More on the Senate

Conservative senator David Tkachuk began the Joyce Fairbairn attack last week: While on a radio program, Tkatchuk took rabidly partisan shots at a highly respected Liberal senator and revealed her personal health information with, well, a nation.

I’ve known Senator Fairbairn for a good decade now. Back when Chretien was Prime Minister I was EA to the Western Caucus chair and had the pleasure of sitting in on their meetings. She was then, and still is, unfailingly kind and polite.  Madam Fairbairn never expected special treatment, a somewhat unique trait on the Hill. Passionate about the issues, charming and very likeable, the Senate is worse off in her absence.

The attack on this senator surprised me, being that the Senate is now Conservative dominated. That’s right, without any NDP members in the Red Chamber, the Liberals and the Conservatives only battle between themselves (and a couple of Independents) – a battle that heavily leans in the Tories favour. Tkachuk took a cheap shot and with it, did tremendous damage to the Senate itself. Having now opened this discussion, let’s talk about Senate cronyism. Let’s talk about Senators who lounge on sandy beaches on the our dime. Let’s talk about the 43 senators Stephen Harper has appointed since becoming Prime Minister. 43! Close to half of the chamber Harper swore he would abolish has now been appointed by him – some of whom get to lounge in the Upper Chamber for four decades (that would be the one who called a journalist a bitch on Twitter recently).

So, yes, let’s talk about the Senate – you don’t need to knock around Fairbairn to do it.

Mayor’s niece advises women to “not dress like a whore” – UPDATED

That’s right, the Mayor’s niece, who’s also a Toronto councillor’s daughter, decided to take to Twitter to share her views on how women can avoid being raped:

“Stay alert, walk tall, carry mace, take self-defence classes & don’t dress like a whore,” Krista Ford, niece of Mayor Rob Ford, wrote on Twitter just after 6 p.m., adding “#DontBeAVictim” and “#StreetSmart.”

There are approximately a half million women and girls sexually assaulted each year in Canada. Every minute of every day a woman or girl is sexually assaulted. Every minute. To suggest that rape is caused by a woman’s wardrobe choice is beyond ignorant.

Krista has since deleted the tweet but, as she is undoubtedly aware by now, the internet is forever. Perhaps Ms. Ford should stick with lingerie football. And if she has the decency to apologize, I’ll update my post.

So, here’s her non-apology apology. Emphasis mine. Jesus. How about just saying that you’re sorry?

“I didn’t mean to cause such an alarm and I apologize if I did,” Krista Ford wrote in a statement sent to QMI Agency just before 1 p.m. “I just want women to be safe.

No, not that Akin

It’s hard to believe that there are people who still think like this. Harder still that he’s a six-term senator. But this woman is working very hard to change that.

“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” Akin said of a rape victim’s chances of becoming pregnant.

Wouldn’t it be great if the abortion debate was dominated by women? You know, the gender who can actually get pregnant as opposed to, predominantly, ignorant conservative males?

And this is just one of the reasons why Obama will win in November:


Pussy Riot

Jane alerted me to this a few minutes ago. Here’s my question: If it was suggested that a member of Pussy Riot was a Canadian permanent resident back in May, why didn’t the Canadian government get involved months ago?

Also, how come this didn’t become news months ago??

Pussy Riot story in today’s Post

Quoting yours truly and mentioning my Russian roots.

The mystery of Ms. Tolokonnikova’s potential link to Canada also comes ahead of a Toronto rally in support of the trio before an expected verdict on hooliganism charges Friday, and has sparked an online call for the Canadian government to intervene on Ms. Tolokonnikova’s behalf. That call was mounted Thursday by Lisa Kirbie, a blogger who has partnered with a Toronto band to raise money for the women’s legal defence and who once worked for former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff on Parliament Hill. She said she was sent the video, which now has more than 76,000 views on YouTube, as well as a rough translation earlier this week, though she would not disclose the source.

“We have a woman who has been held in prison for months on end, sleep deprived and denied contact with her family,” said Ms. Kirbie, whose roots can be traced back to Russia. “If this woman is a permanent resident of Canada, doesn’t the federal government have a moral obligation, if not a legal one, to find out more about what’s going on and potentially help this woman?”

