76 posts categorized "kitchen table campaign"

October 21, 2008

She's Keeping a List, Checking It Twice....

Bb Betsy McGregor is going to keep on fighting the good fight. Here's what she told The Peterborough Examiner when they asked her if she was going to be seeking the Federal nomination for the Liberal Party the next time around:

"There is a lot of work to be done but I'm energized to help rebuild, reform and return the party to power.

"I look forward to the arrival of the train to Peterborough, the entrenchment of property rights in the constitution, the elimination of the gun registry and the battery plant," McGregor said, [listing election promises made by Conservative MP Dean] Del Mastro.

"I will continue to lead in Peterborough and help keep our MP accountable."

And speaking of The Peterborough Examiner, they ran the (second) worst possible picture of Stéphane Dion on the front page of today's newspaper and -- to add insult to injury -- they ran it under the headline: "Dion's Day is Done." Tacky.

October 19, 2008

Stéphane Dion: When Was the Last Time There Was This Kind of a Show of Grassroots Support for a Canadian Politician?

And when was the last time a group of everyday Canadians were moved to take this kind of political action on behalf of a Canadian politician? You'd probably have to think back to the days of Pierre Trudeau to think of a time when ordinary Canadians felt this strongly about a political party leader. 

Over the weekend, ordinary Canadians

to urge Stephane Dion to stay on as leader and to protest the disrespectful treatment of Dion by some anonymous sources within the Liberal Party in recent days.

Will it be enough to prevent Stephen Harper from achieving what he set out to do on Super Bowl Sunday in January 2007, when he launched the now-infamous attack ads on Stéphane Dion: to prevent Canadians from ever experiencing a Canada under Dion?

Only tomorrow will tell.

Img_1397 In the meantime we might wish to ponder what Canada may have lost: a man of integrity and vision. Rather than pandering to the polls, true leaders put forth a bold new vision that inspires us and shows us the way forward that we need to take if we wish to realize our full potential as a nation. Dion did that brilliantly and Canadians let him down by allowing getting sidetracked by Harper's promise of a balanced budget (well on its way to becoming a broken promise) and solid economic leadership (solid because he cribbed it from Dion).

Dion has everything it takes to make a brilliant party leader, if given the opportunity to grow in the job. He's a man of intelligence, integrity, and vision -- and he also cares passionately about his country and its people. Politics, for him, is a means to an end; not an end in itself.  If he's replaced, he'll no doubt be replaced by Mr. Charisma, Mr. Business, or Mr. Shake Everybody's Hands and Refill the Party Coffers. What they won't find is another Dion. He's a once-in-a-generation kind of party leader. And, should he resign, he will be sorely missed.

October 17, 2008

My Letter to Stéphane Dion -- and Why I Wrote It

Yesterday, I wrote a letter to Stéphane Dion. It was a letter of gratitude and encouragement. It was also my way of dealing with what, for me, has been a terribly painful election outcome: an election in which political manipulation triumped over truth and integrity. What does that say about our country and our values, circa 2008? That's the question I've been pondering at both the local and the national level for the past three days.

I'm posting my letter for you to read in the hope that sharing my perspective on this sensitive, principled, visionary leader will help other Canadians to understand what a terrible injustice has been done to him -- and how our country has been diminished as a result.

Think back to the excitement that accompanied his election as Liberal Party Leader -- and how, almost instantly -- Harper and his rove-ing band of political thugs felt the need to launch a preemptive strike against Dion -- right at the get go. You don't take that kind of approach with an ordinary political adversary. You save it for someone you view as an extraordinary threat. Someone who is offering Canadians a bold new vision of what is possible. (CBC RealMedia file | Time: 17:41) Someone who threatens your own political ambitions.

If Dion tenders his resignation on Monday, as many are indicating he will do, I will hold the Prime Minister of Canada personally responsible for the sequence of events that led to that decision -- namely, for authorizing a 22-month-long attack ad campaign designed to destroy a man's political career and to turn him into a national joke. I'm talking about personal defamation and political bullying or, to borrow one of the Prime Minister's favorite phrases, misappropriation of personality. The attacks didn't stop there, of course. Anonymous Liberal Party insiders and -- in recent days -- would-be furniture-movers piled on as well: party politics at its most ugly and most vicious.

If Dion resigns, it will be to the detriment of every Canadian: a political possibility lost. We will never know what kind of Prime Minister Dion might have made or what kind of Canada we might have had if his vision of a greener, fairer, and more economically sustainable Canada had been realized.

