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Carolyn Bennett, Danielle Takacs & Liberal candidates visit Six Nations for tour, roundtable

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Yesterday, Liberal MP and Aboriginal Affairs Critic Carolyn Bennett visited Brantford-Brant riding for the whole day to participate in discussions on Native Housing issues as well as to tour Six Nations and New Credit territory (though she’s been here so many times, Chief Ava Hill of Six Nations said Ms Bennett could have probably lead the tour herself) and then to participate in a “listening” roundtable, where Six Nations leaders and people could express their issues and concerns.

Ms Bennett was accompanied by Brantford-Brant Liberal candidate Danielle Takacs for the whole day, and later on for the tour and roundtable, they were joined by LPC candidates Joan Mouland (Haldimand-Norfolk), Karina Gould (Burlington), Jennifer Stebbing (Flamborough—Glanbrook) and Filomena Tassi (Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas), all who wanted to hear these same issues as well as to see the 6 Nations and New Credit territory.

The tour took about 1 1/2 hrs to complete, with narration from the Six Nations leaders and elders on various landmarks, historical points, current social services and schools. The roundtable actually went for 2 1/2 hours – longer then expected, mainly because there was a lot of issues brought up and a lot of listening to be done. Some of the main points I took away from the First Nations speakers:

Continue reading Carolyn Bennett, Danielle Takacs & Liberal candidates visit Six Nations for tour, roundtable

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The Niqab Hijab etc.. real issue.

By now, you know that a Federal Court has ruled against the Government of Canada that wanted veils/face coverings removed for the “ceremonial” part of the citizenship ceremony to become a Canadian citizen. (more specifically, niqabs, and apparently hijabs). You also know that Prime Minister Harper has decided to go on a rant about that, calling it against Canadian values, etc.. and the Conservative Party is fundraising on the issue.

I can go on about how this is attempting to appeal to the base fears and prejudices of Canadian society, and how they’re trying to cynically use this issue to help win the upcoming election, but I’m looking at it from a much longer term view. That being, Harper and his supporters can rant and rave all they want about Canadian values being violated by these face coverings, but the courts will ultimately decide whether there is any validity to those charges.. or whether this is a Charter issue and that the religious rights of the minority must be protected.

My question is: if Harper (hopefully not) is still in office when the Supreme Court ultimately rules on this, and if the SCC rules against him (which I believe is a very strong possibility – given the government’s dismal track record of losing court cases because they were unconstitutional), would he use the Notwithstanding Clause to overrule the court? Maybe someone should ask him.

PS – Apologies for the delay in blogging. I’ve been a bit occupied of late, but there is another blogpost coming later this week however, with Carolyn Bennett and a lot of candidates visiting Brantford-Brant and my friend/candidate there Danielle Takacs for a roundtable with the 6 Nations people to listen to their concerns and issues)

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Interview with Colin Smith, LPC Nomination Contestant for Carleton

Colin-main-page-xmas2I’ve not done one of these in awhile, but today, we have an interview with Colin Smith, an LPC nomination contestant in the riding of Carleton, a riding that was abolished in 1966 but re-created by the boundary re-distribution in 2012. It will be where Pierre Poilievre, a Conservative on the top of most Liberals most loathed Conservative list, will be running.  As usual, interviews do not imply endorsements (Colin currently has 2 other contestants running against him, and the nomination date as of today hasn’t been set yet). I thank Colin for taking the time to do the interview.

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For those that haven’t seen your website yet, can you tell our readers why you’ve decided to run for the nomination in Carleton?

For me, The Fair Elections act was the tipping point that something had to change. I had long thought of entering politics and I feel that I now had the motivation needed to act for change. While I strongly disagree with the content of the bill, the theater surrounding its implementation is what actually convinced me to run. Politicians are who we send to manage our ideals and interests within government and they should be willing and able to discuss serious issues without the constant desire to score political points. Having grown up on the border of Ottawa-South and Nepean-Carleton, and with the new riding Carleton set to receive Pierre Poilievre, I figured that Carleton would be the perfect place to run and show people how an MP should behave. Having now spoken with people from throughout the riding, I know my decision to enter the race was right and I am excited for the campaign.

