Showing posts from June, 2009

Post-Dion Liberals flush with cash, new members.

This is from the Star.

All the Liberals need now are some better polls. Nothing is said about debt. Perhaps that is all paid off although I somehow doubt it. I guess Ignatieff is close enough to the Conservatives now that he is an acceptable alternative.
Come the fall and the next chance to turf Harper, if Ignatieff has very good polls he might actually try to bring down the Conservatives. However, there is no guarantee the Bloc and the NDP will necessarily help Ignatieff out.

Post-Dion Liberals flush with cash, new members - Canada - Post-Dion Liberals flush with cash, new members
June 30, 2009 Susan DelacourtOTTAWA BUREAU
OTTAWA – Federal Liberals, with newly doubled membership numbers, have raised almost as much in the first half of this year as they did in all of 2008, according to the party's national director, Rocco Rossi.
Almost $5 million has flowed into Liberal coffers since January, when Michael Ignatieff assumed the leadership after the departure of Sté…

A Small Step towards the Noose.

Harper seems bound and determined to avoid asking for leniency for those condemend to death if he can help. There are even cases as this article shows where the government is not free and democratic in any sense yet so far he has not intervened. In the Montana case it seems to me that he has intervened finally since the court ordered him to do so. It is a wonder he did not appeal! I am sure Albertans will be pleased to find that their support of Harper makes them rednecks according to Cleroux!

This is from westislandchronicle.

Harper : A Small Step towards the Noose by Richard Cléroux View all articles from Richard ClérouxArticle online since June 26th 2009, 13:40 The noose
Harper : A Small Step towards the Noose
For years Stephen Harper’s political adversaries have been saying he’s got a secret agenda to bring back capital punishment.
Harper has always denied it categorically. He’s always said it is one debate he has no intention of re-opening. But now we’ve got some proof, well, a little…

Elections Canada advocates online voting to halt slide in voter turnout.

If authorities are so worried about voter turnout they could always do as Australia and some other countries have done, make voting compulsory. Of course the result is that there are many donkey votes. However that could happen anyway to some extent especially among people who are not concerned enough to take the time to go to a polling booth. On the other hand on line voting might be a boon for those who must travel considerable distances to vote. The article does not say if other countries already use the system. I would think that there might be some issues of privacy and also possible misuse of the system.

Elections Canada advocates online voting to halt slide in voter turnout
By Joan Bryden – 13 hours ago
OTTAWA — Allowing Canadians to vote electronically may be the remedy for the ever-dwindling percentage of voters who bother to exercise their democratic rights, Elections Canada suggests.
In a report released late Friday, the independent electoral watchdog says it will push this fal…

Jack Layton goes from kingmaker to bystander

This is from the Star.

One of the reasons for Layton's lacklustre performance is surely that the press for the most part treats Canada as it had just two parties, the Liberals and Conservatives. This is a way of framing discussion without any government control so that only two parties count and need to be funded by those who benefit most from the system. Of course in provincial politics the situation may be different as the NDP has had power in some provinces.
There is little coverage of the federal NDP, or the Green Party, although once in a while there will be some. Other parties such as the Christian Heritage Party, the Libertarian Party or the Communist Party (the CPC!) get virtual no press. They have little money for promoting their policies either.
Anyway if Layton failed to give birth to a coalition government at least he has become a grandpa. Meanwhile Ignatieff gave birth to a Conservative Liberal coalition that should have been aborted at the earliest stages.

Jack Layt…

Harper: Attack Ads prevented a summer election

I doubt that the attack ads had much to do with our not having a summer election. Ignatieff did not want an election since the Liberal Party needs to raise more money and raise their standing in the polls as well. However, given that the Liberal polls do not seem have any momentum upwards perhaps the attack ads did have some negative effects and convinced some not to vote for Iggy.
Harper just loves to rub it in and make digs at Iggy even though Iggy saved Harper's bacon and is almost in a coalition with the Conservatives at this point. It seems that Iggy prefers a right coalition rather than one on the left!

Attack ads prevented a summer election: Harper
Updated Fri. Jun. 26 2009 8:41 AM ET News Staff
Prime Minister Stephen Harper suggests his party's recent ad campaign that included controversial attacks against Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff may have done Canadians a favour.
In an interview with CTV News in Halifax, the prime minister told CTV Atlantic's Steve Mu…

New poll shows Conservatives and Liberals neck in neck..

Brennan does not explain his reasons for predicting that there would be a minority govt. if an election were called in the fall on the basis of a close poll just at the beginning of summer. Perhaps it is inexplicable!
Even if the polls do not move sufficiently for a majority government to be elected they could easily move in the Liberal direction sufficiently to have a minority Liberal govt. You would think that many at the Star would like that. But maybe that would be too close to that horrible coalition govt. that Ignatieff in a moment of weakness signed on to, or perhaps the Star thinks is much better to go forward with a de facto coalition between the Liberals and Conservatives as we have now. After all Ignatieff is quite flexible almost one of those contortionists.

