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Parliament

Why Wouldn’t I ???

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Courtesy: Heath (Iheefz) Chicago Photography

It rained … all . day . long …

Enough rain to warrant carrying an umbrella. And Lawd knows how I hate carrying my huge umbrella anywhere. But this morning it was necessary because we had to travel in . the  . rain.

A few days ago, hubby mentioned his graduation ceremony was coming up but he wasn’t expecting me to attend because it was, in his words, “long and boring!” The topic came back up the other night and he once again intoned that he wasn’t expecting me to go … and I replied “Why Wouldn’t I??? “

Two years work. Watching him toil night and day pounding out his thesis and defense for his M.A. I went to his defense. We were all so proud of him. And so today was the culmination of all that work, a 15 second walk across a stage in front of his peers to get his M.A. Diploma.

The program opened with bagpipes, piping in the graduates, then the faculty.

And One very special man – LtGen. The Honorable Romeo A. Dallaire (Ret’d), O.C. ,CMM,GOQ, MSC,CD, B.ES., LLD , Senator.

He was presented with an Honorary Degree, Doctor of Letters.

And he gave a short speech for the graduates and encouraged them to step up and be change in Canada. Because in politics and government, he spoke, they have not risen to their ultimate abilities.

2017, is a special date and there are a confluence of dates and events, anniversaries and commemorations that will come during 2017, and Canada does not have a plan to mark the occasions.

Offering questions in the Senate and to the M.P’s in Parliament, what is the plan and what are we going to do ? the answer was – We Don’t Know !!!

This is our time to rise. To become active in the affairs of the nation be it in your community, your home, your job or your country, He encouraged us all to become change.

He spoke a bit about the children in Rwanda and the deaths and situations he witnessed. He spoke of a young boy, sitting in the road there in Rwanda distended, poor and in need (in a bad way), looked in those boys eyes, and the vision of his sons eyes came to mind.

He encouraged us to go abroad and work in developing countries. To see, witness, feel and participate in the lives of those who need more than they have today. They have very little, compared to the have’s and the have not’s in the developed world.

It was a tall request. But not out of reach. If you know where to look.

I know of people in Europe and the U.K. who actually go to Africa and other trouble spots in the developing world to work for charities helping those who need it most.

It is part of Gap Year work, Charity work, and just a great character building exercise to spend time in a place that will change the person you are, just by your presence.

We don’t often think about traveling so far away – it isn’t a North America thought, just because it is “over there” out of sight, out of mind.

But numbers of Canadians do great work in Africa and areas beyond.

If I could do it, I would. But the time needs to be right.

*** *** *** ***

Once hubby did his walk across the stage, he was in the first two rows of graduates, he texted me. I was sitting about ten rows behind him on the aisle so we could make a quick getaway. The ceremony started at 3 p.m. and I needed to be at the church at 5, so we made our way out shortly after the B.A.’s started their march to the stage.

We took some photos with his cape and gown and degree for his parents, turned in his robes, and we came home. We got back around 4:30. And I was back out the door at quarter to Five.

And . It . Rained …

I arrived at the church, a little damp and the hall was a bit damp and cold. I cranked out chairs and tables. My sponsor showed up a few minutes after I arrived to make coffee and help with set up.

Little gift …

At the roundup a couple of weeks ago, all the shares were taped for mass consumption and sold on site. For quite a chunk of money. So a few folks bought a master copy of all the shares. And now they have been duplicated and are being shared amongst us.

I had mentioned that I wanted a copy of them, and one of our sober women did the duplicates and brought them to the meeting tonight. But there were a few women who have not heard them, like we got to hear them live, so I told her to give them to someone who hasn’t heard them yet before I get them.

I was sitting in my chair waiting for folks to show up and one of my friends came up and handed me a cd, with all the shares and more on it. Just because !

Then I was standing near our literature table talking to some folks, and my sponsor walked up and had a gift for me. He was given a cache of Big Books and other texts we use regularly. And from a private collection, he has already given me a copy of the original manuscript of the Big Book. Tonight he had another book for me … A Second Edition of the Big Book.

Which has an extra large collection of stories in the back of the book.

There are four editions of the Big Book in circulation. First editions are rare and cost a pretty penny. Seconds and Thirds are in circulation. But for the most part, unless you need a 2 or 3, Inter-group sells Fourth Editions, solely.

The Book, Experience, Strength and Hope is a collection of stories from Editions 1 , 2 and 3. We read that book on Sunday Nights some time ago.

But now I get to read all the stories from the book in the Second Edition.

The meeting was packed. Which was good. Lots of newcomers. And great opportunities for our girls to get out there and pound the pavement.

We read from Living Sober, page 10 – Live and Let Live …

A good topic. Lots of good shares. Many people all over the place on the slogans.

Live and Let Live
Easy Does It
But for the Grace of God
Think, Think, Think
First things First

You see them posted at every meeting we go to in the city. Keeping our side of the street clean. Not getting into other folks drama. What people think of me is none of my business. I am powerless over people, places and things.

I can’t change you – I can only change me.

And people are struggling with this slogan. On a daily basis.

It was a good night. Fun was had. I walked home.

A good day over all Me thinks.

More to come, stay tuned…


NDP chooses mercurial Mulcair as spear carrier of official Opposition

The Canadian PressBy Bruce Cheadle, The Canadian Press | The Canadian Press

TORONTO – New Democrats opted Saturday for a rhetorical spear carrier over an ideological puritan, selecting mercurial Thomas Mulcair to carry the official Opposition into electoral battle against Stephen Harper’s Conservatives.

Mulcair, a combative former Quebec Liberal cabinet minister, won the NDP leadership on a fourth ballot, besting longtime party strategist Brian Topp in a contest that severely strained the party’s self-styled tolerance.

A perceived centrist who was once wooed by Harper’s Tories, Mulcair overcame loud complaints that he would abandon social democratic principles in the pursuit of power — a federal pursuit that New Democrats can now truly taste for the first time in their 50-year history.

In the end, a party now dominated by its come-lately orange wave in Quebec went with its star candidate in that province to replace the late Jack Layton, whose sudden death from cancer last August staggered New Democrats just weeks after their spring electoral breakthrough.

Mulcair claimed 57.2 per cent of the vote in the final, head-to-head showdown with Topp on Saturday’s fourth and final ballot.

Mulcair assumes the role of leader of Her Majesty’s loyal Opposition when the House of Commons resumes Monday after a one-week break.

The experienced legislative sparring partner was the candidate most New Democrats conceded was best prepared to hit the ring swinging. He’ll be put immediately to the test when the Conservatives bring down their first budget as a majority government this Thursday.

“Thomas is fearless, Thomas is organized,” NDP MP Charlie Angus said Saturday after his first choice, Paul Dewar, dropped out following the first ballot. “He’s one of the strongest MPs we’ve seen in the House of Commons and he’s certainly a match for Stephen Harper.”

Topp, a close Layton confidant and the first candidate to enter the race just three weeks after his death, fell 8,542 votes short on the final ballot against Mulcair.

He vowed to work with the new leader in a united front against the Conservatives.

Topp had earlier defended his decision to force the final ballot, rather than concede, even after it was clear he could not win.

“I think it’s fit and proper to let the party decide who the leader is and to not have the appearance that it was arranged,” said Topp.

Dark-horse contender Nathan Cullen, written off at the start of the race last fall after proposing co-operation with the Liberals, made it to the final three and cemented his role as a rising star in the party.

Cullen said his strong showing in the contest proves there’s an appetite for co-operating with Liberals.

“Change is in the wind, my friend,” he said. “I think anybody who (thought) New Democrats aren’t open to the ideas of change was obviously mistaken.”

Peggy Nash was eliminated following Saturday’s second ballot, while Paul Dewar, Martin Singh and Niki Ashton all dropped out after the morning’s initial vote.

Mulcair, Cullen, Nash and Dewar are among the NDP’s best parliamentary performers and their long absences on the leadership campaign trail have not helped the official Opposition consolidate its role.

Their return next week should reinvigorate a Commons already boiling with political controversy over allegations of election fraud and the prospect of a ground-shifting federal budget.

The NDP’s weekend leadership showcase, however, was drained of much of its excitement and vigour Saturday by a series of technical delays with the online voting system — although the source of the delay did add a minor element of intrigue.

Party president Rebecca Blaikie confirmed two IP addresses had been isolated as the source of cyber-attacks that appeared designed to slow entry into the system, effectively gumming up the works but not impairing the vote.

“Whoever this is or whatever it came from, their goal was simply to make it a pain to get into our site, to make it harder for people to vote, to block it up with a lot of traffic,” Blaikie said.

Whatever the cause, Mulcair’s victory wasn’t confirmed until late Saturday evening — timing the party had scrupulously planned to avoid.

That wasn’t the only come-down for New Democrats.

The day’s biggest ballot topped out at 65,108 voters, a less than 50 per cent turnout from a party membership that swelled to over 131,000 during the leadership campaign.

About 56,000 people had voted in advance of the convention.

Under the preferential ballot system, in which voters ranked their choices first to last, those 56,000 votes were locked in for all subsequent ballots and couldn’t be influenced by floor-crossing endorsements.

None of the vanquished candidates except Singh — who, as expected, went with Mulcair — chose to publicly endorse another contender.

As it transpired, key endorsements weren’t required.

Mulcair’s high profile in Quebec helped him maintain his status as the candidate to beat. Once a western-based protest party, the NDP’s world has revolved around Quebec since last May’s election, when an unexpected Layton-led wave swept the province and vaulted the party into official Opposition status for the first time in its 50-year history.

As the lone Quebec MP in the hunt, Mulcair made a powerful case as the standard-bearer for a party in which 58 of its current 102 seats came from his home province. Mulcair was the lone New Democrat among those 58 Quebec MPs who held his seat before last May’s federal election.

He has also caused divisions, however, among social democrats who believe he’ll turn the party into a pale imitation of the more centrist Liberals.

Elder party statesman Ed Broadbent lambasted Mulcair as temperamentally ill-suited to leadership in an extraordinary public broadside just two weeks before the convention. Jack Layton’s mother Doris endorsed Topp in the final week.

None of it could stop Mulcair.


Jack Layton to have state funeral

Courtesy: CBC.ca

NDP Leader Jack Layton will be honoured with a state funeral Saturday in Toronto, senior NDP officials have told CBC News.

The government protocol office is working with the NDP and family of the NDP leader on exactly what the funeral will be.

Condolence books will be set up in Ottawa on Parliament Hill and in Toronto at city hall. Others will be located in NDP constituency offices across the country.

Friends and political foes alike praised Jack Layton on Monday for his warmth, optimism and respect for opponents.

People who squared off across the House of Commons from Layton, including former prime ministers Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin, as well as Prime Minister Stephen Harper and interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae, all spoke warmly about Layton’s commitment to Canadians.

Layton, who led Canada’s Official Opposition, died early Monday morning at his Toronto home after a battle with cancer. He was 61.

Layton’s wife, Olivia Chow, and his children, Sarah and Michael Layton, issued a statement announcing his death.

