Category Archives: Politics

Could I Join the Conservative Party?

I have never voted for a Conservative party candidate in my life. My world view, social sensibilities and faith stance are more in line with the policies of other political parties.  However a political candidate campaigning at my door this week made think about  joining the Conservative Party even if only for a short time. 

I live in Point Douglas, a provincial riding that will hold a by-election in the near future due to the resignation of our MLA Kevin Chief.

Jodi Moskal is running for the Conservative nomination for Point Douglas and I have to say she has an impressive resume. A licensed electrician, who helped to run a family business, she has served as chair of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce and a board member of the Winnipeg Construction Association.

When Jodi came to my door to campaign this week I had a good discussion with her about my concerns and questions regarding some of the current Conservative government’s policies and plans. I also talked to her about issues in our riding that are important to me. Jodi was a good listener, knowledgeable and open- minded.

I told Jodi I applauded her for running for the nomination. Deciding to open yourself to the kind of public scrutiny and criticism politicians face can’t be easy. I really wanted to support Jodi because we definitely need more qualified women in politics and I think its great she is taking on the challenge. I could almost see myself joining the Conservatives briefly just to help Jodi get nominated.

Unfortunately her party is not one I can support ideologically. I have however started following her on social media. I’ll be curious to see how she does. Kudos to her for entering the political arena!jodi moskal

 Other posts………

There are People in Provencher Who Aren’t Unsavory and Ignorant

Giving Up Donald Trump For Lent

I’m So Tired of You America

 

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There are People in Provencher Who Aren’t Hateful, Unsavory and Ignorant

The people in the political riding of Provencher  are “hateful, unsavory and ignorant!”  That’s what you might think if you read the second page feature in Tuesday’s Metro newspaper.  I had a copy of the Metro handed to me as I boarded the bus early Tuesday morning. I opened it up and read the piece during my transit ride.  I found the article unsettling. It describes a video posted by Provencher member of Parliament Ted Falk on his Facebook page.  In the video Mr. Falk suggests refugees who cross the border into Canada at Emerson are taking advantage of kind-hearted Canadians. Falk calls on the Liberal government to make their stance on the issue clear.

I had watched Mr. Falk’s video prior to reading the Metro story. I thought there would have been better ways to address the concerns of his Provencher constituents in Emerson.   I wished Mr. Falk had adopted a more welcoming and open-minded tone. While expressing his opinion that additional information and a clear policy from the federal government was required in the Emerson situation, he could have also talked about the many concrete ways we can all provide practical assistance to people from war-torn countries. Mr. Falk could have reminded his constituents  that at one time most of their families had been refugees too.

The Metro writer says hundreds of people have written accolades about Mr. Falk’s video on his Facebook page and that is true. I scrolled through the nearly four hundred responses and many are written in a fairly reasonable tone. There are some that remind Mr. Falk he needs to be more compassionate. They speculate as to how Jesus might have acted towards ‘the least among us’  who are crossing the border at Emerson. There are also some comments that say very disrespectful and unkind things about Muslims, the prime minster and refugees in general. I agree with the Metro writer that having provided a platform for these kinds of comments Mr. Falk might respond to them in some way. He could  delete or moderate inappropriate comments and remind his Facebook followers that informed, rational dialogue is the path to understanding.

One line in the Metro piece stood out for me. “Sadly, Falk’s views are in tune with those held by many of his constituents.”  That line makes it seem like the people in Provencher don’t care about refugees or their plight. I know that isn’t true. To balance their reporting on the Falk video the Metro might also have published a photo of the huge sign outside Grace Mennonite Church in Steinbach that  welcomes all people as neighbours in both Arabic and English.  They might have reported on the refugee families that are currently being sponsored by groups in southeastern Manitoba or have been sponsored in the past.  I personally know of many such stories.

Last summer in the coverage leading up to the Pride Parade in Steinbach the media largely ignored the efforts of the people in southeastern Manitoba who have welcomed their LGBTQ neighbours for years and worked hard to make their communities more accepting. Instead they chose to focus on the less supportive comments and actions of local political leaders. Now they are doing the same thing with the refugee situation. 

I lived in Mr. Falk’s riding for some four decades. I know it is home to many people who are open-minded, welcoming, well-informed, thoughtful and compassionate. They need to be featured in media reports about Provencher as well in order to provide more  balanced coverage.

Other posts…….

Pride in Steinbach isn’t Something  New

Thoughts on Refugees

My Former Church and the Pope

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Filed under Media, Politics

Giving Up Donald Trump

I need to stop ‘googling’ Donald Trump. I admit I do it several times a day. I am so worried about the changes his government might make to our world that I can’t help myself. But it really isn’t healthy. I can find out enough about what he is doing just from reading the Winnipeg Free Press and listening to the CBC. These are media habits that are part of my regular routine. There is no reason to look for more information. I admit I sometimes even watch Fox news on my computer and read more conservative newspapers because they seem to normalize Trump’s character and the things his government will do to destroy the environment, cause global instability and further hurt the disenfranchised. If these news sources aren’t terrified maybe I shouldn’t be either.

But it would be healthier just to stop looking for so much information. It is taking up too much of my time and worrying about what Trump can and might do is taking up too much of my energy. I could use that time and energy to focus on things I can do to make the world a more compassionate and caring place. I am going to stop ‘googling’ Donald Trump and I will not click on articles about him on my Facebook page. There! Telling you about my resolution makes it a little more likely I will carry it out.

Other posts…….

