Thursday, December 17, 2009

Peace and a Happy Chanukah

We spent last night with a group of friends to celebrate Chanukah. Towards the end of the evening we discussed the power of focusing on positive thoughts. It is easy and, for me, often overwhelming to focus on what is wrong with the world. I recall now, that I started the other blog to show myself the beauty of life. Funny that I'm more often found here ranting about everything that I see as wrong with the world.

There is power in intention. I know this. So I'd like to send a wish for peace and a happy Chanukah to all of the members of ibn Ezra, Ta’ayush, and everyone working for peace in the middle east. Bless you and blessed be.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dear Canada,

Remember the days of G.W. Bush, when we were so happy and proud to be Canadian and across the border (and therefore removed from) a government run by idiots? I regret laughing and pointing now, because it seems we are the new scourge of the World. How did this happen? (Don't tell me, I know how it happened - Liberal corruption and ineptitude + Peter MacKay + the Bloc + Alberta = Steve and his yahoos running our country.)

George Monbiot states in a recent column for the Guardian, "So here I am, watching the astonishing spectacle of a beautiful, cultured nation turning itself into a corrupt petro-state."

So here I am asking, begging, and yelling at all Canadians to send our government a message - preferably this message, written by my lovely spouse:

(just copy and paste into an email and send it off to Steve at

Dear Prime Minister Harper:

There was a time not long ago when Canada was well-respected for being environmentally friendly. We were a country that prided itself on environmental awareness. Unfortunately, Canada has squandered this reputation, and is now regarded by much of the world as part of the climate change problem instead of being part of the solution.

Global warming is the greatest threat to life on earth. Entire populations and ecosystems are threatened by the devastating impacts of droughts, heat waves, fires, floods, storms and rising sea levels. Two key examples illustrate these dangers:

  • The president of the Maldives Islands has announced that he would begin searching for a new homeland for his people because his country may soon entirely disappear due to rising sea levels;
  • Australia has been experiencing a prolonged, severe drought that is resulting in a shortage of drinking water for its population.

There are many more examples of such crises. Climate science tells us that, to avoid worsening patterns of dangerous climate change, the world’s greenhouse gas emissions must peak in just a few years – mostly likely by 2015 – then drop off drastically. The new agreement to be reached in Copenhagen will likely last until 2020.

The developed world – of which Canada is a vital part – has created 75% of all carbon pollution since 1850. It only makes sense that richer countries like Canada should take a leadership role in coming up with solutions to this global crisis.

Battles in history have not been won by quitting. I call on the Canadian government to restore our country’s fallen reputation. Seize Copenhagen as an historical opportunity to create the following positive, meaningful changes for everyone:

  • Set a national target to cut greenhouse gas emissions at least 25% from 1990 levels by 2020 (China, Norway and Scotland have already pledged 40% cuts)
  • Implement an effective national plan to reach this target and help developing countries reduce their emissions and adapt to climate change;
  • Adopt a bold, strengthened second phase of the Kyoto Protocol at the pivotal United Nations Climate Conference in Copenhagen;
  • Provide subsidies for green technologies like wind and solar power, which will create skilled jobs and fuel our national economy.

The Government of Canada must act NOW to make climate change our highest priority.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Dear Steve,

Happy first day of Copenhagen!

I know you and the Globe and Mail, believe that the tar sands should not be on the table at the UN Climate Change Conference. The tar sands create 5% of Canada's greenhouse gases (as well as lakes of sulfuric acid and other toxic pollutants, which we delightfully refer to as tailings ponds) and yet they account for only 1.5% of Canada's GDP. To be clear, we are contributing to a potential climate catastrophe for a lousy 1.5% of our GDP. What is the price of catastrophe? Is 1.5% of our GDP worth it? Should we ask my son? His generation will be cleaning up the environmental disaster when those bloody dams holding the tailings ponds fail and the toxins are leached into the Athabasca and its watershed. Suncor et al will run for the hills and the Canadian taxpayers will foot the bill for clean up. Will 1.5% seem worth it then? Somehow I doubt it.

So, Steve, if you can please get your head out of the tar sands and do the right thing in Copenhagen.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Dear Canadian Taxpayers,

How often have you opened the mail to find a black and white piece of propaganda from a politician in another riding? Usually they contain an inflammatory headline and a portion you can return with check boxes beside the names of each party leader. You are supposed to select the leader that you think is "tough on crime" or "has the best tax reduction strategy". Did you know that we, Canadian taxpayers, pay for these pieces of party propaganda? Am I the only one who naively thought that these were paid for by the MPs or their parties?

