Thursday, December 09, 2010
Have you read John Ivison's latest column? In it he speculates, nay, argues, for the rejuvenating effects of prorogation.
The advantage of a Throne Speech would be that it would give the Conservatives a pulpit from which to pontificate. It’s a big set-piece event that allows the government of the day to look active — even if it subsequently proves somewhat flexible in the application of its promises, as happened with this year’s competitiveness agenda.
Yes, well, maybe, and to be sure there are people, including media on Twitter agreeing with this particular argument however, that is not the most interesting part of the piece to me, though, the pulpit from which to pontificate, does touch on what intrigues me.
Here's what struck me:
“I’ve been asked to provide some wording for the Speech from the Throne,” said my confrere.
My confrere? The government is tapping the media, to pen portions of the Throne Speech?
Call me crazy, but I think that is far more concerning than the possibility that Stephen Harper is calculating how his government might be shown in the best light.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Yes, dear caucus I am speaking to you. Today, a day when I had hoped to see outrage at how the Harper government abused power in the most blatant manner possible in the Senate, I saw the weakest complaint imaginable in Question Period and then nary a sound....crickets in fact.
Oh wait, I did hear a little something. It was a plaintive, drip, drip, drip...look at me, I want to be important but don't have the courage to tell you my name, leaker, who ran to Jane Taber to tell all what was meant to be debated behind closed doors.
If you are not ashamed, let me tell you...we who normally support the party, are. Your self serving nonsense neither serves you, because you are a coward who won't allow Jane to tell us who you are, nor does it serve the party and Canada as a whole.
You seem to be someone inclined to keeping Harper in place. That's fine, but let me be the first to escort you across the aisle and let's be done with it.
Do I sound angry? You bet I am. I have never suffered fools gladly and in this case, where democracy and the future direction of the country are involved, believe me, you do not even merit the moniker of 'fool'.
I want to be clear. I am all for dissent within a party. I think healthy debate is not only good but necessary and I get that Afghanistan is contentious, but if you aren't able to debate it amongst yourselves, or maybe poor baby, you weren't heard, running to Jane has not helped you and yours in the past and it won't in the future.
Do us all a favour. Resign. Those who quote you as a source won't be happy, but trust me, the rest of us will be thrilled.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Saturday, November 06, 2010
Don Martin wrote an interesting piece today on Jim Prentice. In it he speaks to the respect Prentice earned among all, in the House of Commons. He briefly outlines his journey in the world of politics and points to some accomplishments that I suspect many have forgotten.
While the article is a good read, one passage in particular caught my eye.
...., there were times when Prentice appeared uncomfortable with the government's direction and would commit the Conservative equivalent of treason by ignoring a PMO command.
When approached as industry minister by senior political operatives demanding he end the mandatory long-form census, for example, he told them to take a hike.
Approached by senior political operatives? Nah...couldn't be. After all, Tony Clement has been nattering on for months about how he decided to change the long-form mandatory census based on complaints concerning an intrusion of privacy. There was nothing political about it, he insisted.
What absolute BS. We've always known that it was an idea concocted by a political party determined to eliminate that which they deemed worked against their doctrine and while that, in and of itself doesn't seem so unusual, when you consider that much of their social policy relies on convincing the public of a non-existent danger or threat, you can understand why eliminating facts that contradict their imaginary worldview, was important.
Lawrence Martin, in his book Harperland, notes that the Conservative Party was/is obsessed with the public service. The animosity that Harper held for the bureaucracy rivaled that which he felt for the Liberal party itself and far surpassed any such feeling exhibited by previous Conservative PM's. With that in mind, is it any wonder that Tony Clement chose the party line over logic and the advice offered by Statistics Canada? Is it surprising that senior bureaucrats are either humiliated, dismissed or forced to resign when they stand up for reason?
Unlike Jim Prentice, who didn't ignore reason and was a principled man, Clement spends his time calculating political points and driving the party line, even if it runs counter to conventional wisdom. Who he appealed to is still a mystery, save those few diehards who don't understand the issue and/or would agree with and argue for this government, no matter what policy it put forward.
Clement is doing irreparable damage to our county's reputation and it's ability to set sound policy in the future. He is unapologetic and content to put forward dishonest rationale that even the town idiot would ridicule.
I didn't agree with everything Jim Prentice did while he was in cabinet, but at least I could respect the man.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
So, we lost/abandoned our bid for a spot on the UNSC.
To no one's surprise, the first course of action by the government and Lawrence Cannon , was to blame the Liberals, specifically Michael Ignatieff.
The claim is preposterous of course, but I guess they get points for being consistent. No, I suspect there are a few reasons that we lost the bid, but they would relate to our government's foreign policies, not an opposition leaders answer in a scrum.
Should we take a brief walk down memory lane and recall what Harper promised Canadians?
Here are some excerpts from a speech Harper gave shortly after winning the 2006 election.
So what I want to talk to you about tonight is something I hope to accomplish in the longer term – if Canadians grant us the opportunity.
That objective is to make Canada a leader on the international stage. We want to ensure that we can preserve our identity and our sovereignty, protect our key interests and defend those values we hold most dear on the international scene.
So, during the time in which I am privileged to serve as Prime Minister, I intend to make this a country that leads.
But we will only merit this honour if we lead the country – and if we lead it in understanding that all nations of the world will share a common future for better or for worse.
We will lead Canada toward that better world.
No, apparently we won't.
Via David Akin, here is Ignatieff's response to the loss.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Jim Travers wrote an interesting piece today. I know that some Liberals aren't pleased, but I would ask them to sit back for a moment and consider what he is really expressing. (It's important to note that he is a columnist. I saw some right leaning friends take issue, as if he'd written news, but please, can we keep things in perspective here?)
