Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Least Democratic Party (LDP)?

I remember once in school, somebody said to me, "If you have to add the word science to the name of a course, it usually isn't a science." Similarly, I also heard, "If you have to add the word democratic to a country's name, it usually isn't." I'm sure other people said these things.

Does it apply to a party? If the NDP are the New
Democratic Party, shouldn't they be, at least, democratic? From Same-sex bill passes 158 -133:

[NDP] Party Leader Jack Layton immediately stripped [Bev] Desjarlais of her post as party critic for foreign aid and transport and sent her to the Commons back benches.

Layton had ruled his caucus was not free to oppose the bill because it involved minority rights.

Let's take this from several angles. Again, before you thump me, I disagree with Bev's stance, but I respect her right to disagree. Also, I'd much prefer an NDP government to a Liberal one, warts and all - at least then we'd be arguing policy and not corruption.

First off in a party that should believe in democracy, I'm a big believer in free votes. All Members of Parliament, regardless of political stripe, should feel free to vote as they want without fear of negative repercussions. If your party cannot come to a consistent message within like-minded individuals about a piece of legislation then either (a) your message isn't clear enough, or (b) your fellow party member doesn't agree with the proposal.

Second of all, what does being the foreign aid / transportation critic have to do with not supporting SSM? One minute she was the best for the job, the next, because she opposed SSM, she's not capable of being the critic? That's not it? Then what? Jack's got to punish her somehow and then just put some monkey in that's always going to tow the party line on everything without question? That's what the left needs, another automaton.

And third of all (my most contentious argument), is that Mr. Layton said there could be no free vote because it involved minority rights. Well, there was some question regarding the protection of religious rights. If Ms. Desjarlais believed the bill was not protecting religious practitioners, does that not contradict Mr. Layton's stance on protecting minority rights?

At any rate, I'm starting to hold to the belief that the Green Party might be a better fit for the NDP slot in Parliament. Maybe I'll review that
in a different post.

Under "Re-"Construction

The blog has undergone some redesign. I hope to resume posting soon.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Parliament has Adjourned

As I mentioned in my very first post (Let's Expose My Hidden Agenda), I respect all members of parliament regardless of political stripes because it takes gut and spirit to wade through all the negativity related to the job.

That being said, I'm happy that SSM has passed for a couple of reasons.

For one, I support C-38, but I'm not so naive to think there isn't controversy - I applaud
the Conservatives that voted in favour of C-38, the Liberals/Bloc/NDP that voted against it. The MPs that left party affiliations and left "comfy" cabinet posts. It takes guts to vote against your party, when you think you're voting right. I disagree with those that voted against it, but that's the way it works.

The second reason I'm glad it has passed, is it's a chance for the Conservative Party to renew, move forward, spend the summer building on a strong policy platform. The plan of attack is not to show how bad the Liberals are (they are, it's obvious), but how good the Conservatives will be.

Harper to tour country to dispel negative image, lay out Tory platform (CP)

I'm looking forward to Stephen Harper touring the country, letting Canadians see him and not just media snippets we've been exposed to in this session.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

"Holding the Nose"

A visitor to my blog made the following comment after my last post to my blog.
The Conservatives and Bloc joined forces in order to take down the government; If they had have been successful there would have been big electoral gains for the Bloc at the expense of a Federalist party with not much upside for the Conservatives.
I always give credit where credit is due, please visit Koby's blog.

During the last federal election, American Michael Moore called upon all Canadians not to elect "our George Bush" and to "hold our nose" and vote for Paul Martin.

Is this what it has come to?

Our only hope for a united country comes with a "Federalist" party that has done the most damage to the national fabric? That somehow, if we elect Liberals in every corner of this country (except for Quebec, that's lost), we'll be a better country? The bureaucracy they created was the most corrupt, the policies of inaction, the policies of "cut payments now, pay a little bit back later - blame the provincial goverments in the mean time" - they sure did like blaming Premiers Mike Harris and Ralph Klein.

The more I see the more it becomes apparent.

Take the much applauded Atlantic Accord. Did the federal government go to Nova Scotia and to Newfoundland & Labrador, and say, "Geez, you got all this oil and gas off your coast. You would really benefit from a different arrangement." No. Premier Williams had to remove all the Canadian flags from government buildings and dig his heels in. Then, "Hold Your Nose" Martin came out of the woodwork.

Then, of course, the Conservatives are blamed for halting this agreement. Even Premier Williams had no choice but ask Conservative MPs to go against their party and support the Liberal tactic.

