in politics. It would also suggest that the political priority of a large number of Canadian Jews is to support a highly militarized state.
Only in Canada would paying money back to the government qualify as a scandal. But a scandal it is. It takes a special combination of incompetence and lack of ethics to convert a comparably innocuous act into a potentially fatal political scandal.
Trade negotiations are growing in importance as developed and developing countries alike increasingly realize that protectionism is not a path to prosperity. Federalism poses challenges for our trade negotiations that are exacerbated by elections at both levels of government in Canada, and among our trading partners. The electoral clock is also ticking on Japanese Diet elections next summer and on U.S. presidential and congressional elections next fall. If the machinery of trade talks ground to a halt every time an election approached, there would be no trade agreements at all -- which is, perhaps, what some people desire.
Instead of insisting on voting only for an ideal candidate with whose orientation and policies we fundamentally agree, and feeling guilty if we vote for the "lesser of evils," perhaps in voting for the lesser of evils we're fulfilling our evolutionary responsibility.
Let's take a look at the Harper Conservatives. Basically their ads and messages are there to create an illusion of good economy, sound fiscal management and the country under the threat of terrorism. In short, the Conservatives are faking their governing record.
If the recent frufrah over NDP candidate Linda McQuaig's comment that "a lot of the oilsands oil may have to stay in the ground" is indicative of anything, it's that Canada's election cycle is in full spin. May all reasonableness and sensible dialogue and accountability be damned. Perhaps that's the blunt and singular reason behind the Conservative Party and Stephen Harper's outrage at McQuaig's entirely non-contentious assertion that, because of our international commitments to curtail global climate change, Canada won't exploit the entirety of its oil reserves.
On a hot Sunday in August 2015, Governor General David Johnston dissolved Parliament at the request of Prime Minister Harper. Thus, the 41st Parliament concluded and Canada was thrust into a 78 day campaign, much of which will be fought over the summer months. This campaign is not about the decided voter. It isn't about keeping the base happy. It is about the undecided, meandering, and regular Canadian.
This year's election will probably mark a watershed when it comes to how the Muslims see themselves politically. Different narratives animate various camps within the community, but there seem to be sizeable movement on both ends of the spectrum.
Many say the right wing has an inferior sense of humor, and I guess it's only logical that the political right are not up for a laugh. After all, their politicians are the first to slash arts from the budget.
Traditionally, no one cares about guards working in prisons with the lowest of the low in society, yet that is where my life's work began years ago -- working as a Correctional Officer in a human warehouse that systematically destroys staff and inmates alike. Notwithstanding, I've dedicated my life to seeing through the development of this idea because I have seen, first-hand, the goodness of inmates, guards and administration who are in an out-of-control system that can't alone meet the needs of everyone, or even come near being able to deal with the multiplicity of internal issues involved.
Despite the whining by self-interested elites which has dominated the national discourse thus far, there is a silver lining to an extended writ. For many Canadians, it is a prime-ministerial present. Whatever your political stripe, take advantage of this extra time to make your vote matter.
A whole host of campaigns designed to advance the agenda of the fossil fuel industry have cropped up: Resource Works, British Columbians for Prosperity, Energy Citizens, Coal Alliance, Canadian Natural Resources Alliance, Pipeline Action, and many others.
We can't shut off the fossil fuel economy overnight, but the science clearly says that we need a real plan to leave fossil fuels like tar sands underground. Politicians need to stop treating this country like idiots and recognize that most people want an economy that's not dependent on the boom and bust of the oil cycle.
Last week new Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson continued a Harper government tradition of lauding deceased Saudi royalty. In a release the MP from Niagara Falls said he was "deeply saddened to learn of the passing of His Royal Highness Prince Saud Al-Faisal" and "impressed by his distinguished career serving the people of Saudi Arabia." Of course, Nicholson omitted any mention of the former Saudi foreign minister's efforts to undermine the Arab Spring democracy movement or arm the fundamentalist opposition to Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, which has led to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.