Showing posts from May, 2009

Nova Scotia Tories continue attack on NDP platform

While I support the NDP, it seems to me that the Tory questions are reasonable enough and hardly answered by the ad hominem argument that they are simply baseless and fear mongering. Indeed if the budget is to be cut by one percent it is certainly reasonable to ask where and how. Of course it may not be in health care but something has to be cut. It is interesting that it is the Conservatives who are defending great expenditure and the NDP which wants to cut spending!

Tories continue attack on NDP platform
Last Updated: Saturday, May 30, 2009 3:33 PM ET
CBC News
The Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative party continued to attack the New Democratic Party’s platform, with only nine days left in the provincial election campaign.
Health Minister Karen Casey accused NDP Leader Darrell Dexter of going back on several promises he made in the past year on assistance for seniors.
In a news conference held in Halifax, Casey, PC candidate in the riding of Colchester North, also questioned Dexter’s pla…

Poll finds Ignatieff isn't seen as very patriotic...

From the Globe and Mail.

Of course the tape of Ignatieff talking of himself as an American could be matched by these prize quotes from Chairman Harper:

"Your country [the USA], and particularly your conservative movement, is a light and an inspiration to people in this country and across the world."-Stephen Harper, then vice-president of the National Citizens Coalition, in a June 1997 Montreal meeting of the Council for National Policy, a right-wing American think tank."

A culture of defeat..."- Stephen Harper, negatively describing Canada's Atlantic provinces! May 2001."Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it. Canadians make no connection between the fact that they are a Northern European welfare state and the fact that we have very low economic growth, a standard of living substantially lower than yours, a massive brain drain of young professionals to your country, and double the unemployment rate of…

Nova Scotia Liberal candidate says tourists "revolted"by signs in lawns, gardens..

If you can't win the sign war start a new war against signs. No doubt the Liberal could take down all his signs very quickly and get on with campaigning while his opponents would waste valuable time taking down all their signs. Maybe campaign literature should be destroyed too as it is mostly propaganda. Think of all the trees that would be saved. That is surely even a greater benefit than doing away with a bit of visual pollution.

N.S. Liberal candidate says tourists 'revolted' by signs in lawns, gardens
By THE CANADIAN PRESS – 16 hours ago
LUNENBURG, N.S. — A Liberal candidate for the election in Nova Scotia has launched his better lawns and gardens platform.
Rick Welsford, who's running in Lunenburg, has challenged the other local candidates to remove their large, plastic signs from soil and turf. Welsford says it's all about keeping the historic town green - and pleasant for the tourists who help to drive the local economy.
He says tourists are "revolted" …

Harper Threatens Ignatieff with old videos

This is from CTV.

So what happened to our warm family man prime minister in his fuzzy blue sweater. I guess it didn't sell. I guess the scary nasty version is more marketable. The tape battle could be bad for Harper too since there are lots of old quotes that show what Harper thinks of Canada and how he is inspired by the US conservative movement.
Flaherty is having problems with past statements too. He is right about the economy about as often as a stopped clock is right about the time as his past statements show.

Harper threatens Ignatieff with old videos
Updated Thu. May. 28 2009 10:25 AM ET News Staff
The Conservatives are threatening to release more potentially damaging videotapes of Michael Ignatieff in an attempt to discredit the opposition leader.
During Question Period Wednesday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper told the Commons he had lots of tapes featuring Ignatieff.
"I cannot fire the Leader of the Opposition and with all the tapes I have on him, I do not want to,&qu…

Canada free to bring Abdelrazik home, UN official says

This is from the Globe and Mail.

I am surprised that more is not made of this charade being played out by the government. The legal mythology that the Canadian govt. case is based upon is made clear by this statement from the UN. It is really hard to see why the government is playing hardball on this except perhaps to show that the Cannon is a loyal puppy dog still following the hard line of the Bush administration long after Bush has retired to his ranch! In this case even the RCMP and CSIS have no charges against him nor the Sudanese govt. No matter. To the Conservatives Bush policy is Holy Writ it would seem.

