Friday, March 30, 2012

Chretien is right

..about a Lib/NDP merger. 

He mentions Peter Mackay being elected leader of the PCs (by undermining David Orchard). But then seeing the potential Paul Martin juggernaut, it quickly motivated Harper and Mackay to deal. And deal they did quickly.  The PCs had a huge conference call with the ridings and voted.  And voila, today, a Conservative majority.

Chretien was also correct on party funding by saying parties shouldn't appeal to one group, like unions or corporations so he reduced that influence. This was the most fundamental change to Canadian political history.  It was shocking to many considering Liberals are all about gaining power first and foremost. 

Then Harper took the opportunity to take it one step further and eliminated that influence. When I argue with people who claim Harper is in cahoots with big business, I ask them where they think the party gets its money from?  They still think it's big business.  Well, it's not, I tell them. Harper got rid of that.

Anyway, now you look at Mulcair wanting to move his NDP party to the middle.  He at least sees the vacuum there.  The ghosts of Jack continue to lead the party, so Mulcair, a former Liberal, is in a tough position if he wants to pull off a Peter Mackay.  Keep in mind, that other smart, articulate NDP candidate was open and honest about merging.

Or maybe Chretien is seeing the writing on the wall for his Liberals (as per Harper's master plan and what happened in the UK).  With the NDP about three times stronger than the Liberals in the House, and with the Liberals still holding Bob Rae around, it's not easy being Liberal--especially after the Conservatives and NDP squashed the last two intellectual Liberal leaders in Dion and Iggy.  And who's waiting in the wings?  Who?  No one.  Trudeau's busy boxing Conservative senators. 

So that's why I say, ol' Jean Chretien is right.  Maybe the only way back to power for the Liberals now IS to merge with the NDP.

h/t Warren Kinsella

Angelo Persichilli, Harper's comm director, has quit

This is a huge loss for the PMO.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

CBC federal budget cuts

Rumours are that Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is going to cut upwards of 10% to the CBC budget.  I say, why not 100%--all $1.1 billion?  It's not like anyone is watching the channel.  Don't believe me?

According to the BBM, here are the latest TV ratings.  CTV programmes dominate the top 30, with CBC only having 3, count 'em, 3 shows in this list with Hockey Night in Canada (East and West as the same programme), Dragons' Den (I love this show), and Republic of Doyle.

I don't mind CBC Radio2--I listen to it for maybe an hour a week tops for some classical music.  I like the Lang and O'Leary Exchange too, plus Peter Mansbridge One-On-One, but Power and Politics is annoyingly bias sometimes. 

And so much for Canadian content--why does the CBC play American programmes like The Simpsons, Wheel of Fortune, and Jeopardy?

So anyone who says the CBC "keeps the country together" is simply ignorant.  Barely anyone watches it. Lefties also get in a huff when the government subsidizes big bad evil corporations, but why is the CBC any different?  It is the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation isn't it?  And why is it trying to compete with other businesses in a marketplace like this?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What does "Progressive" mean?

Years before the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada merged back into the Conservative Party, many folks on some old online discussion groups, including myself, predicted that if the PCs and Reform Alliance were to merge, the name of the party must simply be Conservative.  This upset the red-tory camp, citing tradition, John A., blah blah, when they failed to realize John A.'s party was actually called the Liberal-Conservatives.  Anyway, the name has changed many times, and so have many principles from over 100 years ago (free trade, etc.).  (And some senators really need to get over this.)

Now, the original Progressive Party was a left-leaning populist party from the West, and when it folded, its leader became leader of the Conservatives and in 1942, merged the two names together to form the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada.

In some provinces, the PC Party of [province name] is barely found, if not at all--nothing in Quebec, Saskatchewan, or British Columbia.  All of these have been disbanded or rebuilt and rebranded (ADQ, Saskatchewn Party, or BC Conservatives).  Will it happen in Alberta?

So back to this word "progressive" that was lost for so many years and has seemed to be the calling of centre to left leaning liberals, socialists, and what have you. 

What does "progressive" really mean?

Simply put, it's liberals and socialists trying to rebrand themselves to make themselves sound hip and relevant.  The liberal brand is damaged.

They cite human rights, gay rights, and other social freedoms as progressive, but you know what?  Those views are already under the libertarian ideology.  

In Alberta, we really have four parties vying to be the real "progressive" choice to attract those on the left and centre-left into the fold.

But in looking at what progressives often tout as policies, it's more laws ontop of non-enforced laws, regulation, more government, more rules to make things "fair", which usually mean higher taxes, fees, less freedom, centralized decision making, bureaucracy, less democracy, and more socialism.

