34 posts categorized "feminism"

October 01, 2008

Stéphane Dion on Women's History Month

"This month, we dive into the history lived and written by women in Canada, celebrating the tremendous contribution women have made to the advancement of Canadian society.

"Since it was first established in 1992, Women's History Month has provided Canadians with an opportunity to learn more about women like Emily Murphy, Nellie McClung, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Louise McKinney and Irene Parlby who paved the way for women to be fully integrated into Canada's democratic institutions; women like Roberta Bondar, the first Canadian woman in space; women like Kim Campbell the first woman to hold the office of Prime Minister; and women like Louise Arbour who as a former Supreme Court Justice and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has inspired the next generation of Canadian women to write new chapters of our collective history with bold strokes.

"With one-third women candidates running for the Liberal Party of Canada, we are also working to make history today by electing more women to Parliament than ever before. What better way to mark Women's History Month than to write this important new chapter in the history of our country?"

- Stéphane Dion, Leader, Liberal Party of Canada

Related:
YWCA Canada
Canadian Women's Health Network
Women's Health Matters
Chatelaine.com: Harper's No Ladies' Man by Heather Mallick

From this blog:
Stephen Harper, What About Those Promises You Made to Canadian Women the Last Time Around?

September 30, 2008

Strategic Voting in Peterborough Riding

Whatever your reason may be for seeking political change -- a desire for change at the Federal level or here in Peterborough Riding -- according to election analysts (see links below), there is only one candidate who has the potential to defeat our Conservative Member of Parliament Dean Del Mastro on election night. That candidate is Betsy McGregor, the federal Liberal Candidate for Peterborough Riding.

Before we go any further, let me state that I think that any of the three progressive candidates running in Peterborough county would make an excellent Member of Parliament: Emily Berrigan (Green Party of Canada), Betsy McGregor (Liberal), or Steve Sharpe (NDP). The problem is that if we split the approximately 65% of the vote that will likely go to the three progressive parties in our riding, Dean Del Mastro will win because he will receive approximately 35% of the vote. It's a dilemma that Canadians across our country are grappling with at the riding level: how to prevent the very non-mainstream minority from holding on to control of our country and carrying out an agenda that is anti-progressive and (many of us would argue) anti-Canadian as well. (Read my reasons for launching this blog in December 2006 and you'll see that I've been deeply concerned about this government, our MP, and Canada for a very long time.) This is where strategic voting comes into play.

Making the decision to vote strategically may be something entirely new to you, particularly if you have a long association with or a passionate commitment to a particular party. (You may want to read tonight's Peterborough Examiner to find out why peace activist and much-loved former physician Joyce Barrett -- a long-time NDP supporter -- has chosen to vote strategically in this election and rally behind Betsy McGregor. "I wept when Dean (Del Mastro) was elected in 2006," she told The Examiner.")

The idea of strategic voting is certainly something alien for me, too. Or it was until I started listening in on the thoughtful discussions of everyday Canadians like you and me and hearing how passionate they were about preventing a Conservative majority government -- and of allowing themselves to dream of a time when we might actually have a progressive government in power in Canada again.

Uniting the left is the only way to begin the process of unseating the Harper government. By going after the Conservatives in those ridings where they are most vulnerable -- in ridings like Peterborough where the race is going to be close -- we have a chance to end up with one more progressive voice on Parliament Hill. That person will not be a voice for any one party. That person will be a voice for all people in our riding who hope for a more progressive future for this riding.

As Liberal Party MP Michael Ignatieff stated earlier this week:

"What separates us from the Conservatives is that we believe you can’t have an efficient economy without a just society.

"A just society — where every citizen is equal; where we succeed together, because we look after each other; where no Canadian goes to the wall when times are tough; where no Canadian has to walk the lonely road of poverty or ill health alone.

"A market economy demands a just and equal society.  You can’t have an efficient economy, without a just and equal society. This is the key idea behind Canadian liberalism [and progressive Canadians in general, I would argue.]

