Showing posts from August, 2009

Liberal prep for upcoming session, possible election

Finally the Liberals are developing a platform that will give Canadians something to judge the Liberals by--and no doubt will provide a target for Conservative critics. Notice that the party spokesperson is for the most part Ralph Goodale rather than Ignatieff. Somehow I doubt that Ignatieff will try to defeat Harper with polls as they are at present. Of course Harper could insist on goading Ignatieff to such a degree that he will be more or less forced to call an election. Harper escaped more or less unscathed from the last fracas so one never knows what he might do. The Liberals at this point seem completely vague about whether there will be an attempt to bring down Harper or not. Different Liberals say different things!

Liberals prep for upcoming session, possible election

By Juliet O'Neill, Canwest News ServiceAugust 30, 2009 2:01 PM

Federal Liberals will gather in Sudbury, Ont., on Monday to plot strategy for a parliamentary session that could plunge Canadians into a fall or win…

Manitoba NDP plan for leadership convention

There should be enough candidates to choose from to replace Doer but none will have as prominent a profile as Doer. Blaikie is probably the best known but as the article notes there are plenty of other potential contenders.
I find it strange that everyone in the Manitoba NDP is applauding Doer for accepting the appointment. Apparently it makes no difference that he will be serving under a Conservative right wing government whose policies in most cases are completely at odds with the NDP!

Man. NDP plan for leadership convention

CBC News
Premier Gary Doer meets with reporters on Parliament Hill Friday following his appointment as ambassador to the United States. (CBC)
Manitoba's New Democrats are meeting Monday to plan for a leadership convention to replace outgoing Premier Gary Doer.
Doer was introduced Friday in Ottawa as Canada's next ambassador to the United States, a day after surprising many political observers by announcing he was stepping down as premier.
No one in the party is…

Doer named Canadian Ambassador to Washington

This seemed to be a well kept secret even though the decision was made several weeks ago. Obviously Doer was being coy when he made no mention of what he was going to do when he said he would resign the other day.
Doer is certainly staid, safe, and middle of the road enough to serve as U.S. ambassador. Don't expect him to start spouting NDP policy about immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan. In fact don't expect him to do too much of anything, particularly anything radical or that would rock the boat. Perhaps Harper will not mind if he says something about Arctic sovereignty though! Just shut up about Khadr.
I am a bit surprised that Harper would chose Doer. I thought he would choose one of his own party as a reward for loyal service.

Doer named Canada's next U.S. ambassador

CBC News
Prime Minister Stephen Harper meets with Gary Doer, Canada's new ambassador-designate to the United States, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)Gary Doer was int…

Ex-coach, Tory insiders among new senators..

Huh! Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin are non-partisan! What planet do the CTV news staff inhabit? Duffy was noted for his bias in favor of Conservatives and picked on poor Dion mercilessly. Wallin was appointed by Harper to complement the other co-operative folk on his ïndependent"Afghan committee.
We have another bunch of political hacks appointed to Senate along with others. I guess this shows the senate is an equal opportunity employer with Harper now appointing Conservative hacks to match Liberal hacks---along with some notably able exceptions on both sides.
Personally I agree with the NDP that the best solution would be to abolish the Senate but failing that an elected Senate is surely preferable to an unelected one.

Ex-coach, Tory insiders among new senators News Staff
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who has railed against the Senate and championed a plan to make it an elected body, has appointed some of his closest Conservative insiders to the Red Chamber - as well as a Stan…

Manitoba Premier Gary Doer to resign..

This is rather surprising. Surely Doer must have something lined up for after he steps down. There must be some establishment position open for a safe establishment ""leftist"". The opposition in Manitoba has so far never been strong enough to really mount any effective attack on Doer. Doer for his part has been cautious and able to govern in a manner that has avoided any fatal mistakes. As the article mentions there are people ready to take over from Doer but whether the electorate will continue to support the NDP remains to be seen. The main opposition will be the Conservatives but so far they haven't been able get their act together sufficiently to challenge the long reign of the NDP in Manitoba.

Manitoba Premier Gary Doer says he's stepping down, date to be determined
By Chinta Puxley (CP) – 2 hours ago
WINNIPEG — Canada's longest serving current premier is calling it quits.
After a decade in the top office, Manitoba NDP Premier Gary Doer surprised the …

Ignatieff tries to dispel election rumours.

Obviously Ignatieff thinks that there can be good government even with the Conservatives in power. Must be because there is a coalition agreement between them and the Conservatives. If the Conservatives alone can provide good government why bother voting for the Liberals? Ignatieff is hopeless as a leader. He is so busy thinking and worrying about Conservative criticism if he promotes specific policies that he comes out looking like a scared lame duck leader.
Layton will be happy if Ignatieff continues denying that he will force an election. Layton can go on opposing the Conservatives and the Liberals without worrying about an election being called.