In short, Newfoundland & Labrador Conservative MPs had to "hold their nose".

We should hold our noses and vote for the Liberal Party, because the alternatives are too scary to think about? I disagree on that, I do think the Conservatives make a better choice, but that's me and everybody else on the blog list on the right.

Is this going to be on the Liberal Party motto for the next election? "Just Hold Your Nose; We Don't Taste That Bad!"

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Oh, This is Rich

Paul Martin says, "I just don't understand why in fact the Conservatives think it is so important to work hand in glove with the separatists, but they do." (Harper hits barbecue circuit accusing government of being 'undemocratic')

Am I missing something, once again? Won't be the first time.

Mr. Martin better not throw stones while he's still in a glass house.

Friday, June 24, 2005

The LiberalNDPBloc Amendment Passes

Okay, by now, everybody knows that the LiberalNDP budget amendment passed with the help of the Bloc Quebecois, even though they voted against it. Now, the Bloc has in writing that the Liberals have been sleeping with them. I'm not sure where my shock lies at this point. I'll try to post something later.

Update (June 25, 2005 - 8:30 am): Okay. I've read some other blogs and have come to pretty much the same conclusion. We got caught off guard; we didn't listen to the "fool me once, shame on you - fool me twice, shame on me" adage.

But, let's look on the bright side.

In all likelihood, the Liberal caucus will be divided on the promised SSM vote to come. PMPM will have to force the EEEEEVIL so-cons in his caucus to tow the line or be bumped from caucus. Or, skip the vote, anger the Bloc, and somehow manage to blame the Conservative Party.

Kind of surprising, though, is the Liberals have, in writing, hopped into bed with the separatists. If PMPM mentions it once during the next election, just splash full page ads showing Michel Gauthier's letter.

At any rate, chalk one up for the Bad Guys.

Update (June 25, 2005 - 11:47 am): Am I using "EEEEEVIL" too much?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Belinda Stronach to become Independent!!!

... or she should, because the Liberals have just hopped into bed with the EEEEEVIL separatists (Canadian Press, Commons vote to extend sitting looks sure to pass with Bloc now onside) to ensure SSM passes before the summer recess:
And the Bloc now says it has received assurances from the Liberals regarding its demands that the bill to legalize same-sex marriage will be dealt with if the sitting is extended.
I wonder if she knew about this, or did she have to step out of the meeting because of conflict of interest ...

Later on, the piece shows how good the Liberals are by blaming the EEEEEVIL Conservative Party on the delay tactics.

If I hear one more Liberal MP blame the Conservative Party for EEEEEVIL partisan politicking, I'm going to barf.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Mixed Message?

All over the news was Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty's summit with US legislators to clean up smog in Ontario, most of which originates in the U.S. Mr. McGuinty invites David Suzuki to speak at the summit and ...
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty brought in environmentalist David Suzuki to kick off a government-orchestrated clean-air summit in Toronto yesterday, but was cool to the crusading scientist's call for a ban on SUVs.

No wonder, since it would leave the Premier -- chauffeured to the summit in an Ontario Provincial Police GMC Yukon -- with no wheels.
Just thought it was funny.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Don't Blame Conservatives for Failing to Pass C-38

Liberal dissent and Paul Martin's dithering is the reason for the government's "inability" to pass the SSM bill, not Conservative filibustering. If you allow debate, you allow filibustering. To end filibustering, end the debate. The Liberal Party has made it clear that they aren't interested in amending the legislation beyond pinky-swearing that all the protections will be there for members of its own caucus.

The government could invoke closure, and force a vote. A vote they would win, but it would show that not all Liberals support SSM, and that's NOT what the Liberals want to demonstrate.

Paul Martin should come out and say, "The reason we cannot pass C-38 is because we'll have nothing to throw at the Conservatives in the next election. Quite frankly, we're pretty incompetent and we're hoping people will forget that fact as they usually do. By stalling on this, and making sure it looks like it's the Conservatives not playing nice and not the fact that internally we'll appear divided, we can ensure that we have a hot-button item at the polls to say, 'Nyah, nyah, Conservatives are EEEEVIL.'

Even advocates of SSM are against Martin (from PM: Same-sex law could be delayed):
"The government can pass the equal marriage legislation if the government wants to," Alex Munter of Canadians For Equal Marriage said.
NDP's Libby Davis:
"Where's the leadership and the commitment to get this bill through? It's been around long enough. Where's the commitment?"
Remember, I'm for SSM, so I don't support the Conservative Party's overall objection (I accept differing opinions within the party), but it's not the Conservative's fault that the bill isn't passing.

