velvetpage: (Jack Layton)
In the interests of countering all that "Mulcair will move the party to the centre!!!1!!eleventy" stuff that's all over the media, I wrote an open letter to Mr. Mulcair. I'd appreciate a signal boost, especially from those who often discuss Canadian politics. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] thebitterguy for doing so on Twitter already.

In other news: I hope Mulcair doesn't shave his beard. I like the beard.
velvetpage: (Default)
We got back to Hamilton about an hour ago.

We started the day in Nathan Phillips Square, reading the chalk tributes and adding our own. After some street meat, we made our way to Queen and University, where we hung out with the hundreds of Toronto cyclists who were preparing to join the People’s Procession as the funeral procession passed that way. There was a samba band, and people danced to it, and there were buskers on stilts wearing orange ties. Orange was everywhere - everyone had a little bit of it and about half the crowd was wearing a t-shirt or dress of it. Mine was in the form of a ribbon in my hair (it wouldn’t stay up around my arm) and my pashmina shawl that I used as protection from the sun.

The funeral procession came down Queen St. around 1:20. We added ourselves to its back end, joining a throng of humanity celebrating and mourning together. I haven’t seen the estimates of numbers, but I can tell you that David Pecaut Square (the public space outside Roy Thomson Hall) was packed full, as were the streets nearby. Thousands and thousands of people, showing admirable courtesy and common purpose. The church next door to RTH (I think it was St. Andrews Presbyterian, but don’t quote me on that) closed its doors just as we went by - it was packed to the gills.

We wove our way through the crowd as the casket was settled at the front of RTH, and eventually found ourselves on the walkway just to the west of RTH, watching on the screen directly opposite at the other side of the square.

There we settled in to work on our sunburns and watch. The sunburn part was a blazing success. winces 45 SPF sunblock, applied an hour and a half late, does not stand up to two hours of blazing sun.

I was the only person near us who understood the French bits, so I kept bursting into applause when nobody else knew what was going on.

The funeral service itself was a celebration of Jack's life. It was also an opportunity to drive home the values that Jack lived and worked for: love, hope, optimism, social democracy, civility in politics, the ability to change the world through the power of community coming together. It was a wonderful moment of community, a single afternoon when it felt like the entire city and country felt the same way. I know that’s not true and I’m not trying to speak for people, but there on the ground, that was the feeling.

I am so glad I went. I hope Jack’s life and legacy energizes Canadians to remember that what he stood for is what we want for our nation - and that the only way to get it is to get out there and work for it, for Jack and for each and every Canadian.
velvetpage: (Default)
I can't think of a better descriptor for this election night than that.

Basic breakdown of the election )
I've decided what I'm going to do.

For too long, I've been an armchair politician, willing to peddle my vote between several parties on the basis of several factors, never committing to any of them. This is very, very common on the Left in Canada, and while it has its benefits for tolerance and good feeling, in the end it loses elections and costs us a voice. I have ideas. I have things to bring to the table. But they're being heard in ways that don't affect the outcome of elections.

So tomorrow, I'm stopping by my newly-re-elected NDP MP's campaign office while they'e packing up, and joining the party formally. If possible, I'll join the provincial branch at the same time, though it may require a separate trip and fee; then I'll make myself known at my NDP MPP's office. I'm going to volunteer for the NDP for the Ontario election in the fall. I'm going to go to riding meetings and write for riding association publications between elections. I'm going to take my fairvote.ca flyers, printed by [livejournal.com profile] mrs_dm, with me. Provincially, my talking points will be slightly different from my talking points in the federal office, because the responsibilities of the two levels of government are different, but I'm no longer confining myself to slactivism on the internet.

It's time to actually make things happen.

Right now, I'm calling in sick because I've had absolutely no sleep and I'm still not asleep. I can't face trying to stay non-partisan with my students while explaining what a Harper majority means for Canada.

June 2017

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