Monday, February 28, 2011

Conservative Lack of Honesty & Integrity? See Details Below...

Goodale weekly report sheds light on Harper Conservatives' complete lack of honesty and integrity...


Stephen Harper must think Canadians don’t care all that much about ethics and integrity. Nothing else explains his blanket defence of foreign aid minister, Bev Oda.

Under universal criticism for attacking a church organization like KAIROS, misrepresenting the assessment of that organization done by government officials, tampering with documents, and not telling the truth to Parliament – Ms. Oda’s credibility is gone.

But such behavior is not an isolated incident in this government. They’ve been ethically-challenged from the start. Remember the swirl of unsavory stuff that tarnished their coming into office in the first place back in 2006.

That Conservative campaign was founded upon two fundamental falsehoods.

First they promised to fix Canada’s Equalization Formula in such a way that Saskatchewan would gain $850 million every year in extra payments from the federal government. But that promise quickly turned into a lie.

Their only explanation afterward was to say it was obviously such a ridiculous promise that no one should have believed it. Strike One against Conservative integrity!

Secondly, they promised never to tax Income Trusts. That, too, turned into a lie. Tax them they did, obliterating $25 billion from the savings accounts of two million Canadians. Strike Two!

And now, there’s news about dubious Conservative election financing in 2006.

The Party has been under investigation for four years in connection with a system to divert some of their national campaign spending down to certain local ridings, thus circumventing national spending limits and cashing in on local election rebates.

Over a year ago, the RCMP and Elections-Canada raided Conservative Party Headquarters to seize evidence related to this scheme. It’s been in court ever since.

Last week, new charges were laid in this matter against the Conservative Party and four senior Party officials – including two current Conservative Senators.

The sorry saga continues

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Congratulations Christy!

Congratulations to Christy Clark - BC's new Premiere, and a real Liberal!

Time to get to work!

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Watch An Armed Forces Commercial Lately?

There are our men and women of the forces hopping on a plane and ski-doos, and heading to remote northern locations to rescue plane crash victims... or out to sea to stop smugglers...

Much has been made of Harper's vaunted build-up of Canada's armed forces. But has he really?

Why has it taken a week to respond to Canadian citizens in Libya?

Why have some Canadians called Foreign Affairs (AFTER registering with them) and finding they are not on a list of Canadians in Libya?

Why is a C-17 ONLY being dispatched today, after begging the Brits and Americans to let our nationals on their ships and planes - which are sitting in port or on the ground - due to the increasingly hostile conditions over there. Now, that it might be much more of a challenge to get them out, we're "standing-by" (not "standing up") for Canadians with our C-17.

Did this government improve the military, or was it just lip-service, and a way to get open source contracts to their defense friends?

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Coalitions Are Sooooo Scary!!!

So scary that Conservative Party friends in BC support them whole-heartedly... So scary that Harper supported one back when he was in Opposition (with the Bloc, nonetheless).

Some of BC's top political Conservatives back a "coalition" to keep a conservative influence in BC's Liberal Party. Harper friends - Gurmant and Nina Grewal - have been noted working for Kevin Falcon and signing up memberships in the Surrey area.

Here is an email from the Falcon crew today - once again endorsing the politics of coaltions:

Colin’s support emphasizes an important point. Losing as little as 4 or 5 percentage points to another free enterprise party in BC would put the NDP back into power, just like 1972, 1991, and 1996. We need to hold our BC Liberal coalition together, and the support I have from 19 MLAs, 11 Ministers, 4 Senators, and thousands of British Columbians from across the political spectrum proves I can hold and lead this coalition.
Recently, Ministers Rich Coleman and Shirley Bond co-wrote an open letter to BC Liberal Party members on this point. I have included it below for your reference.

Take care,

Kevin Falcon

Coalition Key to Winning Government
By Rich Coleman (MLA for Fort Langley-Aldergrove and Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General) and Shirley Bond (MLA for Prince George-Valemount and Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure)

The membership drive is over, and now approximately 90,000 BC Liberal Party members will make a decision February 26 on who should lead their Party and, by extension, the Province of British Columbia.

It is a significant responsibility, one that must be carried out carefully and thoughtfully.

