Showing posts from September, 2009

Harmonized tax to hit consumers hard.

Well golly gee at 77 I am so glad that diapers will be exempted from the new tax. Oh right I may end up wearing them forgot that! Anyway it is the Conservatives that are supposed to always be supporting business at the expense of the consumer but BC. and Ontario are both Liberal governments. Lets face it the business lobby is just more powerful than any consumer lobby and are able to get the ear of governments Liberal or Conservative. While businesses save 6.9 billion by the change consumers are gifted with a 1.5 percentage point increase on consumption tax at a time when many consumers are already reeling the effects of the recession.

Harmonized tax to hit consumers hard

Karen Howlett and Ian Bailey
Toronto and Vancouver — From Saturday's Globe and Mail
Consumers will bear the brunt of proposed tax changes in Ontario and British Columbia while businesses reap windfall savings of $6.9-billion, a new report says.
For the first time, economists have put a price tag on the value-added ta…

Filipino community rallies to support flood victims

The Winnipeg Fillipino community always seems to come together to help out their fellow Filipinos back in the Philippines. Many will have lost their homes and all their possessions. Even in normal times many Filipino families depend upon Filipinos in other countries to help them economically. We have a daughter in Manila but she is fine as she lives in a high rise and the rest of the family is on the other side of Luzon in Legazpi and they are OK as well.

Filipino community rallies after flood
Last Updated: Monday, September 28, 2009
CBC News
Winnipeg's Filipino community is shocked by the devastation of the weekend flood in the Philippines, and is trying to raise money for disaster relief. (Mike Alquinto/Associated Press)
Winnipeg's large Filipino community is rallying to raise funds for disaster relief after a flood triggered by a tropical storm in their homeland killed 240 and left thousands homeless.
The National Disaster Co-ordinating Council said the homes of almost 1.9 millio…

Liberals to table non-confidence motion today (Sep. 28)

The NDP really cannot afford to prop up the Conservatives even to bring in some EI benefits. This is just a sop to buy the NDP off and nothing as strong as the NDP is supposed to stand for on EI reform. The Liberals will phrase the non-confidence motion to stick it to the NDP. Many of the rank and file NDP supporters will not be happy with this roll over and beg for an EI tid bit act by Layton. This is from the Time Colonist. Meanwhile Ignatieff has flip flopped on the Outremont flap and allowed Cauchon to run and this has cause Coderre to resign as Quebec Lieutenant for Ignatieff.

Liberals to table non-confidence motion today

By David Akin, Canwest News ServiceSeptember 28, 2009 8:14 AM

OTTAWA — The federal Liberal party will release the text Monday afternoon of its non-confidence motion that MPs will be expected to vote on Thursday.
The Liberals want to bring down Prime Minister Stephen Harper's minority government and force a general election but, to do that, MPs from all three opp…

Ignatieff promises cuts, spending.

The article below is from the Ottawa Citizen.
Certainly Ignatieff is correct that the Harper government has consistently changed its predictions about the deficit upwards--but the same is true of the Liberal govt. of Ontario. Ignatieff's promise of spending cuts gives absolutely no guidance as to where he thinks cuts could be made. I doubt it will be to supporting the Afghan mission! At the same time Ignatieff claims he will pour money into various new programs such as rebuilding infrastructure. This is all very well but in the absence of any information about how much and where he will make spending cuts this is little but self-serving rhetoric. Harper can simply portray Ignatieff as a big spender Liberal who will make the deficit even higher!

Ignatieff promises cuts, spending

By James Cowan, Canwest News ServiceSeptember 22, 2009

Michael Ignatieff accused Conservatives Monday of making a "mess" of the country's finances, saying it is now impossible to tell what spendin…

Ontario budget shortfall 6.4 billion rather than 3.9 billion predicted.

It seems that Liberals and Conservatives are equally adept at downplaying deficits in their predictions. However when this happens each is as adept at the other at blaming each other. This is from the Star.

Provincial budget shortfall leaps to $6.4 billion

Ontario keeps spending in line but deficit jumps as corporate revenue falls an `unprecedented' 48%
Sep 26, 2009 04:30 AM
Robert Benzie Queen's Park Bureau Chief
Ontario's budget shortfall last year was $6.4 billion – far greater than the $3.9 billion predicted in March – because corporate tax revenues plunged almost by half, says Finance Minister Dwight Duncan.

