Posts Tagged ‘NDP’

NIKIASHTON&ME

Five years ago I had the pleasure of meeting, knowing and working with Dave McPherson when he managed a campaign and pulled me in, far in, and empowered me to be a strong voice for the candidate and the party. He also knew how (so clever!) to engage my workaholic nature and get the most of my skills and talents during an election. How I miss him! davemcpherson

This year, another  election, another campaign manager of similar construction… Paul Mason, equally clever, equally progressive, equally funny AND with the same capability of getting the most from me…just when I had been somewhat disengaged from a campaign, Paul had me in that place where one is living, breathing, thinking, dreaming, working campaign 24/7. And of course, for progressive leaders (yes leaders) like these, one would work 48/7 to achieve the goal.

Now during that first campaign with Dave…one evening, staffing the office alone because Dave set hours for the office of pre-dawn to 11 PM or some such, I was surprised to receive, totally on my own, then Federal NDP leadership candidate, 29 year old Niki Ashton.  She arrived to help with our by-election and, of course, to meet the people.  Some communication failure had prevented my candidate and any “important” campaign staff from receiving her as they had with all the other leadership candidates. In fact, every leadership candidate except Thomas Mulcair had been in that campaign office! Repeat, I was alone in the office…just me. Showing not a shred of disappointment, Niki and her partner wanted to immediately get to work! We settled on some phone lists and I overheard her enthusiasm as she talked to OUR local voters. We also talked to each other, a lot… and her easy, friendly warmth truly impressed me. My disability and those issues, my issues, DAMN, forgot to chat about them; the evening ended too quickly. My thoughts were, “Not now, Niki, Canada isn’t ready, but when you run again, I will support your leadership campaign because you are AMAZING!” Of course things change, the country changes, the needs of the party change and I must be open-minded, but listening to Niki in debate last night, I have to say she is that same person, so clear, so able, so intelligent and SO PROGRESSIVE! Like the campaign managers who could get the most from me, who keep me from being swallowed by the politics of politics, Niki is that New Democrat who has distilled it all to what we need. No environment = no planet so nothing else matters – and inequality is utterly unacceptable. The calibre of the other candidates is amazing. I love them all! Jagmeet pulls community like no other. Guy is very prime ministerial, he speaks slowly and carefully and stays on message. Charlie has the history… All wonderful but Niki, you had me five years ago. Like John Horgan, you roll up your sleeves and jump in with the people. You are the people. I have no money to contribute to your campaign. I am disabled and therefore marginalized. But I have my words and I can campaign like the wind in a hurricane … with the right  (I mean totally left) leadership.

Is it wrong to say… You Go Girl!

 

Being completely open-minded is something I truly strive for, yet I struggle to keep an open mind towards the extreme authoritarian governments in power in my country and my province. In Nick Fillmore’s latest BLOG post,

Is Stephen Harper displaying
fascist-like tendencies?

he makes the case that although he doesn’t accuse Mr. Harper of being a fascist, one can easily identify elements of fascism from Harper’s actions when applying Dr. Lawrence Britt’s fourteen defining characteristics of fascism. It is compelling reading. I worry about the changes happening in a country once known for its collective social conscience.

Our province could be similarly analyzed. In a province where a campaign has been launched AGAINST opposition leader, Adrian Dix, before an election has been called; in a province where teachers enter an eleventh year with bargaining rights suppressed;  in a province where cuts to arts funding were increased (AGAIN!) and the Bible is raised in discussion by the Minister of Culture and the Arts, I begin to see fascist-like tendencies very close to home.

One can despair, shut them out or take action. Of course taking action is the obvious solution, yet that, too, can be difficult. What to do? What obstacles? What politics within the politics?

Which brings me to social conscience…

When you find someone with true social conscience with whom you can work, volunteer, collaborate…it all becomes so much easier. I found Dave McPherson. He is smart, funny, caring, dedicated, a great navigator but above all he has a true social conscience. And, he’s handling Joe Trasolini’s by-election campaign. Officially he’s the Campaign Manager, but that title seems minimal for what he does. Somehow I knew this was where I could make a difference, stop the creeping fascism, restore some balance and join a team of like-minded people. I am very impressed with the candidate and the myriad of volunteers who have arrived to make a difference.

Joe Trasolini has a public persona that one begins to identify through discussion, through the press, through living in a neighbouring municipality, but every day I like and respect Joe more and more. His values are the right values. He cares about people. He cares about getting things done.  This hard-working man has earned the respect of many, many people in the City of Port Moody. He makes himself available to anyone in the public for meetings through his open-door policy carried over from his 12 years as Mayor. He IS open-minded. He has the mindset of a person who comes to politics to make the world a better place for the many, not for the few. The environment is always in the forefront of his thinking. Scent-free office – OF COURSE. In fact, time to stop BLOGGING and get down to the office. Volunteers are welcome. The office including the phone rooms are wheelchair accessible. Come and join me. We can make a difference.

