Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Raminder Gill Patronage Appointment Used To Clear Way For Wajid Khan Defection? How Long Was This Planned?

This certainly is nothing abnormal - considering the Cons' complete lack of credibility on the principles of "accountability"...

With the appointment the Cons hoped to have 2 influential (in their own minds) South Asians able to press the flesh in the riding during an election. In a desperate ploy to obtain real MPs in Canada's largest urban centers they are finding the only way they can even appear to be trying to do this is via appointments.

The Gill appointment was wrong - according to Con "principles" in many ways: they say they don't believe in patronage... hahahahaha... lol, lol... They claim they are "attempting" to build bridges to the South Asian community. Hahahahaha... that's like saying "I'm not racist, I have (insert appropriate minority here) people as friends..."

The bottom line has always been: The definition of Conservative is "protecting/preserving the ways of the past". Any conservative movement - anywhere in the world - has typically always created policy aimed at preserving the mono-cultural identity of the majority population, while at the same time limiting the chances of success of any minority group. Canada's conservatives are no different. Growing up in "the West" (prairies, actually) allowed me to encounter many of those conservative ideas while knocking doors. The prairie heartland is where the roots of this new type of Conservative Party exist. Does anyone of any minority group actually think they (Cons) will be disloyal to their angry, mostly-immigrant-fearing SoCon base? C'mon!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Mainstream Media Sits On Collective Butts While Harper Twists Truth Without Consequence

Well, the headline basically explains it all. How can Canada's mainstream media be so willfully blind, that they can fail to take Harper to task on his stance on the whole Arar situation? I mean c'mon, the Conservative/Alliancers were a certifiable lynch mob when debating Maher Arar's release in Parliament. They were attacking our Liberal government on not arresting Arar ourselves. They were screaming about Arar being another example of poor Canadian immigration and border control, and how their American allies were being impacted by it.

I guess we can suppose that the nature of the conservative ownership of much of Canada's "new" tabloidish media explains why the BBC and sometimes CBC are among the last honest, non-sensationalizing true news agencies left in this world... This is the very reason why we cannot allow groups like BBC, CBC, and PBS die. The right will continue to try to paint these agencies as "left-wing", but these networks are really the only hope of any real neutrality in reporting in most of the world.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

So Why Aren't We Hammering Home The Fact That Harper Is A Kyoto/Global Warming-Denier???

Stephen Harper (aka "Shrub") is a global warming denier. Pure and simple. He has railed for years that the Cons don't agree with "the science of" global warming. He has railed against the Kyoto Accord. We should be standing at every street corner in Canada (during Vancouver blizzards, minus 55C weather in Regina, or in a boat in the formerly frozen over Arctic Ocean) yelling at the top of our lungs about Harper's open opposition to the global scientific evidence of severe climate change. You would think we would have plenty of ammunition... Here are a few examples, in case our 100-some odd MPs draw a blank in question period (really, I think we're all clamoring for our star MPs to stand up and start firing some zingers at this pathetic wanna-be government):

Tories would turn back Kyoto

Last Updated: Friday, January 13, 2006 | 9:39 AM ET

A Conservative government would abandon the Kyoto accord and set new Canadian-made targets that are easier to meet, leader Stephen Harper said Thursday in Halifax.
Harper said Kyoto's emission targets couldn't be met within Canada or even internationally. He pointed to the country's woeful record on climate change since the agreement was signed in 1997.
"The Kyoto accord will not succeed at achieving its objectives..."

(WesternGrit: When I set a goal/target for, let's say weight loss, I don't say I'm not going to set a target because I can't achieve it - that's against the very nature of goal-setting itself. If we never set targets we wouldn't have this great society we live in today. For Harper to argue that we won't even TRY to reach a target because it is [in his narrow opinion] unachievable is something he needs to be taken to task on. It is a pathetic cop-out to the oil industry. A pullout from Kyoto at this point would hurt the agreement and environments worldwide. Most of the World is currently a signatory. Very few nations are not. In order to get the remaining few dregs on-side we need to set a good example, and we need to push the biggest polluters - our "best friends" to the South).

