Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘whew she is ok’ edition

  • We have begun the testing for Piper to see what is wrong with her breathing. We are operating under the assumption that she has too much tissue in her soft palate, which is blocking her airway. In preparation for her going under anesthetic tomorrow so they can get a good look at her throat we had blood work done yesterday. Today we found out that some of her liver enzymes were elevated. We did an additional test and the vet thinks that her liver was likely dealing with some toxin. Her liver is functioning fine. So tomorrow we should know the extent of her soft palate and throat issues.
  • It shocks me the depths some people will go. Christie Blatchford[1] wrote the most negative column yesterday about the media’s handling of Jack Layton’s death. However she didn’t just criticize the media, she denigrated the man himself. She even criticized his last letter to Canadians writing “Who seriously writes of himself, “All my life I have worked to make things better”?” I don’t know any other politician who could say that about himself. Is Blatchford that disillusioned that she needed to chastise a dead man’s view of his life? Jack Layton had a reputation to fight for underdog causes whether it was better treatment for people with HIV/AIDS or fighting for ordinary families on the campaign trail recently. I only hope Olivia Chow and Jack’s children Michael and Sarah do not read it. Blatchford should be ashamed of herself.
  • Speaking of Jack Layton, I encourage everyone I know, who supports the NDP, to donate monthly. Would you really miss $10 per month? I know I won’t.
  • I found a great new show on the Oprah network.[2] It is a documentary show called “Our America.’ The host is Lisa Ling and she is fabulous. I have seen two episodes so far one on sex offenders and the other was on internet brides.  I think show will do very well.
  • My ulcerative colitis has really been causing me a lot of pain lately. I have had several days where my pain levels have been through the roof. I fear I may have to lay off the grilled veggies and Holy Crap cereal for a bit.

[1] I am not inserting a ling here because I do not want to send traffic her way.

[2] I swore I wouldn’t watch it but we had it and I am weak.

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The New Leader of the Opposition

I heard some of Jack Layton’s remarks today and he gives me hope. He said that he is going to enforce discipline on his side of the house to bring an end to the snarky comments and heckling each other. He states he wants calm debate of the issues. I hope he is successful as it will definitely mark a change in Canada’s Parliament.

Published in: on May 24, 2011 at 7:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

Swampy Rant – things that are getting on my nerves

I think I just started a new series!

OK, here we go:

  1. I am not looking forward to seeing my mother. My weight is fluctuating and I feel fat. She will say something mean and I will be hurt. In my mind, I see myself asking her why she would say such hurtful things to me. I hope I can do it. I really wish she would just piss off about my weight. I do not say mean things about her smoking.
  2. The NDP “orange crush” – it was not a ‘crush’ that indicates overall support for the NDP. Like everyone who has voted NDP my entire life, I was thrilled with the seat count and the Official Opposition status. However, this is not real and meaningful change. This is one fickle province changing party en masse. Yes, Jack Layton has done a great job but we need to be mindful of what the election results really mean. The NDP is not going to win the next election.
  3. Trucks – has anyone noticed that big trucks seem to be blocking 2 lanes all the time? Seriously, it is becoming a huge problem on the Pitt River Bridge and the Maryhill Bypass. I can’t stand it. There is no way to get around them; they just travel side-by-side like motorcyclists! Isn’t there a law against this?
  4. Back on to the election – I am so freaking afraid of what Stephen Harper is going to do! I heard he is already making noise about going after In-Site – which is horrible*. Why on earth would you want to close down a place that saves the government money? If an addict ODs on bad heroin (hmmm, don’t we have some of that going around right now??) and a nurse gives her/him something to counteract it – the person does not die nor do they need extensive hospitalization. In-Site is compassion in action and Stephen Harper must ferret that out wherever it lives.

*Edited May 10, 2011 – I used a word in this post that was offensive. I have changed the word and I apologize to anyone I offended. I will make best efforts to not do this again.

My 2011 Election Prediction

If someone had told me a month ago that the NDP and the Liberals would have exchanged places in the poll I would not have believed it. Jack Layton has run a very tight yet engaging campaign. He has not faltered from his message of support for families. I find it so interesting how both Harper and Ignatieff became so afraid of Layton and the NDP in the last week of the campaign.

This is a really hard election to call. There are so many variables to consider. Really, it depends on who can get the vote out. If the polls are correct and the NDP support does not erode then Jack Layton stands a very good chance of taking the NDP to its best performance ever. He may even be leader of the Official Opposition.

I think Harper can expect another minority parliament. He did very little to allay the fears of voters with what he would do if he won a majority. I think many people are weary of Harper saying he needs a majority to govern. He needs a majority if he is going to be a dictator.

The real question mark right now is Quebec. If support for the Bloc Quebecois has diminished and if most of it goes to the NDP the results of this election will be one for the history books. Clearly Quebec is not going to support the Liberals no matter how often they trot out Jean Chretien. The problem with the Liberals is Michael Ignatieff. Apparently he has charisma if you meet him in person, however he does not present well on TV. He comes across as a pompous ass who thinks he knows what is best for us.

