Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"Clearly, the Conservatives have understood nothing" - Vote non-confidence

"Clearly, the Conservatives have understood nothing," said René Roy, secretary-general of the Quebec Federation of Labour, the province's largest labour union with 500,000 members.
"Despite appearances, the government is confirming its lack of vision and is abandoning the worse-off.
"The measures are the equivalent of a Band-Aid on a giant, gaping wound. For the victims of the recession - the men and women who have lost their jobs - it will drive them to despair."
Danny Williams has the similar message for the Liberals:
Defeat PM over 'vindictive, nasty' budget, N.L. premier tells Liberals
READ THE FINE PRINT
Until now, the program allowed provinces to pick different options each year and take the one that put them in the best financial position. Williams said the new budget removed that flexibility, and means a substantial drop in expected revenue.

"The impact in the province over the next three years is — according to our early calculations — at least a billion and a half dollars," Williams said.
ENOUGH SAID!

SHOW HARPER THE DOOR ~ Harper closed the parliamentary door in December. Now its time to show Harper the door. The Harper government is vindictive & nasty, and those poison pills are still there. Stand on your principals.

COALITION GOVERNMENT NOW!


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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Layton sets the record straight: NDP opposes cuts for workers

Layton sets the record straight with Torstar opinion Writer Walkom ~ NDP opposes cuts for workers
Jan 27, 2009 04:30 AM

Re:Biggest numbers not necessarily the most important, Jan. 24

For the record, Jack Layton and the New Democratic Party of Canada in no way support wage cuts for workers – especially as an effort to kick start the economy, save jobs or create new ones.

Writer Thomas Walkom's assertion that such measures advanced by the Conservatives would make matters worse for working families is absolutely correct. All the more reason why most Canadians have lost confidence in Stephen Harper and why the New Democrats will be voting accordingly on the upcoming budget votes.

Brad Lavigne, Office of NDP Leader Jack Layton

Walkom is confusing this recycled NDP leader's folly - Rae Days: The rise And Follies Of The NDP. For sure, Layton is no Bob Rae.

Enough said!

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The Poison Pill is right here! Fantasy to believe otherwise

Spotting the POISON PILL in the speech from the throne is as easy as 1, 2, 3:
As Canadians expect, the economy will be the focus of our Government’s actions and of the measures placed before Parliament during the coming year. In pursuing measures to support the economy, our Government will also attend to the other important priorities that it set out in the Speech from the Throne to open the 40th Parliament.
BACK TO THE FUTURE

Opposition parties weren't fooled the first time - don't buy into "Harper has changed." Pretending otherwise is believing this cow poop:
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty was talking about surpluses as recently as November or that Harper campaigned in September and October on the fantasy that Canada would escape global financial chaos. Forget, too, that balanced budgets were central to the Reform party and that Tories promised, hearts crossed, to never, ever fall back on bad habits.

Make no mistake, Harper is going to attack union rights, women's hard fought equality rights, and democracy by removing voter subsidy.

Dethroning Harper is as easy as 1, 2, and 3.

Conservatives OUT ~ Coalition NOW!

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

You Might be a Socialist ~ oh my god!

Take the Canadianist socialist test (you know you want to, eh?):

If you’ve ever taken your family on vacation to a national park, you might be a socialist.

If you’ve ever accessed a doctor, had a major surgery, been treated in an emergency room, or received a free flu vaccination, with no charge or risk of bankruptcy, then you might be a socialist.

If you’ve attended a post-secondary school in Canada, you might be a socialist.

If you’ve graduated high school, or sent your kids to K-12 school, you might be socialist.

If you’ve given to a charity, you might be a socialist.

If you have ever shopped at a cooperative, you might be a socialist.

If your power, water, or sewage is provided by your city, you might be a socialist.

If you’ve ever used public transit, you’re most likely a socialist.

If you don’t pay a toll every time you drive to work, you might be a socialist.

In short, if you’re one of those Canadians who can’t afford to pay individually for medical care, private schooling, Ivy Leaque colleges, or private mountain resorts, then whether you know it or not, you’re a socialist.

Oh, but there’s more:

If you work a 40 hour work week, you can thank the socialists.

If you get paid overtime, you can thank the socialists.

If you’re a woman and receive equal pay for doing the same work as men, you can thank the feminists and socialists.

If you get paid holidays, you can thank the socialists.

If you have a pension, you can thank the socialists.

If you belong to a union, you can thank the socialists.

And so on.

Now that you know you might be a socialist as Tommy Douglas, add to "and so on."

Don't be shy, you know you're a socialist!

Canadians are socialist, get over it, and be proud, eh?

h/t to The Canadianist
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Friday, January 23, 2009

RED ALERT ~ Canada needs a new government!


Layton, the NDP leader made his pitch to the Board of Trade Friday in the lead up to next week's make-or-break Tory budget.

NOW writer, Enzo Di Matteo, reminded folks that Layton was
AND
  • chaired the Economic Development and Planning Committee of the City of Toronto (a city population bigger than the maritime provinces!)

In his speech, Layton signaled that his party is prepared to bring the Tories down, but at the same time advocated economic restraint.
"What is done today to spark our economy recovery will have consequences tomorrow. We must ensure we don’t pay too high a price for that recovery," he said. "Nothing done in the depths of recession should place Canada in an untenable position for the future."

Layton reminded the audience that the economic numbers aren't pretty, where "more than 100,000 jobs were lost in the last two months. And one in five last month were lost here in Toronto. Unemployment is set to go above 7 per cent nationally. "

What Layton says should be in the Tory budget:
A significant investment in infrastructure; a strategy to protect and build the key sectors (manufacturing, including automotive and high tech); EI support for families. "And a clear commitment to fiscal responsibility, including a commitment – as President Obama put it so well earlier this week – to 'put aside childish things.'"
What shouldn't be in there: unproductive tax cuts

What the NDP is pushing:

A Gas Tax Transfer for cities.

