Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Payroll taxes up 1% starting Jan. 1, 2011

Oh boy.  If you make about $35k per year, expect $70 extra taken off each monthly pay cheque.  That's no small change and works out to $850 per year for that income, I'm sure a lot of struggling families cannot afford.  Happy frickin' new year.

I agree with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and saying that if you haven't used EI, you should pay less over the years, like a true insurance system would work.  I've never used it and can't imagine how much of that I paid into it since I started working in high school could have been used for other necessities or whatever I want to use it for.  Call me crazy, but maybe like a Super RRSP, we each have our own EI account and are required to pay into it, not a general unmanaged fund.  What if, we could invest that money and if we did become unemployed, could then easily tap into that insurance fund?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas comeback

While starting my shopping today, I was quite happy to hear all the store clerks not wish me happy holidays or seasons greetings, but a Merry Christmas.

And so to all my readers and your families, from all of us here at Hatrock's Cave, we pass on those good wishes by hoping you all have a Merry Christmas and be good to each other always!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Sergeant - an Alberta politics spoof

Well this is different and frickin' hilarious! ND leader Brian Mason should get an Emmy. Apparently, the NDs and Wildrose Alliance got together to produce this little video. Watch and enjoy!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Parliamentary numbers

Today, Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed two folks to the Senate--former CFL commissioner Larry Smith and Toronto preacher Don Meredith, bumping the Conservatives' standings in the 105 seat Senate to 54, just short of a majority but enough to get bills from the House passed and defeat opposition bills. (Correction: strikeout "just short of a majority")

As well, the Globe and Mail has an interesting and easy to read article on seat standings in the House of Commons.




* - if Conservatives win all vulnerable seats and incumbant parties win vacanies.
So in the hypothetical situation, the Conservatives would be in majority zone with 50% of the seats, plus the two independents who usually vote with the government.

Now let's look at the senate.


Progressive Conservative

* - if an elected Senate were in place in 1995.  Now this isn't entirely accurate of today's political climate but shows why there's a push by the Conservatives to have 8-year term limits for senators to try and knock off as many Liberals as possible.


Opposition Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff has been throwing speculation balloons out there regarding the upcoming federal budget and that the Liberals will vote against it likely to trigger an election.  While at the same time, the Prime Minister has smartly said that there won't be a "poison pill" in the budget to vote against.  But that doesn't mean there might be a contentious one for the Liberals to trigger an election on and that issue may be the election focus among other things like a North American border for freer trade, refugee reform, and the continuing justice bills.

By saying he doesn't want to trigger an election, what the Prime Minister has done is put the ball in Ignatieff's hands.  The Conservatives are in power, have been leading in the polls, have way more money than the Liberals, and are also getting things through the Senate now so the momentum is with them for sure.  If the Liberals want to have an election, bring it on, but Canadians will know that it was Ignatieff who triggered it.  So in essence, Harper has once again out-manoeuvred Iggy once again.


My guess is that secret backroom Liberals controlled by Bob Rae will push to defeat the budget, go for an election, sour the campaign to make Ignatieff look bad, reducing the number of Liberals seats to about 70, with the Conservatives barely winning a majority. Then a legitimate summer/fall Liberal leadership race will happen with Bob Rae going up against Trudeau, Kennedy, LeBlanc, and a handful of other candidates who want name recognition.


If the Conservative get another minority, former NDP now Liberal leader Bob will push for the creation of the Liberal Democrats as a merger between the Liberals and NDP.  If a merger happens (although I don't think it will) the opposition will defeat the government again in late 2012 or 2013.  Bob may be in a good position here though as Canadians may grow tired of Stephen Harper, including Conservatives who wanted a majority.

In regards to the merger, there are a chunk of blue liberals who would probably jump ship to the Conservatives knowing there would be a strong socialist wing to the party.  And don't count out the Greens.  If they ever get a new leader who actually has political prowess, the Greens could cause vote splitting.


So I think if Harper actually sees that the odds of a majority is above 40%, he'll poison the budget enough for the Liberals to have no choice but to defeat it.  If not, how long will Ignatieff wait as opposition leader and how long will Bob Rae sit and wait for his opportunity to strike?

In the meantime, Stephen Harper really has nothing to lose either way.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Federal seat projections

I read Liberal blogs often and there's a few that are valuable resources on nominations, election results, and polling data.  This post by blogger Calgary Grit is significant as it shows the Conservatives have improved their odds at winning a majority if an election were held now.  While the odds average around 17% at winning, it is perhaps showing that now the Conservatives have penetrated the Toronto Liberal fortress by winning the byelection in the riding of Vaughan, a Liberal stronghold for 22 years, that there's some momentum here. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Election speculation 2011

Ah, speculation is in the air!  Journalists love to speculate.

There is speculation that upcoming bills may be defeated by the opposition. And any one of them may be a matter of confidence. And the Conservatives set it up this way so they'd head to the polls before their Spring bad news budget, which, rumours say, is full of spending cuts and freezes.

There is also speculation that the Conservatives will get by the bills, but make the budget so sour and very fiscally conservative that the Liberals will be trapped and have no choice but to defeat it because it "just goes too deep", forcing an election.  Or it could be tainted with the removal of the party funding thing.

The Conservatives are polling quite well right now, some having them 13 points ahead, 2 to 1 over the Libs in B.C., 7 points ahead in Ontario, and virtually tied in Quebec with the Libs.  Despite the efforts of Iggy and Co. in "crossing" Canada this summer and yapping against everything (and he certainly wasn't in the House to actually vote for or against either though), the Liberals have difficulty staying above 30% and are constantly near their lowest numbers ever.

Let's also not forget that this is the longest running minority government in Canadian history and could very well continue as long as the Liberals keep pumping out weak leaders.

And just ignore anyone from any party who says, "Canadians don't want an election right now."  Canadians don't necessarily determine when elections are so it's a meaningless statement.  I doubt the Prime Minister will prorogue again and is more interested in simply governing, but has no problem in possibly going to the polls by being defeated by the opposition led by the Liberals.

So the question is not whether the Conservatives want to fight an election, it's if the Liberals are.  More so, is Bob Rae willing to have Ignatieff die on his sword in losing in an election for Bob to take the reigns.

On the Conservative side, if Harper fails to achieve a majority, which they are very close to doing, the knives will be out.  With Jim Prentice taking a break from politics, with Peter Mackay waiting waiting waiting, Jason Kenney having a chunk of quiet support, there is also an outsider in the name of former New Brunswick Premier, Bernard Lord, who was recently opted by Toronto Star Harper-hater journalist Jim Travers. 

