Friday, January 20, 2012

NDP philosophical contradition

1. Jobs

  • NDP support labour unions, and jobs with high wages, benefits and pensions.
  • KeystoneXL pipeline would provide those jobs not just to build the pipeline but many more.
  • NDP oppose the TransCanada KeystoneXL pipeline due to preventing expansion of the oil sands.

2. Health Care
  • NDP want to expand social programs and have more money for health care.
  • Oil and gas revenues provide billions to the government coffers to pay for social programs and health care.
  • NDP oppose building the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and expanding our markets to Asia due to environmental reasons.

Yep, makes a lot of sense to me!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Coming soon to Alberta: Drinking age to 19 and ski helmets

Members of the Alberta PC caucus have continually tried to discuss raising the drinking age to 19 or 21 within caucus.  It's been shut down in the past.

But with Premier Mom at the helm, and her copy-cat policies, my gut tells me that when she wins the next election, and she will folks, that they will introduce two measures in 2012.

1.  Raise the drinking age to 19 to come in-line with our two neighbouring provinces.
2.  Make ski/snowboard helmets mandatory.

Both of which I'm vehemently against, as I believe it will make things worse.

Raising the drinking age will push fresh out of high school and freshman university students to take their booze underground.  They'll still easily obtain it.  The problem with booze hasn't been this neophyte age group, which statistics show, alcohol vehicular accidents are in the late 20's--likely because they have money and a new car.  We already have stringent laws for new drivers. 

I realize the link above shows that the Premier and the Sol Gen have just announced that they have no plans to raise the drinking age.  But as we know in Alberta, that could change.  And we also had no idea that Redford, once elected to the PC leadership and becoming premier, that she would plan to introduce .05 b.a.c. property seizure legislation either.  I simply don't trust her and I think her short record thus far shows that she shouldn't be trusted.

Onto ski helmets...

I ski several times a year and have been skiing in the Alberta, BC and Montana mountains for over 30 years.  I have never once wore a helmet. Sure I've wiped out a bunch of times, but no damage.  I especially love Spring skiing and taking the toque off to enjoy the warmth of the sun.  My many friends who wear a helmet, mostly snowboarders I might add, swear by it.  Good for them.  I've never wore one, have never even come close to hitting a tree.  Running into someone, yes?  Snowboarders who turn quickly into their blind side.  But it's never happened.  Maybe it's because I'm responsible and careful.  If I began doing extreme stuff, I would definitely wear one.  But I'm not, so I don't see the point.  It's a choice.

Now notice that?  Are skiers and snowboarders willing to take MORE risks BECAUSE they think they are protected by their helmet?  Look at how some people drive 4x4s in the winter.  I never saw so many 4x4s in the highway ditch than last summer.  We should make 4x4 drivers wear helmets. 

This is a ridiculous law because people also die from walking and falling on ice.  Should we then mandate that if you go outside in the winter, you're required to wear snowshoes or spikes?   And do we even have laws for ATV and snowmobile drivers to wear helmets, yet?

Where does all this end?

I'll say it again and again and again. 

You can't fix stupid.

That is, unless you decide to vote this non-conservative PC government out come Spring.

40 years is enough.

Official bilingualism's failure

Why can't more people recognize that official bilingualism has failed and has been way too costly.

Hey, I took francais in high school but admittedly, have had to use it very, very little, if ever.  I'm more inclined to learn and have been slowly learning Spanish over the past few years due to my travels in the U.S., even though Spanish is not an official language.  In fact, businesses and governments just simply offer Spanish out of necessity, not based on some grand government vision.

The National Post's Kathryn Blaze-Carlson has noted that official bilingualism, essentially a federal program forced upon the provinces, costs taxpayers $2.4 BILLION per year--mostly in Ontario.

So a rough calculation ... 2011 - 1969 = 42 years x 2.4 billion = $100.8 billion total.

Wow, that sure is a lot to ensure 5% of the population (francophones) can understand what's going on.

