Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Iggster Looks Good

Very relaxed and in control of the presser this morning... Big smiles all around. The peoples' choice will be between the HarperCon robot, or a lively, smiling leader in Ignatieff...

-- Post From My iPhone

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Great Job Air Canada!

I KNEW there was a reason I so religiously fly Air Canada... And it wasn't the Aeroplan miles, or the great in flight food (kidding on that one). Nope. It's the people who make that company what it is, and Air Canada's outpouring of support to Haiti - support which came faster than most of the pledged aid from our government (and which we're still waiting on) - that makes AC a company well worth supporting, and worthy of flying our national flag and colours.

Kudos to Air Canada and AC employees for a job well done in Haiti!

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Canada150 - A Success

Great conference. Great closing speech. Very "straight from the heart"...

I think Iggy's proposals caught some people (especially mainstream media) off guard. Good. The MSM don't really practice journalism anymore, so they need to be spoonfed...

Kudos to the party for adopting a proposed freeze on corporate tax cuts (corporate taxes in Canada are already among the lowest in the G8, and 25% lower than the USA). We CAN and WILL provide solutions for Canadians who need them, by freezing this ongoing act of corporate welfare. Like Mike said, companies in Canada need a larger, better trained, better educated workforce, and more access to innovation and research. THAT has to be our focus, and that IS something we can accomplish.

Airing out some very liberal/Liberal ideas on a national/global stage was a good idea, as it helps open eyes among elected party members, and also puts in place a bit of accountability to the ordinary Canadians who participated - on behalf of the party apparatus...

True vision emerged from this weekend, and, while it's too early to say, this is likely a start to something big.

Can't wait for Harper to start making excuses for doing NOTHING in 4 years, driving us into debt deeper than ever with the largest deficits in Canadian history, and basically running an "ostrich government". Seeing Harper making excuses in Parliament is like watching the 1950s cold war documentaries - "stop, duck, and cover"...

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Conservative "Tough On Crime" Laws Under Trial...

Tomorrow morning, 9am, on the Sunday Edition... Come one, come all, and help Michael Enright discuss the Conservatives supposed "tough" stance on crime. Poke holes in the "lip service" paid by such reactionary laws. Laugh at the utter lack of thought and scientific study that goes into the knee-jerk, (but tear-jerking) new proposals from the "party of law and order". Giggle at the prorogue which sent the crime bill packing...

This Sunday at 9am (9:30 in Nfld), it would be a good idea for Liberals to focus on this little show - before tuning into the Canada150 Conference for the rest of the day.

That's Sunday, at 9am, on CBC Radio One.

This has been a public service announcement from your friends at WesternGrit.

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Canada150 - Surrey, BC Event

For Lower Mainlanders, we have a local Canada150 event planned at the lovely campus of Kwantlen University, right here in Surrey (you must reserve tickets online, or contact Al Payne from Sukh Dhaliwal's office for info on registration - as they are apparently organizing this satellite feed today).

Event: Canada at 150: Rising to the Challenge
Date: Saturday, March 27, 2010
Time: 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM
Place: Kwantlen Polytechnic University Conference Centre - 12666 72 Ave, Surrey

We are tackling one challenge at the local satellite conference at Kwantlen University:
Energy, Environment and Economy in 2017: Growth and Responsibility. Canada must harness the link between environmental sustainability and economic growth in order to make us a clean energy leader. We will be looking at how Canada can create a more sustainable economy to both protect our environment and create jobs for ourselves and for future generations.

Canada at 150: Rising to the Challenge is a non-partisan event organized by the Liberal Party of Canada. It is rooted in the proud tradition of the 1991 Aylmer Conference and the 1960 Kingston Conference, organized by Prime Ministers Lester B. Pearson and Jean Chretien while in Opposition. These events played pivotal roles in shaping earlier decades. The conference runs from March 26th through 28th in Montreal. You can also participate online by going to the event website

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Liberal Road To Victory...

While it is more complicated than this, here's a crack at it...

We're seeing a gradual shrinkage of Liberal support outside of urban Canada, and Eastern Canada. We've lost ground in certain demographics.

What has the solution been so far? Some think going after the sprinkling of seats in the rural West is important... Some say we need some "great ideas" (which WILL come from the Thinkers Conference)...

What we really need is to start anew at selling Liberal ideology. We know what it is. We live it, and breathe it ourselves... But, we're an abysmal failure recently at selling it. Part of it is the struggle with HUGE and powerful corporate lobbies (which control media and other institutions).

We've surrendered our activism... Those of us who used to shout from the rooftops are timidly and meekly working our 9-to-fives. We've dropped the initiative, and have, instead, allowed some very VOCAL S0-Con groups (religious lobbies/organizations, etc.) to gain ground. The NDP are in much worse shape. They can't even count on union support all the time (sure, the "organization", but not the rank-and-file). They routinely side with the Conservatives - to the extent of defeating a centrist government in favour of a right wing one...

Where can the Liberal Party start to make a comeback?

1) Leadership has to be tough, and "take no $h!t". Whip, whip, whip, and whip some more (and hope we're not the proverbial "dead horse") - no matter who the leader is. Discipline is important.

2) Revisit our relationship with our "core" - which is slipping away. We need to ensure we have some very strong policy for women and our multicultural citizenry. We have to fight for the "ordinary guy" and the "little guy". Far-seeing immigration policy (but not JUST immigration policy, but also policy that benefits women and all minorities) that addresses the impact of Canada's aging population is needed (and a guarantee that we hit those numbers, rather than seeing applications be lost in red tape). Bring in the bright minds that will drive Canada into the 21st Century and beyond - not just the "rent-a-laborer" program the Conservatives have (which will use these fine folks then send them packing once the Alberta oil projects are done). We need visionary women's and family ideas that reflect the direction this party was taking in the late 60s and early 70s - and take those to the next evolutionary step...

3) Communicate more effectively. We need to continue with recent efforts by the party to disseminate info (good job guys - the recent efforts are worthy of praise). There is still much work to do. How do we effectively communicate with "Joe Ordinary", or "middle Canada"? Part of this will include educating the masses. We shouldn't have to "dumb down" the messaging. Rather than letting neanderthal thinking from So-Con groups and corporate interests continue to "dumb down" discourse, we should ensure citizens are educated on the workings of Parliament (and other legislatures) and carry on that interest well into their adult years.

4) Do we forget about the Canadian version of "flyover States"? No. We should embrace our common interests (and there are many). Read on (from an earlier writing):

The Liberal Party has been receiving our lumps from detractors claiming we don’t have a platform/ideology which supports all of rural Canada. We’re often dubbed a “party of urban Canada”, or the “party of new Canadians”. While we proudly wear those two monikers, we feel an injustice has been done in the opinion of our rural vision.

Liberal policy has helped build rural Canada. It shows in our strength in the most desolate locations in rural Canada (the North). It shows in the creation of Canada’s railways, highways, and great Western hotels. It continues to show in the party’s concern for our First Nations, and for the environment.

Still, we do understand that we have areas for improvement, growth, and re-focus. A “holistic approach” must be the new way - an urban-rural “synergy”. The “normal way” - particularly on the “wings” - are parties which stick to one core group of support. The NDP tends to focus on labor. The Reform/Conservative Party tends to bank on the religious right and rural Canada (or larger centers in the rural West). Even when paying “lip service” to other regions, their policy and attitudes are directed to support their Western rural base.

On the contrary the Liberal Party of Canada has always seen itself as a Pan-Canadian Party... The party of nation-building. Having said that, we have been strapped by right-wing media twisting our rural vision into something that it isn’t meant to be. Instead of expounding on the virtues of our efforts to help “smaller” farmers, and smaller rural municipalities, detractors tend to focus on issues like the “Wheat Board” - which are the interest of larger and corporate farms, gun registry, and the long dead NEP (this mainly in AB, and for some reason more resonant in the rural areas than urban).

How do we address this disconnect? We can pay lip service all we want to “wanting to work for” Western farmers... but that isn’t our way. We must embrace rural Canada - along with the rest of Canada. We need to develop an “urban rural synergy” which not only addresses issues in both “parts” of the nation, but also encourages understanding... This understanding must foster growth of good environmental practices, local farming (including “ALR” lands, the “100-mile diet”), and transportation links which encourage suburban and rural lifestyles - while maintaining a “green” society. Through such synergy, we can keep rural Canada vibrant, grow the green economy, increase business for local farmers, and grow Canada’s economy like it never has before.

