Thursday, March 31, 2011

CBC Vote Compass really really is bias

See!  I told you those Liberals were sneaky!

Turns out the guy who's a PhD analyst for the CBC Vote Compass was an adviser on Ignatieff 2006 campaign--one Peter Loewen.

Election notes - Day 6: Liberals rise, NDP fall

Nick Nanos has released a poll showing the Liberals have gained up to 4 points nationally where the NDP have dropped by about the same amount.

I'm wondering if talk of the coalition by Harper has actually scared lefty voters to just support the Liberals instead of swallowing their ideological pride and go Conservative.  Or, they hate Harper more than they like Jack and now find Ignatieff palatable.  Or that stupid CBC Vote Compass has fooled Canadians with no views into believing they're Liberal.
Conservative support is stagnant, so Harper appears to be solidifying his base.  But I also believe the business community have left the Liberals for the most part and are mostly Conservative now, same with immigrants.  So I believe the fight for Harper will be to sway at least 3% of centrists in Ontario.

However, this movement on the left shows me that Canadians are paying attention more than I thought.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

CBC Vote Compass is BS

Hundreds of thousands of Canadians have been using CBC's Vote Compass to determine which party closely aligns with their views and opinions.

This blogger was very closely aligned with, you guessed it, the Conservative Party.  I was actually a bit perturbed though, seeing where the Conservative Party is on the political grid, thinking they would actually be closer to the centre than they were placed.  But I was to the right and south of them slightly.

Then, on advice of a friend, I decided to take the test again, but this time, choosing 'Neither agree nor disagree' and 'No Opinion' on all the questions.  And guess where I ended up?  Smack dab in the middle obviously, and closest with the Liberals.

What a joke. So if I'm completely a-political, I'm really a Liberal?  So who created this Vote Compass thingy?  Well, it was a bunch of University of Toronto students.  Go figure.

The problem with this compass thingy is that it ALLOWS you to have no opinion.  Not only that, but most of the questions are only relevant to today and not on general ideology.   Therefore, it is amateurish and non-applicable to the past or future.

A true compass thingy wouldn't allow it, which is why I recommend out of Britain. I've been using it for years to track my ideological views.  It is much more extensive and forces you to pick an actual answer.

Where am I on it?  +5 libertarian, +1 economic right.  Well, if you took where I am on it and transposed it to CBC's Compass, guess what?  I'm a Liberal!  Oh, the humanity!

No wonder the CBC is promoting the hell out of it and saying "Wow! Hundreds of thousands of people are using it!"  Why? Because they KNOW the default answer is LIBERAL!

Told ya those Liberals were sneaky.  Look for more sneakiness to come.  It's the only way they'll win. But they won't.

