Climate Change, Government of Canada

11 months in office and there’s been no action from Ambrose and the Harperites on the issue of Climate Change.


The Clean Air Act was a waste of our tax money, unless the parties in Opposition can do something with it. Ambrose must be listening closely to what her family’s big oil and big ass big gas friends said as she formulated the death of our children’s future.

Thanks to where’d that bug go? for the lead.


E. May Back-peddling

Elizabeth May does not *get* it! She’s blown it for the Greens!

I am one who worked towards women’s reproductive freedom in the 80’s. I rejoiced in Justice Bertha Wilson’s words in the Supreme Court decision that overturned the Criminal Code of Canada restrictions on abortion in 1988. I am greatly disheartened that May and the Green Party of Canada have re-opened this issue. Though they spout a (weak) pro-choice policy, they — and May, in particular — appear to have no respect for my right to control my body.
Furthermore, try as she might to do otherwise in in her response to Rebick, May makes a religious argument, not a moral one. And Canada, thank goodness, has managed to keep the Church and the State separate. Shouldn’t we try to keep it that way?

I have to wonder if the socially conservative will ever find peace. Is it not clear that so long as we have a society where children are considered a liability, where women are abused and mistreated simply because they are women, where the wages for parking lot attendants are more than childcare workers, where isms abound, there can be no discussion around abortion?
May’s talk to the Catholic nuns, it seems to me, was nothing more than politicking, vote-grabbing. Now she’s back-peddling. And, by recording her talk and broadcasting it, the Green Party of Canada has opened their doors to social Conservatives looking for a new home. Even more politicking and vote-grabbing. And, as always, it’s on the backs of women, at the expense of hard-won women’s rights.
I am appalled, not only with May, but also with myself, for thinking that she could make a difference for women in Canada, for thinking I could support the Green Party of Canada. Hah! It’s just more of the same-old, same-old.

Well, until you turn to the provincial Greens where the Leader, Sandra Finley, is a pro-choice feminist, no ifs, ands, buts, or maybes about it.

Present to U of R: President Resigns

The President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Regina today delivered a fine gift to students and staff. Dr. Robert E. Hawkins resigned! Faculty and students at the U of R had been mumbling for several months about the severe right turn the Administration had taken since Hawkins arrival. The rumour mill was ripe with talk of no research money, no way meaning that unless a program was revenue-generating, then it was on the chopping block. That might be good news for Admin and Engineering, but in a liberal arts institution, well, it’s ludicrous!

Release: December 21, 2006
Contact: Stephen King, External Relations
: (306) 585.5632
Mobile: (306) 536.4312
: (306) 585.4997

Leadership change at the University of Regina
Dr. Robert E. Hawkins today announced that he has resigned from the position of president and vice-chancellor of the University of Regina effective immediately.

Hawkins said, “In view of differences of opinion on management philosophy and other issues, I have decided to resign as president of the University. I remain a professor at the University and look forward to serving the University and its students in that capacity in the future.”

“The Board of Governors appreciates the keen interest that Dr. Hawkins has shown in his emphasis on providing a quality student experience and his drive to develop programs that will appeal to the students we need to recruit,” said chair of the University’s Board of Governors, Mo Bundon. “We need to be onside with each other, and we have agreed that a change is an appropriate move.”

Appropriate, indeed. Teaching staff at the U of R are among the lowest paid in the country. And Hawkins’ plans didn’t seem to do much about it. Now, with his hasty departure back to teaching, I suspect that more than a few faculty, staff, and students at the U of R will share celebratory drinks this holiday season.

CWB: Response from MP

I emailed my MP, Dave Batters, regarding my concerns about democracy for farmers within the Canadian Wheat Board — this was before Minister Strahl fired the CEO, Adrian Measner.  The arrogance of these men and women irks me to no end!  They act as if they have formed a majority government, with no respect for democracy or democratic processes.  They’re fascists!

What follows is the response I received from Batters:

Thank you for contacting my office regarding the Canadian Wheat Board.  