While doing this, we must also re-visit our “core” support. While we have addressed “urban/metro” issues in past budgets and platforms, our support of new Canadians - while being very strong - has not been “sold” properly. We have failed to make serious issues of many Conservative attacks on the welfare of new Canadians. Conservative policy pays lip-service to the needs of new Canadians, while pulling the rug out from under them. Liberal MPs, and our leader need to spend more time in urban and visible minority communities, and explain the virtues (for all Canadians) of a party of strong fiscal managers with a social conscience. Entrepreneurial new Canadians have thrived with support from strong Liberal economic direction. New Canadians have benefitted from a Liberal focus on multi-culturalism (including community groups that policy has benefitted - while bettering the rest of Canada). Our stand on the Charter of Rights - and our liberation of that document - has helped foster an enriching and liberating environment for new Canadians... An environment which helps these communities thrive with a lesser specter of discrimination and prejudice.

Suburban Canada is the meeting place of rural and urban. For Liberals to win votes in this region means we will have to provide what these areas REALLY need. Rather than fear-mongering about crime and punishment, we owe the suburbs better planning and layout - and encouraging municipalities to do so with directed funding. Communities thrive when jobs, stores, homes, schools, and entertainment are all close together - walking distance if possible - with a strong link of public transit...

Public transit is something that ISN’T just an urban issue. In the Lower Mainland of BC, the fastest growing cities (like Abbotsford, Chilliwack, and Langley) require easier commutes and better commute times. How do you improve family life in Abbotsford? Not by building another prison, but by giving residents another hour or two in their daily lives. Time to take kids to hockey and soccer. Time to spend money in local businesses. Time to innovate and be creative. That time will be created if we provide rail transit into the Fraser Valley.

The Fraser Valley is not the only region where suburban and rural families will benefit from better mass transit. The Calgary-Red Deer-Edmonton corridor is another area where mass transit is sorely needed. Ambitious governments could extend this corridor to booming Fort MacMurray (notorious for traffic jams). Southern Ontario to Montreal is another key region requiring better mass transit. Atlantic Canada needs stronger links to the rest of Canada. Subsidies for rail service has worked in the EU, in taking cars off the streets, and in saving fuel, while improving lives of residents. With a few key projects we can bring Canadians closer together, and make Canada greener.

We CAN celebrate the co-existence of urban and rural areas - and the suburban junctions. By bringing communities closer together, making them greener, and improving the standard of living, all Canadians will be happier, and all Canadians will see the Liberal Party as THE party of nation-building.

Ps: Keep taking advantage of the Conservative allergy to "critical thought", science, and intelligence. Human civilization has only advanced due to the "thinking" of great minds. Only luddites and Neanderthals bury their heads in the sand and deny reality. We NEED to emphasize this fact and take advantage of the Conservative's hatred of, and resistance to reason and intellectual thought.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Kudos To U of Ottawa Students

Kudos to students at U of Ottawa for protesting Anne Coulter's xenophobic verbal diarrhea. While she should be allowed to speak, her fear of speaking to such loud opposition shows just what type of chicken "hawk" she really is. Hearing morons like this, and enjoying their being shouted down and protested is such a wonderful part of democracy.

The students did what they should have. Good job. She chickened out. Can't put her money where her gargantuan mouth is (dwarfs all her other parts)...

Interesting to see the contrast between Ottawa and Calgary - sanity vs. fearmongering xenophobia...

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NASCAR? You Gotta Be Freakin' Kidding...

Just a quick response to our friends over at thescottross....

Sure... there are some who might think Iggy has his "stodgy" moments... But... (and it's a big "but"), he's a freakin' NASCAR fan!

You can't get much more "down home" than that. I learned that strange fact after reading dozens of his literature pieces, and meeting him a few times. He let on at a meeting over drinks and South Asian finger food in Richmond, that NASCAR is his secret "pleasure". Iggy LOVES NASCAR. He doesn't pretend to write books on it... and he doesn't pose with drivers (he could, but he doesn't). He doesn't go out and sponsor a CASCAR Series car (he could, but doesn't), but Iggy is a MASSIVE NASCAR fan.