"That’s not Harper’s Canada."

And speaking of inspiring politicians, here's what Elizabeth May had to say on the subject of strategic voting a few days ago:

The Green, Liberal and New Democratic parties should prevent vote-splitting that would favour Conservatives, and carve up electoral ridings according to who has the best chance of winning, May said. "We sit down and say, `Who has the best chance of winning in all these ridings?' What I've been calling for is proportional representation by other means."

Here are some resources you may wish to consult as you begin to consider whether voting strategically is the right move for you. I will continue to add to this list during the days ahead. You may also wish to use the voting tool in the upper-right hand corner of this blog. It tells you which candidate is considered Peterborough Riding's best bet for electing a progressive candidate.

Note: The tool is updated on a continuous basis as polling data changes.

Strategic voting resources and tools:

www.anyonebutharper.ca

www.voteforenvironment.ca

www.departmentofculture.ca

DemocraticSPACE: Strategic Voting Guide

Backgrounder 7: Strategic Voting

September 28, 2008

Stephen Harper: What About Those Promises You Made to Canadian Women the Last Time Around?

Dear Stephen Harper:

During the last election, you promised to promote women's equality. (Here's what you said, just in case this tiny little detail has slipped your mind.)

"Yes. I'm willing to support women's human rights and I agree that Canada has more to do to meet its international obligations to women's equality. If elected, I will take concrete and immediate measures, as recommended by the United Nations, to ensure that Canada fully upholds its commitments to women in Canada."
- Stephen Harper, January 18, 2006  

Well, Mr. Prime Minister, you certainly have a funny way of honoring that promise.

Given that the United Nations has told its member nations that public policy won't begin to reflect women's priorities until at least 30 to 35 percent of Canadian Members of Parliament are women, you'd think you would be taking a leadership role in encouraging more women from your party to run in this election -- and not just in ridings that are pretty much likely to fall to other parties, of course. That doesn't seem to have been your plan in this election, however. Here's how the numbers add up. It's not a pretty picture, is it? And it's certainly not what you'd expect from the leader of a party who promised, during the last election, to promote women's equality in this country:

  • GraffitigirlPercentage of female candidates amongst all candidates running for the Conservative Party: 20.5 per cent
  • Rank of the Conservative Party when it comes to running female candidates: 5th
  • Number of women candidates running for the Liberal Party in this election: 112 (or 36.6 per cent)
  • Rank of the Liberal Party when it comes to parties running female candidates: 1st

Here's something else that makes me wonder about your commitment to women's equality: the way you wrenched "political equality" out of the mandate of Status of Women Canada and chopped 43 percent of the organization's funding (a measly $5 million to your government but enough money to force the organization to close 12 of its 16 regional offices across the country). Your government also told applicants seeking funding under the Women's Program administered by Status of Women Canada that the Government of Canada was no longer funding research or advocacy work into the causes of women's inequality in this country -- activities that had led to significant progress and reforms over the years.The message that Canadian women got was that the problem was solved. We were already equal enough.

Those $5 million dollars have since been restored, as a result of a huge public outcry, but advocacy work is still off-limits to anyone seeking SWC Women's Program money. And, just as worrisome to many Canadians, the Court Challenges Program did not get its funding reinstated.

"Without funding for women's equality advocacy work, women's essential inequality remains entrenched in Canadian and Québec culture," noted The Ad Hoc Coalition for Women's Equality and Human Rights in "Women's Equality and Human Rights," a chapter in The Harper Record -- available for download from the CCPC, free of charge).

"In the eyes of many observers, the minority Conservative government appeared bent on silencing a diverse range of governmental and non-governmental organizations that had, over the course of a generation, advocated for citizenship equality both in the courts and in the policy process," noted activist and social theorist Janine Brodie (quoted in the same source).

