Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tonight's post is irrelevant.

Gerard Kennedy is out.

So, explaining why I don't think he should be leader because he's from Toronto, has no Quebec organisation, isn't bilingual, and has won but a single federal election, but is probably a good choice the next time we have to find a leader (*cough*after Iggy blows it*cough*) is moot.


If it ends up being just Bob, Michael and Dominic, I'm going to need one HELL of a sales job to strongly support and get solidly behind any of them.

In fact, the more I look at this whole mess, the less I am motivated to anything for this party. They've done a craptastical job of mentoring and apprenticing the next generation of leaders, and I'm increasingly frustrated by the narrow view and the lack of vision some people are afflicted with.

This isn't about center/left or center/right. The environment isn't a left or right issue. This is about putting forward policies that empower people and work to the benefit of future generations.

Maybe it's the fact that I am sick and don't know why and I'm tired of that, but I am failing to see why anyone is in politics but for any other reason than consolidating power and trying to force feed 40% of the population a particular narrow world view.

And I'm REALLY getting sick of hearing about how Obama worked in the US.
This is Canada. We don't have or need an Obama. We need someone with a plan who can make the LPC relevant again in 3 to 5 years. We need a Howard Dean. Then we look for our Obama.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Liberal Leadership Convention - Pt. One in an Ongoing Series

First off, I would like to welcome every single one of my Liberal Prog. Bloggers and 308ers to Vancouver in late April. If you are planning on attending as a delegate or as an observer, please let me know because I would like to make sure I meet up with you while you are here. Mayhaps we could even strike an ad-hoc committee to do a detailed analysis of local wines and brews?

I waited until after the official announcement of the where and when of the leadership convention to comment on it. I am more than pleased that it is here in Vancouver, I've been invited to receptions by both Bob and Dom, but was unable to attend either.

I am tentatively supporting Mssr. LeBlanc, barring the arrival of a better candidate to the race and that Mssr. LeBlanc answers the email I sent his constituency office two weeks ago. I understand that things are busy for him, so I am willing to be patient, but it should not take more than three weeks to return an email.

I have been stunned by the "Audacity" of Lawrence Martin. (h/t The Diva Rachel) I am stunned because this opinion piece makes me wonder if Mr. Martin has ever *met* Mr. Ignatieff. If he had, he would not claim that he has anything close to charisma. Unless you think charm is speaking to people as if they are stupid imbeciles who can't recognize how great it is to be in presence of a man of his personal stature, then I guess you could call him charismatic.

Michael Ignatieff is "articulate and polished and suffers from no lack of erudition" but he possesses no gift for oratory. He possesses the tone, tenor and content of a history professor at an Ivy League university. I wonder how that happened?

He is not a "fresh face". He is four months older than my father, and at 62 he represents the generation past who's time is over. He will not be there to rebuild this party. His career arch cannot afford the next 3 to 5 years of being in opposition. And mostly, I see him as a US carpetbagger who hedged his bets to return to the country of his birth to be Prime Minister. He didn't sign up to be an opposition MP, and mark my words, if he becomes leader the LPC will suffer an even greater loss than the one suffered by Stephane Dion.

When that happens he will quit politics outright, move back to Harvard and try to gain some income to make up for the past few years of slumming it here in the Great White North.

I feel much the same way about Bob Rae as a candidate when it comes to age and experience, but I don't see him as an "Obama Figure" any more than I do Michael Ignatieff.

And before Scott Ross comes in here talking about the Greatest-ness of Gerard Kennedy, just stop.

I don't think he should be the leader either, but for very different reasons...
that I will share tomorrow.


On a completely different note: In honour of the approximately 113,300 Canadians who have died in foreign wars and during peacekeeping missions around the world

We Will Remember Them.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Someone I thought I knew.

I’ve been an active participant in online communities since sometime around 2000/2001. I have made many friends (both online and IRL) over those 7-8 years and I’ve always managed to put an amount of cultural perspective on things. I grew up white and middle class in a small, backward, white, middle class neighbourhood in a small, backward, white, working class town in Canada. Many of the friends I have made online grew up in similar circumstances, but an equal amount grew up broke and poor in the US, UK and Canada. I understand that my experience of class and privilege is very different than some of my friends.

I have had an ongoing friendship with a man from Louisiana for a couple of years now. He lived in Germany when he was in the US Army and relocated himself to the Bay Area of California upon his discharge. After Hurricane Rita, he returned to western Louisiana to be closer to his family and to help them rebuild their lives and to rebuild his own after some devastating losses in California. He was (and I imagine still thinks he is) an anomaly in western Louisiana; a white, liberal Democrat living in a rural parish.

