Must Watch: Green Party of Canada Election Coverage

When I began Whoa!Canada I’d been determinedly non-partisan all my life. For various reasons I did end up joining a party — the Green Party of Canada in middle age. Even so, I’ve worked to keep partisanship out of this blog. But the Green Party Leadership race, like any major party leadership, is important for all of Canada. TVO recognized this from the get go, but even so there has been very little serious coverage. In the Internet era, we’re no longer entirely at the mercy of MSM gatekeepers, so there’s been plenty to see online. Tonight CBC, Youtube and Facebook will present live election night coverage.


As most of the GPC Leadership campaign has coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic, although a few of the Candidates had begun cross Canada tours when the shut downs hit, there has been very little opportunity for Green Party members to actually engage with leadership candidates face to face.

But that hasn’t stopped the Canadian Greens from putting on an excellent engaging leadership campaign. Interim Leader Jo-Ann Robert’s People, Politics and Planet podcast hosted interviews with all the candidates. We began with 10 candidates, and end with 8 going into tonight’s election.

July 20-30: Regional Townhalls with the GPC Leadership Contestants.

There have been a wide variety of Interviews and Zoom meetups with Electoral District Associations across the country.

Fair Vote Canada kicked off the Green Party 2020 Leadership Debate season:

Fair Vote Canada Leadership Debate on Democracy
The Agenda with Steve Paikin: GPC Leadership Debate 2020
Canada’s place in the world: Green Party of Canada Leadership Debate

Finally, after months of hard work campaigning, CBC will be hosting the Green Party Leadership 2020 Election Night coverage!

WATCH LIVE: Green Party of Canada 2020 Leadership Election Night


8 Reasons Why Elizabeth May must be in every Leadership Debate

Elizabeth May cropped cc 4311smElizabeth May is many things.

  1. Leader of a National Party
    She is the leader of a nation wide political party. A party that fields candidates in every riding. Which means there is a possibility, no matter how slim, that she could become Prime Minister. All it would take would be enough Canadians voting to send enough Green Party Candidates to Ottawa.This is reason enough for her inclusion in every leadership debate.
  2. A conservative estimate: 1 million supporters
    The Green Party of Canada received almost a million votes in 2008. A great many people who would support a small party won’t if they think their vote won’t elect anyone, so if almost a million people were willing to vote for such a party, it is probable that a great many more did not.One of the biggest hurdles small parties face in our winner-take-all electoral system is that small parties (like Independents) find it almost impossible to get candidates elected. So it isn’t at all surprising that a great many supporters whose hopes for a Green MP were dashed would have been seduced into voting strategically in 2011.But things changed in 2011.The ineffectiveness of strategic voting was amply demonstrated by Mr. Harper’s majority government. Still, in any winner-take-all system the votes cast for any small party don’t accurately reflect its support, so there is little doubt that more Canadians would vote Green if there was a chance of electing GreenMPs.In a nation whose population is just shy of thirty seven million, Ms. May’s inclusion in the debates would still be warranted even if there are only a million or so Green supporters
  3. House of Commons
    When any country is saddled with an unfair winner-take-all electoral system, citizen’s find it a struggle to vote for any party that can’t elect a single MP. But in 2011 Elizabeth May was the first Green Party of Canada MP elected to Parliament. And since that time, Green MPs have been elected in Provincial ridings across Canada. Suddenly we’ve seen the Green Party is viable; supporting Green Party Candidates is no longer perceived to be a hopeless gesture. In fact, a Green Party member was elected to PEI’s provincial legislature where not a single NDP candidate won a seat.This suggests Green Party inclusion on the basis of party viability wouldn’t be amiss.
  4. A stellar record
    Elizabeth May’s parliamentary record has been staggering. Not only has she earned the respect of her fellow parliamentarians, she has shown Canadians the importance of a strong dissenting voiced in Ottawa. While her leadership on environmental issues has never been in doubt, Canadians have since learned she is equally passionate about many other issues, notably about necessary democratic reform to Proportional Representation as well as her relentless battle against the Canadian civil rights busting Bill C-51.This record should certainly entitle Ms. May to a seat at every debate.
  5. A Real Party
    Some people say she should be excluded because the Green Party isn’t a “real” party. After all, it has only 3 seats. But what constitutes a “real party” is decided by those who already hold the power. When Kim Campbell’s Progressive Conservatives were decimated – from a crushing majority to a mere 2 seats, the rules were changed to allow the PCs to retain Official Party status… and all the perks that went along with it. Just because they changed the rules again– expressly to further disadvantage small parties– doesn’t change the fact that this argument has been shown to be purely specious. Any party with even a half a million supporters is a real party.After all, shouldn’t half a million citizens count?
  6. The Gender Gap
    But there is more. Slightly more than half of Canada’s population is female. 50.4% of the total population to be exact. That is a larger share of the population than voted for any of Canada’s major parties in 2011. And yet the leaders of the other three major parties are all male. Any debate devoid of a female perspective would certainly fail a large segment of the population. This alone would be enough of a reason to include Ms. May.Shouldn’t Canadian women have a voice?
  7. Fairness
    And if all of those things are not enough, poll after poll show that 80% of Canadians (or more) support Elizabeth’s May’s inclusion in the debates.Not because 80% of Canadians support the Green Party, but because the vast majority of Canadians believe in fairness.
  8. Meaningful Electoral Reform
    Without Ms. May’s inclusion in every debate, who will talk about meaningful electoral reform? Who will keep Proportional Representation on the table?

