Dwindling Democracy: The End Of Public Campaign Financing

flickr.com Stephen Harper
flickr.com Stephen Harper

On the first of April this year, a fundamental shift in Canada’s democracy will be complete.

The per-vote-subsidies federal political parties have received since the Liberal government of Jean Chretien in 2004 will be eliminated on this day. The subsidy—in 2011 valued at $2.03 per year per vote—has been gradually lowered by $.51 each April 1st since 2012 as part of the 2011 Conservative budget. The significance of this may seem unclear; but let me assure you, this is a political coup d’etat designed to upend one of the world’s most progressive electoral finance policies and preserve Tory power.

The measure places all burden of campaign funding on private donors. This means that political parties will need to focus heavily on fundraising to ensure they can campaign effectively. The most effective fundraising machine in the Canadian political landscape is the Conservative Party.

According to Elections Canada, the Conservatives raised $18.1 million from 80,135 contributors in 2013—nearly $7 million more cash and nearly 9000 more contributors than the Liberal Party, their nearest competitors. The Conservatives average donation sits at just over $225 while the Liberals sit at just over $155.

This kind of fundraising domination is possible because the Conservatives represent the moneyed interests in our society. Tax cuts and credits, deregulation, and social programming cuts to fund lost revenues dominate their agenda. It is these interests who have money to burn on political campaigns. It is these interests who benefit most from the abolition of per-vote subsidies.

This is because the subsidies have always made up far less of the Conservative war chest than the other major parties. What the subsidies did was level the playing field to some extent; allowing parties to focus on issues important to constituents rather than pandering to the financial elite to fill their coffers. It also ensured parties would be compensated for their public support, rather than just the support of those with enough disposable income to contribute to political parties.

The Conservatives justified this move under the auspices of austerity. According to budget documents, eliminating the subsidies will save $30 million dollars per year. This may be true, but this amount is a tiny drop in a huge budget, one which included tax credits and cuts amounting to far more than this. Was this worth sabotaging a program that ensures a base level of equality in speech? I think not. Nor do I believe savings were the intent.

It is clear the Conservative Party knows they hold the balance of fundraising power. Just as they sought to marginalize populations who wouldn’t typically vote for them with Pierre Poilievre’s ill-fated voter identification legislation last year, they are seeking to silence millions of voters whose only choice for giving to their party of choice lies at the ballot box. By taking political capital from these people, they are striking a major blow to their political foes by choking financial resources needed to effectively campaign.

The near total lack of coverage of this issue since the 2011 budget measures is inexcusable. It is the duty of our media to constantly question our leaders and in leaving this issue out of editorial pages, they have failed. Political parties will be forced to resort to American-style retail politics, equality of speech will be eroded, and near-hegemonic power will be afforded to one political party.

If we refuse to act against these measures—at the ballot box and beyond—we are allowing the subversion of our democracy. It is a quiet, unassuming tyranny, but a tyranny nonetheless. Be aware of the implications and fight back with your words and votes in 2015.


Article by Mike Westwick

Connect with Mike on Twitter @westwick_m

Seahawks Progress to Super Bowl Despite Lackluster Passing Game

Courtesy Flickr.com nojuanshome
Courtesy Flickr.com nojuanshome

“Whoa…that was a little too close for comfort,” was the collective sigh of relief for thousands of Seattle Seahawks fans across the Pacific Northwest. Seattle rallied back from a 16-0 first half deficit to beat the Green Bay Packers 28-22 in overtime and return the defending Super Bowl Champions to back to back championship games.

The Seahawks won the game on a 35-yard touchdown reception in overtime by Jermaine Kearse. In each of the four previous quarters of regulation football, Kearse had been targeted by quarterback Russell Wilson, and the University of Washington product was picked off on each occasion, including two perfectly thrown balls, which were tipped by Kearse into waiting defenders hands.

Also, in the first half of Sunday’s NFC Championship, the Seattle return game was equally inept as the offence was, with Seattle’s top receiver, Doug Baldwin, turning over the ball on the kick-off return after the Packers put their first field goal points on the board.

The Seattle offence, as was the case in the regular season goes through Marshawn Lynch. Lynch ran for 157 yards and tallied one touchdown to give Seattle their first lead in the game in the fourth quarter.

Seattle has been without a top receiver since trading Percy Harvin to the New York Jets back in October. Harvin was dealt as result of mediocre performance on the field and  reports of altercations including fights with Doug Baldwin and former teammate Golden Tate. Harvin was used as the primary kick returner during his short stint with the Seahawks and scored a beautiful touchdown on the opening second half kickoff in Super Bowl XLXIII. After the trade, the team did not replace the former pro-bowler with another top receiver. The Seahawks elected to have Russell Wilson use a myriad of receivers for the remainder of the season, but with no main threat coming to the forefront.

