Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Canada Must Defend Saskatchewan's Interests - Goodale

Ralph Goodale discusses how we need to do more to stand up for Saskatchewan's potash industry...


When it comes to potash, what’s right for Saskatchewan must prevail!

Except for one smaller mine in Atlantic Canada, the entire Canadian potash industry is located in Saskatchewan. It is a multi-billion-dollar sector with the largest potash reserves in the world. And while prairie soils don’t require much of it right here at home (yet), Saskatchewan potash fertilizer is crucial to food production worldwide.

This industry represents a big chunk of the provincial economy, and as we learned recently, market fluctuations in potash can shift Saskatchewan’s balance-sheet from surplus to deficit in the twinkling of an eye.

So, if any transaction materializes for the sale of the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan – by far the biggest industry player – it must be reviewed by the Government of Canada under the Investment Canada Act to achieve what is best for Saskatchewan, not just some vague “net benefit” to Canada.

Furthermore, the federal government must be far more public and transparent in analyzing any potash deal than it has been on many other recent resource industry takeovers. Some of those deals have gone badly sideways, like US-Steel in Hamilton and Vale-Inco in Sudbury.

With respect to potash, secrecy won’t do! Saskatchewanians and Canadians need to know what the government’s analysis is, how “net benefits” are determined, and what conditions or performance guarantees are demanded by the feds.

Moreover, there must be tangible, enforceable remedies available to Saskatchewan if any condition or guarantee is breached.

But before any proposed transaction gets that far – and beyond routine assurances about office locations, jobs, investment plans, community contributions, new technology, environmental standards, etc. – Saskatchewan needs to be absolutely guaranteed that any potash marketing strategy under any new ownership will be at least as beneficial to Saskatchewan as that which exists today.

If that’s not rock-solid, where’s any “net benefit”?

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Greatest PM Remembered

Posted over at Morton's Musings (by moi):

Sometimes you need to look outside of your closed circle (speaking to the haters out there) to realize what others think of someone. Most Canadians revere PM Trudeau. Around the world - outside of Canada - PM Trudeau is even more respected. As you travel around the world and talk to locals, Trudeau's name is very well spoken of (as is Chretien, more recently). It is a sign of the greatness of the man - the mark he left on the world.

I was in awe of PM Trudeau ever since I first met him in Montmartre Sk. in 1980 (before that, actually - my father is a huge fan). His politics were (and are) right. Would be great to see such vision today. Someone needs to have the cajones to try something bold - not cower in the corner worrying about what every single faction of a population will think. If you act out of compassion for all, with respect for human rights, and in the interest of the greater population, you will succeed.

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thank You!

A special "thank you" to all MPs who voted to keep the long gun registry... And a very heartfelt "thank you" to Michael Ignatieff for showing the leadership and resolve in ensuring Liberals voted unanimously in this issue which speaks directly to the safety of all Canadians.

This is the start of something big. The caucus is strong and united... Only good things can come of that.

Thank you.

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Goodale Urges Education As Key To Canadian Success

Ralph Goodale's latest Weekly Update:


One of the most expensive things most Canadian families have to deal with is the high cost of post-secondary education.

But higher learning – beyond high school – is no frill. It’s an imperative in today’s knowledge-based, technology-driven and skills-intensive world.

Competition is fierce. Opportunities for young people with only a high school diploma are shrinking, while prospects are steadily expanding for those with further education through universities, colleges, technical schools or apprenticeships.

But it’s costly. For too many, it’s unaffordable?

Canadian families are among the most indebted in the western world. For every dollar of disposable income in the average Canadian household, there is nearly $1.50 in debt. And interest rates are now on the rise again. Debt servicing costs will soon crowd out other priorities.

In the aftermath of recession, one of the most useful things a government could do to help hard-pressed families would be to relieve some of the costs of accessing post-secondary education for their kids.

Such investments to tear down financial barriers to greater knowledge and better skills would also help make our country more productive and competitive on a global scale.

Before the recession struck, Canada’s biggest economic deficiency was slow productivity growth. Many countries were seriously outstripping us in fostering high quality, homegrown brain-power, and in applying science and innovation to bolster economic growth, disposable incomes and living standards.

The productivity/competitiveness challenge is now even more urgent for Canada.

But Stephen Harper says the only thing we have to do to recover from recession is fight the deficit, which he started to create BEFORE there was any recession. Slash the Government of Canada, he says, and all will be well.

But deficit-cutting alone is NOT the answer. Canada also needs to invest – most especially in education.

Good for families! And good for productivity!

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Don Martin Thinks Reform-a-Tories (The Bumper-Sticker Party of Canada) Are Happy?

Highly unlikely.

Don Martin is way off. Having grown up and lived on the Prairies for 40 years of my life, I saw the vitriolic rise of the Reform Party. They are a "bumper-sticker party", and their bumper sticker had 3 causes on it:

1) No to the gun registry

2) No to the Senate

3) No to the Wheat Board

That's it.

That's all this current crop of so-called "conservatives" have ever been about. If anyone thinks there weren't NRA talons attached to the Conservatives hides on this, you're dead wrong. In gun shows on the Prairies in the early 90s the NRA stamp was everywhere (as were Reform rank-and-file and MPs).

Like one commenter said, losing this does not help them. They've already logged all the more vitriolic of their flag-carriers. The debate has actually done more to galvanize the gun control groups.

Low-brow, lowest-common-denominator politics fueled by a bumper-sticker campaign. If you don't believe the bumper-sticker comments, go to the home of the bumper sticker party, where you can STILL see the bumper stickers to this very day...

