Thursday, December 31, 2009

Prorogue to insenaty or senate reform?

A couple weeks ago I mentioned that Prime Minister Harper might prorogue parliament. Well, he has, until early March.  Thirty-five bills die, but several important ones got amended and some were stalled in the Liberal-dominated senate. 

So now that's done, I don't think this had much to do with the Afghan detanee issue, but that the next question is whether Harper will then appoint the vacant senate seats giving the Conservatives a majority in the senate, which Canada hasn't had in a long time. And, it's been so long, I don't remember, but I'd guess around the mid-90's after Jean Chretien made a pile of appointments. So I'd like to point out again that the Liberals have no credibility if they make a huff about senate appointments when they have never made any progress when in government on making the senate elected, equal, or accountable with their long list of appointments in Canadian parliamentary history.

My guess is that Harper will definitely make those appointments.  Then after resuming parliament again and introducing a new budget and reintroduce the bills the died, the real question at hand is...

Will we continue with "insenaty" (i.e. all talk and no action on senate reform) or will Canada finally see some real progress toward modifying the senate and improving our democracy?


Read more here.

Monday, December 28, 2009

"I" is for Ignatieff

Today I watched CTV's "A Conversation With The Prime Minister" with Lloyd Robertson and Robert Fife.  I was particularly struck at how often Mr. Harper, who also was newsmaker of the year, answered with "We", as in "We are working with ..."  

Then afterward was Craig Oliver's interview with Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff (which I can't find the video for right now). What I noticed is that he often answered with "I", as in "I'm getting better", "I'm learning", "I'm resilient".  I couldn't believe how often he he said it compared to Mr. Harper's "We".

Sounds like Iggy is a real team player.

Then in the post interview analysis, CTV's Robert Fife, noted the frequency of Iggy saying "I" a lot as well and how Mr. Ignatieff referred to his policy as "stuff that's out there".

Yep, there is no "I" in "team" but there sure is one in "Ignatieff".

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

From all of us here at Hatrock's Cave, we would like to wish our kick-ass readers and your families a very happy Christmas and joyous New Year!


To our courageous Canadian soliders fighting for the freedom for others, you especially have our best wishes of a Merry Christmas and to return home to your families safely.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

You tell 'em Ed!

Responding in this manner is how Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach can win my vote back.

Premier responds to harsh comments made by Ont. and Que.

Updated: Wed Dec. 16 2009 18:15:04

ctvedmonton.ca
Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach is fighting back against some harsh comments made by Quebec and Ontario in Copenhagen. The premier is now questioning the rationale behind the two provinces calling Alberta's oilsands as an "embarrassment."

The two provinces also used terms usually saved for activists like tar sands instead of oil sands when referring to Alberta at the UN Climate Change conference.

"Our biggest fear is that the feds may try to use the good work that's been done by [Ontario and Quebec] as part of their overall goal, and thereby allow the tar sands development to proceed without hesitation," said Ontario Environment Minister John Gerretsen.

Stelmach told CTV News Wednesday that the "finger pointing" by Quebec and Ontario was frustrating to deal with. 

He said Alberta sends more than $21 billion to help other provinces, believing all of Canada is cashing in on the oilsands.

"If this leads to really killing Alberta's economy who is going to support the programs in other provinces?". 

Laurie Adkin, a University of Alberta political professor believes Stelmach's message may be more than just environmental concerns.

"He may be trying to say the Conservatives are strong defenders of Albertan's interests even if their framing of Alberta's interest is a questionable one," said Adkin.

Actually professor, he's simply saying to socialist ministers out East that they're a bunch of hypocrites and can't have it both ways.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Insenaty of Prorogue

When did I hear this before?  Oh yes, it was one year ago.  Apparently, Prime Minister Harper may ... wait for it...PROROGUE this session of Parliament once again.

And it all has to do with the current Liberal dominated Senate and their continued stalling of key legislation.  But one of their Senators is turning 75 soon, which with the current vacancies, leaves 5 spots for Mr. Harper to appoint some Conservatives and, for the first time since the 1980's, the Liberals won't have a majority in the Senate. 

If he shuts everything down, appoints the Senators, the committees will get reworked to pass legislation. But by ending the session, there's lots of legislation that will die.  Forty bills in fact.

I can't but help think that if we had an elected and equal Canadian Senate, we wouldn't be talking about any of this stuff.

Then again, by proroguing and stacking the Senate and its committees with Conservatives and gaining a majority, THE TIME FOR REAL SENATE REFORM WILL NOW BE AT HAND.

I'm trying not to get too excited though.  I've heard it all before.

Insenaty now!  Insenaty now...

Read the Journal article here.

h/t calgarygrit

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Can the Liberals stoop any lower? Probably.

Lately on the official Liberal Party of Canada website, they have a contest running and have been showing mocked-up photos of Stephen Harper submitted by folks who take up the 'challenge'.  This is a total rip-off of Rick Mercer's Photo Challenge, and waaay less humourous.

Now I'm a pretty easy going guy, and I love mock photos, and having it on a third-party blog or website is one thing, but when you show the Prime Minister of Canada (I don't care which party) being assassinated on Canada's official opposition party's official website, it says something about your party and organization doesn't it?



Unbelievable.

Here's their response:
A note to all viewers:

We thank all participants in this photo challenge who have submitted their entries for consideration.  Our intent was to engage Canadians concerned about the Prime Minister’s reluctance to attend the climate change conference in Copenhagen.

The photos here are created by visitors to our website, and do not always reflect the views of the Liberal Party of Canada
[emphasis mine]Though we continue to screen submissions before posting, we have removed certain images that may have been offensive to some viewers.

We apologize for any offence these images may have caused, and continue to strive to present a progressive and dynamic web experience for our site visitors.

Sincerely,
The Web Team

What a bunch of friggin' cop-outs.  Nice screening there.  I have no clue why anyone continues to support this joke of party.

h/t Ezra

UPDATE:  Kady O'Malley over at CBC.ca has commented on this as are a lot of people, saying pretty much the same thing.

UPDATE DEUX:  CTV Politics has picked it up as the main story.  It'll probably make the 6:00 news.

UPDATE TROIS: And CBC has it. Now it's out there and on TV.

Friday, December 11, 2009

WRAP warps into first

In a recent poll, the Wildrose Alliance Party of Alberta is now way out in front of Ed's PCs, who are now tied with Swann's Liberals.

39% Wildrose
25% PC
25% Liberal
 9% NDP

h/t daveberta

If I was Danielle Smith, I would ignore this poll.  There's still much to be done in the party to build it into a strong, disciplined organization.  They don't even have 87 constituency associations setup yet, let alone a sound, prioritized policy platform.  They have a long way to go yet, especially funding.  My sources tell me they lost some potential big donations due to a lack of judgment by hiring Stephen Carter who posted a derogatory comment on Twitter about Premier Ed Stelmach's speech.

Besides that, from my cheap seats, I read that Smith recently spoke about anthropogenic global warming (AGW) being a myth (very bold of her), and appears to be buddy-buddy with the energy and oil industry (a good thing in this province).

