“In July 2011, that parliament of Israel voted on a question of whether to condemn calls for boycotts against Israel as a civil wrong. The vote carried, but it was not overwhelming. There were 47 members of the Knesset who voted for it, and 38 members voted against it. The 38 members who voted against it were certainly not hate filled against the State of Israel.”
After spending some time in France’s largest refugee camp, my suspicions have been confirmed – these refugees can simply walk right out.
There are no fences keeping them in or guards preventing their escape. They are really just human beings on planet earth. These are good people.
I sometimes wonder about gun laws, being that criminals do not really follow laws, especially ones that outlaw the ‘tools of their trade’. In the same way, do any of you think that terrorists entering a country to do it harm will go through a lengthy and invasive application process to permit their entry? Do you really think they will pitch tents in the frozen mud to supplicate for our approval when they can just stroll right in?
Not a soul has checked my luggage, passport, or even looked at me inquisitively in mainland Europe; and I grew my beard out in disgusting fashion to look as ’non-conforming’ as possible. But there was no one even looking.
Is this a country on high alert? I didn’t even see a cop the first day here; and we drove around downtown. I did see some today, though, in a few key locations. But it was nothing more than I am used to seeing around a big city.
I am on a sunny balcony in Central Paris looking over the streets as I type this. It looks as peaceful and gorgeous as ever.
Come on, folks; let’s think this through…
To all you people pointing out the fact that there are mostly men at these camps, insinuating that means something: It does mean something. It means the brothers and fathers went ahead on the limited or nonexistent funds they had to secure employment and income to bring their family later. I figured this out first hand. But, really, there are women and children all over the place at the camp.
Listen, there were so many questions that led to my suspending belief about these suffering people; I actually entertained all the racist and xenophobic comments that people put forward. I do that often, so as to not make a mistake.
Now, reading their posts, I shake my head wondering how these folks spewing hate are so sure about what they say. I mean, I travelled all this way to answer these questions put forth; and I have to say, we are wrong. We are wrong about this.
We need to open our hearts and borders to these folks.
The borders are as unreal as the differences we assume exist between ‘us’ and those we close our hearts and minds to.
We need to remember that.
Niagara Centre’s David Clow is one of the incredible 2015 Green Party of Canada candidates I had the privilege of meeting during the election. David is currently in Paris as a COP21 Observer.
I am very pleased to see Elizabeth May retains her seat as the MP of Saanich—Gulf Islands. But its a bitter-sweet victory, because no other Green Party candidates were elected. Over the last few months I’ve had the privilege of meeting and getting to know a host of Green Party folk, and they are an incredible bunch of people.
My husband, Bob Jonkman, spent the last few months as the Green Candidate in Kitchener-Conestoga. Although he’s been quite active in the Free Software and Fair Vote communities for years, he’s never done anything quite like this before. It was a a huge commitment of time and energy, on many levels, but he came through with flying colours. And he did it all with grace and charm, even though he knew the odds against winning the election were incredibly slim for those running under the green banner.
And I have to say I am incredibly proud of my brilliant husband.
Last week Canadian farmers drove their tractors to Ottawa in a protest against the TPP. There are wide-spread fears this agreement will allow Multinationals to be able to dictate laws, suppress citizen rights and dispense with environmental protections if any of these things interfere with the pursuit of profit.
Much of the ground work has been laid for the unprecedented abdication of Canadian sovereignty through many of the laws pushed through by the Harper Government in previous years.
In spite of the fact Canada is undergoing a federal election, the Harper Government has made the unprecedented decision to continue with business as usual Under the Canadian political system, government is prorogued — stopped — when an election is called. Any draft legislation which has not completed the process is thrown out. Instead of pursuing new business, the Government has always gone into “caretaker” mode. After all, there will be a new government after the election; new decisions will be up to the them. If anyone in the new government is still interested after the election, they have to start over then.
But not now.
This is why it is bizarre — and disturbing — that the Harper Government has continued with its secret trade agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, (TPP). Although we know this exists, whatever it is that is being negotiated is secret. Still, there have been enough hints of what we might expect that many Canadians are very much concerned, and many are very much opposed.
