115 posts categorized "oh canada...."

January 07, 2010

Do You Think it Was the Ventriloquist Dummy Analogy That Got My Letter Spiked?

It appears that The Peterborough Examiner isn't going to publish my Letter to the Editor, so I thought I'd have my say here instead.

What kind of country has Canada become when the Prime Minister is more concerned about holding on to power at any cost than showing any type of leadership, moral or otherwise; and Conservative MPs function as ventriloquist dummies, dutifully mouthing the messages of the puppet master?

Harper must go. The opposition parties must defeat the Harper government on a motion of non-confidence at the first opportunity. They must also pull together to offer Canadians a progressive alternative at the ballot box: one that spells out a vision for Canada that transcends party lines. The problems that face Canadians globally and across the country demand visionary, collaborative problem-solving; not narrow, partisan thinking.

I urge the leaders of the opposition parties to be bold and daring. Too much is at stake for caution or inaction.

And speaking of Letters to the Editor, I thoroughly enjoyed Alissa Paxton's letter, which ran a few days ago. Some of the other letters on the subject of prorogation (specifically from the pro-prorogation camp) haven't proven nearly as link-worthy, but this one, from a fellow anti-prorogation enthusiast, made me smile. (I like a letter to demonstrate logic and/or original thought. How about you?)

Note (added Mon. Jan. 11): It turns out my letter did run in the end -- on Fri. Jan. 8. I didn't receive my usual call from the newspaper's fact-checker verifying that the letter was mine, so I was surprised to see it in print. (Perhaps they saw it here and took that as confirmation. I don't have a problem with that as long as they still go through some sort of process of verifying the authenticity of letters. If that goes, there will be total anarchy when it comes to letters to the editor.)

Related:

Suspending Parliament Puts Focus on Games: MP

December 30, 2009

My Letter to the Governor General: Just Say No

December 30, 2009

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean
Governor General of Canada
Rideau Hall,
1 Sussex Drive,
Ottawa, Ontario,
K1A 0A1

Dear Madam:

I am writing to you to urge you not to grant any request from the Prime Minister that Parliament be prorogued.

There is no justifiable reason to do so.

If Parliament is prorogued at this time, Canadians will lose a great deal of faith in the democratic process in this country. This could lead to even lower voter turnouts during elections as well as widespread political discontent, if citizens feel that their interests aren't being properly represented by their elected officials.

It could also lead to a complete loss in confidence in the office of Governor General -- a very serious situation for a parliamentary democracy.

If the Prime Minister proceeds with the request to prorogue, I would urge you to ask the opposition parties if they would be willing to step forward and govern as a coalition until an election can be held. The Prime Minister should not be rewarded for his eagerness to prorogue on a whim by the continued privilege of holding the office of Prime Minister.

Thank you for hearing my concerns as spelled out in this letter.

Yours sincerely,

Ann Douglas

cc. Betsy McGregor, Candidate, Liberal Party, Peterborough Riding
cc. Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada

December 12, 2009

Canada's Most Arrogant Prime Minister

They criticized Pierre Trudeau for his arrogance. Now the Conservative Party of Canada has given Canada its most arrogant Prime Minister ever: Stephen Harper.

Ask some long-term Conservative party loyalists what they think of Pierre Trudeau and you'll get the kind of reaction you'd expect from a resident of Dog River if you were to solicit their opinion of Wollerton: spitting or the verbal equivalent.

"I simply couldn't stand the arrogance of the man."

But times have changed and the Conservative Party of Canada is now being credited for giving Canada its most arrogant Prime Minister ever. Unfortunately, it's a gift that isn't easy to return, given our current voting system.

If the events of the past week continue to roll out the way some folks are predicting and Stephen Harper's government finds itself in contempt of Parliament for refusing to release complete, unaltered copies of the detainee documents, the finger-waving Conservative Party of Canada could soon find itself before the courts.

Wouldn't that be a tough one to explain to the we're all about law-and-order party loyalists?

Spotlight:

Toronto Star: Jim Travers: Prisoner Issue Turns Into Dangerous Test of Wills: Jim Travers highlights what's at stake.

Toronto Star: Tories Defy Document Order: A roundup of the latest developments from Susan Delacourt, Les Whittington, and Richard J. Brennan .

