Who We Are

For seven years, RODC actively documented and resisted the dismantling of Democracy in Canada.

We have achieved our mission: "To elect a government that will reclaim our democratic Canada."

The indications so far are that this is what the new government of Canada intends to do.

The question is, Will RODC be useful in "rebuilding" real democracy? 

We have decided to dissolve the organization and start the process to form a Halton chapter of the Council of Canadians.
Who We Are

We are a grassroots movement aiming to rebuild democracy in Canada by

∙ monitoring government actions
communicating to alert Canadians about areas of concern.
providing a forum to share concerns and ideas for action
working with like-minded organizations to rebuild democracy
advocating for positive change.

Twitter: Follow us @reclaimcanada  Our Facebook page
*Multi-Partisan: An Explanation

The term “multi-partisan” encompasses different but objective viewpoints and diverse political affiliation. When issues are discussed, we respect and welcome all partisan or non-partisan voices.

RODC’s collective perspective and goals have never been fused with narrow-interest or singular positions.

RODC has actively documented and resisted the dismantling of Democracy in Canada. We are united in our work for democracy in Canada and in our hopes for the future.

Read some of the latest newspaper columns here
Our Core Values.

Our definition of Democracy.
A Series of articles on democracy by Rick Salutin The Star July 2012
The web site of Democracy Watch
Read "Democracy Matters" by Chris DuRand.

Susan's Notes November 25 Meeting

Susan Berry’s Notes on her November 25 meeting with Terence Young

Susan was spokesperson for RODC in that protest meeting attended as well by two reporters.

First of all I wish to thank Mr. Young for meeting with me on November 25. Many Conservative MPs refused to meet the groups of protesters  across Canada who went to deliver the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) report, the Leadnow.ca petition and 10 reasons why Bill C-10 should not be passed.

Mr. Young was well prepared for our meeting, and had numerous pages of notes with which he wished to refute, point by point, the CBA 10-point critique of the process by which this bill is being passed and the substance of the Bill. He started off by telling me (and the media members present) that the Bar Association was all wrong, and he would be able to explain why. 

Mr. Young’s history lesson on criminal justice started with a 1998 Federal Government Report on youth criminal justice and the introduction of such an initiative. At this point, I admit, I cut him off and indicated that my concern was the present legislative initiative that aims to change the law on youth criminal justice. He asked if I wanted to listen to him. I said that I would like to ask him some questions about the bill. 
I had a number of questions about the Bill, but Mr. Young wanted to “stick to the script”. From about this point on, Mr. Young read a prepared text, never providing myself or the media with a copy, replete with detailed facts about the bill.

A few of the points that I recall were raised:

I asked Mr. Young repeatedly what empirical evidence the Federal Government was basing the crime bill on. To my knowledge, the only study the government has pointed to is a 2005 commission report of Retired Justice Nunn on young offenders. Justice Nunn has publicly announced he believes Bill C-10 goes too far, beyond his recommendations on how to reform the Youth Criminal Justice System.

Mr. Young advised me that there was a vast amount of research that the government had relied upon in crafting the bill. He was unable to name one study. I asked Mr. Young to provide me with the list on Monday. If the Bar Association representing 37,000 lawyers is wrong, there must be some evidence the government has to prove that it is so.

Mr. Young spent a great deal of time talking about programs that the government has or is expanding, particularly with regard to an expansion of drug treatment court available to inmates with substance abuse issues, and described the process by which offenders could thereby qualify for community diversion after one year of incarceration. I asked him if the Canadian Mental Health Association endorsed Bill C-10, since they are a body primarily involved with dealing with addictions. He did not reply except to ask if I was just going to interrupt him. 

I asked him if he thought that Canada should have a national mental health strategy prior to implementing changes to the criminal justice system that was bound to incarcerate more individuals suffering from mental illness. He replied that Canada has a national mental health strategy. 

That is factually incorrect. Canada is the only G8 country without a national health strategy. The final report from the CMHA is due to come out next year, so that a national mental health strategy can be considered in conjunction with the Health Accord renewal process scheduled for 2014.

I asked Mr. Young if the government’s goal is to reduce drug use and crime, why they would not heed the Rand Institute studies which demonstrate that the same amount of taxpayer investment can quadruple the reduction in drug consumption. 

