Tag Archives: women

Harper Tory campaign takes new hit. Candidates who are off the message and out of order. How many more are like this in his party?


In the latest embarrassment for the Conservative campaign, a candidate who blogged after the July beheading on a Winnipeg-bound bus that Canadians should be allowed to carry concealed handguns for protection has resigned from the Toronto Centre race.

Musings on women, gays, native protesters and hate-speech laws.

(1) Law-abiding men and women should be allowed to carry concealed handguns, saying: “If women and gays really wanted to stop being victims of hate crimes, they’d be in support of this, but judging from discussions, they’d rather be helpless and rely on government.”

(2) The end of human rights commissions and hate-speech laws.

(3) His political views were not entirely in keeping with the Conservative party

This is why Harper needs to change the focus to himself. He needs to find a better “pool” of conservative candidates.

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Anne Kilkenny on CFRB’s John Moore Show


 

Alaskas President Palin?

Alaska's President Palin?

I was suprised, but John Moore had Anne Kilkenny on the show today sometime after 5PM. It was quite interesting! Definately places Anne Kilkenny on the Replublican’s “Public Enemy No. 1”, probably through no fault of her own. I guess the web is just too viral. In any case, below is an portion of the now famous email, however if anyone knows where the link is to the original posting in the Anchorage Daily News, please let me know.  Thanks! Andy MJ / a.k.a. The G.T.A Patriot


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Sarah complained about the “old boy’s club” when she first ran for Mayor, so what did she bring Wasilla? A new set of “old boys”. Palin fired most of the experienced staff she inherited. At the City and as Governor she hired or elevated new, inexperienced, obscure people, creating a staff totally dependent on her for their jobs and eternally grateful and fiercely loyal–loyal to the point of abusing their power to further her personal agenda, as she has acknowledged happened in the case of pressuring the State’s top cop (see below). 
As Mayor, Sarah fired Wasilla’s Police Chief because he “intimidated” her, she told the press. As Governor, her recent firing of Alaska’s top cop has the ring of familiarity about it. He served at her pleasure and she had every legal right to fire him, but it’s pretty clear that an important factor in her decision to fire him was because he wouldn’t fire her sister’s ex-husband, a State Trooper. Under investigation for abuse of power, she has had to admit that more than 2 dozen contacts were made between her staff and family to the person that she later fired, pressuring him to fire her ex-brother-in-law. She tried to replace the man she fired with a man who she knew had been reprimanded for sexual harassment; when this caused a public furor, she withdrew her support. 

She has bitten the hand of every person who extended theirs to her in help. The City Council person who personally escorted her around town introducing her to voters when she first ran for Wasilla City Council became one of her first targets when she was later elected Mayor. She abruptly fired her loyal City Administrator; even people who didn’t like the guy were stunned by this ruthlessness. 

Fear of retribution has kept all of these people from saying anything publicly about her. 

When then-Governor Murkowski was handing out political plums, Sarah got the best, Chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission: one of the few jobs not in Juneau and one of the best paid. She had no background in oil & gas issues. Within months of scoring this great job which paid $122,400/yr, she was complaining in the press about the high salary. I was told that she hated that job: the commute, the structured hours, the work. Sarah became aware that a member of this Commission (who was also the State Chair of the Republican Party) engaged in unethical behavior on the job. In a gutsy move which some undoubtedly cautioned her could be political suicide, Sarah solved all her problems in one fell swoop: got out of the job she hated and garnered gobs of media attention as the patron saint of ethics and as a gutsy fighter against the “old boys’ club” when she dramatically quit, exposing this man’s ethics violations (for which he was fined). 

As Mayor, she had her hand stuck out as far as anyone for pork from Senator Ted Stevens. Lately, she has castigated his pork-barrel politics and publicly humiliated him. She only opposed the “bridge to nowhere” after it became clear that it would be unwise not to. 

