Canadian Federal Election – 2015

https://twitter.com/globeandmail/status/656420953971433472
Source: https://twitter.com/globeandmail/status/656420953971433472

A surprising sea of red! The most interesting Canadian election results I have seen. It all started when the Atlantic results started coming in. Sure there was an expected Liberal majority in those provinces, but this was a landslide victory.

Source: https://twitter.com/kapilbulsara/status/656278313070129153
Source: https://twitter.com/kapilbulsara/status/656278313070129153

As the night progressed, it was more and more evident that it was going to be a Liberal Majority, but I don’t think even the Liberals expected the result to turn out the way it did. Lot of surprising defeats. The Orange crush, crashed in Quebec. The Conservatives and the NDP’s will now try to figure out what went wrong, but there was one thing that was evident and it was that Canadians wanted change and it was all rooted in a resounding “NO” to the Conservatives.

There are so many things about the Conservative policies that I can talk about from numerous scandals to complete disregard for the environment and minorities, politics of fear and division not to mention the untimely political suicide attempt by bringing in the niqab to the table, tax policies that did not benefit the working class, to their stance on anti-terrorism with the introduction of bill C-51 and unilateral foreign policies, that only damaged Canada’s reputation internationally. I can go on. One thing to note is that when the Conservatives came into power as a majority in 2011, on one side the Liberals had a weak leader and an even weaker platform, and on the other side was the NDP which were inexperienced.

But instead of focussing on what was, I want to focus on what IS, and what does this mean for Canada?

These are interesting times and these are scary times too. But regardless of what has happened, or what will happen, this is a very different Liberal Party compared to that of 2011. This Liberal Party is more like a “Liberal-NDP” party especially if you look at their stance on income-splitting, higher tax on high income earners and tax reduction for low income and middle class families. The whole Robbin Hood/ Socialist approach is inherently a NDP signature.

Regardless of how the Party did, I can honestly say that Justin Trudeau, although as many have believed not fit to be the Prime Mister of Canada, gave the most uplifting, positive and inspirational Prime-Minister-Like speech I have ever heard from a Canadian leader. There is something to be said about the psychology of a ‘newbie’, of a ‘rookie’, of an ‘underdog’.  Maybe Trudeau will need to work extra hard to prove himself worthy to lead a nation, and he has to because the people have put their trust in him and his party.

Tom Mulcair ran a safe, steady, well composed campaign, but sometimes that is not all that is needed. Having Justin Trudeau as a Party leader was a risk, to promise to increase spending, cut taxes and run a deficit was a risk and it paid of. Also, Justin Trudeau is charismatic and the liberals have a story to tell, from 3rd to 1st. Although you may not think that holds much value, but it does. The biggest changes happen when you have a story to tell, when you sell hope and not numbers and figures and policies.

But I am also scared of what is to come. Increasing spending and decreasing taxes and running a deficit until 2020? We might end up worse than now. Letting in 25,000 Syrian refugees instead of 10,000? Is this a calculated number or did he just throw these numbers up to win votes? How will the increase in corporate tax play out into job loss/gain scenarios, foreign investment etc…?But the biggest scare is still that proposed deficit.

I was afraid of what the election results would be, but looking at the surprising sea of red, topped with Justin Trudeau’s very uplifting, very Canadian speech, I was inspired. Sometimes when people are sick and tired of what is, what is needed is something or someone they can look up to, something that inspires them.

There is a certain charm about Trudeau that other political party leaders just do not have. It causes a movement to take place. Take for example, the movement that took place in India when its people elected Narendra Modi as their Prime Minister. Of course you cannot compare Indian and Canadian politics because there are very different dynamics at play.

What I really want to say is that if the Liberals can maintain a steady economy and keep its promises of inclusion, diversity and its commitments while inspiring Canadians, I think we’re in for a very interesting era.

I think every Canadian should listen to their new leader’s victory speech

Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-election-2015-analysis-neil-macdonald-1.3279018
Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-election-2015-analysis-neil-macdonald-1.3279018

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I Love the Seasons in Canada

Most people who are not Canadians think that Canada is nothing more than a cold wintery land, but that is far from the truth. Yes there are parts of Canada which seem to receive more winter than there are days in a year, but most Canadians get to experience each of the 4 seasons. Summer, Winter, Spring and Autumn.

