Showing posts from April, 2009

NDP within striking distance of BC victory: Poll

It seems that the race in BC between the Liberals and NDP is much closer than expected. Carole James seems to be attracting woman voters as among women many more will vote NDP than Liberal. Even though the Liberals retain a lead in the polls the distribution of votes could still very well give the NDP a victory. The Liberals seem to be faltering somewhat at this stage.

The Vancouver Sun

A new poll puts NDP with easy striking distance of forming a government
By Vaughn Palmer 04-29-2009 View from the Ledge

With two weeks to go in the 2009 B.C. election, the New Democratic Party is within reach of an upset win, according to an opinion poll released Tuesday by Angus Reid Strategies. The pollster had it BC Liberals 42, NDP 39, a three point gap. Analysis of the B.C. election map suggests that the New Democrats could win a majority of the seats in the B.C. legislature even if they were two or three points behind in the popular vote, as happened in 1996. But not all of the findings in the poll…

Investment Saskatchewan Report Released

The free enterprise ideology is still well in spite of all the publicly funded bailouts and equity positions taken by govts. during the economic crisis. The Sask. Party and even the former NDP represent this ideology quite well and the fate of Investment Saskatchewan shows how it works.
Successful forays into private business are sold off. Public funds are simply used to build up a company and then when profits start to roll in the company is privatised or the fund sells its stake. The NDP did this to some extent and as the article shows even made sure that the running of the fund was privatised. The company was of former employees of Investment Sask. so probably many were NDP supporters!

Investment Saskatchewan report released

By James Wood, TheStarPhoenix.comApril 28, 2009

REGINA — The Saskatchewan Party has put the brakes on the government’s investment arm and plans to divest its remaining investments in private business in the next two to three years.
Investment Saskatchewan’s 2008 a…

Travers: Political Expediency has a price.

This is from the Star.

It is not clear at all that letting Dion hang on was a matter of political expediency. If the Liberals had put more pressure on to force him to resign that might very well have been more expedient than letting him hang on while there was continual backbiting within the party and little support for the leader. That hardly seems expedient or any help to the Liberals in the polls.
Obviously Travers has little liking for the coalition arrangement and in describing it he sounds like the reactionary that he is. However, he is right about the triumph of expediency in elevating Ignatieff to the leadership. Travers cynicism about the convention perhaps reflects media disappointment that there will probably be little to excite media appetites and public desire for some sort of drama. Travers will no doubt stay home and pen dreary commentaries such as this.

Political expediency has a price - Canada - Political expediency has a price
April 28, 2009 James Trav…

EI figures keep rising as jobs disapper

In terms of job losses the recession is obviously getting worse. However, these job losses mean that companies are getting meaner and leaner so the stock market is actually doing better these days. The decline in oil exploration and the decline in the price of oil is obviously having a big effect on the boom in Alberta. It now seems close to a bust but other provinces such as Ontario in the auto belt are also suffering.

EI figures keep rising as jobs disappear
Last Updated: Tuesday, April 28, 2009 11:19 AM ET
CBC News
The number of Canadians getting employment insurance benefits grew in February by 44,300, or 7.8 per cent, when compared to the previous month, Statistics Canada said Tuesday.
Since job growth wilted beginning in October 2008, the number of regular EI beneficiaries has climbed 21.9 per cent to hit 610,200 in February.
"Over the same period, the number of regular EI beneficiaries has increased in almost all provinces and territories, with the largest percentage gains in A…

Hospitalisation and Lemon Socialism

The CAW and UAW as well as the US govt. are taking big stakes in GM and Chrysler. No doubt this will be seen by some as socialism or a victory for the goal of worker ownership of the means of production. Nothing could be further from the truth. The worker and state ownership stakes are in failing almost bankrupt producers and what we have is workers and taxpayers shouldering risk in order to save the auto industry for private capital in the future. As soon as things turn around and there are profits to be made the state and unions will divest themselves of their equity stake. Of course the state and union may recoup some of their investment and could possibly even make a profit but once profit is there the private sector and not the public or workers are to reap the rewards. Socialism on the other hand socialises both risks and benefits and would also produce on the basis of need rather than on the basis of profit.
Perhaps the term lemon socialism makes some sense but a better term …

MacKay: Mulroney should be lauded.