Harper always spouted about Kyoto being unrealistic. All we ever heard during the election and the past few months especially (ever since the Environment got on the map as a vote-losing issue for the Harpies) was about how the Liberals were surpassed by Bush in greenhouse gas reduction (oh, he was very careful not to criticize Kyoto). Hmmm... wonder if the Americans beating us in some areas has anything to do with this: The US is by far the worst polluter in the world, many times worse than Canada. Couple that with the fact that a LOT of America's most polluting industries have jumped to countries like Mexico and China, while Canada's resource-based industry remains here - often exploited by American companies (like Big Oil). Our oil industry wouldn't just pack up and leave - while a lot of factories and manufacturing plants have vacated the US in the past decade. Any laws passed by a government to battle consumer/institutional pollution would scarcely make a dent in Canada - while in the US the exact same - or even lesser legislation would have a much bigger impact. This is due to the nature of the main polluters in each country. Here in Canada it is Big Oil and some other resource industries, while in the US individual consumers are a huge part of the equation. What Harper effectively has been doing is helping Alberta build a firewall around the oil industry, using any breath he had to protect big oil (along with a lot of help from oil lobbyists), while criticizing any efforts made by former Liberal governments - knowing full well that he and his oil-lobbyist friends, and Ralph Klein, and Danny Williams (both loyal conservatives) would have all conspired to create a national crisis had the Liberal governments done ANYTHING that even suggested some regulation in the pollution-rich oil sector. As a campaigner in Alberta, all one ever hears is hateful, vindictive statements about the Liberals and the NEP - as if it is some sort of "pre-emptive strike" in case voters even think of voting Liberal.)

Remember what a great statesman (Albert Gore) said about the Harper Government's motivation:

Renata D'Aliesio and Katherine Monk, Calgary Herald; CanWest News Service

Published: Thursday, January 26, 2006
Former U.S. vice-president Al Gore has accused the oil industry of financially backing the Tories and their "ultra-conservative leader" to protect its stake in Alberta's lucrative oilsands.
Canadians, Gore said, should vigilantly keep watch over prime minister-designate Stephen Harper because he has a pro-oil agenda and wants to pull out of the Kyoto accord -- an international agreement to combat climate change.
"The election in Canada was partly about the tar sands projects in Alberta," Gore said Wednesday while attending the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.
"And the financial interests behind the tar sands project poured a lot of money and support behind an ultra-conservative leader in order to win the election . . . and to protect their interests."
(WesternGrit: To successfully do our part in stopping global warming and climate change we will need to face challenges in our oil/resource sectors. We Canadians need to have the cajones to take the leap and decide to impose earth-saving regulations on these sectors, as well as continue with efforts our past Liberal governments made in the environment. The choice is ours to make)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Baird and Harper Hope to Sell Environmental Sham

So... a few million in funds (versus the billions the government will give to the oil industry). While that is quite a story, it's not the real story. The story here is that the menial funding is a total sham in itself. The paltry 58 million dollars will fund what basically amounts to "looking into the problem". Nothing in the way of real policy to (for example):

1) Regulate the biggest greenhouse gas polluter in Canada (the Alberta oil industry). The provincial government is partially responsible here - charging a pittance in royalties, clearly robbing the people of Alberta to help pad the pockets of their conservative oil company overlords. Even Peter Lougheed (former PC Premier of Alberta thinks the province is being fleeced by big oil). If the Yanks want to come up here for "safe oil" they're going to have to pay for it. Canada's sole purpose is NOT US "oil security". With the backbone of Stephen "Shrub" Harper's electoral strength being Alberta oil country it is highly unlikely anything will happen in this area, meaning Canada's rampant CO2 emissions will remain high.

2) Put strict fuel-efficiency standards on all automobiles - including SUVs

3) Tax SUVs at point of purchase - to convince consumers to choose more sensible vehicles (I drive a compact pickup for my business, instead of a monster SUV/wagon because it hauls everything I need and still manages 30mpg on the highway (not bad for a 5500lb 4x4)

4) Tax cuts for purchasers of hybrids (to help offset the price crunch when you purchase them

5) Tax rebates for home renovations geared to conserving energy (ex: geothermal/solar heating; insulating basements, attics, and garages)


As a party, we need to stand up and call to task the Harpies on their sham of an environmental "policy". We will need to be prepared for Canada's biggest gas-emitter - Minister Baird - to spout his usual sputum-laden diatribes concerning things "the last government" didn't accomplish. The nice thing is that Canadians are getting sick and tired of hearing the old schoolyard "he did it, not me" crap.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Khan & Harper Use Taxpayer's Money To Solicit South Asian Votes In Mississauga

