Tag Archives: Election

A low-level operative in Ontario, Michael Sona, was convicted after being charged with election fraud during the last federal election. The judge said he likely didn’t operate alone and that the fraud, using the massive Cons voter database to send out thousand of robocalls, benefited only the Cons. Those automated calls, by the way, deliberately misdirected non-Conservative voters by impersonating Elections Canada (which is a crime) and telling people their polling station had been moved to another location. As a result, some people turned up at the wrong address and were so frustrated they didn’t vote at all.

Harper won the last election by a mere 6,200 votes spread over 13 ridings. In my own riding (Yukon) he won by 132 votes. It’s not hard to figure out that, with such narrow margins, fraudulent tactics could give you the edge. Thousands of voters subsequently complained to Elections Canada about the calls. I personally know of a colleague who got such a call and initially thought it was a “mistake.” Naturally. After all, in Canada we don’t do Republican tactics like election fraud, right?

PatriziaNorth

But this extended race will cost Canadian voters, since parties are reimbursed 50% of their campaign expenditures, with candidates getting 60% back on eligible expenses. In the last federal election, those reimbursements alone cost taxpayers C$60m, and they are expected to grow this year.

It’s time to reign in the elections back to just 6 weeks, we don’t need American-style elections!

Psilons, in my campaign?

The debate on Friday was to focus on Mr. McCain’s perceived strength, foreign policy. Mr. McCain had not planned to devote large blocks of time to debate practice as did Mr. Obama, who was holing up with a tight circle of advisers at a hotel in Clearwater, Fla., on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to prepare. Mr. McCain had a preparatory session on Wednesday afternoon at the Morgan Library in Manhattan, but advisers said it had been interrupted by his decision, announced immediately afterward, to suspend his campaign.

If you are up on the whole “Clambake” then you must know what Clearwater, Florida is, right? Let me remind you:

If you’re still here and you didn’t watch the video and am still not clear on where Clearwater is, it’s practically the center of the non-celebrity world of Scientology. Demographically, it’s a strange choice for the Obama campaign to appear there, what with the CoS’s somewhat tarnished public image. I’m going to have to do a little digging to look to see if any well-known CoS members are in the Obama campaign.

It appears I’m not the first person to question this

This is troubling to me, as I’ve been more and more concerned about how the CoS goes about defending itself from criticism in very aggressive and/or paranoid ways.  In Fact, I’m sure that I’ll get a few hits over here just for this post.

So, what do you think, is there a CoS mole in the Obama campaign?

Dear Candidates: Irene Mathyssen Responds

On Monday I posted that I would contact the local candidates in the Canadian Federal Election; Daniel McNeail responded on Monday (about an hour after I emailed him)

Irene Mathyssen responded today:

Dear Kevin,

Thank you very much for emailing. I appreciate constituents taking the time to contact me about the issues important to them.  As the MP, one of the things I pride myself on is taking the time to provide personal responses to constituents when they email or write to me.  An election does not change my commitment to constituents, and am pleased to be able to continue to answer constituents questions during the campaign.

First, let me respond to your question about “personal freedom”. I very much treasure the personal freedoms we have in Canada, and absolutely will stand in defense of those freedoms. Personal freedoms however come with personal responsibilities, something many people seem to forget all too quickly. When personal actions cross the line and cause harm to others, we must draw the line, personal freedom is then subject to restriction to protect the health and welfare of other citizens.

Many people are under the misunderstanding that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees “rights” that they feel they should have. In particular people have approached me thinking that they have “the right” to supercede property by-laws, or feel that they have the “right” to a driver’s license, for example. In the preamble of the Charter however, it is perfectly clear that all of our personal rights are subject to such restrictions as are reasonable in a free and democratic society.

On government transparency, I unequivocally believe we need far greater openess and transparency in our government.  I voted with the Conservatives in support of the “Accountability Act”, because although the legislation is far from perfect, it was a positive step toward a more transparent government.  Unfortunately, the reality is the Harper government has been less accountable or transparent than they promised to be.  Even as a Member of Parliament, my office has had to submit dozens of “Access to Information” (ATI) requests to have federal government information released to me. From policy decisions to government spending, I believe we have a long way to go toward an open, transparent, and accountable government.  I would invite you to visit: http://new.ndplondonfanshawe.ca/?p=495 to see some of the examples of abuse of public funds our NDP MPs discovered through ATI requests.

