Mitchel Raphael on what Belinda Stronach learned about latrines -

Mitchel Raphael on what Belinda Stronach learned about latrines

Why toilets matter more than teachers, MPs say it with hair, and The fake lake lives on


Why toilets matter more than teachers
Former Liberal cabinet minister Belinda Stronach held a special G(irls)20 summit in Toronto as a warm-up to the G20 hitting the city. Twenty-one women from the G20 countries and the African Union gathered to participate in workshops fostering ideas to tackle global challenges. Stronach said what struck her was the order of priorities in many developing countries when it comes to educating girls. The number one need is for dormitories, especially for girls who live far from a school and don’t have proper security for the trek. Next come latrines: some schools only have boys’ washrooms—or none at all. Then come teachers, and last on the list are books. “It’s a reminder of how unsafe some of these places are for young women,” says Stronach. When asked if the G(irls)20 summit also featured a “fake lake,” Stronach noted, “This is a very serious endeavour. We have a lot of sponsors and we manage their money very carefully.”

MPs say it with hair
Many MPs rushed over worriedly when Bloc MP Nicole Demers, a breast cancer survivor, turned up recently with a shaved head. She calmed their fears, telling them she’d shaved—for the fourth time—to support Leucan, a Quebec organization for children with leukemia and other cancers. “This is for kids to realize they are not alone,” Demers says. Also using her tresses to promote a cause is Vancouver Liberal MP Joyce Murray, who has been sporting bright red hair as part of the cystic fibrosis awareness campaign Reddy for a Cure. The campaign honours Eva Markvoort, a fiery redhead who blogged about her ordeal with CF and died at the age of 25. How long will Murray keep the bright red locks? She quipped, “Well, Canada Day is coming.” Nothing says Canada Day like red.

The fake lake lives on
The “fake lake” at Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff ’s annual garden party for the media was so popular that the Grits decided to keep it for the subsequent MP and staff parties. But the kids’ swimming pool, complete with fake ducks to create a Muskoka-like “fake lake” ambience, had to be dismantled and set up again for each party, lest it destroy the lawn. Noted one Liberal staffer, “We’d get in trouble with the NCC [National Capital Commission].” Jokes about the Conservatives’ “fake lake” were a constant on the Hill as Parliament wound down for the summer. Justin Trudeau’s aide Louis-Alexandre Lanthier cracked, “They build a fake lake right beside Lake Ontario—can you imagine if the G20 had been held in Niagara Falls?”

Why he won’t run for mayor
There has been buzz on the Hill about whether Nova Scotia NDP Peter Stoffer will run for mayor of Halifax in the next election. He says it all started when he was asked if he would consider entering the race and simply replied, “I never say never”—thereby sparking a frenzy of speculation. For the record, then: Stoffer says he is the candidate for his riding in the next federal election and if re-elected—almost certain for the popular MP—will serve out his mandate. He says he does not like it when politicians job-hop, sticking taxpayers with a costly by-election.

What the Speaker can’t speak about
Protesters on the lawn of Parliament Hill made a ruckus over the closure of prison farms, created in the late 1800s. Save Our Prison Farms notes on its website that the government fails to appreciate “the value of a restorative approach to justice and a sustainable, local approach to the future of farming and food.” The government says the program was losing money and questions the marketability of agricultural skills post-prison. One riding hit hard by the closures is Speaker Peter Milliken’s. The Speaker has to remain neutral on such issues, but his riding office has been getting an earful over the closures.


Mitchel Raphael on what Belinda Stronach learned about latrines

  1. I still don't understand why Belinda Stronach is considered a person of any relevance or substance. I guess money and power do matter in Canada after all.

  2. Belinda Stronach is billionaire Frank Stronach's daughter.

    In other words, she's daddy's little rich girl. She's got money and time on her hands.

    She tried her hand at politics but quickly grew bored with it, as rich pampered kids are wont to do.

    What motivates Belinda Stronach is doing anything to escape boredom.

    • What gets me is how the media plays to it.

    • I'm not going to disagree with you on the main points, but I do think it at least laudable that she's doing something more than, say, Paris Hilton. So she discovered that actually being a politician isn't all its cracked up to be–as I'm sure most all of us on these boards would discover if any of us were brave (or successful) enough to try it. And when you do have daddy's billions, why would you volunteer for all the aggravation? I think its nice to know that she still cares about stuff, and is willing to work (outside of the House of Commons) to do something about it.

      On the other hand, maybe she realized she'd never become Prime Minister (perhaps glancing over at Bob Rae) and that was the only job she wanted.

