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Found 6 results

  1. Hunter Thomson

    WE HAVE A NEW GOVERNMENT

    On may 9th, 2017 British Columbians voted for change. Today, they have finally gotten it. The Legislature voted 44-42 in favour of the NDP amendment to the Throne Speech expressing no-confidence in the Clark government. Because of that vote, Premier Clark and her cabinet have resigned. Later today, after meeting with both Premier Clark and Opposition Leader Horgan of the NDP, the Leftenant-Governor has invited John Horgan to form a government and Cabinet, accepting the resignation of the Clark government. Today is the end of a long, 16 year nightmare. Leftist, progressive citizens in British Columbia have been crying out for change from massive infrastructure projects that serve no purpose. We've cried out against the shortchanging of children in order to pursue a fossil fuel industry that won't be competitive. We've demanded an education system that's funded properly, a welfare system that provides a fair payment to our least fortunate, and a health care system that works for everyone. The NDP-Green coalition will not be perfect. They'll fight. It will be hell to get through a Legislature that is deadlocked 43-43 on all votes, with the Speaker needing to save every piece of legislation from the abyss. But we have a chance to make life better for millions of people right here, right now. Every single thing this government does will come under attack by the media, and it's unlikely that this government will serve a second 4 year term in 2021. But in the four (possibly less if the Greens abandon us or someone gets sick) years we have to us, we're going to change this small part of the world for the better. Universal child care, a basic income pilot project, billions of dollars in education funding and the expansion of the tar sands required by federal law. We're going to protect our environment and put thousands back to work on environmentally friendly infrastructure. Welcome back, New Democrats. You've been given a chance to govern. Follow our principles, and when you see yourself starting to waver, remember that over one million British Columbians put their hopes in you. Don't let us down. Now, it's time to go celebrate, every bar in town is hosting an NDP victory party tonight!
  2. For those of you who read my #BCPoli election blog, thanks. It was fun, never doing it again. This is a postscript for those of you who read through everything. The BC Liberals nominally won the election with 43 of 87 seats. However, the NDP won 41 seats and the BC Green Party won 3 seats, and they have agreed to a written accord (not a coalition, which is a formal governance agreement in Canada) whereby the NDP will govern with the tacit and supporting votes from the BC Greens to achieve a majority. It is not a coalition, in that the Greens reserve the right to sit in Opposition to the NDP government they are propping up, and have agreed only to vote with the NDP on matters of budget or confidence in the government. Having said that, this government may die in a few weeks since there's an impasse on who will serve as the Speaker of the House. A liberal Speaker would preserve the Accord's majority, but an NDP or Green Speaker would lead to legislative deadlock. The Speaker, by unwritten convention going back 7 centuries, can only vote to continue debate or preserve the status quo. This means that legislation will die in Third Reading, including budgets, throne speeches and other matters of confidence in the government. Which means that as soon as the NDP attempts to table any such documents, it will die unless the Speaker is willing to repeatedly defy precedent for the next 4.5 years. Such a position would be absolutely unprecedented in Canadian electoral history. Liberals have unanimously declared that if elected, they will not serve as Speaker (something that they can apparently do in spite of the secret ballot used to elect the Speaker). So it's entirely likely that I'll spend my summer working a second election campaign, which would be an immense relief to me since I'm going insane from boredom. A summer election would end the boredom very quickly. But it's time to figure out what I want to do politically. Anyone who knows me knows that I harbour political ambitions, and I have the connections needed to make a good showing when I choose to make my run. Given the NDP sweep of my hometown and all of the surrounding districts, it's not advantageous for me to contest a provincial seat (which is what I would truly like), nor would I be well-situated to win given my lack of real-world experience at the moment. I'm also not likely to succeed at present in the federal seat I reside in. It has a history of electing NDP representatives, including very young gay New Democrats, but I think it unlikely that I would be their first choice, given the high profile of the seat and the fact that the party controls every other elected position in the city EXCEPT this one federal seat. That leaves city council or the school board. Both have vacancies due to the provincial election, which guarantees an opening for me to run in that doesn't explicitly mean that I have to face the city council directly in a nomination battle. Given the absolute virulence that some on Council have shown me (and I've shown them repeatedly in exchange), that's probably a good thing, since they would deal with me in short order in a head to head election, but may not play favourites for the open council seat. The alternative would be to contest the open school board seat, where I have broadly strong relations with all of the major players, and would be seen as less of a public frustration than the current school board trustee blabbing about internal discussions to the local paper. I have the benefit of having worked with