Martha just recorded with CBC Radio, The House, which airs on Sat Dec 27th at 9:11am. She recommends a book to read over the holidays.
Martha just recorded with CBC Radio, The House, which airs on Sat Dec 27th at 9:11am. She recommends a book to read over the holidays.
For those of you who don’t know me my name is Elizabeth Dubois and I am an assistant to MHF. I am also an active Young Liberal as the Chair of the YLC Issues Working Group, former University of Ottawa Young Liberals Vice President and current lead for the YLC delegation to COP-15 (the United Nations Climate Change Conference).
In fact I am writing to you now from the Bella Center in Copenhagen where negotiations are underway. I, along with 22 other Young Liberals of Canada have spent the past two weeks in Copenhagen as members of the International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY) delegation. We have had the opportunity to attend seminars and lectures, engage in discussion and debate with other dedicated citizens and meet with numerous leaders and experts. We have detailed our experience online, check out our blog and youtube. (More information can be found at the YLC website.)
I hope to get more photos up soon but for now here is a quick snap of me as I blog,
Déclaration de Martha, Chambre des Communes, le 8 décembre 2009: L'Armée du Salut
Mme Martha Hall Findlay (Willowdale, Lib.):Madame la Présidente, je rends aujourd'hui hommage aux oeuvres de l'Armée du Salut.À ce temps-ci de l'année, les représentants de l'Armée du Salut qui recueillent des dons sont omniprésents. Pour ma part, c'est mon père, aujourd'hui décédé, qui me l'a fait connaître. Après son retour d'Europe, à la fin de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, il parlait souvent et avec admiration du travail de l'Armée du Salut sur le terrain. Quand il est décédé, c'est à l'Armée du Salut qu'il a demandé que les gens fassent des dons en son nom.L'Armée du Salut est présente dans 118 pays, et dans 400 collectivités uniquement au Canada. Elle vient directement en aide à 1,5 millions de Canadiens chaque année. Il s'agit du plus important fournisseur non gouvernemental de services sociaux directs du Canada.Je souhaite la bienvenue aux commissionnaires Bill et Marilyn Francis, chefs de territoire de l'Armée du Salut au Canada et aux Bermudes, et à leurs collègues. J'invite la Chambre à se joindre à moi pour dire merci à l'Armée du Salut au nom d'innombrables Canadiens.
Today is International Volunteer Day. I invite my colleagues to join me and warmly thank all those people who, out of pure altruism, collect donations in order to allow soup kitchens to continue helping the disadvantaged, bring comfort to patients in our hospitals, and collect and distribute toys to children.
We must always be aware of their many selfless contributions, and the tremendous social and economic benefits they provide to all of our communities.
Today, we thank these volunteers for the very precious gifts of their time and effort.
I encourage all of my colleagues to join me today in not only thanking all of the volunteers in this country but also to join their ranks a few times a year.
Déclaration de Martha, le 4 décembre 2009: Le bénévolat
Mme Martha Hall Findlay (Willowdale, Lib.): Monsieur le Président, ce sont des héros de la société canadienne qui travaillent dans l'ombre. Ils livrent des repas chauds à des personnes confinées chez elles, ils font le tri dans des montagnes de vêtements usagés et ils sont les entraîneurs des équipes sportives de nos enfants. Ce sont tous des bénévoles et, aujourd'hui, c'est leur journée.
C'est aujourd'hui la Journée internationale des bénévoles. J'invite tous mes collègues à se joindre à moi pour remercier chaleureusement tous ces gens qui, par pur altruisme, s'investissent pour recueillir les dons qui permettent aux soupes populaires de continuer à aider les démunis, qui apportent un peu de réconfort aux patients dans nos hôpitaux, qui accumulent et distribuent des jouets pour les enfants.
Nous devons toujours être conscients de leurs contributions désintéressées, ainsi que des énormes avantages socioéconomiques qu'ils procurent à toutes nos collectivités.
Aujourd'hui, nous remercions ces bénévoles qui font ce don si précieux, celui de leur temps et de leurs efforts.
J'encourage tous mes collègues à se joindre à moi aujourd'hui pour remercier tous les bénévoles du pays et à faire oeuvre utile avec eux quelques fois par année.
Legitimate concerns have been raised about (i) assuring protection of Intellectual Property rights; and (ii) that C-393 will not, in and of itself, solve the problems encountered so far in getting affordable, much-needed drugs to the countries and people most in need. On (ii), my colleague Glen Pearson (Liberal MP, London North Centre), who has extensive experience with the challenges faced by so many sick and poor in African countries, has committed to developing other solutions to the underlying problems that won't be addressed by C-393. I wholeheartedly support him in that effort. On (i), my other colleague Marc Garneau (Liberal MP, Westmount--Ville-Marie) has raised some legitimate concerns about the protection of intellectual property rights, and I hope that further work at Committee can help address those issues.
I also want to encourage everyone to help Elizabeth Dubois (yes, I am biased because Elizabeth works part time in my Office in Ottawa!) and the entire delegation of Young Liberals who have been selected to go to Copenhagen. They all have to pay their own way and would love any help possible.
