Friday, February 29, 2008

Censorship or Erosion of the Arts?

To those who still believe that the Con's cannot do any damage to this country with a minority government, think again.

The Conservative government has drafted guidelines that would allow it to pull financial aid for any film or television show that it deems offensive or not in the public's best interest – even if government agencies have invested in them.

The proposed changes to the Income Tax Act would allow the Heritage Minister to deny tax credits to projects deemed offensive, effectively killing the productions. Representatives from Heritage and the Department of Justice will determine which shows or films pass the test.

While I'm not yet sure what the guidelines are going to be and who precisely is going to enforce them, this makes me really uncomfortable. From the article, it seems that bureaucrats will be in charge, though Charles McVety said in an interview with Duffy tonight that it will be an appointed board. (Boy, that interview was beyond creepy. There was little doubt where Duffy stands. 5th vid on the Duffy show.)

From the article:

A well-known evangelical crusader is claiming credit for the federal government's move to deny tax credits to TV and film productions that contain graphic sex and violence or other offensive content.

Charles McVety, president of the Canada Family Action Coalition, said his lobbying efforts included discussions with Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day and Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, and "numerous" meetings with officials in the Prime Minister's Office.

Day and Nicholson apparently do recall meeting with him. Right. It's pretty well known what kind of access McVety has to this government. Anyone familiar with him knows that he is waaay out there, except the Con's apparently.

Mr. McVety said films promoting homosexuality, graphic sex or violence should not receive tax dollars, and backbench Conservative MPs and cabinet ministers support his campaign.

Fantastic! Gay and Lesbian tax payers aren't allowed to have a voice in telling their story? As for graphic sex and violence, well how subjective is that?

More than censorship though, which trust me is disgusting to me, I see a real peril for our arts community. Canada needs more exposure in the world, not less and currently vast sectors of that business still require financial assistance. Europeans love our films and increasingly we are being recognised at Festivals in the States, not to mention the Oscars.

I know that the article mentions that the Liberals intended to review the guidelines too but consider who the Ministers were then, compared to now. Irwin Cotler who is all about rights versus Nicholson who is all about taking them away. Liza Frulla who can be interesting at times but is all about expansion of the Arts compared to Josee Verner who is happy cutting funding to women's groups, let alone standing up for the rights of gays.

No, this is dangerous to me and as much as the Cadman story will stay in the limelight, the Liberal Party would be remiss not to address this issue. The influence by stealth that the far right is having on our system is not to be ignored, indeed it is to exposed and stopped.

Changing the Story

I think perhaps the Con's have begun to realise that their story just wasn't holding up, so now they are trying a new spin.

With tapes of Harper out there for all to hear, the Conservatives are now saying that they have been doctored. They've had their copy analysed. (Do they keep tape analysts on staff? That would have been handy around the Grewal affair don't you think?) Anyway, that's the direction they are going in now. By Fife's description, it sounds as if the author may have tried to clean the tape up because of ambient noise, but who knows.

The thing is, if you've watched the author of the book interviewed, he doesn't strike me as someone with an axe to grind. To be honest, he seems more focused on getting Cadman's story out there than anything else as he keeps referring to the fact that this story is only 2 pages of the whole book. Well, I guess it's just one more thing that we'll have to wait for.

Meanwhile, more family members are confirming Cadman's story. This time it's his son-in-law.

Another member of Chuck Cadman’s family is confirming the story in a soon-to-be-published book that the Conservatives offered the Surrey MP a million dollar life insurance policy just before a key budget vote in 2005.
"Well it's not really what I think, it's pretty much what I know. I could speculate about a whole bunch of things but I’m not going to do that but I can tell you that according to Chuck when he did get back from Ottawa he did specifically tell me this offer was made."

Also, there is another interview with Cadman where he talks about offers and when you consider the frenzy around his vote at the time, I suspect every media outlet is buried deep in their archives.

Something tells me this story is going to take a number of twists and turns.

More from Chuck Cadman's daughter.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Are Canadians Getting it Yet?

With each passing day, a little more of who and what the Con's really represent seeps out. Some days it has to do with what I consider to be bad or dangerous policy, on other's it has more to do with the character of the Party and it's members.

Today, it's the latter. By now I'm sure all of you have read or heard the Chuck Cadman story. Allegedly, Tom Flanagan and Doug Findlay, offered Mr. Cadman a $1,000,000.00 life insurance policy to change his famous vote on May 19, 2005. Dona Cadman has corroborated the story (her interview here below the article).

"The Tories actually walked in with a list of offers written down on a piece of paper. Included in their proposal was a $1-million life insurance policy - no small carrot for a man with advanced cancer," the book states.
Dona Cadman, who is now running for the Conservatives in the Vancouver-area riding of Surrey North, was not in the office at the time. But she says her husband was furious when he returned to their apartment. "Chuck was really insulted," she said in a telephone interview with The Globe yesterday. "He was quite mad about it, thinking they could bribe him with that."

You know, I thought it was pretty low when Harper and gang referred to some members of Parliament being Taliban sympathisers, lower still when he tried to tie Navdeep Bains to the Air India affair, but the thought of bribing a dying man with $1M worth of life insurance is about as disgusting as it gets.

Should we be surprised? Under normal circumstances yes, but there is nothing normal about the Con's, these Con's. Beginning with the Grewal Affair, it's pretty clear that there are some ugly elements in that party. There of course have been other allegations of this sort. Allegedly Jim Hart was offered something to step aside for Stockwell Day, Ezra Levant, same thing, to step aside for Stephen Harper and Allan Riddell apparently had a deal with the con's for $50,000. to step aside for Alan Cutler. I don't think anything has been proven in the first two cases, though an Ontario Superior Court Judge did rule that there was a deal made in the Riddell case. To be clear, Riddell didn't receive the money because the Con's reneged on the deal.

Anyway, all of that to say there is an unusual, disturbing pattern here. Not surprisingly, Harper is denying all of this and stating that Cadman himself admitted himself that no offer was made. He's depending on a tape of Cadman when he speaks to Mike Duffy. Harper claims that Cadman clearly says that this allegation never took place. Let's look at what Mr. Cadman actually said shall we?

Duffy opens by noting that Craig Oliver reported that Cadman had been visited by Conservative operatives ...and they were prepared to offer you an unopposed nomination if you would vote with them and also help out with campaign financing and so on.

Cadman: Well, there was some talk about that as far as the unopposed nomination, you know, there was, the discussion did come up, yea, yea.

Duffy: So they were making an offer to you and in the end you refused.

Cadman: Yea, well you know that was the only offer on anything that I had from anybody so you know there was no offers on the table up to that point from any Party.

Where does Cadman say that nothing else was discussed? In fact he says the unopposed conversation came up, which implies that much more was discussed, does it not? He does say that was the only offer on the table, but, he never once told Duff all that the offer entailed. Listen for yourself here, first clip on the Duffy show.

I guess the most puzzling piece in all of this is that by Harper claiming that Cadman himself cleared everything up, he's suggesting that Dona Cadman is lying. She's running for Harper for heavens sake. To be honest, I find it odd that she is running for the Con's given how upset she said her husband was with the Party. Obviously, like all of us, she thinks for herself, but it's still odd. Believing that the Party you want to represent tried to bribe your husband, in what I would term an exploitative manner, perplexes me.

So, I'm back to where I started this post. How long exactly will it be before Canadians catch on to what this Party really is all about? Watching excerpts of CTV tells me it's going to be a while. Robert Fife started the dismissive, defend Harper parade first thing this morning on Canada AM. Later newscasters like Dan Matheson picked up the baton and finally it was passed to Mike Duffy who carried on the defense as you've seen in the above clip.