At the same time, your Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty, has some strange ideas about what it means to include women in budget consultations. This leaves progressive Canadians -- both men and women -- wondering why you even bother talking the talk about doing all these fabulous things for the Canadian woman voter when it is blatantly obvious that you've never even considered walking the walk.

You seem to be having a hard time keeping your promises, Stephen Harper. And a lot of people are using ugly words to describe broken promises. They're calling them everything from mistruths to twisted truths to out-and-out-lies.

I don't think that's how you wanted to be perceived when you slipped into that fuzzy blue sweater and talked about how important your family is to you -- how much you love being a family man and a father. Unfortunately, that's all just political spin when Canadian women have your political record to reflect upon between now and election day. It makes for fascinating reading -- as an exercise in contrasts: words spoken, actions not taken, promises not kept.

You are a man of mystery, Stephen Harper: that I'll give you. That's why I spend so much time keeping track of what you're doing and saying (because often they're not the same thing). Politics wasn't nearly this fascinating before you came to power.

Before you were elected, I had a good idea what I could expect from the Canadian government: I could sleep well knowing that they stood for my vision of Canada -- that I knew what was on their agenda. Now I haven't got a clue.

Meet you at the ballot box on October 14th.

One Woman in Peterborough Riding

Related:
Harper's No Ladies' Man
The Ad Hoc Coalition for Women's Equality: Resources
StatusReport.ca
CRIAW: New Federal Policies Affecting Women's Equality: Reality Check (tip sheet available in .pdf and html on this site)
44 posts in this blog related to women's issues

September 26, 2008

Democratic Slippage During the Harper Years

This quote from my sidebar keeps dancing around in my head. It won't leave me alone. I think it wants me to showcase it where you can see it, ponder it, and possibly share it with others. So here goes....

Nighttime "Some historian in the future will look at this period of Canadian democratic governance and in sombre tones describe how Canadian society,
somehow, inexplicably, began to deliberately diminish itself.
It did this not, the historian will say,
because it needed to....
It decided, bit by bit, to become less."

- Murray Dobbin, author and journalist writing about
the democratic slippage of the Harper years,
"Deciding to Become Less", TheTyee.ca

September 22, 2008

How Do You Like These Numbers? Proof That You Can Be Progressive and Productive

The new liberal platform is about so much more than dollars and cents. It factors in the needs of everyday people (as opposed to mega-corporations) and it begins to address long-standing issues of poverty and injustice. This is a blueprint for a Canada that can make us all feel proud about our country again. We can feel that unifying sense of shared purpose that comes from pulling together to achieve shared goals: a juster, fairer, and greener Canada.

If you can't decide who to vote for in this election, I'd like to challenge you to vote for hope and change.
Cast your vote in the direction of optimism. Place your faith in someone who has a vision of a better Canada and who was tough enough to stand up against the naysayers for the past two-and-a-half years because he wanted to get to this place: a time when he could cast out his vision, share it with his fellow Canadians, and watch it take root and grow.Hopegraffitti

It's also a practical vision -- one with dollars and cents attached. I'm talking real money that will end up in your pocket (as opposed to disappearing in a non-refundable tax credit that only pays off for a select few).

It's not often that I can feel good about something from both a mom perspective (I have four kids) and a small business perspective (I have my own business), but the new Liberal Party platform has lots to offer Canadian parents and entrepreneurs.

Here's what Liberal leader Stéphane Dion had to say earlier today: "A Liberal government will get the fundamentals of the economy right," said Mr. Dion. "We will build a richer Canada by cutting taxes for all Canadian families and businesses, making them more competitive; we will build a fairer Canada by directing significant tax benefits to families with children, increasing benefits to the disabled, seniors and families struggling to achieve success; and we will build a greener Canada by targeting tax cuts to Canadians and businesses to invest in renewable, energy efficient technologies."

