Orange Crush


It’s no secret that I have been a supporter of the New Democratic Party for most of my life. I know socialism tends to scare people. I suppose that it scares the greedy the most. But a social democracy is one of the most ideal political ideologies that aligns to my interests. So it makes complete sense that I would support the NDP.

That said, every year, I do reevaluate party policies in comparison with my beliefs. The political compass websites are quite useful. CBC’s Vote Compass is a decent meter. However, I prefer I Side With. It is an extremely comprehensive questionnaire that breaks down social, economic, environmental, health, foreign policy and more issues, and allows you to answer with a simple yes or no, or gives you the option to choose a more specific explanation, including entering your own response. Based on your answers, you are “scored” alongside each political party, demonstrating where you side with each on the issues. It’s interesting to see just how much you agree or disagree with each.

This election year’s issues – some pressing, some frivolous – have placed me where I expected. Still, my Liberal friends always try to convince me that I am in the wrong with my decisions. There has been a lot of talk about strategic voting. Problem is, strategic voting doesn’t always work. Not to mention, strategic voting is based upon polling, which is flawed. In the United States, Gallup will not be running polls for the presidential primaries after misidentifying the winner of the 2012 American election as Mitt Romney. Generally, they may indicate a trend, but we should not trust them completely.

Here’s a health analogy. As a diabetic, I can test my blood glucose levels with blood from my arm or my fingertip. The fingertip tests are much more accurate, so if I think my blood glucose is low, I shouldn’t be testing on my arm. Think of polls as the arm, and the actual vote as the fingertip. We aren’t going to get accurate results until election day; we’ll only see trends, and those trends might not be a good reason to change a vote.

Let me say this; if everyone got off their arses on election day (or the advance poll days prior to the 19th), we wouldn’t need strategic voting. We are still a left leaning nation. Popular vote states this. The fact that at least two-thirds of polls trend people’s allegiance with the NDP, the Liberals or the Greens indicate that we are not the country the Conservatives have forced us to become. This brings me to my first point.

I’m voting for the New Democratic Party because…I believe the Canadian electoral system needs an overhaul. First past the post does not always indicate the will of the majority, and the NDP have vowed to change this. Mixed-member proportional representation means that Canadians will cast two votes: one vote for their local representative, and one vote for the party they wish to form government. The numbers that count would be the national vote percentage, and representation at the national level would be proportional to the votes cast. What does this mean? This means that while Elizabeth May’s Green Party only received one seat in Parliament, despite receiving 3.91% of the popular vote, proportional representation would see the Greens with approximately 12 of the 308 seats. This is a huge difference and so important to ensuring fair representation of our country.

I’m voting for the New Democratic Party because…I believe in a Canada that is inclusive, welcoming and tolerant. You may have noticed, but there have been oodles of overt racist comments and behavior displayed across the country lately. I’m not saying that I appreciate hidden forms of racism any more, but people are being attacked. Full stop. This is not my Canada. We are not perfect, not by any stretch of the imagination. We have a lot to do to make up for the genocide of and continued mistreatment of our First Nations, Inuit and Métis brothers and sisters, but forcing newcomers to our country to conform simply because we are afraid of being “taken over” is bullshit. We are a country of immigrants. I had the good fortune of being born in Canada, but until political borders are rendered null, we cannot shut our doors. Immigration and refugee programs need to be monitored, yes, but we can do better. In fact, we have to do better. People are terrified that we are losing our rights to newcomers, but let’s look at this carefully. We can’t really claim the cause of not taking care of our own is due to newcomers when the current government neglects huge swaths of the population on its own. Our seniors, veterans, First Nations, Inuit, Métis, impoverished and children deserve better. But stop blaming it on the immigrant population.

Tom Mulcair has left the niqab debate in the hands of where it belongs – the courts. And sadly, this has caused a drop in polls for the party’s popularity. Regardless, it proves to me the strength of character of Mr. Mulcair. It was an honourable choice. Canadians are playing right into the hands of the Conservatives. What is more ridiculous is that the Liberals essentially have the same stance as the NDP on this issue, yet have not seen the same effects. But what’s most disappointing is that this is the issue that will choose our next Prime Minister. This is the issue that may win the election. And there are far too many other important issues we should be considering. Issues such as climate change. Education. The answers the families and friends of over 1,200 murdered and missing indigenous women deserve.