"For Toronto, this would mean substantial public transit expansion. New hybrid buses for the TTC, 204 new light rail cars and major upgrades to the street car system. Union station would get an overhaul – all shovel-ready infrastructure projects identified by the city."

Investment in aboriginal communities.

"Since without significant investment in roads and clean water, not to mention schools and hospitals, aboriginal communities will continue to be left behind. Not only is that morally wrong, it holds back the potential of our people and our economy."

Investment in affordable housing and energy retrofits.

"Construction in Canada is entering a slump as home starts fall. Job losses are mounting already, but there is a desperate need for affordable housing. In Ontario alone, more than 120,000 people are on the wait list. Sensible solutions are available – I’m thinking of the great work at Park & Dundas or the ready-to-go project at Regent Park. Energy retrofits for commercial and government buildings are a start. But home retrofits are even easier and can begin right away."

Other financial sector priorities for the NDP:

  • Growth of the credit union system;
  • Moving towards national securities regulation;
  • Promoting venture capital investment through Quebec’s Solidarity Fund and similar organizations;
  • Stronger regulations to prevent banks from charging unfair credit card interest rates and transaction fees.

"We’re not alone in this," says Layton, "the Retail Council of Canada has backed our call."

The final word:

"Mr. Harper is asking Canadians to trust him in implementing an agenda he has spent his lifetime opposing. That’s why we believe Canada needs a new government, one that knows what needs to be done. And we will take our responsibilities in that government seriously."

That's right - one that takes responsibilities in government seriously and puts Canada and Canadians first!

Conservatives OUT ~ Coalition NOW


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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Gaza and Palestinian Land: A killing field for the last 60 years

WE PROMISED NEVER TO LET IT HAPPEN AGAIN. H/T to LaDaro.

This story is written by former US Marine. Here is his picture and brief bio below.

"Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor.

Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 in Afghanistan with Oregon troops. Tim recently returned from Iraq where he covered the war, embedded with an Oregon Guard aviation unit. Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is one of the few truly independent high traffic news Website, affiliated with Google News and several other major search engines and news aggregators.

You can send Tim an email at this address: newsroom@salem-news.com"

This story is written by Mr. King the former US Marine. I will like you to watch this video before reading the whole story and links. The song is try-not-to-cry by Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens) and the Outlandish:


Below is the link for the whole story and other links on the site.

http://www.salem-news.com/articles/january052009/israel_attacks_1-5-09.php

Now I understand why that Bishop at the Vatican called Gaza "A Concentration Camp." Also, there was a Jewish MP from Britain , Sir Gerald Kaufman, who said that Israel was acting like Nazis.

On behalf of LeDara who requested that other bloggers post this story, please post on your facebook sites and on your blogs.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tyee - Better a dead coalition than a live Harper government

I have read lots in the media and at blogs about the recent poll done by ekos. The recent headline at the Hook over at the Tyee caught my eye.
The blog stated the most common theme:
Canadians actually prefer a coalition over the present Conservative government, according to a new poll. But if the government falls on the budget vote next week, most would prefer Governor General Michaelle Jean to call an election rather than ask the Liberals and NDP to form a new government.
It stated also what wasn't commonly or widely reported this tidbit:
Significantly, those polled gave both Ignatieff and NDP leader Jack Layton 44 percent performance-approval ratings. Ignatieff’s disapproval rating was just 21 percent, while 44 percent also disapproved of Layton.
Although this was reported:
Stephen Harper’s performance-approval rating was 35 percent, with 55 percent disapproving.
So it appears both Iggy and Jack got the same approval rating in relationship to leadership, although Iggy's disapproval rating is lower than Jack's. However, Iggy got 35% response rate in this category of "don't know." Well he is an unknown and an untested leader, so it's hard to comment on someone one doesn't know.

The weird thing about the survey results was that although folks preferred the coalition over the Harper government options, Canadians SLIGHTLY preferred the GG call a new election rather than ask the Liberal leader, Michael Ignatieff to form a government.
So that was strange: folks just stated they prefer a coalition government over a Harper government.

SO WHAT GIVES

So I went directly to the poll to perhaps gleam more information in how the questions were worded and drill down into the actual poll results.

If one reads the information in the bracketed areas on both page 8 and 9 of the poll, one thus can make "some inferences", into why there is a difference in results between those two questions.
On page 8, 50% prefer a coalition government. But in the bracketed area, it breaks down those respondents into their stated "normal voting preference":
So this option is favoured by: LPC (80%), NDP (86%), BQ (85%) voters.
Thus one can infer that all surveyed supporters of this option were strong, however the strongest were among the NDP and Bloc voters.

However, that changes when asked the next question on page 9, where an election was SLIGHTLY favoured over a "liberal led government". Looking in the bracket area it breaks down those respondents again into party preference and explains why the lower result:
So this option is favoured by: LPC (71%), NDP (61%), BQ (80%) voters.

Take note of WHERE the "BIG DROP" in support of a Liberal formed government. Essentially 25% of NDP supporters don't like the idea of supporting a liberal formed government. And that result highlights the problem with the wording of the question itself, and thus one can infer why an election is slightly preferred over a Liberal formed government.

I am going to make an inference here: It's the question, stupid!

Reading over the actual wording of the question, it appears that one is being asked if one prefers an Liberal led government over a Harper led government, as it does not mention the word "coalition".

Thus it's no surprise that NDP respondents would prefer a new election rather than the Liberals taking over the reins of power without the COALITION.
The question should have been worded this way and thus the results would have more likely matched the result of the question on page 8.

If the Conservative government is unable to maintain majority support in the House of Commons, the Governor-General will have to decide whether to call a new election, or to ask the Liberal leader, Michael Ignatieff, to form a COALITION GOVERNMENT with the NDP. What do you think the Governor-General should do if the Conservatives are unable to maintain majority support in the House of Commons.
One could also infer that to a lesser extent, some liberal (9%) supporters who responded in this survey also prefer a coalition led government over a Liberal led ONLY government.

