Calling all students…

Would you like to be an intern for the Conservative Party of Canada in Parliament in Ottawa? Are you a student?

The Conservative Party of Canada offers its student members a unique internship opportunity through our Parliamentary Internship Program.

Interns will be given educational, political, and parliamentary staff training while in the program. Students will receive guest lectures from some of the best conservative minds in the country, such as various members of parliament, media consultants, political organizers, campaign managers, and campus club leaders. Interns will have the opportunity to get a hands-on education about governance and politics, all while getting to know fellow conservative youth from across Canada.

While many internships are unpaid, the Conservative Party of Canada Parliamentary Internship Program is a paid internship program. Interns will earn a gross monthly pay of $1500. Additionally, the program will cover the costs of travel to and from Ottawa.

The program runs for four months, from the beginning of May until the end of August, 2005.

Any student registered in a recognized post-secondary institution who is a member of the Conservative Party of Canada is eligible for the CPC Parliamentary Internship Program.

Here’s the application.

If you’d like any further info give Jamie Tronnes (Public Relations Officer –
Office of the Leader of the Opposition) a ring at (613) 944-7375 or preferably an email at tronnj@parl.gc.ca.

And when this job jumpstarts your political career on the long road to Prime Minister, just remember my name when the Ambassadorship to Bermuda opens up.

Harper supports gays

Please consider the following seven questions.

Do gays have their own “culture”?

Does a gay Canadian have the same rights as an Asian-Canadian, as a black Canadian, white Canadian, Jewish, Hindu or Christian Canadian?

Is Canada a multicultural society in which we encourage and celebrate Greek food, an Irish high holy drinking day, Caribbean music and even American television, instead of 100% assimilation into a singular homogenous culture?

Is it true that Canada does not currently forbid relationships between two people regardless of whether that couple is gay or straight?

In the eyes of the state, should any loving couple have the right to formalize their relationship?

In the eyes of God, shouldn’t it be up to those who adhere to religion, to recognize a state-sanctioned formal relationship as anything ‘more’?

As Canadians, should we foster the philosophy of equal rights?

If you answered yes to the previous seven questions, your name might be Stephen Harper. Yes, Stephen Harper has said that while he would maintain the “traditional” definition of marriage, he would also extend equal rights to homosexual couples. So is the formalization of a same-sex relationship a “marriage”, you ask?

The “tradition” in any context is defined and therefore I will cite Merriam Webster’s dictionary. Tradition is defined as “cultural continuity in social attitudes, customs, and institutions”. Whether or not you are for or against same-sex ‘marriage’, you must agree that marriage is a tradition (as I’ve just defined). Yes, “traditional marriage” is a tradition between a man and a woman in the heterosexual culture. Do gays have their own culture? Yes, of course they do. Do gays hold the very same “tradition” that heterosexuals do concerning marriage? No, by the definition of “tradition” of course they do not. Are they entitled to the development of their own traditions and their own culture? Yes. Gay pride and gay culture is celebrated and recognized under the rainbow flag. As with the flag, gays should be entitled to the genesis of their own traditions and culture and yes, the formalization of a gay relationship with equal rights of heterosexual marriages could very well become part of that.

I recognize myself as a constituent of many cultures. I am part of the Canadian culture, the blogging culture, the Christian culture and the academic culture to name a few. Each culture possesses its own “traditions”. We should celebrate and enable gay culture by encouraging the formation of a new tradition to formally recognize same-sex relationships (at least in the eyes of the secular state). Why should gays limit themselves to another culture’s non-applicable tradition when they can have their own? We live in a multicultural society which embraces the traditions and practices of numerous peoples. As a member of the Protestant culture and as one that has attended Catholic mass, I have not asked for communion as this would violate the Roman Catholic tradition. As Christians, however, we recognize other Christian cultures even though we do not participate in their exclusive practices. I believe that most of the rational opposition to same-sex ‘marriage’ is that it would amend and thus violate a tradition held closely and fundamentally by members of the heterosexual culture. Gays should however be entitled to equal rights of relationship formalization and the creation of their own traditions associated with it. Gays could call it “garriage” and get “garried”. (Please work with me here, I’m not mocking)

While equality in the jurisdiction of the state is achieved, gay culture is enabled, gay tradition is initiated and heterosexual culture is maintained.

