44 posts categorized "arts and culture"

June 11, 2010

Was It Something I Said?

My letter about proposed changes to the copyright act triggered this rather bizarre response from a member of Peterborough MP Dean Del Mastro's staff:

From: DelmaD0@parl.gc.ca
Date: June 9, 2010 9:59:03 PM GMT-04:00
To: Ann Douglas
Subject: Re: Copyright - Bill C-32

Please confirm and advise it has been passed on to Dean.
Even though she is not respectful we will be.
Alan.

***

From: Ann Douglas
To: Del Mastro, Dean - Assistant 1
Sent: Thu Jun 10 09:50:19 2010
Subject: Fwd: Copyright - Bill C-32

Alan -
I think you intended your note for someone other than me.
Best regards,
- Ann Douglas

***

On 10-Jun-10, at 9:54 AM, DelmaD0@parl.gc.ca wrote:

Simply: whether a constituent constantly attacks the member or not we will serve and accept input from all.
Alan. 

***

From: Ann Douglas
Subject: Re: Copyright - Bill C-32
Date: June 10, 2010 10:07:50 AM GMT-04:00
To: DelmaD0@parl.gc.ca

I am pleased to hear that you welcome feedback from all constituents. That is what I would expect from my Member of Parliament and his staff.

Best regards,
Ann Douglas

I hope I never have to ask my MP to assist with an urgent matter affecting the well-being of my family. I have a feeling that the experience would be uncomfortable to say the least.

Related:

My Visit to MP Dean Del Mastro's Office - And What I Learned

June 09, 2010

I Write Letters: On Democracy, The Copyright Bill, and The Gun Registry

I've been in letter-writing mode over the past few days. On Saturday, I fired off this letter to the editor of The Peterborough Examiner, which appeared today:

Re: How well do you know your politicians? (Fri. June 4)

Thank you for taking the time to survey local citizens to find out how many knew the name of our MP, Mayor, Prime Minister, MPP, Premier, Federal Opposition Leader, and Provincial Opposition Leader. (The survey revealed that local citizens are far more likely to know the name of our current MP than any other local politician.)

Citizens can't make informed choices at the ballot box on election day unless they have the opportunity to get to know all candidates on the ballot. For that reason, I would like to encourage The Peterborough Examiner to challenge itself to look for new and innovative ways to extend editorial coverage to the non-incumbents at all levels of government, so we can discover what they stand for and what they have to offer our community.

I would also like to challenge The Peterborough Examiner to take things one step further by asking area citizens what they want and need from all levels of government. Too often, politicians are allowed to set the agenda and determine what issues get discussed in our media and in our communities.

We are the people. The politicians work for us and are accountable to us. The more information we can obtain about how well our politicians are doing - and what other candidates have to offer - the better choices we will be able to make each time we head to the ballot box.

The media plays such a vital role in a functioning democracy. Thank you again for this important article.

Ann Douglas

And tonight, I wrote a letter to Peterborough Riding MP Dean Del Mastro, urging him to send Bill C-32 (the much-talked about copyright bill) to committee for some further work because it doesn't adequately safeguard the work of Canadian writers.

To:  

Dean Del Mastro, MP, Peterborough Riding
Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Heritage James Moore


Dear Dean Del Mastro:

I am writing to you to express my concerns about Bill C-32, which does not adequately protect the rights of Canadian writers or other creators.

The Writers' Union of Canada and the Professional Writers Association of Canada are just two of the writers' organizations which have issued press releases expressing serious concerns about Bill C-32 since it was tabled last Thursday.

I am urging you to vote to send Bill C-32 directly to committee to study, rather than allowing the Bill to proceed to Second Reading first. The Bill will require extra committee time because there are two different departments involved -- both Heritage and Industry -- and the changes being requested by Canadian creators are likely to be considerable.

I am also concerned that Second Reading approval might limit the kinds of amendments that might be possible.

Thank you for hearing my concerns.

I look forward to hearing back from your office to confirm safe receipt of this letter.

