On December 22, I was up in Brantford helping Liberal Party candidate and friend Danielle Takacs and several fellow supporters (9 all together) join many other volunteers collecting Christmas Baskets and pass them out to those less fortunate in the city of Brantford. By less fortunate, I don’t even mean those who were unemployed, though some were those. There were some we delivered to who indeed were working, but who wouldn’t have enough money to spend on extra things – we would call these “the working poor”, and I noted there were also some seniors we passed these along to. The baskets basically were a food care package that had either a turkey or a ham in it, plus other food essentials (a bag of apples, etc).
Overall, I think between the 9 of us who were representing the Brantford-Brant Liberals, we delivered 50 boxes or so between us (so to 50 people/families in need).
As an editorial, it felt good to help these folks, and I was pleased to see so many volunteers come by to help drop these off, but it was also pretty sobering the amount of boxes that were being delivered to people. I dont think I’d be exaggerating when I say several hundred people/families or more were getting these. It shows there are still a lot of people struggling out there – even some of those who are working find it hard to get by.
Another editorial: this exercise, while laudable, shows IMO why you cannot just depend on churches or organizations alone to help the needy or to help with charity. Government must be involved and our social safety net must be as strong as possible with few cracks as possible.
Anyhow, it was nice to make Christmas a little brighter for these folks. As you can see at the top, I’ve put up a picture here of some of our volunteers delivering food; the rest you can find at Danielle’s campaign page at Facebook, and eventually at her website in the photo section on the web, as I know a photo section is slowly being added there.
Update to this: It appears over 800 baskets were delivered in Brantford, and 2,225 Christmas Baskets for Brantford, the County of Brant and Six Nations
…here at the Diatribes.. Nice little theme for Christmas week, don’t you think?
(OK.. I liked it for a day… but it limits my ability to do certain things without modifying the theme.. so gone after a day )
This got released yesterday on the radio. A nice little ad on the radio explaining why the Liberal Party is opposed to income splitting. Personally, I’m pleased to see we’re starting to fight fire with fire vis-a-vis the pre-writ campaign ads that the Conservatives have mastered in their attacking Stephane Dion and Michael Ignatieff (and not so successfully so far on Justin Trudeau. This ad, however, is based on policy, not personal attacks.
Take a listen
UPDATE: The Liberals have also released an ad on the radio today about Veteran Affairs – an issue that has been very prominent of late.
If the Conservative government – led by Harper in Question Period no less – has now decided they’re going to try to blame the Liberals for the current mess in Veteran Affairs (led by their mess of a minister Fantino), polling and reaction to their current shabby treatment of Veterans must be pretty bad.
Their argument gets a tad undercut however when they’ve had 10 years to fix any shortcomings (which Harper and party supported in 2005 and enthusiastically implemented in 2006), and are now in court trying to defend it against angry Veterans (and trying to use the argument the “moral obligation” to help returning vets was just political rhetoric).
There is other stuff going on in Veteran Affairs right now that can’t be blamed on the Liberal government from over a decade ago – such as cuts to the Department and over-worked caseloads for the remaining staff – that the Conservatives can’t deflect.. which is why they’ve been suddenly announcing “new hirings” in the department.
The Christmas break comes at a very convenient time for them.. this issue has dominated the airwaves for a couple of weeks now. Perhaps Harper will use the holidays to reflect that keeping Fantino on as Veteran Affairs minister is a bad idea, because this issue is not going to go away because of a 6 week holiday break.
In reality though, it won’t matter who Harper puts in there as Veterans Affairs minister as long as the Conservative government – and Harper – have a change of policy and a change of heart over how they treat Veterans oce they get home. Saying how much you support the troops rings hollow when you walk away from them, or worse, fight them in court over their benefits.
UPDATE: And we get more.
Tories warned of flawed Veterans Affairs caseload 2 years ago
As someone on Twitter said, that must be the Liberals fault too.
