Saturday, August 30, 2008
In Germany in the 1930s gangs of brown-shirted thugs went about terrorizing the population. These gangs created "false terrorist acts" (Reichstag fire, etc.), while doing their own terrorizing with beatings, vandalizing shops, etc.
When I read this blog post this morning, my stomach turned. It is blatantly obvious - although the papers didn't clarify (but the NDP candidate made clear) that it was Liberal homes/property targeted, and it was not NDP or Liberal workers doing the terrorist acts.
This is really sickening. Deplorable. Even for Conservatives - if it is proven so - this is a shameful day. While lawn-sign "vandalism" and defacing has occurred for years (ever since there were lawn-signs, I'm sure), vandalism against homes, cars (including attempted assaults/murder? by cutting brake lines) is a new low, and goes clearly into the realm of organized criminal activity.
This is such a frightening and unsettling turn in events on the national scene, that something NEEDS to be done on the federal level, and the RCMP MUST be involved to ensure that a VERY STRONG message is sent.
I always have a lawn sign, and they have been vandalized (when I lived in Calgary). This new organized criminal up-kick in vandalism is much, much more serious. Someone could be killled or seriously injured...
Time for an investigation on a national scale.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Perhaps good strategy on the part of the Conservatives. It's a shame that they want to hide what comes out during the inquiries and commissions into their electoral improprieties, or the Julie Couillard book, or their serious lapse on the economy file. Harper still is Canada's #1 Liberal hater (although that title may also belong to the Conservative that threatened to get his gun when me and a young Liberal knocked his door a few elections ago). He still thinks PM Cretien's election call in 2000 was targeted at him (since everything is about him - Harper the icon...), and not somehow related to other political events in the East (no Reformer considers the East in anything they do - except to cry about how the East apparently "rules Canada")...
Anyway... Without further ado, here is another well thought out Goodale piece:
By Ralph Goodale, M.P.
A TAINTED ELECTION! A TAINTED GOVERNMENT!
From its first day in office, Stephen Harper’s government has been one of questionable legitimacy.
The Conservatives made two massive, vote-buying promises in the last campaign which they quickly dishonoured. One was never to tax Income Trusts. The other was to pay
Such bare-faced dishonesty obviously undermines Conservative legitimacy.
Their position is further eroded by the serious legal questions which have been raised by the Chief Electoral Officer about a Conservative election financing scam in the last campaign.
Respected, independent election officials are investigating whether campaign spending limits were violated at the national level, while illegitimate reimbursement claims were filed locally.
On top of that, the Conservatives benefited shamelessly from the extraordinary and inexplicable involvement of the RCMP in the last campaign. Every credible independent observer says this incident in the midst of the last election had a huge and totally improper impact.
Two and a half years later, Stephen Harper now wants a snap election – in violation of his promise of a fixed election date in October of 2009.
The illegitimate Conservative behaviour continues.
What has the Harper government so panicked that they are prepared to break their word to Canadians – yet again – and even break the spirit of the fixed-election-date law which they, themselves, enacted?
They’re spooked by at least three things on the horizon, which don’t look good for Mr. Harper.
First, the Conservatives will lose all four of the federal byelections called for September.
Secondly, the national economy is getting into deeper trouble, and the responsibility will rest squarely on Mr. Harper’s shoulders.
And third, the investigations into Conservative ethical lapses are exposing more and more illustrations of apparent Conservative corruption and incompetence.
A quick election could sweep this all under the rug.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Assuming (based on finding by Elections Canada) that the Conservatives cheated taxpayers out of millions of dollars with their illegal "in-and-out" scheme last election, it remains to be seen what they intend to do this time around...
Harper recently indicated he will "work with" elections Canada, BUT he will spend according to their (Conservatives') interpretation of the rules. Isn't that what they did last time?
When it comes down to it, they pretty much HAVE TO do that - spend a wad of cash over their legal limit, and shuffle monies back and forth between ridings and the Central Office. Why? Well, let's say they decide NOT to do that this time around... That would in and of itself be an admission of guilt. They can't just stop doing what they are sure (sure enough to go to court and sue over) is the correct way to finance their election.
