2015 Federal election
The federal government will not help Ontario in any way in implementing the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP). "Take a hike," was the federal government's basic message. We will not help you improve pensions unless you do it our way. And our way is simple: Canadians should do it themselves. Just figure it out. There is no retirement crisis, says the Harper government. Never mind that our mutual fund industry has among the highest fees in the world, while our best public pension funds have among the lowest costs despite excellent performance. Never mind that the capital markets are increasingly tilted against the interests of ordinary people. Never mind that employers have been abandoning defined-benefit plans for decades. Never mind that some of the most credible researchers in the country have called for a significant enhancement to the Canada Pension Plan.
In 1992, Canada was the world's leading contributor to United Nations peacekeeping operations. Canada now ranks a dismal 68th in personnel contributions to UN peacekeeping. This dramatic decline began under the Liberals. Our international engagement programs took us from #1 to #32 by the time the Conservatives took office in 2006 -- they continued the Liberal abandonment of UN peacekeeping as a key role for Canada.
A large percentage each of NDP and Liberal supporters (over 30 per cent) is prepared to vote for the other if it is seen as the better option to defeat the Conservatives. However, the current deadlock has not revealed who that is and any gains made by either are small -- The tipping point, if it in fact occurs, may come down to Canadians making a judgement similar to that expressed in folklore and widely known as the Judgement of Solomon.
When we cast our ballot, most of us believe that we are voting for a prime minister. Indirectly, we are. But we actually vote for an individual who, if elected, sits in the House of Commons as the representative of one of 338 federal constituencies in Canada. -- Despite our creeping cynicism and dismissiveness of our MPs, few jobs are as important, and the people whose names are actually on the ballot matter a lot. Yet, we rarely take time to assess whether they should be entrusted with the duties of a lawmaker. Often, our only focus is on the party leader, which comes at the expense of getting to know the person we are actually going to be voting for.
Not all political dynasties are created equal -- one key difference lies in the calibre of their descendants. Last year, the Liberal Party elected as its leader Justin Trudeau, son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. Warren Bennis, a noted scholar on leadership, said, "The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born -- that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That's nonsense."
DING! DING! DING! We have a winner!
There is a lot to consider as we approach October's federal election. But most of all, we're frightened about the potential devastation of the Earth itself. This federal election is especially important because Canada's next Prime Minister will represent us at the 21st UN Framework on Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris at the end of this year -- barely one month after our new government is chosen.
The photo of three-year-old Alan Kurdi washed up on a Turkish beach awakened many voters to the human cost of our hardened, fear-based approach to immigration and foreign policy. But equally important and more difficult to acknowledge is the way the refugee crisis has cast an uncomfortable light on the question of who "we" are, and how our laws make us. To understand the anemic Canadian response to the refugee crisis, we must place it in the context of a broader policy overhaul that has radically reshaped the meaning of citizenship in Canada.
Most veterans joined the Forces between the ages of 18 and 22 and serve a large portion of their adult lives in uniform. When they leave the military, they are leaving behind comrades who continue to serve Canada, so it is a priority for them to see that the military has the equipment and support it needs. Probably the largest reason why many veterans support the Conservative Party is because they have seen both the equipment and morale improve dramatically under Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The last Liberal government hollowed out the military during the "Decade of Darkness." From used submarines to the dated green uniforms for Afghanistan, the Liberals did not make a properly equipped military a priority.
"We live in a historic moment, one that demands audacity, ambition and courage."