Saturday, 14 November 2015

Rona Ambrose - Paris

I want to express the condolences of Canada’s Official Opposition and indeed all Canadians to the people of Paris and of France regarding the sickening attacks last evening.
Like many of you, I watched in shock as Parisians faced the horrors of attacks on ordinary citizens simply out enjoying a dinner with friends, or doing the things we all do as citizens in a free society each and every day.
Canadians stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Paris and all French citizens at this time. As well, we continue our support for France`s efforts to confront ISIS.
As Leader of Canada`s Official Opposition, I want to be clear that our position remains that Canada should not withdraw the Royal Canadian Air Force and from the coalition currently fighting against ISIS.
That`s why I am also calling on the Liberal Government to immediately change its position on withdrawing Canada`s CF-18s and related military assistance from Iraq and Syria.
Canada has rightly been providing both military and humanitarian aid to the region, and we believe it is important to do both.
Yesterday`s terrorist attacks make us even more resolute that we must continue the fight. The Prime Minister would have the support of the Official Opposition should he decide to change his position.
The crime of terror is an assault on all people, and today, we stand resolute with our friends across the ocean.
Rona Ambrose
Leader of Her Majesties Loyal Opposition

The World Grieves

Most still won’t believe that we are at war.   The West is being dragged into it, country by country.   The cultural West is not to blame, even though some leftist political thinkers talk about decadence etc. and rationalize themselves into a moral equivalence summary.   

Whether we consider ISIS irreligious mercenaries or devout Muslims acting to establish a global Islamic Caliphate, they are using traditional Islamic belief.   ISIS is advancing an overt Islamic agenda, and living an Islamic dream-world.   It is based upon Sunni precepts about jihad, Sharia rules, and Islam’s world-wide imperialist design.   The dream of a global Caliphate is a goal among many Muslims who are devoutly religious and ostensibly on the surface, socially moderate.  

Too many believe in jihad, at times benign and at times militant to achieve that goal.   Coupled with disenchantment with western values and seething political resentment towards all things “un-Islamic”, these radical Muslims become very dangerous.   They have no restraining ideology and respect for human life.   Such a mindset can blur the distinction between moderate and extreme Islamic belief.   Ideas are behind these bearers of death, so we must defend against these ideas.

Three Teams of Coordinated Attackers Carried Out Assault on Paris, Officials Say; Hollande Blames ISIS


PARIS — The terrorist assault on Paris on Friday night was carried out by three teams of coordinated attackers — including one who traveled to Europe on a Syrian passport along with the flow of migrants — on behalf of the Islamic State, officials said Saturday.

“It is an act of war that was committed by a terrorist army, a jihadist army, Daesh, against France,” President François Hollande told the nation from the Élysée Palace, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State. “It is an act of war that was prepared, organized and planned from abroad, with complicity from the inside, which the investigation will help establish.”

As the death toll rose to 129 victims — with 352 others injured, 99 of them critically — a basic timeline of the attacks came into view.

The Paris prosecutor, François Molins, said the attackers were all armed with heavy weaponry and suicide vests. Their assault began at 9:20 p.m. Friday, when one terrorist detonated a suicide bomb outside the gates of the soccer stadium on the northern outskirts of Paris. It ended at 12:20 a.m. Saturday when the authorities stormed a concert hall, the Bataclan. One attacker was killed; two others detonated suicide vests. Inside the hall, 89 people, who had been listening to a rock band, had been shot to death.

The gunman with the Syrian passport — which Greek officials said had been registered at the Aegean island of Leros on Oct. 3 — was 25, and died at the stadium. Another gunman, who died at the concert hall, was 29 and a native of Courcouronnes, about 20 miles south of Paris. He had a criminal record and was known to be associated with extremist Islamic ideology, Mr. Molins said.

The hunt for possible accomplices of the terrorists gained steam on Saturday. Officials in Belgium announced three arrests, one of them linked to a rental car found in Paris. In Germany, the police were exploring whether a man they arrested last week with weapons in his car and his GPS navigator set for Paris was linked to the attacks. But it remained unclear how a plot of such sophistication and lethality could have escaped the notice of intelligence agencies, both in France and abroad.

Mr. Hollande declared three days of national mourning, and said that military troops would patrol the capital. France remained under a nationwide state of emergency.

Mr. Hollande vowed to “be unforgiving with the barbarians from Daesh,” adding that France would act within the law but with “all the necessary means, and on all terrains, inside and outside, in coordination with our allies, who are, themselves, targeted by this terrorist threat.”

The attacks, and the possibility that the Islamic State was to blame, promised to further traumatize France and other European countries already fearful of violent jihadists radicalized by the conflicts in Syria and elsewhere.

The possibility that one of the attackers was a migrant or had posed as one is sure to further complicate the already vexing problem for Europe of how to handle the unceasing flow of people from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. It could also lend weight to the xenophobic arguments of right-wing populists like Marine Le Pen, the leader of the National Front party, who on Saturday held a news conference to declare that “France and the French are no longer safe.”

Mr. Hollande actively stepped up French participation in the military air campaign in Syria at the end of September. Just last week, France attacked oil operations under the Islamic State’s control in Syria. On Oct. 8, it conducted a targeted strike against militants in Raqqa, Syria, apparently targeting Salim Benghalem, a Frenchman fighting for the Islamic State.

The attacks, and the threat of the Islamic State, are likely to dominate a summit meeting of leaders of the Group of 20 nations that starts on Sunday in Turkey. President Obama will attend; Mr. Hollande is staying in Paris and sending representatives.

Paris, stricken by shock and grief, remained in a state of lockdown, with public transportation hobbled and public institutions — schools, museums, libraries, pools, food markets — closed. Charles de Gaulle Airport remained open, but with significant delays because of tighter passport and baggage checks.

The archbishop of Paris, Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, said he would celebrate a Mass at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame on Sunday for the victims, their families and France. “Our country has once again known pain and mourning and must stand up to the barbarism propagated by fanatical groups,” he said.

At the Hôpital Européen Georges-Pompidou in western Paris, about 40 people were in surgery as of the early afternoon. Julien Ribes, 33, was at the hospital to search for his friend, who was at the concert hall. “I’m in total shock,” he said.

At the Town Hall for the 11th Arrondissement in Paris, Delphine de Peretti, 35, said she learned early Saturday afternoon that her sister Aurélie, who was at the Bataclan, had been killed. The family had been frantically trying to reach Aurélie all night.

“They told us my sister was dead, but they did not let us see her,” she said. “They said they still have to do some medical analysis. I am like a robot. I don’t know what to do next. I have not watched the news or slept since last night.”