Elizabeth May must be included in every leadership debate.

Anyone who supports excluding the Green Party of Canada leader from the leadership debates does so only because they are afraid their team might not win if she does.
And how fair is that?

Elizabeth May and Mike Schreiner in Guelph

Voters can use Talking Points too

Harold Albrecht, my MP
Harold Albrecht

When a candidate (or her canvasser) shows up at your door, or when you get an opportunity to chat at the local Canada Day celebration, or maybe at a Fund Raiser, or on social media, or at the debates, isn’t it high time we start letting them know what is really important to us?  This is supposed to be a democracy, right?  That means they are supposed to be working for us.

But instead of actually conversing with us, very often candidates or elected representative use well rehearsed “talking points,” which are really just a prearranged script provided by the party to inform us of their party line.  Isn’t it hight time we turned the tables?

If my MP were to appear at my door, I might ask Harold, “Why are you sending your advertisements monthly when we both know you are only allowed to mail out 4 a year?”

The trick is to take a few minutes and think of what you want to ask before you actually see them.  Or maybe wait until you are inspired by their political ads.  Write your concerns down in point form and you’ll have your own set of “talking points.”

You might want to ask, “What do you think about outlawing political ads and giving Elections Canada the teeth to enforce it?”

The single most important issue for me is meaningful electoral reform.  I think the growing list of unsolved problems facing us are largely unsolved because there is no incentive to actually solve our problems under a winner-take-all system.  And I don’t think any party should have 100% of the power unless 100% of the population voted for it.  If even 51% voted for them, that still means 49% didn’t.  In 2011 14,720,580 Canadians voted. But the reality is that a mere 6,201 votes in 14 hotly contested electoral districts gave the Harper Government a majority.  So my own talking points are all about PR.

The thing to remember is that you don’t have to be a Proportional Representation expert to ask:

  • Should elections be about a few swing voters in a few swing ridings leaving most voters unrepresented or ignored?
  • Do you think a party gets 39% of the vote should get 39% of the seats?
  • Do you think some votes should be worth more than others, while some are worth nothing at all?
  • What will you do to make every vote will count, and count equally?

Fair Vote booth at the Kitchener Multicultural Festival
Fair Vote Canada’s Bob Jonkman and Sharon Sommerville discuss Proportional Representation at the Kitchener Multicultural Festival.

