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GreenPAC hopes to put environmental champions on federal ballot

Written By doni icha on Minggu, 29 Maret 2015 | 21.16

GreenPAC logo

A new political action committee has been formed to match political donors interested in environmental issues with candidates from all political parties willing to champion the same cause. (CBC)

It's not often you see a celebration about the environment these days.

But at Toronto's Green Living Show, along with the electric cars and organic carrots, a launch party was held Friday for a new way to support political candidates in the next federal election.

"We want to get a critical mass of environment champions elected to government," said Aaron Freeman, founder and president of GreenPAC.

It's a political action committee dedicated to selecting environmentally friendly candidates from the political parties. 

GreenPac hopes to match those candidates with donors who will support the campaigns directly.

How? GreenPAC will choose a list of environmental leaders from among political candidates across the country in the next election. 

Then it will link those candidates with people on its list of pledged donors, matching the interest of each as closely as possible.

'We're the Lavalife of environmental politics.'— Aaron Freeman, president of GreenPAC

"We're the Lavalife of environmental politics," jokes Freeman, who has held roles as an environmentalist, law professor and adviser to former Ontario Liberal premier Dalton McGuinty.

"GreenPAC is trying to take the broad support that exists for environmental issues and focus it on a few leaders that we can get elected to make a difference." 

Ballot decisions rarely about environment

The idea springs from what Freeman calls a growing "frustration" that all the talk about the environment never really plays a role in federal voting patterns. 

FreemanCash

Aaron Freeman (left), seen here with NDP MP Andrew Cash at Friday's launch party, is the founder and president of GreenPAC. (CBC)

​Research shows that fewer than 10 per cent of Canadians put the environment first when it comes to casting their ballot.

"It's because there's never a second choice on the ballot," said Freeman.

The new political action committee will provide supporters with a list of candidates from across the country. So even if there's no one in their riding that's pro-environment, they have the option of donating to someone who is. 

"I think if we elected three or four environmental champions in this election, that would be tremendous," said Freeman, who believes that even a small number of dedicated MPs can make a difference. 

American tactic

Political action committees, or PACs, are common in the U.S. They're used to funnel financial support to single-issue causes, such as boosting the number of female candidates. They also fund partisan attack ads.

They're less common in Canada because of the strict limits on political donations.

GreenPAC has adapted its design from the American model and promises to be non-partisan, picking candidates from all parties. 

But NDP MP Andrew Cash, who came to the GreenPAC launch, is skeptical that's possible with the current political climate.

"We have a government currently that has a very specific, in a sense, pro-fossil fuel agenda," he said. "So I will be very interested to see if they find some Conservative members that they can endorse." 

GreenPAC donate page

(CBC)

Social media levels the playing field

Pollster and communications adviser Bruce Anderson said it may take time for a green political action committee to catch on.

But Anderson, who heads Anderson Insight, thinks social media is changing the political landscape in a way that could make environmental PACs more accessible to voters. 

Bruce Anderson

Pollster Bruce Anderson says GreenPAC could work if it directs voters to candidates with moderate environmental views. (CBC News)

"The digital age has levelled the playing field for these kinds of things to happen that don't require lots of money to be spent,"  said Anderson. 

"So I think it's too early to tell whether this one will work, but not too early to say there will be more like it in the months and years to come." 

GreenPAC is hoping to attract 10,000 supporters in the next few months, getting ready for what many predict could be an election where the environment has a much bigger profile.


21.16 | 0 komentar | Read More

Commons renovates to squeeze in 30 more MPs after fall election

In politics, voters often want nothing more than to throw the bums out. But in Ottawa these days, the question being asked is how to squeeze even more bums into the seats in the House of Commons.

The number of ridings represented on Parliament Hill will grow in the next election. Under the government's Fair Representation Act, introduced in 2011, the House will expand by 30 seats.