So is it worth it?  We know it certainly costs companies to produce separate labels to have French.  I'd say in Vancouver, it is probably a better idea to have the labels also in Mandarin.

And that's the point here isn't it?  The main problems with bilingualism stem from one of the most simple aspects of human nature... our basic need to communicate and creating words to do so.

Forcing a language upon people can actually surpress that language.  Letting the people decide, a noble libertarian concept I might add, can actually help a language flourish.

Languages come and go.  But why is English so popular and the dominant international language, yet only comprises a fraction of the original speaking peoples of the world?

Even when French was the language used in the courts in England hundreds of years ago, the English language was the one on the tongue of the commoner.  And it varied, and continues to vary, twist and turn, morph, change, as people talk to another and mingle from different countries and within them as well.  There are numerous examples of words changing their meaning to the complete opposite of its original intention.

Some may say the Internet and computing, being originally an English-based concept, even unto computer languages themselves, but perhaps it is simply because of its lack of rigidness and rules, and multitude of free-flowing dialects that has allowed it to spread, endure and strengthen.

The stats show that Canadians in Quebec are leaving that province in droves to greater economic pastures in Alberta and Saskatchewan and that its remaining population is stagnant or decreasing, leaving behind a pocket of francophones.  But even those two provinces have small but continual communities within the cities and towns.

And the rest of the country should continue to pay billions per year to ensure a language few speak is maintained throughout the entire country by forced actions and doublestandards?  We all know the language police stories in Quebec.  It's hypocracy at its finest.  I don't mind that Parliament is bilingual, but forcing businesses and public sector hiring practices to be dictated by bureaucracy is social engineering at its worst.

Is this an attack on the French language?  Au contraire!  If francophones truly wanted to ensure the survival of their language within Canada, the best approach would have been continually to develop and grow their economy so people would be attracted to moving and working there and expanding businesses, not through government corporate welfare, or by forced bilingualism in government and crown corp positions.  Letting the market and people decide what languages should dominate, would have allowed French to flourish.  How many more folks from France would then migrate to Canada and grow the language?

It's much like the CBC.  People can claim that just one of hundreds of television stations that includes American programming brings the country together all they want, but they're out of touch with reality.  When the ratings are so low and few watch, it's hardly a case to continue spending over $1 BILLION on that when socialists and provinces themselves claim there's not enough money for health care, education, pensions, etc.  And $100 BILLION since 1969 would certainly have covered a lot of things like that, but maybe a lower debt and lower taxes that would have fueled the economy even more, even in Quebec and attracted investment and and people.

But I guess that won't happen any time soon, showing that essentially, bilingualism has failed to do what it was intended to.

Which is typical of anti-libertarian social-engineering state-run policies.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Gay marriages indeed valid - Liberals screwed up on divorce

Today, Justice Minister Nicholson diffused the left-wing spin by ensuring all same-sex marriages in Canada are indeed valid.  And further to that, a loophole left open by the previous Liberal government, didn't allow for same-sex divorces!  Shame on you Irwin Cotler!  Well, that's changing now.

But the CBC wouldn't make you believe that.  Power & Politics host Evan Solomon has an online poll question asking if you think the Conservatives are trying to reopen the debate.  And of course, the majority of the answers are yes.  Pathetic.  Sad really.

So no, Harper is not re-opening the gay marriage debate.  The Conservative government is in fact, making gay marriages even more equal.

Typical left-wing untruthiness on social issues.  Unfortunately, the only loophole that the Conservatives left open was a whole day of spin to the left.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Alberta PC corruption

Ten Alberta PC riding associations are currently being investigated by Elections Alberta into illegal riding donations and now we have learned the PC Association of Alberta received $15,000 from the University of Lethbridge, which is illegal.

Blogger Alberta Ardvark has more on it here.

People, listen.  This is democracy at its worst.  For years, conservatives and reformers in Alberta were furious over similar things happening to the federal Liberals and now the Alberta PCs are doing the same thing. 

Absolute power corrupts absolutely and 40 years can certainly make any government, no matter which party, complacent, tired, and how do I say this eloquently ... with its head so far up its own ass the shit just cycles itself.

