Showing posts from October, 2009

Tom Flanagan: Ignatieff repeats Harper's Errors

Although I am at the opposite end of the political spectrum from Flanagan most of his articles that I have read are far better than most of the fluff that passes for political commentary in Canada. His articles are almost always interesting and perceptive and in this case place Ignatieff's actions in a unique historical perspective. At one time Flanagan was a Conservative campaign manager and close to Harper. I am not sure what the situation is now.

Ignatieff needs a history lesson

Tom Flanagan

From Friday's Globe and Mail
Published on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2009 6:59PM EDT

Last updated on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2009 2:51AM EDT

.Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. – George Santayana

The leader of the opposition, after supporting the minority government's budget, decides that he would like to force an election after all. He publicly announces his intention to defeat the government, leaving the prime minister lots of time to react. Then the roof caves in at Storn…

Conservative continue to lead Liberals by wide margin

Although the Conservatives are only increasing their lead marginally the NDP improved a couple of percentage points. Among leaders Layton has the best showing with Ignatieff far the worst. The Liberal party must be starting to wonder how much better off they are for having dumped Dion! Ignatieff unceremoniously dumped the Green Shift now in the face of the polls he has dumped the dump Harper policy. Maybe the Liberals will bring out the knives and begin a dump Ignatieff campaign.

Conservatives keep lead in poll
CBC News
Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives are polling nearly enough support for a majority government, according to the latest EKOS numbers. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)
Support for the Conservative Party continued to hold last week, according to the latest poll results from EKOS.

Among decided respondents, the Conservatives drew 38.4 per cent support, followed by the Liberals at 26.8 per cent and the New Democratic Party at 16.7 per cent.

The Green Party had the su…

Harper to visit India and China for the first time.

These visits and increased trade ties with both countries make a great deal of sense. Canada is overly dependent with trade with the US. Given our geographical location and our vast natural resources it is natural that the US is our largest trading partner but it makes a great deal of sense to have a more diversified trading pattern and sell our resources where we can get the best return. With growing economies both India and China will be willing to pay a good price for raw materials necessary to fuel their growing economies.

Harper to visit India, China for 1st time
CBC News
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced plans to visit two of the world's emerging economic superpowers — China and India — for the first time this fall.

Harper will travel to India — where Canada recently opened new trade offices in Hyderabad, Calcutta and Ahmedabad — from Nov. 16 to 18 after meeting APEC leaders in Singapore, his office said in a statement released Wednesday in Ottawa.

International Trade …

Former Canwest workers protest severance pay..

Not only are workers losing their jobs during the recession and still doing so when the recession is supposedly over but they are losing benefits as well. Not only investors lose during bankruptcy proceedings but so do the workers as is evident in this case. There should be some type of insurance fund so that when these events happen the workers still get their contractual entitlements.

Former Canwest workers protest outside court hearing issues of severance
(CP) –
TORONTO — Former employees of Canwest Global Communications are demonstrating outside a downtown Toronto courthouse where lawyers are discussing their severance pay.
About 100 former Canwest staff and union members are outside the court with signs calling for their severance payments to be resumed.
It's the first time that the court has talked in detail about the money owed to Canwest staff who were laid off from the media conglomerate, which filed for creditor protection in some of its divisions earlier this month.
Their sev…

Conservatives to introduce tighter parole rules for non-violent offenders.

The Conservatives are now beginning to implement their help the prison-industrial complex agenda which is easy to sell since the public for the most part will always buy into a be harsh on crime program. Some Liberals may object and the NDP but they will do nothing. Not only do they not want to bring down the government but they do not want to appear as soft on crime. Of course jails are tremendously expensive and conservatives always worry about govt. expenditures and entitlements. But criminals need not worry about their entitlements to go to prison! That is safe and even expanding.

Tories propose tighter parole rules

CBC News
Minister of Public Safety Peter Van Loan says non-violent criminals such as fraudsters and drug dealers should have to earn the right to parole. (Canadian Press)
The federal government said Monday it will introduce legislation to crack down on early parole for non-violent offenders, a move it says will augment proposed tougher sentences for white-collar criminals…

Ignatieff has been reading the polls again!

Perhaps the Liberals should have a genuine leadership convention before they try to topple the Conservatives. Ignatieff now has given the Conservatives carte blanche. He is just asking Harper to present him with a poison pill that will make him look even more unprincipled than he appears at the moment. Suddenly when the polls go down somewhat Harper's government is no longer so bad that it needs to go. This is a great Xmas present for Harper but Ignatieff could have waited a while before giving it to him.

