Thursday, April 30, 2009
Well, for a Convention about nothing, with apparently no attendance and no media coverage, I have to tell you that Vancouver is a pretty busy and happening place!
I'll begin by putting to rest the lies about no one attending. 2200 delegates were pre-registered and who knows how more many will be arriving today? The press? Well, I really didn't think that Don Newman was the type, but I have to wonder what he was smoking?, the other day when he said that this thing wouldn't be covered by the media. They are all here, covering all events in both official languages.
The first day has been busy and interesting. If you were watching CPAC you may have seen the Right Honourable John Turner speaking. He's still as passionate about the party and it's future as he's always been. He was adamant about grass roots involvement and building the party back up, riding by riding. He made some comments about youth and the place of the party whip. Specifically, the whips should only be seen when a throne speech or a budget is on the horizon.
He was followed by Ignatieff who was in good form as well. He concurred with most of what Turner said, but had a caveat as it related to appointing. It's not a power he wants to employ often, but reserves the right to do so, because as he said, we are going to run across the country, in every riding because the Liberal party is not just a vote getting machine, but a national institution.
Anyway, I just thought I'd give a brief overview and let you know I'm here. I'll have pictures later and try to give you a bit of 'behind the scenes' detail.
In the meantime, don't believe the convention about nothing nonsense. There is a lot here in terms of substance and an awful lot of very interested Liberals. If you have specific questions, let me know in comments and I'll see if I can get the answers for you.
Wish you were here!
Monday, April 27, 2009
To tell Americans what a great banking system we have? How we in Canada did everything right while the rest of the world fiddled?
Seriously. The PM's staff, coupled with our staff on the ground in the US, isn't capable of setting up media events? Worse yet, doesn't he have people capable of providing briefing notes in preparation of a G20 meeting?
You'll note where our media had to source the information of course:
In a filing with the Foreign Agents Registration Unit of the U.S. Justice Department, Fleischer reported that payment for his services came "in the form of a fixed fee" negotiated with Kory Teneycke, Harper's director of communications.
And perhaps you noticed just how valued 'access to information', in this country is to this PM.
Fleischer's "registration statement" with the Justice Department provides a rare glimpse into the communications strategies employed by Harper, who has frequently clashed with members of the Canadian press gallery over issues of access.
Fleischer's filing included a copy of the statement of work — called the "Project G20 Media Plan" — authored by the Prime Minister's Office. It outlines Harper's objectives in hiring a U.S.-based media consultant.
You'll also no doubt be aware of just how effective the PM has been in communicating Canada's position on issues given Napolitano's and McCain's pronouncements.
And what the heck is going on with Kevin Gaudet?
A spokesman for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, which scrutinizes and often criticizes government spending, said Harper's office appeared to meet its objectives.
Value for money? Seriously? I'd say Mr. Gaudet just showed his hand in pretty spectacular fashion. The PM may have met his objective, but how in hell does that translate to tax dollars well spent?
Just sayin'...Ignatieff seems to have no problem meeting with those who matter without hiring the likes of Fleischer.
Getting our message out to the US is important but I'm still trying to figure out why you'd hire the guy, that worked for the guy, who had the worse PR on the planet?
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Last week on Politics with Don Newman, Joan Bryden (CP) (seen above), was identified as someone who would be covering the upcoming Liberal Convention. The assignment was not depicted as being...um, 'plum' shall we say. In fact, they all had a good chuckle suggesting that Bryden drew the short straw. Rob Russo, (CP), made some points though about this being an opportunity for the Lib's.
He was full of analogies, not bad ones imo, but in the end it occurred to me that the press is looking for policy. I think they are looking at being able to create a framework on which they can tell the story of the Liberal option versus the Conservative option. I understand the angst, but for the moment, it is what it is.
Bryden generally presents a pretty considered portrait of events. Whether I agree with what she has to say or not, I enjoy her articles. I wondered though as I read this, whether or not it was really news. I suppose the irony of it all supports the story, but I can't help but feel that the railing against Dion, even in a backhanded or subtle way has been done to death. The general population no longer cares and those of us who supported him are looking forward to seeing the respect he had before being excoriated by the Conservatives and the press, brought back into focus, (pun intended).