The death toll far surpassed that of a massacre by Islamist extremists at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and related attacks around the French capital in January. It was the deadliest terrorist attack in Europe since the 2004 train bombings in Madrid, which killed 191 people. And it prompted Mr. Hollande to pronounce France’s first state of emergency since 2005, when riots rocked downtrodden urban areas across the country.

Parisians were left struggling to make sense of their new reality. Parents whose children slept through the ordeal were facing the delicate task of trying to explain what had happened, and why so many planned activities had been canceled and public spaces were closed.

On the Champ de Mars, at the base of the Eiffel Tower and along the pedestrian promenade that hugs the Left Bank of the Seine, joggers and cyclists tried to carry on with their Saturday routines.

Pausing from her morning run near the Musée d’Orsay, Marie-Caroline de Richemont, 32, said she was still trying to process the events, but without succumbing to fear. “This is not Iraq or Afghanistan,” she said. “We are not at war here. We need to stay confident and hopeful.”

Bertrand Bourgeois, 42, an accountant, was lost in thought as he cast a fishing line beneath the Invalides bridge.

He normally avoids fishing in Paris, he said, preferring quieter sections of the Seine near his home in Poissy, a northwest suburb. But after the violence, he said he felt drawn to come into the city out of a sense of solidarity.

Although his wife asked him to stay home, “something in me felt like it was important to be here, to say ‘still alive,’ ” Mr. Bourgeois said.

“I feel sickened, angry,” he said. Coming so soon after the attacks in January, he said, “It is starting to be too much.”

On the Champs-Élysées, rows of Christmas market stalls stood shuttered. Several vendors stood idly, awaiting word about whether they would be allowed to open for business, while clutches of heavily armed police officers patrolled the largely empty sidewalks of one of Europe’s most famed avenues.

At Charles de Gaulle Airport, it took two and a half hours for some passengers arriving Saturday morning to reach passport control. Some passengers who had arrived on overnight flights learned what had happened only when they switched on their devices; many read the news in a state of stunned silence.

Pope Francis joined a chorus of world leaders — including the heads of government of Belgium, Burundi, Canada, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Russia, Spain and the United States — who have condemned the attacks.

“There is no justification for such things, neither religious nor human, this is not human,” Francis said in a telephone call to TV2000, the television station of the Italian Episcopal Conference. “It is difficult to understand such things, done by human beings,” he added, clearly moved. Francis said he was close to and was praying for the families of the victims, for France “and for all those who suffer.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany gave an emotional address on Saturday pledging solidarity with the French government and people, and calling on Europeans to stand together in defiance of an attack on the liberties the continent represents.

“We, your German friends, we are so close with you,” said Ms. Merkel, dressed in black. “We are crying with you. Together with you, we will fight against those who have carried out such an unfathomable act against you.”

“Those who we mourn were murdered in front of cafes, in restaurants, in a concert hall or on the open street. They wanted to live the life of free people in a city that celebrates life,” she said, her voice breaking. “And they met with murderers who hate this life of freedom.”

Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, meeting on Saturday in Vienna with Secretary of State John Kerry and other top diplomats to discuss the crisis in Syria, said the attacks highlighted the urgency of the talks. “It is more necessary than ever in the current circumstance to coordinate the international fight against terrorism,” he said.

In the United States, there was no sign of a direct threat to American cities, but the F.B.I. was reviewing cases involving the Islamic State as a precaution. The F.B.I. is already heavily focused on the threat from Americans inspired by the militant group. The government had so many people under surveillance in those cases that, this spring, officials pulled agents off other cases to help monitor them.

Adam Nossiter and Aurelien Breeden reported from Paris, and Katrin Bennhold from London. Reporting was contributed by Lilia Blaise, Nicola Clark, Rachel Donadio, Rosalie Hughes, David Jolly and Alissa J. Rubin from Paris; Julie Carriat from Brussels; Palko Karasz from London; Rukmini Callimachi from Sinone, Iraq; Julie Hirschfeld Davis from Vienna; and Matt Apuzzo from Washington.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Attacks in Paris

Attacks in Paris


PARIS — The Paris area reeled Friday night from a shooting rampage, explosions and mass hostage-taking that President François Hollande called an unprecedented terrorist attack on France. His government announced sharply increased border controls and heightened police powers as it mobilized the military in a national emergency.

French television and news services quoted the police as saying that over 100 people had been killed at a concert site where hostages had been held during a two-hour standoff with the police, and that perhaps dozens of others had been killed in apparently coordinated attacks outside the country’s main sports stadium and four or five other popular locations in the city.

Witnesses on French television said the scene at the concert hall, which can seat as many as 1,500 people, was a massacre, describing how gunmen with automatic weapons shot bursts of bullets into the crowd. Ambulances were seen racing back and forth in the area into the early hours of Saturday.

President Obama came to the White House briefing room to express solidarity and offer aid and condolences. “Once again, we’ve seen an outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians,” he said. “This is an attack not just on Paris, it’s an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values that we share.”

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Twitter erupted with celebratory messages by members and sympathizers of the Islamic State, the extremist group based in Syria and Iraq that is under assault by major powers, including the United States, France and Russia.

Television reports said at least five assailants had been killed: three at the concert hall as the police assaulted the building, and two near the sports stadium.

The casualties eclipsed the deaths and mayhem in Paris during the massacre at the Charlie Hebdo newspaper and related assaults around the French capital by Islamic militant extremists less than a year ago.

Those attacks traumatized France and other countries in Europe, which grappled with fears of religious extremism and violent jihadists, radicalized by the conflicts in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa.

An explosion near the sports stadium, the Stade de France, which French news services said was an apparent suicide bombing, occurred as Germany and France were playing a soccer match, forcing a hasty evacuation of Mr. Hollande.  As the scope of the assaults quickly became clear, he convened an emergency cabinet meeting and announced that France was placing severe restrictions on its border crossings.

“As I speak, terrorist attacks of an unprecedented scale are taking place in the Paris region,” he said in a nationally televised address. “There are several dozen dead, lots more wounded. It’s horrific.”

Mr. Hollande said that on his orders the government had “mobilized all the forces we can muster to neutralize the threats and secure all of the areas.”

The main shooting appeared to have broken out at a popular music hall, The Bataclan, where the American band Eagles of Death Metal was among those playing.  French news services said as many as 100 hostages may have been taken there, many of them apparently killed later.  Some accounts said grenades had been lobbed inside the music hall.

A witness quoted by BFM television said he heard rounds of automatic rifle fire and someone shouting “Allahu akbar!” at The Bataclan.

