Saturday, February 28, 2009

Lying Low???

(Picture: Jason Kenney delivers yet another Conservative policy statement)

While he still hasn't resigned, we haven't heard a lot from Jason Kenney lately... Anyone know where he is?

I'm startin' to miss the hurtful and insensitive comments...

Jason Kenney Should Resign

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I'm actually beginning to have second thoughts about the comparison between Jason Kenney and South Park's Kenney. He's really more like Cartman (but, of course, that would mean we couldn't have Prime Minister Cartman) - with his hurtful and disrespectful comments...

Hmmm... don't know why the Conservative government keeps reminding me of characters from South Park. Maybe a story idea in there, for a few good blogs this week...

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Harper's Crime Hypocrisy


A term Stephen Harper knows well...

Over the last two years, Mr. Harper has done the "tough on crime" song and dance. He's used victim's groups for his petty purposes. The only real thing Harper did on crime was to be the subject of the belief that these Conservatives are "tough on crime".

Horse puckey.

Harper's minions (his "invisible" cabinet and backbench MPs) tied up commons committees for partisan purposes day in and day out, for the past 2 years. His MPs even had a handbook/manual on how to disrupt Parliament - the only party with such a guide (too bad many of them can't read). Remember the Cadman committees? How about the committees that wished to discuss accountability (as it pertained to the Conservative's election financing?)? There wasn't a single committee - including the ones on justice - which these neoCon ideologues didn't turn into a political dog and pony show...

Now - with some very over-reported murders in Vancouver - the PM wants to come out to our town and score some cheap political points. Shame. Using the victims in that way. Who's going to explain to the victims WHY the committees didn't work? Who's going to explain that the dogged partisanship displayed by the HarperCons only changed after the threat of Coalition, and the worry of how he might fare in an election during a Depression?

We're glad Mr. Ignatieff is a leader "on his toes"... We're sure he, or Mr. Rae, or many other Liberal, NDP, and Bloc MPs will step forth and counter the Harper lie. To blame the Opposition for "holding up committees" is beyond a farce - it's a blatant lie - coming from the party which literally "wrote the book" on holding up Parliamentary Committees. For Bloc, NDP, and Liberal MPs to sit back and take this lying down would be folly. We need to be front and center "out-law-and-ordering" the Cons. Face it: the changes coming forward were changes all parties supported, and contributed to. Harper won't admit it, but it's true... (check the Parliamentary records).

The HarperCon's "sat" on the "law and order" file for over 2 years, flummoxed committees, had temper tanturns and tirades (trying to added socially conservative values to already punitive measures), and now come out with proposals which were already rolled out, or were floating around in committees for years - and approved by all parties.

What gives?

Basically, with the economy tanking, kids with guns are the perfect segway for Mr. Harper and his party. It couldn't work out any better if he had wrote the script and handed out the guns himself. Forget that crime is down to record lows. Forget that YOUTH CRIME is less than one third what it was only a couple of decades ago... This is not what the Conservatives - ANY conservatives - want you to think. Conservatives rule by FEAR. Fear of immigrants. Fear of those different than us. In the US Conservatives sell fear of terrorism and Mexicans... and African Americans... and... FEAR OF CRIME is another of their "pet projects". What better way to charm their traditional supporters (gun industry, defense contractors, private security firms, oil companies, military, etc.)?

The problem for modern conservatives in the "fear of crime" area, is the reality: that crime is at record lows. How do they skirt the truth? It doesn't hurt that 200 cable channels owned and operated by big corporate conservatives and their conservative friends all have the ability to manufacture "news" at their leisure.

What's the leading Global News story tonight? Gun violence in Vancouver. "Asian Gangs". "South Asian Gangs". Local papers? Crime. Guns. Youth. Even when crime is higher per capita in Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton, AND Calgary, the "sensational" Vancouver stories top the charts? Why? the media loves "dirty laundry", they love a "story", and they love blood and guts on the front page. Fear sells papers. Fear sells guns. Fear sells duct tape and canned goods and cottages in the woods and homes in suburbia (away from all "those people"). Fear is the best marketing tool in a modern capitalist state.

FEAR has always been a conservative's best friend. Media sensationalism will create the fear that will make the public think Harper's lame measures are helpful. Only a forthright and vigilant Opposition can hold Harper's feet to the fire...

We must... or he'll continue to tell his tall tales... his "whoppers", and the list grows:

- Environment

- Obama this, Obama that

- Law and Order

- Economy and economic "action" (or "in-action" in his case)

- Etc., etc., etc.

His real name should be "Prime Minister Whopper". Not just due to diet, but also they way the truth doesn' seem to know him...

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What??? Kenney's Still Here???

That Bastard!!!

(Photo: Jason Kenney producing some fine Conservative policy)

Jason Kenney - Conservative "Cabinet Minister" is still responsible for Multiculturalism and Immigration... After all the derrogatory comments... all the insults to South Asians... all the pandering... the fake "awards"... the damage to Canada's economy (vis-a-vis China)... STILL, this lame Calgarian is allowed to be the bull to the Immigration Department's china shop...

What is it going to take for Kenney to make like he does on TV... and LEAVE already? The longer Kenney's post is upheld by Harper, the more obvious it becomes that Harper stands behind everything Kenney ever said...

Join our Facebook Group, and send Kenney a message:

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Former Conservative PM, Joe Clark Slams Harper....

It was great to see Joe again... He was on Strombolopolous tonight.  His theme was the way these Conservatives are not the same Conservatives your father voted for...  He talked about what they are trying to do to Canada, and politics in Ottawa in general (including how they aren't keen on accepting those who are different from them).

A key point Joe made was how Mr. Ignatieff is turning the Liberal Party around - and reaching out to Canadians of all stripes - while the Conservatives under Harper are simply divisive and non-inclusive...  He repeated the point that there is still time to save Canada and Canadian politics...

A good man.  A couple of us had a chance to dine with him in Calgary, and we had a great discussion... Okay, okay... We tried to get him to run again... maybe in Calgary SW.  Maureen was not keen on that...

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

It Has Come To Our Attention...

... that Jason Kenney STILL hasn't resigned...

Jason Kenney Should Resign

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(go to the Facebook page and add to our reasons WHY Jason should resign. We're sure there isn't a "finite" list of these... lol...).

Looks like the Conservatives would rather spend their time in Parliament defending another Conservative Party worker who has uttered hateful language repeatedly online... Hmmm...

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Has Jason Kenney Resigned or Apologized (At The Very Least)?

Where's the news-conference in my local Punjabi "dhaba"???

Jason Kenney's disparaging comments have gone too far... Time for him to resign from the post of "Minister". If Mr. Harper does not remove him, he apparently has the same feelings as Mr. Kenney on the matter (well, he did talk about immigrants out West living in ghettos, so maybe he does?)...

We are not amused.

Join the Facebook Group: Jason Kenney Should Resign

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

"Minister Of Curry In A Hurry" - What Does It Mean?

Jason Kenney must resign.  Some concerned folks have already started a Facebook Group:

Jason Kenney Should Resign

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To people who aren't South Asian, let me translate what this statement by the "Minister of Multiculturalism" means to us:

It means that his platitudes towards the prized "ethnic vote" is simply a means to an end, and is something he does begrudgingly - going against everything he ever stood for (if you see his comments and actions in the past: calling Sikhs "hot-headed", speaking out against Canada's multicultural policies in Parliament, etc., etc.).  Kenney himself has been candid about this fact.  He has only ONE goal in courting "ethnics" - and it's not for their betterment or empowerment.  Certainly NOT Trudeau-esque goals.

It quite simply means that the Conservatives want to USE the ethnic vote to crank out a majority.  It is a matter of convenience, and Kenny is the "delivery boy" (in Conservative circles, at least).  

The true definition of the term "conservative" simply doesn't let them accept immigrants or "ethnics".  We ethnics are fine when we're in our place - mindlessly supporting their "token" ethnic candidates during elections.  Don't try to seek a nomination though, or you'll be called "hot-headed" - or worse... I've been called much worse.  

