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Monday, December 20, 2010

What do you get when you vote for Ignatieff, Mr. Ignatieff?

In his wonderful quote on "If you vote for Elizabeth May, you get Stephen Harper, if you vote for Jack Layton, you get Stephen Harper etc.", Michael Ignatieff appears to be out of touch with the feeling even within his own party that if Canadians really did vote for party leaders and not for individual MPs, the Liberal party would face a disaster even worse than in the previous election, judging by the fact that the majority of Canadians and even the majority of Liberals want Ignatieff out.
The arrogance of Ignatieff's new "boutique parties" discourse is akin to Harper's "you can't beat me so you're stuck with me" general line. Maybe it's time to send both of them into political retirement, so they can continue this kindergarten battle outside of the public arena.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Discussing WikiLeaks, the Tory stimulus plan, and other issues on Leduc Radio

Looking forward to your feedback on last week's radio show  here in Edmonton-Leduc. If you have ideas for future shows/guests, please contact me.

Friday, November 12, 2010

What do you call this without swearing?

Taking into account the fact that the Afghan government has the dubious prestige of being repeatedly named one of the three most corrupt governments in the world, what are the Tories and the Liberals prepared to send Canadian troops to do?

If Rick Mercer is an accurate source, then Laurie Hawn just said that Canadian soldiers will be so safe in Aghanistan they won't need flak jackets. Are you aware of what exactly you are saying, Mr. Hawn? Do you have any idea of what you'll do if proven wrong? Disgusting.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

When you go on air, they will listen in

The number of listeners tuning in to our weekly show on Leduc Radio has been increasing with each week and has been well above the 500 mark since end of August. Many thanks to everyone making this show a success!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Candidate's Annual Report

Dear all,
It has been a full year of our campaign for positive change here in Edmonton-Leduc, and I would like to sincerely thank you for your support.
In the past 12 months, among other things:
1) Numerous public meetings were organized throughout the riding, including all three municipalities. Topics varied from access to education to international affairs to hunger in Alberta. More events are coming up, so please stay tuned. The best source for updates is the campaign website at www.artemmedvedev.ca . Regular updates are also made on the campaign Twitter account, ArtemNDP.

2) A door-knocking and literature-distribution campaign was successfully started. We are constantly looking for new ideas for the brochure, as well as volunteers to adopt an area throughout the campaign. The contents of the current brochure are reflected on the front page of the campaign website.

3) A weekly radio show was started on Leduc Radio in August and has proven a very good way to get the message out. The show runs every Wednesday from 6:30 to 7 pm MST and can be listened to online at www.leducradio.com . Recordings of several previous shows are available on our website. I welcome your feedback and ideas for future shows/guests.

While it is still unclear when the next federal election may be, I would like to encourage you to get involved in the campaign. I believe that we are on the right track, but we cannot afford to slow down, which is why we need volunteers to design and distribute literature, write letters, arrange events and meetings, assist in communication work, move our online presence forward and conduct research. If you have any time at all, please contact me. I appreciate any help you can provide. The various ways you can contribute to the campaign are listed in the "Volunteer" and "Donate" sections of the website.

Once again, thank you for your kind support. I look forward to hearing from you! All of my contact information is shown below. Please feel free to forward this update as you see fit.
Regards,

Artem Medvedev
NDP Candidate for the federal riding of Edmonton-Leduc
Phone: 780-421-4821
Mail: 14719-51 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T6H 5E6

Monday, October 25, 2010

For the ugly experiment's validity

What would happen, if one put a regular Canadian or regular American or a representative of any other nationality through 8 years of torture, interrogation, hopelessness, and abandonment by their own government? Would that person eventually break and "confess" anything, just to try and end their misery?

As a human being, I cannot see any normal way in which a person can go from A) adamantly stressing that he will not enter into any bargains with an illegal "court" as such a bargain would legitimize the process that he was put through, to B) lowering his head and saying "yes" to every accusation thrown at him.

