Tuesday, June 20, 2017

I am an MRT

Why going to see your government representative might actually work!

Once upon a time, someone told me that members of government have a rule of 10. That is, for every 1 person they hear from on an issue, they assume there are 10 more like them who just haven’t bothered to contact their government. So, it follows that if 10 people show up in a government office, the MLA will assume there are 100 people in their riding with similar views/issues. Some ridings are won or lost by one or two hundred votes.

Consider, for example, Saskatoon Fairview riding in 2016: Jennifer Campeau of the SK Party won over NDP’s Vicki Mowat by 182 votes. Fast-forward to now: if Jennifer Campeau gets 10 visitors promising to take their votes elsewhere over the wage rollback mandate of her party, she’s going to assume at least 100 people are shopping for a new MLA. If I were her, that would be cutting it too close to losing my job in the next election, so I’d go back to Regina and say “No thanks, Brad. I’m not going to push this rollback thing any further.”

Take it one step further: Saskatoon has 14 ridings. That is nearly one quarter of the seats in the legislature. If all 14 MLAs go back to Regina for the next session, saying “we don’t like this mandate and we won’t push it on our constituents,” then is it really out of the realm of possibility that the government might actually listen to the people and back off? Obviously the libraries won their battle with this government. I think we can too.

Find the location of your MLA’s office (here) and write down what you want to say. Maybe you have more concerns than just the current collective bargaining process. Make a phone call or an appointment, or get a group of people together to make an appointment if you don’t want to go alone. However you want to do it: just go and talk to your MLA.  If you don't, after this is all over, you can’t honestly say you did do everything you could to change it. You can’t say you fought to hold this government accountable for their own mistakes.  They don't want to hear from us, but they need to, they represent us, not Brad Wall.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Union Stuff

I'm embedding a Facebook post regarding SEIU-West bargaining for those who do not have Facebook.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Dear Sophie

There is a letter circulating Facebook today criticizing the honest struggles of our PM's wife, which I thought proved feminism is not as prevalent as it should be in the women in this country. This morning I was mad. I was so mad I couldn't even formulate an argument against people mindlessly sharing the post. I resorted to some passive aggressive sarcasm (I know, shocking) and then moved on with my life for a while. But tonight, as I dug in for some battles, I'm happy to see more comments challenging the judgmental tone of that letter than agreements with it, and I'm happy to see more women in my life sharing articles like this one than resharing that stupid letter. Normally I would find situations like this disheartening and fear the worst in those around me, but I have seen a lot of women rally around Sophie and state for the record how they find that kind of "competitive mom-ing" judgement completely offside. Maybe it's just that I've surrounded myself with like-minded, open-minded, progressive and strong women. This isn't about political leanings, this is about how women treat each other and the never ending competition and fakery on social media. This woman's comment on the letter really resonated with me and I want to share her voice.

Dear Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau ,
I don't know what it's like to be you. I don't know what it's like to have three children under the age of eight. I don't know what it's like to be the wife of the Prime Minister and represent Canada on the world stage. I don't know what it's like to be a spokesperson for multiple charities, and I certainly don't know what it's like to have everything I say, wear, or do splashed all over the media for people to critique.
I do know what it's like to be a wife and a mother, and I know that society seems to have an issue when a woman asks for help. Women are supposed to be superheroes. We're supposed to do it all and we're supposed to smile and make it look easy. We're supposed to be perfect mothers, wives, friends, employees and citizens, and we're not supposed to admit that we can't do it without a little help.
As a woman, I support you. You are the wife of our Prime Minister, and no one who hasn't been in your position knows exactly what that entails. Your life is unlike anyone else's in the country and it can't be compared to the 'average Canadian woman'. No one else walks in your shoes or lives your life, and no one knows what you do when you're not in public.
People are losing their minds over the fact that you have nannies. The thing they seem to conveniently forget is that a lot of families have nannies. Nannies are there to provide love and care for children when their parents can't, for whatever reason that might be. Your children are being cared for by their parents and by their nannies, and to me, that's what's important. Your children having stability in an unstable world is what's important, not the petty 'I don't have what you have so you shouldn't have it either' mentality that is all too common.
The same goes for your request for another assistant. You are not only representing Canada with every function or event that you attend, you are also representing the many charities that are lucky to have your voice. You also do this without payment. People are saying you don't have a job, you don't work, but they're wrong. You work every day, you just don't draw a salary for the work you do. Your work might not be paid, but it's invaluable to those it helps.
In today's online world it's very easy to sit behind a keyboard, read a story or meme and voice our opinions. It's extremely easy to be cruel and untruthful when commenting on other people's lives, and it's becoming normal. We live in an age where we want our kids to stop bullying. We want our children to never know the sting of being picked on, but as adults we sit around and use our computers to bash, critique and lie about people we don't know because we feel entitled to say whatever we want.
I don't know what it's like to be you, and because of this I support you. I know there are others like me out there, but the loudest voices in any conversation are always the angry ones.