The NDP has a plan to move us toward great openess and accountability, developed by long time NDP leader Ed Broadbent.  I have attached a .PDF copy of this plan for you to review if you are interested.

In regard to Nuclear Power, the NDP believes that the Atomic Energy Commission must be kept under public control, not privatized. Nuclear technology is obviously something which, given the current geo-political climate, must be carefully overseen. New Democrats, however, also believe that nuclear energy is not a direction we should be pursuing in terms of Canada’s energy needs.  We have an existing “baseload” of nuclear power, but nuclear plants have never delivered the return on public investment which was promised.  Nuclear plant construction and maintenance has consistently  run over budget and over time deadlines.  Nuclear facility construction itself is also highly polluting, and we do not yet have a satisfactory means of dealing with nuclear waste. We believe it is unacceptable to simply store the waste and leave the disposal problem to future generations. That kind of short-term thinking has contributed significantly to the climate crisis we are facing today, and we cannot continue to ignore the long-term consequences of our actions. Instead, New Democrats believe Canadians would be better served by a diversified and decentralized energy network that includes a stable mix of hydro-electric, geothermal, solar, wind, and other sustainable, renewable, clean energy sources. Our Greener Communities, Green Canada plan includes retrofitting all federal government buildings (and providing direct support for provinces and municipalities to also participate) for energy efficiency, and a “Made In Canada” procurement and investment strategy that would ensure the solar, wind, and other technologies purchased by the government of Canada are manufactured in Canada–creating Canadian jobs! New Democrats believe in setting a good example through our actions, which is why we announced this week that our headquarters in Ottawa will be retrofitted with a “green roof”. You can read more about this undertaking at:
http://www.ndp.ca/page/6907

On culture, arts, and entertainment, the NDP has been very clear. First, we must reverse the recent Conservative cuts to arts and cultural programs. Quality of life is not simply a matter of profit and productivity, it is also about having the time and the means to enjoy music, theatre, film, and other art forms. Next, we must introduce modern copyright legislation, that protects both artists and consumers.  As a consumer, you should have every right to copy a CD you purchase to an MP3 player, or to back-up your DVD’s to your computer. At the same time, we must recognize that artists need to eat and have a roof over their heads. They deserve fair compensation for their work. A strong, publicly funded CBC is also a component of the NDP’s commitment to arts and entertainment. While the arts and entertainment community should be funded in part by private contributions of patrons, public funding for the arts should be reflective of the benefits to our society of maintaining a strong and independant Canadian culture. Our commitment to Canadian arts and entertainment was announced publicly this morning and the details are available at: http://www.ndp.ca/page/6933

Finally, you asked about unions and international trade. New Democrats believe in FAIR TRADE, not Free Trade. We believe that Canadian agreements with foreign governments on trade matters must include standards for fair labour practices, environmental standards, and human rights. For example, the Conservative government has been aggressively pursuing a “Free Trade” deal with South Korea. However, this so called “Free Trade” deal is a one way street, providing unlimited access to Canadian markets for cheap Korean products without ensuring Canadian goods have equal access to Korean markets. I have tabled 3 petitions in the House of Commons on behalf of thousands of London-Fanshawe constituents who signed petitions opposing the government’s continued pursuit of this Canada-Korea deal.  Earlier this year, NDP leader Jack Layton wrote to both Senator Clinton and Senator Obama indicating our willingness to reopen and renegoiate NAFTA to ensure trade fairness for both countries.  For example, under current NAFTA rules, Canada must continue to supply the USA with a guaranteed percentage of our oil production every day–even if a supply shortfall or national crisis occurs in Canada. That’s not right, and we want to change it. This dialogue even attracted the attention of CNN in the USA, and Jack Layton appeared on the Lou Dobbs show on CNN to explain our “Fair Trade” position. You can watch this by visiting my website (www.irenemathyssen.ca) and clicking on the “Irene’s Video’s” button.  It is currently the third video from the top–but new videos are being added during the campaign, so you may have to scroll down to find it.

The New Democrats are the only political party in Canada with a unionized staff. In terms of unions, now more than ever, working people deserve the protection and benefits of unionized workplaces. I recognize that not all unions are created equal, and not all are as helpful and effective as they could be. Having said that, the truth is that unions are like democratic governments, the more the membership of a union participates in union meetings, elections, and activism, the better representation they tend to get from their union.  The same holds true for government, the more informed and actively engaged its citizens are, the more responsive and accountable our government will be.

