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.

Advertisements

An Open Letter to the Postal Service


Dear Postal Service of [Unnamed Country],

You are the bane of my existence.  I have yet to wrap my head around how you still remain a viable shipping option for parcels of various sizes.  I have seen many confusing things happen in my move from Kitchener to Iqaluit.  I’d like to relay them to you at this time.

I have appreciated the ability to have my mail forwarded in the past, so thank you.  I don’t want this to be all bad.  However, in my most recent foray, your lack of attention to detail has caused me to have four months of postal mail redirected elsewhere.  When I spoke to your representative in Kitchener to forward my mail to “General Delivery”, she reassured me that filling out the form with that in my new address would work just fine.

My arrival in Nunavut heralded much success in seeing further mail debacle.  Upon my attempts to obtain a post office box, as I was to be a new resident, I was advised that I would need to prove that I was going to be living here…a letter from an employer, driver’s license or something of the like.  Fortunately, my new manager was standing next to me and could vouch for my employment.  Unfortunately, the postal employee didn’t know who my manager was and said a letter on letterhead from my employer would be sufficient.  Satisfied, I left to obtain said letter.

I returned to your office the next day, dear postal service of [unnamed country].  A new face greeted me with a new story.  I would now not need a letter from my employer, but an actual physical address to prove I lived here.  This is a task that for some is easy…but for someone with as many housing problems as mail problems, proved to be most difficult.  Lucky for me, once I had housing, you didn’t go back on your word, and I received a post office box.

You’ll recall that I mentioned my mail would be able to be forwarded to General Delivery.  The employee didn’t have any red flags go up when I said that’s where it needed to go…she was mistaken.  I received several phone calls advising me that I would have to contact you with a P.O. Box in order to forward my mail.  If only your south hand knew what your north hand was doing…I have no idea how much mail was simply “returned to sender”.

Eventually, of course,  I was able to contact you to advise that you did in fact allow me to have a sacred P.O. Box, and so my southern mail could be forwarded, and I could finally change my address with the individuals and organizations that needed to send me mail.  And so I waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Three months with no forwarded mail.  I wasn’t entirely worried as I had changed my address with most folks, but still, I was a little concerned that I was missing something.

But, who would have guessed that two weeks ago, I would receive an email from someone who works for the same people I do, stating “I believe I have been forwarded something that was meant to go to you”.  Sure enough, it appears that rather than accepting the P.O. Box I gave you (we’ll say “AODE”), you decided to send it to DOOA.  Makes sense right?  To just make up a post office box to forward someone’s mail to?

(Source: WriteOnResults.com)

The saga continues as I was awaiting a few packages over the past week or so.  When I visited you, I came across a card in my P.O. Box indicating I had something to be picked up.  I brought the card to the front, and the employee handed me my package.  But wait…that’s not my box number…that’s not even my name!  I returned the package promptly and left, empty-handed.

The next day I returned…with the hopes that one of my packages had arrived.  Another card was waiting for me, and as I went to the counter, I confirmed this card actually had my name on it.  The employee retrieved my package and handed it over.  As I held it, I couldn’t imagine what this was that I was receiving.  I was awaiting a screen to repair my camera, but this package was much too big.  I looked down at the name, and dejected, it was not mine.  I had been handed the wrong package.  I turned to advise the employee, but she had already moved on to the next person in line.  I caught the eye of the next gentleman in line, and he nodded to indicate that I could break back into the line to return the package.  Which was a good thing.  Because it ended up being that it was his package I was holding.  I mean, what are the chances??  In any case, since the employee had already scanned that my package had been retrieved, and tossed away the card I used to retrieve it, there was a whole debacle over finding the package that was actually there waiting for me.  Turns out the card had the wrong retrieval number on it – off by one digit.  I did finally receive my package however (and my camera is now fixed).

One last thing to report to you before I move on.  About those packages I was waiting for.  I know that you’ve had them probably on the Wednesday and Friday that I checked last week.  And that you’ve probably been sitting on loads of people’s packages in the same way.  Just letting them pile up in the back…not getting the cards out.  And I forgive you.  Because you must have had everyone working this past weekend to get every single one of the cards out.  I now have my packages…and you have line-ups.

You’re not the only postal service with whom I take issue.  After all, it was the [unnamed country] Postal Service that sent my wedding dress to Africa.

I simply must ask…are you conspiring against me with my evil car?  There seems to be some family resemblance with the horns and forked tail.

With regards,
She.Is.Just.A.Rat

Angry, fire-breathing, horned, fork-tailed mailbox. Yeah, I'm talkin' to you. (Source: foundlocally.com)

Behind the Wheel


I’m so done with car commercials.

I still want to buy a Kia Soul because of these hamsters... (Source: Autonet.ca)

Don’t get me wrong…some car commercials are fresh and unique.  They are unfortunately few and far between.  But then, there are those that need to stop being made.

I’m not certain how all of you feel about this issue, but between cell phone and automobile advertising, there isn’t really much of anything else that people are trying to sell.  Oh sure…every once in a while an annoying Swiffer commercial will come on, or if you’re watching an American superchannel like Peachtree (or TBS…whatever Ted Turner…), there’s always the “why you need to go back to school to become a medical transcriptionist or massage therapist” commercials.  But it seems that despite how green is the new black, it seems that everyone wants you (yes, you!) to buy a shiny new automobile.  And they’re spending plenty of money to do that. Continue reading

Smart Went Crazy (or Why I’d Rather Be Dumb…)


Source: Google image search

 

Would life be easier if I were an idiot?  I’ve been pondering this thought for some time now.  As they say, ignorance is bliss.  So I have to wonder…would I be happier?  More successful?  More fulfilled?  

I don’t know, people…I think I’m going to have to go with “yes” on this one.  At least that’s what my observations of the world around me are telling me.  “What observations do you mean?” you ask?  Well…let me tell you…  Continue reading

I Wanna Be Sedated


I’m stressed.  You can tell, because I haven’t even been blogging.  In fact, I’m so disappointed in the lack of writing I’ve been doing, that you should go check out Ian’s latest article.  It’s about McDonald’s advertising.  You’ll love it.  Go.  I’ll be here when you get back, I promise. Continue reading