57 posts categorized "media"

October 21, 2008

Post-Election Blog Reno

Img_7027 I decided to do some fall cleaning here at the blog. I've reorganized some existing categories and added a bunch of new content including,

What Makes a Great City? What Makes a City Great? This is a list of links that focus on urban development. I found a lot of really interesting material that focuses on waterfront renewal -- the biggest mistakes cities make when they change their waterfronts and articles about examples of waterfront renewal processes that have been managed brilliantly, with spectacular results. Other links focus on transportation, culture, creating public spaces, creating livable, healthy, green cities -- all issues that I'm thinking about as Peterborough evolves.

Alternative and Indie Media Voices: This is a roundup of alternative media (newspapers, radio stations, magazines, etc.) as well as links that discuss the importance of an independent media, the role of the newspaper ombudsman, why media concentration should be of concern to all Canadians, etc.

Writing Links and Creativity Links: Links to writing- and creativity- related resources for my fellow creative types.

Get the Big Picture: A handful of links to TV documentary and film documentary sources, etc. More to come.

Where We've Been: A handful of political and social justice history links with many more to come.

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Democracy?: As much for my own use as anything, this is a cluster of links that I turn to on a regular basis when I need to touch base with someone else who is frustrated with the way democracy works in this country, but who isn't about to give up on Canada or working for change anytime soon.

Change the World: Links to some of my favorite get-pumped-up-and-change-the-world songs. If anyone knows of another song-linking application that would ideally allow me to provide a short sound clip, I'd love to have some recommendations. I tried to find a decent one that works with iTunes, but I didn't have any luck.

I've archived some of my very election-focused sidebars until the next 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 09, 2008

Haditwithharper.ca

The name says it all.

CHEX-TV Interview with Betsy McGregor, Liberal Candidate, Peterborough Riding

CHEX-TV aired its interview with Betsy McGregor this evening. It's a great interview. (Windows Media file hosted on CHEX-TV news site.) Betsy touches upon some of the highlights of her career (university professor, school teacher, veterinarian, civil servant, and United Nations field worker), her family (she went back to veterinary college as a single mom; her now-25-year-old son is a professional hockey player), and what she feels she has to offer the people of Peterborough Riding.

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.)

Heartychuckle_2

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.

October 03, 2008

Globe and Mail, Global News Put Peterborough Riding Under the Microscope

Roy MacGregor's column in yesterday's Globe and Mail (Oct. 2) analyzed the election race in Peterborough Riding.

"They talk jobs and health care and the environment here - McGregor passionately defends the Green Shift, Del Mastro dismisses it as "a tax on fun" - but the two factors that will likely decide matters are whether people believe only Del Mastro can deliver The Train [ The Peterborough Examiner recently noted, "Despite some attempts by Tory supporters to claim otherwise, Liberal candidate Betsy McGregor never opposed the train." ] and whether Liberals can persuade voters to go strategic."

Img_6792Global News was also in Peterborough yesterday, doing a live remote TV  shoot from the Peterborough Lift Lock. The news team was greeted by a large contingent of local artists, arts patrons, and arts volunteers -- Ordinary Canadians for the Arts -- dressed in black and white and sporting neon-pink buttons designed to draw attention to the Conservative government's arts funding cuts. They were so popular that they ran out of their very chic OCFTA buttons -- apparently the must-have fashion accessory for arts galas this fall.

Related:
Ordinary Folks Don't Care About Arts: Harper
Peterborough Arts Umbrella: October Newsletter: Ordinary Canadians for the Arts launch item (October 1)

October 02, 2008

Political Propaganda: Making the Case vs. Selling the Product

Republican/Conservative salesmanship that relies on political spin and voter manipulation and that is all about closing the sale is deeply offensive to people who care deeply about integrity and ideas -- who want progressive leaders who are moving forward in positive ways to be heard above the meaningless buzz of those who have nothing to offer.

Along that vein:

"Republican campaign strategists come from an entirely different place -- the marketplace. Their methodology is that of the salesman: the candidate as "product," and the voter as "customer." Their commanding objective is to "make the sale," by whatever means are found to be effective toward that end....

"In advance of their political campaigns, GOP "salesmen" examine comprehensively the public mind, through polling and focus groups. There they discover the "hot button" words, concepts, images and (less significantly) issues. With this information, they then target the emotions (in “the post-9/11 context,” primarily fear). motives (security and economic gain), and self-image (hard-working, free, God- fearing) of the public, all this toward the objective of
what Noam Chomsky describes as "the manufacturing of consent."

