London-North-Centre NDP meets on my birthday and the anniversary of Shootout at OK Corral

I don’t know if it’s a good omen or not but I mistakenly said the NDP’s nomination meeting in London was tonight. In fact, according to this (and remember, as you read it, the old saying about there being no such thing as bad publicity) it is tomorrow night, the 26th.

That would be forty-seven years afer my birth. Ugh! (It’s also Hillary Clinton’s but she’s got a few years on me.)

Not only that, other October 26ths have been very memorable. Don’t let the OK Corral comparisons get too out of hand!

Stevie and George chat

“Steve” Harper and U.S. President Bush, in the diplomatic equivalent of bad phone sex, have apparently discussed the Maher Arar case. Neither party was asked to confirm nor deny the authenticity of the following transcript:

POTUS GWB: G’mornin’ Stevie! Y’all set for the Columbus Day weekend? Heh heh heh

Harpo: Mr. President, good morning. Well, Sir, we here in Canada call Columbus Day “Thanksgiving”.

POTUS GWB: Come again? Thanksgiving i’n’t ‘til November. Y’all celebrate Christmas around Hallowe’en? Heh heh heh

Harpo: Well, no, Mr. President. Some former government here, probably Liberal, decided we needed a paid holiday in October so they came up with a Canadian version of Thanksgiving. See we fill our horns of plenty earlier here because of the earlier harvest.

POTUS GWB: I heard about that. Ice wine you call it. Interesting.

Harpo: Well, Mr. President, ice wine is another matter all together. But…

POTUS GWB: Say, Steve, Laura and me just wanted to say, again, how great it is to have you as our friends down there in Canada. Means a lot to us. You’re good people. Strong character. Nice mountains. Good fishin’ I hear…

Harpo: Thank you, Sir. You will always have a friend in the new Conservative government of Canada.

POTUS GWB: Great, that’s just great, Steve. Say I’m off to a prayer meetin’…

Harpo: Mr. President, about the Maher Arar case. I just wanted to let you know that my government will be officially protesting the American role in this. Please understand, though, it happened under the previous Liberal government and there are no hard feelings between my party…

POTUS GWB: The wha–… Thanks Stevie. Be praying for ya and the good people of Canada…eh? Heh heh heh

From the NDP’s Faith and Social Justice Caucus: Convention presentations

from Pierre Ducasse…

Religious discourse on the left!

Hi! Now that we published some pictures of our great event at Convention, it is my pleasure to make the main presentations available to you in audio (WAV) format. But careful, these are big files. Hope you have access to high speed.

First, you can listen to the opening panel. You can hear the presentations by Pierre Ducasse, Joe Comartin and Bill Blaikie.

Secondly, here are the introductory words to Jim Loney by Charlie Angus.

And finally, and most importantly, the remarquable speech of James Loney.

Hope you enjoy! We welcome you to post comments.

Pierre Ducasse

Canadian Peace Alliance: ‘Thanks but… No Tanks!’ – Troops out of Afghanistan

October 28th 2006 – is a pan-Canadian day of action calling for the troops to be brought home from Afghanistan. The actions are endorsed by the Canadian Labour Congress, Canadian Islamic Congress, Le Collectif Échec à la guerre , Council of Canadians, Canadian Arab Federation, National Union of Public and General Employees, Canadian Union of Public Employees, Canadian Union of Postal Workers, United Steelworkers – National, Canadian Auto Workers Union, Canadian Muslim Civil Liberties Association, Greenpeace Canada and many more. See the full endorsers list here.

For events listings please see:

Thanks but… No Tanks!

Troops out of Afghanistan

September 20, 2006

The Government of Canada has announced that it is sending another 450 soldiers and a squadron of heavy battle tanks to Afghanistan to stop the advance of the Taliban in Kandahar province. This is a dangerous escalation in a war that is becoming increasingly violent for NATO soldiers and the people of Afghanistan. The CPA strongly condemns this arms buildup and calls for the troops to be brought home now.

Despite growing opposition in this country and a clear message coming from international warfare experts that this war is long lost, Canada is raising the stakes and bringing more weapons into an already volatile situation. This escalation is against the wishes of most Canadians. In the Globe and Mail poll reported on September 14, only 3% of respondents called for in increase in Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan while 41% called for immediate withdrawal.

This new deployment also belies the suggestion that Canada is in Afghanistan to conduct development and reconstruction work. Tanks have never been used for construction but are rather a useful tool when destroying the lives and homes of innocent people. The violent occupation led by the US and NATO continues to cause great suffering in the country and augmenting that deployment with tanks will not help. Our heavy hand has just gotten a bit heavier which will cause more suffering for civilians there and cause an even stronger resistance to build.

