The greatest worry about Justin's pre-electoral inexperience was his sympathetic talk about oil pipelines and, for those of us in BC, Premier Christy Clark's aspirations for LNG. True, Mr. Trudeau didn't keep his mutually exclusive views a secret. He had already made his thoughts known about how it could be done "environmentally responsibly," a notion that's in contrast to the overwhelming science on climate change.
If Tom gets dumped on Sunday, I'll join that chorus because I can't think of anything more Liberal than filling our leader's back with knives, then throwing him under the bus. We will still be left with all the structural problems Tom inherited along with a host of new ones. I believe we need to be focused on fixing our party, on democratizing the crafting of our platform, on reconnecting our movement to our party, on weaning the central campaign off our riding rebates so we can effectively build riding associations and campaigns that can compete locally with the other parties.
This weekend, the NDP is meeting in Edmonton to decide their direction moving forward. Eugene Levy once complained about filming a season of SCTV in Edmonton because "It's Edmonton." While I'm sure it's a great city, this is a party who is dreading at the Big E. The election of the past year saw an early lead blown, notable key members of the party lose their seats in the House of Commons, and a third place finish for Tom Mulcair's rookie federal election run. As the NDP head to the Gateway to the North, it's time to begin paving the highway towards the future.
Tom Mulcair recently called on Justin Trudeau to denounce Donald Trump. Mulcair has called Trump a "fascist" and criticizes Trudeau for merely shrugging when asked about Trump. But I disagree; think for a moment about Trump and his supporters, and realize why anything Trudeau says about Trump would inevitably be used against him. And I've got 10 examples to prove it.
Anyone who signs up with the Liberals (with no membership fee involved) will have the right to take part in policy development, nomination meetings, conventions and future elections of the leader. The Conservatives have gone in the opposite direction to the Liberals with their new $25 membership fee that has to be paid by cheque or credit card. In effect the Conservatives have managed to make themselves more exclusive rather than inclusive. The Liberals have broadened their tent while the Conservatives shrank theirs. Time will tell who made the right move.
This will prove an interesting year for the NDP as they transition from Official Opposition status to third party status. They will be functioning with fewer MPs, fewer staff, and fewer resources. But the most pressing question is: How does Mulcair keep his job?
Companies operating in Canada in 2014 held over $199 billion in "assets" -- unpaid taxes -- in havens like Barbados and the Cayman Islands. Canada is one of the biggest "losers" of corporate tax revenue. The "winner" countries are the ones with low-to-none corporate income tax, such as Bermuda, as well as the super-rich.
The challenge isn't simply to get youth to vote. First, you have to inspire youth about the act of voting itself. There's no point in getting youth to vote if it's an activity they really would rather not be doing; that won't form a lifelong habit of voting. You have to first sell the benefits of voting before you can push youth to the polls.
The NDP has consistently found itself burnt by attempts to move the Party's policy to the centre. The overall impression is one of placing political calculus ahead of principled policy, and for a Party once known as the "conscience of Parliament," that appearance must be very troubling.
Restrictive voter identification requirements preventing non-Conservatives from voting were a myth. Rather, voter turnout hit 68.3 per cent, the highest turnout in over two decades. It turns out, when you allow 38 different pieces of identification, people will overwhelmingly use those pieces of ID and just get on with voting.
When Justin Trudeau was elected in 2008 it was clear to everyone that he could never be destined for the backbenches. They sat Justin Trudeau directly behind me in the House and for almost three years I got a ringside view of his development. His rhetoric, at times bawdy, nevertheless carried intensity in the Parliamentary chamber. I was asked more frequently than I could count whether he was the real deal or just his father's son. My answer was always the same: both.
With a lead in the polls, Thomas Mulcair fell victim to the Conservative definition of the NDP as fiscally irresponsible and led with a promise to balance the budget. After years of austerity measures, that rightward fiscal turn felt to many like a betrayal of NDP values in search of a few votes. And by the time the NDP started plummeting in the polls and Mulcair reasserted their progressive position, it was too little, too late.
Politics is theatre on a grand scale. People go to the theatre neither to watch the actors nor to listen to them. They want to be transported into the world of the play: to suspend disbelief. The politician who can evoke an emotional response is the politician we will inevitably favour.
During the federal candidates forum in my riding I noticed that both the NDP and Conservative candidates didn't mention their leader's name. It wasn't surprising. It's been hard differentiating between the campaigns of Thomas Mulcair and Stephen Harper.
We shouldn't be judging a political leader on what he or she has been saying or doing a few weeks before an election. Assessment needs to be based on the prior years. In Mr. Trudeau's case, even putting aside the question of what we should expect to see in someone with such a privileged upbringing, a quick review of the past couple years is evidence enough.
Karen Selick recently wrote the most honest column we will see in this election campaign -- Ms. Selick would permit "niqab-wearers" the benefit of Canadian citizenship, so long as they continued to play by her rules. If they did not, she suggests Canadians ought to deny them service at restaurants, refuse them as renters and as employees. What Ms. Selick fails to understand is she is affirming that her own membership is conditional.