In Ontario, the race for Premier — the leader of that Canadian province — has been marred by something very rare: negative campaign ads, and anti-gay marginalization by Tim Hudak.Â Today’s election will tell who won and who lost, but in the end, all Ontarians lose when politics becomes this ugly. A Canadian in America, Michael Talon, explains.
While Canada has long served as an example of progress socially, both toÂ the U.S. and the world, there has been a slow, creeping yet powerful forceÂ that is moving within the borders of the “friendly and nice” country.Â Conservatism as a whole is not a concept that we as Canadians view in theÂ same right-wing rhetoric based stupidity that we often see exemplifiedÂ here in the U.S. (Michele Bachmann, the Mormon Church,the Tea Party.)
Canada’s Conservative Party — born through the amalgamation of theÂ Progressive Conservatives and the Reform Party — is one that is fiscallyÂ and governmentally conservative. Platforms have long held to reform and aÂ move to a more right of centre model that would allow continued andÂ maintained structure of a country solidly building on a foundation set outÂ in 1864 when we branched off from the British Empire and began to governÂ ourselves.
Proudly, Canadians boast that we never supported slavery and in factÂ maintained a free end destination for the Underground Railway, universalÂ healthcare, community-built free clinics and hospitals, employmentÂ and housing anti-discrimination, equality and standards that have pavedÂ the way for lesbian and gay rights bills and marriage stemming from aÂ Constitution ratified in 1982 that was to keep the federal government outÂ of the bedrooms of the nation.
Overall, as a country that receives more immigrants from varyingÂ backgrounds, including strict to extreme Christian, Muslim and otherÂ faiths and cultures, progress continues to be made. In fact, former PrimeÂ Minister Jean Chretien was proud of the work that we as a people did inÂ support of each other to include protections for all in each step of ourÂ evolution. Allowing for same-sex marriage, for example, while at the sameÂ time protecting the sanctity of the pulpit and not forcing denominationsÂ to perform these marriages as their faith would see fit.
Both sidesÂ peacefully and equally co-existing. A shining, at least to the best of anyÂ imperfect entities ability, beacon of hope to all that we could be equalÂ and yet maintain the differences that enhance and enrich our worldÂ culture.
In the early 1990’s, the election that would see the greatest of lossesÂ for the Progressive Conservatives under the leadership of the first womanÂ Prime Minister, Kim Campbell, sweeping in a victorious Jean Chretien and theÂ Liberal Party, there was a shift that many allowed to go unnoticed in theÂ grander scheme. Campbell employed an attack ad, reminiscent of a U.S.Â election, where they played on the crooked way Chretien spoke, due toÂ Bell’s Palsy. This was the first of many influences divisive messagingÂ would begin to creep into Canadian politics, and by proxy the public’s wayÂ of reacting to situations.
As many readers know, MP Tim Hudak of the Ontario PC Party, recently sentÂ out attack ads that painted Liberal Premier McGuinty as keeping parents inÂ the dark about the true education being given to school children. WithÂ emphasis clearly on LGBT issues and the anti-discrimination measures putÂ in place for all minorities and socially accepted, vetted groups, HudakÂ and the PC Party have once again shown the right-wing agenda that isÂ growing. Attack ads of this sort were unheard of in most political racesÂ in Canada. Policy and administration are often prime targets, howeverÂ there is a standard that has long served our country well, you do notÂ attack minorities and you do not bring religion into the mix. Those areÂ personal beliefs and protected welcomed unique attributes that we cherish.Â Those days seem to be fleeting into the memories of true Canadians, to be
replaced by religiously slanted and immoral rhetoric.
Being born and raised in Ontario, as well as having lived under theÂ McGuinty administration in my province, I would like to disclose at thisÂ juncture that I am not supportive nor do I feel McGuinty is doing/hasÂ done a very good job with leading the province. However, the attack adsÂ led by the PC Party are inexcusably linked to attacking the LGBTÂ community and the very fabric of a nation that is fiercely proud of allÂ its groups, minorities, cultures and celebrated differences. We acceptÂ the right-wing, left-wing and everything in between. Vote to keep yourÂ freedoms and vote to allow those freedoms to be extended to others, forÂ you never know when you will be the group in the hot seat.
It is sad to see this change happening and I can only hope that there willÂ be a shift back to the proper and true course of Canada. I have personallyÂ extended the invitation to the PC Party in Ontario and in particular to MPÂ Hudak to interview with me and The New Civil Rights Movement concerningÂ the ad and the beliefs of Mr Hudak as well as the Party and the directionÂ they believe the province should be moving.
The completely intolerant and homophobic rhetoric is enough! This is oneÂ Canadian who will not stand by and let everything we have built be tornÂ down by easily influenced and semi-reasoning, self-promoting politiciansÂ and religiously influenced. U.S. LGBT citizens have seen what happens whenÂ complacency and a fear of “rocking the boat” instead hoping for a civilÂ discourse that would valiantly change people’s hearts and minds. WhileÂ thundering proclamations on behalf of some “loving and all knowing” godÂ fuel bigots and the ignorant, gain sway. We have said that it is enough.
Across Ontario, parents and education boards, trustees and teachers haveÂ forced many of the politicians to take more than a step back from thisÂ attack ad, they are back pedaling faster than a Bible belt fundamentalistÂ minister caught in the local department store men’s room giving a helpingÂ hand. I applaud the fact that there is still a progressive zeal withinÂ Canadians to not let those who would tarnish and sully the good work ofÂ past generations and woefully negate that progress.
Join your voice with ours, sign this petitionÂ on Change.org that is calling for Mr Hudak and the PC Party to explain itsÂ attack on the LGBT community, along with its continued bigotry against us,Â by doing an interview with The New Civil Rights Movement, answeringÂ questions from outraged and vigilant advocates for equality, no matter theÂ citizenship.
