Friday, April 29

Why I'm Running

People have asked me why I’m running to be Lethbridge’s next Member of Parliament. That’s a great question, especially given the uphill battle, and emotional and physical endurance test of a campaign.

I’m running because I am committed to faithfully and forcefully representing the people of Lethbridge. I’m running as a Liberal because I believe that social justice and and a free market compliment each other; we don’t have to choose between helping the disadvantaged or growing the economy. In fact, the Liberal plan does both.

I’m delighted that I have such a strong team of supporters who can help lead the fight for a better Lethbridge. I’m delighted that I have such a strong team of supporters who can help lead the fight for a better Lethbridge. Together, we can do great things!

Monday, April 25

I Will Earn Your Vote

An unfortunate trend has been occurring: my supporters are hesitant to put a sign on their lawn.

At first I figured that their support might be a little soft, so then I’d have to work harder to earn their commitment.

“No, Michael, we’re behind you 200 percent,” they’d say, “We just don’t want a sign on our lawn.”

“Why not?” I’d ask?

“We put a sign on our lawn the last time you ran, and you wouldn’t believe what the neighbours would say to us!”

“What would they say?”

“Get that *blankety-blank* Liberal sign off your lawn! This is Conservative country, we don’t vote Liberal here! And I don’t want to see that *blankety-blank* sign every time I pull out of my driveway!”

Or, people put a sign on their lawn KNOWING that it will provoke a confrontation with neighbours who would use the same script of “This is Conservative country, don’t you dare vote for a Liberal!”

Yikes. I thought this was Canada, not North Korea.

At first I thought that this might just be a few people who live near come cranky Conservative supporters. But as the campaign has been progressing, I’ve been hearing more and more people who say that they’ve experience hostility from Conservatives. They’ve been personally insulted for wearing a Michael Cormican pin, or been flipped the bird from a car driving by.

And so I don’t push the issue with people. I obviously don’t put a sign where people don’t want one. I don’t want my campaign to intrude on the sanctuary that is their home. After all, they have to live in their neighbourhoods long after this campaign is finished.

This isn’t to say that I believe that there’s a widespread conspiracy on the part of the CPC to suppress our democratic freedoms, but I worry that a few Conservative supporters have an overinflated sense of entitlement when it comes to elections. For a vocal minority of Conservatives, voting for another party is tantamount to treason. Such an attitude poisons our democracy.

And we see this sense of entitlement in full bloom with Conservative candidate Jim Hillyer deciding that he won’t publicly defend the Conservative record or answer tough questions from his opponents. Clearly, he’s banking on southern Albertans to vote Conservative out of culture or habit, regardless of the platform or quality of the candidate, or even hearing from him. He’s obviously taking YOUR vote for granted.

But there is an alternative.

I am working hard to earn every vote. I try to answer every question I get asked. I am knocking on doors, visiting senior facilities, dropping by on businesses, talking to people on the street, chatting with students, and participating in public forums. I am listening to YOU.

I believe Lethbridge is a place where democracy flourishes, where people take an active role in the growth of their community, where the marketplace of ideas vibrates with energetic debate. I believe Lethbridge is a riding of new opportunities and fresh possibilities.

And I’m disappointed that the Conservative candidate doesn’t share my belief in what this riding can accomplish.

Sunday, April 24

Consider the Facts when considering who to vote for

Is it appropriate to throw away billions unnecessarily to corporations that so often benefits too few rather than helping the many struggling Canadians - students that have had to quit school because of debt for their education, young couples and seniors struggling to get by and the many Canadian workers and small independent businessmen that have no pensions. Canada's corporate rate is lowest of the G7 and 25% below that of the US. The experts and even the Gov. dept. tells us that this is not the best way to spur and drive the economy. I say it’s irresponsible to cut taxes for corporations at this time.

Then there's the unnecessary billions the Conservatives are intent on squandering on un-tendered fighter-jets and US-style mega prisons which approach to crime failed in the US and will fail in Canada too. Who was it that put us back in debt even before the recession took hold?

