Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Bill C-51 Ottawa

January 2015

The federal government has introduced legislation to protect Canadians from the evolving threat of terrorism.   The world is a dangerous place, as demonstrated by the October 2014 attacks in Ottawa and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu.   Sadly, Canada is not immune to the threat of terrorism.   The proposed legislation Bill C-51 will provide Canadian law enforcement with additional tools and flexibility to keep pace with evolving threats.

In line with measures taken by other countries, the additional action is to ensure that law enforcement and national security agencies can respond to those who advocate terrorism.   It is also an attempt to prevent terrorist travel, -stop those who try to use Canada as a recruiting ground, -and disrupt planned attacks within Canada.

The proposed legislation includes balances, to ensure that laws will respect the rights of Canadians.   The Bill complements other legislation recently passed, which protects Canadians and secures institutions, such as the “Combating Terrorism Act” and the “Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act”.

Quick Facts

The new legislation includes a package of measures that will:

-criminalize the advocacy or promotion of terrorism offenses in general
-counter terrorist recruitment by giving Courts the authority to order the removal of on-line terrorist propaganda
-enhance the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS)’s powers to address threats to security, while ensuring that Courts maintain oversight
-provide law enforcement agencies with enhanced ability to disrupt terrorist activity
-enhance the Passenger Protect Program by further mitigating threats to transportation security and preventing travel by air for the purpose of engaging in terrorism
-make it easier for law enforcement agencies to detain suspected terrorists before they can harm, and strengthen penalties for suspects violating court orders
-enable the effective sharing of relevant national security information across federal departments to better identify threats

Although not part of this proposed legislation, the government is also working with communities to prevent radicalization, and to intervene when individuals show signs of becoming radicalized.
There are programs to provide witnesses and other participants in national security proceedings with additional protection.


* The government is serious about taking action to keep Canadians safe.   Recent attacks in Canada, which led to the deaths of Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, as well as attacks in France and Australia, are reminders that the world is a dangerous place and that Canada is not immune to the threats of terrorism.   Recent terrorist actions in Canada are not only an attack on our country, but also against our values and our society as a whole.

* The government understands that extreme jihadists have already declared war on Canada, and on all free people.   The government must do all it can to protect the rights and safety of Canadians.   We should not, prioritize the so-called rights of terrorists who would harm Canadians, over the rights of law-abiding citizens.   The proposed legislation should provide the law enforcement agencies with the required tools and flexibility they need to detect and disrupt national security threats before they happen.
*    *    *
2nd Session, 41st Parliament



An Act to enact the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act and the Secure Air Travel Act, to amend the Criminal Code, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts

Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:


This Act may be cited as the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015.




The Security of Canada Information Sharing Act, whose text is as follows and whose Schedules 1 to 3 are set out in the schedule to this Act, is enacted:

An Act to encourage and facilitate information sharing between Government of Canada institutions in order to protect Canada against activities that undermine the security of Canada

Whereas the people of Canada are entitled to live free from threats to their lives and their security;

Whereas activities that undermine the secu­rity of Canada are often carried out in a clandestine, deceptive or hostile manner, are increasingly global, complex and sophisticated, and often emerge and evolve rapidly;

Whereas there is no more fundamental role for a government than protecting its country and its people;

Whereas Canada is not to be used as a conduit for the carrying out of activities that threaten the security of another state;

Whereas protecting Canada and its people against activities that undermine the security of Canada often transcends the mandate and capability of any one Government of Canada institution;

Whereas Parliament recognizes that information needs to be shared — and disparate information needs to be collated — in order to enable the Government to protect Canada and its people against activities that undermine the security of Canada;

Whereas information in respect of activities that undermine the security of Canada is to be shared in a manner that is consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the protection of privacy;

And whereas Government of Canada institutions are accountable for the effective and responsible sharing of information;

Now, therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

(12954 technical legislative words follow)

