Category Archives: Elections

Profiles of a possible (Conservative) Leader: Derek Sloan

This is the last of four posts looking at the candidates running to replace Andrew Scheer as the Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada.  The previous post was a glance at the campaign of Erin O’Toole.  In the last of our candidates I focus on Derek Sloan.  

Derek Sloan

I had no idea who Derek Sloan was when the announcement was made that he was going to run for the leadership of the party, I knew he had won back the riding of Hastings-Lennox and Addington for the Conservatives from the Liberals.  Here is what I knew about Sloan, he is a lawyer and has run several small businesses – all this from his website.  He won the Conservative nomination over three others.  His riding association has asked the Conservative Party to strip Sloan from the party because of statements he has made about gender identity.  He had only sat in the House of Commons seven days before he became a candidate for the leadership of the party.

In an interview with Tony Clement on the podcast “And another thing”, Sloan told Clement his reason for running was all about not apologizing for being a conservative.  He has stuck to that mantra; his campaign slogan is ‘Conservative. Without apology.” According Sloan, party members want a conservative, not a ‘liberal lite’, as their next leader.

Now, he has not had the smoothest sailing through the campaign.  He’s hit a few rough spots and hit some controversy.  Issues of conversion therapy, family values, marijuana and his criticism of Dr. Theresa Tam make him different from the other three candidates – from what I can see, he welcomes the stage to stand apart from Leslyn Lewis, Peter Mackay and Erin O’Toole.  It was that criticism of Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer that gave him headlines; it was the call from some members of the Conservative Caucus to have him removed as a member of the caucus and a leadership candidate that gave his campaign life from the section of the party that supported him with emails of support to the Conservative MPs and donations to his campaign. But for all the controversy Sloan may generate, he stands behind every word and policy his is presenting in his campaign, without apology.

Each of the candidates know their target audience, what I found interesting in the Sloan campaign is that it is the only campaign that is working hard to attract the Chinese vote with a translation of his website in Chinese.  

Sloan’s campaign touches on similar themes as the others; Carbon Tax, Freedom of Speech and Canada’s international duties.  It is on this last theme he veers away from the other three with a ‘Canada’ theme of pulling out support for the WHO, withdrawing our signature from the Paris Agreement and slashing Canada’s immigration by 200,000 people/year. There are Canadians on the (extreme) right and left who will agree with Sloan’s sovereigntist approach.

Does Derek Sloan have a chance to win the leadership?  Of, course there is always a path to victory; but will a path to the leadership of the Conservative also take Derek Sloan to the Prime Minister’s Office?  Derek Sloan is not who I think should be leading the party, the divisions in the party would be too great and the swing voter would swing away from a Derek Sloan led Conservative Party. 

To learn more about Derek and his platform visit www.dereksloan.ca.

Thank you for taking to time to read this post and the entire series of posts with the candidates for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada. 

Stay safe, wash your hands and if you have a ballot for the CPC Leadership make sure you get it to the party before August 21st.

Rob

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @RedHrtBlueSign and on Facebook athttps://www.facebook.com/rob.dekker.54.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

Profiles of a possible (Conservative) Leader: Erin O’Toole

This is the third of four posts looking into the candidates running to replace Andrew Scheer as the Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada.  Last post I looked at Peter Mackay and in today’s post I’ll take a peak at former Veterans Affairs Minister Erin O’Toole.

Erin O’Toole

Three years ago, Erin O’Toole finished third to Andrew Scheer and Maxime Bernier for the party leadership.  Three years ago, was also a completely different campaign. Thirteen candidates were on the ballot.  Erin O’Toole was also my #1 choice on the ballot and like so many more my decision to place Andrew Scheer above Maxime Bernier on my ballot helped elect Scheer as the leader of the party.

