Category Archives: Politics

Stephen Harper’s 1st By-Election Loss

labrador By-elections to the 41st Canadian Parliament - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia There have been 21 federal by-elections since Stephen Harper became Prime Minister of Canada.* Of those 21, the Conservatives held 4 (Labrador, Durham, Calgary Centre and Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette.) Of those 4 by-elections 3 took place since the 2011 federal election.

Even without a permanent leader the Liberals made big gains in the Calgary-Centre by-election. However, until May 13th, Stephen Harper’s party had won all of the by-elections they contested in ridings the Conservatives previously held (they also made gains in several other by-elections.) The Labrador by-election seems like it will be quickly forgotten with the various Senate-related scandals that have engulfed the PMO but it may be an important historical marker down the road.

Congratulations and “You go girl!” to Yvonne Jones for showing that Justin Trudeau-style hope and hard work can win against Stephen Harper/Peter Penashue-style cynicism.

*Repentigny, London North Centre, Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean, Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, Outremont, Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, Vancouver Quadra, Willowdale, Toronto Centre, New Westminster—Coquitlam, Montmagny—L’Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, Hochelaga,Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, Winnipeg North, Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette, Vaughan, Toronto—Danforth, Calgary Centre, Durham, Victoria and Labrador.

Thomas Mulcair: Conspiracy Theorist

thomas-mulcair conspiracy theorist

Back in 2011 when he was deputy-leader of the NDP, Thomas Mulcair questioned whether or not the United States government had photographs of Osama bin Laden’s body after the famous Seal Team 6 raid that lead to his death.  The National Posted quoted Mulcair saying “He also hinted there may be “more going on,” behind the scenes of his assassination than the U.S. is making known.”

This week, the Canadian Press reported that NDP leader Thomas Mulcair is now accusing the Supreme Court of Canada of engaging in a massive cover up. According to CP “the Supreme Court of Canada says it cannot find any documents related to explosive new allegations that some of its members intervened in the patriation of the Constitution.” Mulcair calls into question the investigation done by Canada’s highest court.

Some online were wondering if this was merely classic NDP quasi-separatist pandering but Paul Wells confirmed that unhinged conspiracy theories are a somewhat of a Mulcair specialty:

paulwells

I wonder what Mr. Mulcair thinks of the JFK assassination? Does he believe the Loch Ness Monster exists? Where is area 51? Do a race of lizard-people secretly run the world?

Hard Work + Hope = Why I voted for Justin Trudeau

The leadership results are coming in the next hour. I am so proud of my party. Over 104, 000 people voted for Liberal leader which is more than voted in the last Conservative Party and NDP leadership races! So here is a quick post on why I voted for Justin Trudeau for Liberal Leader:

1. Justin can grow into the job:

Justin Trudeau has grown as a politician throughout this leadership race. In 1996 the Ontario Liberals seemed to have hit the bottom. They picked a young guy who hadn’t been in politics for too long (who also had a father with a political career) to be leader. Dalton McGuinty didn’t win his first election but he grew with his party eventually winning 3 straight elections. The Liberal Party of Canada currently has 35 seats. The 2015 election is going to be a fierce battle between the Conservatives, New Democrats and the Liberals.

Proof that the LPC/Trudeau have grown: The day after the May 2, 2011 federal election whenever the Liberal Party was mentioned by journalists it was to predict our demise. Today, some have written about a possible Liberal government in 2015.

2. Justin is a leader who listens:

Throughout the Liberal Leadership debates Justin was one of the only candidates who stood up for “Preferential ballot”, the type of electoral reform adopted overwhelmingly by the Liberal Party at the 2012 biennial convention in Ottawa. Trudeau argued that it’s time the leader of the Liberal Party actually listen to its members.

During the campaign Justin took his philosophy of “listen and learn” even further by launching a “Soapbox” website where members/supporters could debate policy.

With Stephen Harper and Mulcair dictating every decision their party makes from the top down, we Liberals can set ourselves apart by being the only bottom-up party. We’re off to a good start with the first truly open leadership contest in Canadian history.

3. Electoral-cooperation is a non-starter with Justin or me:

From Justin Trudeau’s Liberal leadership showcase speech:

The truth is, Canadians want to vote for something, not just against somebody. They want to vote for a long term vision that embodies our values, our dreams and our aspirations. They will not get that vision from a Frankenstein’s monster, at war with itself over fundamental issues like the Constitution, Natural Resources and Free Trade. It would fail in its primary goal: it would extend, not end, Mr Harper’s career.

4. Justin understands that this won’t be easy:

In his campaign launch speech delivered in Papineau Justin said, “My fellow Liberals, these values are not the property of the Liberal Party of Canada. They are not Liberal values; they are Canadian values. I’ve too often heard it said in Liberal circles that the Liberal Party created Canada. This, my friends, is wrong. The Liberal Party did not create Canada. Canada created the Liberal Party. Canadians created the Liberal Party.” He has approached politics and the Liberal leadership with an attitude of hard work and humility. By stressing “service” in his final speech he has shown Liberals the way forward from tonight to the 2015. We must put service at the heart of everything we do because it is good politics, not because it will get us elected but because it raises the quality of political life.

5. Justin Trudeau has a sense of whimsy that is sorely missing in Canadian politics at the federal level:

trudeaugif

Stop reading this and go watch Borgen.

borgen 1

Seriously. Click here to purchase the first 2 seasons.

Need more convincing? Here is why I enjoy”Borgen” so thoroughly:

I am a political nerd. Like most political nerds I am able to quote (and subconsciously merge with reality) all 7 seasons of “The West Wing.” For a few months one of my colleagues at work made a point of recommending the Danish political drama Borgen to me a number of times corresponding with my referencing of Aaron Sorkin’s 2nd best television series.* I finally decided to obtain a copy of the first 2 seasons (with subtitles because that forces me to pay closer attention) and I ended up consuming all 20 episodes over a long weekend like I did back in university watching Breaking Bad.

The Plot (contains spoilers):

Birgitte Nyborg (leader of Denmark’s “Moderate Party”) does unexpectedly well in the Danish parliamentary election. She manages to become Denmark’s first female PM. Her party doesn’t have the majority (or even the plurality) of seats so she forms a coalition with Labour, the Greens, and the Solidarity Party.** There is a centre-right party that was in power before the election, a centre-right  pro-national security/law & order party and a far-right anti-immigrant party as well.The show deals with how Birgittee and her “spin doctor” Kasper Juul are able to navigate the perils of minority government, the opposition, the coalition parties and the press.