That being respectfully done, I think it might be underestimated just how content many of us are to move forward. Anyone with any sense realises that it is important to have a strong official opposition. I think the Convention might surprise some and if Canadian media chose to give it short shrift, they will be making a mistake in my view.
So, back to Bryden. One reason I like her is that she was very candid when she was laid off by CanWest. To the best of my knowledge, she did not resign but once gone, she did not hold back in describing just how strong the push was to report from a specific slant. She was open about the pressure she received to ask specific questions and to have her stories conform to a particular point of view. That candor spoke volumes, so if she has drawn the short straw, so be it.
The Convention will, be what it will be, and my hope is that the coverage will build on and expand on what is, rather than what some may want it to be.
Friday, April 24, 2009
I'm speaking of course of the reaction from the PMO to Lawrence Cannon's assertion in QP that the government will be appealing the ruling announced yesterday:
Federal Court Justice James O'Reilly issued a stinging decision yesterday that chastised the federal government at every turn for its failure to help the Canadian-born Khadr during years of "mistreatment" at the United States military base in Cuba.
O'Reilly concluded the "ongoing refusal" to press Washington for Khadr's release violates his charter rights and Canada's international human rights obligations.
"The principles of fundamental justice obliged Canada to protect Mr. Khadr by taking appropriate steps to ensure his treatment accorded with international human rights norms," O'Reilly wrote in a ruling that dismissed every government argument.
"To mitigate the effect of that violation, Canada must present a request to the United States for Mr. Khadr's repatriation to Canada as soon as practicable."
Cannon, imo, is not the brightest bulb in the chandelier and this is not the first time he's stuck his foot in it. His comments today in QP made it clear to me that this had been discussed and the decision made. He apparently didn't walk away with all the facts though, specifically the one on who would make the announcement and when.
As if that wasn't enough though, Cannon decided to turn up the rhetoric and lamely try to link Khadr to Trooper Karine Blais, who was being buried today.
I'm sorry, it doesn't get much lower than that. Not only is he attempting making a ludicrous connection between the two, he is using our soldiers, (yes our soldiers, because he made more than one comment about this), as a reason to keep Khadr out of Canada. This is what masquerades for respecting our troops with this government? Pathetic!
Why? Well as usual, they are playing to their base. The boneheaded portion of their base that is not interested in fact or rule of law, but more interested in making idiotic supposedly 'macho' comments that have nothing to do with how the Canadian government should conduct itself. It's beyond me why they feel the need to appeal to these people as their vote is secure. Gawd, they fawn over and excuse this PM even as he slags them. Given how the Conservatives have handled this issue from day one though, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised.
What's really mind boggling though is the fact that this is happening as we learn more about the torture memos. Is the government finally saying clearly that it agrees that torture is acceptable? Is it saying that it is acceptable for certain Canadians?
It should make all of us nervous to know that this government is very selective about who they believe are Canadian citizens and who is entitled to our rights.
Monday, April 20, 2009
The latest Alice in Wonderland chapter concerns the fanfare surrounding the gun registry. Most of us called this cynical move for what it was when it was announced, but Conservatives seemed convinced that their guy was finally doing their bidding. Well, guess what?
The Conservative government appears to be acknowledging its attempt to kill the long-gun registry is a lost cause.
Despite introducing an unusual Senate bill to great fanfare earlier this month, an official in the office of government Senate Leader Marjorie LeBreton says there's no timetable for a vote on Bill S-5 in the Liberal-dominated upper chamber.
All along this thing has been perplexing, because they were going against type. Meaning, they always rally to the 'law and order' calls and profess to support those who serve and protect. Except those who do serve and protect have never been in favour of getting rid of the registry.
A group representing front-line police officers came out swinging Monday against the Senate bill, saying it will compromise public safety.
The Canadian Police Association added that C-301, a private member's bill proposed by Tory MP Garry Breitkreuz, is even worse.
It's funny really, because the Conservatives round up their 'talk tough' MP's for panel shows and the always profess to have the backing of the police. It has always been a lie and many of us wondered why it's taken so long for some groups to speak up.
You know that hoary old adage that the Conservatives always drag out? The one about the registry attacking law abiding citizens and rifles not being a problem?
... Momy notes that of 15 police officers fatally shot in Canada during the last decade, 13 were killed with rifles or shotguns. Moreover, he says, long guns are used two times more frequently than handguns in spousal homicides and five times more in suicides.
Yep...just another lie that the Conservatives are actually comfortable feeding us.
For instance, Momy said a registered rifle found at the scene of the 2005 murder of four RCMP officers in Mayerthorpe, Alta., was part of the evidence that ultimately led to the arrest and conviction of two men for manslaughter.
I really don't understand how anyone can stand up for this party at this point. They have lied about the deficit, the recession, the economy, Income Trusts, the environment, funding in just about every portfolio, torture in Afghanistan, well just about everything. I imagine their base thought it was acceptable because it was the opposition that was being affected. Not so much anymore. Libertarians, PC's, fiscal Conservatives and some Reformers are bailing. Who does that leave?
I know. Sad isn't it?
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Reading this article therefore, wasn't really a surprise to me.
The event was hosted by the University of Manitoba Campus Conservatives on March 19 and billed as a chance to hear from Fletcher in his role as the minister of state for democratic reform.
Safruk said Fletcher spent most of the talk berating left-leaning student politicians, The Manitoban and the Canadian Federation of Students, referring to the newspaper as a "socialist rag" and repeatedly calling the CFS "loony."
The Conservative party seems not to have realised to this day that they are the government and have a responsibility to all Canadians. Of course Conservative policies are going to differ from Liberal and that is a valid debate to have, but these guys don't engage that way. They deride whomever they perceive to be their opponents and seem to forget that they are there for all of us.
You may not agree with the Liberal party policies, but I don't recall them using every photo-op, announcement or speaking engagement to Canadians as an opportunity to bash the opposition. There was a realisation that as government, you speak to all. You view the country as a unit, (diverse as it may be), not as we and them.
There are many things about this government that disturb me, but this constant need to divide, ranks right up there. It exposes the lack of maturity of the party and the thinking of those who inhabit it. It illustrates short term thinking that does nothing to move the country forward.
I think more attention needs to be paid to this manner of governance. Good on the University of Manitoba for highlighting it.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Tom Flanagan no doubt wrote this article before he saw the latest poll, but he sees the writing on the wall and is trying to defuse and deflect the realities awaiting his beloved party. Nice try Tom, but your strategy is old, tired and not what Canadians are expecting from politicians at the moment.
Flanagan is all about lying. Not spin, that's too polite. Lying is far more accurate as Kory Teneycke unwittingly told us recently. Teneycke was speaking about the GST cut and Tom is now suggesting that the dreaded coalition will have to be resurrected, actually his term is 'reactivated', in order for Ignatieff to fell the government.
He's not seriously suggesting that Ignatieff re-form the coalition. No, he's merely suggesting that the Conservatives tell Canadians that lie, because you know, Harper was so good at scaring the bejeesus out of everyone by completely distorting the truth. So hell, why not try it again?
Here's the problem. Ignatieff has rejected the strategy completely. Flanagan might indeed say that the agreement was signed, but that was an agreement under a former leader. As leader, he has said that he saw how Canadians reacted to the premise, so he would not take that route. Period. His path appears to be unity and if the coalition was going to cause further division in the country, regardless of why, it was not going to be pursued.
Flanagan and other flacks like Poilievre are all about distortion and juvenile attacks. I think Canadians have grown past that, not in small part by watching what has been going on in the States. Further to the US example though, there is no disputing that Ignatieff has kept to the high road. That as evidenced in the recent poll, imo is working and I'd hate to see the Lib's stray from that.
Do the Liberals require that the NDP and Bloc vote the government down with them? Of course, just as it's always been, but Flanagan's speculation is ridiculous as to how these parties might react. Strong numbers for the Bloc suggest that they wouldn't be fearful of an election and if Jack and his gang actually voted to keep the Conservatives in power, well, they can kiss what little credibility they have left goodbye.
Flanagan, Poilievre and their ilk can shriek about 'socialists and separatists', but I think Canadians will only see the tired, old politics of the past and look to someone speaking about the issues.
Stupid is so yesterday isn't it? Then again, the Conservatives never have been able to keep up with the times.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
The article is here. Interesting no?
Like other polls, I'm taking this as a snapshot in time, however it's tough to deny that there is a trend developing here.
Interesting job approval numbers. Not too many undecideds among those have made up their mind about Harper and Ignatieff seems to be firming up his numbers.
Ontario you ask?
In the Ontario breakdown, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 per cent, 19 times out of 20, the Conservatives enjoy 32.4 per cent, compared to 42.0 per cent for the Liberals. The two parties were statistically tied the last time EKOS conducted party preference polling.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
“an honest politician” cannot exclude a tax hike as an option. “I am not going to load a deficit onto your children or mine,” Ignatieff said.
Unless you have some miraculous solution that no one else has thought of, he's speaking truth isn't he? And of course he's not the first person to mention this. Didn't David Dodge mention this recently? And then there is the GST. A tax cut that afterall was nothing more than a political calculation that sounded wonderful but has not had any meaningful effect except to deplete the government coffers.
At any rate, Ignatieff is not talking about raising taxes now. He was answering a question about the deficit and how to get out of the mess the Conservatives have created. You know, a mess yet again requiring the Liberals to clean up.
Facts though, as we know, mean nothing to the Conservatives. Indeed, they were all over the airwaves tonight trying to spin Ignatieff's words and scare Canadians. They're good at that. Scaring I mean. Their spin on the other hand is devoid of fact and reliant on information taken out of context. One spinner even made me laugh out loud. Tom Lukiwski, (who ironically some said had his own out of context fight not that long ago), actually said that the Liberal 'hidden agenda' was being revealed. Hidden agenda? Have the Conservatives had an original thought....ever?
Personally, I think we're starting to see how things might shake out in an election. One leader who might say what's uncomfortable but true, pitted against an absolute liar.
Trust the Conservatives to consider the truth a bad thing.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
You see that expression? That's one that often crosses Harper's face when he's throwing out some dishonest bit of spin that he hopes the public will swallow. My observation has been that he generally reserves this face for specific character assassinations. That's for public consumption though. I imagine that when he is giving his staff permission to denigrate someone he perceives to be a threat, that he looks more like this:
Whatever his expression, it should now be clear to all just how this man operates. While Tonda McCharles's story comes as no real surprise to me, you have to wonder if the public is now beginning to see this man for who he is. In fact, you have to wonder if his hard core supporters still believe that he is a master strategist?
Does it get more disgusting than the PM himself giving the okay to diminish Mulroney for no reason other than to create a narrative that he believes will give him an advantage during the next election? I mean, the stupidity of the ploy is glaring, but to now learn that the 'chess player' thought it was sound strategy tells us just how twisted this guy really is.
"He (Harper) knew and he agreed to it," said the source, referring to plans to leak the original story. "They thought they could differentiate between old Conservatives and new Conservatives, Progressive Conservatives and the Conservative Party of Canada. And of course it's a ridiculous notion."
Yes, it's a ridiculous notion especially when you consider how much time and energy has been spent trying to reassure Canadians that they are the same old Tory party, not a party of Reformers and not a party to be wary of.
Teneycke, reached last night, declined comment "on any of that" when asked about his, Giorno's and Harper's roles in the decision to go public with the Mulroney story. "That all sounds like rumours to me as opposed to fact and I'm not really going to comment. I don't think this is a major issue."
Oops. There's that condescending 'pshaw' moment again. I can't wait to see what they are going to pull out of their hat to try and distract us.
The bottom line? Harper can rant as much as he likes about others and their moral compass because when you are as amoral as this guy, nothing you say will be taken seriously.
Thursday, April 09, 2009
What keeps me intrigued is the fact that I keep watching Conservatives wave their hand toward me and mumble oh, pshaw. When they say that the media is trying to fill space and quip that it must be a slow news week, I perk up.
Call me crazy, but I don't think that the meeting of the G-20 and subsequent news about the recession, job losses, pension problems, etc., is what most people would call a slow news period.
Alexander Panetta, who seems to have done the lions' share of reporting on this doesn't seem to think it has anything to do with the Reform, PC divisions in the party. While that may be true, the divisions are obvious and seem to be between those who still believe that Harper is the master strategist and can do no wrong and those who are seeing through him.
I'll tell you who surprised me the most. This woman:
Marjory LeBreton, of whom Kinsella has said, wouldn't have bus fare if it wasn't for Mulroney, seems to have had no problem turning her back on him. How do you do that? I guess her misplaced belief in Harper over rides decades old loyalty.
Anyway, I think the real story here is that Harper does not have the handle on his party that he once did. That cannot play out well for him going forward. Say what you will about Ignatieff, but his building a loyal group behind him at this particular point in time is meaningful.
Does the public really pay attention to what goes on in caucus? Of course not. They do pay attention to what is said that is contrary to 'the message' though. Maybe not what's being said as much as the discord in creates and the questions it raises.
The expression, pshaw is so under used, which is a shame really. It's highly revealing and I for one intend to listen for it whether it's uttered or intimated.
One healine today: Unemployment hits 7 year high
Speaking of Flaherty, he certainly isn't making many friends even when he is handing out the cash in Conservative ridings. (h/t- Aaron Wherry)
Update - Stephen (Kreskin) Harper knew it was coming all along of course.
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Perhaps we should begin by sending the man a dictionary. Not for the term moral compass necessarily though he should probably educate himself there too, but I think he should be let in on what projection means.
a. the tendency to ascribe to another person feelings, thoughts, or attitudes present in oneself, or to regard external reality as embodying such feelings, thoughts, etc., in some way.
b. Psychoanalysis. such an ascription relieving the ego of a sense of guilt or other intolerable feeling.
I mean seriously. Harper? The same person who offered a dying man some financial arrangement for his own gain. The man who has broken just about every promise he made to his base. The man who fabricated a reason to call an election and then followed up that performance with a phony crisis requiring prorogation. Harper, the man who would just as soon ruin a persons reputation as walk across the street. Can you say appointment of cronies to various boards and committees , Income Trusts, fixed election dates, David Emerson, Senate appointments...must I go on?
Not only does this man not have a moral compass, his scorn of others in this regard is positively laughable.
This is going to be the spin?
“Mr. Ignatieff and the Liberal Party, when this matter first broke, were practically demanding that I throw Mr. Mulroney in prison without a trial,” Mr. Harper said.
“Now they're out there pretending that somehow they're his best friends and they don't agree with any of this. I think what Canadians will see is when it comes to a very difficult issue of government conduct and government ethics, this government has behaved responsibly and the other party, the other leader, has absolutely no moral compass.”
First of all, I'd love someone to provide a quote where Ignatieff suggested that Mulroney be jailed without trial. And second, who is pretending that Mulroney is Ignatieff's best friend? Ignatieff simply played this with elegance and suggested that Mulroney and the office of the PM deserved more respect than Harper and some Conservatives were giving him.
Is there any political calculation in Ignatieff's comments? Of course, but he did not offer them out of the blue. He was asked about the Mulroney/Harper/Conservative caucus ruckus and replied with aplomb. In fact, when you compare his reaction to Harper's today, you see a stark contrast between someone with composure and someone who is agitated.
Broken moral compass indeed. All I can say is keep talking Mr. Harper. The more you say, the more you reveal and it's about time that everyone saw
P.S. - Do you think this ticked him off?
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
and then this?
Well, they still have no school and today I heard that the portables that they had been using, such that they are, have been closed down. You see they are tearing down the old school that was unfit to learn in. That school was built over top of an old diesel spill. In tearing in down, of course the earth is being disturbed and apparently the fumes are unbearable.
The portables that were put in place to replace the school are a stone's throw away from that site. As the demolition began, the stench was horrific and the children were becoming ill. The staff tried to keep things going but the children couldn't concentrate and started developing headaches and other symptoms that you would associate with being exposed to diesel fumes. (I don't know about you, but I didn't know what a headache was as a child.)
The portables, so, their school, have now been closed. These kids are at risk of losing their school year. This is deplorable.
So many things run through my mind when I hear such stories. I watched the news tonight and saw the devastation in Italy and of course it's just awful. I wondered though why we don't see this school and these kids on the news. Why is that? There is a much larger, deeper story here.
These kids, against all odds, want to make it. Some of them won't and that is our fault. I listened to some commentary today about the trial of J.S.R. the young man that shot Jane Creba on Boxing Day. The right wing in this discussion was quick to say, oh poor baby...lock him up and throw away the key. What has come out though, is that he lived in poverty, was abused as a child, had numerous problems, ADHD etc., but all of that is to be ignored. People like Michael Coren are famous for saying that poverty isn't the problem, but when you have the courage to did down a little deeper, surely we can see that by depriving kids, through poverty, we set them and ourselves up for failure.
I always find it laughable to hear the right chant, 'they had a choice'. No, not really or at least, not much of one. If you can't see your way out except through one path and no one shows you another, what real choice do you have? Coren famously chides us with bromides like, there are plenty of poor people in the world and we simply don't have that in Canada. We apparently don't know the meaning of the word. Well, I challenge him to go and spend a month, sitting in those portables all day.
I have no idea at this moment where the Liberal party stands on this issue, but I will strive to find out. I know that the Harper government cancelled a Liberal initiative to build a new school, but I don't know where we stand now.
This should be a larger issue. If the economy is failing those who have, imagine the impact on the have-nots.
Sunday, April 05, 2009
Last week, Mr. Lunney felt it important to make a member's statement in the House. It was on a day when Harper was out of the country, though I'm not convinced he listens to these statements even when he's in the House. I listened to the statement and was gobsmacked to tell you the truth. It was one thing to hear Gary Goodyear skirt the issue of evolution a couple of weeks back, but here was Lunney, not skirting the issue at all, but defending his fellow traveller and attacking the subject head on.
Mr. Speaker, recently we saw an attempt to ridicule the presumed beliefs of a member of this House and the belief of millions of Canadians in a Creator. Certain individuals in the media and the scientific community have exposed their own arrogance and intolerance of beliefs contrary to their own.
Any scientist who declares that the theory of evolution is a fact has already abandoned the foundations of science. For science establishes fact through the study of things observable and reproducible. Since origins can neither be reproduced nor observed, they remain the realm of hypothesis.
In science, it is perfectly acceptable to make assumptions when we do not have all the facts, but it is never acceptable to forget our assumptions.
Given the modern evidence unavailable to Darwin, such as, advanced models of plate tectonics, polonium radiohalos, polystratic fossils, I am prepared to believe that Darwin would be willing to re-examine his assumptions.
The evolutionist may disagree, but neither can produce Darwin as a witness to prove his point. The evolutionist may genuinely see his ancestor in a monkey, but many modern scientists interpret the same evidence in favour of creation and a Creator.
I shook my head and wondered why on earth would he be bringing this up for further discussion. To begin with, I don't recall the media ridiculing Goodyear for his beliefs/religion. The blogs did perhaps, but the media simply continued to question his scientific beliefs given his position as Science Minister. Call me crazy, but I see a through thread there.
Arrogance and intolerance? Pot meet kettle?
His statement was not only preposterous, it was intentionally provocative. He grinned like a schoolboy as he delivered it and his posture defied anyone to shut him down. Why though? I guess perhaps, as has been written about lately, the different factions that make up what is now called the Conservative Party of Canada are getting a bit restless.
A quick google on Lunney brought this site up. I don't pretend to know what the hell they are talking about, but it seems clear that this group is thrilled about having people in Ottawa who they are associated with.
Scary? Naw, not really. Backbenchers like Lunney are hardly going to impact the running of the country. Oh, Harper will throw them a bone once in a while, but even the big voices like McVety who have some access, seem to have little influence. What is a bit frightening is the fact that so many people vote for these candidates. Do they know who they are voting for and what the candidates intentions are? I somehow doubt it.
So, add Lunney to the list that Harper willingly takes in to win power. It seems to me that he debases them far more than any member of the media could. Afterall, he uses them for his own gain, casts them aside and orders them to be silent. That whole silence thing isn't working out too well lately though, is it?
We can only wonder what the next 2 weeks might bring.
Friday, April 03, 2009
Harper is playing for the sympathy vote by saying he's losing sleep over the economy:
`I'm kept up at night by the state of the global economy and, frankly, by the extent to which I can't do anything about it," Harper said in an interview with Business News Network aired Friday.
(Well, actually, if you read what he said carefully, he's really losing sleep over the fact that he cannot 'control' the situation, which fits, and that I'm sure keeps our PM pacing at night. )
While Flaherty is sleeping like a baby. Is he worried? Naw. No problem. You see, many, many years ago, things were worse, much worse. In fact, our ancestors had so much more to contend with, that we should...um...just suck it up?
Canadians may think they have it rough today, but federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says people should realize this is a “relatively ... mild recession” posing “relatively mild challenges” compared to hardships such as disease and poverty faced by early immigrants.
Whhaat? I guess because we beat that whole scurvy thing, how bad could it be really?
“Most people in Canada came from other places, including the United Kingdom. Most of them came on boats. Most of them came with nothing,” Mr. Flaherty said. “Many ... died because of disease while they were travelling to Canada. We commemorate that in various places in Canada.
“Relatively speaking, this is a mild economic recession. These are relatively mild challenges for us,” the Finance Minister said. “We will come out of this strongly.”
Are you kidding me? This is what we present to the world, the Old World. What the hell was he trying to do, evoke the bad old days when people fled Europe? Teach the Europeans a bit of history? Is he completely mad?
You know, it's been one thing to witness the idiocy of this government at home, but I cringe every time I know these buffoons are going to go on to the world stage to actually speak. The only person I trusted not to sound too idiotic was Emerson. I don't like him, but he at least understood the world.
We've had MacKay fawning over Rice, Bernier losing NATO documents, Day in Afghanistan praising progress while archaic laws are being passed and now Flaherty assuring the world that all will be well in Canada because we come from hearty white, European stock!
I'm not even going to go through what Harper has said and done, but let's just say that truth is not high on the man's list
Honest to gawd Canadians, it's time to wake up from the reverie! I don't understand why so many have been fooled for so long, but it's seriously time to stop the kidding around. I want grown ups at the table.
Is that too much to ask?
Thursday, April 02, 2009
The first is that I try not to do outrage here. I may deal with subjects that outrage me, but I try to calm down before writing because I don't think much is accomplished by flying off the handle. The second reason is something doesn't feel right about all of this. Too many facts are missing and the story keeps morphing.
That said, watching Stockwell Day in the House today and then the Ambassador to Afghanistan on CTV, well, I just wanted to get a few things down that are bothering me, aside from the obvious of course.
In the House, Bob Rae asked Day when he knew about this law.
“Mr. Speaker, the head of women’s affairs at the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission said that western silence had been ‘disastrous’ for women’s rights in Afghanistan. She went on to say something which is very pertinent, ‘If they had got more involved in the process when it was discussed in Parliament, we could have stopped it,’” he reported. “I would like to ask the government, when was it aware of the legislation being proposed with respect to women in Afghanistan and what did it do about it when it heard about it?”
Day didn't answer which under normal circumstances with that crew wouldn't be weird, but what he did say was odd. He said:
“Mr. Speaker, I was in Afghanistan only about two or three weeks ago and the officials in Afghanistan, the people of Afghanistan were not even aware of this legislation coming at them.”
Doesn't that sound as if he knew? Doesn't that sound as if he mentioned it and those he spoke with were unaware?
That's really disturbing to me if in fact that's the case. I'm not diminishing the fact that I'm sure he's outraged too, but if he knew... I suppose the other option is that he has an odd way of phrasing things and maybe he didn't know. That too is disturbing. This was passed in February. Shouldn't we have more awareness of what is happening in that country?
Obviously we have no right to blatantly interfere in their parliamentary process, but given that we have made a pretty big deal of our contribution in terms of assisting with governance issues, how could we not know this law had been passed?
In addition to the outrage I felt when I heard this, I confess to feeling an overwhelming sadness specifically for the women of Afghanistan, but for the country in general. I don't think anyone expected the country to turn around on a dime, nor do I happen to think that our way of life is the 'be all to end all', but I do believe that everyone has the right to freedom, happiness, expression, safety...you know what I mean. Not Western rights or values, but human rights, human values.
The facts surrounding this particular law are strange. It's purported to be driven by either Shi'a members of parliament or Karzai supporters looking to gain the vote of the Hazara Shi'a, which is a tiny minority in the country. Aside from being a minority, they have been one of the most oppressed groups both under the Soviets and the Taliban, so I really don't get this at all. Furthermore, it's been said that the law would only apply to Shi'a women. That too just seems ridiculous.
The Ambassador said this:
"I fully understand the reaction - the immediate, emotional reaction of countries like Canada who have done so much to build a young democracy," Samad said in an interview.
"People also need to understand that this young democracy is immature. It is not at the same standard as a Canadian or European democracy. And it's in a very different cultural context as well. We are going to fall down, we are going to make mistakes, and we're going to move forward as a result."
While I fully appreciate that he is in an impossible place, it's not the democratic process of the country that is the problem here.
I heard the infamous Christie Blatchford speaking about this the other day. You know Christie don't you? She's the one who jumps up in a room to defend our military and rail against the Liberals or anyone left of Harper, without provocation. She's so quick to jump to conclusions that in this instance she actually said, "If we're going to insist on talking to the Taliban, this is what we are going to get'. Yes-siree, that's what she said. Never mind that the Taliban have nothing to do with this. Never mind that they are Sunni, not Shi'a. Never mind that most of the Western world agrees that moderate elements of the Taliban have to brought into the process before we can see some peace. Nope, none of that mattered. She had a point to make.
Who knows? Maybe she'll be proven right, but at the moment I think it's far more important that we learn the facts, understand when our government knew about this and make sure that this law is never enacted.
Rights. Such a basic concept.
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
I know the Conservatives are scrambling to hang on to their base, but this just seems idiotic at a time when we are being bombarded in the news with gun and gang crime AND the government is strutting around telling everyone who will listen just how tough they are on crime.
Before some nitwit jumps to comments to tell me that, guns don't kill people, people kill people OR we're unduly crippling hunters and rural folk OR criminals don't register their guns and don't use legal guns OR that gangsta's don't use rifles....save your breath and energy. All of these lame excuses can be refuted.
That's not the point though. The point is how the public feels. Yes indeed, Harper is going after or clinging on to a very specific audience, but the rest of us hear the news, know that guns are out of control in our society and I can't see how any move to make them easier to obtain and maintain is going to go over well, no matter how it's
The Conservatives will no doubt have all sorts of cute little names for their opponents on this, but I'd like to see Harper, Nicholson and Van Loan face this crowd and mock them (pdf) for their opposition.
Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police:
Our Association supports the licensing of all gun owners and regular renewal of
licences to ensure that the information about gun owners is accurate and up-to date.
We are proud of Canada’s international reputation as a country with
effective gun control legislation, and strenuously oppose any weakening of
Canada’s current firearms control regime.
In addition to the CACP, Canadians in general want stricter laws. According to a survey in 2001:
A 2001 Gallup poll found that 61 per cent want stricter laws governing the sale of firearms and 63 per cent believe gun ownership should be made illegal for ordinary citizens.
I can't say for sure, but contemporary times suggest those numbers probably haven't gone down.
It should be obvious with this move that Quebec has been completely written off by Harper. Recent polls suggest that he's not exactly soaring in Ontario either and I wonder who on earth the Conservatives think they are going to win over that they didn't already have?
On a day when there have been major raids by police in Toronto, I'd love Harper to come back to his old stompin' grounds and tell his former neighbours his plans.
Update - Ignatieff reaction.