Tonight I’m going to see Stephen Harper: The Musical in Kitchener, Ontario.
Stephen Harper: The Musical! with James Gordon
Join us for a fun evening of fabulous music, puppetry and fellowship, all in support of a great cause – making our votes count!
When: Friday December 6, 8 PM **
Where: Courtyard at Bonnie Stuart, 141 Whitney Place, Kitchener
Cost: $18 online – - or Pay What You Can at the door! (Everyone welcome!)
A sharp-witted, scathingly satirical, and not-too-untrue one-man show, ( well, two if you count the somewhat disturbing Harper Dummy!) featuring 18 original songs, spoken word, hundreds of projected images, audience participation, and an activist’s passion to show where we are and where we can go as a nation.
More info? email@example.com 519-568-7655
** NOTE: Come at 6:30 and we’ll be meeting in a separate room at Bonnie Stuart to talk politics and enjoy some refreshments before the show! Everyone is welcome.
This is a fundraiser by Anita and Jenn for Fair Vote Canada Waterloo Region Chapter.
Some songs from the show:
The Day that Canada Died (bill c-38 omnibus bill)
Politically, Canada is a mess. Our 19th Century inequitable winner-take-all electoral system needs to be brought into the 21st Century. Canada needs Proportional Representation if we are to have a real democracy.
Whatever democratic checks and balances we once had have long since been eroded or compromised. Far from being the independent representative of our sovereign, the Office of the Governor General in the person of David Johnson seems to be functioning as a Public Relations arm of The Harper Government.
Rather than providing a house of sober second thought, Canada’s Senate is instead a house of scandal. And everything is made even worse with the concentration of power in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO)
The problem we are facing is, strangely enough, NOT Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Nor is it the Conservative Party of Canada.
The problem is a system that allows ANY political party to have so much power.
- A leadership review vote could be triggered at any time on the receipt of written notice bearing the signatures of at least 15% of the members of caucus. A majority of caucus, voting by secret ballot, would be sufficient to remove the leader, and begin the process of selecting a new one.
- membership in caucus would no longer simply be up to the leader to decide.
- the riding association, and not the leader, would decide who its nominee was. There would be no leader’s veto.
If this bill does what it purports to do, it will make the Prime Minister accountable to the MPs of the Prime Minister’s Party. It will not make the PM or the party any more directly accountable to citizens (we need Proportional Representation for that) but it is a start.
It would be a first good step towards decentralizing power, Which is, incidentally, a feature of democracy.
I wouldn’t trust Mr. Tom Mulcair with the keys to the kingdom, any more than I would trust Mr. Justin Trudeau with the unaccountable power vested in the PMO these days, just as I certainly don’t trust Mr. Stephen Harper with this power. I might trust Ms. Elizabeth May for a single term, but I would prefer not to have to.
Democracy must have checks and balances.
MPs should not serve at the pleasure of the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister must serve at the pleasure of our Members of Parliament. When MPs are made to vote the party line, they are representing the party, not their constituents.
Which is why every MP needs to vote for this private member’s bill.
Any MP who does not vote for this will be telling their constituents — and Canada — that they do not want a voice in parliament. The thing is, if they don’t have a voice in parliament for themselves, they certainly can’t speak for any of the people they are supposed to be there to represent.
Most of us don’t understand how our government actually works. Even after taking every history class going when I was in school, I was unaware of what they call “Whipping.” To understand why we need Mr. Chong’s Reform Act, every Canadian should watch Sean Holman‘s excellent documentary Whipped: the secret world of party discipline Documentary that explains how it all works. Although the film looks at the process at the provincial level, the same thing happens federally.
“In Canada, citizens exercise only one franchise, one vote at the federal level: A vote for their local Member of Parliament. And they rightfully expect that their local member be empowered to respond to their views and aspirations,” Chong said.
MP Michael Chong will be hosting a Twitter live chat Q&A at 6:00pm EST today, Wednesday December 4th, 2013
The Leadnow Letter Campaign in support of The Reform Act
An you can always contact any or all of the Members of Parliament
(Sending them snail mail is free, too.)
The Reform Act Support Report is an ongoing listing of which MPs support the Reform Act.
One of the first supporters of this bill that I heard was Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, who likened it to CPR for democracy on a CBC interview last week. Ms. May will be withdrawing her own Private Member’s bill C-503 Democratic Local Nomination Act in favor of Mr. Chongs as it does not go as far as Mr. Chong’s.
Green Party leader Elizabeth May has been in Warsaw representing the 80% of Canadians who want to deal with climate change.
Please vote for Canadidates that support meaningful electoral reform to Proportional Representation.
If you live in Toronto Centre, you can cast a vote for Proportional Representation by voting for John Deverell.
The Harper Government disallowed the participation of opposition parties to attend the COP19 climate change negotiations in Warsaw as part of the Canadian Delegation.
Elizabeth May, Canada’s Green Party leader, attended the conference as part of the Afghanistan Delegation.
What a dramatic illustration of the lack of representation Canadians have in what we are told is a democratic government.
The problem is that a winner-take-all electoral system, like the one we have now, means the majority of Canadians do not have a voice in parliament.
Canada needs to reclaim democracy before it is too late.
In 2015 we all must vote for candidates committed to electoral reform to proportional representation.
Nearly 50% of eligible Canadians voters don’t vote, many because our inequitable electoral system has made them feel disenfranchised. Because only some votes count in our unfair out dated First Past The Post electoral system. We need to encourage everyone to vote for candidates committed to meaningful electoral reform in 2015. If Canadians cast enough fractional votes for candidates committed to Proportional Representation, we will all win.
We need to make all our votes count.
