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April

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    MPndp
    Thoughts on a Momentous Day in Edmonton and Thank You to Tom Mulcair The NDP Convention in Edmonton has just concluded -- momentously. Delegates voted for charting a new path forward. Something like 60% voted for a combined Toronto-Danforth / Vancouver East resolution calling for the NDP to embark on a process of discussing the ideas and proposals in the Leap Manifesto within riding associations around the country with the goal that these discussions would generate concrete policy directions for the 2018 NDP convention — leading also, I am assuming, to identification and re-affirmation of the many existing NDP policies that already deliver on the spirit of Leap, indeed some of which go much further than Leap in their clarity and concreteness. And 52% of 1800 delegates just voted “yes” to a leadership review (and to a motion that would allow the leadership convention to be held up to 24 months from today) that will lead to Tom’s departure as leader at some point. I am typing these words in a pub near the convention cente, grasping for my own thoughts on the collective decision of delegates not to confirm Tom’s leadership. What I want to say, I have decided, is very simple at this early stage. Tom Mulcair served our party and our country nobly and energetically for the last four years. Tom deserves to be recognized as one of the greatest parliamentarians in Canadian history whose legacies include the fierce and principled leadership inside the House of Commons that was crucial to revealing to Canadians the nature of the Conservative monster created by Harper, without which work Harper would not have been held to 32% in the last election. In contrast, the Liberals were a non-presence in the House when it came to calling Harper to account and, as often as not, sided with the Conservatives on everything from C-51 to the Barbaric Cultural Practices Act to regressive ‘trade’ agreements. The Liberals sat back and reaped the rewards of a battle fought by others led by a general whose name was Mulcair, rather as Attlee defeated the war-winning Churchill in a general election even as the war was not yet over. Following today’s vote to have a leadership race, I personally hope Tom will deepen his parliamentary legacy as he stays on as party leader in the House of Commons for a time. In his dignified and gracious remarks on stage after the leadership-review vote a short while ago, he vowed to stay on to carry the NDP flame in the House while the party prepares for a successor. I believe we should all see this for the selflessness it represents and be grateful to Tom for deciding not to immediately resign. The Conservatives as Official Opposiiton will not hold the Liberals to account on so many things that matter, because those parties are ideological twins in so many more respects than the public realizes. Only the NDP can do that job and no one is more qualified to continue to lead that effort in the immediate future than Tom. I believe that Tom’s eventual departure as leader of the federal NDP should ideally be on a date of his own choosing. I realize that there may be pressure on him to go sooner rather than later so that a new interim leader can play the role of bridge-builder across the country, but I hope that the parliamentary caucus will want Tom to stay on for at least some months to come. I hope that is long enough for him to deepen his legacy as a parliamentarian for the times, who fought for Canada, for social justice and for principle in the face of collective fears and phobias. Thank you, Tom, for your service and for the character you showed today.
    Apr 10, 2016 2:19 pm | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    Please see the letter written by me, Libby Davies, Janet Solberg and Avi Lewis on the two resolutions we are hoping will be adopted at the NDP Edmonton Convention with respect to the Leap Manifesto. https://www.facebook.com/NDPLeap/
    Apr 05, 2016 2:21 pm | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    In late 2015, I wrote in this space that I had initiated an e-petition under the House of Commons' new online petitions system. E-70 calls for a commission of inquiry into Canada's policies and practices with respect to transfer of detainees in Afghanistan to the known risk of torture at the hands of several actors. The goal was to get the 500 signatures needed to trigger the obligation of the government to respond in writing to the petition. Since, under the new e-petition system, government replies to petitions are now digitized and indeed sent to every one of the signatories (which is not the case with paper petitions), my parallel goal was to generate enough awareness of the government answer -- should it prove negative -- that the government would continue to face pressure to take the necessary steps to arrive at the transparency that is necessary for accountability to then be tackled. Having worked on this issue for seven years now, including while an MP, I am convinced that neither the truth nor the possibility of accountability will be possible without a commission of inquiry. The e-petition passed the 500 signatures some time ago. As a result, the government will need to reply in writing by May 30, which is 45 days after the e-petition closes for signature on April 15. So, the goal of generating a written and digitally published government response has been achieved. At this point, I simply want to make as many people as possible aware that the petition is still open (until April 15) and that -- if you do sign it within the next 10 days -- you too will receive the government's response in your email inbox via the House of Commons (I say "via the House of Commons" so that you know that the government itself does not have your email and indeed does not know your name, which is kept private by the House of Commons administration). I have no idea what a critical threshold of awareness would be -- in terms of the number of people made aware of how the government proposes to handle the call for a commission of inquiry -- for it to be difficult for the government to try to keep a negative answer hidden from general public view, but each additional person aware does increase the government's risk that word will travel around the country that the new government proposes to act no differently from the previous government on this issue. (I say that contemplating the worst-case scenario, but I remain hopeful that the government is now studying the petition and will decide to do the right thing.) Here is the Rideau Institute's overview, on its partner website Ceasefire, as to why this e-petition E-70 is important for our democracy: http://www.ceasefire.ca/?p=23129 You can link to the e-petition from within the above Ceasfire page or directly from the link below: https://petitions.parl.gc.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-70 Please spread the word. Craig
    Apr 02, 2016 7:16 am | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth

February

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    MPndp
    Statement from Craig Scott on charges against Rev. Brent Hawkes February 2, 2016 In the news today is coverage of charges laid by the RCMP in Nova Scotia against one of Canada’s most committed and respected fighters for human rights, for social justice and for building bridges across faiths. Rev. Brent Hawkes has been charged for conduct alleged to have occurred some 40 years ago. In my capacity as the Member of Parliament for Toronto-Danforth (March 2012 – October 2015), and as a member of the congregation of Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto which is in Toronto-Danforth, I came to know Brent very well. He is a person of great character and integrity, a person marked by a deep capacity for compassion and empathy. Not only do I believe he is incapable of seeking to harm another person but also I believe that truth-telling is at the very core of his being. Therefore, knowing Brent as I do, I wish to add my voice, unreservedly, to that of his legal counsel, Clayton Ruby, when Mr. Ruby says – and I now say with equal force – that I believe Brent completely when Brent states that these events did not happen and that the accusations are false. Some will say that nobody should be prejudging a court case, out of respect for the complainant. This is a wholly unrealistic position in a world that is dominated by media sensationalism and that produces trials by media (including now, social media), which can destroy reputations (and lives) of accused persons simply by virtue of allegations being out there. I do not have to know the accuser to know that I believe Brent Hawkes to be innocent, because I believe Brent. Period. And, when I believe someone to be unjustly accused, I feel no duty to await the slow grinding of the wheels of the justice system before showing that person my full public support. -- Craig Scott, professor of law at Osgoode Hall Law School; former MP for Toronto-Danforth (2012-2015).