“We deeply regret to inform you that the Honourable Jack Layton, leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada, passed away at 4:45 am today, Monday August 22. He passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by family and loved ones,” the statement read.

Details about funeral arrangements will be forthcoming, it said. The family released a letter from Layton to Canadians just after noon.

Layton’s death comes less than a month after he announced to the country that he was fighting a new form of cancer and was taking time off for treatment. Layton had been diagnosed with prostate cancer in late 2009 and underwent treatment for it. He continued working throughout that time and also battled a broken hip earlier this year. Layton used a cane for much of his time on the campaign trail this spring as he led the NDP to a historic victory on May 2.

His party claimed 103 seats, and was propelled to official Opposition status. Layton and Chow, a fellow NDP MP from Toronto, moved into Stornoway, the residence of the Leader of the Official Opposition.

Layton and his party were getting used to their new roles in Parliament but he did not appear to be in good health near the end of June. He said he felt pain and stiffness, he underwent tests and they confirmed he had a new form of cancer. He did not disclose what kind of cancer.

Layton’s chief of staff, Anne McGrath, said Monday that Layton’s condition took a quick turn for the worse Sunday night.

She spent a few hours with him Saturday and had a sense that he was losing a battle, but says his campaign slogan – don’t let them tell you it can’t be done – was also a personal slogan.

“It is a huge loss. It is a huge loss for me personally, but it’s a huge loss also for our party and our country,” she said.

McGrath worked with Layton for nearly a decade.

“There’s no question that my heart is broken,” she said.

McGrath said Layton was thinking about what it would mean for the party if he died. When they spoke on Saturday, they talked about upcoming events like the party’s annual caucus retreat in September and what Parliament would be like if he weren’t there.

Layton always liked to be presented with options, McGrath told Evan Solomon on CBC’s Power & Politics, including a plan for what would happen if he died.

“He was very, very practical and he was very much wanting to know that we were going to be able to continue and we were going to be strong,” she said.

After the news of Layton’s death emerged shortly after 8 a.m. ET, friends, colleagues and Canadians reacted quickly and with shock, sadness and tears. The flag on the Peace Tower was lowered to half-mast.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Layton will be remembered for the force of his personality and his dedication to public life.

Speaking from the foyer of the House of Commons, Harper said the two leaders had always talked about getting together to jam.

“I will always regret the jam session that never was. That is a reminder, I think, that we must always make time for friends, family and loved ones, while we still can,” he said.

In a statement earlier Monday, Harper saluted Layton’s contribution to public life and said it would be sorely missed.

“I know one thing: Jack gave his fight against cancer everything he had. Indeed, Jack never backed down from any fight,” he said.

Tributes to Layton poured in from across party lines. Rae said the news took his breath away and that Layton’s death is not just a loss for the NDP, but for all Canadians.

“It’s a loss for the country because he was a political guy who believed strongly in politics and who had a lot of resilience and a lot of guts,” Rae told CBC News.

Longtime NDP leader and MP Ed Broadbent told CBC News he sensed the end was coming, but was still shocked when he got the call Monday morning.

“In each and every election, he moved us forward … he wanted a reason in politics,” Broadbent said.

“Canada has lost a great politician. A man who believed in working for the public good. And I’ve lost a personal friend.”

Interim NDP Leader Nycole Turmel spoke of one of Layton’s favourite quotes from Tommy Douglas, the founder of the CCF, the NDP’s forerunner. Layton included the quote in every email he sent: “Courage my friends, ‘tis never too late to build a better world.”

“Jack was a courageous man. It was his leadership that inspired me, and so many others, to run for office,” Turmel said in her statement.

“We – members of Parliament, New Democrats and Canadians – need to pull together now and carry on his fight to make this country a better place.”

NDP deputy leader Libby Davies, fighting back tears, said Layton’s death is “an incredible loss.”

“Jack was not only a great leader of the NDP, he’s someone that Canadians across the country came to love. We feel a tremendous sense of loss and grief,” she said.

Davies said Layton brought a sense of humanity to Canadian politics and in his career and his life, especially his battle with cancer, “he gave it his all.”

“We have only love and respect for everything that he did and he leaves some really important legacies in Canadian politics,” she said.

Douglas’ daughter, Shirley, says Layton was the same whether he was in a crowded room or meeting people one-on-one.

“Everywhere I’ve gone, people said ‘You know, we’ve got a leader who cared’,” she told CBC News.

Douglas says she’s worried about Chow.

“That’s the one person I keep thinking about all morning,” she said. “They were so close and when a marriage that is as close as that one … it’s a terrible thing to see that marriage broken apart by this. I just couldn’t say enough to her. She’s a tremendous woman on her own.”

The leader of the Official Opposition announced on July 25 he was stepping away from the job to concentrate on his cancer treatment. He told Canadians he had recently been diagnosed with a new form of cancer, in addition to the prostate cancer he had earlier battled.


Canada Day On the Hill …


Trudeau ‘undecided’ about Liberal leadership

Courtesy: CBC.ca

Liberal MP Justin Trudeau says he’s undecided about whether he wants to replace Michael Ignatieff as leader of their party following its historic defeat in Monday’s federal election.

The party’s disastrous results, which saw Prime Minister Stephen Harper secure a majority government and installed the NDP as the Official Opposition, cost Ignatieff his job.

Trudeau, one of only 34 re-elected Liberal MPs, said in an interview Wednesday on CBC News Network that the results were difficult to watch, but not entirely surprising. He said the Liberal party “has been in trouble for a number of years,” because it hasn’t been able to connect with Canadians.

“We saw this coming, although not this bad,” Trudeau said.

After being reduced from 77 to 34 seats, Ignatieff announced Tuesday that he is resigning as leader of the party. Ignatieff lost his seat in Etobicoke-Lakeshore. The Liberals will meet as a caucus next week and choose an interim leader to head the party until a leadership convention is held.

When asked if he’s interested in the job, Trudeau responded that he wants to see the Liberal party get strong again. “I’m undecided, to be bluntly honest. I don’t know whether me being leader is the answer,” he said.

Trudeau said that because of his name and the legacy associated with it through his father, former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, “a lot of people are turning to me,” and that it “concerns” him.

“Because the work that needs to be done is work on the ground. It’s not going to be fixed by picking a cute leader or the right leader or whatever. It’s going to happen by us putting our nose to the grindstone and really, really leaning into it, and right now I’ve committed and I am committed to making sure that the Liberal Party does those things,” said Trudeau, who was first elected in 2008.

“I honestly don’t know if me as leader is something that would help the party or the country,” he said.

Trudeau said that with two young children, he would have to take his family into consideration when making any decision about going for the leadership.

“I’m not sure that I can be the leader I want to be and be the father I want to be at the same time at this point in my life,” he said.

Trudeau said among the challenges that lie ahead in rebuilding the Liberal party is fundraising, and he acknowledged that the Conservatives are far better at it than Liberals.

Rebuilding the party is going to be even more challenging with fewer MPs on Parliament Hill, he added. He also said that knowing 43 of his colleagues won’t be returning to Ottawa with him was one of the most difficult parts of Monday night.

He called their defeats a “collective failure.”

“We all failed together in making sure that our values, our vision for this country, which I know is shared by an awful lot of Canadians, but wasn’t chosen on election night,” he said.


Fallout …

Courtesy: Suitep

What an incredible few days it has been, on many fronts. What a weekend it was for Mr. President. A very gutsy man with balls of steel and a resolve just the same. Who knew from Adam what was going on in his head over the weekend seeing him traveling in the U.S. and yukking it up at the Correspondents dinner on Saturday night.

And who knew what Sunday would bring … I just cannot imagine.

I am sure that Mr. Obama’s stock has risen over the past few days. This kill shot was something that I think will translate into better numbers and even help him in the long run for re-election. At least I hope that is what happens. That’s all we need is for some jamokey republican asshole to win an election, God forbid.

At this point I think the White House is channeling some Ricky Ricardo when he says to Lucy “You got some ‘splainin to do!” Pakistan is not going to skate away with this gigantic intelligence flub. Someone was protecting Osama. Someone must have known he was there, I mean it’s pretty clear from all the information that has been released about this event.

*** *** *** ***

We have had a Royal Wedding, The beatification of John Paul II in Rome, the killing of Osama bin Laden and an election here in Canada. The fallout from the election is huge. The Orange wave came to Quebec and took the province by storm. There were incredible losses for the Bloq. The Bloq leader lost his seat in an upset, and in the end resigned from his position as party leader, not to mention the Bloq lost party status in the House of Parliament. You must have at least 12 seats to be afforded party status, and the Bloq lost in a bloodbath last night. So the Bloq is all but kaput. So much for that referendum.

Mr. Layton won a huge number of ridings here in Quebec. Many freshman young M.P’s are going to Ottawa, and we are so proud of the huge wins by the NDP. Not to mention with 102 seats won, for the first time in history the NDP wins the coveted title of Official Opposition Party in the commons. I mean the room went nuts when Jack Layton walked out to greet the party. My vote made a difference.

The Conservatives won a majority. As I have read on other blogs tonight, the earth did not shift on its axis, we will all survive this. And in the end we hope the government does what it said it will do. Canada needs to work to protect the people of Canada, we need more jobs, a secure financial sector and we need to solidify our place in the worlds eyes.

I questioned the ability of Mr. Ignatieff to win anything that’s why a lot of voters went with Jack. The Liberal party was decimated last night. The leader of the party as well, lost his seat and resigned from the party this morning. A leadership convention is coming. There is rumbling about Justin Trudeau, can he step up, if he is tapped as the heir apparent? Can the magic happen? Justin won’t say what he is going to do to that end just yet. At least he won his riding for the Liberal party, beating out the Bloq incumbent.

We saw history happen last night. The total collapse of the Bloq and the Liberal party. I heard it mentioned on the news coverage about Canada moving towards a two party system in Parliament. It seems the voters were over all the drama and political bullshit and we all voted for change and hope. The voters have spoken. Now the parties MUST rise to the occasion and do what they have been mandated to do.

A good chunk of Quebec went orange, with hints of red and blue here and there. Mr. Layton’s crop of young bloods have got some serious shoes to fill.

So much to look forwards to in the coming months.

*** *** *** ***

Here on the home front we are in the final weeks of classes. I have class tomorrow night and then a final and essay due on Thursday night, which I still have to write yet, then my final interview to come next week on the 9th.

It rained today. But numbers were nominal for the meeting. Lots of new faces and the conversation was nice and lively. We are pleased with what we have for today.

*** *** *** ***

So what do we know ???

  1. The Princess got her man
  2. Obama got Osama
  3. The NDP won big in Canada

Life goes on and we will all survive. The world is a safer place because the face and person of evil is dead and is floating at the bottom of the Arabian Sea, Thanks be to God.

The era of Osama is over.

Well Done Mr. President. We are so very proud of you…


Harper: Majority win turns page on ‘uncertainty’ CBC

Courtesy: CBC.ca

Canadian voters have delivered Conservative Leader Stephen Harper his first majority government after five years of governing in a minority situation, with the 41st election bringing a dramatic and unpredicted realignment to the country’s political landscape.