I am only one citizen, but I am hoping that other Canadian citizens will finally hold their Prime Minister accountable for what was allowed to happen in our country to a truly decent man and visionary politician like Stéphane Dion. A true leader would accept responsibility for his actions and offer a sincere apology to the leader who has been wronged. If Harper is not willing to do that, some may start saying that Harper is not a leader.

Susan Riley, Dion deserved better, Ottawa Citizen.
Far and Wide: Outside the Beltway: Roundup of blog posts and detailed discussion about why Dion should not be pushed out as party leader.

Hon. Stephane Dion with Betsy McGregor
Photo: Stéphane Dion with Betsy McGregor,
Federal Liberal Candidate, Peterborough Riding
(2008 election).

October 15, 2008

Peterborough: Possibility City

"I'm so disappointed in Peterborough. Now I remember why I ran away when I was 16."
- A Peterborough voter commenting on the election results, quoted in today's Peterborough Examiner.

I believe in Peterborough and its potential to become something more. This is what I think about when I think about Peterborough and its potential.

Peterborough, the ethical city; Peterborough, the just city; Peterborough, the visionary city; Peterborough, the creative city; Peterborough, the innovative city; Peterborough, the eco-city; Peterborough, the multicultural city; Peterborough, the all-ages city; Peterborough, the hate-free city; Peterborough, the bullying-free city; Peterborough, the no-one-goes-hungry city; Peterborough, the barrier-free city; Peterborough, the entrepreneurial city; Peterborough, the healthy city; Peterborough, the active city; Peterborough, the sustainable city; Peterborough, the local foodbasket city; Peterborough, the welcoming city; Peterborough, the politically engaged city; Peterborough, the public spaces city; Peterborough, the indie media city, Peterborough, possibility city.

A lot of people are working towards these various ends.

And not all progress has to come through political channels.

We can take a two-tiered approach to working for change in our communities:

1. Add your voice to the loud chorus of Canadians insisting on democratic reform now;
2. Work for change through all channels available to you as a citizen.

Don't give in to cynicism or apathy. Let frustration fuel your resolve to work for change.

October 13, 2008

Signs of the Times



Anyone But Dean
Vote for Art
Signs at

October 06, 2008

The Great Peterborough Train Conspiracy: Now Dean Del Mastro Thinks Stéphane Dion Wants to Steal His Train

After failing to convince Peterborough voters that Betsy McGregor does not support the team (the key focus of his campaign to date), Dean Del Mastro has suddenly switched strategies. Now he is warning visitors to his website that it's not Betsy McGregor that they need to be afraid of: Stéphane Dion is the true enemy of the train. Here's how he's spinning it in one of the articles on his campaign website: *

Deandelmastrotrain_3Other politicians might allow themselves to become frazzled under such circumstances -- a train conspiracy headed by one of the bullies who has made Stephen Harper's life miserable? -- but Dean Del Mastro laughs in the face of the fierce train bandit Stéphane Dion. (Well, actually, he chuckles.) At least that's how the copy reads on his website.)


It's no laughing matter, however, that Peterborough voters have to work so hard to get straight facts from their MP. There's no Great Peterborough Train conspiracy and it's certainly not being headed up by Stéphane Dion.

Both The Peterborough Examiner and Peterborough This Week have advised Del Mastro to stop obsessing about the train (all the candidates support the train: we get that, they keep telling him), and to move on to more pressing issues in our riding: like massive job losses, an unacceptably high poverty rate, unresolved aboriginal justice issues, an environmental crisis, an economy that's getting worse by the day, and an very arts community that is fed up with his double-speak about the arts cuts, but with just a week to go in the election, he's still out there, picking fights within imaginary train bandits.

Of course, to be fair, there's a good reason why Del Mastro hasn't had much to talk about during this election. His boss hasn't released the official Conservative Party platform yet -- this despite the fact that all the advance polls will be closing in Peterborough Riding in a couple of hours' time. And because Conservative MPs get their knuckles wrapped if they veer from the Harper-approved messages, Del Mastro (quite understandably) hasn't had much to say. The boss hasn't handed him the script yet.

Are you prepared to sign up for another four years of this? Please think carefully before you mark your X at the ballot box.

* Not to be mistaken for Dean Del Mastro's constituency website, which has gone AWOL during the campaign.

