#SkPoli has wide-open election financing rules!

That’s right! We’re the Wild West of campaign financing. And the women running as candidates for the Saskatchewan New Democrats need support from Canadians everywhere if there’s any hope of ever defeating the SaskParty! Anyone living in Canada, any Canadian living abroad, and any corporation in Canada can donate to a Saskatchewan political party. So bring it, Canada, we need it.

And we need to prepare for the future, too. Preparing for the next election, succession planning, if you will, needs to carry on. The Bessie Ellis Fund, which exists to help more women run for nomination, needs topping up.

Saskatchewan will head to the polls on October 26. NDP leader, Dr. Ryan Meili, has gathered an incredible team of talent. Almost half the candidates around him are women and all candidates are committed to a progressive people first platform that includes pay equity legislation, a $15 minimum wage, $25/day childcare, and the return of the Saskatchewan Transportation Company (STC).

By contrast, only 18 percent of the Sask Party’s candidates are women. And, as Premier Moe’s gerrymandered stronghold in rural areas weakens, news surfaced that an NDP candidate received a “disturbing letter” on a public bulletin board and discovered evidence of BB gun pellets on her campaign office door. The matter is now in the hands of the RCMP.

Threats are not a new experience for women. All our lives, we deal with insidious harassment and are encouraged to ignore or be ashamed of it. Most women experience some form of abuse, nuanced or outright, at some point in their lives. And Saskatchewan has the highest rate of domestic violence in the country. That threats such as this have crept into politics should not surprise anyone. It is not an isolated incident. It happens all over the country. Recently, a female public health official in British Columbia received a death threat.

Why, in the 21st century, must women pay such a high price, the threat of death, for taking a public role in building a better world? Why has the misogyny and general hatred toward women not been exposed and eradicated once and for all?

Furthermore, suicide is the leading cause of death for people aged 10 to 49 in northern Saskatchewan. But in the last legislative session, the Sask Party caucus voted to defeat a comprehensive suicide prevention bill. And when a young Metis man, Tristan Durocher, walked 635 kilometers from Air Ronge in northern Saskatchewan to Regina and set up a tipi and 44 posters of suicide victims near the legislative building as protest, the Premier had him charged for trespassing. A judge dismissed the case.

Then there’s the Thanksgiving message tweeted out by Moe’s Minister of Highways and Infrastructure, the Sask Party’s candidate for Yorkton: a sermon by homophobic fundamentalist preacher in the southern USA. Ottenbreit also has associations with Charles McVety who is well-known for his promotion of homophobia and anti-Semitism in Canada.

This is a crucial election in Saskatchewan, one with great potential. We know that women’s voices need to be heard. We in Saskatchewan know that by working together, we can make a better world. Please, Canadians, take a moment to make a small or large donation to the Bessie Ellis Fund, a legacy fund which supports women seeking nomination.

Failing that, support any of these women who have courageously stepped forward as progressive women in this election campaign.

