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Andrea Horwath, the Left, and the unintended consequences of strategic voting

Image: wikimedia commons

Purists in the Ontario NDP who expected their party to run in an ideological straightjacket, and then punished them for it with calls for strategic voting, should not now be surprised that their former party has stopped listening to them.

In a prescient Facebook post a few weeks ago, a long-time observer of the NDP, political scientist Chanchal Bhattacharya, distilled this insight in response to Rick Salutin’s grumbling column in the Toronto Star about Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath’s new direction.

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Leaked letter shows progressives' dissatisfaction with Horwath's NDP

Photo source: Ontario's NDP

Editors' note: The following is the text of a letter to NDP leader Andrea Horwath, signed by more than thirty long-time NDP supporters, leaked on Friday to news media.


Andrea Horwath, Leader of the ONDP

By e mail, May 23, 2014

Dear Andrea

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Connecting the need to survive to social justice activism

The first time my mom saw me speak about social justice was on the seven o'clock news. I was speaking about the effects of Don't Ask, Don't Tell on young LGBT people looking for reflections of themselves in society. It was an important moment for my mother and I because it showed us the similarities and differences in how we were each transforming the world.

Over the years, as I've developed my identity as an organizer, I've learned more about my mother's history, and although it's made me appreciate the vast differences in the context of our "activism," it ultimately has made me feel like we're a part of the same revolution -- as movement moms and daughters. 

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Why does culture rob girls of role models?

Photo: flickr/U.S. Embassy, Jakarta

"You can't be what you can't see." -- Marian Wright Edelman, human rights activist

I can't begin to imagine life as a teenage girl nowadays. Just turn on the television, check out Facebook, stand at a bus station or take a walk in a mall.

The countless images bombarding all of us highlight artificial standards of female beauty. Studies show that these images are negatively affecting how young women and girls perceive themselves.

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Why we might be winning this tar sands fight (as long as we keep kicking ass!)

Image courtesy of Jason Mogus

I'd be dishonest if I didn't say working in climate change communications isn't always the most inspiring place to be. You drink from the firehose of information about the state of the world, the latest science and reports on impacts now and in the future on vulnerable people, how things are happening faster than we predicted and change is slower than necessary, how the elites keep denying and resisting any form of real change, how our window to change is rapidly closing.

Even worse, your job is to "popularize" these devastating, terrifying facts in an effort to move people to action. As a rabble reader you know exactly what I'm talking about. It's hard to keep a positive outlook when you're swimming in this soup all day long.

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Rape culture on campus: How do we correct the system?

Photo: flickr/runner PL

We are entering Sexual Assault Awareness Month across Canada as the 2013/2014 academic year comes to a close. After the year we've had, the timing could not be better.

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Five ways to restore telecom company transparency

Photo: wikimedia commons

The House of Commons engaged in an extensive debate on privacy yesterday in response to an NDP motion that would require the government to disclose the number of warrantless disclosures made by telecom companies. I'll have more on the debate shortly (it's worth reading), but the government has made it clear that it will not be supporting the motion.

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Conservatives and abolitionists are missing the big picture on sex work

Photo: flickr/Kaytee Riek

As Justice Minister Peter MacKay prepares to table new laws governing sex work, Canadians are hearing a lot about the Nordic model of prostitution policy. The Nordic model approach penalizes paying for sex while decriminalizing the sale of sex.

However, that's just one meaning of the Nordic model. The other also indicates Scandinavian socio-economic policy in general: "the combination of a free market economy with a welfare state." The Economist recently hailed this as the "next supermodel."

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Emergency: Steady funding needed for drug programs in Northern Ontario

Photo: flickr/Alan Cleaver

The first time I went to Sandy Lake, Ontario I was there to help administer a pilot project that aimed to reduce addiction in remote communities using an opiod replacement therapy: buprenorphine-naloxone, also called Suboxone.

Sandy Lake is part of the Sioux Lookout region of Northwestern Ontario. I was struck by the profound impact of buprenorphine in this community of 2,500. Within months, the program was freeing people from a life of servitude to oxycontin, heroin and other opioids. 

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Canadian cities and the future of democracy

Photo: flickr/Paul Krueger

The tipping point for cities likely went unnoticed. It could have been a baby born in a large hospital in Lagos. It might have been a Chinese farmer moving to Shanghai. Or perhaps it was the quiet passing of a grandparent in the Amazon.

Whatever it was, the result was dramatic. In 2009 and for the first time in history, more people lived inside urban areas than outside of them. Where are we five years later? 

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