Minority government looms again if election called this fall, new poll shows -
Canada - Minority government looms again if election called this fall, new poll shows
June 25, 2009 Richard J. BrennanOTTAWA BUR…

Conservative Govt. now a leader in violating Canadian's rights.

We have already seen the many attempts to avoid bringing Abdelrazik back to Canada but finally succumbing after an embarassing court decision lambasting the government. However, in the case of Omar Khadr the government--no doubt to the great delight to some of their supporters--is appealing the court order that the govt. should ask for Khadr to be repatriated.
In this first article a govt. lawyer can't point to any security risks bringing him back to Canada would cause. I would think that if he came back he would surely remain under surveillance in case he did try to engage in any activities that are a threat to Canada. This is from the Vancouver Sun.

OTTAWA — A federal lawyer conceded Tuesday that she cannot "point to any risks" if Omar Khadr were repatriated to Canada.
Doreen Mueller made the admission Tuesday under repeated grilling from Federal Court of Appeal judges on why the Canadian government refuses to seek the return of the Canadian terror suspect from Guantanamo…

Spreading dirt on Abdelrazik..

This is the same sort of smear campaign orchestrated against Arar when attempts were being made to get him out of jail in Syria. Material was leaked to reporters that was in effect false confessions he made under torture. You should realise that for the US Arar is still a member of Al Qaeda. That was the reason given for rendering him to Syria where he was tortured under interrogation. Although Arar was compensated and cleared by an inquiry no one within the intelligence services was ever disciplined for passing on unverified and in fact untrue allegations about Arar to US intelligence services.
The UN document exists because it is what the US requested. No evidence goes along with the accusations because that would compromise security operations. Even though intelligence agencies have no decent evidence against you that would stamp up in any court or even be sufficient to lay charges you can be punished anyway. This is what we call the rule of law. Arar has even been entirely clear…

Canada seeking clemency for double murderer in Montana

This is from AFP.

Here again a court has to order the Conservative government to do what it should have done without being forced. The court also had to order Canada to allow Abdelrazik back to Canada.
Canada does not have the death penalty and has always in the past tried to obtain clemency for Canadians sentenced to death in other countries. However, the Conservative govt. given its moral superiority wants to pick and choose which accused it will request clemency for.

Canada seeking clemency for double-murderer in Montana: FM
1 day ago

OTTAWA (AFP) — The Canadian government said Friday it has sought clemency for a Canadian on death row in Montana, in accordance with a court order, but would decide "case-by-case" whether to do so for others.

"We are complying with the court ruling," Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon told the House of Commons.

But, he added, "we want justice to be done for Canadians abroad and that is why we will continue to study on a case-by-case …

Rafsanjani and his students...

Behind all the twitters and wall to wall coverage of each cell phone image by CNN is the reality of a power struggle among elites. Rafsanjani is arguably the richest person in Iran and he hates Ahmadinejad because among other things he has accused his family of corruption. Khameni is playing both sides and recently in his speech has high praise for Rafsanjani and criticised Ahmadinejad for his accusations against Rafsanjani's family. As a reward the Assembly of Experts that Rafsanjani heads supported the guidelines in his speech. But now it seems that Ahmadinejad has moved against Rafsanjani's family. This will create a crisis and Khameni might very well decide to turf Ahmadinejad and support Rafsanjani: This is from Yahoo.

State-run Press TV reported that Rafsanjani's eldest daughter, Faezeh Hashemi, and four other family members were arrested late Saturday. It did not identify the other four.
Last week, state television showed images of Hashemi, 46, speaking to hundreds of…

Ignatieff says he'll compromise to fix EI.

So Iggy in supporting the Conservatives is a pragmatic kind of guy whereas Dion was a wimp. How do you tell the difference? Is it because Iggy does better in the polls or that the Liberals want Iggy to wait until the party has a better war chest to fight an election.
Iggy will compromise on EI because he must to keep the coalition with the Conservatives alive and well. Of course not much will happen until the Fall. That will sure help those out of work now!

Ignatieff says he'll compromise to fix EI

By Mark Kennedy, Canwest News ServiceJune 20, 2009

OTTAWA - Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff says he's prepared to put some "water in my wine" to reach a compromise with the government this summer over reforms to Canada's employment insurance program.
In an interview Friday with Canwest News Service and Global National, Ignatieff also said he hopes Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's contention that an economic recovery will eventually pull the federal budget out of def…

Taser Inquiry postponed after new misconduct evidence

Taser Inc. must be happy that the RCMP have made themselves look so bad that the heat is off concerning the tasers themselves to some extent!
The RCMP have taken the usual tack of trying to defend themselves and in doing so trying to mislead the public as well as spending a lot of taxpayer money to go to Poland on a witch hunt trying to dig up dirt on Dziekanski. This is a very sordid affair. Not only are the officiers directly involved blameworthy but so are the higherups who love coverups.