On another blog, here's how I responded to feigned (obviously Conservative) outrage:

"I never started to compare a backroom Liberal Party volunteer's comments with the comments of the MINISTER of Multiculturalism. The two simply don't compare. The Minister has far greater breadth and impact with his statements. He should be ashamed... The manufactured outrage about the comments in the restaurant by two white MPs who've spouted off worse stuff is just precious. ... and KKKinsella? That shows your ignorance, given the man's life-long crusade against Canadian racists. If KKKenney had such a background I would consider his comments "just a stupid off-color joke", but knowing his past and past comments, I know that's not true. To another comment: As someone growing up on the prairies, incessantly hearing jokes about "curry": "hey curry breath".. "what smells?", etc., etc., etc., ad nauseum. Many of my kind were traumatized to a point where they were embarrassed to eat or partake in one of the finest cuisines in the world - and a very popular one at that... SO, don't try to tell me what's hurtful. You have to live it to know it.

"Ron": that's precious, coming from a Conservative with the record of "truth" over the past 2 years... Hate? I only hate haters. That's it. I'm actually considered one of the kindest, friendliest people by friends and strangers. The "nice guy" always. I just despise "haters" of any kind.

And THAT'S the bottom line: Kenney is a hater. Plain and simple. Why has Harper placed the "fox in charge of the henhouse"? The easiest way to destroy something (multi-culturalism) is from within. The Conservative dogma is still there: we don't like "special interests" (and that includes minorities. For Conservatives, multiculturalism has always been a hated thing. Harper has always wanted to "shut it down".  

Conservatives have no use for minorities/ethnics/immigrants (whatever the term of the day)... they simply need to use their vote to win some suburban ridings (so they aren't always shut out of urban centers). In doing so, they also hope to appeal to what they THINK are important feelings amongst the "ethnics"... Conservatives think that religion, fear of gays (another disparaged minority), and a "business mindset" will be the factors that attract "ethnics" to them. That's a giant leap in supposition. Most of "us" don't put our religion that far ahead of life in general (jobs, dinner, etc.). Most of us also feel at least kinship with many minorities (including same-sex couples). Business "mindset"... lol... Conservatives kill the economy every time they're in power. Liberals have always been best for business.

Kenney's statements have been many, and hurtful. It takes being a target to feel the hurt.  

Jason Kenney should step down as Minister of Immigration.

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Jason Kenney Cracks a Wise-ass Racist Joke...

So... What else is new? Another top Conservative "joking" at the expense of we ethnics. I'm pissed, and I'm not going to take it anymore! People like this full-of-shit, self-important, duplicitous, not-so-closeted hater (remember his comments about "hot-headed Sikhs"?) need to be put back in their proper place.

Unfortunately Mr. Kenney runs from 90% white, upper-middle class Calgary SE.

Soon enough "el-Porko"... You looked so much better sitting on the Opposition benches, where you used to spew your vitriol. Still trying to figure out what Harper was doing putting someone who quite obviously is uncomfortable around minorities in charge of their NOT getting into Canada. That's right - say what you will about increased numbers, the HarperCons increased European immigration at the expense of Asian and African immigration. Go figure... They also cut back on the "family class" - which was how most South Asians got here... Don't expect the corporate media to report that...

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Bye-bye Tax Haters and Tax Evaders?

The US of A has been built around the foundation of "don't tread upon me", "say no to taxes", blah-blah-blah., etc. There is an ingrained culture of "tax hate" - at the expense of everyone who can't afford to build their own hospitals, schools and roads (like, all of us).

The "tax hate" "hard-on" has been so preposterously and virulently tumescent, that the richest Americans have the poorest thinking like them. Billy-Joe Bob living in his trailer in Arkansas, collecting a disability cheque, and driving his very same 1980 F150 for a quarter century thinks taxes are "evil" - because his preacher, his congressman (both parties), and his president says so (along with all the neighbors). He doesn't "get" the fact that those taxes would ensure he wouldn't have to pay all those fees, tolls, levies, and most importantly, insurance policies (health in particular) every month. More importantly, it would ensure he could AFFORD insurance... But don't try to tell Billy-Joe Bob. It would be "unpatriotic".

The times are a-changin' now... Government cannot operate without taxation. We talk about bailouts - massive bailouts putting the governments of the West into hawk for everything they have (and don't have). Our children's children will be paying the debt in the land of "low taxes".

Imagine - if you will - a land with little or no taxes. You hop in your "Harper Hatchback" (see post from a few weeks ago), to rumble down to the corner store for your ration of foodstamps. On the way your hatch loses a wheel in a pothole. Highways and roads have been neglected because governments have no money and people don't believe in taxes. You leave your Harper Hatchback on the curb (knowing that the tow-truck will cost you a month's salary), and hike it to the store. The lineup is ridiculous. When you finally get your stamps from the "government wicket" you head to the Kraft Dinner aisles (yes, "aisles" - KD is now the North American diet. Period). You grab your weekly fix of KD, and head back to your car. What's left of it is less of what you left. You think about calling the Local Police (ltd.)(brought to you by Kraft), and find that it's 4pm - time for all cops and good bureaucrats to be home behind walls defending their families.

You start the hike home. Not a problem as far as walking is concerned - in these times you walk almost everywhere. The problem with walking, however, is the gangs of unemployed teens who have nothing better to do than shake down a neighbor for loose change. As you head for your neighborhood, you encounter one such group. The Elm Street Bullies are out in force. Before you can duck out of sight they slam you to the ground, take your KD, and the rest of your food stamps. You're lying in the street, having trouble getting up. You have no cell phone - not since Fi-Rog-Bel-us canceled your service (for being behind 1 month in payements). They're the only cell provider, so you can't get another phone. Pay-as-you-go is popular, but it's on THEIR network...

As you drag yourself to your house, you find that the city still hasn't: fixed the leaky hydrant, and your street is pretty much flooded (water pressure probably will suck for your shower - and God help anyone if there is a fire); they haven't fixed the street lamp(s) either. From your incessant complaints (after waiting 3 hrs in a line on City Hall's call center queue - no walking in anymore - City Hall's not open to the public) you find that the lights will be in next year's budget (they hope).

You go in. No-one broke in today. That's good. You wind up the radio to hear tonight's "death hockey" game. Time for dinner. Out to the garden... Oh shit! The neighborhood punks took your ripest tomatoes again! You'll have to turn up some green potatoes to boil for dinner. Sigh... too bad about the KD. F'n punks. You know you'll get them back. Tomorrow you wait on the back deck with your shotgun...

Ahhh... taxes. Can't live without them... Can't live without them. For years, America's right and rich (mostly the same people) have been on a crusade to kill off taxes and government. Now, in what could be our greatest hour of need - beyond even the "Great Depression" - we may not have the kind of funds Roosevelt had for the "New Deal". America will most likely be saddled with debt for decades. China-India Inc. may buy out what little of America the Japanese failed to buy out (with the Arabs) in the 70s and 80s.

The fear of taxation - no - the hatred of taxation, a democratic and necessary part of any state (ancient or modern) will be the downfall of the US - and any nations looking to go along for the ride... the "American Experience" if you will...

I wrote a few posts over the years about the death knell of the US Economy... Just couldn't see how it could last with all the excessive consumerism, lack of resources, and a society fueled by "tax hate", war and purchasing power. I guess we see how it begins to decline (I won't say "ends" yet, since they can "pull a UK" and save some of their importance)...