For the sake of Alberta, don't vote PC in the next election.  I will do my best to spread the word about this terrible, nanny-state, corrupt government and encourage you to vote Wildrose, Liberal, NDP, or Alberta Party.  We deserve better. 

Floor crossing

I am completely against any floor crossing prevention legislation.  In fact, there should be a resolution that to have such legislation as being out of order.

Sometimes I wonder if NDP members and supporters really understand how a parliamentary democracy actually works.

Wait, I don't think they do at all, whatsoever.

We could go through pages and pages of historical records on the parliamentary website to show all the MPs who've switched caucuses since 1867.

There is no need for the MP to sit as an independent or step down and run in a byelection.  That would mean, when the Conservative Party was created, dozens of former Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative MPs would have to have run in a byelection, rather than just run in the next election.  There are numerous examples.  How much would that have cost?

And voters already have a chance to decide if they agree in regular elections, keeping in mind it is a person's name on the ballot in large print with the party affiliation in small print. We legally elect people to become a Member of Parliament and sit amongst a caucus, not party, otherwise, only the party name would be printed on the ballot.

I am also against recall.  In fact, I believe it's a dangerous notion where a small minority of people (or whatever the percentage is, I've heard 5%, 10%) can petition to recall an MP.  So really, a third-party organization or lobby group can organize themselves and get people to sign a petition to have a vote to remove the MP.  There are many other mechanisms already in place to do that--media, public, and party pressure to name a few, let alone the next election itself.  If an MP (or Senator for that matter) really screwed up, like say convicted of a criminal act, there should be a resolution in place that they must step down immediately and a byelection would ensue.

Anyway, it is a fundamental aspect of our democracy that an MP can change party affiliation, create a new caucus (remember the Democratic Representative Caucus (DRC)?), or become an independent if he or she feels the caucus they are a part of no longer represents their views or is ineffective. 

Why do Dippers want to prevent that?  Voters have the right to switch allegiences between elections, MPs must have that freedom to be able to decide how to best represent his or her constituents, not just for those who voted for him or her.   My guess is that it is rooted in the fact that they simply fear the Liberals and are afraid of their MPs jumping ship to a party that has historically been in power.

Just like this one.

And what to the NDP have to say?

"But the NDP made it perfectly clear they were not going to let St-Denis' defection go unchallenged.
Commenting at a press conference convened shortly after the floor-crossing announcement, NDP Quebec Caucus Chair Guy Caron was blunt in his party's response.

"Recruiting elected members from other parties is clearly the old way of politics," Caron said, characterizing the recent votes for his party as a signal Canadians "have had enough of cynicism, cronyism, separatism and partisanship.

"Changing political affiliation is a blatant lack of respect for democracy that encourages cynicism toward politicians," he continued, before issuing the Grits a challenge.

"If the Liberals think it's what the voters of the riding want, we challenge them to run Madam St-Denis in a byelection," he said.
Actually Guy, recruiting elected members from other parties is clearly not the old way of politics--it's part of our traditional, tried and true, Westminster British Parliamentary System.  You know, the one that got you elected?  It's not a "blatant lack of respect for democracy".  Your lack of patience is.  She'll run in the next election as a Liberal and we'll see if she wins.  Is that so difficult?

The NDP are a party about control and controlling MPs to prevent them from floor crossing is a direct attack against our democracy.  For shame.

Friday, January 06, 2012

2nd elected senator appointed

For the first time in Canadian history, the Senate now has two, count 'em TWO Senators who've been elected by voters in a province.  That province is Alberta, of course.  And that Senator is Betty Unger, who once ran for MP in Edmonton-West for the Canadian Alliance but lost to "Landslide" Anne McLellan.  Then when the Conservative Party was formed, she ran as a candidate-nominee in the new riding of Edmonton-Spruce Grove against Rona Ambrose and a host of other folks but didn't make it past the third ballot (I was there).  Then she put her hat in for the Senate race years ago and won, waiting for an opening in the red chamber for Alberta.

