Bob Rae and Kathleen Wynne are hardly the only (former and current) politicians to engage in storytelling. Politicians of every partisan stripe do the same thing. But while stories are useful and guide us in a variety of beneficial ways, the rational side of human nature should revisit tales now and then, especially political ones. That leads to better, smarter government. Ontario is no exception.
There is a $175,000 poll the Harper government commissioned seeking the actual views of Canadians about prostitution. Peter MacKay has steadfastly opposed releasing the contents of that poll, despite the fact that the information contained might have been helpful to the Justice Committee's deliberations. Department of Justice Official testified that the poll contained "useful information" in crafting the bill. At the parliamentary hearings last week, I once again asked Minister MacKay about this poll. Here is the official parliamentary record of that exchange.
This kind of talk about out-of-control government spending in central Canada will build and build. The right has a huge megaphone in this country and the ideas are rarely challenged in the mainstream media.
With the New Brunswick Morgentaler Clinic closure last week, New Democrats urge the Minister of Health to work directly with her provincial counterparts in New Brunswick to ensure that safe access to abortion services is publicly available.
The establishment of a Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) by the Harper Tories in 2007 has been seen as a progressive step towards ensuring that those with mental illnesses begin to receive the same level of health care as those with other illnesses. But, in my opinion, it was nothing more than a clever ploy to make it look like something positive was finally being done. Those who suffer from mental illness deserve the same level of care and treatment as those who suffer with other illnesses. No society can call itself progressive when it allows such needless suffering as those with mental illnesses, addictions and their families do.
Jamie Heath simply wants to drag John Tory through the mud by any means -- to the benefit of Ms. Chow. This, of late, is a consistent "best practice" of many official agents in both the Chow and Ford camps. The premises of his argument however, do deserve scrutiny.
We've seen this script before. Higher spending. Tax increases. Persistent deficits. Growing debt. Warnings from credit rating agencies. A government unwilling to make the tough choices to turn things around. That's the Ontario of the 1980s and early 1990s. It's also where the province finds itself today.
Mr. Ford and Mr. Tory share something else. Neither wants to work to the plan we have, preferring instead to draw new lines on maps. It's never easy to decipher what, precisely, Mr. Tory believes today, but it seems he no longer supports the Sheppard or Finch LRT's. And he certainly no longer supports the subway relief line that is the TTC's top priority, which is odd because getting it built allegedly propelled him to run.
There is no fundamental difference between the conflict in Ukraine and that between Israel and Hamas. Each group in question sees itself as having its back to the wall. Each has had the bitter experience of trusting allies who let it down. This does not justify shooting down a plane filled with innocent people, but the fear of destruction that drives people to such exigencies is a terrible thing.
It's a terribly sad day for Parliament when a member of the Senate gets hauled before the criminal courts to face 31 charges of fraud, bribery and breach of trust. The formal trial of Mike Duffy is about to begin. The damage Duffy has done flows directly from the fact that he was a duly appointed Senator. So who put him there? Who gave him that position? Stephen Harper cannot escape responsibility. He demonstrated enormously bad judgment in making Duffy a Senator. Canadians need their Prime Minister to provide fulsome, accurate answers.
The Bank is particularly concerned about the substantial decline in the "participation rate" in our labour force since just before the recession in 2008. It reports that 100,000 people aged 25-54 have given up looking for work altogether and that things are even more dire among our youth, with 200,000 dropping out of the labour force.
Restoring the corporate tax rate would be a good start. When Ontario began cutting that rate in 2010 it was based on an idea that companies would use the savings for job creation and to develop new markets and products. That has not panned out. Instead Canadian corporations are sitting on $600 billion of hoarded cash that benefits very few.
The United States has a nation-wide network that alerts its citizens through just about every communications device possible when natural or man-made disasters have hit, or are about to hit. Not us lulled Canadians. Albertans can boast they're in pretty fair shape after the establishment of the Alberta Emergency Alert, created after a tornado swept through Edmonton in 1987, killing 27 people. Alberta is ready. The rest of Canada isn't.
Canadian charities are experiencing an "advocacy chill" and changing the way they go about their work as a result of what they say is "bullying" by the Harper Conservative government. My just completed Master's thesis research finds that the denunciatory rhetoric of government ministers against charities, followed by stepped up audits is having its toll not only on charity operations, but also on the strength of Canada's public discussions and thus on the vigor of democracy itself.
Canada's reputation with regard to the politicization of charity audits for "political activities" has been tarnished both domestically and internationally. One can only hope that CRA audits would be governed by the rule of law rather than a political agenda.
Mr. Harper's only imperative is "looking good" for an election in 2015. To him, that means claiming a surplus, not matter how temporary or artificial. Never mind the nation's sputtering economy or tens of thousands of Canadians out of work.
Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa complained on Thursday that the federal government underfunds Ontario. The complaint is part of a political effort by some Ontario politicians and others to distract Ontarians from the real issue: made-in-Ontario policy that is killing investment and jobs in that province and creating massive provincial deficits.
Around 9 p.m. Israel time on Tuesday, Liberal MP Gerry Byrne and a group of Canadian parliamentarians were forced to take cover in one of many bomb shelters across Israel when a siren warned of missiles fired from Gaza headed for Jerusalem, the nation's capital. While all emerged safely, the experience -- and the knowledge that several missiles landed in the city's vicinity -- will not be soon forgotten. Being Canadian is among the greatest gifts in an often-dangerous world.
In the case of someone like Rob Ford, he may have very little control over his cravings for alcohol, and this is where he deserves sympathy. In a culture where everyone has something -- coffee, cigarettes, marijuana, shopping, alcohol, need for approval, etc. -- it shouldn't be too hard for us to sympathize with someone dealing with a dependence problem. However, as a man who has good financial resources and who is capable of accomplishing significant person goals, he has considerable, personal influence over the treatment of this problem.