Either way, it is interesting for us. We can go in anticipating that they are going to really spend up a storm. It's the "safe" assumption. This will also make them much "guiltier" in the eyes of Election Canada later on... Problem is, they may eke out a big enough win (IF they win) to avoid an immediate defeat in Parliament, and subsequent public embarrassment. If they chose to stop with the illegal "in-and-out" scheme they are certainly admitting guilt.
As Liberals we'll need to be ready to weather the onslaught of disingenuous ads, drive by smears, door-step whispering campaigns (typically Reform), and hours and hours of illegally financed ads. As a strategy, we'll need to ask Canadians to "keep the Conservatives honest" by ensuring that we have the means to remove them IF (and that's a big IF) they happen to win, by ensuring a weaker minority than they may get. Chances are, there will be enough scandals (talk of Julie Couillard's book, voters seeing Bernier's face), scams, and racist/sexist/homophobic faux pas' during the election to put a bad taste in voters' mouths.
My bet is we see "In And Out PartII" this election.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
This CTV story (which I was kindly directed to by a blogger on this site) outlines just how delusional these people are. No wonder they can believe the earth is only 6000 yrs old, or that man walked with dinosaurs (or looks good in a wetsuit for a press conference), or believe that global warming isn't happening, or believe that everyone (immigrants, minorities, women, First Nations, commies, "left-tards", educated people ("elitists"), bureaucrats, diplomats, democrats...) is out to get them.
Time for this Western-based "Reform-a-Tory" protest movement (bowel movement?) to end... But, we'll be patient... We want to hear the commissions and inquiries. We want the public to hear about the Cons cheating on the last election. We want them to hear about "In and Out". We want everyone to see the results of Conservative fiscal mis-management.
Meanwhile, their pompous rants are making the public think they're the very worst kind of "overgrown" children...
See this laugher of a story here...
Monday, August 25, 2008
By Ralph Goodale, M.P.
Another Broken Promise, Another Fraud!
Stephen Harper’s repeated threats to trigger a snap election – despite all his “solemn promises” never to do so – would constitute yet another case of political “fraud” (to use the Conservatives’ own language).
On the attack against other political parties, Conservatives have often asserted “there is no greater fraud than a promise not kept”. They have actually used that wording in their campaign materials.
So what about unkept Conservative promises? They add up to a sorry list of “frauds” – on-going!
Take, for example, Mr. Harper’s unmistakable commitment to change the Equalization formula to send Saskatchewan an extra $800 million every year. But it never happened.
Then there was his pledge never to impose any tax of any kind whatsoever on Income Trusts. That promise too turned into a lie.
The list goes on. The most recent example is all this sudden election sabre-rattling.
In the 2006 campaign, the Conservatives promised to fix the dates of future elections at regular intervals every four years to prevent governments from manipulating the timing to their partisan advantage. Legislation was enacted to implement this rule.
But now Mr. Harper is threatening to break that promise and violate his own law.
The next election date, which he himself fixed in statute, is in October of 2009 – over a year from now. But Mr. Harper is suggesting he may pull the plug as early as next week.
Why? For three reasons:
First, he is worried about the rapidly worsening national economy for which he is responsible.
Second, he wants to shut down several Parliamentary investigations that are exposing his government’s ethical violations and Conservative corruption.
And third, to Stephen Harper a “solemn promise” is meaningless. He has proven time and again that you simply cannot trust a word he says.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Conservatives Cut Health Inspection Funding, Canadians Die From Listeriosis... Hmmm... Is There A Link?
This was not good news for the food industry.
The fact that people are dying from consuming food purchased at a supermarket REALLY says we need to clean up our food industry and farming practices (where meat production is concerned). We currently have a Conservative government which is basically owned by Big Beef, and won't lift a finger to do so. This is reflected in the Conservatives EASING OF TESTING via Health Canada, and cutbacks to funding.
Once again, rural Alberta's interests come before Canadians', or Canadians' health.
Canada needs a ban on meat products being fed to meat products... Yeah, that's right... Right now, big commercial feedlots are feeding mashed up cow parts to the same cows that give you steak and hamburger... Mmmm, mmm, mmm, mmm, tasty! Science has shown that diseases like mad cow and Creutzfield-Yakov (spelling?) are caused and spread by the consumption of infected nervous tissue of diseased animals. We let this practice continue. Why? Because the industry like bigger, fatter cattle hopped up on hormones, steroids, and antibiotics. Could this possibly be good for us? We're seeing the results.
