Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Major win for Liberals in Western Canada! Fantino squeaker proves backlash against Harper tactics...

Tonight's three byelection results are available here. The Fantino win was expected, but not this squeaker. If Fantino held a huge lead in internal polls months ago, it's clear the centrally-run, "peek-a-boo" campaign run for Fantino out of Harper's PMO almost cost him the election.

I'll admit Fantino was the better candidate in Vaughan, but the Grits ran a spirited campaign in Vaughan and their strong result tonight shows there was a major backlash against the Tory campaign (ie. hiding Fantino, not participating in all-candidates' debates, mostly ignoring the media.) The Tory candidate ran much the same campaign in Winnipeg North and her vote collapsed in half. I'm glad to see voters are finding Harper's ways so unappealing.

And with voters in Winnipeg North electing an absolutely incredible local representative in longtime Grit MLA Kevin Lamoureux, it's fair to say the Liberals have something to smile about, despite the loss in Vaughan. The Rob Ford win kind of threw me for a loop, so it's kind of nice to see results that make sense... :-)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Required reading for Vaughan voters: 'Fantino wasn’t ‘there for the little guy’ in Caledonia'

I've always had grudging respect for Christie Blatchford. I haven't always agreed with her biases. Often, as a partisan Liberal, she's annoyed the hell out of me. But that's what good and fair reporters need to do: sometimes annoy you, sometimes thrill you. If the same reporter can both piss you off on some occasions, and bring smiles on others, then clearly she is doing a good job as a reporter.

I dare say that she's right on the money here when it comes to Julian Fantino. Much of what this unfortunate man has accomplished in his career is completely offensive to me. As London, Ontario police chief, many critics attacked Fantino for turning a child-porn investigation into a witch hunt against local gay men. In Toronto, many say he failed to adequately deal with police force corruption. As head of the OPP, his record on Caledonia is well-documented. It's true: he's no more a friend of the 'little guy' than his would-be boss, Stephen Harper. So it's not surprising Fantino is attracted to Harper's party and government.

I only wish that Greg Sorbara and Dalton McGuinty had thought more clearly before appointing this self-promoting man to so many high-profile positions in the Ontario police hierarchy. It does seem those appointments had more to do with removing a potential Fantino candidacy for the Ontario PCs (presumably against Sorbara himself in Vaughan) than simple merit.

Like attracts like. After posting the biggest deficit in history, after spending over $1 billion on the G8/G20, after fighting tooth and nail to end the long gun registry, after dividing Canadians and regions against regions, after diminishing Canada's standing in the world, the last thing Stephen Harper deserves is to take a seat away from Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition.

I'll be praying on Monday that the people of Vaughan do the right thing and tell Julian Fantino and Stephen Harper to take a hike.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ignatieff should call for a parliamentary vote on extending the Afghan mission to 2014.

There, I said it. It would be in his own best interests and it would be telling Canadians that he values democracy and public input on foreign affairs. It would make his caucus happy. It would show Michael's not afraid to let the people speak.

I do support the extension of the Afghan mission by Canadian Forces melding into a training role starting next year until 2014. We can't abandon the Afghan people when our job isn't finished yet. In 2001, I supported the Afghan invasion. I don't want the deaths of our Canadian soldiers to have been in vain. It's the right thing to do. There would be some division in the Liberal caucus, but in the end, the extension would pass the House with overwhelming Liberal support.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Still no word from QuAIA on my query about gay Saudi man...

It's been five days since I emailed Queers Against Israeli Apartheid about this tragic story of a gay Saudi man who's been sentenced a man to five years in prison and 500 lashes for having sexual relations with another man.

Perhaps they're short of volunteers at the moment? Despite their focus on the Middle East, perhaps they don't care about injustices outside of Israel's borders? Regardless, I'll continue to wait patiently for this community group, so vocal when it wants to be, to reply to my honest query.

Margaret Atwood's eloquent words on the horrors of (Harper's) conservative Canada...

Margaret Atwood's eloquent words on the horrors of (Stephen Harper's) conservative Canada are much appreciated:

"She did not spare the current government any pointed criticism, saying they had turned into one that’s all about “airplanes and jails. “The airplanes are useless against the real foes we face, which are scarcity and inequality.”

As for the jails, who will fill them? she asked. “Is it a case of build it and they will come?”

She suspects what they’ll do to fill those jails is just lower the criminal bar so they will have enough people to fill the jails. And then they can say, we told you so.

“Is the big idea really to bankrupt the social welfare system … by spending all of our money on planes and jails?”

Gordon Laxer, director of the Parkland Institute, said at the beginning of the talk that many of us used to proudly wear a Canadian flag on our backpack when we travelled abroad. But no more.

“Canada is on the wrong side of almost every international issue,” he said.

I am disgusted by what our country has become under Stephen Harper's rule.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Saudi Man Gets Five-Year Prison Term, 500 Lashes for Gay Sex, Okaz Reports

After reading about this tragic story today, I wondered how those queer activists involved in Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA) might react to it. One of the biggest criticisms against the group has been the charge QuAIA only attacks alleged Israeli abuses, failing to condemn injustices committed in Arab countries (leaving the group open to accusations of anti-Semitism.) So I sent this email to the group this afternoon. I'll be sure to publish their response here if I get one...

From: Matt Guerin
To: quaia.toronto@gmail.com
Sent: Mon, November 15, 2010 3:24:12 PM
Subject: Saudi Man Gets Five-Year Prison Term, 500 Lashes for Gay Sex, Okaz Reports

Dear QuAIA --

Will your group be speaking out against this injustice in Saudi Arabia? If so, when and how? It would be great if your organization challenged and spoke against all injustice and human rights abuses in the Middle East, particularly when it's LGBT people being victimized (and not just targetted one country's abuses while ignoring others.)


Matt Guerin

Saturday, November 13, 2010

After 5 years of psychotic Harper secretiveness, Fantino gives us even more...

Before Stephen Harper came to power, was it normal to accept this kind of aloof, secretive approach to politics from our federal government? Certainly not. Since when did governing in a democracy mean never speaking with the public, always refusing to answer questions, and routinely, without exception, pulling the wool over our eyes? We have never experienced a federal government this secretive, this openly hostile to public scrutiny.

If the people of Vaughan elect Julian Fantino after answering ZERO questions about his own record or the Harper record, I will be truly disgusted.

Fantino needs to answer for the Harper government's mishandling of the G20 summit including the $1 billion price tag. Did he support the fake lake? Does he support getting rid of the long-gun registry? Does he think families need to go bankrupt in order to care for dying loved ones so that the feds can buy $16 billion PLUS sole-sourced military planes? Fantino also needs to answer for his own record, particularly with the Toronto Police force, where critics charged he failed to adequately deal with police force corruption, as well as his performance during the Caledonia occupation.

Voters have a right to ask these questions and demand answers before voting day. Stephen Harper doesn't think so. I'm tired of this sham of a democracy that Harper is leading. I've already donated some money to Tony Genco's campaign. I am praying that the people of Vaughan do the right thing on November 29th and not blindly endorse our federal dictator's disdain for democracy.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Michael Ignatieff on his vision for Canada

I must say I love this video. Ignatieff's narrative is starting to take shape and I'm liking it better every day.