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Conservatives fuming over Omar Khadr lawyer Federal Court appointment.

So this happenned:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau‘s Liberal government has appointed one of Omar Khadr‘s former lawyers as a justice in federal court. The appointment of Toronto-based lawyer John Norris was announced by Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould Monday. Norris is also an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law and has worked with several legal advocacy organizations over the years.

Not surprisingly, that enraged Conservatives like MP Candice Bergen. You can almost see the smoke coming out of her ears.

A lot of Conservatives  still seem aggrieved over Stephen Harper’s long losing streak in court cases in the Federal and Supreme Court, but Omar Khadr and anyone who defended him (or defends him) earns extra venom and more enmity then usual from them.

A couple of nice responses from those on social media responding to the likes of Candice Bergen and other Conservatives:

..”promoting a lawyer who worked pro-bono for someone who had their Rights trampled by successive governments and wins means that he isn’t qualified to be a judge? I want a judge to understand what our Charter Rights are.”

and

 …it isn’t as though Trudeau and Wilson-Raybould pulled this appointment out of nowhere. Federally appointed judges are recommended through Federal Judicial Advisory Committees, which are rigorous bodies containing representatives from the bar, the bench, and the public at large. Secondly, there are over 1100 federally appointed judges in office. They are an overwhelmingly capable group, but …some degree of controversy can come with the territory for a litigator who is effective at their job.

I also would respond to a Conservative in this thread who claimed that this decision would undermine confidence in our “already troubled judiciary”

My response to that is: Perhaps Conservatives are troubled by the fact they can’t break the Constitution and law with impunity, but the more rational of us folks would call a lawyer or Judge who made sure that rule of law and Charter Law was followed was not only being prudent and important.. but would make sure the Judiciary was “working as (constitutionally) intended, and there was nothing “troubling” about it.

I would ask Conservatives this, as another person on social media also did:

Other than representing Khadr, is there actually a legitimate reason Conservatives can point to that would make him unqualified for the bench?

 

 

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Will gun control become the issue that puts the nails in the coffin of the Republican Party?

-Another school shooting. More needless deaths from a semi-automatic weapon.

-An inane proposal from the President that teachers should be armed and that would stop all these deaths.

– At the Conservative Political Active Conference (CPAC),  the National Rifle Association spokespeople are even more unhinged and looney then normal (the quote from NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch claiming  the national media loves the mass shootings because white women crying make it a great story was particularly outrageous).

– Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio. after getting taken to task for his NRA donations and refusal to support tougher gun laws, claims on Twitter that people advocating a total ban of semi-automatic rifles was outside of the US mainstream public opinion.

“Mainstream Americans” may have had enough:

  • 67 Percent of US people polled by Quinnipac now support an assault weapons ban
  • A Maris Poll shows that 71% of Americans want tougher gun laws in general. Among registered voters, 85 percent said their vote will be influenced by the candidates’ position on gun laws. Of those, 59 percent said it will be a major factor in their decision.
  • Many businesses are disassociating themselves from the NRA.
  • Student walkouts are happening across the US. A lot of these students will be eligible to vote in US midterm elections and so forth.

Republicans seem to be gravitating between doing some half-measure proposals of raising the age limit to own a gun to the widely discredited and insane proposal to arm teachers from President Trump. The conservative activists are also trying to attack Parkland students who survived the mass shooting as actors.

At this point, those measures and attacks seem to be not having an effect.  The Republican Congress was already in trouble (at least in the House of Reps) but this shooting and their lack of empathy, common sense and being in bed with a wacko gun association may be the clincher for removing this lot from Congress (and from state assemblies as well).

While this likely wouldn’t bring in any new gun control legislation due to President Trump’s veto and the situation in the Senate.. it would serve as a backdrop to the next Presidential and Congressional Elections in 2020, where the purging of the Republican Party from the levers of power could then be a real possibility

 

 

 

 

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Falling dominoes.

A flurry of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct allegations,  and convictions for rape have dominated the political, sports and entertainment world of late.  It may turn into a flood before its all over, but that’s good.  For those found guilty, the sooner the filth is washed away, the better.

It is regrettable that someone who had multiple sexual misconduct allegations against him still got elected to the highest political office in the US last year, as the bitter partisan divide in the US made people with their partisan blinders on overlook the charges, dismiss them as being untrue,  or simply not care about it – a discredit to them and their nation, though Roy Moore’s defeat gave me hope that perhaps there is remorse starting to take shape there.