Recently, we've seen that links have been established between Crohns Disease, and beef - particularly seeing a related organism being passed between infected cattle. We also know for a fact that infected cattle have entered the Canadian food chain. Europe has a ban on harvest of cattle with the Crohns-like illness (which European scientists HAVE linked to Crohns in humans). The Harper government - even after repeated warnings from scientists - has done nothing. Well, "done nothing" is a little extreme... They did do something - they cut funding to the testing agencies. Sounds like a pretty clear answer back to those scientists, doesn't it?
The bottom line with this government is, they will not bring about any changes that may (or may not) negatively impact the cattle or oil industry in their Alberta heartland. The fact that there is more money in organic farming - especially if the government steers Canadians to such a healthy diet - does not register with these people. They are fans of the giant multinational factory farms, and the meat-like substances they produce.
The MNC-farm lobby (Cargill, AMD, etc.) is HUGE in Canada.
The Conservatives are their best friends... We're seeing the results.
(The attached image is from the "almostamerican" blog)
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
The Liberal's problem is (and continues to be), with certain types of people this "attack politics" works. I'm talking about the types of people to whom right wing politics really appeals. Unfortunately some folks who aren't the perfect fit for the "conservative" demographic also get taken in by this... The pseudo-macho, aggressive, rant-filled, "carpet bomb them into the stone-age" jingoism does play well with a swath of the "regular joe" 20-40yr old males who may happen to be big sports fans, and just may be "regular guys" (as defined by the "Reform-a-tories"). This is a demographic we need to work on.
Many men in this demographic do fit into a "liberal" mindset, but are attracted to the "machismo" and angry bravado of the Cons (even if NOTHING else, or very little else in the Conservative policy platform - as compared to the Liberal one - matches their voting criteria). These people are often "under-employed", or living situations where a caring government will eventually, quite possibly be needed. This is a demographic that needs our outreach.
While we write off the Conservative rants as "infantile", and jokingly refer to their angst and antics, they pick up votes in a demographic that only matches up with one part of their platform (the aggressive male hormonal part)...
What can Liberals do? We need to sell a "dose of reality". Liberal pragmatism over Conservative idealistic "wing-nuttery" (sorry Wing-nutterer)... I can even see the election ads: "The Conservatives say... Here's a dose of reality: The economy has gone downhill since... Stephen Harper says he wants to bring integrity to Parliament... We're still waiting (list of scandals and infantile behavior)...", etc., etc. As Liberals we also MUST SELL OUR RECORD OF FISCAL GENIUS. We brought this country back from the brink, and have the skills to continue to build this Northern Tiger - even if it has been slightly derailed by the Conservative Recession...
Liberals need to be vocal in pointing out the Conservative anger and deception. We won't be "taking the low road"... we'll just be pointing out the truth. It is also important to know that so-called attack ads prior to the writ don't count as a "negative campaign". Meaning one could "define" the Conservatives for what they are - prior to the campaign - then, take the "high road" DURING the writ period. We would run the most virtuous campaign ever, but let 'em have it with both barrels RIGHT NOW!
The Cons have learned from their American Republican friends the value of a year-round campaign. While funds may be tight right now, they are rolling in, and we absolutely need to establish a credible and formidable pre-writ campaign.
Monday, August 18, 2008
"Stephen Harper says Parliament is disfunctional" (insert image of Baird foaming at mouth, or ALL their committee antics - with ominous music in background).
"Stephen Harper would like you to think he's been promoting integrity in government..." (lists of the scandals - particularly the election scams)...
(announcer now raises tone:) "Stephen Harper says Parliament is disfunctional and the Opposition parties are playing dirty tricks..."
"Stephen Harper wrote the book on dirty tricks" (words describing Harper's Parliamentary disruption manual, with an image of a large book in the background)...
"The only thing disfunctional about Canada's House of Commons is Stephen Harper's government..."
"On Nov 21st, vote Liberal..."
Thursday, August 14, 2008
What is the world coming to? One wonders if the Blogging Tories will swamp the town office in Stettler with annoyance calls, so the town finally gets fed up and sues the LPofC for something as totally unrelated as an Environomic Plan...? Hmmm...
