Saturday, June 28, 2008

Why Conservatives Are Like Orcs...

"The old world will burn in the fires of industry. Forests will fall. A new order will rise. We will drive the machinery of war with the sword and the spear and the iron fist of the orcs."
"We have only to remove those who oppose us."

Having a LOTR moment...

So why are Conservatives like the evil Orcs from the Lord of the Rings? Let's look at the very obvious similarities...

1) Orcs are evil - so are Conservatives... lol... (that was an easy one). More seriously now...

2) Orcs believe in a simple, all-or-none, me above all else, black/white, philosophy in life. Orcs against the world - no moderation or gradations. Conservatives also believe everything is black or white. There are no grey areas for them. You're either "with them, or agin 'em".

3) Orcs have a voracious appetite consuming everything in their path. Conservatives too have voracious appetites. If you chance a across a Connie in Alberta they can easily be discerned by their beer in hand, steak on their dish, and pickup they idle through the Tim Horton's. They will know you for your "hippie sandals", choice of beverage (perhaps wine, or a good scotch or other foreign libation), and small import car...

4) Orcs don't care about the environment - especially if it keeps them from achieving their goals. Witness the destruction of Isengard and the forests around it in LOTR. Conservatives would drill in the Artic Wildlife Refuge, pristine Canadian tundra, lay waste to Northern forests - just to keep fueling their SUVs and Humvees. In fact, most conservatives would pimp their mothers and sell their children if they could get their hands on a small oil company in Alberta or Saskatchewan - or any other tax-free source of revenue, which is heavily government subsidized.

5) Orcs like their weapons. Cons like their weapons. No-brainer here.

6) Orcs are FOR capital punishment. So are Cons.

7) Orcs have an aversion to sunlight. Conservatives also prefer to keep themselves indoors - away from the light as much as possible. For a party with so little diversity/color, they really should market sunscreen on their website.

8) Orcs whip themselves into a foaming, seething, fuming lather when they are upset about something, then proceed to do the angriest, darkest things possible in response. Conservatives like to whip themselves into a foaming, seething, fuming lather when they are upset about something... Just have a good look at John Baird, or experience one of "PM" Harper's rants...

9) Orcs are known to make a tree or plant shrivel and die, just by passing by it. Conservatives have also been known to make forests disappear.

10) Orcs aren't exactly the "elite" of Middle Earth. Simple, dim-witted creatures, they are the proverbial "anti-elitists" of the Lord of the Rings. Conservatives, similarly, are raving anti-elitists, resenting anyone of intelligence, or anyone who is able to reason and think things out...

My little homage to the Lord of The Rings, and John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. Hope my tainting of the image of Orcs - by comparison to conservatives - doesn't make old John roll over in his grave...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Rt. Hon. Jean Cretien and Aide Pelletier Cleared Of ANY Wrongdoing

That headline says it all.

Mr. Cretien has been vindicated, and it couldn't come a moment too soon. Like we had been saying for years, a few "low-lying" Liberals in one part of Quebec do not a national party make... especially if some of them were also former Conservative supporters and donors. And Judge Gomery? A former Conservative, and found to be "obviously biased". Brilliant.

So the Conservatives' entire 2006 election strategy was based on a (very successful) lie. Hmmm... Too bad the slung mud stuck so well. Oh well, we had a chance for some serious debate and party renewal. Now we have a great "Envi-nomics" plan (as one of my "conservative friends" says, it's the envy of everyone) - The Green Shift (tm) - which will vault us into victory!

Congratulations to Mr. Cretien. This absolution was well-deserved.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

THE Green Shift "Envi-nomic" Plan

"Envi-nomics": WesternGrit's dictionary defines this as the landmark federal Liberal plan to blend environmental accountability and responsibility with economic stewardship of the Country...

While it is great to hear the positive reviews of the landmark "The Green Shift" Liberal environmental/economic strategy, we do have to be ready for the attacks the Cons will be attempting over the next few months. The one argument Conservatives will be throwing at Canadians is the exact costs to them - based on the Plan's proscribed formulas.

There is ONE HUGE ITEM critics fail to mention when attacking the plan: What is the effect - beyond immediate financial - on consumers? Sure, you can argue that there MAY be small price hikes at the pumps, home heating, etc.... but what about the numerous benefits?

There are 2 very key points that don't get covered by the plan - but I see daily here in BC:

1) Numerous value-added industries will spring up in Canada, toting high-paying jobs, and massive export potential - based on the "green industry". A government focused on being "green" will add more credibility, and more "sell-ability" to a burgeoning "green sector" in Canada.