For more information and to donate please contact Elizabeth Dubois, the delegation coordinator at OttawaAtCOP15@gmail.com
Be sure to check out one of the Climate Change Town Halls happening in your area!
Next one will be held this Wednesday, December 2 at 7:00-8:30pm at Carleton University in Ottawa, Room 210 Tory Building.
Elizabeth will be blogging about her time experience in Copenhagen so be sure to check back for updates!
Application Deadline - December 7, 2009
A camera captures the Speaker of the House of Commons as he calls the House to order. A Member rises to ask a question, Hansard in hand. The Clerk of the House makes notes on the daily scroll. A House of Commons Page delivers an urgent message to the Prime Minister. These are the sounds, sights and pace of a day in the House of Commons. In the Chamber and around Parliament Hill, Pages live and breathe the history and action of one of Canada’s oldest political institutions.
Each year, approximately 40 students are selected from high schools and CEGEPS across Canada to come and work as Pages in the House of Commons. Pages begin a year-long contract in late-August. They work a minimum of 15 hours a week and their work schedule is coordinated with their university schedule. They are paid approximately $11,461 over the course of their employment. In addition, a sum of $1,200 is paid at the end of the employment period.
If you are interested in becoming a Page, you must:
· be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident;
· be graduating from a high school or a CEGEP (with no academic interruptions) and be commencing full-time university studies at one of the universities in the National Capital Region in September 2010;
· have an overall academic average of at least 80%; and
· speak both official languages at a superior level.
In mid-October, applications for the Page Program are sent to high schools and CEGEPS across Canada. If you are currently in your last year of high school or CEGEP, please contact your guidance counsellor for an application booklet, print a copy from the Web site or apply online at: http://www.parl.gc.ca/hocpage. Applications for the 2010-2011 House of Commons Page Program must be postmarked or received no later than Monday, December 7, 2009.
For more information on how to become a Page, contact:
House of Commons Page Programme (Recruitment)
Human Resources, Corporate Planning and Communications Services
131 Queen Street, Room 11-10
House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario K1A OA6
Tel.: 613-996-0897 Fax : 613-995-1470
CHAMBRE DES COMMUNES 2010-2011
- le 7 décembre 2009
La caméra s’arrête sur le Président de la Chambre des communes au moment où il rappelle la Chambre à l’ordre. Un député se lève pour poser une question, le Hansard à la main. La greffière de la Chambre prend des notes pour le plumitif. Un page remet un message urgent au premier ministre. Voilà un aperçu du déroulement d’une journée à la Chambre des communes. Dans l’enceinte de la Chambre et sur la colline du Parlement, les pages évoluent au coeur de l’histoire de l’une des plus anciennes institutions politiques du Canada et font l’apprentissage direct de ses rouages.
Chaque année, environ 40 étudiant(e)s des écoles secondaires et des cégeps de tout le pays sont choisi(e)s pour travailler comme pages à la Chambre des communes. Le contrat des pages dure un an et débute à la fin août. Ils travaillent un minimum de 15 heures par semaine et leur horaire de travail est établi en tenant compte de leur horaire de cours universitaires. Ils reçoivent une rémunération d’environ 11 461 $ au cours de l’année. De plus, une somme de 1 200 $ leur est versée à la fin du contrat.
Si vous voulez devenir page, vous devez :
· être citoyen(ne) canadien(ne) ou résident(e) permanent(e);
· avoir réussi vos études secondaires ou cégeps (sans interruption) et débuter des études à temps complet à une université de la région de la Capitale nationale à compter de septembre 2010;
· avoir obtenu une moyenne générale d’au moins 80 p. cent;
· posséder une connaissance supérieure des deux langues officielles.
À la mi-octobre, les formulaires de demande d’emploi sont envoyés aux écoles secondaires et aux cégeps partout au pays. Si vous êtes présentement inscrit(e) en dernière année à l’école secondaire ou au cégep, veuillez communiquer avec votre conseiller(ère) académique pour obtenir les formulaires de demande d’emploi, imprimer une copie à partir du site Web ou remplir le formulaire en ligne à l’adresse suivante : http://www.parl.gc.ca/cdcpage. Les demandes pour l’année 2010-2011 doivent être envoyées ou reçues avant le lundi 7 décembre 2009, le cachet de la poste faisant foi.
Pour de plus amples renseignements, veuillez communiquer avec :
Programme des pages de la Chambre des communes (Recrutement)
Services en ressources humaines, planification corporative et communications
Pièce 11-10, 131, rue Queen
Chambre des communes, Ottawa (Ontario) K1A 0A6
Tél.: 613-996-0897 Télécopieur : 613-995-1470
If you are on Twitter you can also vote for her by posting this hashtag: #creativefaceoffvote13
The Conservative logo should not appear on a cheque from the government of Canada.
We need your help!
We are gathering all of the additional examples we can, so please comment below with any examples you have seen online including website links, or send us a hard copy to 368 Confederation Building, Ottawa ON K1A 0A6 (no postage required) or by fax to: 613.992.1158.
We saw this in Ontario under Mike Harris---and it's not a coincidence that many of that same gang are now in Ottawa--Guy Giorno, John Baird, Jim Flaherty....... We stopped this abuse in Ontario with tough, Liberal legislation---we need to stop it at the federal level too.