Canada free to bring Abdelrazik home, UN official says
Friday, May. 15, 2009 03:10PM EDT
Canada is free to bring Abousfian Abdelrazik home and doesn't need to ask for permission, the UN official overseeing the blacklist of alleged al-Qaeda and Taliban suspects said yesterday.
“Whether it is Abdelrazik or anybody else, it is up to the state in question whether …

Quebec separatists would win election: poll

This is from Reuters.

As the article notes Jean Charest does not have to call an election until 2013 so the fact that the Parti Quebecois would probably win an election now is no huge threat.
More significant for the immediate future is the standing of the federal Conservatives who are behind the NDP in Quebec while the Liberals are even ahead of the Bloc. Perhaps Iggy will actually move to defeat Harper although I would bet against that right now if I were a gambler. I am awaiting the next episode in the long Liberal melodrama of attacking the Conservatives with great vigour and then supporting them when it comes time to vote.

Quebec separatists would win election: poll
Mon May 25, 2009 9:37am EDT

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Quebec's separatists have strengthened their standing to the point where they would win provincial elections if a vote were held today, a new poll showed on Monday.
The Leger poll has the separatist Parti Quebecois tied with the Liberal Party, which wants to keep the …

EI issues stokes election fever

This is from the Toronto Star.

Somehow I doubt that Ignatieff will force an election now although I could be wrong! Ignatieff probably prefers to wait for the fall at least so that he has more money in the election chest and even better polls he hopes. However, not having a policy platform and not having set out his own plans in any detail may be a plus. Running on Conservative failings during a still failing economy may be better than waiting around for a possible recovery. However Ignatieff is likely to pull a Dion and support the Conservatives. Maybe he will take credit for the scraps of reform that the Conservatives may make to EI.

EI stokes election fever - Canada - EI stokes election fever

Diane Finley is set to outline changes to EI system May 25, 2009.
Conservatives reach out to unemployed workers, but likely to face wrath of Liberals who demand insurance plan overhaul
May 25, 2009 Bruce Campion-SmithLes WhittingtonOTTAWA BUREAU
OTTAWA – Human Reso…

MacKay visits troops in Afghanistan

There seems to have been almost no response among the opposition to MacKay's talk about post-combat role. Canada may end up being in a combat post-combat role since many activities will be attacked by the Taliban and of course the combat will be in self-defence. The best role for Canada would be to get out period and save our money for better things than aiding US imperialism even when that imperialism has a humanitarian gloss. MacKay's prattle about avoiding civilian policies conflicts with the continuing policy of airstrikes which regularly results in new civilian casualties.

MacKay visits troops in Afghanistan, talks about post-combat role
By COLIN PERKEL The Canadian Press
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Canada will still have lots to do in Afghanistan even if its combat role ends as planned in 2011, Defence Minister Peter MacKay said Monday at the end of a visit to Canadian forces.
The focus will be on aid and governance, something that is already occurring as 200 new U.S. soldiers …

Chalk River Reactor shut down for a month; AECL

What! Harper isn't firing anyone for shutting the facility down? The Chalk River reactor is long past its useful life. The whole Canadian govt. nuclear progam is a shambles as plans to build replacements the Maple reactors were shelved after great cost and botched startups. MDS Nordion which buys the isotopes but had enough sense not to try to buy the reactor should sue the government. Perhaps the Canadian government could lure some nuclear reactor experts from Iran. No doubt Israel and the US would help finance their relocation!

Chalk River reactor shut down for a month: AECL

By Canwest News ServiceMay 19, 2009 8:01 AM

The Chalk River nuclear facility, located about 200 km west of the Ottawa River, is mainly used for research and the production of radio isotopes for use in medical procedures.
Photograph by: Wayne Cuddington, Ottawa Citizen
A power outage in eastern Ontario last week could lead to a shortage of medical isotopes after a nuclear reactor was turned off at Chalk River Labo…

Former diplomat casts doubt on Mulroney testimony

One hardly needs a diplomat to cast doubt on Mulroney's testimony. From the get go Mulroney's explanations of why he received the bulging envelopes of cash from Schreiber sound like a huge Irish spin machine made up by an aging leprechaun to guard his pot of gold. Now it seems Mulroney has managed to extract even more money from those of us watching the show from the sidelines. We are paying his legal bills instead of getting money back from the other legal sideshow that garnered Mulroney millions because he did not reveal relevant material about his relationship to Schreiber.

