Archive for the ‘Election 2015’ Category


For those that have followed my winding writing career, they may recall a short-lived e-letter I published in the ealry 2000’s that covered general thoughts, politics, current events, and some short writings. So riding back from Red Deer, AB road trip with the family, and thinking of all the writing projects in my mind, this came to mind as the best format… so without further ado welcome to Ecclectica 2015 edition dear reader.

Spiritual Life April 2015:

It is astounding the liberation of the soul that came over me, as I stood before the Calgary Centre for Spiritual Living on April 19 with my son, and wife. As each of us was asked to share our thoughts around the Centre, my son, who has inspired me to ensure the love of the Cosmic Christ always comes first, scooped the mircrophone, brought his vocal spasticity under control, and very clearly said to the crowd at SAIT’s Orpheus Theatre “Thank you for welcoming me, love you.” And yes the long night of the soul for a journey of home has been found.

It is also unique as this was the month at Unity of Calgary, that the wife and I stumbled across the Metaphysical Bible Courses offered by SEE Outreach, and yes, it has invigorated our family’s historic faith story, with the new fork in the road we are following.

Alberta Votes 2015

  • Election called a year early and reveals the cracks in the 44 year dynasty of PC’s. Not the least of which being Education Minister Gordon Dirks blaming school boards for his decisions, or Premier Jim Prentice showing his sexism at the leader’s debate.
  • Greg Clarke leader of the Alberta Party released a great policy platform that I hope other parties will adopt and make a reality, a reduction of Legislature seats from 87 to 61. I would go even further and say cut them directly in half.
  • It is becoming more and more evident the major cost for the social safety net, health care and public education is the command and control bureaucratic infrastructure. So the easiest way to redirect monies to the core services needed would be to abolish the administrators and management tears between the minister and the local administrator. As well, merge seperate/charter/public schools into one public institution, and force private schools to fund themselves 100% NO PUBLIC FUNDS (oh and the same for private health care inititatives).
  • Please Alberta Liberals, Alberta Party and Green Party following this election cycle aid all citizens and MERGE into one centre-left option.
  • Remember this election has come 1 year early. It was called after poltiical backroom shenanigans that saw the Official Opposition gutted by a mass floor crossing (Yes Wildrose and PC’s why should we trust?), and a budget that put the middle, working and lower Class Albertans ability to afford to live clearly in the target sites, while allowing corporations and the wealthy to continue growing their wealth.
  • May 5, 2015 please make this the election you vote in.

Before May 5, I encourage you to gather with neighbours and friends in your living rooms and kitchens over tea and coffee and discuss the issues, and question the local candidates about what you need from an MLA.

Robert B. Parker Paperdoll

This is just an aside as I have been working at collection Robert B. Parker novels since his passing (I loved them from high school forward). And the re-read of Paperdoll was a great scene that shows how literature can normalize life. It is a scene with Spenser and Farrell (a cop) discussing Farrell’s life partner dying of AIDS. The just is beautiful, as Spenser the penultimate thug, basically lays out to Farrell what a crappy situation he is in to be loosing the one he loves.

Canada Votes 2015

Six months until voters go to the polls Federally, so I encourage you to begin meeting with your neighbours to discuss the state of our Confederation, and how to make it better (remembering the first step is always marking your X on election day).

One of the out there ideas for reform that came from a coffee klatch I was apart of is abolishing the Senate, Governor General and House of Commons altogether and replacing these federal bodies with an annual meeting of provincial and territorial leaders, the 13 gathered would need to elect a chairperson, and then through consensus craft the budget for the coming year.

Taxes: a progressive income tax would be good, increased corporate tax rates, and an simplification of tax structures. Canada Revenue knows if they owe you or you owe them. April 30 just have a bill or cheque come to one’s mail box. In regards to small business and GST, just have it collected and sent. For rebates to private citizens, just knock it off, what a wasteful bureacracy.

Harper continuing Mulroney Era sell off of Canada with this week’s fire sale of the WCB to Saudi Arabia.

Finding Joe–the Hero’s Journey

Calgary Centre for Spiritual Living’s Friday Night Happy Hour was movie night, and the movie was inspiring as it tied modern day teachers, actors, and entrepreneurs into Joseph Campbell’s teachings around the Hero’s Journey.

This brought out two thoughts on my part:

  1. I am re-entering the fun of the late 1980’s run fof Justice League International the era of “One Punch”, “Bwahahahaha”, “Blue  & Gold”, and “oreos” to name but a few. It was a team of quirks that each story cycle had something new discovered, look them up for a fun read.
  2. For my own journey and passions. Chase one’s bliss, the family is working on recreating our vision at home after a few bumpy years of forced sabbatical, and that is moving to a home that is a community hub. Which if all goes as planned will include a little living library in our front lawn, and the back yard being redeveloped as community garden, with a metaphysical bible study in the fall, and sporadic movie nights ourselves.
  3. But the second thought coupled with the Spiritual homecoming, has led to a sense of coming discernment for renewing my pastoral vows within New Thought, and which well of this stream of the river is to be drank from.