2) The unwritten GUARANTEE THAT CANADIANS WILL SAVE AT THE PUMPS. How, you ask? It's already happening here in BC, and in many big urban centers - but will spread across Canada... Canadians WILL buy more fuel efficient cars in their next new car purchase. I see it daily here in the Lower Mainland: SUVs, Humvees, and V8 cars are just not selling. The family that spent close to $1000/month with their 3/4 ton pickup are making do with a small or mid-sized pickup and halfing fuel bills. I could have purchased/leased a full-sized pickup for my business, but settled for a smaller Toyota model - which can get over 30 mpg on the highway (not bad for a pickup). By doing this alone I calculate that I'm saving $300 to $500 PER MONTH. We'll also all opt for more energy-saving appliances, and home-heating.

- THIS is the intended spin-off of such policy. BC has a carbon tax kicking in next month. Sure, I'll save around $400/year with the "green shift plan", but I plan to save EVEN more by buying more "efficiently". My next car will get the government credit AND get 40 mpg or more.

"The Green Shift" will actually help Canadians save hundreds of dollars a month - because we literally will want to. I see many contractors driving smaller Dakotas, Colorados, Tacomas, and Frontiers, rather than their gas-sucking cousins. A home builder friend of mine actually drives a Smart Car. He says that most of the time he needs a few tools, and has to run from site to site with paperwork. He parks his dually Dodge diesel for when he needs to tow his "garbage trailer". He did it because of the rising fuel prices in BC, and the pending carbon tax.

A serious debate IS needed on the plan - because Canadians need to see the change in thinking that is required by many of us to make this world a better place in which to live... A serious debate IS needed so we can discuss "spin-offs" like the ones mentioned above. A serious debate IS needed because Canadians deserve honest and open government.

Talentless Conservatives Rely On Former Liberal Minister To Handle Key Cabinet Post

So, once again, the Harper Conservatives - lacking any imagination or talent themselves - rely on a former Liberal Cabinet Minister, and an unelected Quebecer to make up key cabinet shortcomings. If it wasn't such a serious matter, this would be laughable.

David Emerson - former Liberal MP and Cabinet Minister is now the most senior member of the Harper Cabinet, and is responsible for "Canada's face" abroad. It is apparent that Harper realized the dearth of talent in Conservative ranks, and was forced into this move. It doesn't look like it was a "happy" Harper decision either.

Canadians need to ask themselves (and hopefully the media wakes up to this...) what do I succeed in when I give Harper my vote? Am I only lending this surly, and rather angry Calgarian - with somewhat dubious designs on Canada - my vote so HE can be PM? Am I considering who the key decision-makers are at the cabinet table? Does it matter to me what happens with the various departments in government? How do my country's representatives look when they go abroad?

Time for the media, and the rest of Canada, to begin asking some tough questions about this very arrogant "government".

Monday, June 23, 2008

MP Goodale Reveals Harper's Secret Plan To Raise Energy Costs For Consumers!!!

Well, well, well. Little Stevie "Mr. Bungles" Harper was jumping up and down screaming and crying about the Dion/Liberal Green Shift, yet there is proof that he has a very hideous plan to "screw" consumers across this land...

After being buried for months in voluminous government paperwork, the Harper "green plan" has come under further scrutiny by hard working Liberal MPs - doing what MPs should be for Canadian taxpayers. In his weekly mailing this morning Mr. Goodale revealed what the Conservatives have attempted to hide from the Canadian public: the Conservatives' very own "carbon tax".

Ralph's email explains it best, so everyone have a good read of this email from Canada's hardest working MP:


By Ralph Goodale, M.P.


While using juvenile cartoons to attack Liberal environmental proposals, Stephen Harper pretends his own way of reducing greenhouse gases and fighting climate change would be completely cost-free.

Either his plan is a farce, or he’s not telling the truth.

The Conservatives claim they won’t touch consumers. They’ll just slap heavy regulations on businesses to force them to stop spewing emissions into the atmosphere.

But wait a minute. If those new regulations are effective, won’t they create new costs for businesses?

You bet they will, at every level, from farming to the oilsands, from electricity generation to trucking. And all those costs will be passed along to you, the consumer, who will ultimately pay the bill.

So let’s be clear – if Stephen Harper’s greenhouse gas regulations mean anything, they mean higher costs for everyone.

Back in March, the Harper regime released a Background Paper on their climate change plan. Buried in the fine print is this confession:

“The effect of regulatory measures is to send a strong price signal … Canadians can expect to bear real costs under the (Conservative) regulatory framework … These costs will be most evident in the form of higher energy prices …”

So there it is – in the Conservatives’ very own words. Their scheme will force energy costs to go up.

By how much? They won’t say. And that leads to a great deal of suspicion.

On the one hand, Mr. Harper says he’s serious about climate change. But on the other, he won’t come clean about his costs. He implies there will be none, but everyone knows that’s not true.

Equally troubling, Mr. Harper’s regulations provide no offsetting income tax cuts to cushion the burden of his higher costs.

The Conservative plan is a bad plan. All costs. No benefits. Dishonest!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Green Shift - Why Conservatives Just Don't Get It...