These folks believe they know better than you.

Any society that needs the government to create more laws, rules and regulations to manage itself is not progressive, it's regressive.  And it ain't libertarian.

And what we have here in Alberta is a very regressive Progressive government.  Their progress toward higher spending, less savings, tinkering with the idea of reintroducing health care taxes, sales taxes, and lying about not raising taxes in the last budget when they in fact did just that, might be "progressive" for a government bureaucracy to grow, but it sure as hell not progress for folks these taxes and regulations hurt.

This government spends more per capita than any other province, save Newfoundland and Labrador.  Much more than Quebec.  Think about that.  I mean, what do you expect would happen when you have the same party in power for over 40 years--that changes rules to fit their needs.

The lowest common denominator approach to implementing laws so something doesn't happen that one time ever again doesn't work, as there are already many existing laws in place that simply need to be enforced.

Take the .05 thing.  There's already a law.  Actually it's in the Canadian criminal code.  Why not enforce the existing .08 and judges not allow repeat convicted drunk drivers from driving?  Why punish those who don't break the existing criminal code?  You see, that's regressive.

Now we hear of Liquor and Gaming looking at limiting the number of drinks a patron can have by keeping track.  This was in reaction to a single incident where a man died in Ft. Mac from being served too much.  But really?  Are these bureaucrats mad?  There are already laws in place that allow and encourage bar staff to cut off obvious intoxicated patrons, even kicking them out of the establishment.  I see police walk through busy bars all the time.  Was the bar staff negligent?  Maybe, but how are they to know what preexisting conditions he has or how many drinks he had beforehand?

Take the new distracted driving law... bad drivers are bad drivers in my opinion, and studies show in many U.S. states that these laws, which are really laws upon existing unenforced laws, do nothing because the original law wasn't being enforced in the first place?

These ideas are pure nanny state governance and don't allow people to take more responsibility or use common sense.

Now, while I believe there needs to be a certain amount of planning and coordination that goes on with infrastructure--in developing land use for example, on the other hand, the other social areas, red tape and regulation goes to far and can impede the free market and responsible businesses and communities to simply do it themselves.

The government bureaucracy has gotten so big, obviously thanks to the public union influence, that it doesn't even know what's it's really doing anymore.  I know of very qualified and educated people in the Alberta public sector who have nothing to do for weeks.  Nothing.  They just go to the office, grab a coffee, and just sit at their computer and do no productive work.  While I'm not saying this doesn't happen in the private sector, there's a market cost to that and eventual correction, where in the public sector, there's nothing.  The union's there to protect your job.   Now that is only two close people in the government that I know about.  How many more are there?  How many?

And let's not forget about the "Money For Nothing" committee with MLAs.

You know I could go on and on.

So yep, all of these things sound real "progressive" regressive to me.

Is that the type of government you want?

Or how about one that progresses toward more liberty, freedom, personal, family, and community responsibility?

Because that's what "progressive" should really mean.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Mulcair wins NDP race

Back in the 80's during junior high and high school, my close group of friends and I were each politically aligned across all three parties--PC, Liberal, and NDP.  I believe we had two influences at the time--our parents, and our social studies teachers.

One of my friends was an NDP supporter because his particular teacher was a staunch socialist.  This teacher had pictograms on the wall of how socialism worked--how wealth was equally distributed which made all the smiley faces happy.  My social studies teacher, on the other hand, explained socialism as such:

"Imagine if we redistrbuted the marks in this class so you'd each have the average.  No matter how hard you studied, even if you got 100%, you'd get the average.  Is that fair?"

We ALL thought that wasn't fair.

The classic socialist way of thinking, seemed to be what the NDP at the time stood for, along with strong union ties.  Ed Broadbent, a charasmatic leader, brought the party to its highest standing in the house, however more likely due to a weak Liberal leader, seeing their party standing reach the lowest in its history.

Sound familiar?

After Ed stepped down, the NDP elected two capable women to lead them, but with a strong Liberal leader in Jean Chretien, and the conservative side split up, the momentum was lost. 

Then a former Toronto city councillor jumped into the fray, and the era of Jack Layton, began, albeit slowly.

Jack's political prowess was not in winning over the rest of Canada, even where the NDP was born, but in seeing a political vacuum occur in Quebec, where the Bloc was losing its stature, especially in a Conservative minority gov't, often voting with the government, as the government poured money into Quebec.  Few have mentioned this strategy, but a hole was found when a piddly amount of arts funding into Quebec was to be cut and this cost Harper a potential majority.