The Conservatives try to tell us they’re the best fiscal managers. Now after 5 and a half years of them running (or should I say ruining) our country, our debt is right back where it was in 1993, 570 billion when Liberals took-over from the Mulroney Conservatives. We took us out of debt then and we'll do it again. Check the facts! We need people with the ability to lead at home and abroad.

Response to question on Abortion from Mrs. Remus, April 2011

Since others may have similar question on this issue I thought it best to publish my response on it to Mrs. Remus.

Dear Ms. Remus,

Thank you for your letter and a Blessed Easter to you.

One quick clarification, the Liberal Party of Canada does not support abortion, as you say, but supports a woman’s right to choose. In fact, there is a pro-life caucus within the party; members who have moral difficulties with abortion. There is vigorous debate within the LPC over this issue, but we all agree that abortion is always a tragedy, and we should be creating a social environment where women are not put in the position to make such a difficult choice. As we say, abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare.”

The other parties have a similar position. Conservative leader Stephen Harper has said that he isn’t interested in opening the abortion debate, and NDP leader, Jack Layton, while forcefully arguing that abortion is a womens health issue, nonetheless concedes to the moral problems the issue raises.

The Election Guide is thorough in its examination of the issues, not focusing on one particular item, and each party stands convicted if they had to be in agreement over every matter the bishops identify.

While abortion is often connected to the Liberals and the NDP, Catholics often fail to ask the Conservatives about issues such as poverty, affordable housing, and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, all of which are moral issues that the bishops identify as being important items for voters to consider.

But back to your original point, when Catholics are having abortions at the same rate as the rest of the population, I fear that the bishops are asking politicians to do what they cannot. All the issues the bishops identify in the guide and in other social documents, should be discussed and lived within the Catholic community before we ask other people to live according to our moral frameworks. Too often, we ask people to listen to what the church has to say without first receiving its Saviour. All our moral and ethical behaviour flows from our commitment to Christ and His Church.

On this most holy of days, the Resurrection of our Lord, I agree with the bishops, that God has been revealed to be the Lord of Life, and that life must be protected. As a committed Catholic I covet your prayers as I seek to live out Christ’s call of mercy and justice in our world, so that, as followers of the Risen Christ, we can proclaim His Kingdom of life and salvation in a broken and hurting world.

Thank you,


Saturday, April 23

Your Priorities are My Priorities

The CRTC and Net Neutrality

The CRTC’s decision to support Usage-based Billing billing is unfortunate. It represents a fundamental misunderstanding of how commerce on the internet is transacted. This action is good news of the internet providers, but bad news for those trying to do business online as consumers will think twice about downloading a product if they worry it will cut too much into their data plan.

And I’m a BIG supporter of Net Neutrality. The power of the internet is that EVERYONE has a chance to participate, to find their niche, and build a business. The economy already favours large businesses, an attack on Net Neutrality is an attack on start-ups which offer the most innovative products and services found online. If we want to foster innovation and initiative, especially among our young people, the internet needs to stay neutral.

The Internet is today’s principal conduit for the free flow of ideas. To ensure it facilitates the uninhibited exchange that innovation requires, Canada’s Internet environment must remain open.

Internet traffic management must remain neutral, and maintain the open sharing of legitimate technologies, ideas and applications.  A fair, effective wholesale regime is also essential to allow smaller Internet service providers to lease broadband infrastructure at fair prices.

To my Conservative Friends

We need to talk. I know you have some hesitation about my candidacy, so I'd like to share with you a little bit about who I am, and what I'll do in Ottawa.

I have a proven track record of community leadership and sound fiscal management. I have taken principled stands on issues that are important to me and our community. I do not dodge the tough questions, but hit them head on. I do not fear the people I want to represent. I respect the voters and the democratic process too much not to be fully engaged in spirited debate. Our fathers and mothers fought and died so that we could have the freedom to choose our elected leaders. Our sons and daughters in uniform continue today in that heroic tradition. Failing to participate in the process diminishes their sacrifice.

I have lived in southern Alberta for almost 40 years. I am a proven leader, and have extensive executive management experience and community involvement. I have friends and colleagues from across the political spectrum. I have a history of bringing people together, not needlessly dividing them.