Ignatieff retreats from trying to topple Harper

Liberal leader says they won't try again until spring election

By Andrew Mayeda, Canwest News ServiceOctober 20, 2009

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said Tuesday his party will no longer seek to defeat the Harper government, suggesting the Conservatives will remain in power until at least next spring's federal budget.
"We've said clearly we won't support the government but, at the same time, we won't try to def…

Iranian Press reports on Hillier book!

This is from an Iranian news agency. It is a bit surprising that they should notice Hillier's book and write an article about it. Hillier is probably correct that the NATO mission has not been successful and certainly not supported in the way that the military would like. However, from what is said here it would seem that Hillier is not really sympathetic to the political difficulties involved and is gung ho for a military solution. In my opinion NATO should never have been there in the first place and is just being used as a helpmate for a U.S. agenda. The entire extension of NATO's role was a farce from the beginning simply spreading the burden of US imperium on other countries.

Afghanistan to be graveyard of NATO alliance?
As public support for the Afghan war rapidly falls in NATO countries, the head of the alliance has stepped up efforts to keep member-states united. On Thursday, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen spoke before a meeting with alliance defense minist…

Hillier, the usual line...

No way to escape Afghan combat post-2011, Hillier says
A prominent theme in retired general's new book is a distaste for politicians, bureaucrats who acted in their own interests
Allan Woods Ottawa Bureau

I certainly agree with Hiller that if Canada stays in Afghanistan in a non-combat role that troops will still be involved in combat. In fact that is the reason why Canada should put out period. No doubt whatever govt. is in power will try to argue for a new role. Perhaps even the NDP could be sold on this. My own view is that Canada should not have been in Afghanistan in the first, that the occupation was illegal and the fig leaf now covering ISAF is a travesty just as was the UN resolution that legalised the US and allies occupation of Iraq.

OTTAWA – Pulling Canadian soldiers out of Afghanistan in 2011 will leave a gaping hole in security efforts and won't necessarily ensure the end of combat operations, former chief of defence staff Gen. Rick Hillier says.
As MPs prepare to de…

Conservatives Still Lead Liberals but gap closes slightly.

Obviously Ignatieff emphasizes turfing out the Conservatives less. However, he claims he will continue to vote against them on confidence motions. He had better hope the Bloc or NDP save Harper or should I say save Ignatieff!

Conservatives maintain poll lead
Last Updated: Thursday, October 22, 2009
CBC News
Federal voting intentions were polled by EKOS between Oct. 14 and Oct. 20. (EKOS)
The Conservative Party maintained its substantial advantage over the Liberal Party in the latest weekly poll from EKOS.
According to the latest poll, which was released exclusively to the CBC, the Conservatives had the support of 38.3 per cent of respondents, down from 40.7 per cent last week.
Liberal support rose to 27.1 per cent from 25.5 per cent.
The NDP rose 0.2 percentage points to 14.5 per cent, while Green Party support grew half a percentage point to 11 per cent.
Support for the Bloc Québécois slipped by 0.1 percentage points to nine per cent.
The latest EKOS poll was conducted by phone between Oct. 1…

The Conservative branded economic stimulus checks.

Of course these are not real checks but the the advertising value is real enough. Maybe Iggy should make up huge checks signed by the Canadian Taxpayer to pay for the multi-billion dollar Conservative deficit. Or I guess it would be more appropriate for that to be done by Harper's former boss the Canadian Taxpayer group.

Ethics chief probes cheque complaints
Commissioner unsure of her mandate
CBC News

Canada's ethics commissioner will investigate dozens of allegations that Conservative MPs are using taxpayers' money for partisan purposes.
But Mary Dawson says she's not sure how far her mandate allows her to go into ethical issues, despite her job title.
Dawson is looking into how to deal with the dozens of complaints about Tory MPs putting their own names and party logo on economic stimulus cheques.
"We're still receiving the 50-odd complaints," Dawson said Tuesday.
Opposition MPs claim Conservative MPs are breaking the rules by passing off taxpayers' money a…

Is Harper about to privatize AECL?

Obviously AECL is going to cost the public lots of money but no private enterprise is going to buy into AECL unless they get a sweet deal. However, that is probably what Harper would dearly love to arrange. If he is really desperate he could always sell to North Korea or Iran! Hopefully Harper will realise the importance of such a key business to the government of Canada and not privatise it.

Workers want AECL to remain Crown firm

CBC News
Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt announced last May the federal government will restructure the Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. and might spin off its reactor business from its research division. (Canadian Press)
Scientists and engineers from the Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (AECL) were on Parliament Hill on Monday, urging the government to proceed carefully when privatizing the Crown corporation.
"We support restructuring of AECL to allow it to take advantage of growing international opportunities," said Dr. Michael Ivanco, vice-president of…

A Ford Focus may replace ambulance for some Winnipeg paramedics.

