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Jim Flaherty

Haven’t posted two entries on the same day for a while.

… For quite a while.

But I had to say something to a wider audience than FB.

I am SICKENED by some of the comments I’m seeing on the news stories about Jim Flaherty’s sudden death.

Shit, peeps, really? This is just the depth that som conservatives sunk to when Layton died.

I’m as partisan as you can find, but…

A man died an early death. He leaves a loving family and friends behind. He was a dedicated public servant.

He deserves better.

Show some class. Jeez.


Two stories…

One about an ex-Harris henchman who now toils for a guy who pulls levers behind the curtain at 24 Sussex…

And the other about a guy that is so blasted partisan that we will cut the reference to his own country and one of the greatest PM’s who ever lived – because he was from a different political party…

On the first, c’mon, how surprised can we be? Really. Flaherty endorsed the Timmy and Randy gong show. C’mon.

But on the other story, I find this a bit more serious. Go ahead and say that it was just a business card. I have one too and it carries that nice little “Canada” wordmark. I like it. It’s nicely understated… like most Canadians tend to be.

This dude’s ego knows no bounds. This is a petty side to Mr. Baird in the removal of Lester Pearson’s name. And taking out Canada from the card is simply disrespectful to the country and Canadians. He should remember that he works for Canada and not his narrow egotistic self-interests.

I am disgusted.


Harperites ain’t so “handsome”

And so it begins.

PS union leaders are meeting with the President of the Treasury Board, Stockwell “cavemen fought dinosaurs” Day to talk about what they should expect in the next budget, due to be released on March 4th. And federal public servants are justifiably afraid of what the budget may have in store for the PS pension plan – already described by Jimbo Flahtery as “handsome”.

I’ve gone on and on about the PS pension plan, as have others. And if you are in the PS, you pretty much like the status quo, but if you are not, you pretty much think that the pesnions are already way too generous for a buncha lazy good-for-nothing bureaucrats.

So I’m not going to rant on and on about this yet again, except to say this:

Mr. Day, changing the rules of the game is OK if those new rules apply to new employees. They can make the decision whether or not to pursue as a vocation, a career in the PS. The rules of the game are up front and transparent.

But if you dare to change the rules for those of us who have worked hard under the assumption that what we signed on for would still be in place when we retire, then, Mr. Day, you will be in for a fight.  Mark my words.


Why you should NOT vote for Harper – Part 3

This post is especially for those of us who live in Ontari-ari-o!

The Politics of Cynicism has been strongly spread around the hiways and biways of our fair Province. Billions of dollars have been promised to a broad range of interests in the hopes that pork barreling will buy a few precious votes – especially in battleground ridings around the 905 and 519 area codes.

But do these promised handouts make up for how the Harper government has treated Canad’s most populous province over the past couple of years? Without getting into Harper’s approach to Eastern Canada before he became the Grand Poobah of the ReformCons (build any firewalls lately Stevie?), here are a few examples of how the Harperites have dissed my fair province.

Jim Flaherty – Finance Minister:

…However, he had some tough words for his home province of Ontario, where a Harris-Decima poll released Friday suggested the public supports McGuinty’s view that Ottawa is giving short shrift to troubled manufacturers.

The poll found that 56 per cent of those surveyed supported the premier’s view that Flaherty is too focused on the oil-and-gas industry.

Asked about the poll, Flaherty responded that the Liberal premier “doesn’t get … that you must reduce your business taxes over time.”

“Their business taxes are the highest in Canada. If Mr. McGuinty thinks that’s good for the manufacturing sector in Ontario, he’s wrong.”

Flaherty said the policies are doing “long-term” damage to the province’s economy.

“It discourages investment in the province of Ontario,” he said. “If you’re going to make a new business investment in Canada, and you’re concerned about taxes, the last place you will go is the province of Ontario.”

More Flaherty:

A political gravy train or a shrewd plan for better passenger rail? Based on an internal report by the Ontario government, it would seem that Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s pitch in last week’s federal budget for a passenger rail service between Toronto and Peterborough is a bad idea.