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

State of the Union - 2015

I watched the State of the Union Address by President Obama.   In times past, I have stood in that Chamber at the front, holding the podium where Congressmen speak…it was a momentous place to reflect.
There were some lines that I liked in the President’s Speech….such as -  -  -
It's now up to us to choose who we want to be over the next fifteen years, and for decades to come.
Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well? Or will we commit ourselves to an economy that generates rising incomes and chances for everyone who makes the effort?
Will we approach the world fearful and reactive, dragged into costly conflicts that strain our military and set back our standing? Or will we lead wisely, using all elements of our power to defeat new threats and protect our planet?
So the verdict is clear. Middle-class economics works. Expanding opportunity works. And these policies will continue to work, as long as politics don't get in the way. We can't slow down businesses or put our economy at risk with government shutdowns or fiscal showdowns. We can't put the security of families at risk by taking away their health insurance, or unravelling the new rules on Wall Street, or refighting past battles on immigration when we've got a system to fix. And if a bill comes to my desk that tries to do any of these things, it will earn my veto.
That's what middle-class economics is -- the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules. We don't just want everyone to share in America's success -- we want everyone to contribute to our success.
So what does middle-class economics require in our time?
First -- middle-class economics means helping working families feel more secure in a world of constant change. That means helping folks afford childcare, college, health care, a home, retirement -- and my budget will address each of these issues, lowering the taxes of working families and putting thousands of dollars back into their pockets each year.
Helping hardworking families make ends meet. Giving them the tools they need for good-paying jobs in this new economy. Maintaining the conditions for growth and competitiveness.
Of course, if there's one thing this new century has taught us, it's that we cannot separate our work at home from challenges beyond our shores.
A better politics is one where we appeal to each other's basic decency instead of our basest fears.
A better politics is one where we debate without demonizing each other; where we talk issues, and values, and principles, and facts, rather than "gotcha" moments, or trivial gaffes, or fake controversies that have nothing to do with people's daily lives. 
"It is amazing what you can bounce back from when you have to...we are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times."
My fellow Americans, we too are a strong, tight-knit family. We, too, have made it through some hard times. Fifteen years into this new century, we have picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off, and begun again the work of remaking America. We've laid a new foundation. A brighter future is ours to write. Let's begin this new chapter -- together -- and let's start the work right now.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless this country we love.
However, there were some things that could have been mentioned…
1. Bad news overseas: The Muslim world-wide threat against the West
2. Middle East Peace
3. National Debt and Deficits
4. Entitlement reform -Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid
5. Election Financing Reform
6. America’s Poor
7. Gun Control
8. Government Restructuring -merging similar Departments
When the USA succeeds, Canada succeeds.  That is a fact of history, and for a long while to come, our destiny.   As wise Canadians, let us manage that relationship very carefully.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Bicentennial of Sir John Alexander Macdonald

Bicentennial of Sir John Alexander Macdonald’s birth
January 11, 2015 Kingston, Ontario
Canadians should pay more attention to our first Prime Minister.   The Government is commemorating a number of nation-building milestones that will culminate in the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017.   Each of these anniversaries represents an opportunity to celebrate the events that have shaped our history.   Consequently, on January 11, 2015, Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited Kingston, Ontario, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Right Honourable Sir John Alexander Macdonald, to pay tribute to the huge role he played as one of Canada’s founding fathers, and as first Prime Minister.

The ceremony, which was held in the Memorial Hall of Kingston City Hall, the city unveiled a restored portrait of Sir John A. Macdonald.   The 1863 full-length portrait of Macdonald is the best known work of William Sawyer, a portrait painter and photographer (1820 to 1889), and also a close friend of Macdonald.   The portrait was presented to John A. Macdonald in 1863, before his knighthood in 1867, by admiring friends who commissioned it.  

Canada Post and the Royal Canadian Mint were also part of the ceremony and unveiled a stamp and a coin to commemorate the achievements of Sir John A. Macdonald.   Born two hundred years ago on January 11, 1815 in Glasgow, Scotland, Sir John A. Macdonald played a key role in making Canada.    He was instrumental, along with Sir George-√Čtienne Cartier, to build Confederation and expanding Canada to the Pacific Ocean.   They are two of the 36 Fathers of Confederation who met to share their vision for union, and to forge a new country out of the Colonies.   Almost 150 years ago, they created a democracy that serves as a model for the world.

During his years as Prime Minister (1867-1873 and 1878-1891), Canada experienced rapid growth and prosperity.   Manitoba, British Columbia, and Prince Edward Island joined the original four into Confederation between 1870 and 1873.   The last spike of the Canadian Pacific Railway’s transcontinental line was driven into the ground in 1885.  

Sir John A. Macdonald is also remembered for his role in the establishment of the North-West Mounted Police, and the first Canadian national park in Banff, Alberta.   The political obstacles that he overcame, in view of the naysayers and pessimists, demonstrated courageous leadership.   The 200th anniversary of Sir John A. Macdonald’s birth is one of the milestones on the road to 2017, which has defined our country and made us to be proudly Canadian.


Friday, 9 January 2015

Tragedy in Paris

Tragedy in Paris.  The world grieves, but it seems we are conflicted about confronting what Mohammed left to this world.   We also have a contemptible publication and its writers to defend.   We have values that can never be reconciled with core Islamic values.   We do know, that a lot of people are dead because of wrong ideas.   May each of us live in a way that helps life and peace.   What did we learn from the murders at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris?
French forces stormed two hostage sites Friday Jan 9th 2015, killing the brothers behind the Charlie Hebdo massacre, and also a jihadist accomplice at a supermarket.
The killings brought a dramatic close to three days of terror that began Wednesday when the two Kouachi brothers burst into the satirical magazine's office of Charlie Hebdo and slaughtered some of France's cartoonists.
Elsewhere, five people including the gunman, were found dead in the aftermath of the assault on a Jewish supermarket in eastern Paris, and several captives were freed.  Seven people, including three police, were hurt in the supermarket raid.
The dramatic climax to the two standoffs brought to an end 53 hours of terror that began when the two brothers slaughtered 12 people at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in the bloodiest attack on French soil in half a century.   After the three days of bloodshed, France was mourning the loss of 17 people and tending to 20 injured.
Gunmen at both sieges were acting together in the name of al-Qaeda in Yemen and the Islamic State group.
The weekly magazine had lampooned jihadists and repeatedly published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed which angered Muslims.
In the small town of Dammartin-en-Goele, the two Islamist Charlie Hebdo gunmen staged a desperate escape, charging out of the building guns firing at the security forces before being shot down.   Police confirmed their identity as Cherif and Said Kouachi.
The other hostage-taker in the eastern Porte de Vincennes area of Paris was also suspected of gunning down a policewoman in southern Paris on Thursday.
The horrific attacks came as it learned that the brothers had been on a US terror watch list.  Wednesday's murders has sparked global outrage, with impromptu rallies around the world in support of press freedom under the banner "je suis charlie" (I am Charlie).
A politically divided France sought to pull together in the aftermath of the tragedy.  The head of the France’s Muslim community urged imams to condemn terrorism at Friday prayers…too little too late.
The Islamic State group's radio praised the gunmen as "heroes" and Al-Qaeda's main affiliate in Africa, hailed the massacre as an heroic act.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

2014 My Top News Stories

My Top Stories for 2014


Russia’s Putin emerged to threaten world peace.   Russia seized the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine by military force.   Russia has used armed invasions, proxy militias, economic pressure, and propaganda campaigns in an effort to keep Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine from more closely affiliating with Europe.   Russia also has backed European extremist parties in an effort to undermine the European Union’s internal unity.

Throughout Russia’s assault on Ukraine, Europe’s most dangerous war since the close of World War II, western powers looked for ways to sustain Europe’s stability, and the right of 43 million Ukrainians to an independent and democratic future.

•Canadians must learn to appreciate why Ukraine’s political shift is critical to the West.

•The full story has not been written about how the West can help Ukraine win meaningful independence from Russia.

•Despite Russian denials, we must understand how the Kremlin is illegally making war on its neighbours.

•Beyond Ukraine, democracies must figure out how to meet Russia’s threat to Europe.

Attack on Parliament Hill

October 22nd, was a tragic day.   Gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau shot Corporal Nathan Cirillo while he stood unarmed in uniform, when he was standing on symbolic guard at the Ottawa War Memorial.   The gunman then ran to Centre Block at Parliament, where he burst through the doors wounding an unarmed guard, before proceeding down the centre Hall of Honour firing his weapon.   He was soon shot and killed by Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers.   Ottawa was in lockdown for hours, as it had to be determined if there were other shooters.   As this was later discovered to be an Islamic inspired hate-crime against the symbols of Canada by a mentally disturbed person, some have observed that the assault was a turning point in the nation for the awareness for security.

Skytrain Failure

Locally, lives were disturbed significantly by the huge Skytain failure last summer. Translink was strongly criticized for poor communication to passengers.   People sat stranded in Skytrain cars for over an hour and stations closed the gates, and hardly a Skytrain attendant could be found.   Angry passengers pried open train doors and walked along the tracks  -causing more system trouble.   Translink then had a second major shutdown within a week.   System weaknesses were exposed and Translink vowed to get better.  This event negatively affected a lot of people personally.



Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Merry Christmas

Christmas is a profound message to the human race.   We are loved by God who created us.   He gives us the choice to love Him back if we choose.   We should love as we are loved although we can never out love God.   Choosing each day to learn and discover why God created us, is living the abundant life.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Stephen Harper Interview

