Wednesday, December 31, 2008
2008 has been quite a year and something tells me that 2009 will prove to be just as interesting. So, in the spirit of starting the year on a good note, lift a glass tonight of whatever it is you prefer and bring the New Year in with a smile.
I wish all of you peace, happiness and good health in 2009!
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
What to do? Something radically new. A net-zero gas tax. Not a freestanding gas tax but a swap that couples the tax with an equal payroll tax reduction. A two-part solution that yields the government no net increase in revenue and, more importantly--that is why this proposal is different from others--immediately renders the average gasoline consumer financially whole.
Something tells me my holidays have gone on too long and I've awoken in an alternate universe.
Krauthammer and Dion? Who knew?
h/t - Hopefully worth writing down (Good catch!)
Friday, December 26, 2008
I realise this is not a new story but it should stay in the news. Too many partisan incidents by the Conservatives go unreported. It's time that changed.
The whole 'outreach' campaign has been a fraud from day one. Perhaps more people will finally see through nonsense.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
“Our position is if you want to have input in the direction of the budget, you have to share that in advance of the budget,” said the official.
But a government official said the numbers released in this month's fiscal update are as real as they get, adding that they will change only when the government engages in further spending.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
For me, Ignatieff not only spoke to the mess that Harper has put this country in vis à vis the economy, but he addressed the entire tone of the Harper government and the childish games that have been played since he took office. He was calling him out and denigrating the divisive tactics that the Conservative brain trust has employed for the past 3 years. It will be interesting to watch how the CPC reacts. Doug Finley, attack strategist extraordinaire, came out of the gate swinging earlier and I noted that many Conservative MP's were parroting his lines today. We'll see if that continues. If it does, it will tell you exactly what direction Harper intends to take.
Ignatieff laid bare just how ignoble Harper's actions have been. He made clear just how angry the opposition, and Canadians, are in view of that. It remains to be seen whether or not Harper will prove to be as craven as I believe he is, though to that end, he's put himself in a no win situation in my books. Harper pulled the curtain back on himself and there is no going back now.
Ignatieff, without saying as much, rebuffed Harper's phony act of extending an olive branch with a straightforward response. He said that the Liberals want to see the books, that they will read the budget before making a decision, but the PM has the department of Finance and a capable staff who were more than able to put together what the country needs at this time. Brilliant!
I received some e-mails tonight from friends who were heretofore uncertain and uncomfortable with Michael Ignatieff becoming the leader of the party. To a person, their fears were put to rest today. That is not to say that will not change in the future, but the sense I get is that people genuinely want to see the Liberal party righteously take the Conservative party to task. Ignatieff vowed to do that.
I also found it interesting how the media reacted to the new leader. Now it's fair to say that they may have taken it easy on him given that he had been leader for about a nano-second, but there was more than that. I think Ignatieff is going to change their game too. He called them out on the obvious with subtlety. He will have no part of the 'play to the lowest common denominator' trend that sadly has seeped into our national discourse and seemed to be stressing that it was time to get back to the grown ups table and deal with real issues. Oh how refreshing that will be if it holds.
One final thought. To those who supported another candidate and were upset at how the leadership race was shortened and modified, it may be useful to consider what benefit might come as a result. I've read complaints that there was no time to witness debates or hear platforms and those complaints of course are valid. However, because of that, Ignatieff hasn't locked himself into a specific mold or platform. Voices outside of his inner circle will be raised and will have to be heard. The atmosphere in which policy will be developed may well benefit from the truncated race, encouraging more consensus than may have been possible otherwise. Just a thought.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
I'll have more to say about Rae stepping aside, but for now I'll simply say that the first word that came to mind was, dignity. His announcement today was gracious, considered and I'm sure very difficult.
I trust his supporters will heed his request and move forward to better the party. I know I think the party is better for having him and I look forward to him being a key player.
My first reaction was, what the hell was that? I don't actually know who initiated this interview, but if it was Harper, it's yet another mistake on the master chess player's part. If you missed it you can watch it here .
He was nervous, visibly uncomfortable, testy and defensive. He also smiled at odd times, suggesting to me that he'd been somewhat coached again, as he was prior to the debates during the last election. Given that, no one should be fooled, because he was anything but contrite. I saw a man that knows he is in a really bad place and he is there because of his own doing. He's aware that he's done damage to his image and to his party and he hasn't been able to rely on his usual propaganda machine to quickly change that, because he has been exposed. He looked almost frantic, trying to regain control by rewriting history and shaping the future into a mold of his liking.
Some telling observations:
Stephen Harper is reaching out to the Liberals in an effort to drive a wedge into the opposition coalition and save his tottering government.
Not very conciliatory of him, is it?
...., Harper repeated his invitation to the opposition parties to offer specific suggestions for managing the economy.
"We have a right to that input. Some of the opposition parties are saying they want to run the government. That's fine. Precisely what is it you want to do?" Harper asked.
They have the right to that input? He went on to say that the government could then determine whether or not the plans of the opposition were wise. Wise? He's in a position to determine what is wise in this economy?
Harper suggested Tuesday that the coalition had little to do with frustrations over his approach to the economy, but was in fact a conspiracy on the part of opposition parties to bring down the recently elected Conservatives.
"I think, frankly, after the election — if not before the election — the opposition parties decided that they would work against the government as an essentially unified front," Harper said.
He went on to accuse NDP Leader Jack Layton and Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe of backing the Liberal party into a corner where it was forced to either vote against the government or be "condemned as sellouts."
Yes folks, it was all a conspiracy. Even though Harper and his minions have been screaming that the opposition really only cared about the party financing provisions in the Financial Update, what he really meant to say was...they were out to get me all along! It's obvious!
This was an interview given by a desperate man who hasn't changed one iota. He'll try to convince everyone that he's willing to play nice, but the qualities required for that simply do not exist in this man. His interest is power and his belief is that he is infallible, but the back pedalling and panic were there for all to see. Harper is who he is and not a sweater vest, not a recession, nor the sudden shock of almost losing power is going to change that.
Anyone who believes otherwise really hasn't been paying attention.
Monday, December 08, 2008
Yes, the target I'm referring to is the guy in the photo. Remember him? He's the guy who came within centimetres of losing power, just last week as a matter of fact, yet no one seems to be considering what might be going on in his party or what his next strategy might be.
The media aren't focusing on it. That would require work, thought even. No, they are content to continue their serial on the Liberal party and it seems that there are quite a few party members out there that are only too happy to provide them with fodder for their never-ending narrative.
Really? This is what we want to do at this particular moment in time? This is what we need right now?
I understand that some Liberal bloggers (and others associated with the party) are less than pleased with the process we have in place, but people, that is what the delegates voted for. If we want to change their decision, then let's work toward doing that. If you don't like what they chose, e-mail them. In the mean time, it is my understanding that the party is doing it's utmost to consider options in spite of the constraints they are faced with. Railing against a 'yet to be decided' process seems a bit futile doesn't it?
The leadership of the party is important. I get it. Democratic choice is important. We all get it, but could we focus on putting forward positive solutions, while recognising that we have rules in place and leave the melodrama to those who are incapable of providing anything else?
We have a real opponent here and we will require real commitment and unity to defeat him.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Do you still recognise Canada? It became a little murkier today and having heard the PM, his appointed attack dogs and sycophants, it's clear to me that he is not about to change course for anyone.
A precedent was established today and while I have no way of knowing whether or not Michaelle Jean had but one choice, or chose the lesser of 2 evils, it matters not at this point. The country is now different and Harper managed to get away with turning his back on a long established democratic practice. He avoided a vote of confidence in the House because it did not serve his political agenda.
What Harper accomplished today should suggest that he is done. It should all add up to his days as PM being numbered and following that, he should be out of politics for good. However, we all know that Harper manipulates the system in ways we've not seen before, indeed perhaps in ways we never expected and maybe that is how he has gotten away with as much as he has. He's has taken so many turns in his quest to change this country, it's difficult to determine what direction he will now take to achieve his end. One think is clear however. He will continue to strive for his goal, in whatever way he can. He was emboldened today, that much was obvious. To believe that he will now play the game straight is beyond naive.
Media are trying to tell us that he will play it fairly straight though and of course they are pouncing all over the coalition and proclaiming it's demise because of a few ill advised comments by some of it's members. I know there are polls out tonight that would underscore their proclamations and while I dismiss nothing at this point, I think it is too soon to accede to the media's reading of the tea leaves.
What is being missed is the anger and frustration that brought the coalition together in the first place. Consider where those emotions lie on a scale of 1 to 10 right now. Having not seen the desired result today with the decision of the GG, those emotions and intentions may have been difficult to articulate, but it's my feeling that the PM will not be alone in being emboldened. I think there will be a forceful desire to keep the coalition strong, get it and it's messaging right, and fight back with a vengeance.
It's time to make clear beyond a shadow of a doubt what Harper intends for this nation and to provide the alternative that Canadians recognise and depend on. He's distorted so much of what we take for granted (in the best sense of that phrase) that the work will not be easy, but this is a fight for our country. That's not hyperbole or melodrama. That's fact.
Donate, rally, join others, do whatever you can to destroy Harper's deranged dream and focus on the vision of Canada the majority of us want restored.
Friday, November 28, 2008
That said, the country is in for a hell of a ride this week. Be prepared to be bombarded with ads, e-mail and if you can stomach it, talk radio on steroids. What Harper telegraphed tonight was that he is at war and as is his custom, he will take no prisoners. It's interesting really to see just how flummoxed he is that his tactic didn't work. I suppose arrogance does that to you. When you believe you are above it all, it must be quite a shock to feel the ground shifting under your feet.
So, he will delay what was in the public domain today for a week, in an effort to get his troops out there, spreading fear and lies in the hope that the country will rally to his cause. His base will rally of course and if you've wandered over to the BT's recently you'll take my point. I've already heard John Baird and Ezra telling us that either Jack Layton or Bob Rae will be the new Finance minister in a Dion led government. It's not a factual statement, but that's never stopped them in the past. Anyway, they said this prospect, terrifies them and it should terrify every Canadian out there! It's difficult not to laugh while listening to these particular attack dogs bloviate, isn't it? In fact, I was certain that I heard a chuckle from the host on the radio tonight.
I think we can anticipate that everything and everyone will be considered fair game by these guys. We know they have no respect for Parliament, so their attacks will go on about the illegitimacy of a coalition government and I wouldn't be surprised to hear the occasional, coup, thrown in there. It will be framed as being undemocratic which, when you consider what they were trying to pass and how they have behaved since first being elected, well it's beyond ironic.