I want 2015 to be the last unfair election.  Don’t you?

a horizontal border of red graphic maple leaves

(Maybe we should all be writing to CBC to encourage them to air the Danish political series “Borgen” a political series like “House of Cards” set in a nation that successfully uses Proportional Representation.   But then, we should also be writing to tell them to air the “The Secret Trial 5” too.)

Image Credit:

Photos by me released under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License 

 

 

Liberal Leader Gets Bill C-51 Wrong

In spite of the fact the Harper Government fast tracked Bill C-51, the Parliamentary Committee won’t re-convene until next week. When you consider the Harper Government’s vow to have this legislation rushed through so it can be passed by the end of the month, this is a dramatic demonstration of how little scrutiny the Harper Government is willing to accord Bill C-51. The same can’t be said for the rest of us, because Bill C-51 is actually getting a great deal of scrutiny outside the Parliament Buildings. There are a lot of terrible things in this draft legislation, but as a writer I am especially concerned about it’s assault on Free Speech.   Ordinarily I only blog about Canadian Politics sporadically, but this week I hope to post daily.   Previous posts include: David Weber warns Bill C-51 will lead to a Police State #RejectTerror #StopBillC51 the film I’ll be seeing tonight, The Secret Trial 5 ~ Screening Tour,  Learned at the KW Stop C-51 Day of Action, and Thursday’s Stop Bill C-51 the Musical.  Better late than never, here is #5.


Not long ago I joined the local Liberal Party in hopes of making a difference for the 2015 federal election.  Over the years I’ve got to know some LPC folks through events like the Electoral Reform debate local MP Candidate Bardish Chagger hosted a few years back.

I made a point of notifying the local Liberal Candidate Nominees and Candidates about last week’s National Day of Action.  A week ago today a great many concerned citizens across Canada held more than 70 events to protest the fatally flawed Bill C-51 the Harper Government has been trying to sell as an “anti terrorism” measure.

Mr. Trudeau's idea of a National Day of ActionI was aware of Justin Trudeau’s promised support of Bill C-51 but expected the Liberals to come anyway, maybe to hear the other side so they might make informed choices when the time came to vote, or at least to take the opportunity to explain the Liberal stance to an audience of people who will certainly vote in the next election.   So you can imagine my surprise when not a single LPC Candidate showed up at the Kitchener rally.  Worse, I heard a rumour that the Liberal Party had ordered its candidates to avoid the Day of Action.   I was stunned.   I was going to bring the matter up with the local Electoral District Association before making a decision about whether to remain a Party member.

And then I got another ridiculous email from the LPC inviting me to a “Day of Action.”   I had previously explained the absurdity of calling a party fund raising or volunteer training or t-shirt designing gathering for the Liberal Youth Movement a “Day of Action” and yet here they are doing it again.

Particularly after ordering Party members to avoid a real Day of Action.

Since the local Liberal Candidates are not allowed to explain the LPC position on Bill C-51, I realized I had to find out just why Mr. Trudeau believes supporting it is a good thing.

Liberals: newly minted Kitchener Centre MP Candidate Bardish Chagger moderates an LPC panel on Electoral Reform.

Apparently, Justin Trudeau’s primary reasons for supporting C-51 are:

  • Expanded powers related to preventive arrest which make it easier for police to detain someone, and to hold them in custody without a charge or a warrant for longer
  • Strengthening of the no-fly list
  • Increased information sharing between government departments and agencies

“[These] are significant improvements that will keep Canadians safer,” he told the crowd.

Liberals Are Supporting Bill C-51 So Tories Can’t Make ‘Political Hay,’ Trudeau Says

Preventative Arrest

That means Canadians would be liable for arrest because we might do something.  Think about that, now. What does that mean, exactly?  Not because you have done a criminal act, and not because you planned to engage in a criminal act.   The laws we have now give law enforcement ample provision to prosecute anyone for crimes committed, and even for crimes that have only been planned, as we know from the prosecution of the VIA Terrorist Plot.  Canadian law allows such prosecutions because, when there is a real crime, there is real evidence.  Under Bill C-51 you could go to jail  because someone thinks you might do something.