The Liberals are done until they get a real leader. They need someone with vision and charisma not a professor lecturing to them. Since Jean Chretien stepped down, the Liberals have floundered. Paul Martin wanted to be prime minister simply to be prime minister. He didn’t have a vision for what he wanted to do for the country. Stephane Dion had promise but he got bogged down in policy.

Harper has shown his true colours this campaign. All of the scandals aside, his insistence on only answering 5 questions a day was quite arrogant. He was so tightly wound and uncomfortable. His perseveration on the ‘coalition’ became so tiresome. He consistently misrepresented several issues.

The other unknown is the youth vote. It is interesting that neither the Liberals nor Conservatives has tried to engage the youth vote. I suspect they are afraid that youth will support the NDP. Rick Mercer has done a great deal to get the youth of Canada more engaged in the political process. If the youth vote in droves it may well be enough to put the NDP over the top.

I think we will have another minority parliament. If the NDP gets the vote out then they well could form the Official Opposition. There is a role the governor-general could play here as well. He could ask the opposition parties to form a government if the numbers are close. It is only convention that dictates that the party with the largest number of seats forms the government. I think it is not likely he will do that but the possibility does exist.

If things happen like I have predicted, Michael Ignatieff will resign tomorrow night. There is nothing the Liberal Party of Canada can do to rehabilitate his leadership. Instead of having a leadership coronation again, like they did with Michael Ignatieff. The Liberals need an exciting and engaging leadership campaign with younger contenders. It is my hope that Justin Trudeau become the next leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. I think he has the charisma and the leadership skills to bring the Liberals back.

This and that…

Many things are going through my head so welcome to the latest mish-mash post. Here we go, in no particular order:

  • What is up with play off hockey. Why are the fans so intense? As I drove to work today, I was listening to BC Almanac again, of course they had uber-Canuck fans on today to talk about how they are coping with the unanticipated game 7 of this series. These people are fucking insane! One woman called and said that her 12-year old son had gone on a hunger strike and he was not going to eat until the Canucks won again. Well, if history repeats itself, the kid might not eat until next October. Why do people get so worked up about hockey? Where is all that energy when it comes to social issues? To volunteering? To political engagement? Man if we could harness 1/10 of the energy that is directed towards the Vancouver Canucks we could solve homelessness and political apathy in a few days.
  • I don’t know about you but the idea of Jack Layton as the Leader of the Official Opposition makes me squee with delight! I would love it if Ignatieff had to move out of Stornoway and make way for Jack and Olivia. Layton has worked tirelessly as leader of the federal NDP and it is about time he reaps the rewards. I am glad that people are thinking it is time for a change in Ottawa. I am hoping that Harper is denied his majority – just like Dancing on the Stars you don’t get it if you don’t earn it.
  • I need to make some changes in my world. I want to get a handle on my anxiety so it does not rule my life. I want off the medications that are supposed to help manage it but don’t really seem to do the job. I am completely against going on any more medication. I am not sure what the changes will look like. Some of them I won’t be able to post here unless I do a private post. Mostly though the changes will centre on me taking back control and not letting other people/things control my world. I am tired of walking around with hunched shoulders and backaches because of stress. Now some of it I have no say over. My anxiety ramps up if my pain levels are too high. I am going to try to manage that a little differently as well. Again, not sure what it will look like but the goal is to get some peace back in my life. I want more time for me and with Deb and the dogs.
  • I loved being home last week with the dogs. You miss so many things when you are not here with them all day. They seem to bond more closely to me when I am here. As the week went on, I spent more and more time with Piper laying on my leg and Sawyer cuddled in. It was nice. It made my stress levels go down.

Anyone else out there thinking of making changes? Do you have any ideas for me of things that have worked for you around managing anxiety? Let me know in the comments!

Little Stevie…

If Stephen Harper received a report card for his recent behaviour I am sure it would read: “Little Stephen does not work or play well with others.” Harper is a bully plain and simple. He talks the talk about working with others but he is completely without skill or desire in this realm.  What does he do when no one else agrees with him? He closes the sandbox. What kid should have that power? There is a reason we have a system of government complete with rules and conventions – it is so that politicians need to work together or they will be defeated. I think little Stevie needs to put down the Machiavelli and pick up the Ghandi.

Now, on to the rhetoric. I am so sick and tired of the Conservatives misinformation campaign. If I were a Quebecer I would be downright angry that he used the word ‘separatists’ when he spoke in English and called them ‘Sovereignists’ en francais. It is disingenuous. Does he think that no one in Quebec can speak, understand or read English? I am also sick to death of hearing that the Coalition is trying to steal power. They have conducted themselves correctly within a parliamentary democracy. All the scare mongering the Cons can muster is not enough to overrun the rules of Parliament.