Lord apparently wants to run for MP and be a cabinet minister after the next election.  He's young at 46, so there isn't a rush to go for the prize.  He would simply need to wait, as the others have done. 

And let us not forget Quebec conservative crusader Maxime Bernier who's been giving speech after speech trumpeting core conservative values. He'd certainly be competitive.

But then again, never underestimate Mr. Harper's ability to relegate any seemingly competitive members to the sidelines, as he's successfully done with his cabinet ministers and Liberal leaders for that matter.

And if that's the case, we'll be reading in the headlines "Prime Minister Stephen Harper" for years to come.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Alberta PC gov't continues its war on fun

Just when I thought this government couldn't get any more useless and intrusive, "Prohibition Eddie" is continuing his war on fun.

I have made the prediction that this PC Ed Stelmach government will soon raise the alcohol drinking age to at least 19 to match our adjoining provinces, if not higher or back to 21.  I am further convinced of this with today's stupid announcement that they are banning the sale of beer with an alcohol content of more than 12%.  

Since Ed's been in power, they have banned happy hours having cheap drinks, have limited a person to two drinks after the midnight hour.  They have taxed booze and revoked it leaving much of it at higher prices.

I don't know anyone who binge drinks on this higher-end beer.  And it is higher-end.  I remember being in San Francisco this August at a really cool bar on Haight Street that had the widest variety of beers, stouts, ales, malts, and Pislners I have ever seen.  I tried a couple that were above 12% in alcohol content.  They were delicious but let me tell you, I wouldn't have a second one of that same kind.  Very filling.

With the recent passing of their "comprehensive distracted driver" law which studies show that it will actually INCREASE accidents, it's nice to know that there's a nanny-state government right here in "strong and free" Alberta.  It's nice to know that they are incrementally removing responsibility and freedoms.  It's nice to know that I'll never vote for this party ever again.

So why stop at beer?  While we're at it, let's ban ALL booze with an alcohol content above 12%.  That will wipe out many wines, all liqueurs, and hard booze.  And while we're at it, let's just ban all booze.  Because if you make an argument that high-alcohol boutique beer is a problem, then you HAVE TO argue that all booze is a problem.

And "Prohibition Eddie" will soon have a real problem--declining revenue and a vast underground economy run by gangs.


Bloggers like me and other pundits go gaga over elections. We like to make intelligent predictions although I do suck at them. I go by feel. Not very scientific, I know.

Part of that feel is geared toward party preference. That is more prevalent in a general election, where in by-elections, I believe the feel is more toward the individual candidates themselves because there is more national media attention given to them, not their party leaders or campaign promises.

So I don't think anything should be read into or spun that these results were a real win or loss for Harper, Ignatieff, or Layton.

All three ridings were very well represented by capable, likable MPs. Inky Mark in Dauphin, Judy Wasylycia-Leis in Winnipeg North, and Mario Belaquavila (sp?) in Vaughan worked hard as they got reelected everytime they ran.

The real question in these by-elections is not whether the winning or losing party is on the up or downswing or a "test of leadership", it's simply whether or not their successors will gain the trust of the voters in their respective ridings and win again in a general election.

Beyond that, I'll go back to making sucky predictions.

Monday, November 22, 2010

> 80 native chiefs make more than the PM

And you wonder where all that money went?

acoyne (@acoyne)
10-11-22 12:01 PM
Maybe they had a better year: "More than 80 native chiefs were paid more than Prime Minister Stephen Harper last year." http://bit.ly/9KhrRr

Sent with Twitter for iPhone

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Harper's virtual majority

The Senate smartly voted down bill C-311, a climate change bill which, of course, originated in the House of Commons. 

So although the Conservatives do not have a majority in the House, and they don't necessarily have one in the Senate just yet, common sense is prevailing.

Of course, what would also be common sense is the day these Senators are elected and each province is equally represented.

It seems in this situation, they at least got one of the "E" of triple-E.


Monday, November 08, 2010

Reason #7928 why the Senate should be elected

"Despite being suspended from the Senate three years ago, Liberal Sen. Raymond Lavigne has managed to cost the Canadian taxpayer more than $700,000 since 2007, public accounts reveal."
You know, if we had regular senate elections, does anyone think this guy would get elected and waste our money like that?

I sure don't.

h/t Dr. Roy

Harper's strong stance on Israel

On Parliament Hill today, Prime Minister Harper has some strong words about Canada's support for Israel, including a likely hint at why we lost a temporary seat on the UN Security Council.

"Not just because it is the right thing to do, but because history shows us, and the ideology of the anti-Israel mob tell us all too well, that those who threaten the existence of the Jewish people are in the longer term a threat to all of us."

The prime minister acknowledged that his position is not popular with all governments and organizations, including members of the United Nations and the Francophonie.

"And I know, by the way, because I have the bruises to show for it, that whether it is at the United Nations or any other international forum, the easiest thing to do is simply to just get along and go along with this anti-Israel rhetoric, to pretend it is just about being even-handed, and to excuse oneself with the label of honest broker.

"There are, after all, a lot more votes -- a lot more -- in being anti-Israeli than in taking a stand. But as long as I am prime minister, whether it is at the United Nations, the Francophonie or anywhere else, Canada will take that stand, whatever the cost."
I have to say, this is strong leadership.

Friday, November 05, 2010

O Canada! #1 in hockey. #1 in brand

I'd like to say that my frequent trips to the U.S. this past year has finally paid off.   Canada now has the number one country brand in the world.  I knew this day would come.

Ok, so maybe it was the Winter Olympics in Vancouver--especially the hockey gold medals.  Maybe it was the Canadian clothing put out by The Bay store.  Maybe it was our kick ass troops in Afghanistan.

I know for me, this year I finally forked out the cash and bought myself an authentic Canadian Olympic men's hockey team jersey as well as a 'CANADA' hoodie from Roots (with thumb holes in the sleeves!).  I went to Kelowna for Canada Day and rocked out some live music on a house boat in the middle of Lake Okanagan with my friends while watching the fireworks.

I don't know about you, but after being in the U.S. so much and now returning home, I'm feeling an immense pride for my country.

I know my American friends and co-workers there used to make fun of me being Canadian.  It used to be a running joke, "eh"?  Then I drank them under the table and pulled their jackets over their heads...

1000 year old skull fragment of St. Vladimir the Great recovered

Completely unrelated to politics, but being that I'm from Edmonton and Ukrainian Orthodox, I thought I'd share this news.

"A thief broke into the home of a priest with St. Herman's Orthodox Church, on 167 St., in the middle of the night last week, said Archpriest Phillip Eriksson.  The thief took the relic, a wallet and the keys to the priest's truck in which he made his escape.  After a frantic call to police, officers began a street to street search. They found the truck just over three hours later about 10 blocks away. The relic was with the truck, still inside its ornate box....