It's obvious that Alberta conservatives are simply not happy with the PCs and are merely parking their vote to the Wildrose in protest.  Or are they simply impressed with Danielle over Ed as an articulate spokesperson for Albertans?

Is there also a deeper issue in government democracy, accountability, and transparency?  Perhaps. Everyone knows how secretive and tight the PC caucus is.

So the questions remain...

1) Will Danielle Smith be able to harness Alberta conservative frustration of the PC government and continue the momentum she apparently has?

2) From this, will the party attract quality candidates?

3) Will they be able to raise enough funds to run a credible campaign?

Time will tell.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

History of Canadian Senate Reform (with comparisons to Australia)

After reading today that the Australian senate has blocked a gov't bill on implementing a "Cap and Trade" system, here is an excellent paper I stumbled upon that I strongly recommend about the detailed history of Canadian senate reform with comparisons to the Australian model.

As a proud Albertan, Canadian senate reform has always been one of my most contentious issues and so I am always interested in hearing and reading people's opinions about it.


The paper was written by Hon. Dr. Ted Morton, a former professor of political science, senate candidate in Alberta, former Alberta PC leadership candidate (whom I voted for), and current Alberta government Minister for Sustainable Resource Development. 

The paper provides a thorough understanding of the Australian parliamentary system, notably their senate, and outlines the several attempts at senate reform in Canada, and the reasons for it--usually spurred on by Western alienation in Canada, but halted by the need to appease Quebec. 

Dr. Morton also mentions that because of the lack of an elected Canadian senate, the voice of minority rights  are heard through challenges in the Supreme Court referring to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Whereas in Australia, with their lack of such a Charter, minority rights are heard through their elected regional senators as members of minor political parties can be elected through their proportional representative single-transferrable ballot system. 


I learned a lot from the paper and Dr. Morton's opinions on and reasons for senate reform in Canada exactly match with my own.  I'm not a big fan of the P.R. system in voting for the lower house as popular as it is with minor parties like the NDP and Greens, but applying it to the upper house as Australia does now interests me.

So with that, I believe Canadians should look strongly at the Australian system as a model for our own. 

Australian Senate
Number of states, territories:  6, 2
Senators per state, territory:  12, 2
Total senators:  76
Half of state senators elected every 6 years
All territory senators elected every 3 years
Senators can hold cabinet positions in gov't.


Read more on the Australian system here.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Defects in key climate data are uncovered (published BEFORE hacked emails)

I'm posting this article in its entirety as published in the National Post, dated October 1, 2009 by Ross McKitrick, a professor of environmental economics at the University of Guelph.  Also note that this was over a month before the Mann et al. emails were hacked.

Ross McKitrick: Defects in key climate data are uncovered
Posted: October 01, 2009, 9:03 PM by NP Editor
Only by playing with data can scientists come up with the infamous ‘hockey stick’ graph of global warming

By Ross McKitrick
B
eginning in 2003, I worked with Stephen McIntyre to replicate a famous result in paleoclimatology known as the Hockey Stick graph. Developed by a U.S. climatologist named Michael Mann, it was a statistical compilation of tree ring data supposedly proving that air temperatures had been stable for 900 years, then soared off the charts in the 20th century. Prior to the publication of the Hockey Stick, scientists had held that the medieval-era was warmer than the present, making the scale of 20th century global warming seem relatively unimportant. The dramatic revision to this view occasioned by the Hockey Stick’s publication made it the poster child of the global warming movement. It was featured prominently in a 2001 report of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), as well as government websites and countless review reports.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Climate Change Fraud: When Science is Subverted by Idealism

From Steve Janke at "Angry In The Great White North", this is one of the most politically enlightening blog posts I have ever read. Enjoy!

Climate Change Fraud: When Science is Subverted by Idealism

"A proper scientist does not believe in man-made global warming. It is a theory that may or may not be supported by evidence. If not, it is rejected. It is as simple as that."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Why Liberals love China

Ezra tells it like it is.

PowerCorp again.  Guess who else has sat on the board?  Maurice Strong (Kofi Annan's and Paul Martin's buddy).  Bob Rae et al.  That's the company that's supposedly been running the country from behind the scenes for the past long while. If there's been any party in Canada that has been in the pocket of big business, it's the Liberals.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Global Warming Conspiracy

There has been a recent leak by a hacker into a Russian FTP site exposing the so-called leading climate scientists and their man-made global warming theory.

The most notable name is Michael E. Mann, one of the leading people behind the infamous IPCC (UN) carbon-temperature hockey stick graph.

Seriously folks, this is real and unbelievable. Well, I had a feeling about it all along, ever since Maurice Strong has been involved.

Read it all here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

By-Elections

Hatrock here, reporting live from Kansas... but on last night's Canadian federal by-elections.

Well, the Conservative won 2 out of 4 federal by-elections with the NDP and Bloc taking the other two. Liberals? Nil.

But the only surprise was the Conservatives taking Montmagny-L'Islet-Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup (Quebec) beating out the Bloc. It was no surprise that they took former Conservative MP Bill Casey's riding being that they've held that Nova Scotia riding for the most part since the beginning of time.

The Liberals have sent out a release basically saying that this was a referendum on the government and because the Conservatives didn't take all four ridings that this was bad for the Conservatives. Is this a joke? Does anyone take what the Liberals say seriously anymore? Do Liberals?

Anyway, the Conservatives have gained two seats bringing their seat total to 145 which means they only need 9 votes from the opposition to pass bills (as the speaker traditionally votes with the gov't in the case of a tie).

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Southpark Alliance

Danielle Smith, leader, Wildrose Alliance Party

whose now polling higher in Calgary than this guy's party ...


Alberta Calgary Edmonton Rural
PC 34 30 33 38
WA 30 34 17 32
Lib 20 20 27 15
ND 9 8 13 n/a

The Environics survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 95 times out of 100. In the regional breakdowns, the margin of error is 6.2 percentage points in the major cities and 5.6 for elsewhere.

Liberals cry wolf ... again

With their low poll numbers, these friggin' Liberals look desperate making up scandals where there aren't any.

With H1N1, they blame the Conservatives for not doing a good job in getting the vaccine out there and being secretive with the pharmaceutical company but the contract with them was signed under Chretien's Liberal gov't in the first place.

So now they've been called out on it, they come up with another really pathetic attempt of a non-scandal.

As the Olympic Torch makes its way to Vancouver for the start of next year's games, there will be more torch relay ceremonies held in Conservative ridings than in the ridings of opposition members.

CTV News has obtained a list that shows that torch relay ceremonies will be held in 91 Conservative ridings, compared to 20 Liberal ridings and 17 ridings for both the NDP and Bloc Quebecois.

"It is absolutely shameful to politicize and to make partisan something such as (the) Olympics," Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh told CTV.

However, both the federal government and the head of the Vancouver Olympics organizing committee (VANOC) say that there is no plan in place to keep the torch out of opposition ridings.

"This is not political, this is what I'm stressing," Minister of State for Sport Gary Lunn said Wednesday, hours before sending a letter to all opposition MPs, assuring them that they could take part in torch events even if they are being held in Conservative ridings.

The head of VANOC also denies any Conservative involvement.

"At no time did anybody in any government, or any political party offer one iota of counsel or influence about that," John Furlong said.

"We did our jobs the way we should have done them."
This is their strategy though... they're trying continually to smear the gov't of Action-Plan pork in mostly Conservative ridings, and an inability to deal with the swine-flu, but all they come up with is B.S. on all counts and waste your money in doing so, instead of holding the gov't properly accountable, opposing where it's necessary, and offering alternative solutions.

And Canadians knows the Liberals have NO credibility on anything when EVERYONE still knows about the ultimate kick-back scheme they played. It's why their poll numbers are so darn low.





h/t The Raging Tory

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Long Gun Done Gone

At tonight's vote in the House of Commons, the Canadian government's long-gun registry program, could see its demise.

Introduced by a Conservative MP as a private-member's bill, the proposal has the support of up to 8 opposition MPs, making it 143 (Conservative MPs) + 8 (opposition MPs) = 151. Four more votes are required, but if everyone doesn't show up on the opposition benches, then it could pass, and the long-gun registry would be fini. All of the Bloc MPs are voting against it.

Apparently it was introduced as a private member's bill because the Conservatives knew that the Liberals and NDP, by tradition, would have a free vote on the issue.

Keep in mind, this is on long-guns and not hand-guns. I can't stand getting into the whole gun control debate. This issue has seen innocent farmers jailed for no bloody reason other than keeping a novelty rifle in a display locker.

This law has flown in the face of property rights (which we still don't have in Canada, by the way).

Despite that, I don't like guns. I don't like hunting. They're only used for killing and I don't like killing (yeah, I eat meat, but let's not go down there, k? ..lol..) If a criminal was going to get a rifle or shotgun, do you think he's going to buy and register it in the first place?

And even despite all that, what the implementation of the registry showed was that it was overblown in costs and inefficiencies ($2 billion!!!), proving once again that gov't bureaucracy just plain sucks.

So scrapping this registry was long overdue.

Read more here.

UPDATE:

Just as I published my post, I received word that the bill to scrap the long-gun registry was APPROVED in the House of Commons by a vote of 164-137.

Monday, November 02, 2009

About our Monarchy

As Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall set to arrive in Canada for a cross-country tour, their arrival triggers the discussion amongst Canadians of why we should or should not have a monarchy.

While in Britain, Michael Ignatieff wrote an article back in 1992 (h/t Stephen Taylor) after Prince Charles and Princess Diana called it quits.

"For the choice the British face is between clinging to an institution which has had its day or affirming what their history has always taught, which is that “We, the people” and not the crown are the source of all power and authority in this island."
From it, you can tell obviously he prefers a republican-style constitution, in Britain, nonetheless. Can we transfer that opinion over to his belief of a Canadian republic? Absolutely!

Two things to note here about Ignatieff:

1) He comes from a line of Russian nobility himself, whether he feels was a legitimate rule, I'm not sure.

2) He returned to Canada for one reason only and that was to try and become prime minister of a country he's been away from for 34 years, and was eventaully "annointed" Liberal leader, not even being duly elected in contested leadership race.

Whatever contradictions you wish to make from that, by all means.

Many Canadians believe we should try and go it alone as a republic. I have thought long and hard about this for many years, but with the recent constitutional squabbles in our parliament, my belief in a Canadian monarchy grows stronger.

Why?

I had to remind a fellow Canadian living abroad that the Queen of Canada is Queen Elizabeth II. SHE is the Head of State of Canada, not the Governor General (GG).

If there happened to be a constitutional conflict between the GG and parliament (as represented by the Prime Minister), who would make the ultimate call? What if our government and parliament became so corrupt (as what just happened with Turks and Caicos) that the people demanded an immediate end to this?

Do I see it becoming so bad that we'd have to resort to the British government having to take over? The point is not whether it will happen, but that it COULD happen.

We are still a young country. Having the British monarchy reminds us of WHY and HOW we became the country we are. It provides that needed stability in a time of constitutional crisis, where parliament is at a stand-still, and the GG goes against the will of the people, say by appointing an unpopular coalition government. What then? Anarchy? We don't know and I don't want to know.

Sure you may not care about who these British monarchy folks are. I'd go so far to say that I don't think Prince Charles is all that popular figure in Canada. I don't agree with some of his views on environmental policy (that he even has policy), or especially his divorce to Princess Diana. Their son, William, is popular though. I, for one, would prefer Charles abdicate and have his son on our money, if God forbid, our Queen should pass-on one day. That said, it isn't for me or you to decide. In fact, that's the whole point. Like our courts, the monarchy is an institution, and our judgment should not be based upon our personal feelings or how popular they are, because this isn't a popularity contest.

It's about having that stability in our country where the will of the people is NOT shared by parliamentarians nor the Queen's representative. Who then can have the ultimate non-partisan authority to represent all citizens and make the final call in a time of crisis.

While Michael Ignatieff appears to tout "will of the people", by his own unelected rise to the Liberal leadership, his own disdain of the institution of the monarchy in Britain and therefore Canada, wanting an election that Canadians didn't, and ultimately, by signing the letter to the Governor General on supporting a coalition government between the Liberals, NDP and Quebec separatists, I submit that Michael Ignatieff knows nothing about the "will of the people".

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mass Pollution in China

This is unbelievable. Communism and industrialism mixed with good ol' child labour, physical defects, disease, human rights violations, let alone the long-term damage to the local environment, animal habitat, etc.

No wonder China doesn't want to sign on to any climate deal.

h/t Grandinite

"Little Russians"

Here's a post from The Iceman on Michael Ignatieff and writing about "Little Russians".

Friday, October 23, 2009

3D House of Iggy

Halloween is coming and let me tell you, folks, this is scariest teaser trailer that I have ever seen...



h/t Ardvark

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Iggy the Wrong on Maher Arar

Oh Iggy... opened your mouth again did ya?

"Canada sent Maher Arar (a Canadian engineer) to Syria, and a court found that he had been subjected to extraordinary rendition, that his claims (of torture) were true and that he had delivered no intelligence to anybody. It was a disgrace. So, we don't do it. Ever. Period. Off the table. We don't get other people to do our dirty work for us, and we don't do dirty work ever."

Arar was sent to Syria by the United States in late 2002 after he was detained while in transit to Canada through JFK Airport in New York.

Contrary to what Ignatieff said, no court has made findings of fact in Arar's case.

I'm wondering if the only thing Iggy reads are his own books.

From UBC law professor Michael Byers:

"For him to get the facts wrong on the highest profile case of torture involving a Canadian citizen is deeply worrying.

"It suggests a certain lack of attention to detail, and perhaps even concern, on a matter that was engaging the Canadian public, a commission of inquiry, and courts in both Canada and the United States at the very same time that he was expressing opinions on torture in The New York Times."

Source...

h/t Ardvark

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Iggy the iffy continued..continued...

Oh man, this party doesn't really stand for anything, do they? That, or they just don't communicate with each other well, OR some people on the inside are mucking things up... or all three. Here's what was said in the news today...

Federal Liberals say they won't support the NDP in its effort to push a private member's climate-change bill through the House of Commons on Wednesday.

The proposed legislation, called Bill C-311, the climate change accountability act, sets strict targets for greenhouse gas emissions and is currently being considered by a House environment committee.
Liberal environment critic David McGuinty, however, said the committee needs more time to study the implications of the bill.

"We need to hear more about the American position, the European position, the Chinese position" before considering the bill, McGuinty told CBC News.
More here...

And here's what Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff said just over a month ago on September 2, 2009.
"We are not going to wait for the United States; we are not going to wait for Mr. Obama," Ignatieff said. "Canadian climate-change policy gets made in Canada. It doesn't get made in the United States."
This is too easy ... come on, you know how it goes...

"[Do something about climate change] but not necessarily [do something about climate change]."


You know, with the whole 'cheque-gate' thing with the Conservative logo and MPs signatures on big cheques, as obvious as it is, and how Stephen Harper, in 2006 got elected on being accountable and all that. Yeah, but at least the money still went back to Canadian ridings in obvious plain sight, not your tax dollars directly to Liberal cronies as cash in an envelope under a table at a restaurant.

And here's former Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Jean Chretien, in 2000 on taking credit for cash to ridings...

OTTAWA and QUEBEC CITY – Jean Chretien, the Prime Minister, yesterday said his government had nothing to apologize for in seeking to reap maximum partisan political benefit from disbursing $1-billion worth of federal job grants across Canada each year.

He had always made sure since taking power in October, 1993, that voters were left in no doubt that it was his Liberals who were distributing such grants, he said.

“Listen,” he added, “we are the government … I don’t see why we can’t try to get credit for what we do. I hope we do so. There is nothing to be ashamed in that.”

So in summary ... the opposition Liberals and their flip-flopping leader Michael Ignatieff have absolutely NO credibility on criticizing the Conservative gov't about anything.


h/t: cosmostein on BT, Stephen Taylor

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Iggy the iffy continued...

"[Support the government] if necessary, but not necessarily [support the government]..."

OTTAWA — Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said Tuesday that his party will no longer seek to defeat the Harper government, suggesting the Conservatives will remain in power until at least next spring's federal budget.

"We've said clearly we won't support the government but, at the same time, we won't try to defeat the government each time," Ignatieff told reporters Tuesday after making an appearance at a daycare in Ottawa.

More...

Man, it's becoming difficult to keep up with this guy. I don't know, maybe that's his intention. He's only been opposition leader for a short time and he's flip flopped on pretty much everything so far.

Perhaps a recent poll putting his party at 25.5% and the Conservatives at 40.7% had something to do with changing his mind on defeating the gov't at every turn.


Thursday, October 08, 2009

Iggy the iffy

Iggy the iffy...

“I've made some mistakes. I will make some more,” he told his caucus according to an insider. “But I've stood strong on the beliefs.” Link...

Hmmm...stood strong?

Torture?
Israel?
Taxes?
Vetoing candidates?
Coalition?
Ukrainians?

And he's only been opposition leader for how long? Can you imagine the flippedy flip flops if he were PM?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Latest stuff

Again, it's tough being a lazy blogger, but here's my thoughts of the latest politics...

Iggy's ads are okay. In fact, they're just the right amount of (false) hope that liberals can latch onto.

So speaking of Iggy ... Martin Couchon in, then not in, then in .... me sees a MAJOR rift in the Quebec wing of the Liberals.

And now, I say with great pleasure, that I now respect Stephane Dion more than ever. At least he had vision. At least he was bold with controversial plans. At least he had dual citizenship (not sure what that means, but just sayin'). At least his poll numbers were better. At least he could actually articulate what he was planning to do. But now, can't do that, can we?

Harper not floundering around the U.N. Seriously people. Canadian economics and Tim Hortons trumps anything else, except attending a hockey game. Could Iggy say the same? About the hockey... you know, being in the UK and at Harvard all the time. Does Harvard still have a team?

Speaking of team... Team Harper walking out on nut job Amagejdadad's ... or whatever you're called, at the U.N. Couldn't have been prouder to be Canadian.

And Qadaffi, Ghadaffi, or however you spell it, no one gives a shit about you... neither does most of us in Canada. Seriously. Take your tents (Trump, what were you thinking?), and go home.

I also think the demise of Iggy is the continuing direct result of his old roommate Bob Rae. Ask yourself this ... whom do you think has more influence, connections, and power in Ontario, let alone Toronto. Someone who's been premier and has deep connections with Powercorp, a corporation that has had a major influence on federal politics for decades, or someone who's lived OUTSIDE of the country for 34 years (or whatever the number is!) and wrote a bunch of books (oh don't get me started!)? Any misstep by Iggy .. methinks his "advisors" are actually not his.

I have no proof of any of this other than pure political instinct.

If you wanted to be PM, how would YOU go about it? There's only been ONE Liberal leader that didn't become PM.. Stephane Dion. Iggy? Really? So you think there'd be a three-peat? Hell no. Enter Bob Rae.

Ok, to much more important people. Afghanistan... to the Canadian soldiers there, some who I know... fight the good fight my friends. And it is a good fight. You ARE making a difference. You HAVE made a difference. You are ALL in our thoughts and prayers.. ALWAYS. Kick some ass!!! You ARE the best!!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Harper leads...

Nanos research did a leadership poll recently and found that Prime Minister Stephen Harper is far ahead of Michael Ignatieff on trustworthiness, competency, and vision.

Canadians like it when a leader leads and takes a stand. That's why they loved Trudeau, Mulroney, Chretien, and now are really warming up to Harper. But note the undecided. There's room, but I'd say most of those are people who don't even vote (for shame!).

Regardless, Canadians trust Stephen Harper more than twice as much as Michael "Just Visiting" Ignatieff.

The most trustworthy leader

National (n=1,002)

  • Stephen Harper: 31%
  • Michael Ignatieff: 14%
  • Jack Layton: 14%
  • Gilles Duceppe: 8%
  • Elizabeth May: 8%
  • None of them/Undecided: 25%

The most competent leader

National (n=1,002)

  • Stephen Harper: 36%
  • Michael Ignatieff: 20%
  • Jack Layton: 11%
  • Gilles Duceppe: 7%
  • Elizabeth May: 2%
  • None of them/Undecided: 24%

The leader with the best vision for Canada’s future

National (n=1,002)

  • Stephen Harper: 32%
  • Michael Ignatieff: 20%
  • Jack Layton: 15%
  • Gilles Duceppe: 4%
  • Elizabeth May: 4%
  • None of them/Undecided: 25%

Leadership Index Score

  • Stephen Harper: 99
  • Michael Ignatieff: 54
  • Jack Layton: 40
  • Gilles Duceppe: 19
  • Elizabeth May: 14

Wildrose Alliance takes Calgary-Glenmore

37% - HINMAN, PAUL (WAP)
34% - ROBERTS, AVALON (Lib)
24% - COLLEY-URQUHART, DIANE (PC)

The Elections Alberta results are here.