I hope this fully answers your questions.  Please do not hesitate to write again at any time.

All the best,
Irene Mathyssen, MP
NDP Candidate, London-Fanshawe

– Show quoted text –

On Mon, Sep 22, 2008 at 9:06 AM, Kevin Wardrop <nitemayr@gmail.com> wrote:

Good Day Mrs. Mathyssen,
I live in your riding and would like more information about your stance on Personal Freedom, Government Transparency, Nuclear Power, Culture and Entertainment, Unions and International Trade.
Thanks for your time,
Kevin Wardrop.


Irene Mathyssen Re-election Campaign
1700 Dundas St. Suite G
London ON, N5W 3C9
519-451-0099
www.irenemathyssen.ca

And My Response

Mrs. Mathyssen,

Thank-you for your nuanced and detailed responses.

They have given me a great deal to think about. Please accept my best wishes for your Re-Election campaign.

Kevin Wardrop

Wow, now that’s a detailed response.  This is a great deal more in-depth than Mr. O’Neail’s response but feels less personal; which one woud expect from an experienced politician.  I’m still much more in the “Green” category, as their views appear to coincide with mine and as always NDP always seems to be Liberal + Tory = Libertory Lite with some concilatory language to their traditional base the Unions.

I don’t think I’ll find a political soul mate on the nuclear matter though.

The last response will be from the Liberal Candidate, Jacquie Gauthie.

Dear Candidates, Please Contact me

This is my election district: London-Fanshawe; Londoners might refer to the majority of it as “The Scary East End” or som variation of it.  When I first came to London, I might have agreeed, having toured it while looking for a new home.  I settled here mostly out of necessity but have been constantly surprised and pleased by the hidden nature spots and “close to the countryside” living that I have found out here on the ragged-edge of the riding.

I used “The Undecided” to figure out which party I agreed with more in this election and was surprised to find out that the Greens were top of the list (mostly due to my paranoid desire to have Health Care funded at 100% with magical healing properties and Cancer Cures for all).  That aside, I contacted the Green Party Candidate in my Riding (Dan O’Neail) and asked for some information on his stances.  I think I may do the same for the candidates for the Liberals and NDP.  I won’t Vote Tory for any reason, no matter how great the local candidate is, if isn’t the party leader, one Candidate isn’t going to change a whole party.  I’m not required to give some sort of even-handed approach to this, I’ve never claimed to be totally open-minded.And let’s face it, I’m never going to vote for anyone who claims to represent “Christian Heritage”  I mean, seriously, “I take my lead from a 2000 year old Carpenter’s Son” that’s like advertising you really, really, really want to believe that local social problems can be solved through strong belief in Faries and Giants.

So, I’m going to ask the Liberal and NDP candidates the same question I asked Dan O’Neail:

Do you have a website where you discuss your platform?

I live in your riding and would like more information about your stance on Personal Freedom, Government Transparency, Nuclear Power, Culture and Entertainment, Unions and International Trade.

Thanks for your time,

Kevin Wardrop.

I’ll post the replies as they come in.

A Short Note about my previous attempts to speak with local government:

I’ve since deleted the email reply I received about “Recycling Containers”.  It was a brusque “You can find them in any hardware store”  which kind of blunted the question by being, well, blunt.  I decided this lack of candor would be met with total dismissal.

Perhaps this time, things will go well.

Reality is not Subjective, but don't let that stop you

If the “Near Dead Heat” election in the US can teach Non-Tory politicians anything, it’s that the facts don’t really matter to the electorate.  Anyone with a bit of sense can look at John McCain and say “cor, he looks old and he sounds a whole hell of a lot like Pres. Bush, I hate that guy!”

Let me elucidate, I know at least one HARD CORE Bush lover, by hard core, I mean he chose his friends using Love of Bush as a measure.  He HATED John McCain until about 2007,  when he suddenly gave up on his Bush Bro-mance and took on McCainiacism.  The justification being that he finally noticed how awesome John McCain was.

