Encouraging Engagement in Canadian Politics

A good chunk of Canadians have been feeling disillusioned by our current government’s actions that go against what the majority of Canadian actually want. This is unfortunate because the less engaged the populous becomes the easier it is to pass bad policy.

A new organization in Toronto is looking to change this by encouraging leaders to get engaged in politics. It also has a strong emphasis on supporting MPs and helping them stay engaged and get them to encourage other people.

“Our ultimate goal is not to influence policy change on xyz policy issues,” says Loat. “We are much more about igniting the public imagination and conversation.”

One of the first tasks of the fledgling organization, now housed in a Victorian mansion on Prince Arthur Ave, was to figure out not only its actual mission but it premiere project. One idea involved supporting an MP’s difficult transition to public life via a training program, mentoring or even, executive education. Instead, it was suggested that that they simply ask the MPs what they needed.

It was a small suggestion that became a “light bulb” moment. Why not conduct the kind of formal exit interviews common to corporate life?

“We learned that it had never been done before,” says Loat. “And we thought that this is so obvious.”

The two co-founders travelled across the country to do more than half of the 65 interviews personally in what Loat proudly considers to be one of the largest pieces of research on leadership in Canadian history. The results of the MP Exit Interview project, designed specifically for future use by academics, will continue to be published just like The Accidental Citizen; future reports will cover what the work of an MP, their role as the “nexus” between government and citizens and finally, their reflections and recommendations

Read more at Yonge Street Media.

Canadians Advocating Political Participation

Canadians Advocating Political Participation is a new organization born out of the Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament group which has set out to get Canadians more politically engaged.

On the CAPP website you can read all about their mission.

Here’s a video introduction to the cause:

And here’s a Facebook group you can join.

North American Governments Agree to Protect Wilderness

With so many reports of Canada and the US flouting international agreements on environmental reform, it’s nice to see that we care about something. Canada, America and Mexico have just drafted a memorandum of understanding on protecting wilderness areas in the three countries.

The three nations have long cooperated on wilderness management – programs have straddle the U.S.-Canadian border since 1910 and the U.S.-Mexican border since the 1930s. Yet the memorandum of understanding is the first multinational agreement on wilderness protection, according to Vance Martin, president of the Wild Foundation.

“It’s not very easy to do anything internationally, even when the countries are neighbors,” Martin said.

With the agreement, wildlife officials said, ecological monitoring efforts such as migratory species tracking, air and water quality tests, and staff training will be better managed across the seven agencies responsible for such tasks in North America.

Read more at Worldchanging

New German Government: USA nukes to GTFO, Rich want to tax themselves

The new German government has begun a process of asking the American government to take their nukes out of Germany.

Time has the scoop

“We want the last nuclear weapons that are stationed in Germany to be taken away,” Westerwelle said at the conclusion of the coalition talks on Saturday. The U.S. doesn’t disclose the exact number of nuclear warheads it still keeps in Germany, a legacy of its Cold War policy that dates back to the 1950s, and which made western Germany the frontline of its Soviet containment strategy. But German sources estimate there could be as many as 20 nukes still in the country.

Germany has also changed some of its taxation policies to help get through the global economic hilarity, but the rich are arguing that their taxes should be raised.

The BBC knows what to say about this.

A group of rich Germans has launched a petition calling for the government to make wealthy people pay higher taxes.
The group say they have more money than they need, and the extra revenue could fund economic and social programmes to aid Germany’s economic recovery.
Germany could raise 100bn euros (£91bn) if the richest people paid a 5% wealth tax for two years, they say.

Norway May Ban Gasoline Cars by 2015

Norway is looking at the option to ban gasoline-powered cars to be sold in Norway. Under the proposal hybrids, flex-fuels, and biofuel powered cars can still be sold, which means that the plan is quite reasonable. I really hope they go forward with this plan – and hopefully other countries will follow.

“This is much more realistic than people think when they first hear about this proposal,” she told Reuters, defending a plan by her Socialist Left Party to outlaw sales of cars that run solely on fossil fuels in six years’ time.

Halvorsen denied that her proposal would undermine the economy — Norway is the world’s number six oil exporter.

“Not at all … we know that the world will be dependent on oil and gas for many decades ahead but we have to introduce new technologies and this is a proposal to support that,” she said.

Asked what she would say if she met the head of a big car producer such as General Motors, she said: “develop new and more environmentally friendly cars. And I know they are working on that question.”

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