Category Archives: Politics

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.

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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.

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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).

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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

My year in pages – Part II

Part 2 of my year of the books I’ve read covers July to December.  In this list of books, I have chosen “Trudeau”, “The King’s War”, “A Gentleman in Moscow” and Stephen Harper’s “Right Here Right Now” to be my reading list while I was in Barrie for the federal election for 8 weeks.  While I read the first three as planned, I finally read Harper’s book in December.   I also did not complete the books in the 8 weeks as I planned, but I did read them all just a later than planned.

Here are my July to December books.

Trudeau: The education of a Prime Minister by John Ivison (2019)

This was like rereading the headlines for the past 4 years, but with a view from the right.  As I anticipated it reaffirmed everything I know and feel about Trudeau.  After reading Ivison, it feels like I should be reading Promise and Peril: Justin Trudeau in Power by Aaron Wherry just to see if I come out on the middle of this time in Canadian history.

The King’s War by Peter Conradi and Mark Logue (2019)

The follow-up to The King’s Speech, to which the Oscar winning movie was based. The King’s War follows George VI and Lionel Logue after the war and into peace time.  If you liked the movie, you’ll enjoy this book.

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (2016)

A great story!  After you have finished it you’ll want to read it again – right away to catch what you missed the first time that lends to the eventual ending.

The making of the October Crisis: Canada’s long nightmare of terrorism at the hands of the FLQ by D’Arcy Jenish (2018)

A couple of years back I read a book about the legacy of French Canadians have and their contributions to what Canada is today.  Beside Legacy” Canada has an history that needs to be told, sometimes it is an ugly history and we should not hide from it.   The making of the October Crisis is a thorough account of the beginnings of the quiet revolution in Quebec to the explosive climax of it in 1970.  Jenish starts us with the 1960’s Quebec, the roots both political and social that lead to the dissatisfaction of Quebecers.

The groups and individuals who fueled the crisis are explored in detail and provides background to where Quebec is today and helps to understand political cycles in there that include the resurgence of the Bloc of Quebecois in the 2019 federal election.

This book is an important book, it’s a book all Canadians should read, but baby boomers will have flashbacks of the events while reading this.  It’s a weird feeling as you may have lived through this era of our history, it will trigger memories. More importantly it triggers the idea that we cannot allow the same conditions to flourish again.

Right Here Right Now by Stephen J. Harper (2018)

If people could past their dislike for former Prime Minister Harper and read this for this is, an account of the collective good conservative policies generate, history will be much kinder to Harper when political adversaries look back at his tenure as PM.  RHRN is Harper not shooting arrows at his adversaries but shooting arrows at the policies they brought forward.

It is written clearly and not so that you need a PHD to understand it.  His look at polices that have national and global impact on the economy, immigration, nationalism and trade are straightforward and make sense.

Harper’s view of Donald Trump is not at all flattering, but he also recognizes that the reasons for the election of Trump goes back years through policies brought in by previous White House administrations.  Trump is merely the person that recognized and capitalized on the anger of the American worker, it doesn’t make him a better President than say Hillary Clinton would have been.  It’s a lesson that should not be overlooked here in Canada.

Many Moons: A Songwriter’s Memoir by Dayna Manning (2019)

My reading steer me to where I lived and what I’ve done.  Manning hails from Stratford Ontario where I spent 5 years working at CJCS-AM.  I thoroughly enjoyed Dayna’s journey as a musician and a songwriter.  I feel that I should be looking to purchase music she’s released, or at least the songs she has profiled here.

As you may have noticed, my reads leaned heavily towards non-fiction last year, something I would like to change in the next 12 months.

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 miracle of the upside-down turkey

20191224_110950.jpgThe thought that another decade was ending really snuck up on me. My 5th decade on this planet is coming to a close and my 6th decade is ascending quickly on me. My father was born late in the 1920’s; 2020 will be his 11th decade, and my mother enters her 10th decade, I wonder how they feel about it. Perhaps my life has been more hectic than normal this year; it may have been a year of survival event by event, the realization that we were heading into the 2020’s did not hit me until a week ago.

My year-ends used to be marked by tearing out the year end music charts from the newspapers.  I used to buy all the newspapers to make sure I didn’t miss a single one – whether I listened to that radio station or not. Now, there is not a souvenir music chart to be seen in print by December 31st.  I hope the years of charts I have saved will survive and will demonstrate how different it was only a few years ago. I hope that in the newspapers I buy on December 31st this year I might find a “end of the decade” best chart.

It was a political banner year for me, and this is not just by judging success and accomplishments, but by measuring what I have learned about the people in politics, whether they are friends or foes.  As great as the 8 weeks in Barrie-Innisfil was, I am sure some of my plans may have run counter to what was done before and not have been what were expected.  I can say in all honesty that I learned more from the volunteers than they would have got back from me.  The volunteers were fabulous!

The work done for John Brassard in re-electing him  by almost doubling his margin of victory was a phenomenal experience; however, we had to temper that with the Conservatives not forming government, it was a difficult few weeks to get through.   When all the staff came back to Ottawa from across Canada, I could tell many of my colleagues felt the same way.  Happy to have won, but still sitting in Opposition.

The challenge I had to work through (and still do) was that both the Liberals and the NDP lost seats but there seemed to be no pressure for either Trudeau or Singh to step down.  Rather it was Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, someone I have known for several years, that made the choice to step aside.  Leadership races can be exciting, but they can be divisive as well – I don’t think we every really resolved differences following the previous conservative leadership took place in 2017.  I hope the 2019 race fixes that.

It has been quite a year seeing friends and former co-workers deal with challenging health situations. Some have been comfortably sharing publicly their trials, tribulations, successes and relapses.  I am grateful for them for sharing everything as I am more than happy to offer my prayers for good health and best outcomes.  Sadly, the list gets longer each year.

This year I added my name to the list as I had a moment with prostate cancer.  I am not one to say “f*@k Cancer”, I know others are and that’s OK.  My father has beaten prostate cancer – I knew I would be a likely candidate to have the signs and chance that I would be diagnosed positive. Like others, I had to go through weeks waiting for the for the ultrasound and then the biopsy and further for the results.  I received good news, of the samples taken for the biopsy cancer was found to be in one of the 13 samples – and at less than 1%.

I got lucky, so many others don’t, and I am so thankful for outcome I was given a few months ago.

Turkey in our home is an event, an all-day event.  With thanks from my former Mother-in-Law we have never had a bad turkey at Christmas.  The day starts with the turkey in a brine, overnight if the turkey was frozen or for 5 hours if it’s a fresh turkey. A few years ago, we started getting our turkey from the Glebe Meat Market, I was introduced to them through Daybreak Housing.  Daybreak would receive turkeys as a donation for our tenants Christmas dinner and I would cook one of the five birds.

This year we began before 7am; the turkey goes in the brine; the stuffing is prepared and by 11:30am the bird was in the oven.  It was stuffed properly and all that we needed to wait for the 4 hours cooking time and the proper temperature was achieved, but that seemed to be a problem.  After what was an hour longer than normally required to cook, we took the turkey out.

Everything else was ready to be eaten, the turkey seemed to have taken its time.

The craving of the turkey proved to be not only a problem but also a resolution.  For a 16 lb. turkey it seemed to be all skin and bones. Where was the meat, where was the juicy breast meat? It seems to have melted away I was quite concerned – dinner was going to be a disaster.  More eyes were obviously needed.

Four of us stood and looked the turkey, we were perplexed – something was not right.  In fact, something was not the right side up!  Maybe I was just not thinking, or not remembering or really had no idea what I was doing but I had placed the turkey upside down in the roasting pan – what?!  The breasts weren’t able to cook and brown sitting on the bottom of the roasting pan.

We managed to get well fed with correctly cooked stuffing and turkey by carving the meat after we flipped the bird and popped it back in the oven for another 30 minutes.  It was a miracle and delicious!  I know I am guaranteed to be reminded of this for years to come!

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

Welcome Back to West Block: The Issues

img_20160902_09532983This is the wrap up post in a series setting up the 43rd session of Parliament. As mentioned in my previous post, the government has set up its cabinet to deal specifically with three issues, the West, the environment and the middle class with a multi-minister approach to each of those three issues.

Since the reveal of Trudeau’s cabinet, the media have been focusing on how Trudeau will manage the West and just how a Ministry for Middle-Class Prosperity will affect the prosperity of the middle class.  There will no doubt be plenty of analysis and political punditry.  Seeing how Minister Fortier will handle the questions during question period will hurt or hinder Liberal attempts at having success much in the same way Minister Monsef, in the last parliament, handled the now gone ministry of democratic reform.  The term “middle class lens” could be a day time drinking game.