Conservative "Accountability" In Action:
- Stephen "Shrub" Harper and Wajid Khan openly solicited South Asians to "join the Conservative Party".
- Khan had plans to cross the floor PRIOR to the cabinet shuffle (according to Stockwell Day's Riding newsletter) - showing he lied about Dion pushing him from the party. We all know that Khan was a Con fifth columnist all along. His numerous conservative friends were more than likely getting Liberal insider info for years. Anything for a buck eh Wajid?
- Conservatives lambasted Belinda for crossing the floor - going as far as uttering sexist slurs, and making very stinging public comments. Mr. Harper claimed the "ethics" of floor crossing was one of the big reasons he felt the government needs more accountability (prior to the 2006 election). How the tables turn when you run a minority government yourself.
- Khan promised a report would be made public when he returned from his Middle East and Asian vacation. We now know how much it cost, but Khan and Harper have indicated they will not release the report. Were they blatantly lying to taxpayers? Shrub? What happened to "ethics".

The popular rap group NWA once did a short rap titled "Here's what they think of you..." Here's what Harper thinks of "Asians": "You have to remember that west of Winnipeg the ridings the Liberals hold are dominated by people who are either recent Asian immigrants or recent migrants from Eastern Canada; people who live in ghettos and are not integrated into Western Canadian society."

- Conservative leader Stephen Harper, in Report Newsmagazine, 2001. (Thanks to a fellow Blogger - Jeff Davidson - for posting this old Harper comment)

As one of the "WesternGrit" columnists, I'm
a descendant of immigrants living in the West. I don't recall living in any ghettos when I grew up in the West. I actually most recently resided right in Calgary SW - Stephen Harper's own riding. I have personally experienced many a far right conservative in my life in the rural West, and believe me - while it might be different in urban metro Canada - much of the Conservative "base" is very strongly anti-immigrant.
Wajid Khan is joining the Cons simply as an opportunist. Like many collaborators in history he is perfectly willing to sell out his own interests - at the expense of ethics - simply to increase his own importance. Good riddance. As Liberals it is our duty to ensure these breaches of Harper's "accountability" principles are tossed right back in his face during the next election. Mr. Dion needs clear talking points outlining all of the Conservative's accountability lies. We should be publishing a list in national newspapers. We need to ensure he can't ever play "holier than thou".

Mr. Dion also needs to engage the immigrant community, but also all minorities in general. Some of the defectors to the Conservatives are saying we took minorities for-granted - that we thought we had their votes as a "given". While we may have banked on these votes, we need to begin a "Multiculturalism Engagement Campaign" to ensure we explain to minority groups across the country that our party ideals, policy, and ideology are the most supportive of minorities in this great land. I propose that the Liberal Party have a statement/booklet showing the views and activities of our Multiculturalism Committee available to cultural groups across the country. We HAVE a Multiculturalism Chair - the Conservatives don't and don't care to. We need to use this fact to help highlight how much we are in tune with cultural issues, and how the Conservatives could care less about multiculturalism. As a matter of fact it was Reform/Conservative policy to oppose Canada being a multicultural nation. They would rather we were a "melting pot" like the US.

The Conservatives will do anything to try to get minority votes - and trust me, the VOTES is all they're after. They could care less about creating any long-term policy changes to help minority groups, new immigrants, and the underpriveleged. Platitudes and tokens - that's all they'll put forward. Unfortunately this may be enough to win over some cultural minority votes. We need to remember that politics works differently in other lands - and typically the person is voted for, not one of the dozens of parties they stand for. Indian sub-continent politics is a good example of this. To maintain these votes we need to:

1) Continue to engage community leaders "on the ground"

2) Educate new Canadians and other minorities about what we have done and continue to do for them on a daily basis

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

So Mr. Harper... Do You Still "Reject the science of Kyoto"? Do You Still Feel "There is no solid proof of Global Warming"???

A third snowstorm on the West Coast. Vicious blizzards on the Prairies. Record warm temperatures in the Maritimes (cripes, they're golfin' out dere!). No snow in Southern Ontario and Ottawa (no skating on the Rideau!). Giant Arctic ice shelves breaking off our northern islands... Record cold in Northern India. More devastating storms occurring around the world than at any other time in recorded (or scientifically determined) history.

