I think our inter-faith leaders -- every priest, rabbi, pundit, imam and granthi -- would do this country a great service if they enforce a message of peace and harmony against and speak to their captive audience against the symptoms of sadistic behaviour -- manipulation, the thrill of violence, power, and control that comes from inflicting pain on other.
No matter how you slice it, Harper has failed to lead Canada towards a sustained economic recovery from the financial crisis seven years ago. It doesn't matter how much public money he spends on ads claiming otherwise. Facts are facts. So, what does a government facing re-election do when its top agenda item, economic management, is in tatters? It changes the channel to something else.
While Canadians were relieved to see Mohamed Fahmy released on bail last week, it is far from clear that his long ordeal is over. Officially he is still scheduled to face a retrial beginning on February 23. During his first trial, he was found guilty of multiple charges and sentenced to seven years imprisonment on the basis of very dubious evidence in an arbitrary process, which was widely condemned around the world as a miscarriage of justice. The Government of Canada has an obligation to do its utmost to help its citizens when they are facing such trying situations. Unfortunately, that does not appear to have happened in this instance.
Convicting and incarcerating those who return to Canada from fighting with extremist groups overseas alone is not enough. Radicalization spreads, particularly in prison, where many individuals feel wronged by the system and society more generally. Once those prisoners return to civilian life they take with them their twisted and radicalized beliefs and spread them in the communities where they live. Many of Canada's allies have their own de-radicalization programs in place for those who return home after joining terrorist organizations abroad.
On Valentine's Day, a film was released that is set to warp the minds of a new generation. 50 Shades of Grey, a film based on the bestselling book of the same name, is being portrayed as a 'date night' movie of romance and intrigue. Except that the movie (and the book) is about humiliation, degradation and the emotional and physical abuse of women by men. The fairy-tale ending of the film, just like Pretty Woman, is one that millions of victims of sexual violence never experience. As one survivor of sexual violence shared "50 Shades is a horrible reminder of my own abusive relationship, repackaged as a 'love story'."
The history of the Canadian flag is a success story. Indeed, what do we ask of a flag if it isn't that it embody the country, unite its citizens and trigger its recognition by the other peoples of the Earth? Few symbols are as identified with a country as the maple leaf has been with Canada for the last 50 years.
Huge numbers of Canadians, including key Ottawa decision-makers, are pushing back hard against the government's Bill C-51, which proposes unprecedented new powers for Canada's security agencies. The bill effectively turns CSIS into a secret police force and would place every Canadian under a government microscope.
With much ado about crossing the floor from the Conservative to the Liberal Party, the talk seems to centre on whether Justin Trudeau's Liberals gained much, if anything. That talk misses the point: the question is not what the Liberals got, but what the Conservatives lost. Coming on the heels of the clearly unplanned departure of John Baird, the real story is not the questionable value of the asset Trudeau has acquired but the fact that a sitting government member has crossed the floor to sit with a third party.
On January 30, a reporter asked Harper how newly-introduced anti-terror legislation will differentiate between somebody who is "radicalized" and "a teen who's just messing around in the basement." Harper answered by saying promoting terrorism is a serious offence no matter "what the age of the person is, or whether they're in a basement, or whether they're in a mosque or somewhere else." Harper's response to this question associates hundreds of mosques across the country with the promotion of terrorism and violence and is misguided for multiple reasons.
Justin Trudeau warmly ushered Adams into the Liberal tent, calling her "value-driven" and lauding Adams' "commitment to public service." Fair enough. But the Conservative-turned-Liberal Adams raises some interesting questions about the nomination process and begs the question, once again: Are the Liberal nominations actually open? Of course they are not. By continuing to insist that Liberal nominations are open and democratic, Trudeau is undermining his own efforts to present himself as a positive alternative to Stephen Harper.
By appointing a unilingual Foreign Affairs Minister, Rob Nicholson, Prime Minister Harper fails to understand his role to protect this precious heritage. He also handicaps heavily our country's ability to take advantage of our linguistic duality on the world stage. In 2015, it is totally unacceptable.
Several weeks ago, when I learned about the potential requirement for a veteran who has lost a limb to have to continually verify their injury I asked for this to be examined to ensure such a procedure never takes place. To date, my department is ensuring that this is not a requirement from a VAC administration requirement and we are determined to work with third party insurance providers to ensure that such requirements are not part of the process facing the veteran either.
We should all be asking how the government plans to engage Canadians regarding the sustainable development goals, which will focus the global development agenda for the next 15 years, and what Canada's position is on these goals.
Elliott understands that and Hudak never did and that is why he failed as a leader. The inexperienced life-time career politicians, the obnoxious Patrick Brown and the not-ready-for-prime-time, Monte McNaughton, do not certainly understand that reality.
German chancellor Angela Merkel will be in Ottawa for a visit on Monday, but she may not be bringing the news Stephen Harper wants to hear when it comes to the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). That's because the German government wants to re-open CETA and amend the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism. This controversial provision allows a transnational corporation to sue a national government that passes public interest or environmental legislation that impacts their future profits.
We were disturbed and disappointed to read Stephen Harper's recent comments erroneously claiming that Justin Trudeau has a "deep distrust" of the Canadian military. In my experience, actions speak louder than words, and while Mr. Harper has always been quick to stand with our soldiers for photo ops, he has failed to have their backs when it counts. We have a sacred obligation to our soldiers -- past and present -- which this Prime Minister has clearly rejected. By contrast, Mr. Trudeau is firmly committed to fulfilling our nation's obligation to our veterans, and to investing in the equipment and training that our troops need to get the job done
Mr. Leung asked a member of the audience, "If you like Iran so much then why do you come to Canada?" He then demanded to know: "Why are you here?" Some audience members were so offended by his comments and his dismissive attitude -- which one attendee characterized as "arrogant" -- that they decided to leave the event. Mr. Leung is also the Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism. It kind of sounds like a bad joke, doesn't it?
The case for change has never been stronger. If they want to do more than duct tape a broken system, Justin Trudeau, Thomas Mulcair and Elizabeth May need to adopt tax reform as a major thrust in their campaigns. So far, all we hear are general platitudes that avoid the real business of change. They underestimate voters' growing distrust of the current system.
The Harper government's newly introduced "anti-terrorism" legislature, Bill C-51, has been roundly condemned as an assault on privacy and free speech -- and rightly so. Besides hunting down would-be terrorists, the new laws could be used to stifle dissent, remove due process and lead to the creation of a secret police force, critics say. In a supposedly enlightened and democratic country such as Canada, these would be unwelcome developments to say the least. But there is a deeper cost to eroding privacy than just the spurring of undesirable changes in external entities such as courts and communications networks. Also at stake is the very freedom of Canadians to internally determine who they are and want to be.