Published by Toronto Mike on June 28, 2004 @ 13:11 in Politics
When you don't vote, you let others speak for you.
We are fortunate to have fair and democratic methods in place for the selecting of political representation. To not take part in the process or to feel like our opinion doesn't matter, would be to waste the incredible power that we possess.
The power of a single vote is staggering. It is our right to stand up and be counted. And the way we do that is by casting our ballot. Don't forget to vote in today's Federal Election.
It's Up To Us
Published by Toronto Mike on June 25, 2004 @ 22:25 in Politics
Whoa nelly, it's gonna be close. The Liberals and Conservatives are neck and neck with the federal election only a couple of days away. It's anyone's ballgame.
As I see it, it's all up to us. By us, I mean Ontarians. Out west all I hear about are Conservative loving yahoos, in Quebec it's a mess and there aren't enough bodies to make a difference down east. That means it will be us in Ontario who choose the Prime Minister of Canada.
I shared this theory with a house guest from Winnipeg and she said it was typical Toronto arrogance. It's not, it's simply the way the numbers add up. With a representation by population system, Ontario is far more important than any other Canadian province. Lets face it, if Ontario turns blue, Stephen Harper will win. If Ontario stays even a slight shade of red, Paul Martin will remain in power. It won't matter what they thought in Alberta, New Brunswick and Manitoba.
So, it's all up to us. I've done my part and voted Liberal. Now it's your turn.
Published by Toronto Mike on June 20, 2004 @ 09:15 in Politics
I find myself awaking in a cold sweat for fear the Conservatives may actually win our federal election. Recent Liberal scandals and mismanagement have many looking at the Conservative Party as a way to send a message and teach the Liberal Party a lesson. I fully understand this unwillingness to give the Liberals another vote, but the alternative is frightening. We can't cut off our nose to spite our face.
This morning, perusing the Toronto Star, I came across a letter to the editor from a Robin Wood entitled "Vote for Conservatives and you can expect this". It's pretty simple and straight forward and I fear it's also rather accurate.
A vote for the Conservatives is (ultimately, whatever Stephen Harper may say) in all probability a vote for the following:
1. An increase in pollution, destruction of the environment, and global warming (in the interests of corporate capitalism), which, according to many distinguished international scientists, could end with our planet becoming uninhabitable.
2. An increase in support for the U.S., in its transparent striving (under the current administration) for world domination.
3. An increase in homelessness and poverty (including child poverty).
4. The further demolition of our health care system, including our hospital services.
5. The parallel undermining of educational funding, from kindergarten to university.
6. The probable loss of abortion rights for women.
7. The probable blocking of same-sex marriage.
This is, of course, a free country and the choice is yours. I just wanted to make sure you know what you are voting for. And heaven help the rest of us.
Do the right thing. Please.
My Civic Duty
Published by Toronto Mike on June 19, 2004 @ 20:38 in Politics
I voted tonight. The election is actually June 28th, but tonight was an advance voting night. I'm not sure what my slo-pitch schedule will look like on June 28th and I wanted to fulfill my civic duty.
Sitting behind that cardboard barrier with by ballot in hand I knew what I had to do for my country. I cast my vote for my local Liberal MP in the hopes we can avoid the Stephen Harper regime. The more I hear and read about Mr. Harper, the more I get a Dubya vibe from him and that scares the shit out of me.
Fellow Canadians can vote on Monday from noon to 20:00 if they want to avoid the June 28th rush. Monday is the last advance voting day. Go here to find out where to go on Monday to keep the Liberal party in power. Trust me, it's for the best.
Published by Toronto Mike on June 17, 2004 @ 13:13 in Politics
Stephen Harper is publicly saying his Conservative Party will win a majority government on June 28. I'd call that wishful thinking. Everything I've read regarding polls and predictions tell me it's neck and neck. Folks, we have a nail biter on our hands.
Harper's Conservative Party and Paul Martin's Liberal Party each have an equal shot at winning this thing, but it's so close either government will be short lived. It's expected we'll be back in the voting booth within 18 months. For 25 years there's been political stability in Canada but that's all changing now. No minority administration since World War Two has lasted more than two years and the last minority government, that of Conservative Joe Clark, collapsed in 1980 after nine months when parliament voted against his budget.
Harper may garner a slim victory even without my support, but he won't win a majority. If he does, I may seek refuge in Iceland.
