Saturday, October 31, 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Facts Have Always Been a Problem for this Government

From the moment this government took office they have denied, disputed and rejected facts. Oddly, this is rarely pointed out, so they of course carry on their merry way spewing nonsense, in ads and in person and that becomes the truth, or the mythical truth I suppose.

That ignorance and game playing is coming home to roost now and the Conservatives aren't dealing with it very well.

Before we look at the current situation, I think it's worthwhile to look back a bit and consider the amount of duping that has gone on.

Crime legislation from day one has been based on no data, nada. It's ideologically driven and does little more than tweak the system, in large measure to it's detriment. Fact: Crime rates are decreasing in this country without any of the Conservative legislation having been put in place. How about the gun registry? Fact: Every police force across the country is insisting that it is valuable, but the Conservatives will insist that it's never used. They inflate it's current cost and pander to their 'yahoo' base.

How about Science? I'll bite my tongue on much of this but will raise the InSite program in Vancouver and how the government has kept them hanging. I recall Tony Clement, bald face lying about stat's to committee and of course ignoring the real facts. Science of course leads to Climate Change and if anyone really believes that this government gives a whit about it, show me their plan, with costing, targeted industry caps and a road map for how Canada is going to achieve it's goals.

There is more, but suffice it to say that they have somehow gotten away with saying nothing and haven't been challenged nearly enough on their lack of facts.

Now though, not so much.

The spending of infrastructure money has finally caught the imagination of many and there is report after report, all saying precisely what the Liberals have been saying for months.

A) The money is slow to flow and B) what flows is going to Conservative ridings in higher numbers than it's going to opposition ridings.

Let's take politics out of it for a minute, because surely some of my Conservative readers have family or friends who live in an opposition riding, non?

This program was very special in that it was to be designed to address the needs of the country during an unprecedented time of need. It was meant to target areas of the country with high unemployment, in an effort to create job's, thereby stimulating the economy....a 'stimulus program'.

It's clear now, that is not what has happened. Read here, here and here. There are more accounts, but I'm sure you've read them all.

In addition to all of this, I listened to a committee meeting today that had Municipal Federations as witnesses. Some were more diplomatic than others, but to a person, it was clear that much of the money hasn't gotten out and a few weren't too shy to say, that it was being used in a political game. Furthermore, some even alluded to the fact that since the money hasn't flowed and this construction season has been missed, the likelihood of having projects completed by the program expiration date was slim in some cases.

What does that mean? Well, if the program has expired, as it will in March of 2011, the municipality is on the hook for the rest. Likely outcome? Municipalities won't have the money to complete them, so all those tax dollars will have gone in to a project half completed, then abandoned. Nice use of your money don't you think?

So here we are. The hard work that Gerard Kennedy and his team have done has been noticed and various media outlets have started doing their own digging and the facts, ultimately proving his point, are coming out.

As I said though, the Conservatives don't deal in fact. To that point, I saw an extraordinary comment from the PCO today, Dimitri Soudas to be precise, commenting on the G&M story. I'm paraphrasing, but the media notice went something like:

The Globe and Mail, using calculations either generated from or approved by the Liberal Party of Canada (Michael Ignatieff) have painted an unfair picture of the Infrastructure Program...

That is an astonishing statement and one that I hope gets a lot of attention. That the PMO would actually hold that idiotic view that the media is biased toward liberals is no surprise, but that they would come out and attack the Globe and Mail is unbelievable. This is the stuff of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn the PMO.

In the end, it tells me one thing. The facts are being revealed and they have no real defense against that, when confronted.

Stay tuned, because, oh...there will be more.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Little Luv

I'm under the weather, so a little awwww moment, is the order of the day.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Define Transparency

I've watched apologists for the Harper government do a couple of things since the Conservatives came to power. They either dismiss any or all breaches of ethics committed by the government or they resort to implying that the Liberals, while in government, did it too.

Well here is a news flash folks. Harper was elected on a platform of transparency and doing things differently. Once in office, the Accountability Act was introduced and all parties worked on that Act and ultimately agreed to it's passage. It was intended to stop what Harper had alleged and complained about about for years. Mis-spending, partisan appointments, Access to Information, etc.