(Aside, is "filibustering" a word?)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Rogues in Red

It is interesting to note that when a few "rogue" members of the Conservative Party do something, it's Stephen Harper's fault and Conservative Party policy in general.

But, when a few "rogue" members of the Liberal Party do something, it's not Paul Martin's fault (nor Jean Chretien's) and certainly not Liberal Party policy in general.

From, Liberals owe Canadians $5.4 million: Bloc.
[LPC lawyer Doug Mitchell] added that the scandal is the fault of a "few rogue members" of the Liberal party, arguing there was no evidence of a government-orchestrated kickback system.
Mmm ... rogue Liberals ... where have I heard that before ...

Anyway.

Either he's right, and a few rogue members of the Liberal Party can take the country for a ride with no one knowing, or the Liberal Party of Canada has a hidden agenda.

I'm not sure which is worse.

The Rule Should Be for Conflict of Interest

Resign first, clear your name second.

If there is physical or substantive circumstantial evidence that says that a member of the governing party is in a conflict of interest, that member should:
  • Immediately step out of any cabinet or advisory position; no call is required to resign a seat unless a crime was committed
  • Initiate an unbiased review of the claim or charge
  • Once the unbiased review is done, reinstatement to their position should be addressed if there is no wrongdoing

And yes, it does have to work differently for Members of the Government then it does for Members of the Opposition. Like it or not; and here's my argument. Please note, I will not argue if there is bias or not within the integrity or ethics commission of any level of government. I try, whenever possible, to work within the system :) .

What brought this on was Ontario Transportation Minister Harinder Takhar's alleged conflict of interest with respect to his business dealings at his former company ('Runaway minister' takes a pass on conflict questions). The evidence is both physical (photos of Mr. Takhar at the company) and circumstantial (wife and his Liberal riding association president are in charge of his company - hardly arm's length).

Members of the government have direct influence on the management of public money and public services. They direct the bureaucracy that approves or disapproves spending and other allocation of resources. Members in opposition, quite frankly, do not. This is most apparent in majority governments as not only are the members of government responsible for passing the legislation, but they are also responsible for allocating the resources.

But, this is true in minorities as well. Regardless of who initiates a bill, it is still the member of government that directs the spending and allocation of resources.

Besides, ministers in Opposition have nothing to resign. You might call for them to resign their seats, but that's to the voter to decide.

Case in point with Judy Sgro.

  • Rightly or wrongly, there was evidence presented that she used her cabinet position as Immigration Minister to secure visas and immigration allowances for people that worked on her campaign or in exchange for their help on the campaign.
  • After much fighting, she resigned her cabinet position and was subsequently exonerated (Ethics probe to clear Sgro). The original support claim by Mr. Singh was retracted.
  • However, she was not returned to cabinet.

What was wrong with this scenario? IMHO, she should have been returned to cabinet upon being cleared. In this case, even though it took a lot of prodding, she did the right thing and resigned. This tells other ministers (ie. Mr. Dosanjh) that resigning your portfolio only to be cleared leads to somebody else getting your position.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Best.Health.Care.Reform.Ever

There's little the Minister can do, but am I ever glad he's impatient (from Canadian Press, Health minister grilled over long waits for medical care, offers no promise of quick relief).
Last fall's $41-billion health accord requires provinces to report substantial progress in cutting wait times by March 2007.

...

Under the federal-provincial health accord, bench marks for measuring wait times will be released at the end of this year. The provinces are required to report substantial progress in reducing wait times by March 31, 2007.
Further:
Michael Decter, chairman of the Health Council of Canada [mandated to monitor and report on the progress of health care renewal in Canada], said in an interview the problem won't be solved until the country has enough doctors, nurses and technicians to actually deliver the care that's needed.

"The only two ways to get faster access are to have more people delivering care or have faster delivery of care by the same people, i.e. productivity. I expect we need to do both. We need to bolster the work force and we need to find ways to give them the tools to do the job better."
To re-ask Mr. Decter's question, why does it have to take so long?

If a province allows private care, and reports substantial progress in reducing wait times, does that count? Yes, yes, there are horror stories about private care: we don't want to be Americanized, we don't want to have doctors offering services privately while letting the poor suffer. But, to not even entertain a discussion, is ridiculous.

