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Opinion

On matters of conscience

For most Canadians, infrequent glimpses into the workings of their Parliament reveal what appear to be elected bobble heads and applauding armies cheerleading for their party leaders.

For the most part, that is sadly accurate, but independence does erupt in the House of Commons, indecision is sometimes confessed and MPs can veer from party lines on principle, without being branded mavericks or sparking a media feeding frenzy. READ

A state worse than death

Is there a state of life that’s worse than death? A lot of people — a large majority of Canadians, in fact — think so. That’s why about 84 per cent of poll respondents recently agreed that a doctor should be able to help terminally ill patients end their own lives, under certain well-defined conditions. READ

We are too impatient

The Amazon rainforest is magnificent. Watching programs about it, we’re amazed by brilliant parrots and toucans, tapirs, anacondas and jaguars. READ

Patriotism, fear sell war plan

The vote in support of Stephen Harper’s decision to join allied airstrikes in northern Iraq — and possibly Syria — was never in doubt. But Conservatives imported two distinctly American arguments in selling their plan to a divided House of Commons. READ

Playing politics with war

For the first time in his three-mandate tenure, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has failed to secure opposition support for sending Canada to war. The Liberals — among others — claim the prime minister always meant to go it alone; that he wanted to be isolated in Parliament for electoral purposes. READ

The revolution will eat its children

There was a time, as recently as 25 years ago, when military staff colleges around the world taught a reasonably effective doctrine for dealing with terrorism. Then it was forgotten, but we need it back. It would be especially useful in dealing with the terrorist state that has recently emerged in northern Iraq and eastern Syria. READ

Our role in a new war

It’s pretty well a done deal: Canada will go to war — in a limited way, at first anyway — in the Middle East. The majority of government MPs in Ottawa will see to that rather quickly. The promise to consult and debate the proposal regarding our active combat role in the fight against the terrorists in ISIL was concluded in one day, Friday. READ

Treaty strength tested

B.C. First Nations chiefs recently travelled to Ottawa to urge the federal government to pull the plug on the costliest infrastructure project in the country. 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

Hong Kong protests test China’s resolve

The crowds of protesters in the streets of Hong Kong continue to grow, and they have spread beyond Central (the business district) to Kowloon and Causeway Bay. The police are already using tear gas and pepper spray, and rubber bullets will be next. READ

We are living in the dark

What should we make of the tear-stained apology given by the prime minister’s parliamentary secretary for his bizarre behaviour last week in the House during question period? Was Paul Calandra’s apology sincere or an attempt to downgrade his circus performance into mere soap opera? READ

Blue Dot Movement rolls across Canada

As an elder, I’ve watched Canada and the world change in many ways, for better and worse. Thanks in part to cheap energy and technological growth, the human population has more than tripled, from 2.2 billion in 1936 when I was born to about seven billion today. READ

Social media busts crime

It’s a bird. It’s a plane. Nooooo, it’s Super Social Media! — the crime-fighting hero cracking down on stolen vehicles in Red Deer. And fighting crime around the world. A new Facebook page, Red Deer Stolen Vehicles, has joined the Internet detective forces springing up across North America to catch the bad guys. And it’s getting results, according to a recent account in the Advocate. READ

Who will show leadership on climate change?

The news on climate change keeps getting worse, yet Canada continues to keep its head buried in the (oil) sand. There is now no hope of meeting our international commitment to lower annual greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 by 17 per cent below the 2005 level. In fact, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government has never even tried to keep its promise. READ

An imperfect but workable Afghanistan

“We have to recognize that Afghanistan will not be a perfect place, and it’s not America’s responsibility to make it one,” said President Barack Obama last May. No, it isn’t, and Afghanistan is a strikingly imperfect society in almost every respect: politics, economy, security and human rights. READ

Coming in from the cold

We Canadians are not perfect. Among our flaws, we say “Sorry” too much, say “Have a great day” too much, hold doors open to strangers too often. And, while it hasn’t been documented, it’s been reported some us say “Thank you” to banking machines. READ

Rising from the ashes

One doesn’t have to cast back very far to the time when the future of the tarnished Liberal brand in this country could reasonably be questioned. READ

Gap in the TFW logic

Red Deer city council got it right with their extraordinary resolution calling to place foreign worker issues onto the agenda of the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association annual convention. READ

Worst to come in Scotland?

A week ago, the Kurdistan Times warned that “the British are exercising the old colonialist tongue to control the minds and dampen the aspirations of Scottish people who want to vote Yes (to independence).” And lo! It came to pass just as the Kurdistan Times predicted. The silver-tongued colonialists lured the Scots into voting No, and by a fairly healthy margin, too: 55 per cent No, 45 per cent Yes. READ

Smarter government needed

As the lead-into the 2015 federal election campaign, the Harper government is counting on next year’s budget and its array of goodies in the hope that we’ll show our gratitude by re-electing Conservative MPs. READ

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