The issue in Afghanistan is that we are on the side of a corrupt and violent government that is seen as a puppet of the US administration. Our occupation forces will likewise continue to be seen as unwanted and violent occupiers. More heavy weapons will not change that fact.

The people of Afghanistan may think that they are living in an Orwellian nightmare. Recent polling by human rights and development groups has found that a majority of the people of Afghanistan want disarmament. To respond by sending Leopard heavy battle tanks shows how little that the NATO forces care about the needs of the Afghan people.

On October 28 2006 tens of thousands of people will be taking to the streets in Canada to call for our troops to be brought home now. You can find all the information and resources needed to start a campaign to bring the troops home now at:


Sid Lacombe
Canadian Peace Alliance
tel 416-588-5555
fax 416-588-5556

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Jack’s stand continues to animate the war debate

Christie Blatchford jabs Jack (Google “Blatchford can we not wait a day deaths”) again today as she wonders why news of the latest Canadian deaths in Afghanistan could not be given a little while to settle in before resuming criticism of the mission she so clearly supports.

Well, for one thing, Christie, yesterday marked the resumption of Parliament. So, while we had not yet seen the “ramp ceremony” in Kandahar, nor even learned the identities of the four soldiers killed, democracy allows – and, in the case of this mad war, urgently requires – us to keep asking questions. “Picking at bones”? C’mon!

So, while strong views in support of the war still get lots of ink, those of us against it will continue to take advantage of the freedom we enjoy (you might say exploit) to speak out. Jack Layton has taken plenty of lumps for his call to bring all the warring factions to the table, dumbed down by the media as “negotiating with the Taliban”.

If there are only two sides to this argument, which of course is overly simplistic, I argue closer to the pacifist side. I am realistic enough to know that conflicts may not always be resolved before impatience turns to war, I choose to be a peace-monger even if it seems as unreasonable as a war hawk. I stand with ‘Taliban Jack’.

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Hayden’s Diary There’s a link on this page …

  • Hayden’s Diary

    There’s a link on this page to a brave South African gay man and his diary. Published on the PlusNews web-site of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) Hayden’s Diary was brought to my attention by the UN agency several weeks ago, because I am on one of their HIV-specific email lists.

    As I have just written, in an email to Hayden, it seems easier to pass along his journals – as I do in my capacity as AIDS Editor for AfricaFiles than it is to write my own for public consumption – although I give myself a little credit for making an attempt with this “blog”. I don’t know if, or when, I would be as comfortable disclosing even general remarks about my sexual exploits as Hayden appears to be. You go girl!

    He’s right, of course, when he says that to discuss AIDS without discussing sex, as well as homophobia, would make no sense and – with the relative anonymity of an online journal – he seems to have a perfect vehicle for it. So do I. Will I take up the challenge? Time will tell.

  • Another Google search, another interesting find

    Looking into some of the early twentieth century history of Valleyfield (now officially known as Salaberry-de-Valleyfield), where I grew up, I began reading about Madeleine Parent, a pioneering labour union leader in 1940s Quebec. She championed the cause of textile workers in Valleyfield, many of whom were women, and helped bring collective bargaining to the province’s textile industry. Montreal Cottons Ltd., with spinning mills in Montreal and Valleyfield, was the target of several notable workers’ strikes and even riots. The 1946 strike eventually led to a first contract.

    In February of 2004, Ms. Parent was back in Valleyfield again speaking to a regional meeting of the Public Service Alliance of Canada. As mentioned in the article the hotel where she was speaking, Plaza Valleyfield, was built in the late 1980s in and around the Gault Mill section of the former Montreal Cottons plant. One can only imagine how Ms. Parent felt being there again. Unfortunately – from an architectural viewpoint only – the much larger, older, stone castle-like buildings were demolished in the 1970s to make way for a rather ugly shopping mall. Behind those thick walls cotton mill employees worked in conditions that now seem almost Dickensian.

    The hotel was, for a short time, managed by Delta Hotels, the parent company I worked for in Toronto between 1987 and 1990. I recall making a few reservations for visitors to Valleyfield’s hydroplane regatta which roars around Baie St. Francois every summer, bringing plenty of tourists and excitement.

    I’m going to follow up on Ms. Parent’s ties to my home-town.


    The election bug bit me hard today as I finally showed up for my first shift at the Michael Shapcott office. It’s amazing what being around like-minded folks does to boost enthusiasm!

    The candidate breezed in between campaign stops, shaking hands with anyone in the office he had not yet met, then was out the door to work some more.

    I quickly got the hang of the database system so I’m plugging in information from people who have requested signs – and there are many such requests! In return for training me on the specifics of the data program I’ve committed to being there two or three days a week for four hour shifts until the election on June 28. It should make for a fast-paced, fun month!