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You can support the troops, but oppose sending them off to combat.

Putting aside the vote to authorize CF-18’s to fly combat missions to Iraq to try and stop ISIS (which has utterly failed to slow them or stop them so far by the way), I’ve seen the Conservative Party and some media try to claim you can’t say you support the troops but reject authorizing the combat mission.

You know who also said that? The Republican Party’s people in government when US troops were over in Iraq getting involved in a quagmire and the Democratic Party rightly said it was time to get them out of there and bring them home. Charges of lack of support and lack of patriotism abounded then as well.

I utterly reject that claim. You can “support” the Canadian Forces as persons and wish them well, but there is nothing contradictory about voting against sending them in the first place (See Jean Chretien 1991, First Gulf War). I’m more sad that some in the media have fallen for the Harper loyalty litmus test on this

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Women in Politics Brantford Conference Recap (with pictures)

On Friday, I had the privilege of being an accredited blogger/observer at a Women In Politics Conference in Brantford. Its goal was aimed at encouraging young women to run for office – whether that was federal, provincial or municipal. The idea behind this was started by a Grade 12 high school student named Gabrielle Cotton, who decided after talking with a local counsellor that something like this conference was needed to try and spur interest among young women, and she went ahead with some help to organize it (you’ll find the initial story about the planning behind this conference at this story in the local Brantford press). I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I got there on how it would go over, but they had a very large crowd when I got there at Galaxy Cinemas, where the event was being held. It was hectic but well organized at their registration desks as they had lines for each individual high school for students to register from.

There were a couple of parts to this event going on: The main event was a keynote address held by former MP and former Deputy Prime Minister Sheila Copps, (which I talk about soon) followed by several individual break-out sessions – one of which was held by my friend and Liberal candidate in Brantford-Brant Danielle Takacs, (also that I will talk about below). This was followed by a panel discussion on women in municipal politics by former or current municipal councillors. The other part of this event that went on simultaneously was they invited local political parties and organizations to set up booths and bring literature and other things to give to students so they could read over and see if there was a political organization or movement that they liked and may decide to join or even just volunteer. The NDP, Conservative and Liberal parties were all there (though curiously not the Greens). There was also a booth there from Leadnow.ca and another booth from an organization that escapes me at the moment, though I think it was to do with a teachers federation.

After introductions by Gabrielle and greetings from MP Phil Mccoleman and MPP Dave Levac, Sheila Copps came up to speak.
Continue reading Women in Politics Brantford Conference Recap (with pictures)

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Hat-tip to cousin Dawn Danko running for School Board Trustee in Hamilton Ward 7

I don’t delve a lot into municipal politics, and I wouldn’t usually have a reason to delve into school board trustee politics (except perhaps watching with interest as Michael Ford, nephew of Rob, tries to use that as his springboard), and you wouldn’t think I’d have a specific interest in Hamilton school board trustee politics, but there are exceptions, particularly when there’s a relative of mine running.

I wanted to highlight to those folks who may be reading this in Hamilton and specifically Ward 7 that my cousin (in-law) Dawn Danko is running for school board trustee there. She has been a community activist in trying to keep the local school board accountable, and she’s now decided to do something more about it and try to reform the school board from within.. so I applaud her initiative. She also has some qualified background experience; she’s a college professor and a teacher, and has a Master’s Degree in Education. I would bet that not too many school board trustees, current or candidates, can say they have that on their resume.

For those who wonder what the main issue is that spurred her into running, this article here would give you some background on it: the accommodation reviews for closing schools she feels needs to be fixed, from her experience at having 3 area schools being closed in that area. She details that more specifically in an op-ed to the Hamilton Community News.

Her main website is here, and as I said, for those in Hamilton Ward 7, I seriously encourage you to take a look.

UPDATE @ 1:17 pm: I’m told that a friend and ally of Dawn is Stefanie Sheils, running in Ward 9-10, so a mini-shoutout to her.