If I had to choose between Harper and MacKay I would hold my nose and pick Harper. MacKay is a piece of basic scum. It was MacKay who went back on his word twice and is responsible for the Progressive Conservatives becoming the Regressive Conservatives.
This is from Macleans.
To this day, the unscrupulous continue to dissect footage of MacKay solemnly vowing to leadership rival David Orchard that he will never, ever, enter into merger talks with the Canadian Alliance. At the time, experts in amorality described the move as reminiscent of the Chretien MMCLXII(a.k.a. The "I Said I'd Do WHAT to the GST??")-- but, curiously, the MacKay Mach I seemed more poignant for its boning over of just one man.
Now the legend is back! The MacKay Mach II, unveiled last week, demonstrates the mastery of a promise-breaker at the top of his game. Here's how it works:
Make a promise(in MacKay's case, he promised that no Conservative MP would ever be turfed from caucus fo…

Flaherty says it's too early to judge if swine flu will impact the economy

This is from the Canadian Press.

The stock market obviously disagrees with Flaherty. As usual Flaherty does not make much sense. Clearly airline travel is already being considerably hurt as are travel agencies and some cruise lines. On the other hand manufacturers of protective gear and anti-viral remedies are seeing their stock go up. The Conservative govt. insists on being behind the flow of events rather than being pro-active although with respect to an epidemic Canada is much better prepared now after having learned quite a bit from the Sars epidemic.

Flaherty says it's too early to judge if swine flu will impact the economy

TORONTO — Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says it's too early to know whether the swine flu outbreak will impact the economy.
Flaherty, in Toronto for an unrelated announcement at the island airport, says he spoke with his Mexican counterpart this weekend during meetings in Washington. But he says so far, officials are just monitoring the situatio…

Mulroney didn't want cash made public..

This is hardly surprising! Mulroney is a good example of a successful politician managing to sue a panicky govt. for millions while at the same time not mentioning he had taken cash in envelopes from Schreiber supposedly for lobbying on behalf of the German arms dealer's clients. The Air Bus deal reeks of influence peddling. The one bright spot is that at least the Air Bus seems to be a decent plane !

Mulroney didn't want cash made public, probe told - Canada - Mulroney didn't want cash made public, probe told
April 24, 2009 Richard J. BrennanOTTAWA BUREAU
OTTAWA–Author William Kaplan said yesterday Brian Mulroney repeatedly tried to stop him from making public that the former prime minister took cash from arms dealer Karlheinz Schreiber.
"Mr. Mulroney did not want the story of the cash payment to become public and encouraged me on a number of occasions not to report on that," Kaplan told a public inquiry probing Mulroney's 1993-94 business dealings w…

Feds flip-flop on Khadr appeal.

This is from the Edmonton Sun.

Cannon is a loose cannon. In a short space he manages to commit the fallacy of ad populum and ad hominem. Instead of presenting an argument as to why the court decision ought to be appealed Cannon simply appeals to popular feelings against Khadr (ad populum) and also launches a personal attack on Khadr rather than the decision (ad hominem). This is disgraceful and disgusting but about par for the course given the level of political discourse in this country at times. But as the article shows even Harper has not decided for sure on an appeal as yet. Maybe he is sniffing the political winds.

April 25, 2009
Feds flip-flop on Khadr appeal
Confusion reigned over Omar Khadr's fate yesterday as Conservatives flip-flopped over a possible legal appeal and suggested he might have built bombs like the ones that have killed Canadian soldiers.
This week a Federal Court judge ordered the feds to repatriate Khadr from Guantanamo Bay, but Foreign Affairs M…

Layton deflating

Certainly the NDP does not seem to be going anywhere in the polls and it is probably bleeding support to the Liberals. Ignatieff seems to be going up in the polls just by letting the Conservative government make its own errors and suffer from the economic downturn. I can't see all that much new or positive coming from Ignatieff. He has seemingly dropped completely the Green Shift for the Right Shift and even lends support for the oil sands. However let the NDP show any sign of trying to grab right voters by retreating on the environment and all hell breaks lose in the media.