What so enthralls and impresses me about Borgen is how it deals with Danish politics in a serious manner. The strain of politics on Birgitte Nyborg’s family and personal relationships is something I haven’t really seen addressed in other artistic portrays of political life.

There are a number of episodes that I think are uniquely poignant for a Canadian audience:

  • One deals with gender equity on corporate boards in Denmark. Politicians and journalists deal with sexism, and the influence of financial interests on governments in a really interesting manner.
  • Cost overruns occur when the Danish military is deciding what kind of jet to purchase. The parallel to the F-35s issue in Canada is almost too perfect.
  • The relationship between the Danish government and the Greenlandic Inuit people is the focus of several episodes. Poverty sovereignty and colonialism are examined from a number of angles. These episodes are particularly interesting when viewed through the lens of the Idle No More movement.
  • The relationship between the media and minority government is one of the overarching themes of Borgen. Some suspension of disbelief is necessary (and I don’t want to ruin any of the surprises) but some interesting questions are raised throughout the show.
Conclusion:
Go watch Borgen. It is a really smart and interesting show that does an excellent job of portraying how politics is about compromise & nuance and most politicians are flawed human beings just trying to their best.
borgen rules
*The first is “Sports Night.”
** This only really spoils the first 2 episodes and the details/maneuvering haven’t been ruined so please don’t complain.

Thank you Minister Bentley

Just under a year ago I was co-presenting with Theresa Lubowitz at the LPC(O) AGM. Our presentation was on social media and politics but we put a large emphasis on how both of us actually got involved in politics.

After one of our panels finished I was approached by a tall, mild-mannered man who introduced himself, Chris Bentley was his name. His questions were thoughtful. My answers are a blur in my head, I was already a fan of the Minister and I didn’t think he needed to learn anything on the social media front.

A few weeks later, Minister Bentley gave an engaging speech at the Ontario Young Liberals’ AGM. Almost everyone in attendance was focused on the 2 slates battling in the OYL Executive Election, but I knew this would be worth my full attention. The Minister talked about the fantastic record of the Ontario Liberal government and the need to get more engineers, mathematicians and scientists involved in politics. Though Chris Bentley is an accomplished lawyer himself, he stressed that evidence-based policy needs experts not just acting as policy advisers but helping to write policy (which the OLP has with a diverse caucus from many different fields.)

I have learned a lot from Minister Bentley over the last few months. He has given a lot to the people of Ontario. His hard work and attention to his constituents is a model for public servants at all levels of government.

Thank you Minister Bentley.

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(Here I am giving Minister Bentley a cupcake that I baked, at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.)

Kathleen Wynne’s Speech & Some Thoughts on the 2013 OLP Leadership Convention

I want to put something on the table: Is Ontario ready for a gay premier? You’ve heard that question. You’ve all heard that question but let’s say what that actually means: Can a gay woman win? That’s what it means. So, not surprisingly, I have an answer to that question. When I ran in 2003, I was told that the people of North Toronto and the people of Thorncliffe Park weren’t ready to elect a gay woman. Well, apparently they were.

You know, there was a time, not that long ago when most of us in this leadership race would have been deemed unsuitable. We would have been deemed unsuitable. A Portugese-Canadian, an Indo-Canadian, an Italian-Canadian, female, gay, Catholic. Most of us could not have hoped to stand on this stage, but the province has changed. Our party has changed.

I don’t believe the people of Ontario judge their leaders on the basis of race, sexual orientation, colour or religion. I don’t believe they hold that prejudice in their hearts. They judge us, on our merits. On our abilities, on our expertise, on our ideas. Because that is the way everyone deserves to be judged. That is how we want our children, our grandchildren, our nieces and nephews to be judged. All of us want to be judged on those things. So, when it is time for me to take us into the next general election, I will do it on the basis of our merits. I will do it on the basis of our success.”

- Kathleen Wynne

Some thoughts on the Ontario Liberal leadership convention:

I attended the OLP convention as a neutral observer (though my father was a delegate for Kathleen Wynne.)

joseph and andrew olpldr

The energy from each of the delegations was really refreshing. I was on the floor for a good portion of the convention. During Dr. Hoskins’ speech the whole room seemed to explode when he said the following:

“As Liberals we’ve got a lot to be proud of but now it’s time to write the next chapter for our future under our new leader, whoever she may be!”

The Ontario Women Liberals’ Commission was giving out buttons at the beginning of the convention with the same sentiment:

congratulations madame premier

This was my first leadership convention ever. I engaged in and overheard many conversations about how this was probably the last delegated convention in Canadian political history. Yes, it was an exciting convention. Yes, the convention’s structure helped an underdog with a well-run campaign, Wynne, to become Premier. We all learned that a great speech can help win an election. It was also confirmed, once again the fact that good political organization matched with what Wilfrid Laurier called “the sunny way” is a powerful political combination.

joseph convention floor

The 2012 “You Go Girl!” Awards. Presented by: The Equivocator

Context: I don’t like to think of this blog as existing in a vacuum. You may not be aware of it but I am also an avid user of the twitter and the facebook (my twitter feed is there on the right side of my blog btw.) On twitter (you can follow me at @Uranowski) whenever I notice someone being awesome I like to give them a “You go girl!” It is a friendly, 1990sesque way to acknowledge a job well done. Anyone, man, woman, child, or particularly heroic animal, can receive one. However, last year, I decided that  I would start an official, end-of-the-year, “You Go Girl” Award for women in Canadian politics, journalism, the arts and public life who have been excellent on multiple occasions. For my “Third Annual “You Go Girl!” Awards, I asked some of my favourite writers to profile the 2012 winners. In no particular order, here are recipients of the 2012 “You Go Girl!” Awards:

Joyce Murray by Joseph Uranowski

joyce murray 2

I am a huge fan of Joyce Murray and I think that she brings a lot to the Federal Liberal Leadership race. Joyce’s business experience and her ministerial experience from  British Columbia make her a real contender. From the moment she announced her candidacy for the Liberal leadership she has put forward a positive and progressive agenda, ensuring that the environment, progressive crime policy, democratic reform and gender equality in governmental appointments are not left out of the LPC leadership conversation.

However, I am still fairly sceptical of the idea of progressive cooperation. I won’t re-hash my arguments. Even though I disagree with Mrs. Murray on this issue, this is a debate that the Liberal Party has to have, during the leadership race if we are to emerge as a strong, renewed party. What I find admirable about Murray’s position on cooperation is that it isn’t driven by self-interest or ruthless pragmatism but it is the natural product of Mrs. Murray’s philosophy of cooperation and problem solving in all aspects of political life.

