Saturday, March 26, 2011

Canadian Soapbox will be back....

This very political blog will be back up and posting in 3 weeks. I will be pretty much off the grid until after the 16th of April, still plenty of time for me to post opinions on the election.    

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Coming soon, Harper's new ad

Cue Stephen Harper.. 

I'm Stephen Harper, my government runs this country.  I've spent my entire life here and I grew up very proud of my father who worked very hard as an accountant for Imperial Oil...uhm....Ignatieff's great  great grandfather sold opiuum to children.

Fade to Esso picture:

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Harper Regime looking desperate, because they are....

First things first.  How dare I paint the Harper Regime as being desperate?  Its simple really.   In the ocean that is politics in Canada, they are but a small but decent sized island.  And that island is shrinking, with waves of scandal, poor judgement  and arrogance threatening to wash away what once looked like solid ground.

Yes, most recent polls put the Tories well out in front, with what looked to be a fair possibility of  forming a majority.  Not bad for a party that formed a government with just 35% of the votes in our last election. 

And that's why they're desperate.  Desperate to do anything and everything they can to heap scorn on their only true rivals, Michael Ignatieff and the Liberal Party.

Think about it, with just their evangelical and socially conservative base, Harper's gang can't aspire to much more than their Reform predecessors.  Its a good start, but its not enough to form even a minority government let alone to dream about a majority.

Hence the politics of anything goes, huge sums of money on media buys designed to convince casual observers that voting for the Liberals is the worst thing imaginable.  Better to vote NDP, Green or not at all rather than mark an X next to the very embodiment of the devil himself.

So far, its worked.....not perfectly, if it had Harper would be sitting in the PMO with a majority of the seats and no worries about defending an abysmal record for another two years or so.  

Its worked in another way too.  

If you're Stephen Harper wouldn't you prefer having your media attack dogs discussing Michael Ignatieff's long dead ancestors.  It sure beats having to explain how Canada's Prime Minister hired a disbarred lawyer as a "TOP" advisor.  Bruce Carson, a man who lost his license to practise law because he was disbarred for forging cheques and stealing $23,900 from a corporation and two individual clients he represented.

I've long been of the opinion that Stephen Harper's membership in the Christian and Missionary Alliance church is motivated more by politics than by faith, and this puts that opinion in cement.  Like George Bush I think our  Prime Minister was simply looking to cultivate a devoted and trusting base of support.  Something about sheep's clothing comes to mind.

Harper and the Conservatives can wash all they want, but this odour is going to be around for while. 

And this presents a problem for Canadians who've imbibed too heavily on the Harper Kool-Ade.  Its been drilled into their subconscious that Ignatieff's Liberals are nothing short of the Anti Christs of politics.  And with Harper's Conservatives looking no better and probably worse....

Where's are conservatives to turn?  I guess if there's no Christian Heritage candidate running locally they might just decide to stay home. 

Desperate times, desperate measures.  Wouldn't want to lose the ability to hire disbarred lawyers and to appoint judges like that guy Dewar in Manitoba who let a convicted rapist walk the streets.  And big business really wants those tax cuts. 

Bring on the heavy artillery, load it with mud and aim low....very low. 

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Conservative reaction to Iggy's ad? Your Daddy ain't so hot!!!

I was going to leave this alone, there's plenty of bandwidth already being used up either touting or trashing the latest Liberal ads about Michael Ignatieff's Canadian experience.  But I just had to wade in.

One good example of Tory reaction comes from Dean Skoreyko, author of Conservative blog  'BC Blue'.  He says of the Liberal Leader:  Iggy telling tall tales about his family background.  Okay, so what is it that Dean is taking exception to?

That Ignatieff's family came over in a boat? Yo, Dean bud.  In the early part of the twentieth century, everyone crossed the Atlantic by boat.  Air Canada wasn't around yet.

That the Ignatieffs came to this country with nothing as  refugees and that Michael's father lived the immigrant dream, climbing the ladder one rung at a time?  Deanster, do some reading....CLICK HERE FOR A PRIMER...Michael Ignatieff's father was put in prison after the Russian revolution.  After a negotiated release he fled with his family to France and then to Canada....BY BOAT.

I realize Harper hasn't got quite the same narrative, I mean how many people would be inspired by Stephen Harper telling Canadians:  "My father was an accountant with Imperial Oil"?

