One Way Forward

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Canada. Canada has survived and thrived over the past 144 years thanks to good leadership, determination, and vision. A vision of a nation designed to provide the most essential human rights we all deserve, while providing the opportunity for people to define their own destiny. But that ability is being threatened. Threatened the powers that be who are willing to stifle our democracy, continue to widen the gap between the rich and the poor, and put additional tax burden on your daily lives. Taxes, both literal and figurative, that will come in the form of higher levies on blank CDs and DVDs, a stifling of innovation by the absolute demolishing of fair use laws, an inability to get the country connected to high speed internet, so-called “support” for students that only aggravates the problem many students already have paying back student loans, allowing more and more seniors to fall below the poverty line, superprisons for unreported crime, and funding cuts for organizations that support the victims of crime. And all this leaving the sandwich generation with less time and money to help their kids or look after their ill and aging parents.

It’s a dismal state that must be corrected.

Canadians need choice. Canadians need freedom. Canadians need security. And most of all, when things get rough, Canadians need support. What they don’t need is a government that is so eager to put them in prison that they’re going to spend billions of dollars on new American-style superprisons. What Canadians don’t need is a government that seems hellbent on turning us into a warmongering nation, spending billions of dollars on jets without engines, and forgoing our previously well-known reputation for being peacekeepers. What Canada doesn’t need, or want, is to leave our neighbours and families out in the cold when they need our help the most.

It’s high time we stood up for the country we live in. Now is the time where we must look to the future and decide what we want this country to look like, to act like at home and around the world, and how we want to be seen amongst our peers. We have a very serious choice to make, and it can make or break this country.

In order to survive and thrive in the next 144 years, this nation has but one way forward. We need to invest in ourselves, in our communities,  and in the way of life we hold dear. That means making decisive, wise choices in how we spend our money, how we treat the future leaders of this land, and how we treat those that are suffering.

We need to invest in our children and grandchildren. Students need genuine help getting to and through school, and that’s why the Liberal Party’s platform introduced the Learning Passport, providing up to $1500 per year for students that get the grades, and deserve to get a post-secondary education.

That’s why the Liberal Party platform brings back the deal it signed with the provinces, that was killed by Stephen Harper and the Conservatives, ensuring each province has the ability to get the funding they need in order to train new early childhood educators, create more childcare spaces, and help parents out in the way they need to most.

Canadians should have the right to take the time off work you need to look after your parents without being penalized for it. That’s why they want to create a new Family Care Employment Insurance Benefit, so that caregivers take six months off work to care for gravely ill family members at home; and on top of that a new Family Care Tax Benefit worth up to $1,350 annually, to help low- and middle-income family caregivers manage the costs associated with looking after their parents.

And, of course, those who need the healthcare system should feel comfortable knowing that it will be there to take care of them thoroughly, efficiently, with the best care possible. The federal government has to continue to work with the provinces to make that a priority now and in the future.

We need to expand and enhance the Canada Pension Plan, before it starts having the same problems the U.S. Social Security Plan has. Canadians need to know the CPP will be there for them, and will make a meaningful impact on their retirement lifestyles. Canadians have also been clear that existing retirement saving methods aren’t enough. That’s why the Liberal Party has proposed a Secure Retirement Option – an enhancement to the CPP that’s voluntary, leaving you with the choice to participate or not, and not run by the banks.

We need to ensure that affordable housing is available, that we leave this country and planet cleaner than it was when we came into it, where service to your community is recognized and rewarded, and where the arts get just as much respect as our office workers, construction workers, and doctors do. Canadians need to know that the food on their table not only tastes great, but is good for them and won’t make them sick. And rural Canada, in all its forms, finally get the respect it deserves from the cities it feeds.

That’s the Canada you deserve. That’s the Canada I want to live in. Anything less is unacceptable.

