292 posts categorized "politics"

January 11, 2010

Elizabeth May's Reply to My Letter to The Governor General

Remember the letter I wrote to the Governor General, urging her not to agree to Harper's request to prorogue Parliament? I just received the most inspiring reply from Elizabeth May's office. Here's what the letter says:

Dear Ann,

Thank you for your message regarding the prorogation of parliament. The Prime Minister's latest move proves once again his extreme cynicism and mastery in political calculation. The Green Party of Canada was the first federal party to denounce Harper’s second prorogation in just over a year. This extended vacation for MPs is an affront to democracy.
 
The move brings government committees to a standstill, particularly preventing investigation into the critical matter of the Afghan detainees.  It delays any bills currently before the house including the government's crime bills. Pressing issues such as the climate crisis and Canada’s economic recovery issues will remain unresolved until March.
 
What now?  We need to expect the unexpected. We need to kick and scream at this insult to democracy -- because that is what it is.  We need to support each other, efforts by other parties, non-political leadership. Wherever a clear and compelling call for democracy emerges, that voice must be supported.
 
Join Canadians across Canada on January 23rd rallying against the prorogation of parliament. I am attending the rally in Ottawa on Parliament Hill, but visit the Facebook group to find the rally closest to you.
 
Harper's move this week is premised on the assumption that enough Canadians simply do not care about democracy or the role of Parliament.   It presumes that Parliament can be shuttered for partisan political reasons.

In the interests of democracy, let's hope this time his cynicism has miscalculated.
 
Sincerely,
 
Elizabeth May, O.C.
Leader
 
P.S. Please visit the Green Party website to read my latest blogs on the issue.

***

I should also mention that I also received a lovely note from Betsy McGregor, Liberal Candidate for Peterborough Riding, who was also copied on the letter. She wrote, in part: "Ann - thank you for sending this explicit letter of concern to the office of the Governor General."

And as for the Governor General? I haven't had any acknowledgment of the correspondence from her office. I'll keep you posted on that front.

January 23 Rally - Peterborough, Ontario - No to Prorogue!

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You can download copies of the event posters (there are four different ones) and share them all around town. I don't know about you, but I think they're gorgeous.

For more information about the rally and the cause, please visit

Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament on Facebook

the website of Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament (noprorogue.ca)

noprorogue's Twitter account (http://www.twitter.com/noprorogue)

January 07, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related:

Suspending Parliament Puts Focus on Games: MP

December 30, 2009

My Letter to the Governor General: Just Say No

December 30, 2009

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

Dear Madam:

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

There is no justifiable reason to do so.

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

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

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

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

Yours sincerely,

Ann Douglas

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

December 12, 2009

My Friend's Got a Bad Case of the Betrayed by Stephen Harper Blues

It's terrible when a friend is hurting.

It's even worse when that friend is hurting because she has terrible taste in men. I mean, the worst.

If you haven't had the pleasure of meeting Miss Ruby Jones, this video will explain who she is and why she's singing the betrayal blues. (Well, not literally. She left the singing to KISS.)

I hope 2010 will be a better year for you, Miss Ruby Jones (a.k.a. Harper Girl: the self-appointed president of the Stephen Harper Fan Club).

Canada's Most Arrogant Prime Minister

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spotlight:

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

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

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

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

November 21, 2009

Jane Taber's Column

Dion's wife goes rogue? - The Globe and Mail.

This is the comment I added to Jane Taber's post on The Globe and Mail's website.

Whatever you may have thought of his strengths and weaknesses as a potential Prime Minister, Stéphane Dion had the courage to present a platform that offered the very solutions that Canada needs -- and the world needs Canada to rally behind, as a responsible global leader: environmental action, sustainable development, and social justice.

The real tragedy here is that Canadians allowed themselves to be distracted from those critically important messages -- that timely vision -- during the election campaign.

The net result is that Canada will soon be heading off to Copenhagen with the reputation of being a nation of climate change obstructionists. The situation could have been so different.

Politicians may try to dodge the gravity of these issues by making the climate change debate about partisan politics, but we, the citizens, have no obligation to follow their lead.

We can set our own agenda for the country and insist that our elected representatives follow that agenda -- or find new representatives who better represent that agenda.

They work for us, after all.

 

November 18, 2009

Del Mastro Drama: And You Thought Battle of the Blades Was the Show to Watch

I see that Peterborough MP Dean Del Mastro is in the headlines once again.

Heck, even people on message boards have been talking about him.

(And you thought Battle of the Blades was the best drama to be had this week.)

Here in Peterborough, the media isn't saying much.

Perhaps Del Mastro has already said everything he wants to say about the bruhaha -- or someone has suggested that he stay incommunicado for the next day or two.

That might not be a bad idea, given that journalists like Aaron Wherry of Maclean's have great memories -- and have been busy digging up examples of Del Mastro behaving badly to help put the incident in context. After all, Del Mastro has earned quite the reputation for lobbing insults at others in the House of Commons. (Apparently, it's better to give than to receive.)

November 14, 2009

Partisan messages OK in Taxpayer-funded mailings: Milliken

Member of Parliament are allowed to publish whatever they want in their mailings to constituents -- at the expense of the taxpayer.

That's what Speaker of the House of Commons Peter Milliken had to say during a visit to Peterborough this week. ("Partisan messages OK in pamphlets: Milliken" - Peterborough Examiner - Ontario, CA.)

"There used to be rules forbidding partisanship on these things but I believe it was before I got on the [board that oversees the House of Commons operating budget] they changed those rules and allowed members to publish whatever they wanted on them," Milliken said yesterday. "So the board has very little control of the content."

This contradicts a statement made just days earlier (Nov. 12) by Peterborough MP Dean Del Mastro, who told the Peterborough Examiner that the House of Commons approves the content of every message he sends out: "Every piece that I send is approved by the House of Commons, not by a political party."

Federal Liberal Candidate Betsy McGregor and Federal NDP Candidate Dave Nickle have each been highly critical of Del Mastro's use of taxpayer-funded mailings.


Facts and Figures

The Peterborough Examiner notes that out of the top 100 MP spenders on printing, 82 were Conservatives. In the top 20, 19 were Conservatives with NDP MP Olivia Chow coming in 10th at $78,485.

November 08, 2009

Let's Have a Grownup Conversation About Climate Change: Pembina Institute to Harper Government

Denying Canada's Environmental Truths, (The Toronto Star, November 8, 2009) is another must-read. But be forewarned: you'll feel frustrated as you're reminded, yet again, of how far Canada has strayed from its once-proud record of environmental leadership -- and how far out of synch the Canadian government is with the attitudes of the Canadian public when it comes to taking action on climate change.

Here's a key quote.

"[The Harper government's attitudes towards the environment] runs counter to modern ideas of sustainable development and green growth, which are now part of mainstream business thinking. As countries around the world act to cut emissions, the federal government's approach risks putting Canada at a serious disadvantage in the global race for clean energy jobs....It's clear that Canada can choose to be both green and prosperous. Science and economics both argue that we need stronger climate policies urgently. Now the politicians need to show that they are grown up enough to face the climate challenge."
- Clare Demerse, Associate Director of the Pembina Institute's climate change program.

Related:

ParentCentral.ca: Moms Against Climate Change