You see, I won't tell you that Liberals were angels, but there weren't rules in place in some instances. The Accountability Act was designed to put new rules in place to address all of Harper's complaints.

Guess what? He still hasn't fully implemented his much vaunted Act and has proceeded to break many of the rules, laws and guidelines that he insisted on.

Still, the apologists defend him.

A Harper supporter who actually would take the time to think this through, would realise that they are supporting what they decried. They are supporting what they suggest Chretien did...a de facto support of Chretien, I guess.

Call Alanis Morisette.

Is the discussion of the cheques the end of the world? Probably not, but that is not the point is it? It is the pattern of behaviour that has become obvious and in fact you could argue it's worse than the accusations of old. Certainly much of it is more obvious and it stands out as a government contradicting itself.

Let's take a look at the Afghanistan Detainee issue. The government has effectively shut down the enquiry, in spite of screaming for transparency when the Liberals undertook the mission. Not only is their stonewalling obvious, it's stupid and will serve to make the matter worse.

All opposition parties are in favour of more info here, so guess what? It's going to go to committee and likely be forwarded to the appropriate individuals to be reviewed for obstruction of justice. Obstruction of justice people. Think a bit here.

McKay is on the hook, but so is the PM. He, the man who suggested in the House that there was a coddling of terrorists by opposition parties. He who derided the Liberals and the NDP and took shots at individual members. Sorry, it seems pretty clear that there is information that they do not want to come out, while screaming that they are the party of transparency.

BTW, this all fits with their disdain for Canadians facing the Death Penalty outside our country, doesn't it? There is a through thread to all of this.

Then today we have this. If you are committee watcher, you have heard witness upon witness complain about the Access to Information Act and how poorly it's working. Dial back a few years and Harper was one of them. All of a sudden...he's not such a fan of changing the system he decried.

Surely you can see the pattern here. When they, the Conservatives, took office it was not long after that they, shut out the press, shut down committees through filibustering and shut up our democracy by proroguing, and the list goes on.

This PM is not about transparency or a new way of doing things. He's about manipulating the system to his advantage. To coin a phrase, 'he's in it for himself'.

He's not only been the most hypocritical PM in memory, he engages in the activity with delight and disdain. An odd combination, but apt don't you think?

So I watch the die hard defenders that generally have little above a school yard taunt to bring to the discussion, and ask them to define transparency.

Forget the irony of your conundrum, the lack of logical thought speaks for itself.

Can't Even Get Wrong Right?

I heard Bill Carroll, (CFRB), talking about the Conservative/Government cheques this morning. He of course was playing it down, suggesting that the Liberals did it too, (we didn't) that it was just one stupid MP, (it wasn't), etc., etc.

To be fair though, he did say that he thought it was wrong and stupid. In fact, he said:

'I sometimes wonder if you have to fail an IQ test in order to be a member of the Conservative government'.

Take a close look at the cheque above, issued by Barrie MP Patrick Brown and you be the judge. (Larger view here. See slideshow.)

It's made out for $78,750.00. However, what is written is, Seventy Eight Thousand, Seventy Five Hundred.

Most novelty cheques are obviously not the cheque you bring to the bank, however, if they are drawn on a bank, with an account number identified and signed by someone with signing authority, they can be cashed.

Thankfully, it's a pretty safe bet that Patrick Brown doesn't have signing authority.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Drip, Drip, Drip...

The only surprise I had watching the story of the 'branded' cheques from the government today, was the surprise exhibited by some of the media.

I say that, because surely there is a track record of skirting or blatantly ignoring the rules by this government that should have triggered some intellectual curiosity before now?

I mean we're still not clear on the In and Out scandal, the mis-use of 10 per centers, or the distribution of stimulus dollars favouring Conservative ridings, the Government website now all Tory blue and referring to the Harper government versus the Government of Canada. What about, all social network links on the Action Plan site leading you directly to Harper's pages on Facebook, etc, and of course the massive advertising campaign designed to pat the government on the back rather than inform Canadians?