I’m voting for the New Democratic Party because…the Harper government has not delivered on the transparency and accountability they promised. Instead, we have seen the following:

  • Election fraud – robocalls, undercover sting operations, spending violations, false stories on opponents, using interns as plants to interrupt other candidate rallies and speeches
  • Media access limits – tight controls on who is allowed to speak to the media as an employee of the Federal government, “media minders” assigned to staff, lack of transparency from election candidates, closed door rallies where no one can ask questions unless they’ve paid the Conservative party for the “privilege” to do so
  • Undemocratic omnibus budget bills – sweeping changes to environmental, taxation, and financial legislation
  • C-51 – the destroyer of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (unfortunately supported by Trudeau’s Liberals)
  • TPP – the Trans-Pacific Partnership as it stands today, has been in negotiations since 2008. Its secret negotiations have been a point of contention for many, causing protests around the world. It will influence the cost of medicine, intellectual property and copyright, threaten the climate and environment, and further extend income inequality. The TPP has much to offer corporations, and little to offer the rest of us.

The NDP have promised to protect the Parliamentary Budget Officer from political interference and Mulcair has stated the “plan will enshrine budget transparency into law.” As with any party outside of the Conservatives, rallies and events are open to the media, and often the public as well. There are no veils of secrecy or walls of construction equipment as we saw in Harper’s most recent visit to Iqaluit. They have committed to repealing Bill C-51 and have announced that an NDP government will not be bound by the TPP. The TPP would have to be ratified in Parliament, but Mulcair’s strong statement convinces me that should he be elected, he will not blindly conform to the negotiated agreement. That’s important.

I’m voting for the New Democratic Party because…I work in protected areas. The Conservative government under Harper has gutted environmental legislation, reduced funding and staffing at Environment Canada, reduced funding for the provinces, and restricted media coverage of climate change through the muzzling of scientists. Fewer watersheds are protected and the environmental assessment process for projects has been all but removed. As the Minister of Environment, Leona Aglukkaq made multiple gaffes on climate change, including her 2013 comment during a CTV interview regarding whether the ice in the Arctic was melting; “there’s always a debate around science and what’s changing.” Where almost every report (including those from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Environment Canada) is in agreement, Minister Aglukkaq can barely even say the words “climate change”.

I’m voting for the New Democratic Party because…when it comes to the voting records of the NDP and the Liberals, the Liberals supported the Conservatives on too many bills and motions I disagree with. The outcome of this election would leave me disappointed if the Liberals were to form government rather than the NDP, but I would not be devastated. That said, I cannot in good conscience, throw my hat in with the Liberal government knowing that they supported items like C-51.

I’m not telling you who to vote for. If you want to vote Conservative, I may not understand it, but it’s your choice. If you want to vote Liberal, that’s also your choice. But if you’re undecided or usually don’t vote, I urge you to reconsider what not voting means. It means that you will be forced to live with the decisions of others. We may still be forced to live with some decisions, but I’d rather say that I fought, than to say that I rolled over and gave up. We’ve gone back and forth between the Conservatives and Liberals for as long as Canada has been a nation, and nothing ever changes. Perhaps it’s time.

I’m voting for the New Democratic Party because…I’m ready for change…

I misread a

I misread a “Be the change” sign yesterday…and I liked what came of it. This is my new Facebook cover photo.

On another note, has it really been two years since I wrote anything? I guess that shows you how important I feel this is.

Euphonious Fridays – New Orleans Is Sinking


Source: ChrisD.ca

It’s Canada Day!  That really leaves no choice in the matter regarding who to feature for this week’s Euphonious Friday (especially since I missed last week – boo me!).  There can be only one band…the quintessentially Kingston, Ontario-based Canadian rockers, The Tragically Hip.  Despite the fact that the band is wildly popular within Canada, many around the world may not have heard of them, or know much about them.

