August 8, 2008

Some Thoughts on the Olympics

I've been thinking a lot lately about the Beijing Olympics, and I haven't quite yet made up my mind about them. As I write this, the Opening Ceremonies are being broadcast. While I do acknowledge the necessity for China to continue working to improve their human rights record, surely we also should commend them for the progress they have made on the issue. Conditions in China have improved; no they aren't perfect, but if we don't make use of positive encouragement, can we ever expect them to get there.

It is also important to distinguish between China's people and the Chinese government. The Chinese people have worked hard and want to show off their pride in their nation. They cannot and should not be faulted for the actions of the government. The Chinese people deserve a place on the world stage - while it would be preferential for them to do so in a true democracy, this is not the case. Do not punish the people for the actions of their government.

I guess that my position on the Olympics is to enjoy them but not pretend that the problems aren't there. I believe we can simultaneously enjoy the sports while remaining aware of and recognize the progress that has yet to be made.

July 24, 2008

How Many More Must Die?

In light of the recent attention paid to individuals dying in custody after being tasered by police, I would have thought that the sue of these weapons would have lessened. As the risks posed by tasers become more and more clear, would it not have been prudent to avoid and/or lessen their use? It seems to me that tasers are become more of a risk than using firearms to bring order to a situation.

Well, apparently not, seeing a s a 17 year old boy has died in Winnipeg after being tasered by police there. While I do concede that he was holding a knife, surely there could have been a better way to bring him under control that would not have seen him lose his life. If they had shot him in the foot or arm (while by no means ideal), he would have likely stopped struggling and would still be alive.

Tasers interfere with far too many biological functions from the heart to lungs, and beyond. Surely a better, less threatening and risky solution can be achieved. Too many people have died to continue with the status quo.

July 23, 2008

Bring on the Byelections!

According to several media outlets, Stephen Harper is poised to set dates for three upcoming byelections: Westmount-Ville Marie, St. Lambert, and Guelph. The first and third are currently liberal seats and the second was held by the Bloc Quebecois.

I, for one, am eager to see these byelections called. I can't wait for voters to have the chance to pass resounding judgment on the performance of Harper's government. It will also give us a chance to practice our messaging for selling the Green Shift to voters and disproving all of the factually incorrect rhetoric currently being circulated by the Tories.

This will be our first opportunity in months to re-energize and re-invigorate our grassroots. I'm excited to see the Liberals come out on top!

July 21, 2008

It's Not a Bad Thing to Change Your Mind Sometimes

Often, right-wing conservatives belittle anyone who dares to re-think and modify their positions on any issue, as though this indicates weakness. I disagree; it requires the highest caliber of character and strength to reconsider and improve one's position. Having the courage to admit that one might have been less apt in the past shows the benefit of experience and hindsight. I believe this ability is one of the greatest strengths of the Liberal Party, rather than a weakness.

For example, the Conservatives are quick to point out repeatedly and as loudly as they can that Stephane Dion used to oppose taxing carbon dioxide emissions. Rather than letting them get away with this empty rhetoric, we Liberals should confront and challenge them, arguing that Canada has a more promising future now that Dion has reconsidered and developed the Green Shift plan. This makes Canada stronger, not weaker.

Similarly, I read an article in today's Toronto Star where Bob Rae discusses his past role as the NDP premier of Ontario. While Conservatives like to constantly bring this up and mock him, I prefer that we applaud him for rethinking his political affiliations and joining the Liberal Party.

Changing your position isn't flip-flopping; it's proof of one's ability to think and adapt. Instead of accepting criticism from Conservatives on this issue, it's time we push back and call them out on their lack of flexibility and freedom of thought.

July 18, 2008

Green Shift Persuasion Suggestions

Over the coming weeks and months, both Liberal MPs and grassroots Liberals will need to work to persuade Canadians of the justness, necessity, and benefits of the green shift plan. Here are some suggestions that we ought to keep in mind while working to raise the Liberal profile and our environmental plan.

1. We need to know the plan thoroughly prior to promoting it. It is important that all Liberals possess a solid grasp prior to promoting it. This is not a simple plan and we will look like fools if we don't understand it properly or are unable to adequately answer questions on it.

2. Don't waste time debating the issue with Conservatives - they will never come round to the green shift and every minute we spend railing against their ignorance is a minute we should have focused on persuading someone who had not had a prior opinion on the subject.

3. Remember that people are selfish. Although many of us are willing to do our part for the environment because it is the good thing to do, it is a sad reality that many people prefer their luxuries than thinking about the air quality that will be inflicted upon their great-grand kids. WE must emphasize the financial benefits of our plan and not focus solely on the environmental arguments.

4. We must not look like hypocrites on the issue and that means that we must not promote the green shift in anyway that requires the production of a large quantity of greenhouse gas emissions. We will present much more credibly if we personally adopt green shift techniques prior to promoting it.

5. Never give up hope. If we despair or give credence to our opponents' attacks, we will never win. If we turn on one another, we will lose. If we don't try, the environment will have no champions left. The stakes are too important for us not to succeed.

What other suggestions do you have that we could use to sell our plan to Canadians and, especially, voters?

July 14, 2008

Not Just a Green Shift, We Need an Attitude Shift as Well

Ever since the Liberals introduced our revolutionary Green Shift program, I've noticed that most of the criticism represents an unhealthy attitude and mentality. These opponents believe that they have already either done enough for the environment, or they just don't feel like doing anything at all. This selfishness needs to stop for the good of the planet and the environment.

For example, this Toronto Sun article argues that saving money on an individual level is more important than helping the environment. The columnist has no shame in describing the gas-guzzling, but cheap, truck she recently bought. How selfish and deplorable!