Joyce Murray has already made Canada a better place with a distinguished career in business and as a B.C. cabinet minister. No matter what the outcome of the Liberal Leadership race, Murray has improved its quality with her presence and ideas.

Alison Loat by Susan Delacourt

alison loat

Toward the end of 2012, Alison Loat lost her voice before a big Samara event in Toronto and I was drafted to fill in for her as moderator. I was happy to do it, but I much prefer that Alison Loat  keep her voice, especially as she’s using it to help move political debate beyond the narrow, dispiriting ruts of late in Canada.
In her work with Samara these past few years, Alison has practiced a purposeful optimism, asking often-jaded politicos and reporters to imagine ways to  improve our democracy.  In the process, people come away from encounters with her feeling a little less jaded, a little less cynical.  The fact that this feat is being performed by a woman — a young woman, to boot — is another reason to value her contributions to our world.

“You go girl” is not a phrase in my everyday lexicon, but if it was, I’d throw it in Alison’s direction, with an extra instruction: “Keep that voice of yours. We need it.”

(Susan Delacourt, the Star’s Senior Writer in Ottawa, has covered federal politics for more than two decades as a reporter and bureau chief. Follow her on twitter @SusanDelacourt, and check out her blog here: http://thestar.blogs.com/politics/)

Tonya Surman, Karen Stintz and Teriano Lesancha by Chris Drew

Tonya Surman

As the Executive Director of the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI), Tonya is one of Toronto’s leaders in collaboration, social change, and city-building. This has been a busy year for Tonya and her leadership on a number of initiatives deserves recognition. CSI is a social enterprise with three locations in Toronto (Annex, Spadina, and Regent Park). CSI’s mission is to spark social innovation through collaboration, bringing people together, and inspiring new partnerships. It provides shared workspace for entrepreneurs, small businesses, charities, non-profits, and innovators of all shapes and sizes.

 This year, Tonya’s leadership has resulted in three important developments: the creation of a crowdfunding platform for projects and initiatives by CSI members, the opening of two new locations (Regent Park and New York!), and the launch of a book on Community Bonds to highlight how they can be used successfully to fund projects. Crowdfunding and Community Bonds will open up new avenues for project funding for CSI members. The Regent Park location will empower residents of this neighbourhood and is a key component of the Regent Park revitalization plan. The New York location demonstrates Tonya’s model for social innovation is spreading and is not a fad but a new way to work, collaborate, and build.

Tonya’s vision and drive is inspirational and in a city with governments and corporations still dominated by men, her leadership on creating new economic and social opportunities makes her a role model for women.

More information:

  • Check out this TEDx talk by Tonya
  • CSI’s nomination for a Social Finance Award for its Community Bond model

TTC_Chair_Karen_Stintz

“Subways, subways, subways!” the Mayor proclaimed. Until Karen asked a simple question, “How are you going to pay for them?” Mayor Rob Ford offered no realistic plan and so the TTC Chair had to act. The Province’s transit funding was capped and time was running out (“Toronto’s transit cliff”). Tunnelling is expensive and Light Rapid Transit (LRT) was the appropriate, evidence-based choice for Finch, Sheppard, and Eglinton. LRT allows the city to serve more people, capture more residents in lower-income neighbourhoods, and maximize the funding from the Province.

Challenging Mayor Ford wasn’t easy and was politically risky. Although Karen had been supportive of the Mayor’s fiscal conservative decisions at council, she believed that cancelling two LRT lines to burry the Eglinton line east of Laird Road was the wrong decision given the planning and engineering evidence available. She rallied her fellow council members to call a special council meeting and won support to return to the original plan. When the TTC General Manager provided an honest answer to Councillor Doug Ford’s question in Council by stating that LRT was the best option the Mayor’s allies decided to by fire him. Karen then led the charge to replace the TTC Commission with a new set of Councillors who would support the will of Council and get the LRT lines built.

It was a dramatic scene at City Council when the LRT lines were approved and was a tremendous example of strong Toronto women standing up for good planning and fiscal principals. Karen provided remarkable leadership on ensuring the best transit plan for Toronto would be implemented in a realistic way for the entire city.

More information:

Teriano

Photo credit: Clifton Li

For many of us, going to university can be an intimidating, worrying, and nerve-wracking experience. I’ll admit to getting lost at Ryerson University on my first day which I found highly embarrassing. Imagine then the experience of Teriano who was not only going coming to Ryerson from a different continent, Africa, she was the first in her village to leave for post-secondary education and the first girl to do so. As someone who grew up in the comfortable suburbs of Brampton where children attending school isn’t questioned, it’s easy to forget that there are hundreds of millions of women who are in the same position Teriano was.

At birth, Teriano was placed into an arrange marriage by her father as is the custom for the village. Additional barriers to Teriano receiving an education in Kenya included the costs she faced and the need for children to help their parents heard cattle. Despite the challenges, Teriano decided that she wanted a different future than the one so many women in her village experienced. She decided that she would stay in primary and secondary school where she excelled. That path led her to Ryerson University to continue her studies. This Toronto Star story outlines the challenging journey and experience Teriano had. Teriano completed a four year degree at Ryerson. She showed to her village the value of women receiving education and how it could be economically successful.

Sheldon Levy, President of Ryerson University, went to Teriano’s village this summer to conduct the convocation ceremony and thousands of people came to watch. It was a stunning moment as a woman was officially receiving a university degree. It is amazing to think of the change Teriano created by being determined to get an education and how she can be a role model for other women in similar situations.

More information:

(Chris Drew is a consultant, cycling and transit advocate, and neighbourhood organizer. He graduated from Ryerson University. Follow him @chrisjamesdrew and facebook.com/chrisdrew.ca)

Leesee Papatsie by Adam Goldenberg

leesee

(Photo Credit: Samantha Dawson, Nunatsiaq News.)

Before there was #IdleNoMore, there was “Feeding My Family.”

Last summer, a civil servant in Iqaluit named Leesee Papatsie started a Facebook group that mushroomed into a movement that started a conversation about the high cost of food in the North. South of 60, Canadians noticed.

From Kugluktuk to Coral Harbour, Nunavummiut gathered outside grocery stores to protest prices that any Southerner would consider extreme. $20 for a head of cabbage. $100 for a flat of bottled water. Nearly $35 for a kilogram of all-purpose flour. $12.95 for four litres of milk.

