Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

2008 has been quite a year and something tells me that 2009 will prove to be just as interesting. So, in the spirit of starting the year on a good note, lift a glass tonight of whatever it is you prefer and bring the New Year in with a smile.

I wish all of you peace, happiness and good health in 2009!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What Did He Say??

When this guy,

says this:

What to do? Something radically new. A net-zero gas tax. Not a freestanding gas tax but a swap that couples the tax with an equal payroll tax reduction. A two-part solution that yields the government no net increase in revenue and, more importantly--that is why this proposal is different from others--immediately renders the average gasoline consumer financially whole.

Something tells me my holidays have gone on too long and I've awoken in an alternate universe.

Krauthammer and Dion? Who knew?

h/t - Hopefully worth writing down (Good catch!)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Crossing the Line

I realise this is not a new story but it should stay in the news. Too many partisan incidents by the Conservatives go unreported. It's time that changed.

The whole 'outreach' campaign has been a fraud from day one. Perhaps more people will finally see through nonsense.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

To all of those who celebrate, I wish you a very Happy Christmas and if you don't, I wish you all the best throughout the holidays.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wanna Meet?

Since yesterday it's been reported that Harper is extending an olive branch to Ignatieff and the Liberals. Actually, I guess it really began with his suggestion on Mansbridge's show when in an aggressive tone he said that he'd sit down with the new Liberal leader and, oh yeah, he felt the government had a 'right' to see what they would propose as a budget.
Since that interview I've watched any number of hosts and journalists suggest that Harper, likely chagrined by his own actions, now seems prepared to adopt a different tone. Sorry. Call me cynical, but I cannot see Harper, under any circumstances, not being Harper. He will not allow himself to be bested by anyone.
Seeing the article on Senate appointments was a bit of a surprise. Not because it was hypocritical, (that I've grown used to), but because it seemed to be guarding against the future. If he felt secure in his seat as PM wouldn't he just continue his pursuit of passing some form of legislation to bring in elections? If on the other hand he felt he may be out as PM, or facing another election, isn't it better to put Conservative Senators in place now, just in case?
Then tonight I see this:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper called Mr. Ignatieff two days ago, offering to discuss economic matters with him “any time,” according to a government official.
Same old line we've heard for a few days right? Not really.
An official in the Prime Minister's Office would not say when or whether the two men will meet. The official said the Liberals should submit specific proposals for what they want to see in the budget, to be delivered the day after the Jan. 26 resumption of Parliament.

“Our position is if you want to have input in the direction of the budget, you have to share that in advance of the budget,” said the official
In other words, 'we'll consider talking to you, but not until we know what you propose so we can make mincemeat out of it if we have to'.
Ignatieff has said he'd meet with the PM, but he also made it clear that before getting into any discussions of what a budget might contain, the Liberal party wanted to see real numbers. What was suggested in the Financial Update has been denounced by all and sundry, so it seems a reasonable request, no? Well, no, apparently not:
“Knowing the true state of the government's books is a precondition for devising an appropriate fiscal stimulus. We have to know where we are before we know what to do for the future,” Mr. McCallum said.

But a government official said the numbers released in this month's fiscal update are as real as they get, adding that they will change only when the government engages in further spending
So, it looks to me as if Harper has no intention of playing this straight. He's still playing his partisan games and will no doubt attempt to paint the Liberals as unwilling to participate in any discussion concerning the economic crisis and the future of this country. Wait for the 'the Liberals have no plan' line and I'm sure they will find a way to throw the coalition of socialists and separatists in there somewhere.
And you thought it would be quiet over the holidays? Something tells me that Harper's hubris won't be taking any time off.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

'It's Up to Mr. Harper'

I'm certain that most of you have seen the presser that Michael Ignatieff held this afternoon. It was an impressive debut and left this viewer with no doubt that the Liberal party is unified in it's goal to take on Stephen Harper and all that he represents.

