Sunday, September 30, 2007

NDP May Finish Behind Greens in 25% of Riding Contests

If current polling trends continue, the Ontario NDP may finish behind the Greens in 25% of riding contests in the October 10 provincial election.

Based on past electoral performance, the quality of local candidates, and organizational effort on the ground, the Green Party is poised to collect more votes than the NDP in several ridings across the province. Although the Greens have outperformed the NDP in a few by-elections in recent years, it is extremely rare for the Greens to collect more votes than the NDP in any riding contest in a general election. However, the Green Party’s support for a unified secular public school system, the public’s focus of environmental issues, and the Greens’ push for MMP have given the party new credibility and, in the process, have shaken loose supporters from the other parties, particularly the NDP. In ridings where the NDP has little traditional strength, the Greens are certainly within striking distance.

As a result, look for potential 4th place NDP finishes in the following ridings:

416 ridings

Don Valley West

Etobicoke Centre

Scarborough Agincourt

Scarborough Rouge River


905 ridings

Brampton West




Mississauga East-Cooksville




Oak Ridges-Markham


Richmond Hill



Wellington-Halton Hills

Eastern Ontario ridings

Carleton-Mississipi Mills




Ottawa South


Southwestern Ontario ridings



Northern Ontario ridings

Parry Sound Muskoka

Other ridings where the Green Party has an outside chance of outperforming the NDP:


Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound

Don Valley East


Mississauga-Brampton South

Mississauga South


Niagara Falls

Ottawa West-Nepean

Pickering-Scarborough East


Friday, September 28, 2007

NDP Shadow Cabinet

I understand Layton is trying to make the NDP look more credible on economic issues by making Mulcair the party's Finance critic, but is it really that smart to but a former Liberal MNA is such an important caucus position? After all, the Charest government was about as neoliberal as they come in Quebec, and Mulcair did not do too much to distance himself from the government's economic agenda.

NDP Shadow cabinet - complete list

Jack Layton (Toronto-Danforth) Leader, Intergovernmental Affairs

Charlie Angus (Timmins-James Bay)Public Works and Government Services, Treasury Board, Democratic and Electoral Reform

Alex Atamanenko (British Columbia Southern Interior) Agriculture and Agri-Food, Rural Affairs

Catherine Bell (Vancouver Island North) Natural Resources, Western Economic Diversification, Deputy Critic for Fisheries (West Coast)

Dennis Bevington (Western Arctic) Northern Development, Arctic Sovereignty, Deputy Critic for Natural Resources (Energy)

Dawn Black (New Westminster-Coquitlam) National Defence

Bill Blaikie (Elmwood-Transcona) Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons

Chris Charlton (Hamilton Mountain)Seniors and Pensions

David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre) Infrastructure and Communities, Public Accounts, Revenue Canada, Crown Corporations

Olivia Chow (Trinity-Spadina) Citizenship and Immigration, Deputy Critic for Social Development (Children and Youth)

Joe Comartin (Windsor-Tecumseh) Justice, Deputy Critic for Public Safety, Deputy Critic for the Environment (Great Lakes)

Jean Crowder (Nanaimo-Cowichan) Aboriginal Affairs

Nathan Cullen (Skeena-Bulkley Valley) Environment, National Parks

Libby Davies (Vancouver East) Deputy Leader, House Leader, Labour, Deputy Critic for Justice (Substance Abuse and Prostitution Issues), Deputy Critic for Infrastructure and Communities (Greater Vancouver Area)

Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre) Foreign Affairs, Deputy Critic for Crown Corporations (National Capital Commission)

Yvon Godin (Acadie-Bathurst)WhipFrancophonie and Official Languages, ACOA, Employment Insurance

Peter Julian (Burnaby-New Westminster) International Trade, Pacific Gateway, Vancouver-Whistler Olympics

Wayne Marston (Hamilton East-Stoney Creek) Multiculturalism, Sport, Deputy Critic of Justice (Human Rights), Deputy Critic for Industry (Steel Policy)

