Will Stephen Harper step down as Prime Minister of Canada this summer or early fall?
This may sound like an unbelievable story or perhaps even just a subconscious or in my case conscious wish, but it may be possible. Stephen Harper has been Prime Minister since 2006 and since then has changed the political landscape in Canada. Stephen harper has stood for and against many things while serving as Prime Minister. Some Canadians view him as a great Prime Minister the problem is, those numbers are starting to fall. The support and likeable factor of our Prime Minster is below Mr. Trudeau’s and a recent poll by the national post placed the Liberals in a Majority government if an election were held tomorrow. This is a problem for Stephen Harper.
We could bring up the anti gay marriage speech, the gutting of Environment Canada, the silencing of scientist who’s data and research didn’t mesh with the conservative ideology. We could dabble in the amount of debt our country is in which is the largest ever. We could also certainly point out the do one thing, say another in regards to senate appointee’s, raising taxes etc. This is not about a rant on our Prime Minster, you either love him or hate him for whatever reasons you wish. I am simply raising the point that perhaps it’s time to go. Remember the criminal code amendments, yikes, that will take a decade to clean up. In general it’s a problem that not all of the Stephen Harper ideology aligns with science and facts and when he is called out on it his position only solidifies. This is a conflict for canadians as over time Canadians have come to see that while they supported a change and a new way to governing they didn’t think such a narrow minded approach would follow.
There are two driving forces behind Stephen Harper.
1. He would like to take Canada and Canadians to a right of centre country.
2. Destroy the liberal party.
I can not stress to you enough how passionate he is about those two points. I’m sure my order may even be incorrect but these are two very ideal objectives for him. Mr. Harper is a very passionate politician who at all cost will not bend by any means for what he believes in. It is respectable to have such convictions from a politician but to not have the ability to look at the facts and say ” you know what, this needs to be adjusted or changed” is a fault in itself. The liberal party is the essence of everything M. Harper loathes. The compulsive hatred of the liberals by Mr. Harper goes way back, but even in current third place he just cant stand them. I am sure if there could have been one thing he wanted to do most of all it would have been to wipe the liberals off the political map. If he accomplished that I think he would have gladly retired with a smile on his face knowing he accomplished something dear to his heart.
The problem is the Liberal party has their new star leader, Justin Trudeau. Mr. Harper knows his support is slowing across the country and that even before the Liberals had their new leader elected, their past leaderless party still would have won in an election according to polling. This is a bold fact and one that most likely keeps Mr. Harper up at night. To know that for years you have fought to move the country to the right and destroy the liberal party, only to see the liberals most likely to win the next election must be a tough pill to swallow.
So Ego or Fight to the end?
Unlike Jean Chretien or Stephen harper, there is nothing wrong with stepping down while at a high in your political career as Prime Minister. Jean Chretien waited until there was a political coup within the liberal party until he was pushed out rather then leaving on his own terms. The point I raise is perhaps in the next few months it could be that same time for Stephen Harper. The conservative back benchers are frustrated they can’t speak their mind and raise issue’s passionate to them all because they are muzzled by the PMO. The old reform and progressive conservatives which merged to form the Conservative party of Canada are starting to show cracks and divides. Like an iceberg breaking away from the main sheet, it starts with rumblings and shifts, which turn into small cracks until in one mighty roar it splits off to float in the sea alone. The conservative party’s cracks are just starting to show but once the process has started, its hard to reverse. One side of me see’s the Harper who is caring about his mark he left on the country and his image. This would allow me to believe that he would see the storm brewing from within his own party and across the floor with the Liberals. However, there is also the tried tested and true side of Mr. Harper, the ideological side for which fact nor common sense would effect his decision making process.
We can remember when Dalton McGuinty stepped down as premier of Ontario which led the path to party rejuvenation and new leadership. This is the only way a political party has a chance at staying in power as the opposition gains support and starts to eclipse the party in power. Mr. McGuinty clearly placed his own ego aside and stepped down for his party and province leaving on a high note.
I would like to believe for Harper’s backbenchers that he is a smart enough man to step down before his party cracks begin to widen and one of the opposition parties defeats them in the next election. The longer Mr. Harper stays, the larger the cracks become, the stronger the opposition and the less chance at a successful reelection.