That said, I think he is expressing a sentiment that many share. This Conservative party, under Harper, is dismantling the Canada we know. Now, this seems to be coming as a surprise to some, which frankly I find both appalling and hilarious. Either you were too lazy to do your homework, or too cynical to believe that there really was an agenda with Harper. Either way, it's time to wake up.
Does that expression of frustration make Travers a Liberal? Absolutely not and I think it's time for us all to realise the incredible country and people we've become. That is to say, we are a tolerant nation that does have social values and believes in the structures that have brought us here. Is that the majority of Canadians? Yep, pretty much. The only group who is contrary to that opinion, happen to be the party in power and they command only 1/3 of opinion and truth be known, they are a pretty splintered group. That said, they would only vote Conservative, or not at all.
The rest of us, so 2 thirds of the country, do not applaud what Harper has done, but we know we are between a rock and a hard place. Travers is so frustrated, that he lays blame at the feet of the Liberals. Essentially: how could you let this happen?
Well, I would ask that he too step back a bit and reflect on how the media treated the Liberals every time there was a move to topple. Headlines went something like:
- Arrogant Liberals believe they deserve power
- Liberals still have not rebuilt
- Liberals misguided
- Liberal leadership woes
- Lib's still think they are the natural governing party
- Lib's haven't cleaned house
It went on and on and on. And yes, Travers played a part in that narrative. Was there deep analysis into what the Conservatives were doing/planning? Little to none and I'm still trying to put together that entire beating drum.
When the Lib's thought they should move, BAM!...30 seconds later the headlines rolled.
Now, the realist in me admits, the Liberals have made mistakes. I have not supported every decision taken and I too want to put this government out of the misery it is causing most of us, but Travers has to take into account some reality too. Not blaming, but the media played a role.
Here's what isn't said, though I think Travers was on the Liberal Express briefly. Those who are negating the value and benefit of the tour Ignatieff is doing this summer, are doing it at their peril. He is speaking to both small and large groups, listening to them and gaining a sense of how to connect the dots.
Sound simplistic? You'd be wrong in my opinion, to draw that conclusion. You see, with every drip, (dot), a greater mass develops and it is much easier to hit a larger target.
Harper may have thought he was clever to put out controversial policy in the doldrums of summer, but he has provided Ignatieff with more fodder and that makes it easier to develop a narrative.
Don't count the Liberal party out...lest you want to join the pool of drips.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Thursday, August 05, 2010
“Yeah, there are groups that are upset about that. Hey, listen, they had a good deal going,” Mr. Clement told reporters after the Conservative caucus meeting Thursday in Ottawa.
“They got good, quality data and the government of Canada was the heavy. We were the ones who were coercing Canadians on behalf of these private businesses, or other social institutions, or other governments and provinces, for this data.”
Is it me, or did you just hear Tony admit that the data was good, reliable and that by making it voluntary will compromise that? Oh and, hey, the government isn't responsible for providing the country with this data.
Wait, it gets better.
Mr. Clement said opponents are free to spend their own money to gather the demographic data they need in others ways.
Translation? Hey...you want information? Free market have at it! Forget altogether that government is the most secure, most efficient way to gather that information...go for it! Decades of data? Pshaw..means nothing. This government is out of, well, just about everything. Defense, Crime...oh, we're there. All else? Get off your duff and fend for yourself!
It's not that he doesn't understand what the Census gathers and it's importance to the country, it's that he does, that is so galling. Willfully admitting and denying it, in one breath. I can hardly breathe reading it.
Think people. This has been the agenda that media mocked and insisted on calling 'hidden', but it never was. The media's role however is for another post. Harper set out to do this and is doing it with the following of a small number of sycophants. What a way to run a country!
“All these provincial governments and these social institutions and private businesses – we'll get them some data that will be useful and reliable,” he said.
“If they don't want to use that data, it's up to them. They can pay for it another way. There are lots of other ways to gather data from Canadians that is legal and verifiable. You don't have to rely on the government of Canada.”
Note the 'lump in' there. Provinces and those...social institutions? Ahem! Tony obviously has a short memory. And...we'll get them data? Flawed, unreliable data that we are going to spend more money gathering, type of data? You betcha!
That our government has really become this bereft of intelligence should be a surprise to no one.
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
I confess, this presser, was one of the most incoherent I've ever witnessed.
Not only did he not make any sense when articulating the rationale for the decision, he made matters worse by going on about the alarming rate of unreported crime, which is about the oldest tactic in the book for explaining increased spending and tougher crime legislation.
Furthermore, the last stat's available on unreported crime were from 2004.
The full presser is available through the link in the second paragraph, but here is a small portion that was particularly funny...or sad really, when you consider that this is the calibre of Minister we seem to have running the country.
Monday, July 26, 2010
With that out of the way, I'm focused on tomorrow's Committee on Industry, Science and Technology meeting. It risks being too long, resulting in a lot of banter, but I'm not clear where it will come out. By that I mean, the case against the government decision is pretty hard and fast. Their (the gov't) defense is beyond weak, so where will it net out?
To underscore how weak the government argument is, you have only to recall their defense on the issue and how many times that has changed. Too intrusive, 1000's of complainers, other countries have abandoned it and of course the ever popular, government coming for you in the middle of the night...jail...threats...jackboot...there are more.
Not one of their stances has stood the test of time...and by time, I mean weeks here. Telling? Yes, I think so.
The questions are not intimidating, nor intrusive and to make it more delicious, government Ministers have been lying as to what those questions are.
Oh, and the countries they cite as having abandoned the long form, or the census all together? Well, that is true but what they omit is that they are far MORE intrusive and data mine from cradle to grave. And then there is the fact that no one has gone to jail, nor has anyone been pulled out of bed, in the middle of the night.