What a different three years, one election and a pandemic make.  Erin O’Toole is back in the race to win the leadership.  This campaign seems so much different than in 2017.  In 2017 candidates were fighting a campaign on multiple – twelve – fronts, and the Conservative right was aligned with three solid candidates. You didn’t know where the next attack was coming from.  In 2020 the field is much smaller, and campaigns can focus on fewer fronts and target messages with greater accuracy.  

Because of these changes, the Erin O’Toole running in 2020 is different from the 2017 candidate.  The 2017 O’Toole campaign was a kinder and gentler candidate that candidate in 2020, but It makes sense.  O’Toole knows where he needs to focus his campaign, and it is focused right on Peter Mackay.

On the issues, O’Toole has been aggressive on China, Huawei and recently has taken on the United Nations wanting to reform the world institution. O’Toole says he will make sure Canada is a leader in global affairs, again not a country that comes third in a three-country race for two seats on the UN Security Council.  He’ll begin with the creation of CANZUK, an economic alliance with the UK, New Zealand and Australia.  O’Toole has also laid out an economic plan for Canada he’ll implement if elected as PM in the next election.

In 2020 it’s not a given that a right leading candidate will lead the party again.  Where does the values base of the party go?  O’Toole has been courting the supporters of Leslyn Lewis and Derek Sloan asking them to make him their number two selection on the ranked ballot.  He’s been talking about protecting rights and values that the Liberals want to have removed.  Being loyal to Andrew Scheer as a valued member of the Scheer Shadow Cabinet certainly will score points for Scheer supporters.

One requirement that could make him the winner is if party members want a sitting MP to become the next leader and to be able to join the Opposition as Leader in the House of Commons from day one of their leadership.  In this area the choices are O’Toole or rookie MP Derek Sloan – most party members would choose O’Toole if that were the number one criterion, however there is much more to consider. 

O’Toole has the knowledge, experience and the leadership for the party, he also has the support of 37 caucus members, but is that enough to make him look like the leader that party members want that will upend Trudeau in the next election?

To learn more about Erin and his plans for Canada and the Party if elected Leader visit www.erinotoole.ca.

Thank you for taking to time to read this post, next and last in the series of four on the Party Leadership Candidates is Derek Sloan.

Stay safe, wash your hands and if you have a ballot for the CPC Leadership make sure you get it to the party before August 21st.

Rob

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @RedHrtBlueSign and on Facebook athttps://www.facebook.com/rob.dekker.54.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

Profiles of a possible (Conservative) Leader: Peter Mackay

This is the second of two posts looking into the candidates running to replace Andrew Scheer as the Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada.  Last post I looked at Dr. Lewis and in today’s post I’ll look at former Minister and last Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada Peter Mackay.

Photo from Wounded Warriors

In 2017, Peter Mackay watched from the sidelines as 13 Conservatives vied for the leadership of the party he helped create, the Conservative Party of Canada.  In the years between deciding not to run in the 2015 election Peter Mackay has set his sights on Bay Street in Toronto and his family.  

As a co-founder of the present-day Conservative Party of Canada, Mackay did not run for the leadership and he did not endorse any candidate for the party leadership.

What is memorable about Mackay in this leadership race is what was said leading up to it, not during it.  In a post-election panel event, he spoke the words ‘stinking albatross’ when referring to the election results of October 21, 2019.  Was he wrong or was he right with those words? Perhaps that is what this leadership campaign is all about; the ability of the Conservative Party of Canada to form government and how the beliefs of a strong portion of the party base reflect the values and how Canadian voters see that.

As a co-founder of the present-day Conservative Party of Canada, Mackay did not run for the leadership and he did not endorse any candidate for the party leadership.

What is memorable about Mackay in this leadership race is what was said leading up to it, not during it.  In a post-election panel event, he spoke the words ‘stinking albatross’ when referring to the election results of October 21, 2019.  Was he wrong or was he right with those words? Perhaps that is what this leadership campaign is all about; the ability of the Conservative Party of Canada to form government and how the beliefs of a strong portion of the party base reflect the values and how Canadian voters see that.