A Liberal government will build a richer Canada by:

  • leaving more in the pockets of Canadians by lowering the lowest- and middle-income tax rates. Lowering income taxes as much as 10 per cent for many Canadians;
  • increasing the competitiveness of Canadian small businesses by lowering the small business tax rate to 10 per cent from 11 per cent. This represents a nine per cent cut in small business taxes;
  • lowering the corporate tax rate to 14 per cent by 2013, making Canada one of the most competitive business jurisdictions in the world, driving the Canadian economy and creating jobs; and
  • investing in the future and simplifying the tax system for post-secondary students providing most students approximately $1000 each year, and extending the $400 per month education tax credit to apprentices. [This sounds great. I have two kids in college and a third who is considering an apprenticeship program.]

A Liberal government will build a fairer Canada by:

  • introducing a new $350 refundable child tax credit that will benefit all families;
  • increasing the Guaranteed Income Supplement for seniors by $600 a year for low-income seniors even if they don't earn enough to pay taxes, and by $800 a year for low-income senior couples;
  • improving the employment credit for low and middle-income Canadians and putting up to $250 more into their pockets;
  • making the Disability Tax Credit refundable, significantly improving the incomes of disabled Canadians with low incomes;
  • finally indexing the Northern Residents Deduction so the tax benefit addresses the changing costs of Northern Canadians;
  • improving the Working Income Tax Credit for low-income Canadians and help them get over the welfare wall; and
  • creating a new Guaranteed Family Supplement for the poorest families with children, worth $1,225 a year more per family.

A Liberal government will build a greener Canada by:

  • providing up to $10,000 in refundable tax benefits to Canadian families for investments in energy-saving retrofits to their homes. This will improve energy efficiency, contribute to the fight against climate change and save Canadians money;
  • implementing an Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance rates, which will provide new tax benefits to Canadian businesses that invest in green technologies. As the price of fossil fuels rises, this tax benefit will
  • accelerate the investment in the technologies that will improve the competitiveness of Canadian companies; and
  • improving the Science, Research & Experimental Development tax credit, giving tax benefits to Canadians that innovate and build the solutions of the future.


INVESTING IN CHANGE
IN AN INNOVATIVE AND PROGRESSIVE WAY

"The Conservatives have not invested in Canadians, have not lowered income taxes or invested in innovation. That is why Canada has had the lowest growth and productivity since 1990," said Dion. "The Liberal Party is the only party that will lower taxes for Canadians in a progressive and effective way. Only a Liberal government will get the fundamentals right and build the economy for all Canadians."

Liberals Unveil Fully Costed Party Platform: Richer, Fairer, Greener: An Action Plan for the 21st Century

Itsawayoflife Here are the details of the Liberal Party Platform,
as released this morning.

I am very excited by this vision for Canada --
a Canada that has been MIA for the better part of three years.

I want my Canada back.

- Ann

"Liberals are proud to continue our tradition of strong economic and fiscal management.Fiscal discipline is now part of the Liberal DNA. We were the party that turned a huge deficit into eight years of surpluses, and we will continue to put fiscal responsibility first. A Liberal government will never put Canada into deficit. Period."
- Liberal leader Stéphane Dion

"Richer, Fairer, Greener," the Liberal Party of Canada's fully-costed, fiscally-responsible platform, lays out a progressive, inclusive vision to make Canada a stronger country for the next generation.

The plan includes a contingency reserve of $3 billion a year to be applied to the debt if it's not used.

The cornerstone of the Liberal platform is the Green Shift plan. This innovative and forward-thinking plan will cut income taxes, put a price on pollution, fight poverty and position Canada to be a leader in the 21st-century global economy.

Download Your Copy of the Full Plan, Including Costs:
Richer, Fairer, Greener : An Action Plan for the 21st Century
.

