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.