In politics as in many arenas, you play to your strengths.  Iganatieff has led a compelling life, and with all the smear and low ball attacks its nice to see a classy response.   Harper loves to call himself an economist based on his education, regardless of the fact that he's never worked as one.

If the Conservatives would talk about policy instead of slinging mud all the time, maybe we could have a mature discussion centred around the issues. 

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Jason Kenney proposes new patronage....errr, regulatory body

Gotta love twitter.  Jason Kenney just tweeted that he's proposing a new regulatory body for  overseeing immigration consultants. 

It would be called, "The Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council".  If that's too hard to handle the Harper government office of official acronyms (HGOOA) calls it the ICCRC for short.

I hear some wondering:  "What???  We don't regulate immigration consultants"???

Uhm, well...yes.  Immigration consultants are currently regulated by the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants, that's the CSIC for those keeping up with HGOOA terms.  

Doesn't this just make you feel like putting on a warm fuzzy blue sweater? I'm thinking there are probably some loyal Conservative Party donors who are just salivating at the possibility of landing this gig.  And given recent revelations about a top Harper advisor, past crimes and misdemeanors are likely not a barrier.  

Should be lots of excited Conservative party members, especially those passed over when the Harper Government (formerly the Government of Canada) was stuffing the Senate.


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Oda and Escorts and Scandals..OH MY

Oh weeee Oh...Oh weeeeeeeeeeeeee Oh!!! 

Another day, another scandal for the Harper Government. The latest of course involves former Harper top aide Bruce Carson and an escort by the name of Michele McPherson:    TORONTO STAR ARTICLE 

Can someone please toss a bucket of water on this government and get the election going?

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Accumulated deficit to hit all time high. Another Harper Regime achievement

Here's the news - LINKED STORY -

All the gains made by previous governments have been wiped out by Harper's Conservatives.  Eleven years of paying down the debt all down the drain.

Don't feel too bad though, profitable businesses like banks, oil and gas companies are saving lots of money thanks to generous tax cuts.  And if Harper's government survives they'll be paying even less, with lower rates here than in the U.S.

Never mind that Canada has programs like health care which save corporations money.  Sure they don't have to insure their employees in Canada like they do when operating in the United States, but its not like we're paying more in personal income taxes.  With the constant threat of defeat there's no way Stephen jacks personal tax rates, he's the tax cutting guy....he'll just keep borrowing the money.   Eventually some employers will have to start paying for Canuck HMOs and other insurance plans when our government can no longer afford to fund medical care, but that's years from now.

And here's another positive, think of all the $$$ to be made by private enterprise when government gets out of the medical profession. Instead of keeping costs down as governments try to do, the profit motive will mean massive revenue and an incredible bottom line for a private health care industry.

And with Harper in charge all those profits will be taxed at incredibly low rates.  Let wage earners worry about taxes, they're gonna have to work hard paying interest on all that accumulated debt, and won't have time to realize they're getting screwed over. 

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Harper Regime's best achievement? The HST

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Sporting arenas or prisons costing billions? Tough choice...

Alrightee, on the one hand the Harper Regime is proposing that Canada needs new American style super jails because there's too much unreported crime in the land.  Which makes perfect sense in the Conservative Bizarro world I guess.

And then you have Ignatieff saying that a Liberal government would provide some funding for a proposed new Colisée sports arena for the city of Québec. 

Now, obviously we can't really afford either.  Not with the current government having piled on so much debt recently, with no end in sight.  But....if its a choice between the two, well then I'll go with Ignatieff's it the Iggy-Loo.

I've been to la ville de Québec many times, 5 visits to Winter Carnival alone...and I love the place, so maybe I'm biased.  I'd been in the old Colisée to watch a pee-wee hockey tournament and to see Guy Lafleur during his last season in the NHL.

Never been to a prison though, and if its for criminals whose crimes aren't being reported...not gonna be a real busy place I'm guessing. 

Is Ignatieff playing politics here?  Sure, the Conservatives have ten seats at stake in the Québec City area, and the Liberal leader just gave voters there something serious to consider.  Quebecers pay taxes too and I'm betting they'd prefer an arena over a prison any day. 

Harper may still be up in the polls, but I'm thinking he might want to prorogue parliament again and hope Canadians go back to sleep. 

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Harper serving two masters - Will religious right stay on side?