      • I never quite understood why Ms. Stronach stuck with a party that referred to her as "Parliament Hill Barbie". However, I seem to recall her defection had more to do with Harper's alliance with the Bloc Quebecois than with name-calling. Also, I suspect one can be a lot MORE useful to the world simply by not being in the Canadian Parliament at this point in time. It's not like anyone is really doing much there.

        But really, a major conference on young women's issues in the developing world should be able to survive a single paragraph on the outskirts of the national media without descending into a bunch of name-calling.

        • I don't think much of the woman. Is that not allowed in your Canada because she's rich and powerful?

          • You can dislike whomever you like. I do hope you have a better reason than that she's a rich and powerful . . . woman. If you do, that's fine. If you don't, that's sexist.

          • Oh, so now I'm sexist for not thinking much of her, am I? My, what a hateful agenda some people have.

          • No, but you do need glasses or reading comprehension skills. What part of, "If you do, that's fine" was hard to understand?

          • You obviously feel a need to use these hate tactics. That I don't understand. Why?

          • What hate tactics? You had implied through your first comment (all about her being rich) that you didn't think much of Belinda Stronach because she was rich. As I pointed out with my comment, if you dislike her because you think she's flighty, or because she was a heartless meanie with poor old MacKay, that is fine. But if you dislike her merely because she is rich and powerful, I'd call that sexist on your part as you don't seem to dislike men who are that way (Harper).

            I don't do tactics, which I would have thought you'd know by now.

          • First, I wasn't implying that I disliked her because she was rich. Even if I was, why in the world would that be sexist? Merely suggesting such is a typical hate tactic, and you were all too eager to use it.

          • Dennis, are you reading what I'm actually writing, or are you having this conversation by yourself?

            I've already explained why that would be sexist. And I'm glad to hear it isn't because she's rich and powerful, so now the sexist charge can be dismissed.

          • Yes, I'm reading precisely what you're writing. You are accusing me of being sexist for apparently not justifying some of my views of Stronach. That is a typical hate tactic. What in the world does one have to do with the other? If someone makes a blanket statement against Harper, are they a communist? Of course not.

            And, Instead of apologizing for resorting to this hate tactic, you try to weasel your way out of it. It's shameful, knee-jerk, and all too unsurprising, unfortunately.

          • Oh, grow up.

          • Yes, let's call political opponents "sexist" because we just love using hate tactics, don't we. My god, where do some of you people come from?

          • Then defend the accusation rationally: with evidence, not Ad Hominum, defensiveness, or histrionics.Sent from my iPad

          • Let me get this straight. Someone throws a hate accusation against me, but somehow I'm the one who's the recipient of your scorn?

            Where does this bigotry come from?

          • This whole thread, on your behalf, from your first post, have been histrionics screeds.Sent from my iPad

          • Yes, you like the hate tactic, but hate me. I know. I got it.

            Forgive me for giving a piece of my mind about someone who liberals worship. Out comes the vitriol, resentment, and bigotry.

            Is this what modern liberals are about? My God.

          • :-) why are you so hungry for love?

          • Ah yes, and here you were accusing ME of being ad hominem. lol. Next.

          • Seems like its a typical Dennis F tactic to force us all to divine your thinking because you are too lofty to explain it to us.

            I'll remember that and not bother in future.

          • Ahem. Um, hi.

            Turns out I do owe you an apology after all. You didn't write the comment about Belinda being rich–that was Jarrid. I did wonder why you responded to your own comment instead of editing it, but didn't think any further of it. My only excuse is that sometimes my home computer doesn't like this software and gets kind of stuck, because I read your name for both posts. Mind you, I also didn't look again throughout our long exchange.

            I am sorry.

          • It's still no excuse. So what if she's rich? Why can't someone say it about her without being the victim of your hateful "sexist" accusation?

            Amazing what some people on here try to get away with.

          • I don't think much ofyou.

            Is that not allowed in your Canada because you're a lodmouthed, obnoxious, and argmentative boor?

          • Of course knee-jerk reactionaries are allowed in Canada. I like Canada's freedom. You?

        • Huh. I recollect her defection had to do with her intention to vote in favour of same-sex marriage. She'd have been kicked out of caucus anyway. She told voters up front her position on both same-sex marriage and abortion, as I also recall, and was sticking to those principles. Being not stupid, she decided she might as well take advantage of the close vote, and defected to the fiscally conservative side of the Liberals. I have never blamed her, and was actually secretly proud of her (as a woman) for playing the game so well. Too bad about MacKay but then she could do much better. (Except then she turned to Tie Domi so there goes THAT theory.) I think both Liberals and Conservatives treated her poorly, really.