Meanwhile, NDP Leader Jack Layton will now become Official Opposition leader and replace Michael Ignatieff, who himself was defeated in his own Toronto riding. Ignatieff took reponsibility for the Liberals’ historic electoral loss. Ignatieff’s Liberals — often touted as Canada’s “natural governing party” — placed a distant third behind Layton’s party.

With 90 percent of the votes counted, the Conservatives were elected or leading in 166 seats, followed by the NDP with 104, Liberals with 34 and the Bloc Québécois with three and the Green party with one. A party needs to capture 155 seats to win a majority in the House of Commons.

The NDP, who appeared to have nearly tripled their seat count, made a major breakthrough in Quebec, mostly at the expense of the Bloc. The projected loss of 45 Bloc seats in the province prompted party leader Gilles Duceppe to announce he would resign in days.

Following his victory, Layton bounded up the stairs to address a near ecstatic crowd in Toronto, brandishing the trademark cane given to him by a supporter on the campaign tour to help him with his recovery from hip surgery.

“And let me tell you this: Spring is here, my friends, and a new chapter begins,” Layton told supporters.

The New Democrat leader said Canadians voted Monday to strengthen public health care, retirement security and help families make ends meet.

“And you voted to end the same old debates and political games,” he told the crowd.

But he also vowed his party would oppose the Conservative government “with vigour if it is on the wrong path.”

Ignatieff, who declined to say whether he would step down as party leader, said he still sees an “ongoing need for a party at the centre of Canadian life.”

“I will serve as long as the party wants me to serve and asks me to serve, and not a day longer,” he told supporters.

In his concession speech, the Liberal leader offered “open-hearted” congratulations to Harper and Layton — “two opponents who have had the better of the night” — and accepted responsibility for the result.

“Democracy teaches hard lessons and we have to learn them all,” Ignatieff told supporters.

It emerged shortly afterward that Ignatieff was beaten in his Toronto riding of Etobicoke-Lakeshore, while several prominent Toronto Liberals lost or were behind NDP or Tory candidates as of midnight ET.

Duceppe, who himself lost to NDP candidate Hélène Laverdière in the riding of Laurier-Sainte-Marie, told supporters after his loss it was clear Quebeckers wanted to give a federalist party another chance and now expected recognition of the Quebec nation.

“I am leaving, but others will follow until Quebec becomes a country,” he said, as the crowd of supporters chanted his name.

Meanwhile, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May earned her party’s first elected seat in Canadian political history, defeating former Conservative cabinet minister Gary Lunn in the British Columbia riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands.

“Today we proved that Canadians want change in politics,” she told a crowd of jubilant supporters in her riding.

Results in Quebec showed the Bloc Québécois plummeting from 47 of 75 seats in the province to only two. The NDP, who previously had only Thomas Mulcair’s Outremont seat in Montreal, were leading or elected in 59 seats in the province.

Some of the province’s highest-profile Conservative politicians lost their seats. Despite overall Tory gains, Lawrence Cannon and Jean-Pierre Blackburn, who served as ministers in Harper’s cabinet, were defeated in their Quebec ridings.

In Ontario, Conservative Chris Alexander defeated Liberal incumbent Mark Holland in the coveted Greater Toronto Area riding of Ajax-Pickering. The Tories are also holding their existing seats and leading in some key Liberal-held ridings such as Brampton West and Brampton-Springdale.

In Toronto, three high-profile Liberal candidates lost their Toronto-area seats, with Ken Dryden falling in York Centre, Gerard Kennedy losing in Parkdale-High Park and Joe Volpe defeated in Eglinton-Lawrence.

Outside of the city core, Liberal Ruby Dhalla lost her seat in Brampton-Springdale to Conservative Parm Gill while Conservative Julian Fantio was re-elected in Vaughan, defeating Liberal Mario Ferri.

The NDP was also holding its existing seats in the city, with Olivia Chow, Layton’s wife, winning again in Trinity-Spadina.

The Conservatives and NDP began the night making gains in Atlantic Canada at the expense of the Liberals, who have won the most seats in the region in every federal election since 1997. The Conservatives had 38 per cent of the vote, compared to 30 per cent for the NDP and 29 for the Liberals.

In Labrador, the Conservatives won what was once considered a safe Liberal seat, with Peter Penashue defeating Liberal incumbent Todd Russell. The Tories had been shutout of the province following an “Anything but Conservative” campaign mounted in 2008 by former premier Danny Williams.

Meanwhile, in St. John’s South-Mount Pearl, NDP candidate Ryan Cleary defeated Liberal incumbent Siobhan Coady.

The results come as many analysts were caught off guard during the campaign after polls suggested a surge of support for the NDP, specifically in Quebec, following the leaders’ debate in French.

Layton took advantage of this apparent spike, saying that voters were tired of both the Conservatives and Liberals and that the “winds of change” were in the political air.

The polls also forced Harper and Ignatieff to alter their strategy and focus more on the NDP leader.

Harper returned again and again to one main theme, repeatedly stressing the need for a Conservative majority. He warned that Canada’s economic stability was at risk if the opposition parties had enough seats following the election to form a coalition or some other power sharing arrangement.

Although Harper had initially targeted a possible Ignatieff-led government, propped up by other parties, his focus in the later days of the campaign switched to the possibility of Layton in power.

For his part, Ignatieff slammed Harper over his handling of the economy and accused the Conservative leader of disrespecting the institution of Parliament.

He ran ads questioning if Harper could be trusted with “absolute power” and reminded voters that Harper shut down Parliament twice and had been held in contempt of Parliament.

Ignatieff had said he would like to stay on as leader regardless of the outcome of the federal election.


The Time is Now to make a difference… VOTE

Courtesy: Namesakesuffix

Let us be the generation that takes back our country, that holds our government accountable, and that shows the rest of our great nation just how important Canadians are to one another.

We can no longer afford to sit back and let our government work itself out. In order to have a powerful democracy and to maintain our status as one of the best places to live in the world, we must become involved in our democracy. The democratic system is only as powerful as the citizens who participate in it—do not make the mistake of thinking you have power as a citizen without doing that fundamental thing that demonstrates that power: voting.

Tomorrow, stand on guard for your country. Don’t continue to let other people make your decisions for you. Vote for whichever party you like or go and scratch your vote in protest, but make sure that your voice is counted.

Vote.


Budget Fail …

The Conservative Party Budget was tabled today. And all three opposition parties turned it down. It is all but over for Stephen Harper and his Conservative Government.

Now we wait to hear when we will go to the polls. As a Liberal voter, I have to say that I don’t think our Liberal Leader can win, let alone earn a majority in Parliament. And Jack Layton is nowhere nearer the Prime Minister seat as his compatriots.

We will see where my vote goes in the election.


Liberals officially name Ignatieff party leader

450_cp_ignatieff_090502

He is well spoken, fluent in both languages, He is focused and his acceptance speech was really well done. The crowd was wild and enthusiastic, 3000 liberals in one room was quite incredible to the new leader.

CTV.ca News Staff

Michael Ignatieff officially became the leader of the Liberal party Saturday, five months after he took over the post from Stephane Dion.

“You’ve given me a great responsibility and will try to be worthy of your trust and I will give this job everything I got,” he told Liberals in Vancouver.

The new Liberal leader was quick to take direct aim at man whose job he’s after — Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

“For three years you have played province against province, group against group, region against region, individual against individual,” he said. “When your power was threatened last November you unleashed a national unity crisis and you saved yourself only by sending Parliament home.

“Mr. Harper, you have failed us. If you can’t unite Canadians, if you can’t appeal to the best in us, we can. We Liberals can build a federalism based on co-operation, not on confrontation.”

While certainly different in delivery, Ignatieff’s self-written speech echoed many of the themes that U.S. President Barack Obama used on the campaign trail.

Ignatieff spoke about hope and “change” for Canada, even borrowing Obama “Yes, we can” slogan at one point.

He said he believes Canadians will vote the Grits into office in the next election, and said his government’s main goal would be “to unite our people again.”

“The way out of this slump is hard, but the direction is clear,” he said, calling for a “far-sighted government.”

He also took pointed shots at the Conservative government, declaring the importance of science and research for future Canadian success.

The Harvard and Oxford-educated Ignatieff spent much of the early parts of his speech focusing on the importance of education and knowledge to the Canadian economy.

Ignatieff won 97 per cent of the votes of the 2000-odd delegates at the party’s three-day convention.

Former leadership rivals Bob Rae and Dominic LeBlanc formally nominated Ignatieff in speeches Saturday, continuing the Liberals’ “unity” theme at the convention.

“What an incredible team we are going to offer the country,” Ignatieff said, thanking his former rivals.

Despite impassioned speeches by former prime ministers Paul Martin and Jean Chretien, and a warm tribute to Dion, Ignatieff’s acclamation has left this year’s convention short on drama.

LeBlanc, who dropped out of the race to replace Dion when it appeared that Ignatieff had shored up party support, said Ignatieff’s leadership has united the Liberals.

“If we’d had a big, contested convention with a tight result and a lot of tension, then everybody would have said the Liberal party is divided, it’s going to be hard to unite the party, we’ll never be ready for an election,” LeBlanc told CTV’s Tom Clark Saturday during an interview on Newsnet.

“So you have a leader who is selected unanimously and who was — if we’re honest — the overwhelming choice of the grassroots of our party. That was clear in December.”

Before Ignatieff’s confirmation as leader, delegates passed a number of party initiatives, including a one-member, one-vote policy allowing party members to directly choose future leaders.

The new policy will allow members to cast a vote in their home province, essentially doing away with delegated leadership conventions.

“If (members) can vote directly for the leader in their riding or in regional meetings, I think it offers a much greater degree of participatory democracy,” LeBlanc said.

While Ignatieff will need to introduce a policy platform in advance of an election in order to shore up support among Canadian voters, he is already presiding over improving party fortunes.

Since Ignatieff took helm of the party last December, the Liberals have risen steadily in the polls.

A Strategic Counsel poll conducted in early April found the Liberals and Conservatives in a virtual tie for voter support, with the Grits at 34 per cent and the Conservatives at 32 per cent.

The findings marked a 10 percentage-point jump for the Liberals since Ignatieff took control of the reins.

And in Quebec, the Grits have pulled ahead of the Bloc Quebecois in the province for the first time in five years, with 37 per cent support, compared to 31 per cent for the Bloc.

The Conservatives, who were at 22 per cent support after last fall’s election, are well back at 15 per cent.

Despite the strong poll numbers, it’s too soon to tell if Ignatieff will use any forthcoming non-confidence votes in the House of Commons to bring down the Conservative minority government and force an election, said Liberal MP Bob Rae.

“You need three parties to defeat a government in this situation, so we’ll just have to see what happens,” Rae told Newsnet Saturday from Vancouver. “But the decision for the Liberals will not be made by anybody except our leader and he’ll be giving us that direction when the time comes.”