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LPCO / OWLC Stuff

So the LPCO had their AGM over the weekend, and I just wanted to say a couple of things about it briefly. Unfortunately, my friend and fellow blogger Jeff Jedras didn’t quite make it in his bid to be the VP Comms for LPCO – Christine Michaud won that position, and congrats to her – but I wanted to congratulate Jeff on his campaign; it takes a lot of courage to put your name out there and then be scrutinized by a lot of people. I hope that his general message he delivered to the LPCO will be still considered and listened to, and I know there are other things that Jeff will contribute as a Liberal net-rooter and an activist, and I look forward to seeing him do those. I also will congratulate a couple of people who were acclaimed to their positions who I’ve spoke to a fair bit the last few weeks; Tyler Banham is the new President of the LPCO, and Brandon Sage is the new VP of Organization. Both were kind enough to do interviews with me; so if you want to see what they want to get done while they’re in their present positions, look here for Tyler’s interview and here for Brandon’s.

I was also happy to see Lynne Steele elected as Ontario Women Liberal Commission President. I will not go into specifics as to why I endorsed her again; but let me just say it will be good to have an OWLC president who will continue to focus on both federal and provincial issues, and is (from what I understand and what I have been told) a no-nonsense type of person. My best of luck wishes to her.

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Interview with Phil Somers, LPC Nomination Candidate Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston

This is another interview I’m posting today that I’ve done with Liberal Party candidates or nomination candidates. Today’s is with Phil Somers, seeking the nomination in Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston (a newly created riding in 2015). I have to applaud Mr. Somers, as he has seen the other interviews I’ve done on here and contacted me, asking if I’d consider interviewing him and went out of his way to provide answers.. so thank you to him for his initiative.
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For those who haven’t visited your website yet, can you tell our readers why you’ve decided to run for the nomination?

Continue reading Interview with Phil Somers, LPC Nomination Candidate Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston

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Harper / PMO: “The Inuit knew about the Franklin ships? Who knew?”

APTN demonstrates how low a priority First Nations relations are with the Harper government at the moment:

The Franklin expedition ship found by researchers on the Arctic seabed has a detailed and colourful history within Inuit oral tradition, yet the Inuit garnered only one 17-word sentence among the press releases and backgrounders released by the Prime Minister’s Office at the time after Tuesday’s announced discovery…the general public wouldn’t know about the key role Inuit oral history played in the selection of the search area by reading the information posted on the PMO’s website. There, the role of the Inuit in the Franklin saga is mentioned only in passing….The PMO did not respond to an APTN National News question on why the Inuit received barely a mention.

It’s rather obvious why – Harper wants to take sole credit for finding it and reap any rewards – whatever those may be – from the public on helping fund this search. It also shows the grudging attitude the Harper government and PMO have about wanting to share any credit – particularly with First Nations people.

No surprises here for me about this attitude. The only time Harper and the PMO will laud something the First Nations do these days is likely only if they approve permission to allow the oil pipelines to be built across their territory.

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Endorsement: Lynne Steele for OWLC President

There will be a new Ontario Women’s Liberal Commission President picked at the LPCO AGM on Sept 12-14.
I’ll be brief and I’ll be frank. I’m endorsing Lynne not because I particularly know her (I don’t) but I know a fair # of the folks who are endorsing her, and that in itself is good enough for me.

I also, to be blunt, have heard and read some rather unsettling hanky-panky going on over this particular contest. I can’t publish what I’ve heard, because I don’t have direct evidence, but you see a hint of it here at Lynne’s Facebook campaign page, and I have a good source I trust. Hearing that stuff like this is going on is enough on its own to make me endorse Lynne as the candidate. I hope the majority of delegates think the same as well.

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Interview w/Jennifer Stebbing – Flamborough-Glanbrook

Jennifer Stebbing is currently a Liberal nomination candidate in the riding of Flamborough-Glanbrook (and so far the only nomination candidate for the Liberals in that riding). She was kind enough to take some time out of her schedule to answer these five questions (and answer rather extensively – one of the more detailed replies I’ve gotten since I started doing these a month or so ago). My thanks to her for participating.