Some Simple Truths As Canadians Head to the Polls

Img_6649 Some simple truths, as I see them, as Canadians prepare to head to the polls.

  • We talk about how we want to feel safe and secure -- to have a government that makes sound economic decisions that take the needs of the ordinary citizen into account -- and that won't cause us to lose our bank account savings or our homes.

Simple truth: We need a government with sound economic vision and a willingness to steer clear of the mistakes of the Bush administration.

  • We talk about how important it is to us to stop destroying the planet so that our beautiful country will be able to provide the land and water that our children and grandchildren will need to grown and thrive.

Simple truth: We need a government that is offering Canadian voters a fully-costed visionary plan on tackling the biggest issue of our generation. The Conservative Party of Canada is completely at odds with the kind of action Canadians want to see on the environment. Every other party understands the necessity of making the environment a priority issue.

  • We talk about how industries that are doing the damage to the planet should be the ones to pay to clean it up.

Simple truth: We need an environmental action plan that taxes what we burn, not what we earn. Read this article to find out why David Suzuki thinks a carbon tax is the way to go.

  • We talk about how much our health care system matters to us -- and how important it is to us that every Canadian be able to have access to a family doctor and how chronically underserviced communities and provinces need to have their long-standing shortages in certain health specialties (for example children's mental health services; mental health services in general)?

Simple truth: The progressive parties understand what Canadians mean when they say that our health care system is failing us. It's not all about wait times and better record-keeping. Nor is privatization the answer.

  • We talk about how we want a government that protects the health and safety of Canadians.

Simple truth: Public health and safety should never be compromised; nor should our public health standards be lowered to appease business interests. And yet that's precisely what has happened under the Conservative government. When a respected health authority like the Canadian Medical Association issues a warning like this, it's time for Canadians to take that warning very seriously. Here's what the CMA had to has to say on this issue. (Read the full article in the October 7, 2008, issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, available for download from the cmaj.ca website.)

Government policy errors helped bring about this epidemic. Yet surprisingly, government has taken no remedial steps beyond issuing a food recall. Instead, officials praise the success of our infectious disease surveillance system — as if, with 16 dead [20 as of today], there were cause to celebrate — while food safety standards remain as low as ever.

The listeriosis epidemic is a timely reminder that the Harper government has reversed much of the progress that previous governments made on governing for public health.

....And listeriosis may be the least of it. The same November 2007 Cabinet decision that handed self-inspection to the owners of meat plants did the same for operators of animal feed mills and cut back the avian influenza preparedness program. Yet bad animal feed led to the epidemic of bovinespongiform encephalitis (mad cow disease), and in an influenza pandemic tens of thousands of Canadians may die. Listeriosis pales in comparison. Overall, it would seem that, as a country, Canada is far less prepared now for epidemics than in the past.

- Editorial, Canadian Medical Association Journal, Oct 7, 2008 issue

  • We talk about the importance of protecting our rural heritage while creating safe and healthy urban environments -- cities in which people can walk or bike to work instead of driving their cars.

Simple truth: We need a government that will ensure that the provinces, the cities, and our rural governments are able to create healthier, greener, communities where everyone has the same opportunity to thrive.

  • We talk about how we want a government that looks out for the needs of farmers and that provide Canadians with accurate and reliable information about genetically modified foods, agri-business, and other issues that affect the food that shows up on their dinner table.

Simple truth: The Conservative government defeated a bill designed to provide Canadians with full details about the genetically modified foods (the so-called frankenfoods) that are showing up on our grocery store shelves. We need a progressive government that will put the health and safety of Canadians first and the interests of big business second.

  • We talk about how much we value freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and government transparency, and government accountability -- and how much we want politicians who are accessible, genuine, and trustworthy.

Simple truth: It hasn't even been possible for Canadians to get full disclosure from Stephen Harper during this campaign. Or before the campaign, for that matter. He has conducted carefully staged media events and tried to stay out of the public eye as much as possible. The campaign has been one of the nastiest on record, with the Liberal campaign having to issue almost daily "Reality Checks" to counter the campaign of misinformation being carried out by the Prime Minister and key members of his cabinet. And the U.S. style attack campaign launched against Stephane Dion one month after he became Leader of the Official Opposition -- and that continued for the 21 months leading up to this election -- has taken the art of the political smear campaign to new and unimagined lows. But Harper and his team have learned from the best: they've had campaign coaching assistance from the team that taught George W. Bush how to fight dirty. (Oh yeah: one other thing. Members of the Conservative Party tried to defeat a bill that allows Canadian journalists to protect their sources -- an almost sacred principle of Freedom of the Press. Fortunately, members of the opposition parties rallied to get the bill through. Pretty incredible, don't you think?)