Pat Martin (Winnipeg Centre) Privacy and Ethics, Deputy Critic for Agriculture (Canadian Wheat Board)

Tony Martin (Sault Ste. Marie) Human Resources and Social Development, Federal Economic Development for Northern Ontario

Brian Masse (Windsor West)Transport, Canada Border Services, Deputy Critic for Industry (Auto Policy)

Irene Mathyssen (London Fanshawe)Status of Women

Alexa McDonough (Halifax)International Development and International Cooperation, Peace Advocacy, Atlantic Canada Region

Tom Mulcair (Outremont)Deputy LeaderFinance, Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Peggy Nash (Parkdale-High Park)Industry, Toronto Issues

Penny Priddy (Surrey North)Public Safety, Deputy Critic for Justice

Denise Savoie (Victoria)Post Secondary Education, Literacy, Deputy Critic for Human Resources (Training)

Bill Siksay (Burnaby-Douglas)Culture and Heritage, Housing,Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transsexual and Transgender Issues

Peter Stoffer (Sackville-Eastern Shore)Fisheries, Veterans Affairs, Deputy Critic for Industry (Shipbuilding)

Judy Wasylycia-Leis (Winnipeg North) Caucus ChairHealth, Persons with Disabilities

Thursday, September 27, 2007

NDP Continues to Lead Polls in Nova Scotia

The NDP continues to be the most popular party in Nova Scotia and NDP leader Darrell Dexter is the most popular political leader. Read the details here.

NDP 35%
PC 32%
Lib 28%
Green 5%

Memo to Stephane Dion re: Jamie Carroll

You can be Chinese and Quebecois at the same time. Your party is going down the tubes in Quebec because your view of the province is ridiculously out of date. It's time to take the advice of some leading Quebec Liberal MPs and show Mr. Carroll the door.

Read all the pathetic details here.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

ADQ, Conservatives, NDP Up in Quebec Opinion Polls

From La Presse:


ADQ 34%
PQ 30%
Liberal 24%
Vert 7%
QS 5%

The Federal results from the same poll aren't available online, but here are the numbers:

BQ 31%
Conservative : 27%
Liberal 19%
NDP: 17 %

Electoral Reform in a Historical Perspective

Humorous YouTube video from

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Growing Gap

This photo of "Paradise City" in Sao Paulo gives us a good indication of the growing gap between rich and poor. Notice the size of the tennis courts compared to the houses on the left.

Friday, September 21, 2007

One School System Network

This organization's website looks pretty interesting... Also, today I was pleased to read Niagara This Week columnist Doug Draper come out in favour of a single public school system. Momentum is growing... too bad the NDP missed the boat.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Green Party Leader on Restoring Fairness in Education

TVO's STeve Paiken interviews Ontario Green Party leader Frank DeJong about his party's proposal to eliminate public funding for religious schools, including Catholic schools. There is no question the Greens are eroding NDP support by championing this issue of education fairness.

NDP Hit List in Quebec

The NDP is brimming with joy after Monday's by-election victory in Outremont. What's next for Mulcair and the NDP in Quebec? The Halifax Chronicle Herold reports:

Mulcair will stay on as the party’s Quebec lieutenant and is already busy fundraising, organizing and recruiting candidates in a province that has traditionally been a wasteland for New Democrats.

But he said Monday’s result has already made an impression on his possible recruits. One name being bandied about as a possible candidate is Julius Grey, a high-profile human rights lawyer from Montreal.

"The victory will make it easier for us to recruit high-profile candidates," Mulcair said.

"We’ve been speaking with people all along. But let me just say the body language is becoming far more positive (after Monday)."

The New Democrats will now turn their attention to specific pockets of the province where they believe they have the best chance of making additional gains. A main target will be ridings similar to Outremont: multi-ethnic, federalist and urban.

Mulcair said that parts of Montreal are prized targets, as are some resource-producing regions in outlying areas.

Here are the ridings the NDP is likely to target, without much success in my view.