Election notes - Day 5

  • Libs and Dips are now trumpeting a Stephen Harper interview from 1997 when he was head of the National Citizens' Coalition talking about ... coalitions..when he wasn't even an MP.. when the right.. the PCs and Reform Party were divided.  He made no mention of the Bloc.  But what Libs and Dips fail to see in ALL of this is that back in 2008, they went into a formal support agreement with the Bloc Quebecois separatists.  In 2004, there was no agreement between the opposition parties to form a coalition government.  In 2008, there was.  No one, not even Tom Flanagan, has provided proof otherwise, other than saying Harper was "contemplating" it.  I'm sure Ignatieff is "contemplating" going back to Harvard when he loses this election and steps down as leader too.
  • Green Party leader Elizabeth May has not been invited to the leaders' debates.  Aw.  Win your own seat, Betty.  I'm trying to find out if Preston Manning was at the debates in 1988 and 1993.  Does anyone know?
  • A friend of mine who's a Green supporter said to me, "May has the political acumen of a goldfish. Why she has to go up against Conservative cabinet ministers is beyond me.  Oh, and I'm voting Conservative this time because we need simply need a majority government."  I've heard this several times from traditionally non-Conservative voters.
  • Jack then says he doesn't know why May cannot attend (good on him taking the higher road though).  The NDP is also moving to the right of the Liberals with today promising to lower the small business tax and provide incentives. Very smart move by the NDP but is it street-level Tim Hortons type policy?  Another TV spot is out too.  Not bad. Not bad at all.
  • An NDP candidate in Ontario has dropped out of the race to support the Liberal saying he doesn't want to split the vote.  Methinks he actually was a Liberal in Dipper clothing.  Liberals are sneaky. Always have been.  You now wonder how many Liberals are going to join the NDP and cause a merger down the road.
  • I've been following the website for some time now.  Here's the current numbers:
    Con 151 (+8) ... 4 more to the magic number
    Lib 73 (-4)
    BQ 51 (+4)
    NDP 33 (-3)
  • Liberals are way down in Quebec.  Conservatives are leading well in battlegrounds of Ontario and BC.  Even if Ontario stays as it is, the Prairies and BC could actually and finally decide if it's a majority or not.  The key will be another strong NDP showing in urban centres to split the vote with Liberals.  Well, except for Edmonton-Strathcona.  The Liberals just finally nominated their candidate there.  I've been saying it for years... the Liberals and NDP in Edmonton work together and support the better candidate in many of the ridings.
  • I think the debates will be key to this election. No one is really paying attention right now except us bloggers, hacks, and pundits.  Everyone is wondering why we're having an election.  Uh, because they're fun? Duh!  I think to truly secure a majority, at the debate, Harper has to make Iggy trip up on his tongue, and in the last 16 days, Harper has to come out with some fuzzy hope and vision. I'm wondering if the Conservatives haven't over-played their hand with all the TV ads and 'coalition' talk.
  • Messaging.  Here's the buzz words in my own head emanating from each party at the present moment.
    - Conservative:  "they'll form a coalition" -- ok, we get it.  Move on to something else.
    - Liberal:  "will give you poor students $4000" -- and so will the rich students
    - Bloc:  "Frère Jacques, frère Jacques, Dormez-vous? Dormez-vous? Sonnez les matines! Sonnez les matines! Din, dan, don. Din, dan, don". -- Campaigns are old hat for Gilles.
    - NDP:  "Now that's Canadian leadership." -- well, I wouldn't expect anything else. They need a better slogan though.  But Jack is impressing me the most again this election.  He's energetic despite the hip, he's positive, and he's speaking clearly and with vigour.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Debunking Flanagan

Tom Flanagan, Stephen Harper's former campaign manager and author of "Harper's Team", gave his thoughts on the 2004 letter.

Below is also a discussion I'm having on Facebook regarding this. 

  • Hatrock
    The article and what Tom said is still speculation. There's no real proof here of actually proposing a formal coalition.

  • Steve
    Sure, but he's not just criticizing the Liberals for the formal coalition. He's criticizing them for being willing to lead a government upheld by the Bloc (which he was, by every account but his own, contemplating in 2004) and for trying to form a government without a plurality of seats (which he was, by every account but his own, contemplating in 2004).

    I've got no horse in this race, but there is no way to frame this that doesn't involve raging hypocrisy.

  • Martin
    Ah, but while 04 was a coalition, this is a RECKLESS COALITION. Or so I hear.

  • Hatrock
    Someone please show actual proof. Thank you.

  • RC
    Harper just wants to make us forget that he prorogued parliament to prevent the elected representatives of the people do what is done in a multiplicity of democracies. I say, ding him iwith the memory of how far he went to prevent parliament from working to his disadvantage.

  • Steve
    Mike: The notion of "proof" requires a threshold, and I sense you're asking for one that's not even theoretically reachable. What we have is the following:
    1. Three people who were in a position to know, one of whom was and is a supporter of Harper, say that Harper was seeking to become (or at least contemplating the possibility of becoming) Prime Minister without a plurality of seats.
    2. Harper signed his name to a letter urging the Governor General to consider options other than an immediate dissolution of Parliament in the event that the Martin government was defeated on a motion of non-confidence. Can you offer a plausible interpretation of this letter that doesn't involve Harper contemplating the possibility of becoming Prime Minister despite lacking a plurality of seats?

  • Duncan
    In regards to proof. Hasn't Gilles Duceppe been waving a letter around talking about a coalition with the Bloc with Harper's signature on it?
Still no proof, just speculated "contemplation"? Sorry folks, that's not good enough.