Perhaps a tiny bit of good came out of it – Trump’s election appeared to  outrage and galvanize  those who have been suffering in silence for many years  to break their silence – and the #Me-too movement was born;  Now those who used their positions of authority and power to victimize multiple people are now finally paying the piper for their actions.

I suspect there will be more coming –  from all political parties and positions of authority.  This is not going away any time soon. Nor should it. The way to stop or end  evil is to expose it to the light.

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Conservative Christmas Grinch

A loyal reader of this blog sent me a picture of this. It’s apparently an insert that was put into a well known Conservative MP’s Christmas Card that this MP sent out. If anyone else saw or got this, you’ll know who the MP is.

Our Conservative colleagues were well known in government for trying to politicize anything they could – it appears that being in opposition has not dampened that, when you’re using Christmas to send out partisan barbs.

(I particularly am charmed by the barb sent Environment Minister’s Catharine McKenna’s way – “a  White Christmas” haha.. hilarious.. that will prove to her there’s no such thing as climate change, ha ha)

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Andrew Scheer & the Conservative Party have to be nervous. The NDP as well.

A rather good night for the Liberal Party last night. They held all their seats, and were able to win away a seat from the Conservatives in Surrey, BC, which elected a Liberal as an MP there for the first time since 1952. The Conservatives under Andrew Scheer have now lost 2 by-elections since he became Conservative leader. Perhaps a sign that Canadians aren’t exactly comfortable with a smiling clone of Harper with farther-right positions then him?

It has been pointed out that Gordie Hogg, the winning Liberal in Surrey, was a very popular candidate.  I will acknowledge that to those who know him, but as Eric Grenier said in his analysis of the victory today, “good candidates only run for parties they think they have a chance of winning, and right now the Liberals are recruiting the better candidates”.  I will also say that if I grant Mr. Hogg was popular, he still had the Liberal brand and Trudeau’s brand identified to him, and people still came out in bigger #’s to vote for him, to take away an opposition party held riding that had a former Harper Cabinet Minister running in it to defend it.  Does that happen in every scenario like say in Provincial politics in Ontario in the current political climate? I would say no.

As for the NDP, they didn’t have a much better night then the Conservatives,  who can at least cling to the fact their vote share went up everywhere but the seat they lost.  The NDP lost vote share everywhere.  Not that anyone at NDP HQ will take my advice, but perhaps Mr. Singh should rethink his .. shall we say.. complacency about getting into Parliament.  He can be out on the road visiting his supporters, but his best public exposure comes at Parliament Hill.  (The Conservatives are probably hoping the same thing. Depressed NDP turnout/vote draw is a disaster for them).

UPDATE:  I get these every week from Nanos, the pollster. New #’s out; also reflecting an upward trend for the Liberals

Every week Nanos captures the political pulse of the nation and is the authoritative go to data source. Here are this week’s Nanos political tracking highlights:

Ballot – The latest Nanos federal ballot tracking has the Liberals at 40.7 per cent support, followed by the Conservatives at 30.3 per cent, the NDP at 17.5 percent, the BQ at 3.8 per cent and the Greens at 6.7 per cent.

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New Brantford-Brant LPC EDA Board Elected; Getting ready for 2019.

I don’t comment a lot on local Liberal politics these days, but I will for this occasion. A new Liberal EDA Board was elected here in Brantford-Brant on Sunday November 26 – a campaign I volunteered for and participated heavily in for her team. This board will have 11 officers and directors + the heads of the Commission Clubs, so its been greatly pared down as dictated by the new Liberal Constitution – a positive step that was taken in my opinion. No need for such bloated boards.

The newly elected Chair of the BBFLA is Heather Macdonald-Moore, who has been a lifelong Liberal volunteer and was heavily involved in the local Liberal’s Women’s Club. She and the new officers /directors will have the task in their 2 year term to help get the local Liberal EDA ready to fight the next general election in 2019.

