Monday, April 30, 2012

Rail Deal Bad for Canada

From Ralph Goodale...

A commentary by the Member of Parliament for Wascana

April 30th, 2012


Confronted with seriously deficient rail services to move their products to market, a broad coalition of shippers got together in 2006 to demand government action.

Representing agriculture, forestry, minerals, chemicals, fertilizers, industrial and manufactured goods – just about everything shipped by rail – the coalition shared the common problem of suffering through lousy treatment at the hands of the railways.

The railways got away with it because all these shippers were basically “captives”. There was no competition, no shipping alternative. And no legal recourse against arbitrary railway power.

In 2008, after two years of badgering, the Conservatives finally agreed to hold a "Rail Service Review". But they waited another year before actually appointing the people to do it. And that group took a further year to complete its work. They filed their report in October, 2010 – with compelling proof of railway abuses of power and inferior service.

It’s now 18 months later. The government says they accept the Review’s key recommendation that shippers need the legal right to enforceable “Level of Service” contracts. But after endless rehashing and stalling, no such legislation has yet been introduced.

The time for concrete action is painfully overdue. There can be no excuse for failing to introduce the necessary new law this spring. But it will need to be scrutinized carefully, because the railways will try to water it down, and they have this government under their thumb.

For example, watch out for a scheme that sets up arbitrary categories or "tiers" among shippers that would allow the railways to discriminate against some of their customers. In every case, all Level of Service agreements with all shippers should include six mandatory elements:

1. Services and Obligations;
2. Communications protocols;
3. Performance Standards;
4. Performance Metrics;
5. Consequences for Non-performance; and
6. Dispute resolution mechanisms.

This is just normal, good business behavior. Nothing less is acceptable.


-- Post From My iPhone

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Canada... PetroState? Say It Ain't So, Stevie-boy!

The Tyee has a great writeup on the "Petro-State" mindset, and how it has ruined Alberta - and perhaps Canada too, if  we're not careful...

post signature VICTORY FUND

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Goodale Meets With Top Saskatchewan Cattlemen - About Conservative Cuts

Wrong-minded cuts by Conservatives hurt Canada's Beef exports...  Ralph Goodale spend time with Saskatchewan's top cattlemen to discuss the situation...

Lots of Saskatchewan people seemed to be in Ottawa this week -- among them, members of the Cattlemen's Association (SCA). It was my pleasure to have a great discussion with Vice-President Ryan Thompson and District 1 Director Ryan Beierbach.

The beef business is heavily export oriented, so we talked about trade, especially market opportunities in Japan, Korea and Europe, and the need for legislation to fix the stubborn "Country of Origin" labeling problem in the US.

Budget cuts closing International Trade offices, including all those in Saskatchewan, will not be helpful.

We discussed the need for larger federal investments in beef-related research, and noted the industry has increased its own contributions to research by 150-percent. Forages and meat science are two areas needing strong attention.

Labour shortages is another concern.  Beef producers need a more effective way to access Temporary Foreign Workers with the skills and aptitude for challenging work in rural Canada.

Again, budget cuts closing Citizenship & Immigration offices, including all those in Saskatchewan, will not be helpful.

Neither is it a good idea to shut-down PFRA Community Pastures. They provide vital grazing capacity that must stay in grazing, be properly managed and remain accessible on a fair and reasonable basis. None of this is accomplished by federal budget cutting.

Another nasty cut affects food inspection, especially the closure of the CFIA office in Moose Jaw -- the most important one for the beef industry. This will make getting timely signatures on export documents very problematic.

Finally, we discussed the ongoing need for a national "price and basis" insurance program for cattle producers. I have long supported this concept, but in its "austerity budget" the federal government has left little room for constructive new ideas.

Ryan and Ryan did a great job of presenting the SCA's positions. The Government of Canada should be listening!

post signature VICTORY FUND

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Whip It

Bob - and any future leadership hopefuls - there are just times you need to whip it... The vote, that is...

#cdnpoli #whipit

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

WesternGrit Decision Desk...

The WG Decision Desk is calling BC NDP victories in both Prov Bye Elections tonight!

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Happy Vaisakhi

Happy Vaisakhi to everyone!

Great Parade in Vancouver - close to 100000 people out for it today. Ralph Goodale is one of the speakers... Along with Hedy Fry, Joyce Murray, and Christy.

Drop in and say hi to the YLC BC crew, enjoy some free pizza, samosas, and other snacks!

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Goodale: 3 Issues With Legs

Another astute observation by Ralph...

April 9th, 2012


The House of Commons is not sitting this week or next. The Harper government is hoping Canadians have short memories, so all the damaging turmoil of the last few weeks can be forgotten.

But that’s not likely, because at least three outstanding issues are profoundly serious:

• a massive on-going investigation into election fraud involving elaborate telephone-calling scams (robo-calls), designed to confuse voters and keep them from the polls last May;

• a mean-spirited federal Budget that slashes up to $30,000 from the retirement incomes of those modest-income Canadians who are now under the age of 54; and

• an Auditor-General’s report about stunning incompetence and dishonesty in the bungled attempt to purchase F-35 fighter-jets, including feeding disinformation to Parliament to the tune of $10-billion.

Unlike other Harper wrong-doing, these issues have grabbed public attention. Walking down the street, waiting in the airport, working out at the gym – I find a lot of people spontaneously asking “what’s going on?”

The election fraud issue “has legs” because a scheme to interfere with voting rights is a direct attack on individual Canadians. It’s personal, unlike the previous Conservative “In-&-Out” financing scam which seemed more like an offence against another political party. (An offence, incidentally, for which the Conservative Party was charged and convicted.)

The attack on old-age security “has legs” because it’s a future threat. It dangles over the necks of everyone who’s 54 years of age or younger. It’s a broken promise. It’s totally unnecessary. It won’t reduce overall public spending. It’s primarily an assault on the poor. And it will be a “ballot question” in the next election.

The F-35 fiasco “has legs” because of the money at stake (more than $30-billion all-in) and because the revelations of wrong-doing come from Mr. Harper’s new hand-picked Auditor-General. It destroys Conservative claims of being competent managers, and exposes flagrant dishonesty.

-- Post From My iPhone