Peter’s platform is conservative voter friendly, there isn’t a lot of controversy and it could be seen as something that swing voters could accept.  What his and other platforms lack would be a clearer environmental plan.  Voters rejected the Scheer environmental plan in the last election, I don’t know if Mackay thinks he could win a general election without a more substantial plan on the environment and climate change.  I would suspect Canadians and more importantly Liberals would emphasize that Conservatives haven’t learned from 2019 on this issue.  

He has one candidate he is focused on, former Cabinet colleague Erin O’Toole.  While he doesn’t appear to have reached out to the supporters (that I have noticed) of Leslyn Lewis or Derek Sloan, he does mention issues like the conscience right of medical practitioners not to assist in medically assisted deaths on his website. 

What Mackay should be worried about is second and third ballot support if he doesn’t have the numbers to win on a first ballot.  Mackay seems to have unwittingly taken on the burden that Maxime Bernier had in 2017, of not having enough down ballot support to take it all.

Unlike Bernier, Mackay does have something that perhaps Party members and Canadians want; a Leader they can support to defeat Justin Trudeau, a Conservative Leader that can earn the support centre-left voters that are tired of Trudeau his mistakes, his leaning into NDP policy and his personal ethics violations.

With Peter Mackay, Conservatives know who they may have as a leader of the party, it will be up to the members to decide if they like what they see.  I encourage you to visit www.petermackay.ca before you complete your ballot and send it back to the party to make sure it arrives in Ottawa before August 21st

Thank you for taking a few minutes of your day for reading RHBS Post #293. Stay safe and healthy.  I will feature the next leadership candidate in this series with Erin O’Toole. 

Rob

Profiles of a possible (Conservative) Leader: Dr. Leslyn Lewis

I have been pondering these posts for a long time before putting fingers to the keyboard.  Now that ballots have been mailed, this seems like the appropriate time to talk about the campaign to replace Andrew Scheer as the Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada.

This race has been on since October 2019 and the Leadership race was launched early 2020 with the original date to have a new leader selected was last weekend.  COVID-19 came and took two candidates, Marilyn Gladu and Rudy Husny, out of the race.  One candidate was booted out, reinstated by the courts and then booted out of the race again.  After all the dust settled there are four candidates vying to be the next Leader of the Opposition, and hopefully the next Prime Minister of Canada.  

The final four to appear on the ranked ballot are (alphabetically): Leslyn Lewis, Peter MacKay, Erin O’Toole and Derek Sloan.  I Have voted for Peter for Leader in 2003, for the Progressive Party of Canada and Erin for CPC leader in 2017.  Both have qualities I need to see in a leader, but only one name will be in my number one spot.  

For the this and the three next posts I’ll take a dive into the candidates for the party leadership, alphabetically.  Today I’ll look at Dr. Leslyn Lewis, followed by the Hon. Peter Mackay, the Hon. Erin O’Toole and rookie MP Derek Sloan

I find Leslyn Lewis to be the most interesting of all the leadership contestants. I also have respect for her campaign; of the four campaigns, she is the least mistake prone and appears true to the message she is communicating.  

I liked how Lewis performed in the English debate. I liked her responses to the post-debate scrum on Canada’s systemic racism.  If I was prepared to wait a two-term election cycle before seeing a Conservative Prime Minister I might be willing to put Lewis number on my ballot.  Serving as a Minister in a Conservative government will prepare Lewis to be a successful Prime Minister in her own right.  We’ll have to see if either MacKay or Lewis will be brave enough give Lewis in a role that allows her to shine.  

I listened to former MP and a previous leadership contestant Tony Clement interview Dr. Lewis on his podcast; And Another Thing Podcast, I was duly impressed with the clarity of her answers and honestly the last spin she gave – it was very refreshing.  In the interview she noted that she does a lot of the policy, speech and video writing herself, she does know that will change to a degree if she becomes leader, but I doubt she’ll be completely hands off – making sure her message is HER message will be a constant focus, and possible challenge for the staff in the Office of  the Leader of the Opposition.  Lewis’ background and education are interesting.  What was most interesting is how she and her team have been able level the playing field, meet and exceed the criteria of the Conservative Party leadership organizing committee.

