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Friday, October 30, 2015

Liberals plan to act on pledges are decisive election win

   Canada column for Sunday, Oct. 25/15

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Canadian fighter jets will be called home, taxes for the rich will rise, marijuana is to be legalized and Syrian refugees will be welcomed en masse as promised under the new government of Liberal Prime Minister-elect Justin Trudeau.
   The son of the late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau showed the Conservatives and Prime Minister Stephen Harper that he was – despite their attack ads – indeed “ready for the job.”
   Electors made a decisive choice, giving the 43-year-old Trudeau a sweeping majority government after only four years ago it ended in third place in the federal election.
   They sent the younger Trudeau back to 24 Sussex Drive, the prime minister’s residence, where he grew up and made it the first father-son dynasty in Canada’s history.
   Standings in the House of Commons after the vote are Liberals 184 seats, Conservatives, 99, the New Democrats, 44, Bloc Quebecois, 10, and Greens, 1.
   The vote ended almost 10 years of Conservative rule under Harper who was seen as controlling and not people-friendly – the opposite of Trudeau.
   “Canadians have spoken: You want a government with a vision and an agenda for this country that is positive and ambitious and hopeful,” he said.
   After the defeat, Harper resigned as Conservative leader but remains for now an elected Member of Parliament in Calgary.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Promises, promises to parents from Canada's politicians

   Canada column for Sunday, Oct. 11/15

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Canada’s political leaders have been kissing babies and making election promises to their parents to lengthen maternity and parental leaves for up to 18 months.
   Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are matching the Liberal party pledge to extend benefits from the current one-year program.
   With the federal election looming on Oct. 19 and the Conservatives and Liberals in a see-saw battle for first place in the polls, Harper took aim at young families.
   He said the Conservatives would extend benefits to 1½ years and continue to protect parents’ jobs while they’re away.
   For parents wanting to return to work sooner or are self-employed, the government would consider programs allowing them to combine work and time off for child care without their payments being reduced, he said.
   “We want to support new parents by giving them as much choice and flexibility as possible in achieving the balance and making the career and financial decisions that are right for your family,” Harper said.
   Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s plan unveiled in August is similar but would allow periods of work and time off during the 18 months of paid employment insurance benefits.


Justin Trudeau to become Canada's next prime minister

   Canada column for Sunday, Oct. 18/15

   By Jim Fox

   Liberal leader Justin Trudeau won a majority government in the federal election on Oct. 19, 2015, defeating Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservatives. Election standings gave the Liberals 184 seats in the House of Commons while the Conservatives elected 99, the New Democrats, 44, Bloc Quebecois, 10, and Greens, 1.

   Canada’s Liberal party under leader Justin Trudeau now has the momentum to win Monday’s federal election.
   A “dump Harper” campaign has been sweeping the country as the Liberals and socialist New Democrats urge voters to do whatever it takes to put Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservatives out of office.
   Conservative attack ads have hammered Trudeau, 43, the son of the late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, as being “just not ready” for the job.
   Opposition parties, including the Greens and Bloc Quebecois, are calling on electors to vote for anyone but the Conservatives, suggesting change is long overdue after 10 years in office.
   Polls show a surge of last-minute support for the Liberals that could threaten the chances of the Conservatives winning a majority.
   Should they fall short of a majority, it’s possible the Liberals and New Democrats could join to form a coalition government.
   Minister of National Defense Jason Kenney drew a link between the Toronto Blue Jays capturing the American League Division Series and his Conservative team.
   “The blue team came from behind and won three straight and they won the series just like our blue team is going to win on Oct. 19,” he said.


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Conservatives lead in polls heading toward Oct. 19 election

   Canada column for Sunday, Oct. 4/15

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Canada’s ruling Conservative government has a “clear lead” in public support in advance of the federal election on Oct. 19.
   Support for Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives jumped to 34 percent in a Forum Research poll.
   Should the results hold up, the Conservatives would form a majority government with 151 seats in the 338-seat House of Commons.
   The socialist New Democratic Party (NDP) would form the opposition as before with 104 seats, the Liberals would have 76 members, Bloc Quebecois six and the Green Party, one.
   The poll put NDP support at 28 percent and the Liberals with 27 percent while the Bloc and Green are tied at 5 percent, and the remaining 1 percent is for “other” candidates.
   “Canadians know that this election presents a serious choice between experience and dangerous risk,” said Conservative spokesman Stephen Lecce.
   “It’s a choice between our Conservative low-tax, balanced budget plan and the Liberals’ dangerous approach that will raise taxes on all workers, cancel benefits to families and put our country into permanent deficits,” he said.