While gays would not necessarily throw rice at their “garriage” celebration (to symbolize fertility), other traditions would be started. Traditions are important to any culture as a culture’s traditions define its people, their history and their future. The necessity of “giving the bride away”, for example, has fallen away with our now antiquated patriarchal society, yet many heterosexual women maintain (in fact, they choose to maintain) this tradition because it solely has meaning as tradition.

Churches must be able to maintain their own respective culture and define their own traditions, whether old or new. The government’s role is not to abrogate traditions held by any culture whether that culture is based in religion or sexuality. Also, many same-sex relationships are now currently formalized in Christian churches.

I believe that Stephen Harper is doing something positive here, let’s give him a listen and see if it turns out that way.

I would very much appreciate any comments that you have in the comments section below.

Must resist urge to… oh, screw it.

There’s an entertaining blog battle going on between the former PMO Chief of Staff for Chrétien, the former PMO Chief of Staff for Mulroney and Paul Wells. Of course, it’s all public, they’re all bloggers and… listen up, they want us to pay attention to them… now!

Personal correspondance has been posted, threats of political demise have been promised, and of course, legal action has been declared!

Norman Spector, Mulroney’s go-to-guy, posted this article questioning the sponsorship program its effect (or lack of effect) on the Quebec referendum.

This got Warren Kinsella in a huff due to his alleged links (yes, alleged — no slander here) to the whole fiasco and yes, he returned his Warren Wrath to Spector:

“Don’t write to me anymore. As of today, you – and your tenure at PMO and as ambassador – are going to be featured prominently, and regularly, on my website and elsewhere.”

“You want a fight, Norman? You’ve got one. Ask Kim Campbell and Stockwell Day how much they enjoyed being a focus of my attentions.”) — Warren Kinsella

And then Paul Wells weighs in with what the rest of us were thinking:

“Warren Kinsella thinks he beat Kim Campbell and Stockwell Day”

Does Warren Kinsella still have political pull? Is he really claiming victory on Kim Campbell? He promises to focus his acidic attention on Norman Spector, but has he himself, rather, lost his own focus?

Then Warren goes all schoolyard bully and tells Paul that he literally has a big head and airs personal emails from Wells for all the world to see. He also claims that PW wants to score the editor spot at Macleans and implies that he’s got enough pull to make it happen.

Which, of course, leaves me with only one thought on the whole matter…

Damn, it’s still early into 2005 and I’ve already broken my New Year’s resolution of ignoring Kinsella’s attempts to give himself cheap publicity through his empty threats of litigation and childish name-calling.

So, in summary… Warren Kinsella is up to his old “look at me” routine. Nothing to see here… move along.

I met Joe Clark this week

This week I had the pleasure of attending a lecture by the Rt. Hon. Joe Clark, the 16th Prime Minister of Canada, at Queen’s University.

Joe Clark is currently a visiting professor at American University and he stopped by the policy studies building at Queen’s on Monday to talk with students, professors and Kingstonians about “Reviving Canada’s International Vocation”.

The reverberating theme of Mr. Clark’s lecture was not only does the world need more Canada, but Canada needs more of the world.

The former Progressive Conservative Prime Minister asserted that our national sovereignty is in decline due to the erosion of our international purpose.

Further, he said that we need international issues to unite us and we need to look for our own identification in international foreign policy.

Clark made it clear though that our foreign policy must not be dictated by our trade relations with the United States. He warned of our mercantile interests over diplomacy; our government cannot place higher concern with our economic interests over our diplomatic obligations. However, he said that our international role must be regained because, as Canadians, we used to have the authority to council and advise the American administration as a friend. Clark described that the Chrétien government did much harm to this ability and now it must be to Paul Martin or his successor to lead Canada in a greater international role. Further, Clark asserted that Canada has not completely lost its ability to retain its authority as a friendly advisor to the United States concerning that country’s foreign policy.

Afterall, Clark remarked, it was Canada that was an originator of the U.N., of NATO and it was Canada that had a lead role in the international anti-personnel landmine treaty.

However, in the wake of drastic cuts to military funding and humanitarian spending, Canada has left its international responsibilities and therefore our international importance is fading.

