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Today Elizabeth May Has Made History!!

Granted, it’s not actually official yet…  but I feel safe to yell from the rooftop: 

CANADA HAS OUR FIRST ELECTED GREEN MP!!!!!!

I’ve actually had to stop watching the numbers roll in.  Every poll counted has E.May’s lead increasing.  It started with only 20 votes, and now is hovering around the 1000 mark.  Every poll forced new tears to spring from my eyes.  I am sooo very proud to be a part of this moment in Canadian history.

Elizabeth May in Parliament!!!  What does that mean?  It means we finally have a voice.  After years, and years, and years of fighting, of not being heard, of being dismissed, we finally have a voice.  A holistic voice in parliament.  A voice of reason, that understands how all systems are connected.  How the environment and the economy are not separate issues, but one and the same.  How we can not forge ahead with one at the expense of the other.

To truly have a voice?  I’m not really sure what it will mean.  But I do know that it’s only the start.  Today was something we have fought long and hard to see.  And it really is only the start.  So very much work to be done, but I know that Elizabeth is up for the task.  I know she will fight for us, and ensure that we are heard.  She is a strong, smart, well-spoken woman… and I know she is ready for all this means.

Today, as I always have been, I am proud to be GREEN!

Regina Woman Refused Her Right to Vote!

A woman, who went to cast her ballot at an advanced poll, was turned away.  Not because she forgot her I.D. or couldn’t prove residency…  but because of a medical condition.  An enumerator who went to her residence simply decided that she wasn’t fit to vote, without even talking to her.  Then, when she went to the polling station, she was turned away on the grounds of being unregistered.

Can we say DISCRIMINATION?

Need some help?

dihskrim-uh-neyshuhn

This woman, like any other, regardless of age or disability, deserves to cast her vote as she sees fit.  It is her right as a Canadian citizen.  Wherever she places her X, it is her right to do so.

I honestly hope there are some serious consequences for the unnamed enumerator in this mess.  This is not a matter that should be handled internally.  I personally would like to see some outside involvement, and possible charges being laid.  Discrimination on any basis is not something to be taken lightly.

I am honestly too outraged to post much more than the basic facts here…  I’ll soon start making up words and just flinging my arms around violently.  This is SOOOO not okay.  Not even remotely.

This woman, regardless of how well she understands the political game (and truly, how well do any of us understand it?), deserves to vote.  The fact that some government worker went to her home and simply decided she was unfit – without even talking to her – is reprehensible.  Very honestly, if someone is capable of telling you their name, their age, and can identify themselves as a Canadian citizen (in one way or another), then they have the right to put their X wherever they see fit.  Even if this information must be relayed through a third party (as would be the case for my younger sister, Marie) they have the right to vote.

Appalling!

To read the story by CBC, click below:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/story/2011/04/28/sk-voting-senior-110428.html

Voting Green?

Because of my recent problems with the Green Party of Canada (and the reason I am not running this election – SEE HERE) I have had to seriously look at my options.  Voting Green was not the no-brainer that it typically is for me.  Do I support the party who’s organizer treated me so shabbily?  Do I support them despite this egregious error?

The way I was treated seriously made me fear for the future of the Green Party here in Canada.  What makes the Greens different is that the party treats every voice the same, gives every person a say.  They have always been a grassroots political party.  But the way I was treated made me wonder if this is still true for the GPC…  because clearly I don’t matter to the party.  Elizabeth May took the time to listen, and to care, but as a figurehead she has little input into how the party is run (which is as it should be).

In the end, what has brought me back to the national Greens, is this:  The principles the party was founded on are still the same principles I believe in.  Every Green Party in the world bases policy on these same six principles, and no other Canadian party can say the same.  I believe in the principles of the Green Party.  Regardless of anything else, I must vote with my principles.

Ecological Wisdom

Social Justice

Nonviolence

Sustainability

Respect for Diversity

Participatory Democracy

While I am disappointed in how I was treated, and how the local candidates all appear to be running completely non-visible campaigns…  my devotion to these principles is still the same as it has always been.  So come May 2nd, I will be voting Green.  My support for the GPC may be wavering, but I am still a Green (both as a politician and activist).

I am Green

I am Green!

A Giant Douche or a Turd Sandwich.

South Park had it right.  Sometimes it can feel like your vote comes down to a choice between a giant douche or a turd sandwich.  More than anything, what we need in this country is electoral reform.  We need a system that stops pitting politicians and parties against one another.  We need a system that allows for cooperative governing.  Where we can discuss the issues of importance, rather than just bludgeon one another over the head with nastiness and other inappropriate conduct.

After everything that has happened in regards to my own candidacy (click here for details) with the Green Party of Canada, I am no longer confident in them either.  Their internal workings leave much to be desired, and this has only proven to me that the party isn’t ready for a chance at true governance.  However, Elizabeth May still has my support – totally and completely.