Elizabeth May claims Harper may provoke an election

Actually it looks as if Ignatieff has decided to force an election if he is able to do so. He has ads out and is unveiling parts of a policy platform on the economy. Harper may be happy enough to face off though with Ignatieff being blamed. Of course this is a bit ridiculous anyway since all three opposition parties must vote against the government. If Ignatieff tries to pull back from confronting Harper he may find himself being faced with bills that he cannot swallow as Harper will take advantage of the Liberal decline in the polls to dare them to pull the plug. This is from the Chronicle Herald.

May says Harper may spark election
By STEPHEN MAHER Ottawa BureauFri. Sep 25 - 4:46 AM

OTTAWA — Green Party Leader Elizabeth May is predicting that Prime Minister Stephen Harper will find a way to engineer an election this fall, even as he attacks Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff for trying to send Canadians to the polls.
"Wouldn’t it be just like Harper to decide that things are looking …

Ignatieff unveils economic plan.

Of course the big deficit that Ignatieff goes on about is in part a result of the fact that as with Bush in the US Harper jettisoned his free market shibboleths in the light of the financial crisis and spent large sums on a stimulus package and to bail out the system. Elsewhere Ignatieff has suggested that a difference between Liberals and the Conservatives are that the Liberals think taxes can be useful in financing beneficial programs. Yet in this article Ignatieff sounds very Conservative in his rejection of taxes as part of his program. With a ballooning deficit it would be interesting to know how Ignatieff intends to keep the deficit from growing even more.
Much of Ignatieff's plan seems to be to carp on and on about Harper's free market ideology!

Ignatieff unveils economic plan - Canada - Ignatieff unveils economic plan

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff outlines his plans for economic recovery to the Star in Ottawa Sept. 18,…

Ignatieff on the difference between Liberals and Conservatives

So the Conservatives can now attack Ignatieff as one of those tax and spend Liberals. However when it comes to the crunch Ignatieff will abandon the collection of taxes for all those marvelous programs that will make Canada a better place and like his Tweedle Dee partner the Conservatives will opt for no tax hikes in the name of fostering the recovery". This is from the Star.

""He's also expected to talk about what's not in the platform – specifically tax increases, which Ignatieff says run counter to the Liberals' plan for growth as an economic-recovery strategy. ""

Ignatieff's spin on the Liberal/Conservative divide
By Michael Ignatieff
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff outlined his economic strategy yesterday in a speech to the Toronto Board of Trade. This is an edited version of the conclusion of that speech.
This brings me to the fundamental distinction between Stephen Harper and the Liberal Party.
Back in July, after the G8 Summit in Italy, Mr. …

Layton delves into uncharted waters to keep Harper afloat.

While Layton and Duceppe were no doubt both wise to let the home renovation tax credit measure pass the EI changes are more controversial. Even this might be defensible but Layton also insists on keeping the Tory government in power until the EI changes become law which would take up to two months and would mean that the NDP could prop the Tories up when the Liberals present a non-confidence motion assuming they will do so. This would make a laughing stock of the NDP. The Conservatives have done nothing to sweeten the EI legislation to make it more in line with NDP policy. If the NDP is worried about their poll numbers now, they will have even more worries if they keep propping up a government they have been bad mouthing ever since it took power.

Layton delves into uncharted waters to keep Harper afloat

Steven Chase and Bill Curry
Ottawa — From Saturday's Globe and Mail
The future of Stephen Harper's minority government now apparently rests in the hands of Jack Layton's New …

Canada tries to block IAEA from passing motion for Israel to join NPT

Rather interesting that Canada goes even further than the US, no doubt with US support, and attempts to condemn the resolution as unbalanced. It is not explained how it is unbalanced. Iran is a member of the NPT (non-proliferation treaty)
The reaction of the Conservative government is interesting in that the Liberal government took a different tack when Cuba joined the NPT many years ago.

""On September 20, Canadian Foreign Minster Bill Graham succinctly voiced the sentiments of many of his counterparts around the world: "This is a significant step for Cuba and an important gesture in support of a multilateral, rules-based system governing disarmament and non-proliferation... Cuba's decision will make it part of a community of 188 states that are members of the NPT. Its accession will bring the NPT, the most widely adhered-to arms control treaty in existence, one state closer to universality. Canada calls on India, Israel and Pakistan, states that have not signed the …

Polls Point to likelihood of Tories being saved for a while!