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff tries to dispel election rumours in Yellowknife
August 25, 2009 - 11:42
YELLOWKNIFE - Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff is showing the party flag in the Northwest Territories.
During a visit to Yellowknife Ignatieff tried to dispel rumours of a fall election. He says federal Liberals want goo…

Layton see no reason to back Harper

Of course Layton has no reason to back Harper at present. Reasons will pop up only when the Liberals and Bloc support a non-confidence motion and he is faced with the choice to force an election or support the Tories. Otherwise he can confidently vote against the government every time. However if NDP polls are poor and the Conservatives or Liberals are riding high this will certainly provide a reason for supporting the Conservatives. Of course he can always claim that Canadians do not want an election too so that he is doing everyone a favor. Also, there are some who need to serve a bit longer to get fat pensions.

Layton sees no reason to back PM

With election talk in the air, NDP Leader finds ‘fundamental differences' with Tories
Gloria Galloway
Ottawa — From Wednesday's Globe and Mail Last updated on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2009 09:20PM EDT
NDP Leader Jack Layton spent an hour behind closed doors chatting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper Tuesday, but said he walked away with nothing …

Harper appeals Khadr verdict

Harper has been consistent all along in his kissing U.S. ass to much applause of many of his reactionary supporters. This will delay any attempt to return Khadr to Canada. Khadr was a child when he allegedly threw the grenade that killed a US service person. No matter. He may have been tortured. No Matter. The system of military tribunals under which Khadr is to be tried is widely regarded as unjust and certainly does not meet the standards of the US civil legal system. No matter. Khadr is faced with a serious charge and the U.S. is a great beacon to the Free World and the trials represent our Free World values of no habeas corpus and torture as part of a justifiable legal system.

In all this Obama has been completely silent. I guess it is because it has nothing to do with the U.S. reform of health care.

'We will not make it easy for the government': lawyer for Guantanamo Bay detainee
Ottawa will seek to overturn an appeal court ruling that it must demand his repatriation. (Janet…

Layton's Address to the NDP National Convention

This of course is a rah rah propagandistic speech but then it is meant to enthuse the party rank and file so this is not surprising. The press tends to portray the NDP as old hat and going nowhere but as Layton points out it has made several breakthroughs recently including winning federal seats in Quebec and Alberta and electing a provincial government in Nova Scotia. This is not exactly going nowhere even though the federal polls have not made any breakthrough for sure.
Layton is surely right that emphasis is often upon green shoots and signs that the economy is bottoming out or growth is actually slightly positive rather than the fact that unemployment is actually increasing and because of budget constraints the social safety net is being eroded while poverty is growing.

Jack Layton's address to the New Democrat National Convention
Sun 16 Aug 2009
Bonjour. Good morning.
I’d like to begin by acknowledging that we are meeting here in traditional Mi’kmaq territory. Please join me, …

Harper: Canadians don't want an election.

Harper hasn't met a single Canadian who says we should be having an election right now. But then right now is not the fall. Besides he hasn't met me and I think it would be fine if we were having an election right now.
Ignatieff has been such a lack-lustre no policy leader that the polls will probably not improve much for the Liberals even though Harper seems to be returning to his old game of chicken. He is daring the Liberals to call an election or pass his own legislation on EI, which of course will be in the interests of all Canadians! Maybe the Liberals should bring Dion back, at least he had a policy on the environment and stuck to it and at least he was chosen leader in a genuine contest. Besides Dion has much more experience at caving in and supporting Conservative legislation. Ignatieff is just starting out.

Canadians don't want election, Harper says
Prime Minister plays down differences over EI and insists his focus will be on dealing with effects of recession t…

A Chronicle of the Honduran coup..

I do not know anything about the group whose website this is taken from nor about the author but certainly the article is filled with fascinating details about how different groups and companies were involved in promoting the coup and trying to discredit Zelaya. Zelaya's real sin is to have passed some modest reforms and upset the elite as well by joining with ALBA and getting cheap oil from Venezuela. From the first Obama's responses have been fishy but Obama's opponents have been most vocal in support of the coup and have opposed even his timid attempts to try to look less as if the U.S. will always support right wing changes in Latin America. Many Americans apparently are not at all abashed at openly supporting reaction.

Honduras: Chronicle of a planned coup
Friday, August 21, 2009 By: Sam Holguin
Mass organizations keep up the struggle
On June 28, the capitalist and U.S. imperialist-backed Honduran military embarked on a new chapter in the long line of military coups in La…

Simpson: Ignatieff's Curiously Wasted Summer

Simpson certainly has a point. Ignatieff seems to be almost completely absent from the news. While it is understandable that Harper as the prime minister would get more media attention Ignatieff seems to be avoiding it. Perhaps the view is that if you don't set forth any policy then the Conservatives cannot shoot it down. But as Simpson points out the summer provided an opportunity for Ignatieff to make himself known to Canadians but instead of doing that he has done a disappearing act!

Michael Ignatieff's curiously wasted summer
The failure to develop a coherent critique of the government has left Liberals wondering what is going on

Jeffrey Simpson
Last updated on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2009 04:15AM EDT
What a curious summer it has been for the Liberal Party and its leader, Michael Ignatieff.
Summer, it should be said, is a tough time for an opposition leader to command much, if any, media attention. Deprived of a parliamentary platform, whatever he says seldom echoes across the countr…

Liberals ask for cost analysis of their EI plan.

It seems that the Conservatives are really not interested in co-operating on EI reform with the Liberals. I thought that the Liberals and Conservatives were in effect operating a type of secret coalition but it seems I was wrong. The Conservatives were just playing their usual tricks to keep themselves in power. The EI bipartisan panel has already achieved its purpose of avoiding a summer election. Now perhaps the Conservatives are ready to dare the Liberals to bring them down. The Liberals are not improving significantly in the polls so Harper probably thinks that Ignatieff will cave in again.

Liberals seek independent review of EI proposal as reform panel stalls
(CP) – 18 hours ago
OTTAWA — A bipartisan panel on Employment Insurance reform, set up in June to avert a summer federal election, appears to have ground to a stalemate.
The Conservative and Liberal teams wrapped up their last scheduled meeting without agreeing to a further timetable, and without - say Liberals - any firm propos…

Green Party Leader May ponders new riding.

This is an obvious move. If the Green party leader were to be in parliament she would get more media exposure. This will probably boost the party fortunes and if it doesn't it will encourage the party to choose a new leader! Although the Green Party gets a significant percentage of the vote, since it is so spread out so far no one has been elected. If May runs in a constitutency with a strong Green constituency she could very well pull off the first win.

Green party leader May ponders new riding
Evan French/North Star
North Star, News, Wednesday, August 19, 2009
by Evan French A new riding for Green party leader Elizabeth May was a key issue discussed during Adriane Carr’s lunch visit to Parry Sound.
The party’s deputy leader was in town Friday for a visit with local Green candidate Glen Hodgson and other local supporters to chat about strategy for the next election and to explain why the party’s leader would be “parachuting in” to a new riding next time around.
Carr, who is best know…

NDP the New Conservatives..?

The NDP has been relatively conservative from the beginning. It was conservative relative to the CCF. The CCF was for eradicating capitalism and would not rest until it had established the Co-operative Commonwealth in Canada. Most of the NDP leadership wanted to turn it into a version of the UK Labor Party. Lately many have wanted to follow the Third Way of social democratic parties in Europe. So if the NDP were to decide to become the Democratic Party this would simply be part and parcel of the evolution of the NDP further to the right. If as the author claims the party is so conservative perhaps it will have a much better chance now in Alberta!
If NDPers consulted their grandmothers when in doubt as the author suggests they might get a radical earful!

The New Conservatives

Calgary HeraldAugust 18, 2009
Woodrow Wilson once said a conservative is someone who makes no changes and consults his grandmother when in doubt.
He could have been referring to today's federal New Democratic P…

PM talks economic development in Iqaluit

Harper seems to concentrate upon asserting sovereignty and a greater military presence to back that up. Behind all this is the fact that with increased global warming and decreasing supply of essential commodities such as gas and oil and minerals the north will be ripe for exploitation. There have been complaints in the north that there was little consultation with northerners before policy was developed. No doubt Harper had already consulted with those who count in the south before he developed his policy. There are serious social welfare issues in the north and the need for a development plan that those in the north design. It is all very well to assert our sovereignty in the north and important in itself but policy should also be designed to reflect the concerns of northerners who will be most impacted by Harper's policies.

PM to talk economic development in Iqaluit
Updated Tue. Aug. 18 2009 9:58 AM ET News Staff
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to discuss Arctic ec…

Ignatieff lags Harper in approval rating: poll

What seems to be more significant is that both have negative ratings! Even though more approve Harper than Ignatieff, Harper's total score is minus 11 versus minus 9 for Ignatieff. Of course the article fails to mention that Layton has the best overal score of all at plus 1! This is just an example of the way articles frame issues as if only the two main parties count. Apparently it was not even thought important to ask about the Greens or the Bloc leaders.
The pollsters did think it was important to ask about Obama who is obviously a very important Canadian politician! It is all entertainment with Obama being a global celebrity so his Canadian rating is important.

Ignatieff lags Harper in approval rating: poll

CBC News
Prime Minister Stephen Harper scores a higher job approval rating than his political rival, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, according to a new poll, but both had more negative than positive evaluations from Canadians who were asked about their performance.

Ottawa must press for Khadr's return: Appeal Court.

Harper no doubt is unhappy with this decision. He can still appeal to the Supreme Court. He has absolutely no shame and no worry about paying the legal bills either since the taxpayer will be doing that.
Obama has never had a thing to say about Khadr's case as far as I am aware. No doubt he has other issues on his mind!

Ottawa must press for Khadr's return: Appeal Court

CBC News
The Federal Court of Appeal upheld a ruling Friday that ordered the Canadian government to press for the return of Omar Khadr from a U.S. military detention centre in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.The Toronto-born Khadr, now 22, is being held at Guantanamo and is accused of killing a U.S. army soldier with a hand grenade during a gunfight in Afghanistan in 2002, when Khadr was 15. His case remains on hold pending a review of the U.S. military tribunal system by the Obama administration.
In April, Federal Court Judge James O'Reilly ruled in favour of Khadr's charter challenge of the Canadian government'…