He replied that this is why the government is expanding drug court. However, the Rand Institute recommends a non-criminal, preventative approach to treating drug use as a health issue. Mr. Young did not describe any new programs directed toward the prevention end of dealing with drugs that would be launched with Bill C-10.

I asked him about mandatory minimum sentences and if he did not think they were too harsh, particularly as they do not meet international norms for providing a judicial safety valve in sentencing. Mr. Young proceeded to list all of the offences that would have new mandatory minimum sentences. We agreed that the list contained serious offences. I asked him if he could not envision a situation in which a young person gets caught up in drugs but would be better off going right to diversion instead of jail. 

I asked him if this was an appropriate strategy for our youth, given the recent suicide of an Oakville teen in the Syl Apps Centre as well as the Ashley Smith suicide inquires. Mr. Young did not address issues of such institutional teen suicides.

I asked Mr. Young if he was concerned about the lack of appropriate diversion for people diagnosed with FASD, who are of particular concern to the criminal justice system because of their inability to form intent and process consequences. We did not discuss this in depth.

I asked him if he was concerned about the removal of the requirement that correctional workers use the minimum amount of force to maintain order in prisons, a legislative change that has those familiar with the prison system say will create an environment where human rights abuses will occur. Mr. Young did not respond to this comment, but to be fair, he was trying to read from his prepared notes to answer previous questions.

I asked Mr. Young if he was concerned about the cost of Bill C-10, which Steven Page states is $3B over 5 years. He reminded me that Steven Page is a rock star. I did goof on that one! Later in the conversation when I raised the issue of cost again and asked if he is concerned about the expected costs outlined by the Parliamentary Budget Office (whose name is Kevin Page), Mr. Young advised he is wrong, because he has been wrong before. I pointed out that his government had been wrong before (I was referring to the promise in the 2008 election that no deficit would be run because the world economy was not going into a recession. The government was a little off on that one.)

Mr. Young said that the costs would be limited to $78M over 5 years, and proceeded to give me a breakdown of the costs of dealing with crime, as the government currently sees them. At this point, he was mainly speaking to the press. Mr. Young merely asserted that the costs of Bill C-10 are budgeted for. In fact, they are not. The justification for this new spending has been that it will be worth the cost to protect victims.

Mr. Young did not answer my question as to why several provinces are refusing to foot the anticipated bill associated with Bill C-10.

Mr. Young advised that no new mega prisons are going to be built in Canada. I asked how the government would accommodate the new inmates, given the current double bunking issues. He did not reply. He talked about the monies the government has spent to refurbish an older institution.
I repeatedly asked him for evidence to support that this approach to crime and justice would work.

Mr. Young proceeded to explain that the changes to the system would allow judges to consider deterrence and denunciation in sentencing youth, two considerations that empirical evidence demonstrate do not lead to better outcomes for youth who become involved in the justice system.
Mr. Young asked me what I would do with violent repeat offenders. I agreed they need to be locked up. He seemed surprised by this. I agree that jail is an appropriate means to deal with dangerous people, my issue is with the removal of the ability of the judge to consider a person’s very individual circumstances and the increase of the use of prison to punish non-violent offenders.

Mr. Young mentioned the “cost of crime to the victim” which cannot be measured. Satisfying the victims of crime that justice has been done is an important objective of the criminal justice system. I did not respond to these concerns, but I would say the following about victim’s rights: victims have the right to be supported after a crime. They require specialized services and the court does that to some degree although some services could be enhanced.

But justice is in the eye of the beholder: working as a family law lawyer I know that what is determined to be just often satisfies no one. But for the safety of victims, often who are family members, I would think that the first objective of the government is to prevent victimization in the first place and then all six objectives of sentencing must be considered to prevent further victimization.  The six objectives are denunciation, deterrence, separation, rehabilitation, reparation, and assumption of responsibility.

I asked about the 6 pot plant rule: Mr. Young said no one is going to jail just for having 6 pot plants to treat their glaucoma, which is perfectly legal. We did not get into the difficulties in obtaining a licence for growing your own. He said that someone would have to have money, and or scales, and be in organized crime to do jail time with only six pot plants. I tried to ask if he thought this could apply to three university students living in an apartment together, a suggestion to which he did not reply. 

