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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.



A sobering view on religion and the damage that is has caused and can cause…

Bill Maher – while I may not always agree with his political views – he does hit it on the head with this clip.

Thanks to The Squiddude for posting it!


Why to NOT vote for Harper Part 6 – LIVE! From the Regina airport.

Well. I’m stuck in Regina for a few hours and won’t get back into Ottawa till the wee hours tomorrow morning. The plane hit a bird and has to be repaired. I hate birds. The good news is that a colleague gave me an extra Air Canada lounge pass so I can pass the time away in relative comfort….

Now I have to figure out a way to blame Harper for the bird. Was it a BLUEbird?


But t’was a good trip. Nice countryside and mostly flat but really unique in some places where the glaciers retreated and huge spillways created valleys. Fort Qu’Appelle is a spot like this.

The dramatic changes in the countryside in this part of the country reminds me of a couple of things relating to the nation as a whole.

Canadians, like the Prairie geography, are not homogenous. And we never have been. Immigration since the 19th century pretty much guaranteed this but even with that put aside, our geographies have dictated that the folks sitting on these landx have to change to adapt to the local conditions. Those in the Prairies have adapted to a necessity of long distances, weather travesties and the other vagaries of an agricultural existence.

This can be said for many spots in this land. We and our ancestors had to adapt to the geograhies of the land – and the seas – and the hardships or bounties provided. This has made us a hardy folk.

And this is a good thing. The heterogeneous nature of our country – even in the Prairies where much of Canada envisions nothing but field and farm  – lends to a more balanced and fair view of the world. The extremes cancel out one another, so to speak. Put into the geographic context that I just experienced, you come over a rise after miles and miles of flatness and straight-on highway and almost drop into the Qu’Appelle Valley. Quite amazing… just when you think you have the pattern figured out, everything changes.

The neo-cons don’t see this. They see the diversity and heterogeneous nature of the Canadian fabric as an obstacle to be overcome or a challenge that they must “contextualize” and “strategize” in order to get a focused message in place to maximize their electoral brand. Think about it. The Conservatives are basically running against the Canadian tide and trying to build dams and breakwaters along the way. Sadly, they may just be able to do this just enough to gain a majority and entrench this way of thinking into legislation.

I actualy feel a bit sorry for them. By cynically framing our country within a strict electoral victory framework instead of enjoying and embracing our differences, they miss the beauty of places like the Qu’Appelle Valley. And the beauty of the people who live in places like this and elsewhere in my country. 

I cannot vote for a party that simply doesn’t “get” this. And I hope you agree.


The second full week of the campaign!

This week is always critical in a short campaing. Theoretically, all of th ekinks should have been worked out and the parties can get into the meat of their platforms.

Here’s what I think we’ll see this week:

  • More ads and messages about Stevie’s leadership abilities – especially with regards to managing an uncertain economy. The U.S. banking system is going down the tubes and this will have repercussions north of the 49th.
  • The Grits will continue with attach ads on SH. But this is the week that they MUST put their leadership TEAM up front and take some of the attention away from Dion.
  • Look for Layton to continue to sound and act silly.
  • Some of the initial sheen granted to the Greens will wear off by the end of the week
  • Some of the Bloquiste support that has leaked to the ReformCons will ebb back to the Bloq as Duceppe gets his footing and has a good week.

I’ll be way for much of the week but will post another instalment of “What NOT to vote for Harper” by Friday night.


Why to vote against Harper – Part 2 – The Politics of Cynicism

Face it, we Canucks are almost to a fault a very accommodating people who do not glory in the faults of other and truly like to think of ourselves as a family. A dysfunctional family, maybe – but still a family.

Families are built on trust and respect. Going outside established boundaries is frowned upon and such folks are pushed to the fringes.

Occasionally these people work their way back into the fold by wearing sheep’s clothing. They portray themselves as something they are not in order to curry favour

Consider Harper for example, while with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, he railed against the separate treatment of Québec in confederation. Shouted at the Liberals who were putting into place a system of corporate welfare by subsidizing big business. And, most ironically, bemoaned the state of political discourse in Canada and vowed that the Reform Party would NEVER sink to suck lows.

But the Politics of Cynicism does not presuppose adherence to any previous beliefs. The Politics of Cynicism is aligned with victory and a dogged pursuit of the dogma that is its raison d’être.