As long as this un-objective reporting goes on, Canadians are not being respected enough to make their own judgement. By that I mean, if you choose to watch FOX News, you know what you are getting. CTV is presented to the nation as non-bias and while some of it is and even some of their reporters are, it's clear much of it is not.

I spoke with an ethical reporter today, (whose identity I will respect), who suggested that it might be time for those in the business who do not want to be painted with the bias brush, to speak out about reporting that is not balanced. Let us hope that individual is successful in that plight.

Harper Tape - here
Article re' Cadman's daughter - here

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Unpalatable Choices

So the reviews of the Budget and the respective performances of the Liberals and Conservatives are in. The usual media suspects spout their predictable theories and none seem willing or able to look past what they have convinced themselves of.

Flaherty did what he had poison pill...good strategy...Dion faced with a quandary...divided caucus...blah, blah, blah. Aside from the details of the budget, haven't we been reading the same story for a year now?
Let's shift it a bit for a minute. Do you really believe it's all sweetness and light in the Con caucus? Of course they do what they are told, are prevented from expressing themselves and don't talk to the press, but it would be impossible to believe that all caucus members are on the same page at all times. In fact, in spite of offering up the dullest budget in memory and one that obviously was designed not to trigger an election, Flaherty apparently was gung-ho for an election. Unfortunately his enthusiasm was at odds with Party strategy, so his voice was quashed.
How do I know that? Last week he was at the John Tory meeting/vote. Also in attendance were Tony Clement and John Baird. Apparently they were having a grand old time and Flaherty was in great spirits by all reports. At one point he was asked whether or not he thought the Budget would pass. His answer? I hope not! The three of them laughed. So, he was required to suppress his enthusiasm and present a Budget that dashed his hopes and I can only assume those of many others. Do we ever hear or read about that? Of course not.
Instead we hear/read the predictable about Dion, but there was a time when Harper was treated to the same narrative.
The highlight of Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper’s totally lackluster performance as leader of the official opposition had to been when the Liberal’s budget was voted upon.
When it came time for the voting, Harper’s conduct went from the shameful to the absurd. The Conservatives introduced a motion that criticized government spending on Kyoto and the gun registry. Then the more politically astute Bloc Quebecois hinted that they might support the motion. Uh oh! The motion could pass and bring down the government. So Harper had some members of his caucus not show up for the vote to ensure that their motion would be defeated.
The coup de grace of the Tory budget shenanigans came when the main budget was to be voted on. Harper had his entire caucus abstain from the vote
(Canadian Free Press - March, 2005)
It seems to me that the Ottawa Press seem unable to escape their own sound loop. Wouldn't some creativity be refreshing? (There are exceptions to the rule it should be said, but they are few and far between.) Refreshing yes, but unlikely, so for the time being we are again reading that the Liberals are pacing back and forth and deciding their fate.
Look, I know it's frustrating right now and I would like nothing better than to throw the Con's out, but I'm torn to be honest. I agree that the optics around abstaining are not good, but if the Party is not ready for an election and if it doesn't feel that the conditions are there to win, what would be the point? Wouldn't the already silly chatter simply shift to a new narrative on how naive Dion is to force an election at a time when no indicators suggest he could win? Wouldn't that narrative dog him throughout an election?
Not only are there no clear signs that now would be a good time to go, I can't see anything in the Budget to really go on. The Lib's didn't get what they wanted, but the Con's did throw some money at Lib proposals. If the Lib's had a really strong question to go to the electorate with, something that would clearly differentiate them from the Con's, the media narrative would turn to that. I don't recall the last election being run on the fact that Harper abstained. I don't think a clear difference is only important with respect to the Con's btw. I think it would also serve to tone down the NDP rhetoric.
With respect to those who differ, I think to argue that we've just missed our best chance, is not thinking into the future. It may be difficult to think of what our best chance might be, but every time the House sits, something rears it's ugly head.
With the Con's increasingly adopting Liberal positions, I think we have to highlight that fact and tick off the far right of the Con party. At the same time, look for where they did not go far enough and wait for the evidence of that to surface, because it will. Something that presents solid strategy to run on.
Rather than fracture the Party further, let's just realise that the Party had little choice at this point and we have to focus on future strategy . Are we in an ideal position? No, but isn't it more productive to move forward than to reinforce the ridiculous narrative that is already out there?
I'm quite sure that most Canadians are not sitting down to dinner tonight discussing the pros and cons of abstaining from a vote. We who follow the minutia may analyse the unpalatable details, but most families are more concerned with how good their dinner tastes and how their day was.
My real question is this though. Where are the voices who supported Dion and how loud are you in caucus?
Update: ottlib has a brilliant post on this, imo.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Keep Lying but Canadians Don't Seem to Be Buying

I suppose we will see more of the ridiculous advertising that Prentice trotted out last week. In fact I heard one journalist say that Harper and his gang has dozens of these kinds of ad's just waiting to be rolled out.

Though we know that the ad is one big lie, the question is do they work? To an extent yes. Most of those in the know always say that we hate them, but unfortunately they are successful. I'm not so sure that is an absolute and would say that it depends on the ad. If it's negative but true, it's effect would be stronger than if it's a lie and is shown to be untrue.

For that reason, I think it's good that McGuinty is going after Prentice and taking apart the ad, line by line. McGuinty can be melodramatic, but at least he's telling the truth. If there are more ads to come, they should be dissected in the same way and the Con's should be shown for the liars they are.

That said, there is some good news here. Based on the most recent Nanos Poll, it doesn't look like Canadians are buying the lies.

Turning Point?

We'll see.

h/t to Far and Wide.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Women in Politics

Stephane Dion has been criticised for appointing, some women, in some ridings. He's doing this of course in an effort to meet his goal of having one third of Liberal candidates be female.

While we would all like the process of achieving this goal to involve only elections, I think at this stage it is premature to expect that to be realistic. Star candidates come to the fore and sometimes the right to appoint should be exercised, in order to achieve not only your goal of candidates, but to make real change in the make up of the Party and Parliament.

The most recent appointment is Dr. Kirsty Duncan. From Dion's announcement:

“Kirsty is an extremely accomplished person. She is an internationally-renowned health expert on pandemic influenza, global warming and the environment. She was on the team of Nobel Prize winning Canadians for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Kirsty is a professor, author of two books, and a sought-after speaker at international conferences.”

She's obviously someone that would be nice to have on the team. Could she have won a nomination race? I think so, but the demographic of the area has changed and apparently Cullen, whom she is replacing was undermined somewhat by the riding association. I read yesterday that it was replaced rather unceremoniously in 2006 I think, and Cullen was caught of guard. Damned if I can find the article though.

That said, while I admire Cullen for his service, he was becoming a relic. He is of the Manley ilk. Hawks in the Party still exist, but those who survive are able to adapt to the reality of contemporary thinking. He seemed somewhat adverse to that.

Anyway, back to the point. In appointing another woman, Dion has actually exceeded his goal. With this appointment the percentage of female Liberal candidates is at 36%. That's good news in my view. For those who are screaming about the process, 79 women are candidates and only 4 have been appointed.

What that tells me is that many Liberal women have risen to the challenge, 95% in fact and when Dion saw a star he reacted in an effort to change the complexity of parliament. I don't see that as a bad thing.

If every woman was appointed I would see that as a major problem, not just for the Lib's but for the country. That's not the case though. My desire is to have every woman fight for the candidacy, but we aren't there yet sadly and I think criticism of Dion is ill founded and not productive.