John McCain has always been John McCain, he’s only more OBVIOUSLY John McCain these days and that seems to translate into “Totally Awesome” in the mind of many of the electorate.  I do suspect that there is a good 15-20 percent “I’m not voting for a black guy” thing going on, which may have jumped to 25% after Palin was disgorged from the womb of Alaska, but a race this close doesn’t really make any sense.

Pres. Bush is polling somewhere in Reformed Child Molestor range; McCain is pretty much the Daddy of the party that birthed Bush, why do people believe that “more of the same” is really “change”?  Because the McCain camp simply says it is so.  Whatever the McCain camp says, they say it over and over and never waver, true or not.

That is the lesson the Non-Tory parties need to take; go hard, go again, and again and again.  Keep it simple like “Free Health Care and Education” and “Even Lower Taxes”  and so on.

Don’t bother with nuance or long term care, the majority of the electorate doesn’t look anywhere beyond Christmas in planning, why should the Election be about the future when all that matters to the electorate is how they are going to feed and clothe themselves next week.

The one where I compare the Loonie to the Obamie

The US economy is tanking; there is no doubt about it.  So why is the Canadian Dollar losing value against the greenback?

At 8:05 a.m. EDT, the Canadian unit was at C$1.0767 to the U.S. dollar, or 92.88 U.S. cents, down from C$1.0686 to the U.S. dollar, or 93.58 U.S. cents, at Tuesday’s close.

Crazy!

The Loonie
The Loonie

Compare that to this:

A Zogby poll on 20 August put Barack Obama five points behind his Republican rival, reversing the seven-point lead the pollster had given him the month before.

Senator McCain 71, now leads Senator Obama by a 46 per cent to 41 per cent margin, according to a latest poll released by Zogby International on Wednesday.

The Canadian Economy is far from faltering (but tottering on the edge) with Canada being a major exporter of Oil and other natural resources.  One wonders if perhaps the Tories have not done enough to nationalize the value of said resources?  As nominal conservatives; the idea must seem anathema to their ethos of spend and cut instead of tax and spend.  Then there is the whole idea of Canada getting involved in the US’s War on Terriers.  Canada isn’t a target for international terrorism, it’s hardly even a splash damage candidate, why get involved at all until the shooting is over and Canadian peacekeepers can “keep the peace”

Yet, here we are.  Canadians and Americans seem determined to vote in another series of Conservatives, and the eagerness of the timing of Harper’s (broken promise) election is eerily like a coordinated plan to make a solid bloc of Conservative governments in the West (the UK is heading for a Tory victory too) with the Russians getting poked with a sharp stick like they are, we are looking like a return to the Thatcher and Reagan era.

Are people really this stupid?

Obama is no savior, he’s barely (at least rhetorically) a left winger; he’s about 2 degrees from McCain rhetorically; but McCain is the servant of some very sinister paymasters, whereas Obama is more of a stooge for Capatalists.

Wondrously dangerous times indeed.

Look at this dispatch from America; and doubt that the conservative political machine has gone out of control:

The Richland County (S.C.) Sheriff’s Department has acquired an armored personnel carrier complete with a turret-mounted .50-caliber belt-fed machine gun for its Special Response Team.

Sheriff Leon Lott told the Columbia State newspaper that he hoped the vehicle, named “The Peacemaker,” would let the bad guys know that his officers are serious.

“We don’t look at this as a killing machine,” Lott told the paper. “It’s going to keep the peace. We hope the fact that we have this is going to save lives. When something like this rolls up, it’s time to give up.”

The Peacemaker has a top speed of 30 mph.

You see the reasoning there; we have a giant gun and a tank and we are going to use them.  This is military hardware in the hands of the police as a response to the “out of control” levels of resistance they are experiencing.  Which is of course a fallacy; I haven’t seen a single report of anti-tank weapons used in police firefights (please correct me if I am wrong).

This is the country that is not going to elect Obama, not because he is black (which is probably why 25-35 percent of them won’t), not because he is a Democrat (25 percent of Americans still think Pres. Bush is doing a great job, they will vote for McCain if he eats a Jewish baby on stage, it’s best to just ignore them) the majority of the remaining 40-50 percent are scared.  They are scared of the future and think that the rhetoric of the people who have scared them for the past 8 years will come to pass and they will vote a nearly straight Republcian ticket and get the government they deserve.