Mr. Young addressed the changes to the pardon system, claiming that pardons are simply too routine. I did not discuss that issue.

I asked Mr. Young why Canada should try an approach that California, Texas, Maryland and Mississippi had all tried and failed. Mr. Young said that the situation is entirely different in Texas -- they jail thousands more people than we do. I agreed, on account of the “tough on crime” approach that they took. He did not explain why what failed in American states will work in Canada, other than to go back to listing all the programs that the government has.

Mr. Young advised that the Bar Association was incorrect that witnesses to Parliamentary Committee were cut off after five minutes. He said that written submissions were allowed. He proceeded to provide statistics on how many hours / days of debate or Parliamentary Committee had been spent on the Bill in total, given that the nine pieces of legislation had been presented to Parliament in previous sessions. I believe he said 167 days. I mentioned that there were many pieces of legislation that had undergone review and were amended, but are now back in their original form and pointed the part of the Bar Association report addressing Offences Against Children, a one-liner stating the Bar did not have time to comment on this section.

I asked Mr. Young how he could pass such an anti-democratic Omnibus Bill, being a student of politics. He stated that this was a promise the government made, and that people would complain if they didn’t keep their promises.
I told Mr. Young the Bill should be unbundled and debated democratically. Mr. Young said that the government had a strong mandate to proceed with this bill. He has no problem with the omnibus bill. 

At several points I became frustrated with Mr. Young, who was reading off lists and lists of programs and points from his many pages of notes. I asked him who prepared the notes. He said he did. Then he corrected himself to say he did, with his staff. I asked if by that he meant the 1500 communications people the government has to do that work. He denied it. 
I got up and left the office. At that time, I was hoping to find Cathie Scott, a woman whose daughter has FASD and is up on criminal charges for drug possession and trafficking. Unfortunately, she was at the road at that point in time, but a few people were standing at the door. Mr. Young’s assistant followed me up to push me out the door. Two media members were still inside. I grabbed Janice Tobia, and went back to the room, where Mr. Young was talking about all the programs the government has, particularly wanting to give them copies of a list of programs for Native peoples. 

Janice asked Mr. Young how he could vote for this bill when he represents the people of Oakville, at which point Mr. Young ended the meeting and we all left.

I give Mr. Young a lot of credit for meeting with me. A lot of Conservative MPs avoided it. However, it is disappointing that, while I tried to explain to him that I am in support of some of the government measures and acknowledge the important role of incarceration in the Canadian judicial system, he was unable to budge in his position.

My four most important points from this discussion:

1) Mr. Young had the decency to speak with me before the bill is passed, despite having another engagement. He took a more honourable approach to this issue than many Parliamentarians.

2) Mr. Young was unable to provide any empirical evidence to indicate that this Bill will work to deal with crime in an effective, cost-efficient manner that is fair to both the victims of crime, criminal and the community at large. 

3) Mr. Young was wrong that Canada has a national mental health strategy. It does not. Such a strategy is in progress. 50% of women and 30% of men incarcerated suffer mental illness and addiction issues. Right now, people in Oakville cannot easily access the mental health supports they need to deal with depression, personality disorders, youth issues and the like. 

As someone who assists people through very traumatic times in their life (separation and divorce), I am very familiar with the time it takes to obtain mental health services and that they often become available after a crisis. A $10,000.00 investment in an enhanced early intervention system in our schools and communities can prevent a person from resorting to substance abuse and deterioration into a life of crime and the $100,000.00 cost of incarcerating that person later on. That kind of preventative approach to crime will provide a truly safer community, in which there are fewer victims. Which will give us all a true savings in both dollars and the unaccountable emotional cost of crime and punishment. 

4) Daily I say to myself “there but for the grace of god go I” when I think of those with problems that far surpass those in my own life. Mr. Young appeared unable to envision times when good people get caught doing illegal things. Many of us cannot imagine the criminal justice system becoming involved in our lives, but if it did, would we not all want the assurance that we would be treated humanely in prison and that judges could consider our circumstances and ability to reintegrate into society when sentencing us? 

Return to the Home page.