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For those who haven’t visited your website yet, can you tell our readers why you’ve decided to run for the nomination?

I have been fascinated by Canada’s role internationally since participating in foreign student exchanges in high school, and I have known since sitting in my first year poli-sci class (1999) that I want to be Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. Since then I joined the OYL, worked on every federal and provincial campaign I could, joined local riding associations where I lived, attended LPC functions, served as a director for my local liberal EDAs and most recently served as Golden Horseshoe Area 2 Policy Director for the Liberal Party of Canada (Ontario).

I have been a lawyer for the past 6 years practicing in estate and power of attorney litigation. I became a lawyer because I believe that as an MP I should know the law to make the law.

I decided to run for the nomination now because I support Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party of Canada in the direction they are going and want to take this country in. The middle class has been ignored and left to fend for themselves by the current government and I want to put an end to that. The direction the Harper government has taken Canada in foreign affairs is disappointing to say the least. I want to see Canada at the table in helping to solve disputes around the world instead of making them worse and taking sides.

If a Justin Trudeau government is elected (regardless of majority or minority), are there any issues that you’d like to champion in that government if you were elected as an MP?

Continue reading Interview w/Jennifer Stebbing – Flamborough-Glanbrook

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Interviews galore coming

Hello folks:

Sorry for the delay on new blogposts after the trip to Brantford last week, but I didn’t feel like regurgitating news you can find elsewhere, such as more polls from multiple pollsters showing good Liberal leads, or the fact Conservatives are bemoaning the fact this is the case and still viewing Justin Trudeau as incarnate evil (read the Paul Wells story at Macleans to see what I mean by that comment). I find the downtime between House of Commons sittings to be hard to write stuff.

In the meantime, I’ll just briefly mention part of the delay is I’ve sent out a ton of interview questions to prospective Liberal candidates or nomination candidates, but they’ve taken their time getting their answers back to me – a drawback to doing written interviews by email over voice recordings, but I prefer well-thought out answers to the usual soundbite you get from springing a question on them – friendly interviewer notwithstanding.

Anyhow.. I’ll hope to get some back over the next week, as I have several of them lined up

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Congrats to Danielle Takacs, new LPC candidate for Brantford-Brant

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I had the great privilege and honour to be in Brantford last evening for the nomination of my good friend Danielle Takacs; she is now the Liberal candidate for the riding of Brantford-Brant. My fellow blogger Jeff Jedras has also done a blogpost on Danielle which he listed all of her extensive accomplishments she has already done and still a part of, so I won’t go into that list – you may read them at your leisure over at his site. Rather, I’ll mention that it was an amazing night, with an overflow crowd of 100 – I’ll admit, we didn’t know what to expect for crowd size, but we had standing-room only there, and despite extra chairs brought in, they were still standing.

I can tell you that people left after the meeting very impressed with Danielle’s speech; a lot came wanting to get a measure of their new candidate, and I didn’t hear anyone say they were disappointed. I saw a few new Liberal membership application forms filled out, I saw a lot of donations being given in baskets, and I saw a lot of contact forms filled out asking to help volunteer at some point. The night definitely surpassed all expectations, even for Danielle, I think it’s fair to say.

By the way, the campaign for Danielle is starting today; she’s canvassing her neighbourhood in Brantford. There will be no lack of work from her, and as a friend I just want to say; Congrats Danielle, you deserve all the accolades you’re receiving. It gives me great pleasure to change my badge over at the right sidebar side from a nomination badge to the candidate picture the Liberal Party released above. (I’ll also mention that Danielle has a new campaign Facebook page – that just got put up as of this writing of this blog.. so its new.. but content will be added forthwith)

I’ve posted some photos of the event below; there were a lot of special guests on this night to support Danielle, including Jeff Jedras, fellow blogger and former OLP candidate, Nancy Leblanc, Cambridge MPP Kathryn McGarry, Hamilton-Centre LPC candidate Anne Tennier, Etobicoke-Centre nomination candidate George Takach, and Provincial Minister of Municipal Affairs Ted McMeekin (not pictured in these photos)

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