Another witness who escaped the concert hall told BFM: “When they started shooting we just saw flashes. People got down on the ground right away.”

The police ordered bystanders in the that area to get off the streets as officers mobilized, French television reported.

Other French news media reported that Kalashnikov rifles had been involved in the shootings — a favored weapon of militants who have attacked targets in France — and that many rounds had been fired.  Police sirens sounded throughout central Paris on Friday night.

Despite the increased border security, air travel in and out of Paris appeared to be unaffected. Officials at Charles de Gaulle Airport confirmed that flights had not been suspended, although security had been heightened significantly.  Both departing and arriving passengers and baggage were being screened thoroughly.

Germany’s interior minister, Thomas de Maizière, said early Saturday that he had offered to send military assistance to France if requested. “I am in close contact with my French colleague and have offered assistance through German special forces,” he said in a statement.

Loretta E. Lynch, the United States attorney general, also offered help. “We stand in solidarity with France, as it has stood with us so often in the past,” she said in a statement.  “This is a devastating attack on our shared values, and we at the Department of Justice will do everything within our power to assist and work in partnership with our French law enforcement colleagues.”

American and European counterterrorism officials were reviewing wiretaps and other electronic surveillance records, but a senior American security official said there was no immediate indication that there had been suspicious chatter or other warning signs before the attack.

Unlike the attacks against Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket in January, terrorism experts said, the attacks on the targets on Friday had no apparent rationale.   Instead, assailants appeared to strike at random in hip neighborhoods on a Friday night when many people would be starting to enjoy the weekend.

“It’s a Friday night, and there’s a lot of people out, a lot of tourists out,” said a senior European counterterrorism official. “If you want maximum exposure, you do it like this, in the dark, when it’s scarier and more difficult for police to act.”

Adam Nossiter reported from Paris, and Rick Gladstone from New York. Reporting was contributed by Aurelien Breeden, Liz Alderman, Marlise Simons and Nicola Clark from Paris; Melissa Eddy from Berlin; Sewell Chan from London; and Gardiner Harris, Eric Schmitt and Matt Apuzzo from Washington.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today issued the following statement after learning of a number of terrorist attacks in Paris, France, as well as the taking of hostages:
“I am shocked and saddened that so many people have been killed and injured today in a number of terrorist attacks in Paris, France, and that many others are being held hostage.
“As the situation continues to unfold, Sophie and I join all Canadians in extending our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those killed. It is our sincere hope that the hostages are freed unharmed as soon as possible. We also wish a speedy recovery to all those who have been injured.
Canada stands with France at this dark time and offers all possible assistance. We will continue to work closely with the international community to help prevent these terrible, senseless acts.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of France and we mourn their loss.”
(The Prime Minister's Office – Communications)


Statement by the Leader of Canada’s Official Opposition, Rona Ambrose, on the terrorist attacks in Paris

NOVEMBER 13, 2015 
Statement by the Leader of Canada’s Official Opposition, Rona Ambrose, on the terrorist attacks in Paris
OTTAWA – Rona Ambrose, interim leader of the Conservative Party and leader of the Official Opposition, issued the following statement on the attacks in Paris, France today:
“My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of those who lost their lives and those injured in the terrorist attacks today in Paris.
“Let there be no mistake, Canada and Canadians stand with France on this tragic day. We call for swift action to bring those responsible to justice.

“Neither Canada, nor our allies, will be intimidated by terrorists. No matter who is responsible for these heinous attacks, we will continue to stand firmly with our allies. We will continue to protect the rights and freedoms that define us as Canadians from those who wish to take them away, and strive to ensure Canada remains the peaceful, open, and free nation we value so much.”

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day
I join all Canadians today in honouring and remembering the sacrifices and courage our brave men and women in uniform have made in service to our country as they protected and continue to protect the freedoms, rights, and democracy we are fortunate to enjoy today.
From the World Wars to Korea to Afghanistan and countless other military operations, Canadians from coast to coast to coast selflessly answered the call to defend our country, aid our allies and stand up to evils around the world.
Canada is the best country in the world because of the dedication of our men and women in uniform and the protections they provided to make it possible for us to live in a peaceful, respectful and democratic country.
As we pay tribute to our fallen who made the ultimate sacrifice and celebrate those who continue to serve, let us also remember while we can never repay the debt to our members of the Canadian Armed Forces and others who paid for our protections with their lives, we can honour their bravery, their sacrifice and their commitment to our country.
Lest we forget.
Rona Ambrose,
Leader of Her Majesties Loyal Opposition,

Parliament of Canada

Remembrance Day Ottawa

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau look on during the march past as the National Remembrance Day Ceremony takes place at the National War Memorial in Ottawa. WAYNE CUDDINGTON /OTTAWA CITIZEN
Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on Remembrance Day

November 11, 2015 Ottawa, Ontario

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on Remembrance Day:
“Today, let us remember and honour the many Canadians who have fought so bravely in defence of our country throughout our history, so that we might enjoy peace, freedom and democracy.
“Our Canadian Armed Forces have earned tremendous respect for their remarkable contributions to promoting international peace and security. From coast to coast to coast, we pay special tribute to those who have given their lives in service. We also honour those Canadians who have worked to prevent the tragedies of war in international peacekeeping operations around the globe.
“Members of our Armed Forces – past and present – routinely put their lives on the line for our country. They represent the very best of what it means to be Canadian.
“We have an obligation to our country’s women and men in uniform, our veterans, and their families. As a government, we will honour this social covenant with the respect and gratitude it deserves.
“I call on Canadians to join me in expressing our heartfelt gratitude to all those who have worked and fought so courageously to keep us safe. Today, and every day, we remain committed to ensuring they have nothing less than the care and support of a grateful nation.

“We will Remember Them.”

Friday, 6 November 2015

Rona Ambrose MP - interim Conservative Party Leader - November 2015

Rona Ambrose was elected by the Conservative Caucus as leader.   The former health minister from Alberta was first elected to the House of Commons in 2004.   She had campaigned on a promise to bring a respectful and civil tone to debate in the House of Commons.

“I’m very excited with the amount of respect and trust they’ve put in me.   We have an incredibly strong, confident Party.   We feel very optimistic about the next election and have every intention to come back into power.”

Ambrose has no intention to run for the permanent leadership position, as it is an internal Party rule, in order to accept the interim leadership role.  

Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper resigned as leader of the Party on election night, after the Liberals won a majority in the House of Commons.   Harper, who won for the riding of Calgary Heritage, intends to stay on as a backbench MP.