For the past few days - since the revelation of the "Green Shift", Conservatives have been busy trying to discredit the plan. They are trying to say the supposed costs of the plan are not worth the effort by Canadians. The "costs" - as small as they are, are FAR outweighed by the true benefits.

These conservative clowns argue about the small percentage of an effect this will have on the world. I'm not as concerned about the whole world, as I am about the immediate effects here... Driving into Edmonton from the East, I'd rather not go through the pall of smoke from the refineries. If local companies are forced to clean up, I MAY not have to drive through that crap in January. It's the local effects that are critical to us. Sure there are global effects, but at least we would be doing our part.

What most conservatives just don't get - or probably care about, based on their recent foreign policy repeated fiascos - is that no matter how small a part of the world we are, anyone who has traveled the planet knows just how revered a position Canada holds. This reverence for Canada worldwide has a lot to do with our almost neutral, peace-loving image - tempered by our invention of the UN Peacekeeping Force. The world has looked up to us for years - particularly the developing world... Countries like India, and areas in Southeast Asia. Even China had a very respectable relationship with us through the 70s, 80s, and 90s. The power THAT relationship holds is immense. The power we had to convince nations to see things our way. This will be critical in convincing populous nations like India and China that they need to clean up their pollution machines.

Canada can be a leader - by becoming a center for green expertise. Oh yeah - by the way - there's money in that, my conservative friends. We've already sold many useful green technologies to other countries. New Delhi India has completely converted it's bus fleets to compressed natural gas. It has made a HUGE difference in air quality and acid rain conditions. Guess where the tech came from??? British Columbia Canada. A company that participated in the China and India "Team Canada" trade missions (with Jean Cretien) was successful in landing the contract.

We need to act to BE the beacon we have been in the past. Unfortunately, under the current government, we are more of a "court jester" to Bush's regime down South.

Friday, June 20, 2008

"Steve Harper's A Classy Sonamab@tch... And He's No "Eastern Elitist""

- Quote from any of the "lowest common denominator" members that make up the core of the angry, Alberta-based Reform-a-tory movement... (Image from

Can anyone believe a sitting Prime Minister would use the term "screwed" to describe anything? Only the anti-elitist (read: anti-education), anti-East, anti-immigrant, anti-woman, anti-minority, etc., neo-Conservative army would revel in Harper's comments. Harper has certainly lowered the level of debate in Canada. His minions are just as bad - if not worse.

Con/Mr. Bungles apologists will say, "we're sick of the politically correct society of the elitists", but come on... Did they not also have mothers growing up, who taught them right from wrong? Didn't their parents teach them what was acceptable in public?

Do Reformers ever consider what the rest of the world thinks, or are they too immersed in their "anti-world" pseudo-foreign policy? Just what does a foreign leader think of when he plans to address Canada, or Canadian leaders? Do they consider Canada as having bucked the conventions of international protocol and decency?

When foreign leaders aspire to be statesmen, Canadian federal Conservatives of the Reform ilk aspire to be low-brow "hatchetmen". Some Canadians may be amused. Some may even be "enamored", but Liberals need not worry. These gun-totin', angry, usually rural Prairie Reform-backers would never vote Liberal. These are the same type of people who like to blame the recession of the 80s, and international oil prices on the NEP... Rational thought has always been too "elitist" for them. For them the "with us, or agin' us" neo-hate-politics is king. Individual - or more accurately "us" - comes before the betterment of the group or society as a whole.

Harper is the "golden child" of this movement. He is the definitive "anti-statesman". He is the anti-elitist's anti-elitist. He is the denouement of compassionate politics. His party is set upon unraveling any need for federal government that exists in Canada, and it begins with contempt for our institutions, contempt for our system, and contempt for the decency it engenders.

Today's "screwed" comments by Harper were completely un-Prime Ministerial. He has made a mockery of the office, coming to power as he did - not due to superior policy, or superior skill-set - but by the machinations of a very contrived and very peripheral "scandal". Canadians are now seeing the empty rhetoric of a government devoid of ideas, devoid of talent, and devoid of basic decency.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Green Shift: The Plan Is In...

Mr. Dion made public the Liberal "Green Shift" Environmental-Tax Cut Plan today. On the surface the plan seems pretty straight-forward... Shifting taxes from consumers - particularly via significant income tax cuts. The "lost" taxes will be made up by taxing pollutants - in particular, coal. While consumers MAY (key word: "may") see some bits of inflation, they'll receive more than adequate dividends from the income tax breaks. Heavy consumers would be more affected than people who consume very little. If someone on a low income uses public transportation, they stand to have savings as well.

Stephen Harper's only - very partisan - response was to jump up and down and cry, "liar, liar, pants on fire..." Without any significant plan of his own, Harper is left holding a very empty bag. Experts the world over have rejected the Conservative "non-plan". Everyone can read through Harper's sham/ruse: He is purely a shill for Big Oil and Alberta special interest groups...