Layton deflating

By Susan Riley, The Ottawa CitizenApril 24, 2009

Jack Layton returned from Easter break looking less tired, but no more happy. It has been a difficult, disappointing period for the energizer bunny of national politics. Nothing is going his way, no matter how hard he tries.
For some, it is Layton's personality: too intense, negative, humourless. But despite this, until recently, he has still r…

Chrysler reaches deal with CAW

There seems to be a race for the bottom among auto workers. Although the article says that pattern bargaining is being violated this seems not to be the case but rather a new pattern bargaining system is being developed. The worst contract is now the pattern to be used to force workers with better contracts to give up anything that suprasses the weakest contract that is used to set the pattern. As this article notes the CAW is to negotiate similar concessions to the Chrysler plan with GM and Ford.
There are always great opportunities for capital to weaken labour during downturns. Maybe this is producing some of the green shoots so prized by business commentators and shooting up the ailing stock market.

Chrysler reaches deal with CAW - Business - Chrysler reaches deal with CAW
April 24, 2009 Tony Van AlphenBusiness Reporter
Chrysler and its union have broken historical pattern bargaining in the auto industry with a deal for deep worker concessions to keep the teetering company a…

Court: Harper must press U.S. for Khadr return to Canada

Harper is steadfast in his craven devotion to Bush type stances on terrorism which simply ignore human rights when it comes to terror suspects. Even though Bush is gone and Obama is to close Guantanamo and has stayed trials there, Harper soldiers on making Canada look quite foolish to most but it makes no difference. On such issues Harper is blind to world opinion it would seem and also to the opinion of the many lawyers who have written him for some time about his obligations.

PM must press U.S. for Khadr's return from Guantanamo, court rules
Harper says government is considering appeal
Last Updated: Thursday, April 23, 2009 5:54 PM ET
CBC News
A Federal Court judge ruled Thursday that Prime Minister Stephen Harper must immediately demand Khadr's repatriation. (Janet Hamlin/Pool/Associated Press)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is required to press the United States for the return of Omar Khadr to Canada from Guantanamo Bay to "comply with a principle of fundamental justice,&qu…

RCMP spokesman told to hold off correcting false details of Dziekanski incident.

The agreed policy was said to be this:
The two had agreed at the outset the best strategy was to get timely and accurate information out to the media without compromising the investigation, the inquiry heard.

But the actual policy was to hold off getting out timely and accurate information and to present false information but no doubt without compromising the investigation which was doing its best to avoid the graphic details of the video which contradicts the official story.
It is hard to overemphasize the degree to which this inquiry brings discredit upon the RCMP. Even retired RCMP officers have come forward (on CBC) and criticised the inquiry having felt ashamed themselves as what is happening. Don't expect much if anything to change however or for anyone to be held accountable.

ting false details of Dziekanski incident, inquiry hears
Last Updated: Wednesday, April 22, 2009 5:15 PM PT
CBC News
RCMP Cpl. Dale Carr said a decision was made not to acknowledge the existence of the witnes…

Businessman contradicts Mulroney testimony

This is from the Star.

It is hard to see what if anything Mulroney actually did for Bear Head industries! It is also rather strange that a senior executive had no idea Mulroney was lobbying for the firm. Mulroney and Schreiber seem to be natural collaborators and two of a kind but Mulroney ends up retired and well off while Schreiber tries his best to keep out of jail.

Businessman contradicts Mulroney testimony - Canada - Businessman contradicts Mulroney testimony
April 21, 2009 Richard J. BrennanOTTAWA BUREAU
OTTAWA — A former senior executive of Bear Head Industries says he had no idea former prime minister Brian Mulroney was working for the company promoting its proposal to build light-armoured vehicles in Canada in the early 1990s.
Greg Alford, then vice-president of Bear Head's corporate affairs, was testifying today before a public hearing probing Mulroney's business dealing with German-Canadian businessman Karlheinz Schreiber and the $300,000 in cash Mulroney re…

Homeland Security Boss rebuked by Canada for erroneous 9/11 statement

This is from canwest.