Peter Mansbridge's interview with Stephen Harper, Wed. Dec. 17, 2014
(full transcript)
PETER MANSBRIDGE: So Prime Minister, it’s unusual that you start a year end interview and breaking news happens, but here we are with it happening and Canada playing a role of some degree between the U.S. and Cuba on getting preliminary talks going for, for restoring relationship.   What was Canada’s role?
PRIME MINISTER: Well look Peter, I tell people I don’t want to exaggerate Canada’s role.   We facilitated places where the two countries could have a dialogue and explore ways of normalizing the relationship and that’s what we did and we think it’s a good development, probably an overdue development.   I personally believe changes are coming in Cuba and this will facilitate those.   But look, I’m pleased that the president acknowledged our role in this.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: Well you’re saying we just sort of supplied the rooms where they sat and talked, we weren’t in the talks?
PRIME MINISTER: No, no, we were not, we were not trying in any way to direct or mediate the talks. We were just trying to make sure that they had the opportunity to have the kind of dialogue they needed to have.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: What do you think this could mean?
PRIME MINISTER: Well look I believe that change is coming to Cuba.   There are some changes taking place there now.   They’re very slow but I think that’s an economy and a society just overdue for entry into the 21st century and you know, time will tell but I think probably when the current generation of leadership passes you’ll see some changes.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: Well the one constant you’ve always made in reference to Cuba is that they got to have democratically elected governments.   Are you looking that far ahead?
PRIME MINISTER: Look I think other changes will probably occur before that but certainly one would hope we’ll see that although we have some tainted democracies in the hemisphere, this is really the only place where there are elections that are completely non-competitive and it’ll be nice to see that happen in Cuba and I think eventually it will.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: Year-end interviews people look at very closely for exactly what the Prime Minister of the day says, especially so in a year before an election is scheduled.   So let me get a couple of those kind of questions out of the way quickly. October 19th, should we assume that is when the election will be or is there anything that could change that? 
PRIME MINISTER: Well, I wouldn’t say there’s nothing that could change it but there’s nothing on the horizon that I see changing that. We fixed that date and we’re planning on it like everybody else.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: So when people talk about, oh he’s going go in the spring, we should ignore that?
PRIME MINISTER: Yes, you should and I always note that it’s, it’s either divining my mind or the comments of some anonymous so-called strategists somewhere whose existence I don’t know of so I have no idea. I can honestly tell you we’ve had no discussion at any level of changing the date so I don’t know where that’s coming from.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: And what about you personally, because that’s the other half of the equation. Will he or won’t he?
PRIME MINISTER: I see that sometimes too but I think I’ve been very clear for some time now but it’s my intention to lead the party once again and, and look, I’m looking forward to the debate and I think we have a pretty good chance.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: So you’re clearly not somebody who believes in term limits of any kind?
PRIME MINISTER: I think term limits are up to the voter.   You know look Peter, the way I look at it is this, I still, you know I still love the job, I enjoy the job, I tell people I’ve got the best job in the best country in the world. I also think I have responsibilities. We’ve been in a, you know, a period of, as you know, profound economic uncertainty across the globe, you know, we’ve just had another wave of that with some recent developments and I think we’ve got the country on the right track but I’d like to take some more time to really put it on that track in a very permanent way.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: I’ve spent the last few days looking through some of your speeches over the time you’ve been in office, since 2006, and one of the constants one sees right from the first speech you gave overseas in England in 2006, was your vision of Canada as an energy super power.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: Now I wonder here, eight and a half years later, about the success of that vision because as you’ve always said, you got to be able to get your product to market.   Nothing has really changed on that front; the pipelines that you’ve wanted approved and built haven’t happened, either at home or south of the border, the price has collapsed on oil. Is the vision still there or is it a failed vision?
PRIME MINISTER: Well look, what I tell people, and this is just a fact, Canada’s obviously to begin with, probably the most, maybe the most energy secure country in the world. Whatever the energy mix of the future is, Canada will be a major supplier and Canada will be relatively energy secure and that of course remains the case and our exports of energy have continued to grow throughout this government. Obviously the diversification I’d like to see hasn’t happened but you know, in fairness Peter, we don’t, you know, as a government of Canada, we don’t direct the marketplace and we don’t kind of personally or as a government approve projects. That’s ultimately done through a scientific and environmental evaluation process. Those processes are ongoing. I’m, I’m…
PETER MANSBRIDGE: But are you frustrated by the fact that here, all these years later, it hasn’t happened?
PRIME MINISTER: Well look, I think it’s ultimately up to the marketplace. You know, I think the energy sector itself has, has had a pretty good run. The fact that there are now low oil prices has nothing to do with the government of Canada. As you know, we’re an international marketplace and we just have to learn to manage through that. It will have some important effects both on the industry and on the country but look, I remain optimistic, there’s lots of demand. Everywhere I go, elsewhere in the world, people want Canadian energy, people want Canadian oil, people would like to find out ways…
PETER MANSBRIDGE: But if you can’t get it to them.