The Liberal "Green Shift" is being praised by many environmental groups AND the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (amazing, that). This is definitely the right plan. Some argue it is not the right time. We would have to argue, if not now, when? Opponents claim that gas prices are too high right now, and consumers are being impacted. These arguments ring hollow. Gas prices will continue to rise - as they have since gas was a fuel. Sure there may be price wars and very short-term drops (for a week or two). Besides, from analysis it appears automotive fuel prices will be impacted very little - if at all. Home heating costs may go up, but those costs will be made up by the tax cuts (heck, if you OWN a home, you are undoubtedly paying taxes). There are bound to be further breaks for being green.

What excites me about the choice being in the consumers' hands, is that now we can seriously consider alternatives. I'm already planning solar panels for my pergola in the back yard. This will power all my yard lights and my ponds, with power to spare. This is in BC. In colder areas - with more sunlight (Alberta, Sask, Man., Ontario, Quebec), the solar alternative will save consumers millions. I'm also plotting out a geothermal heating alternative, and already have a high-efficiency heat pump in my home. I've insulated at R40 - way beyond code for BC. All consumer-driven measures to save energy. One other thing I do: use pine beetle-infested firewood in my wood-burning fireplace. Energy savings galore!

The public will have a good read of the plan, and will hear about it all summer long. Anything Mr. Harper does now will look like a desperate measure, and an afterthought. The whole idea now rests on the "marketing". I really do hope that we are able to sell this, as it is the ONLY plan out there, and it is the only workable one. If we sell it correctly, we should be able to garner votes from almost anyone who is even remotely environmentally concerned.

The planet is sending us "signals" which we must heed - for the good of the human race, and all the other species on it. Deniers only have one argument - that global warming is cyclical, BUT they refuse to believe the science pointing to the effects of huge man-made changes. When the Alberta oil industry continues to suck millions of liters of water out of the earth - just to "push" oil out - and the Bow River Glacier is going to disappear in less than 10 years, WE HAVE A PROBLEM. This problem is man made (or exasperated by man), when you look at examples like the Bow Glacier, or when you look at the dying off of entire species of Amphibians. The ONLY party that is going to take responsibility - and accountability - besides the citizenry, is government.

It is time for us to act. Now, not later.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Unbiased Media? You Gotta Be Kidding!

There's been some discussion on the Liblogs today, about the media and it's lack of objectivity... I replied earlier to some posts...

The "media" needs to have some limits to its partisanship. Not talking about censorship, but about promoting independent thought. They can say whatever they feel like, but we need to put an end to media oligopolies. These huge media concerns will be the end of democratic civilization - and I'm not being "over the top" with that comment. The hates and fears that common citizens feel are fomented by the radio talk shows they hear on the way to work, the TV news they watch at night, and the daily newspaper they read on their coffee breaks... at the coffee shop that is owned by another large US conglomerate, which has cross-promotions in-store with the media chains (for "in store" entertainment - Shaw DMX music, TV from Rogers/Shaw/Bell, CDs for sale).

We're not going to get an accurate depiction of "Little Pee Pee" Pierre until there is REAL JOURNALISM in this country. Unfortunately, without the protections for Canadian content, and strong anti-monopoly laws, we're seeing the US-style deterioration of a truly free media. Frightening indeed. Why is it that so many of us resort to blogs and blogging for our info?

Steve V made some good observations about the import of blogs in this new world of "pseudo-news", and "editorial-posing-as-news". The obstacle any new form of media will have, is to establish credibility. You watch a local news broadcast, and many of them start the show with vaunted imagery and statements of "40 years broadcasting...", "the most watched news-team in the Pacific Northwest", "Regina's most popular news crew", etc., etc. The media has built it's own "aura" and legitimacy. We will need to destroy that legitimacy before we can be accepted as "legit" by the consumers (unfortunately, we have to describe viewers/readers as "consumers", as this is what they've become). Right now, most consumers feel the "news" on TV is the most up-to-date, accurate reporting, while there is the common idea of the "private" nature of blogs, and the partisan discourse therein.

The big Corporate media is the worst - and the most sensationalist of all the news services. Why? The bottom line, of course. Every page they print must be sold. Every 15 to 20mins of airtime must be sold, to commercial interests - many of whom own part of the media company. Ever see General Electric ads on NBC during "Saturday Night Live"? Guess who owns NBC? Yep, it's General Electric - incidentally, the largest manufacturer of atomic materials used for nuclear bombs in the world.