For information on Proportional Representation visit FairVote.ca
Gasping, Mike clawed at the air and tore off the sleeping bag that was suffocating him.
It was 1997, April, and still cold in the early mornings. Cold enough Mike came to his senses quicker than usual and realized where he was.
Where he was, was NOT on the front lines in Kosovo.
Anywhere but there was good.
The pine branches shielded his sleeping pit from most casual observers and there was rarely anyone up here on the hill anyway. His stump itched. And, by damn, his head ached again, too.
Some hair of the dog would cure that, but in the cold light of morning, the bottle from the night before lay there, pitifully empty. You’d think that a leg would’ve been good enough exchange for a measly drink now and then, but it had been several years before the PTSD symptoms actually started to show up and Janey turned on him. Not that he could blame her. He’d started missing work and drinking just a little too hard, too often, and it spiraled downward from there.
Apparently the Forces considered there was a limit on the time a fella had between his release and becoming homeless. Like he should have failed sooner. At least he’d have had a pension that way.
He horked and spat and heard as it landed against some old newspaper. A waving, smiling face caught his eye and the headlines told him that the election had been called. He dug deep into his grungy pocket and pulled out his medal and hung it on a branch where it winked back mockingly at him.
No longer employable because no longer deployable; hero of no fixed address and so no ballot for him.
Mike blinked against the day and saw that the medal had fallen.
All for the right to vote.
The hopeful candidate waving at Mike in 1997 was incumbent Liberal Jean Chrétien. Legislation was passed in 2000 which provided anyone in a shelter with the right to vote. But Mike would still have been denied.
Ten years later, the right of homeless people to vote continued to be discussed in parliament.
Canada doesn’t know how many of its veterans become homeless; no statistics on its 80,000 ‘heroes’ are kept.
Estimates place the homeless population in Canada at upwards of 250,000. In the United States, 26% of the male homeless population are veterans. As for media coverage, trolling through decades of archives yielded little to nothing.
Around 2010, the tide started to turn, with some information articles on “how the homeless can vote” appearing on websites appealing to a local audience. Since the homeless hardly have easy access to the internet, one wonders whom the article is hailing; neither does it make the connection between homelessness and veterans.
At the time of this writing (2013), current Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper is providing a catalyst for veterans’ rights to be aired and addressed. From Halifax to Vancouver, the press is stirring, although news is conspicuously absent from main stream sources. However, the shadow of Remembrance Day loomed larger this year and even Rick Mercer is on the rant about veterans’ rights.
“Operation Help The Homeless OFFICIAL” is a new campaign by Anonymous launched on Facebook and YouTube November 09, 2013. But again, no link is made to past military service and homelessness.
The case of Brian Bradley highlights a systematic attack on veterans by the Canadian government. Yet where does one read about it? On the back pages of democracychange.org – an insider’s website for the ‘pinko-at-heart’.
The vets themselves are getting angry and retaliating. This Remembrance Day, there are plans to turn their back on the local Conservative MP when it is his turn to lay a wreath
Lest we keep forgetting.
The photograph “April Sky” by Laurel L. Russwurm is released under a
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License
Originally red poppy donations provided a way for the Canadian Legion social club to offer its members ~ Canadian veterans and their families ~ assistance beyond what the government does.
This in no way relieves our government of its obligations to support the citizens who have served in any branch of our armed services. Whether or not our nation is at war, our government owes a debt to the Canadians who have served, and their families.
Jeff Rose-Martland wrote a Huffington Post article What Fantino Wants Us to Do on Remembrance Day Is Forget. What follows is my comment, which may or may not be approved “Due to the potentially sensitive nature of this article.”
The mainstream media supports the status quo. Mainstream news programs show us images of Remembrance Day ceremonies where politicians at every level of government wear red poppies on their lapels as they stand shoulder to shoulder with veterans in uniform.
So why should there be outrage?
Canadians in both “service world” and “civilian land” believe the illusion Canada is a democracy, while living in a country where most Canadians have no say at all in what our governments do in our name.
Because the votes of most Canadians simply don’t count.
That didn’t used to be a big deal because our elected representatives at least tried to represent all their constituents. To represent the public good.
Today the public good is at risk on all fronts in Canada. Environment. Health Care. Education. Civil Liberties. It is shameful our nation has such a record of poverty ~ and most of those below the poverty line are children.
If veterans choose to suffer stoically while the Canadian government does not live up to it’s obligations to them, they are not doing their part. Some are already fighting for change.
Veterans can join the Occupy movement or Fair Vote. They can protest fracking, scientist muzzling, secretive trade deals… any of a multitude of wrongs committed by our undemocratic democracy.
Or they could vote for politicians committed to Proportional Representation.
Or they can wear a white poppy on Remembrance Day.
As both student and parent, I have attended many Remembance Day ceremonies in schools. There is no question whether the red poppy makes Canadians remember…
at least for one day a year.
But has honouring the symbol done anything to stop war?
Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino calls the white poppy campaign “offensive “ as he moves to close Veterans Affairs offices.
You can make your own white poppy, or you can continue to support the Legion’s poppy drive with donations, and paint your red poppy white with a bit of craft paint.
But can you think of anything more bizarre than fighting over what colour best symbolises peace?
Getting a sneak peak at Waterloo Region’s new electoral riding.
Mr. Woodworth accepts the Fair Vote Electoral Reform Petition which he will present to Parliament.
MP Stephen Woodworth and FVC WRC Co-Chair Shannon Adshade.
MP Stephen Woodworth is the current Conservative Member of Parliament
for Kitchener Centre in Ontario.
All photographs by Laurel L. Russwurm are released under a
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License