Monday, December 17, 2012

Kathleen Wynne, Blogging Teleconference Call (#olpldr)

Tonight, Kathleen Wynne, candidate for the leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party, held a conference call for Liberal bloggers. It was a great opportunity for us to hear directly from Kathleen. Several bloggers attended - the ones I remember right now - Scott Tribe (Scott's DiaTribes) and Kyle Hutton (Blunt Objects). There were some other participants, but they were shy (if you're reading this, leave a comment and I'll update this post).

Kathleen used the opportunity to showcase her ideas for party renewal in a premail to the attendees. She's developing a strategy that I think mirrors some of the structure of the federal party. She's proposing an independent(ish) executive, with regional executive representation. Also, she's committed to review the financial relationship between the central party and the riding associations in unheld ridings.

I don't have a lot of opinion on the structure of the Ontario Liberal Party as I'm still fairly new to it, but I think when it comes out, it'll bring lots of good debate for Liberals.

Once she discussed her plan, the call was opened up to questions from attending bloggers.

Highlights of the conversation:

  • Near and dear to Scott's heart, is the ability for bloggers to attend the convention with some form of accredited status (a la the NDP federal leadership where several of us bloggers enjoyed full accredited status with badges and everything). Kathleen committed to taking the issue back to the convention organizers.
     
  • I asked how she felt being one of the Toronto-based candidates, where Sandra Pupatello is running as the "non-Toronto" candidate. I then asked is she ready to be attacked by the opposition parties for also being Toronto-based. She is upset by the divisions between rural and urban ridings and the politics that divide the two "regions". However, she said it's a falsity that Ontarians are urban or rural only. More often than not, Ontarians know of someone or have lived in multiple areas within the province.
     
  • As a member of government, Kathleen accepted the government's responsibility for Ornge and the teacher unrest. She's confident that the current work of the government and Premier Dalton McGuinty will work to resolve these issues. She also indicated that she would continue the successful record of the Ontario Liberal Party and will not be running as the "radical change" candidate who will throw the previous leadership under the bus. I like that.
     
  • Kathleen seeks to engage more youth in the party. The concern raised by Kyle is he's in a riding without a strong youth component - not being in a university town, there's not a strong active youth presence. Her strategy for renewing the party itself will seek to strengthen OLP representation in unheld ridings and to strengthen the youth wing with that. I'm too old to be a youth, so I'll leave that to Liberal youth to debate.
     
  • I asked how, as Premier, she would get along with the Prime Minister. There was much guffawing from the bloggers - ah, we're a partisan lot. Any way, she understands that she must work with all levels of government; federal, First Nations, and municipal. I thought it very interesting that she mentioned First Nations government since it's typically held up as federal responsibility. She admitted they might run into disagreements, but she's committed to making the relationship work - that, she says, will help Ontario achieve a fair share. So, no Danny Williams routine from Kathleen Wynne as Premier.
All-in-all, a positive experience. I appreciated the invite to attend and I appreciated the opportunity to participate in the Q&A session. She's committed to doing the conference call again, and I'd like to participate once more.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Cheaper Keggers Under Tim Hudak? #onpoli

The University of Ottawa Conservatives are notably excited by the prospect of buying cheaper booze in Ontario. I've noticed one other university student tweet touting the benefits of cheaper alcohol in Ontario if students vote for Tim Hudak's Conservatives.


Cheap alcohol is one way to motivate youth to vote.

I'm not a prude, by any stretch - but, one of the chief arguments against increased availability of alcohol is with regard to youth consumption in the province.

I wonder how this will play up in a debate? Is this an official Conservative campaign talking point?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Progressive Right (and Rabble) Anger Sun News! #topoli

Alex Pierson, Sun News morning anchor, links to a story on Rabble calling for today's Grey Cup to be used as a "farewell" parade to Rob Ford. Naturally, she's angry.


I do think that is a witty graphic.


You can read the Rabble article here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sandra Pupatello for Premier #olpldr #onpoli

I support Sandra Pupatello as leader of the Ontario Liberal Party and to be the next Premier of Ontario.

