Thursday, January 27, 2011

Now Ted Morton resigns...

In a smart move, Alberta Finance Minister has resigned from the PC cabinet.  When Morton runs for the leadership, he now won't be bogged down by another deficit budget (not that previous ones won't haunt him).

Apparently, he had a two hour meeting with Ed Stelmach.  I won't bother speculating what transpired.

Isn't this all kind of reminding you of another party that had a spat between the leader and the finance minister?

So with that, I predict the now former finance minister will win the leadership, be premier for a bit, then win the ensuing election, but with a minority.  Then in the election after that, he'll lose to a more fiscally oriented minority government.  Sorry Danielle, that means 2016 at the earliest.

Or who the heck knows at this point.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ed Stelmach won't seek re-election

Everyone is quite shocked today to hear of Premier Ed Stelmach's pending resignation.  I know I am.  I actually admired his quiet, yet ruthless approach to politics, but as readers of my blog know, although he was my 2nd choice on the PC leadership ballot, it wasn't soon after, save a few good cabinet ministers, I stopped supporting this directionless, anti-fun, anti-libertarian government.

Now, with another PC leadership race to begin, who will the candidates be?  And once he or she becomes premier, when will the election be?  Ed said 2012 but indicated his successor is not bound by that.  Will we then have to wait until 2013 as mandated by law?

Potential candidates (well, why not start the speculation?):

  • Ted Morton (current finance minister) -- How many on his former team have jumped to the Wildrose Alliance?  Will Wildrose folks buy memberships and support or stop him considering that he is strongly considering running against Wildrose leader Danielle Smith?  If you ask me, a former Morton supporter, I'd probably stop him in his tracks.  I have disliked his tenure as finance minister.  So to begin, I'd like to mention that Ted was born in the U.S.

  • Jim Dinning (former finance minister) -- As the dauphin from the last race which he lost the vote to Ed, would he give it another go?  How many in the current PC party are supporting him?  I'm also wondering if this is where the pressure on Ed to step down originated from... just like it happened when Ralph Klein got a lower than expected approval rating by his own party.

  • Dave Hancock (current education minister) -- Well respected by the remaining 'progressive' side, would he siphon the potential Alberta Party supporters?

  • Monte Solberg (former federal Conservative Party cabinet minister) -- Just throwing a name out there being that I told him face-to-face that he should run and he didn't balk.  I know I'd be torn between the Wildrose and the PCs if Monte were in the game.
  • Jim Prentice (former federal Conservative Party cabinet minister) -- After recently resigning as MP in Calgary, would he take a run provincially?  I think this is less likely, but I've heard rumours.
Other questions and speculation...

In the new fledgling Alberta Party, could we have Dave Taylor, latest independent MLA and former Liberal leadership candidate running and winning that party's leadership?  I also guess that Raj Sherman will join.  Then, will the Liberal party then implode?  If the next election isn't until 2013, that buys the the AP time to their advantage.  Could they pull votes from the NDP as well?

Speaking of the NDP ... my guess is that this will be Brian Mason's last go of it and it's obvious that Rachel Notley will take the reigns from there.  But will it be too late?  Will all the 'progressives' from the Liberals and NDP support the Alberta Party (which has good momentum now)?

But let's ask, will the PCs implode?  Not likely, but they were directionless before, so with a lame duck leader, will they care to make decisions at all?   The PCs have lost MLAs to the Wildrose Alliance, so the question is will the Alberta Party draw PC votes as well?   Even I considered supporting the Alberta Liberals if Dave Taylor won the leadership.

You see where I'm going with this?  I think this all bodes well for Danielle Smith, whose party Ed directly attacked today. 

With THREE viable parties on the centre-left, and a weak PC party, will they split the vote?  You betcha!

Not too long ago, I predicted the Wildrose would get maybe 12-18 seats in a 2012 election.

That just doubled, at least.

That is if Wildrose and Alberta Party supporters play this smart, they should buy PC memberships and vote in droves for the least electable candidate. 

Then it'll be a former media personality showdown between Danielle Smith vs. Dave Taylor.  Now THAT combination would be an interesting debate.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Conservative ads

You can find all the latest Conservative video ads here on their YouTube channel.

Since they were released the other day, there has been tonne of analysis done on them.  My opinion is that the ads aren't meant to gain support, but to reinvigorate and solidify existing hard and soft support, and because of that, they are effective.  I know it got me riled up again.

Some have said that attacking the Liberal/NDP/Bloc coalition doesn't rile up feelings.  I say B.S. Explain why in December 2008, when the Liberal/NDP/Bloc coalition agreement was at it's peak that Canadians flocked to supporting the Conservative government (support well above 40%)?  It's smart strategy.

These ads are in response to the heightened election speculation over the upcoming budget, where the political lines seem to be drawn over corporate tax cuts.  Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff has embarked on another tour and hit the ice (he can skate you know, and a young girl in the video kept addressing Iggy as 'Mr. Prime Minister' -- sneaky how the Liberals kept that subtlety in multiple times).