One expects a Homeland Security Secretary to be better briefed than this. Of course Homeland Security still considers Maher Arar a member of Al Qaeda and refuses to have his name taken off the no-fly list. Harper and Stockwell Day saw the secret evidence against Arar and it didn't impress them or change their opinion about Arar. The Arar case shows that there are many incompetents loose in US intelligence and they seem never to be held to account. Any attempt to take the govt. to court is blocked by invoking NATIONAL SECURITY.

Homeland Security boss rebuked by Canada for erroneous 9/11 statement

By Sheldon Alberts, Canwest News ServiceApril 21, 2009 4:02 PM

Janet Napolitano, the new U.S. Homeland Security secretary, sparked complaints from parliamentarians and government officials in Ottawa for remarks she made earlier this week in a Canadian television interview, in which she said terrorists entering America have come mostly from Canada.
Photograph by: Mark Wil…

Some lost Canadians found while others remain lost!

Even though the amendment remedied the situation for many lost Canadians it seems that a more thorough review of the law is in order that would deal with the other types of cases mentioned in the article. Seems that the minister in charge is interview shy!

CBC News In a peppy YouTube video posted by the federal Citizenship and Immigration Ministry, a man awakes on April 17, 2009, to a once-austere bedroom now adorned in Canadian paraphernalia.Titled Waking up Canadian, it’s aimed at so-called "Lost Canadians" — people who, as of Friday, are finally citizens of the country they always thought they belonged to.The good news comes thanks to an amendment to the Citizenship Act that goes into effect for war brides and other disenfranchised residents who were stripped of their citizenship or were told they weren't eligible.For Dean Echenberg, who spent years fighting for the Canadian citizenship he lost when his father moved to the U.S. and became an American citizen, that vide…

Ignatieff defines policies-and himself.

This is from the Star. This is a very positive article on Ignatieff. Among the policies mentioned I see nothing about the environment. I guess Dion taught the Liberals to be content with criticising the Conservatives. As the article mentions key policy areas are outlined but there is little on detail except that they will retain a popular Conservative taxable benefit for pre-schoolers.

In small gatherings across Ontario, Liberal leader defines policies – and himself
April 18, 2009 Tonda MacCharlesOTTAWA BUREAU
It's 7 a.m. Wednesday and hundreds of cars exit the clogged QEW to head into a chamber of commerce breakfast featuring Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff.
More than 750 men and women in business suits have paid up to $35 for buffet bacon and eggs, and to listen to the man Conservatives portray as an elitist academic, out of touch with the country he left for 30 years.
There is a caffeine-fuelled buzz in the air – and there's no election on.
Ignatieff slips into the ballroom, wi…

Chrysler will quite Canada if CAW doesn't concede: Execs.

This is from Canwest.

Nothing like bargaining with threats. The auto workers have given up everything that they fought for over the years and it remains to be seen if even those on pensions will be safe. Probably not. Nothing like a crisis to wring concessions from the working class.

Chrysler will quit Canada if CAW doesn't concede: execs

By Nicolas Van Praet, Canwest News ServiceApril 18, 2009

Chrysler LLC's two top executives sent their Canadian employees a letter on Friday, warning that if its 8,000 factory workers do not agree to pay cuts, the automaker will no longer build cars in Canada.
``The clock is running. Without labour concessions, Chrysler Canada's manufacturing operations will not survive long-term,'' chief executive Bob Nardelli and president Tom LaSorda said in the letter. ``Thousands of good- paying jobs are in jeopardy, as well as the economic health of communities such as Windsor and Brampton (Ont.).''
Chrysler insiders describe the letter a…

Climate panel presses for cap and trade system

It seems that neither the Liberals nor the Conservatives actually took much action on cap and trade but now that Obama is moving in that direction perhaps Harper will follow suit. However, Harper seems to prefer a policy of hot air as far as the environment is concerned not that the federal Liberals were that much different. The Liberals talked more progressively but did very little.