As political activists, WE can do more than simply complain about the state of affairs. While there may not be much public outcry either way (most of the public really has no idea how media cross-ownership affects them), WE can make change happen. We need to ensure that OUR party defends small Canadian media outlets, and helps take apart media monopolies. For all intents and purposes Canada has 3 media outlets controlling the airwaves for 90% of the population: Shaw/Starchoice, Rogers Media, and Bell-Globe Media. There are some smaller players (Quebecor, Irving - who own oil and news - nice combo that...) as well, but the 3 "biggies" are the main ones. A concerted political effort can make a difference - and it will be the only way a difference is made. Political parties unswayed by big corporations would be key to affect the change. The public would also need to be involved. The media consortia have their lobbies and associations that advocate on behalf of broadcasters. It's time the public, the consumer, the voter had their own lobby, or association. Such an advocacy group would bring substantiation to the claims and complaints of people like us - the end consumers.

The media has twisted public thought by screaming "censorship" every time a government gets involved in ensuring fairness and tries to root out monopolies. Tell me now, if we were to lock out foreign media, and set up some boundaries for print media (so one company doesn't own every major daily from coast to coast), how would it NOT inspire independent thought? We would effectively do away with the pan-Canadian, one-voice-one-journalist editorial (I wouldn't have to read Don Martin every day of a cross-Canada trip). If media companies want a national presence they could still have a one-name national daily (like the Globe), but wouldn't be allowed to hide out pretending to be "your local newspaper", when they're really regurgitated editorialized drivel from a "one editor" national perspective.

One thing a federal government COULD do here, is enact laws that prohibit ANY sponsorship of news or editorial programming. No commercial sponsorship, and ALL stations must provide news without the corporate "shadow". This would help a little. You would still have the partisan editors, "editing". Used to be that editing was for sentence structure, grammar, etc.... who am I fooling - since the dawn of a "for profit" press, there has never been unbiased editing of anything...

Once the "profit motive" becomes less of a player in the news - and it becomes a true "public service", there may be true unbiased reporting. Hmmm... come to think of it, isn't that just like the CBC? PBS? Right wingers will scream about the CBC, and say it is the "Liberal voice", but they are wrong. The CBC was a big part of the Gomery reporting, and was all over both PM Cretien, and PM Martin. The CBC tries to present a perspective that is both right and left. What ends up happening with that, is that they need to be moderate, and somewhat in the middle. When they report from the middle - so as not to be too "NDP", or too "Conservative", they appear to be "pro-Liberal", but all they are really doing is spreading their perspective from left to right, evenly.

The public needs to take enough of an interest in the need for unbiased reporting and media, so we don't end up with a corporate monolith in charge of all information. We are dangerously close to seeing ownership of TV, radio, newspapers, internet, even web content (via the gateways) in the hands of a handful of companies. We actually have much of that structure right now. These corporations are actually more friendly with each other than the public knows.

Edit: I worked for a couple of giant media companies, so I am acutely aware of some of the inner-goings-on.

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to my Dad... and every other Dad out there!

This morning I had my brother and his wife and baby son over, and we made pancakes, omelettes, and bacon for Dad/Grandpa. Dad's going to spend the day playing with Grandkid. I also bought my father a moleskine notebook like mine, and a Fisher Space Pen so he can keep his notes in order, and not scratch all over scrap papers he likes to keep in his pockets...

It's a beautiful, sunny Vancouver day. Couldn't imagine a nicer day!

Happy day, everyone!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

More Conservative Racism... Pierre "Little PeePee" Poilievre...

MP Pierre (Little PeePee) Poilievre had another rant/venting session yesterday - the same day PM Bungles was supposedly apologizing to Canada's First Peoples on behalf of the Canadian Government. In typical "Little PeePee" Poilievre fashion, the rant attacked a defenseless minority. The utter shame was that he actually had the gall and total lack of respect to make the comments on the day of the historic apology. There is no time for racist statements like this, but this just takes the proverbial cake.

Little PeePee (and the nickname suits him - he's probably got some feelings of inadequacy that lead him to lash out the way he does at anyone he doesn't like) is the Conservative "point man" whenever Prime Minister Bungles doesn't think John Baird can yell loud enough, or generate enough "mouth foam". It is interesting that "Little Pee Pee" would make these comments on the day of the apology... It's almost like the Conservatives want to reassure their "base" back in Alberta/Sask that they haven't changed, and bear with them, etc.

We'll see if PM Bungles will shun Little Pee Pee, or if he will continue to be the Conservative point man... Shame on this government.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Study In Contrast: Ritz Attacks Goodale, While Goodale Takes High Road

Received another of Ralph Goodales "eNews" pieces today. At the same time, I had the distinct "non-pleasure" of reading a blog about Gerry Ritz's attacks on Ralph (Ritz actually sent a mailer to Goodale's riding - which has to contravene SOME Parliamentary mailer law - and had the gall to mount Mr. Goodale's head on a different body waving what appears to be a Nazi salute).