I am intrigued by her Masters in Environmental Studies from York University; has the Conservative Party ever had someone that might be as qualified as Dr. Lewis to talk about the environment?  Though her platform on the environment mirrors most of what was talked about in the 2019 election and what other leadership candidates have been saying in this leadership contest.

Unlike one other candidate, Dr. Lewis’s personal values, the ones she was brought up on, these values about family values and qualities of generosity, hard work and equal opportunity may those that Canadians, of every political stripe.   It’s not beyond belief that Lewis’ values would challenge those of Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party that a Conservative Leader could stir a self-confidence in voters that recently may have belonged to Liberal voters. 

To learn more about Dr. Lewis, her policies and background please visit her website www.leslynlewis.ca.  

Thank you for taking a few minutes of your day for reading RHBS Post #292. Stay safe (and healthy)

Rob

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @RedHrtBlueSign and on Facebook athttps://www.facebook.com/rob.dekker.54.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

How do you Protest?

This week’s post will cut close to the bone for many, but it comes after almost two weeks of protests around the world and closer to home in Canada and Ottawa.  Millions of Americans and 10’s of thousands of Canadians marched because of racism, police brutality and needless deaths.  One name was the centre of the protests this week, George Floyd.

Discarded Ottawa protest signs, photo by Danno Saunt-Videoman Ottawa

The Parliamentary Protective Services released a statement that more than 7,000 people protested with very little disturbance.  That number is very impressive, they gathered, marched went down on their collective knees in an organized demonstration against racism.  They shared a collective voice in silence in that act.

I have friends who march in the demonstrations and many others who don’t. There is a common thread through my circle of friends though, we know we can all do something to make change take place.

I have run for office three times, each time I did because I felt that it was the best way, I could form change – with policy and legislation.  The process of good policy and legislation is not difficult; listening is pivotal as is understanding why and how good policy can lead to effective legislation.  

Today I work to research, investigate and understand how a policy has been helpful or a hindrance.  That leads to new policy, questions to ask the experts and an opinion that will form a solution that will become legislation.  Understand, that the entire last sentence does not include the rigour of debate, counter opinions and disagreements that take place to form the what is hopefully a key to good public policy.  This is how I can be effective in having good public policy. 

I didn’t walk in the protest in Ottawa.  I posted once on social media, on #BlackoutTuesday, regarding the injustices of the death of George Floyd and racism. I’ve seen posts from social media influencers who have chosen to post often and others that have posted very little.  I read one post that suggested that just because they didn’t post on the issue that they didn’t agree or support that cause. I understood where that person was coming from when they posted it and I supported them by liking the post.

If your means of protesting is walking, carrying some very creative signs then I support you.  If you choose words to protest, choose them wisely, select words that can go miles to making change effective and good, for your positive message will go further than anything negative can.  If you chose silence, then make the silence effective by listening. If you choose to question, ask questions that help you understand.  If you make your protests personal, act in a way that creates good.  If you teach, show kindness and when you act, make your parents proud.

Our global village is gathering its voice asking for change, there may be more turbulence as the change comes and is eventually achieved.  The turbulence will come out of frustration because those that NEED to hear haven’t. 

We all have a voice, use it as you must; chant loudly, pray silently, ponder wisely and write with profoundness.

Thanks for reading and stay safe.

Rob

—Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @RedHrtBlueSign and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

I stopped shaving – a COVID update

Like so many people, staying at home has The allowed many of us the opportunity to start projects, explore new ideas and go back rediscover old joys.

The sun during the “Golden Hour” hitting the tree tops along the Rideau Canal

Last week I stopped shaving, I’ll let you decide I this was a project, new idea or a rediscovery of an old joy.  However, that’s not the only thing that COVID has allowed me.