Federal bureaucrats have been scratching their heads since the legislation passed, trying to draw up plans to fit 338 MPs into a chamber that now fits just 308. When Parliament is dissolved in the coming election, those plans will finally be put into action.

Nancy Chahwan, assistant deputy minister at the Department of Public Works, dropped some hints this week.

"We will be ready," Chahwan said during an appearance before a Commons Committee on Government Operations and Estimates.  

"We have been working for a good period of time with the House of Commons to design additional seats."

House of Commons to install theater seating for new MPs1:52

Chahwan revealed that the two back rows of seats on both sides of the Commons will be replaced with what she calls "theatre seating." 

As the name suggests, these seats will fold up to save space. There will also be more of them to cram in 30 more MPs.

Newly released photos from Public Works Canada show the new seats will be designed to blend in with the older ones. The department expects the new seats to be installed by the fall of 2015, in time for the next Parliament.

The project is expected to cost $2.75 million. Public Works says that includes the design, manufacture and installation of the new seats as well as the cost of wiring up the microphones and earpieces at MPs' desks for translation and communications.

'Can't stack us up like cordwood'

New Democrat MP Pat Martin, who is a trained carpenter, said he likes the design of the new seats. Martin is chair of the government operations and estimates committee. This week was the first time he had heard any details about the plan to rip out the back two rows of the Commons, he said.

"They can't stack us up like cordwood," he said after looking at photos of the new seats.

"Thirty more MPs are going to arrive.… come hell or high water. So, I have to admit they've come up with a pretty creative solution."

New House of Commons seating

In the fall of 2015, 30 new MPs will enter the House of Commons forcing a new, tighter seating arrangement. (Public Works Canada)

Martin questions the cost of the project, however. 

"It does seem a staggering amount of money to buy a bit of office furniture," he said.

Martin also sees some potential drawbacks. In the current setup, most MPs sit two-by-two. With the new design, some members in the back rows of the Commons will be relegated to that place every air traveller tries to avoid — the middle seat.

Plus-size MPs test new seats

The new folding chairs are designed to at least be comfortable, even if a MP has to shimmy past colleagues to take a phone call or answer the call of nature. To that end, when the seats were first unveiled, five MPs who are of larger stature were invited to try them out. 

"We called ourselves the Big Five," said Conservative MP Joe Preston, who was part of that trial run.

New House of Commons seating prototypes

These are prototypes of new seating that will be featured in the House of Commons after the 2015 elections brings 30 new MPs. (Public Works)

Preston declined to identify his four plus-sized seatmates, but said they could all sit together in a single row of the new seats.  

"These seats were incredibly good," he said.

No matter how comfortable, MPs won't be sitting in the new chairs very long. Centre Block on Parliament Hill, which is home to both the House of Commons and the Senate, is set for a major multiyear renovation that's scheduled to begin in 2018.

The plan is for the Commons to move to a temporary home in West Block while the work is being done. Public Works says it has not been determined yet whether the new theatre-style seats will be a permanent fixture in the Commons or if they'll be torn out and replaced with something else.  

The overall cost of refurbishing Parliament now stands at roughly $3 billion.

In their appearance before the Commons committee this week, Public Works officials assured the panel of sometimes skeptical MPs that the project is running on time and on budget.


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Iraq, Syria need to 'take responsibility for their own security' post-ISIS

Canada's defence minister says whatever happens in Iraq and Syria once the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIS, is defeated will be up to local populations, not Canada.

"At the end of the day, the Iraqis are going to have to take responsibility for their own security," Jason Kenney told CBC Radio's The House. "And the same is true in Syria. We Canadians are not in a position to go and to try to create a model democracy in Syria."

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper laid out his plan to expand Canada's existing mission in both scope and length, saying he wants support for an air mission against ISIS which would include strikes on targets inside Syria. 

Kenney told host Evan Solomon that the government's preference is to "develop a truce in the Syrian civil war" that will eventually lead to a responsible government that respected human rights, different faiths and diversity.