After all, this has all happened before. Milkmaids and schoolchildren had "confessed" that they had been plotting to kill Hitler. Hard-line communists had "confessed" to a Stalinist "court" that they were really monarchists trying to overthrow the regime. Christians had "confessed" that they erred in their beliefs in Roman "courts".

I have no idea whether Omar Khadr is or isn't guilty, but that's not the point. The point is that the thin line separating Guantanamo from totalitarian butcher-shop court-marshals is no longer clear. Shame on Obama for failing to live up to his promises! Shame on Harper for serving as a willing accomplice to such a disgrace! For humanity to have apparently gone a long way from the justice of the stone age and feudalism and then to throw it all away is a disaster that will linger with us for decades.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Liberals plagiarize NDP platform ideas... What else is new?

The blatant arrogance with which Ignatieff and his party can take the New Democrat ideas of focusing on the middle-class recovery, not allowing any more corporate tax cuts, and working to protect public health care in Canada and put their ubiquitous huge red tent on top of them would have been breathtaking if this behavior wasn't so expected. What is the Liberal program today? Where is that party going? Destined to rule Canada, eh? Oh, well, then nothing can stand in your way, guys. In the academic world, plagiarism is a serious offense. Wasn't Michael Ignatieff supposed to be related to the academia? Why does stealing other people's ideas not cause an outrage anymore? If this is genuine leadership...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Friday, October 8, 2010

Discussing Tory math problems and Liberal plagiarism on live radio

I look forward to your comments on this week's radio show (www.artemmedvedev.ca). No co-host or guest this week, but I hope that the topics and numbers discussed will be of interest to you.

Artem

Sunday, September 19, 2010

News and Views with Artem Medvedev, NDP Candidate for Edmonton-Leduc, Sept. 15

The 5th radio show file is uploaded at www.artemmedvedev.ca. What's behind the Long Gun Registry frenzy and my views on the current economic situation. Will appreciate your feedback!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The views of one federal NDP candidate, continued

Our show on Leduc Radio (now called "News & Views") is into the 4th week now! Thanks to everyone for feedback and support. The recording of the 2nd show is available online at www.artemmedvedev.ca. The 3rd show will be posted soon as well. Among topics discussed are the Long Gun Registry, the Liberal caucus retreat, Harper's tour of the North, the state of economy, and others.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The views of one federal NDP candidate, unedited

This past Wednesday, we've started a 2-month trial of a weekly radio show for Edmonton-Leduc NDP. The recording of the first show is online at www.artemmedvedev.ca.
As neither I personally nor the riding association have ever engaged in anything like this before, we would really appreciate your feedback and input.
Either leave a comment here or email me at artemmedvedev@ndp.ca
Thanks in advance!

Friday, July 16, 2010

A great achievement for BP?

While my car was being fixed this morning, I was sitting in the auto service lounge and watching, of all things, CNN (which I watch for about 5 minutes every 3 months as my car gets new oil). Another man was sitting close by and watching with interest as the news of BP finally managing to temporarily halt oil going into the Mexican Gulf was discussed. "Just imagine what they can do all the way down deep in the ocean!" - he exclaimed. I tried to respond with something along the lines of "If they hadn't been so sloppy in the first place, this operation wouldn't have been necessary", but I don't think that's what he wanted to hear. Just imagine - a great technological achievement, plugging an oil well deep in the ocean!

I just hope, with all my heart, that what has been happening in the Gulf for the past 3 months will not go down in history as a victory. Yes, a lot of people are doing their best now to end the crisis. Yes, if new oil finally stops getting out into the Gulf, it will be excellent news. But no, this is not the main point nor should it be.

Friday, July 2, 2010

When were the Queen's remarks on Canada written?

Although I'm not a huge fan of "the divine right to govern" nor the fact that Canada is ruled by a person who is not a Canadian citizen, I've always liked the current monarch as a seemingly approachable and friendly person. This being said, I'm still in utter confusion in regards to her remarks on Canada Day about Canada being "a caring home for its own, a sanctuary for others and an example to the world".

I mean, really?! Four days after what happened in Toronto?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Engaging youth in the democratic process: responses in a short interview

The following are my answers prepared for a short interview conducted as part of a course project by a Leduc school student.