Hull--Aylmer: The NDP's third best Quebec result in 2006 (15.5%). Although the riding is not located in Montreal, the dynamics are similar in that we see declining Liberal vote totals over the course of the last few elections. Former NDP leadership candidate Pierre Ducasse will be running for the NDP, having failed to come close in the Manicouagan riding in 2004 or 2006. Ducasse is smart, articulate, and dedicated, but his popularity within the party does not necessarily translate into votes come election time. That said, the gap between the Liberals and the NDP in this riding is smaller than the gap that existed in Outremont. Still, Ducasse is no Thomas Mulcair. Consider this the NDP's #1 target for a new seat in Quebec.

Notre-Dame-de-Grâce--Lachine: The NDP's sixth best Quebec result in 2006 (11.8%). A Liberal fortress in Montreal represented by popular Liberal MP Marlene Jennings. The NDP has room to grow, but it would require nothing short of a miracle for the party to knock off Jennings.

Westmount--Ville-Marie [QC]: The NDP's 4th best Quebec result (15.4%). A Liberal stronghold neighbouring Outremont. Unfortunately for the NDP, there are not enough BQ votes to bleed to the NDP to make a difference in this this riding

Laurier--Sainte-Marie: The NDP's second best Quebec result in 2006 (16.9%). However, this sovereignist stronghold, which neighbours Outremont, is currently held by BQ leader Gilles Duceppe who took well over 50% of the vote in 2006. The NDP finished 5th here behind the Marijuana Party in 2000.

Manicouagan: The NDP's fifth best Quebec result in 2006 (12.8%). An outlying riding which saw some of the NDP's best numbers in 2004 and 2006 thanks to the candidacy of former NDP leadership candidate Pierre Ducasse. However, the NDP still finished in 4th place in 2006 and without Ducasse as a candidate, NDP fortunes do not seem very bright.

Rosemont--La Petite-Patrie: The NDP's seventh best Quebec result in 2006 (11.6%). A Montreal riding, neighbouring Outremont, respresented by the BQ since 1993. A sovereignist stronghold. The NDP could aim for second place here, but there is too much ground to make up. The party finished 6th place here in 2000.

Gatineau: An awkward vote split could give the NDP longshot odds in Gatineau where it took 10% of the vote in 2006. The victorious BQ candidate won only 39.3%.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Student Tasered at John Kerry Speech

Speak your mind and get tasered... shocking... literally.

Quebec By-Elections By the Numbers

Combined 2007 Quebec by-election results for Outremont, Roberval-Lac-Saint-Jean, and St. Hyacinthe-St. Bagot

Conservative 31475 36.9%
BQ 23983 28.1%
NDP 14587 17.1%
Liberal 12136 14.2%

Total votes: 85255

Combined 2006 federal election results for Outremont, Roberval-Lac-Saint-Jean, and St. Hyacinthe-St. Bagot

Conservative 31954 25.1%
BQ 57202 44.9%
NDP 11858 9.3%
Liberal 22180 17.4%

Total votes: 127500

Some interesting points:

The NDP was the only party that actually increase its raw vote total.

The BQ lost roughly half of its 2006 votes.

People who thought the Liberal couldn't sink any further in Quebec are thinking twice.

The Tories are poised to make major gains outside of the Montreal area.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Iggy to Dion: We Didn't Get it Done in Outremont

With the NDP's Thomas Mulcair on his way to a decisive victory in Outremont, Iggy is likely busy sharpening the knives... can you blame him? Everyone expected the contest to be close, but Mulcair is ahead by almost 20 points with roughly 1/4 of the polls reporting. Dion should do the honourable thing and step down to make way for a leader who can, at the very least, protect the party's electoral base. What a terrible night to be a Liberal. I especially feel sorry for this guy who wasted a weekend and a few hundred bucks to see his party get crushed.

Chantal Hebert Offers Some Sage Advice to Dion

Read her excellent assessment at Le Devoir.
The cribbed version for those of you who don't read French:

If Stephane Dion doesn't want to become the first Liberal leader in a century to not become Prime Minister he has to do the following:

1. Stop rattling your pre-election sabre.
2. Change your tone.
3. Stop using your poor English as an excuse.
4. Reconcile with Quebec.
5. Don't hog the spotlight.
6. Deal with Iggy.

