Mar 01

Trudeau Lacks Substance

http://www.thestar.com/content/dam/thestar/opinion/editorials/2013/04/06/justin_trudeau_is_best_bet_to_renew_federal_liberals_editorial/justin_trudeau.jpg I absolutely do not want to support Harper in the next election scheduled for October of this year. Anyone who knows me, knows that has been a very consistent stance for me.

I also don’t feel inclined towards the NDP and Mulcair. While I tend to lean towards social justice issues, I also know that no social justice can be achieved without hard economic choices building the economy. I also know that the problems of the world can’t be resolved through peacekeeping or not participating when the tough choices have to be made by countries.

So, logically, that would mean I support the Liberals and Trudeau, right? That would be a, ‘not at this time’ response.

Paul Wells writes in Macleans this week on “Why Justin Trudeau is suddenly the underdog“. He points out that Trudeau has been steadily losing the edge he enjoyed in the polls and for the last two months has been first neck and neck with the Conservatives and now, slightly behind them.

Average Canadian

I consider myself to be a reasonably average Canadian. Well, the possible exception might be that I tend to explore more than headlines and sound bites when it comes to what is going on around me in the world. I actually read a range of news sources on a daily basis. So, it’s possible that I may be out of touch with average Canadians but I’ll take a stab at what may be going on that Trudeau is losing the edge he’s enjoyed. He lacks substance.

When he became Liberal leader, I rather expect that many Canadians hoped that we’d see a real option. Very few people I speak to see Harper as a good Prime Minister. In fact, I can’t think of anyone who has said they think he is a good PM. Most are resigned to him maybe being the only choice at the time and that wasn’t saying much.

Democratic Process

Anyone who cares about democracy in this country has seen it steadily decline. We’ve watched Harper and his boys in the front office (the PMO) run the government and the country based more on a dictatorship than a democracy. When a democracy actually works, all members of parliament have opportunity to speak up about bad choices, this government can’t or wont.. or both.

It’s clear to anyone but the most partisan amongst us that Harper got where he is by a series of questionable, if not outright illegal activity to divert voters from exercising their rights. So, his government brings in a so called “Fair Elections Act” which will make it harder to discover and prosecute this behaviour. There were some amendments made but not enough. So, one would expect that Trudeau would speak up loudly and make the review and possible repeal of the Act an election issue… instead he’s going to review the Freedom of Information Act. Yes, it needs an overhaul but I’d consider protecting the electoral process a greater priority.

Trudeau promised open and transparent nominations of Liberal candidates. That is a pretty tall order in that local committees don’t always make the wisest of choices. There does need to be a process that weeds out potential problem candidates. That is a given and a valid reason for the national party to interfere locally. What is not a valid reason is to interfere to get star candidates in place. If the preferred candidate is going up against someone local who is otherwise a viable candidate, then the local process needs to be respected. Eve Adams crossing the floor is one thing, her being handed a riding when it is clear she lack integrity is another matter.

More Thought Less Politics

Trudeau needs to do what Harper fails to do. His choices need to be made based on facts and the ability to express those facts in ways that Canadians will engage with them. Harper has mastered twisting reality to his own worldview and tapping into Canadians gut-responses. In the absence of any reasoned alternative, he gets support, even if grudgingly. Bit by bit, Harper gets a firm hand on dictating instead of governing.

That needs to end and Trudeau needs to show some backbone. He also needs to show some sound judgement so Canadians will actually care about what he says. Being flippant during the debate on the very serious decision about Canada participating against ISIS shows neither. The decision wasn’t about whipping out the F-18s or if humanitarian aid trumps military action. The decision was about putting our Canadian military in harms way and if it was wise. Trudeau contributed no substance.

We Need Real Leadership

Canadians need to know that he can and will make the tough choices. And that he’ll stand up for what is right for Canada.

So, will I in the end support Harper over Trudeau? Right now,  I support neither with any conviction. I find myself horrified that I may have to actually look at one of the other two parties, something I have never done.

Dec 27

Cheezy North Korean Dictator

Kim-Jong-unI’ve been sort of watching the whole “The Interview” episode with a level of amusement.

So, Sony Pictures Entertainment creates a comedy-action movie that boils down to a fantasy about an attempted assassination of the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un. It received mixed reviews from critics and likely would have died a quiet death along with all the other mediocre movies released every year. Enter the cheezy dictator who is used to controlling everything that happens in his little country.

In June, North Korea aka the cheezy dictator threatens merciless actions should Columbia Pictures go ahead with the release of this otherwise unremarkable movie. So, let’s see, either Kim Jong Un has the maturity of a two year old or he really liked the movie and wanted to rescue it from the fate it was likely heading for.

Not to miss a chance at boosting interest in a release, Columbia Pictures delayed the release from October to December and said they had edited it to make it nicer for the cheezy dictator. Apparently not good enough.

In November, a hacking group, The Guardians of Peace, with alleged ties to North Korea took the computer systems of Sony down. They released sensitive material and then in mid-December threatened terrorist attacks if they showed the movie which the same group deemed to be “the movie of terrorism”. Read the rest of this entry »

Oct 01

We Owe Our War Veterans for Life

My dad was a World War 2 veteran. He served in theatres of war in Italy, France, Holland and Belgium. He was never physically wounded, but I’ve come to believe that what soldiers experience in war changes them for life. He returned to Canada and after the war went on with the life that he should have been having, getting a job, married and family.

When dad entered his later years, he was able to apply for and receive what was called a War Veterans Allowance (WVA). It was a small pension that those who served in theatre of war was eligible to receive as they aged. That allowance ran in tandem with the Veterans Independence Program (VIP) which provided supports to assist aging veterans to remain in their homes.

The dollar amounts dad received wasn’t much but it was enough to allow him to live out his life with a level of dignity and security. He had a green cross card that gave him access to health services like eye glasses, prescriptions and dental care. He could hire someone to cut the grass and plow the driveway and that would be reimbursed. Read the rest of this entry »

Aug 20

One Small Step for Justice

Well, the officer responsible for the death of Sammy Yatim, has been charged with second-degree murder. James Forcillo has been granted bail and also suspended with pay. I call that one small step towards justice simply because it is one thing to charge a police officer and quite another to convict. A charge of second-degree murder implies an intent to kill while not having preplanned the death which is first-degree murder.

The burden of proof of intent is on the crown. To me, it’s pretty hard for there not to be intent when a victim suffers multiple bullet wounds, potentially six of them after he went down. The officer is likely going to claim he believed himself or others to be in imminent peril but he may have a difficult time convincing the court of that considering the amount of video evidence available. I guess we’ll have to wait for the trial which I certainly hope proceeds with some promptness.

Mike McCormack, the head of the Toronto Police union has stated that Forcillo is definitely a casualty in this case. No, he’s not.  He made his choices, as we all do, in the heat of the moment or not. As a police officer there is a duty for him to serve and protect the people and sometimes that calls for a lot calmer response than what is indicated he engaged in during those fatal moments. Read the rest of this entry »

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