Ambrose said,  “We’ve got make sure we’re prepared to welcome the next leader with money in the bank and a rejuvenated volunteer base, and a caucus that is united and reinvigorated and empowered, so that when a leader takes over, things are in the best possible position to take us into the next election and continue to take on Justin Trudeau in the Commons.”

The new leader will have to rebuild the Party’s reputation with the electorate, and prepare for a formal leadership race.

“I’m excited that we are going to be moving forward with a strong opposition with confidence and optimism,” she said, flanked by fellow Conservative caucus members chanting her name in support.

Harper addressed the start of the Caucus meeting Thursday, speaking for about 10 minutes and expressing regret at the Party’s loss, but also talking hopefully about the future.    He then left for the remainder of the discussion.   The mood in the room was civil and positive throughout, several current and former MPs said, with Harper receiving several standing ovations.

“Everybody credits Stephen Harper with having given our country tremendous leadership through difficult times in the past decade and people are very proud to have served with him and to have campaigned with him,” said Peter Van Loan, the former government House leader.

Ambrose was lauded by caucus colleagues for her communication skills; she only took a handful of questions.   One personal challenge she faces is her ability to speak French – while she does speak some, she is not fluent.   

The major political task ahead for Ambrose, will be to rebuild the Party heading into the eventual formal leadership race, likely with beginning stages next year.
Now with 99 members in the House of Commons and 47 in the Senate, there is a solid base from which to grow.

Ambrose said she is confident the Party can enter a new era with a new tone and a new attitude, with their sights set on the next election in 2019.

Sources -CBC -Canadian Press -Tonda MacCharles Ottawa Bureau

Friday, 23 October 2015

Prime Minister Harper

The Prime Minister’s Remarks in Calgary, Alberta – October 19

OCTOBER 20, 2015
Thank you everyone for that tremendous welcome.  I can tell you that for Laureen, Ben, Rachel and me, after 11 weeks, it feels very good to be with you here in our home, in our Calgary. And a special welcome to all those who are here tonight from the great riding of Calgary Heritage.
In a moment, friends, I’ll have a little more to say about that — but first, I wish to address all Canadians. Laureen and I have embraced the public life because we believed that Canadians that are working hard should keep more of the money they earn because we believe that government should manage the people’s money the way that they manage their own. Because, because, friends we believe that in a dangerous world, Canada must without apology advance our values and our interests, and stand by our friends.
We have championed those values all of our public lives. In the last nine years, I had the incredible honour to serve as your prime minister. And it has been a great experience to again meet Canadians from coast to coast to coast during the last 2-and-a-half months of this campaign. We put everything on the table, we gave everything we have to give, and we no regrets whatsoever. Friends, how could we? We remain citizens of the best country on Earth.
Friends, our country is one of the most enduring democracies in the world today. And today, for the 42nd time in 148 years, Canadians have chosen a national parliament. While tonight’s result is certainly not the one we had hoped for, the people are never wrong.
The Canadian population has elected a Liberal government, a result we accept without hesitation. I have spoken to Mr. Trudeau and offered him my congratulations, all of our congratulations on his successful campaign. And I have assured him of my full cooperation during the process of transition in the coming days. I also want to extend, I know we all also want to extend our congratulations to Mr. Mulcair, Ms. May, and Mr. Duceppe on their campaigns.
To all Canadians of every stripe, in every corner of our country victorious or not, I salute you. Your efforts helped keep our democracy strong. To the constituents of Calgary Heritage, thank you. Thank you for renewing your support for me once again. This is the seventh mandate you have given me, and it remains a true privilege to serve the people of this vibrant city in Parliament Hill.
Dear friends, there are so many people who deserve credit for the work it that goes into a national campaign and at the top of that list of course are my family, Laureen, Ben, and Rachel. I love you more than you can imagine and I have depended on you a great deal. I hope you will always know that without you, none of this would be possible but, with you everything is. Thank you.
I thank also my campaign team, all those with us on the road, at our national headquarters in Ottawa, and in Calgary Heritage and 337 other electoral district associations across this country. Our party, friends, is a grassroots organization, and it is only because of our devoted staff, and the thousands upon thousands of loyal members and volunteers that our party has been able to spread its message. And tonight, we’ve elected a strong Official Opposition to the Parliament of Canada.
For all of those who have over the past decade and a half built our party and contributed to our campaign you have our deepest gratitude and you should feel nothing but pride. Know also this as well, the disappointment you also feel is my responsibility and my alone. But know this for certain, when the next time comes, this party will offer Canadians a strong and clear alternative based on our Conservative values. And we will offer this alternative as a party that has established a solid basic, a durable basis, including in Quebec.
Never forget, that due to your efforts, our country stands tall today. We have built a Canada that is stronger than ever, our economy is growing, and new jobs are being created. The budget is balanced and federal taxes are at their lowest in 50 years. We are poised to seize the opportunities that come with free trade access to Europe, to the Americas, and now to the Asia Pacific. Our men and women in uniform have the tools to do their jobs and the steadfast support their fellow citizens.
Canada is secure and more united than ever before. We have consistently worked for freedom, democracy, and justice. This is the Canada we Conservatives have been building since the time of Sir John A. McDonald and this is the Canada to which for the countless generations to come we will be dedicated.
Thank you again friends all of you for all your support. For all you have done for our country, merci beaucoup. Please say a little prayer for our men and women in uniform. God bless all of you. God bless Canada.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Political Parties the Same?

The conventional wisdom that all politicians and Parties are nearly the same is wrong.

Conservative Harper, Liberal Trudeau, and NDP Mulcair represent very different philosophies on how best to lead Canada.

While skepticism is understandable, based on how often politicians seem to break election promises, make no mistake.   The three national party leaders are running on different platforms.

Here’s where they stand on just a few key issues.

Federal budget:
*Harper has a balanced budget plus a small surplus for 2015-16 and continued small surpluses in following years, barring a recession or emergency.   That means no foreign borrowing, and government living within its means.
*Mulcair promises four years of balanced budgets starting in the first full year of an NDP government, however his many spending promises, such as millions more for the CBC do not permit a no deficit program.
*Trudeau will run deficits of at least $10 billion annually for his first three years in office, with the hope of balancing the budget in 2019.

*Harper promises no income tax increases, cutting the small business tax rate from 11% to 9% by 2019 and reducing the EI tax in 2017 to $1.49 per $100 of insurable earnings, down from $1.88.
*Trudeau would raise personal income taxes on people earning over $200,000 with a new 33% tax bracket, using the money partially to fund a tax cut for those earning $44,701 to $89,401 annually, reducing their rate from 22% to 20.5%.  Liberals would also reduce EI tax rate to $1.65 in 2017.
*Mulcair promises no income tax hikes (not credible), cutting the small business tax rate from 11% to 9% within two years and increasing the corporate tax rate to 17% from the current 15%. (watch new business invest outside Canada)

Trudeau and Mulcair would end Conservative income-splitting policy for families but maintain it for seniors.   The change would turn back the clock to reinstate the old tax discrimination between single earner and dual earner parental households.