Media looking for news here are not being honest about the state of what is. The Con's have a mere 16% of their candidates who are women. In the world, we are ranked 47th I think as it relates to how many female parliamentarians comprise our Commons. I believe we are below Rwanda and Afghanistan.

Media. If there is a way to change this, why shouldn't it be done? These people if elected still need to perform to stay there, so let's watch these 4. Let's make decisions then.

My advice would be back off your faux indignation and look at really is going on in the country under Harper. Somehow you seem to miss that.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Propaganda? Here in Canada?

There was an interesting opinion piece in the Globe today. It laid bare something frankly even I hadn't expected from the Conservatives.

The story lays out how a group, the Conference of Defence Associations, receives money from DND.

...a think tank that got $500,000 from DND last year. That money comes not with strings, but with an entire leash. A current DND policy reads that to receive money, CDA must "support activities that give evidence of contributing to Canada's national policies." Apparently, if CDA's activities were neutral and unbiased, or even-handedly supported and questioned government policy, DND would refuse to pay!

Maybe some of you are shrugging your shoulders and perhaps you aren't surprised that a think tank would receive money from the government. After all, it's well known that some are very partisan, but this group specifically claims that they are non-partisan and independant. Nowhere do they tell the public that they are receiving funds from the government.

Nonetheless, Maclean's got CDA's executive director, Colonel Alain Pellerin, to admit that the contract obliges it "to write a number of op-eds to the press" -- propaganda paid for by you and me.

So members of this group are mandated by the government to affect the public dialogue by appearing to be non-partisan when in reality they are being paid to be just that. That my friends, is propaganda!

It doesn't stop there though. Nope, it gets worse.

More disturbing still is the manner in which DND spends money to elicit friendly comment by Canadian scholars.

Most people would find it strange that DND sponsors the salaries, research, travel and tuition of dozens of professors, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students. But DND's Security and Defence Forum does exactly this. The list of Canadian universities getting over half a million dollars of SDF money is extensive: York University ($580,000), UQAM ($630,000), Wilfrid Laurier University ($630,000), Université Laval ($655,000), McGill ($680,000), UBC ($680,000), University of Manitoba ($680,000), UNB ($680,000), Carleton University ($780,000), Dalhousie University ($780,000), University of Calgary ($780,000) and Queen's University ($1,480,000).

What's the money for? It's not for the technical work that militaries obviously require -- building better airplanes, for example. Instead, it sponsors policy scholars, who create the ideas, news and views that shape Canadians' perception of the military and the war. And the evidence suggests that the military and government have politicized some SDF grants.

The same bureaucrat who administers SDF grants to scholars also manages DND's liaison with cabinet and Parliament. When DND needs a kind word in Parliament or the media -- presto! -- an SDF-sponsored scholar often appears, without disclosing his or her financial link.

One such Professor testified to a committee before Parliament that Afghanistan was the right mission for Canada and described that bumbling idiot O'Connor as and incredible success. He went on of course to speak to the years of neglect by the Liberals pertaining to the military. Fair enough, he's entitled to an opinion, but he didn't disclose that he was being paid by the government he was defending, nor that he was required to hold that opinion in order to receive these funds. Don't you think that makes a difference in how you receive his evidence? Of course it does.

These payments are deemed secret by the government. Why? Because they have been reviewed by the Cabinet, so they now they fall under Cabinet secrecy guidelines. Think about that for a minute. Why would funding to a non-partisan group be considered secret? It wouldn't be of course, but with clear directives to be partisan of course would.

This is more than disturbing to me. We watch polls, we see bias in the media, we see public opinion not rejecting this government and I've been asking myself why for a very long time. The Conservative base holds only 1/3 of the country's view. 2/3'rds of the country is left of their thinking, yet they do not seem to reject Harper and his governance.

I keep asking the question, how can this be? Well, this article by Amir Attaran tells us quite a bit doesn't it? When you control what the public receives as conventional wisdom, you control the people. This particular subject is Attaran's bailiwick, but it has me wondering where else this is going on.

Sadly, I haven't seen this article picked up on anywhere. Blog's and political talk shows seemed to ignore it. That in itself says something. Have we become so inured that we are now complicit in this disgusting practice? I hope not, but the evidence doesn't lean in my favour.

Propaganda in Canada. A catchy phrase and sadly perhaps a catchy practice. Harper has stooped lower than even I thought he could and Canadians seem to be buying. What a tragedy.

For the record, I heard Attaran interviewed today and he said this did not happen under the Liberals.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Holding Up the Crime Bill in the Senate

Stockwell Day was on Duffy tonight, expanding his lies once more, (4th vid). Richardson attempts to challenge him but doesn't go to the facts.
I'm not going to back in history to set it straight, I've done that in previous posts. I did watch some of the hearings today though and it's clear that this Bill, has many flaws. Witness after witness pointed them out. Then the government witness appeared. This would be a professor Gary Mauser. I urge you to google this guy. His stance is clear. He's not anti-gun and bends numbers for a living.
Day in his interview speaks to the Bill giving police the ability to prevent adult predators, going after children. Their assumption is that longer terms will prevent the crime in the first place. The logic is so failed, indeed illogical, because all it really does is provide the judiciary to react more harshly after the fact. Pedophiles do not consider consider what the ramifications of their actions might be, they consider the risk of being caught.
The Con's will tell you that this Bill is all about prevention, but it's patterned after the US model which is focused on incarceration and their crime rate is increasing. Our's at the moment is stable. Yes there is more youth crime, but shouldn't that be a clue where we should be focused? Prevention. These kids do not read the criminal code. They aren't deterred by sentencing. They are all about not getting caught and more police presense has a role there. The Con's promised more but they have not delivered. Day say's that they have put programs in place. I'm not aware of them. If you are, tell me.
What really ticked me off was Mauser's claim that a gun ban in the UK had not decreased gun crime. According to UK stat's, that was a lie. Why does everyone on the right lie?
Must they to defend their positions? I say yes. As I said in a reply to my last post, imperical evidence means nothing to to the Con's. They are about ideology, not facts. Their ideology is so narrow it fails to address issues, it only looks to what they hope they can shape into popular reaction. They are masters at presenting what is false to be the truth of the nation.
I know there was a poll tonight that suggested the country is going in the right direction. I'll say this. It's going in a Right direction and those who were asked the question either haven't been paying attention, or the question was too broad and likely had a preamble that would sway the answer.
Will the Bill pass in the Senate? Likely, but there may be ammendments. How will Stockie react to that? Who knows. He's an ideologue with bizarre views. Facts mean nothing to him.
Is the Senate holding up the crime Bill? No. Will they? No. Fact's get in the way though and Day is fighting them. Imagine that.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

It's Simple, We Don't Believe in Science

Not that this is newsy really, because I think the Con's have been pretty clear from the beginning that they have no respect for the scientific community but it's bizarre to me in 2008.

They, the Con's, seem incapable of discerning the difference between holding an opinion and basing a conclusion on fact. They equate the two and often raise the spectre that there should be debate on both sides of an issue, when of course there aren't two sides. There is a myraid of opinion of course but that is not the same thing.

I know you open yourself up to being called an elitist when you bring something like this up, but I seriously question if they have the intellect to comprehend the difference. Perhaps they do and are simply using 'words' in a Frank Luntz sort of way to make it seem as if they have a reasonable case. I suppose as well, there could be a faction of these individuals that are religiously motivated to reject science, so they hop on the band wagon too.

