It always struck me as a bit odd, from when I first heard it heralded in the 2011 Speech from the Throne, that Canada was to have a major celebration for the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. It got more intriguing when the detail was unveiled that we were to spend $28 million in such celebrations, in a year when the budget was described as working toward deficit reduction. Many commentators have noticed Stephen Harper's tendency to wrap himself in the flag -- to adopt a jingoism and patriotic voice more often associated with a southern accent.
As a long-time environmental lawyer who has watched, and, in some cases, played a role in the development of Canada's environmental laws, I am devastated at the cynical, manipulative, and undemocratic way the Harper Conservatives are weakening or destroying those crucial laws.
By now we all know that there has been a big cock up in Ottawa since the Department of National Defence decided to purchase the F-35 Lightning II fighter-bomber from the United States. The Auditor General has issued a scathing report. The Liberal and NDP opposition in the House of Commons has had a field day attacking the Harper government. But absent from all the political hype is any discussion of the central issue: where is the need for this aircraft within Canada's broad military policy? On this question we can see that the position of all three of our major political parties is at variance with that of the general public.
Okay, agreed. There's is nothing about Stephen Harper that suggests he is a big joker. He doesn't speak in public except in modulated monotones. Very reassuring, like Prozac. No off-script moments of hilarity. No pirouettes in the hallways.
Reading the 2012 federal budget, I am struck at how it positions Canada as the world’s water and resource supplier. Is this all Canada really has to offer? Is this politically visionary? Is this the Canada that we want? Or is it a narrow-minded, short-term view that enslaves Canada to responding to the whims and needs of the real global leaders?
The Conservative budget was released today with most mainstream political commentators wiping their brows, saying "Phewf, we thought it would be much worse!" People like Kevin O'Leary were asking why the Conservative government didn't go further to open up Canada for international investment. Others were relieved that only 19,200 federal public service jobs would be lost as opposed to the 60,000 that were predicted. Still others were wondering what the streamlined environmental review processes might mean.