Paddington the Movie

The family road trip today that sparked this throw back, enjoyed a trip to Red Deer’s cheap cinema where I could share a piece of my childhood, Paddington Bear, with my kids with the new movie that came out. The prognosis, if you want a fun movie watch it. If you want a movie for a spiritual movie discussion night–watch it. If you want a movie for a family movie night–watch it.

The Paddington Movie is a hero’s journey to discover one’s bliss of belonging in a home and family.

A story all to familair in the West for how ofter it is not achieved. So this week dear reader, spend time discovering and following your bliss.

Spend time, living into and out of a sense of home where ever you find yourself.

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It is a unique thing when one’s vocation and travel patterns intersect with familial history.  As a student, there was a drive within me not only for the academic/theoretical bent but also the practical and pragmatic. Through my monastic formation within Druidery/Buddhism/Franciscanism the practice of pilgrimage was important.

These would intersect while working on my Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts I served building ministries in the city, but also served aiding those without homes rediscovering themselves and what it meant to live in community and home. That’s right I was a humble shelter worker.

On vacations I would explore the history of Canada from coast to coast, doing outreach with those experiencing homelessness and discovering deeper truths of what it meant to be not only a Canadian, but a human being. It was in one of my earliest trips to Winnipeg, AB that I discovered the actual shelter history of Canada, through the Winnipeg Shelter that historically was a Methodist Outreach, and whose most famous lead minister/director was James Shaver Woodsworth.

I must admit this man’s pragmatic theology became a guide for my journey over the past 15 years.  He was one of the members of Canada’s Social Gospel movement; was arrested at the Winnipeg General strike and moved from Orthodox Christianity to Pantheism (although under newer definitions I would say he became Panentheist).  The minister would move from the ministry of the Methodist Church, to planting the Labour church, and his political leanings of socialism would lead him to join, aid in founding, and eventually   lead the new party dubbed the Co-Operative Commonwealth Federation. His political career would come to an end during the Parliamentary vote on Canada going to war with Nazi Germany. It was not because an evil should not be stopped, it was knowing that war as practiced in the world is not about right and wrong, it is about the profiteering of the wealthy and the culling of the poor. Woodsworth was the only Member of Parliament to vote no, it would cost him leadership of the CCF, and his seat.

But why does this man matter?

Why do I digress into travel history?

Simple, for the prophetic life of Woodsworth was shaped through service to others. It was grown out of a shelter environment. He spoke much, yet he also wrote and two of his books still ring true (once you put aside the eugenics stances of his time within): My Neighbour and Stranger at the Gates. Both works of the early 1900’s explore the work of the shelter, and the tie it has to the holistic care of a person.

The shelter debate has lost its historic centre of the narrative, for within both of Woodsworth’s books what is discovered is working with the whole person to aid them in transitioning from one point of their life to the next. Historically the Winnipeg Shelter was for new Canadians coming to settle the prairies. Now remember historically the Prairies and British Columbia were settled on mass to keep the encroachment by our neighbours to the South. Also historically it was an unfertile wasteland, which needed healthy communities for survival.

This was the role of the shelter. It was about aiding new Canadian families to prepare for the trek west, and also to build a new home. Not a house, not a subsistence existence, but a home. A home that was connected to other homes to build a community and thrive as a unit to create and grow a new society that was burgeoning that was Canada.

How did they do this?

They met the new comers where they were at. They discovered and worked to abate health needs. They worked on education, literacy, language, skills training. They looked to the communities where tracts of land were available, start up kits were given, but they also ensured that the community they were settling new families and persons into was a healthy community for them to be a part of and grow.

One just needs to look at the strong socio-cultural roots within sections of Alberta and Saskatchewan to see the effectiveness of historic housing readiness and effective placement in aiding the building of generational homes.

So as citizens this example leads to questions:

  1. What is community to you?
  2. Do you have a community around you?
  3. Do you have what you need to have a healthy life? For you? Love ones?
  4. Do you have a house or a home?
  5. Is the human right for housing or a home?

From my perspective of pilgrimage through history and country, I believe the human right is not for housing, for me it is about the human right of H-O-M-E.

The place where you belong and are safe and loved.


Yes this is another political post as we prep for the October 2015 Federal Election, and what most pundits here in Alberta are guessing to be a April 2015 provincial election. Now there has always been defections from elected officials parties, whether it is to sit as an independent, or life circumstances leading to an early resignation. The resignation will trigger a by-election usually mandated within 6 months of the seat being vacated.

In Alberta just before the end of 2014 the opposition was gutted with 13 Wildrose MLA’s crossing the floor to join the governing PC Party, one of the crossers had previously defected from the PC’s to the Wildrose. Prior to 2012 Liberal Leader Raj Sherman had crossed the floor from the PC’s.

Each time a defection or floor crossing happens there is righteous indignation, and choices made that the party they were elected under no longer fit their values. Which is fine.