In the meantime, we are looking for examples of this abuse---gov't ads, publications and websites that do less "informing" and more "patting themselves on the back". For example, ad copy, radio spots, government websites that are very partisan (lots of Conservative blue, photos of the PM and ministers; photos of "announcements'" that feature local Conservative candidates but no Liberals; gov't-paid-for web sites that have links to Conservative Party websites; return addresses on mailings that are private entities, not the government; ads that direct readers or listeners to Harper's "economic plan vanity site".
WE NEED YOUR HELP! I have written to the Treasury Board, showing how this abuse of gov't ad spending for partisan advantage breaks several laws.
We are gathering all of the additional examples we can, so please comment below with any examples you have seen online including website links, or send us a hard copy to 368 Confederation Building, Ottawa ON K1A 0A6 (no postage required) or by fax to: 613.992.1158.
Thanks in advance for all your help,
Tonight, Andrew Coyne, Paul Wells, Ed Broadbent, Eddie Goldenberg and John Raulston Saul will debate all of this in Toronto at the St. Lawrence Centre. Willowdale and Team MHF will be well-represented, me included--a group of us is going down to watch it live---I encourage others to join us.
Here's the link with the details.
If you can't come down, it will be aired live on CPAC.
Either way, it's going to be a lively debate!
Since the end of my "formal" studies, I have continued to be a student of international affairs, recognizing the importance of international relations to so much of what we do.
And I am so proud of what Canada and Canadians have done on the international stage, from my grandfather and others in WW1, my father landing on D-Day in WW2, to people like Lester Pearson winning the Nobel Peace Prize (and doubly proud that Pearson was a Liberal--proud as I am of what my Dad accomplished in WW2, he was definitely Conservative!)
I was therefore really pleased that Michael Ignatieff spoke this past week on his vision for Canada's place in the world, on Canada re-establishing itself as a constructive participant in world affairs. Even more, I was really excited about the substance he offered, with a number of concrete ideas about what we can, and should, do. Please read Michael Ignatieff's speech to the Canadian Club of Ottawa. I'd love to hear what you think.
And it is fascinating to watch Jack Layton and the NDP with their waffling and mixed messages!! How extraordinary, after so much ‘holier than thou’ posturing about ‘never’ supporting Stephen Harper. The tables are turned; the NDP are now facing the practical challenges of an election that doesn’t suit their own timing (or poll results!)—and lo and behold, their principles, if Jack Layton had any to begin with, seem to have disappeared.
These are interesting times...
On a personal level, it was really nice to catch up with so many colleagues who have also become good friends. We were all very busy with our ridings over the summer, but I was glad to see that colleagues who are often so hard-working all of the time, also managed to get some time this summer with their families.
And a final note of thanks about the warm welcome we were given by Sudbury and Northern Ontario, it was wonderful. We look forward to turning the whole region Liberal red again!
Throughout caucus I conducted a little experiment and used Twitter to create a mini photo journal of the event, as seen below.
Liberal Women's Caucus roundtable with representatives from various Sudbury organizations.
Kristina Gasparini, Carol Hartman - new Lib candidate + Janet Gasparini, who also fought for the nomination. What a great team we have!
Larry Bagnell MP + wife Melissa Craig + daughter Aurora Sage as we all get ready for big #lpc rally
I also want to say a special thank you to the Twitterers, facebook folk, and the bloggers who promoted the event (and even reported on while it was happening!)---very neat :-)
Here are a few photos from the night:
Well Martha is in Willowdale but Anne-Sophie and I are busy here in Ottawa! After a few weeks away it is great to be back on the Hill. The new session buzz has started, we are all gearing up for what promises to be an exciting fall. But we can’t forget there is a little summer left to enjoy.
I was lucky enough to have to opportunity to spend some of my summer in England volunteering for the Bromley by Bow Centre, a community centre in East London. I worked with a fellow named Chris on the “Signs of Life” project painting murals and doing mosaics. “Signs of Life” is a social enterprise that helps to fund the centre. Youth from the community are invited to free art lessons, in exchange they help to paint murals, make mosaics and create other art projects that can be sold to the community. For example, a school might commission Signs of Life to paint a mural on a playground wall. The team will come into the class rooms and work through the process of designing, drawing and painting the mural with the students. Students learn how to paint, they have the chance to contribute to their school and exert their creativity. The centre receives funding that can help to fund future programs and the school is left with a beautiful painting that will last years.
Here is a photo of the mural I helped with. I worked on the stars, believe it or not the few dozen stars took an entire day!
The Bromley by Bow Centre truly is incredible, everything is so interconnected. The medical clinic works with Signs of Life to do art therapy, the learning centre works with the nursery to teach English as a second language and computer skills. The word to describe it is resourceful. I am so happy I had the chance to work with the Bromley by Bow team, as an added bonus I got to see so much more of London than the average tourist!
After the UK I headed back to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia for a quick visit with my family. After a few unusually hot days by the ocean, the first big hurricane of the season and a six am flight I am back in Ottawa.