The same is true for the Canadian dollar, the dollar is a strong alternative to the Greenback, but as Canada is tied so closely to the fate of the American Endeavor (through the strong economic and social ties that have been formed) The loony falls on the whims of the US rhetoric, which is as changeable as the wind and rooted in fear, not hope.

US Politics are Sexy: Foetus Freedom Forever!

Remember these guys?
Remember these guys?


The US election continues to turn on a wheel that maddens me and confuses me all at once.  Faced with a choice between a young black guy who (for all intents and purposes) represents little change from the status quo and an Old White Guy who represents more of the same, they choose more of the same.  The reasons behind this are fairly clear (crazy as they are) and not the least of which is “Invisible Men”

The folks I’ve posted here are nice people, and I’ve held them up for some ridicule, but only because of their motivations, not their goals.  Their goals (though I disagree with them) appear moral on their face:  “Saving Babies.”

Cute Baby
Cute Baby

Who can honestly argue that babies shouldn’t be saved, babies are so cute, right?  They come from their mom and need all the care and comfort in the world just to survive and represent the hope for the future, right?

So there we have the sensible and secular motivation to save babies, they are cute, they have potential and represent the ongoing future of humanity.

That is almost never the face presented by the anti-abortion folks, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one protest that used that kind of sane reasoning it’s always the same: “Abortion is Murder, Let’s Pray”

The folks at the DNC are no different.  Wrapping yourself in a selpuchure and walking out to say that this or that is moral or immoral because this book written by mushroom addicts in the early centuries says so is kind of crazy.  They want to be a political force (and they are) but they want to do so by imposing their belief structure on the world as a whole.  They believe that they are moral and upright and that their morals and uprightness are how the reat of us should behave.  It’s that imposition that annoys the same about the behavior of extremely liberal people, the extremely liberal or lassiez-faire types would allow everyone to behave as they may (within reason) and of course let anarchy reign (in the markets, etc).  Both ends of the spectrum, both axioms of ethos, life.

As we (in the north) watch the elections in the south; we should remember these folks, and how often they team up to do their “best” to impose their beliefs on all of us.

US Politics are Sexy: Obama is unprepared for Office

I’ve been shy to post very much about the coming US election, mostly because I no longer have a dog in that fight.  I’m not really in the Tank for Obama; I think he’s a good guy but still really a “Politician” Politician, who would sell out his own morals for votes.  I’m not really saying that as a negative; it’s probably a virtue in a politician.   However, I’m infinitley more interested in Obama than I was in Hillary or McCain.  Both of the latter candidates strike me as people who could be trusted to simply enact their own personal policies, whereas Obama appears to blow with the wind, which (as Bill Clinton showed) can make for a memorable and light presidency.
All that said; I don’t dig on the “Obama is too new to be President” arguments; thus I present this compelling argument from a Digg comment I read today.
Obama is definitely more qualified to be President than George W. Bush was, and is definitely more qualified to be President than McCain. How so? Well, on the former point, one only has to look at Bush’s history to have that question answered. If Bush was qualified for the job, then Obama certainly is. On the latter, one only has to look at McCain’s lack of grasp of economics & foreign policy, & his continued blunders, plus his rather shady history in the Keating 5.

Obama has served 11 years in elected office, including 8 years in the Illinois Senate and 3 years in the U.S. Senate. He is the only candidate to begin a presidential bid with experience at both the state and federal levels. He brings more elected experience to his presidential campaign than Ronald Reagan (8 years as California governor), Perot (zilch), George W. Bush (6 years Texas governor), Hillary Clinton (7 years as senator), John Edwards (6 years as U.S. senator), Giuliani (8 years as NYC mayor), Mitt Romney (4 years governor). Obama has much more foreign policy experience than either Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan had when they were elected.

But if the best candidates are those with the most experience, then you surely believe that Strom Thurmond should have become president.

Remember: The three presidents who historians consider the greatest of all time (Lincoln, Washington, and FD Roosevelt) all had much less legislative experience Obama. Abraham Lincoln served but a single term in the United States House of Representatives and less time in the Illinois Senate. Even Eisenhower had virtually no political experience.

Experience? 30 years in the senate will not necessarily mean you will make good decisions on foreign policy, or will choose smart, pragmatic advisors/cabinet members. There are few people with more experience in public life over the past 40 years than Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld – and George W. Bush was around politics his entire life. Have they done a decent job? Do you trust ’em? If so, you’re a chump.