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Bill Longstaff: Americans—a dangerously fearful people

For nine years we were led by a fearful prime minister, and during the last election he gave us broad hints about who we should fear the most. Not that I am suggesting Mr. Harper was simply being a demagogue and trying to scare us into voting for him. … . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: Americans—a dangerously fearful people

Bill Longstaff: Sunny ways and other thoughts on the election

The Dark Age is over. The wicked witch of Calgary is gone. And Justin Trudeau has promised he will lead according to Sir Wilfred Laurier’s “sunny way.” Guided by the PM-elect’s “positive, optimistic, hopeful vision” rather than by Harper’s paranoia, the country will be a much happier place to inhabit.

I had hoped for a . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: Sunny ways and other thoughts on the election

Bill Longstaff: We’re on the international stage—for our bigotry

The latest issue of Press Progress includes an article commenting on the attention the Prime Minister’s divisive anti-Muslim politicking is getting around the globe.

For instance, The Economist carries the headline “Muslim-bashing is an effective campaign tactic” and goes on to say, “The fuss is a godsend for Stephen Harper, who hopes voters will . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: We’re on the international stage—for our bigotry

Bill Longstaff: What are Canadian values, of what value are they, and who decides?

Prime Minister Harper, the “old stock” Canadian, recently made the odd remark, “I will never tell my young daughter that a woman should cover her face because she is a woman. That’s not our Canada.” Why such a notion should ever present itself to Mr. Harper is a mystery, but the part that caught my . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: What are Canadian values, of what value are they, and who decides?

Bill Longstaff: Stephen Harper’s sad little world of fear

I have tended to think of Stephen Harper’s efforts to instill fear in Canadians as largely demagoguery. Governments creating a climate of fear to rally their people around them when they are in trouble is one of the oldest political gimmicks in the book. However, the more I observe Harper, the more I come to . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: Stephen Harper’s sad little world of fear

Bill Longstaff: NDP attacks Trudeau—Harper grins

As I was about to mail another donation to the NDP earlier this week, I encountered the following headline on the CBC website: “NDP sets sights on Trudeau in bid to recapture momentum.” No doubt the headline put a large grin on Stephen Harper’s face. It put a large frown on mine. Wonderful, I thought, . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: NDP attacks Trudeau—Harper grins

Bill Longstaff: Ceci forced to slap Harper’s wrist

In the midst of this tiresomely long election campaign, Stephen Harper appears to find attacking his NDP and Liberal opponents isn’t enough to occupy his time. He has decided to pick fights with a couple of provinces as well, recently assailing the Alberta government for raising taxes and not coming down with a budget.

Alberta . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: Ceci forced to slap Harper’s wrist

Bill Longstaff: The Pope, the Prime Minister and Naomi Klein

Pope Francis has made it very clear that he is profoundly concerned about what we are doing to life on our planet. He has particularly made it clear to Canadians. Earlier this month he gave an audience to our prime minister. It lasted all of 10 minutes and ended with an awkward photo op. The . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: The Pope, the Prime Minister and Naomi Klein

Bill Longstaff: The anti-communist memorial—an outrage to Canadian heritage

I recently wrote the following letter to The Honourable Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages:

Dear Minister:

I am writing in regard to the Memorial to the Victims of Communism proposed for a site immediately southwest of the Supreme Court of Canada.

My interest in this project stems from my long . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: The anti-communist memorial—an outrage to Canadian heritage

Bill Longstaff: Finally, a voice Harper may listen to

A carbon tax is an eminently fair and sensible approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. And big oil agrees. At least Steve Williams, CEO of Canada’s largest oil and gas producer, Suncor Energy, does. Speaking to a downtown Calgary crowd on Friday, Williams stated, “We think climate change is happening. We think a broad-based carbon . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: Finally, a voice Harper may listen to

Bill Longstaff: Chrétien, Putin and Harper—opportunity lost?

Former prime minister Jean Chrétien’s recent chat with Vladimir Putin in Moscow presents an opportunity to our government. Since Mr. Harper has, unlike all the other G7 leaders, refused to talk to the Russian leader, a debriefing of Mr. Chrétien would offer him a possibility of learning what motivates Putin’s actions in Ukraine—his sentiments, his . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: Chrétien, Putin and Harper—opportunity lost?

Bill Longstaff: Why do we allow face coverings in the House of Commons?