Many Canadians clearly need an attitude shift and a new set of priorities. No, saving the environment is neither cheap nor easy to do, but that doesn't mean we just give up. Give up some of the necessary luxuries instead, people! Buy the more energy-efficient vehicle, even if it is significantly more expensive. It's time we looked beyond our own selfish wants and look toward the environment's needs.

July 3, 2008

Canada's Failure to Set a Good Environmental Standard Allows Emitting Countries to Follow our Bad Example

Instead of standing up on the world stage and working to limit the harm inflicted by the Alberta oil sands as we ought to do, it seems to me that our support for them is setting a very bad example for developing nations. According to a Reuters news story, India's government is promoting investment in the Albertan oil sands.

Developing countries like China and India need to see positive examples of investment in green and renewable energy resources, not encouragement to invest in dirty and destructive energy sources. Unless we set a positive example by denouncing and reducing the oil sands, what hope will we have that other countries will follow suit?

July 2, 2008

PMO Hostility Likely to Increase Rather than Lessen with New Chief of Staff

Today is the beginning of Guy Giorno's tenure as Chief of Staff in the Prime Minster's Office. Although I had been pleased to hear that Ian Brodie was leaving the post, I had hoped that his replacement would be a break from his style of hostility and division. This was an excellent opportunity for Stephen Harper to pick someone who would respect the opposition parties, the media, and the Canadian public.

Instead, he picked Mike Harris's former Chief of Staff. Far too many individuals involved with that government are already in prominent positions in Harper's cabinet and staff, such as Jim Flaherty, John Baird, and Tony Clement. Parliament desperately needs less partisanship and rhetoric, not more hard line right-wingers.

June 25, 2008

Funding Education needs to be a Priority

A disturbing Globe and Mail news article is very concerning to me. It says that Canadian universities are not receiving anywhere near enough funding per student from governments. Although total funding has increased, it has not kept pace with rising enrollment.

Education needs to be a greater priority than it currently is. We are in a changing and globalizing economy and we need to transition to a higher-educated workforce. Without proper funding, our educations will not be as effective or of a high enough quality. If we can afford to spend billions on a war in Afghanistan, surely we can spend some of it on our students and universities instead.

June 23, 2008

More Proof of Tory Disdain for the Less Fortunate

The recent decision of the Conservative government to restore a small portion of the Court Challenges Program shows their small-hearted and mean-spirited nature. By only allowing limited redress to injustices against linguistic minorities, this plan will do nothing for all of the other groups which were so cruelly abandoned: ethnic and religious minorities, gays and lesbians, and individuals living with disabilities.

They Conservatives have shown how little worth they consider these groups to have. Conservatives think that because they don't vote Conservative, they don't deserve to have their rights protected.

June 17, 2008

Juvenile Conservative Campaign Spreads to Guelph

This past weekend, I was on vacation visiting some family members in Guelph (in southern Ontario). My restful weekend was interrupted, however, by the appearance of a group of young conservatives, all wearing those horrid bright yellow "Dion's Tax on Everything" shirts! Apparently they were canvassing on behalf of the local candidate, Gloria Kovach.

It truly dismays me that this juvenile and pathetic campaign has spread to other cities besides Ottawa. Shame on the Conservatives for using cheap tactics rather than engaging in a serious debate on a serious issue!

June 12, 2008

Prentice Exceeds Low Expectations

Well now that the copyright bill has been tabled this morning, it's not as bad as many, including myself, had been anticipating.

Although it does crack down on the distribution of illegal sharing, the provision allowing legally-acquired music onto other devices, such as iPods and mp3 players, is unexpectedly welcome. Furthermore, allowing individuals to record television shows to be watched later is rightly permitted.

Although I would have preferred to see a less harsh fine ($500) for illegal downloading, I know that we can't expect too much from a conservative government. I say that Prentice exceeds my expectations with this bill, but that wasn't very hard seeing as how low they were.

June 11, 2008

Conservatives Continue to Disrespect the Immigation System

After the recent vote to dismantle the equality of the Canadian immigration system, the news for prospective visitors to Canada continues to worsen. It has emerged that several embassies, including the Canadian embassy in China, around the world are permitted to outsource the processing of visa applications to third-party service providers. This is completely unacceptable!

Ever since the Conservatives have come into power, the quality of service administered by Citizenship and Immigration Canada has continued to decline. Canada needs to ensure that individuals applying for entry to Canada (whether that be as a prospective citizen or merely as a visitor) are processed confidentially and promptly. These outsourcing companies cannot guarantee privacy and confidentiality to applicants which is just disgraceful.

We need to get a Liberal government back in power to ensure that Citizenship and Immigration Canada is given the respect and leadership it deserves and requires.

June 9, 2008

Conservative Attack Campaign Immature and Inaccurate

The Conservative attack campaign on the upcoming Liberal policy on carbon reflects a juvenile, disrespectful, and presumptive attack on a policy which Canada desperately needs. Instead of waiting for the policy to be properly launched and then having a substantive debate on its content, the Conservatives are spreading misleading and blatantly false information.

The Liberal party has repeatedly indicated that there will be no tax increase on gasoline, and yet the Conservatives are telling Canadians that it will.

The environment is too important an issue to treat it like this. No one should be so cavalier in their treatment of any endeavor to reduce the burden we place on the environment.

Conservatives, it's time to grow up and treat this issue with respect.

June 5, 2008

Congratulations, Liberals, for Showing your Commitment to Women's Equality

The Liberal Party announced today that once our Party is back in government, we will create an independent Commissioner for Gender Equality. This just further shows the distinctions between our Party and the Conservative Party who have shown nothing but contempt and hatred towards initiatives which would advance women's rights and equality.