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Friday, September 10, 2010

Next Time Harper Refers To His Bogus Hockey "Book"...

The next time our loserish PM yaps about his "hockey book", let's have our party leadership challenge Harper and his band of misfits to a "friendly" - on ice - hockey game... Liberal caucus against Conservative caucus... And may the best caucus win.

My bets are on Ken Dryden and the Liberal Team... But let's just try to make this happen. Might be a good way to lighten up the hostile atmosphere Harp has created on the Hill...

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Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Conservatives Ignore Middle Income Families and "Average" Canadians - Goodale

Ralph's been a busy Deputy Leader of the Opposition today... Another great update from Mr. Goodale:


A weekly commentary by the Member of Parliament for Wascana

For the week beginning August 30th, 2010


Whenever Stephen Harper is confronted with the daily pressures on average Canadian families, he resorts to cold, irrelevant comparisons. Just be content that the Americans are doing worse, he says.

Conservatives admit the recession damaged Canada’s standard of living. Canadian household debt is now the highest in the western world, and the cost of servicing it is rising.

That makes affording child-care that much more difficult. And a lot of families face the double challenge of also caring for elderly parents or a child with special needs.

For too many families, high costs block the way of qualified young people who want to get into university, college or an apprenticeship program. But they can’t afford it, so they stay home.

Only a fraction of Canadians can expect an adequate pension when they retire. And for 2 million near-seniors who tried to build a nest-egg for their golden years, their dreams were destroyed when Mr. Harper broke his promise about Income Trusts -- $25 billion in retirement savings were vapourized.

Retirement numbers are about to skyrocket with the big baby-boomer generation beginning to turn 65 next year, and that will increase pressures on medicare, homecare, pensions and retirement facilities.

But forget all that, Mr. Harper says, Conservative priorities are different. So what are they? Here’s the list:

· $1.3 billion for an inglorious G-8/G-20 extravaganza;

· $26 billion for untendered, non-competitive military contracts;

· $6 billion annually for tax cuts for the wealthiest corporations;

· more than $1 billion for extra spending on partisan advertising and consultants, plus 20% more for the Prime Minister’s Office;

· $30 million more for a dumbed-down Census; and

· $13 billion for more jails.

With boondoggles like these, Conservatives can’t be concerned about their deficit, and they’re certainly thumbing their noses at average middle-income families.

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Harper to Veterans: Scr@w You...

Cutting Veterans Affairs is NOT the way for a PM to "play Commander in Chief"... Ralph Goodale talks about Stephen Harper's double-talk regarding the military and veterans:


This summer was filled with absurdities flowing from Stephen Harper’s Conservatives.

It started with their outrageous G-8/G-20 spending boondoggle, which cost nearly $1.5 billion for three days of big-shot schmoozing in Toronto to achieve exactly nothing for the global economy.

Then came news of $26 billion for totally uncompetitive, untendered government contracts that failed to get decent value for taxpayers’ money.

That was followed by the inexplicable dumbing-down of the Canadian census, resulting in a more expensive process to collect less reliable data. Thousands of Canadians have voiced their opposition to this Conservative foolishness – the most recent being the Saskatchewan School Boards Association.

Then the Parliamentary Budget Officer exposed up to $13 billion in increased Conservative prison costs – “to combat unreported crime”. Say what?

And now, the Harper government has announced they’re cutting the department of Veterans’ Affairs and firing the Veterans’ Ombudsman, Colonel Pat Stogran.

Talk about absurd!

Stephen Harper is quick to wrap himself in the flag and claim to be a big supporter of the military. But he fails to put his money where his mouth is.

When governments make decisions to send the brave women and men of the Canadian Forces into harm’s way, they must also shoulder the solemn obligation of ensuring those soldiers are properly taken care of when, God willing, they get back home.

Ombudsman Stogran exposed the grim reality that this is not happening. Indeed, he described the federal government’s treatment of many veterans as “deliberately obstructive and deceptive”. He spoke truth to power.

And as always happens to those who speak the truth in Stephen Harper’s Canada, Colonel Stogran got sacked.

So he joins the ranks of other victimized public servants – Linda Keen, Peter Tinsley, Paul Kennedy, Kevin Page, Mark Mayrand, Richard Colvin, Munir Sheikh, etc. The list is absurdly long!

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Thursday, September 02, 2010

From the "Please Change Your Name" Department...

The British Columbia Progressive Conservative Coalition... whoops - I meant "Liberal" party... has been taking some flak regarding their secret discussions with the Harper Conservatives PRIOR TO the last provincial election... Seems operatives in the Federal Government were holding discussions with BC bureaucrats on the ins and outs of the HST.

Needless to say, these imaginary "Liberals" are creating some flak for real liberals, and it ain't helpin'...

So BC cousins that married the redneck hater-kid from down the street (BC Liberals are the remainder of the right of the old BC Liberal Party, and the Socreds, Provincial Conservatives, AND Federal Reformers, in a coalition of the "I wear a tank-top and mullet, and am ready to pummel anyone who disagrees with me" parties), please change your name. Anything would work: "BC righties"; "Stephen's Disciples"; or the "We have reformers in our midst who will soon re-form a provincial conservative party with Zalm as their leader Party"...

Okay... have to admit the BC Liberals have done some pretty good (and liberal) things: The carbon tax is definitely a symbol of that good. Hopefully the REAL Liberals in BC can stand up and clean the party of all the right wing clowns who have surfaced to influence decisions...

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