So…  choices boil down to this:  a Giant Douche, a Turd Sandwich, a Sweatervested Skidmark,  or a Wicked-Awesome Woman.  Normally I don’t advocate voting based on a party’s leadership.  But this time?  I really think that’s what it has to come down to.  So?  Who will you throw your support behind?

Giant Douche or Turd – a Wiki article

As the kids of South Park learn…  it doesn’t really matter if you’ve voted for the winning party.  What matters is that you took part.  Every vote counts, so you might as well vote with your conscience.  Win or lose, at least you will have won the right to complain.  😉

 

Canadians, too close to see the truth?

For some time now, I’ve wondered if many of my fellow Canadians are simply too close to see the truth.  We seem to fall into three camps (politically speaking).

  1. In the minority – Those who see all that Harper and his government have done, who are outraged, and doing their best to see change happen.
  2. Also in the minority – Those who see all that Harper and his government have done, yet figure there is nothing to be done, so have washed their hands of all things political.
  3. The majority – Those who deny there is anything going on, and who continue to sing Harper’s praises.

Are we so close to the lies that we have been prevented from seeing the truth?

For the first time EVER in Canadian history, our Prime Minister (now former prime minister) has been found to be in Contempt of Parliament.  For those who aren’t aware, that is a federal crime!  Yet, somehow, he has still managed to maintain his role as the Leader of the Conservatives…  and he is now running a campaign hoping for reelection.

Worth nothing:  If a person has been convicted of a federal crime they are not eligible for election.  Not only are they not able to be elected, they are not able to run for election!  So please explain to me how Stephen Harper is seeking reelection.

“Edmund Burke noted that all that was necessary for evil to triumph was for good men to do nothing. Canadians are certainly good and worthy folks, but they suffer an excess of civil obedience, politeness and lack of civic rage that could be harnessed to combat political atrophy. At a time when Arabs risk life and limb for political freedoms, Canadians seem largely apathetic about the erosion of their democracy.”  – Ramesh Thakur

Read more at:  http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/canada-watches-its-democracy-erode/story-e6frg6ux-1226030310248

I wonder how far things will have to go before we finally begin to push back.  Our rights as Canadians are being trampled by the very body who should be seeking to safeguard those rights.  Since when are our citizens deemed to be above the law based solely on status?  It’s a scary day to be Canadian.

For more details on Harper’s contempt finding, and what it SHOULD mean, see http://presscore.ca/2011/?p=1980

So…  there is only one more question to ask.  Which of the three types of Canadians are you?  Vote HERE! And then be sure to get out on May 2nd and vote at the polls.

Saskatoon-Wanuskewin 2011

Lately, I’ve had a lot of inquiries from residents of Saskatoon-Wanuskewin who want to know why I am not their candidate.  As my former constituents were aware, I fully intended to run again in the current general election.  I accomplished a number of things in the last national election that I am very proud of, and with a few years experience and two elections under my belt, I’m all the stronger, and that much better prepared.

Firstly, I am sorry.  You put your trust in me, and I have let you down.  Your support was not something I took lightly.

Over the last few years, the Green Party of Canada has shifted several people through the role of organizer for Saskatchewan.  A role that was filled by Mike Jones when I first came on board, and I’ll be honest…  they never should have let him go.  After the last general election, the GPC did away with the part time job Mike held, merging us with another of the three Prairie Provinces and turning it into a full time position (for the other organizer).

At this point Saskatchewan went from being a top priority to being bottom rung, just like our province is for every other political party.  I was disappointed, but it’s really par for the course.  We don’t bring in a lot of funds for the national parties.  It was bound to happen.

Next, all three provinces (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta) were merged under one organizer.  And then, under yet another organizer, all three Prairie Provinces were merged with Northern and Eastern Ontario – because that makes perfect sense.  This organizer was Nora Shea.

Nora knew I planned to run again, and had been in touch with me.  Unfortunately the two of us had difficulty connecting the one time I knew she was in Saskatoon.  We had planned to work together on all the paperwork that needed to be filed in order to make my candidacy official.  But, I figured, the next time she found her way out here, we’d make it work and get everything formalized.  I wasn’t worried.  Nora knew my intention, and so to did every Green who knew me.

Fast forward…

About a month ago I overheard some happy chatter in regards to Saskatchewan officially having a full slate of candidates for the rumoured upcoming general election.  I say rumoured, because we all had been waiting for a non-confidence vote shortly after the last general election.  Sometimes the rumours were strong, sometimes they were a murmur.  They ebbed and flowed like the Oceans that border our country.

I was rather startled by this news…  as I was still a “candidate of record”.  Without my paperwork filed, there was no official anything.  Just an intention – albeit a well known one.

I queried Elizabeth May.  I taught her how to use BlackBerry Messenger last time she passed our way, and we have each other as BBM contacts.  Regardless of everything that has gone on within the party, she remains steadfast.  Always someone I can count on.  Always upfront, always honest.  I let her know what was going on, and asked her to look into things for me.  And despite a packed and hectic schedule, she did so quickly and without hesitation.  For that, I am very grateful.

