Friday, March 30, 2007

Some changes to my blog

I recently finished some work on my blog. If you look on the right sidebare, you will notice three categories of links.

In the first category, Blogs, you will find some of my favourite Canadian progressive blogs.

In the second category, you will find links to the major Canadian political parties. You can rest assured that they are not listed in order of preference.

In the third category, yo will find key documents, which are articles, letters, and transcripts of speeches which highlight the far-right wing tendencies of one Mr. Stephen Harper.

Please feel free to let me know what you think, suggestions for improvement, etc.

Next task: switch to Haloscan.

Environmental groups urge passage of revamped act.

Environmental groups have urged the Harper Conservatives to pass the revamped Clearn Air Act.

John Bennett of the Climate Action Network:

We expect that the government will respect the bill, put it before Parliament and respect the will of the people. This is a moment of truth for government.

This is a government bill. This is their bill. They agreed to have it brought to a committee. Two-thirds of Canadians voted for MPs who made these amendments.

Clara Demerse of the Pembina Institute:

I want to know why the minister think the bill is weaker. I think the bill is acceptable. It's not perfect, but there are targets for large emitters put right in the bill. That's what we supported.

If they are going to go ahead and make their announcement, we now have a standard. The standards are in the bill.

Stephen Hazell of the Sierra Club:

The committee has squeezed the hot air out of the clean air act and turned it into the real deal. It's a real bill.

Hate to break it to the Harperites, but they are not going to win this chess match.

Now, time to do some work on my blog.

What to do, what to do

Scott's DiaTribes has been following the opposition's passing of amendments to the Clean Air Act, and the Harper government's reaction, including a discussion as to whether they will choose to consider it a vote of non-confidence.

Personally, I think politically they're damned if they do and damned if they don't. If they do call an election on this now, the lie will have been put to them, and their hypocrisy will have been exposed. Which would be perfect, because that's what they are. If they don't go now, they take the chance of the Liberals bottoming out now and showing higher approval ratings in the polls with time.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Danny Williams to attack Harper

Newfoundland Conservative Premier Danny Williams is launching an ad campaign in the Globe and Mail attacking Stephen Harper:

Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams is launching an ad campaign against the prime minister, attacking Stephen Harper for reneging on promises he made over the federal equalization program.

Full and half-page ads will appear in newspapers including the Globe and Mail, beginning Wednesday, that slam Harper for including oil and gas revenues in a new equalization formula as well as implementing a fiscal cap.

The advertisements contain a graphic of the Canadian maple leaf, with the inscription: Is this what Canada stands for now?

Sources say it also quotes a Gaelic proverb: "There's no greater fraud than a promise not kept."

Harper used that quotation in campaign literature he distributed throughout Newfoundland and Labrador when he was leader of the Opposition.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Garth Turner: 60 reasons not to vote for Stephen Harper

From Garth Turner's blog:

Sixty reasons not to vote for Stephen Harper.

1. Smearing MP Nav Bains’ father-in-law as being a potential terrorist, in the House of Commons.
2. Heritage Minister Bev Oda spending $5,000 on Halifax limos to arrive in style at the Juno awards.
3. Harper’s broken promise on high gas prices, saying “get used to it” after being elected.
4. Refusing to lower Canadian flags to honour our fallen military heroes.
5. Pushing recognition of “the Quebecois as a nation” through Parliament in order to win seats in that province.
6. Stacking the judiciary with pro-Conservative judges.
7. David Emerson
8. Security Minister Stockwell Day denying he bought off a former MP to secure a seat in Parliament.
9. Canceling the Kelowna Accord, cutting off talks with first nations’ leaders and refusing to deal with the Caledonia crisis.
10. Fudging the costs of government jets used by Stephen Harper and his ministers after blasting Liberals for the same thing.
11. Promising investors a break on capital gains taxes and then abandoning it after being elected.
12. Dredging up anti-gay sentiments by forcing another vote in Parliament on same-sex marriage.
13. John Baird’s partisanship.
14. Parliamentary secretary Pierre Poilievre’s hand gestures in Parliament and F-word comments in committee.
15. Refusing to allow media coverage of the return home of our Afghan war dead, without consulting the families.
16. Broken promise on providing a health care waiting time guarantee.
17. Spending more money in a single year than any other government in Canadian history, stoking inflation and threatening higher interest rates.
18. Broken promise on taxing income trusts.
19. Deporting hardworking, tax-paying resident Portuguese drywallers.
20. Conservative MP Colin Mayes writing a column saying journalists who disagree with Harper should be jailed.
21. Doing nothing about climate change or the environment for more than a year, and until forced to by the polls.
22. Making a former lobbyist for military arms dealers the minister of defence, in charge of $15 billion in spending.
23. Orchestrating a secret dirty tricks campaign against Bob Rae inside the Liberal leadership convention.
24. Preaching Senate reform, then appointing Michael Fortier to the Senate so he could be made an unelected cabinet minister.
25. Spending $150,000 per weapon to arm border guards.
26. Rona Ambrose, as environment minister, firing a government scientist for writing a book on global warming.
27. Stacking a stem cell research advisory committee with pro-life Conservatives.
28. Muzzling Conservative MPs and banning them from unauthorized media interviews.
29. Saying opposition MPs have “more passion for Taliban prisoners” than they do for Canadian soldiers.
30. Trying to dismantle the Canada Wheat Board and sacking its president.
31. Attempts to block access of the Parliamentary Press Gallery to the prime minister and cabinet. Secret timing of cabinet meetings.
32. Refusing to apologize for wiping out $25 billion in private savings with one tax measure, a great deal of it belonging to seniors.
33. Supporting Calgary Conservative MP Rob Anders’ bogus nomination process, later overturned by the courts.
34. Trying to buy the 2007 Quebec election with a 34% increase in transfer payments.
35. Refusal to even consider honouring the Kyoto Accord, or come up with a credible alternative, until forced to by Parliament.
36. Appointing Liberal MP Wajid Khan as a mid-east advisor to write a public report for Harper, then refusing to release it after he defected.
37. Claiming the Air India inquiry depended on anti-terrorism act amendments that opposition MPs opposed, when lawyers said it did not.
38. Blacking out pages on reasons for taxing income trusts when released under freedom of information.
39. Broken promise to cut the GST by a second point.
40. Raising personal income tax rate for the lowest bracket to help pay for record government spending.
41. Vowing to dismantle gun registry after fatal shooting in Montreal with registered weapons.
42. Cabinet minister Peter Van Loan botching the electoral reform commission hearings.
43. Cutting the Energuide program for low-income homeowners and replacing it with a new one for higher-income homeowners.
44. Kicking out Garth Turner.
45. Firing Conservative Senators Hugh Segal and Michael Meighan from committee work for independent thinking.
46. Threatening Conservative MPs with loss of party status if they talked about funding cuts that affect their constituents.
47. Constant campaigning, rather than governing.
48. Not a single new child care space after promising 125,000 would be created in first Conservative mandate.
49. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty spending $400 on a pair of skates while bringing in budget for “working families.”
50. Promising a lean government, then bloating the cabinet by six more people, with cars and drivers.
51. Snubbing two of the world’s fastest-growing economies and most promising trading partners, China and India.
52. Not allowing Conservative MPs to debate government policies in caucus.
53. Cutting funding to literacy programs, then sending Laureen Harper to a literacy event.
54. Attacking Stephane Dion as “not as leader” in a massive TV ad campaign two weeks after he is elected leader.
55. Breaking promises to provinces, including Newfoundland and Labrador and Saskatchewan, over transfer payments, while showering Quebec.
56. Politicizing the police and the military.
57. Linking a vote on pension income-splitting for seniors to taxing income trusts.
58. Cutting funding to women’s programs only to restore it after staff was fired.
59. Accusing those concerned with human rights of being soft on crime, soft on terror and bashing police.
60. Forcing an early election in 2007, breaking a legislated promise to have the next vote in 2009

Friday, March 23, 2007

James Laxer raises alarm bells on Harper's Quebec proposal

On Wednesday, Stephen Harper announced that if the federalists win the Quebec election on March 26, he will take steps to curtail federal spending powers.

James Laxer has raised the alarm bells:

With his proposed Grand Bargain, Stephen Harper would bring his over-arching objective of a Canada, not only with a market economy but with a market society as well, much closer to fruition. Gone would be the potential to establish national programs to create common standards across the country. At the federal level, progressive liberals and social democrats would be blocked from undertaking initiatives to advance the cause of greater social equality.

Laxer concludes:

Stephen Harper’s Grand Bargain with Quebec would place the capstone on the edifice of a right-wing Canada, which neither Quebeckers nor English Canadians want. Progressives who reject the idea of a stripped-down market society need to understand the stakes in the next federal election. It is one they cannot allow the Conservatives to win.

Read the whole article.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Pressure on Harper to support Kelowna accord is mounting

The pressure is mounting on the Harperites to support the Kelowna Accord, on at least four fronts:

1) Brian Mulroney expressed his support for the accord on the weekend on the Next Great Prime Minister with Rick Mercer. He said, we've existed for 140 years and we have this shameful situation . . . and why? Very simple: we stole their land," and that he absolutely supported the accord.

2) Provincial calls have been made for the feds to support the accord. The Conservative government in Newfoundland has passed a private member's bill calling for the feds to pass the Kelowna Accord. Also, Jean Charest, who is a former federal Conservative, a couple of weeks ago called on Harper to support the accord.

3) The Opposition passed a private members bill in the House of Commons calling on the government to pass the Kelowna Accord. Of course, the Harperites voted against it. (All Conservative MPs are Harperites through complicity in supporting the Harper agenda).

4) Aboriginals are mobilizing on this issue as well as on the federal budget which failed to address issues dealt with in the Kelowna Accord. Phil Fontaine in a Star op-ed expressed his dismal view of the federal budget. Stewart Phillip of the union of BC Indian Chiefs has said that Canada will face a "summer of protest" in response to this failure.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks and months as I follow Harper's response to this issue.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Harper mudslinging

From liberal catnip, two examples of disgraceful mudslinging on the part of the Harper Conservatives. Yes, all parties stoop to mudslinging from time to time, but these guys take it to a new level.

Harper, in question period today:

I can understand the passion that the leader of the Opposition and members of his party feel for the Taliban prisoners. I just wish occasionally they would show the same passion for Canadian soldiers.

Give me a break!

Certainly not prime ministerial. Certianly not taking the high road. Rather, I suspect, yet another attempt to throw dirty lies at the opposition and hope they stick in a desperate drive to distract the citizenry attain a majority so they can do as they please.

Their pork-barrel budget released Monday, designed to placate the citizenry and make them feel good about Harper, and which went against much of what Stephen Harper believes in on economic policy, is another plank in that drive for a majority.

Budget isn't serious about climate change.

I'm a little late on budget coverage here.

From Thoughts on Climate Change, here's an expl;anation as to why the 2007 federal budget is not nearly as green as it appears. Piecemeal lackluster efforts here and there without real committed action on climate change just doesn't cut it.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Harperite Gestapo?

From liberal catnip, we learn about the jackboot treatment of a Toronto Star journalist at a Harper Conservative campaign conference.

Elizabeth May announces run against Peter McKay

As I speak, Elizabeth May is announcing on CBC Newsworld that she is running in Central Nova against Peter McKay. I would like to see her win a seat, and wish she would choose a riding where she would have a better chance.

That said, If she could bring down Peter McKay, nothing would make me happier. He seems like a pretty nice guy, but he was dead wrong (not to mention deceitful) about uniting the PC Party with the Alliance. The latter has swallowed up the former. The princples of the party have swung far to the right.

It will be a tall order, but if she defeats Peter Mckay, it will repesent not only an affirmation of Green Politics, but a condemnation of the Harper government.

She just said, to paraphrase, that she fears what could happen if that Harper government ever attains a majority. Maybe that is the point she is trying to make by making this choice. She knows no one else could defeat McKay, so in a sense, that is perhaps that is why she making this choice.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Environmental groups banned from pre-budget lockup.

From the Toronto Star, through Scott's Diatribes, we learn that the Harper Tories are not inviting environmental groups to the pre-budget lock-up, as is customary.

And Scott's right. It probably means that the Harper Tories are going to go for intensity targets instead of hard caps, and doesn't want the groups to have prepared criticism.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Anders nomination blocked

Buckdog has been follow the saga of Rob Anders, the Calgary area Tory MP who is noted for his reference to Nelson Mandela as a terrorist. Apparently, despite the wishes of the Harperites, a judge has overturned his riding acclamation.

Harper has the spies out

Courtesy Michelle's World, the Harper Tories are spying on the Official Opposition.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Reply to a commenter

I've been having a respectful exchange about Stephen Harper with a right-wing commenter who uses the handle "The Intolerant One". I've been wanting to put up a new post anyway, so I'm going to take the opportunity to respond to a couple of things he has said in the form of a blog post.

Did he (Stephen Harper) ever claim to be "Left"? He's a conservative. Of course he is right. However I view him as not quite as "Right" as you think him to be. There have been some compromises he has made to appease the "Left" not the right.

He has made some compromises, but by and large his government has been very right wing. Here are a list of reasons not to vote for him that I came up with in one of my first posts on this blog. Granted, not all the reasons show that he is so ideologically driven, but many of them do.

You acknowledge that we have someone in office who is smart & skilled at his job, which is a politician, and this scares you? Why is that? Because liberals said he was scary and you simply believed them? Would you prefer a bumbling idiot like the last guy? If Liberals actually possessed these qualities themselves then they would still be the reigning government.

I said that Harper is a smart and skilled political operator, which says nothing about his sense of what policies might be good for the country. What it refers to is his deftness with respect to political strategy and opportunism. In other words, I think he's devious. And no, I don't form my opinions simply based on what the Liberals tell me. He is scary. He is far right wing; this can be seen in quotes from him when he was in private life. We can see signs of this in some of his policies, and his willingness to disregard inter-provincial and international relations in order to abide by his ideology. His government is ideologically the most right-wing government in Canadian history, much more so than Mulroney.

Sorry Stephen, but I find it far more scarier in this nation of ours when we have billion dollar boondoggles, open arms to terrorists, and sponsorship scandals (The equivalent of Enron proportions only those guys actually did time in jail) in a government that betrayed and deceived it's own people with our tax dollars. Then they have the arrogant audacity to tell us "Yeah, we lied and stole your money, did nothing with youth crime, catered to terrorists, threw money down the toilet after a useless gun registry, and did absolutely nothing on our own environmental policies except ratify a deal which we knew was impossible to keep but instead actually allows us not to address the problem but send Vladimir Putin a check for “credits” so we can continue to pollute our good Canadian air with a “Clean” conscience BUT the conservatives..well...their scary!" And every sucker under the Canadian flag buys into the Big Red BS propaganda machine.

Well, that's your worldview; it is certainly not mine. First, every government I can remember has had billion dollar boondoggles. I don't accept that we have open arms to terrorists; that's fearmongering. The gun registry was a good idea that was implemented poorly. The Liberals had a poor record on the environment during their reign, no question about it. That's not an excuse, however, for the Harper Tories not to do anything substantive.

Just to clarify, I am not a partisan Liberal. In that sense, I have no horse in this race, except for the one I want to stop. Attacking the Liberal record of the past does nothing for me. I already know they were far from perfect. I think that the threat that the ideological rigidity of the Harper Tories poses to the fabric of this country surpasses the threat posed by past Liberal incompetence in certain areas.

His policies are not always popular but in fairness there is no government who has been able to accomplish that feat where everyone is pleased. When it comes to decisiveness he has it hands down.

No argument there. However, it is the decisions that his decisiveness is leading him to make that bother me.

I think your going over the top on this one. Your trying to paint him as George Bush and he does not even come close to that.

I never mentioned George Bush. For one thing, the American polity as a whole is considerably to the right of the Canadian polity. That said, I do see similitaries in terms of language, and in terms of direction he is taking the country, even if the starting point is different.

Regarding social issues you seem to suggest here that Harper is not entitled to Charter given rights (written by liberals BTW). Does he not have the individual “right” to oppose gay marriage just the same as someone has the “right” to endorse it?

I have no problem with Stephen Harper or anyone else having whatever personal position he wants on the issue. What I do have a problem with is politicians, through parliament, forcing their beliefs on others.

LOL are you kidding me? Yeah, he (Stephane Dion) has a great track record on environmental issues. He is also another “Sponsorship scandal” denier! :) What some other great attributes? Oh yeah, when he speaks english I can’t tell. He tries to convince what a great Canadian he is with his France citizenship. Speaking of which his choice for deputy minister lived as an American for the last 3 decades. Hmmmm I wonder how that will sound if he were to make PM

I agree, he does have a great track record on environmental issues. He was only Minister of the Environment for only about the last two years of Liberal rule, and while not perfect, was lauded by the international community for his performance. I wonder, what has the international community thought of the Harper Tories on the environment? In fact, some of Harper's policies are merely watered down versions of parts of Dion's plan.

He also came out of the Sponsorship scandal unscathed. Even Harperite MPs aren't using that line.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Thanks Vijay

Thanks to Vijay Sappani for the mention. Though I am not a supporter or member of any political party, I welcome interest and support from members of all opposition parties (including ones not represented in parliament).