You know, some people (mostly the a-holes on the other side of the floor) may want to paint him as "stodgy", and "bookish", but he's quite a charmer (known to set into motion many an "intellectu-gasm"), and isn't called "the robot" like our neoprene and plasticky Prime Minister. He also doesn't pretend that he's an expert in his field of study - he doesn't have to - he IS an expert... Unlike the PM - who pretends to have learned something in Econ class (always a bonus finishing school in the heart of your kind of politics... sure it helped with the grading when your profs were often political mentors. Lot easier than studying at the World's top schools).

Iggy is James Bond to Harper's Max Smart. He's (Iggy) smooth, sauve, and learned. Not a bumbling wannabe who happened to slip into his role (and a bank full of Liberal surplus to blow in his first 6 months, like a not-so-neglected pile of coke on a certain Harper friend's coffee table)...

Just "shits and giggles" Scott... Just shits and giggles...

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Conservative Hissy-Fits? You Tell 'Em Ralph!

Gotta love Ralph's weekly commentary...


The vulgar tantrum by Conservative cabinet minister Helena Guergis at Charlottetown airport has effectively ended her political career. Anybody else behaving in such a threatening, disreputable manner in airport security would surely have been arrested.

But the haughty Ms Guergis is not the only Conservative minister to have a hissy-fit. Another is Finance Minister Jim Flaherty – it happens every time he’s confronted with the impeccable work of Canada’s Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO), Kevin Page.

Ever since he was recruited by the Conservatives for the role of PBO (which the Conservatives themselves created), Mr. Page has been vigilant in exposing government deception and wrong-doing. They wanted him to be their lapdog; instead, he’s a most honest and effective watchdog.

The Finance Minister clearly loathes Mr. Page. Mr. Flaherty’s every word about him is dripping with contempt. But the fact remains – Mr. Page is usually right while Jim Flaherty is not.

The latest dust-up involves Conservative tax hikes.

In the coming fiscal year, the Harper government will increase – repeat, INCREASE – taxes on jobs, airport security, education, savings and even healthcare devices. Billions of additional dollars will be sucked out of Canadians’ pockets.

The most damaging of these new Conservative taxes is their big new tax-on-jobs – i.e., higher Employment Insurance (EI) payroll taxes.

Just when businesses need all the help they can get to stimulate post-recession jobs, the Conservatives are slapping this destructive new tax on every job in the country. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business says over 200,000 jobs will be killed.

Kevin Page’s arithmetic shows government revenue from higher EI taxes will leap by more than 60% over the coming five years. No other federal revenue source will grow faster. The Harper government is simply milking EI to the very last drop!

Canadian taxpayers are the ones who should be throwing hissy-fits!

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Well Done TV Networks - Now Get Going On OTA!!!

(OTA - "Over-The-Air" Broadcasts - free for the public).

So the TV networks have won their battle with "Big Cable"...

What's next? How about keeping the price of TV down?

If you're an advocate for the end consumer (you and me), this recent development is a good one. If this change didn't occur the cable/sat giants would dominate the market - and eventually buy out/own all the networks in Canada.

Still, there is a HUGE window of opportunity here for regulators (or for the networks - if they choose to be pro-active): Ensure public access to over-the-air broadcasts.

There is a crime committed every day one of us turns on our TV in our apartment or condo... It's the crime of "monopoly". Ever notice how you have no choice of provider when you move into a condo complex? Cable companies have entire teams dedicated to "pre-selling" new developments to "ice out" any competition. Now, condo boards will tell you they prefer not to have "unsightly" dishes on every balcony (understood - but there are alternative locations for dishes), but there IS an option that every broadcaster can provide: OTA signals. A person living in Surrey or Abbotsford BC can pick up over-the-air broadcast from the major Canadian AND major US networks - for FREE... Simply have a new HD-TV with an OTA-receiver built in for the HD signal, or use your rabbit ears for the quickly disappearing analog terrestrial signals.