It is interesting to contrast Ritz's angry, hateful, conservative ways. The amateurish mailer could have been written by a grade-schooler (and Ritz's mind isn't much further evolved). Now, just what is an MP from almost 400km away doing mailing into the riding of Sask's only Liberal MP? Having lived in Ralph's riding of Wascana for most of my adult years, and working closely with Ralph's team, I have a lot of experience with the type of attack sniping Ritz is doing. In 93/97/2000 it was the constant attacks by people like "Farmers for Justice" (a right wing farm lobby of mainly Reformers), the NCC (full page ads taken out in the Regina Leader Post), etc. Reformer friends told me, "we're going to get Ralph". The effect on the riding may have been somewhat the opposite: Ralph won record victories with huge margins... The Conservatives managed to scare all the "normal" people into voting. Thousands of NDP supporters joined the middle-of-the-road voters in renouncing the efforts of the angry Reformers.

Over the past couple of years Ralph has faced sniping from Sask. Con MPs. Recently Ritz has been at the forefront. These slack-jawed losers can't manage to debate Ralph in the House, so they resort to this type of underhanded (and perhaps against Parliamentary guidelines) wastage of tax-payer's funds (that's right - YOU and I are paying for this garbage).

Ralph's rebuttal? Stick to the facts. Stick to a discussion of the issues, and point out just how "out of touch" Conservatives are with the needs of real people, and the average voter. Mr. Goodale continues to take the high road, when any lesser person would have difficulty doing so.

So, here's Mr. Goodale's latest email - taking some pretty solid shots at a very shaky Conservative Wheat Board position - supported by solid facts and polling:

A fresh survey among prairie farmers shows clear support for the Canadian Wheat Board.

Conservative Minister Gerry Ritz leaked just snippets of the survey last week – trying to twist the message as anti-Board. But the full results contradict his destructive interpretation.

For example, two-thirds of producers say they support the Board; they find its views quite similar to their own; and they’re confident the CWB will maximize returns to farmers.

Two-thirds of producers also believe the Board gets higher prices from the marketplace because of its single-desk system. By a similar margin, they suspect a “dual market” would disadvantage the CWB because it doesn’t own any elevators or terminals.

Close to 70 percent feel the more flexible pricing and delivery options recently initiated by the CWB provide many of the perceived benefits of dual marketing – without sacrificing the advantages of the single-desk.

This poll also highlights strong disagreement with the under-handed tactics the Harper government uses against the Wheat Board.

Specifically, 77 percent say the future of the Board should not be determined by politicians, but by producers themselves and the people they elect to be CWB Directors.

But Mr. Ritz is proposing the opposite – i.e., he has introduced a new law to eliminate all producer control and allow the Conservatives to kill single-desk marketing by issuing secret orders from the federal Cabinet.

There would be no consultation. No role for the elected Directors, or Parliament or the Courts. No vote among producers. No democracy. No transparency. Nothing!

If Mr. Ritz is so sure of his position, he should simply act under the law as it exists today.

Hold a fair and respectful producer plebiscite.

Ask a direct, honest question – “Do you want the CWB’s single-desk system or the Open Market?”

And then abide by the results.

Friday, June 06, 2008

The Importance of Balls In Politics

I'll start off by saying this is not a "pro-any-gender" post. Margaret Thatcher has one of the biggest set of balls of any politician in history... Golda Meir, Indira Gandhi... they all had big cajones...

In politics, one needs to be perceived as being decisive and tough when needed. How you handle the proverbial "3am phone-call", or how you "control the red button" is critical to how the media has pumped up the public to believe how you should be... How you react to crises is critical in the perception of your leadership abilities.

In the US Presidential race, I would say that Hilary Clinton had much more of the "cajone factor" than either Obama or McCain. Certainly a gutsy person... but that didn't win her my support, or that of most Democrats. Other factors were at play, including Sen. Obama's oratory skills and focus on "change" at a time when most Americans are looking for change. 4 years ago, when Americans were looking for a "tough" leader with a lot of resolve, Sen. Clinton would have been able to battle Bush better than Mr. Swiftboat.

Here in Canada, we have some interesting "posturing" by the ruling Cons. Conservatives by their very nature require the perception of having balls. It doesn't matter that they don't actually HAVE them... they just need to look like they do. Conservatives love to play "War Prime Minister". They try to look tough on perceived foreign threats. PM Bungles loves the military image... He loves to pose with guns and tanks, and wearing a flak-jacket (somewhat improperly). Like his conservative/republican cronies down South he probably wouldn't care to spend tax dollars on VA Hospitals, or treatments for PTSD, or better base housing, but he sure loves to say he "supports our troops".

Harper/Mr. Bungles is devastated when anyone tells him that Pierre Elliot Trudeau had bigger balls than him. Mr. Trudeau spent the most $s in Canadian history on the military. He made eloquent comments like, "just watch me", that emphasized his swagger. Compared to Trudeau, Harper is nothing but a poseur. Debra Gray would have been a more competent PM than Mr. Bungles.

