Sunday, January 31

Preparing for the Canada we want in 2017 and beyond

I applaud those providing this opportunity for Canadians to review and especially look at the future; in essence to dream, share and express our hopes to help us and our great country to continue working toward being the best we can be. Though relatively new as a nation, in the context of the history of nations; our size, resources and reasonableness we are blessed with and the influence we have acquired it is timely to assess and be prepared for not only our 150th milestone but for well into the foreseeable future. We have a responsibility to keep up with our maturity and to continue as the beacon that people will continue to look to and emulate. I truly appreciate being afforded the opportunity to participate and contribute to help ensure that as many as possible of the broadest spectrum of ideas and aspirations possible are shared and used to encourage hope, to redefine our vision, engender confidence and recalibrate us as we continue our journey. It is great to note the number of Canadians that have responded obviously from across the political divides, as it should be to share their vision and ideas to help develop the broadest consensus possible.

In preparation to achieve our goals I believe we need a “Canada first” policy but with a caring eye and our hand ready to reach-out to those near and far who are less fortunate. We need to encourage cooperation rather than versus partisanship and get away from the rugged individualist attitude that may have worked in bygone days but must give way to cooperation if we want to survive. We need to cultivate our caring strengths and to work as a team, and we need to believe “we can do it”. We need to get away from the negatives i.e. “the sky is falling”, or worse still, the punitive and vengeful “pound of flesh” attitude, and encourage the positive or we too will be brought down if as predicted by some western civilization collapses. We should recognize the fact that other people progress and enjoy quality of life too, and we must get away from a politics of fear and division. We must encourage everyone to contribute, participate and share so that everyone can enjoy comfort and security.

We need to encourage, re-kindle, engender and maintain a sense of fairness, equity and “win/win” for each other and everyone in our dealings with each other, so that those challenged, whether young or old, female, or of whatever status or minority regardless of affiliation or orientation feel fulfilled.

To minimize and avoid mistakes of the past, let us ensure that we have reasonable regulations in place for those institutions responsible for our welfare and security, especially in the food, health and financial production, and provide regulations that will not stifle, but assure quality, safety and equity. In respect to financial losses, I suggest that in balancing overall best interest, the individual should have first right to fair compensation over the collective or corporation, and stockholders or directors’ needs should be secondary.

Not only because of the fragility of the environment and finiteness of resources but as responsible people we must manage them with prudence and sustainability to ensure not only our own survival, but that of our progeny and that of other species and our environment. We need to encourage and reward frugality, environmentally conscious life styles and innovation, while accepting and encouraging diversity and alternatives, rather than feeling threatened and squelching dissent or difference in initiative.

In a world of limited resources we need to learn to “make do” with less, learn to be and to develop value for quality of life rather than being a slave to activity and consumption. We need to encourage reuse of used resources and waste as much as possible and we should use passive energy resources wherever possible, in keeping with conservation and sustainability principles and to learn to be satisfied with much less and realize there’s more to life than consumption.

Our governments need to return as soon as possible to balanced budgeting and encourage contingency (“rainy-day”) saving plans that can be drawn on when times unexpectedly become challenging due to catastrophe or natural upsets; and we need to assist neighbors in need, whether near or far-away. And;

We especially need to encourage and develop systems that allow everyone eligible to be fully involved in the democratic process so they will exercise their franchise and fully enjoy the widest array of the benefits of democracy. We especially need to assist each other to respect each other’s differences of opinion as well as the right to speak one’s opinion without fear of retaliation; and we need to respect traditions and conventions.

We need to clarify the role and responsibility of government for ensuring order, stability and balance in the best interest of all citizens; and we need to protect rights of competing interests to assure equity for all. Furthermore, we need to clarify government’s responsibility as being to serve the people, and to ensure and balance the greatest good, regardless of partisanship, beliefs or other considerations. We need to work assertively ensuring all segments of our great society can enjoy individual and our societal benefits equitably and we especially need to ensure everyone has access to basic health care and supports endeavoring to ensure our well-being with specific reference to Medicare. We really need to take a stand and finish the second phase so we can assure and have the healthiest citizenry and workforce as we continue our journey and building our great nation.