In the past little while, Steve has declared Québec to be a nation unto itself. He has handed out money to the auto makers. Has engaged in personal attacks that would make Karl Rove proud. And he has ensured that his closest advisors – select members of his cabinet – mirror his behaviour.

Last of all, he has gotten around his own fixed election law to ensure that the dropping of the writ was at his command and not of the democratically elected House of Commons.

All that matters is complete victory to Mr. Dead Eyes and it maters not what principles or standards of good taste are trampled along the way. Man, he cannot even admit that Dion may have a family!

Canadians cannot trust someone who so easily throws the principles of all Canadians to the wind in the name of a victory designed to put into place his own dogmatic weltanschuung. Those principles that make us a very accommodating people who do not glory in the faults of other and truly like to think of ourselves as a family.

He says that abortion is off the table. Is it really?

He says that arts funding will be reinstated, but in a different format. Sure.

And he says that his is the only hand that can steer our ship.

Don’t trust this man to steer us into anything but a flotilla of neocon icebergs.


Tasteless ReformCon attack ad

How tasteless is this? Doesn’t anyone vet these things?

Shows just how low Stevie’s boyz will sink.


The Greens make the Big Time!

The Mothercorp reports that the Green Party has its first MP!

Mr. Blair Wilson is an ex-Grit Independent MP for the West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country riding. He was kicked out of Liberal caucus last year after allegations surfaced about spending irregularities in his 2006 campaign. Allegations that were unfounded according to Elections Canada.

The Green leader, Elizabeth May, has seized upon this development to claim her spot in the televised leadership debates that will take place during the next campaign; likely to take place this Fall since Stevie is just itchin’ to go to the polls.

I think May has a point. Her party is hovering around 10% in the polls with higher ratings in traditionally leftward leaning ridings. Of course, the ReformCons say “nope, sorry Liz… but ya can’t come and play in our sandbox.” And frankly, I don’t expect the Grits to say anything much different from the Reformer tone. The Greens would in all likelihood not drain any votes from the Neocons, but they would indeed do so from the Grits.. and the Dippers too.

In any case, this development further stresses my own decision-making matrix as I am forced once again to choose between who I truly support (The Greens) and who I feel I NEED to support in order  to fend off a full-frontal attack by the NeoCons (i.e., vote for the Grits… which in my riding actually ain’t so bad since our MP is strong and his views on important issues fit in quite nicely with mine).

Well, it looks like the writ will be dropped next week, so I had better get my mind into election mode real quickly!

Of course, all of this will be taking place while another election takes place in the country to the south of us. Lawrence Martin of the G&M has a great piece in Saturday’s edition about how the continental political landscape may look later this fall.

For political junkies like me, these are good times…


Yes Virginia, there are some craaaaaaaaazy Christians in the good ol’ US of A

Thanks once again to Darin o’er at the Squid Zone for pointing out that there are indeed folks on this planet who are crazier than a drunken Parry Sounder during huntin’ season… this group takes the cake.

Seriously, in full understanding that there are some freaks that roam the hiways and biways, the The Creation Science Association for Mid-America preaches intolerance and downright (and heck, in their warped little world – righteous) violence against anyone who happens to not agree with their uneducated, ignorant and warped view of the world.

Here are some the the headliners from their newsletter:

  • Should Evolutionists Be Allowed to Roam Free in the Land?
  • Why Are Evolutionists Typically Socialists

and they (I’m not making this up) recommend the following:

Clearly then, “evolutionists should not be allowed to roam free in the land.” All that remains for us to discuss is“What should be done with evolutionists?” For the purposes of this essay, I will ignore the minor issue of Western-style jurisprudence and merely mention possible solutions to the “evolutionism problem,” leaving the legal details to others:

