Bird sanctuary dedicated to Stephen Harper opens in Israel
After many years of construction and logistics, the Stephen J. Harper Hula Valley Bird Sanctuary Visitor and Education Center in northern Israel has officially opened.
Harper and his wife Laureen attended an opening gala yesterday, along with the 2013 JNF gala co-chairs Senator Linda Frum and former Toronto Argonauts owner Howard Sokolowski, as well as current Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu and his spouse Sara Netanyahu.
A sailboat is said to be in irons when the sails are unable to generate power and have stopped in a no-go zone. The wind is at that point working against the boat.
It is critical to look at the dynamic demographic change of our country and where the Conservative Party of Canada and our base is in relation to this change. It is clear we may soon be in such a position as irons, sailing directly into the winds of demography. However, if we are able to effectively expand our base and gain new Conservative voters, we will be able to turn our party around and use the demographic shifts to fill our sails. I am not an identity politics advocate. What I am concerned about, and the purpose of this article, is to make the point that regardless of one’s background, faith, gender, sexual orientation, generation or ethnicity, Canadians must feel welcome on our big Conservative boat.
But there is a bit of a problem with diversity and inclusion in our party. Currently, one only need look at our caucus during question time to realize that the party does not reflect the composition of modern Canada. Considering the shifting national demographics, this is a serious issue. Following the result of the 2019 federal election, it is evident that we cannot form a government as a party unless we win more seats in the Greater Toronto Area (the “GTA”). The GTA is one of the most diverse regions in the country. According to Canada’s 2016 census, 48.76% of people living in the GTA identify as a visible minority. Having grown up in a diplomatic background and having lived in several different cities and countries, I appreciate how the diversity of the GTA enriches all our lives in ways that can only be experienced in a few other cities in the world. I believe this diversity presents a wonderful opportunity for our party. By expanding, deepening and diversifying our base, we will indeed gain more votes. Just as importantly, we will acquire new volunteers. We will be able to raise more funds. More diverse perspectives will enable us to craft stronger and better policies.
Many people from immigrant backgrounds are in fact conservative in outlook and so are more closely aligned with the values of our party such as fiscal conservativism, opportunity, self-reliance, faith and family. Moreover, many new Canadians have escaped political tyranny and economic injustice that is the antithesis of conservative tenets such as: respect for the rule of law; robust capitalism; fairness; and personal freedom. Our principles are inherently Canadian values and are the reason that for so many generations, people have sought to build lives here.
I am a proponent of ‘one-nation’, inclusive, conservatism that originated under former Conservative British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. ‘One-nation’ conservatism involves a strong commitment to social, political, and economic inclusion as well as the preservation and promotion of traditional national principles and established institutions. This combination of ideals was fostered in Canada by notable conservatives such as John Diefenbaker and Robert Stanfield. I know that today, these beliefs are held by most Canadians also.
Another former Conservative British Prime Minister, David Cameron, was defeated after his first run for parliament in 1997. Upon reflecting on his loss, he realized that the Labour Party landslide victory was an indication of how much the UK had changed and that the UK Conservative Party needed to adapt. I was studying in Durham, England in 2009 when after 12 years in the political wilderness, the UK Conservative Party finally came back to power by forming a minority government. This breakthrough was partly due to the fact that the party had become more representative of Britain. This success and strategy were built upon over the years. Common sense conservative policies were adhered to and “one-nation” Tory themes were employed. As a result, in December 2019, the party under the leadership of Boris Johnson secured its best election result since 1987. Seats were won in some of the staunchest Labour Party ridings. For example, the UK Conservative Party won in what was the very safe Labour Party seat of Sedgefield. This was the former riding of Tony Blair, the Labour Party’s longest-serving prime minister.
So, how do we ensure that more Canadians not only cast their vote for the Conservative Party of Canada but also become part of our base? First, we must persistently and actively pursue inclusion. We cannot win hearts and minds if diverse communities are seen as only passengers; they must also become part of the crew of our big Conservative boat. Second, as a millennial, I believe we must work to reach out more, particularly to younger people who overwhelmingly voted for progressive parties in the 2019 federal election. This is important. Millennials comprised the largest voting bloc in the last election. Young people must be persuaded that Conservative ideals have everything to do with tolerance, inclusion, diversity and opportunity. Opening doors of opportunity has always been crucial to building wealth and generating economic growth. Young people understand this and want the opportunity to do better than their parents.
Therefore, I believe that most Canadians are “one-nation” conservatives: they believe in greater social, political, and economic inclusion for all; they believe in our core national principles as a country such as peace, order and good governance; and they have a healthy respect for our national institutions. As Conservatives we win when we successfully sell our values, as the victories of Brian Mulroney and Stephen Harper show. With full sails that are powered by the vibrant and diverse make-up of our country, our big Conservative boat will be propelled forward. Our destination will be victory.
William Luke is the principal lawyer of Luke Law Firm, a Toronto, Ontario based criminal defence firm. He stood as a nomination contestant of the Conservative Party of Canada for the 2019 federal election in the riding of Eglinton-Lawrence.
