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.