In short, there is no sound rationale for the decision. There is plenty of ideological rationale for it and I'll get into that after the hearings at committee, but to defend this choice? Sorry, there is no defense and those who do sound ridiculous.
I would argue in fact, if you offer a defense for this specific choice, you simply do not understand the census. That became very clear today reading articles, listening to interviews and hearing 'infamous' talk radio. And if you aren't one of those, you are an intelligent person that argues from ideology...yes Jonas I'm looking at you.
My reading tells me the majority of those who defend, haven't a clue. Nary one. The intelligent arguments are only made by those who have the 'small to no government' lean.
It's an argument to be had, but the Conservative government under Stephen Harper did not have the courage to do that. He never does. His choices come down by fiat...a completely arbitrary decision. Sorry people, Kings of old ruled this way as they thought they had absolute authority.
This is not how our country works. Harper is now trying to get in what he can, but stuffing this policy now, when you think no one is looking, is about the dumbest way to do it. Hello? Media looking for news?
I'm hoping this has exposed him once and for all. Media and your own eyeballs, will tell the tale. Watch or listen if you can.
See you tomorrow.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Well, the latest group to come out against the government's decision to scrap the mandatory participation in the long form census is none other than the Premiers. While every group that has come out is important, this development puts a bit of a new spin on it.
You see until now, the government has insisted that those who oppose the decision are liberal flacks, which is asinine, and when that doesn't work, they default to loons who answer the religion question as 'Jedi'. For the uninitiated, there actually is a church of Jedi, and one that has encouraged their members to fill out their census forms claiming as much, in an effort to have the government recognise them as a church. Crazy? Well, yes of course! A massive movement that should derail scientific data collection, aggregation and dissemination? Obviously not.
The question that is being asked at the moment is why the government went in this direction. Most seem to suggest that they were appealing to a portion of their base that they hadn't spoken to in a while. Specifically the Libertarians. While I understand why you'd make that argument, it seems to me that Hoeppner's private member bill to get rid of the long gun registry did that in spades. So at this point, I'm not buying.
More likely for me, is what data the 2011 census would be accumulating. Of course it would be used, in a sense, to examine/dissect the policies that Harper has or has not, brought to bear. Given that we see most policy driven by populist notions, this could present a problem. Further, most if not all, policy has flown in the face of evidence and fact. The government, specifically on Environment and Crime, has ignored all the data.
Oh they have done it elsewhere too, but all of that to say, if you have to keep fighting stat's to get your policies through, why not eliminate or distort the data beyond use? Wouldn't that make life easier?
Harper won't be in power by the time this data is collected and sorted, but I suspect that he and his advisers are covering their bases here. Should he be in power, no data is good for him. If he is gone, his legacy will not be tainted by facts that prove all his theories wrong.
Clever, but not very smart.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
To my mind, it's bigotry that has found a convenient issue to hide behind. Political correctness is the straw man that c/Conservatives drag up whenever they want to express an ugly view while claiming that their voice is being stifled. I give you Ezra Levant as an example, or Michael Coren. (If you are not familiar with either, Google is your friend.)
That said, if this is the kind of pithy, exciting discussion that Kory thinks we are missing in this country, I may have to change my opinion of the new station he is pursuing. What I mean by that is, maybe this vile, low rent discourse needs more exposure. Yes, I know it's already out there in print and on radio, but maybe up close and personal, in your living room, is what this country needs to wake up to what some of the right and frankly some of your government, stands for.
What is especially delightful, is the zinger that the author throws in at the end:
The CBC, however, must feel absolutely shattered.
The last two GGs -- Adrienne Clarkson and outgoing Michaelle Jean -- both had the CBC's turgid blood coursing through their brains.
But no CT scan is needed for Johnston.
He is CBC clear and bias-free.
You can practically hear the giggling 'gotcha' can't you? Except the author has exposed him/herself to be ignorant of the facts. I know, you are shocked. Though not the best source always, Wikipedia says this:
Johnston has also acted as moderator of two public affairs panel discussion programmes, The Editors and The World in Review, which aired in the 1990s on both CBC Newsworld in Canada and PBS in the United States.
So while Johnston didn't have extensive history with the CBC, 'CBC clear' would not be accurate and to throw a little PBS in there? Well, what can I say?
In fairness, we weren't expecting accuracy or fact from this group, were we?
Saturday, July 03, 2010
Is there more to read on the G20 Summit? I have no doubt there is more to come, but I've read and heard about as much as I can take in at this point and I have a few observations.
To begin with, I think calls for Toronto's Chief Blair resignation at this point is ill advised and a knee jerk reaction. Now before you scream, I firmly believe that things went horribly wrong and I do think we need a full enquiry, but there is just something about this that doesn't quite jive for me.
First of all, having lived through having Julian Fantino as Chief of Police, Blair was a real breath of fresh air. I'm no expert and don't know everything about the man, but in a general sense, I much prefer his method of policing. By that I mean, he is a chief that believes in intelligence gathering, working with communities, building trust, overall a progressive approach versus Fantino's methods that more resembled the ill-advised, non affective, 'let's knock some heads', 'tough on crime' mantra of the Conservatives.
So with that in mind, what to make of what happened? Let's start with the request to the province for the PWPA. I've heard Blair interviewed and understand now, that it was not he who made the request. Blair said ISU and 'other' parties were involved in obtaining the special regulation. Sadly, he was being interviewed by John Tory and follow up is not Tory's forté. So, I think we need to know that. Did he misread the regulation? Absolutely and of course that is concerning. That said, he claimed once realising that, (actually being advised by lawyers), he immediately informed the forces on the street. Should the public have been told? Yes.