As you are aware, on January 23, 2006, Canadians voted for change.  The
Conservative Party campaigned on the promise of marketing choice for
western Canadian wheat and barley producers.  The Honourable Chuck
Strahl, Minister of Agriculture, has released the findings and
recommendations of a Task Force on implementing marketing choice.

The Task Force recommends a four-stage transition from a Canadian Wheat
Board (CWB) with monopoly powers, to a marketing choice environment
which includes: 
*	preparing for change;
*	forming the new CWB;
*	launching the new CWB with transition measures; and
*	post transition.

The Task Force concluded that a new CWB, owned by farmers, could thrive
and create value without monopoly selling powers.  Please be assured
that our government is carefully examining the Task Force's findings and
is listening to what western Canadian grain farmers have to say about
the ideas put forward in the report.

Our Conservative government is committed to delivering a plan which
offers Western farmers marketing choice and a strong, viable, and
voluntary farmer-owned Canadian Wheat Board that works for everyone.

Minister Strahl has announced the federal government's intention to hold
a plebiscite in the New Year on the issue of marketing choice for
western Canadian barley producers.  This plebiscite demonstrates that we
are listening to the opinions of farmers on this important issue.

Western Canadian wheat and barley farmers produce a world-class product
and our Conservative government sees a bright future for producers with
a voluntary Wheat Board.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this issue with me.  As your
Member of Parliament, it is important for me to hear the views of my


Dave Batters
Member of Parliament - Palliser 
Moose Jaw:   (306) 691-3577       Toll-free:  1-866-691-3577
Regina:         (306) 790-4646       e-mail: 
Ottawa:        (613) 992-9115

A Poem for the Winter Solstice

As we move into the winter, Politics’n’Poetry wishes you light and love.

This Holy Space


In ruffles as supple as satin, a small space hangs,
suspended mid-air in the middle of the room. Unbelievably real,
this curiousity of curves perplexes, beckons, teases
her consciousness, presenting only when her mind is calm,
when she is prepared, only when she knows the window
beyond the folds of here-and-now hides behind,
only when her focus is just so, her body
nothing more than cells curving into the fabric.

Only then can she draw back the curtain,
open herself to the bright light beyond the ruff.
She gathers courage, wraps it ‘round her
like a shawl, and steps through. Her feet,
first one, then the other, tingle with a pulse
that moves up into her calves where it thickens,
rises to her thighs, then up to her Yoni centre
and through and up again to that place of individuation,
climbing still upward to the beat of her aching heart,
and up through the breath of her love and up again
through the power of voice and higher still
through wisdom and thought and finally
up and out through the crown of glory shimmering
around and down in a shower of light and colour.

Oh, she is whole!
Oh, she is beginning!


— Solstice, 2006


Orgasm for Peace

Yes, the day is fast approaching when we are all asked to send the good energy of orgasm out into the world!  Tomorrow, December 22, is Global Orgasm Day!  They have a blog, too. Now, before you go thinking this is a bunch of hokey, well, think about it.  I mean, even if you don’t believe it will change anything, it’ll be fun, right?  Enjoy!

The Event

WHO? All Men and Women, you and everyone you know.

WHERE? Everywhere in the world, but especially in countries with weapons of mass destruction.

WHEN? Winter Solstice Day – Friday, December 22nd, at the time of your choosing, in the place of your choosing and with as much privacy as you choose.

WHY? To effect positive change in the energy field of the Earth through input of the largest possible surge of human energy a Synchronized Global Orgasm.

Why Canada Needs the NDP

First, the comments that follow are focused on the federal wing of the New Democratic Party.  The federal and provincial wings are two very different kettles of fish!

Second, I’ve tried to stay out of the flak going on in the blogosphere and in the media about the NDP.  The party, like all organizations of human beings, has issues.  And, truth be told, I have serious concerns about the strategies, communications policy and messaging of the NDP since before the last election.  It’s as though the inner circle has lost touch with the grassroots — not the Party’s grassroots, but the grassroots from which Leader Jack Layton comes.  The sense I get is that rude children are running the show and that’s not good for the Leader, for the Party or for Canada.  I would urge Jack to ground into his roots as an activist and lead from there.