    Feb 02, 2016 8:30 am | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth

December

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    MPndp
    Happy (almost) New Year, everyone. More and more people seem to be zeroing in on the fact that debate on the future of our electoral system will be a major part of the next couple years. Now that my former MP website is down (with all its information on democratic reform), I have been asked if I can post some links on the nature and design of 'mixed-member proportional' (MMP) representation that 8 of 9 government-initiated commissions or assemblies in Canada have recommended -- including, near the end of the last Liberal period of federal government, by the Law Commission of Canada in 2004. Essentially, MMP as a form of proportional representation arose in Germany after World War II, when the country had good reason to get their electoral democracy right after the catastrophic experience of the inter-war years. They opted for a system that, to use a common phrase, would be the "best of both worlds": a system that combines local ridings with individually-elected MPs (as we have now) AND proportional representation of parties in the legislature in accordance with the percentage of support they have received from voters (this being accomplished by the addition of regionally-elected MPs in the numbers needed to offset any distortions in party representation produced by the single-riding local elections). Few would contest that Germany has been a democracy that is both healthy and robust, and that has lent itself to considered social and economic policy delivered through a more non-adversarial approach to partisan differences (so much so that it is not unheard of for the two leading parties -- the left of centre Social Democrats and the right of centre Christian Democrats -- to form 'grand coalition' governments from time to time, as is currently the case after the last German election). Two other jurisdictions that have adopted (and adapted) the German MMP system are Scotland and New Zealand. It is from these three countries that much can be learned about what 'institutional design' choices can be made to adapt MMP for Canada's unique context. Ultimately, MMP simply requires two principles to live in harmony -- one, local representation plus, two, making every vote count through proportional representation of parties in the legislature. Many different concrete design choices can be made within these two broad principles. What follows, then, are a couple of things I have written -- or presented -- that will help orient folks to what benefits mixed-member proportional representation, prefaced by short Fair Vote Canada informational videos on MMP. Here goes: VIDEOS AND TEXT Fair Vote Canada has created video presentations narrated by York University Professor Dennis Pilon, on three forms of PR that could work for Canada: MMP; modified MMP (the "Jenkins model" which incorporates ranked-ballot within the vote for the local MP); and current Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion's model of semi-proportional elections using fairly small multi-member districts. In addition, the text on this same Fair Vote page is very useful as a primer beyond the videos themselves: http://campaign2015.fairvote.ca/proportional-representation/ TEXT Here is an article ("The case for mixed-member proportional representation") that I wrote in Maclean's while Official Opposition Democratic Reform Critic, just after a daylong debate and vote on my motion that Canada abandon winner-take-all elections (whether in the current 'first past the post' form or in an 'alternative vote' form of using ranked ballots in single-member districts) and that we embrace mixed-member proportional representation: http://www.macleans.ca/politics/the-case-for-mixed-member-proportional-representation/ After my election-night loss on October 19, I wrote a series of three op.ed.'s in the National Post on what I see as three lynchpin institutional reforms -- to our electoral system, to the running of the House of Commons, and to the role of the Senate in Parliament. The first one ("Liberal win offers us a real shot at real reform of our electoral system") is here: http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/craig-scott-liberal-win-offers-us-a-real-shot-at-real-reform-of-our-electoral-system VIDEO WITH POWERPOINT EMBEDDED For those with more time and enough interest, here is a YouTube video recording of a presentation/address I gave in Victoria as part of a cross-country electoral reform consultation that I was mandated to do by the NDP's biannual policy convention in spring 2013. (At the 30-minute I have embedded an educational video from Elections New Zealand; note that it's design of MMP need not be Canada's [notably in the use of closed-party, nation-wide lists; my view is that we need flexible lists in smallish regions].) https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Px5I5oqJIsQ VIDEOS Here is a brief two-minute argument (on YouTube) I made at that spring 2013 NDP convention for the resolution that would mandate me and Deputy Critic for Democratic Reform Alexandrine Latendresse to tour the country to build up support for proportional representation and to consult people on features of a PR system adapted to Canada: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HODSrSFHwis And here is my presentation of my December 2014 motion in the House of Commons, referenced at the outset in relation to the Maclean's article. My opening speech is 10 minutes and then the Q and A session with other MPs last five minutes. At the 14 minute 30 second mark, you will see I end with a plea for the vote on this motion to be a form of "pre-electoral cooperation" between the NDP and Liberals, supported of course by Green MPs, in favour of proportional representation. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=IloAX2vhnE0 **** Note finally that I will be teaching a seminar called "Law and Social Change: Democratic Reform" starting on January 21 at Osgoode Hall Law School (where I have returned to my position as professor of law) and expect that I, the students and guests to the course will continue to contribute to the electoral-reform debate as that debate progresses over the winter months. I will occasionally post here (frequency to be determined) as the mood hits. Happy reading / viewing! Craig
    Dec 31, 2015 11:50 am | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    Dear friends, Here is a Canadian Press story on a House of Commons e-petition that I initiated. This online petition calls on the government to establish an independent judicial commission of inquiry to get to the bottom of Canada's role in the treatment, transfer and torture of Afghan detainees: http://www.guelphmercury.com/news-story/6199411-e-petition-demands-inquiry-on-afghan-torture/ If you would like to join me in this effort, this e-petition (E-70) is now live on the House of Commons website, and can be signed here: https://petitions.parl.gc.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-70 A little more background on the importance of this e-petition is provided here on Ceasefire.ca's blog: http://www.ceasefire.ca/?p=22801 Many thanks, Craig