COVID has opened the door to a new opportunity.  On Friday May 22nd the book, “Not Cancelled, Canadian care mongering in the face of COVID-19” was released.  I was asked to be a part of this collection of stories that showed the care, love and nurturing of Canadians after COVID-19 caused most of our lives to come to a screaming halt.  Published by Wintertickle Press, stories from across Canada demonstrating the Canadian spirit.  Visit your local book shop in person or order the book online at www.winterticklepress.com and purchase a copy.  There is so much more, likely better, in the book than my 2000 words. 

If you read last week’s post, you’ll know I gave a list of podcasts that I have started listening to.  You haven’t read that post?  No worries, here is the link for you, https://redheartbluesign.wordpress.com/2020/05/18/whatcha-listening-to/.  Out of our discovery of enjoyable podcasts, Liz and I discussed starting a podcast.  To want to do this is the easy part, “what” the podcast should be about is the real challenge.  It can be about so many things, but what is it I can talk about knowledgably that would make a credible podcast?    Recently I thought of turning the blog into a podcast, it has a broad spectrum of topics; books to music and politics.  Is that something we can pull off?  It certainly allows Liz the chance to contribute regularly, she is very smart, speaks well and has strong opinions – leaving her off the podcasts doesn’t serve the podcast well.  Stay tuned…more to come on this.

It’s taken a while, but I have started to pay attention to the Conservative Party Leadership contest.  My opinions on the race are mixed; I’m glad the party paused it but in the same breath I am frustrated that the party Leadership Committee didn’t give the candidates that preceded the party’s decision to suspend their campaigns because of COVID an extension to raise the money and memberships to make it onto the ballot.  I supported Rudy Husny, while I had a realistic view of his winning, he was a candidate that reflected my ideas of being a conservative and he would have been marked on my ballot. I also believe that MP Marilyn Gladu should have been given the same opportunity to reach the benchmarks after suspending her campaign because of the coronavirus.

There are four candidates that will be on the ballot.  As I write this, I do not have a candidate to fill that number one slot.  This contest has had errors and missteps from the frontrunners.  Of the perceived leading candidates, I have voted for both of them at one time for leader; Peter MacKay to lead the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada in 2003 and Erin O’Toole in the 2017 Conservative Party leadership. 

I am now engaging in what the candidates are saying about leading the party.  I will not permit the negative campaigning be a part of my engagement.  The next few weeks as I wait for my ballot in the mail will be my time to hear from all four candidates (some more than others).  I have made one decision about my ballot; I will only be marking one name.  Realistically, with apologies for the 3rd and 4th persons on the ballot, my number two would become the next leader if my number one doesn’t get 50% +1.   I just have to confirm my #1.

One final thing…

Today I shaved, the facial growth provided some balance to the growing hair on top.  Now that balance is gone.

What are your new projects that COVID has opened the door to?  

One more final thing, this is post #301 of Red Heart Blue Sign. Thank you for giving me a few minutes of your day and supporting this blog since October 2011.

Rob

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook athttp://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

Caring for Seniors post-COVID

 

Originally, I had planned to have a section on seniors as part of my previous post on a post-COVID world. There was just too much to say and it was important enough to make this topic a separate post.

If COVID-19 has shown us anything, it’s demonstrated how fragile our senior care sector is in Canada. Massive outbreaks of the coronavirus have caused thousands of deaths, deaths that have not had any family members present when they pass. Reduced care in the name of cost cutting in private care homes left seniors uncared for, unattended.  Actions by the government towards children (daycare, school and student aid) have been generous; the same care to Seniors is almost non-existent.  Ontario and Quebec have called in the army medics to care for the elderly and sick in the worst hit long-term care homes.  Workers in Private care homes are severely underpaid and over worked.  COVID-19 has shown that some workers would rather not show up for work than risk going through a day in poor working conditions.