1.) Do you see a problem in the democracy we have in Canada, where only 50-60% of eligible voters vote? Explain.
As you’ve correctly mentioned in your question, there is definitely a problem with low voter participation, but I wouldn’t say that it’s the core issue at play here. There are two issues that, to my mind, build up a serious crisis of the democratic system in Canada. First of all, there is a great disconnect between federal politics and federal politicians and the rest of Canada. Much of the time, politics is filled with discussions that are difficult to follow, language that is hard to understand, and issues that don’t always strike home for the voters. This makes many people annoyed and eventually disinterested in politics. The second major issue is the fact that our electoral system disregards the votes of millions of Canadians. The first-past-the-post system that we have is similar to the first-come-first-served system. If you’d voted for the candidate that came first, then your vote is important. If your candidate came one vote behind the leader, then the system couldn’t care less for your vote. As a result, we now have a federal government elected by 15% of the population. These issues together bring about political apathy and low voter turnout.

2.) Why do you believe Alberta has essentially only elected Conservative MP’s for the past 30+ years?
Well, one of the reasons is the undemocratic electoral system that I mentioned just now: in our riding of Edmonton-Leduc, the Conservative MP was elected in 2008 with 33,000 votes – there are over 100,000 voters living here. Another reason is that over almost half a century people in Alberta are being told again and again that this is Conservative country, that this is a Tory stronghold, that no one else stands a chance. If someone tells you something for decades, you might as well believe it. But I think that the situation is going to change. A very hopeful sign is the election of Linda Duncan in Edmonton-Strathcona. The Tories are visibly losing ground in other ridings in the province as well. In South-West Edmonton, in Leduc, in Devon, when I go door-knocking or when we organize public events, there are always new people that come up to me and say “Thank you for showing that the Conservative ideology is not the only one, that we have a choice.”

3.) When did you first start getting into politics? Why?
I first got into politics when I was 15.5 years old. I had just graduated from school, when I found out that the government of the region I was living in at the time had decided to build an oil refinery inside a protected area. That’s when I went right into battle to do my best to prevent this from happening.

4.) What did you do when you first started getting into politics?
At the time, I was helping local environmental and human-rights groups with leafleting, door-knocking, organizing events. We also created human chains to stop construction from starting. In the end, the local government backed down. The natural protected area is still there.

5.) Why did you join the political party you are now going to run for?
I have been with the New Democratic Party of Canada since 2006. I was doing my MA at the time and my field of research is actually political discourse, the language of political parties and leaders. The language, if you look at it closely, can reveal a lot about a person or a group. When I listened to or read Conservative and Liberal speeches and press releases, I felt that these parties do not stand for the values that I hold, they contained a lot of self-congratulation for the work well done, whereas those prepared by New Democrats were about real problems and real challenges faced by Canadians, such as poverty, hunger, homelessness, unemployment, the cost of university education, quality of health care services etc.

6.) What motivated you to run for MP?
My basic answer is that it’s the best way to get to know your neighborhood. But seriously, when I moved to this riding, all I could hear about local politics was that this was a Tory wasteland and nothing anyone did would ever change that. When someone tells me that something cannot be done no matter how hard one tries, I don’t believe it. It’s just like the favorite Conservative lie about the New Democrats – “They will never form government”. The people of British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Nova Scotia have shown that it is not true, but the lie keeps going. Change is possible if you really try. I believe that Canada needs change from the arrogance and short-sightedness governing us now and that is why I initially sought nomination as NDP candidate in Edmonton-Leduc.

7.) Do you or your party have any plans to change the downward trend of eligible voters voting in Canadian elections?
Yes. The first step is opening wide debate about changing the electoral system so that the voice of a New Democrat or Liberal in this and other ridings is worth as much as the vote for the Conservative Party. I personally favor proportional representation, in which each party gets the same percentage of seats as the popular vote. The second step is making politics interesting again – greater accessibility of our elected representatives, making recall of MPs and MLAs possible, changing the way that political discussions are structured so that the language and the issues are closer to real life.

