The worst kept secret regarding the economy was made official today -- Canada is in a recession. There is nothing technical about it; the definition of a recession is relatively straightforward: two consecutive quarters with negative economic growth. The fact that this definition might not be convenient for a sitting government's, which holds itself out as brilliant economic managers, political fortunes is irrelevant. By any objective standard, the Canadian economy is under-performing.
The Liberal platform is a grab bag of fine, progressive ideas. I like it. The deficit financing pledge, designed to stimulate a sluggish (if not recessionary) economy, is smart fiscal policy. But Justin Trudeau's attempts to make income inequality the cause célèbre have seemingly fallen flat, perhaps for the simple reason that Canada isn't the United States: we don't have what Bernie Sanders calls "the billionaire class," or at least we don't have as obvious and obnoxious a class. And, to put it mildly, Chyrstia Freeland is no Elizabeth Warren. But it's the lack of any clear policy from any party on healthcare that truly perplexes me. Why is the Liberal Party not aggressively campaigning on a cure for healthcare?
The CBC is suffering from a series of funding cuts implemented by the federal government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The 2012 federal budget cut $115 million from the CBC over three years. While this has negative consequences for all Canadians as this national institution is forced to cut jobs and scale back its reach and scope, the country's music and arts communities, in particular, stand to lose. In many cases, it's already happening.
The worse thing that interns -- and any other employees -- can do is to try and cover up the situation. For high achieving kids, admitting a significant mistake can be hard. We like their desire to be liked and their positive self esteem. But sometimes humility and confession go a long way. Which brings me to Stephen Harper and the Mike Duffy affair. Somehow in the political world, leaders and their staffs have come to believe that voters expect perfection. Any admission to the contrary is not tolerated. The result is the cover up.
This is a rather short list of the shortfalls of Harper and the disgrace he brings to our country and I urge everyone to fully research candidates and get out and VOTE. I think the newest campaign launched by our veterans says it best when they say ABC: Anyone but Conservative
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.