Over the past several weeks, we have heard from thousands of BC Liberal members on many different concerns. One question many are grappling with is winnability in 2013. Who can best lead the BC Liberals to election victory? Who can restore the faith of British Columbians in our free enterprise leadership?

Between the two of us, we have won ten elections for various levels of government, and many more helping other candidates. We have been Cabinet Ministers since 2001, and we know what it takes to win a Provincial election.
First, we should note that 2013 is still two years away. The BC Liberal Party is less than halfway through our current mandate and much will change before them. Both major parties will have new leaders. The HST question will be settled, once and for all, through a referendum. BC will continue to emerge from the global economic storm, with eyes set firmly on a bright future.

Winnability isn’t about charisma or public opinion polls two years out. It’s about building and keeping together a coalition of free enterprise voters from across BC and offering the public a real vision for the Province.
In modern BC history, the NDP has only formed government when the centre-right has split their votes among more than one political party (1972, and 1991, 1996). All three times they won with roughly 40% of the total votes—because free enterprisers fractured among multiple parties.

Building and keeping together a coalition of federal Liberals and Conservatives is the only way to defeat the NDP at the polls. If winning the next election factors into your decision on February 26, you must vote for who best can protect the coalition.

Kevin Falcon is the candidate best positioned to hold that coalition together. He has the support of both Liberals and Conservatives. Senator Larry Campbell, a Liberal, and Senator Gerry St. Germain, a Conservative, have joined forces to endorse Kevin. Across British Columbia, we have seen a groundswell of support from both sides of our coalition for Kevin. That’s why 19 MLAs, including 11 cabinet ministers, have endorsed him. He is the candidate with the best chance to win in 2013.

Kevin is also the candidate who can best unite the different regions of this Province. He has the support of MLAs from all over BC (including ourselves, representing ridings in Prince George and the Lower Mainland), and has shown throughout his political life that he hears, understands, and responds to regional issues. His strong support of the Party’s weighted vote system was important and well-received by Northern, Interior and rural voters. He can hold this Province together.

Vision is the other key to victory, and Kevin again stands head and shoulders above the other five candidates in this race. His Northern Prosperity Agenda, public safety plan, community grants pledge, economic strategy, and other policy planks are rock-solid, doable, and will make BC a better place to live, work and play.

As British Columbians learn more about Kevin, his style of leadership, and his vision for BC, we are confident they will embrace him as a Premier they can be proud of. And the BC Liberals, under Premier Falcon, will win re-election in 2013.

So... Coalitions have a lot of support among Harper's minions. Makes you wonder why Harper is so allergic to coalitions? Or, is he? Could it be that he only supports them when they support him becoming PM?

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The Conservative Culture of Deceit...

The Conservative Culture of Deceit... Another great piece by Ralph Goodale:


I don’t imagine many Canadians had even heard of “Bev Oda” – until two weeks ago. She’s an Ontario Conservative M.P. that Stephen Harper appointed to his cabinet as minister responsible for foreign aid.

Fifteen months ago, on Mr. Harper’s orders, Bev Oda terminated federal funding for a much-respected Canadian aid organization known as KAIROS.

Formed by the Catholic, Anglican, United, Lutheran, Mennonite, Presbyterian and Quaker churches – hardly a bunch of wild-eyed radicals – KAIROS had an excellent 30-year track record of helping the “poorest of the poor” around the world.

But somehow, the churches offended the touchy Mr. Harper. It was probably their passionate defence of human rights. In any event, to shut them up he cut them off, and sent the hapless Ms. Oda to do his dirty work.

Her departmental officials clearly recommended continuing support for KAIROS. When the formal government document arrived on her desk saying just that, she had it doctored – so it appeared the officials had actually recommended against KAIROS when, in fact, the opposite was true.

Ms. Oda first claimed she had no idea how that document got falsified, but a couple of weeks ago she finally had to admit it was on her explicit orders.

Tampering with documents. Misrepresenting officials. Stonewalling a Parliamentary committee. Misleading the House of Commons by failing to tell the truth. Ignoring the Speaker’s demands for an explanation.

Such behaviour is plainly dishonest. But Stephen Harper is defending Bev Oda to the hilt. Why? Because she was always just following his instructions!

Her reputation is now in tatters. She’ll never be trusted again, and needs to be gone.