Even if he doesn't want Canada to be too closely involved in the future of the region beyond humanitarian aid, the defence minister argues Canada had to intervene when it did. 

"The alternative if the allied countries had not begun to take action against ISIL both in Iraq and eastern Syria, what we would have today is an organization in control probably of most of Iraq and roughly half of Syria with its own energy revenues. With its own economy. With its own pseudo-state. Imagine the destructive power of a so-called caliphate like this," Kenney said.

ISIL Cda Syria Briefing

Defence Minister Jason Kenney argues that once ISIS is defeated, Canada will not in a position to create a model democracy in the region currently occupied by the organization. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

The leader of the Green Party cautions that not worrying about what comes next could have devastating consequences.

Elizabeth May told The House that what's happened to Libya post-intervention shows that military actions can have unintended consequences.

"I believe we made matters worse in Libya," May told host Evan Solomon. "We run a very high degree of risk of making things worse by emboldening ISIS, by creating greater recruits to ISIS," May said.

The Green Party leader also said that targeting ISIS may end up helping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and further destabilize the region.

CBC Radio's The House airs Saturdays on CBC Radio One at 9 a.m. and on SiriusXM Ch. 169.


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John Baird, ex-foreign affairs minister, to advise Barrick Gold

Former foreign affairs minister John Baird has a new job as an adviser to global mining giant Barrick Gold, the corporation has confirmed.

In its annual report, the company listed Baird and former U.S. lawmaker Newt Gingrich as members of its international advisory board.

Barrick Gold says the group is made up of 10 external advisers who meet about once a year to provide advice to the board of directors and management on geopolitical and strategic matters.

The corporation also says individual members of the board can weigh in throughout the year, as needed.

Barrick Gold, which has its international headquarters in Toronto, has interests in nearly 15 countries around the world, including major corporations in the U.S. 

In a surprise move in February, Baird announced he was leaving Prime Minister Stephen Harper's cabinet.

The 45-year-old subsequently resigned as the MP for Ottawa-West Nepean on March 16.

As foreign affairs minister, Baird was responsible for handling challenging diplomatic issues such as the crisis in Ukraine, Canada's mission against ISIS and the case of jailed Canadian-Egyptian journalist Mohamed Fahmy.

Baird, who was replaced as minister by Rob Nicholson, has spent much of his adult life in the political arena.

He was first elected as an MP in 2006 after spending a decade at the Ontario provincial legislature where he served in the cabinet of former Ontario premier Mike Harris.


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How ISIS is different from al-Qaeda

According to the Government of Canada (and indeed, most Western politicians), the emergence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria represents a dramatic escalation of the terror threat to Western countries.

So it may seem odd to read the following passage in ISIS's official English-language publication Dabiq, looking back on the years immediately after 9/11:

"Europe was struck by attacks that killed multitudes more of kuffar [disbelievers] than those killed in the recent Paris attacks. The 2004 Madrid operation and the 2005 London operation together killed more than 200 crusaders and injured more than 2000."

Indeed, the Paris attacks in January were by far the most lethal jihadi terror attack on the West in the decade since the 7/7 attacks in London. And yet the Madrid bombings killed more than 10 times as many people. (Moreover, the Charlie Hebdo attack was not even as ISIS operation, but the work of an older nemesis: al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.)

ISIS coins

ISIS has begun minting its own currency of gold, silver and copper dinars, as it tries to develop the trappings of a real state. (ISIS)

​Dabiq goes on to ask:

"So why was the reaction to the recent attacks much greater than that of any previous attack? It is the international atmosphere of terror generated by the presence of the Islamic khilafah [caliphate] … It is the lively words contained in the khilafah's call."

In other words, fewer Westerners are being killed, but ISIS's hype – its "lively words" – maximizes the psychological effect of the smaller operations that take place today, which typically leave one or two dead, such as the soldiers attacked on a London street, or in St.Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., and on Parliament Hill. And the civilian attacks in cafés in Copenhagen and Sydney.

