Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Listen Up!

To be honest, I've been a little annoyed at how the Speaker has allowed a number of government MP's to continue their practice of reciting childish statements, slagging Michael Ignatieff just before QP.

I think the Conservatives thought that they were clever by not identifying who they were speaking of until the end of their statement, but a grade one class could pick up on where they were going. In fact, I sometimes think that is who their real audience is.

Today, it went a bit farther in that it wasn't only the Conservatives who did this, but a Bloc member joined in and wasn't that exactly the point that the Speaker made when he ruled these statements as out of bounds? He claimed that it would lead to more and more members engaging in overtly partisan insults, when the target had no way to respond.

Today, Speaker Milliken appeared to have had enough. Bravo and it's about time.

The Conservatives have fought this ruling tooth and nail. What do you suppose the chances are that Daryl Kramp will try his hand at this tomorrow?

I'm Not With Him

Does the Conservative party and/or Harper really think that just by saying something it becomes true? Well, I guess we know the answer to that because they do it daily don't they?

This one is low though, in my opinion. To suggest that Brian Mulroney is no longer a member of the party, coincidentally, just as the inquiry into his dealings with Karlheinz Schreiber gets under way, seems beyond petty.

Do the Conservatives really believe that anyone will regard Mr. Mulroney as anything but a Conservative? I'm certainly no Mulroney fan, but this uncalled for humiliation that the Conservatives seem bent on pursuing, is really low.

Maybe GritGirl has them worried?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

There Is a Name for a Grin Like This

I'm too polite to use it, but I'm sure you know what I mean. Harper was wearing this grin while appearing on FOX News today. What a performance! No, that's not a good review. That's a small expression of my incredulity after watching the show.

The host, Chris Wallace, who I know is touted as being a top rate journalist, lobbed the PM precisely the kind of questions you'd expect on Conservative network. Truth be known, he was probably disappointed by Harper's responses with respect to Obama. Harper didn't praise the President as he does at home, (telling you how phony that is), but nor did he condemn Obama for his stimulus package as I'm sure Wallace hoped he would.

However, to hear Harper talk about Canada, well, let's just say that the man has a story and it's certainly not based in truth.

He began by climbing down from his comment on Afghanistan and 'never beating the insurgency'. He was put on the spot of course because Obama has just said that they will go after the insurgency and defeat them.

After the backpedaling on that issue, he was on to the economy and for a man that didn't wake up to the situation in Canada until he was forced to, well you'd swear he'd lived on another planet for the past year.

WALLACE: You were the last industrial nation to go into recession, and one of the great joys of this job is you study up on things, and I learned that, in fact, in 2007, you started cutting taxes, and your corporate tax rate is 10 points lower than it is here in the U.S. Am I correct in that, sir? HARPER: I -- I forget what the relevant American rate is, but I can tell you that our goal is to have a combined federal-provincial corporate tax rate of no more than 25 percent. We’re on target to do that by 2012.
We will have significantly -- by a significant margin the lowest corporate tax rates in the G-7, and that’s our -- our government’s objective.
WALLACE: Do you believe that’s better for the economy than President Obama’s plan to raise taxes on the wealthy and some businesses?
HARPER: Well, I’m not going to be drawn in, Chris, as you can imagine, to commenting on American domestic policy. Let me just say that the United States has a significantly different problem than Canada, which is even before this recession, the United States was running a significant budgetary deficit.
Canada is in budgetary deficit now only because of the recession, only because of stimulus measures, and we will come out of it. We will go back into surplus position when the economy recovers. So there is no need in Canada to raise taxes.
I’m -- as a conservative, I tend to oppose raising taxes at the best of times. But we have not got the structural budgetary deficit that exists in the United States. It obviously limits the administration’s options.
WALLACE: Canada is also the only western nation that has had no bank bailouts. Your banks tend to hold on to mortgages. They don’t then send them -- sell them to other investors. You have strong, activist regulation.
Is the Obama administration, do you think, right now to get more involved in policing the financial markets?


In 2007 he started cutting taxes? First of all the question was phrased in a way that it made Harper sound prescient and considering that he was denying there would even be a recession until recently, that made me laugh out loud. Oh and the tax cuts, of course were the GST cuts which we all know was THE worse tax to cut.

Canada is only in a budgetary deficit now because of the recession? Excuse me? Didn't Kevin Page disabuse Harper and Flaherty of this fallacy? Weren't we headed for a $13 billion deficit before he was persuaded to develop a stimulus package? Did he forget to mention that the government lost $12B in revenues as a result of the GST cut and basically made sure that the $3B contingency was spent?

No bank bail outs? Well I suppose that's technically true, but that's not to say that they haven't put forward loan guarantees, but the funniest part was when Harper was asked about regulation and intervention in the banking system and he said this:

I know in Canada there have been some criticisms in the past that we were perhaps too activist, intervening too much, but we’re emerging from this with probably the only truly free market financial system in the world.
So I think, you know, a happy medium of regulation is the way to go.


Ha! Talk about delusional! Who exactly was all for loosening things up and allowing mergers? I'm convinced the man is psychotic.

Suffice it to say that he lied, lied, lied as was expected and the US audience he was addressing saw a pompous man who apparently made no mistakes, and was ahead of the world on Afghanistan and the economy. Everyone else now is expected to follow his lead. What a joke.

Of course the obvious has to be stated here. What precisely do Harper and the Conservatives go after Ignatieff for? Being too international? Being well known in the US and UK? Watching Conservatives scream loudly over such issues concerning the Liberals only to emulate them is a sight to behold.

Hypocrisy doesn't begin to cover it.

The full transcript is here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Frum Here to Obscurity

.....

As if I needed another reason to believe that Harper is the worst thing that has happened to this country, along comes David Frum to confirm it.

You see, David thinks that Harper is the best man to lead this country. Yes he does! What he offers in this article to back up his assertion, is Harper's ability to dupe. Seriously, he sees this as an asset.

He said Republicans can learn from Harper, who recognized policy sacrifices must be made and voters with different points of view must be satisfied in order to win an election.

In other words, screw your base, because after all where are they going to go? And, pretend for the rest of the country that you really care about what they think, because they might just believe you long enough to get elected.

Knowing Frum's background, it's not tough to understand that he thinks the best leader for a country is one that can lie well. But honest to gawd...he's saying that out loud people!

Yes I know he's attacking Limbaugh lately and isn't that cute? He's not really attacking the strategy, just the tactic. Sadly, those words are often interchanged, but there is a difference.

In the end, fooling most of the people, most of the time, is still where this guy's head is and if he wants to tout Harper as the role model, so be it. In fact, I hope his riff's get more attention up here because as his fans laud his ways, they fail to realise how exposed they leave Harper.

I frankly don't care at this point where the Republicans think they should be, because I think they will have a long time to think about that. If however they want to adopt Harper's ways, I say go for it! Harper will be long gone as they implement his supposed braniac ways.

Bits and Pieces

Once again today, a lame Conservative backbencher, Kramp maybe?, rose to deliver what he clearly thinks is his ever so clever slag on the leader of the opposition in Members statements. His seat mates looked like a nursery school class who had just finished their chocolate milk and were eagerly awaiting the end of his story. The Speaker isn't cutting these statements off yet so I suppose the Conservatives really think they've pulled one over on him and everyone else. I don't need to elaborate on just how pathetic this crew really is, do I?

---------

I caught a bit of the committee meeting today where the PBO, Kevin Page spoke truth to power. It was interesting to say the least and this government is no doubt ruing the day they came up with this position. As if to make my point, Mike Wallace, (famous for yawning and picking his teeth during meetings...I know, ugh), piped up with deep questions like, 'why don't you ever talk about the good stuff?' 'Why do you only focus on the negative?'

Go Mikey!

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In QP, backbencher Joe Preston asked Pierre 'the ever petulant' Poilievre, what was new at Elections Canada? I knew what was coming but thought that maybe he'd be cut off, or the Speaker might disallow the response since he'd shut down the NDP for asking EC questions the day before. But, Milliken let it go so Pierre got up and with feigned horror, suggested that the evil Liberals, the leader of the party in fact, was trying to get those terrible 'elites' to pony up ton's of money for the party. He's so incensed in fact, that he is going to file a complaint I tell you!

I for one vote that he should have to file it personally to Marc Mayrand and stick around to answer a few questions...if you get my meaning?

Ignatieff's response, for the record.

------

There were a couple of articles earlier today that spoke to the passage of the Estimates and Ignatieff's apparent 'climb down' on the $3B so called 'slush fund' put forward by the Conservatives.

I for one can't deny that the optics were not good and I wasn't happy, but at this point I'm going to park my criticism there. It wasn't about saying one thing and doing another, but it certainly came off that way and it gave the press an opening. I hope lessons were learned.

In terms of the facts? Well, the party is still doing as it said it would and we are not living in the same time that we were when Dion was leader. Pushing an election now would be beyond ridiculous, so I see the Liberals doing what they must and frankly what they should. Accountability is the name of the game and with Toew's snubbing his nose at the motion brought forth by the Liberals, guess who is cornering the market on that front?

My sense is that the Conservatives, with all their cockiness, are backing themselves into a corner. Harper is bound to get ugly if and when he realises that.

That never turns out well.

According to Plan

James Moore, the Minister of Heritage, is often referred to as a really nice guy. He strikes me that way, to be honest and he also strikes me as being pretty bright. Sadly, to hear him bluster and lie about the CBC recently has destroyed any and all credibility he once may have had.

Now, I don't expect a Conservative Minister to suddenly not put forward the Conservative agenda, but somehow I thought this guy at least could avoid some of the deceitful practices that have now become synonymous with the Conservative Party of Canada. Silly me.

It seems with the announcement today that this government is well and truly on their way to dismantling the CBC. Not in a courageous way mind you. No, because not only would that be out of character for this cowardly group of misfits, it would also expose them far to broadly to the backlash they so richly deserve.

Moore of course denies any culpability in this, lying through his teeth by saying that he had no clue, none, that what the CBC was asking for was bridge financing and not a loan. What he leaves unsaid? Canadians are stupid and they will never follow the detail of the story. That's becoming their trademark isn't it? I also think it will be their downfall.

Ignatieff asked about this in the House today and of course received a wooden non-answer from Harper. Harper said something like it's always a terrible thing when someone loses their job. What the...? It's not someONE, it's 800 people and our national broadcaster and it's only terrible because he is sitting on his hands grinning while being in a position to stop it.

I mean, really think about that for a minute. He, as Prime Minister of this country during a recession, would rather see 800 individuals collect EI, (if they qualify), than have them be gainfully employed and contributing to the economy. It's truly mind boggling. There is one person in this country that I cannot wait to see lose his job and that is Stephen Harper.

An interesting little fact about the CBC and the Conservative claim that 'they invented it', from commenter RuralSandi:

Well, in checking it out R.B. Bennett created it’s predecessor BUT:
Fourth term King’s Liberals were returned to power once more in the 1935 election. The worst of the Depression had passed, and King implemented relief programs such as the National Housing Act and National Employment Commission. His government also created the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in 1936, Trans-Canada Airlines (the precursor to Air Canada) in 1937, and the National Film Board of Canada in 1939. In 1938, he changed the Bank of Canada from a private company to a crown corporation.


I guess there just isn't anything they won't lie about. Even something that in the end Canadians aren't going to think about.

Somehow I don't think we have heard the end of this story. The Conservatives may think they are dismantling things brick by brick, but their track record tells me that they aren't paying attention to how they are piling those bricks. That's always dangerous.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Who Voted For this Guy?

Seriously. I'd really like to hear from you, because for the life of me I cannot understand why you would want such a buffoon speaking for you in Ottawa.

If you follow politics, Mr. Del Mastro is pretty famous for stupid comments, but today? Well today he outdid himself.

He was a panelist on Power Play. The topic? The ridiculous banning of George Galloway. Not only did Del Mastro convolute the reason for keeping Mr. Galloway out of the country, he had to get his digs in on one of the other panelists, Martha Hall Findlay.

You know and I know the real reason that Galloway is being kept out is because he doesn't subscribe to the Conservatives black and white view of the world. Del Mastro said as much when he implied that Martha was turning against her Jewish constituents, being anti-Semitic in other words, in defending Galloway's right to come into the country. Yes, you read that right.

I hope everyone is very clear now on why the Conservative government is keeping this man out. I also hope it's clear just how low this government will stoop to play to it's base.

Additionally CTV, who posts clips of the show, seems to have omitted this particular segment, at least as of this writing. This isn't the first time I've looked for clips that are less than flattering to the Conservatives and have found them missing. Quelle surprise!

CTV, your cowardice is only second to that of the Conservatives.

That said, good on Graham Richardson who actually called Del Mastro on his comments.

Participate and Network, With Facts

It was mentioned last week, I think, that the Liberals would launch a web site to moniter the progress of the Conservative budget. Here it is.

Since the only information we get from the government is 'spin', I see this as a really good place for Canadians to get factual information and participate in the process of holding our government to account.

Obviously it was developed by the Liberal Party of Canada, but if you go through the site, you'll notice that both the look and the intent of the site is not particularly partisan.

I think this is an excellent step forward by the Liberals. If you agree, alert your friends and family to the site.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

What's Next?

After this absolutely dismal week for Harper and the Conservatives, you have to wonder what they will come up with next.

I mean this week was supposed to be all about the announcements wasn't it? Harper out there doing photo-op, upon photo-op, assuring us all that he was on the job. (I wonder if anyone has calculated just how much money was spent doing these 'look at me I'm a great PM' stops?) That's not what grabbed the headlines though was it? No, the gaffes by Ministers and the economic contradiction by a respected former civil servant dominated the news.

Given that and noting that the week ended with a poll that is pretty darned good for the Liberals, you have to know that all is not rainbows and ponies in Conservative land. That generally leads to nastiness on the horizon. What form will it take though?

We know that the Conservatives have bills to get through and of course they require Liberal support. The bills that we know of have already received verbal support from the Liberals, so the Conservatives can't really go negative on that front, though they did pull a fast one with the Budget. It's been mentioned that they will start with the negative ads against Ignatieff, but I just don't see the benefit in that strategy. Any 'wo/man on the street' interview that I have seen clearly tells us that Canadians just aren't in the mood. It seems to me that they would do that at their peril, but stranger things have happened I guess.

While it's tempting to think that in this 'week off' for many Canadians, the gaffes etc. went unnoticed, somehow I don't think that is the case. Indeed some people may have taken a March break, but in this economic climate it is unlikely that the majority would take a hiatus from the news. Additionally, most of the stories will continue to play out into the future.

James Moore and the CBC certainly isn't dead, nor is the environment and what Prentice is up to. The raffling of guns may not be written about again in it's original form, but there certainly is the potential to allude to the issue with gun crime bills on the horizon.

So, what will Harper bring next? While I wouldn't mind being a fly on the wall in their caucus meeting next Wednesday, I sure as hell wouldn't want to be one of the Ministers, or backbenchers who made the news this week and outshone their boss. That's not a good thing to do in any environment and one can only imagine what it's like if your boss is Steve.