  • We talk about how much we regret the treatment that aboriginal people in this country have received -- and how we want to move forward in ways that take serious action to right those wrongs.

Simple truth: Destroying the Kelowna Accord, as the Harper government did, amounted to breaking a treaty between two nations. And aboriginal people in Canada continue to live with the fallout of historical wrongs that need to be addressed in a meaningful way.   

  • We talk about how much we value being part of a society in which everyone has equal opportunity to succeed -- including new Canadians -- and in which no one is discriminated against.

Simple truth: The Harper Conservatives changed the mandate of Status of Women Canada to eliminate all activities that have to do with "political equality" or advocacy work. You only have to consider the number of women who make it Parliament Hill in this country to see that this cut was ill-informed (and, many say, extremely mean-spirited). The fallout is being felt by women's groups who do valuable work across this country.   

  • We talk about how proud we are of the Canadian Constitution and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms -- and a justice system that assumes innocence until a person is proven guilty.

Simple truth: The Harper government chopped funding to the Court Challenges Program -- one of the only hopes "the little guy" in this country had of launching a Supreme Court challenge. Some of the key rights and freedoms that we enjoy in this country were defined by Supreme Court challenges. The Liberal Party has promised Canadians it will bring back the Court Challenges Program.

But that's not all. The Harper government embraces a U.S.-style approach to justice -- "lock up young offenders and throw away the key" -- isn't just ineffective (it leads to higher crime rates); it's also at odds with our traditional belief in rehabilitation of troubled youth. Even the judge who prepared the report recommending changes to the Youth Justice Act has spoken out harshly against the Harper government's regressive approach to justice in this country. (He also didn't appreciate having Harper falsely claim that he had endorsed the Harper youth justice program.)

  • We talk about the importance of giving young people the best possible start in life -- how the early years are the most important years: a critical time when we must invest in our children because they are our country's future.

Simple truth: We need a government that is willing to invest in those early years by creating quality childcare spaces operated by not-for-profit operators rather than trying to mislead Canadians with a tax credit that shrinks down to very little once the tax man gets his hand on it.

  • We talk about how much we value our children and our families, including our seniors.

Simple truth: We need a government that will safeguard the health and financial well-being of seniors. Seniors are among the most vulnerable populations in times of epidemics and, as the Canadian Medical Association has warned, Canada is far less prepared for a global epidemic than it was before Stephen Harper came to power, as a result of incredibly ill-advised policy decisions in the area of Public Health.

And then there was the broken promise about income trusts -- a breach of trust that took a huge bite out of the savings of ordinary Canadians -- including seniors. 

  • We talk about how proud we are about being Canadian and having a uniquely Canadian identity.

Simple truth: At the heart of that unique and vibrant Canadian identity is a tradition of investing in the arts and culture sector in this country. The Conservative government has demonstrated that it doesn't value what artists contribute to the Canadian economy and that it would like to play Big Brother when it comes to deciding what types of material make for suitable entertainment for Canadians.

  • We talk about how fortunately we are to live in a country like Canada that is one of the safest countries in the world.

Simple truth: It's difficult to feel safe when there's so much we aren't being told about the safety of our food supply, our preparedness for a global pandemic, and who knows what else. It's the who knows what else that is the scariest part. We need a government that will be frank and open with Canadians and work with all levels of government -- provinces, cities, rural municipalities -- to ensure that no other Canadians are allowed to fall through the safety net that we Canadians both prize and take for granted. We don't want any more public health disasters under the watch of the Conservatives.

  • We talk about how proud we feel when we travel abroad and people from other countries speak glowingly about Canada and its peacekeeping and environmental stewardship record abroad.

Simple truth: Our international reputation has been badly damaged by the actions of this government. We're no longer seen as advocates for peace, justice, and the environment. We don't always step forward when the right thing needs to be done. Instead, we look over our shoulder to find out what the Americans are doing -- and then we adjust our position accordingly. Our independent voice in the world has been silenced and countries around the world are suffering as a result. What has happened to Canada? they ask. Many Canadians are asking themselves the same thing.