I guess in the end, no one knows but Mr. Harper. The real question is will he leave office and allow the conservative party to renew itself for a fair chance at reelection or will he fight till then end?
I suspect an internal and quiet revolt will leave Harper little choice and he will resign this year. Or perhaps not. One thing is for sure, the next election will not favour Mr. Harper.
Just my two cents…
There are those who create, those that destroy and those that simply watch from a safe distance. Last night I attended the Lady Gaga concert in Toronto and it was nothing but pure artistic creation. Lady Gaga is not simply a musician or a singer or an artist, she is a movement unto herself.
To describe Lady Gaga to those who are not familiar with her passion is simply impossible, you just have to feel for yourself who she is. Lady Gaga writes, plays, produces, choreographs and sings her own creations. The concert was not simply a chance to attend a loud dance party of screaming fans chanting to Lady Gaga, it was far more. You see, Lady Gaga is a movement of a truly unique kind. The movement is of the downbeat, the outsider, the ugly kid, the fat kid, the gays, the losers and did I mentions the gays? Her music and passion is to bring those groups of people who have felt left out, or kicked aside, or felt like they didn’t belong or didn’t believe in themselves and makes them think otherwise. Her music is about learning to accept yourself as you are and to be proud as hell doing so. Lady Gaga can bring tears to her fans eyes because she provides certain strength and comfort to those who need it most.
Lady Gaga has provided me a beacon of strength to help guide me to who I have become today and who I will become in the future.
Lady Gaga does not preach rules or a way of life; she simply finds the good part inside of you and makes it shine. This powerful form of art is truly uplifting and can bring an entire concert to its knees. To finally have the opportunity to attend her concert and see her perform live was a dream come true. I went with my cousin Anna and my friend Spenser to the Air Canada Center Saturday night.
The Air Canada Center was filled with a huge diversity of concertgoers. It is hard to even pinpoint an exact typical fan as they vary in diversity as large as humanity in general. One section of her huge fan base is the gay community. Lady Gaga has stood up for LGBT rights in the USA for awhile now and has been an instrumental tool in furthering the equality rights movement. Most all members of the LGBT community have felt that feeling of exclusion, of judgment, of feeling like they do not belong. Lady Gaga has shown many young members of the community that they do belong and that they are beautiful little monsters.
At the concert I met a very nice guy named Micah who like me had a story to share on why this concert was so important to us. Micah was in his 20’s, gay and had not only conquered cancer once, but twice. His story of his challenges fighting cancer and coming out was truly awe-inspiring. He said that he derived his strength from a multitude of sources, but one of the most important was Lady Gaga. His stories were nothing like mine however we all have our own crosses to bear. I explained, while small in comparison the challenges I faced coming out professionally as an airline pilot. While mostly positive experiences some very odd situations and hurtful people made it not the easiest. It is one thing to be a gay flight attendant as it is more common, but when you are a pilot and join ‘the old boys club” per say it can be difficult. This just goes to show you the stereotypes out there, which quite frankly are not even relevant anymore. We just understood where we each were coming from and how we have come to where we are today.
Micah and I held hands as we cheered and sang alongside of the performance and it was just magical. Having my friend Spenser by my side and my new friend Micah on the other allowed us to connect in a very powerful way. The music, the costume, the set and most importantly the message Lady Gaga gave to her audience was truly an inspiring night.
I normally write about politics, or the environment relating to politics, or politics, politics and more politics. To show my personal feelings on paper is a rarity as I prefer more factual based writing and not simply emotional, however this can be an exception.
Lady Gaga inspired me when I was feeling low in the past and pulled me even higher last night. I like to laugh now that all of my past roommates know all to well my love of Gaga. I would play her music quite often and very loud to the point that they would tell me to turn it down.
The music is just the icing on the cake.
I don’t think there is anyone else who can sing as well as she can.
She will always be my lady,
My final day the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Doha Qatar. Mr. Peter Kent spoke on behalf of Canada and delivered a disappointing commitment both domestically and internationally. I also spoke about how Canada has compared to other members of the OECD which is quite frankly disappointing.