The verdict is expected soon. This isn’t going to be good.

Toronto Star comes late to the party

Just after 7 am this morning, I published this about Pussy Riot’s Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, detailing how she may be a Canadian Permanent Resident. I also called upon the Government of Canada to intervene on her behalf. Shortly thereafter, Will at National Newswatch linked to my post, as did another guy you may have heard of.

Early afternoon I was contacted by a National Post journalist who I later spoke with about the story. Shortly thereafter, I updated the post to include the Yahoo! News Canada story that had a photo of Tolokonnikova’s Permanent Resident Card.

I was surprised when, late this evening, the Toronto Star published a story very similar to what was posted on my blog, and those mentioned above, without any acknowledgment of sources. Most people understand the importance of “hat tipping” when using material from other writers’ websites.

Not the Star, I guess.

Pussy Riot’s Canadian connection – UPDATED

The woman you see in the video is Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who has been jailed for many months now. Her young daughter, who hasn’t been allowed to see her mother, tells everyone that Putin has locked her mother in a cage.


The rough translation of the video’s first minute is below and it raises serious questions: Is Nadezhda Tolokonnikova a Canadian? Why won’t the Harper government step up and help her? If she’s indeed a Canadian, we need to get her home.

Yet we’ve heard nothing from the federal government. If they won’t help, will the Liberals? Will the NDP?

Our government has no other choice but to get involved. And if they refuse, we deserve to know why they are willing to allow a woman, who may be a Canadian, to languish in a Russian jail.

Will the federal government get involved? If not, why not?

Here’s Tolokonnikova’s Canadian Permanent Resident Card, courtesy of Yahoo! news. Now the Harper government has no excuses. Zero. Time for Canada to step up.

0:00 NARRATOR:  Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22 years old, permanent resident of Canada, although would not confirm that.
0:07 VOICE:  Tell me please, in 2011 you received permanent residency status in Canada.
0:12 NADEZHDA It’s not that.
0:15 VOICE Have not received?
0:17 NADEZHDA No. I have been to Canada, and I have right to do so, but I have not received permanent residency status.
0:24 VOICE How did you get to Canada?
0:26 NADEZHDA How did I get to Canada? With visa.
0:30 VOICE: No permanent residency…
0:31 NADEZHDA I don’t have any permanent residency status, I am not planning … yet … to leave Russia. I will see, yeah. So far I will be fighting.
0:43 Someone places documents in front of the camera. BG VOICE: Here is our visa.
NARRATOR: Investigator Artiom Ranchenkov is on this case.
ARTIOM: These are the documents that indicate tight relationship of one of the accused in Tolokonnikova’s case with the foreign state, the Canadian one. [She] had serious views on living not in Russia, but in other state.
NARRATOR: Let’s get back to SIZO No. 6, Lawyer’s Room. (SIZO stands for Sledstvenny Isolator, Detention area for accused, but not yet convicted.)

Would a man ever be asked this question?

I am a proud feminist. So are my friends. Occasionally, however, we hear people remark that’s there’s no longer “any need” for feminism. That we’re “equal.”

In law we are. But reality is much different.

Proof is found here. Unreal.

4 more years!

Ever since studying American political science while in university – taught by the incomparable Professor Hodge – I have remained fascinated with U.S. politics. Eighty-five more sleeps, but, hey, who’s counting?

The spin on this article interested me – that the unveiling of Paul Ryan as the VP nominee was a PR victory – but not as much as the tactics the Romney team used. The Republican presidential nominee is a devout Mormon, and a teetotaler, but yet his press aides “kept the media distracted” with booze, among other things. Stupid to brag about duping the media, in the media, however. They will not be doing the Romney/Ryan team any favours – which they will undoubtedly need – over the next few months.j

It’s an interesting read, particularly the visual you get imagining Paul Ryan skulking through the forest on his way to the rendezvous point.

Whistle blower

The Ontario Tories keep saying they want to get to the bottom of this. I’ve offered to testify but, so far, haven’t heard anything. You’d think talking to the government relations director would be a good place to start.

Click on the image below to be taken to the letter I sent to the Conservative committee chair, Norm Miller.