True North Strong And Free And Without Fear

canada-heroIt’s been a big week for Canada. We know that to be true because not only did we get a mention during CNN’s primetime news coverage but we also got made fun in John Oliver’s opening monologue on his HBO show “Last Week Tonight” as well as on the Daily Show where Trevor Noah referred to us as “fiscally sound-minded moose bangers”. The event that got all the attention was Canada’s ousting of our nine year incumbent Prime Minister, Stephen Harper and replacing him in a landslide election with Liberal Party Leader, Justin Trudeau.
Stephen Harper
Our outgoing Prime Minister committed his own coup de grâce in the final months of his campaign by running on a platform of ‘fear’. Fear of ISIS. Fear of immigrants “barbaric” practices. Fear of losing the election… oh no, that was just him.

On Election Day, I learned first-hand just how this platform of fear had backfired on Prime Minister Harper while I spent the afternoon and evening volunteering in Delta B.C.

I showed up at the campaign headquarters of Carla Qualtrough, Delta’s Federal Liberal Candidate, to offer my assistance. I was quickly tasked along with two other ladies to “door knocking” at a subset of homes to help remind the residents of the hours and locations of their nearest polling stations (and also offer them information about Carla if they were still “undecided”).

We must have knocked on at least 30 – 40 doors and each person that greeted us, for the most part, was respectful and polite. Many responded that they had either voted in the advance polls or had already been out that morning to vote. Several mentioned that they were either on their way to the polling station or they were just waiting for a spouse to come home so that they could go together.

But my key point, is that we were greeted by many different nationalities. And the common theme that resonated with me was each time the door was opened by someone that wasn’t necessarily a natural born Canadian citizen, they would exclaim with pride that ‘yes!’, they had voted and not just them but they would say that their husbands, wives, sons and/or daughters had joined them. Each time this happened it would make me smile – which was a reflection of their smiles. These were people that took their right to vote seriously and something they shared with their entire family.
One of my fellow door-knockers was also not a natural born Canadian Citizen. When we were chatting, she shared with me that she was originally from India, had moved her family to Canada from England 25 years ago and that she has 3 grown sons who all have very successful careers here in Canada. I said that she must be very proud and her response to me was this; “I worked very hard for them. Very hard.” At that point I realised that this was what immigrating to Canada likely meant to her – she had the opportunity to work hard and send her sons to school so that they would go on to become successful adults. That’s it. End of story.

When we are talking about our immigration policies, this is the image that we should be focusing on.The immigrant that lands on our shores looking for a better life, she works hard, she ensures her children get educated and hopefully they go on to be successful, productive citizens and she herself responds in kind by spending hours out in the rain encouraging others to get out and vote to keep this type of prosperity continuing for her children’s children and all other Canadians that are in search of a better life. And let’s face it, aren’t we all in search of the very best life that we can live?

On a side note, my husband wanted the Title for this post to read ‘Knockers From Around The World’. Feel free to chime in on which title you prefer.

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5 Reasons Stephen Harper’s Conservatives Lost My Vote In This Federal Election

Stephen Harper and George Bush Shake HandsI have been a voting adult for over 20 years, and have always considered myself slightly left of centre. I value fiscal responsibility combined with conservative taxation. I want support systems in place for the people that need assistance and I also want to see people that work hard be rewarded. B.C. was not a great place to be in the 90’s when I graduated. I was lucky enough to be able to relocate to the U.S. during the Clinton years. Sadly, with the U.S. having a two-term limit for Presidents, the good times weren’t meant to last. With years of work and life experience under my belt, I moved back to Canada with my family and found myself leaning somewhat closer to the centre and finding myself more inline with the Federal Conservatives here in Canada, who seemed to be doing a remarkable job in a challenging economic time.

However, all that has changed…

1) Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have proven to be Tone Deaf
They promised to match donations dollar for dollar to the Terry Fox Foundation… IF they are re-elected. So when I heard this last caveat, I thought, why not NOW? Why not say, “Hey Fellas, how about instead of running the next 3 ‘fear mongering’ ads that cost us an arm and a leg… what about taking that money and donating it to this cause that means a great deal to all Canadians?”

2) Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are endorsed by extremists
Of all the Conservative Candidates running in this election, 25.4% of them have been endorsed for their opposition to women’s reproductive rights by the ‘Campaign Life Coalition’, a controversial group that is also known for offering counselling to people experiencing ‘unwanted same-sex attraction’. One of these candidates stated the he believes that there is never ANY circumstance where a woman should have access to an abortion. Another candidate compared abortion to the Holocaust and suggested that it was like a 9/11 every day.

While I’m on that topic, 9 of those anti- women’s rights candidates are running here in B.C. , the province that has the highest child poverty rates in Canada. If you don’t see the irony in that, we are likely not voting the same way.

3) Stephen Harper’s Conservatives Drink $16 O.J.
Orange JuiceThe Conservative party plead guilty to conducting a series of wire transfers to shuffle $1.3-million in advertising costs. They did this by having 67 local candidates claim expenses for regional radio and TV ad’s through their own personal expense limits. These charges were brought against them by Elections Canada. This blatant abuse of tax payer money was shown to run rampant throughout this Government, as it has also played out time and again with senate expense scandals that are far too many to list here. Just think, $16 for a glass of orange juice, $1000 per day limousine expense and a $32,000 helicopter ride to name a few.

4) Stephen Harper’s Conservatives Refuse Abortions For Child Brides and Victims of War Rape
Naturally, Canada strongly condemns forced marriages and child brides, but when it comes to providing funding for safe abortions to the 3rd world women and child victims of violent sexual assaults, the answer is a heartless and callous NO! Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have stated the government’s policy would follow the same logic as that behind Canada’s $3-billion G8 funding commitment for maternal and child health — no money should go toward abortion services. Even though all members of the G8 are aware that rape is consistently used as a weapon and a strategy of war.

5) Stephen Harper’s Conservatives Are Pillaging the Environment
This Conservative Government does not prioritize climate change and they have cut spending for environmental programs and referred to climate scientists as radical extremists. Canada is in a recession now due in large part to the drop in oil prices. Our dollar is sinking along with those oil prices and that is thanks to our extremely oil dependent economy crafted by the Conservatives. Those of us paying attention, know that advances in renewable energy technology are growing by leaps and bounds and the competition with oil puts the major oil producers like the Alberta tar sands in jeopardy. I’ve come to the conclusion that there isn’t much point in worrying about a balanced budget when the world that we are living in and that we are leaving to our children is being destroyed at an astonishing rate.
Polar Bear
You know which other country leader was a big fan of oil? That’s right, George W. Bush. Now that I’ve seen Stephen Harper devolve into a George W. type leader, I’m going in another direction. I’ll be voting for Change!

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