Sunday, September 28, 2008
1) People say that they cannot get the information on what the parties stand for or are running on. . . but that the parties are just "bashing the other guy". What they mean is that they don't get the details of the party platforms from 30 second TV spots - I may be wrong, but I think a bit more time and energy is required on the part of individuals - its not all the parties' problem. If you watch a nightly newscast, (at least CTV or CBC - not gonna' get much from Global - the Fox News of Canada - or CNN - American news coverage) read the papers, or look at the party sites online. . . you can get a pretty good idea of exactly what the parties stand for. . . It is a one hour undertaking at most - and then you can always watch the debate.
2) People decide who to vote for, for very strange reasons. Some people feel compelled to vote but not to any any attention at all to what they are voting for - for example someone I know told me that she votes for "the best looking one" becuase that is the only thing she can base her judgement on, since she has no idea "what's going on" or what it will mean to her. (She trusts my judgement and so, will, this time, vote for Megan Leslie. )
3) When canvassing, and I get a "don't know/haven't decided" or when people say - "oh we have just started to talk about/think about the issues. . ." I ask them what they will base their decision on - the leader?, the party?, or party platform?, the local candidate?, something else? Most people cannot tell me even that. . . it is like a huge % of people just base their decision on a hunch that they get before or on election day. I wonder how many people actually know the name of the candidate that they want - since they seem to be focussed on he national campaigns. Then the parties are not listed on the ballots. . . No wonder people don't get the government that they want.
4) People tell me that they cannot get the info but they don't actually want info - they want one minute promises - I promise if you vote for me I will make sure that there is more money in your pocket - That's it that's all they understand. I know that the Liberals are way down in the polls and the pundits put it down to Dion's failure to communicate - but actually I think it is just one word - tax - and not that people believe that cap and trade would be a better solution than carbon tax (it is) - they just hear tax, believe that taxes are bad and so don't want to vote for a tax.
5) Canadians (unlike Europeans) seem to have no idea what taxes are. Most people seem to believe that taxes are something that is taken out of your pocket and is given to someone else. Canadians have started to believe that taxes are just a wealth transfer from the poor to the rich. Why wouldn't one believe that. . . with the US bailout, and some Canadian history -- like Stephen Harper's or the Chretien Martin's government's with big corporate tax cuts and no relief for the middle class or the poor (once again see growinggap.ca) . . . but taxes can and have been used and are necessary to make things BETTER for you and your family. I am not advocating an increase in taxes for average people but I am advocating a change in the way that taxes are assessed and that the rich and corporations should pay their share. How do we make people understand again what taxes are for and what they can be used for?
Taxes should not be seen as bad" but as a way of pooling resources fro the greater good -- but no one believes in the "greater good" anymore, they don't believe in altruism, they don't believe that any politican wants to improve things for everyone -- why is that? It is not that they did not wish it existed - they just don;t believe that it does exist. They just think all politicians are self- interested at best and totally corrupt at worst. . . I cannot imagine how they think that the country should be governed. A country based not on liberty, like the Americans, but on Peace, Order and Good Government. . . not small government, not no government but "good" government." What is good government? Government that does the greatest good for the greatest number, I figure - government for the 80% of the population not the top 1% that own 20% of the wealth.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Lots of stories on that site about the lies they have told and the lack of integrity of Harper. Of course, the Liberals have lied a lot too over the years. . .
For thirteen years they promised a National Day care program and never delivered! Now they are saying that they will have one but they promised that through 4 elections and never actually implemented it until a start just before they lost an election.
We know that they are not famous for their integrity (Gomery et al) and although they always "run from the left" they have traditionally "governed from the right" - and done what's best for their rich friends and big corporations -- with economic policies not much different from the conservatives. . . which Mr. Harper is using to say that the country has "shifted right" and using Liberal policies in the 90's and 2000's to prove it!