A Night for Human Rights

Susan Berry's report on the Night For Human Rights (poster below this report):
On December 10, 2011 approximately 50 people from OccupyTO, RODC and NORML Canada gathered on Queen’s Park to hold a candlelight vigil to call for democracy and human rights. 
Speakers, including Gerald Parker and Anderson Biseto from the Institute of Canadian Justice; and Susan Berry from RODC called on both the federal and provincial governments to halt the passage of Bill C-10 and invest in 
-a national mental health strategy, 
-a national school food program
-youth diversion and 
-addressing the social and economic realities of aboriginal peoples of Canada
Anderson opened and ended the vigil with a prayer.
The event was covered by City TV.
Attendees vowed to continue the fight against Bill C-10 to the Senate level.

This is International Human Rights Day.

The event is sponsored by Occupy Toronto 
All are welcome to name the many human right and democratic concerns about Canada beyond the Crime Bill

Susan's Speech to the Assembly at Occupy Toronto

Susan's Speech Against the Crime Bill at Occupy Toronto

My name is Susan Berry, I am here with RODC, Reclaim our Democratic Canada, a national group committed to restoring our democracy which used to make Canadians so proud.
We support the Occupy movement because it exposes the state of our damaged democracy, and because its participants are striving peacefully and collaboratively to find a coherent analysis of the problems , followed by practical solutions.

I came today with friends because we are excited about Occupy but we have started to hear murmurs that “Occupy” might be over in Canada.  The Media is telling us that parks are full of danger, we have worn out the welcome, are overrun by the homeless, and the movement is suffering from purposelessness.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  The Media is working VERY HARD to obfuscate the compelling reasons the Occupy movement has sprung up around the world, and all of its accomplishments to date.   

The rich have taken advantage of the disorganization and distraction of the middle class and the poor for too long.  Ordinary people are waking up from a collective depression and are responding in numbers and with creativity in the Occupy movement all around the world.  In a short amount of time, so much has been accomplished. 

Take the Keystone oil pipeline stopped in it’s tracks.  Delayed until a proper environmental assessment can be done.  Stephen Harper said U.S. approval of the TransCanada Keystone pipeline was a “no-brainer”– but it seems that he was wrong, because the White House had to listen the many saying  “NO” to corporate greed and environmental destruction. 

And we’re  sorry to disappoint you Mr. Harper, but we’ve only just begun. 

Canada’s task is to stop Mr. Harper from spending billions of tax-payers money building Mega-Prisons to hold the poor and disenfranchised.   And Occupy CAN stop it.

What is SO wrong about the Crime Bill?  Why should every Canadian, from every political party, socio-economic class, from every aspect of Canadian civil society, speak out against the Crime Bill?

It is because it is a bill that is not based on needs identified and supported by scientific and statistical evidence.  Our government’s decisions are being driven by an easily self-fulfilling ideology, by partisanship, and by attempts to appease certain groups for political reasons. 

I bet you are wondering just “HOW BAD is Bill C-10?”
While some parts of Bill C-10 have previously been tabled in Parliament, not all have been fully studied by Parliamentary committee; many parts are not yet properly reviewed or commented on because the time and length of Bill C-10 have not permitted an analysis of every aspect of Bill C-10.  This is VERY unusual for a criminal law bill.
The bundling of several critical and entirely distinct criminal justice initiatives into one omnibus Bill is inappropriate, (CBAC), and is anti-democratic.

Bill C-10 will not make Canadian society a safer society.  There is broad consensus among reputable Canadian criminal justice experts as to what is most effective in achieving a safer society.

What we know will help is a more health based response to the mentally ill and addicted instead of throwing them in jail, with more dangerous and skilled offenders, to hatch a new cycles of criminal behaviour.    We need policies and laws that recognize the historical, social and economic realities of aboriginal people;  a judicial “safety valve” to ensure justice in sentencing; and a policy of transparency in regard to the cost of any future criminal justice initiatives.

The Canadian Mental Health Commission is just finalizing intensive work to introduce a nation-wide strategy on mental health.  They are working on their final report as the government is rushing this bill through Parliament.  Without a doubt, this Crime Bill needs to be delay until a coherent strategy involving both mental health and the approach to crime can be developed.

