Stephen Harper’s Conservatives recently passed Bill C-51. You’ve probably heard about it but if not, here’s the summary. It grants Canada’s spy agencies new enforcement powers to act upon data they’ve collected by monitoring your phone calls, text messages and your interactions on social media. The reason for this is they want to protect you from a terrorist attack – or arrest you if they suspect you are a terrorist. It would dismantle much of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms which was ratified by former Prime Minister Pierre-Elliot Trudeau and grants Canadians the privacy and freedom of speech they have today.
With an election just months away, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has decided to abandon the traditional all-broadcasters debate hosted by the nation’s major broadcasters and for the first time will be streamed on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. The Liberals, NDP, Green Party and Bloc Quebecois have all agreed to participate but the Conservatives refuse to even negotiate.
Conservative Finance Minister Joe Oliver delivered his first surplus budget to paint a rosy picture for the upcoming election. With a $1.4 billion surplus this year, and steadily growing over the next four, there is now room for new spending programs – or so it seems. The Conservatives have managed to create a budgetary illusion and with balanced budget legislation to take place in addition, it is time we look closer at the numbers. The surplus looks great on paper, but just how great is it?
With oil prices in free fall and oil companies scaling back production and a recession looking more and more imminent, the rosy $1.9 billion surplus the Conservatives wanted to campaign on has vanished and is now projected become a $2.3 billion deficit.
The new year will be an election year, that may oddly enough, mirror the past. Prime Minister Stephen Harper can only look back to the glory days in 2006 as he fights for his political life after throwing his Reform principles under the bus upon creating the new Conservative Party that will have been in power for nine years come May.
The business audience Prime Minister Stephen Harper was talking to in New York wasn’t the only thing that was lacking. He has failed to act on his harsh words during the Ukraine crisis and he has lied about Canada’s involvement in Iraq. It is clear Harper has not only lost credibility at home, but more disturbingly, abroad.
The Transportation Safety Board has released its long-awaited report Tuesday determining the cause and necessary response to the train derailment in Lac-Mégantic that took 47 lives in a fiery explosion. The report found that of 18 factors that lead to the disaster, “no one individual, a single action or a single factor” was responsible for the disaster but didn’t shy away from criticizing Transport Canada’s lack of oversight and enforcement of safety regulations.
In the month of July, only 200 net jobs were created. Despite Conservative rhetoric putting the Canadian economy on top of the G7 pack, our job creation record lags behind and remains unstable. It is noteworthy that the majority of lost full-time jobs have at best been replaced with temporary part-time jobs. The Conservatives can no longer afford to kick the can down the road and tell Canadians their opponents can’t handle the economy.