We need to recognize that, while women have made tremendous progress over the past decades, there is still a long way to go before true equality will be reached. Women should not have to choose between their children and their careers. Women should not have to accept lower-paying jobs. Women should not have to struggle to work in upper management and influential positions. Women should be fully respected and welcomed as Members of Parliament.

I am proud to be a member of a party which recognizes the realities faced by women today. Advancing the women's rights movement is one of the most important priorities the Liberals can pick. Also, given that half of the population is women, fighting for women could help us during election time.

The proposed Gender Equality Commissioner would be responsible for examining gender equality practices in all government departments and would be required to submit a report to Parliament and Canadians every year.

June 4, 2008

Liberal Convention Document Shows the Inclusive Nature of our Party

The Liberal Party of Canada has posted the guidelines and rules surrounding the delegates and alternates who will attend our party's convention in BC in December on the party's website (

These rules are very positive and will go a long way towards ensuring that we have a productive and enjoyable convention. Firstly, the granting of automatic delegate status to notable party members (leader, former leaders, party officials, national executive, current and past candidates, etc.) will allow the delegations from riding associations to be comprised of grassroots members.

Similarly, the Liberal Party demonstrates its commitment to women's equality by ensuring that no more than half of the delegations from the riding associations can be comprised of men. We are ensuring that spots are set aside for youth and senior delegates to allow the convention to be attended by a broad spectrum of our members. Our recognition of the value that aboriginal delegates will bring to the convention is in stark contrast to the hostility shown to Aboriginal Canadians by the Conservatives.

I look forward to hearing more about the convention as we get closer to December and I congratulate the Liberals for proving their commitment to equality and fairness in drafting the guidelines for delegates.

June 2, 2008

Conservatives Hate Africa

Canada's decision to turn its back on the innocent victims of violence in Congo in Africa is a sad reflection of the policies of the current Conservative Government. Apparently, the UN had asked Canada to provide a two-star general and limited support staff to head the MONUC peacekeeping mission in Congo. We weren't even asked to provide peacekeeping troops to the mission, and yet, we still turned it down, claiming that we were stretched too thinly with the NATO mission in Afghanistan.

Canada had the opportunity to really make a difference here and it really wouldn't have cost us much at all. And yet, we refuse!

The Conservative Government just doesn't care about Africa!

May 30, 2008

Shame on You, Tony Clement

Tony Clement's editorial today in the National Post shows not only his total lack of compassion, but also his complete lack of understanding and comprehension regarding the Insite safe injection site in Vancouver.

He mentions that "Overall, Insite saves about one life per year," as though this is not a worthwhile enough reason to maintain it. The Conservatives ought to place more respect on the lives of drug users, rather than just dismissing them as useless, irrelevant, and not worth the cost to save their lives.

No matter what the cost, isn't it important that we at least try to save lives. Experts have testified that Insite is necessary and ought to continue its exemption from Canada's drug laws. We should trust their authority and knowledge rather than rely on prejudice and bias against drug users.

May 29, 2008

Our Methods Must Match our Principles

My post from Monday saw a great deal of attention and discussion, and I would like to thank everyone for their participation. I believe strongly that the Liberal Party of Canada is better than what we may have become, with the use of questionable tactics like targeting potential voters solely based on their ethnicity.

We as a Party ought not to engage in such practices, but instead to reach out to ALL eligible voters to convey our message to them equally, no matter what their religion, culture, or nationality. We are the party of inclusion and equality, and it's important that we maintain this standard without fail.

Yes, it may be politically expedient to target voters based upon certain innate characteristics, but to do so requires us to sacrifice our dignity, principles, and ideals. If winning elections requires us to turn our backs and ignore that which defines us as Liberals, it may not be worth the cost.

I hope we can continue the discussion we began here in order to regain our principles and ethics. We are Liberals because we believe in equality, tolerance, and opportunity for all. We just need to make sure that the methods we use to win are also in accordance with these principles.

May 27, 2008

Liberal Targeting of Ethnic Groups Inconsistant with our Principles

I recently had the privilege to attend a training session for the Liberal Party. While I learned many useful and helpful campaign techniques, some of the training content did concern me. For example, when we were studying Voter Contact, one of the sub categories we examined was "targeting by ethnicity," as you can see below.

Read this doc on Scribd: Campaign Manager Training

I am uncomfortable with our party targeting individuals and deciding on their usefulness or lack thereof simply based on their ethnicity. We are supposed to be a party of openness and inclusion, where all Canadians, regardless of race, religion, and background can feel comfortable and welcome.
I strongly encourage our Party to cease targeting voters based on ethnicity and instead focus on recruit the Canadian population as a whole.

May 16, 2008

Reward Compassion Rather than Fighting it

I read this story this morning which both pleased and enraged me. In Abbotsford, British COlumbia, a local pastor has begun feeding the homeless and the hungry in a local park, which is an act of compassion and altruism.

Rather than commend this man for his helping actions, local business owners and city councilors are trying to shut him down. What a cruel and unnessecary action! How heartless do you have to be to prefer people to starve rather than be healthy and fed?

These business owners need to look beyond their own self-interested lives to see the suffering around them in their community and participate in its solution, rather than trying to exacerbate the problem.

May 15, 2008

More Proof that Failing to Invest in Health Care has Dengerous Conserquences

The Ottawa Sun has an article today on their website which states that one in five Canadian nurses admits making mistakes with patients' medications as a result of being stressed from overwork.

According to a StatsCan survey of 18,000 nurses, 70% of nurses agreed with the statement "I have too much work for one person to do." A further 62% believed that their work load negatively impacted the quality of their work.

