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Recap: Women In Politics Conference in Brantford

13087037_10156763172840461_7607205279357867810_oThis is a bit late in being posted, but I wanted to mention that I was fortunate enough to attend the 2nd annual Women In Politics Conference in Brantford last Thursday – held at St. Andrews United Church in downtown Brantford. It was started by a group of students last year whose focus is to try to encourage young women to consider getting into the political field more and run as candidates for public office – be it federal, provincial or municipal. The keynote speaker here was Andrea Horvath, Ontario provincial leader of the NDP, and there were breakout individual sessions hosted by several guests, including Chief Ava Hill from the Six Nations Confederacy, Kathryn Mcgarry, Liberal MPP for Cambridge, Alex Felsky, school trustee for the Grand Erie District School Board, and Danielle Takacs, past Liberal candidate for the 2015 federal election in Brantford-Brant.

It was a very well attended session by students – approximately 100-150 – listening to some great inspirational speeches. My 1 criticism of the event is reserved for Andrea Horvath, who couldn’t resist bringing Ontario partisan politics into what was supposed to be a non-partisan event. WHen she was asked in her Q & A after her address what her biggest frustration was, her answer went from not being listened to by the government into an attack on policies such as Hydro One and so on. There are plenty of times for a government to be attacked. At an event that is trying to enocurage women and had multi-partisan personalities there, Ms. Horvath should have known better and resisted the urge.

Otherwise, it was a great day, and I hope that this event continues next year and the years ahead.

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Liberals have the progressive base on their side – can they keep it?

Liberals are often accused of running (a campaign) on the left and governing right(wing).  but recent polling shows that so far, the voters on the progressive left have been rather happy with the Justin Trudeau Government.

This article here by Eric Grenier highlights an Innovative Research Poll that shows the core groups that are considered left wing voters (“core left,” “left liberals” and the “populist left.” is how Innovative has classified them) abandoned the NDP in droves for the Liberals in October’s election, and that support has deepened. There is also this mention of an Abacus Poll showing a similar trend:

A recent poll by Abacus Data also hints at trouble for the New Democrats on the left flank. The Liberals were leading the NDP by a margin of 51 to 26 per cent among centre-left voters in the Abacus survey, and were also ahead among those who self-identified as being on the left by 47 to 23 per cent.

The Justin Trudeau Liberal government will want (and need) to continue to keep their election promises – or as many as is feasible/possible – to keep the progressive left voters who abandoned the NDP (and is the reason Tom Mulcair is no longer NDP leader) on the Liberals side, and try to resist temptation to slide back to the right where possible. It will help ensure that the progressive left coalition will be back to voting/supporting them in 2019

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Benefits and risks

Everyone wants a more inclusive, open democratic political party. I’ve no argument with that in this article about Prime Minister Trudeau, Party President Anna Gainey and also National Membership Secretary Leanne Bourassa, (who wasn’t quoted in the article, but has posted her support of this on Facebook) supporting that type of reform for the Liberal Party of Canada. The risks comes with what Warren is worrying about over here – open it up too much and completely do away with the traditional party structure, and you get the risk of special interests hijacking the party to their own narrow agenda.

I’d like to see more on what exactly the LPC is proposing to do to minimize the risk of that before I weigh in either supporting or opposing this.

Postscript – apologies for the silence lately.. but to make a long story short.. I am now moved from Woodstock and residing in Brantford. Once things calm down.. I should be posting more stuff.

Update: Jim is a bit like me. Likes some stuff, cautious about the rest til we get more details on the nominations part.

Update 2: From a follower on Twitter: “I’m very neurotic so the risks worry me more than a little. Plus, will there be any reason left to be a member?”  – A very good question.. one that I hope the LPC National Board answers at – or preferably sooner then Winnipeg.

 

 

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March 18th Brantford Community Forum with MP Omar Alghabra

If you’re in or close to Brantford Ontario and want something to do tomorrow (Friday) evening, there’s an event going on there March 18th from 6:30 – 8:00 pm at the Muslim Association of Brantford Community Centre (200 Greenwich St.). This event is a Syrian refugee community forum hosted by local sponsorship group the Community Association for Refugee Education and Settlement (C.A.R.E.S.) in Brant County.

The special guest for the evening is Omar Alghabra, MP for Mississauga Centre and the Parliamentary Secretary to Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion. Come hear personal stories, meet some of the refugees who have recently arrived in Brantford-Brant, ask questions, learn more about the sponsorship process and crisis in Syria, and how our Government and local community members can help out.

