Monday, April 26, 2010

Iggy and the West

And if you still don't think Iggy and the Grits have already started the culture war... here's what the Count had to say in Saskatchewan recently (link dead for some reason) about an NDP private member's bill C-232 requiring all Supreme Court justices to be fully bilingual. This bill will hopefully die in the Senate, especially when 7 of 9 current justices are NOT bilingual and the top judge is from Alberta.

"First of all, there's a French fact in Saskatchewan, which is important. It's not the case that French isn't a part of the cultural heritage of the West, just look at the place names. The West wants in . . . to these great national institutions, but we are a bilingual country. And this is not a minor matter because a quarter of the cases come from Quebec. This isn't me creating a new obstacle that the West has to overcome. This is our country and I want the West to participate and I want our law schools to be sending out the message: "You want to get on the Supreme Court? You might want to study a little French."

"Look at the place names"?  What the hell does that mean?

He wants the West to participate! Well goody! Our Prime Minister is from Calgary. And did I mention that the top judge on the Supreme Court is from Alberta? Oh yes, I did.  The West is in dumbass. 

"..a new obstacle that the West has to overcome"?  We've overcome quite a bit out here in the West over the years there Iggy, especially the continued transfer of wealth from Alberta to Quebec.

" a little French"?  Well I know a little French, Iggy, and a little Ukrainian too, so read this..

Ігнатьєв, повернутися до Гарварду!

Begun, the Culture War, has

Where it all began... Kory Tenycke, former Conservative communications director vs. Ekos president Frank Graves himself...

I think you can easily say that Kory won that one.

Now, Ezra Levant, publisher, Western Standard vs. Paul Wells, journalist from Macleans and some Liberal weenie...

I'd say that Ezra won that one--especially when that Liberal weenie has to go back 13 years into the Reform Party days when Harper had already left the party. Good one weenie boy. And note how much both weenie boy and Paul Wells stumble and don't even look into the camera.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Iggy will divide the country

I recommend reading Ezra Levant's latest blog post on the Liberals receiving advice from Ekos pollster Frank Graves on invoking a culture war, and how that advice in congruency with Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff's position and support of the highly controversial NDP private members bill requiring all Supreme Court justices to be bilingual.

Even (former?) Ignatieff strategist, has commented that if this culture war is the new Liberal strategy, that they shouldn't talk about it publicly.

As the Globe and Mail reported:

In his advice, Mr. Graves could hardly have been more blunt. “I told them that they should invoke a culture war. Cosmopolitanism versus parochialism, secularism versus moralism, Obama versus Palin, tolerance versus racism and homophobia, democracy versus autocracy. If the cranky old men in Alberta don’t like it, too bad. Go south and vote for Palin.”

Nice. Real nice.  If Iggy and the Grits are taking this advice, which it appears they already are, then in my opinion, I think Canadians from coast to coast are really sick and tired of it.  I agree with Ezra here in that this culture war strategy will backfire, as Iggy himself, wanted to unite Canadians:
Michael Ignatieff: "A prime minister has one simple job: To keep the country together and not seek polarization...."
So why do you want to polarize then by taking polarizing advice from your own pollster?

Official bilingualism is one of those polarizing issues.
 What's my opinion on it?  It doesn't work and never has and is costing our country in wasted tax dollars, and in actually dividing the nation more than it unites us.  Why?  Anytime the government forces culture and language upon another culture, you get backlash, not only against the government, but against the other culture. Quebec separatists can then say, "See!  Canadians don't like bilingulism. They don't like French and they don't like Quebec."  That's the trap that legitimizes their political existence.

And it appears that Iggy and the Grits are falling into this trap. You watch, with this culture war, the
one the Liberals now appear to be using, they're going for the default federalist vote in Quebec, which also makes core Torontonians happy. It's an old strategy, one that worked for Trudeau and Chretien. But again, you'll recall, that it was under Trudeau (1980) and Chretien (1995) where the separatists got their referendum, reinvigorating the original Canadian culture war, the one between French and English, dividing the country... again.

If Ignatieff understood Canada, he'd know this. But maybe he actually does and doesn't care. If it gets him and the Liberals into power, then that's all that matters, damn the country.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Iggy on and off health care user fees

Oh Iggy, will you ever learn...

And, leaving aside explicit measures in this week's Quebec budget, doesn't Charest's startling proposal to charge patients $25 per doctor's visit, however hypothetical, at least merit an expression of mild disagreement?

Apparently not. "In our opinion," Ignatieff said, "what matters is maintaining universality of access to the system. We believe, and it's a question of details, that Quebec's propositions conform to the Canada Health Act."   How's that for a stirring call to arms?

and then after a Liberal caucus meeting to the media...
I am saying no user fees,” he said. “I want to make it very clear that our party and I personally am a passionate defender of the Canada Health Act and we understand that provinces are facing substantial challenges facing the financing of their health care systems. 

In summary... "Health care user fees, but not necessarily health care user fees."

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Alberta's new Lt. Governor

I just found out that Prime Minister Harper will be meeting with Alberta's new Lt. Governor in Ottawa in 15 minutes (12:30pm MDT).

Who is it?

