"The Pulse of Canada "



‘The Right to Protect’ and the loss of Parliament’s moral compass

Posted July 23, 2014 by rabble staff

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Conservatives have become more and more unbalanced in their support for extremist Israeli actions, and opposition parties, fear…

Full Story »


Dear Canada Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance: Important Autism News for Your Members

Posted July 19, 2014 by H L Doherty

 The fight for a REAL National Autism Strategy including Medicare coverage of ABA 
for autism began more than 15 years ago in courts in BC and in  the offices of 
Fredericton MP Andy Scott, joined by Nova Scotia MP Peter Stoffer, former 
PEI MP Shawn Murphy,  and  Ontario MP Glenn Thibeault and has  continued 
under the leadership of the Medicare for Autism NOW! organizaton.

Members of CASDA, the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders 
Alliance, might be interested in the strong federal NDP  statement
of commitment to a REAL National Autism Strategy and Medicare 
 coverage of AB for Autism.

July 19, 2014
CASDA Leadership Committee
Cynthia Carroll, Executive Director, Autism Nova Scotia
Laurie Mawlam, Executive Director, Autism Canada Founndation
Richard Burelle, Executive Director, Autism Society Canada
Dave Mikkelsen, Executive Director, Society for the Treatment of Autism
Debbie Irish, Executive Director, Geneva Centre for Autism
Suzanne Jacobson. President, Quick Start
Jill Farber, Executive Director, Autism Speaks Canada
Dear Executive Directors and CASDA Board Members:
I  am a father of a severely autistic 18 year old son with intellectual disability and epileptic seizures.  Although I am not currently a president, member or  executive director of any organization or board I have been actively involved as an advocate provincially in NB for 15 years where we have, in response to focused parental advocacy, one of the earliest  established credible provincial early autism intervention programs and autism trained Education Aides and Resource teachers in our schools.
We also worked during those 15 years with the late Andy Scott, then our Fredericton area MP, towards a National Autism Strategy that resulted in the private members’ motion to that effect sponsored by Andy and Nova Scotia MP Peter Stoffer.
I wish to bring to your attention a reply I received recently from the office of the Leader of the Official Opposition, Thomas Mulcair.  The reply is set out in full on my blog Facing Autism in New Brunswick in a July 11, 2014 commentary NDP Continues Strong Leadership for A Real National Autism Strategy.
To save your time though I reprint the reply directly.  It confirms the federal NDP commitment to a real National Autism Strategy including ABA coverage under Medicare:
Dear Mr. Doherty,
Thank you for writing. We appreciate hearing of your advocacy work on behalf of your son and all individuals living with autism spectrum disorders.
Please be assured that New Democrats are determined to help put the needs of Autistic children on the political map. The NDP supports the continuing efforts to create a National Autism Strategy, therefore ensuring that individuals would receive the highest level of care, regardless of which region of Canada they live in.
As you mentioned, NDP MP Glenn Thibeault is helping to provide leadership on this matter along with working to have the Canada Health Act amended to include Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) and Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) as medically recognized treatments for individuals living with autism spectrum disorders. (
Going forward you can count on our team of New Democrat MPs to continue to speak out on this matter. It’s time for leadership that will move Canada forward.
Again, thank you for taking the time to be in touch.
All the best,
Office of Thomas Mulcair, MP (Outremont)
Leader of the Official Opposition

New Democratic Party of Canada
This is, in my humble opinion, very significant news for autism parents and advocates.  The fight for a Real National Autism  Strategy has been a long one, starting at least 15 years ago in NB. It will undoubtedly take much more time but the statement by the current Leader of the Official Opposition is an important step in that struggle.
It would be appreciated if you and your members could advocate directly to your respective MPs and would be MPs and request all parties to make the same commitment made by the New Democratic Party of Canada. If that is too much for your organization to contemplate I ask you all to highlight this important development on all your information sites and members news releases.
Harold L Doherty,  Fredericton, NB
cc. media, interested parties
Full Story »


NDP Continues Strong Leadership for A Real National Autism Strategy

Posted July 11, 2014 by H L Doherty

 Tom Mulcair, Leader of Canada’s Official Opposition NDP &  Glenn Thibeaullt,  Sudbury NDP MP 

Further to my question to NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau about their parties’ support for a real National Autism Strategy I have received the following reply from NDP Leader Mulcair:

Dear Mr. Doherty,

Thank you for writing. We appreciate hearing of your advocacy work on behalf of your son and all individuals living with autism spectrum disorders.