Water coolers around the world buzzed with curiosity. Southern politicians like Carolyn Bennett and Jean Crowder responded with concern. And, online, families across the North came together to confront a crisis that otherwise would have remained remote from Canada’s common consciousness. The photos from store shelves kept coming. They still are.

Leesee Papatsie, meanwhile, has largely avoided the spotlight. “What’s good about it is that people are initiating [the conversation],” she told the Nunatsiaq News. “I just have to sit back and smile.”

You go, girl.

(Adam Goldenberg is a former speech writer. Follow him @AdamGoldenberg)

Tracy MacCharles by Meagan Trush

Tracy MacCharles

When I first met Tracy, it was in her kitchen, a day or two before the Pickering-Scarborough East nomination meeting in June 2011. It had that day-before-E-day feel, but also with a sense of family. I was greeted with a hug, thanked profusely for coming to help, and introduced to her team –built mostly of a group of girlfriends from the PTA of her children’s school. What still floors me about Tracy is her capacity to bring people together who might not vote for the same party or consider themselves to be political, and work together for the betterment of the community. Her tenacity is exceptional, and her selfless advocacy for accessibility and a compassionate society make her riding and her province a better place. It has been with inspiration and pride that I’ve observed her grow into her new role as MPP, never afraid of a challenge. In early 2011, Tracy MacCharles was already a mother of two great children, a wife, an accomplished professional, a cancer survivor, and a community organizer. Then she decided to serve further. Tracy,you GO girl!

(Meagan Trush, Liberal staffer, Womens Commission exec member, and campaign enthusiast.)

Margaret Atwood and Emily Haines by Toks Weah

Margaret+Atwood

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Margaret Atwood will be Toronto’s next mayor despite becoming a symbol for the vibrancy of the arts  and patronage of public libraries versus the Ford brothers. This doesn’t mean that Ms. Atwood is any less  engaged. 2012 saw the debut of a stage adaptation of her novella “The Penelopiad”–a creative reimagining that focuses on the marginalized voice of Penelope. Another one of her works  was adapted into a Sundance Film Festival  documentary “Payback.” She’s also quite vocal about Canadian politics as a whole, recently participating in #IdleNoMore.

Emily Haines

Toronto-native Emily Haines just released her fifth studio album titled Synthetica with Metric. The first single, “Youth Without Youth” is Metric’s forte political messages without the politicking, playing to an audience that understands the juxtaposition of childhood innocence and war written during the height of Occupy Wall Street. Emily Haines still shows her signature charm and sass in interviews, and this multi-talented socially conscious musician isn’t going away anytime soon.
(Toks Weah is VP Communications for the Glendon Young Liberals. Follow her @Newskepticx.)

Maureen O’Neil, Renee Filiatrault and Barb Stegemann by Jane Daly

Maureen O'Neil

Maureen’s bio is about as exemplary as it gets. She is presently President of the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation. Her previous positions include President of the International Development Research Centre, Interim President of the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development, President of the North-South Institute and Deputy Minister of Citizenship for the Government of Ontario. Ms. O’Neil is Chair of the Board of Trustees of the International Institute for Environment and Development; a member of the Board of World University Service of Canada and the Board of International Institute for Sustainable Development; Chair of the International Advisory Group, Think Tank Initiative and a member of the Carleton University School of Public Policy & Administration Leadership Council. Ms O’Neil has represented Canada on the UN Commission on the Status of Women and on OECD committees, and has been a member of the UN Committee for Development Planning and the Board of the UN Research Institute for Social Development. It goes on and on with one incredible credit after the other. Her energy and enthusiasm for her work is unflappable and unending. She has spent her career working to better the many systems that support our social and government systems, as well as helping those much less fortunate around the world. Add to this her unconditional love and support for her family and you basically have Superwoman. Her children and grandchildren are scattered around the world and finding time to spend with them ranks even higher than the superhuman energy she finds for her work. Her grand-daughters are proud and grateful to have such an amazing role model in their life. Her passion for politics and making the world a better place has been passed down to them by example. They can happily discuss politics, music, art, fashion and literature with an equal amount of enthusiasm, thanks to her shining example. She has helped my daughters be passionate about the politics of the country they live in, to be proud and proactive Liberals, and to understand how important it is to vote. Her grand-daughters (who are also my daughters) know that as Canadian women, the world is their oyster and there is simply nothing they can’t do. She has shown them that having a meaningful life is important. That family is something you will always have standing behind you, holding you up, that love is unconditional, that learning and improving oneself is the best thing you can do for yourself. And, that there are pretty much no doors you can’t open with good manners, a good sense of humor and of course, a stylish outfit. Also, being witty, polite and engaging can make any dinner party a success. This past year, Maureen O’Neil was awarded an Officer of The Order of Canada as well as a Silver Jubilee Medal.

Renee Filiatrault

Renee Filiatrault has served as Senior Public Diplomacy Officer in Afghanistan with Task Force Kandahar. Before that, she served two Ministers of National Defence and was Head of Media and Public Affairs for the British High Commission in Canada. Renee is a regular commenter on foreign and defence matters, appearing on CTV’s Question Period and PowerPlay, as well as on CBC’s The National with Peter Mansbridge and CBC Radio and has been a contributing writer for Policy Options Magazine and the Ottawa Citizen. So – Renee is basically a kick-ass smart woman who has put her life on the line to report on and better the way we deal with policy and defense in some of the most dangerous places in the world. She is definitely a woman in a man’s world, but you don’t ever get that from speaking with her. She is smart, kind and open to hearing what one has to say. She is hopeful about what our troops can acheive with the right governance , while being a realist and understanding what is really going on “on the ground” in combat zones. Reading her recent piece on military drones and how invaluable they are to our soldiers. We need people like Renee helping our government, helping our troops and helping us to understand what safety means. She is passionate about what she does, and respects the rights of those who are effected by government policies. She understands the way technology has changed and complicated the way the military can and does operate. And thankfully, people are listening to her.