Anyway, we've seen this behaviour often as it relates to Climate Change, Evolution, (where the smartest guy on their side thinks he's gotcha when he tells you it's a 'theory'), and many other areas. Our current government has certainly shown their stripes as it relates to the environment, the recent ousting of the National Science Advisor and I have long suspected the same pattern vis a vis their war on drugs.

Today, we have a little more clarity on their stance on that subject. They apparently do not understand the difference between a lobby group and scientific fact. Imagine that!

In the latest salvo in the battle over Vancouver's controversial safe drug injection site, leading researchers are criticizing the Harper government for not differentiating between legitimate science and a report endorsed by a U.S. law-and-order lobby group.

"Alarmingly", they say, Health Minister Tony Clement has been citing the lobby group report as evidence of growing "academic debate" over the safe injection site.

While it perhaps is alarming, it's hardly surprising is it? Consider how they ignore facts on every issue. Crime is decreasing, yet they say it's on the rise. The facts suggest that money should be poured into crime prevention, they pour it into incarceration. The Taser debate requires much more research, yet they call the creator of the product to committee as their witness. Security Certificates and their ineffective/bias/anti-Charter stance as proclaimed by the Supreme Court. The Con's react by proposing a system that has been shown to be ineffective. (For the record, I'm calling the Lib's out on that one for letting it pass).

Back to the subject at hand:

In a report published Monday in a British medical journal, they say advancing evidence-based public health in Canada "will now require that politicians are able to tell the difference between valid peer-reviewed science and essays posted on the websites of lobby groups."

The lobby group, the Drug Free America Foundation, is dedicated to strengthening laws to hold drug users and dealers criminally accountable for their actions. The group's online journal, "which to the untrained eye could easily be mistaken for a scientific journal," disseminates material and essays that oppose the concept of harm reduction, researchers Drs. Evan Wood, Julio Montaner and Thomas Kerr say in an article published Monday in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, a British medical journal.

The untrained eye comment reinforces my earlier comment that either they do not have the knowledge/intelligence to appreciate the difference or they are willfully turning a blind eye.

"If the health minister equates a report from an RCMP-funded, advocacy group to 24 peer-reviewed scientific papers including articles in the New England Journal of Medicine, then Canadians need to be worried about the person who is in charge of public health in this country," Wood said in an interview Monday.

Believe me, most of us are.

Monday, February 18, 2008

What is Taking Harper So Long?

It is odd to me that Harper has yet to declare on Kosovo. What do you think is holding him up?

Fear of how Quebec, specifically the separtists, will react? He is obviously very sensitive to how Quebec reacts to his government, so perhaps that is it.

He required Dion's help to develop his Quebec is a Nation statement so perhap's he waiting for him to declare to take his cue.

Well, Dion has declared so let's see if Harper reacts in kind and perhaps with the same sentiment. Maybe even the same verbiage.

Kosovo has a long road ahead. It may not be the perfect solution, but their options were limited. We can only hope for peace and more importantly some prosperity ahead.

You Can't Have it Both Ways

In yet another story about the propaganda that the Con's are desparately trying to peddle Prentice say's something rather interesting:

But the Tories are trying to sever any public perception that Mr. Dion is part of the same party that rescued Ottawa's finances a decade ago, saying he's no Paul Martin.

"The Liberals who administered the country in the past are different than the Liberals under Mr. Dion," Mr. Prentice said, advising reporters to be wary if Liberals "try to take you back in a time machine and claim they are the party that slew the deficit."

Let me get this straight. They spend most of their time suggesting that the Liberal's are the same old deal and have learned nothing from ad-scam, but now when it's convenient, they suggest this is not the same Party. He goes on to say:

He said proof of how the party has changed is the fact that former Ontario premier Bob Rae has a key role in it, suggesting that Mr. Dion will copy Mr. Rae's deficit-spending record.

Huh? I don't know the Con's run their cabinet, but something tells me that Harper did not make previous spending decisions based on advice from Peter MacKay. Rae's the Foreign Affairs critic for heavens sake AND while it's nice of Prentice to assume his win before it happens, he's not in Ottawa everyday, he's campaigning for the by-election. Proof? What a ridiculous statement.

Then this:

"The Dion Liberals only know one approach to government: taxes and spending, deficits and debt - the approach that Mr. Rae used to nearly sink Ontario while he was the NDP premier of that province."

Since Dion has never formed government it's remarkable that Prentice knows what his approach to running one would be. The irony of course in citing Rae is the obvious real comparison of what our current Finance Minister did to Ontario. If Rae was the Leader, I could see them using this strategy, but in the real world this is just sophomoric.

Thankfully the Globe journalist, Steven Chase, isn't buying the drivel and makes a point to clear up the misleading information in both the ad and the spiel.

One reason the Conservatives can even raise the spectre of a return to deficits today is they've tapped the treasury heavily for tax breaks and spending since taking power in 2006.

They've nearly emptied Ottawa's coffers of spare cash by taking about $30-billion worth of annual government revenue and doling it out in tax cuts and spending, including $12-billion in reductions to the goods and services tax.

It was former Liberal finance minister Paul Martin who brought an end to 27 years of budget deficits when he balanced Ottawa's books in 1997-1998. Liberals also reduced federal debt by $68.1-billion before losing power in 2006.


The Tories also released a video, ridiculing the Liberal Leader, that includes repeated use of a clip of him saying "megatonnes of money," as if to suggest he will be a big spender. At one point, the video displays text that reads, "The true cost of Stéphane Dion?" Then it plays the clip and follows this up by displaying the figure $62.5-billion.

But the quote comes from speeches Mr. Dion has given where he says he wants Canada to grow rich by becoming a leader in environmental technology that helps reduce greenhouse gas output.

"Yes, Canada will cut megatonnes of emissions, but we will also make megatonnes of money," is the full quote Mr. Dion has used in speeches.

It's nice to see some clarity in the MSM.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

If the CBC Won't Bite, Go to the CTV Safehouse

Yesterday I wrote about the message Brian Jean tried to put out on the CBC. As I mentioned, he made a mess of it so today, the big guns came out.

Jim Prentice was on Question Period today trying to put across the same message, this time armed with a slick publication that apparently 'costs' the Liberal plan. He also got a free airing of another juvenile ad that they just produced, courtesy of CTV.

Think about that for a second. A government taking the time to produce a speculative costing of the opposition's plans and creating ad's outside of a campaign? Something tells me this is more than their usual nastiness. For instance why is Prentice out there selling this lie? Wouldn't the Minister of Finance be a more logical choice than a Minister of Industry? Of course, Flaherty's messaging isn't very good is it? Harry Potter anyone? Prentice is able to keep calm most of the time and he tightly controls his message. In fact, he sounded like an automaton, repeating at every opportunity that the Liberals would put the country into a deficit.

So, aside from their expected juvenile behaviour, what is driving this? I suspect that it has to do with the fact that every policy statement that Dion has put out, from Environment, Child Poverty, Infrastructure, Kelowna, etc., has been overwhemingly positively received by stakeholders. The Con record on the other hand, not so good. They've ticked off cities, mayors, Premiers, Aboriginal Groups, Income Trust Investors, parents who require daycare, Environmental Groups, and the list goes on.

What's really frustrating is the fact that they are given a national platform to lie and they do it without shame. Who does that in life? In this case though, I think they've taken a step too far. Obviously the Liberals are not about to plunge the country into deficit or debt, (Prentice interchanged the two words today which was bizarre) and now that the Con's have handed the Lib's a document that they can go through line by line and say, this is a lie, this is a lie, etc., they can be exposed for the posturing liars they are with ease. It's in black and white.

In the interview, Prentice said it was time to force the Liberals to document and inventory their plans for Canadians. What? Why? Who the hell is Prentice to force the Opposition to do that prior to an Election? Are the Con's so devoid of ideas and how to implement them that they need Lib's to lead them by the hand? Apparently.

No, this government is in trouble me thinks and as a result, so is the country. They have increased spending by 15% in two years. Tax cuts, crime bills and terra is all they have. Any more time with them at the helm is bad news for all of us. I think the upcoming budget is going to be mighty interesting and perhaps will be precisely the right time to take the liars down.

The term 'nervous nellies' is being used to describe the doves in the Lib caucus. I think the term may more aptly apply to the Con's at this point. A stunt like Prentice pulled today may just be enough to rally the Lib troops.

The interview can be found here, (click on the link below the LaPierre article, look to the right for the Prentice vid. A reaction from John McCallum here.

Far and Wide also speaks to this subject here.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Comic Relief has Already Been Booked for the Next Election

This is Brian Jean. He is the Con MP for Athabasca and the Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of Transportation, Infrastructure and Communities. He was on CBC Radio's, The House today reacting to Stephane Dion's infrastructure announcement. It was hilarious, ridiculous and really something to look forward to during the next election. I was laughing so hard at the ludicrous answers that I had trouble hearing the interview. Thankfully the CBC audio archive their shows, so I was able to go back and listen again.

The interview went something like this:

Kathleen Petty asked Jean about his reaction to the Dion plan. He opened with talk is cheap...they had 13 yrs. to address the issue... and the Con's inherited $130 billion deficit in this country. Note, he didn't say infrastructure deficit. No, he said deficit. Mistake or Frank Luntz media training? Oh and for the record the Federation of Canadian Municipalities put the number at $123 billion, but what's $7 billion among friends?

He then went on to say that fortunately the Con's were elected and they are implementing plans to deal with the situation. Here again, look at the language. They are implementing plans, not creating them. That is because almost all of them were initiated and implemented by the Liberals. When confronted with that inconvenient truth, Jean again says that the Lib's had 13 years and did nothing, ignoring the obvious fact that the Lib's did implement. All the Con's are doing is not slashing these particular programs and taking credit for them. Laughing yet? No? That's okay, that's just the chuckle material. It gets better.

He ended that thought with this, let's face it, Mr. Dion's position would place Canada in a deficit position. Good grief! Jean almost owed me a new lap top. Drinking coffee and listening to this guy in front of a computer is not recommended.

I'm an artist and we're not traditionally known for our acumen of all things financial, but even I know if we are speaking about the allocation of a surplus, we are not in a deficit position. Petty rightly called him on it. To which he replied, the reality is they do not manage properly. Huh? I don't where this guy has been living for the past decade, but apparently he had an awful lot of blue Kool-Aid.

He went on. Liberal management plans are not good and uh, they would run us into deficit. You know, I understand that the Con's in Canada today are trying to ride on the back of the conservative wave that occurred in the US, but they have missed their moment in time. Anachronists is who they are. They are using trite expressions that worked to get Bush in and they expect Canadians to buy trite phrases such as Liberals are big spenders and Con's are the Party that keep spending in check. Our current goventent is the spendiest in all time

What's the deficit in the States now? 400 Billion? Where was it when Clinton left office? What did the Lib's inherit from Mulroney? A $42 Billion deficit. Who has managed money in this country in recent history? Are you kidding me? Con's really believe this crap?

It gets worse, he references Trudeau, so the new narrative apparently goes way back in time. Brian Jean say's that the Con's came into power with Trudeau's legacy and sure fixing that doesn't happen in one or two years. Huh? again. He apparently missed the additional debt that Mulroney piled on this nation.

The nail in his coffin though was this. Petty again said what Dion is proposing is dealing with surplus, so deficit is not an issue. Jean again spoke to Liberal plans and tax cut's by the Con's. When she interjected and asked how does that deal with infrastructure? Jean said something like this.

Well, it creates an environment of tax, system to operate, pay into the fiscal government plan so we have money to operate and we can survive on an International basis. Head's up Jean. Cutting taxes does NOT give you more money. Is this man for real? This is who we have as a parliamentary secretary to the Minister? Does he or do they have any idea what they are doing? Tax cuts will give the government more money. What an idiot.

So, if an election is called we have idiots to deal with.

Not all Lib's are to be touted, but really, you put this guy on national news? I say take the bit out of their mouths and you'll really see how stupid this Party, the Conservative Party is.

The real question is how smart are Canadians?

If you doubt what I say, here is the link to the interview. Click on listen. It runs to about 9 minutes.

Bring in the clowns.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Looking Forward

Stephane Dion experienced some short-lived relief from the usual suspects in the media. It would seem however that they, the media are just chomping at the bit for an election, so they are back to telling us what is going to happen and offering their advice to Dion and Harper.

Whatever. I'm much happier to read about real strategy and a view of how this country should be moving forward, what it should look like.

Today Stephane Dion released a plan to address the failing infrastructure in the country.

A Liberal government would spend any windfall surpluses beyond $3-billion on fixing Canada's failing infrastructure, Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion promised Friday.

Mr. Dion's windfalls-for-potholes pledge is a direct attack on the Conservative government's refusal to fork out more cash to fix what Canadian mayors have described as an infrastructure crisis.

”Canada is facing an aging population. We will not pass onto our children crumbling bridges, leaky water pipes and insufficient public transit,” Mr. Dion told a Federation of Canadian Municipalities meeting in Ottawa.

I haven't looked at the plan closely but at first blush it looks promising. The word visionary is thrown around far to often, but having a vision of what Canada could look like with the right programs in place is important. In contrast, Harper has an ideology on how and when government should involve itself, but as to how Canada would look is not on his radar in that he'd allow market forces etc. to figure that out. That attitude of course completely ignores the reality of what we face today and while it provides a vision for those of us who disagree with this ideology, vision is not something that he can claim. He has no intellectual ability to move the country forward. He simply lives in the narrow mindset that less government is good, regardless of the impact on the country which completely ignores all of it's history. He may be clever, but I don't call that bright.

Interesting to me are his followers. I'm not convinced that they really understand what he'll bring. They call the Lib's divided, but take a look at the Con's. Libertarians, PC's, Alliance, Reform etc. They all have different agendas. Harper is trying to sate them all, so he throws them crumbs and tells them to shut up and be grateful. I suspect there are a few who are saying, 'Please Sir, I want more', but the media cannot explore the divides in that Party, they are shut out. Gee, I wonder why there is so focus on the Lib's who let them in?

Back to the subject, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities seems to think Dion has a great plan.

The following statement was released today by the President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), Winnipeg Councillor Gord Steeves, in response to the announcement this morning by the Hon. Stéphane Dion, Leader of the Opposition, to delegates at FCM’s Sustainable Communities Conference in Ottawa.

“The message from Mr. Dion to Canadians today is as simple as it is powerful: ‘Our cities and communities matter,’ and we applaud him. This may be one of the most significant federal policy announcements of the last decade. It is bold and it is visionary, with the potential to change the face of our country.

I mentioned yesterday that part of me doesn't want to give Harper what he wants and while I still feel that way, I noticed a lot of advice from journalists warning both Dion and Harper that now is not the time to go. In 2 instances, L. Ian MacDonald and Chantal Hebert, (no Dion fans they) referenced that Dion had been on Tout le monde en parle. Both made reference to the fact that the appearance helped him, though they offered the good news in their typical back handed way. Suprised? Not me.

In his column, MacDonald referred to the Nanos poll that shows how Dion is doing in Quebec and Ontario. Not good for Harper, in a phrase.