CBC News: Lives at Risk if Afghan Info Released: Day: See final three paragraphs of the article: "Meanwhile, Peter Tinsley, the departing chair of the Military Police Complaints Commission has taken the Harper government to task for refusing to renew his term in the middle of the Afghan detainee controversy. It is unprecedented for the government not to renew his appointment....His departure will effectively halt the commission's ability to continue the public hearings — and send a 'chill' through other quasi-judicial bodies whose heads are appointed by the government."

Impolitical: If it's December...it's that time again: Note this bit in particular: "It's highly irresponsible for federal cabinet ministers to be so vigorously attacking their political opposition like this in staged theatre. It does damage to our democracy when they do this. What is the higher purpose? None. It's a show of what the opposition's in for. The danger of having such people at the helm of our government is always evident when they pull such stunts. They're prepared to say anything to advance their political survival." See her post from today, too: No longer in the mood.

November 08, 2009

Toronto Star Editorial: Distorting the Gun Facts

Distorting the gun facts - thestar.com.

"Scrapping the registry is a politically motivated move with no policy rationale."

* * *

"The Mounties say that police consulted the registry some 3.5 million times last year, a huge jump over the year before. And Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair credits registration with helping his force recently uncover a cache of 58 unregistered firearms including a machine gun and submachine gun (both classified as "long guns"), 17 handguns, 35 rifles, four shotguns and thousands of rounds of ammo."

Enough said.





September 21, 2009

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 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.


December 11, 2008

Emily Berrigan, Political Whirlwind

Peterborough Green Party of Canada Candidate Emily Berrigan must dream political dreams at night. (Does she count political sheep as she tries to fall asleep?)

It's the only way she can possibly have time to come up with all these great ideas -- and do all the things she's already doing.


In a town that has more than its share of political dinosaurs/neanderthals, it's so refreshing to have Emily speaking the language of political change. Go, Emily, Go!

December 08, 2008

Dion vs. Harper

Partofcanadianflag It's no secret that I've always had a great deal of respect and admiration for Stéphane Dion. A politician with his kind of personal integrity and long-term vision for what this country actually needs (as opposed to what it wants for itself over the short-term) doesn't come along very often.

Unfortunately for Canada, Dion had the bad luck to cross the political stage at the same time as another once-in-a-generation (or once-in-a-lifetime) politician: in this case, a mean-spirited, rabidly partisan politician who is willing to do anything to keep his bulldog grip on power, including creating a political and national unity crisis.

The contrast in personal styles or value systems between the two men couldn't be greater. Dion mapped out a vision that represents where we really need to be headed as a country, if we're to kick start the green economy and address the growing gap between the haves and have nots in this country (a root cause of much of the youth crime that the neo-conservatives bellow about so much). What prevented Canadians from hearing much of what Dion had to say was the bully who misled Canadians about what the man and his policies were all about.

I don't know about you, but I'm not proud to live in a country where the top politician in the land can savage a political opponent and get away with it -- and then go on to "hide behind the Queen" (as some Americans are putting it as they watch what's been happening in our country in amazement) in order to escape his own political day of reckoning. When George Bush was acting so outrageously a few years back -- and the American people went on to re-elect him, we Canadians looked smugly at one another and said, "That could never happen in Canada."

But, of course, it did: the neo-conservative way of thinking is alive and well and living in Canada now. And we're going to be stuck in this political twilight zone until enough Canadians wake up and realize that they are being lied to and misled by the party in power -- on a routine basis.

This is why parliament isn't working: the traditional rules about parliamentary conduct have been tossed out the windows of the House of Commons and replaced by the same U.S.-style political code of conduct that has made George Bush famous -- or rather infamous -- the world over.

Dion bore the brunt of the attacks from the bully-in-chief of the current regime. When history looks back on this time, people are going to be astounded that more Canadians didn't speak up and decry the McCarthy-like attacks that were carried out during this time -- and that the media was complicit in these attacks.

I feel proud that I will be able to tell my grandchildren that I spoke out against the attack ads, the campaign of misinformation about Dion and his policies (to say nothing of the Conservative Party of Canada and its record) and that I had the opportunity to let Mr. Dion know, on more than one occasion, how much I appreciated his efforts to hold the Harper government accountable.

Dion may not have been the most savvy politican our country has produced, but he is certainly one of our most dedicated. He has served his country well.

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.