Friday, December 31, 2010

Conservatives Continue To Abandon Canadian Seniors

Latest Goodale Update:


The sad outcome of last week’s Finance Ministers Meeting means 2010 will end with the federal government again showing no leadership on something that really matters to families.

The meeting was supposed to be about pensions. For two years, the Harper government has been promising to strengthen retirement incomes.

The underpinning was supposed to be an expanded Canada Pension Plan (CPP).

Instead, the result was a cop-out – probably hijacked by the right-wing views of the Alberta Minister (who has always despised the CPP) and the Quebec Minister (who is trying to get some other multi-billion-dollar deal from the feds).

So improving the CPP became road-kill. It got punted to political never-never-land.

The Ministers settled for minor tinkering which they dubbed “pooled registered pension plans” (PRPPs). Run for-profit by banks and insurance companies, they’d be yet another private sector option for retirement savings – much like others already existing.

But if this is all the Ministers come up with, they will badly fail.

PRPPs won’t solve the deficiencies facing the nearly two-thirds of Canadians who don’t have adequate savings for their retirement years. Only a better CPP has the scope to do the job. It should be the central pillar of pension reform.

Why? Because it’s more familiar and comprehensive than any private sector alternative. It’s financially sound – thanks to changes made by former Finance Minister Paul Martin back in the 1990’s.

Its investment yields are the best. It doesn’t have to extract a profit margin or a management fee. And it’s secure, unlike the plans concocted by private companies like Nortel which have gone belly-up, leaving thousands of pensioners destitute.

Any reservations about premium increases can be avoided by making a supplementary CPP voluntary.

It’s time to stop stalling and get on with building an adequate CPP for the future.

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Holidays

To all the Bloggers in "Blogville"... especially little Bobby and Betty Blog...

Peace, Harmony & Love (the REAL "Reason For The Season").

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" And Other Fine Religious Stuff...

Great day in the USA yesterday. Thousands of soldiers will finally get treated like humans... Good on the Yanks for finally turning the corner on the Century.

What's better is the Religious nutbar right will be tying themselves in knots trying to figure out how to turn the clock back again... Oh, they are pissed. Super pissed. It's great to see REAL religious people stand up for their fellow human beings, however.

Speaking of religious wack-jobs, what's this we hear about Pat Robertson supporting legalization of cannabis? He said on his show ("700 Club") that entirely too much money is wasted on the War on Drugs (could be used on the "War on Terror", don't ya know... to free the Holy Land, and such...), and people who have "the occasional puff" go to jail where they get influenced by real criminals...

Wow. Seems like evolution is real!

Seriously, though, WE can use this. The religious right in Canada is so up Harper's ying-yang on his "tough on crime" bs... Harper's whole reason for exisiting is his supposed "toughness" on crime. He wants to build the US-style super-prisons which Pat Robertson says "ARE NOT THE ANSWER". I think Pat's little clip should be in election ad clips this winter - played for all the church groups.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Time to Dream Again...

Ralph Goodale with a great piece about what Canada could be, if we only could dream about reaching for the stars (my interpretation)...


As another New Year approaches, it’s time to check what lies ahead for our country.

In Saskatchewan, we live in a fortunate bubble of relative economic success, driven by our natural resources. But for the rest of the country, the news is not as hopeful.

Year-end reports say Canadians are less confident about their futures. Anxieties are high. The source of this discomfort is likely rooted in two big events of this past decade that profoundly soured attitudes at home and abroad.

One was the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. Those events triggered big, new security costs and procedures that continue to evolve to this day; two full-scale wars with painful casualties that touch home; and raw levels of fear that distort the way we live.

The other event was the 2008-2010 recession that brought 15 years of sustained prosperity to a screeching halt. Some 400,000 Canadians lost their jobs, living standards dropped, typical family debt-loads skyrocketed, outstripping disposable incomes by 50%.

Furthermore, while the recession is technically “over”, recovery is uncertain. Growth is sluggish. Our trade is deeply in deficit. The jobs coming back are mostly part-time. And young people trying to get their lives on-track are especially hard-hit.

The US and Europe remain wobbly. China and India want to slow things down. And consensus on coherent global action defies the G-20.

So there’s a lot of insecurity. People don’t know where to turn for confidence. That leads to policy paralysis and mediocrity, which sews more doubt.

Canada should not just hunker-down and muddle along. The opportunity cost of that fearful attitude is enormous. We’re compromising our future.

For skills, innovation, health-care, family care-giving and pension security, Canadians need a bolder, stronger plan – one that fosters ENTHUSIASM once again!

That would be a great gift for Christmas.

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Saturday, December 18, 2010



The piano playing may have been "ok". The singing, sub-par, nasal, and monotone... But THIS?? WTF?

This is a very troubled man.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Goodale Offers Good Advice To Canadian Families

Back in the 80s, when he was Leader of the Sask Provincial Liberals, Ralph Goodale was critical of the spending and deficits of the Sask Conservatives... The Province was loaded with debt, and the economy was looking to take a downturn. Poor Conservative choices on tax cuts, frivolous Conservative spending on pet projects, and poor Conservative economic outlook had that Province on the brink.

At the time Goodale was the only Sask politico advocating restraint and prudence. As the years went on, and the late 80s rolled out, Saskatchewanians realized the truth in Goodale's words.

Today Ralph offers another bit of sage advice to those who'll be wise enough to listen...


Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney has been vocal this fall, warning the Harper government about the precarious state of the world economy (and Canada’s), and the corresponding vulnerability of average Canadian families.

Mr. Carney has highlighted:

• This country’s poor productivity rates and our weak capacity to innovate;

• Our middling performance in terms of learning, skills and brainpower;

• Our over-reliance on US markets for our exports and our neglect of emerging economic giants in India and China;

• Canada’s rapidly ageing population as big numbers of Baby Boomers begin to reach 65;

• The declining quality of our job market, with unemployment stubbornly higher than two years ago, part time jobs replacing full-time work, and thousands of young people giving up their search for employment.

Especially, Mr. Carney has warned about record levels of household indebtedness. Over the past five years, the debt loads carried by Canadian families have exploded – to nearly $100,000 on average.

For every one-dollar of disposable income, the typical Canadian family is saddled with $1.47 in debt – the worst in the western world. This spells high risk and vulnerability.

Given the financial turmoil in Europe (Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, etc.), the chances of another global downturn are rising. Add the deteriorating situation in the United States and the American government in stalemate, and the dangers are clear.

How should government respond?

In my view, the most pressing need is to help average middle-class families deal with their most vital household costs without further aggravating their debt problems.

Offsetting some of the burdens of getting their kids into higher education, or caring for sick or ageing loved ones at homes, or securing better retirement incomes would help families make ends meet.

It would also contribute to a more inclusive workforce and greater productivity and competitiveness.

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Thursday, December 09, 2010

Harping Travesty

We listened to some "harping" - some called it singing - yesterday... by a desperate man trying to be something he isn't.

Stephen Harper is so desperate for support from the "ordinary" masses that he has to sully protest anthems from the most social-angst filled period in Western history... Songs which formed some of the basis and impetus for the social protest movements of the 60s and 70s...

This just shows how little Harper and his crew understand of the world around them. Every word of his political career has been based on attacking and deriding "socialist hippies". To regale them in horrible renditions of their own protest song anthems is a sign of his ignorance, pure idiocy, or shameless need for acceptance...

Perhaps he - for want of better ideas - thinks he can sing the Conservative deficit away?


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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Wiki This!

Society has no idea what changes this huge publicity for Wikileaks is about to bring... There's a good discussion over at Big City Lib on this subject.

We're in a new info age, and most governments and corporations still operate in the "fax me in the morning" age. We will continue to see more and more secrets coming out.

In the 60s protest amounted to camping out in front of government buildings, standing up to authority physically (but non-violently), and having "love-ins". In the 00s and beyond, we're seeing a new wave of protest... If laws and paranoia today have created a society where protesting is dangerous, and freedoms have been so stomped on that gathering in public is considered a crime in some cases (see G8, etc.), then the only alternative is to head "underground". The net lets you do this amazingly well.

"Leaks" against corporations and governments are the new form of social protest. As more social activists learn these tools, we are only going to see a rise in such action... Imagine the tool many disgruntled employees have just found! Wikileaks was not known to most of the World prior to the initial Gulf War leaks. Since then millions around the World have bookmarked the site.

As we slowly slip from democracy to "Corporat-ocracy", we will see more and more champions of access to information step up and use these tools. Company secrets won't be so secret anymore. As a former senior management employee in several businesses, I can certainly say that "disgruntlement" is not the bastion of the frontline staff only. People who have access to "Top Secret" info are often "iffy" on their futures... Interesting to see how this continues to develop in the corporate world (Wikileaks already is home to thousands of leaks from the corporate world).

Wanna know why your newspaper chose to publish a particular slant on a story? Check Wikileaks (or the 100s of copycats sites). Need to know what REALLY was said at recent global summits? Try the Wiki...

New age indeed.

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Monday, December 06, 2010

Goodale On Improving Our Railways


The Harper government seems to be in league with the railways to stifle a recent review of the poor levels of service foisted by the railways on their customers (including farmers).

The shippers of virtually every commodity transported in bulk – grain, oilseeds, pulse crops, forest products, minerals, chemicals, fertilizers, industrial goods, etc. – have complained for years that the railways over-charge and under-perform. In response, the federal government has been “reviewing” rail service problems since 2007.

The railways deny every concern, but this Service Review has exploded their myths.

It found overall rail freight service to be inadequate and undisciplined, largely because too much market power is vested in the hands of the railways. In other words, the complaints of farmers and others are legitimate, and the root problem is the railways’ near-monopoly which kills competition.

The Service Review offered eight ideas for rectifying the situation, including more commercial conduct by the railways, better notice requirements, enforceable service agreements between railways and shippers, dispute resolution procedures, better reporting, etc.

But the review fell way short on the question of implementation.

The government is giving the railways THREE YEARS to make necessary improvements – out of the goodness of their hearts. And then there might be another review. And then there might be new laws and regulations.

Horsefeathers! This “benign neglect” approach won’t work.

The railways will not fix service deficiencies on their own. They never have. If problems are to be solved, they’ll have to be forced to do it.

So why wait THREE MORE YEARS? Nothing will change – except service will get worse, and the railways will keep snickering all the way to the bank, playing farmers, other shippers and the federal government for fools.

Real solutions require new legislation and regulations. So let’s get on with it – now!

-- Post From My iPhone

Goodale Gives Rousing Speech in Surrey

Ralph Goodale was in the Lower Mainland Sunday, attending MP Sukh Dhaliwal's Annual Fund-raiser.

Speaking to a capacity crowd of 700-plus guests, Ralph spoke elequently about the two key issues of import for the Liberal Party in the weeks and months ahead... Two issues which speak to the very existence of the party, and have always been of utmost importance to this organization...

The first issue is that of this party's proud heritage of balanced budgets/surpluses, sound fiscal management AND sound social policy. This balance between economic and social considerations has always been the Liberal Party's calling card. While Harper's "Conservatives" squandered a 13 Billion dollar surplus, and put us in a further $53 Billion deficit, they use empty "slogans" to deflect from their miserable record of failure. Knowing one key "Bush-ism" they continue to mumble about "staying the course"...

The "key note" in Ralph's keynote address was the Liberal Party's firm stand for the Canadian Charter of Rights. Speaking to comments made by newly elected Conservative MP - Julian Fantino - Ralph shook his head at the disrespect and outright contempt Harper and his party show the Charter of Rights - your rights, my rights, and everyone elses rights...

In a diverse room packed with people of all faiths, nationalities, and sexual orientations - to a backdrop of bhangra dancers, Scottish Highland dancers, and South Asian prose - Ralph discussed the importance of accepting ALL people for what they are. He spoke of a Canada with selfless open arms, embracing the diverse diaspora of citizenry we have cultivated. The importance of this true reality of Canada was not lost on the crowd, which rose to ovation at Mr. Goodale's words...

Hearing Ralph Goodale's speech in Surrey last night, one cannot even question the Liberal Party's firm resolve to ensure Canadians' Charter Rights are defended at every turn... A firm resolve to ensure that wayward governments (and wayward ideologies) can do nothing to remove the rights for which our party laid a foundation over many decades - from Laurier, to Pearson, to Trudeau, and on to our modern leadership.

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Sunday, December 05, 2010

Goodale In Surrey For Annual Fundraiser

Ralph Goodale will be the guest of honor at the Annual Sukh Dhaliwal Fundraiser at the Grand Taj Banquet Hall in Surrey at 6pm tonight...

We're not sure if any more tickets are available, but inquiries can be made to the phone number/email posted on Sukh's Facebook page...

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Goodale On Canada's Economy

Ralph Goodale (The Last Canadian Finance Minister With a SURPLUS AND a CONTINGENCY FUND) speaks about the state of Canada's economy:


Whenever the Harper government is confronted with its economic failings – like repeatedly miscalculating its deficit, or presiding over 25% more poverty among senior citizens, or a massive escalation in household debt – it typically resorts to empty sloganeering.

A favourite is the glib Conservative line that, despite all evidence to the contrary, our economy is “on track”.

“On track” to where, pray tell?

The fact is, this government has missed every financial projection it has ever made. The “track” they’re on has taken Canada from a $13-billion surplus to a $55.6-billion deficit – the worst ever. And it began BEFORE (not because of) the recession.

Mr. Harper’s hand-picked Parliamentary Budget Officer says the current Conservative “track” will lead to more than $200-billion in new federal debt by 2015.

It’s a “track” of mediocre results, lost jobs, dwindling job quality, declining living standards, rising household debt, and indifference to the burdens of ordinary families.

The Conservative “track” is the wrong track.

But not to worry. Mr. Harper has other slogans at the ready, like – “we’re doing better than other countries”.

So what? Those “other countries” are handing in their worst economic performances since the 1930’s. It doesn’t take much to beat them -- we’re the “least bad” among a bad lot. And we’re certainly way behind emerging giants like China and India.

Canada needs a coherent, honest economic plan to help lift middle and low-income families out of a quagmire of household debt that’s threatening to swamp them, and a plan that simultaneously builds Canadian competitiveness and productivity.

There is a “track” for that, but Stephen Harper is NOT on it.

It would require investments in education, innovation, secure pensions and family care-giving. None of that matters to Mr. Harper; he’s interested only in extra corporate tax cuts, fighter jets and bigger jails.

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Go Riders!!!

Green is the color. Starting a pint of green beer in honor of the Riders!


-- Post From My iPhone

Monday, November 22, 2010

Goodale On Canadians' Disappearing Pensions

This is the major crisis of our time - and the Harper Reformatories won't even address it appropriately. Why? Because they've squandered away surpluses on "toys" and partisan advertising...

Here's Ralph Goodale's take:


On television last week, a former Nortel employee, now suffering from Parkinson’s disease, described how her long-term disability pension from Nortel will expire at the end of this year – due to the company’s massive bankruptcy. Once it’s gone, she’ll be literally “out on the street”.

Around Remembrance Day, Canadian veterans – both old and young – held protest rallies across the country to highlight major weaknesses in the pensions and support services provided to returning military personnel.

This past weekend, pension professionals from Saskatchewan made a presentation about the deliberate discrimination in federal tax rules that undermine the “direct contribution – variable pension benefit” plans that are particularly prominent in Saskatchewan.

Stock markets continue to fluctuate at levels well below previous expectations, resulting in RRSP and TFSP values that are down drastically from what investors had planned for, just a few years ago.

Fully one-third of Canadians have no retirement savings at all, beyond the government-mandated CPP, OAS and GIS. And another one-third have some additional savings, but nothing sufficient to maintain their standard of living.

These are a few of the growing and glaring issues around Canada’s pension system.

For nearly two years now, the Harper government has been promising major pension improvements, but to date they’ve accomplished nothing of consequence. Time is rapidly slipping by as pension problems of all kinds get worse.

The hard reality is that a majority of Canadians today cannot look forward to a secure retirement based on the public and private pension plans now in effect and the rules governing personal savings.