          • As I remember it, the Conservatives made the same-sex marriage bill a free vote: no one was kicked out of caucus regardless of their position on it. Same for anything to do with abortion. Stronach was in no danger of being kicked out of caucus over either issue regardless of her principles.

            I think you are thinking of the Liberals and the NDP, for whom the same-sex marriage bill was indeed a whipped vote (for Liberal cabinet ministers, and all NDP MPs) and consequently Liberal Joe Comuzzi resigned his cabinet post and NDP Bev Desjardins was removed from her post as a Parliamentary critic when they voted according to their consciences.

          • That's right, Gaunilon! I remember now. I was confusing the whipped.

            Okay then, she just wanted to be Prime Minister.

          • I have no problem believing that a significant part of her leaving the Cons was the anti-gay, anti-woman element that gets coddled a lot more in the CPC than the Libs. She may not be all that impressive, but she's a female suburban middle class, high-school-and-a-year-or-two of post-secondary not-overtly religious type, and I doubt it sat well with her.

            it's not like they were courting Myron Thomson or Maurice Vellacotte, after all :)

            I suspect most people who claim to have a problem with the timing (I recall thinking it was quite clever for Martin to cut Harper off at the knees like that) jsut didn't like seeing conservatives be made fools of.

          • I think most Canadians know precisely why she crossed the floor – for herself.

          • For the record, Ihave no doubt that self-interest played a large role, which is not uncommon for many people, including, sadly, a great many politicians.

          • Yes, but you tried to suggest that it had something to do with social values, and I think that's complete bunk.

          • It's almost certainly not complete bunk. Both almost certainly played a role, though one can debate proportions.

          • I don't think it played any role.

          • And to extent your belief is honestly held, it is very likely wrong.

            neat, eh?

          • Bev Desjarlais was then challenged for her riding nomination by the party establishment and lost. She was effectively run out of the party because she opposed same-sex marriage. The left has trouble tolerating dissent on social issues. That is but one example of that phenomenon.

          • "The left has trouble tolerating dissent on social issues."

            As they should.

          • Say what?

          • On same-sex marriage you'd basically have to tell at least 50% of the population to stuff it.

            I know the left is doing it's best to do it, but it's a bit of a tall order. I know it won't stop them because they think they know better than everyone else. That's what makes them ideologues.

          • Not 50%, last poll I seen had it at 28%… see here. Though earlier polls were indeed split.

            Also, Jarrid my dear ideologue and hyper CPC partisan/Harper groupie, here is what I found on the NDP position re: Bev Desjarlais, circa 2003.

            The NDP is the only federal party that has a policy supporting legalizing same-sex marriage. The issue will be a test of Mr. Layton's leadership as he heads into his first federal election campaign next spring.

            The party passed a resolution supporting same-sex marriage in 1999 after the House of Commons overwhelmingly voted in favour of a Reform Party motion upholding the definition of marriage as the union of only heterosexuals.

            "Should the issue come before the House, members of the NDP caucus shall vote in favour of same-sex marriage and in favour of removing discrimination," the resolution states.


          • Oh my God, you were serious about people not being allowed to disagree with the left-wing. At the threat of contradicting a post I just wrote, are you a communist?

            Regarding Ekos polling, have we already forgotten that it's run by a man, Frank Graves, who considers people who disagree with him to be racist dummies? Maybe he's a communist, too?

            Since when do people like you care about polling on the issues? Like you just admitted, you don't care what others think. You have to force your beliefs on others, then turn around and falsely accuse your opponents of such. It's what you do, I guess.

          • Many on the Left have strong opinions on social issues. As we can see with the NDP membership vote in 1999 in regards to same sex marriage. Anyone can disagree, and vote in place a Conservative government. I usually vote Liberal…

            Anyways, I was replying to Jarrid.

          • You are of the belief that opposition to left-wing social values is not allowed. This is extraordinarily intolerant, undemocratic, and vicious. Who cares who you were replying to?

            In one sentence, you confirmed the anxieties and fears of all well-intentioned conservatives. Being nice with left-wingers will never work because they don't want to be nice. They want their way. Period.

            I guess that's why Harper plays hardball. He has to against you folks. Then you turn around and scream and yell for not getting your way. Thank God we still have some kind of a democracy in this country, despite what you want.

          • Refusing gays equality rights should be against public policy, yes. I have no problem with parties making this essential planks of their platform, and in fact applaud them for it.

          • Blues Clair is of the belief that people shouldn't be allowed to disagree with your left-wing views on social issues, and you don't seem to disagree with him. This is communism, isn't it?

          • Does anyone else think the suspicious stream of +1 comments on Dennis's less than stellar posts are coming from Dennis himself?

