Canada IT Manager / Toronto Chapter Chair / DPCA Voting Rep

Electing Democrats and stopping Trump. 


  • Blue House Thanksgiving Dinner

    Democrats Abroad Toronto invites you to join us for our "Blue House" Thanksgiving Dinner. We gather to be thankful for the massive Get-Out-the-Vote campaign, engaging the most volunteers in the history of Democrats Abroad Toronto.

    Around the world, we voted eight times more than we did in the 2014 Mid-Term Elections!

    The House of Representatives is now BLUE! Thanks to the You-Wave!

     Globe Bistro, recognized for their philosophy of Canadian farm-to-table cuisine, will be our host with a delicious 3 course Thanksgiving meal.

    Globe Bistro
    124 Danforth Ave.
    Toronto, ON M4K 1N1
    (steps from Danforth & Broadview TTC stops / Green P Parking 1 block away)


    Globe Bistro offers a Bring Your Own (BYO) option which allows you to bring commercially produced wines. The corkage cost is $20 per 750 ml bottle, payable at the venue.

    Thursday, November 22
    6:00 pm

    $55.00 Adult / $20.00 Child (12 & Under)
    All-inclusive of taxes & gratuity ~ Payable in Advance with your RSVP here

    MENU

    APPETIZER

    Northern Woods Mushroom Purée
    Créme fraîche, chives

    OR

    Fall Harvest Salad
    Roasted beets, parsnips, fennel purée, shaved apples, toasted hazelnuts, chicory, cider vinaigrette

    MAIN

    Roasted Free Run Ontario Turkey
    Pomme purée, Red Fife stuffing, roasted Brussels sprouts, cranberry relish, sage jus

    OR

    Ricotta Gnocchi

    Roasted mushrooms, squash purée, crispy kale, walnuts, Mountain oak aged Gouda, sage brown butter

    DESSERT

    Pumpkin Pie Crème Caramel

    Pumpkin spice mousse, pecan sablé

     OR

    Sticky Toffee Pudding

    Pear Mousse, walnut praline

     OR

    Niagara Coronation Grape Sorbet

    Crunchy meringue, toasted almonds

    RSVP  HERE

     

     

    WHEN
    November 22, 2018 at 6pm
    WHERE
    The Globe Bistro
    124 Danforth Ave
    Toronto, ON M4K 1N1
    Canada
    Google map and directions
    rsvp

  • A Momentous Border Crossing

    I met Cliff in 1970, when I was a grad student at a university in Ohio, and he was an undergrad. We were singing folk songs in local clubs. I inquired about how he could be staving off the draft call, since he was only a part-time student, and he said that he was going to go to jail rather than go to serve in the military, which would likely have sent him to what we all considered an illegal war in Vietnam. I had graduated from a college in the midwest, in music, and a few of my colleagues had moved to Canada to perform in film and concerts. They loved their lives in Canada. My closest friend, Janet, kept writing about what a great place it was to live and about the opportunities in music. So I suggested to Cliff that we drive north. Canada was accepting draft dodgers with no questions asked, we were told. And we did!

    We loaded all of our worldly belongings into Cliff's parents' car and drove north towards Toronto. We got to the Canadian border and, in our naiveté, said: "We want to move to Canada." We were two young hippies with no money or documents. We went through the immigration process and were turned down. One of the questions was regarding our employability. At the time, I was a TV and radio producer in Ohio. When I was assessed for employment points, I was only given one point because they classified me as a "clerk." They didn't have a classification for TV producer!

    Anyway, we drove back to Ohio from the Windsor border, unloaded everything except clothing in a suitcase, and drove to a different border. We decided to return as tourists and visit, so they welcomed us.

    We stayed in a seedy motel on the Lakeshore in Toronto. The next day we went to the offices of Toronto Anti-Draft Program (TADP), an organization of Canadians and Americans that was dedicated to helping the tens of thousands of young men escaping the U.S. draft. The TADP people helped us to get organized. They gave Cliff a job letter from a library. It was a fake job offer, but actually written by the library, which supported what we were doing. They explained how to be successful at immigration and were willing to give us cash to show at the border so that we would appear to be solvent.

    We found a flat in a house on Clinton Street. For five weeks I commuted to Ohio to finish my course work. Each week I would bring more of our stuff and never had border issues. Cliff looked for work. In July, 1971, we decided to try to immigrate. By then, we had gotten married (we thought that would help with immigration), cut our hair, bought suits, gathered reference letters from clergy and employers, obtained copies of our degree certificates, assembled birth documents, raised a bit of money, and, with the help of TADP, put together an impressive portfolio.

    We then had to get back to the U.S., but Cliff was now a wanted man. The FBI had shown up at his apartment the day after we left for Canada! So we borrowed ID from a nice Canadian who resembled Cliff (at that time there was no picture ID), went back to the U.S., claiming that Cliff was "Gordon," and then drove to a Canadian border to apply for immigration. This time my credentials didn't count because I was "the wife." However, we had enough going for us that we were given landed immigrant status.

    We reported back to TADP. They ask us to help the next wave. For two years, we housed draft dodgers and deserters who arrived in Toronto. Every three days, there would be a new guy or couple. We helped them understand Toronto, gave them refuge and food, and assisted them in finding permanent housing. And we continued to sing in coffee houses in Toronto. I got a job with Screen Gems TV, working as a Production Assistant on the popular show "Under Attack." Cliff worked in a library.