2004 was not a coalition and Harper was not proposing that the then three opposition parties form one and take over the government by a vote of non-confidence and upsurping Canadian tradition and the will of voters.  Ignatieff/Layton/Duceppe almost did in 2008 and will try it again if the Conservatives win a minority again, otherwise, why have a vote of non-confidence and go to the polls when you know you're not going to win.

35 Years...

Monday, March 28, 2011

More Iffy...


Ignatieff said, "That's why we have a firm commitment not to raise taxes on small business or on Canadian families."

Ignatieff has described himself as a “tax and spend” Liberal who is “not going to take a GST hike off the table.” 

Liberals announce they will raise the corporate tax rate from 16.5% to 18%.


Coalitions: comparing 2004 and 2008 again

A continual counterpoint being made by Liberals, NDP, and BQ supporters is that Harper is a hypocrite for denouncing the formal Liberal-NDP-BQ coalition when he tried to do it himself back in 2004.

Well he didn't.  He's not a hypocrite.

It bugs me that I feel compelled to have to regurgitate a post I made in May of 2010.

In 2004, there was no coalition.  Period.  All Harper, Layton, and Duceppe did was make the Governor General aware that she should consult the opposition parties before making a decision.

Here's a video to show you what Harper, Layton, and Duceppe said back in 2004.  It's VERY CLEAR.  No coalition.  Whereas early in this 2011 campaign, Mr. Ignatieff has not been clear on his intentions AND Layton and Duceppe have been calling Mr. Harper a liar regarding his intentions, when it is THEY who have been misleading.

And once again, here's the Stephen Harper 2004 letter (Bold emphasis mine):

September 9, 2004

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson,
C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D.
Governor General
Rideau Hall
1 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A1


As leaders of the opposition parties, we are well aware that, given the Liberal minority government, you could be asked by the Prime Minister to dissolve the 38th Parliament at any time should the House of Commons fail to support some part of the government's program.

We respectfully point out that the opposition parties, who together constitute a majority in the House, have been in close consultation. We believe that, should a request for dissolution arise this should give you cause, as constitutional practice has determined, to consult the opposition leaders and consider all of your options before exercising your constitutional authority.

Your attention to this matter is appreciated.


Hon. Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P.
Leader of the Opposition
Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada

(Also signed by Duceppe and Layton)

Note that while the letter reminds the GG that the three opposition parties constitute a majority in the House, nowhere does Stephen Harper suggest that the three opposition parties wish to form a government.  NOWHERE.  Yet Libs and Dips continue to use this as a gotcha tactic.  Well sorry. 
Now let's contrast that with Stephane Dion's infamous 2008 coalition letter...
December 1, 2008
Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean,
C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D.
Governor General
Rideau Hall
1 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario


As Leader of the Official Opposition, I wish to inform you that, as of this writing, the opposition parties, who together constitute a majority in the House of Commons, have been in close consultation concerning the failure of the Conservative government to address the impact of the global economic crisis on Canadians.

As a result, I wish to inform you that my party and the other two opposition parties have lost confidence in this Conservative government.  The Liberal Party of Canada and the New Democratic Party of Canada are resolved to form a new government and to this end we have the support of the Bloc Quebecois for a period of 18 months. This new government will effectively, prudently, promptly and competently address the best interests of the people of Canada in these critical economic times.

In light of the significant economic challenges facing our citizens, and that the last federal election was held less than two months ago, we respectfully request that, should a call for dissolution arise, you consider exercising your constitutional authority to call on the Leader of the Official Opposition to form a new collaborative government with the New Democratic Party of Canada and supported by the Bloc Quebecois.

This new government should be allowed to demonstrate it has the confidence of the House of Commons.

Your attention to this matter is greatly appreciated.

Hon. Stephane Dion, P.C., M.P.
Leader of the Official Opposition
Leader, the Liberal Party of Canada
Note the difference?

2004:  "to consult the opposition leaders and consider all of your options before exercising your constitutional authority."