In some respects, ISIS is merely treading a path laid down by its parent organization al-Qaeda, from which it split a year ago.

It was al-Qaeda that developed the technique of dressing hostages in orange jumpsuits and beheading them on video. Westerners like Daniel Pearl and Ken Bigley suffered that fate long before anyone had had heard of ISIS.

So why has ISIS failed to inspire more and bigger attacks in the West?

ISIS limited by its ideology

The answer lies partly in the apocalyptic ideology of the movement.

ISIS believes that its future is already determined by prophesy. It is pre-ordained that ISIS will face and defeat the "crusader" forces on a plain near the Syrian farming village of Dabiq (hence the magazine's name.) 

Some time after, the "Dajjal" [the anti-Christ] will appear. The forces of the caliphate will be reduced to a mere 5,000 men. There will be a final battle at the gates of Rum, commonly held to be Istanbul. At that point Issa ibn-Maryam, known to Christians as Jesus, will descend from heaven and kill Dajjal with a spear, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat and heralding the end of the world.

ISIS Government building

While al-Qaeda prefers to operate in the shadows, ISIS ideology requires it to act like a national government. (ISIS)

The group also believes that for all of this to unfold as planned, it is necessary to re-establish the Muslim caliphate abolished by Ataturk in 1923.

That means that unlike al-Qaeda, a shape-shifting clandestine insurgency that operated around the world, ISIS must control and govern real territory.

The main service an aspiring jihadi can render to the Islamic State, therefore, is not to stage attacks far away in the West, but to come to the caliphate and join its army.

What's asked of Western Muslims

Dabiq explains the position of ISIS leadership to its readers:

"The first priority is to perform hijrah [pilgrimage] from wherever you are to the Islamic State ... Rush to the shade of the Islamic State with your parents, siblings, spouses, and children.

"Second, if you cannot perform hijrah for whatever extraordinary reason, then try in your location to organize bay'at [pledges of allegiance]) to the khalifah Ibrahim. Publicize them as much as possible … Try to record these bay'at and then distribute them through all forms of media including the internet."

Curiously, the article does not ask Muslims in the West to stage attacks. In some later pronouncements ISIS has called for attacks, but only in cases where it is impossible to travel.

Jihadis leaving the West

There is no doubt that the announcement of the Islamic State has caused excitement in jihadi circles (though less noticed, it also caused division.) That excitement led to an unprecendented migration of jihadi-minded individuals.

ISIS has become like a vortex, sucking jihadis away from their home countries and into the maelstrom of Syria. Many are dying there, some within days. Others burn their passports or surrender them to the organization. Return to the West, far from being encouraged, is seen as a personal and religious failure.

Dabiq

Dabiq encourages its Western Muslim readers to make public pledges of loyalty to the Islamic State. (Dabiq)

With their departure, these jihadis lose the ability to stage attacks in the West. Where previously Western countries may have been unable to arrest them due to lack of evidence, they can now be targeted for death by Western bombs. And if they do attempt to return, they can be imprisoned for having joined ISIS.

To be clear, the spread of ISIS is a tragedy for the people of Syria and Iraq, particularly those who belong to minorities targeted for extermination under the group's ideology. The group continues to commit sickening atrocities against people under its rule.

But here in the West, politicians have failed to explain how the ISIS phenomenon is more dangerous than al-Qaeda, with its calculated efforts to insinuate agents into Western countries and its ambitious mass-casualty attacks.

The hype of ISIS — that stream of "lively words" — depends on an echo chamber in the West, made up of politicians and media who find it convenient to play up ISIS's claim that it is an existential threat to Western civilization. That feeds into its propaganda that it is a uniquely powerful force capable of bringing on the end of the world.