    Cliff eventually returned to Ohio under the amnesty program. We had split up, and he was very close to his family. I stayed. I loved Canada and still do. I am grateful for the opportunities afforded to us by those caring Canadians. I went on to open a successful entertainment business that created job opportunities for thousands of performers over the 32 years I had the company. I sold the company in 2011 and now work with individual artists to develop their careers. I've spent decades "giving back" to the community in a myriad of ways, and, because of my volunteer work, was recognized as "Citizen of the Year” by my local community.

     

    P.S.


  • Canada Opens GOTV Office in Toronto! Volunteers Needed!

    Join the team in making sure we vote them out! We are phoning Democrats in Flippable states - our votes can be the difference!

    Click here to join the team!

     

     

     


  • published A hard decision to defy the draft in News 2018-08-12 20:20:09 -0400

    A hard decision to defy the draft

    In 1969, I was a University of Toronto student sharing a house in the Kensington Market area of Toronto with other students. All of us were Americans. I was not yet a landed immigrant in Canada, but I soon became landed. The Vietnam War was shaking up our lives in very unpleasant ways, and we believed – implicitly most of the time – that little short of a revolution could restore our lives to a state of domestic tranquility. The world was developing in ways that made it unlike the comfortable milieu we had seen in shows like Leave it to Beaver and Father Knows Best. What if it turned out that Father didn’t know anything?

    The rich colours and flavours of the Kensington Market ensured that our lives were full of colors and a variety of rich flavors, and, most of the time, I enjoyed the neighborhood and did not worry a lot about the turbulence of the wider world. There were wonderful Portuguese and Jewish bakeries like Permutter’s and Lottman’s and lavishly supplied cheese emporiums on Kensington Ave. Grossman’s Tavern served as a local beverage house. The transformation of Baldwin St. into an interesting cultural center, which would happen because of initiatives by U.S. draft dodgers and their friends, had not yet occurred. There were still shows at the Victory Burlesque at the corner of Spadina and Dundas. I went once myself because, even though I was a woman who supported “women’s lib” (as it was often called then), my consciousness was still not really raised.

    For a while, we provided temporary housing for draft resisters and people who had left the U.S. armed forces (usually referred to as “deserters”). We did not talk very much about whether provision of housing to people we never met before was a good idea. We just took it for granted that this was an action that people living in Toronto should take. Most of the people we housed were deserters, not draft resisters. We didn’t talk much to the people who stayed with us. They were quiet and cooperative, and moved on within days. An RCMP officer did come to our house once because he wanted to talk to one of our guests, and I found this occurrence quite alarming. Nothing negative happened to our guest or to us as a result of the visit, however.

    One of the residents of the house was a draft resister. My friend did not have to uproot himself and move across the border when he was drafted because he was already a student in Canada when he was drafted. His situation was easier than the plight of many draft resisters who had to make an abrupt move. Still, his decision was not at all easy because he had to turn down an attractive offer from a U.S. graduate school. He had to give up the idea of going home to see his parents across the border. Any idea he might have had about a bright professional future had to be shelved, at least temporarily, and reshaped at a later date.

    Then there came an occasion when he felt that he had to cross the border to see his family. He borrowed someone’s ID to cross the border. At the time, borrowing ID did not seem a crazy or impossible step, though of course it would be now. Most people of our age had had some experience of borrowing ID to purchase alcoholic beverages, and using ID to cross the border did not seem very different, though of course it was completely different! I believed that it was very unlikely that anything could go wrong. As it turned out, I was mistaken. His father ended up driving him back to Canada very quickly when his family members got the impression that inquiries were being made.

    As I reflect on this experience now, a couple of insights occur to me. One is that the people who crossed the border were courageous. Draft resisters, whose only previous infractions may have been high school demerits and traffic tickets, made the choice to become law breakers. This choice drastically changed the course of their lives, at least for a while. Many draft resisters and deserters settled permanently in Canada and developed rewarding personal and professional lives. Their resistance has become a distant bump on the horizon as they look back on their lives. Still, it was a very big bump at the time.

    As I look back, I am also surprised at how little people who resisted or deserted seemed to agonize about their decisions. I suppose that this ability to take swift action is one of the advantages of youth. We never asked ourselves: “Suppose this is a just war that can be won?” Maybe it is just as well that we did not ask the question, because it turned out that we were right that the Vietnam War was not a war that we should support.

    The author of this story wishes to stay anonymous.

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  • Stopping the Madness at Oakville Midnight Madness July 13 2018

    The Toronto Chapter hosted a  voter registration booth at Midnight Madness.  Below,  Peel Regional Representative, Sue Alksnis recollects encounters with Americans. These words express what it it's like to have the rewarding experience of volunteering with our GOTV events. Please join our volunteer team! 

    We talked to three 18 year olds who will be voting for their first time in the 2018 midterms.

    We spoke to a 16 year old who wants to be ready to vote in 2020 and wasn’t sure what voting address to use since he’s never resided in the States (answer: his parent’s last U.S. address).