Can't say I wasn't surprised. People all around Alberta are not happy with Ed's PCs. Ed is a decent man, but his gov't for the most part is still a throwback to Ralph's days. This PC party is tired and although voters gave Ed and Co. a chance to govern, he's blowing it with deficits, a mean health care minister in Ron Leipert, booze tax (which was repealed by Ed but prices didn't drop), and now weird cutbacks to health and education, and breaking a contract with the Alberta Teachers Association? They have no direction and no vision.

Enter Paul Hinman.. again. Paul's a smart guy and will be a needed voice in the legislature... again.

But what this does is most certainly draws attention to the Wildrose Alliance leadership race which takes place on October 17th, 2009. The membership cutoff is October 2 and ballots will be mailed out or you can attend the convention.

The Wildrose Alliance Party Leadership Convention is being held on Saturday, October 17, 2009, 9:00 am - 11:00 pm at the Holiday Inn Convention Centre, 4520 - 76 Ave., Edmonton.
If I'm in town, I might just pop in and see what all the fuss is about.

Leadership candidates' websites:
I like Danielle's the best and will be paying close attention to her campaign. As I'm sure, many former PC folks will too.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The Latest

I'm currently in Los Angeles, but here are my comments of the latest political happenings...

- Elizabeth May running in BC somewhere. Run, Betty, run! ... yawn

- Harper's senate appointments... a necessary evil. Rest assured many of us Conservatives will be piping up if the party wins a majority next election and no further progress is made on senate reform.

- Iggy wants an election. ... yawn. Were Bob Rae's hawks responsible for pushing this knowing Iggy would lose? Unlike some delusional Liberals, methinks Canadians don't really want much change, but I also don't think they punish parties that force one. The best the Liberals can do is gain 20 seats to 97. But I don't know where those seats would come from.

- Iggy's TV ads. ... yawn

- Stephen Harper spontaneously plays "Gimme Shelter" on an old piano in the Niagara region. Sounds like a leader who's feeling relaxed to me.

- Obama's speech to students... awesome and necessary. Republican pundits and politicians are just jealous. George Bush Sr. did a similar thing. Newt Gingrich even thought it was okay.

- Health care debate in the U.S. ... very bad and lots of truth bending and myths spouted. Lou Dobbs on CNN is at least looking at other countries' systems. USA Today shows that insurance payments have gone up dramatically over the past 5 years and some families pay up to $1400-1900/month. I don't know about you but that's crazy.

- God bless Canada.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Alberta Taser Maze

The gov't is setting stricter guidelines for Taser use.

The guidelines also provide clearer direction to police on Taser use, which is now limited to when an officer believes there is a "real likelihood" a subject could cause injury to themselves, the officer or a bystander.
What the heck does "real likelihood" mean?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Hey Gilles, quit whining!

Blogging from New York and I read this...

Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe has called for the federal gov't to deliver services in Quebec only en francais and called Prime Minister Harper AND Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff "rednecks".

I love the response from Soudas:

"There are certain days in the year when Mr. Duceppe should put aside his whining, his complaining, his constantly seeing the glass as half-empty," Harper spokesman Dimitri Soudas said Wednesday.

"Quebecers see the glass as being half full. Mr. Duceppe just comes across as a big whiner."

I was recently at the Montreal-Trudeau airport and the FIRST language EVERYONE spoke to me in was French.

So yeah, quit yer whinin' Gilles and let us rednecks tawk the English in Quebec will ya?


Monday, June 15, 2009

An election if necessary but not necessarily an election

Duly elected Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff wants to hold the Conservative accountable by having them meet the 45 day qualification for Employment Insurance, stimulus conditions or face defeat.

According to Ignatieff, the government must meet the following conditions:

  • Provide more details about improving the employment insurance system before the House of Commons votes on budget estimates at the end of the week. The government has said it will introduce new EI proposals in the fall.
  • Give more information about stimulus spending and the ballooning deficit than included in last Thursday's progress report.
  • Provide clearer answers on the government's action plan to deal with Canada's medical isotopes shortage.
Details, information, and answers. Reading this it would appear that again, Michael Ignatieff stands for nothing and has a way out to avoid an election.

You know the line, "an [election] if necessary, but not necessarily an [election]".

This was the Liberals best chance and they missed it.

See you in 2010... a Space Odyssey by Iggy Stardust.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Jasmine MacDonnell, Lisa Raitt, and Fishy Plants

Blogger Steve Janke points out that, Jasmine MacDonnell, the assistant of Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt, is the daughter of Liberal party fundraiser Ralston MacDonnell.

Something smells fishy to me.

Just over a week ago, secret documents related to the Ministry were left behind at CTV. CTV called the party and someone picked them up with the news media ready and waiting. I remember a scenario similar to this not long ago when RCMP confiscated boxes from a Conservative party office and the media just happened to be there, ready and waiting.

Back to Jasmine... she resigned after Raitt asked Prime Minister Harper if she herself should resign, which he refused. Apparently, Jasmine was in tears.

Then only a few days later another story came to light. A tape recorder containing a conversation between Jasmine and Lisa Raitt while in Victoria back in January was then left behind at the press gallery in Ottawa months ago.

The recorder was given to Mr. Maher [of the Halifax Chronicle Herald] in February by another reporter who found it in a women’s washroom on Parliament Hill and recognized his voice on the recorder. Mr. Maher had interviewed the minister on Jan. 21.

Mr. Maher informed Ms. MacDonnell that he had the recorder and invited her to drop by his office to pick it up. She never did.
HOW CONVEEEEEENIENT.

A few questions..

1. Why the heck would Jasmine MacDonnell record a private conversation between her and her minister?

2. Why would she leave it behind in a women's washroom? She must have been listening to it or would she not have kept it in her purse/pocket?

3. Why didn't she recover it when asked by Mr. Maher at the Chronicle Herald? Did she totally forget?

3. Why would she leave secret documents behind at the CTV?

4. Why did this all come to light in the last week?

5. Why didn't the Prime Minister fire Lisa Raitt as he did with Maxime Bernier when he had secret foreign affairs documents lying around for his then girlfriend to see?

Incompetence just doesn't describe this anymore.

And I'll just state it again. Jasmine MacDonnell is the daughter of Liberal party fundraiser Ralston MacDonnell.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

NDP win majority in Nova Sociala

Jeez, after reading comments in this article, you wonder how the heck they got elected?

My bets are that the PCs just didn't have the gumption, the grassroots, or any GOTV (get out the vote) going on. And all the soft-liberals shifted to the NDP.