          • eventually they made it a free vote, once in power. But not at first.

  3. Of course I agree with comments about Belinky's lack of ability. But remember when she was a talented capable woman who showed that the Conservatives weren't backwoods unsophisticated trolls and pointing out her shortcomings showed the hypocrisy of all those liberal types? :)

    • Or when Liberals stopped pointing out those shortcomings the second she crossed the floor?

      Actually, I was pretty much willing to give her some benefit of the doubt until she quit politics altogether, like she's quit so many other things in her life. At that point, all her critics were proven right about her.

  4. When power beckoned Belinda Stronach was interested, when power faded away, she took her marbles and left.

    The idea of having to do the tough slogging that politics demands was way too much work for someone born with a silver spoon in her mouth.

  5. Happy Canada Day to everyone out there!

    Canada – what a truly beautiful and blessed country!

    • Thanks, Jarrid! Happy Canada Day to you, too.

  6. I wasn't particularly impressed with Belinda Stronach in politics either, especially when it looked remarkably like she had sold her vote for a cabinet post.

    However, I don't see how that's relevant to this G20 thing about what's required to improve education for girls in the Third World. That strikes me as a worthwhile initiative and I commend her for it.

    I'll grant, though, that it would be even more admirable if she tackled one of the issues that are closer to home, involve more serious harm to children, and are more likely to be met with mockery and hostility than the general approval that this one garners.

    • She's an idiot, not a fanatic.

  7. I seem to recall her dad hired two other people to do the substantial part of her work, as she couldn't be trusted to accomplish anything. Except maybe put together an event or two. With help.

  8. If she was such a genius, why didn't she show up for her leadership debate?

    Seriously, this is thin. Are you on the Magna payroll?

  9. Just for fun, can somebody think of a less capable Canadian woman elected to be a Federal MP?

    • Cheryl Gallant. Hands down.

      • Did she quit when the going got tough? In fact, she's routinely attacked by people like you, yet she hangs in there and continues to represent the constituents that elected her.

        Nope, I think Stronach is less capable, in fact.

        Again, for the record, I think she could have been a fine MP, and maybe a decent leadership contender. But she didn't want to work for it. Instead, she wants to show up at social events and be adored by the media.

        • the fact that Gallant hasn't quite makes her somehow capable? Please. She is invisible in the riding, and quite nasty. I hope Harper puts her in cabinet so more can see this.

          • quit, sorry, not quite.

          • It makes her more capable than Belinda Stronach.

    • I can think of several less capable Canadian men elected to be a Federal MP. What does her gender have to do with it?

      • I also don't think this has anything to do with gender, which is why I'll ask this follow-up: Who has been less capable than Belinda Stronach, who's quit every big job handed to her?

        • I could think of a pretty long list if I thought of it, but that would be replying to Dennis_F, which would probably result in a long spate of replies accusing me of being a communist or hate-speechifier or something.

          But off the top, I'd suggest Justin Trudeau, or maybe guy who used to hang out with Harper but is starting a new news station at the moment.

          • Why these unjustified ad hominem attacks? If you stick to topics rather than attack me personally, then I'll do the same. If not, I'll defend myself, and call others out for what they are. Why is this so hard for some of you knee-jerk types?

            Indeed, my guess is that, if you had a long list, you'd actually post it. Instead, you lash out at me, then post one name. For the record, if Justin keeps it up, and doesn't quit, he'll be more valuable than Belinda. It ain't that hard. Or am I not allowed to tell the truth about her, for crying out loud? Next.

  10. You can worship her all you want. I don't think she's an impressive person. I think she was given everything she has in life, and quit when things got tough. She's the opposite of a self-made person, which might be the way you like it, I don't know.

    Personally, I think there are far more impressive people in Canada that the media could cover, instead of someone given power and wealth, and who's basically done nothing with it other than to show up at places.

    I mean, I thought some of you supported the little guy and gal in Canadian society. Guess I was wrong about that. Be rich and glamorous is the new aspiration, is it.

    Oh, and where were all of you Belinda admirers when she was a Conservative? I don't recall you defending her inane accomplishments back then.

    • There is just one me Dennis…. I will leave it to you to look back through the archives, my opinion of Stronach has wavered very much.

      Mike T. , I don't worship Stronach, but really wouldn't you have to be on the Magna payroll to have that sort of insider info. I do have an issue with anonomous commenters taking unsubstantiated shots at someone who at least does things. Tell us Mike (just for fun) what are your 3 big accomplishments?

  11. nicely put. She certainly doesn't have to do anything, and the fact she does some much charity work should be recognized. As someone on this forum said, not exactly Paris Hilton's style.