WHAT THE LIBERALS HAVE TO OFFER

The Liberal Platform at a Glance

RICHER, FAIRER, GREENER:
AN ACTION PLAN FOR THE 21ST CENTURY

A Richer Canada

Includes:

  • A Strong Climate for Growth: Balanced Budgets,
  • Tackling the Infrastructure Deficit in our Cities and Communities,
  • The Advanced Manufacturing Prosperity Fund,
  • Strong Rural and Northern Canada, Investment in Research & Development, Providing Access to Post-Secondary Education, Supporting Canadian Culture

A Greener Canada

Includes:

  • A Plan to Fight the Climate Change Crisis,
  • Clean Air,
  • Safeguarding our Water,
  • Protecting our Health from Toxic Substances,
  • Protecting Our Natural Heritage,
  • Empowering Canadians

A Fairer Canada

Includes:

  • The 30-50 Plan,
  • Investing in Our Children,
  • Health Care,
  • Women’s Equality,
  • Immigration:
  • Welcoming New Canadians,
  • EI Changes,
  • A New Relationship with Canada’s First Nations,
  • Inuit and Métis,
  • Minority Language Rights,
  • A Safer Canada,
  • Respectful Federalism

Canada and the World

Includes:

  • Climate Change and Global Security,
  • Diplomacy:
  • Projecting Canadian Values Abroad,
  • Development:
  • Sharing Canadian Hope and Vision with the World,
  • Stronger Relationships,
  • Trade,
  • Defence,
  • Arctic Sovereignty

September 15, 2008

Don't Be Seduced By Stephen Harper's Week of Promises to Canadian Families

Insertquotehere The word on the street is that Stephen Harper is going to be dishing out a lot of female favors this week (in the form of a lot of family-friendly promises). The reason is obvious: the man isn't doing as well with female voters as with male voters and it's almost vote-harvesting time.

So before you fall prey to the man's political charms and give up your voting virtue too easily, I just wanted to remind you that you need to exercise reason over passion at voting time.

Besides, Geri Hall was only kidding when she pretended that she couldn't resist Stephen Harper's seductive powers. Try to stay focused on the sweater.

If you find an almost bulldogged determination to tell the truth an essential trait in potential partners (political or otherwise), Stephen may not be your man.

After all, this is what he had to say to the women of Canada about the great things he was going to do for us all after election time. Know what? Not only did he not come through: he pulled a fast one on us in all kinds of other ways.:

"I am committed to supporting women's human rights and I agree that Canada has more to do to meet its international obligations on women's equality. If elected, I will take concrete and immediate measures, as recommended by the United Nations, to ensure that Canada fully upholds its commitments to women in Canada."
- Stephen Harper, January 18, 2006

That was before his government cut $5 million dollars from the $13 million dollar budget of Status of Women Canada (SWC), forcing SWC to close 12 out of 16 regional offices.

And before his government announced that SWC's Women's Programme (WP) would no longer fund research or advocacy activities designed to promote women's rights. "When questioned by opposition MPs of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Status of Women, the Minister for the Status of Women, Bev Oda, stated that women’s equality had been achieved in Canada," noted Andrée Côté, Directrice of Legislative Reform, National Association of Women and the Law, in a report written in January 2007 (.pdf) ("The Broken Promises of Stephen Harper").

He wasn't done with his nasty business at that point either. As Côté points out, he was just getting started:

  • The Harper government refused to give female workers pay equity. "In September 2006, the Harper government announced that it would not adhere to the recommendations of the Parliamentary Working Group on Pay Equity by adopting federal legislation on Pay Equity. Yet after more than three years of research and consultation, the Working Group has noted that the protections within the Canadian Human Rights Act have been a dismal failure, and that a major overhaul is needed to better protect female workers within the postal services, telecommunications, banks, etc. and other areas that fall under federal jurisdiction."
  • The Harper government got rid of the Court Challenges Programme. "In September 2006, the Harper government abolished funding to the Court Challenges Programme (CCP), which has funded important legal challenges to laws affecting women’s equality, gay/lesbian rights, disability rights, the status of immigrants and detainees, as well as the rights of francophone minorities within Canada....It is not just women’s equality that is being threatened, but the very functioning of democracy in our society and the preservation of hard won gains in human rights protections for all."

