Monday, August 30, 2010

Goodale Hammers Reform-A-Tories For Abuse Of Middle Canada

A weekly commentary by the Member of Parliament for Wascana

For the week beginning August 30th, 2010


Whenever Stephen Harper is confronted with the daily pressures on average Canadian families, he resorts to cold, irrelevant comparisons. Just be content that the Americans are doing worse, he says.

Conservatives admit the recession damaged Canada’s standard of living. Canadian household debt is now the highest in the western world, and the cost of servicing it is rising.

That makes affording child-care that much more difficult. And a lot of families face the double challenge of also caring for elderly parents or a child with special needs.

For too many families, high costs block the way of qualified young people who want to get into university, college or an apprenticeship program. But they can’t afford it, so they stay home.

Only a fraction of Canadians can expect an adequate pension when they retire. And for 2 million near-seniors who tried to build a nest-egg for their golden years, their dreams were destroyed when Mr. Harper broke his promise about Income Trusts -- $25 billion in retirement savings were vapourized.

Retirement numbers are about to skyrocket with the big baby-boomer generation beginning to turn 65 next year, and that will increase pressures on medicare, homecare, pensions and retirement facilities.

But forget all that, Mr. Harper says, Conservative priorities are different. So what are they? Here’s the list:

• $1.3 billion for an inglorious G-8/G-20 extravaganza;

• $26 billion for untendered, non-competitive military contracts;

• $6 billion annually for tax cuts for the wealthiest corporations;

• more than $1 billion for extra spending on partisan advertising and consultants, plus 20% more for the Prime Minister’s Office;

• $30 million more for a dumbed-down Census; and

• $13 billion for more jails.

With boondoggles like these, Conservatives can’t be concerned about their deficit, and they’re certainly thumbing their noses at average middle-income families.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire...

Harper and his "government" have a penchant for flat-out distorting the truth to the Canadian public.

The two most recent cases:

1) RCMP study finds gun registry to be effective - including cost effective - and National Police Chiefs support it overwhelmingly. Harper would rather risk lives than focus on gun crime - he's too ideologically tied to the US Prison system, and his bogus "tough on crime" snake-oil sales routine...

2) NORAD calls "routine training flights" of both NATO and Russian aircraft "no threat" to Canadian sovereignty at precisely the same time that the PM would lie and have us believe we were under threat from our Russian allies. According to Canadian NORAD spokesperson: "Both Russia and NORAD routinely exercise their capability to operate in the North. These exercises are important to both NORAD and Russia and are not cause for alarm.Read more:"Way to treat our "friends and allies" Stevo...

Nice new look by Harper, by the way. Must have had advice that the Conservative "government" was being too closely tied to "stupidity and ignorance", so he chose to don the specs.

Looks like the media has stopped taking the cow patties lying down... Good on the media! Finally some real journalism.

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Conservatives Hurt Small Business

From Ralph Goodale's weekly report...

A weekly commentary by the Member of Parliament for Wascana

For the week beginning August 23rd, 2010


At a time when the Harper government is promising to slash federal programs and services to fix its deficit – its self-imposed and unnecessary deficit – Conservative business tax policies are out of whack.

On the one hand, for the biggest and wealthiest corporations, Mr. Harper is going to borrow another $6 billion every year so he can cut the Large Corporation Income Tax Rate by a further three points (i.e., another 20%).

Corporate tax cuts on borrowed money (i.e., while the government is running a deficit) make no sense.

The large businesses benefiting from this Conservative largesse – at your expense – have already had their tax rates slashed recently by more than one-third. Those rates are already the second lowest in the G-7. They’re already 25% lower than US rates.

These extra tax cuts for big corporations are simply unaffordable right now, and unnecessary.

On the other hand, for small and medium-sized businesses – the ones which generate 80% of all Canadian jobs – Mr. Harper is promising only a tax increase.

At the end of this year, the Conservatives are going to increase payroll taxes by driving up Employment Insurance premiums – by a whopping 35%. These escalating Conservative EI taxes will become the fastest growing source of revenue for the Harper government.

What’s the logic in that? Just when our economy is struggling to recover from a recession, the Conservatives impose a big new tax-on-jobs. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business says Conservative EI taxes “will kill jobs and undermine economic recovery”.

It doesn’t have to be this way. To help battle a previous Conservative recession that burdened this country in the early 1990’s, a new Liberal government coming into office in 1993 cut EI premiums, year-after-year, 13 consecutive times – by 40% overall.

That helped to generate 3.5 million net new Canadian jobs!

-- Post From My iPhone

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Go Time?

Much discussion on these blogs the past couple of days on whether it is "go-time" for an election (in Fall), or not.

Agreed, it is "go-time". We must, however, have an airtight deficit fighting plan, AND a measure to help all the people who will be jobless in the coming "double dip" part of this recession. Home prices are going to collapse by 2011, with up to millions of Canadians living in negative equity (owing more for their homes than they're worth). Many more still will not be able to renegotiate their higher mortgages - which will be up for renewal next couple of years (if they bought in the last 3 or 4 years - thanks to the Harper governments suckering them into "buy, buy, buy!" fever).