Winter

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Source: nationalgeographic.com

Winter is awesome. Do you know why? Because snow is awesome,  snow is beautiful. There cannot be a white christmas without snow and honestly a Christmas isn’t really Christmas until there is snow on the ground. I know because until the age of 17 the only time I saw a  snowy Christmas was in movies. It was not until I actually experienced a snowy Christmas that I knew there was no better way to experience this holiday.

Source: http://www.hockeycanada.ca/en-ca/news/mcdonalds-fan-zone-opens-friday-at-2015-iihf-world-junior-championship-in-montreal-que
Source: http://www.hockeycanada.ca

Winter in Canada means winter sports – ice skating, hockey, ice fishing, skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing, building snow angels, snow fights and so much more. Ice Hockey, or just Hockey as it is called in Canada is something that helped me get introduced to the Canadian culture when I first moved here. Not only that, Hockey is actually a very fun game to watch. It’s fast-paced with constant action and has committed die hard fans of the game. In fact one of my unforgettable moments of life is related to Hockey.  Whether it’s hockey or skating on a frozen lake, winter gives many bonding experiences for families.

Niagara Falls, Canada in Winter
photographed by Kapil Bulsara. kapilbulsara.com

It also helps that winter looks stunningly beautiful. Take a look at this picture of Niagara Falls in winter.

Another thing that I like about Winter is that it gives you an appreciation of all the other seasons. As much as all the fun things that happen in Winter, it is not an easy season. It can sometimes take a toll on people especially from getting bombarded by snow storms, or extremely cold wind chills. But that is also something that I like about winter – it gives you an appreciation of the other seasons. It gives you something to look forward to.

Spring

Cheery Blossom
Photograph by Kapil Bulsara. kapilbulsara.com

The frost melts, the snow turns to rain to give much needed source of life to the earth. The joy of casting away winter boots and winter jackets and winter tires and winter everything for the first time in months gives a bright new outlook to the coming months, the same way that the ground that was frozen for months turns green to mark the beginning of pleasant things to come and the lifeless branches of trees that seemed to have disappeared start to show signs of life, declaring the start of a new season with the first flowers in months.

Many Canadians start their gardening projects in spring, cyclists start riding again and you start to see more people on walking on walkways.

Summer

source: cbc.ca
source: cbc.ca
Kapil Bulsara kapilbulsara.com
Kapil Bulsara
kapilbulsara.com

The polar opposite of Winter, Summer is the season of BBQ, outdoor sports such as soccer baseball and volleyball, picnics in parks, tanning at beaches, cottage trips, swimming in lakes, running, jogging, cycling, and a whole lot more. T-Shirts, shorts, sundresses and skirts, flip-flops and sandals and hats and cool shades – what’s not to love about summer? Summer is another big season for families and friends to bond whether it is having drinks on a patio or sleeping in a tent under the stars on a summer camping trip.

There are also many festivals and events that take place in the summer. For 3 amazing months Canadians forget that they ever knew what winter was and soak in all the warmth of the season. Summer is a time for celebration for one more reason – Canada Day!

Autumn

Source: http://crazy-frankenstein.com/
Source: http://crazy-frankenstein.com/

Out of all the seasons in Canada, the most bright and colourful one is Autumn. You will find the symbolic Canadian maple tree displaying yellow, bright orange and red across the country. It marks the end of summer as the air starts to get chilly. Shorts and dresses fade to make way for warm hoodies and light jackets. The last few trips to the cottage to experience the beautiful colours displayed by nature and to indulge in the final s’more of the year while sitting gathered around family or friends around a campfire make this season worthwhile.

That’s my take on the beautiful seasons in Canada. Each seasons makes us Canadians appreciate all the other seasons and since each season will only last 3 months we know how to make it count.

 

Loving Winter 2013

I can see that a lot of people are having a hard time keeping a smiling face when they talk about winter, the snow and the wind because they're thinking about the cold, the slush, and layers of clothes and shoveling. I'm one of those people who really seem to be enjoying this year's winter. I understand that I might be getting a few frowns as people read this because I work indoors most of the time and yes I do not need to commute because I work from home. But hear me out, will you?

