Our Democracy is Broken

"OUR DEMOCRACY IS BROKEN - Chronic Minorities, Constitutional Crises, Mindless Partisanship, Voter Indifference. HOW DO WE FIX IT?"

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!

- Martha

Unexpected Perks

There are some unexpected perks to the job of participating on the Finance Committee as we engage in pre-budget consultations---this past week we had Thérèse Brisson, member of the Olympic Gold Medal-winning hockey team in Salt Lake City, advocating for continued sport funding post Vancouver 2010. Everyone on the committee (many are themselves pretty keen hockey players) was pretty thrilled to have her there. And she brought her gold medal, which she graciously passed around --- see the photo of yours truly with an Olympic gold medal :-)

- Martha


Canada's place in a changing world.

My first degree was in International Relations (UofT), and when I went on to study and practice law, a significant portion was international law, and international trade and commerce.

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.


Summer Caucus

Needless to say, our caucus retreat this past week was eventful, with Michael Ignatieff making it very, very clear that we Liberals will no longer support the Harper government. We all feel a sense of relief that we can now, truly, stand up for things that are so important to us as Liberals. In addressing caucus the day after his announcement, Michael was clearly in fine form. We could see, and hear, and feel his relief at his decision---he was confident, enthusiastic, eloquent and passionate about the future. In short, he was terrific.

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!

During break in ON caucus mtgs, Frank Valeriote + Andrew Kania online- power of being connected :)

Here’s Justin right after @M_Ignatieff speech - the look on J's face (and his shirt) says it all!!
This photo even made it to Macleans: http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/09/01/well-justin-is-convinced/

Larry Bagnell MP + wife Melissa Craig + daughter Aurora Sage as we all get ready for big #lpc rally

Deputy House Leader Marlene Jennings recharging after an eventful day--"Why bother with veggies when you have french fries??