Sunday, July 26, 2009

Waiting for a Great Leap Forward

I have not been blogging recently to due problems with web access. Since I am back in Canada for the next two months, I will be a bit more active on blogosphere (not that much). However, this post deserves some consideration. The link is posted below for you to consider

Thanks to Marc for bringing this matter to consideration.

NDPers in Vancouver Island getting angry at Toronto Jack for NOT paying attention to social issues and letting Harper's neo-cons run the country. They are so desperate that they want to make an electoral pact with Lizzie May so the Dippers can win extra seats in BC.

I am one who believes that the key to defeat Harper is through British Columbia. The failure in dealing with softwood lumber issues, the stresses of international trade agreements on rural communities, the rampant poverty in rural Canada, and desperation of native communities are key issues that the Opposition parties need to put into focus. Unfortunately, I don't have the confidence in the federal Liberals to address these issues. When have they been competitive there? Thus the New Democrats are naturally the key beneficiaries to any opposition to Harper in rural BC. While this letter is well meaning, it also shows the unhappiness that some members are expressing towards Layton's leadership.

I am willing to admit that co-operating with Lizzie May is a non-issue. I would prefer the Greens to be more market hostile, support economic nationalism, and focus more on the anti-globalization sentiments bubbling in Canada. But there is not a better time to express these sentiments than now. The sooner a politician in Canada's left expresses this message, the earlier we see an ideological challenge to Harper's neo-conservative political instincts.

Until then my hat is off to the authors of this letter. I also cross my fingers in the hope that Libby Davies can be the next leader of the federal New Democrats.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Jason Kenney warns of gangland civil war in the Lower Mainland

It looks like the gloves are off. The Harper Cons will make immigration the key issue in the next Federal election.


Conservative Minister Frets as Muslim Population Swells in Canada Amid Little Integration

SURREY, BC — A clash of civilizations may be taking place on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, but it's also happening a lot more quietly in Canadian cities.

Canada's population is dwindling even as immigration and high birth rates among Muslim groups are swelling in cities all over the country, a Conservative minister claim in an interview with FOX News he did while visiting Surrey.
Jason Kenney, the Canadian Minister of Immigration, predicts there will eventually be a kind of civil war when the longtime residents of Surrey — a suburb of Vancouver and recently plagued by gang shootings — realize their city is about to be taken over by Muslim immigrants.
Although there is no official statistics on how many Muslims live in the Lower Mainland, it is believed they take up about 25 percent of the area’s 1 million urban residents. Kenney, who seeks to replace embattled Prime Minister Stephen Harper and has called Islamophobia a "duty," claims three of the wards in Surrey now have Muslim majorities.
"In those neighbourhoods it's not our government that's in power," he said, "but the Muslim authorities — the mosques, the imams — who are in charge."
FOX News visited one of those neighbourhoods, which looks more like Pakistan than a Vancouver suburb.
For some Canadian politicians, that's not a problem. The MP for New Westminister-Coquitlam, Dawn Black of the New Democratic Party, has worked hard to help Muslims try to integrate over the past decade and a half she has been involved in politics.
Black believes multiculturalism is a good thing. She says even those who disagree with her should get used to life as it is in Canada today: "Be realistic. They're here. They're relatively numerous and they're growing."
Many Pakistanis have been in Canada for decades and are now citizens, as are their children. The imam of one of the main mosques, which thousands of young Lower Mainland Muslims attend each Friday, stressed that Muslim immigrants have starting blending in around Vancouver.

During FOX News' brief visit, there were no fiery demonstrations of the kind that have wracked the Netherlands, though the municipality is sometimes considered dangerous to traverse at night due to gang shootings.
Yet Kenney remains disconcerting. The RCMP provided three plainclothes officers to watch over a FOX News team interview Kenney one Saturday morning in Surrey at the Minister’s request. When FOX News returned in the afternoon as more people were out and about, Kenney said to the reporters that it would be safer not to get out of his ministerial limo. It wasn't even dark yet.
Part of that fear stems from particularly gangland shootings, something that can happen in bad neighbourhoods in any big city. But part of it is due to strong anti-Muslim sentiment among the social conservatives within Prime Minister Harper’s Conservative government, who have been suggesting vocally that true integration is still a long way off.
Black, of the New Democratic Party, dismisses Kenney’s sentiments and blames the problems on a tiny number of very violent youths who are condemned by everyone, including the Muslim community.
But for Kenney, integration simply isn't working. He claims the great majority of the Muslim youths in Surrey don't want it to work. So instead of being a melting pot, Surrey has become a suburban ghetto that does everything possible to appease Islam, he claims.
"Halal food is served in the schools, not only for Muslim children, but for all the children," said Kenney, adding that municipal pools in the Lower Mainland now have separate hours for men and women to swim.
Kenney, once a former MP from the far right Canadian Alliance Party, is now considered a leading candidate to replace Prime Minister Harper, whose government is being kept alive with the support of the second largest Liberal Party in the House of Commons.Though the immigration debate has not yet reached the fever pitch it has in the U.S. and Western Europe, a real test will come when a major Canadian suburb has a Muslim majority. The first could be Mississauga, outside of Toronto, or Abbotsford, also in the Lower Mainland. Surrey, a multi-ethnic community, will become a political battleground in the next election between Harper’s increasingly rabid so-cons and the New Democrats led by Party Leader Jack Layton.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Closing shop ... for now

My plane leaves for the Far East on September 1. I am taking an academic post there and will only be in Canada for the summer. Thus I will be away from any major involvement in Canadian politics and blogging.