Barb Stegemann

Barb Stegemann was born in Montreal, Quebec and holds degrees in Sociology and Journalism from the University of King’s College. Barb built her own boutique PR firm and created innovative, award winning campaigns that garnered private sector and government funding and won numerous marketing awards from the Economic Developers’ Association of Canada while living in British Columbia. Barb tells me she had a normal life, a good life, and business was good at her PR firm in BC. Then, the unthinkable happened. Her best friend, a Canadian soldier, was attacked and wounded while in Afghanistan. She spent a year in the hospital with him, visualizing his healing journey with his wife and family. She promised him she would take on his mission of economic empowerment for families in Afghanistan while he healed [I told you - Barb is no ordinary woman]. She realized that she was not a brave soldier, nor was she a world leader with political clout. But, as a North American, she felt she didn’t have a way to touch peace. Yet- she knew she had buying power. She began writing her book and dedicating it to her friend- The 7 Virtues of a Philosopher Queen. The 7 virtues are: Wonder, Moderation, Truth, Courage, Justice, Wisdom and Beauty. She told me that her fragrances are the thesis rising up out of her book. The principles of the book, the stoic wisdom she has is the action through the fragrances. With her best friend’s mission in mind, Barb read about this gentleman named Abdullah Arsala. He was growing the legal crops of orange blossom and rose to provide an alternative to the illegal poppy crop. Barb knew Abdullah was the way to peace. She reached out to him and began to purchase his legal oils for her fragrance collection.  She has invested over $100,000 legal dollars in Afghanistan instead of the illegal poppy crops. This liberates farmers and is her way of helping to build peace. Every time  The 7 Virtues sells a fragrance, they can buy more oils to liberate farmers from the same oppressors that attacked her dear friend. Again. No ordinary woman.

(Jane Daly, @daly_beauty on Twitter, www.dalybeauty.ca. Lucky Magazine Contributor, Huffington Post Beauty Insider.)

Carolyn Bennett by Brad Lister

Carolyn Bennett

A hearty you go girl for 2012 to Dr. Carolyn Bennett. I always knew Dr. Bennett was a solid hard working MP, what I didn’t know was what a warm and amazing woman she was when I finally got to meet her in person. I expected a committed politician who would have just chatted with me for a few minutes and then move on. That was never the case. She always met my gaze and now whenever we meet each she knows exactly who I am and is very interested in what project I am currently working on. Dr. Bennett has been a huge ally of all the work I have done as one of the original founders of Queer Liberals and our attempts to help rebuild the party.

On Aboriginal issues and other health issues Dr. Bennett has been an amazing advocate. I am glad to count this woman amongst the rank of the greatest Liberals.

(Brad Lister is a Liberal activist. Follow him @AllPopGuy)

Deb MatthewsTheresa Lubowitz and Alice Funke by Zach Armstrong

deb matthews

Whether it’s leading Ontario’s health care system or organizing a children’s book drive, Deb Matthews is always working hard for the people of Ontario. First elected in 2003 as the MPP for London North Centre, she has served her constituents with strength, poise, and dedication. In 2007, Deb was appointed Minister of Children & Youth Services and later promoted to Minister of Health & Long-Term Care. Early this year she introduced Ontario’s Action Plan for Health Care. Above all, her Action Plan prioritizes keeping Ontarians healthy and makes sure everyone gets the right care, at the right time, in the right place.

Deb has also shown national leadership this year. In July, she strongly urged the federal government not to let generic OxyContin into the Canadian market. With the support of her provincial and territorial counterparts, police chiefs, and pharmacists, she stated that “national problems require a national solution.” Despite estimates that allowing generic OxyContin would result in social costs of up to $500 million, the federal government ultimately approved it in November.

For her dedication to her constituents in London, in Ontario, and indeed, all of Canada, Deb deserves a resounding “You go,girl!”

If you’re involved in the Liberal Party, either nationally or in Ontario, you know Theresa Lubowitz. Born in Moose Factory, Ontario, but eventually settling north of Toronto, Theresa studied Philosophy at the University of Ottawa. Theresa runs the blog “What Have You Done for Democracy Lately?”, and actively promotes the use of social media by politicians and politicos alike. Leading up to the 2012 LPC Biennial Convention, Theresa produced “Delegates Guide” with in-depth profiles of each candidate for table officer. Shortly after the convention, Theresa was snapped up by the Ontario Liberal Party where she seemingly does anything and everything.

For her tireless commitment to liberalism, democracy, and civic engagement, Theresa deserves a full-throated “You go girl!”

While researching Alice Funke, publisher of Pundits’ Guide, I stumbled upon this blog which named her a Champion of Democracy earlier this year. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I’ll simply give my enthusiastic endorsement to this quote:

“Never before has a Canadian done so much individually to help other Canadians keep tabs on the democratic health of the nation or given them the tools to knowledgeably participate in our democratic system. Funke is trusted by journalists, politicians, and political enthusiasts alike, and is probably one of the few Canadians out there who can boast this.” -Theresa Lubowitz

For her data-driven obsession over Canadian politics, Alice deserves an enthusiastic “You go, girl!”

(Zach Armstrong is a Liberal activist living in London Ontario. Follow him @Zb_Armstrong)

Chief Theresa Spence by  Daniel Nowoselski

Chief Theresa Spence

When the conditions at Attawapiskat were first revealed earlier this year, there was an uproar. Then, nothing happened. The way she’s very actively stepped forward and taken a stand has brought people’s attention back to the terrible conditions and injustices that First Nations people face back to the forefront. She’s put a face on the suffering of the First Nations people that makes the #IdleNoMore movement seem much stronger, more consistent, and hopefully more successful than the previous initiatives to help First nations people. However, I think the thing that’s the most inspiring about what she’s done is that she’s made it clear that she’s willing to die for her cause. In a time where it’s very easy for people to be cynical about their political leaders, seeing someone who believes in her cause so much that she’s willing to be a martyr for it is completely and totally inspirational. I pray she doesn’t have to die for her cause, but seeing someone with such commitment to her cause makes it really hard to remain cynical about people in leadership positions wanting to make a positive difference in the world.

Chief Theresa Spence by Conner Marvin

Perhaps the person with the most potential for political change in Canada going into 2013. She most certainly is not doing this on her own, especially considering that the #idlenomore movement has laid the groundwork for a considerable push for change. Her attention has allowed her name to generally be the one associated with the movement. Standing as the figure head for a political movement that aims to change the relationship between the First Nations and the federal government is indeed a large endeavour. She, inevitably, also draws light on what we all acknowledge as problems arising from our dark past in Canada. Her determination, along with others, very well may change the very basis of how our peoples relate to one another.