I can follow in the dedicated and trusted representation that Mr. Casson so ably provided for his terms in office. While our policies and perspectives differ, I know Mr. Casson to be a faithful public servant, who sacrificed much to give the Lethbridge riding the kind of representation it deserves and demands. He leaves big shoes to fill, and it is my hope that you will provide me with the same opportunity to speak for Lethbridge in parliament, continuing in his footsteps.

In Ottawa, I will work hard to earn your continued respect as I put the priorities of the Lethbridge riding first. I will ensure that the voice of southern Alberta is heard in parliament.

So, I ask that you trust me with your sacred vote, and to allow me to represent you and the interests of southern Alberta in Ottawa, as together, we make our community stronger and more prosperous.

On May 2nd I ask you to vote Michael Cormican for Lethbridge.

Thank you,


Tuesday, April 19

A Letter from Alberta Senator Tommy Banks

There is only one thing about the outcome of the May 2nd election on which Mr. Ignatieff and Mr. Harper agree.   It is that one of them will be the Prime Minister of Canada.   Mr. Layton, Mr. Duceppe and Ms. May are not in the running to form a government.  They can't. It will be either Mr.
Ignatieff or Mr. Harper.

That is the choice, and it is a very clear - in fact, stark choice.   

We will choose between openness or secrecy.
Between listening or refusing to listen.
Between someone who respects Parliament or someone who disdains it.
Between things we can and will do now or things that, (provided of course
that everything goes well), we might do in five or six years.
Between someone who answers all questions from Canadians,  or someone who
won't accept any.

Between Mr. Harper who said "It's past time the feds scrapped the Canada

Health Act", or Mr. Ignatieff who said " . . . we don't want user fees.   We want
universal, accessible, free-at-the-point-of-service health care, paid out of
general revenue.   That's just bottom line. Otherwise we get two-tiered".

Between buying jets or helping vets.  

Between real early childhood learning and care or Saturday-night
Between respect for our great institutions or contempt for them.
Between helping families or helping big corporations.
Between the Canada that we think we have, or the way in which Mr. Harper has
already changed it.

Over the past few years Mr. Harper's government has quietly engineered so

many changes that there are some ways in which our country is barely
recognizable.   Many of us don't yet realize the extent of those changes,
because many of them have been brought about very carefully and gradually -
almost imperceptibly in some cases.

This is diabolically clever.   If these things had all been done at once,

there would have been loud protests and reactions.    But moving just one
little brick at a time doesn't cause much fuss - until you realize that the
whole house has been renovated.   And we've hardly noticed.

These are changes that are at the very heart of who and what Canadians are.

They are changes to the protections that used to exist against the tyranny

of the majority - or against a single-minded my-way-or-the-highway autocrat.

These changes are losses to our very Canadian-ness.   Let me remind you of

some of them:

The Law Commission of Canada was created by an Act of Parliament in 1997.

It worked very well.   It kept an eye in a sort-of avuncular way, on necessary reforms of the law, including election law.   The Commission couldn't actually change law; but it was very good at letting governmentsand everybody else know when changes needed to be made and why.   It was our legal Jiminy Cricket, and it performed a valuable service for Canada.   The Commission was created by an Act of Parliament, and any government wanting to shut it down should have been up-front about it. It should have come to Parliament with a Bill to rescind The Law Commission
of Canada Act. 

That's what any of our 21 previous Prime Ministers would have done.

But to Mr. Harper, Parliament is an inconvenience.   Somebody might ask "Why

are you doing this?"   But he didn't want to go through all that Parliamentary trouble; so, rather than proposing the abolition of the Commission (a proposal about which there would have been pretty fierce debate on all sides), they just eliminated all funding for it in the federal budget.   Governments can do that.
Poof - no Law Commission.

Nice and quiet.   Just one little brick.   Hardly noticed.

