Since the start of his campaign for the leadership of the Official Opposition New Democratic Party of Canada, there has seemed to be a subtext of waiting whenever Thomas Mulcair is the topic of conversation. You would often hear panelists talk about his temper or hosts of political shows bring up the "angry Mulcair" meme. What has been striking is his composed and controlled demeanour in the face of anger-inducing situations. But if he wants to win the country, Mulcair must find a way to translate that legendary anger into passion.
James Moore is widely seen as a heavyweight within Cabinet and the Conservative Party, and I believe it's a positive sign for Canada's digital future that the Prime Minister has named him as our Industry Minister. His appointment will raise expectations that the government will finally take the bold action required to open our communications networks to new more affordable services for Canadians.
Stephen Harper has finally shuffled his cabinet but if his aim was to turn the page on a year full of scandals, it looks like he failed by simply rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. A better bet would have been to take the lemons he'd been handed and make himself a batch of cabinet lemonade with courageous appointments like these.
If we want our politicians to stop behaving like trained seals, it might not be necessary to take the whip away. So let me propose a different solution to the problem of party discipline: what if political parties had to formally and publicly disclose the amount of discipline they expect from their members on each vote -- from absolute obedience to the party line to absolute freedom?
Instead of denouncing the direct democratic actions of Egyptians, perhaps the pundits and Canadian leaders should be asking themselves: how can we re-enfranchise Canadians to participate as willingly and energetically in their country as Egyptians are in theirs? Canadians blog and tweet, but we do not cover Parliament Hill with protestors. Our lives are comfy in comparison to the Egyptians, so maybe that's why we do not protest. Yet there must be a sense of powerlessness, of hopelessness even among the comfy for fewer and fewer Canadians to be going to the polls.
We're not perfect, and we never have been. But lately, Harper has been slowly eroding Canada into something unrecognizable. I'm still just as patriotic as I always was but I just don't have to accept Canada as it is now -- and neither does anyone else.
If there's one thing I've learned during three years of working with veterans, it's this: Troops hate seeing military gear on civilians. Not dislike. Not have distaste for. HATE. The PM, if he is the huge supporter of the troops that he claims to be, over and over in the Commons, should have known that.
Certainly if all the rumours are to be believed, a shuffle, supposedly a large one is due in the next few weeks. The signs are there with departments preparing ministerial transitional briefing books and talk about a cabinet retreat in the third week of July beginning to circulate.
Political staffers always walk a fine line between what they are willing to do and what they shouldn't be doing when it comes to partisan political activities. Today we have a good example of that with allegations in the media that PMO staff had a direct involvement in organizing and coordinating the demonstration that took place earlier this month when Justin Trudeau gave his outdoor press conference. Was it really necessary to protest at Trudeau's press conference? Did the protest achieve its objective and embarrass Trudeau? Did the protest earn positive press coverage for the Conservative Party and more importantly for the Prime Minister?
Today's weather in Ottawa is unsettled with continuing opposition high pressure disturbances still causing problems in the Senate, the House, the Prime Minister's Office, and the Tory caucus. Visibility is severely restricted and hindsight is nonexistent. Our moral compass is on an indeterminate setting.
The Governor General is the only one who can remove Harper. If the Conservative caucus were to revolt and kick Harper out of caucus, we could be faced with Stevie-the-Indie-PM. Even if Harper resigns -- which isn't likely -- it is still the GG who chooses to accept.
Hopefully the summer break will allow all the parties to reflect on the good and the bad of this past session. When they return let's hope they can tone down the hyper-partisanship a bit and work in the best interests of all Canadians. After all that is why we sent them there.
Between NDP MPs not paying their income taxes and members of the federal Conservative caucus being accused of defrauding taxpayers through false spending claims, neither party has the moral authority to determine whether Justin Trudeau acted inappropriately in being compensated for speeches he was being asked to deliver that were outside his mandate as an MP. At its core the vitriol and stunning rhetoric regarding this issue has little to do with Trudeau's actions and far more to do with the fear of what Justin Trudeau at the helm of the Liberal Party of Canada could do to the government and official opposition.
Stephen Harper's decision to protect those who use international tax havens to evade paying their taxes is inexplicable and unacceptable. Canadian companies should be good global citizens paying their fair share of taxes in countries where they operate, not hiding behind tax shelters and shell companies. After all, tax evasion is hurting the Canadian economy as well -- one estimate puts the cost at $7.8 billion per year, or slightly more than the amount the government will spend on infrastructure in First Nations communities over the next decade. Yet the government will not even provide the Parliamentary Budget Officer with the data necessary to calculate an official figure.
The G8 summit next week could not have come at a better time for Prime Minister Harper, giving him respite from the Senate circus and allowing him to generate photo ops with the Queen and the world's big shots. But challenges await him there too.
Today, as we celebrate the National Day of Action against the Refugees Healthcare cuts on June 17th, I decided to interview Benjamin Langer, a third-year medical student, to enlighten Canadian readers regarding the budget cuts in Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP).