Tag Archives: Politics

How to Torpedo Your Chances of Getting Political Change.

A great post I saw on Facebook over my objection to a truly awful, sexist comment against one of our local female columnists was one that suggested using Clippy in Word to warn a writer:


As a politician, I deal with angry people all the time. Anger can be good. It tells you something is wrong. It gets people advocating and politically involved. It’s how you channel and work with that anger  that makes the difference.

First, do your research. Let me say that again, “Do your research.” Maybe what you are enraged about is not true. Maybe the issue is already being worked on. Maybe there are very good reasons it is not being addressed. Maybe what you want interferes with the life of everyone else. Maybe what you want is a good way to go or even necessary, but people are happy with the way things are.

What are the reasons people and politicians don’t agree with you? It’s not always obvious. For instance, cyclists ride on the sidewalk because they feel (and frankly are) unsafe on busy roads. Pedestrians dislike cyclists on the sidewalk because they feel unsafe on the sidewalk (One of my dogs was hit by a cyclist as we were walking on the sidewalk). This can come out as, all cyclists don’t obey the rules of the road.

So you have done your research and you have good reasons for your cause. Your opinion is not everyone’s opinion. You have arguments and solutions to counter why your change can’t be done. Now you are ready to figure out how to present your arguments.

We live in a democracy. Do you know how important a free press is? Look at the Arab spring. The dangers of climate change. The local Uniroyal water scandal in the 90s. All covered by the media, both social and traditional. It’s not idle chatter that people are concerned with the shrinking of the local newspapers and the loss of investigative journalism. There are reasons why journalists and bloggers are jailed and killed. They expose the truth.As the founder of the Toronto Star once said.”The role of the journalist is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”  They create discussion.

The Oxford English Dictionary says that the two swearwords that begin with a “c” and a “n”, are the most offensive at this time. You are trying to get the press onside for your issue. Swearing at a journalist, belittling them, saying negative things about them on social and other media does not help your cause.Don’t be personal, stick to your issues. Other people you want to support your cause are listening.They may belong to the racial, sexual or income group your words attack. Some of them are the people who can make your change. I’m talking about politicians.

Let me emphasis again: In a representative democracy you want to convince politicians that your cause is right. Like the media, politicians are people. We are your neighbours, your friends, family, co-workers.We pay taxes. You and your neighbours elect us. We aren’t aliens or nobility or dictators.

It does not help your cause when you swear at politicians, shout at us, call us names. Do not say that we are on the take with the other side or feeding at the trough. No matter the party or if I agree with them, almost all politicians I know at whatever level, are, yes, honest and there to help their community. Why would you do this if you are trying to get someone to support you and invest a lot of money in your cause?

In Canada, we do not have a bribery culture. It is very rare. All politicians ask for when they fund or support your cause is a handshake, an invite to your opening, a thank you, and a picture for their constituents. Yes we like positive publicity. People need to know what we are doing for us to get re-elected!

A comment on my objections stated sarcastically, “Oh dear, you have lost a politician as a (Facebook) friend”. Because, you know, elected politicians are bad.  Is that really a good thing when you want us to support your cause and listen to what you have to say?

And by the way, if you don’t like what politicians are doing, make sure you vote in the next election.










Why I’m Running for Re-election.

A constituent was worried because my press release mostly states my qualifications for my position, as most press releases do. Here is a paragraph from another blog that really hits home for why I am running.

You should run because you wish to serve your community, to provide good leadership, to plan and build for the future. You should run because you have a contribution to make, ideas to be shared, passion that won’t abate and a commitment to do the right thing no matter what. You should run if you understand that you will have to sacrifice popularity and family time, and that you will have to sometimes make decisions that benefit the community as a whole but don’t benefit you personally. You should run if you want a better future for your grandchildren, and your grandchildren’s grandchildren.

Wow.Pretty much sums up why I do what I do.

The two links below are to a couple of very good blog posts,the first of which had the above quote.




Hello On-line Voting, Good-bye Secret Ballot

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his wife Melania Trump vote at PS 59 in New YorkSo according to some, I am a Luddite because I oppose electors voting through their Smartphones or computer. Nope. I have no problem with electronic voting. My problem with on-line voting is the end of the secret ballot.

The secret ballot was first introduced in the 1850s in Australia, then spread to the United States and Canada. Before the secret ballot, voters had to declare their vote publicly. Fights broke out and voters were bribed or paid for their vote. A man might not vote for the man of his choice because his employer could know.
It is interesting that with the coming of the secret ballot, the number of people voting did drop. But for what reason?
Sasha Issenberg in the Atlantic suggests it was due to the reduced social pressure of neighbours not knowing if a person voted.Abolish the Secret Ballot

What has this to do with on-line voting?
On-line voting involves a person using a pin number to enter the voting system on-line and cast their vote. The problem is not with the security of the computer system or the Smartphone (Hello Blackberry, the secure Smartphone). It is not even that someone could gather pin numbers and vote instead of the particular voter. That could be solved with a thumbprint, face recognition, test question or other methods.
It is the simple fact that a person can look over the voter’s shoulder or at their computer screen when they are casting their vote.
This means that, for instance, in a home, all members of a family could be forced to vote and vote a certain way by the member of the family who rules it economically. (I am trying to put this in a way that is not sexist or culturally insensitive)
Voters could be gathered together by an employer or landlord or powerful politician and made to vote a certain way. The bribery and fights would return. Elections could be sold.
And yes this is also possible with mailed in ballots that are becoming popular in rural areas.
If you don’t think this could happen today, I have one word for you, Robocalls.
The only way at this time to prevent abuse of the vote is to have people go to a polling place and vote in the privacy of the voting booth.
Do we want to increase people voting at the expense of free and fair elections? I vote “No”.

Voting in Early Canada

Ignite Waterloo: Great Topics in 5 minutes

Ignite Waterloo holds presentations on any topic with 15 slides and 5 minutes. The last one was at the Children’s Museum on March 3. The next is July 7th. For more information go to www.ignitewaterloo.ca.

If you are like me, and uber busy and can’t go, videos were taken of each presentation and they are a blast.

Here a couple of them that are loosely to do with municipal affairs. They will lead you to the others, like the one about the Evolution of Sex!

How to Change a Politician’s Mind.

In a Roundabout Way

Policing in 2009

Nudging People Onto Bikes in the Age of the Automobile  Shows the Bike Couch! I rode that once in a commuter challenge!