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 with Colin Smith, LPC Nomination Contestant for Carleton

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Calm before the political storm

Twitter was all aflutter yesterday from some journalists saying several people had told them they had heard an election was going to be called today and the writ dropped for April.  That set everyone into panic mode or excited mode, depending on your point of view. So far as of this blogpost, it hasn’t occurred.  I’m on record and on a political bet with one of my Liberal colleagues that there won’t be a Spring Election. It may not be on October 19, but I don’t think it will be in the Spring, so we’ll see if I manage to win another political bet (and no, this time it isn’t with Jim Calder, my fellow Liberal blogger and Progressive Blogger moderator who I’ve won 3 bets and 3 free dinners from as a result – he actually agrees with me, which is slightly concerning for me).

Polls released of late show virtual ties or slight within margin of error leads for 1 party or another, which gives no incentive for Prime Minister Harper or his Conservatives to call something now… and hoping that some Canadians continue to stay scared of terror attacks (which is the main reason Harper has recovered some of his polling #’s) seems to be to be a bit of a gamble.

Related to that, I also some news reports where the Conservatives (or some Conservative strategists) are pondering proposing multiple TV debates (like several, as opposed to just the traditional 2), as they feel they’ll have a better chance of Justin Trudeau showing “inexperience” and highlighting Harper’s “strong” leadership skills (?? – what strong leadership skills, but I digress).  They obviously have a very high opinion of their guy and a very dismissive attitude of Mr. Trudeau.  I remember a boxing match  not too long ago where the same dismissive attitude was similarly held. Regardless, if they want to underestimate him, be my guest.   Quite honestly though, if you want to try to trap someone in a TV slip up, the less debates you have, the more effective strategy that would be – as there is a lot less opportunity  to recover from any slip ups on 2 debates then 5.

Personally,  I don’t mind more debates.. though I’d really like to have some different formats then just 3 leaders or more talking over each other.

 

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How 2 cold winters in Eastern North America doesn’t disprove climate change/global warming.

When it gets as cold as it has this winter (and last), you often see message boards yelling, “How about that global warming!” … as if these winters prove to those who are climate change skeptics (or climate change deniers, as I call them)  that global warming or climate change is just one big government conspiracy theory to drive everyone’s taxes up and prevent people from getting rich(er) and insert government interference into everyone’s lives.

I saw a great counterpost to that  from a poster on the popular Weather Underground weather site, explaining to a climate change denier why the current cold trend in the Eastern North America does not mean climate change/global warming isn’t happening:

“..If you are wondering how weather events fit into climate change, there’s something that can help. This is called winter, winter still happens when the world is warmer. In fact, in a warmer world the atmosphere is capable of holding more water vapor. While that warmer world may prevent some areas from experiencing snow as it instead falls as rain, areas that are still cold enough to receive snow could see greatly increased precipitation events. The recent peer reviewed science has noted the trends in increased large precipitation events.

As for the colder than normal air, the pattern has displaced colder air from it’s normal places. Per a blogger, Alaska was seeing 50 degrees (F) and rain while the East coast was getting hammered with snow and ice. Out west you are seeing the one of the lowest snow packs ever recorded. The Arctic is currently running above average temperature wise with some areas as high as 4 – 6 degrees C above normal. And the ocean of the East coast where all this snow has been happening is in some places as much as 11 degrees C warmer than average. Is this weather pattern a trend? It is too soon to tell, but yes the past 2 winters have been cold in the East and Northeast while the globe has been warmer than average, to put in into perspective, despite the bitter cold in some parts of the U.S (and Canada)., January was the second warmest on record globally.

Sometimes it’s hard to remove yourself from the local perspective …and think larger.”