I heard Tonda McCharles say two remarkable things last evening. First, she admitted that the press goes after the shiny object, until the next one comes along and second, she placed the responsibility of Ignatieff receiving coverage squarely in his lap, :"that's his job", meaning to capture her/their imagination.

I say remarkable, but I can't argue with her. On the first count, I've long argued that the industry has taken that turn and I think it's doing us all a disservice. Chasing and reporting on a shiny object is of little import when the subject of that particular story is then allowed to dull it down to the point that it no longer attracts the attention of the journalist.

I heard Tim Powers trying to do that tonight about the cheques. Think about how many times the government has come out and defended itself, always ending with a 'much ado about nothing' statement. Often, (not sure why), that is taken as fact and there is no follow up. How is that pap ingested?

On the second point, I do think that Ignatieff has a responsibility to attract attention, but yesterday for instance, he announced some pretty compelling environmental policy. This, after being berated for months by the media for not delving into policy. Was it covered? Barely. Why? Well, as far as I can tell that would take some knowledge of the subject which I don't think journo's are given the chance to establish.

For instance, it was subsequently reported today that Ignatieff's announcement was overshadowed, (read irrelevant), because of Harper's announcement in Alberta. Anyone who understands the file would quickly realise that Harper read a lot of words and said nothing. He's speaking of a project that is unproven and an expenditure that is spread over time, in other words...means very little. That said, I don't expect every journo to be an expert in every field, but something is wrong when we don't get the fact's juxtaposed to what we are being told/fed.

So back to what has been going on with this government. Yeah, yeah, I know the Conservatives are still flailing around dragging up the sponsorship scandal, but really, much of what is going on with the current government is in direct contradiction to what came out of the Gomery report that examined that scandal.

You remember him don't you? The hero of the right? The man that exposed the ills that resided, not so much in the Liberal government, but that took place under it's watch. Well he made a number of recommendations in that report to guard against that kind of thing happening again. Guess what? Harper is ignoring many of them.

Blah, blah, blah, Accountability Act, seems to be the come-back, except they haven't implemented the serious aspects of it. Why does that not get reported, in conjunction with all that has gone on? It seems to me that would be a pretty simple story to follow.

For the record, my objective here is not to berate the media. Susan Delacourt was on this cheque business in July and many stories have been written that expose the ills of the current government, but there is no through line.

No, my point has more to do with a narrative not being part of their mission anymore. Or, so it appears to me.

There is a compelling narrative here and it is one that does not bode well for the government. It's consistent, in most cases it's measurable and in fact it's an interesting story. The story of a government that came to power professing everything under the sun. One that has failed on almost every count, yet Canadians don't seem to realise that.

The Accountability Act is step one, but then of course we have the 'no deficit', 'no recession' comments/nonsense, we have the vow not to partake in patronage appointments to the judiciary, boards or panels and of course, no appointments to the Senate. Ha! All of the above is laughable of course and falsely justified by Ministers, the PM and the apologists, ad nauseum.

The Liberals have raised all of these issues, yet somehow, they seem to be sloughed off by the media and in fairness, perhaps as 'one offs' they look like nit-picking...but taken as a whole, it's not too damn tough to see the pattern here.

To me, the pattern of this government is one of contradiction, 'believe we're doing what we say, but don't look at what we're doing'. That holds true to the accountability issues raised above, but pertains to just about every file.

Look at the Afghanistan detainee issue. The appointee shut it down today because of a lack of co-operation by the government. Climate change? Well appeal to that huge base that still lives in la-la denial land and sort of deny it, do nothing of substance, but suddenly defend the need to defend the North that is more vulnerable due to melting ice. Huh? Interfering in arms length institutions? Oh yeah...think AECL. It goes on from there of course.

So, the drip, drip, drip of contradiction will hopefully be explored and exposed. Who will allow/change the model and let the intelligence of our journo's to shine? I don't know the answer to that.