I am worried for the Coalition. Some Liberals are sharpening the knives and they are all aimed at Dion. If the Coalition cannot stay together and agree on a leader then we are all in trouble. A bully running amok without someone to push back is a recipe for disaster. The Liberals need to unite behind Dion as he has government experience and will be very effective in government. Really, governing is what Dion does best. He is only the leader until the Leadership Convention in May and he is the Liberals only real opportunity to govern in the near future.

I am not sure how Harper convinced Jean to prorogue parliament. I will refrain from GG bashing as it is inappropriate. However, I believe this decision is bad for Canada and bad for democracy. It creates a dangerous precedent where a sitting prime minister can duck his/her responsibility to maintain the confidence of the House. Canada needed the confidence vote – after all Harper used to love to make everything a confidence vote to force the Liberals to abstain. Then his other tactic was to poke fun at Dion for abstaining.

Harper has made a serious political error. Dion has nothing to lose and everything to gain. He either goes down in history as the worst leader the Liberals have ever had (although I think that dubious distinction belongs to Martin) or as the bold, innovative leader who was able to build bridges with the NDP and the Bloc. In short, Dion is everything that Harper is not.

What Canada really needed the GG to do was to put Harper in a time out – perhaps with a dunce cap.

WTF is happening with the Federal Government?

I have been fielding a lot of questions about what is happening with federal politics right now given the threat of the opposition bringing down the government. So here is Canadian politics 101:

– The Canadian parliamentary system operates usually with majorities. That is one party takes a majority of seats (155) in the House of Commons. Convention dictates that the Governor General (GG) would then ask the leader of that party to form a government.
– In situations where one party does not win a majority then convention dictates that the GG would ask the leader of the party with the most seats to form a government. Now there have been situations where this has not happened. Notably the King-Byng affair. King did not win the largest number of seats but he was a sitting prime minister and he was able to put together a coalition with the Progressive party to govern. The government did not last long due to a scandal. King asked GG Byng to dissolve parliament and call an election and he refused. Instead he opted to ask Arthur Meighen to form a government as there had been an election recently. This is what the coalition of Liberals and NDP are counting on.
– Here is how things stand right now the Liberals are going to introduce a motion of non-confidence. Basically if it passes, it means that the members of the House of Commons have lost confidence in the government. If this motion passes then the government falls. The GG can then call an election or ask the new coalition to form a government.

Here is a press release from the Canadians for a Progressive Coalition:
Hello everyone,

What a weekend! The Liberals and NDP have agreed to form a coalition government with support from the Bloc Quebecois. With our help, they will bring down the Conservative minority government on December 8 with a vote of no-confidence, and form a coalition government with mixed cabinet.

This week, we can expect a massive campaign trying to discredit the validity of a coalition government. There will be millions of dollars put towards this. It is absolutely critical that we respond strongly. We may lack the money, but we, the 60% of Canadians who voted for progressive platforms, certainly have the numbers. We will need to push with everything we have this week to show the country and our MPs that Canadians support a progressive coalition.

Canadians for a Progressive Coalition is a non-partisn grass-roots movement that was formed shortly after the election to organize Canadians to show their support for a progressive coalition. As of Sunday at 9PM PST well over 4,000 people have signed the petition, over 2,500 have joined the Facebook group, and over 4,000 have watched our YouTube video.

That’s a good start. There are two goals that we need to accomplish this week: First, to show the media convincingly that Canadians support a progressive coalition. Second, to show our MPs that Canadians want a progressive coalition.

What can you do?

1. If you have not done so already, please sign the petition. We will submit the petition to Parliament on Thursday December 4, which is shaping up to include events across the country. We will submit the updated petition again on Monday December 8, the day of the confidence vote.

2. Forward this message to people who use email, and speak with people who don’t. Speak with your friends and family and show them the YouTube video.

3. Phone either your MP, or the President of the local Riding Association of the party you voted for, to tell them you support their party forming a coalition government.

4. Write letters to the editor, call in to radio shows, and post comments on news stories and blogs. We have included a guide with some key messages and facts to help you.

People are preparing events for this Thursday. We are planning a series of “Candles for a Coalition” gatherings and rallies accross the country. We are meeting with other organizations that are driving action on this issue Monday morning to coordinate our efforts and will report back to you shortly.

Finally, email us at campaign@progressivecoalition.ca if you would like to become an organizer in your region.

Cheers,
Canadians for a Progressive Coalition

PS – Check out another group rowing in the same direction: http://www.smartvote2008.ca/

Federal Election 2008: Don’t forget to Vote

Tomorrow is the election. I hope everyone remembers to vote. I suspect when all is said and done there will be little difference in the make up of the new Parliament. If there are gains made, I suspect they will be for the NDP and not the Liberals or Conservatives. At the end of the day, this was an election we did not need nor want and in fact it was against the law passed by the Harper Cons fixing election dates. I guess he figures he can ignore laws as well as Canadians.

I also think that once the US election is over a lot of this financial turmoil will die down. It seems somewhat contrived to me.