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December 05, 2008

Members of the Coalition -- Keep Meeting! (From POGGE)

Reprinted from the blog Peace, Order, and Good Government, with permission.
http://www.pogge.ca/archives/002160.shtml

December 04, 2008
Keep Meeting

[Promoted from a comment by Eric Finley to the last post. I'm taking his
preamble to mean he has no problem with this. I'm still mulling this
over myself but certainly this would demonstrate that opposition to
Stephen Harper and to the events of the last week isn't just some
fleeting, momentary frustration. And it would demonstrate that objection
to today's decision is based on both serious concern for our democracy
and for the urgency of the occasion. So, for your consideration,
consider this to be a guest post. -p]

Keep meeting.

To the coalition: Keep meeting.

Parliament has been prorogued. So you're not meeting in an official
capacity. But nonetheless meet as if you were not prorogued.

Find a site. Pay for it yourselves, and be explicit about that. You're
citizens meeting to speak. But in so doing, keep up the business of
Parliament. Debate. Draft bills. Hold (unofficial) committee meetings.
Vote... on memoranda of understanding.

Show the country, its citizens, and its investors that while you do not
argue with the legality of the delay, you see no need to go on vacation
in this crucial economic time. Assume (without even explicitly saying
it) that in January when Parliament reconvenes, Harper will fall, the
coalition will form government, and the memoranda of understanding and
drafted bills will be dealt with, bang-bang-bang, because you have
already hashed this out.

Invite the Conservatives to join you. If you get some momentum, you
might get no few disgruntled members willing to bet that Harper's fury
will not control their lives.

Let the Conservatives take an extended vacation. Shrink the proposed
vacation period instead, to mark the severity of the economic need.

Make it plain that you do not dispute Her Excellency's right to consent
to her nominal first minister's request to prorogue, and that you
respect her for making a difficult decision in uncharted waters. Open
each session with a consistent, well-crafted adaptation of protocol
which is sufficiently distinct that it does not trespass upon
Parliament's formal privileges... but that nonetheless shows clearly
that you do this out of the uttermost respect for the Queen, the
Governor General, and the Canadian people.

Repeat frequently that you're just trying to get work done now, so that
things can happen fast when the doors unlock in January. It can't be
trespass upon the privileges of government if its level of formality is
that of a caucus meeting.

Be completely transparent. Defeat the smoke-filled rooms meme. Heck,
hold it in a bar, if you can find one big enough.

The media will come to you. I can think of no more efficient way to
stretch your advertising dollars than a bold, newsworthy stroke like this.

If you do this, I will donate to the limit of my ability. I will write
letters to the editor praising your actions. I will take my four
children and go door to door. In Edmonton. In December.

Pass it on.

KEEP MEETING.

If you support this message, please consider re-posting it to your own blog, forwarding it to coalition government members, sharing it with coalition supporters in your community, and otherwise helping to spread the word that the coalition has the power of the people behind it.
- Ann

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Comments

Further to what you said about donations -- I know I'm close to reaching the limit for this year -- and I haven't done a good enough job of keeping all my receipts in one place. (Some are at home; some are at the office, etc.) I think I recall that you're subjected to some horrible punishment if you accidentally over-donate to a political party. Does that mean one political party? Or political donations in total for the year? What does happen to you if you over-donate? Do you have to personally apologize to Stephen Harper?

I think all these actions can be happening simultaneously. They can have a PR team, made up of the most media-savvy members, working the press 24/7. Meanwhile, the rest of the coalition can be on work teams developing policy so that the coalition's economic plan is ready at the same time as the government's economic plan. The Conservatives are already wasting seven weeks here for a PR campaign. We don't want to waste another day once Parliament is back in session.

I guess what I'm saying -- in a long-winded way -- is that we're not dealing with an either/or choice here. We can do both -- and well.

I've seen this making the rounds of the net, and I can't quite see why everyone thinks it's so brilliant.

Only on the left would we see more meetings as the way to win a street fight.

Meet away if you want, but I want to see Layton, Mucair, Broadbent, Rae, Iggy and others criss-cross the country speaking out against Harper, building support for the coalition, and rallying public opinion.

I want to see five emails a day landing in my inbox asking for money to put ads on TV and radio countering the Tory PR campaign.

I want to see more demos, big and small, expressing disgust at Harper's tactics.

I want to see more letters to the editor, stacking of on-line polls, calls to talk radio, leaflets in the mail, phone calls to voters and other actions to pursuade the public that the future of Canada is at stake.

I want to see a call to action from the coalition leaders. And I want to see the rest of us taking up that call - because the only way to make sure the coalition doesn't crumble is to make sure Canadian opionion is strong.

We're in a war for the hearts and minds of Canadians. Sure we have to have a plan, and a good plan, to govern. But the best plans won't mean anything if we let the Tories win the PR war.

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