The challenge for an Ontario Liberal with this race is there are so many qualified candidates with a varied set of positions, experiences and attributes. The ultimate tipping point for me -- similar to why I'm supporting Justin Trudeau in the federal realm -- is that Sandra is a fighter. I want a leader who will not back down from criticism or attacks by the opposition. Sandra's strong and she's a winner.

Plus, I think, Sandra being the "non-Toronto" candidate makes her a good choice in the rest of the province.

This is an exciting time to be an Ontario Liberal and I look forward to working toward a Sandra Pupatello leadership victory.

It is also my intention to stand as a delegate in January.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Justin Trudeau in Port Perry #lpcldr

Just back from Port Perry where I got a chance to see Justin Trudeau speak on behalf of his leadership campaign and on behalf of Grant Humes, the Durham Liberal candidate for the November 26th by-election.

Some highlights of the stop.

  • Justin started off with a little humour by launching with a cheap pop announcing he was "officially" launching his leadership campaign on the first official day of the campaign in Port Perry to great applause.
  • Canadians are tired of being cynical about politics; Canadians don't want a party that plays up one region of the country against another, and cited that the Liberal Party is the party that can unite the country.
  • Justin Trudeau will fight for the middle class; Canadians and Canadian business, backed by a strong middle class, will innovate and grow.
  • Justin Trudeau wants to actively engage youth in his campaign

As if to show how successful he is in engaging youth, I noted that there was a young girl snapping pictures of Justin with her Nintendo DS.

A short stop - but a great one. The place was packed.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Yes, the Manning Centre is a Registered Charity ... Still

A Mennonite magazine, 'Canadian Mennonite', has received a warning from the Canadian Revenue Agency, about what articles and editorials it can publish, citing their pieces "appear to promote opposition to a political party, or to candidates for public office". That's a no-no under the rules for maintaining registered charity status.

Meanwhile, the Manning Centre, as previously reported, is an organization that exists solely to promote the Conservative Party and partisan Conservative activities within Canada. Yet, it continues to enjoy registered charity status with the tax agency.


So, regardless of what you think of this particular publication or the Mennonite Church's status as a charitable entity, the Canadian Revenue Agency still has to answer as to why the Manning Centre enjoys registered charity status.

[H/T, Aurelia Cotta]

Monday, November 05, 2012

One Public School System

I had an opportunity to argue with someone via Twitter with regards to funding of the Catholic school system in Ontario.

I took exception with her assertion that it was atheists pushing for it's dismantling, and that it was atheists who were bullying Catholics for having the desire to maintain a separate public school system.

My debate partner's argument essentially boiled down to the following point.
I choose to direct my taxes to support the separate school system, therefore I'm the only one who should have a voice in how my tax money is spent.
To which, I tried to rebut.

I do not believe someone should have the ability to direct their taxes to specific programs or initiatives. The same way we do not have separate police forces, fire departments, armed forces, transit, roads, or health care, we should not have a separate parallel public education system.

If I directed my tax dollars (for roads, for example) away from anyone who supported the separate school system, I'd likely own a couple of potholes outside a couple of houses. But, that's not right.

Similarly, electing to send your tax dollars to another parallel school system sends support away from the public school system to a public school system that is not inclusive. It's a government-subsidized private system. It's unfair.

I do not hold any disillusion about any major shift in the political winds to remove the Catholic separate school system any time soon, but the more often we talk about it, the more it will become evident that it's the right thing to do.

Some additional information:
  • Ontario Catholics are a minority within the province. There are more identified Protestants than Catholics; "no religious affiliation" is a sizable minority as well.
  • Catholicism is not endangered in the province nor would private Catholic education be disallowed.
  • The United Nations condemned Canada for allowing Catholic separate schools in 1999 and again in 2006. Canada cannot be a beacon for promotion of education for others when we still fund segregation.
  • While the Constitution provides the "right" to receive public Catholic education, the Canadian constitution can be amended in this regard. Ontario can hold a referendum on the question (as Newfoundland & Labrador did).
Updated: My original opening line was mysteriously missing.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Karen Stintz on Tim Hudak's Transit Credentials

Karen Stintz, Chair of the Toronto Transit Commission, on Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak`s credentials on the transit file.
Mr. Hudak has some experience with the TTC, its infrastructure delays and its funding, from his time in [Ontario Progressive Conservative] caucus in 1995. Tough decisions were made then. Those decisions reverberate today. They should be remembered and we should discuss them.
Zing~!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Conservative Party Continues to Fail Fiscal Conservatives

I'm sure there are Conservative Party apologists out there ready to jump all over these stories, but the fact remains the Conservative Party continues to fail fiscal conservatives in Canada, and they'll vote Liberal in 2015.

Treasury Board boss spars with budget watchdog over mandate, Globe & Mail.

Though the Conservatives created the [Parliamentary Budget Office], there have been numerous arguments over the years between the government and Mr. Page over the appropriate role of the office. Generally, most of the disputes have been over transparency and whether Mr. Page should have access to internal government documents and databases.
The latest battle with the PBO comes as the government is on the defensive over the specific impact of budget cuts to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which is in the midst of responding to a massive beef recall. Ottawa’s March budget outlined plans for an ongoing cut of $56.1-million – or 7.8 per cent – to the CFIA’s $722-million budget by 2014-15. Mr. Page says this is an example of an area where his office needs a better explanation of what is being cut.
IMF cuts Canada's outlook, frets over housing, consumer debt, Globe & Mail.
The International Monetary Fund is taking a dimmer view of Canada, cutting its economic forecasts and warning of the threats from the housing market and swollen consumer debt levels.
Much like the Republican Party in the United States, it continues to be crystal clear that the Conservative Party is not the best party to manage tough economic times despite their propaganda to the contrary. Instead, the party seems to exist solely to waste the efforts of previously stronger economic governance.


The Conservative Party has already failed social conservatives. This house of cards won't last much longer.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

I Support Justin Trudeau


I support Justin Trudeau for leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.

For the record, this will be my second* Liberal leadership campaign as a federal Liberal.

You're going to hear a lot from the commentariat that Justin's too young, that he's too inexperienced, that he's too whatever.

What Canada lacks is energy and a spirit in its leadership and its future governance. We're saddled with a government that we don't deserve - we have an electorate too angered by the actions of previous politicians that it's allowed a lazy, regressive Conservative Party to take power and cement itself as the "new normal". A government, that campaigns on accountability, fiscal responsibility, and order, but delivers the opposite - lies, confusion, and a record debt. A government, that campaigns on maintaining the status quo, but forever wants to creep into the bedrooms of the nation.

Stephen Harper once said, "Canada's back."

It's time we take Canada back.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Maxime Bernier Photo

Does "cliché" mean the same in French as it does in English? If so, perhaps this is an unfortunate photograph of Maxime Bernier, the MP for Beauce.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dystopia Decision Tree

Via Blastr, we have a decision tree to help determine if your sci-fi society is a dystopia. Interestingly enough, I think it's useful for determine if your current society is dystopian. Cough ... Harper Conservatives ... cough.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mexico Subway Flu Ice

Just testing a theory.

Yahoo! News, Don’t say ‘flu’ or ‘subway’ online if you want to avoid Homeland Security

The list of words used by [Homeland Security] to monitor online activity for signs of terrorism or threats against the U.S. has been made publicly available. There are plenty of words on the list that you would expect to see there, like "Al Qaida" and "dirty bomb," but it's the inclusion of seemingly mundane terms like "bacteria" and "Mexico" that has piqued the interest of some.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Restaurants Should List Allergens

Kudos to Ontario's NDP for this, but it's not enough to force chain restaurants to simply list caloric content with their menu items.

All restaurants (chain, small, fancy and otherwise) should be required to list the complete nutritional information for their items readily. That's reasonable.

Equally important to publishing the nutritional ingredients, food allergens used in the creation of the menu item should be also included on the menu. Food allergies are not fads nor infringement on the rights of others to consume products. Food allergies can be life threatening.

In Canada, prepackaged food (with the exception of beer - grrrrr) is required to list off their ingredients, which help consumers to identify the presence of an allergen. Labeling of allergens on prepackaged foods (again, with the exception of beer - grrrrr) will be more strict in August.

The Center for Disease Control lists eight types of food that are the causes of 90% of food-allergy reactions: cow’s milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts (such as walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, and macadamia nuts), fish, shellfish, soybeans, and wheat. At minimum, use of these ingredients could be easily identified.

Waitstaff in restaurants are often at a loss as to what ingredients constitute a particular menu item. Chefs may be reluctant to report ingredients fearing infringement on proprietary recipes. Never mind the fact that the restaurant may be unaware that it is not advertising and producing allergy-free products in a contaminated environment.

Support this initiative, but broaden it's scope. It must be mandatory.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Whip the Vote, Mr. Rae (#lpc #prochoice)

Date: January 28, 1988
State interference with bodily integrity and serious state-imposed psychological stress, at least in the criminal law context, constitutes a breach of security of the person.
...
Liberty in a free and democratic society does not require the state to approve such decisions but it does require the state to respect them.
...
The decision whether or not to terminate a pregnancy is essentially a moral decision and in a free and democratic society, the conscience of the individual must be paramount to that of the state.
...
The state here is endorsing one conscientiously-held view at the expense of another. It is denying freedom of conscience to some, treating them as means to an end, depriving them of their "essential humanity".
Whip the vote, Mr. Rae.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Manning Centre is Still a Registered Charity


Ethical Oil has written a letter to the Canada Revenue Agency to review the David Suzuki Foundation's charitable status because, they allege, the Suzuki Foundation is a partisan political organization. I won't link to it because I don't want to. The National Post and the Toronto Sun are also carrying stories - I won't link to them either, because I don't want to.

I will point out, whatever you think of the David Suzuki Foundation, if you support this move to remove their charitable status, you should at least be arguing the same for the Manning Centre. To do otherwise, is to attain unheard of hypocritical heights.

What is the Manning Centre's mission statement? Building Canada's conservative movement.

What do they do? The Manning Centre’s role is to equip future political leaders with the ideas, skills and networks necessary to make a principled and effective contribution to Canadian politics.


Somehow, I don't think the National Post nor the Toronto Sun will run stories calling for the Manning Centre to be de-registered.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Ontario Budget Consensus : Ontario Wins, Ontario's Conservatives Lose

If you're from Ontario, you have to agree that all the political discussions taking place to prevent an election are a welcome relief. The deal of course reached between the Ontario Liberals and New Democrats is to include a surtax on those in Ontario earning more than $500,000 per year. If you're an Ontario Liberal or an Ontario New Democrat, you're clearly on the side of Ontarians.
Sources close to the talks said Mr. McGuinty and Finance Minister Dwight Duncan had vigorously opposed the new tax. But they were clearly in the minority. The sources said a many Liberal caucus members support the tax, including a majority of cabinet members. As well, opinion polls show that the tax also enjoys widespread support from the public.
As an aside, polling those earning more than $500,000 will likely show they're not opposed to the surtax.
Fully 64 per cent, including a majority of Conservatives and wealthy people, say they are willing to shell out a bit more in taxes to protect social programs such as health care, pensions and access to higher education, all of which help reduce income inequality. Less surprisingly, there’s even more support — 83 per cent — for raising taxes on the wealthiest.
[H/T, Scott's DiaTribes]

However, count on the Ontario Conservatives to be on the wrong side of opinion.

Adding insult to injury, Ontario's Conservatives find themselves on the wrong editorial side as well.

Steve Paikan, TVO
The Progressive Conservatives, in the short run, seem to have taken one on the chin.  By announcing on budget day that his entire caucus would vote against the budget, PC leader Tim Hudak essentially removed himself from the conversation.  That immediate "nay" vote may have pleased his base which hates any accommodation with McGuinty, but it allowed the spotlight to shift to Hudak's NDP opponent as "a player" at the legislature.
Torontoist
The Tories, by contrast, have been nowhere in evidence. Tim Hudak came out the day the budget was presented and said his party would be opposing it; in so doing, he put himself on the sidelines. (Whether the Progressive Conservatives reward the principle or condemn the politics of that move is yet to be seen.)
Toronto Star
The downside for McGuinty is that he is now exposed to attack by Tim Hudak’s Conservatives for raising taxes, yet again, after vowing not to do so. That’s a price the premier is prepared to pay. He’s probably also banking on Hudak coming across as a one-trick tax-cutting pony, while others are trying to make the legislature work.
That said, if you're an Ontario Tory - you're probably breathing a sigh of relief.

How exactly do you campaign that those earning more than $500,000 shouldn't be charged a surtax and that Ontario needs to be plunged into another election for no reason whatsoever?

Rant on Tories!

Will the Real Rob Ford Please Stand Up?

Rob Ford's former press secretary, Adrienne Batra, addresses the hullabaloo regarding the mayor's pending absence from Pride events:
I know Rob Ford. He is a far more tolerant individual than many of the people attacking him. Ford's problem isn't homophobia, nor does he have a hidden agenda to take away gay rights. His concern is that his participation in a Pride event, particularly the parade, will tick off his political base. But Ford needs to remember his base consists of a lot more people than social conservatives.
Where is this individual? I thought conservatives were all about standing up for their principles? Or, perhaps he's more concerned about maintaining the politics of division.

If it walks like a weasel, it's a weasel.

[H/T, Torontoist]

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Larry O'Brien Loves Glenn Beck

I don't pay much attention to Larry O'Brien. I know he was Ottawa's mayor, but he had no direct impact on me or my life. The only thing I paid attention to was when Toronto elected Rob Ford, Rob Ford was dubbed "our Larry O'Brien" and that Toronto shouldn't vote for him. Makes me hopeful that Ford will also only be a one-term mayor.

In any event, Larry de-friended me on Facebook. I suspect it was when I commented on a blog post he wrote and subsequently shared to his Facebook profile.

Luckily, I too have a blog and I can address his post with my own.
Glenn Beck, the Leader
I contend that Glenn Beck will be seen as one of the great credible leaders of our times when they write the story of the twenty-first Century. I for one will be following him.
Again, I do not know Larry very well, but I do know Glenn Beck. I think everyone does.
"The only [Katrina victims] we're seeing on television are the scumbags."  
"So here you have Barack Obama going in and spending the money on embryonic stem cell research. ... Eugenics. In case you don't know what Eugenics led us to: the Final Solution. A master race! A perfect person. ... The stuff that we are facing is absolutely frightening."
"I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I'm wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. ... No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out. Is this wrong?" 
"I went to the movie this weekend with a gun. And surprise, surprise, I didn't kill anybody!" 
"You got to have an enemy to fight. And when you have an enemy to fight, then you can unite the entire world behind you, and you seize power. That was Hitler's plan. His enemy: the Jew. Al Gore's enemy, the U.N.'s enemy: global warming. Then you get the scientists — eugenics. You get the scientists — global warming. Then you have to discredit the scientists who say, 'That's not right.' And you must silence all dissenting voices. That's what Hitler did." 
More? Hit the Craziest Glenn Beck quotes generator.

The money shot?
"I say on the air all time, "if you take what I say as gospel, you're an idiot.""
I still hold out hope Rob Ford really is our Larry O'Brien.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Pope is Still Catholic

In all likelihood, Toronto mayor Rob Ford will not attend this year's Pride parade. That's not news. What should be news is the fact that, once again, he refuses to say why.

He is unable, or more likely unwilling, to honestly tell the people of Toronto why he will not attend an event that will significantly increase tourism and boost the Toronto economy.

There are lots of opinions, lots of colourful metaphors describing the Mayor and his reasons for not attending - but, none forthcoming from the mayor. Sure, he's going to the cottage - that's what a weasel would say when wanting to avoid the spotlight.

He's not required to the attend the parade nor is he required to attend any of the preamble activities.

He is, however, a politician and sometimes that means explaining the rationale for his decision, especially when he is invited and especially when one of the events happens at City Hall. He is making a pointed effort to avoid the event without a simple statement why.

It speaks to his character as a so-called man of conviction that he is unable to do so.

Monday, April 09, 2012

I'm a Progressive Bloggers Moderator

That's it.

I'm outted.

I have an email, a picture, and I'm physically able to attend your events.

Friday, March 23, 2012

NDP Convention Photos Streaming at ProgressiveBloggers.ca (#ndpldr)

Photos I've taken are now streaming at ProgressiveBloggers.ca and here on this site.

Go check them out!

Uniting Progressives? (#ndpldr)

I caught this sign being used by Thomas Mulcair supporters. It's an interesting one because it fits with the narrative that Mulcair is attempting to broaden the NDP "big tent".




Live from Toronto, it's the NDP Convention! (#ndpldr)

I'm hunkered down at the blog command centre on the main convention floor. I'm sitting next to Jeff Jedras (http://bcinto.blogspot.com) and we're watching as the convention delegates pour in.

NDP Leadership supporters welcome delegates 

Look for pictures from the convention on the Progressive Bloggers main site (http://progressivebloggers.ca) as I upload them.

Live blogging / tweeting to commence when the convention officially opens in about an hour or so.



Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Aliens?

Quite possibly, the worst Photoshop job ever with the worst grammar ever.


(Know Your Meme, Ancient Aliens)

Crime and Conservatives

I know correlation is not causation, but it's hard not to notice that in jurisdictions with a strong Conservative political tradition, they tend to have higher crime rates.

Awwwwkward ...

Initial Thoughts on NDP Leadership Convention (#ndpldr)

So, what do I think is going to happen at this weekend's NDP leadership convention?


I've been paying attention to the media articles, the debates, and the Twitter feed. It's clear by all the folks talking about it - it's Thomas Mulcair vs the other candidates. The underlying belief is that Mulcair is not a true NDPer and his desire to make the NDP a "big tent" party is dangerous.

(I should mention that Nathan Cullen is talking "cooperation" with other parties to defeat the Conservatives ... but that's not really the same as expanding the tent.)

First off, the NDP is already a big tent coalition. There's a reason why the NDP go toe-to-toe against the Conservatives in certain ridings and against the Liberals in others.

In rural ridings or ridings with a heavy labour constituency, like Oshawa and Windsor, you have a strange mix of the social cooperative with the social conservative. Liberals do break out here once and a while - it's rare.

In urban ridings, the socially conscious but fiscally liberal New Democrat fights with the socially conscious but fiscally conservative Liberal. Conservatives break out here once and a while - again, it's rare.

Thomas Mulcair represents a change, perhaps, in a direction to expand that tent - to make the NDP competitive where the Liberals and Conservatives typically go toe-to-toe - Quebec and the suburbs.

Does that means a shift to the pragmatic "mushy" middle?

In attempting to keep Quebec and the suburbs with a shift, will the NDP lose their other core constituencies on which they've built the foundation for their current political success?

The line up to endorse Mulcair is long from a lot of those "foundational constituencies".

It appears to me, at least, that Mulcair is appealing to those folks who vote or would like to vote NDP - instead of those who are partisan New Democrats. Has he translated that support into convention ballots?

I don't think he'll win on the first ballot, but I'd be shocked if he didn't win.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

NDP Leadership Convention 2012 (#ndpldr)

I will be attending the NDP leadership convention as an accredited blogger in my capacity as a moderator for Progressive Bloggers. You can follow my coverage here, on Twitter (@progright), and on Google+.


I'd like to thank the NDP for accrediting bloggers to their convention. It's a sign that they recognize and understand the importance of personal social media in this century. I hope the Liberal Party reviews it's prohibitive stance with the next convention.

That said, this will be my first NDP convention. I've been to Liberal and Conservative conventions as a delegate, but never an NDP convention. I'll be there bright and early on the Friday morning right through to completion Saturday evening.

Growing up in an NDP-supporting household where Trudeaumania wasn't a thing - it was Broadbent Fever all the way - going to this convention sparked some excitement for my folks. My father thinks this convention will help to broaden my horizons.

We'll see. ;)

Look for a "preamble to the convention" piece up in the coming days ...

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Disturbing Conservative Viewpoints on Education

Interesting how social conservatives in both Canada and the United States are blaming universities for their being "too much edumacation".

On his Facebook profile, former Liberal MP Omar Alghabra, found and posted this letter to the editor on Mississauga.com that highlighted one of Canada's problem to those of the so-called common sense thinking variety - there are too many students studying things that aren't practical. Further, universities should be "elitist" institutions for the few who can afford it.

Now, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum suggests "the left uses colleges for indoctrination". Also, suggesting, fewer people should go to universities - going even further to suggest that simply attending university is undermining the United States.

The social conservative elite, and Santorum is one, feel that university is an obstruction to their agenda. It's okay for them to attend university so they can preach from on high, but not their flock. That's the only conclusion I can draw.

If I were an intelligent conservative, I'd be appalled by these remarks.

If I were a member of a student partisan conservative association (as I once was), I'd be even more appalled.

Monday, January 23, 2012

NDP to Accredit Bloggers at Convention?!

It could be me, but I could find no information on whether bloggers (or the media for the matter) will be accredited at the NDP leadership convention in March.

Since the convention is being held in Toronto, I could partake in the event with little cost to me. However, I cannot fork over the $1,000 observer fee.

I've tweeted about it and I've sent an email to the NDP to find out.

Will keep you posted.

Updated. According to Far and Wide and the Pundit's Guide, yes, bloggers will be accredited at the convention. Details to come. Thanks!

Updated. Yes!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

No Excuses, Liberal Supporters

One of the oft-repeated refrains from the last elections from those who would vote Liberal was that they couldn't vote Liberal because of who Liberals voted as leader. It was because Liberals chose Paul Martin as leader or Stéphane Dion or Michael Ignatieff ... Why couldn't we just select a leader they could vote for?

Now, the Liberal Party has made it possible for Liberal supporters to engage directly with the party and vote to select the next leader. No risk and no fuss.

I admit - I voted against this resolution at the convention. I supported the idea of recognizing Liberal supporters within the party wholeheartedly, but could not support the notion they should be able to participate in leadership contests.

Well, I was in the minority.

We've entrusted you to join with us to help shape the party - shape the direction of the leadership.

So, no more excuses.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Rebuilding

Trying out the Blogger app for my phone.

A picture from the registration floor highlighting the theme.

Live from Ottawa, it's the Liberal Party Convention (#Ott12)

I'm blogging to you from Ottawa, Ontario - site of the 2012 Liberal Party convention. It's a blistery -5 degrees outside and there's a gentle breeze coming down from the north at about a thousand miles per hour*.

I'm about to go register and begin the delegate's tour of the unofficial first night of the convention.

In all likelihood, I won't be live blogging much - I'll be using Twitter more (follow me @progright). I did install the Blogger app for my iPhone so you may get some post-suite commentary up on the site. Or, maybe I'll get all fired up and start blogging up a firestorm.

Stay tuned.

* You're too old if you get the reference.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

James Morton for Vice President (English), Liberal Party of Canada

One thing I'm struck by as I look at the candidates for board positions within the Liberal Party of Canada, is the number of candidates that are advocating for a truly complete renewal and rejuvenation of the party and it has me excited by the prospect for the future.

I have been attracted to the candidacies of those individuals that seek to lift the roof off the party, and attract new members, new advocates, new activists and new participants. I think in order to do this, the party must stop doing what it's done in the past because the times have changed and our political opponents have changed.

We're not going to affect change by entrenching what has been done in the past. That's not to say that change must be enacted for the sake of change, but change must occur. Bold ideas need to be raised and debated about increasing the openness of the party, and I think James represents that best.

I will be supporting James Morton for Liberal Party vice president (English) at the Ottawa 2012 Convention.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Mike Crawley for President, Liberal Party of Canada

I had an opportunity to meet with Mike Crawley at a recent Edward Blake Society event in Toronto. Mike was engaging and determined to hear my opinion. That was before he found out I was a blogger and could take my otherwise useless opinion of him onto the interwebs.

I won't bore you with the details of what ultimately led me to this decision, but I will let you know that I believe Mike is the candidate most likely to create the most change in the party to attract more members and create a better run political party. Under Mike, I believe the Liberal Party will be stronger for all Canadians.

As I said to Mike, I'm a former Conservative and, relatively speaking, a new Liberal. If you want to bring more folks like me to the Liberal ranks, enshrining the party with life-long Liberals with what might appear to be old-style Liberal thinking is not going to work. You need to create a party that embraces openness and embraces engagement with both Liberals and non-Liberals alike. I felt, after talking with Mike, that he embraced those same ideals.

I will be supporting Mike Crawley for Liberal Party president at the Ottawa 2012 Convention.