Whether you like Stephen Harper or not, one thing that we can agree on is that national unity concerns evaporated while he was in office.
For most of his time in office, Harper was popular in the West, divisive in much of Ontario, and unpopular in Quebec.
That was mirrored in the Conservatives electoral results between 2004 and 2015, with their support base always being in the West, combined with wins when they could increase their support in Ontario, and once in a while doing okay in Quebec when things aligned perfectly.
Yet, take note of what didn’t happen.
Even when Harper and the Conservatives were unpopular in Quebec, separatist sentiment didn’t rise.
In fact, support for Quebec separatism collapsed during Harper’s time in office, with the PQ narrowly winning one election, then getting crushed, then being basically superseded by a nationalist but not separatist party.
Quebec separatism was dealt a crippling blow during Harper’s time in office, and the reason it happened is quite simple.
Harper respected provincial jurisdiction and encouraged the growth of key Quebec industries.
Harper generally stayed out of Quebec’s business, didn’t interfere with provincial matters, and pushed for the growth of all sectors of Canada’s economy, including Quebec’s aerospace sector.
Even when Quebeckers didn’t like Harper, they felt he wasn’t actively against them.
As a result, many Quebeckers felt it was possible to succeed within Canada, even under a leader that wasn’t popular in their province.
And that brings us to Justin Trudeau.
Some establishment pundits claim the rise of separatist sentiment in Alberta and the West is simply because Justin Trudeau is unpopular.
But if that was true, separatist sentiment in Quebec would have surged because of Harper’s unpopularity.
And as we know, that didn’t happen.
So it’s not about Trudeau being unpopular.
It’s about the very real perception that Trudeau and his government are actively opposed to Alberta’s key industry.
The Trudeau Liberals are clearly more interested in global virtue-signalling than they are in supporting a key industry in our country. Yet, they continue to express support for industries like the auto sector and aerospace sector that use tons of oil and gas, and just so happen to be in the electoral battlegrounds of Ontario and Quebec.
So, we can see exactly what’s going on:
Alberta and the Western Canadian energy sector are being unfairly singled out by the government, and the resulting rise in anger and separatist sentiment is no surprise.
On Twitter, Anthony Furey summed things up well:
“It’s absurd to filter a decision on #TeckFrontier through emissions targets that we all know are just idealistic posturing. What serious politician does something silly like that to their own country and economy??”
This is why Justin Trudeau is already a failed prime minister.
A leader is supposed to serve their own nation, their own people above all else. In Canada, that means ensuring that each region and province is free and supported in the development of their own core industries.
When that happens, it’s actually very easy to keep Canada together, as Stephen Harper showed.
Yet, instead of serving all Canadians, Justin Trudeau is deliberately dividing our nation, putting international elitist opinion above the unity and prosperity of our country.
Now, because of Justin Trudeau’s failure, Canada’s unity is crumbling, and our nation is at serious risk of irrevocably breaking apart.
A 13-year study of public opinion on the federal government has found that Canadians have become increasingly pessimistic of the politicians running the country under the leadership of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Polling and data research company Nanos Research released on Friday released a study, “Mood of Canada“, on Friday that shows more and more Canadians have been growing weary of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government.
At the end of 2019, Nanos Research found the following moods of Canadian respondents towards the Trudeau government’s performance: 25 percent checked off “very poor”, 19 percent checked off “somewhat poor”, 27 percent checked off “average”, 21 percent checked off “somewhat good”, and only 6 percent checked off “very good”.
When Trudeau first stepped into the Prime Minister’s Office in 2015, the Nanos study found the approval in the federal government increased dramatically, as Canadians had grown tired of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government, which was nine-years old.
But Nanos data shows that the goodwill for the Trudeau government has depleted at a much faster rate than for the Conservative predecessor.
It took until the 6th year for the Harper government to reach 16 percent of people rating the government’s performance as “very poor”, something the Trudeau government surpassed in its third year, according to Nanos Research’s data. The study also shows that by 2019, the number of Canadians with an unfavourable opinion of the Trudeau government’s performance had reached levels that the Harper government reached in its last few years.
Nanos polled a random sampling of 1,010 Canadians over the age of 18, reaching people online, as well as via cell and landline phones.
One week ago, US President Donald Trump released his long-awaited Peace to Prosperity plan. This plan will finally bring peace to Israelis and Palestinians alike after a conflict that has been occurring for more than 71 years. It is a bold plan that no other US President or world leader has introduced.
A moment in time that staunch Zionists have their entire lives for. To see a future of peace, a future where all of the lands that have always been known as Israel on a map with no backlash, rather with praise.
Israel, the home of hope now has even more hope for peace with this deal.
There is now a vision in place by one of the world’s greatest friends of the Jewish people and of the Jewish homeland, ensuring that there is a positive and ever-lasting Jewish future, with a homeland reflecting exactly where their indigenous roots lie, in the Holy Land.