    Dec 17, 2015 3:38 pm | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    Hi again everyone, In my last post, I described in some detail the new House of Commons e-petitions system and explained my rationale for using it in order to call on the government to establish an independent judicial commission of inquiry with respect to the treatment, transfer and torture of Afghan detainees by Canada. This e-petition, numbered E-70, is now live (despite the high "70" number is only the fifth one to appear on the House's new platform). Please consider signing the e-petition here: https://petitions.parl.gc.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-70 We have 120 days (four months) to build up support for this initiative, so please forgive me if I periodically (and perhaps frequently) draw your attention to the petition. And do message the e-petition far and wide: it will eventually secure support as a result of our collective messaging efforts through social media. Many thanks!, Craig
    Dec 17, 2015 10:24 am | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    Hi everyone, Just a heads-up to all of you that my next post will draw your attention to an e-petition I have initiated through the new House of Commons online e-petition system (E-70, call for commission of inquiry on treatment and transfer of detainees during the war in Afghanistan). I hope you can support this initiative. Before being elected as MP for Toronto-Danforth in 2012, I spent some time as a law professor working on transparency and accountability with respect to our government's practice of transferring persons taken into custody by Canadian forces in Afghanistan to the Afghan intelligence services (National Directorate of Security) and armed forces, despite the known risk of torture, disappearance and extrajudicial killing. This practice is also connected to our policies with respect to transferring detainees to American forces from the time of the arrival of Canada's own special forces in Afghanistan in late 2001. While MP, I spent three years digging, using tools available to MPs (notably "order paper questions"), citizen tools like access to information requests, and contacts with various human sources to form a picture of the shape of our practice of transferring Afghan detainees -- and the reasons we continued it despite all the evidence of the abuse that detainees often then suffered. Our justice system and our parliamentary institutions have both failed in getting to the bottom of this chapter in our history. And in the process not only were human rights seriously violated but also our own democracy was undermined by our inability to hold Canadian state actors to account. Five years of working on this issue has led me to the conclusion that the only way we will know the truth and the only way that some form of real accountability will eventually be possible is to have a judicial commission of inquiry established under the Inquiries Act. Such commissions in the past have been immensely successful in both marshalling the facts and in providing sensible reform recommendations, whether we are talking about the 1970s commission into activities of rogue elements within the RCMP, the Air India inquiry, or the commission into what happened to Maher Arar. More recently, I was inspired by a superb report prepared by Omar Sabry on behalf of the Rideau Institute and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. "Torture of Afghan detainees: Canada's Alleged Complicity and the Need for a Public Inquiry", http://www.rideauinstitute.ca/2015/09/23/torture-and-afghan-detainees-the-need-for-a-public-inquiry/. This report was published this past September during the recent election campaign in order to try to make the Afghan-detainees question an electoral issue. It received limited attention then, but, now that the election is over, we have the chance to push the new government on its "real change" credentials. I am especially hopeful that the new Minister for Foreign/Global Affairs, Stephane Dion, will recognize that a commission is essential. But this is also a matter concerning the health of our justice system and democratic institutions, and I would be delighted if the new Ministers for Democratic Institutions and Justice would also weight in to support this call. And I hope neither the Defence Minister nor the Public Safety Minister (who is relevant because CSIS was one of the agencies involved in detainee matters in Afghanistan) will try to block such a commission. So, please join me in co-signing the petition, once it is live on the House website (at which time, I will alert you with a new post). And please feel free to message -- by email, by Facebook, by Twitter, and so on -- to others in your network who you think may be interested in supporting this call. A little more background on e-petitions may be of interest. They were championed as a parliamentary reform last Parliament in a motion by NDP MP Kennedy Stewart. As Official Opposition Democratic and Parliamentary Reform critic, I helped shepherd the motion through the House committee that ultimately designed it (Procedure and House Affairs Committee, PROC) and helped marshall all-party support for it. It is a small but significant first step in creating more productive democratic interaction between citizens and our formal democratic institutions. The new e-petition system has the potential to create heightened civic engagement through a more user-friendly, modern form of the democratic right to petition Parliament and the government of the day for change. And the new House e-petition system will do so while protecting people's privacy. In the past, the government party behind the scenes could mine the data from paper petitions before tabling answers to them in the House. This can no longer happen with the House e-petitions system. When you sign an e-petition, the House administration safeguards your name and email and only reports (both publicly on the e-petition website and to the government entity being petitioned) the numbers of signatories and the provinces/territories they are from. Not even the initiator of an e-petition (here, me) knows the signatories beyond the five people who are needed to co-sponsor an e-petition to get it off the ground; the same goes for the MP sponsoring the petition (in this case, Kennedy Stewart -- who I asked to sponsor E-70 out of recognition of all his work on getting Canadians this e-petition system in the first place). Once live, e-petitions stay open for e-signature for 4 months, so E-70 closes for signature on April 17, 2016. As with paper petitions, once the petition is submitted (in this case, after the 4 months end), the government has 45 calendar days to reply in writing (so, by around June 3, 2016). Ultimately, the effectiveness of e-petitions will depend not simply on eliciting a response from the government, which already happens with paper petitions, but more importantly on how much public pressure for action can be generated through the system. One feature of e-petitions (that paper petitions do not have) will increase the likelihood government will be required to take heavily-supported petitions seriously: for e-petitions, all e-signatories are informed when the government response is received and will be able to read it quickly. Government responses are therefore less likely to fall under the radar and this will hopefully mean government will be less likely to think they can get away with non-responses and inaction. More generally, while much can be done to enhance e-petitions' impact with future reforms, even this inaugural, basic House e-petitions system will be uniquely situated to link democratic engagement to social networking, as people who support the petition can encourage others online to go to the e-petition and sign (Facebook, Twitter, other online social organization tools). Ultimately, it all depends on citizens themselves wanting to make change happen in a more participatory way than typically happens in our current politics. Making the transition from MP (2012-2015) to engaged citizen is something I look forward to, and I very much hope you will join me in supporting the call for a commission of inquiry through E-70. Stand by for when E-70 is live. Best, Craig
