Saturday, December 29, 2007
Always playing to a select audience, it shouldn't be a shock now that our esteemed so-called leader mused this in an interview with LaPresse (conveniently unavailable in english to my limited talents) this week.
You don't think he's expecting his Prairie and BC interior base voters to be cheering this idea on, do you? Maybe that's why he dropped it in the manner he did, knowing that his fan club was quietly nestled dreaming of Religi-CON-estuvus for 2009.
He never plays to the polls (SNARK!), so this obviously is based in some kind of long-time belief in the importance of Canada's two-founding nations concept.
But if its trying to lure sovereigntists into the fold, ala Lyin' Brian, ol smartest geek in the room Stephen Harper is trailblazing down a familiar road.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
For a so-called leader who loves to boast, Steve Harper is suddenly empty of things to brag about.
Although polls are typically last week's news retold and too often fade into the fodder, this one is of real interest. It is the first time the Liberals have taken the lead in a year, since the leadership convention.
And it reflects what has been effectively happening -- a truly ineffective so-called leader, who's favourite sport of 'Whack A Mole' has kept the public and the media's attention off the scent, revealed as a reactionary thug with false declaratory tendencies.
While his accomplishments like The Five Priorities (opaque and often foggy accountability, shell-game on wait times, tough on crime, and 'Canada is Back (of the class)' on the international stage are starting to ring real stale if not fake as Johnny-boy Baird's machismo, Harper's list of negatives, from a mainstream media point-of-view, are now the talk of the town.
Someone who's been linked to the hip to the current prime minister, and right-hand right-side man Day, has slid easily into the lobbying field, working wonders for both the taser and medical industries. When suddenly the minister responsible refuses to comment of a flurry of taser deaths, and a very new and highly contentious medical drug aimed at young girls gets immediate funding from the government, it shouldn't take a full inquiry to follow the dots. But intense scrutiny is deserved.
And when your own appointees are starting to defend themselves from your own muddling -- whether the actually appointing was part of the muddle or not -- is music to the ears of us Liberals who have had to defend some out-spoken and occasionally secret source reports.
Harper's act is a clumsy piece of political opportunism, indeed.
This Globe article is fairly to the point, relaying the idea that Harper has lost his touch, or at least the edge when it comes to spinning to the spinners.
Now it isn't just bloggers, Liberals and progressives alike, pointing out how the CONs have little traction despite what appears to be perfect re-election conditions. The questions and complaints come from Tory faithholds like Alberta, BC's interior and Saskatchewan. Of course, if Paul Martin wasn't able to dance around a couple of puddles, why should we expect this gang that couldn't shoot straight to do it?
While Harper has done his best work silencing his critics internally, the issues like Chalk River and his blatant patronage busts, relying on twice-daily polling while pretending to be above it all, and thumbing his nose with an environmental card he continues to try to play 'Go Fish' with, could stamp him for the rest of his mandate.
By hitching his wagon to a very isolated American administration on global warming, Harper has given Canada a black eye to those looking in. And with half our population having strong ties to other countries, the Emperor's new clothing is going to be noticed at home, too.
He also demonstrated his ham-handed partisan nature, slamming a woman who's served both Liberal and Conservative governments, for doing the job of regulating a highly contentious industry. All the while his own appointee, quizzically named Burns, is now seen as either incompetent or a sleep at the switch. At least he was a loyal fundraiser.
As the media continues to point out these issues, Canadians will be marking these things down on their calendar. Harper will try to put a partisan spin 'Blame the Liberals' on a few more matchsticks in the near future, but this offensive defence is not sticking anymore on its target.
He just made a Scrooge-like Christmas eve conversion to protecting Canadians from dangerous imports, despite this having been in play for nearly 10 months. Change the channel he tries, but the media, which has moved on from the Dion watch to watching a stumbling CON troupe balance its holier-than-thou attitude with its lusty actions.
The people are seeing Harper for what he is, and more and more are finding him to be too much of a bully and not a leader in areas that matter to Canadians.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Real leaders do not fear criticism, nor do they back away from honest debate.
Real leaders walk into the lion's den knowing they are right, take the barbs and arrows, and let their conviction do the talking.
Lester Pearson, in the heat of the flag debate, stood before an angry gathering of Canadian veterans -- who all fought under the British ensign -- and spoke on why he believed it was time for Canada to fly its own colours. He was roundly booed, but he persisted.
Pierre Trudeau, prior to winning his first election as leader of the Liberal party, stood on and refused to budge after an angry gathering of Quebec separatists began to bombard the stage at a St. Jean Baptiste Day parade with rocks and bottles. His aides pleaded with the young PM to leave but instead, he stood his ground.
Stephen Harper, considered by many to be a social conservative, was invited to attend an international AIDs conference, being hosted in Toronto. While his own beliefs may clash with the large contingent of social activists in the crowd, it was expected that a new funding announcement could be presented.
Harper instead chose to go north and sent a minister instead. Upon criticism of the PMs decision, the government cancelled the announcement.
Stephen Harper, at one time having labelled the Kyoto Accord a socialistic scheme, sent his environment minister John Baird to Bali to represent Canada in what was expected to be groundbreaking work for the next global strategy to combat global warming. Instead of reaching out to other countries who wished to see progress and headway on what many consider the most dire issue facing humanity, Baird took his PM's advice and skipped a couple of key meetings, assumedly to meet a constituent at the Bali Hy's restaurant.
But he managed to emerge from hiding to say how disappointed he was in the end result.
Leadership. You get what you pay for.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
If anything, former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney put forward a brave face. Not necessarily an honest, smart or repentent one, mind you.
From pointing out the dishonest character that is Karlheinz to then using the Schrieber quotes as supporting evidence, to the 'I'm not a lobbiest' to the 'I was lobbying', it was a meandering and slick but ultimately muddying effort to clean a tarnished record.
He blamed Karlheinz, the media, the past government and came just short of fuming about the use of steroids in baseball.
His mea culpa fell short, in my opinion. Pride, sometimes, is a most disagreeable thing.
John Crosbie thought Mulroney's appearance cleared the air. Well, as you might expect from my partisan rants, I wouldn't want to swallow any of that oxygen.
I think the best response, and unfortunately former Prime Minister John Turner wasn't a member of the committee, that could have been directed to the former Baie Comeau MP, would be this ol' chestnut:
"You had an option, sir. You could have said, 'I am not going to do it. This is wrong for Canada, and I am not going to ask Canadians to pay the price."
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Is the only logical conclusion when you've got the so-called leader of Canada demanding that its all or none when it comes to action on global warming.
His stand, floated by that carnival act himself, John-boy Baird, states that Canada's government won't agree to any target unless it is also signed by developing nations like China and India.
In other words, every country needs to make the same stand and set the same standards. That approach has some support, until you realize that there has been no international treaty that was signed by every nation. Ever. Of course, if you thought the 'cause' was just 'a socialistic scheme', maybe you'd rag the puck and be happy with a tie, too.
Well, its a funny thing. The big announcement from Bali, when not dodging meetings, was to re-install a Liberal program that the CONs axed quite quickly into their 'new' era. Harper's own Green Plan, tabled earlier this year, gives plenty of leeway for Canada's greatest polluters like the oil and gas industry. And he's even brought them along to Bali to help make their argument. Sweet. That's not because they are big backers of Harper, right?
I guess we should be thankful that not even filthy rich Bavarians would invest in this obviously for-sale Tory Team.
Friday, December 7, 2007
I'm shocked - SHOCKED!- to see that the NdP has stepped forward twice in about 24 hours and admitted their errors over two completely different but two wholly characteristic efforts at playing the Moral and Ethical Card.
We're well familiar with Irene Mathyssen blunder, accusing poor ol' Jimmy Moore with displaying soft-core porn on his laptop in the House. A day before the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre. While wearing the gaudiest striped tie available at a border outlet store. Apparently, Jimmy doesn't have access to Steve's fashion consultant, either.
She's apologized, sort of. Although a few Dippers continue to seeth at Moore's choice of screensavers (apparently it was his girlfriend and his dog -- both of whom I've seen in person. And yes, if I had a photo of either, I'd not turn away in disgust. But I do believe that James wears the dog collar in that family.)
To the real incredible but nearly buried bigger apology. This time it is House leader Libby Davies, doing her best Charles Laughton impersonation, in giving a mea culpa for the 2006 Federal Election fiasco where the NdP candidate in Abbotsford accused the Liberal candidate and his campaign manager of trying to induce him to withdraw, offering help in getting elected to council.
The accusation hit the fan in the latter stages of that Paul Martin implosion-fest and was feasted upon by many, media, sanctimonious Dippers, and Tory evil-doers alike. The truth has been seeping out after the election (and Paul Martin, RiP) was done.
But you won't find the apology on the NdP website. I checked. There is this old retraction. But you will find this -- so exactly who jeopardized national childcare, Jack?
While the whole apology is part of a court-ordered settlement, which has also cost the NdP some hard-won sheckles, the facts as now admitted truly give a glimpse into just the kinds of depths the High and Mighty had sunk. From yesterday's Globe and Mail:
Ms. Davies admitted that the NDP erred in arranging for Hansen-Carlson to repeat his accusations widely in the media 10 days before the Jan. 26, 2006 election. And she said it made “another serious error in judgment” in failing to make public a letter from Canada's elections commissioner, three days before the election, which cleared the two Liberals.
They failed to make public the elections commissioner's decision that absolved the former Liberal candidate from their screed and pulpit show?
Jack's party has gone from sanctimonious but well-meaning to Holier than Thou to Sly and Deceitful. Thats quite a distance they've travelled under his leadership. What's that familiar rhyme the Dippers like to use? I think it's time to update it...
NdPer, Tory, same ol' story...
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
This is probably the 412th time that he has contradicted his own words, but Stephen Harper really should have his nose rubbed into it one of these days.
His ability to act tough while actually standing for nothing is seemingly a never-ending performance.
Today, he's musing about Bali, Dion and the fact that his own actions will face serious study and possibly consequences as he prepares to put up a STOP sign for anything but full compliance. Using the inaction of others as a defence to do nothing is not leadership.
But when he says the Leader of the Opposition shouldn't be going around complaining to others about the Canadian position, or lack there of, shouldn't he be reminded of this?
There was also a funny line from John 'the Beard' Baird about Liberals and Bloc "getting along." Have you looked into your own closet, lately John?
Friday, November 30, 2007
No need to blather much about yesterday's EVENT, where a certain naturalized Canadian of German extraction held all of Ottawa atwitter with his 'no comments' and 'can't comment without my seely posturpedic mattress' ad nauseum. But then, being the showman, he offered some gourmet entrees to open the door enough to guarantee many, many, many future appearances.
Best to read the witty, clever, and snappy synopsis of the fifth estate's eschewing.
But just a few comments. Amazing how unashamedly clear-as-crystal the CON members of the committee were in trying to stall, hinder and just about derail any questioning (as per marching orders from the PMO) at least until the afternoon news cycle had been cleared. They weren't successful, but points for being obvious.
Interesting that, after watching the event, and then numerous journalists summarize it, that only Bobby Fife --tooting his horn for a future appointment, perhaps?-- pulled from the witness testimony that Harper had NOT received the letter from Mulroney. In fact, CTV repeated that fact when ol' owly Oliver did his short-n-sweet two sentence wrap-up. No doubt framing it all for Mike Duffy.
But the other reporters at CBC and Global did not jump to the same conclusion. That from Schrieber's response, it just may have been he felt snookered that the letter didn't result in anything being sprung, er done. Nothing that can be pinned nor cleared but still very interesting.
Of course, the inclusion of "good friend" Elmer McKay, the man who gave his seat to Mulroney and would become one of his most loyal cabinet ministers, increased the 'ain't this an old issue?' factor. May be more successful in tying this to Peter than Stephen, but no doubt Schreiber will offer some snacks on this subject at a later date.
It was comical almost to watch guest star Mulcair trying to implant some Liberal DNA into this mess, mentioning another ancient mariner Marc Lalonde, and something about a $10,000 gift in '93 -- hey, weren't we all giving $10,000 donations those days just to get Mulroney out of office? -- which sank like a stone. No doubt there's more prodding to come in that area.
What may have been lost and certainly I only saw it on the CBC from babe Krista Erickson, is the possibly stinky mess that is the CONs announcement yesterday to bring more competition to the wireless phone industry. Apparently, then-industry-coat rack Maxime Bernier was taken by the elbow by ol' Lyin' Bryan into the arms of Quebecor president, who's business includes wireless. That Mulroney is on Quebecor's board of govenors is kind of messy, too, and not an official lobbyiest (reflections of this shady CON). Naturally, if it meant we didn't have to hand over $300,000 in large envelopes we're all winners, right?
No doubt, the CONs are getting a little nervous and eager to change the channel. Anyone for an Afghan holiday?
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Golly! When you're right, you're right.
Canada has found a willing partner in its fight to battle climate change as an 'all-or-nothing' buffet meal -- that megatropolis of the bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago. Scheduled to host the Commonwealth states' next summit in 2009, Trinidad and Tobago realize, that as an industrial nation, there's no sense in trying to take action unless everyone's onboard. If we want to protect the Mayberry-way of life, holding onto our comfortable 1950s mindset, we have to stand up to those other action figures. Climate change, after all, only affects those who don't vote, right? Just like our own sluggish leader, they understand that emitters like China and India won't be shamed or scolded into reducing greenhouse gases, nor should they be. There'll be no 'me first' when it comes to global warming.
Only by seeing the powerful duo of Canada and Trinidad and Tobago standing up to those debunkers of global inaction, the European Union, and Indonesia, and Japan, and a couple dozen or more other countries plus approximately 88 per cent of all major scientific institutions, will the two Asiatic polluters see the point.
It's an amazing ruse. And if you don't mind holding the next Commonwealth meeting in a boat or under water, I think its smashing.
And let's all agree that when it comes to not taking a lead on climate change, Stephen Harper is a leader. What the world needs now, is a united isolationist approach, and our zaftig Harper appears up for the challenge. If we only had him around when the world was fighting apartheid, the Nazis, polio....
Monday, November 26, 2007
Location, location, location.
When you're on your high horse in Ottawa, you can accuse someone who's snarking about a plan to add more seats to Parliament, addressing some inequities in the western regions, for being 'a small man of confederation."
But put the team's leader on the world stage, and he reverses the ideals. Apparently, the small man can drag others down to his level, ensuring nothing is achieved. Then he brags about it, remarking that the one accord that has achieved things was 'a mistake'. You may argue to the depth of achievements, but don't offer nothing and and sell us 'peace in our time.' If our own planet and life as we know it wasn't in the balance, it would be too laugh.
H/T to applyliberally and Quito.
Friday, November 23, 2007
A serious chill is in the air and one could be excused if they thought it eminated from Ottawa. The CONs continue to put a freeze on keeping their promises, unless there's a photo-op attached. There latest reversal? How about hacking the wages of our fighting men and women in uniform.
Harper loves to paint himself as the man of the Forces, propping his big belly beside any gathering of soldiers if there's a camera in range. But his latest move -- despite what appears to be an ever-growing explosion of financial lucre coming from the treasury department -- really should be making everyone, including the Blue Men Group's tin-foil cheerleaders, go Whaaa?
Naturally, blogging CONs are aghast at such a move. Not. In fact, catch some of the rhetoric being spewed over at wise emissary Red Tory's booth and you get the gist that CONs don't quite stand behind the forces when it comes to giving them a decent wage.
Well, you say it wasn't a promise really. It's just the meme that Harper wanted the electorate to believe. Sort of like telling seniors and business leaders that income trusts were safe under their watch. Or that government social programs were protected because the bureaucracy and judiciary were there to be a check or balance. Maybe just to be bludgeoned is what he really meant to say.
Like those yule logs being sold at Canadian Tire, the promises and official stands of Harper's CONs pre-government and post-government are geared to last but a few hours before they become ashes.
Create 125,000 daycare spaces? Nadda. Improve health care wait lists? Zippo. Something about accountability? Gotcha!
How about a new, independent voice on the world stage? Oops!
It appears that the best time to catch Stephen Harper lying is to ask him what he and his government is going to do next...
I hate to beat a deadhorse, but when everyone is pillaring Canada for its sudden shift to sanction the death penalty (in countries where the gov't has been duly elected, bought or trumped up by a irrational judiciary) I can't see why repetition isn't warranted.
Now it's the Council of Europeans shaming the Harper government for not standing up and requesting that a Canadian on US death row have his sentence commuted. That doesn't mean he's let off, nor is it a demand for them to turn him over (although that could although very unlikely be the result). It means we don't believe in the concept of an eye for an eye.
And this just doesn't apply to the death penalty, but charges and serious injustices that other governments, elected or otherwise, may bring forward and impose upon Canadians without a fair and clear process.
If the MsM would just connect the simple dots that follow this decision by the Harper government and, while in opposition, their handling of the Arar kidnapping in 2002. Here is an example of one man, accused without any need to show their evidence, being exported to be tortured for accused crimes that remain unexplained still today.
In 2002, Harper chose not to stand up for that Canadian citizen, but instead supported blindly the power of the U.S. in dishing out 'justice' to whomever they see fit. He then proceeded to attack the gov't of the day, suggesting they stood up for terrorists. No standard trial, no scales of justice. Kind of like, creating a make-shift prison on a remote island where you can march your manacled 'terrorists' into a pulp, without having to explain yourself, reveal your evidence nor exhibit the acts of humane nation.
He wasn't for the principle of 'innocent before proven guilty', nor the belief that the Canadian government is the representative of ALL Canadians, innocent or guilty.
No, in fact, his misguided Van Sloan-ized tirade against Dalton for daring to stand up for Ontarians is another example of how he sees the world through rigid partisan lens. It's as though his lust to smite the Liberals and what they stand for boils inside him like a rancid meat sub.
If it wasn't so disgusting, it would be to laugh.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Hey, isn't that ol' Jimmy Flathery, former Ontario con-man now all dressed up as Canada's financial honcho, practising the fine art of 'flim-flammery'?
One can scratch their head and wonder -- the little leprechaun had just weeks ago trumpeted the rewards of a $14 billion surplus, handing out sweets and promises of more sweets for generations to come, thanks to your friendly neighbourhood CON government.
The MsM continues to take the tact that yesterday's resume and old speeches are off limits when it comes to ingesting the blarney from the CON leadership. But wouldn't it help to remind Canadians, with such strange acts as transferring money that was meant to compensate First Nations people who were victimized as children so as to pay the summer students?
Like a cheap carnival huckster, Flathery works the shell game to perfection. Now you see it, now you don't. Does this sound familiar?
Saturday, November 10, 2007
When you're such a master of spin, it's dizzying when the spinner gets caught.
Here's betting most of the mSm will miss the point that sticks out like a sore thumb with Stephen Harper's Aboot-Face on looking into the Lyin' Brian Affair.
His foolish threat last week, publicly dodging a responsibility and trying to openly threaten the opposition at the same time looked just a tad-too-much from pro wrestling's script.
Never mind that Harper has already introduced the ol' 'Digging in the Closet for Liberal skeletons to be used at some later date' (hmmm, maybe around election time?). It's just more of the school-yard bully Canadians have come to feel cool and fuzzy about over the past 22 months.
Maybe its to distract people from other small quibbles that have impeded Harper's image makeover, like unplugging democratically elected candidates.
However, he may just have stepped into this one in a way he didn't intend. Not only has he given the opposition a window on an ol' scandal -- funny how old issues tend to do so much damage -- but he's pedalling backwards to ensure his own conduct isn't under scrutiny.
Now, trying to cover his tracks and possibly supplicate his base, Harper is trying to look on top of things again. Give the guy credit -- he has no shame when it comes to pretending that his impotent ambivalence one day is now his greatest concern the next.
It doesn't seem a week goes by when he doesn't pull a hypocritical backflip before the media, likely smiling to the cronies in the backroom after the teleprompter is turned off.
That's our Leader. Not.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
So eager to put 'A Just Society' six-feet under, Stephen Harper and his McMahon-and-Tate-less government has dug to the dullest depths in search of a slogan.
One that would set Canadians' feet a tappin', but the first incarnation 'Canada's New Government' wore thin after 16 or so months.
Not that it wasn't new, because they sure acted like it.
Now, Harper has turned to mixing religious metaphors with astrological signposts, by bleating 'Northern Star' when ever there's a pause in the teleprompter.
How has it caught on, now three weeks into its existence?
Well, how about a lead balloon?
If Harper's goal is to eradicate such liberal platforms and achievements as multiculturalism, universality and strong federalism, he needs to get back to the drawing board.
Unless of course, this is just the first step to Canada becoming 'Northern Star State.'
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
It may be 'playing to your base', but the CONserfative government's decision to 'pick-and-choose' its moral authority, or is it an obligation?, in defending Canadians at large is something that should concern everyone.
Never mind that a poll, strangely commissioned by this Over-the-Top gang that doesn't want to re-open the death penalty issue (then why fund a poll on it?!). If there is no 'hidden agenda' with Stephen Harper, then why is he slipping in these decisions without so much as a debate in the House or a float of a trial letter-to-the-editor? Now THAT'S Leadership!
Even newspapers from strong Conserfative bases are questioning the government's moral authority and fibre on this change in policy.
There are enough skeletons lurking outside the closet door to indicate that Harper's not-so-hidden agenda exists. While the MsM is adamant that a man should not be held responsible for the things he said in the distant past, but what about the near past?
Had this gang been in power, would they measure the merits of standing up for this man or this man? Which would they choose, if they chose either? It certainly is obvious where they stand on this case -- the lone country to not request repatriation of their prisoner from this anti-Geneva prison.
And when they say 'democratically elected government', then why isn't this man on their radar? Or is it just governments that support their causes, like this one? Well, I'm sure once they are finished fighting the opposition tooth and nail they'll spend a little time standing up for Canadians and a moral obligation. But what would they do if it was China, prepared to execute a Canadian for providing abortions?
In the Stephen Harper world, justice is a 52-card deck. If you aren't one of their chosen causes, you will be at the will of the draw.
Another case of Not-So-Hidden-But-Scary-Just-The-Same Stephen.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
It's now a tribal chant from the right-wingers in the media and all the CON trolls.
The Liberals (or NdP, if they cared a hair to focus on THE government) won't be able to use that ol' Scary Stephen card anymore.
There is no hidden agenda, they say. We've got the whole book on Harper and what he stands for (apparently upping the bid on Quebec voters; getting all his friends and bagmen into high places; expending a lot of energy on attacking and baiting the opposition; a lot of photo ops with Kings, bitter pills, Queens, neo-con flunkies and holy men). Never mind the devious tome published by FlanaganUSA that essentially draws a picture of this connivingly evil switch-and-bait script (take one lobster, put him in a pot of cool water; turn up the heat and add butter an hour later!), Stephen Harper is exactly what you see. A two-dimensional photocopy of someone's idea of Potsie with an anger issue. And no one dare call him on it -- well except maybe this guy. He must love living in France.
Well, if that's the case then I think you're missed the point, mr and mrs gullible pundit. IF Harper and his CON-gregation isn't interested in devolving federal powers, eliminating many programs that provide social services to Canadians (and assigning them to church groups ala Bush), re-enacting the wonderfully successful (Now, Entering its 24th Year on Tour!) American War on Drugs, giving the Canadian foreign service a lobotomy and an injection of extra-testostorone, while bringing Canadian social and economical underpinnings in line with America's, then his secret agenda was to fool the Reform crowd into believing he stood for exactly those things.
They didn't vote for someone who'd join forces with nationalist Quebecers, lobbing bags of Canadian money to influence an election, or to see him join the trend of acting as though global warming wasn't just some socialistic balderdash cooked up to soften the brain tissue of our younguns, spend like a drunken Liberal and generally not give a hoot to our redneck needs.
Of course, I believe ol' Steve is keeping his cards closer to his vest, having learned many lessons from numerous debaucles while as a mere MP and later, a clumsy leader of the opposition. Remember the Grewal affair? How about his 'fire wall' letter? And while we're onto letters, what about that Wall Street Journal missive? Or his opinion of Atlantic Canadians?
Calculating, yes. Deceitful, I'll bet my house on it.
Posted by rockfish at 1:12 AM
It seems the CONs are going for broke now, blowing their wad on breaking the shackles from those restrained polling numbers that seem to keep them at some glass ceiling.
Here they go, producing one hulk-sized economic update, scribbled on the back of a Fatburger napkin in the span of about 14 minutes, and all to bury Sheila Fraser's latest report?
Okay, I'll admit that all these tax cuts would be an impossible target to campaign against -- if that's all there is.
But that is first, if you buy Jimmy O'Flattery's number-crunching; he does have a reputation for being a tad excitable when it comes to getting figures right. Secondly, the CONs have a spotty record of keeping their promises, and for what was revealed today, there's a lot of promises here. Remember Income Trust (Happy Anniversary!), creating daycare spaces, honouring signed agreements with other governments, making government more accessible and accountable, and those health care wait lists...
Thirdly, these tax cuts are predicated on the current maui-like surf of great economical waves we've been riding for nearly eight years now (Tory trolls can begin moaning about how all good things and manna came to exist only one year, nine months and a day ago; prior to that, Canada was just a steaming pile of half-baked lava, waiting for an uptight white savior-guy with a vengeance issue and a seriously bad fashion taste). Hmm, what are those storm clouds off in the distance doing? Must be heading AROUND our little island of bliss because we're completely not prepared for any kind of thing that starts with an 'R', and weren't those eradicated with some kind of polio vaccine?
And finally, my final point being, that the Harperites have essentially tied their vessel to this great tax giveaway. Their load is shot. Kaput, except for a big box of kleenex to mop it up with, but promises to call while scrambling feverishly for their socks and cel phone.
That droning on by nearly every economist, that the GST cut is dissuasive for economic growth, rather than persuasive, may not ring many bells with Joe and Jill Canada. Hey, who ever turned their back on a quarter found under the couch cushion? However, to rely wholly upon tax cuts to pleasure the voters is another divisive tool by this group of, well, Tory tools. As a minority gov't, survival is predicated on planning and gift-giving. The gov't at the same time has legislated that a certain percentage of surplus must address the national debt (no argument from me), but now, will be taking less in. Okay, all Canadians virtually love this idea (except Jack) however they also have other priorities like daycare, the environment, better and newer infrastructure, poverty and health care, and some aren't going to be placated too quickly by this promise of instant lucre. Remember, Paul Martin -- a guy who really knows numbers and who's comments on these events are sorely missed -- provided a similar budget at one time and what did it get him?
Mr Harper, you have just tied your fortune to a tax break -- one that effectively restores the past Liberal tax cut. You have few, if any, arrows left in your quill. So we can expect more negative ads in the near future while you pretend to govern.
I'm certain that your troops expect a good 4-5% bump in the opinion polls after this, and I'd say I wouldn't be surprised either. You'll even re-convert many of the conservative minded people who have been swearing at you the past 12 months, with your cosying up to Quebec, your lame tax credit piecemeals and hamhandling the economy while bullying both former friends and foe alike.
You will then be aiming to trip-up the opposition within the next 4 months (my guess in late February) to cash in these votes before the economy really turns sour. Hear that ticking? It isn't just that reminder note on buying Georgie a farewell gift.
And if those poll numbers don't materialize, or they only last as long as so many of your promises? Me thinks your Tory natives in the backroom will be getting mighty restless...
Posted by rockfish at 12:22 AM
Friday, October 26, 2007
Damning Evidence #2 on Colonel Harper's Mystery Convalescent Preposterouso Tour:
It's all about the language, or what pops up into Canada's First President's head. He loves those stubby sentence constructions, perhaps because it worked so well for his favourite action hero, George 'Hell No, I won't Show up for My National Guard Duty! Bush. Anyhoo, today's class will dissect one of Harper's more famous one-liners: "The Country Is Unified."
He's also used the term 'more united', of course using the ubiquitous reference to THAT Past Government, those darn dividing Liberals.
In unified, he is leaning on the Gaelic-Hun translation, which is: 'to bring together in conflict. Also see, 'Alcoholic rage leading to forgotten fine motor skills.'
The evidence as to Harper's unifying talents are plenty, and let's be sure to highlight the best ones. Naturally, whenever you get one province taking the Federal Government to Court, you've got a heaping amount of unity on the way. Nothing, other than a restraining order hand delivered by some burly cop, says unified like a law suit. Of a subsection to this item, we have the "calling one's bluff."
You can't tell your dance partners apart when they coddle and cuddle so, right?
Our PM is an equal-opportunity uniter, as evident with his efforts to bring together angry, white Quebecois over the terrible threat of muslim women. Then there was one of his inaugural attempts at bringing people together, sending a letter to a right-wing newspaper to announce that First Natives shouldn't be so united with the water. Hmm, funny, I seem to recall him using this tactic before...
And any great unity guy needs a tango partner, and so for Harper's Peaches we have finance finagler Flaherty's Herb. The mathematical answer to incongruent continence, Flaherty has taken his boss' message to heart. He stepped into it royally with the Atlantic Accord by signing a letter which threatened 'No More Side Deals!', angering rappin' Rodney...
Most recently, Flaherty took up the fight by uniting Canadian retailers and the image of Ebenezer Scrooge prior to the three ghosts. Not one to let facts, reality and the science of free market supply and demand get in his way, the Finance Minister challenged Canadian retailers to 'Stand Up for Canada or I'll have to Stand UP and Buy This Book!' Nothing says 'Unity' like a good hearted 'blamin'. Canadian consumers went to bed with smiles that night, I bet.
Here's hoping Harper pulls off the ultimate unifying job, getting progressives back together for a happy ending!
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
In the dissection of a leader, we've seen the CONs work a pretty mean-spirited game. Drive to the hoop, crash the crease, spit on the goalie. They've kind of thrown out the Marquess of Queensberry rulebook and replaced it with the Marquis de Sade's, to apparently the media and smaller parties' delight.
That below the belt tactic from their truculent, so-called leader will provide a perfect contrast to our eclectic, bookishly refined professor who prefers to lead with his moral core.
While the media seems skittish to try and decipher Stephen Harper's scatalogical history, neither recent or a little past, we offer this small case study of demystification for a self-proclaimed 'smartest guy in the room' (broom closet edition).
Apparently he's a fan of Stalin, or at least some of Stalin's modus operandi. He probably could do with a little Hans Christian Andersen, too. Because this naked Emperor, who remains full clothed in the eyes of the major media outlets' mandarins, apparently doesn't have any coattails with his invisible rayon jacket.
Look at all the friends he's tried to wield his power for, boasting to large crowds how they'd become the next Premier -- minutes after giving the reigning premier a crude brushoff. You're now familiar what happened to his man in Ontario.
He then unloaded a big truck of cash to help another co-hort in his decentralization plan on the eve of his provincial election, resulting in a minority tumble for his hand-picked horse in le belle province. Even the gloss from his own tepid victory, over a stumbling, tired government wasn't enuf to halt a pair of maritime upsets, where one future rival and a faux sadsack farmer fell with a big boom.
The one good sign for the CON of cons? A rousing win for his estranged doppelganger on the far east coast.
Oh well, maybe that 'brilliant tactician' will be able to pull Rodney's and Ed's fat from the fire. I guess right now, they're hoping he stays far away...
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Let me get this straight, ol' blathering Jack believes the government has to fall. He stomps his feet and accuses the Liberals, remember, led by the guy Jack said was "a very, very very very good cabinet minister and people should vote for him", of not forcing an election.
Apparently, either Jack believes the CON party also doesn't want an election, or that he's all about a better seating arrangement in the House.
Of course, the PM who doesn't want an election, puts in a few items in his Throne speech to cause consternation among the opposition as to which way the country is heading. And whether a Throne Speech is the exact time to draw his rival into calling his bluff.
Dion stands his ground, believes that he has grounds to bring down this government, but listens to his caucus and the polls which say Canadians don't want an election.
But, because President Harper has deemed everything, including bathroom privileges, to be a defining moment in his gov't, that any defeat of any kind would bring down his gov't, Dion attempts to do his job by putting forth an amendment to the TS that states: Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Tories are to blame for failing to live up to Canada's Kyoto targets;
The previous Liberal government was on track to meet those targets;
Canada's combat role in Afghanistan should end in 2009, but the door should be left open for some sort of continued role.
In Jack's wisdom, self-interest trumps following his own script. Yesterday he was taunting the Liberals for not voting down the government. So when the Liberals provide the exact opportunity for such an event, what does Jack do? He doesn't say 'Canadian's don't want an election', because that ruins his main premise. But he does stick to Harper's playbook, which is when in doubt, punch away.
So who's propping up who? Bueller? NDP Bueller?
Harper has a new teammate. His name is Jack. Throw him a bone and watch him scratch.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
It was suppose to be election primer but was more like elmer's paste. More 'throne' than 'thorn', but certainly prickly enough to draw the scolding of high-priest Layton and cheese-hat Duceppe.
High drama and pompous ceremony seemed to stand on end in the lead-up to yesterday's speech, otherwise dubbed 'Do You Feel Lucky, Punk?' Day. It was the preamble to the media's ongoing anxiety about 'what will Dion do?'
It's the day that an almost 21-month-old government tosses off the 'New' label for something less, well, 'New'. How about 'Slacker' or 'Pimply-Faced' Government?
Back to the event. Poor Micheille Jean. Making nice with the faux Emperor and the former Ms Teskey, and then being forced to read the equivalence of 'Dr Zhivago Does His First Tonsillectomy' as written by William F. Buckley outloud. Who said being the representative of the Monarchy would be fun?
Okay, to the speech itself, or at least to some of its earlier moments. Let's face it, if Jack Layton wasn't going to sit still to listen you can be sure I wasn't either.
Hmm, sounds fairly pablumic, referencing the reason why we're having a TS two weeks before Halloween because it "is an important moment in our country’s democratic life. Through the Speech from the Throne, the Government shares its vision with Canadians... And because 'Throne Speech always comes after 'Prorogued'."
Ah, a nice tribute to one of the last successful CON-serfative-minded minority government's, John Diefenbaker's in 1957. Mention the Queen in there, too, just to keep Jean in her place.
Now, to kowtow to those CanCon people -- "hey, we got rid of slavery awhile back, and would have brought in the citizenship act much earlier if the evil Liberal dog-loving MacKenzie King -- he talked with dead people, didja know? -- hadn't robbed us of our place in history. And don't forget the 40th anniversary of the Order of Canada, obviously a socialistic tool brought in by those evil Liberals again. But we'll get that ship-shape soon don't you worry."
Here's where Harper's studying of Earle Birney pays off: "And although Canada is a young country, its history is marked by our unwavering willingness—which I was touched to see all across Canada—to be and to continue to be a generous society, granting million-dollar gifts to American lumber protectionists and white men everywhere."
Oh-oh, here comes Harper on automatic pilot again, with the "sets clear goals" and "delivers concrete results" sell job. You forgot "makes whites really white" and "two out of three dentists recommend"... And the obligatory 'Canada's Back.' But what about Canada's Front? When it comes to slogans, Harper is about as authentic and real as, well, you get the picture.
He goes on and on. Telling us about that illusionary "more money in our pockets" because of imaginary tax cuts (personal income tax for most Canadians went up) and this doozy "Families now have real choice in child care" like whether Mommy should quit her job and learn an underground economic skill or keep buying bulk Heintz beans.
I don't know if I want to touch that crack about "Canadians now have a government committed to helping them get the medical care they need more quickly" because everytime I laugh it only hurts that long-ago diagnosed hernia. Wish I could make that disappear like Harper made his 'wait times priority' evaporate last summer.
Onto that favourite crime topic. Making neighbourhoods safe just by saying its so. Good thing there's no stats on that, oops! No need to admit we don't know what we're talking about but there are more people packing non-registered firearms, so I feel safe, don't you?
Finally, some substance: "Our Government will focus on five clear priorities: strengthening Canada’s sovereignty and place in the world (building firewalls for everyone with the help of Uncle Sammy!); building a stronger federation (or else!); providing effective economic leadership (with the cooperation of your new employer, Mr Zhao and Dieter Schmidt, who purchased your company overnight); continuing to tackle crime (that TV light is on, right?); and improving our environment (with New Improved TarSands Plus)."
BlahblahblahArcticblahblahblahsovereigntywohwohwohmilitarybigbuckswohwohwohbringsresults. Oh and I'll trade you Nelson Mandela for Aung San Suu Kyi because she knows where a woman's place is...
And that Afghanistan, what a mess eh? Those Liberals put us in there -- buy Chretien's book -- and I promise to get us out by 2011, just because George said you'd never boot out a 'war president.'
That so-called Kyoto thingy can't be achieved, obviously, and we'll tie our effort to anyone who is agin it, because you know-who has a dog named after it. But to show my sincerity, I'll plant a tree at Stanley Park and eat a rainforest bear burger, extra onions at the Red Barn on my way home tonight. That's all the divine providence I have to offer, but hey, I'm a leader and you-know-who isn't.
I didn't see any poison pill or Tonya Harding-with-a-steel-pipe to Dion's knees here. Perhaps the CONs don't want an election. But judging by the lack of originality and authentic ideas, its hard to say that they want to govern either. Appears that the only arrows in their quill seem to be for making mean with the opposition. But that's probably got its own committee instruction booklet, second publication.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Stephen Harper's plans for Canada not only include bringing God back into government and putting women and minorities back to their historic (in white man's culture, anyways) places, while also quashing progressive acts of government, but it's also to re-write history.
He and his CON hordes have subtly taken it upon themselves to subvert what is known as 'common knowledge' and to rehabilitate the images of conservatism, despite its thin trademark at the national level in this great country. In power, it has created the mantra 'Canada's New Government' as though our nation is a box of soap for sale; he has on numerous occasions, cancelled the programs of the past gov't only to rebrand them in a weaker version, correcting his one mistake while claiming an achievement in the same swoop.
Before he became our own TinPot Governor, he first made some attempts at this on his own, where it revealed him for what he is : a fractionist, petty, misguided , dishonesty and politically clumsy.
Those quotes in themselves should have been able to hang an 'unelectable' sign on this republikan robot.
However, with a little boost from the conservative-minded men who run today's mainstream media, Harper and his beliefs have gone largely redacted.
It's a tool that he is engaging in now to change the opinions of Canadians on things we have come to believe and know.
Remember last summer, when the Beaver magazine held an on-line poll for The Worst Canadian?
Meant as a fun way to engage readers after the wildly popular CBC show 'Most Popular Canadian', they offered up examples like former Toronto Leafs' owner Harold Ballard, syrupy chanteuse Celine Dion and murderer Paul Bernardo.
That's where the Blogging Tories got into operation to try an experiment. They circulated a very tightly closed command, where the goal was to make sure that not Paul Bernardo or Clifford Olson won the poll, but that the winner of this dubious award should be none other than Liberal immortal Pierre Trudeau.
Now, I've got family and friends in Alberta, where Trudeau's name still draws a grimace and a curse by many, and none of them consider Trudeau the worst Canadian. Half of them don't even consider him the worst politician -- surprisingly enough, this self-aggradizer still reigns even in Wild Rose country when you're talking Bad.
But as an exercise, the CONs pulled one over. And they remain quite singly minded in their goal.
It is to decimate and eliminate the Liberal Party from the mainstream of Canadians' political mindset, propelling Canada into a game of polar options. Blue, God Bless Canada, Hail to the Chief kind of conservatism, or Orange, Solidarity Forever, Che Rocks socialism.
The word of caution for those progressives who endorse the NdP because they feel it represents the best choice to govern should take heart: in Britain, after the Liberal party disappeared, the Conservatives won 3 out of 4 elections, until Tony Blair effectively gutted the Labour Party to be a watered down centre-left version of its former self. And that change took a dozen years and ended up with their nation being hoodwinked into the Coalition of the Willing but Unthinking.
There is a reason now for all liberals to unite; we may not have the power and purpose of an ideology fueling us, but we share the belief that a country, rich in resources and people of compassionate means, despite our multiple differences, can build a greater community and better society.
If we fail, we let the Demogogue win.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Well, we've known that the Stephen Harper-led CONs think they're Clifford 'friggin' Irving, writing history their own way. Apparently, the economy has been chugging along like no one's business only since late January 2006, and hey, did you know Canada is back, from some snowbird holiday down south, I suppose.
And that Canadian dollar, wow, just imagine what could happen if us voters were to grant this magical flute-blowing troupe a finger-snapping majority! We'd be trumpeting kronas out of your ying-yang!
Best of all, newly minted ministers with their own khaki wardrobes can fancy-feet it over to Afghanistan, unload a pontoon-load of tasty sweet goodies, personally sampled by our Master in Command, and correct all the wrong conclusions that stats and figures have been feeding us the wrong impression.
Apparently, the war is almost done. Everything has improved since a year ago -- oops, Maxime! That should have read "a year and eight months..." Oh well, the people know what you mean. The Taliban are on the run, and the opium will soon be delivered just to the dens of kindly, wise-and-elderly chinese men for their own personal use.
Because once the media gets this news straight, we've got a war on drugs that has proven a big hit down south we're eager to import...
Monday, October 8, 2007
There are few reporters out there who seem to dig and dig some more.
Bolan at the Vancouver Sun did a tremendous job on the Air India tragedy aftermath. When it comes to the current political climate, despite being spun some sticky stories and given the bums rap and cold shoulder all in one swoop, journalists (or maybe moreso their editors and publishers) are faithfully for the most part following the current Government's lead.
Well, except Kady O'Malley. This clever whip of a columnist (cute as the doe that Rudolph fell for in my favourite Christmas TV show) is bucking the McLean's habit of hanging to the right. With a deliberate energy, she is covering the coming and goings on Parliament Hill as tho' it matters, which is a refreshing change from the 'one-sided hacks' and 'one-foot-in retirement slugs' that inhabit much of the hill's gallery. She has an interesting history, at least what one can gather from doing a google search, making enemies in High Places.
Her reportage is balanced and dripping with black humour.
O'Malley sticks a fork in the recently too-rich for words photo op duel in Afghanistan, where Bernier and Oda get the red carpet treatment, plus none of the hard work, while Coderre sits in the airport for a mysteriously delayed flight.
Just because I like it, and I've been as partisan as a card-carrying political robot can be on this site, doesn't mean that she doesn't turn her sarcastic jibs to the Grits when it is due. She does. And it's still funny.
If this was the 1940s, I could get away with the cliche: 'What a dame.'
I think what she most richly deserves is recognition as an honest to goodness journalist.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Ah, now the under-sell.
Stephen Harper is crafty, he's shifty and more than a little conceited.
He's also as transparent as saran wrap.
All his blathering on the international stage about global warming is the talk of someone who has to sell some old stock that he never liked. Dressing up his plan as though it has teeth, even though virtually everyone with any experience and knowledge of climate change shoots it down as fluffy pillow stuffing.
Turning the page, he's also doing his darndest to look like a man who doesn't want an election -- the eager suitor rarely gets the pretty girl.
Now, he's even musing publicly that a majority isn't in the cards. But behind the scenes, revving up the engines, stoking the fires and stockpiling the mud.
During the last election, he let slip that people shouldn't fear a CON majority -- there were checks and balances to keep them from really wracking havoc on the Canada we know. Thanks for the warning -- the CONs immediately lost 3-4% off their support and ended up with a soft minority.
So now the trick is to convince people at the ballot box, 'Don't worry, it'll be a minority.' And hopes that succeeds to win over a few soft centre votes who like somethings they've done, and wouldn't want the firm grip of Harper anywhere near our national treasures.
Of course, my advice to the Liberal party would be to run an ad with Harper's clip from the past election saying 'Don't worry' and then list off the things he's cut and done: Kelowna Accord, national childcare strategy, our international reputation, the Kyoto Accord, Income Trusts, Canada's independent foreign policy, the court challenges program etc. And then state: "He said not to worry. If he would do this in a minority with a balanced budget, what would he do in a majority?"
