Canadians are currently being bombarded with messages about fear, from both the government and the media.
Rick Mercer has some advice: don't give in.
In his latest rant, the host of "The Rick Mercer Report" blasted the politics of fear that could be gripping the country in the midst of debate around Bill C-51, the federal government's controversial anti-terrorism legislation.
Mercer said Prime Minister Stephen Harper likes to remind Canadians of dangers they face, but plenty of things can become scary once you go "down the fear road." For example, the bathroom.
"Do you have any idea how many bad things can happen to you in the bathroom? People die in there every year, hundreds of them," he said. "And I for one would welcome it if, from now on, in every speech the prime minister gave, he would go on at length about the dangers of slip and fall."
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s former top foreign policy adviser has published a scathing critique of the Conservative government’s handling of relations with China.
David Mulroney, Canada’s ambassador to China from 2009 to 2012, says Canada should boost its economic and diplomatic ties with China and even reinforce its naval presence off the west coast to show its serious about being a player in the region.
But Harper has failed to show adequate leadership and has been wildly inconsistent, with periods of estrangement and hostility followed by flurries of activity to try to woo Beijing, according to the ex-diplomat.
Government policy is too often directed by political partisans with “extreme ideological” agendas, who are motivated only by the goal of winning votes in immigrant communities in Canada.
The Harper government is trying to win support for its pipelines and resource agenda by pushing First Nations to sideline their aboriginal rights in exchange for business opportunities, documents reveal.
The news that Canada’s Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs is working to this end by collaborating with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is sparking strong criticism from grassroots Indigenous people.
Rosana Pellizzari, the medical officer of health of Peterborough, Ontario, knows a thing or two about bad data. The public health office she oversees is charged with running policy-driven health programs and services for the mid-size city and county, population 123,000, which makes it the 33rd largest metro in Canada, if that country's most recent census is to be believed.
Trouble is, she's not sure it can be. In 2010, with little fanfare or preparation, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s conservative government decided that the next long-form census, completed in Canada every five years, would not be mandatory. As officials told the story, without citing any specific polls, the public had expressed concerns about their privacy when filling out the long-form census, as well as the threat of jail time should they decline to fill it out.
OTTAWA - Pressure is mounting on the federal government to take action on missing and murdered aboriginal women, with several premiers and aboriginal leaders meeting in Ottawa today to try to determine what can be done.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has rejected calls for a national inquiry into the nearly 1,200 aboriginal women who have been murdered or gone missing in the last 30 years.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne wishes Harper would attend today's meeting, but is pleased he's sending two representatives: Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt and Status of Women Minister Kellie Leitch.
This story is part of an ongoing Globe and Mail investigation into the hundreds of missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada.
Let the statistics speak, as they painfully emerge, about the missing and murdered indigenous women of Canada – and let the victims be mourned and, sometimes, restored to their communities.
MORE RELATED TO THIS STORY
GLOBE INVESTIGATION Planned Canadian DNA data bank will fall short of gold standard as tool in search for missing indigenous women GARY MASON DNA half-measures won’t mend heartbreak RELATED Tories suggest missing aboriginal women related to domestic violence An RCMP report last year found that 1,181 indigenous women were killed or disappeared between 1980 and 2012; of these, 164 are missing. This country also has at least 697 unidentified human remains. To improve the record of finding those who have gone missing, Parliament late last year enacted legislation to create a DNA-based databank, making it more likely to find matches between missing people and unidentified remains.
Pres. Barack Obama vetoed a bill to approve construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline on February 24— not because of climate change, not because of low oil prices and not because of the risks from leaking diluted bitumen from the tar sands. Obama vetoed the pipeline bill “because this act of Congress conflicts with established executive branch procedures.” In other words Obama used the third veto of his presidency to preserve the prerogatives of his office, in this case evaluating cross-border pipelines and the ever-vague “national interest.”
Business magnate and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed a solution to the Keystone XL pipeline impasse — but it likely won’t be music to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s ears, or to the ears of many climate activists.
