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Thursday – Canada, Strong and Resolute !!!

parliament hill

The week is coming to an end in a very dreary fashion. It is chilly and spitting rain. We were in for a real soak, so they said, but we just got pissy little rain and it is a bit blustery out. Nothing a warm toque can’t handle.

It has been a difficult week for us here in Montreal and the past couple of days as a Nation.

Yesterday’s shooting and killing of a soldier at the National War Memorial – at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and the subsequent storming of Parliament by the same gunman, took Parliament and the nation by surprise.

One person was injured in the attack, who was said to make a full recovery, The Sergent-At- Arms for Parliament dispatched the gunman in short order and saved many lives. He is an honorable, humble man, who, when called to duty, stepped up and took care of matters of security.

We are indebted to him for his courageous actions.

Needless to say, I think people, who are out and about, are mindful of their surroundings, at least I am. We might be connected to mobile devices while traveling, but with this weeks events, paying closer attention to your surroundings is good sound advice.

Soldiers have been advised from this point on, NOT to wear their uniforms outside of work while not on duty. Uniforms are only to be worn on base and upon beginning a shift. The fear that other military service personnel may be further targets has pushed command to make this decision for our troops to protect them from further harm.

This just adds another layer of security for our men and women in uniform.

This evening it was reported from NYC that a man attacked a group of police officers with a hatchet, injuring two, one with an arm injury and the second was hit in the head and required surgery for a fractured skull. This may be an isolated situation, but authorities in NYC are investigating the situation. The hatchet wielding man was subsequently killed by officers in the attack.

One must be vigilant about ones person out and about.

We offer our prayers and condolences to the families and friends of those who have died in the two attacks here in Canada. And as Canadians, we support our men and women in uniform. And all those who work to protect us on a daily basis.

Canada stands strong and resolute. We will not bow to terrorism, not now, not ever…

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

Tuesday past, we continued our journey through Step Seven. The major take away from the reading was the word Humility. We sat a nice group of folks. It was a great evening.

Tonight, Thursday, we read from the Daily Reflections, since this is the tenth month, all the readings for October center on Step Ten. “Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.”

The reading speaks to the fact that “Continued” does not mean occasionally, or frequently. It means throughout each day. It was common to hear that few people are on step ten tonight, and we also heard someone say that he didn’t have a proper definition of what an inventory would be?

It is a practice that I have learned from the women to write. To begin taking an inventory at the end of the night, and every person is different. It is with guidance that my guys work their steps the way they do, with specific instructions in what they should be doing on any given day.

I get my guys writing early and frequently, so that they get used to writing now, instead of later. Each of them have issues that we deal with daily, and the lists are simple observations, or thoughts, or problems, that we can discuss when we speak on a daily basis. You don’t have to be on Step Ten, to take a simple inventory at the end of the day.

  • How was my day?
  • Had we been selfish, dishonest, self seeking or frightened?
  • Did anything notable happen during my day?

The further my guys are in their steps, more questions are added to the daily inventory list.

It is something we practice together. If we aren’t working our program actively every day, then we might be missing lessons that may be skipped over or lessons not learned. And there is always something to be learned every day.

It looked early on that we may only sit a few folks, pleasantly, a solid group of folks came out, even in this inclement weather. It is a known fact that when it rains or when it snows, people usually choose to stay home.

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

Tomorrow morning I depart with my sponsor and a fellow for Vermont. Our morning journey will take us to Stepping Stones for a visit to Bill’s home where he and his wife Lois are buried. Then we will make our way to the Mad River Inn at Mad River Valley in Waitsville Vermont.

Due to changes in the program and a serious hike in the fees for this particular retreat at this particular location, half our number decided not to make the journey. For more than thirty years this location has been the B&B of choice for the Men’s Intensive. But after our last weekend in the Spring, things have changed.

The Mad River Inn has been renovated to very high specs, and the pricing for the weekend had been kept low for the benefit of the men who came, but the price was not sustainable for future weekends. One has to pay the bills and run a B&B properly in order to make money. In the end it is always about money. And low numbers speak volumes to just how much people have to spend.

A discussion of where we go next will be on the table. And this prospect is tedious at best.

Spending over $150.00 for a two night B&B stay is steep. We had to make special arrangements to be able to send me on the weekend. With all our bills that have to be paid and still have money for staples and spending money for each of us, $200.00 off the top is not something sustainable for the future.

Hopefully the weather will cooperate. I will be off grid until Sunday. I will have photos and lots of stories to tell you about then.

More to come, stay tuned …

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.


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


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


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)


‘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…