Reading various blogs and comments there seems to be some debate about Stephen Harper's membership in the Christian and Missionary Alliance church.  While some believe our Prime Minister's faith is genuine, others view it as being more politically motivated.  Personally I tend more to the latter view, but I'm not sure that it really matters one way or another. 

What does matter is that the Conservatives have built up a strong following with fundamentalist or evangelical Christians, similar to what the Republicans were able to do in the United States under George W. Bush.  In fact a 2009 paper put out by the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada found that an overwhelming majority - 67% - of evangelicals who stopped voting Liberal had switched to the Conservatives.  

I've written frequently of the issues that are of importance to this Conservative base of supporters, primarily abortion and the traditional Christian view of marriage, as well as opposition to Gay rights in general.

And this puts Stephen Harper in a bind, forcing him to walk something of tightrope.  Canada is a progressive and liberal (small l) mined country as evidenced by the 65% of Canadians who voted left of centre in the last election.  Harper must reach out to this constituency if he wants to eventually win a majority, while trying to keep his base in tow.  And he doesn't have the luxury of naming a Sarah Palin type running mate to keep socially conservative Christians happy.

Lost in all the fuss over Justin Trudeau's fixation on the word 'barbaric' in describing so called 'honour killings' is the decidedly progressive tilt of the updated Canada Citizenship Guide.  

The opposition parties even praised the inclusion of provisions for Gay Rights and Same Sex Marriage
But has Harper gone too far in reaching out to less socially conservative voters at the expense of his evangelical base?

Suzanne, Pro-Life crusader and author of Big Blue Wave, (a conservative blog) went so far as to say: 

Losing significant votes to the CHP could be devastating to Harper's hope of winning a majority mandate, it might even be enough to cost him the Prime Minister's office.  That's what makes this such difficult balancing act, attracting liberal minded progressives while not alienating right wing evangelicals. 

He's done a good job of serving two masters up until now.  But are cracks starting to show?

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Japan doubles evacuation zone - Should Canadians be worried?

Just read on a UK site that Japan's PM had increased the evacuation radius from 10 to 20 km around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.  LINKED STORY WITH VIDEO

Meanwhile here in Canada iodine supplements are flying off the shelves despite assurances from Prime Minister Harper that all is well.  CTV STORY HERE

I must admit to thinking about writing something about this that would cast the Harper regime in a negative light.  Such is life when you live in a country ruled by a guy who rarely misses an opportunity to take swipes at his opponents, never worrying about the truth or about stooping too low.

But I'll hold back.

What I do worry about is the accuracy of news emanating from governments worried about panic.  We all know about the alarm the swine flu caused, with line ups and shortages of the vaccine.  But in the end it just made some pharmaceutical companies a lot of money. 

The news then was to be worried, now the message is 'relax'.  At times like this my natural contrarian 'swim against the stream' instincts take over. 

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Why did Harper come back? Not for me

Dare I suggest that Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff and Conservative king pin Stephen Harper have something in common?  They do.

Both can be cast in the role of 'prodigal son' for their respective parties.  Michael went abroad and became famous for his writing, political insight and intellect.  He came back to the only country where he could put his ideals and beliefs to work in the political arena, his home and native land...Canada.

Stephen's journey didn't take him quite as far.  He was an MP in Preston Manning's Reform party before leaving electoral politics in 1997.   Like Michael though, he didn't abandon politics.  But he did stay closer to home leading the National Citizens Coalition.  The NCC is a Libertarian group that argues for less government involvement, it was created to combat Canada's move to provide government run Health Care.

So, both Stephen Harper and Micahel Ignatieff left and came back.  Stephen just didn't travel as far or do as much. 

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Why did he come back? Ignatieff answers

So, why did Michael Ignatieff return?  I posed the question here on Saturday, and offered up my thoughts on what motivated him to jump back into Canadian politics: 

I even tweeted him, not directly because he isn't yet following canukgord on twitter.  Turns out I needn't have bothered, a New York Times article had come out one day earlier: 

It seems my speculation was not far off the mark.  I'd figured it was a desire to contribute and make a difference, something Monsieur Ignatieff has a long history of in his many endeavours.  One aspect I'd missed though was his perspective on being a foreigner living in the United States.  Given that I grew up in that country I can certainly empathize.  I was born in Canada but spent 9 of my first 12 years growing up in New York, New Jersey and Oregon. 

