Archive for the ‘politics’ category

You Can, Once Again, Say Faggot On Canadian Radio

August 31st, 2011

Earlier this year, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council ruled that the Dire Straits’ song Money For Nothing was inappropriate for air-play on Canadian radio. This caused a lot of buzz and outrage. In my opinion, a lot of the criticism was unfounded. People were saying our free speech was being threatened, especially as there is not much that is censored in Canada. We do not have a list of words that can’t be said in the media. Every thing is looked at on an individual basis. Even so I do not agree with censorship, I did support this decision. If you haven’t read my original post on this subject, you can do so here.

Today, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council reversed their decision. Well, in a round-about sort of way. What they are now saying is the follow:

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council ruled Wednesday that a homosexual slur in the Dire Straits hit Money for Nothing is inappropriate but has to be taken in context and suggests individual radio stations choose whether the song is acceptable.

The CRTC had asked for a review of the council’s January ban on the song, which created a public backlash.

The outcry occurred after the council ruled the 1985 song was unfit for radio because its lyrics include an anti-gay slur.

On Wednesday, the council released its review and said the original decision was correct in deeming the song inappropriate.

But it added that the context of the tune must be taken into consideration.

The majority of the council’s panel felt the song used the word satirically and not in a hateful manner.

It noted alternative versions of the song are available and suggested broadcasters choose which to play based on the sensitivity of listeners.

The panel deemed the Grammy-winning 1985 rock tune unfit for Canadian radio in its unedited version, after a listener of CHOZ-FM in St. John’s complained about the use of the word “faggot” in the song’s lyrics.

 

I consider this another win for free speech in Canada. I consider this a win for artistic integrity. I also think this somewhat reversal will spark a different set of controversies. But we live in a country that allows you to speak freely about such things. And if you don’t want to listen to this song in its original format, if you are one who finds it offensive, then don’t listen. Turn off the station and find another one that suits your needs. Nobody is forcing you to listen, just like nobody is forcing you to watch blue movies on network television or forcing you to hear profanity during interviews on the news. You have choice. Take advantage of it. And be happy that your right to free speech and artistic expression is being upheld.

My Thoughts On Jack Layton: A Personal Canadian Hero

August 22nd, 2011

I don’t know if it is a Canadian quality or just a me quality, but my heroes have always been people who have given me hope and caused me to aspire to be something better than I am. My grandma and my dance teacher were my heroes. Astronauts are my heroes. Terry Fox is a hero. Jack Layton was one of my personal heroes. And his memory will continue to be my hero.

This morning, I woke up to the news that he lost his second battle with cancer, less than one month after announcing that he had to temporarily step down as the leader of Canada’s Official Opposition. He had hoped to return to Parliament in the Fall. I have been in tears ever since.

One of the definitions of hero is:

A man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for hisbrave deeds and noble qualities.

In less than a decade, Jack did what many thought was impossible. He turned the NDP from a party that had lost its official party status, and became a running joke, into a party that would go on to make a lot of history in our last Federal election. Jack made me believe in politics, once more.

When I was a teen, I couldn’t wait for the day that I could vote. I looked up to my politicians. They were role-models. And then in my adulthood, things changed. At election time, our leaders had forgotten what it meant to be Canadian. The campaigning started to look American. Fear tactics were used. Name calling became the norm. Respectful debate stopped. I became disgusted and disenchanted. I had lost hope. I felt as if our leaders had forgotten what sets Canada apart and made her truly unique and loved, not only by Canadians, but by countries around the world.

Then Jack Layton stepped into the scene. He was a gentleman. He was soft-spoken but spoke with such power, enthusiasm, integrity, dedication and love for his country and its people that he renewed my faith in the leaders of this country. He made me believe that our political system was not becoming corrupt and that we still had people of integrity willing to stand up for Canada and her people. He had courage. Not only did he battle a system that was beginning to become disenchanted with itself but he battled cancer, twice, whilst doing so. He was never afraid to stand-up for his beliefs. He never stopped believing in Canada and the ability of Canadians. He never stopped being a champion for the disenfranchised.

In less than a decade he turned Canada from a country that was Red and Blue into a country that was Blue and Orange, in the process, making the Liberal party and the Bloc a former shadow of itself.