And, finally, the simplest truth of all:

If this is what we want and value as Canadians,
we can't afford to vote for Stephen Harper in this election.

When you vote, please vote for the kind of government that will create the Canada you want. And please urge other like-minded Canadians to get to the polls, too.
- Ann Douglas

CBC.ca Summary of Party Platforms

Train Truths Continue to Arrive In Peterborough Riding -- Via Other Parts of the Province

Oldkeys Bit by bit, more and more facts about the true status of Dean Del Mastro's train proposal are coming out into the open.

I just came across this article in The Toronto Star, which provided two valuable updates. You should read the entire article -- it's really good -- but this is the most important part:

The regional draft transportation plan released by Metrolinx on Tuesday briefly notes the potential for extending regional rail to Peterborough – as well as Cambridge, Guelph, Niagara and Kitchener-Waterloo – but says those plans are outside the agency's mandate.

CP spokesperson Mike LoVecchio said the Havelock line is used for freight and no decision has been made about leasing it out for a commuter service. "We're not at the point where there's a proposal on the table," he said.

October 05, 2008

"The Average Canadian" and Public vs. Private Funding: Canadian Heritage Committee Meeting in June

I found this interesting reference to "the average Canadian" (a similar term to Stephen Harper's "ordinary Canadians" ) in relation to the use of arts funding in Canada -- specifically public vs. private dollars being allotted under the Canadian Television Fund in this rather fascinating discussion from the

39th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage - Tuesday, June 17, 2008.

Mr. Dean Del Mastro (Peterborough, CPC): Thank you, Mr. Chair.  Mr. Gratton, I want to try to represent the average Canadian. If I'm the average Canadian and I look at this Canadian Television Fund, I understand that this is a fund that supports the production of regional Canadian broadcasting and so forth. Why would I care that this is being changed? Why would this impact me? Why would it matter to me whether the money is going to CBC or Global or CTVglobemedia or any of the other private broadcasters? Why would it matter to me, as long as I'm seeing good Canadian productions that I might be interested in watching?

Mr. Paul Gratton: Well, I'm not sure who or what an average Canadian is. If you're saying that for significant chunks of the Canadian population there is not interest in Canadian drama, for example, and perhaps sports is where you get your Canadian culture, then I would say perhaps there's not much interest for that person, but by the same token, does this person have children? Are they watching children's programming anywhere on the dial? At least half of them are funded by the CTF. Perhaps this person, even if they're not interested in watching a dramatic TV series on a public broadcaster, is concerned about what is being fed into the minds of his little girl and little boy and doesn't just want American models of superhero violent cartoons. Canadian children's programming sells around the world because it actually propagates a different value system of tolerance and diversity; sometimes it's quite subtle and sometimes less so, but it's different from American children's programming.

Mr. Dean Del Mastro: Are you suggesting those things would be lost if it were changed?

Mr. Paul Gratton:  I'm saying that if the Canadian Television Fund didn't exist, the size and the quality.... Why should an average Canadian care about this? Would an average Canadian care about the rules on how the money is disseminated? Probably not. But I would suggest to you that the average Canadian probably does care about the results on the television set.

Mr. Dean Del Mastro: I'm not questioning that. I'm only saying that the changes they've suggested have been to allow for alternative revenue streams, for the stream to be divided somewhat differently. And that's what I'm asking you. There has been some suggestion that this would be a ghettoization of public television. If I'm the average person at home.... For instance, Mr. Cardin brought up that the funding could be used for reality TV or game shows. So if I'm the average Canadian at home.... We recognize things like Survivor, for example; probably half the population watching TV on the night that it's on is watching it. Why wouldn't I want to see something in the Canadian Arctic that would be similar? Wouldn't that offer value and wouldn't it drive people to want to watch? And in so doing, wouldn't you learn something about the Canadian Arctic? I'm simply thinking about these things.

Mr. Paul Gratton: Oh, yes, absolutely. It's probably not a bad idea. Maybe you have a future as a television programmer. The key issue is whether or not that kind of show requires public money in order to complete its financing. And as Mr. Cardin pointed out, most of this stuff can be funded by the industry itself through pre-sales, etc. The crisis, where there was always a gap in financing and where it was very hard to complete, was almost everything produced in Quebec, because the world market for Quebec programming is fairly limited outside of children and animation, and almost across the board in English Canada unless you were doing commercial co-productions that were not recognizably Canadian.