What is going on? It seems the climate is doing something... Something different than it did over the past several thousand years... What's the word I'm looking for? Oh yeah... change. Looks like our climate is changing...

Stephen Harper (Shrub) spent the last 10+ years ranting about how "the 'science' behind Kyoto was flawed...", how there is no such thing as climate change. Remember where Harper comes from: Calgary AB - the heart of Canada's American-dominated and controlled oil industry. AB Conservatives/Reformers tend to be angry oil industry apologists. Guess who campaigned for Shrub (many AB Cons - assured of a sweep in the "home province" spent most of the last election sermonizing across the rest of Canada) and financed his run to Ottawa??? Thousands of neo-Con ideologues right out of Canada's neo-Con heartland. Guess who most of them work for (either directly or indirectly)? The Alberta oil patch. Whether they are investment bankers, geologists, self-proclaimed "rig-pigs", oil execs, or any of the myriad oil service and oil related businesses, they all serve the goddess "Petroleum".

Will Shrub ever change his opinion of Climate Change? No. Sure he'll talk about (and listen to his words closely) "doing more", and "doing more than the last government". All he's going to continue to do is try to make it look like he's outdone the Liberals. If he treats this like he treated National Child Care, we may have nothing to worry about (when the facts come out). Unfortunately what we have at stake is the future of our planet and most likely the human race. A party which still has members who believe dinosaurs roamed the earth with men, and the earth is only 6000 years old, and for years has insisted on being "Climate Change-Deniers" has no place at the helm of this land as we face the greatest challenge to human existence.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Why Isn't Khan In Pakistan???

So former Pakistani Air Force Officer, self-proclaimed "knower of people", "expert" on Middle Eastern and South Asian affairs, and PM Shrub's latest blatant attempt to buy minority votes, didn't accompany External Affairs neophyte - Peter MacKay - to (of all places) South Asia. Mr. Khan indicated his "expertise" in the region would help the Shrub government deal with a situation involving the arrests of suspected terrorists in the GTA.

Why would Canada's "expert" on South Asian affairs - someone who claims to have "special" insight into the region's problems - not join a tour of Canadian officials to the region? Can anyone guess why this might be? Anyone? Bueller? Maybe - just maybe (and this is just a wild guess based on "wild speculation") - PM Shrub thought he would be able to "buy" South Asian votes in the GTA with this move. What easier way to do this than to pick someone who has some conservative leanings (re: Wajid's stand on same-sex marriage), conveniently located in a city where the Cons got shut out last election? Now PM Shrub and his neo-Con brethren can claim a couple of things: 1) they're "engaged" in the Middle East; and 2) they can't be a party harboring any "closet racists" when they have (insert appropriate race/ethnicity/demographic here) in their party. Does he really hope/think that modern urban Canadians will easily forget the hate-filled remarks made by former Reform/Alliance candidates - most of whom are still keenly active within the party?

Where's Khan's report? Last Spring he promised (according to CBC News): ..."Khan promised at the time that his report would be available to all political parties, promising it would be "unbiased and freestanding."" Khan lied to Canadians - with PM Shrub's help. Where's ANY accountability in that? What area of Middle East relations does Khan hold expertise in? Not sure how being a car dealer helped with that. The American-backed Pakistani Air Force did little if any work with any Middle Eastern nations - especially the one's he visited. Yet, Khan still claims: "some expertise, I have contacts and I have intel." Wouldn't Foreign Affairs benefit from his being along on the junket?

Here's reality:
1) Petey has no power to do anything in the region anyways, and his trip to South Asia is just another "Bush-esque" flag-waving, tax-payer-sponsored PR junket aimed at rallying Canadians to "support the troops" in the most politically partisan manner one can dream (I mean seriously, we all know that conservatives are the only ones anywhere who "love troops" - they're just usually too "chicken-hawk" to serve alongside them)
2) Newsflash - Khan isn't an expert on anything besides selling used cars and flying scrapped ex-American warbirds, and he landed himself a cushy position where he has to do basically nothing - just because of the riding he happened to cross the floor in.

Accountable government?

