Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Back!

Back from a much needed week's vacation and ready to pick up where I left off. I would have posted the occasional video or something but was unable to as my internet service provider -- rhymes with trucking hell -- was down and continues to give me fits.

 Speaking of fits, no doubt Stephen Harper is having one today as his number one foreign policy priority has embarrassingly failed and the first time in more than 50 years Canada has not won a campaign for a temporary seat on the Security Council. Even more cause for consternation on the part of Canadians is the pathetic attempt to blame the Harper's failure to make the case for Canada on Michael Ignatieff. The sound of a schoolyard plaint could be heard in the unconvincing words of Dimitri Soudas, Harper's communications director, "I would say a big deciding factor was the fact that Canada's bid did not have unity because we had Mr. Ignatieff questioning and opposing Canada's bid."

It's a pretty tough line to swallow that Michael Ignatieff, the leader of the opposition, has more sway on the council than the governing party and the Prime Minister? Certainly Robert Silver of the Globe and Mail thinks it's a ludicrous assertion and that there will be political consequences for Harper over this failure.

Harper tried to portray Canada as a model global citizen, with a strong track record in peacekeeping missions, diplomatic work, and multilateral cooperation but perhaps this year's flap over the maternal health care issue and their paleolithic stance on Global Warming swayed council members to think otherwise. And of course Canada is no longer involved in any peacekeeping projects -- only a shooting war on the other side of the planet that yields little hope for resolution any time soon.

While we're on the subject of international embarrassments, Peter MacKay and his top general were denied from even flying over the UAE on a return trip from Afghanistan over a diplomatic and commercial dispute after the UAE failed to secure from Canada dozens of new landing slots for Dubai-based Emirates airline and Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways.

In news covered on the radio show today: the PQ were busy being their disagreeable selves over the spat about one of the largest untapped hydrocarbon reserves in Eastern Canada and a potential source of billions of dollars in annual revenue for the two provinces. PQ Leader Pauline Marois cried “Who is defending Quebec’s interests while Newfoundland is about to siphon off our resources?” Charest did a good returning fire noting that while the PQ was in power, "...they didn’t conclude an agreement because it was too important for them to cultivate quarrels rather than cultivate agreements.”

In the meantime, Newfoundland isn’t waiting for Quebec to sign a deal with Ottawa and is moving to get exploration under way, while Quebec has imposed a moratorium on the development until it has completed environmental assessment studies.

Jim Flaherty and the Tories are not letting record deficits keep them from making promises they have little chance of keeping like the claim that he's not closing the door on extending some employment insurance programs, or that he might be prepared to extend large increases in health transfers to the provinces after the current deal expires three years from now. If you believe either of these claims drop me a line at this blog and we can discuss some prime Cote Ste Luc real estate I'm trying to unload sell. The purpose of these claims is of course is to snooker Iggy on issues he and the Grits should own but sadly do not. You'll note that there is money in Canada's coffers according to the Conservatives for $47 billion dollars worth of tax breaks for already wealthy corporations.

Where did all that largesse come from?