Sincerely, A Canadian woman( written by Amanda Brennan, Greenwood Nova Scotia )

Thanks, Amanda, for even partially restoring my faith in women in this country.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Men Can Have Opinions Too

Years ago, I hesitated to define myself as a feminist, for there is a sect of feminism giving us all a bad name.  More recently, however, I have refused to let that stop me.  There's always going to be someone out there, ruining things for everyone.  Whether it's coworkers out and about, giving your profession a bad name, or members of one's religion, stirring the pot and sullying the otherwise good name of Christians.  This is the unfortunate something I've come to accept with feminism and I have embraced what I am.

This past weekend, I became embroiled in another one of my classic Facebook comment battles.  And since I'm having a hard time getting over it, I'm laying it out here to get it off my mind.

It was the strangest topic for me to participate in, given my childless state, but apparently Jamie Oliver made a general comment about breastfeeding. (tl;dr: Breastfeeding is mostly free, also generally easy and convenient and more people should do it.)  Scary Mommy picked this up and ran screaming into the night, with their pitchforks, rallying the angry mothers around their battle cry, "MANSPLAINING"!  How dare he tell us how to raise our children?  How dare he shame people who have difficulty bf'ng (which apparently means breastfeeding, and is not a verb having to do with your boyfriend)?!

Correct me if I'm wrong, but to me, it seems like carrying around bottles and formula is far LESS easy and INconvenient than if I could breastfeed successfully a hypothetical newborn.  No?  Ok, let's hear from Adele:

Adele got on board with this rage and added her own comment back, (tl;dr: Go fuck yourself, Jamie Oliver) and OF COURSE everyone agrees with Adele.  Because even though she's super whatev, no one seems to have realized that yet and her opinion on all things still matters.

Cue the angry mommy commenters:

So Ashley is agreeing with him that it is easy and convenient, but then hating him because he is a man.  And Wendy: Pretty sure no one is bullying you.  Not yet, anyway...

Now, what's troubling here isn't the sheer volume of unsexy nipple discussion, although I could do without most of that.  What's really upsetting is the number of comments I could readily find where women were not only dismissing Jamie's opinion simply because of his GENDER, but went so far as to say that no man should dare even having an opinion on any female-relevant topic.

Now, fun fact, Jamie Oliver is father to FOUR children, and they would quickly dismiss him for his thoughts on breastfeeding.  Meanwhile, I can post a million opinions on it, and I have NO children but I am female so they are legitimate opinions.  Something is wrong here.

Does this mean your doctor, if he is male, should not give his opinion on birth control, abortion, child bearing, breastfeeding, menstruation issues, etc etc?  Is this really what people think?  Parenting advice from fathers who have helped and supported their wives through early years of raising children do not have useful opinions on such topics?  Beyond that, is no one allowed to speak GENERALLY anymore??  Why must everything be taken so personally?  Sorry you couldn't breastfeed successfully, random internet mother, I'm sure Jamie Oliver was not trying to SHAME you for it.  But still, this simple comment from a public figure has caused all these keyboard warriors to trap themselves in an echo chamber of offended whining, while they all validate each other's hostility and scheme how to take down such an evil man as Jamie Oliver.