Tax Free Savings Accounts:
Trudeau and Mulcair oppose Harper’s increase in the annual limit for TFSA contributions to $10,000 and would reduce it to the previous level of $5,500.  Whose money is it ?

Mulcair proposes one million new spaces through a publicly subsidized, $15-a-day national daycare program phased in over many years with Provincial funding to pay for it.   Harper and Trudeau support enhanced child-care benefits for families with children.

Harper promises $5.8 billion in new spending over three years.  Mulcair promises $1.5 billion in new money for roads and bridges over four years, plus $1.3 billion annually for 20 years for public transit.  Trudeau promises $60 billion more for infrastructure over 10 years, almost doubling current allocation of $65 billion.

Trudeau would legalize it (wide open).   Mulcair would decriminalize it. (partial open)   Harper opposes relaxation of pot laws. (status-quo)  In the end, the Courts may dictate government policy.

Climate change:
Mulcair and Trudeau would introduce national carbon pricing schemes in co-operation with the provinces.  Mulcair would establish a national cap-and-trade program with a target of reducing Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions to 34% below 1990 levels by 2025.  Trudeau hasn’t set a target, or specified whether he favours a carbon tax and/or cap-and-trade.  He says he would meet quickly with the premiers following the election to develop a national plan.  Harper opposes carbon pricing, but has pledged to reduce Canada’ emissions to 30% below 2005 levels by 2030 through government regulation and possibly purchasing international carbon credits.  (Neither the Liberals nor Tories met their emission targets while in government.)  The Conservative plan is possible and the other plans are not economically achievable.

Trudeau and Mulcair would end Canada’s small participation in the USA led coalition of nations’ bombing campaign against ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

Middle East:
Harper, Mulcair and Trudeau all profess strong support for Israel, although it’s unlikely Mulcair or Trudeau would be as unequivocal as Harper has been.   Anti-Jewish radicals remain within the NDP ranks.

Syrian refugees:
Mulcair’s goal is 46,000 government- sponsored refugees by 2019, including 10,000 by the end of 2015 and 9,000 annually from 2016 to 2019.  Trudeau would try to bring in 25,000 government-sponsored refugees by the end of this year, with a commitment for more after that.  The Harper administration will be accepting 20,000 refugees over the next four years.   All are possible but with varied cost.

Bill C51:
Mulcair and Trudeau say they would make major changes to Harper’s anti-terror legislation to so called “protect the rights of Canadians”.   The Bill passed with Liberals supporting, and the NDP voting against.   Both Liberal and NDP commentators continue to misrepresent the content of the Bill.

Mulcair and Trudeau support the right of Muslim women to wear burqas and niqabs covering their faces while taking the oath of Canadian citizenship.   The Harper government requires women to unveil while taking the oath, and intends to appeal to the Supreme Court, a lower Federal Court decision on that policy.   The various Islamic dress presentations, are flags of political belief and are not religious exemptions.

General Political Themes
Conservative - Freedom, self-reliance, free enterprise, preservation, protection, realistic compassion

Liberal - Rights, pragmatism, opportunism, free enterprise, social welfare

NDP - Socialism, economic discrimination (system of shared or government ownership of production and distribution of goods) antagonism against private property and enterprise, welfare state.

Varied Sources -Huff-post-SunMedia-CBC-CTV-CanPress

Friday, 2 October 2015


What's Going on in Syria?

The Government of Canada has made a clear choice to support the Syrian people in their quest for democratic change, while taking strong action to isolate and weaken the Assad regime.   In order to engage the Syrian people directly about their aspirations for the future of their country, Canada has expanded its Direct Diplomacy and financial aid for refugees.   It also has supported the USA coalition of nations with military action.

Syria is mired in a complex civil war between Assad's minority Alawite regime and a loose coalition of Islamic Shia and Sunni opposition groups.   ISIS is among the Sunni groups and has come to control large swathes of territory in both Syria and Iraq.   Therefore bombing ISIS in Syria effectively means bombing Assad's enemies, placing western countries in a difficult ethical situation.

Last year, Canada supported military action against the Assad regime after it used chemical weapons in areas of the country controlled by opposition forces.   Canada is clear that we want to see Assad leave power.   The chaotic civil war in Syria just gets messier.

The five-year-old conflict, which began with a government crackdown on peaceful protests, has drawn a confusing array of players and alliances, fuelled the growth of ISIS, and spawned a refugee crisis.   The United States leadership has not found a viable strategy for the fluid situation, and now is grappling with the addition of Russia, which just launched its own bombing campaign.

After giving the United States an hour's notice, Russia sent warplanes into Syria on Wednesday to conduct bombing in support of Syrian President Assad.   Russia said it was bombing ISIS targets, but observers questioned whether the strikes were also targeting rebels trying to overthrow Assad.

Russian President Putin told the United Nations General Assembly that the only way to defeat ISIS was to back Assad.   President Obama, insisted that the only path toward peace was by getting rid of Assad through a "managed transition."   Russia also forged a new agreements with Iraq, Syria and Iran to share intelligence about ISIS, which is a worrisome prospect for the USA.

The USA and its military allies have continued attempts to weaken ISIS with airstrikes in Syria and Iraq.   “Operation Inherent Resolve” is a year old and counts more than 60 countries as partners, including the Muslim states of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.   They have conducted more than 2,500 airstrikes in Syria with an estimated cost so far: $3.87 billion.

Despite this effort, ISIS just keeps growing.   The group has reportedly drawn about 30,000 new recruits into Syria and Iraq, which is twice the estimate from a year ago. That includes about 250 American citizens.

At the same time, a $500 million Pentagon program to train Syrian fighters against ISIS has not been successful.   Instead, the terror group's ability to direct and influence attacks around the world has increased.   The violence and economic collapse has killed tens of thousands of civilians and displaced millions from their homes.

More than 3.8 million Syrians have fled the country, driving a massive wave of migrants and refugees moving from the Middle East and Africa into Europe, which is struggling to accommodate the largest mass movement of people in Europe since World War II.  Some countries have closed their borders.

United Nations officials have said there is no end in sight for the humanitarian crisis, where an estimated 8,000 people per day are going to Europe.   The situation has also raised concerns of ISIS members moving among borders to conduct attacks in the West.   One U.N. official has said that 10 million people were expected to need humanitarian support by the end of the year.