Thus I will be closing shop for now. May come back later to poke my nose and interfere with the BC-STV referendum, if I have the time.

This is not the first time I have taken leave in involvement in partisan politics. I left partisan politics about fourteen years ago to go to the UK to pursue grad studies. My return focus on academic life encourages me to concentrate on the study of politics in a non-partisan and more intellectual manner. For those who don't know me well enough, my research is on International Political Economy with a focus on post-Fordism.

Take care, whoever may be reading this blog.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

"Jack Layton is no Tommy Douglas"

The best line at the Town Hall meeting in Toronto-Danforth in which former CCF politician Reid Scott received his Liberal membership card.

Aaron Wherry has a summary of the meeting in his blogpost here All in all, a solid performance for Dion in front of a partisan anti-NDP crowd.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Dion in Toronto-Danforth

Something that made it into my inbox a few days ago.


On Friday, August 22, the Hon. Stephane Dion will visit Toronto-Danforth for a Town Hall meeting, during which he will join our candidate Andrew Lang to outline and take questions on the Green Shift.

This event is taking place at Cinespace Film Studios, 30 Booth Avenue (closest intersection Logan Avenue and Lakeshore Blvd E.) at 8:00 a.m.
This is an extremely important opportunity for Toronto-Danforth to demonstrate our support of Mr. Dion, the Green Shift and the Liberal Party of Canada. We expect great media turnout - let's send a powerful message about the strength of the Liberal brand in this riding.
Please confirm your attendance either by return email ( or by phone (416-926-0367).


Event: Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion visits the Don Valley West campaign office.

Date: Thursday, Aug 21, 2008
Time: 12:00 PM
Location: Don Valley West Campaign Office
33 Laird Avenue (at Millwood)
Toronto, Ontario

This is on top of the event in the evening at the Toronto Islands for present and prospective donors of the Victory Fund. Dion will be heading to Guelph after the meeting the Town Hall meeting at the Cinespace.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Stephen Harper fails to defend New Europe

It took almost one week but the Prime Minister has finally said his piece on the Russian-Georgia conflict

"I must tell you that I am deeply troubled by a notion I see developing in Russia and that is a notion that Russia somehow has a say or some control over countries outside of its borders.
In my judgement, this is a very worrisome development. It really indicates a Soviet-era mentality[.] And I think it is something that all democratic countries should speak out strongly against and I hope Russia will reconsider its actions.
"Obviously we've called on both sides to cease the fighting and I gather a ceasefire now appears to be taking hold, but we do call on Russia to respect the territorial integrity of Georgia."

Canada announced on Tuesday it would send about one million dollars in aid to the people affected by the conflict which has displaced around 100,000 people

"The Government of Canada is deeply concerned for the welfare of those affected by the violence in South Ossetia," said International Development Minister Bev Oda. "In response to an emergency appeal by the Red Cross, Canada will contribute to international efforts to alleviate the suffering of those on the ground, by providing basic needs such as safe water supplies and emergency medical care."

One million dollars of aid through the Canadian Red Cross. If Stephen Harper's Conservative government is promising a more robust foreign policy than the Liberals, should he be sending a C-17 to Georgia earlier this week?

I am sorry, Prime Minister. This is not leadership in my book. Feeling deeply troubled and worrisome are expressions of not being able to influence a conflict in which Canada has a role to contribute through an international organization such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). At the same time, I hope you are happy that your ideological colleague Nicolas Sarkozy and Bernhard Kouchner are earning respect by persuading Russian Prime Minister Medvedev from pursuing genocide and being the first to provide the humanitarian aid to displace Georgians. This is paralysis similar to the feeling that US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates felt when he recognized that American military power is no longer effective in solving this conflict

The US is no longer trusted as an honest broker in European conflicts. Canada just seeks not to offend.

Compare Harper's words to Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt's immediate condemnation of Russia's invasion to Georgia and you see how far the Prime Minister has to go to demonstrate global leadership on this issue

"No state has the right to intervene militarily in the territory of another state simply because there are individuals there with a passport issued by that state or who are nationals of the state. Attempts to apply such a doctrine have plunged Europe into war in the past... And we have reason to remember how Hitler used this very doctrine little more than half a century ago to undermine and attack substantial parts of central Europe."

A similar tone expressed by the likes of neoconservative commentator Robert Kagan and Obama supporter Zbig Brzezinski

So yes, Harper fell asleep when it would have been politically prudent for him to attack Russia's actions to Hitler's annexation of the Sudetenland. I am also disappointed that neither Stephane Dion, Michael Ignatieff, and Bob Rae have criticized Harper's government for its slow reaction to this conflict.

Which Canadian leader do you trust to defend New Europe? Please convince me.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Weekend trip blogging

For those who know me, I lived in the UK for eight years before returning to the east end of Toronto and start my blog. There I was influenced by this sound from Bristol, England and where the linkage to my blog name originated. I will provide you a sample of Trip Hop with this post. It was what attracted me to the UK a decade ago. The cosmopolitan sound, the willingness to be political in their message. Where whites can listen to reggae and Afro-Caribbeans to punk. They have a common enemy whether it is the neo-cons, Tony Blair, sus laws, and the capitalist class etc.

Take a listen. This is Smith and Mighty, one of the lesser known Trip Hop collective (I like this word) from Bristol