Best regards,

Ann Douglas

cc. Deborah Windsor, Executive Director, The Writers' Union of Canada
cc. Sandy Crawley, Executive Director, The Professional Writers Association of Canada
cc. Tanya Gulliver, President, The Professional Writers Association of Canada
cc. Stuart Harrison, Manager, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce
cc. Alan Wilson, Advisor to Dean Del Mastro

I also wrote a letter to a handful of NDP MPs, (on behalf of YWCA Peterborough Victoria and Haliburton, where I serve as a member of the Board of Directors) urging these MPs to shift their vote on the gun registry:

Dear Malcolm Allen, Charlie Angus, Nathan Cullen, Claude Gravelle, Carol Hughes, Jack Layton, Jim Maloway, Peter Stoffer and Glenn Thibeault:

Did you know that long guns and rifles are used in over 70% of domestic gun homicides, deaths that have clearly declined since the long gun registry was created?

With the RCMP in charge, the registry now costs $4.1 million annually to run and police search it over 4 million times a year.

It’s time to stand with the RCMP and Canada’s police associations. Time to stand up for vulnerable women and defeat Bill C-391. Your vote can save a life. 

Please search your heart and do the right thing.

Thank you.

Ann Douglas
Board Member
YWCA Peterborough Victoria and Haliburton

Lynn Zimmer
Executive Director
YWCA Peterborough Victoria and Haliburton

Theresa Butler-Porter
President, Board of Directors
YWCA Peterborough Victoria and Haliburton

December 12, 2009

My Friend's Got a Bad Case of the Betrayed by Stephen Harper Blues

It's terrible when a friend is hurting.

It's even worse when that friend is hurting because she has terrible taste in men. I mean, the worst.

If you haven't had the pleasure of meeting Miss Ruby Jones, this video will explain who she is and why she's singing the betrayal blues. (Well, not literally. She left the singing to KISS.)

I hope 2010 will be a better year for you, Miss Ruby Jones (a.k.a. Harper Girl: the self-appointed president of the Stephen Harper Fan Club).

April 17, 2009

Major Arts Advocacy Organization Starves to Death on Del Mastro's Home Turf

The Peterborough Arts Umbrella (PAU) -- a respected arts organization that provided rehearsal space for musicians, digital media tools for filmmakers, and that organized key arts events in the city; and that advocated on behalf of artists -- has closed its doors after missing out on a $20,000 government grant.

Like many arts organizations, the PAU required on a patchwork quilt of grants as well as paid memberships. According to a report in the Peterborough Examiner, The PAU operated on grants from the City of Peterborough, Ontario Arts Council, Canadian Heritage, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Trillium Foundation.

A local filmmaker, who is quoted in the story, describes the role of the PAU well: "It was a place where young artists and musicians could jumpstart their careers." The organization's mandate speaks volumes.

The Peterborough Arts Umbrella is a multi-disciplinary, membership-based facility for working artists and community members interested in the thriving Peterborough arts community. We offer many services, including rehearsal spaces for musicians and other performers, a digital media centre with audio and video editing suites, and a 400-square-foot gallery. Since 1995 the Peterborough Arts Umbrella has been a facility-based organization providing visibility for the arts in our community as well as providing a supportive environment where artists in all disciplines and all stages of professional development in their careers meet, collaborate, learn, discuss, produce and disseminate art. The Peterborough Arts Umbrella is the only organization in the region that delivers both programs and services across all disciplines. The Peterborough Arts Umbrella is membership-based and governed by a volunteer board of directors who report to our membership. The Peterborough Arts Umbrella encourages discipline-specific collaboration with our membership and community through working groups and community partnerships. The Peterborough Arts Umbrella's unique artistic structure has enabled the PAU to remain relevant to the needs of artists in the community and in our region.

This is the very type of project that should be at the top of the list for infrastructure funding, but, once again, arts and culture funding screen remains off the radar for this government -- and on Dean Del Mastro's home turf, no less. Dean Del Mastro, you may recall, is the Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Heritage James Moore.

I can't help but wonder if the PAU's mandate to advocate on behalf of artists might have led to arts dollars gravitating towards other arts organizations, assuming the dollars lost were federal. (The news article is a big vague. It sounds like the dollars lost were Canada Council dollars, but I'm not 100% sure. Can anyone confirm?)