The plan recognizes territory that is both vital currently for Israel’s security but also recognizes significant Biblical and historical claims that Israel has to the land. Israelis and Zionists should be rejoicing with immense pride in knowing that for the first time in history there is a plan implemented by the leader of the free world who understands that the indigenous land of the Jewish people extends into Judea and Samaria.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during the announcement, said that “for too long—far too long—the very heart of the Land of Israel where our patriarchs prayed, our prophets preached, and our kings ruled, has been outrageously branded as illegally occupied territory. Well, today, Mr. President, you are puncturing this big lie.”
The obvious is revealed, that the Jewish people are indigenous to the land Judea. The word “Jew” comes from the tribe of Judah, and the land they inhabited 3,000 years ago, the land of Judea.
Trump lays out a plan that lays out the truth, there is no way around the fact that the Jewish people are native to Judea and Samaria, where a rich history going back more than three millennia can finally be considered legitimate.
This opportunity truly is the best of both worlds. Israelis now can secure their border with certainty on the eastern side, through sovereignty over the pivotal Jordan Valley. This was a key part of the speech given by Trump during the release of the plan when he said: “the United States will recognize Israeli sovereignty over the territory that my plan provides to be part of the State of Israel.”
The Jordan Valley can now be secured by Israel as an important security asset and ensure it can prosper, alongside a demilitarized and autonomous Palestinian state. No longer will this piece of land be disputed territory, but rather as legitimate and sovereign land that is part of Israel. The Golan Heights will remain recognized as sovereign Israeli territory, a piece of land that the US first acknowledged as part of Israel in March of 2019.
The idea of a nation-state also is at play here, with Trump enforcing the idea that the Palestinians must agree that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people and vice versa. This is a great initiative to ensure that both states recognize the fact that their territory is the de-facto and rightful homeland of their people.
Israel now can keep portions of the land they gained from the Six-Day War in 1967. No longer will Israel be obliged to give all territories back to the Palestinians. Every settlement now will be under Israeli control and 15 other confined communities that will be within Palestinian territory. An innovative new security barrier will ensure that all borders are realigned securely. The contentious “right of return” of Palestinian refugees becomes nullified, as they will now be able to have a state of their own.
Jerusalem is the eternal and sovereign capital of Israel, and the Jewish people. It will stay that way. As will it be Israel’s responsibility to secure the religious sites in Jerusalem. There is encouragement for the Temple Mount to be open to all faiths as a place of worship, a change from the status quo of only allowing Muslims to pray at the Temple Mount. It is very positive to hear that the United States’ embassy will remain put in the holy city, in the Talpiot neighbourhood.
Multiple Biblical connotations have come from this important step, with Moshe Feiglin, the leader of the Zehut Party in Israel stating that “the Trump statement is the declaration of Cyrus of our days.” Former Likud Party politician, Rabbi Yehuda Glick compared this announcement to the Book of Ezra, regarding the construction of the Third Temple in the foreseeable future.
It really should be known that within the world’s most pro-Israel administration, a team of top advisors truly deserve immense credit for their behind-the-scenes work. They include Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt, and Avi Berkowitz.
Many other important figures contributed, but this group of three advisors did what should be considered the most important accomplishment of Trump’s presidency to this point, and that is ensuring there is a future full of optimism for Israel, as well as the Palestinians.
In total, 29 countries so far have accepted this historic plan for peace, including eight countries who are members of the Arab League (Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates). The only nations or bodies known so far to reject the plan are the Palestinian Authority, Iran, Turkey, Venezuela, Russia, and the Arab League body.
Even though members of the Arab League were present at the announcement at the White House, and initially provided support for this game-changing plan, it seems that they had a change of heart at the emergency Arab League meeting on the weekend.
Canada has been mostly neutral on this plan from the get-go. Besides a brief statement by Minister of Foreign Affairs, François-Philippe Champagne, that did not endorse the plan but did not directly go against the plan. Other G20 countries who at least at the UN, seem to be more critical of Israel have offered their support, such as Australia, the UK, France, Italy, India, Japan, South Korea, and the previously mentioned Saudi Arabia.
It is in the best interest of the Canada-Israel relationship for Canada to endorse this plan to stand on the right side of history, even though this relationship has been disfigured recently with Canada voting against Israel at the UN last year.
Trump and his administration have offered an opportunity that does not come around often, or even at all for that matter. The plan is of the best interest for everlasting peace in the Middle East, for both the Israelis and the Palestinians. For the Jewish nation, in particular, it is a gift that no other world leader has ever offered and is both generous and reasonable.
This plan to be more than simply about peace, but the chance to start anew. This special plan is not nicknamed the “Deal of the Century” for no reason, this deal does not come around just once a century, it likely will never come again in centuries or even millennia.
The time is now for the world to realize that there is no time like the present to support and endorse this historic plan, for it is a gift and an opportunity that the Jewish nation has been longing for, since its modern-day inception.