A Public Service Announcement for Voters in Outremont

A pair of young sovereignists blast Loco Locass' smash hit "Libérez-nous des libéraux" outside a Liberal campaign office during the 2006 provincial election. Any chance they'll pay a visit to Coulon's campaign office in Outremont today?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sally Field's Anti-War Emmy Acceptance Speech Censored by FOX

Anyone watching the Emmy awards tonight will have noticed that Sally's Field's acceptance speech was censored by FOX. Here's what she said: "If the mothers ruled the world there wouldn't be any Goddamned war!"

Land of the free indeed!

Liberal Rally in Outremont

Watch the rally on YouTube. Justin Trudeau, Ken Dryden, and Stephane Dion stump for Outremont Liberal candidate Jocelyn Coulon... Too little too late? I guess we'll find out on Monday.

"Liberals... I Hate Them So Much"

Homer Simpson lets us know how he feels about Dalton McGuinty's Liberals.

h/t to the Calgary Grit

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Most Delusional Liberal Spin You Will Ever Read

From the most delusional would-be Liberal politician I have ever known...

Apparently, the recent Quebec by-election polls aren't bad news for the Liberals. Read it here.


For some sober Liberal analysis of the Quebec by-elections click here and here.

Mulcair Poised to Win in Outremont: Poll

Details from La Presse:


Mulcair NDP 38%
Coulon LIB 32%
Gilson BQ 14%


BQ 49%
CON 32%
NDP 7%
LIB 5%


CON 43%
BQ 37%
LIB 12%
NDP 4%

Bring On the Referendum: What You Need to Know

Monday, Sept. 17, 2007

7:30-9:30 p.m.

OISE Auditorium -- 252 Bloor Street West, St. George Subway Stn.


Rick Anderson: Campaign Committee Chair, vote for MMP; former chief advisor to former Reform Party Leader Preston Manning; Director, Fireweed Democracy Project.

Catherine Baquero: recent University of Toronto graduate; former member of the Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform mandated by the government to assess Ontario's electoral system.

Jonathan Rose: Academic Director, Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform; Associate Professor of Political Science, Queen's University.

Edelgard Mahant: Senior Scholar, Glendon Research Group in Public and International Affairs; Co-founder of the No MMP campaign.

Elections Ontario will present an introductory video.

A Big Show of MMP Supporters Would Be Excellent – For the Debate and the Media – Please Come

Presented by the St. Lawrence Centre FORUM and endorsed by Equal Voice, Fair Vote Canada, Vote for MMP, No MMP

For more information, contact Linda Sheppard at or the Vote for MMP Campaign at 416-644-1034

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Buy My Book


by Carmela Patrias and Larry Savage

CONFRONTATION STRUGGLE AND TRANSFORMATION is the story of working women and men in the St. Catharines area from the mid-1800s to the present.

The study explores the labour movement's fight to survive and thrive in the Niagara region. Thanks to extensive quotations from interviews, archival sources and local newspapers, the story unfolds, in part, through the voices of the people themselves: workers who fought for unions, community members who supported them and employers who opposed them.

Click here to order it online from the publisher.

Click here to read a recent newspaper article about the book.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Hugh Segal on MMP

Senator Hugh Segal

Repairing the Infrastructure of Democracy
Before It Collapses

Wednesday, September 12, 2007
11:45 am – 1:30 pm
The National Club
303 Bay Street

$69 Individual with tables of 10 available
Lunch will be served
Advance registration is required – numbers are limited
For tickets call (416) 306-0899, visit
or fax the attached registration form to (416) 306-0898

Tony Blair Covers The Clash

I guess he decided to go... and we're all thankful for that decision.

Dion to Cherniak: Advertising Works!