Now, I haven't done any post-election analysis, but I think this election just shows that campaigns really DO matter--that good campaign teams, grassroots volunteers do work and last-minute desperate campaign attack ads don't make much difference against positive political momentum.

Will this bode well for the federal Conservatives? I don't know. What I do know is that having left-leaning gov'ts in the Ontario legislature does after a period of time. As long as McGuinty is Premier, there's a large group of Ontarians that will balance it out with federal Conservative MPs.

Anyway, HUGE win for the NDP in a province with a recent long history of electing minorities. It appears Nova Socialans (sic) are looking for ... what's that word? stability. but change was a big thing.

Hello Jack Layton? Are you seizing this opportunity? .. the NDP did grow massively in BC. They have a gov't in Manitoba and now Nova Scotia. Oh my guess he's still practicing his crappy Question Period rants in the hallway.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Time IS right for Grits

Globe and Mail and Metro columnist Lawrence Martin says the "time is right for Grits" to force an election.

I would have to agree. The economy and unemployment have likely reached their lowest point. The Conservatives have been mired in a mostly currently ineffective ad campaign against "duly elected" Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff. The deficit misreads by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, massive bailouts for GM, and the very recent misteps by Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt--including the secret documents left behind at CTV news by her assistant, and her tape recorded conversation left behind, again, by her assistant, the possible lack of radioactive isotopes for cancer patients, AND the loss of gold at the Mint, could the news get any worse for the Conservatives. Perhaps.

Don't forget that the polls show the Conservatives in 4th place in Quebec and trailing the Liberals in Ontario. With opposition calls for dramatic EI reform and the Conservatives seemingly slightly compromising, while it's an issue no doubt, it's not an election issue.

But here's why an election isn't going to happen as Lawrence Martin speculates...

1. The economy. The last thing I think most people want, especially investors and bankers, during this time is instability.

2. Liberals need the NDP and Bloc to get enough votes in the House of Commons to force an election. The NDP have indicated they don't want to go to the polls, especially with them badly trailing the Liberals, they'd likely lose seats. The Liberals also lead the Bloc in parts of Quebec so the Bloc probably won't do any better than they are now.

3. No one wants a July or August election. In fact, this would favour the incumbant as many are away on holidays.

My bet is by October, when the House resumes, the Liberals and Bloc will assess the polling data, and if the Conservatives don't have a big enough scandal to lose confidence, we might not see an election until Spring 2010.

But by that time, the economy will likely have recovered, and the main reason to go to the polls will no longer be the issue.

Also, Michael Ignatieff will have flip flopped on so many issues that more and more people will want to know what he really stands for. And I bet that will be the next salvo of Conservative Party attack ads.

And the Liberals will have missed their chance.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Reverse Insenaty

Some people say that insanity is trying the same thing over and over again and getting the same result. But I'd say in the case of reforming the Canadian senate, it's worth it to pursue and is not insane, nor is it "insenaty", unless those opposed to any reform (Quebec) have anything to say about it. And they always do...

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Politics/2009/05/28/9600246-cp.html

OTTAWA - When it comes to Senate reform, the Harper government is applying the old adage: If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

The government reintroduced for the third time Thursday legislation that would force senators to retire after serving a single, non-renewable term of eight years.

And it intends to reintroduce legislation soon that would create a process to elect senators.

"Well, here we go again," said Marjory LeBreton, the government's leader in the Senate.

Two previous attempts to impose term limits went nowhere amid objections from Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador, which argued that Senate reforms require a constitutional amendment approved by at least seven provinces.

Quebec, which views the Senate as a chamber designed to protect minority rights, has been the most adamantly opposed. It has threatened to take the federal government to court if it persists in trying to unilaterally reform the upper chamber.

Some have asked my view on senate reform. I believe having a triple-e senate a key ingredient to national unity, otherwise many provinces are just colonies within the dominion. Canada has changed dramatically over the past 100 years and our current senate makeup is a relic of an old system that needs major reform. And I'll take any kind of reform, any progress to get to a triple-e, even if it's one step at a time.

This is the key issue of why I support Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

First off, we have too many senators. I propose the following, similar to the U.S. system:

- Each province gets 6 senators and each territory gets 2 for a total of 66. (Keep in mind that they have 100 senators in the U.S. (2 per state).

- Each province is divided into 6 regions (not necessarily based on population). These regions are determined by the provincial legislatures. For example, Alberta would be divided as such: Edmonton Captial Region, Calgary Region, Central, Northwest, Northeast, South.

- Three senators are up for election every six years in conjunction with a province's civic elections usually held every three years.

- Because of elections, there is no need for term limits. I believe if someone is doing a good job and continually gets elected, then there's nothing wrong with that.

- Current campaign financing laws would apply with an adjustment to the amount a campaign can spend depending upon the population of the region.

Now is that so insane?


Monday, May 25, 2009

More liberal spin on the IggyAds

In the MSM and blogosphere, Liberal pundits are trying to spin the IggyAds as personal, and aren't doing to badly of a job either, but they tried to do the same thing with Dion, and well, we know how that worked out.

So let's clear up some of that spin, shall we?

What the Liberals are spinning but what ads DON'T say is that if a Canadian lives outside the country for any given period of time, he or she is "less Canadian". I certainly wouldn't say Wayne Gretzky is less Canadian than the next person and the ads don't depict this.

The ads don't necessarily speak for themselves, but they let Michael Ignatieff do that on his own.

I don't know any Canadian currently living or having lived abroad, myself included, ever say that the country I was in, especially the U.S.A., was "my" country. It would be very arrogant for me to do so.

The ads are only backfiring mostly upon Liberals themselves? Why? Because it's simply true that Ignatieff was out of the country for 34 years and now wants to lead it. It's simply true that he said if he doesn't become prime minister that he hopes "Harvard will take him back".

So in this sense, what the Liberals are trying to deflect, Ignatieff included, is not what the ad says, but simply what HE says, and so in effect, they're not spinning the ads, but the truth about Ignatieff himself.

And I bet, it won't be the last time.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Iggy's spin on the ads

I watched Michael Ignatieff's reply to the Conservative attack ads.

He basically asked, "At any given time, there may be two million Canadian citizens living and working overseas. Is the Conservative party saying these people are less Canadian?"

Good question Mike! Well, I'm a Canadian who's worked abroad in the U.S. many times. And no, I'm certainly not less Canadian than any of my fellow citizens.

But I'd NEVER say, "What kind of an America do YOU want. ... This is your country just as much as it is mine."

And THAT'S the difference folks.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Alberta to sue criminals over health care costs

The spirit of the bill is fantastic. The Alberta gov't wants to sue criminals for any health care costs as a result of their crimes. Sounds brilliant, doesn't it?

A few questions though...

1. How many criminals are actually going to be aware that they'll have to pay these costs (likely expensive), and most importantly, will it deter them from committing crimes that cause a burden on our health care system? I doubt it.