2008:  "you consider exercising your constitutional authority to call on the Leader of the Official Opposition to form a new collaborative government with the New Democratic Party of Canada and supported by the Bloc Quebecois.... This new government should be allowed to demonstrate it has the confidence of the House of Commons."

Not only that but Dion, Layton, and Duceppe were shown in public meeting togetherpublished a letter to the public the same day as well as put out cooperative and policy accords.  See below...
Monday, December 1, 2008

To our fellow citizens,

Canada is facing a global economic crisis. Since the recent federal election, it has become clear that the government headed by Stephen Harper has no plan, no competence and, no will to effectively address this crisis. Therefore, the majority of Parliament has lost confidence in Mr. Harper's government, and believes that the formation of a new Government that will effectively, prudently, promptly and competently address these critical economic times is necessary.

The contrast between the inaction of Mr. Harper's government and the common action taken by all other Western democracies is striking. We cannot accept this.

A majority of Canadians and Quebecers voted for our parties on October 14, 2008. Our Members of Parliament make up 55 percent of the House of Commons.

In light of the critical situation facing our citizens, and the Harper government's unwillingness and inability to address the crisis, we are resolved to support a new government that will address the interests of the people.

Today we respectfully inform the Governor General that, as soon as the appropriate opportunity arises, she should call on the Leader of the Official Opposition to form a new government, supported as set out in the accompanying accords by all three of our parties.


Hon. Stéphane Dion
Leader, the Liberal Party of Canada

Hon. Jack Layton
Leader, the New Democratic Party of Canada

Gilles Duceppe
Leader, the Bloc Québécois
For anyone to say that Stephen Harper tried to form a coalition government with the NDP and Bloc in 2004 is dead wrong.

Oh, and did I mention that this agreement between the Liberals and NDP is still in effect until June 2011?

And only 17% believe Ignatieff when he says he won't form a coalition.

Friday, March 25, 2011

It's on!

Months ago, I heard rumours that the vote would be May 2.  Looks like it's come to fruition.  I've also been speaking with some colleagues and some of them have said they're now voting Conservative because they don't see the need for an election, so they're going to punish the other parties for making us do so.  I suspect many soft Liberal/NDP supporters are going to stay home because they don't trust Ignatieff, and they know Layton won't be around much longer. Conservative supporters, however, will vote in droves.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Why would they want an election?

Yesterday, the budget debate got postponed, meaning the government will likely fall on Friday over the Liberal non-confidence motion on the Conservative government being in contempt of parliament, which in my opinion, is still debatable being that the house affairs committee has a majority opposition.

So I've been thinking, why would the Liberals and Dippers really want an election?  Poll numbers would indicate that things aren't looking that good for either of them where the Conservatives have been inching up toward a majority.

Are Liberal backroom dealers making Iggy go for it because they want him to lose so they can replace him with a Liberal-NDP merger-friendly leader, say, like Bob Rae?

Same with the NDP?  This is likely Jack's last election anyway. 

Or, primarily, are the Liberals and NDP still thinking that if Harper doesn't get his majority (and it will be close), they have a chance at forming a coalition government of losers in cahoots with the Bloc?

Yesterday, the media directly asked Iggy if he'd form a coalition with the NDP and Bloc.  He didn't say 'no'. 

When pressed further at the news conference about whether he is prepared to accept the verdict of voters if they elect a minority Conservative government, Ignatieff returned to his previous answer.

"There's a blue door. There's a red door. We're going to form a Liberal government. Is that clear enough for you?" Ignatieff then abruptly ended the news conference and walked off.
Actually, Mr. Ignatieff, no, it's not clear.  Is that a Liberal government with an NDP/Bloc coalition?

Why else would you really want to head into an election then?  You are not going to win on your own.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Congratulations, Bill, you're now a Law"

The following acts are now law.

  • Fairness at the Pumps Act (C-14) – protects Canadian consumers from inaccurate measurements when purchasing gasoline or other measured goods, by making retailers more accountable for the accuracy of their pumps and other devices, beefing up fines, adding new penalties and introducing a new fine for repeat offences;

    Can't complain about that one. Now about those gas taxes...