Syria is divided among four groups  — the government, strongest in the big cities and west;  —the various rebel factions which are strongest in the northwest;  — ISIS holding positions along the Euphrates River;  — and Kurdish forces controlling much of the northern border with Turkey.

The United States and the coalition nations are trying to clear the Turkish border zone of ISIS influence.   But Russia's escalating involvement in support of the Syria could have a negative effect on that goal.

The future is impossible to predict.   The Institute for the Study of War forecasts that the war will intensify, spark more disorder beyond Syria's borders, and threaten the United States' influence.   The self-declared enemy of the west, is a fanatical ideological religious force, that is resourceful, extremely motivated, and will not consider peace negotiations or any humanitarian concern.   As a small player in the quagmire, Canada has bravely been doing its part, while being politically trashed at home for its contribution.

From files of NBC News-Huffington Post-CBC

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Leap Manifesto

The NDP Leap Manifesto (Sept 15) admits a plan to overthrow capitalism.  Mulcair’s supporters and Candidates are not centrist like he pretends.

The new “Leap Manifesto” is list of traditional lefty-slogans that call for the overthrow of the free market economy.

The document says Conservative economic caution, is “austerity” that is a threat to life on earth.   It recommends abandoning the vast wheat fields of the Prairies in favour of localized organic farms.

It calls for a universal basic annual income.   Fossil fuel production must be forced out of business within a generation, and all international trade deals must end.   The manifesto also supports a belief in “energy democracy,” whereby energy sources are controlled by communities, rather than private companies.

It’s the natural product of the things the NDP have always planned behind closed doors.   No surprise, as it is expected that socialist thinkers (NDP) have a socialist government agenda if they ever get power.

An embarrassed Mulcair, has stayed as far away as possible from it, as it reveals what he won’t admit.   Critics have called the document the “Tommunist Manifesto”.

The basic premise, is to try to scare, then come along and claim to have the solution to the ills of the world.  “We start from the premise that Canada is facing the deepest crisis in recent memory.”

Fact is that Canada is in great shape comparatively.   It has been rated as one of the best countries in the world.  UN Human Development Index
1         Norway                     0.944
2         Australia                   0.933
3         Switzerland              0.917
4         Netherlands              0.915
5         United States            0.914
6         Germany                  0.911
7         New Zealand            0.910
8         Canada                    0.902
9         Singapore                 0.901
10       Denmark                  0.900

The Human Development Index published annually by the UN, ranks nations according to their citizens' quality of life rather than strictly by a nation's traditional economic figures.   The criteria for calculating rankings include life expectancy, educational attainment, and adjusted real income.   All of these countries have a strong free enterprise market economy to sustain social programs.

On median household income, there is a ranking of the income of the middle class.  Here Canada does even better.
1         Luxembourg            52,493
2         Norway                    51,489
3         Sweden                   50,514
4         Australia                  46,555
5         Denmark                 44,360
6         United States          43,585
7         Canada                   41,280
8         South Korea            40,861
9         Kuwait                     40,854
10       Netherlands             38,584

Of course, NDP believers never let facts get in the way of their terrible dreams, which might turn out to be everyone’s nightmare.

Friday, 4 September 2015


Migrants arrive at the coast on a dinghy after crossing from Turkey at the south-eastern island of Kos, Greece.

Thursday, 3 Sep, 2015

Syrian Migrants: How Canadians can help

Graphic photos of a boy who drowned and washed ashore near a resort in Turkey have touched a global nerve and brought the issue of the plight of millions of Syrians fleeing a civil war into focus again.

Three-year-old Alan Kurdi, his five-year-old brother Galip and mother Rehan were aboard a boat ferrying migrants to Greece when they drowned on Wednesday.

The Canadian government says it has committed more than $700 million in humanitarian, development and security assistance in response to the Syrian crisis, which began in March 2011 and promised to settle 10,000 Syrians with the help of churches and private groups earlier this year.

While details unfold on how the federal government will address the refugee crisis, Canadians can help by donating to several charities.

World Vision says it has supported more than 440,000 Syrians in Syria, as well as those who’ve fled to Lebanon and Jordan.  Cut and paste location to donate.

By Showwei Chu | Daily Brew –

Monday, 3 August 2015

Ottawa Citizen

August 3, 2015   

Here’s your Ottawa Citizen newspaper guide to the four main parties’ pledges as the campaign begins.   It is by far not the whole story, but it is a start.  The international economic scene is tenuous and uncertain, and that is a significant reason among others to vote Conservative.
ECONOMY       © Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen


– Introduced a “family tax cut” that allows couples with children under age 18 to split up to $50,000 of income; caps non-refundable benefit at $2,000.

– Increased annual contribution limit for tax-free savings accounts (TFSAs) to $10,000 from $5,500.

– Increased Universal Child Care Benefit to $160 a month for children under age six, up from $100; added new monthly benefit of $60 for children age six to 17.

– Reduced small-business tax rate to nine per cent from current 11 per cent by 2019; have reduced corporate tax rate from about 22 per cent to 15 per cent.

– Promise to balance the budget this fiscal year.

– Increased eligibility age for receiving Old Age Security benefits to 67 from 65.

– Are examining ways for Canadians to voluntarily contribute more to the Canada Pension Plan.

The NDP promises to:

– Balance the budget in 2016.

– Not raise personal income-tax rates.

– Cancel government’s income-splitting policy for families; says it helps only wealthiest 15 per cent.

– Reverse changes to TFSA contribution limits; says higher amount helps the wealthy and does little for middle-class Canadians.

– Increase income-tax rates on Canada’s largest corporations to about the levels that existed before the Conservatives took office.

– Cut small-business tax rate to nine per cent from current 11 per cent.

– Honour the expanded Universal Child Care Benefit.

– Create $15-a-day national child care program, and create or maintain one million affordable child care spaces across Canada.

– Cancel Conservative decision to increase OAS eligibility age to 67.

– Increase Canada Pension Plan contributions and benefits for Canadians.

The Liberals promise to:

– Cut middle-class income-tax bracket to 20.5 per cent from current 22 per cent; create a new tax bracket of 33 per cent for annual incomes of more than $200,000.

– Cancel income-splitting for families; party calls it “a $2-billion tax break to the top 15 per cent of Canadians.”

– Introduce a new income-tested, tax-free monthly Canada Child Benefit that would boost payments to all families with children and annual income below $150,000.

– Cancel TFSA increase to $10,000, saying it helps well-off Canadians who need it the least.

– Retain tax breaks for small businesses but want to ensure this doesn’t primarily benefit the wealthy.