Lib's - 33%
Con's - 31%
NDP - 19%
Lib's - 43%
Con's - 31%
NDP - 19%
Con's - 23%
Lib's - 22%
NDP - 12%

In fact if you heard L. Ian MacDonald tonight on Duffy's show, he sounded downright panicked, lol. He spoke to how Harper needs more time to cozy up to Charest, but alas L. Ian, (who does that with their name?), your guy chose Dumont and that was a mistake. He was referring to the fact that the Lib's have a big machine on the the ground and the ADQ has nothing. L? Ian?, actually closed the interview with "Mr. Harper had better get with that!". In other words, Warning, warning, Will Robinson!

So here we are. There is something to be said about holding back and watching that trend line of the Con's continue to decline. At the same time seeing policy and seeing Dion on his own terms is a good thing. He and we need more of that.

BTW, if anyone has vid of Dion on the show, please send me a link. I did not know he was going to be on and I'm sorry I missed it. I watch it often and for some reason I did not that night.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Different Day, Same Narrative

It seems to me that every day since Stephane Dion became the Liberal leader, the media has asked the question, 'Are we going to have an election?' or 'When are we going to have an election?'.

It shows an incredible lack of intellect, imo, not to be addressing the real issues that are affecting this government, parliament and the country. Harper has been on a campaign since Dion won and due to ridiculous manuevering, proroguing etc., hasn't even passed much of what they campaigned on during the last election. It's ridiculous really. This country has been on hold frankly since Harper came to office and the media seem just fine with that. They seem more interested in the soap opera aspects of what goes on in Ottawa than what is of importance.

My honest guess is that Canadians have not followed all the nonsense that we who watch see, but at the same time, nor have not been served by the paucity of real information that media provides. There are examples of course of media who do speak to real issues.

Susan Delacourt not that long ago on Politics had the courage to say that Harper's government doesn't tell the truth. That was a true and powerful statement that few have had the honesty or temerity to say. When you look at Harper's record, his platform, in spite of the Con's telling us a fairy story, he and his team have been lying about accomplishments and lying about the opposition.

So, here we are. CTV, that terrible left leaning, (cough), media, is telling us once again that Harper is manufacturing his governments fall. Anyone with 2 brain cells knows that has been going for some time and indeed perhaps because of reports that Dion is putting pressure on the Party to pull the plug, it may happen.

I'm still of the mind that keeping Harper on the hot seat reveals his weaknesses but if it's not being reported properly, perhaps the time has come to have Liberals appear in prime time, uninterrupted, to get some truth out. Elections tend to do that. Con's, Harper and all the press obviously on the right express distortions of the man and perhaps it is time to present the real deal. It is becoming tiring to be honest.

That said, the more vindictive part of me would love to see the Con's spend ton's of money to gear up for an election, only to have Dion not capitulate.

What say you?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Those Who Agree With Dion, Come On Down

Well, after months of moaning and mewling and criticising, Mr. Harper seems to leaning toward adopting Stephane Dion's position on Afghanistan.
Mr. Harper said his government will seriously consider the Liberal proposals, which include an end to combat operations in 2009 and full troop withdrawal from Kandahar in February 2011.
Mr. Harper said the Liberal commitment to a continued military presence in the country post-2009 is “really very close to the government's position” and he raised the possibility the Conservatives would introduce a new motion on the matter.
I'm always a bit leery when Harper is consiliatory but I do hope there is concensus.
It's going to be interesting to see how Harper's supporters and MP's are going to spin this flip.
Update: France won't announce until Bucharest meeting.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Keeping it Simple Tonight

In the same way that Harper and whoever told him to wear this nonsense believed that he would fool people into thinking that he was a real good old boy from Calgary, he Harper, would also have us believe that he meant it when he set an American style term of office. Sorry, I meant to say election date.

That assertion was BS then and it's BS now. The Con's and some of their media supporters tout themselves as being strategic geniuses. In fact, this government seems to be in the business of producing much ado about nothing. Everything they put out and speak to is either phoney, specious or an out and out lie.

On this particular issue, going to the GG to fell the government, well it's just too transparent. A government hell bent on defeating itself has something to hide in my view.

But some constitutional experts say such a move would conflict with a federal law passed last year setting fixed-election dates. Under the law, which was introduced by the Harper government, the next federal election is slated for October, 2009, unless the opposition parties defeat the government before then.

"One could make a very strong argument to the Governor General to refuse his request because he's violating his own law," said Errol Mendes, a professor of constitutional and international law at the University of Ottawa.

An attempt to force an election would also violate the constitutional principle of Senate independence, noted Mendes. The Commons has no authority to compel the Senate to pass legislation, he said.

"Confidence motions are basically about the government of the day retaining the confidence of the House, not the Senate. It has nothing to do with the Senate, which is why there has never in the history of Canada been a motion such as this."

I hope the budget they produce is innocuous and one that we can let pass. Yes I know the NDP will accuse us of what nought but the more exposure of the inability of this government to do anything right is warranted in my view. Keep them in power just little bit longer and Canada will see who they are.

Harper, etal, has now shown that is what they fear, so let's give them that.

I know I've said we should go for an election now, but a little more time just might expose these morons fully. Canadians only now seem to be removing the scales from their eyes, (gawd was that a biblical reference?, lol), so let's help them in that painful endeavor. We can ease the pain by taking it a bit more slowly. In doing so, Canadians might just see what a sham this government is.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Afghanistan Misunderstood

I'm not an expert on Afghanistan by any means, but I do try to explore the issues and form opinions about what I've learned.

I accept that there are varying views on our mission and the mission in general and that is fair. Where I become annoyed is when people who are informed attempt to mislead the general public to serve their own needs and worse those who are not informed also attempt to do this and somehow feel qualified to make ridiculous statements that they have 'heard' and without investigation accept them to be true. To be frank, I do not know how you can live a life that way, let alone make decisions for a country. But that's just me.

Today, Afghanistan's Ambassador to Canada, Omar Samad warned that Canada must stay the course (hmmm, where have we heard that expression before?), in his country or we could face dire consequences. I understand why he wants continued international support and I am not adverse to assisting that country with respect to helping it get back, or perhaps I should say, get it to a time where they have a stable government and infrastructure. However, Samad seems to be making a plea not to leave completely, full stop. Well, unless he believes that Jack Layton is going to be the next PM, that is disingenuous.

Furthermore, to imply that the Taliban would simply take over again, then Al Qaeda will once again have safe haven and plot to hurt the West is ludicrous. Just where does he think they, Al Qaeda, are at the moment? Sitting back waiting for an invitation back after all these years and doing nothing until then? Obviously not. They are happily go about their evil work attacking the West where ever they feel able to so.

Afghanistan will not be abandoned by the West, so the Taliban (which is a pretty generic term by the way and does not apply to one homogeneous group), is not about to re-form government and their motives have nothing to do with the West. In that respect they are not aligned with Al Qaeda. Given how harbouring Al Qaeda turned out the last time around, it's hardly likely they'd repeat that error don't you think?

No, the Taliban are comprised of Pashtun tribes, half of the Afghanistan population and they the Pashtuns were largely excluded from what was called the fully democratic election in that country. It was not fully democratic, by that exclusion alone. It was a step in that direction, but Karzai, who is Pashtun btw but not extremist, was installed then protected, by the US. Without that support their government would fall like a house of cards cobbled by a 5 year old.

The Pashtun, (not the Taliban who were created incidentally by Pakistan's intelligence services), were the traditional ruling party. To suddenly be excluded from power, obviously would give rise to rebellion which is what are seeing happen. The Taliban as most are wont to label them now, were against the poppy trade. Now they support it, though it goes against their values, it provides cash.

