Monday, September 29, 2008

Suzuki: We must elect leaders who care about the planet

Turns out Dr. David Suzuki is blogging it this election. Cool. And while he doesn't mention Harper by name in this piece, I think it's pretty clear from this he ain't voting for the Cons.

Leaders of nations worldwide know we are near more than one environmental tipping point. So they've met to hammer out agreements in crucial areas such as biodiversity loss and global warming. Canada itself has acknowledged, through national planning and legislation, the importance of issues such as species conservation and sustainable development. Many of these agreements and strategies must be addressed during the mandate of the government we elect on October 14.

In December 2009, Canada will meet with other nations in Copenhagen to adopt an international treaty to succeed the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. In 2010, the country will also have to report on the progress it has made regarding the UN Convention on Biological Diversity's targets for reducing biodiversity loss. Over the next few years, Canada's government must also formally review its Species at Risk Act, implement a Sustainable Development Act, and tackle a number of other crucial environmental issues.

We need a government that will lead when it comes to caring for the finite world that gives us life and sustains us. We've already squandered 20 years since global warming was first recognized as an issue requiring immediate attention. We signed the Kyoto Protocol 10 years ago, in 1998, and ratified it in 2002, but have done little to reduce greenhouse gas emissions since then. On top of that, our oceans have more plastics and pollution but fewer fish, plant and animal species are disappearing at an accelerating rate, and we have failed to take advantage of the many opportunities sustainable development offers.

Even though the environment has at least been on the agenda during this election, pollsters tell us Canadians see the economy and health care as more important. But it's not a matter of one or the other. The health of Canadians depends on a healthy environment, as does a healthy economy. Everything is connected!

The economy is a huge issue, as we can see from the current meltdown in the U.S., which will surely have an enormous impact on our economy. But some politicians are exploiting our fears to imply that environmental protection and action on global warming are not compatible with a strong economy. What planet are these people living on?

That way of thinking is wrong on so many levels it's hard to know where to begin. A strong, sustainable economy is not possible without a healthy environment. Global warming, pollution, diminishing resources, and loss of species and habitat will cost us increasingly more as our already burdened health-care systems are stretched to the limit, as we run short of fossil fuels and land to grow food, and as ecosystems collapse, threatening the availability of clean water, air, and soil.

Those who argue that protecting the environment will hurt the economy may want to take note that none of the current economic problems in the U.S., here, or around the world has been caused by environmental-protection measures! On the contrary, countries such as Germany and Denmark that took measures early on to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and switch to more renewable energy sources have seen substantial economic benefits and have been less vulnerable to the impacts of volatile fossil-fuel markets. We don't decry $90 a tonne tipping fees for landfills but we scream bloody murder at a suggested $10 a tonne to pollute the atmosphere with carbon. Sweden has a flourishing economy with a carbon tax at $150 a tonne!

We're a bit behind, but we can start to catch up by recognizing that environmental initiatives can give the economy a huge boost. We can keep sucking every last bit of coal and oil out of the ground until it's all gone, until it's all been burned and its carbon released into the air, or we can create jobs and economic opportunities by developing renewable sources of energy.

Yes, we can all make a difference through our own individual actions, by changing some of our habits, but we also have an opportunity to elect a government that will contribute to the kinds of large-scale changes needed for a sustainable world. As Canadians, we must hold the politicians to account and ensure that, no matter which party wins the election, we will have a government that shows foresight and leadership at home and abroad. That way we'll have a country that is thriving on opportunity rather than drowning in crisis. If we keep stalling, we won't have to worry about the economy, or health care, or anything else.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sierra Club: Cons receive failing grade on climate change.

Thoughts on Climate Change has nicely summarized an evaluation of the five major political parties platforms on climate change by the Sierra Club. As expected, the Cons fail:

Conservatives: F+

"Comments: Needs to acknowledge the climate crisis, and stop obstructing progress at international meetings. It is essential for Canada to commit to an absolute reduction target with a 1990 baseline. Should abandon the misleading approach of intensity targets."

Bloc Quebecois: B
"Comments: Develop a more detailed plan, and specify a price for carbon emissions."

