Time to reclaim our secret ballot during elections

You have a legal and fundamental right to a secret ballot, enshrined in the elections act.  There is a good reason for a secret ballot, to prevent everything from reprisals, to intimidation, to the use of your vote to manipulate politics.  Perhaps it is high time the parties and pollsters respect your right to a secret ballot, to cease attempting to circumvent your right to a secret ballot.  This should be unlawful.  Parties use your vote before  elections, to attack opponents, to manipulate your attitudes, to making you a fundraising target, a directed advertising target,  or to even attempt to suppress voter turnout. Perhaps it is high time that WE REFUSE TO DIVULGE OUR VOTE to pollsters or parties, and tell them they are attempting to infringe on our legal right to a secret ballot by even asking.  Tell them you find the question offensive and undermining of basic democratic rights,  and refuse to answer their question.  REFUSE TO DIVULGE YOUR VOTE! PROTECT YOUR VOTE!

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2015 Elections, Peace building and the art of questions

During elections voices are heard.  Questions teach. Questions open doors to learning and discovery for both the one who asks and those to whom the question is directed.  Ask your candidates when they come around, speak up at debates, send them an email or letter. Be informed. Vote for honest politicians.

This is how I see the issues and questions. Use what you wish. Good luck to us all.

I have an interest in international foreign policy and peace. I believe we need a country and a government of honest ethical MPs that understand national wellbeing, namely:

  • Good honest governance (Ethical, respectful, and not corrupt)
  • Meets security needs (Domestic and for international peace and stability)
  • Meets social needs (Health, education, housing, human rights)
  • Meets economic needs (Jobs and livelihood)

Governance questions:

  • Q. Foreign policy: Canada is an export nation and does not have the population or GDP to defend itself. (We depend on oceans, neighbors and alliances)   The security and prosperity of the world is the security and prosperity of Canada. Canada had a strong peacemaking tradition, now has a militant foreign policy with a military intervention predisposition   How best do you think we can contribute to international peace security and stability?  What would you do?
  • Q. Canadian history shares in two Nobel peace prizes. Now Canada shockingly  lost a security council seat, cannot be trusted to be impartial by the global community, and is more often than not is an outlier on international issues.  Would you support a department of peace, as a precursor to military intervention and DND?
  • Q. The government has a Federal Accountability Act for elected members and a PSDPA Public disclosure protection ac for public servants, and yet suffers ethical lapses.  Decorum in parliament and between parties in public is disgraceful.  The people want honest government not bickering, insults and power obsessions.   Decorum can be seen as courtesy, compromise, collaboration and cooperation”.  Canadians deserve no less.  What are your views on this and how will you conduct yourself if elected?

Security questions:

  • Q. The true cost of war.  In the Iraq Afghan wars.  US 5800 dead/51000 wounded/ over a thousand suicides/20% PTSD.  Canada 158 dead/1859 Wounded/28% PTSD/160 suicides serving members (2004-2014).  What about veteran suicides?  Why are only serving member suicides being reported?   The causalities of this war are far from over.  What would you do about this? About the truth and honoring and reporting PTSD and all suicide names as the true cost of this war.
  • Q.  P5+1 and Iran nuclear agreement.  Canada refuses to support the agreement and has adopted a wait and see approach, preferring to be on the sidelines.  What would you propose Canada do?
  • Q. Civilized people talk.  As a result of the p5+1 agreement, the UK recently reopened its embassy in Iran.  Canada refuses to do so or relax sanctions.  What would you to?
  • Q.  Russia and the Ukraine. The Canadian response is to promote sanctions and a confrontative approach, and fuels risks of another version of the cold war.  Who speaks for peace and diplomacy with Russia? How do you think Canada can best contribute to a peaceful resolution of this crisis other than confrontation and violent language?
  • Q. Electoral reform.  We live with an electoral system where 30% to 40% of the vote can result in 100% of the power.  How can we achieve a system where the country is governed by a true majority of people  and representative of the demographics of Canada and our first nations.  What are your views on this?