8.) What can a young voter do to be engaged with Canadian politics?
There are a lot of ways to get involved. You can organize events to discuss current issues. Write to your local newspaper when something is close to your heart. Participate as a volunteer in a candidate’s campaign. Write a blog on how decisions in Ottawa affect you and your family and friends. Most importantly, encourage people you talk to to vote, and once you are 18, you can vote as well.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Putting the Tories on probation again? Really?

Whenever anyone representing the Liberal Party of Canada says that they will be "vigilant", "alert", "hyper-attentive", "bluh bluh bluh" etc., I at once remember the historic decision made by Ignatieff et al. to let the previous Conservative budget slip by them and thereby kill the attempted coalition of opposition parties by "putting this government of probation". We all know what that "probation" lead to and how much it good it brought Canada and Canadians and the Liberal Party of Canada.

Last week, the Liberals have vigilantly passed another Tory budget, marking the 100th time they had supported a major piece of anti-social and anti-common-sense legislation. This week, they have alertly put a big "X" across the Afghan detainee documents issue by hyper-attentively agreeing to a deal that would likely lead to these documents being released to no one and the truth being known by no one.

I just wanted to say, Mr. Ignatieff, you and your friends can keep playing this "probation" game, but I'm sure Canadians, including liberals, have grown tired of listening to Liberal explanations on why the official opposition party is opposition only in its official title and why you let the Tory minority rule as few majorities govern elsewhere.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

What is the Liberal position on electoral reform?

We had a very enjoyable discussion on political reform in Edmonton today. Senate reform, Parliament reform and electoral reform were the main items touched upon. As the electoral reform was being discussed, several participants of our forum brought forward the idea that every party in Canada needs to declare its position on this topic prior to the next federal election and should also provide a specific plan on what it would do to realize this position.

As a representative of the NDP at the meeting, I stated that the New Democrats support electoral reform to make every vote count and that some form of proportional representation was probably the way to go. The Greens, as far as I understand, have a similar viewpoint on the need for electoral reform. As correctly noted by one of the people today, Tories would be the last party to ask to support electoral reform, as they are quite satisfied with the first-come-first-served (aka first-past-the-post) system. But what is the position of the Liberals? Is there a centralized viewpoint on this among them?

I personally think that before any talk of a coalition between the parties can be started, this needs to be cleared up. Electoral reform may well be the uniting or separating factor in the next federal election. With every new election when the issue of making each vote equal is swept under the rug, the injustice is perpetuated further, damaging our democracy and turning people away from taking any interest in politics.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"I'm sure there are a lot of New Democrats who are getting fed up with their fate."

Ever since I saw this quote from Warren Kinsella, I've been wondering what he had meant, if anything. What fate is it that New Democrats are to be fed up with?

Gaining seats and popular support with each election? Demonstrating full ability to govern, to take responsibility for complex decisions, to find compromise and work with other political forces? If there is a meaning to this phrase I'm not seeing it. I, for one, am proud to be a New Democrat and a federal candidate for the party.

If there is anything I'm fed up with it's the Liberal circus of being voted into the House of Commons as Liberals but voting as Tories ever since.

Monday, June 7, 2010

What kind of news do people watch/read/listen to?

In the past week, I've really started to wonder what kind of news sources the majority of my neighbors here in Edmonton-Leduc and throughout Canada have. I'm dreading the end of the week and then the end of the month when new poll results will come out, probably showing Tories still in the lead. "How can it be?" - I will wonder yet again.

But really, how can it? In the past week, the following news items have come up repeatedly:
  • 1 billion dollars wasted spent on G8/G20 security alone
  • Political staffers and aids to ministers no longer permitted to testify before Parliamentary inquiries and panels
  • Three Tory ministers came uninvited to a Parliamentary hearing and acted as self-assured bullies
  • Canada is one of a very small number of countries in the world that appears to see little or nothing wrong in military attacks against civilian vessels in international waters
  • Each and every speech, presentation, answer, phone call, event etc. organized by anyone linked to the federal government may first need to be vetted by PMO
  • Millions of dollars spend on "infrastructure" projects "linked" to G8/G20 but nowhere in proximity of the two summits
  • And, last (for now), 2 million dollars are being spent on making an artificial show-off lake (aka "Harper's Folly") in Toronto

Reading either one of this gets one uneasy or troubled or puzzled or at least curious as to what the federal government is doing to our economy and our democracy. Why not?