What's next for the US?
Here are a few possibilities:
1) Policeman for hire - Be the "external" defense contractor for the EU, or the Pacific Rim countries (better bet here)...
2) Form a North American/Central American Union (have to include Central America, to control Panama Canal Zone), then be the defacto defense force for it...
3) "Contract" - Withdraw from overseas holdings (like Guam, Puerto Rico, etc.), overseas bases, etc. Focus on a new form of "splendid isolationism". Contract the industrial base - focus on the best technologies, and best industries (as the UK did in the 60s and 70s, before recovering in the 80s). Most of the industries will collapse by themselves. The people will demand social services and support. The "cowboy capitalist" is dead.
4) By some miracle, convince the whole world to "Buy US", establish favorable trade links by promising "security" ( bullying?), and "keep on trucking" after a long recession (5-7 years) - call it a "depression"...
5) Be at the forefront of Green research and technology and lead the world in it - this would take a "sea change" in attitude - the disappearance of the oil/media/robber/resource barons of today. Become a "Northern European welfare state", or so to speak. I find this highly unlikely for the US, but if anyone can do it, Obama can. If the people keep the faith - through some ugly debts...
6) Watch as Canada becomes #5 (above) - the green AND energy/resource superpower, and sign on to be our permanent "defender". We would be the defacto "power" in North America, and the US would be our Halliburton/Blackwater...

The silver lining? The US can forget about terrorists, if they just "step back" from the world. Best way to avoid a bear trap is to not step on it. At that point, they can ratchet down the trillion dollar defense budget, and focus on "home defense".

The bottom line for any American "comeback" is taxation. The "Xtreme Free Enterprise" "X-Games" are over. The people MUST be taxed. This whole idea of "not enough rich people" in America is over (yes, "political" Americans have used that phrase)... The rich in America must pay their share. While they can create "wealth" with their money (IF they invest it in job creation), they won't be able to do anything if the masses can't purchase anything. The American "masses" - the "consumer class" need a lift. The same with Canada. Only the government can do this. Only the government can take on such huge debts and expenditures - and will do it without "profit motive" holding them back. Taxes will put money back in government coffers - especially if aimed at the rich - the 5% who control 90% of the wealth. Not middle class folks like doctors, lawyers, plumbers, teachers, factory workers, etc.... No. The "rich" must ante up.

The "American Dream" is built on the back of slavery and the poor and middle class (perhaps even the "cultural/economic slavery of the middle class" - although they don't know it). It is built on the fictitious principle of "trickle down". It has survived 300-some-odd years... Like a big game of "Stock Ticker" or "Monopoly", the people try to get to the top of the "ant hill". The dream of a 10,000 sq ft home in a gated community prevades the middle class consciousness... and if they can't get that, they'll settle for the 3000 sq ft "starter castle" complete with granite counters, triple garage and media room.

President Obama can pretend that his government has deep enough pockets to:

a) Maintain overseas wars and military presence,

b) Bail out banks and mega corporations,

c) Bail out poor home owners batting way over their average in home size and cost...

But... but... but... he - along with most of the non-wealthy firmament will soon realize that there IS INDEED A NEED FOR GOVERNMENT. There is a place for taxation with representation. There is a NEED for taxation, and a government that clearly regulates "run-away" capitalists...

If taxes don't begin to rise in the next year or two - in most of the West, especially America - will see a depletion of services that people need and are used to. It will start with small government agencies. It will spread to major departments and their offerings. Eventually, simple local services like garbage pickup, street repair, and neighborhood upkeep will break down.

Of course Big Business will step in to help out... Private enterprise will take over the roads and highways... Yeah, right. They'll cherry-pick what they want. Take Greater Vancouver, for example. Private enterprise will already control/own most of the key bridge access points to the city - including the Trans-Canada's Port Mann Bridge. Imagine your city with toll freeways and toll bridges everywhere. Imagine a toll to enter your downtown core (London UK already has it). Private security firms? How about private police - for a fee, since government couldn't afford to pay for it? For profit healthcare? Not long, if a Conservative government has it's way. They need any excuse to say the government can't fund healthcare.

We the people will ultimately have our say... But we will need to cut through the deliberate murkiness created by the "uber-rich" and corporate classes. They will try to ensure that we believe taxes are bad... that government is bad... that regulations are bad. They will try to make us forget that it is THEY who put us in the predicament we are currently in.

Time for us to say "bye-bye" to the "corporate cowboys", and hello to truly "responsible" government. A REAL GOVERNMENT FOR THE PEOPLE - not just a government people THINK works for them. A shake-up is coming. A move to truer democracy. Liberal minds everywhere can be instrumental in the change. We don't have to reject globalism - it is good to work WITH the rest of the world - we simply need to reject the "anything for a profit" part of it... We need to revisit "nation-building" - the thinking and processes that got us here in the first place... The cooperation of people and state.

If we are unable to realize the change to the modern liberal democracy, "the people" will tear apart our nations in an orgy of fear, contempt, and revenge, of the likes we've never seen...

Now... back to hooking up my solar panels...

; )

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Times Square...


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Obama Offers Refreshing Approach On Stem Cell Research - Unlike Harper and Bush

While Stephen Harper and George W. Bush are die hard adherents to the anti-choice movement's refusal to accept and allow stem cell research, Barack Obama offers a fresh perspective - in keeping with Canada's (and liberal) values... Here's a great article from the Georgia Straight:

Stem-cell research could be medicine's magic bullet

By Gail Johnson

Barack Obama has breathed new life into stem-cell research, raising hopes for new life-saving therapies

Late one recent Wednesday afternoon, Phil Hartell headed downtown after work to have a beer. He stopped in at Steamworks, which is about the halfway point on his commute home from his job as a mechanical engineer. The friends he was supposed to meet there bailed, but that didn't matter, because Hartell was about to meet up with dozens of other people, people who, like him, have inquiring minds.

He wasn't about to take in a round of speed dating but rather to sit back and relax over a conversation on stem cells.

Hartell was one of about 100 people at the most recent Café Scientifique, a Canadian Institutes of Health Research event that aims to bring medical science out of the lab and into the lives of regular Joes. The February 4 gathering explored stem cells and their role in treating cancer.

“It seemed like an interesting topic that I didn't know anything about, and I thought the format sounded interesting,” Hartell, 27, says in an interview with the Georgia Straight. “This was useful and educational, and there was mingling going on….It gave me insight into the research that's going on and where the funding is going.”

Chris Cochrane was there too. The local actor's grandfather died of cancer, and he wanted to learn more about how stem cells could be used to treat the disease.

“I've always had a vague interest in science; I have a curious mind,” the 24-year-old tells the Straight in a phone interview. “It's a fascinating topic, but it's not something I knew very much about.”

Glass of white wine in hand, Cochrane kicked back to ask questions of researchers and former cancer patients and talk with other laypeople like him.

“There was some science jargon, and some of it flew over my head, but it was such an interesting topic, and it's always good to be more informed,” he says. “Plus, for young people starting to make money, you learn where it's smart to put charitable donations.”

If there's one area of science that's sure to generate debate, interest, and some confusion, it's stem-cell research. It's an especially hot topic now that President Barack Obama has pledged his support of scientific inquiry into stem cells, including human embryonic stem cells.

George W. Bush, by contrast, banned federal funding of research into embryonic stem cells, based on his religious views. Critics like him argue that destroying embryos for scientific research is morally unacceptable. Proponents, meanwhile, counter that harvesting stem cells from embryos discarded through invitro fertilization programs, for example, is ethical. Because of the Bush administration's opposition, many American researchers came to Canada, which is considered a world leader in this area of medical science. The Ottawa-based Stem Cell Network, for instance, links the work of more than 80 scientists and aims to translate research into clinical applications.

Stem cells are “primitive” cells in bone marrow that give rise to all blood cells. They have the ability to renew and grow into other types of cells. Although embryonic stem cells stir up the most contention for obvious reasons, not all research uses those particular cells.

Connie Eaves, director of the Terry Fox Laboratory at the B.C. Cancer Agency, who spoke at the Café Scientifique, explains that much research is based on what's commonly referred to as “normal” stem cells.

