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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 “America First” Is Really “Americans Last”

NOTE: This article does not reflect the opinions of Generation Screwed, but only those of its author, Renaud Brossard. Imagine this scene: you’re in rustbelt America. Manufacturing jobs around you keep disappearing. You shop at the local Wal-Mart because, let’s be honest, that’s pretty much the only thing you’ve been able to afford since the local plant shut down. In the aisle, you see a vacuum cleaner just like the one that used to be made in the neighbouring town. You lift the price tag and, where once proudly stood the words “Made in America,” you see “Made in Mexico.” You can’t help but let out a sigh as you think back to only a few years ago, when your life plan seemed so simple—so perfect. After you graduated high school, all you had to do to ensure a secure financial future was apply to your local factory, which was expanding massively at the time. The application was nothing more than a formality, and you would get a good, middle-class job that was guaranteed for pretty much the rest of your life. You wouldn’t be rich, but you would have a good life. As you put the vacuum cleaner back in its place, you can’t help but miss those simpler times. When you put yourself in those shoes, it’s easy to understand the appeal of protectionism. What could be described as “America First” policies, or their local equivalents across the world, start making sense to you. Populist movements, both from the left and right, have been spouting the same rhetoric for years, although the terms they use vary. It culminated in the United States with Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump both promising to bring back manufacturing jobs to the U.S. and to drastically cut down on trade ties around the… Read More

Islamophobia needs to be approached rationally, not emotionally

When students ask me if Islamophobia exists, my reply is always the same: It does—if you can prove it. I advise them to follow the evidence when ascertaining whether a claim against Muslims or Islam possesses any merit. Unfortunately, not everyone adopts a scientific approach to understanding this social phenomenon. It has even become fashionable of late to discredit the reality of Islamophobia or deny its existence altogether. For instance, when interviewed on The Rebel, University of Toronto professor Dr. Jordan Peterson referred to Islamophobia as a term “without integrity.” Likewise, Toronto Sun columnist Tarek Fatah insisted that Islamophobia could not be defined, since it was a “fraud.” In the National Review, journalist Brendan O’Neill labelled Islamophobia a “myth.” Writing for the Prince Arthur Herald, political science professor Henry Srebrnik called Islamophobia a media “obsession.” None of these characterizations, however, are sufficient from a scholarly viewpoint. Self-evident positions, quick dismissals or gross exaggerations tend to detract from the main issue, that being whether a given claim made against Muslims or Islam is rational or irrational. Take, for instance, the statements made by conservative political commentator Mark Steyn. He remarked in the National Post, “most Muslims either wish or are indifferent to the death of the societies in which they live.” Yet Steyn provides no statistical analysis to support his case. Here is what the evidence states concerning Muslim attitudes towards violence. In a 2016 Environics poll, only one per cent of Canadian Muslims believe that “many” or “most” Muslims in Canada support violent extremism. Globally speaking, Muslims overwhelmingly reject suicide bombings and other forms of violence against civilians in the name of Islam. Studies conducted by the Pew Research Center found that Muslims view such extremism as rarely or never justified, including 96 per cent in both Bosnia-Herzegovina and Azerbaijan, 92 per… 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

We’ll Deal With It… Tomorrow

Just yesterday, Ontario’s Financial Accountability Office (FAO) released another report detailing how Ontario’s current fiscal policy is unsustainable and that the government is unprepared to face the costs associated with an aging population. There’s really nothing new here. We’ve been saying it for years, opposition parties have been saying it for years, the Big Three (Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch) have consistently degraded Ontario’s credit rating and even the current government has found it crucial to give the impression that they have balanced the budget this year. Why are we still surprised then? What is the most shocking about this latest report is it proves just how good politicians are at identifying an issue, but how clueless they are when comes the time to find solutions. For well-over a decade now, we’ve known that Canada has an aging population. We’ve known that there would be fiscal challenges associated with it. As more and more Canadians retire, we’re going to have more people needing more expensive medical care and senior benefits programs, and a smaller working population to support those services. We’ve known all of that for a long time. By now, we’d think we would have figured out a plan to deal with that or, at the very least, started putting money aside for when that day comes. If you expect to get a pay cut, the natural thing to do is to try and put money aside, and reduces your expenses or find new revenue sources. For politicians, though, even those who campaigned on it across the country or those who said they wanted to protect our nation’s future and ensure our prosperity, it seems as though that message never got across. Ontario’s Finance Minister, Charles Sousa, gave us one of the best possible examples in his reaction… 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
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