The Harper government has mastered the art of selective morality. When it is convenient, Mr. Harper takes cover behind international law to attack those he disagrees with on ideological or religious grounds. And those with whom he has an ideological or religious connection, his government wilfully ignores their indiscretions. This selective application of morality is at odds with the principles of social justice, which all Canadians hold dear.
Let's get right to the point. As the third major eruption of violence between Hamas and Israel since 2008 drags on, I have so far identified three unconventional questions intended for dwelling upon by those who, like me, consider themselves to be friends of Israel in Canada.
Not terrorists, white-collar crooks, or climate change -- it seems the real threat to Canadian society hides behind a much friendlier face: charities. Or to be more specific, charities critical of the Canadian government. This week it was made public that the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) is auditing PEN Canada for its "political activities." In 2012, the Canadian government earmarked $8 million of the CRA's budget for auditing political activities, and then upped that amount again to $13 million. In a time of austerity, there is still a plenty of money to go after enemies of our federal government.
An ad in the Globe and Mail reveals the extent of harm the Harper Conservatives have inflicted on Statistics Canada. Because of poor quality, Statistics Canada is not releasing data at finer spatial scales because the Harper Conservatives killed the mandatory long-form Census and replaced it with a voluntary survey of dubious quality.
In all of the coverage of the Ontario election and the new Wynne government, the media has completely overlooked one of the most important stories of them all. What people don't realize is that the labour movement came together in an unprecedented way to defeat Progressive Conservative party leader Tim Hudak, and kept the U.S. anti-union movement out of Canada.
It benefits us all to be honest with ourselves and recognize that adopted in 1971, enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982 and further enacted in law in 1988, Canadian multiculturalism is a socio-economic failure that now stains our national mosaic. There is nothing new in pointing out the failure(s) of multiculturalism. However, what has yet to be engaged as a public conversation is the consideration that, as our society's seeping open secret, the socio-economic failure of multiculturalism is what explains the festering phenomenon of black support for Rob Ford.
The CCF assisted a taxpayer named Irvin Leroux in getting a decision from the B.C. Supreme Court, holding that Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) owed him a duty of care and breached its duty towards him. This was a precedent-setting ruling: never before had the CRA been told by any court that it had a duty towards individual taxpayers to treat them with care, and not to be negligent towards them.
Bob Rae and Kathleen Wynne are hardly the only (former and current) politicians to engage in storytelling. Politicians of every partisan stripe do the same thing. But while stories are useful and guide us in a variety of beneficial ways, the rational side of human nature should revisit tales now and then, especially political ones. That leads to better, smarter government. Ontario is no exception.
Amid the dire warnings about global warming's impacts, what's often overlooked is that actions to reduce or prevent them will lead to livable communities, improved air quality, protection of natural spaces and greater economic efficiency, to name just a few benefits. So it's not surprising that tangible positive action on climate change is happening in Canada's cities. Local progress can spur even greater momentum as cities collaborate with each other and other levels of government.
There is a $175,000 poll the Harper government commissioned seeking the actual views of Canadians about prostitution. Peter MacKay has steadfastly opposed releasing the contents of that poll, despite the fact that the information contained might have been helpful to the Justice Committee's deliberations. Department of Justice Official testified that the poll contained "useful information" in crafting the bill. At the parliamentary hearings last week, I once again asked Minister MacKay about this poll. Here is the official parliamentary record of that exchange.
This kind of talk about out-of-control government spending in central Canada will build and build. The right has a huge megaphone in this country and the ideas are rarely challenged in the mainstream media.
With the New Brunswick Morgentaler Clinic closure last week, New Democrats urge the Minister of Health to work directly with her provincial counterparts in New Brunswick to ensure that safe access to abortion services is publicly available.
The establishment of a Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) by the Harper Tories in 2007 has been seen as a progressive step towards ensuring that those with mental illnesses begin to receive the same level of health care as those with other illnesses. But, in my opinion, it was nothing more than a clever ploy to make it look like something positive was finally being done. Those who suffer from mental illness deserve the same level of care and treatment as those who suffer with other illnesses. No society can call itself progressive when it allows such needless suffering as those with mental illnesses, addictions and their families do.
Jamie Heath simply wants to drag John Tory through the mud by any means -- to the benefit of Ms. Chow. This, of late, is a consistent "best practice" of many official agents in both the Chow and Ford camps. The premises of his argument however, do deserve scrutiny.
We've seen this script before. Higher spending. Tax increases. Persistent deficits. Growing debt. Warnings from credit rating agencies. A government unwilling to make the tough choices to turn things around. That's the Ontario of the 1980s and early 1990s. It's also where the province finds itself today.
Mr. Ford and Mr. Tory share something else. Neither wants to work to the plan we have, preferring instead to draw new lines on maps. It's never easy to decipher what, precisely, Mr. Tory believes today, but it seems he no longer supports the Sheppard or Finch LRT's. And he certainly no longer supports the subway relief line that is the TTC's top priority, which is odd because getting it built allegedly propelled him to run.
There is no fundamental difference between the conflict in Ukraine and that between Israel and Hamas. Each group in question sees itself as having its back to the wall. Each has had the bitter experience of trusting allies who let it down. This does not justify shooting down a plane filled with innocent people, but the fear of destruction that drives people to such exigencies is a terrible thing.
It's a terribly sad day for Parliament when a member of the Senate gets hauled before the criminal courts to face 31 charges of fraud, bribery and breach of trust. The formal trial of Mike Duffy is about to begin. The damage Duffy has done flows directly from the fact that he was a duly appointed Senator. So who put him there? Who gave him that position? Stephen Harper cannot escape responsibility. He demonstrated enormously bad judgment in making Duffy a Senator. Canadians need their Prime Minister to provide fulsome, accurate answers.
The Bank is particularly concerned about the substantial decline in the "participation rate" in our labour force since just before the recession in 2008. It reports that 100,000 people aged 25-54 have given up looking for work altogether and that things are even more dire among our youth, with 200,000 dropping out of the labour force.