I actually think that it is a good idea to support the Conservative government on the EI and home improvement tax credit. However, it makes Harper's carping about the NDP and the Bloc co-operating the Liberals look rather foolish. Now those horrible separatists and socialists are voting for Harper policies. Must be something wrong with them! Iggy has a reprieve as well he can bellow and blow all he wants and vote against the government in perfect safety..
However, Harper can always blow this brief period of co-operation by introducing legislation that none of the opposition will support. There still could be an election provoked later in the session. If the Conservatives get far enough ahead of the Liberals they could very well provoke an election and Iggy would no doubt be forced to go into battle or completely loose face.

Conservative lead widens in poll
Last Updated: Thursday, September 17, 2009 9:53 AM ET
CBC News
The Conservatives have widened their lead over the Liberal Party…

Obama on Buy American: Talk but no action.

Obama talks the talk repeatedly but doesn't do anything. He probably has other things on his mind right now such as health care, Afghanistan, and maybe even Acorn! This is from The Star.

Sticking to a script? Obama's comments have a familiar ring
U.S. President Barack Obama on the subject of Buy America provisions following a meeting with Stephen Harper:
Aug. 10 in Guadalajara
• "I want to assure you that your prime minister raises this with me every time we see each other."
• "I do think it's important to keep this in perspective. This in no way has endangered the billions of dollars of trade taking place between our two countries."
And yesterday in Washington
• "Prime Minister Harper, I want to emphasize, has brought this up every single time we've met, so he's been on the job on this issue"
• "I do want to keep things in perspective. U.S.-Canadian trade continues to be robust ... There is no prospect of any budding trade wars between o…

Harper claims Buy American policy big risk to global economy

A bit ironic that Harper the great admirer of U.S. conservatism should be chastising the Americans on Fox News of all places! Harper is spouting the standard global capitalist line. Obama himself is a bit more subdued because emphasizing global free trade is not all that popular in the U.S. during a period when times are tough and U.S. jobs are still disappearing often outsourced. All of this is good for corporate donations especially when many Canadian businesses depend upon exports to the US so that Buy American policies can be quite damaging to those companies. Requirements that there be country of origin labels on meat products is also a burden to many Canadian producers.

Harper tells U.S. Buy American 'biggest risk' to global economy

The protectionist move could spark retaliation by Canadian cities and provinces, shutting U.S. companies out of key projects, the prime minister said in an interview with Fox News

By Sheldon Alberts, Canwest News ServiceJune 13, 2009

Prime Minist…

Byelection upset condemns policies of Alberta Tories, Liberals

Even though this is primarily a right wing victory it at least shows people can move out of the rut of the Tweedle Dee Tweedle Dum old parties. As the article notes there are some on the left dissatisfied too especially with what is happening at Alberta Health.
The Super Board gets super pay and has super power and consolidation has no doubt fanned the fires of local discontent. This will bolster support for the Wild Rose Alliance. Of course maybe I am wrong, maybe it is just some of the old Tory elite jumping ship and punishing the Tories because they do not like Stelmach and bringing the sheep along with them.

Byelection upset condemns policies of Alberta Tories, Liberals

By Don Braid, Calgary HeraldSeptember 15, 2009 6:55 AM

CALGARY - The Liberals wanted Wildrose Alliance candidate Paul Hinman to do well in Calgary-Glenmore --but not this well.
Hinman didn't just shave a few points off the Tory vote, he robbed it blind, winning the byelection and dumping Tory Diane Colley-Urquha…

Layton may support Tory EI plan..

The Liberals might be wise not to vote against the EI proposals either especially when the motion on Friday also contains the popular tax cuts for home renovations. It would be better to defeat the Conservatives on some other issues later in the fall. However, the EI proposals are obviously much less than either the Liberals or NDP would like to see.

Layton signals NDP could support Tory EI plan
Last Updated: Monday, September 14, 2009
CBC News
NDP Leader Jack Layton told reporters the Conservatives' announcement to expand employment insurance benefits to long-tenured workers was a step in the right direction but more action is needed. (CBC)
NDP Leader Jack Layton suggested on Monday that the Conservative proposal to extend employment insurance for long-tenured workers could be enough to garner support from his party and stave off an election.
"The announcement today appears to be a step in the right direction," Layton said in a prepared statement to reporters following questi…

Conservatives to Introduce EI reforms

We will no find out how eager the Conservatives (and the NDP) are to avoid an election. Given that the bipartisan panel of Liberals and Conservatives got nowhere, it seems unlikely that the Conservatives will bring forth any reforms that are very significant although one never knows for sure. Perhaps they will introduce a few minor reforms but not enough to satisfy any of the opposition parties and then will claim that the opposition is obstructionist and preventing measures that will help the unemployed. On the other hand if the Conservatives want to avoid an election they may include a few crumbs to mollify the NDP or Bloc. We will soon see. Iggy seems to have already committed to an election.

Conservatives to introduce EI reforms

CBC News
CBC News has learned the Conservative government plans to introduce a bill next week to make significant changes to employment insurance.
The proposed legislation will have two parts. The first will extend benefits to laid-off workers who have worked …

Ignatieff denies he will form coalition govt.

Harper talks about playing games but he is the master of games although at times he courts disaster as well. Iggy is quite correct that he can always do as the Conservatives have done, count on the support of some opposition parties to avoid an election if he finds himself with a minority government. Assuming Iggy is a bit less confrontational than Harper he could very well survive for some time by giving a few scraps to the NDP or the Bloc or even more likely to the Conservatives--such as some tougher crime bills that are always popular it seems.
Perhaps in the end he could form a coalition. If voters always voted against politicians who broke promises no one would ever get elected.

Ignatieff insists he won't join forces with Bloc, NDP if Liberals win minority in next vote
September 12, 2009
OTTAWA–In a bid to counter Tory attacks, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff has declared he would not form a coalition with other opposition parties if he forms a mi…

Harper parries "hidden agenda" attack

The Tories are frustrated by the fact that the Liberals have finally decided not to bellow loud but then roll over softly as Harper rams his legislation through. Whether the call for a majority will work is doubtful. I cannot understand why Canadians just don't vote for other parties. Vote for Christian Heritage or a Libertarian if you are on the right vote NDP or Green or Communist if you are on the left. The two main parties are just Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum representatives of the most powerful interests and the differences between the two are marginal. One good sign is that neither leader Harper nor Ignatieff are popular among Canadians. This shows that Canadians have still some good sense left!
Harper is going to play the coalition boogey man game. Ignatieff has already rejected the idea of a coalition but that is just plain stupid. Politicians should always keep options open not close them down. By acting on suggestions such as that of Norman Spector, a former Mulroney oper…

Poll: Ignatieff hurt by election mongering.

Ignatieff has certainly not done anything that would improve his popularity. No doubt forcing an election might lead to some unpopularity. It would have been better if he had waited until the Conservatives did something to force him to stand up to them. If he had passed Conservative legislation that the Liberals ordinarily would not agree to he might have lost popularity as well. Dion certainly did not help his popularity by making sure government worked--aka letting Conservative legislation pass. Since both leaders are not popular perhaps the NDP and Green Party and smaller parties may do better. Let us hope so. The sooner people see through the old line parties the better. Although it would seem that Ignatieff must be determined to have an election if he can it remains to be seen if he will keep on course. Perhaps he hopes that the Bloc or NDP will save him by voting with the Conservatives but so far that seems unlikely. The NDP would be open to voting with the Conservatives but n…

Alberta Labour Federation: Alberta gets a raw deal on EI benefits.

Alberta is being punished for being a boom province. Only 15 per cent of young Albertan workers qualify for EI when they lose their jobs and Alberta has the lowest percentage of its unemployment workers receiving benefits of all provinces. Meanwhile the Liberals and Conservatives have an EI panel that is going nowhere because the two parties do not see eye to eye on reform. Harper however managed to avoid an election by setting it up. Now he will squawk loudly about this being a bad time to have an election and that Canadians do not want an election but he will be forced into it by those evil Liberals et al. Don't expect masses of Albertans to turn against Harper however!

Alberta labour federation says the province gets a raw deal on E-I benefits
By Jim Macdonald (CP) – 14 hours ago
EDMONTON — The Alberta Federation of Labour has released an analysis that supports its push to shorten waiting times for federal Employment Insurance benefits in Alberta.
The labour group says Albertans ar…

Those Liberal ads!

Oh my goodness gracious the Liberal leader is promoting himself on TV. Where will all this Liberal wickedness end. Iggy even seems to be trying to make himself warm and human like Harper without the blue sweater. We even have echoes of the Green Shift with the attractive forest glade setting in the background of one ad. Perhaps a view of an oil Sands development would be more appropriate and attract a few Albertan votes!

Tories accuse Ignatieff of promoting self on TV

September 07, 2009 Susan DelacourtOttawa Bureau

OTTAWA–An election may be weeks, even months away, but the Liberals' campaign enters the warm-up phase on the airwaves today, with a $2 million series of TV ads intended to showcase leader Michael Ignatieff to Canadians.
Three of the ads were unveiled yesterday on Facebook and YouTube, and Conservatives immediately retaliated with accusations that Ignatieff is trying to make the next election all about him.
The one English-language ad revealed yesterday, titled "Worldvi…

Layton wants concrete action on NDP policies as price of support for Harper

The rhetorical bleatings coming from the NDP sound as if it is the NDP that would just love the Conservatives to throw them a lifeline to avoid an election. However, it seems destined not to be. Although supporting Conservatives might possibly bleed off some NDP support and open them up to Liberal attacks, probably the Conservatives simply refuse to budge because they do not see it as in their own interests. The Conservative refrain will be that Canadians want parliament to work and that the opposition will simply not co-operate. Canadians do not want an election but the big bad opposition forced it upon them with all sorts of negative consequences. This prattle is not likely to generate a majority government. The Conservatives want the parliament to work but only upon their terms and the opposition can cave in or face an election. This time it seems we will be facing an election.
The Liberals have already unveiled their great policy slogan: We Can Do Better. Perhaps the Conservati…

MacKay violates Conflict of Interest Act

Obviously a minister with such an imperfect memory is not to be trusted as defence minister. Imagine you were a board member of two companies and forgot that fact. Surely you would get regular letters notifying you of board meetings among other things.
The Chronicle Herald may have phrased their headline incorrectly but MacKay is at minimum guilty of violating the Conflict of Interest Act whether he is guilty of actual conflict of interest or not.

MacKay denies conflict of interest But defence minister admits he violated Conflict of Interest Act.
By STEPHEN MAHER Ottawa Bureau
OTTAWA — Peter MacKay denied Thursday that he was in a conflict of interest when he was a director of two family forestry companies while serving as a federal cabinet minister.
The defence minister and Central Nova MP acknowledged being in violation of the Conflict of Interest Act, which forbids ministers from serving on the boards of private companies, but he said that doesn’t necessarily mean he was in a conflict.

Greyhound Bus Service in Manitoba, NW Ont. to end.

Much as I dislike John Baird in this case he hits the nail on the head. Greyhound is attempting to bully Manitoba and Ontario into providing subsidies and/or allowing them to drop services to smaller communities. In the articles I have seen it sounds as if Greyhound is going to stop all service in Manitoba and NW Ontario but this makes little sense. Greyhound just opened a new terminal in Winnipeg. Presumably Greyhound would still serve Winnipeg and probably Brandon and Kenora at the least. There are many smaller towns that buses travelling on the Trans-Canada west and east that it would be simple enough for Greyhound to serve in some manner. Even in smaller places considerable freight goes by bus. Greyhound just wants the highest volume stops and will demand subsidies to do anything more. This is an obvious area for the government to jump in and serve the people. Perhaps it might boost NDP fortunes in some parts of rural Manitoba. They certainly need boosting!
If the NDP were any s…

Tories Gear Up for Battle..

I find it rather surprising that both the Liberals and the Tories seem to be taking such strong stands that it leaves them little room to back down. Only the NDP and the Bloc are leaving their options open. If Harper is unwilling to accomodate either the NDP or the Bloc as seems to be the case it would seem we are election bound. However we will still need to wait and see. Politicians have been known to reverse themselves even in situations such as this. Unless things change it is not clear who will get a minority government let alone a majority. Iggy might even have to go with a dreaded coalition!

Tories gear up for political battle

Harper government says there's no chance for a deal with the NDP
•Ottawa — From Thursday's Globe and Mail
Last updated on Thursday, Sep. 03, 2009 09:18AM EDT

The minority Harper government is arming for political battle this fall rather than seeking peace, dismissing the chances of a deal with the NDP to avoid an election and warning its defeat would …

Ignatieff to pull the plug?

Ignatieff seems to have trouble making up his mind. Not too long ago he was trying to dampen election speculation. Perhaps he feels completely double-crossed in his agreement with the Conservatives to set up a bipartisan panel to deal with EI reform. It would seem that the Conservatives were not ready to give much if anything to the Liberals. Harper is up to his old chicken game--in the interests of all Canadians of course who don't want an election! It remains to be seen if Ignatieff sticks to his new story but it would seem as if he is serious as new ads are being trotted out and a great new policy leap forward: We Can Do Better. That is real grist for any intellect's mill. Harvard will be proud.It will be interesting to see if Layton and the BQ are willing to join forces with Ignatieff to defeat Harper. Probably they will but one never knows for sure.
‘We can do better,' Liberals declare
Jane Taber Senior Political Writer. (Globe and Mail)
Michael Ignatieff framed his ba…