Thursday, March 29, 2007

Is It Just Me...?

Is it just me, or has the environment ceased being an "issue"? Is Harper winning on this front? Has he been successful in convincing Canadians, that like the fabled "Kaiser Sose", the environment doesn't exist? I can see Kevin Spacey right now doing the "and poof, he's gone" thing with his fingers when we talk about the E-N-V-I-R-O-N-M-E-N-T.

Harper managed to produce a rambling budget that had a lot of Canadians scratching our collective skulls saying, "just what is he trying to do here"...

Here's what he's done:
1) Removed the environment as an "issue"
2) When was the last time anyone heard of health care???
3) Created so much confusion on the Hill, that his MPs don't even get noticed

Pretty nice trifecta so far. Once we start doing something (if we find the cash), Harper's little charade may be up... Here's to hoping we have what it takes.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Harper's Angry Conservative Outburst No Mistake...

Stephen Harper clearly planned his "sensational" shot at all Liberals today - how else would you distract our "sound-byte happy" media from a crappy budget into which you threw ALL your "best" conservative and stolen liberal ideas???

All Harper did was buy a few days of news away from a truly "limp" budget. While his idea may have worked on the budget front, PM Wimpy has cast more light on the "lying Defense Minister affair".

Wouldn't we all love to be flies on the wall of Harpo's office today? A budget that was as pointless and lame as one could get - one destined to lead Canada steps closer to budget deficits in the near future. A media focused on he - the great leader/dictator - because his caucus and cabinet are a bunch of mutes who could never divert attention away from him. A Defense Minister (and former officer) who it appears lies to Parliament and to Canadians (who knows what other deceit the former defense industry lobbyist hides?). A party living a lie (for how long?)...

If it wasn't so typically anal-retentively conservative this would almost be funny...

Monday, March 19, 2007

"Reformers" Hate Quebec: Why We Should Be Afraid Of A Harper Majority

For 13 years we watched as "full-of-hate" members of the West-centric Reform Party (turned Alliance, turned whatever that thing is that took over the federal PCs) evangelized about how much they hated things: minority rights; immigration; women's rights; "special interest groups"; and one thing in particular: Quebec. Suddenly, over the past year - as Harper's crowd struggles to survive at the mercy of a weak minority parliament - we are asked to believe he has changed to a moderate? Just because of a few conspicuous PR moves??? C'mon Canada - we need to wake up!

Harper has certainly made a few "centrist" platitudes - to try to win enough votes for his majority. But, I believe his gambit is a more heinous one. The Harper Reformers were always at one in saying that they felt Canada was better without Quebec. I lived in the West all my life, and got sick of the Reform-a-tory preaching about "letting Quebec go". Living in small town Saskatchewan, the larger cities, and Calgary, I heard - every day - the relentless "hate-speak" by just about everyone you could read as a "reformer-type". They railed against Quebec - even if they had no reason to, or had never been there themselves. They HATE Quebec with a capital H. Harper will use a majority to allow his little "nation" of Quebec to separate. Why? What every Albertan dreams of: more power in Canada (remember: Alberta "wants in" - even though they've been setting the agenda for almost 10yrs now). A Canada without Quebec makes Alberta the number two power-broker, and with all that oil, perhaps number one. Of course most Albertan NeoCons have never paused to think of the serious repercussions of a Canada without Quebec. In the backs of their minds they think that if things go south, they can also "go South" by joining their Yankee friends.

I have neo-Con acquaintances in Alberta who clap with glee when they hear about Quebecers who speak of separating. When I ask them why, the only answers they have are: 1) They feel tired of Albertans "propping up" Quebec, and 2) They figure if Quebec leaves Canada, Conservative Albertans will benefit greatly from that many fewer "left of center" votes - effectively shifting the power base in Canada to Alberta.

Harper's expression of Quebec as a "nation" is not the problem here. What is, is the context in which he did it. It was not simply a move to beat us Liberals to the punch. It was part of a much bigger game. A game he plans to play out to the end with the oblivious participation of his Quebec Liberal friends (Charest, etal). He is, in part, replaying a game that has played out historically, with Conservatives bringing Canada to the brink - before a Liberal PM brings us back. Mulroney roused a lot of Quebecers simply by playing up "the question" via Meech and Charlottetown, and federal Liberals had to work hard to put the pieces back together - almost at the expense of their own party. Harper will attempt what appear to be similar measures (to Mulroney's), but without the same intentions.

We need to challenge and fight the "Reform-a-tories" as they attempt to change the face of Canada as we know it. They will try to change/kill many of Canada's institutions, marginalize the weak and underprivileged, and do what they can to break up this great country - all to appease their Wild West, gun-slinging, power base.

Saturday, March 10, 2007


Now here is something that could really use a Canadian version. Lots of Tories to hate here (even if they're all not true Tories)... Perhaps the founders could be interested in making this a worldwide site to rate conservatives. I've sent an email to the site administrators.

This particular admonition is hilarious:

"No Tories were harmed in the making of this website. We have endeavoured to ensure all the photographs used are in the public domain or are licencenced under Creative Commons or a similar licence"

Friday, March 09, 2007

Harper's Alberta Style Environmental Program: Give Big Oil Money & Let Them Pretend To Be Responsible

Well we always knew Harper was a mouthpiece for Big Oil. Yesterday he proved it. By giving a $150000000 "gift" to his friends in the oil industry, Harper hopes to get his environmental detractors to just "shut up" and go away. In essence, Harpo has gifted one of the richest group of transplanted Americans/pseud0-Canadians a whole lot of cash they don't deserve.

Having lived in Alberta for years one knows that all the Big Oil (and wannabe "Little Oil" guys) are die-hard (usually card-carrying) Cons - typically of the hardcore Reform variety. I spent many a day commuting to downtown Calgary on the "C-train" hearing oil-pushers preaching to each other the values of the Reform movement. God - it was almost a religion with these nut-cases. Not even the most die-hard urban Canadian Liberal can understand how angry and "preacher-like" these people are. Hateful bashing of the "East" was something you actually heard in discussions between total strangers on a daily basis. The one thing most of them seemed to have in common is kneeling at the altar of Big Oil.

Today, Harper has consolidated his position as "friend of Big Oil". He did it in a way that some regular Joe Canadians might be fooled into thinking was supportive of environmentalism. This is a very frightening move for Canadians. There is ABSOLUTELY nothing that indicates that Big Oil will use this money effectively - or in any way to protect the environment. Rather, Harper's designation of funds indicates that the money will most likely be used by the industry for "studies". Hmmm... wonder what these studies will say? Oh, oh, oh!!! Mr. Kotter, I know: They will say there is no such thing as the "so-called global warming", and we need to pull out of Kyoto.

Great anti-environmental move Mr. Harper. You truly are a mad genious. True neoCon through and through. Someone please do something to stop this madman before he dismantles the very system that keeps us a "centerist" country.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Grit Stuff - National Women's Day; TDH Strategies

Happy National Women's Day. I have one comment on this: We need to see more vocal action from women's groups on the direction this quite sexist government is going. The barrage of anti-feminist rhetoric coming from the American neoCon camp and neoCon supporting media has really tainted people's thoughts here North of the border. If someone speaks out they get shut down as "the lunatic fringe", "pinkos", or worse. As Canadians we often don't think of the implications of allowing American media, movies, and "culture" to have free reign in Canadian markets. Where is the CRTC? Being dismantled by the Cons... As Liberals we can carve out some tractable ground on the topic of Canadian cultural industries. We need to ensure the sexist, melting-pot, mono-cultural media in the US stops interfering here, North of the border.

TDH Strategies (Jonathan) - Good work on your "5 Point Plan". I think the part of the plan that I have the most interest in is an area I have long thought we are weak in: getting the Dream Team out there. We have an incredible team of experts available to engage the public. We have used them poorly. Heck, as Liberals one thing we pride ourselves on is the academic, multi-cultural, and legal/constitutional expertise we have within our party membership. We nominate very qualified candidates who we know will be able to negotiate a complex international trade deal, discuss peace, intelligently approach Kyoto, or embark on a UN endeavor. Time to get these experts in the field.

If anything, we're allowing too much attention to be focused on Harper vs. Dion. In a comparison the public is always going to remember the PM. People have trouble remembering politician's names (less so than hockey players), but quite a few will remember who the PM is. While Mr. Dion brushes up on strategy the dream team can spend time engaging the public in key ridings across the country. Remember Mr. Cretien had a "brat pack" of talent which he used to incredible advantage pre-93. Sheila Copps, Don Boudria and crew were a constant thorn in Mulroney's side. I think that Ignatieff, Kennedy, Hall-Findlay, and Rae can fill that role quite well.

The challenge we've had in effectively engaging the public goes back beyond our current leader's office... Mr. Martin's (whom I supported in his leadership bid) office had challenges in communicating effectively with their own party members, let alone the general public. Perhaps leadership styles were different (Mr. Cretien was very cognizant of showing everyone he had balls - which seemed to capture the attention of the public), but that can't be a reason not to continue efforts to engage the public and media via the rest of the team.

If we can show we have a strong team, vs. the "cult of secrecy and personality" that Team Harper has, we can present a clear diametrical opposite to the public. Following some of the great ideas TDH has put into words will certainly help us in reaching our combined goal, and ultimate victory.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Stephen Harper: A Comedic Take Oh His Party's Anti-Immigrant Tilt

Once again we see the anti-immigrant sentiment of the federal Conservatives rear its ugly head - even with this minority Parliament softened neo-Con lite government... It was so apparent that these Cons despise the Immigration and Refugee Board, and will do what they can to disparage it - including attacking Liberal MPs whose family may be appointed members (even if they were appointed by a former Tory PM). What a lot of the commentary on these blogs missed was that Harper really would like to completely reform the Immigration Dept. to meet a more anti-immigrant standard, and his first step will be to attack review boards and immigration judges - the same way he is attempting to attack our justice system.