Social needs questions:

  • Q. Youth radicalization. At a series of interfaith meetings on this subject the message about youth was loud and clear –  “pay attention to youth”.  It became apparent that the problems of radicalization are not best solved by policing but by meaningful jobs, hope, a supportive family and community social environment, and the creation of a positive identity and future.  What are your views?
  • Q. We are a nation of a rule of law.  We expect Canadians to obey the law.  We expect Canada to honor agreements and treaties. This includes treaties with our first nations.  What are your views regarding FN treaties, their land and right to respecting their consent?
  • Q. We are a nation of growing ethnic and religious diversity. We have a government trafficking in the politics of fear regarding terrorism and risking creating undercurrents of intolerance.    Two terrorism fatalities in Canada in recent years  pales in comparison with 172 gun homicides in 2012.  Death by terrorism in Canada is less by far than most other risks of death by violence.  What are your views on this?

Economic needs questions:

  • Q.  As the price of oil falls, the consequences of becoming a petro economy is becoming apparent, namely as we are in a recession or heading into one.  What would you propose?
  • Q. Canadian aid and development policy in Africa has become highly connected with the interests of Canadian mining companies and protecting mineral and mining profits when prices rise. Some reports put well over twice as much wealth is extracted than our foreign aid given. This is hospitals, education, and much of the future of these countries taken by this industry.  What are your views on this?  Do you agree or disagree?

2015 Time to truly honor and bring closure to our veterans

If you want true closure for veterans of Canadian military intervention in the since 911, it begins with honoring all who served or suffered, and continue to die and suffer.

Closure begins with the truth, the good we did, the sacrifice we made, and the harm we did.   Both soldiers and innocent people died as a result of Canadian intervention, and our soldiers continue to die through taking their own lives.  True closure begins with speaking and accepting the truth, the mistakes we made, the collateral damage, accepting responsibility for the truth, making restitution and all being satisfied with the outcome.  This means the soldiers, the government, Canadian society, and those innocent civilians and families we harmed in the countries we conducted combat operations.

The truth in honoring veterans means not only listing war dead, but also naming those who subsequently took their lives from PTSD, those physically wounded and those currently suffering from PTSD.  If not names, then numbers.  This is a call to our Prime Minister and DND to do so!

It is beyond unacceptable that the government does not track veteran suicides.

That the department or government does not track veteran suicides is an affront to all veterans and serving members.  Every veteran taking his or her own life is a cause for national awareness and mourning.

Apologies do not suffice.  Words are hollow.  To truly honor veterans is to care for veterans.   We are directly responsible for what happened to them and need to show that we owe them and their families a “duty of loyalty and care” for the rest of their lives.

To honor veterans is also to make a good faith effort to make restitution for the harm we have done in our wars abroad.   To truly honor veterans is to build strong institutions for peace.   It is to give us better options to make war a truly last resort.  We should be a nation of peace, not a nation of war, in the global community!

Paul Maillet

Colonel retired

Former Director of Defence Ethics

* An east end sustainability communiqué

An East End Sustainability Communiqué to the Mayor of Ottawa and the President of the NCC.
1 June 2010 – Version 3

Sustainability for an urban-rural community is the potential for long-term maintenance and enhancement of wellbeing, which in turn depends on good governance and the health of the economy, the community, and the ecosystem. 

The undersigned leaders and citizens of the east end of Ottawa would like to offer our perspective regarding sustainability and the “Choosing our Future” Project of the city and the NCC.  As decisions and directions will have far reaching consequences for the east end we consider it important to participate in the process and ensure that our voice is heard and considered. 

What does sustainability mean to the east end? 

  • We view sustainability as the ability and capacity to continue to have a healthy and vibrant community with a good quality of life.
  •  Our sustainability aspirations rests on a clear understanding of what we care about and what we wish to sustain.  What we need to do to maintain this?  What decisions should be made now to plan for the future?