This seems to be a good idea and certainly worth trying. This will freeup ambulances for other types of calls and perhaps decrease response times and also trips to emergency.

Sedans may replace ambulances
Move mulled to free up ERs
By: Mary Agnes Welch

Forget the huge white ambulance. Forget the lights and sirens. Forget the long wait to be handed off to an emergency room doctor.
Winnipeg paramedics could soon arrive at your door in a much homelier vehicle -- a Ford Focus. If the provincial government approves the idea, a paramedic could be sent by car to triage and treat some of the thousands of non-life-threatening cases called in to 911 every year.
The move is part of a bold new plan meant to reduce pressure on city emergency rooms, ease the chronic shortage of paramedics and cope better with the looming H1N1 flu pandemic.
A Ford Focus could be on the streets in a few weeks, with five paramedics cruising the city in sedans by the time the worst of the pandemic hits, said Winnipeg Fire Par…

New Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger

There does not seem to have been much dissension during the convention. Both candidates were well known and safe more or less middle of the road although Ashton seemed to offer more promises and is very well liked in the north. There will likely be little change in policy. The NDP in Manitoba is tame enough that outgoing premier Gary Doer was chosen to serve as the Harper government ambassador to the U.S. Apparently the NDP thinks this is just fine and does not reflect upon their political direction. While Greyhound is trying to extort subsidies etc. from the government therre is no suggestion in discussions that the NDP might follow the lead of the Sask. govt. and create a provincial bus service. That would be far too radical I suppose.

Canada's newest premier former community activist, number-cruncher
By Steve Lambert And Chinta Puxley (CP) – 16 hours ago
WINNIPEG — As Manitobta premier for the last decade, Gary Doer straddled demands for increased social change with business tax…

The Manitoba NDP leadership campaign

There does not seem to be any huge conflict between the two leadership candidates. For years the Manitoba NDP has been very much middle of the road, a policy that seems to have paid off in that Doer was re-elected last time with little difficulty. Manitoba is one of the better off provinces as far as the recession is concerned so the NDP could be re-elected next time as well unless they make some serious missteps.

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
NDP leadership race: The policy debate
By: Larry Kusch
Steve Ashton and Greg Selinger do not appear to be far apart ideologically. But Ashton's campaign promises were often bold and provocative, with several carrying heavy price tags, while Selinger's were more modest and often extensions of current government policy.

Ashton's promises included:

"ö Redeveloping CPR's Weston Yards as a home for new housing, commercial development and green space. Province to spend $50 million over five years.
"ö $250 million over 10 year…

Poll: Tories seven points ahead of Liberals

Perhaps the Liberals will now be thinking twice of pushing Ignatieff as leader and sabotaging Dion. Perhaps they need a real leadership race again. Perhaps this will help the fortunes of Green and NDP as people give up hope in the two old line parties although most people seem committed to the choice of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. If the number get much better for the Tories Harper may try to engineer an election this year rather than trying to desperately avoid one as he did last year!

Tories lead Liberals by seven points: poll
(CP) – 20 hours ago
OTTAWA — The federal Conservatives continue to hold a healthy lead over the Liberals, but remain well shy of majority territory, a new poll suggests.
The Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey put the Tories at 35 per cent nationally, compared with 28 per cent for the Liberals.
The NDP was at 15 per cent, while the Greens and Bloc Quebecois were tied at 10 per cent.
Doug Anderson, Harris-Decima senior vice-president, said graphs of polling data ov…

Military Complaints Commission complains documents unavailable from Harper government.

The Harper government simply does not want to come clean and this is not surprising since it is probably dirty! Whenever national security can be excused as an excuse to avoid doing something that would make it look bad the government always will do so. The government has been doing everything possible to make sure that the commission cannot carry out its task including questioning its jurisdiction. Unfortunately these sorts of shenanigans probably have little negative political fallout. News Staff Updated: Thu. Oct. 15 2009 10:42 AM ET
A lawyer with the Canadian Military Complaints Commission says the truth about allegations of prisoner torture in Afghanistan will only surface if the government is forthcoming with documents.
Freya Kristjanson told Canada AM on Thursday that while the government has said it's cooperating with the commission, it has not turned in any documents since March, 2008.
"This commission has not received a single new document (sic) despite repea…

Stelmach support plumetting

Alberta seems to be the most fickle and most stable electorate. Although they tend to elect huge majorities when they get upset they are probably the most apt to vote for a new party--usually a brand new branch of the Conservatives! I wonder if those Wild Rosers also smell of the oil patch Conservatives who are angry that Stelmach won the leadership race!