Christine Sinclair and Laurel Broten  by Daniel Nowoselski

Christine Sinclair

In addition to being one of the most talented at her sport in the world, she demonstrated an amazing amount of leadership during the 2012 London Olympic Games. In addition to the two goals she scored in the semi-final, she spoke her mind about the terrible officiating in the Semi-Final, accepted the punishment for doing so, and still lead the Canadian Women’s soccer team to a Bronze medal finish. Our Summer Olympians never get the same recognition as our Winter ones, but if anyone is deserving of the praise and glory we shower upon our Olympic heroes, given the talent and leadership she demonstrated, it’s Christine Sinclair.

broten like a boss

Minister Broten is totally deserving of a You Go Girl Award. I recognize that she is my hometown MPP, so I have a soft spot for her, but I think she’s accomplished some really significant things this year. The most notable accomplishment for me is the passage of the Accepting Schools Act, which I think is a landmark piece of anti-bullying legislation for a variety of reasons, but got the most attention for its section on GSAs. Seeing a heterosexual cabinet minister from a suburban riding be such a vocal advocate for making things better for LGBTQ youth was incredibly moving for me and made me incredibly proud. Her other major accomplishment this year was how she has handled Bill 115. I think, regardless of whether or not people are supportive of Bill 155, it is hard to ignore that in an era where people are very cynical about their politicians, seeing a politician take a controversial stance and stick by it regardless of the political consequences is something that should be recognized. I’ve been really impressed with how, throughout the ensuing events, Minister Broten has maintained her trademark softspoken and steady style, which is something that I can’t imagine was easy to do. She also looked absolutely fabulous in a sparkly top as the Grand Marshall of the Toronto Pride Parade.

(Daniel Nowoselski is a University of Ottawa student and Liberal organizer. Follow him: @DanielNow)

Alison Redford by Jonathan Scott

alison-redford-elections_8

It’s really rather simple. I quite like Alison Redford.

It’s not just because she’s brought a new face and focus to Alberta. It’s not just because she’s her province’s first female premier. And it’s not simply because she’s a brilliant lawyer with a penchant for social equality.

I like her because she’s calm, principled and steadfastly progressive.

Her Party ran ads during the election campaigning say, “This isn’t your daddy’s Conservative Party”. It’s true. Premier Redford is putting the “Progressive” front and centre.

She’s navigating economic realities and ecological concerns with considerably — no, infinitely — more consultation, explanation and negotiation than the roughshod, disengaged, “environment be damned” approach from her fellow Calgarian, Prime Minister Harper.

The conservative movement in Alberta often seems split three ways between the right-wing radicals and social conservatives (the Wild Rose); what we in Ontario used to call, before their near extinction, Red Tories; and the libertarian and parliamentary-procedure activists of the old Reform Party. Redford is decidedly a Red Tory.

In an era of political polarization between an increasingly radical conservative movement and a left myopic to economic realities — what Bob Rae disparages as the Tea Party versus the Occupiers — Premier Redford is at the vanguard of the progressive-centrist resistance.

She was the first Albertan premier to participate in Pride. She’s created sensible policies to connect government to the great work of non-profit organizations (http://nonprofitsectorlink.com/home/index.php/resources/news-archives/170-a-a-a-alison-redford-promises-changes-to-benefit-the-nonprofit-sector), she’s increased social-assistance funding (http://www.laclabichepost.com/article/20120221/LLB0801/302219971/0/LLB) and pledges to build or rebuild hundreds of schools.

Her calm, sensible, progressive leadership reminds me of the best days of Premier McGuinty’s government here in Ontario. She’s the kind of leader I hope Ontario will be lucky enough to have once again after the Liberal leadership convention at the end of the month.

(Jonathan Scott is president of the UofT Liberals and a freelance writer. Follow him: @J_Scott_)

Sara Farb, Alysha Haugen/Magali Meagher, and Stephanie Guthrie by Kritty Uranowski

sara-farb-2

Sara Farb is the best singer I’ve ever heard live in my life.  (And I’ve seen both Bernadette Peters and Aretha Franklin live.) In 2012, she starred in the first Canadian production of Next to Normal.  She’s also written and produced her own show at the Luminato, Paprika and Fringe festival’s called REBECCA.   I never saw it, because I’m a bad friend, but this isn’t about me. She is a Canadian treasure and you’re welcome that you know who she is now. She will be joining the company at the Stratford festival next year, playing Jessica in The Merchant of Venice. She is awesome and a wonderful, bright light in the Canadian theatre industry.

Brava, girl!

lysh

Alysha Haugen and Magali Meagher founded Girls Rock Camp Toronto.  Girls Rock Camp Toronto provides campers age 8-16 with the opportunity to learn how to play instruments, form bands, write songs, and get along. Girls learn how to take care of their gear, and do basic instrument troubleshooting and maintenance - the confidence that comes with their new found abilities and skills is staggering. The week ends in a packed showcase concert, where each of the bands play original tunes and covers for an audience of supportive fans.

This is a video of The Fairy Whispers, one of the groups I coached this past summer:

I am so grateful to be a part of this organization – one of which would be possible without the tireless efforts of Alysha and Magali.
Rock on, Ladies.

To donate - http://girlsrocktoronto.org/donate.html

Stephanie-Guthrie

Stephanie Guthrie is many things.  She is a political activist who gained notoriety in 2012 for defending Anita Sarkeesian (http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/1224659–gamer-campaign-against-anita-sarkeesian-catches-toronto-feminist-in-crossfire) against misogynistic trolls and internet dingbats   She also made great strides in helping keep more women informed and in discussion about politics in our city through Women in Toronto Politics (http://witopoli.com/ ).  This You Go Girl award is being given to Steph not only for her amazing community work, but also her ability to be an incredibly strong, supportive and available friend.  In addition to saving the city / world, she is always there with a helping hand, a wonderful set of pipes (she sings back up vocals in my band, Patti Cake -http://patticake.bandcamp.com), and literally has come with me to the hospital in the middle of the night because she is JUST THAT KIND OF PERSON.

You go girl, Steph Guthrie.  You go girl.

(Kritty Uranowski is a singer and actor based in Toronto. She is the front woman of the band Patti Cake, and she is very beautiful. Follow her @Let_It_Bea )

Beverley McLachlin by Micah Goldberg

Beverley McLachlin

The current Chief Justice has a history of landmark decisions, including an order to keep Insite operating and  reasoning that Federal same-sex marriage legislation was valid and operable. In my opinion, her greatest achievement of 2012 is keeping the court seen as a neutral body after the results of Opitz v. Wrzesnewskyj. Mr. Wrzenewskyj (affectionately referred to by the court as “W”) argued that the potential of votes cast by ineligible voters ought to cancel the result of an election. While the argument was ultimately rejected, it was not defeated along party lines. The dissenting opinion, arguing for Mr. Wrzenewskyj’s position, was written by Mulroney-appointed McLachlin. Along with Martin-appointed Abella, McLachlin ignored party lines to promote reason over political sentiment, as Canadians expect our most powerful judges to do. Whether you agree with her reasons or not, the Chief Justice has consistently shown a depth of thinking that goes deeper than an exchange owing to her Progressive-Conservative patron. For maintaining the integrity of institutional roles, and a politically independent adjudicative body, I hope we all take time to recognize one of the greatest Chief Justices our country has ever enjoyed.