Col. Donald Ethell will be named as the new lieutenant-governor for Alberta in an announcement Thursday, according to reports.

Ethell, 72, is a Vancouver native who calls Calgary home. He is considered to be Canada's most experienced and decorated peacekeeper.

He's a veteran of 14 peacekeeping missions, including Lebanon, Cyprus, Israel and the Balkans, and led Canadian peacekeeping operations from 1987 until 1990.
Can't say anyone is going to complain about this inspired choice and I think I can say that I'm proud to have this man in the honour post.  I thought Normy Kwong also did an excellent job.

My personal favourite has always been Lois Hole.  I remember her years ago at the U of A Model Parliament acting as the Governor General giving the speech from the throne. She was such a warm, personable human being. I'll never forget her telling all of us mock MPs how inspired she was by the fact we took such a vested interest in politics, but more especially her saying "I love and adore you all!"

Anyway, now the speculation is mounting on who Prime Minister Harper is going to pick as the next Governor General of Canada this year.  Personally, I hope that Michaelle Jean stays on.  I think she's been an excellent ambassador for Canada and with her eating that seal heart with Inuit women, I thought was pretty cool. I didn't so much like it when she twice referred herself as 'the head of state' when that title is only for the Queen.  But when she greeted President Obama on his official visit, the visuals were outstanding.  All that said, my feeling is that Harper will want to make his own decision and pick someone new. 
Earlier this year, a source told Canwest News Service columnist Don Martin the change at Rideau Hall would happen sooner rather than later – so that Canada’s 28th viceroy could be sworn in by the Queen herself during her upcoming nine-day tour of Canada, which starts June 28.

Rumours are Rick Hansen, Mary Simon, Preston Manning, and of course, William Shatner.  Beam me up!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Bloc Heads

And right out of the gate is Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe saying the bill to add seats to Ontario, BC, and Alberta is against Quebec. Give me a break already.

The Bloc immediately pounced on the bill and said it was an attempt to kneecap their province's political clout.

"After recognizing the Quebec nation, the government is now invoking representation by population in order to reduce the political weight of Quebec," said Bloc MP Claude Debellefeuille in the House on Thursday.

Quebec currently has 24 per cent of the total seats in the House. Under the new guidelines, that representation would drop to 22 per cent.

Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe is currently preparing a cross-country tour in which he will build a case for Quebec's sovereignty. It's expected he could use the new House numbers to bolster his argument that Quebec is under attack.

However, CTV's Chief Political Correspondent Craig Oliver said the new seats simply reflect demographic shifts.

"Overall I think it's a pretty fair re-distribution," he said Thursday.

Politically speaking, Oliver said it's clear why Quebec would be upset, but he noted the province's population hasn't increased, while other parts of the country have experienced strong growth.
I know, I had to read it again several times myself:  "the government is now invoking representation by population in order to reduce the political weight of Quebec."

Oh my stars! Proper representation by population? In Canada? Oh no, we can't have other parts of the country experience economic and population growth having more political weight than mighty Quebec can we?

Now do people see why a lot of Canadians are just getting sick and tired of these yahoo separatists? And many could give two shits if they left the country.  This is why we also must scrap the $1.75/vote taxpayer funding for political parties (which is going to come back from what I hear).

See what I meant in my previous post that adding these new seats will dramatically change the country?

Looks like it already has.

Bigger but Better?

The Conservative government has introduced a bill to add 30 seats to the House of Commons--18 for Ontario, 7 for British Columbia, and 5 for Alberta.  They tried to introduce a similar bill in 2007 but Ontario only got 4 extra seats and would be underrepresented.  With the 30, that makes 338 seats in a now cramped chamber, but no where near the cheek-to-cheek benches in the British Commons.

So what does this all mean?  Well, it will dramatically change the country.

The current standings in the House of Commons are as follows:

145 Conservative
  77 Liberal
  48 Bloc
  37 NDP
    1 Ind.

Now, for argument sakes, if everything basically stayed the same ... pessimistically speaking:

In B.C., the Conservatives hold 22 of the 36 seats (61%).       +4 of the 7 new seats.
In Alberta, the Conservatives hold 27 of the 28 seats (96%).   +4 of the 5 new seats.
In Ontario, the Conservatives hold 51 of the 106 seats (48%). +8 of the 18 new seats.
Total: 16

Add the current 145 + 16 = 161.  Which brings them to 161 / 338, only 6 seats shy of a majority (332).

My point is, this is all done without having to grow the seat count in Quebec.  In fact, I think the Conservatives can win back at least 5 seats in BC, 1 in Alberta, and 5 in Ontario.

While we all know there won't be an election in 2010, this legislation would not officially kick in until after the 2011 census. (Side note: the Constitution states that the first census after confederation would take place in 1871 and subsequent ones every 10 years after that.)

Now let's say an election happened in Spring 2011 and the census was shortly after, thus adding the setas.  What I don't know is when these seats are added, do by-elections have to ensue, or do we wait until the next general election?

Eventually, will the new House of Commons be bigger?  Yep.  Will it be better?  Well, without having to pander to Quebec as much to win over votes, and finally the possibility of having a stable majority, a Conservative one at that, with the left divided and merger speculation continues, you're damn right it will be better.