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Friday miscellany – Harper Dry edition

So the Harperites have deemed it proper to once again “re-brand” something… this time, the nation’s name. Yup, no longer is the government of the land to be referred to as, well, the government of  “Canada”, but rather as “The Harper Government” (insert threatening music here).

I’m not making this up.

But I for one welcome this news! I see this as a major step forward for honest and open government! Gone are the days where the ReformCons masqueraded as the Government of Canada, because, face it –  they have never actually represented the majority of those of us north of the 49th.

While at this re-branding gig, might I suggest that we also consider the following:

  • Harper Dry, the champagne of kool aid
  • Harper Tire: the new money has a different image of Dear Leader for every denomination !
  • The Royal Bank of Harper: just returning the favours done for the banks over the past 5 years.
  • Harper’s Football League- maybe he will write a book about our sport now!


James Travers passed away yesterday.

Look, we bloggers are nothing more than rank amateurs who stoop to (in the words of a journalist friend) give words away for free. Mr. Travers was a man whose work was worth it’s weight in gold.

I’ll miss his columns and send out my condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.


I attended a very informative evening the other night on the future of early childhood education in Ottawa

The forum, entitled The future of public and non-profit childcare in Ottawa was lead by a panel representing some key players in our childcare network. One of the panelists was former OCDSB Chair, Cathy Curry. Theresa Kavanagh was also in the crowd of about 200ish attendees.

It is good to see public board Trustees engaging in this conversation. But what is really needed right now is leadership at the City level and a better coordinated strategy among the parents who serve on Boards of Directors. As early learning kicks into full gear in this province, there are going to have to be some innovative thinkers taking the helm.


OC Transpo was crawling along through the downtown on Monday at a pace that was slow even for them. A few Tweets when hither and yon and it turns out that the delay was due to downtown garbage pick-up.


Is there not a way that the City, OC Transpo and the firms contracted to do the downtown commercial garbage collection can work together so that pick up can take p^lace OUTSIDE the rush hours periods? It cannot be THAT tough to coordinate this, can it?


The latest in the Harperite follies:

OdaGate – faded away as Canadians moved to the next scandal:

The Conservatives have been in defensive mode since last week, when it was revealed that four senior members of the party, including two senators who sit in caucus, were charged by Elections Canada in connection with allegations that the Tories broke their advertising spending limits in the 2006 election.

Oh. That’s already old news too because now we see this:

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has apologized following revelations Thursday that his office used government resources to raise money for the Conservative party.

The allegations were raised by the New Democrats after they obtained a letter, sent Thursday by Kenney’s office on parliamentary letterhead, that was seeking $200,000 in donations to support a Tory strategy targeting “very ethnic” ridings.

James Kenney!!! – this couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. And he should resign. But he won’t. The ReformCons are once again declaring themselves above the law!


L’équip «votez pour les Conservateurs!»

Now THIS is going to be interesting!

As reported by, all 5 of the CPC’s Québec City area ridings are at risk if they choose to not fund a new arena for the City – and thus prop up their chances of regaining and NHL franchise.

The poll shows that the Tories are not even secure in their “fortress” of Quebec City. But, the poll (quite excellently) asks how voting intentions might change if the Conservatives decide to fund the planned hockey arena for the city.

The Conservatives could potentially put all five of their seats in the region at risk if they don’t fund it. Fully 23% of Conservative supporters in and around Quebec City would vote for another party if the funding doesn’t come. That would drop the Conservatives to only 22%, and likely mean they would be swept from the city.

However, if they fund the arena 24% of people planning to vote for one of the other parties would switch to the Conservatives. Assuming they keep the support they currently have, that would bump them up to 46% in the city and almost certainly mean a sweep of all seven ridings.

I would love to see a team there… as I would in Winnipeg. They should never have lost the Nordiques and the jets in the first place. But times were different then – what with the 65 cent dollar and all.

But the fun part of all this will be how the CPC dances around this issue knowing full well that their absence at the funding table may well mean no majority government. Five seats could easily swing the pendulum either way.

They really CAN’T support sports “welfare” without looking totally hypocritical! The Opposition Grits and Dippers would pounce on it! Hell! They don’t have anything to gain in that part of Quebec!

But the Bloq would have a field day, wouldn’t they?