Then there was the Court Challenges Programme, set up in 1994, which was the

means by which a bit of legal help could be provided to a private individual
or small organization who didn't have a lot of money, and who was taking on,
or being taken on by, the Government of Canada.   It leveled the legal
playing field a bit.   It was a perfect example of fundamental Canadian

By convincing a tough panel of judges of the reasonableness of your cause,

you could get a little help in paying for some lawyers to go up against the phalanx of legal beagles that could always, and forever, and at public expense, be brought to bear against you by the State.   In other words, if you weren't rich, and if you were taking on or being taken on by the Feds, you might have had a chance.
But Mr. Harper doesn't like being questioned, let alone challenged.   It's
so inconvenient!
Solution?   Quietly announce that the Court Challenges Programme is being,
er, discontinued.
Poof - no Court Challenges Programme - no court challenges.

Hardly noticed.

The Coordination of Access to Information Request System (CAIRS) was created

(by a Progressive-Conservative government) in 1989 so that departments of
government could harmonize their responses to access-to-information requests
that might need multi-departmental responses.   It was efficient; it made
sure that in most cases the left hand knew what the right hand was doing, or
at least what they were saying; and it helped to keep government open and
Well, if you're running a closed-door government, that's not a good idea, is
So, as a Treasury Board official explained to the Canadian Press, CAIRS was
killed by the Harper government because "extensive" consultations showed it
wasn't valued by government departments.   I guess that means that the
extensive consultations were all with government departments.

Wait! Wasn't there anybody else with whom to extensively consult?   Wasn't

there some other purpose and use for CAIRS?   Didn't it have something to do
with openness and accountability?   I guess not.   Robert Makichuk, speaking
for Mr. Harper's government, explained that "valuable resources currently
being used to maintain CAIRS would be better used in the collection and
analysis of improved statistical reporting".

Right.  In other words, CAIRS was an inconvenience to the government.   So

poof - it's disappeared.   And, except for investigative reporters and other
people who might (horrors!) ask questions, its loss is hardly noticed.

And the bridge too far for me: Cutting the already-utterly-inadequate

funding for the exposure of Canadian art and artists in other countries.
That funding was, by any comparison, already laughably miniscule.   Mr.
Harper says that "ordinary" Canadians don't support the arts.   He's wrong.

And his is now the only government of any significant country in the world

that clearly just doesn't get it.

All these changes were done quietly, cleverly, and under the radar.   

No fuss.   No outcry.   Just one little brick at a time.
But in these and other ways, our Canadian house is no longer the kind of
place it once was.
Nobody minds good renovations.   Nobody even minds tearing something down,
as long as we put up something better in its place.  That's not what has

Mr. Harper fired the head of the Canadian Wheat Board because he was doing

his job properly.
He removed the head of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission because she
wanted to make sure that the Chalk River nuclear reactor was safe.

Hardly noticed.

There are many more things that were hardly noticed:  Cuts to funding for

the Status of Women,  Adult Learning and Literacy,  Environmental Programs,  museums funding, and more.
All quietly, just one brick at a time.

Hardly noticed.

As to campaign promises, everybody in sight on every side is guilty of

breaking those.   Except the Federal NDP of course, who haven't yet had the
opportunity.   (It's very easy to make promises that you know you will not
likely have to keep).

But the government promised to end wait times in health care.  They didn't.

They promised to end, once and for all, the whining of some provinces about

the non-existent "fiscal imbalance".   They didn't.

They said they had brought final resolution to the softwood lumber problem
with the U.S.   They haven't. They promised to create thousands of new
child-care spaces in Canada. They haven't.
They promised not to tax income trusts ("We will NEVER do that!" they said).
They taxed them.
They promised to lower your income tax.

They raised it.

They said they had a good "made-in-Canada" plan to meet our obligations on
climate change.   They don't.   Mr. Harper has said plainly that whatever the Americans do is what we'll do too.

They campaign on a platform of transparency and accountability; but they're
  now trying to discredit the Parliamentary Budget Officer that they created, because he's trying to do the job that they gave him. Mr. Harper said that our form of government, evolved over centuries from the 900-year-old British Westminster tradition, was all wrong.   We had to have fixed election dates, because otherwise, democratic principles would be trampled.  "Fixed election dates", he said, "stop leaders from trying to manipulate the calendar.   They level the playing field for all parties".