2. Do judges have the power to determine this? Is this open for interpretation dependent upon the situation?

3. Even if a criminal is convicted, would they even actually pay a likely very high cost?

That all said, even if the money doesn't flow or if it doesn't deter, what's the harm then?

Let's say a drunk driver hurts someone badly in a crash? Would they pay directly or would their insurance company cover it? Or what if the fact he or she was drunk was in question? At that point, it would be up to the insurance adjuster in determining this. Regardless, instead of Albertan taxpayers covering unnecessary negligence, that responsibility is transferred to those that caused the problem in the first place.

Ok, more questions...

But is THAT the issue?

What if we didn't have publicly funded health care?

Would having this law even be an issue then?

Wouldn't the health insurance companies between both parties fight it out, like they do with car crashes?


Oh, but with drunk driving, they already do in regards to vehicle damage. But why not personal physical damage that taxpayers have to cover?

Do people hold back their physical injury upon someone else if they know they will be sued for health care damages? Perhaps, on a personal level. But now the gov't wants a piece!

So...

Have their been studies done on this as regards the effectiveness of such laws?

And...

What other jurisdictions have implemented this and does it work?

I love the spirit of the bill, but is it worth the trouble?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Michael Ignatieff flip-flops on June election threat

Steve Janke at Angry In The Great White North shows another Iggy flip-flop and has kept track of a growing list of such flips.

Iggy is a true Liberal. Stand for nothing and everything.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

More Insenaty!

And here we go again and again and again. Liberals all for senate reform, but it's gotta be full on reform or they won't do it, which is very, very difficult, while lambasting the Conservatives for having the gonads to forge ahead, despite being in a minority.

You see, to have full reform, you gotta "open the constitution" which you'll hear the same Liberals say, "Well, once you open up the Constitution, you play into the hands of the separatists."

But Liberals believe the Conservatives are playing partisan games instead of seeking meaningful reform.

They propose a term of 12 to 15 years so the Senate can maintain its traditional role of providing long-term perspective.

"The job is to study, to question legislation and question experts," said Quebec Sen. Serge Joyal. "If you have a bunch of newbies in the two chambers, the administration can manipulate them the way they want. The government can manipulate Parliament."

UNCONSTITUTIONAL

Joyal insists the Liberals "are not opposed at all to reform," they simply believe the legislation the government wants passed is unconstitutional.

Let me ask you this then, Senator Joyal:

When have the Liberals EVER sought senate reform?

INSENATY NOW!!!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Raise taxes but not necessarily raise taxes and True Patriot Love but not necessarily patriotism

Well, Interim Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff is at it again, saying one thing one day and qualifying it the next.

"We will have to raise taxes," but not at the expense of hurting the recovery from this recession, Mr. Ignatieff, on a four-day tour of Southwestern Ontario, told a meeting of the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce.
And then...

"But let me repeat, so there's no doubt about it. No Liberal party with a brain in its head is going to raise taxes in the middle of a recession."

Asked about tax hikes during good times, Ignatieff said: "Hopefully not then either."

Now that's leadership.

And now he has a book out called "True Patriot Love". Aw.

A review from Macleans...
Ignatieff proposes patriotism as the sustaining motif in this grand lineage that reaches down to him. On one level this is merely a convenient way to package campaign fodder for a man who, after all, hopes the next federal election will make him prime minister.
You know, when I was away from Canada for 7 months on a work contract, did I miss my home? Of course.

So I can sympathize with Ignatieff touting his patriotism being away for 30 years from the very country he wants to lead.

As you can see in the video below, his patriotism is unwaivering...



And you can read more of these Iggyisms on the following blog:
http://www.bluelikeyou.com/ignatieffiggyisms/

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I love Lucy

Former Price Is Right host, Bob Barker, is makin' waves about our Lucy the elephant at the Edmonton Storyland Valley Zoo.

From Zoo


I first met Lucy when I was a kid and she was on Al Oeming's farm near Edmonton. I often pay her a visit every couple of years at the zoo because I think she remembers me somehow. Whenever I go watch her outside then head inside, she always follows me in and comes over to where I am. I don't know why, people, I'm just telling you.

Here's a video of her rocking. I'm told that she's actually dancing and showing off.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

More Insenaty!

But Christopherson, MP for Hamilton Centre, who has not yet seen the proposed legislation, said the Conservatives are "missing the opportunity for real action."

"This is nothing but another sideshow, a distraction from the real issue: How do we make the Senate accountable to the people of Canada?" Christopherson said in an email statement sent to CTV.ca.

"Setting term limits for patronage appointments will only let the Conservatives spread out their patronage among even more of their friends - it won't ensure that senators make their decisions based on the will of Canadian electors."

Read more here.

I like how the NDP critic ..um.. criticizes but then offers no solutions of their own.

I like how LibIntLead Michael Ignatieff says Harper broke his word and cannot be trusted, yet when have the Liberals done ANYTHING on Senate reform?

INSENATY NOW!!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Ignatieff removes leading Ukrainian Canadian from shadow cabinet

Seems there are a lot of Ukrainian-Canadians upset with Liberal Interim Leader Michael Ignatieff's decision about removing a very active Liberal MP from his shadow cabinet, and some remarks he's made in the past...

"Isn’t nationalism just an exercise in kitsch, in fervent emotional insincerity? Especially so in Ukraine. It has been part of Russia for centuries."

"Into this inauthentic void streams nationalist emotionalism," he continues, "striving to convince them that there always was a Ukrainian nation; that it has been suppressed for centuries; that it has at last found its freedom, and so on. The reality is different."

"My difficulty in taking Ukraine seriously goes deeper than just my cosmopolitan suspicion of nationalists everywhere. Somewhere inside, I’m also what Ukrainians would call a Great Russian, and there is just a trace of old Russian disdain for these "little Russians.""

My late grandfather, who proudly fought for the Ukrainian Army against the Russians after World War I (a period of time he wouldn't talk about) wouldn't be too happy about those statements. Not happy at all.

And neither am I.

Spread the word.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Taser Phaser

So RCMP officers need to tone it down then...

Under the amended policy, an officer is only permitted to use a stun gun if he or she is in physical danger or the public is in danger.

It means Mounties can no longer shock people who are simply were "actively resistant" to officers' orders, the commissioner said.

Where's "the line" though? I don't think this permission will really change anything.

Dog the Bounty Hunter uses pepper spray quite effectively I might add.

Update: The Edmonton Police Service isn't changing their position on Tasers.


Friday, January 30, 2009

Lump of Coalition

Don't you find it interesting how quickly the Liberal/NDP/Bloc coalition was put together and then how quickly it was torn apart?

Yet when it was alive, Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe said, just last week, that it was "stronger than ever".

When the federal budget was released, NDP leader Jack Layton said a coalition gov't would better address the needs of Canadians.

Really, Jack? Or should we call you Jack Shit from now on?

Hmmm... how quickly you released radio ads attacking your former ally, Liberal interim leader Michael Ignatieff, you know, the one who would have given you a cabinet post. Must have had those ads ready for proofing around the same time you said a coalition gov't would work better together.