Please be assured that New Democrats are determined to help put the needs of Autistic children on the political map. The NDP supports the continuing efforts to create a National Autism Strategy, therefore ensuring that individuals would receive the highest level of care, regardless of which region of Canada they live in.

As you mentioned, NDP MP Glenn Thibeault is helping to provide leadership on this matter along with working to have the Canada Health Act amended to include Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) and Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) as medically recognized treatments for individuals living with autism spectrum disorders. (

Going forward you can count on our team of New Democrat MPs to continue to speak out on this matter. It’s time for leadership that will move Canada forward.

Again, thank you for taking the time to be in touch.

All the best,

Office of Thomas Mulcair, MP (Outremont)

Leader of the Official Opposition

New Democratic Party of Canada

Full Story »


Party Poly-ticks

Posted July 3, 2014 by Boris

Perhaps it’s the nature of party politics that eventually causes parties to abdicate themselves of their founding principles. Political parties come into existence with ideological agendas and a set of corresponding positions and policies. It’s what …

Full Story »


How the Federal NDP Plans to Alienate Eco-Voters

Posted June 25, 2014 by Stephen Elliott-Buckley

Mulcair wants to out-Liberal the Liberals led by the charismatic son of a charismatic Liberal prime minister. He will fail: “I think what Canadians want are people who are realists, who understand for example the importance of our extractive industries and the creation of jobs but they also want to have a government that’s actually […]

Full Story »

Allan's Perspective

“Assholes of the Day!”

Posted June 18, 2014 by Allan W Janssen

Two! Count ‘em, Two for the price of one! The Government announced the approval of the Northern Gateway pipeline yesterday, which means thousands of jobs and billions of dollars pumped into our economy …., and both Tom Mulcair and Justin Trudeau came out against it! For playing politics, and jeopardizing the economic health of Canada, […]

Full Story »


NDP Calls for Restored Funding for Autism Early Intervention Centres

Posted June 8, 2014 by H L Doherty
Many thanks to Dominic Cardy, Kelly Lamrock, Amanda Diggins and the NDP who understand the essential point of any early autism intervention policy – ensuring that autistic preschoolers receive proper evidence based early intervention from properly trained staff providing well planned intervention.  Punishing the kids by reducing or eliminating their treatment  because agencies and/or parents experience problems  IS short sighted or as I would say … makes no sense at all.
FREDERICTON – New Brunswick New Democratic Party Leader Dominic Cardy is calling for the restoration of funding to government-contracted agencies that provide pre-school children with autism early intervention programs across New Brunswick. Cardy believes the cuts, effective June 1st, are short sighted and will cost the province more in the long run.
“Autism interventions before age five are most effective, save money long term and most importantly give kids the best chance at a full and rewarding life,” Cardy said. “This is short-sighted and shows why we need NDP MLAs to stop these backroom decisions.”
The changes that took effect this month include cuts to funding for training new agency employees, human resources services, instructors teaching group classes, and staff preparation time.
NDP Oromocto-Lincoln candidate Amanda Diggins is an early childhood educator who believes this funding is crucial for the future development of these children.
“Eliminating funding for staff training and planning is wrong,” Diggins said. “The hours a worker spends with children aren’t just supervision, it is therapy and like any educational service needs to be planned. Parents of kids with autism are already working hard and often stressed. This is unacceptable.”
Cardy said it is especially disappointing that these cuts occurred during National Disabilities Week.
“We supported Kelly Lamrock’s decision to train and hire 400 more Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) trained workers when he was Education Minister in 2006,” Cardy said. “New Brunswick has made progress in helping children with autism and we cannot just throw that aside now because governments don’t want to make tough decisions on corporate welfare and patronage.”
Full Story »


Keeping Ontario’s Roads Safe Act an important piece of legislation

Posted April 26, 2014 by Erich Jacoby-Hawkins
Let’s see if we can avoid this.
Although a spring election is expected in Ontario, it hasn’t been called yet, so the business of the Legislature goes on. One piece of business is Bill 173, also known as the Keeping Ontario’s Roads Safe Act. This bill, introduced by Infrastructure Minster Glen Murray, contains a number of measures specifically addressing the safety of active transportation. Some of these, in turn, are drawn from at least 4 separate private member’s billsthat were introduced by members of all parties.
From Parkdale – High Park NDP MPP Cheri Dinovo comes a requirement that vehicles passing a bicycle leave at least a full meter of clearance. When I am cycling, I certainly don’t feel comfortable when a vehicle gets closer than that, so I think this change would be appreciated. It will also give drivers clear guidance as to how much room they should leave when passing.