It turns out that Nora had been fired…  and the claim from Sharon Labchuk (the organizer for PEI) was that she never passed on any information about my intention to again seek the candidacy for Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, and that would have been sufficient.  I felt badly, but amidst chaos, things like this happen.  People fall in the cracks, details are forgotten, information is not passed on.

However, Ms. Labchuk left me with a very bad taste in my mouth.  Rather than apologizing that I’d been overlooked, she instead began throwing the blame anywhere she could.  At Nora, at me…  at unnamed people whom she insisted had repeatedly attempted to contact me, but whom I didn’t actually hear from (why they would have been trying so hard to reach me if Nora had not informed them of my intention, I have no idea).   It very much reeked of “too bad for you, I don’t care, it’s not my problem, don’t waste my time”.

A political party’s worth can truly be measured from the ground up.  The leader, our figurehead, is vitally important…  but without each supporter, each volunteer, each candidate, each willing body pushing tirelessly towards change, those at the top have no hope and no future.  So while I fully support E. May, and believe wholeheartedly in her abilities and her integrity, the type of attitude displayed by Ms. Labchuk truly makes me fear for the future of our party.

I hope I’m wrong.  Truly I do.

So…  that is the long and short of it.

I fully intended to again fight to give a voice to all of you who otherwise feel you have none in this backwards, broken political arena.  And I am sorry that I am not there for you.  I do not know the man who has replaced me as your candidate, but I hope you will give him the same support you would have given to me.  And I hope that he will listen to you the same way I have, ensuring that your voices ARE heard.

In solidarity, ALWAYS, Tobi-Dawne Smith.

Bill C-389… the “bathroom bill”?

Today has been super busy.  Spent the morning with my wee girlie.  The early afternoon answering emails and phone calls.  A photo shoot in the late afternoon.  Supper with my husband and girlie, followed by another shoot.  Read a few chapters to the girl, put her to bed… and am now here – with you.  Because today was so busy, there are lots of things I could blog about…  but more important than anything I did, is something YOU can do.

With the looming general election, there’s a chance that Bill C-389 may end up being scrapped.  If it’s not passed soon, it’s done…  and all the work that has been done already will be for nothing.  Everything will have to start from scratch.

To it’s discredit, Bill C-389 has become known as the “bathroom bill”.  But it really has very little to do with public washroom facilities (gendered washrooms vs ungendered ones) and everything to do with human rights.  Some folks, particularly the “Christian Right” have been using fear-mongering tactics… claiming it would mean the end of “family values”.  And honestly?  What a load of bunk.

This bill is about human rights on a VERY basic level.  Equality for all people.  It simply asks for the words “gender identity, gender expression” to be added to both the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code.  This would give protection to transgendered people, who currently face an appalling  amount of discrimination, recrimination, and fear every day…  for nothing more than BEING.

You can read the text of the bill itself at:  http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Language=E&Parl=40&Ses=3&Mode=1&Pub=Bill&Doc=C-389_1&File=27#1

In an effort to promote fear, prejudice, and incite hatred some are attempting to thwart this bill saying that it would mean that we would need to start teaching trans 101 in pre-school.  Quite honestly, these folks are completely out of touch with reality…  but, seriously, this is the “worst case scenario” they came up with.  The worst possible thing to come out of this legislation would be to teach equality to children?  Wow.  How is it we haven’t passed this bill already???

We teach equality regardless of sex, equality regardless of race, equality regardless of religion, equality regardless of wealth, equality regardless of creed…  why are we not teaching our young children equality regardless of gender?

Bill C-389 is about safety, security, and the right to personhood.  Transgendered individuals deserve the same protection under the law that every other person is already guaranteed.  It is disgusting that we haven’t already ensured legislation like this is in place.

So, what can you do?

Write Letters!

There is a draft letter available at:  http://egale.ca/index.asp?lang=&menu=1&item=1451 So if you aren’t confident drafting your own, please feel free to copy and paste the one available there.  That is, after all, the whole reason it is there.

If you are in Saskatchewan here are the email addresses for your Senators:

andrer@sen.parl.gc.ca

dyckli@sen.parl.gc.ca

merchp@sen.parl.gc.ca

russem@sen.parl.gc.ca

tkachd@sen.parl.gc.ca

wallin@sen.parl.gc.ca

Share this Blog Post!

Share this link on facebook, twitter, or any of the dozens of social networking sites out there.  Make people aware of this important bill.  Do NOT let it die.

Talk to the Local Media!

Got a favourite news team or news show?  Find their website.  Chances are they will have contact information listed.  Email them, phone them!  Make them aware of what is going on.  Get them talking!

Tell Your Friends!

Seriously, talk to your friends and family.  I bet most of the people you know don’t even know about this bill.  Did you?

It is an atrocity that in this day and age there are still people in Canada without basic human rights.  Without the right to be free from discrimination, without the right to be free from fear.  Bathroom legislation?  What a slap in the face.  This isn’t about public washrooms.  This is about being HUMAN.

Speak up!  Get heard!  Make change!

 

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