    Dec 17, 2015 9:55 am | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth

November

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    MPndp
    And now here is the 3rd of the three democratic reform opinion pieces. The first was on the electoral system, the second on the House of Commons, and the third now on the Senate. Called "Reining in the Senate", I argue for a path that may allow well-meaning Senators to salvage their institution by forging a role for themselves that is non-partisan, deferential to the democratically elected House, and productive in the sense of still allowing critical scrutiny of House legislation. The plan would push Senators to publicly accept two principles to prevent Senators from blocking the will of the House (a "final form" principle and a non-delay principle) whole allowing a procedure for Senators to vote yes to legislation (as a democratic imperative) while registering their objections (i.e. explaining briefly why, but for the democratic imperative, they would want to vote no instead). As with the other opeds, I hope they help spark serious debate on some of the lynchpin reforms our parliamentary democracy seriously needs. Enjoy: http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/craig-scott-reining-in-the-senate
    Nov 25, 2015 5:50 am | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    Hi again all, My second (in series of three) op.ed. articles on resuscitating our parliamentary democracy is now out in the National Post, at http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/craig-scott-its-time-to-reform-the-role-of-speaker-of-the-house-of-commons In this piece, I argue why the Speaker of the House of Commons needs to become a true guardian of the health of our parliamentary democracy -- and I provide a number of key reforms that can help make that happen. Craig
    Nov 24, 2015 2:59 am | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    Hello everyone, Just a note to let you know that an op.ed. piece of mine appears in today's (Monday's) National Post (Nov 23), and is now online at: http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/craig-scott-liberal-win-offers-us-a-real-shot-at-real-reform-of-our-electoral-system Called "Liberal win offers us a real shot at real reform of our electoral system" (a title suggested by the National Post, which I like because it is a riff on the Liberals' promise of "real change" and it reflects the openness in my article to real democratic reform actually happening), it addresses the need for some form of proportional representation (with a special pitch for mixed-member proportional) in our electoral system and addresses the possibility that election promises by the current Liberal government might get us there -- as long as we, and the new Minister for Democratic Institutions, are vigilant with respect to an agenda of key players in the Liberal Party to manoeuvre the process to a form of non-proportional representation called Alternative Vote. Open-minded optimism plus vigilance is the message. This piece is one in a series of three articles I wrote for the National Post 10 days ago, about lynchpin reforms that I believe are needed if we are to have a fighting chance of healthier and more productive democratic politics and institutions. I am grateful to the National Post editors for publishing them so quickly, even as the monstrous massacre in Paris necessarily claimed priority for opinion space in last week's pages. On Nov 24 (Tues), my second piece will deal with the central importance of the Speaker of the House of Commons, and how that role should be transformed as a priority if other needed House reforms are to be given a chance to take hold. And on Nov 25 (Wed), I build on my efforts to get agreement in the House on de-partisanizing the Senate in October of 2013 in a piece that discusses what other core changes are desirable (and possible) to make the Senate a much less anti-democratic institution at the same time as a more useful one -- failing which reform the case for abolition will re-assert itself. Note that I won't continue to use this (my former MP) Facebook page for frequent communication, but rather will reserve it for occasionally bringing to your attention such things as these op.ed. pieces as part of my continuing contribution to the arguments for revitalization of our democracy. (In that vein, note that, in January, I am returning to my position as Professor of Law at Osgoode Hall Law School, where one of my courses will be called "Law and Social Change: Democratic Reform.") For more regular thoughts (mostly via tweets posted to that Facebook page), please go to my personal Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/craigmartinscott . All best all, Craig
    Nov 23, 2015 4:11 am | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    Nov 22, 2015 4:01 pm | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth

October

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    MPndp
    In a post yesterday, I shared some thoughts on the need to be vigilant and engaged as citizens given that the House of Commons is now dominated (again) by the Liberals and Conservatives (283 of 338 seats), two parties that share at least as much as they don't see eye to eye. The role the NDP played as a vigorous and committed Official Opposition under Tom Mulcair's leadership for defence of progressive values, policies and laws will not be carried on by the new Conservative Official Opposition. Even if Tom Mulcair and the new group of 44 NDP MPs are able to energetically hold the government to account in a way that the Liberals as third party only did sporadically from 2011 to 2015 (leaving that role almost entirely to the NDP as they spent most of their time preparing for the just-past election outside Parliament), it will not be easy to ensure the Liberals under PM Trudeau tack more to their orange wing than their blue wing without citizens, scholars, civil society organizations, and the press sharing in the accountability function on which any parliamentary democracy depends. In that post, I also said I might have more thoughts to share. Here indeed are some further reflections, which I just shared with supporters privately by email as part of a more personal email. It should already be rather clear from yesterday's post that I have never reserved my criticism solely for the Conservative Party, although its place in government and its threat to the very fabric and foundation of our society did of course mean that 95% of my critical energy as Toronto-Danforth's MP (until Monday's defeat) went in that direction. Some of you will know I have also been and likely will remain one of the Liberal Party’s strongest critics. That said, as