You can RSVP here if you want to attend, so the organizers can plan for food and setup appropriately.  If you have any questions/inquiries, you can send an email to [email protected] or check out their FB page at https://www.facebook.com/caresbrant

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5 Questions for Lindsay Amantea – running for LPC National Policy Chair

lindsay-2016For my readers who are not interested in an internal Liberal Party blogpost – this may not be the post for you 😉  That out of the way, I said a couple weeks back that I would be hopefully starting to quiz some of those running for the various leadership positions that will be elected at the Liberal Party’s Biennial Convention, which is being held this May in Winnipeg. I aim to be impartial when I ask these, and I’ll be either asking people to participate in this, or be more then happy to be contacted by said candidates, so they can let potential LPC delegates know something about themselves and the reason they are running.

My first such person is here: Lindsay Amantea is running to be the Liberal Party of Canada’s National Policy Chair.  She is hoping to replace Maryanne Kampouris, who is not standing for re-election to this position (due to term limits). At this time, no other candidates have come forward to run besides Lindsay; that may or may not change.  Regardless, I sent my 5 questions to Lindsay, and she has sent back the replies for those who may want to find out more about her and why she is running, and why, if there are multiple candidates, she would like you to vote for her.  I post them unedited for your perusal, and I thank her for wanting to participate in this Q & A.

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1) Tell the readers a little bit about yourself – when did you first get involved in the Liberal Party and what have your roles been over the years?

Continue reading 5 Questions for Lindsay Amantea – running for LPC National Policy Chair

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Some updates; CNOY Walk, Progressive Bloggers, Winnipeg LPC Convention

Briefly – a couple of updates.

THe Brantford Coldest Night of The Year Walk in Brantford went very well. Our team Red Warmth (Captained by Danielle Takacs, my good friend and past candidate for the Liberals in Brantford-Brant in 2015)  was first in Brantford at the time of opening ceremonies for the walk. We raised over $5550. We were also #1 in Brantford for most donor recipients and Top 20 in most donors in Canada.  So, the team did very well.  Donations are still accepted until March 18, so if you still wish to donate, the link is here. Brantford fell a bit short of their overall $40,000 goal, so every $ til then counts still.

Secondly.. as Progressive Blogger administrator, the site’s database is having a couple of major issues, so yes, I’m aware it hasnt updated in a couple of days. We are trying hard to get those resolved. I will post an update on social media when we’re back running properly.

Lastly, I’ll add that the Biennial Liberal Convention is coming up in Winnipeg.. and as with other conventions, there will be positions up for election.  I probably will not be at the Convention, but nevertheless, I will try to see if I can get interviews with some of the candidates who are running for major leadership positions – in my “5 questions” format – leading up to that convention. At least 1 person has declared already to be running for National Policy Chair as an example, and I’ve already sent that person 5 questions. Hope to see that blogpost next week.

 

 

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Helping The Homeless and Street Youth in Brantford/ across Canada on Feb 20th

I just wanted to mention that for the 2nd year in a row, I’m participating in a charity walk on Feb 20th called “Coldest Night Of The Year”. It is a 2k/5k/10k walk that is raising $ for 2 worthy organizations: The Why Not Youth Centre (which helps street kids and other kids have a safe haven – and also teaches them some life skills too) as well for the Brantford Welcome-In-Resource Centre – which is the fancy name for the Brantford Homeless Shelter, (though they do much more then that).

The team I am on (Red Warmth) is doing pretty well; we’re in 2nd place in Brantford and smashed our 2000$ goal sometime ago.. we’re in 2nd place and in a bit of a friendly competition with the team ahead of us.. so I was just asking my blogger/social media community (I hesitate to say “fans”) who reads me to consider donating to the team to help a worthy case (and to see if we can give the lead team a run .. er… a walk.. for its money 😉 )

The link for donating to my team is here (you could also donate to me personally, too,, but the money all goes to the same cause and is all added up in the end). Any amount is welcome,  but you need to give a minimum of 20$ to get a tax receipt.

Thanks for your support if you so choose to give it (and if not me, consider donating to the CNOY walk in your local community. There are walks across Canada that evening).

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Poll: 8/10 of Canadians feel Trudeau/LPC doing good/acceptable job on electoral reform

Lots of sound and fury out there in some quarters (mostly the Conservative Party, and academics/newspaper pundits/editorialists) about how dare the Liberal government propose changing the electoral system from First Past The Post to something else without a referendum (even after extensive public consultations are held)! Its an affront to democracy!

According to the Canadian public in the first poll taken on the topic (amongst a wide variety of topics asked them by Abacus), it appears they like what the Trudeau government’s approach to electoral reform.

