This Thursday!

Oh, dear Reader, thereginamom‘s been busy!

Regina event details

She’s not only harvesting produce from her garden and preserving it for winter, but also learning a new song.  She hopes you’ll join in on the chorus and belt out “Harperman, it’s time for you to go!” with her on Thursday, September 17 at the Regina edition of the Canada-Wide Harperman Sing-Along.  Similar events are taking place in more than 40 communities nationwide.

Meet at Scarth Street & 12th Avenue, near Victoria Park at 12:30 PM to sing Harperman.  Arrive at the Making Peace Vigil on Scarth Street at 11th Avenue at noon and hop on the Peace Train of Song to the sing-along.

Why do this? For thereginamom, it is about supporting and defending Tony Turner’s right to freedom of expression as guaranteed in Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Tony is a folk singer and songwriter from Ottawa who works as a scientist for the federal government.  He has been suspended from his job pending an investigation into allegedly violating the “departmental code of values and ethics” in his writing and performing the song, Harperman.

The messaging trm hears in this is that writing protest songs about the Prime Minister should be illegal.  Cons-fill-dumpster-with-libraryWell, sorry, Harperman, that attitude is right up there with the dumpstering agricultural research materials and books thing.

So, trm‘s had enough and she’s going singing on Thursday.  Hoping you’ll bring your voice and sing along, your instrument and play along, and/or your own verses to share, if opportunity comes along.

In the meantime, dear Reader, if you haven’t already done so, please do this, too.

And make sure you’re registered to vote!

 

#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!

December 6

Today is the 24th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, that day in 1989 when 14 women were gunned down because they were women. Today, we make a point of remembering:

dec6

Scandal, -Gate, Affair and Reform

Without a doubt, these are interesting times for those who, like the regina mom, follow Canadian politics.  The Senate Scandal aka the Wright-Duffy Affair aka Prime Minister Harper’s Watergate has legs and continues to run, despite Margaret Wente’s mad ravings in the Globe and Mail.

I love a juicy scandal. What better way to fill a column than stories about greedy, lying politicians getting their comeuppance, and secret payoffs, and explosive revelations, and the decline of democracy as we know it? Besides, Stephen Harper is not most people’s favourite guy. So it pains me to report that despite the most recent breathless headlines, the Senate scandal has run out of legs.

Wrong, Marg.  Today, the Prime Minister’s Office announced that the Privy Council Office found the missing email messages from former PMO legal adviser Benjamin Perrin!

The Privy Council Office has informed the RCMP that emails belonging to Benjamin Perrin, the former counsel for the Prime Minister’s Office named in court documents related to a deal between Nigel Wright and Senator Mike Duffy, were not deleted as was previously believed.

In fact, Perrin’s account had been frozen “due to unrelated litigation.”

“We regret that we previously failed, even if inadvertently, to accurately inform you [the RCMP] and the PMO about the availability of Mr. Perrin’s emails,” the PCO says in a letter to the RCMP. “We apologize for any inconvenience it may have caused.”

The PCO says it will turn the email records over to the RCMP immediately.

Back in May when this story was just growing its legs, Perrin said he had nothing to do with the mess.

I was not consulted on, and did not participate in, Nigel Wright’s decision to write a personal cheque to reimburse Senator Duffy’s expenses.

I have never communicated with the Prime Minister on this matter.

In all my work, I have been committed to making our country a better place and I hope my record of service speaks for itself.

Is Perrin going to be the next one thrown under the PM’s bus?  Will this finally be the end of Stephen Harper as PM? Or is something else going on here?

trm asks that last question because she noticed a lot of wet pants on Twitter over the weekend, following the National Post‘s publication of Andrew Coyne’s piece praising CPC MP Michael Chong’s proposed Reform Act.

Should it pass, Parliament would never be the same again. The bill would fundamentally recast the relationship between party leaders and caucuses, and with it the whole structure of our politics. The balance of power would shift, irrevocably, in favour of MPs and their riding associations, and away from the leaders and their apparatchiks. In sum, this is a vastly consequential bill, and fully deserving of the historical echoes in its short title: The Reform Act 2013.

Though the Act has yet to see the light of day, Tweeps were raving about it, under the #ReformAct hashtag.  It seems to trm that Canadians are so eager to rid the country of Stephen Harper that they’ll take the first thing that comes along — sight unseen — to do so. If other parties had a one member, one vote system of electing a leader they’d be less eager to legislate power away from the parties’ grassroots.  Or, if Conservative Party Members of Parliament had courage they’d stand up to the PM.

As far as trm is concerned, it’s dangerous to make decisions based on what pundits say or about something not yet available to read.  But saying so on Twitter does not make one a lot of friends.  Chong was going to present it on Thursday but has since changed his mind and will now do so on Tuesday.

Since the text of the bill has not been released, there has been much speculation about its intent. The bill should not be viewed as a critique on any of the current leaders in the House of Commons. To suggest otherwise, misinterprets the intent of the bill.

Due to the interest surrounding the content of the bill, I have decided to introduce it in the House of Commons earlier than previously planned. This will allow me to release the text of the bill to the public and explain its content to Canadians.

This is all well and good — and lookit! There’s a website, too!  But isn’t it interesting that it will fall in the news cycle immediately following stories about the almost magical finding of Perrin’s emails?

trm has many more questions!  She hopes the scandal doesn’t get lost in the hullaballoo already publicizing the Reform Act.