I was running Space for a number of years and there was a lot of science fiction that was technically Canadian -- six, seven, eight points out often--and I would argue it never got CTF funding and didn't require it. And there are many average Canadians who really enjoyed those shows and there were a lot of Canadian actors and technicians who benefited from the production in Canada. My view is that lots of Canadian, right across the board, is good.

But when you talk about this fund and this particular very special recognition from both government, which is funding it, and the cable and distributors who have agreed to put money into it in order to keep their capital expenditure, the 50%, it was actually one of the more ingenious creations of the CRTC and of government to put together this fund to encourage the production of the most difficult-to-fund Canadian content in all these genres, which is ten out ten points Canadian content. The average Canadian kind of benefits from having it out there as an option, even if he or she may not choose to personally spend their time watching the stuff due to personal preference.

Mr. Stéphane Cardin: A rubber hits the road type of answer to your question, which Paul brought up before, is that essentially, given that we don't know what the criteria of a public stream would be, there is always the possibility that certain programs -- which would have to apply to both funds -- might, given different eligibility criteria, not get made. So you'd have a potential for less programming than we presently have with the current systems.

Mr. Dean Del Mastro: Thank you. My local cable company, for example, a COGECO affiliate, receives funding from this fund and they do an awful lot of local programming with it. They cover a lot of community events. They do a better job, actually, than my local CBC affiliate [CHEX Television] does in covering community events. They cover parades and all sorts of things. How would this change affect them? What would it mean to them? Would it result in potentially more funding for them, less funding for them, or would it affect them at all?

Mr. Paul Gratton: They don't get directing funding from the CTF for their cable channels. That's a redistribution of their own benefits. And part of their requirement to the CRTC is to maintain that cable fund. So this wouldn't affect your community cable channel at all.

Mr. Dean Del Mastro: Thank you.

Related: Department of Culture | Ordinary Canadians for the Arts: The POST-It Petition Campaign: "To showcase the importance of arts in our community, and the value of arts organizations such as Artspace, we will send to our Prime Minister an ORIGINAL PIECE OF ART ONE POST-IT AT A TIME." (Read about the art exhibition that led to this unique fundraiser/protest.)

October 04, 2008

People of Peterborough Speak Out: What's On Their Minds as They Prepare to Head to the Polls

People of Peterborough Riding are expressing strong opinions during this election -- many by writing Letters to the Editor of The Peterborough Examiner. Here are a few brief excerpts, just to give you a flavor of the issues being talked about in our riding. If you click on the link at the start of each letter, you can read the full text on The Peterborough Examiner website.

MP Challenge: "MP Dean Del Mastro's comment that no one will "shove (the Little Lake project) down the community's throat" indicates that if a sufficient number of citizens express disapproval the plan will be scrapped. He should show his respect for our community by telling us exactly how he will measure public support for his plan. If he announces a shoreline referendum he will be a champion of democracy."
- John Baker, Peterborough

Del Mastro's claims don't stand up to scrutiny: "While our current member of Parliament is good at quoting numbers, they bear no resemblance to facts. He gave the following incorrect information at the all-candidates debate held by Curve Lake...."  [ Related link ]
- Chadwick Cowie, Hiawatha First Nation

Del Mastro promises misleading: "Dean Del Mastro made several grand promises in the weeks leading up to the election. One of these is to build a grand party palace on the banks of Little Lake, by what appears to be a specially selected developer.....Mr. Del Mastro is tellingly silent on the essentials. All we're really getting in this process is a bunch of inch-high headline promises that are likely not even worth the price of the newsprint they're printed on. Surely Peterborough voters won't be misled by this nonsense?
- Kathy Woodcock, Knox Street

Riding needs a fresh start: "Dean Del Mastro appears to be the most partisan politician in the history of Peterborough riding. He not only squanders our hard-earned tax dollars attacking other politicians...he divides our community by pretending that his opponents oppose his rail plan."
- Helen McCarthy, Peterborough

Tories waging propaganda war: "The campaign for this election began two and a half years ago when Steven Harper took office. The barrage of attack ads that we have seen since goes beyond normal mud-slinging -it is propaganda, a focused program of persuasion and manipulation. The arguments typically appeal to emotions rather than reason. Never in the history of Canada has a standing government made such efforts to minimize their political opponents....Here in Peterborough, Dean Del Mastro has conducted a similar propaganda campaign. On a biweekly basis, Mr. Del Mastro has sent out "the pamphlets." What is interesting about these flyers is that they are little more than name calling with absolutely no details or substantiation. This is a classic propaganda technique. What kind of a representative would conduct such a campaign against his constituents?"
- Alan Buchkowski, Hastings

