Saturday, 25 June 2011

An Open Letter to the Conservatives Harshing My Mellow on Twitter

Dear Conservative Twits:

While I appreciate your need to defend the indefensible and the right to be wrong about the Right, insults and bitter retorts will not improve your credibility.  Just trying to help you out.

Experience and reason DO change people's minds and I can prove it:

I used to be an extreme right-wing Libertarian.  Oh, yes, I did.

I resented being forced to pay union dues.  I resented seniority.  I supported an unfettered free market.  I liked big business and small government because I believed that in the pursuit of profit, it made sense for business to do the right thing; government, on the other hand, was led by a desire to be re-elected to continue to feed at the trough.

One day I woke to realise I was wrong.  My skills were appreciated but my abilities were being exploited.  My boss loved that I worked unpaid overtime, took on duties way beyond my classification and ignored my rights under the collective agreement, but I received nothing in return, not even a little consideration when I suffered a serious medical emergency and had to take a short leave.

I started to do a little research into unions - their histories, their fights that led to benefits enjoyed by people all over the world whether they were union members or not.  Unions led the fight for human rights.  Business did not award legislated rights such as safe working conditions, hours of work, pensions, benefits, parental leaves, etc. out of the goodness of their hearts in the interest of providing a better work life for employes - unions fought hard for all this and more.

And they continue to do so.

No one likes to admit they were wrong.  I am especially inept at this, having had so few opportunities to do so. 


However, in the face of over-whelming evidence, I had to cross the House on a personal level and shift my internal paradigm.

Finally, as a Christian who believes two commandments cover all God's Law -- Love God with all your heart and soul; Love your neighbour as yourself -- I had to conclude that an unfettered free market was not particularly loving to most citizens.  Either my personal political beliefs had to change or my spirituality had to; I couldn't retain both.

I chose my political leanings after a great deal of experience and research. I hope you did, too.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Thoughts on a Filibuster

Can I get a "WOW"? Just look at all those women! I couldn't stop grinning as woman after woman after woman rose and spoke. What happened to all the arrogant white dudes?  Oh, they're posturing and questioning.  I guess someone noticed as the past few questions have been lobbed by female CPC MPs.

Aside from the feeling that I might watch CPAC more often now, and that it was rotten to schedule this vote on St. Jean Baptiste Day, here are some random thoughts:

1. The Conservatives keep stating they represent the majority of Canadians and they have the right to send postal workers back to work, so they will.  However, just because you have the right to do something doesn't mean it is the right thing to do.

2.  MP Hoeppner stated 70 percent of Canadians want their mail.  Well, 100 percent of Canadians would like to retire with dignity.  One of the many things CUPW is fighting for is a fair pension for its current and future members.  Whether the majority of Canadians know it or not, they want exactly what CUPW is fighting for.

3.  PM Harper prorogued parliament twice, shutting down the entire federal government for months and forcing dozen of bills before the House to start from scratch.  On purpose.  Not once, but twice.  The first was from December 4, 2008 to January 26, 2009.  The second from December 30, 2009 to March 3, 2010.  This is considerably longer than the Canada Post lock-out, which is on Day 22 and has prompted Bill C-6 to force the postal workers back to the work they didn't walk away from voluntarily.  I would have to conclude Harper believes Canada Post is more vital to our country than the federal government.  Considering the priorities of the majority Conservatives, I'd have to agree with him.

4.  A number of Conservative MPs have read emails from small business people saying how much they needed Canada Post services.  One even said she didn't want to pay Fed Ex rates.  Will that convince the Conservatives not to privatise Canada Post services?  Don't be silly.

5.  The NDP Official Opposition was accused of holding Parliament hostage with the filibuster.  They were called "Pirates." Well, whatever you want to call it, I look forward to the Hansard transcriptions which will be on the public record.  Forever.  For future generations of workers, it will be clear who was responsible for eroding their rights.
6.  A number of NDP MPs shared valuable stories of the dedication of CUPW members.  Did you know many volunteered to ensure the delivery of CPP, Old Age Security, Veterans' Affairs and Canada Tax Benefit cheques, Quebec's Child Assistance, Pension and Income Security cheques as well as Alberta Pension cheques?  If it didn't affect you, you may have missed this display of CUPW's desire to go above and beyond in the service of the people of Canada.  Remember this the next time someone tells you unions are concerned only with their bottom line.  Plus, CUPW workers left the line to find a variety of live shipments -- including queen bees which, apparently, private delivery services will not handle; another reason NOT to privatise Canada Post!

7.  Harper's Conservatives toe the line.  His line.  It isn't a surprise, of course, but I am always disappointed when people elected to serve the best interests of their constituents choose to serve their Party instead.  I'm naive that way.  CUPW had engaged in rotating strikes which disrupted, but did not halt, mail service.  Canada Post responded by locking them out.  Harper responded by forcing them back to work at a lower rate than the last wage offer from Canada Post at the Bargaining Table.  Shame.

If Harper's goal was simply to return our Posties to work and get the mail moving again, he could have introduced a bill that forced Canada Post to unlock the doors and get back to the Table.  He didn't because it wasn't.  His goal was to make it clear he is in charge and, by golly, things are gonna get ugly every time someone forgets it.

As the clock counts down to the C-6 vote call, I know how it's going to end.  We all do.

But I have to send my appreciation to the federal NDP MPs who spoke so long and so well for working people.  I am grateful for their strong presence in the House of Commons.  Do do that voodoo that you do so well!

I also send my appreciation to my brothers and sisters in CUPW for your brave efforts to stand firm for all Canadian workers.