Until then, keep up the posts, the comments and the tweets. And if there is still someone out there that disputes the impact of Twitter, you're living in another world.

Update - An unlikey suspect steps forward. Ivison. A part of a sentence I disagree with though:

The Conservative Party needs to rediscover its humility in short order...

Rediscover? Tell me when they ever held that trait. Hubris has been the order of the day from the start.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

It's Your Money!

Martha Hall Findlay has worked diligently to get the issue of political advertising, paid for by taxpayers, on the radar. She's had some success at this, as the issue is now slowly being raised on political shows and in the press.

About bloody time in my view.

Initially it was thought that the Conservative ad campaign was worth $34 million, but today, MHF came out with new numbers.

Liberal MPs today charged that the Harper government has spent at least $56 million in taxpayer dollars since January to promote themselves, including driving voters to Stephen Harper’s $2 million vanity website – outspending their H1N1 prevention campaign by at least 10:1.

Liberal Public Works Critic Martha Hall Findlay also asserted today that the heavily partisan nature of these ads is in contravention of the various laws and rules intended to prevent such abuses.

“The Conservatives are buying voters with their own money. Not only is that unethical, we believe it’s against the law,” said Ms. Hall Findlay. “This spending spree on taxpayer-paid partisan advertising is unprecedented. The Harper government is running roughshod over all of the rules established to prevent exactly this kind of abuse.”

The Conservatives are pathetically trying to get a 'much ado about nothing' message out there. Sadly, media, who I'm thinking were the first to back Harper when he decried this was happening under a Liberal government, are either talking the Conservative line or are silent.

Have you looked at the numbers? The increase in ad spending under this government is staggering. Not only do the Conservatives sound ridiculous, it would seem that they have some unexpected opposition.

A partisan government advertising campaign paid for by taxpayers raised alarms from the outset among senior public servants who serve Prime Minister Stephen Harper, The Canadian Press has learned.

The Privy Council Office, the non-partisan bureaucratic arm of the Prime Minister's Office, has never been comfortable administering the website for the Economic Action Plan -- and informed Harper of its misgivings at the time of last January's federal budget.

Those misgivings were heard, but overruled.

While the story is being denied by both PCO and PMO, the extraordinary claim originates from several sources within the famously discreet Privy Council Office.

The fact the story is being aired at all -- even under the cloak of anonymity -- suggests just how far the Conservatives are stretching the traditional boundaries of partisan behaviour in Canada's professional bureaucracy.

The PMO, etc, deny this, but:

In interviews with past and present government insiders, The Canadian Press was told the Tories are trampling the admittedly grey area between partisanship and policy.

More than one career bureaucrat said they've never seen anything so blatant as the current use of the office for self-promotion.
None would speak on the record, some for fear of reprisals, but many said it is a story that needs to be told.

"You have a political party that is not constrained by what conventionally would be perceived as overtly partisan actions," said one former insider.
"I can tell you every funding program across the government is being politicized," said another public servant.

"They do it for their own needs and they don't do it to help people. Welcome to Stephen Harper's world."

The Privy Council Office doesn't even have a line item accounting for the cost of development of the economic action plan website. The $2-million budget went to Finance, but PCO developed the website with frequent input from the PMO.

"Expecting public servants to manage government communications that has a partisan spin to it is a misuse of public power," Peter Aucoin, a professor emeritus at Dalhousie University, said in an interview.

That's the clincher isn't it? A misuse of power. It's evident everywhere with this government, but somehow, the masses are accepting. Why?

Because we are not getting facts from sources who should be providing them. I don't think the media is bias...except to say that they are bias toward turning a profit in their own name. That's okay, but what is missed in that scenario is their raison d'étre and their integrity.

The larger loss though is for Canadians. Information we deserve is being pushed aside. We are poorer for it and I think the media will find their coffers are literally poorer as a result.

So here we are. We have a government that is abusing power, spending money we don't have on self promotion and no one outside the Liberal party seems to have a problem with this? The 'Accountability' mantle that the Conservatives trotted in on was shot down in the first year and has become considerably worse.

Where is the outrage? Where are all the stories?