COVID-19 2

COVID has opened the eyes of government to see that more oversight and regulation in the care of seniors is a must.  Yes, this will have a huge cost to the public purse. The Ontario Ministry of Long-Term Care should have a budget reflects this urgency.  Private care providers are not 100% to blame; previous governments have left the sector short of beds, with less accountability and those that cannot pay, live out their last days in less than adequate accommodations.

Like the economy, life after COVID is an opportunity for government to make a statement.  A statement that says ‘our seniors will receive the care they need and where they want to receive it’ is needed by the government.  Greater accommodation to those that care for their parents is needed.  In the same manner parents receive benefits to care for children, those that look after their parents require the same consideration.

For six weeks now, everyone is experiencing what many seniors do every day, social isolation from family and loved ones.  Younger adults have weathered this better than seniors, we have the ability to move around our homes and don’t need the level of care of seniors.  What COVID has created is ‘disiting’*, visiting our elderly parents and grandparents while practicing physical distancing. Window visits.

As governments after COVID study and react to what’s happened, those who campaigned on more beds (all political parties have done this in Ontario) will comprehend that this is no longer the answer – better care and more recognition of the caregivers is the urgent matter.  Questions, like how we make it possible to keep seniors in their homes and how can virtual care help those seniors that live in their own homes.  Proper financial compensation for Personal Care Workers should be the first action taken, Ontario’s decision to create Pandemic Pay is proof of that.

The first act of government in an eased COVID restrictions world should examine the practice of how these care facilities are run, both the private and public. The practice of paying less to make a care home more profitable, reducing staff to part-time and contract staff have proven ineffective and has been part of the collapse of long-term care in Canada these past 6 weeks.  That these frontline workers are forced to work in more than one facility needs to be addressed.  Nursing and caring for seniors is not an easy job, it should not be compensated like it is either.

Unlike the decisions to be made about the economy and Parliament in a post-COVID world, changing how we care for seniors she old be easy.   Governments, federal and provincial, must lead in the change in caring for seniors.  Creating ministerial departments for seniors should be more than token representation on both Federal and Provincial levels.  The health, care and well-being of our seniors and the entire healthcare sector should be reviewed critically.

Past governments should accept the blame, along with current governments, for the crisis that came out of COVID.  It is the current governments that will be judged on how they come out of COVID and the actions they took.  There are very high expectations.

Rob

*I did not create the word disiting, I have seen it several times online and in print.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook athttp://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

A possible post-COVID Canada, Part 1

By now I hope that many people have figured this out, when restrictions are lifted, when we’re not physically distancing on purpose and when we are no longer making our kitchen tables do double duty as a workspace life will be different; way more different than we expect. Here are two aspects of our lives that could be part of major shifts after COVID-19. The next #redheartbluesign will tackle the care of our seniors,

Just like the renovations on Centre Block on Parliament Hill, there will be change coming to Canada post-COVID-19

The Economy

The phrase “it’s the economy stupid” comes to mind when I consider the actions take to date. For Justin Trudeau, it will be “it’s the green economy stupid”.  An economic shift will take place as we move out of the isolation and restrictive guidelines. The federal government has signalled that they will use this economic recovery to shift to a green economy. The Liberal government has indicated in the past its desire to do this. They introduced the Pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change in 2016. Provincial Environment Ministers met in October of that year, it was at that meeting Minister Catherine McKenna told her provincial counterparts that there were only two options to meet federal regulations in the framework; a carbon tax or cap and trade policy.

As we look to the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, this would be the perfect time to restructure our economy in a green direction. The budget Bill Morneau must have been ready to deliver months ago surely has been fed to shredder by now. The economic needs of the country are completely out of whack from they were at the start of March. It is not going to be just about minor adjustments, it will be about shocking the economy to a full restart. The federal government recently announced 1$1.7 billion to clean up orphan oil wells. While the focus of this is might be to get energy workers back to work, it’s a green clean up that has been demanded by environmentalists for years. It is one step that Ottawa has taken to their green economic shift.