Friday, January 05, 2007

Wajid Khan - Turncoat Action May Help Us In The Long Run

So PM Shrub thought he'd have a 5th columnist not-so-hidden among Liberal ranks. Harper could not cajole, beg, or borrow an urban Canadian seat in any of the major metros, so he bought one (Emerson), and now by giving a glory-hungry South Asian (I'm South Asian, so I can say with confidence what I know precisely what a lot of South Asian 1st generation politicians and wannabes are like) an "important" role in caucus ("Official Currier - would that be vindaloo? hahaha - of Favor for South Asian Affairs"). 2nd generation politicians tend to be a lot less driven by these factors - people like Ruby Dhalla, Rahim Jaffer, or Navdeep Bains, all raised in Canada have a fresh new outlook on politics, much different than their 1st gen parents.

As a South Asian I'm appalled that any person of my cultural background would even consider running for the Cons. Sure, they may have some things in common (ex: liking "free enterprise"), but so do Liberals. These people seem not to consider that the full slate of Conservative views are detrimental to both immigrants and visible minorities (as well as women and minorities in general). As someone who grew up around a lot of first generation immigrant South Asian politicians, I can say that many of their "facilitators" were only concerned with "being the boss" or the "bigshot" in any community. They typically run no-holds-barred fights just to gain key roles in community religious or cultural organizations. After these (often dirty) fights, they divide communities and end up hurting the parties they work for (as the people who despise them will typically work for "anyone but" them - regardless of ideology, it becomes a popularity contest).

Politicians like Mr. Khan (good riddance) have no scruples. To sell out your principles (if indeed you had any) for a position, is really the wrong thing to do. I know what Mr. Khan was thinking... He must be basking in the glory of his position as THE link to the federal government for the several hundred thousand South Asians in Canada - as well as the millions of South Asians they relate to abroad. This type of position - while not seeming important to a lot of Canadians - can have a huge reward for the position-holder - both personal and often financial. Certainly being able to reinforce one's political power is one huge part of it.

Perhaps we Liberals need to be a little more careful in our selection of candidates, although I don't think this is really the key. What we Liberals need to do is to stop taking for granted that we "own" the minority vote. Sure, on the issues we are right there with minorities across Canada. Being moderates lends itself to that. The thing is, when the Cons run at us, they will usually hit us with some "quick-win" approach that costs them nothing (ex; apology to Chinese Canadians), or something equally visible - but for which they could care less. They typically will do this rather than have actual social policy which helps minorities and underprivileged Canadians move ahead. I strongly urge our newly elected Multicultural Chair - as well as our new leadership - to do something in the way of a concerted Multiculturalism Policy for the lead-up to the next election.

We saw a leadership campaign in which bus-loads of South Asian (in particular) delegates were aggressively courted by all camps. It is time for the favor to be returned - for the good of Canadian minorities AND for the good of our party. If we fail - as a party - to secure a mainstay of our urban vote, we will struggle to retain some urban seats in the next federal election. Knowing our "glorious successes" against Conservatives in rural ridings, we may well be in trouble if we don't shore up our "bread and butter" vote. The party needs to begin a concerted campaign outlining what great leaders like Laurier, Pearson, Trudeau, and Cretien did for minorities and immigrants. I hope Mr. Amarjit Grewal (our new Multiculturalism Chair) is up to the challenge. Hopefully he'll get some help in consulting our leadership on engaging the multiculturalism issue in a general election (and before it). MPs like Ujjal Dusanj, Sukh Dhaliwal, Ruby Dhalla, and Navdeep Bains will all have to play a key role in this "Multiculturalism Renewal Process".

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Man, It's Nice Out Here

Fiendishly working illicitly online (like the pirate I think I am), I decided its time to fire off a quick post before one of my neighbors decides to turn off their wi-fi router... ; )

Maybe... just maybe... I can get by out here in the GVRD without paying for cable (my house seems to be wired for free too)! I will have to thank my neighbors for their kind consideration (although I may just avoid the one beside me cuz I think it's a grow op). On second thought... maybe I will go thank them - they may just show their appreciation... ; )

Shout out to Matt in Hamilton, Dave in TO, Richard in Ottawa, all the Regina Crew, Chris in 'Toontown, and Neil and all the crew in Calgary. Will try to begin posting in earnest in the not to distant future. Once the haze of the New Year's celebrations begins to lift. Gotta be the best place on earth to party!

Viva Vancouver!