Instead of behaving the way Canadians rightfully expect, Mr. Harper has chosen to act as though the election doesn’t matter. As though he is Prime Minister for life. And in spite of mounting protest against the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, they announce
Even now, the content of the agreement is secret, and the New York Times reports that
“Its full 30-chapter text will not be available for perhaps a month, but labor unions, environmentalists and liberal activists are poised to argue that the agreement favors big business over workers and environmental protection.”
So Canadians will have no facts — beyond the fact the Harper Government has signed it — until long after this election.
Over the years we’ve seen our democratic processes chipped away, but most Canadians have insisted that because we hold elections (no matter how unfair), Canada is still a democracy.
But it seems Mr. Harper doesn’t think there is any reason to stop what he’s doing just because we are having an election. [A election he himself called.] Apparently elections are meaningless to Mr. Harper. Perhaps he thinks it is in the bag. After all, he has the money to outspend all the competition in TV ads. Is that all it takes?
Is this what we have come to?
40% of Canadians didn’t vote last time.
Everyone has theories to explain why more people didn’t than voted conservative. If we had a “non-of-the-above” option, it would have prevailed. But we don’t.
I myself think there are many reason why so many eligible Canadian voters don’t vote. Where I live, I know old order Mennonites don’t vote. And I know there is a lot of conflict among First Nations about whether or not to vote. And a lot of young people reject the idea of voting in a system that is so corrupt. Personally I am inclined to think the biggest demographic are voters who gave up after they realized their vote would never count. But like everyone else’s theories, that is just a guess.
Frankly, I don’t care why we don’t vote. We all have our own reasons, and that’s fine. What I do hope is that many of these Canadians can see their way to voting this time in spite of everything. As someone whose vote has never counted, I know my vote isn’t likely to count again this time. But that would change if my vote is joined by some of theirs.
If even half of the 40% who don’t customarily vote would vote, we will see change.
Does this Canadian election matter?
You betcha! This one is the most important election of my life. Its outcome will have a profound impact on our world, and on our future.
I have spent my life being non-partisan. Every election I have chosen who to vote for on the issues as I see them. With a better system my vote might have counted once or twice. But this year, I am partisan because my husband decided he had to run for the Green Party, and since he is one of the smartest and most honorable men I have ever known in my life, I am supporting him to the best of my ability. And along the way I seem to agree with most of the Green platform, so that works out. And while we very much hope you vote Green, what is most important is that you vote. Vote for the candidate that will best represent your interests.
It may be pretty thin, but Canada is still a democracy. We can still vote. And if enough of us vote, it will make a difference. But it’s time to use it, or lose it.
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.
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
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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?
I’m no expert, but I have been told by NDP friends that their party policy is dramatically “greener” than Green Party policy on environment issues. When the NDP’s Linda McQuaig spoke out, I thought …maybe… But as it turns out, I was wrong. Climate scientist Andrew Weaver is an environment expert. He is also the Green Party Member of the Legislative Assembly for Oak Bay-Gordon Head in BC, so I am very pleased to be able to present his much more informed perspective on the two environmental policies in this guest post.
Only the Federal Green Party has been honest about the need to keep oil sands production at two million barrels a day.
Federally, Mulcair is so twisted up in inconsistencies re: Kinder Morgan that it is stunning. He wants to wait until the NEB process is over. But that didn’t stop the NDP being against Northern Gateway before the NEB process was over. And the NEB process this time is so rigged it’s not funny. The reality is, it is entirely unsafe and completely irresponsible to be increasing our shipments of diluted bitumen threefold. Vancouver is trying to brand itself as the world’s greenest city by 2020. That can’t happen when it becomes one of the world’s great fossil fuel exporters.
And finally here is what Horgan, the BC NDP leader tells the Kids for Climate Action Group when asked if he would sign their pledge to keep BC’s 2020 targets. He called it a “shallow publicity stunt, saying the target won’t be met and he wouldn’t sign the document because it isn’t possible”. And not a single BC NDP MLA asked was willing to sign the Kids for Climate Action commitment to take steps to limit thermal coal. Why? It’s obvious. The BC NDP are more concerned about what taking such a position might look to their labour union puppet masters than they are about thinking of intergenerational equity.
So the evidence is clear, the NDP both provincially and federally are all over the map and completely unprincipled on actions to deal with climate change.
