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Conservative Clown Show – Leadership Race.

It’s been interesting to watch the Conservative Party Leadership Race. It’s definitely more entertaining then the current NDP leadership race. There, the NDP has had trouble finding anyone to run, although the addition of Niki Ashton might liven things up a bit.

A lack of candidates is, as you undoubtedly know, not the case in Conservative Party-Land. Everyone wants to run the Conservative Party, it seems. When there are this many candidates, those who are behind or those trying to hold onto a lead will start to look for an edge or stop others from getting an edge. The latest in that is every side accusing the other of vote-rigging.. which had former Harper aide Andrew MacDougall lamenting the whole affair in the Globe and Mail:

What began with a whisper into a reporter’s ear from Kevin O’Leary’s campaign of a (largely) unsubstantiated claim of membership irregularities has quickly escalated into messy internecine war. Mr. O’Leary fingered fellow front-runner Maxime Bernier as the culprit, prompting Mr. Bernier to call Mr. O’Leary a “loser” in response. Suspecting a feint, other candidates piped up to ask Mr. O’Leary to put up or shut up. But then the party stepped in to confirm Mr. O’Leary’s concerns by revoking more than 1,300 memberships, although the party couldn’t say whose campaign was behind the offending sales. Cue a retaliatory rigging story, this time with Mr. Bernier’s supporters impugning the O’Leary campaign’s efforts in the Sikh community in Toronto, backed by a sworn affidavit. The O’Leary campaign quickly denied the allegation.

That has led to others on social media reminding folks that certain PC leadership candidates have had a past history of doing this sort of stuff.

Oh, and by the way, the Conservative Party has now revoked 1300 memberships it deems invalid, though it couldn’t (or wouldn’t) say who was responsible. Oh, and Andrew Macdougall basically lauds Kevin O’Leary as a hero for being a “fresh set of eyes” to point these things out.

Kevin O’Leary is the hero for the Conservative Party? Maxime Bernier is the other front-runner for the Conservative Party? Funny stuff.

UPDATE: My thanks to my Conservative social media follower on Twitter for raging at my missing 1 letter in his Conservative Party and correcting me. Nice to have spell-checker zealots trying to distract from the main point of the post.

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Conservative Pandering to the Alt-Right

A poll released earlier today says that about a quarter of those Canadians polled want a Donald Trump (attempted) type travel ban.

This is who a large segment of the current Conservative Party leadership crop is pandering to. It’s why they endorsed an Anti-Islamaphobia motion by Tom Mulcair last Fall without fanfare, but are resisting a similar motion by Liberal MP Iqra Khalid now. The fear of the “alt-right” (see white nationalist) has made them decide to oppose this notion now, when it was ok a few months ago. (and particularly bad when the Quebec City massacre just happened a month ago. I’d thought that would have helped them climb down from this pandering to extremists and bigots, but apparently not).

Only Michael Chong supports it of the current leadership crop… which is another reason (besides supporting a carbon tax) that he won’t win.. there aren’t many Moderate” Conservative voters left out there it seems.

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Electoral Reform abandonment potentially hurts LPC donations, volunteers

I’m going out on a limb to presume Electoral Reform will not be in the Liberal’s 2019 Platform?

It is a bitter disappointment to not only the pro-electoral reform advocates in general, but to pro-electoral reform advocates within the Liberal Party (ie such as me, and to others in the Party that got electoral reform passed as something we should do both in 2012 and 2014 at Liberal policy Conventions) to see the Liberals officially abandon their electoral reform plans as of yesterday. There has been troubling signs of this for awhile, and obviously the pro-status quo factions within the adviser group and indeed in the Liberal caucus (and there are more then a few) won out over the electoral reformers. I personally had hoped that with the cabinet shuffle, things would improve on this front.. so I’m not understanding why Maryan Monsef got moved out of this Cabinet post – she could have just as easily made this announcement as Karina Gould (who I like personally) was made to do, if this is the decision that was decided upon.

Regardless.. there is a calculation being made here by the Liberals that come election time, most folks will not care or hold them to account over this broken promise (and it is a broken promise, despite the claims of “no consensus” from the Prime Minister). They may be right, though they will have lost a potentially critical portion of their vote from those who had looked forward to a new style of politics and felt betrayed.. those folks will either not vote or will drift back to the Green Party or NDP – perhaps a crucial difference between winning and losing, or a minority versus a majority. Where it may hurt the Liberal Party more however is with its activist base members. Those folks may not be so enthusiastic or inclined to support the LPC at the next election or in the lead-up to it, either by wanting to go “knock on doors” or make phone calls or donate. Indeed, I’ve seen anecdotally in a couple of social media and Facebook groups I am in of Liberal members openly saying they were cancelling their Victory Fund donations to the LPC in protest of this move. Someone else I spoke with and connected to the Party (who supported this move) predicted perhaps hundreds would cancel (I can see potentially more).. so we shall see short-term at the end of next financial quarter whether that is true or not, as well as in the opinion polls.

