Party leaders fail to deal with reality

Bishop Fred Henry

A SHEPHERD SPEAKS

September 14, 2015

Despite the great recent excitement about the success of the Toronto Blue Jays, I want to focus on and apply something once said by Casey Stengel.

Stengel was a longtime major league New York Yankee (and Mets) Hall of Fame baseball manager whose unique way with the English language became known as "Stengelese."

He once said, "I've always heard that it couldn't be done, but sometimes it don't always work." That's typical Stengelese.

Thomas Mulcair

Thomas Mulcair

Casey held a position on the board of directors for a California bank. According to a story that originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Casey described his duties this way: "There ain't nuthin' to it.

"You go into the fancy meeting room and you just sit there and never open your yap. As long as you don't say nuthin', they don't know whether you're smart or dumb."

Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau and Thomas Mulcair are saying "nuthin'" about many of the issues that Canadians are debating and trying to figure out how to address. Are they smart or dumb?

1. Tax Cuts | Credits

Conservative promise: A permanent home renovation tax credit and tax credits for service clubs.

Comment: What if you don't have a house or can't afford a membership or don't fit socially?

Liberal promise: Tax cuts on middle class incomes. Specifically, drop the federal income tax to 20.5 per cent for Canadians earning between $44,700 and $89,000.

Comment: What about those who don't even make $44,700?

NDP promise: Innovative tax credit to defray the cost of machinery and equipment. Comment: What about those who don't have a job or training incentives?

Stephen Harper

Stephen Harper

Why are we not doing more to eliminate poverty? This is not a blue, red, orange or green issue. However, it is time for prospective leaders to lead.

Too many Canadians have a low income. I don't know how people can live in dignity with the low minimum wages across our country. Yet every attempt to hike it, even marginally, meets with enormous resistance.

Many Canadians are hungry and homelessness is widespread. Why are child poverty numbers so high in Canada - in double digits - higher than in other economically advanced countries?

2. Physician-Assisted Suicide | Euthanasia

The Supreme Court of Canada struck down two sections of the Criminal Code. It also created a new interpretation for Section 7 - "right to life"- of the Charter, and it used ambiguous language in its decision.

Justin Trudeau

Justin Trudeau

I share the opinion of many that the Supreme Court decision was irresponsible and dangerous. The court held the decision for 12 months. Therefore, the current law is in place until Feb. 5, 2016. What's going to happen then? Hello, is anybody there?

The clock is ticking. Canada faces a decision of historic importance and potentially momentous change. We need to talk and hear what our leaders propose.

What are they prepared to do to increase access and provide quality palliative and hospice care? The establishment of a panel, prior to the dissolution of Parliament, is not enough.

3. Refugees

For the past several weeks, we have seen thousands of refugees flee the terror and violent life in Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. Most are flowing into overcrowded humanitarian camps and seeking entry into Europe.

Canadians have a great track record regarding refugees. Although we are trying to find room for refugees, the process is too slow.

Canada promised to take in another 10,000 Syrians over the next three years. Terrific! What can be done to speed up the process?

I would hope that before we vote, our leaders will say "sumthin'."