Even when facing death, Jack though of Canada and Canadians first. If you haven’t already, read Jack’s letter to Canadians, written two days before his death.

Jack Layton made me proud, once again, to be Canadian.

My heart goes out to his wife. My heart goes out to Canada. I hope the NDP honour Jack’s memory and legacy and continue to make many of us proud to be Canadian. You have mighty big shoes to fill.

My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.

RIP Jack.

You Can’t Say Faggot In Canada

January 13th, 2011

Well… actually you can. It all depends on the context of the word being used in Canadian media.

Today has been a very interesting day for me. Why? Seeing all of the discourse on the Canadian Broadcasting Standards Committee’s decision to ban the uncensored version of the song “Money for Nothing” by the Dire Straits, from being aired on Canadian Radio. Working in radio myself and always going on and on about how little censorship we have here in Canada makes this a very relevant topic and has the possibility of affecting my job.

Part of my job is too make sure that the programming on The Force 925 keeps to certain standards. Growing up in a society that allows soft porn on regular network television, after 8 pm at night, has definitely shaped the way I look at censorship in the media. At The Force, we have a policy that states, “You are free to play whatever music you want, in its original format, as long as:

  1. It is not considerably offensive;
  2. If it does contain profanity, give a disclaimer, prior to playing the song, so if people are listening at work (or even at home), they can self-censor;
  3. If you are not sure if the song can be construed as being overtly offensive, be safe and give the disclaimer;
  4. If still in doubt, ask and I’ll tell you how to proceed.”

Some of our American audience (despite it being online radio and not subject to FCC regulations) are still trying to become accustomed to this. I have received a couple comments on it and how they think it will harm our chances of getting advertisers or sponsors. And that is when I politely point out that satellite radio would not exist if this were true and neither would HBO, etc. And if a warning is not sufficient enough for you, then you are free to listen to the thousands of other radio stations. However, most people are cool with it and appreciate that we are not censoring but allowing them the opportunity to tune out if they deem it appropriate.

So, all that being said, why am I so completely okay with today’s ruling from the CBSC?

First, the word faggot has not been completely banned. Just this one song. And to put it in more context, most radio stations played the “radio safe” version which substitutes “faggot” with “mother”, so it was never an issue til now. Except for the words “wop”, “wog” and “guinea”, there are no words that are completely banned from being broadcasted on Canadian television and radio, despite numerous complaints. You can still say: asshole, bitch, shit, fuck, nigger, Jesus Christ (in an expletive context), cunt (even so you, apparently, you can say it on stage in some provinces due to their individual profanity laws), fag and the list can go on.

Second, since the CBSC was founded in 1990 and after hearing numerous complaints, there have only been 2 or 3 songs (that I can think of, off the top of my head. I could very well be wrong  on this number) that have been banned from the air waves in its original format. And those  that have been banned are not even listed anywhere. There is no list. This is not a blanket thing. Complaints are looked at on a case per case basis. In this instance, it took almost a full year for the CBSC to make their decision.

There decision is based on this one rule, which in part states (emphasis added):

“broadcasters shall ensure that their programming contains no abusive or unduly discriminatory material or comment which is based on matters of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status or physical or mental disability.”

And the lyric, which the CBSC thinks, breaches that rule:

The little faggot with the earring and the makeup

Yeah, buddy, that’s his own hair

That little faggot’s got his own jet airplane

That little faggot, he’s a millionaire

Even I, with my ultra liberal point of view, can see how that is largely offensive in today’s age. And even so I can also see how use of the other words above can be seen as largely offensive, well then complain or don’t listen to the station broadcasting music, which you find offensive.

Third, there isn’t a fine or anything punitive involved. All the station in question has to do is inform its listeners of the board’s decision and why the decision was reached. Simple.

In my opinion, I think perhaps why this whole thing has become what it has today is that people assume we have clear-cut standards, when Canada doesn’t. Every thing is decided on a case per case basis, as complaints arise. Nobody has complained about nigger being on the radio yet, so it still airs. There have been complaints regarding its use on television, yet the board has decided it is allowable. So why this one song? Because those assembled for this board hearing (made of broadcasters and professionals) thought it was the right decision. Considering how many complaints they receive, and only a handful songs, out of thousands that could be banned, have been “banned” (not completely), I think the track record is pretty good. Our free speech is safe. This thing about airing music the way the artist intends (which we Canadians brag about) is still largely safe.

For me, the most disappointing thing is how incomplete the reporting has been in this case. I did a search, to read as much as I could, and I found only a few reports which give statements released by the board as to the hows and whys. I think this is creating too much worry that we are facing censorship in Canada. Worry that I personally feel is unfounded. I’ll begin to worry if suddenly more blanket censoring laws are placed in effect, my soft porn is removed from my network television and I have to stop saying swears on air. But as this ruling affects 1 version of 1 song out of millions that I could play, I am quite happy to not play a song that, even though it was okay in the 80s, today… not so much.

I recommend you read the article below (click clip to read) and if you are still completely enraged over today’s ruling, that is fair. We are each entitled to our opinions. But it gives context that has been missing from most other “articles” I’ve seen today on Twitter and Facebook.

Hey, Americans! Get Your Heads Out of Your Bloody Arses!

November 8th, 2010

I’m livid! Like really livid. Shaking in fact. I just had yet another experience which caused me to think, “This is why the world hates you, America! Your Americentrism is not doing you any favours! Wake the hell up and smell the rest of the world! You’ve been attacked? So what?? Do you think you are the only ones? Have you ever stopped for a second to think why? Do you realize you are far from perfect?? Seriously, because I do not understand why you feel you have a monopoly on horrible happenings.”

I am full to the brim with venom at the moment. The above is the really nice version of what I am thinking. Because HEAVEN FORBID that someone point out the attacks against Americans may have been asked for since they’ve been attacking and imposing their far from ideal way of life upon the world for AGES! It is about bloody time the world stood up to this messed up way of life and say, “We will not let you bully us any longer! You push the world around long enough, it will push back! You reap what you sow!”

If you are still reading this blog and are managing to wade through the venom that is being directed towards this attitude Americans have which they spew towards the rest of the world and expect us to just take it up the arse, you may be wondering what has spawned it. A stupid song writing competition, of all things, has me shaking with anger. A song writing contest?!? Jules you let a stupid song writing contest get you angry? WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU JULES?!? I’ll tell you.

The challenge for this round was to write a song from the point of view of some behind the scenes person to some big historical figure. So we had songs about some unknown person behind Castro, JFK, Columbine, Los Alamos and Rosa Parks. With the Castro song, it was some barber responsible for the missile crisis. With the JFK song, it was from the point of view of the driver. With the Columbine shooter, from the point of view of Eric’s mother. With Los Alamos, the point of view of one of the lab assistants. A few of the songs needed some clarification for the non-Americans. And when it was asked for clarification, we were met with a bit of venom like, “How dare you not know!”, but in a totally passive-aggressive way. Hey Americans, can you tell me anything about my history? Hell, I doubt most of you can tell me who my PM is without having to search it.

And then came comments of, “Wow. These songs are edgy and risky.” The first one came during the Castro song because it is a bit of a farce. It is a serious topic brought forth in a very lighthearted way. Some did not know if it was all that funny to joke about the fact the US was almost nuked. OOO Edgy. As more of these “touchy subject”, “edgy”, “sensitive topic”, “not politically correct” songs came out, there were more comments about pushing the envelope with subject choices and how brave it was to do so. So of course the non-American’s asked, “Why? We don’t see how. Explain it to us. History is painted in blood.” With contempt, it was explained that people still find talking about the assassination of JFK to be touchy. This caused me to think, “Would they think the same thing if it were a song about Canada’s bloody history or the UK’s or any other part of the world?” My question would shortly be answered.

Joe and Denise entered a shadow song from Duality about one of the bloodiest period of Scottish history. Joe wrote the lyrics. He approached it much from the same angle as the Castro song. The response? What do you think? IT WAS A HOOT! A HOOT!! ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!? So let me make sure I understand this correctly? It is okay to present a very dark part of Scottish history with levity but not American history? It is okay to laugh at other people’s history but if you someone does it about American history, it is “edgy”? Really? Give your head a shake!