It would be a truly scary possibility.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
There's enough doom and gloom out in the world without us Liberals creating our own.
So the MainStream Media has forgotten that we're kindred spirits, and a large chunk of Montrealers ignored their inalienable right to vote for us.
These by-elections, while being defined as 'a test of leadership', in fact are tests of a hundred straws. Unlike a federal election, the local candidates truly create different battles -- Mulcair pushing for men's grooming (not lemon) aids; Lebel riding the wave of his 80s sexy songs; Thi Lac demonstrating that rural Quebecers are not all ignorant zealots; even Coulon brought to the surface something that I never knew -- stuffy professorial nerds can't preach charisma.
Buck up, fellow Grit. The lessons to be learned are numerous, and the sting will disappear along with the swelling. But study some of the ashes -- notice how Harper continued to show his colours, first by using the 'veil issue' to sow some ethno-angst among rural Quebecers, and in Outremont, even with a respectably known candidate, he gave him few resources in which to make a dent; in effect, Harper tore out Dion's page from the Green party pact -- waving a white flag just to embarrass his rival. Of course, it's fitting that this doofus is now living in a NdP riding. Maybe his new MP can finally get some action on ridding us of the senate.
But was this a by-election ballot on leadership? Perhaps to a small minority of voters, but the popularity of the winners is fairly understandable. Lebel, a local mayor, surfs on the Dumont wave; Mulcair a liberal in orange clothe, who's own personality complex likely means a short shelf life on that team.
Was last year's London Centre by-election a vote on leadership? We didn't have one and we won. Harper had a large hole to climb but had a somewhat popular mayor (quickly, define 'popular') wearing the blue-coloured gag.
There's plenty of excellent ideas on what to do next here and here.
Does the team need work? You betcha. Do I trust this guy -- he was an ardent Ignatieff supporter during the leadership race, now part of the leaking bags over our portside.
The CONs love creating mischief like tossing around fake 'Bob the Red' buttons at the convention and giving phoney 'tips' to lazy reporters. And they no doubt have time to create numerous fake blog IDs or just repeat anonymous comments across the ethernet.
I'm not suggesting we cross into their territory, but we've got to toughen up. Put aside the Queensborough rulebook and give them a punch at the beltline. They've demonstrated a completely incompetent knowledge of things economical and ethical, breaking promises to some of their core supporters, while demonstrating an amazing skill at hypocrisy, so let's trumpet these things, while also launching some of those whiz-bang policy ideas that are in the bank. And most of all, we can't go about propping them up just because we lost a by-election.
That's the NdP's game. Because if you want Kyoto, Kelowna, universal childcare, you aren't going to get it with Harper at the helm.
And we've got to get out there and remind those soft NdPers and soft PCers all these facts.
And Monday's by-election results? Frankly Scarlet, I don't give a damn.
Thursday, September 6, 2007
When it has come to trumpeting the cause of war, Christine Blatchford has taken it to a new level among Canadian journalists. In many ways, her coverage of the Afghanistan mission for the Globe & Mail has elevated the readers' sense of the conflicted situation in the country where invaders always lose.
Although she isn't quite the 'pro-war celebrator' that some in the US proved to be for Iraq, Blatchford has consistently condemned the role of the opposition to question and challenge the government on its place and proposal for our men and women fighting alongside the Afghan National Police.
In Wednesday's paper, however, she kind of snapped, beginning another 'get behind the boys' blast with "I left Kandahar yesterday for the fourth time in 18 months. For the first time, I left filled with shame."
The 'shame' apparently is directed at the opposition that doesn't see the mission as clearly as Ms Blatchford. Apparently only her personal regular attention to the case is worthy of constructive denouement; while the situation on the ground has been compared in recent days as 'one foot forward, two feet back', she has the clear-headedness to see that only Canada and a one-hundred percent support of whatever the generals are mapping out in the backroom is good enough for our fighters.
Sorry to disagree, but the first question I have is: since when is the Opposition setting the tone on this mission? With only one reference of Stephen Harper, Blatchford has seemingly forgotten the trepid situation our Prime Minister sits in. His main mantra and life purpose the past 12 months has been trimming the tree for a majority. The Opposition was fairly clear on a number of issues that it didn't like what was happening -- the softwood lumber agreement, the gov't's Green Plan, and Afghanistan. All have been framed by Harper at one time or another, as a tool to bully the weakened and exhausted opposition forces to back down. Afghanistan has been and continues to be a case of the PM's club. Because Harper 'doesn't react to polls', the latest signal from our so-called leader's righthand man is that the combat part of our mission will not be extended. Not that he's reading any poll, mind you, but hey if its a majority he wants, that's exactly what the polls would be telling him, right? Which would not make him a leader, either.
While Stephane Dion remains adamant in supporting an end to the combat portion of this meeting by the 2009 extension date, and Jack Layton remains adamant about withdrawing immediately, it is the PM that sets the tone and direction, if he so chooses.
But then, he has consistently tried to follow the Republican blueprint with constant missteps. And there is where Blatchford should put most of her blame. Canadians are possibly more acutely aware of what's happening around them than most nations. They've followed closely the ugly, virtually treasonist acts of an American administration that would demand impeachment for a President that lied about cheating on his wife, but turn a blind eye, nay, even cheer on, a President who calls for the invasion and mass bombing of a country under false pretenses. The press, Blatchford's cousins, joined the cheering masses in the rush to war.
Harper also joined that march.
Does Ms Blatchford have any time to dig into Harper's motivation behind that move?
But having witnessed the quagmire down south, is it no doubt that Canadians, when faced with a situation where American forces should truly be the leading forces but instead have made it a third ring to their circus, are skeptical and hesitant to trumpet a longer investment in both Canadian lives and time?
Dion nor Layton are setting the agenda here. Blatchford should ask the man who pretends to lead just why he's changing direction -- could it be that he so preciously wants the Quebec voter on his side that he's willing to sell the last vestiges of a soul for it?
After more than 60 soldiers from various regiments died for the cause, why after just a couple from Quebec's Vandoos has the government suddenly decided to follow the opposition's lead?
Who is holding this government, it's leader who refuses to face questions, to answer? That is a shame you can do something about, Ms Blatchford.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Since Canada stepped into Afghanistan there has been little room for full-scale political debate, at least from the two major parties. It was Jean Chretien and Paul Martin who made the primary commitments, always with the criticism from the right that it was almost an apology for not joining Bush's War On Terrar in Iraq. While Harper lambasted the Liberals for their failure to follow loyally into that quagmire, he remained sullenly committed, in his own way, to Afghanistan.
When he took over as PM, the CONserfative leader asserted a different messaging from the military -- that we were there to kill some butt, not just alleviate a horrible situation brought on by the Taliban.
Canadian soldiers were there for the long haul. Harper even positioned the 'debate' on extending the mission -- one he adamantly said wouldn't happen, but changed his tune once he saw the kind of corner he could put the Liberals in -- with the caveat that he'd extend it anyways, no matter the end result.
The casualties became a troubling problem for Harper, and he tried to follow Bush's lead by limiting, even banning, the media's coverage of the soldiers' bodies being returned home.
When that didn't work, he shifted gears. Made the war and the soldiers his own personal prop for re-election photos, making 'surprise' visits, wearing bulging vests and 'talking hockey'. The Governor General's request to visit was denied and put off until nearly every important cabinet minister had gotten into the photo.