    And the young woman whose “Nana” moved to Canada from Florida and really wants to vote this year. She will help “Nana” use www.votefromabroad.org

    Oh, and we mustn’t forget the Oregon voter who was illegally denied her vote in 2016 when her Local Election Official told her that she doesn’t get to vote anymore since she moved away. Wrong! Americans have the right to vote wherever they live. That voter now knows that she can vote and that Democrats Abroad has a voter helpdesk for these kinds of situations. Check out the Voter Help Desk/FAQ at www.votefromabroad.org where you can chat live with a DA volunteer or email help@votefromabroad.org

    Our volunteer crew spoke to almost 50 US voters, including 25 brand new overseas voters from many states, including: FL, NC, CO, MT, TX, OR, and NY.

    Thank you to our volunteers who worked through the heat & humidity until 1:00 am!!! Judith Wanner-Hamilton Chapter, Julie Buchanan-Toronto Chapter, Steve Nardi-Canada Chair and Sue Alksnis, Peel Representative.   


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  • Viet Nam Project: 50 Years of Striving for Peace and Justice

                                                                                  July 24 2018

    In its Vietnam War history project, Democrats Abroad Toronto is gathering the stories and personal reflections of members who moved to Canada from the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Links to these stories can be found below and we will update this article as meetings happen and stories are added.

    The motivations for these moves were often related in some way to the social upheaval caused by U.S. involvement in the war in Vietnam.

    Ken Sherman discusses his anti-war activism in an interview with him that appears under the News tab on the Democrats Abroad Canada website. Ken has held a number of roles in DA, including that of International Chair. He is currently the chair of the Hamilton chapter and a member of the Democratic National Committee.  Click here to read the article: Views from Canada: Apocalypse Then - Looking Back at the Vietnam War after Half a Century.

    Long time DA volunteer, Beverly Fay looks back on her family’s move from the U.S. to Canada in 1969. Click here to read the article:  A Cross Border Journey

     We realize that not everyone who has a story about the era is comfortable sharing it authored. This story was submitted with the ask that it be posted anonymously. We are honored to share "A hard decision to defy the draft"  with you. 

    **New story added Setp 24, 2018** A Momentous Border Crossing 

    The project has had two meetings up to now, in late April and late May. Planning is now under way for a public meeting in the fall.

    Many Americans who came to Canada put down roots in the country and became permanent residents. At the same time, they remained loyal to their identities as Americans and never lost their hope that the U.S. would fully realize the belief of its founders that "all men are created equal."

    Half a century after the eruption of the Vietnam War as major conflict, members of Democrats Abroad want to talk about ways to gather some of the stories of those who came to Canada during that period. We want to do the gathering in a way that reveals events and motives, but at the same time protects the privacy of the story tellers. There are two purposes for this initiative: to develop a record of our personal and political lives, and to discover the contemporary relevance of resistance to the Vietnam War and other wars.

     

    If you would like more information about this project, please contact Virginia Smith at peace@democratsabroad.ca

    Below is a list of articles in the order that they were posted. You can click on each link to read each article.  

    Apocalypse Then - Looking Back at the Vietnam War after Half a Century. (Ken Sherman) 

     A Cross Border Journey (Beverly Fay)

    A hard decision to defy the draft (Anonymous) 

    A Momentous Border Crossing (Anonymous)

     

     

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  • Democrats Abroad Canada mid-term Election Results

    The DA Canada Nominations and Elections Committee is pleased to provide the results of the 2018 Annual General Meeting & Election.

    Secretary: Marnelle Dragila

    IT Manager: Julie Buchanan

    Click here for the draft minutes of the AGM

    The Teller of Elections tabulated the results of the 156 valid ballots cast. (Out of the 156 ballots submitted, 3 were spoiled and not included in the results) Click here to view the election results. Any questions about vote tallies may be directed to the Teller of Elections at: teller@democratsabroad.ca.

    The membership is informed that any member of DA Canada who wishes to challenge any election result may do so by submitting an email to George Spiegelman, Chair of the NEC, at: spie@mail.ubc.ca. All challenges must be submitted by July 15, 2018.

    Democratically yours,

    DA Canada Nominations and Elections Committee

    George Spiegelman, Chair
    Annie Parry
    Ed Ungar
    Heidi Burch, Teller of Elections

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  • A Cross-Border Journey

    June 18, 2018

    A cross-border journey 

    By Beverly Fay

    I personally did not know anyone who went to Vietnam, but my husband and I and our three children did host a number of American draft dodgers who arrived in Toronto during the Vietnam War. The Toronto Anti-Draft Program (TADP – I used to call it “Tadpole”) came into being in the late 1960s. Since we had been protesting the Vietnam War in the Boston MA area, we gravitated to that group when we immigrated to Toronto on November 8, 1969.

    During our first trip to Toronto in August, 1969, to visit my husband’s brother, who was attending the University of Toronto, we investigated the possibility of transferring within my husband’s company from Boston to Toronto. With our three children, at that time in grades one, two, and three, we drove a U-haul filled with our belongings, including a bowl of goldfish, to the Canadian border. Since we had arranged for the transfer, rented out our home, and said our “goodbyes,” it seemed like the thing to DO. Determined as we were, we did not even take the exit on the NY Thruway that day in 1969, when we could have gone to Woodstock instead of to Toronto. In August, we visited our sites and, after our stay with my husband’s brother’s family, we rushed back home to plan our return by November 8, the date of my birthday. At the border, the Canadian agent proclaimed: “We have a landing! We have a landing!” They also gave us little slips of paper; mine is still in my wallet.