Another improvement comes from a bill from Muskoka – Parry Sound PC MPP Norm Miller. It creates an explicit allowance to ride bikes on the paved shoulder of a divided roadway, as well as prohibiting vehicles (other than emergency responders or tow trucks) from driving there. This sort of has the effect of turning paved shoulders into de facto bike lanes, although a marked and signed bike lane, where possible, is even better.

There are also measures to require drivers to change lanes to pass a tow truck with lights on, suggested by Simcoe North PC MPP Garfield Dunlop, and increased fines for distracted driving, from Scarborough – Rouge River Liberal MPP Bas Balkissoon.

Another change for bikes is to explicitly allow a flashing red light at the rear, something that is cheap and effective but wasn’t anticipated when the old rules were written.

All in all, it seems like the measures in this act are sensible and warranted. Having lost my cousin Sam when his bike was struck by a vehicle in 2008, I heartily approve measures to prevent such tragedies in future. Unfortunately, politics too often get in the way.

In this case, it’s the politics of timing. Although an election is anticipated, the government has introduced a slew of new bills recently, and the Legislature simply won’t have time to study each in committee and go through all three required votes and associated debates. Some of them will certainly die on the order paper if we have a spring election. Even if we don’t, it’s not clear how many could get through the system before the Legislature rises for the summer.

Therefore, if you agree that improving road safety is a laudable goal and that this bill will help, I strongly urge you to contact your Member of Provincial Parliament, and the party leaders, and tell them to prioritize this bill. Urge them to vote for it rather than against, and not to delay it or play politics with it. Any sincere concerns should be addressed, but political gamesmanship is unacceptable. I expect the MPPs whose own measures were rolled into this will support it, but as Ms. Dinovo explained to me, they may not even get the chance if the government doesn’t keep this on the front burner.

So hold their feet to the fire! Given the ongoing low-level carnage associated with our roads, our own lives and those of our children are clearly at stake.

Published as my Root Issues column in the Barrie Examiner.
Erich Jacoby-Hawkins is a director of Living Green and the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation.
Full Story »


Un « nerd » pour la réforme électorale canadienne

Posted April 19, 2014 by Claude Dupras

Il a 34 ans. Il est né en Alberta de parents français. Il a étudié les relations internationales à l’Université de Calgary. Puis, il devint sondeur, consultant politique, assistant de leaders politiques et, en 2004, candidat dans le comté Nepean-Carleton d’Ontario, où, à l’âge de 25 ans il est élu député canadien du Parti Conservateur (PC) en délogeant un ministre libéral de son siège par 4000 voix. Depuis, il a été réélu en 2006, 2008 et 2011 avec des majorités de plus en plus importantes frisant les 19,000 voix de majorité. Le sondage politique annuel du journal The Hill times l’a reconnu un des députés les plus travaillants dans sa circonscription. La politique est sa vie.

Son nom est Pierre Poilievre. Parfaitement bilingue, il est devenu, le 15 juillet 2013, ministre d’état à la Réforme Démocratique du gouvernement Harper. Il est de droite et a des allures d’une personne solitaire, passionnée et obnubilée par une approche politique et intellectuelle genre parti-républicain-américain. En somme, il a des airs de « nerd ». Je ne le connais pas et je n’émets que mon impression après l’avoir écouté et vu débattre à la Chambre des Communes, lu le Hansard, durant les dernières années. Depuis sa venue au parlement, Skippy, comme le surnomme ses collègues, agit en partisan aveugle. Il bondit, attaque et ridiculise les adversaires sur tout et rien. Comme ministre, il se montre petit, mesquin et se fout des questions de l’opposition avec des réponses hors-sujet et trop souvent absurdes. Sûr de lui-même, il est peu porté à écouter les opinions des autres. Malgré tout, on a l’impression qu’un jour il ira loin, peut-être même jusqu’à la tête de son parti et premier ministre du Canada. Mais pour se faire, il devra agir plus démocratiquement, arrondir les coins et comprendre que la politique est l’art du compromis.