PRIME MINISTER: Well I think, I think it’s inevitable that that will happen but there’s the market process and there’s a scientific evaluation process and those are directed by others.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: Well, one of the people that it is directed by, south of the border, is the president of the united states, and one wonders, even on a day like this very clearly the relationship between Canada and the U.S. has paid off on the Cuba front, but one wonders where the two of you are on, on keystone, in terms of the conversations you have. I mean we’ve watched him, he was even on late night television in the states in the last couple of weeks basically making fun of keystone in some ways.   But it’s suggesting, listen I just, you know, it’s a pipeline across the U.S. to take Canadian oil to other markets overseas and the number of jobs permanent that it creates is minimum.   Now when you hear that, what do you think?
PRIME MINISTER: Well look, he knows our position but what I would say Peter is the interesting debate there is not the debate between President Obama and Canada, it’s the debate between President Obama and the American people who are overwhelmingly in favour of the project and whose own government evaluations and state department, etc. say very different things about the project in 4 terms of what it brings, in terms of jobs, energy security, I think the, and the environment frankly and I think that’s all pretty clear. But look, the, the President has a role in this, the congress has a role in it and we’ll continue to watch what is a, what is an interesting and often difficult political system in the United States. But you know, we have won the argument of public opinion across the board in the United States on this.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: But do you think it’s unlikely that Keystone will be approved in the life of the Obama administration?
PRIME MINISTER: I don’t know that.   We have a whole new congress with proponents now of Keystone overwhelmingly in charge in both parties.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: But he says he’ll veto it.
PRIME MINISTER: Time will tell.   People say a lot of things when they’re in negotiations.   We’ll see.   I think that the logic of the project in terms of energy security, in terms of the economy and job creation and frankly in terms of the environmental considerations, the logic is overwhelming and the project will be approved eventually.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: Let me get back to the price question because last week you made some headlines by saying that, while you still maintained your promise that at some point, oil, the oil and gas industry will be regulated, it would be crazy to be doing it now with the price somewhere around $60 I think at the time, lower now.   If that’s a crazy price, what is an acceptable price?
PRIME MINISTER: Yes, well that’s not quite what I said Peter.   First of all, what I said was actually what I’ve been saying for some time, which is that this is an industry that is integrated between Canada and the United States, in North America, and what is crazy would be for us to impose costs only on our industry in a way that would not reduce emissions, but simply shift jobs and development to other parts of North America.   That makes no sense.   We’ve said for some time, it’s very public, we’re seeking a continental response on this particular question, not just with the United States.   We’d like to see Mexico as well in it.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: So why don’t we propose something then?
PRIME MINISTER: We have proposed something.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: What have we proposed?
PRIME MINISTER: Well the Province of Alberta, itself already has one of the few GHD regulatory environments in the country.   It has one.   I think it’s a model on which you could go broader.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: This is the carbon levy?
PRIME MINISTER: This is the tech fund price carbon levy and it’s not a levy, it’s a price, and there’s a tech fund in which the private sector makes investments.   So look, that’s what Alberta has done, that’s a model that’s available, but you know as I say, we’re very open to see progress on this on a continental basis.   I’ve said that repeatedly to our partners in North America and we look forward to working on that.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: When I said I looked through your speeches, I found one from June of 2007 that you gave in Berlin, that I found quite interesting.
PRIME MINISTER: Yeah, okay, I vaguely remember the event.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: It was your first trip to Berlin.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: That you said in the speech.  It was about climate change.
PRIME MINISTER: Just before the G8 meeting.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: Just before the G8 and it was about climate change. I want to remind you of a couple of your quotes because I want to see whether you still believe this fundamentally that you, Stephen Harper, believe this. “Climate change is perhaps the biggest threat to confront the future of humanity today.” Do you believe that?
PRIME MINISTER: I think it’s a significant threat.   Where does it rank in terms of our economic challenges, in terms of the Jihadism that we now face globally.   It’s still a big threat.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: But not necessarily the biggest threat.
PRIME MINISTER: I don’t know about that.   I mean since then we’ve had the global recession and we’ve had the rise, you know, the kind of second phase rise of the global terrorist movement, so I would put those up there as well.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: You also said, "We owe it to future generations, we as Canada. When you’re linking climate change to greenhouse gas emissions, we owe it to future generations to do whatever we can to address this world problem. We should make a substantial contribution to confronting this challenge. Talking the talk doesn’t work anymore. It’s time to walk the walk."  Have we done any of those things?
PRIME MINISTER: Yes.   Look, for the first time in history, this country actually has GHD emissions that have been falling.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: Will we make our targets of 2020?
PRIME MINISTER: We’ve got more work to do but our emissions are falling.   Most people think we can’t make those targets.