So Parliament (remember them?) at Mr. Harper's insistence, passed a law
requiring fixed election dates, which Mr. Harper promptly broke.

Somebody once said that we get the kind of government we deserve.


What did we do to deserve Mr. Harper?

He once said that we should all "Stand Up for Canada".   Well, let's do

We just have to decide whether the present version of Canada is the one that
we'll stand up for.   Or stand for.

Thank you

Tommy Banks (an Alberta Senator.)

Monday, April 18

List of Candidate Forums

Candidate Forums
      Attend the forums  ~  Ask questions    ~    show Michael your support

April 18 - Monday
7:00 to 9:00 pm
Indecision 2011: Alternative Candidate's Forum & Dialogue
SU Ballroom, Student Union Building, University of Lethbridge
Informal roundtable discussion; Free BBQ at 6 pm

April 19 - Tuesday
7:00 to 9:00 pm
SACPA Election forum
Theatre Gallery, Lethbridge Public Library (810 - 5 Ave South, Lethbridge)

April 20 - Wednesday
12:00 to 1:30
All Candidate Meet & Greet
Room A, Lethbridge Senior Citizen Organization (500 - 11 Street South, Lethbridge)
7:00 to 9:00
Picture Butte Chamber of Commerce Election Forum
Picture Butte Community Centre (607 Highway Ave, Picture Butte)

April 26 - Tuesday

7:00 to 9:00 pm
Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce Election Forum
Yates Memorial Centre (1002 - 4 Avenue South, Lethbridge 1002 - 4 Avenue South)

April 27 - Wednesday

7:00 to 9:00 pm
Coaldale Chamber of Commerce Forum
Coaldale Community Centre (1217 - 20 Ave, Coaldale)

April 28 - Thursday
7:00 to 9:00
YWCA & Social Housing Forum
Galt Museum & Archives (502 - 1 Street South, Lethbridge)
Focus on social housing, national housing strategy, women’s issues, equality, poverty, childcare, violence.

Rest and Preparation

Yesterday was a day for reflection, rest and re-invigoration. I attended church in the morning, and spent the afternoon and evening preparing for a week of upcoming debates with assistance of key members of my team.

This morning I read in the Lethbridge Herald that Mr. Harper continues attempts to escalate his politics of fear to further his attempt to get the majority he wants, raising separation as an issue which has not been raised for years. It’s as if he’s written off Quebec by bringing up an issue that gets Canadians riled up, while solidifying Quebec’s separatist base for the Bloc. It looks like Harper’s becoming Gilles Duceppe’s best friend.

Seems to me Harper is desperately trying to find a wedge issue that might be advantageous to him to get that majority he says he wants. But what is good for Harper is not good for Canadians.

A new Liberal government will bring Canadians together, not create division. We will focus on what unites us, not what divides us.

Saturday, April 16

Fabulous Friday!

Was surprised this morning when Justin, a young man that helped me campaigning previously knocked on my door, offering to help again, because he believes that the riding is winnable. I do too! 

(More and more people are coming out of the woodwork to work on the campaign or donate money, help me get elected. Something exciting is happening in Lethbridge!)

In the afternoon I shot a TV ad, with help from Chris, Tyler, and Dustin. George Clooney I am not, but it was fun to do. And I look forward to getting my message out to more people.

Then I popped in at the university and met with some students and staff. Was really impressed with their ideas and energy! I reminded the young people of the importance of voting. After all, we’re voting for the future of our country!

One of my twitter friends recognized me at the U of L, which was wonderful. Was glad to put a face to the username. Had a stimulating catch-up on each others perspectives. 

And from there we went on a very successful door-knocking session along 13th Street North resulting in a few people asking for signs. Always glad to put some signs up!  Thanks Anja, for your help. You were a wonderful door-knocking partner!

Then we dropped in on the combined Lethbridge East and West AGMs of the Alberta Liberal Party, and heard a frank update from MLA Bridget Pastoor.

Before retiring for the evening I dropped by to wish friend Sue well following her hip surgery.

All in all, it was a fabulous Friday!

Friday, April 15

Thursday Was a Day of Learning! But What's With the Snow!?