Prime Minister Harper has also appointed six other folks to the upper chamber.

Manitoba - JoAnne Buth
Newfoundland and Labrador - Norman Doyle
Quebec - Ghislain Maltais, Jean-Guy Dagenais (pending)
Ontario - Asha Seth

You all know my view on the Senate.  Instead of regional equality, we need provincial equality. Six senators per province, two per territory, for six year terms, half elected every three years.  Provinces divided into six senatorial districts, not necessarily based on population.  I'm open to other ideas, including but not limited to provincial legislatures selecting senators to be recommended by the Prime Minister for appointment, longer terms, and fewer senators.  I'm not in favour of abolishing it or implementing proportional representation.  Those proposals are even further away from happening than regular elections or provincial equality.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Harper Night In Canada

Globe and Mail journalist, Laurence Martin, has written an article on Harper's political prowess with hockey.  Well blow me down!  This is news?  Well, welcome to reality, Laurence.  Wow, a Prime Minister who identifies with the interest of the majority of Canadians!  But it goes waaaaay deeper than that, and Martin misses the boat completely and perhaps sheds light on how out of touch many Ottawa liberal journos like him are with the heart of Canadian pride.

Hear me out.  And it starts with just this last Wednesday in Edmonton.

I was at the Canada vs. Czech Republic World Junior Hockey game last Wednesday.  Taking a cab to Rexall Place, we had to reroute to 118th Avenue instead of the usual back door cab route from 112th Avenue to the Northlands grounds across the LRT bridge to the Northwest corner of the building.  Right then and there I knew it was because the Prime Minister was attending the game and they needed to secure the area. 

At the game, I had an idea where Mr. Harper would sit and about 8 minutes before the game, he quietly sat down in seat 1, row 16 of section 101 with a couple security guys (well at least I saw anyway) around him.  An appropriate and great single seat, but not the best.

I then saw most of the folks in the including and adjacent sections stand and turn their attention toward him.  People began lining up to have their picture taken with Mr. Harper and to shake his hand.  It continued for a while and only a minute into the game.  There were no other people sitting with him.   I thought a local MP or his family would be there.  Nope.  Just him.  During intermissions, the lineups began again and he obliged each and every person until the next period started.  Then, before anyone noticed, near the end of the game, he quietly departed. 

On catching a cab out of the arena, a few blocks later, we were haulted near an intersection.  I noted that there were several police cars blocking the area and knew that it was because of the Prime Minister.  And soon later, we saw about a half dozen vehicles race toward the arena and were then good to go.  I assumed he was then securely taken to his hotel.  I'm not sure if he attended the next game.  I will assume he'll at least attend the final game in Calgary near his home riding, if these juniors do make it to that game.

And what do I constantly hear in the blogosphere and Twitterverse?  Many continue to point out the costs invovled with sending a Prime Minister to a public event such as an international hockey game in different cities.  It's probably thousands for security alone. Not hearing a peep about it in Parliament during Question Period are we?   Is that symbolism of support worth it?  And how different is it for the citizens and voters to see that support at an event of national pride compared to an international conference on climate in la la land about blah blah that will have more of a negative effect on our budget than we realize? 

They fail to see that this is Canada and the heart and soul of the country can be found in the things that we consistently, above all, do well in.  

Our military has been well known for their skill and ability in battle--fighter pilots and snipers are consistently tops in their competitions.  But this truly Canadian resilience goes back to before the formation of the country itself and firmly established in WWI, WWII, Korea, Bosnia, and recently Afghanistan.

That pride of might and resilience continues and maybe, just maybe, is a part of our identity.  And that identity can not only be found in our international war efforts, but in our sport and hockey prowess.  Further to that, but in the many pockets of community throughout our great land, the freedom we enjoy, that Canadianism weaves through the stands of our history.  It's there.  It's not about being a shootoff of Americana, Britainnia, or Francais.  It's a uniqueness found nowhere in the history of modern history and it's something to celebrate.  If you don't see it, no matter what political stripe, or where you came from originally, I see it in the local and national pride of the great sport of hockey.  It is perhaps, why Canada was created in the first place.  We knew we were going to do things differently, better, and for good reason.  And today, to do those very things compared to the Americans, well, all the better.

