It's been more than a year since Ford was revealed to be a crack smoker but he has maintained his meaty grip on power, and is currently dominating the media coverage of Toronto's upcoming municipal election. To pull this off, Ford has redefined the art of crisis communications, demonstrating that you can survive scandal by simply avoiding the truth or drowning it out. Ford is not, of course, the first to use silence, denial and obfuscation to advance his own interests.
Here's the full depth of the problem with CASL. When Parliament enacted this confusing and ambiguous legislation, it relinquished its legislative power to those regulators charged with enforcing the law. And since those same regulators have the power to directly levy enormous penalties, CASL permits bureaucrats to play the roles of legislator, police, and judge simultaneously. This combination has no place in a free and democratic society like our own.
We are, above all else, biological beings, with an absolute need for clean air from the moment of birth to the last death rattle. We are about 60 per cent water by weight, so we need clean water to be healthy. We eat plants and animals for our nourishment, so whatever they're exposed to ends up in our bodies. We need clean soil to give us clean food. These are basic, biological facts and should be the prism through which any decision is made at individual, corporate or government levels. Protection of air, water, soil and the web of life should be the highest social, political and economic priority.
Many Canadians are sitting back smugly stating how horrible and thank goodness that would never happen here, but if you believe this, you live in a bubble. Just look at what happened at York University last week. A hate filled piece was distributed by an anonymous group arguing the school would be better without people of different cultures. Hate isn't geographical, it is universal and based in fear of differences. Every city, state, province, business and government in North American needs to face facts, the issue isn't diversity. Look at the demographics. We are diverse, the issue is inclusion.
We must pay tribute to the courage and sacrifices of our soldiers, past and present, and highlight their essential contribution to peace and democracy. But we must also highlight the other remarkable aspects of Canadian history. The 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation is almost here and its preparations are lagging. Mr Harper and his Heritage minister, Shelly Glover, seem unable to give the celebration a clear focus. There is room for concern that once again, they will be content with showcasing Canada's military feats and refuse to acknowledge everything else that has made our nation a source of hope and envy in the world.
The tragedy of friendly fire is perhaps the starkest proof that militaries can make deadly errors that are neither intentional nor illegal. In the same vein, civilian casualties are painful, but they do not automatically represent a breach of the international law so long as the distinction, proportionality, and intentionality are observed (and other rules of course).
The violence that spun out of the Arab Spring in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Syria grabbed the headlines but the real problem received little attention -- lack of opportunity. This lack of opportunity for the people of the Middle East is an issue the West largely ignored and partly caused.
Governments, like families, have choices. And governments, as with families, sometimes make picks that close off other options. Spend a lot of money on having dinner out every night and that might foreclose the purchase of a nicer automobile.
The Ontario Superior Court ruled today that Michael Sona, the young Conservative aide, is guilty of participating in the robocall scheme.
The conservative attack dog, whose attacks on environmental charities precipitated "political activities" audits by Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), has now turned his attention to Muslim mosques and Justin Trudeau. My fear is that Ezra Levant is seeking to duplicate his political success against environmental charities by fomenting complaints against Muslim charities. His attacks on Justin Trudeau are being publicized by Veteran Affairs Minister Julian Fantino and given coverage by the CBC.
Unlike the "Prince of Pot," I don't use marijuana. I never have, and probably never will, even if it were to become legal for recreational use. Nevertheless, I have been a staunch admirer of Marc's ever since I first met him. While Marc Emery didn't do this single-handedly, there is no question that he is at least partly responsible for the fact that hundreds of thousands of people across North America now have legal access to a medication that helps relieve their pain and epileptic seizures. Margaret Wente said that Marc's no hero, but I disagree.
In Dave Meslin's article "Driven to Distraction" he links the distraction caused by digital billboards to automobile accidents as a leading cause of death; he suggests billboards are altogether unsafe and should be banned. Meslin's claims need debunking.
This matter must be considered when tax dollars are in play: unlike a company where shareholders can sell their shares or consumers can choose not to patronize its products, taxpayers are "on board" with all government expenses. That requires more judiciousness than shown by Alison Redford and her staff.
The notion that truth is the first casualty of war has found expression in the ongoing fog of the current Israel-Hamas conflict -- where truth is obscured or masked by oft-repeated clichés such as "cycle of violence," false moral equivalences, or unconscionable allegations of Israeli "genocide." If we want to prevent further tragedies in this conflict -- let alone frame the basis for its resolution -- then we have to go behind the daily headlines that cloud if not corrupt understanding, probe the real root causes of conflict, and finally travel the road not yet taken to its just resolution.
In China, crooks don't have to go to the casino because intermediaries called "junkets" will swap Yuan for gambling chips that can be cashed into Hong Kong or Macao currency at the casino then wired by Hong Kong banks to tax havens or accomplices offshore. The goal is to buy a condo or luxury goods with funds from a trust managed by a shell company in Grand Cayman, owned by another trust in Guernsey with an account in Luxembourg managed by a Swiss banker who doesn't know who the owner is.
If the past is any indication of the future, what could seem politically impossible for Stephen Harper today is in fact possible. Many seem to think that the next election could exclude any input from Québec. Those who think so are making a huge mistake.
CRA is cherry-picking its jurisprudence to justify its program of political activities audits. It is ignoring these recent decisions from Australia, England, New Zealand and even Canada's Federal Court of Appeal. Disagreeing with the government on environmental issues is not necessarily a partisan activity.
This is not a religious conflict, as many Jews and Muslims stand by each other in the Diaspora. Jews have stand against Islamophobia just as Muslims condemn anti-Semitism. Inspiring stories exist where Muslims and Jews have shielded each other from oppression. We have to eschew jingoistic propaganda, rhetorical questions and the blame games to listen to the voices that call for radical empathy. We need to hear the families of the murdered youth Naftali Fraenkel and Abu Khdeir who reached out to each other.
The Heartland Institute's recent International Climate Change Conference in Las Vegas illustrates climate change deniers' desperate confusion. Personal attacks are common among deniers. Their lies are continually debunked, leaving them with no rational challenge to overwhelming scientific evidence that the world is warming and that humans are largely responsible.