Investing in health care is one of the most important things the government can do. Investing more money on nurses and doctors will ensure not only that we have a strong health care system, but it will also lessen mistakes and keep us alive and healthy.

Nurses our our front line workers against disease and injury; we need to properly compensate them for the noble and altruistic work they do on behalf of each and every one of us.

May 14, 2008

Proud of Liberals for standing Up for Truth and the Freedom of Speech

Like many Canadians, I saw in today's Toronto Star that the Liberals have filed a statement of defence against Stephen Harper over the Chuck Cadman vote-buying scheme.

Rather than be frightened and cowed into submission as the Conservatives had hoped, we are standing strong and defying their scare tactics and attempts to muzzle free speech. The Liberal Party placed a legitimate and, in my opinion, accurate, criticism of the Prime Minister on the party website. As leader of the Conservative Party he is responsible for the actions of his deputies and must be held accountable for their improprieties.

By suing the Liberal Party, Stephen Harper was not interested in protecting his reputation, but instead interested in interfering with Liberal questioning of his activities. If he had been interested in the former, he would have protected his reputation by coming clean with the people of Canada about the actions of his officials and his full and total knowledge of the incident.

It is up to the Liberal Party to remain strong and unwavering in our decision to legitimately criticize the government. That is the role of the Official Opposition and I am very proud to be member of a party which holds Stephen Harper accountable for his actions.

May 12, 2008

Rising Food Prices Not a Horrible Thing

Recently, I have read many articles describing the rise in food prices globally as a very bad thing. I would like to disagree with this view point, and argue that rising prices are actually a blessing in disguise.

Many developed nations will spend billions of dollars every year to subsidize farmers so that they can earn a viable living on their own. Some people complain about rising prices around the world, but this is actually a good thing for farmers. The production of food requires a great deal of maintenance, effort, and financial input. Many farmers in Canada and countries around the world are forced to go into debt in order to acquire the capital to plant their fields in the spring.

Wouldn't it be better if higher food prices meant that these farmers could sustain their operations on their own?

May 9, 2008

Humanitarian Crisis in Burma Shows the Need for Compassion

The last few days have allowed the world to see and understand the devastation posed by the recent cyclone in Burma. People's lives, families, and livelihoods have been wiped out

It is imperative that the international world (of both governments and private citizens) continue to give generously in order to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. The government of Burma must also look past its reservations and allow disaster relief teams entry to the country in order to save lives of their citizens.

May 8, 2008

Dion a Visionary for Canada

Today's Globe and Mail story on Stephan Dion's expected announcement of a Carbon-Tax policy platform is a refreshing and invigorating addition to the Canadian political landscape. By advocating such a bold and innovative policy, Dion is showing that he has the vision and drive to be Canada's next Prime Minister.

Dion is a very intelligent and far-thinking leader. Rather than being swayed by political expediency and opinion polls, Dion has looked at the facts of our economy and environment and opted for a policy that will both protect our environment and stimulate our economy.

A Carbon-Tax is not a tax grab whatsoever, because it will be used to offset and lower income tax rates for Canadians. Under his plan, those people whose activities and lifestyles inflict the most damage will pay the most. I strongly support such an initiative which will lower the tax burden on individuals and families who work hard to lower their carbon emissions and preserve our environment.

We Liberals are so very fortunate to have a leader who will propose such a needed and beneficial overhaul to our tax system. On days like today, I am very proud to be a Liberal!

May 6, 2008

Lack of Oversight Unacceptable

Stephen Harper is a devious, deceptive, secretive, and dangerous Prime Minister. Ever since becoming Prime Minister, he has made the government less open, transparent, and accessible to Canadians.

When civil servants try to do their jobs as they need to be done, if the PMO is unhappy about the content of their work they are disciplined or fired.

When journalists try to cover the government by asking it questions, they are often told 'sorry we don't choose to comment on this issue to you now. Go away.'

And now, it has just gotten even worse with the decision of the government to kill the centralized Access to Information registry. When a citizen asks and pays for the government to publicize certain information, it should be then presented in an open and accessible manner so that other Canadians can see this information without having to also submit and pay for an identical request.

Shame on you, Stephen Harper, for making Canada into a tyrannical and autocratic state!

April 21, 2008

It's Time to Stand Up for the Safety of Canadians instead of Misguided Gun Owners

Earlier this month, I wrote a post regarding the wrong and harmful actions of the Conservative government in regards to the federal gun registry. I strongly oppose their efforts to break apart the registry because I am a firm believer in gun control laws and the methods of enforcement. Safety is far, far more important than the ability to own deadly and potentially fatal weaponry.

My outrage on this issue has only increased today in light of a Toronto Star Story which states that the Government has given back to gun owners far more money than it has cost to run the Registry. According to the article, the operating costs since 2006 amount to $35.9 million, yet they have refunded and/or waived $56.5 million!

They could have more than covered the costs of operating this vital Registry, but instead they have undermined it financially, morally, and publicly. When is this government going to wake up and put the safety of vulnerable Canadians before the frivolity of gun enthusiasts? Hopefully soon, before too many innocent lives are lost to gun crimes.

It is time to make a firm stand against firearms here in Canada. Stop refunding money to gun owners when it can be used to support the Gun Registry!

April 17, 2008

Hillier Deserves Criticism, not Praise and Adoration

This week's announcement that Chief of Defense Staff General Rick Hillier will resign in the summer prompted a flood of media adoration and rosy comments. They went on and on about his abilities to connect with the soldiers in Afghanistan and spoke about his strength in standing up for the military.

