The American federal election is today. As a Canadian, I don't get a vote, and now treat it much like I treat the World Series when the Jays aren't playing in it.
When the Jays aren't in the World Series, and they haven't been there since 1993, I pick a favourite so it's more fun to watch. This year, I wanted the Giants to beat the Tigers, and was pleased when they won. But had the Tigers won the World Series, I'd have thrown up my arms and exclaimed "oh well - they weren't really my team".
With this election it's pretty much the same thing. I'm rooting for Obama to beat Romney (surprise, surprise) and hoping he prevails, but should Romney pull off the upset, I'll throw up my arms and exclaim "oh well - it's not my country".
Because the fact is, as a Canadian, I'm entitled to a rooting interest, but I don't have to live with the results. I've got a Conservative Prime Minister and a right-wing Mayor I sincerely dislike, but I'm making no plans to move out of the city and I continue to pay my taxes. At least I had a say in the matter...
Fellow Canadians, who are you rooting for in the US election?
The first mention of Dalton McGuinty on this blog was October 3, 2003. That was the day he was first elected Premier of Ontario, and today is the day he announced his resignation.
Speculation abounds, but as I type we don't yet know exactly why Dalton McGuinty has decided to step down after 9 years as Premier. Feel free to share your speculation in the comments. I think he's giving his party its best chance at winning a fourth election in a row, but I've never hated the man the way some do.
With McGuinty resigning after leading the Liberal Party for 16 years, I thought I'd share the certificate I got for my grandmother on her 90th birthday. If she hangs on for a couple more years, I'll be getting one from the Queen.
In Toronto, we're getting Simcoe Day off on Monday, but it's not Simcoe Day everywhere in Ontario.
Civic Holiday may also be known by one of a number of local appellations such as Mountie Day in North York, Colonel By Day in Ottawa, George Hamilton Day in Hamilton, Joseph Brant Day in Burlington, Founders' Day in Brantford, McLaughlin Day in Oshawa, Alexander Mackenzie Day in Sarnia, James Cockburn Day in Cobourg, Peter Robinson Day in Peterborough, and John Galt Day in Guelph, as well as numerous other names in smaller municipalities.
Speaking of Ontario, our flag is awfully British. Allow me to demonstrate and then explain how this came to be.
This is the United Kingdom Union Flag they've been using since 1801.
This is the Canadian Red Ensign flag Canada was using before 1965. You'll notice it has the Union Flag in there as a nod to our motherland.
But in 1965, PM Pearson lobbied for a flag without the Union Jack, a symbol of our independence. This ticked off Diefenbaker who was rather fond of the Red Ensign. This familiar red maple leaf became Canada's new flag:
Diefenbaker wasn't the only one upset we lost the Union Jack. Ontario Premier Robarts wanted Ontario to adopt a new flag that restored this history, so Ontario got this flag with the good 'ol Union Jack featured prominently.
And that's how Ontario's flag came to look so damn British.
President Barack Obama has endorsed the right of same-sex couples to marry. I was happy to hear it, it's the right thing, but it's time we stop making a big deal out of things we shouldn't be making a deal out of.
I borrow that sentiment from Clint Eastwood, who says it better than I ever could.
Just give everybody the chance to have the life they want...
The quote of the day comes from Wildrose candidate Ron Leech, who's running for MPP in the Calgary Greenway riding.
I think, as a Caucasian, I have an advantage. When different community leaders such as a Sikh leader or a Muslim leader speaks they really speak to their own people in many ways. As a Caucasian, I believe that I can speak to all the community.
Tens of thousands of Canadians have written to me in recent weeks to wish me well. I want to thank each and every one of you for your thoughtful, inspiring and often beautiful notes, cards and gifts. Your spirit and love have lit up my home, my spirit, and my determination.
Unfortunately my treatment has not worked out as I hoped. So I am giving this letter to my partner Olivia to share with you in the circumstance in which I cannot continue.
I recommend that Hull-Aylmer MP Nycole Turmel continue her work as our interim leader until a permanent successor is elected.
I recommend the party hold a leadership vote as early as possible in the New Year, on approximately the same timelines as in 2003, so that our new leader has ample time to reconsolidate our team, renew our party and our program, and move forward towards the next election.
A few additional thoughts:
To other Canadians who are on journeys to defeat cancer and to live their lives, I say this: please don't be discouraged that my own journey hasn't gone as well as I had hoped. You must not lose your own hope. Treatments and therapies have never been better in the face of this disease. You have every reason to be optimistic, determined, and focused on the future. My only other advice is to cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey, as I have done this summer.
To the members of my party: we've done remarkable things together in the past eight years. It has been a privilege to lead the New Democratic Party and I am most grateful for your confidence, your support, and the endless hours of volunteer commitment you have devoted to our cause. There will be those who will try to persuade you to give up our cause. But that cause is much bigger than any one leader. Answer them by recommitting with energy and determination to our work. Remember our proud history of social justice, universal health care, public pensions and making sure no one is left behind. Let's continue to move forward. Let's demonstrate in everything we do in the four years before us that we are ready to serve our beloved Canada as its next government.
To the members of our parliamentary caucus: I have been privileged to work with each and every one of you. Our caucus meetings were always the highlight of my week. It has been my role to ask a great deal from you. And now I am going to do so again. Canadians will be closely watching you in the months to come. Colleagues, I know you will make the tens of thousands of members of our party proud of you by demonstrating the same seamless teamwork and solidarity that has earned us the confidence of millions of Canadians in the recent election.
To my fellow Quebecers: On May 2nd, you made an historic decision. You decided that the way to replace Canada's Conservative federal government with something better was by working together in partnership with progressive-minded Canadians across the country. You made the right decision then; it is still the right decision today; and it will be the right decision right through to the next election, when we will succeed, together. You have elected a superb team of New Democrats to Parliament. They are going to be doing remarkable things in the years to come to make this country better for us all.
To young Canadians: All my life I have worked to make things better. Hope and optimism have defined my political career, and I continue to be hopeful and optimistic about Canada. Young people have been a great source of inspiration for me. I have met and talked with so many of you about your dreams, your frustrations, and your ideas for change. More and more, you are engaging in politics because you want to change things for the better. Many of you have placed your trust in our party. As my time in political life draws to a close I want to share with you my belief in your power to change this country and this world. There are great challenges before you, from the overwhelming nature of climate change to the unfairness of an economy that excludes so many from our collective wealth, and the changes necessary to build a more inclusive and generous Canada. I believe in you. Your energy, your vision, your passion for justice are exactly what this country needs today. You need to be at the heart of our economy, our political life, and our plans for the present and the future.
And finally, to all Canadians: Canada is a great country, one of the hopes of the world. We can be a better one - a country of greater equality, justice, and opportunity. We can build a prosperous economy and a society that shares its benefits more fairly. We can look after our seniors. We can offer better futures for our children. We can do our part to save the world's environment. We can restore our good name in the world. We can do all of these things because we finally have a party system at the national level where there are real choices; where your vote matters; where working for change can actually bring about change. In the months and years to come, New Democrats will put a compelling new alternative to you. My colleagues in our party are an impressive, committed team. Give them a careful hearing; consider the alternatives; and consider that we can be a better, fairer, more equal country by working together. Don't let them tell you it can't be done.
My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world.