21.16 | 0 komentar | Read More

Iraq, Syria need to 'take responsibility for their own security' post-ISIS

Written By doni icha on Sabtu, 28 Maret 2015 | 21.16

Canada's defence minister says whatever happens in Iraq and Syria once the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIS, is defeated will be up to local populations, not Canada.

"At the end of the day, the Iraqis are going to have to take responsibility for their own security," Jason Kenney told CBC Radio's The House. "And the same is true in Syria. We Canadians are not in a position to go and to try to create a model democracy in Syria."

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper laid out his plan to expand Canada's existing mission in both scope and length, saying he wants support for an air mission against ISIS which would include strikes on targets inside Syria. 

Kenney told host Evan Solomon that the government's preference is to "develop a truce in the Syrian civil war" that will eventually lead to a responsible government that respected human rights, different faiths and diversity.

Even if he doesn't want Canada to be too closely involved in the future of the region beyond humanitarian aid, the defence minister argues Canada had to intervene when it did. 

"The alternative if the allied countries had not begun to take action against ISIL both in Iraq and eastern Syria, what we would have today is an organization in control probably of most of Iraq and roughly half of Syria with its own energy revenues. With its own economy. With its own pseudo-state. Imagine the destructive power of a so-called caliphate like this," Kenney said.

ISIL Cda Syria Briefing

Defence Minister Jason Kenney argues that once ISIS is defeated, Canada will not in a position to create a model democracy in the region currently occupied by the organization. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

The leader of the Green Party cautions that not worrying about what comes next could have devastating consequences.

Elizabeth May told The House that what's happened to Libya post-intervention shows that military actions can have unintended consequences.

"I believe we made matters worse in Libya," May told host Evan Solomon. "We run a very high degree of risk of making things worse by emboldening ISIS, by creating greater recruits to ISIS," May said.

The Green Party leader also said that targeting ISIS may end up helping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and further destabilize the region.

CBC Radio's The House airs Saturdays on CBC Radio One at 9 a.m. and on SiriusXM Ch. 169.


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Bill to delay statutory release for repeat violent offenders

A former public safety official says the Conservative government's new bill to delay when repeat violent offenders at the federal level may be eligible for statutory release from prison will "make the system actually much worse and will not improve public safety."

The government quietly introduced C-56, the Statutory Release Reform Act, on Friday in House of Commons.

Repeat violent offenders, under the amended laws, would only be eligible for statutory release six months before the end of their sentence, from current legislation that allows them to be released two-thirds of the way into their sentence. 

The government bill amends both the Corrections Act and the Conditional Release Act. The bill also applies to repeat Canadians who commit offences and are detained in foreign states under the International Transfer of Offenders Act.

Repeat violent offenders belong to a group that actually needs the most support in reintegration, according to Mary Campbell, former director general of corrections policy at Public Safety Canada.

"They are the more difficult group and so what are we doing? We're giving them a shorter period of reintegration. We're giving them less help through this bill and that makes no sense whatsoever," she said.

"You might want to do more specialized preparation for their release or different kind of supervision, but to give them less support and less time under supervision just seems contrary to the best public safety."

Victims' rights over criminals

Currently, most offenders are eligible for full parole after serving one-third of their sentence. 

Inmates are eligible for statutory release after completing two-thirds of their sentence if they haven't already been released on parole, according to the Parole Board of Canada. Offenders are released from prison but still bound by certain conditions and limitations. 

'Why don't you do something more targeted and meaningful for the people who truly are at-risk?'- Mary Campbell, former director general at Public Safety Canada

Offenders serving life or indeterminate sentences aren't eligible for statutory release. Offenders are supervised by Corrections Canada and are returned to prison if officers believe they present a risk to the public. Statutory release is different from day parole and full parole.

"The government has determined that this is the wrong approach when it comes to repeat violent offenders," according to a statement released by Public Safety on Friday. The proposed measures "reflect the government of Canada's ongoing commitment to keep our streets and communities safe while ensuring that the rights of victims are placed over those of criminals."

Campbell disagrees.