the school board on policy in the past, having pushed them into creating and working through an explicit anti-homophobia and anti-transphobia policy that includes resources for including pro-LGBTQ material into the curriculum. So... they know me, and they like me enough to invite me to be a keynote speaker at a district event. Both options appeal to me. Council desperately needs my voice on housing issues, and even as the council reluctantly starts to take my activist viewpoint on expanding housing in the city, winning a council seat with that as my main platform issue would certainly boost the effectiveness of my critiques. In spite of their past anger towards me, they would be loyal and help elect me if I was part of the slate. I wouldn't be able to guarantee success on expanding housing options in the city, but those issues would have a voice and champion. It would also allow me to continue and expand my work on the city public safety committee where I've spent the last six years improving police awareness of youth crime issues and ensuring that stays on the radar. Councillors have seen me there, and they appreciate my work on those files, so they may also appreciate my diligence on other issues before council, should I get there. The school board interests me as well. Obviously as a teacher I couldn't teach in a district where I served as a trustee, but with my master's degree coming I may not be teaching anymore anyways, and may shift entirely into a research career, which would free me up to serve as a trustee at home. I already know that I can work well with the current trustees, and it's a lower profile position that would allow me to get used to actually governing before becoming a councillor or something with more clout and public profile. There are things that I would want to accomplish at the school board as well, including the expansion of additional Mandarin language classes, and expanding the Advance Placement capstone program to all eight high schools in the district. Increasing public knowledge about the ACE-IT program for early trades certification would also be a priority issue for me. So there are things that I can do, and I wouldn't be choosing school board because of its potential as a springboard to alternative elective offices. There's also the fact that the open Council seat is likely to be more interesting to potential candidates than a school board seat. Better perks and the like, and I'm not entirely in it for the perks. All of which is a long way for me to say that I don't know what I want for myself. I have a meeting with the local party's treasurer in the next few days, and I plan to sound him out a bit before I go too much further. I'm also considering talking to a current city councillor and a school board trustee that I have strong connections to, in order to better grasp what their views would be. I feel like they'll suggest I wait. It's what they Mayor said when I asked for his blessing to run federally in 2015, and I ignored his advice. The result was being squished like a bug by the powers that be. What a learning experience that was. Perhaps waiting another election cycle until I've more thoroughly rebuilt the bridges I've burned all to hell from my public comments. Perhaps hearing from my superiors will give me an idea of what my options are.
  3. In two months, my home province of British Columbia will be heading to the polls. I'm looking forward to the campaign, and hopefully in displacing the long-ruling BC Liberal government, which has had a continuous legislative majority since the 2001 elections that obliterated the BC New Democratic Party. Now, politics in British Columbia are different from the rest of Canada, so here are the important players. BC Liberal Party - Their leader and the current Premier is Christy Clark, who became Premier after winning the party leadership after former Premier Gordon Campbell was appointed High Commissioner to London. Premier Clark was, at the time, a radio host and former member of the Legislature, and won the leadership after a protracted leadership campaign. The BC Liberals, contrary to their name, are the main 'conservative', free enterprise party in British Columbia. Their membership reflects a combination of national Liberals and Conservatives, and is the direct successor to the Social Credit Party as the leader of the capitalist, free enterprise coalition in British Columbia. The Liberal Party vote has a floor of around 40% that does not leave the party, no matter what. BC New Democratic Party - Like their federal cousins, the New Democratic Party is the progressive, social democratic party in British Columbia. Our (Full disclaimer/disclosure: I'm a paying member of the BC NDP and have served as a party officer since 2009) leader is John Horgan, who won the leadership in late 2013 after our previous leader surrendered a 25 point lead in the polls. The party and its predecessor the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation have been the main social democratic party in British Columbia since 1933, and has been one of the top two parties in terms of vote share and seat count since the party's inception. With the exception of 2001's massacre, the party can consistently expect around 38% of the vote in any given election. BC Green Party - A progressive leaning Green Party that focuses on sustainable development and environmental protection as their main policies. The Green Party is lead by Andrew Weaver, an environmental scientist from the University of Victoria, and he is currently their only elected member of the Legislature. The party has been experimenting with new policy ideas, including a proposed pilot project for a universal basic income. The BC Green Party was created by dissident New Democrats in the 1990s, angry that the NDP government of the decade opened up part of the Great