As a second generation Canadian I grew up with a proud sense of attachment to our nation. I often listened to stories from my parents about the effort they made to immigrate to Canada so that my younger brother and I could enjoy the many opportunities that this nation has to offer.
While Canada Day is usually a time to celebrate the swearing in of new citizens, this year will be the first time that their citizenship will be marked with an asterisk, thanks to Harper's passage of Bill C-24. The new law threatens dual citizens and immigrants to Canada with revocation of their citizenship. Now, citizenship can be revoked by a Citizenship Officer without a live hearing, without opportunity for appeal, without a judge, and for reasons other than a fraudulent application.
Canadians no longer need to make the false choice between the environment and the economy. On Monday in Vancouver, Justin Trudeau unveiled a detailed plan for real change that will create jobs, grow the economy and protect the environment.
Free expression is democracy. Without it, political choice is a farce. You can have all the elections you want and they will mean nothing without the secure right to express, share information and advocate for your views. Canada's federal government has been no friend of the right to know since Prime Minister Stephen Harper came to power.
A national election is months away, but campaigning has already begun. While party leaders talk issues of economy and security, no one is asking the big question: what kind of society do we want? Canada is no longer one of the top five countries for integrating immigrants, a European think-tank announced in May. For decades, we've heard that Canada is a "just society" -- based on equality and freedom for all upheld in laws. We've built our just society, but is Canada becoming a less compassionate one?
Making the case to deepen ties with Mexico to Canadians on the basis of a thoughtful review of the arguments and the evidence of twenty years of NAFTA experience is a valuable contribution to the Canadian debate, and very much in the tradition of sober second thought on issues of the day.
My UP ride started as a curious marketing inspection after I smelled blood from all the wasteful promo blunders of the past year, but it culminated in a much broader indictment and plenty of citizen rage. This is my town, my trains, my money. This was supposed to reflect my brand, as a Torontonian. Instead, we got yet another product of small minds, narrow agendas, parochial bureaucrats and classically low expectations. We should all feel a little bit embarrassed by those empty seats, the angry diesel engines, the misaligned stations and the giant billboards. All brought to us by our town's multiple, unrelated, disconnected transport authorities.
He looked at me through moist eyes and wanted me to know how delighted he was that our adopted kids from South Sudan had arrived and were seated in the visitor's gallery above the parliamentary chamber. Question Period had just concluded and his face had been a mixture of anger, mockery and clear disdain the entire time, and yet here he was, one of Stephen Harper's attack dogs, fighting back tears and being touchingly human.These thoughts came back to me as I watched the video of Dean Del Mastro being led into a paddy wagon following his conviction for electoral fraud in the 2008 federal election.
Stephen Harper's decisions on Iran, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine and the United States have officially shut the last nails on the coffin of Canadian relevance in global governance. The Conservative government's hard power strategy officially commits Canada to the role of a fireman in an incandescent region, at the taxpayer's expense, with zero influence on the regional levers at the core of the Middle East's most pressing fires today. It is time for the opposition parties to fine-tune their foreign policy chops in the coming official campaign period in order for Canada to chart its way back to the world's bargaining table.
On June 16, Justin Trudeau released a comprehensive platform to modernize Canadian democracy. The plan builds on legislative proposals already presented to Parliament and commits to even more ambitious reforms.
The argument about guns in America is a pointless one because, frankly, the pro-gun lobby won the debate many years ago. Like that Japanese soldier living on an island for decades, unaware that WWII was long over, the anti-gun crowd continues to fight a battle that it already lost. Americans long ago made up their minds in regards to guns. They want to keep guns and it is likely that no tragedy is great enough to change that fact. Not even a little bit. In fact, Americans not only want to keep their guns, they want to change very little in regards to how they keep them, how they get them, or what they do with them.
Don Meredith's fall from grace is seen as a collective one, because there are a lot of black people who see his presence in the Senate as a collective achievement; he's seen as "one of us who made it to the top." We are so eager to see black faces in positions of power that we get caught up in the "excitement" of seeing someone who looks like us on the political stage, and we fail to pull back the curtain.
Unlike our current Prime Minister, I agree with First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities, as well as with leaders from other orders of government, that ending the violence must start with a national public inquiry into the ongoing tragedy of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.
People are just tired of being at the wrong end of an equation that rewards established wealth while hollowing out the opportunities for the average citizen. It's not so easy to govern anymore behind the veil of complexity and secrecy, and that's just as it should be in a democracy.
On June 18, 2015, Pope Francis addressed the 1.3 billion Catholics of the world -- and all people of good will -- with the first encyclical in history focused on climate change action. This is important not only because of the direct influence of the Pontiff, but because of his powerful argument. The Pope reminds us that we as humans have a stewardship obligation to the planet, and that we must exercise that obligation in a way that is socially just and equitable. Climate change from that perspective is not just an economic or technical issue -- how do we burn less carbon and how do we pay for it -- it's actually a moral issue.
After ten years of Stephen Harper, Ottawa is broken. When he was first elected, he promised us principled government. He promised us accountability and honesty. But year after year, Stephen Harper has delivered partisanship and petty politics, broken his promise and appointed 57 senators, wasted over $750 million on partisan government ads, and grown more intolerant of dissent and closed-off from Canadians. This is unacceptable. So this week, I presented a comprehensive plan to fix this -- a plan for real change.
You simply cannot live in Canada and ignore the past. It's a pretty strong statement but reading the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into Aboriginal residential schools, that's the conclusion I've come to. The truth may be out but the reconciliation is going to take a while. So just as all Canadians share accountability for what is past, we also share a responsibility for making things better.
Justin Trudeau's speech on the importance of North America on Monday echoed most of the current wisdom on Canada's standing in North America -- we're in trouble and the issue needs some serious attention. The idea for a cabinet level committee on the U.S. relationship proposed by Trudeau is good, but in reality it would have to be a committee on North America, which means including Mexico. And Trudeau seemed half way there in his speech.
Now that Gilles Duceppe is back and has declared his willingness to support a coalition that would offer an alternative to the Conservatives and which is in Quebec's interest, the dilemma for voters in the province changes dramatically.