For me, Ignatieff not only spoke to the mess that Harper has put this country in vis à vis the economy, but he addressed the entire tone of the Harper government and the childish games that have been played since he took office. He was calling him out and denigrating the divisive tactics that the Conservative brain trust has employed for the past 3 years. It will be interesting to watch how the CPC reacts. Doug Finley, attack strategist extraordinaire, came out of the gate swinging earlier and I noted that many Conservative MP's were parroting his lines today. We'll see if that continues. If it does, it will tell you exactly what direction Harper intends to take.

Ignatieff laid bare just how ignoble Harper's actions have been. He made clear just how angry the opposition, and Canadians, are in view of that. It remains to be seen whether or not Harper will prove to be as craven as I believe he is, though to that end, he's put himself in a no win situation in my books. Harper pulled the curtain back on himself and there is no going back now.

Ignatieff, without saying as much, rebuffed Harper's phony act of extending an olive branch with a straightforward response. He said that the Liberals want to see the books, that they will read the budget before making a decision, but the PM has the department of Finance and a capable staff who were more than able to put together what the country needs at this time. Brilliant!

I received some e-mails tonight from friends who were heretofore uncertain and uncomfortable with Michael Ignatieff becoming the leader of the party. To a person, their fears were put to rest today. That is not to say that will not change in the future, but the sense I get is that people genuinely want to see the Liberal party righteously take the Conservative party to task. Ignatieff vowed to do that.

I also found it interesting how the media reacted to the new leader. Now it's fair to say that they may have taken it easy on him given that he had been leader for about a nano-second, but there was more than that. I think Ignatieff is going to change their game too. He called them out on the obvious with subtlety. He will have no part of the 'play to the lowest common denominator' trend that sadly has seeped into our national discourse and seemed to be stressing that it was time to get back to the grown ups table and deal with real issues. Oh how refreshing that will be if it holds.

One final thought. To those who supported another candidate and were upset at how the leadership race was shortened and modified, it may be useful to consider what benefit might come as a result. I've read complaints that there was no time to witness debates or hear platforms and those complaints of course are valid. However, because of that, Ignatieff hasn't locked himself into a specific mold or platform. Voices outside of his inner circle will be raised and will have to be heard. The atmosphere in which policy will be developed may well benefit from the truncated race, encouraging more consensus than may have been possible otherwise. Just a thought.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


I'll have more to say about Rae stepping aside, but for now I'll simply say that the first word that came to mind was, dignity. His announcement today was gracious, considered and I'm sure very difficult.

I trust his supporters will heed his request and move forward to better the party. I know I think the party is better for having him and I look forward to him being a key player.


Did you see Harper being interviewed by Peter Mansbridge this afternoon or tonight? We finally got some transparency from our PM, meaning that you could see right through him.

My first reaction was, what the hell was that? I don't actually know who initiated this interview, but if it was Harper, it's yet another mistake on the master chess player's part. If you missed it you can watch it here .

He was nervous, visibly uncomfortable, testy and defensive. He also smiled at odd times, suggesting to me that he'd been somewhat coached again, as he was prior to the debates during the last election. Given that, no one should be fooled, because he was anything but contrite. I saw a man that knows he is in a really bad place and he is there because of his own doing. He's aware that he's done damage to his image and to his party and he hasn't been able to rely on his usual propaganda machine to quickly change that, because he has been exposed. He looked almost frantic, trying to regain control by rewriting history and shaping the future into a mold of his liking.

Some telling observations:

Stephen Harper is reaching out to the Liberals in an effort to drive a wedge into the opposition coalition and save his tottering government.

Not very conciliatory of him, is it?

...., Harper repeated his invitation to the opposition parties to offer specific suggestions for managing the economy.
"We have a right to that input. Some of the opposition parties are saying they want to run the government. That's fine. Precisely what is it you want to do?" Harper asked

They have the right to that input? He went on to say that the government could then determine whether or not the plans of the opposition were wise. Wise? He's in a position to determine what is wise in this economy?

Harper suggested Tuesday that the coalition had little to do with frustrations over his approach to the economy, but was in fact a conspiracy on the part of opposition parties to bring down the recently elected Conservatives.

"I think, frankly, after the election — if not before the election — the opposition parties decided that they would work against the government as an essentially unified front," Harper said.