However, it seems that no one has taken the effort to substantively criticize Hillier for his inappropriate politicization of the Department of National Defense. This man has worked very hard to promote the mission in Afghanistan as a military mission, as opposed to diplomatic and/or humanitarian mission. However, his job is not supposed to be political. That is the role of the Minister of Defense, not the Chief of Defense Staff. I believe quite strongly that we would not be engaged in such a combat-oriented mission in Afghanistan if it were not for him

Hillier has spent far too much time criticizing the former Liberal governments under Jean Chretien and Paul Martin. He should have stayed out of the political arena rather than throwing himself into it.

I just wish the media would stop their Hillier love-in for just a few minutes to take him to task for overstepping his boundaries.

April 10, 2008

Jim Flaherty Doesn't Care about Vulnerable Canadians

Today, Jim Flaherty proved his mean-spirited and petty contempt for vulnerable Canadians. He told reporters outside of the House of Commons that in order to avoid a budget deficit "We're not raising taxes. There are other ways that governments can balance budgets, of course. We can always restrain spending if that becomes necessary."

How can Flaherty not realize that millions of Canadians depend on the government to provide vital services to them which cannot just be taken away without dire consequences. Too many Canadians are living paycheque-to-paycheque without any room to spare and they rely on the government for many services. How will they be able to cope if the government takes them away?

Flaherty could have said that, in the event of economic hardship in the government, wealthy Canadians would be called upon to pay more taxes. After, they made their wealth here in Canada, and they ought to do more for our country which has provided them with such opportunity. Instead, Flaherty decided to recover the hypothetical shortfall from the most vulnerable Canadians.

Our government provides many valuable services for our country. I would personally argue that it to do even more to help Canadians (such as access to child care for women and families), but at the very least, we cannot afford to take any of what we have now away from us. We need to invest in Canadians so we can all grow stronger together, not threaten to abandon the most vulnerable members of our society at the time when they need the government the most.

Shocking Threat to Privacy!!!

On the Ottawa Sun's website, there is a shocking story about Canadians' privacy risks. Yesterday, American Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said that an individual's fingerprints are not private and eligible for sharing as biometric information.

He said that "They're not particularly private. Your fingerprint's hardly personal data, because you leave it on glasses and silverware and articles all over the world."

This is unacceptable and I am incredibly shocked that he would not recognize that something so unique and personal as one's fingerprint is not a matter of privacy for that individual. We need to have the right to control how our personal information is used and distributed. Our fingerprints are unique to each and everyone of us and, when examined, have the ability to identify us.

I am not comfortable with the idea of any person or any government having the ability to identify me without my knowledge and consent of it (which I would never give). Conservatives in both Canada and the united states need to realize that our unique personal information is sacred and not of the public domain.

April 9, 2008

Conservatives Sending the Wrong Message on Gun Ownership

Yesterday, the federal firearms commissioner made public his report in which he outlined that the Conservative government has refunded nearly $21 million to gun owners in Canada. Rather than forcing gun owners to comply with the gun registry, the Conservatives (led by public safety minister Stockwell Day) have encouraged them to flout the law.

The Conservatives has not only refunded gun owners for the fees they sent in during 2006, it has introduced an 'amnesty' so that unregistered gun owners do not need to comply with the law and register their deadly weapons. According to the report, 234,000 registrations have expired and their owners have not renewed.

Canadians need to be very, very concerned with these developments to our gun laws. Many of us like to think that the government will protect innocent Canadians from harm, but the truth is that they aren't protecting us. They're making it more difficult for police to know a full picture about the individuals they investigate and track. They're making it more dangerous for Canadians by allowing these guns to remain in houses and apartments across Canada where they can be used to harm people.

Guns are used not only by street criminals to inflict harm; it is not limited to drive-by shootings and gang violence. Some of these so-called 'ordinary, law-abiding Canadians' use their weapons in cases of domestic strife, disagreements with neighbours, or even against random innocent Canadians. Sadly, anyone with a gun in their possession has the option to use it on another human being, and some of them choose to do so.

We need to protect society from these deadly weapons, which should be a greater priority than allowing gun owners to keep their firearms outside of the law.

How can we expect to send a message to criminals that gun crime will not be tolerated when the government is enabling ordinaries Canadians to break the law as established by Parliament by not registering their firearms?

April 3, 2008

More Proof of Racism Amongst the Conservative Party of Canada

In the past couple of days, documents have come to light showing racist tendencies held by Prime Minister Stephen Harper from a Reform Party policy document he wrote in 1988, as well as statements made as recently as 2001.

Today, it has come out that one of his caucus members, Tom Lukiwski from Saskatchewan, is the exact same. Apparently, Lukiwski as well as Saskatchewan Premier, Brad Wall, appear in a videotape containing sexist, racist, and homophobic statements.

Such beliefs is not the type of beliefs our elected representatives should hold. MPs represent every single one of their constituents, not only the ones with their preferred skin colour, gender, and sexual orientation.

Shame on the Conservatives!

April 2, 2008

True Respect Requires Actions, not Just Words

Today, the House of Commons will vote on a motion in favour of lowering the flag on the Peace Tower to half-staff to show respect and remembrance for soldiers killed in Afghanistan. I fully support this motion and encourage all Members of Parliament, particularly those in the Government, to support and abide by its terms.

Conservatives frequently evoke rhetoric on just how much they support the troops serving in Afghanistan - yet, they oppose this motion! If they really care about the soldiers in question, they should want to convey this respect through actions, not just empty rhetoric. This is a tangible action which can be taken to show just how strongly they support the soldiers in Afghanistan and the sacrifices they are making on behalf of Canadians.

The complete text of the motion is as follows:

"That, in the opinion of the House, in order to show respect and to honour Canadian Forces and other Canadian government personnel who are killed while serving in overseas peacekeeping, peacemaking or humanitarian missions, the government should lower the flag on the Peace Tower to half-staff for the day following their demise as a remembrance of their important service to Canada and Canadians and that a moment of silence to be observed in the House, if the House is sitting on that same day."