Solutions are out there and options are available if we choose to act on them. I hope my fellow Canadians continue to place pressure on our elected officials to encoorprtate a more progressive environmental policy for Canada.
From Doha Qatar
Normally the words Air Travel and Environment aren’t used in the same sentence except to criticize aviation’s impact on the environment. I think you ay be surprised to know that Air Travel accounts for only around 2% of the world’s GHG emissions. This is surprisingly low considering that aviation carries roughly 35% of the world’s trade by value, which is roughly 5.3 Trillion dollars. The Aviation industry supports roughly 56.6 million jobs worldwide with an economic impact of over 2 trillion dollars (including direct, indirect, induced and tourism catalytic). The aviation industry is a big player in the world’s economy and transport industry.
The Aviation industry is not just a crucial part of the global economy, but is also an important environmental leader. The aviation industry is one of the most rapidly improving industries in regards to its environmental targets. The international aviation industry governing body is the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) and they have set the following targets:
-Global aspirational goal of 2% annual fuel efficiency improvement by 2050
-A medium-term global aspirational goal from 2020 that would ensure that while the international aviation sector continues to grow, its global CO2 emissions would be stabilized at 2020 levels
-Development of a global CO2 standard for aircraft aiming for 2013
-By 2050 have global aviation industry emissions at half of 2005 levels
-Find ways to optimize air traffic control
-Find ways to increase the use of biofuel as a partial percentage or whole substitute for traditional fossil fuels.
-Many major airlines offer carbon offset credits you can purchase; this plan would also like to be expanded
The aviation industry is a without a doubt a producer of CO2 emissions but when we look at its emission levels and improvement targets compared to other modes of transportation it is impressive.
In the future perhaps we will perhaps be flying on an airliner fuelled completely from renewable biofuel, or maybe even solar-powered. As technology improves so does fuel efficiency due to aerodynamic design improvements, increased engine efficiency and new lighter building materials like carbon fiber. These actions combined with improved routing and more efficient ATC the fuel savings really add up.
With continued hard work from many different professionals within the aviation industry a longterm sustainable version of air travel is more than possible!
This letter is written by some fellow Canadian Airline Pilots and not myself, but I found it important enough to share. Given the extremely serious nature of the employment issues facing Canadian pilots and given the increasing flooding of the Canadian market with foreign pilots – we believe it is imperative that Canadian pilots across the country communicate their concerns to Ottawa and implore to act and to act soon. We need to protect our jobs and now! And we need to encourage the Government of Canada to do the same, given the fact that in the upcoming travel season, more than 400 foreign pilots may be brought into Canada, piloting approximately 30 aircraft, to the detriment of Canadian tax-paying pilots.
We strongly encourage you to date/sign this letter, which can be mailed free of charge to the Prime Minister,
Right Honourable Stephen Harper, PC, MP
Prime Minister of Canada
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1N 0A6
Fax: (613) 941-6900
“Dear Prime Minister,
As a proudly Canadian airline pilot, I write to you today in regards to a series of troubling issues, which are negatively impacting the Canadian airline sector and causing very serious economic and financial hardship for hundreds of my professional colleagues in Canada. I should highlight at the outset the very important, social and economic valuable footprint of airline pilots in Canada. With just over 11,000 licensed commercial airline pilots in Canada, our profession contributes an incredible amount to a healthy national Canadian economy. We are active participants in a range of key sectors including transportation and tourism and facilitate the movement of millions of passengers and billions of dollars worth of goods each and every month.
Over the past several months, a number of Canadian pilots, their representatives and certain airline management all united into “The Coalition for no foreign pilots working in Canada” have been talking to the federal government and its responsible Ministers about certain dubious commercial practices being employed by one particular Canadian air carrier.
While we appreciate the work being done by these Ministers and their departments, I write to you today, Prime Minister, because the situation has gotten to a point where it is so serious in nature that it requires a much faster resolution and your active intervention.
In short, this carrier mentioned above has been using Canadian federal policy and law – particularly through the Temporary Foreign Workers framework – to flood the Canadian labour market with foreign pilots, leaving myself and thousands of other Canadian commercial tax-paying pilots at risk.