The SH government hasn’t had a lot of lose-lose situations in the past 5 years. It will be interesting to see how they spin this.

Stay tuned!


Oh, isn’t that WONDERFUL….

…Doris Day is the new TB Prez. Didn’t see THAT comin’!

Mark my words. If the ReformCons are still in power a year from now, Public Servants everywhere will spit at the mention of his name. Not that the Harperites – or most Canadians outside of the National Capital Region– give a flying crap about the PS.

My gut tells me though that this is not a pre-election Cabinet. Moving Rona to PWGSC is a big move up for her, but I would think that the brainless trust in the PMO would want her in a more visible spot if we were in pre-election mode… gotta court the soccer Moms, right?

I also don’t feel that Vic Toews (admittedly, one of the less incompetent of the Harperites) is the right pre-writ “fit” with NRCan. Though they can’t do much worse than Ms. Raitt.

So. To summarise. Same gang. Different titles.

Yawn. Wake me up when we have an election…


“It’s not a political thing. It’s a complex mathematical formula.”

That’s what Harperite Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan said yesterday after touring the horrific path of destruction caused by the big storm that hit Vaughan Ontario last week.

Putting aside the laughable notion that the ReformCons could ever find the cranial capacity develop anything remotely complex, I do sincerely hope that he speaks the truth and that partisanship, for once, takes a recess.

However, as someone who deals with complex mathematical stuff on a daily basis, I humbly submit the following as the formula to which Mr. Van Loan refers.

TOTAL FUNDING = (pT/pA)*(x+a)^n=∑_(k=0)^n](n¦k) x^k a^(n-k)]*1000 {if∫R=CPC} or *0 {if ∫R≠CPC}
where pT=Total population
where pA= Total population affected
where (x+a)^n=∑_(k=0)^n](n¦k) x^k a^(n-k)] = factorial equation that most of you wouldn’t get
where {if∫R=CPC} = if riding held by CPC
where {if ∫R≠CPC} = if riding not held by CPC

Based on this formula, Central Nova will stand to reap in a big winfall once Mr. Bill has come and gone!


2009 Federal Budget

The neocons have done the impossible and have managed to largely exclude their normal partisanship and opportunism from this budget.

What does this tell me:

  • Harper is under extreme pressure form the caucus and the party executives to tone it down a little since the ramrod approach clearly isn’t working with the vast majority of Canadians.
  • They accept that their government is a minority and any budget items that would have pushed the limits of their situation would not be accepted by the House. In other words, they are trying to at least give the semblance of governing like a minority government.
  • They are a bit scared about the outcome of another general election should the Grits push them that far.

What should Iggy do?

  • Pump out his chest and say that dang-nab-it, we cannot support this thing in its current form but here are a few minor amendments that would make it more palatable… then, yeah, we’ll grudgingly support it.
  • Build up the profile of his party and himself over the next 16-18 months. This will buy some time to sell the Liberals as a real alternative to the neocons and will also buy some time to build up the Grit treasury.

This budget should pass. The coalition idea, although appealing on many fronts does not have broad base support and, while it would stand for the short term, would harm the Grits for many years to come in the long term.

Plus, the country really does not need another election right now.

Do the right thing Iggy. It really ain’t so bad. And this is one long-time Grit who will support you on it.

In other news… talks broke down between the City and the ATU… yet again.



The Politics of Fear – both Harper AND Dion are to blame

From Fair Vote Canada:

The Politics of Fear is Misleading and Polarizing.

Which of You Will Change the Sad Face of Canadian Politics?

Dear Mr. Harper and Mr. Dion:

On behalf of all Canadians who want to believe in democracy,
allow me to express my enormous frustration with this election

The leaders of our two largest political parties are acting more
like fear mongers than true leaders.

Stephane Dion, you say Canadians must vote for the Liberal Party,
or Stephen Harper, with a phony majority government, will ruin
Canada as we know it.

Stephen Harper, you say Canadians must vote for the Conservative
Party, or Stephane Dion as head of a phony majority Liberal
government will ruin Canada as we know it.

Is Canada truly in such terrible danger, or are both of you
simply avoiding the core question that any Canadian would ask:

'Why should a leader and party without true majority voter
support be allowed to seize command of Parliament and
impose law and policy on all Canadians?'

Why is it that you defend and perpetuate a system of
election and government which lacks the legitimacy conferred
by majority voter support?

