#MyCanada doesn’t torture children

When I was a kid at Conestoga Bible Camp, we did an exercise where we were supposed to hold our arms in the air above our heads the way Moses is said to have done in order to part the Red Sea. The idea was that he had to keep his arms in the air to keep the sea parted long enough for all the people to get across. So how about you try it now: how long can you hold your arms in the air above your head before it starts to get uncomfortable. Before it starts to get painful.  Now imagine how it would feel if you had two through & through bullet holes in your chest.

Some people are saying Omar Khadr wasn’t tortured.  The 15 year old Canadian boy was dug out of the rubble with two gaping exit wounds in his chest.  He wasn’t expected to survive.  When he was still a long way from recovery in the Bagram prison camp, he was hung from his wrists.  For hours.  Sounds like torture to me.

Canadian Politics

Canada is nominally a Representative Democracy.  Canadian voters elect representatives who are supposed to represent our interests– to govern in our names– in the House of Commons, the Canadian lower house of our Parliament.  Unfortunately, because Members of Parliament (MPs) are elected with a winner-take-all electoral system, our government is adversarial.  So instead of fostering co-operation, and creating policy in the best interests of all Canadians, we have been seeing increasing polarization, not just of political parties, but of citizens.  Such a system creates a class system by dividing Canadians into those who have representation and those who have not.  One side is the winner with all the power and everyone else are losers. Continue reading

What Omar #Khadr Did or Didn’t Do is NOT The Issue #CDNpoli

Omar Khadr at age 14.

When a 15 year old Canadian child named Omar Khadr was dug out of the rubble on July 27, 2002 he was so badly wounded he was not expected to survive.

Child Soldier

At the age of ten he was uprooted from his life in Canada by his father and taken away to Afghanistan.

The UN Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict establishes that children younger than 18 who are involved in armed conflicts are Child Soldiers.  This protocol was written in 2000, but it came into force on into force on 12 February 2002.  This is an “optional” protocol, meaning there is no obligation for any nation to sign it.  But Canada is a signatory to this.  By signing and ratifying this protocol, the Canadian Government voluntarily chose to place Canada under its terms, so it it is no longer “optional.”

This protocol recognizes the fact that child soldiers are children, and children are not entirely responsible for themselves or their decisions.  This is hardly a stretch: Canadian Law recognizes this too.  We have a special set of criminal laws for children.  Children are not allowed to sign legal contracts or legally able to consent for themselves; a parent or guardian is required to decide whether or not to consent on their behalf.

Omar Khadr was only 15 years old when the compound he was in in Afghanistan was attacked by the American military.  Under Canadian Law he was a Child Soldier.

Charter Rights

Omar Khadr was born Canadian. He has always been a Canadian citizen. Continue reading

Why I’m NOT #Proud of #Canada150

Electoral Reform?

For someone generally proud to be lucky enough to be Canadian, instead of being excited about Canada Day on our nation’s 150th Anniversary, I was embarrassed to be a Canadian. Not because Prime Minister Justin Trudeau believes himself to be an all powerful autocrat with the right to over rule his own party’s overwhelmingly adopted policy and thumb his nose at the majority of Canadians who believe Canada ought to provide citizens with fair representation.   That was bad, that was really, really bad, but that isn’t it.

Money?

We had a big coast to coast half a billion dollar party CBC reports that More than 70% of Canada 150 swag made outside the country

Oh, but that’s not the government’s fault:

The government argues that international trade agreements don’t allow it to restrict the competition for government contracts to Canadian companies or manufacturers — even when it comes to Canada 150 merchandise.

Its all the fault of those pesky “free trade” agreements, not the governments who negotiated these agreements in secret then sign & ratify them so they have no choice but to require massive changes to our domestic law (and now unaccountable international corporate trade tribunals to fine us if we fail) to comply.  This excuse is a classic case of adding insult to injury.

Annoying as that is, that is not my problem.