"We know from research that it's better to put people out under conditions and supervision than to release them cold. So that's kind of the reason for the release," said Campbell. She said it's not an automatic release, but a presumptive one. 

"You can be kept in custody until the end of your sentence, but that's the worst way to release someone."

1.5% recommit violent crimes

Data from Public Safety Canada shows that between 2012 and 2013,  7.1 per cent of statutory releases ended with a nonviolent crime and only 1.5 per cent ended with a violent crime. That second figure has gone down from 2.5 per cent in 2008-2009. 

Campbell said the new bill targets that 1.5 per cent of people who recommit violent crimes. She added that data compiled on them shows they are predominantly young, male criminals who commit robberies.

"If you know that much about your target group, why are you changing the whole law for a whole lot of people that don't meet that profile, that don't have those needs? Why don't you do something more targeted and meaningful for the people who truly are at-risk?"

A spokesman for Public Safety Canada said the department would not be able to respond to CBC News' query by Friday's deadline.

The NDP's public safety critics were also not available to comment on the bill. 

Prime Minister Stephen Harper first announced the government would be introducing new legislation in mid-February. It follows through on a commitment by the Conservatives made in the 2013 throne speech.

Given the limited sitting days before an expected fall federal election, the legislation may be hard-pressed to pass through all stages in the House of Commons and Senate without unanimous support from all parties.

CBC is not responsible for 3rd party content


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GreenPAC hopes to put environmental champions on federal ballot

GreenPAC logo

A new political action committee has been formed to match political donors interested in environmental issues with candidates from all political parties willing to champion the same cause. (CBC)

It's not often you see a celebration about the environment these days.

But at Toronto's Green Living Show, along with the electric cars and organic carrots, a launch party was held Friday for a new way to support political candidates in the next federal election.

"We want to get a critical mass of environment champions elected to government," said Aaron Freeman, founder and president of GreenPAC.

It's a political action committee dedicated to selecting environmentally friendly candidates from the political parties. 

GreenPac hopes to match those candidates with donors who will support the campaigns directly.

How? GreenPAC will choose a list of environmental leaders from among political candidates across the country in the next election. 

Then it will link those candidates with people on its list of pledged donors, matching the interest of each as closely as possible.

'We're the Lavalife of environmental politics.'— Aaron Freeman, president of GreenPAC

"We're the Lavalife of environmental politics," jokes Freeman, who has held roles as an environmentalist, law professor and adviser to former Ontario Liberal premier Dalton McGuinty.

"GreenPAC is trying to take the broad support that exists for environmental issues and focus it on a few leaders that we can get elected to make a difference." 

Ballot decisions rarely about environment

The idea springs from what Freeman calls a growing "frustration" that all the talk about the environment never really plays a role in federal voting patterns. 

FreemanCash

Aaron Freeman (left), seen here with NDP MP Andrew Cash at Friday's launch party, is the founder and president of GreenPAC. (CBC)

​Research shows that fewer than 10 per cent of Canadians put the environment first when it comes to casting their ballot.

"It's because there's never a second choice on the ballot," said Freeman.

The new political action committee will provide supporters with a list of candidates from across the country. So even if there's no one in their riding that's pro-environment, they have the option of donating to someone who is. 

"I think if we elected three or four environmental champions in this election, that would be tremendous," said Freeman, who believes that even a small number of dedicated MPs can make a difference. 

American tactic

Political action committees, or PACs, are common in the U.S. They're used to funnel financial support to single-issue causes, such as boosting the number of female candidates. They also fund partisan attack ads.

They're less common in Canada because of the strict limits on political donations.

GreenPAC has adapted its design from the American model and promises to be non-partisan, picking candidates from all parties. 

But NDP MP Andrew Cash, who came to the GreenPAC launch, is skeptical that's possible with the current political climate.

"We have a government currently that has a very specific, in a sense, pro-fossil fuel agenda," he said. "So I will be very interested to see if they find some Conservative members that they can endorse." 