To simplify explaining the way stem cells could be used to treat cancer, she uses the analogy of weeds growing on your lawn. “If you have weeds, your lawn mower will cut off the grass and cut off the weeds. Your grass looks nice, but you didn't cut out the roots,” she explains on the line from her office. “And so the weeds will grow back.” It's the same thing with a tumour: radiation might make the tumour itself disappear, but that doesn't mean all the cancerous cells have been destroyed. However, if you replace all of the body's blood cells with stem cells—as in a bone-marrow transplant—then, ideally, those stem cells will regenerate new, healthy cells.

“Bone-marrow transplants are one area of cancer therapy that makes use of normal stem cells,” Eaves explains. “But there's a lot of interest in curing people of other diseases from normal stem cells. They are the seeds that grow the grass.”

Scientists are investigating the role stem cells could play in treating diabetes.

“Stem cells hold great promise for diabetes,” says Bruce Verchere, head of the diabetes research program at Vancouver's Child and Family Research Institute, in a phone interview.

Diabetes is characterized by sustained elevation in blood glucose from a lack of insulin-secreting pancreatic beta cells. Transplanting pancreatic islets to replace beta cells in patients with Type 1 diabetes is one possible treatment, but there are limitations. The long-term success isn't known, and there is a shortage of donors. Plus, one risk of stem cells is that they can become teratomas, meaning they can multiply out of control—much like cancer cells.

However, researchers like Verchere are looking into how stem cells could produce insulin-producing cells for transplant, which would overcome the lack of pancreatic tissue available for transplantation.

Verchere says Obama's commitment to research is especially vital during the recession.

“Obama accepts science as being important,” Verchere says. “These are tough economic times. We rely not just on government funds but also on support from charitable organizations. They're getting less donations. The size of grants and the number of grants is smaller. Government funding is even more important right now.”

Jane Roskams, associate professor in UBC's department of zoology and a researcher at the Brain Research Centre and the International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries, is studying the way stem cells can be used to repair the brain after strokes, spinal-cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries. A former researcher at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, she was one of those scientists who came to Canada because of Bush's restrictive policies on stem-cell research. She says that one potential downside of Obama's progressive stance on medical research is that many of her colleagues might decide to head back across the border. Nevertheless, she says, his position—and his pledge of research funding—is still excellent news.

“The biggest effect on Canadian science is that U.S. science will be healthy, and with reduced bans on stem-cell research, more good research can be done, and everyone benefits from that,” Roskams tells the Straight in a phone interview. “Hopefully, the Canadian government will open its eyes and follow suit.”

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Obama and Ignatieff Discuss "Difficulty In Dealing With Harper Government"

It's true! Watch the CBC Report...

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A Conversation Overheard On The Hill

Harper: "This is how you keep the media and crowds from making you look bad"

Obama: "Don't have that problem..."

Harper: "So when do we invade Iran?"

Obama: "I think you have me confused with someone else..."

Harper: "We did a good job bs-ing everyone on the environment file - even Dubya couldn't seem this genuine"

Obama:  "I wasn't kidding.  We're going green.  And... stop saying you're just like me.  Please".

Harper:  "We have a problem with immigrants stealing our jobs..."

Obama:  "You gotta be kidding me.  You do know who you're talking to here son?"

Harper:  "Can't wait for you to start drilling in the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge".

Obama:  "Were you watching anything but Sarah Palin during our election?"

Harper:  "The bailouts you signed won't really "pay out", will they?  You'll require the States and municipalities to kick in too, right?  That's my plan - we won't have to pay out anything... teehehehehe..."

Obama: (To self: Who is this clown?) "The idea of our bailouts was to actually HELP the people..."

Harper:  "So, do you want to start merging now?  We can put a fence around the Arctic to keep out the illegal immigrants..."

Obama:  "Just what kind of fantasy world do you live in?"

Harper:  "Nice to meet another ivory tower... err... intellectual like myself..."

Obama:  "Yeah, sure.  (To aide) Is it time for us to go already?"

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4 Questions For 80 Reporters.. You Know When Our Media Has Decided To Bend Right Over...

(And to our media, I - like the great Rt. Hon. P. E. Trudeau - humbly wave my middle finger.  Reporters of Canada - you deserve no better for your lack of journalistic integrity.  What happened to reporters exposing the truth?  Weren't there awards for that?  I guess the corporate paycheck is more important, eh?)

I think many people did a double take on Stephen Harper's recent - sure, I'll say it - f-ing b@llsh^t regarding climate change, and supposedly how "similar" Canada's (his) view is to Mr. Obama's.  

This comes from a leader who had his head buried so far up George Dubya Bush's sphincter, people often thought "Steve" was talking for Dubya...  Steve, is that chocolate on your lip?  No wonder your kids won't kiss ya, and Laureen hangs out with Baird...

Nation's the world over criticized the Harper Government for stalling climate talks.  The BS pile was so ripe and steamy - from the Harper team - that Canada won awards for our climate change "Bush-i-ness".  Canada obfuscated and denied under Harper.  The very same Stephen Harper who openly claimed "the jury's still out" on global warming.  The very same Stephen Harper who stood with his party, many a time, in Parliament to block or convince the Canadian media to speak ill of any climate change moves the Liberal governments of Chretien or Martin tried to make (one only needs to read Hansard from the times of Kyoto ratification).  Stephen Harper - the ultimate climate change denier.

That horrible little cockroach of a "man" - Stephen Harper - now wants to claim that he shares "ideological ground" with America's Liberal champion - Barack Obama.  The very same Barack Obama who almost had Harper operatives scuttle his Democratic Party nomination last year (remember the NAFTA controversy?).  The self-same Conservatives who used to cheer-lead everything a US conservative/Republican did - from Limbaugh/Bush/Cheney, right on down to Palin, now want to ride on the PR coat-tails of the Obama liberal wave in the US???  The same Conservatives who whined about "elitist intellectual Liberals", and "ivory tower elites"?

Where's the outrage?  Where's our cajone-less media?  Whatever happened to investigative journalism in this country?  Why can't our wannabe journalists speak out about blatant lies?  The FIFTH estate is letting our nation down.  They are supposed to be the body that exposes the lies and corruption of those in power... not a body that lays down and plays nice so they can hope to win a lottery to ask one of four questions allowed to 80 international journalists by a megalomaniac Prime Minister.

Just for a change, I'd like to see a few reporters WITH CAJONES, "stand up for Canada" and scrum the two leaders (well, one and a half leaders) like they would have back in the days of Martin, Chretien, Campbell, Mulroney, or Trudeau...  C'mon reporters - grab some...

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Stop The Bailout Insanity!!!

President Obama announced another bailout today.  This time for silly folks who bought homes with 0 down on 40 year mortgages, who are about to be foreclosed.  

Imagine that.  I have no money.  Can't even qualify for a car loan, or furniture from the Brick on an "OAC" basis, but I can get a mortgage for a $300 or $400K home!

Now, the US government plans to bail out these very same folks, for the stupid decisions they made (and the banks made).

The so-called stimulus is NOT going to have the intended effect.  Bailing out banks results NOT in more loans handed out, to stimulate a sagging economy, but rather in more banks hanging on to their money.  Giving money to the people in the way of tax cuts, or "mortgage bailouts", or simple cash handouts, will NOT result in more spending.  They will simply stow it away in banks, or mattresses.

So how can a government get people to spend money again (the only way to get us out of a deflationary spiral, or depression)?  The government will have to spend the money FOR the people.  How?  Instead of handing the money directly to the people, funnel it directly into things the people need...

Create national daycares from coast to coast, so parents can keep their children in proper care programs.  Fully funded daycare is like putting money in peoples' pockets, while creating jobs through the associated staffing and construction - not to mention the purchases of daycare supplies, etc.

Build new hospitals - improved healthcare for the people.  This will be a huge boost to the economy.  New doctors, new medical staff, new wards.  Perhaps have "on call" doctors for house-calls, as they do in France.  Better drug care, as in the UK.  Maybe we can strike down the support of the major drug cos, in order to support the generic Canadian drug manufacturers?

Infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure.  The people need new bridges, new roads, new data lines, new railways, new public transit...

The bottom line is: handing cash to the banks and the people directly will NOT stimulate the economy.  The government will have to do that FOR the people.  That is the ONLY way "stimulus" will work...

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ralph Goodale's Weekly Report

There were two "full house" town halls with Michael Ignatieff in my home province of Saskatchewan this week. Michael discussed the Liberal plan for the Prairies. A lot of good info here... Here is Ralph Goodale's take on the meetings:


The new Leader of the Liberal Party, Michael Ignatieff, attracted favourable attention at two big meetings in Saskatchewan last weekend.

Before packed-houses in both Regina and Saskatoon, Mr. Ignatieff spoke knowledgeably about a broad range of national and regional issues – most especially his commitment to fight the root causes of western alienation.

I Support The Liberal Victory Fund

He was critical of the partisan, divisive tactics too often used by Stephen Harper to force his views down peoples’ throats and to stifle all dissenting voices. By contrast, the Liberal Leader called for a greater sense of unity among all Canadians – east and west, rural and urban.

He pointed out that the biggest engine driving Canadian economic growth originates in the natural resources of western Canada, especially our energy resources. With that economic strength comes political strength too.

The Liberal Party must realize that clear reality, learn from its past mistakes, show western Canada greater respect, and earn more western support.

I Support The Liberal Victory Fund

For example, Mr. Ignatieff says, Liberals need to advance constructive ideas to bring energy policy, economic policy and environmental policy together in one cohesive package. Canadians don’t want one pitted against the others; they want success in all three fields simultaneously.

He emphasized new technology as the key tool to position Canada – and especially Saskatchewan – as a thriving clean energy powerhouse.

Investments in technologies like the “capture and storage” of carbon dioxide offer huge potential to help us get full value from our vast petroleum reserves in ways that are less polluting. Mr. Ignatieff pledged to be a willing federal partner to work with Saskatchewan and the private sector in this direction.

I Support The Liberal Victory Fund

He also undertook to fight for Canadian livestock producers against U.S. protectionism. In particular, he will tackle the threat of American country-of-origin-labelling (COOL) when he meets with President Obama later this week.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Garth Turner Puts The Reasons For The Recession/Depression The Best...

Basically, it's quite simple:

Harper and Flaherty brought 0 down/40 year mortgages to Canada - Canada's very own "sub-prime" imitation...

In Garth's words: "They allowed no-money-down purchasing of houses. Even CMHC approved a 100% financing program, which meant that people who could not walk out of a Future Shop with a free $1000 plasma television could buy a new home in a Toronto suburb worth $450,000 - for nothing."

Think about it.

We keep talking about weathering the storm, and what will happen next. How many 20-somethings do you know with an $800,000 mortgage ($350,000 home amortized over 40 years - do the math)? How many of them have guaranteed jobs?

How long will this last? What can a government do to fix this? We can't let people with no money keep these homes. Banks are sitting on all this bad debt...

It's gonna get worse before it get's better.

Thanks Harper and Flaherty. Thanks an f'n lot!

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

RCMP Commissioner Slams Prorogation of Parliament

Interesting watching the RCMP Commissioner's news conference today.  Changes have been made to the use of tasers.  Basically, an officer must be "under threat" to use the taser...  I thought that was always the case?  You mean, in the past, cops were allowed to just "pop" someone with a taser for shits and giggles?

Anyway, the Commish stated VERY clearly that this RCMP decision was delayed by the lack of committees in Parliament - and directly due to the prorogue of Parliament by the PM.  This was in response to a reporter question basically asking, "what took so long"?  

Wonder what other VERY IMPORTANT tasks were held up by Harper's selfishness?  Maybe the ECONOMY???  Hundreds of thousands of Canadians LOST JOBS as Harper ran for cover.  

The people of Canada will not forget - and should not forget.

Thanks Steve!

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Conservatives Continue To Abuse Child Soldier's Right's

The Harper government is sooooo about "family values". They love the family. They LOVE children (as can be witnessed by Harper's handshakes on their first day of school)...

The substantive difference between conservative and liberal philosophies on youth crime really come out when you look at the Khadr case. A difference in treatment of various races also comes out. According to the Harpies, "if you're brown, you CAN'T stick aroun'" (to paraphrase a famous civil rights leader - and judging by comments from their Immigration Minister about South Asians). The Conservative treatment of the World's MOST FAMOUS child soldier borders on wanton disregard and neglect. If children soldiers and their consequent "punishment" are an example of child abuse, you can see where we're going with this... A child, who is twisted into believing something, then sent to war, get's to kill and witness killing cannot defend himself in the field of battle, in jail, or in court.

So how does the Harper "government about nothing" handle the case of a CANADIAN child soldier who has been illegally detained, never given a fair trial, is being barred from a real trial now, may have been tortured, and is without his UN-mandated human rights? They let him rot in limbo. When ADULTs with a clear knowledge of what they were involved in are being repatriated from Guantanimo, just what is the Harper "government" doing? What kind of "caring for children" has this government shown?

This speaks to not only the government's handling of this case, but also how they addressed (non-addressed) the plight of children in Northern villages and reserves, how they stonewalled a national daycare program. Conservatives in Canada only know one way to rear children: through abject terror. Fear of death penalty and corporal punishment in prisons (Conservatives LOVE to fill prisons with youth), and letting poor children in Canada continue to live in 3rd World conditions. If you're a child in Canada, the only way you will be "favored" by this government, is if you are:

1) Home schooled - preferably with a "major" in "intelligent" design

2) Cared for by a "stay-at-home" mom - because they don't believe in working women (and equal pay for women either, for that matter).

3) If not home schooled, then attending a "charter school", like the kind dotting the landscape in Alberta.

4) Not a minority (including First Nations)

The Harper government has shown contempt for international regulations, values, and mores. They have railed against the UN for years, and the recent treatment of Omar Khadr is just a playing out of that fact. Harper and his neoCon ilk have never respected the UN. They could care less about world opinion. This very well could come back to haunt them. Some of the very nations they've been slamming (India and China on environmental issues; China on human rights; etc., etc.), are going to be the very same ones Canada will have to count on to bail us out of the current/coming economic collapse.

The Conservative Bush-whackery and "Bush-mimicry" has been callous and verging on the obscene. This government has yet to employ any sort of "foreign policy" of it's own. Civilized nations have standards for dealing with SUSPECTS of crime (yes, suspects, not convicts yet), which do not include: illegal detention, torture (mental and physical), abuse, lack of access to legal representation; lack of access to families, and the list goes on... Canada has shunned all those standards, and helped take the world back to the dark ages. We will now appear as hypocrites to many, when we try to assert our "moral authority" in situations requiring intervention around the world. We sided with a government (note: I say "government" and not "nation") which had some shady motives, and stood by silently - even "cheer-leading" - when they abused and tortured prisoners, who they refused to identify as "prisoners of war", so they could (in their opinion) continue to hold them and torture them.

Omar Khadr must be returned to Canada. He must be returned to a land where there is still hope for the justice system. He must be returned to a place where his family can testify to what family directives led him to show up in a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan and shoot back when he was shot at and bombed. Khadr must be heard as well, so we can further our own national efforts to fight the use and abuse of the child soldier worldwide.

If we think this is a rare occurance we won't have to deal with again, we are sadly mistaken - warlords across Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and South and Central America know the value of utilizing the blank minds of children for warfare. Canada - as a former defender of international human rights and children's rights - MUST be at the center of the discussion... More so now, as we have been complicit in the fate of one of our very own child soldiers.

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Prairie Bumper Sticker

"No to C68"

"No to Wheat Board"

"No to Senate"

This was a popular bumper sticker on the Prairies from the late 80s on towards the current era...  You couldn't find a "self-respecting" pick-up driving, gun-toting, angry Conservative Westerner who didn't have that sticker on their back bumper.

