Monday, October 5, 2015

The first leaders debate: A (biased) recap

I've just come to realize that I did not post anything after the first leaders debate, which took place in August. I mean, nobody was really thinking about the election that early, myself included. But now that the election is fast approaching, I thought I should post a little recap just in the very likely case that you missed it.

Here are some key points you should know about the first debate according to this very biased commentator:

  1. Elizabeth May effing nailed that shit. It is such a shame that she wsa not included in either of the subsequent debates, because she is such a powerful speaker and an excellent, well-reader critic of the current administration. Her rebuttals to Harper were by far the most on point of all the leaders. 
  2. Mulcair was a bit off in his description of the practicability of his plans (a problem that has since been mitigated in part by his party’s costing report). But he and May were in agreement about the absolute absurdity of lowering taxes for the biggest corporations. They also agreed that raising taxes for every day Canadians is not the solution to our immediate problems.  
  3. May was all "we're in a recession baby!" okay...maybe that didn't deserve quotes. But yes, she came right out of the gate declaring that yes, we are in a recession. We need to make sure our economy doesn’t come to a halt. 
  4. Budget balancing, May rightly pointed out, is not that important in the grand scheme of things. This year it is not pertinent to balance the budget. She was also right on top of criticizing the false budget balance of the current administration. 
  5. All party leaders were really good at focusing on Harper’s shitty record, unlike in the later debates, where Trudeau and Mulcair began scrapping with one another.
  6. May and Trudeau teamed up against Harper about his failure to address the economy, trade barriers, and the environment by partnering with the province.
  7. Harper was incredibly optimistic, in the weirdest and most groundless way possible, about the Keystone pipeline project. Silly Harper. 
  8. Not surprisingly, on the environmental issue, May was the most competent in her criticism of the Conservatives.  
  9. Harper blatantly lied about reducing greenhouse emissions during his administration. The best quote in response to this came from Trudeau who said "nobody believes you!" I sincerely hope this is true, because it is so obviously ridiculously. 
  10. Mulcair made the great point that Harper is hurting our international reputation. Its an obvious point, but he was one of the first to make it. Hurray! Also, his top quote of the night was "I believe that a clean environment and a strong economy do go hand in hand". This is something that he and May obviously agree on, and is something that the other leaders are not so ready to get behind. He also rightly pointed out the problematics of Harper's approach to indigenous peoples, and his scrapping of the environmental regulations including Navigable Waters, and Species at Risk regulations. But, he's been a little flip-floppy on his support and distrust for pipelines. So is Trudeau. May is the only consistent one on this issue. I think of the three leading party members Mulcair presented an excellent argument for objective study and transparency when it comes to developing our natural resources, even if I don't totally agree with his stance.
  11. May made a great point about why a vote for Green is not a wasted vote. She says "instead of fixation in this splitting the vote non-problem...we need to focus on the real problem which is that 40% of Canadians in the last number of elections haven't voted. Vote abandoning in my view is a much bigger problem than vote splitting". I freaking love this lady. 
  12. May also schooled Harper on ISIS. 

That's all I think you need to know. But don't take my word for it. Follow this link to watch it on youtube. 

Happy Tuesday, voting friends!



  1. I keep hearing about Harper not caring about the missing indigenous women but have never really heard what anyone expects him or anyone else that's in power to do about it?

    70% of murdered aboriginal women are killed by aboriginal men. The government already assists these communities with tax cuts, free access to education, cheaper (sometimes free) housing for bands. What else could be expected of anyone in the government to do to help? (Regardless of party) it's clear the change needs to come within their own communities because nothing that anyone in the government is doing has caused this.

    1. I think the point that aboriginal women are often killed by aboriginal men is completely irrelevant to our government's willful ignorance of issues facing aboriginal people in Canada, especially the missing and murdered aboriginal women that people often reference when talking about what a complete failure the Conservatives are in terms of human rights. The ethnicity of the perpetrators of these violent crimes is not the point...the point is the governments near complete dismissal of these acts as non-issues. You're right, something needs to change. And that starts with a government that takes seriously the rampant poverty and desperate conditions in which thousands of aboriginal people live in this country.