This time - "don't let them tell you it can't be done" and vote Jack Layton, and the New Democrats! Just one last thing -- especially for those of you in southern Ontario -- who are thinking about strategic voting. . .
If you want the New Democrats to be the government or even the loyal opposition in this country, then vote NDP and not something else (like Liberal - oh the stench - you'll really have to hold your nose this time even life long Liberals in the Maritimes are voting New Democrat this time!) You can tell yourself that your vote is worth nothing if the NDP lose in your riding, but you are wrong -- At a minimum $1.75/year in public financing goes to the New Democrats with every vote, and every $ helps us get elected next time -- so keep that in mind, and don't give it to the Liberals. If you want more reasons not to vote "strategically" for the Liberals - see: Michael Laxer's blog at: NDP left.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Its a dull day, supposed to rain, and the laundry is not on the line but steaming up the house!
I am watching a flock of cormorants dive, and look like they are frolicking in the water, (I don't really know what their emotional state is, but I can project, however useless that may be) and I was feeling pretty happy, . . . and thinking about doing some housework before I go off to a meeting re: a union organizing drive. . . until the CBC radio news came on.
This morning, CBC news reported that Stephen Harper says that all of the opposition parties are running from "the left" leaving the "centre" wide open. The Conservatives, he says, are the only party of the "centre". He also says that Canadians have become more conservative, presumably meaning that the centre has moved right.
I do not believe this to be true and thinking about it literally made me cry.
Do you think that Canadians are more conservative?
I don't see how they can be. . . Politically, I understand conservatives to resist change, to want to leave things the same; to embrace more "traditional" values and to want to downsize government and reduce spending. Economically, conservatives believe in reducing taxes and government spending, reducing social programs and have basically an "every man for himself" philosophy (the women and children of course are attached to "the man" who will help them survive.) - pull yourself up by your own bootstraps or die in a ditch is the tone I hear.
In times of great economic prosperity, it is likely that Canadians would be more "conservative" - if you are doing well who wants to change things? But, lets face it. . . Canadians except for the top 10% of income earners -- are not better off. They are either in the same economic state (income) or worse off than they were 25-30 years ago (see www.growinggap.ca) and we are headed into an economic slump. So why would Canadians be growing more conservative?
They are not more conservative, but the growing numbers of those who do not vote indicate that they are feeling alienated from voting and from any kind of citizen engagement. Even in this election when the New Democrats came out swinging -- strong ads, and demanding Layton for Prime Minister, the media just covers the election as a two horse race. even with polls showing the New Democrats at 30% in BC and the Maritimes. . . For 25 years people have told me -- there is no point in voting for the New Democrats, "they won't win." I don;t know why Canadians feel like they have to vote for a winner - but they seem to and it is particularly a problem in Toronto. . . Imagine, if all of those people went to the polls and voted with their honest opinion and self interest, I believe that the New Democrats would win many more seats and even form government.
People are not more conservative but they are jaded about politics. The Liberals and Conservatives across this country have so consistently made promises that they have not kept that everyone believes that is just the case with politicians. Now the Liberals are by far the worst at it - but I also think it IS the case with the current Conservative government and with Harper. On his "broken promises", Cambridge resident Geoffrey Stevens, an author, former Ottawa columnist and managing editor of the Globe and Mail, itemized some of the broken promises:
For example, in the wake of the Liberals' sponsorship scandal, Harper promised that a Conservative government would be open and accountable. Yet he introduced an Accountability Act that amended the Access to Information Act so as to make it harder, not easier, for citizens to find out what their government is up to. He gagged his ministers; he threw up new barriers to journalists trying to do their jobs; he centralized information control in his office. He ordered Conservative MPs to obstruct parliamentary committees that try to probe government activities.
He promised to curb patronage by creating an independent commission to vet senior public appointments. He made one half-hearted effort before abandoning that promise. He promised not to tax income trusts, then taxed them anyway. He promised fixed election dates and introduced a law to that effect. Yesterday, he broke that promise and the law.