  • Standing up for Victims of White Collar Crime Act (C-21) – will combat white-collar crime, toughening sentences and imposing mandatory minimum penalties;

    This has become more and more prevalent (see the Michael Ritter story over at  My cousin is a white-collar crime investigator; I wonder what he thinks. But again, how can one complain about it.

  • An Act Respecting the Mandatory Reporting of Internet Child Pornography by Persons who Provide an Internet Service (C-22)
    – toughens laws protecting children from adult sexual predators by making it mandatory for Internet service suppliers to report online child pornography;

    Yep. Again, no complaints here.

  • Protecting Canadians by Ending Sentence Discounts for Multiple Murders Act (C-48) – allows judges to impose consecutive parole ineligibility periods on individuals convicted of multiple murders;


  • Serious Time for the Most Serious Crime Act (S-6) – puts a stop to early parole for murderers, which addresses the additional anguish suffered by victims’ families as a result of attending repeated parole hearings;

    Again, finally.

  • An Act to Amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (C-35) – cracks down on crooked immigration consultants who exploit prospective immigrants and undermine the integrity of Canada’s immigration system, helping protect those wanting to immigrate to or stay in Canada;

    It's been getting worse and worse.

  • Freezing Assets of Corrupt Regimes Act (C-61) – allows Canada to act upon the request of a foreign state to freeze the assets that their former leaders and members of their entourage, including family members, senior officials and associates, may have placed in Canadian financial institutions.

    Wait a sec. If the Liberals win and Canada becomes corrupt again, can the government freeze the assets of its leaders?  

Pre-Election Prediction

Oh heck, why not.

Conservatives will hit 40%, really close to a majority.
Liberals will get 25% and lose seats.
NDP will gain votes in urban centres but lose in rural areas to Conservatives, causing vote splitting with the Liberals in cities.

157 (+14) Conservative
  70 (-7) Liberal
  30 (-7) NDP
  50 (+3) Bloc Quebecois
    1 (-) Independent

You heard it here first!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Budget 2011 - Texas Hold 'Em

Budget 2011 is turning out to be a classic game of Texas Hold 'Em Poker.

Two cards are dealt to every player.
The Flop is like the first reading of the budget.

Harper's got pocket queens and bets over $200 billion.
Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe doesn't like cards with royalty on it, but he calls anyway.
Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff hasn't even looked at his cards, but he knows it can't be that good, but he still calls.
NDP leader Jack Layton calls Harper's hand, saying "there's always hope for amendments".

The Turn?

Harper sees a high card turn from the public, realizes he's still got a good hand and doesn't budge, maybe offering a GST cut on home heating to Layton, so he doesn't bet it as high as he thought.
Duceppe's got a good hand as always, he calls.
Ignatieff still doesn't look at his cards, except Harvard to run back to, so he calls
Layton calls but raises the bet.
Harper calls Layton.

The River?
It's a queen.
Duceppe's got a pair.Ignatieff's got a pair.
Layton's got a pair.
Harper wins with three queens and we go to an election.

Next round?   The election itself.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Intentional contempt, non-confidence & the budget

I've been away in the U.S. and have heard that this week, the House Committee for something or other may find the Conservative government in contempt of Parliament for misleading the House.

The Bloc will probably agree, but I'm not sure if the NDP will go along with it and will wait for the budget, yet as an opposition party, you'd pretty much have to if the government is found in contempt, wouldn't you?  What kind of an opposition party are you if you don't?

But do the Conservatives even care?  I mean, I wonder if this is how they actually planned to have a non-confidence motion and election called... to rope all the opposition parties in, by intentionally being in contempt then blame the "Coalition" for bringing the government down.  Know what I mean?  Seems far fetched, but in politics, you sometimes never know.  If this scenario plays out, the budget will be leaked with good news I'm sure.

But if the government falls on the budget will there be enough goodies for the Bloc or NDP to vote for the budget?  We shall see.