This is from Canwest.

Taser inquiry postponed after new misconduct evidence.

Canwest News ServiceJune 19, 2009

VANCOUVER - Closing submissions at the inquiry looking into the death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski have been postponed after the inquiry heard late evidence about misconduct by the RCMP officers involved in the Tasering death.
Lawyers for the Department of Justice have given the inquiry an internal RCMP e-mail between two senior RCMP members dated Nov. 5, 2007 which says the four …

Think-tank raps Alberta on hospital data.

Interesting that the right-wing Fraser Institute gets to make these report cards. Even so, the Institute makes a reasonable criticism of Alberta for not naming hospitals. So much for the right to know. Apparently knowing which hospitals have good records and which have bad would be bad for health care in Alberta. What is bad for health care in Alberta is their Super Board with its super centralisation of power and super secrecy.

Think-tank raps Alberta on hospital data
Last Updated: Thursday, June 18, 2009 CBC News
A conservative think-tank is criticizing the Alberta government for not providing enough information about hospitals in the province.
In compiling a report card on Alberta's acute care hospitals, the Fraser Institute looked at more than one million patient records. It studied patient care statistics, including such things as the number of deaths among patients who developed complications while in the hospital.
The institute's report card — released Thursday — indicates …

Ottawa will allow Abdelrazik to return to Canada

We now know a bit more of the background of this case. Canada was as usual acting as a helpful comrade for US intelligence. The US asked us to build a case against Abdelrazik. Of course we obediently complied.
Harper was reluctant to irritate the US so even when the Court told him to let Abdelrazik come back and that his rights had been violated he contemplated appealing the decision. But the political heat hurt him a bit and probably he was advised he would lose. Of course he still remains adamant about Khadr. This too could be at US request. Obama the great changer has been competely quiet on Khadr.
Anyway better late than never re Abdelrazik. Iggy could have easily enough asked Harper to let Abdelrazik come back as a condition of his deal. But then the great champion of human rights never thought of that I guess.

Ottawa will allow Abdelrazik to return to Canada
Last Updated: Thursday, June 18, 2009
CBC News
The federal government will comply with a Federal Court order to allow t…

eHealth chair Dr. Alan Hudson replaced.

This is from the Star.

Note that he chaired this board as a volunteer. He still has his paying job of almost 300 thousand a year. These people seem to have close links to one another and perhaps to the Ontario Liberals. Now the replacement for Hudson served under Mike Harris. Maybe a Conservative groupie replacement is a sign of new co-operation between the Ontario Conservatives and Liberals mirroring the Harper Iggie deal!

Embattled eHealth chair Dr. Alan Hudson will be replaced.
June 17, 2009 Rob Ferguson amd Tanya TalagaQueen's Park Bureau
Stung by the eHealth Ontario spending scandal, Premier Dalton McGuinty replaced Dr. Alan Hudson as chair of the troubled agency and outlawed untendered contracts for highly paid consultants who can no longer expense "out-of-pocket" goodies like tea and Choco Bites.
Hudson is the latest high-profile domino to fall at the province's electronic health records organization, where he headed the board as a volunt…

Travers: Sputtering gasps of life won't revive Parliament.

Huh! Parliament is supposed to go into hibernation in the summer anyway! With the Harper Ignatieff deal no election call will disturb the summer rest period.
The Ignatieff ploy of requiring the Conservatives to give a periodic report is not necessarily a bad tactic but only if he is ready to commit to an election. Apparently he is not at present so he looks as if he is playing Dion II supporting the Conservatives. This time around he tries to disguise this by rhetoric about making parliament work and having a joint group to study the EI issue. In effect this means that those out of work will get nothing until the fall at the earliest. As Travers points out, then there will probably be an election. If there had been an election now the matter would have been sorted out before then probably.
The result will be different when the report comes up in September if Ignatieff and the other two opposition parties want an election. The problem is that if the Liberals are doing very well th…

The battle of competing elites in Iran.