But beyond the West, the Environment and the Middle-Class there are issues that were hung out at the end of the last parliament that the government will need to address.

The Health Minister will have two files to take up most of her time. New medically assisted dying legislation is due to be introduced.  This legislation follows a 4th interim report  https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/publications/health-system-services/medical-assistance-dying-interim-report-april-2019.html) that was released in April of 2019 and there are calls for relaxed rules for allowing medically induced deaths.  The second file is that of a national Pharmacare program.  The liberals don’t have the luxury of a majority government to wait until the 3rd year of a 4-year mandate to roll this out.  Working with the Finance Minister, Health Minister Patti Hajdu will probably be forced to deal with this in the first two years of this minority session.  The NDP promised to have a full plan in place by 2020, we’ll see how much the Liberals will be depending on support from Jagmeet Singh and his team to determine how fast or slow Trudeau rolls this out.

While not much was said about Veterans by the Liberals in the election, Minister MacAulay still needs to deal with gaps in funding of the Liberal Pension-for-life plan from a couple years ago.  Our current serving soldiers will rely on the Defence Minister to follow through on the National Defence Review and renewed calls from the US to pay its full share to NATO.

Even with 9 ministers that have a hand in the economy of Canada, the government will need to look ahead and avoid a recession that is expected to hit the United States (https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/21/economy/consumer-spending-recession/index.html ) and will have a spillover into Canada.  How will Finance Minister Bill Morneau handle his first “R word” budget?  Considering the amount of spending the Liberals have done in good years, is there anything left to hold off a downturn in the economy in bad years.

There is one final issue that Liberals will need to deal with – and it could be the hardest one they will have to get a grip on.  That is their ever-present need of virtual signaling.  Gone are the days of the liberalization of Canadian policy; think of the attestation Trudeau forced on non-profit and religious groups to qualify for Canada Summer Jobs funding, there is no majority to allow liberal left thinkers to have their way with policy and how we will qualify or not qualify for taxpayer funded programs.

Now it’s all in the hands of the 338 Members of the House of Commons, 157 in government and 181 in opposition.  It’s time to raise the curtain and see how this all plays out.

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

Welcome Back to West Block: The Government

20191125_115040.jpgA kinder and gentler Trudeau government?  Is this an expectation of Canadians? It certainly was something that Canada voted for on October 21st, no more of a government that had blinders on, plowed ahead with its values-based agenda all others be damned. The results of the election indicated that the government was expected to work with all parties and all provinces.

What could the government possibly do for an encore to 2015? Based on the new cabinet that was announced on November 20th Trudeau has decided that he has three themes in his new cabinet.  More importantly the government seems more focused on working with the provinces and municipalities, rather than the opposition parties in achieving success in the three themes

The first theme is national unity and ensuring that Alberta and Saskatchewan are heard.   Trudeau has tied several ministries together.  With Intergovernmental Affairs, Natural Resources, Agriculture, Infrastructure and Communities Trudeau has a group of Ministers that will be tasked with making sure each region of the country is heard and listened to.  In a second pool Trudeau has the Ministers of Environment and Climate Change, Oceans and Fisheries, Infrastructure & Communities has closely bound the economy and the environment.  In the third group of Ministries which include Finance, Diversity Inclusion and Youth, Economic Development, Rural Economic Development and a new ministry of Middle-Class Prosperity (seriously that is what is called) will all be forced to work together to “support the middle class and all those seeking to join it”.

For anything else, it will be just be a case of make sure nothing blows up, so we won’t have to divert from out three-pronged plan to govern for the next 3 to 4 years. In simple terms this government will be focused on the Middle-Class, Climate Change and National Unity.

How can we expect the government to stay in power working with the other parties?  I suspect that the Liberals will count on different parties keep them as the government.  On the environment the NDP and Bloc will play nice with the Liberals. Ccount on the Conservatives supporting actions to prop up the middle class as both the Liberals and Conservatives campaigned on massive tax cuts to middle-class for their votes. The tricky file will be national unity but expect the Bloc Quebecois (of all parties) to vote with the government to support efforts that bring the regions together.  I say this because if there is one region that is all about the “what’s in it for me” it is Quebec.  The Bloc will certainly be waving the Bleu et Blanc each day in the House of Commons.