Can we wave a magic wand and grow more personnel? I'd suspect that if we had the available resources they'd be already at work.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Gilles Duceppe to Stay at BQ Helm

From CBC Online (Duceppe will stay in Ottawa):
Despite pressure to make a bid for the leadership of the Parti Québécois, Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe said Monday that he will remain in Ottawa.
I think the Liberals have no chance in Quebec now, but that's no one's fault but their own. Add to that, you have a strong, separatist leader who has the ability to remember the Liberal past. I don't think any 7, 10, or 12 month plan will help them recover.

The key to defeating the BQ (and the PQ) is to link a vote for them to a vote for sovereignty. If that happened, I think they'd be hard pressed to be elected in the high numbers they are now. Right now, Quebec sees the Bloc/Parti Quebecois as the only alternative to the Liberals. The Liberals will argue that a vote for the BQ/PQ is a vote for separation, but it just doesn't wash. The people that vote for the Bloc/Parti can easily vote no to any referendum.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Ontario Liberal minister under fire over expenses

Whew. I thought I wouldn't find something to complain about ([Ontario] Liberal minister under fire over expenses).
Opposition MPPs are calling for Economic Development and Trade Minister Joe Cordiano's resignation after learning that he billed $17,000 worth of personal expenses to his riding association.
Now, I could mention that the Liberals lambasted Chris Stockwell when they were in Opposition for a similar incident, but I won't because that gives the impression that I support this type of behaviour.

The article then goes on to say that Premier McGuinty thinks it's "completely different" - I paraphrase.

Oh ... kay.

Top court strikes down Quebec private health-care law

Well, the Supreme Court has ruled that it the Quebec government cannot prevent people from buying private insurance for medical services covered under public medicare. But, I'm confused by this statement by the CBC (Top court strikes down Quebec private health-care law):

In its ruling Thursday, the court said the provincial policy violates the Quebec charter, but they ruled it does not violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, meaning there is no immediate impact on the Canadian health-care system as a whole.

Doesn't this have at least an impact on the perception of health care in Canada?

Follow my logic, and correct me where I'm wrong.

The Quebec ban on private care has been judged unconstitutional.

Similar (fictional) bans in other provinces, by precedent, would also be unconstitutional.

Therefore, anybody anywhere, can get private insurance to pay for publically covered medical services.

Further (from the Globe & Mail -
Quebec ban on private medical care struck down) :
"In sum, the prohibition on obtaining private health insurance is not constitutional where the public system fails to deliver reasonable services," the court found.
The public system is failing all over the place and there is no way to fix it. Firing more money down a dead end sewer is ridiculous.

Can we see that maybe now, is the time to think that private health-care, side-by-side with a fully funded public health-care system may not be such a bad thing?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Ontario Liberals to end Mandatory Retirement Age

Wow. Two posts where I publically endorse Liberal actions and/or policies. I still haven't got my senate offer or ambassadorship offer, so I'm not off to join Liblogs just yet.

The Ontario Liberal government is to introduce legislation that would make it illegal to force somebody to retire at age 65 (from CBC Toronto Online: Province to end mandatory retirement).

What's interesting is that the Ontario NDP opposes the legislation, I believe on the premise that it means seniors will need to keep working because they need money.
Ontario's New Democratic Party has vowed to fight the legislation announced Tuesday, saying the real issue is providing adequate pensions, not designing ways for people to work longer.
Essentially this legislation removes a type of discrimination. People being told that they must retire at 65 is unfair and shows little respect to the individual.

The NDP should not be fighting this legislation that removes discrimination. If I choose to work past 65, no employer should be able to just remove me.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Brazil = Canada

I thought this was somewhat amusing.

Take this article from the BBC News website (
Brazilian MPs urge bribery probe), and where it says "Brazilian" or "Brazil", substitute "Canadian" or "Canada". Change "Workers' Party" to "Liberal Party".

I guess I could go on and tell you to substitute Lula for Martin, and, I guess Stronach and/or Layton or something in there.

Meh.

:)

PM meets with Liberal MPs opposed to same-sex marriage

I'll post this article from CBC Online:
I'll go on the record that I support the secular re-definition of marriage to include same-sex marriage. That said, I don't expect any institution to perform a ceremony that contradicts their core beliefs (be it church or temple or synagogue or ... whatever).

I do not believe a bureaucrat working in city hall or in a registry office can refuse to issue a marriage license if it's law, anymore than an individual working for a natural resources department can refuse to issue a fishing license because they think fishing is cruel. Or can they?

Marriage is really the only religious concept that crosses over in its (near) traditional form into the secular world. There is no secular version of a baptism, communion, or bar mitzvah. Similarly, there's no religious version of birth registration, drivers' license exams, or social insurance number registration.

