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Change and local politics

I've been working on this post over Christmas, but it didn't seem a very Christmasy thing to publish then. But then, as it turned out, neither was proroguing Parliament. I commented tongue in cheek last year when this happened, as The Pierogi Parliament. I never suspecting then it would become what Harper calls a "routine constitutional matter" that will allow the government to "recalibrate" its agenda and provide an opportunity for opposition parties to "advance their own ideas."  Nothing to see here folks, move along, go about your normal business.

And now the issue has attracted 60,000 members (as of this morning) to a Facebook Group  - Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament (Edit- Jan 17-204,000). Great to see all the hype and interest, but many are asking - so what? What's next? What does joining an online group or signing a petition prove, and what are the next steps for social activism on an issue?  How to you leverage the enthusiasm? How does one encourage more people to become an agent of change, rather than an observer, or complainer? 

Ian Capstick, from MediaStyle, has done a great job collecting what's been said on this, and making some suggestions, so I thought I'd better finish up here and publish my two cents. 

I wrote in here  last August some of my ideas on ways to effect change in local politics, this of course applies also to national and global issues, using similar principles and strategies. I was involved in yet another local campaign last fall so thought I'd expand more on my ideas. The goal of that recent campaign was to promote in Toronto the introduction of a billboard tax, with most of the new revenue targeted to public art. In spite of considerable lobbying by "the suits", and many attempted motions to gut the new bylaw, it passed 25-16, mostly intact. Thanks in no small part to some vigorous and well aimed work by some local activists.

I'll repeat some of my previous suggestions on how to make change happen, and add more examples and details. Most of this is for local politics, but can also apply to other levels of government, as well as the corporate battlefield.

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Childproofing for grandkids

When I was a kid, a baby boomer, back in the olden days (yikes), I don't think there wasn't much childproofing done for us. Parents back then didn't have many parenting guides to help or confuse them, just their parents' advice. And of course Doctor Spock.  I seem to remember we had gates at stairways to protect us, or maybe an ironing board across a doorway, but that was about it. Our parents probably did the same for a new baby or a new puppy. The rest of the world was right there for us, with all it's thrills and spills, adventures and hazards. I was free to poke things into electrical outlets, sample the cleaning supplies, or flush things down the toilet - not that I recall doing any of those things. I was also free to open kitchen drawers and doors, and that I did. In fact I used to play under the kitchen sink, that cupboard had some pots and pans in it, and utensils on hooks, and was a great place to pretend and escape reality. I did that often, preferring solitary play to socializing - a trait that would later on get me expelled from kindergarten for a week. But that's another story.

For my own kids we had had more guides and courses to tell us how to be parents, and the stores sold the aforementioned gates, plus covers for doorknobs, latches for kitchen doors, and bumpers for sharp corners. Great presents for baby showers. And it seems to me those all stayed installed until the youngest was maybe 3, an ongoing challenge for parents and visitors, and something for the older kids to eventually figure out. When we finally did get around to removing all those protections It did feel weird the first few day to not have to be flicking hidden latches every time we went to open something.

Continue reading "Childproofing for grandkids" »