With a huge number of “Baby Boomers” heading toward retirement beginning next year, the gross inadequacy of pensions and savings is nothing short of a crisis – a ticking time-bomb about to explode.

This must become a national priority for decisive action in 2011!

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Remember The World We Want

Remembering is a duty, but how we remember is a choice.

This duty and these choices mean that as Canadians we face the world with open eyes, whether as individuals, or as a nation.

This Remembrance Day I choose to honour the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, past and present, and their families, by imagining the world they’ve fought to make possible.

It is a world without child soldiers; where cluster munitions and landmines no longer litter countrysides. It is a world where the threat of nuclear proliferation and future genocides have ceased to exist.

These ideas may seem bold. Even unbelievable. But consider this.

Until 1957, the soldier was known only as an instrument of war. That year, a Canadian, Lester B. Pearson, imagined a soldier could be an instrument of peacekeeping, too.

One bold idea, one cause, and one nation had the power to change how peace is kept.

This Remembrance Day, we can choose to honour our men and women in uniform, and their families, by recognizing their sacrifice. But we can also do more than that.

We can imagine that the world our soldiers fight and die to protect is possible.

And we can build it to honour their sacrifice. Because that, too, is a choice.


LGen the Honourable Roméo Dallaire, (ret’d), Senator (Quebec)

-- Post From My iPhone

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Goodale Salutes Sask Hero

As a young Liberal growing up in Sask, i had many an opportunity to meet and speak with Senator Steuart... This unpretentious, great gentleman struck me as a kind and giving soul. He pitched in to help in any way, and was well-loved by young and old alike. He will be missed.

Ralph's comments:

During this Veterans’ Week, we all need to take time to remember the incredible valour and fortitude of our Canadian Forces who have – and continue today – to put their lives on the line for our security and freedom.

This past summer, I had the opportunity to visit some of the battlefields in Europe where Canadians contributed so much to Allied victories in two World Wars. The cost was 110,000 Canadian lives.

Add the Korean War, multiple peacekeeping assignments and the current mission in Afghanistan, and you have a record of Canadian service and sacrifice that is truly extraordinary.

And when our war veterans return home, they continue to serve their country in countless ways. They help make our democracy flourish, for afterall, that’s what they were fighting for.

One of those amazing veterans who came home to build a distinguished career in business and public service in Saskatchewan was David Gordon Steuart of Moose Jaw, and later Prince Albert. We all came to know him as “Davey”.

Beginning in the 1950’s, he served as Mayor of Prince Albert and then a provincial MLA. He carried senior responsibilities in the cabinet as Minister of Natural Resources, Minister of Health and Minister of Finance.

He was also Deputy Premier. Then Leader of the Opposition. And finally, a Senator.

He was one of those who believed Saskatchewan had a great future, growing and diversifying far beyond anything imaginable in the 50’s and 60’s. He was pivotal in getting some of that growth started in forestry and potash.

How Mr. Steuart would relish the current debate about potash!

Most importantly, he was a man of great human warmth, a joyful outlook on life, and a wicked sense of humour.

Dave Steuart passed away last weekend and will be deeply missed across all partisan lines.

-- Post From My iPhone

Latest Goodale Commentary


The Prime Minister's reputation for having a dismissive attitude toward Saskatchewan has been reinforced by his behaviour in the controversy about potash.

From the very beginning, the vast majority of Saskatchewanians were strongly opposed to the hostile BHP bid to takeover the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan and shift control of PCS out of Canadian hands. People made that abundantly clear, as reflected in the unequivocal stance taken by Premier Wall. But it wasn't until Mr. Harper was confronted with national opposition, including from his own backyard in Calgary, that he came to the last minute decision to say "no" to the takeover.

The Premier and others were effective in marshalling that out-of-province support. And it's a very good thing we did, because Stephen Harper was clearly inclined to say "yes".

Two weeks before the federal decision was announced, the Conservatives were dismissing the takeover bid as just an Australian company going after an American company -- so who cares? Their indifference toward Saskatchewan
and their bias in favour of a foreign takeover were palpable.