Mr. Bungles has begun his "virtuous and integrity-filled" government with scandal, hypocrisies, and crises. Whether it was lying about his election promise on Income Trusts, to the Cadman affair, to election financing irregularities, to his attack on Ontario, cities, daycare, and our First Nations,... his NAFTA-gate scandal, his bungling of the position of the Italian government on Italian troops in the field of battle, his appointment of incompetents to cabinet (culminating in the affair Bernier-Couillard), Mr. Bungles-Harper has been buried in the reek of incompetence and lack of cajones...

The funny irony in all this is that Mr. Bungles' crack team of strategists has attempted to discredit the Liberal Leader - Mr. Dion - as not being a leader... Funny how that's worked out, eh? Meanwhile, as each day passes, Mr. Dion is looking more and more like the true leader of the pair. Certainly there is room for improvement. Many of us disagree with the timing of the election call. Still, as time passes, Mr. Bungles is looking less and less like a leader, and more like someone who is into something seriously over his head.

Republican Pat Buchanan: Iraq War Was Unnecessary - And More Mr. Bungles...

Imagine arch-conservative Pat Buchanan - perhaps hero of Stephen Harper and many a Canadian Reform-a-Tory - stating that he thinks the Iraq war was an unnecessary one. Well, you don't really need to, because he said it very clearly on the air... on the Daily Show. Buchanan went on to say that there are ways that we could have avoided the war. He did also - in the same interview - make idiotic comments about the necessity of WW2 - claiming that Hitler should have been allowed to occupy the Saarland and Danzig corridor (stating that this was part of Germany). Buchanan feels that Hitler would have stopped after these actions. Doubt it. What would have stopped "Mr. Liebensraum" from occupying more nations? Who would have stopped his slaughter of millions of innocents (although it is clear that the Allies did not join the war to save the lives of millions of innocent Jewish people, Gypsies, and other minorities. They went to war to defend their own soil and interests)?

Does Stephen Harper think the Iraq war was unnecessary? Or, does he feel his Republican Overlord (Cheney) knows best? Who is making all the cash from the Halliburton deals? How many of those people are involved in Canadian Conservative "think-tanks"?

While on the subject of war, does anyone have the details on just how Tim Hortons - of Calgary Alberta (Canadian Head Office is in downtown Calgary) received the lucrative Afghanistan/Khandahar contract? Several senior executives in the Calgary office supposedly supported and/or worked for Harper's Calgary crew in past elections. Is there a reason why another Canadian franchise like 2nd Cup did not get the contract (not that Tim Horton's is Canadian anymore)??? It would be interesting to see what other tenders came in, and how much the final bill was. It seems that the Tim's deal was just an "arbitrary" decision by someone in the government. Not sure if that's illegal - per se... but, I think it may be - depending on how it all went down... Owning a franchise myself, I would love to know the best way to garner lucrative government contracts. Someone please help me out with this one. How can I best position myself with the Harper government?

So the Harperites have successfully taken the public eye off the Bernier-Julie Couillard scandal. They really wanted the get this one off the books quickly... Anything that made "Mr. Bungles" look less competent than the public has been led to believe by the conservative press has to be hidden. Mr. Bungles appointed a total incompetent in charge of foreign affairs - and in doing so, possibly compromised military secrets of NATO. Harper then turned around and said that he was not concerned in the least.

Mr. Bungles wanted to bury the Affair-Bernier/Couillard so badly that he brought up what many believe is his own taped admission about "financial considerations" made to a dying MP for his vote. Of course Mr. Bungles wants to render the tape useless for Liberal campaign ads. I ask this, however: If we were to play a snippet of a speech where Harper says, "God bless Canada" (as he is prone to do), how would that be ANY DIFFERENT than any part of this ACTUAL TAPE RECORDING OF HARPER...??? Can anyone answer this?

Ahhh... TGIF...

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Conservatives Say "F You" To Owners of MP3 Players Everywhere

The media will be completely onside with the Cons on this one... Why, you ask? Well, besides CBC, companies such as Global, CTV, and the Rogers Media empire of magazines, and most other media conglomerates in Canada are associated with some sort of recording industry. So don't look for the public to get shocked and mortified too quickly. Newspapers like the National Pest will come out squarely behind the Cons - or bury the story on an advanced page in the "Entertainment" section. So will every daily in Canada - because they're all owned by CanWest Global, Rogers Media, or the Irving Group, or Quebecor. So much for a fair, unbiased media. Take a look at some of these company's boards... A lot of these people have interest in recording companies. Look at their biggest advertisers. Who do you think pays for all the movie ads in the local paper... the entire entertainment section?

