Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I smell... votes from freedom loving Canadians!

Since the last blog, it turns out Stephen Harper has decided to prorogue parliament, again, causing 19 Bills to die along side study committee's and standing committee's. I don't know about you but as a tax payer that knows how much time, energy and our dime goes into each, I was pretty miffed. I also think it's a horrible decision to prorogue parliament at weeks on end because it gives a bad example to other commonwealth nations. (Fitting on the night of Globalfest devoted to Britain.) No other PM has used prorogation like this. It's mainly used as a parliamentary procedure to reset the parliament to move forward, a few days at the most.

Now the bright side? Many! First, Sophie and Justin are expecting a third! (I don't care what the politics, I celebrate babies!)

Next, the Liberals at Globalfest in Calgary East, Elliston Park again tonight!

We had a great night. I am celebrating going through all my first batch of Justin Trudeau buttons, and have more to give for the next two evenings at Globalfest. It was quite a bit windy and chilly but it only happens once in a blue moon! (For real, people were asking us where they could get blankets.) We did have some great pictures of the fireworks with the blue moon in the shots.

Talked to many Liberals that just seem a bit afraid to say they are a Liberal in the heart of Tory town. One lady in particular came from out east but votes Liberal every election. I find when I tell people my story, there is a change of heart. In this case, this woman even put her button on the outside of her Westjet jacket which made me happy.

I'm born and raised Albertan. So why am I a Liberal? Well, I actually identify as a libertarian. However, I'm not racist, sexist nor homophobic so many of the so-called official libertarian political groups I don't support because I see their leaders acting in any way that clearly oppresses a group of people in some way. I have a maple leaf tattoo and have been thinking about getting the Charter of Rights and Freedoms done too because I believe in those rights and freedoms. (Actually, I don't think the government has the right, law or not, to "give" us those rights in the first place but thankfully, Peter Lougheed and Pierre Elliott Trudeau did make the document.) So, Harper campaigned on accountability, transparency and many other things that sounded great. However, I just didn't feel like he was trustworthy because of the rumours of his Christian Fundamentalism, and abortion stances. (Again, I'm a libertarian and can't understand why anyone thinks controlling my reproductive rights is ok. It's my body and no one else's business regardless of YOUR religious beliefs.) But the biggest red flag for me was the talk about allowing self governance for First Nations. Most Cdns don't understand the gravity of that statement because understandably they haven't been told the whole story of why First Nations don't have self governance in the first place and have been told spin. (I grew up in Alberta, remember?) Not too many people have taken the time to actually read the Indian Act. So changing the way the governance system works means either overhauling the Indian Act or even making new treaties, despite the fact the original treaties weren't lived up to. Experiencing racism my entire life, I'm well aware of what the average settler Christian Albertan thinks of First Nations and it's based on ideas that are easily shown to be the opposite of what they think. (Again, most people don't read the Indian Act. I'm pretty sure they would be shocked if they did.) So I was very wary of this idea of self governance knowing how there is a long history of First Nations getting the short end of the stick on government negotiations. The fact was, the Kelowna Accord was a great step forward towards equality yet Harper opposed it. So I didn't trust what his idea of self governance was going to look like.

So, during the election, I met all the candidates running, except my actual MP as I just never could see him during the campaign. (Funny how that works in Alberta.. I can never seem to meet any prominent Conservative. Why is that?) I immediately connected with the Liberal candidate and started to volunteer right away, again, knowing the Kelowna Accord was something worth fighting for. 

So back to Globalfest, I tell people that Harper campaigned on elimination of the gun registry because of possible misuse of the registry that would target gun owners. I'm a former small bore rifle instructor and believe that properly trained individuals should be able to use firearms so THAT concept made a lot of sense to me considering how I was seeing how other government agencies were using registries in an inappropriate way. (The cannabis registry and other Health Canada initiatives seemed to be targeting people who were trying to follow the letter of the law.) These are libertarian senses tingling here. So imagine how I felt when found how a registry for our Natives was used? Documents came out in 2011showing that Harper started monitoring First Nations in 2006 using The Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC). So, by just being born a full status Dene, I'm on a monitoring list accessible by the government through INAC. Imagine how that affects my libertarian senses? Actually the story I tell shocks many people, even the kind, self-identified Conservative supporters that stopped at the booth to grab a button. (Did I mention we went through our first batch of Justin Trudeau buttons? Happy dance!) I get to speak up by wearing a Liberal badge so I do. And my story helps other people wear their Liberal buttons proudly because they hold my values of not discriminating specific targeted groups.