Now back to the Conservatives ads... Liberal-leaning pundits have swathed that the Conservative ads are senseless attacks, yet their hypocrisy is abound with past ads touting "soldiers with guns in the streets", and guns pointed and fired at you dear TV viewer.  Sure it draws up feelings, and supposedly, according to those pundits, that it's effective.  Yet I don't know about you, but Liberal ads like that, as opposed to the recent Conservative ones, make me feel angry back at Liberals.

I'd be interested to see what, if any, Liberal ads come out in response soon, or whether they feel Iggy on Ice will suffice.

Somehow I doubt that though.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Woman faces jail time and fine for not filling out 2006 census

For those who didn't think it happened, well, it can happen.  Three months in a jail and a $500 fine.  Nice.

As I said last year, the real contentious issue surrounding the whole voluntary census form debate is one of enforcement.  Lefties/progressives/liberals/dippers/socialists NEED the data to justify their big program ideas and the only way they say to ensure the data is valid is to threaten citizens with a punishment.

Even then, many of them came out and said that no one has been punished.  I argue that if no one had been punished, then why the heck is it in the law in the first place?

What I also don't get is how polling companies continue to provide valid statistics and data on demographics to the very political parties that these lefties are members of.  They don't threaten jail time, yet use the data to make all sorts of decisions.

I continue to support the Conservative government's decision on replacing the mandatory census with a voluntary one.

I'm still putting Jedi as my religion though.

Ukrainian gov't still corrupt

Quick history... last year, Viktor Yanukovych won the Ukrainian election and became president.  In the previous election, Viktor Yushchenko supposedly lost to Yanukovych, but as the people knew of the widespread electoral corruption emanating from Yanukovych, the Orange Revolution was born, combining the forces of Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko's parties.  Yushchenko, a dashing, handsome man, was then poisoned, supposedly by operatives from Yanukovych, causing his face to deform.  With mass sit ins and peaceful protests by thousands of Ukrainians in Kiev, a revote occurred, with Yushchenko winning the presidency.

Yushchenko then appointed Tymoshenko as prime minister, but after much infighting, in a bizarre move, he fired her and put Yanukovych in as prime minister.  Then once Yanukovych became president, he put second place Tymoshenko as prime minister.

Last year after the election, Prime Minister Harper's visit to Ukraine and meeting the Ukrainian president was marked with much of his own subtle symbolism.  With all the formalities, the ongoing and underlying issue remains the recognition of Holodymor, the mass starvation of Ukrainians by Stalinist Russia in the 1930's.  No such recognition from Yanukovych, but Harper's visit to a memorial in the Western Ukrainian city of L'viv, certainly showed Canada's memory.

Ukraine is becoming a more divided nation and perhaps it is mere geography between the West and East, but there is no doubt that Russian influence continues to encroach with it being the dominant language in the East, and where the current president gets most of his support from.  Having Yanukovych as president does no wonders for democracy and Ukraine's destiny as a truly independent country, tied to the West and distinguished from Russia.

Ukraine remains Canada's top European aid recipient for judicial and electoral programs.  But the country of 45 million continues to have governmental corruption amongst the ranks.  Ukraine is a key and central democratic country and an affront to the rising power of Russia and Vladimir Putin's influence.  In a way, it is much like Israel in the Middle East and why Canada should continue to have influence.

But what happens to that influence when Yanukovych wins another term, Putin gets back in as Russian president and extends the terms to 6 years, allowing him to rule for 12 years?

What's the saying? 

Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

"Go North", not to Alaska, but Canada

A lot of bloggers have been praising the opt-ed by Washington Times journalist James Bacon titled "Go north, young man, go north - Canada is quietly surpassing the U.S. as the land of opportunity".

Some excerpts:

"Look what's not happening in Canada. There is no real estate crisis. There is no banking crisis. There is no unemployment crisis. There is no sovereign debt crisis. Recent reports suggest that consumers are loading up too much debt, but Canada shares that problem with nearly every other country in the industrialized world."

"Now, instead of expanding Canada's welfare state, the conservative government led by Mr. Harper is intent upon building the nation's global competitiveness. Our friends in the Great White North cut their corporate tax rate to 16.5 percent on Jan. 1 and will see it drop to 15 percent next year. That compares to the current U.S. corporate tax rate of 35 percent. That will give Canada the lowest corporate tax rate among the G-7 nations and an eye-popping advantage for businesses wondering whether to locate on the U.S. or Canadian side of the border."
Wait a sec... 35% U.S. corporate tax rate compared to 15% in Canada?!!!  That's a huge difference.  Luckily, I work for a good company that has profit shares, share options, and wide benefits.  With a lower corporate tax rate, those savings are simply passed onto our employees.  Then, guess what, the government still gets its money from income tax, CPP, and EI deductions.

All the lefties like Jack Layton bash business when they see that companies get to keep more money.  It makes no sense to me and defies logic.  Here they want their union members to get more benefits from a company but want to tax those same companies at a higher rate.

With the Canadian Loonie and U.S. Greenback now at par for some time, will Canadian investors keep their money in Canada or buy up companies in the U.S. and abroad, or both?