Given that he informed his forces, what happened on Sunday? Why did we see so many having their rights violated? At this point all I can see is that there was a hyper-vigilant atmosphere that was not reined in and that was the responsibility of either Blair or the ISU and to be frank, I'd like to know how much power the RCMP had. I'm given to understand that authorities had information about the Black Bloc and were being led all over the city, a Black Bloc tactic, with a main objective of breaching the main perimeter. Did that necessitate the action taken? In my opinion, no. I think we've all witnessed a gross abuse of power and we have to understand how and why that happened.
Given the information I have at this point, I do think rights were breached and the Charter was either ignored or abandoned. Innocent people were rounded up and held unnecessarily and overall, I'm appalled and to be honest, saddened at what happened. I want due process and answers. I see no value in being equally as hyper-reactive as what we want to counter. We need more facts and we need them to come out in an unbias way, so an enquiry makes sense to me. What form that takes, I'm not sure.
I want to know what the province actually agreed to and how unprecedented it was. I think they have been too silent. I want to understand the entire chain of command and how the ISU fit in and along with that, how large a role the federal government had. And of course, I want to see how Chief Blair went about making the decisions he did that day, how far reaching they were and why.
I don't call for resignations lightly and I try not to defend people blindly. If it turns out that this all lies on Blair's shoulders, so be it, but something is telling me that is not the case and until we have all of this aired, I'll wait for the facts.
This must be done now though. Not in months. Now. Sod the predictable, 'there are law suits in the works, so we must wait'. No, we can't wait. Write your MP and MPP and if you live in the city, get on to your councillor.
Push for truth and we might get somewhere. Making accusations and demands without fact, tends to push things back in my experience.
Monday, June 28, 2010
The title of this post, in my opinion, is at the core of the Conservative government's message and it's not a recent phenom just articulated this past weekend. It's been a theme that Canada, the majority of us, do not condone.
I'd like to say that I've calmed down after watching the G20 goings on, but I haven't. In fact, reading and watching statements being made by our government and their talking heads, have actually made me more angry. I realise that is their intent, but consider that ploy for a minute.
There is such a cavalier attitude being demonstrated by them and it does nothing but infuriate me. With every shoulder shrug and smirk, it really paints a clear picture as to what the Conservatives think about Toronto, it's residents, it's small businesses and those who opted to march in peaceful protest. Indeed, it speaks to how little they care about the citizens of this country and their rights. Never mind TO...we're all caught in this net.
With every shrug from Minister Cannon and every smirk from Minister Toews I shudder to think, no realise, what their view and aspiration for this country is. Those reactions relate to both cost and outcome to the city of Toronto.
This weekend was beyond description in Toronto. The most galling point is how Harper chose, yes he chose, to ignore the requests of the city. If you don't know, the city said NO! We do not want this held in the core of the city.
It's clear he has no seats here and after this, he guaranteed no Conservative seat for a very long time. To use that fact though and proceed as he did is downright maniacal. I use that word with caution but he was playing to his base on this one and Flanagan, who was actually starting to sound like a reasonable rightie, spewed the party line. '900 arrests? Of even innocent people? No problem. They were idiots to be there and should be locked up for a long time. No one in the rest of Canada cares, in fact they applauded.'
I was gobsmacked with Cannon and Toews and Flanagan's comments, but Flanagan has the luxury of turning up the heat. That's not to say they don't share intent and ideology, they do of course. To see our government though, not caring a whit about what went on should be disconcerting to all.
Look, the Liberals have not always been lily white, but the disdain that the current government is displaying is beyond belief. I think, contrary to what Tom Flanagan professes, people across this country do care about our Charter rights and my hope is that will show in the next election.
Not the most coherent post, I know, but it's not the most coherent of times.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Let me start by saying I burst out laughing a few times today when Kory Teneycke (pictured here), sought to rebut any criticism of the station, SunTV, being compared to FOX NEWS. His comment? Their 'potential' competition was simply bashing the station before it had been established.
No, no, no Kory. A) Your friends at Fox would be insulted, B) Your stance and use of the term MSM is precisely what FOX is known for and C) it would be you who is doing the bashing.
Of course they are following the FOX NEW model! Is anyone surprised? Can't think of why he'd deny that...oh wait, there is a CRTC ruling yet to happen and that might, just maybe, explain that bit of nonsense.
In later interviews, without mentioning the name of the station, or answering simple questions, it was clear that a formula was being followed and it is that of FOX. Kory can try to include CNN and MSNBC in that group, but he cannot deny his political stance, ergo...FOX NEWS is what they are presenting.
What is astonishing, is the false premise that is being put forward. Now, the Conservative party is famous for both false premise and false dichotomy. That is their raison d'étre. It's all about duping you and sadly, many buy the pitch. Black and white is their deal. False dichotomy has no grey...yet that is where intelligent debate, throughout the ages, has occurred.
Their false premise being that in Canada, we do not have real debate and all news stations basically echo each other. They are too politically correct and to use his term, (which is a good one), they "file the edges" of debate. In my world, that would be translated to, keeping it civil...but whatever.
Underlying all of this of course is that the 'right' want to establish a greater voice. The irony is that the 'right' controls most media in this country, and their voice is predominant. Talk radio, Sun media, most editorials in major papers, (recall Harper endorsements) come from the 'right'.
The false premise, inferred, though not articulated, is that the evil MSM is bias...toward the 'left' of course. What utter BS! What is not 'right' leaning is balanced overall. Kory may not like the fact that people in this country actually fall to the middle and look for news that is factually accurate, but that is indeed what most want and what we get. Indeed, Kory is not keen on fact.
The serious side of all of this is one that worries me. We saw this assault in the States under Bush, Rove...etal, and then saw the US media over-compensate. I see that happening here since Kory made his outrageous claim over the pollster used by the CBC.