But Canadians know the real culprit here. The architect of the Conservatives’ all-pervasive “culture of deceit” which condones such dishonesty is Mr. Harper himself.

If he didn’t like it, he would stop it.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

"Use Force If Necessary"?

I'll let the legal scholars dive further into this, but just had to comment.

Really. Do we want vigilante justice?

Remember, the law already acquitted Mr. Chen of any wrong-doing in protecting his restaurant. In other words, our legal system (much maligned by the Conservatives) DID ITS JOB. It worked.

So why the Harper "show-boating"? Well, hoping to find votes in Toronto for one.

But, there is another, more hidden agenda at work here. It's not about law and order. It's a hidden wish that more Canadians would take justice into their own hands. Forget reducing crime (their methods fail at that), this is a wish by the Conservatives to have an armed electorate - very much like the US electorate.

They will also - keep in mind - keep up their fight for reduced firearm regulations. They keep partying with the NRA crowd. They want (and love) the "Wild West" mentality. "Hanging sheriffs" will be next - Harper's already began musing publicly about bringing back the death penalty.

Many support Chen's handling of the theft at this store. Still, given different circumstances, and different actors, this drama may have played out MUCH uglier. Public lives are in danger. Imagine, a purse theft at a ball game. Imagine a gang of players with bats chasing down the villian. Imagine a little kid getting in the way of the swinging bats (or fists)?

Are members of the public trained to handle such situations? Should we hope that members of the public jump up and do battle with masked bank robbers?

Hopefully not.

I cringe at the day when we see Prairie bumper stickers with "protected by Smith & Wesson", and find that they really mean something. It's bad enough that every self-proclaimed gun-lovin' redneck feels they have to have one, or the "trespassers will be shot" signs along with the de rigueur "Pitt Bull On Duty" signage.

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Jet Fighters, or More Computer Scientists?

For any sane government the choice would be simple: spend billions on Star Wars jet fighters, or put money into R&D, stop fighting with your top scientists, and focus on REAL threats to Canadian sovereignty (not "Soviet era turboprop bombers" or Taliban Stealth fighters - which DON'T exist).

Jet fighters or science and technology funding?

The choice couldn't be clearer today.

Here is a gov't that has attacked top science advisors, argued facts of basic scientific theory, alienated most of the scientific community, and systematically shut off funding to science, research, and development. They don't believe in science. Just how the heck are they supposed to help us defend ourselves in this "new economy"?

This government is showing us "amateur hour" more and more every week, month, and year. Harper's cuts to science and technology leaves openings for massive failures such as this. His ideology and NeoConservative approach to life and politics is the major cause of such vulnerabilities.

Instead of living out their "flyboy masturbatory fantasies" Harper and Cons need to start getting real with their priorities. Unfortunately, they'll always be a bunch of unskilled, amateurish, anti-science wankers.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fuddle Duddle

Harper, Conservatives, Oda, Bernier, Kenney, Baird, Guergis, Jaffer... "law and order"... "tough on crime"... "standing up for Canada"... "integrity"... "fiscal conservatives"


(Thanks PET).

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Conservatives Killing Small Business

Harper/Flaherty's "voodoo economics" at work again... (from the latest Goodale Update):


Additional tax cuts for big business are the only discernible economic policy of the Harper government.

Let’s put them in context.

There are about 2.2 million businesses in Canada in total. Mr. Harper’s corporate tax cuts will benefit about 110,000 of those businesses. That’s 1-in-20, just 5%.

The corporations that qualify tend to be the biggest and wealthiest.

They already had their tax rate cut by 35% over the past few years. They already had the lowest rate in the G-7 (except for the UK). They already had a 10-point (or 25%) rate advantage over the United States. In other words, their Canadian taxes were already “globally competitive”.

How will these extra tax cuts (for the privileged few) be paid for? With borrowed money – $6 billion every year. That’s because this country is mired in a $56 billion Conservative deficit. And remember, that deficit got started through excessive Conservative spending and risky fiscal practices long BEFORE there was any recession to blame.

Will these tax cuts stimulate employment? Not likely. The Chief Economic Analyst for Statistics Canada says their job-creating value is “trivial”. Even the federal Finance Department says corporate tax cuts are the least effective way to create immediate jobs.