ADDITION: I may be wrong in my pessimism! Hurray! NDP at 20.7%.
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN0721079820100607

Friday, June 4, 2010

A letter to the Edmonton Examiner

The political cartoon published in the June 2 issue of the Examiner demonstrates clear disregard and lack of a knowledge base regarding the New Democratic Party of Canada. A quick glance at electoral results from the past decade demonstrates that the NDP has attracted 1.5 million new supporters since election 2000 and was the party of choice of 2.5 million people in the last federal election. During the same time period, the Liberals had less and less support with each election. Poll after poll has shown that Canadians recognize Jack Layton's great capacity as a national leader at a time when our democratic institutions and basic values are put to a test by an arrogant and short-sighted minority government.
I would have expected negation of the voices of millions of Canadians from a reactionary paper. Until this week, I had no idea Edmonton Examiner was one.

Artem Medvedev
Edmonton-Leduc NDP

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

On hysterics and circus at parliamentary committees

To my mind, anyone, be it a government official or a mischievous child, screaming and otherwise actively and inappropriately drawing attention at a parliamentary committee is a strange and undesirable event. But to have three Tory ministers come to a parliamentary committee (to which they were not invited on that particular day) and start a childish show of arrogance and disrespect for others - that's not really describable through regular English. Is growing up at some point in time at least a vague plan for the current federal leadership?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

More than half a year of being a federal candidate. Edmonton-Leduc AGM coming up.

Someone asked me today how long it has been since my nomination as the NDP federal candidate here in Edmonton-Leduc. I remember that for the first few months I kept count, but now that it's more than 6 months since October 29, 2009, I seem to have given up that habit. A lot has changed for me since that day, and I'm sure that the upcoming months will bring even more change. The main thing that has changed for me personally is the number of people I know and that know my (at least first) name. Another is the time spent online and the distribution of time between email, social networks, and reading news.

Another is the formation of a certain new life structure in some situations. For example, a visit to a farmers' market used to be just casual, now there might be someone who comes up and asks "Aren't you the NDP guy in Leduc?" or says "Sorry, are we friends on Facebook?" The latter is my campaign's unofficial motto =) which kind of shows the peculiar nature of online social networking - there are some people whom I know quite well in person but who aren't my online friends, and vice versa.

Going to Banff early tomorrow morning. No politics - just a day in the mountains. And then comes a new week, with only 10 days to go until our AGM on the 26th. Preparing a speech, of course.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

On 65th anniversary of Victory in Europe

As the world celebrates the 65th anniversary of Victory in Europe and remembers the sacrifices made to defeat Nazism, it is with great interest that I look at the results of a recent poll (http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/804923--liberate-europe-defeat-hitler-no-thanks-younger-canadians-say), which shows both great respect for the veterans and a growing reluctance to take their place should need arise. Apparently, the younger the respondent was, the more likely he or she would have been in need of persuasion before taking part in a war against Hitler.

Any thoughts on this?

Friday, April 30, 2010

Syncrude alleges that ducks committed mass suicide?

It's with a sigh of relief that I've read today that the case against Syncrude in the murder of 1600 ducks at their tailings pond will stand. But, come to think of it, how does a brain work if it can even hypothetically suggest that it isn't the ducks that got killed, but the pond that got stained with the ducks that illegally landed on it?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Collective leadership

A constituent asked me a few days ago why none of the federal parties take a step towards real collective leadership, i.e. why each has a specific one person designated as the party leader. In the opinion of the constituent, collective leadership may be the way to go, as there is a greater chance that each of the members of the collective will appeal to some part of the demographic. Any ideas on this?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Door-knocking outside of an election

Dear readers,
I was wondering if you could provide your thoughts on the subject of canvassing and door-knocking outside of an actual election. The word I've been getting both while engaging in these activities and also in talks with politically savvy and non-savvy individuals is rather confusing. I would say it's about half and half for "If a candidate doesn't show up at my door at some point before the election, then I won't support them" and "I don't want to be bothered". The latter option, of course, also includes those that don't want to be bothered at their homes at all. I'm being torn by these two trends of thought. Any advice/comments?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Political friendship doesn't last forever?