I couldn't get much work done yesterday, so at night I went to the nearby 24 hour Tim Hortons, a Canadian favorite coffee shop to have a warm cup of Cafe Mocha and to get some work done. Ask any Canadian and they'll know the name 'Tim Hortons' it because it's a common name mentioned almost daily in Canadian households. I came home at around 1:30am. It's at most 20 feet from my driveway to the door of my house and within that short distance I began to feel the cold reaching into my legs beneath the multiple layers of clothing. I could feel my cheeks freezing. The coffee had not awaken me up as much as the cold hitting my face did. It was a good feeling.

There was no one on the street, there was silence – my conjecture was that it was so cold that it was difficult for much of the sound to travel. The snow had settled on the ground like icing on a birthday cake and the whole street was lit up with the light from the street lamp that it reflected. I stood there for a few minutes in awe.

Why should I not love winter?

image

OH CANADA!

The Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games had “OH CANADA” written all over it. The color of the olympic flag might be white with different coloured rings on them, but the true colours of these olympics were red, white and a red maple leaf!

We as Canadian set out to own the podium by trying to win the highest total number of medals in these games. That did not happen, however we did win the most number of Gold medals, not only in these games, but in any winter olympic games in history. Canada was all red, white and gold.

I was not born here in Canada; I was nationalized. I got my Canadian citizenship few years ago, but 2010 is the year I truly became Canadian. I always felt a bit of lack, and somewhat at unease knowing that us Canadians although were proud to be Canadians, had a silent pride and were not as outwardly as we truly should be. But from the moment the torch relay across the country began, I started seeing a different part of Canada, a part that I had not seen in close to a decade that I have been here. The momentum grew as the torch went from east to west, from south to north. I went to see the torch arrive in Toronto. It was a proud moment for me. Suddenly people were not just from different backgrounds, they were all Torontonians; they were all Canadians.

But just before the games began, 21-year-old Nodar Kumaritashvili died after losing control of his sled on the final turn at Whistler mountain in his qualifying run. Could that tragedy have been avoided? Maybe. It is sad and nothing really can replace that. But over the course of the 2010 olympics, the games itself did turn out to be a celebration.

So what were my most memorable moments of the Vancouver 2010 winter olympic games?

  • From the opening ceremony, the whales.
  • From the opening ceremony, Shane Koyczan’s poem, “We Are More”
  • The first medal for Canada was not a gold but a silver by Jenn Heil and in her words “Of course, I wanted gold but I won silver”. Yes she didn’t loose the gold, but she wont the silver.”
  • First Gold medal ever for Canada on home soil – This was the true defining moment and this was what being Canadian is all about. When the last competitor finished his run, and points were award, Alexandre Bilodeau knew he had won Gold, and he started celebrating, but then in an instant paused, to congratulate the last competitor to ski down the slopes for his run, by patting him on the shoulder and then went out to celebrate his victory. And little did he know that he had just predicted the outcome of these Games by saying, “”It’s just the beginning, I think”.
  • Joannie Rochette’s courageous first figure skate after her mother passed aware during the Olympic games.
  • Canada’s dominance over Russia in quarter finals of men’s ice hockey with a 7-3 victory.
  • Women’s curling final between Canada and Sweden. Canada deserved to win, leading by 2 points in the later half of the game. Sweden drew in the last round, and then won over Canada in sudden death. But whatever the result, these Canadian women are champions.
  • The equalizer by team USA in men’s hockey final between Canada and USA with only 24 seconds remaining.
  • And finally the golden goal by Sidney Crosby in over time taking the men’s hockey team to victory. This one golden goal had 3 golden moments in it. First is the gold medal in men’s hockey declaring to the world that Hockey truly is Canada’s game. Second, making that one goal resulting in the breaking of the record for the most gold medals won by any country at any single winter olympic games. And third, is the coast to coast celebration in that one moment where people just stood up, jumped around, screamed with joy and more, and as it is said, the rest is history.