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PAH Question Period

Throne speech, campaign speak, &c.

The House of Commons returned on Friday with the Throne Speech, but the real business started today as the House sat for its first Question Period. What follows is a few of our observations from day one. The focus of questioning from the outset was the fight against ISIS and Canada’s response. The Prime Minister continued his doublespeak on the issue, stating that Canada will continue to be engaged militarily while doubling down on his promise to withdraw our only military engagement. Purely speculating here, but Mr. Trudeau seems to get himself in the most trouble when he is off script. He spoke without notes, which is to be commended, but we have seen him at his best when he is well rehearsed and on-script as he was in the debates. Many of his answers today were disjointed or unrelated to the question. To be fair, those criticisms of Mr. Trudeau are not new and didn’t seem to hurt him during the election. Beyond the PM, the day presented no shortage of contrived moments from all sides. Extended clapping sessions ensued for members asking or answering their first questions, whether or not the question (or answer) made any sense. There was little in the way of heckling, and all sorts of disingenuous “proud to answer my distinguished colleague” crap. We’ll see how much of that lasts. The finance minister faced a number of questions. He started well by giving a rather detailed answer explaining a plan to reduce the net debt to GDP ratio throughout the mandate, but followed by answering specific questions with generalities about making investments in the lives of Canadians. Much of the questioning in finance followed an allegation of the Liberals breaking two key campaign promises: to balance the budget, and take revenue-neutral tax measures. Immigration… Read More

PAH QP: Veterans

The Prince Arthur Herald‘s Question Period is back for another session, giving you each party’s take on a hot topic in the news. Answering the questions are representatives of the Liberal, Conservative, and NDP political clubs at McGill University.This week we asked the parties: How should the Canadian government best deliver benefits and assistance to its veterans in an age of fiscal restraint? Here are the answers.   The Liberals Austerity must not and need not happen on the backs of men and women who not only selflessly served this country, but are in need of the crucial services provided by Veterans’ Affairs Canada. The recent closure of critical service centres that provide support for veterans across the country is another in a long line of insults to Canada’s veterans from the Conservative government. In recent months, the Conservative government has announced cuts of $226 million in services to veterans. These cuts and closures have been justified by the government on the grounds that there is a decreasing number of traditional veterans from WWII and the Korean War. This is despite the fact that the Veteran Affairs ombudsman, Guy Parent, says the overall number of veterans in Canada is not decreasing. A Liberal government would re-open the service centres and restore funding to Veterans’ Affairs. Canadians believe that our obligation to support those who serve in our military does not end when they return home from overseas. In providing benefits, services, and compensation to veterans of Canada’s wars, Veterans’ Affairs Canada helps ease the often difficult transition to civilian life. The physical and mental hardships endured by these men and women requires a collective commitment on the part of all Canadians to ensure that their dedication and sacrifice is recognized and that they get the support they deserve from the country they so selflessly… Read More

PAH QP: Prostitution

The Prince Arthur Herald's Question Period returns to session this week, giving you each party's take on a hot topic in the news. Answering the questions are representatives of the Liberal, Conservative, and NDP political clubs at McGill University (who are representing themselves on this week's issue, not their official party stance). This week we asked the clubs: In light of the Supreme Court's Bedford ruling, should prostitution be legalized in Canada? What policy plan should the federal government put forward in response to the bench? Here are the answers.   The NDP The prostitution legislation in Canada’s Criminal Code, while not explicitly forbidding prostitution, makes it virtually impossible to conduct safe sex work. The sections deemed invalid by the Supreme Court of Canada, which ban communication in public, living on the avails of prostitution, and “bawdy-houses”, prevent sex workers from ensuring secure working conditions, thus perpetuating a culture of violence against women and marginalization of vulnerable peoples. Canada has a history and reputation for socially progressive policies, often as a result of our constitution and our Supreme Court. When the Court ruled anti-abortion law unconstitutional in 1988’s R. v. Morgentaler, the Conservatives-du-jour failed to pass any subsequent legislature controlling abortion. Today’s Tories should learn from their past. Instead of designing legislature that would criminalize or restrict sex workers, Canada must adopt a harm reduction strategy that works with sex workers to ensure safe, healthy working conditions. Sex work is harshly stereotyped and stigmatized within North American culture. Let us use this opportunity to debunk the myths of sex work and promote understanding within a country that likes to think of itself as accepting. Sex work legislature in Canada has always been grounded in a broader context of gender and class discrimination, beginning with the Upper Canada Law of 1838 which criminalized any woman who was… Read More

PAH QP: Charter of Values

At the Prince Arthur Herald, we’re interested in ideas. Those ideas go beyond just enforcing a one-dimensional version of the world; we’re interested in the whole story. That’s why we reached out to the Liberal, Conservative, and NDP political clubs at McGill University and asked them to join us every week and give their party’s takes on some of Canada’s most pressing issues. We deliver the result to you here every Friday, letting you make up your own mind on the topics at hand. For this third -- and last until January --  edition of the Prince Arthur Herald Question Period, we asked the parties: Should the federal government step in and challenge the Charter of Quebec Values in the courts if it passes in the National Assembly? Here are their answers.   The Conservatives The Quebec Charter of Values is an absurd and fundamentally undemocratic piece of legislation. It runs contrary to the vision of a diverse Canada that many Canadians hold dear. Canadians want a vibrant state that proudly reflects our manifold origins and our common goals. The Charter of Values is wholly contradictory to this vision. Our government feels that the image of a judge in a hijab is not an ominous sign of creeping ultramontanism but instead highlights the fact that one’s ethnic background or religious choices should not determine one’s station in society. To paraphrase a recent anti-Charter of Values ad, Conservatives care about what is in one’s head, rather than what is on it. The Charter of Values would instead reinforce stereotypes and prevent the creation of a more inclusive and welcoming society. The Prime Minister and the government have been clear: should the Charter of Values somehow pass, this government will oppose it. This government is committed to protecting the rights of Canadians everywhere. It is… Read More

PAH QP: Supply Management

At the Prince Arthur Herald, we’re interested in ideas. Those ideas go beyond just enforcing a one-dimensional version of the world; we’re interested in the whole story. That’s why we reached out to the Liberal, Conservative, and NDP political clubs at McGill University and asked them to join us every week and give their party’s takes on some of Canada’s most pressing issues. We deliver the result to you here every Friday, letting you make up your own mind on the topics at hand. For this second edition of the Prince Arthur Herald Question Period, we asked the parties: Should Canada continue to enforce supply management policies (which raise the cost of dairy, poultry, and eggs for consumers but benefit farmers and producers)? Here are the answers.   The Liberals ​The supply management system in Canada is not “a relic of the 1970s”, as the Prince Arthur Herald suggested in a past editorial post. In fact, the system has modernized since that time, and is a key component of Canada’s agricultural policy. The Liberal Party of Canada firmly supports supply management for dairy, egg and poultry farmers and it will continue to fight to protect the system. It allows farmers to earn a fair and predictable return, while consumers are provided with high quality, locally produced foods. The system also protects Canadian farmers by preventing sub-par products from being dumped into the market at drastically subsidized prices. Unlike other risk management programs, supply management comes at no cost to the taxpayer - the farmer earns his or her income directly from the market. Farmers in non supply managed industries often have to produce below cost, because of volatile markets, which then requires those farmers to be bailed out to the tune of billions of taxpayer dollars. This is not the case with… Read More
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