If Stephen Harper was serious about wanting to win the hearts and minds of Canadian women, he should have started taking us seriously a long time ago -- like back in January 2006, when he was elected.

Talk is cheap, and a woman can spot a promise in the dark a city block or a country mile away.

We've also got the kind of memories that can come back to haunt a person who hasn't kept his promises.

Wait and see.

 

September 11, 2008

Fear and Loathing on the Canadian Campaign Trail

I don't know about you, but I'm glad someone else is keeping track of all the missteps and nasty business on the campaign trail.

September 10, 2008

YWCA Canada Asks "Who's Afraid of Elizabeth May?"

Womanmanarrows I thoroughly support YWCA Canada's call for a woman's voice in the election debate. (See press release below.) They have issued a press release strongly objecting to the exclusion of Elizabeth May from the televised federal election debates and have called upon other social justice organizations to do the same.

I felt compelled to start this blog in late 2006 after the Harper government chopped funding to Status of Women Canada by a stunning 40 percent. And I have repeatedly expressed my dismay over the bullying and strong-arm tactics used by this government: whether they are trying to manipulate the media, damage the reputation of the Leader of the Official Opposition, silence their critics via lawsuits, call elections at will, chop funding to artists (who are always the loudest and most passionate critics in a free and democratic society), or -- in this case -- make it more difficult for newer political parties -- and fresh voices -- to be heard by ordinary Canadians.

This is not acceptable.

This is not Canadian.

* * * * *

"Who's Afraid of Elizabeth May?" YWCA Canada calls for a woman's voice in election debate

TORONTO, September 9, 2008 - YWCA Canada, the country's oldest and largest women's multi-service organization, is calling for the inclusion of Green Party leader Elizabeth May in the televised federal election debate and encouraging other social justice organizations to do the same.

"Our daughters need to see what equality looks like," says Paulette Senior, YWCA Canada CEO, "and equality isn't four men debating the future of Canada while freezing out the one woman who leads a national party. It's time for inclusion." 

The media consortium decision to bar Ms. May from the debate is shocking, particularly in a year of major firsts for women in national politics in the U.S., as Hillary Clinton became the first woman to make a credible run for a presidential nomination and the Republicans named Sarah Palin as the first woman ever on their presidential ticket. YWCA Canada calls on the media consortium to re-issue the invitation to the leaders of all five national parties, and hold a debate with whoever accepts.

"If you hold it, they will come," says Senior, admonishing those federal party leaders who said they won't show up. "Threatening not to participate if Elizabeth May is in the debate smacks of bullying. It sets a poor example to the girls we work to empower every day in our programs and services. And the message it delivers to boys is deplorable."

Elizabeth May is the fourth woman to lead a national party in Canada. The NDP was the first party to elect a woman as leader, selecting Audrey McLaughlin in 1989 and is the only party to be successively led by women. Progressive Conservative Kim Campbell is the only woman to have served as Prime Minister of Canada and did so for less than half a year. For more than 130 years, or well over 99% of Canadian history, men have served as Prime Minister of Canada.

At the present time, all first ministers across the country are male. In fact, Canada's international ranking on the Inter-Parliamentary Union, "List of Women in National Parliaments,"  is 48th in the world.  Despite our relative economic prosperity and political stability, Canada now has fewer women in parliament than most of Europe and many so-called less developed countries including Uganda, Rwanda, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Fairness and equality are important values that all Canadians share.  It's time for the parties to live up to the standards they claim to cherish and include Ms. May in the electoral debate.

September 07, 2008

The ABCs of Smart Voting

I want to start out by wishing everyone the best with their campaigns, now that we're into a Federal election.