Thought snow was finished but had to shovel for ¾ hr. to get out at home, then got stuck at the office. Attended SACPA session by Dr. Michelle Hogue discussing ‘BARRIERS TO SUCCESS FOR ABORIGINAL STUDENTS in POST-SECONDARY (SCIENCE) EDUCATION’. Excellent talk.

Then had and interview by a young lady with respect to why I’m running for office and my beliefs. Attended open house on the proposed Anaerobic digestion facility at the Perry farm at Chin. Great to hear about such imaginative and in keeping with the cycle of nature advancements in the farming industry. 

I finished-off the day attending the Community meeting on the issue of Fracking held at the Library. Everyone was asked to convey their concerns about and request a moratorium on the practice until we can all be assured as to its safety not only in the short but in the long-term.

Thursday, April 14

From the Globe and Mail - Letter to the Editor

Letter to editor Globe and Mail April 13, 2011.

Making it work

Twelve years ago I worked with Michael Ignatieff as an editor in a writing program at the Banff Centre for the Arts. In order to work that summer, I needed to bring my two children and a babysitter, unprecedented in the program. “Fine,” said Mr. Ignatieff , “we’ll make it work.” He proceeded to get the housing I needed. He instantly supported my assumption that even during these child-rearing years I should work to my maximum potential.

That same summer he facilitated disability rights activist Catherine Frazee’s participation in the program by backing her request that the entire Banff centre be made wheelchair accessible. It was a stimulating, very productive summer for all of us as we worked on writing, activism and intellectual exploration.

Mr. Ignatieff was not a politician in those days. Equal opportunity for all was simply something he assumed, believed in, acted on and lived. Imagine what he could do for this country.

Kim Echlin, Toronto

Update and retrospective

Great day again. Visited Seniors’ Care Center in am and businesses in pm. Great hearing of advances in greening technologies in pm and discussing rollback of pay-roll taxes and pensions for small business. Positive response about Michael's performance in the Leaders' Debate.
Aboriginal friend tells me people on the reserve unhappy there will not be voting station there. I’ve passed-on the concern.

Wednesday, April 13

Another Good Day!

I can't tell if this campaign is a marathon or a sprint! Five weeks is short, but the days are busy and long!

After scan of the papers started day at Tim's on Scenic. Generally positive response. Then met with Rod from Metis Association followed by visit to Alberta Rose Lodge.

Had lunch in Coaldale and visited lodge and Senior Center with friend, Dr. Jim. Was joined by friend Bruce from Calgary door-knocking on North Parkside Drive followed by supper and the Leaders Debate in English.

Michael certainly performed well and they all did a good job reminding Mr. Harper of his record, deception, and lack of responsibility but side-stepped the issues playing the "poor defenceless kid being picked-on by the others" role.

Then Bal joined Bruce and I campaigning on McMaster Blvd where we secured locations for larger signs.

Monday, April 11

The First Two Weeks

It has been a busy couple weeks and it is clear our Team has led the way in unveiling our platform. Each day policy details were released and which are on the web for all to see; and, our platform is fully costed.

Our Team will help PEOPLE instead of giving more money to corporations whose tax-rates are lowest in the G7 and 25% below those in the US.  We need have no concern about inability to compete in the marketplace.

The most difficult issue for me on the campaign trail is those who are so closed-minded that they walk-away and/or in their rant tell me “you’re all the same"  or something like that.

Our team will put the money thus generated into health care, education and help Canadians to green-up by retrofitting their homes and all of which will help our economy.

It will “strengthen families – without raising your taxes – if we stop corporate giveaways, turn the page on wasteful spending like $30-billion fighter jets, and focus on what really matters: giving every Canadian the tools to succeed in the years ahead.”

I  also see preservation of public healthcare as a huge priority. The following is what we call the ‘Liberal Family Pack’.

1. Learning Passport

The new Learning Passport will open the doors for every young Canadian who wants to go to college, university or trade-school, and will help every family struggling to save enough to pay for it:
$1,000 a year over four years for every high school student in Canada to use when they go to college or university, or $4,000 in total.