The polls favour Harper and the Conservatives and are very close to a majority.  They are flush with cash.  The rest of the parties?  Not so much, so why they think it's a good time to have an election is beyond me, but again, they may not have a choice.  Unfortunately for the Liberals, the onslaught of TV ads against Ignatieff have inched his approval even further down and the recent ministerial 'scandals' and several high-profile BC MPs retiring haven't resonated with most Canadians either.  The economy is doing better than expected.  The budget deficit will be better than expected.  Canada is responding well to the crisis in Libya.

With all of that in play, it may be a perfect time for the Conservatives to secretly want an election by politically forcing the opposition to vote non-confidence in them over their contempt for the House.

Equally, it also may be a perfect time for backroom Liberals to engineer an election, causing Ignatieff to step down, and further to that, it may be a good time for the NDP to ask Jack to step down too.

UPDATE:  And just as I posted this, the House of Commons Affairs Committee has found the Conservative government in contempt of Parliament.   It's all up to you, Jack!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Mama's Got A Squeeze Box

"..She goes in and out and in and out and in and out and in and out. 'Cause she's playin' all night, and the music's alright. Mama's got a squeeze box, daddy never sleeps at night." -- Squeeze Box by The Who

Ah, the so-called "In and Out" scandal that has Elections Canada going after some Conservative campaigners, some now senators.  The so-called scandal that has opposition members reeling against the Harper government.  The so-called scandal that already has the courts dismiss it.

Well, superblogger Stephen Taylor has screenshots from Elections Canada own website that shows people from ALL the parties have done it.  So why is Elections Canada only going after Conservatives?

Ooh, big bad Immigration Minister Jason Kenney had a staffer who made the dumb move of using government letterhead to ask for donations to the party, with one of the letters going to Edmonton NDP MP Linda Duncan.  But said MP also had a staffer use government email to do a similar thing.  No one's calling for her to resign. Don't really see a "scandal" here folks.

Ooh, Minister Bev Oda wrote "^Not" on a document to prevent further funding of a human rights group.  Sorry, not a scandal.  Bad document management?  Yes.

And how about prison costs which the Liberals are claiming the government isn't releasing info on.

Then they complain about the Conservatives using "Harper Government" saying the government doesn't belong to one man but belongs to all the people.  Well, the Prime Minister serves all the people and you Liberal folk didn't seem to mind when people called it the Martin or Chretien government.  Seriously? This is an issue?

Then today, they are calling for the Harper government to do more to in Libya to prevent Gaddafi from retaking the country.

So see how the Liberals are nitpicking at everything?  They're trying to build momentum in the eyes of the public against the Harper government.  All interesting timing considering that there is a looming election with the Liberals possibly triggering a non-confidence motion.

Unfortunately for the Liberals, this approach appears to be backfiring.  I don't know about you but when someone nitpicks so much, I just tune out and find it annoying.

Just like mama's squeeze box.

Election looming?

The big question on Parliament Hill is whether the Liberals are going to use a sneaky non-confidence motion to bring down the government.  Of course, for that motion to pass, they need the support of the Bloc and NDP, not one or the other.  Bloc will be there.

But will the NDP?  All indicators to me are no.  Jack doesn't want to.  He just got out of a successful hip surgery and reeling from prostate cancer treatment.  So I don't think he's in a mood to go to an election when his party is setting as high in seat total as it will for a while.  That dog won't bark.

So I believe the Liberals are using this to put a feeler out there to see what the NDP would do.  Now, Quebec NDP MP Thomas Muclair would appear to want an election and take the leadership, but is adamant this isn't true. Hmm.  The Bloc have supposedly made a quiet deal with the NDP in Muclair's riding to ensure he wins, and preventing the Liberal candidate there, former Liberal Quebec lieutenant Martin Couchon doesn't win.  Confused?  Moi aussi.

Even if the motion doesn't pass, the Liberals then get to see what the public reaction is to it and can then attack the NDP for supporting the government.  THEN, when the budget comes, the Liberals will know the NDP will also probably vote for it, potentially bleeding more support from the NDP.

This would seem the Liberals are trying to grab support from the left flank and ignoring the centre-right and even the centre where the Conservatives are becoming stronger.

OR, has Ignatieff been tricked into thinking that this is the wise approach?

