I was completely paralyzed -- I couldn't even scratch my nose or wiggle my toes. I just lay there, staring at the ceiling. But that was many years ago and I had the exuberance of youth -- I just knew I would recover to play football in the autumn. That was after I contracted Polio, some 60 years ago. I am still disabled and I never did play football, but I did recover enough muscle strength to lead a meaningful life with a good profession and a great family. Some 25 years later, my muscles started to weaken due the late effects of Polio. Some even disappeared. When assisted end-of-life becomes the law in Canada, your life can have a peaceful ending.
The typical young Canadian professional's engagement with the oilsands is like this: You pull your smart phone out and skim through your social media feed. You see post after post about the Canadian oilsands and its negative impact on the environment. You see countless re-posts about celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio protesting Canada's poor environmental standards. After a quick read you "like" the post or possibly share it with a short comment to the effect of "This needs to change!" You lock your smart phone and head out the door with a new sense of accomplishment, thinking to yourself "I just effectively contributed to the debate on the oilsands." But what exactly did you really accomplish?
So many young Canadians are looking to make their mark on the world. Some pick up a shovel to build a school or a ladle in soup kitchens to serve the homeless. A small number choose a different way, traveling to Syria to pick up an AK-47. Where does the road diverge between the youth who choose the path of helping and those on the path of harm? And for those on the road toward extremism, are there points along their journey where they might be set on a positive path?
With the election a mere two weeks away, all candidates have a real opportunity to improve their standing by focusing on youth voters. When the survey was conducted, two out of three of the youth voters polled, stated they were very likely or definitely voting in the upcoming election with public transit, the economy and youth unemployment being the issues that are most important to them.
With the blessing of the moderators of the /r/Vancouver subreddit, we reached out to the three main Vancouver mayoral candidates to see if we could facilitate AMAs. After much juggling of their very busy schedules, we're excited to announce that they're keen to participate in this online experiment.
At City Hall, members of council and staff have done their utmost to fill the leadership vacuum. Toronto's non-partisan system, while messy, has allowed its city government to deliver with little disruption. Council and the City's senior management found equilibrium on a wide range of issues from transit to housing to electoral reform.
Given the country's high unemployment, the Conservatives' small business tax credit comes at a bad time. That's because it's bound to cost the Canadian economy 10,000 jobs in the long term.
B.C. Premier Clark is being accompanied to India by the advanced education minister and 72 travelling companions from different economic sectors including education, LNG and the film industry. But there's also representation from the fashion industry, decorative stones, a port authority, a modelling agency, heavy equipment, a used car dealer, a travel firm and even a Tim Horton's franchisee. A handful of the companies don't have a website or a listed phone number anywhere in Canada.
The Charter is Canada's highest law and it applies to all levels of government across the country. It gives each of us inalienable rights -- ones that protect us from discrimination and guarantee our right to life, liberty and security of the person. We believe the Charter should include environmental rights too.
It had to be the most embarrassing credit interview ever -- embarrassing both for me and for the woman from the Ottawa Women's Credit Union who had to ask the questions. Then the question I had not seen coming: "What do you want the line of credit for? Home renovations?" I swallowed hard and answered in a contrite whisper, "I need it to run for the leadership of a federal political party." I didn't think telling her it was the Green Party would help.
China's recent ruthlessness has shocked many including Emily Lau, a long-standing Member of Hong Kong's Legislative Council. In a recent interview, she said: "These demands are modest and reasonable and protesters are peaceful. There is no compromise. The ball is now in China's court. Promises were made."
Outside the neighbourhood, there is one country leading the response. It is not Canada, despite statements from our ministers that the Canadian refugee response constitutes "more than any of our allies have done." This is deliberately misleading and a slight to what our allies are actually doing. Greater leadership can be found in a country with a quarter of Canada's population.
Syria was intolerable long before ISIS existed. It was so intolerable that brainwashed Syrian schoolchildren like me -- Christians, Muslims, and all other faiths -- have grown up to free their minds and sacrifice their lives by the thousands for a free Syria. The international community ignored our cries. Now that the Islamic State is in the picture, the world is paying attention to Syria again. As the world fights the radical presence of ISIS, they must keep in mind that Assad and the Islamic State are two sides of the same coin. They are both brutal, bloodthirsty murderers. If we destroy ISIS now, another ISIS will quickly emerge. I believe that the only way to destroy ISIS is to destroy Assad too.
The government's motion in regards to ISIL about lacked clarity about what the strategic nature and limits of Canada's mission will be. In particular -- and this was reason enough for me not to support the motion -- I was deeply disturbed by the Prime Minister's statement that Canada would require the approval of the criminal Assad regime to carry out operations in Syria. To allow the perpetrator of war crimes, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, and genocide to green-light Canadian intervention is to turn R2P on its head. Assad should be a criminal defendant, not a coalition partner.
Public Safety Minister Blaney tabled today in the House of Commons the "Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act." We have not had the opportunity to study the fine print of the bill but at first glance, it appears that the Federal Government's new proposals will make it easier to transport restricted firearms such as handguns. Common sense indicates that we should strengthen not weaken our gun control laws.
Last week, Iranian-American scholar Reza Aslan taught all North Americans a lesson: don't generalize when it comes to regions of the world you know nothing about. North Americans tend to see the rest of the world through the lens of outdated stereotypes or extremist violence that makes the news. If we started to think more like Aslan, we'd realize some countries without indoor plumbing are actually surpassing us on policy. North America often acts like the popular kid from high school who didn't evolve after graduation. We're too busy navel-gazing to notice how much progress the underdogs have made. It's time to put down the mirror and grow up.
On Friday, Prime Minister Harper announced that Canada would join allies, including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and others in launching air strikes against ISIL in Iraq. The announcement on Friday builds on the growing engagement that Canada has recently taken part in with respect to Iraq on a variety of fronts. Against ISIL and its genocidal agenda in Iraq, it's timely that Canada has stepped up.
As a country becomes richer and some people are left behind, guaranteed minimum income may help to alleviate issues like poverty and reduce inequality. Government policies to create more full-time work that pay decent wages could be an effective policy.
The Canadian Forces situation is dire. Our compensation system woefully decrepit. Our government spends 1 per cent of the GDP on defense on par with Lithuania and Latvia. The equipment that soldiers use is in such a poor state that the probability of sustaining casualties is much higher. Casualties that veterans affairs can't possibly handle given the current state the department is in. The truth of the matter is Canada is about as ready for another war as the Hapsburgs were in 1914. I implore upon those deploying to Iraq to take care. I understand how much you want to deploy. You must understand that the current government support to you are hollow promises and even though you have given a blank cheque for this country the feeling is far from mutual if you return home missing pieces.