I am certain that as we Stand Together Against the  Crime Bill we will be called soft on crime, willing to let young children be abused.  But the fact is I am not soft on real crime. I abhor real crime.  I want society to be safe and healthy.  But I don’t even know if the provisions in the bill to deal with Sexual Offenders will do that because they have not been commented on and are generally not well understood..   Who knows if they will work? 

Federal Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said spending $2.7 billion over five years to reduce crime is too important not to pass even as the federal government looks to cut costs to deal with an uncertain global economy.

“How do you measure the cost of crime? Ask a victim whether this is required,” Toews told the Brandon Sun in an exclusive interview on Thursday. “They will say ‘absolutely’”.
While this is not a particularly excellent basis on which to determine approach cost spending with an objective to community and public safety, I am certain that I could find one or two victims of crime who will object to the passage of this bill.

All we need to do to find out if this bill is a good idea from any victims of crime to justify at $3 billion worth of government spending.  What if they say no?  Would you change course?  All the empirical evidence of past failed attempts to curb crime by building huge jails seems not to deter this wrong-headed approach.  One wonders whether this is really an attempt to reduce crime, or rather, a ploy to move us to a more authoritarian society where the corporations can do what they want and anyone who opposes them will be jailed.

Once I have presented Mr. Toews with something contrary to his trite remarks on the cost of the crime bill, I hope he will be open to changing his mind and hold on the passage of this bill without more input and debate.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson didn't answer the question and instead said his department estimates that crime costs society $99 billion a year and 83 per cent of those costs are to victims.

Steven Page, the Parliamentary Budget Chief has set the initial tab at $3 billion or more.  He has called the expense of the bill unprecedented also because it’s not budgeted for.  And at this time of fiscal restraint and global uncertainty, we need our governments to make the very best use of our tax dollars.


Lie down and take it because our flawed first-past the post electoral system gave Mr. Harper a false majority, and he wields his unyielding power without regard for democratic discussion and convention, fiscal restraint, true community safety and proper regard for the poor, homeless, mentally ill, addicts, Native and persons-of colour and male population that it disproportionally impacts.

Well, I suggest we ask our MPs that question.  Face to face, if possible. Because if  the MPs haven’t taken the time to hear out the experts on crime, then it is time to bring the debate to them.

How can we do it?  What can we do?

I would respectfully propose the following to Occupy:
Working speak out now, loudly, forcefully, bravely as an active democracy to win a Smart on Crime Approach.
We can turn the tide with a simple collective action on this issue, which is current in the media and connected to so many different groups and people.

Occupy can stop this crime bill by working with people in the Canadian Bar Association, Reclaim our Democratic Canada, the spiritual care organizations like the Unitarian Church, Anglican, Muslim, Hindu, Native and earth based social and physical care, our doctors, nurses, social workers, teachers, correctional workers, mental health patients and workers, legalization and medical marijuana movement – end the war on drugs, victim’s rights groups, women’s shelters, pardons groups, people with criminal records and people who have be granted pardons or benefitted from some of the traditions of our “smart on crime” approach to community safety.  Oh, and anyone who pays taxes should be especially concerned!
We need to call on all mother, fathers, sisters and brothers to speak out against this bill.  

We need every taxpayer to say stop, before you waste more of our money. That’s what we need.

We need to live in an active democracy.  We need an AD campaign. An AD Campaign aimed at “Standing Together Against the Omnibus”.  I am seeing visions of street chalk, school bus like mailouts, cross Canada impact.  An Active Democracy Action.  Can we pierce through the collective fog and depression we are in?

Can we do it?  Yes we can!

RODC will be bringing our concerns to our MP on Nov 25.  We will ask our MP to meet with us, and some experts on community safety to discuss the crime bill and ask that the bill be delayed until the government has had adequate time to study all parts of the time and introduce their mental health strategy.      

We ask that, wherever you are, whomever you are, if you are concerned please find out more and book an appointment with YOUR MP on November 25 as well.
It’s that important that we do this together.

Judy Rivard addresses the demonstrators

My remarks today include some quotes I have gathered as a concerned citizen trying to gain a better understanding of the C-38 situation. Let me begin with the following quote.