It's your money too!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

As Transparent as a Bloc

Today, Gerard Kennedy introduced two motions at the Transportation and Infrastructure committee.

The first motion was meant to have PBO Page, appear before committee to discuss what he has been able to analyze re' the stimulus spending and presumably, what he hasn't been able to gain access to.

Kennedy made his case and then the committee set about debating the issue. The NDP was on side, but shockingly, the Bloc said they would vote against. MP Laframboise said he didn't want to waste Page's time. I know! Huh? He suggested an amendment or something else all together, and that was to write to Page to give him time to prepare.

All of this seemed odd to me, because Kennedy had indicated that Page had done some work and would be available, however, I've long stopped trying to figure out the Bloc.

The real obstructionists however were of course the Conservatives. Yes I know it seems improbable, because, you know, they keep telling us that they are being completely transparent, have nothing to hide and even put up a useless web-site for heaven's sake, for all Canadians to see!

First up was MP Brian Jean. He's a highly partisan member who never misses an opportunity to punch below the belt, demean and generally behave like a boar. He accused Kennedy's office of making 1000 phone calls to determine what money had been spent and where. He thought that was profound. Wow, imagine accusing a critic of doing his job!

Furthermore, if everything is so open and transparent, why on earth would there be a problem? He went on to demean Kennedy, who I must say handled it all as a gentleman.

Jean dismissed the motion, but really wasn't able to put up any sort of real argument. MP Hoepner also spoke and for a rookie MP, she certainly has learned the Conservative babble quickly. She too went after Kennedy and said that there were far more important things to discuss...things that are on the minds of all high speed rail.

Um isn't this spending, this Action Plan the jewel that they keep crowing about? Isn't it the one thing that the government says Canadians need more information on and that is why they are spending millions in advertising....oh wait, that isn't really the point of the ads is it.

Then we come to MP Jeff Watson. Oh, he is yet another hyper partisan who really has no problem going after the opposition, but generally he does it in a passive aggressive manner. He left the passive at home today. The aggression was out in full force though. He berated Kennedy, brought up that he'd been absent for some meetings and suggested that the normal work of the committee isn't usually politically 'sexy'. (I guess he didn't get the memo post the Raitt affair.)

He went on to berate the media, who he says never show up at these meetings, unless Kennedy appears and brings them in tow. He closed with the profound, 'if it was up to me, Mr. Kennedy wouldn't be on this committee at all'. (Maybe he's jealous?)

So, in the end, what we have is a government and it's members on the Infrastructure Committee, refusing to have their infrastructure program receive any scrutiny. I mean seriously. If the government truly had nothing to hide, wouldn't they welcome such a review? In fact, as Kennedy said, isn't it the job of the committee to act as the oversight body to this legislation?

While I was disappointed that the motion didn't pass, it says much more that the government is blocking it.

Kennedy will bring forward another motion, amended in a way that the Bloc said they could support it. That requires 48 hours notice, which I presume he gave today.

The second motion was to bring the Conservative candidate for Markham, Landon, who, as I'm sure you remember, resigned after saying publicly that money wouldn't come to that riding because it was held by John McCallum, a Liberal.

That was defeated too, but that one didn't surprise me.

Fun fact of the day. MP Jean, in one of his rants, (inadvertantly I think) said he thought it was remarkable, fantastic even, that the government had actually managed to spend 12% of the funds!


Monday, October 05, 2009

Show Us the Money

Regular readers will of course recognise Gerard Kennedy, Lib MP for Parkdale-High Park. You may not be as familiar with Senator Elaine McCoy, from Alberta.

Senator McCoy is a Conservative Senator, but that increasing rare form of Conservative, a Progressive Conservative...and she happens to be one of my favourite Senators.

With introductions out of the way, I'd like to point out that it is possible for parties to work together for the benefit of Canadians and underscore just how this present government makes that impossible.