    As we settled into our rented home in Mississauga, we continued to support efforts against the war, especially by accepting the draft dodgers who were more and more arriving from the U.S. I remember one couple who arrived on our doorstep in the middle of a winter storm with only a black garbage bag filled with their belongings. I’m pretty sure that they said that they were fromGeorgia. They stayed with us for a couple of weeks until more permanent arrangements could be made. Years later, I met a lawyer who had been one of the thousands who came across the border during those times. He then went to school at Dalhousie in Nova Scotia. He said that coming to Canada had been the best thing that he had ever done. As a family, we did what we could to end the war. I’ve read that approximately 50,000 Americans came to Canada during the Vietnam War. “If everyone would light just one little candle…”

    I met Ken Sherman when there were only about five of us on the Democrats Abroad Toronto board of directors group. At that time, he had already spearheaded efforts that today have so magnificently evolved. When we handed out literature outside a Bill Maher show at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, he was costumed as Uncle Sam, and I was the Statue of Liberty. Bill used the “f” word in his show many times, but he was still hilarious. I went on to become a Canadian in 1986, and I hold two current passports. I and my three children are citizens of both countries, as are my two grandchildren. I am able to vote in both countries, and I DO!

    In the 1990s, I got involved in demonstrations in Maine, specifically, at Bath Iron Works in Brunswick where Aegis destroyers are built – they launch nuclear warheads. Philip Berrigan spent time in jail because of those activities and was put on trial. I remember that a high-profile lawyer came from the Hague to defend him, but the lawyer was not allowed into the courthouse. I became motivated to engage again in anti-war work because of a friend of mine who knew Mr. Berrigan. My later anti-war work was against the Iraq War. As a New Englander born in New Hampshire, I still believe in this motto: “Live free or die.” As Ken Sherman recently told an interviewer: “It is still true that social change comes through grassroots and political organizing.”

    In the biography I wrote for the 50th anniversary of my graduation from Laconia High School, I said: “In other locations (such as Boston in the 1960s, Portland and Bath, Maine, in the 1990s, and Orangeville, Toronto, and Hamilton, Ontario, in the 2000s, she might have been seen demonstrating for peace. That work includes promoting absentee voter registration of Americans worldwide.” 


  • Bus Trip from Ontario to March for Our Lives~March 23rd-25th

    Students can ride for free. Minors need to be accompanied by an adult. 

    Ride with us by bus to Washington, DC. Let President Trump know on Saturday, March 24th that we stand with the brave kids and families of Parkland, FL. Show your support for gun control now and vow that #NeverAgain shall students die for the lack of common sense in gun legislation.

    Register now for the DA Canada Delegation Charter Bus. Round-trip ticket is $150 CAD. We have places for 56 persons. Ten places are reserved for US citizen high school students to ride free. Bus pick-ups in Toronto, Burlington and Fort Erie.

    The bus leaves Toronto for a 8:00-9:00 pm pick-up. We are also scheduling stops in Burlington and Fort Erie. Thereafter, we will travel overnight in a Coach Canada deluxe charter bus to Washington, DC, rolling up to Pennsylvania Ave on Saturday, March 24th. After attending the rally and march, we will leave DC Saturday night and travel overnight back to Ontario, Canada. The round-trip cost is $150 CAD on a first come first service basis.

    "At the Democratic National Committee Meeting last week, a resolution was passed to support The March for Our Lives. Ken Sherman, DNC member in attendance, was so moved by the energy in the room, he notified us from the floor of the meeting that he will sponsor the first 10 US citizen high school students to join us! We are most grateful for his generosity and so looking forward to having these special guests and families on the bus."

    Please sign up today! If you have one high school child you'd like to bring and have considered for sponsorship, we plan to provide one free ride per family, up to 10 families! Adult students can travel alone. Please email neveragain@democratsabroad.ca with any questions. 


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  • Take the Pledge-Never Again

    Never Again is the rally cry from the kids and families of Parkland Florida as they organize the March for Their Lives in DC March 24 2018

    Never Again is the pledge I make.

    Never again, will I let the memories of school shootings fade from my mind once the news cycle decides it not news anymore.
    Never Again, will I forget the images of children dead inside of America's learning institutions.
    Never again, will I be complacent on gun control.
    Never Again, will I forget that these children depend on Us Adults to do something.
    Forever and again, will I use my clout to vote "them" out.

    Add your name to this pledge by sending an email to neveragain@democratsabroad.ca. putting your First and Last Name (or First Name and last initial if you prefer) and City in the subject line.

    Julie Buchanan-Brampton, ON

    Lissette Wright-Ottawa, ON

    Danielle Stampley-Toronto, ON

    Gena Brumitt-London, ON

     

    Steve Nardi-Mississauga, ON

    Ramona Rhoades - Cocoli, Panama Oeste, Panama

    Rajib Sengupta - Kolkata, India 

    Heidi Burch - Victoria, BC

    Louie Bardelang - Columbus, Ohio

    Jim Mercereau - Mardrid, Spain

    Jacqueline Swartz - Toronto, ON

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  • NEVER AGAIN: DA supports Parkland students’ demands for action

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              by Virginia Smith

    Parkland shooting survivor Dimitri Hoth speaking at the Florida legislature on Feb. 21, 2018: “We, the students, will make a difference.”

    With heavy hearts, dozens of Democrats Abroad members gathered for a vigil near Toronto’s U.S. consulate on the sunny Sunday afternoon after the deadly rampage at Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida. The consulate’s U.S. flag stood at half-mast as DA members voiced their determination that, this time, strong positive measures to control the sale of guns would have to follow the usual expressions and symbols of grief.
    Democrats Abroad Toronto vice-chair Danielle Stampley said that the vigil was an occasion to express solidarity with the victims and survivors of the shooting and to launch action for change: “This is not acceptable. We have been acting as though nothing can be done. We can do something about this. Let’s commit to taking action.”
    Vigil participants read out the names and short descriptions of the victims. The list included students and teachers, boys and men, and girls and women, who ranged in age from 14 to 49:
    • Alyssa Alhadeff, 14, was a soccer team member who had just had what her mother called “the best game of her life” on Feb. 13.
    • Martin Duque Anguiano, 14, was freshman who, according to his brother, was “a very funny kid, outgoing, and sometimes really quiet.”
    • Scott Beigel, 35, was a teacher who brought students into his classroom before he was killed himself. One parent says that Mr. Beigel saved her son’s life.
    • Jaime Guttenberg, 14. Her father posted on Facebook: “I am broken as I write this, trying to figure out how my family gets through this.”
    • Aaron Feis, 37, was a football coach who also attempted to save students. A graduate of the school, he always tried to help those who were struggling.
    • Nicholas Dworet was a high school swimmer who visited the University of Indianapolis recently. He said that he wanted to swim there after his graduation this year.
    • Christopher Hixon, 49, was the school’s athletic director and a prominent figure in high school sports in Florida.
    • Luke Hoyer, 15, was an aspiring basketball player. “He loved his family, he had a huge heart,” said his cousin.
    • Cara Loughran, 14, was an excellent student. Her aunt wrote on Facebook: “We are absolutely gutted…..while your thoughts are appreciated, I beg you to DO SOMETHING….”
    • Gina Montalto, 14, was said to be a member of the school’s winter color guard team. A Facebook tribute to her said: “we lost a beautiful soul tonight.”
    • Joaquin Oliver, 17, played basketball in the city’s recreational league. He was also a writer who filled a notebook with poetry.
    • Helena Ramsey, 17, would have started college next year. A relative wrote on Facebook: “…she had a relentless motivation toward her academic studies…”
    • Alaina Petty, 14, was a member of a volunteer group with the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints. She helped with clean-up work after Hurricane Irma.
    • Meadow Pollack, 18, was a senior who planned to go to a nearby college next year. A relative said that “she was a very strong-willed young girl who had everything going for her.”
    • Alex Schachter, 14, played the trombone in the school’s marching band. His father said that “he was a sweetheart of a kid.”
    • Carmen Schentrup was a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist. Her cousin said in a Facebook post that she was the smartest 16-year-old that he had ever met.
    • Peter Wang, 15, helped his cousin, Aaron, to adjust when Aaron started living in Florida. “He was always so nice and generous,” said Aaron.
    After the reading of the list, Toronto chapter chair Julie Buchanan said that “Canadians care about this shooting too.” She stressed the need to get out the vote and to vote out the politicians who take money from the NRA. Hamilton chapter chair and former Democrats Abroad chair Ken Sherman sadly recalled a gathering of DA members in Toronto after the 2011 shooting of U.S. House of Representatives member Gabby Giffords. Sherman read a statement by Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair Tom Perez, which stressed that people should not be afraid to go a shopping mall, baseball field, or movie theater. Sherman, who is a member of the DNC, called on Congress to enact a ban on automatic rifles and to enhance background checks

    .

    Democrats Abroad Canada Steve Nardi ended the vigil by stating the firm resolve that “this has got to stop.” He called on Americans living in Canada to encourage other Americans to go to votefromabroad.org so that they can vote this year for political leaders who will enact measures to protect U.S. communities from deadly violence.


    The Democrats Abroad vigil was covered by CTV, CBC, and CP24. DA’s pledge to take action for peace is being heard. Will it be heeded?
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  • The Vietnam Project: 50 years of striving for peace and justice

    Democrats Abroad Toronto is planning a meeting of DA members who moved to Canada during the late 1960s and early 1970s. The meeting will be an opportunity to talk about developing a people’s history of that era.

    Sunday, April 29, 2 pm, community room at 71 Charles St. East, Toronto.

    Many Democrats Abroad members first came Canada in the late 1960s or early 1970s. At that time, Americans’ moves to Canada were often motivated by a need to resist participation in the Vietnam War. Many Americans who came to Canada put down roots in the country and became permanent residents. At the same time, they remained loyal to their identities as Americans and never lost their hope that the U.S. would fully realize the belief of its founders that "all men are created equal."

    Half a century after the eruption of the Vietnam War as major conflict, members of Democrats Abroad want to talk about ways to gather some of the stories of those who came to Canada during that period. We want to do the gathering in a way that reveals events and motives, but at the same time protects the privacy of the story tellers. There are two purposes for this initiative: to develop a record of our personal and political lives, and to discover the contemporary relevance of resistance to the Vietnam War and other wars.