The broken promises help to explain why 41 percent of Canadians and 50 percent of Ontarians (according to a new Ipsos Reid poll) think Harper has a hidden agenda. It's why voters tell pollsters they anticipate another minority government. See: Straight Goods for the whole article.If one looks at Harper's previous record and positions, he is hiding them now, and yet he has never disavowed anything he said before, or said it was no longer his view (someone correct me if I am wrong, please -I'll sleep better. )
Harper quit is seat in 1997 and became Vice President of the National Citizen's Coalition. (NCC) According to Harperindex . . . NCC has campaigned prominently on many libertarian, anti-worker and anti-public service issues over the years including:
So - Are Canadians more conservative? I don't think so. . . Do they believe the statements above to be true and/or a way to proceed to improve things for "average" Canadians - I don't think so. . .
Are they going to realize that the only way to change direction and their lives is to engage in electoral politics and vote in their own best interest? I wish I knew the answer was yes. I will keep fighting for that and trying to inform people. . . but I wish the media was not so class based and biased. . . when you, like my daughter-in-law and son have two jobs, two children, low income and no car, it is hard to take the time to be engaged in an election, to work in it, or even to vote (although I know that they will!)
Go and work in the election, put up a sign, attend debates, be engaged and spread the word - vote for working people and families, green jobs, consumer protection from price gouging, fairness and equity. I'm working for Jack Layton and the New Democrats.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
I picked these up from www.departmentofculture.ca They describe themselves as: "The Department of Culture is a loose group of artists and art-related workers who will collaborate to unseat vulnerable Conservatives in swing ridings across Canada." Check it out!
If you live in the 905 this is especially for you. (Although if you are a non- Harper supporter west of Winnipeg prepare especially to be offended!)
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
I am excited this morning and the sun is shining, but I cannot share a photo of the great light this morning, as my husband/life partner/best friend (pick whatever title you are comfortable with) has taken the camera off with him to Ontario where he is going to work on the campaign of Liam McHugh-Russell in Etobicoke-Lakeshore -- well, in fact he is off to be campaign manager, which he has done before - but this time for our son, who is running against Michael Ignatieff. More on THAT another day.
Today I am excited because I attended the nomination meeting in Halifax last night where three candidates were vying for the nomination to replace Alexa McDonough (like anyone could) . What a great night - there were 800-1000 people in the room. There were over 600 votes cast, and there were three fantastic speeches given.
Alexis MacDonald - the presumed front runner going in - lost in to Megan Leslie. I have to say that, although I was uncertain going in, (I did not know the candidates and I cannot vote in the riding so did not need to have a choice. . .) after the speeches, I was definitely a Megan Leslie fan and supporter, although I was also quite swayed by Irvine Carvery's pitch that he was an "authentic" man of the people, and an African Nova Scotian. . .
All the candidates were amazing. I was so proud to be in the NDP last night - the race seemed to be among those who still were fired up with the issues, and not jaded by the parliamentary process. Some days I am depressed by the state of electoral politics - but really what else is there?
So now, there is the work! Two days in and counting down - - The campaign office for Halifax opens today at noon at Young and Robie in Halifax. There is a lot of work to do - the seat must be held. There is also Peter Stoffer's seat, to hold, and plenty of other seats that we have a potential to take, or to take back like Halifax Dartmouth.
I love the "New Strong" ad, and am glad to see the party coming out swinging. I am thrilled with the candidate in Halifax - Megan Leslie - and lots of other candidates across the country. This election, with weak Liberals, I hope the "strategic voting" (especially in Toronto) might give way to voters, voting their preference, and actually voting for the NDP, and the policies that most Canadians want. This time I hope that the New Democrat's message gets through -- it appears we have enormous support for our policies but many people don't know the NDP stands for - in fact, most average people that oppose the NDP can only talk about taxes and don't understand how much better off they would be. . . with the New Democrats, or how wealth has been transferred from the poor and middle class to the ultra rich over the last 25-30 years (growinggap.ca) so get out there and tell them!
