28 January 2009

The NDP is Not Part of the Solution

Typical blah-blah-blah from a leader of a party that has not, should not, and mercifully will not be allowed near the levers of power in this country:

“Stephen Harper will stay in power because of Michael Ignatieff,” said Mr. Layton, dismissing the Liberal amendment as minimal. “Today we have learned that you can't trust Mr. Ignatieff to oppose Mr. Harper. If you oppose Mr. Harper and you want a new government, I urge you to support the NDP.”

You can talk and talk all you want, Mr. Layton, but your chances of being a productive and contributing part of a "new government" in this country are between . . . well, let's just say that slim got shown the door. Stephen Harper will stay in power for the time being because the alternative means that for six weeks Canadian industries, businesses, and most importantly, people (that last group is the one you're always babbling about protecting) won't get the badly-needed stimulus package they require while you're out with your clown parade show. Mr. Ignatieff will do a fine job opposing Harper and hopefully will replace him in the not-too-distant future, but now is the time for cooperation. Have you even read the budget, sir?

A Brokerage Party? The Tories?

I saw this quote this morning on Castanet as I did my daily check-up on events happening in my beloved home. I couldn't help but laugh.

"I believe there is something in this budget for people of all ages and walks of life. There's assistance for some senior's housing, affordable housing, homelessness issues, innovation for our college and university and health care," says [MP Ron] Cannan.

As Blogging Tories everywhere are currently raging in often less-than-eloquent (yet usually poignant) terms, the Conservatives have just stepped into the arena of brokerage politics. They are no longer a conservative party advocating conservative principles that appeal to the tories of the country and, from time to time, to centrist voters that lean to the right. They are now a party guided by the politics of the day seeking to be all things to all people. It is a remarkable transformation of the party of Stephen Harper. I'm sure that somewhere, Preston Manning is throwing a fit at what he sees.

Response to the Budget

It is regrettable that we are in the situation of facing huge deficits that will wipe out the work of a generation in a mere five years. With the cumulative effects of interest on $85 billion over that length of time, the $105 billion in federal debt we have paid down since 1996 will be all but erased. It is a result of the poor management of the country's finances by the Conservative government, slashing its revenues with "good politics, bad policy" tax cuts while at the same time increasing spending to record highs. They like to argue that we're in a better position than our G8 colleagues and that we're entering the recession later and less deeply than other countries. This is happening despite Conservative mismanagement, and it is akin to taking credit for causing only a minor car accident instead of a catastrophe.
The details of the budget have their strong points, and it is commendable that Messrs. Harper and Flaherty have opted to listen to Canadians and the Liberals to get their input rather than attempting to continue the gamesmanship so blatantly and callously displayed last autumn. They clearly got the message that it is time to work together in the interests of the country. I am skeptical of their decision to further limit government's revenues in the form of a tax cut that, using the example provided yesterday by Mr. Flaherty, will result in Canadians having an extra $10 a week to spend. That $2 billion cut could have gone to better things, in my view, but I do appreciate the token gesture to help out my finances.
All that said, it is important that Michael Ignatieff has signalled his conditional support for the budget. The infrastructure and stimulus package needs to get out the door as soon as possible, and that cannot happen if the government is defeated in the House and an election is called. Delaying this stimulus package will only worsen our situation. Though the situation is not one we Liberals find ourselves and the country happy to be in, this is not the time for partisanship, and Mr. Ignatieff has demonstrated that by reading the document, suggesting improvements, and working collaboratively with the government to ensure that the needs of Canadians are being met.

22 January 2009

Back in the Red

In the past dozen-plus years since Canada returned to budgetary surpluses, we have paid down a total of $104 billion of national debt.

It will take the Conservatives two years to wipe out $64 billion of that.

Tory times are tough times because they insist upon themselves.

Canada/US Foreign Policy

Who said this?

"There are three legs to the stool of ________ foreign policy: defence, diplomacy and development."

If you said Canada's last International Policy Statement, you'd sort-of be right. We established 3D as the cornerstone of our foreign policy several years ago. But this exact quote came today from Hillary Clinton, the new US Secretary of State.

I am pleased. I wonder if the millions of people constantly fretting about how we're puppets of American Imperialism feel now that they're taking pages from our books!

20 January 2009

The Moment

This is how I saw it:

A New Hope

Today is an amazing day in the history of humanity. I don't think there is much more than needs to be said than that. Everybody who sees it, and many of those who won't, will remember where they were at 12:00pm on this date in history, when the powers of the President of the United States of America were transferred to Barack Obama. For many, this is an event that they never believed they would see in their lifetimes. For myself, it is an amazing moment that I did not believe I would see at this point in my lifetime--I believed that he was maybe 4 to 8 years away, that he was too inexperienced at this point in his career to be ready, that either Clinton would beat him in the primary or that he would come up short in the general election. I have no problem admitting that I was wrong and that I underestimated what an incredible figure he has become in such a short time. He represents the very best of America. It is a testament to his character, his ideas, his ideals, his values, and his amazing broad appeal that he advanced that timetable.

Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States.

19 January 2009

I'm Calling for a Moratorium

From this point on, any time I hear the words "Adscam", "Lieberanos" (or other variation), "Liberals stole your money," used as a reason to support Stephen Harper I'm tuning people out. Surely there must be a statute of limitations on the duration that scandalous activities can be used to rhetorically bludgeon your opponents. I think that 5 years is sufficient, particularly when you consider the facts of the situation. It's over, it's done, let's talk about the serious issues facing Canadians today in 2009 rather than attempt to tar Ignatieff (who, as so many of you folks who for whatever reason can't stand him like to point out, wasn't even in the country at the time) with the same brush as Alfonso Gagliano and his ilk.
I was as furious as the next person regarding the misuse of taxpayer dollars during the sponsorship program. It was a gross violation of the public trust, and that the government was ignorant or complicit (depending on the minister) in those affairs was a black mark for all involved. But we've got very serious issues facing this country today, and to fall back on this well-used crutch to support an incompetent government rather than actually examine what all parties are saying reeks of laziness and gutter politics. We can do much better.

15 January 2009

As you'll notice, I'm writing this just after 6am. I've already been awake for about an hour and a half after the building's fire alarm went off and the vile smell of smoke starting filling my lungs. We were able to get the cats rounded up and contained with only minor severe damage to my hands as a result of panicked claws looking to avoid going in their carriers. I think Orion got Tasha pretty good, though. Everything's under control now, situation normal.
We're all fine here now, thank you. How are you?

11 January 2009

Reasons to Support Ignatieff?

How about 40 billion of them?

Funny, just a month ago there were only 30 billion.

Two months before that, there was no reason given to support Stephane Dion.

The times, they are a-changing!

09 January 2009

A New Dawn

I spent much of 2008 listening and doing very little talking as far as Canadian politics goes. It was a year of frustration and disappointment from all sides. The political leadership of this country trotted out more snivelling, bickering, partisanship, vindictiveness, hyperbole, and negativity than almost anybody could care to tolerate. I blame all of the leaders of the opposition equally, but I place extra blame on the leader of the Government of Canada, the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper. As Prime Minister, it is within his duties to ensure a sense of political stability and rationality, that the country is in good hands and that the fates of its citizens can be trusted. Stephen Harper has let me down in his duties.
I listened in 2008. I listened to Stephen Harper say that the economy is strong and that he would never run a deficit. He said this during the most crucial of times, during a federal election. It was on those grounds that I and many others trusted Stephen Harper over the other leaders to guide this country through tough economic times. Then, just a few weeks later, I listened to him say that we would likely be facing deficits in the tens of billions of dollars. I listened to him say that the federal election result was a sign that Canadians were tired of the fighting and that a new spirit of cooperation was needed. Then, I listened to him drop a poison pill into that fall economic update that touched off a massive fury in this country. I did not agree with the plans of the opposition parties, but again trust in the word of the Prime Minister was betrayed. Finally, I listened to Stephen Harper for years rail against the un-Triple E Senate and its patronage appointments and anachronistic ways in a 21st century democracy. And finally, I listened to him appoint more than a dozen Conservative hacks to the Senate.

Three strikes, Mr. Harper, you are out.

Today I listened to a different person. I listened to a person whose academic career served as a great inspiration to me in the development of my own ideas and ideals about rights, international relations, and justice. I told him that, almost to the word. Today I changed the channel and listened to a different tune, one that seeks to listen to what I and others have to say. I listened to somebody who wants, in his own words, "all hands on deck" in getting through this economic crisis and wants to include everybody in his vision of Canada.

Today I listened to Michael Ignatieff.

And, after listening, I have decided that it is time for me to act and to speak.

As of 3:45pm today, January 9, 2009, I am once again a member of the Liberal Party of Canada. Here's to this moment, and to many others:

08 January 2009

The Final Nail?

This just disheartens me so tremendously:

Facing an emboldened opposition and the possibility of defeat, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is making a significant switch in tactics, dropping his reliance on confidence votes and moving even further toward stacking the Senate with Tories.

A top aide said yesterday that Mr. Harper will no longer threaten elections to force opposition compliance on secondary policy matters.

He is also planning to fill Senate seats as they become vacant and will not stop until next January when his Tories will finally have the majority in the upper chamber, according to two senior government officials.

The middle part is good, but it is sandwiched by the news that Harper has forged ahead with the politics-over-principles agenda regarding the Senate. There's a part of me that would like to believe that he's doing this only to get the necessary numbers in order to actually reform it in 2010 or some year thereafter. That in itself would be acceptable. But would counters that is the seeming knowledge that you just know he's going to be filling those vacancies with cronies and decades-long contributors and supporters of the party and its predecessors. And that irks me to no end.

Tomorrow's going to be a very interesting day indeed . . .

07 January 2009


Just found out that Michael Ignatieff is coming to town tomorrow & Friday. The Thursday event is "sold out," meaning that all the free tickets have been given away already, but Friday is an open house event. To go, or not to go?

05 January 2009

Happy 2009!

A few days late, but the feeling is still there.

It's been a good year so far. Carey Price is the Eastern Conference starting goaltender at the All-Star Game (I personally contributed about 0.00001% of his 1.5 million votes) and 3 of his teammates will also be there. The Canadian junior team has been amazing and is going for gold tonight. It only snowed about 8 inches on New Years Eve so I was able to venture outside on January 1st. I received Christmas presents in the mail on Friday. And I still have the world's best girlfriend and two most wonderful cats. So yeah, this is a good beginning. I hope the trend continues.