Name Constituency Donate Link 
Twyla Harris-Naciri Biggar-Sask Valley https://www.saskndp.ca/twyla_harris_donate 
Wendy Sekulich Humboldt https://www.saskndp.ca/wendy_sekulich_donate 
Harmonie King Meadow Lake https://www.saskndp.ca/harmonie_king_donate 
Betty Nippi-Albright Saskatoon Centre https://www.saskndp.ca/betty_nippialbright_donate 
Ashlee Hicks Saskatoon Riversdale https://www.saskndp.ca/ashlee_hicks_donate 
Pamela Beaudin Saskatoon Southeast https://www.saskndp.ca/pamela_beaudin_donate 
Kaitlyn Harvey Saskatoon Willowgrove https://www.saskndp.ca/kaitlyn_harvey_donate 
Dianne Twietmeyer Cannington https://www.saskndp.ca/dianne_twietmeyer_donate 
Stacey Strykowski Canora-Pelly https://www.saskndp.ca/stacey_strykowski_donate 
Kelly Genert Cypress Hills https://www.saskndp.ca/kelly_genert_donate 
Linda Patenaude Kelvington-Wadena https://www.saskndp.ca/linda_patenaude_donate 
Thera Nordal Last Mountain Touchwood https://www.saskndp.ca/thera_nordal_donate 
Colleen Henning Lloydminster https://www.saskndp.ca/colleen_morrellhenning_donate 
Carla Streeton Martensville-Warman https://www.saskndp.ca/carla_streeton_donate 
Bonnie Galenzoski Melville-Saltcoats https://www.saskndp.ca/bonnie_galenzoski_donate 
Melissa Patterson Moose Jaw Wakamow https://www.saskndp.ca/melissa_patterson_donate 
Nicole Rancourt Prince Albert Northcote https://www.saskndp.ca/nicole_rancourt_donate 
Nicole Sarauer Regina Douglas Park https://www.saskndp.ca/nicole_sarauer_donate 
Meara Conway Regina Elphinstone Centre https://www.saskndp.ca/meara_conway_donate 
Carla Beck Regina Lakeview https://www.saskndp.ca/carla_beck_donate 
Aleana Young Regina University https://www.saskndp.ca/aleana_young_donate 
Kelly Hardy Regina Walsh Ares https://www.saskndp.ca/kelly_hardy_donate 
Brenda Edel Rosetown-Elrose https://www.saskndp.ca/brenda_edel_donate 
Trina Miller Rosthern-Shellbrook https://www.saskndp.ca/trina_miller_donate 
Vicki Mowat Saskatoon Fairview https://www.saskndp.ca/vicki_mowat_donate 
Gillian Strange Saskatoon Northwest https://www.saskndp.ca/gillian_strange_donate 
Erika Ritchie Saskatoon Nutana https://www.saskndp.ca/erika_ritchie_donate 
Jennifer Bowes Saskatoon University https://www.saskndp.ca/jennifer_bowes_donate 
Amber Stewart The Battlefords https://www.saskndp.ca/amber_stewart_donate 
Regan Lanning Weyburn Big Muddy https://www.saskndp.ca/regan_lanning_donate 
Women running for NDP in 2020 Sask General Election

Or, donate the general campaign, here.

But please help. Lives depend on it.

#YQR Evacuation Centre Volunteers Needed

Too much going on politically.  And now this, too!

Evacuation Centre Volunteers Needed

Due to the unprecedented level of fires and smoke in the north the Red Cross will be assisting with evacuees arriving in Regina as early as June 29 evening for two evacuation centres being set up at the University of Regina (200 people) and Evraz Place (up to 800 people). They are in dire need of volunteers to assist with set up and also to assist with personal support and recreation for evacuees during their time here. Volunteers are needed for assistance at all times of day and through the weekend.

Please consider volunteering. To do so you need to get a criminal record check done with the Regina Police Service and the Red Cross has arranged that this can be done on the spot when you go to get it.

If you plan to volunteer please send your availability over the next ten days as soon as possible to:

Cindy Fuchs CHRP Provincial Director Saskatchewan

Canadian Red Cross | Croix-Rouge canadienne Western Zone 2050 Cornwall Street | Regina | Saskatchewan | CA | S4P 2K5 Cindy.Fuchs@redcross.ca T 306 721-1631 | F 306 721-1602 | C 306 536-6700 www.redcross.ca | www.croixrouge.ca

Major Federal Government Cuts Impacting Women in Canada Since 2006

#BeenRapedNeverReported ***trigger warning***

This week has been something thereginamom never imagined but totally welcomes. Yes, she’s talking about the Jian Ghomeshi story.  But she’s taking it further.  Much further.

When the story first broke, trm was in community meetings so it wasn’t until the story of his dismissal from the CBC was all over social media that she saw it.  Quite frankly, she didn’t know what to think.  But then The Star delivered the stories of  anonymous women who had had remarkably similar non-consensual sexual experiences with Ghomeshi and things changed.  She wanted to believe the women. thereginamom is also a survivor of sexual assault and rape.