– Balance the budget in 2016.

– Cancel Conservative plan to increase OAS eligibility age to 67.

– Increase Canada Pension Plan contributions and benefits for Canadians.

The Greens promise to:

– Eliminate personal taxes on incomes below low-income cut-off of $20,000.

– Reduce federal small business tax rate to nine per cent by 2019.

– Raise corporate taxes over four years from the current level of 15 per cent to 19 per cent.

– Work with provinces to increase taxes on tobacco and alcohol.


The Conservatives have:

– Committed Canada to a military mission against ISIL, sending CF-18 fighter jets to Iraq and Syria.

– Passed Bill C-51, with broad new powers to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) to expand surveillance and actively disrupt threats to national security. The bill makes it illegal to promote terrorism; lowers the legal threshold required for police to arrest and detain suspected extremists without charge; and allows more than 100 government entities to exchange Canadians’ confidential information if it is “relevant” to a potential or suspected national security threat.

– Committed $292 million over five years to help RCMP, CSIS and the Canada Border Services Agency combat terrorism.

– Created a new parliamentary police force by integrating the former, separate House and Senate security staffs into the Parliamentary Protective Service, while also committing $39 million in additional funding for operational security measures in the Parliamentary precinct.

The NDP promises to:

– End the bombing campaign and pull out all military personnel from Iraq and Syria; boost humanitarian aid to help refugees affected by ISIL as well as investigate and prosecute war crimes.

– Repeal Bill C-51, the anti-terrorism act.

– Provide more independent review of Canada’s national security agencies.

– Support a counter-radicalization program.

The Liberals promise to:

– End the bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria but keep military trainers in Iraq and boost humanitarian aid to help refugees; allow more refugees into the country from Iraq and Syria.

– Make amendments to anti-terrorism Bill C-51 by: limiting the sharing of personal data to 17 government departments and agencies with national security responsibilities; eliminating CSIS’s new power to obtain court warrants to break the law in some cases to disrupt suspected terrorists; adding a three-year sunset provisions on some parts of the law and mandatory parliamentary reviews of the extraordinary security measures.

– Create an all-party national security oversight committee to oversee the 17 government departments and agencies with national security responsibilities.

The Greens promise to:

– Introduce a comprehensive security plan that will provide coordinated direction to the RCMP, CSIS, Canada Border Services Agency, Coast Guard and Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada.

– Ensure responses to terrorism are carried out within a framework consistent with international law.

The Conservatives have:

– Approved the Enbridge Northern Gateway oilsands pipeline that would run from Alberta to the coast of Kitimat, B.C.; support the proposed TransCanada Energy East project, a west-to-east oil pipeline from Alberta to New Brunswick; support proposed TransCanada Keystone XL oilsands pipeline from Alberta to U.S. Gulf Coast.

– Committed to reducing Canada’s emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, largely relying on provincial measures to meet that goal.

– Agreed with other G7 nations to move to a low-carbon economy by 2050 and eliminate use of fossil fuels by the end of the century.

The NDP promises to:

– Continue opposing the Northern Gateway pipeline; it initially supported concept of west-east pipeline, but says Energy East can’t be approved without more stringent environmental review process; opposes Keystone XL pipeline.

– Create a cap-and-trade system with a market price on carbon emissions; revenue from cap-and-trade would be invested in a greener energy sector in regions where dollars are generated.

– Work with provinces to create a new fund to help Canadians retrofit their homes and offices to save energy and money.

– Redirect $1 billion a year from fossil fuel subsidies to investment in the clean energy sector.

– Invest in Sustainable Development Technology Canada – including wind, hydro, solar and geothermal technologies – to create thousands of new jobs for Canadians.

The Liberals promise to:

– Continue to oppose proposed Northern Gateway pipeline; support Energy East and Keystone XL pipelines.

– Put a price on carbon pollution that allows provinces to design their own carbon pricing policies.

– Partner with provinces and territories to establish national emissions-reduction targets.

– Invest millions in clean technologies and enhance tax measures to create more green jobs.

– Introduce an environmental review process with more “teeth.”

– Hold First Ministers’ meeting with premiers within 90 days of the Paris UN climate change conference this December to establish a framework for reducing Canada’s carbon footprint.

– Increase the amount of Canada’s protected marine and coastal areas to five per cent by 2017 and 10 per cent by 2020.

– Phase out subsidies for the fossil fuel industry.

– Along with the U.S. and Mexico, develop a North American clean energy and environmental agreement.

The Greens promise to:

– Introduce carbon pricing through a fee-and-dividend system to reduce fossil fuel use and encourage private sector investment in green tech, clean energy and green jobs.

– Accelerate construction of green infrastructure, ensuring a majority of Canada’s energy needs come from renewable sources by 2025.

– Work with the provinces to ensure no new coal-fired electrical generation plants are built in Canada.

The Conservatives promise:

– $5.3 billion a year, on average, for provincial and municipal infrastructure under the New Building Canada Plan.

– A New Public Transit Fund committing the federal government to spend $250 million in 2017, $500 million in 2018 and $1 billion a year after 2019.

– $150 million for Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program to fund community and cultural infrastructure projects across the country as a way to celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial in 2017.

The NDP promises to:

– Dedicate an additional one cent of the existing 10-cents-per-litre federal gas tax to roads, bridges and other core infrastructure, reaching an additional $1.5-billion annually by the end of an NDP government’s first mandate, on top of almost $2.2 billion in existing annual gas tax transfers to municipalities.

– Develop a better transit plan with the provinces and territories and invest $1.3 billion annually over next 20 years for predictable and stable public transit funding for municipalities.

The Liberals promise to:

– Boost infrastructure funding through “alternative sources of capital” such as having large pension funds invest in major infrastructure projects in urban and rural communities.

– Provide infrastructure funding for affordable housing, public transit, transportation, climate change and “smart cities.”

– Hold a big city mayors’ meeting in Ottawa annually to discuss pressing infrastructure issues facing cities.

The Greens promise to:

– Reinvest in national rail systems, build more train cars, increase train speeds and phase in high-speed rail where feasible.

– Increase joint federal-municipal light-rail investments.

– Improve Via Rail service nationwide, including working with railway companies to improve rail infrastructure and restore VIA rail service to all major regional cities.

The Conservatives promise to:

– Increase Department of National Defence’s budget to three per cent starting in 2017-18, totalling an additional $11.8 billion over 10 years.

– Commit an additional $3.5 billion over five years toward maternal, newborn and child health initiative, on top of $2.8-billion commitment at G8 summit in 2010.