Already, more than 60 Canadian pilots have already been laid off in advance of the upcoming busy winter tourism season. Make no mistake – these lay-offs are directly related to the inordinate number of foreign pilots who are being brought into Canada by a certain “Canadian” air carrier.
This issue touches on a number of key areas of policy, which the federal government administers:
- Temporary Foreign Workers Program
(Under the authority of Human Resources & Skills Development Canada)
A Labour Market Opinion (LMO) is generated by a commercial applicant to ensure there is a true labour shortage in Canada and there is no negative impact on the Canadian labour market before that organization is allowed to bring in temporary foreign labour. The LMO also clearly spells out strict criteria by which a Canadian company must have attempted to solicit Canadian workers first, prior to seeking foreign workers. It also requires that employers train Canadians for the position before attempting to hire foreign labour. Those requirements are being ignored in the LMO application process.
For Canadian pilots, the LMO process has become challenging as the true picture of the Canadian pilot labour market is often distorted in these applications. Further, application criteria are often set so narrowly on purpose to make it impossible for any Canadian applicants to apply. In short, these criteria are being expressly designed to fail. In fact, there are many similarities between this situation and the unfortunate set of circumstances that recently came to public attention and including the importation of Chinese workers in a B.C. mining company.
- Reciprocity Agreements
(Under the authority of Citizenship & Immigration Canada)
The agreement allows for the importation of foreign workers if there are equivalent “opportunities” for Canadians to gain work internationally.
For pilots, this program has become challenging as there has been a marked decrease in real international opportunities available to Canadians overseas while at the same time, the overall number of foreign pilots operating in Canada under this agreement has been increasing in a dramatic fashion that bear no proportion to the number of pilots finding real job overseas.
At the same time, the European Union is taking steps to further restrict opportunities for Canadian pilots in their jurisdiction, further complicating the serious imbalance and unfairness in this program.
- “Wet-Leasing” / “Sham dry-lease”
(Under the authority of Transport Canada)
Under the wet-lease practice, a Canadian air carrier can strike a lease with another international air carrier by which the lessor provides, either directly or indirectly, both the aircraft and flight crews to operate the aircraft in Canada.
A “sham dry-lease” is a typical situation where a foreign air carrier is providing the aircraft under a “dry lease” and is also providing the flight crews under a separate agreement, or the foreign crews are being provided by a third source that could be related to the lessor. Indeed, this practice has been highlighted by US federal aviation authorities as being a circumvention strategy of applicable wet-leasing law and policy.
This practice is being seriously misused in a very troubling way, with a certain “Canadian” air carrier opting to out-right “wet-lease” or “sham dry-lease” a large portion of its fleet and crews from foreign air carriers year after year after year as part of a long-term corporate strategy – as opposed to using this policy framework for short-term purposes and under exceptional circumstances only.
One of the many troubling aspects of the abuse of this program is that – with more than 400 foreign pilots expected to be brought into Canada to work this coming season, leaving many Canadian pilots out of work – this kind of activity results in a clear imbalance in terms of economic benefits accruing to foreign interests at the expense of Canadians. It further results in significant income tax revenues forfeited given foreign pilots who do not pay taxes into the Canadian system and therefore are in no way contributing to our national economy or to the various services and support networks which Canadian domestic, tax-paying pilots do.
It must be noted, Prime Minister, that given this abuse of loopholes in Canadian policy, a certain “Canadian” air carrier, during the winter tourism season, will see more than 60% of its entire pilot crews composed of foreign workers. This extremely troubling fact will see Canadian pilots either out of work entirely and/or without the ability to increase their skill/training by flying on larger aircraft (i.e., they will be unable to progress professionally, in their own country!).
Prime Minister, the combined consequences of the misuse of these federal programs and practices has the potential to seriously impact the Canadian air sector – one which is already significantly put at risk by growing challenges posed by international competitiveness and cost implications. Canadian pilots like me need your help to ensure that our livelihoods – after years spent building our very specialized and value-added skills and training in Canada – are not thrown into doubt, by a “Canadian” company preferring to employ foreign workers over hard-working, tax-paying Canadians.