If you were Bob Rae, you'd want to weaken the NDP, force an election so Ignatieff resigns, win the leadership, then make a deal with the NDP to merge the parties into the Liberal Democrats, and voila, possibly have more support than the Conservatives, then force another election next Spring.

So in summary, will there be an election soon?

Only if Jack can prevent it.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Prime Minster Harper receiving Ukrainian Canadian Congress' highest award

Here here!  Well deserved.  And at a time when the Conservatives are riding high in the polls at 43% with a 16 point lead over the Liberals and in majority territory.  Would you like to know another Conservative prime minister who went from a minority government to a majority and received the same award?  Dief!

Prime Minister Stephen Harper to Receive Shevchenko Medal
Winnipeg, Manitoba-March 2, 2011-The Ukrainian Canadian Congress is pleased to announce that Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be awarded the Shevchenko Medal in Toronto on March 25, 2011.

The Shevchenko Medal is the highest form of recognition that can be granted by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.  It recognizes individuals for their outstanding national contribution towards the development of the Ukrainian Canadian community.

Prime Minister Harper and his government have made many contributions to the Ukrainian Canadian community, both at home and abroad, including the passage of An Act to establish a Ukrainian Famine and Genocide ("Holodomor") Memorial Day, making Canada one of the first countries to adopt legislation to recognize the Holodomor of1932-33 as an act of genocide.  The establishment by Prime Minister Harper of the "Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund" in 2008 was the culmination of many years of effort by our community to recognize the unjust internment of Ukrainian Canadians and others from 1914 - 1920.

Prime Minister Harper has been an active proponent of democratic reforms in Ukraine as evidenced by his recent trip to Ukraine in October 2010 where he publicly expressed Canada's commitment to human rights, democratic development, and free and fair elections in Ukraine.

This was preceded by Canada sending 200 election observers to Ukraine for the 2010 Presidential elections.  One of the highlights of the Prime Minister's trip to Ukraine was the  signing of a Youth Mobility Agreement to facilitate travel and exchanges between Canadian and Ukrainian youth.   Prime Minister Harper has also been an active proponent of Ukraine's accession into NATO and in 2009 his government entered into Free Trade negotiations with Ukraine and renewed Ukraine's status as a country of priority for international assistance through CIDA.

The first Prime Minister to receive the Shevchenko Medal was the Rt. Hon. John Diefenbaker, who was recognized for his outstanding contributions to the cause of Ukraine and other nations in their struggle for human dignity and liberty. 

The Ukrainian Canadian Congress will present the Shevchenko Medal to Prime Minister Harper on Friday, March 25, 2011 at a tribute event to be held at the Liberty Grand located at 25 British Columbia Rd., Exhibition Place in Toronto, Ontario.

For information on the event or to obtain tickets please visit or call (866) 942-4627.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

National Post editorial on senate reform

The National Post editorial board has published concise reasons for senate reform--not Jack Layton's proposed abolition referendum, but in support of the Conservatives' bill S-8 which prompts the prime minister to appoint senators who were elected in a province.

As well, here is the best explanation of the need for keeping a senate I have ever heard.

"Second, abolishing the Senate would be a mistake from a governance perspective. The existence of two Houses of Parliament permits the exercise of checks and balances. This is particularly important in a federal state such as Canada, where Ottawa must bridge the differences between 10 provinces and three territories of varying sizes, disparities in wealth and resources, and cultural divides involving two official linguistic groups and a host of unofficial ones. A robust Senate also acts as a chamber of sober second thought. While some senators barely show up to vote in our current system, others are energetic and highly engaged in important public-policy debates. Several Senate committees produce valuable reports on subjects such as health care and the future of our military.

"It is for such reasons that only a handful of Parliamentary democracies around the world have abolished their second chamber. Most, such as Australia, have instead opted for reform — using elections rather than direct appointments. Some nations, such as India, Britain and Ireland, have a mix of elected and non-elected senators.

"Instead of abolishing the Canadian Senate, we should reform it according to the well-known “Triple-E” mantra — making it equal in its regional distribution, elected in its membership, and effective in its legislative role."

Here here!