Just to drive this point home, if I as an NDP supporter and also a coalition supporter was asked the question on page 9, I also would have opted for an election over a liberal led only government.

I know what I am getting with the coalition led government, as its mandate is neatly and publicly displayed, and thus holds the coalition to be accountable. Just putting liberals on the throne without any contract means a complete unknown entity, and one that could rule to the right rather than be progressive in policy. And that fear is being loudly voiced by both NDP and progressive liberals supporters!

No wonder 25% of NDPers, 9% liberals, and 5% Bloc respondents said:
HELL NO, we'd rather have an election than give the reins of power to a liberal led ONLY government!

What could some liberals be possibly thinking ~ give your heads a collective shake!

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Lets's Not Forget - It's All About Power and WHO Gets to Choose

Goldstein in the Toronto Sun purposes we don't pick sides: you don't have to CHOOSE between backing Palestinians or Israel.
So one
  • can support Israel, and still be outraged by the deaths of innocent Palestinians from Israeli war planes, artillery fire and ground invasion.
AND
  • can support the Palestinians and still be outraged by Hamas terrorism, rockets provocatively fired at Israeli towns and civilians, and suicide bombers.
Goldstein provides a "mini history lesson" leading up to today, reminding us that the roots of the muddle in the Middle East is all about Imperial power and who got to choose.
What I'd also suggest, and Goldstein CHOSE to remain silent on that, is what powers to be NOW, with their hands (and arms) in the Middle East, are still making those "power" choices for their national self interest, and the Palestinians, by default, are thusly "limited" in choices in response.

So when you hear Obama talk about "protecting American people and their INTERESTS" on the world stage, keep the eye on "INTERESTS."

But Goldstein does reveal the truth about power

CHOICES BY OUTSIDERS

"One day during the Peace Conference, Arnold Toynbee, an adviser to the British delegation, had to deliver some papers to the prime minister. Lloyd George, to my delight (Toynbee later wrote), had forgotten my presence and had begun to think aloud. 'Mesopotamia (Iraq) ... yes ... oil ... irrigation ... we must have Mesopotamia; Palestine ... yes ... the Holy Land ... Zionism ... we must have Palestine; Syria ... h'm ... what is there in Syria? Let the French have that.' Thus the linaments of the peace settlement in the Middle East were exposed ..."

A settlement which, as MacMillan explains, was a series of choices imposed by outsiders for reasons of national self-interest that still haunt and shape the Mideast today ... no matter which side you choose.
Better that we understand power and who's got it and in whose interests does it serve.

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Reading the Coalition tea leaves ~ no election

Yesterday, my posting called, Coalition Time? Fun with numbers and other polling data!, suggested that the new Liberal leader should not choose to go to election if the liberals voted down the Harper budget. I was reading those polling data tea leaves.

Iggy appears to have read the tea leaves the same way.

However, Mr. Ignatieff said he agreed with Gordon Campbell, the Premier of British Columbia, who said after yesterday's First Ministers meeting that an election is not what the country needs now.

"I don't think that any Canadian would disagree with Premier Campbell, that if we can avoid an election, that would be a good thing. But don't conclude from that that I'm afraid of an election. If we have to fight an election, we will."
At this point we all know that Harper is shoring up his base of support, whether through attack ads - again - targeted at the legitimacy of the coalition & where
The Prime Minister has hinted that the Jan. 27 budget will include significant middle-class tax cuts -- a position confirmed by a number of senior Conservatives. "We have to give the Conservative base something," said one Tory.
Iggy is reading other budget tea leaves which as we know, Canadians have wholly supported spending over taxcuts (Canadian people as opposed to the very few Financial Post "special interest group" types). Thus Iggy tips that teacup and suggests rather
tax cuts should be targeted at low-income Canadians, who would spend all their disposable income rather than save it. His preference would include enhancing the Working Income Tax Benefit, a tax credit for lower-income earners, and the Canada Child Tax Benefit, a tax-free monthly payment available to eligible Canadian families to help with the cost of raising children.

Mr. Ignatieff said Mr. Harper's intention is to reduce the federal government's ability to spend money. "This is a philosophical disagreement -- it's not just about targeting tax cuts," he said.

He added that the coalition agreement with the New Democrats, supported by the Bloc Quebecois, has been a "useful instrument" for the opposition parties and the agreement is still alive.

And drinking from the cup that brought you here!

“Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself” Franklin D. Roosevelt

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Coalition Time? Fun with numbers and other polling data!

Reading the tea leaves about whether the Harper government lives for another day or the coalition government comes to life is based on inferences and best guesses.

I liked that Iggy reminded Canadians that elected parliamentarians will be making those decisions and not based on public opinion. Also, his public statements appeared honourable. I thus felt better towards his leadership in the coalition and reduced my fears that the Liberals would play political games within their political partnership. H/T to CuriosityCat

As we well know, public opinion is often fueled by misinformation and political partisan games.
That said, another opinion poll is showing more favourism towards the coalition. This is interesting in itself.
There has been a full court press against the coalition government by conservative partisan and their media supporting cheerleaders. Since January, and particularly this week, it has been a full court press - articles in their media friendly newspapers, and doing the rant, I mean talk show circuit. It has been relentless.
Meanwhile, the coalition for change folks have been very low key - no rallies, no roadshows, no big positive articles
AND YET
A Strategic Counsel, which conducted a poll from Jan. 12-14 for The Globe and Mail and CTV News, provided this tidbits of information:
Although the Tories still lead the Liberals in voter intention – 36 to 29 – this gap has shrunk considerably since the initial coalition announcement. At that time, the Tories had a 21-percentage-point lead over the Liberals.
This I put down to a change in Liberal leadership and more importantly, the Harper governments very poor performance on the economy, bringing the country towards a unity crisis for partisan gain, proroguing parliament because he didn't want to face a vote of non-confidence, and appointing 18 new very partisan senators (when he said that he would not and went against his own party policy).

As we all well know, when someone is hanging themselves, the best thing to do, is stand back and give them lots of rope.