Apart from heckling anyone who stood up for the "no" side in Parliament, all 13 Conservative MP's from Saskatchewan kept their heads down and their mouths shut. Right up to the final hours of the review process, the foreign bidder expressed absolute confidence about "yes" being the outcome. That's clearly where this federal government wanted to go. That was the signal they were sending -- rubber-stamp the takeover!

It was only after Conservative seats were threatened and four other Premiers, former Premier Lougheed, and various business leaders (especially from Calgary) came out strongly against the "yes" side that the tide turned. Thank goodness for that timely intervention. It played a pivotal role in saving Canadian control over potash.

Mr. Harper was once again ready to sell Saskatchewan down the river -- just as he has taken this province for granted so many times before, on everything from his broken promise of $800 million per year in extra equalization payments to totally ignoring the need for concerted action to help MS sufferers.

The Conservatives think they've got Saskatchewan in their hip-pocket. But their near-monopoly on politics in the province is not a helpful thing to Saskatchewan. It takes vigorous political diversity to get the attention we
deserve and need.

-- Post From My iPhone

Monday, November 01, 2010

Sask Con MPs Mute & Neutered...

Latest Goodale wisdom...


A crucial decision will be made this week about Saskatchewan’s potash industry. Will control over this strategic resource remain in Canadian hands, or will it be sold out to foreigners?

Whatever the answer turns out to be, one thing is clear – Saskatchewan’s 13 Conservative Members of Parliament have been “missing-in-action” through this whole historic debate, refusing to promote Saskatchewan’s cause!

Once again they’ve proven that when political issues become important and difficult, you can count on one thing for sure – your Conservative MP’s will be absent!

They stay out of sight until Stephen Harper tells them what to think, and then they dutifully behave like his mouthpieces in Saskatchewan, not Saskatchewan’s voices in Ottawa. It’s really quite demeaning.

The negligence of Conservative MP’s on the potash issue is the most recent and most serious example of their failure to stand-up and be counted for Saskatchewan. But it’s by no means the only one.

They did nothing to help repair First Nations University.

They won’t lift a finger on clinical trials of “liberation therapy” for MS sufferers.

When farmers needed help to survive this year’s incredible flooding, Conservatives settled for a chiseling $18 per acre (when production costs were more like $150 per acre) and livestock producers continue to be shut-out.

When municipalities needed help with unrealistic deadlines on infrastructure projects, Conservatives lectured them on being untrustworthy, bad managers.

Your Conservative MP’s let Mr. Harper kill the PFRA, underfund Saskatchewan’s carbon capture and storage technology, and renege on a cellulose ethanol plant, a police research centre, an all-weather entertainment complex … the list goes on.

And then there’s “the mother of all broken promises”: Where’s the $800 million every year that Stephen Harper solemnly promised to Saskatchewan from Equalization?

A Conservative political monopoly in Saskatchewan actually damages this province’s clout.

-- Post From My iPhone

Bridges, Roads, and Hospitals vs. Stealth Fighters/X-wing Fighters/Klingon Warbirds... Which will Cost less???

A Con apologist recently posted a response to a blog criticizing the need for roads, bridges, and hospitals vs. the new jet fighters. Here's our response to these Neo-wacko-Cons...

Yeah... we don't need no stinkin' "bridges, roads, and hospitals"! I'd rather have a 35 Billion dollar pile of scrap (in 15-17 years) than permanent structures that actually help the population.

Technically the only airforce we need is transport aircraft to move our peace keepers and "peace-makers" around the world. If anyone ever tried to "invade" Canada US fighters from Alaska and Northern States would intercept them long before we could decide what to do. After that, ICBMs would rule the day - not ancient propeller-driven Russian and Chinese bombers.

The fanboys always want the toys. The police want armoured cars. Navy wants stealth ships now too... We need to address what we really need. We need coastal patrol aircraft. We need support and logistical aircraft. Airlift.