Former diplomat casts doubt on Mulroney's testimony - Canada - Former diplomat casts doubt on Mulroney's testimony

May 21, 2009 Richard J. BrennanOttawa Bureau
OTTAWA – A former Canadian ambassador to China today cast doubt on Brian Mulroney's claim he raised the issue of UN peacekeeping armoured vehicles with Chinese officials during a visit there in 1993.
Fred Bild told an inquiry p…

Nasty Politicking sidelines issues critical to Canada

The attack ads may actually work. Certainly many in the media and of course what passes as an intelligentsia in Canada do not like them but that does not mean they will not work. Ignatieff is not only a Johnny come lately with no firm roots in Canada but he is also the choice of Liberal king makers rather than the grass roots something the article neglects to mention. Also many of those die hard Conservatives writing checks to support Harper are actually part of the elite whether the Liberal elite kingmakers like it or not. They are just a different segment of the elite no doubt unwashed and not suitably polished either! It is interesting that both are leaders are Amerophiles. Harper loves the US conservative movement and finds them an inspiration. Ignatieff is a great support of US humanitarian imperialism and even supported the Iraq invasion.
It remains to be seen if Ignatieff forces an election together with the opposition parties. Seems to me he wants to wait for more funds and …

Green Shift gone but not forgotten.

The Green Shift has been dropped like a hot potato just as was Dion. Ignatieff has defended Oil Sands aka as Tar Sands production. Perhaps Ignatieff will adopt the earlier Liberal tactics on the environment eventually: talk a great line probably praising and micicking the rhetoric of Obama but then do little or nothing as the party did when it was in power. Of course there is always the tried and true and indeed truthful enough claim that the Conservatives have done little.

Green shift gone but not forgotten - columnists - Green shift gone but not forgotten

May 18, 2009 Thomas S. AxworthyChair of the Centre for the Study of Democracy, Queen's University
BERLIN – St├ęphane Dion announced at the recent Liberal convention in Vancouver that he would be staying in politics. This is a good thing because a future Liberal government will have great need of his intelligence, commitment and stubbornness in dealing with climate change.
The world is in economic crisis but we cannot all…

Workers of the World Screw Each Other.

That seems to be the motto of auto workers both here and in the US. While it is understandable that workers should be protectionist it makes more sense and is in keeping with worker solidarity to demand better working conditions for Chinese auto workers than to adopt a protectionist stance. The most this will achieve is assembly plants in Canada such as we have now which often compete effectively and also drive down wages. The CAW does have a point though about the unfair trade conditions between China, South Korea, and Japan and Canada with respect to vehicles. Even so I get the distinct impression that the auto union is concerned less with international worker solidarity against capitalist exploitation than in protecting their own dues paying Canadian workers jobs. Their ardent support for capitalism has earned them the right to bargain away everything they have achieved the last few decades at the cost of many struggles. The government has in effect forced the union to bargain away…

Harper sets the stage for bigger deficits...

No doubt Harper must find it difficult to admit that bigger deficits may be necessary. As the opposition points out he has already tried to downplay the size of the deficit. No doubt also the opposition will criticise the size of the deficit while at the same time demanding more stimulus money!
The more immediate crisis is the employment insurance fund. Will Harper make changes to it sufficient to stop the opposition parties from bringing down the government? Watch for the first Dion move by Ignatieff in which he will imitate Dion by supporting the Harper government.

