April 21, 2008

It's Time to Stand Up for the Safety of Canadians instead of Misguided Gun Owners

Earlier this month, I wrote a post regarding the wrong and harmful actions of the Conservative government in regards to the federal gun registry. I strongly oppose their efforts to break apart the registry because I am a firm believer in gun control laws and the methods of enforcement. Safety is far, far more important than the ability to own deadly and potentially fatal weaponry.

My outrage on this issue has only increased today in light of a Toronto Star Story which states that the Government has given back to gun owners far more money than it has cost to run the Registry. According to the article, the operating costs since 2006 amount to $35.9 million, yet they have refunded and/or waived $56.5 million!

They could have more than covered the costs of operating this vital Registry, but instead they have undermined it financially, morally, and publicly. When is this government going to wake up and put the safety of vulnerable Canadians before the frivolity of gun enthusiasts? Hopefully soon, before too many innocent lives are lost to gun crimes.

It is time to make a firm stand against firearms here in Canada. Stop refunding money to gun owners when it can be used to support the Gun Registry!

April 17, 2008

Hillier Deserves Criticism, not Praise and Adoration

This week's announcement that Chief of Defense Staff General Rick Hillier will resign in the summer prompted a flood of media adoration and rosy comments. They went on and on about his abilities to connect with the soldiers in Afghanistan and spoke about his strength in standing up for the military.

However, it seems that no one has taken the effort to substantively criticize Hillier for his inappropriate politicization of the Department of National Defense. This man has worked very hard to promote the mission in Afghanistan as a military mission, as opposed to diplomatic and/or humanitarian mission. However, his job is not supposed to be political. That is the role of the Minister of Defense, not the Chief of Defense Staff. I believe quite strongly that we would not be engaged in such a combat-oriented mission in Afghanistan if it were not for him

Hillier has spent far too much time criticizing the former Liberal governments under Jean Chretien and Paul Martin. He should have stayed out of the political arena rather than throwing himself into it.

I just wish the media would stop their Hillier love-in for just a few minutes to take him to task for overstepping his boundaries.

April 10, 2008

Jim Flaherty Doesn't Care about Vulnerable Canadians

Today, Jim Flaherty proved his mean-spirited and petty contempt for vulnerable Canadians. He told reporters outside of the House of Commons that in order to avoid a budget deficit "We're not raising taxes. There are other ways that governments can balance budgets, of course. We can always restrain spending if that becomes necessary."

How can Flaherty not realize that millions of Canadians depend on the government to provide vital services to them which cannot just be taken away without dire consequences. Too many Canadians are living paycheque-to-paycheque without any room to spare and they rely on the government for many services. How will they be able to cope if the government takes them away?

Flaherty could have said that, in the event of economic hardship in the government, wealthy Canadians would be called upon to pay more taxes. After, they made their wealth here in Canada, and they ought to do more for our country which has provided them with such opportunity. Instead, Flaherty decided to recover the hypothetical shortfall from the most vulnerable Canadians.

Our government provides many valuable services for our country. I would personally argue that it to do even more to help Canadians (such as access to child care for women and families), but at the very least, we cannot afford to take any of what we have now away from us. We need to invest in Canadians so we can all grow stronger together, not threaten to abandon the most vulnerable members of our society at the time when they need the government the most.

Shocking Threat to Privacy!!!

On the Ottawa Sun's website, there is a shocking story about Canadians' privacy risks. Yesterday, American Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said that an individual's fingerprints are not private and eligible for sharing as biometric information.

He said that "They're not particularly private. Your fingerprint's hardly personal data, because you leave it on glasses and silverware and articles all over the world."

This is unacceptable and I am incredibly shocked that he would not recognize that something so unique and personal as one's fingerprint is not a matter of privacy for that individual. We need to have the right to control how our personal information is used and distributed. Our fingerprints are unique to each and everyone of us and, when examined, have the ability to identify us.

I am not comfortable with the idea of any person or any government having the ability to identify me without my knowledge and consent of it (which I would never give). Conservatives in both Canada and the united states need to realize that our unique personal information is sacred and not of the public domain.

April 9, 2008

Conservatives Sending the Wrong Message on Gun Ownership

Yesterday, the federal firearms commissioner made public his report in which he outlined that the Conservative government has refunded nearly $21 million to gun owners in Canada. Rather than forcing gun owners to comply with the gun registry, the Conservatives (led by public safety minister Stockwell Day) have encouraged them to flout the law.

The Conservatives has not only refunded gun owners for the fees they sent in during 2006, it has introduced an 'amnesty' so that unregistered gun owners do not need to comply with the law and register their deadly weapons. According to the report, 234,000 registrations have expired and their owners have not renewed.

Canadians need to be very, very concerned with these developments to our gun laws. Many of us like to think that the government will protect innocent Canadians from harm, but the truth is that they aren't protecting us. They're making it more difficult for police to know a full picture about the individuals they investigate and track. They're making it more dangerous for Canadians by allowing these guns to remain in houses and apartments across Canada where they can be used to harm people.

Guns are used not only by street criminals to inflict harm; it is not limited to drive-by shootings and gang violence. Some of these so-called 'ordinary, law-abiding Canadians' use their weapons in cases of domestic strife, disagreements with neighbours, or even against random innocent Canadians. Sadly, anyone with a gun in their possession has the option to use it on another human being, and some of them choose to do so.

We need to protect society from these deadly weapons, which should be a greater priority than allowing gun owners to keep their firearms outside of the law.

How can we expect to send a message to criminals that gun crime will not be tolerated when the government is enabling ordinaries Canadians to break the law as established by Parliament by not registering their firearms?

April 3, 2008

More Proof of Racism Amongst the Conservative Party of Canada

In the past couple of days, documents have come to light showing racist tendencies held by Prime Minister Stephen Harper from a Reform Party policy document he wrote in 1988, as well as statements made as recently as 2001.

Today, it has come out that one of his caucus members, Tom Lukiwski from Saskatchewan, is the exact same. Apparently, Lukiwski as well as Saskatchewan Premier, Brad Wall, appear in a videotape containing sexist, racist, and homophobic statements.

Such beliefs is not the type of beliefs our elected representatives should hold. MPs represent every single one of their constituents, not only the ones with their preferred skin colour, gender, and sexual orientation.

Shame on the Conservatives!

April 2, 2008

True Respect Requires Actions, not Just Words

Today, the House of Commons will vote on a motion in favour of lowering the flag on the Peace Tower to half-staff to show respect and remembrance for soldiers killed in Afghanistan. I fully support this motion and encourage all Members of Parliament, particularly those in the Government, to support and abide by its terms.

Conservatives frequently evoke rhetoric on just how much they support the troops serving in Afghanistan - yet, they oppose this motion! If they really care about the soldiers in question, they should want to convey this respect through actions, not just empty rhetoric. This is a tangible action which can be taken to show just how strongly they support the soldiers in Afghanistan and the sacrifices they are making on behalf of Canadians.

The complete text of the motion is as follows:

"That, in the opinion of the House, in order to show respect and to honour Canadian Forces and other Canadian government personnel who are killed while serving in overseas peacekeeping, peacemaking or humanitarian missions, the government should lower the flag on the Peace Tower to half-staff for the day following their demise as a remembrance of their important service to Canada and Canadians and that a moment of silence to be observed in the House, if the House is sitting on that same day."