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7 posts from September 2009

September 21, 2009

Dear PR Firms Working on Behalf of Stephen Harper

Dear PR Firms Working on Behalf of Stephen Harper (or Friends of PR Firms Working on Behalf of Stephen Harper):

As much as I have enjoyed receiving the emails via your hotmail account, I'm going to have to request that you remove me from your mailing list.

While you obviously see yourself as providing a valuable service to bloggers (alerting us to the availability of pro-Conservative Party of Canada content on YouTube), you might be surprised to learn that most of us are capable of sourcing material on YouTube on our own. The search engine on the site is quite user-friendly.

Might I suggest an alternative focus for your firm: re-remaking your Leader's image in time for the next campaign?

After all, the Canadian public is already on to the blue sweater.

And the cowboy hat and the construction hat are getting a little tired, too.

Better come up with something fresh - and soon.

If you run out of wardrobe options, you might be faced with the task of re-casting the part of Party Leader.

And that could mean curtain time for you.

Best wishes,

Email recipient

A Progressive Canadian Coalition is Good for Quebec and Canada: Chantal Hébert

"[Author and economist Brian Lee] Crowley would disband the social union; he would abolish most social transfers to the provinces and leave them to finance their social safety nets according to their means, out of an expanded taxation field. With its redistributive functions reduced to a minimum, the federal government would be free to focus on the management of the economic union....Unless Quebecers re-engage in a progressive Canadian coalition, the balance [of power] will tilt toward the deconstruction of social Canada that Crowley so passionately promotes. That could come no later than the next election, with the potential advent of a Conservative majority rooted outside Quebec."
- Chantal Hébert, "Quebec, Canada and author's case for a do-over," The Toronto Star, September 22, 2009

September 19, 2009

Ignatieff on Harper's Duplicity, Attack Ads

TheStar.com: Michael Ignatieff on Stephen Harper's political style
"What he says in private is contemptuous of Canadians and treats all Canadians who disagree with him as enemies....When he attacks his opponents, he engages in falsehoods and the politics of personal destruction. And when that guy's time in politics is finished and people ask what was his legacy, what was his contribution to the public life of Canada, it'll be those attack ads. And let it be on his head. I'm tired of it. And Canadians are tired of it."

Economist Jim Stanford at Peterborough Public Library: Oct. 8, 2009 at 7 pm

Looking for someone to help you cut through all the economic double-speak - to explain what's really going on with the Canadian and North American economies?

Jim Stanford is an economist who actually makes sense (as you can see from this YouTube clip) -- and he's coming to Peterborough in early October.

Author and economist Jim Stanford will be giving a free public lecture at the Peterborough Public Library on October 8, 2009, beginning at 7 pm.

The event is being hosted by The Peterborough Community Legal Centre, Peterborough and District Labour Council, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, Trent Canadian Studies Department and the Council of Canadians.

Stanford's most recent book is Economics for Everyone: A Short Guide to the Economics of Capitalism.

Stanford received his master's degree in economics from Cambridge University, UK, and his PhD from the New School for Social Research in New York City. He was the founding chairman of the Progressive Economics Forum, Canada's network of progressive economists. In 2007 he was appointed vice-chair of the Ontario Manufacturing Council. Stanford is the chief economist for the Canadian Auto Workers union.


The Globe and Mail: Canada's Productivity Numbers Reveal a Real Structural Weakness by Jim Stanford

The Tyee: Fixing the Real Economy

Rabble.ca: Jim Stanford: Columnist

The Progressive Economics Forum: Jim Stanford

September 18, 2009

Political Etiquette 101: It's Not Cool to Hand Out Political Materials at a Charity Event

Sure, there's bad timing in politics -- the unfortunate result of political time moving at a much more rapid rate than postal time.

But then there are those acts of political strategy that would be ill-timed (or ill-advised) no matter when they occurred.

The buzz I'm hearing around town right now indicates that some folks are none too pleased about a rather tacky stunt that was pulled at the kickoff for the annual campaign for the largest charity in our hometown this past week.

Local MP Dean Del Mastro, has been a great supporter of that charity in the past, organizing successful charity hockey games to raise badly-need dollars. His efforts have been appreciated.

What wasn't appreciated by some was the fact that he handed out Conservative Party of Canada branded hockey pucks to everyone in attendance. (The pucks contained the non-profit organization's symbol and a Conservative Party of Canada symbol.) And those who weren't able to attend the charity campaign year launch were directed to Del Mastro's Constituency Office to pick up their Conservative-branded campaign kickoff souvenir.

Some might try to argue that there was every reason to include that logo: all the politicians on the team are members of the Conservative Party of Canada (with a few celebs to round out the roster). But that would be looking for an excuse to do the wrong thing as opposed to taking the high road and doing the right thing.

The charity in question -- which fund-raises on behalf of a huge number of groups in our community -- is a non-political organization (national policy guidelines .pdf) that requires support from all members of the community to reach its fund-raising targets. People from all political parties work side-by-side to achieve these goals. No one should be trying to score political points by handing out politically-branded materials at the launch of a charity campaign.

It's a charity campaign, not a political campaign, after all.

September 05, 2009

Del Mastro's Input Results in City of Peterborough EI Letter Changes: What Would Elizabeth May Say?

The Peterborough Examiner is reporting that City officials have "toned down their request for Employment Insurance program changes" after MP Dean Del Mastro opposed the initial City wording of the request they intended to make to the federal government.

Some of the very specific wording and suggestions that were in the initial draft of the letter had been brought forward by the Peterborough and District Labor Council.

Instead of asking for specific changes to the legislation, the city will now ask the federal government to change the EI program to “improve access and equity in order to ensure that municipal government does not bear the burden of income distribution.”

In her book Losing Confidence: Power, Politics, and the Crisis in Canadian Democracy, Elizabeth May points out how very undemocratic our government has become: how Harper micromanages the running of our country from the PMO's office.

It appears that Peterborough's MP has decided to adopt a similar style of leadership here in Peterborough Riding, taking on the task of overseeing local government. (First there was the Little Lake ballot; now Del Mastro is trying to influence the content of a letter sent from City Hall to the federal government.)

It appears, however, that his actions over the past three years (agreeing with and enforcing all Prime Ministerial edicts) have pleased the Prime Minister greatly.

Del Mastro has gone from being a rookie back-bencher to Parliamentary Secretary in just three years. He accompanied the Prime Minister on a G-8 meeting, where he had the opportunity to meet the Pope.

As for ensuring that democracy lives on in Peterborough Riding?

That's somebody else's problem.

Yours and mine, to be specific.

Peterborough Named the Fifth Most Walkable City in Canada by WestJet's in-flight Magazine

Peterborough has been named the fifth most walkable city in Canada by Up, WestJet's inflight magazine (Peterborough Examiner: "The city that walks"). Vancouver, Toronto, Victoria, and Halifax, took top honours.

This should serve as an important reminder to those who view green space in the city as missed opportunities for development that Peterborough is most marketable as a green city.

That will be an important point to bear in mind during the months ahead when the Master Plan concerning the future of Little Lake is brought back to City Hall.