A Liberal/CMHC mortgage bailout program - even if a small amount - would be a huge help.

Win back the lost members of the South Asian community. Start with an apology in the H of C for the Komagata Maru incident. Harper/Kenney refused to apologize in Parliament - and the FACT that so many Canadians are ignorant of this black mark in our history just illustrates how Harper shoved the false apology under the table at a park in suburban Surrey BC - where no-one would hear him. He and Nina Grewal were booed off the stage. Iggy needs to speak out about the negative undertones our government is taking to the Sri Lankan refugee issue. The government is creating an atmosphere of hate/mistrust when most of these people haven't even had a fair shake in our system.

The economy is already showing signs of weakness, and a strong likelihood of downturn next year. We need to ensure that this is pointed out to be Harper's fault. Our meme has to be that Harper f'd up a 13 Billion dollar surplus, and spent it on tax cuts for the rich, and fighter jets, and other pet projects, when Canadians are losing jobs daily, and stand to lose their homes (just like South of the border).

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Deficit - Thy Name Is Harper

From Ralph Goodale's latest update...


When Stephen Harper laments the federal deficit and claims he has to cut programs and services to save money – here are 10 things to remember:

1st -- When these Conservatives came into office in 2006, they inherited a thriving economy, the best fiscal situation in all the G-8 group of world-leading countries, declining debt and taxes, and budget surpluses of at least $13 billion per year.

2nd -- Mr. Harper squandered all that financial strength by 2008. He overspent at three-times the rate of inflation, slashed all contingency reserves and prudence factors from the federal budget, and put the country back into deficit again while the world economy was still buoyant and BEFORE there was any recession.

3rd -- The Harper government turned a $13 billion Liberal surplus with a $50 billion Conservative deficit.

4th -- The Conservatives are making their deficit worse, by $6 billion per year, by further cutting taxes for the biggest and wealthiest corporations (which already enjoy one of the most favourable tax rates in the world).

5th -- Mr. Harper runs a bloated Cabinet, and now he’s increasing the size of his own office by another 20%.

6th -- The Conservatives have wasted more than a billion dollars on extra partisan consultants and self-serving advertising.

7th -- According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, Mr. Harper is increasing prison costs in Canada by $10-$13 billion.

8th -- By dumbing-down the Census, the Conservatives will actually increase StatsCan administrative costs by $30 million – to collect unreliable data.

9th -- Mr. Harper blew $1.3 billion on extravagant arrangements for G-8/G-20 meetings, which accomplished nothing of any consequence.

10th -- The Conservatives are pushing $26 billion out the door to buy new military equipment, without a whiff of competitive tendering.

How is any of this “fiscally responsible”?

-- Post From My iPhone

Saturday, August 14, 2010

F The Haters... Offer Refuge To The Genuine Refugees!

Couldn't put it much better than over at The ScottRoss.

When people like this risk life and limb to get to Canada, you have to begin to reconsider the citizenship (and former "citizenship) of Conservative Party poster-children like former Canadian "citizen", Conrad Black... or people who call this country "a third world Northern European power"... then shamelessly wave the flag like they invented it (and they DIDN'T)...

Scott nails it when he says we have more than enough space and resources. More than any other nation. If we can't help them, who should???

Glad the churches are looking to help - even if their crazy NeoCon fanboys (and girls) are foaming at the mouth, ready to send in the Airborne Regiment...

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

"Count Me In"

"Count Me In".

That was the tagline that went out with the census when I was young. The idea was that this was part of your duty as a citizen of this great land. You were doing your duty to ensure OUR government - that was supposed to act in our best interest - had the info to do so. Sort of like volunteering (or being drafted) for military service for "God and Country". You know - your duty for your country when she asks for it.

It seems pretty partisan and downright stupid, that the very same people who would disdain anyone who criticized the military are the same people who seem to have a problem with this particular service for our country. Then again, they're probably the "chicken-hawk" warmongers who wouldn't have the guts to step into a uniform either - instead sending young kids from impoverished and economically poor demographics abroad instead.

Seems to me you give more private info when you give blood. Certainly applying for university makes you spill a lot of personal "beans" - including detailed questions about sexual activity. Yet, we still line up to give blood - because it's our duty to help others in our society. Heck, most of us give up more personal/private info about ourselves on Facebook - daily.

Speaking of "online intrusion", doesn't this Conservative Party (with taxpayer help) collect all sorts of data on every private Canadian citizen? The answer is a resounding "YES!" They even keep info on your race/ethnicity. Seriously. Go check CPC HQ. They target mail to specific demographics/ethnic groups/cultural groups, etc. They spent megamillions on this apparatus. When trying to buy "ethnic" vote they target mail ridings with their propaganda, hoping to ensnare a few unwitting victims...

Being the richest political party, we can slowly see what the Conservatives are doing: cutting off election (per vote) funding for other parties; setting up their own info gathering resource; then killing off the best public info source. The most heinously partisan move that could be made... and they choose very benign sounding tacts - hoping the public won't notice, or just won't care.

"Stand up for Canada"??? More like stand up for themselves.

Time to rage against this machine...

Stand up and say, "Count Me In"...

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Conservatives' Wish To "Dumb Down" Canada

Another solid Goodale writeup...


The Harper Conservatives have provoked a hostile reaction by their arbitrary destruction of Canada’s census.

Who would have thought a topic as seemingly dry as changing the operating procedures at Statistics Canada would trigger such universal condemnation? But Canadians get it.

Making the Long-Form census questionnaire “optional” will corrupt the data upon which the country functions. Canada’s world-leading reputation for statistical honesty will evaporate.

Beyond just bean-counters and number-crunchers, opposition to this “dumbing down” of the nation’s data-base reaches every corner of Canadian life.

Protests have come from provinces, municipalities, universities, healthcare providers, top economists like the renowned Don Drummond, think-tanks like the Canada-West Foundation, the Federation of Independent Business, the Canadian Association of Retired Persons, the Conference of Catholic Bishops, the United Way, the Ukrainian-Canadian Congress, and thousands more.

These are not just snooty elites. This is Main Street Canada speaking out spontaneously, just as they did when Mr. Harper misused prorogation to padlock Parliament. People instinctively understand that what this government is doing is wrong!

With no honest statistics to rely on in future, policy-making will be driven by ideology, not facts and figures. Truth will be a casualty.

Yes, taking about an hour once every 25-years or so to fill out that pesky Long-Form is a nuisance. But most people accept it as a responsibility of citizenship – like obeying the speed limit, getting a marriage license, serving on jury duty, or paying taxes (so we can have healthcare, schools, paved roads, an army, police officers and old age pensions).

And Statistics Canada has never once violated anyone’s privacy.

If the Harperites are really concerned about an “intrusive mandatory process” for the Long-Form, why are they content to leave that exact same process in place for the Agricultural Census?

Is this discrimination against farmers, or just Conservative hypocrisy?

-- Post From My iPhone

Saturday, August 07, 2010

The World's Most Interesting Man...

He is the most interesting man in the World. Begging pardon from Dos Equis (Mexica's finest beer), our ads to sell our man should be roughly akin to their hilarious beer ads.

We have our own "international man of mystery". Someone who has adventured around the globe - every Canadian kids childhood dream (okay, after playing in the NHL). Ignatieff is a swashbuckling international adventurer, and his pen was his sword.

Our ads SHOULD include some tasteful clips of Michael reporting from the war zone (with voice overs explaining his clear understanding of international affairs); some good clips of his BookTV interviews...

REform-a-Tory ideologues are morons - let them pretend that being worldly means being an "elitist". Most thoughtful citizens WANT an elite performer to be their PM/leader. My beer-chugging, Rockstar-playing buddies would make shitty PMs... Seriously. When the Prime Minister of India is an Oxford graduate, just how does a college dropout from Canada relate to such a man to help smooth over an international trade deal? Answer? Harper doesn't. We need the best of our best in our international diplomatic corps, and in our Parliament, so we can continue to secure the international deals which make Canada's own economy prosper.

We are an export-focused, resource-based economy, that is trying to move to a more "knowledge economy" model, and no Reform-a-tory is able to facilitate that. Science and research goes against the grain of everything they believe in.

Posted earlier at The Scott Ross...

Let's just get this election on with... Ignatieff the former WAR CORRESPONDENT, diving in and out of combat zones with balls of steel (and several TV shows), and Harper, the chunky, basement-dwelling pimple-faced teen grown up, with serious Napoleon complex, a dictator fetish, with less than half the cajones it would take to walk anywhere NEAR a warzone. Our guy's the international swashbuckling marauder, and Harper's the wimp that couldn't find any friends in all of Ontario...

Perhaps Iggy CAN speak French in Russian...?

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Thursday, August 05, 2010

Latest Ekos Has Libs/Cons In Dead Heat - Cons Drop Below 30%...

For the first time since 2006, the Cons have dropped below 30%, according to the latest Ekos survey.

What's going on? Well, the Liberal Express tour for one. While some fellow bloggers say recent events are the reason (Long Form Census, etc.), there IS the underlying theme of "that Iggy guys a pretty decent dude... I could vote for his team" going on. That thought will operate in the background in the minds of all those who have read kindly articles towards the Iggster during the tour. Couple THAT with the continued coverage of Harper "thought-control" shennanigans, and the perscription is written...

The Liberal Summer Campaign should continue to focus on Conservatives trying to hide the truth from the public, Conservatives distorting facts, and Conservatives generally playing a hyperpartisan game in the most hyper-partisan Ottawa there has ever been...

Hear that sound? It's the Liberal Victory Train - coming to your town this Summer.

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