I don't know why, but when this government says jump!, the media in this country don't seem to ask how deep the abyss they might descend to is. That makes me a bit crazy, but that said, I think the last thing we need is FOXNEWS 'like' station here.
If the premise had been to invigorate a real news network more competition, I would have applauded. That is not what this is. It is a blatant attempt to skew news and tempt the competition to provide an out of reality balance...false dichotomy engagement, intended to dumb it down. This, we do NOT need in this country.
I have to make a couple of personal comments here. Two people have been announced. David Akin and Brian Lilley. I've met David and have had conversations with Brian. They both strike me as good people. David I think is a really professional newsman, and I went after him the other night on Twitter for his buy in (read: sell out) to this. I've since apologised and David, ever the gentleman, told me not to sweat it. I still don't see it as a good move for someone of integrity. In fact, I'd love to see him do CBC Politics and Power. I guess that was not an option.
Brian Lilley I know from his reports on CFRB, now Newstalk1010. He also reports for CJAD in Quebec if I'm not mistaken. Both stations are decidedly conservative and while Brian reports the news as it happens, he brings a slant to it. He's also on some of the shows and panels, and it's clear, he takes a Conservative view. That said, I do not discredit him, I just think it is disingenuous to portray him as having no position. He is a serious reporter though. He doesn't ignore fact.
So, here we are. The "Far Right" is making a play for the airwaves. You knew it was coming. I have to say I don't think this would have happened had the current government been defeated, but here we are.
What say you? I think you know where I stand.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
HARPER GOVERNMENT MUST COMPLY WITH SPEAKER'S RULING ON AFGHANISTAN
Published on April 27, 2010
“The Speaker’s ruling recognizes that in our system of government, Parliament is supreme – not the Prime Minister,” said Liberal House Leader Ralph Goodale. “The Harper government must abide by the Speaker’s ruling and negotiate the disclosure of the documents in question in a way that is mindful of national security – as we have agreed to do all along.
”In his ruling, Mr. Milliken gave the House Leaders, ministers and party critics two weeks to address the impasse by establishing a mechanism for MPs to review the documents without compromising national security. He also reaffirmed the role of parliamentarians to hold government to account as an indisputable privilege and obligation, which entails a broad, absolute power to order documents, without restriction or limit by the Executive. The Speaker expressed his hope that accommodations could be made that allow MPs to be entrusted with the information while protecting national security, in keeping with the inherent trust that Canadians have placed in their elected officials.
“Following Mr. Milliken’s ruling, the government now has a window of opportunity to negotiate in good faith a reasonable process that respects Parliamentarians right to review this documentation,” said Liberal Foreign Affairs Critic Bob Rae. “We believe that it is possible to satisfy the opposition’s demands for openness and transparency on the detainee scandal while maintaining national security.”
“Where there are legitimate national security concerns revolving around this documentation, we will most certainly consider the government’s position,” said Liberal Defence Critic Ujjal Dosanjh. “But let’s be clear: we are not prepared to allow the government to hide behind national security issues where none exist.
”On December 10, 2009, the House of Commons passed a motion requesting disclosure of Afghan detainee documentation. The Conservatives refused to comply with the motion, even going so far as to shut down Parliament entirely.
The Conservative government has continued to cover-up politically damaging information, using national security as a blanket excuse. Most recently, hearings by the Military Police Complaints Commission into the handling of Afghan detainees have been put in jeopardy again because the government refuses to disclose requested documentation.
“We want a reasonable approach to these negotiations that will satisfy us that there is not simply more political interference taking place,” Mr. Goodale concluded. “We are willing to address the government’s legitimate concerns, but the Speaker has made it clear that more stonewalling will not work.”
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
One of the subjects was the pardon debate that has been raised by Harper. The way it has been presented by the PM and Vic Toews is beyond disingenuous. It's as if they just came to power yesterday and haven't known about this before now. What nonsense. They have already actually looked at and tweaked this law. The fact is they missed this whole issue and now need to find someone to blame.
Who are they blaming? Well that leads me to the title of the post. I heard a theory this morning that fits completely with how I feel about this.
At this point, Harper is blaming this problem on a 'soft on crime' culture that preceded him. It's not true, but it serves him well at this point to bolster his 'tuff guy, tuff on crime party' image. What's glaringly obvious is that this government is incapable of taking responsibility for an issue and that they have been incompetent in fulfilling parts of their campaign platform, especially as it relates to crime.
Here's the thing. Harper can't advance his agenda without having an enemy to focus on. He consistently places his party in the role of victim. He can't get things done because everyone is against him. He's blamed the civil service, the Senate, the opposition, the press, whomever is close at hand.
He's often cited as being a strong leader, but to me, this demonstrates that he operates from a position of weakness. There is a basic lack of character on display here that for whatever reason, it is rarely discussed.
Part of the problem of course is that the crime legislation that is put forward is often not based on good research or fact. Indeed, more often than not it flies in the face of fact. So, if you can't make your case logically, you have to create a sentiment, a mood, that enables people to back your case and what better way to do that then to scare people? Witness invoking the spectre of Karla Homolka. (To be honest, I have visions of Harper instructing his staff to find him the name of someone coming up for pardon that would scare the bejeesus out of Canadians, after learning about the Graham James case.)
This isn't the only subject where this occurs. The Afghanistan detainee issue? He maintains his stance by suggesting that any question is both unpatriotic and endangering out troops. Not an ounce of logic there, but his supporters lap it up and regurgitate it, because there is just enough there to play on their emotions.
Is this clever? No, I'd say it's duplicitous. I'd also say that it's a clear sign of a weak leader who is incapable of selling his ideas on their merit.