    Democrats Abroad Toronto members who came to Canada during those years are invited to a meeting on Sunday, April 29, at 2 pm in the community room at Paxton Place, 71 Charles St. E., Toronto. The person at the front desk can provide direction to the room. The meeting will be an opportunity to share stories and make plans for written stories, interviews, videos, and possibly a public meeting. An email invitation to the meeting will be sent to members at the end of March. The time and place announced on the website are definite.

    If you would like more information about this project, please contact Virginia Smith at peace@democratsabroad.ca

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  • Views from Canada ~ Apocalypse then: Looking back at the Vietnam War after half a century

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           by: Virginia Smith Feb 13 2018

    Many members of Democrats Abroad Canada arrived in Canada during the Vietnam War era, from the late 1960s to the early 1970s. A number of them, including Ken Sherman, were involved in efforts to stop the conflict.

    Ken Sherman is the chair of DA Canada’s Hamilton – Burlington chapter and a member of the Democratic National Committee. He has also served as the global chair of Democrats Abroad and the chair of Democrats Abroad Canada.

    Ken first became involved in anti-war efforts as a member of Clergy Concerned About Vietnam. He was a founder of the Draft Counselling Centre in Buffalo, New York, and was jailed at least seven times for his resistance activities. He was landed in Canada in 1996 and became a dual citizen soon after.

    Ken started spending time in Canada in the early 1970s when his wife, a French national, started living in Ontario. At that time, he helped many Americans to find a place in Canada. After President Jimmy Carter’s amnesty for draft resisters was enacted, Ken drove a friend back to the U.S. The border crossing was publicized on national television as the first return home of an American after the amnesty.

    DA Canada recently asked Ken to share some of his reflections about that tumultuous era.

    ● Tell us about a couple of the ways the Vietnam War changed your life.

    The war made me a political activist. I and others began using the electoral system to raise issues to end the Vietnam War and redirect its resources to the urban infrastructure. I ran as a peace candidate for Buffalo City Council in 1969. I worked to support peace candidates in the 1968, 1972, and 1976 Federal elections. In the end, it was Congress that ended the war by not funding it.

    The war also made me aware of the role of globalization. My wife to be was a French citizen who moved to Canada. She was looking for progressive politics that matched her views for world peace. We worked out an interpersonal relationship across borders and cultures to raise three children. I think about 90% of the Americans who came to Canada did so for similar reasons of love.

    The movement of so many Americans at that time into Canada also changed the Canadian cultural environment and Canadian society.

    How did the war affect your commitment to your responsibilities as an American?

    The global context of the Vietnam War woke me up to the situation in the Americas. I learned of the realities of U.S. imperialism in Central America / Nicaragua, for instance, and later in Afghanistan. I did coffee picking in Nicaragua in 1984 as part of a peace delegation. I realized then that the U.S. economic engine must have a war to feed its military machine.

    Before he left office, President Carter warned that the battles of the future would be focused on the petroleum economy. I organized an energy coop in 1976 as energy conservation was becoming the new political framework. I supervised a staff of ten insulating inner city homes.

    At the time of the first Iraq war in 1990, there was a movement to boycott the use of gasoline. I joined a peace demonstration to oppose the invasion. After, I turned to riding my bicycle where I could. My bicycle slipped on ice when returning from church one Sunday, and I broke my hip. I had to have three pins put into my hip. They remind me of the futility of that war.

    What has been the ongoing impact of the Vietnam War on U.S. political life?

    The war taught me the key role that grassroots political organizing has on social change. Those who have come through the anti-war experience make up much of the progressive base of the Democratic Party today. They form a bloc that has been mobilized by the progressive wing of the party in response to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    There is now a permanent anti-war movement. The church-based and other political groups that came together in a movement continue to be funded and have support.

    This movement is much more diverse now though. Such was noticeable recently in the assembly at the Washington Women’s March the day after the inauguration of President Trump. Everyone’s cause was on display at this march with great joy. The march was so full of love and respect. The movement to end the Vietnam War was composed largely of liberals and the college left.

    I was so proud to be a Canadian and an American at the Women’s March.

    Are there similarities between the activism of the 1960s and today’s activism?

    It is still true that social change comes through grassroots and political organizing. There is no social change without grassroots organizing.

    Is U.S. society as polarized now as it was then?

    Yes, the country is as polarized now as it was in the 1960s. The war was wound down when the most people realized that there was no redemption in continued fighting and no victory to be won. Right now, Middle America is propping up Donald Trump. Political activism is again needed to mobilize the grassroots citizenry.

    What action is needed right now?

    The progressive sector of the Democratic Party needs to focus on getting out the vote for the 2018 mid-term elections. We need to turn back the Republican Party from any more gains accomplished by gerrymandering districts in advance of the next U.S. census.

     

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  • published Calling All Democrats Abroad in News 2018-01-07 03:48:51 -0500

    Calling All Democrats Abroad

    This January we need everyone to join the effort! We need you to go here and request your ballot. AND we need you to help the Toronto Chapter reach out to our thousands of members who haven’t heard from for us in a while. We need to update their updated information to send them voting information! Our goal is to do this January 31st!

    This event has passed, but phoning Democrats will be happening all year long! 

