Is politics broken? Yes, but we also know how to fix it. Through the ages, politics has been broken many times, yet people have risen to the challenge. The question now is whether we will do so again. There is a new principle that I believe can do this. It is called Open by Default and was formulated by the Open Government movement to guide governments around the world as they transform themselves for the digital age.
The tabling of new, omnibus anti-terrorism legislation, Bill C-51, in the Canadian Parliament in January 2015, has re-energized calls for greater “oversight” of Canadian intelligence and security practices. Many voices have weighed in, from former Canadian Prime Ministers, to the NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, who called out Canada for having one of the “weakest oversight” frameworks for intelligence gathering in the Western world. The concern is understandable.
The motion tabled in Parliament this week to extend Canada’s military engagement against the Islamic State (IS) sets a worrying precedent. The decision to expand the air war to Syria is grounded in a confused legality that blurs legitimate concerns with Iraq’s right to self-defence with the dubious legality of a global ‘war on terror’.
Infrastructure is central to every aspect of life in Canada. It’s a key driver of productivity and growth in a modern economy and it contributes to the health and well-being of Canadian citizens. It is a method for enabling communication and sharing of information between citizens. It is a means for providing core services such as water, electricity and energy and is a shaper of how our communities grow and contribute to our collective social fabric.
During the debate over the niqab last week, I couldn’t help but think of Karl Rove, the renowned Republican strategist and spiritual mentor of the Harper government. The jury’s still out on what really happened, but I’d love to hear his take on it. Karl Rove was George W Bush’s senior political advisor and campaign strategist. He may be one of the most influential figures in recent political history. He also had a huge impact on the Harper government.
What is it to be free? In a democracy like ours, there may be no more important question. Justin Trudeau gave a speech in Toronto on Monday night that engages this question with the seriousness it deserves. Freedom, he tells us, is a core value that will “motivate (political) leaders’ decisions, whatever events may throw at them.” For Trudeau, liberty is the moral compass that guides our leaders and his speech is an impressive effort to spell out his views on it.
The youngest and fastest growing segment of the Canadian population is underperforming academically to a dramatic degree. Nearly 40 per cent of indigenous Canadians do not graduate from high school, and the figure is nearly 60 per cent for First Nations people on reserves, rates that far exceed the Canadian average. What these statistics show is that the majority of First Nations students are not reaching their full potential and the question is why not?
In the draft budget for 2015 tabled by the City of Ottawa, one seemingly small but critical program is at risk: Healthy Babies Healthy Children. Launched by the province of Ontario and run by the Ottawa Board of Health, it is program on the proverbial chopping block that is worthy of national attention…
There are a little more than 4 million children in Canada aged 0 to 12 years. They need care and education. I don’t think anyone really disputes this–youth 13 and older obviously also have needs for care and education but they’re not the focus of this post. In most cases, decisions about that care and education are made by parents or legal guardians who will have the bests interests of their children at heart. I don’t think anyone disputes this either. Those children and the families making decisions for them are really, really diverse. So why do we keep trying to produce national public policies on child-care that are one-size solutions?