More seriously, I want to say a big thank you to the Willowdale Liberal Riding Association for putting on a great birthday party for me, with a particular thank you, as always, to the Willowdale Liberal Women who do so much, all of the time. I am incredibly fortunate to have so many wonderful friends. Thank you!!
My siblings put on a fantastic cottage birthday party for me this weekend, with a great many wonderful friends and family. Monday, my actual birthday 'day', I got to spend with my own three kids, just us, in our own little piece of heaven in Georgian Bay.
Three great kids, all healthy, happy, and good people; a wonderful family of my mum, siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews (a bunch of us had a great time together 'til the wee hours Sat. night :-) ); so many friends and colleagues for whom I have such respect and affection; and a job--a calling--that I absolutely love.
Oh yes, and a new puppy in the family!
I am incredibly fortunate that the past 50 have brought me to this place in my life.
Thank you to everyone who is sending in birthday wishes!! They all mean a great deal to me--thank you so much.
See my original book review at Macleans.ca
Jim Collins is an internationally renowned business strategy guru, and is a bestselling author of business strategy books.
My son Everett gave me this “Good to Great” book, knowing my interest in business—but he also thought that I’d recognize that many of the business principles outlined in the book could also apply to politics, political parties and, indeed, Canada. That’s how I read the book—with the applicability to politics, politicians, political parties and, ultimately, Canada, in mind. It proved to be a fascinating and very instructive read.
Mr. Collins and his research team identified and then studied a set of companies that made the leap to great results (GtoG) and sustained those results for at least 15 years, and they diligently compared them to a carefully selected set of “comparison” companies.
I can’t do the full book justice in these brief notes, so I encourage anyone interested in either business or political success to read the whole book. I try here only to summarize a few key points that really hit home for me—as a former business person, but now very much as a federal politician.
I have added into my notes the words [party] and [Canada] to encourage readers to think in those terms.
LEVEL 5 LEADERSHIP: The “great” companies were all led by individuals who showed the traits of what Colllins calls “Level 5 Leadership”. One of the most surprising conclusions was that the GtoG companies were NOT led by people who were high-profile, with “big personalities” who made headlines and became celebrities--to a person, these individuals showed a mix of personal humility and professional will. They were ambitious, very much so, but ambitious first and foremost to the company [party] [Canada] not themselves. A “Level 5 Leader” is resolved to do whatever is needed to make his or her company [party] [Canada] great, no matter how big or hard the decisions. “Level 5 Leaders” very clearly understand that the company [party] [Canada] comes first....
FIRST WHO...THEN WHAT : Transformation in the GtoG companies began by “getting the right people on the bus, and getting the wrong people off, before figuring out how to drive it.” Efforts at determining strategy and vision were only effective AFTER the right people were brought on board. The “genius with a thousand helpers” model fails as soon as the “genius” leaves. Level 5 Leaders were rigorous in people decisions; they acted when they knew they needed a people change, and they put their best people on their biggest opportunities, not their biggest problems. GtoG management teams consisted of people who debated vigorously in search of the best answers, yet who then unified behind decisions. (Interestingly, no correlation was found between greatness and executive compensation.)
CONFRONT THE BRUTAL FACTS (YET NEVER LOSE FAITH): Moving to greatness requires an honest and diligent effort to determine the truth, the real truth, of the company’s [party’s] [Canada’s] situation. This requires a culture where people are encouraged to speak and, importantly, can be heard.
THE HEDGEHOG CONCEPT: To me, this applies so much to the success of a political party and, indeed, to the success of Canada. It requires determining (i) what you are deeply passionate about; (ii) what you can be the best at (importantly, NOT what you WANT to be best at, rather what you CAN be best at); and (iii) determining what drives, in the case of a company, the “economic engine”—in the case of a political party, what drives voter and funder support. In the case of a country, the corresponding concept could be, perhaps, what makes us most proud of being Canadian. (A case in point: we might want to be a world power, but we can’t be---what we CAN be, however, is a significant participant, diplomatically, on the world stage, out of proportion to our size—we can certainly strive to be the best at that, and we know that achieving that is something that makes Canadians very proud.)
A CULTURE OF DISCIPLINE: Sustained great results require a culture of self-discipline, and a group of self-disciplined people. And it is a discipline that involves first engaging in disciplined thought, and THEN taking disciplined action. This is NOT to be confused with one person who “disciplines” the rest—as Collins puts it, “when you have disciplined people, you don’t need a bureaucracy.” This ties, of course, to the idea of “First Who... Then What”--that you need, first and foremost, to get the right people “on the bus”.
TECHNOLOGY ACCELERATORS: Interestingly, the GtoG companies never used technology as a panacea, as the “primary means of igniting a transformation.” They were, however, often “pioneers in the application of carefully selected technologies.” Key was the realization that technology was never a CAUSE of greatness---only as a source of well-selected TOOLS to more effectively implement the strategies otherwise decided on.
THE FLYWHEEL: Here I will simply quote from the book: “Those who launch revolutions, dramatic change programs, and wrenching restructurings will almost certainly fail to make the leap from good to great. No matter how dramatic the end result, the good-to-great transformations never happened in one fell swoop. There was no single defining action, no grand program, no one killer innovation, no solitary lucky break, no miracle moment. Rather, the process resembled relentlessly pushing a giant heavy flywheel in one direction, turn upon turn, building momentum until a point of breakthrough, and beyond.” In other words, achieving greatness takes time and effort, applied consistently.
FROM GOOD TO GREAT TO BUILT TO LAST: The last chapter focuses on how to take a company [party] [Canada] with great one-time or temporary results, and turn it into something enduring. Collins is unequivocal: “To make that final shift requires core values and a purpose beyond just making money.”
In that last sentence, replace “making money” with “getting votes”...... See what I mean?
There is much talk about how the nomination process for political candidates is flawed. There are concerns that the current process poses particular barriers for potential women candidates.
Much of the problem lies with "instant members"--people who are persuaded to join the party in question (all major Canadian political parties do it this way), solely for the purpose of electing a particular candidate. Many of us have been through the process, some of us several times, and we have all seen the flaws. Some of it can be downright ugly.
It is, technically, "democratic", insofar as the candidate is chosen by vote of all the members. However, I have always been concerned about how that particular group of members is established. Enough to say that the process and the methods used often leave a fair bit to be desired, in the drive for those all-powerful numbers. It also begs larger questions about what "membership" means, and about political engagement itself, when someone joins a political party for no real purpose other than for a single vote for a specific candidate.
Have a look at Preston Manning's suggestion in today's Globe and Mail.
What do you think?
Here is the article:
Play to Canada's strengths; If we measure our influence by military might or economic influence, it will continue to decline -- Canada should focus on its talent for diplomacy
The Ottawa Citizen
Wed Jun 24 2009
Byline: Joe Clark
Source: Citizen Special
Once, Canadians played an influential and innovative role on the international stage. Now there is a relative absence in global affairs that is aggravated by declining budgets for diplomacy and development.
The decline in Canada's capacity to address significant changes in the world did not happen suddenly. Most of it is due to developments beyond our borders and the emergence of new powers and economies.
When Canada and Italy became members of the G-7, the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) among others were not considered part of the competition. Now, emphatically, they are.
As the world's religious, cultural and economic divides grow deeper, our diversity and our diplomatic abilities have become more relevant.
The critical international skills needed to shorten these divides include prominently the ability to draw differences together, to manage diversity, to generate trust -- the traditional and genuine signature qualities of Canada.
To the Harper government's credit, Canada is now increasing its defence spending. For too long, we had let other countries carry an increasing share of our defence burden. But our diplomatic and development resources are being run down now as steadily and certainly as our defence resources were run down in earlier decades.
It is worth asking: Why the double standard? Why is Canada more prepared to accept our share of the military burden than we are of the diplomatic and development burdens?
In this world of shifting power, how long would Canada have a place at the table of a G-8 Summit? Would we make the cut of a G-20? In other words, would we keep our seat in the inner circle of countries that define international trade and military, diplomatic and development policy?
Not if we focus narrowly on trade and economic policy, or define our international profile disproportionately by military presence. For all our growth and innovation, Canada can have more influence in politics and diplomacy than we do in trade. Economic power reflects size; diplomacy depends more on imagination, and agility, and reputation. Canada's political strengths have more currency again, if we choose to use them.
From some perspectives, foreign policy is just another necessary function of the state -- self-respecting countries need a police force, a tax policy, a foreign policy, a defence policy. In that view, foreign policy is a function, not an attribute -- and some of the traditional foreign policy functions are less relevant in this highly connected, mobile world.
Twenty years ago, the end of the Cold War changed the fundamental dynamics of foreign policy in western countries. The priority became trade and economic growth. Governments chose to believe that trade would combat poverty, that market models would release energies that were inherently democratic, and that military force would contain local challenges and disorders.
The twin failures of the military intervention in Iraq, and the collapse of the financial system, demonstrate the limitations of that faith.
At the same time, there is a shifting of power -- economic, cultural, political, even military. Fareed Zakaria argues this is not about anyone's decline -- but rather the rise and assertion of new forces. Call it a "post-American world," call it a BRIC world, this is a new situation, in which Canada needs to evaluate its assumptions and capacities.
If British economist and author Barbara Ward was right in describing Canada as the "first international country," if Canadian travellers and businesses who stitch on the maple leaf are right, if we have something distinctive to offer, we should treat Canada's "international vocation" as an asset -- as we treat our energy resources, our literacy and ingenuity, and our diversity as assets.
Let's list just five of our assets as Canadians that can be most relevant in this changing world:
1. Our diversity at home.
We have more capacity than most to build and enlarge relations with the cultures and societies whose global influence is on the rise. For one thing, so many of those cultures are dynamic parts of our own identity -- South Asian, Chinese, African and Caribbean diasporas, and a disproportionately large and innovative refugee population.
But, as importantly, those citizens are treated with respect, and now guaranteed equality before the law, in this open, immigrant nation whose tradition of diversity is so deep that it pre-dates our confederation itself.
2. Our ability to bridge differences.
We have earned respect as a partner in the developing world and generally carry the advantage of not being seen as seeking to impose our views and values on other countries.