I emphasized on Cross-Country Check Up half a year ago when arguing both for cooperation through coalitions and proportional representation (as a means to generate coalition governments), one does not have to feel “warm and fuzzy” (I think that is what I said) about another party or its leadership to be able to work on shared ground and across differences with them as long as good faith is shown on both sides. In that spirit, the new government and the new Prime Minister need to be given a chance to deliver on those elements of what they presented as their positive vision that also correspond to a truly progressive path forward for Canada – with people like me and the NDP MPs who survived and remain in the House of Commons holding their feet to the fire. I would go one step further, echoing an insight from Olivia Chow in her concession speech Monday night, in addressing the concerns of everyone (many of you, I suspect) who, like me, remains to be convinced that the ‘new’ Liberal Party of Canada is likely – in the end – to be a force for the positive “real change” promised. That insight is that a large chunk of the people across Canada and in Toronto-Danforth who voted Liberal were not only gravitating to what they felt was the winning option to rid Canada of a reprehensible Conservative government but also were – are – dreaming of a better Canada that reflects many of the same values and commitments as those of us who voted NDP or Green or, for that matter, Animal Alliance. While, naturally, I do feel (as losing MPs everywhere tend to feel) the vote in Toronto-Danforth as a personal rejection of what I tried to do and be as this riding’s MP, my more rational side understands that there was far more hopeful commonality in the aspirations of the voters who shifted massively to the Liberals on October 19 than any rejection of what NDP MPs and volunteers across this country accomplished and stood for since the 2011 election made us the Official Opposition under Jack’s leadership. Let us – let me – take that away and hold it up as a beacon for what we hope the next four years will produce, together with all voters regardless of what “X” they marked two days ago. Onward and upward. PHOTO: Me just before the advance vote, one vote in what turned out to be a whopping 72% turnout of voters in Toronto-Danforth who elected Julie Dabrusin as the new MP by 1300 change-hopeful votes. Two days after the final count, I can look at my loss with a little more serenity. To all these new voters, welcome to our electoral democracy! I hope you stay with it. And (silver-lining realization) to those who did not vote for me, thank you for giving Aeh and me the time for our first real vacation of the last four years...:)
    Oct 21, 2015 8:27 pm | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    Dear Friends, I won't write a full message now as I won't get it right so early after last night's electoral outcome. Perhaps I will write later with more structured thoughts. Or perhaps I will let these comments stand as a sincere reflection of my reflections the day after. I want most of all to thank the residents of Toronto-Danforth for having provided me the privilege of being the MP for this truly amazing community, where caring for each other is both a general belief and a way of life. And I am so humbled by the support and hard work of hundreds of volunteers who so much believed in the (truly) real, positive change that Canada's first social democratic government could have ushered in. As I said in my speech last night for those of you who were there, you would never know it from how the media over these last 11 weeks alternated between leaders, (occasionally) candidates, voters, and pundits as the 'faces' of democratic participation, but in crucial respects you the volunteer -- whether within riding associations or generally as engaged citizens during elections -- are the lifeblood of our democracy. Thank you, all. I also appreciate so much the outpouring of thank yous for my work as MP and the many expressions of dismay or even shock (not to mention anger at our broken electoral system) that have come my way. The best I have to offer right now besides the standard 'them's the lumps' is that we can at least celebrate that we are rid of a truly reprehensible regime (I do not say "government" because that sugar-coats what the Harper era had come to be all about). And we can take great pride in the role the NDP led by Tom Mulcair played in that result. The simple fact is that there is no way the Conservatives would not have won again -- probably with another majority -- if the NDP had not been the most effective, dedicated, and, yes, fierce Official Opposition in modern Canadian history for the last four years. Alongside myriad voices from civil society, I and my colleagues -- amazing MPs like Megan Leslie and Paul Dewar and Jack Harris and Jinny Sims and Matt Kellway who were treated like cannon fodder in the anti-Harper convulsion that was yesterday's election -- laid bare, day in and day out, what that Conservative government was all about. We fought them at every turn in battles such as against the Unfair Elections Act and Bill C-51, while -- and if this sounds bitter, I do not hide that it is -- Liberal MPs (not all but far too many) were fundamentally lazy, sitting passively in their corner of the House (assigning the same MP to do all almost all their speaking for the other 35 for four straight years) and arrogantly waiting for the messiah to take them back to the promised land of power (and they were proven 'right' in that calculation). To all my colleagues who like me were not returned last night, thank you for being part of such an amazing caucus for whom doing the right thing and doing one's job as part of an all-hands-on-deck team effort come naturally. As we head into the 42nd Parliament, Canadians should, in keeping with the generosity of spirit that saw so many convince themselves to hope the Liberals can actually be a source of "real change", cross their fingers that our democracy has actually turned some sort of corner and that the same old Liberals in power will not be the same old Liberals in power. I am willing, grudgingly, to acknowledge that there is reason to be hopeful because the Liberal platform necessarily has elements that deserve to be seen as progressive or, at least, better than what would be on offer from the Conservatives. For all these elements, I sincerely hope the NDP in Parliament and citizens at large will do everything they can to make these platform pieces become reality rather than slip out of sight, through a mix of cooperation and vigorous prodding. BUT, let me direct and blunt here: arising from the combination of odium for Stephen Harper and his gang and the distorted seat count in relation to the popular vote under our winner-take-all system, Canadians must also be aware of the result 'they' have produced. That is to say, 39.5% of us have handed a majority government (well over 50% of the seats) to a party that, alongside the Conservatives, brought us Bill C-51 and the Barbaric Cultural Practices Act (yes, the Liberals voted for BOTH), and a party that will try to bring us the transnational-corporate-rights charter known as the Trans Pacific Partnnership (TPP) with the support of their Conservative fellow travellers who are now the Official Opposition. The same two parties that agree that no greenhouse gas