Isn't it amazing how readily Conservative MPs and reps now join in accusations against their former colleagues? The readiness and vigor with which they do it makes one wonder how far (or how high) the string of similar (alleged) behavior really goes. Importantly, it can go both ways, of course - the energy can be a sign of complicity or a sign of sincere (?) shock at the wrongdoings of others. Which one is it?..

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Volcano's Earth Day presents

The entire Icelandic volcano(s) situation really makes one wonder what our technological advances are worth when faced with the power of such magnitude and unpredictability. It seems that at some point in the (relatively near) future humans may learn to land on asteroids (for one reason or other), but it's doubtful that at the same time we will learn to accurately predict earthquakes and tornadoes or figure out a way for a single volcano not to disrupt worldwide travel and cost billions of dollars and billions of nerve cells.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A day without politics... not at all a bad one =)

Tried to make this day as free of politics as possible. Checked the news only once, went to my Facebook and website dashboards only once, and tried not to think about political events and figures more than a handful of times. Since becoming candidate almost half a year ago now, this is one of a very small number of such days (the other ones being New Year's Day and 4th wedding anniversary). I must say I enjoyed it a lot, and although I know that there will be many days ahead before I can allow myself such a break from campaigning or thinking about campaigning or reading about something related to social legislature and history, I don't regret it either, because I greatly enjoy those types of days as well.

Went for a walk from the Provincial Legislature grounds along the River Valley parks. Enjoyed the sun, as I hope you have too in the (finally) warm weather we are having now. Several people have let me know how good this weather is for canvassing, which is rather ironic when I compare it to the thoughts expressed above =)

The blog is picking up speed, and I'm grateful for the first comment and the first follower.
I hope your day went well and wish you best in the new week (yes, to me the week doesn't start on the second day of the weekend but starts on Monday).

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Starting the blog and summing up events of the day

I won't bore you, my first readers, with the ubiquitous "I've decided to start a blog because..." bit. I doubt those are of any interest to anyone except, possibly, a scholar studying people's motivation in starting blogs. If you are such a scholar and need data, let me know.

Meanwhile, I had an unusual day today, as I went to a town hall meeting with our local Conservative MP James Rajotte. It was a good crowd, although the lecture part was not exactly inspiring. The best part of the meeting was a person who asked an entire series of sharp and emotionally-charged questions about Afghanistan, prorogation and Omar Khadr. From her voice and her remarks during and after Rajotte's anwers to those questions I gathered that the answers did not clarify the issues, nor was she expecting them to. It's nice to see such a level of interest in current issues as well as outright courage in asking a Tory MP why there was such a shameful campaign against Colvin, how much money was wasted on the annual Harper prorogation (wait, no, that sounds as if Harper was prorogued...), etc. I really hope that person keeps up the fire. Rajotte did not seem too pleased with this approach.

Had a chat with James Rajotte after the meeting (having asked him a few questions on EI, poverty, prorogation and crime earlier). It is with great conviction that he once again stressed the reasons neither he nor anyone else from the governing party should be attending public events outside of an electoral campaign if there are representatives of other parties present. It is as if we all pretend he isn't Conservative while he pretends to be a true representative of all the constituents, never mind the first-past-the-pole system.

Keep working away on the Twitter and Facebook. A few people have let me know before I set up the blog that the blog should not repeat other media as much as possible. I will try to stick to that, although, of course, there will be a link between the different online presences I have.

Will call it a day for this first post. If anyone is reading - thank you for your kind attention and I look forward to your comments.