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.