As I stated to her about the road in question: It must be the grandest of avenues, paved with red tar, lined with lofty trees to clear the pollution from the air, with generous space on both right and left, with a big tent on top. The center lane is wide - unlike the rather narrow (minded?) Conservative St. (where the mega-rich have their mansions on one side, while the poor live in huts on the other). There are numerous rest stops with free public medicare, and "learning centers" (signs along the highway) set up to help educate our travelers.
SUVs - otherwise known as "soccer mom limos" are banned from this grand highway.
Conservative MPs have been known to jump up and down, foaming at the mouth, screaming at the road - claiming it is "screwing Canada", and is "a tax scheme". They are angry that they can't run it's course spewing garbage out of the windows of their F-150s, Expeditions, and Denalis...
The general public? They would love to take this road... They agree with every part of the highway. They like the way it is big, wide, all-encompassing, and allows access to all members of the public. They like that it is environmentally conscious. They like that the road takes care of it's travelers. They like that the road is interesting, with lots of turns and change-ups - not a straight line over boring terrain. They like that the road leads to cooperation with foreign lands, and brings trade and friendships with it. They like that the road doesn't have police roadblocks every 5km asking for ID and racial profiling... They like that the road is maintained with public funds, and is not a toll highway...
The public would love to take this road... They just need to be given a reason... After all, it is the "natural road" they've been taking for decades. They just need to be reminded that this is the fiscally prudent, socially sensitive road that has always led them wherever their imaginations would lead them.
Time for Canada to revisit a tried, tested, and true road well-traveled.
*Thanks to Ms. Whitson for the great image. Apparently, this road exists - but now that it's in the blogosphere, who knows how long? Make your pilgrimage to Stettler as soon as you can, to take in this very RARE Albertan site!
Monday, August 11, 2008
Ralph Goodale is an MP with a huge wealth of experience in Saskatchewan politics. In the 1980s - as leader of the Provincial Liberal Party, Ralph was the LONE VOICE OF REASON in the Legislature, as both the NDP and governing conservatives were on spending binges. Both the NDP and PCs were presenting platforms of excessive spending in a time of fiscal uncertainty (sound familiar?). I still recall Mr. Goodale's incredibly honest and intellectual assessment of the Saskatchewan fiscal situation presented in local papers (in a legislature dominated by the free-spending PCs and Dippers, poor Ralph's only resort was a "letter to the editor"). That editorial received accolades from economists and journalists - but the public still voted Tory. In the years to follow, the Saskatchewan public lamented their populist votes being wasted on "that nice regular guy" - Grant Devine - as they saw a province with an economy in the dumps, and a huge chunk of conservative MLAs under the threat of prison or other forms of justice...
Fast-forward to 2008, and time seems to have stood still. Conservatives once again have their clutches on Saskatchewan (both federally and provincially - as it was in the 80s). Instead of Devine and Mulroney, we have Wall and Harper. Still all "tax-and-spend" Tories. Still brash, populist provincial Premiers pretending their economically "solid" province is impregnable to a slumping national economy. Still, a PM who would rather give the rich - and his oil-financed backers - tax breaks, while the middle class swallows the brunt of national expenses and debt.
Fast-forward to 2008, and you STILL have Ralph Goodale as one of the few elected voices of reason in Saskatchewan.
Reading Ralph's weekly emails this morning, I just could not hold back from that nostalgic trip down memory lane. I was only in Grade 9 when I read his editorial, but the common sense and wisdom of this man stuck with me... Here is Ralph's latest bit of wisdom:
The western Canadian economy is booming right now, thanks to world-wide inflation in prices for basic commodities like oil.
That good fortune is not the result of any government policy. It’s simply our long-awaited turn to cash-in on rising global markets.
But be cautious. The commodities boom – as enjoyable as it is, while it lasts – is masking fundamental weaknesses that Stephen Harper’s Conservatives continue to ignore, or even make worse.
Mr. Harper has recklessly increased federal spending by more than $40 billion, to try to buy voters with their own money. Prudence has been thrown to the wind.
He has also eroded the tax-base – pushing
Independent monitoring agencies, like the Conference Board of Canada, are reporting a sub-standard performance by this country in such fields as productivity growth, innovation, literacy skills and environmental integrity.
In four of the last six months, despite western resource wealth, the economy not only stalled overall, it actually shrank. Sectors like manufacturing, forestry and tourism are in particular trouble.
The Bank of Canada and all major private sector forecasters are now predicting a pathetic annual growth rate of barely one percent.
In July, 55,000 Canadian jobs were lost. The last time we saw that sort of setback was in the early 1990’s under Brian Mulroney.
Remember, the Harper Conservatives are the people who failed to tell the truth about Income Trusts or Equalization.
They are the ones who raised Personal Income Tax Rates, while claiming to cut them. They are the ones who proposed investment policies that encouraged foreign takeovers of Canadian enterprises.
Incompetence and dishonesty are their hallmarks.
That’s why Tory times are always, ultimately, tough times. And it’s happening again!
ARE FEDERAL DEFICITS ON THEIR WAY BACK?
It was during the summer of 1998 that the Finance Minister of that day, Paul Martin, sent the financial statements of the Government of Canada for the 1997-1998 fiscal year to the Auditor-General for final examination.
This audit showed that for the first time in a generation, the federal government had actually balanced its books.
Federal spending had been brought under control. Annual deficits of $40 billion had been eliminated. In fact,
The “new normal” became a decade of balanced budgets, rapidly declining federal debt, and taxes reduced year after year.
But after just two-and-a-half years of Harper government, there are worrying signs of economic and fiscal trouble.
Independent rating agencies say
Forty percent of our workforce lack sufficient literacy skills. And
Conservative spending is skyrocketing. Stephen Harper has become the biggest spending Prime Minster in history. At the same time, he has eroded the tax base and eliminated all the budgetary safeguards that used to keep this country solidly in the black.
Last Friday, the Harper government reported that at the beginning of this current fiscal year it actually recorded a deficit once again.
Not a good sign!
Saturday, August 09, 2008
After Harper fled the stage with Ms. Nina Grewal, South Asian Community leaders, and members of the Komagata Maru Societies took the stage. They asked the thousands in the audience if they accepted Mr. Harper's apology. In a pretty much unanimous show of hands the crowd rejected the joke of an apology. Mr. Sahib Thind (organizer of the memorial festival) told Mr. Harper "we reject your apology" if it wasn't made in Parliament, and done earnestly in front of the people of this land. Mr. Thind also asked Ms. Grewal, "Bhenji (sister), how do you feel about this? Do you not think there should be an apology in Parliament?"
The events of last Sunday were certainly under-reported in the media. They did, however, catch the eye of the Globe and Mail, and Kady O'Malley... Kady's write-up is very insightful, and only misses a few details. I may "repost" this story a few times - just to get it the attention it deserves. It is important, considering the urban ridings which may be held in the balance - impacted by this issue.
The simple fact is, Harper's group have once again angered the South Asian community in Canada - particularly Sikhs. Harper MPs and Conservatives have long made comments against the community: PC MLAs in Sask. talking about the "food odors" coming from certain houses in his neighborhood; Jason Kenney's comments about "hot-headed" Sikhs; Reform MPs backing the anti-turbans in the RCMP campaigns; Harper's own comments about the "ghetto homes" of minorities in the West.
Why don't Conservatives just own up to the fact that they don't care about minorities (or women, or the poor, or the environment, or world peace, or balanced budgets, or income trusts, or seniors, or First Nations, etc., etc.)? One thing that has murkied politics in this age is NOT voter disinterest, but the politicians chasing the voters off, and hiding their true intentions. It is tough to vote for the party that best reflects your interests if both the party of the left, and the party of the right make their election rhetoric match the promises of the party of the center. The Cons in particular have done a good job at making people think they are something they are not. If voters were given better information about parties, and where they really stand, and who really makes the policy for each party, they would find it easier to vote. THIS is what is causing voter disinterest - not Parliamentary antics, or scandals.
If the Conservatives manage to win over any ethnic blocs in the next election, it will simply be because of a very successful disinformation campaign on their part.
Sad isn't it?
Oh yeah... Being South Asian myself, "Mr. Harper, I too do not accept your ridiculous mockery of an apology".