The NDP promises to:

– Increase Canada’s foreign aid to 0.7 per cent of gross national income, or GNI (Canada currently spends 0.24 per cent of GNI on foreign aid).

– Reopen the nine Veterans Affairs regional offices closed by the Conservative government.

The Liberals promise to:

– Make Canada a “world leader” at multinational institutions.

– Reverse the decline in foreign aid.

– Reopen nine Veterans Affairs regional offices closed by the Conservative government.

– Create a cabinet committee to oversee and manage Canada’s relationship with the United States.

– Host a new trilateral summit with the United States and Mexico.

The Greens promise to:

– Reduce by 30 per cent the $2.7 billion spent every year on DND consultants, contractors and other private sector contracts.

– Realign defence spending to increase emphasis on disaster assistance; shift focus away from NATO “war missions” towards UN peacekeeping contributions.

– Ensure development assistance targets the “poorest of the poor.”

The Conservatives promise to:

– Beginning in 2017–18, increase annual health funding to provinces to grow in line with nominal GDP, guaranteed to increase three per cent each year (current increases are six per cent annually).

– Retool $2-billion-per-year Labour Market Development Agreements with provinces to reorient training towards needs of employers and job seekers.

– Provide $65 million over four years, starting in 2016–17, to business and industry associations to allow them to work with post-secondary institutions to better align curricula with needs of employers.

The NDP promises to:

– Restore the six-per-cent annual increase to health-care transfers to the provinces.

– Restore door-to-door home mail delivery by Canada Post for households that lost it under Conservative government.

– Reinstate the mandatory long-form census, which the government replaced with the voluntary National Household Survey.

The Liberals promise to:

– Strengthen the federal government’s role in safeguarding the national health-care system; meet with the premiers on how to improve the system in areas such as wait times, affordability of prescription drugs, and availability of homecare.

– Restore door-to-door home mail delivery by Canada Post.

– Reinstate the long-form census and make Statistics Canada independent.

The Greens promise to:

– Ban unpaid internships.

– Boost access to apprentice programs in key trades such as electrical, plumbing, carpentry, pipefitting, welding and others.

– Develop a Youth Community and Environment Service Corps that will provide federal minimum wage employment for 40,000 youth aged 18-25 every year for four years, at cost of $1.25 billion a year; $4,000 tuition credit awarded to each participant, at the successful completion of each year-long program, that can be applied to further education and training.

The Conservatives promise to:

– Place a moratorium on new Senate appointments in an effort to pressure the provinces to accept reforms to the upper chamber or abolish it.

– Introduce legislation that would require Canadians’ approval in national referendum before first-past-the-post electoral system could be changed.

The NDP promises to:

– Replace the current first-past-the-post electoral system with a mixed member proportional system, which combines proportional representation of parties in House of Commons with direct election of MP in each riding.

– Abolish the Senate (which requires constitutional talks with the provinces).

– Strengthen the mandate and independence of the Parliamentary Budget Officer and make the position an Officer of Parliament.

The Liberals promise to:

– Introduce changes to strengthen the Access to Information system and ensure this applies to the Prime Minister’s Office and ministers’ offices.

– Create a quarterly, more detailed parliamentary expense report, and open up the secretive House of Commons Board of Internal Economy.

– Create a non-partisan, independent process for advising the prime minister on Senate appointments.

– Allow more time for questions and answers during question period, and introduce a prime minister’s question period.

– Ban partisan government ads and appoint an Advertising Commissioner to help the Auditor General provide oversight on government advertising.

– Revamp the electoral process by eliminating the first-past-the-post voting system; will study measures such as ranked ballots, proportional representation, mandatory voting, and online voting.

The Greens promise to:

– Eliminate first-past-the-post system, and consult the public on the style of proportional representation best suited to Canada.

– End whipped votes in the House of Commons.

– Discourage patronage appointments by establishing an independent agency for appointments to government tribunals, boards and senior positions.

The Conservatives promise to:

– NOT decriminalize or legalize possession of marijuana.

– Consider Canadian police chiefs’ call for ticketing system for people possessing 30 grams of pot or less.

– Re-introduce previously tabled legislation to imprison the most brutal criminals for the rest of their natural lives and quickly deport hardcore foreign criminals. Also, to enact an amended version of the government’s previous mandatory-minimum sentencing law for gun crimes, which was struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada.

The NDP promises to:

– Immediately decriminalize marijuana, where users aren’t criminally prosecuted so nobody goes to jail for smoking a joint; party is open to considering legalization, but is calling for a commission to consult Canadians and instruct Parliament on how to carefully regulate non-medical use.

– Introduce legislation demanding Supreme Court of Canada justices be bilingual.

– Strengthen laws to keep drunk drivers off of streets.

The Liberals promise to:

– Legalize pot and allow it to be sold – and taxed – in approved outlets. Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says he expects people would not be allowed to buy the drug until they turn 18 or 19, depending on the province in which they live.

– Consider reviewing mandatory minimum sentences.

– Require judicial nominees to the Supreme Court of Canada to speak both official languages.

The Greens promise to:

– Repeal all the government’s criminal laws creating mandatory minimum sentences.

– Review the Young Offenders Act to ensure it is not an inducement to youth crime, but retain its core principle that youth should not be treated as hardened criminals.

– Increase penalties for domestic violence and ensure protection for the victims and survivors of domestic violence.

The Conservatives promise to:

– Review the 94 recommendations released in June by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which the Tory government established as part of the 2007 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.

– Provide $500 million to building and renovating schools on reserves.

– Commit $567 million over five years for Aboriginal people and northerners to help build “stronger communities.”

– Budget promises include $215 to provide skills development and training for aboriginal peoples; $200 million to improve First Nations education and outcomes in schools; and $30.3 million to expand a plan that helps communities create their own land management laws to improve economic development on reserve lands.

The NDP promises to:

– Call a national inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women, and act on other recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

– Reduce poverty, improve educational outcomes and increase opportunities for First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities across Canada.

– Create a cabinet committee, chaired by the prime minister, to ensure federal government decisions respect treaty rights and Canada’s international obligations.

The Liberals promise to:

– Rebuild the relationship between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians.

– Call a national inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women.

– Implement all 94 recommendations from Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

– Create more transparency and accountability with First Nations; pass legislation in consultation with First Nations people on implementing the reforms.

– Provide stable, predictable funding for First Nations education to close the “unacceptable gap” in learning outcomes for First Nations students.

The Greens promise to:

– Adopt recommendations from the TRC report, including a national inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women.

– Amend laws to recognize Indigenous approval of natural resource projects as equivalent in weight to federal government approval.


© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen