Tag Archives: Canadian blog

Communication and the LPC

I have to thank the fact that there are people who leak out information, that media publishes these leaks and that a number of my followers and those that I follow on Twitter catch this information so that I can stay somewhat up-to-date on what is happening within the LPC.  I am a member of the party but that doesn’t seem to count for much in terms of communication.  Perhaps if I was on the national executive or one of the remaining 34 MPs I would be privy to information about my party.  I shouldn’t complain too much as there is a portal for ordinary members to make some noise at en famille, the forum for LPC members.  Of course there is a wealth of documents stored on the national party’s website as well, much of these bits of information tucked away in PDF format just waiting for any member to ask.

But, when there is a question of immediacy such as is currently the case in terms of appointing an interim leader, it is embarrassing to not know what is going on except via the media.  One would think that membership would be the first to know, at least officially notified a few minutes before it’s released to the public.  Our constitution has a process that is supposed to be followed in the selection of an interim leader.  There is no need for a consult with the membership, just a process that will allow a further process to begin, one in which membership has a real say thanks to the revised constitution.

But the media tells me that the current national leadership has a different idea in mind, one in which the rules need to be changed.  My guess is that the leadership has listened in to the debates raging on Twitter and on blog sites across the land.  My guess is that this leadership then makes assumptions from what they think they are hearing, yet they don’t bother to do the fact-checking with the actual membership.

Twitter is noisy and much of that noise comes from many who are not members of the LPC, and that is what makes this social media so vital.  That said, it isn’t a replacement for dialogue with the LPC membership.  The party knows who the members are and where they are located and how to contact them.  There are EDA’s which can become more useful at the riding level for a more inclusive dialogue.  We can also use a secure polling option hosted at the National Party’s website to get a quick overall view of what members think in regards to any number of questions of a more immediate nature.

Since none of this is being utilised, the leadership has set themselves apart from the membership, something that suggests a certain level of contempt for the membership.  Yes, I said it – contempt.  Members are not equal, not regarded as more than a source of funds for the most part as those who are more-than-equal play leadership games and work behind the scenes on different power agendas.

It’s time to claim the Liberal Party of Canada for its members, by its members.  A lot of work has been done in preparing for renewal (ACT 2009) and now it is the time to do the work of breathing life back into the party so that we can once again be proud to be called Liberals.

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Do the Work

I’m busy reading an April 2009 document called, “Advancing Change Together: A Time to Act” which is the report of the LPC Change Commission that was co-chaired by Doug Ferguson, Carolyn Bennet and Brigette Garceau.  First thing I want to know was why was this document not highlighted front and centre at every opportunity since its publication in 2009?  Why was it not sent as an e-mail attachment along with the LPC constitution to every member, especially every new member?

I realise that the leader has had to deal with Stephen Harper and with public opinion that grew out of misrepresentation though attack ads, but the organisation as a whole seems to have dropped the ball leading us to a party that has set a record low for voter support and elected seats following the last election.  We are at a point in time where a few in leadership are working towards taking the LPC into the NDP which basically results in the end of an LPC.  I am a member of the LPC and I am not happy about what is happening to “my” party.  It is my party and it is “your” party should you be a member or a volunteer, or someone who votes for the LPC.  The party doesn’t belong to a select few at the top, it belongs to us.  At least, this is what our constitution tells us.

As you can tell, I am a bit frustrated and angry.  However, I still have a hope that in the coming weeks and months that we will be able to reclaim the party with the selection of a leader who will commit to making the LPC a party that focuses on liberal Canadians.  Do the work and the party will again become the Government of Canada.

PS – Go to progressive bloggers and vote for this post.


			

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Post-Election Thoughts

The election for Canada’s 41st Parliament is over and the results are in. As expected, Stephen Harper has won a majority which should allow him to further his agenda (hidden or not hidden) and that of the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC). And, unexpectedly, the New Democratic Party (NDP) took over as the official opposition as the Liberal Party of Canada (LPC) slipped into third place. I am a liberal at heart and though I am saddened by the result, I am also relieved. This result allows some real changes to occur in the LPC so that it better reflects what it is to be liberal and Canadian.

I don’t want to focus on the election itself as that is one for history, not about what comes next.  It doesn’t matter who did or said what, who did or didn’t take part in debates or who did or didn’t answer media questions, or about the role of the media during the election or about reports not released because there was an election taking place.  The results are in and we now have to live with them for at least four years assuming Stephen Harper follows his own election law this time around.  What I want to focus on is “Now what do we do if we believe in a Canada that is inclusive, a Canada that is unified in all of its diversity?”