Big business is not Canada’s primary job creator. That important role is played by small businesses. And the vast majority of them don’t qualify for these tax cuts.

In fact, all small businesses – indeed every employer and employee in the country – are facing new Conservative TAX INCREASES this year. The Harper government is hiking job-killing payroll taxes through higher EI premiums.

Over the next four years, these increased Conservative payroll taxes will rake in a total of $16.6 billion! So the vast majority of Canadian businesses are NOT getting any tax cut at all, only this recurring payroll tax hike.

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Freedom... Or Is It?

Not a fan of military strongmen.

We are very happy to see the turn of events in Egypt. The fact that people power can overthrow dictatorial puppet regimes is a good thing - and a good lesson for people the world over.

There is hope.

It still remains to be seen just what the new military rulers of Egypt will do, but we can all hope and pray it is the first step in the rolling out of a new democratically elected government.

Congrats Egypt!

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Monday, February 07, 2011

Conservatives Shun Regina - Again

Ralph is fuming - and if you're a fellow Saskatchewanian, I'd be too...

Latest Goodale Report:


Since 1885, historic “Depot” Division of the RCMP has been training police officers in Saskatchewan for service across Canada and around the world.

The red-coated Mountie is a renowned symbol of Canada, recognized internationally.

Recent controversies aside, the storied history of the original NWMP right up to today’s RCMP is a fundamental dimension of our country, especially in the West and the North.

But it’s about more than past history. It’s a story of modern crime-fighting using new science and technology. It about combating the global scourge of money-laundering, drugs, gangs and terror. It’s about training peace officers for tough places like Haiti and Afghanistan. And much more.

That’s why, a decade ago, a determined group of RCMP Veterans joined with a volunteer committee of community leaders to develop a decent place – on Depot’s grounds – to tell this story. Thus, the RCMP Heritage Centre was born.

I was proud to lead the drive for federal funding to help get the place built, in partnership with the province, the city, veterans, the business community and volunteers. The result is a $35 million jewel, designed by Arthur Erickson, standing proudly along side Depot.

To secure its future, the Government of Canada needs to take the next logical step and designate the RCMP Heritage Centre a “national museum” of Canada.

Such a designation would reinforce its deserved stature, ensure high-calibre operations, and provide predictable, basic federal financial support.

When I offered this suggestion last week, I received solid approval from the general public, but opposition from the Harper government.

The Conservatives seem intent on diminishing the Heritage Centre’s value and future prospects.

They lavish support on national museums in Ottawa, Halifax and Winnipeg, but balk at Regina.

It’s just all too typical of these Conservatives taking Saskatchewan for granted, again!

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Thursday, February 03, 2011

Free The Internet - It Is A Public Right!

The recent debate about an open and free internet is one which speaks to our very democracy itself.

Back at the turn of the century our forefathers paid hard-earned taxes to the governments of the day. These governments helped fund provincial (mostly crown-owned) Telcos which created the basic infrastructure our internet currently sits on. BCTel, AGT/Telus, SaskTel, MTS, Bell Canada, etc., were supported by the governments in creating the heart of the network, trans-Atlantic cables, public switches, and even research and development.

Over time many of these "Bells" became privatized - with much uproar from a public who had paid for everything, only to have to pay again for access... These Bells still stayed allied for R&D with groups like "Stentor", "Nortel", etc. They did expand the networks as well. The most successful (in providing telephony to all) was SaskTel. Saskatchewan was the first province to completely make rural "party lines" (shared lines) obsolete. SaskTel continues to be a crown corporation which injects millions back to the people of Sask every year.

Around the time of the privatization of many of the telcos, several new "upstarts" emerged in the field of broadcasting. Up to around the late 1960s, TV was always free and available to everyone who wanted it by simply putting up an antenna. The new upstarts were cable companies which decided "hey, there's all this free stuff out there that we can just package and sell to the rubes - they won't care, and we'll make a fortune". These cable companies convinced local governments (WE the people) to provide free access to utility corridors and public grounds (under streets, in sewers, etc) to run their copper network.