Stand by for a "rewind".  These are the issues that helped create the Reform Party, and these are the issues some of the Conservative MPs are going to try to live or die on.  The economy is tanking faster than they are letting on.  They know more than they are saying, and they are desperately going to try to shore up their "angry" support with these 3 "cardinal conservative issues".  Angry supporters are just as likely to "stay home" - or even vote NDP in the next election.

Based on the Reformers (including Harper) going back to their base, just watch how ugly this next election will be.  The desperate MPs on that side will be fighting for their lives and the xenophobic comments will start rolling off the tongues again.  They'll bash immigrants, women, First Nations, Ontario, Quebec, the Atlantic, etc., etc., etc. - all their favorite targets of old.

Be on the lookout for more bumper stickers.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bail Out Banks? WTF For?

(Image courtesy of

Banks need to be punished. There should be no bail out. Period. I don't agree with any bank bailout at all. What we should be doing is absolving (or removing a large percentage of) all consumer debt in this country. If some banks go under, so be it. We can rebuild the country with credit unions and new "smarter" banks. Time to put the shoe on the other foot. A government intervention can at the very least LOWER consumer debt by creating some sort of "forgiveness" for portions. Perhaps a rebate of interest paid? Maybe a re-evaluation of loans based on "real" home values, versus the "bubble" prices everyone has paid - with adequate compensation paid back to owners for overpayments (or the abrogation of loans when that "real" value has been paid). I mean, it's all debt "on paper", isn't it? Any political party that would advocate this, would win a landslide of support from the general public. Imagine a Canada where there was very little consumer debt? Where we rebuild the economic system with STRICT controls on lending? Why give the money to bank executives, in some desperate hope that it will trickle down to the consumer in way of more "credit"? What the hell for? Credit is what got us into this mess in the first place!

Forgiving loans would jump start the economy from square one. Businesses would be solvent, consumers would be able to buy, because they would have little debt to repay. The economy would start moving ahead again - even though it would be a little "Canada-focused" for a while.

It may soon be time to "storm the Bastille"... lol...

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Conservatives Attack School Principal While Canada's Economy Tanks!

Most of us are now familiar with the Erik Millett story.  The school principal from NB who was said to have banned "Oh Canada" in his school...  Well... there's MUCH more to this story than our wonderful national media has let on.

Here's the background:  Millett had requests from some parents in his school to not have their children participate in listening to "Oh Canada" at school.  To accommodate them Erik moved the anthem to the school assemblies.  

Note:  He didn't EVER BAN the anthem... he simply switched it from a cheap recording over probably cheaper school speakers, to a "live act" in the auditorium/gym.

One parent in particular (a Conservative one, we might add) was extremely peeved about the move.  She quickly organized an outcry - almost a year after the initial changes.  Her concerns got her daughter the role of "Oh Canada" singer.  How's that for a benign act by the Principal???  

FFWD a little bit and you'll notice a federal Minister speak out.  "Why?" you ask?  Well... turns out that this is the minister's riding.  

But WAIT!!!  This gets even MORE PARTISAN!  Turns out that Mr. Millett RAN AGAINST OUR MINISTER (edit) in the last election.

Here we go again!  An economy in tattered ruins, and a Conservative Minister is trying to score political points on a fake (lied about) issue of "patriotism".  He leads a group of Canadians and MPs in a lie about poor Mr. Millett.  They lie about a "ban" of the anthem - it was NEVER banned.  They defame Mr. Millett's character indirectly by inciting others to attack and threaten him (even with physical violence).  They try to destroy this man's career (sound familiar?  think "isotope-gate"), and have left him an emotional wreck.  All based on a lie.

THIS, my dear friends, is the modus operandi of our infantile Conservative government.  Should group as sociopathic be allowed to lead a country?

Funny our national media did not care to investigate this "story"... Everyone but CBC, that is.  


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Monday, February 09, 2009

"Day's Of Blunder"???

Caption for image on Warren's Blog: "Day's of Blunder". Seems suitable with the Con cabinet standing behind Borque's "Appalachian hotrod"...

Not sure why I can't register to comment at his blog, or I'd post this over there...

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Today's "Warren File"

Warren makes quite a solid point about Jason Kenney's "pro-immigrant" stance on his blog today:

"You can read more about Jason Kenney here. He’s all for multiculturalism. Unless you happen to be gay or lesbian, that is."

Warren... you forgot to add "Canadian Muslim child languishing in foreign prison", and Jason Kenney's comments about "hot-headed Sikhs playing the race card" during a nasty nomination battle not a few years ago... And... don't forget his shot at South Asians from the Komagata Maru Foundation in Surrey asking for an apology from the Federal Conservative Government on the FLOOR of the Commons (something Mr. Dion promised to do if elected). Harper snuck into Surrey, strong-armed event organizers (at a public festival commemorating the incident), and was loudly booed off the stage when he didn't offer a Parliamentary apology. Kenney - when confronting organizers who protested further - spouted a "you got your apology in Surrey", and basically "that's the only apology you'll be getting" (email transcripts are available from organizers...

Kenney was one of the most "angry about immigration" Reform/Alliance MPs of old. Ever wonder why Harper put him in charge of immigration? Kind of like the fox guarding the hen house, isn't it? Seems that whenever Harper wants to destroy another element of government (Senate, Environment Dept., etc.) he tosses in one of his agitators. These clowns are only good at one thing: destroying government and it's institutions. Don't like the Senate? Appoint Senators who will make the public wonder why we have one. Don't like multiculturalism? Start planting the seeds by appointing a minister who has no use for multiculturalism and immigration (except anyone who will vote Conservative - hence the big push for "skilled" - [meaning European] labor for Alberta's oil patch over the past two years) (Oh... and that has back-fired now too - with the slowdown in AB - guess they'll just ship all those temp foreign workers home now?). Want to f@%& up the environment? Appoint a dunce followed by a rabid, frothing pit-bull who will work to cover the lack of effort from the government.

Want to destroy all the institutions of government? Just appoint a Harper minister.

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Introducing The 2009 "Harper Hatchback"

From the same Calgary Conservatives who brought you the "Bennett Buggy" during the Great Depression... The new car for "Tory Times". Forget the Bimmer, or the Prius... this is car you'll end up with this year...

"Nation-builder Magazine" 2009 "Canada's New Car" Review:

The 2009 "Harper Hatchback" comes with none of the options... It's loud and suited to angry, aggressive, male drivers. It belches greenhouse gases, but the manufacturer claims those gases prop up your entire nation's economy. It has rear view mirrors, because only the past/"good ol' days" are important to the manufacturer... Come to think of it, the driver's seat is backwards too (and a little flabby around the center). There is a strong scent of "cat spray" in the interior - it is the air "freshener" according to our temporary "test driver" - Stephen Harper.

The 2009 has a "power steering" feature which keeps the car to the right. You may think it's a little "extreme" to have a car cutting to the right so hard... but we think you'll find that it pretends to hug the center line quite well... all the while steering you headlong for the ditch. Our model came equipped with the "Flaherty Navigator" option... In a nasal whine this distant (really distant) cousin of "On-Star" tells you that you're not in reverse (but we knew we were). There is an "MP-B (for bribe)" player - which plays no music, but mysteriously keeps offering you a House of Commons life insurance policy.

We found the "Harper Hatchback" a little less than child friendly. It doesn't have proper restraints for children (this lack of childcare was troubling to us), although it did have some "The Bible In Full Color" and "Stockwell Plays with Dinosaurs" children's theme books in the seat-back pockets for the kids to read. One interesting "children's feature" in this car was the "capital punishment" button on the dash. One push and it cruelly threatens your minor children with the death penalty - or immediately runs a Guantanamo Bay "simulator".

The "hatch" in the Harper hatchback - a place no-one would want to ride - is designated for women, First Nations, and Visible Minorites. The owner's manual says this cramped quarter at the rear of the vehicle is the perfect place for your "less than Canadians". Apparently there are passenger restraints for the F-Na's and Vi-Mi's, and even a "pot to piss in"...

