Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Trudeau Event To Be Largest Google Hangout In Canuck History!

A little Canadian history being made in Vancouver this Thursday...

Make History.

Canada's largest Google Hangout with Justin Trudeau! Thursday night, at Relish GastroPub in Vancouver... Great opportunity to learn more about this Canadian Tour de force!

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Family Day For All?

Ralph Goodale discusses the perils facing those poor souls who can't enjoy Family Day. Great read. Thanks Ralph!

A commentary by the Member of Parliament for Wascana

February 18th, 2013


Many Canadians enjoy their mid-February "Family Day" holiday, but not all families can celebrate equally.

Think, for example, of those low-income families who are caring for elderly parents, or would like to get their kids into sports or arts programs, or have disability issues, or volunteer as community firefighters. They are deliberately excluded from the federal tax credits that more wealthy families get.

This sounds perverse, but it's true -- our tax system says you must have income above a certain level to access a variety of family tax credits. The more wealthy can benefit. Those on the most modest incomes cannot. Close to 9-million Canadians are left out.

This discrimination should be remedied in the next federal budget.

On Family Day, think also of those Aboriginal families who mourn more than 600 missing or murdered women and girls -- daughters and sisters, mothers and grandmothers, wrenched from their families, some known to be dead, others long unaccounted for.

Indigenous women make up 3% of Canada's population, but represent 10% of all female homicides. About 85% of all homicides are solved by police investigations, but that "clearance rate" drops to just 50% when the victim is an Aboriginal woman or girl.

If non-Aboriginal women were being killed or disappearing at the same rate as Aboriginals, there would be 20,000 Canadian women missing or murdered.

Indifference toward this carnage must end. Strong action is required to expose the truth about these 600 victims, achieve justice, and build a society in which violence toward all women is far better prevented.

That's why, for more than five years, Liberals in Parliament have pushed for a comprehensive Public Inquiry to dig out all the facts about these 600 unsolved cases. Such an initiative is necessary to get to the truth, and to start building a new era of trust and respect with indigenous peoples.

We also want the appointment of a Special Prosecutor or other civilian authority to launch proper investigations into allegations of police complicity in the violence.

You cannot expect traumatized women and families to report their allegations to some of the same authorities who may have victimized them in the first place. The government must provide safe and secure ways for them to tell what happened.

The House of Commons gave unanimous support last week to a Liberal Motion setting up a Parliamentary Committee to get to work on various policy questions related to violence against Aboriginal women. This is a good move, but only a small first step.

-- Post From My iPhone

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Conservatives Try To "Con" Sask Voters

I can't believe this is happening in Canada!

From the Goodale Report:

A commentary by the Member of Parliament for Wascana

February 6th, 2013


It’s a sad story of manipulation and deceit. Let’s begin at the beginning …

Following the publication of new census numbers last year, a Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission was appointed, as required by law, to re-draw the map of Saskatchewan’s 14 federal constituencies.

The Commission consists of a Queen’s Bench Judge (Mr. Justice Ron Mills), a Professor Emeritus from the University of Saskatchewan (Dr. John Courtney) and the President of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (Dave Marit). Their report was made public last week, and the Conservatives have been having a hissy-fit ever since.

Political parties may disagree with the Commission, but it’s the Commission – not any politician – that has the legal authority to determine where the boundaries go. That independent, arm’s length, non-partisan approach is fundamental to fair and honest elections.

Drawing electoral maps is a tough job. People can have differing views. The Commission had one dissenter, Mr. Marit. But the Mills/Courtney majority position was strong, clear and well-reasoned, with the backing of SUMA (the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association) and a great many others.

The proposed new map provides Saskatchewan with a fair and balanced outcome that more accurately reflects the province’s reality, including six rural ridings (one more than before), five urban seats (instead of none before), and three rural/urban blends.

In a bizarre twist last week, residents of Regina and Saskatoon began receiving automated telephone calls attacking the proposed new boundaries. The tone was abusive, suggesting those who agreed with the new map – including the majority of the Commission – were betraying Saskatchewan’s values.

Conservatives immediately tried to distance themselves from these despicable robocalls. Local MPs and Conservative headquarters in Ottawa both denied having anything to do with them. “Not something we would do”, Conservatives claimed.

But after complaints were filed with the CRTC (Canada’s telecommunications regulator), the Party had to confess that these calls were, indeed, a Conservative scam. Their initial attempt to hide their involvement shows they knew what they were doing was wrong.

It was wrong to mislead Saskatchewan people and try to intimidate them. It was wrong to interfere with what was supposed to be a totally independent process. It was wrong to discredit the commissioners and their work. It was wrong to try to cover it up.

The last time a scam of this kind was discovered, the Conservatives had to admit to a deceitful “disinformation” campaign maligning Montreal-area MP Irwin Cotler. The Speaker of the House of Commons (Regina MP Andrew Scheer) quite properly called the Conservative tactics “reprehensible”. This latest escapade is no less so.

-- Post From My iPhone

Monday, February 04, 2013

NDP Toys With Quebec

Ralph Goodale with another solid analysis of the national political scene, as viewed from the trenches in Ottawa.

A commentary by the Member of Parliament for Wascana

February 4th, 2013


Thomas Mulcair’s NDP keep coming up with troubling prescriptions for Canada’s future.

First, last summer, they depicted the development of natural resources in western Canada as a “disease” harmful to manufacturing in the east. They deliberately attacked western Premiers, and pitted sector-against-sector, region-against-region.

Obviously, Mr. Mulcair was going after votes elsewhere than in the West, and he was specifically prepared to sacrifice the well-being of Saskatchewan and Alberta.

Now, this past week, there’s another NDP gambit, playing fast-and-loose with another dimension of Canadian unity – i.e., the terms upon which a province might claim the right to separate from the rest of the country.

Having faced two previous separatist referenda in Quebec, which put the country through great anguish and uncertainty, the Parliament of Canada adopted The Clarity Act in the year 2000.

Based on advice from the Supreme Court, this law says the federal government shall not negotiate any province’s separatist aspirations unless the population of that province “has clearly expressed its democratic will that the province secede from Canada”. The referendum necessary to determine that “democratic will” would have to involve a clear vote on a clear question.

The NDP supported The Clarity Act back in 2000. During the most recent federal election, they said they were not calling for its repeal. But all of that changed last week. They tabled draft legislation to get rid of the Act, and make it easier for separatists to win.

The NDP would eliminate the role of the Parliament of Canada – i.e., the one legislative body that includes the elected representatives of all Canadians – in determining whether any proposed referendum question is unmistakably clear.

But even worse, the NDP say a bare majority voting “yes” – i.e. 50%-plus one – would be sufficient to cause this country to be broken up. And that’s 50%-plus one of those who actually turn-out, not the total voting age population.

It takes a two-thirds majority to amend the constitution of the NDP as a political party, but Mr. Mulcair would let Canada disintegrate based on the ambiguous views of a minority share of the population in one province. Surely that’s just wrong!

-- Post From My iPhone