Unfortunately, since I’m between volunteering at the Alianait Festival here in Iqaluit, and attending the second of four shows for the festival tonight, I won’t have much time to give you a refresher course on the band’s long history.  They’ve been around since 1983!  Just know that when it comes to summertime on the patio…you’ll probably hear Kim Mitchell’s “Patio Lanterns” and then you’ll hear the Hip.  They are mainstays at summer festivals and so many of their songs feature our home and native land in the lyrics.

It’s hard to pin down one of my favourite songs by the band, but I am definitely a fan of their earlier work.  Somewhere around high school, I sort of lost interest…after the album Fully Completely which I love.  The song I’m featuring today is off of Up To Here which was released in 1989.  ‘New Orleans Is Sinking’ is arguably one of the band’s most recognizable and “signature” songs.

Enjoy!

Bourbon blues on the street, loose and complete
Under skies all smokey blue-green
I can’t forsake a dixie dead-shake
So we danced the sidewalk clean
My memory is muddy, what’s this river that I’m in?
New Orleans is sinking man and I don’t wanna swim

Colonel Tom, What’s wrong? What’s going on?
You can’t tie yourself up for a deal
He said, “Hey north you’re south shut your big mouth,
You gotta do what you feel is real”
Ain’t got no picture postcards, ain’t got no souvenirs
My baby, she don’t know me when I’m thinking bout those years

Pale as a light bulb hanging on a wire
Sucking up to someone just to stoke the fire
Picking out the highlights of the scenery
Saw a little cloud that looked a little like me

I had my hands in the river
My feet back up on the banks
Looked up to the lord above
And said, “Hey man thanks”
Sometimes I feel so good, I gotta scream
She said “Gordie baby I know exactly what you mean”
She said, she said, I swear to god she said…

My memory is muddy what’s this river that I’m in?
New Orleans is sinking man and I don’t wanna swim

This is the official video for the song.  I highly recommend seeking out the song as it’s performed live on YouTube somewhere.  Gord Downie has been known to go off on a bit of a tangent in the bridge before the “I had my hands in the river” line.  My favourite version (and that of many) is known as the “killerwhaletank”.  Try to find it…

Euphonious Fridays – All The Things I Wasn’t


Source: Last.fm

The 80s were renowned for music’s transition from the disco era.  There were lots of synths…lots of fluorescents…and lots of big hair.  In the early part of the decade, a little known band was formed that bucked the trends of the day, and put out some good Canadian folk rock.  Emerging from Kelowna, British Columbia, two brothers and their friend choose the name of a very well-known book and movie that none of them had read or seen:  The Grapes of Wrath.  They signed with Nettwerk Records, arguably one of Canada’s most successful indie labels, released a series of albums throughout the 80s until 1989 when their most successful Now and Again was recorded.  They toured in support of the album with an opening act that you may have heard of:  a little known singer-songwriter named Sarah McLachlan.

On that album was one of the band’s most popular singles, “All The Things I Wasn’t”.  It is a song that has stuck in my mind since I first heard it, but I recently rediscovered it, and have fallen in love with it all over again.  Its simple acoustic melodies and emotional lyrics suggest the story of an unsuccessful relationship between a parent and a child; a mentor and a protégé.  It’s quite lovely.  The piano interlude always gives me shivers…

Due to litigations over the name of the band, they re-formed with minor lineup changes in the 90s as Ginger, again signing with Nettwerk.  After an EP, two albums and several years together, they disbanded in 1997, partially reuniting as The Grapes of Wrath in 2000 to release another album, before calling it quits for good in 2001.

However, music is often a stronger force than those with a gift for it can admit, and they reunited once again in 2009/10 to do perhaps a final round of touring.  It would seem that only time will tell if the band is truly finished gracing us with their presence.

Enjoy!

Hours of hiding, spent apart
The wall was all we’d share
About the closest you could get
About all I would bear

Don’t tell me all the things I wasn’t
Could have made this big a difference
To all the things you are

Years of listening, taking in
To one day take away
From all the guilt and pity I could
Barely keep at bay

Don’t tell me all the things I wasn’t
Could have made this big a difference
To all the things you are

The time apart, I’ve realized
The name’s the most we’ve shared
Unlike you there’s no way I could
Spend forever there

Don’t tell me all the things I wasn’t
Could have made this big a difference
To all the things you are

And a successful find of the video!  Hooray!