Even though the idea of a coalition between the Liberals and NDP (with Bloc support) was most popular in Quebec, with the NDP creeping into political areas usually exclusively associated with Gilles Duceppe's party's views, Quebeckers began to realize that the NDP, if enough support was given, could actually form government with a strong Quebec-centered caucus and policy.

Another "Quiet Revolution" was born.

But we must remember, that in 2007 the captain who won one of the strongest Liberal ridings in Quebec, Outremont, was Thomas Mulcair.  A former cabinet minister in Jean Charest's Liberal government, Mulcair easily won the riding, most likely due to defecting Bloc supporters.

Then Jack appointed him and Libby Davies to be co-deputy leaders in caucus.  And because of Jack's sad loss to cancer, on the weekend, Mulcair became NDP leader and leader of the official opposition.

And it was the right choice for the NDP--maintaining their strong foothold in Quebec with someone who is well known and popular there.

He says his first priority is party unity.  Even elderstatesman Ed Broadbent said himself he wasn't supporting Mulcair due to Mulcair wanting to broaden the party base (there's a 'broad' pun in there somewhere) and more the party to the centre.  There's a bit of work to do there, but this is smart.  Jack began to do just that with even suggesting tax cuts and being working family oriented, so that those words weren't exclusively for Harper.

Many years ago in the UK, the Labour party and Conservatives squished out the Liberals to non-existence.

By electing Mulcair to continue Jack's legacy, the NDP may do just that.  But Mulcair has recognized that his first priority is party unity.  He needs to convince the old party brass of Brian Topp and Ed Broadbent that, like my old friend's social studies teacher back in the 80's, the old socialist way of thinking may get some elected, but it won't form a federal government.

No wonder the Liberals want to move their leadership race to this Fall.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Redford PCs - "Money For Nothing"

Ordered to only give 12% back, Redford's PC MLAs who were on the committee were finally ordered to return only the money since she's been in power because according to her, "You can't change the past".

Well, no, you can.  Hats off to Liberal MLAs Dr. David Swann for originally giving all the money to charity and to leader Dr. Raj Sherman for paying his $40,000 back with interest.

For a full story, blogger Calgary Grit outlines and sums up the "Money For Nothing" scandal better than I ever could.  Give it a read.  Quotes from Redford and her PC MLAs simply show how arrogant and entitled they think are.

Come this election, let's remind them otherwise.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Q4 Net Interprovincial Migration

...It's Alberta by a landslide.  There's a big worker shortage here.
Newfoundland: -199
PEI: -468
Nova Scotia: -1,143
New Brunswick: -136
Quebec: -1,246
Ontario: -1,084
Manitoba: -1,004
Saskatchewan: +1
Alberta: +6,010
BC: -353
Yukon: -26
Northwest Territories: -271
Nunavut: -81

Monday, March 19, 2012

More than just tires...

Who the heck approved this?  I'd fire them. #wrp

Monday, March 12, 2012

Redford and the Money For Nothing Scandal

You may have heard...

There's was this legislative committee, you see, and it had 21 MLAs on it, mostly PCs.  Non-cabinet members on the committee got $1000 extra PER MONTH to be on the committee.

Thing is, since 2008, they've only met once, and apparently, for only 17 minutes!

The committee pay structure works like this... if you're on 7 committees, you only get a maximum of being paid as if you were on 4, so $4000/month.  Yippy!

Now wait a sec... don't we expect all of our MPs to be on a committee of some sort?  Isn't that part of their, you know, JOB?   Teachers don't get extra pay for the countless hours coaching basketball.

Anyway, to take it even further, if you think that's the kicker...

In one breath, Premier Redford said she didn't even know about the committee and said MLAs should return the money on their own as "it's a personal decision"...

Then the opposition and SOME media outlets shed light on the issue and demand that she order her MLAs to return the money...

So in the next breath, today she changes her tone and makes the order to suspend pay for this committee, while at the same time, trying to spin it saying in the leadership race she promised to review MLA pay structure.

Oh, what leadership!  What ethics!

I guess we'll wait until after the election to see if this happens.

Seriously, isn't 40 years of the same party in power not healthy for any democracy?

I'll say it again, vote for anyone but the PCs.  If you're progressive, you have lots of choices -- NDP, Liberal, Alberta Party.  If you're middle of the road you got the Alberta Party, Liberals, and middle-right, you got the Wildrose Party.  One of those parties fits your ideology, because I don't think the PCs are progressive or conservative at all anymore.