Now another targeted group is medicinal cannabis users. Now they can't grow their own product despite needing this product. Growing a plant is not allowed? Libertarian nor not, does that make logical sense at all? In Alberta, the settler dogma is strong. The settlers coming to Alberta, had to be self sufficient, clearing land, growing their food, and hard work earned the name of a responsible Albertan. (Fitting to be at Elliston Park, a park named after prominent settlers, to celebrate fireworks. A name, which Calgary East Federal Liberals submitted to Elections Canada when the boundary changes occur in the next months.) Yet, now, you can't grow a plant in your home, after you worked your whole life and now need the medicine? It's a joke of government intrusion, unless of course, you support big government Mr. Harper. ((wink)) So I've teamed up with our local 420 cannabis group. Two members are going to be helping in the tent on Thursday as they are strong advocates for medicinal use. (I'm fighting this fight now while I'm healthy because when I get sick, I want to use my energy to get better. That and I think it's wrong for the government to tell me or you what freedom we can and cannot enjoy.) We are going to host the local 420 group at our series: Desirable Future on the 18th to discuss the issues around cannabis and develop a policy that works for Calgary East, building on the  Which brings me to title of this blog.. When the sun goes down, I smell votes from freedom loving Canadians!

Globalfest hosts around 18,000 to 20,000 people a night. Check out more of the crowd gathering while the sun is still up:

Britain's fireworks, kicked off with God Save the Queen:

Great songs too, Adele's Set Fire to the Rain and Paul Potts.

I can't stress how great the staff at Globalfest are. They have worked with us when they didn't need to, whether it was meeting their deadline or help with questions, they have been there. However, imagine my surprise to get Nikki Macaraeg, one of the full time Globalfest employee's to physically help me set up my tent when I got there. (I didn't even recognize her at first because of sunglasses, etc.) We even moved a bit closer to the other political tents because of a move by another vendor. Just all worked out fantastically. I just can't tell people how easy and great it's been organizing this event myself. They even have a cargo box so we don't have to haul our stuff to and from the parking lot like we did previous years. It just makes set up and tear down so much easier that I could actually enjoy the fireworks with my family. Thank you Globalfest! Thank you Nikki! 

Thank you Reg for helping in the tent! Thank you Wendy from LPCA and thank you LPC for making this possible. 

Thank YOU for reading my blog!

Monday, August 19, 2013

New to politics? There is support!

Hello everyone. I'm in Calgary East: (Deepak Ohbrai is our mp, in one of the ridings with the lowest voter turn out's nationally.)

Earlier this spring, we asked the presidents of the local EDA's and the provincial president Wendy Butler for assistance to attend our local fireworks festival that brings in between 18-20,000 people a night. (Previously we had been able to have a fundraiser that gave us the money to do this but we couldn't do it this year.) At a meeting we had, Brian G. Rice had encouraged to try again when we didn't hear back right away. Sure enough, Wendy got us the funding and we had our first night last night for the third or fourth year now and we'll continue to be there for the rest of the festival. Both national and the LPCA helped us get banners, lit and tattoos to give to others. We are promoting an event series as well which was planned to do outreach to our community for policy submission. Ben Howe helped us develop an on-line survey for those who couldn't attend our event.

We always get some great stories from the tent. Last night, I was so honoured to have a firefighter come to my Liberal tent last night and tell me about the pro-firefighter private members bill that was a no-brainer to pass but apparently Harper executive ordered it not to be presented in the House, pissing off the Firefighters and their unions.

We smell cannabis every night at Globalfest, LOL! (I don't want to make light of the seriousness of this issue though as we have many medicinal users that are being targeted and mistreated.) I was able to get to many cannabis supporters which is encouraging we are on the right track. (We have the local 420 group coming to our series on the 18th which many cannabis supporters were happy about.)

So over the last month, I've had a ton of help from people all over the country. I feel very supported and hope this helps raise the Liberals profile locally. We see Deepak every year and it was great to remind him that the Liberals are always there to keep him transparent. (Like a bee in his butt, LOL!) I sweated last night setting up and tearing down the tent, along with two other volunteers, our policy chair, and the President of the Young Liberals at the U of C, so the slogan so "hope and hard work" does apply, LOL!

I am very grateful for the help and support for new presidents like myself face. Just thought I'd share.

Monday, June 10, 2013

If you love vets, share this but Pressing 1 For English is too much to ask

I recently was checking my Facebook profile and came across a close friend who posted a pro-vet pic that requested we all share if we have the "guts" to. I so badly wanted to share it as I have friends that are vets and I have so much respect for the position. We children were all raised to respect uniforms. (A commentary for another day, I know, but it's my experience, LOL!) Growing up in a small town in central Alberta, I had access to and joined up one of the cadet organizations. I also have old friends from cadets that did join the military and are still serving. However, the pro-vet pic I wanted to share started out with a simple part, "We live in a country where you have to press one for English."There are many great blogs that likely explain why I couldn't share that picture. However, it doesn't touch on some of the thoughts attached to it that I have. 