On Friday, the party paid tribute to Dion, setting aside the criticism often levied against him for failing to unite the party and instead focusing on his passion for the environment.

In a speech to delegates, Dion said he hoped the tribute could inspire the party to win the next election under Ignatieff.


Year End Review … 2008

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I’ve been collecting data for my year end review 2008. So here are some stats for you to take a look at. What will you be doing tonight???

  • I wrote 595 posts in 2008, this one would be number 596
  • I have taken 8 classes for my Pastoral Ministry Certificate this year
  • I have read 53 books this year [some more than once]
  • I pondered the possibility of walking Compostela
  • In Canada, Parliament has been Prorogued
  • Stephane Dion lost the Liberal Leadership
  • Michael Ignatieff was elevated to Liberal Leader
  • Justin Trudeau became a member of Parliament
  • The Anglican Church of Montreal [diocese] approved same sex blessings at the Synod this year [rites to follow]
  • In the US, Barack Obama became the first African American President elect
  • I joined Facebook and reconnected with 57 people from my childhood and several other bloggers from this community
  • The World financial crises has affected both the US and Canada
  • I am 4 classes away from my Pastoral Ministry Certificate
  • I turned 41 this year [am I more the wiser now?]
  • I survived another year being HIV positive [that makes it 14 years now]
  • My Mentor Circle has been an incredible success this year
  • Only one person who reads this blog donated to Miss Piggy
  • I am still working for free [read last bullet point]
  • I have written a total of  1571 posts for the blog in 2008
  • Written 70 pages of stories and personal writings
  • 360 categories logged
  • 51 tags logged as well
  • We have had 266,764 visitors to the blog
  • Our best day was August 12, 2008 [Beijing Olympics Coverage]
  • And we have collected 700 comments
  • It is (-14c) outside / the low tonight will be (-20c) and the wind chill will feel like (-29)
  • We will be at home watching the Ball drop tonight
  • We will listen to Art Bell on Coast to Coast AM with his second night of predictions for 2009
  • I celebrated 7 years of Sobriety this past December 9th 2008
  • It has been a year since I joined IMVU the virtual reality community online
  • I have posted 3 videos to my YOU TUBE channel
  • I have “Stumbled” thousands of internet pages
  • There are 1452 images in my photo library
  • This year Hubby and I celebrated 4 years of Marriage
  • We have been together now 6 years in total…
  • I tested 4 new AIDS medications for the Clinic
  • I hit 1365 T-cells – that’s higher than any one else in the clinic’s  history
  • I have proven that faith makes a difference when it comes to healing
  • I have learned a lot of lessons in sobriety
  • At my home group over the last 52 weeks, I set out 2600 chairs
  • I have made 104 pots of coffee
  • I have meditated over 2600 faces that have come to the room in the last year.
  • My sis Amy won her battle against Lymphoma
  • Adam has survived [to date] his battle with aggressive cancer

I guess that about does it for this year. I am pondering a more spiritual post to come later, but I am waiting for inspiration to hit me so we’ll see if that gets written.

Happy New Year to you and yours. Be safe, Be sober and Be careful out there, they say New York City will be wet, cold and blustery tonight. May all your wishes for 2009 come true and may we all survive another year together. I would like to thank all of you for your continued support and encouragement it means a great deal to me.

Thanks and Blessings on your heads…


We Love Rex Murphy

Rex Murphy of CBC on Canada’s possible coalition government


Trudeau pledges loyalty to constituents after Papineau win

Justin Trudeau, right, and his wife, Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau, acknowledge supporters in the Montreal riding of Papineau. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

CBC.CA News

‘I need to do the right thing,’ the former PM’s son says, rebuffing any Liberal leadership plans

The son of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau will follow in his father’s footsteps to Parliament Hill, but has indicated he’s not anticipating any return to his birthplace at 24 Sussex Drive in the near future.

Justin Trudeau, appearing on CBC Newsworld on Wednesday morning after being elected member of Parliament for the Montreal riding of Papineau, was pressed to answer questions about possibly being a candidate if there is a Liberal leadership convention. In the post-election interview, he hastened to squelch the idea, and make clear his plans for the future.

“I just got hired to do a job,” the 36-year-old said.

‘I’ve never been in the caucus discussions and backroom dealings that may be in my near and immediate future. I’ll figure it out as I go along.’—Justin Trudeau

“I need to do the right thing, and the right thing is to represent the people of Papineau, to listen to them, and to make sure their voices are heard in the House of Commons.

“And that’s the focus for my existence in politics.”

Trudeau defeated Bloc Québécois incumbent Vivian Barbot in Tuesday’s federal vote. He won with 41.5 per cent of the popular vote, while Barbot took 38.63 per cent.

Barbot, a Quebecer of Haitian descent, won the seat in 2006 by 990 votes.

The Liberal party and Bloc Québécois focused much of their campaigning attention on the riding and the Trudeau-Barbot battle.

Trudeau, a bona fide political star and choice recruit for the Grits, despite his inexperience, was asked Wednesday about when a Liberal leadership race might be held, given the Liberals’ poor showing behind the minority-elected Conservatives and the questions surrounding Stéphane Dion’s leadership.

Trudeau pointed out that he is a first-time MP, a neophyte.

“I’ve never been in the caucus discussions and backroom dealings that may be in my near and immediate future. I’ll figure it out as I go along.”

Liberals hoped Trudeau would help in revival in Quebec

Trudeau left a teaching career to run for the Liberals, who had hoped he would help revive their deflated fortunes in Quebec in the wake of the sponsorship scandal.

The Papineau riding was once a Liberal stronghold, where former foreign affairs minister Pierre Pettigrew was elected three times.

Leading up to Tuesday’s election, Trudeau campaigned in the working-class, ethnically mixed central Montreal riding for more than a year.

His team honed in on the riding’s rich array of immigrant minorities, which make up more than a third of the area’s population and include substantial communities from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and North Africa.

Trudeau was aided in his canvassing by his mother, Margaret, who recently moved to Montreal from Ottawa.

His father’s political legacy is still viewed suspiciously in Quebec, and Trudeau faced virulent attacks from sovereigntist groups that accused him of denying the Québécois nationhood.

Before Tuesday’s election, Trudeau said he believes his father would be proud of him.

“I think that he’d be pleased that I did this my way … not anyone else’s,” he said.

His bilingual campaign video was spoofed by comedy groups on the internet, and a fringe separatist group launched a “No Trudeau in Papineau” campaign.

Barbot, a 67-year-old former teacher and past president of the Quebec Women’s Federation, had called Trudeau a formidable opponent, but questioned his commitment to Quebecers and Quebec.


Surprised? Not …

Well, Stephen Harper won his minority government again, costing taxpayers $300 million dollars at the same time. In watching the returns over the evening I was not surprised. I voted for the New Democratic Party and they won a single seat here in (Outremont) Mr. Thomas Mulcair in Montreal. *I’ve amended this post today* The seats as they come are as follows:

Conservatives: 143 seats
Liberals:  76 seats
The Bloq: 50 seats
The NDP: 37 seats
The Greens: 0 seats

Canada has shown its apathy in voting once again, translating to over 10 million registered voters who DID NOT vote tonight. They say that because there wasn’t an issue on the table that moved the populous to vote in great numbers. We had the lowest voter turnout in Canadian history for this wasted election.

I reported only one riding here in Quebec, that was Papineau, where the young Justin Trudeau won his seat on the island of Montreal for the Liberal Party. The segues into my discussion of the leadership of the Liberal party. The writing is on the wall now. Stephane Dion did not perform well, and tonight there is question about his term as party leader in the coming “WEEKS.” It is said that he cannot win a leadership convention. And with that said, we shall see over the next few weeks what he does. We are sure that once Parliament reconvenes, discussions will begin about what is right for the Liberal party. There are people waiting in the wings for that seat, like Bob Rae and Michael Ignatieff.

And in the riding of Papineau we have a rising star in Justin Trudeau. Should we hope that one day Justin aspires to rise to a party leader seat, which is why I suggested earlier that the Liberal Party should continue to groom him for Leadership.

I had hoped that the New Democratic Party would have risen to the occasion and Jack Layton ran this election to be Prime Minister, yet he failed to materialize enough seats to even compete with the top three parties. The NDP candidate in the Westmount Ville Marie riding of Anne Legace Dowson was won by a Liberal candidate by a wide margin. In (Outremont) Mr. Thomas Mulcair won his seat. *I’ve amended this post today*

Stephen Harper lost seats in Quebec when he decided to cut cultural monies to the province and the Bloq’s win of so many seats in Quebec sends a clear message to Ottawa that The Bloq is still a viable party, although sovereignty is not on the table, rural Quebec kept the Bloq as strong as it did tonight.

Elizabeth May, the leader of the Green Party lost her seat in Central Nova (Nova Scotia) to the Conservative Minister of Defense Mr. Peter Mackay. The Greens did not win one seat in this election.

The two areas that the Conservatives did not do well were Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador, where the Premier Danny Williams crusade to elect (A.B.C.) Anything but Conservative won. So there won’t be any parliamentary representation for that province in Ottawa unless someone is appointed by the Prime Minister.

With all the technology at our hands, and all the time spent campaigning, still so many Canadians chose not to vote. They say you can’t complain if you did not vote… Canada failed to perform its Democratic duty to vote when it was truly needed in this time of such uncertainty. What a shame…


FEDERAL ELECTION REMINDER

Tomorrow – Tuesday October 14th, CANADA VOTES.

It is time to stop the Conservative Party from gaining another government.

Every Canadian MUST vote if they can.


Candian Political Information Post #1

News from: Echomouse

Okay, for the non-Canadians, here’s the situation. Canada has suffered a bad outbreak of rotten meat. The illness it created is called Listeriosis. 17 people have died because of this contamination. The origins of the contamination was traced to one company – Maple Leaf Foods. They make most of our deli meats, bacon, cripes … damn near every meat sold. There are other brand names but almost all are produced by one company – Maple Leaf Foods.

So how did Listeriosis happen? Well, our current Federal Government is ruled by the Conservative party (Republican for USA readers). This particular Conservative party is a retooling of the former Progressive Conservatives who imploded in the 1990′s. To save themselves, what was left of the party agreed to merge with a grassroots party called the Reform party. The Reform Party was headed by Stephen Harper. Interesting thing about Harper, he’s a fan of Stalin and believes Stalin was a brilliant man and great leader. Uh huh. Also, he belongs to some weird religion…..I can’t remember what it is but it’s not mainstream and it’s very controversial.

To save themselves and their historical record, the PC’s agreed to take on the Reform Party and both together would merge to recover and grow from there. They dropped the Progressive from their name and kept the Conservative title. But these are not the old Conservatives of years past throughout the history of Canada. This party is a nightmare. They are worse than Bush. Why? They’re educated. So, take an educated mind with a warped perspective and really dangerous ideas, and you have a massive nightmare.