Ohhhh, frustration showing on my part. I guess what I'm trying to say is, this is very complicated and we have it all wrong on this side of the world. What we are seeing is civil war, pre a real civil war if we were not there. It will not stop. I do not care if you put 100,00 troops versus 1000. Tribes, voices of a country that want to be heard but are being excluded from the process, will make their point by whatever means possible.

Think people. Think about Ireland, think about Palestine and Israel, think about Lebanon and think about Quebec and the FLQ. Exclusion of voice as the Americans would have us do, never, ever, solves the problem.

I've never heard one expert in this field suggest that this will be won by the military. It's necessary at the moment but unless we redefine this stuff and Canadians really get what is going on, this will go on forever.

I guess this post is about doing some homework. I still don't have it right, but I'm digging for info. I hope you do do too.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Having Your Cake and Eating Too, All for the Sake of an Election

Stephane Dion's position on Afghanistan has been well known for a year. In spite of that, right wing journalists have been using the Con line they were fed. That is, that they cannot figure out where he stands. All that really said to me is that the Conservatives know that their lines will be faithfully reported by those journalists and that the journalists are either unwilling or unable to think for themselves.

What has been written about Dion's position and what the Con's have repeated ad nauseum, is that he doesn't have one or that he keeps changing his mind, he's flip flopping, etc etc. Of course that wasn't true so now they have the reverse spin going on. He should change his position, he should compromise his position, etc, etc. Same position, being spun 2 ways. His position is either too weak for your liking, to the degree that you can't even discern it or it's too strong and should change. Guess what? You can't have it both ways!

Most recently we have Peter Van Loan popping up on every media platform we have in Canada, (a disconcerting prospect in itself) shaking his pudgy fist and threatening Dion to compromise. Sigh. He calls him a weak leader because he doesn't take a stance and when Dion makes clear that he has, Van Loan continues to calls his leadership into question.

Confused yet? Don't be, the bottom line is that the Con's want an election at any cost and they will use any means to achieve one, even if it means turning your logic inside out. They need an issue that they can get behind you see, rather than being on the defensive constantly. They appear to have realised that the agenda isn't theirs when the House is sitting, which is alarming when you think of it. Part of the problem of course is that they seem to be out of ideas, but they'd rather blame the Lib's than face that reality. So Afghanistan joins the list of issues that we may go to the polls on. Last count would include idle juvenile threats to the Senate, the Budget (fair game of course), and now Afghanistan.

Here's the thing though. I don't think it's a good idea to go to the polls on Afghanistan. Not for partisan reasons and not for fear of losing on the issue (indeed more Canadians favour Dion's position to date). No, the reason I think it's a bad idea is because fighting an election about a war while we have soldiers in the field feels wrong to me. No matter what you feel about this mission, (and in it's current configuration I'm no supporter), to add campaigning to the incredibly complex issues that affect a soldier's fate everyday seems beyond unseemly, indeed it seems crass.

Add to that the down and dirty partisanship that Van Loan and company put out there, while in the same breathe say it shouldn't be a partisan issue, it's better argued in the HoC, imo. If you've missed some of Van Loan's comments, here's a couple uttered just this week.

Van Loan insisted that Canada’s controversial mission should not be a partisan political issue.

Then he went on to say:

You can't have your soldiers in a dangerous part of the country tie their hands behind their backs and tell them they can't shoot back at the other guys until their buddy just got killed beside them," he said. "They have to wait until that grenade lands under their LAV and kills them before they start fighting back. That is not fair to our troops. If you are going to have them in the field, you have to give them the ability to do their jobs."

An utter and ugly distortion, but illustrative of how he will use our troops as his pawns during a campaign.

Then in the House on Friday:

Government House Leader Peter Van Loan accused the Liberals of sympathizing with the Taliban when he was asked about the policy of Canadian soldiers transferring captured prisoners into Afghan hands.

"What we will not do is what the agent for the Taliban intelligence agency wants us to do over here, which is release to them information on detailed operations in the field."

I don't for a minute think that things would get better during an election. That kind of rhetoric seems to be in their DNA, or at least that seems true for some of them, including their dear leader.

What Con's have put forward has room for ammendments. From what I'm reading and hearing, the Lib's will come forward with some next week. It is my hope that they will be accepted and the stand off will end.

What might those ammendments look like? Well that of course is for people much smarter than me, but I would like to seem more detail re' accountability and reporting, some change of strategy, planning and measurements of effectiveness and importantly some sort of Pashtun strategy.

I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Update: MacKay is on the attack too:

“Let's be frank: Development and security go hand in hand,” he told the audience.
“To suggest, as some have, that we can do one without the other is nothing short of pure folly, and in fact it's dangerous.”

Dion has always included security in his comments and he has also said that this too is dangerous work. The continued attacks and the foolish desire to link the NDP and Lib's on the Con's part, may indeed backfire. Indeed, there may be a way to work this out.

Hmmm, this is going to lead to another me thinks. What's really going on in Afghanistan? What are we being fed? What are the motives? Sunday afternoon musings perhaps, trying to sort out the nonsense on all sides.

Friday, February 08, 2008

I'm Fed Up with How Juvenile We Are Here in Canada

There is much to write about as it relates to what is going on in our country, but to be honest with you I'm fed up with what I'm seeing. The juvenile, partisan junk thrown at us today by Van Loan was just too much to take, as was the lapping up of the of the pap by the media. So, I'll save my tirade for the weekend when I'm hopefully a little less angry.

Instead, I'll supply this for your viewing pleasure. I don't necessarily support Obama but I want some, just a smidge, of the hope he speaks of, here in Canada. That hope would be a return to a sane, balanced government that provides for people. I want that to seep over the border and I want the Liberals to seize on it.

The intent of that comment of course is not meant to reflect the messenger, because neither Dion nor Harper are that kind of orator. It is intended to reflect the message though and someone that can convey passion for his country. It's clear that it's not Harper.

I know the vid is not new and in as much that many say it's a good idea in politics to stay away from pop stars, whatever genre, at this moment in time I disagree. Don't be who you aren't, but invite those through your message who may speak your message to reiterate it in a context that will be heard to youth. 'Calling all artists'.

Anyway, enjoy.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Threats? Lies? Yes. The Con's Want an Election