In an editorial published at the news service he founded and that carries his name, Bloomberg argues the controversial pipeline has become “a perfect symbol of Washington’s dysfunction,” but offers a solution he says would allow both sides to declare victory: Get Canada to sign a climate deal with the U.S.
“A U.S.-Canada agreement would position Canada as a leader on climate change, while also delivering a big economic boost to its economy,” wrote Bloomberg, who has been appointed the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy on cities and climate change.
Retired Lieutenant General and former Senator Roméo Dallaire says Veterans Affairs Canada isn't coming close to meeting the needs of veterans who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder.
Dallaire, who has been outspoken about his own struggles with PTSD, is in Vancouver as the keynote speaker of a Canadian Mental Health Association conference that will focus on hearing from people who work on the front lines in jobs where post traumatic stress disorder is too common.
With John Baird’s stunning exit from politics earlier this month, a number of high-profile Conservatives are considering running for the party’s nomination, but some are complaining publicly that the new federal regional minister responsible for Ottawa, Pierre Poilievre, is discouraging them because he has a preferred candidate.
Mr. Baird, who was the minister of Foreign Affairs and the regional minister for Ottawa, announced on Feb. 2 that after spending 20 years in provincial and federal politics, he was stepping down from Cabinet and resigning his seat to pursue other opportunities. Mr. Baird has represented Ottawa West-Nepean since 2006, but chose to run in the new riding of Nepean in the next election, a more Conservative riding, where he was the nominated candidate for the 2015 election.
More from Scott Clark and Peter DeVries available here It was only eight weeks ago — January 13, to be precise — that Joe Oliver announced he was postponing the budget until sometime after April 1. His excuse: Rapidly falling oil prices were creating an unusually high degree of budget uncertainty and he needed more time to crunch the numbers. The excuse was, of course, nonsense. Budget planning always involves uncertainty. The greater the uncertainty, the more the government needs to prove that it has some sort of plan — a budget, for example. The decision to postpone the budget was a panic response to the stark fact that the Conservative election plan (pitch major tax cuts in October, then table a balanced budget) had just gone off the cliff. Plan A was falling to pieces; the Conservatives, in their arrogance, never bothered to come up with a Plan B.
Firefighters were battling a massive chemical fire at Port Metro Vancouver on Wednesday that sent thick smoke over the region.
The burning substance was trichloroisocyanuric acid, a "possible eye and skin irritant," said John Parker-Jervis, a port spokesman, in a statement.
A listing on a federal government website says trichloroisocyanuric acid — which can be harmful if inhaled in large quantities — is used in dry household bleaches, dishwashing compounds, swimming pool disinfectant and other cleaning agents.
“I’m mad as Hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.”
That was how some journalists seemed to respond last week to an open letter I wrote about how government communications staff are helping to kill democracy.
But, if we want to save it, we’re going to need to do more than just throw open our windows, stick our heads out and yell about the non-answers we often get from those spin doctors.
In that letter, which was published in J-Source, The Tyee, DeSmog Canada and the Yukon News, I wrote about how those non-answers are actually a refusal to “provide the public with information. And if the public doesn’t know what their government is actually doing, it can continue doing things the public wouldn’t want it to do.”
Last week a friend told me how she was feeling optimistic about the recent progress made in public attitudes to end domestic violence. The media turned up the volume to an unprecedented level in late 2014 to profile celebrity abuse cases. Obama interrupted the Grammy's with a poignant anti-abuse message. The Super Bowl was all about domestic violence ads. It's almost hip and even trendy to speak out against sex assault. We. Are. There. The tides have turned. The tipping point has been reached. Everyone finally gets it and ending domestic abuse is just around the corner.
Or is it?
I wish I could share her enthusiasm and optimism. But a new Angus Reid poll commissioned by Interval House, Canada's first shelter for abused women, shows that Ontario residents still privately hold some very disturbing and problematic attitudes about domestic violence. I fear we still have a long, long way to go.
