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2 posts from April 2011

April 27, 2011

You Were Asking? About Volunteer Work and Citizen Smear Campaigns

I've never had so many people express so much interest in my volunteer work as they have in recent days -- and I've been an active and committed volunteer for many years.

In the letter of complaint I filed with Elections Canada on Monday morning, I thought it was important to state my involvement with all local political campaigns. (I try to err on the side of transparency wherever possible.)

This is what I wrote:

"I have not contributed financially to any candidate's election campaign since 2008. I am not affiliated with any candidate's campaign, locally or nationally. I did offer to participate in a national event [as a volunteer] for the Liberal Party of Canada, but there was a scheduling conflict so I was unable to participate. I do intend to volunteer with the local Liberal campaign on May 2nd . I have had Liberal lawn signs at my home and office since the election was called. My office lawn sign was vandalized between Thursday afternoon and Sunday morning."

I should have also stated that I do not hold a membership in any political party. That has been the case since approximately December 2009, when the membership I held in the Liberal Party of Canada expired.

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It is my hope that Peterborough MP Dean Del Mastro will eventually see fit to moderate his message board and remove the libelous attack posts directed at me. Shortly after CHEX-TV interviewed me on Monday night, Del Mastro removed the attack posts that had been directed at me until that time. I expressed my appreciation to him immediately. Unfortunately, the attack posts resumed immediately and, 48 hours later, the new round of attack posts remains. The attacks have also spilled over to a number of related websites. I know things get nasty during political campaigns (and I hate that), but typically the attacks go from politician from politician. Maybe I'm just old-fashioned and I haven't caught up with the latest trends in our rapidly evolving political culture: the citizen smear campaign.

April 20, 2011

How Stephen Harper Changed My Life -- And How Ursula Franklin Spoke to My Heart

I never intended to become politically active. But after Stephen Harper was elected in 2006, Canada didn't feel like Canada anymore and I felt compelled to start taking action.

For a long time, I blogged here on a regular basis. During the 2008 election, I blogged many times per day in the rather naive hope that if I blogged often enough -- if I worked hard enough -- I'd be able to help convince my fellow Canadians that we needed a government that was progressive in its thinking (as opposed to the Reform Party of Canada rebranded).

It bothers me that approximately one-third of Canadians are willing to make trade-offs in order to keep Stephen Harper in power, because what they are trading off for lower taxes are rights and freedoms and the checks and balances that make for a healthy democracy.

 
I had no idea how much my life would change when I started speaking out -- how good it would feel to speak the truth about what I was witnessing and to form alliances with other Canadians who are just as disturbed by what has been happening to our country. At the same time, I also could not have predicted that I would be interrogated in my MP's office as a result of becoming politically aware and politically outspoken.

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During an unforgettable interview on the CBC radio show The Current last May, respected scientist and pacifist Ursula Franklin spoke about her time in a Nazi labour camp and the warning signs of democracy in peril. She sees some of those very same signs in Canada today and she is urging Canadians to be vigilant -- not to sleepwalk as many people do while their freedoms slip away. If you only watch one video (the interview is actually available on video) during this election campaign, I urge you to watch this one. It is powerful and unforgettable. You can find it here. (The interview starts at around the 27:00 minute mark in the video.)

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We need to send a message to Ottawa through whichever candidate is elected in each of our ridings. We want voting reform now. Proportional representation would encourage the parties to work together as opposed to treating one another as combatants.

A Prime Minister who doesn't have respect for the basic rules of government -- who doesn't choose to acknowledge that the Prime Minister is accountable to the people of Canada through the House of Commons (not vice versa) -- should not be entrusted with the privilege of governing this country for one more day, let alone a period of months or years.

This election marks a turning point in the life of our country. We are at a crossroads. One arrow points toward a more progressive future -- the Canada we used to be. The other points to a future with Stephen Harper in control. It doesn't take much to figure out what kind of Canada that would be. I'm hoping enough Canadians will wake up from the nightmare of the past five years to put us back on the path to where we belong.

 

Note: I am participating in Mom the Vote -- an effort to encourage Canadian moms to think about the issues in this election and to vote. I will be voting in Peterborough Riding.