As an example of stupidity, I'll give you the M1 Abrahams MBT (main battle tank) and Hummvee. The US went to iraq with these toys - the most expensive tank in the world, and a glorified "jeep" with little protection for the troops inside. The M1 quickly was shelved. It breaks down in desert dust (that's pretty useless considering where most modern wars will be fought over oil), had problems with air con units, stiffling troops inside, and burned so much fuel that it was a logistical nightmare (you pretty much have to have an army of fuel trucks following it). The much lighter, more agile, Russian/Soviet T-72/80/90s used in most Asian armies can dance circles around the Abrams, and don't break down in jungle/desert/water-logged conditions. They have reacitve armor, and use FAR less fuel.

The US used the Humvee as a troop transport. These had to be retrofitted to protect the troops. The British and Germans use the Mercedes "G-wagons" which are superior for protecting the troops inside, better on fuel, and smaller/more nimble. This makes them a much better choice. Also, not being GM-made makes them more durable.

Canadian armed forces "experts" wanted Humvees and M1s too. They claimed they would "allow us to integrate into the US forces". Hogwash. We're sure some Armed Forces "experts" think we should have ICBMs tipped with nukes too. The Indian Air Force has fitted Russion Sukhoi 30s and Mig 29s with systems to make them compatible with AWACS (advanced US avionics/targeting/acquisition hardware). Compatibility with a foreign army's systems should not be an issue (it can always be addressed later). Cost/benefit and timing should be factors.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Canadian Agricultural Sovereignty At Risk

The latest Goodale Update...

It is CRITICAL for us to ensure Canada maintains its control over such a vital industry...


Premier Wall says selling-off Saskatchewan’s potash industry to one big foreign buyer could put jobs, investment and public revenues at risk – worth a whopping $5.7 billion!

On the other side of the equation, there appear to be no substantial net gains for the province. The deal doesn’t create something new; it simply changes the ownership of what already exists.

Stephen Harper – who (sadly) has the final say under federal law – has shown clear bias in favour of a foreign takeover. He deliberately belittled the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan, and scoffed at the notion that potash is a strategic commodity.

But Mr. Harper is wrong. When one transaction shifts an entire Canadian industry into the hands of a single foreign buyer – that’s a strategic issue!

When that industry is potash which is vital to food production worldwide for generations to come – that’s a strategic issue!

When 53% of the world’s known potash reserves are in Saskatchewan and they’re about to be controlled forever from outside Canada – that’s a strategic issue!

When the transaction is the largest resources sell-off in Canadian history with nothing of significance left in Canadian hands thereafter – that’s a strategic issue!

When any conditions that might be attached to any deal could remain secret and are unenforceable – that’s a strategic issue!

Standing up for Canadian-controlled business champions is not “anti-business”. It’s just not being a pushover.

Those who argue that governments should just “get out of the way” should recall the similar argument made 15 years ago about deregulating financial institutions and allowing bank mergers. What a mess we’d have today if that bad advice had been taken.

If Mr. Harper forces an unwanted decision on potash down Saskatchewan’s throat, the Conservatives had better stand ready to pick up the tab for Saskatchewan’s losses.


-- Post From My iPhone

Monday, October 18, 2010

Harper-Conservatives In Deficit Long BEFORE Recession (A Friendly Reminder)

Just a kindly note for all the revisionists (and not-so-journalistic journalists) out there...

From the latest Goodale Weekly Update:

For the week beginning October 18th, 2010
Last week, while Parliament was adjourned for Thanksgiving, the Harper government dribbled out its Financial Statements for the 2009-2010 fiscal year (which ended last March), and its mid-term Update for this current year.
Years of precedent dictate that these key fiscal documents are presented in Parliament, with a full explanation from the Finance Minister and immediate scrutiny by M.P.’s.
But such honest transparency is non-existent in this government.
The nasty fact the Conservatives are trying to downplay is the size of their deficit. It’s two billion dollars higher than they predicted. At $55.6 billion, this is the worst federal deficit in Canadian history.
That has to be embarrassing for a so-called “conservative” government. They are the biggest-borrowing, most-indebted, highest-spending regime ever.
Mr. Harper blames it all on the recession. But the truth is, this Harper/Conservative deficit began BEFORE the recession, not because of it!
As soon as he seized office in 2006, Mr. Harper began slopping money around like there was no tomorrow. His federal spending ballooned by 18% (three times the rate of inflation) BEFORE there was any hint of a global downturn.
Mr. Harper also eliminated all the contingency reserves and prudence factors that Liberals had built into federal budgeting as fiscal “shock absorbers” against sudden nasty surprises – like maybe a collapsing housing market in the US or the failure of some big American banks.
When those things actually happened in 2008, there was no cushion to fall back on, because Mr. Harper had squandered it in his previous two years. So Conservative red ink just gets deeper.
And hard-pressed middle-class families are left to fend for themselves on such necessities as family care-giving to tend to a disabled child or an aging parent, the high cost of higher education and adequate pensions for a decent retirement.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Harper Party Lying About Loss Of Security Council Seat