This story is part of an ongoing Globe and Mail investigation into the hundreds of missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada.
When the federal government created a national missing-persons centre in 2011, the presumption was it would supplant siloed provincial and territorial online efforts and serve as a better tool for matching the vanished with the anonymous dead.
"But the RCMP-led National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains (NCMPUR) hasn’t progressed fast enough for Ontario, the province with the most anonymous dead. A Globe and Mail investigation has found that Canada’s strategy falls far short of the U.S. model, considered the gold standard."
The federal government is cutting funds for a program designed to prevent the most dangerous, high-risk sex offenders from repeating their crimes, just as its own five-year study has found the program dramatically improves public safety and saves money.
The 18 Circles of Support and Accountability (COSA) programs across the country now have about 700 trained volunteers who help safely reintegrate offenders from prison back into the community.
Most sites are now preparing to close after funding from the Correctional Service of Canada ends March 31.
OTTAWA - A wounded soldier who lost both legs in Afghanistan and has had to prove to Veterans Affairs every year that he still needs a wheelchair, will now only have to go through the experience every three years.
The change in policy was quietly announced in the House of Commons by Pierre Lemieux, parliamentary secretary to the veterans minister.
In addition, Lemieux told opposition parties that veterans who are required to complete these renewals under the veterans independence program will have six months to hand in the paperwork, considerably longer than under the current system.
The federal Status of Women Minister hopes to emerge from Canada’s first national round table on murdered and missing aboriginal women with plans for anti-violence initiatives directed at aboriginal men, saying she has a “good sense” of the people who are committing the crimes.
The Conservative government is using its assertion that the disproportionate number of deaths and disappearances is largely related to domestic violence to bolster its arguments against a national inquiry into the tragedies.
FORT CHIPEWYAN, Canada — In 2006, Canadian doctor John O’Connor made a startling realization. Specialists had diagnosed three of his patients in the northern Alberta village of Fort Chipewyan with cholangiocarcinoma — a deadly cancer of the bile duct. The same cancer had killed his own father years earlier in Ireland. Only about one in 100,000 Canadians contracts this type of cancer, so the likelihood of three cases in a town of about 950 was minuscule. O’Connor suspected pollution from Alberta’s tar sands, 100 miles upstream from Fort Chipewyan on the Athabasca River. Since then, the provincial government, while confirming an additional case of bile duct cancer and high rates of lung and cervical cancer, has yet to investigate further.
No records, no agenda, no minutes, no briefing notes. That's what Vancouver-based economist and former ICBC CEO Robyn Allan learned from a Freedom of Information (FOI) request on senior-level meetings between the federal government and Texas-based oil giant Kinder Morgan.
"It's not just bad administration," said Allan. "It's a betrayal of public trust."
Three of the meetings involved then-Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver.
Allan filed FOI requests on records relating to 20 meetings between Kinder Morgan and the federal government in 2013 and 2014 in May, and received her first response in October.
She said she was was stunned to find a three-word response for 15 of these senior-level meetings: "No records exist."
WASHINGTON - U.S. President Barack Obama made good Tuesday on a threat to veto a bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, bringing the two sides in the long-running controversy to a rare point of agreement: their battle is far from over.
OTTAWA - A new study says the Conservative government's plans to double contribution limits for tax-free savings accounts would cost billions in lost tax revenue and primarily line the pockets of wealthy Canadians.
The report by the left-wing Broadbent Institute says most Canadians would not benefit from the plan to nearly double the TFSA contribution limit to $10,000 a year, up from $5,500.
Instead, the report says, they would bear the burden of reduced public services or higher taxes to offset the lost revenues.
The widening fallout from a botched program to replace Canada's aging CF-18 fighter jets may be damaging the military's relationships with its international allies.
A defence briefing note says hundreds of arrangements the military has with allies to share facilities and services are being called into question, and must be reviewed as if they were formal supply contracts.
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