To illustrate his last points.. here’s a graphic visual showing that for January, while Eastern North America may have been below normal, the rest of the world certainly wasn’t:

To quote another friend of mine, “To loosely quote Donald Trump “global warming is a hoax because I’m cold.” This is the problem with deniers: they refuse to see the forest because of the tree right in front of them”.

We have a government in power right now in Canada where that last line is very applicable.

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Nothing Personal, Eve Adams, but Marco’s my pick.

I’m not going to get irate or flabbergasted or question her motives over her crossing the floor as some Liberals have. It took some courage to do this, and I don’t doubt Dimitri Soudas would be very helpful giving out internal Conservative Party campaign strategy or dirty laundry,  and I also think this does damage Harper and the CPC to a point (combined with John Baird suddenly leaving),  but at this point, I think Ms. Adams is a lightning rod for controversy.. and motivates Conservative voters in an otherwise winnable riding to flock to Joe Oliver.. so I’m hopeful that Marco Mendicino will stay in the race.. and if the reports of local Liberals there are any indication, he’ll win quite handily.

That said, Justin Trudeau was reported as saying Eve Adams would have to prove herself and win over lots of local Liberals in Eglinton-Lawrence, so if she manages to win the Liberal nomination, more power to her – the local Liberals have spoken. I just don’t think she will, given the furore.

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Contradictory polls

So we have a couple of polls out today: Ekos (who is behind a paywall) has the CPC suddenly leading by 3% 35-32 over the LPC due to a sudden “surge” in support for them in Quebec – 26% or so. Meanwhile, Leger (who is not behind a paywall) has the exact opposite result; the LPC up by 3 nationally, and the Conservatives down in the traditional teens where they’ve been for awhile (excepting Forum and Ekos.. and I’m a tad sceptical – particularly of Forum). We’ve had other polls come out the past week from Abacus and Nanos (released by mistake) that show neck and neck or slight leads for one or the other parties.

Has the security/terrorism/ISIS scare stuck with the voting electorate and given Harper a boost? Probably, tho the extent of that remains murky from contradictory polling results. However, I don’t think this is going to maintain him (unless the RCMP are going to be arresting suspects every other week from now until the writ is dropped). The faltering economy in particular will, I think, become more prominent, with the fact the eggs in one basket approach when it comes to oil has come back to bite both the Conservative government and Canada.

I’ll maintain, by the way, there isn’t going to be a Spring Election. I’m in the Autumn camp.

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Adam Vaughan, Scott Simms visit #Brant; charity walk response

Last week, Liberal MP’s were out and about in Southern Ontario prior to the re-opening of the last session of Parliament before the next election, and in Brantford-Brant, 2 MP’s dropped by to visit with voters on issues and to support Danielle Takacs, Brantford-Brant Liberal candidate.

The first MP to visit was Adam Vaughan, MP for Trinity-Spadina, and the Liberal Urban Affairs and Housing Critic. He along with Danielle held 2 roundtables on the affordable housing issue – one with area stakeholders in Brantford-Brant, and a second one on affordable housing for students with Wilfrid Laurier Brantford campus student representatives. You can read more about that visit in the Brant News. It was a visit designed to take input from the local area onthe unique challenges facing the area for affordable housing, and to give them a general overview of what plan the Liberals will put forth to address that issue – and you should see a general policy statement on this sooner or later, judging from the meetings and what Mr. Vaughan was saying. (I had the privilege to be there to listen/livetweet for both roundtables).

The 2nd visit in the week came from Scott Simms, the Liberal Critic for Democratic Reform who came to talk about the shortcomings of the Fair Elections Act (and also to induct people as honourary Newfoundlanders). He also talked a little bit about his private members bill designed to take the GST off of funeral costs. He toured around Brant county, visiting Paris, Burford and Brantford and had his ceremony at the village of St. George. So, it was a busy and productive week for Danielle with the visiting dignitaries.