Harper sets the stage for bigger deficits - Canada -
Harper sets the stage for bigger deficits
Will be `as large as they have to be' to save jobs
May 15, 2009 Allan WoodsBruce CampionSmithOttawa bureau
GATINEAU, Que.–The federal deficit will be as large as is needed to help spark the economy and help Canada get through the recession, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said.
In a speech to Quebec municipal leaders, …

Ignatieff Strikes back at attack ads.

This is from the Star.

Ignatieff certainly makes a point. Also, the ads may indeed help Liberal fundraising but perhaps they may also have an effect on public perception of Ignatieff. The one ad I saw showed Ignatieff talking about the US as his country. That is a good point and could indeed strike a negative response to him in many Canadians. In fact I always considered his saying that a sign that he really favored the US and his defence of the Iraq invasion and of US humanitarian imperialism is part and parcel of the same streak in Ignatieff. However, Harper is no better with his fawning before US conservatives and praising them to the skies. It seems that our two main parties like to present us with ludicrous choices.

Ignatieff strikes back at attack ads - Canada -
Ignatieff strikes back at attack ads
Conservatives trying to 'change the channel' from faltering economy, Liberal leader says
May 15, 2009 Mike Funstonin TorontoBruce Campion-SmithIn Ottawa

Liberal Le…

Health Axe hits 100 Alberta managers

While it may seem a good idea to cut management positions rather than front line health workers this may be another step on the road to centralisation and weakening local input into the health system. The province has already taken a giant step in this direction through having a superboard and eliminating more local boards. Everything will be decided by well paid experts with local areas having no power over their own health care.

Health axe hits 100 Alberta managers

Province's doctors told latest cuts in positions just the beginning in effort to reduce costs

By Jodie Sinnema and Trish Audette, The Edmonton JournalMay 15, 2009 7:53 AMAbout 100 management positions will be cut within the next week as Alberta Health Services CEO Stephen Duckett reveals more details on the health system's organizational structure.
"The structure means fewer people, but that doesn't necessarily involve layoffs," Duckett said Thursday before speaking at a town hall to several hundred doct…

Every nursing cut has negative impact on quality of health care.

This is from the Sault St. Marie Star.

While bankrupt companies are bailed out the social service net is cut to save taxpayer money! Bad economic times are always a good excuse to cut back on the safety net rather than expanding services. Apparently stimulus packages are great as long as they are not in areas such as nursing services.

Every nursing cut has negative impact on quality of health care

Posted 4 hours ago
Across Ontario, health-care facilities are slashing registered nursing positions and cutting thousands of hours of nursing care.
Every RN position cut is the equivalent of 1,950 hours per year less nursing care for the thousands of Ontarians who need it.
The cuts are happening as government policy forces health-care facilities to balance their budgets. Health-care funding has not kept up with costs -- costs have risen 3.5 per cent, and hospital funding was announced in this spring's budget as 2.1 per cent for 2009/10.
Health-care agencies are already "lean" -- cu…

Brian Cryin Blackmail

This is from the Edmonton Sun.

Of course Schreiber could blackmail Mulroney only because Mulroney had been involved in obviously shady deals with Schreiber. Mulroney looks to be just about as crooked and devious and untruthful as Schreiber. The difference is that Schreiber is likely to end up in jail in Germany while Mulroney received millions from the taxpayer in a suit that he won partly because he did not reveal that he had received envelopes full of cash from Schreiber. According to his testimony he only had coffee with him!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Brian cryin' blackmail
Accuses Schreiber of trying to extort help
Last Updated: 14th May 2009, 2:16am
Former Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney accused Karlheinz Schreiber of blackmail yesterday, saying he refused to intervene in Schreiber's extradition case even if it took a toll on his family.
Testifying before the Oliphant Commission which is probing his dealings with Schreiber, Mulro…

Afghan Govt: 95 children killed in US strike.

While local authorities may very well exaggerate claims the US military is positively ridiculous. They never admit anything and then successively give way in the face of overwhelming evidence against their story but as little as is possible and still pooh pooing evidence from those who were on the scene.