March 29, 2008

Immature Attack Website Crosses the Line

A friend emailed me the following link to a website which attacks the Liberal party.

Visitors are asked to watch videos of Dion and other former leadership contenders, such as Bob Rae and Michael Ignatieff, and vote on who wins the matchup. The current featured video depicts our Leader's speech following the recent by-elections and Bob Rae's speech following his win.

I think it crosses the line with its attacks on our Leader as well as other members of our united team. This is not a productive dialogue about how best to run and shape our country; it is childish, lame, and immature. Stephane Dion is a strong leader for our party and I am proud to support him and I eagerly await the results of the next federal election.

People who engage in this type of degrading, mean, infantile, and anonymous attacks are not only hurting and making fun of individuals, but hindering the development of a better Canada, under the Liberal Party of Canada

What do you think of this immature website?

March 27, 2008

Proposed Immigration Reform Wrong for Canada

Recently, there has been much discussion about the proposed legislative reforms to Canada's immigration policy. Immigration Minister Diane Finley has proposed that her office should have the authority to direct immigration officers to accept certain groups of types of people. This approach is completely wrong for Canada.

We are a country built by immigrants and their descendants. We ought to welcome newcomers to Canada with welcome arms, rather than seek to limit their numbers here. Newcomers bring new ideas, new innovations, new ways of thinking which add to the value of our existing society. Every immigrant, not just the most skilled or educated, brings a wealth of potential to our country and none should be excluded.

In Canada, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to develop and exercise our potential and contribute fully to our society, and we ought not to exclude immigrants just because they are not yet skilled. Skills can be learned and developed, but passion, commitment, and initiative cannot. We ought not to look specifically for immigrants based on the skills they possess, but rather for their willingness to work and grow here. In Canada, we can become anything we want to be

Canada is the greatest country in the world in which to live. I love being a Canadian citizen and I am proud to welcome immigrants from around the world to our country. By interacting, we can learn from them, just as much as they can learn from us. There is hope and optimism for the future of the planet as we all learn from one another.

I implore you, Minister Finley, do not just accept or reject an immigrant on the basis of their resume, but look deeper into what they can become here in Canada.

March 26, 2008

Buzz Hargrove, Liberal Candidate?

According to the news aggregator website National Newswatch, rumors are circulating throughout Ottawa that Canadian Auto Workers Union President Buzz Hargrove will be a liberal candidate in the next election. Even more exciting is the speculation that he will run against NDP leader Jack Layton in Toronto-Danforth!

I think this is excellent news for the Liberal Party and shows that we are very capable of attracting A-Level candidates to run under our banner. It further reinforces to the Canadian public that the Liberal Party is the only viable party which will actually stand up for hard-working Canadians, like those who work in the manufacturing industry.

The Conservative Government has stood by idly while manufacturing jobs have been weakened, and many have disappeared forever. If only we had a Liberal government in power, these concerns might actually be addressed.

This also sends a strong message that, like the Conservatives, the NDP lack the credibility to protect the jobs that Hargrove represents. Having him as one of our candidates will send a message that the only worthwhile progressive party in Canada capable of getting results on their behalf are the Liberals. The NDP may be vocal and loud, but they will never form the government and pass legislation.

Three Cheers for Buzz Hargrove and the Liberal Party of Canada!

March 20, 2008

Women Deserve Better From Society

Yesterday, I wrote a post about the importance of providing quality, affordable, and accessible child care options for working mothers across Canada, and i was quite dismayed to read the negative comments which this post generated.

The same type of regressive attitude towards women which I was striking out against was the attitude portrayed in the comments.

Women should not feel they need to remain in their homes because they cannot find quality affordable child care. Women should not be made to sacrifice their careers and individuality to raise their children. The nation needs to step up, do the right thing, and encourage women who want to have children and want to have a professional life as well. For far too long, women have been oppressed and kept back from reaching their full potential by society; in order to make up for this wrongdoing we must make significant steps to ensure that the playing field for women in the workforce is levelled. Allowing women to resume their rightful place in the workforce is something that we as a society should be eager and willing to do.

Furthermore, if the government step up and does the right thing, we can rest assured that all Canadian children receive the fullest and best quality learning opportunities. Some working families simply cannot afford to provide their children with educational opportunities to advance their development. These children should not suffer - they have the right to proper early learning and development.

Criticizing a woman's right to have a professional career and the right of her children to top-notch early learning programs is not the type of attitude we need in today's world.

March 19, 2008

Working Women Deserve Better and More Accessible Child Care Options

Today's Globe and Mail has a front page story, "Why more moms do the daycare shuffle" which describes the increasing tendency for mothers to return to full-time work. These women should be commended for their insistence on participating fully in the employment market, and they should be accommodated with better access to quality child care.

The Liberal Party understood these needs, and had worked hard (particularly Ken Dryden) to develop child care options across Canada.

Unfortunately, the Conservative government doesn't value the right of women to be productive members of society with a life outside their home. They scrapped the provincial agreements which would have increased the options and affordability of child care sought by the women interviewed in the article.

According to the Globe and Mail, 68.5% of mothers with children under 16 work between 30-40 hours a week. We need to work hard to ensure that these women don't have to choose between their children and their careers, and the Liberal child care agreements would have gone a long way towards supporting working mothers.

Stephen Harper's government doesn't respect women and it is time for Canada to elect a Liberal government that will!

