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Trust Trudeau? I’ll Wait and See

Trust Trudeau? I’ll Wait and See

Canada’s young prince promises ‘real change.’ I can’t help but be wary.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Like many Canadians, I want to trust the Liberals, but I don’t enjoy having to trust them. Photo by Mario Jean.

How are we feeling about the new Canadian Camelot? Justin Trudeau is young, movie star handsome, and projects the confident hope of his famous pedigree. All of North America seems swept up in the romance of his remarkable moment, and of course there are obvious reasons to celebrate.

Like 70 per cent of the voting public, I am savouring the end of the Stephen Harper era as one might relish being released from a Turkish prison. His insidious regime edged us toward a mean and narrow vision of Canada that was becoming almost unrecognizable.

While the Tory defeat was decisive by pundit standards, many of us hoped for more of a Mulroneyesque wipeout worthy of Harper’s jagged hubris. Alas, the Conservatives were only wounded and may re-emerge under new leadership as a political force more familiar and somewhat less toxic to our country.

Trudeau and his team no doubt ran a masterful campaign, but I fear the victorious Liberals might take the wrong lessons from Monday night. Like all political partisans, Liberal supporters are apt to confound what is good for their party with what is best for our nation.

Trudeau and his team no doubt ran a masterful campaign, but I fear the victorious Liberals might take the wrong lessons from Monday night. Like all political partisans, Liberal supporters are apt to confound what is good for their party with what is best for our nation.

Will they embrace meaningful changes to our antiquated voting system now that they have again hit the electoral jackpot? The Liberal party has enjoyed fully 16 “majority” governments since Confederation, while only three represented an actual majority of votes.

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Canadian ‘Totalitarianism’? Hope Can Win, Says Author Thomas King

Canadian ‘Totalitarianism’? Hope Can Win, Says Author Thomas King

Governor General award winner talks election politics and the power of words

Cherished author and former New Democrat candidate Thomas King insists he’ll stay out of politics this pivotal election season.

But on the heels of his Governor General award-winning novelThe Back of the Turtle — set in a coastal B.C. village devastated by a toxic spill — neither is the 72-year-old Order of Canada recipient shying away from controversy.

He’s incensed by the sweep of Conservative legislation under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in particular last month’s wide-reaching anti-terrorism bill, and earlier the slashing of waterway and environmental protections, muzzling of scientists on climate change, and gutting of Canada’s research libraries.

“The pieces of legislation they brought in, to my way of thinking, have been very close to a kind of totalitarianism,” he told The Tyee in a phone interview from his home in Peterborough, Ontario. “That doesn’t make me feel good, and I don’t think it’s very — if I dare say it — Canadian, particularly.”

Last year, The Back of the Turtle secured him the Governor General’s top literary prize. The book follows Dr. Gabriel Quinn, an aboriginal scientist who works for a multinational company whose chemical spill has decimated a small coastal B.C. town. The protagonist disappears and resurfaces in his fictitious hometown, Smoke River Indian Reserve, where he confronts his complicity in the cataclysm.

Despite energy companies’ safety assurances, it’s a feared outcome increasingly familiar across the country as a raft of bitumen and gas pipeline proposals advance.

For King, who is of mixed Cherokee, German and Greek descent, the novel’s clash of worldviews reflects many of the ethical tensions with which many Canadians grapple. But in that clash, he believes, also lies the potential for changing citizens’ hearts and minds.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

 

Is ‘holding the course’ putting Canada in recession?

Is ‘holding the course’ putting Canada in recession?

Conservatives blame ‘external factors’ for slide, economists say government choosing to let it go

Emanuella Enenajor likely caused more than a few politicians to choke on their Stampede pancakes last week.

The analyst with Bank of America Merrill Lynch was the first from a major financial institution to utter the dreaded R-word — recession.

Two consecutive quarters of decline are what the textbooks define as a recession.

Stuck in a ‘funk’

Statistics Canada has already told us GDP shrank by 0.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2015, and slid a further 0.1 per cent in April.

Enenajor has seen nothing to indicate May or June — the last two months of the second quarter — were any different.

“We’re stuck in a bit of a funk,” she said in an interview with CBC’s The House.

The oil shock has taken its toll on jobs, unemployment, economic development and the like.

From beneath his black Stetson at the annual Calgary Stampede parade last week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper kept his cool and even reckoned he’d seen worse.

“I’ve been in [Alberta] for 36 years now — I’ve seen a lot worse dips in the oil sector than this — and I am very confident the city and the province will bounce back quickly,” he told reporters.

While for obvious reasons the effects are felt most strongly in Alberta, they are being felt across the country.

Solid growth to come

Finance Minister Joe Oliver also appeared on The House this week, denying a recession has taken hold.

He said he believes there will be “solid growth for the full year,” in 2015, but concedes the first half will be rough.

“I think people understand the recent economic data is a result of external events,” Oliver said.

 

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