To do that, she and the new board will look to try and heal the local split in Liberal ranks here. If you have read this blog dating back to 2015, you know that some Liberals were unhappy about the local nomination process when Danielle Takacs was acclaimed (and yes, I am a close friend of hers). I will not go through that lengthy  explanation again about the shenanigans that went on at the time, other then to say the local EDA at the time had a time frame of several months between Danielle’s initial declaration of her nomination intentions  to find other candidates and failed to do so, and wasn’t very communicative with LPCO about their search efforts.  There was (and still is) a split between those local Liberals who decided not to support Danielle because of that,  against those of us who volunteered for her and actively tried to help her win (and yes, I was heavily involved in her campaign). In general, it was the local Liberal old guard of the party against those who were new and wanted to do things differently.  If there had been no split in the local party, we might have won this riding (and despite that split, we had tremendous vote increases here against a popular CPC incumbent and a well known NDP candidate, thanks to Danielle’s hard work as well as those of her volunteers).

That has carried through to this day;  it has affected and been prominent in 4  board elections since then. There is resentment on both sides. That divisiveness will need to be at least papered over if not healed and there be a united effort in this riding to have any hope of winning 2019.  I think Heather and her team is prepared to try and work with every Liberal in this riding if they show a desire to help and forget about the past (and if they can’t, then perhaps its time for them to step aside and let others who want to get involved and do the hard work take their place).

As long as I have been in this riding and am in this riding, I will also try to help with that. I know a fair # of local Liberals who I have a difference of opinion with, yet  who I am amicable/friendly with. I try to separate the political from the personal. There are very capable people who would be of great help to the local Liberal cause if they can do the same. I hope they will.

I congratulate Heather and the new officers/directors elected to the board and I look forward to working with them to help us turn Brantford-Brant ‘red’ in 2019 with whatever candidate is eventually  chosen to represent us here. I hope local Liberals will unite and help to get those results.

 

 

 

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Combatting Discrimination/ Bias: Panel in Brantford featuring Mary Ng

If you’re in the Brantford area on Sunday Oct 15, and want to attend an interesting political and social discussion, consider coming Sunday Oct 15 to the Islamic Community Centre at 1pm to a panel discussing how to combat discrimination and implicit bias. Sponsored by the local Brantford-Brant Women’s Liberal Club, the special guest will be Mary Ng, the Liberal MP for Markham-Thornhill, as well as local panelists. All are welcome to attend. You may read more and RSVP at http://stopbias.eventbrite.ca

More information below:

YOU can make a difference!

On Sunday, October 15 2017 join us for a FREE social and community forum to learn more about this important subject and how you can make a difference. All are welcome!

Special Guest:
Mary Ng
MP for Markham-Thornhill
Former Director of Appointments for Prime Minister Trudeau
Former Executive Director to the President of Ryerson University

 

 

Oct. 15, 2017
Social 1-2 PM
Forum/Q&A 2-3:30 PM

Islamic Cultural Centre

200 Greenwich St.,
Brantford, ON

Join our special guest Mary Ng, as well as local panelists:

Alison Biro
Lawyer, Criminal and Family Law

Lauren Burrows
Education and Inclusion Coordinator, Laurier Brantford

Azra Chaudhry
YMCA Immigrant Settlement Services

Marion MacDonald
Member of the Minister’s Advisory Council for Special Education

Moderator:
Kathryn Kissinger, HR Practitioner

Discrimination and Implicit Bias
• Recognize it
• Protect Yourself
• Combat it
and find out what steps our Government is taking to combat it.

Read more and RSVP at stopbias.eventbrite.ca

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Autumn Politics -provincial and federal

It’s been a while since I posted. Consider it as me taking a summer break – just like what the politicians do :). But, with Labour Day weekend here, things should start to pick up again. That doesn’t mean nothing has happened of course. Some things that have happened and of note (to me anyhow):

– In local provincial politics news, we have a new Ontario Liberal candidate to run provincially. Ruby Toor was elected by delegates at a summer AGM to be the Ontario Liberal candidate for Brantford-Brant in next year’s provincial election. This was necessary because long-time MPP and current Speaker of the legislature Dave Levac decided not to stand for re-election. Congrats to Ruby.

– In federal politics, Andrew Scheer has decided that he needs to appeal to only his right-wing supporters. He’s appointed an MP to the Status of Women critic who gave grants to centres that fervently oppose women’s freedom of choice in the matter. He also has apparently decided to make Omar Khadr’s settlement a prime theme in QP when it comes back into session – when on that issue, most Canadians have moved on – except for Scheer’s right wing and far right wing base.