OpenEdNews Link – Read More…

Jamaican clean sweep in Women’s 100m


Shelly-Ann Fraser and a clean sweep for Jamaica

Shelly-Ann Fraser and a clean sweep for Jamaica

Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser won the gold medal in the Women’s 100m with a personal best time of 10.78 seconds at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

Fraser led from the start to finish, well clear of her compatriots Sherone Simpson and Kerron Stewart, who won silver together in identical times of 10.98s.

Silver medalist Sherone Simpson commented on the Jamaican clean sweep of the medals, “We made history. Just like yesterday Bolt [Usain Bolt, Jamaica] set a new world record. We are all great athletes and I’m very excited about the tremendous achievement we’ve made for our country.”

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Sheela Basrur, the cool voice of reason during 2003 SARS crisis, dead at 51


PREMIER DALTON MCGUINTY ON THE PASSING OF DR. SHEELA BASRUR

“I was deeply saddened when I heard today of the passing of Dr. Sheela Basrur. She was a remarkable woman and her passion for public service is what made her such an extraordinary Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario. “

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Dr. Sheela Basrur, a public health figure whose skilful leadership and communications expertise helped guide Canada through Toronto’s SARS crisis in 2003, died Monday after a 17-month battle with a rare form of cancer.

Basrur, 51, had stepped down as Ontario’s chief medical officer of health in December 2006 when she learned she was suffering from leiomyosarcoma, a diagnosis for which the prognosis was poor.

Many of her friends, colleagues and admirers fought back tears as they paid tribute to a diminutive woman with a big brain, a big heart and a quick smile.

“It was obviously at one level expected and inevitable, given what she was dealing with. But it’s too soon, too young and a huge loss, not just to public health but far much more in the country,” Dr. David Butler-Jones, Canada’s chief public health officer, said from Halifax.

Born in 1956, Basrur was raised in a professional family.

Her father is a radiation oncologist at the Kitchener, Ont., hospital where Basrur died. Her mother is a professor at the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph.

Divorced, she had one child – a daughter, Simone Koves, who is now 17.

A private funeral will be held, according to family spokesperson Sujit Choudry. A public memorial to mark Basrur’s life and professional contribution will follow.

But some of that recognition started to flow before her death. In April, at a ceremony Basrur was well enough to attend, the provincial government announced it would name Ontario’s new arms-length public health agency the Sheela Basrur Centre.

People for whom she worked and who worked for and with her described a woman able to quickly grasp the big picture, a leader who easily marshalled and motivated troops, and a person whose keen sense of humour was ever at the ready.

“She was one of those people who can take the information and understand the implications of it and be able to convey that to people in a way that they understand,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, a friend who also served as an associate medical officer of health in Toronto during Basrur’s tenure as medical officer of health for the city.

“To me, her greatest skill was being a passionate and very good communicator with people.”

Henry, who now works at the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, often marvelled at Basrur’s easy turns of phrase.

“I used to ask her if she practised those – ‘We’re fighting the fire while we’re building the bucket,”‘ Henry chuckled, quoting a famous Basrur description of what it was like trying to contain SARS with antiquated disease surveillance tools. “She’d just come up with these things.”

After Basrur emerged as a rising star of public health during the 2003 SARS crisis, Ontario Health Minister George Smitherman lured her from Toronto Public Health to serve as Ontario’s chief medical officer of health.

“The day that Sheela Basrur said she was going to come to the province of Ontario and help to champion the renewal of public health, the bounce was the kind that only a very, very small group of leaders is able to accomplish,” Smitherman said in an interview.

That move, in 2004, sent a message to public health professionals throughout the province that things were looking up for their long-neglected field, Smitherman said. “That’s the Sheela Basrur effect.”

The two worked closely together as Ontario moved to enact the Smoke Free Ontario Act, which banned smoking in enclosed work places and public spaces across the province.

“Her determination and always a sense of joyfulness even when the sledding was really very difficult – that’s what I’ll remember the most. That woman was determined and forceful and powerful, in such a tiny little package,” he said.

Getting people to do what was necessary was another of Basrur’s highly honed skills. Saying no to Sheela Basrur just wasn’t something people in public health wanted to do.