...Squadron 8 asked the church if it can claim St. Vladimir as their patron saint and the church has agreed."

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

BC Premier Gordon Campbell steps down

It's a bit of a shock, but things just weren't looking up for him come next election.

My questions to conservative-leaning folks in BC:

With the useless carbon tax and the HST, these aren't exactly conservative things are they?

Are you finally going to throw money and support behind the BC Conservative Party and get a strong leader with some good candidates or continue to prop up the Liberals just so the NDP don't win?

Because now's your chance.

Update:  Leadership rumours are already abound.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

It's Tea Time!

Since President Obama has been in power, his agenda has been an aggressive one.  Not realizing that many in his own majority party became reluctant to the drastic and massive changes in economic and health policies, he pushed anyway.

The result is where the Democrats had to battle on three fronts:

1.  The Tea Party. One of the biggest grassroots political movements in history. Mostly Republican and conservative.  These people are motivated and will certainly vote.  They think Obama is a socialist.  They are mostly tired of the government being involved in their life and are mad has hell!  While most of the Tea Baggers don't make over $250k a year, they're still pissed that Obama is taxing more out of those above that amount.

2.   Independents.  They'll balance this out, but they're not too happy with Obama or the Democrats either.  They may simply vote out incumbents, no matter which party, but they're more driven to vote out the party in power--the Democrats.  And as many independents can be fiscally conservative, those ones are pissed that Obama totally forgot about "pay as you go" but more especially on the job front.

3.  Democrats.  The lefties are ticked that Obama didn't deliver on their agenda--gay marriage, "don't ask don't tell", climate change legislation, and even more comprehensive health care reform.

As the Tea Party is a new thing, was the whole purpose of it to win these mid-terms?  I don't think they even know.  What's going to happen after this election when Republican presidential candidates start organizing their campaigns?  Which candidate will emerge as the Tea Party favourite, besides Sarah Palin?  Or will Tea Baggers split up into different camps, basically ending the movement?

I said it from the beginning that this Tea Party thing is a fad.  It's a fad because it doesn't REALLY have a leader at the front, or any formal organization.  And as a fad it will fade.  Just like the Obamatons did--but even they had a strong leader and an extremely well run campaign organization.

So to my Tea Bagging friends in the U.S.A, and you know who you are, enjoy the party while it lasts!  (That would be tonight by the way.)

Monday, November 01, 2010

U.S. Midterm Elections 2010 prediction

Senate:  Democrats hold by 4 seats (52-48)

House:  Republicans win by 4 seats

  • Current (including vacant):  Dems 256 + GOP 179 = 435.
  • 218 seats needed for majority. GOP gains +43.

Why?  The Tea Party/GOP base is waaaay more motivated than Democrats.

Obama gets caught in the middle.
The U.S. is at a stand-still, except for only a few minor non-partisan issues.

Canada wins due to Democrat protectionist attitudes no longer prevailing in the House.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Iggy's "game"

Former Liberal strategist, Scott Reid, you know, the "beer and popcorn" guy, has opined a piece on what Michael Ignatieff needs to do to be winnable--"up his game."

How many times does this guy need to be resurrected from continued contradictions, pretending to 'get back to work', having thinkers' conferences, a blah blah tour, and now 'open mike' sessions (how clever!)?

Reid says that Harper hasn't been able to grow his support and is not a successful leader in a united Conservative Party (although he is the PM), yet in the same breath says that the reason we have perpetual minorities is because of the Bloc.  So why doesn't this logic also apply to the Liberal Party, Scott?  Your fearless leader Paul Martin, who was set to sweep the nation, didn't even come close all thanks to... a brand-spanking new united Conservative Party, and guess what, the Bloc.

You know, you can go on and on about what Ignatieff needs to do to win. You can look at Canadian political history and the comeback stories all you want.

You want my advice?

First thing, Mr. Ignatieff, that you should probably do, is actually SHOW UP TO WORK!

You see, his voting record is the worst out of 307 MPs.

You can't up your game unless you actually show up to play now can you?

h/t Ardvark

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mr. Harper goes to Ukraine

U of A history and classics professor David Marples has written extensively on Ukraine for many years and I try to read everything he writes.  We are lucky in Edmonton to have such an astute academic providing occasional journalism on a country that means a lot to many Canadians of Ukrainian descent. 

Prime Minister Harper's recent visit to Ukraine was important and timely.  Professor Marples has written an excellent synopsis of Ukrainian politics under newly elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, who is deemed as pro-Russian, compared to his pro-Western predecessor, Viktor Yushchenko.

"Prime Minister Stephen Harper's visit to Ukraine this week has offered some clear signals that Canada is concerned about recent developments in Ukrainian politics, particularly violations of human rights, a pro-Russian orientation, and the growing accumulation of power in the hands of President Viktor Yanukovych.

"In taking such a clear stance, Harper's position departs from that of countries of the European Union, which appear to be concerned primarily about regional stability and favour warmer relations with Russia. The EU's motivation, ostensibly, is the need for reliable imports of Russian gas and oil, which were disrupted frequently during the administration of Yanukovych's predecessor, Viktor Yushchenko.

"The Canadian prime minister seemed more at ease during his visit to L'viv on the second day of his tour than during official meetings in Kyiv. 

On Holodomor, the Great Ukrainian Famine in the early 30's caused by the Stalin Soviet regime:
"“One of the great crimes of history,” Mr. Harper said later. “I hope always that it will remind the Ukrainian people of the importance of their freedom, their democracy and their independence, and of the necessity of always defending those things.”  More...
"Ukrainian independence conjures up images of embroidered peasant shirts, the nasal whine of ethnic instruments, phony cossacks in cloaks and boots, nasty anti-Semites" (p. 106). "My difficulty in taking Ukraine seriously goes deeper than just my cosmopolitan suspicion of nationalists everywhere. Somewhere inside, I'm also what Ukrainians call a Great Russian, and there is a trace of old Russian disdain for these 'little Russian'"
I now ask, with the Harper government's strong pro-Israel stance in the Middle East, and in sending a strong message and development funding to Ukraine, strong messaging to China on human rights, amongst other free-trade initiatives, is there any other leader right now in the free world promoting freedom and democracy the way Prime Minister Harper has, even in the last six months?
My grandfather, who emigrated from Ukraine into Canada just before communism took over, must be happy as heck in heaven knowing where Canada stands with his homeland.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Civic obedience

So there's a Muslim as the new mayor of Calgary.  Why is this news?  Is Calgary all cosmo now because of this?  No.  It'll never be like yoghurt.