Colonialism150?

Bingo!  The problem is colonization, something that didn’t just happen hundreds of years ago, but a process continuing as Canadian government policy to this day.

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Pharmacare Town Hall TONIGHT!

Our American friends are debating whether Health Care is a human right, but Canadians decided that it was long ago.  Which is why it is bizarre that, of all the countries with Universal Health Care, Canada is the only country that doesn’t have Universal Pharmacare!

In 2014, Dr. Eric Hoskins ~ Ontario’s Liberal Minister of Health and Long-Term Care ~ wrote an OpEd for the Globe and Mail explaining Why Canada needs a national pharmacare program

It has been estimated that Universal public drug coverage would:

  • reduce total spending on prescription drugs in Canada by $7.3 billion
  • save the Private Sector $8.2 billion
  • increase costs to government $1.0 billion

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Defenders of the Status Quo

Yesterday Canadian Members of Parliament voted against Nathan Cullen’s Motion to concur in the Second Report of the Special Committee on Electoral Reform ~ which would have meant adopting the ERRÉ Committee Recommendations

Negatived
Yeas 146 | Nays 159

MPs who voted

Two Liberal MPs voted to concur in the Second Report of the Special Committee on Electoral Reform, but all the rest (159 LPC MPs) voted against it.  Find out who voted, and how on the Government site.

None of the ERRE Committee Liberals voted for their own report!   Francis Scarpaleggia, Ruby Sahota, Matt DeCourcey and John Aldag voted against, while Sherry Romanado (along with another 20 Liberal MPs) abstained from voting.

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An Open Letter to ERRÉ Committee Liberals

Letter sent to: Francis Scarpaleggia, Ruby Sahota, Matt DeCourcey, Sherry Romanado and John Aldag


Dear ERRÉ Committee Members:

I am exceptionally invested in Electoral Reform; having watched and participated in many of your meetings as well as being involved in many local DIY Community Dialogues and Information Sessions.  I was unable to attend your single Ontario stop on your Cross Country Tour in Toronto because we were putting on a previously scheduled Info Night in a local library. After a life spent voting in every election for over three decades my vote has never actually elected an MP or an MPP.  I am frankly tired of electoral futility, and especially of being a second class citizen.

It isn’t that I’ve been voting for some wild fringe party– over the years I have voted for candidates from each of the 4 major parties in English Canada.  But the futility of casting my vote had me considering joining the ranks of non-voters … until I started learning about Proportional Representation.

It’s time Canada actually became the Representative Democracy I was told it was back in High School.  Not just for me, but for my son.  And my nieces and nephews… and everyone else’s kids, too.  Because I was raised to leave a place better than I found it.   And at least once before I die, I’d like to know that when I vote, it might actually count.

When MPs tell me they can represent all their constituents they are wrong.  Oh, sure, any good MP can represent all their constituents in their constituency work, but that is not why MPs are sent to Ottawa.  150 years ago that wasn’t even in the job description.   We voters send you to Ottawa to represent us, but the First Past The Post reality is that when MPs are in the legislature, you vote the way the party tells you.

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Power vs People

How many votes does it take to get a seat in Parliament?
How many votes does it take to get a seat in Parliament?

It’s hard enough for small parties to get elected under our miserably unfair winner-take-all electoral system.

Although the Trudeau Government won a majority of seats in Parliament on the promise of making every vote count as of 2019, it seems Mr. Trudeau has decided he would rather keep the system so disproportional that Liberal candidates only need 38,000 votes to get elected on average, but the Green Party needed 600,000+ votes to elect a single MP.

But that’s not the only institutional barrier to getting candidates elected in small parties.  The Main Stream Media (or MSM) — that’s the big TV networks and the major newspapers — support the status quo too.  Face it, it is a lot easier for them to give the lion’s share of the media coverage to only two candidates.  In a country where the single biggest advertiser is our government, the MSM knows which side butters their bread.

Continue reading