What this poll also indicated is that the liberal leader is

closing the gap with the Tories on the issue of who is best to deal with the economy, with 38 per cent picking them as best managers, compared with 40 per cent for the Tories. The Tories held a 12-point edge in the area in a poll taken during the 2008 election.
Considering that the accuracy of the polling data is within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, means that there is no differences between 38 & 40 numbers.

Which now brings me to the next set of numbers in the poll which deal with giving the Harper government a break, going to an election, or giving the coalition government a chance to govern.

First, holding their noses and the liberals voting for the Harper budget. Beyond the optics of the Liberals, again, propping up the Harper govt, and essentially saying by default that liberals think that Harper and the conservatives are better able to manage the economy, it plays into Harper's hands, as it leaves him in control of the dominant political message and agenda (can you trust him???), and gives him ample time to start defining Iggy negatively. There are other many good reasons why this isn't the smartest move by the liberals but most know these and have been mentioned numerous places. So I won't.

Now back to those polling numbers.
The poll found 49 per cent said the Liberals should hold their noses and vote for the government even if they are not satisfied with the budget. Forty-three per cent, however, advised the Liberals to bring down the government if they don't like what they see.
Considering the 3.1 per cent accuracy of the poll, again the 49 & 43 per cent numbers become a washout, in other words and statistically speaking, it has little statistical significance. Here's why: by adding and/or subtracting 3.1 into both these numbers means that Canadians are basically evenly divided on liberals supporting or not supporting the budget.

Second, going to an election or governing by coalition (outside of delaying spending on what Canadians say is the most pressing issue - the economy - by 61%, and moreover wasting a whole whack of money to the tune of 400 million that could be better spent on economic stimulus), the numbers are also a wash if one considers polling accuracy of 3.1 per cent.
Of those surveyed, 49 per cent said they would prefer an election over a coalition government if the budget failed and the government was defeated. However, 44 per cent preferred a Liberal-NDP coalition government, with 66 per cent of Quebeckers liking the idea.
Taking in the 3.1 accuracy brings 49 & 44 per cent to showing NO statistical significance (46 & 47 respectfully). And those Quebec numbers still showing great stat. significance (46 & 69 respectfully).

Also, the poll saw no change for the NDP, at 18 per cent. In Quebec, the Liberals surged well ahead of the Tories, with 29 per cent, compared with 17 per cent. The Bloc continued to lead in Quebec with 36 per cent. Thus, both the NDP and Bloc brand remained solid.

Even though the pollster alluded that the 2nd choice of 43 per cent of NDP voters, if an election was held, would opt for the liberals over 23 per cent for the Tories, this has always been true. This is not new news. As mentioned the NDP support remains solid since the last election, so the chance of NDP voter shift, particularly if the Liberals election message moves to the right, is not indicated in this poll. Ditto for Bloc voters.

Liberals could vie for the conservative vote (as that shift is already noted), thus moving their policies to the right of centre, but that risks, as mentioned above, losing their progressive liberal voters. Hmmm, what to do????

Thus, considering the statistical INsignificance of the polling data, as well as the financial cost of an election, and political optics, all around the Liberals are better off voting down the budget and going for a coalition government.

“Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself” Franklin D. Roosevelt

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Deeply shamed to call myself a Canadian, but a proud Unionist

While our government and official opposition standby and support a massacre, at least we have the United Church and labour leaders standing up to occupation, oppression, and mass murder. This is social unionism and moral, principled leadership. Thanks for standing up and taking that moral high ground. You make me proud!
See who is standing by, and more importantly, who is standing up ~ Israel becoming its own worst enemy


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What a load of lying crap - no wonder the Post is going down the tubes

Once again, the Not-so-much now "National" Post is Flogging the coalition dead horse. Me thinks the Post protests too much. Or is it wishful thinking?

Reading along, here come the mistruths. Don't let the facts get in the way of good old political propaganda:
  1. His central role in putting together a Liberal-NDP-separatist coalition to bring down the Tories has painted his party into a corner. The BLOC are not part of the coalition
  2. He was the principal architect of the coalition that more than two-thirds of Canadians opposed, according to polls. The latest poll that was not a "push poll" or filled with loaded words shows otherwise now
  3. So tainted was Mr. Dion by the coalition power-play that he was forced to resign and make way for current Grit leader Michael Ignatieff. Mr. Dion planned all along to resign and the new elected liberal leader would have taken over. Furthermore, he was doing such a crappy job of leading the coalition that the NDP was quietly relieved to have a new liberal leader take over. I would further surmise that the recent increase in public support for the coalition government is in response to this change in leadership of the liberals.
  4. look for the knives to be out for the grandstanding Mr. Layton. WRONG, and Layton came from the principlled place of putting Canadians first. Which reminds me, where was that economic stimulus package for our sinking economy? NADA?
  5. It was he who brought the separatist Bloc Quebecois into the coalition and arranged for them to have a veto over any legislation it proposed. No veto, but I'm sure if you keep repeating it you hope that the mud sticks! By the way do you have a problem with Quebecers being represented in parliament through their democratic choices?
  6. He who concocted the idea weeks before the Tories made their ill-fated party-funding proposal and he who prompted his coalition partners to spring their trap in such haste. Out right bull but again hoping your lies will stick
  7. Expect grumblings about his continued tenure as their leader. Wrong again!

No wonder the un-National Disgrace is going down the tubes. Hopefully they will be gone the way of the dinosaur before their predictions are proven again to be laughable.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Triple-E (equal, effective and elected) Senate recipe for Disaster

Frances Russell in the Winnipeg Free Press is giving us all the heads-up here. Part of the Harper propaganda on senate reform is that the Austrialian model which he wants to copy is that it works well and is the perfect parliamentary model for their proposed Triple-E (equal, effective and elected) Senate.

Just don't ask the parliamentarians to back up that bull.

Australian prime ministers and even some senators have denounced the Senate as a constitutional irritant and aberration.

Anyway, you can read the article here.