Published by Toronto Mike on June 13, 2004 @ 13:09 in Politics
Do you remember that report on terrorism released by the State Department in the USA back in April? It said attacks had declined last year to 190, down from 198 in 2002 and 346 in 2001. The 2003 figure would have been the lowest level in 34 years and a 45 percent drop since 2001, Bush's first year as president. That report concluded that terrorism was on the decline and was used to boost Dubya's chief foreign policy claims, success in countering terror.
As Secretary of State Colin Powell said earlier today, it was a "big mistake". Bad figures, bad information, bad conclusion. It turns out terrorism isn't on the decline at all. Quite the opposite in fact...
When April's report came out, I read about it in disbelief but who am I to contradict a report that the CIA helped compile the data for? My question is, was the Dubya camp cooking the books as part of the re-election campaign? Hmmmm...
Published by Toronto Mike on June 11, 2004 @ 19:13 in Politics
I fear the Conservative Party will win the election on June 28th and Stephen Harper will be my new Prime Minister.
Harper's Conservative Party is starting to show its stripes. Comments are being made by Conservative Party candidates that suggest they are homophobic and anti-abortion. Anti-abortion is itself a misnomer because nobody is actually pro-abortion, but pro-choice. I believe it's essential that a woman in Canada retain the legal right to abortion. Furthermore, I believe homosexuality is a characteristic one is born with and not a lifestyle or choice. As such, we must protect the rights of homosexuals in much the same manner we must protect the rights of minorities or women.
Harper has vowed to reverse the decision made by Quebec, Ontario and B.C. courts of appeal to give gays and lesbians the right to get married. In the latest remark, Frank Luellau, the Conservative candidate for Kitchener-Conestoga, told The Globe and Mail that homosexuality "is not a natural kind of relationship" and that it is the "constitutional right to freedom of religion and freedom of association" for a religious group to fire or refuse to hire gays and lesbians. Leullau's comments follow those of Cheryl Gallant, the Ottawa-area MP who last week said the Conservative caucus wants to repeal legislation that places sexual orientation in Canada's anti-hate law. Later, she was quoted at an anti-abortion rally equating abortion to the beheading of American contractor Nicholas Berg.
On top of all of this, Harper promises Canada will pull out of the Kyoto Protocol. He claims it's irrelevant and unworkable. Everything I've read about Kyoto suggests it's not only relevant but necessary. Kyoto calls for a 6 percent cut in the emission of greenhouse gases from 1990 levels by 2012. The environment is the lowest of priorities for this party.
This is not a party I could ever support. One of my favourite things about Canada is the fact that we're an open minded progressive nation. I've always considered us to be proactive rather than reactive and our liberalism a trait admired by the free world. I wrote this almost one year ago and it says a lot about what I want my Canada to be. I fear the Conservative Party will win and I see that as one giant step backwards.
For all their faults, the Liberal Party is indeed the best option for Canada. Please put aside your issues with Dalton McGuinty or your anger at the sponsorship scandal and envision a Canada with Harper at the helm. Better yet, look down and check out Dubya. Their politics are eerily similar.
Published by Toronto Mike on June 9, 2004 @ 21:23 in Politics
Tonight I received telephone calls from both the Conservative Party of Canada and the Liberal Party. I must be on some list because Taryn isn't getting these calls, just me.
Earlier this month I wrote that I was seriously considering casting my vote for the NDP. My politics clash with those of Stephen Harper but I'm not as eager to support the Liberal Party as I usually am. A vote for the NDP would allow me to stay true to my political beliefs.
Taryn tells me if I vote for the NDP I'm essentially voting for the Conservative Party because I'd be depriving the Liberals of a vote. The NDP party will not win our riding so I'd be doing the Conservative Party a huge favour by going orange. I certainly see her point. I remember following the American federal election of 2000 many pointed out that Ralph Nader won Dubya the presidency. Had the Ralph Nader supporters voted for Gore, I wouldn't have Dubya to kick around right now. I don't want Jack Layton to be our Ralph Nader. I certainly don't want Stephen Harper to be our Dubya.
It looks like I'll be voting red...again.
Published by Toronto Mike on June 2, 2004 @ 14:01 in Politics
We have a federal election on June 28th. The incumbent Liberal Party will be lucky to maintain a minority government. For the past decade the Liberal Party has seemed invincible, winning majority after majority. King Jean has given way to Paul Martin and poor Mr. Martin has witnessed the Liberal Party's popularity decline week after week since he took office.