Il y a deux mois, Poilievre proposa une réforme importante, le feuilleton C-23 sur l’intégrité électorale. Le projet de loi a été durement contesté depuis et le ministre a systématiquement refusé toute critique et toute modification à son texte.

L’opposition n’est pas venue seulement des partis politiques d’opposition que le ministre a cherché à ridiculiser, mais aussi de mandarins du gouvernement, tels Marc Mayrand, directeur général des élections du Canada et de Sheila Fraser, ex-vérificatrice générale du gouvernement canadien.

Mayrand, nommé par les conservateurs, a critiqué le projet de loi en exprimant ses nombreuses préoccupations dont, entre autres, les restrictions proposées pour l’identification des électeurs par un répondant. Il estime que 120 000 électeurs actifs ne pourront voter à la prochaine élection si la mesure est votée. Il regrette que ni lui et ni le commissaire aux élections Yves Côté n’aient été consultés pour la préparation du projet de loi et souligne qu’au Royaume-Uni, en Australie, en Inde et aux USA une telle preuve de résidence n’est pas exigée.

En réponse, Poilievre rejette du revers de la main l’argumentation réfléchie de Mayrand et l’attaque personnellement en prétextant qu’elle est « pleine d’allégations et ahurissante ». Il ajoute « qu’en réalité Mayrand ne cherche qu’à accroître son pouvoir de haut-fonctionnaire, d’augmenter ses budgets et de rendre moins de comptes au Parlement ». Accusations totalement gratuites et injustes.

Fraser a qualifié le C-23 d’ « une attaque contre notre démocratie » et s’il n’est pas amendé, elle craint que la prochaine élection soit en péril. Elle explique que « notre système est basé sur la justice et l’équité et chaque canadien doit pouvoir voter. Au lieu de faciliter cette approche, le feuilleton c-23 rend cette acte plus difficile ». Elle affirme connaître l’intégrité et l’impartialité de Mayrand et déplore l’attaque contre cet officier du parlement car elle craint que de tels gestes créent l’impression dans le public que les sept hauts-fonctionnaires indépendants du Gouvernement sont biaisés. « Ce qui est loin d’être le cas », assure-t-elle.

Le comité sénatorial à majorité conservateurs s’est penché sur la question et vient unanimement de rendre son premier rapport. Il est très critique et contient des recommandations précises, telles, ne pas empêcher le directeur général des élections de parler aux électeurs, l’obligation de fournir des attestations de noms et d’adresses aux personnes qui le demandent, de ne pas permettre aux partis politiques de dépenser sans limites pour solliciter des fonds d’anciens donateurs (cela favoriserait le PC)… Cependant, il ne s’est pas prononcé sur la question la plus disputée qu’est celle de l’identification d’un électeur par un répondant.

Les conservateurs font tout pour changer la normalité. Ils s’en prennent aux bases même du système tel que défini comme immuable dans le passé, telles, la précision du recensement, l’obligation du gouvernement de répondre au parlement et, aujourd’hui, les élections justes, le droit et le devoir de chaque canadien de voter, l’encouragement aux électeurs à voter, la confiance dans l’intégrité de ceux qui dirigent les élections… Dans le passé, Élections Canada a fait des campagnes de stimulations dans les milieux où le niveau de votation était bas, par exemple, chez les étudiants. Les conservateurs s’y opposent car ils savent que la majorité des étudiants ne sont pas conservateurs. Ils accusent donc Élections Canada de faire de la politique et d’être en « conflits d’intérêts » parce que cet organisme gère les élections et stimule les électeurs à voter puisque c’est son mandat.

Depuis qu’ils sont au pouvoir, les Conservateurs sont comme les républicains américains qui, dans les quartiers noirs et hispaniques, normalement favorables aux démocrates, font tout pour réduire appréciablement le nombre d’électeurs, via le recensement, la diminution du nombre de bureaux de votation… Nous avons été témoins à la dernière élection présidentielle américaine des longues et interminables filées d’électeurs qui attendaient des heures pour voter. Ils étaient blancs, noirs, hispaniques et tous pauvres. Au Canada, nous ne faisons pas cela. Ce n’est pas normal. Tout le monde doit voter et aucune embûche ne doit motiver un électeur à ne pas voter. Les conservateurs, au contraire, par le Bill C-23 cherchent à restreindre le vote étudiant, celui des autochtones et celui de ceux qui doivent utiliser un répondant pour se faire identifier comme électeur, etc. C’est inacceptable.