On another slightly related note to politics, you might remember my last blogpost asking people to consider donating to our little team of Liberals organized by Danielle who are participating in a charity walk (called Coldest Night Of The Year) to help raise funds for local organizations that fight homelessness and youth poverty. I am pleased to report the Team fundraising is going spectacularly well. We have raised nearly 2/3 of our team fundraising goal (we’re called “Red Warmth”) and my own personal fundraising goal has been met 350%+, so fantastic stuff, and the walk is still to be held on Feb 21, so there’s plenty of time to reach the team goal of 3000$.

I encourage you to donate to either the Team in general or to one of us individuals to help us reach that goal; because for people who are homeless/struggling with poverty – it’s cold out there

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Charity event – Coldest Night Of The Year. Please sponsor if able.

Hi folks:

I wanted to mention that one of the things my friend and candidate in Brantford-Brant Danielle Takacs believes in strongly is that Liberals should give something back to their local community, and one of the ways of doing this is by participating in charitable causes. As an example, Danielle helped organize a team of local Brantford-Brant Liberals to participate this past Dec 22 in delivering Christmas Baskets around Brantford to those less fortunate, to help them have a better Christmas.

There is another charitable event coming up in Brantford-Brant, and I was hoping you folks might help out a bit. We’re starting to form a team of local Liberals to participate in a walk to help raise money for the homeless and hungry in Brantford (part of a national campaign on Feb 21). We’re trying to “walk the walk” so to speak. (I’ll be in the 10 km walk).

If you have this event in your own community on Feb 21, I encourage you to consider forming a team of your own and participating and/or donating to them! Regardless, if you would like to help sponsor either our just started team in general (Danielle named our team “Red Warmth” – an appropriate name I think) please feel free to help us help the homeless in Brantford out by going to our team page and sponsoring either the team in general or by clicking on one of our individual members to help us reach our target goal. I’ll mention that a minimum of 20$ donation is required to be issued a receipt (and if you donate online, they will send you an e-receipt almost instantaneously).

(Note, here is the Coldest Night Of The Year’s main page if you want to read more about them and to see where they are holding the walks across Canada)

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Fundraising stuff

A story in the Globe by Adam Radwanski today is interesting for what it says about oppposition parties and their attempts to get their local riding associations up to snuff when it comes to the all important money battle:

Officials….are privately worrying that many of their riding associations will suffer a cash disadvantage both leading up to the campaign and during it. “It’s a huge issue,” a Liberal official said, speaking on a background basis. “We spent a fair amount of last year internally sounding the alarm bells on this.” …The scale of the Conservatives’ current advantage is difficult to gauge, because riding associations’ 2014 financial returns will not be available until later this year. But a Globe and Mail review of the previous year’s returns found that, as of the end of 2013, Conservative riding associations cumulatively had more than $15-million in net assets, while the Liberals had under $8-million and the NDP less than $4-million. As of the last filings, the Conservatives were continuing to widen the gap, topping the Liberals by nearly $1-million and the New Democrats by more than $2-million in local fundraising in 2013. And there appears a good chance they continued to pad their advantage in 2014

So money is both important nationally for federal parties during the election campaign, but also at the local riding level.

That in mind, I’m using that point as a segue to ask my Liberal supporters/member reading crew to consider donating to my friend Danielle Takacs campaign. It happens to be her birthday today (the 13th). If you would be interested in sending her a little birthday love and supporting her run at federal politics, you could donate a special gift of either $5 or $10 to the Brantford-Brant Federal Liberal campaign. She would appreciate it a lot. It may only cost you $1.25 after tax receipts are given. (The lager the donation, the greater the tax receipt given back, obviously).

The yearly political donation allowance is now increased to 1500$ (it was 1200$ last year) so there’s extra to give to a good candidate even if she’s not in your riding! 5 or even 10$ is such a small amount to show your support!

After you donate to her, I encourage Liberals to donate to your own local riding as well!

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