For students in low income families, the amount will be $1,500 a year, or $6,000 in total.

2. Early Childhood Learning

To give our kids the best start while giving parents access to affordable, quality child care, a Liberal government will create a new Early Childhood Learning and Care Fund. This fund will help create new affordable child care spaces across Canada.

3. Family Care

To help Canadians who care for elderly or seriously ill loved ones manage the financial pressures of caregiving, the Liberal Family Care Plan will offer:

  • A new Family Care Employment Insurance Benefit, similar to EI parental leave, to let caregivers take six months off work to care for gravely ill family members at home; and
  • A new Family Care Tax Benefit up to $1,350 annually, modeled on the Child Tax Benefit, to help low- and middle-income family caregivers manage costs

4. Stronger Public Pensions

To make sure every Canadian has a secure retirement, a Liberal government will:
  • Work with the provinces and territories to gradually expand the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), the most reliable, simple and low-cost way to save;
  • Put forward the Secure Retirement Option (SRO), a voluntary supplement to the CPP for any Canadian worker who wants it. Under the SRO, Canadians could save a tax-deductible percentage of their pay in a secure retirement fund backed by the CPP; and
  • Help low-income seniors with a $700-million boost to the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)
5. Green Renovation Tax Credit

To help Canadians save on energy costs while helping the environment, a Liberal government will implement a permanent Green Renovation Tax Credit of up to $13,500. This fund will help families with the up-front costs of energy-saving home renovations such as installing energy-efficient windows, improving insulation, replacing old appliances, and upgrading roofing

Of course, we have proposed many other policies too and I will provide those policies as soon as possible too and I trust people will contact me on any concerns they might have.

Sunday, April 10

Honouring the Sacrifices Made for Our Democracy

“You’re all just a bunch of crooks, the lot of ya!”

“Same shit, different pile, that’s what I think of you politicians, I don’t give a damn what party you’re with.”

“They should get rid of all of ya and start from scratch, you damned politicians are just in it for yourselves.”

I could go on but you get the idea.
While the overwhelming majority of people I meet are positive toward me and the election, I encounter too many people with these attitudes, attitudes which I find offensive.

It’s not the language that bothers me (I’m a big boy I’ve heard it all before), it’s the casual and careless dismissal of our democracy, a democracy which our fathers, mothers, and grandparents died to defend, that I find galling.

I find it especially troubling this weekend as we remember the Canadian dead whose blood is still in the ground of Nord-Pas-de-Calais from the Battle of Vimy Ridge. We must never forget the sacrifices that they and their families made so that we can live in a free and democratic country. Casting our ballots honours their sacrifice. Cavalierly  insulting politicians dishonours our soldiers’ legacy.

I personally know politicians of all political persuasions, and most of them are hard-working, honourable public servants who genuinely want to see a stronger and more prosperous Canada. We simply disagree (often vigorously) on how to achieve that goal.

Yes, there are corrupt politicians only interested in personal gain. But they are a small minority of members of a profession that prizes service to the community. Many politicians make personal, professional, and financial sacrifices to serve. If they’re in it for a golden handshake, they’re going to be sorely disappointed. There are easier ways to get rich than by running for office.

So, to dismiss all politicians as lazy crooks is to tarnish those who work hard to represent their constituencies, and who serve the people according to their consciences. And makes it harder to find publicly-minded people to run for office and serve our communities in the future.

So, when a politician arrives at your door, you don’t have to agree with him or her, but you should respect the democratic process that they - and we all - are involved with.

Next: Encouraging our young people to participate in democracy.

Friday, April 8

McDonalds, Malls, and Hot Chocolate

Herman came with me to people at McDonald's in am, followed by a walk through the Bay Mall which was relatively quiet, so we when to Park Place which was busier. Met LOTS of people.

At noon I went to SACPA to hear about how our retreating Glaciers affect climate. Fascinating stuff.

 Cathy accompanied me as I went door-to-door along Scenic. The day ended at Cybele for much needed hot chocolate.

It's also obvious that people don't trust Mr. Harper to preserve our public health care system. That's been a theme that I've been hearing from Lethbridge voters.