Hello, neighbours…

It is a privilege to have an opportunity to stand before you this evening, once again to offer to serve you as a Councillor in the Village of Anmore. Many of you have come to know that I am a passionate advocate…for individuals, for the environment, for sustainability, for the ARTS, for this Village and for the Tri-City region.

There is no us and them. That is an illusion. There are only people – some with a more generous spirit than others. This can be observed in small, every-day behaviours. You can see it in how they interact with a child or with nature. You can see it in the things they choose to do with their time. When you choose someone to lead your country or your province or your village, what do you want? A kind person? An honest person? A person who does not just promise to do her best but shows it every day? A person who demonstrates true kindness of spirit? A person with a strong work ethic? A person who can suspend judgment?  A person who can truly listen and does so? A person who will not be bullied? I offer you these, my good qualities – and more because I KNOW…

Such a person will bring to the COUNCIL table your interests, always. You can trust that selfishness, greed and power will not be on MY agenda.

It is certainly helpful if your leader can understand easily the workings of government, and I have studied hard over the years. Yet I put it to you: it is equally important to bring questions to the table.

The candidates here before you this evening have worked hard – to promise you the same promises I have seen on campaign literature over the last three elections. If you peruse my handouts, mail-outs and websites, you will see that financial accountability, environmental protection and community planning are important to me as well. The difference I can offer you – is my community record of committee work, consensus-building and advocacy.

I am here for you –  and I am here for Anmore. On election day, vote for ELAINE WILLIS.

 

My previous post on Monday, August 22, 2011, about Jack Layton, was written before Layton’s final letter to Canadians was released to the media. His words, and media’s response to those words, changed and softened this past week. Jack wrote:

 

My friends, love is better than anger.
Hope is better than fear.
Optimism is better than despair.
So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic.
And we’ll change the world.

 

I am currently listening to Simon Sinek‘s book entitled, Start with Why, and Jack was one of those “why” leaders, akin to Martin Luther King as discussed in Sinek’s book. The publisher writes, “Why are people loyal to some leaders, but not others? Starting with WHY works in big business and small business, in the nonprofit world and in politics. Those who start with WHY never manipulate, they inspire. And people follow them not because they have to; they follow because they want to.” (Watch and listen to Sinek –TED TALKS)

Jack Layton, an inspirational leader, began his career in politics knowing WHY, sharing WHY and explaining WHY. It was only logical that the words he left to be read after his death stopped everyone in their tracks. Those of us already on board smiled and were inspired anew. The naysayers stopped criticizing instantly. They stopped wondering aloud what would happen to the NDP party left leaderless at this critical time. Gobstopped they were. The mainstream media reports of a leaderless ship immediately ceasedwhen those words above were released. Our prime minister, after some consideration, changed his plans. Oh, Jack, you are legend already! I am so saddened by your loss but so proud that you knew just what to do, just when to do it.

As the timid worry that the party will not be strong because you are no longer here in the flesh… I will take it upon myself to remind them!

….and on FACEBOOK I wrote in response to the fear that we have no leader….for now – we will all step up – for the secret IS UNITY, the secret is that we are UNITED. His mission was accomplished in his leadership – brilliant man – one inspired, positive, charismatic leader can pull the party together for decades. We have many, great potential leaders but what they need is all of us, carrying our bit of Jack within, to stay together, to stay positive and to know that the time for social justice and ordinary people has once again come to the fore! Not maybe, but certainly!

  • 36 minutes ago · Like · 3 people

Jack Layton (1950-2011)

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was definitely shocking news. We all believed that Jack would, fighter that he is, get well and return to lead the party in the fall. He walked the walk. He made history. We loved him. And Canadians, with hope anew, embraced this straight shooter.

But I am disheartened by all the negativity on the mainstream news this morning. The predictions that with Jack’s death there will be no individual to rise to take the NDP forward. Our job is to honour Jack by keeping the momentum – by making his legacy the one of caring and strong governments at all levels ensuring that government is participatory, consensus oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective and efficient, equitable and inclusive and that the voices of the most vulnerable in society are heard in decision-making. As the mainstream media GO ON about how he can’t be replaced – we will find that little bit of JACK LAYTON in all of us and forge forward. We will not be stopped!

Jack’s favorite song – Oh, What a Feeling by Crowbar:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yay4YMyL8U0  (Canadian of course)

In death, as in life, Jack will be, must be our hero. What we do with what he has given us is now in our hands. The last election defied the predictions of mainstream media and now this legacy must do the same. Social justice, good government and the issues that matter – Jack and the federal NDP platform  listed, of course,  the environment as one of the top issues.

His plan to change this country for the better has not ended with his passing. I see it broken into millions of little pieces to be shared with all of us. Take your piece, feel that feeling, get that rush – let’s march forward without missing a step….a tiny bit of Jack’s giant heart beating inside each of us. I am saddened by his passing but strengthened by these past few months filled with Layton-ness. We will look back at this time in history when the mainstream media stopped having the power to create our reality. We will, like Jack, create our own. His guidance is not gone. It was a starting pistol!