Mr. Flaherty’s supporters – notably Peterborough Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro – point to Trent University, Quaker Oats and General Electric as some of the major employers in Peterborough that would benefit from the scheme. But Mr. Flaherty’s fans are careful to avoid dwelling on the fact that the train service would run through his Tory riding – and also that of his wife, Christine Elliott, who is a Tory member of the Ontario legislature.

I blogged about this a while back.

So what about Harper himself? The Premier of Ontario and Harper aren’t exactly fishing buddies and every time Mr. McGuinty announces any sort of initiative (e.g., the agreement between Ontario and Quebec on greenhouse gas emissions), Harper and his posse are right there – tearing it apart… partisanship to the max!

John “pitbull” Baird on this progressive agreement:

Federal Environment Minister John Baird said the talks between Charest and McGuinty are more about “political posturing” than cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

“I saw a great press conference,” Baird told the CBC’s Don Newman on Monday in Ottawa. “What the premiers are talking about is much in the line of what we’re doing, but it’s just talk.”

Take for another example the legitimate complaint by the Premier that Ontario continues to be a contributing province to our equalization system despite the fact that we are now – by definition- a “have-not” province.

Harper et al say “suck it up!” “Create a better business climate like we did!”

And now the ReformCons come hat in hand, asking for a majority. And I’m worried that, due to strong support in rural areas of the province (like my old stompin’ ground, sniff, sniff) combined with a Grit/Dipper/Green split of the left vote in swing ridings will indeed deliver Ontario.

And with Ontario coloured blue, so goes the nation.


Harperites shooting themselves in the feet

I am often dumbstruck by some of the decisions that the Harper government takes regarding the messages that they send out to the country. They are often dogmatic, but sometimes cut across their dogma. They are sometimes conciliatory – but often confrontational. They sometimes have a clear purpose, but are more often than not quite random.

And this can sometimes be the result of the mixed messaging. Turns out that, despite the Grits having little direction on the leadership front, the Harperites are back down to 2006 support levels.

I mean, how hard could it be to devise a consistent set of messages focusing on leadership – not the attack ads that we have seen, but some coherent and consistent signals that contrast Harper with Dion. Now, as anyone who has ever read my meanderings knows full well that I am not a fan of Stevie, his party or his politics. BUT, he does have a firm grasp on his party and its direction… sure, there is somewhat of a dictatorship right now in the party of John A., but whatever… he does lead.

And Dion? Where the hell is he? Rae and Hall-Findley get seats and they get more favourable press than the leader has cumulatively over the past year! We have no idea who this guy is and what he is all about. And he isn’t exactly educating us in this regard!

But noooooooo… the Reform Alliance folks are let off their spike-studded chains for a moment and what happens? Well, Jim “I hate Dalton” Flaherty starts dissing the province that he is partly responsible for representing by saying that Ontario is the last place in Canada that investors should look at?

Huh? Shouldn’t he be, like, supporting the province?

Of course, Jimmy is ever so generous with his wise advice for his counterparts at his old stompin‘ grounds, Queens Park. On the eve of the Ontario budget, Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty again demanded that Premier Dalton McGuinty cut corporate taxes to help stimulate the provincial economy.

Unprecedented interference? Yes.
Unnecessary? Yes.
Dogmatic? Yes.
Settling an old childish feud? Yup again.

Then, (get this) he announces plans for a rail link between Peterborough and Toronto – one that was closed down years ago due to lack of ridership. Why invest in this? Seems that the train service would run through his Tory riding – and also that of his wife, Christine Elliott, who is a Tory member of the Ontario legislature.

Still more – turns out that Jimbo has found some money for a facility for folks with disabilities… nice gesture Jim. But, the facility’s board of directors includes Flaherty’s wife, Ontario MPP Christine Elliott and his executive assistant, Nancy Shaw – and, of course, it is to be built in Flaherty’s riding of Whitby-Oshawa.

Steve. You and I might not agree on much past good morning. But take that leash out of the drawer, call Jim into your office for a chat, distract him with a treat and snap it back on to his collar.