What do you say to the nearly eight million orphan voters
in this country - more than half the active electorate,
many of whom support your own parties - who on October
14 will again cast votes which elect nobody to the House of
Commons? To Conservative voters who will elect hardly any
representatives in urban centres and to Liberal voters who
will elect no one in the prairie provinces?

Which of you on October 1 and 2 will say to the cameras
that before the next election you will bring in proportional
representation, making all Canadian voters equal citizens
with equal votes and equal representation in the House of
Commons, thus ending the need for fear and hate campaigns
designed to gain that slight advantage in the popular vote
that will result in a phony, underserved majority of seats
in Parliament?

Canadians would be delighted to hear you pledge that your
government will make this the last unfair and undemocratic
federal election. Any leader who makes that pledge would be
deserving of the votes from millions of currently orphaned
voters on October 14.

Yours for a democratic Canada,

Barbara Odenwald, President
Fair Vote Canada and

Fair Vote Canada (FVC) is a national multi-partisan citizens'
campaignto promote voting system reform. FVC was founded
in 2001 and has a National Advisory Board of distinguished
Canadians from all points on the political spectrum.


Harper and the Politics of Fear

One thing about being stuck at an airport is that there is lots of time for blogging!

Here’s a link to a piece that notes Harper’s tendency to play on the Politics of Fear.


ReformCons are imploding – key party figure suspended!

Senior CPC spokesrobot Ryan Sparrow has been suspended because of a completely boneheaded and disgusting suggestion he made about the Father of a slain soldier. This Father criticized the change in policy on the war – and was in fact (according to Sparrow), a LIBERAL! Mr. Sparrow sent an email to CTV News today suggesting that Jim Davis, the soldier’s dad, is a supporter of Liberal incumbent Michael Ignatieff.

I don’t think anyone should really be surprised by such an act. After all, these are personalities who are program to attack, attack, attack – especially in the face of (how dare they!) criticism!

Meanwhile, Dion is part way through another day without a gaffe. And I heard Jack Layton on the Mothercorp this morning talking through his mustache about giving “targeted” subsidies to the auto makers (huh?) and Liz may going on about how to make a great seafood chowder.

In terms of information, Ms. May won this morning’s battle, hands down.

That’s two bad days in a row for the Harperites – how about three!


The McGuinty and Charest tag team

Now isn’t this interesting… our two largest provinces teaming up to take the initiative on a cap and trade system – effectively snubbing their noses at the Harperites.

Both Premiers know that there is a general feeling amongst their voters that the nation as a whole hasn’t shown the leadership on this file that was expected. The Harperites have done little in the way of new initiatives (The tax credit for a buss pass? Gimme a break!) and some of the provinces like Alberta (Inc.) have actually “de“-volved in this area. Good ol‘ B.C. can always be counted on but we really did need some leadership from the central provinces.

Kudos to both Charest and McGuinty for this – whether you agree with it or not, at least someone is showing initiative.

It will be interesting to see how the PMO reacts to this but the initial signs are predictable. Bull-dog Baird has sniffed and said that it’s “political posturing”. But if the citizens of the provinces agree with the proposal and the Harperites do a poll and find that this is so, they may try to back pedal a bit.

Don’t forget that these folks are the champs in the realm of politics of cynicism!


Bill C-10

I posted a rant about this earlier. And now the Harperites (specifically Jimbo “I wanna railway” Flaherty) want to make the passage of this censorship bill a matter of confidence!


Now – only if Dion’s Liberals can muster up the guts to turn this aside and force a call to the polls…

Hey, I can dream, can’t I?

In any case, if your MP is a Grit, send them an email pleading them to vote against this Bill and send us into an election on the issue! Worst case scenario: the Harperites are re-elected with another minority and the smart Liberals take charge and elect a leader who is in touch with the grassroots of the party and the nation.

Seriously, are there many Canadian minds that are going to be changed to the Harperite’s favour over the issue of a “tax credit”? If you don’t support public funding of Canuck film and TV in general… fine – I can see the argument. But DON’T make this a decision taken by someone at Canada Heritage who is going by strict guidelines dictated by the monolithic PMO!

Think about it – Porky’s would have never been made! L’horreur!

For those of you on Facebook, here is a link to a group that has formed to mobilize against C-10: