Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Free Speech Victory!

Finally.  To me, this is a huge victory for those who believe in free speech.  With this repeal of Section 13, no longer, well in about a year anyway, no longer can someone take you to the Canadian human rights tribunal, the kangaroo court that it is, over their hurt feelings regarding something hateful or contempt you said about them or their culture online.

These tribunals aren't under the same judicial process like our court system and frankly, don't have a place in our society.

(And when crazy people like Shirish Chotalia get appointed to chair the thing and abuse their power, it makes you cringe that someone with such erratic behaviour even had access to such power.)

If you're feelings are hurt so bad, then either ignore it and move on with your life, debate, or use the media and courts like everyone else.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Preston Manning's plea to stop the insenaty

In a bold, open letter to all senators, former Reform/Canadian Alliance leader Preston Manning afronted them with the growing mood amongst democratic Canadians that the problem with not moving forward on senate reform is caused by the current senators themselves who've done nothing on it.  This, despite the relatively recent Conservative majority and a bulk of whom were appointed by recommendation of Prime Minister Harper on the basis that they would reform it.

With a recent Nanos poll indicating almost half of Canadians want the Senate reformed and just under that amount want it abolished, with few taking the status quo, it's the abolish side that is growing, probably because reforming it is seemingly less and less likely.

On this blog, I've gone on and on for years regarding politicians who say we reform the senate but offer no ideas, solutions or say it's difficult to do so there's no point.  This behaviour I've coined "insenaty".  Manning has basically painted the entire red chamber in asylum-white while senators sit back and strap themselves in straight-jackets whining that reform is a fruitless exercise.  Sigh.

I've offered my ideas over and over.  I prefer reforming it to abolishing it.  But even I've become frustrated, as I see little action despite my acknowledgement of Stephen Harper's term-limit proposal and preference for appointing elected senators (albeit only from Alberta thus far), he's the most reformist of all PMs in our history.

And as my frustration grows with my age, I lean toward perhaps abolishing it to then start from scratch may be the preferred route to rid the upper chamber of the "Ottawashed" and replace it with fresh electors, accountable to you, the voter, and not themselves.

Popular Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall now prefers abolishing it.  That says something right there.  I no longer see him suffering from insenaty.  His mind is clear.  Perhaps it is I and others who suffer after continually bashing our heads against the wall, expecting the same result.

As Manning said in his letter, even after decades of the infinite hours spent by countless people on the issue of senate reform, essentially the patience runs out, and it is time the Prime Minister, fed up with the complacency, proposes to free us from the chains and ends the thing.

At least then, finally, we can stop the insenaty.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Edmonton's mayoral race is hot!

Diotte, Leibovici, and now Iveson have entered the race.  All three are quite similar in social libertarian and on social views such as affordable housing.  Diotte and Iveson want to focus more on core services such as roads, although Iveson tends toward pet-projects from time-to-time.  Leibovici's Liberal views are very similar to Mandel.  While many of the lines are blurred on where the city should spend or cut back on, it will be up to them to communicate those specific policies effectively. 

From my cheap seats, Iveson appears to be positioning himself between Diotte and Leibovici.  I think it's too early for him to have entered the race and wished he would have waited.  While he'll connect with younger folks, with only 1/5 of Edmonton voters casting their ballots in the civic race, younger folks don't vote as much as seniors but they may split the vote between leftish Leibovici and rightish Diotte.  It's a gamble.  Leibovici is well known and has lots of political experience with extensive Liberal connections.  Diotte is also well known, but is cast as an anti-arena guy, which isn't entirely true as he was for a new arena, just not under the agreed-to fiscal framework with the Katz Group.  While his main supporters are likely federal Conservatives and provincial Wildrosers, his challenge will also be to show that he has vision and is actually more moderate than what the general voting public perceive from his days as a writer for the conservative-leaning Edmonton Sun newspaper.

I don't think there'll be much mudslinging between the three as none are an incumbant mayor and I think they respect each other enough.  They'll have to have what Mandel had and that's long-term vision, not just short-term fix-a-pothole kind of stuff and work hard to grab media and voters' attentions with bold policies that differentiates them.

Because overall, they are all quite similar for the most part.  It honestly wouldn't bother me if any of them were mayor.  What's too bad is at least two of them won't be on council anymore as all were effective councillors and represented their respective constituents quite well.

With Mandel at the helm, the city underwent a huge transformation in exciting, creative, and smart plans to plan to convert the City Centre Airport into a modern green community, move forward with a massive LRT expansion, expand affordable housing, and of course, revitalize the downtown including the new Quarters district, adding more park and walk space, and building the new arena and surrounding district.  All of these plans, however, have and will put the city further in debt in the short-term. But the long-term vision is to not have the city expand outward but build up inward as is planned so not as much is spent on new surrounding infrastructure, but create a more dense tax-base and foot traffic so we don't expand outward beyond our means--a short term pain for long term gain vision.

With that, all of these projects are approved and moving forward, whatever the views of the next mayor are do not matter so much on those issues.  That said, there's a feeling I'm detecting in this city that we need to reign-in any new big projects for the time being and focus on getting spending under control and core services become the priorities.

I haven't seen any polls, but on a hunch, I'd say the results will be:

1. Leibovici (40-45%)
2. Diotte (30-35%)
3. Iveson (15-20%)
4. Others (10-15%)

I'm known to be dead-wrong on most of my predictions, but one thing is for sure, as this is the first Edmonton mayoral race with no incumbant running in a very long time, it's going to be very interesting to see how these three candidates position themselves.

One more thing, if anyone else major is thinking of entering the race at this point, I'd advise against it. Too crowded now with these three very good candidates.