A lot of Liberal candidates are up in Ottawa this week for more Campaign College training, but nomination contestants are around to be interviewed, and today I’m doing an interview with Diane Ballantyne, Liberal nomination contestant for the riding of Wellington Halton-Hills (the riding currently held by CPC MP Michael Chong). I’ll note of the interviews I’ve done she has one of the more detailed replies as to why people should vote for her/ support her (the last questions of the interview). I thank her for her participation!
For those that haven’t seen your website yet, can you tell our readers why you’ve decided to run for the nomination?
I have decided to run for the nomination because I am appalled at what the Conservative Party has done to our nation. Over the past decade, Canada has become more divisive and poorer – both in spirit and in reputation. There are many aspects of Canada that we spent over a century building, which are being systematically dismantled by the “Harper” government: the Archives, the scientists, the long-form census, our role in the UN, and the consistent violation of our own environmental policies…and we could go on. I have had enough of being embarrassed by the stranglehold Harper’s Conservatives have had on our riding, our economic and social policy, and our country, and I am running to provide a progressive alternative to the current Conservative MP.
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 Diane Ballantyne, LPC Nomination Contestant, Wellington-Halton Hills
A rather busy weekend for me, I was up in Hamilton attending another LPCO event, which they billed as “Campaign College”. Basically, it was an expansion of the event that they held in London earlier in September. Without getting into any confidential details of what was said or done, The LPC staff are really emphasizing ridings and candidates to prepare now and get ready now for an election at any time in 2015, as there is no trust in LPC circles that Harper will stick to his fixed-election law and wait until October 2015 to call one. There was also training for candidates and their teams on various strategies for communications and voter contact and so on.
There is one thing that did stick out for me from a speech Gerald Butts, chief adviser to Justin Trudeau gave: He mentioned about the muck and the mud that Conservatives were throwing at Trudeau and Liberals in general and he said, “We don’t have to hate Harper, we just have to beat Harper”.
With regards to my being there, I was up there with the team from Brantford-Brant, led by Danielle Takacs, my friend, who as you know if you’ve read here long enough (and aren’t blind to her button on the sidebar) is the federal Liberal/Team Trudeau candidate for Brantford-Brant. As in London, she was given the opportunity to give a presentation to the main group – her talk was based on how to attract rural voters to the Liberal Party and what her own experiences had been like. Her speech was very well received, (as was her Community Outreach speech in London, which is probably why she was asked to present on this topic here).
On Saturday night, I was also present at the Brantford Santa Claus Parade. Danielle was marching in that parade with Dave Levac, Brantford Liberal MPP (and Speaker of the legislature). It was a well attended event as would be expected, and I think everyone had fun. There weren’t even a lot of barbs being thrown at the politicians! I’d like to thank Danielle for inviting me to both events (I also, as an aside, would like to thank Dave Levac’s daughter for saving my duffel bag containing my tablet from an uncertain fate when the float initially raced away after the parade was done).
Brantford Santa Claus Parade
Brantford Santa Claus Parade
Brantford Santa Claus Parade
Is Julian Fantino (Minister of Veteran Affairs) the worst Cabinet Minister in the Harper Conservative government right now? That’s saying something in this government, but some folks are now openly asking if he should be replaced. His department faced a withering Auditor-General report on the inefficiencies of the Department is getting aid and help to Veterans, but he was conveniently out of the country so he didn’t have to face the music.
The answer is yes, though I’m not exactly sure anyone who would replace Fantino would do much better. As always with the Harper government, unless public opinion polls (or private ones) show that their disregard for Veterans is being noticed by the public and could potentially hurt them in the polls, they’ll do nothing but try to shrug off the criticism. That said, perhaps the belated and rather quickly announced funding programs over the weekend and on Monday – seemingly in response to the story that the Veteran Affairs Department returned 1.13 billion $ of unspent money allocated to it back to the government rather then spend it on something to help Veterans – is a sign that they’re getting some flak over it.
Long may that flak continue. This government has been loudly proclaiming for years how its been the only party that supports the troops, but that seems to end when the troops come back from their missions (and don’t forget the old Veterans from World War 2 and the Korean War who are still with us). These veterans deserve better!