If you have to deceive the masses to get your ideas through, you are not a leader, you are a misleader.
That is who we having running this country.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Thursday, April 08, 2010
It's a fascinating read, but it leaves some questions out there doesn't it?
Jaffer, as he often does, told businessmen that he and his company, Green Power Solutions, were experts in obtaining government money. “I can get it, no problem,” he said. His company’s promotional material boasts a “thorough knowledge of government policies and incentive programs.”
“I have access to a green fund,” Jaffer said at the table
A few weeks before the Harbour 60 dinner, Jaffer and Gillani held court at another steak restaurant, La Castille in Etobicoke. Gillani told a group of invited businessmen that his company could arrange start-up financing, and that Jaffer could come up with federal government funds. Jaffer explained that he had expertise, particularly in securing what he called “green loans” at very low interest rates.
Though Jaffer has not been an MP since he lost an election in 2008, he still gives out his MP business cards and did so at La Castille.
Now, the PMO has flatly denied that Jaffer has any access and given that, it's easy to put his comments down to boasting, but if you're making such claims don't you at some point have to come through with the goods?
I'd say that it's likely, he doesn't have any personal contact with the PMO, but certainly he has access to cabinet members who do. While it's safe to assume that his wife is not on any favoured Ministers list at the moment, how friendly was he with past and current environment Ministers?
Additionally, it seems his partner at Green Power Generation, Patrick Glémaud, has had his share of access to the government.
My guess is that we haven't heard the last of this particular story.
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
That said, I can say that I went to the conference without expectations. I had a general idea of the agenda from going to the site and I knew that the exercise was not meant to result in policy, but beyond that I was open to whatever came.
Overall, I found the conference fascinating. It was a chance to hear discussions and debate on a range of issues that interest me and affect the country. It's no secret that I follow such issues as a matter of course, but to have so many convened in one place was a bit of a luxury. Was every panel riveting and every speech a barn burner? No, but on the whole the conference was a thoughtful, meaningful exercise that looked at issues that I think all Canadians should be engaged in or aware of. It was not limited to L/liberals and indeed there was criticism of the party on a number of fronts.
As one example of the kind of nonsense being written today, I read Wente's column in the Globe and burst out laughing. How one person can get so much, so wrong, is a mystery to me, but she seems to excel at it. She quotes Conservative talking points and bases her ridiculous assertions on a poll commissioned by the Manning Institute. What an objective way to approach what happened at the conference, don't you think?
After most of her ink is spilled bashing Ignatieff and the Liberals, she closes with this gem:
Meantime, Mr. Harper is steadily shrinking the role of federal government, beneath the radar, without debate. He is quietly transforming Canada into a more private, more regional, more entrepreneurial country, with more prisons, less shared purpose, and health care that is fragmenting into many different variations. We really ought to talk about this. But Mr. Harper isn't about to bring it up. And Mr. Ignatieff has no alternative to offer.
She is absolutely correct about what Harper is doing, but her last three sentences, especially, we really ought to talk about this? Seriously? The woman defines obtuse.
Anyway, she was not alone today in making ridiculous points. Numerous editorials chimed in, both missing the point of the conference while demeaning the very idea of holding a such a gathering. In other words, the people who share their opinion with this nation, seem to think it's wrong to debate the challenges we face in the country. They appear to be taking the stance that thinking is bad.
I find that remarkable to be honest. Some of these people are big thinker's themselves, yet their columns today are devoid of fact and/or reason.
To what end?
Well, I suppose they have to justify their widely touted and now proven erroneous expectations that they proudly spouted prior to the conference.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Saturday, March 13, 2010
The federal Justice Minister, Rob Nicholson, released the Terms of Reference today for former justice, Frank Iacobucci.
What? Perfectly normal to release this information on a Saturday isn't it? I mean, just because the opposition has been asking for it all week and the government refused to answer any questions on it....
No matter, the issue will still be around on Monday.
In the meantime though, as you go through the ToR, it is pretty clear that the government has gone to great lengths to employ yet another stall tactic and not much more. Granted, this investigation by Iacobucci may yield more than the government is prepared for, the narrow mandate he is being given doesn't really address the core issue as raised by Derek Lee, and that is the supremacy of Parliament.
In the Terms of Reference (Backgrounder), the government acknowledges the motion adopted by the House, but dismisses it right off the bat:
Whereas the House of Commons has adopted a motion, on December 10, 2009, ordering the production of Government documents related to the transfer of Afghan detainees from the Canadian Forces to Afghan authorities, which contain information the disclosure of which would be injurious to national defence, international relations or national security if publicly released;
So, they are ignoring the will of the House and suggesting that a third party make the determination instead. While I understand that former justice Iacobucci has an impressive record, this is not how our system works.
Frankly, it would be interesting to get Iacobucci's opinion on that particular matter, but he is not allowed to speak according to the ToR.
Additionally, the government is completely ignoring the premise on which the opposition parties and Derek Lee in particular, has made their claims. No, the government adopt their own criteria in the matter. Specifically:
“As I stated in the House of Commons, the government acknowledges that it is appropriate that decisions on the disclosure of information in these circumstances be reviewed in an independent manner,” stated Minister Nicholson. “This will ensure that parliamentarians will have access to the relevant government information on the arrangements for the transfer of detainees in Afghanistan while ensuring there is no injury to Canada's national defence, international relations or national security.”
I'm fairly certain that the opposition parties will not be satisfied with this, nor in my view, should they be. The government is blatantly flouting the will of Parliament and that is not only a serious matter, it is one that could conceivably push us into a constitutional crisis.
The government's flagrant disregard of our system must be called out and I firmly hope that Lib MP, Derek Lee will do just that when the House sits next week.