“You can’t. It was impossible,” said Dr. Donald Low, who along with Basrur became a household name during the SARS crisis.

After taking on the job with the province, Basrur called Low, head of microbiology at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital, to a meeting to talk about the problems plaguing the provincial public health laboratory network, which was perennially short of staff and unable to attract a medical director.

“I was telling her what the problems were and by the time I left the office I took the job,” Low said. “You really couldn’t say no.”

Liz Janzen, who worked under Basrur as a director of healthy living at Toronto Public Health, knows that feeling.

“She would kind of look at you with those big eyes and you’d go ‘OK, all right, yes, I think I can do that,”‘ an emotional Janzen said.

Basrur championed health promotion, Janzen said, going to bat for parts of public health that typically get little attention.

“So although she had her hands full with DineSafe (a restaurant inspection program) and TB outbreaks and communicable disease outbreaks, she also was a very strong proponent of health promotion in general and in particular working with children and women and vulnerable populations in the community,” Janzen said.

“She was very much there.”

But it was her role in the SARS crisis which showed the world the steel in Sheela Basrur’s spine.

Calm and composed in a time of chaos, she earned the respect of all those who worked with her or watched her on TV.

“Her unique ability to distill complex medical issues at a time of distress brought much needed reassurance to the Canadian and international communities,” Federal Health Minister Tony Clement – who was the provincial health minister at the time – said in a statement.

Dr. Jim Young was Ontario’s head of emergency preparedness when SARS hit. Working with people during a crisis really shows you what they are made of, said Young, who has worked through many in his career.

“You get to assess people as they really are. And they didn’t come any better than Sheela.”

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Xenophobic: Racism, prejudice and utter ignorance in Herouxville Quebec


Rascism, prejudice and ignorance in Herouville QuebecIs Herouville simply a town stuck in another time? People in Canada like to say that American is more racist, however I beg to differ. America has a checkered past, but they have at least tried to “deal” with the issues to racism and prejudice. America has a constitution that promotes Liberty and Freedom. Someone would say that only in America can someone named Obama run for President. In Canada like to pride ourselves in being better than everyone else, but are we really? In another instance of either sheer ignorance, total fear or stupidity; lets remind you about Herouxville Quebec, in Canada. With the minority report out in Quebec, nothing has really changed in the small town of Herouxville. The town’s people, still seem to be stuck in another world and want to stay this way. Although it is not reflective of the entire population, I would dare to say that this is not an uncommon attitude amongst individuals in Canada. People who do not take time to understand and simply keep a one track mind on what they think a minority group is like is simply ignorant. There is the slight possibility that the people of Herouxville do not have the needed intelligence to understand what they have done, however I would be making a “generalization”? Right? By: Andy MJ / a.k.a The GTA Patriot / Toronto, Ontario

Quebecers no more racist than others
Commission says Quebec must do more for immigrants
Quebec’s minority report released
Quebecers urged to be more open toward immigrants

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The town of Herouxville is white, French-speaking and Catholic. But that didn’t stop local officials from adopting a rule of conduct for immigrants. Included in the code: women should be able to show their faces in public (aside from costumes worn on Halloween), and they should also be permitted to drive and write cheques. Women should also not be killed in public beatings or burned alive.

Critics call the code ridiculous and xenophobic, but Town Councilor Andre Drouin says he has received about 2,000 e-mails of support — 700 more than Herouxville’s population.

“We have just published a small document saying who we are and what’s our standard,” he told CTV News.
But some Muslim leaders have called the code a thinly-veiled example of xenophobia. “Racism is coming out of the woodwork now, and it’s not being obscure or subtle,” said Salaam Elmenyawi of the Muslim Council of Montreal.

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Vote Yes for MMP and electoral reform in Ontario


Why are voting systems important?

The voting system is the foundation for representative democracy, because it translates votes into seats. Citizens use the voting system to delegate power to political parties and politicians.

What’s so bad about the present Ontario electoral system?