Liberal leader Stephane Dion has finally acknowledged that the Tory ads deriding him as "not a leader" have been effective. Despite various Liberal attempts to respond to the campaign to the campaign, Dion remains mired in unpopularity.

From the Vancouver Sun:

Wearing an open-neck, pale blue shirt and a sleek navy pinstripe suit, the Liberal leader, surprisingly, lauds the "Dion is Not a Leader" ad campaign as effective.

The ads have given people a terrible impression of him, but he points out that those low expectations play in his favour once he meets voters -- which is why he's travelling the country non-stop. "Where did we fly here from?" he asks an aide. "Oh yes, Toronto."

Do you think we'll see a revised advertising analysis by Liberal blogger Jason Cherniak who had this to say back in February? His spin was so off the mark that even Dion has refuted it. Here's a preview of Cherniak's spin back in February:

Dion just became a capital "L" Leader a couple months ago - the idea that he is "not a leader" will not ring true to many people at this time. The only way the message will work is if people see many reasons over time to believe that Dion is not a leader. So far, Dion has not been giving that impression. The only people giving that impression are the Tories, who try to make everything Dion does into a joke. Will it work? Only if the Liberals do not respond. We need to have a response and, once we do, it should be easy for us to make our case.

Fight for Your Right (To Work Nude)

No, this isn't a post about exotic dancers or sex workers... it's a story about a carpenter.

As reported by the CBC:

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - A carpenter caught hammering nails and sawing wood in the nude has been found by a judge to be not guilty of indecent exposure.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Julie Conger ruled Thursday that although Percy Honniball of Oakland was naked, he was not acting lewdly or seeking sexual gratification...

...Honniball earned two years' probation in 2003 after being caught three times working naked in Berkeley, which prohibits public nudity. Oakland does not have a similar ban.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Veiled Voting In Canada

Elections Canada gets hammered from all directions.

Layton, Mulcair More Popular Than Dion and Harper in Quebec

From the Montreal Gazette:

The survey was conducted last week by Léger Marketing for The Gazette, the Journal de Montréal and the TVA network. A group of 1,472 Quebecers of voting age were asked their opinion on each of a list of 65 political personalities....

...After Charest, the least positively viewed were federal Liberal leader Stéphane Dion with a 58 per cent negative reading and Prime Minister Stephen Harper with 51 per cent. On the positive side, Harper's 47 per cent reading put him in 13th place overall, well ahead of Dion's 35 per cent that left him in 22nd place.

There is good news for the New Democratic Party and its campaign in the Outremont by-election. Not only is NDP leader Jack Layton ninth among favoured political figures, but former Liberal minister and now NDP candidate in Outremont Tom Mulcair ranks close behind in 11th place with a 47 per cent positive reading.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Confrontation, Struggle and Transformation: Organized Labour in the St. Catharines Area

My new book, Confrontation, Struggle and Transformation: Organized Labour in the St. Catharines Area, which I co-authored with Carmela Patrias is being launched later this week. Y

From Niagara This Week:

New book looks at history of local labour

By Mike Zettel

Sep 07, 2007

ST. CATHARINES -- A new book by two Brock professors aims to shine light on the untold stories of working men and women from the mid-1800s to the present.

Confrontation, Struggle and Transformation: Organized Labour in the St. Catharines Area, was written over a six-month period by Carmela Patrias, associate professor of history, and Larry Savage, assistant professor of labour studies and political science.

Published by the Canadian Committee on Labour History, the book's release is timed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the St. Catharines and District Labour Council.

Savage said the book naturally starts with the workers who built the first Welland Canal, which led to the industrialization of the region.

It "documents the struggles with their employers and fights for wages and working conditions," Savage said. "Working on the canals was a tough job, deplorable working conditions with a largely immigrant work force. Workers fought and workers in some cases died to secure some basic employment standards."

The book, which will be used by first-year labour studies students, examines recurring themes in Niagara that are highlighted in the title.

"What we see in each period are workers resisting concessions that are being promoted by employers," Savage said. "We see workers fighting back. In some cases we see workers winning and moving forward, and in other cases we see workers losing."