It would be a positive step to provide the most detailed guide possible outlining expectations and conduct for those serving us in public office. It should be clear that once elected a representative is expected to hear and serve all regardless of affiliation, belief or other status. Any such guide should include the expectation that individual and public meetings will be held as frequently as is feasible, to increase and ensure sensitivity and up-datedness in keeping with needs.

Regardless of the potential outcome for parties that benefit from the existing electoral system we immediately need to seriously determine which form of proportional representation would best suit our needs, and to institute it so that our democracy can provide the best and most objective government possible in the best interests of all Canadians. Likewise, I am convinced we need the input, review and balance provided by a second house of government, our Senate; but we need to seriously review and determine whether or not senators should be elected, and for how long they should hold office.

We need to continue to push for continued progress in equity, rights and quality of life for all people and beings on our planet.

Michael Cormican; Lethbridge, Alberta

Monday, January 11

Best Wishes for 2010 and may it be kinder to us than 2009 was!

In review of the past year I note as follows; I continue on the various committees I’ve been involved in for years i.e.

• Lethbridge Social Housing Leaders Committee and the city’s Affordable Housing Committee,
• Sik-ooh-kotoki Friendship Society - as Secretary, and the
• Aboriginal Housing Society of which I am Vice-chair. Though in existence only a few years, Aboriginal Housing has successfully completed its first development in housing. We’ve accommodated 30 families and we’re working frantically to get our next plans underway. It’s exciting to be involved with such dynamic people and in such rewarding work.

I’ve enjoyed many local events and meetings assisting in strategic and future plans and we foresee exciting times ahead for Sik-ooh-kotoki and Aboriginal Housing. In February we had a successful 40th Anniversary Gala for Sik-ooh-kotoki and in August I attended the annual Convention of Friendship Centers of Canada in Niagara Falls.

I also continue on the local Federal and Provincial Liberal Associations and the annual conventions as well as the National Liberal Convention in Vancouver in May. In June, with encouragement of my wife and friends, I treated myself by accepting an invitation to Ottawa. In addition to a tour of Parliament with our gracious and enthusiastic Senator Joyce Fairbairn, I met with some key Liberal politicians. For the reference and the record I presented in a brief outlining needs and issues that had been raised by various local political and community representatives in earlier contacts here. Hopefully in time and as the economy improves the effort will bring the desired results for the area. Unfortunately, Mr. Casson was busy and unable to meet with me. To assist them or anyone dealing with or visiting the area I also presented a profile I compiled of the area.

Throughout this past year, I devoted much time and energy on health care issues due to being elected chair of the Lethbridge Chapter of Friends of Medicare. Being the 40th Anniversary of Medicare in Alberta we planned to celebrate but had to return to our advocacy role when the Alberta government started major aggressive cuts and changes through its new organization, Alberta Health Services. Friends of Medicare which is a province-wide organization could not sit idly by.

We held rallies, information sessions, meetings and arranged for speakers to inform the public on the facts, and sustainability of Medicare. The fight continues. Not only should every Albertan be concerned but every Canadian should be concerned about the cuts and privatization the Alberta Government is implementing. They have totally demoralized the health workforce and ironically they are moving closer to privatized medicine just as the US moves closer to establishing what Canadians have enjoyed for 40 years!

In review, I must admit that we Liberals have had a tumultuous year; however; being an optimist, I foresee the outlook changing. We need to continue doing our best and what is right. Mr. Harper appears to be testing “the limits of tolerance”, especially with the issues concerning Afghan detainees, the environment and Canada’s representation in Copenhagen and now, the final insult, another prorogation of Parliament. If I can be of assistance please contact me by email or phone at 403-381-7635.

Michael Cormican