Another in my series of blog interviews I’ve done with LPC candidates, nomination candidates – today I am pleased to have done an interview with Howard Rabb, one of the Liberal nomination contestants in the riding of Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas. That nomination meeting is coming up in a couple of days (Nov 25 I believe) so I thank Howard for taking the time away from preparing for that to answer these questions!
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 unhappy with the direction our country has been heading in for the past few years. I made the decision that I would stand up and try and do something about it rather than simply complaining. I believe that government can be a positive force in people’s lives and I want to be a part of that change.
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 Blog interview with Howard Rabb – LPC nomination contestant, Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas
I’ve sufficiently recovered from lack of sleep Monday night to comment on the byelections Monday evening and specifically the Oshawa-Whitby byelection, where LPC candidate Celina Caesar-Chanvannes came up just a bit short in her efforts to win the seat. Still, it should be considered a good night for Liberals. Their vote total jumped from 14% in 2011 against Jim Flaherty to 41% – a 3x increase in votes (in the Yellowhead Alberta riding, they went from 3% to 20%). If we get a uniform increase of those types of numbers in targeted and priority ridings in 2015, combined with a collapse in NDP vote, which has a couple of pundits saying the NDP and Mulcair are in trouble, the LPC will be doing well as a party for winning seats and power, I daresay.
As for Whitby-Oshawa, considering we had a first time political candidate in Celina against the former mayor of Whitby, this is a great achievement. It will set up Celina well for name recognition in the riding if she chooses to return as a candidate in 2015. I got to briefly chat with her at the after-election party at her HQ, and while she was a bit emotionally drained, it sounded like to me she would return – and that’s good news for the LPC in this riding.
I’ll just say on a personal note, I was up there not only to observe and blog about it, but I got put to work as well helping to canvass potential Liberal voters and also scrutineer 1 of the polling stations poll booth counts. It was interesting to see how that operation is run. The one thing I am a bit discouraged about (tho I suppose I should have expected this) was the very low disappointing turnout – only 32% of eligible voters bothered to show up at the polls to vote. I judged the Liberal ground game to be very good here – both a couple of weeks ago when they were canvassing and on the day of the by-election trying to pull the Liberal vote. I really don’t know if the LPC ground game could be any better – if people can’t be bothered to vote, there’s not much more they could have done (it will however give them an idea for this riding in 2015 who voted and who didn’t and what polls in the riding they need to improve their vote totals)
I’ll also say it was a good lesson to see how a ground game on the day of an election works. I was up there again with Danielle Takacs and some other folks from Brantford-Brant, and I think everyone got a good eyeful as to how things operate.
I’ve included some photos from the night. You’ll see among others Celina, Dr Kirsty Duncan, the MC for the night and MP from Etobicoke-North, Justin Trudeau, several LPC candidates, (including Danielle, Jennifer Stebbing for Flamborough-Glanbrook and Salma Zahid, candidate for Scarborough-Centre), and yours truly.
Continue reading Despite the end result, a good night in Whitby-Oshawa
Canada’s Parliament has a private member’s bill going through Parliament right now that has government support into turning Remembrance Day into a national statutory holiday. It has a good chance of passing. For added pressure to do this, there is a petition going around on change.org to be sent to the Canadian government showing support for this measure. As of this blogpost at this time , there were 54 000 + Candians who had signed/supported this. You can add me to the list.
I know there will be arguments about how kids will just take the day off and not go to services, but bluntly, that is what parents are for. My view is: you’ll still get the crowds you normally get on Remembrance Day anyhow, so the crowds won’t go down – they can only go up. Besides.. if you close everything down, like on Christmas and so on, people wont be able to go out and shop.. maybe more Canadians will tune in the services on TV even if they don’t go out to the local Cenotaph, so I don’t see the downside there.
I can’t think of a better and more appropriate holiday to add to the calendar as a statutory holiday – one where religion or creed doesn’t matter.