- Political Propaganda: Making the Case vs. Selling the Product

Peterborough One of the 57 Ridings That Can Change History

Changeometer Peterborough is one of the 57 ridings that can change the outcome of the upcoming election, according to The Hill-Times -- the Ottawa-based newspaper that chronicles Canadian political life:

"Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro narrowly won the riding in 2006, beating out Liberal candidate Diane Lloyd, after former Liberal MP Peter Adams, who held the riding since 1993, decided not to run again. This time Mr. Del Mastro is up against a different Liberal candidate, Betsy McGregor. Mr. Del Mastro, an auto dealer, is strongly opposed to abortion and same-sex marriage. Ms. McGregor has had an illustrious career in the realms of international institutions (she worked for the UN), the public service (Agriculture Canada and Industry Canada), and academia (she did a stint at Harvard medical school, and she currently teaches at Trent University)."

October 01, 2008

Thinking About Voting for Dean Del Mastro?

Before you vote for Dean Del Mastro in Peterborough Riding

Make sure you have all the facts first.

THE FACTS ABOUT THE TRAIN

If you're thinking about voting for Dean Del Mastro because you think you have to vote for Dean in order to bring the train to Peterborough, you need to know that the Conservative, Green Liberal, and NDP candidates in our riding ALL strongly support bringing the train to Peterborough. You don't have to vote for Dean Del Mastro to vote for the train.

You also need to know that the train is still a work-in-progress: that it still has to make its way through a process of approvals before it can be considered a done deal. Unfortunately, statements like this one from Dean Del Mastro's campaign literature make it difficult for people to understand that the train is not a done deal yet: "In Budget 2008, Dean celebrated the announcement of funding for the re-establishment of the Peterborough-Toronto Commuter Rail Link, claiming it to be, "The single biggest federal infrastructure investment in Peterborough since John A. MacDonald announced the completion of the Trent Severn Waterway." Dean may have celebrated the funding announcement, but he certainly hasn't been able to celebrate the approval of a train because that hasn't happened yet.

"[Dean Del Mastro's] promise to return Toronto-to-Peterborough passenger rail service is looking more likely to come true, but is open to questions about whether it would be an economic drain. Last week's surprise proposal for a massive hotel-entertainment complex on Parks Canada property on Little Lake is exciting, but a long way from reality."
- Editorial, Peterborough Examiner, September 9, 2008

THE FACTS ABOUT THE ECONOMY

If you're voting for Dean Del Mastro because you think a Conservative government under Stephen Harper will make for a stronger economy, you may want to look at the government's track record in this area. The Harper Government -- with Dean Del Mastro serving as a member of the Standing Committee on Finance -- spent its way through Canadians' $20 million rainy day fund over the past three years -- and now that we're facing a rainy day, the government has nothing left to invest in our economy. Many economists said at the time that a GST cut was the wrong way to go because it didn't stimulate the economy in the same way that a tax cut would have stimulated the economy. (Incidentally, this is why income tax benefits are built into the Liberal government's Green Shift plan -- a program that has been misunderstood by many Canadians.)

Here's something else to consider. As columnist Lawrence Martin reports in today's Globe and Mail, the Federal Conservatives are doing everything they can to distance themselves from the economically disastrous policies of the neo-Conservative Bush administration south of the border -- a case it gets it gets more difficult to make after the politically disastrous speech plagiarism incident.

The Harper government also reversed its position on the income trust issue -- a betrayal of the trust of many ordinary Canadians who paid heavily for this broken promise. Dean Del Mastro repeatedly reversed his position on this issue to support the party line. Where was he when his constituents needed him to speak out on this issue?

THE FACTS ABOUT PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY

If you're voting for Dean Del Mastro because you believe that Canada under Stephen Harper will be a safer place, you might be interested in knowing that the Conservative Party of Canada approach to governance emphasizes cost-savings that can sometimes be at the expense of public health. “According to the government’s own spending estimates, released before the listeriosis outbreak started in summer 2008, there would be less money for food inspection over the following three years.” (CBC.ca, September 24, 2008)

And when public health objectives come into conflict with business objectives, Dean Del Mastro follows the party line by siding with big business. During the last session of Parliament, Dean Del Mastro voted against bills that would have provided more information to consumers about genetically modified foods and that would have provided more details warning labels on alcohol. If he wasn't voting in support of public safety and the public good, in whose interest was he voting?