And when we can afford it, we will reduce taxes. We will reduce personal income taxes. We will reduce business taxes. But we can’t go on running the country as if printing more money is the answer. This all has to be done responsibly and with a level head recognizing the situation for what it is, and the implications of where money comes from, and how it’s spent.

So join me in voting for a Canada we can all be proud of. Vote for your local Liberal candidate, and give them the mandate to turn this country around and into one that all Canadians can be proud of, and is once again respected on the world stage. Our livelihoods depend on it.

Keeping Track of the Candidates (EML)

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This Federal election, it’s easier than ever to keep track of what candidates are doing and saying. At least, it should be. Yesterday I showed you how to keep track of the candidates in Lambton-Kent-Middlesex. Today, as promised, we’re going to be looking at the candidates running in Elgin-Middlesex-London.

Joe Preston – Conservative Party Candidate

Graham Warwick – Liberal Party Candidate

Fred Sinclair – New Democratic Party Candidate

UPDATE: Ryan Dolby dropped out and Fred Sinclair is in for the NDP. Both the Conservative and Liberal candidates have made themselves very available online on both big social networks, along with their own websites where more contact information exists. Fred’s on Twitter and Facebook, but his Facebook page currently has 0 likes.

Again, if there are other parties you’d like me to dig up the information for, please let me know. I know of the Christian Heritage Party, and other fringe parties, but we all know they don’t get many votes. However, I will still dig up the information if you want me to.

Keeping Track of the Candidates (LKM)

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This Federal election, it’s easier than ever to keep track of what candidates are doing and saying. At least, it should be. Here in the riding of Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, a mostly rural riding, it’s actually quite difficult to keep track of most of the candidates electronically. Of course you can purchase the Middlesex Banner or Strathroy Age Dispatch, but if you want real-time updates and don’t want to rely on /A\ Channel News possibly paying attention to the county, you have to rely on electronic methods.

As someone who is online throughout the day and evening, I thought I would help out my fellow LKMers by compiling a list of the candidates and how to keep track of them. The results were a bit disappointing.

Bev Shipley – Conservative Party Candidate

Gayle Stuck – Liberal Party Candidate

Joe Hill – New Democratic Party Candidate

Jim Johnston – Green Party Candidate

I must give props to Ms. Stucke for doing something different (BlackBerry Messenger Group) and Mr. Johnston for being available pretty much everywhere online. It’s disappointing that Mr. Hill and Mr. Shipley are making themselves scarce online.

If there are other parties you’d like me to dig up the information for, please let me know. I know of the Christian Heritage Party, and other fringe parties, but we all know they don’t get many votes. However, I will still dig up the information if you want me to.

Tomorrow I’ll post the information for Elgin-Middlesex-London.

* Updated April 26 with new information on Bev Shipley and Joe Hill.

Open Letter to the NDP

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A few years ago I became a supporter of the NDP. I listened to Jack Layton and his vision for Canada and was inspired. Not to mention that I couldn’t stand Paul Martin and the Liberals seemed to be agreeing more and more with the Conservatives on issues that I did not.

Recently it has become apparent that indeed, I am a centrist. I don’t tolerate overly polarizing views or people very well (though I do hear them out on the issue and give them their opportunity to explain their rationale) and would much prefer to see people get to the bottom of an issue, brainstorm all of the possible solutions and then pick the best. Sadly that doesn’t happen very often in this “democracy” of ours where few-to-no MPs actually listen to their constituents after gaining power. Continue reading

What Happened to Self-Responsibility?

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First people sued cigarette companies for giving them lung cancer. Then people sued fast food restaurants for making them fat. The latest fad? Suing gambling corporations for making people lose money.

I’m tired of it. I’m tired of people trying to blame a third party for their own losses and problems. With all of the evidence that goes against the bad habits, or addictions as people may refer to them now, like smoking, constantly eating out and the potential for losing money and causing problems with your friends and family if you gamble too much – not to mention all of the ads on TV and radio -  how can you still feign ignorance?! Continue reading