Green Party: A-
"Comments: A significant part of the revenue raised should be directed to achieve further greenhouse gas reductions."

Liberals: B+
"Comments: Outline how the price on carbon will increase to a level to achieve a minimum 25% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Make a firm commitment to a target of a minimum 25% reduction in emissions by 2020."


"Comments: Either include a carbon tax to put a price on carbon sooner, or provide details for how the plan will reach its target."
View of the full report here.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Winnipeg Free Press on strategic voting movements

The Winnipeg Free Press has an article on the recent phenomenon of grassroots web-based movements in favour of strategic voting. H/t to Impolitical.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Avaaz condemns Harper response to global poverty

From The Harper Index:

The prestigious international anti-poverty organization Avaaz has called Canada one of the three worst offenders in the global fight against poverty.

"World leaders gather this Thursday at the United Nations to renew the fight against extreme poverty," reported an appeal from the organization. "But three countries -- France, Canada, and Italy -- are threatening to undermine the world's anti poverty efforts, by slashing their development aid budgets and breaking their international promises.

Avaaz accuses Canada of reneging on development funding. "In Canada, which kept 99.7% of its income last year, Stephen Harper seems more interested in winning his election than in upholding Canada's tradition of moral leadership," the organization charges.

It is urging its members and citizens around the world to flood the Canadian government with emails as part of "sending Harper, Sarkozy, and Berlusconi a clear signal that we expect them to keep to their word."

The Star: Harper's goal a right-wing Canada.

From the Toronto Star:

Stephen Harper is often accused of having a "hidden agenda" and yearning to form a majority government so he can implement it.

In fact, though, there is nothing "hidden" about what Harper wants, which is to change Canada fundamentally from a centre-left country into a small-c conservative, right-wing nation.

The only question is how fast he will be able to do.

If he wins a majority in the Oct. 14 election, the transformation may happen very quickly.

Indeed, Harper leaves no doubt what he wants to do.

"I said for a long time, and nobody listened to me for the longest time, that my goal was to make conservatism the natural governing philosophy of the country," he said in a recent interview with the National Post. "I think we're moving the country in the right direction and I also think our party is becoming, I wouldn't say centrist, maybe more pragmatic."

To drive home that theme, Harper told reporters on the campaign trail last week that he is fully convinced Canada has become more conservative over the last 20 years.

He also argued that Canadians are more accepting of his positions on crime, taxes, national unity and social policies relating to families.

Is Harper correct? Are we becoming more conservative, more right wing as a nation?

While Harper may have an argument when it comes to wanting better controls on government spending, especially after the runaway deficits under the last Conservative prime minister, Brian Mulroney, he is way off base when it comes to social issues.

For years, Harper has talked about the death of the Left.

Such talk is conventional wisdom in the conservative movement, especially in the United States, where Harper gets his political inspiration. He particularly likes the anti-government, socially conservative agenda espoused by the late U.S. president Ronald Reagan.

His dislike for Canada as a centre-left nation with strong social policies was well illustrated in a 1997 speech he gave when he was vice-president of the right-wing National Citizens Coalition to a conservative American think-tank. He told the crowd that Canada is "a northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it."

He went on to praise the U.S. right wing, saying: "Your country, and particularly your conservative movement, is a light and an inspiration to people in this country and across the world."

In Harper's ideal world, he would give away most powers of the federal government, slash government funding of the arts (he claims ordinary folks don't care about the arts), get tougher on criminals and further reduce taxes.

Also, he would ease regulations on businesses, promote more free trade, allow more privatization of essential services, cozy up more to Washington and abandon Canada's traditional role as an "honest broker" on the world stage.

But as much as Harper would like to deny it, Canada has long been one of the world's most successful small-l liberal countries.

And as much as he would like to ignore it, most Canadians don't share his views. That's reflected in polls that show that, while the Tories are ahead, some 65 per cent of us support the centrist Liberals and the left-leaning NDP, Greens and Bloc Québécois.

In fact, small-l liberalism remains strong in Canada.