Third, in light of all this, The Jurist over at Accidental Deliberations has invited responses to Why Canada needs the NDP?  And it’s a good question, one I’ve pondered all day.  My answer for me is simple. Canada needs the NDP because it is the only federal political party that recognizes a woman’s fundamental right to reproductive choice.  Not only that, it will insist that all New Democratic Members of Parliament toe the line when the issue is addressed by the House of Commons.

Suffice it to say that Canada needs the NDP because Canadian women can count on the NDP to stand up and be counted when it matters.

We’re losing our right to choose!

In New Brunswick, the hard-won struggle for women’s choice in the matter of reproduction is sliding. The government there has recriminalized abortion through the back door by using the Medical Services Payment Act to restrict funding.  Which province is next?


December 20, 2006
Access to abortion in the province has become critically limited, according

to a group of women concerned with the issue, including the Advisory Council

on the Status of Women, the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada and the

National Abortion Federation.

"For the last couple of weeks, referrals for abortions in the province have

not been possible. No referrals are accepted until mid January by the two

physicians who provide the service, and the provincial government is not

providing alternate arrangements," said Ginette Petitpas-Taylor, Chairperson

of the New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women.  " There have

been several cases of appointments cancelled. These women are not then

referred to any other service. Women are not being referred to hospitals

outside the province.  New Brunswick does not have reciprocal billing

arrangements.  Those who can pay make their way to the Morgentaler clinic.

That clinic is struggling to keep up with a 25% increase in procedures."

"Last week I had yet another patient turned away," said Dr. JoAnn Majerovich

of Fredericton. "She actually was given an appointment to have the procedure

done and then the hospital cancelled on her. The government is adding

psychological insult to injury by creating a climate of fear and shame

around a legal procedure. The government of New Brunswick has recriminalized

abortion through the back door by using the Medical Services Payment Act to

restrict funding through situations it can control, like hospitals,

ultimately limiting access to abortion. In doing so New Brunswick is

discriminating against women and especially those who are the most


According to Ginette Petitipas-Taylor, "Access to abortion should not depend

on the schedules of two physicians. It must be a service provided by the

public health system.  The government must create access points for women

who have no family doctor, who have an anti-choice doctor or who are faced

with impossible waiting times for a hospital abortion. As a nurse has

written to us, Requiring written consent, especially when so many people do

not have a family physician, restricts access for the most vulnerable, the

young and the isolated - the very same women who are the least able to cope

with an unintended pregnancy and an unplanned child. The written approval of

two doctors should not be required to have the procedure and general

practitioners should be allowed to perform abortions in the public system."

"New Brunswick does little to prevent unwanted pregnancies, and then we make

abortion only available to a few.  The Advisory Council promotes a planned

pregnancy initiative."

For information, contact:

Ginette Petitpas-Taylor, Chairperson, NB ACSW, 1-800-332-3087.

Judy Burwell, Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, 506 490-9049.

Dr. JoAnn Majerovich, 453-4837; 455-8806.

Dawn Fowler, National Abortion Federation, (250) 598-1858.

Rebick withdraws support for May

Judy Rebick, the former publisher of, a former President of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, and the current Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy at Ryerson University, in an open letter to Elizabeth May has withdrawn all support for the Green Party of Canada.

I have carefully reviewed your statements on abortion and I have to say that I am sorry but I will no longer be supporting you or the Green Party in any way.

As you know I was very supportive of your running as leader of the Green Party and despite my differences with some of the platform of the Party I have up until now felt that your presence added a great deal to the federal political scene. But now you have questioned the most important victory of the women’s movement of my generation.

I have to admit that I’d not yet taken time to read May’s statements, until just now.  And I am inclined to agree with Rebick.  I was very disheartened by a large part of what May said:

I respect people who say, “I’m against abortion because there is a right to life, and the fetus is sacred.”

I respect that, because I think all life is sacred.

And I think one of the things I would like to bring to Canadian politics is to show enough respect for the other view, that we could actually have a dialogue about it. Because one of the things that is wrong about polarization is the language becomes a barrier to understanding.