Food for thought:
Which is more undemocratic? An unelected upper house that almost never uses its power to frustrate the will of the peoples' representatives, or an elected one that almost never stops doing so?
Which makes me think that really what Harper wants is a elitist senate that actually stops the will of the people.

Russel suggests that the right path to reforming our democracy doesn't lie through an elected Senate. "It lies through proportional representation in the House of Commons, erasing the toxic perception of provincial one-party enclaves.

That why abolishing the Senate is a better way to go and increasing the number of MPs, with a mixed pp system.


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Monday, January 12, 2009

Iggy will need a coaltion makeover

The New York Times' FRANK RICH in Eight-years of Mandoffs writes,
While Obama [our new president] indeed must move on and address the urgent crises that cannot wait, Bush administration malfeasance can’t be merely forgotten or finessed.
Yes, indeed because as Rich put it

We could certainly do worse than another 9/11 Commission. Among those Americans still enraged about the Bush years, there are also calls for truth and reconciliation commissions, war crimes trials and, in a petition movement on Obama’s transition Web site, a special prosecutor in the Patrick Fitzgerald mode. One of the sharpest appointments yet made by the incoming president may support decisive action: Dawn Johnsen, a law professor and former Clinton administration official who last week was chosen to run the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice.

This is the same office where the Bush apparatchik John Yoo produced his infamous memos justifying torture. Johnsen is a fierce critic of such constitutional abuses. In articles for Slate last year, she wondered “where is the outrage, the public outcry” over a government that has acted lawlessly and that “does not respect the legal and moral bounds of human decency.”

She asked, “How do we save our country’s honor, and our own?”

Johnsen will be
“resist[ing] Bush administration efforts to hide evidence of its wrongdoing through demands for retroactive immunity, assertions of state privilege, and implausible claims that openness will empower terrorists.”
Johnsen is already ready for that current debate
“we must avoid any temptation simply to move on,” because the national honor cannot be restored “without full disclosure.”
Having been a prominent supporter of the Invasion of Iraq and torture lite will come back to haunt Ignatieff with all that front page "full disclosure" going on, along with increasing public outrage and outcry over lawlessness that does not respect the legal and moral bounds of human decency.
Sure wouldn't want to be the Liberal party going into election campaign mode trying to move beyond the Opposition Leader's recent past of amoral complacency and trying to campaign on that "time for a change meme."
Iggy is not retroactively immune nor in the privileged position to "move on,"

IF HE CHOOSES TO REMAIN AS THE OPPOSITION LEADER

With Iggy's and the Liberal Party recent pronouncements on Gaza has already brought back to the fro his support of war and torture light, and some very open disenchantment with his leadership. Imagine how that FULL DISCLOSURE on the front pages of every American newspaper, on talk shows, and in the blog-a-sphere will play out ~ day after day ~ with his hopeful Liberal leadership image!

Timing is everything

IGGY NEEDS A COALITION MAKEOVER


So Iggy can wait and support Mini Bush Harper's economic stimulus package in January, and watch as the full disclosure unfolds, tainting his "new leadership" with his "old self."
OR
Iggy can take on the mantle of coalition which has improved in some Canadian minds as a viable alternative,
THUS
creating a "new and improved image" more associated with progressive politics for his 18 month tenure,
AND
ride the public storm that will be prominently displayed on the front pages of America in the coming year.
THINK TWICE
Iggy might be tempted to think that "he moved on" and can "wait for his makeover."
HOWEVER
Not with Ms. Johnsen's appointment to the Office of Legal Counsel in the USA Justice Department office
“She’s a first-rate scholar who will uphold the law, and that will allow her to give the office the independence it needs to restore its credibility,”
AND
The credibility of the nation's honor through a very public airing!

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Quebecers want coalition: Poll

Liberal/NDP coalition increasing in popularity

Reported today,
According to the Nanos Research survey provided exclusively to The Canadian Press, Quebecers overwhelmingly said the Liberals and NDP should be given a chance to form a coalition government, propped up by the Bloc Quebecois.
This is a big movement in popularity, although

But a majority of westerners and a plurality of respondents everywhere else favoured calling an election immediately.

Overall, 49 per cent said an election should be called versus 42 per cent who said Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean should invite the opposition parties to form a coalition.

Take note,

In Quebec, 62 per cent wanted the opposition parties to have a chance to govern, while 30 per cent wanted an election called.

Those numbers were reversed in western Canada, where 65 per cent wanted an election and only 29 per cent favoured an opposition coalition.

Ontario and Atlantic respondents were more closely split, with 46 per cent and 49 per cent respectively favouring an election. Forty per cent in both regions favoured a coalition government.

If we consider that Ontario & Quebec have the most population and seats in the House of Commons, and take 40 per cent & 65 per cent combined, we are now over 50 per cent in favourable.

Nanos suggested,

Nanos attributed Quebecers' continuing enthusiasm for the coalition to their growing disenchantment with Harper and the Tories.

"There's probably a greater appetite in that province to see an alternative."

Moreover, he said Quebecers who park their votes with the separatist Bloc Quebecois likely see the coalition as a way to get a better deal for Quebec.

However, I do QUESTION THIS ASSUMPTION (why don't they ask the question instead of wandering)

"(They) wouldn't mind kind of dislodging the federal Conservatives and putting the Bloc in position to exercise more influence."

But Nanos noted that giving more influence to separatists is precisely what worries Canadians outside Quebec, particularly in the West.

I would ponder that Quebecers don't want to give more influence to separatists but have more influence towards progressive politics.

Of course, Westerners might be more inclined towards the coalition govt if Harper and misinforming Conservative and corporate owned media didn't purposely say the coalition government was

illegitimate, anti-democratic and akin to a coup d'etat - even though experts said it was perfectly constitutional.
Getting out and promoting the coalition out West would influence public opinion, and soften resistance, and increase support.

And actually voting non-confidence on January 26/09, and affirming to the GG that there is an alternative stable govt would save Canadians 300 million dollars, enough to jump start the economy, and process those EI claims faster.