Once again, big corporate interests - particularly foreign interests (US) - dictate what the supposedly "Canadian" Conservatives do. Conservative "think-tanks" like the Fraser Institute guide their policy. Senior American Republicans hold key positions with Canadian Conservative "think-tanks". Of course there's always the ugly spectre of the "New American Century" Bunch - Cheney, Bush, et. al. - and their Canadian Membership (Frum and his kin). The American overlords have spoken, and Mr. Bungles' government - bereft of ideas of it's own - continues to source it's "ideas" from the Republican Party playbook.

So Mr. Bungles (Harper) will ignore the old Liberal agreement with the Canadian Recording Industry, which dictated that a portion of sales of blank media (tapes/CD/DVD/R/RW, etc.) will go directly to the industry. Instead of "standing up for Canadians", Mr. Bungles will bend over to the will of the American overlords.

A lot of things the Cons have f'd up can be "un-f'd up" by a new Liberal government. Unfortunately, trying to "un-f-up" this law (if it becomes law), will be very difficult.

Sometimes it's not a good thing to let a bull loose in the proverbial china shop. Conservatives are never subtle or moderate about policy, and whenever they get their clutches on power, they tend to throw their weight around... Never being balanced or taking things in "gradations". They prefer the "all or none", "with us or 'agin' us" approach...

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Obama Clinches Nomination: CNN

And there you have it...

Will we see VP Clinton, or Richardson, or Gore... or...?

Amazing. History in the making. Part of America woke up today. Hopefully the rest of America wakes up by November... This is going to be one interesting race.

A Historic Landmark For America

And so it ends. Tonight. A long arduous journey through the Democratic Presidential nomination. A valiant battle was fought by Hilary Clinton, but in the end America - at least Democratic Americans - have chosen Barack's message of hope and change.

Throughout the campaign we've seen that racism is alive and well in America. We will see much, much, more in the months to come. Some will be veiled. Some will be part of the "doorstep, "hot-button", whispering campaign" that Conservatives are famous for.

Something has changed, however, in the America of today. African-American/urban pop-culture has been adopted by young American society. Young, middle-class, white kids in the Mid-West listen to rap music while decked out in their "Sean John" and "Roca-wear" outfits... Even their 30/40-something parents can attest to enjoying the hip-hop culture of the 80s and 90s. These young Americans - who have quickly become one of the largest parts of the voting block - don't see race the same way their parents did - or their grandparents. A broad swath of them have never voted before. Senator Obama's youthful and internet-savvy campaign has courted these youth in record numbers. This is all part of the sea-change that is occurring in America...

Senator Obama has brought a new demographic to the polls. He has "enfranchised" an entire generation. Tonight, he will bring his youthful nomination campaign to a close in historic fashion. He will be the first African-American candidate for President in American History... and it's about time.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Mr. Dion - Today Is A Good Day To Have Cajones

Today, there are 3 very good reasons to bring down the Stephen Harper "Government"...

1) Hidden Agenda Immigration Bill Hidden In a Budget Bill - Only someone as cagey as Harper would try something like this. The full-time partisan knows no other way to pass his bill without bullying it through this way. We need to ensure we maintain our city base - our key urban voters - and NOT voting against this is an insult to everything our party stands for.

2) Ontario-Quebec Agreement. This agreement is very fresh in the voters' minds, and is a slap in the face of the Harper government. We can capitalize on the mood in Central Canada.

3) Scandal, scandal, scandal. What hasn't this government scandalized: dealings with the departments; government appointees; privacy commissioner; "freedom of information" requests; income trust investors; foreign affairs, Canadian security, and Canada's image abroad; Canada's relationship with the potential future POTUS President of the US; Canada's relationship with its' First Nations; Election financing (steal an election lately Mr. Harper?); Canada's status as a trusted "neutral", peace-making nation; nuclear safety; the relationship with Canada's 2 largest provinces; potentially buying the vote of an MP on his death-bed; etc., etc., etc.

The timing is right - right now.

If you choose not to go now, there certainly needs to be a good reason. We can understand the need to investigate further into various scandals - and holding Mr. Harper accountable to the people. Saying "the Canadian people are not ready for an election" better not be the reason. We know the party is ready, so that can't be it either.

If you choose not to go right now, please, please don't come begging for help pulling votes in my community (the Punjabi community) in Greater Vancouver. Despite your handful of caucus colleagues from our cultural background, we may all find it difficult to pull vote from the community - especially when they're running against other South Asians. From recent conversations with key community members - WHO VOTED LIBERAL THE LAST ELECTION (for people like Sukh Dhaliwal, for example) - the word coming out after the Harper Government's supposed apology for the Komagata Maru incident, was that "they helped us with this, so this time around we'll need to support them". There's already a good chunk of support gone due to this. Stand up for your core supporters in these ridings by fighting for liberal/Liberal principles!

Edit: To have the caucus sit through the vote, or have some members vote against, would be just barely palatable. Just barely... But the party will need to have a very clear and STRONG set of promises for the urban areas, national multiculturalism, First Nations, etc. And, let's make it very clear: remember who put you where you are.