We are the only member in the G-8 that carries neither an imperial nor a colonial taint and in that we have been a natural and practised bridge between the richer world and the poorer.
3. The different North America.
The world still reveres the American ideal of equal opportunity, even if it is bruised or disappointed by what U.S. policy has actually been in practice. Canada is closest to that democratic reputation that is so admired about the United States, and we are not yet subject to the negative stereotypes.
We are the other North America, and we need to emphasize that distinction.
4. Our multilateral instinct.
For more than half a century, Canada has promoted a multilateral system precisely because nations our size were not big enough to protect ourselves alone. We have a profound interest in a world that works -- SARS strikes here, refugees come here, pollutants pollute here, and close relatives of Canadians die in virtually every conflict in the world.
Our national interest has always included international co-operation -- not in any airy-fairy way, but as the practical centerpiece of our trade policy, through the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the World Trade Organisation; our security policy, through NATO and other alliances, and our support for international standards and agreements in health, human rights, and the environment.
This isn't a posture -- it is a Canadian characteristic, as real as winter.
5. Our ability to work with non-state actors.
International affairs have been transformed by new phenomena -- the emergence of powerful and focused foundations, such as NGOs; the new commitment, for whatever reasons, to corporate responsibility; and the role of remittances.
The World Bank estimates that, in 2008, remittances totalled $375 billion, most of it going to developing countries, involving some 200 million migrants -- or three per cent of the world's population. Those are big figures.
Yet, for all these private or non-government initiatives, this is still an institutional world. Sovereign states still make the critical decisions -- to cut or increase budgets, respect or break treaties, send or withdraw troops, pay or withhold their membership contributions, confront or ignore crises.
The challenge and opportunity now is to marry mandate with imagination -- combine the creativity of these independent forces with the capacity-to-act of institutions. Who could do that better than Canada? Those partnerships are what happened in the fight against apartheid, in the negotiation of the Land Mines Treaty, in the Kimberley Process to stop the trade in blood diamonds, and in a wide range of less-publicized initiatives.
Canada has always been an act of will. We didn't come together naturally. We haven't stayed together easily. Confederation was an act of will. So were medicare, equalization, the Charter of Rights, and free trade. One reality of our country is that we have to keep proving our worth to our parts.
We are a wealthy, lucky country, increasingly self-absorbed. It is easy to take our good fortune for granted, or to see ourselves principally as British Columbians, or Quebecers, or environmentalists, or simply taxpayers, and thus to become smaller than our whole.
So we need to look to issues and aspirations that reach across the lines and attitudes that might otherwise set Canadians apart, and to characteristics that distinguish us, legitimately, from comparable societies.
Foreign policy is that kind of issue.
Our sense of "international vocation" has helped define and reinforce Canadian identity since the end of the First World War. It is an asset with a double value. It could strengthen us at home, and now, in an era when the mediation and management of diversity are such critical components of international affairs, it could have an important impact on the world.
Joe Clark is a former prime minister of Canada.
The lobby of the Ryerson University meeting room was buzzing when I arrived a few minutes before 8:30 in the morning. There were a lot of familiar faces present, including a number of people I recognized from the Vancouver convention in May. There wasn’t a lot of time of time for chatting over coffee, though, as the schedule was packed!
For the first break-out session of the day, we were assigned to tables with people from other ridings as well as our own. Along with several other Willowdaleans, I was seated with number of people from Etobicoke-Lakeshore, the riding of Michael Ignatieff, leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. We were given ten minutes to come up with an election preparedness plan given the hypothetical scenario of an election in six months. The mixed seating arrangement gave us the opportunity to exchange our ideas and our experiences from past campaigns.
After each table shared their plan, an “expert panel” composed of experienced past campaign managers provided advice and recommendations for improving the plan. Several more break-out sessions throughout the day continued on this theme, with variations on the time frame from 6 months to two days.
We broke in the middle of the day for a lunch of sandwiches and salads (which was included with registration!). This provided more opportunities to meet and chat with Liberals from all over the Toronto region.
The highlight of the day for me was a speech by Rocco Rossi, National Director of the Liberal Party of Canada. He spoke with great conviction about the challenges facing the party, but also about the huge strides that we have made. Mr. Rossi stated that the party needs for every Liberal in Canada to see themselves as personally responsible for the party’s future. He challenged each of us to recruit at least one new Liberal—which would double membership if everybody did this!
The event was a great opportunity to hear some expert advice from seasoned campaign runners. For me, the most helpful input came simply from connecting with people from other ridings in Toronto, sharing ideas and stories from past campaigns. I should mention that Eileen Shuchat, who is Toronto Region president for the LPC(O), did a great job in organizing the event and is actually from Willowdale herself! We left the event energized and ready to fight an election regardless of when the next one will be held.
Bonjour à tous! Je m’appelle Anne-Sophie Belzile. Je suis l’adjointe exécutive et conseillère politique de Martha à son bureau d’Ottawa. Je m’occupe de son agenda, de l’organisation de son bureau, ses voyages, j’essaie de m’assurer que ses journées soient bien organisées et bien remplies, bref, je veille à ce que Martha puisse accomplir son travail de députée le plus efficacement possible!