Oh, and there's nothing better in winning hearts & minds by actually being in power and showing Canadians that coalition governments are viable and good for Canadians!

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Friday, January 09, 2009

Flanagan shows a remarkable ignorance of parliamentary government.

Flanagan, writing in today's Globe, with Only voters have the right to decide on the coalition shows a remarkable ignorance of our parliamentary democracy, and the commenting section to the article attests to that. It appears that the majority of the posters are now educated that the coalition is constitutionally legal and viable "stable" alternative to the Harper Conservative government. What a difference a time out makes - in one short month - the vast majority of posters on the Globe comment section - are pro coalition. Who would have thought that possible?

As an aside to Flanagan when he said this:
The coalition partners, moreover, did not run on a platform of forming a coalition....
My response to that is this:
  • Nor did we vote for Harper to shut down parliament
  • Nor did we vote for Harper to appoint 18 new senators
  • Nor did we vote for Harper to appoint a supreme court judge without proper venting
  • Nor did we vote for Harper to eliminate vote subsidies
  • Nor did we vote for a deficit
  • Nor did we vote for Emerson to switch from Liberal to Conservative and sit in the Harper cabinet
  • Nor did we vote for Harper to appoint Fortin to the senate and become a cabinet minister
  • And I could go on, but you get my drift

Those winds of change is blowing across Canada. Looks like the coalition is picking up a head wind.

Conservatives OUT ~ Coalition NOW!


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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Divorsed from REALITY

Just to repeat,

It didn't take long upon landing here to be reminded how much the political and media establishment – in the U.S. and, lately, Canada as well – are divorced from reality.

The Stephen Harper Conservatives, as well as many editorialists and pundits, seem to inhabit a make-believe world into which no inconvenient facts are allowed to intrude.

Well, yes, but also add some liberals who also are sounding not too progressive and looking through a narrow lens.

Just in case we buy into a narrow history it's worth repeating this too:

There's amnesia about the brutal 40-year-old occupation.

Read on:

There's nary a mention that in Israeli military operations in 2008, 420 Palestinians had been killed prior to Dec. 28 vs. five Israelis, according to B'Tselem, the Israeli human rights body,

And Israel's crippling economic blockade had prompted the UN special rapporteur Richard Falk to say on Dec. 9 that Israel's collective punishments amounted to "a crime against humanity," and that the International Criminal Court ought to investigate whether Israeli leaders and military commanders should be indicted.

He noted that the last time there had been "such a flurry of denunciations by normally cautious UN officials" was during the reign of the apartheid government in South Africa.

On Nov. 21, the chief of UN Relief and Works Agency, Karen Abu Zayd, said supplies had run out. She reported "a chronic anemia problem" and "the stunting of children."

All this was long before the latest carnage, which foreign journalists have been prevented from witnessing. Dead, as of yesterday, were 650 Gazans, a fifth of them civilians.

What our political and media establishment are telling us is this:

Israel must not be provoked but the Palestinians can be.

The trauma suffered by Israelis in the border area along Gaza is not acceptable. But 60 per cent of 1.5 million Gazans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder is.

Israeli politicians, facing an election Feb. 10, have to be sensitive to electoral concerns, but Palestinians elected in a fair election Jan. 2006 must be isolated and jailed.

There's an equivalency between Hamas's handmade, ill-targeted rockets and the lethal hi-tech Israeli arsenal, some of it of American origin.

Palestinians must pay heed to Israeli/American/Canadian demands but Israel may ignore calls for a ceasefire by the UN, the European Union and even allies France, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etc.

Israeli lives matter, Arab ones don't. In fact, it is worth prolonging the bloodshed in Gaza, as in Lebanon in 2006, to allow Israel time to achieve one or two more of its objectives. Arab blood is cheap.

"Unfortunately, all this plays into the hands of those Palestinians and Arabs, and more generally, Muslims, who say, `the West is against us because of who we are and is engaged in a civilizational war against us,'" says Jim Reilly, professor of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Toronto.

"If we include Iraq and Afghanistan, it reinforces the message of Al Qaeda and co-thinkers that they are waging war against a predatory and rapacious enemy.

"All this makes it that much harder for us to argue back against the militants and the zealots."

NO GUFF!



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As the Economy burns, let's not have politics as usual

DIFFERENT GAME PLAN BUT POLITICAL GAMES AS USUAL
As Harper changes his game plan, his end game is still the same.
Facing an emboldened opposition and the possibility of defeat, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is making a significant switch in tactics, dropping his reliance on confidence votes and moving even further toward stacking the Senate with Tories.
So Harper is stacking the Senate with partisan conservatives to ensure that conservatives control the upper house of parliament, and thus hamstring any futuristic governments. Absolutely republican of him. And with "politics as usual" he "blames the opposition" for his "broken promises" not to do this.
MEMO TO ALL
Polling said that the public opinion was not pleased with this latest political move
But as we all know, public opinion can be changed and folks memories are short, and Harper knows that too! Too bad the Liberal brain-trust chooses to ignore that "golden rule" of politics 101.
ENTRAPMENT BY A DIFFERENT GAME PLAN
Now that Harper is less gloomy on the economic front - in one short month - and reverted to his previous stance - Canada's in good shape and we will weather this economic storm - SURE - and pigs fly! Don't be fooled again!
LISTEN UP
"The coalition proposed investing in people, in training and income support and infrastructure," Mr. Brison said. "All of those principles continue to be important. In broad strokes, all the opposition parties showed in the coalition accord that we actually understood the need to invest in people and infrastructure and provide meaningful stimulus. The only people who didn't get it in November were the Conservatives."
TIME FOR CHANGE
Mark my words, the sucker punch will come. Time to change the game. Liberals say they
stand by "the principles" of the economic policy in the coalition accord agreed with the New Democratic Party and supported by the Bloc Quebecois in late fall.
BIAS POLLS BE DAMNED
No way will Harper move beyond being the great pretender and shape-shifter. Canadians need to embrace a progressive stimulus economic package

Better ... to address the recession with more spending – especially on infrastructure, housing, daycare, retraining and youth employment. If taxes are to be cut, the emphasis should be on the lower end, through increases in the child tax and working income tax benefits and the refundable GST credit, as suggested in a report this week by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA). In the pockets of low-income Canadians, that money is much more likely to be spent than tax cuts for people in the higher brackets.