March 13, 2008

Another Former Conservative Disagreeing with Harper like a Rat Jumping a Sinking Ship

Earlier this year, I wrote a post about Kim Campbell's recognition that Stephen Harper and the current Conservative government are bad for Canada. I encourage you to read it:

Now, Joe Clark has also come out criticising Harper's government. According to Clark, Harper's attitude to foreign affairs and international dealings is "a difficult and potentially dangerous course to follow. There's not a lot of reconciliation in Mr. Harper's makeup. There are issues he's not addressed."

Mr. Clark is entirely right; Harper's attitude on foreign affairs has been overly divisive, obstinate, and wrong. We used to be a nation of peacekeepers and peace-brokers. Now we are little more than the United State's blind following sheep.

Now that Clark has joined Campbell in expressing his reservations about the current government, it really seems like the rats are jumping off the sinking ship that is this government. If former conservative Prime Ministers have a problem with Stephen Harper, it can't be long before he is obliterated in a general election.

March 12, 2008

RESP Bill a Winner

Liberal MPs are constantly thinking for new and innovative ways to make life better for Canadian families. The recent passage in the House of Commons of Dan McTeague's bill is a perfect example of this. It would allow parents to make tax-deductible contributions of up to $5000 per child per year.

This policy would be good for Canadians in the present and excellent for Canadians in the future. Allowing parents to invest in their children today ensures that tomorrow those children will be able to pursue their dreams and become highly educated and productive members of society, which benefits all Canadians. No child should have to decide against going to university or college because the cost is too high.

Although I believe that the government has a great responsibility to invest significantly in the education sector, I believe that we should also make it easier for parents to assist in this as well. Innovative thinking is what we need in Canada and I am proud that this idea came from a Liberal MP.

March 7, 2008

If John Baird Really Cared about the Environment, He Would Actually Do Something About it...

CBC interview with Conservative Environment Minister John Baird. He said the following in reference to the recent critical environment commissioner's report:

"We want to do a better job."


If he actually wanted to do a better job on the ebvironment, Baird would have actually implemented the Kyoto Protocal.

If he actually wanted to do a better job on the environment, Baird would have actually stood up to the oil companies in Alberta.

If he actually wanted to do a better job on the environment, Baird actually listen to environmental scientists rather than muzzling them.

If he actually wants to do a better job for the environment, John Baird needs to resign as Minister of the Environment and let someone competent take over.

March 5, 2008

Conservative Policy on the Death Penalty is Just Plain Wrong

It is completely inconsistent for the Conservative government to oppose the recent death sentence of a Canadian in Saudi Arabia while standing by and doing nothing for a Canadian sentenced to death in Montana. The government has decided to seek clemency for 23 year old Mohamed Kohail; however they refuse to seek clemency or support Ronald Smith, simply because he was condemned by the United States.

This government needs to wake up and stop endorsing everything the neo-conservatives do in the U.S. out of blind loyalty. The state should never have the right to take the life of an individual, no matter how 'democratic' or 'fair' the trial may have been.

While I do support Canadian efforts to spare Kohail's life, I want these efforts to also extend to Smith as well in order to achieve consistency in the Canadian position. The government deserves no praise for only doing what's right sometimes.

February 28, 2008

Chuck Cadman

Today, I am in no way surprised by the news that has emerged regarding allegations that the Conservative Party of Canada tried to bribe MP Chuck Cadman to support them in a confidence vote in 2005 against Paul Martin's Liberal Government. It's the exact type of sneaky, illicit actions I have come to expect from them.

According to an upcoming book, Conservative officials tried a series of bribes in order to secure Cadman's vote in order to defeat the government. Apparently, he was offered a $1 million life insurance policy among other offers. Several articles in newspapers across Canada cite Chuck Cadman's widow, Dona, as the source of these allegations.

The Conservatives have shown themselves to be a devious and sneaky lot, and this just goes to show to what lengths they will go to win, even if they had to break the law to do it.

February 26, 2008

Budget Disappointments

Today, finance minister Jim Flaherty released his newest budget, and it isn't good news for Canadians.

What about Canada's homeless? NOTHING
What about working parents who need affordable and quality child care? NOTHING
What about affordable housing? NOTHING

In my opinion one of the most despicable absences from this budget is the absence of any significant spending for aboriginal Canadians. The previous Liberal government had recognized the importance of acting to improve conditions for Canadian natives, but Stephen Harper quickly killed the $5 billion deal when he became prime Minister. Now they are only prepared to spend $135 million in new funds, which is too small to do anything of consequence. When will this government realize that they also have to take of all Canadians, not just the wealthy and upper-middle class?

Jim Flaherty and Stephen Harper are wrong for Canada and Canadians - we need balanced leadership that will provide for all Canadians, which is exactly what Stephane Dion will do once he is Canada's Prime Minister.

February 7, 2008

More evidence the government feels they are above the rules!

It has come out in the news recently that Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty broke the rules regarding who he hired to help writing last year's budget speech. According to a article (
Flaherty hired a man named Hugh McPhie who was paid $122,000 for his assistance. Personally, I believe with certainty that last year's budget (with its abandonment of Canada's aboriginals, the environment, and children living in poverty) was no where near good enough to deserve such an extravagent and exorbitant paycheque.

Although Flaherty is now claiming to follow the rules, his promises ought not to be believed. This is too little and it's most definitely too late.

February 4, 2008

Is the Government Trying to Purge the Civil Service??

Recently, I have written about heinous attempts by the Harper government to interfere with Canada's nuclear regulatory agency, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, which culminated in the firing of Linda Keen by Natural Resources Minister, Gary Lunn. This government has taken every opportunity it can grasp to get rid of unco-operative civil servants and bureaucrats. Their policies have been so bad that even government employees have been criticizing them. Unfortunatly, the authoritarian Harper regime can't handle criticism and resorts to firing its critics!