Canadian broadcasters need to take the next step in winning the "hearts and minds" of the public: Start ensuring strong signal quality for your HD/Digital OTA broadcasts. If I could pick up my HD signals (CBC, CTV, Global) over the air, for free, I would cancel my cable subscription, and use something like AppleTV, or an online service like iTunes to purchase any other shows or movies I need to purchase. The end savings to the consumer are huge: No more billing for channels you don't want - or even shows you don't want. Simply pay for the content you want - commercial free (in HD too!). The OTA signals would ensure that we can still keep in touch with our local Canadian programming (although much of it is also available online), and still see commercials, if we wish. If people want the "full cable universe", they can choose to pay their $250/month to the cable providers...

Broadcasters will need to be "pushed" into ensuring they offer strong signals nation-wide. A government that encourages this would win a LOT of votes and public sympathy. Of course, that government would have to say goodbye to the $100s of 1000s in campaign donations from the likes of Rogers, Shaw, and Bell. Broadcasters would be able to reach a "new" audience - people who currently don't have cable/sat because of the exorbitant fees... Millions of Canadians would have a new entertainment stream.

Politicians are worried about cable prices going up. If they encourage and foster OTA signals, they have an "out" with the public.

OTA - it's the way to go.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Conservative Deficits Don't Have Conservative Solutions

It would be a crying shame if Canadians are duped by the Reform-a-Tories into thinking these buffoons can manage an economy... Their recession denials last year, AND their deficit spending BEFORE it sinks their (leaky) boat...

Ralph Goodale this morning:


What will it take to lift Canada into the forefront of global economic excellence?

According to Stephen Harper’s March 4th budget, the only thing that matters is getting rid of that massive deficit that he himself created. His “solution” is five long years of punishing austerity – to the exclusion of everything else, nothing but freezes, cuts and diminished expectations.

That’s the penalty Canadians will pay for bad Conservative management since 2006.

Long before there was any recession, Mr. Harper was massively overspending by three-times the rate of inflation. He put the country “into the red” BEFORE the recession.

He also recklessly used up every reserve and prudence factor in the federal books that were supposed to serve as economic shock-absorbers against adverse events. And he ignored all sensible warnings of trouble in the U.S. housing and banking sectors.

The result is $54 billion in deficit this year and $150 billion over five years.

To rescue Canadians from Mr. Harper’s mess will take hard decisions, skilful management and discipline. But that alone will not be sufficient. The Conservative deficit is not the only thing that needs fixing.

Brainpower: Canada is not investing nearly enough in lifelong learning from early childhood development to university post-graduate degrees.

Innovation: Canada is trailing the world in science, new technology and the commercialization of our best new ideas.

Global Business Networks: Repairing relationships with countries like China and India, Canada needs to position itself globally to attract up-scale, high-paying jobs. Reliance on the U.S. market won’t be enough.

Retirement Incomes: This is a massive worry for middle-income earners over 40 who don’t know if they can afford to retire.

The “care” agenda: Child-care, elder-care, disabled-care. These needs put great pressures on families, economically and otherwise.

All of these are legitimate priorities, right along side the Conservative deficit.

-- Post From My iPhone

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Treaty Rights

Living and campaigning on the Prairies for most of my adult life I'm quite familiar with the types of epithets used by hardcore Reformers/supporters when being asked about treaty rights on the doorstep (usually the opinion was forthcoming without any question)... This is why the recent announcement about treaty rights being extended makes me so overjoyed. Besides the obvious pandering, it is a delicious slap in the face of every xenophobic Reform-a-Tory in the land... And they STILL won't get the votes!

Positively delish!

-- Post From My iPhone

Harpernomics And the Death Of Canadian Surpluses...

Ralph Goodale's Weekly Report...


Canadians don’t want another election right now. That’s clear.

But they do want an alternative to Stephen Harper. And that’s the mission and the duty of Michael Ignatieff and the Liberal Party.

We must build that better, available alternative. Neither the NDP nor the Bloc Quebecois can do it; they’re both limited to perpetual opposition. Only the Liberals have the capacity to form a different federal government.

To start with, we know we need to earn public attention and trust. So Liberals are engaging Canadians in the most open and comprehensive renewal of policy ideas in this generation – to help shape an attractive alternative to Mr. Harper’s pinched vision of Canada’s future.