Growing up in Northern Ontario as aÂ Jehovahâ€™s Witness,Â Michael TalonÂ experienced firsthand the struggle for equality. Now living in the U.S. with his partner, they work with advocates for federal equality, including immigration. Working side by side, Michael and his partner Brad, head of Luna Media Group, help to deliver messages for equality to the nation.
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Burn Bags and Use of Personal Email: Justices’ Security Practices Even Worse Than Leak Investigation Showed
Multiple sources familiar with the court’s operations told CNN that justices often used personal email accounts for sensitive communications, employees used printers that didn’t produce logs and “burn bags” to collect sensitive materials for destruction were often left open and unattended in hallways.
“This has been going on for years,” one former employee said.
Some justices were slow to adopt email technology — they were “not masters of information security protocol,” according to one source — and court employees were afraid to confront them over the security risks.
Supreme Court marshal Gail Curley in her investigative report noted that printer logs intended to track document production were insufficient, but a former employee said employees who had VPN access could print documents from any computer, and remote work during COVID-19 shutdowns and otherwise meant draft opinions could have been taken from the building in violation of court guidelines.
Curley’s report noted that court methods for destroying sensitive documents should be improved, but three employees said striped burn bags supplied to chambers were often left sitting out unattended, and each justice had their own protocols for disposing of court documents.
A source familiar with court security practices said some colleagues stapled burn bags shut, while others filled them to capacity and left them near their desks, and others simply left them sitting in hallways where anyone with access to non-public areas could have taken sensitive materials.
Ethics Complaint Against Sinema Urges Investigation Into Staffers’ Duties and Her Possible ‘Abuse of Taxpayer Dollars’
If you are hired to work in Senator Kyrsten Sinema‘s office on Capitol Hill there is a 37-page memo you’ll want to read detailing all the responsibilities her staffers are required to perform, from getting her groceries, calling Verizon and going to her D.C. home to wait for a repair person if the internet goes out, scheduling massages, and ensuring her very detailed airplane requirements are met.
“It is your job to make her as comfortable as possible on each flight,” the memo says, as The Daily Beast first reported in December.
But now a group of 13 non-profit organizations have joined to file an ethics complaint against Senator Sinema (I-AZ), a new Daily Beast report reveals Friday, including details from that 37-page memo which the newly-independent lawmaker directed to be drawn up. Dated Thursday, the complaint is titled: “Letter to Senate Ethics Committee Regarding Reports of Sinema Abusing Taxpayer Dollars.”
“Senate Ethics guidelines stipulate that staff should not be asked to perform personal errands for members. This is an unambiguous ethical boundary,” the group’s complaint reads.
It also points to that 37-page memo, which it says, “indicates that staff are required, as a condition of their jobs, to carry out numerous tasks that are outside the scope of public employment, including doing personal errands for the Senator, carrying out household tasks at her private residence, and advancing their own funds for her personal purchases. It makes unreasonably precise scheduling demands, and former staff have confirmed some of the allegations.”
The allegations continue.
“And, most troubling, it calls on staff members, who are employed and paid by the public and explicitly barred from campaign activity, to schedule and facilitate political fundraisers and meetings with campaign donors, presumably during the workday while they are on the clock and physically on federal property.”
“Senate staff are prohibited under your guidelines from engaging in political activity ‘on Senate time, using Senate equipment or facilities.’ While you have not prohibited campaign activity outside work hours, the plain language of the memo clearly implies that Sen. Sinema expects her staff to carry out these scheduling tasks during the workday. And these tasks may separately violate Senate Rule 41.1, which explicitly prohibits Senate employees from ‘solicit[ing]’ campaign funds.”
The complaint also alleges that “Sen. Sinema required her staff to schedule three physical therapy and massage sessions a week related to her training for athletic competitions, and to tightly manage her dietary schedule — while allotting only a 30-minute period on Wednesdays for meetings with the constituents she represents.”
The carefully-worded complaint adds, “the allegations paint a picture of a Senator who is not only unresponsive to her constituents, but also disrespectful and even abusive to her employees and wholly unconcerned about her obligations under the law.”
The Daily Beast has posted a copy of the complaint here.
You can read The Beast’s full report here.
Santos May Owe Thousands in Unpaid Traffic Violation Fines and Fees Across Two States: Report
When he left for Washington, D.C., U.S. Rep. George Santos also appears to have left a string of unpaid traffic violation fines and fees in two states, including red light, double parking, and overtime parking citations totaling thousands of dollars.
The embattled serial liar and freshman New York GOP lawmaker “may owe more than $3,400 in unpaid citations, according to records from New York City and Florida,” CBS News reports.
Included in that total is $1,299.10 from Florida for toll violations that “racked up late fees and were ultimately sent to collections agencies.”
It appears that in November of 2016, as soon as he got his New York driver’s license after having one in Florida, a car previously ticketed via a red light camera whose plates match one registered to Santos “began piling up citations in New York City — 29 in the next two and a half years, according to city government records, which do not identify the drivers of vehicles being ticketed.”
“More than $1,800 in payments were made for 17 citations, but another 12 remain unpaid, with $2,142.61 still due, according to city records.”
CBS News also points to a New York Post report from January revealing “a Nissan Rogue driven frequently by Santos in recent months had been issued speeding tickets at least five times since he was elected on Nov. 8, ‘including four times in school zones.'”
Santos is under numerous state and federal investigations that span the gamut from campaign finance to allegedly stolen charity funds donated to save the life of a veteran’s service dog. The dog died after the vet could not afford to pay for the operation.
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