Monday, November 1, 2010

Loads of Links

You can certainly make the argument that Canada's Conservative Party more closely resembles the American Republican Party now more than at any time in the recent past. Tea Party North is not hyperbole considering the policies and kinds of spending the Harper government advocates. i.e. $10-$13 billion for more prisons when the crime rate is going down, more on the military even though there is no urgent need. In fact the planned spending of $16 billion on the F-35's is so indefensible that the Tories come up with the most ridiculous reasons imaginable. And they say things that don't even rise to the level of a schoolyard taunt, like for example this gem from Dmitri Soudas, the Prime Minister’s director of communications: “Michael Ignatieff's Liberals and their coalition partners would rather use kites to defend Canada than fighter jets”

 The press, sadly, never feels it's their business to call the Conservatives out on their demagoguery even when they're being absurd and saying moronic things about kites. As for the opposition, they never call out the Tories on these issues in a loud enough manner to make the majority of Canadians sit up and pay attention. That's not the fault of our press.

There's a new job posting for the independent role of Canada's Auditor General and the Tories say they are looking for a "team player." This Freudian slip says all you need to know despite protestations to the contrary.

The shameful railroading of Omar Khadr is all over now (even the Globe and Mail editorial board calls it a wrongful prosecution) and after one more year in Guantanamo in what will essentially be solitary confinement he will be repatriated to Canada.

When you read that during the Gulf oil spill the federal government didn't want anyone to talk about what happens if there was an oil spill off the coast of Newfoundland, it's hard to figure out if it's because they're stupid or if it's because they're in the pockets of big oil -- either way, it's not a pretty picture. Apparently there's a government document that says, it would be “risky” to discuss the scenario. The document also describes the potential fallout from a large oil spill off Newfoundland's  east coast which includes damage to the fishing industry and the deaths of many sea birds. Discussing this would be risky to whom? To the oil and gas giants that want unfettered access to our off-shore oil resources? It seems like not discussing it is the equivalent of burying our heads in the sand.

Go read this report that about the upcoming budget and the committee hearings taking place amidst what is described as a "bleak mood," as no one expects the government to do anything but slash and burn in an attempt to shore up their so-called fiscal conservative creds. Thomas Mulcair (NDP, Outremont QC) describes it rather starkly:
"They're going to start attacking government programs, government spending and government jobs. Because they don't care for the details of governance, they're going to do it as they do everything else, they're going to do it across the board, and they're going to do it blindly," he said. "You send in somebody like [Treasury Board President] Stockwell Day to cut in government. He's not going to be doing it with a scalpel, he's doing it with a rusty machete and that's ... the theme I think of the next budget."
On the same page is a note that says last year MPs spent $142.6-million on office budgets. That's almost half a million dollars on average per MP. Is it just me, or are they high?

Stand Up For Something Iggy!

One of the best things I did this year was show up at the Progressive's BBQ on the hill that was graciously hosted by Senator Elaine McCoy of Calgary, Alberta. What made it a great learning experience for me was that the people at the meet-up were far more experienced at blogging than me and old hands at watching the Liberal Party. I , for example, held out great hope that Iggy had learned a lot in is summer excursions across the country and would return better prepared to lead a political party than he had been in the past.  He has always struck me as someone who should be the guy behind the guy and not the guy. Better suited to being a policy wonk than a party leader is what I'm trying to say, and still I held out hope.

 My fellow bloggers however, not so much. In fact they were downright pessimistic about how Iggy was going to perform in the upcoming fall session of Parliament. Surely, I thought to myself, they were just a bit overly cynical. There was no reason to believe he wouldn't come back having listened to what it is that concerns Canadians most and better understand what issues we would like him to stand up for on our behalf. Certainly there was no reason to believe that he wouldn't get better at messaging and keeping Canadians aware of what it was the sneaky bill stuffing Tories were doing. Sadly, the bloggers skepticism about how Iggy would perform has proved to be spot on.

The latest example of Michael Ignatieff failing to stand up for principle and not communicating to Canadians what the issue at stake was is the recent failure of bill C-300. For some reason this 18 month old bill that had been called a "a critical first step," by Graham Denyer Willis, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for the Study of Resource Conflict, has been allowed to die by a vote of 140-134 with 14 Liberal members including Iggy himself abstaining from the vote. The bill would have created a set of new regulations that would safeguard remote and globally excluded communities from major abuses.

Needless too say the mining industry was against it and lobbied heavily for its defeat. Even more unsurprisingly they found willing accomplices to defeat this measure in the Conservative Party who once again easily bullied Iggy into backing off. They invoked the "coalition" monster again, which on its face seems ridiculous, and predictably talked about the lost jobs that would follow passage of this bill which is what corporations always threaten when faced with legislation or regulations they don't like. To the confusion and consternation of members of his own party he backed off.

Will Iggy ever stand up for principle over poll numbers? Is there no issue important enough for him to stand up and take a chance. Has he just once on any issue drawn a line in the sand and said this is where I stand? The answer to this rhetorical line of questioning, apparently, is no.

Strangely after the defeat of this bill the Liberals sent out a news release that said, “Despite the defeat of C-300, the Liberal Party remains committed to the important principle of corporate social responsibility for Canadian industries at home and abroad." That's is moronic. You don't defend social responsibility by losing when you had the votes to win. As Amnesty International points out it is another black mark on Canada's reputation and Ignatieff deserves full measure of the blame for cowardly behaviour. When the going got a bit tough, brave, brave Sir Iggy bravely ran away.
 

 
Small wonder then that his poll numbers simply never get any better.

Late Halloween Sunday Monday Wrap

I was heading home from Experiencing Jimi Hendrix and I hear on the radio that Omar Khadr is sentenced to forty years (a symbolic Halloween gesture-I think thats also how long the Americans plan on staying in Iraq), the Democrats want to give President Obama the boot and it was friggin snowing.  Looks like sanity hasn't been restored.

It's always Halloween somewhere so here are some vids  that go bump in the night.



Maybe my own little horror story, unfortunately more fact than fiction.

There once was a country that was timid and nice.
Then everybody woke to find it was not the same place.
It seems there was a new leader with a sinister face.
He smiles and smirks and acts with no grace.
Sir Steven his name, evil is his game.

He spoke with venom that made everybody deaf, dumb and stupid.
With no one to stop him he he ruled and ruled(although only one third of the population actually voted for him). The people looked for a champion and Mike the I stepped up,"saying I can stop him but first I have to find my way and maybe my balls, I seem to have lost them sometime last fall."

And so the people waited, and waited and waited for Mike the I to find his balls and end this bad dream.

This seems like a metaphor for Canada politics. Charlie is Mike, Lucy is Stephen and I guess we're the foot ball. seems like a can't embed it. Here's the link
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsSXMT0NrB4&feature=related


Something to wash away all the bad dreams.