There are many saying the PM and the Liberals “lied” to the public. I don’t think they were lying; but I do agree with someone else I read on social media that it appeared the Liberals found it was harder then expected and gave up early.. (particularly when they couldn’t convince folks to support the PM’s preferred method of Alternative Voting; the public meetings skewed heavily to participants wanting a form of PR).

One thing I will say as well; I was never in favour or being inclined to want to hold a referendum on this issue; I have always maintained the Liberals had a mandate to make changes purely through the House of Commons, but I also take issue with Prime Minister Trudeau saying a referendum could not be held without a clear question or preference. It would have been very easy to find out by saying the following:

Do you support a) Keeping our current system (First Past The Post)
b) Choosing a form of Proportional Representation
c) Choosing Alternative / Ranked Ballot?

That’s as clear a question as one would or could get, which could then be moved on depending upon the results.

Regardless, I hope the electoral reform elements in the Liberal Party do not give up on this and will let their MP’s or Cabinet Ministers or the PMO know they are not happy with this. We’ll see in 2018 at the Liberal Convention in Halifax whether or not this issue has gone away within the LPC or if its brought up again – that will be the first major event LPC members/delegates will have at expressing their feelings or lack thereof about this.

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Kudos to Trudeau for welcoming refugees.. now let’s do (a lot) more.

Lots of attention was paid to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeting out how refugees were welcome in Canada – many interpreted this to be a subtle jab at the odious Muslim / Refugees ban President Donald Trump imposed by Executive Order (except the Muslim countries he has business dealings with – but that’s another story).

Praise was justifiably swift for the most part both domestically and internationally..  but there are calls to do more. Some would call for the government to publicly condemn the Trump Administration for this policy – as other allies are doing. I get that we are trying to walk a tightrope on trade and so forth.. but as others suggest.. there are concrete measures we can be taking – this comes from Vice News today:

….the absolute least the federal government can do is resettle the 2,248 Syrian refugees that Trump has stranded in limbo; that is, if #WelcomeToCanada is more than just a cynical marketing ploy. Trudeau can do more—like raising the quota for both privately-sponsored refugees, hiring more people to handle the application backlog, or fulfilling his 2015 campaign promise of scrapping the discriminatory Safe Third Country Agreement—but they should, at the very least, genuinely speak out and help those actively left in the lurch.

The NDP has also been calling on the government to take these measures. As a progressive Liberal who supported the outreach to Syrian refugees last year nationally and locally here in Brantford, I can find fault with none of these measures. I hope the Liberal government will adopt these measures and have some substantive policies to point to that go along with the good intentions as stated by our Prime Minister.

We quite frankly owe the US regime nothing.. particularly after they seized upon the alleged white nationalist terrorist attack in Quebec on innocent Muslims worshipers as justification for instituting a travel ban on.. Muslims. An odious remark trying to politicze a tragedy for their own ends (clumsily). Time to respond to such odiousness with generosity for refugees that are trapped by this nonsense south of the border.

UPDATE: Regrettably.. our new immigration minister has said he doesn’t wish to do any of these suggested changes to Canada’s immigration policy as it currently stands. If you disagree with this.. call your (nearest) Liberal MP or Liberal Cabinet Minister.. or specifically the Immigration Minister, Ahmed Hussen.

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Helping the Homeless and the Youth: Coldest Night Of The Year

Once again this year, I’m participating in the Coldest Night Of The Year Walk on February 25th. It is held across the country, and is done to help local charities, primarily to do with the homeless. In Brantford, the walk is raising money for the Brantford Welcome-In Resource Center (otherwise known as the HOmeless Shelter) and the Why Not Youth Centre, a place that helps troubled and homeless youth have a safe spot to go to, as well as helping them with life skills and so on.

If you’re interested in seeing if your local community has a walk you can participate in and to get donors to sponsor you to walk in, check out CNOY’s homepage.

If you’d be interested in sponsoring my walk (I will be walking 10k again this year), please donate here. Any donations are welcome, but if you want a tax receipt, a minimum 20$ must be donated.

I hope you’ll consider participating or donating.. because it’s cold out there.

 

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A shout-out to a political local friend.

I wanted to take this time to congratulate a local Brantford Liberal and friend of mine – Donna Nelson. She’s the current President of the local Brantford-Brant Women’s Club, but she’s now going to be doing a bigger role ;). It was announced from Cristina Taglione, who is President of the Ontario Women’s Liberal Commission, that Donna has been chosen to be the OWLC’s new VP of Fundraising.

Cristina’s announcement of this can be read here. Congrats again Donna.. I know you will represent Brantford-Brant well and will do great work for the OWLC.

UPDATE: I would be remiss if I didn’t include a link  to show the good work the Women’s Club in Brantford-Brant has done, as well as the Seniors Club and the local Brantford-Brant Young Liberals.  Here is the website.. check it out!

 

 

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Why Michael Chong probably won’t win the CPC Leadership race.

I think this poll by Ekos asking whether people of different political stripes whether they believe this statement tells you why Mr. Chong won’t win:

 

When Lisa Raitt, another supposed CPC moderate candidate is attacking Kevin O’Leary for of all things supporting a national carbon tax (and he isn’t even in the race yet officially), I think Michael Chong has an uphill battle to win the leadership race.