Having padlocked Parliament from December to March, to squelch scrutiny while he allegedly “recalibrated” his government, Mr. Harper finally tabled a new budget last week. It was uninspired – 90% was old stuff recycled from the past.

Except for one thing – a Conservative plan to knee-cap the Government of Canada, to cripple its ability to achieve much of anything, except perhaps to build jails and go to war. Mr. Harper’s plan is to cut or freeze everything else – for five long, hard years.

For the average middle-income family, there’s nothing at all to generate the new knowledge-based, highly-skilled jobs of the 21st century, or bolster retirement savings, or make higher education or child-care or elder-care more affordable. The Conservative message is: “Fend for yourself!”

And what about Saskatchewan’s aspirations?

Same answer. There’s nothing for innovation. Nothing for Saskatchewan’s homegrown technology to capture CO2 emissions, or the proposal to manufacture medical isotopes.

There is nothing to preserve First Nations University, or even sustain support for the victims of residential schools. Nothing for rural roads or water systems or producer cars or rural high-speed internet.

Canada surely needs a more hopeful alternative!

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Grant Mitchell on Representative Democracy

We liked this story by Sen. Mitchell so much, that we had to repost it...

It really bears repeating, over and over and over again, particularly when the bent logic of the Reform-a-Tory movement tries to skew the views of the populace...

I believe in representative democracy for these reasons:

a. One of the classic problems with direct democracy is figuring out exactly what every constituent wants is logistically very challenging. Ridings have around 100,000 constituents; representatives simply cannot communicate with everyone. And, they will receive many different thoughts and priorities from those they do hear from. Would representatives be required to poll on each issue? What would constitute a majority? These are the logistical challenges that make this type of direct democracy unworkable.

b. Moreover, there is little room in direct democracy for a representative to take positions that they believe to be right because of detailed study. These positions may not be consistent with the perspectives of constituents, in part, because constituents have not had the time or resources to study the issue with the same depth.

c. Decisions could also be skewed to regions with the biggest populations. I remember driving with a farmer while touring his farm. He made the point that representatives should only vote for the interests of their constituents. I responded with a question about him not ever wanting another paved rural road. How could urban representatives vote for rural roads? Or, what would this approach mean for the influence of central Canada which has the preponderance of representatives in the House of Commons? How could they ever vote for Western interests? The consequence would likely be what happens in the US Congress where there is continual, ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours,’ politics of negotiation.

d. Direct democracy can also erode accountability. In a referendum where each of us votes in a secret ballot on some initiative or other, no can be held accountable for their decision. So, if that decision proves to be a disaster, there is no one to fire for it in the next election. People demand accountability all the time and in fact one of the great drivers in institutional reform debate is the need for greater accountability. You don’t get that with direct democracy.

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Jaffer Walks - Pt Two

Okay... Not sure if I got this correct... All the facts, so to speak... Please correct me if I'm wrong:

- Jaffer stopped for apparently driving intoxicated, speeding (very much above posted speed), and what was indicated as possession of Cocaine...

- It was in the riding of his wife - Helen of Tory...

- The judge publicly admits, with a smile, "you got off easy"...

- Judge was supposedly appointed by Federal Conservative Justice Minister, when he was Provincial Conservative Attorney General...

- People of the same "political feather" tend to flock together, and in a small rural riding there is sure to be some "flocking" going on...

Curious... Flocking curious if you ask me... Coin-ki-dink city...

I'm assuming the Federal Conservatives are full of $h!t when they pay lip service to being "tough on crime" (you know, maintaining conservative "appearances" and all... keeping the "base" happy, while scaring the $h!t out of average Canadians in an environment of rapidly declining crime rates).

This flocking stinks... Dirty, dirty, dirty...

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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Jaffer Walks?

So, let me get this right...

Rahim Jaffer is arrested/charged with impaired driving, possession of cocaine, and wreckless driving (am I correct?)...

... And... he is let go with a $500 fine?

What were the "holes in some of the evidence"?

Just how "tough on crime" are these Conservatives?

Attaboy Rahim. Way to rip holes in the very reason for the existence of your pathetic little political (bowl) "movement"...

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Friday, March 05, 2010

Harper Conservatives Leave Door Open For Killing Off CBC

From "Friends of Canadian Broadcasting" today:

As we anticipated, the Harper government announced its intention yesterday to throw open our doors to foreign ownership in Canada's communications sector.