And Jack says at every turn that Prime Minister Stephen Harper can't be trusted?

Riiight.

Put a lump of coal into the coalition kettle and let's call it black, shall we?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"The Coalition is dead." Long live the coaltion!

“The coalition is dead. It's finished. It's over,” said [Bloc Quebecois leader] Mr. Duceppe.
Just last week, Duceppe said, "The coalition is stronger than ever." What happened?

Now that the Liberals are "reluctantly" supporting the budget (as predicted), NDP Leader Jack Layton now says he can't trust Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff. (Does Layton trust anybody anymore? Sour grapes?)

Ok, so what does this mean now?

It means the Conservatives will be in power all year long, propped up by the Liberals, as Ignatieff wants regular budgetary updates from Harper.

It's too bad. I wished Harper and Flaherty would have soured the budget enough so that the Liberals couldn't support it and possibly force an election in which the Conservatives would have a better chance at winning a majority against the notion of a separatist-Coalition.

And that's why the Liberals dumped Dion so quickly and put in Ignatieff. Although they all signed that coalition promise document for the Governor General (including Ignatieff), it really wasn't binding after the prorogue anyway.

I don't think though, that Ignatieff has said anything significant to win over soft-conservatives. In fact, I think this budget really strattles the middle, forcing to push the opposition Liberals to the left more because, well, they have to oppose something!

If there weren't any middle class tax cuts, it would just be like a Liberal budget ... or heck, a coalition budget. Earlier in the month though, Ignatieff was FOR a middle class tax cut, then hearing that it would be in the budget, scrapped that idea and said he was against it.

Harper's long time goal is to replace the Liberals as the natural governing party. Every political move he's made is indicative of that strategy.

Now the question is, does Stephen Harper want to REPLACE the Liberals, or BE like them?

Except for the middle class tax cut, this budget makes me think so.

So while the old Liberal/NDP/(Bloc) coalition is dead, a new one begins, but it's really the old old one when Dion was leader of the Liberals.

So now we simply wait until Michael Ignatieff rebuilds the Liberal party until he's comfortable fighting an election .... and we'll wait ... and wait...

Long live the coalition!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

O


Got a fuzzy feeling inside? Yeah, me too.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The case for and against a deficit

Few people can outright buy a house or a car, which is why they take out a mortgage or a loan. The beauty of a house is that it usually increases in price so in a sense the mortgage is you paying yourself and increase in value is above the interest you pay to the lender. Owning a home is a good investment as it becomes the most significant part of your assets which you can also use to lien against later on in a reverse-mortgage for retirement, renovations, or what-have-you. Not only do you own the house, but the property as well, which alone, has value.

A car, however, usually depreciates. Cars are not a good investment, unless it's for business purposes. With fuel, insurance, repairs, maintenance, it's a burden. But soooo worth it at times. When fuel was above $1.40/L, it was cheaper to fly than drive.

Anyway, my point here is that there's good debt and bad debt. Sometimes it's good to buy something now while it's cheaper than later.

In the case of government, the sooner we spend on infrastructure, roads, and transit now, even by going into debt, it's actually much cheaper. I could give you numerous examples, especially in Edmonton where if they spent now, the project would be done and the city would have saved money in the long run. But they don't and construction and labour costs go up and up costing much more later on.

So with the current federal budget reported to have a $40 billion deficit (!), a lot of this is supposed to be economic stimulus in the form of targeted tax cuts, bailouts (loans?) to specific industries, and massive infrastructure spending.

I am all for the infrastructure spending as I mentioned. This will actually save us cash in the long run because the longer we wait, the way more expensive it gets and this country needs a big injection. It appears that there are a lot of project where the federal government is involved and this is a good thing.

The other reason why there's going to be a big deficit is that tax revenues are decreasing. While unemployment is between 6 and 7 percent, it's not near how it was in the early-mid 90's or early 80's, between 10 and 12 percent. It could be. But the point is that if someone isn't working, the gov't can't collect payroll, EI, or income taxes. Plus the person isn't spending as much, so there's no GST collected.

And it's this reason why the gov't doesn't want to see so many autoworkers without a job right now, so that's why they're helping GM and Chrysler.

But I will say this again, and I keep hearing intelligent economists saying that what we need to do is be spending more on higher level training and education and get our economy not so dependent on manufacturing, such as auto. Basically, invest in people. There's still lots of job shortages in key areas of I.T., health, accounting, and other areas. There's a reason for that. Our economy is demanding it.

What's appearing obvious to me now is that the government, whether Conservative or Liberal, Bush or Obama, are seeing where the free-market system works and where it doesn't work as well. They see that jobs are the key component and having credit and money flowing through is important.

In the end though, I don't see how a $40 billion change in Canada or a $825 billion change in the U.S. is actually going to make a huge impact on the economy in the long run.

What it's going to do is make us all dependent on the gov't when things go awry rather than take our own personal responsibility for it.

And it's amazing how we didn't learn that 75 years ago.

Let's just hope this deficit is temporary and the way out of it is for the gov't to cut its own useless spending, sell off useless assets, just like the rest of us regular folk have done.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Deficit Spending

It appears the upcoming federal budget is going to have everything in it--infrastructure spending, bailouts, tax cuts, retraining programs, etc. to try and boost the economy. Will it help? A little, but it won't cure it.

The tax cuts won't have effect on the economy until a few years later as folks will likely pay off their own debt and save a little to put into the new Tax Free Savings Account, but I'll take what I can get.

To me, the most imporant part is the retraining aspect as job losses are increasing and people need to get into sectors that have better job stability. I think eventually, Canada has to move its manufacturing out and replace with more stable, long-term jobs and this is done through accessible education and training.

Anyway, I thought the budget was going to be a modest one, with a slight deficit, and with a spoiler to have the Liberals vote it down and likely force an election which Harper could win a majority. But it appears newly anointed (read: 'not party elected') Liberal Leader, Michael Ignatieff, will probably have his caucus support it, basically killing the coalition. Aw darn.

However, with regard to deficit spending rumoured up to 30 billion, I have this to say (which I've been saying for years)...

If there are direct income tax cuts in this budget, then I could care less what the deficit is. Canadians have their own bills to pay and have been cutting their own expenses, using credit cards, getting loans for decades to get by. I'm mostly talking about low to middle income folks here who are taxed to the gills.

And if the gov't wants to get out of deficit, they'll have no choice but to sell off useless 'assets' like empty buildings, cut waste and improve departmental efficiencies.

This is really too bad as it appears they'll be deficits for the next several years, completely negating the paying down of debt and freeing up money from debt interest payments, which still makes up the largest piece of the budgetary pie.

Unfortunately, because Canada's gov't is one of the biggest in the world per capita, even ever since we've been in the black for the past 12 years, they only got to pay about a third of the debt down, because they were still increasing spending, although their tax revenues shot up.

So I'm glad both Harper and Ignatieff agree on tax cuts. In fact, they seem to be agreeing on a lot of things, including deficit spending.