(Micah Goldberg is a blogger and Liberal activist. Follow him @MicahGoldberg)

Amanda Lang by Conner Marvin

amanda lang

Few have ever played the role in Canadian journalism that Amanda Lang plays. She is a senior business correspondent on the CBC who passionately defends against the staunch free-market ideals of Kevin O’Leary on a daily basis. To offer not only a balancing factor to O’Leary’s personality, but to do it consistently is nothing short of a feat. Her role as a journalist in the states and, obviously, in Canada has given her the platform to express something of substance every time she is on screen. How very lucky we are to have her combat Kevin O’Leary. Very few could do it, and even fewer with such grace.

(Conner Marvin majors in political science at Glendon. Political scientist by day, oyster shucker by night.)

Liz Evans by George Takach

Liz Evans, Community Builder, Vancouver, B.C.

Earlier this year, I visited the Insite Supervised Injection Site in downtown Vancouver. Insite’s founder, Liz Evans, gave me a sense of what the facility has accomplished since it was established in 2003.

It’s an incredible story. Essentially, Stephen Harper’s Conservative government gives drug addicts two choices: either go to jail, or scramble on the street until you die. Insite gives them a third option: a safe place where they can begin to get their lives back on track, especially as they connect with other community supports with which Liz is involved (such as social housing and a dental clinic). In short, Liz strives to create a community where the previously marginalized can find a safe harbour and rebuild shattered lives.

Interestingly, Insite got off the ground in 2003 because a federal Liberal Health Minister earmarked modest funding to start it up. All other official funding channels were very skeptical about how Insite could help get people off the street and move on with their lives. But in a very short time, Vancouver’s Insite project produced positive results and other cities wanted to set up their own supervised injection sites.

After Stephen Harper became Prime Minister, the Conservative government wanted to shut down the facility, even though the evidence – including numerous peer-reviewed articles – showed the reduction in harm, crime and poverty Insite helped achieve.

Thankfully, the Supreme Court of Canada thwarted the Conservative’s attempt to shut down Insite in order to impose its ideologically driven agenda.

Liz Evans is a master community builder, a woman of courage and dedication who has helped our most vulnerable citizens in downtown Vancouver. We have so much to thank Liz for, and so much to learn from her.

(George Takach is one of Canada’s pre-eminent technology lawyers, he is a Canadian for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada. Follow him @GeorgeTakach)

Jennifer Crane by Steve Feinstein

For any Quebec political junkie when Parliament is in session, Tommy Schumacher’s “Political Panel” on CJAD, Friday’s at 10 AM is a must-listen. And promoting the Federal Liberals—usually in studio so her voice is loud and clear—is Jennifer Crane. Her verbal sparring with Conservative Geoff Norquay and whoever is the NDP representative of the week is done with enthusiasm, verve, and a quick witted sense of humour. As the old saying goes, she leaves no shot unanswered. Jennifer clearly makes “Political Panel” the fastest moving, most entertaining hour in Montreal talk radio. But Jennifer is more than just a radio personality. She is also the two-time Vice-President English of the Federal Liberal Party of Quebec, re-elected with ease in 2012. As such, the fluently bilingual Crane, has become known as one of the staunchest defenders of Anglo rights, and bilingualism within Quebec. When Jennifer is on your side, you’ve got no greater ally. Just ask Ken Dryden, for whom she organized in Quebec in his 2006 leadership run. Or ask Liberal leader Bob Rae. For the past four years, Jennifer has been one of Mr. Rae’s “go-to” organizers whenever Mr. Rae is in Montreal, advancing trips, organizing events and generally ensuring the leader’s Montreal trips are productive as well as enjoyable. A recent farewell dinner on Montreal’s West Island in Mr. Rae’s honour drew an overflow crowd at the largest venue in the area. And given her skills behind a microphone, she was the M.C. Or ask long time Quebec Liberal Party President Marc Tanguay, who needed Jennifer’s help in winning two elections, a by-election and a general election- within an 85 day period before he was able to take his National Assembly seat in LaFontaine. And the list goes on and on. A prolific Blackberry user, Jennifer keeps up on multiple political sites, moderating conversation, defending her friends and follow Liberals, and providing deft commentary and perspective. I never seen a status update from her with fewer than 5 likes, usually all coming within 10 minutes of posting. Jennifer Crane is one of a unique species of Canadian—a through and through Montrealer. Much like another great Montrealer, the late, great Nick Auf der Maur, they share a passion for their beloved island city. Born, raised, and educated in Montreal, she did spend a brief period of her career in Ottawa. But, as she explains it, she escaped at the first opportunity. Like all Montrealers, she lives for her city, her province, her hockey team (much to the chagrin of this Bruins fan and former Washington Capitals season ticket holder), for good white wine, even better food often from Atwater Market, and especially for electing Liberals to office and for the Liberal Party of Canada. 2012 saw her in an active role at the January biennial in Ottawa, her re-election as Vice President English, successful provincial campaigns, and her being wooed as an organizer by nearly every current contender for the Federal Liberal Leadership. 2013 promises to be busier with federal and provincial leadership races, a likely provincial election, and province-wide municipal elections including an open Mayor’s seat in Ville de Montreal. Look to hear much more from Jennifer Crane in the upcoming 12 months.

(Steve Feinstein is the Area 1 Coordinator for Central Ontario for the Liberal Party of Canada (Ontario).)

Christine Moore by Joseph Uranowski

Christine Moore

Early in 2012, it was reported that the Canadian government was playing the mercenary organization Blackwater (now, rebranded as “Xe”) to train Canadian troops. I was quite livid. My party, the Liberals, did work to hold Prime Minister Harper and Minister McKay accountable but I would like to highlight as well the excellent work of Christine Moore. Ms. Moore, the NDP MP for Canadian Parliament for Abitibi—Témiscamingue, is a nurse by training and has served in the Canadian forces for 3 years. Day after day in the House of Commons she hammered the government for abdicating its basic responsibility to provide for the national defence of Canada and for giving money to a firm as reprehensible as Blackwater/Xe. Defence Minister Peter MacKay would try to employ the knee-jerk Conservative attack on Ms. Moore’s patriotism but she handle his attacks with true class (the fact is that his only military experience comes from hitching rides on military helicopters helped.)