Furthermore, it needs to be emphasized that the misuse of Canadian policy by a certain “Canadian” air carrier is also resulting in serious lack of training afforded to Canadian pilots – the same training that all other major Canadian air carriers are providing for their employees. In fact, a certain “Canadian” air carrier is choosing to forego offering these training programs to Canadian pilots, and is instead opting for the easier, cheaper approach of flooding the market with foreign workers. This is presenting a very unfair and damaging environment for Canadian airline pilots from coast to coast.
In terms of suggested solutions, we would propose the following:
1. Encourage immediate discussions between your Cabinet colleagues, Ministers Finley, Kenney and Lebel to engage in a collective discussion about how to address this critical issue and protect Canadian jobs through a harmonized policy approach. Given the individual components of this complicated situation – each falling under the purview of holders a different Minister/department – yet given their strong interrelation, this discussion is critical to assisting with a speedy resolution.
2. Exercise the federal government’s authority to ensure all Canadian air operator certificate satisfy the requirements for being “Canadian.” As well, adopt and enforce regulations regarding LMOs that will favour the training and employment of Canadian pilots above all and, not allow the insertion in an LMO application of employment criteria that are designed to fail and prevent the application of Canadian pilots to a job opportunity.
3. Adopt a reciprocal approach with foreign governments regarding foreign pilots seeking seasonal employment in Canada given that some standards (for example, those of the EU) have largely removed opportunities for Canadian pilots in that jurisdiction. We need to ensure real access to real jobs for Canadians on a clear “1 for 1” basis, in the same calendar year. We need to ensure that this “backdoor” allowing for dubious commercial practices by a certain “Canadian” air carrier be closed.
4. Direct Transport Canada to follow through on a full review of the existing “wet-lease” policy to ensure Canadian fleets, including pilots and crew, are at all times very substantially Canadian.
Prime Minister, Canadian pilots are taking this same message to our elected representatives across the country, imploring them to stand up for Canadian jobs and level this increasingly unfair playing field – one which is gained through questionable business practices by a certain “Canadian” air carrier.
Thank you for your attention to this very serious matter – please help!
Canadian Airline Pilot
I am writing to you on behalf of the delegation International Working Group (IWG) of the YLC who will be attending the up-coming United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP-18). We need your help to build a strong Liberal voice on the environment by having Young Liberals in Doha, Qatar this December when the United Nations negotiates the future of climate change
The YLC works with global institutions like the United Nations as a member organization of the International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY). At the 2010 UN Conference on Climate Change, our delegates helped push through an article that commits global financing to climate change education, showing leadership while the Harper Government hid away from international criticism.
We are asking you to help us build on these successes and develop future generations of leaders by sponsoring our next delegation to this conference. A $100 donation will go a long way in guaranteeing our generation a voice over the environment that we inherit. $1500 will pay for one delegate’s flights. Our total sponsorship target is $10 000, which we will match through smaller fundraisers and educational events in our communities.
You can donate securely and easily online through PayPal at http://goo.gl/2lgRo. Cheques made to the Ottawa Centre FLA can also be mailed to 1517-170 Lees Ave, Ottawa, ON, K1S5G5 (please specify YLC COP18 Fundraiser in the memo line).
Thank you in advance for investing in our delegation. Your donation will provide us an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn from the world’s leading environmental experts and lobby world leaders. We will maintain a blog so you can follow along at: http://ylcjlcclimate.wordpress.com.
With your support and generosity, the Young Liberals of Canada will represent our voice on the world stage taking decisive action on the environment and climate change.
Chair – YLC International Working Group
President of the Young Liberals of Canada “
The summer that was supposed to be, and was.
After spending many summers working in Thunder Bay and last summer doing all of my initial training with Porter airlines, this was finally my summer. I moved downtown in May to a nice 1-bedroom apartment, which I nicknamed The Burgundy Room. This was the summer of no community volunteering, no political gatherings or fundraisers, United way, David Suzuki foundation and many others would just have to look else where as I was out. Working very hard for many years performing a job I necessarily didn’t love; in a city I didn’t necessarily dream of always living in, it was just nice to finally reach a point where I could honestly say I was happy. Living in a 1-bedroom apartment, in Toronto’s gay village working downtown out of the Island airport, life finally seemed perfect.