Highlighted events include the arrival of the Holy Order of the Knights of Labour to Niagara in the 1880s, the labour movement's leadership in fighting racial discrimination in housing in the late 1950s and the United Auto Workers' strike against General Motors in 1970.

As well, Savage said, it tells of the huge role labour played half a century ago in building Brock itself, including a donation by then-UAW Local 199, which was the largest by a union to a university at the time. Thousands of members of other unions also volunteered additional dues to Brock.

Labour, he said, far exceeded the target the university hoped to raise by them, while other sectors, such as business, underperformed.

"Workers played such a key role in building the university, and they certainly didn't do it for themselves," he said. "They did it for their children and their grandchildren because they wanted them to have access to public post-secondary education."

h/t to the Daily Dissidence who acted as a research assistant on the project.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Ontario NDP Attack Ad: Sticky Notes

"Dalton was hoping his record wouldn't stick to him..." This ad appears to try and counter the Working Families Coalition ads which portray the Liberal government in a positive light.

Friday, September 7, 2007

NDP 1984 Election Ad Featuring Ed Broadbent

This was the election where Brian Mulroney's Tories swept to power with the largest majority government in Canadian history. The NDP, for its part, did a good job at maintaining its base thanks to the leadership of Ed Broadbent.

Let the Greens Debate

As much as I disagree with some of the Ontario Green Party's policies, I still think Frank DeJong should be included in the leaders' debate... Heck, Howard Hampton lost official party status for the NDP two elections in a row and no one questioned whether or not he should be allowed to participate. Fringe party leaders have also been included in debates in several provincial jurisdictions including BC. What are we afraid of?

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Public Forum on MMP Leads to Confusion

Looks like Elections Ontario has its work cut out for it.

Bad Press for pro MMP forces from the Niagara Falls Review:

Meeting to explain referendum doesn't 'We don't understand it,' crowd says after debate, explanation

TONY RICCIUTO Local News - Thursday, September 06, 2007

They tried to explain the Oct. 10 electoral reform referendum at a meeting last night. But as one citizen put it, there is obviously "some confusion so Elections Canada better take out full page ads to explain how this will all work."

The meeting and debate, attended by about 30 people, was hosted by the Niagara Falls Citizens for Democracy at the Niagara Falls Public Library's Victoria Avenue branch. The people who were confused admit they're close followers of politics, and were interested enough to turn out Wednesday to hear more about the referendum that will coincide with the provincial election. But after hearing the debate and subsequent explanations, there was still confusion. "We don't understand it, so how can we even explain it to seniors or those who speak a second language," said another man in attendance. When voters go to the polls in October, they will be given two ballots.

In the debate last night, Niagara Falls Citizens for Democracy president Mel Grunstein argued in favour of the mixed-member proportional system while Lorne White, from the Fort Erie Chamber of Commerce, argued the merits of the current system. Both presented valid points on why they took that position.

The confusion began when questions were taken from the floor and different people began giving their understanding of what would take place. Some were getting their information from a blue and white pamphlet called Referendum Ontario, while others were making reference to a booklet distributed by the Ontario Citizens Assembly on Electoral Reform, a citizens' group appointed by the province to study Ontario's electoral system and make recommendations for change.

At one point, Grunstein said "I hope they do a better job of advertising because if this group doesn't get it that's a problem." One man who said he has worked on previous elections admitted: "I don't understand it."

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Coddling Creationists or The Day John Tory Lost the Ontario Provinical Election


Didn't John Tory learn anything from the disaster that was Stockwell Day...

From the Globe & Mail:

Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory says there is no reason creationism couldn't be taught alongside evolution and “other theories” if private religious schools are brought into Ontario's public school boards.

Conservative Emerges as Pro-MMP Spokesperson in Niagara

Mel Grunstein, the Conservative candidate in the riding of Welland in both the 2004 and 2006 federal elections, has emerged as a spokesperson for the pro-MMP camp in the Niagara Region.