So much has happened in the intervening days.  Three anonymous women became eight women, six anonymous and two self-identified.  Their stories have brought on a flood of information on social media, including tonight’s Twitter hashtag, #BeenRapedNeverReported.  It’s also seen the CBC announce a 3rd party investigation into the allegations against Ghomeshi, the communications firm and PR company he used drop him as a client, and the Toronto Chief of Police issue a call for all victims of rape or other assault to come forward.  It says something significant about our society and system of so-called justice that women do not come forward to insist on justice after being raped.

thereginamom didn’t either.  In fact, it wasn’t until years later, when she found feminism and understood that no means no, that she stopped blaming herself for being raped.  trm doesn’t like that due process has not yet been served but she does like that people are listening, hearing, and believing the stories these women have told.  And there are so many more women with stories to tell, as evidenced by Twitter tonight.  When trm joined in the tweetfest she referenced a poem she’d written about her experience of rape.  She struggled with including it in her book but eventually decided to do so.  And so, on the occasion of #BeenRapedNeverReported, here is that poem.

Oktoberfest

She’s known eighteen ordinary autumns
that blow away summer heat and leaves.

She doesn’t know that tonight at the Agridome
where ein prosits empty glasses

one genuine German suggesting fun
will tease her into a party for two

snake her to a room, shed
charm, rough hands

around her belly,
fingernails

on breasts, scratching
her torso, ripping

at hair and skin.
He will toggle her

to the bed
cock poking

her
dry.

c. 2010 Bernadette Wagner, This hot place (Thistledown Press)

Politics over poetry again

the regina mom again steps away from poetry-writing and into political writing because she thinks it’s that damned important!  And who knows?  She might get a poem out of it, too, one day.

trm sees more and more rightwing, American-style politics crossing our border and the unFair Elections Act is certainly one of these instances.  Brent Patterson at the Council of Canadians has more on that, particularly the bit about fraud at the polls being virtually non-existent.  Yet, the HarperCons address it as though it’s a real problem.  Lead Now has a petition addressing that.

Alison@Creekside riffs and expands upon the Andrew Coyne article, What problems are the Conservatives really trying to solve with bizarre Fair Elections Act?, from which trm cited yesterday.  The problems Alison@Creekside thinks the Cons identified are these:

  1. Investigation into election fraud in 2011 Election 33 months ago being rushed along at dangerous breakneck speeds.
  2. Public trust in fair elections in Canada at all time high.
  3. Serially violate election law successfully but then lose court battles to election watchdog.
  4. Too many people vote – 61% in the last federal election – especially aboriginals, young people, old people, and poor people.
  5. Parties not spending enough time and money on elections.

trm loves the analysis and hopes you read Alison’s take on how the Act provides solutions to these so-called problems.  Michael Harris lends credence to Alison’s arguments with a doozer of an article at iPolitics!

How odd that the very people who were called “serial cheaters” this week by Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair are now rewriting the mandate of the office that runs elections and vouches for their integrity. The people who were the problem are providing the solution, which in normal language is called being judge in your own cause. A dubious principle in law and politics.

If you haven’t listened to the interview with Marc Mayrand, Canada’s Chief Electoral Officer, on CBC Radio One’s, The House, you want to.  Also take a look at DAMMIT JANET! for a list of links to excellent pieces by Stephen Maher and Chantal Hebert, for starters, as well as to a commentary by Don Martin. His point that ramming a bill on democratic reform through Parliament is not very democratic is well taken by trm. Also of interest at DJ are tweets which fairly summarize the issue.

Another angle on this Act has to do with its constitutionality which is to say it may violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in that it stand[s] between Canadian citizens and our right to vote. Have a look at that, too.

So take a moment today to Call a Con! Support Maude Barlow and the Council of Canadians’ Hold the phone action to stop Harper’s new Elections Act!

Child Poverty

the regina mom lives in Saskatchewan where the rate of child poverty among Indigenous children is at 55%!  Disgusting!

From bad to worse: visualizing child #poverty in Canada #cdnp... on Twitpic

 

Brad Wall’s Saskatchewan is apparently not so good for Indigenous Peoples, is it?

These Radical Handmaids are brilliant, I tell you! We can now organize M312 Debate-Watching Parties across the country!

radicalhandmaids

You’re welcome.

 

Image

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OK! That’s it! I’ve had enough!

Stephen Harper is a disgusting excuse for a human being, plain and simple.  He has used and abused our Parliamentary democracy to give him more individual power in this country than we have ever seen.  And now he’s flaunting it on the international stage!