Toutes mes journées de travail sur la colline sont uniques et généralement bien remplies… Je vous raconterai ma journée du mercredi, 3 juin : une très belle journée ensoleillée et stimulante. Arrivée à mon stationnement près de la Cour Suprême, j’attrape un minibus vert de la Chambre des communes pour me rendre à l’Édifice de la Confédération où se trouvent nos bureaux.
Après un court détour par le bureau de poste et la cafétéria – café oblige – j’arrive enfin devant mon ordinateur. Martha est déjà en caucus, Puneet, mon collègue, est en réunion et Élizabeth, notre étudiante, est fidèle à son poste.
Il est déjà 10h30, Élizabeth et moi devons nous rendre chacune à des réunions différentes. Nous nous reverrons que vers midi. Les courriels n’ont pas cessé d’entrer durant la réunion – des invitations, des demandes d’entrevues, des questions sur les comptes de voyages…
Nous sommes tous à l’œuvre dans notre petit bureau. Puneet travaille sur les sujets qui seront étudiés par le comité demain et relié un projet de loi. Élizabeth essaie de mettre en ligne certains vidéos de Martha tandis que je mets à jour son agenda et prépare son voyage vers Saskatoon, Whistler et Calgary qu’elle fera la fin de semaine prochaine.
L’heure des votes prévus aujourd’hui a changé, certains collègues ont besoin d’un remplacement pour un comité, j’accepte donc une demande et j’envoie Martha au comité de l’Accès à l’information et de l’Éthique pour rendre service à l’honorable Larry Bagnell.
Je n’ai toujours pas vu Martha de la journée sauf à la télévision!
Depuis le matin, elle a assisté à trois réunions de caucus, un barbecue organisé par Ingénieurs Canada et l’Association canadienne des Travaux publics, ensuite ce fut la période des questions, les votes, le comité et maintenant, elle est en chambre jusqu’à 18h30. Elle se rendra ensuite à deux réceptions. La journée est loin de s’achever!
L’après-midi s’achève… Je quitte le bureau avec mes collègues en direction d’une réception « Dégustation de bières et fromages québécois » organisée par le député Scott Reid, à l’Édifice du Centre.
Je ne goûte qu’à deux bons fromages qu’il faut déjà que je me rende subito presto dans la cours intérieure de l’Édifice de l’Est où je dois faire du bénévolat pour le party organisé par les adjoints libéraux du Québec. Eh oui! Un autre super party, et c’est nous qui l’avons organisé... Pour 15$ par personne, nos invités ont droit à de la musique folklorique, des hamburgers et hot-dogs, des breuvages et de multiples prix de présence.
Finalement, vers 20h00… Martha arrive pour saluer les fêtards.
Une belle journée! Espérons que nous en aurons d’autres tout aussi festives pendant l’été.
Certaines journées sont plus occupées et exigeantes que cette dernière, mais reste que nous ne nous ennuyons que rarement - voir jamais – dans le milieu de la politique.
A real treat this year was meeting Lisa Rendall, a former radio personality who has lived with Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer for 9 years now. Since her diagnosis she has raised large sums of money for cancer research, and is a very motivational person. We all wish Lisa continued success in her brave battle.
I am already looking forward to next year's Red Bras Rock.
We received some good ideas, some good suggestions, a few important concerns about the current government were raised---and we all really enjoyed ourselves. Thanks to all who came out, and thanks to all who opened their doors to engage in some discussion.
Watch for the next date for our "non-election" door-knocking (assuming, of course, that we'll still NOT be in an election). All are welcome to come out with us!
But, oh the irony!! The lack of bike paths in Toronto and the limited public transit both hit home---personally. I ended up too late to speak at the event at City Hall—but because I was in a car.
Here’s the story: I used to work downtown, and for years rode my bike. I stopped riding, however, when it simply became too dangerous—a few crunches with suddenly-opened car doors, some close calls with cars turning right, and a collision or two with pedestrians who looked for cars but not bikes, finally moved me to the next alternative—the subway, which I then used daily to get to work.
As a result, it had been YEARS since I had driven a car downtown during rush hour. But Monday, I had a rented car; I needed to drive for other reasons. I had no idea how awful the traffic had become!! I was completely shocked at the continuous traffic jam to get downtown---and at how long it took me, making me late. Were more people able to ride, either bikes or transit, to work, the less traffic there would be; the less pollution there would be; the more fit the population would be. All good.
So, unintentionally, and not without a little irony, my rare car drive downtown became my personal big advertisement for more bike lanes and more public transit.
(And lo and behold, the City of Toronto agreed, yesterday, to significantly improve its bike-lane capacity. Congratulations, Toronto!)
This week I had the opportunity to go along with Martha to Willowdale to spend time in the riding. My very first trip to Toronto ever! Coming from British Columbia I really haven't seen much of Ontario yet, something I'm working hard to fix. The past few days in Willowdale have been incredible and very fast paced (although trying to keep up with Martha's schedule is always an endurance test).
First on the agenda was a meeting with the Ontario Liberal Interns at St. Michael's Campus. There was a super turn out with more and more people streaming in during the afternoon meeting. Martha was great at getting the whole group involved and the discussion covered everything from federal-provincial relations to parliamentary prorogation, and the dangers of partisan politics.