"Investing $1 billion to boost the incomes of the poor – who spend everything they earn – would boost GDP by almost $900 million and create 7,000 jobs," said the CCPA report, authored by Armine Yalnizyan and David Macdonald.

So what's it going to be boys? Are you waiting for the end of time...?

DON'T BE FOOLED AGAIN ~ Alternative Government NOW


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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

When more of the same ain't working - taxcuts be damned


“We’ve laid out a bold and achievable set of initiatives that can protect Canada from the economic storm while building for future generations,” says CCPA Senior Economist Armine Yalnizyan. “Our plan creates jobs and gives the economy a jolt of life just when it needs it – now.”

The AFB Plan’s impact on job creation and GDP has been validated by Informetica Limited’s macro-economic model. Continuing reading...

At least someone is thinking beyond mindless taxcuts. Listen up, those crying the loudest for taxcuts AGAIN, not only got theirs (over the past 20 years) but more importantly has brought us face-to-face with this economic crisis and the mindless “excesses of capitalism.” Simply put, more of the same ain't working SO - STOP - DIGGING.

Leadership for tough times, where the tough actually get their hands dirty and their minds working!

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

What the Depression taught us - from the Greed is Good Crowd

Union busting and bashing is alive and well. Depression times are "good times" to get in on some good old union busting and bashing from the "Greed is Good Crowd".
But crises create opportunity: In this case, the long overdue opportunity for governments and the general public to stand up to union demands, even when it means enduring strikes and hiring unemployed replacement workers glad just to have a job. It's also time to end unions' power to hold Canadians hostage by moving ahead with private sector contracting of government services under terms that will provide real world compensation and accountability.

Doesn't it always amaze you that conservative pundits believe "greed is good", but call anyone in the labour movement "selfish" for wanting anything more than minimum wage. Those same wages and household incomes that have stagnated at 1980s levels while the moneyed class advocated deregulation, taxcuts, and privatization. And look what those stupid greedy minions did: sunk our global economy.

I'd rather listen to this guy

Wages mean spending power

president, Canadian Labour Congress

Greedy bankers and CEOs with highly risky investments, astronomically leveraged buyouts and sense of entitlement, create the worst economic mess since the Great Depression. Yet, who does Gwyn Morgan, former CEO of EnCana Corp., focus his criticism on (Ottawa Transit Union Is On The Express Bus To Self-Destruction - Report on Business, Jan. 5)? Ordinary working people and their unions.

If the Depression taught us anything, it's that lowering wages creates a downward spiral without bottom. Workers who lose their purchasing power can no longer support their local businesses and communities.

THEN THESE GUYS

To this day, the willingness of a Wall Street investment bank to pay me hundreds of thousands of dollars to dispense investment advice to grownups remains a mystery to me. I was 24 years old, with no experience of, or particular interest in, guessing which stocks and bonds would rise and which would fall. The essential function of Wall Street is to allocate capital—to decide who should get it and who should not. Believe me when I tell you that I hadn’t the first clue.

CAUSE REALLY IT WAS ABOUT THIS

Now I asked Gutfreund about his biggest decision. “Yes,” he said. “They—the heads of the other Wall Street firms—all said what an awful thing it was to go public and how could you do such a thing. But when the temptation arose, they all gave in to it.” He agreed that the main effect of turning a partnership into a corporation was to transfer the financial risk to the shareholders. “When things go wrong, it’s their problem,” he said—and obviously not theirs alone. When a Wall Street investment bank screwed up badly enough, its risks became the problem of the U.S. government. “It’s laissez-faire until you get in deep shit,” he said, with a half chuckle. He was out of the game.
Excellent article for a inside view of why these guys should just shutup and get a job.

Sure Morgan and his kind are all for real world compensation and accountability except when it comes to their CORPORATE WELFARE. Obviously these bozos don't have a clue ~ time for them to get a real job and create something in the real economy.

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Sunday, January 04, 2009

Did you vote for that? No? Yes? Then let's look at legitimacy

There's been lot's of noise about political legitimacy and whether we voted for something or not. And yet, legitimacy is used selectively dependent on political viewpoint or position of power to define political discourse in our nation.

We have in the Torstar contemplating the transformed political landscape and wondering who really is running the ship of "others." Although he thinks 2008 changed everything that was "normal" in politics and the economy, he stills yearns for that NORMAL of the bygone days of majority governments. He thinks coalition govts are senseless and not legit, without looking overseas to see that they are "normal," and quite legit.

Yes, Persichilli, we did vote for that!

It appears Persichilli likes to be selective in his perspective and narrow view like Harper - ouch!

No, I didn't vote for that! Did you vote for floor crossers, appointment of senators, and other things listed in the above linked article? Again, there was mention of a Harper/Bloc behind the scenes "secret coalition" in 2004 election cycle, if the stars had aligned in a certain way. Alas for the Harperites the right numbers did not materialize and that plan fell by the wayside, although the knowledge of it and paper trail did not.

And NO, I definitely didn't vote for that stuff during any of those elections. Don't remember any party mentioning that stuff but is it legit - sure is!

Which brings me back to Persichilli's wanting to know who those magical "others" are. Whose running this damn country and economy anyhow? Who is in cahoots together and with behind the scene others?

SILVER DONALD CAMERON in Hey! Who's stealing my country anyway? More pointedly he asks: WHAT I want to know is, by what authority are these monkeys doing this stuff?

The monkeys are the governments of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico — and what they are doing is stealing our countries, welding them together and giving them to global corporations. Their instrument is the Security and Prosperity Partnership — which, astonishingly, continues to fly below the public radar, though its nature and purpose are well-known.