Edmonton's had a Jewish mayor for six years and no one is making any fuss.  At all.

So the brash and abrasive Rob Ford easily gets elected as the new mayor of Toronto.  What does this mean for conservatism in the liberal fortress?  It means that no matter who your candidate is, if the voters are upset and motivated enough, by running a disciplined campaign with a simple message,  you can win.  But you also need to GOTV.  Will this win convert into invigorated support for Tim Hudak's PCs come next Ontario election?  Not necessarily, but the potential is there.

And will that translate into growing support for Harper's Conservatives in T Dot?  This has been slowly growing for years.  Maybe a few seats to gain at most.  Liberals have no where else to go.  It's a war front, and the Liberals will have to throw much at it to defend it, leaving other areas, like BC and the West out to dry and fend for themselves.

It's tough for a politico or volunteer to be involved in so many consecutive elections.  While fun, it can be gruelling.  This Toronto mayoral race was relatively intense.  But it was nice to see conservatives united.

And when they are united, disciplined, and offer clear conservative policy messages, Conservatives rarely lose.

Monday, October 25, 2010

"The Toronto Song"

With today's Ontario civic election and the hotly contested Toronto mayoral election (I predict Rob Ford), and this past week I was recently in Toronto for a few days and Calgary for a couple of days, if you haven't seen it before, it gives me great pleasure to present to you the infamous "Toronto Song" by Three Dead Trolls In A Baggie.  (It gets going about 30 seconds in, so be patient..)

Link here.

Go Oilers!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Edmonton civic election 2010 results

Ok, here are my thoughts on the results...

Am I disappointed that David Dorward didn't win the mayor's chair?  Nope.  I think he would have been a good mayor, but I didn't think he'd win in the first place which is why I didn't lift a finger.

Am I angry that Stephen Mandel is still our mayor?  No.  He hasn't done a terrible job, and has improved since three years ago, but as I've said, my vote for Dorward was in protest to the poor manner in which the airport decision was made.

Am I disappointed that Jane Batty won in Ward 6 and is still on council?  Yep.  It's going to take a really strong candidate to beat her but there is potential in three years.  She seems to win without trying and goes on incumbent name recognition.

Am I pleased that new guy Kerry Diotte won in Ward 11?  Oh hells ya.  This is really the only shining light in this election.  Kerry ran an excellent campaign, picked the right ward with no incumbents, and was energized with a good team of volunteers.

Am I pleased that voter turnout increased and was near what I predicted at 35%?  Yep.  The airport issue really helped.  But I hope in the next three years that any future major decisions which greatly affected thousands of Edmontonians is put to a plebiscite

In Calgary, am I shocked that, Naheed Nenshi, a Muslim won the mayor's chair?  I could care less what religion he professes and wonders why so many people are yapping about this fact.  He simply had the best ideas and most thorough policy platform.

And now here's an issue barely anyone is talking about except for Wildrose Alliance Party leader Danielle Smith...

Was I really really really disappointed that there was not a senate election?  You bet ya.  Thanks to Ed Stelmach, we didn't have one, especially when we have a prime minister who would have appointed any newly elected senators.  The existing senator-elects all wanted another election as it's been six years since the last one.  They seem to support democracy, unlike others.  Not sure what the PCs are so afraid of.

In summary, as you were my fellow Edmontonians.  Nothing's really changed but continue to be engaged in setting the direction of our exciting, growing city.

Now back to cheering on the Oilers...

Friday, October 15, 2010

Edmonton civic election 2010 decision

I have thought long and hard about this election, researched candidates, read what they've said in media, vexed others' opinions through conversation and blogs.

There are a multitude of ongoing issues that I agree and disagree from every candidate I looked at. 

But there are two issues which, whether you agree or not with them ideologically, are in the spotlight because how much they impact business and people but more so because of HOW council's decision was made.  Those issues obviously being the City Centre Airport (CCA) and the sale of EPCOR.

Those two huge issues, which impact thousands of people, weren't around in the last election, so we didn't vote for a candidate based on it.  There was no plebiscite. 

Then in the last three years, our mayor and council voted to shutdown the airport and sell off EPCOR.

So electorally, and democratically, the people of Edmonton didn't have a say.  At all.  Developers and private interests did.

Sure it was late and they didn't have quite enough valid signatures, but the petition from EnVision Edmonton is valid in the sense that this is a large number of people who wanted a say, didn't get it, and council didn't want to listen.

Keelor Road got a plebiscite.

Moving large air traffic to the International Airport got a plebiscite.

But selling EPCOR?  No plebiscite.

Shutting down the City Centre Airport?  No plebiscite.

Now one can argue that the city is 'moving forward' with these decisions having been made as strong leadership.  But is the electorate being blinded by council's group-think.  Strong leadership also means listening to the people.

Some have argued that certain councillors say they do not regret the decision and will stand in the next election on their record.  Yeah, but you see, I didn't know where you stood three years ago on it, so guess what? Now I'm not voting for you.  But now, there's already been a decision.  I didn't have a say on it back then did I?

So for me, this election comes down to a fundamental philosophical aspect of our representative democracy here. 

Do you elect representatives to government based on their policy platform and when issues arise that are outside the scope of their platform and that impact thousands of people, simply trust them to vote accordingly, and when we disagree, vote them out, although the decision was already made?

On smaller issues, I don't see this as a problem.  But on issues that have such a lasting impact, shouldn't our representatives then default to perhaps conducting a poll in their district, have a town hall, or defer to holding a plebiscite next election.

So because I see the potential of future decisions being made and the input of the people being continually thwarted by this group-think autocratic mayor and council, I am voting accordingly in protest to their actions, sending them a message, and holding them accountable with the candidate I feel has the best chance of defeating them.  It also helps that I agree with them ideologically on several other issues obviously.

David Doward for Mayor

James Johnson for Ward 6

For Public School Trustee, I think instead of having retired administrators and bureaucrats, the board needs some young fresh people on it with new ideas about education.  I strongly support public education, so this is not an ideological thing for me. I mean, former city councillor Michael Phair is endorsing this guy, and I'm on the total opposite end of the political spectrum as Phair, but that doesn't matter here.  What matters is the kids.

Michael Janz for Ward F

So there you have it folks.

Don't forget to vote this Monday October 18th!  Click here to find your voting station.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

More on the UN Security Council vote...

Our crack team of reporters have learned that the UAE sought to sink Canada's bid and that possibly the U.S. snubbed us by not lifting a finger to campaign for their closest neighbour.

Wait. What? The U.S.?  Aren't they our friends?