There are a number of reasons for this. For one, the Liberals have been in power a very long time and sometimes people want change for change sake. Furthermore, the recent sponsorship scandal seriously dented their integrity and for the first time since the Mulroney days the right is united providing an option for more conservative minded voters. And finally, Dalton McGuinty recently broke another promise and raised taxes for Ontarians like myself leading to great resentment towards the Liberal Party provincially. This negativity has seeped into Federal politics causing Martin to be painted with the same red brush as McGuinty.
If you believe the polls, it's going to be close. Either the Conservative Party of Canada or the Liberal Party will win a minority government. I can't vote for the Conservative Party of Canada, but I don't want to vote for the Liberal Party either. I've been taking a long serious look at another option. I've been considering the possibility I might cast my vote for Jack Layton's NDP.
This is not a done deal and there's a lot of time to go so my mind may change a dozen times before June 28 but that's the way I'm leaning these days. I've never voted NDP federally before, but this time their platform and leadership is such that I'm comfortable enough to do just that. Closer to the election, I'll write further about the party that's lucky enough to receive my vital vote. It just may go to Jack.
Published by Toronto Mike on May 31, 2004 @ 10:12 in My 2 Cents, Politics
When Attorney General John Ashcroft warned of an attack planned on America planned for sometime in the coming months, we all took notice. In warning Americans to brace for a possible attack, Ashcroft cited what he called "credible intelligence from multiple sources," saying that "just after New Year's, al-Qaida announced openly that preparations for an attack on the United States were 70 percent complete. After the March 11 attack in Madrid, Spain, an al-Qaida spokesman announced that 90 percent of the arrangements for an attack in the United States were complete." Very scary stuff.
MSNBC is reporting there's no evidence a credible al-Qaida spokesman ever said that, and the claims actually were made by a largely discredited group, Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades, known for putting propaganda on the Internet. In other words, Ashcroft took something said by a source that is notorious for lying and based his speech last week on it. For example, this source took responsibility for our massive blackout last August. We all know that wasn't an act of terrorism at all.
I have so many concerns about this, I don't know where to begin. Now that we all know this warning of an imminent attack on American soil is based on non-credible sources, who believes Ashcroft? More importantly, who will believe Ashcroft next time he warns us of something or who will take the FBI seriously when they do the same? A great deal of credibility and integrity has been lost here.
My immediate instincts following Ashcroft's speech last week was that Dubya's regime was distracting Americans who were becoming all to aware of the problems caused by the current administration. Nothing will distract Joe Smith from Jackson, Mississippi better than telling him al-Qaida is coming this summer to a location near him. It certainly got my attention. Of course the most brilliant aspect of such an announcement is the benefit Dubya would enjoy in November. I'm sure just before the election Dubya will remind Americans that his security forces and intelligence operatives prevented an imminent attack in the summer of 2004. As important as the economy, environment and foreign affairs are, nothing is more important to voters than their personal safety and the safety of their families. If you believe Dubya is the reason al-Qaida didn't attack this summer, would you rock the boat by voting for John Kerry? Of course not. You haven't been attacked since 9/11, why mess with a good thing?
In a related story, the Washington Post is reporting this morning on the volume of negative attacks on John Kerry by the Dubya reelection machine. "Scholars and political strategists say the ferocious Bush assault on Kerry this spring has been extraordinary, both for the volume of attacks and for the liberties the president and his campaign have taken with the facts."
On Tuesday, President Bush's campaign began airing an ad saying Kerry would scrap wiretaps that are needed to hunt terrorists.
The same day, the Bush campaign charged in a memo sent to reporters and through surrogates that Kerry wants to raise the gasoline tax by 50 cents.
On Wednesday and Thursday, as Kerry campaigned in Seattle, he was greeted by another Bush ad alleging that Kerry now opposes education changes that he supported in 2001.
The charges were all tough, serious -- and wrong, or at least highly misleading. Kerry did not question the war on terrorism, has proposed repealing tax cuts only for those earning more than $200,000, supports wiretaps, has not endorsed a 50-cent gasoline tax increase in 10 years, and continues to support the education changes, albeit with modifications.
I pray we never have to endure another act of terrorism, but Ashcroft's comments were inappropriate and an unnecessary incitement of panic. Post-9/11 we all have to be more aware but claiming preparations for an attack on the United States is already 70 percent complete is inaccurate. This lie, along with the lies Bush's reelection campaign makes about John Kerry on a daily basis, are just more lies from an admistration that does nothing but lie. They went to war based on a lie. Their credibility is zero. That too, is very scary stuff.