Well, I guess today brought out in high relief what this government is up to. They are desperate for an election and they are going to force one by hook or by crook.
Why do they want one? To my mind it's not because their internal polling tell's them they are in the lead but perhaps their polls tell them that the Canadians are worried about the economy and if it dives even a little, their inaction will be brought to bear. Maybe they feel they have to get out in front of that mindset but to those who have aleady been affected, it's too late. It's still hard to believe that Harper put Flaherty in Finance given his pathetic record, but here we are.
So, what are the Con's doing to provoke an election? Attaching confidence to the Afghanistan vote, the Budget (not unusual of course) and they took the time today to threaten the Senate just for good measure. Their disdain for the Senate is palpable but they look like toddlers when they go before them and exhibit their tantrums. I'm sure they felt they looked tough today, but imo they looked like idiots.
To begin with, they lied once again. If you haven't followed this, Stock Day came out of his caucus meeting and said that the Senate has held up the crime bill for 10 weeks and Liberal Senators are to blame. Same tactic, new year. It's BS of course because he left out the fact that the Parliament hasn't been sitting for 6 and 1/2 of those weeks. So, the Bill has been there 3 and 1/2 weeks. Weasel politics comes to mind and this guy is the poster child for that. He then laid down the threat that if it isn't passed by the end of the month, it's a confidence issue. Parliament hasn't had that sway over the Senate since 1867, but Stock probably doesn't think the world was created at that point, so what can I say. I jest of course, but come on. They are playing fast and loose with the truth and it's time that Canadians know that too.
Then we have the Budget vote. Fair enough. It's going to be a confidence vote, but this is one that intrigues me. What exactly are they going to do here? They know they are in trouble and to spend anymore will get them in more trouble, as will cutting taxes. My feeling is they will simply give more detail to existing plans and project them further into the future. So, a whole lot of flowery language that amounts to nought. I also believe they were so focused on their agenda that they gave no thought to the future. Who didn't recognise that Harper's buddy Bush had crashed that economy? Most economists, save Harper and his willing servant Flaherty have been pretty clear for a while now.
I tend to think this one issue, the budget, is what we should go on. They may have made it so neutral that it will be difficult to argue and perhaps that is their plan, but better to go on that than Afghanistan.
Afghanistan will still be an issue if we go to an election, but it won't be the issue if the government isn't felled on that vote.
Every pundit and reporter is trying to make Dion's position untenable, mostly because they mis-describe it, but I do not think it is. I saw a poll not too long ago and damned if I can find it but it's response echoed Dion's view.
Harper isn't brave enough to put solid terms of the mission in his proposal that will go to parliament. I think he'll leave it open and disregard the serious aspects that criticise them for not being transparent enough. Someone coined the phrase, Manley Light. I think that is exactly what he'll put forward. Heavy rhetoric on combat and no mention of all the other things that are wong with this mission...those things that require attention. The Lib's should focus on those omissions and when asked, focus on how Harper is content to have a never ending combat role in that country.
Oh yeah. We are going to an election because Harper has realised that a fixed election date doesn't work in this system and he now wants to find his opportune moment, not unlike any other PM. That law, (fixed dates) was one of his first moves and it's a dud. His arrogance thought he could conduct business as if he had a majority and though he's tried, he's been proven wrong.
The other reason to go? Well the scandals are building aren't they?
Bottom line. The Con's look bad right now and they want to shift that image. An election allows them to do that though given the amount of lying they do, they should consider some good lawyers as they venture forth.
See ya at the voting booth!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Dissing Spector and Other Committee Meeting Revelations

What a bizarre day at various committees.

The Natural Resources Committee heard from the senior VP of AECL, Brian McGee, Gordon Edwards the President of the Canadian Coalition of Nuclear Safety as well as Dr. Perry of UBC and Dr. Gulenchyn a nuclear medicine specialist from Hamilton. She's also an adviser to the federal government.

I didn't hear the entire meeting, but what I did hear tells me that the government is going to have a hard time shaking this fiasco. McGee admitted that the upgrades needed were not given the proper priority. Gordon Edwards asked why the AECL and MDS Nordion haven't been called to account and that the firing of Linda Keen was a classic case of shooting the messenger. Dr. Perry asked the committee to get to the bottom of the issue to determine whether or not this was the emergency they made it out to be, because he had no knowledge of anyone in imminent danger of dying as a result of the shut down and finally, even the government witness Dr. Gulenchyn could not state that there were actual cases of peoples lives being at risk. She also admitted that therapy was NOT an issue.

To my ear, the government lied once again and continues to.

A fuller explaination can be found here and if more info surfaces I'll add it. I will say this though. The Canadian Medical Association Journal has an article that suggests that the international community was neither consulted or tapped as they should have been. It suggests to me that MDS Nordion's bottom line may have been protected here along with some of AECL's income. McGee suggests that they only receive 30 million a year from Nordion, (don't you love it when they throw in the word only with sums like that?), because that is only 10% of their income stream. The article (pdf) is here.

Then it was on to the Procedure and House Affairs Committee. You remember them right? That's the committee that is trying to look at the Conservative "In and Out" scheme during the last election. I say trying because the meeting started at 11:00 and ended at 17:30 (sorry I worked at airports for a time and the 24 hour clock is easier for me) that's 5:30pm and there was basically only one person speaking. That would be the Conservative member, Tom Lukiwski. Yep, he spent almost the entire day talking, or should I say spewing the same nonsense over and over and over. Basically he was saying, you can't see mine 'till you show me yours. It was beyond ridiculous, but an apparently a legitimate tactic that I happen to think is a waste of time and money. To be fair, I have no idea of how many times the Lib's employed this during the last government. That said, I think there is a limit to how often they can do this and they have done it often. This was their last kick at the can.

Iif you want a great take at what went on, here's is Kady O'Malley's live blog. She makes me laugh out loud often and I consider that quite the talent on this unemotional of all mediums.

And finally, we had the Ethic's Committee and the anticipated bombshell of Norman Spector. Now, this one is interesting. The media I've seen thus far is trying to say it was much ado about nothing, but I disagree.

It was the media who suggested that this was going to be damning, Spector only said he would provide context for lot's of money/cash, being transferred to Mulroney. As I saw it, Spector came to the committee to tell them how common it was for Mulroney and perhaps other PM's to get top up's of their salaries from their Party. Was it bizarre that Mulroney stashed cash in freezers? Without a doubt, but the practice of transferring cash apparently was not. Of course you can have your own views on that practice, but it seems to me that this was not his point.

He indeed lectured the committee members and without saying it, he was feeding them the adage, follow the money, but for gawd's sake, follow the right money.

The media seem to be doing a bit of butt covering here by discrediting Spector and it should be obvious to all that I am the last person who would traditionally support him but I hope it's just as obvious that I try to look at most issues objectively or at least look at fact.

He raised good points and attempted to re-focus the Committee on what is important. Specifically Bearhead. Why after it was apparently dead did it keep being discussed? That stinks for sure.

My comment at this point would be why did Mulroney's team spend so much time trying to diffuse his testimony? I mean unless you are feeling a bit vulnerable, why would you go on the defensive? I'm just asking because Robin Sears, who in my opinion has no credibility left (paid for hire kind of guy from the NDP to Mulroney, quite the feat don't you think?), has been on every media source that I've had access too. He's playing Spector as the buffoon, though the more he speaks I would suggest he's filling that bill.

Yes Spector was both dramatic and melodramatic and I know that Sears is paid to say this stuff, but do you know what? It's time for us to cut through the junk, demand truth from government, parliamentarians and media.

It's sport to suggest that the US dumbs down their public. I don't think that we've been paying close enough attention to what is going on here.

Speaking of the US, off to Super Tuesday...

Monday, February 04, 2008

Change Your Mind, But Don't Lie

Honest to goodness, to listen to this government is to defy gravity.

For the longest time, news of the next budget came out and it included the retraining fund. In a big turn around today, they divorced themselves from that view.

Why? Well it was viewed as a hostage taking and all parties saw it for what it was. The Lib's and other opposition party's pointed this out and railed against the government. Obviously they also heard from their constituents. So today, they changed their mind.

It's more than that though and it's as partisan as ever. They must be sure that they have funding in place before they go to the polls and in a big way this is kissing Quebec again. They don't french kiss though. No, that would be too much of a commitment. They'd prefer to buss and flirt.

In the end, they have been caught out. They know an election may come soon and they couldn't fight it on that issue.

Any reporter who reports this as proof of a more gentle Harper, is more deluded than the BT's.

Today in the House, during QP, the Con's said that they have been pushing for this for a long time. They were apparently pleased that the opposition agreed with them. That is a LIE.

Please media, report what is. I cannot believe that you are content with reporting what this government is feeding you.