“The omnibus bills we have before us attempts to amend several different existing laws. Second, in the interest of democracy I ask: How can members represent their constituents on these various areas when they are forced to vote in a block on such legislation and on such concerns? “

Stephen Harper spoke these words on March 16, 1994 in the House of Commons when he was a Reform MP for Calgary West. He was referring to the 24-page omnibus budget bill tabled by the government of the day.

He went on to say, “We can agree with some of the measures but oppose others. How do we express our views and the views of our constituents when the matters are so diverse? Dividing the bill into several components would allow members to represent views of their constituents on each of the different components in the bill.” END Quote

Bill C-38 the 2012 Budget is over 400 pages; the Conservative government led by Stephen Harper has tabled five budgets of 390 pages or more in its six years in power. Only three times between 1994 and 2005, when the Liberals were in power, did a budget implementation act exceed 100 pages at the time of royal assent. On seven occasions, the bill that passed Parliament was less than 70 pages.

Another former conservative MP stated,

“It makes a travesty of the democratic process to bundle all of this into a budget bill, with all of its other facets, is not becoming of a Conservative government, period." Said by Tom Siddon, a Conservative elected 5 times federally between 1978 and 1993, serving as Fisheries Minister from 1985 to 90. Mr. Siddon was Referring to one of the 70 amendments in Bill C-38 when speaking at a House of Commons Subcommittee meeting on Wed. May 30, 2012.

In a letter to the Oakville Beaver last Thursday, June 7, our MP, Terence Young, responds to opponents of the bill by presenting statistics so the average Beaver reader might say the Bill has been sufficiently debated. My math totals 96 hours of debate for 452 pages of legislation that’s 4.7 minutes per page. Unless one is familiar with legislative procedure they might assume this is fine. But we have to consider the scope of the bill. 4.7 minutes per page doesn’t seem to be enough time to repeal acts that took years to set up.

DEMOCRACY IS more than just a vote it’s a process and that process matters. This is not a question of whether a majority government can make lawful decisions by outvoting the opposition in Parliament. They can. This is a question of how the government makes those decisions, whether they have followed due diligence and explained clearly the rationale and the pros and cons of their decisions to the public. Meaningful, informed debate to possibly amend proposed legislation is the purpose of Parliament.

These “omnibus bills” can be an expedient way for the government to make law. While I’m all for efficiency, what’s the rush. If the contents of Bill C-38 is in alignment with the views and values of a majority of Canadians then it should be split and each component able to stand up to open public debate in our Parliament. It should also be able to stand up to a free vote not along party lines so as Mr. Harper stated “Members can be allowed to represent the views of their constituents."

Return to the Campaign Page

Stand Up Against Crime Bill C-10

Why Stand Up AGainst Crime Bill C-10

1) This Omnibus bill hasn’t been properly studied or debated
2) It is anti-democratic to bring this bill forward as one piece of legislation
3) Experts say it will be costly and the government can’t tell us how costly!
4) Experts say it won’t make communities safer or reduce crime
5) Experts say a crime reduction policy needs to address mental health and addiction issues
6) A final report on a national mental health strategy is soon to be released
7) The bill includes provisions that will put more people in jail, leave more people with permanent criminal records, make prisons more dangerous, frustrate the judicial system and cost taxpayers more.

This event is spear-headed by Reclaim our Democratic Canada (RODC).  We are a multi-partisan group of Canadians, who have become increasingly concerned about the future of Canada.

Watch our special video against C-10 here .

Susan's Letter

January 11, 2013 

An Open Letter to 
Terence Young 
Member of Parliament, 
165 Cross Avenue, 
Oakville, Ontario 
Dear Sir: 

Today I am fasting in support of the Aboriginal and First Nations people. It is time to end the broken relationship between First Nations people and Canada and the land.

I am a member of the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC). We suggest that the Prime Minister is failing Native people again, by not engaging in the mandated consultative process prior to introduction of legislation that impacts First Nations rights, and then initially refusing to meet with their leaders to discuss impending legislation.

In 2010, Stephen Harper’s government did Canadians proud by finally endorsing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, representing a commitment from the Harper government to work together with indigenous leaders on mutual problems. In 2008, the Prime Minister apologized for Canada’s residential school policy, saying “The Government of Canada sincerely apologizes and asks the forgiveness of the Aboriginal peoples of this country for failing them so profoundly.”