There is no doubt that Trudeau will take this road, but how he’ll do it is still the big question. He has the chance to merge from fossil fuels to green energy but don’t discount that he’ll use the end of the COVID lock-up to make a drastic left turn and leave the oil industry scrambling to catch up.

Parliament

Parliament has met thrice since it adjourned on March 13th because of COVID-19. Two sittings were emergency sitting to pass COVID aid packages and Parliament met again as scheduled on Monday April 20th. On each of these occasions’ Parliament met with 32 Members, a proportional representation of the minority parliament. Before sitting on April 20th, the debate leading up to the return was how many times MPs would meet in the House of Commons. Reading the news, or if you believe the Prime Minister, the question was about every 338 MPs return. Negotiations did not go well; the left (The Government + Bloc Quebecois, NDP and Green Party) was facing off against the Conservatives on this. One side wanted fewer live sittings, the other more. The heart of this matter is, does a virtual sitting benefit Canadians and ensure effective governing is on place. The Conservatives final offer was on three in person sessions. The left won out and now Parliament has to figure out how to do it.

There is more to Parliament than sitting in the House; Members of Parliament come to Ottawa for a number of purposes, yes MPs are required to sit in the House for Questions Periods everyday then one full day a week as ‘house duty’. Much of an MP’s time is spent in committee, at stakeholder meetings, meeting with other MPs, meetings with constituents and meeting up with groups that come to Ottawa for a tour of the parliamentary buildings. Informal gatherings are a huge part of life on the Hill, cultural and political worlds collide for informal discussions and introductions on many topics of interest. Does moving to a virtual parliament benefit how parliamentarians meet and listen to Canadians? What is the balance and how does Parliament come up with it?

When COVID restrictions are lifted, what becomes of the work taken to establish virtual House sittings? Will virtual be the way of the future, will Parliament make having 338 MP’s in the House the exception rather than the rule? As has happened recently, the government may make votes on economic measures as the only reason for bringing MPs to Ottawa. All other votes, debates and motions could be done remotely. The question is, does this benefit Canadians? Is there a will to have government become less or more accountable? Would a virtual parliament ‘close’ the brick and mortar of our government to Canadians?

Thanks for reading. Stay safe and wash your hands. Part 2 will be posted Wednesday.

Rob

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook athttp://tiny.cc/n5l97. If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

The budget boogie

20200224_153140.jpgTrue love letters don’t come until after Valentines Day.  After February 14th letters espousing what we love are sent to the government, Members of Parliaments across Canada and to the members that sit in Ottawa. The letters are flowing because it’s “budget time”, the time where the hands come out hoping that the government puts a little bit of cash into them.

The government puts a great deal of effort into each budget, they have to fend off all the requests and asks that come their way.  From more funding for medical research, to affordable housing, to education spending, infrastructure investments and spending that connects generations and communities across provincial and federal boundaries someone is asking the government for help.

Mona fortier

Hon. Mona Fortier, Minister of Middle Class Prosperity

Governments seek to establish a theme for how the money will be spent. Take as examples, the themes of the four budgets the federal Liberals tabled since 2016.  Their first budget was titled “Growing the middle class”, in 2017 the Liberals went with “Building a strong middle class”, 2018’s budget was given a hyphenated name, Equality growth – A strong middle class and last year’s budget was titled “Investing in the middle class”.  Any guesses how the government will proceed for the 2020 budget?  I propose the budget be called, Still working towards a strong middle class because we haven’t been able to do after 4 budgets”.

Of course, I jest, but just how far can a government take the middle class?  May be the Liberals will move the middle class ‘forward’, borrowing from their election theme.

I would like you to consider another aspect of building the budget.  As I mentioned earlier there are probable hundreds, if not thousands of requests for more money being handed out and additional spending being approved by the Finance Minister.  The requests come from budget consultation meetings, emails, letters and phone calls. The current government has increased government spending and deficits in each budget they’ve tabled.  I ask though, at what point does spending decrease?  Should it decrease?  How does it decrease.  While there is likely some debate on where spending goes, it seems that very little consideration where spending should stop going.

