39 posts categorized "poverty"

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

Some Much Overdue Political Levity

A roundup of fun political links.

Here's an early-afternoon addition to the justice story, by way of Far and Wide: pay attention to what's on your website -- particularly when the gavels start flying.

September 29, 2008

Rekindling the Dream of A Just Society

"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.

"That’s not Harper’s Canada.

"That’s a Liberal Canada."

- Michael Ignatieff, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada and Member of Parliament Etobicoke-Lakeshore, If Harper Succeeds You Will Wake Up in a Canada You No Longer Recognize, from his speech to the Economic Club of Toronto earlier today.

Thanks to those Progressive-Bloggers who tipped me off to this speech. It's extremely inspiring.

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

A Citizen's Plea, Spotted in Downtown Peterborough

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Code Blue to Stephen Harper: A YouTube Video Goodbye Song

If you're interested in childcare issues, you may want to check out Code Blue's childcare report card, released last week. (I blogged about it over at one of my other blogs.) The report card rates the childcare proposals of all the political parties.

This YouTube video -- another Code Blue effort -- should give you an idea of how well the Tories scored. You'll find yourself humming the chorus and wiggling your tush while you go about your day. Enjoy! (And thank you, Code Blue!)


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 13, 2008

Birds of a Feather: Jim Flaherty and Dean Del Mastro

The resemblance is startling. (Another photo - all event photos).

And at least one of the two trainiacs has started started to believe that the Toronto-Peterborough is already a fait accompli. (What do they call it if you start to see ghost trains?)

Jim Flaherty said: "We don't need to have the huge environmental assessments. Guess what, it's already a train, it's already running down to union station. My response is [ two large blasts on a wooden train whistle ]."

Dean Del Mastro said: "I got the rail. I did and I couldn't have done it without Jim Flaherty."

They made their comments at this week's official launching of Dean Del Mastro World Headquarters.

While at the event, Flaherty claimed ignorance about the Liberal plans for the GST when he was asked why he was continuing to spread misinformation about the Liberal financial platform in Peterborough on Friday. (Should the finance minister be this ignorant of his own file?) (Is this kind of ignorance contagious?)

And the way the crowd dealt with a protester at the event who asked about the party's plans to deal with poverty and health care made the front page of the Peterborough Examiner. (Photo)

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.