... In the "what else is new?" department...

Lawrence Cannon claims that "Iggy's to blame" for the security council seat (and not the Harper Government's international ineptitude), then goes on to drop this one-liner boner:

"Some would even say that because of our attachment to those values that we lost a seat on the council. If that's the case, then so be it."

Read more:

Larry. Larry... Larry: Either you blame Iggy - with a VALID reason (which you don't obviously have), or you go on with your PMO claptrap and spin your way into a line that obviously states the truth: IT WAS HARPER-CON FOREIGN POLICY THAT COST US THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL SEAT.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Canada Must Defend Saskatchewan's Interests - Goodale

Ralph Goodale discusses how we need to do more to stand up for Saskatchewan's potash industry...


When it comes to potash, what’s right for Saskatchewan must prevail!

Except for one smaller mine in Atlantic Canada, the entire Canadian potash industry is located in Saskatchewan. It is a multi-billion-dollar sector with the largest potash reserves in the world. And while prairie soils don’t require much of it right here at home (yet), Saskatchewan potash fertilizer is crucial to food production worldwide.

This industry represents a big chunk of the provincial economy, and as we learned recently, market fluctuations in potash can shift Saskatchewan’s balance-sheet from surplus to deficit in the twinkling of an eye.

So, if any transaction materializes for the sale of the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan – by far the biggest industry player – it must be reviewed by the Government of Canada under the Investment Canada Act to achieve what is best for Saskatchewan, not just some vague “net benefit” to Canada.

Furthermore, the federal government must be far more public and transparent in analyzing any potash deal than it has been on many other recent resource industry takeovers. Some of those deals have gone badly sideways, like US-Steel in Hamilton and Vale-Inco in Sudbury.

With respect to potash, secrecy won’t do! Saskatchewanians and Canadians need to know what the government’s analysis is, how “net benefits” are determined, and what conditions or performance guarantees are demanded by the feds.

Moreover, there must be tangible, enforceable remedies available to Saskatchewan if any condition or guarantee is breached.

But before any proposed transaction gets that far – and beyond routine assurances about office locations, jobs, investment plans, community contributions, new technology, environmental standards, etc. – Saskatchewan needs to be absolutely guaranteed that any potash marketing strategy under any new ownership will be at least as beneficial to Saskatchewan as that which exists today.

If that’s not rock-solid, where’s any “net benefit”?

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Greatest PM Remembered

Posted over at Morton's Musings (by moi):

Sometimes you need to look outside of your closed circle (speaking to the haters out there) to realize what others think of someone. Most Canadians revere PM Trudeau. Around the world - outside of Canada - PM Trudeau is even more respected. As you travel around the world and talk to locals, Trudeau's name is very well spoken of (as is Chretien, more recently). It is a sign of the greatness of the man - the mark he left on the world.

I was in awe of PM Trudeau ever since I first met him in Montmartre Sk. in 1980 (before that, actually - my father is a huge fan). His politics were (and are) right. Would be great to see such vision today. Someone needs to have the cajones to try something bold - not cower in the corner worrying about what every single faction of a population will think. If you act out of compassion for all, with respect for human rights, and in the interest of the greater population, you will succeed.

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thank You!

A special "thank you" to all MPs who voted to keep the long gun registry... And a very heartfelt "thank you" to Michael Ignatieff for showing the leadership and resolve in ensuring Liberals voted unanimously in this issue which speaks directly to the safety of all Canadians.

This is the start of something big. The caucus is strong and united... Only good things can come of that.

Thank you.

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