I should note, that Kennedy and McCoy have not collaborated, but they could have. You see, they are both trying to follow the money the government of Canada is claiming to spend on stimulating the economy. Both have recognised that there have been an abundance of announcements and both were trying to measure the effectiveness of public dollars being spent. Both parties are frustrated and have found that the government is not being forthcoming with details. As a result, their efforts have been somewhat thwarted.

While it could be claimed by some, that MP Kennedy is simply on a partisan witch hunt, I'd ask you to first consider the man. Yes, he is a committed Liberal, but he is also a committed public servant with an earnest view of how government should operate. Senator McCoy, similarly, is a committed individual who wants the truth to be available to all Canadians, in spite of how this may reflect on the Conservative government. She has a reputation for being an independent voice and thinker, standing for truth for the region she represents.

The secrecy that this government is employing is shameful, maybe shameless, especially since they continue to tell all and sundry that they were elected because of the promised and (un)implemented Accountability Act. In fact, John Baird rose in the House today and had the temerity to insist that this is the most transparent government in our history. All opposition parties howled with laughter...and rightly so.

The opposite is true of course and if anyone out there is as geeky as me and caught some CPAC this weekend, that was beyond obvious. (More about that later in the week.)

Okay, I still don't have you? How about non-partisan contributors to this debate? Kevin Gaudet for instance. You know him. Head of the Taxpayer's Federation...against just about all spending by government. Or what about Kevin Page, the Parliamentary Budget Officer, appointed by this government then starved for money to keep his department working. They both agree that there is no clear way to follow the money and in Page's case, he's being denied access to the very numbers he was put in place to keep an eye on.

How is it that the electorate is buying what the government is selling them? Well, that might have to do with a certain, million upon million dollar advertising campaign, that you are paying for incidentally, taking the issue and turning it in to propaganda. There is something wrong in a democracy where this is allowed to happen and media seem not to see a story in this.

Given that, I should also note the following from Question Period today. Seriously, this is how bad, how disingenuous, this government has become. Martha Hall Findlay asked the pres. of the Treasury Board this:

[Martha Hall Findlay] (l): Mr. Speaker, I tried last week to get some answers on government advertising but got no answer, no numbers. So I'll try again and I'm going to ask the president of the Treasury Board, because after all, he is the one responsible for the spending and he should know. So how much exactly have Canadian taxpayers now paid for this government's partisan pat yourself on the back advertising so far?

Get ready for this...

The honourable president of the treasury board: [Vic Toews] 'Treasury, treasury well, in fact, the government of Canada does not bill the taxpayer for that kind of advertising. What the government of Canada does is get out key messages that reach a large number of Canadians on important issues -- and they laugh -- h1n1, elder abuse, the home renovation tax credit, Canadian forces recruitment. That's what the role of government is and we will continue to do that.

What a pathetic excuse for a Minister. Makes you really wonder what has gone on in his department doesn't it?

Member for Willowdale. [Martha Hall Findlay] Mr. Speaker, who does the president of treasury board thinks actually pays for government spending if it isn't the Canadian taxpayers? I'm not sure which is worse, the fact that he doesn't have the numbers, he doesn't know them or he's trying to hide something. Look at the t.v. campaign alone. We're talking tens of of millions of dollars. 40, 60, A hundred. Once in government, the government did away -- this conservative government did away with the rules restricting ad spending and they've run wild ever since. In '07-'08 they spent double what the previous government spent so I challenge the minister once again to give us a number, how much has this government spent on its advertising?

I won't bore you with his non answer. Suffice it to say, he wanted to talk about H1N1 instead...sort of.

We are in a mess here people, but it's not being spoken of with enough emphasis, in my opinion.

I've noted some people here who are speaking out, but unless we speak out, nothing is going to change.
Write your MP's for sure, but also write the editors of newspapers and demand more coverage. I know some journo's who would love to cover this stuff, but can't unless we create a demand.
We can do that, I know we can.
References here and here.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Playing the Piano While the Economy Burns

As I've mentioned in other blog posts, Ignatieff is often confronted with the question, 'where is your policy'. Whether you believe he should be revealing one is not what I want to look at. What is confounding to me is that I rarely hear that being asked of the government, specifically as it relates to the economy and reducing the deficit created by the Conservatives.