Bear Rainforest to development. Some recent polling has shown the Green Party surging in support across the province, taking around 20% of the popular vote. BC Conservative Party - The BC Conservatives are a new party, fighting their second election in their newly constituted form. Parties with the name 'BC Conservative' have come and gone, with the party being de-registered as an active party at several points over the last seventy years. The party currently has no leader after the previous leader, Dan Brooks, resigned the leadership for the second time in as many years. The party is not currently included in many election polls. With all of that contexty stuff out of the way, let's get to the interesting bits, the actual campaign! This year's election is being fought over the context of a number of different economic strains on the budget. Last November, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the BC Liberals unconstitutionally destroyed the teachers' contracts and required the government to reduce student-teacher ratios and class composition (the number of students with individualized education plans) back to the 2002 ratios. This necessitated over a billion dollars in new funding to the public education system and the subsequent hiring of over three thousand new teachers (a process that is still ongoing). This is a particularly black mark for Premier Clark, as she was the Minister of Education that initially destroyed those contracts. Adding to the financial strain on the government is the Ministry of Children and Family Development, which has been repeatedly under attack by critics for allowing children in care to die, and without even ensuring adequate care for the children. As a case in point, the most recent investigation covered an 18 year old in care who was placed into a motel as his housing by the Ministry. Additional funding has been promised, which has impacted the budget projections for the government. The Liberals have also been rocked by various ethics controversies, including accusations made against Health Ministry workers that directly led to the suicide of an accused graduate student who was later found to be innocent of the accusations. Finally, the government has been frustrated in its attempts to create a liquefied natural gas industry in the province, and failed to halt federal approval for the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion leading to the Pacific Ocean. In the government's favour is the fact that the NDP hasn't won an election since 1996, and has only won three times in all of its history in British Columbia. The Liberals have much more money to spend on the campaign, and most of their incumbents are running again. Many of them also remember that at this time before the last election, they were trailing by 25%, so being in a tied election right now is a far more comfortable position for them than they faced the last time they faced the electorate. The NDP, traditionally supported by the labour unions, is facing an internal revolt as private sector construction unions are beginning to endorse the anti-union Liberals, thanks to the Liberals support for massive construction projects that would lead to more union jobs in the province. This has sapped the organizational strength from the New Democrats going into the election, at a time where they could potentially be capitalizing on Liberal failures. The New Democrats also face renewed strength in the BC Green Party which shares an electoral base, especially on Vancouver Island where nearly a third of the NDP caucus is elected. My home district is a bellweather riding that normally votes with the overall provincial winner, though in 2013 we backed the NDP thanks to superb organizing and volunteer efforts. I'll be interested to see whether the parties can break out of their traditional bases. The Liberals have strength in rural and suburban British Columbia, but face difficulties in some of the inner suburbs and the main cities, as well as Vancouver Island. To win, the NDP has to start performing in rural British Columbia and sweeping the suburbs along with its traditional progressive coalition. For the Greens, winning more than just the leader's seat will be seen as a successful campaign, though some Green insiders are hoping to supplant the NDP as the main opposition party to the Liberals. That's a lot to take in about the BC Politics scene, so let's all take a quick break before I start talking about my favourite subject - my political career. In 2018, the municipal elections will be happening (In Canada, different levels of governments have elections in separate years from each other). I'm planning on contesting the local school board elections in my hometown. The place I live is one of the few communities in British Columbia with organized municipal political parties, and my relationship with the dominant party would be considered strained at best. They have accepted me again as a paying member of the party, but in the past years I've attempted to defend my seat on the executive and was defeated for opposing the party stance on affordable housing. Since that's an issue of Council and not the school board, I'm hoping that it will not be used as a weapon against me in any potential nomination contest. For those who don't know, I'm currently a private school teacher teaching in Downtown Vancouver. Now that I've been on the teacher side of the field, I see the importance of strong leadership in education, and I'm hoping that my past experiences in policy formation and execution will help me as a potential school board trustee. Beyond the negative publicity of attacking my own party, the members who turn out for nomination races do otherwise have a favourable opinion of me, particularly those who have served with me in the leadership. There's also residual support in the LGBTQ community in the city due to my organizing and lobbying in favour of a local anti-discrimination school board policy that was enacted in 2011. Passing the policy over vocal objection both on and off the school board garnered lots of positive media coverage, but after seven years those views are unlikely to have remained with the electorate. Which is fine, I'm not running to defend the policy or even to expand it. While I'm proud of the work I did to create the policy and defend it in the election of 2011, I'm not focusing on it as a campaign platform. My focus is to be on expanding access to trades training programs and advanced placement programs. The province, in partnership with the local school boards, offers a program known as ACE-IT, which provides students with practical experience and their first year trades training in a trade of their choice. The program is entirely funded by the district, and helps reduce the time needed to become a journeyman tradesperson. However, there's a lack of knowledge about these programs being available, and each school only offers a few of the programs, creating a patchwork where students in some parts of the city do not have access to the ACE-IT program at all. Expansion of the College Board's Advance Placement Capstone program is another goal of mine. It's currently being run as a pilot program in two of the eight secondary schools in the district, and I'd like to expand that program to all students in order to provide that additional benefit to students pursuing post-secondary educations. Of recent issue is the idea of the district being a 'sanctuary district'. While I'm supportive in principle, I'm interested to see what happens with the new policy and how the district staff interact with federal immigration authorities over the next year. This is service for me. I believe in giving back to the community and the schools that helped shape me, and while I have no quarrel with any of the school board trustees currently on the board, I feel that many of them have served their community for long enough, and that new voices are needed to replace those individuals seeking their eleventh term on the school board. Changing educational technology and new pedagogical practices necessitates the need for new voices at the board of education to ensure that the students of my city are best served, especially with the rollout of new provincial curriculum guidelines and additional provincial funding to uphold the Supreme Court ruling. As a new teacher who's recently obtained my teaching certificate, I feel that I would be an articulate voice for the new generation of educators that is not being heard at the board level right now. Whew. That's all of it. I'll write another one of these soon, but I'd love to hear what people think about the BC Political scene, or any advice for a campaign I may or may not end up running. For the record, this won't be the first campaign I've run or worked on. I've been a past campaign manager, past candidate and past paid staffer for a few campaigns, so I already know what kind of costs are going to be involved. See you later blog buddies!
  4. Carlos Hazday

    Presidential Inaguration

    Forty years ago today, on January 20, 1977, I stood on the grounds of the Capitol freezing my butt off. The same weather system which had brought snow to my hometown of Miami the previous day had dumped inches of the white stuff on the nation’s capital; the cold seeped through the soles of my shoes making me shiver and bringing my group of friends into a huddle seeking warmth. Try having your feet stuck in snow for hours, when you’re used to warm South Florida winters, and you’ll know how uncomfortable I was. But we were not about to move; we were there to watch the inauguration of Jimmy Carter as the 39th President of the United States. As a freshman at Georgetown University I’d made friends with connections. Those contacts scored me tickets to the Gerald Ford Victory Celebration on election night the previous November. My friends and I milled about the hotel ballroom that night, drinking overpriced cocktails, watching the election results displayed on a screen behind the stage. We returned to our dorm disappointed our candidate had lost. The same congressman who gained us admission to the party on election night, came through with tickets for the inauguration of the man who I’d not voted for. But in the politically charged environment which was a university campus in Washington, DC it made no difference: we were witnesses to the peaceful transition of power from one party to another. An event our nation took for granted after almost 200 years and which many around the world envied. Today I find myself in a similar situation: a man I did not support will be inaugurated as president. I won’t be in Washington this time around, but I’ll be watching Donald Trump’s swearing in as the 45th President from home. Yes, I’ll be watching. No, I’m not happy it’s him taking the oath of office instead of his opponent. Yes, he’s my president. I’m an American first. My concern is for the nation as a whole. I may disagree with Mr. Trump in many areas, I may cuss at him and his policies, but he has my best wishes. If he fails, we all suffer. Some may suffer if he succeeds, but he won the election and he deserves an opportunity to show us what he can accomplish. I will support him when I agree with him, and I will speak out against him when I don’t. But I will continue to believe in the American system of government, flawed as it may be, and will continue to participate to the best of my ability. Because if I don’t, if I abdicate my responsibilities as a citizen, I give up the right to speak up and complain. Change is coming and I hope it surprises me. I hope our nation and our people are better off in four years than they are today. Good luck, Mr. Trump.