emissions targets (let alone mandatory ones under a pan-Canadian carbon pricing system) need to be set before Canada goes to the Paris Climate Change Conference in several weeks where the fate of a world on the ecological brink will be decided. The same two parties that are united in not wanting to see proportional representation as part of our electoral system. And to take a longer view of the de facto Liberal-Conservative Alliance, the same old parties that over the last decades collectively -- as if they were in a relay 'race' handing the baton back and forth to each other -- left a legacy of gutted transfers to the provinces for such crucial collective goods as affordable housing and gutted funding to Aboriginal communities for such basics as equal education for First Nations kids. As I sit writing this at a picnic table overlooking Cherry Beach at the south end of this wonderful riding of Toronto-Danforth, serendipity has placed me right beside this image (below) of an empty watchtower looking out over the lake toward a blurred wall of Leslie Spit trees. With a decimated and reeling NDP with only 40+ seats in the House of Commons and with the Cons gazing across the aisle at the Libs as the Official Opposition, there is right now nobody in the watch tower of Canada's Parliament. The Family Compact is back. As such, it will be Canadians at large, engaged scholars, civil society organizations, and a media doing its job that will need to step up and help to fill this hole in democratic scrutiny. Positive change will be lost if you leave it to this House of Commons as generated by this election. Be hopeful but also be vigilant, be engaged. Bon courage. Yours in solidarity and (obviously) frustrated frankness, Craig
    Oct 20, 2015 12:40 pm | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    Okay Harper's out--mission accomplished! But a bittersweet victory, as we are especially disappointed to see MPs like NDP Craig Scott (who has been in this GMO fight with us for years) lose his seat too. Now it's time to put the pressure on to see some REAL change from Mr. Trudeau.
    Oct 20, 2015 11:26 am | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    Okay Harper's out--mission accomplished! But a bittersweet victory, as we are especially disappointed to see MPs like NDP Craig Scott (who has been in this GMO fight with us for years) lose his seat too. Now it's time to put the pressure on to see some REAL change from Mr. Trudeau.
    Oct 20, 2015 11:26 am | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    Vote today! Polls are open from 9:30 AM - 9:30 PM (EST). Find your poll location and double check that you have the correct ID here: www.elections.ca We need to make sure that every single supporter in Toronto-Danforth gets out and drops their ballot into the ballot box. Please vote! It’s very important. This is it! We're closer than ever to building the Canada of our dreams. As Jack used to say: Don't let them tell you it can't be done!
    Oct 19, 2015 5:34 am | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    Thanks to all of our incredible volunteers! Our campaign is strong. We have great momentum. It's E-1. Let's get the job done!
    Oct 18, 2015 10:32 am | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    "The NDP’s definitive promise to repeal Bill C-51 — the anti-terrorism law that so many experts consider a significant threat to civil liberties across Canada — is also reassuring. More so than the Liberals’ promise to repair a few of its more problematic elements, while maintaining its overall framework of surveillance and distrust. It’s also worth noting that the NDP dedicates a section of its platform specifically to the LGBT community...The NDP says it will continue to push for trans rights; suspend “criminal records for individuals convicted of outdated and discriminatory offences which are no longer illegal;” revisit “service records for those discharged from the Canadian Forces on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity;” and issue an “official apology for civil servants fired on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.” The Liberal party has no comparable section in its platform."
    Oct 18, 2015 8:20 am | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    Our AMAZING sign crew has put up over 2700 signs this election. Wow! Thank you Toronto-Danforth for all of the amazing support.
    Oct 18, 2015 7:37 am | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    I am thrilled to have the support of Cindy Wilkey, co-recipient of the Jane Jacobs Prize for her outstanding work and leadership as an activist for Toronto's waterfront. Toronto's greatest redevelopment project for the next 30 years is the Port Lands. As MP, I worked collaboratively with community activists to bring federal attention to the area and promote vibrant, sustainable development - starting with flood protection. "Craig Scott is a strong supporter of community advocacy to revitalize Toronto’s waterfront. He is committed to securing funds for the Lower Don River flood protection and naturalization project and understands the importance of cooperation among the three governments. We can count on Craig to work with the community to make our vision for the Port Lands and the Don River a reality."
    Oct 17, 2015 11:00 am | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    Now Magazine's Michael Hollett gets it right: "I will not be frightened into lowering my expectations and aspirations. The Toronto area has an amazing collection of NDP incumbents and new faces. In many Toronto ridings, the clear choice is between a Liberal and an NDPer; that's an easy call. I'd love to see a new Ottawa, not just with returning NDP pros, but other fresh party faces."
    Oct 17, 2015 7:00 am | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    Casual moral corruption and unethical conduct continues to define Liberal Party elites. Canadians deserve better.
    Oct 16, 2015 4:31 pm | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    I'm grateful to have the support of Maggi Redmonds, a dedicated community advocate in South Riverdale, and Mariana Valverde, a distinguished author and academic in the field of Criminology. Working with strong community partners has been so rewarding these past three years as MP. Thank you! "We have been involved for years in numerous community organizations and activities addressing local and global issues. We are supporting Craig Scott because we know first-hand that he is active and effective in working to improve our neighbourhoods and the broader society."
    Oct 16, 2015 1:00 pm | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    Only three more days to go! I'm grateful for the energy and dedication of our volunteers who are working hard to keep Toronto-Danforth orange. If you can help with the final push, give us a call at 416 900 3725.
    Oct 16, 2015 8:30 am | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    Fantastic to learn that the Assembly of First Nations has given the NDP platform full marks. An NDP government will launch a new era of Nation to Nation relationship with First Nations, based on respect and on real investments to close the gaps in Indigenous education, health care, clean drinking water and housing. As Tom said in his recent speech to the AFN, my "success as a prime minister [will] be measured by progress for First Nations."
