Letter: Mandatory voting isn’t the solution

In a Feb. 16 letter, Sima Shakeri wrote that Canada should institute mandatory voting, to cure what ails Canadian democracy. Shakeri praises Australia for its mandatory voting system, and its consistent voter turnouts of more than 90 per cent. This does not say much about the state of Australian democracy. After all, it is mandatory. In fact, researchers at the Australian National University released a study in December 2016 reviewing their most recent federal election, concluding that faith in Australia’s democracy hasn’t been so low since 1975. A 2014 study from the Lowy Institute found less than a third of voting-age Australians had confidence in the federal government. The same problem exists in our country. Eighty per cent of Canadians […]

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Letter: “Anti-Canadian” values is just racist scapegoating

On Sept. 28, I wrote a letter arguing Kellie Leitch’s plan to screen immigrants for anti-Canadian values wouldn’t be inherently bad, so long as it was managed appropriately. I have realized since then I was wrong when I said I agreed, and wrong on a lot of things I would like to reconcile. I understood at the time Leitch is merely a typical political opportunist. But given recent terror attacks and other incidents in the past, I thought the extreme screening could be necessary. One that I remember very well was Mohammad Shafia’s honour killing, which happened right outside my hometown of Kingston, Ont. I thought Leitch’s measure might be prudent. It would be a way of keeping us safe […]

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Letter: Screening for anti-Canadian values is necessary

Member of Parliament Kellie Leitch’s suggestion that our government should screen immigrants for anti-Canadian values is just what it seems—a suggestion. Now it is true that Canadian values definitely are difficult to define. But we can certainly point out examples of anti-Canadian practices in the country, just by looking at recent history. These examples show why this type of screening is an important—albeit uncomfortable—policy proposal, and why it does not have to be targeted at Muslims. There is a fundamentalist Mormon community in Bountiful, British Columbia, that has practiced polygamy. The Mormons of Bountiful are part of a breakaway sect originating in Arizona. Winston Blackmore, the leader of this community, had more than 20 wives at a time—some of them […]

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Post-secondary funding benefiting higher-income families, report says

Federal funding for post-secondary education primarily benefits higher-income families, according to a report released by the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) May 5. The PBO, an independent government finance watchdog, estimated roughly 60 per cent of college and university students in the last 10 years have come from families sitting in the two highest after-tax brackets. In 2015, the two highest tax brackets were earners making $62,123 to $94,640 and up. These families have received more money from the government for education through various tax credits and saving plans compared to families with lower incomes. The largest portion of this money comes from “human capital formation,” which includes tuition, education, and textbook tax credits, as well as the Registered Education Savings […]

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Letter: Death threats don’t belong in political debate

It’s one thing to say you don’t like Donald Trump’s politics, it’s even reasonable to say you hate him—but to advocate for his death is a little extremist, don’t you think? You should never tweet, “Somebody should assassinate Trump,” or make any other kind of death threat towards him. If you search “assassinate Trump” on Twitter, you will see an uncomfortable amount of posts saying he should be killed, or somebody else should off him. It’s not an excuse to say you’re just joking around either, because that’s the definition of hypocrisy. I didn’t want to believe it either, but you don’t see near the number of death threats directed at Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders on social media. This […]

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