Like cascading dominos, this will lead to a drastic reduction in the quality and quantity of Canadian stories on television as our domestic broadcasters fall into the hands of foreign owners.

Please help FRIENDS stop this disastrous plan.

As I write this message to you, the Finance Minister has tabled in the House of Commons his budget which describes how foreign ownership restrictions for telecommunications companies in Canada are to be stripped away.

If we let Stephen Harper get away with this, it will be only the first step.

Harper's scheme creates a slippery slope because it would give phone companies a clear advantage over the cable monopolies, with whom they directly compete.

Cable will demand equal treatment and the broadcasters will follow suit.

The result: several generations of hard work to maintain our cultural sovereignty through Canadian ownership and control of broadcasting would go down the drain.

This may be of no concern to Stephen Harper, whom the New York Times reported last year prefers to watch American TV news. But what about the rest of us?

Losing Canadian control would do serious damage to Canada's cultural sovereignty because, as you know, those who control the media also control the message. If foreign companies are allowed to control our media, Canadian stories will fade to black.

Together we can stop this. Will you help?

Already, FRIENDS has been campaigning to make sure the politicians know the implications of Harper's nefarious scheme. You can see my comments on CBC's The National last night by clicking here.

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Thursday, March 04, 2010

Con "Blue Book" To Leave Canadians "Black & Blue"

Repeat, re-promise, re-finance, redact, refuse to assist Canadians in need.

In a nutshell... the new Harper Deficit Budget...

Corporate tax breaks galore, however.

Wonder when all the "infrastructure projects" promised last budget actually start getting "shovels in the ground".

Flaherty - wrecking Ontario's economy, and now Canada's too.

He's "forecasting" 3, 4, 5 years down the road (to pay the bills) - in a minority Parliament. What a moron!

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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

"Recalibration"? My @$$

Iggy's response to Harper should be:

"He didn't 'recalibrate' anything, after taking a 40 day holiday to watch the Olympics. He has rehashed EVERYTHING - all the BROKEN PROMISES - from his last two throne speeches. Instead, what he's done today is take a shot at the civil service, open Canada's media and largest companies to foreign ownership, and taken a hard shot at eliminating any talk of addressing the HUGE concerns regarding the environment."

"What a sham. Abuse of power knows no bounds".

"Having said that, we voted the way we did for the last throne speech, and since NOTHING HAS CHANGED, we see no problem in supporting this one (with reservations - and on continued "parole")..."

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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Recalibration? What Recalibration?

Goodale weekly update...


Last December, Stephen Harper hated the questions being asked about his government’s cover-up of torture allegations in Afghanistan.

That’s because he had no answers – especially after Canada’s top soldier, General Natynchyk, bluntly contradicted Mr. Harper’s lame stories about what he knew and when he knew it. The heat was on!

So the Conservatives ran away. Acting like cowards, the Harper government ordered the Parliament of Canada to completely shut down – until March. This week, finally, the House of Commons is being allowed back to work.

We’ll soon see what, if anything, Mr. Harper has done with his extensive New Year’s vacation. He claimed he needed all that time from December to March to “recalibrate” – whatever that means – without the nuisance of being accountable in the meantime.

One key indicator will be the budget on March 4th. Here are four questions to measure its credibility:

One: Does it tackle the issues worrying average middle-income families? Household debt. Pension insecurity. New jobs for the 21st century. The high cost of higher learning. The personal “care” needs of children, the elderly and the disabled?

Two: Is it fair among all groups, regions and sectors? For example, are public servants singled out for particular abuse? What about church groups like Kairos? Do long-suffering beef and pork producers continue to get nothing?

Three: Is there a properly-anchored “fiscal framework” (no smoke-and-mirrors) that proves the government’s “commitment” to responsible behaviour is more than vacuous rhetoric? Remember this is the same Prime Minister who said, just a few months ago, there would be no recession and no deficit. He is not easily believable.

Four: Is there any attention to Canada’s biggest long-term problem, namely sluggish growth in economic productivity? How will this country become more innovative and competitive? Where’s the plan! That surely is something that needs recalibrating!

-- Post From My iPhone