He sent me an email saying that after watching “Bowling for Columbine” he was going to get rid of some of his weaponry. We talked on the phone about how to make health care work for Americans. We brainstormed about immigration reform.

I should have known that all was not right with him when he responded to my firm statement about being a feminist with, "Aw darlin’, you don’t want to mix yourself up with those people." I stated that I was "one of those people" and if he knew and liked me then he had mixed himself up with "those people". He changed the subject.

Then Barack Obama ran for the Democratic nominee for president. He voted for Hillary. When she didn’t win the primaries, he announced to me that he was voting for McCain.

Because no black man should have power over the white race.

Stunned, I listened to him go off about how he knew that he wasn’t evil but his wife was going to work for slave reparations and the good southern white folk, who had nothing to do with slavery would be forced from their lands while the *n***ers* get their forty acres and a mule.

It was like I had been slapped in the face as he went on about the *uppity black women* he worked with thought that they were better than him now. I had to get him off the phone. I could not believe that he actually thought these things. I didn’t speak to him for a very long while.

I logged into yahoo messenger to see if there was an offline from a friend in England. Instead there was a hateful message from my friend in Louisiana telling me that he was disgusted that I, a foreigner, would meddle and interfere in the election of HIS country by trying to get someone who would destroy America elected.
I went over to Facebook and there was a message from him there as well telling me to stop posting things about Obama because I was disrespecting his voting choice. I had sent all my FB friends in the US a reminder to vote the day before. The application was through the Obama feature, but I had set it up so that it would just remind people to vote in a non-partisan way.

I told him that if he had a problem with me reminding him to vote and with me taking an interest in the administration of the country I will probably live in one day that was his problem, not mine and he knew what to do with his problem. He sent a reply back about how I know him well enough to know that he votes in every election so my reminder was somehow insulting, and he didn’t understand what I meant by "knowing what to do".

This person was my friend for a couple of years. This election brought out a side and a belief system that I can acknowledge exists but never accept in my life.

I told him that he had been insulting and ignorant and had revealed himself to be someone I did not and could not want in my life.

As much as the 2008 Presidential election has brought out the finest qualities and traits of the American people, I had no idea that the worst and the ugliest would hit so close to home.

Friday, October 31, 2008

In Solidarity

(That's the most NDP-ish thing I've written since I worked for a labour union, btw.)

During my admittedly short time in the Liberal and progressive blogospheres, I've come to respect the one known as Red Tory.

Today, Red drew his line in the sand with Liblogs. I don't blame him, and this post is notice that I too want to be removed from the Liblogs roll. In fact, even if they do boot Lib4ever, I don't want back in.

UPDATE: I wondered why my traffic from Liblogs was so little. My blog isn't on the list over there. I guess dumping Cherniak from my blogroll when he started going off about Liberal Israel policy and who could be a candidate got me deleted from Liblogs. I still stand by what I wrote. And I've deleted the link on my profile.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Generational Shift.

Someone sent me the youtube video of Generation We, an inspirational take on the next generation coming up. I want to help them attain their dreams in a way that my early boomer parents wouldn't or couldn't help me. Then I realized...

I'm generally a Gen Xer and more specifically I'm a Baby Buster. I am of that generation of people born between 1965 and 1979 who are not going to be as financially successful or secure as their parents. I am of that generation where little was expected of us, so little was asked of us. I wanted to know if my generation was even being talked about online, or electorally, or *anything* to prove that we do exist.

"If Nevermind changed the world, the world changed back pretty fast," was the quote I found in the linked article, and it certainly feels true.

Sandwiched between 80 million baby boomers and 78 million millennials, Generation X... has just 46 million members, making it a dark-horse demographic "condemned by numbers alone to nicheville,"

Something about my generation twigged my memory. The other day I was invited to join the "I support Dominic LeBlanc for the Liberal leadership" group on Facebook. I declined, because I wasn't sure that Mssr. LeBlanc had the electoral experience or perhaps was too young to lead the party. The Gen-We vid led me to the Gen-X Time article which led me to Dominic LeBlanc's wiki page!

Born: December 14, 1967 (he's only four months older than my husband)

First elected to the House of Commons: November 27, 2000 (he was almost 33 years old) and he has faced re-election 3 times since then. I thought he won for the first time in 2006.

I've met him. He was smart, engaging, and was willing to look at issues that might not capture the public's fancy, but were meaningful. He was good enough to spend some time talking with Joe about Iraq, stop-loss and the Democratic primaries.

Now that he's announced that he's going to run for the leadership, and I've had a little time for reflection, I think that I will support him. He is the first person of my cohort with a legitimate chance of being the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.

It was this quote that all is not business as usual in the LeBlanc camp.