I applaud Stephen Harper’s decision to meet with First Nations leaders on January 11, but I would applaud louder if it had happened from goodwill and intention rather than in response to protest. I encourage you to take this as an opportunity for dialogue and re-building. The Chiefs desire a process for ongoing treaty negotiations with milestones such that there is real progress to honouring the treaty relationship.

I have already written to you about the bundling of legislation into omnibus budget bills, passed without adequate consultation and study. You have indicated that this is an efficient manner in to advance your parties’ legislative agenda. Many Canadians, beyond those participating in this January 11, 2014 International Day of Action, see that your party is undermining our democracy, the cornerstones of which are open consultation, careful study and open debate of legislation.

I, along with all members of Reclaim Our Democratic Canada, encourage you refrain from relying on omnibus bills in principle by voting against any such future Omnibus bill your party opts to advance.

Finally, many peoples of Canada, not just First Nations, are honestly concerned for our health and well-being in light of natural resource development. Economic reliance on resource extraction is proving to have a devastating impact on the environment upon which we all depend for life. The most recent case in point is the recently released Queen’s University study that proves oil sands development has a farther reaching toxic impact on our natural environment than previously thought.

The grassroots First Nations peoples behind Idle No More are calling on their leaders to stand united for Mother Earth. Economic development must be balanced very carefully with environmental protection. This one major reason I support and will continue to support this movement.

Please take this moment to reflect on what you, as our elected representative, can to do to address these issues.

Yours very truly,

Susan Berry
Barrister and Solicitor

2011 Year End Report to Supporters

                     RODC 2011 Year End Report to Supporters

RODC has been very active this year 
· arranging for public meetings,
· being more overtly active by demonstrating publicly,  
· joining other groups in demonstrating, and finally in
· forming coalitions with several groups: Leadnow, Voices, Occupy Toronto, Fair Vote Canada.  By forming such coalitions, we hope to multiply our effect in reclaiming true democracy and effecting real change in Canada.

We began the year by having a Focus Meeting that included not only our own members, but also members of other local action groups. It was important because it modelled democracy and was a success that became a touchstone for our planning for the rest of the year.

In the past month, RODC members have held two working meetings to set goals and create an Action Plan.  We agreed on two very ambitious long term goals, and we are in the process of setting out a variety of Strategic Actions to achieve those goals. 

Goal #1: To elect a truly democratic government in 2015.

Goal #2: To change the federal electoral system in Canada.

While changes like these will not take place for some time, we are determined to remain "nimble and quick", able to respond to events as they occur.  We hope that you will support us and our growing number of partners in these endeavours.

Although we have been diligent in adding information and links to our web site, here are a few of the highlights of our activities this year. 

Our most successful event of its kind this year was an all candidates meeting on April 6, A Day for Democracy across the country. Held just before the federal election, this public meeting attracted 250 people to hear our local candidates speak on the question of democracy in Canada.  All of the candidates attended and spoke. Some photos and speeches can be seen by scrolling down on the home page.  Voices admitted that our event attracted more people than any other of its affiliated groups across Canada on that Day for Democracy.

Our campaign “Policy not Polls” was designed to influence main stream media to report on substantive issues rather than treat the various, often conflicting, polls as news. While we were not able to effect radical change in the mainstream media, we did note a number of articles questioning the value of polls during elections and somewhat more issue-based approach to reporting in the Ontario election than in the prior federal election. This campaign led us to organize a very successful assembly to hear our local MPP’s present their concepts of democracy in Canada before the provincial election this past October. The video can be seen here.

On November 25, we held a demonstration in front of our local MP’s office to draw attention to omnibus crime Bill C-10. There are various links to newspaper articles on the home page, but here is a video of the demonstration featuring Susan Berry, spokesperson for RODC, in her lawyer’s outfit.

We made a video and mounted it on Youtube to promote our argument against the Crime bill.

RODC decided to strike out boldly and support the Occupy Toronto movement.  That support is continuing in the form of a coalition with the organizers.  Several photographs of our members at Occupy Toronto while it was still in the park can be seen in the slide show on the right side of our site.

We formed a coalition with Leadnow to promote the November 25 demonstrations, and we are now actively supporting Leadnow’s efforts to stop Bill C-10 by writing to our Senators here.