In the end, I think they could harm their cause more than help it though. You see, to my mind the Conservatives have this bad habit of believing that everyone thinks the way they do. The bubble they keep themselves in prevents them from understanding that their 'take' on a situation is not how most people view things. Furthermore, in making such assumptions, they fail to realise that as they insult the Liberal party or the other opposition parties, they are insulting their supporters as well. Not a very clever way to bring people around.
So, be prepared for a campaign this week. It won't speak to making parliament work, because they clearly didn't hear that message on October 14th. Nor is it likely to feature a sweater vest of any colour. No, we will witness something that perhaps we've not seen before for any extended period of time and that is the full wrath of Stephen Harper when he has been crossed.
Buckle up! It's going to be an interesting ride.
OTTAWA - The Conservative government says an incendiary plan to strip political parties of their public financing won't be included in a confidence vote on the fall fiscal update.
Government sources say only tax measures will be part of the ways and means motion that parliamentarians will vote upon on Monday.
It's a sharp reversal for the minority government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
When the fiscal update was delivered on Thursday, government officials and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty expressly stated the party financing measures would be considered matters of confidence.
But with the Liberals and New Democrats in deep discussions about a potential coalition government should the Tories be defeated, the Conservatives are pulling back.
The party financing measures would effectively gut the opposition parties, who are far more dependent on public subsidies than is the Conservative party.
So is this going to be enough to keep the opposition from going ahead with the plans they seem to be making? Somehow I don't think so.
I wonder what kind of an earful Harper has been hearing? Come to think of it, he's likely blamed someone else.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
It's pretty clear that the opposition parties have no intention of backing down.
Dion - "We cannot support the plan the finance minister presented today. It's a plan to hide the deficit, it's not a plan to get our economy back on track," said Dion.
Duceppe - "This statement clearly goes against the interests of Quebec and we will oppose it."
Layton - “Why doesn't he stand up for Canadians and take some action on their part instead of protecting his friends in the Conservative party?”
The leadership candidates, (Rae and Ignatieff anyway), have also weighed in stating that they will not support the update. (Where was Dominic today anyway?)
So, will Harper back down? Will his arrogance allow him to? After all, it's his arrogance that brought him here. With the information we have so far, my bet is that he will. I think he likes power too much to allow the possibility of it being taken away from him. The question is how will he do it?
The possibility of the opposition forming a government is also seems quite real at this point.
This isn't Harper's first strategic stumble. His first was calling an election in order to gain a majority. How'd that turn out? Refusing to accept the results of that election, he went ahead today and behaved as if he did actually have a majority. How is that turning out?
So what's your bet? What happens next?
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
She actually tells us that Harper's economic hero is Friedrich Hayek. If you've made it a point to know Harper you may already know this, but more often than not, especially during the election, he was simply introduced as a 'trained economist'. That introduction of course was designed to infer that he'd be the steady hand we needed in these troubled times. There was never any mention of what economic doctrine he adhered to and what that really meant for the future of this country.
It's of course fair to assume that most people don't know who Friedrich Hayek and John Maynard Keynes are. I certainly didn't until a few years ago when I took an interest in who Harper was and what he had in mind for this country. That said, it's interesting to note that this is one of the first times I've seen his economic philosophy mentioned in the MSM.
The article is superficial and suggests that Harper is having a temporary change of heart, which I do not buy for a minute. I don't even buy the soft soap claim that he's being 'pragmatic'. I think he's being as opportunistic as he was during the election and in doing so, he and Flaherty are tripping all over each other as they attempt to present something that will not compromise their philosophy, while keeping the masses at bay.
So, what will tomorrow's update contain? Robert Fife has already reported that the government intends to cut perks, which is fine, but is nothing more than a symbolic gesture. Additionally though, we now learn that funding to political parties will be cut. That translates to $7.7 million for the Liberal party of Canada. Does anyone really think this is simply a gesture to show Canadians that the government is seriously concerned about the real pain they are feeling? Of course it isn't. It is precisely what many of us have been saying for some time now, just another step to do damage to the Liberal party. Isn't it convenient that he has the recession (one he vowed would never occur), to hide behind?
Not only is he sneaking his ideology in the through the back door, he's distracting from what really needs to be done and that is provide a stimulus package as the rest of the world is doing.
The Conservatives have crafted quite a plan here. It's one that will be difficult for the opposition, specifically the Liberals, to thwart but I certainly hope smarter minds than mine are working on how to do just that.
Monday, November 24, 2008
To hear it told, you would think that these two were the economic guru's of our time. They knew this was coming before anyone else. They took steps to mitigate the impact of a worldwide meltdown. Canada was the best placed country in the G8 going into this. Etc., etc. What nonsense.
They of course completely underestimated, or it could be argued ignored, the impact of the current state of affairs. The idiotic comments made by both of them during the election were either outright lies, or willful negligence. The steps they are claiming they took to mitigate the impact in this country had of course been planned long ago, specifically the reduction of the GST. Did they speed up the second phase? Yes, but I don't believe for a minute that it was designed as a stimulus for a lagging economy, or certainly it wasn't sold that way. It was delivered with all the political fanfare that is accompanied by trite slogans like, 'getting the job done!'or 'promise made, promise kept!'. Can't you just hear all the Conservative MP's in the House parroting these lines behind Flaherty?