And yet you still wonder why the world hates America? When it was first mentioned to build a wall between Canada and the US, my thought was, “Give me a break.” Now I think, “PLEASE DO!” Please  continue to alienate the rest of the world. I’m so sick and tired of this double standard! If you want people to be respectful of your dark periods, try being respectful of others. Oh wait… our dark history is A HOOT! Yours is to be revered and grieved forever, never to be talked about or never to get over. Your history is to be repeated over and over again because you refuse to talk about it and move on!

Get your heads out of your bloody arses, open your eyes and see there is a HUGE world outside of the United States!

Deep Thoughts Inspired By A 10 Year Old

November 3rd, 2009

Kid2 is home sick today. Instead of doing the normal things that 10 year old boys do when home sick, such a laying on the couch all day playing video games, he is listening to ABBA karaoke on VOD.

I asked him what he is listening to. His response, “I am listening to Mama Mia because (insert name of his girlfriend here) doesn’t like it and I want to know why.”

This made me think. When do people stop taking a genuine interest in others?

I am the type of person who will explore what people like or don’t like, especially if I am in a relationship with them whether the relationship is platonic or romantic. Even if it is not something I am remotely interested in, I still explore the subject matter because I want to know what it is about that subject that causes them to dislike it or not. Now I do not know if this is a product of me caring for the person or just a bi-product of me naturally being a very curious creature or a mix of both.

However, in my experiences I have not found this to me true of most people. They find my inquiries strange and do not understand why I would care to know about these things if they do not naturally appeal to me. And they do not take an interest in things I do unless it is something they are interested in themselves.

So this little interaction between kid2 and myself will have me pondering all day when do people stop being curious,  stop caring and stop taking genuine interest in others?

A Picture Of Teenage Laziness

November 1st, 2009

I heard a chuckle coming out of my 14 year old so I decided to investigate. The following conversation took place.

Me: What are you watching?

Kid1: I think it’s called The Reef. It is pretty stupid.

Me: Then why are you watching it?

Kid1: Because it is on TV.

Me: There are other things on TV.

Kid1: Yeah but I don’t have my glasses on to read what else is on TV and I am too lazy to put them on and my eyes, Kid2, is not here right now to tell me what else is on. So I am watching this.

Me: Gotcha.

Is It Really Friday?

September 18th, 2009

I have been really lax the past few weeks when it comes to updating my blog. There are many reasons for this: I was away for 2 weeks in August; I am sick; I have been working on my book which I am happy to report is being completed much quicker than I thought it would be. Turns out that I had more of it written that I had thought.

This week has been a very emotional week for me for many reasons. It has been a roller-coaster between many moments of surrealism and “Wow, I can’t believe this is my life” to moments of fear and panic as my book gets closer and closer to being ready to go to the printers.

One of my followers on twitter asked me why I am so terrified of publishing this book as I am on the radio, and tweet and blog personal things. The answer is really simple. The radio is a fleeting moment in time. Tweets and blogs can be erased. This book will be in a permanent print form available for the whole world to see.

And to be honest, this scares me. One on one, I am an open book and will share anything. This book is not one on one and once it goes to the printers and becomes available, I will lose control over how some very personal information about me is distributed. On one hand this excites me as I feel I have a very important message to share. Then when I really think about it, I feel as if I am going to vomit. There is a small part of me that feels I am about to do something pretty awesome. This may be the most important thing I do aside from being a mother. This part needs to be the loudest voice in my head at the moment so that I do not chicken out yet again and not publish.

But it is now beyond the point of no return. The word is out there and all that is left is for me to receive the cover and off it goes. Earlier today I received the sales copy for my book. When I read it, it brought tears to my eyes. I am going to take time right now to once again thank Chris Knight for all of his support as I go through this process. Without him, I do not think I would have found the personal courage to continue through this process. Besides providing emotional support he also proofread my manuscript and wrote the following sale copy.

“Julia Sherred’s From the Mundane to the Insane is the touching tale of one woman’s love of life and hope for the future despite overwhelming challenges. Written as a love letter to her two children in an intimate, conversational tone, Sherred explores the contours of her fascinating life as a dancer, actor, daughter, mother, and Lupus sufferer. It is a tender and humorous celebration of life and family, of creativity and geeky obsessions, and is an inspiration and invitation for each of us to grab life by the horns and truly enjoy every aspect of our wonderful journey without destination.