The government has its work set out for themselves and they think they have a plan that will help them get back to a majority.  Will the opposition oblige?

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

Welcome Back to West Block: The Opposition Parties

QPBy the time all the votes had been counted and 338 candidates had been declared an MPP-elect the House looked far different that it did when the Governor General disolved the 42nd Parliament.  When the MPs last met in the House of Commons the party standings were Liberas with 177 seats, Conservatives 95 seats, New Democrats 39 seats, Bloc Quebecois 10 seats, 2 seats for the Greens, one each for the Peoples Party and the CCF. There were 8 independent MPs and 5 vacant seats.

Following the election, the party results had a different landscape as Canadians woke up October 22nd with a Liberal minority government – some would call it a strong minority with only 13 votes needed from other parties to support the government to pass legislation.  But it was a minority still.  What Canadians also woke up to a regionalized parliament, the rebirth of the Bloc Quebecois and the absence of the liberals in Alberta and Saskatchewan and the question of how the government could possibly ensure that the west was important to the Trudeau.

Heading into the speech from the throne on December 5th the seat standings for each of the parties is:  Liberals 157, Conservatives 121, Bloc Quebecois 32, NDP 24, Green Party 3 and 1 Independent.  These new standings will have impacts beyond the votes themselves.  The NDP fall to fourth place while the Conservatives remain Her majesty’s Loyal Opposition.

Now that there are four parties in the opposition that have ‘official party status’ questions allotted for Question Period are now split between three parties.  In each session of parliament, the number of questions given to each party is based on the proportion of seats in the opposition, in this session Conservative hold 121 of 181 seats.  The NDP will be the loser in QP as they will have to split the number of questions with the Bloc who hold a greater share of the seats than the New Democrats. Conservatives hold approximately 66% of the seats, the same as last session and should be able to ask 24-25 questions each time Question Period takes place.

Through QP and debates each party will have its priorities and will use those priorities to determine how they vote and how successful each party will be in working with the government and their agenda.  The opposition parties will have to find their footing, set their agendas and make hard decisions what they are and are not prepared to support when it comes to Justin Trudeau and the Liberals.  It will be more important for the opposition to know where the line is where they no longer have confidence in the government and will force a new election.   Ultimately though it will be the Liberals that will make that decision, when it suits their purposes best.

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

#elxn43 – West Block awaits

20191114_153417.jpgI have been thinking about Canada’s 43rd Parliament.  I’ve been thinking of this since the Prime Minister announced that the House will reconvene  on Thursday December 5th when MP’s will select the Speaker of the House of Commons and deliver the throne speech.   Because of his announcement there are so many questions to ponder before December 5th.

There will be questions about the party leaders, the regional divisions, the province vs Ottawa battle lines and who is going to be doing what.  There is going to be a new cabinet to consider, who’s out and who stays in.  On the opposition side of the aisle the considerations are just as enormous as there are key players not returning.

I fully expect to hear from the parties and the leaders and what they want out of this session.  I wonder how effective the NDP be with a much smaller representation (the NDP is now fourth in the House of Commons), will the Bloc Quebecois eclipse how team orange operates and can the BQ ever think about anything else besides themselves and Quebec?  The Conservatives have a much larger team, but will they be able to keep their focus on the government when everyone else (including some in the party and the House) are focused on Andrew Scheer’s hold on the  CPC leadership? Does three elected Green MPs mean more from them? Finally, what will Jody Wilson-Raybould do to get under the skin of the Prime Minister this session?

Of course there will be the issues,  there will be no shortage of issues to legislate and debate, but who’ll control the agenda in this minority parliament?  While the last parliament was a Liberal majority, Trudeau still struggled at controlling the house and the legislative agenda.  He’ll need a stronger and more congenial House Leader to quarterback Trudeau’s agenda. Bardish Chagger did not demonstrate the qualities of being approachable, accommodating and amiable to working with others, traits that are needed for a majority, – so there’s a chance she will not be asked to do it for a minority.  When the Prime Minister unveils his new cabinet on November we’ll finally see how he plans to stick handle his way through this parliament.

Leading up to December 5th I’ll  look at the Parties and their priorities; the People and their roles  and finally the issues and expected legislation. I hope you’ll catch all three posts leading to the speech from the throne.

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