The question as a voter that we need to raise is to remove the sting of the personal betrayal, remove the spin and actually open up a dialogue about what to do with an elected official who deems to leave the party they were elected in.

1) Status Quo can be held.

2) Allow a cooling off period where the elected official must serve out the remainder of the term as an independent then can seek nomination with whatever party they want to run under.

3) Automatically have a by-election triggered and treat the wanting to cross the floor as a resignation.

4) If there is a floor crossing, allow for recall legislation.

5) Your thoughts?

That is the key, what value do we place on the elected official as a person? As a party mascot? And what value do we place on the votes that placed them in the assembly?

These are questions to ask those running in your area and the party’s putting forward candidates. This election around, there is also the ballot commentary as you look at a floor crosser in your riding and decide if you agree with their new political home or not.

2015 Budget wishlist from NDP

Posted: January 18, 2015 by Ty in Election 2015

http://www.660news.com/2015/01/18/new-democrats-give-finance-minister-list-of-federal-budget-demands/.

The above link gives the NDP wishlist for this year’s federal budget. What is yours?


An excellent non-partisan, investigative look at the Canadian Government since 2006 under PM Harper is to be found in Michael Harris’ Party of One (2014, Viking). Harris may not be a household name like Peter Mansbridge, but his works include Unholy Orders, which revealed the systematic sexual abuse of children within Canada’s Catholic Church. Moving back to the topic at hand however, this was a well resourced, thought provoking look that brought to mind an issue that has been on the minds of Canadians since at least re-repatriation of the Constitution in 1982.

The Senate. The upper chamber of sober second thought. In the British system it is the House of Lords. Under our Constitution Senators are appointed for life (mandatory retirement at age 75 years old), and by the Government. It was never supposed to be a highly partisan institution, but because it was unelected was supposed to be able to give unbiased feed back on laws and policies to make life better for Canadians.

In practice however it became highly partisan as PM’s would use it to make political appointment’s under their party’s banner. Even taking it as far as making these Senators members of the party caucus so as to be able to “whip” their vote. PM Paul Martin with his last round of appointments tried to break this political appointment by naming senators to the Conservative, Liberal and NDP ranks (the NDP senator sits as an independent as the NDP does not hold to the senate, more on that later).

Now let’s be transparent, to fully renew and restructure the senate would take constitutional amendments. Any Canadians witha  long memory remember PM Mulroney’s failed and divisive attempts with the Meech Lake and Charlottetown Accords (if not go to your local public library and read up, it is quite a unique piece of political history in attempting to get Quebec’s signature on the 1982 Constitution Act, and as to why it is not there, I refer you to dive in on that account as well).

But this brought forward ideas from all walks of life around the upper room, the most catchy came out of the Reform Party, which was the Triple E Senate: Equal, Elected and Effective. For the Senate is not equal representation from each province, for it is used to balance power from the representation by population formula, that allows for more seats to be allotted to different provinces within the Senate. Essentially under Triple E, the first step is each province has the same amount of seats, all senators would be elected and thus held accountable and removing the ability of political partisanship from the Prime Minister’s Office.

There are also other issues it could create, but that is up to you reader, and your community to discuss. Since the idea was floated, part of every Alberta Provincial Election has held a ballot for the Canadian Senate where usually Conservatives run and the winners names are put forward to the PM for appointment when an Alberta seat opens up. PM Harper is the first Prime Minister to acknowledge this would be his preferred method of senate reform, again though without the constitution being reopened it is not binding.

Third Party Leader, Justin Trudeau (Liberal Party of Canada) in the House of Commons took a drastic step to move forward with Senate Reform. Trudeau expelled all senators from the Party Caucus essentially making them independent of the party structure and not allowing them to be “whippable” by the party structure. Since the ex-Liberal Senators have come to their own cooperative agreement, but it was a healthy step that provided separation of the levels for better laws, as of now the Conservative Senators are still within the party caucus on Parliament Hill and answerable to their leader, Stephen Harper.

What created this new wave of senate reform talks? Simply the senate scandal with PM Harper’s appointments from everything from fraud to white collar crime to drug/abuse charges, and one Liberal Senator wrapped in fraud charges. Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin, Patrick Brazeau and Marc Harb have left a fowl taste in the average Canadians mouths and revealed the largess of this institution.

Now, what does Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition the New Democratic Party, and their Leader Thomas Mulcair believe should be taken as action? Simple, their stance harkens back to when the New Democratic Party was founded as the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation in 1933 (and the Labour party movements before), that the Senate should simply be abolished.

Before their is outcry of losing this institution, remember each provincial legislature/parliament/national assembly is also supposed to have a “Senate” that they have abolished with no ill-wind to the function of government so it is a legitimate solution.

As we move towards our vote in 2015, with this issue, ask your local candidate their thoughts, talk with your neighbours and friends. Let us raise the level of dialogue from the “attack ad” and the “response ad” to the… “This is our nation, our dream of a Just Society, and as such we are part of the conversation and for the Senate I/We believe…will you as our representative stand with us?”