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Just as the Conservative government committed, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should commit to passing the Victims Rights in the Military Justice System Act as soon as Parliament resumes. There is no reason not to do so. Equality before the law is good, common-sense policy, and supporting our troops is always the right thing to do morally and politically.
The upcoming Winnipeg General Strike centenary should serve as a rallying point for further action. It's time that economically disenfranchised youth join with unionized workers and underemployed workers in a general strike action. So long as the plutocrats can dictate the economic fundamentals of our nation, the unfairness will remain.
Economic Action Plan 2014 is what Canada needs. It continues to support jobs and growth; supports families and communities; and highlights the road to a balanced budget in 2015 without cutting transfers to individuals or the provinces.
In case you missed it, the Harper Conservatives claim that they have "done more for women and girls across Canada than any other government." The actual evidence simply does not support such a wild claim. Instead of addressing pay equity, the lack of which means about $126 billion in lost income potential of women in Canada, former Heritage Minister Bev Oda was more interested in freeing up $700,000 from unnecessary rent and utility bills after a $5 million funding cut to Status of Women. One out of three women in Canada suffers violence.
A government's claims of economic competence must surely depend upon a sound record in certain crucial areas -- such as economic growth, debt reduction, balanced budgets and management of the tax burden. On all four counts, the Harper regime is a serious disappointment. As for taxes, that's where Mr. Harper brags the most. But check reality! While claiming they never raise taxes, the Harper Conservatives have in fact increased the net tax burden on Canadians in each of their last four budgets. It happens in dozens of nefarious ways which they hope you won't notice.
One of the most frustrating characteristics of the Harper government is that it announces that it intends to take big steps forward on various issues of national importance, then takes furtive steps backward when nobody is looking. This promise-and-retreat routine has stricken our country's capacity to prepare for -- and respond to -- national emergencies, like the recent floods in Alberta and the train wreck in Lac-Mégantic.
The Conservatives' militarism is unrelenting. Last month, the Harper government launched a Civil Military Leadership Pilot Initiative at the University of Alberta. The program "allow[s] people to simultaneously obtain a university degree while also gaining leadership experience in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Reserves." The four-year Civil Military Leadership Pilot Initiative will be "co-directed by the University of Alberta and the CAF" and the government hopes to export this "test model" to other universities. The program is an attempt to reestablish the Canadian Officer Training Corps, which was offered at universities from 1912 until 1968.
In 2011, Canadian artist Franke James set out on a solo European art exhibit spanning 20 countries. But what happened instead, prompted an Amnesty International campaigner in Croatia to declare it a "sad day for Canadian democracy."
Our view, which we developed in a recent study entitled Tax Payers and Tax Takers, is that tax relief that results in larger and larger shares of the population being exempt from paying any meaningful taxes leads to more demand, not less, for government.
The Conservative government could have taken a much bolder stance on wildlife poaching, especially given the recent Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA). Canada has even more power to coerce China into bringing forth sweeping changes to it's treatment of animals and the environment.