He went on to accuse NDP Leader Jack Layton and Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe of backing the Liberal party into a corner where it was forced to either vote against the government or be "condemned as sellouts."

Yes folks, it was all a conspiracy. Even though Harper and his minions have been screaming that the opposition really only cared about the party financing provisions in the Financial Update, what he really meant to say was...they were out to get me all along! It's obvious!

This was an interview given by a desperate man who hasn't changed one iota. He'll try to convince everyone that he's willing to play nice, but the qualities required for that simply do not exist in this man. His interest is power and his belief is that he is infallible, but the back pedalling and panic were there for all to see. Harper is who he is and not a sweater vest, not a recession, nor the sudden shock of almost losing power is going to change that.

Anyone who believes otherwise really hasn't been paying attention.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Could We Keep Our Eye on the Ball?

Yes, the target I'm referring to is the guy in the photo. Remember him? He's the guy who came within centimetres of losing power, just last week as a matter of fact, yet no one seems to be considering what might be going on in his party or what his next strategy might be.

The media aren't focusing on it. That would require work, thought even. No, they are content to continue their serial on the Liberal party and it seems that there are quite a few party members out there that are only too happy to provide them with fodder for their never-ending narrative.

Really? This is what we want to do at this particular moment in time? This is what we need right now?

I understand that some Liberal bloggers (and others associated with the party) are less than pleased with the process we have in place, but people, that is what the delegates voted for. If we want to change their decision, then let's work toward doing that. If you don't like what they chose, e-mail them. In the mean time, it is my understanding that the party is doing it's utmost to consider options in spite of the constraints they are faced with. Railing against a 'yet to be decided' process seems a bit futile doesn't it?

The leadership of the party is important. I get it. Democratic choice is important. We all get it, but could we focus on putting forward positive solutions, while recognising that we have rules in place and leave the melodrama to those who are incapable of providing anything else?

We have a real opponent here and we will require real commitment and unity to defeat him.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

A Coward - Unfit for Office

Do you still recognise Canada? It became a little murkier today and having heard the PM, his appointed attack dogs and sycophants, it's clear to me that he is not about to change course for anyone.

A precedent was established today and while I have no way of knowing whether or not Michaelle Jean had but one choice, or chose the lesser of 2 evils, it matters not at this point. The country is now different and Harper managed to get away with turning his back on a long established democratic practice. He avoided a vote of confidence in the House because it did not serve his political agenda.

What Harper accomplished today should suggest that he is done. It should all add up to his days as PM being numbered and following that, he should be out of politics for good. However, we all know that Harper manipulates the system in ways we've not seen before, indeed perhaps in ways we never expected and maybe that is how he has gotten away with as much as he has. He's has taken so many turns in his quest to change this country, it's difficult to determine what direction he will now take to achieve his end. One think is clear however. He will continue to strive for his goal, in whatever way he can. He was emboldened today, that much was obvious. To believe that he will now play the game straight is beyond naive.

Media are trying to tell us that he will play it fairly straight though and of course they are pouncing all over the coalition and proclaiming it's demise because of a few ill advised comments by some of it's members. I know there are polls out tonight that would underscore their proclamations and while I dismiss nothing at this point, I think it is too soon to accede to the media's reading of the tea leaves.

What is being missed is the anger and frustration that brought the coalition together in the first place. Consider where those emotions lie on a scale of 1 to 10 right now. Having not seen the desired result today with the decision of the GG, those emotions and intentions may have been difficult to articulate, but it's my feeling that the PM will not be alone in being emboldened. I think there will be a forceful desire to keep the coalition strong, get it and it's messaging right, and fight back with a vengeance.

It's time to make clear beyond a shadow of a doubt what Harper intends for this nation and to provide the alternative that Canadians recognise and depend on. He's distorted so much of what we take for granted (in the best sense of that phrase) that the work will not be easy, but this is a fight for our country. That's not hyperbole or melodrama. That's fact.

Donate, rally, join others, do whatever you can to destroy Harper's deranged dream and focus on the vision of Canada the majority of us want restored.


Good sign or bad? Open thread.