  • Labor camps. Their fellow believers were high on these. But, my position would be that most of them have lived their lives at, or near the public trough. So, after their own beliefs, their life should continue only as long as they can support themselves in the camps.
  • Require them to wear placards around their neck, or perhaps large medallions which prominently announce “Warning:Evolutionist! Mentally Incompetent – Potentially Dangerous.” I consider this option too dangerous.
  • Since evolutionists are liars and most do not really believe evolution we could employ truth serum or water-boarding to obtain confessions of evolution rejection. But, this should, at most, result in parole, because, like Muslims, evolutionist religion permits them to lie if there is any benefit to them.
  • An Evolutionist Colony in Antarctica could be a promising option. Of course inspections would be required to prevent too much progress. They might invent gunpowder.
  • A colony on Mars would prevent gunpowder from harming anyone but their own kind, in the unlikely event they turned out to be intelligent enough to invent it.
  • All options should include 24-hour sound system playing Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris reading Darwin’s Origin of Species, or the preservation of Favored Races by Means of Natural Selection. Of course some will consider this cruel & unusual, especially since they will undoubtedly have that treatment for eternity.
  • Man- if there are really freaks like this who are allowed to run loose and spew this crap, then maybe the human race really is screwed.

    I end this post with Darin’s last point:

    3. People like this can get access to nuclear weapons in the USA. Sleep well tonight with that knowledge.


    Why Steven Harper is breaking his own law


    Here we go again. It looks almost certain that Stevie and his neocons are going to break the fixed date legislation that they themselves introduced only a short while ago.

    Harper is claiming that Parliament has become dysfunctional and that he needs to be sure that the Government can put their agenda into place before proceeding.

    I have 2 issues with this:

    1. Parliament is not dysfunctional. Yes, Committee hearings have become a circus because ReformCons have been ignoring summons to appear and they have been using their handy-dandy PMO (Karl Rove-ish) contrived manual on how to make Committee meetings dysfunctional. But these are the PMO’s antics – not those of the other parties.
    2. Not going to the House to test a claim of confidence but rather using the opposition leaders’ willingness to meet with his holiness is pretty damned cheeky; if not illegal. Unfortunately, the days of GG Byng are long gone and it is doubtful that our current GG will do anything but dissolve Parliament and trigger an election as the Harperites want.

    So why is Mr. Harper so desperate for an election now and not willing to wait until his goivernment has been brought down legitimately on a matter of confidence?

    The reasons are simple:

    • Liberal candidates are winning in all four of the by-elections currently underway – the Conservatives didn’t anticipate this shift, and they cannot afford the perception that they are losing traction.
    • Harper’s concern is only enhanced by the continuing Elections Canada investigation into the Conservatives alleged “in & out” scheme.
    • the House of Commons continues to investigate Brian Mulroney’s dealings with KarlHeinz Schrieber.
    • A late fall ot early winter election would ride on the coattails of a likely (yes, likely) Obama win to the south and this would benefits the Grits.
    • The economy will continue to feel the effects of the recession in the States.
    • The visions of more poor boys making the trip home from Afghanistan in caskets are not pleasant.
    • The somewhat distant possibility that M. Dion will begin to appeal to Canadians.
    • Conservative polling numbers remain stagnant in Ontario and Québec.

    So Stevie is rolling the dice and calling Stèphane names as a prelude to one full-blown hissy fit that he’ll launch as soon as the writ is dropped. Like a bully in the schoolyard, he has beaten up all of the other kids and now is taking his marbles and going home.


    Attack ads

    I don’t know about you, but I think attack ads used in political campaigns are not only despicable and cater to the whims of the lowest common denominators, but totally remove any semblance of honest and constructive debate from a political battle.

    The penultimate attack ad is this one – shot at the height of the Goldwater / Johnson campaign in 1964.

    A little while back, the McCain camp put out this ad, implying that Obama is more celebrity than substance and that being popular in the public eye doesn’t necessarily mean that you are ready to lead the country.

    Note the clip of a certain Paris Hilton? Well, Paris put together her own clip as a retort to John McCain. I must say, my opinion of Ms. Hilton has multiplied a thousandfold upon seeing this!

    Of course, our own little Stevie Harper, being an admirer of all things negative, cynical and especially American, hires his own team to sic his attack ad dawgs on anything and anyone that disagrees with the Conservative dogma.

    All told, these ads, while they do make for some good chuckles, deflect attention away from real policy debates. Stephen Harper wants to debate the environment? well, put something on the table to talk about it and then talk about it! Demeaning an opponent’s argument by attacking the debater is a debating no-no and such attacks are called ad hominem – meaning that the attack is against the person rather than the argument or point. This implies, of course, that the person making the counter-point has no or little basis to pull apart his adversary’s point.

    Alas, the Harperites are flush with cash and we can expect more of these inane ads as we gear up for what likely will be a fall election in this country.