Friday, March 12, 2010
Friday, March 05, 2010
After months of first dismissing the whole issue as partisan politics by the opposition, followed by months of reassuring all and sundry that they had complied with the demands, (saying that as recently as yesterday by the way), what really stands out about this move is their tacit admission that indeed, the request has not been complied with.
It's clear to me that this is yet another stall tactic, as it was pretty clear that Derek Lee was going to take action, that the government wasn't looking forward to. It was widely speculated that Lee was going to rise in the House either today or next week. Nicholson appears to have rushed to beat him to the punch. I say rushed, because he had no details to what he wants Iacobucci to do exactly. No terms of reference were available for the opposition to review.
Obviously the terms of reference are critical here, both in terms of what conclusions Iacobucci can reach and in what they say about the government.
This is one to watch. If the issue of parliamentary privilege are not raised in the terms of reference, I suspect Mr. Lee will not be deterred.
Update - After watching some of the political shows tonight, it's clear to me that media aren't even close to understanding what the Iacobucci appointment means. They seem to think it should pacify the opposition. Afterall, they say, the parliament now has a chance of seeing documents, should Iacobucci rule that way.
No. Nicholson appears to have engaged him to report to the government, not the parliament, and lest we forget (no, I can't work the word doth in here), that simply brings us full circle to the government making the call. Ridiculous.
Media, I beg you. Expose the nonsense.
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
Friday, February 05, 2010
Sunday, January 31, 2010
I disagree. To be clear, I disagree because they are missing the main issue. It's not the fact that Harper prorogued like others before him. It's of course how and why he prorogued and what that action confirmed about the man.
Harper proroguing parliament played into a narrative that was growing. The prorogation simply gave it shape. The narrative was difficult to distill into a simple concept because Harper has acted inappropriately in a number of ways and venues.
He's gone after civil servants, he's played with House committees and their work. He's skirted election financing rules and reneged on his promise to implement the Accountability Act in full. He's stacked the Senate, made no serious move for reform and even made a Senator a cabinet minister in the early days. He's lied, often. ie, Environmental plan, the Coalition and it's meaning, markets disliking minority parliaments, the deficit, in fact the worldwide financial situation was brushed off as nonsense by this (cough) economist.
There's more, but seriously, how do you articulate all that in a sound bite? You can't. The prorogation issue brought all and more of these disparate facts together and boiled it down to the character of the man.
The issue is his style and method of governance and if people really think that is going to go away when parliament reconvenes, well I want what they are smoking.
Oh, and to all who believe that Harper and co. will reinvent themselves by using the Olympics, I'd think again if I were you. You see, politicizing our games will further feed the cynicism that has been awakened in this country. He'll simply reinforce the now more widespread notion as to how manipulative he is.
So, will this all fade away? No, me thinks not.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
I took some time today to reflect on the rallies held across the country yesterday.
Though there was some media coverage today, overall it was light. Fair enough. It is Sunday and news is generally sparse on a Sunday. What coverage was out there, was mostly favourable and in some cases amusing. Some media basically telling we, who cared, passed the imaginary test they had set for us. Yes, you read that correctly. They alone decided what would validate the Facebook reaction and then deigned to proclaim on that fictitious high water mark.
The reports that claimed there were only 3,000 at the Toronto rally were also laughable. Anyone who was there knows the truth. My guess is 10,000, but there are estimates everywhere. What we know for sure is that the square can hold 7,000 and it was overflowing. Go from there.
The energy was disconcerting at times, you really can feel that many people, but it was overwhelmingly positive.
So, the day after, it seems as though the 'news cycle' has moved on...but I think not.
Tomorrow all the regular talking heads come back to work. Also, accentuating what the rallies were all about, (Harper shutting out scrutiny) the Liberals and now the NDP, will be in Ottawa. I'm not certain what the NDP agenda is, but I do know the Liberals have planned to meet on a issues that, were parliament in session, would have been addressed.
That in itself should keep the prorogation issue on the front burner. If it doesn't, then I think we can ask some serious questions as to the news we are getting.
I don't think this issue is going away any time soon. Too many people care and have made it a point to pay attention and understand. That's powerful stuff in this country.
Which begs the question, why has Harper been allowed to get away with so much for so long? Why weren't Canadians more involved before now?
I think a few things were at play. In spite of himself, (Harper), and his disdain for Canadian institutions including the media, few have taken it upon themselves to call him out. Some in fear of losing their jobs and others, somehow believing that if they keep playing nice he'll come around.
I'll let the playing nice people to answer for themselves, but the others, groups like Kairos, professors, climate spokespeople, Rights advocates and more, have all spoken out recently. In my opinion, all of those voices started to raise the consciousness of the masses. It felt slow to me, but if that is the time it takes...here we are.
Harper is in a bad place now. We know that he will pull out all the stops. I read tonight that the government has bought a new set of expensive ads. Yea, that's our government hard at work trying to save you money, by spending your money.
Historic turning points are few and far between in this country. I think we hit one yesterday, but now it must be built upon. This is no time to rest on yesterday's news.
Keep creating tomorrow's news. That, thankfully, is now the direction in which I think we are headed.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
h/t - Far and Wide
An open letter to the members of Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament
To the members of CAPP,
This Saturday, January 23, thousands of Canadians will attend anti-prorogation rallies organized by the Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament (CAPP) Facebook group. They won’t be going as Liberals or New Democrats, as Bloc Québécois, Conservatives or Greens. They’ll be going as Canadian citizens, united in their opposition of Stephen Harper’s shut down of Parliament. That will happen because one of you had the courage to stand up in protest – and then another, and another, and another.