    Oct 16, 2015 6:30 am | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    Thank you to NOW Magazine for the kind endorsement! "When the NDP needed to win big on former leader Jack Layton's home turf in the dark days after his death, Craig Scott came through, garnering 59 per cent of the vote in a 2012 by-election. He hasn't looked back. It should hardly have been a surprise. Scott boasts huge cred on environmental, social justice and LGBTQ issues, not to mention an impressive resumé that includes the London School of Economics, Oxford University and stints as an adviser to the African National Congress on South Africa's first post-apartheid constitution and as a commissioner on the Honduras Truth Commission. "
    Oct 15, 2015 10:36 am | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    Big Toronto rally on Sunday featuring a performance from Joel Plaskett! RSVP at the link below.
    Oct 15, 2015 9:00 am | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    Ten years of Stephen Harper have taught us that our democracy can be undermined on multiple fronts. Now is the time for action that will put Canada on the right path. That's why the NDP election platform, entitled Building the Canada of our Dreams, includes an extensive set of democratic reforms that will renew our failing democracy. From fixing our broken electoral system, to promoting evidence based decision-making, to creating a new relationship with Indigenous Peoples, to repealing Bill C-51 - the NDP has a plan to make Canada's democratic politics and government more accountable, responsive and inclusive. Read more here: http://craigscott.ndp.ca/renewing-a-failing-democracy
    Oct 15, 2015 7:00 am | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    Read below: Amazing interview NDP candidate & Environment Critic Megan Leslie. "What the NDP has done is to set ambitious targets; targets that are in keeping with what is being done in the European Union and what the UN says is acceptable. So, a 34 per cent (carbon dioxide) reduction targets (below 1990 levels by 2025) are good targets. That is the first step, because you need to know where you are going. I can't stress that enough. To just hope, and wish, and cross our fingers isn't going to work. So, I'll take a moment to distinguish our position from that of the Liberals. We don't actually know what their targets are; they haven't set targets. We have targets and we've put them in legislation, the Climate Change Accountability Act, first introduced (in Parliament) by Jack Layton. That means that if Tom Mulcair is elected Prime Minister he has a mandate on climate change. We elected him with a mandate to go to the international climate change talks in Paris in November (the United Nations Conference of the Parties, a.k.a., COP-21) to say, "Canada's back, here are our targets, they are ambitious, and we can do this."
    Oct 14, 2015 11:00 am | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    Only five days left until Election Day! I want to send a huge thank you to all of the dedicated volunteers giving their time and energy to our campaign here in Toronto-Danforth. You are all amazing! Can you give a bit of time to help keep Toronto-Danforth orange? Join us! Call our campaign office at 416 900 3725 or sign up to volunteer online at: http://craigscott.ndp.ca/volunteer
    Oct 14, 2015 7:00 am | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    A huge thank you to Dr. James Orbinski, former International President of Doctors Without Borders, for his support. A globally recognized humanitarian practitioner and advocate, James Orbinski has dedicated his life to improving health care access and delivery in developing countries. He is also a strong and tireless advocate for those who have been silenced by war, genocide and mass starvation. I'm grateful for his endorsement. "Craig Scott first taught me at University of Toronto. I then consulted with him on human rights and humanitarian law when I was International President of MSF/Doctors without Borders. He has since been a loyal and dependable friend. Craig has been a wonderfully active MP for Toronto-Danforth. He has my full and unequivocal support."
    Oct 13, 2015 1:00 pm | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    Thanks to Fair Vote Canada for highlighting the NDP's super strong commitment to proportional representation in our platform. As Tom has said many times, an NDP government is committed to ensuring that 2015 is the last unfair election — and 2019 the first election conducted under a truly democratic electoral system. If you wish to see proportional representation in Canada, a vote for an NDP candidate is the way to achieve this goal.
    Oct 13, 2015 5:28 am | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    Thank you to June Schappert, Director of the Boulton Avenue Child Care Centre in Toronto-Danforth, for highlighting the importance of the NDP's plan for national, affordable child care. Affordable, quality child care helps families and boosts the economy. That's why an NDP government will work with provinces and territories to fund one million child care spaces across Canada—including 164,000 spaces in the GTA. Parents won't pay more than $15 per day. "Every day in my work, I see the importance of high quality child care, for the children who are nurtured by it, for the parents who depend on it, and for the larger well-being of our neighbourhoods. That’s why the commitment of Craig Scott and the NDP to a national, affordable child care program is so important, to Toronto-Danforth and all of Canada."
    Oct 12, 2015 9:45 am | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    Great news on a sunny Thanksgiving Monday. Welcome home!
    Oct 12, 2015 7:51 am | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    Only 7 days to go! Joey stopped by the campaign office to get in on the action. A reminder that Advance Polls are open today from noon- 8 PM. Beat the rush on Election Day and vote early. Find full details at: http://www.elections.ca/ If you're able to come in and volunteer on or before October 19th we would love your help. Any time you can give will make a difference. Please call 416-900-3725 or sign up online to volunteer at http://craigscott.ndp.ca/volunteer
    Oct 12, 2015 7:00 am | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    I'm so grateful to have the support of Pam McConnell. As Deputy Mayor of the City of Toronto, a seven-term City Councillor and the lead on the City's Poverty Reduction Strategy, Pam is a fighter for our city and the people who make it great. "Craig is a true champion of our cities. He understands that municipalities need a strong partner in the federal government to invest in critical infrastructure, from housing to transit. Toronto and Canada need Craig Scott and an NDP government in Ottawa to continue building strong and healthy communities."
    Oct 11, 2015 11:00 am | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    Looking good Jones Avenue! Thanks so much for the wonderful support.