The Seahawks receiving corp has been very green this season. The team was using rookie receivers Paul Richardson(suffered season ending knee injury in divisional playoff win vs Carolina), Kevin Norwood and Ricardo Lockette regularly in the receiving corp, second-year wideout Chris Matthews, fifth-year Bryan Walters, third-year receiver Jermaine Kearse playing every down as well as being lead by fourth-year man Doug Baldwin. Combined in the Seahawks lineup is 14-years of experience in the wide out position.

Baldwin was arguably the third receiver last year behind Sidney Rice(he was injured after Week 6 and retired before this season) and Golden Tate who lead the team in receiving yards with 898. Baldwin had 788 receiving yards last year, and 825 this year. His nearest team mate, Jermaine Kearse had 537 yards receiving this season.

They’ve been able to win by committee, but will the existing committee be enough to beat a very experienced New England Patriots defence? “Y’all didn’t believe in us,” said Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin, “16-0, in the first half, how many of y’all counted us out? How many of y’all doubted us? It’s indicative of our entire season. Y’all don’t want to believe in us, it’s okay. You ain’t gotta believe in us because we’re going to believe in ourselves.”

But people’s belief certainly wavered after that 16-0 first half deficit. Many may have been thinking that this inexperienced group just got beat by the Packer’s stronger receiving corps led by Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. But Baldwin and his Seahawk teammates weren’t phased by the hold they had dug themselves, “You don’t win the game in the first half, you win in the second half, and what do we do? We come out and we do what we do, we play Seahawks football! We got an opportunity to do what we love, and we’ll see y’all in the Super Bowl!”

The real saviour for the Seahawks offensively has been the running game led by  Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson. Lynch racked up 1,306 yards on the ground while the starting QB tallied 849 yards.

The Hawks defence has also followed up last year’s Super Bowl win with an equally stingy defence this year, keeping teams to the fewest yards against(267.1 YPG during regular season) in the league. The defence did manage two takeaways, but gave up 306 yards of offence to Green Bay on Sunday.

Fans of the team can only hope that the team’s defence and run game can lead them past New England in Super Bowl XLIX February 1st.


 

By Zameer Karim

Dollars & Sense: Save Your Money

Everyone likes to spend money, and in contrast, every company is trying to separate you from your money, one nickel at a time.

Companies spend millions of dollars every year looking to find ways to convince you to part with your hard-earned cash, so shouldn’t you spend a little time and energy watching it? I think so and I hope you do too!

To highlight our theme of a New Year, New You, I have come up with a few tips you can act on today. I hope one or more of these tidbits will get you on your way to keeping more of your money, whether it comes from student loans, part-time job, or (like me) a full time career while completing my studies; every dollar counts!

1) Did you know that many financial institutions offer free banking for students? Next time you are in your branch, ask about “Student Banking”. With your Royal Roads University ID, you could save up to $30 per month in fees! That is over $300 per year! TD is a sure thing, and others brands likely have similar programs in place. It does not hurt to ask!

2) Pay yourself first! It does not matter if you make $100 part time every two weeks or 100K per year, you MUST put away a chunk (at least 20%) off the top to pay yourself.

3) Do not keep up with the Jones’! Nobody cares if you don’t have that newest iPhone except Apple.

4) Do not buy coffee from the green logo barista that rhymes with five bucks! This is the most insane craze out there. I do not care how good, how sweet, or how good that mocha frappe is, it is making you broke. I usually buy good Hawaiian Kona coffee, use 2% milk and it blows any soy chai latte away (plus most of those beverages contain a pound of sugar). You do not have to go Hawaiian, but I’m sure your favorite blend is at your local Thrifty’s at a fraction of the cost of five bucks.

Money saving lunch tip (Yes I did invent, use and may patent this awesomeness):

Take any bowl of spicy (or regular) kimchi noodles, cut out a quarter avocado, a couple slices of cheddar, mozza, or marble cheese, pour in boiling water and you have a hearty gourmet Asian version of tortilla soup. A $10 box at Costco will last you a month and then you can spend spring break in Vegas!

Until next time,
Paul Allen
Royal Roads University Student
Paul Allen

Contact: paulallensblog@gmail.com
Twitter: @paulallensblog

Use a Recruiter for Your Next Job Search

Recruiting: The Answer to Your Job Search?It is estimated that up to 80 per cent of open jobs are not advertised using traditional methods (i.e. job boards, company websites, newspaper classifieds, etc.). Therefore, recruiting firms often have leads on positions you might never hear about, including confidential job searches. Whether you are searching for a temporary, contract or permanent opportunity, there are many reasons why you, as a job seeker, would benefit from partnering with a recruiting firm.