You know, previous government had, anybody can go around talking about targets. What’s the actual results. Ours have been going down.   Other countries’ emissions for the most part are going up.   World emissions are going up.   Canada’s have not been going up.   So look, is there more that can be done?   I think so, absolutely.   But as I’ve said all along Peter, the real, I’ll tell you, the real challenge on this is how you reduce emissions in a way that do not endanger jobs and growth of people at home and unless everybody works together, the risk that all of us have when we undertake measures of regulation and we’ve taken them in the transportation sector, the electricity sector, other areas.   The risk you have is that all you do is shift the emissions to some other place that isn’t having the same regulations, that’s the challenge.   So that’s why we’ve said, you know, we’ve said when we came to office, we were very clear about this, we didn’t like the previous framework, we thought the targets were ridiculous and only one third of global emissions were regulated and we said, the only way to tackle this is with an international protocol that takes in all emitters, and that is now, frankly, that was the lone voice back in 2006-2007 and that was the mantra of just about every developed country at least.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: But doesn’t somebody have to take bold action? I mean the UN secretary general (overlapping)…
PRIME MINISTER: No everybody, everybody has to take bold action.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: But it’s as if everybody is sort of sitting on the sidelines waiting for somebody else to take bold action so they all take it together.
PRIME MINISTER: Well, I don’t, I don’t think that’s true.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: Doesn’t somebody have to start?
PRIME MINISTER: No look I don’t think that’s true.   Let’s take Canada.   We have one of the cleanest emitting electricity sectors in the world.   We have taken further steps.   We are phasing out in Canada through regulations, we are phasing out the use of traditional dirty coal. It’s going to go to zero in the next 15 years or so.   It’s not high now and it’s continuing to phase out.   The biggest single greenhouse emitting source in the world is coal fired electricity.   So if others would just follow our lead, we’d have this problem solved.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: You mentioned “jihadism” as one of the other issues.   So where Canada is, is in the war on ISIS.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: And when you talk to those who have been conducting the operations in Iraq, they suggest that the target rich environment is now target poor. That most of the targets have been knocked out.   But if you want targets, you got to go to Syria now.   Canada as of this moment is not involved on the Syrian front.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: Is that going to change?
PRIME MINISTER: I haven’t made a final decision on that.   Certainly as I said in the House of Commons,  our view is that ISIL is a real serious threat to the world, and by implication to this country, and we want to do what we can to fight it and certainly to (A) to stop its growth, which I think is kind of happening and then (B) to roll this terrible menace back, and hitting it in Syria is a very real option.   As you know, some of our allies have done that but we’re very clear on…
PETER MANSBRIDGE: Why wouldn’t we?
PRIME MINISTER: What we are very clear on is we don’t want anything that’s interpreted as a war on the government of Syria.   We’ve been invited by the government of Iraq into Iraq.  We are doing that, that’s why we’re there.   Syria is a little trickier, and this government has, you know, regardless of what differences, as you know, we have condemned with everyone else the Assad government, but we have no desire to enter in a war with any government in that country, and so that makes this situation a bit tricky.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: But you’re still pondering it?
PRIME MINISTER: These are options.   We’re continuing to look at options as we go forward but we haven’t taken a final decision on that.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: Where do you think you are on the six-month mission?   Was that part of trying to decide whether to push beyond six months?
PRIME MINISTER: We’ll evaluate.   In six months as we approach that date, Peter, we’ll evaluate the mission and decide, what is it we don’t need to keep doing, and what other things maybe should we do instead.   But you know, we’re going to be guided obviously by what we think is a global responsibility to take movement on.   And doing what we think reasonably is our part in the global effort to protect the world and protect our country.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: You’ve watched as there have been incidents in a number of countries including Canada but Australia the most recent.   Do you think that the decision to be involved in the conflict against ISIS,  put Canadians at undue risk as a result of that?
PRIME MINISTER: No.  Let’s be very clear on this.   We’re not – we’re not at risk from ISIL because we’re fighting them.   We’re fighting them because we are at risk from them.   This is an organization, along with the entire global jihadist movement they represent, that has repeatedly made threats on this country.   Toronto, we’ve had the Via Rail, we’ve had numerous terror plots dealt with, both very publicly and not so very publicly in this country.   So these are real threats to the country.   I think Canadians understand that, which is why they’re so supportive of us taking these guys on.   But look, that will – that’s their next line.   We’re only attacking you because you’re  –because you’re standing up to us.   You know, all those poor innocent ethnic and religious minorities who are getting slaughtered, they weren’t doing anything to ISIL.   They were just there. These are people who kill everybody in their way who is not like them, for that sole reason.   It is strange.  It’s hard for us who live in a tolerant and modern pluralistic society to understand this.   But this is the kind of threat we face.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: The incidents that i mentioned, at the moment they were happening it would be hard to determine exactly what was happening, who was behind these, how involved ISIS or ISIL might be.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: Um when we’ve looked at them, the difference between the Canadian and the other incidents is as a leader, you were right there.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: You were there when it happened.
PRIME MINISTER: Yes.  One of them anyway.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: One of them.   But we’ve never heard your story.   What was it like in that room?   There is a gunman on the other side of the door and there was a lot of shooting going on.