Polls consistently show we are a compassionate nation, strongly supporting universal medicare, tough environmental laws and significant foreign aid. We back same-sex marriage, abortion and a ban on capital punishment, issues on which conservatives find themselves opposed to the mainstream.

The left and centre-left want more money to fight poverty, to help natives, to create more daycare spaces. They back racial and gender equality, multiculturalism and don't consider the phrase "politically correct" to be a bad thing.

Not a bad list.

So, if voters in the centre and on the left fail to deliver a clear message to Harper on election day and hand him a majority government, will he really remake Canada in his own right-wing image?

For that, just listen to Harper himself, who, in the interview in which he touted a conservative governing philosophy, stated flatly: "I am not in politics to be loved, I'm in politics to get things done and make a difference."

That's not a "hidden" agenda.

DeSmog Blog: Economists denounce Harper Plan

From DeSmog Blog:

Three top economists, led by Dr. Mark Jaccard of Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, have released an analysis (attached) of the Conservative government's climate policy, saying that, as designed, the might make no headway whatever in reducing Canadian CO2 emissions.

Jaccard and fellow economists Nic Rivers and Jotham Peters, say the Stephen Harper plan is particularly faulty on two counts: it sets "intensity targets" that allow allow absolute emissions to continue going up, and it allows companies to purchase "offset" that completely absolve the firm of making any CO2 reductions itself. Both of these policies are proven failures in actually limiting or reducing the total emission of CO2.

The report, entitled "Assessing Canada’s 2008 Climate Policy," also calls into question the value of "emission targets" that are not linked to firm caps.

"Emission targets are meaningless by themselves and often a red herring. Some
environmentalists have applauded politicians for setting aggressive targets for GHG
reduction (called “stretch targets” or “aspirational targets”) and the media tends to focus
on these. As a consequence, many politicians select ambitious targets even while their
actual policies have negligible likelihood of achieving them."

In the current circumstances, all five Canadian political leaders have set emission targets for 2020 - calling for reduction of CO2 emissions of between 20 and 30 per cent.

But while the Liberals, the NDP, the Bloc Quebecois and the Green Party have all accepted the international benchmark date of 1990, the Conservatives have chosen a baseline of 2006. Because Canadian emissions rose between 1990 and 2006 by nearly one-third, that means that - even if successful - the Harper Conservatives would reduce emissions by only three per cent from 1990 levels.

Even that, however, is too optimistic, according to the Jaccard report's conclusioin:

"... it is highly unlikely that the policies of the government of Canada will achieve the target of reducing national emissions 20% below 2006 levels by 2020. The lack of an economy-wide emissions price and the allowance for 100% offsets for industrial emitters make it highly likely that emissions will be significantly higher than target levels in 2020 and indeed might even be close to today’s levels. Since the government claims that it is intent on achieving its 2020 emissions reduction target, it is difficult to understand why it does not immediately convert the intensity cap to an absolute cap and eliminate or severely reduce the offset provision. It also needs to extend its cap to cover all emissions in the economy."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Doctor refers to Harper policy on Insite as genocide

A couple of BC doctors involved with the fight against AIDS have slammed the Harper government's approach to Insite, one of them referring to the policy as genocide.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives: The Harper Record

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has just released The Harper Record, the most detailed and comprehensive analysis of the record of the Harper government yet released. I've just had a skim of it and I agree, it is very impressive. It contains detailed analyses of their performance in all policy areas, including the Harper government's own raison d'etre, crime policy. It also includes an overview of Harper's background. I strongly recommend checking it out.

letter to cofused Canadian voters

Annamarie has asked me to post this letter to confused Canadian voters from a concerned Canadian friend.

Hello confused voter:
I am so sorry that you still think it is unfair of our venerable CBC to thrash Dion and tow the Harper line. I can see you need a bit of background info on this. When Harper cheated his way into office with the collusion of the RCMP and unfortunately Jack Layton, the whole dynamics of politics changed. Harper is a US lobbyist sent to us and financed by the republicans and big business to open Canada for the US style unregulated casino like financial system. Chretien was ousted by Martin for not cozying up to big business and Bay St. enough. Martin tried to behave as if his agenda was the usual Liberal semi socialist program even though he too was in agreement with selling out Canada to corporate interests. After all, he was the one who put us in the Afghanistan combat role under US command, Enduring Freedom. We are not under the Nato umbrella, we are already embedded in the US army. That is why Dion had to agree to the mission extension; there is no way the Americans will let us go. The Americans also blackmail and unfairly interfere with other countries internal politics. Harper win was engineered by them, because Martin was not as compliant as this current puppet proved to be. Martin was the one who put us on the road with deep integration and the SPP where the goal is to merge us into the US. As it is, we have too many laws and safeguards preventing that from happening as yet. Harper for the past 2 and a half years was furiously working behind the scenes to harmonize whatever he can with US laws and regulations, at the expense of the public. Since that time when Harper sneaked his way into office, Canada the decent, tolerant, just country ceased to exist. Witness the relentless attacks and bullying that have been going on for the past two years. Is this the country you grew up in? When Dion was chosen as leader of the party, all the pro business people went ballistic. Their lovely plan of selling us to the US developed a major snag. Here was a man who is honest, principled, just and not in politics for personal gain, thus he became their chief nemesis. In other words, he is a mortal enemy to the crooks on the right, both of big oil and big business. A man you cannot bribe or intimidate is their worst enemy. We, who attended that famous convention chose him precisely for those qualities. We did not want a Martin clone in Ignatieff or a pro Israel, and by extension another American supporter to be the new leader. We wanted a man who would stand up for Canada and we knew Dion could do it. We wanted to change the party and return it to local control for the citizen's benefit. Two weeks after the convention the attacks started from the Cons. Have you ever wondered why they spent millions in the past years to assassinate Dion's character? Isn't it strange that they did not succeed in destroying him and like an energizing bunny he keeps on going because he knows HE IS RIGHT? He has a fully developed plan for the well-being of Canada and the other side is furious that nothing seems to faze him, not his own party's lack of faith or the whole negative press he gets, he just pushes on because HE IS RIGHT! You must learn that two-thirds of our media are in conservative hands and they do not want him to win. Harper offered them unregulated markets where they can fleece the public with impunity. You think they will be fair and just? All the polls paid by them is fabricated to sound that way, to discourage the voters and have them stay home. If the Liberals lose heart as a lot of them are, the feeling forced on them already is: "what is the use, Harper will win anyway." But why should they? The cons have no platform, no plan for Canada except to let the market destroy its safety net. The CBC is a government funded organization that is gutted from the inside, and the long time anchors like Peter Mansbridge and Don Newman gave up their objectivity long ago against being fired. Don't think Harper would not do it, he has a string of wrongful dismissals under his belt.
What I am trying to say is use your head and use the internet wisely. You can find the truth easily, it is out there. The site to watch daily is The Turner Report, there you will get daily updates about the lies and shenanigans the conservatives are engaged in. Liblogs is another one, where you will read about all the outrages and happenings immediately as they occur. By the way, the only honest polling company belongs to Nick Nanos and he polls for CPAC. He was bang on with the last election results and he is the only one who does not manipulate the undecided numbers. Currently, the cons among decided voters lead at 36 per cent, the same as when they were elected in 2006, the Liberals are at 31 per cent despite the constant media barrage against Dion. Do you think there is not a concentrated effort to defeat Dion by the media? The NDP are at 22 per cent. Do you know what is the most important part of this poll? There are 20 per cent undecided voters!! Those people are waiting for the debates, they are waiting to see if anything happens like a major financial meltdown in the US or a new scandal, or Julie Couillard's book on Bernier released before the election date. There are too many unknown factors still to call this election won by the cons. Harper as a dictator may sound good to his blind followers, but this is a huge country with regional interests that cannot be run by one rigid ideology. So I will ask you to accept the fact that big business, big oil, the media and Harper are conspiring against the Canadian people. Knowing this, your duty for your and your children's sake is to go and help out with your local campaign and help however you are able. We need money and volunteers. This is the last chance for Canada to remain free; if we blow it this time will be an exploited poor region of a failing fascist empire. The slogan is WE WANT OUR CANADA BACK!! If you know any young people convert them to the cause, it is their future that is being given away. Allow Dion to return the country to its guiding principles: Peace, Order and Good Government. Let him fulfill his vision, Canada will be the richer for it.
Klara Palotay

Ken Dryden speech

I'm not going to post a speech from just any politician, regardless of affiliation, but I've always got time for Ken Dryden. (Yes, he's a hockey hero, but he's also a very smart man who in my humble opinion, who would probably make a better PM than any of the folks running for the position right now.)

H/t to Saskboy and others.

We’re now about a third of the way through this election campaign. What’s been happening up until now? Where does it all seem to be going?

Stephane Dion has been talking about our economy - our economy now and in a very changing world; about the environment; about poverty, what it does to people, to kids, and the need to engage that fight now.

But really, up to this point, Mr. Harper has controlled the message of this election. Yet, this message has often been odd and surprising.

Like their slogan: “We’re better off with Harper.” This is their slogan; their ad - “We’re better off - with Harper” - like saying “taking everything into consideration, despite all this or that, on the whole, really, probably we’d have to say, (“we’re better off with Harper”). Not exactly a ringing endorsement. Nothing energizing about it, nothing exciting. Nothing that makes you want to wake up in the morning and race into the possibilities of your day. Yet this is their message. Even in their dreams they can’t quite express anything stirring, anything big. Is this what being a Prime Minister is about? What Canada is about?

Then there’s the blue vest, the “Mr. Nice Guy” ads. Ad firms are paid millions to tell the story their client wants told. It’s much easier for them when it’s a new “product” or a new “person” launch. When the information they provide is the only information - when the public knows nothing else. The problem for Mr. Harper is that the public does know something else. They’ve been watching him for 2 ½ years and Stephen Harper, they know, may be lots of things, but he’s not a “nice guy.” He’s not.

Nice guys don’t cut literacy programs. Nice guys don’t cut funding to women’s groups, aboriginal groups, health and childcare and poverty and disability groups. Toying with them month after month, teasing them with silence and desperate hope. If, they say to themselves, if I don’t say anything, if I just go quiet, maybe I might get something. Please. Then crumbs, or nothing.

Nice guys don’t decide there’s only one voice in this country that matters. Not these voices of our communities. Not those of his own Cabinet or Caucus. Not voices in the arts who get their programs cut because they say things that might make us squirm. Not any voice competent and professional who disagrees - Linda Keen, Adrian Measner, Jean-Guy Fleury - who then feel the pulverizing weight of a Government machine come down on them just so they know: you don’t mess with “the vest”.

Arts groups, literacy and poverty and childcare groups - it’s the same story. Nice guys don’t make the weak weaker and the vulnerable more vulnerable.

Nice guys don’t act like there are Canadians and not-quite Canadians. Those who fit Mr. Harper’s understanding of how life is supposed to be lived, and those, Canadians too - single mothers, addicts, gays and lesbians - who don’t.

And nice guys don’t take someone else’s person, as he did Monsieur Dion, they don’t take their personality, their character, their life, what they’ve worked hard to build, what is decent and substantial and good. What they’ve earned. They don’t take that, twist it, stretch it, caricature and distort it. They don’t buy air time and in front of millions of people, assassinate it. And pretend, ahh, that’s just politics.

Oh, and the puffin and the poop - oops, sorry. Didn’t mean it. Just like I don’t mean all the other just-as-new ads on the Conservatives’ website, that reach tens of thousands just like the Mr. Nice Guy ads on TV, that are just as abusive as the others in the pre-Mr. Nice Guy time.

If it quacks like a duck, put a blue vest on it, it’s still a duck.

But who says you need a “nice guy” to be a Prime Minister? It’s a tough, often disagreeable job. As they say about war - with the enemy all around, who do you want in that foxhole next to you. In politics, in sports and business, some not-so-nice guys are good leaders and win, and some nice guys are good leaders and win too. And some nice guys and not-so-nice guys fail. Being a good leader isn’t about that. It’s something more.

From these first 13 days, it is clear that Mr. Harper has decided this election is about him. He’s saying to Canadians: I’m a leader. I know what I want - I’m decisive - I deliver. And that, he says, is leadership. And in uncertain economic and global times, he says, Canadians need that and want that. But what Mr. Harper confuses is the posture of leadership, and the substance of leadership. Leadership is . . . leading - getting others to follow. But critically, fundamentally, leadership is direction. It is going . . . somewhere. The question is “where”? Leadership matters because the “where” matters, and it’s the job of a Prime Minister to know better than anyone else what the best “where” is. For the country. For your life and my life. That’s real leadership.

As a golfer, I can hit the ball a long way. The problem is I can’t hit it in the right direction. And a ball hit - decisively, competently - in the wrong direction is a ball that goes further and further and further into the woods. History is filled with leaders who have competently, decisively gone in the wrong direction with disastrous results.

Where is Mr. Harper’s “where”?

He doesn’t seem to want to talk about that. In making this election all about him, he is doing his best to make this election about nothing. It’s his “Seinfeld campaign.” But in 2008, how can that be? This is a time when the cost of carbon economically and environmentally is forcing the world’s countries to re-imagine the future. To reward the constructive and punish the destructive. To act. To change. To create the hard-won possibilities to compete in the economy ahead.

It’s a time when the gap between rich and poor is growing. When too many Canadians live the way no Canadians should have to live. When too many don’t have a real chance at a real future.

It’s a time when our children need more and better opportunities to learn - when they’re young and need a good start; later in college and university. A time when aboriginal peoples finally and forever need the chance of a full Canadian life.

It’s a time when, as Canadians, we need to think about ourselves differently. We are 33 million people - one of the world’s largest economies; one of the world’s richest nations; with a land mass so big and abundant amidst a world of countries that have neither. We are safe, secure and stable; we can count on tomorrow, plan for tomorrow, imagine and build tomorrow, when just about everyone else cannot. With our French and English past, with our present where people from almost everywhere live within our borders - we are a country which has learned to live with difference, accept difference, learn from difference; live the global world of the future, when to much of the rest of the world difference still means guns and blood.

Countries come and go, prominent at one time, pushed to the sidelines in another. History is a long time. And undeniably, whatever Canada has been in the past we will be far more in the future. The world knows that. We need to know that too. And our leaders need to know that, and embody it and act that way in everything they do.

There is more to us, more to Canada, than tax breaks as the answer for everything. More to Canada than life as pieces and parts - East; West. Quebec; the Rest of Canada - firewalls everywhere. More to us than Mr. Harper’s small, pinched vision of ourselves and our future.

“Better off with Harper”?


We are more than this.

This election is about something.

Stephane Dion may get a lot of criticism, but he is trying to make this campaign about something. Mr. Harper is not.

Leadership, real leadership, is first of all, most of all, knowing what’s important - then focusing on it, sharing it with others, then determinedly, relentlessly, together, getting there.

I don’t believe in “hidden agendas.” I find arguments like that just too easy. I just want to know where Mr. Harper’s going. Tell me. Tell us. What is your vision of this country? How should it work? What should it be? What is the best “US” now and for the future? How does Canada become what Canada can be? Tell us. We need to know. Tell us how, person to person, we, as Canadians, should relate to each other? What we can expect of others, and what others can expect of us? Tell us what role government should play, and shouldn’t? Tell us about families, in busy, complicated real, not fanciful lives, how as parents we give ourselves and our kids a real chance at all that’s in us to be. Families are not just card games with kids - tell us. We need to know.

And once you’ve told us that, tell us why you’re not saying to Canadians that to realize this vision, one you believe so important to our present and future, so unbelievably exciting to you and to all of us, that you need us, all of us, that you need a majority to do it? Say it, say it, why wouldn’t you? Shout it from the rooftops - - after you’ve told us your vision of the country, and for the country. After you’ve decided this campaign is not about nothing.

Mr. Harper wants this campaign to be about nothing because on all those things the campaign needs to be about, he has nothing to offer.