Voter support plummets for PCs, Stelmach: poll

CBC News
Political support for Alberta's Progressive Conservative party is dropping at a dramatic pace with a majority of respondents in a new opinion poll disapproving of Premier Ed Stelmach's leadership.
If an election were held today, the Tories would still lead with 30 per cent support, followed by the Wildrose Alliance with 22 per cent, according to the survey conducted by Return On Insight, a strategic research consulting company.
The Alberta Liberals would place third with 18 per cent support, followed by the Alberta NDP with nine per cent, and the Green Party of Alberta — whi…

Spector: Early HST legislation would put Ignatieff on the spot.

Spector is certainly correct. The HST legislation would force Ignatieff to support the Conservative govt. or vote against two Liberal premiers! But the tax is very unpopular in Ontario and moreso in BC. If Ignatieff did vote against the tax he would probably be joined by the Bloc and NDP and that would precipitate an election in which polls show Harper would do well. However, during the campaign the situation could very well change. Anyway it seems that none of the opposition parties are anxious for an election and so one of them will no doubt blink and save Harper.

Early HST legislation would put Ignatieff on the spot

Norman Spector for The Globe and Mail

Norman Spector
Published on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2009 8:16PM EDT Last updated on Monday, Oct. 12, 2009 2:34AM EDT
Prime Minister Stephen Harper's first minority government was one of the longest in Canadian history (the average tenure is about 18 months). And Mr. Harper could have continued to govern for who knows how long had he respect…

Travers: Ignatieff must target Tory deficit

It is rather ironic that Travers could suggest that the Tories can be attacked on their runaway spending. The Tories are supposed to be the thrifty Scrooges of govt. spending and the Liberals are supposed to be the big government big time spenders! Of course Travers is right in that conservatives such as Bush and Harper turned their ideology upside down in order to rescue the system against the burst bubble caused by greed and unregulated capitalism. Harper has brought a huge debt one that he always manages to under-predict.
Ignatieff's problem is that he has not outlined or sold a clear idea about what he would do in the future. The Harper expenditures were arguably necessary to salvage the system from disaster but the problem will be how to ease out of the stimulus without the recovery turning into another dip and how to pay for the increased debt. As Travers point out Harper is in effect increasing EI payrol taxes while lambasting Ignatieff for being silly enough to tell the …

Some Canadian troops to stay in Afghanistan beyond 2011.

Here we go again. If you do not want casualties then all troops must be withdrawn. If you do not want to throw taxpayer money down the drain when we have billion dollar deficits withdraw right now and leave the US Nobel Peace Prize winner to continue the useless killing and farcical pursuit of a legitimate Afghan govt. A government that passed the marriage rape law after all and will assess the death penalty on a Muslim who converts to Christianity and who will throw a woman MP out of the legislature for stating the obvious that there are warlords with horrible human rights records in the legislature! Harper is firm on withdrawal date but not firm on what that means.

Some Canadian troops to stay in Afghanistan beyond 2011
(AFP) – 4 hours ago
OTTAWA — Canada will keep some troops in Afghanistan beyond a lawmaker-mandated 2011 deadline for withdrawal to serve in development and reconstruction roles, a government spokesman said Saturday.
Canadian lawmakers voted in March 2008 to end the dep…

Liberals criticize Tories for patronage appointments.

Actually there seems to be a great deal of bipartisan agreement on patronage appointments. Both Liberals and Conservatives often award significant supporters or hacks with govt. appointments. They both agree too that they will tut tut and criticise each other for doing so. Since often there is no or little compensation for helping out political parties it is natural that they will find other ways to reward people for service, at public expense if possible!

Liberals slam Tories for patronage plums

By David Akin, Canwest News ServiceOctober 8, 2009

The federal Liberals slammed the governing Conservatives on Thursday for handing out government jobs -- some of which pay more than $100,000 a year -- to failed former candidates, party workers and financial supporters.
The Liberals went on the attack in the House of Commons in the wake of a report that Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed five judges with Conservative ties. Harper did so less than a week after slamming the Liberals for appoin…

eHealth Ontario sick cronyism....

This certainly will not help the Ontario Liberal party in the polls. It is a sad sordid story of connections rather than efficiency determining who got contracts and the result was fat paychecks but little progress. A lot of the blame must go to those charged with government oversight of the processes. It seems that the government approved in many instances of contracting processes that went against their own guidelines.

$1B waste of money: McCarter
Grits ripped over eHealth spending
Last Updated: 8th October 2009, 5:32am

Auditor General Jim McCar-ter's special report on the provincial government's efforts to bring in an electronic health records system concluded that taxpayers didn't get good value for their $1 billion, that in fact, hundreds of millions of dollars were wasted in the effort.
As expected, David Caplan resigned as health minister yesterday, taking responsibility for the lack of overs…

Buoyed by latest poll PM chides opposition

Given the direction of the polls we could very well see a poison pill soon from Harper. Of course it is quite possible that the NDP might take the pill and commit suicide. The first test may be the harmonised sales tax legislation that the NDP opposes. The Liberals are probably soldiering on voting against the Conservatives because they think this is quite safe. If the polls keep sliding we might find even more dissension in the Liberal party over Ignatieff's leadership. Maybe he should learn to play the piano and sing.

Buoyed by latest poll, PM chides opposition

October 06, 2009
Richard J. Brennan
OTTAWA –Prime Minister Stephen Harper says now that his Conservative Party's popularity has jumped significantly the opposition parties aren't quite so bullish on an election.
"I think one good thing about these polls ... is that it's starting to force some of the other parties to focus on something other than trying to force an election," Harper said in an interview …

Rumours about Liberal defections..

This is all Ignatieff needs. Of course as some Liberals suggest this may just be the Harper dept. of dirty tricks hard at work trying to create problems for Ignatieff. With the polls showing that the Liberals are going nowhere but down there could be more rumblings and knives quietly being unsheathed!

Liberal trio looking to defect, Tories say
Liberal trio looking to defect, Tories say
October 06, 2009
Susan Delacourt

OTTAWA–A Conservative government official said Monday there have been discussions with three Liberal MPs interested in crossing the floor to the Tory side over the past month.
Liberals immediately dismissed the talk as Conservative "mischief" and said it is the government that is on a raiding mission.
There has been speculation in the past few days that Ruby Dhalla, Liberal MP for Brampton-Springdale, has considered defecting to the Conservatives because her own party has refused to back her private member's bill to increase old-age benefits to immigrant seniors.

NDP says no to harmonized sales tax.

Layton claims that he will have a hard time supporting Harper if he introduces an HST law but he does not come out squarely and say he would vote against it. Ignatieff claims that he will not support any confidence motion but we will wait and see. The BC Liberals support the HST!

NDP says no HST

By Jeff Labine, tbnewswatch
The harmonized sales tax is a $4-billion bribe being given to Ontario by the federal governnent, says the leader of the federal NDP. Jack Layton , speaking Saturday outside a local doughnut shop, said the HST tax grab should lie squarely on the shoulders of the Conservative government, who must pass the legislation in the House of Commons for it to become law on July 1, 2010. “I say to Stephen Harper you may try to run but you can’t hide,” said Layton on Saturday. “This is your tax. Eight per cent on about one-fifth of the things consumers of Northwestern Ontario are buying,, right down to your double-double and your donut.” Layton said that the tax will not bring …

NDP to prop up Tories again!

First it was Dion and now it is Layton. While it makes some sense to support the bill that has the popular home improvement tax legislation in it Layton is becoming hostage to the Harper govt. He has promised not to bring it down until the EI bill comes into effect. Perhaps Harper can arrange to delay it while he slips the poison pill harmonised sales tax legislation through. Maybe the Liberals will support that one though since their Liberal counterparts in BC are involved!

NDP to prop up Tories again
By Heather Scoffield (CP) – 1 day ago
OTTAWA — The NDP is poised once again to save the Conservatives from facing an election any time soon.
Leader Jack Layton says his party will support a key budget bill that could come before the House of Commons for final reading as early as next week.
That support would ensure the minority Harper government survives a bit longer, since budget implementation bills are automatically confidence votes.
Bill C-51 contains the popular home renovation tax cre…

The NDP to the rescue..

After bad mouthing the Conservatives for aeons and complaining about the Liberals propping up the Conservatives for a similar length of time, the White Knight socialist Layton gallops to the rescue of the right wing Harper because Harper is willing to give a few crumbs to the unemployed. I guess Layton is a supporter of trickle down Harperism. Never mind parliament is working, for Harper that is. Meanwhile the way is cleared for Ignatieff to come down with the harshest anti-Harper rhetoric since it is perfectly safe. I am waiting for Ignatieff to condemn the harmonised sales tax as a burden on consumers. This is from the Star.

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff says the Conservatives are undermining national institutions.
October 01, 2009 bruce campion-smithOttawa bureau chief
OTTAWA – Prime Minister Stephen Harper has survived a Liberal move to topple his minority Conservatives but suffered a withering attack over his policies and style of government.
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff deliv…