The art of hypocrisy: "Imagine my surprise on reading Dean Del Mastro's description of this riding: after a brief mention of children playing hockey, he goes on to tout the richness of Peterborough's arts! ... I find Mr. Del Mastro's apparent pride in the local arts scene disturbing. I would ask him to please not use the arts like this, unless he is willing to confront Mr. Harper on his appalling stance. It only makes him look like a hypocrite. And I don't vote for hypocrites."
- Kate Story, Peterborough

Tory message holds: "The funny thing is, when I began looking online for information I didn't see where any cuts have been made, what I found was an increase in government spending....it was the cold hard facts presented to me by MP Dean Del Mastro that spoke the loudest. He explained how hundreds of thousands of dollars had made their way to Peterborough for projects like the Festival of Lights, Peterborough Folk Festival and the major refurbishment to the Market Hall."
- Mike Theobald

[Please note: Link embedded in letter above provides a factual clarification re: the arts funding cuts. It also links to a lengthy discussion on other aspects of Dean Del Mastro's campaign that Mike Theobald initiated in the  comments below that post earlier in the week.]

Arts funding fundamental: "Funding for the arts should be a no brainer. It would appear that it is Mr. Harper who is out of touch with ordinary folks and their cares."
- Dan Murphy, Peterborough

Tories will take us to dark age: "Think twice before you put an "X" beside the name of the local Harper lackie."
- Brian Bird, Peterborough

Portrait's exposure was off: "Unjust characterization of candidates detracts from the real business of elections -making decisions based on facts."
- Marilyn Tudhope, Peterborough

MP silent on pension cutback: "Dean Del Mastro would get my vote and I'd promote him far and wide if he would tell me why my old age security was reduced! But since he hasn't even had the courtesy to return any of my calls regarding this issue, this loss of income for me and likely others, I guess he loses my vote and the vote of friends etc. when I tell them how mean the Conservatives are."
- Lily Rosebush, Peterborough

Too tight to cell tower location: "I write this letter sitting in my garden looking at a cell tower that was brought into our neighbourhood in April of this year. Not only did our MP Dean Del Mastro not respond to our appeals for help, the tower is now sitting on property owned by Mr. Del Mastro's mother, who is getting paid a monthly fee to host the tower. And although Mr. Del Mastro says he has nothing to do with this small piece of property that sits beside the Del Mastro car lot, he likes to park his cube van promoting the Peterborough rail line right beside the tower on this property he says he has nothing to do with. Talk about adding insult to injury....We need the help of our federal MP to get this cell tower removed. We invite all of the candidates to visit our community, hear our story and have a conversation with us on how to move forward on this very serious issue. Mr. Del Mastro's slogan is 'a safer, stronger, better Canada.' Well with the cell tower in my backyard on his mother's property, I know I am not safer. My neighbourhood is surely not stronger and folks, my neighbourhood is definitely not better!
- Jill N. Jones, Ware Street

Train talk is premature: "....we did have a little problem recently in the south end, a cell phone tower on Del Mastro property on Lansdowne Street. We collected probably as many signatures opposing the tower as Mr. Del Mastro got in favour of the mythical railway. But we got no enraged outburst for our petition, not even an acknowledgement that we exist with a tower in our back yards. Mr. Del Mastro, get it down and you get our votes!"
- Pat Power, Ware Street

Better transit solutions than a train: "A Peterborough train would be nice, but the practical and affordable solution for improved transportation between Toronto and Peterborough is to get out a bucket of paint and give our buses a lane that will enable them to get in and out of the Big Smoke without getting stalled in traffic. HOV lanes aren't just greener, they are more financially responsible, because they make more efficient use of the transportation infrastructure we already have."
- Clifford Maynes, Peterborough

Bus is the ticket: "Peterborough wake up. We don't need a MP pushing for the wealthy, we need someone who cares about the less fortunate and those struggling to make ends meet and our seniors. That's who will get my vote."
- Margaret Nold, Peterborough