You will be better prepared
Recruiting firms can help hone your resumé, assist with interview techniques, and provide you with more insight into the company, the job, the interview, the culture, the environment and, sometimes, even your competition.

Your resumé will stand out
Your recruiter will personally represent you to the hiring manager. It is not uncommon for hiring managers or Human Resource (HR) departments to receive hundreds of applicants for advertised positions; many qualified candidates’ resumés go unnoticed.

You can negotiate the highest compensation package
Your recruiter can provide advice on how to secure a higher income and better benefits and, in many cases, handle the negotiation for you when it comes to your new employment contract.

It’s free!

It is against British Columbia law for any worker to be charged money or a “placement fee” by a recruitment or employment agency.

Tips for getting the most out of your recruiting firm

Build a good rapport with the recruiting firm. Whether you’re meeting with a recruiter to discuss possible employment opportunities or a specific opportunity with one of their clients, the old standard “dress for success” still applies; you need to present yourself to the recruiter as a professional so he/she is comfortable recommending you to his/her clients.

Don’t underestimate the power of a recruiter. Many clients without an internal HR department develop a strategic business partnership with a recruiting firm. They trust their recruiters to present a shortlist of qualified candidates based on technical and cultural fit.

Work quickly. If a recruiter contacts you with an opportunity, respond as soon as possible. Recruiting firms pride themselves on being able to offer their clients a quick turnaround on filling open positions. So, if they do not hear back from you they may move on to other qualified candidates.

Keep control of your resumé. Make it clear you want to make decisions about who sees your resumé, especially if your job search is confidential. Some less professional agencies may flood the market with your resumé.

Use their knowledge. Particularly true of specialist consultants who work exclusively within your chosen profession or industry, recruiting firms can offer you salary advice based on benchmarking within the industry.

When to apply directly

• If you know the hiring manager, it’s almost always best to apply directly.

• If you have a professional (not personal) relationship with an employee at your target company, it may be advantageous to have him or her pass your resumé along for you. Keep in mind your resumé will likely be judged based on the quality of your referrer; “B” players are thought to attract “C” players.

• If you do not have the requisite experience, skills or current employment history specifically requested by the client, but want to “throw your hat in the ring” via the company’s website.

Given the benefits mentioned above, why not take advantage of the free services a professional recruiter provides when contemplating your next career move?


Article by Jacqueline Gallagher

Jacqueline is the Managing Consultant at the David Alpin Group, one of Canada’s largest recruiting firms, and a MBA candidate at Royal Roads. 

Connect with her on Twitter @recruiterjax 

Bringing My Whole Self

Accomplished orchestral conductors dance an amazing dance. They have an ear on the purity of each note and the capacity to ensure each piece of music unfolds in splendour. They enliven each score with a vision of all it can be for each listener. As students and developing professionals, we can learn something from these maestros.

The past year has been a growing one for folks enrolled at Royal Roads. Juggling work, learning, and family is rich and challenging. Shifting from course work to integrating this learning is just as exciting.

It is, however, no small feat. Putting our best selves forward, applying all of our new learning, and integrating authenticity in all aspects of our lives requires the same intricacy, attention, and poise as the orchestra conductor.

In my experience, it is always difficult to maintain the balancing act. I have had success in integrating my professional experience, personal skills, and aspirations in my busy life; yet I sometimes still feel inept in my journey.

As a graduate of the Executive Coaching program at Royal Roads University, I would like to share some of the ways I’ve had success in putting my best self forward and some reflections on the results in my own life since I left Royal Roads one year ago.

What Helps?

  • Knowing who I am. And reminding myself that authenticity matters.
  • Clearly defining where I want to be.
  • Paying attention to what works. Letting it evolve.
  • Putting service to others as a priority.
  • Finding my path forward.
  • Support. Accountability. And pushing reset when it isn’t working.
  • Again and again. And again.

And, as I strive to honour the melody and the dynamics, the crescendos and the diminuendos…

Self-care! Self-care! Self-care!

Reflecting on 2014 allowed me to look back and see what a difference a year has made in my life since Royal Roads.

Some Wins:

  • Wild Goat Executive Coaching, my business, is growing, and satisfying
  • I am combining my coaching experience with fiction writing in my blog Daring Imagination
  • I work with colleagues from Royal Roads who challenge and support me
  • I have time and means to head to the ocean and be in awe
  • I love getting up in the morning and being of service

I am grateful for my teachers – even the unexpected ones. For my peers – who continue to encourage and challenge. And most importantly, for my clients, who have trusted me to make a difference. Reflection will allow you to put your accomplishments in perspective.