The stars were aligning for one perfect summer. A summer where I could return to the true meaning of summer, to enjoy the outdoors with friends and live life full of sun. It was the first time in a long time where I wasn’t striving for the future, but for living life in the perfect moment I imagined. I was 25, fit, single, successful and ready to tackle the city and my dream life. So I thought.
I had some good friends in Toronto, specifically in the village that I looked so forward to catching up with. Most of the summer was spent on the beach at Hanlan’s point, attending condo parties, dancing shirtless at Buddies with my mates, dinners full of wine, party, veg, sleep, rinse and repeat. Marching with the Liberals in the Pride parade wearing nothing but a red speedo was a liberating and amazing experience which was definitely a highlight of this summer It was basically a summer of excess, the type of reckless life of spending money and having fun, the type of life we associate with Wall Street bankers prior to the 2008 collapse. The best part, this was sustainable and there was no financial armageddon at the end. I attended apartment parties with the boys, briefly dated some very cool people which I always will have respect for and lived almost like a rebel without a cause, because I finally felt like I didn’t have one. It was so refreshing to ditch the I-Cal app and smorgasbord of obligations and expectations and to just let loose and live my life for me, not my career or political goals, but for me, Ryan Sullivan.
They say you can’t look for love, because love comes when you least expect it. When I was in Thunder Bay I always dreamed of returning to Toronto and moving downtown into my own place and living my planned dream life. Working so hard and finally achieving that made me feel extremely grateful and very confident about who I was as a whole. To finally feel like you have reached a point of goal=reality is a feeling which I can assure you feels just darn dandy. It was at this point of pure semi self-realization and actually happy to be single attitude when I met a very cool guy named Nick. Nick was a very cute and very smart guy who I met almost completely by accident. Long story short, we met and hit it off like magic. His motivation towards success and terrific knowledge of politics and business (not to mention his great physical shape) was an instant turn on. What was supposed to be a summer of single-hood and adventure turned into something, well a little less single and perhaps a little more mingle.
I decided to let nick in and join this summer adventure, by my side. Nick and I went to Newfoundland and BC together…summer lovers coast to coast. The time we spent together with someone who really could appreciate each-other and understood our different strengths and weaknesses was just awesome. Our relationship perhaps altered my original plan of single-hood but it seemingly fit better than we both could suspect. How I knew we would make this summer work together for sure was when on our third date at Byzantium restaurant over a delicious rioja valley red and a 45 min discussion of the greek debt crises problem and possible solutions I knew I was hooked on a guy named Nick Banerd.
Spending time at my cottage with family more than I have done since in grade school, surfing again on the west coast, drinking with my friends just made me feel alive.
It may sound like a silly ramble, but those who have worked hard for what they believe in and have finally achieve it understand the satisfaction that comes with it. I love politics, volunteering and my community but to take a break from that constant passion and to live my life, for once, for just plain old me…..was worth a million dollars. My friends, my happy smiling times, my family ( at times :S) are what make me feel like a lucky man. It was nice to reconnect with the true meaning of life, to enjoy every minute and be grateful you had it. To taste the hint of cherry and plums in your Pinot Noir while absorbing that comforting sun has summer written all over.
I look forward to reengaging in my community with United Way, a terrific community based organization. I look forward to hopefully volunteering with other organizations as well because I have always been and always be a man passionate about making the lives of others better. The reason I love politics is because I believe there is a better way. A better way to run an effective 21rst economy, a more progressive and effective environmental policy, a better educated and healthier society through better targeted investment in what matters most. There is no hiding that one day I would love to run for office, not for me but for the honest work and passion I would like to think I could bring to the table for my beloved country. We live in a great time, both of the best and worst, but it’s up to us to make it ours.
I hope everyone has had a great summer. The fall should be full of stylish clothing, the TSO and COC opening back up after their summer hiatus and the chance for me to reconnect with the community in which I live.
Go out and live life…
Ditch the 500-channel cable and realize how amazing life can really be right in your own community and all around you, specifically this beautiful country we call home.
All the best everyone,