I can perhaps understand the UAE as recent disputes about airlines and airbases came to light last week, but the U.S.? Say it ain't so?

In fact, U.S. State Department insiders say that U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice not only didn’t campaign for Canada’s election but instructed American diplomats to not get involved in the weeks leading up to the heated contest. With no public American support, Canada lost its bid to serve. That gives the EU more than 25% control of the body and a strong voting block to ensure EU priorities become global priorities. -- This was the second time a high profile ally could have used U.S. help yet Rice chose to stay silent.

So the question I posed yesterday was not what's wrong with Canada, but what's wrong with the U.N.?

I'd now like to change the question to: "What's wrong with the United States?"

h/t Iceman

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

You can't spell undo without the UN!

In light of Canada not being voted onto the United Nations Security Council by the General Assembly yesterday, here's the background and other comments.

The United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday elected Colombia, Germany, India, Portugal and South Africa to serve on the Security Council for two-year terms, beginning 1 January 2011.

They will replace Austria, Japan, Mexico, Turkey and Uganda, whose two-year terms come to an end on 31 December.

To be elected to the Council, candidate countries need a two-thirds majority of ballots of Member States that are present and voting in the 192-member Assembly. The seats are allocated on the basis of geographical groupings.

Colombia, India and South Africa ran unopposed and were elected to represent their respective regions, having received 186 votes, 187 votes and 182 votes, respectively, in the first round of balloting.

The two available seats from the Western European and Other States category were contested by Germany, Portugal and Canada, with Germany winning one seat with 128 votes in the first round. The contest between Canada and Portugal went to a second round but then Canada withdrew paving the way for Portugal to win the remaining seat, with 150 votes.

The five countries elected today will join Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Gabon, Lebanon and Nigeria, whose terms on the Council end on 31 December 2011. The five permanent members are China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
You can read more on how it all works here on Wikipedia.

Ok, so I'm not happy that we didn't get on again but not surprised that we didn't.

That said, on a global political scale, I've never been a big fan of the UN or any non-sovereign undemocratic umbrella organization for that matter, especially the Security Council (UNSC) with the permanent members getting a veto.  I mean, look at the two countries who are on it:
  • USA: democratic republic and the shining light of democracy
  • UK: democratic constitutional monarchy
  • France: democratic republic
  • Russia: former communist and now semi-democratic republic with a history of justice issues
  • China: communist with a history of human rights abuses, justice issues, and vast economic interest around the world

So let's look at this more closely when it came down to the vote for the last spot for the Western Europe and Others Group between Canada and Portugal.  My bet is that while Canada used to get voted on before, Arab and Muslim nations, including many African, European, and South American didn't give support primarily due to Canada's increasing and unwaivering support for Israel, coupled with the fact that we appear to be so closely tied with the US and the UK already.  But I think there's more to it.

So what does this say about Canada?  It's a bit of egg in the face, but other than that by history, every ten years or so, it was sort of our turn to be on it again.  It's not that Canada is still not a strong voice in international affairs, it's that in the last ten years, there are a slew of other countries that have seen growth and development.

So what does this say about Stephen Harper as Prime Minister?  It's not for a lack of trying but I don't think voters are going to change their support at all based on this issue, especially conservative ones.  Even then, the last time we were on the UNSC was in 1999/2000.  So since then, a lot has happened geopolitically wouldn't you say?  Would a different gov't in Ottawa have changed any of that?  Perhaps, but I doubt it.  I doubt it because it's not that Canada has really changed, but that the world has changed. Dramatically.

Many people have a view that the UN is a happy rainbow of nations that gets together often to try and do good things for impoverished people and nations around the world, and does peace-keeping missions in war-torn areas.

The reality is that it's record is not very good.  The list of places in the world where the UN did NOTHING to stop genocide, to stop war, to stop famine, is endless and far outweighs where it does any good.

The UN has become a sandbox for dictators, for crappy quasi-nations to beg, and especially for anti-Israeli banter.  The UN Human Rights Commission membership is a total joke, admitting China, Libya, Uganda, and Cuba. Seriously.

So the more important question is, with Canada and our strong history of supporting democracy and human rights around the world, in not getting its usual turn on the UNSC, I ask you, what does this actually say about the UN?

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Ignatieff and his mother's illness

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff and other Liberals have been trying to hammer away at the Conservative gov't for buying new stealth planes instead of adopting the Liberal home-care plan.  To do that, Ignatieff has been mentioning examples of home-care stories, including one about his mother.

With that, I invite you to read the following post from fellow Blogging Tory, Alberta Ardvark, on:

A new low? Ignatieff again uses his mother's illness for personal gain.

"Said Andrew: "I came in one evening and my father was really upset, and I said, 'What's the matter?' and he said, 'Michael's written an article about your mother'"

There were family members — for example, Alison's sister, Charity Grant, and her brother, George Grant, and his wife, Sheila — who could never bring themselves to forgive Michael for having publicly exposed his intensely private mother.

That summer, George Ignatieff died. Andrew was with him. Michael was in France.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Edmonton civic election 2010 thoughts

With the closure of the City Centre Airport supposedly off the campaign trail (nice to have that out of the way, eh, Mayor Mandel?), the usual list of non-contentious civic issues are what each candidate for mayor and councillor are bringing forward, although many are still clambering to keep the issue alive.

Now that council has voted on closing the airport, it's too bad this issue wasn't at the true forefront, because whether it went to referendum, I believe it would have invigorated a usual tuned-out electorate to bring voter turnout (26% last election?) to maybe above 35%.  (But will the new 12 ward system help increase voter turnout and have candidates focus on local community issues more?  I hope so.)

Also, does anyone find it odd that there are still pro-International Airport TV ads on the air?  I thought the issue was settled (by council)?

So the standard issues are LRT expansion, infrastructure, crime, downtown revitalization, affordable housing, community development, and others.  Of course, people are talking about the new hockey arena district but I don't get the sense there will be an exodus to the polls on this issue by any means.  Same with extended bar hours, one issue I've taken on in this blog.

But the vibe I am hearing and seeing more this election is Edmontonians are feeling like they do not have a voice on council, that they are not being heard.  Many candidates are trumpeting that they are "your voice".  Citizens are seeing potholes galore and reduced services, while taxes continue to climb.

I'll add more on my thoughts on downtown Edmonton in an upcoming post.

In the meantime, as far as who I'm supporting and considering, it looks a little like this, although I'm not fully convinced yet:


  • David Dorward -- David has lived here his whole life, has his whole family here, and has been strongly involved on the business and community side of the city.  He is the only serious contender to beat Mayor Mandel.  Despite what some believe, I know for a fact that the Envision Edmonton group is not sharing its list of petitioners with the campaign. They can't so they aren't.  Anyway, I agree with most of Dorward's policies.