    Oct 11, 2015 7:29 am | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    Thrilled to have the support of David Gale, a multiple award-winning actor, director and host as well as the VP-Communications at ACTRA Toronto. The arts make our communities—and our economy—stronger. That's why an NDP government will take action to strengthen the CBC, invest in Canadian filmmaking and loosen rules to make it easier for artists to secure Canada Council grants. "Craig Scott understands that the film and television industry accounts for over 20,000 jobs in Toronto. He understands the value of the CBC and fights to keep our national broadcaster from a death by a thousand cuts. Eloquent, knowledgeable, untiring, and willing to listen, Craig is exactly the right person to represent Toronto-Danforth in the House of Commons."
    Oct 10, 2015 12:35 pm | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    I voted early in the advanced polls. Beat the rush on Election Day and make plans to vote early. Find out where to vote at: http://www.ndp.ca/where-to-vote
    Oct 10, 2015 8:11 am | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    Honoured to have the respect of Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes, Senior Pastor at the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto on Simpson Avenue. A member of the Order of Canada, Brent Hawkes is one of Canada's greatest champions for LGBTQ rights, justice, equality and human rights. "Craig works incredibly hard for our community. From fighting poverty to celebrating diversity, and everything in between, Toronto-Danforth is well-served by Craig Scott."
    Oct 09, 2015 1:15 pm | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    Our full platform is out! Update: Glad that the Globe emphasizes the commitment to democratic reform in the NDP platform, but there is an error where it says that some MPs will be appointed. Not the case.
    Oct 09, 2015 8:43 am | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    Make your plan to vote. Advance Polls open TODAY until Monday (October 9, 10, 11, 12) from noon to 8:00 p.m. See details here: http://www.elections.ca/Scripts/vis/FindED?L=e&QID=-1&PAGEID=20 Here is a fun list of the ten best reasons to vote early. I'll add one more: Voting early is one of the easiest ways to help with my campaign. Every supporter who votes in advance is one less door for our volunteers to knock on Election Day. Thanks for all of your support!
    Oct 09, 2015 6:53 am | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    Many thanks to Jim and Carolyn Parker for their kind words of support. As leaders of the Bethany Baptist Church, and through their work with the East York Strategy, Jim and Carolyn have worked tirelessly to provide support for young people in our community. "We are proud to support Craig Scott for re-election in Toronto-Danforth. Craig is committed, caring, creative and deeply engaged with the issues that confront our community, particularly the challenges facing young people."
    Oct 08, 2015 2:11 pm | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    Justice for Indigenous Peoples is a top priority for Tom Mulcair and will be a top priority for an NDP government. Yesterday, before the Assembly of First Nations, Tom made a powerful commitment to a new era of Nation to Nation relationship, based on respect and on real investments to close the gaps in Indigenous education, health care, clean drinking water and housing. Read more about our key commitments below.
    Oct 08, 2015 6:30 am | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    I'm honoured to have the support of Joan Howard, a Toronto-Danforth resident and strong advocate for victims of gun violence and safer communities. Joan has worked tirelessly to bring about a positive legacy from the tragic loss of her son, Kempton, who was murdered in our community by gunfire in 2003. My entire team has learned so much from Joan over the past three years. I am grateful for her endorsement. "Craig Scott has been a strong advocate for finding ways to stop gun violence in our neighbourhoods, and for finding ways to support parents and activists working with young people to build a safer community. He is always there when his constituents need him. I fully support the re-election of Craig Scott in Toronto-Danforth."
    Oct 07, 2015 12:55 pm | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    Last week, 220 prominent Canadian artists joined together to take a stand against Bill C-51, the Conservatives spy-state-expansion bill. They are calling for the bill to be repealed. An NDP government will do exactly that! This week,Tom Mulcair was surrounded by artists, including Sarah Harmer, Whitehorse and actor Gordon Pinsent, at a special announcement on arts and culture right here in Toronto. New Democrats know that the arts make our communities—and our economy—stronger. That's why we will take action to strengthen the CBC, invest in Canadian filmmaking and loosen rules to make it easier for artists to secure Canada Council grants. Read more below.
    Oct 07, 2015 6:25 am | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    I'm so grateful to have the support of Judy Ouk, President of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce (East Toronto) and a small business owner in our community. "As president of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce (East Toronto), I have had the opportunity to work closely with Craig Scott. As our MP, he has always taken the time to listen to our concerns and work collaboratively to help organize our community events and make them a success. Craig has always been there to assist us and to celebrate our contribution in making Toronto-Danforth a vibrant and diverse community."
    Oct 06, 2015 7:00 am | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    As the Official Opposition Critic for Democratic and Parliamentary Reform, I was proud to lead the NDP's charge against Stephen Harper's Bill C-23, dubbed the Unfair Elections Act as it sought to impose voter suppression tactics and stop Elections Canada from promoting the importance of voting. We fought that bill tooth and nail alongside civil society partners and passionate Canadians. An NDP government will be just as committed to protecting the hard-fought democratic rights of all Canadians. We will introduce the Voter Protection Act which will REPEAL the Conservatives' voter suppression laws, enhance the powers of Elections Canada, and establish stronger penalties for operatives who interfere with a citizens' right to vote. We are ready to make change happen.
    Oct 05, 2015 3:35 pm | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth
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    MPndp
    Only two more weeks to go in this election campaign. Your support is fantastic and uplifting. Thank you! The final push is on! Can you spare some time to volunteer and help keep our momentum going? Feel free to drop by our campaign office at 661 Danforth Avenue (at Pape) or sign up to volunteer online at http://craigscott.ndp.ca/volunteer And, if you haven't already, check out the NDP's progressive plan for Toronto here: http://craigscott.ndp.ca/building-a-better-toronto
    Oct 05, 2015 7:00 am | Ontario, Toronto—Danforth

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