As regular readers of this blog already know, I will be backing Peterborough federal Liberal candidate Betsy McGregor and Federal Liberal party leader Stéphane Dion, both of whom I consider to be leaders of vision and integrity. (You can catch Dion's fabulous campaign launch via Scott's DiaTribes.)

That said, I also see a lot of good in the campaign messages of the NDP and the Green Party; and I would be happy to see either of them form a coalition government with the Liberals, if the Liberals are unable to form a majority government on their own. Progressive is progressive is progressive -- is not conservative.

WayoutMy campaign bottom line?

A positive outcome for me in this election, both locally and nationally, will be what Danny Williams has been campaigning for since his part of the country was betrayed last year by a Harper government broken promise: "Anything but Conservative."

A - B - C.

It's so simple and so logical -- and so essential.

Here's why.

I hardly recognize Canada anymore -- this after just 2 1/2 years of Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) rule. Imagine what our country will be like if they achieve another minority or (I hate to even type this) a majority government.

We'd be handing them a license to continue on their current path -- a path that has seen them

Many political observers have raised concerns about the Tories' future plans for the CBC (e.g. whether it will continue down the slippery slope to privatization (we've already seen the CBC TV have to resort to airing US game shows in the prime after-dinner time-slot in order to make ends meet and everyone knows that privatization is a sacred principle in neo-conservative circles); asked if the Tories still intend to privatize the food safety system in light of the listeriosis outbreak and deaths in Ontario; and wondered if we would be subject to more embarrassment internationally as other countries are left wondering what has happened to our country's traditional commitment to human rights, the environment, and global peace-keeping. Since the election of the Harper government, many Canadians have found it difficult to feel proud of our government and our country.

The mere timing of this election raises further concerns and questions. Was this election called in a hurry in the hope that the current government would be returned to power before the U.S. election results come in? (A wave of change in the U.S. might not bode well for a Canadian Conservative government.) Is the government concerned about the outcome of the ethics committee hearings, the follow up to the Schreiber, investigation, and the outcome of the Harper "misappropriation of personality" trial (a.k.a. the Cadman affair)? It's clear that what has brought about this election was a sense of urgency from within the Conservative Party to seize the day (and potentially deplete the funds of other political parties, according to a recent rather Machiavellian op ed piece by long-time party advisor and pundit Tom Flanagan) rather than any grassroots groundswell of desire to head to the polls by average Canadians.

Here is my plea to everyday Canadians at this crucial juncture in our country's history.

  • Refuse to allow yourself to be swayed by all the vote-buying of recent weeks and months. (Here's where the vote-buying tally sat as of Friday. Pretty incredible, huh?
  • Take time to research the record of this government and this Prime Minister. I was going to direct you to the House of Commons website www.howdtheyvote.ca, which tracks the voting records of all MPs, but all versions of that URL have mysteriously ceased to function. Very mysterious, in a 1984 kind of way. I mean if ever there was a time for this website to be available to Canadian voters, it's right now.
  • Look beyond the smoke and mirrors of elections advertising. Do your homework and vote with your brain rather than allowing attack ads aimed at CPC opponents and political ads starring the PM as Super-Dad in Utopia to do your thinking for you. You may be more chilled than thrilled -- and you may be less likely to buy into the PM's "just an ordinary dad" pitch and persona (unless your idea of an ordinary family guy is a family guy with neo-conservative roots so deep no hair-dresser could hope to cover them) once you've done some independent research. Seriously! Prime Minister Stephen Harper was one of the founders of the Reform Party of Canada and headed up the right-wing think tank the National Citizens' Coalition before that. So people -- write this on your garage doors so other people get the message: Steven Harper may be a Conservative, but he's anything but progressive. There's no such thing as a Progressive Conservative in Federal politics anymore. They went the way of the dinosaur after Mulroney had his way with the party. It's a shame because there were some really good people in the PC Party of yesteryear. But those days are gone.

Related:

IMC Winnipeg: 10 Good Reasons Harper's "Conservatives" Should Get the Boot