From the Niagara Falls Review:

The Niagara Falls Citizens for Democracy group is hosting one of the first debates on the two systems. Mel Grunstein, president of the civic watchdog group, will argue in favour of the mixed member proportional system, while Lorne White will debate the merits of the current system.

Their meeting is scheduled for the Niagara Falls Public Library's Victoria Avenue branch, tonight at 7 p.m. Grunstein called referendums "the purest form of democracy" because voters are weighing in on just one issue. "I love them," Grunstein said.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Pro and Anti MMP Campaigns Court Political Scientists


Vote for MMP – the multi-partisan campaign to support the Ontario Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform’s recommendation of a mixed-member proportional (MMP) voting system in the October 10 referendum – is looking to compile a list of Ontario political scientists who plan to vote for MMP.

The proposed MMP model was developed by the Assembly, a randomly selected group of
voters, after spending last Fall learning about voting systems (under the able direction of Queen’s professor Jonathan Rose) and the Winter months consulting with Ontarians at a series of meetings in every region of the province.

A campaign launched by Fair Vote Canada, Vote for MMP has been organizing since the release of the Citizens’ Assembly report in mid-May to lay the groundwork for a grassroots campaign that engages and educates Ontarians about how changing the voting system can improve Ontario democracy. We would like your help and support in this endeavor.

We already have the endorsement of over 100 prominent Ontarians, including:

- Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett
- Conservative Senator Hugh Segal
- Former NDP leader Ed Broadbent
- Former Liberal cabinet minister Monique Begin
- Former Conservative MP Patrick Boyer
- Former Ontario NDP leader and activist Stephen Lewis
- Sylvia Bakshevin, former CPSA President
- Nathalie Desrosiers, Dean of Civil Law at the University of Ottawa
- Peter Russell, former CPSA President
- Hugh Thorburn, former CPSA President

If you will be voting for MMP, we would love to be able to add your name to a list of political scientists that support MMP. If you would like to be added to our list of supporters, please contact campaign organizer Mark Greenan at

Thanks for your interest and if you would like more information on our campaign, visit our website at

From NO MMP:

We are conducting a grassroots campaign that engages and educates Ontarians about how changing the voting system may lead to the deterioration of Ontario's democracy. We would like your help and support in this endeavor. We already have the endorsement of many prominent Ontarians, including:'

- Liberal MP Diane Marleau (a former cabinet minister)
- provincial cabinet minister Dwight Duncan
- MPPs Bob Delaney (Lib) and Tim Hudak (PC)
- Former Liberal MPs Aideen Nicholson and Larry McCormick
- Former Conservative MPs Scott Reid and Doug Lewis
- Senator David Smith (Lib)

- Academics who support us include:

Lorna Marsden, recently retired President of York, Joan Mount, former Dean of Professional Schools at Laurentian University; Terry Heinrichs, Chair of Political Science at Glendon College, Peter Woolstencroft (Waterloo), Sylvie Arend, John Crozierand Ian Gentles (all at York's Glendon College) and Graeme Mount ofLaurentian University.

If you plan to vote against MMP, we would love to be able to add your nameto a list of political scientists who oppose this measure, which has profoundly negative implications for democracy in Ontario. If you wouldlike to be added to our list of supporters, please contact me at

Thank you for your interest.
Edelgard Mahant
Glendon College

Monday, September 3, 2007

Nova Scotia Healthcare Unions Fight to Keep Right to Strike

No one handed workers the right to strike. Workers fought, and in some cases died in order to secure that right. Don't expect unions to roll over and give it up that easily. Sadly, the Nova Scotia NDP has not taken a strong position in support of the right to strike.

From the Globe & Mail:

Nova Scotia's health-care unions will use the labour movement's traditional holiday weekend to roll out a public information campaign against a government move to end the right to strike.

It's the opening volley in what's expected to be an ongoing battle through the fall with the province's Conservative government.

The unions also plan a major rally, most likely be held during the opening of the fall session of the legislature.

“Our message to the public, to our membership and to the government is, let's pick our battles. This is an unnecessary one, ” said Joan Jessome, president of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union.

