Jason Kenney has long been Stephen Harper's secret political weapon.

When Kenney was the prime minister's parliamentary secretary and later as citizenship and immigration minister, he relentlessly wooed new Canadians into the Conservative tent.

Kenney has probably eaten more Asian dinners outside of Ottawa than the rest of the Harper's cabinet put together.

And he's continuing this tradition as the minister of employment, social development, and multiculturalism.

You can see in the photos above that it was Kenney, and not Harper, who met with the Dalai Lama during his trip to Canada.

It will help the Conservatives among some expat Tibetans as well as among apolitical types who admire the Dalai Lama's Buddhist worldview.

Retired tradesperson Peter Mattoo is hoping to be the first person of colour elected to Delta municipal council. (Yes, Delta really hasn't passed that milestone yet.)

Disgustingly, it appears that someone or a group of someones wants council to retain its all-white composition after the November civic election.

Mattoo, an independent candidate who was born in India, says his campaign signs are being targeted by vandalism while other candidates' nearby signs remain untouched. He put out a news release today (October 23) claiming that he also found racist slurs on his signs in a "few instances".

In Toronto, you have to be a resident of the city to run for mayor.

That's according to the candidate-qualification rules listed on the City of Toronto website.

In Alberta, the rules state that you have to live in a city for at least six months before being allowed to run for municipal office. No carpetbaggers are allowed to run for mayor in that province.

This week, Femen protesters drenched themselves in simulated blood to express their outrage over Russian president Vladimir Putin's treatment of Ukraine.

But this isn't the first time that fake blood has replaced ice-cube-filled water to get a political point across.

In September, a Philadelphia youth council called In Defense of Black Bodies posted a blood-bucket video on YouTube to oppose racism in America.

The images are accompanied by the song "Strange Fruit" by Nina Simone.

Virtually everyone knows about the ice bucket challenge, which raises funds for research into amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Now, the sextremist group Femen has introduced a twist to draw attention to Russian president Vladimir Putin's aggressive moves against Ukraine.

In response to his visit to Milan, two Femen protesters removed their tops and drenched themselves with buckets full of symbolic Ukrainian blood.

"The Hague tribunal's prison yard should be the only venue for Putin," Femen states on its website. "Dictatorship must die! No to the war in Ukraine! FUCK YOU PUTIN!"

Femen was founded in Ukraine in 2008 by Anna Hutsol. She's an economist who was born in Russia and moved to Ukraine in 1991.

Last night as I moderated a Vancouver candidates' discussion at St. James Community Hall, I learned that the Cedar Party's Glen Chernen is planning a new legal manoeuvre against the mayor.

Chernen told the crowd of about 350 people that he's going to court to challenge the legitimacy of Gregor Robertson's candidacy for reelection.

According to Chernen, there are allegedly irregularities in how Robertson filled out the official candidate form. It concerns the address that the mayor used in his declaration to the city.

I ran into Chernen and his brother Nicholas, who are both running for council, during a visit to Co-op Radio to appear on David Ball's Media Mornings show this morning.

Barring any withdrawals, the ballot for the 2014 Vancouver civic election looks set to be 119 names long.

That's the number of candidates who filed nomination papers with the City of Vancouver by the deadline. (In 2011, it was 94 candidates.)

Twenty-seven public offices are up for grabs: one mayor, 10 city councillors, seven park commissioners, and nine school trustees.

I count 11 slates: Cedar Party, Coalition of Progressive Electors, Green,Hotel Workers United Local 40,IDEA, NPA, One City Vancouver, Stop Party, Public Education Project, Vancouver 1st, and Vision Vancouver.

Here's the big list, copied and pasted from city hall:

Candidates for Mayor

(One to be elected)

 

Most people don't pay much attention to parties thrown by diplomats.

But whenever Taiwan (Republic of China) is the host, I'm curious to see which politicians attend.

That's because there's a fierce rivalry between the People's Republic of China and Taiwan to curry favour around the world.

China, you see, is a bit of a bully, trying to shut down any vestige of Taiwanese independence wherever it can.

That's in spite of the island nation of Taiwan functioning as a full-fledged democracy of 23 million residents.

In the pantheon of memorable debates, this will not rank up there with Lincoln versus Douglas or even Kennedy versus Nixon.

But in the context of Canadian politics, it's worth paying attention to.

This week, I wrote a feature article on adjunct SFU communications professor Donald Gutstein's provocative new book, Harperism: How Stephen Harper and His Think Tank Colleagues Have Transformed Canada (James Lorimer & Company Ltd.).

You may have seen some barely legible graffiti around Vancouver touting the "Stop Party" and a mayoral candidate calling himself Meynard Aubichon.

Aubichon has a SoundCloud account, on which he makes some interesting, scurrilous, and offensive claims about local politicians.

He also makes these, er, unconventional proposals:

  • Waive development fees for residents with marijuana or prostitution convictions.
  • Hire "pot cops" to fight ISIS.
  • Lower property taxes by two percent for pro-pot stores.
  • Raise property taxes by two percent for stores that are not pro-pot.

That's not all. Check out the campaign's weird soundtrack below.

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