Stephen Harper has been coached by Karl Rove. Many of the American campaign styles and tactics have been mirrored here by Stephen Harper. This is freaking many of us out. There is no transparency with government anymore. The finance minister, appointed by Harper, held that same position in Ontario in the 1990′s. He bankrupt the province pretty well. All of this is bad enough. But the campaign for a new Prime Minister and ruling party has been underway a week, two(?) now. The Conservatives have employed some really low tactics toward their opponents. Really high school, juvenile, disgusting things. The kicker happened on August 30th, and was recorded, but it didn’t get leaked to the news until yesterday. It seems the Minister in charge of the food inspections made a joke during a conference call in August. When told someone had died due to the tainted meat appearing everywhere, he said “It’s like death by a thousand cuts, or should I say cold cuts.” Then he said, “please tell me it was (his opponent and critic from another party) who died”. Classy huh? The entire Conservative party operates this way. Lies, hateful words, hateful attitudes, bullying, controlling, hidden agendas. They laugh at Canadians. Citizens of Canada voted them in (NOT ME!) to lead our destruction. They’re having a grand time with this. One of the people who voted for this Minister – the one who made the tasteless, hurtful, insensitive joke, was one of the first to die.

All of this blew up late yesterday. Today, every party is calling for Harper to fire that Minister. Harper has refused. HARPER HAS REFUSED.

The reason all of this matters is because of what the Conservative government has done in secret and what they plan to do if they win, even just a minority, in this election.

Stephen Harper, it has just recently been learned, killed the government meat controls standards and investigation and privatized it. He left the inspection of plants and manufacturers up to the individual corporations. So Maple Leaf Foods was to inspect their own machinery and cleaning practices. They didn’t entirely know the whole inspection process because the government pulled their services too quickly for any training. Additionally, the corporation only employed a few inspectors, whereas when the government was running it, there were 40 or more inspectors per plant usually.

So these inspectors at Maple Leaf Foods were overworked, not trained fully, and despite their best efforts, missed a crucial aspect of the inspection process – the machinery. As meats were cut, they left a meat residue beneath the blade inside the machine. The residue was not visible to the naked eye. The inspectors never checked it, never cleaned it, and that’s how Listeriosis happened. Weeks and months of decaying meat sat underneath the blade, cutting into fresh meat which was then sent out for sale to Canadians.

Everyone, all other political parties in Canada, and the public, is angry about this. First that the inspections were privatized without telling the public. Second that it was all done so quickly and irresponsibly. Third, and most important, 17 people have died and there may be more to come because Listeriosis has a latency period of up to 70 days. Because of a government hidden agenda and irresponsibility toward Canadians, people died. That’s freaking huge in Canada. We’ve never had a government so self-serving, so disgusting and unaccountable in their words and actions. There have been references to Harper as being like Hitler. Some are quick to say “noooo, that’s unfair”. Well, from what I’ve seen and read, and I’ve been following this closely – we’re making the same mistake Germany made. Harper is a fan of Stalin. Need I say more?

Stephen Harper has gone on record prior to his political career as saying he hates Canada and wants nothing more than to destroy it. He prefers the USA and the Republicans. He wants a firewall built around Alberta to keep the rest of the country out. He wants to annihilate the Liberal Party so that they can never recover (and he very nearly did two years ago) because the Liberals have had rulership over Canada for most of it’s years of existence. The Liberals are for all the people. The Conservatives are for the wealthy and consider the poor, unemployed, laid off, sick, to be worthless. This is not the Canadian way. This is not what our country was founded on nor has it ever been our attitude within our borders and out in the world.

Today, some astute Liberal bloggers have reported that the Stephen Harper Conservative government has already approved the same thing for Manitoba. They are privatizing meat inspections throughout Manitoba and washing their hands of anything to do with food safety requirements. Here is the news report, from one of the bloggers’ posts:-

Conservatives to kill meat inspection in Manitoba-Source: Canada NewsWire Sep 18, 2008 12:30 News release via Canada NewsWire, Toronto 416-863-9350 Attention News Editors WINNIPEG, Sept. 18 /CNW Telbec/ -

If elected, a federal Conservativegovernment plans to stop delivering provincial meat inspection programs in Manitoba leaving local consumers exposed to the risk of unsafe meat. The plan is revealed in a secret Treasury Board of Canada decision record, dated May 6, 2008, documenting the acceptance of a proposal concerning “Provincial Meat Slaughter Establishments (Manitoba,Saskatchewan, British Columbia)” which calls for the “elimination of federal delivery of provincial meat inspection programs.” “Meat produced in provincially registered facilities in Manitoba would not be inspected by anyone under this plan,” says Bob Kingston,President of the Agriculture Union.

The Treasury Board decision record says that following approval of a detailed implementation plan, “including risk mitigation and communications strategies,” the cuts will come into force. In Manitoba, the federal government delivers provincial meat inspection programs ensuring provincially registered slaughter facilities meet sanitation and other safety regulations. There are more than 30 provincially registered meat establishments in Manitoba that produce everything from beef to bison, ostrich to turkey and whose products cannot be shipped outside the province. “As we’ve seen during recent weeks, the federal government should be increasing food inspection, not cutting it,” Kingston says.

If you’re Canadian, please VOTE on October 14th.

If you’re Canadian, please DO NOT VOTE CONSERVATIVE. I don’t care how you vote. Well, that’s not true, I wish everyone would vote Liberal because they have a leader with integrity and honesty finally. And the Liberals are the only party who would win a majority government which is what we need to avoid having yet another election in a few months or a year. Also, it would get rid of the Conservatives as they exist now. NDP or Greens, fine, but this is really serious.

We can’t be fooling around with our votes. If the Liberals don’t win, then we’re in the same spot we were in already. This campaign and election will have been a waste of $220 million dollars (yes, we’ve paid this 3 times now for elections choosing minority governments!). We will be in the same place we were before this election. And Harper has said, even if he wins with just a minority again, he will do everything he wants to do and rule as if he has a majority. This is what he’s done all along. And he plans to continue.

Please help get rid of Harper and the Conservatives. Canada is at stake here. I’m not kidding. This country is on the verge of a major shift that we will never ever recover from if Harper and the Conservatives continue to have power. What should happen is that Harper gets turfed from his party, they cleanup their candidates by getting rid of those Harper brought in, and get the Conservatives back to the party they used to be. It will take time but they can do it. I never liked them, but after witnessing the horror that is Harper, I’ll take the old party any day over the current one.


It's an Election…

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has asked the Governor General to dissolve Parliament this morning. So Canada is now in election mode, the vote takes place on October 14th. Here in Canada we have a multiple party system with Stephen Harper leading the Conservative Party, Jack Layton leading the NDP, Stephane Dion leading the Liberal Party and Gilles Duceppe leading the Bloq Quebecois and Elizabeth May leading the Green Party. This post was over at Echo Mouse, I think she captures the news today well:

Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper breaks his own law and rides in a 4 car cavalcade to the Governer General’s mansion across the street from his house to ask her to dissolve parliament.

Quick, nickname needed for Harper……wait, his surname fits perfectly!

Okay so The Harper has called an election. You know what irks me, more than all this political bullshit? The bastard did this shortly after 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning! This is what we’re in for people. Re-elect this conning harper and we’re not going to see sleep again for a very long time!

After he does his bit, we hear from all the opposition party leaders – Stephane Dion (Liberals), Gilles Duceppe (Bloc Quebecois) and now, Jack Layton (NDP). I’m not even awake yet. Who can parse this rhetoric this early in the morning? On a sunday no less!?

Some brave soul working for Macleans Magazine (Canadian mag) has actually live-blogged Conning Harper’s morning speech. – Live from Rideau Hall -It’s pretty good. Not as raucous as Jezebel and Gawker but good.

The scariest thing in Canadian politics the last few years has been the balls out repetition in style with the USA politicians. For example…..

Harper wouldn’t name his opponents. Just like the Republicans, seems the opposition loses their names during a campaign. That’s just tacky. And passive aggressive.

Extra scary note is the “Stand Up For” bit. Harper did it two years ago, with his “Stand UP for Canada” bit. Which, by the way, he’s completely against. He’s systematically trying to dissolve Canada and merge us with the USA. Want proof? What was McCain saying at the RNC? “Stand up for the USA”. Uh huh. And now, Harper is saying it again. Creeepayyyy! Harper wants this over before the Americans finish their election. We’re way too closely linked, our governments and countries. It’s freaking me the hell out.

Harper stood in front of a podium positioned in front of a rose garden. Now if he’d had Canadian flags on either side of him I’d have thrown up. Somebody needs to tell him, the proper position in Canada is in front of a parliament building, on a stage indoors, OR in front of TREES! Not a freaking rose garden. This is not the USA! Gahhhhh!!!

Harper accuses the other parties of name calling and vicious campaigning. Uh, Harper, that’s what YOU did and always do. Pot meet kettle, as they say. Plus, he’s full of shit. But that’s just me…nobody has to agree. The guy has Hitler’s birthday for heaven’s sake. Fine, so does my older brother, but still.

(Quick Edit to add…) Jesus Christ! Elizabeth May of the Green Party just SCREAMED from my tv and nearly deafened me. I swear, it was SHRILL! Yes, I’m saying it because it WAS. That woman needs to lower her pitch and STOP SCREAMING. Holy hell, I wouldn’t vote for her for that alone. Americans think Pitbull Sarah is shrill? Oh trust me, she has NOTHING on Elizabeth May. Good God.

So much doublespeak flying out of all their asses, I can’t keep up. That’s why I turn to Canadian bloggers for all parties. Okay, I mostly read Liberal bloggers because the rest are too full of crap. But I do try to be non-partisan when deciding. Currently, I’m making it my personal mission to leave comments blasting their lack of focus on healthcare. It must be working because all of a sudden, they’re all mentioning healthcare!

I am not sure which way I am voting just yet. I haven’t decided. You can read the rest of the post over at Echo Mouse at the link listed above.


Off To England And The Lambeth Conference

Diocese of New Hampshire website and Bishops letter

By V. Gene Robinson
Jul 7, 2008, 13:05

Later today, I leave for England and the Lambeth Conference.  I am writing to you to 1) ask for your prayers, 2) to let you know how you can keep up with the goings-on in England, and my reflections on them, and 3) to assure you that I will be taking you in my heart everywhere I go.

YOUR PRAYERS:

First, pray for the Lambeth Conference of Bishops, the Anglican Communion and the Archbishop of Canterbury, that the bonds of affection that bind us together might be strengthened and that God’s will might be discerned as we struggle to be the Church in the 21st century.  Pray especially for the Episcopal Church’s bishops attending the Lambeth Conference, that we might greet our brother and sister bishops with grace and hospitality and be ready to learn what they have to teach us.

Then, please pray for me.  Because the Archbishop of Canterbury chose to exclude me from the Lambeth Conference, I will need to be intentional about creating opportunities for interacting with bishops and spouses from around the Anglican Communion.  Pray that God might open up those opportunities for conversation and open my heart for mutual learning.

Because of controversy surrounding my attendance, and the incessant press coverage which will undoubtedly insert itself, pray that God might keep me grounded in the Spirit of love, forgiveness and compassion.

Because of threats against my life that have already begun, pray that God might keep me (and those who have been hired to protect me) safe, and return me home to you.