Harper pitched and pitched, making his big 'Canada doesn't cut and run, it's not my way and its not Canada's way' speech. The polling however showed that Afghanistan, despite the various achievements like women now able to participate in the society with increasing equality, girls being able to go to school etc, remained a touchy topic, no more unpopular than in Quebec.
So this summer he finally removed the starchly left-footed Minister of Defence with a more skilled dancer, Peter McKay, and replaced him in Foreign Affairs with rookie Maxime Bernier, hoping that the pair would be able to massage the message better in english and french.
More than 55 Canadian soldiers had been killed before Quebec's Van Doos crossed the Atlantic and hit the Kandahar soil. The message from the PM's office, however, remained the same. We were there for the long haul, he said. The government showed its intention by spending BILLIONs on military investments, much of it geared towards war in the sandy, hot conditions of the region.
After the Van Doos arrival, the media started reporting on how casualties from that troop could affect Canada's will to carry the burden. That the opinion of Quebeckers may be 'turned' by the loss of their own.
And when the Van Doos suffered casualties, the question became a live wire.
Suddenly, the government is now stating that the mission will change as of late 2009, when this extension will have expired.
It isn't Harper saying this, and that's because it would go against his 'pro-war, Theo Roosevelt-ic image of carrying a big stick' kind of leadership image.
But to the voters, er people of Quebec, the message is clear: We are withdrawing from Kandahar and removing our troops from the toughest battle grounds at the end of this tour.
It didn't take long into the Van Doos tour for that turn to occur, but let's not pussy-foot around, Harper is once again using the military and our soldiers for political gain.
Call it wise politics, label it a back-flip of herculean proportions. The supporters of this government must do another contortionist shift in direction, like the Income Trust twist and the Accountability (is for them, not us) shuffle.
But this one should strengthen his chance at winning in Quebec. And the price for a majority? Priceless.
Saturday, September 1, 2007
A nice sabbatical but back to muttering. Thankfully, our 'New Government of Canada' keeps on giving in terms of turds, missteps and excremental ideas...
Item 1 -- Dick Harris speaks the truth.
It may not be considered official CONservative Party opinion (altho what's the chance of Deceivin Stephen allowing his minions to speak and think on their own? Yah, I didn't think so either) but his recent slice of Open Mouth, Insert Foot-ism about useless members of parliament who aren't in government.
"Realistically, to have access to the ministers you know - realistically - you have to be part of the government," Harris, who is also a B.C. MP, said in a radio interview. "There is sort of a little bit of a pecking order in Parliament."
Now, it doesn't take a brainiac to decipher Harris' admission here, but let's translate it for the common good: "All those years of Chretien governments where I represented the fine people of B.C.'s north? I was just a useless moose turd beside the railroad tracks. Yep, I may have meant good but c'mon, not even a go-getter like Jay (Hill, Harris' fellow useless teat from northern BC) could get things done during those cold years. We knew it and we wanted to tell our constituents, that they should have been calling the local Liberal candidate who could have delivered some real good service to the riding. But fukkwads that we are, we just closed our cakeholes and ate Parliamentary steak..."
Item #2 - Last month's cabinet shuffle didn't impress some people-- or any people not already Blue.
Certainly, if you are a regular reader of Vancouver's The Link newspaper, a free distributed weekly written for the South Asian community (altho available in english), the shuffle was the same as a snub.
"No 'Browns' For Harper As He Keeps Cabinet Lilly White" reads the headline from the Sat. Aug. 18th edition.
The story, by paper editor R. Paul Dhillon, goes on: "Prime Minister Stephen Harper, keeping with his former Reform/Alliance ideology, kept all 'Brownies' out of his new cabinet, even ignoring bright MPs like Rahim Jaffer from getting into a junior ministry following this week's shuffle...
Okay, perhaps The Link is considered the 'Red Star' of Canada's ethnic newspapers; but their take on Harper's cabinet mincing weighs some thought. Wajid's secret report not withstanding, who beyond the ultra-right white Tom Flanagan is calling the shots here? And why aren't more people pointing out this frightening fact?
Oh well, as friends of Harper probably say, 'Let's keep this between ourselves, okay?'
Friday, July 6, 2007
I don't think 'subtle' would be a word that is whispered when trying to decipher ol' Deceivin' Stephen.
There's the boiling-point temper-tantrums, the off-the-cuff bold lies, the shiftiness of a carnival barker, tied up in a charismatic-free package that would have tried but lost the Man From Glad auditions.
However, whether its our true misunderstanding of the man -- and I believe those of us who dislike him are as equally fooled as those who follow him -- what we can see is that some decisions he's made, especially in planting a republican like fortress around the PMO, are truly machiavellian.
Like that film from a few years ago Momento, the best place to start is in the present. The appointment of William Elliot on the surface looks like a neutral and maybe audacious step to correct the leadership troubles in the RCMP. His Tory roots, and lack of police experience, create a few red flags but most of the commentary, even from some Liberal bloggers, has been 'lets give him a chance.'
That the main organization in charge of law and order could now feel the 'inside' influence -- and I laugh with the referrals of Elliot as an outsider (maybe from the RCMP, but certainly not from Harpor) -- is worth a chill. That some members of the RCMP are asking these same questions deems it one worth investigating.
As witnessed through the Bush government, a party that sees the rules of political engagement as slanted against them, and a hunger to control the levers of power, would possible set the wheels in motion by supplanting unbiased or neutral organizations with favourable followers. Hanging chads my butt.
All the following occurred under curious circumstances -- all were treated like the daily laundry list perhaps because the CONs were trying to be quiet and clever, or that its a 'connect-the-dots' thing that they prefer not to be caught at.
Elections Canada -- very quickly after questions about CON fundraising and reporting of fundraising hits the news, the judicial appointment process - snuck out to the press on a busy news day and against the deadline, federal banking system, the reproductive board, he's stalled the appointments of much-needed immigration boards for some bizarre reason.
Avoiding the conspiracy mindset, it could be concluded that this is a natural process after a new gov't takes over from a party that had ruled for 13 years. We know, over his first mandate, Chretien brought in his own people, likely even a few after a firing. However, look at the sudden jettison, whether by their own sword or by others, by a few of these key appointees. And then look at how many if not all of these appointments don't match the promise of accountability. Line that up with a serious list of evidence which shows Harpor and accountability don't share the same tailor, and never cross paths, and you've got a curious and potentially unhealthy mastermind effort going on.
Forgetting his own job description from the past parliament, Harpor slammed opposition members who dared question his choice to lead the Public Appointment Commission -- a well-heeled CONservative bagman. So he cancelled it and has gone about doing things in his own image.
With the shotgun approach he's applying, its hard to keep track of these changes -- massive shifts in direction in some. You can't blame the media, except Canwest which is blatantly covering Harpor's trail, and after a while all opposition members begin to look a little paranoid and whiny when they are doing their job.
As some ideological gov'ts as take office, one of the first plans is to rip out what the previous gov't had established. Some of it for good reason, but often just to 'brand' it as theirs. In BC, we replaced one (NdP) with a right-wing coalition (BC Liberals); The new gov't proceeded to break the rules, break contracts and bury evidence in changing gears. Punishing people, in fact. Do it early and by the time the mandate's run its course, people will forgive, or just forget.
We can't let Harpor continue silently changing the fabric of our bureaucratic and gov't system. People need to get the facts, write their local newspaper, and volunteer (and donate!) to their local Liberal candidate.
Just as the republicans took control of an election, so could a power hungry shape shifter.