So if one group of people say, “A woman has a right to choose,” I get queasy, because I’m against abortion. I don’t think a woman has a frivolous right to choose.

What I don’t want is a desperate woman to die in an illegal abortion. But I also don’t think it’s right to say – Well, you see, you end up having this conflict.

What I’d like to do in politics – and I’ve talked about this in some other settings besides here today, because this is the first time it’s come up in London North Centre – what I’d like to do in politics is to be able to create the space to say, “Abortions are legal because they must be to avoid women dying. But nobody in their right mind is for abortions.”

I’ve talked women out of having abortions. I would never have an abortion myself, not in a million years. I can’t imagine the circumstances that would ever reduce me to it.

For May to suggest that a woman’s right to choose is frivolous demonstrates how little she really knows about the issue.  To suggest  an inability to imagine the circumstances that would make women choose abortion seems to indicate she has no compassion for women and girls who have been sexually assaulted and find themselves pregnant.  And, as Rebick says, it trivializes the decades of work that women have done to have the procedure legalized.

But now you have questioned the most important victory of the women’s movement of my generation.

If you had said that you personally oppose abortion but you support a woman’s right to choose, I would have been fine with that. Instead you said that a woman’s right to choose, something tens of thousands of Canadian women fought for for decades, was trivializing an important issue. It felt like a slap in the face.

Since you have so little respect for me or for the women’s movement which mobilized for so long to win this hard-earned right, I hope you will understand that I ripped up the cheque I had written to the Green Party and you can no longer rely on me for support.

I am very sorry about this Elizabeth, but I cannot attribute your comments to ignorance of the issue since you were around when the issue was being debated.

And now I have to think very carefully about where I will place my energies come the next federal election.  I was one of those tens of thousands of Canadian women Rebick mentions, who fought for decades to legalize abortion.  This casts a whole ‘nother light onto the federal scene.

Thanks, Judy, for making me think again.

And again.

SK NDP & the Big U

That’d be Uranium, not University.  I’ll bet the SK NDP government expects SK taxpayers to be happy with this Globe & Mail report:

A surefire way for mining companies to attract attention and raise cash lately is by being linked to the radioactive metal used to fuel nuclear reactors.

Spot uranium prices have doubled this year, touching $72 (U.S.) a pound this week on speculation of supply shortages when and if new nuclear plants get built as part of what has been dubbed the “nuclear renaissance.”

Investors have responded by throwing cash at anything and everything associated with uranium.

I’ll bet the NDP Old Boys Club (OBC) at the Ledge, will spew on about the increases to the Province’s revenues.  And that’s a good thing, they’ll say.  They’ll say that money will trickle down to the masses through increased spending on health, education, and social programs.  And that’s a good thing, they’ll say.

It doesn’t matter, apparently, that uranium leaves devastation in its wake.  Or that SK uranium continues to kill and maim in the Middle East, that the connection between SK uranium and the military industrial complex exists despite treaties.  Or that there’s no safe place to store the dangerous waste it creates.  Or that there are repeated reports of the ongoing harm it causes plants, animals, water, and people.

The OBC’ll say, Talk to the hand ‘cos the face don’t wanna hear it no more!  Or something like that.

Is it that they’re unclear on the idea that deriving revenue from something that causes such great harm is immoral?  Doesn’t the OBC get that?  Prebble doesn’t count; he’s not a member of the OBC.

The grassroots gets it.  The Party doesn’t.  And Prebble is leaving politics to work with the grassroots he never abandoned.  He seems the only one who knows that it is the grassroots in this province that makes it or breaks it for the NDP.  Watch the provincial Greens make strides in the next provincial election.  A few visits from Elizabeth May will ensure that those who truly care about the environment will vote Green.

Sad to say, but, in its home province, the only hope for the NDP is an upsurge in support for the Liberals at the expense of the Sask Party.  Unless the government introduces proportional representation.  And the chances of either are slim to nil.

With thanks to Jeremy at While the Earth Burns for the lead.