  5. Carlos Hazday

    Grace In The Face Of Defeat

    Carlos -- Thank you. Last night, I congratulated Donald Trump and offered to work with him on behalf of our country. I hope that he will be a successful president for all Americans. This is not the outcome we wanted or we worked so hard for, and I’m sorry we did not win this election for the values we share and the vision we hold for our country. But I feel pride and gratitude for this wonderful campaign that we built together –- this vast, diverse, creative, unruly, energized campaign. You represent the best of America, and being your candidate has been one of the greatest honors of my life. I know how disappointed you feel, because I feel it too. And so do tens of millions of Americans who invested their hopes and dreams in this effort. This is painful, and it will be for a long time. But I want you to remember this: Our campaign was never about one person or even one election. It was about the country we love -- and about building an America that’s hopeful, inclusive, and big-hearted. We have seen that our nation is more deeply divided than we thought. But I still believe in America –- and I always will. And if you do, too, then we must accept this result -– and then look to the future. Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead. Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power, and we don’t just respect that, we cherish it. It also enshrines other things –- the rule of law, the principle that we’re all equal in rights and dignity, and the freedom of worship and expression. We respect and cherish these things too -- and we must defend them. And let me add: Our constitutional democracy demands our participation, not just every four years, but all the time. So let’s do all we can to keep advancing the causes and values we all hold dear: making our economy work for everyone, not just those at the top; protecting our country and protecting our planet; and breaking down all the barriers that hold anyone back from achieving their dreams. We’ve spent a year and a half bringing together millions of people from every corner of our country to say with one voice that we believe that the American Dream is big enough for everyone -- for people of all races and religions, for men and women, for immigrants, for LGBT people, and people with disabilities. Our responsibility as citizens is to keep doing our part to build that better, stronger, fairer America we seek. And I know you will. I am so grateful to stand with all of you. I want to thank Tim Kaine and Anne Holton for being our partners on this journey. It gives me great hope and comfort to know that Tim will remain on the front-lines of our democracy, representing Virginia in the Senate. To Barack and Michelle Obama: Our country owes you an enormous debt of gratitude for your graceful, determined leadership, and so do I. To Bill, Chelsea, Marc, Charlotte, Aidan, our brothers, and our entire family, my love for you means more than I can ever express. You crisscrossed this country on my behalf and lifted me up when I needed it most –- even four-month old Aidan traveling with his mom. I will always be grateful to the creative, talented, dedicated men and women at our headquarters in Brooklyn and across our country who poured their hearts into this campaign. For you veterans, this was a campaign after a campaign -- for some of you, this was your first campaign ever. I want each of you to know that you were the best campaign anyone has had. To all the volunteers, community leaders, activists, and union organizers who knocked on doors, talked to neighbors, posted on Facebook - even in secret or in private: Thank you. To everyone who sent in contributions as small as $5 and kept us going, thank you. And to all the young people in particular, I want you to hear this. I’ve spent my entire adult life fighting for what I believe in. I’ve had successes and I’ve had setbacks -– sometimes really painful ones. Many of you are at the beginning of your careers. You will have successes and setbacks, too. This loss hurts. But please, please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it. It’s always worth it. And we need you keep up these fights now and for the rest of your lives. To all the women, and especially the young women, who put their faith in this campaign and in me, I want you to know that nothing has made me prouder than to be your champion. I know that we still have not shattered that highest glass ceiling. But some day someone will -– hopefully sooner than we might think right now. And to all the little girls watching right now, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world. Finally, I am grateful to our country for all it has given me. I count my blessings every day that I am an American. And I still believe, as deeply as I ever have, that if we stand together and work together, with respect for our differences, strength in our convictions, and love for this nation -– our best days are still ahead of us. You know I believe we are stronger together and will go forward together. And you should never be sorry that you fought for that. Scripture tells us: “Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season, we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.” My friends, let us have faith in each other. Let us not grow weary. Let us not lose heart. For there are more seasons to come and there is more work to do. I am incredibly honored and grateful to have had this chance to represent all of you in this consequential election. May God bless you and god bless the United States of America. Hillary
  6. God, I hate that I am going to talk about politics so soon. But today calls for it. Today, I saw something that shocked, hurt, and pained me. So, I left a long comment on it. I have no idea if it will be posted... so I am posting a similar piece on here. I am a young man that champions the "Freedom of Speech" and I live by Voltaire's "I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." but what I saw really tested my resolve. I do not merely disagree with what I saw, I absolutely disagree with it and I cannot, nay will not, defend it. It pains me to write that. To not defend a person's right to say something is anathema to me. Having to think that is so disheartening. I was offended by what I saw. Now, if I had seen something like this two months ago, I would have thought it was meant out of a certain brand of humor. I understand, that their are humorists, satirists, and comedians that say and do offensive things for the sake of humor and comedy, But what I saw, along with previous things by the same person, I can therefore say it was offensive for the sake of being offensive. I try to look at the good in everyone, no matter their faults, but this post just pushed me beyond my limit. It grieves me, that I don't have the will to defend it, but... **sigh** I wash my hands of it.
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