In his wise and always eloquent delivery, Mr. Clark summarized his lecture by saying that what we did in the world reflected who we were at home.

I found Joe Clark to be particularly admirable in his assertion that essentially, we must do what’s right instead of doing what is always right for us. In the end, I suppose, what is right will be what is right for us.

I had the opportunity to ask Mr. Clark for his response to clarify the irony of his departure from the Conservative party. I asked him that given the dynamic nature of political parties (Sir John A. MacDonald’s conservatives were against free trade for example), whether he believes that John A. MacDonald’s Conservative party is solely different or truly non-existent (given Mulroney’s drafting of NAFTA on one hand, and given the merger with the Canadian Alliance on the other). Further, I asked, as a result of this fluidity of party positioning why he would leave a party, in its formative stages in which his voice would have had a great influence, when the ironic effect of his departure would shift the party towards a policy stance of which he would have preferred to prevent.

He granted the reality of the shifting and reconfiguring of the policies of political parties throughout Canadian history, however, he said that he currently could not sit with the current Conservatives and that it was his time to leave politics.

Personally, I found Joe Clark to be quite amicable and humble and, in the future, I would jump at any opportunity to have further conversations with the former Prime Minister on any variety of political topics.

Joe Clark-thumb.jpg
With Joe Clark – Click to Enlarge

Political Contributions by type

Inspired by the last two posts, I decided to look at all of the raw data from 2003. I downloaded the total contributions per party into spreadsheet form, sorted the data by contributor type, summed each contributor type and then graphed each contributor type into pie-chart form (to view percentages).

It was suggested that the Liberals are “Corporate whores” by Mike Jones. Let’s take a look…

liberal-contributions-graph.jpg

The Liberals rack up 16% contributions from corporations. Not too whore-ish, yet nothing to be too proud of. A full 50% of their contributions come from businesses (not “big business”).

Ok, let’s take a look at the Conservatives…

conservative-contributions-graph.jpg

Wow, the Conservatives only take 2% of their total contributions from Corporations. Thus, corporate whores we are not! Even small-medium businesses do not make up as great of a percentage as this contributor type does on the Liberal chart (ie. 31% Conservative vs. 50% Liberal). The bulk, and I do mean bulk of contributions to the Conservatives in 2003 were made by individuals like you and me (63%). I would argue that this figure most accurately represents the ‘purity’ of a party as the Conservatives truly represent the electorate.

Let’s take a look at the NDP…

ndp-contributions-graph.jpg

A whopping 62% of NDP contributions come from trade unions! “Union whores” perhaps? “Big Labour” and “Big Unions” are definately at the controls of the NDP! The only redeeming aspect is that the NDP has a greater proportion of contributions from individuals than the Liberals. However, the proportion of contributions from individuals is less than half of the parallel proportion of the Conservatives (31% NDP, 63% Conservatives).

The next time that someone tells you that the Conservatives are controlled by the corporations, show them these figures. Tell them to take a closer look.

That should settle the debate.

(Aside – the total amounts collected by party in 2003 were Liberal: $21,811,746.65, CA/PC (Conservative): $7,725,072.51, and NDP: $7,761,588.18)

Update: Ok, we’re corporate whores too (albeit less so), but check out the NDP!

Looks like I jumped the gun a little on displaying Mike Brock’s infographic as the truth, but in his defence, it was a result more of poor methodology than deceit. Mike took the numbers from 2003 and 2004 and put them together. The Conservative Party didn’t largely exist until 2004 and thus Mike should have added up the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative numbers. I’ve done that below. Further, bill C-24 limited individual and corporate contributions for 2004. So, I’ve done the numbers for 2003 and I’ve presented them below.

After my own research, these are the numbers that I came up with:

Liberal Party of Canada top donors.