Of course, we try to keep up with the virtual flood of opinion pieces in newspapers that point out the anti-democratic actions of the current government. This section of our site, which changes daily, can be read here.

Among other things, we are planning a Symposium in collaboration with other social action groups in 2012. It will be centred in Oakville and  will include workshops presented by local advocates on various aspects of democracy in Canada.  We intend all of the presentations to be made available across the country both live allowing interaction and recorded using the now familiar Livestream software.

We always like to hear from you.  Please e-mail your comments to us at reclaimcanada@gmail.com 

January 2013 Report

  RODC January Report to Supporters

January 25, 2013

A new year brings hope for reclaiming our fragile democracy after the lifting of the Reform-Conservative Party’s rule, but it won’t be an easy lift, so we are working on strengthening our muscle by cooperating with and supporting other groups.  Please check our main web site for the latest information on our activities.  Click on the links to other pages and sites.

1. RODC has completed its final report “Action For Democracy” on the November Symposium. The report with notes on the speeches is available at our web site.

2. Common Causes Demonstration January 28
RODC has rented a van and will tour key spots in Oakville to attract attention and hand out leaflets starting at the GO station at 8:00.  The theme is “Get off the Omnibus” pointing to the omnibus bills that the government has passed without serious consultation.  These bills remove many of the environmental safeguards that we have had in the past.  There will be photos and links to this demonstration on our main web site

RODC encourages Supporters to organize a demonstration or join an Idle No more event in your community.

3.  Common Causes: On January 28th, Common Causes, a new assembly of social movements will be launching across the country and invites you to take action!
Check their web site.

4. Idle No More: Grassroots Founders and Organizers from across Canada, in Solidarity with Common Causes - a new initiative bringing together social justice, environmental, labour and other Activist Groups…
- UNITED we are planning IDLE NO MORE WORLD DAY OF ACTION on January 28th, 2013 #J28.
This day of action will peacefully protest attacks on Democracy, Indigenous Sovereignty, Human Rights and Environmental Protections when Canadian MPs return to the House of Commons on January 28th.

Check their web site

5. Letters to MPs and the Media: RODC is supporting Idle No More in their opposition to Bill C-45.  We have created two letters, one for your member of parliament and one for local media.  You can adapt the letter to suit your local situation.  We encourage you to mail or e-mail letters like these.

Check the Model Letters web site

RODC February Monthly Report

RODC Monthly Report to Supporters February 2012

A month has passed since our last report to Supporters, and since then there have been several happenings that make us even more determined to work on our overarching goals: first, to elect a truly democratic government in 2015, and second to change the voting system in Canada. To help guide us to our goals, we have drafted our Strategic Action Plan and posted it on our site.  

Our most important campaign is the opposition to the Crime Bill.

The Senate Legal Committee is currently studying the Bill C-10.  Here is a site with the fax numbers of the 12 committee members as well as a method of sending faxes from your computer to the Senate Legal Committee Members.

The Brownstone Group has developed a petition aimed at influencing Senators to reject C-10. They urge you to sign here

Leadnow has a site at that encourages us to e-mail letters to Senators expressing our opinion of the Crime Bill.

The CBC is in danger! Here are the words of Conservative MPs seeking to "de-fund" the CBC as published by the Friends of the CBC.

Avaaz has an interesting idea for influencing the outcome of the next election –join a party!  Anyone can join one of the political parties and acquire voting rights.  For more information, and to take action if you choose, click here.

Here are some interesting events that we have been watching over the last month.

Justin Trudeau has made some controversial statements that caught our attention.  To hear him speak, check out these two CBC videos. There will be a commercial at the beginning, so please be patient.

1. With Evan Soloman, Justin explains his controversial comments.

2. On Parliament Hill, Justin speaks to reporters in a scrum on the direction that the current government is taking Canada.

This article entitled Time for 'Occupy Parliament'? may stimulate activity.

And last, but far from least is the challenge laid down by Gerald Caplan in his article in the Globe and Mail: What happened to Harper’s opposition?

Twitter: Please follow us on Twitter @reclaimcanada

We hope you will continue to support us in this new year.  Let is know what you think at reclaimcanada@gmail.com.

Clare Henderson for the Steering Committee
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