Like the driver - who does not believe in "choice", the car only comes in one color - a pale, rather blue-tinged white. There is no radio - as this would be a tool to help the "ivory tower elitist artists"... Instead, there is a small slot through which you can feed your local evangelical mission's collection box.

In "real world" driving, the 09 "Harper Hatchback" got roughly 5 mpg. A little rough for a car that want's to be the trade in option for former Hummer drivers. We quickly realized that kicking our driver (Stephen) out resulted in another 10 mpg (although our "Flaherty Navigator" kept telling us it was 20 mpg). The car does come with a year's subscription to "Alberta Oil Discounter" magazine, and a "save $1/liter if you live in Leduc" card. We will test the "Alberta Beef" model next week - a Harper Buggy pulled by 2 really "mad" Alberta cows... (they tell us THIS is where the real savings come in - although rush hour on Whitemud or the Deerfoot's a biatch).

Hitler had his "people's car", and now Canada has it's "Harper Hatchback" (although we hear the government likes to call it "Canada's New Car"). Like R. B. Bennett's buggy, it's another car proudly "manufactured" in Calgary. The government hopes sales of the "Harper Hatchback" will shut down any remaining manufacturing plants in Southern Ontario.

Our impressions of the Harper Hatch:

- Rough ride

- Very little to protect you in case you "crash"

- It costs you more than you originally thought you would pay - a LOT more

- It kills the environment - if that's your bag, babeeee...

- Not child friendly

- Won't be appreciated by women drivers

This is not the car you would keep around for years. If you happen to buy one, your best "out" is to trade it in as soon as you can.

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Time To Undo The Harper GST Folly

No shit. We can offer income tax cuts instead, and get more people back to work "directly" with our infrastructure investments.

I'm serious. I'm what you would call a "fiscally conservative", "socially responsible/liberal" Liberal. I believe in helping the economy through strategic investments, while working to promote home-grown business and industry, small businesses, and financial security for individual Canadians. Still, in light of this crisis - at a point where the Conservative "government" (or, even in their own opinion, lack of it) has squandered a 12 Billion dollar surplus, and a further $13 BILLION BEFORE the depression. Harper's Conservatives have killed a major source of government revenue by removing a significant portion of the tax base.

If you look at the Conservative reasoning behind lowering the GST, it was to "stimulate spending". Spending won't happen, however, if people are insecure about their jobs. Who's left "spending" now-a-days? Mostly the rich. We can allow people who can afford it, to help refill the government's emergency coffers. The poor are basically just trying to "survive". They need to eat. Food does not have a GST levied on it. People at risk of losing their jobs are not buying the big ticket items the GST reduction was geared towards (TVs, homes, cars).

Harper's Conservatives goaded people who could not afford it into buying homes and other big ticket items. The Conservative government created Canada's own "sub-prime-like" fiasco with their "0 down, 40 year" mortgages. People who could barely afford RENT were suddenly owners of $400K homes with mortgages making the homes more like $800K (after interest charges). Harper was all over the TV the past couple of years (since the GST cuts) coaxing and cajoling young couples into massive debt they couldn't afford.

The public will soon begin thinking that we need a "parachute" to save them from the tanking economy. The government can't handle an economic collapse with no money in the coffers. We need to be able to provide services for the poor and unemployed. We need to provide a safety net for hundreds of thousands of "middle class" Canadians who may soon need it. We need to correct Harper's mistake - his folly.

Time to reverse the GST changes.

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Ralph Goodale's Weekly Email

(Harper and Flaherty in the "What? Me Worry?" "No Deficit To See Here - Vote Conservative" pose)

For anyone looking for more information on "how we got here" (vis-a-vis the recession/depression), just have a look at Ralph Goodale's weekly email update. It outlines the Harper government's mismanagement of Canada - from a 12 BILLION DOLLAR SURPLUS to a 13 BILLION DOLLAR DEFICIT - BEFORE the bailout for the recession/depression even began.

Is that "call me Mr. Economist" enough for you?

Stephen Harper TOLD the Canadian people there is no deficit - ask the Parliamentary Budget Office and there's been a different story since early FALL of 08 - and it is our duty to ensure Canadians know that. Of course, one can say that Canadians deserve the government they elected, but we DO have hearts... Only sound Liberal fiscal management can save us from certain depression hell right now. Conservatives aren't going to fund nation-wide "make-work projects" of the likes not even seen during the Great Depression. Bailing out Big Banks, so they can "bank" the money and pay off their execs is NOT going to jump start the economy. We need to put money in the hands of consumers - and QUICKLY - not on "delay" like Harper has done with his "money to the rich scheme".

Here's Ralph's weekly update:


While most countries were hard at work long ago on measures to combat the worldwide recession, the Harper government was wasting precious time.

It’s only this week that the Conservatives actually put new budget legislation before Parliament to begin re-charging the Canadian economy. This is a very late start.

The livelihoods of thousands of families are at risk. In January, this country suffered its biggest job losses in recorded history. Since the election, a staggering 234,000 Canadian jobs have evaporated.

People are worried about their incomes, homes and mortgages, about their savings and pensions. Public confidence is low.

Even here in Saskatchewan where we’ve been insulated from the worst impacts so far, job losses have hit the potash, forestry and steel industries. Other sectors, like livestock, are also suffering.

Our Liberal Opposition warned Mr. Harper about the “gathering economic storm” a year ago. And then, private sector economists, the Bank of Canada, the International Monetary Fund, and the Parliamentary Budget Officer did the same.

Publicly, Stephen Harper brushed the warnings aside. Don’t worry, he said. The economic fundamentals are fine. There won’t be any recession, nor any deficit.

But privately, Mr. Harper knew better. That’s why he rushed into a snap election, breaking his own “fixed election date” law – to get it over before big economic trouble landed squarely on his shoulders.

Instead of a premature election campaign, the Conservatives should have been fighting the recession last October.

Instead of presenting a bitterly partisan mid-term “Economic Update” last November, they should have tabled a full-fledged emergency budget.

Instead of shutting down Parliament to run from tough votes, they should have been honest about the big Conservative deficit they had created – before the costs of any recession are added in.

Now, it’s a harder road back.

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Friday, February 06, 2009

Harper Lawsuit Pulled - No Liberal Retraction Requested

Remember that lawsuit Harper was so sure of? The one where he wanted to figuratively "sue the Liberal Party into bankruptcy? The guy was sooooooooo sure he was going to win (or at least publicly making it appear to be so)...


He dropped the suit. Now remember, before we hear the "well it was SETTLED out of court" comments, this was HARPER SUING THE LPofC, and NOT "suit/counter-suit. Apparently the Conservatives have run out of "evidence of their innocence" lol... rofl...


Then we get this brilliant and timely post from Danielle...

Looks like they actually feed their bloggers everything they write! We only ASSUMED that before. Now we have the proof (not like it was really needed, but anyways...). What' more interesting here, is the actual discussion (I urge you to go to Danielle's blog and have a good read). They are pretty crushed and looking for ways to make themselves look good... Hmmm... Sucks to be them. Guess we can get our campaign literature ready - with the claim attached.

Harper tries to sue us, then drops the case. And he just SWORE he was not lying... Hmmm...

I Support The Liberal Victory Fund

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Thursday, February 05, 2009

This Is Leadership

(Just LOVE that pic)

Some great accolades for our new leader in the media recently. Today's Globe and Mail brings a very good analysis of the leadership this man inspires, and the "politics of intelligence" he brings forward...

"If people, against their will, are ordered to vote a certain way, it isn't democracy. It's Putinism.

A new element, a blow to Putinism, that Michael Ignatieff has introduced to the Official Opposition is a kitchen cabinet. Every morning at 8:30, he meets a proxy group of about 10 Liberal MPs and gets their input and advice. That's in contrast to the way most opposition leaders have operated; usually, it's been just the leader and a tight unelected clique of advisers who held sway.

The kitchen cabinet members, a veteran group to contrast the leader's newness, include Bob Rae, Ralph Goodale, David McGuinty, Ujjal Dosanjh, Marlene Jennings, Denis Coderre, Albina Guarnieri and Roger Cuzner."

Mr. Ignatieff has surrounded himself with the best and brightest in Canadian politics and strategy... This is a trait of the best leaders. Your team makes you look good. His decision to bring Warren Kinsella into the fold has helped PR a thousand-fold. Warren is a veteran of the dog-fights, and runs a war-room like Montgomery. The old fox has more than a few tricks left in him...

Michael's OLO crew has been out "on the hustings" for weeks now. There is a good web presence, and perhaps more importantly - great contact with people "on the ground". If you're a Liberal, and you live somewhere in Canada, you had a good chance of sharing a moment with the new leader, and picking his "Canada Grade A" brain. One very positive aspect of the OLO efforts (and party executive efforts) has been the big jump in fund-raising we've seen the last couple of months. We exceeded the Conservatives for the first time in YEARS.

The morning "kitchen cabinet" meetings are a great idea - and the perfect start to a day. Nothing like a high-level planning session. I've created this practice in the business world and it is very effective: it coalesces the team, while quickly putting new ideas on the floor, and addressing "issues" as they come up. The key is to keep it relatively "informal".

The names mentioned in the "kitchen cabinet" not only represents the "elder statespersons" of the Liberal Party (I'm sure they'd LOVE being called that), but also reflects the Regions of Canada nicely, as well as our ethnic diversity. It is a great move to have such a group as a "virtual mini-cabinet", as they certainly have the ears of the rest of caucus, and a finger on the pulse of their own regions...

Mr. Ignatieff has shown, thus far, that he is an open-minded, thoughtful, LISTENING, and creative leader. This bodes well for our party, and for Canada.

Now, just get me some Iggy-wear! (For those of you interested, a new WesternGrit webstore is around the corner - depending on stocking and availability, we'll be set to go hopefully before convention time)...

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Monday, February 02, 2009

"After The Crash" - Garth Turner In Surrey, Feb 3rd, 7pm

After reading (most of) Garth's new book - "After The Crash" - I really have to pick this guy's brain a little more.

For those of you who are interested in Garth's speaking engagement in Surrey tomorrow (Tuesday) night, he will be at the Northview Golf and Country Club (yes, that splendid Lower Mainland course of Canadian Open fame). You can obtain tickets by calling:

Financial seminar, now open to the public
7 pm - For admission call (604) 633-1418

This book is a REAL eye-opener - even for a cautious investor like myself. I had the opportunity to speak with Garth on the radio last week, but this seminar should really be beneficial. Knowing Harper is in charge, I'm planning for the worst. If it turns out better, so be it. If not, we will survive.

And, no, this is not a plug for Garth...

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Party Financing: "Let The Bastards Raise Their Own Money?"

With THESE numbers (See figures at bottom of post - see Pundit's Guide for further details), do any of us think we can really fund an effective campaign? Time to support the Victory Fund, eh?

Well, don't just sit there... Get on it!

I Support The Liberal Victory Fund

It is hard to compete when our nearest competitor receives 3 to 4 times the funding we do. We could say it is related to "ideology", and people more "angry" and "vocal" about their ideology are more willing to give, but, REALLY? Look at the NDP and Green numbers. They're pretty low too, and not really proportional to vote count (when comparing party to party).

We need further reform to our election spending and political fund-raising rules. Instead of letting Harper gain the initiative in this debate - as he has this winter - we need to be out front this year and beyond, demonstrating the NEED for federal financing of political parties, and the NEED for strict spending limits. We also NEED to get off our collective duffs and start raising funds for our own party.

Election spending reform needs to be very strict and include a "spending cap". Sure, we should have voter funding. We should also have tax-deductible donations to political parties. There has to be, however, one caveat: that the total amount spent in a year not exceed x dollars. Name the amount. It could be 5 million, or 7 million. In these troubled times, keep it low. Keep it reasonable. Do not allow extra raised funds be spent during or after the writ. Instead, force these funds to be targeted to "other" party activities (cost of offices, research staff, convention costs, etc.). Any excess funds should be directed to charities of the party's choice (seriously).

Here's an example: Party "x" raises $15 Million. With a spending cap (for advertising) set at $7 million, they would have $8 Million left. If we impose a "cap" of $5 Million on "other/non-election advertising" costs, the party can spend $5 Million on things like offices, events, leader's dinners, subsidies for youth groups, convention subsidies, etc. This would really help the democratic process, while forcing parties to look inward for ideas and debate. Less money for election advertising means that the party leaders and candidates would have to actually GET OUT AND STUMP FOR VOTES, rather than sit back and coast to a win (there certainly are a lot of hard-working candidates out there, but there are probably more who are riding the coat-tails of their party in "home" regions - several Reformers in Alberta are good examples of this).

"But, there's $3 Million left" you say. Oh yes... the last $3 Million that the party raised. What to do with it? Well, we can benefit the nation by donating it to the charity of the party's choice. Big corporations adopt charities all the time? Why not the party's? If the Green Party wants to give their excess $3 Million to Greenpeace, that's their prerogative. If the NDP wants to donate their $3 Million to soup kitchens, so be it. If the Liberals want to give to impoverished Northern communities, great. If the Cons want to donate back to the churches that helped them raise funds, so be it. This part of the process would allow Canadians to see just how "giving" the parties are, and really help assuage the idea of "greedy politicians". Sure, parties wouldn't have to gather extra funds to "give" - they may avoid raising more than the limits, or they may not be able to raise to the limits, but it would be in their best interest to do so (with perception being what it is and such).

The spending caps would certainly level the playing field for all parties. Parties whose traditional demographic isn't "fund-raisers" or "business types" would fair as well as those who are. Is it fair to "penalize" parties that have their supposed "acts together" (ie, lots of rich backers) and can raise lots of money? Is it fair to penalize those who cannot? It is probably constitutionally unfair to allow some parties to benefit because they are better fund-raisers. What would the "Lazy Sloth Party" do? It is beyond their very reason for existing to be able to raise funds.

That, of course is a very hypothetical example, but let's look at it another way. If the demographic that votes for your party is primarily lower middle-class, to lesser well-off folks, but the demographic that votes for another party is the upper middle class and wealthy, voter for voter, you cannot possibly attract more funds. The "party of the rich" will always have more money, and hence the ability to grow their base even further - even to those who wouldn't traditionally vote for them, simply due to good advertising. How can a single mother of 3 even THINK about a donation to a political party - a donation that is predicated (for most donors) on the "tax credit" that she would never qualify for anyway? Take that a step further and you begin to see that soon all parties would stop thinking of the poor, the less well off, or even the "lower" middle class. Even the NDP couldn't survive without some funds from the "more well-to-do" (or they would simply remain a 3rd tier party).

Prime Minister Chretien made some bold moves that helped restrict the influence of big business in politics (even somewhat to the detriment of his own party - how's THAT for a selfless act?). What is the next step in "bettering our democracy"? Political parties and political movements need to worry less about fund-raising, and more towards the things that matter - like developing policy, talking to voters, educating the public. To make politics, and democracy itself, fair for our people, we need to look at changes that regulate party expenditures year round. If we fail to do so, we will be left with only the rich having their voice heard in Ottawa. Worse still, we will see that parties will stop thinking about the poor, near poor, and lower middle class (more than 2/3s of our population)...

Liberal NDP Green Bloc Cons

2005 Q1-Q47,969,813.585,130,587.74410,134.59735,506.5517,849,716.00
2006 Q1-Q49,842,889.763,972,597.53775,991.88529,458.3418,728,456.79
2007 Q1-Q44,537,965.583,977,185.63984,605.30430,061.4816,990,765.93
2008 Q1-Q45,900,511.895,466,434.841,631,293.79713,415.2221,190,928.22

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