“In a democratic government,” wrote Swiss philosopher Ernest Naville in 1865, “the right of decision belongs to the majority, but the right of representation belongs to all.”

FPTP undercuts both of these core principles – equal representation for voters and true majority rule. That and other shortcomings are addressed in more detail below.

  • Denies representation for all voters
  • FPTP provides political representation only for those voters who support the most popular party in their riding. Most voters in Ontario elections (two million plus) cast votes that elect no one. In many cases, the winning candidate does not even receive a majority of votes cast in the riding.

  • Distorts the will of the voters
  • Because many voters, often the majority, do not win representation, overall election results are distorted. A party winning only 40% of the votes may gain 1 60% or more of the seats and 100% of the power. A party winning 30% of the votes could find itself with only 10% of the seats. Smaller parties that may attract 5% or 10% of the vote will almost never be represented.

  • Produces phony majority governments
  • Because of these distortions, Ontario is generally ruled by phony majority governments – i.e., by parties that captured a majority of seats without winning a majority of votes cast. In fact, the last time an Ontario election produced a legitimate majority government was 1937. Consider these more recent examples:

    – The current Liberal government won 70% of the seats with only 46% of the popular vote.
    – In 1995, the Tory government won 63% of the seats with only 45% of the vote.
    – In 1990, the Ontario NDP received less than 38% of the popular vote but won 57% of the seats.

  • Fails to produce accountable governments
  • Governments that win with less than majority support nonetheless claim a “mandate from the people”. Once any party controls a majority of seats, nothing can stop a premier from enacting unpopular laws that are not supported by a majority of voters.

  • Gives us stagnation or wild swings but not responsive government
  • Ontario often has periods where one party is entrenched in power for an extended period. Then, even with a relatively small shift in voter attitudes, the composition of the legislature can swing wildly from one side of the ideological spectrum to the other. This can produce what is sometimes called “policy lurch”. Neither trend is responsive to the evolving political will of citizens.

  • Results in low percentages of women and visible minority MPPs
  • Every voting system produces incentives for parties to bring forward certain types of candidates. In a FPTP system based on electing only one candidate per riding, parties have little incentive to field a diverse range of candidates. Other voting systems in which parties must bring forward lists of candidates for larger regions have the opposite incentive. A more diverse array of candidates is often the winning strategy.

  • Promotes apathy, cynicism and negativity among voters
  • When voters believe their votes do not make a difference, they have little motivation to cast their votes. In Ontario, nearly 40% of eligible voters do not bother casting ballots. Countries using proportional voting systems generally have higher voter turnouts.

How will the MMP system help with the election of more women and minorities?

The proposed MMP system will improve women’s representation because parties will be forced – for practical reasons – to adopt new strategies for nominating their candidates. Most parties will quickly learn they will win the most votes if they have nearly equal portions of women and men appearing on their lists, and an appropriate portion of visible minorities. Any party that presents a list that is largely male and without minority candidates will very likely lose votes.

In many European countries, parties “zipper” their lists, alternating male and female names on their lists so equal numbers are elected. Parties are very competitive in seeking votes and will apply whatever strategy wins the most seats under the voting system being used. The evidence is clear. Proportional voting systems help produce what most Canadians want: more diversity in our legislatures.

What voting systems are newer democracies choosing?

According to the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (http://www.idea.int/esd/world.cfm), not one of the 26 countries that were part of the old Soviet bloc picked first-past-the-post.

Two countries adopted MMP, 13 chose other forms of proportional representation and seven picked semi-proportional votng systems, while four countries moved to two-round systems.

What is the Vote for MMP campaign?

Vote for MMP is a multi-partisan campaign initiated by Fair Vote Canada to support adoption of the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) voting system in the Ontario referendum on October 10. Fair Vote Canada is a national citizens’ campaign for electoral reform.

Through the Vote for MMP campaign, Ontarians from all backgrounds, regions and political views are uniting to support a new voting system that will give all of us more choice, fairer results and stronger representation.

For more information on MMP, go to http://www.voteformmp.ca