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Harper has upper hand

In jumping on American shoulders and sending Canadian bombers into Syria, Stephen Harper had to wind his way down two disparate paths.

Internationally, he is moving this country into murky waters, working with dubious allies in a mission that will be extended for another year ... and counting. READ

Giving away prosperity

A pair of well-travelled news stories ON Monday shine a better light on Alberta’s current fiscal mess than the government would have us realize. READ

Another civil war looms in Yemen

The last American troops are being pulled out of Yemen after al-Qaida fighters stormed a city near their base on Friday. Houthi rebels who have already overrun most of the country are closing in on Aden, the last stronghold of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. READ

Anyone but Harper?

How deep is the mistrust and hostility between Tom Mulcair and Justin Trudeau? It’s not just an idle thought plucked from the annals of the Canadian political soap opera. READ

More ‘bozo eruptions’?

Preston Manning, a man who knew a thing or two about dodging friendly political fire, has warned his conservative “family” many times. Its Achilles heel, the patriarch of today’s movement has said, is the “intemperate and ill considered remark,” the deeply held conviction spoken in public that blindsides and discredits conservative governments, parties and campaigns. READ

Wolves have become scapegoats

Frantically struggling to stay alive, a wolf tries to break free from the unforgiving stranglehold applied by a wire snare around its neck. The more it struggles, the more the deadly noose tightens, eventually cutting through major arteries at the upper portion of its spinal cord. A painful, agonizing death finally brings it comfort in blood-spattered snow where the corpse lies. READ

The resurrection of Vladimir Putin

If he just had the flu, why didn’t they say that he just had the flu? We’d all have sent him get-well cards, and that would have been the end of it. The lengthy and mysterious absence of Vladimir Putin ended on Monday, when the Russian president emerged in St. Petersburg to greet the visiting president of Kyrgyzstan, Almazbek Atambayev. The only explanation he offered for his 11-day disappearance from public view was that “It would be boring without gossip.” READ

The Tory web of fear

Two months after the killings at Charlie Hebdo, French President François Hollande’s popularity is again in free fall; the big boost he earned over his handling of the episode in January is little more than a fleeting memory. READ

A golden era of growth?

For a number of years now, my wife and a group of her female friends have allowed me to tag along on their weekly walking date on Thursdays. We generally gather at the parking lot of the Michener Centre curling rink and set off from there. READ

Islamic State: the worst case contingency

It’s often a good idea, when faced with a really frightening situation, to model the worst-case outcome and see how bad it could get. That can be quite bad, but it’s rarely as bad as the half-formed fears that build up if you don’t actually analyze the problem. Like Islamic State, for example. READ

Should seniors get a break?

It had to happen — just as I am passing into the demographic that seems to get a discount on almost everything, a think tank releases a report suggesting I shouldn’t. The Institute for Research on Public Policy spent a year pondering the economics and ethics of governments giving seniors discounts on taxes, transit, recreation fees, library cards ... pretty well everything that comes with a fee. READ

Election year brings in a new Mulcair and Trudeau

It’s an election year and that means last year’s versions of the two men who are bent on unseating Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are gone. The 2015 versions of NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau are different in both style and message. Some of the changes are subtle — a little tweaking there, a little buffing there — but make no mistake, both men are marketing themselves differently to voters in the early part of this year. READ

Yet another lake of fire

Conservative MP for Nanaimo-Alberni — James Lunney — does not believe in evolution. In fact, he says any scientist who does “has already abandoned the foundation of science.” READ

Moscow murder: plot or not

“Every time I call (my mother),” said Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov recently, “she gives me a talking-to: ‘When will you stop being rude about Putin? He’ll kill you.’” READ

Ready for the inevitable

Of course, I have no insider’s access and I do not know what is said in cabinet meetings, but I suspect the Harper government already has a team of civil servants drafting a law to allow suffering and dying patients to request the help of a doctor to ease and aid their death. READ

Punishment fits crime

The case of self-admitted “arrogant pissant” Justin Bourque signals a new era for Canada’s criminal justice system, which now has the power to lock up killers and throw away the keys. READ

Energy agenda loses steam

Just when Prime Minister Stephen Harper declined to join other world leaders on the podium of the United Nations climate change summit, the climate for his ambitious energy agenda continued to deteriorate across Canada. READ

Tories defy democracy

There was little doubt the federal government would approve the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project, regardless of public opposition or evidence presented against it. READ

A transit system travesty

The Advocate article on Tuesday said Red Deer is the largest city in Alberta that has no program for a lower-cost transit pass for low-income and disabled people. While that is true as far as it goes, the reality behind this is actually worse. READ

The time to act on climate change is now

Because we enjoy relatively pure air, clean water and healthy food systems, Canadians sometimes take the environment for granted. Many scarcely blink if oil from a pipeline spills into a river, a forest is cleared for tar sands operations or agricultural land is fracked for gas. If Arctic ice melts and part of the Antarctic ice sheet collapses, well… they’re far away. READ

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