Euphonious Fridays – Spiritual Pollution


Source: Lastfm.com

It’s that time of the week again – another Euphonious Friday to spread some music.  But I’m completely brain dead at the moment, and I’d like to just be able to get the post written and done BEFORE midnight tonight.

So, I’ve decided to make this Euphonious Fridays – The Readers’ Digest Version.  Okay…here goes.

In high school, I liked this band called Pure.

Pure came out of Vancouver in the early 90s.

Their first full length album was called Pureafunalia.  Kitschy, right?

They released some singles called “Pure”, “Wow”, “Blast”, “Denial”, “Blissful Kiss”, “Anna is a Speed Freak” and the song I’m presenting in this post, “Spiritual Pollution”.

The tune is catchy…there’s keyboards that sound kind of like trumpets…and the percussion is reminiscent of the beat that underlies Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll”.

While I can’t confirm, I’m quite certain the song is about religious zealots and their force-feeding of their beliefs on street corners and doorsteps.

Fun!

The band is no longer together.

*pout*

But the former members are doing their own things now.

Yay!

The end.  Almost.

Enjoy!

You come walking up to me with a present for me
A special little book full of ideas to help me see my way clear
I look into your smile, make you feel important
Yeah I listen for awhile, but I don’t want to know
Anything about your mixed up tales that you’re shouting about

Sunday afternoon sidewalk revolution
I don’t need your
Spiritual pollution
You stand on the corner and preach down solutions
I don’t need your
Spiritual pollution

Tell me that I can be saved if I just walk along with you
And clear out my mind of all those ideas that you just can’t find

Now I’m spiritual
You filled my body full of all I need

A fearful soul
A God to know
And if I’m told
I’ll just keep screaming

Sunday afternoon sidewalk revolution
I don’t need your
Spiritual pollution
You stand on the corner and preach down solutions
I don’t need your
Spiritual pollution

Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find any videos for this.  There’s a big issue apparently between the band and their record label – the label has removed the video from the band’s MySpace page.  Sucks.

So here’s the MP3 for “Spiritual Pollution”.  Screw you Warner Music Group.  So yeah, if you want to hear this, you’ll have to download the song.

And just cuz I don’t want to not provide a video…here’s the video for Pure’s “Blast”.  Another great song!  Course Warner Music Group wants you to go to YouTube to watch it.  Wow.  This post is a fail.  Sorry guys!

Electioneering


Well Canada, I have to say it. You know…that line that your mom always pulled when you did something really dumb.

I’m not angry…I’m just disappointed…

We Canadians turned out in droves yesterday and made our voices heard.  And our voices said “we want four more years of a Stephen Harper-led Conservative government”.

Unofficial election 2011 results (Source: CBC.ca) - Navy blue - Conservative; Orange - NDP; Red - Liberal; Light blue - Bloc Quebecois; Green - Green Party

Really?  Is that really what we said?  Because from where I was standing, people on the streets were angry.  They were upset at the direction our country has been taking these last number of years with the Conservatives at the helm.  They were angry that Canada has been looking less and less Canadian.  That we are losing the identifiable benefits that make us proud to call ourselves Canadian.

Or was that all in my head?  Did I just think that I read all the angry posts on numerous message boards of people so upset with the changes under the Harper government?  The outrage in the north over Nutrition North Canada under the Conservatives was a figment of my imagination?  The negative ad campaign that is clearly the sign of a party under attack?

I guess I was just dreaming.

Still…strides were made.  Quebec proved that if one party gives up their votes to another, sweeping changes can colour the province orange.  British Columbia proved that the Green Party is a viable option in Canada.  The country proved with the popular vote that we are a left-leaning population.  That gives me hope.

But will any of that matter?  Will I even recognize the country that I love in four years?  Is an economic turnaround worth the fears I now have for the environment?  Equal rights for the GLBT community?  Education?  Universal health care?  The future for the next generations?

Thanks Stephen Harper.  You sure make it easy for a girl to “just say no” to having kids…

Were we all just fed up of this being the fourth time we headed to the polls in seven years?  Perhaps…but there are better ways to display your dismay.

Alright.  So maybe I am a little angry…