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5 posts from April 2009

April 19, 2009

Flora MacDonald to Speak in Peterborough Tomorrow Night: Event in Support of YWCA Peterborough

This comes via Betsy McGregor (Peterborough Federal Liberal candidate):

An Evening with Flora MacDonald

The Hon. Flora MacDonald will be speaking on Monday April 20th, at 7:00 PM, at the Princess Gardens Atrium in Peterborough. Donations will support YWCA Peterborough Victoria and Haliburton's fundraising efforts for its new women’s shelter.

The evening will commence with the showing of her recent CBC documentary Flora’s Mission about her courageous work building girl’s schools in Afghanistan and promoting the use of solar panels in mountain villages. That will be followed by a short talk by Flora on Canada’s challenges; and an open community discussion.

Flora MacDonald has been active in Canadian politics since the 1970s. She served as an MP and Cabinet Minister, and in 1979 she became the first woman to be appointed Secretary of State for External Affairs. Since leaving politics in 1989, Flora has been deeply involved in a range of human rights and environmental activities around the globe, and is currently working in Afghanistan and India.

Flora MacDonald has received numerous honours in her life, including the Order of Canada and Companion of the Order; the Pearson Peace Medal; the Churchill Society’s award for Excellence in the Cause of Parliamentary Democracy; the El Kawkab Medal by King Hussein for significant contribution to public service and was the Padma Shri Award (India’s highest award to civilians) from the President of India for distinguished service in the field of public affairs. She was given the EVE award from Equal Voice, a national multi-partisan advocacy organization committed to promoting the election of more women to every level of government, and to raising awareness about the under-representation of women in Canadian politics. Ms. MacDonald holds honorary degrees from universities in Canada, the United States and United Kingdom.

This remarkable woman was born in North Sydney, NS, in 1926, is a sixth generation Canadian whose forebears came to Canada from the Scottish Highlands in the 1790s. She also worked in Peterborough in her early career, singing in a local church choir. She will be departing within weeks of this event for her 11th solo trip to Afghanistan.

There is no charge for this event.

Seating is limited so please come early.

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.

April 15, 2009

Coffee Break Reading

If you look at this objectively, the case is a bit too black and white, but I think the writer makes some excellent points about the hard-won rights and protections that are often taken for granted by people who can hardly bear to spit out the word liberal.

schizokultura - "A Day in the Life of Joe Middle-Class Republican," by John Gray.

April 14, 2009

Fair Vote Canada Meeting - Peterborough Chapter

Fair Vote Canada - Peterborough Chapter Meeting
Sunday, April 26, 2009 - 7 to 9 pm
A Moveable Feast - George at Brock, Peterborough

April 01, 2009

That's What You Wanted -- a Consultation on Maternity and Parental Benefits for Self-Employed Workers, Right?

Carol Goar has an excellent article in Today's Toronto Star, commenting on the current state of the country's EI system. "Something that's worth whining about."

As part of her analysis of what needs to be done, she catalogs what the government has delivered to the 1.4 million Canadians who have lost their jobs:

  • Five weeks of additional EI benefits to workers who already qualify.
  • An extension in work-sharing agreements, allowing employees who split a job to use EI to supplement their wages for 14 additional weeks.
  • An extra $500 million for retraining.
  • Consultations on maternity and parental benefits for self-employed workers.

What caught my eye was the final point: "Consultations on maternity and parental benefits for self-employed workers."

It seems to me that parents were promised more than a consultation back in the glory days of early fall. When did that campaign promise get watered down to something so completely uninspired - and where do the self-employed parents who were convinced to vote for Harper as a result of this key promise go to get a refund on their vote?

BUT WAIT!

Maybe the red tape was part of the Harper master plan all along. Check out the fine print beneath below the sweeping promises:

From http://www.conservative.ca/EN/1091/105194

“We will lift this barrier and give equal opportunity to the nearly one million Canadian women who are self-employed,” Harper said after meeting with the self-employed owners of a Ottawa salon and day spa.  “To help provide security for all those who are self-employed – and particularly women – a re-elected Conservative Government will permit self-employed Canadians to access maternity and parental Employment Insurance benefits.”

"....Exact premium amounts and required payments post-claim will be set upon implementation, following a review by the newly created Canada Employment Insurance Financing Board."

Unfortunately for Canadian parents, that last little bit didn't make it into much (any?) of the media coverage of the big promise. And I certainly don't remember reading it in any of the campaign literature. Do you?