The big spending on the income splitting tax break, combined with the impact of lower oil prices has already left only a razor-thin balance and the Parliamentary Budget Officer predicts the budget will slip back into deficit in the next few years. Since it is no secret that this budget sets the stage for the upcoming federal election it is time for us to take a long hard look at the people we elect. We should not allow ourselves to be tricked by tax cut treats but think about who offers a plan for the future. Legacies take guts.
Today Canadians celebrate Lester Pearson's birthday. Even as we reflect back on the kind of leader he was and the growing capacities of Canada that he helped to create, we become aware that somewhere between then and now we lost our edge, our diversified global influence, and, sadly, our belief in the public good.
Bill C-51, dubbed the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015, should cause Canadians deep concern. Its provisions, if passed into law, would jeopardize many of our most basic rights and liberties and would only serve to undermine the health of our democracy. Any limits imposed by Parliament on our basic rights and fundamental freedoms must be "reasonable"; they must not be overly broad; and they must be "demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society. On the thirty-third anniversary of the signing of the Charter, we should demand that Parliament scrap Bill C-51 altogether.
In the 2015 federal budget, the Canadian government announced its intention to create a $300-million initiative to encourage private investment, job creation and growth that will fight extreme poverty in developing countries. Canada is the last G7 country to create a public arm to support private investment in development. Some of our counterparts have been in this business for over 50 years, doing good and making money at the same time.This initiative looks even tardier when one considers that successive Canadian governments since the early Trudeau era have bandied about the idea of creating a public entity to catalyze more private capital for development.
Toronto's Polict Chief-designate Mark Saunders is on record as supporting carding as a "valuable tool." The policy is racist, wrong and reflects poorly on our collective public ideals. If he continues to endorse racial profiling, as a black citizen himself, his historic achievement would be in name only.
Recently, Quebec has witnessed very alarming anti-Muslim and anti-Islam rhetoric that has led to moral onslaught against citizens of Muslim faith. The discriminatory campaigns against any group of citizens due to their religious or ethnic background will lead to unhealthy social harmony within any society.
he Toronto Police Services board approved and endorsed a policy of racial profiling -- carding -- to keep track of residents who look like me last night. From now onward, any Toronto Police officer can arbitrarily stop me without informing me of my rights, when no specific offence has not been committed and I am not considered a suspect. If refusing to reappoint Councillor Michael Thompson, the lone black member of the Toronto Police board, was not enough, Mayor John Tory voted to endorse the carding policy. I am disappointed and we should all be outraged.
On the surface, both the Ontario's premier's speculative thoughts and B.C.'s policy change look positive for consumers. But both are a mirage.
For over 100 years, Ontario's public hydro system generated reliable electricity and got it to homes and businesses at a rate that people could afford. Today, our public hydro system continues to be a strategic asset that supports healthcare, education, and conservation (to name a few). If Kathleen Wynne goes ahead with her plan to privatize Hydro One, all of that could be in jeopardy, leaving Ontarians with higher hydro bills, but not much else. It is too valuable an asset to put on the auction block. I believe that hydro in Ontario should be affordable, reliable and should function as the backbone of our economy.
Even after the Conservative government buckled to pressure to amend the anti-terrors laws, Canadians can still be deemed too dangerous to travel by airline and won't be allowed to challenge the "evidence" against them. As lawyer and author Faisal Kutty puts it, Canadian Muslims can be considered "too guilty to fly, but too innocent to charge." Bill C-51 is a reckless attempt to win over an understandably fearful electorate under the pretense of fighting terrorism. Marginalizing the very Canadians who are on the front-lines of this struggle is worse than poor policy -- it's a threat to all of us.
Bill C-51 is complex, dangerous, and poses a serious threat to free expression in Canada. If found to be in violation of the proposed legislation, citizens and visitors could wind up slapped with censorship orders, detained without due process or imprisoned for up to five years. Is the federal government giving itself and its agencies more power to fight ISIS-like terrorism, or is it using high-profile tragedies to illegally spy, surveil and silence innocent citizens and its political enemies? Silencing Canadians with the threat of prosecution is tantamount to a chilling or denial of freedom of expression and association, among other Charter rights.
Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy for president Sunday. If successful, she will become the very first woman president of the United States of America and her party's best chance to defeat the Republicans in 2016. Could a Canadian woman, with the same stature, gift and substance as the former first lady, attain the same milestone in Canada? Are we closer to having the first elected woman prime minister in Canada? In the 2015 federal election, it is shaping up to be a race between three white males -- Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau and Thomas Mulcair. Yet our politics should reflect our population and perspectives.
This trial is going to be a long, drawn-out examination of the prime minister's role and vast influence. Harper will take blows from both sides. The Crown has already said it believes Duffy wasn't qualified to sit in the Senate -- that the former CTV journalist and longtime Ottawa resident didn't meet the basic residency requirement to represent his native Prince Edward Island and that he should never have been appointed to the upper house. So why did Harper appoint Duffy?
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau's political slogan has been "building the team and the plan." So far, his "team" will be forced to be pro-choice and pro-marijuana, and his "plan" is legalizing marijuana, being against fighting terrorism, and placing a price on carbon. The Liberals' position of vacuous nothingness should be garnering far more attention than it has been -- the Press Gallery has only started to actually seriously question Trudeau -- but Trudeau has been ably abetted by a series of New Democrats' missteps.
Sadly, too many public officials are all too eager to scam taxpayers and charge fraudulent expenses. That is especially true if they feel they are accountable to no one. Accountability begins with transparency. After all, you can't judge a person's actions if you don't know what they've done. Just as companies are accountable to their owners and shareholders, so elected officials are accountable to their citizens and taxpayers.
A government with a hate-on for its workers doesn't just go after those still employed; it also revels in undermining the security of its former workers: us retirees.This year has seen the implementation of an additional $500 payment for my healthcare plan. Despite protests from our retirees association and from the unions, the government effectively broke our contract and unilaterally imposed the extra charge.
Once the worse affected province, B.C.'s HIV burden today is way below the Canadian average. In Canada, we can lead the way forward towards ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic, but a federal level commitment is sorely lacking.
This year marks the 42nd Canadian federal election. In the current political context, it is generally understood that information is power. However, this data is only made powerful when it can be properly cultivated, analyzed and shared with people who can take that information and make it actionable. This reality is important for decision-makers running the country, for political parties, as well as for our youth voters, among others.
In Canada, Stephen Harper led two minority governments before his 2011 win gave him a solid majority. Britain's David Cameron became prime minister in 2010 by virtue of a coalition with the Liberal Democrats and would clearly prefer a majority of his own. By imitating Harper's Canadian Crunch, he may have improved his chances.