Canada must ‘stick to its word’ on Saudi arms deal, Trudeau says
Canada is obliged to uphold its reputation for honouring business deals and therefore must sell $15-billion of armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia, Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday when asked about video footage that shows the Saudis using similar machines against civilians in the Mideast country.
“We need to be able to project [to] the world that when Canada agrees to something, it sticks to its word,” the Liberal Prime Minister told MPs in the Commons.
Footage published by The Globe and Mail on Wednesday shows armoured vehicles being used against minority Shia Muslim dissidents. Copies of the videos, which date from 2012 and 2015, were supplied by Saudi human-rights activists who want Canada to suspend shipments of combat vehicles to Riyadh.
The combat vehicles in the videos are not Canadian-made, but they demonstrate the regime’s inclination to use such military assets against its own people in a region that is very difficult for Canada to monitor. It also casts doubt on the Liberal government’s assurances that the massive arms sale to Saudi Arabia presents no risks for the country’s civilians.
Asked by NDP Leader Tom Mulcair whether he believes the videos show violations of human rights by the Saudis, Mr. Trudeau said Canada cannot renege on this deal with Saudi Arabia.
“We need to make sure we are respected on the world stage by keeping our word,” he said.
The deal for the armoured vehicles, which will be equipped with machine guns and anti-tank cannons, was secured by the former Conservative government.
The Liberals, however, gave the green light for shipments to proceed when Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion issued export permits in early April for the bulk of the $15-billion contract. (Source: Globe & Mail)
By Graeme MacKay, Editorial Cartoonist, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday October 25, 2012
Dwight Duncan decides not to run
Dalton McGuinty shows Dwight Duncan what the Premier inherits
The race to succeed Premier Dalton McGuinty as Ontario Liberal leader is shaping up as a historic showdown between powerful women.
With Finance Minister Dwight Duncan’s decision not to run for the Jan. 25-27 leadership, the leading contenders to replace McGuinty are now former minister Sandra Pupatello and Municipal Affairs Minister Kathleen Wynne.
Duncan, 53, endorsed Pupatello, his long-time friend and fellow Windsor native, when he announced Wednesday he would not seek re-election in Windsor—Tecumseh in a vote expected next spring.
His move — eight days after McGuinty’s surprise resignation — radically alters altered Ontario’s political landscape and the race for the Liberal crown.
“I’m obviously interested because I’m getting that fire in my belly all over again. I can’t deny that,” said Pupatello, 50, who left politics before the Oct. 6, 2011 provincial election.
“But I have some serious logistical issues that I have to work out,” said the former Windsor West MPP, now director of business development and global markets for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, referring to the fact her husband works in Newfoundland.
“It’s a much bigger leap for me to get back in than it is for those that are already at Queen’s Park,” she said, adding it could be talented field with candidates like Wynne, 59, and Health Minister Deb Matthews, 58.
Duncan admitted Pupatello won’t get a free pass on some of the Liberal government’s recent troubles, such as the controversial scrapping of gas-fired power plants in Oakville and Mississauga.(Source: Hamilton Spectator)
By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator, Monday May 28, 2012
EI Reform Arrives
Proposed changes to Employment Insurance will divide claimants into three categories:
• Long-tenured workers who have paid into the EI system for the past seven of 10 years and who, over the last five years, have collected EI or fishing benefits for 35 weeks or less.
• Frequent claimants who have had three or more claims for regular or fishing benefits and collected benefits for a total of more than 60 weeks in the past five years.
• Occasional claimants would be all other claimants.
The changes will hit each group separately. Long-tenured workers will be given more time to find a job in their usual occupation and at a similar wage (starting at 90 per cent of previous hourly wage.) After 18 weeks on EI benefits, long-tenured workers would be required to expand their search to jobs similar to the one they normally perform and to accept wages starting at 80 per cent of their previous hourly wage.
Frequent claimants would be required to expand their job search to jobs similar to the one they normally perform at the onset of their EI claim (one to six weeks) and accept wages starting at 80 per cent of their previous hourly wage. After receiving benefits for seven weeks, they would be required to accept any work they are qualified to perform (with training, if required) and to accept wages starting at 70 per cent of their previous hourly wage.
Occasional claimants could limit their job search to their usual occupation and wage (at least 90 per cent of previous hourly wage) for the first six weeks of their claim. After that, they would be required to expand their search to jobs similar to the work they normally perform with wages at 80 per cent of previous earnings. (Source: Toronto Star)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday January 24, 2012
RIM’s Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie resign
Smartphone pioneers Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis are stepping down from their chief executive roles at struggling BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion Ltd. in a dramatic shakeup that will see Thorsten Heins take the leadership reins as CEO.
But despite a more than two-thirds decline in RIM’s share price over the past year, Heins signalled that he will largely stay the course set by Balsillie and Lazaridis, who will remain significant shareholders and continue to hold seats on the Waterloo company’s board of directors.
“Mike and Jim took a bold step 18 months ago when RIM purchased QNX to shepherd the transformation of the BlackBerry platform for the next decade,” Heins, who will sit on the board, said in a news release. “We are more confident than ever that was the right path.”
In an interview with the Star Sunday night, Heins blasted critics who have dismissed RIM as yesterday’s company, saying it’s still a solid financial performer.
“The perception just doesn’t match the reality,” Heins told the Star. “We’ve got $1.5 billion in the bank, and virtually no debt. We’ve also got a 75 million subscriber base.”
A plummeting share in the U.S. smartphone market isn’t the only measuring stick RIM should be judged by, Heins said.
“It’s not just smartphones. We’ve got a data network, we’ve got services,” said Heins. “In a lot of countries around the world, we’re the No. 1 smartphone maker. In the U.S., yes, there’s a challenge.” (Source: Toronto Star)