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Monday, October 11th, 2010

I’ve been labeled a lot of things in my life, tree-hugger, know-it-all, imposing, but the one thing I’ve never been called is “Right wing”. In fact, I’ve often been VERY critical of so called “right-wing” thinking. However, I’ve only really been referred to as “left-wing” by one person, in a response to my previous post on Poppy Irony, (actually he called me an anti-intellectual leftard, to be more precise.) It got me to thinking… where do I actually fit on the traditional Left/Right political spectrum.

For this experiment I decided to list my thoughts on various issues and see whether they were Left or Right.

  • Pro Social Safety Net: Left
  • Think Social Safety Net should be the last option: Right
  • Pro Gun Control: Left
  • Think gun crimes should carry very stiff criminal sentences: Right
  • Big Business can’t be trusted to do the right thing for Society as a whole: Left
  • Government can’t be trusted to do the right thing for Society as a whole: Right (but at least I get a say in who the government is!)
  • Believe in the Canadian Mosaic schema of multiculturalism: Left
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  • Think that schools still have the right to have Christmas Assemblies that actually mention Christ: Right
  • The environment matters and should be a key factor in all public policy decisions: Left (apparently)
  • The economy matters and should be a key factor in all public policy decisions: Right
  • That Stephane Dion may not be well suited to be PM: Right
  • That Stephen Harper is definitely NOT well suited to be PM: Left
  • That Jack Layton should never be PM: Normal

Basically I find myself pretty much in the centre of the political spectrum, although I suspect that my “progressive” feelings on social issues would take me over to the Left in the eyes of today’s Republican/Conservatives. (Gay marriage, fine; Legalise marijuana, good idea; Promote bilingualism, bien sûr)

I think that this blending of perspectives within myself is what led me to the Green Party in the first place. A party that looks at all ideas objectively and promotes the ones that fit with its fundamental ideologies. Good ideas are good ideas, no matter who first proposed them. Quite a break from the political system we currently have I think.

Political CompassFor fun I took the Political Compass quiz to see where I fit on it’s spectrum. Apparently I am a bit to the left, but comfortably near Gandhi. I can live with that.

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Monday, October 11th, 2010

Belinda StronachSo there I am, as usual, watching Question Period, and suddenly my ears perk up. Did the Speaker of the House really just say, “The member for Newmarket-Aurora”?

Sure enough, after many months of absence from the House of Commons, there was my MP, Belinda Stronach, rising in the house to ask, not one, but two questions.

From Hansard, December 5, 2007

Hon. Belinda Stronach:
Mr. Speaker, many women in Canada cannot access legal aid for family law matters, even when they are leaving abusive relationships. The Liberal government was working with the provinces to develop a new agreement to give these women better legal access.
For the sake of these women and for their children, when will the government develop an agreement with the provinces?

Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, it is very interesting. The Liberals say that they were working on it. In fact, the whole question of civil legal aid was cut by that group of people in 1995. It was their own action that did it.

That being said, we are committed to the family violence initiative. I am pleased the Department of Justice is involved with that. We help individual groups that address domestic violence. It is an important issue and a serious one for Canadians.
I continue to work with federal-provincial counterparts. We have done a lot and we will do more.

Hon. Belinda Stronach (Newmarket—Aurora, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, in October the minister threatened that the organizations that criticized the government may lose their funding. She said, “I am surprised that certain organizations that receive our financial support criticize our support for the cause of women”.
These organizations defend women’s rights and try to improve the quality of life for Canadian families. Why is the minister threatening these groups?

Hon. Josée Verner (Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, I would simply like to correct what the hon. member just said. Perhaps since her French is not very good, she misinterpreted what she read in the newspaper.
This is what our government is doing for women. Among other things, we have increased by over 42% the budget for Status of Women Canada programs. In the first group of projects that have been announced, 34 projects are for fighting—

I have been quite critical of Ms. Stronach’s decision not to resign her seat after deciding, in early 2007, to return to a senior management position at her father’s business, Magna. A decision which, effectively, left my riding with no representation whatsoever. Of course I am happy to see that she appears to be fully recovered from her breast cancer, the diagnosis of which I’m sure had a great deal to do with her decision to leave politics in the first place.

Realistically there should have been a by-election in Newmarket-Aurora some time ago. However, the conventional wisdom of the day has always been that a general election is just around the corner. As such, it made some sense to not bother with the expense of having 2 elections in the riding in short order. Unfortunately the next election, like tomorrow, never seems to come.

I sincerely hope that Belinda is now going to stay in the House to do the job that she was elected to do. In fact I suspect that she will be there, to help hammer the government on their rather dismal record on women’s rights. Which leads me to believe that the Liberals are now moving to full election preparation mode. I doubt this minority parliament will live to see it’s next budget.

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Monday, October 11th, 2010

This was sent to me by my good friend Vanessa. I’m sure that you’ll see this many times across many blogs over the next couple of days, but I think it’s worthwhile, so you’re going to see it here too.

Dear friends,

Time is running out to prevent catastrophic global warming, and a historic UN summit in Bali has just a few days left to hammer out an agreement. But instead of helping out, Canada is actually sabotaging the talks! On Saturday, experts gave Canada the global “fossil” award for the worst country in the world on climate change.

Enough is enough. Prime Minister Harper’s short-sighted and big oil-driven policy on climate change has become an attack on who we are. We’re supposed to be the nice guys, who try to do the right thing in the world.

There’s still a few days left to save Canada and the climate, but we need a massive democratic roar to remind our Prime Minister what Canada is all about, and stop him from blocking the world at Bali. Click below to sign the petition and we’ll advertize the number of signatures we get in an ad campaign across Canada this week. Our goal is to get 100,000 people to sign in the next 3 days — one of the largest petitions in Canadian history. Click below and then forward this email to all your friends and family right away:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/another_canadian_climate_crime/1.php

Why is Harper doing this? The scientific debate is over, climate change is real and man-made. Studies show us that the costs of addressing climate change are FAR less than the cost of doing nothing. And experts agree that the ONLY way to get poorer countries to act on climate change is for richer countries to act first. Yesterday, Canada’s mild-mannered and most respected environmental scientist, David Suzuki, slammed our government’s spin on climate change as “humiliating” and “ludicrous”.

The truth is, Harper is following the line of his close ally US President Bush. They’re both pursuing the short-term profits of a few large oil corporations, and don’t care whether this wreaks destruction on the world as a result. We can’t let our government get away with this. A massive outcry this week could at least soften the Canadian position at Bali, so that we get out of the world’s way. Click below to sign up and then forward this email on!

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http://www.avaaz.org/en/another_canadian_climate_crime/1.php

The vast majority of Canadians are hopping mad on this issue — we can win this. We just need to show Harper how serious we are that he reverse course. Sign up now and forward this email to everyone you know – we’ve got just 3 days to hit 100,000 signatures!

Thanks so much for pitching in, let’s pull out all the stops on this one,

With much respect and hope,

Ricken Patel,
Avaaz.org

PS – Here are links to some more info on this:

David Suzuki (the Nature of Things) calls the government’s spin on climate change “humiliating” and “ludicrous”
http://www.thestar.com/News/article/283829

The former editor-in-chief of CBC news discusses the damage done by Canada’s climate policy to our international reputation:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/viewpoint/vp_burman/2007/12/canada_flounders_on_issue_of_c.html

The Fossil of the Day Award site:
http://www.avaaz.org/fossils

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