During this whole time, I’ll be praying with the Franciscan brothers and sisters at Greyfriars, in Canterbury.  Join me in giving thanks for their hospitality and witness.

SPECIFIC DATES ON WHICH TO PRAY:

Some of you have asked for particular dates and particular events for which I would desire your prayers:

Thursday, July 10:  I will be speaking at the Modern Churchperson’s Union conference (along with former Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, the Primate of Wales, and several African bishops).

Sunday, July 13:  I will be preaching at St. Mary’s, Putney (just across the Thames from London, in the Diocese of Southwark).  This will be the only time I’m allowed to preach while in England.

Monday, July 14:  British premiere of the documentary “For the Bible Tells Me So,” in Queen Elizabeth Hall, at the South Bank Centre for the Arts.  I will be appearing with Daniel Karslake, the filmmaker, and Shakespearean actor (and Lord of the Rings star) Sir Ian McKellen.  This event will be a fund-raiser for AIDS work in Africa.

Wednesdays, July 23 and 30:  American bishops will be hosting two “Come meet our brother bishop Gene” evenings, open only to bishops and spouses.  I will be “introduced” by several clergy and lay leaders from NH in a little DVD we’ve made for the event.  Then I’ll have a chance to engage bishops from around the Communion and tell them about the work of the Gospel here in NH.

August 3-6, I’ll be preaching and speaking in Glasgow and Edinburgh, Scotland, as guest of the Church that gave us bishops some 200+ years ago.

KEEPING UP WITH MY GOINGS-ON

I will be writing a daily blog called Canterbury Tales from the Fringe:

http://www.canterburytalesfromthefringe.blogspot.com/

I will also be doing a daily VIDEO blog for Claiming the Blessing, called The Lambeth Gene Pool:

http://lambethgenepool.blogspot.com/

As I leave for Lambeth, know that I am so grateful for all your love and support.  This promises to be a demanding and difficult time, but I go with the knowledge that we are living out the Gospel of Jesus Christ here in New Hampshire, in the spirit of infinite respect and radical hospitality.  Thank you, my dear and beloved sisters and brothers in Christ, for your love and for your prayers.

+Gene

© Copyright 2004-2006 by The Diocese of New Hampshire, The Episcopal Church


PM cites 'sad chapter' in apology for residential schools

Assembly of First Nations Chief Phil Fontaine, in headdress, watches as Prime Minister Stephen Harper officially apologizes for more than a century of abuse and cultural loss involving residential schools. (Tom Hanson/Canadian Press)

Stephen Harper stood in the House of Commons on Wednesday to say sorry to former students of native residential schools — in the first formal apology from a Canadian prime minister over the federally financed program.

“Mr. Speaker, I stand before you today to offer an apology to former students of Indian residential schools,” Harper said in Ottawa, surrounded by a small group of aboriginal leaders and former students, some of whom wept as he spoke.

“The treatment of children in Indian residential schools is a sad chapter in our history.

“Today, we recognize that this policy of assimilation was wrong, has caused great harm, and has no place in our country,” he said to applause.

“The government now recognizes that the consequences of the Indian residential schools policy were profoundly negative and that this policy has had a lasting and damaging impact on aboriginal culture, heritage and language,” Harper said.

“While some former students have spoken positively about their experiences at residential schools, these stories are far overshadowed by tragic accounts of the emotional, physical and sexual abuse and neglect of helpless children, and their separation from powerless families and communities.”

Apology broadcast during nationwide events

Above the floor in the Commons gallery, hundreds of former students, church representatives and others watched Harper’s statement, which began at 3 p.m. ET. About 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Métis children were removed from their communities throughout most of the last century and forced to attend residential schools.

‘Today’s apology is about a past that should have been completely different.’—Stéphane Dion, Liberal leader

Harper’s speech was followed by a statement from Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion.

“Today’s apology is about a past that should have been completely different,” he said. “But it must be also about the future. It must be about collective reconciliation and fundamental changes.

Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion addresses the House during the government's apology to former students of native residential schools.Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion addresses the House during the government’s apology to former students of native residential schools. (CBC)

“It must be about moving forward together, aboriginal and non-aboriginal, into a future based on respect. It is about trying to find in each of us some of the immense courage that we see in the eyes of those who have survived.”

NDP Leader Jack Layton denounced the residential schools program as “racist,” and called Wednesday’s event an important moment for Canada.

“It is the moment where we as a Parliament and as a country assume the responsibility for one of the most shameful eras of our history,” Layton said in an emotional address.

“It is the moment to finally say we are sorry and it is the moment where we start to begin a shared future on equal footing through mutual respect and truth.”

Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe offered his own apology, adding that the most meaningful expressions of regret are followed by concrete action.

“This is something that must be done concretely by the government …The federal government has not invested enough for young aboriginal people.”

Televisions set up in a room outside the House and on the lawn of Parliament Hill broadcast the statement to overflow crowds, while more than 30 events were staged across the country so the apology could be viewed live.

While aboriginal leaders were not expected to have an opportunity to respond on the record in the House of Commons chamber, House leaders agreed at the last minute to allow it.

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil Fontaine, himself a former residential school student, was one of several aboriginal leaders who took the floor, saying the occasion “testifies nothing less than the accomplishment of the impossible.”

“For the generation that will follow us, we bear witness today…Never again will this House consider us the Indian problem just for being who we are,” he said.

“We heard the government of Canada take full responsibility for this dreadful chapter in our shared history. We heard the prime minister declare that this will never happen again. Finally, we heard Canada say it is sorry,” Fontaine added.

Connie Brooks, who attended the Shubenacadie Residential School in the early 1960s, during a \Connie Brooks, who attended the Shubenacadie Residential School in the early 1960s, during a “Letting Go” ceremony in Shubenacadie, N.S., on Wednesday. (Mike Dembeck/Canadian Press)

Wednesday marked the first time a Canadian prime minister has formally apologized for the physical and sexual abuse that occurred in the now-defunct network of federally financed, church-run residential schools.

Former Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien offered a statement of reconciliation on behalf of the government in 1998, although it was largely rejected by members of the aboriginal community as lip service. In advance of Harper’s apology, many have said they want to see a sincere, heartfelt apology from the prime minister.

Working business was cancelled in Parliament on Wednesday in order to mark the apology. The day began with a sunrise ceremony on an island in the Ottawa River behind Parliament Hill, where about 100 people gathered to say prayers for former residential school students who didn’t live to see the historic event.

In partnership with Health Canada, the Assembly of First Nations arranged for counsellors to be available at Parliament Hill and other gatherings planned across Canada to provide support for those overwrought with emotion.

Survivors can call crisis line

The Assembly of First Nations said survivors watching the apology who need support can call a 24-hour toll-free crisis line at 1-866-925-4419. Other support information is also available on the AFN website.

Overseen by the Department of Indian Affairs, residential schools aimed to force aboriginal children to learn English, and adopt Christianity and Canadian customs as part of a government policy called “aggressive assimilation.”

There were about 130 such schools in Canada, with some in every territory and province except Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, from as early as the 19th century to 1996.

In September, the government formalized a $1.9-billion compensation plan for victims. The government has also established a truth and reconciliation commission to examine the legacy of the residential schools.

The commission was scheduled to begin its work this month.

With files from the Canadian Press


To Canada for His Holiness with no love from China

Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama looks on during a function to commemorate the anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising against China’s occupation of Tibet, at the Tsuglakhang Temple in Dharamsala, India, Wednesday, March 10, 2004. The Chinese occupation began in 1951. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia)

CBC News

Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, has been much in the news of late. This month his worldwide tour brings him here to Canada, where he is to meet the prime minister, a week after the United States bestowed on him the Congressional Gold Medal. There’s even a new movie out called 10 Questions for the Dalai Lama.

A year ago, Parliament named the Tibetan spiritual leader an honorary Canadian citizen, a rare acknowledgement with international repercussions.

Each time another honour is conferred on the cherubic 72-year-old spiritual and political leader of the Tibetan people, China, which regards him as a dangerous separatist, gets hopping mad, threatening all manner of rancorous retribution against those who praise him.

The Dalai Lama is on a world tour and this weekend visits Ottawa to speak to thousands of the faithful at Lansdowne Park. He will also have an audience with Prime Minister Stephen Harper before he heads to Toronto to speak to thousands more at the Rogers Centre.

When news leaked that Harper would meet the revered Tibetan Buddhist, Lu Shumin, China’s ambassador to Canada, warned that this would hurt relations between Canada and China. No details of where the meeting will be have been released, but when the Dalai Lama met with former prime minister Paul Martin in 2004, it was at the private residence of Ottawa’s Roman Catholic archbishop.

Chinese Olympics

Many interpret the Dalai Lama’s recent high-profile trips as a way to pressure China into taking a more conciliatory attitude toward Tibet, cognizant of the fact that China is especially sensitive to world opinion as it prepares for the Beijing Olympics next summer.

This interpretation will gain more credence on Sunday, when the “surprise” master of ceremonies at the gathering in Ottawa is expected to be none other than Canadian Olympic swimming champion Mark Tewksbury.

The 14th Dalai Lama was born Lhamo Dhondrub on July 6, 1935, to a peasant family in Taktser, a small village in northeast Tibet. He has lived in exile since 1959 in the Indian town of Dharamsala, the base of Tibet’s government-in-exile. Some 120,000 Tibetans have chosen to live in Dharamsala to be with their leader.

In 1937, when Lhamo Dhondrub was two years old, the Tibetan government appointed a mission to find a successor to the 13th Dalai Lama, who died in 1933. The mission found the boy in Taktser and determined he was the reincarnation of previous dalai lamas.

Tibet and China

He was installed as Dalai Lama on Feb. 22, 1940, taking the full name Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso. Regents ruled Tibet while the boy began his education and training as a monk. In 1950, at 15, he was named head of state and government soon after 80,000 soldiers from China’s People’s Liberation Army entered Tibet.

In 1951, the Chinese army occupied Lhasa and forced Tibet to sign a treaty with Beijing recognizing China’s rule. Under the treaty, Tibet became a “national autonomous region” ruled by a Chinese commission, with the Dalai Lama as a figurehead ruler.

China began to suppress traditional Buddhist monasticism and much of the culture of Tibet. The young Dalai Lama was thrown into the midst of this crisis, and in 1954, he went to Beijing to meet Chinese leaders Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping.

In March 1959, the People’s Liberation Army invited the Dalai Lama to visit an army camp outside the capital, Lhasa. Rumours spread through the city that the Chinese planned to kidnap and imprison the Dalai Lama.

Escape to India

On March 10, 1959, there was a huge demonstration in the Tibetan capital demanding the Chinese leave Tibet. The Chinese army attacked. On March 17, the Chinese began firing mortars at the Dalai Lama’s palace. The Dalai Lama disguised himself as an ordinary Tibetan soldier, slipped out of the palace and, with a band of loyalists, began a 500-kilometre trek through the Himalayas to India.

Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru allowed the Dalai Lama to settle in Dharamsala and establish a Tibetan government-in-exile. The Dalai Lama appeared before the United Nations in 1959, 1961 and 1965, calling on the Chinese to allow self-determination for Tibet. In 1963, the exiled leader proposed a democratic constitution for Tibet, combining Buddhist principles with Western concepts of human rights.

In 1966, China proclaimed Tibet as one the People’s Republic’s “internal autonomous regions.” In the late 1960s, Tibet was one of the main victims of the Red Guards, who attacked monks and nuns, wrecked monasteries and destroyed priceless religious relics. The government of Mao Zedong banned the practice of Tibetan Buddhism, a ban that lasted until 1976.

Nobel laureate

The Dalai Lama’s attempts to influence China met with little success. Tibet is still considered an autonomous region within the People’s Republic, but in the past 20 years many Chinese colonists have moved to Tibet, and now there are seven million Chinese and six million Tibetans.

The Dalai Lama received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for advocating “peaceful solutions based upon tolerance and mutual respect in order to preserve the historical and cultural heritage of his people.”


Chretien recovering after quadruple bypass

We pray for Mr. Chretien and his family.

Former prime minister Jean Chrétien is “recuperating very well” after quadruple heart bypass surgery at the Montreal Heart Institute on Wednesday, doctors said.

Former prime minister Jean Chrétien, accompanied by his wife Aline, leaves a meeting on Sept. 12 with the publishers of his forthcoming book My Years as Prime Minister.

Former prime minister Jean Chrétien, accompanied by his wife Aline, leaves a meeting on Sept. 12 with the publishers of his forthcoming book My Years as Prime Minister.
(Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

Chief of surgery Dr. Michel Pellerin, who performed the operation, said Chrétien is in the critical-care unit and is expected to have a full recovery.

“I just talked to him a few minutes ago. He’s well and he’s recuperating very well at the moment. His outcome is excellent,” said Pellerin at a news conference at 7 p.m. ET.

The surgery was performed Wednesday morning. Chrétien was admitted to the hospital Monday night after complaining of chest pains.

Doctors said Chrétien had unstable angina, an unexpected, prolonged chest pain that is a warning sign a heart attack could be imminent. The hospital decided to perform surgery after tests showed he had severe narrowing of all his arteries.

Chrétien will likely remain in hospital for five to seven days, and his total recovery time could last up to three months, doctors said.

Ex-PM Advised against travel
The former prime minister had been attending the Presidents Cup at the Royal Montreal Golf Club over the weekend, where he began feeling the chest pains and some discomfort.

Chrétien consulted with a cardiologist friend who said the former Liberal leader should undergo further tests.

He was examined and then hospitalized at the Montreal Heart Institute.

Chrétien, 73, had to cancel a speech Tuesday at an Asia-Pacific mining conference in Vancouver. Event organizers had said the last-minute cancellation was due to health problems and that Chrétien’s doctor had advised him not to travel from his home in Ottawa.

“I was heartened to hear of former prime minister Jean Chrétien’s excellent prognosis following his heart bypass surgery today,” Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion said in a statement.

Chrétien, who led the Liberal party to three majority governments during his 10 years as prime minister, stepped down from the top post in 2003.

Following his retirement from politics, Chrétien returned to law with the prominent firm Heenan Blaikie and has toured the lecture circuit.

He recently has been promoting the soon-to-be-released second volume of his autobiography, which will cover his years as prime minister.


Stop The Abuse…

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Stop the Abuse …BLOG CATALOG

We were asked to write for Thursday – Something that we thought needed to stop. This first post was entered on Tuesday on this blog, if you read backwards.

What would I like to write about that needs to stop… Abuse comes in many forms, and can manifest in so many ways. Abuse can be blatantly up front and in the open, and it also can be perpetrated in silence and ignorance. Ignorance in that we fail to see the truth or know to look for it, or in that we are immovable to adapt to change.

There are many issues I face on a daily basis, both in my life and in the life of my husband. Think about the abuse that I have seen in my lifetime, being Gay, HIV Positive, a Recovering Alcoholic and Addict, I’ve suffered from Depression and my husband is Bi-Polar. We have seen our fair share of abuse in our days, by people that are family, people who are friends and from perfect strangers.

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As a person living with AIDS in the year 2007, the abuse that People with Aids face daily has not abated. People are still ignorant and stupid. Times have changed, and people still see RED when they think about homosexuals who are sick, not to mention the ignorance paid to straight people with the disease. No matter where we live, the abuse of people who are sick needs to stop. We are all human and divinely created by God, and if He has time to think, create and love us, then so should you .

Africa… The Dark Continent as it is called is also the ignored continent. Genocide is happening in Darfur, all over Africa people are dying because of hunger, disease, and ignorance by their own people, and by us. If we are to change the world, we must refocus our efforts from war and killing to aid and living. The belief in Africa that having sex with a virgin will cure AIDS needs to change. The abuse of women and female circumcision needs to END. The world needs to wake up from its myopic vision of the world and we need to stop the abuse of many at the hands of a few depraved leaders, junta and guerrillas.

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Religious Strife… Religious abuses need to stop. Wars perpetrated based on religious difference needs to end. The abuse of people based on religious affiliation needs to end. The Middle East needs to come to its collective senses and realize that if wars continue and religious abuse is maintained, eventually everyone will be dead, and there won’t be any one left to carry on the traditions you are all fighting over. I believe there is enough land to go around for everyone.

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Religious Intolerance needs to Stop. The world thrives on its diversity of faith and religious tradition. Could you imagine what the world would look like if we stopped the hatred of other and we adopted a live and let live policy based on religious tolerance? Here at home in Canada, we need to adopt better ways of dealing with aboriginal rights, religious abuses by the church and by our own government. Those who were here first need to be recognized and taken care of. Reservations need accommodations that aren’t falling down. We need to have running water, clean water and safe living condition, because many are living in sub standard housing with very little – and the government abuses the aboriginal and lives high on the hog in their own homes.

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The Three Major Monotheistic religions need to come together and find a common resolution to Stop the Violence, the Wars and the Abuse of so many. Jews are fighting and killing Jews. Muslims are killing and abusing other Muslims. Christianity, well, now there’s a quagmire for you. Never in my life have I seen so much hatred, revulsion and abuse by a religion than Christianity. Christians think they are above the law, that they can dictate government policy, foreign policy and world opinion, because God speaks to them, yet they perpetrate so much abuse on so many across a field of difference.

I’ve got many strikes against me because I am Gay, Married, HIV Positive and I am a Christian, where else would you see this kind of pedigree in the same sentence. I know for a fact that many Christians find me repulsive, arrogant and ignorant because surely a gay man could not be a Christian and be homosexual. And I am getting my comeuppance because I am living with AIDS. Surely God is punishing me. Religious Abuse needs to stop. Homophobia and Ignorance and Bigotry needs to Stop…

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The year 2007 is almost over. And still today LGBTQ people are amongst the most abused people I know. Where there is a ballot box and an evangelical Christian, abuse is going to happen. Because God deems us abominable, and we need to be eradicated, killed, ignored, abused and humanly degraded. Can’t we come together and learn that abuse based on diversity and sexual orientation needs to end, today, at home and world wide.

We know that being gay is NOT a choice. There are so many young people suffering inside their souls because they could never admit their secrets because still today, admitting you are gay is still a death sentence communally. Transsexual and Transgendered people are other groups who need to be cared for, respected and assisted.

Humans have such a capacity to hate and abuse. Imagine if we could stop the abuse and hatred and adopt a life of service, charity, acceptance and Love. Imagine what the world would look like if we could stop the abuses across the board and we started taking care of each other instead of abusing, hating and marginalizing.

We are Here, We are Queer, Get used to it…

We Must be respected. We Must see LGBTQ Civil rights across the board. We Must be given the same dignified status that every straight person is granted by rights of citizenship. To live safely, to be protected militarily, to be able to be Married legally and we Must be given the same rights that straight couples get by right, by government and by citizenship.

Gays and Lesbians must be respected. We are just as good parents as anyone else. I believe that we could do it better because we have been so reviled for so long that I believe we as LGBTQ People have cultivated lives of love, respect and dignity because so many of you think that we don’t deserve those god given rights.

Marriage rights must be passed world wide. Partner benefits must be passed worldwide. The continual ABUSE of LGBTQ people by community, government and religious authority needs to end. Muslims, Jews, Christians need to stop the violence, stop the hatred and Stop the abuse.

The abuse by Holy Mother Church needs to stop. The hiding of pedophile priests need to be brought out into the open. The church needs to stop hiding abusers in plain sight and they need to become accountable, respectable and right. No other institution in my life has perpetrated so much abuse on human kind than Holy Mother Church. I have spent YEARS [ read most of my life] studying Holy Mother Church, and as of the last decade or more of my life, the papacy of John Paul II. I spent a year in a Catholic Seminary and I witnessed cleric abuse. I’m not just writing to see myself write…

You want to know about abuse, read “The Power and the Glory, Inside the Dark Heart of John Paul II’s Papacy.” It will turn your hair gray. The church could do so much more than it has and it won’t do all that it can because of the Papacy and religious division over the three major monotheistic traditions. I’ve spent years studying the Holocaust, I’ve read the books and taken the classes. So I do know what I am talking about.

The longer I study religion, I believe less and less in Holy Mother Church. The more I study religion the farther away from institutional religion I move. Because God weeps at the injustice of such wide spread abuse, ignorance, and hatred based on diversity of faith, sexual orientation and basic human dignity for those living with AIDS.

And finally – at long last, the sick and suffering addict and alcoholic, the gay and the lesbian, the sick and the dying, need to be cared for because we are all deemed acceptable to God, we need to pray for the sick and suffering. We need to care for the sick and suffering. We could stop much of the suffering of people if we turned our vision from hatred, abuse and war to that of caring for our neighbors as we do ourselves. But you cannot give what you do not have, so educate yourself, and put on your armor and come walk with us and stop the abuse.


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Edit and Late Comment Addition

I did not say the words axis of evil – I was stating a point from a religious scholar perspective because I am one. I live in Canada, not the U.S. I am fully aware that China and many other nations could stop the genocide in Darfur, and yet they do nothing, because of OIL and MONEY. I did not make an argument for oil, nor did I say that any religion was evil. I can stand outside the arguments and give you perspective because THIS is my area of study. RELIGION and GOD!!!

Reread what I wrote and start again.

I do care about the Middle East which is why most of my post concerns the tensions in that area of the world. If Christianity, Islam and Judaism could find a common ground to negotiate peace, territory, oil and security then progress can be made, but not until the three monotheistic traditions stop killing each other in the name of Allah, God or Hashem.

I can play the God card because the warring factions of the world play it daily. Tell me about Jews and Palestinians or Shia – Sunni and Kurd and the Christians, what are each trying to do to the other? Dominate, Kill and eradicate. How can you NOT play the God card?

I never mentioned oil in my post – because I cannot properly comment on certain topics because I don’t have all the facts. This post was to draw attention to something that we thought needed to stop in the way of violence. IF YOU read this blog from yesterday you would understand what this writing project was for.