Le leader de l’opposition Thomas Mulcair, heureux du rapport sénatorial, a décidé de talonné Poilievre et le suit pas à pas au parlement. Ses questions sont pertinentes et, peu à peu, les Canadiens comprennent mieux l’importance de ce débat. La crédibilité du gouvernement est miné jour après jour. Quant au chef libéral, Justin Trudeau, il promet d’annuler le projet de loi s’il est adopté, dès sa prise du pouvoir.

Face à la pression négative montante venant de divers milieux, depuis deux mois, Harper a réagi et a demandé à son ministre de se dire prêt à discuter de changements. C’est un début mais la bataille est loin d’être gagnée même si l’intraitable Poilievre annonce que dorénavant « il a l’esprit ouvert ». Peut-on y croire ? Je ne crois pas, car un tel dossier est complexe, sensible, important et apolitique. Il requiert de l’expérience, de la rigueur et une capacité d’écoute pour être mené à bonne fin. Ce que ce ministre n’a pas démontré avoir à ce jour.

Nous, Canadiens, devons rester sur nos gardes, car la stratégie conservatrice est de faire adopter la loi C-23 le plus vite possible. Des changements de cette importance prennent normalement beaucoup de temps, d’analyses et d’évaluations par tous ceux qui sont engagés et touchés par une telle législation. Ils ne peuvent être brusqués car la démocratie fonctionne bien s’il y a consultation, respect des différentes opinions et consensus. C’est la responsabilité de notre gouvernement fédéral d’agir ainsi.

Claude Dupras

Full Story »


O Politician, behold The Shape of the Future

Posted April 18, 2014 by CuriosityCat

So, you’re a politician? You want to lead our country into a better future? You think the past cannot be relied on as an accurate predicator of the future of the country’s economy? You think the middle class deserve a better break than they’ve been given for the past decade or two?

And you think Canada definitely has to move away from being simple hewers of wood and drawers of water, and move to the forefront of the next few waves of technological advances?
Want some solid, take-it-to-the-bank, realistic ideas about where the most advanced economies are heading over the next few decades, and what type of massive changes will take place in our industries as a result?
Then read this article about a must-read study by Diginova of the future, and download the Diginova study itself for intense homework over the next few months.
This is what Diginova says their mission is:
The purpose of the Diginova coordinating work is to determine the current status and assess and promote the expected potential of Digital Fabrication for the future of materials research and manufacturing in Europe, taking the Diginova scope as a starting point. We will map key material innovation and application domains, identify key technology challenges and new business opportunities. We will identify and connect main stakeholders through establishment of innovation networks centered around concrete identified business cases, to determine the added value and feasible routes to commercialization.
The organization has a respectable parentage, and has produced a startlingly provocative study of the world-to-come.
This is what Dario Borghino says in his article on the Diginova study:
Diginova, a consortium of European companies and universities, has proposed a roadmap for how the manufacturing industry could fully benefit from the digital era over the next two decades. According to this vision, we are moving toward manufacturing highly customizable, on-demand goods that are locally produced from raw materials and globally distributed digital designs. This could lead to extreme product customization, decentralization of production and, perhaps surprisingly, much lower costs of everyday goods ranging from smartphones to medicine.
And that’s just for starters.
You can get a copy of Diginova’s study of the future from its site:
You can also get one from the above article.
If you know anyone remotely connected to a political party in Canada, then do them a favour by sending them a copy of this postbetter still, send them a copy of the Diginova study itself.
If we don’t have political leaders who are able to prepare us for this coming industrial revolution, then our middle class is about to get their butts kicked far more painfully than last time.
Full Story »


Dog in the Manger Mulcair Won’t Back Federalists in Quebec Election

Posted March 5, 2014 by The Mound of Sound

He claims to be the leader of the official opposition for Canada but Tom Mulcair says he’ll stay neutral in the Quebec provincial election.  Why won’t he support the federalist side?  Does he think the federal parties should steer clear on so…

Full Story »

The Latest