Press Feed
FR EN
Pages Menu

Ben Fraser

Ben Fraser is a centre-right student in Journalism at Concordia University.

Trudeau’s approach to the TPP is a good sign for Canada

Negotiating a deal that would secure fair trade with 11 nations, including some of the world’s biggest economies, is not easy. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, after taking his time to announce any progress with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), has declined to sign an agreement in principal to finalize the TPP, according to several sources. Trudeau has come under intense scrutiny, from media at home and abroad, for not showing up to a meeting about the TPP in Vietnam and delaying the TPP talks further. Trudeau nonetheless maintains that it shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone. Despite the reaction from most people, and his stubbornness, I agree with how Trudeau has handled the situation. In a deal that is as far-reaching, and because of how much of Canada’s economy will be effected in this deal, Trudeau should be focused on what is best for Canada. If being stubborn on the terms, and missing out on a meeting, secures Canada a better deal, the negative press is worth it. There have already been changes made to the deal regarding the automotive sector—a vital part of Canada’s economy. I find that Canada has been far too timid in past economic deals, and it is refreshing to see a Prime-Minister, especially one in the Liberal party, take a stand for the well-being of Canada’s economic future. I like Trudeau’s firm stance on the TPP for one specific reason, and it actually goes beyond the reach of the TPP. With ongoing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) talks becoming increasingly difficult, this can serve as practice for when Trudeau must eventually come to terms with U.S President Donald Trump. Trump has chosen to remove the United States from the agreement, prompting re-negotiations. The NAFTA agreement, should it be reinstated, will effect cross-boarder relations with… Read More

Putting differences aside for Alberta’s future

Over the summer, the two major conservative parties in Alberta, the Progressive Conservatives of Alberta (PC) and the Wildrose Party, merged into a single party. This merger, that was approved with over 95 per cent of the vote from each party, was brought together to take on Alberta’s current New Democratic Party (NDP) government. Cooperation in politics is rare, but with this merger, the Conservative party may return to Alberta in the next election. Those on the Alberta right have put aside their differences, and banded together to increase their chances to win. Both parties celebrated the merger with great excitement, and PC leader Jason Kenney and Wildrose leader Brian Jean both announced they would run for the head of the party. Earlier this week, Kenney was victorious in securing the position, with over 60 per cent of the new party’s members voting for him. When the PC party was crushed in the 2015 election, losing 60 seats in the process, they lost their status of opposition to the Wildrose Party. It had become an “adapt-or-die” situation in Alberta. With a new United Conservative Party, the NDP now has a new threat to consider. Before the election in 2015, polls placed the NDP ahead, with 37 per cent of the vote. However, the polls also indicated the Wildrose Party had 26 per cent of the vote and the Conservatives had 24 per cent. Conservative values still existed in the province despite the major defeat, yet their ideals were split between two parties and two different leaders. This divide between those with similar conservative values cost them the election.      The united party is hoping to recover conservative voters, as well as capitalize on recent summer polls which indicate the NDP’s approval rating has fallen below 30 per cent. The surprise… Read More

Why we need Bill 62

Political controversy isn't new to Québec, and every time a new bill gets passed, the news spreads through all of Canada. The latest piece of legislation comes in the form of Bill 62, a bill which prohibits the use of face-coverings while receiving government services. Naturally, the bill is being criticized as Islamophobic as the Islamic face veil -- known as the niqab -- is restricted under this ban. There are fair arguments for opposing the bill. For example, the bill also prohibits riding the bus while having face-coverings. This, I find ridiculous, as it will be difficult to ensure bus drivers will enforce the law. However, unlike some, I look at this bill as an attempt to ensure public safety. In this day and age, terrorism remains a threat, and as unfortunate as that is, the government needs to be able to identify those who they are serving. I agree with the bill solely for the protection of our government institutions. I wouldn't feel comfortable as a government employee serving someone I cannot identify. That includes all face-coverings, not just the niqab. I truly don't understand those who oppose the bill on the grounds of Islamophobia. It is common knowledge the niqab is not an Islamic requirement. Only those in the extreme sects of Islam support its use. If you want to wear the niqab at home, that is your right. However, in a world where identification can be key to the protection of our society, you can't have your face covered when dealing with government officials or offices. This debate is reminiscent of the legal battle in 2015 fought between the then-Conservative government under Stephen Harper, and Zunera Ishaq. Where Ishaq fought and won the right to wear her niqab while being sworn in as a Canadian citizen.… Read More

Age requirements for the Canadian citizenship test should not change

As of Oct. 11th, several changes occurred in the required steps for Canadian citizenship. Most of these changes are minor issues centered around the amount time spent in Canada while applying, meaning that applicants have to stay in Canada for a certain amount of time while the application goes through. Frankly, these mean very little to me. What has me angry is the new age range for the Canadian citizenship test. The new regulations, as quoted from the Canadian government website are such, ”[The] age range for language and knowledge requirements reduced to 18-54 years old”. The ages were previously 14-64. To me, reducing this age requirement is insane. I believe most naturalized Canadian citizens don't know enough about our country's history--so why are we scaling back the expectations needed for future Canadians? As for the language requirement, does it not seem crazy that immigrants aged 14-17 and 55-63 don’t need to be qualified in English or French when they become Canadians? The younger immigrants are somewhat understandable, as they are children, but even so, how will they succeed in Canadian schools? The older immigrants should have to know English or French, or else how will they get jobs and contribute to the Canadian economy? Immigrants make up a large portion of our economy, but to have them lacking in our two languages seems ridiculous.     I am all for immigration to Canada, as we are a multicultural nation with varied backgrounds. However, Canada has a long and rich history, and to allow some immigrants not to take this test is an insult to the history of Canada, especially during the 150th year of confederation. Shouldn't we all know about the places we live in? Even children aged 14-17 should have to take the test. They will be taking Canadian… Read More

Free speech in sports should go both ways

With the craze surrounding the U.S national anthem protests taking the world by storm, it is once again time to discuss what this latest protest means for the conservation of free speech in North America.   To me, the protests embody what is great about the western world—the ability to gather and demonstrate when we do not agree with what is being done, or are experiencing an injustice. It is a real shame that partisan lines have been drawn in an that should be a concern for both liberals and conservatives.   When former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started his protest about a year ago, his intentions were not malicious. He saw an injustice, and he did what he thought would bring attention to said injustice. I do not agree with Kaepernick position, nor do I agree with the method in which he protested. However, free speech is a right that everyone holds, and he deserves to have his message heard.   The problem is both the political left and right have bastardized Kaepernick’s original message so much, many have forgotten what the original issue was. President Trump only stirred the pot with his various tweets denouncing the players, and the protests are now about a completely different subject.   The protests have made one particular issue come to light , and that is the blatant hypocrisy surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins decision to visit the White House, as is routine for the Stanley Cup winners. To be fair, the Penguins announcing their decision on the same day the Golden State Warriors were uninvited from the White House was short-sighted, but a White House visit isn’t a bad thing.   The National Hockey League has always been the more apolitical of the four major North American sports leagues, so… Read More