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Chalk one up for democracy: U.S. wins victory over TPP trade deal

Photo: Stop FastTrack/flickr

A teenager who knows me too well says I'm obsessed with endlessly refighting the battle against free trade. That rings pathetically true. And now who wins a small victory over the ancient foe? Them. The U.S.! History is cruel.

It happened last week. President Barack Obama backed the latest in free trade, the Trans-Pacific Partnership -- or TPP. The august Senate backed him. But the House of Representatives, the elected body nearest the people, voted No. It took a savvy, impassioned, grassroots campaign to make that happen and even so, it's not over. Pro-free traders are already attempting a TPP resuscitation. Victories over free trade should be celebrated swiftly. But what explains even that hiccup?

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Columnists

Last chance for sustainable development?

Photo: theverb.org/flickr. Credit: Speak Your Mind // Lachie McKenzie

Roughly once each decade since the early 1970s, representatives of national governments from around the world have held major gatherings to tackle global environmental issues.

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Columnists

Can we stop subsidizing executive stock options and enriching the rich?

Photo: Ahmad Nawawi/flickr

If you're a top executive at a major corporation, no need to read further; you'll know all this.

But if you're an ordinary person, you may not. You've probably heard of "executive stock options" -- a perk that allows corporate executives a special deal on purchasing the company's stocks.

And you may suspect that these stock options are connected to the rampant greed and corruption that have plagued the corporate world in recent years. If so, you'd be right.

Even leading business thinkers agree.

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Columnists

Who funded Harper's rise to power? And other questions about election financing.

Photo: pmwebphotos/flickr

As the renowned Republican backroom operator Mark Hanna noted back in the late 19th century, "There are two things that matter in politics. One is money, and I can't remember the other."

Indeed, the fantastically wealthy Koch brothers proved in the recent U.S. congressional vote that organizing billionaires to buy elections is a lot easier than herding cats.

The Kochs raised $290 million from America's mega-rich to win control of Congress, and are now raising a further $889 million in a bid to buy the Oval Office.

Here in Canada, we have tougher rules restricting the role of money in politics. But the Boy Scout aura surrounding our election financing laws appears to have lulled us into a bit of a coma. 

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Columnists

Seniors Vote mobilizes for change at the ballot box

Canada has a growing and aging population. In 2014 there were more than 6 million Canadians aged 65 or older, representing 15.6 per cent of the population. By 2030, seniors will number more than 9 million and make up about 25 per cent of the population. At a time when Canada needs a national strategy and leadership on health and aging, we find the government moving away from funding our cherished universal health-care system, which was based solely on need and not how much money one had. At one time the envy of the world, Canada's health-care system is slowly being eroded and privatized.

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Justin Trudeau at Chrystia Freeland's Campaign Office, 2013
| May 6, 2015
Photo: Davide Cassanello/flickr
| May 5, 2015
Photo: pmwebphotos/flickr
| April 29, 2015
Photo: Kat R/flickr
| April 27, 2015
| April 24, 2015
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