I'm not particularly religious as I don't have much use for the "big-box" religions, so an argument that says its not in (insert deity's name here)'s plan doesn't hold much sway with me. The Charter is pretty clear on what the provision of services must be delivered and when they are not allowed to be withheld.


This debate is not very cut and dry.

For debate:
  • More a question. Can someone working for natural resources refuse to issue a hunting or fishing license because they are opposed to that practice?

Gilles Duceppe Considering a Run at PQ Leadership

It was kind of an easy prediction to make (from CBC Online; Duceppe interested in PQ leadership).
Earlier on Monday, Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe said he will consider running for the PQ leadership.

Landry's decision stunned him, Duceppe told reporters in Ottawa Monday.

"I was very surprised. He's a friend. He's a friend of my wife, also. It was very tough for us to see what happened," Duceppe said.

He added that he will spend time weighing his options before committing to a run for the leadership of the provincial separatist party.

Bernard Landry walks with his wife, Chantal Renaud, after his resignation on Saturday. (CP photo) "Is it Ottawa, is it Quebec?" he said. "I consider both places are very important, so I want my decision to be based on certainty."

Duceppe said he wants to lead the Bloc into the next federal election, which will come in February at the latest. If he is interested in seeking the provincial party leadership, his high profile and popularity in Quebec might convince party officials to delay the leadership contest to accommodate him.

Quebec's Liberal premier, Jean Charest, has two years left in his mandate.

Duceppe, 57, said his decision will rest on how he can best help Quebec achieve independence from Canada.
How it plays out will be interesting. Mr. Duceppe wants to lead the BQ into the next federal election using his popularity (and inversely, the notoriety of the Liberals) to take the BQ to new heights. Then, once that's done and the BQ is firmly entrenched, leave the party and take over the PQ's reins.

Other sources:

Monday, June 06, 2005

Christian groups look to influence Liberals, not just Tories

I happened to see this over at Yahoo! News. I say "happened" because I sometimes fail to check My Yahoo! for my news headlines (Christian groups look to influence Liberals, not just Tories):

Recent headlines have said Christian activists have captured Conservative nominations in eight ridings across the country.

And some Tories warn that evangelical Christians are trying to hijack the party and impose an anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage agenda that will hurt the party's efforts to appear more moderate and mainstream.

But McVety and other Christian activists counter there's nothing new or threatening about their activities. Nor are they exclusive to the Conservative party.

McVety said his group, which opposes same-sex marriage, helped a number of like-minded Liberals secure nominations prior to last year's election.

Among them were Toronto-area MPs Paul Szabo, Tom Wappel, Jim Karygiannis, Dan McTeague and Albina Guarnieri, now veterans affairs minister, and Oshawa MP Judi Longfield.

Interesting ... I know of a few people to have voted Liberal just so as to not vote Conservative.

Again, interesting.

Of note, I didn't see this as a top headline in any newspaper ...

Again, interesting.

Isn't this the cornerstone of the anti-Conservative LiberalNDP* party rhetoric?

* LiberalNDP; when sometimes I can't tell the difference between the two, I'll marry them into one wrong-thinking entity. :)

As to my position, I think MP John Reynolds said it best in the May 27 article in the Globe & Mail:
John Reynolds, the retiring Conservative MP who ran the party's nomination process, said the fact that social conservatives have won his party's nominations is simply a function of democracy.

"I don't believe in appointments and neither does our party, so we get some real battles," Mr. Reynolds said. "People say, 'Can't you do something about these guys running?' and I say 'Hey, you can do something: go out and sign up some more people.' "

That said, Mr. Reynolds is offended by attempts to paint the Conservative party as a harbour for religious zealots.

"There were three dozen Liberals who voted with us on the same-sex thing," he said. "Nobody is going after them and saying, 'Look at these far-right Christians that got into the Liberal Party.' "

If reporters who write about Christian fundamentalists taking over his party were to "insert the word Jew everywhere you've put Christian, do you think they would let you print it?" he asked. "I doubt it."

Exactly. The Conservative Party is open to all, democratic to all.

Liberals and Bloc Coalition Defeats Key Motions

I saw this on the Conservative Party's website:
A coalition of Liberal and Bloc Quebecois Members of Parliament defeated two motions that would have expedited the passage of higher priority portions of the budget bill.