Some people latched onto the cable idea (mostly in very large high-rises), but the idea was still basically a very bad one. Why would people pay for something that was always free - like the air we breathe? The "innovators" of cable realized they needed a catch... They decided to import American channels/networks into Canada. This began a long and storied history of battle between the CRTC and cable. The hatred of the CRTC by cable is well-known. The cable giants took every opportunity they could to get their own hacks appointed to the CRTC (usually when conservative gov'ts are in power). Conservatives were the loudest voice for killing CanCon (Canadian content) at the expense of US media. It didn't hurt that the cable giants were conservatives themselves, and funded much of the conservative election efforts (check "shareholder" sections of major ISP websites for more info).

Slowly, US networks poured into Canada, and Canadians became hooked on the vacuous, but very flashy entertainment and "news-a-tainment" from down South. NFL football didn't hurt either - no matter what it did to the CFL. Our government wanted big cable to provide Canadian content on an equal basis to the populace, but cable didn't want to. Eventually, deals were reached where cable would provide the content - as long as government and existing Canadian networks provided funding. Watch any Canadian produced show, and in almost all cases you will see the Canadian logos at the end. It was the only way Canadian content and the Canadian entertainment industry could survive in the face of the US/Cable onslaught.

There is a LOT of taxpayer funding that went into the creation of our media giants. That includes the tax breaks and grants they get from all levels of government every year, access to public lands and utilities, etc. It also includes their almost unseeming "protection" as monopolies. How many cable companies can you chose from at your current address?

We need to fix the CRTC to be more of a friend of the people it was created to protect. It is a much needed public "watchdog" - IF it is indeed playing that role.

The biggest problem is the media monopolies - they must be broken up. Access to internet should be open, cheap, and encouraged. For years we've had governments of all stripes bragging about expanding the internet to small communities, and "every corner" of Canada. They talk of it being a national priority. They provided millions upon millions of dollars to companies to start on this (but it was never completed).

These gov'ts (at all levels) keep talking about the "new economy", yet have no idea what they actually are doing. The "new economy" that is supposed to save Canada - and get us away from the ancient "hewers of wood/drawers of water" mind-set - is a digital one, an IT one. This economy can ONLY survive with open and cheap access to the internet. Knowledge and information drive that economy. It cannot be in the hands of a handful of individuals.

We keep asking why Canadians aren't engaged in politics - then we turn off the tap that feeds us the information to be engaged. It is indeed typical conservative policy to choke the poor off of access to such information. Min. Clements recent "overtures" are simply political posturing. In reality the Conservatives had to weigh their support of the decision against their hatred of the CRTC regulator (which is still a very necessary organization).

An open, accessible internet for all citizens is something ALL governments should be fighting for. This recent battle over types of billing misses the key point. The internet is the "public library" of the new millenia. It should be freely available in every Canadian home. We've all already paid for the infrastructure.

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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

RCMP Museum Should Be "National Museum" - Goodale

Continuing to work for the best interests of the people of Saskatchewan, Ralph Goodale talks about federal funding of the RCMP Museum at Depot Division in Regina - home of Canada's RCMP...

Goodale Calls for “National Museum Status” for RCMP Heritage Centre

OTTAWA – The RCMP Heritage Centre needs to be declared a "national museum” of Canada, says Wascana MP Ralph Goodale.

“While the belated news is welcome that the Harper government is finally putting a bit of operating money into the RCMP Heritage Centre, this is a one-time-only commitment,” said Goodale. “They say they're buying a couple of years for the Centre to come up with a long-term plan for itself.”

“That's fine, but the goal should already be clear. The RCMP Heritage Centre needs to be declared a "national" museum of Canada.”

There are several such museums across the country, including four in the National Capital Region around Ottawa, the historic "Pier 21" immigration arrival centre in Halifax and the new Human Rights museum in Winnipeg.

“Celebrating the storied history of the RCMP is certainly a matter of national importance,” he continued. “And there's no better venue than the Heritage Centre adjacent to historic Depot Division in Regina.”

Declaring a facility to be a "national museum" brings two benefits- high operating standards and long-term federal funding.

“I am proud to have led the effort to secure the federal funding necessary to build the RCMP Heritage Centre in the first place -- in partnership with the province, the city, RCMP veterans, the private sector and community volunteers,” he concluded. “The next stage must be securing "national museum" status.”

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