I'll start by explaining that I grew up in a predominately white, Christian community. I was one of the only people there that was part native/First Nation at the time. (My brother was one too and far more visible than even I.) There was a family that had a white father and an East Indian mom with mixed children that were predominately East Indian, making them part of the visible minority in our town. (The family was also predominately Christian and active in that church.) All of us spoke English fluently.

English is only ONE of the settler's language. The Chinese people, who speak Mandarin and Cantonese, were instrumental in helping build up the West, the railways and our culture today. The Cree and other First Nations were the original people here yet when selecting a language, Cree or another native language, is not the first selection. (Society seems to ignore the Treaties ~ in the Calgary area, Treaty 7, as the land we are on as law yet there is an overrepresentation of First Nations in the jails for not recognizing the imposed laws of the land today by the English. Another blog for another day I guess.)

In my childhood, we recognized French as an official language of our entire country. In cadets, we actually had French day and English day where we said our commands in both languages. My gunner instructor was French. One of my school chums had a vet father who served in submarines and was French! I had a classmate who's last name was Roy. She wanted it pronounced the English way instead of French even though her mom was French. (I thought it was because by saying it French, it was like being related to Patrick Roy, a Montreal Canadian.. during the time of the Battle of Alberta.. I couldn't imagine something worse at the time, being a Calgary Flames fan. By the way, NOW I don't think being related to a member of the Montreal Canadians would be so bad.. but then I'm not a die hard hockey fan like I was then!) I'm sure there were more French in my life but I was just unaware. Now that I'm older, I am more aware how many French we do have in Alberta, even though as a child I wasn't exposed to that fact despite living in Fort McMurray and Sylvan Lake in my childhood years. (Fun fact, Alberta has the second highest number of French speakers in Western Canada.) I didn't know how hard the rights for French in military and their language were fought for as it was decades before my time. 

Pressing one for English (in the context of that picture I wanted to share) is actually subtle discrimination. By "having to" press one for English, as the picture said, it's a reminder it's we are not just an English speaking country. It's a sad reflection that even being the first language in line to press is still not good enough for some. It's a reminder that there are some intolerant enough not to recognize the other 20% of Albertans speak a different language of preference. There are 81% of the population that live in urban settings. Could you imagine if we just quit accommodating the other 19% that live in rural settings? Just because they don't live in a town/city? (You know, the folks that grow our food?) Then there is a population of the military that is French-Canadian, therefore vets.. Canadian Vets that would happily press two if that meant access to a service they are entitled to. It's insane to me that people don't recognize how subtle their discrimination is, how far reaching it is and how hypocritical it can be. However, they haven't been shown it before. I once needed a friend to tell me the expression for someone being cheap, "jewing them down" was discriminatory. (For what's it's worth, I am grateful for that friend saying it as I had no idea at that time and I didn't want to be offensive then, let alone now.) My hope is to point how "pressing one for English" isn't necessarily such a bad thing. If not, I'm grateful to type it down in words. 

Back to the vets, I do wish in our climate that our vets didn't have to go fight in wars, oppressing others in the process while believing they are helping others. I wish their job was simply to defend our borders from foreign aggressors or wear blue helmets if in foreign countries. When our military is forced to leave our soil by politicians, it's a travesty we don't care of them properly when they return. Roméo Dalliare rightfully said in his latest movie, Fight Like Soldiers, Die Like Children, that it is a reflection of failure on the politicians part to send in the military when the politicians can't sort out the issues. I just want to be able to acknowledge vets without having to be discriminatory in the process. I guess that will be another blog for another day.

Thank you for reading my blog. All the best!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Healthy Governance

I look at our democracy in Calgary and realize how unhealthy our democracy is. Conservatives say they hate communism yet, we only have one governing party here. A healthy parliamentary system would have each riding with at least 4 or more parties having regular meetings, engaging in our community and keeping the sitting MP accountable. We don't have that here in Calgary, not because of the Conservatives, but because people have chosen to just join the Conservatives instead of building up their own opposing party in their riding. It might be the right choice and I haven't gotten there yet but for now, I believe in an alternative.