The picture you get from most coverage of events in Iran is of an election stolen by Ahmadinejad and of Mousavi as a reformer. However in the past Mousavi has been a very hard liner as shown in this excerpt from this article:

Who is Mir Hossein Mousavi, Ahmadinejad's main opponent in the election? He is an enigma wrapped in mystery. He impressed the Iranian youth and the urban middle class as a reformer and a modernist. Yet, as Iran's prime minister during 1981-89, Mousavi was an unvarnished hardliner. Evidently, what we have seen during his high-tech campaign is a vastly different Mousavi, as if he meticulously deconstructed and then reassembled himself.This was what Mousavi had to say in a 1981 interview about the 444-day hostage crisis when young Iranian revolutionaries kept American diplomats in custody: "It was the beginning of the second stage of our revolution. It was after this that we discovered our true Islamic identity. After this we felt the sense that we could…

More of the same. Harper-Ignatieff deal aka Dion II

Harper has won a reprieve again and the Liberals have caved. Ignatieff simply gave in with respect to EI and now it is to be examined by a study group of the sort the Conservatives love. Remember the one on the Afghan mission! Now nothing will happen on EI just when it is most needed. We will have another test of the Liberals in the fall rather than of the Conservatives. No doubt many people will forget that the Liberals have been failing these tests consistently since the Conservatives came to power. One thing that the Liberals and Conservatives do agree on and that is that they do not want a coalition, that is of the Liberals and the NDP with Bloc support, but it seems a quasi coalition between Liberals and Conservatives is just what Canadians want one worked out behind closed doors.
This is from CBC.

Harper-Ignatieff deal to study EI averts summer vote
PM warns fall vote could bring 'dangerous results' for country
Last Updated: Wednesday, June 17, 2009
CBC News
Prime Minister …

PM Ignatieff set for third meeting..

This is from the Globe and Mail.

This is all just a charade to dodge the Dion type ultimate vote that will occur on Friday when Ignatieff will support the Conservatives. Harper will throw him a few crumbs that Ignatieff can then claim show that he (Ignatieff) can make even a Harper government work for the benefit of Canadians particularly those who are unemployed. Of course Harper has already treated Ignatieff's original EI demans with disdain. Harper conveniently suggests that he meet with Ignatieff over the next few weeks, after the crucial Friday vote. This presupposes that Ignatieff will support the Conservatives on Friday! Ignatieff looks worse and worse to me every time he opens his mouth.

PM, Ignatieff set for third meeting

Brian Laghi and Jane Taber
Ottawa — The Globe and Mail, Tuesday, Jun. 16, 2009 08:48PM EDT
Stephen Harper and Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff held a second meeting tonight at the Prime Minister's residence at 24 Sussex Drive as they continued to work …

Harper willing to talk with Ignatieff to avoid election.

Ignatieff has left Harper all sorts of wiggle room even though on Harper's part he has explicitly rejected the demands that Ignatieff has made about EI. Ignatieff has in turn simply back-pedaled on the issue.
I saw Ignatieff in a short interview with Peter Mansbridge. He was extremely weak in my opinion. When Mansbridge asked him what his bottom line was, where he would draw the line as far as Harper's responses were concerned, Ignatieff looked to be weaker even than Dion. Ignatieff said he did not use terms such as ultimatum! He refused to say what would cause him to provoke an election. Harper will really have to exert himself to provoke Ignatieff into an election. The only hope to bringing down this government is that Harper uses this situation as an opportunity to make Iggy look even more a fool and wimp than he is. I expect Harper still has some tactical sense and will throw a few scraps to Iggy so that Iggy can claim he got Harper to give a few crumbs to Canadians n…

Decision Day for Ignatieff aka as Dion II Day

Ignatieff makes it clear he does not want to defeat the Conservatives but is adopting a face saving measure that will allow the Conservatives to make some minor changes and then Ignatieff can claim that he is responsible for them. However, Harper could call Ignatieff's bluff by making few, none, or obviously trivial changes and then Ignatieff will look foolish if he supports the government. Of course he will look foolish to some extent anyway. We are about to see Dion II or new ways to prop up a minority government. The fact that Layton and the Bloc are so confidently opposing the government shows that they expect the Liberals to cave.

Decision day for Ignatieff

Michael Ignatieff is deciding whether to bring down the minority Conservative government.

This is from the Star.

Will handling of economy by Tories end in election call?
Jun 15, 2009 04:30 AM Les Whittington Joanna Smith Ottawa Bureau
OTTAWA–Federal Liberals expect party leader Michael Ignatieff to steer clear of an absolute com…

Feds move to ban conditional sentences for serious crimes

This is the Conservatives doing what they like best, playing upon fear. At least it seems to work on the Liberals who will support the bill because they fear being a target of Conservative ads that would portray them as soft on crime. With their polls doing well the Liberals will cave even though this may alienate some of their own members.

Feds move to ban conditional sentences for serious crimes

Vancouver SunJune 13, 2009 1:23 PM

The federal government says it will introduce legislation to the House of Commons on Monday that seeks to tighten up restrictions on conditional sentencing of criminal offenders.
North Vancouver MP Andrew Saxton, parliamentary secretary to the President of the Treasury Board, delivered the government's message in Vancouver for Attorney General Rob Nicholson.
"Our government believes that sentences passed in our courts must be meaningful, and they must reflect the severity of the crime committed," Saxton said, citing Metro Vancouver's recent inc…