For making sure that this important issue wasn’t swept under the rug. I give Christine Moore a hearty “You go girl!”

12 Words I (Re)Discovered in 2012

Defenestrate: To eject or throw (someone or something) from a window.

Kludge: an improvised device, usually crudely constructed. Typically used to test the validity of a principle before doing a finished design.

Portmanteau: Made by combining two (or more) words, stories, etc., in the manner of a linguistic portmanteau.

Tmesis: The insertion of one or more words between the components of a compound word.

Acalculia: The condition of lacking basic mathematical skills.

A dog’s breakfast: a poor job; a mess; “they made a real dog’s breakfast of that job”.

Panoply: A splendid display of something.

Sublime: A situation or person/place/thing that combines horror and beauty.

Fakakta: Yiddish for crazy, all mixed up.

Matryoshka: One of a set of wooden Russian dolls of different sizes, designed such that each fits inside the next.

Backpfeifengesicht: German for “A face badly in need of a fist.”

Abrogate: To annul by an authoritative act; to abolish by the authority of the maker or her or his successor; to repeal; — applied to the repeal of laws, decrees, ordinances, the abolition of customs, etc

Sasha Issenberg (author of “The Victory Lab: The secret science of winning campaigns”) speaks to the Samara Institute.

issenberg samara

I have been a fan of Sasha Issenberg for a while now, reading his articles on Slate.com, enjoying him on the Slate Political Gabfest podcast and then devouring his fantastic book “The Victory Lab: The secret science of winning campaigns.” So when I heard that he was going to speak in Toronto at an event hosted by the Samara Institute I was thrilled. I strongly recommend reading his book.

Mr. Issenberg’s speech was excellent so I thought I would share some of the insight I gained from hearing the author speak after reading his book.

Before you continue read Adam Radwanski”s excellent interview with Sasha Issenberg: here.

and

The J-Source liveblog for The Victory Lab: an evening with Sasha Issenberg: here.

and

This great article by Susan Delacourt “Polling and journalism: the future is in the details”: here.

What I learned from Sasha Issenberg:

  •   It is important to remember that micro-targeting is really high concept stuff and only impacts around the margins. It is good for increasing voter turnout by a few percentage points in key areas (which can make all the difference in a close campaign.) 95% of people care about the same 4 things more or less (like the economy, health care, education, etc.)  There is diminishing returns from going too granular/micro in your targeting and messaging. Issenberg used the example that you could send every American a piece of direct mail about the local park in their community with Barack Obama’s campaign budget, but people vote on the economy not their local park. 
  • We know less about persuasion than we do about motivation. This was an important lesson for me from Sasha Issenberg’s talk. A lot of the sociological techniques/tricks/strategies that have been tested in randomized clinical trials were done for non-partisan, voter turnout increasing purposes. Academic research grants can’t go to Democratic/Republican efforts because of campaign finance laws. I asked Issenberg about using the methods described in his book to target low information voters and he was also asked about persuading voters to switch from one candidate to another. He told me that these methods are for increasing voter turn out and aren’t necessarily focused on educating voters. However, these techniques were effectively implemented by the Obama campaign to  activate certain issues (women’s health and access to abortion) among demographics that would have supported Romney (middle aged suburban women) but then switched to Obama when these issues were activated. As a Liberal, getting Liberal voters to turn out is a challenge in-and-of itself. Liberals should all read this book, but we need to put as much effort into persuading New Democrats, Conservatives and Greens as we put into Liberal GOTV.
  • Robocalls do not increase voter turnout.  According to Sasha Issenberg “They persist because campaigns don’t read political science literature.”  Campaigns spend money on robocalls because they have money at the end of the campaign and they don’t have enough time to hire new staff or produce effective t.v./radio advertisements. Campaigns don’t want leftover money at the end of a campaign because it would look like they didn’t spend the extra money because they weren’t trying. When Issenberg got the robocall question I don’t think he was aware of the special Canadian context. His straightforward, empirical answer on robocalls was refreshing. According to the evidence, they don’t increase voter turnout. Nothing beats a visit from a volunteer at the door. If you are going to use a phonebank, have volunteers use a “chatty” script.
  • Shame  is an extremely effective tool for increasing voter turnout. One of my favourite examples that Issenberg described was when a group decided to send people their voter history (which elections they had and hadn’t voted in) and the voting history of their neighbours. Recipients were also informed that also this information was publicly available and that they would receive an updated voter history after the election. This increased voter turnout by 20%.
  • Another surprisingly effective psychological technique was getting people to talk through their plan of how they’ll vote. By asking people at what time they will vote, what they will be doing before they vote,  and how they will travel to the polling station (and other questions like these) the recipients of the call were more likely to vote. This was even more effective among voters who live alone (the caller served as a surrogate for a spouse or partner.)
  • Good horse race coverage needs a lot more self-doubt. Reporters should admit what they do not know. Here is a great piece by Sasha Issenberg on why political reporters should work on political campaigns (Why Campaign Reporters Are Behind the Curve). If any reporter wants to come door knocking, envelope stuffing or debate live-tweeting with me, they have an open invitation.
  • We need constant innovation in campaigns. Political professionals need to think empirically and look outside of politics for effective techniques. There are many useful lessons in Mr. Issenberg’s book but there are many large and important differences between the American and Canadian political systems.

Conservatives call Justin Trudeau to testify at the House Un-Canadian Activities Committee

Blaine Calkins (CPC – Wetaskiwin) and the 5 other government MPs have called for David McGuinty and Justin Trudeau to answer questions at the the House Natural Resources Committee. They want David McGuinty to speak because of a poorly phrased statement he made about politicians prioritizing the national interest about all else. The Conservatives want Trudeau to answer questions on a statement he made during an interview 2 years ago.

Part of me wants Trudeau to go to the committee. Yes, the Conservatives are wasting the Committee’s time and taxpayers’ dollars. Yes, they are doing so for crass political reasons. However, if he did show up and answer their questions with knowledge and resolve it would give him an opportunity to expose the Conservatives for their hyper-partisan nonsense. If he doesn’t go, that is also fair. The CPC’s shenanigans don’t deserve encouragement.

In the meantime, I have some questions for Blaine Calkins and his fellow caucus members: Justin Trudeau made his statement 2 years ago and has since apologized. Is this really worth wasting your time, Mr. Trudeau’s time and the time of your committee? You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?