My family, we were always "The Canadians", similar to our neighbours but forever somewhat removed.  Integrated with school, sports and church but at the same time never completely a part of the communities in which we lived.  I can understand why the Liberal leader referred to the U.S. as his country when making his comments on American political issues.  I lived the same experience, wanting to be fully a part of the place where I lived. 

I'm not surprised the Harper Regime tries to exploit remarks such as these.  When it comes to the politics of anything goes, our Prime Minister and his team set the bar as low as humanly possible.  

The article is a good read, but I wish a Canadian publication had put a reporter on it instead of the NYT.  But in the final analysis its the message that matters, not the nationality of the medium.

Oh and Michael, you still haven't added me on twitter yet.  Jack Layton and Elizabeth May both follow my tweets, Harper does too, et même le chef de Bloc Gilles Duceppe.  Pourquoi pas vous Michel?

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Young Canadians, our democracy needs you

I have an incredible father, one who has passed on many valuable lessons.  One of those lessons is that people like to be needed, that people like helping other people.  In work related situations when I've been in management positions, he often told me the most simple way to inspire people to roll up their sleeves is to ask a simple question:  "Can you help me out with this"?

Why do people like helping out?  Not for any altruistic reasons, but because of what it gives them.  Lending a hand, assisting others, it fills a person with a sense of pride and makes them feel wanted and needed.

Well, our democracy desperately needs a major injection of youthful optimism and energy.  Canada needs its young people to get involved. 

Young people typically have a sense of fairness and equity that older generations too often forget.  And in the coming campaign with all its smears and mud slinging, our democracy could do with the involvement of as many energetic and idealistic individuals as possible. 

And the old farts, its time they started making room for some fresh blood.  Being a passenger gets pretty old after a while, eventually its time to let junior slip behind the wheel and take control of the car.  Grandma and Grampa don't have to get out and walk, their input is still valuable, but trips to the clinic and pharmacy aren't the only things on the agenda.
When Jack Layton announced his candidacy for the leadership of the NDP he had a big party downtown with the Bare Naked Ladies providing a concert.  He walked through the crowd before taking the stage and I was able to shake his hand briefly.  I tried to give him some simple advice, toss the jacket and lose the tie before addressing the university aged crowed.  He didn't listen.  

Don't just ask for the votes of younger Canadians guys, get them involved in the entire process.  Youth knows how to speak to youth.  Talk to newer voters in the language of the old and grey haired and they'll likely pass out. 

Don't believe me?

Props to WMTC for reminding me of this video.

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Saturday, March 12, 2011

So...Why did Michael Ignatieff come back?

I just tweeted Michael Ignatieff.

I can't send him a message on twitter because he isn't following me...yet.  But I can broadcast a tweet that might catch his eye by putting @M_Ignatieff in the message.  Here's what I wrote:

@M_Ignatieff, serious question. "Why did you come back"? Going to speculate on my blog, but would love to hear fthm, not that ur a horse

I used up all of my 144 characters, which is why I abbreviated 'from the horse's mouth'.  If fthm becomes a common short form for texters, I call dibs and expect royalties.

So, why did Michael Ignatieff come back to Canada?  Here's a man who was already world famous, probably more so outside of Canada than in it.  Particularly in the UK where he was a regular on numerous BBC shows.  He taught at the University of Toronto as well as a number of world famous institutions including Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard. 

The Liberal party leader has authored more books than many Canadians have probably read.  Charpters/Indigo's website has 81 you can choose from if you're so inclined. (LINK)

Mr. Ignatieff easily could have sat back on his many accomplishments and enjoyed the life of a retired academic, author, broadcaster and political commentator. Instead he chose to return to his home and native land. 


I know he didn't come back for "me", I'm not that egotistical.  But I think I have a pretty good guess as to the possible motivation.. 

Just skimming through the mountain of reading material available reveals a man passionate about politics, and with finding the best possible solutions to the problems confronting society.  It doesn't matter if that society is Canadian, American or British, what matters is thoughtful research and contemplation before reaching a conclusion on the political issues facing peoples and nations.

Does that mean his opinions are always right?  No.  Like Stephen Harper he argued for Canadian involvement in the U.S. invasion of Iraq, something many saw as a wrong view.  And on the question of torture he has written in favour of aggressive interrogation techniques given the dangers of terrorism.

