This article was originally published on April 18, 2017 on Ricochet.
Canadians should be proud to have hosted Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai last week. She is an inspiration not only for what she has accomplished in her brief 19 years on earth, but for the causes she represents and defends: foremost the right for all girls around the world to have access to education. Her wisdom, humility and poise before Canada’s Parliament should be an inspiration to all: men and women, young and old alike.
But hosting someone such as Yousafzai is about more than just photo ops, and “feel good” press statements. It should be cause for reflection on our own action – or inaction – on the issues she raises. And for all practical purposes, Canada’s political leaders are worlds apart from Yousafzai.Read more
This article was originally published on April 25, 2017 on Ricochet.
When the Trudeau government introduced Bill C-47 earlier this month to accede to the international Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), it was one of those situations where you didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. You could be thankful that the government is finally stepping up to international standards for arms control. But then you could cry too, as the Trudeau government seems intent on maintaining existing loopholes in Canada’s international arms dealings.
Looking at the positive side, Canada is finally taking steps to align its existing arms export control mechanisms with a higher UN standard. Despite Canadians’ mythological self-image as a peace-loving nation, Canadawill be the last of its G7 and NATO allies to sign on to the ATT.
This article was originally published on April 17, 2017 in the Huffington Post.
If only it were so easy. The leader of a war-torn Middle Eastern country commits an atrocity; the West removes him; problem solved. At least, that’s the way Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seems to see the future in Syria. Last week, Trudeau asserted that Syrian president Bachar al-Assad must be excluded from any final peace agreement for that worn torn country. Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland put it more bluntly, “Assad must go.”
The only problem is, in addition to the support that al-Assad enjoys among certain groups within Syria, Trudeau has also forgotten about Russia, Iran, Hezbollah, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the Kurds, and the many other players who have a stake in what happens in Syria. What began with a boy writing anti-government graffiti in Daraa in 2011 is a full blown global crisis today.
This article was originally published on May 4, 2017 in the Huffington Post.
Three things are clear coming out of the second NDP leadership debate in Montreal. First, there’s a clear sense of where the party is headed. Second, the field of leadership candidates is extremely strong. And finally, the candidates will need to try harder to distinguish themselves.
This is in strong contrast to 2012, when last the NDP had to choose a leader. The task of replacing Jack Layton in 2012 forced the party to make many tough decisions, foremost over whether to bring the party closer to the political centre under Thomas Mulcair. But the current race has four candidates all of whom push a strong social democrat vision. They each refer frequently and favourably to Jack Layton’s legacy, but rarely to Thomas Mulcair’s. Regardless of which candidate prevails in the end, the party will be pushing a solidly progressive vision.
This article was originally published on Oct. 25, 2016 on the Huffington Post.
As the Harper era ended and Trudeau’s term began in late 2015, a collective sigh of relief could be heard from ethnic communities all across Canada, especially from Muslim Canadians. From opposing niqabs at citizenship ceremonies to setting up a hotline for individuals to report the “barbaric cultural practices” of their fellow Canadians - which would have undoubtedly targeted Muslims and those believed to be Muslim - Steven Harper’s Conservative government proved to be highly intolerant of certain minority communities and certainly aided in the heightening of tensions against ethnic and religious groups in the country.
It is no surprise, then, that Trudeau’s comparatively progressive stances and charismatic personality have been so enthusiastically embraced by Muslim Canadians. As a Muslim Canadian myself, I have witnessed the raw enthusiasm within the community over our new Prime Minister. I can’t tell you the number of times my Muslim friends have posted selfies with our “dreamy” Prime Minister on social media. Many others have either proudly shared posts of the PM doing some pretty quirky things, like practicing yoga moves on a desk or showing off his Bhangra dancing skills.Read more