Business lobby hysterical on Bill Morneau’s tax reforms

Business lobby responds hysterically to Finance Minister Bill Morneau's tax proposals
Finance Minister Bill Morneau. Art Babych photo.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau wants to close loopholes that allow highly paid professionals to reduce their taxes by incorporating and then using various small business tax breaks to shelter their income.  These loopholes are legal but unfair.  They amount to potentially more than $1 billion annually in lost revenues to the government. That money could be used toward pharmacare, affordable housing or building green infrastructure.  Morneau argues that he wants to create an improved tax system but some of the reaction has been hysterical. Continue reading Business lobby hysterical on Bill Morneau’s tax reforms

Note to pundits: the NDP leadership race matters

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NDP leadership contender Guy Caron (left) at Ottawa event in August 2017. Dennis Gruending photo.

Soon, members of the New Democratic Party will begin electronic and mail-in voting to select their new leader. The race features four competent and principled candidates in MPs Charlie Angus, Niki Ashton and Guy Caron, as well Ontario MPP Jagmeet Singh, and it has become increasingly interesting. But the wider question is whether the NDP will be relevant in Canada’s political future? I contend that it will be. In the interests of transparency, I should mention that I served as an NDP MP in the late 1990s. Continue reading Note to pundits: the NDP leadership race matters

Confronting John A. Macdonald’s racism with ‘acts of anger’

John A Macdonald was a racist in his time. Does that mean his statutes should come down today?
John A Macdonald scupture at Ottawa’s airport. Dennis Gruending photo

Just as the Americans are dealing with what to do with statues of Confederate leaders such as General Robert E. Lee, Canadians have embarked on their own debate about stripping the name of Sir John A. Macdonald from schools and other buildings in Ontario. At its recent annual meeting, the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario passed a motion which described this country’s first prime minister as the “architect of genocide against Indigenous peoples.” Continue reading Confronting John A. Macdonald’s racism with ‘acts of anger’

Donald Trump, neo-Nazis and white evangelicals

After Charlottesville, the question is not why white evangelical Christians support Donald Trump, but rather how they can possibly continue to do so.
White supremacists prepare for Charlottesville rally carrying Nazi and Confederate flags. Creative Commons photo, Anthony Crider

Prominent evangelical leaders in the U.S. continue to provide succor to President Donald Trump even after his support for the militant neo-Nazis who rallied in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12.  The event turned deadly when one of the white supremacists drove his car into a crowd of anti-racist counter protestors, killing Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others. Continue reading Donald Trump, neo-Nazis and white evangelicals

U.S leaves Paris climate change accord, what we can do now

The U.S. has exited the Paris agreement on climate change but there is much that others can do
A large  chunk of ice melts in Antarctic Peninsula, November 2014. Photo courtesy of David Stanley, Wikimedia Commons

The United States is walking away from the Paris agreement on climate change, which was so laboriously negotiated by most of the world’s countries in 2015. This is suicidal lunacy on the part of Republicans who still claim that climate change is a hoax. Continue reading U.S leaves Paris climate change accord, what we can do now

Indigenous rights with a twist, a settler claims privilege

Walkers for Indigenous rights encounter a settler claiming his are more important. Really?
Pilgrim walkers, early morning at Anglican church in Ashton. Dennis Gruending photo

My wife Martha and I joined walkers in May for the final three days of a Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights, a 600-kilometre trek from Kitchener, Ontario to Ottawa. The walkers encountered warm support from individuals and churches along the route but a few of us received one bit of push back from a middle-aged settler, a reminder of the task ahead if reconciliation is to occur.  Continue reading Indigenous rights with a twist, a settler claims privilege

Trevor Herriot, Towards a Prairie Atonement

Writer, naturalist and activist Trevor Herriot says settlers have much to learn from First Peoples about living in harmony with the land and with one another.
Trevor Herriot speaks in Ottawa. Photo by Dennis Gruending.

In April,  I was invited by the Canadian Council of Churches to interview the well-known writer, naturalist and activist Trevor Herriot. Members of the CCC’s Commission on Justice and Peace were meeting in Ottawa and asked Trevor to address them during an all-day meeting. They believe, correctly, that Trevor has much to say about living sustainably and with justice in our environment. Continue reading Trevor Herriot, Towards a Prairie Atonement

Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights, a 600 km walk supports UN declaration

A group of people from various faith groups has walked 600 kilometres in a Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights
Walking the talk. Photo courtesy Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) released its final report on Indian residential schools in June 2015. The TRC commissioners bluntly described those schools as instruments of “cultural genocide.” They were equally frank in describing the complicity of Canadian churches, which operated most of the schools on behalf of the federal government. Continue reading Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights, a 600 km walk supports UN declaration