So is that the reason he came back?  To foist his opinions on the Canadian political landscape.  In my opinion, that's likely a big part of the reason.  Like a sportscaster commenting on the NHL who dreams of strapping on the skates and giving it a go, I'm guessing Michael wanted to get down to the nitty gritty instead of standing on the sidelines.

It would be nice if we could have some honest political discussion from our party leaders.  But with the Tories using their war chest to dominate the airwaves with endless sound bites and slogans its difficult to change the tone. 

So Mr. Ignatieff, why don't you write a column or publish a  letter to Canadians telling us why you came back.  Or you can answer my tweet and I'll happily pass it along.  I'm not promising to vote Liberal, but I'm not ruling it out.

I'm still an undecided voter, the only decision I've made is that I won't be voting for the Harper Regime.  Of course anyone who reads this blog already knows that.  As of this moment I'm giving equal consideration to the Liberals, NDP and Greens. 

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Green Party "Attack Ad" strikes perfect tone - Please Watch

This ad by Canada's Green strikes the perfect tone, that's not just my opinion, its fact.  Just watch it. 

Why is this ad so effective?  First of all note that in our last election nearly half of all eligible voters decided to stay home. 

Why?  Do people not care about the democratic process?  Do they think their votes don't matter? Nope, that's not the reason.  They stayed home because Stephen Harper has succeeded in turning people off of politics by doing all he can to appeal to the lowest common denominator.

Obama energized the U.S. electorate by elevating the level of political discourse.  The same dynamic can take place in this country if we have parties and leaders willing to engage voters in a mature discussion.  It will be extremely difficult trick for a party like the Greens to pull off given their low profile and, (I assume) light war chest.

But they're trying, and by passing this along you can too.

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Harper + Numbers = Zero Trust

Another day, another black eye for Harper's government. 

This time its costs for the F35 fighter jet purchase.  The parliamentary budget office says the Harper Regime has the numbers wrong...AGAIN.  It'd be nice if this was a case of under-promising and over-delivering, but this is Stephen Harper we're talking about .  Instead of $16-17 billion, now we're being hit with a number closer to $30 billion.

You'd think having a Prime Minister with a degree in Economics, that this Regime could at least come close on the numbers.   But whether its deficit forecasts or defence it seems to me we're dealing with ideology over common sense. 

We're going to give billion dollar tax breaks to profitable businesses come hell or high water, and we're going to keep ratcheting up spending on big ticket defence purchases.  Then we'll just pray we can find a way to make the accounting work.

Deficits???  Let some future generation and future government worry about that. 

Maybe this is why Stephen Harper has never been employed as an economist.  He's going to have a hard time ever landing a job in that field given his performance with Canada's books.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Harper Regime in contempt and doesn't care. Do Canadians?

Canadians gave the Harper Regime a minority mandate to rule back in 2008.  The only word in that sentence that seems to resonate with Stephen Harper's government is "rule".  That's what he and his cadre are doing, ruling.  Democracy is all well and good, we get to vote every now and again.  But when Harper's gang gets the most seats with around 35% of the  popular vote, it seems democratic values get shelved until the next election.

The government  says it wants to build massive U.S. style 'Super Jails'. Hrrrrrrm, interesting in a climate of declining crime rates, especially when  the government is bleeding red ink.  Care to tell us how much this is going to cost?


I guess his eminence doesn't feel Canadian voters, or our elected representatives need to know.  Not the message we heard from Stephen on the campaign trail, all those nice things about openness and accessibility were just more rhetoric.   Those who follow Harper closely are used to him talking out of both sides of his mouth though.  One side is for the campaign when he wants our votes, the opposite side is for when he is actually serving as Prime Minister.  

Democracy on the stump.  Autocracy on the Ottawa bump.  Guess he thinks we're all just one big chump. 

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Harper Regime coming under fire...

The "In and Out" scandal, an alleged money laundering type scheme to help the Conservatives evade Canada's election laws.  Two senators being charged but still clinging to their appointed seats while Harper says nothing. 

Harper insider Bev Oda accused of fraudulent activity and speaking untruths, (called lies outside of Parliament) over the  altering of a government memo.

And we're no longer ruled by the Government of Canada.  Its the Government of the Harper, by the Harper  for the Harper. 