Climate panel presses for cap-and-trade system
Ottawa urged to target entire economy, not just heavy industry, and do away with patchwork approach to emissions adopted by provinces

Globe and Mail Update
April 16, 2009 at 1:00 PM EDT
OTTAWA — An effective Canadian climate change plan must target the entire economy and not just heavy industry, according to a federal advisory report released today that recommends a national cap-and-trade system.
The report from the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy also says Ottawa should step in to do away with the patchwork of climate-change rules…

Expert tells Taser inquiry Mountie's reaction to Dziekanski reasonable

Reasonable given the assumptions of the officers, assumptions which themselves are unreasonable given the evidence of the video tape of the incident which contradicts their testimony in some respects. Note this expert is himself a police seargent. Being a police officer himself this casts some doubt upon whether he can be completely unbiased. This whole report makes the RCMP look bad and the inquiry looks to be a whitewash. Our reputation has been tarnished internationally especially with the Polish govt. and people. Attempts were made to cast Dziekanski as a troublesome alcoholic by fishing for testimony in Poland that would make him look bad. It is just the investigators who look bad.

Expert tells Taser inquiry Mounties' reaction to Dziekanski reasonable
Last Updated: Thursday, April 16, 2009
The Canadian Press
RCMP were called to Vancouver's airport after Robert Dziekanski started throwing furniture in the early hours of Oct. 14, 2007. They stunned him within seconds of arrivi…

U.S. refuses to reverse its ban on Arar.

This is from the CBC.

So much for enlightened new beginnings under Obama. Obama is also refusing to consdier any action against CIA operatives who tortured captives. Even though Arar was cleared of any connection to terrorism, the official position of the US is that he is a member of Al Qaeda ludicrous as this may be. Obama is simply not willing to challenge his intelligence services. Maybe he fears it would be dangerous for him!
It will be interesting to see if there is much in the way of US commentary on this. Probably not.

U.S. refuses to reverse its ban on Arar
Last Updated: Thursday, April 16, 2009 9:15 PM ET The Canadian Press
The Obama administration is refusing to end the U.S. ban on Maher Arar, dashing the hopes of those looking for a policy shift.
The Syrian-Canadian computer engineer remains on a U.S. terrorism watch list, despite having been exonerated and winning a multimillion-dollar settlement from the Canadian government.
American officials said their policy on Arar — wh…

EKOS poll: Conservatives slipping, Liberals gaining

The drop in support in Quebec and Ontario should worry the Conservatives. If there is an election they will be lucky if they can even manage a minority win let alone a majority. Perhaps there will be some murmuring in Conservative ranks.
It is interesting that although commentators such as Coyne suggest that Harper is violating many conservative policies and taking the party to the left, the party base supports him to an astonishing degree while outside the party Harper has very little support.
Perhaps by the fall Ignatieff will discover that Canadians want an election that is if the polls continue in his favor!

Conservatives slipping, Liberals gaining: EKOS poll
Governing party's support dropping in Ontario, Quebec, survey suggests
Last Updated: Thursday, April 16, 2009
CBC News
A new EKOS poll suggests public support for his Conservative party is slipping. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press)
Fortunes have shifted substantially for Stephen Harper's Conservatives since December…

Ignatieff: Fight deficit with tax hike.

The headline does not make it clear that Ignatieff has no intention of raising taxes at present but only when the economy has turned around for some while. The main other way in which deficits are reduced to is to cut programs or funding for them. Conservatives typically love to cut entitlements and reduce the safety net but who knows the Liberals might do the same as the less unpopular method among those who can fund the party!
No doubt some Conservative commentators will be jumping all over Ignatieff for saying this.

Fight deficit with tax hike: Ignatieff
It's unreasonable to rule out increase, Liberal Leader says, but recovery mustn't be slowed
The Canadian Press, with staff
April 15, 2009
WATERLOO, ONT. -- Federal taxes will have to rise to pay off Canada's burgeoning deficit, but not at the expense of economic recovery, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said yesterday.
The Conservative Party quickly jumped on Mr. Ignatieff's comments, highlighting them at the top of th…