According to Abacus: 37% of Canadians say the PM is doing a good job on the electoral reform issue, another 44% acceptable, while only 19% are unhappy. That may indicate the general population are “meh” over the need of having a referendum, as opposed to the Conservative Party and certain media/pundits/columnists who are in an uproar over it.

It’s at an early stage, but at this point, if those #’s continue to hold, the Liberals are under no pressure from the Canadian public to change their referendum stance (and I’ve long stated I don’t feel a referendum is necessary to change the House of Commons voting setup – and its certainly not mandated by the Constitution or a slap in the face to the Supreme Court, as I read 1 hysterical column today in the Star). I would urge the government to stand fast on this (while at the same time ensuring the consultation process is indeed broad and extensive)

 

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Electoral Reform first, then a referendum? Doable.

First off, Happy New Year everyone! I also hope you all had a good Christmas, and Happy Eastern Orthodox Christmas to those celebrating that this week.

Let’s talk electoral reform again, shall we? I know it’s the seemingly implausible “in” topic these days, but it’s been made into one, what with the Conservatives throwing a temper tantrum, threatening to use the unelected Senate to stop electoral reform if the Liberals don’t give in to their demand to hold a referendum (irony of ironies).

So along comes Andrew Coyne with this column. He is supporting NDP MP Nathan Cullen’s position: implement electoral reform and a new voting system – whatever that maybe and without needing a referendum – then have the voters try it out for at least 1 election, let everyone see how the new Parliament(s) work under it,  and THEN have the referendum, which would give voters the choice between keeping whatever the new voting system is vs returning to First Past The Post.

I am open to this as a compromise position when we come down to the end of things after the committee reports back, if we still have Conservatives or others yelling and screaming and otherwise holding things up (though at this stage, which is basically pre-start of said Committee, I’m inclined to actually wait and see what gets proposed before making a decision on that, unlike the Conservatives, who seem determined to try and scuttle reform right out of the gate).

I would offer though if there is to be a referendum, that it be held possibly up to 2 years before the next election. I think in the middle of whatever government’s term is probably the best time to hold this, if this scenario were to play out.

 

 

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Compassion confounds Conservatives

I get the feeling that Conservative supporters are confounded Canadians like a PM with compassion. Amongst the sites that still allow comment sections (and that number is shrinking, but that’s another story), on any given story that shows Prime Minister Trudeau’s empathy, you’ll see, guaranteed, the cross-section of Conservative commentators going on about the selfies etc.

At one news magazine  site yesterday, which reported on Prime Minister’s Trudeau taking 20 kids with him from the local sick kids hospital to catch an early opening of the new Star Wars movie,  one long time conservative supporting commenter bitterly complained that a) Trudeau was using these kids as ‘photo-props’. b) former Prime Minister Harper would NEVER have done that –  that what he would have done to help these kids was give their parents a better child tax credit.. and so on.

While Conservatives complain about a Prime minister posing for selfies and “taking photos” of his charitable side, the Canadian public at large apparently likes the Real Change it sees:

Justin Trudeau is everywhere…He hobnobs with world leaders, cheerfully greets Syrian refugees at the airport, poses sexily in the pages of Vogue, makes moist-eyed pledges to rebuild relations with the country’s Indigenous peoples, and geeks out to the latest Star Wars film. There will come a time when this is all too much. But it’s nowhere in sight. The latest polls suggest that somewhere around two-thirds of Canadians approve of Trudeau and the blizzard of initiatives his Liberal government has let fly since winning power Oct. 19. (my emphasis – ST)

 

And why do people like Trudeau and his style?

Trudeau won in October because he was the anti-Stephen Harper. His early popularity as PM is thanks to more of the same, both in policy and style. Trudeau embraces the touchy-feely aspects of the job that his reserved predecessor so clearly loathed. He hugs and kisses, bestows backslaps and double-pump handshakes, and, when required, can demonstrate the full spectrum of human emotion.

In other-wards, people appreciate we don’t have a robot at 24 Sussex anymore. Conservatives continue to rage against this and continually try to claim this proves he is “not ready” and variations of this (I believe Rona Ambrose accused Trudeau of being the “selfie PM” after the Throne Speech a week and a bit ago). Those attacks were rejected on Oct 19, and continuing what they know best -smears and personal putdowns –  isn’t working right now either for them.  Speaking from a purely partisan viewpoint, long may they continue down that futile course.

UPDATE @ 11:42 am: Montreal Simon says the same sort of thing as I do at his blog, only with more pictures and with more humour.

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