The Prime Minister explains to the House why face coverings are unacceptable to Canadians

Bill Longstaff: Soul mates and the politics of fear

Fabricating a threat to the nation in order to instill fear in the population may be demagoguery, but it is also a highly effective way for leaders to rally the people behind them. Frightened citizens turn conservative and cling to what they know, i.e. the incumbent government, rather than risk change. Politicians understand this very . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: Soul mates and the politics of fear

Bill Longstaff: Harper outmaneuvers Trudeau on Bill C-51

If any political party ought to oppose Bill C-51, it’s the Liberal Party. After all, it’s liberal values that the Bill threatens to erode. And yet, Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau has decided to support it. He wants some changes, and if the Conservatives don’t make them, he will … if and when his party . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: Harper outmaneuvers Trudeau on Bill C-51

Bill Longstaff: Harper fails Conservative citizenship criteria

Over the signature of Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Chris Alexander, the Conservative Party of Canada recently emailed a petition to its supporters, rallying them against face covering during citizenship oaths. Apparently Conservative ire was raised by a Federal Court of Canada decision that struck down the ban on Muslim women wearing niqabs when taking . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: Harper fails Conservative citizenship criteria

Bill Longstaff: Harper’s histrionics

Terrorist attacks are theatre. And what theatre they have been presenting lately. The 9/11 spectacle of planes flying into tall buildings was the most spectacular event ever seen on television. The shooting spree by Michael Zehaf-Bibeau on Parliament Hill put Canada in the global spotlight for days, and the recent mass murder in Paris has . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: Harper’s histrionics

Bill Longstaff: Bravo to Baird and Harper on the Cuba file

The United States has finally come to its senses and is normalizing relations with Cuba. It’s taken over half a century but—to borrow the old cliché—better late than never. And to our credit, Canada played a key role. By hosting meetings of officials from the two countries, we obviated the need for meetings in either . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: Bravo to Baird and Harper on the Cuba file

Bill Longstaff: Mr. Harper, listen to the Commish

She’s your commissioner, Mr. Harper, appointed under your watch. She is a former mining industry executive, the kind of credentials you respect. So when she speaks, pay attention. And she recently spoke loud and clear.

As federal Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, Julie Gelfand heads her department’s Fall 2014 report, which is . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: Mr. Harper, listen to the Commish

Bill Longstaff: National Post climate change deniers "paranoid"—so says their own editor

The prattling of climate change sceptics/deniers in the National Post has been ridiculed by one of its own editors. In recent comments on the CBC’s The National, Jonathan Kay repeated observations he made in a column some years ago in which he accused deniers of being “a liability to the Conservative cause.” In his article . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: National Post climate change deniers "paranoid"—so says their own editor

Bill Longstaff: Harper—not a man for our time

Vladimir Putin is a corrupt bully and I don’t like the guy. Nor do I like the mischief he’s up to in Ukraine. Nonetheless, I am not impressed by Stephen Harper’s self-righteous ranting about him.

I find Harper very hard to agree with even when he’s on the right side of the issue. Not because . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: Harper—not a man for our time

Bill Longstaff: NHL is worried about global warming—listen up, Mr. Harper

Surprising perhaps, but the National Hockey League now produces a sustainability report. And it’s worried about global warming. According to League Commissioner Gary Bettman, “Our sport can trace its roots to frozen freshwater ponds, to cold climates. Major environmental challenges, such as climate change and freshwater scarcity, affect opportunities for hockey players of all ages . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: NHL is worried about global warming—listen up, Mr. Harper

Bill Longstaff: Don’t give up on the Senate, Mr. Harper

It wouldn’t be surprising if Prime Minister Harper was in a bit of a funk over the Supreme Court’s decision on the Senate this week. The Court unanimously rejected his government’s attempt to transform the Senate into an elected body and to set term limits, saying that such basic changes require the consent of at . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: Don’t give up on the Senate, Mr. Harper

Bill Longstaff: Quebec—another majority that isn’t

A lot of euphoria last night from Liberal supporters and those many Canadians (including not a few Quebecers) who don’t want to hear about separation for another generation at least. Not only did the Liberals win, they won big, majority big.

Or at least the majority that counts which, unfortunately, is not a majority . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: Quebec—another majority that isn’t

Bill Longstaff: The "mother of all accountants" flays election bill

Sheila Fraser was once one of Stephen Harper’s favourite people. When she, in her capacity of auditor-general, exposed the Chretien government’s sponsorship scandal, sewing the seeds that would bring down the Liberals, Mr. Harper praised her handsomely as the “mother of all accountants” and in a neat turn of phrase remarked she “did not say . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: The "mother of all accountants" flays election bill

Bill Longstaff: Mr. Harper’s pilgimage to Israel—more Canterbury Tales than trade mission

Trade missions have always been questionable vehicles for boosting the Canadian economy. Nonetheless, some can be justified by, if nothing else, the trade potential of the host country. For example, Jean Chrétien’s Team Canada mission to China in 2011. China is now our second most important trading partner and the world’s largest market. Huge potential . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: Mr. Harper’s pilgimage to Israel—more Canterbury Tales than trade mission