"I think Liberals want to see the party reposition itself as very much the voice of middle-class Canadians and occupy a pragmatic and centrist position," he said. "Perhaps, in recent campaigns we have drifted from that pragmatic centre of Canadian politics and we haven't given some of the traditional Liberal voting blocks an enthusiastic reason to support us."

Pragmatic and centrist. Though many may disagree with me, that's the kind of position that I'd like to see the party take. The environment should be an economic platform and not a "leftist" issue.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Everytime I read about the GOP circular firing squad...

I think of the National Executive of the LPC.

I was directed to this story by Daniel Finkelstein via Andrew Sullivan and his Daily Dish and it almost brought me to tears. Here we are talking about the Republican Party and the British Tories, and ALL it is doing is reminding me of the party I love to be a part of.

For example, these words from Mr. Finkelstein:

The first step towards recovery for the Conservative party was to stop thinking that we were the centre of the universe and that what we thought mattered more than what others thought.

The Republicans are about to go through a period of self absorption and will think it is all that matters. They will only recover when they start to understand that no one is watching and that no one, except them, cares.

While I don't think that the outcome of October 14 was even close to being as dire as the British Conservatives' outcome in 1997 or the trouncing that the GOP is going to take a week from tomorrow, I do think that the attitude is the same.

Here we are barking about our historical relevance in Canada, but what we used to be has a great deal to do with why we are where we are today.

We're not inclusive. We're not transparent. We pander and try to buy voters with their own money and then are never heard from until the next writ period. We have shadowy folks who try to control everything and fail miserably. It's a disappointment, all around.

If we do not, as a party, get our shit together, put together not only a platform - but a plan - and build a long-term strategy to do this from the bottom up, we will be as irrelevant as the Tories of 1993, 1997 and the GOP of 2008.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Canada doesn’t need an Obama.

Sometimes I wish that I was bilingual so I could stop reading the English and/or the Toronto focused press. It has become depressing and quite a bit embarrassing to watch the Liberals of the world try to name and claim any POC as "Canada’s Obama" and future savior of the LPC.

If Canada is going to choose a leader based upon being a part of the group that historically has faced more discrimination than any other group, that "Canadian Obama" should be Aboriginal. If Canada is going to choose a leader based on being a part of the largest ethnic minority, that person should be South Asian.

51% of Canadians are women, yet Canadian women are still treated as a "visible minority" with "issues". That’s not to say that women vote as a homogeneous block, but to say that leadership is not exclusive to the male gender. It is also not to say that the men of Canada don’t have a stake in what effects women. Kim Campbell notwithstanding, there has NEVER been a legitimate female candidate for the leadership of a party who could be in power. We all know that she was the only one who would take the job in 1993 and the bloodbath that ensued wasn’t a surprise.

Obama is a transformative figure precisely because he doesn't fit into the US stereotypes of blackness and ISN'T radical. He's about as moderate and middle of the road as a Mulroney-era Progressive Conservative. He's a sign that Americans aren't interested in business as usual, and lord-love-a-duck, the US needs to find some sort of direction in the 21st century.

Canada doesn't need an Obama. What we need is someone uniquely Canadian who has great big ideas that will put an end to the regionalism that has plagued this nation since the PCs built their first Alberta firewalls.

I think you can see that Canada doesn't need the kind of saving from itself that the US does. We need to build a sustainable economy, we need to keep the population from growing too quickly, we need to disengage ourselves from the US, and learn some lessons about having all of our eggs in one basket. We need radically different than what we have always done, but not radically financially risky. Canada is a small nation with a stable finance system and as such is nimble and flexible enough to adjust to the realities we have, not the ones we wish for.

Unfortunately, until Stephane Dion came along, there was no leader for any party who was interested in doing anything different from the way we had always done it. Canadians proved by not listening or caring that they weren't interested in doing things any differently either.

I despair for my country as long as the dinosaurs continue to rule the land.

With that, I am firmly stating that while I am Facebook friends with Bob Rae, I will not be supporting him for leader. I will not be supporting Iggy, or Gerard, or Dominic or really any of the names they keep bringing up. I don't think that the latter two have enough electoral experience, and I don't think that the former two have enough of a "machine" in Quebec to win. I bear no ill will toward Mr. Rae, Mr. Kennedy or Mssr. LeBlanc, I just don't think they're radical enough and/or ready enough to do this immense job of achieving electoral success AND bringing together a party full of warring factions.

I will also state that I think Obama may be the worst choice for President as it relates to proposed relations with Canada, but his election may be the beginning of the US doing things differently when it comes to their working relationship with their closest allies and trading partners.

There's always hope, right?