Give me your best guess on the direction the Conservatives will decide on. For the Liberals part, at this point I'd say steady as she goes, meaning staying above the gutter, yet calling them out on whenever it's warranted. The on-line tracking of Conservative actions that I've seen mentioned is also a positive course to be on. There's nothing like a picture to back up your words.

Update - Didn't I say this wasn't going to go away? Silly man.

Oh Dear!

I certainly hope this doesn't cause another potato patch incident.


Lock up your dogs!

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Incompetence is Staggering

We have a Science Minister that apparently has his own special version of evolution.


An Immigration Minister that is keeping people out unless they fit his special criteria and refusing to allow a British MP in on, (as far as I can tell) grounds that limit freedom of speech.


A Minister of Heritage that doesn't know his file.

An Environment Minister willing to sacrifice the environment to get pet projects underway.
Our Foreign Affairs Minister just got back from Afghanistan where he apparently investigated whether or not torture was still occurring in the prisons. He did this by asking a prisoner while the warden stood beside him.
A Finance Minister who...well he's just always on the list isn't he?


There's more I'm sure, but what I've noted here happened this week alone! So, why don't we go straight to the leader of the pack. The most incompetent, because after all, he named them all Ministers didn't he?
Simply staggering.

Harper Was Right

Didn't he say we wouldn't recognise Canada when he was done with it?

Many others have already spoken on the Galloway incident today, so I won't belabour the point. Suffice it to say that this decision is wrong and sadly not a surprise coming (ultimately) from Jason Kenney.

Disagree with Galloway if you like, but having an opinion on the Middle East that you disagree with is not a reason to keep this man out of the country. Perhaps Galloway himself said it best:

Galloway issued a statement saying "this idiotic ban shames Canada." He called it "a very sad day for the Canada we have known and loved.

Oh and spare me the predictable right wing comments accusing him of being a Taliban sympathizer or any other tired comment about Hamas and Hezbollah. After witnessing our Minister of Science this week, I'm about done with reading or listening to stupidity, impromptu or predictable.

Speaking of predictable, that loud mouth and defender of free speech, Levant, has in his typical hypocritical fashion agreed with this decision. Surprise, surprise. It's a perfect platform for his hatred and inane rants isn't it? He accuses Galloway of being anti-Semitic to boot.

It's astonishing just how quickly the right will forfeit basic rights and freedoms if it props up their twisted view of the world.

Update - Be sure to watch the video. It's certainly makes Canada look pretty pathetic. (h/t - Red Tory)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The National Post - A Begging Bowl?


With apologies to Buddhist monks everywhere for using that term, when I read David Asper's column this morning, my first thought was, what an obvious shout out to the government!

Just when we learn that the government may be willing to help out CanWest Global Communications, we get this? I mean, come on! Have you ever seen a more obvious attempt at backing a government position? Quid pro quo, anyone?

Opinions on the matter of our Minister of Science, (more precisely to what the man said) have been many. In fact it was no surprise to read some Blogging Tories and people like Michael Coren, chanting the same old hoary mantra, ' they're Christian bashing'. I didn't however expect to read a column by David Asper taking that myth and expanding on it in the most disingenuous way.

For instance:

Throughout the growth of the current Conservative party, starting with the establishment of Reform, the Alliance and then the merger with the Progressive Conservatives, there has been a festering undercurrent of anti-religious bigotry in the methods of attack used by left-wing critics.

What? Anti-religious bigotry? Criticism of Gary Goodyear wasn't anti-religious...it was the recognition of the fact that he may be anti-science.

Now, we have a reporter from the Globe following the same script. The essence of the newspaper's front-page slag on Tuesday was that if you have a religious faith that includes the idea of a God who created the heavens and the earth billions of years ago, it must mean you entirely reject the evolutionary process that shaped the life forms that subsequently developed -- and are therefore unfit to be the Minister of Science and Technology.

No, you see David, the anti-evolutionists do not believe that a God created the heavens and earth, billions of years ago. They actually reject the science that would put such an age on the Universe and instead believe it to be a couple of thousand years old. They also do not believe that evolution shaped the life forms that subsequently developed. There is a huge difference between anti-evolutionists and the traditional religions you refer to and in this particular case, the difference is not one that can be swatted away as a pesky little detail.
Catholics and many other religions have no argument with the Theory of Evolution. Science is based on fact and he was asked whether or not he agreed with this fact. Science doesn't have an opinion on God or religion.

This attack on Goodyear needs to be put into context. There is no workplace in Canada where an employee can be grilled -- let alone belittled, or have their competence questioned -- on the basis of their religious beliefs.

Fair enough. The point is that he wasn't being grilled on his religious beliefs. He was being asked about science.

This stuff has to stop. It debases politics generally, and constitutes a reason why good people often stay away from elected office.

I agree that this stuff has got to stop, but by that I mean these ridiculous editorials and opinion pieces that fabricate some bogey-man, in this case liberals, where one doesn't exist. Gary Goodyear is free to believe whatever he likes. He's also free to become an MP and even a Minister. What is questionable though, is whether or not he should hold a portfolio that is antithetical to his beliefs.

The 'war on religion', (like all 'wars on...) is yet another feeble minded premise that publications like the Post are only too happy to import into this country. That my friends is what has to stop and as far as I can tell, there is only one group responsible for it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Choosing Winners and Losers?

While James Moore is rather oblique in his comments here, it will be interesting to watch this story.

Knowing that he and the government have been unwilling to help the CBC, it seems to me that they are playing a rather dangerous game here.

Moore has been out quite a bit this week in an attempt, I guess, to put a friendlier face on the heritage file. Did anyone catch him on Tout le Monde en Parle, on Sunday?

I understand that there has been quite a backlash in Quebec about his appearance. I saw the show and to be honest I thought he did pretty well. He piled on the expected BS as to how the government loves culture, the CBC and how they have been funding same at historic levels. The hosts were polite at that news. Overall though, he was charming and they seemed impressed with his French. Where he got caught out was when they brought out a pop quiz. He was asked to identify mostly contemporary media personalities and of course, many of them were French Canadian. I think he only got two right and they were Rick Mercer and Feist.

Anyway, while it is true that the demise of CanWest Global would change the face of this country in ways we likely haven't considered, for him to say this evening that the matter of the CBC is closed, is risky business in my books.

This, I thought, was the government that would never choose winners and losers. Of course, this is also the government that said it wouldn't do a lot of things and has. Will we throw yet another log on that fire?

More opinion - Here and here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I Wasn't Going to Say Anything, but....

Really. I was going to leave this story alone because it already received so much attention, but having just seen Goodyear on Power Play, well I'm a bit confused.

At the outset what bothered me the most about the story was the fact that Goodyear thought a science question was really a question about his religion. The question after all wasn't, do you believe in God?

“I'm not going to answer that question. I am a Christian, and I don't think anybody asking a question about my religion is appropriate,” he said at the time.

That he defensively made that leap, is disturbing. It speaks to his character and that temper we heard about recently. It also speaks to his judgement and confirms to me, once again, that the Conservatives really are not well equipped to be in the position of power. In that context I say thank gawd for the civil service experience.

It's now being reported that he does indeed believe in evolution...but listen to this clip. He says he didn't answer the question initially because it's not relevant to the portfolio. Huh? Is the Theory of Evolution relevant to the Science portfolio? Me thinks his effort to clear things up may have backfired. In fact, in a progressive country like Canada, in 2009, the fact that we have a Minister of the government having to clarify this is really disturbing isn't it?

Goodyear goes on to say that he does believe that we are evolving to our environment every day. Okay? Does that mean he believes in the Theory or has he given himself a cute little out here?

I heard a scientist interviewed tonight who was greatly disturbed. He had hundreds of e-mails from colleagues asking him if this was really true?
Dr. Brian Alters explained that it was and made no secret of being astonished. He actually said that had he been asked if this was possible in Canada he would have bet big money that it wasn't.

Maybe that's an example of how little people really know about this government. Draw your own conclusions as to why.

The PMO is trying to make this go away of course, but in my opinion, Tenycke is just making things worse.

Harper spokesman Kory Teneycke says creationism is not part of the federal science agenda.

No...you see guys, no one was asking that. They were asking if the Minister of Science, actually believed in science. Geesh.

If ever there was an example of that crazy paranoia that this group is accused of, this is it. In there minds someone is always out to get them, so they are always on the defensive. That's no way to run a government and there is nothing steady about it. That is knee jerk reacting.

Goodyear of course is entitled to his religious beliefs. He just shouldn't confuse them with his job. Imagine if the Minister of Heritage didn't believe in the Arts...oh wait. I mean, what if the Minister of the Environment didn't believe in Climate change...ah, no, that doesn't work. I know, what if the Minister of Justice believed in capital punishment and left Canadians on death row?...sigh.

I guess the real question is, what if the Prime Minister supported all of these positions and put these people in power for that reason?

Making It Up As They Go Along

Monday, March 16, 2009

Prentice: Canadians, You're Not the Boss of Us!

Jim Prentice was put in the position of Environment Minister for a reason. Some have speculated that Harper side-lined him because he has aspirations of leadership. Watching him, I don't doubt that those aspirations are real and I have no inside track to Harper's mind, (thank gawd), but I think at least in part Prentice got his new position because he's not threatening. To us I mean. He's business-like, tries to stay above the fray and quietly gets things done. He's on the inside of everything in that government though and he strikes me as the guy who gets 'the agenda' through, almost without anyone noticing.

That said, wait for further spin on this little nugget.

Ottawa has given itself the power to decide whether infrastructure projects aimed at stimulating the economy are subject to environmental assessment, a top minister said Monday.

Ottawa? I know it's common parlance, but let's be clear...the Harper government, (as they apparently like to be called) has given itself the power.

We've already heard some spin on this. The government is saying that it is only cutting through red tape and of course, they are the masters at hitting the buttons that get people incensed.

'Red Tape'! Well who doesn't hate that? Who among us hasn't had to navigate some government bureaucracy only to come away thinking, what an absolute waste of time! The thing is, labelling something doesn't make it so.

While I am sure there is some duplication of effort when you boil down the provincial and federal guidelines, I'm also pretty certain that much of it has been developed for sound environmental reasons and there is no question that this government is happy to be done with what ever might obstruct private sector progress. Even if it is to our detriment.

The impact of this move will come out in the next few days and weeks. It can therefore be exposed for what it is. That said, it had better be jumped on fast and loudly. This cute little word game that the Conservative play to get the masses on their side has to be shown for what it is. Yes, once again I'm going to use the word, lie, because that's what it is.

It's a dilemma though isn't it? I mean, you can't go around screaming, Liar, liar, pants on fire! The Conservatives set things out in the most simplistic terms, without any regard for the truth. Those who disagree are forced to go into long and complicated explanations as to why what they say is wrong and sadly, no one wants to listen for longer than 30 seconds anymore.

At the moment, all I can think of as a counter to this is a short and snappy list of disasters that happened as a result of no oversight and disasters that were prevented as a result of having the right safeguards in place.

Any other suggestion are welcome.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Mendacious Mr. Harper

Like many of you, I listened to the tape of Harper's speech, (well, 17 min. of it), to his faithful. Based on some accounts I suppose I should say, the faithful and some former devotees.

What really got to me about this speech, was not what he said, but just how adept he's been about not saying it to the masses. He's carefully scripted when speaking to Canadians because he knows that most of us just don't share his thinking. Said another way, he's lied his way to the position of PM. Sorry, there just isn't any other way to say it.

Now in order to accomplish such a feat, you have to have willing partners and there is no denying that some Canadians have been exactly that. It must be said though, you can also have unwitting partners and I dare say that much of his success has more to do with that group. By unwitting I mean those who only hear the scripts that assure them that he's not what his foes would have you believe. For instance, when speaking to Canadians at large, he gives no evidence of maintaining complete disdain for our system of governance, it's institutions or the very people that are employed to carry out it's duties. His actions show us that this exists, but his words rarely do and that is what most Canadians are aware of.

Subjects like the Court Challenges Program (CCP), the make-up of the Senate and it's role, the judiciary, etc., are carefully avoided in his speeches and if they are mentioned, it's either in a cursory manner or at a time when he requires that particular group to bolster his cause. Example? That dummkopf Del Mastro has taken to calling the CBC a great Canadian institution. Why? Because they refuse, out of ideology, to assist the CBC in their current financial dilemma but they can't afford to have their loathing for the CBC exposed.

In his speech, Harper gleefully demeans the CCP as being set up only to cater to 'left wing fringe groups'. Here's some more:

"Instead of chanting high minded slogans, we are vigorously promoting freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law on the world stage"

Right, like allowing Canadians to remain on death row in the US, or worse, languish at Guantanamo. Or how about covering up the torture of prisoners by Afghan authorities...prisoners we'd handed over and authorities that we had sanctioned.

"Instead of sitting on our hands when our allies are in peril, instead of polling the General Assembly of the United Nations, we are taking principled, unequivocal positions"

Huh? I guess the Liberals going into Afghanistan was sitting on our hands, or is he saying...nah...he couldn't be, could he? Is he saying that we sat on our hands and didn't freaking well go into Iraq? Is he seriously still carrying that around? Really? Canadians want to know!

" I could go on....just imagine how different things would have been if the Liberal left had remained in power over the past few years. Imagine the bloated bureaucracy their day care program would have spawned and of course how little daycare it would have brought. Imagine the stance Canada would have taken when Hezbollah and Hamas terrorists attacked Israel? Imagine how many Liberal ideologues would now be in the Senate, the Courts and countless other federal agencies and institutions....I should say how many more."

First of all, I do imagine how different things might be had the Liberals remained in power. I imagine it often. That said, the guy running the largest, spendiest government ever actually says bloated bureaucracy, and one imagines the stance we would have taken as a nation vis a vis Israel would have been one of measure, not extreme. His attack on our institutions? Well I presume that's an admission that he's stacking them with right wing ideologues. (Have you heard some of the new Senators yet? Yikes!)

He goes on to talk about the compromises the party has had to make. He claims that he is "not talking about compromises about principles or ethics, compromises in the name of expediency or opportunity."

Are you gagging yet?

He's apparently talking about compromises that have to do with facing reality. "When I say that by the way I'm not talking about the reality of a minority parliament. I would never use Parliament and reality in the same sentence."

And that's the money quote in a sense, isn't it? It tells us precisely what he thinks of how this country is designed to be governed. He'd rather not have to bother with all of that nonsense and just get on with doing what he wants and shaping this country as his ideology dictates.

Anyway, you can listen to the rest of the speech for yourself. You get a Harperfied version of what political groups stand for and his finger pointing at who is to blame for the economic crisis we are in. You know. Those crazy irresponsible people who actually believed lending institutions when they were offered credit, are at the top of the list. Libertarians get slagged as does Obama, though he does that in an underhanded way.

Interestingly, it's a kind of mea culpa to his followers. Sadly, it's also a pretty concise dissertation of what the man who leads this country believes. I say sadly because for far too long, the media have ignored this reality. They have been content to present the Harper, Harper himself wanted Canadians to see even though right there, under the lies, the truth was hiding in plain sight.

Will that change now that this tape is out? Um...did they follow the truth when other tape(s) came out? Decide for yourself but if you, like me, are tired of being taken on this fictitious ride, I think it's time we said so.

The mendacious Mr. Harper has had willing accomplices in our media and the last time I checked, aiding and abetting was not meant to go unnoticed. In fairness, there have been a couple of articles written today and yesterday. Will they be the last?

Harper doesn't have the courage to be honest. I wonder if anyone else does?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Less Harper, More Reality

This is a rather clever take off on the newly minted site put up by the Harper government. While there are fewer photos of Harper than on the original , the interactive portions of the site bring some interesting facts to light.

You know, I heard Flaherty claim the other day that they, the Conservatives, had this idea before the Obama team released theirs in the US.

Seriously. He said that with a straight face. I on the other hand couldn't stop laughing.

Oh and if you haven't yet seen the new GritGirl vid with some more reality, here you go:



h/t - The Liberal Bag for the Inaction site.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

More Interested in Games than Governance

I'm sure that you saw this story that lays out how Speaker Miliken has ruled on an issue that has bothered many of us for some time.

This didn't come out of the blue. All parties have complained about the extraordinary lack of decorum in the House for a while now, (read: since the Conservatives took power), and he vowed to take their submissions and review what could be done. Last week, he sent all the House leaders a letter stating that he'd be issuing his ruling today. So, the parties knew what was coming and if they'd missed all of that, they heard his ruling this morning.

Of course, the Conservatives don't respect much about our institutions and indeed seem to delight in flouting rules. So, in spite of the ruling these three characters:




Tim Upall, Sylvie Boucher and Rodney Weston, Conservatives all, rose in the House today to present their statements and deliberately went against the ruling. They personally attacked Ignatieff and inserted the usual lies, 'he's going to impose a carbon tax', etc.

True to his word, Miliken cut them off. It was a sight to behold. Now let's be clear. When the Speaker makes a ruling, that's it, that's all. Rulings cannot be appealed or challenged, but that of course in another little rule that the Conservatives couldn't abide. Following QP, Upall was up on his feet claiming that his being cut off wasn't fair, because after all, in 2006 a Liberal once personally attacked a Conservative member. Really. He said that. Following him, who should appear? Well, the perpetually petulant whiner himself:



Yep, that's right, Poilievre. The weirdly robotic rebel stood to chastise and challenge the Speaker. He certainly has the whole passive/aggressive thing down. He suggested that the Speaker was shielding the leader of the Opposition adding that surely the leader wasn't so frail that he required such protection. He went on to inform the Speaker that voters put members in the House and it was up to them, not him, to decide whether or not they liked what MP's said. Finally, he brought up the fact that the Speaker belonged to a particular political party and therefore may be susceptible to pressure from said party. What an absolute jerk. If there isn't a penalty for being disrespectful and challenging the Speaker, there should be.

All of that to say, it was yet another example of how the Conservatives are there for the games, not the governance. They've begun their campaign to obtain donations based on lies and of course they pulled what I suppose they thought was going to be a big coup on the backs of people in need of Employment Insurance. Disgusted yet?

Much is being made of the sudden turn around by the Lib's. Two things here. Consider this as well as something that no one is talking about. Yesterday during the Senate committee meeting, Conservative Senator DiNino suggested, nay insisted, that they sit through next week in an effort to get all the information they required. Funny how that isn't being reported isn't it? It's also strange that not one Conservative Senator to my knowledge brought up the fact that EI would be compromised if they didn't pass the bill immediately. Games my friends, games.

That said, note to Liberals: Get your legislative review group to understand that this kind of nonsense is going to continue. The Conservatives aren't above hurting Canadians with their games, so the issuance of fine tooth combs wouldn't go amiss.

It occurs to me that we are fortunate in this country to have so many of our fundamentals firmly rooted because the party in charge certainly plays dangerous games that could otherwise do far more harm.

More here.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Behind the Outrage

Yesterday I wondered what these two were up to. The synchronized outrage and the fabrication of the opposition holding up the budget just felt as if it was designed to take attention away from something else, or, head it off at the pass, as it were.

Today a couple of things come to light. The review that they committed to come out with seems to fall a bit short. It's not about to cause an election, but it does provide the opposition with some issues vis a vis accountability.

Then we have the ever so helpful Parliamentary Budget Officer. (How long do you think this man will hold on to his job?)

Kevin Page says in a new assessment of the economy that last quarter's 3.4 per cent contraction in gross domestic product doesn't begin to reflect how far Canada's performance has fallen.

He says an even better indicator is gross domestic income, which measures Canadians' purchasing power, and that shows a plunge of 15.3 per cent in the fourth quarter over the previous three months.

...that it is far worse than the 1.5 per cent contraction in the U.S. during the same period.

The article goes on to say that Page's conclusions somewhat undermine what Harper said yesterday. Somewhat? I thought Harper said that Canada was the King of the World!

I suspect there is more bad news to come. Like this for instance. Or this.

I think yesterday was all about obfuscation. Overall though, their antics didn't really win too much praise. In fact, I heard a couple of traditional Harper shills actually mocking yesterday's power point presentation.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Facts Flummox Flaherty

I watched the Senate committee meeting today and was struck by a couple of things really. The sheer combativeness that Flaherty demonstrated was comparable to that of a petulant 5yr old and ironically, (irony that this Conservative government alone seems capable of demonstrating), he in turn treated the Senators as if they were children.

He opened with great fanfare, explaining that the world was in a deep recession and that the Senators may not realise it, but the situation was very serious. He's traveled all around the world you see and has attended many meetings with important people, so he knows, he really does, that it is very, very serious. He then went on to tell them to get on with passing the Budget and he'd better not hear that they went on March break! No sirree! (or what I'm not sure...time out?) This of course after the Chair had indicated that fully intended to pass it, had asked for extra time to sit to get through it and had no intention of going on March break before the work was done.

Suffice it to say, it was all bluster and no substance as is usual from this Minister. Mr. Tough Guy, (read Minister with a perpetual chip on his shoulder) continued his act in parliament's QP and on the evening political shows. He looked and sounded like an ass. He's insisting that everyone hurry up and get things done now, when of course we know no money can flow until April 01st. (The exception to that is the EI provision that could apparently take effect tomorrow if passed.)

All of that to say, the government is for some reason putting on a full court press today and it has me uneasy. Both Flaherty and Harper were out inventing crises, where none exist. That is never a good sign with these guys as it almost always means something else is up.

Any thoughts?

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Too Much Information


In the comments section at Far and Wide, a couple of people have shared that the Conservative Party seems to have information on them that they have never knowingly surrendered.
If this has happened to you, can you please detail it the comments section?

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Back to Reality

Thanks to BC'er, here is Ignatieff's scrum today.




It seems to me that Harper's juvenile games aren't going to play so well during this session.

There is more here, here and here.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Missing the Plot

If you read that title, saw the party logo and expected to read a post lambasting the Liberals, you're mistaken and you'd might as well click out of the blog now.

Those who are missing the plot at the moment, imo, are a few bloggers that seem to spend inordinate amounts of time looking for something negative to say about the party leader. By extension, they are of course railing against the party. Some are Liberals and others are liberal.

Now, if you read this blog from time to time, you'll know that overall I have no problem with people expressing their opinion even when I vehemently disagree. I make no exception with the blogs I'm referring to. I'm not going to link to them or name them, because that is not the point of my post. My point has to do with whether or not they have an end game because even though some of these bloggers are people I respect, I really think they are missing the plot entirely.

If you have a disagreement with Ignatieff on a certain policy issue, fair enough, have at it and here's an idea...suggest a viable alternative! If however he simply wasn't your first pick as leader, do you think maybe you could take a longer view rather than focusing on the inane? By that I mean repeating the idiotic canards such as, hasn't lived in the country, believes in torture, supports Iraq, and the most ridiculous of all, he is just like Stephen Harper.

Seriously? If you believe that, really believe it, then you have not paid attention at all to who Harper is and what he wants for this country. Is Ignatieff everything to everyone? No. Was Dion? No. The funny thing is that some of these bloggers actually used to decry the fact that people in the party were trying to undermine Dion's leadership and that was doing damage to the party and our ability to win an election. That they don't see that they are doing precisely the same thing is quite remarkable really.

Look, I'm certainly not thrilled with every utterance Ignatieff makes. I'm really concerned about the oil sands stance for instance, but I'm willing to wait to see what else goes along with what we've read in the press. Why? Because I do think he is looking at the big picture and pragmatism my dear friends is part of that equation.

My priority? I want Harper and his gang gone as soon as possible. Like it or not, the only way to do that is with the Liberal party and the leader of that party is not going anywhere, period. Can constructive suggestions be made? You bet. Make them on your blog and if you're a member of the party, get in on the debates at En Famille. Talk about issues and put forward alternatives. Go listen to Ignatieff speak and challenge him directly.

Me? I'm working to get a Liberal government in power. Not just for the hell of it, but for the sake of the country as I see it. From what I've read on some blogs, you are obviously not interested in that, in fact some of you seem determined for that not to happen. One is even urging you not to donate. Brilliant.

It's one thing to have disagreements with a party but it's quite another to work against it. That imo, is not following the plot. That is getting caught up with the main character and his or her flaws to the point of missing the entire story around them. Not the best way to read.

It came out on the weekend that the Conservatives, (surprise!), are mining old footage and archives to get dirt on Ignatieff to construct negative ads. It then came out today that the Liberal party will be asking for donations to counter them. Sounds right to me, after all, wasn't one of the biggest complaints the last go around that we didn't fight back? Furthermore, not only are the Conservatives using their resources to put together these ads, they too are soliciting funds, through the Senate no less! If you don't see the irony in that...

I guess my final thought on this is, it's expected that not everyone will agree with everything a party does. It's also expected that not everyone will get the leader they want. I supported Dion. Disagreements and debate are healthy. Childish taunts and a refusal to deal with what is, is intellectual energy diverted from a larger issue and that in my opinion is tragic.