Last month, when I told my father I had been drafted to join the Senate's Ethics Committee, he nodded his approval. Soon I would watch in horror and helplessness as an aggressive cancer took him away from his family. Now, I return back to work, to an institution that is also under siege. But this time, we are not helpless. Honourable senators, the future of this chamber is in our hands.
No politician or citizen stands above the law, and each citizen must pay income taxes. When the lawmakers fail to follow their own regulations, citizens should demand better. In order to take parliamentary suggestions and regulations on tax avoidance and evasion seriously, citizens should feel confident that their MPs, first and foremost, are following the rules.
What would the future look like if someone were to hit the "reset" button on the Crown-First Nations relationship and just start over? First Nations would be able to manage their own affairs. This would include the ability to access capital at wholesale rates in order to finance major infrastructure projects.
The UN, which continues to be depicted in the media as an impartial institution dedicated to conflict resolution, provided the platform for Mahmoud Abbas to flout Oslo and vilify Israel. Indeed, the resolution granting elevated status to "Palestine" was cited deferentially by the media, without context.
In his most recent video where he thanks donors for their money, the Liberal leader Justin Trudeau looks like a college sophomore playing hacky sack in the quad. What Trudeau says in the video is of little import -- as so often with the aspiring prime minister -- but it's how he presents everything that makes this ad -- initially (and easily) thought to be a joke -- so downright clever.
Ontarians are concerned that Ms. Wynne hasn't learned the lessons of her government's billion dollar eHealth scandal, or $700-million scandal at Ornge, or half-billion dollar gas plant scandal. I'm not asking for more. I'm just asking for it to be done right. People want to see more accountability in the budget.
Syria is now a failed state. The fact that Assad used Sarin against a small number of people may indicate panic by local officials, or more likely a considered policy of the gradual introduction of this new escalation. That is why all eyes are again on Washington. This is show-time; the world is watching and many habitual trouble-makers, including perhaps even the mischievous and treacherous gangster thugdom of Putin's Russia, are more amenable than they have been to support an effective intervention by the United States in Syria. If not now, when?
If you say "politician A is a crook" often enough, it is only a matter of time before the public comes to believe that all politicians are crooks. That is what is happening now and these are the seeds that defenders of negative advertising are sowing. Politics is not about bludgeoning your opponent until they cannot stand.
The CBC should have the courage and decency to make its casting choices transparent. If it sees a value in exposing kids to minorities who aren't well represented on television, and therefore wants to hire a non-white kiddie host, then tell us so. And be there with the guts, data, and fortitude to stand behind that decision. Don't throw the casting agency under the bus and point to vague diversity language. Doing so only confuses all concerned. It also leaves paranoid notions to fester about what kinds of discrimination Caucasians must experiencing from CBC behind closed doors.
Roméo Dallaire declared: "I need a haircut." We had heard that just down the street was a barber shop where the young man cutting hair was a former child soldier. He turned in his weapons, trading a machete (or panga) for scissors, and learned a new trade: "I used to be forced to cut limbs; now I cut hair."
This week, the debate raged on over the "root causes" of terrorism. On CBC's Power & Politics, Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre took a literalist approach, declaring the root causes of terrorism to be terrorists. On HuffPost, the analysis ran a little deeper, with many suggested causes, including oppressive foreign policy. "The root cause [of terrorism] is only depravity," wrote one blogger, Lauryn Oates. "The line between seeking to understand this depravity, and seeking to justify it, is fine and must be tread upon with care." Whatever one's perspective, that's advice worth heeding.
Trudeau's team responded poorly to the attack ads by pointing out he also taught math, rather than challenging the implication that there's little of value in the teaching of drama. I coached drama and taught the subject for more than 30 years. I am extremely proud of what I was able to accomplish for my students.
When an act of terror occurs, it takes time to assess what exactly happened. Two hours after the blast, blood was still being spilled, explosives were still being sniffed out, and loved ones were still being contacted to share the terrible news. It was in this chaos that Mr. Trudeau was asked to react -- even before the President of the United States, the FBI, or the State Governor had reacted. What Mr. Trudeau did was answer the truth. A novel concept for some, but a welcome philosophy to Canadians tired of the dreary, divisive diatribe. We don't know who did this, but surely there are ways we can look at root causes and prevent future bloodshed.
Lisa Raitt is right that the conversation we're having about Justin Trudeau would be very different if it was a female MP who'd taken to the catwalk and stripped to her bra, while a group of men bid on the opportunity to lunch with her. It would seem exploitive and distasteful. People would definitely question the MP's judgment.
Justin Trudeau's comments about the Boston bombings in an interview with Peter Mansbridge display an ignorance and insensitivity that know no bounds. He appears to give equal moral weight to monitoring those people who point fingers at minorities as to monitoring violent subgroups. In other words, according to Justin, these terrorists are not really at fault.
Contrary to what a variety of columnists and MPPs would have you believe, the public sector is not the enemy. You are the public, and your servants want to serve you in exchange for appropriate compensation and benefits. So to the Government and Opposition I say this: language matters. We are not terrorists. And you're either with us or against us.