I did not support the war in Iraq in fact I marched against it here in Canada. I don’t know all the oil arguments or who’s involved. I know that China could make a difference in Darfur and they do not because they get oil and supply funds to the terrorists. And the U.N. does nothing, I Know this. The U.N. Cannot do anything unless its partner countries get on board, so far we don’t know why they have not. Maybe we should investigate this issue with the Chinese government and the U.N. at large. I have heard this discussion come up before.

The WORLD could change on a dime if we refocused our efforts from war to healing the earth and helping those who live on the earth. BUT so much of the world is focused on war. Look at Afghanistan – NOT any other NATO nation wants to get involved to help Canada in their mission, which is VERY unpopular in Canada with its people, and this issue may bring down the government in the next month when Parliament comes back to session and the Prime Minister gives his Throne Speech.

If Iran, Iraq, Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Jordan and the other E.U. nations came together to find a diplomatic route to peace, the wars would end and the people would stop dying. Turkey wants in to the EU. So step up and do something good for the world.

The Muslim faith is on a march to conquer the world, Osama Bin Laden has called for Christians to convert to Islam, and hell will freeze over before we do that. Islam is very misunderstood religion at its core. The fundamental arms of all religions have caused the world serious injury. Read any of my God’s Warriors posts from the CNN presentation by Christianne Amanpour.

The Christians have been on a crusade in the Middle East for OIL, MONEY, OCCUPATION and WAR! The U.S. President should stand trial at the Hague for Crimes against Humanity. The war is unjust and should end. Terrorist supporter countries should stop the funding of terrorists, sectarian violence and hatred. If Iran has its way Israel would be wiped off the map, so says their president, who just the other day questioned 9-11 and the wisdom and history of the Holocaust.

There is no direct diplomatic efforts being made in the Middle East region and everyone is to blame for this lack of diplomatic direction. If the region really wanted PEACE, it would find the way there and the killing, incursions and warring would stop. We know that the Israeli settlements are the biggest road block to mid east peace between the Israeli’s and the Palestinians. The most contested piece of real estate in the world is Jerusalem and everybody wants a piece on their terms, and nobody is willing to let that happen. So the fractured conflict continues.

The wars must stop, and Peace must be our goal, and UNTIL all nations in the region get to the table and start supporting one another to find peaceful resolutions then nothing will happen.

The U.S. needs to stop funneling money for war, they need to get out of Iraq and they need to regain the trust of the world at large. The U.S. needs to regain the respect it has lost over the last decade in the eyes of the world. They are no longer the big bully on the street, but so long as there is OIL in the middle east and everyone wants a stake in that oil, the U.S. will be there because the Bush cartel and the U.S. and many countries around the world STILL depend on Mid-East Oil.

Unless of course you can find another oil field as big in another region of the world that is not so hotly contested. The U.S. has earned a big Scarlett letter for arrogant domination of world policy which they surely did not earn the right way, nor do they operate on very honorable terms, we know this by the U.S. Presidents stance on many issues. Don’t blame the people, blame the government.

IF THE CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALISTS IN THE U.S. HAD NOT VOTED FOR BUSH, “TWICE” WE WOULD NOT BE IN THE MESS THE WORLD IS IN TODAY!!! And that’s the God’s honest Truth. But they had to stop the gays because they posed a greater issue to the United States than voting for the RIGHT candidate. I KNOW THIS.

With the opening of the Northwest Passage and the melting of the North, we may find much needed oil and we can begin to draw down from the middle east. But with that comes other concerns like Arctic Sovereignty. And that is the next battle that Canada is going to fight with Russia, the U.S. and Denmark.

There are many arguments to talk about, and many points. and I am not a world diplomat scholar. But I do study religion and so I CAN play the God card any time I please. That’s what religion scholars do.

If you are going to comment on this blog, you should have a good understanding of context. So read back into my archives and understand what I know about the three Monotheistic religions, because that is my area of scholarly concentration. Which I do have a degree to hold up as proof of study. You may agree, you may not. That’s not my problem. It’s yours…. But thank you for playing.


Canadian Same-Sex Marriages Growing At 5 Times Rate Of Opposite-Sex Unions

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And WE are TWO of those 45,300 people…

by The Canadian Press

(Ottawa) Same-sex unions are growing at five times the rate of opposite-sex ones according to census numbers that also reveal, for the first time, the number of gay marriages in Canada.

Some 45,300 couples, both common law and married, reported as same-sex in the 2006 census, up from 34,200. Those numbers represent a 33 per cent surge since 2001, while heterosexual couples grew by just six per cent in the same time period.

The historic Statistics Canada query on same-sex marriage, coming in the wake of Parliament legalizing such unions in 2005, revealed 7,465 gay and lesbian marriages.

That’s considerably lower than numbers reported by the now-defunct advocacy group Canadians For Equal Marriage. The group, based on its own research of municipal records, reported last November that 12,438 marriage licenses had been granted to same-sex couples since provincial courts began recognizing such unions in 2003.

The census relegated same-sex marriages to a write-in category under the questionnaire’s ‘other’ box _ a move that raised the ire of Egale Canada. The national advocacy group responded by urging its membership to list their relationships as husband and wife.

“One box for everybody,” is how executive director Helen Kennedy described the group’s position.

“People are people and people just want the same things out of life. Your sexual orientation should not matter.”

Anne Milan, a senior analyst at Statistics Canada, stands by the accuracy of the census data but concedes the limitations of relying on the answers people provide.

“It’s the first time that we’ve asked same sex marriage so it’s really a benchmark number,” said Milan, who added it’s “difficult to say” what effect Egale’s dissent had on the numbers.

“Future census releases will allow us to compare the count and see what’s happening.”

The fact that the question was being asked at all shows that “people are getting on with their lives, which was fundamentally what the whole debate was about,” said Michael Leshner, a lawyer and one of Canada’s first legally married gay men.

“It’s really a debate that hopefully has run its course… We’re just part of the boring middle class now,” Leshner said.

According to the census, same-sex couples accounted for 0.6 per cent of all couples in Canada. That falls in line with numbers reported in the United States, New Zealand and Australia. More than half, or 54 per cent, of same-sex married Canadian spouses were men.

Some nine per cent of same-sex couples had children, more commonly in female unions (16 per cent) than male ones (three per cent). Children were present more in same-sex married couples (16 per cent) than common-law ones (eight per cent).

Clarence Lochhead of the Vanier Institute for the Family says the gay community’s successful fight for marriage reflects the desire to be accepted in the larger community.

“To the extent that you can think of the homosexual community feeling that they’re marginalized populations, I don’t think it’s all that surprising that they would want access to those forms of unions that are recognized in a much wider social community sense,” he said.

Ontario became the first province to legally recognize same-sex marriage following a 2003 decision from the Ontario Court of Appeal. Similar decisions followed in British Columbia, Quebec, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, Yukon, and New Brunswick.

On July 20, 2005, Canada became the third country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage, after the Netherlands and Belgium. Spain and South Africa have since legalized gay marriage as well.

“As my spouse Mike Starkel always says, we won. There’s nothing they can do, we won,” said Leshner.

©365Gay.com 2007


Monday Night …

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I got some mail from London today and in it was a really wonderful gift from my Big Sis, needless to say I was amazed and overjoyed. I have really great family and friends, all over the world. It is far easier to love one another than to criticize or be hateful. So this little note starts off my gratitude list for tonight. Thanks Sis…

  • I didn’t drink today
  • I hit a meeting
  • I had a great day in class this morning
  • I saw some new friends
  • I did some writing earlier
  • I have great friends
  • I have a great life
  • Tomorrow is my Home Group
  • And I am right, and I am happy!!

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 “Oh to be this young and beautiful – again…”

So I was trolling my reads today and I ran across this picture over on DAN NATION, it seems he’s got a new job in the valley and I spied me some Chad Fox, isn’t he a cutie? Kinda makes me want to move out to the coast and join the Sunday Brunch Crowd! I even got an invitation from Dan the man himself!! I love me some CHAD FOX!!

What could be better than a room full of beautiful men on a Sunday morning? I don’t know about you but we don’t have that many good looking men here in our fair city! OMG!!

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The Forest, I love the forest. If you get a chance go over and take a look see at COOPER’S CORRIDOR, he has some beautiful writing and photos of his family from an outing this past weekend. Cooper is another fantastic read, no one should go without every day. He breathes such joy and wonder into my day, because he is such a gifted writer. I think this weekend we shall take a meander out to the green space and take some photos of our forest in the middle of the city (we call it Mount Royal). The real forest is far, far away from here up North.

From Cooper’s Blog: one of his favorite words, Forest:
“Because it is full of promise … because it is wild … because it is fragile … because it is strong … because it sings of simply being … because it is part of my bones and blood … The forest is in my heart”

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You can go read my friends and show them some love. First we have Steve, we call him Dr. McCoy, because he’s a Trekkie! I wrote a piece earlier for Arkano, he lives in South America and he is new to our little “Bubble of Love.” My read list, over on the Blog Roll is getting ‘closer’ by the day, as I noticed that many of my friends here, read over there and they comment as well. So please, if you like to look at beautiful men, and you are interested in fantastic reads, check out my read list. I have updated all the links and I am sure everyone will appreciate your visit.

Fall is on it’s way, it is 19c here and rain is in the forecast for the next couple of days! AS is the custom here in Montreal, the weather cools off, the rain comes, then we have our fist cold snap “in the city” then the leaves start turning in earnest. This photo above is a wishful prayer for Montreal in the coming weeks.

Tonight’s meeting was an experience. I heard what I needed to hear. I spent an hour doing nothing but be present and to live in the moment. My Monday night commitment to support “Came to Believe” persists. Things I heard tonight:

  • It’s all Good
  • Live in the Moment
  • Stay in the Now
  • At any time of the journey, you are right where you are supposed to be at any given location and at any moment on the time line
  • There are no mistakes in God’s time
  • Live and Let Live
  • Easy Does It
  • But for the Grace of God
  • Think, Think, Think
  • First things First

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I took a resentment to a meeting, and I left her there. But I will close with this little blurb on the Blog Nazi!! If you have a complaint about anything you see, read or perceive on this blog, please, by all means, let me know. If I have misrepresented Concordia University in any way, I haven’t heard that from any one. My disability and my student status is between my doctor, myself, my husband, my department, the government and the University and NO ONE ELSE! What I do with my education is my business. If you don’t like something on this blog, there are certainly other blogs for you to read. I am not changing my presentation or writing for anyone, even YOU Rebbecca.

They say in AA that acceptance is the KEY to all of my problems, and if someone has a problem with you, that – that is a direct signal that someone has a problem with themselves. And what YOU think of me is none of my business. If I have a problem with you then I need to look at me and find out what’s wrong with me. So you got a problem, first ask yourself what that problem is, and then fuck off…

I’ve never EVER had anyone complain about something I have shared on this blog, nor posted to this, my personal web log. AND I am not going to take horse shit from some chick who has an axe to grind with me so get the fuck off my blog! Oh, that felt good!

DO YOU GET THE PICTURE???


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