Started under the liberals with Paul Martin in 2005 and continued to this day under the Conservatives with Steven Harper. Harper "created a North American Competitiveness Council, made up of 10 big-business CEOs from each country who undertook to meet annually with senior government officials to discuss the corporate sector’s erotic fantasies about the new continental economy.

Notice that there’s no parallel Council of Citizens or Small Businesses. The governments are taking advice only from the CEOs of Ford, Lockheed Martin, Merck, Chevron, General Electric, Wal-Mart, Bell Canada, Scotiabank and the like.

If we followed the advice of a Competition Policy Review Panel, to prepare for full-scale North American economic integration, we would get rid of those appropriate regulatory safeguards already exist to protect prudential soundness, competition and the public interest."Speaking of public interest and large scale corporate mergers amongst like minded corporations, it suggested getting rid of "net benefit to Canada."

Did we all die and go to corporate heaven? No, but our MSM sure as hell are in cohoots with these monkeys!

Canadian taxpayers are already paying for innumerable corporate bungles — and the government of Canada is not supposed to ask whether such financial engineering is in the public interest?

Rhetorically - Did you vote for that? I thought not. So by what authority are these monkeys doing this stuff?
It would remove any discussion about much of anything that should be in the public interest and what governments supposedly do on our behalf - public food policy - nada. Under the SPP, such discussions would be pointless. "Canada would lose the right to create or enforce national policies in areas like food, energy and investment. Removing that right is precisely the objective of the SPP. "And the corporations and friendy politicians who don't talk about any of that stuff during elections, and make sure they are not talked about when they get elected.
So Persichilli and your mindless column dribble, do some real indepth digging, and look behind the throne of power, to see that those "others" are really in plain view, and that elected MPs vote for stuff or not but make regulary changes, policy changes, and taxation changes that favour these "others" who are unaccountable, not elected, and do not give a fig for ordinary Canadians.

On a different note of legitimacy we have Lorne Gunter of the Edmonton Sun suggesting Layton is the biggest loser in coalition folly - one group's perceived folly is another's savour. Gunter suggests that we didn't vote for a coalition govt so it's not legit - hmm, others are questioning his wishful thinking.

The Liberal-NDP-Bloc attempt to overturn the results of an election less than two months after it was held will be the political event longest remembered from 2008.
He is sure hoping the coalition is dead, and providing distorted and disinformation about its political legitimacy is part of the play to ensure it is DEAD.
Gunter makes an interesting observation that

New Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff is keeping the possibility of a coalition alive rhetorically because without the threat of the coalition toppling the Tories at the end of this month, the Liberals' bargaining position would be greatly weakened.

Ignatieff would have little chance of convincing the Tories to include his stimuli in the upcoming budget stimuli if he announced today that, no matter what, the Liberals will not pull down the government over the budget.

Of course, Gunter slyly suggests that Ignatieff would be better off politically, if Liberals will back away from the coalition idea. I mean this way Harper might just entertain including some liberal budget stimuli in January. Now there's long term thinking - not!

In the end, Gunter in his self-serving disinforming (and distorting) opportunistic writing says the coalition exposed Layton as a what - "a self-serving opportunist with no compunction about making a deal with separatists, even weeks before the Tories lit the match on the crisis."
Last time I checked, the Bloc MPs were duly elected representatives. Also, their support is for 18 months, and not 2 and 1/2 years. Conservative writers don't bother to check their facts cause it diminishes their ideological agenda.
I can't help but look at this written dribble and think about all the self-serving opportunistic moves that the Harper conservatives have and continue to do, and nope we didn't vote for that!


Speaking of legitimacy, we have PETER ZIMONJIC writing in the Ottawa Sun that NDP leader Jack Layton gearing up for budget battle.

"I don't have confidence in him to deliver what he says now, because what we have experienced with Mr. Harper is that he will say anything and then reverse himself," said Layton. "He will say anything to retain power."

While Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff says he is willing to wait and see what kind of budget Harper unveils later this month before saying how the Grits will vote, Layton seems bent on rejecting it, regardless of its contents.

"If what Harper is going to recommend is the approach of the coalition, then I feel it would be better to have a government that actually believes in these ideas to do the implementation," said Layton.

Well, I voted for that. What I mean is that we elect MPs to represent us in the House of Commons. They legitimately can work together within a political party alliance or across which with minority govts are natural and legal. They can form working coalitions or not. They can campaign on doing so or not. Layton said he was willing to work with other parties once the election and makeup is determined by the voters. We have a minority govt and if the Harper Conservatives cannot gain confidence, the opposition has a legitimate right to offer to form a coalition govt.

Michael Byers writing in the Tyee (edited to add today) wrote today in The Coalition Deserves to Live (and clearing up other critics misrepresentation and distortion about the NDP's folding - NOT - on Afghanistan), where more eloquently then I explains how coalition govts work!

Decades of majority governments have left Canadians ill-prepared to understand how coalitions work. It's difficult to grasp the fact that we elect individual members of Parliament rather than parties or prime ministers, and leave it to our MPs to sort the rest out.

To this end, I am sick of Harperites and their supporting media, as well as liberal only media (to borrow the thoughts from this article) injecting uncertainty of legality of our parliamentary democracy, and to confuse the public about it.

Under the Harper Conservative government (and to paraphrase & borrow again) has "systematically ignored, censored, misrepresented, muzzled or distorted" how our parliamentary democracy works or can work, when it doesn't match their various agendas at different times.


Under Harper, "most of the time, ideological concerns trump truth, partisanship over-rules non-partisanship," re-writing history to purposely distort the facts, changing positions depending on shifts in power and opportunity, and professing facts that are made up, and omitting facts that are inconvenient.

Guess what: We didn't vote for that!


Are coalition governments legitimate and viable? Yes
So to echo Byers, the Coalition deserves to live

And YES, we did for vote for that!

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