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Well, it can't be a beautiful day every day - today we get the "remnants" of tropical storm Hanna - some wind expected but LOTS of rain! It's a storm outside our door with a very wet wind. I took in all the light furniture and the umbrella but I am not sure that it is actually required. They are having a lot of shooting at the gun club and the wind is carrying the sound right to us today - so there is rain and wind and the sound of rifle shots in the air. . .
After musing on Hanna, Stephen Harper called an election. On the one hand:
- Thank GAWD!! as he is the least democratic PM ever. Two bills at least (I'm no expert) were passed by the federal parliament - both driven by the NDP, by the way - that the Harper government ignored and said that they will ignore, even though they were passed by the house (in THIS parliament not the previous Liberal one in case there is any confusion) - one on Kyoto and one on Childcare.
On the other hand,
Do people want an election? I know I do but, I am not sure that the people really wanted another election right now. As Layton put it - "Harper quit his job today." And he quit it even though things have been going his way. He says it is because he couldn't make the parliament work, but with the Liberals abstaining on almost every critical piece of legislation in order to prop up the government (their numbers are foul, see http://nodice.ca/elections/canada/polls.php) things were in fact going his way. And, when he could not get his way he chooses to simply ignore the legislation he does not like - a loophole in our parliamentary democracy, apparently.
Other reasons he may have called the election - poor economic outlook ahead! High fuel costs this winter, combined with the U.S. economic downturn (they buy most of our "stuff") will mean that by next year Canadians may be unhappy, and more in need of a change. For more suspect reasons Harper may be calling an election now see: Scott Piatkowski on Rabble.
Since the election has been called though - get on Board - elect the NDP - imagine a government that actually governed for people, and for small businesses, (people who generally don't make a lot more money than but work lots more hours than the average worker in Canada) and not for the 1-5% of the richest people in the country or for big business. Go to NDP.CA right now and donate or get in touch with the local party and sign up to work!
In Nova Scotia, the nomination meeting (an exciting race with three great candidates vying for the spot) for Halifax to replace Alexa McDonough, happens Monday evening at the student union building at Dal. 6:00 pm if you want to register to vote (you must be a party member in the riding) 7:00pm for the meeting.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
I am still trying to decide whether I should be, at least slightly litigious, in this circumstance because a broken right hand is a great inconvenience -- especially when on vacation, at a resort, at a week long educational event and while visiting my blind mother.
But mostly today I am thinking about the NDP. A friend of mine, who should know better, when I said yesterday that I will vote for Peter Stoffer, but am going to work for Brad Pye, said that she could not bring herself to vote for Peter, but was going to vote Green instead. . . I could not convince her that "the party" matters - even though that is the way that the parliament of Canada operates - generally with party discipline - that's why they call then "the Whip"!
Peter, she said, supports the Afghan war and voted for the unborn victims of crime act and so will never again get her vote. But for me, I have to vote the party. Although Peter has broken ranks with the party he still mostly votes with them.
We (that is the people and the NDP) need a bigger caucus to have more influence. We need to be the government of this country and defend the interests of working people, replace lost manufacturing jobs with a new green industrial strategy, protect Canadian sovereignty and the environment, and equalize incomes with a more progressive taxation - make the rich and corporations pay their share. Alright so I am ranting. . . I see it all so clearly!
A federal election will be called tomorrow and I will be working for the NDP. You can check out some of their policies and who is running in your riding at: www.ndp.ca
I like the new ad (found it on the site, but you can see it below) because I want people to vote for what is good for them. That is what is good for you. We've tried what's good for the rich and big corporations through Harper, Chretien/Martin and Mulroney before them -- Conservative or Liberal, when it comes to economics and to my day to day life, there is little difference -- if you want proof, see how the vast majority of Canadians have fared -- check out the growing gap -- lets face it it's time to give the NDP a try!!!!
See a new kind of strong at: