2014 Stapleford Lecture on Senate Reform at #UofR

Part 1

I really have to disagree with Dr. Barnhart, who had the power to sign, or refuse to sign laws of Saskatchewan into effect while Lieutenant Governor, that he is a powerful person. Now his influence may be lessened, even to the point where Global TV won’t keep a promise to him, but he did get invited to to a prestigious lecture for the UofR too, didn’t he?

There’s a time to be modest, and a time to be real.

Part 2

#IdleNoMore: Regina Round Dance on Albert St. Bridge

Another exciting day of protest in Regina, and across the country, as Canadians rise up against the Harper regime and their undemocratic ominbus bills. This was at least the second march down Regina’s main street, Albert St. in the past weeks, and the second appearance of a crowd of hundreds in front of the Legislature too.

#IdleNoMore Regina

#IdleNoMore Regina

I estimated more than 300 people were packed onto one lane of Albert St. for the entire Green Mile (and then some). A few minutes were taken on the Albert St. Bridge (longest bridge over shortest span of water, in the world) to do a round dance.

Last night, Saskatoon’s downtown mall saw thousands of people show up in protest of the Harper ominbus bill C-45, and the removal of fresh and navigable waters protection (among other abuses).

Today, Warren McCall reminded people that it’s not just First Nations this undemocratic bill harms. Chief Spence in Ottawa, starving for justice, is leading the way. Harper has time for Bieber, but not for Chief Spence or other Chiefs?

#IdleNoMore Regina

#IdleNoMore Regina


-Goodale makes an announcement that draws a roar from the crowd.

ADDED – CTV’s report.

Last Updated Friday, Dec. 21, 2012 7:45PM CST

In First Nations culture, a round dance is common – it symbolizes peace and friendship. But Friday afternoon what wasn’t common was where an Idle No More round dance was held .

Hundreds of supporters stopped traffic on Regina’s busy Albert Street bridge. The rally was peaceful. It coincided with dozens of other such events across the nation. First nations elder Mike Pinay told CTV News “ we have to sit down and work together and save this land, this country and these waters”.

Idle No More supporters oppose federal bill c-45 which impacts many aspects of Canadian life – from the treaties of First Nations people to protection of lakes and rivers.

Regina Liberal MP Ralph Goodale argues the bill was “not advanced in a way that was proper and consistent with the democratic process of Canada.”

Organizers vow Friday’s event will not be the last.

Mosaic 2012 #WHYQR

I had an excellent evening out in Regina with my wife, family, and friends. I met some Ward 1 residents too along the way, including Joe and his wife. Joe’s writing a book about Regina, and it may be available by the end of this year. He also had very interesting comments about municipal politics here, including an idea (not acted on 30 years ago) to do away with the Ward numbers, and focus on geographical names with more meaning instead. Hillsdale, Douglas Park, and Whitmore Park would have meaning to more local people than “Ward 1″. I would have talked longer, but had other pavilions to get to, and the six year old we were babysitting didn’t want to wait to see more. I just realized, looking at Joe’s business card, that I saw his car on the way into the Irish pavilion, because I noticed the Rider plate with his name and mistakenly thought it was a phonetic attempt to match a radio station name.

At the Greek pavilion I also got to talk with education-Tweeter-extraordinaire Alec, who may be pitching an idea I gave him, on the radio next week.
Mosaic

So far I’ve been to Hellenic (Greece), Kyiv (Ukraine; try the borscht), Irish, Scottish, Korean (lit my mouth on fire with some kim-chi), Philippines, and Hungary. I’d like to catch them all, but won’t have time, so the short list for Saturday is Chile, Caribbean, Francophone, and First Nations. Hopefully I squeak in a few more than that.

I heard that people were evacuated from the German Club around 9:30pm due to some electrical problem that was soon resolved. The party ended up in the street, and in the tent instead.

At Hungary, I got to talk with Ralph Goodale a little bit as crowd control kicked in to hold up the line we were waiting in. He congratulated me on entering municipal politics, and gave me some pointers. Which reminds me, Joe spoke highly of Mayor Nenshi’s social media campaign, and recommended I follow it. I explained that as a blogger, I have years of “dirt” people can readily dig up and take out of context, at the push of a button, so not all of Nenshi’s methods of message control are open to me. Although, he’s certainly a legend in municipal politics and social media circles. I sure hope I have a shred of his social-savvy.

Who Won in Wascana? The “Losers”

The non-voting bloc won. Or might I say, they almost certainly didn’t get what they wanted, or didn’t try for what they wanted.

The federal riding of Wascana is the only Liberal seat in both Alberta and Saskatchewan, and will probably remain that way for the next 5 years. The results of it are interesting, as are many of Canada’s 308 elections, because the non-voting adults could have singularly elected a different candidate without changing other voters’ votes.

Voter turnout: 38,777 of 57,034 registered electors (68.0%) = 18,257 non-voters
Liberal Ralph Goodale 15,842 40.9%
Conservative Ian Shields 14,292 36.9%
NDP Marc Spooner 7,689 19.8%
Green Party Bill Clary 954 2.5%

My critics may say, “Yeah, but Goodale [or insert your “winning” MP in place of his name] got the single most votes of those who ran.” My critics would technically be correct, but it’s also technically correct to say that he got the most votes of the available candidates, who all failed to suitably impress at least half of the electorate enough to mark an X beside his name.

As Stephen Harper said before the election campaign, “Losers don’t get to form coalitions“.


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Debate Protest

Democracy is hard work, but who says it can’t be fun? I was tossing around the idea of picketing a Consortium station, to protest the exclusion of the Greens (and other registered parties) from televised leaders debates. I’ve talked myself into it, so there will be at the least me outside CBC Regina sometime in the coming week, protesting their anti-democratic televised debate format. There are protests across Canada listed on the Green Party website. I hope to get my protest listed there soon.

Harper and Ignatieff refuse to debate Elizabeth May

If you’re not near a TV station to come out for an hour with a sign, and display your displeasure with the media being hijacked to protect the established political parties, then write a letter to the editor of your local paper. This excellent letter was published in Saskatoon.

I asked Ralph Goodale on Tuesday to tell Ignatieff that he should challenge Elizabeth May to a debate too, since Harper is too chicken to debate him. He said he’d ask. I also said that Ignatieff’s token support for saying that he wants May in the debate is meaningless without real action against the Consortium by threatening to boycott it until fairness is restored and May is given a seat again like the Greens were in 2008.

Some reasons I feel it’s important to protest the debate scandal that popped up again like it did last campaign:

@JohnCollison: Broadcasting Cartel protects Incumbent Parties from competition who in turn protect broadcasters from competition

And there are some blinkered progressive Twitterers that are so desperate for any advantage by leaving promotion of the Green platform out of national TV coverage, that they are trying to justify the Consortium’s ridiculous excuse that a judge swallowed today: May should have sued the Broadcast Consortium before the campaign, after being included in the 2008 election for inclusion in all future debates. Somehow these people have time machines and knew that the Consortium would go back on past-practice and move the goal posts when it again looked like May and the Greens were going to score a winning kick.


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Greens To Support Conservatives?

In Canada’s antique First Past The Post electoral system, smart people end up saying stupid things. Add to the list Peter’s claim, “I believe that every Green vote is, in effect, a vote for Stephen Harper.”
Photobucket

I must admit, I’ve pondered a similar thought at times, but call it my mild partisanship, or possible mental retardation, but I really don’t believe that it’s an accurate assessment of the situation. Take the riding of Wascana as an example. If there was a safe seat for the Liberals in the west, this is it (and I just happen to live here). Pretend I lost my mental faculties and voted for Ralph Goodale instead of Bill Clary of the Greens on May 2nd. What result would that have? Would Peter’s claim be true? No. It would add $2 to the Green Party for next election, and Ralph would still get his seat. Assume 10 of my friends, and 10 of each of their friends did the same thing as me. Ralph would still get his seat. “But how?!” you puzzle incredulously. Because it’s my complete speculation that the overwhelming number of Green voters are first time voters. They aren’t flipping from the Liberals, or NDP, they haven’t voted before, period.