One dollar of each sale is donated to the scientific search for the treatment and cure for Lupus.”

Silence Is The Enemy – Stop The Silence

June 20th, 2009
It is time for another “Silence Is The Enemy” update. If you have not read my previous posts on this, please do so here and here. I have been neglecting the links on this blog and I feel awful about that. There is a reason for that however. I was waiting for the latest update regarding the creation of a central “Silence Is The Enemy” website where all the contributors can be found. And it is finally here. On that page, you can find many ways in which you can help, including a donate link to Doctors Without Borders. If you are not in a position where you are able donate to Doctors Without Borders and are not a blogger, just a quick reminder that is another way you can help. Several bloggers have pledged to donate their June revenue (based on traffic) to Doctors Without Borders, so you can support the effort with each click on:

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/
http://scienceblogs.com/isisthescientist/
http://scienceblogs.com/aetiology/

http://scienceblogs.com/neurotopia/
http://scienceblogs.com/authority/
http://scienceblogs.com/drugmonkey/
http://scienceblogs.com/ethicsandscience/
http://www.examiner.com/x-6875-Seattle-Grassroots-Examiner
http://moderateleft.com
http://www.scientificblogging.com/rugbyologist/silence_enemy
http://scienceblogs.com/sciencewoman/

In another news on this issue, TIME.com posted this article today: South Africa’s Rape Crisis: 1 in 4 Men Say They’ve Done It. Here are some of the highlights from the article:

[…] study in which more than a quarter of men admitted to having raped, and 46% of those said that they had raped more than once.[…]

[…]Researchers interviewed 1,738 men of all race groups, in both urban and rural settings in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, provinces marked by high rates of AIDS and poverty, and the men answered questions about rape and HIV using small handheld computers in order to guarantee anonymity. Of those admitting rape, 73% said that they had committed their first assault before the age of 20.[…]

[…]South Africa has one of the highest incidents of reported rape in the world. The most recent statistics show that 36,190 cases of rape were reported to the police between April and December 2007, though experts believe that number only accounts for one out of nine cases. But the number of rape cases that make it to court — let alone result in a conviction — are far fewer.[…]

[…]Gender advocates say that the 2006 rape trial of prominent politician Jacob Zuma was incredibly damaging to their cause. Zuma, who was elected President this year, was tried and acquitted of raping an HIV-positive family friend. He told the court that the woman had dressed provocatively, in a traditional wrap-around kanga, and that it was against Zulu culture for a man to leave a sexually aroused woman unsatisfied.[…]

Please do what you can do to bring awareness to these issues, click on the above links and give a voice to women who, for whatever reason, are unable to speak with their own.





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Canadian Media Bailout

June 10th, 2009
For a couple of months now I have been seeing these commercials on Canada’s big three television stations (CTV, Global and CBC) saying they are experiencing financial difficulties and local TV is in trouble. As a general rule, I ignore commercials. Like really ignore them. My brain goes on screen saver as soon as there is a commercial break. I loathe commercials. An ex could never understand how I am able to do this. He would try to strike up a conversation regarding a commercial that had just finished airing and I would have no idea what he was talking about.

However working in the media field myself and the fact that it is very rare that I watch a non-Canadian station, these commercials grabbed my attention. I couldn’t understand why CBC would be in trouble as it is a crown corporation and owned by Canadian tax payers. Furthermore I couldn’t understand why the other two would be in jeopardy as they own a large majority of media (both TV and print) in Canada and they had just finished buying nearly if not all CHUM stations. Why on earth would you keep buying out small media if you are currently undergoing some financial crisis and claim that this has been brewing for years? Futhermore there are so many grants available to create Canadian television programs. Companies receive money from the Canadian government to do exactly that. Canadian media has always been subsidized by Canadian tax payers.

