Tuesday, January 31, 2012

RE: If you hate Conservatives, you should love Nathan Cullen

Dear Progressive Canadians,

I’d like to take this blog post to fully explain to Canadians (and hopefully open-minded New Democrats) that NDP leadership candidate Nathan Cullen is the best situated to end the Harper government. His co-nomination plan is an almost guaranteed method of ousting the tyranny the Harper Conservatives have inflicted upon the nation.

In his proposed plan, EDAs (electoral district associations) would be given the (democratic) option of co-nominating candidates with the Green Party and Liberals in Conservative-held ridings. To be clear, no EDA would be forced into this arrangement, and this plan also requires consent from the other parties’ EDAs.

The charge that this plan is anti-democratic in any way is ridiculous. Canadians do not have a right to vote for the party of their choosing as insinuated by other leadership candidates (for example here). If you don’t believe me, then why are there no Bloc Quebecois candidates outside Quebec, especially in Francophone New Brunswick? Canadians have the right to vote for their choice of duly nominated candidates. A New Democrat (or any other Canadian) has every right to run as an independent; we saw this materialize in the 2006 Churchill race that saw Niki Ashton run against disgraced former NDP MP Bev Desjarlais, who was removed from the caucus for opposing same-sex marriage. The Cullen plan is not strategic voting; it’s strategic nominating.

To decide who the co-nominated candidate would be, a joint Liberal-NDP-Green EDA meeting would be held, and a candidate would be democratically selected from the conglomerate pool. If local New Democrats believe the best candidate is within their ranks and that New Democratic ideals and ideas are the most salient to Canadians, they should have no problem recruiting the most members to vote at the joint-EDA meeting. This new process would create a major incentive for membership recruitment at the riding level, meaning more resources for the NDP available in 2015.

I’m a proud New Democrat, but I’m a Canadian first. The Cullen plan is the best chance we have at forming an NDP government that will end the misguided policies Harper continues to implement. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

RE: Menzies' Monologue

To Whom It May Concern,

I am writing in complaint of a recent Menzie’s Monologue segment titled: “White straight male? No thanks”. In this segment David Menzie is featured in drag wearing an aboriginal headdress. He proceeds to satirize that he’s not mocking transgendered people or aboriginals, but employment equity has forced him those to feign those identities.  I am not being critical of his freedom speech or action; I am a staunch civil libertarian. I do however see a problem with the way Mr. Menzies conducted himself on SUNTV News Channel’s The Source with Ezra Levant. The questions that are relevant to the CRTC are: was there racist, homophobic, and transphobic content aired? And was journalistic integrity upheld?

First, I will illustrate that Mr. Menzies’ actions do in fact constitute racism, homophobia and transphobia. To qualify this assertion, the intent behind the actions much be interrogated. Clearly Mr. Menzies was not using costume for the creation of art or culture. Nor was his dress indicative of pride in his own experiences. David Menzies used token costume items to generalize the characteristics and struggles of marginalized peoples. The act invoked tokenized identity politics to degrade Menzies for the delivery of a comedic performance and visual juxtaposition to his spoken assertion that employment equity groups receive unfair advantages in hiring processes. The content aired by SUNTV insidiously invoked discourses of race, sexuality, sex, and gender for the purposes of reasserting white and male privileges.

Menzie’s segment also misrepresented facts about employment equity. EE legislation has no provisions regarding sexuality. The fact that “Straight” was included in the title and sexuality in the analysis of this ‘story’ is indicative of a journalistic bias in favor of heterosexual privilege. The misinformation in Menzie’s Monologue is a populist attempt to illustrate the queer population as privileged and problematic.

With racist, heterosexist, and sexist underpinnings, the segment defiles any concept of journalistic integrity. This performance was neither art nor news; it’s offensive and oppressive, and the CRTC should reprimand SUNTV for its production.

** For the blog copy of this letter, I’d also to address a huge flaw in Menzie’s actual argument against EE. I would like to state that I 100% agree that meritocracy is the best way to organize a society; however, I would never be so na├»ve as to believe that we live in one. Wealth organizes our world. Until education and the means to develop human capital are accessible to all potential students, based solely on merit, EE programs will be argued as means of reconciling historical inequality. If one is to advocate for the abolition of identity politics within hiring processes, they must equally be dedicated to eliminating the barriers that structurally recreate oppressed groups. As an advocate for higher education, I encourage anyone who’s reading this to join the Canadian Federation of Students on February 1st in their call for increased access to post-secondary education across the country. 


My Auto-Response:

Reference number: 563691

Thank you for contacting the CRTC. This is an automatic confirmation that we have received your message. If a further response is required, we should contact you within 10 working days. We apologize in advance for any delay that may be caused by the high volume of correspondence received in the Commission.

If your request is urgent, for example, if it involves the disconnection of your telephone service, please contact Client Services toll-free at 1-877-249-2782 and provide the above-mentioned Reference Number. If you use a TDD, you can reach us toll-free at 1-877-909-2782.