One evening I had the chance to attend a meeting between leaders from the Iranian Community in Willowdale and Martha. Ten extremely inspirational members attended all passionately advocating not only for their community, but also for support to promote cross-cultural exchange encouraging understanding and appreciation between ethnic communities.
Time spent at the constituency office really seems like a blur as I was introduced to many Martha supporters who dropped by with completed membership forms as part of the membership drive, and various constituents (individuals and groups) who came to have meetings with Martha.
Back to the little government town of Ottawa on Saturday. Thanks to Martha and the Willowdale Constituency Staff for showing me the ropes out in the riding. Check back soon for entries from some of the other members of Team MHF!
When I heard about the opportunity to join in the Canadian Paraplegic Association`s Members of Parliament in Wheelchairs Event on May 7th I knew I had to sign up. In particular, I wanted to participate because the idea behind the event brought back memories of a specific incident in my youth.
As a competitive skier I travelled frequently and spent many hours in airports. Once, when I was about 14 or 15, I remember being especially bored waiting in between flights. Spotting a few wheelchairs sitting unused in a corner, I decided to try one out and started wheeling myself around the airport. What began as a harmless attempt to pass time soon became an incredible learning opportunity.
Wheeling around the airport I was struck not so much by the accessibility challenges (although they did exist), but mostly by people’s reactions. Many would pretend not to see me. Some would look and then quickly look away. Others would glance at me with pity in their eyes. A few even clearly assumed that because I couldn't walk I was somehow mentally impaired as well. I was amazed at how no one treated me as a normal person. It was a powerful experience and something that has stuck with me ever since.
Now many years later I am truly pleased that I had the chance to experience a full day in a wheelchair thanks to CPA`s awareness event on the Hill.
On the morning of May 7th, I picked up my wheelchair from the Honorable Steven Fletcher`s office. As the first quadriplegic Member of Parliament and Cabinet Member, he welcomed all Senators and MPs who were taking part in the event. The wheelchair I was given was one that was not equipped with brakes. I quickly learned the limits of the wheelchair in Finance Committee where the slanted floor had me rolling backwards away from the table. I finally had to use my briefcase to backstop the wheel.
After Finance Committee I usually find myself running to make it in time to Operations and Estimates Committee, with one starting directly after the other. This proved especially challenging in a wheelchair, taking three times longer than usual and involving multiple elevators, a sloping tunnel, mobs of school children and concerned or curious colleagues.
The afternoon passed by quickly as I faced numerous challenges. I had to adjust the location of meetings due to the time constraints of the wheelchair, learn how to get by without an umbrella, take care of rain collecting on my lap as I made my way from one end of the Hill to the other and deal with social situations where walls of tall strangers made it hard to successfully join in conversation.
The day finished on a high note with CPA organizing a wheelchair race in front of the Eternal Flame. I had the chance to race against MP Justin Trudeau, a formidable opponent who may have won against me, but had no such luck in his race against CPA Ontario’s Peer Support Coordinator Madelyn Scanlan and the Honorable Steven Fletcher in the motorized chair event that followed. At the end of the many races I was pleased to take home the award for “Fastest Female MP on Wheels”.
It was an incredible and eye-opening day. Eye-opening for those of us in wheelchairs and I hope also eye-opening for the many observers of the event. At the end of the day I was able to get back on my feet. My respect and admiration goes to all those who cannot, and who meet these challenges every day.
I look forward to taking part in this important event next year as the CPA aims to have 65 Senators and Members of Parliament participate in celebration of their 65th anniversary!
First, I have a confession: I have resisted doing a blog for a very, very long time.
Many people have recommended that I do one. People know that I am not shy with my opinions, and they have suggested, many times, that I put them down in writing. I just know myself well enough, that my days just seem to fill up before I get anything written, and I’m intimidated by the requirement that a blog be kept current, with frequent, regular new postings. But the time has come—no more procrastinating. Now that we have a new and improved web site, it’s time to bite the bullet.
I will be posting blogs on what I hope to be a regular basis (note that I don’t define “regular”—we’ll just have to see what that ends up meaning). I also plan to post longer opinion pieces (we’ve affectionately termed these longer ones “clogs”) on the issues that I feel a need to comment on in a more substantive way.
BUT—knowing me and my schedule, we’ve decided to make this a “Team MHF” Blog, which means that from time to time another member of our team will post a blog. They won’t be pretending to be me (when my name is on it, it’s me who’s written it). Rather, these will include information and/or comment from members of our team. There are no restrictions on topic—they could perhaps include a note on what it’s like working in our offices; on their perspective on what’s happening on Parliament Hill; maybe even a bit of gossip.
If you would like to contribute a “Team MHF” blog posting, please let us know: TeamMHF@gmail.com.
Aussi, au lieu de traduire tous les ‘posts’, je vais essayer d’ecrire de temps en temps en anglais, et de temps en temps en français. J’ai besoin de pratiquer mon français!
So stay tuned. And let us know what you think.
* Because all submissions will be under the “Team MHF” name, we reserve the right to accept or reject any submission.