Part of the Big 3’s claim is that local programming is under threat should they not receive a bailout ($150 million) from tax payers. My first thought was, “What local programming?” I see very few Canadian made television shows on these channels and a lot of American shows where the broadcasters have to pay the American networks to air them. The only real differences (besides the odd Canadian show) between Canadian network television and American network television are: 1) No American commercials and 2) Hardly any censorship (two examples are Nip/Tuck is shown on network television in Canada without edit whereas it is shown on specialty channel in America and Blue Movies are available on network television). The only real local content that I have seen comes from the ShawTV channel. Needless to say these commercials left me boggled and when I would try to search for answers regarding this issue, I could not find any information explaining what exactly they would use this money for and what exactly is this crisis they are facing. Another thought I had was stop paying millions of dollars a year buying American shows which Canadians are free to watch on American network television and use that money to create more Canadian content on our Canadian channels.

So it was very pleasing to me to find the following e-mail waiting for me as I do my morning routine:

“CTV, CBC and Global TV are trying to convince Canadians that local TV is in trouble. What they’re really doing is trying to push through a TV tax on all Canadians for programming you get for free today.

They want this extra charge because they’ve misspent the hundreds of millions of dollars they’ve already received from taxpayers, cable and satellite companies. In total, cable and satellite companies pay $250 million a year in program funding to assist local broadcasters in producing Canadian television programs – as much additional funding as is provided by the Canadian government. Where does that money come from? It comes from the Canadian taxpayers.

The major broadcasters won’t even commit to using the new money to produce new local content. That’s why the CRTC has already turned them down twice.

None of us can afford to keep bailing out companies who don’t know how to control their spending. Help us hold the broadcasters accountable.

Visit SHAW.CA/NoTvTax to get the facts and make your voice heard.”


I strongly urge all Canadians to really understand the facts before making a decision. My personal opinion is this (and please bear in mind as I state this opinion my political views lean towards Democratic Socialist): Bailout money given to the Big 3 is a huge waste of Canadian taxpayers money!





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Serves us Crazy Canucks right!

December 1st, 2008
All I can say is its about freaking time! This is what happens when Canadians become so interested in other country’s politics and become apathetic towards their own. This is what happens when only 50% of the population choose to exercise their democratic right. They lose them more or less and I say it serves them right.

Less than 2 months ago, we had our Federal election. Now there is serious talk the opposition parties are going to form a coalition early in the week and topple Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative minorty. This could happen as early as December 8, 2008. In short, this is the motion that will be brought forward next time Parliament sits,

“In light of the government’s failure to recognize the seriousness of Canada’s economic situation and its failure in particular to present any credible plan to stimulate the Canadian economy and to help workers and businesses in hard-pressed sectors such as manufacturing, the automotive industry and forestry, this House has lost confidence in this government and is of the opinion that a viable alternative government can be formed within the present House of Commons.”

Once the majority sitting (the 3 opposition parties) vote in favour, they need to meet with the Governor General to have her approval to form Government without going back to the polls. Going back to the polls during a time of economic crisis will further harm the economy as Mr. Harper is failing to do anything about it and no more time can be wasted. The Governor General will be out of the country at the time, however she has given permission for the Supreme Court to act on her behalf during this time of crisis.

I applaud the opposition parties for what they are trying to do. And as far as I am concerned, if Canadians actually look at the situation, they brought it upon themselves and shouldn’t bitch. Well let me put a disclaimer on that: the 50% who did not vote, you have no voice now and need suck it up. In order to have the right to complain about what the government is doing, VOTE! If you didn’t care enough less than 2 months ago to voice your opinion, well why should you care now since made it obvious during the election that you don’t actually care. If you did care, you would have voted. As for the other 50%, all I have to say is even so Harper is Prime Minister, he did not get the majority of the votes. Had he the majority of votes like he deludes himself into receiving while saying shit like he received “a clear mandate” to get Canada on track during the election. Sorry to inform you Mr. Harper, but less than 50% of the seats is not a clear mandate especially when only 50% of the eligible voters decided to vote. The opposition parties talked of forming a coalition during the election if Harper did not do his job. Well he isn’t and they are coming through with what they said they would do. No backroom deals here as Harper likes to say.

In my opinion, this is not a time to head back to the polls. It is time for the Opposition Parties to step up and take control in this economic time of uncertainty as the Harper government is failing to do so. In the past couple of days alone, they have flip flopped 3 times on what steps they plan to take in order to secure Canada’s economy. It is time for change that should have taken place back in October during our Federal election.





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