First steps on the level of the political party – choose a leader and hold that leader accountable.  An interim leader is being chosen at this moment and will serve until a full leadership convention.  Care has to be given to the selection of the interim leader as many would see this as an endorsement and an unfair advantage to the interim leader in the leadership convention which follows.  Given the polarity of vision in various leadership contenders, this is even more vital as it is obvious to most that certain candidates would fold the party in order to have a “united left party” with the NDP.  Obviously, this is not something that can be decided by a leader, but must be decided by the party membership as a whole, and only after enough time, resources and research have been invested, including the EDA leadership doing an extended conversation with their local LPC supporters.  Will we have the courage and the patience to do this work?  Or will we throw up our hands and admit that we are dinosaurs and cease to exist as a political party in Canada.

Our choice, I hope.

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A Polarized Canadian Electorate

The polls for the current election are showing something that is quite surprising, but somehow at the same time, something that makes sense.  Canada is divided again.  It wasn’t that many years ago that Canadians divided over the notion of two nations within one nation – a Québecois Nation and a Canadian Nation.  Today the divide is based on ideology, or so it seems.  Canadians are either holding fast to ultra conservativism (CPC) or racing to jump on an ultra left bandwagon (NDP).  The Liberals, a centrist political party, has almost been abandoned.

How does this make any sense politically?  Canadians aren’t extremists by nature.  Canadians are a people who steadily work and live a life on the middle road, caring for their families and neighbours while working hard to pay their bills.  I will try to find sense by looking at the phenomenon through the lens of human psychology, particularly that of the personal and collective unconscious.  But first, some background.

The Liberals, the centrist party of Canada, lost its way because of being too long in power.  Canadians trusted the Liberals and that trust became taken for granted.  And the abuses, the scams became bigger.  Along came the PC under the leadership of Brian Mulroney to avenge the Canadian voters.  Mulroney quickly showed Canadians that they had placed their trust in the wrong man and the wrong party and the Liberals were returned to power.  The old Liberal ways returned telling Canadians that the Liberals had not learned their lessons and again needed punishment.  A new version of the conservative party, the CPC held a hope for real change, after all its leader Steven Harper had promised transparency, accountability and honesty – values that seemed to have disappeared in the Canadian political world.

Five years later, and Canada is in shock.  Not only did the CPC not deliver its promises, it took abuse to a new level and added a new element, contempt.  The electorate was pummeled by attack ad after attack ad that sought to redefine the political world in black and white terms.  Invoking an evangelical template, the CPC placed themselves on the right hand of God in battle with the evil forces of darkness which they defined as any who opposed the CPC.  Most Canadians are believing Christians though not evangelical.  The constant bombardment of this war of good versus evil disturbed and shook the worldview of the average Canadian.  Fear began to appear, but not a fear that was easy to define, just a vague fear of the darkness, the instability of the place called home, Canada.

Steven Harper, knows what he is doing, he knows the power and value of fear as he tries to con Canadians to vote for him to be the leader of Canada.  There is no pretense that Canadians are voting for local candidates.  It is all about voting for Stephen Harper or against Stephen Harper.  I don’t believe that the Steven Harper that goes home each night to his family is an evil man, but the man we see as the leader of the CPC is a man possessed.  His hubris feeds on the collective unconscious.  And that, is what has come to scare most Canadians who have unconsciously known they couldn’t trust the man completely.  In this election, the stakes are higher.

And Canadians are in a panic.  Anyone But Harper! Anyone but conservative (ABC) has resulted in a fleeing from the extreme right – a fight or flight reaction – not a reasoned response.  Reason would tell Canadians to go back to the middle.  But the wounds inflicted by past Liberal governments, betrayed trust, have Canadians frantically scanning the political spectrum for a new safe place, as far away from Harper as they can get.  And the NDP are there, waiting for them with open arms trying to assure these Canadians that they can provide accountable, transparent and honest government.

Can the NDP deliver?  Personally, I don’t think so.  They aren’t a party of the centre and they will end up acting out of their extreme, non-centrist nature.  But, perhaps . . .

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How Did We Lose an Honourable Canada?

I have to admit it has been a long time since I wrote on this blog site.  I have been more focused my Jungian Psychology site as far as blogging goes and have been using Twitter for my  #cdnpoli and #elxn41 daily fixes while working at a university in China.  Yes, I am writing this from China where I am finding some meaningful work in my retirement from teaching and educational administration.  Obviously, I am not a hot-headed youngster, but a fairly quiet senior with a head of gray hair which is worn as a badge of honour for my decades of paying taxes in a country I love.  I am proud of being a Canadian.  But, I am sad at what is happening to my country.

When I was a teenager in Ottawa in the 1960s, great things were happening under the leadership of Pearson – a new flag, national pride, UN peace-keeping, international respect and a relatively respectful battle of parties in politics.  Things got interesting with Trudeau and there was definitely a lot of passion.  At one point, I joined the Liberal Youth, the NDP youth and the Conservative youth groups – experimenting.