The point of this post isn't really breastfeeding, it's the constant chatter on social media, disallowing people from having an opinion on a topic.  People can have an opinion on whatever they want.  You don't have to agree with it, or take it into account in your everyday life.  You don't even have to find it relevant or useful.  I'm not even saying all opinions should be weighed on equal ground: some people are ignorant and uninformed, and their opinions don't matter to me.  I try not to pay attention to them.  Yes, it's frustrating when people spread misinformation, and those people are assholes.  And today, Jamie Oliver isn't one of them.  But under no circumstances should we be rallying around in groups advocating to block people from the right to an opinion at all.  That is very dangerous ground to be walking on.

And this is where I feel like a true feminist:

Take this debate, change the topic, and tell women they have no right to an opinion on it?  That is clearly wrong and everyone would agree.  Why do Scary Mommies get to have it the other way around?

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Brad Wall

Today at work, I rushed to catch an elevator.  I succeeded, and entered an elevator full of visitors to the hospital.  Just as the doors closed, a lady in the back said, "The last person on the elevator must tell a joke."

I froze.  I racked my brain, trying to think of a(n) [appropriate] joke for the elevator full of people, ranging in ages from about 20-70.  At a total loss for anything clever to say, I just blurted out, "Brad Wall."

After a short pause, the entire elevator burst out laughing.  All but one guy (the oldest one).  He did not think I was funny at all, and he just quietly said, "I love that man."

At that moment the doors opened and I hustled out of there as fast as possible.

I thought it was funny.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Canada Should Stand for Christian Values

Those of us who won the lottery and were born in a country like Canada need to check our entitlement.  You don't "deserve" safety any more than the people fleeing ISIS and a dictatorship.  You happened to be born here.  It's not as if you made all the right decisions and accomplished something to have a Canadian citizenship.  Stop acting like you earned this right and start realizing what it is: a privilege and an incredible stroke of luck.  Now understand that there are billions of people in the world who did not win that lottery, and we have the means to help 25 000 of them right NOW.

Assad had chemical weapons.  ISIS uses civilian locations as their "hiding" places.  The longer it takes to get people out of there, the more people die.  It doesn't work to say "I am ok with helping people but I don't like how the gov't is spending my tax dollars doing it".  That is part of the price you pay for living in a safe and stable and comparatively very rich country.

(According to refugeeswelcome.ca, the cost to resettle these 25k people is the same as one of the jets we "need" so badly.)

All you "Christians" who want a Canada based on "Christian Canadian values".  This is what it looks like: helping people regardless of their religion and background.  Money to the less fortunate.  Compassion for the broken spirited.  Believing in the best in people.  It's starting to look like many of you are all talk and I'm really tired of it.  I know I'm not going to be the one to talk sense into anyone who has already decided that Syrian refugees= terrorists so I don't know why I bother.  But I have been quiet on social media since the Paris attacks and I can't stand the logic of the arguments against this.  Comparing what happened in Paris and the refugees in Europe to the process by which we bring refugees to Canada is a false comparison, it's comparing apples to oranges.

"But ISIS terrorists could be sneaking in with groups of refugees!"
But they could be sneaking in through immigration too, with refugees or not.  So we should just totally close our borders?  Better yet: anyone who is Muslim should just be turned away automatically, it's too risky.  ISIS can also radicalize people via the internet, so we should shut down the internet?  Or maybe instead we should just round up all the Muslims who are already here and put them somewhere... like in a camp!  Just to keep an eye on them.  Totally innocent.  Wait... that sounds familiar.

"You'll all be sorry when there are hundreds of Canadians dead in a terror attack."
I'm sorry every day that hundreds of Canadians die every year as a direct result of a lack of access to basic medical care and poor mental health access.  These keyboard warriors don't seem too bothered by that.  You see, this is the same argument people are using NOT to bring people here.  "We have many people who need help right here in Canada."  But then the government tries to do something about that and everyone's back on the Whining About My Tax Dollars train.

"Fix the roads before you try to fix the world's problems, Brad Wall."
Another derivative of the above argument.  What do you want to hear? Yes, having lovely smooth roads for all your unemployed oil-worker jacked up trucks seems a much better priority and use of money than helping innocent people flee a civil war.  I think everyone would agree that smooth roads are much preferable to saving human lives.