Stay with that recipe for the next couple of years, and I personally have little fear Andrew Sheer wins the next Canadian federal election in 2019 when he’s primarily appealing to people already in his corner.

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The Khadr file – justice finally served

As a long time follower of this case and someone who decried a couple of different Canadian governments refusing to speak up about the farce taking place at Guanatanamo Bay masquerading as actual legal proceedings, and ignoring both the Charte and international treaties with regards to child soldiers, I’m pleased to see the Trudeau government has finally addressed the 2 Supreme Court rulings and the violation of Charter Rights and righted a very serious wrong with Omar Khadr by settling out of court with him and issuing an apology (and this wasn’t some “secret deal” as gone but not lamented Stephen Harper charged – it was court-mediated.. and how many court-mediated settlements do you see publicized beforehand in the media?)

TO address the charge he was a “convicted terrorist” and we shouldnt have settled (never mind the court cases stating otherwise, I’ll just quote what a commentator put on former Liberal staffer’s Jamie Carroll’s comment board from his column in Ipolitics:

Let’s put the obvious on record here. Had Khadr actually committed the crimes he’s been accused of, the United States would have laid charges in a competent, independent court; presented physical evidence and witnesses; allowed a Khadr a proper defense, and awaited the verdict of an independent judge.

That’s not what happened. Khadr was ‘tried’ before a ‘kangaroo’ military tribunal where no physical evidence was presented, exculpatory evidence was suppressed, and the defense was prevented from defending Khadr properly. When that failed, torture and intimidation were used to extract a ‘confession.’ If Khadr was actually guilty of anything, none of that would have been necessary.

Lastly, when Christopher Speer was killed by a grenade, Khadr was badly wounded and buried under rubble. When he was found, the first thing the marines did was shoot him in the back (a war crime). Only when it was obvious he was still alive, and there were witnesses, were efforts made to save his life.

Hate Khadr if you will, but please don’t rationalize that hate by trafficking in lies and misleading statements about his supposed crimes.

Facts and rule of law won’t stop the Conservatives of course from trying to milk the outrage machine. Andrew Scheer has led the way in showing himself neither to care about the constitution and international law nor being anything other then a smiling version of Harper.

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The Political BBQ Season begins

Parliament is now in summer recess.. so MP’s will be able to go home for awhile and spend time with their families and constituents.. kissing babies, going to BBQ’s and so forth.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be any political activity. It is a fascinating bit of political theatre going on out in BC, where the Christy Clark “Liberal” government (quotes added for emphasis – they’re borrowing that title as far as I’m concerned, and have for a few years now) has apparently decided to promise everything they were decrying the NDP of promising a few short weeks ago.. strange how that works, when your government is on life support. The political gamesmanship over who will be Speaker after their Throne Speech is defeated and the government brought down on a confidence motion (assuming the Lieutenant Governor doesn’t ignore the NDP/Greens political accord and go back to the polls) will no doubt continue.

It will be interesting to watch new Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer. He’s doing a road tour apparently this summer. Will someone ask him why he didn’t do more to discipline Kelly Leitch for her disgraceful remarks on refugees?

The US political landscape continues to be a daily soap opera; has a day gone by since Trumps inauguration where it was quiet? The Republicans are now in the midst of seeing how badly they can mess up health care and give their billionaire donors a break – all in the name of trying to remove President Obama’s signature health bill (which is still way far short of serving the needs of its nation’s citizens as compared to other modern industrialized countires – but was at least a start).

Locally in Brantford, we see the start of the campaign to get a provincial candidate for the Ontario election in 2018 to replace the retiring MP and current Speaker of the Ontario legislature, Dave Levac. So,that will be interesting to watch or participate in (though I’m still officially neutral at this point).

So.. plenty happenning, even if nationally, Parliament is in bit of a recess. Lastly.. I’ve been not posting here as much, as you might notice.. though I’ve been fairly active on Facebook and Twitter.. tho that’s been reduced a bit too.. A lot of that is personal things going on, but I’ll strive to post a bit more on this medium, as blogs are a good way to expand on Twitter 140 characters or re-post thoughts on Facebook. I haven’t gone away.. just on a vacation.. but I’ll be looking to get back into the more public flow of things.

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