     

     

    What: Phoning Democrats in Toronto and Canada

    When: Sunday, January 14 - 10 am - 1 pm

     

    Where: Artscape Youngplace
    180 Shaw Street,
    Suite 314 the Office of Inspirit Foundation
    Toronto M6J2W5

    We  had  coffee, tea and light snacks,  brought our laptops and even got occupy an office or two for easy phoning. 

    Danielle Stampley was there to walk us  through the  steps. Brooke Scott organized the event and Kate Leuschen Millar arranged for the space. What a great teamwork.  Here are some pictures of the days heroes.

     

     

    You can phone from your from the comfort of your own place!

    If you are new to phonebanking or just need a refresher, you can find sign-up instructions and training materials on our website at: www.democratsabroad.org/phonebanking Join the campaign for DACA Membership. 

    Phone campaigns, run from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm and Democrats Abroad strictly uses CallHub program to make calls.

    If you are already a phonebanking volunteer, just go to https://callhub.io to login to your CallHub account and join the campaign for DACA Membership. You can check out the script here: Script DACA Membership Verification

     

    Brooke Scott, volunteer-toronto@democratsabroad.ca
    Volunteer Co-ordinator, Toronto Chapter

    RSVP here - Event has passed!

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  • Women's Caucus Event January 20th- Women March On

    WOMEN MARCH ON - Defining Our Future - Saturday, January 20, 2018

    Two hours before the Toronto Women’s March 1/20/18 the Women’s Caucus organized a meet up at the Richtree Natural Market in the Eaton Centre for conversation. The excitement and determination from last year’s March was undiminished, evidenced in our turnout. The common cause of empowerment and creating community for progress united new friends and set the table for future Caucus events. ~ Brooke Scott, Co-Chair DA Women's Caucus Toronto






    We keep the  RSVPs for the event Here.

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  • Larry Cohen, Chair of Our Revolution, in Toronto - Saturday, January 20, 2018

    Democrats Abroad and Our Revolution are hosting an event with Larry Cohen following  the Women March On event. A highly respected Union Leader in the US and Canada, Cohen was head of the 700,000 member Communications Workers of America. Cohen is a member of the DNC and joined the Sanders campaign in 2015. Our Revolution hopes to leverage the success of the Sanders campaign to transform America and advance a progressive agenda.

    When: 4:00 p.m.

    Where: Jack Astor's Bar and Grill, 133 John St - note this is  venue change  from original post

    An informal gathering is planned to follow the presentation.  RSVP soon!

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  • Women March On-Defining our Future Jan 20 2018

    Check back here as we add photos from this historical day!

     

     

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  • Giving thanks for the gifts of resistance and change

    by Virginia Smith


    Over 50 DA members and their families gathered at Toronto's Globe Bistro on Thanksgiving to express their gratitude for both their capacity to resist and their firm resolve to change the U.S.'s political direction next year. They also had fun together as they enjoyed a traditional turkey dinner. London-based members Gena Brummit, the chair of the London Chapter, and Marnelle Dragila, an officer of DA Canada, drove to Toronto to bring greetings and join the celebration.

    The evening was hosted by Toronto vice-chair Nathan Lujan, who welcomed diners to the annual dinner. Various DA members took the microphone to voice their thoughts about the significance of the day and about upcoming DA projects. Toronto member Virginia Smith talked about the Vietnam Project, which will reflect on the ongoing relevance of the experiences of Americans who came to Canada in the early 1970s.

    A humorous quiz about the first year of the Trump administration was circulated by DA Canada vice-chair Ed Ungar, who led diners through a list of questions that seemed to have no right answers. Isn't that what the last year has been like for most of us? A book was the prize for the winner in this apparently no-win situation.

    Two of the quiz questions were (answers below, no cheating!):

    1. What Fox headline crawl represented the network's greatest hope for development?

    a. Obama admits that he can't match Trump's eloquence.

    b. Trump: eventually, we will get something done.

    c. Early returns look like GOP Virginia sweep.

    d. Kelly's praise of Trump sincere!

    2. According to Trump, what can you not be?

    a. too rich

    b. too thin

    c. too humble

    d. too greedy

    The evening closed with good will to all and a renewe sense of purpose to work for change in the U.S. Congress by Thanksgiving day 2018. Summing up the evening, Toronto chair Julie Buchanan expressed gratitude to all those who contributed to the occasion, including David Markham, who donated the portable sound system that enabled speakers to communicate with the big group as a whole. It was a great evening spent with friends old and new. There was good food and good service. The annual Thanksgiving event creates a sense of family among Democrats Abroad members.



    Quiz answers: 1. b, 2. d


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  • published Toronto greets Bernie with Standing Ovations in News 2017-11-08 21:38:04 -0500

    Toronto greets Bernie with Standing Ovations

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                by Virginia Smith


    Bernie Sanders’s late October speech at the University of Toronto advocating a single payer health care system in the U.S. was greeted enthusiastically by Democrats Abroad Toronto members. DA members gathered in two groups to respond to Sanders’s presentation – one group at Convocation Hall and one group at a nearby pub, where the event was watched on livestream.

    Sanders’s Toronto weekend visit to Toronto included visits to three Toronto hospitals, where he discovered that it is not fair to say “that the system here is not a strong system and innovative system.” He said that the neonatal intensive care unit at Sinai’s health system was one facility that particularly impressed him. His speech about the necessity of health care for all was punctuated by standing ovations.

    The DA members (who are officers of DA Canada and/or Toronto) who were able to attend the packed event were Christine Odunlami, Ed Ungar, Marnelle Dragila, Sue Alksnis, Carol Donahue, and Mari Rutka. The tickets were made available through DA Global to DA leaders and volunteers active in the DA health care stories campaign. Sue provided a petition calling on U.S. senators to cosponsor the Medicare for All Act brought forward by Sanders. Americans attending the event were invited to sign the petition, which was then sent to the national office of Health Care NOW.

    These are a few of the responses to the speech by DA members in Convocation Hall:

    Sue Alksnis: “When Dr. Danielle Martin of Women’s College Hospital asked how we will achieve the change we need, Bernie said the fight of this moment is to unify and take on the oligarchs. He said: ‘ I will tell you with 100% certainty there are people who are enormously powerful, with more wealth than you can dream of, who couldn’t care less about your lives, your children, about your parents. They want it all economically. They want it all politically. And we in the United States, in Canada, all over this world, we’ve got to stand together and tell these oligarchs that this planet belongs to all of us.’
    ….. Bernie also said the U.S. health care debate needs people in Canada and around the world to share their health care stories so that Americans cannot say that it isn’t possible to provide health care for all. Toward that end, DA has collected almost 400 health care stories from DA members. The stories are being printed in a book to be presented to Congress and Senator Sanders’s office. Stories can still be submitted at http://www.democratsabroad.org/healthcare_stories

    Christine Odunlami: “Ever since Senator Sanders first put in his bid to run in the 2016 presidential election, to his current continuing activism, I knew something was indescribably extraordinary about him. Witnessing his speech solidified my expectations and more. It is my deepest hope that our fellow American citizens and politicians take full recognition of what Bernie’s speech communicates; single-payer healthcare is needed now. The passion and warmth displayed by Dr. Danielle Martin at Women’s College Hospital and at the other hospitals the senator toured show that patient-centred care as a human right is doable…”

    Ed Ungar: “Every Senate term, Bernie introduces a single payer health care bill and, until this time, hardly anyone else signs on. But, this time, 16 of the most high profile Democratic senators are co-sponsors. The bill is basically modelled on Canada’s medical system. But as Ed Broadbent, former leader of the NDP, noted, Bernie’s bill improves on Canada’s system. Bernie thinks dental care, full psychological services, and dental services should be a basic right. If Bernie’s bill passes, and the odds are improving, then Canada may decide to catch up to the U.S. We shall see.”

    DA members who watched the livestream at a nearby pub were greeted by Toronto Chapter Chair and Canada IT manager Julie Buchanan and Women’s Caucus Toronto Chair Karin Lippert, who worked as a team to set up the event.

    Julie and Karin had these comments: “We're always happy to see our members at DemsAbroadTO events! We don't sponsor many brunches, but Brunch with Bernie at the Duke of York was a great opportunity to get together and hear his message on single payer health care. It was impressive that he had toured hospitals in Toronto the previous day and displayed detailed knowledge of the history of health care in both England and Canada. As Bernie said, change regarding health care came from ‘the bottom up’ in both countries. This has been true throughout history for change that benefits the general public. So it is up us to make sure we create the momentum and demand for single payer health care in U.S. elections going forward! The best moment of a Livestream event is when the tech works and we sign-up new volunteers. For those at the live event in Convocation Hall, Ed Ungar's sign summed-up what would be true for many of our members who benefit from Canadian health care: ‘ I'd be DEAD if I had stayed in the U.S.A.’"


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  • published In Person US Tax Seminars in News 2017-10-23 00:26:25 -0400

    In Person US Tax Seminars

    DA Toronto - U.S. Tax Seminar

    Thursday, October 26 and Thursday, November 2, 2017

    Democrats Abroad Toronto is pleased to offer a new seminar on reporting requirements for U.S. citizens living in Canada.

    U.S. citizens living abroad are required to file U.S. federal income tax returns annually, reporting their worldwide income. Are you uncertain about whether you’ve met the U.S. federal filing requirements? Have you filed your U.S. tax returns, but are concerned that what you reported may be incomplete or incorrect? Come get some answers to your questions and find out about potential relief from IRS penalties.

    This live presentation will address both the technical and practical considerations associated with:

    • The impact of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) on filing requirements and IRS detection risk;

    • Submission of overdue or amended tax filings under the IRS’ Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures (SFOP); and

    • Alternate means for submission of overdue or amended IRS filings.

    You can choose to attend either of two sessions at Metro Hall in Toronto:

    7 p.m. – 9 p.m. on Thursday, October 26, 2017 in Room 308 or

    7 p.m. – 9 p.m. on Thursday, November 2, 2017 in Room 310

    This is an in-person event, and registration is required.

    REGISTER HERE

    Jason Ubeika, CPA, CA, CPA (Illinois), the U.S. Personal Tax Practice Leader for BDO Canada LLP (BDO), has generously offered his time and expertise to host these sessions. Since 2003, he has specialized in Canada – U.S. cross-border taxation issues. Learn more about Jason and his practice at BDO here.

    All funds raised by these seminars will be used to get out the vote in 2018 and 2020 and put Democrats back in charge!


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Serving my country from abroad, I have never felt stronger together with my American Democrat "family" in Canada. I learned the most from the very best : Adrienne Jones