A motion, moved by Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party Peter MacKay would have accelerated the passage of the Atlantic Accord and commitments made by federal government to other provinces, including Quebec, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and the Territories, by splitting those provisions into stand alone legislation; and a motion moved by Conservative Finance Critic Monte Solberg would have split the Kyoto provisions into a separate bill, which would have allowed the other measures in the budget bill to circumvent the timeframe required to responsibly scrutinize the government’s controversial Kyoto provisions.

“The Liberal-Bloc coalition has slowed down the passage of key elements of C-43, like the Atlantic Accord, money for seniors and the gas tax transfer to the provinces by reinforcing their attachment to the bill’s Kyoto provisions. The Kyoto provisions will require more scrutiny than other less controversial parts of the bill” said Solberg. “That said, we will not obstruct Bill C-43 in committee. Rather, we will be responsible by studying and seeking amendments to elements that are not in the best interests of Canadians.”

Because I know how some people are, I won't rely on this as the sole source of the story.

Tories seek to split Atlantic deal from budget (Globe and Mail, June 2, 2005).

Now, when Belinda Stronach left the Conservatives for the Liberals, she indicated that she was uncomfortable supporting the Bloc Quebecois.

Once I've done the research, I'll have a look at how she voted. Did she jump in bed with the separatists?

A slight update (Monday, June 6, 2005 - 2:50 PM):

Remember how in the above it was bad to remove things from the budget to put it into a separate piece of legislation?

From the National Post, Business to Martin: Spending is 'out of control':

Pat Breton, a spokesman for Mr. Goodale, insisted yesterday the tax cuts have not been eliminated, they have simply been put on a different "legislative track," separate from the budget. The corporate tax cuts, for instance, should still be implemented in 2008-09 as projected by the original budget, he said.

For debate:

  • Is it okay to flip flop on your personal beliefs so long as it supports your political ambition?

Liberal MP Pat O'Brien to become Independent

Breaking news from CBC.ca:
Liberal MP Pat O'Brien from London-Fanshawe announced Monday morning that he has decided to leave the Liberal caucus and sit as an Independent in the House of Commons. He cited unhappiness with how the Liberals are handling same-sex marriage legislation. The move leaves the Liberals with 133 of the 308 seats in the House of Commons.
It's not on the CBC.ca news website yet; I got the email just now.

I'll post more later.

It'll be interesting to see how Ms. Stronach responds.

Updated (Monday, June 6 - 10:36 am): It's there now:

Ontario Liberal MP to sit as Independent

Updated (Monday, June 6 - 11:09 am): Actually, I don't care how Belinda responds. I think the Liberals are courting Carolyn Parrish to rejoin - good for her, maybe they can replace Frank McKenna and name her Ambassador to Washington.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities

Toronto's mayor, David Miller, and Vancouver's mayor, Larry Campbell, have been publically calling on Conservatives to support the budget that will see federal money stream into their coffers.

I won't talk about Mr. Miller's or Mr. Campbell's political affiliation, in my argument.

The Conservative Party has made it clear that they would support the original budget (and they voted in favour of it on May 19, 2005), but not the expanded NDP-proposed budget. The NDP method for change is whip more money down the pipe, and hope it sticks. The Liberals do it too, when the whining starts.

I'm all in favour of most of these items, but where's the plan?
  • Throw money first, figure out the details later?
  • Where's the studies to determine if the plans they have are effective?
  • How do we know this will be sufficient funds to fix the problems?
  • What problems are being resolved and what's the timeframe?
  • Does it address real problems, or only the "hot-button" topics?
  • What controls and measures are in place to ensure any money transferred to the municipalities is spent on what it's intended?
  • Is this going to be another gun registry (proposed at $2M, clocking in at over a billion)? Is this going to be another HRDC boondoggle where transfers are made, but they're not sure to which city?
  • Do the provinces accept this new federal-to-municipality arrangement considering municipalities are provincial areas of jurisdiction?
Beyond that, why should the Conservatives support a budget that was crafted so deviously to include the municipal money transfer initiative? Why didn't the Liberals include separate legislation for it? If they had done that, it might have passed, and the Liberals would lose the single wedge that may earn them support against the Conservatives.

The Conservatives are stuck behind an eight-ball. Support the budget, and they're really sending the signal that the Liberals are A-Okay. Don't support the budget, and they're perceived as anti-municipality. Even though Mr. Harper made this committment (
CBC Online):
Harper told the crowd that his party would not only honour existing agreements such as a share of the federal gas tax for cities, but would do more to solve the problems that municipalities face.
That sounds evil. Solving problems? Canadians don't want that. Canadians want to be told that more money is being washed down the sewer in the name of higher, abstract ideals. Money for health care and the environment, but not to solve problems. Solving things is bad.