Rather than pretending they are something that they are not, they should be honest with people. I would actually have far more respect for them if they were.
Some will argue “Let’s give them a chance it will be better”. Frankly we only have to look at the about face of Notley’s climate campaigning once she got elected to know what we can expect. What happened to her talk about proportional representation? Sorry. It’s about trust and you have to earn that. NDP actions clearly demonstrate otherwise.
And as Ed Wiebe pointed out, what is the NDP GHG reduction plan? It doesn’t exist. The Climate Change Accountability Act was only a monitoring Act. They’ve offered absolutely nothing but have the audacity to pretend that we should “trust them”.
I remember too well when the NDP attacked Gordon Campbell’s carbon tax with their cynical “axe the tax” campaign. The federal NDP attacked Stéphane Dion’s green shift which was designed to put a price on carbon yet offered nothing of substance up in return.
To my NDP friends, take a look in the mirror and please stop kidding yourselves. The BC and Federal NDP will not put in place any substantive plan to deal with climate change. You can take that to the bank.
David very much wanted to attend the Kitchener-Waterloo Day of Action Against Bill C-51 because he had something to say about how Bill C-51 will impact on our society. Unfortunately he had to work at his day job in law enforcement. So those of us who were able to attend were fortunate Nadine was able to come in David’s stead and read the words he’d written to share his insight. I asked David if I could share them here so you can read what he has to say for yourself.
The erosion of our rights began in the wake of 9/11
This is what I’ve been thinking about with this Bill C-51 “Anti-terror’ legislation and why you need to join in this day of protest.
Having done policing for three decades, I have seen an enormous amount of procedural change in the job. One recent change, is officers not having to do an official “Return to the Justice of the Peace” to report when we have seized cell phone information without a warrant. This is meant to make it less cumbersome to do the job for what we would do anyways. But if we are doing it rarely, a return of information reporting to a justice is simple and not a big deal. When requiring no returns, there is no way for an agency outside of policing to track how often seizures are made. This can also increase the use of such investigative activity when there is no accountability. This is one example that might make the average police officer happy, but it worries me about the quality of our society.
The new anti-terror legislation being brought out in Bill C-51 is claimed to be about protecting us.
I think it is more about making it easier to lock people up before they can cause much dissent. Silencing the difference of opinion before others become swayed to speak up themselves.
Consider the contrast between our old laws standing on their own in regards to lawful picketing, causing a disturbance and trespassing, and what these offences become when the anti-terror legislation is finalized. Trespassing to picket an oil pipeline is a $65 fine.
Without a municipal permit, a peaceful protest can be considered a terrorist action under Bill C-51
The tough on terror legislation says it doesn’t apply to lawful protesters, but once you commit that illegal act of trespassing during a protest, you now become a terrorist by the legislation definition. You are also a terrorist if you are engaged in a non-violent protest that has a large assembly of people without a permit to march or what have you that a local municipality says you require to congregate, so that you are no longer part of a “lawful” protest.
The Criminal Code of Canada has long had offences for spying, treason, making bombs and detonating them in terrorist acts, sedition, etc. We have ability to gather intelligence on known radical operators. The increased spying bill will watch every citizen under a microscope without any serious oversight, at a much-increased cost and with no safety gain. It will not stop the lone wolf operators that strike without communications being shared beforehand. It will suppress free communication of citizens to talk about how oil pipelines are a bad thing, because when the government is supporting them and claiming they are a part of our healthy economy, your opposition makes you against our secure economy and therefore a terrorist.
As a suspected terrorist, you can be held without a right to a lawyer or notification to your family or friends that you are in custody.
This is the rise of a police state. This is the end of many of your rights for freedom.
We are allowing our government to eliminate the freedoms our fathers and grandfathers went to war to protect.
The citizens of Germany gave away their rights similarly pre-world war 2.
Turkey is currently passing the same legislation as Canada’s Bill C-51, but in Turkey there are chairs and punches being thrown in the argument between those pro-free and those pro-surveillance with forfeiture of rights. We might not want to resort to punches, but we should not accept this legislation.
Our freedom is worth too much to allow it to be taken away.
What you can do to help:
If you are able, please join in a rally near you to protest this bill. If you are not able, please write your MP a letter telling him you are against this assault on our freedom.