"Why do people only care now if they have been dying over there by the thousands for the last few years?"
This one really gets me.  People HAVE been calling for this since 2012, but nothing was being done about it because our PM was Stephen Harper and he was satisfied sending a few soldiers over to help bomb the country.  Now we have a new government who is willing to take swift and significant action to help these people.
Also, lots has been going on with the Kardashians since 2012, so I can see how people missed it on the news cycle.

"Can't we just wait?"
Yes.  We can.  We've BEEN waiting.  And while we wait, more people die.  More people are poisoned against the selfish Western world and more people see no alternative except to join in with the radical terrorists.  And when we wait long enough, they're all dead and we don't have to help them at all.  It's not as if they're all sitting in the airport in Toronto waiting to be let in.  They're in camps and dangerous zones all over the region.  Every day their lives are at risk either from attack or disease.  So I'll answer your question with another question:  SHOULD we wait?

The bottom line is that just because a few bad apples "might" be in the bunch, does not change the fact that many innocent people need help from us.  We are no more entitled to the safety we enjoy every single day than these people.  Besides... Where are they going to do their waiting?

Every time you think "They should just go home", think of this picture.  This was their home.

Oh and my title was sarcastic for reasons that are two-fold:  One, because it's me.  And two, because I know most of you are going to click and read this because you think that title means I agree with you.  In case you haven't figured it out by now: I don't, I'm an atheist and it seems like I have an easier time identifying humanitarian values than all these fake Christians hiding in plain sight and spewing xenophobia, racism and hatred. Canada doesn't have a religion and it should stay that way.  Espcially if all these arguments are going to be put forward under the guise of "maintaining Christian values" here, as I saw with the niqab debate this summer.

Oh, and one more thing: let's not let history repeat itself.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Classic Tales from On Off-Broadway

Yesterday I was minding my own business, shopping for a dress for the Christmas party and I overheard THE most typically hipster conversation I have ever heard in real life.  I am working on the assumption that this conversation was taking place unironically because it came about very organically.

Two guys wearing the iconic hipster glasses
and one holding a brandless coffee cup and wearing one of those toques that look like a sloppy foreskin on the back of your head

were asked by the sales girl where they had purchased their delightful coffee drink.  Actually, first she asked if it was tea, and she barely managed to mask her disappointment when she heard it was NOT tea from the locally owned tea shop ("It's locally owned, you know.").  But he quickly recovered her hipster respect when he told her it was BLACK coffee.  BLACK coffee from the locally owned Broadway Roastery.  Then she said something about a good hazelnut coffee they have there--and he went off.  Don't even get him started on all those flavored creamers.  Or flavored COFFEES for that matter.  Because, as far has he's concerned, if you have to add cream and sugar to your coffee, you shouldn't be drinking coffee at all because you can't appreciate it, or that is BAD coffee.

On its own, that part was fine, I expected it would end there, there are some very passionate black coffee drinkers out there, I get it.  I feel a lot of feelings for drinking Guinness.  But then Toque-ster started talking about his trip to Costa Rica which of course led the entire group of them to an anti-Tim-Horton's rant.

"When I was in Costa Rica, (probably at an all inclusive) I learned SO much about what good coffee ACTUALLY is.  Now I can't even drink Tim Horton's, even though before I went to Costa Rica I would crave a Timmie's, like, every day.  But now I can't even handle it, I hate it."

Ok, let me stop you right there, Toque-ster.  This doesn't make me respect your taste in coffee, all this shows me is how impressionable you are.  You went from loving something to vehemently hating it.  And only in the case of ex-lovers is this permitted.

A few minutes later, when it seemed safe, I navigated the hipster cluster to approach the till to pay and a Tim's card fell out of my wallet.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Tis the Season

Now that temperatures have plummeted below -15 and stayed there, I feel it necessary to bring this up, because it's driving me batty:
The wind chill has no effect on whether or not to plug in your vehicle.

Every night on the news they say, "It's -15 outside, feels like -27 with the wind chill.  Bundle up and plug in your vehicles!"
Your engine will only cool off to the ambient air temperature and then stay there.  The wind chill will not make your engine "feel like -27".  It's easy to remember if you just realize that engines don't feel.

Further reading here if you don't believe me.

The more you know.

Oh... but it's ok if you bundle up.  It's effing cold up in this bitch!