PRIME MINISTER: You know, Peter, as you know, I don’t spend a lot of time talking about myself.   At a time like that, my first responsibility and as you know, I’ve told you we’ve received some training to deal with these kinds of situations.   My first responsibility is to extricate myself from such a situation so I can continue the normal functions of government, and obviously extraordinary functions on a day like that.   I don’t need to tell you that for everybody in Parliament that day, not just our caucus, the other caucuses, the staff and employees, it was an experience no one wants to repeat.   And obviously all our various police and security agencies on the Hill, off the Hill, are going over the details of that to reach some conclusions on how they can better prevent and better respond to such incidents in the future.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: Some of the people who were in that room and in the other caucus room thought that they were afraid for their lives at that moment when they heard what was going on outside that door.
PRIME MINISTER: Yes, that’s a fact. That’s beyond a doubt. Absolutely beyond a doubt.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: What was going through your mind?   I mean what were you hearing?
PRIME MINISTER: Um look as everybody knows, we were in a Caucus room.   You see on the video, you see security people having a fire fight chasing a gunman down the hall.   You’re in the caucus room there, and all you hear is a whole lot of shooting coming towards you.   And you don’t know whether that’s a fire fight or whether that’s a bunch of guys with automatic weapons wiping everybody out in their path.   So you don’t know what that is, but obviously I think it’s fair to say that for everybody in the room, we were pretty concerned.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: Were you scared?
PRIME MINISTER: You know,  I think I mentioned to you, I’ve been trained in incidences like that. Obviously you get keyed up. 
PETER MANSBRIDGE: What does it mean you were trained, like –
PRIME MINISTER: Well the RCMP has run me through some drills to simulate these kinds of situations.   So ah you know, as a Prime Minister, you’re in a little bit different position of other people, Peter.   As Prime Minister I have access obviously to all the government’s intelligence, all the security risks that are faced by the country and by me personally.   So, you’re in a different head space than most other people who are suddenly facing this kind of situation for the first time.   As I say it’s a situation nobody wants to repeat.   But the bigger question and obviously the questions we’re looking at as we formulate additional legislation to deal with this terrorist threat, is what do we have to do to protect the country at large.   That’s really our main concern.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: Just the last point.   Were you, as has been reported, put in a closet?
PRIME MINISTER: Ah you know, I’m not going to comment on that.   One of the things you try and do in a situation like that is conceal yourself if you can.   But obviously the best situation is to exit, as I said, so that you can  – so the Prime Minister can continue to run the government, and that’s what we were able to do within a few minutes fortunately.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: Who was the first person you called when you got out of there?
PRIME MINISTER: I called my mom just to assure her I was okay, and I could tell by her voice that she was concerned.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: She’d probably been watching all this.
PRIME MINISTER: Yes, she was watching.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: A couple of other issues, if we can sort of go through quickly. Veterans affairs.   No matter what you say about what your government has done to look after veterans, the perception -and you know this as well as anyone, that perception can often become the reality  –the perception is that your government isn’t looking after veterans who come back from overseas postings, overseas conflicts.   And we now have a country where there are thousands, if not tens of thousands of veterans in those positions. Can that perception change as long as the Minister doesn’t change?
PRIME MINISTER: Well look,  I don’t actually think that represents the perception of the vast majority of Canadian veterans.   I know that to not be the case.   Fact of the matter is this country has the best veterans programs and services in the world.   There are services that we have increased significantly.   We have some important changes going on in that area, Peter. Obviously we’re dealing with a big change in the veterans’ population.   The traditional World War II, Korean War veterans, are unfortunately diminishing in numbers and there’s a new wave of veterans from Afghanistan and other conflicts we’re entering.   So it’s a –you’re really finding that a whole bunch of traditional services, benefits that we deliver, there’s a shrinking demand for them very rapidly and increasing demand for other kinds of services.   At the same time the previous government brought in what was called a new Veterans Charter, just at the end of their government.   Now in fairness to them, this was widely proclaimed, supported by everybody, widely heralded by veterans groups at the time.   But as time has gone on, it’s become apparent that there are some gaps in that programming, so we’re dealing with those things.   And we will continue to deal with them, and I am confident that we’ll continue.   I’m confident of two things. We’ll continue to have some people who will not be happy because it’s a diverse population, people are entitled to their views.   There’s literally hundreds of thousands of clients of Veterans Affairs Canada.   But at the same time we will respond and make the changes we need to make where we see real gaps in the services.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: Do you remain confident in Mr. Fantino as the minister?
PRIME MINISTER: Well you know – You know, Peter,  – you know what the answer to that question is.  You don’t have to ask it.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: So there’s no cabinet shuffle looming in the early new year?
PRIME MINISTER: By definition the Prime Minister has confidence in all of his ministers.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: An inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal, indigenous women. You’ve rejected that in the past.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: There seems to be some indication that your government may be at least considering some form of formal inquest or inquiry or investigation.
