ottawacitizen.com
International group to monitor Canada's federal election
NDP MP Peggy Nash said the fact the OSCE plans to send a team should make people realize the world is watching. “People around the world have looked to us as a model of good ethical governance,” she said. “And if they see us walking backwards on election transparency, then I think that really is a wake-up call.”

Canadians won’t be the only ones watching October’s election. An international body that specializes in monitoring elections plans to send a team to watch the federal campaign for the first time since 2006.

The Organization for Security and Economic Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is drawing up the plan in direct response to opposition and civil society concerns about recent changes to Canada’s election law under the Conservative government. Canada is a member of the OSCE.

With an election call expected as early as this weekend, the OSCE election observer mission’s findings could validate – or dismiss – criticisms from opposition parties, some citizens’ groups and other analysts of the legislation the government has dubbed the Fair Elections Act. Critics believe its provisions could affect Canada’s standing as a champion of free and fair elections.

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Tumblr be like “gay marriage legal in Europe”

Gay marriage has been legalized in the United States which is a wonderful thing but I’ve seen posts all over tumblr and facebook like “Well if you want to leave the U.S i’ve got a bunch of places you can go! Gay marriage is legal in Canada and Europe so I suggest countries like Iran”. They even come with a map of places where same sex marriage is legalized and the whole of Europe is marked as a “yes”.

Let me tell where I live in. Poland.
Poland is a country in the centre of Europe. 70% of people are against gay marriage here according to statistics from recent years. You wouldn’t believe how many people are homophobes. Here, calling someone gay is like one of the worst insults. Homosexuality is being over and over compared to pedophilia or zoophilia. You wouldn’t believe how people insult gays here. You wouldn’t believe the anti-gay parades.You wouldn’t believe a comment I recently found saying “I would like to reopen the gas chambers in Auschwitz just for gay people” with 25 likes on it.
When the news of homosexual marriage in the U.S hit Poland and facebook came up with the idea of rainbow profile pictures do you know do you know what happened? People started to put a filter with a polish flag, saying that “I don’t want homos on my street!! disgusting!! not normal!! get the fuck out of my country!!”
This is the reality of a country in the centre of Europe. And I believe you’ve heard of Greece, Italy, Slovakia, Ukraine, the whole Balkan peninsula, Bulgaria, Romania? Yup, not legal too. Also I refer you to the fact that in countries like Svitzerland, Austria or Germany, The Czech Republic or Hungary there are same sex partnerships NOT same sex marriages.

Of course I can’t tell you if homophobia is so common in those countries as it is in mine. And of course - as you can see - not all people in Poland are like this. But a lot of them, sadly are.

So stop posting fake information. The fight for equality is not done just because the U.S has changed its law, and it certainly is not done in Europe as you try to convince people. STOP DISINFORMATION.

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“I believe that when all voices are being heard, when people know that they’re included in the political process, that makes a country stronger and more successful and more innovative. So we discussed steps that Ethiopia can take to show progress on promoting good governance, protecting human rights, fundamental freedoms, and strengthening democracy. And this is an area where we intend to deepen our conversations and consultation, because we strongly believe in Ethiopia’s promise and its people.” —President Obama at a press conference in Ethiopia

independent.co.uk
While the rest of us face austerity, the Lords refuse to drink cheaper champagne
Nothing highlights the gulf between the governing class in this country and the rest of us than today's story about champagne in the House of Lords.

It’s been revealed that a proposal to save taxpayers money by making the House of Lords and House of Commons share a catering department was rejected “because the Lords feared that the quality of champagne would not be as good if they chose a joint service”.

It might take you a while to digest the sheer breathtaking callousness, arrogance and snobbishness of this. However, once you have passed through the various stages of reaction that I did – slack-jawed disbelief, hysterical laughter, genuine anger – I invite you to share with me a brief analysis of why this illustrates just how out of touch the governing class are from the people whose lives their decisions affect.

Obviously there is the mind-boggling elitism and disdain towards the less privileged which is revealed here. During a time of food banks, unemployment and waves of benefit cuts, when the rest of us are supposed to accept austerity lying down, the mere mention of a change to peers’ taste in bubbly is met with uncomprehending scorn. This is the thing that first cuffs you in the face. And there are only further, follow-up slaps to come.

We already suspected the House of Commons was disproportionately posh, with its overwhelming number of privately schooled members, its ludicrous expenses claims, and patronising tweets about white van men. But new, dizzying heights of snobbishness are revealed when we realise that, to members of the House of Lords, even this privileged bunch is considered too plebeian to have a trustworthy taste in champagne.

There’s also the unspoken assumption that during times of austerity there should be a budget for champagne at all, in either House. I don’t know about you, but I have never worked for a company that had part of its budget ring-fenced for sparkling wines, let alone roughly £65,000 a year (for the House of Lords alone). Is there something different about running the country which requires all that bubbly? Maybe it provides peers with the Dutch courage required to clock in for just a few minutes each day to claim their £300 daily attendance allowance?

It would be bad enough if our taxes were being spent on the champagne fund belonging to a group of people who didn’t have the capacity to enact any real harm on society. But let’s not forget, this a gathering of people who are predominantly white, male, and wealthy, and worse yet - entirely unelected. Despite this, our country’s lords still have the power to block and delay government legislation.

This needs to change, and the first step should be an imposed austerity on their £1.3M annual catering budget, starting with the complete abolishment of champagne. If they complain about the lack of bubbly I have a handy tip – try adding value lemonade (under 50p) to a large bottle of Liebfraumilch (under £7 for 1.5 litres) for a cheap alternative. It may not taste like Cristal but it does the trick, and after the first three glasses you can’t tell the difference anyway.

This advice is free by the way. After all, we’re all in it together, right?

LEE WILLIAMS

The US Political Break Down  

Lucky for me I am a 1998 baby which means right as I turn 18, I will be able to vote for the next election! Although the thought of being able to vote for the next President excites me, the rest of the world seems to be at lost with their enthusiasm. However, I am here to say that as Americans, it is our duty to vote. Why? Because we are very lucky to be living in a form of democracy. 

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