 Who are we? Do we have a unique identity?

  • We are a community bounded by the Green belt, the Ottawa River, Petrie Island, Mer Bleue watershed area, forest and rural communities.  
  • We are an urban, peri-urban and rural living space.
  • We are primarily a diverse community of families (over 35,000) and related services.
  • To a large extent, we work elsewhere, in the west end, Gatineau or Ottawa center.
  • We rely heavily on transportation to reach our places of employment.

 What do we care about? 

  • Our quality of life, safety and well-being of our families and community.
  • To live locally to the greatest extent possible.
  • A clean, safe and healthy environment.
  • To have a healthy and prosperous economy.
  • An efficient and affordable transportation network.
  • Local jobs to the maximum extent possible.
  • Exercising voice on development where we are most affected.

 What sustainability principles do we advocate?

  •  A Social Responsibility principle: This is the primary principle from which all planning and development should be based.  To us this means integrity in governance, economic sustainability, environmental responsibility and community benefit.
  •  A Livelihood principle:   We desire a community of jobs, recreation, education, healthcare, services, housing and policing. 
  •  A Livability principle: This means a community with high quality of air, water, with green spaces, a community that is congestion and pollution free. We want to be able to swim in the Ottawa River at Petrie Island.
  •  An Environmental principle: This means a clean and healthy environment in harmony with our geography. This means a sense of space and connection to nature.  This means respecting an obligation for stewardship to land use, air and water quality.   This means protection of the green belt.
  •   A Locality principle: We desire to live local to the maximum extent possible.  This means planning which encourages and creates local jobs, local food sources, local services (health, education, retail, governance)
  •  A Balance principle: We assert that there is a limit to all development and steady state planning goals. Bigger and more is not necessarily more desirable.  Development that creates social problems, and contributes to increasing congestion and pollution is undesirable. Casinos or large professional sports stadiums or complexes are not consistent with our lifestyle aspirations.
  •  A Voice and participatory principle:  This means that decisions should be made by the people most affected by them.  The community wants real influence regarding development planning and activity affecting the east end.
  •  An Integrity principle:  This means contract tendering, bidding and procurement practices which are transparent open and fair.
  •   A Transportation principle:  In the east end, commuter traffic density trends are growing and are unacceptable.  We need alternate and green multi modal transit approaches.  We need mass transit that is less expensive than automobile traffic. We need alternate transportation lanes for bicycles and slow speed vehicles within the community.

 What are our priorities?

When funding is being allocated and planning priorities established:

  • We want the region and the city to put people first in its planning and development regarding our community.
  • We want a significant voice in all the actions and decisions that affect us.
  • We want the final say in land use and economic development decisions.
  • We want environmentally and socially responsible decisions related to transportation, economic development, quality of life and recreation in the east end.

 Our specific current 2010 development priorities include:

  • Priority of reducing commuter vehicle traffic through long term commuter alternate transportation solutions that involve light rail.
  • Lobbying of the federal government for relocating jobs into the east end and consideration of tele-commuting strategies.
  • A community strategy for extensive local food markets.
  • Improvement of Ottawa River water quality along Petrie Island.
  • The beautification of St Joseph Blvd. 

 We will seek dialogue and the endorsement and input of all east end levels of political government, community associations, the chamber of commerce, local business and private citizens.

To participate or to add your name and affiliation to the endorsement list, please contact:

Paul Maillet
Tel: 613.841.9216 Cell: 613.866.2503
Email pmaillet@magma.ca

* Happy Holidays – Seasons Greetings

Happy Holidays from your Green Party friends in Orleans

 Our sincere thanks for your friendship and support this year

Wishing you a white Christmas and a happy green new year

Paul Maillet nominated candidate

Diane Drouin Campaign Manager

Peter Landry Financial officer

Best wishes to our dear friends

Photo: Our green xmas coffee break, our green tree, Paul (our candidate)  Diane (our campaign manager)