I’m more left then you
31/03/2012, 22:32
Filed under: Politics, Thought

Thomas Mulcair’s recent election as NDP leader has sparked a lot of conversation among the leftiest lefts of the party (myself included). It isn’t easy to go from “anything-but-Mulcair” mode to “he ain’t that bad.” Nonetheless, we have to make this shift: first, because until someone is ready to propose a second political party with a viable shot at forming government, Mulcair is what we have to work with; and second, because the majority of the party members voted for him.

It is for these reasons that a recent op-ed by Murray Dobbin in the Tyee upset me. I stumbled upon it when a respected friend posted it on her facebook wall. Though I started off a little harsh (“This article is garbage”), her and I ended up having a fairly fruitful discussion about what’s a fair attitude, and what isn’t, when our ideal candidates don’t end up filling the positions we want them to.  Continue reading

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If it ain’t broke, break it
31/03/2012, 14:19
Filed under: Policy, Politics

This morning I attended a meeting for a local community group that I’ve recently decided to get involved with. Our pre-meeting discussion revolved around the new federal budget, and, in particular, the elimination of “one of Canada’s oldest and largest” and, by many accounts, most successful youth volunteer programs, Katimavik. From the CBC article,

Recently, a Canadian Heritage summative evaluation of Katimavik showed the organization maintained its targets with the department’s objectives.

“The conclusions of this assessment were that our programs were aligned with government priorities, that the program was really performing well on all the metrics, and so this sad news is quite a surprise for us,” Lapointe said.

A fellow attendee pointed out how it seemed like the biggest problem with Katimavik was that it worked. If you think that Canadians coming together as communities and acting through government to try and build a better future for themselves is a threat to Canadian society, you can’t exactly leave working examples like Katimavik kicking around.

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Politics and difference
30/03/2012, 21:48
Filed under: Myself, Policy, Politics

Last weekend the NDP elected Thomas Mulcair as party leader. After the convention, Stefan—a longtime friend, Parkdale-High Park resident and fellow Nashster (yes, that’s what we were calling ourselves…)—and I reflected on what this meant for us and politics. On Sunday, I was already pledging my support for Tom’s bid for Prime Minister and his vision for the NDP (#TM4PM!). I supported Peggy, because Mulcair and I don’t agree on everything (some of his past stances on Israel and Palestine are a case in point), but that’s ok, because healthy political practice doesn’t necessarily mean always agreeing on everything. As important as it is to be critical, we also need to be constructive. More importantly, it’s essential that while it is inevitable we will all disagree on some things, we never loose sight of the many things we do agree on.  Continue reading

Reflections on the NDP Leadership Convention
29/03/2012, 21:47
Filed under: Myself, Politics

I went to last Friday’s NDP Leadership convention in Toronto supporting Peggy Nash. What an extraordinary joy and privilege it was get to meet and engage in political life with so many other bright young (and not so young) like minded people. We were decked out in purple and the biggest baddest Peggy pins. We ran around the convention distributing material and sharing ours and Peggy’s message of a modern inclusive and united social democratic movement. We hardly slept, we hardly ate, we survived on adrenaline and will. We left with a dozen new facebook friends, memories that will last a life-time, and the knowledge that we had been a part of something extraordinary.

The government hates your kids
28/03/2012, 21:08
Filed under: Politics

It’s hard to take governments calling for youth engagement in politics seriously when a fifth of the 15-24 somethings of the province of Quebec can march in the streets of Montreal and all levels of government stay mum. The refusal of the Quebec government to open dialogue with a movement which has inspired the largest student protest in North American history says all that needs to be said about their complete and utter contempt for the young people of this province and all of our futures.

A 22nd of march in Montreal. from Bill Kesr Films on Vimeo.

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The way politics is played
26/03/2012, 18:03
Filed under: Ephemera, Politics

Tim Harper weighs in on “the way politics is played in Canada in 2012.” Let’s prove it doesn’t work in 2015.

Canadians may decry this style of politics, they may tune out or curl their lips in disgust, but this is the way Canadian politics is played in 2012, and it isn’t changing until someone can prove it doesn’t work.

Mulcair smiled his way through the initial volley, dismissing the Conservative attacks as puerile, something out of “Grade 9.”

He was being charitable.

The offensive brought to mind spitballs launched by the short-pants crowd.

[Mulcair] laughed about how the Conservatives couldn’t call him anything he hadn’t been called by his siblings, he rightly parried the charge of opportunism by pointing out that anyone who would run for the NDP in Quebec in 2007 was anything but an opportunist.

I enjoyed Mulcair’s response to Harper’s name calling. You can watch the source interview here.

Your big truck is killing me
11/03/2012, 19:39
Filed under: Policy, Thought, Traffic

As an urban cyclist it’s impossible to not notice people that insist on driving larger than necessary vehicles in the city. Being passed by an SUV is not the same as being passed by a car. We have buses, we have delivery trucks, and we have the occasional work trucks, and these are necessary evils, but it’s hard not to resent the drivers of unnecessarily large vehicles.

Until recently, I tended to think about people’s choice to drive trucks or sports utility vehicles in the city as my nuisance, but lately I’ve begun thinking that it might be a little more than just that: it is a moral issue. The decision to drive a larger than necessary vehicle in the city may be morally equivalent to smoking in a crowded bar. It is a decision that people make to suit their own comfort that can directly increase the likelihood of fatality among others.  Continue reading

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