The Budget Officer has stated that all of the numbers we are to be treated to on Thursday, when Flaherty gives his update, were known in August. Because they did not own up to our situation then and further lied about during the election, Flaherty and Harper have spent the past couple of weeks dodging and now they are setting the table for our unpalatable meal with terms like, 'essential deficit', 'technical deficit', 'unprecedented action is required' and so on. They are attuning our ear to the inevitable bad news and no one seems to holding them to account.
I know the conventional line is, we can't look backward at this precarious time, but come on! That phrase is becoming the new, 'you're either with us or your agin us!'
The Conservatives have managed the fiscal framework of this country in accordance with their ideology. Full stop. They have been swept up in a meltdown that they did not foresee and they will no doubt mouth the same phrases that other country leaders are considering, so as not to appear to be ideological. Here's the rub though. Current circumstances serve as the ideal foil for them to do exactly what they've wanted to do all along.
Do you think Flanagan's musings are just a pipe dream?
"I'm hopeful there will be some ideologically-driven, neo-conservative cuts to government," political scientist Tom Flanagan, a former chief of staff to Harper, said in an interview.
We heard today that the government had more or less settled with the PS sector. That all sounds peachy until you consider that negotiations began 18 months ago. The plan to keep wages low was not a result of the current economic situation, it was simply the plan.
Now we're hearing that in spite of all the economists suggesting that a spending stimulus is necessary, Flaherty agrees, but will wait until the Spring. I don't however see that he'll be prevented from cutting programs or expenses in this comment.
"We will do whatever is necessary to protect the soundest financial system in the world from being put at risk . . . In good times or bad, hard choices are just part of the job description."
Wait for it folks. It may not be happening the way they planned it, but they are most certainly going to use this time to accomplish their goal.
Harper is listing to the political middle? In words only and we know how much those are worth when it comes to him don't we?
Thursday, November 20, 2008
First of all, he and his team, specifically Braeden Caley, deserve kudos for being the first to do this kind of outreach with bloggers during this race. I hope this interaction continues from his camp and others.
The call was open and covered a range of issues. These things of course never lend themselves to much detail, but neither did the forum last weekend. Time is always an issue. Bob did answer each question directly and seemed to be looking forward to lengthier discussions concerning what he intends to offer the party through his leadership.
He is facing his record head on and spoke to clarifying some of the mythology that has surrounded same, while also speaking to his experience and accomplishments. He was asked about the 'poll' that was leaked to the media and seemed fairly sanguine in the knowledge that it would not be the last attempt by his opponents to go after him. He noted how it was one question provided without context and was not in fact a poll. I would agree that it seemed to be a bit of mischief put out there designed to take the sheen off his announcement.
Like the other two contenders, he's committed to maintaining the environment as an integral part of an overall platform, but was blunt in terms of how we as a party must be able to listen to the 'ground' when implementing policy. Something tells me that anything that even remotely rhymes with 'Green Shift' is going to be far, far away from the lips of all the potential leaders.
Overall the conversation, like the forum last Sunday, made me realise that I am anxious to see more detail from all the potential leaders and I look forward to some interesting debate on how to best lead the party toward a rewarding and successful future.
For more summaries of the call: Calgary Grit, Danielle Takacs, Bowie, Scott's DiaTribe, BC'er
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Given that Ignatieff and Rae were sitting beside each other in the House today as they voted for the new Speaker, and peace in our time, (or at least at this time), seems to have broken out, I thought I'd share a few thoughts about the candidates.
I attended the forum on the weekend and as I'm sure you've already read from some of my colleagues, it went really well. It wasn't a debate at all, if you ask me, but rather a Q&A that was open and really amicable. Neither Ignatieff nor LeBlanc attacked each other's position and more often than not they agreed on most issues, at least on the surface which is all that time would allow.
I had hoped to see all 3 leaders because I've yet to make up my mind as to who I will support. I didn't expect one meeting to answer that question for me, but I wanted to get a better sense of who each man is, today. In addition to hearing what they had to say about the last election, the next election and their policies, I wanted to gauge them as they responded to each other and to the audience. I can't say I was surprised by either man but I learned some things that gave me some comfort.
Ignatieff didn't strike me as oft cited 'conservative in liberal clothing'. I understand where those comments originate, but his responses were measured, in accordance with Liberal ideals and it was clear that he has learned something about politics in a practical sense since being elected. He was sincerely engaged, interested and didn't shy away from or skirt any issue.
Dominic LeBlanc was really the one I wanted to know more about. I've seen him in the House and during pressers, but like most people, I didn't really have a sense of the man, specifically as it relates to policy and this race in general. I have to say, I was impressed. He's got a terrific sense of humour and a comfortable manner. It was evident that he is quite serious about this run in spite of the media paying little attention to him. While it was difficult to get into any detail re' policy and ideas for the future of the party, it was clear to me that he's put a lot of thought into presenting something different than we've heard thus far. I look forward to hearing more from him.
I still am not prepared to declare who I will support and in fairness, I still haven't heard Rae speak to the issues we face at this moment, (though I was 2 feet away from him during his scrum at the Delta Meadowvale, ;). Two blogging colleagues who also attended the forum were trying to sway me in earnest to whom they were supporting, but I think there is still time to see all of these men in action.
On that note, I'm getting a sense that there is more than one Liberal out there determined only to choose the person who can beat Harper, with little consideration being given to other issues. Believe me. No one wants to see Harper and his 'new' Conservative party out of power more than I do, but I also want to see this party move in a direction that is clear and speaks to what Canadians want.