Councillor Ward 6 (most of downtown):

  • Brian Kapitza -- His simple website also has a lot of well-thought out ideas on issues and on his top ten list, he makes a jab at Jane Batty which almost totally won me over.  His lawn signs are the most basic I have ever seen in my life but I remember them for that reason. Interestingly enough, he hasn't printed a huge lot of signs like many do, but placed the few he has in strategic locations. I'm thinking this guy is pretty smart and frugal and is somewhere between a Liberal and a Conservative.
  • James Johnson -- I can tell that his website looks a lot like federal Conservative candidates' so I know which team he's on.  He's still a student, so it's obvious he's taking a kick at the can and getting some campaign practice before he really gives it a go.  But I gotta tell ya, I agree with each of his policy points 100%, especially on no Stony Plain Road LRT.
  • Cris Basualdo -- She's definitely put a lot of time into trying to revitalize 118 (Alberta) Avenue, but she makes no mention of taxes on her website.  I think she's somewhere between a Liberal and a Dipper.
And if I was in Ward 11, I'd be going door-to-door with Kerry Diotte.  If anyone knows city council and how it doesn't work, it's Kerry.  City council DOES need some common sense.  This will be a tight race.

Public School Trustee:
  • I don't have a frickin' clue.

So there you have it... for now.  But before I publish this post, here are the issues I care about:
  • City Centre Airport -- I know, I know.  It's a dead issue right?  Many cities have multiple airports to serve different needs.  I think we need even more service to that airport.  While I don't think we should have large commercial jets landing, the passenger size for aircraft should be increased, so that Calgary-bound Dash 8's could run and allow private companies to haul more oil and gas workers to Ft. Mac.  There is too much infrastructure already in place and dependent businesses that it sickens me that city council makes a decision without listening to its citizens.
  • Property Taxes -- They will always go up unless council puts its foot down on the City Manger to look for efficiencies, savings, and preventing managers from empire building within (I've seen it firsthand).  Citizens want value for their tax dollar.
  • Infrastructure -- This past year seemed to be the biggest construction season yet and hopefully the Henday ring road will be done before 2017, so in the near future, we can also concentrate on having no stops to downtown from the International airport, which will involve building a tunnel from Gateway Blvd. at Sask. Drive toward replacing the Walterdale bridge.  Will the 23rd Avenue interchange ever get completed?  I also believe it's smart to go into debt to pay for these things as costs only go up years down the road, plus it literally helps move the economy through the city.
  • Bar Hours -- I don't think we should have any.  It's been proven that in cities with loose bar hours, that less incidences occur (see below cities).  Not only that, at 2:00am, currently it's difficult to get a cab and stretching the closing exodus will alleviate that. Which brings me to the next four items...
  • Cabs -- New York, Chicago, and Vegas cabbies are the best.  Even if they're recent immigrants, they know their city, and they know YOUR city too.  Not only that, but they're way cheaper.  We need more competition and to do that, we need to loosen the pricing regulation, allow way more cabs, but ensure cabbies are well qualified.
  • Policing -- The EPS are some of the finest in the world and we need more of them walking the beat.  I called for this many years ago after the Canada Day riot on Whyte Ave and the cameras there proved they don't work while actual beat cops have dramatically turned the tide. 
  • LRT -- I'm a proponent of trying to use existing abandoned rail corridors which exist throughout the city which saves on cost and doesn't tie up traffic.  One being the old line off 105 Ave to 125 Street, which could continue North as well as veer off to where there is actual room to put LRT, 107th Avenue.  To see my conceptual LRT design in Google Maps, click here.  It's really too bad we didn't expand many years ago. 
  • Downtown development -- It's coming along and I've seen the plans the city has, which are impressive.  People are moving here. It's affordable. 104 Street is a small sample of how the rest of downtown can be... accessible, small retail, funky, and fun.  Adding more park space, not just on a corner, but the park strip they plan along just north of 100th avenue are excellent.
I welcome my readers to a good debate on these issues.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

She had heart - Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean

I make it no secret that I support the institution and relevance of the Monarchy in Canada and as such, I also support the role of the Governor General as well.

This post won't go into why as I think I've already done that in a previous post somewhere.

But I did become more enthusiastic of the role because of the person who has recently served.  Her Excellency Michaëlle Jean, whose term is now coming to an end on Friday, fulfilled her duties with distinction, honour, and reputation and will be then hereafter styled as Right Honourable.  Do I wish it was extended?  You bet, but I also understand the need to give other Canadians an opportunity to serve.

Yes, I know she incorrectly said she was the head of state, but you have to admit, she had heart... and literally too!  She made frequent trips to the North and on one of them, ate seal heart with the locals. That's when she won me over.  She showed she can get her hands dirty with regular folk and wasn't ashamed of it. 

She made the government aware of the high price of quality food there, resulting in a needed gov't subsidy program.  On the international stage, she represented Canada with charm and grace, especially when President Obama came to Ottawa on his first official visit.  Her heartfelt plea for earthquake relief for her native country of Haiti was genuine and necessary.  As Commander-In-Chief of our Armed Forces, her insistence on wearing a military uniform in official ceremonies was dignified and respectful, showing her high regard for the duty of her office and especially for the men and women who proudly serve Canada's military with honour.

And of course, who can forget her decision on two occasions to respect the Prime Minister's request to prorogue parliament--one in person, and the other (unfortunately in my opinion) over the phone.

Although I wished I met her, I wish her well in her new endeavour as the United Nation's Special Envoy to Haiti, a role I know she will serve with rigour and seriousness.

Have a peak at some of her more memorable photos on CBC.ca, including her having heart:

Waves of provincial and federal party support

A poll was just released showing 3/4 Ontarians want Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty and his party out (29% support) and Tim Hudak's PCs in (41% support).

In last night's election in New Brunswick, the PCs trounced the incumbent Liberals, 42 to 13 seats. (It could be argued though that the PCs were even to the left of the Liberals there.)

Many believe that this wave of 'conservatism' on a provincial level directly translates to votes for conservatives on a federal level.  It doesn't.  While there are numerous examples, let us look at Ontario's recent history, because how Ontario votes federally basically determines who wins for the whole country.

In Ontario in the 80's, Mulroney's federal PC government dominated Ontario, yet provincially at that time, Ontario was Liberal. And then Bob Rae's NDP came in.

Then in 1993, once Ontario went with Chretien's Liberals, a couple years later, Ontarians went with Mike Harris' provincial PCs.  Then Paul Martin (tending to be a bit more conservative than Chretien) was PM and Ontario goes Liberal provincially with Dalton McGuinty. Soon later, Ontarians support Harper's Conservatives federally.