And the Greens are certainly not inspiring new Conservative voters, for one thing most Conservatives aren’t concerned about us taking votes from their candidates, or mounting enough of a total to challenge them directly either. If anything, they’re more complacent because they are resting their hopes on vote splitting that may not happen. It’s business as usual, for them, which describes their view of the environment too I might add.

By some coincidence Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada, agrees with me:

Caller from Toronto asks about Vote Splitting. The caller knows people who are concerned.
Answer from May: Common fear among progressives, but they are forgetting that last electoral result wasn’t due to vote splitting (or even happened in spite of it). NDP strategy changed in 2006 to side with the Conservatives to destroy the Liberals. Greens being present changes party strategies. Last election the only party to increase voting base was the Greens. “Greens kept people in the process”[…]“asking people to vote for something they believe in”. “Holding the line between” a minority and Harper majority.

Harper hasn’t put Mulroney’s success in Quebec together, he can’t get a majority.

“A minority government is not a ‘win’ for the party with the most seats.” “The GG should be asking ALL the parties who is best to form government.”

A vote for the Greens, in many ridings, is certainly not a vote for Conservatives. Are there exceptions? Possibly, but they must be narrowly identified, and a careless brushstroke that paints “every” Green vote as Blue, only hurts our democracy as much as Stephen Harper already has. Don’t deprive the Greens of needed votes to bolster their legitimacy, instead encourage more of your progressive friends to vote for whichever party they support, and Get Out The Vote above all else so there are enough Liberals to form government with a few Green MPs in the backbenches.

And since I know Liberals are reading this, I should point out that there are seats in Saskatchewan that could go NDP instead of Conservative if every Liberal voter went with the NDP candidate instead (and vice versa). Put that into your thinking caps, and come up with a solution for the old parties to work with each other before we might regret the result on May 2nd. How can the progressive parties informally and actively assist each other in these vulnerable Conservative ridings? Progressive car pools to the polls? Release better platforms that immediately address FPTP electoral deficiency? What else?

Getting a Call from May Tonight?

Last week I got a call from Ralph Goodale (my MP in Wascana {Check out his Green competition, Bill Clary}), that sounds like the same teleconference technology as Elizabeth May is using across the country tonight. I think it’s an excellent way to reach voters. Has anyone else got a call like this from their MP or party leader?

Dear [Saskboy]:

Your phone will ring on Monday, March 28th at 7:45 PM Eastern Daylight Time (4:45 PM Pacific Time) with the opportunity to join our phone-in “town-hall” with Elizabeth May. Think massive conference call with thousands of your fellow members!

Over the next five weeks we have the opportunity to work for our candidates and make history as we grow our vote even more. In the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, and Europe, it took the hard work of committed Green Party members to breakthrough and elect legislative members. This time around, we have a solid shot at seeing the Green Party in the House.

During the hour-long call, Party Leader Elizabeth May, Executive Director Johan Hamels, and National Campaign Manager, Lois Corbett will share our election campaign with you along with opportunities for local and national participation in our quest for Canada’s first elected Green MPs.

You will also have the opportunity to submit a question to Elizabeth May and may hear it posed and answered during the town-hall.

We hope you will join us tomorrow at 7:45 PM Eastern Daylight Time (4:45 PM Pacific Time). Please be sure to be near your phone so that you don’t miss our call!

Yours Sincerely,
Craig Cantin
Deputy National Campaign Manager
Green Party of Canada

I’ve heard that some (many?) Conservative ridings don’t bother doing door knocking, and instead focus on telephone identification of support, and Getting Out the Vote. There’s nothing wrong with GOTV, or polling, but we’re moving in the wrong direction if it becomes okay for candidates to actively avoid public appearances where questions can’t be controlled.