These ten percenters, called such because MPs are allowed to send as many pamphlets as 10% of their riding, are an outrageous example of party politics. Though recently members of the NDP and Liberal party have been outraged by false accusations in some ten percenters sent out by Conservative MPs, none of the parties seem to be calling for an end to the program. Why would they? They all benefit from the free advertising. The only ones who don't benefit from it are Canadians. We have to deal with the false information in the pamphlets, our recycling bins get filled with them, and then we pay the bills (printing, postage and return postage for those who respond to the ridiculous checklists). It's time to say enough to all parties. If they want to campaign, inside or outside of election time, they can pay for it themselves.

We're done indulging political parties and paying for their games.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Dear CBC,

Can we honestly say that Canadian democracy is working when we only hear one voice from the government - that of the Prime Minister? Is Steve a control freak? Are his ministers and MPs so inept that they cannot be trusted to speak to the media? Did 5 million Canadians vote for one man and one man alone? Can one man run a country? Isn't that called a dictator? (Steve, can you justify this behaviour?)

Thank you for continuing to bring this to the attention of your radio listeners. I've enjoyed the Request Count updates on The Current. Canadians should seriously question a government of one.

My days would not be the same without CBC Radio.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dear Jason Kenney

There's something about your new citizen's guide Discover Canada that doesn't sit well. As I'm reading it I cannot shake the idea that it was formed by ideology and partisanship. Pearson was a Liberal, so we won't mention him. No need to note Canada's long history of peacekeeping, focus on wars instead. Let's not mention healthcare either, that way we can sell it down river and the new Canadians won't even notice. You get an A+ for ideology and partisan politics.

As a feminist, I appreciate that you included a section on gender equality. I found it disconcerting that you felt the need to lay out that honour killings and female genital mutilation are not tolerated. I do agree that these practices are barbaric. I think I'd be okay with this, if you had included that other barbaric cultural practice of gay bashing (a far more common problem in this country) is not acceptable in Canada. In fact you neglected to mention any LGBT issues, including that same sex marriage is legal in Canada and we're bloody proud of it. Hmm, I wonder why you didn't mention that? Perhaps it would offend your gay bashing constituency?

I'll tell you what I do agree with Jason, I agree with the idea of responsibilities. Let's start talking about a Charter of Responsibilities for every Canadian, not just new Canadians. But it shouldn't be draw up by along ideological lines by a radical party holding onto power in a minority government. Let's make an attempt to represent all Canadians, yes even the ones in Toronto that your party despises so much. We're Canadians too, Jason.

Dear Steve,

Is your government unsure/unaware of Canadian values? Is it too much to ask that your actions actually reflect the country you are supposed to represent?

1.) Bring Omar Khadr home. This requires ending your ridiculous appeal of a Federal Court ruling. Enough is enough, the boy is Canadian. Your feelings towards him should have no bearing on the situation. He's one of our own, start acting like it. Perhaps you can take the same approach with other Canadians abroad - Huseyin Celil, Suaad Hagi Mohamud. Hey wait, I see a trend - Khadr, Celil, and Mohamud - what do those names have in common? (Cue Jeopardy music) Gee, it couldn't be a shared faith, could it? Is that why Foreign Affairs has left them in the in foreign jails? Is turning your back on Muslim Canadians who are in trouble abroad, a new Canadian value? Was it included in Jason Kenney's new citizenship guide? Is there a section advising Muslim Canadians not to leave the country because Foreign Affairs won't assist Muslims if they get into trouble while away from home? As long as you're in power I think it should.

2.) Copenhagen is coming, Steve. Stop pointing your finger at China and India. Stop your whining. I'll tell you what I'd tell my eight year old boy - I don't care what everyone else is doing. Buck up and show some leadership for godssake. It's not only embarrassing, it's dangerous. Nearly one million Canadians voted for the Green Party in 2008. If you add that to the more than 3.6 million who voted for Stephan Dion, I think that makes action on climate change a Canadian value. So Steve, it's time to say goodbye to your buddies in the tar sands (it wasn't going to last anyway) and hello to reducing carbon emissions.

I think I'm done for today Steve. To sum up - Muslims are Canadians too, and Suncor et al can't vote in our elections, but people can so do the right thing in Copenhagen. I'll be back soon.