I would like to help instil civic duty into our society. It starts with each and every one of us. I don't care which party people decide to join. There are some great ones out there that aren't mainstream such as the Canadian Action Party, The Pirate Party, etc. that represent a wide range of ideas. I would love to see Idle No More just become the party of the people who realize there can be more balance between the people, the earth and industry. I'm sure many people arguably believe the Communist party/Revolution party and the Green Party already do that. Regardless, there are parties for every single belief. However, people can join the mainstream parties and still have a voice. $10-$20 a month to a political party of a person's choice would build up so much positive change. When people start to invest money, they also want a say in that organization. Each party has to listen to its membership. So if the membership agrees, the party will do it. Without people giving voice to an issue, it can't become a policy.

A pressing issue I've seen from activism and political circles is burnout. Instead of a small number of people being the ones doing all the work, if every single person dedicated 3 hours a week or an afternoon to a political movement, we'd have an incredibly healthy mode of governance. (I don't use the word democracy because if we had a healthy attitude of involvement from people in politics, I'm sure we'd see reform in some sort of fashion that would evolve the word democracy into something even better.)

Apathy. Where does this come from? Our short history leaves a long trail. From the Star review of Mary Janigan's book, Let the Eastern Bastards Freeze in the Dark:

"Janigan illustrates a distant and inattentive Ottawa primarily attracted to the vast tracts of rough country then known as Rupert’s Land and the North-Western Territories for their strategic placement and abundant resources, but not for the people who lived there.

In practice, the Prairie provinces were sold to Canada as nominal colonies. Riven by poor policy and mismanagement, Ottawa controlled all the revenues it drew from the West’s natural resources, as the cost of paying down the debt accumulated for the 300,000 pounds it had spent to broker the sale from the Hudson’s Bay Company via Great Britain.

In exchange, Ottawa flooded the West with new immigrants, giving away neat 160-acre lots often indiscriminately parceled from lands that had been lived on for centuries by Métis, aboriginals, and early settlers.

Early attempts at Western self-governance, led by men such as Louis Riel, John Norquay, and Sir Frederick Haultain, were systematically marginalized by John A. Macdonald and the prime ministers who followed in his footsteps, all bolstered by provincial premiers from Central and Eastern Canada who only wanted to see a return on investment."

We have a long history of cynicism here in Calgary. The feeling led to the Reform Party, the Cdn Alliance and now the Conservatives we have today.

Wait there is more! We also have the internet now too. Now we get to see first hand the real news and not just what the mainstream, privately owned and operated firms want us to see. There are lots of reasons for apathy. However, the bottom line is, we can't make changes from the sidelines. If people want to see political change, they have to get politically involved. We can access examples to other systems around the world from solar power plants to free transportation to Iceland, who threw their bankers in jail for ruining the economy. There really is hope for change.

Asking people to give a small amount of time and money to a political party can really be the difference to starting down a positive, non-violent path of reform. I believe Calgary is ready for that change because I see it all around me and hear it from so many. Obviously, this can be carried nationwide. So if asking people to consider this part of there civic duty too much? Nah. Besides, it could give us something else to chat about at Timmy's.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Anti-Racism Day

Day is March 21, which is anti-racism day. In light of the Idle No More movement, I hope today we try to learn why things are the way they are with settlers and First Nations here in Canada.

The last residential school closed in 1996.

When wondering why things aren't better, read the Indian Act and see the segregation that occurred.

Have a wonderful day!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Being a stay at home mom

I am very happy to have the choice to be able to stay home to raise my daughter. She was feeling a little under the weather today so it was more or less a day off for myself. That said, I did read and learn about Russel Means. He was an activist with the American Indian Movement and a libertarian. I have so much to learn but get inspiration every single day.

I was also grateful to be able to chat with a friend of mine about the Idle No More movement via phone. I hope we can figure out how to move forward. Anyway, she is a mom with kids that is politically active so it's just a relief to have another mom to chat with.

For building the riding association, today I was able to correct a mistake by getting some mail out. I'm so grateful to have the executive be so understanding and work with me while I learn. (Thank you Carole!)

I'm hoping my babe will be better tomorrow. ((fingers crossed))

Sunday, March 10, 2013


Well, today I tried to figure out who to ask about being a member of Calgary East's board for the position of policy. I think there are so many great possibilities out there. I'm hoping for the right one to join up. Thankfully I have so much support from the Liberal Party of Canada, Alberta executives. Thank you Naren and Wendy!

Joining a political party

Well, in the 2011 Federal Election, I got more involved in my riding and joined a political party, the Federal Liberals. I learn so much about the process at every meeting. On Monday we had an annual general meeting (AGM) and I have been elected as president.  This weekend we had a governing council meeting so I have some work to do with the transition from one president to another, getting the information from the GCM to the board and lots of other tasks that have added up.

Let's get started!