The Liberals are obviously devious, but it's the Conservatives that are accused of politicking.

In the eyes of these mayors, forget about corruption, forget about the betrayal of the national trust ... We want our money and damn democracy as long as we get it. Do the mayors remember it was the Liberals that cut off their funding in the first place? Paul Martin, specifically.

No wonder Quebec doesn't want to have any part of this country.

This post was more of a rant then anything (and may seem incoherent), but I'll put up some points for debate:
  • Does the NDP-amended budget contain real structure for real change?
  • What problem areas are being fixed with the NDP-amended budget?
  • Why did the Liberals make sure the municipal money transfer initiative was included in the budget, and not as separate legislation?
  • See the questions raised above.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Bernard Landry quits as Parti Quebecois leader

Will Gilles Duceppe follow Lucien Bouchard's move, and leave the federal wing to become the new leader of the "home" party?

From CTV.ca, Bernard Landry quits as Parti Quebecois leader.

It is interesting to follow the Parti/Bloc Quebecois politics. While the Bloc Quebecois is definitely the federal version of the Parti Quebecois, the Bloc Quebecois maintains loyalty to Quebec, first, over sovereignty. That is, regardless of the party in power in Quebec, if the province needs something pushed at the federal government level, the Bloc seeks it on their behalf in Ottawa. They still seek separation, sure, but they are responsible.

In this way, I think the Bloc could serve Quebec more if they weren't tied to the sovereignty-driven Parti Quebecois.

At the very least, they wouldn't be referred to as "The Separatists" in Ottawa.

Regardless, I don't believe in a separate Quebec, I think Quebec is stronger within Canada as much as Canada is stronger with Quebec.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Tory and Grit Bias in the Media

I'm going to point you to a blog entry by Lorne Gunter, of the National Post. He echoes my thoughts immensely.

The Liberals will slip away unscathed in the Grewal affair, too.

You know how the media jumps on a story, beats it to death, and then leaves it alone. Take pitbull attacks. The media and the government label all pitbulls as dangerous. Whenever there's a pitbull attack, it's front page news, spawns endless commentaries, and endless debates on the merits of owning pitbulls. I'm sure German shepherds bite people too. How come there's no stories about that?

Take the Grewal case. Mr. Grewal tapes a conversation with Ujjal Dosanjh and Tim Murphy. 46 seconds out of a 4 hour conversation is deemed sketchy by experts, but it's Grewal's character that is questioned. Grewal's the pitbull and Dossanjh/Murphy are two rabid German shepherds if my analogy is failing on you. Grewal is lambasted because he's a Conservative, and the Liberals are the victims.

The heart of it is Mr. Gunter's assertion, I repeat here (but encourage you to read the whole piece):

Canada's media -- most of it -- merely holds the Liberals and Tories to two different standards. Because Libs and reporters have similar temperaments, run in similar circles, have similar interests, the Libs are given a freer ride. Reporters assume they meant well. They fill in the blanks Grit words and actions leave behind with flattering explanations.

When the Tories leave similar gaps, the media is instantly convinced those blanks conceal awful motives and plans, so they default to mistrusting the Conservatives. The Tories come from different backgrounds, hold different perspectives than reporters, enjoy pursuits that reporters find foreign (going to church, any church, for instance).

Because they are not like the people reporters know and associate with, Conservatives are not to be trusted.
Too true. The sad thing is, most of the Canadian electorate rely on this information. The whole "hidden agenda" farce is just that, a farce, but most Canadians think it true.

Liberal MP wants Dosanjh, Murphy suspended

From the Globe and Mail:
A senior Liberal MP wants the Prime Minister's chief of staff, Tim Murphy, and Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh suspended from their posts until an investigation takes place into the growing scandal over the secretly taped negotiations between the two men and a Tory MP who was considering crossing the floor.

Sarnia MP Roger Gallaway says the situation is "totally odious" and "it shows the underbelly of politics that I think is quite unacceptable."

"[Conservative Leader Stephen Harper] will have to deal with [Tory MP Gurmant Grewal, who made the tapes], but we have to deal with our own," Mr. Gallaway said. "The use of the words 'Senate' and 'foreign posting,' even if no offer was made, is totally odious. There are several MPs who are remaining silent but who think Murphy and Dosanjh have crossed the threshold of acceptable political discourse."
Full story: Liberal MP wants Dosanjh, Murphy suspended.