The Peterborough Arts Umbrella is a primary advocate for the arts sector and as such plays a major policy role within our larger community. The PAU provides sponsorship for non-registered groups and organizations, providing charitable trusteeship for fundraising activities. The PAU is a member of or actively involved with key municipal, provincial and national stakeholders. The PAU has a permanent seat on the City of Peterborough's Arts, Culture and Heritage Division Board, a body which formally advises municipal government on issues that affect our sector. The PAU is an advisor to Artscape's Creative Clusters Development Program in Ontario and is also active in Visual Arts Ontario, Community Arts Ontario, Theatre Ontario, IMAA (Independent Media Arts Alliance) and NAMAC (National Aboriginal Media Arts Coalition).


We already know that the Harper government isn't big on funding any activities designed to help anyone speak up. And the PAU fulfilled that mandated brilliantly during the last federal election, helping to launch Ordinary Canadians for the Arts.

Coincidence? Maybe. But I thought someone should at least raise the possibility that arts advocacy organizations could be finding themselves to be the least popular kids on the arts organization federal funding block these days.

January 20, 2009

Obama, Harper, and Leadership

After riding the Obama wave all day, I made the mistake of catching up on politics on this side of the border. Shudder. Talk about culture shock.

The shift south of the border has changed things for us, too, Canada. When the House of Commons resumes next week, we can't settle for business as usual (or as it has been for the past three years). It is time we raised the bar for our leaders here at home -- that we put our MPs and political party leaders on notice that the time for change is now, whether there's a change in leadership, attitude, or both.

Personally, I vote for both.

Harper isn't showing any evidence of becoming a team player. And who can trust a leader who believes that when the going gets tough, the tough crank up the propaganda?

Not me.

January 15, 2009

Books Run in My Family: What I'll Be Talking About at Frontier College at Trent University's 9th Annual Literacy Conference, Sat. Jan. 24th

FCTU Brochure09FINAL

I'm the keynote speaker at Frontier College at Trent University's 9th Annual Literacy Conference later this month. Here's the scoop. (Be sure to tell your friends you read it here first!) The conference is being held at Peter Gzowski College at Trent University (Peterborough, Ontario) on Saturday, January 24th.

The event runs from 11 am to 4 pm and will feature a variety of guest speakers throughout the day. You can register online. Admission is FREE.

I'll be presenting from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm. I'll speaking for between 30 and 45 minutes and then answering questions for the remainder of the time.

The topic I've chosen is "Books Run in My Family" -- all about the way books and the love of reading have been passed up and down my family tree. (There are quite a few published authors in my family. I'll be talking about that, too.) If you've ever heard me speak, you already know that I have a pretty chatty style. I'm big on sharing personal anecdotes, life lessons learned (particularly anything learned through the School of Hard Knocks), practical tips and advice -- plus as many from-the-trenches author war stories as I can possibly fit in. (That's the whole reason to come out to an event like this, isn't it?)

If you do come out, be sure to ask me about my worst-ever book event (it's pretty awful) and the worst event any author ever had (it's about as bad as you can imagine -- but, thankfully, it didn't happen to me). I hope to see you on the 24th. Be sure to bring a friend or two -- or your entire book club. The more the merrier, after all.

December 11, 2008

Imagine a Chicken in a Blue Sweater

Then fill out the nomination form.

December 09, 2008

Check Out this Guest Blogger at Macleans.ca

J C

If you have a good sense of humor, you'll probably enjoy this.

If you're easily offended, you'd better stick with this -- or find yourself some other controversy-free form of entertainment to enjoy.

December 06, 2008

Coalition for Canada - Handmade Sign Spotted at Pro-Coalition Rally in Peterborough - Dec. 6

Check out this fabulous handmade sign. I asked this fellow if I could take a photo of his sign and post it on my blog and he was kind enough to say yes. I love the design. Isn't it cool? He told me his friends helped him to make the sign this morning.

Let 'Em Fall (Sung to the Tune of "Let it Snow") - From Pro-Coalition Rally in Peterborough, Ontario

We sang "O Canada" in English as well as in French -- and we also sang this alternative carol -- to the tune of "Let it Snow." You have to be an enthusiastic singer if you're going to come out to a political rally in Peterborough.