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.

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Broken Promise Tour with Nathan Cullen

The ERRE Committee’s Nathan Cullen (NDP) will be crossing Canada making stops in Liberal ridings to demonstrate how much support there actually is for electoral reform!

“There’s one last vote on electoral reform in Parliament before the May deadline. After that, it could be too late to set up a new voting system in time for the next election.

This spring, MPs will vote on whether to accept the recommendations of the Canada-wide consultation tour, including that the government hold a referendum where Canadians can choose between the current voting system and a proportional one.

We just need 20 Liberal MPs to keep their promise and vote YES to electoral reform.”

Nathan Cullen

Visit the Website to find out the itinerary to find put when the Broken Promise Tour will be coming your way:
http://keepyourpromise.ndp.ca/

Help convince Liberal MPs to keep their promise and vote YES to electoral reform before the May vote.

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Trudeau Government: Omnibus Rules

An excellent tool to keep track of whether or not the Trudeau Government is fulfilling the promises made in its election platform is the non-partisan collaborative citizen initiative website called the “TrudeauMeter.”   We are reminded

Trudeaumeter On the use of Omnibus Bills: Parliament:

“Change the House of Commons Standing Orders to end practice of using inappropriate omnibus bills to reduce scrutiny of legislative measures.”

So far there has been absolutely no movement to keep this promise.

Instead, what we are seeing here is that the Trudeau Government has chosen to use an inappropriate omnibus motion to change the House of Commons Standing Orders, reducing what little power opposition parties in phony majority governments (eg Mr. Trudeau’s Government, which he likes so much he’s disavowed his clear electoral reform promise to replace our unfair winner-take-all voting system).

“We’re filibustering to protect the right to filibuster. Who would have thought it would be this government, under this prime minister” to try to use its majority to make changes to the Standing Orders without all-party backing, he said. “It’s not your House… we have rights, too.”

NDP MP David Christopherson quoted in Hill Times: Opposition MPs declare ‘war’ over feds’ efforts to ram through sweeping changes to House rules, ‘we’re filibustering to protect the right to filibuster’

Follow intrepid reporter @Kady O’Mally’s Twitter Stream:

Christopherson also suggests the committee consider "the Cullen model," a la #ERRE, where no one party has a majority.

You can read her whole twitter stream on this own article complete article behind the iPolitics paywall by logging in if you are a memnber or by signing up for a free trial if you are not.

Rather than making Parliament more transparent, this is yet another attempt to make it more efficient for a party with a phony majority to undemocratically impose its will on our nation.   Promising one thing and not doing it is bad enough, doing the opposite of what you’ve promised is unacceptable.  In a democracy, that is.

Although CPAC is not covering this, @Kady is LiveTweeting, so Canadians can follow along and watch this unfold…


[CORRECTION NOTE: In the original version of this article I incorrectly described the “Omnibus Motion” as an “Omnibus Bill,” which I have corrected in this version. ~ LLR]