This campaign is NOT about Mr. Harper. It is NOT about him. It is about our present and future economy, about climate change, poverty and learning. It is about all Canadians having a real chance. It’s about encouraging, allowing, seeking out voices different from our own, that make us smarter; that bring us to our best and keep us from our worst. It’s about our understanding of ourselves as a country, about the importance of Canada in the world of our future. This is a campaign about BIG, IMPORTANT things.

In an election about nothing, Mr. Harper will win. In an election about something, we will win. We have 23 days.


a few links

Thanks to my friend Annamarie for e-mailing me the following links about non-partisan groups, advocating for Canadians to vote strategically.

Department of Culture

Vote For Environment

Monday, September 22, 2008

Harper family values?

From The Tyee, Murray Dobbin on the odd family-values stance of Stephen Harper:

You have to hand it to Stephen Harper and the Conservatives and their chutzpa at portraying themselves as pro-family. Virtually all their policies work to undermine the security of families and their quality of life. Unless, of course, you are talking about the families of the wealthy and privileged who have received about 70 per cent of federal personal tax cuts over the past 10 years.

In fact, middle class families have been stripped of social program benefits during that time and almost all of that money "saved" has found its way into the pockets of people who don't need it.

Along the way, Canada has witnessed the biggest transfer of wealth from the bottom to the top in its history.

Of course Stephen Harper is counting on all those facts being swept away with cozy, sweater-clad visuals of him sitting down with a family in Burnaby. Neo-cons also get a huge amount of traction from their so-called pro-life stand. But while they are keen to protect the fetus, as soon as it is born the kid and its parents are on their own.

Read the entire article here.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

retired SFU prof attacks Harper government

In the Georgia Straight, we see that retired SFU psychology professor Bruce Alexander has some choice words for the Harper government's war on drugs.

The Harper government has a very strong economic ideology,” Alexander told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview. “That’s a perfectly legitimate idea, but in their hands it’s a dogma. And if you take it as a dogma, then you simply can’t recognize that a problem as terrifying as addiction has its roots in the kind of fragmentation that is inevitably produced by free-market economics.

"So they have to go back to the old idea that the reason we have people who aren’t behaving properly is drugs—that drugs have a magical quality of taking over human beings who would otherwise be normal guys shopping at Wal-Mart.”

Read the entire article here.

Canadian Medical Association slams Harper government

In an editorial in the CMA journal, the CMA has slammed the Harper government for it's failed response to the listeriosis outbreak.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Charest not happy with Harper

It seems Quebec premier and former Tory Jean Charest is none to happy with Harper's slashing of arts funding.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Progressives for Dion.

H/t to Annamarie at Verbena-19 for bringing to my attention a non-partisan group calling itself Progressives for Stephane Dion.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I'm bringing this blog back, temporarily anyway

I wasn't going to, but I have decided to bring back my Stop Stephen Harper blog, for the duration of the federal election campaign anyway. I still have a disdain for partisan politics, and I want to make it clear that this is a non-partisan blog devoted, at the very least, preventing Stephen Harper from getting a majority on October 14. I never thought the Cons would actually threaten to get a majority of seats, but to my disdain some polls point in that direction.

This blog will pay attention to any developments during the campaign that shed light on the threat that Stephen Harper poses to the fabric of Canadian society, in addition to reminders of exactly what Stephen Harper has stood for in the past.

Because the Stop Stephen Harper blog is no longer on the Prog Blog blogroll, posts will be cross-posted at one of my other blogs, My Intellectual Odyssey.

Fellow progressive Canadians, at this point in time, I feel a little uneasy about our future. Oh, I know no matter what happens, we will somehow endure. However, even if the Harpercons only win a minority government, the conventional wisdom seems to be that they will be able to govern as if they have a majority, because they CPC will be well funded, and the other parties will be broke. I cannot bear the thought of this. I don't know what the future will hold, but I do know that I will know that I and many others will not be willing sacrifice the fabric of Canadian society without a fight. Even if opposition parties are disabled, grassroots opposition to the ideological agenda of the Harpercons will and must be massive.

First things first, though. There is an election to fight.