Royal Roads University has encouraged me to bring all of myself on this amazing, and challenging journey. I have been changed on this journey, which I am grateful for. I would recommend the experiences I have had to anyone and hope that sharing my experiences will help you bring your best self to the table.

Some Final Questions to Think About:

  • What changes do you want to reflect on in January 2016?
  • What are you willing to do to create those changes?

 

Article by Dr. Meredith Egan, ACC CEC PharmD

Meredith Egan

Executive Coach

Include Mental Fitness in Your Plans for Getting Healthier in 2015

Mental Health Growth
Mental Health Growth

According to Mental Health First Aid Canada (MHFA), 1 in 5 Canadians will experience a mental health problem by the age of 25.

Many Royal Roads University students are working and going to school, so it’s easy to get swept up in the rush of everyday life. It can be difficult to realize how much stress and anxiety we are under, and how much it really affects our mental fitness. Along with the physical stress on our bodies from lack of sleep, pushing ourselves to meet deadlines and trying to juggle a personal and professional life, stress can leak into all facets of our lives.

There are many outlets for individuals to find mental health resources, including RRU’s Coaching & Counseling Services available on campus, as well as via phone and email. An experienced and licensed counselor is on campus full time to assist RRU students who are on enrolled in any and all programs. There is also individual and team coaching available for students as the university puts a large emphasis on teamwork. RRU’s Student Services is also developing a wellness workshop series with a focus on mental health and academic success aimed to launch this spring.

The Mental Health Commission of Canada is a catalyst for improving the mental health system and changing the attitudes and behaviours of Canadians around mental health issues. Through its unique mandate from Health Canada, the MHCC brings together leaders and organizations from across the country to accelerate these changes. One of those organizations is the Canadian Mental Health Association, which  offers a helpful Mental Health Meter that defines the characteristics of mental health and offer a quiz that helps users identify strengths and areas that can be improved.

Checking in on our own mental health on a regular basis helps us take preventative measures to prepare for when we experience stress. The Mental Health First Aid course is based on self care and guarding our mental health and supporting those with mental health issues. We can help manage our stress levels by getting enough sleep each night, pre-planning the week and ensuring some downtime is available, as well as managing substance use, such as alcohol. The Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse has drinking guidelines to prevent future substance issues, identifying supports such as other students, teachers and counseling centres.

As students and professionals, many of us feel the pressure to get everything done and feel disappointed when they let something slip. Maintaining a balance can be easier said then done. For example, we might concentrate on finishing our assignment that’s due in a few days and then plan to catch up with friends afterwards. It sounds simple enough, but when we have numerous balls in the air that need to be caught, it is easy to feel inundated. So, when we have to work the night that three assignments are due, the balancing act gets tougher.For some, balance means putting more effort into their career and work over time one day, and then the next peeling themselves away from from their desks at 4:30 p.m. right on the dot.

In the meantime, when we’re juggling our personal and professional life, finding ways to cope with those emotional moments, helps us and those we are close to. As we experience large amounts of stress, it tends to affect our personal relationships. So, when we might be ready to throw our coffee mug at the computer or are about to take our frustration on a loved one, taking a breather is important. Find an activity that helps take our mind off whatever it is that we’re doing. If you’re stumped while writing an email or paper, stand up and take a walk. Physical exercise helps with maintaining mental fitness.

The MHFA points out if that many of us would know what to do if someone we knew sprained their ankle, however, chances are we wouldn’t know what to do if they were having a panic attack. If you notice a change in the behaviour of someone close to you, it’s important to recognize if someone is exhibiting signs of depression. We can all do this by increasing your own mental health awareness. If someone decides to confide in you, you can help by genuinely listening and validating their experience and giving reassurance. Besides making yourself available as part of their support system, you can also encourage them to seek appropriate professional help or informal support.


Mental Health First Aid of Canada
http://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.ca/EN/Pages/default.aspx

Mental Health Meter:
http://www.cmha.ca/mental_health/mental-health-meter/#.VLBTnivF_k0

Royal Roads Link:
https://student.myrru.royalroads.ca/student-services/counselling-services

Email: counselling@royalroads.ca


Article by Carissa Ng

 

Happy New Year from The Royal Magazine Team!

As a student-run publication, we are proud to represent and give a voice to current, past, and future Royal Roads University students.

Our soft launch is January 15, 2015 so stay tuned for updates and some exciting new posts!

Our hard launch for our print edition is set for February 15, 2015.

If you wish to contribute to our publication please contact editor@royalmag.ca. If you are interested in advertising on our website or in our print edition, please contact sales@royalmag.ca.

Cheers,

The Editing Team (Kelly, Mike, and Zam)