Afghan Govt: 95 Children Killed in US Strike
Posted By Jason Ditz On May 13, 2009 @ 4:36 pm The fallout from last week’s US air strikes in the Farah Province, which an Afghan commission concluded had killed 140 civilians, continued today as an Afghan MP involved in the investigation said that 95 of the dead were actually children (which he defined as under the age of 18). The attack was the single largest instance of US-killed civilians in Afghanistan since the 2001 invasion.
US Military spokesman Col. Greg Julian was dismissive of the claims, mocking the locals and saying they were unable to tell if 19 or 69 bodies were buried in a mass grave. He also rejected the list of the names of t…

Liberal win in B.C.

Not much in the way of surprises here although perhaps after the lacklustre performance of the Liberals the NDP might have squeaked through to victory. The turnout was dismal reflecting the dismal choices I expect. Also, it was a bit of a surprise that the STV vote was so disastrous since last time the vote was quite close. In both picking the Liberals and the first past the post the people who bother to vote chose the evil they are already accustomed to.

Campbell wins third straight term in B.C.
Referendum on electoral reform fails
Last Updated: Wednesday, May 13, 2009
CBC News
B.C. Liberal Leader Gordon Campbell celebrates his re-election as premier of B.C. (CBC)
B.C. Liberal Leader Gordon Campbell has won an historic third straight term as the province's premier. The results in Tuesday's B.C. election show Campbell's Liberals leading with 45.7 per cent of the popular vote, ahead of Carole James's NDP at 42.2 per cent.
With more than 95 per cent of polls reporting, Liberals…

Swing ridings hold key in B.C.

This is decision day in BC. I know little about the situation but thought this information about swing ridings might be useful. The polls seem to vary. Some indicate the race is quite close but others give the Liberals a considerable lead. I suspect that the Liberals will win but hope I am wrong. Many BCers remember the NDP times as being bad but then present times are hardly that great either. So it is a choice between two evils both of which you know!

Swing ridings hold key to B.C. election race

CBC News
When the polls close in British Columbia at 8 p.m. PT Tuesday, about a dozen extremely close races could hold the key to who ends up premier of Canada's West Coast province.
Heading into the final stretch of the campaign, the most recent polls suggest B.C. Liberal Leader Gordon Campbell holds a narrow lead over NDP Leader Carole James. But even with that lead, many commentators say, the election outcome is too close to call for a wide range of reasons.
Six new ridings have been cre…

CAW: GM bankruptcy likely.

What is clear from the article is that the Canadian government has allowed GM not to adequately fund their pension plan so that the pensioners would still be OK even when the company was not. At least it is good to know that courts have so far never touched pension benefits but that does not solve the problem of how they are to be financed!

GM bankruptcy likely: CAW - Business - GM bankruptcy likely: CAW
Ottawa, Queen's Park order union to slash costs or aid will be denied and GM will face liquidation
May 08, 2009 Tony Van AlphenBusiness Reporter
General Motors will probably seek bankruptcy court protection in Canada and the U.S. in its fight for survival, a top union leader warns.
Ken Lewenza, president of the Canadian Auto Workers union, said yesterday the company's worsening financial condition is increasing the likelihood of court protection from creditors in both countries.
"It is very clear General Motors is in serious trouble," he said.
His remarks came a…

Government will appeal Omar Khadr order..

This is not surprising. Harper has been consistent in refusing to budge on this issue and thus in effect implying that the justice system at Guantanamo was just hunky dory. Maybe his reactionary consistency will pay off since it seems as if Obama may after all set up military tribunals himself. Now surely an Obama military tribunal must be acceptable to all good liberals and not an abomination!

Government will appeal Omar Khadr order - SpecialSections - Government will appeal Omar Khadr order

Canadian detainee Omar Khadr at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in December. His fate is now in the hands of the Obama administration.
Harper government seeks appeal of judicial order to seek the return of Omar Khadr from Gitmo
May 08, 2009 Joanna SmithTonda MacCharlesOttawa bureau
OTTAWA – The federal government has decided to file an appeal rather than abide by a judicial order to seek the return of Omar Khadr, jailed in a Guant…