Harper, Conservatives have abandoned environment: "Less than two years ago, it seemed that Canadians had finally woken up to the reality of climate change and were ready to support tough government action. However, looking at voting intentions in this election, it's clear we have slipped back into complacency.... Stephen Harper is hoping to convince us it can be business as usual and that now is not the time to bring in change. The subliminal message seems to be that the warnings of scientists don't really need to be heeded. The lack of a viable program on the part of the Conservatives is profoundly destructive. It sabotages any claims to environmental leadership that Canada may still have in the world and, on a more personal level, simply destroys hope in the future."
- Drew Monkman, Peterborough

Cost of growth is too great: "It is well past time for this community to recognize that there are and must be limits to growth if we are to survive. "Empty" land is generally either agricultural fields, which we are foolishly allowing to be covered with subdivisions, or wetlands crucial to flood control and waterfowl habitat, or forests, which supply oxygen we need to breathe. Shoreline is particularly critical as the cradle of aquatic life."
- Joan Reeves, Peterborough

Clear discussion of issues needed: "As citizens we must not value low taxes over services we need, especially for our children. We can't skimp on education and health services for them and then put our failures into expensive prisons and rehabs."
- Betty Borg, Gifford Drive

Not so nice guy: "Does a leader have to bully you and lie to you for you to think him a fit leader?"
- Catherine Kaye, Fraserville

Harper's Teflon mystery: "Stephen Harper is Teflon man; nothing sticks to him. Can someone explain why? Experts condemn his policies, but Harper just promises more of the same. First, there is global warming....Second, there is his policy on youth crime....Third, Harper espouses laissez-faire economics at a time when the financial system in the United States is near collapse because of the absence of adequate regulation. Fourth, Harper justifies cuts to arts funding....What am I missing?"- Alan Slavin, Peterborough

Tory path to US: "A vote for the Conservative Party will result in a deterioration of Canada that we have not as yet experienced, similar to where the United States is today."
- George Kerr, Peterborough

Health care on death bed: "If voters search the Fraser Institute website they'll easily find an article titled 'Kill the Canada Health Act.'....Harper's Conservative cabinet is full of former Mike Harris ministers....Get ready to take out a mortgage to pay for major surgery. ....Our tax cutting Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty, has taken too much out of the government revenue stream to allow us to weather the gathering economic storm and properly maintain important programs like health care. Voting Conservative will be a grave mistake for all Canadians who care about our universal health care system."
- Scott Cisco, Hastings

Harper claims, Liberals do: "When Mr. Harper came to power Canada had a strong economy, a healthy government surplus, and we were paying down the debt. Now, the surpluses are gone so we can't afford as much debt reduction and the North American economy is a mess. And, lo and behold, the Conservative government has been outspending Paul Martin's Liberals, who Tories love to portray as tax and spend types"
- John Hoffman, Morrow Street

World is in peril and Harper is shovelling quicksand: "This election has a fundamental theme that underlies all of the political rhetoric: individualism versus community values. The difference is huge: the global climate and worldwide poverty demand government intervention if our children's children are to survive. Instead, Stephen Harper's Conservatives ask us to choose lower taxes, appealing to our self-interest. They refuse to include the environmental and social costs of meeting individual needs. The remaining parties -Green, Liberal, NDP -understand that we have to maintain or raise taxes to combat the most serious environmental, economic and social threats ever to face the country."
- Linda Slavin, Peterborough

Non-vote is a vote for winner: "If you don't vote or if you spoil your ballot you have just voted for the party with the highest number of votes, no matter which party wins."
- Len Colp, Bailieboro

Vote with my heart or with my head?: "This is a difficult election. For the first time in my life, I am an undecided voter. I have a Liberal sign on my lawn and an NDP sign and if the Greens call I'll take a Green sign too. I'll draw the line at the blue sign or the Bloc, but that's as far as I can go."
- Margaret Slavin, Lake Street

Vote for a better future: "If you care about the future of the country and our children and grandchildren please vote for a candidate who cares about the environment and the economy, which are closely linked issues."
- Vivian Heinmiller, Peterborough

Thinking of Voting for Dean Del Mastro? Make Sure You Have All the Facts
Election 2008 Riding Profile - Peterborough: Includes Some Comments from Around the Web
Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro (Peterborough Riding) Voted Against....
Letters to the Peterborough Examiner re: Little Lake
Take Down the Cell Tower Citizens' Action Group: Info Gathering Sun. Oct. 5th

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