Hear hear. Mr. Gallaway has the right way of thinking and I applaud him for stepping outside of political lines.

If you read a couple of posts down, I clearly indicate I don't know what Mr. Grewal's role in the whole Grewalgate scandal was, but what was clear was that Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh and Paul Martin's Chief of Staft did have a role - a clearly ugly and disgusting one at that.

If they are truly innocent and the victims of tape altering, step aside until it can be investigated.

Maybe they see what happened to Judy Sgro. If you step aside in a Liberal government, even if it is the right thing to do, your position gets filled by people who don't do the right thing (Belinda Stronach has Judy Sgro's former portfolio).

Appropriate applause for Mr. Galloway.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

The Belinda Tapes

From Margaret Wente, Globe and Mail:

The 'Secret' Belinda Tapes

Funniest lines:

[Belinda Stronach]: But what if this leaks out? What if the Ethics Commissioner gets involved?

[Ujjal Dosanjh]: Don't worry. I'll say the tapes were faked. I'll say the
quality of translation is no good. I'll say there are serious errors.

Why didn't Nixon think of that?

Homolka Crying

From CBC.ca online (Homolka appears to sob at court hearing):
Schoolgirl killer Karla Homolka appeared to wipe tears from her eyes as she made her first public appearance in a decade in a Quebec courtroom Thursday morning.

Sitting in the prisoners' box, Homolka, whose bangs covered her face, wiped her eyes as she listened to details read out about the deaths of Ontario teens Leslie Mahaffy, Kristen French and Homolka's sister Tammy.
What are we supposed to do? Feel sorry for her? Should I be crying about our flawed justice system that lets murderers serve potentially less time than they should? Are we supposed to believe that she is changed? Are we supposed to have sympathy for her after she served her time?

This woman committed murder. She's getting out after serving 12 years.

I'm surprised she's not laughing. She probably is in some way.

Brison.ca - Unavailable

This is just a minor post, and I'm not sure how relevant it will be after awhile.

I was going to do a little research into the Scott Brison floor crossing, when I thought I'd go look for his official website.

I go to the Liberal Party website where his bio is located:

http://www.liberal.ca/bio_e.aspx?&id=12006

Up at the top, it lists the following URL as his page:

http://www.brison.ca/

You need a login and a password to get in.

I could have sworn that when I first got the bug to do some research, it wasn't locked down.

Maybe it's just me being too paranoid.

"Deep Throat" Part Deux

Gurmant Grewal has transcripts and some of the audio from the tapes over on his official website.

http://www.gurmantgrewal.ca/audio.asp

The audio tapes clearly refer to the Scott Brison floor crossing, indicating that it wouldn't be right to just hand the Grewals their appointments. Looks like they wanted the Grewels to cross over in a similar low-key fashion. Cross now, rewarded later.

Makes you wonder why they broke that tradition with Belinda. I think they did it because, no offense to either Mr. Brison or the Grewels, Belinda would cause more shockwaves. They could look upon the defection as, "Well, look. We must be okay if a former leadership contender for the Conservative Party wants to join us." I think also too, Belinda demanded more for the crossing.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Do we have a "Deep Throat"?

All over the news is the story of Mark Felt, the deputy director of the FBI, who has revealed himself as Deep Throat, the informant that led to President Richard Nixon's resignation. Ultimately it led Woodward and Bernstein to break the story, and the ultimate release of tapes that incriminated Nixon himself in the break-in at the Democratic Party's HQ.

Now, tapes have surfaced detailing a conversation between Conservative MP, Gurmant Grewel, Liberal MP and Minister of Health, Ujjal Dosanjh, and the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff Tim Murphy.

I'm not going to say that Gurmant Grewel was entirely innocent, because his part isn't exactly clear. I mean, some people would argue that he solicited the offer, but then why tape yourself? That seems silly. Unless, it was a sting?

Anyway.

What is clear is that two officers of the Liberal Party, one a federal cabinet minister and the other the voice of the Prime Minister in bureaucratic dealings, are clearly offering a reward in exchange for Grewel's abstention and rewards for a floor crossing.

Various news agencies are carrying the transcripts in differing forms:

I can't get Paul Martin doing an impression of Richard Nixon saying "I am not a crook!" out of my mind.

For debate:

  • Did the Prime Minister know about the discussions with the Grewals?
  • Is this proper etiquette for two Liberal Party officials? Like Stephen Harper said, when you're in politics, you should always consider yourself on the record.
  • Tell me again which party has a "hidden agenda"? See previous blog entries and the Gomery Inquiry for help.