The Trump Silver Lining

Three Lessons From the Movie Arrival

Sunset Walk in America the Beautiful

 

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The Trump Silver Lining

When Donald Trump won the election my husband commented that his presidency might have a silver lining . It would inspire people to get more politically involved.  He could be right. I have already noticed on my Facebook feed how many of my friends are taking political actions they say are relatively new experiences for them.

“I don’t normally write political posts but”………  An elementary school teacher in a southern American city was upset such an unqualified person had been named Education Secretary of the United States. It prompted her to call her elected representatives in the senate to express her strong objections to the appointment. 

“I believe a Muslim ban is contrary to God’s heart and purpose”….A former student who works in one of America’s largest cities went down to the airport to protest when people impacted by the travel ban were not being allowed to leave the terminal. I told her I was proud of her. 

“This gal hasn’t marched since the 70’s”- A friend who participated in the Women’s March on January 21 with her daughter remarked the last thing she had protested had been the Vietnam War.

“It can’t hurt and might impact the trend towards Trump’s kind of bullying” – A friend on the east coast signed a letter to Donald Trump from the world. The petition asks Trump to take a stand for compassion rather than fear.  It already has some 5 million signatures. 

“It was less scary than I thought it would be”…….. A writer in the American midwest whose grandparents were put in a Japanese internment camp during World War II called her political representatives for the first time ever to express her concern about President Tump’s executive order on refugees.

Those are just a few examples of people who are stepping up to the plate of political involvement even if they may not have done so before.  It could be that my husband was right about Trump’s win having a silver lining.

Other posts……. 

House of Cards

Freedom’s Child

Vote Nation

 

 

 

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Filed under History, Politics

Standing Up For Children

children of war pixabay no copyrightChildren do not choose to be refugees or immigrants. They accompany their families seeking shelter, freedom from persecution, and opportunities to contribute to society. Before leaving their home country, many children and their families experience violence, hunger, separation and other atrocities that may have long-lasting effects on their health and development. Children must be offered protection, care and support to live healthy, meaningful lives.

That’s the first paragraph in a very timely and important statement issued on Monday by the Canadian Paediatric Society. I am proud to say my daughter-in-law serves on their Board of Directors. The stand these Canadian doctors have taken is admirable. In light of the American president’s recent executive order they are calling on the Canadian government to………

  • Increase the number of refugees who will be accepted to Canada in 2017.
  • Increase the number of privately-sponsored refugees from Iraq and Syria who can come to Canada in 2017.
  • Continue to ensure that Canadians with dual citizenship from one of the seven countries affected by the U.S. ban are able to cross the U.S. border with a valid Canadian passport.
  • Suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States, so that refugees refused entry into the United States can come to Canada.
  • Lead a global response to refugee resettlement.      

You can read the entire statement here. 

Other posts……

Thoughts on Refugees

Supporting Refugees

Brave Shepherds

 

                                                                                       

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Filed under Canada, Childhood, Politics

Why Did They Vote For Donald Trump?

surface-coal-mining-public-domainDid you know that in areas of the United States where coal mining is, or has been, a major industry, people voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump?  I learned this while listening to a program on National Public Radio as we traveled to Arizona.  It surprised me because we had just finished the audio book Gray Mountain by John Grisham which describes how coal mining has damaged the environment and has created many long-term public health problems including all kinds of cancers.  Since Donald Trump showed no particular concern for the environment during his campaign and wants to repeal the legislation offering affordable medical care why would coal miners vote for him? 

It is because he has promised to revitalize the fossil fuel industry. To people who have been thrown out of work because of the development of alternatives to coal energy, that promise trumped any concern they might have for the environment or even their own health and that of their families.  Unemployed coal miners need jobs and they think Donald Trump will provide them.  The novel Gray Mountain portrays the problems that have come along with unemployment in the coal industry.  These include an increase in drug addiction, alcoholism, domestic abuse and suicide.  coal-miners-public-domainOn the NPR program one unemployed woman who’d had a career in the coal industry, said she had always voted Democrat and she didn’t like Donald Trump or much of what he stood for, but she had voted for him anyway because he seemed to be her only hope of finding employment again. 

Other posts………

Gray Mountain

Thanks For Visiting President Obama

I Am Freedom’s Child

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Filed under Arizona, Politics

Things That Were a Balm to My Soul Yesterday

autumn colors in Winnipeg's Exchange DistrictThe lady in a sari I sat beside on the bus. We smiled at each other and chatted pleasantly about the beautiful weather we are having. 

Having lunch with a student of mine who is passionate about being a role model and making a difference in the suburban school where she has been placed as a student teacher.  She is the only non-Caucasian in her classroom and staffroom. 

All the amazing unique work by talented Inuit artists I studied at the gallery as I prepared for an upcoming tour.

The Facebook post of an American friend who reported that after crying with a vengeance while Hillary made her concession speech she took her daughter to the art gallery so they could sit quietly in front of a Jackson Pollock painting together.

My American colleague who told me she is very happy to be taking her Canadian citizenship test today.

The toddler of African descent and the toddler of Chinese descent I watched playing together in the waiting room before my doctor’s appointment.

My American cousin who posted on Facebook what a sad day this was for her country. 

My conversation with my physician. She is from the Middle East and her family has lived under regimes much more oppressive than anything Americans might institute.

The elementary school teacher I know who posted on Instagram that she was reading her six-year olds the book It’s Okay To Be Different by Todd Parr.

I want to make a point of noticing things like this every day so I can be more hopeful about our future. 

A Little Light

 

 

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