Coalitions of ‘losers’ don’t get to govern, PM says
Richard J. Brennan Ottawa Bureau

LONDON—A stern Prime Minister Stephen Harper dismissed thoughts of a coalition governing Canada as it now does in Britain, saying that “losers” don’t form governments.

This is a sick man, a man who needs help, help to be a decent human being, rather than one who name-calls, rather than being a bully.  On the playground, he would be disciplined.

It is my job — and all of ours, who care about democracy — to discipline this man in the strictest way possible at the polls, as soon as possible!  Push your Liberal and NDP MPs and riding associations, people.  We must have an election soon!  We must rid ourselves of this mean-spirited man, if we are to live within a compassionate and caring democracy.

The Book Is Here!

Some of you already know that I’m a poet as well as an activist.  My first book is now available.  This hot place cover image You should be able to find my collection of poetry, This hot place, at bookstores across Canada any day now.  I received my copies from  Thistledown Press a week and a half ago.

I begin a western Canadian tour in April with confirmed stops in Regina, Earl Grey, Prince Albert, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Gabriola, Calgary and Vancouver.  It’d be great if my activist, writing and family friends were able to make the events we’ve lined up.  The more the merrier, y’know?  Tour dates are here, at my book blog.

If your town is not listed just let me know and we’ll see what we can work out.  I ‘m open to sharing my work in a variety of places, from curling rinks to bookstores, art galleries to bars, living rooms to conference rooms — you name it!  I’ll try my best to work it into my schedule.

I’ll head east for a few gigs in Ontario and the Maritimes and then south, down the Pacific coast, after the USA release of the book sometime in September.

Hope to see you somewhere along the path!

Racist Screed by Con MP Peter Goldring

This racist screed was sent to Edmonton East constituents by their Conservative MP, Peter Goldring, in his householder in December 2009.  Yes, folks, your tax dollars paid for racist literature!

There are those today who want to change the historical record regarding 19th century Metis leader Louis Riel. Peter Goldring, Member of Parliament for Edmonton East says that such historical revisionism is wrong and sets the record straight on Riel and his crimes.

Concerned?

Wait, there’s more!

Revisionist “time travel” ignores the reality of human suffering. History is there to be learned, not to be revised or reinter-preted today by persons who do not like the outcomes of over a century ago. “Time travelling” back to the Riel era and erasing this judgement from our history books as if it were wrong, would in itself be wrong. How can we possibly know what was in the minds of people 100 years ago, to re-judge them today, years af-ter the fact. How can we obtain a true ap-preciation for those issues, without the sweat of fear and the odour of death that those events caused across the West in that era?

His prejudice certainly shows through in that paragraph, eh?  How about considering the suffering of the Metis, Peter?  Or is that to Peter Goldring, the Metis Nation is not part of humanity?

He also says that a pardon for Riel would mean Canada was insulting the soldiers who fought against Riel on behalf of Canada.

So many people today appear to know little of and care less for the sacrifice of those very first Canadian war veterans who fought against Riel and saved our country from disin-tegration, so long ago.

“Saved our country?”  Puh-leeze!  More like helped turn it into the racist country it is!

Apparently, admitting mistakes of the past is not something Peter’s into:

To “unhang” Riel today is illogical for those who remember the true history of Riel’s revo-lutionary role and who also respect the au-thority of historical jury decisions. To posthu-mously “pardon” Riel would amount to a ret-roactive miscarriage of justice.

But hey, folks, Peter wants to know what you think.  So how about you download and print this file, cut off that bottom portion and send it, free of charge, to the MP.  Tell him how you really feel!

Hey, even his boss man, PMS, has left him to fend for himself!  And that’s very interesting because the current PM has had strict control over messaging in recent years.

So, the immediate questions that arise for me are:

  1. Was the Prime Minister’s Office part of sending out this racist screed?
  2. Why hasn’t the Member of Parliament been charged with the publication and distribution of hate propaganda?

I asked the last question of Iggy, Jack and Gilles and await their replies.  I encourage you to do likewise.  And please let me know what questions I’ve missed asking.