  1. $2,974,341.20 55555 Inc. (Paul Martin Leadership Fund)
  2. $172,781.14 Canadian National Rail Company (Corporation)
  3. $148,257.17 Bombardier (Corporation)
  4. $135,889.00 Grant Forest Products (Corporation)
  5. $111,750.50 Bell Canada (Corporation) (Including BCE and Bell Globemedia)
  6. $106,055.65 Kruger Inc. (Corporation)
  7. $105,892.00 EnCana Corporation (Corporation)
  8. $104,726.70 SNC-Lavalin (Corporation)
  9. $100,000.00 Donald Meehan (Individual)
  10. $95,000.00 Power Corporation (Corporation)

Conservative Party of Canada top donors:

  1. $91,703.9 Scotiabank (Corporation)
  2. $70,976.64 Magna International (Corporation)
  3. $45,000 Power Corporation (Corporation)
  4. $41,015.34 Bank of Montreal (Corporation)
  5. $59,655.79 Bell Canada (including BCE and Bell Globemedia) (Corporation)
  6. $35,404.10 Telus Corporation (Corporation)
  7. $28,359.02 McCarthy Tétrault (Corporation)
  8. $25,000 CanWest Global Communications Corporation (Corporation)
  9. $22,820.00 Canadian Alliance Lethbridge Constituency Association (Non-profit organization)
  10. $20,000.00 George Weston (Individual)

and… holy crap, check out the NDP…

New Democratic Party top donors:

  1. $909,775.00 CEP (Trade Union)
  2. $775,919.60 UFCW Canada (Trade Union)
  3. $823,289.60 CAW (Trade Union)
  4. $374,789.68 CUPE (Trade Union)
  5. $791,064.34 USWA (Trade Union)
  6. $252,619.60 OPSEU (Trade Union)
  7. $219,440.00 Canadian Labour Congress (Trade Union)
  8. $205,900.00 IAM & AW (Trade Union)
  9. $159,850.00 SEIU (Trade Union)
  10. $105,246.40 Ontario Eng Catholic Teacher’s Association (Trade Union)

So, whenever somebody tells you that the Conservatives are influenced too much by “Big Business”, show them that the Liberals receive significantly more in cold cash contributions from corporations. Also, look at the NDP numbers. “Big Unions” have a significantly greater political influence on the NDP than “Big Business” ever had on the Liberals or Conservatives. A substantial problem is that as a union member, one doesn’t have much control over which political party to which their union dues are donated. As a corporate shareholder, however, one can always sell their shares.

DND: Tory military plan inexpensive and feasible

One more time…

David Pugliese yesterday in the Ottawa Citizen reported:

“During the June election campaign, the Conservatives proposed acquiring a fleet of such long-range transport planes, prompting the Defence Department to analyse the feasibility of the party’s promise. It concluded that not only was such a proposal doable, but also that most of the cost of acquiring four to six C-17s could be paid for from within the existing military budget. “

Canada has rented Russian-owned Antonovs to transport the DART team to the tsunami striken peripheral countries of the Indian ocean.

But defence planners have warned that in an emergency it may not always be possible to rent Antonovs. During the 1998 ice storm that paralysed much of eastern Canada, U.S. military transport planes were used to ferry supplies, said military analyst Alain Pellerin of the Conference of Defence Associations.

Canadians who are worried of too many episodes of “Everybody Loves Raymond” compared to the number episodes of “Train 48” that air on Global television need to realize that the national agenda of maintaining our sovereignty in the face of American influence is better served in having and maintaining a military for use during domestic and international disasters.

We need a military that we can be proud of, one that can protect us, and one that can maintain our so-called international reputation for peace-keeping and international humanitarian efforts around the globe.

Hollywood to ruin another election?

Palestinians are ‘perplexed’ at Richard Gere’s public service announcement broadcast on palestinian TV. “Get out and Vote”, he implores.

richard-gere-election.jpg

“I don’t even know who the candidates are other than Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas), let alone this Gere,” Gaza soap factory worker Manar an-Najar told Reuters.

While we should applaud Gere for his positive message, he is quite presumptuous to believe that his celebrity is universal and that it confers a level of authority in any political forum. Every person is entitled to their political views and causes, however, I would argue that people perceive Hollywood intervention as conceited and without credibility. People detect condescension whenever a pampered celebrity — without the benefit of experience, or the desire to stand for election — lectures them to do what is right, even if it truly is.

Gere has visited the Middle East several times during the past year “just educating himself” about the region.

Conclusion of Gere’s fact-finding-mission: “Voting is good. I should tell these lovely yet ignorant people (without my help and experience) that they should vote!”