Move over Egypt and Libya, we've got our own regime here in Canada.   LINKED STORY nice to Conservative supporters

For those of us who are liberal minded and progressive, I think its time to lay off those who support Stephen Harper and the Conservative party. I know many, myself certainly included, find it difficult to understand how any intelligent person could support our current Prime Minister in light of his government's policies and the way he plays the political game.

But some people do support him, and I've been giving this matter a great deal of thought.

I had something of a catharsis when I read Gerry Nicholls' blog, 'Making sense with Nicholls'. Gerry, you see, wrote a column about the so called 'in and out' scandal. The only thing is, he says he doesn't understand it.   Here's a quote from his piece in the Ottawa Citizen:

Here's a prominent Conservative writer and former National Citizens Coalition executive, and he can't wrap his head around how the CPC allegedly violated Canada's election laws. He basically describes it as a question of convoluted accounting, suggesting its all a matter of interpretation.

Okay, now I realize its fairly simple. And Gerry, if you're reading this, I'll try and walk you and other Conservative supporters through it slowly.

Canada has laws governing spending during an election campaign. There are limits, both for the parties, and for individual candidates. Think of it as a chain of pizza joints and their head office if that makes it easier. An individual store would be like a local candidate, and the head office would be like a national party.

Still with me?

Okay, well the head this case the Conservative Party of Canada, they'd spent all the money they were allowed to spend during the campaign. Problem was, they still had wads of cash left over, gifts from lots of people with lots of money to give away.

So, what to do with all that cash?

It turned out that many individual Conservative Party candidates (the little pizza joints) hadn't spent all they were allowed to spend in their local ridings.

Now comes the fun part, hope I haven't lost you.

Instead of leaving all that money sitting in a bank account, the cash was moved into the accounts of some local candidates...and then "WHOOOOSH" it was gone.

OH MY GAWD!!! Where'd it git to?

It was used to pay for advertising for the national party (the big pizza head office). It's kind of like money laundering, but I realize that might be a bit too complex to fully grasp. If the money was spent directly out of the CPC's account, well hey...its cut and dried, they're violating spending limits, breaking the law. So instead they "launder" the money by transferring it into a local candidate's account and then shortly thereafter move it out.

Get it?      IN>>>>>THEN OUT

Into a local candidate's account who hadn't spent all he/she was allowed to spend under the law, and then out to pay for national advertising because the national party had spent all that it was allowed to spend.

Now, some Conservative candidates knew this was wrong, so they said no. If you still don't understand maybe you can call up Inky Mark and Helena Guergis.  Perhaps they can better explain it to you.

Of course, this 'In and Out' business...even as basic as it is, I guess I can see how some bright bulb conservatives might not fully grasp it. There had to be more. That's when I thought about the new prisons being planned.  The US style mega jails that will cost billions of tax dollars.

Come on now, I thought. Even total morons will see how utterly stupid this is. Won't they??? Will these new prisons be named after Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny? After all, these two seasonal characters illegally enter thousands upon thousands of homes every year.

Even the twit who gets sent to the store for a can of steam has to see how utterly stupid this is...right? But then, in a flash, another catharsis.  This time centred around one word.


What's so special about these 10 letters? Break it down, UN-RE-PORT-ED, that's four sylables!

Now I began to understand. By putting a four syllable word in front of the monosyllabic word "crime", the focus for Harper supporters shifts from the complex to the easy. Its all about crime, and crime is bad.

Harper no like crime, Harper good. You no like Harper mean you like crime and crime bad.

I realize now I, and many fellow bloggers, have been extremely ungracious to those of our fellow citizens who like Stephen Harper and who will vote for him and his party at the next opportunity. I humbly suggest we stop picking on Harper's supporters, and leave them to enjoy their bliss.

Obviously I don't like Stephen Harper, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do.  And for those people who do like Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party...denigrate means "put down".

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Sunday, March 6, 2011

^NOT^ Voting for Harper? Let people know!!!

We Canadians can be a reserved lot, we like to play our cards close to our chest, especially when it comes to politics. And in the political realm that is even more true for those of us with an open minded and liberal world view. 

But for the majority of Canadians opposed to both Stephen Harper's style as well as his substance, this is no longer an option. 

Politicians have long spoken out of both sides of their mouths.  Trudeau, Mulroney, Chretien...but Stephen Harper has taken it to an entirely new level.  What makes it so galling in the case of Canada's current Prime Minister is how he drips sanctimony while deriding others, always holding himself to a far lower standard.

Harper's hypocrisy is on display for all the world to see.  The Conservatives came to power trumpeting open and accessible government.  Yet it seems like every day there's another story about Harper's government keeping vital information secret and away from the prying eyes of Canadian voters.

Remember back in 2005 how the newly minted Conservative government was going to look after Canada's veterans?  They touted their "Veterans Health Services Review", telling Canadians how this country would identify gaps in Canada's treatment of those who wore Canada's uniform.

Sounds all warm and fuzzy doesn't it.  I imagine Canadian taxpayers paid a decent sum for what the Tories called one of the most extensive (and likely most expensive) reviews of Veteran Affairs ever undertaken.  

Okay, so five plus years have gone by....What did the review have to say Mr. Harper?

Well, its being reported now that its "Protected Information".  READ ABOUT IT HERE

I bet Steven Dornan would like to know what's being kept from Canadians.  THIS STORY IN SUN MEDIA tells us about a soldier with 25 years service, and his battle with Veteran Affairs for disability benefits. 

Enough is enough. 

Those of us sick and tired of Harper and his games can't afford to be silent any longer.  Politics is not considered a topic for polite conversation, but Harper and his crew are anything but polite.  Progressive and decent Canadians can no longer afford  to allow the Tories to dominate the political debate with their Bush style attack ads and never ending smears of anyone who stands in the way of their quest for supreme and majority control of OUR PARLIAMENT.

What can you do?

Take a moment to visit a website I recently came across:  UNSEATHARPER.CA

Visit their store and purchase a t-shirt, one that will tell everyone who sees you that:  "I will ^NOT^ vote for Harper".

Join their facebook group, follow them on twitter.  And talk, talk, talk about the reasons you won't be voting for the Harper Conservatives. 

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Saturday, March 5, 2011

10 reasons to vote for Harper's Conservatives....annotated

We bloggers love to preach and pontificate, and often develop a holier than thou attitude to anyone who opposes our views.  Any reasonable person though should be able to take their shoes off and slip on the footwear of those who dare think otherwise. 

Stephen Harper and his Conservative party have managed to garner somewhere between 3 and 4 out of every ten votes cast in the last three elections.  So it stands to reason that at least some of those voters have solid and defensible reasons for making their choice.

Here then are ten reasons I think an average Canadian might have for wanting Stephen Harper as Prime Minister and his Conservatives as Canada's ruling party.

10.  You hate children
Given the record setting deficit of Harper's government, with no end in sight, someone eventually will have to foot the bill.  But why should it be current taxpayers?  Let the whiny snot nosed kids in our schools and day care centres pay for it.  What do they contribute to society anyway?  Children are a drain on the economy and it serves them right if when they're finally old enough to work, they get hit with higher taxes than what we're paying.  And cry me a river if the government can no longer afford the social programs for them we adults now enjoy, its their fault for being born into the wrong generation. 

9.  Profitable corporations should get big tax cuts
Business concerns like our banks and oil companies need the extra cash.  Hiring consultants like efficiency experts is expensive, and professionals like these are needed to guide corporate giants looking to streamline their operations by getting more done with less staff.  Employees are a drain on corporate resources.  With more cash Canada's most profitable companies can also invest in new technologies and thus be able to rid themselves of pain in the rear human beings who ask for time off and get sick.  If that's not an option, companies can look to set up shop in some other country where workers aren't so damned greedy. There are lots of places in the world where employees are grateful for a few dollars a day and rarely miss time lest they lose their position.   

8.  We need big U.S. style prisons for felons engaging in unreported crimes
Just because nobody is around to hear it, a tree falling in the forest does make a sound.  And just because there isn't any report filed, that doesn't mean that people aren't victimized by crime.  We need a place to put the people who are committing these crimes, the thugs who aren't being chased and aren't being caught.  Sure it will cost billions, and maybe there won't be anyone to put into these new super jails...but as per point #10, current taxpayers won't be paying for it.  Snot nosed little kids will be stuck with the bill when they start working.  Maybe they'll take the rap for some of these unreported crimes so they can get out of paying all the taxes they're going to get hit with. 
7Heath Care should be run by business and not government
Private health care is the way to go, just look at our friends to the south.  We only spend a fraction of what our Yankee cousins do on health care.  Just look at the money changing hands south of the border while our little northern fiefdom restricts entrepreneurs and big business from soaking up billions.  And Stephen Harper is the man to deliver it.  He was president and vice president of the National Citizens Coalition, an organization which was created to prevent socialized medicine in this country.  They may have lost a battle, but with Harper the war may still be won. 