Life changed for me and for Canada.  I got a job teaching and began raising a family in Saskatchewan, teaching French.  A lot of years later it was time to retire and enjoy being a grandparent in my country.  But, something had changed – in rode a Torontonian masquerading as an Albertan.  As far as I could tell, he was “just visiting” the west as he was in an awful hurry to change his home address back to Ontario.  His name, Steve Harper.

I’ve lived and worked with western rednecks for more forty years and find them to be humorous and passionate about many different things.  Forty years living with them I am still an easterner in spite of my children being born and raised in Saskatchewan.  In spite of being an easterner, these people are my friends that I can trust, honest people though we often don’t agree on many things, especially political things.  I know they have my back as. I have their’s.

So, it is with confusion that I see them voting for this city-kid from Toronto and claiming him as their “home boy.”  He makes the right sounds, for my friends who are hunters or like to think of themselves as hunters (most of them don’t hunt though I did for quite a few years – LOL).  As “their man” in Ottawa, he will set those easterners in their place and put an end to pork-barrel politics in Québec.  It wasn’t long before Harper began betraying them.  My neighbours see themselves under attack with regards to the CWB.  They feel aggrieved that Ontario and Québec got so much of the CAP money, money that they felt should have gone to them for hockey arenas that needed replacement- after all, he was their man.

Curiously, the continue to forgive him though he lies to them.  Harper told them he’d never appoint a senator, that he would only have an elected senate.  Twenty-seven appointed senators later, they forgive him his lies in hopes that next time he will keep his promise.  One promise broken after another, Harper is forgiven – he is their man and that is all that counts.  They forgive his meanness and his disregard for them.  They forgive him though the lineups for doctors is getting longer and it is getting harder to find a bed in a senior home for elderly parents and grandparents.  Somehow, all these broken promises are lain on the doorstep of the other parties.  They can’t blame their man, so they blame those damned easterners.  And in the process, my neighbours are becoming angry with anyone who dares to tell them the truth of this man they have adopted as their man.

Reason has flown out the window when Harper is seen as a westerner (born, raised, educated and living in the east) while a true Albertan running in Calgary as a Liberal is vilified as “just visiting” and told to “go back to Toronto.”  The last session of government saw Harper and his party fall in a vote of non-confidence due to contempt of Parliament.  Yet, my neighbours believe Harper as he tells them, the government fell on the budget.  When I point out the reality, the response is “Well, those damned Liberals, commies and separatists would have voted out the government on the budget, so what’s your point?”

Denial.  We lost our country to denial, to lies, to broken promises, to anger, to tactics of divisiveness and the most blatant levels of disrespect ever seen in the history of this country (and that is saying something).  My Chinese hosts can’t understand why our country puts up with this mean and angry man, this rude man.  They don’t hold Harper against me or other Canadians working here.  They know that he is not the country, that Canada is a great country with good people.

Canada has been seriously wounded and is suffering.  It is a county divided because one man saw tactics of division as a way to personal power, a man so arrogant that he renamed the Government of Canada so that it would be officially called The Harper Government.  We let it happen.  When does this masochism end?  When do we say enough, we want our Canada back?

PS If you want to follow me on Twitter, I am at @rgl_LPC

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Reforming Drug and Gun Laws … Not!

I am back from Mexico and have heard enough local “news” that it is making me want to scream with how dumb politicians and corporate citizens are taking care of my province and my country.

Well, it is a surprise to see our adoring western press printing articles about gun and drug policy reforms.  Even more surprising is the fact that the Saskatoon Star Phoenix suggests that our PM is only about ten years behind the rest of the pack of world leaders and is standing out alone like a sore thumb.  Well, the last fact is something that isn’t a surprise to me.  That was most evident during last summer’s Summer Olympics when Harper was a no-show in Beijing.  It’s hard to have a positive effect on the world scene when one is pouting in a corner.

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Research and the Conservative Plan

Okay, so there is no plan by our government for contributing to research, just as there is no plan for our government to move Canada forward into the future as a green economy.  It is embarrassing to say the least when a tiny country such as Singapore and giants such as the U.S.A. are looking to research as one of the key means to moving out of recession.  What are we doing here?

But federal money, $4-million over five years, ran out in April. By then, a funding crunch was already limiting the scope of the work of many medical researchers across the country. The recent federal budget, with its $147.9-million in cuts over three years to the granting agencies that fund university-based research in Canada, will make it even harder for scientists, Dr. Meaney says.

In today’s Globe and Mail, Anne McIlroy puts it out they straight and simple.

Gary Goodyear, the federal Minister of State for Science and Technology, has defended the government’s commitment to science and its budget.

But sometimes Dr. Meaney says he closes his eyes and fantasizes about moving to Singapore.

“I am committed to Canada,” he says. “I haven’t given up the fight.”

Sadly, it appears as though Goodyear, Flaherty and Harper are not that committed to Canada.  This is not a proud moment for Canadians.

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