So my theory, backed up by strong evidence mind you, is that Ontarians, feeling like they are the big province that holds the country together, generally like to balance out their politics between who's in power federally versus provincially.

So for you Ontario Conservatives who are cheering for a potential Tim Hudak PC win, keep in mind the recent history, which dictates that soon after, Ontario federally will eventually switch to the Liberals putting the Liberals back in power. 

Which is why you'd better hope to heck that after the next federal election when Ignatieff's Liberals lose, that they replace him with Bob Rae, because I don't think Ontarians are that gullible to support him again, and will hopefully make an exception to my theory.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Long-Gun Registry politics

We now have NDP MPs, who at a previous reading, voted in favour of scrapping the registry, are now lining up to vote down in final reading.

Some journalists have said whichever way the vote goes, it's a win for Conservatives.  On one hand, if opposition parties do not have enough votes, the bill passes and the registry is done.  On the other hand, if the bill is defeated, it's possible that registry-turncoat rural NDP MPs are in the sights (pun intended) of being blown out of their seats (definite pun) to Conservatives in the next election over this issue. 

Conservative radio and billboard ads in these ridings have been popping up (pun?) and has possibly been the reason why these NDP MPs are changing their tune.  But perhaps that was the Conservative strategy to win either way.

While normally I would say voter memory is almost non-existent, this long-standing issue (pun intended) is much more contentious. 

So I have two questions for you:

1.  Did non-partisan farmers, duck hunters, and libertarians in these ridings vote for the NDP candidates in their riding because of their stance on the long-gun registry?

2.  Are these same folks going to vote against the NDP candidate and for the Conservative candidate?  Are the radio ads and billboards going to affect their view of the NDP candidate?  (Don't forget that the NDP began out of the CCF in rural Western Canada, so there are some deep roots there folks.)

Note that all the Conservatives need are 12 more seats to hold a majority.  They can win these next election in Western Canada (especially BC) and Northern Ontario to get there as long as they hold their current seats.

However close the votes in the House of Commons for or against the gun registry is irrelevant.  If the Conservatives get to the promised land of majorus parliamentus, they'll just shoot it down with a double barrel shot gun with no problem.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Edmonton City Centre Airport referendum petition

City clerks have just determined that EnVision Edmonton's "Demand The Vote" petition submission to keep the ECCA open is invalid as it does not have enough valid signatures.  EnVision said it had 92,000 and the city says 78,000.

This is sad.  I've thought long and hard about our 'Blanchford Field/The Muni/City Centre Airport' issue and while I was in favour and voted 'Yes' in the plebiscite way back in the 90's to consolidate large commercial service, I also signed this petition.

I still believe it's never a bad thing to have multiple airports in an urban centre as most do.  Equally, I fly out of Edmonton Int'l (YEG) on a monthly basis and do not find the drive all that bad and usually make it in 20-25 min, which is pretty good compared to many other places in North America.

Not only that, but the businesses surrounding the ECCA depend on it for some of their traffic and the hangars and infrastructure around there is geared toward there being an airport.  To take that all away is an enormous and costly undertaking.

Many blame "The Muni" for it making Calgary International (YYC) the Alberta hub, even though we consolidated larger commercial services to YEG.  YYC still has more direct flights to more key U.S. hubs and the bastards at Air Canada haven't been been YEG-friendly in that regard, reducing direct flights to places like Vegas, LAX, San Francisco, Ottawa, and even nearby Kelowna, while other airlines actually have added more.  YEG is expanding it's international side big time, will finally add an onsite hotel, and YYC is looking to add another runway.

I wasn't in favour of only allowing small planes under 12 passengers to land, 24 would be better and reasonable.  Dash 8's aren't even allowed to run at ECCA which are the planes that go to Calgary.  And wouldn't it be nice to have a flight to Jasper, plus more to Ft. Mac, and other areas. 

I believe the push to develop the ECCA lands are some 'progressive' bureaucrats' wet dream.  A call has gone out to urban designers to turn the area into a modern urban community and they don't think of Edmonton as a

Call me crazy, but I believe we already have existing areas in Edmonton that badly need massive upgrades and updates.  Plans are already underway for areas around the expanded LRT routes and downtown. 

So let's develop downtown but then take away the airport that will provide a transportation infrastructure to that downtown?  Not so 'progressive' to me.  It will be many years until the LRT actually gets to YEG.  Even then, the city will have grown so far south to Leduc that those complaining YEG is too far will wish it was even further away.  So the ECCA doesn't just affect Edmonton, but our outlying communities and Northern friends.

But I digress.  I just can't stand it when gov't deliberately makes a decision that will dramatically affect local small businesses who already pay property taxes for some big fat gov't pet project.  Not only that, the decision was too fast in order for a group to collectively obtain enough signatures for a petition.

And now it's too late.

Or is it?

So why doesn't council approve a plebiscite in this October's civic election anyway?  We had one about a country road years ago.

Or do they not want to hear from the public?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

More on longer bar hours...

Sun Media's Mindelle Jacobs has an excellent column today titled "Are we grown-up enough for longer bar hours". Have a read...


It basically confirms everything I've been saying.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Les Nordiques?

For the record, the federal gov't should never subsidize any pro sports teams, stadiums, or arenas, especially in money pit Quebec. This will not translate into votes and will piss more people off, especially Western MPs, than it will win favour from.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Downtown Edmonton bars open until 4am?

I think this is a great idea.  And they're right--not everyone works 9 to 5.  But it should not be exclusive to just one district.  I've been to cities at night like New York, Chicago, and Toronto (during the International Film Festival (TIFF)), and some bars elect to close at 2:00am and some have enough staff to stay open until 4am.  In fact, the bars and lounges I went to that stayed open until 4am were actually pretty low-key, and included a lot of bar industry folks.  They served drinks until 4 and closed at 4:30 in many places as well.   

The problem in many other cities in North America I've been to (and I've been to a lot of them) where the bars all close at 2:00-2:30pm is that you get a massive flood of people out into the sidewalks and streets, where taxi availability isn't as good, causing many people to walk for blocks looking for cabs, or giving up and stumbling home through neighbourhoods, urinating along the way, and in some cases, vandalism.

If people were allowed to hang out in a bar for a couple more hours, you'd find that after having some drinks, they get a chance to mellow out and get that cab they couldn't get earlier.  As it stands, there's a shortage of cabs in Edmonton anyway.

