In past refugee crises, Canada has responded swiftly and assertively. From the aftermath of World War II, through crises in Hungary in 1956, Chile in 1973, and Southeast Asia in the late 1970s, Canadians responded generously, receiving on each of those occasions tens of thousands of refugees into our communities. In 1999, Canada took extraordinary measures to evacuate thousands of refugees from Kosovo. Why should we do less now?
One of the remarkable characteristics of children is that they remind us of our shared humanity. Children also possess an innate power, through their very existence alone, to incite compassion in even the most hardened of hearts. Perhaps that was the purpose behind yesterdays publication of the photograph of a young Syrian boy named Aylan, whose lifeless body had washed ashore while on a treacherous voyage to Greece. Aylan's photo transcended the statistics we are often presented with. But it is far too easy to become lost in the daily reportage and statistics, and as such overlook the core issues facing the crisis.
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.
With a strong plan to invest in jobs and economic growth, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau has boldly distinguished himself from both Stephen Harper and Thomas Mulcair. Mr. Harper's growth record is the worst of any prime minister in eight decades. There are 160,000 more jobless Canadians today than before he took office. And Mr. Mulcair has strangely sided with the Harper austerity agenda, meaning billions of dollars in program cuts and/or broken promises to concoct the appearance of a balanced budget next year. The Mulcair plan and the Harper plan are formulae for going nowhere. Justin Trudeau is offering the only agenda for real change.
If we were running things "like a business," we would be doing something like a cost-benefit analysis. Somehow, we became obsessed with cost and swept the other half of the equation under the rug. Everything that government does, or does not do, has consequences that go beyond the number of tax dollars spent.
When we ask our political leaders to talk about issues affecting women what we're asking for is a conversation about the unseen and largely unacknowledged inequalities that affect girls and women throughout their lives. I have a daughter. Like every Canadian woman, she's growing up in a country where to be female is to be overrepresented in poorly paid part-time work; under-represented at every level of authority and power; and so devalued as a worker that virtually any sector that attracts a female workforce pays less than sectors dominated by males.
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.
Discussions about the 2024 bid were supposed to take place soon after the conclusion of the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games on August 15th. The Games have passed, the September 15th deadline is looming, and the trio of organizers -- Bob Richardson, Marcel Aubut, and Mayor John Tory -- have gone commando silent. They haven't offered a peep about procedures or timelines. We don't know with whom or how these discussions will take place. Why the secrecy? Where is the transparency and accountability in the Toronto 2024 bid process?
The state of emergency was declared on Oct. 28, 2011, by Attawapiskat's new chief, Theresa Spence. I had known her through her work on council. She didn't strike me as a firebrand or overly political. She was worried that, as the arctic winter descended on the community, people in these makeshift quarters could die. Days turned into weeks, and the temperature kept dropping. Officials from the regional office of Aboriginal Affairs spoke with the community about advancing some money to repair some of the condemned houses, but there was no offer to help get the families out of the tents and shacks.
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
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.
In a moment of boredom, two teens in Lanark County, Ont., smash their way into a hardware store and help themselves to the goods. Police nabbed the pair soon after. But instead of going before judge and jury, the teens faced their victims in a citizen-run "restorative justice" forum. It's an approach that's gaining popularity across Canada, showing there's more than one way to be tough on crime.
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.
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.
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.
One issue that needs to be discussed in this long election period is Canada's abysmal record dealing with mental illness. Despite Prime Minister Harper having established a Mental Health Commission in 2007 in order to act as "a catalyst for improving the mental health system," our record is abysmal.
The concept of strategic voting is widely used by political parties and the media since the beginning of the campaign. It is assumed that it is a widespread behaviour because Canada has a "winner-takes-all" electoral system. There are two very simple conditions for a vote to be qualified as strategic: first, a voter must not vote for her preferred party, and second, behave this way in order to block a worse option. As we shall see, this straightforward definition has enormous consequences when it comes to quantifying strategic voting.
Anti-Semitism is what many Canadian Jews experienced who faced quotas when applying for professional degrees, or who were barred from joining certain golf clubs. Anti-Semitism is what my ancestors experienced in Eastern Europe with pogroms, frequent assaults and massacres in Jewish communities. Anti-Semitism is the murder of millions of Jews during the Holocaust. How can it be in any way appropriate to use this term to describe individuals who criticize a modern political entity -- the state of Israel -- which systematically violates the rights of Palestinians?
Wright, a wealthy man, delivered this tale with composure and sangfroid. In Nigel's world, writing a $90,000 cheque to a senator in need falls into the same category as taking young Conservative interns to lunch. Just one of those things one does for the less fortunate.