I expect most people have been misjudged at least once in our lives.  Imagine if someone in law enforcement decided you were a potential terrorist because you attended a Day of Action.

Very few of us have been personally connected with criminal activity; even fewer have had any actual contact with terrorists. So let’s think about this one in more human terms.

Let’s say you are married, and you and your spouse go to a party. As often happens, the two of you end up in different corners socializing with different people. It’s a good party, you’ve had fun, but when you get home you discover your spouse is angry and wants a divorce — because you might have an affair with someone you had an animated conversation with at the party.

Or say you’re in your final year of university. It’s been a tough year, you’ve had to take on a part time job to make ends meet. So your studies have been extra difficult, and your work isn’t up to your usual standards. When it’s time to take the final exam, your professor doesn’t believe you are capable of passing the exam, so she refuses to allow you to take the exam since she thinks you might cheat.

Or maybe you’re going through a messy divorce. Imagine how you might feel if, instead of the shared custody you had been working toward, the judge awards sole custody of your children to the other parent and you are now limited to state supervised visitation twice a month. Because the judge thinks you might take off with the child.

This law won’t make Canadians safer, it will strip us of our Charter Rights.  It is unconstitutional.

If you want an idea how these things might play out, you should watch the powerful documentary “The Secret Trial 5.”

The No Fly List

I have to wonder if the No Fly list is constitutional in and of itself.   If all it takes is an allegation to abrogate our Charter rights, the Charter doesn’t offer us much protection at all.   People used to be innocent until proven guilty.

Increased information sharing between government departments and agencies

Such irresponsible flagrant invasion of privacy is certainly unconstitutional.

I understand Mr. Trudeau might wish to get out from under his famous father’s shadow, but throwing the Canadian Charter of Right and Freedoms under the bus is not the way to do this.

Imagine a World With No Privacy....

Vote For Cathy: Waterloo #LPC Nomination

Cathy MacLellan
2015 Waterloo Liberal Candidate Nominee Cathy MacLellan

As I’ve become more politically involved, since beginning this blog in response to the Harper Government’s Premature Prorogation, I have come to know Cathy MacLellan, one of the LPC Candidate Nominees for Waterloo.

Like most of the Waterloo Region politicians I’ve come in contact with, I first noticed Cathy in photographs I took at various political events put on by my Fair Vote WRC friends.

At first all I saw was her smile, as she participated as an attendee in workshops and panel discussions raising public awareness about Canadian Politics and Democracy.  But over the years, I’ve had opportunities to speak with Cathy, and I’ve learned she is a very intelligent and committed woman from a successful entrepreneurial background.  I was particularly impressed with the breadth of Cathy’s knowledge as well as her skill when she moderated a highly informative CETA Panel Discussion between local MP Stephen Woodworth and Angelo DiCaro.

I’ve heard her speak passionately about the path our current government has led us down, and the more I’ve come to know her, the more convinced I am that Cathy MacLellan  is exactly the kind of representative we desperately need in Parliament.  Because Cathy is committed to making Canada a better place, not just for ourselves, but for our kids.

Better yet, Cathy MacLellan is both ready and willing to fight for our future. And I very much expect Cathy will win, because I can’t imagine anyone else will match her commitment.

The Nominees will speak to the LPC members at 4:00pm, and voting will follow until 7:00pm when the votes will be tallied to determine the LPC Candidate for the Waterloo Electoral District for the upcoming 2015 Federal Election.

LPC Waterloo NOMINATION MEETING
Sunday, February 22, 2015
4:00pm
Waterloo Inn
475 King Street North
Waterloo, ON N2J 2Z5

If you are a member of the Liberal Party, you should head out to this afternoon’s Candidate Nomination Meeting so you can Vote for Cathy.