The latest victim is Deanna Allan, who worked as the vice-president of communications for the Canadian Wheat Board. On Friday, she announced that she had been fired by CWB President and Harper Yes Man Greg Arason. Arason himself was hired last year when the Conservatives fired then-President Adrian Measner for his support of the CWB's monopoly on wheat and barley.

Allan, Keen, and Measner were doing their jobs properly, and not according to the wishes of the government, and they lost their jobs for it. Stephen Harper and his cabinet ministers are acting like school-yard bullies, and the Canadian people cannot get rid of them soon enough.

January 17, 2008

Another Harper Minister Needs to Resign (or why not all of them, inlcuding the prime minister?)!

Earlier this week, I joined the chorus of calls for Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn to resign over his improper handling of the nuclear reactor situation in Chalk River, Ontario. It seems that the Conservative Cabinet is filled with nothing but incompetent and mindlessly partisan individuals (including the Prime Minister himself).

Stephane Dion has written a letter to the Prime Minister asking Harper to fire Helena Guergis from her position as Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. You can read his letter at the following link:

She publicly discussed the visit itinerary for when Dion and Michael Ignatieff visited Afghanistan last week with the media. Her decision to discuss their security could have engaged their safety and even their lives. Perhaps, that's even what she wanted to do...

It is completely unacceptable for her to have endangered Stephane Dion's life and still remain a minister of the government. She must be punished by losing her position in cabinet.

The Harper government needs to learn that there are some things which are more important than partisanship, such as the safety and lives of others, particularly individuals who they work alongside in the House of Commons every day. Surely Stephen Harper and his minions would rather see Stephane Dion alive than killed by the Taliban. Although, knowing them, that's not necessarily certain...

January 16, 2008

Last week I wrote about the current controversy regarding the nuclear reactor at Chalk River, Ontario and the improper influence by Stephen Harper and his cabinet. Overnight, Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn fired Linda Keen, the head of the nuclear regulatory commission. This is an absolutely unacceptable case of conservative interference into the affairs of an independent government organization.

Gary Lunn does not have the scientific and/or technical knowledge required to make such an important decision. She was fulfilling the mandate of her job to keep Canadians safe from a nuclear disaster, which I personally support.

Stephen Harper's government is very dangerous for Canada and Canadians. We need to know that our civil servants can do their job as according to their job descriptions, not in accordance with the political agenda of the Conservatives!

January 11, 2008

Even Kim Campbell Sees Just How Anti-Women the Conservative Government Is

I just found an excellent new story on the Toronto Star website and I encourage every Canadian to read it! It can be found at

Former Prime Minister Kim Campbell, herself a Progressive-Conservative Premier, has called Stephen Harper on his exclusion of women from his cabinet, especially from high profile ministries. She said that the government was treating women as an unimportant afterthought by not giving any woman a prominent portfolio.

I have long complained to my friends and family about Stephen Harper's hostility towards women and it's very nice to see that important conservative women agree with me. This government has continually acted to impede women in life; for instance, they killed the child care agreement the previous Liberal government had created. Although the Conservative Party may not like it, women have the right to work and have jobs other than raising children and we need to have affordable and accessible child care options. Women are equal and we cannot allow our rights to be trampled upon so easily by our government.

Stephen Harper needs to go. No Canadian Prime Minister should be allowed to discriminate against women the way he does!

January 10, 2008

Why We Need Kyoto

This morning I was walking to my part-time job and I saw something very unfortunate. Traffic had been reduced to one lane in both directions for construction purposes, as it has been for at least a week now. There was a large buildup of vehicles on both sides for the road and traffic was moving very slowly. All this time that each and every car inched along the road, they were spewing untold amounts of greenhouse gas emissions into the air.

surely these drivers ought to have known that the road was blocked off and they ought to have considered alternative transportation methods such as walking, bicycling, taking the bus, or carpooling on order to reduce the traffic congestion. Not only would they have been able to get to work faster, they would have helped protect the environment and limit damage to it. However, it seems like no one actually opted to do so, instead they chose to drive at a snail's pace in environmentally-damaging cars.

Basically my point is that Canadians are seemingly not willing to make the sacrifices required to save their planet on their own. Canada needs the Kyoto Protocol in order to ensure that change actually happens to lower our greenhouse gas emissions.

January 9, 2008

Keep Canada Safe - Fire Minister Gary Lunn!

I hope everyone had a good Christmas/Hanukkah/winter break and a happy New Year!

Although I took some time away from blogging recently in order to relax at home with my family for the holidays, and many days i didn't have access to the Internet, be assured that I am back now and will be sure to give you my thoughts on the important issues with which we are faced in today's world here in Canada.

For my first post-Christmas break post, I would like to comment on the situation which has recently come to light regarding the nuclear reactor in chalk River, Ontario and the Conservative government of Canada. This whole incident was completely mismanaged by Stephen Harper's conservatives who ignored this issue from the beginning! Why were they seemingly unaware of the problems this reactor faced? Should they not have been aware of the issue before it became an issue???

It has recently been made public that Natural Resources minister Gary Lunn had threatened to fire or punish the head of the regulatory commission, simply for doing her job to make sure that any nuclear plant in Canada is safe to operate!! Today, I saw that Liberal leader Stephane Dion has called for him to be fired from his cabinet post for his egregious and offensive actions and I firmly support this course of action. Gary Lunn has no right to attempt to pass the blame onto the regulatory commission when it firmly belongs squarely with him for failing to anticipate this unfortunate situation. He must resign now.

Personally, I am uncomfortable knowing that something so serious and potentially disastrous as Canada's nuclear power plants are under the domain of someone so incompetent and offensive as Gary Lunn appears to be.