Budget requests vary from climate action to senior’s care, international development, universal childcare, universal pharmacare and universal dental care, language rights and among many others items and increase government funding for research funding for almost every disease Canadians suffer from.

Provinces also get into the act, asking for more in provincial transfers from Ottawa for their programs and not wanting to be left out are municipalities asking both federal and provincial governments for money to fund their programs and services.

The budget boogie is a round the clock dance competition.  It’s non-stop and it is not for the faint of heart.  The boogie will cause stress of the highest degree as governments are asked for “more, more, more”.   I wonder what happens to the dance when “money’s too tight to mention”.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

You didn’t lose – you won!

In 2015 there were 1,792 candidates, only 338 went to Ottawa. There are no official numbers for the federal election in 2019, but we can assume there are more in the last election because there were 4 parties that ran a full slate of 338 candidates last fall.   I can safely say that over 2000 people ran for a party or independently last election.

Based on my estimate, there are now 1,662 Candidates of Record (CoR), each of them will keep that title until the next election. Most of the CoR come from registered parties and for these people, congratulations, you are now a Candidate of Record. With that title comes responsibility.

Screenshot_20200117-200017_Twitter.jpg

This week CBC Toronto posted a tweet in response to former GTA Conservative candidate Bobby Singh jumping into the Conservative Leadership race.  In the tweet the CBC called Singh a failed Conservative candidate. I ran twice, unsuccessfully in the 2011 and 2014 provincial elections, the elections were amazing experiences.  In the eyes of @CBCToronto I am a two-time failure.  Do I feel like that?  No, far from it!

In the 8 years between the 2011 and 2018 election where I was the CoR I attended party conferences, worked locally and continued to have great conversations with not only the winning MPP, but other candidates and voters in the riding.

As the CoR it’s important that you maintain ‘election’ mode as you finish up your responsibility as the candidate.  That includes financials of the campaign; making sure all invoices are paid and that your CFO completes and the files of your campaign return to Elections Canada.  It’s important that you follow up and watch this closely to protect your reputation as a candidate and that of the riding association.  The more you and your team do, the less the party has to get involved.

Boris Johnson rivals

British PM Boris Johnson with his local riding opponents in the recent UK Election, all of which are now Candidates of Record

As CoR there are a few responsibilities you have, especially if you plan to seek the nomination and run in the next election.  As the CoR the local riding association will need your help to keep the association active.  This includes fundraising, being active on the association Board of Directors.  If you want to ensure you have a better shot at being the candidate the next time around, you should bring some of your campaign team onto the Board.  Having friends there will be helpful to continue the work you were doing as the candidate.

The next election may come sooner rather than later; it would be a benefit for you to keep your campaign team engaged between elections.   Staying involved locally also helps as you will need signatures for your nomination, keeping supporters engaged is a plus for the association, the party and YOU.  Showing that you have continued to build your support in the riding will be noticed by the party regional organizers (RO).

Screen Shot 2020-01-05 at 12.10.44 PM

Finally, as in the situation of the Conservative Party of Canada, you will be asked for your opinion about a leadership race, the declared and presumed candidates that has come from election results. The CoR may also be asked for their thoughts to the local media.  If you are asked, you might want to notify the RO.  There will come a time in the leadership race that you’ll be courted and asked to support and publicly endorse a candidate.

If you consider all that you gain as the candidate NOT going to Ottawa, it will still be an honour to represent your local supporters and to continue to work for the party causes.  It may not be the win you were fighting for, but I can say, as a two-time CoR, it’s still enjoyable and beneficial and will continue to fulfill your desire for public service.

I have kept friendships many of the people I met through my two campaigns, it’s my hope for you that you will also have joy of knowing so many people through the amazing experience you just finished,

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook athttp://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net