THE FACTS ABOUT CRIME

If you're thinking about voting for Dean Del Mastro because you believe that a revamped justice system under Stephen Harper will mean less crime, you might want to know that overall crime rates are on the decline and that the approach to dealing with youth crime that Stephen Harper and justice minister Rob Nicholson has been heavily criticized by the judge appointed to recommend changes to the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Oddly enough, Stephen Harper had been claiming throughout the campaign that the judge had endorsed the Conservative Party crime platform.

The judge isn't the only leading authority on law, justice, and crime that the Harper government ignored when putting together its tough-on-crime platform. It's US-style approach to justice has been proven ineffective, expensive (we'll need 22 new jails!), and counterproductive. Crime rates actually rise. *

Closer to home, Dean Del Mastro came under heavy fire from constituents back in July as a result of his youth crime mailout. The mailout was described as being fear-mongering, anti-youth, and an unwise use of taxpayers' resources. (See link to Peterborough Examiner in post.)

THE FACTS ABOUT THE LITTLE LAKE PROPOSAL

If you're thinking about voting for Dean Del Mastro because you would like to see some sort of development occur on Little Lake, you might want to consider what you're getting for your vote. For starters, the parcel of land on Little Lake is under the control of Parks Canada. Parks Canada is mandated to protect that land for the protection of future generations. And, as our Member of Parliament, Dean Del Mastro is mandated to pursue the interests of all constituents. To ensure that the interests of all citizens of Peterborough are taken into account, consultations on a public asset as important as this one need to be conducted in an open and accountable manner. Anyone can put together a proposal and circulate it behind closed doors. It takes a true leader to ensure that the proper protocols are observed every step of the way and that even the perception of conflict of interest or impropriety is avoided. A true leader leads by example.

THE FACTS ABOUT THE ARTS FUNDING CUTS

If you're thinking about voting for Dean Del Mastro because you see him as being committed to the arts (his election brochure states that he has made numerous funding announcements with a focus on the Arts and Heritage community -- but his brochure neglects to mention that some of these groups are at risk of losing their funding as a result of his government's far-reaching cuts to the arts and cultural sector -- cuts he was privy to as a member of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage and the Standing Committee on Finance. Artists, arts volunteers, and arts patrons in our community recently met to discuss those cuts. Get the local response story here. Note: Dean Del Mastro has also been repeating the "we haven't been cutting funding" double-speak that tripped up Stephen Harper with the national media. Oops.

THE FACTS ABOUT ABORIGINAL ISSUES

If you're voting for Dean Del Mastro because you believe that the Harper government's apology signaled a commitment to aboriginal issues, you might want to consider how he fared during the aboriginal debates at Curve Lake. Some of his comments attracted national attention -- but not in a way that reflected well on our riding: "The Kelowna Accord -- There is no such thing," Dean Del Mastro told the crowd assembled at Curve Lake. That sounds just like a Rona Ambrose quote. (Be patient. She's coming up in a moment.)

THE FACTS ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT

If you're voting for Dean Del Mastro because you think he is serious about environmental change, you might want to consider that he served on the original Harper environment committee (the one headed up by Rona Ambrose; a committee that was so out of synch with what Canadians were demanding that there was a national outcry at the time). Unfortunately, all that really came of that outcry was a new committee chair: John Baird.

During the Harper years, Canada stopped being known as an international advocate for environmental change and stated to be known as a country that lets the oil and gas industry and other business interests call the shots. Peterborough Examiner nature columnist Drew Monkman recently wrote a heartfelt Letter to the Editor on this issue. It's definitely worth reading.

OTHER FACTS ABOUT DEAN DEL MASTRO
THAT YOU MAY WISH TO CONSIDER

Dean Del Mastro

* What is it about the mindset of this government that insists on disregarding the best-evidence from experts in their respective fields, whether we're talking law and justice, the environment, or another critically important issue? Is it because leadership is largely vested in one man who takes advice from very few people and who hates to share power -- and who finds it next to impossible to apologize or admit mistakes; and who surrounds himself with "yes men" who refuse to let him know when he's on the wrong track (for sake of their own political careers?)

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