Who will provide that direction? Here's to more forums and future debates so we can all answer that question.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
If the Liberal Party of Canada is serious about moving forward and understanding our value in this democracy, we need to begin at the very least by holding a democratic leadership race. That means allowing all those who feel they can offer the party a direction that will excite the grassroots, attract new members and remind Liberals who may have sat out the last election why we are the alternative they are looking for.
Personally, I'm not interested in a coronation. I want to hear from potential leaders why they believe they can guide this party from where it is now, to it's greatest potential. I'm not impressed frankly by candidates who have spent all of this time, (since the last race), putting their teams together and getting their 'game' ready. Now, I'm not naive either and I know that is how this blood sport is played, but I don't see how that kind of manoeuvring has done us much good, do you?
I want an open race and indeed I want to see new faces. In fact, I want to hear from as many people is as feasible in order to see genuinely new ideas. Dominic LeBlanc seems interested and I for one would like to see Gerard Kennedy get back in. I don't know where Dominic stands on many issues but I'd like to hear from him. Gerard did have a run last time around but because he hasn't been wheeling and dealing in the back corridors, I suspect he is even more in touch now with what the party needs than he was previously. That to me is someone we should be listening to.
If like me, you believe the leadership race should be open to whomever wishes to run and do not want to see that process curtailed, please contact someone at the National Executive ( firstname.lastname@example.org) and make your feelings known.
Additionally, if there is someone who you would like to encourage to run, send them an e-mail. I can start you off with Gerard Kennedy's office e-mail, email@example.com. Gerard has spent time thinking about this as evidenced in his e-mail to supporters. Personally, I want to hear more. He's not been plotting his support like the two front runners. He's been thinking about what the party needs. Isn't that what we want?
That may not be how the game is currently played but some rules were truly meant to be broken and our voices are entitled to be heard. In fact, I'm convinced that a great many Canadians would like to see a fresh way of doing politics in this country.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.
It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.
It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled - Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.
It's the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.
It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.
I just received a very gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and he's fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation's promise in the months ahead.
I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.
I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nation's next First Lady, Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House. And while she's no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure.
To my campaign manager David Plouffe, my chief strategist David Axelrod, and the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics - you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you've sacrificed to get it done.
But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to - it belongs to you.
I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn't start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington - it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.
It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation's apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.
I know you didn't do this just to win an election and I know you didn't do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime - two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they'll make the mortgage, or pay their doctor's bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.
The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America - I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you - we as a people will get there.
There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can't solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it's been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years - block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.
What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek - it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.
So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers - in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House - a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, "We are not enemies, but friends...though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection." And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn - I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.
And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world - our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down - we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security - we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright - tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.
For that is the true genius of America - that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.
This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She's a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing - Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.
She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons - because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.
And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America - the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.
At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.
When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.
When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.
She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that "We Shall Overcome." Yes we can.
A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.
America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves - if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?
This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time - to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth - that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:
Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Now that the election is over, the media is still pecking at Dion while focusing on the horse race otherwise called the Liberal leadership race. It would seem that the economy, or the upcoming meeting of the L20 is not interesting enough, (though I'm sure Paul Martin would disagree), so they are stuck going around the same track, over and over again. Fair enough, but I'm not interested in joining them at the moment.
Following today's caucus meeting, it was interesting to see Liberal MP's commenting on what went on inside. Obviously, the media was not going to be told everything and I have no doubt that there were some very emotional moments while saying thank you and goodbye to members who had lost their seats. There were likely moments that smarted when campaign realities were faced, no matter how briefly, but overall, it appeared that there was unity toward a common cause.
That cause for me is not just unity, though that is a critical building block in the foundation, (can you hear me Mr. Volpe?). I agree with many others that a complete, thorough, from the ground up rebuilding of the party is necessary.
So ignoring where the media wants to lead us, I'd rather hear what real people have to say about what the party needs to focus on. Whether you are a long time party member, political devotee or a new-comer to the process, if you could speak to those in the party that will shape it's future, what would you offer?
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
How, pray tell, did this man and his government get the reputation of being good fiscal managers? It was obvious before the election that they were not as they had spent more than any government in history. It was made more obvious during the election, yet the myth persisted. The media helpfully gave weight to this myth in a myriad of ways, not the least of which was citing that Harper is an economist at every opportunity. Well, news flash people! Not all economists are created equal.
So, in spite of all his bravado during the election, Harper is apparently prepared to go into deficit. He's been slowly changing his tune in recent days. After stating that Dion was panicking by issuing a 5 point plan during the debates, Harper has of course adopted most of it. He's gone on to leave the door open to a deficit, as has Flaherty, by using very precise language such as, 'we do not foresee a deficit this year'.
Of course, everything this man does, he does with an eye to what it means for him politically. Not just in the classic sense. No, he doesn't simply look to minimise reaction to unpopular decisions, he searches for ways to corner the opposition, to make them culpable for his choices. Even our economy is a big political game to him.
"We're going to have a deficit next year," a government official predicted.
"(Harper) will be able to have a deficit and take no criticism for it.
Who's going to criticize him for going into deficit when you get their buy-in first?"
A Conservative MP made it clear what political tack the government would take if forced back into the red. When asked whether he expected a deficit the MP smiled and replied: "Only if the opposition agrees."
Meaning that once again the Conservatives are consumed with setting traps to cover their own bumbling. I dare say that the Liberals have enough financial acumen, let alone political skill on their benches to avoid such stratagem.
Oh and if you think that I'm being unfair in assigning a rather cavalier (and devious) attitude to Harper and his gang, maybe hearing it from one of his top strategists will be more palatable, (go to about 6:10 on the clip).
Yes indeed. Geoff Norquay when asked whether or not the government will go into deficit replies with, "Who knows? Who cares?"
Most of us do Geoff, including, I'm sure, some Canadians who voted for your boss.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
My principle reason for supporting him was because he did politics differently. He was elected as leader by those who were attracted by that and were tired of how the two other front runners represented the status quo.
I continue to support him, because his vision for this country is precisely what is required at this time. Dion wasn't in this for himself or the power he would gain with the job. He was there to present the country with a way forward and has articulated more than once that he saw that as his solemn obligation as leader. Personally, that is a leader I can follow and that is the type of person I would like to see heading this country.
I never had difficulty understanding the direction he wanted to take us in and the more I saw of him, the more I realised just how reasoned and logical his path for us was.
It took courage for Dion to bring forward an idea that would push us to think about the future of this country and it's place in the world. It took strength and conviction for him not to back down on what he knew was right.
To say that I am disappointed doesn't begin to address how I feel. In Dion, we have a leader of a political party in this country who is a man of integrity, humility and one who wasn't interested in pandering to specific niche groups, but rather was interested in putting forward ideas that everyone could benefit from. It is for that reason that I see him as the only truly progressive leader we have in this country at the moment.
There will be time for an analysis of what occurred last night, but for the moment, Stéphane Dion deserves to be recognised for who he is and what he brings to our national debate.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Instead of speculating, I'm simply going to suggest that there are some close races out there and if undecideds and progressives break in our favour, we do have a shot, so take heart.
I will state why we should win however. Detractors will dismiss my comments as partisan and to a certain extent they are, meaning that I believe in the Liberal platform. More than that though, when I consider where this country is today and what we are faced with, I see the Liberal platform as the most sound and realistic way of overcoming hurdles and moving forward.
The Green Shift has been derided and distorted beyond belief. The truth of the matter is, it is the only solution out there that reconciles the economy and the environment in a manner that the country can absorb and benefit by.
That's not just me speaking. That is the assessment of all leading economists in the country, all leading environmentalists and now, the Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman, who has not of course come out and endorsed Dion specifically, but he has been advocating for such a plan for years. He like others know that this plan is our only solution.
Mr. Krugman believes that the most efficient way to resolve today’s carbon emissions problem is to provide market incentives to burn less carbon. “The most straightforward policy would be an across-the-board carbon tax” and “any new tax on carbon could and should be offset by tax cuts elsewhere,” he wrote. (New York Times, November 29, 2000) Mr. Krugman joins 250 other leading Canadian economists in supporting the idea of shifting taxes away from income and investment and putting them on pollution.
Other Nobel Prize winners have been more directly supportive.
Three senior Canadian members of the 2007 Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are publicly urging those who really care about the environment to vote Liberal.
“We face a critical moment,” Dr. Andrew Weaver said in a news release.
Dr. Weaver told the Ottawa Citizen that a vote for the Green Party “is not a green vote.“A green vote is for a Liberal government and Stéphane Dion. There is no other candidate you can vote for,” he said. (Ottawa Citizen, October 12, 2008)
There is much more to the Liberal platform and it can all be found here. Every issue that concerns this country today has been addressed realistically and robustly. No other party has put forward such an ambitious or realistic plan.
Those are the factual reasons why the Liberals should win. Add to that the leader of the Liberal party, Stephane Dion, and you have a progressive agenda led by a man who had the courage to propose it knowing it would be a difficult sell. It's not a difficult sell because it is complicated as the media has claimed. It was a difficult sell because no one outside the Liberal party actually told the truth about the plan.
This plan and this man are what this country needs, right now. We've had over 2 years of dishonesty, manipulation and secrecy. Dion offers Canadians, honesty, transparency, sincerity and direction for the country that would return us to our rightful place on the world stage. That is a country that is respected for being progressive, fair and an honest broker.
The Conservatives have offered no plan and have received no endorsements. The NDP have offered a plan that could never be realised due to their flawed economic model and they have received no endorsements .
We can win and if Canadians outside the polling figures have not been too bombarded with the smoke screens that both the Conservatives and the NDP have thrown up, we should win.
Jack will not be PM and in fact if the polls are to be believed, he won't be leader of the official opposition either. So what exactly is it that Jack and his supporters want at this moment in time? Going along the path they are on, I suppose it's possible that they could pick up a couple of seats, but in the end, how will that fundamentally change the course of this country? It won't.
That's not change.
There is a way though that the NDP could be the most important players in this election and really change it's direction. Not only could they make a difference in reducing Harper's minority, they along with the Liberals, could get Harper out of Ottawa for good! Isn't that really what all progressives want?
If Harper were to go down to defeat to a Liberal minority, he won't be around for another election. That means the ideology that he has been force feeding this country would go with him, as there is no one strong enough in his party who shares that ideology able to keep it alive in the way that Harper can and will, even with a reduced minority.
If NDP supporters, Jack Layton and people just toying with the idea of voting NDP are serious about changing the direction of this country, if they are serious about wanting to re-instate a progressive agenda, if they are serious about child care, the environment, the Kelowna Accord and fighting poverty, then they will consider moving for the moment to send Harper back to Calgary for good.
Many will say they have heard this plea before, but it's not the same this time. We have now seen the damage that Harper can do, first hand. This is not a hypothetical situation as it was in the past, this is real. Harper's platform promises to continue exactly what he has been doing and we all know that is leading the country backwards and in many ways, not the least of which includes the environment, that is dangerous.
I'm under no illusion. I understand that many in the NDP are perhaps more unhappy with the Liberals than the Conservatives for various reasons, but I am appealing to your values. There is so much that we share in terms of a vision for this country and we have in front of us, right now, a way to achieve that. Some of our methods may be different, but surely you have to agree that we are more able to move forward together than we are by pitting ourselves against each other.
You have a choice and I know it's a tough one having worked so hard only to think about a different kind of vote, but this decision is too important to close your eyes to. If you honestly believe what you have said about Harper and what you want for this country, now is your chance to keep him out of power for good and begin the work of achieving your goals.
Let's join together where it makes sense and defeat enough Conservative candidates to put a Liberal minority in place and then, and only then, can we have substantive discussions about the best way to move the country forward without the extreme right blocking our progress.
Update - Check here for one scenario of how the NDP can still pick up seats and send Harper to Calgary.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
If, in your riding, you are certain that your candidate will win and there is no real contest, then vote with your heart, but do your homework first.
I'm not talking about what most of us do. That is hope that our candidate will win. I'm saying look at your riding objectively and take into account current polling data, the last election result data and determine honestly who you believe will win.
Armed with that information and trusting that you do not want Harper to form the next government, vote with your head not your heart and vote for whoever will keep Harper at bay.
Now, there are many riding's where the only logical choice will be Liberal and I know especially for the NDP, that will be a tough choice to make, but it's the right one if we share the same goal. I think it may be less of an issue for the Greens, though I know that you too would prefer to see your plan enacted.
The bottom line here people is that close to 70% of us do not want Harper to take the helm again and the only realistic choice to prevent that from happening, is Stephane Dion.
Here are two people who have already made such a decision.
Green Party candidate Danielle Moreau, Longueuil - Pierre-Boucher has thrown her support behind Liberal candidate, Ryan Hillier.
And here is a very interesting NDP supporter who has decided to join the Liberals as well.
So, I leave it with you. You have a chance to make a real difference this election.
If you want to see Harper happily retired in Calgary while the rest of us get to work putting this country back on it's progressive feet again, vote Liberal where you know it may make the difference.
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
This truly compassionate Prime Minister of ours, the one that is so out of touch with real people, actually thought he had a way to reach out to those who have lost so much. Not only on the markets, but their jobs and perhaps in the near future their homes.
Harper's plan? He thinks this would be a great time to snatch up some bargains on the market! After all, with stocks plummeting the way they are, there are bound to be some really great deals out there right?
I kid you not. He said that not once, but at least twice today. He said it during his scrum after releasing his summary of the campaign, or as he calls it, Stephen Harper's Plan for Canadians, and then said it again in an interview with Peter Mansbridge. Even Mansbridge had the decency to wince and ask if he really wanted to 'put that out there'.
Harper has kept himself in a bubble and no longer has any sense of what is real and what is not.
Reporters have given Dion a tough time on this campaign, asking him over and over again why is he going to smaller venues and audiences? They implied that he wasn't really campaigning because he wasn't doing the huge, restricted rallies. Well guess who got the pulse of the people right?
Things have gone downhill for Harper since the debates. That is where Dion demonstrated that he has listened to Canadians and Harper showed us he hasn't a clue what people are really worried about.
Tell me again what it means to be a leader?
Think about that for a minute. It's not the Conservative plan. It's the Harper plan. He and he alone knows all that has to be done for the country and he and he alone will make sure, if elected, that it will be implemented. The Stephen Harper, One Man
His ego and arrogance really have no limit.
So, what does Harper have to say about his plan? Well, mostly that it's not the Liberal plan. For days, no maybe weeks, both Harper and some complicit media have suggested that the Liberal plan has changed, that they were no longer talking about the Green Shift, that they were making it up as they went along and most recently, Harper is trying to say that Dion is panicking and making things up on the fly. It's all utter nonsense of course, but it's interesting to note if only to point out just how Harper seems to be projecting.
During the debates, it was quite obvious that Harper had no platform and hadn't intended on presenting one. He'd gone across the country sprinkling money here and there, where he thought he'd be able to buy votes and continued to say that his government had done what they could and he was going to continue to do that throughout the campaign. In other words, 'I'm the PM, I know what's best, trust me'. I am convinced beyond any doubt that he didn't think he would have to put together a platform. But, he got caught on that didn't he? The leaders debate kind of left him hanging out there without any reply to the question. So, lo and behold today we see it.
Talk about putting it together on the fly! I give kudos to whomever stayed up nights working on this, but if you don't think that a spiral notebook presentation with photos in it taken as recently as last Saturday isn't a rush job, well what can I say?
It's not a platform. It's a 40 page photo album of Stephen Harper with bullet points of all the dribs and drabs of spending he's announced. Not in detail of course. That would mean that he'd have to tell you that the increase in your child credit will be $2.67/month. Not exactly inspiring in these difficult times. Or, he'd have to tell you that the .02 cents he reduced diesel fuel by was eaten the next day with a .02 cent rise in price.
In short, the PM had no plan and has no plan. His plan was to call an election. He's been itching for one for months because if you think about it, they've spent all of their time on election readiness and very little on policy. Those 5 promises he laid out in 2006 were never completely realised, yet he had little else to offer, so why not change the channel?
I really think he believed that he'd lulled the country into this collective Conservative sleep and that he'd be re-elected with a majority. Hell, he almost had me convinced that he'd lulled the masses to sleep.
He continues to say that he's been working on this troubled economy since 2007 because he saw all of this coming. He stresses that he's been prudent and steady, which begs the question, why would a prudent manager of the economy call an election expected to cost millions in such uncertain times? Furthermore, if he saw all this coming, you can bet that he thought he could get out ahead of much of what we are seeing now and that was his motivation.
Thankfully, it would seem that Canadians haven't been lulled into a Conservative sleep and Stephen Harper misjudged us.
Stephen Harper's only plan is to retain power at any cost. With that in mind, hold on. It's going to be a wild ride!
Monday, October 06, 2008
Sunday, October 05, 2008
"We're investigating. Officers are paying special attention to the designated area and we take this very seriously," Staff-Sgt. Shawn Meloche, from 53 Division, said last night. "This is a danger to life as well as to property. Regardless of the motivation – and there appears to be a connection (to the signs) – this is a public safety issue."
Homeowner Jennifer Lithgow awoke early Saturday morning to find “B. Rae lies” sprayed on her house and after buckling her six-year-old daughter into her car, she found her brakes weren’t working.
She didn’t immediately connect the two incidents but after making a call to Bennett’s campaign team to report the vandalism to her house, she was told about the other cars that had been tampered with, including her neighbour’s.
“I can’t believe that somebody would do that, it’s dangerous, I could have hurt myself, or my daughter who was in the car at the time, I could’ve hurt somebody else if I hadn’t been able to stop,” Lithgow said.
Sadly this is not the first time this has happened. If you recall, when the by- elections were going on in Guelph, the same thing occured.
There is no way at this point to know who is behind these heinous acts, but we can all hope that they are caught and caught soon.
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Even in this day and age, it seems to me that when you apply for a job, a CV is submitted and scrutinized. There has been no scrutiny though. There hasn't even been a passing glance at what Layton brings to the table in the form of a platform and what he is offering to Canadians at this moment in time.
In fact, what he is offering is disastrous for the country and is all about Layton and his legacy. Maybe it's time for a closer look.
He's been leader of the NDP party since 2005. He came into that role full of ambition. Ambition that upon some closer examination was willing to do just about anything to increase his power. Anything includes deluding his own members. What am I referring to? Let's look back a bit.
Once in power, Layton made a decision to prop up the Martin government by insisting that they redirect tax cuts to other programs that the NDP could support. This gave him a chance to puff up his chest and tell his supporters, '
The release of the Gomery report and the Chaoulli decision in Quebec gave the NDP some new found courage, well, sort of. It gave the brass some new found opportunity. The people at the top wanted an early election, but many of their supporters were happy with the alliance they had found with the Liberals and felt it was a progressive path worth pursuing. Hmmm. How to follow your blind ambition without letting on to those who believe in you that that's your ultimate aim?
Answer? Call the Conservatives. In early November of 2005, the NDP called the Conservatives to propose a plan. They would put forward a motion to ask the Liberals to hold an election in January. They didn't have the courage to put forward an non-confidence vote because that would blow their cover to their supporters. Instead, they claimed they were simply appealing to the masses by trying to avoid an election over Christmas. That of course left it open for the Con's to put forward a non-confidence motion.
Both Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe agreed to the plan that Tom Flanagan called the NDP two-step. On November 28th, all three parties supported the Conservative motion. The writ dropped the next day.
So, when the Liberals maintain that Harper is 'The house that Jack built', they are right. The NDP scream that the Canadian voters put Harper in power. In the end, the votes did create the parliament we had, but Layton set up and played up the conditions for that to happen by plotting with Harper.
Ancient history? Not really. You see it speaks to the character of the man. At present. Layton and Harper are still working together. Their common goal is to destroy the Liberal party. What do you think they really spoke about before Harper took his
During this campaign, Layton developed this, 'I will be the next PM' line, knowing full well that his aspirations were to replace the Lib's as the official opposition. Let's look at what he is bringing to the table at this critical time.
His platform? Have you seen this platform actually analysed anywhere? When Canada is facing an economic slow down, Layton is proposing to cut back scheduled tax breaks for businesses. Precisely when we need to attract new business, sustain existing business and provide avenues for them to expand, Layton thinks it would be wise to make that next to impossible. How would the stock market react to this plan do you think? How many more companies would have to either cut back or close? how many jobs would be lost? How many investors would consider Canada a great place to start a business?
Have you seen one economist support this plan? More to the point, don't you think we should be seeing some denounce it for the foolishness that it is?
I know I ask too much, but in the last days of this campaign but wouldn't it be nice if some pundit or some reporter actually travelling with Jack would take the time to actually ask questions of substance?
Jack is presenting himself and being presented as a viable option to either form the official opposition or become PM. He has no platform, he has no experience and he has no team with any experience at a national level.
Now is not the time to play games or to fulfill Jack's ambition. Now is the time for an honest look at what each of the candidates have to offer, the entirety of what they have to offer, not just the inane headlines.
BTW - The 2005 recounting of what went on between the Con's and the NDP comes straight from Tom Flanagan's