Tuesday, April 5

On the Campaign Trail!

Started early today and got the latest policy release focusing on veterans (Vets not jets!)  before visiting with people at the northside McDonalds. First hour was a little slow but after 9 the pace picked up.

Talked with LOTS of people. Some challenged me on Liberal policy (I LOVE good questions!), others were very supportive, and some had yet to make up their minds. Great! That's what an election is all about!

Again by and large very gratifying and uplifting. Also, did a little door-to-door and got more sign locations. Really enjoying seeing more signs go up!

Tonight I hope to get to the Vox Musica concert. Rutter's Mass for the Children is a wonderfully moving piece. Plus I'd like to connect with some fellow music lovers in the community.

Hopefully my schedule permits. But right now my main priority is meeting YOU and hearing what you have to say!

Sunday, April 3

A Long, Full, Day

Got home after 11 last night. Spoke to Gloria a few minutes and then on to the computer. Then quick scan of the papers of the day but dozed and unable to pull myself off the chair. Bed @ 2 or after.

However, had good day. First on Friday, visited Tim's on 43rd on own. Ran into some outspoken oil patch workers who forgot their manners at home.

However, better in pm where attended a fundraising dinner for Cancer at the Eagles Hall. The company and feedback was reassuring and the stake was bang-on. Hats off to the cooks and the Eagles org. for the great work they do. Also did some door-knocking along 13th St. South. A couple families asked for some lawn signs.

Yesterday also better - some coffee shop visiting at Scenic Drive Tim's. More and more people responding to the Liberal message.  One patron at Tim's quickly noted the recent CBC poll which shows that answering yes to the questions posed suggests you are Liberal. Some readily disclose which way they're voting while some prefer to keep it private. 

Attended a ham supper fundraiser at First United Church and renewed some friendships and made some new ones. The ham was tasty and tender. My compliments to the cooks. Keep-up the great work. That's the kind of stuff that generates community and goodwill which is what life's all about.

Then thanks to Tyler I topped off the day and really enjoyed a steel drum concert at the U of L.

Feedback continues heart-warming and uplifting.

Kickoff Speech

Welcome Friends, Bonjour, Oki,
We are here today because we are concerned about the direction in which our great country is headed.

With contempt of parliament, fake lakes, and out-of-control deficits; we KNOW that Canada TRULY deserves better.

It’s time to return to caring, compassionate government, a government that puts the priorities of YOU and YOUR families first.

So, on May 2nd elect a government that chooses
  • PENSIONS not prisons
  • that chooses CHILD CARE not corporate give-away’s
  • that chooses an EDUCATED WORKFORCE not overpriced fighter jets.

Our plan IMPROVES peoples’ lives. Our plan puts our country back on track.

And I need your help. Because together, we will PUT PEOPLE FIRST, again.

I have been a community leader for over 30 years in Lethbridge and Southern Alberta, and I KNOW the issues of this riding, and I KNOW what needs to be done to make us stronger and more prosperous.

I have spent years working to increase access to opportunities for every Canadian.
I have secured housing for over 60 families.
I have built partnerships with our Aboriginal friends
I have provided programs for people with special needs.

In my work as a health care practitioner and as a manager in Alberta health services, I have seen up close the devastating effects of a starved health care system. As chair of Friends of Medicare, I have defended our public health care system against those who would privatize it.

My fight doesn’t stop there.

I am committed to water conservation, and I am committed to opening economic doors so people from all walks of life can live with dignity and participate in the opportunities this great riding has to offer.

Lethbridge includes the second largest senior population in Canada and we need to protect them. Our Family Care Plan provides REAL support for struggling seniors.

We are going to work hard.
We are determined.

With YOUR help, I WILL EARN the opportunity to serve the people of this great riding.

Together we will make history …
Together we will bring change …
Together we will create a stronger Lethbridge.

Thank You and Merci Beaucoup, Gaedmatsen

Pics From the Kickoff

         Michael meeting an enthusiastic supporter

                                          Michael shaking hands with old friends.

                                       Michael raising the roof with a rousing speech!

                                                Michael rallying the troops!