Yes, I said created by the Conservatives. All this nonsense language about a global economic crisis, being bantered about by the government then dutifully transcribed by the media, fails to take into account the dire place we were in fiscally, before the recession. Of course what has happened to world markets has played a part in our fiscal situation, but it didn't have to be as bad as it is.

This government is not being held to account and it's about time someone started pushing the issue.

On that note, it was an interesting read to learn that Paul Martin has begun to do just that.

The Harper government has created a structural deficit and now needs to outline a clear exit strategy, says former prime minister and deficit-slayer Paul Martin.

Martin, speaking to reporters after a speech to a global economic conference in Waterloo, Ont., on Sunday, said his government left behind a $13 billion surplus and the Conservatives whittled that down to nothing before the recession even hit.

"That surplus was wiped out and more before a penny was spent on stimulus spending," Martin said.

If the surplus had been left untouched, there would have been enough money in Ottawa's coffers to cover billions of dollars of stimulus spending without going into deficit, he added.

Indeed. Odd how that is rarely mentioned in the press. It's not old news. It's directly related to where we find ourselves today. Furthermore, Flaherty and Harper are simply relying on market forces to get us out of this. That's not a plan...that is wishful thinking.

But Martin, who balanced the books as finance minister in the Jean Chretien Liberal government from 1993 to 2002, said Canadians deserve a clearer picture of what their government is going to do to eliminate the structural deficit it has created.

"It's not enough to say we will have a plan," Martin said. "The government should have a plan now and it should lay it out in front of the Canadian people."

So maybe, instead of focusing on what the Leader of the Opposition plans to do, perhaps we could get an idea of what the people who actually hold power have in store for us?

Seems reasonable to me.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

A Man Seeking an Election

Um. Oh, my!

I think he is singing to you Jack!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Dedicated to a Good Friend

For some reason, this vid has been restricted from being embedded...but please click here.

This is for a good friend of mine.

Oh, There are Differences

The meme that the is being pushed in the media now is that there is no difference between Ignatieff and Harper. It's based on um, nothing, as far as I can tell and of course it's a very old theme employed by the NDP and the Bloc at times.

As the story line goes, there is no difference between these two men and their policies. What is hilarious though, is that line is generally followed by, Ignatieff should put out some policy. So, his policies are the same, but we don't know his policies. Not terribly clever, especially when you consider there is more than one author taking this tack.

That said though, listening to his speech in the House of Commons yesterday, he laid out pretty clearly why he no longer has any confidence in the government. Did he lay out policy? No of course not, that is not what yesterday was about. But you certainly got a sense of how he would be a vastly different leader than the one currently in place, as well as a feeling for what kind of policy he would lean toward.

Should he put policy out? Well, that's the question isn't it? There are risks and rewards associated with that. As much as I'd like to see something, the chance of it being fairly debated in the current environment, with the current government, range from zero to none.

Don't get me wrong. I do not expect Ignatieff to be treated with kid gloves, but it would be nice to see some pushing in the public square for a civil dialogue on issues of import for the country.

In that respect, I thought his speech yesterday was really good strategy. He tapped into what most Canadians want from their government. That is, they expect it to be a force for the collective good. Obviously, that is not a new concept and one that the country expects, but until this speech, it hasn't been framed quite so clearly, that they are not receiving that from Harper.

Here, he started to do that by showing what a lack of vision Harper has. Indeed he went further and explained that Harper's vision, if you can call it that, is to back government out of the picture. The 'Starve the Beast' ideology is precisely what Harper is up to and I don't recall that being laid out quite so clearly before, ever. It's not a hidden agenda. It's one that is quite well known in political circles, but hasn't been laid out there for mass consumption. About bloody time it was.

Not only did he lay this out, he also revealed how it is not being challenged in the main. That is something that I want to follow and I suspect we may see some of that going forward. Here's hoping as they say, for more reality.

You've likely seen it, but here is his speech.

For the record, he got good reviews for the speech from corners I wouldn't have expected.