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Archive for July, 2008

On Privacy

The people who are the guardians of our rights, and the people who are able to pass laws that limit those rights, are politicians. They, however, live in the public sphere.

If you have no idea what something is, how can you possibly protect it? Perhaps I am strange in the political breed, but I have, in my mind, less of a conception of the need of privacy then some others. As someone who has, albeit to a small extent, lived his life in a (small) public sphere, I know that, in terms of electability, there is no greater liability then nobody knowing who you are, or the wrong information getting out at the wrong time, leading me to be more open, or at the very least, more willing to be more open, than others.

In a world where the emails of politicians are subject to investigation by anyone who has the money to pay for a FOIP, where every detail of the life of a candidate is scrutinized and analyzed, how can they understand what it is like to want to protect your personal information. When polititians are forced into a world that treats privacy as a liability and a detriment to winning, any politician will leanr to live with a much smaller private sphere than others.

People need reminding that their rights cannot be taken for granted, particularly those rights that the lawmakers choose to waive for themselves. Remember to defend privacy by raising it with political types – in twenty years, when our own lives are an open book, we can be reminded that this is a defining issue of national importance, even if they cant understand it themselves. Put votes behind it, because even if politicians don’t get privacy, they do get ‘winning’.

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Goodbye Alexa

Note: I wrote this a while ago, and never got around to posting it. I did, however, want to pay my own brand of tribute to someone without whom I would not be involved in politics, so I’m posting it now.

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Monday was a bit of a bittersweet day for me, because Alexa McDonnough, the MP from Halifax and former leader of the New Democrats, has announced that she is stepping down from the federal political stage. For ages, she has represented the people of halifax in bth a provinail and federal capacity, wtwide as the leader of the NDP – once in Nova Scotia and once for all of Canada.

Alexa was the reason that I am involved in politics. I remember watching her at the 1997 leadership debates, and wanting to find out more. The NDP platform was very appealing, and while I have, in the ten years hence, come to my senses (I was in grade four – cut me some slack), she still has undeniably made an impact on both me personally and the nation as a whole.

Then again, Alexa was also a destructive force, most notably for my number one issue – education. When an MP who claims to be supportive of PSE initiatives stands up and opposes the Millennium Scholarship Foundation for reasons that, frankly, did not make any sense, there is a problem. Even after the Foundation was proven, over a number of years, to be the most effective way of navigating the shark infested waters of federalism and distributing monies to students, she stood in firm opposition on principle. What this principle was remains unclear to me, but to a teleologist, it boils down to opposing more money for students.

She has left indelible marks on the Canadian politician landscape, some good and some bad. Without her, I never would have taken up the cause and, oddly enough, gone on to fight against both her and her party. So, thank you Alexa. You will be missed.

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Bring it On!

I don’t know exactly how a lawsuit by the PM against Dion and others in the Liberal Party is going to play, but I have a couple of theories. I can’t really see this helping Harper – it continues to bring up a scandal that does no good for the CPC, and has zero loss for the Liberals.

Donna Cadman seems to have walked right into the Conservative Party and blown herself up – I suppose the people that should be most happy about that are the NDP, who are now practically guaranteed to hold on to the Surrey North riding, barring something incredible, such as, I don’t know, the Second Coming. (Although why this would make the NDP loose is beyond me – perhaps the whole election would be called off?) What gets me most about the CadScam affair is that it shows a total disrespect for the principles of accountability that Harper preached in the last election. They have misrepresented the truth in declaring that the tape was doctored, and have generally acted in bad faith.

Bring it on is all I can say. Show people that when the going gets tough, the Conservatives will turn to scare tactics and intimidation. Show that the Conservatives have no plan, and are content to take swipes from the government benches. Show them that the Conservatives should be put back in Opposition.

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