      As for the government "[assisting] these communities with tax cuts, free access to education, cheaper (and sometimes free" housing for bands", I sincerely hope you are not making the argument that the conservative have put forward this (very minuscule effort) and I sincerely hope that you are not arguing that Canadians do enough for the people from whom immigrants stole land, cultures, and lives without remorse. I hope you also recognize that we as immigrants ourselves profit heavily from their misfortune. What else are we to do? Perhaps we could start by honoring our treaties and offering proper healthcare (including easy access to healthcare for rural indigenous groups), proper education (that means access to education in these communities, particularly in the far north where children must leave their homes in order to go to school), and taking seriously the more than 1200 indigenous women who have been killed or reported missing in the last 35 years in Canada.

  2. You still didn't answer the question.

    Everyone is well aware of the missing aboriginal women, and we've also found that the vast majority of these deaths are attributed to other aboriginals. In 62% of the cases, aboriginal females who were victims of homicide were killed by a spouse, family member or intimate relation.The ethnicity of the perpetrators does matter, these murders aren't racially charged!

    It should also be noted that the majority of the missing women came from western provinces, Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC. All of which have proper healthcare, access to free post secondary education (many are actually paid to go to school) free housing and priority hiring for many jobs.

    You keep saying conservative but i don't care about them and don't really know why they keep getting brought into it. what do you expect ANY government to do about this?

    As for that last paragraph, i'll be the one to say it.

    Don't get me wrong, I understand that the settlers mistreated the natives when they arrived on this continent and that these people (non-native) may have been my ancestors, but I had nothing to do with these atrocities and neither did the Natives living today who benefit from this.

    1. What I think the government needs to do is to insist on investigation into these cases. It is problematic that violent crimes of this nature are rampant in the more impoverished parts of our country, particularly on reserves.

      As for your obvious misunderstanding of the education and quality of life among indigenous peoples in Canada, I don't know how to respond to you except to say that perhaps you should do some more research (and not the biased type of research that confirms your own preconceptions). Perhaps read this page to get you started:

      As for your final breaks my heart that people still hold this view, but I completely understand why you do. Plenty of people think that because we didn't "do it" we shouldn't feel responsible. But the fact is, you and I have everything to do with these atrocities, actually. We benefit from this every single day. Really? You think that the "Natives" also benefit from this? In what way? In the sense that their cultural heritage has been trashed? In the sense that they are seen as caricatures of themselves in media? In the sense that they represent a massive portion of the impoverished population in Canada? In the sense that ethnic biases prevent us from taking the disappearances and deaths of native women seriously?

      So, what should the (any) government do? You are insistent that I answer this question, even though I most certainly already have. Perhaps you are uncomfortable that I have pinned a lot of the problems facing Canada's indigenous people today on conservative governments. I should tell you that this is because we have a long history of conservative governments being dick heads to minority cultures in Canada. Again, it is a matter of doing ones research. But perhaps I should be more specific. 1) honor our treaties; 2) take seriously poverty on first nations reserves; 3) ensure clean water on reserves; 4) ensure access to quality primary and secondary education on reserves (because as you've noted, post secondary is accounted for, but without quality secondary education, post secondary is a hard target to reach for); 5) insist on investigations into missing and murdered women and not dismiss them as cultural violence...because the fact remains that the majority of violence against all women, not just indigenous women, are perpetrated by friends and family; 6) Lower restrictions on relief efforts for aboriginal communities so that help can get to where is needs to go in extreme times; 7) commit to working with indigenous governments to ensure that all the above are taken care of while maintaining cultural sensitivity and avoiding, as much as possible, paternalism.

  3. Start with the elimination of guilt. This inherited relationship is not of our making. Assimilation is not genocide; it is evolutionary, progressive, positive and a desirable outcome that creates free-thinking, life-fulfilling citizens that will venerate their culture and heritage. I propose that “The National Indian Reconciliation Conference” creates, in one year, a modern relationship of shared responsibilities. Who would not want to participate in this joyous rebirth?

  4. Historically, native Canadians have suffered and many now live in poverty and misery. But it is not racist, paternalistic or “acting from a position of privilege” to say we know how to solve these problems while preserving aboriginal culture. The solution is to do what so many other groups have done and join mainstream, multicultural Canadian society. Leave remote reserves and embrace private property and free enterprise.

  5. I think that at this point we can agree to disagree.