He would be the Conservative leader I as a Liberal fear the most, but I don’t think he’ll find enough moderates in the CPC grassroots to elect him as leader.

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Supporting Mental Health in Canada better

As you may or may not know, Ottawa and the provinces have been trying to get a new deal on healthcare reached. Initial efforts failed, although 3 Atlantic Provinces have signed separate health care agreements with the federal government since.

One of the aspects of these health care talks was the federal government offering a lot of money – $11.5-billion worth – for mental health and home care services over the next decade. There is an article in the Hill Times from yesterday from a group based out of Manitoba called the Evidence Network of Canadian Health Policy. The article basically presents the argument that Canada has not spent enough on mental health services – and should (they also link it to children’s health).

You can read their article here.

UPDATE: You can also find Evidence Network at their Facebook Page and Twitter account for more interesting reading.

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Bloggers are not dead just yet.

First of all: Happy New Year 2017 to all of my readers.

Secondly, thanks to Warren for his nice shout-out to me (and to other long-time bloggers) as proof that bloggers and blogging aren’t dead, as claimed by a writer in the National Post. I don’t blog as much on my personal website here as I once did, but I’ve never thought about abandoning it. I still have a nice readership, and I still get lots of hits from government offices in QUeen’s Park and Parliament Hill.. so that alone is enough motivation to keep me going.. What I’ve found is I’ve branched out more to do more social media posts on Twitter and Facebook, but when I do blog, I make sure I link to those social media forums to bring them back to the blog.

A commentator (edit: who turns out to be my friend known online in social media circles as Aurelia Cotta) over at Warren’s discussion forum put it aptly and accurately, I think:

Blogging has also taken many different forms over the years. The current version I see most often, is a citizen having a main destination website for the his own activities, person, brand. And social media branches off that main website but brings them back to your site to get more, see more, eg. Posts with pictures, and links to your Instagram, your Pinterest, your twitter, your Snapchat, your Youtube, Vines (ok, those are gone, LOL) hell even their Facebook Live broadcast video, gets comments and reactions and replies made as videos, and yes, some long form notes they write can be posted there at their home website to bring them back to see more details, bios, stories…

Still another commentator said that you can only impart so much information in a Tweet; if you want an in-depth article or discussion, that is what bloggers do.

As for Progressive Bloggers, the big progressive blogging aggregates that is going on 12 years this year, some changes have occurred… the # of self-identified partisan blogs (such as me) has gone down. That is most pronounced of Liberal Party bloggers (who now seem to be all working in Ottawa ;))but it is true a lot of the blogs that were affiliated with partisan parties have also gone down from a decade ago. The blogs these days at Progressive Bloggers are ones that don’t identify with specific party.. but focus on issues important to them. That’s not a particularly bad thing.

The monthly and yearly #’s for Progressive Blogger hits isnt as high as Warren’s, but still enough to re-assure me that blogging is not dead – it just has evolved. I believe it won’t be disappearing any time soon.

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The phony War On Christmas reaches Canada.

You’ve probably noticed over the last decade around Christmas time there is a hue and cry from conservative folks about a “War on Christmas”. They speak darkly about those apparently seeking to somehow strip the Christian roots of the holiday out of Christmas. This has been mainly taking place in the US.. but it has reached Canada too, judging from the reaction on social media to various politicians wishing folks “Happy Holidays” rather then saying “Merry Christmas”. Two such examples are Maryam Monsef getting attacked on Twitter by a Twitter account run by the Trent Conservatives, and a couple of weeks ago, in another attack that involved me, London Liberal MP Kate Young got slammed for wishing me Happy Holidays by a hostile tweeter who was obviously tracking her looking for things to go after her about (I know this because the tweet was directly to me, and the person wouldn’t have seen it without doing a search of Kate’s twitter feed, since he wasn’t a follower of mine). This clown decided to speak on my behalf by claiming Kate (and by extension the Liberals) were cow-towing to the Muslims.

I have not yet seen a call by these same folks asking for a boycott of the same-named song off of the radio during this festive season. I’m sure composer Irving Berlin and singers Bing Crosby, Andy Williams etc would be horrified to know they are practically leading the theme song for the “War on Christmas”! Anyhow.. awaiting the call for a ban on that song.. (which I suspect won’t ever come).

For the record, I’m a practicing Christian, and I have no issue saying “Happy Holidays” or receiving such wishes in place of “Merry Christmas” It’s all the same sentiment of good-will to me. There are multiple holidays at this time of year, *such as Hanukkah for those celebrating the Jewish Faith) so saying a generalized phrase to include every holiday is a good gesture of inclusiveness and good-will.

Lastly, I believe Christianity as a religion is not as flimsy as these folks believe in thinking that wishing someone “Happy Holidays” rather then “Merry Christmas” is somehow going to cause it to wilt and go away. All this is is a clumsy attempt to hide bigotry and racism behind a false cry. Unfortunately, with Trump and his band in power.. it’ll probably get worse over the next 4 years.

Its missed on a lot of these folks that by attacking others the way they do, they’re the ones taking “Christ” out of Christmas.. not those who are wishing everyone of all different faiths and creeds “Happy Holidays”.

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