I’ve been inspired!

Scales

Just spent an engaging evening with the Canadian Women Voters Congress. The discussion topic was the mentorship program and its inspired me to write an imminent blog post on the importance of Canadian Women in politics. Register now to be notified when its published! #equalvoice

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Why Hillary Should Dance with The Devil

Hillary Rodham ClintonHillary Clinton has been accused of many things, including being some shady underhanded crook who shouldn’t be trusted. The media and her opponents will tell you that she’s raked in millions in speaking fees and has received hefty donations from big business, which is the very evil that Democrats have been accusing the GOP of for years. I’m going to explain why the voters can and should forgive her for this.

In the world of todays politics its become very clear, you’re not going to get the prize if you don’t have the coin.

The United States is where it is today in part due to something seemingly innocuous that occurred at the beginning of the 1980’s. A woman from Missouri by the name of Harriett Woods was running as a Democrat for the U. S. Senate. Harriett was a mother of two that had followed an improbable path into politics, all the while gaining valuable experience at the city and state level. Her senate race had her running against Republic Senator John Danforth. (Now follow me here as this all comes full circle) Senator Danforth was not only an incumbent but also a former attorney general of Missouri, an ordained priest and the wealthy grandson of Ralston Purina. (Money, Money, Money by ABBA should be playing in your ear at this point)harriett woods

Even with all this going for him, Senator Danforth found himself in a tight race with Harriett Woods, with Woods even winning some of the most rural Republican areas in Missouri. That was until the final week of the election cycle when the Woods campaign ran out of money which meant that she couldn’t afford to counter the last minute storm of virulent attacks broadcast by her opponent.

This heartbreaking defeat drew special attention, particularly due to the fact that Harriett Woods was the only female U.S. Senate Candidate in the whole country. It became so clear that she could have won with financial support to answer the attacks, that her race inspired the founding of EMILY’s List, (say it with me West Wing Fans ‘E’arly ‘M’oney ‘I’s ‘L’ike ‘Y’east) one of the biggest PAC’s in the nation.

So Senator Danforth did win and on his way to Washington, he took with him, an African American lawyer named Clarence Thomas, who had been working for Monsanto, the agrochemical giant responsible for Agent Orange, GMO seeds/foods and so much more.

Now here is where we bring it full circle:

  1. If Harriett Woods hadn’t been defeated by less than 2% of the votes in Missouri, Danforth would not have gone on to be a U.S. Senator.
  2. If Danforth hadn’t been a U.S. Senator, he wouldn’t have taken Clarence Thomas with him to Washington as a staff member who would then go on to be appointed by George H. Bush to the Supreme Court.
  3. If Thomas hadn’t been on the Supreme Court, he couldn’t have supplied the one-vote difference that halted the Florida court-ordered recount in Gore V. Bush.
  4. If the recount had continued, Al Gore would have been president not George Bush.Election 2000
  5. If George W. Bush had not been president, the U.S. would have been far less likely to launch the longest war in U.S. History, costing billions in tax dollars given to twenty thousand contractors, with thousands killed and wounded on both sides.
  6. If Al Gore had been president, global warming would have been taken seriously. And, the U.S. would not have falsified evidence to justify invading oil-rich Iraq, which along with Afghanistan, convinced some Islamic countries that the U.S. is waging war against Islam.
  7. With no George W. Bush presidency, there would not have been the biggest transfer of wealth into private hands in the history of this nation: a pay ratio where the average CEO earns 475 times more than the average worker (in Canada, it’s 20 times); an executive order giving an estimated $40 billions in tax dollars to Catholic, Evangelical and other religious groups, without congressional approval, often with the appearance of turning churches into a vote delivery system.

If you’re not screaming already, here is one more…

  1. Without Clarence Thomas to supply the one-vote majority, the Supreme Court might not have ruled that corporations are people, therefore allowing them the right to unlimited political spending, which is why, my friends and fellow voters, Hillary needs to follow the money.

Hillary learned her lesson during the last election primary. This time, if she doesn’t dance with the devil, it won’t be President Sanders that you’ll be hearing at the 2017 Swearing-In, it’ll be President Trump!

This blog post was inspired by Gloria Steinem’s latest book – My Life on the Road My Life on the Road - Cover

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Instead of calling it Gun Control why don’t we call it Massacre Prevention?

1,052 mass shootings in 1,066 days: this is what America’s gun crisis looks like.
gunflag

Here we are again, another senseless mass shooting. More innocent people slaughtered for just going about their day. It wasn’t a school or college campus this time. It wasn’t a Women’s Health Clinic or even the mean streets of Chicago. This time it was a holiday banquet at an office building and the shooters were a married couple, one of which was an employee of the group holding the banquet and the other, his new wife from Pakistan who it has now been reported, had recently pledged allegiance to ISIS.
The facts of this most recent mass shooting have created a conundrum for the press. There is no question that this was a terrorist act but it seems that the motives could be a mix of both homegrown terrorism as well as Islamic extremism aimed at the West.

Regardless of what ‘label’ this atrocity gets tagged with, two of the guns used in the attack were purchased legally and the purchaser was an American Citizen. This leads us down the road to proposed changes to gun laws in the U.S.A. which even with the #Enough hashtag created by The Brady Campaign to pressure the lawmakers in Washington to actually do something this time, this President has already shown that he will not use Executive Power to force meaningful changes to the currently impotent laws.

Q: Did you know a gun purchased over the Internet or from a private individual at a gun show is NOT subject to a background check because neither instance involves licensed gun sellers?

kidsgunsAfter Sandy Hook, where twenty 5 & 6 year olds along with 6 adults were slain in their classrooms, a bill was put forward in Congress to stop the loopholes like those described above. But that bill failed by a 50-48 vote. Just think about that; there were 50 members of Congress that felt that is was too politically risky to strengthen background checks even after hearing that many of the Sandy Hook children couldn’t be identified by their parents because, well, you can imagine what multiple rounds from an assault rifle does to the body of a 5 or 6 year old child.

Q: Did you know that under federal law, the three day waiting period gives the F.B.I. 3 business days to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to deny a purchase. If the bureau cannot come up with an answer, the purchaser can return to the dealer on the fourth day and buy the gun!

In June of this year, a young man by the name of Dylann Roof, who also had a lengthy criminal history, exploited this loophole by waiting the 3 days and when the F.B.I. did not return a decision to the gun shop, on the 4th day Roof walked into the store and purchased the .45 caliber handgun which he used to murder 9 people in a historically significant black church in South Carolina.

Q: Did you know the Obama administration dropped a plan to ban green-tip bullets that can pierce a police officer’s protective vest because it faced too much criticism by the hunting community since these bullets are used in sport shooting? Do moose wear protective vests now?

This goes along with the outright assault weapons ban, like AK-47’s introduced by the Clinton administration in 1994. The ban expired in 2004 and efforts to renew it, even in 2013 after Sandy Hook, failed. Because if you use an AK-47 for hunting, you can definitely get your game, you’ll just go hungry because there won’t be any meat left on the carcass to eat!

PerhapsThis is only a conversation about gun control as it relates to mass shootings but to be considered a mass shooting, it’s 4 or more victims. Other lives could be saved by sending a message that gun ownership comes with grave responsibility. You wouldn’t leave your car in the driveway with the keys in the ignition if you had kids in the home. You would be pulled over by the police and charged if you were driving a car without a license. People may say that you can’t kill as many people with a car as you can with a gun but it might also be that many people mistakenly feel far greater responsibility owning a car than they do owning something that is meant for one purpose only, to kill.

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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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