The Tories have money on their side, and lots of it. They are a powerhouse when it comes to grassroots fundraising, outperforming both the NDP and Liberals by far. In 2012 alone, when one would expect fundraising dollars to be on the low side, the Tories raked in $17.3 million from 87,306 contributors.
Cross border organizing is becoming a bigger part of tar sands campaigns for native and non-native people alike. Mariner culture dictates that if there's is a distress call anyone in the vicinity has a responsibility to act. That is the spirit of shared responsibility and stewardship that is behind our TarSandsSOS.org site. ForestEthics, with offices in Bellingham and San Francisco, partnered with Vancouver-based ForestEthics Advocacy to create it. The site is home to a unique tar sands oil tanker tracking system, which displays those tanker's locations in real time. The site also generates real time tweets when tankers carrying tar sands enter sensitive habitats on the West Coast, like whale habitat in Washington State's San Juan Islands.
Within a few weeks the lake will be gone. CNRL has been ordered to return it in 2014 but I think we all know that lakes can't simply be filled like a swimming pool. Lakes are an integral part of ecosystems. Animals, insects, birds and plants depend on them and those interconnected relationships take decades or even centuries to develop.
It's been another spill-filled summer in the spill-prone province of Alberta. With Alberta averaging over two oil spills a day over the past 37 years, there are many spills that we don't know about. However we do know about some and what we know is alarming. Here is a recap of just five of the spills to hit Alberta this summer.
The recent scandals involving senators offer more reasons to question the Senate's continued existence. Senators currently control investigations into other senators' ethics, spending, attendance and actions overall. This is a completely ineffective system undermined by rampant conflicts of interest -- and senators are not even talking about changing it. While there are many proposals to reform the Senate, they all leave or create more problems than they solve, and all require changes to the Constitution (as Prime Minister Harper will soon learn when the Supreme Court of Canada rules on his reference case) -- so abolishing the Senate is no more difficult than any other option.
While many policy areas influence -- positively or negatively -- equality of opportunity, education is first among equals. The very idea of progress is under real threat in this country, for the first time in generations. The Canadian promise, that if you get educated and work hard, you can guarantee a better life for yourself and for your kids, is being seriously questioned. Canadians are rightly concerned that their leaders have lost focus on the policy that is at the heart of this promise: access to affordable, high quality education. In short, the core of Liberal economic policy should be to make Canada the best educated country on Earth. So what should the federal role look like?
As a candidate in this leadership race I believe we have a responsibility during this campaign to define where we stand; we must be clear in our convictions; and speak honestly to Liberals and to Canadians. And therein lies the difference between my friend, colleague and fellow candidate Justin Trudeau and myself. =
Earlier this afternoon Prime Minister Stephen Harper removed Senator Patrick Brazeau from the Conservative caucus for "reasons that are personal but very serious." The now independent 38-year-old Senator has been an embarrassing character for public service as well as aboriginal youth. He could and should have been a great role model.
Our wireless phone service contracts and rates put Canada 10 years behind Europe and Asia, even our neighbours to the South beat us by a large margin. Given that the prices for service are so high, perhaps we could rest assured that the quality would be on par. Here too Canada pales in comparison to other countries.
The single woman entrepreneur operating a start-up business in a remote village of Bangladesh is just as important as the large multinational company employing hundreds of thousands of people around the globe. CIDA works with both to help alleviate poverty in the developing world. Our government will continue to be there when humanitarian crises strikes the globe's most vulnerable. But our long-term goal is to help people help themselves, so that they can move themselves and their families from poverty to prosperity -- a result I believe all Canadians can take pride in.
The Liberal Party is split on who is best positioned to win -- but we seem to agree on one thing: it's gonna be a girl. This isn't some instance of affirmative action. From every conversation I've heard, Liberal partisans want the most qualified person to be Premier. It's just that most Liberals believe the best person is either Sandra Pupatello, the front runner, or Kathleen Wynne, her clearest rival.
If voters sit down and scrutinize the political and economic policy proposals put forth by each party in 2012, it becomes apparent that it is nearly impossible to tell where one party stops and another begins. So unless you sit slightly to the right -- in which case every party embodies your politics -- the next time a canvasser, pollster, government official, or public figure asks, "which political party do you support?" consider responding "none of them." Can you really be considered apathetic?
I read NDP MP Helen Laverdière's piece in the Huffington Post with great interest. I find it ironic that the NDP, a party that wishes to impose a $21-billion carbon tax on Canadians and more than $50 billion in radical spending measures while we face global economic uncertainty, now wants to give advice to developing countries on their economic development. Let me take this opportunity to enlighten the MP and the NDP about the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and dispel their myths.
Last week, the Harper Government announced that it is putting Ridley Terminals Inc. (RTI), a relatively small federal Crown Corporation, up for sale. In the last early 1980s, the Trudeau government spent $250 million to build this coal terminal in the hope that coalmines would magically appear. Well, they didn't, and RTI has been a taxpayer-funded sick hole ever since.
Should we challenge mental health experts? Challenge the justice system on the grounds that we do not agree with a single, solitary verdict? On the grounds that the crime is particularly horrendous? Should we accept that a government is using a single, solitary court decision that it disagrees with and that causes public outcry to change the laws?
If a producer was to consider making a feature film about the F-35 procurement process she or he might, given the events over the past few years either go with one of two genres: Max Senate and the Keystone cops, or Federico Fellini for something a bit more surreal. Somewhere between those two extremes lies, I would think, the reality of the storyline.
At a recent political event, outgoing Premier Dalton McGuinty touted his legacy as leader of Ontario. "Our government hasn't been perfect," he said. "But when it comes to the big things that families count on us to get right -- schools, health care, the environment, and the economy -- we've gotten it right every time." As is often the case, there's a gap between rhetoric and reality. That's certainly the case when it comes to McGuinty's claim about the economy.
Nine months ago, you could scarcely open a newspaper without reading all sorts of scary allegations about the Prime Minister's secret army of robo-men and their efforts to systematically rig the 2011 election through ambiguously deceptive phone calls. But if you're still jonsing for a Robocall fix, fear not!
Anti-Muslim bigots have gone too far in criticizing Justin Trudeau for his anticipated speech at a major Islamic conference that is going to be held towards the end of the month in Toronto. I find it disheartening to have hate-mongers trying to muzzle a convention like this one where people gather from all over the continent to nourish their souls.
I always knew I'd be supporting Kathleen Wynne for Ontario Liberal leader. But a Conservative proved my choice right before she'd even launched her leadership bid. I'm supporting Kathleen Wynne because of her character and her progressive principles. I'm also supporting her because I know she can win a general election.