I want you know to know how heartened I am by the mere existence of this group – the largest spontaneous online political movement we’ve seen yet in this new digital age of politics in Canada. I am heartened because the vitality of our democracy depends on the participation of its citizens, regardless of their political stripes. And your efforts and your numbers – over 200,000 of you so far – proves that Canadians truly are standing guard over our democratic traditions and institutions.
Some dismiss your efforts as nothing more than a click of a button. They are wrong. I know that your organizers have been volunteering their own time for several weeks to prepare Saturday’s rallies. And I know that thousands of you will be taking time off school and work, or away from your families to attend them. Anyone who pretends that those sacrifices don’t count is highly mistaken.
When this group first formed, your rallying cry was “Get back to work.” Well, on January 25, the day Parliament was set to resume, my entire caucus will be back on Parliament Hill for several weeks of roundtables and working sessions on job creation, veterans affairs, the environment, health – issues you care about. Issues that can’t wait.
And this Thursday, January 21, from 3 - 4pm, I will be holding an online town hall on my Facebook page. It’s part of a national conversation about this country’s future that includes all Canadians and recognizes the importance of open and honest debate. I encourage all members of CAPP to join us on http://www.facebook.com/michaelignatieff. I will be happy to answer any questions you might have.
When Stephen Harper shut down Parliament on December 30, he was counting on Canadians’ reacting with cynicism and indifference. You showed him that’s not who we are. You showed him that Canadians believe in their institutions and have clear, common sense expectations of their politicians: Get to work, work together and get the job done. It’s what’s expected of every Canadian all day long, and politicians should not live by a different set of rules.
I hope your important work these past few weeks means Stephen Harper gets that message loud and clear this Saturday.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Thursday, January 14, 2010
While I am still keeping abreast of what is happening in Haiti, the PM went a step too far today, so I am going to mention it.
Let me begin by saying that I think the military and our government have done a good job of getting relief to Haiti quickly. I was pleased to see today that they decided to match all donations made by Canadians (up to 50 million) and have also signalled that they will consider speeding up the immigration process. This is all good news that I don't think is diminished by what follows.
I first noticed that there were quite a few photo's appearing in papers and on TV of the Prime Minister on the phone, supposedly speaking with heads of state. Odd, I thought, but okay. Then yesterday, I was listening to the radio and was told that Michaelle Jean would be giving a statement at about 1420 I think, from Rideau Hall. Then it was moved to 1430, then as the clock ticked closer to 1500, the station said they had no idea what was going on and couldn't reach anyone to to find out.
Shortly thereafter, media was alerted to a photo-op only, (no reporters) in the PM's office. A video without sound, showed the GG along with the PM and various Ministers, discussing the issue around a table.
At that moment, I thought that someone in the PMO co-opted the GG and used the moment to present Harper. It chafed, but as I said, I pushed it aside and didn't want the cynical to take away from a disaster.
The GG did of course finally speak and while clearly shaken, she gave as powerful a statement as I have heard. Her statement certainly overshadowed anything the PM had done or said.
So, here we are, another day and more tragic news coming by the hour and what do we learn? The PMO staged yet another photo op.
Update: I just received this message from the PMO marked “Urgent.”
OTTAWA – Public event for Prime Minister Stephen Harper for Thursday, January 14th is:
3:00 p.m. – Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mrs. Laureen Harper will make a donation to the Canadian Red Cross
Crass doesn't begin to describe what this is. Whether it is the brainchild of one of the PM's staff or he thought of it himself can't be known, but either way, it is the lowest form of politics. I'm not sure it gets worse than riding on the back of tragedy to enhance your own image.
If you haven't already done so, please consider donating today by choosing one of the organisations outlined here.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
The rationale for prorogation shifts by the hour. There is no real narrative and the more MP's and Ministers that come forward to proclaim, the more ridiculous they sound. Oh, that includes the PM btw, who in my opinion, has made some of the most ridiculous comments, that are promptly shot down. Not just by the opposition mind you, but by people who know of what they speak.
Tonight I watched MP Glover on Power and Politics. I apologise for this, but I burst out laughing as she spoke.
Now, I have to say that I had pegged her for a cabinet appointment, if there is going to be a shift. Not because she is bright, she's not. Not because she has expertise, she doesn't. What she has is a tenacity that the Harper government loves. She speaks to the camera and parrots the party line like no one's business. That, in my opinion, gets you to cabinet, sadly.
Tonight though was something to behold and a tough one to dissect. She was asked by Evan Solomon what she had to say about Tom Flanagan's comments last night on the show. You remember right? He confirmed that Harper was making ridiculous childish comments re' prorogation and everyone knew that he was avoiding the Afghanistan issue.
Her response? I don't know who this Tom Flanagan person is, but he is a Canadian, I assume, who has the right to his opinion...or something like that.
Really? There are two ways to go here. She has either been fed that line by the PMO to deflect the damage Flanagan did yesterday, or she seriously doesn't know. I'm going with the latter because it tells me more about who runs for the party and who supports them.
You see, I don't believe many in the party, elected or followers, really understand what Harper stands for, believes in, or has promoted most of his adult life. I think people identify as Conservative, for real or imagined reasons and really have no conception of what this new party, led by this man, means. Flanagan is very much the architect for god's sake and to not know who he is, well, that is gob smacking.
I've watched Glover because she was new and was quickly placed in front of the camera. She had experience at that. But she soon showed me that she is a partisan without any depth and has a nasty streak that suits the party to a tee. Tonight confirmed that.
If you want to run for Stephen Harper and his party, don't you think you should know something about him? Who is Tom Flanagan? Really?
This my friends I think is as telling as it gets.
The Conservatives are in the weeds, pushing out nobodies that have nothing to offer and it all makes me wonder why has it taken so long for the reality of it all to be exposed?
Something tells me there will be more and it will contribute to the theatre of the absurd.