So fast forward to 2006 in Edmonton... again.

When my fair team, the Oilers, made their run to the Stanley Cup final in 2006 against the Carolina Hurricanes, Edmonton became ALIVE again.  After each game won, going to Whyte Ave "the cultural centre" of the city to see fans and families of all backgrounds and culture converge in celebration was something I've never seen.  No one cared what religion, colour, or stripe you were.  You were an Oiler fan.  Period.  

Despite the few rioters and drunken idiots, the far majority were there in pure Oiler pride and spirit for Edmonton and their team. And it was awesome. Cultish almost.  Ryan Smyth was often depicted as a Christ-like figure.  I'm really not making this up, folks.  I saw folks on bongo drums with different cultures doing different ad-hoc dances at the same time with onlookers cheering.  Everyone in harmony and unity.  One of those mini-utopia things, I guess.

I learned more about my city and local human socialogical condition than ever before.  I was it and feeling it unto itself.

Then four years later in Canada itself, in a tight overtime final, a young star from Nova Scotia got a flip pass from a guy from Alberta and history was made.  It solidified Canadian pride once again.

But I will say again, our focus and pride on hockey, I think in some weird way, masks our quiet pride for the men and women in uniform fighting for no other reason than for someone else's freedom.  That's how I feel, anyway.

Despite the supposed progressive mantra of liberal compassion, in their dominant political history they rarely acknowledge the obvious pride I speak about.  We're really a tough and skilled society and the silent majority just elected a Conservative majority that embraces such things.   
 Laurence Martin lists off our "sportless" leaders in a way making it seem like Canadians never expect the Prime Minister to be so in-touch with things as obvious as hockey.  It's almost bourgoise and "hoidy" to expect such a low-class, rough thing as ice-hockey from the top of the class to lead a country.

But you know what?  There is nothing wrong with the leader of any country to attend and celebrate and sit amongst the people, the very sport that gives us such pride.  French, English, Punjab, Chinese, Arab, Hindu, etc., etc., no one gives a shit.  This is about hockey.  This is about Canada.

And to throw in a last minute time out here to tout what I believed years ago and it seems to continue in a subtle way now... even before the Conservative Party was created and Stephen Harper became leader of the fledgling Canadian Alliance, I had a chance to speak to some of his advisors.

I said to them, "When he was running for leader, you guys made a video of him where it showed him for a brief moment carrying his son's big hockey bag, stick and skates down a dungy arena hallway.  I've never seen anything in politics more down-to-earth that speaks to the average Canadian family, French or English, and to our national pride than that.  You guys need to do way, way more of that.  That image was more powerful than anything."

I was looked upon with smiles.  Whatever came of that in feedback from others and in strategy, I don't know.

After that, no such promotional snippet of video I know existed or was seen--no hockey bag Harper was ever emphasized by the party.  Seemed odd to me. 

As opposition leader, he was occassionally reeled in the media as a regular middle-class Tim Horton's dad attending Ben's hockey games.  Then in the 2006 campaign against millionaire Starbucks Liberal Paul Martin, did that Tim Horton's image resonate.  Attack ads showing folks in regular coffee shops ticked off about the Sponsorship Scandal hit home. 

It worked.

Laurence Martin does make the point that not until his consistent appearances at the Olympics, Stanley Cups, and World Junior games, has no other Prime Minister been as recognized and embraced as a Prime Minister by regular folks who identify Canada with hockey as Stephen Harper.

But Martin misses a subtle glaring point that Mr. Harper has been writing his book on the history of hockey since before he was first elected.  It's not finished.  Maybe it will never be.  He's been a bit busy attending games and governing the country, you know.

Much like Nelson Mandela, first president of a post-Apartheid South Africa, who, as we know, used the national rugby team as a source of unity and national pride during the Rugby World Cup hosted there. 

And they won the championship.

And it worked.