6.  We need more judges who understand that tube tops are an invitation to sex
With a Harper led government we can hopefully look forward to more judges like Robert A. Dewar, appointed in 2009.  Women who dress inappropriately and get raped need to understand that they are partly responsible.  That's why its good to see Conservative party donors and corporate lawyers like Dewar getting seats on the bench to oversee criminal cases. 

5.  Stephen Harper has really nice hair

4.  To be a successful politician you have to be a good liar
Aren't you just a little sick and tired of seniors crying about their fixed incomes?  Sure Stephen said he'd never, never, never tax income trusts.  But who did it hurt?  Just a bunch of addled seniors who've already forgotten about it. 

3.  Patronage is a good thing, especially when you set a record

2. For making government more open and accountable
Go ahead and file your freedom of information requests (FOI) if you're lucky you'll have an answer sometime, just ignore all the black ink

And the number one reason to vote for Stephen Harper's Conservatives? 

He plays a mean piano.

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Shaking the Conservative tree - Targetting soft Tory support

If the polls are to be believed, and I see no reason to doubt them, then Stephen Harper and his Conservatives are within a whisker of forming a majority government. I might not like it, and I'm in good company with roughly 60% of the population, but that doesn't diminish the reality.

Harper and the Conservatives are walking a tightrope, trying to appeal to a broad enough spectrum of Canadians to get them comfortably over that 40% threshold which would almost assure them of being able to govern free of a meddlesome opposition.

In Evangelical or born again fundamentalist Christians, the Tories have a solid base of support that is virtually married to the party and its leader. Any effort to sway these supporters away from Harper would be wasted effort. Despite backing away from issues like abortion, same sex marriage and the death penalty, the Prime Minister's membership in the Christian Missionary Alliance Church obviously helps. The prime minister has fundamentalists hoping to see action on these contentious issues should the Conservatives manage to finally bring home that elusive majority.

So Harper has been able to keep a small but important constituency on side. Besides, he needs their money, their passion and their organizing skill. The socially conservative Christian vote may not be enough on its own to give him a majority, but it definitely helps.

Next are the Libertarians, those who believe government should be smaller and less involved.

This is yet another group married to Harper at the hip, because there is no real alternative. And at least this bunch has been tossed a bone here and there with the defunding of Kairos,  the elimination of funding for court challenges to marginalized citizens. And back in 2008, just after forming a second minority government, Harper showed his Libertarian leanings when the economic statement addressing the global financial crisis did basically nothing.

That's what Libertarian groups want, for the government to stay out of things. That's what the National Citizens Coalition wants, Harper's old stomping grounds. But alas, the Tories only had a minority and faced certain defeat in the house and another election.  An election they would have had to fight with the slogan "Vote for us and we'll do nothing".

That of course would have been electoral suicide, so Harper made the wise political choice and riled another part of his base, the Libertarian 'leave it to the private sector' crowd. Like the fundamentalists though, they're with Harper through thick and thin because, frankly, he's the only hope they have of seeing much less government and a return to Private Health Care in this country.

So what's left?

The socially progressive but fiscally conservative voter. I'm one, call us the common sense lobby. We're all for progressive policy, but we also want the government to fund it without borrowing from our children and grandchildren.

And here, Harper is weak.

To fund government programs he really doesn't believe in, Harper and his Conservative lackeys are borrowing at record levels.

He taxes like a Libetarian and spends like an Über Socialist, this is not a healthy combination.

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Judge appointed by Harper Conservatives has knuckles rapped

Robert A. Dewar, a donor to the Conservative party in 2008 and appointed to the bench in 2009, will not be hearing any cases of a sexual nature while his handling of a recent case is reviewed.  If you missed it Judge Dewar let a man convicted of rape off with a conditional sentence, meaning he is free to walk the streets. 

Why the leniency?  

Because the woman gave off signals apparently and she was dressed provocatively.  If you attend a fundamentalist type church I'm thinking the victim here would probably be called a Jezebel. 

You can read more HERE.

Why the Conservatives would appoint a man with basically no experience in criminal law to the bench is beyond me, I know he donated to the CPC but still....hello,common  sense.  Give him some other patronage job Stephen. 

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