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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.



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

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.


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

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.



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).

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)


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.



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.

Referendum not needed to validate Electoral Reform -election did that.

I’ve heard and see a few mutterings of concern from folks that the Liberals are actually going to follow through on their campaign promise (re-affirmed in the Throne Speech) that this election will be the last ever election Canadians use “First-Past-The-Post” in.  Some are even suggesting that for this change to occur/be legitimate, a national referendum is needed.

I disagree – the Liberals ran this rather openly as one of their key platform campaign planks in the recent election. People were well aware of it when they were choosing to vote for. The Liberals were elected – so they have a mandate from the people to enact this change. A further referendum is unnecessary; there will be plenty of consultations and public hearings I am sure for the public and policyholders to pass along their opinions on why certain reforms are better then others.

In my opinion, we do not need a referendum on this issue, because I don’t believe in using referendums to make decisions on public policy (that was a key Reform Party plan many years ago).  If we have a referendum on electoral reform,  why not on every piece of legislation such as the right-to-die legislation we have to craft? Or on legalizing cannabis (both potentially way more polarizing then changing the voting system).  

If we had let referendums dictate our public choices many years ago, a lot of public policy that was ahead of its time would have taken many more years to be enshrined in our way of life. The representatives of this country are elected by the public to make policy. If the voting reforms aren’t liked, they can vote for a party in the next election that offers something different or a return to the status quo of FPTP.


Going to be a long 4 years (for Conservative supporters)

You might have caught a while back that interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose promised her party would use a “new tone” now that they were in opposition, implying the nasty personal smear attacks were a thing of the past.

Apparently, Conservative MP Candice Bergen didn’t get that memo when she posted this to Twitter last night.

They really are taking this election result hard. You can also see it in the Conservative supporters on social media. Take for example this CTV/Nanos poll today that showed a large majority – nearly 74% – of Canadians felt that Justin Trudeau had the qualities of a good leader.  According to Conservatives, that poll was either rigged because Nanos was a biased Liberal, or 1000 people don’t equal the country (just ignore the fact that same pollster was one of the most accurate with accuracy in polling the Oct 19 election result).

The Conservative-leaning media aren’t having a very good time of it either. As one of my fellow progressive bloggers also said on Twitter (an NDP’er), “The same media outlets that advocated Harper’s reelection are now also calling for the continuance of Harperist foreign policy. No surprise”

I’ve never seen such a hue and outcry demanding a government overturn some key planks in its election platform, that it ran and won on not even a month into its mandate.. and Parliament hasnt even sat yet in the first session of this government.

I’ll either be amused or horrified the next 4 years reading these folks, but there will be plenty of material to blog about.

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