City councillors who think that more restrictions are the answer are wrong.  Having more choices is right and allowing bars to stay open until 4am if they want and are able to would actually be a smart approach and the waves of people would be easier to manage for policing, for cab availability, and ultimately would liven up this city even more.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Iggy and the Russian Bear

Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff thinks Canada shouldn't be worried about the "Russian bear" --specifically regarding Canadian fighter jets that recently staved-off the Russian TU-95 "bear" bombers from entrenching on our sovereignty hundreds of kilometres of the coast of Newfoundland.

The Liberal leader told reporters he laughed when the prime minister talked about Russian aircraft being chased away by Canadian military planes on Tuesday.

Ignatieff says people have tried to make him afraid of the Russian bear ever since his childhood, because he's partly Russian.

But he adds it was ridiculous for the prime minister to try to make people believe that without the intervention, the Russian bear would have come into Canadian homes.
Well Mr. Ignatieff, you see, the way it works is, if we didn't intervene, then the Russians would know that we are not prepared to defend our sovereignty and that NORAD fails.

And also seemingly interesting as if Iggy is trying to make people believe that since the Cold War ended that we shouldn't worry about Russia at all.

So again, to clarify, Mr. Ignatieff, we shouldn't be afraid of this string of recent events where Russians have tested us numerous times without notification, or are we being ridiculous and laugh it off like you have?
Previous Russian incursions into Canadian airspace

February 2009: Hours before U.S. President Barack Obama's big visit to Canada, two Russian bombers were intercepted just outside the Canadian Arctic.

Two Canadian CF-18s were dispatched to signal the Russian aircraft to turn back to its own airspace.

The Russians called Canada's reaction "a farce."

General Walter Natynczyk, the chief of the defence staff, said, at the time, sporadic incidences of Russian incursions had started in 2007 after many years of no activity.

August 2008: Canadian jets scrambled during a visit by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to Inuvik in the Arctic to intercept an aircraft nearing Canada's airspace.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay said Russians were unwilling to notify Canada of planned military flights nearing our airspace.

September 2007: Russians boasted that two of their Tu-95 bombers flew along the coasts of Alaska and Canada and returned via the North Pole during a 17-hour flight. They said their flight was accompanied by NATO planes.
I now know which leader is protecting Canada from Russia.  You know, the one without a Russian heritage.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Iggy... "This is Canada, not Australia"

Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff...

Ignatieff dismissed calls that Canada should have followed Australia’s policy on refugees and turned the Tamil refugee boat away.

"This is Canada, not Australia," Ignatieff said. "That means Canada has principles, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, our international obligations."
To all my Aussie friends... sorry mates.  I guess you don't have principles or rights and freedoms.

If this Liberal summer tour was to prepare Iggy for an actual campaign, maybe it's a good thing he's trying to stuff as many feet in his mouth as he can, because when the actual campaign happens, he would have gotten it all out of his system by then, wouldn't he?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Rex is king

The most eloquent journalist in Canada, Rex Murphy, has written an entertaining comment on the long-form census "issue". 

"On the other side, we've had a band of deliriously agitated opposition politicos and whole packloads of folks from various organizations and think-tanks arguing that stripping the long-form census of its "threatening" provisions will leave Canadian democracy rudderless, bereft of data absolutely critical for the exercise of efficient and noble statecraft. Operas have stronger plot lines."
(And now onto my non-eloquence...)  Well, ain't that right.  Anytime there's squib, yank, or rejig of the govmint, them beeurcats git all in a hissy fit.  And that's all good in ma books.

And for those who argue that no one has been jailed or fined for choosing not to fill out the long-form, then why is there this stupid law in the first place? So we should just leave this idled threat of punishment amongst the normally law-abiding citizenry in place as it stands?  Does that not just sound ... to put it eloquently, just plain stupid?

The whole article here.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Affirmative action

Hooray! The federal government is going to review its affirmative action policies

Cabinet ministers Stockwell Day and Jason Kenney announced the review of the Public Service Employment Act, along with any related practices and policies, on Thursday. “While we support diversity in the public service, we want to ensure that no Canadian is barred from opportunities in the public service based on race or ethnicity,” Mr. Day, the Treasury Board President, said in a statement.

Mr. Kenney, meanwhile, was more blunt in his calls for a meritocracy.

“I strongly agree with the objective of creating a public service that reflects the diversity of Canada, and with fair measures designed to reach that goal. But we must ensure that all Canadians have an equal opportunity to work for their government based on merit, regardless of race or ethnicity,” said the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism.

Affirmative action is useless and unnecessary in this day and age in Canada. And doesn't it kind of violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms if we're putting hiring preferences over another equally qualified individual based on background, disability, and gender? Aren't we all equal?

What we should be looking at is not hiring practices but wage equality.

I work in the private sector and have been on contract with numerous clients, mostly large organizations and I'd say private sector hiring is even more diverse than the public sector. 

This is a welcomed move.

h/t Dr. Roy

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Sense and Cents of the Census

Here's a link to the 2006 long census form.  It's 40 pages and probably takes 30-45 minutes to fill out for a family.  That's not the issue here, the time.

The issue I had with it in 2001, in 2006, and now 2011 is not so much the intrusive personal questions it asks, because many people fill out forms, surveys, polls, etc., but it's that the government can PUT YOU IN JAIL for not filling it out.

And that right there is why I think it's the right decision.

While the majority of Canadians don't care about this issue, because the majority of Canadians don't have to fill out the form, it's pissing off statisticians, bureaucrats, and some Liberals because they won't be able to determine how federal cash should be handed out through the, what, thousands of programs that are out there?

Now what if there was no data to support the need for these programs?  That's right, there'd be no need for these programs.  And without need for these programs, the government can axe the program and either let a province support it, or let it die.  And you wouldn't believe some of the programs out there.

If any of you remember the old "Waste Report" published by then Reform Party MP, John Williams, and compiled by my friend Garry Keller, his executive assistant, you'd recall that it was an incredible piece of literature, listing the various funding programs the federal government supports, including American unions, seniors and sexuality in prisons, and an ongoing list of programs and dollar amounts where common sense really just doesn't apply anymore.  Regardless, estimates are in the $10-20 billion in funding for these so-called programs.

Some argue that charities would suffer.  Well, if I didn't pay as much in taxes, I would easily donate more and it would be MY choice.  And it's not really a charity anymore when the government is supporting it.  It's a social program, plain and simple.  So if we could rid useless programs and lower taxes, Canadians, ON OUR OWN, could support charities, community groups, and local programs.

Now, for this issue, which it really isn't, the long form is NOT being scrapped.  It will now be voluntary.  Statisticians are saying that the data sample then won't be useful.

Exactly.  And therefore, it makes sense to save cents on the census.