Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"Tea Party North"

I hope no one minds the intermittent blogging of late. The heat, work, preparing to get away and research for what I hope will be my first book are keeping me busy. But enough about me.

Let's talk about someone who has learned how to cope with Conservative spin and fear-mongering and even fire back a few good shots of his own. I'm of course talking about Bob Rae. Yesterday he joined the chorus of those criticizing Stockwell Day and his defense of spending billions of dollars on new prisons when the crime rate appears to be declining.

He also had something to say about scrapping of the compulsory long-form census which he says will cast doubt on the neutrality and accuracy of data collected by Statistics Canada. He says the solution to the Tories objections is to, “Drop the jail sentence for not answering questions (they’re never used anyway), but keep fines, and increase the penalties for divulgation of secret census data.”

Then he fired off a shot at the Conservatives that will probably cause some consternation in the near future and called them "Tea Party North." If Iggy isn't looking over his shoulder, he should be.

Back to Stockwell Day who seemed bent on embarrassing himself at his press conference yesterday which was supposed to be about the Tories' Economic Action Plan! The questions veered off into the hypocrisy of the government, who in scrapping the long-form census because they claim Canadians should not be jailed for not filling it out, but are continuing with the mandatory short form, which includes... the threat of jail time and fines if not filled out. (emphasis mine)

In his own defence Stockwell said, “Some basic data is needed. We haven’t run into people or groups or agencies who have a concern with some very basic data. The mandatory nature of criminalizing Canadians for not wanting to give the more extensive data in the long form is simply not tenable and that’s why we are doing away with it.”

At one point during the press conference, Mr. Day was accused of not making any sense.

This happened when the questions turned to the Conservative government’s commitment to cutting the deficit while spending billions of dollars on new prisons while the crime rate is, in fact, declining. Much to the amusement of most in attendance, the Treasury Board President said that Canadians are simply not reporting crime at alarming rates. With that he fled the news conference.

In response, Liberal public safety critic, Mark Holland held a news conference in Ottawa where he called on the Harper government to provide better rationale for the $10-billion to $13-billion price tag on new prison spending. “They’ve got to do a lot better job than using some obscure thing from 2004 to justify spending potentially tens of billions of dollars on new prisons,” Mr. Holland said in an interview Wednesday.

Edmonton's weekly newspaper Vue notices that, the item "oil sands and Canada's water resource," has disappeared from the agenda of Parliament's standing committee on the environment, leaving those who testified to wonder why. With over 300 pages of testimony collected from 60 witnesses since it began a year ago, the study has been suspended one year after beginning with no explanation as to why.
 
Greenpeace has been paying attention and yesterday there was a dramatic unfurling of a 8 x 15 metre banner at 10 a.m. from the top of the Calgary tower. At least eight people were put in custody afterwards, and this statement was made by Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner Melina Laboucan-Massimo, "...Canada is not a petro-state and Big Oil should not be calling the shots and governments should not be ignoring the environmental destruction of the toxic tar sands.”


Speaking of the consequences of global warming, increasing number of wildfires being one of them, the number of wildfires roaring throughout British Columbia climbed to more than 400 on Tuesday, with officials predicting the tally will rise as the province is plagued by hot, dry conditions. The province has  already gone through the entire $52-million firefighting budget, with those hundreds of fires still burning. It is costing the province more than $6 million a day.