PRIME MINISTER:  It isn’t really high on our radar, to be honest, Peter.   You know, our Ministers will continue to dialogue with those who are concerned about this.   They’re studying it.   But we have an awful lot of studies and information on the phenomenon, and an awful good indication of what the record is in terms of investigation and prevention of these sorts of things.   I really think the important thing –you know, we can spend literally as we have in the past, on some of these royal commissions or inquiries, we can spend hundreds of millions of dollars to get the same report for the 41st or 42nd time, or we can actually take action.   And that’s what we’re trying to do.   We’ve, as you know, taken strong laws to prevent and to punish criminal activity, which a lot of this is.   We’ve made significant investments into preventative measures, particularly involving family violence measures on reserves and elsewhere.   We’ve done things to try and enhance the legal and social status of women in aboriginal communities and reserves.   You know, like basic things like having protections under the Human Rights Act, matrimonial property rights, these kinds of things that were not done in the past.   So there’s still more work to be done, but I would rather spend my time focusing on what actions we can take to improve these situations, prevent these situations, than have more multimillion dollar inquiries.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: Mike Duffy goes on trial in the next couple of months.   If you’re called as a witness would you appear?
PRIME MINISTER: There’s no reason to believe, Peter, that that will happen.   I have no knowledge of Mr. Duffy’s activities.   I’m not party to matters he’s been charged with.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: So when you says there’s no reason, there’s no reason to believe you’ll be called as a witness or there’s no reason –
PRIME MINISTER: There’s no reason.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: Would you appear if you were called?
PRIME MINISTER: I’m told, that a lawyer looked at this for me.   He said there’s absolutely no reasonable reason you would be called as a witness, because I’m not a witness.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: Last question.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: When you look back at the nine years almost, that you’ve been in power, and contemplate asking Canadians for another mandate, that would mean entering a second decade of a Harper government, -you once said before you were elected: give me an opportunity to govern and I’ll change Canada.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: How has Canada changed under nine years of a Stephen Harper government?
PRIME MINISTER: Well look, let me maybe mention three reasons that I think are pretty central to what our government has done.   First of all, you know back a decade ago and longer, when times were relatively good, Canada was at best middle of the pack.   I think that’s flattering us on a lot of indicators.   We’ve come through and out of, you know, one of the most difficult periods in modern economic history, and we’re leading the developed world in many areas.   And I believe that job isn’t done.   You know, we’ve got – we just talked about it earlier – new challenges that are on the horizon.   But you know, you look around the world, there are countries like us, very few have got balanced budgets, are seeing job growth, economic growth.   We’re able to cut taxes for people for every Canadian family. We’re able to put investments into important things like we’ve done recently for continued growth, federal infrastructure and into innovation and research.   You look around the world, you see most other countries cutting services, raising taxes, job growth is flat if not falling.   So look, I think this is a big change for where this country sits in the world, and I’d like to see that continue.   I think if you ask any objective analyst right now in the world, what’s the politically and economically most stable country in the entire world right now, they would say Canada.   There’s no reason for us to change that. What we want to do is entrench that.  
The criminal justice area, we’ve talked about that.   We have crime rates falling.   We’ve put emphasis on a different kind of criminal justice that protects victims and protects law abiding citizens and properly punishes criminals.   That’s something the Canadian public has supported.   I think the proof points of that, not just in terms of popularity, but in terms of results are clear.   Obviously we’ve got more work to do on the area of terrorism, but as you know, this is not a unique challenge to this country.   And finally you know, we’ve taken a different approach.   Actually I think a more traditional Canadian approach to foreign affairs, which is that we take stands, clear stands based on our values and interests.   We obviously work with allies because most things we can’t do on our own. But Canada’s voice is heard and understood.   And I think if you look at some of the big questions that have been confronting us recently, whether it’s “jihadism” or Russia or some of the events in the Middle East, I think the truth is that we’ve been well ahead of the curve.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: We used to be known as a liberal country in terms of thought.
PETER MANSBRIDGE:  Are we a conservative country now?
PRIME MINISTER: Well look, we’re a democratic country, Peter, which means we have Liberals and Conservatives.   We have people on the right and people on the left and people of different shades, different opinions.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: But wasn't that your hope when you talked about change in the country?
PRIME MINISTER: Well look,  I think the country –  I think we’ve obviously moved the legislative policy agenda of the country, and I think the country has largely moved with us.   You know, the other guys are largely afraid to attack us on the fundamentals of our policies because in fact the country has moved with us on most of these things.   So I think we’ve gone in that direction.   But as I say, it’s a democratic country.   So you don’t want to say – I don’t want to get into what I used to criticize about the Liberals claiming – basically claiming if you weren’t a Liberal you somehow weren’t really Canadian.   I don’t want to say if you’re not a Conservative you’re not really Canadian.   I don’t think that would be fair.   But look, I think we’re a country that’s pursuing good conservative economic, security, and foreign policies.   At the same time, I think we remain one of the most tolerant, open, diverse countries in the world.   There’s all kinds of things that I think people of many political shades can feel very proud of about this country, which is one of the reasons why during the past decade we have seen such a precipitous fall in the unity threats that used to exist in this country, particularly in Quebec.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: On that note, Prime Minister, we wish you and your family the best for the holiday season.
PRIME MINISTER: I want to wish you the same Peter, to all your team here, as well at CBC, and of course all of your viewers, a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  Thank you.