GreenPAC donate page

(CBC)

Social media levels the playing field

Pollster and communications adviser Bruce Anderson said it may take time for a green political action committee to catch on.

But Anderson, who heads Anderson Insight, thinks social media is changing the political landscape in a way that could make environmental PACs more accessible to voters. 

Bruce Anderson

Pollster Bruce Anderson says GreenPAC could work if it directs voters to candidates with moderate environmental views. (CBC News)

"The digital age has levelled the playing field for these kinds of things to happen that don't require lots of money to be spent,"  said Anderson. 

"So I think it's too early to tell whether this one will work, but not too early to say there will be more like it in the months and years to come." 

GreenPAC is hoping to attract 10,000 supporters in the next few months, getting ready for what many predict could be an election where the environment has a much bigger profile.


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Stephen Harper 'dumb' to say niqab is anti-women, Charles Taylor says

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is "dumb" to say that wearing a niqab is anti-women, according to Charles Taylor, one of the men behind Quebec's landmark Bouchard-Taylor Commission on Reasonable Accommodation.

"How dumb do you have to be to not see that a remark like that in the present context [of heightened tension around the issue of Islamic terrorism] is inflaming," Taylor said in an interview on CBC News Network's Power and Politics. 

"Now he's trying to row away from it but I wonder if he's trying to raise his vote in Quebec because his polls did go up there after that [remark]."

Taylor was referring to a comment made by the Prime Minister on March 10 during question period when he said the niqab, a face covering worn by some Muslim women, is "rooted in a culture that is anti-women." 

"You have to be very careful that you don't stigmatize Islam in general. The prime minister is playing along with an unfortunate tendency, an Islamophobic tendency, in North America as a whole. That is a direct danger to our security and it's terrible for our society," Taylor said. 

The prime minister is taking a page out of the Parti Québécois playbook by banning the niqab during citizenship ceremonies, Taylor added. That party, under the leadership of former premier Pauline Marois, tried to enact a so-called secular values charter, which would have banned religious symbols in the public service. 

Marois lost to Liberal Philippe Couillard in the 2014 Quebec general election. 

Taylor, a well-known political philosopher, and a federalist, and Gérard Bouchard, a sovereigntist historian, co-authored their reasonable accommodation report in 2008. The report was drafted after months of testimony from immigrants and Franco-Quebecers alike. 

In the report, Taylor stressed that Quebecers need to demonstrate an "openness and generosity of spirit" for minorities. The report also recommended, among other things, that students who wish to wear religious symbols in class, such as the hijab, kippah or turban, should be able to do so. 


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John Baird, ex-foreign affairs minister, to advise Barrick Gold

Former foreign affairs minister John Baird has a new job as an adviser to global mining giant Barrick Gold, the corporation has confirmed.

In its annual report, the company listed Baird and former U.S. lawmaker Newt Gingrich as members of its international advisory board.

Barrick Gold says the group is made up of 10 external advisers who meet about once a year to provide advice to the board of directors and management on geopolitical and strategic matters.

The corporation also says individual members of the board can weigh in throughout the year, as needed.

Barrick Gold, which has its international headquarters in Toronto, has interests in nearly 15 countries around the world, including major corporations in the U.S. 

In a surprise move in February, Baird announced he was leaving Prime Minister Stephen Harper's cabinet.

The 45-year-old subsequently resigned as the MP for Ottawa-West Nepean on March 16.

As foreign affairs minister, Baird was responsible for handling challenging diplomatic issues such as the crisis in Ukraine, Canada's mission against ISIS and the case of jailed Canadian-Egyptian journalist Mohamed Fahmy.

Baird, who was replaced as minister by Rob Nicholson, has spent much of his adult life in the political arena.

He was first elected as an MP in 2006 after spending a decade at the Ontario provincial legislature where he served in the cabinet of former Ontario premier Mike Harris.


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