Where does the Nova Scotia NDP stand on the issue? NDP leader Darrell Dexter offered up this pathetic response:

When asked Thursday whether he could support a measure like binding arbitration, NDP Leader Darrell Dexter didn't want to “get into the realm of speculation,” citing the various models that could be proposed.

“Until you actually see what it is they are trying to suggest, it is difficult to say that one thing or another would be acceptable,” he said.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The Conservatives and Negativity

The Tory party's hypocrisy over negativity in politics has never been so clear.

On the party's website, a humourous picture of Stephane Dion along with a group of puffins accompanies a story which complains that Dion "all negative, all the time." It goes on to suggest that Dion is one his way to becoming is the most negative opposition leader of all time and that he does nothing but criticize. However, if you check out the entire right hand sidebar of the Conservative website you'll notice a list of at least five negative attack ads slamming Dion on the issues of senate reform and leadership. I don't mind negative politics or negative attack ads. In fact, I think they can be legitimate and useful political tools. However, you can't negatively portray Dion in a series of negative attack ads and then complain about his negativity on the same webpage and expect people to take your party seriously.

REMINDER: Actor Danny Glover to Lead Niagara Falls Labour Day Parade

Join International Film Star Danny Glover in bringing the power of Labour Day to Niagara Falls.

Join us as we hold one of the first Labour Day actions in Niagara Falls.

1:30 PM
September 3rd

Rally at the corner of Union Ave and Hunter St. in Niagara Falls.

Buses will be leaving from locations in:
Toronto, Brampton/Mississauga, and from the end of the Hamilton Labour Day Parade.

Please call or email to reserve your seat.
For details: call Ethan Clarke at 905-354-2027 ext. 312 or visit

Saturday, September 1, 2007

McGuinty Voting for MMP?

From the Toronto Star:

Premier Dalton McGuinty, who first broached the subject of sweeping electoral reform more than a year before he won power in 2003, is publicly remaining neutral. But privately he is believed to favour MMP because, sources say, "he's a Boy Scout on this stuff."

All McGuinty will say on the record is he welcomes the dissenting views on the subject within his cabinet and the Liberal caucus.

"This is not something that's going to be decided by a few cabinet ministers, it's going to be something that's decided by millions of Ontario voters. I look forward to their advice," the premier says.

Labour Day: Just Another Three-Day Long Weekend?

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Labour Day: just another three-day weekend?
By Mike Zettel
St. Catharines
Aug 31, 2007

ST. CATHARINES -- For many, this weekend simply represents the last vestiges of summer, a chance to run to the cottage for the last time or to otherwise enjoy the final long weekend before heading back to school or work.

But in enjoying ourselves, are we missing out on the significance of the holiday and how we first got it? Labour Day is sometimes referred to as the holiday Canada gave the world. It was first marked April 15, 1872 with a parade for workers' rights in Toronto.

At the time, simply belonging to a trade union was to engage in "criminal conspiracy" and many of the rights taken for granted today -- eight hour days, minimum wage, occupational health and safety regulations -- didn't exist.

"It's very much become just another holiday for people, whether it's people having their last hurrah for the summer or getting ready to get back to school, but there's some important significance here," said Larry Savage, a professor at Brock specializing in labour movements. He notes studies of history often overlook those of working people, who he calls an integral part of history, particularly Niagara's.

"The Welland Canal didn't just appear out of nowhere," he said. "People constructed the canal. And there were important struggles and fights and strikes over the building of the canals." The canals brought manufacturing and industry, he said, with unions who fought for and won the rights ordinary working-class people enjoy today.
"None of these rights were just given to them out of nowhere," he said. "People had to fight for them in order to win them. And I think a lot of people forget about those struggles and take for granted the rights."

Wayne Gates, president of Canadian Auto Workers Local 199, agreed the significance of the holiday is too often overlooked.

"It's become like any other holiday," he said. "It's just another three-day weekend." There's a lot we have to celebrate about, but obviously the struggles continue," he said.