Yesterday, Harper's Calgary deputy - Jason Kenney - decided to take a shot at highly qualified immigrants who are unable to find work in Canada due to systemic challenges, as well as a lack of recognition of credentials. Rather than address this issue properly, Kenney called the "PhD cabbie" a "myth". Wow. You see, the only immigrants the Cons want in Canada are of the "temporary foreign worker" variety. Just enough to work the Alberta tarsands. Once Fort MacMurray dries up, then they'll want to send them all back, in typical conservative fashion. They couldn't care less if a foreign trained doctor or engineer can't find work.

The following are excerpts from a conversation which may or may not have happened (although we would assume it is quite obvious these discussions happen in "Reform-a-Tory" backrooms all the time):

PM Harpo: "Folks, we need to shore up some of our socio-Con vote by kinda hinting what we really think of immigration..."

Anonymous Con MP with duct-tape over mouth: (PM removes duct tape) "Yeah, can't stand those 'special interest' groups Steevo... It's like these people get all the rights... Whatever happened to rights for middle-aged mainstream males???"

PM Harpo: "(Chuckle, smirk, sneer, chuckle, chuckle) That was a great thought, unfortunately, you know _________, we can't just do what we want to do until the damn Liberal lemming Ontario voters give us a majority... Maybe if we see some change from those lazy Maritimers. Until then, I'm sorry, but I need to stick this duct tape back on your mouth"

Anonymous Con MP: "Sorry sir... I know, I know... anything for power. Alberta advantage uber alles".

Anonymous Con MP #2 (also with tape over mouth): "(Harpo removes duct tape) Steevie, can we just turn back their boats, kinda like that 'Commie-gateway Maru' that sailed into Vancouver Harbour years ago?"

PM Harpo: "I wish I could ________, I wish I could. Those $%*&s tried to get an apology out of me last year when I was in Surrey BC, but I gave them the old Calgary two-step, so I could do the photo-op and get outta there. You wouldn't believe it, but they actually tried to feed me some of their food. Good thing the security detail grabbed the would-be server and tossed her into Guantanimo North".

Anonymous former PC MP (no duct tape): "Why can't we all just get along? Some of those people are my friends. I actually like the smell of their food..."

All Con MPs: "Boo, hiss, hiss, boo..."

PM Harpo: "Can we get the former Tories some duct tape for caucus meetings? These meetings are for 'reformed thinkers' only".

Anonymous Duct-taped MP #3: "(Harpo removes duct tape) Why don't we just put in real conservative social policy right now - so all those damned immigrants won't come in and vote Liberal? We can even say nice things and smile while we cut those programs. Let's get rid of multi-culturalism today".

PM Harpo: "Great thoughts people, but you know we can't act unless we have the majority that is our destiny. We just need Canadians to buy into our fake vision for Canada".

Jason Kenney: "Maybe we need to quash all this crap about 'so-called' PhD taxi-drivers... I'm so sick of hearing about that".

PM Harpo: "I like where this is going... How about this, we can call it: the ""myth of the PhD driving a taxi""Just public enough for real Canadians to hear it..."

All Con MPs: (Raising hands and clapping) "Hmmmphhhh" (duct-tape still over mouths).

Someone needs to stop this conservative media-backed neoCon machine - before a majority accidentally happens.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Dion/Neville Chamberlain Comparisons: Response to Mushroom's Blog

A (C)conservative majority would be a nightmare for Canada. If these were any other everyday cons, it probably wouldn't be such a big deal, but these are Harper's right wing Alberta Reform idealogues running the show with Eastern conservatives taking a back seat... Moderate MPs like Lee Richardson sit in the back and smile. They're just window dressing.

Let's not hope for a Neville Chamberlain-esque strategy from Dion - no matter how Chamberlain-esque he may seem right now. Appeasement is clearly not the answer. The neoCons are a real threat. A timely clean-up of the OLO may be the start of an answer. Paul Martin realized that leadership teams don't make very good PMO material and often don't know how to handle "power" when they get it. Mr. Dion needs to reach for the best people in this party if he intends to win, or even hold the seats we have.

As Liberals we need to set out a strong "social" liberal policy platform, and celebrate and advertise our past fiscal excellence. Masters of finance Paul Martin and Ralph Goodale created almost a decade and a half of success for our party - almost entirely based on fiscal responsibility and creativity. Jean Cretien was a PM with balls (yes, I did say that). He recognized the importance of answering Canada's fiscal dilemma in 1993 with his best fiscal point-man - and he set Martin to work.

Our party is a party of the center - let's never forget that. Our electoral success comes from seeing eye-to-eye with a majority of Canadians - who are also moderates. Keeping the socialists to our left (and not within our party) is key. Keeping the social conservatives to our right is also key. We are a "big-tent" party, but we want to absorb what makes us liberal democrats - that is, a human-rights based social policy, and a small business, science and research based fiscal policy.

Our key problem right now (and for the past couple of years) has been an inability to get the message out. We need to be aggressive in our messaging and ensure people hear and understand it. That doesn't necessarily mean swinging wildly to the left (or the right). It simply means that this is not time for "peace in our time". Ensuring all parts of the party are involved in a concerted election push is critical. Time is quickly passing. The time to act is NOW Mr. Dion.