Archive for the ‘Election POV’ Category

Decisions in November 2010 and beyond

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

Hello people,

It’s been awhile since I wrote anything on my blog, as things have been fairly hectic here in Canada land.

Any of you who have been following politics in Canada are aware that there is a lot of stress going on in Canada’s Parliament, mainly orchestrated by the divisive tactics of Canada’s current federal government, the Conservative Party of Canada (aka CPC).

The CPC seem to have taken several pages out of the worst aspects of the GOP over the past eight years and have stirred up quite a mess to the north of all of you.

Not to mention my own issues abrewing north of the 44th parallel.

All of that while also trying to develop my own art/work (writing music, TV/film projects and actually swinging some gigs as an actor).

But I digress, the reason why I am writing this to you is that as a neighbor to your north, I am aware that there are some major elections going on in the USA this November.

From the ongoing media reports, it seems as though many of you are disappointed with the Democratic Party for not bringing change, fast enough, to the lives of the average American citizen.

There has also been considerable negative press of the President by the extreme parts of media (Yes, we have access to FOXNews up in Canada too! And no, it’s not a pretty sight!).

From my perspective as an outsider, I must admit to being completely baffled as to why moderates and progressives, in the USA, would listen to or be swayed by anything the Tea Party or the GOP would have to say, especially since the policies of the GOP have done so much harm to Americans across your country over the past thirty years and especially from 2001- January 2009.

Perhaps people have short memories but President Obama has been in power for less than two years and in that short time, there have been and continue to be numerous members of the media and politicians, in the USA, who have made some of the most disrespectful and hateful comments about him as POTUS and as a person, I’ve ever heard said about a new President.

Despite the overwhelming proof, the solid hard-core evidence that almost everything going wrong in the USA today was caused by the policies of the GOP, President Obama has been personally blamed for the current state of the economy and life in the USA.

Most people don’t seem to realize that it can take 2-4 years for many of the policies of the federal government to take effect in a country, which means whatever is presently going wrong in the USA was caused by the GOP, the very people, who have been and are currently blaming President Obama, everyday since he became President, less than 2 years ago.

Again, from the point of view of an outsider, I think the comments from people like Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly and the numerous members of the Tea Party, are so wrong that it defies common sense as to why anyone would take them seriously.

Think about it, from 2001-January 2009 there was no Tea Party movement, nothing, not a sign, no crazy costumes, no calls to take America back, from… but almost as soon as President Obama was elected, there emerged a huge mass of people who wanted to impeach him, who called him a traitor, disputed the facts of his birth, flashed weapons claiming that citizens were under threat of losing them, falsely claimed the US census was an invasion of privacy, even a crazy statement from Glenn Beck stating President Obama doesn’t like white people!? Despite the fact that POTUS Obama is of mixed heritage, whose mother was white and so were the grandparents who raised him, Mr. Beck made his ridiculous statement.

Yet, I’ve heard very little in support of President Obama from the people who elected him or who believe that the most outrageous statements made about him are false, cruel, ridiculous and utterly without merit.

Moderate and progressive people need to be more vigilant and outspoken, in supporting and defending their democracy from those who wish to subvert it, by using bullying tactics, and denying the truth.

From my outside vantage point, the GOP and Tea Party people are nothing but schoolyard bullies and thugs who are using their money and influence to undermine common sense, truth and civility in America and evidently in Canada as well by infecting our Conservative government with the same angry, confrontational and posturing style which has defined “politics” from the GOP. All of their bluster and negativity has done nothing, except get people angry and offers no real solutions to the pressing concerns of our times.

The Democratic Party has some really good ideas and plans to modernize America including; improving education, improving the infrastructure, health care, lowering taxes for the middle class, making the wealthy and corporations more responsible for their actions, creating proper oversight to prevent further abuses by Wall Street, bankers and other companies, expanding alternative energy sources, thereby creating better paying jobs, ending DADT and promoting the USA as a friend and an honest broker with the world, in terms of foreign policy decisions.

President Obama and the policies of the common sense side of the Democratic Party, are the what moderates around the world have been hoping for in terms of a direction from the USA government and apparently what moderates and progressives, in the USA itself, have been demanding for over 30 years. In the past, there have been glimpses of America’s true potential but it seems as though, the current administration has the best people in place to actually move the USA forward with intelligent, thoughtful, realistic goals and responsible cost cutting legislation that trims the fat, the waste off the government, reinvests the money and gives power back to the people, to build a country, where greed is not good.

But people gotta go out and vote. If people don’t support positive, hard-working politicians when they come on the scene to help their country, then they get stuck with the other kind…

Below are some links to news stories about POTUS Obama and some of the very good things he’s done thus far. In terms of actual work and policy, he’s brought in more positive legislation to the USA than almost any POTUS since FDR…

The man is doing the work, support him and help him restore America for your own sakes. Greed is not good.

 

Obama’s hard work:

http://thejoshuablogs.blogspot.com/2010/06/maddow-president-obamas-legislative.html

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/6/26/879555/-Rachel-Maddow-Compares-Obamas-Legislative-Record-to-FDR-

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/17390/220013

http://thehistoricalcontext.wordpress.com/2010/05/10/obama%E2%80%99s-accomplishments/

http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/sep2010/db20100921_971611.htm

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20101016/ts_alt_afp/useconomyjobspoliticsobama

 

The money behind the Tea Party and GOP:

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/30/100830fa_fact_mayer

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/29/opinion/29rich.html

http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0810/Fox_parent_gives_1_million_to_RGA.html

 

Creepy, immature and wrong things said about President Obama:

http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/200907280008

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/28/fox-host-glenn-beck-obama_n_246310.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/04/16/10-most-offensive-tea-par_n_187554.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-632bWZuDQ

http://www.cbc.ca/arts/story/2009/01/09/mtl-bye-bye-cloutier-0901.html

http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2009/2009-548.htm

 

A great documentary series on the economic crisis and who caused it:

http://www.cbc.ca/documentaries/passionateeyemonday/2009/insidethemeltdown/

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/meltdown/

http://www.cbc.ca/doczone/meltdown/

 

The power of the vote:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-wenger/can-african-american-vote_b_769114.html

 

Issues with Canada’s current Conservative government:

http://www.progressive-economics.ca/2008/09/15/stephen-harpers-uniquely-bad-productivity-record/

http://thenonconformer.wordpress.com/2010/01/29/pm-harpers-government-record-on-everything-women-including-equality-is-very-poor/

http://www.rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/derrick/2010/09/stephen-harper-un-truth-his-speech-will-try-hide

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/canada/breakingnews/quotes-from-census-emails-sent-to-prime-minister-stephen-harper-104529094.html

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/harpers-census-push-months-in-the-making/article1651526/

http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2010/10/12/un-vote012.html

http://www.cbc.ca/politics/story/2010/01/07/harper-economist.html

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/755053–thousands-protest-the-prorogue

http://www.financialpost.com/news/Ottawa+deficit+plan+weak+says+watchdog/3706014/story.html

President Obama

Friday, November 21st, 2008

History has been made and the first African American presidential candidate from a major party has won the election to become the 44th President of the United States of America. What does this mean?

“We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal.” At the time those words were written, new Africans and blacks born in America were slaves, women could not vote and the native population were not even on the map. The black slaves were considered to be 3/5ths of a man.

Much of the history of North America has been about actively preventing slaves, former slaves and their descendants from participating in the American society to the detriment of the country itself. Through law and custom, African Americans have been forced under threat of (and real) humiliation, imprisonment and violence to cower in front of white people, work for them, give way and defer to them. There were always those who fought to be included in the mass that was America, to have a voice and positively contribute to their country. They fought America’s wars, raised their children, cooked their food, cared for the sick and bore the brunt of hatred that a nation that would not let go of its free, servile labor for its own profit and pleasure at the cost of its soul.

There were those whose deeds of defiance and words of eloquence sought to demonstrate that pigment was no barrier to a poet’s soul, a painter’s eye, a musician’s skill, a doctor’s touch, the inventor’s inquisitive mind, or a person’s heart to want and strive for a meaningful life. The pursuit of equality has been a goal of African Americans ever since they were brought to the land in chains.

The hope and determination that America’s former slaves have shown – to be included in the country they help to found, built and defend – has been inspiring to the world. The words and deeds of millions have shown the world that good character, intelligence, artistic skills and a sound scientific mind are not limited by the colour of one’s skin.

Obama’s victory is not just a win for African American citizens who have always been stopped at that final door to acceptance in eyes of the world. The popular media have often stated that “African leaders are corrupt!” (but nothing is said about those who are corrupting them). The African Americans who struggled to make their place in the world were always put in the same barrel as those who had not made the best choices and/or succumbed to violence and escapism to mask the terrible pain and shame they felt at being blocked from living the life they saw around them, or on the other side of the tracks.

Obama’s victory is an American triumph over their past and proof that nothing is static. Hope, change and action are things that have driven progress in the world. It is hope that pushed people to work for their own and their children’s future. To get up in the morning to protest for justice knowing that they may suffer for it. Hope and the instinctive, deep seeded knowledge that individuals working together can change their circumstances, bring about change, heal old wounds and unify behind a common purpose, is what has driven mankind.

Obama’s victory is about the average Jane, and Joe of America realizing that the country is more important than any one party. The policies of the GOP have been horrible for everyone, even investors. The military is overstretched by men who used their family’s influence to avoid military service. The economy has been broken by those who made horrible choices on investments based on fast, easy money and no accountability. The health care system is corrupt and weak after decades of lobbyists buying votes to keep Americans sick and poor, building an insurance industry that penalizes its citizens for getting sick. Innovation has fallen to perpetuate a status quo that states that less is bad, that everyone should drink more, eat more and burn fuel more than anyone else, everyday, all of the time. The auto industry is just one of the casualties of that philosophy.

Obama’s victory is a win for common sense and a real opportunity for intelligence, good policy and respect to return to US politics. Under his Presidency, the US could truly once again influence the world, not with bombs or a barrel of a gun, but with strong, thoughtful leadership. It remains to be seen how it will all work out. Obama has demonstrated by including millions of Americans in the process to support the Democrats and his campaign that there was an untapped strength of a nation which has been neglected and wants to participate in the health and wealth of their own country.

The power of optimism is that it inspires people to bring out the better parts of their nature, to improve their own lives and those of others. A person who can tap into that basic truth and help the nation focus to be strong, vibrant and helpful to its citizens is a real leader. For too long politicians have used their power to divide their country’s citizens against one another, while giving power and money to businesses at the expense of common sense and true prosperity. Obama’s win shows that the majority of people really do want to get along, live together and work together for a brighter future. They just need to be guided by a leader who wants everyone’s life to be better, not just a select few.

The USA will be the better for it. As the rhetoric calms down and the nation heals, the world might end up being safer for it too. Good luck Obama, good luck USA, we’re all pulling for you.

Have you noticed…

Saturday, October 25th, 2008

That the media seems to be covering more news stories about the environment of late? In fact, ever since the elections have ended, the CBC and other media outlets in Canada have mentioned different ways other countries in the world are using their industries to create jobs and advancing the fight against reducing their respective carbon emissions. Too bad that the media didn’t do that during the election campaign.

Since our elections ended, there have been stories on Freiburg in Germany and on Portugal and how they are reducing pollution, driving their economy with new jobs and innovative technologies while Canada lags behind. The Canadian solution thus far seems fairly feeble. There are companies trading carbon emissions by hiring a 3rd party to cut down healthy trees and plant new ones to offset their greenhouse gas emissions!? Who thought that one up? Apparently when people purchase airline tickets through Air Canada they can choose to offset the carbon gas damage of their trip buy contributing to this program from the safety of their airline seat… The new trees will take at least 20 years to mature… This is the 2nd largest country in the world in terms of landmass and that is how Canadian companies and the Conservative Party are helping to curb greenhouse gases. Not very inspiring. I wonder if the tree planting company plants trees in areas where forest fires have burned down hundreds of healthy trees or not? From the news report, they seemed to be planting in areas of healthy forests.

Also in the news: Harper and Flaherty might be heading towards a deficit. Really? You mean to say that when Canada is in a war where auditors cannot get all the information on the costs to the country because the Conservatives will not release the information – that the country’s budget might actually be headed towards a deficit… Who wouda thunk it?

Maybe we are in for a surprise… if the economy continues to tank, the dollar continues its drop and GM and Chrysler join together putting more people out of work, perhaps the Conservatives will not make it through 2009. Not that any of those things are very good. But it seems as though the greed of the past 15 years or so is really coming back to bite some of the major companies in the world. Then there is the distinct possibility that the Harper party will implode on itself through its own avarice and lack of focus outside that of copying Leo Strauss’ broken ideas.

Speaking of GM, imagine how much more stable GM and Ford would be right now if they had continued with the electric vehicles they released, then recalled and destroyed after protesting California’s zero emission policy (1996-2003). Check out this movie for more info: Who Killed the Electric Car?

The strange thing about the political winds, is that we are always given a chance to put the society on the path to prosperity and a positive humanist vision. We just have to take the responsibility seriously and make sure that the people we elect help build the society we need and not waste our resources on corporations, war and their own lifestyles. It is really up to us. Hmm…

Well, that was fun…

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

What will Dion’s legacy be? The historically low voter turnout helped weaken the Liberal party and possibly end Dion’s career as its leader. I hope not. Dion is a good man for this country. His poise under the tremendous pressure of the past two years from Harper, Layton and the media, as well as his vision and policies, have convinced me that he would make a excellent Prime Minister.

Why did so many people stay away? I feel that the reason why so many people did not vote was due to the lack of attention on the issues by the media. They barely questioned Harper’s reason for calling the election and didn’t really challenge him when Harper and Layton tried to prevent May from participating in the debates by threatening to boycott them. The media allowed Harper to dictate the format and change the structure of the debates (which were almost a waste of time because it allowed Harper to just sit there and not speak) and they also avoided asking him the tough questions about his platform and the comments made by his MPs (Ritz’s joke and Richardson’s comments about immigrants).

CBC’s Canada Votes was a bad joke. The commentator was completely biased. It was obvious from day one that the CBC was pulling for Harper. When callers made comments that supported the Liberals, they would be cut off, the commentator would make strange comments about her life or something else to change the topic. She also spent a great deal of time laughing instead of informing the public on the issues. When a caller asked her to go to the Liberal’s web site and use the Green Shift calculator to test how easy it was, she just brushed the caller off. The CBC actually had a fortune teller on the show to predict the outcome of the election… It was really quite silly.

In fact, the bias that the media had towards Dion was apparent to me when he revealed his Green Shift plan this past summer and sat through a rough interview with “Canada’s foremost environmentalist and economist” Wendy Mesley (!?!) of the CBC, whom I found was very harsh with him. Her famous last words to Dion during the interview were “What if you’re wrong?” I thought it was strangely hostile from the CBC to be seemingly so mistrusting and critical of Dion’s green plan based on all the issues that had gone wrong with Harper’s government over the previous 2 1/2 years (lack of media contact, general belligerence towards the media, backing out of Kyoto, income trusts flip flop, canceling women’s programs, canceling the Kelowna accord, canceling the National Day Care program, no figures on the war in Afghanistan, the intrigue surrounding the Cadman affair, Mulroney, Bernier, the surplus disappearing, the Finance Minister suggesting that the province where the nation’s capitol resides, is not a good place to invest…)

CTV has been just as biased and might have cost the Liberals the election by releasing a portion of a bizarre interview question that even most English speakers did not understand. The interview was taped and Dion had trouble understanding the question. Dion asked the interviewer to redo the session and he agreed. Normally that is the end of the story, but in a purely malicious gesture, designed to mock and further humiliate the Liberal leader, the segment of the tape showing a confused Dion was released to all the media outlets in the country. I don’t know if the redo was released, so we do not know for sure, how he actually answered the question. It seemed as though the situation was created on purpose to belittle Dion. It was shameful, tabloid journalism. CTV also broadcasts the show Etalk where their official car has been the “Hummer” through much of the past season – The statement speaks volumes on how the owners of the Canadian media and the Conservative government have weakened the discussion on the issues of the environment.

Harper stopped what he was doing (did someone send his team a copy of the tape?) and had the only late evening address to the media throughout the entire 30-plus days of the campaign to mock and criticize Dion for his confusion during the interview. Normally these things are not released because everyone makes mistakes during a recorded interview. This was released over the last weekend of the campaign when the Conservatives were losing ground… Smells pretty bad from this end.

Other notes: the Economist endorsed Harper for Prime Minister and there was also weekend summit of world leaders and finance ministers. Conservative Finance Minister Flaherty attended the international meeting (after Harper had repeatedly stated throughout the campaign, that everything was fine and that we were in good financial shape) to deal with the financial crisis over the last two days of the campaign. Miraculously, the TSX had a huge gain on the day of the election. Canadians stayed home in record numbers with only 59% of eligible voters showing up to vote. The Liberals lost 19 seats from the last election and Ontario gave the Conservatives 50 seats on their way to winning a second minority government.

The day after the election, the TSX dropped hard and has continued to fall…

This was one of the most bizarre elections I have ever seen. The media spent more time attacking Dion than actually finding what Harper wanted to do for the country. The Green Shift isn’t a new tax. It’s about giving Canada new jobs, lower personal income taxes, shifting the tax we are charged on our paychecks to pollution and giving us a rebate too.

People would not have lost their jobs. Payroll taxes would have been lowered. There were plans to help Canadians modernize our homes, investments for new technologies and money for the infrastructure in our cities. The Auditor General was going provide an annual report to be sure that the Green Shift was revenue neutral, meaning that the government would not take in more money from the program than it returns to the population.

Now Harper gets another chance to destroy our health care programs, cut funding for social groups, families, give out more money to oil companies and hurt the economy with the secret war budget…

Only 21% of Canadians (35% of 59% = aprox. 21%) voted for Harper. The following is just some of his plans for Canada. I do not recall anyone in the media mentioning these issues during the campaign. What else don’t we know?

http://healthandfitness.sympatico.msn.ca/abc/News/ContentPosting.aspx?isfa=1&feedname=CP-HEALTH&showbyline=True&newsitemid=122433045

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/06/20/military-plan.html?ref=rss

To the Green and NDP supporters: Layton is 4th and May isn’t even on the chart. Hopefully her party will get at least one seat in a by-election but next time, don’t throw your votes away. It almost handed Harper a majority. Proper strategic voting (1. Voting to support the non Conservative candidate and 2. voting for the next choice after the Conservatives, in ridings where they held seats from the 2006 election) would have easily defeated the Conservatives. Canada would have had a Liberal minority, supported by the NDP and a possibly, a couple of Green seats too. It was only a matter of 20,000 to 25,000 total votes to completely reverse the results in favour of the Liberals. What happened on Tuesday was really sad for our country. We have spent so much time laughing at the USA for their choices and now we have gone and voted the same way they did over the past eight years…

Let’s hope that it only lasts for a short time (less than two years). Canada is going to go through a real test on how strong this country is. Harper wants to change the country beyond recognition into small, separate, polarized regional areas like the United States has become and it is going to take a lot of determination to stop him from doing that. Ironically, Obama might help bring Americans together on a level that hasn’t happened for many years. Canadians seem to be drifting apart into different political and social camps, due to Harper’s tactics and help from the media.

Here are some ideas to encourage a higher voter turnout: All businesses should close at 1 pm on election day. Many people work half days on Christmas Eve, even if they do not celebrate the holiday. Why not give voters a half day off, so that everyone can vote? Canadians who work in schools, hospitals and daycare facilities could vote in the advanced polls or in shifts, giving the staff 4 hours off to vote (3 hours is not enough time for many people due to traffic and commuting issues). In the case of Universities and Colleges, the students and staff could have polling stations set up in the schools or, it could just become an extra school holiday where post-secondary students would have the day off so that they could actively participate in their country’s future.

Another idea could be to make every major election (municipal, provincial, federal) day a civic holiday. Maybe that would encourage people to come out and vote. During an election, the debates should be over 5 or 6 nights (3 or 4 in English and 2 in French where the parties would have to answer questions, debate and present a platform. It would really engage viewers by giving us a chance to hear each candidate’s vision of the future and their plans for the country. The topics could include economics, education, environment, health care, social programs and crime. The moderator(s) could be leading authorities in the various topics or a single person. If we are going to have debates, then questions need to be asked to and answered by all the parties. Never again should a candidate be allowed to call an election and not release his party’s platform until after the advanced polls are closed. It made this election a total joke and a waste of time and money to the sum over 300 hundred million dollars.

Dion should not lose his job over this phony campaign!

Next time: Go out and Vote!

So what did you think about this election? What was your impression of Dion? The Green Shift? Harper’s lack of transparency and avoiding real question from anyone? Are there any Europeans who would like to comment on how a carbon tax works in any of your countries?

Here are some more sites for info on what we still have a chance to achieve together. It is up to us to build the society that we want. Dion is on the right path. Let’s help ourselves and help him too!

http://www.carbontax.org/

www.youtube.com/watch?v=5l43JHQ5cqY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMnB6V5yG1I

https://www.iema.net/news/envnews?aid=9728

http://ecoworldly.com/2008/05/01/freiburg-germanys-eco-town-flagship/

http://www.energyresearchproject.org/j/energy-videos/RK713EYYdLo.html

http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2001/07/45056

http://www.solarregion.freiburg.de/solarregion/freiburg_solar_city.php

Some of my thoughts about the Canadian Election

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

Harper’s secrets

http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20080827/Harperstrategy_080827?s_name=election2008&no_ads=

The media is so biased against Dion. Harper refuses to speak to the media during an election campaign and Keith Boag suggests that Dion is in trouble.

The Canadian media has done everything to give this election to Harper. Let’s go out and vote for Cadman. He had enough sense not to side with Harper, now it’s our turn. Do the right thing. Vote ABC!

Voting ABC is as easy as 1-2-3

Here are some basic ABC guidelines that will work wonders if we’re all on the same page:

1. If you live in a riding that went Liberal, NDP or Bloc in the last election, vote for that party.

2. If you live in a riding that elected a Conservative, vote for the party that came second.

3. Vote for Elizabeth May if you live in her riding.

Now get your family and 10 friends to do the same. Let’s vote out the Regressive Conservatives!

As a leader runs a campaign, so will he run the nation. Harper hides from the media and waits until after the advanced polls close to release a platform. Dion is a leader for the 21st century. Smart, focused, compassionate and determined.

Dion’s Retake and Media Bias

Saturday, October 11th, 2008

I am amazed and saddened that anyone in the media, in Canada, would try and make a story out of Dion having misunderstood a question. What should have been the story, was the subsequent betrayal of the media in releasing the tape, after they agreed to redo the interview. Harper waited until after the advanced polls closed to release his party’s platform, told broke Canadians to go and buy stocks and refused to answer questions from the public that every other leader did on the televised, one-on-one CBC interview show YourTurn. His MPs have chastised a grieving father after his son died fighting for this country in Afghanistan, made nasty jokes when Canadians were dying due to government deregulation of the food industry, suggested that immigrants were responsible for crime and this is the thing that gets passed around newsrooms as a game changer in an election!?

The media really has it in for Dion. Maybe you are all jealous of him because he might become Prime Minister. Maybe Canada isn’t as warm and fuzzy as we’d like to think it is (just like Harper’s sweaters didn’t hide his mean streak).

This election has shown that there is a definite media bias in favour of the Conservatives and a mean-spiritedness towards Dion that resembles the bias of FOX News in the USA against Obama.

What gives media? Why all the bad press towards Dion? Anti-Francophone? Are you afraid to have an intelligent man as PM? Maybe it is something else… It is very sad to see what our media has done during this campaign. You have given Harper every opportunity to win – supporting him when he didn’t want Elizabeth May at the debates, allowing the format to be changed, the total lack of any real formal debate structure that only supported the Conservatives (and Harper still lost the debates, because he had nothing to say).

I hope that Dion wins the election and forgives you but many people have been turned off the CTV/CBC and the rest of you for not providing Canadians with the facts. Instead, you have all become a mouthpiece of the Conservative attack machine.

Stuff we need to know and that the media has kept from us during this election campaign:

http://www.carbontax.org/

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/06/20/military-plan.html?ref=rss

http://www.harperindex.ca/ViewArticle.cfm?Ref=0056

http://www.truveo.com/Stephen-Harper-fails-Canada-with-SPP-by-A-kissing/id/1123340419

http://finance.yahoo.com/expert/article/economist/6895

http://www.sierraclub.ca/climatecrisis/

http://www.thegreenpages.com.au/blog/?p=9

http://nabweekly.ca/?p=896

http://nabweekly.ca/?p=944

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5l43JHQ5cqY

Canada’s Decision

Friday, October 10th, 2008

So what is Harper counting on to win the election? He is hoping that Canadians are not very bright. Harper wants us to vote for him; the only candidate who did not present a plan before the advanced polls. The Prime Minister who along with the NDP’s Jack Layton wanted to prevent Elizabeth May from having her place at the debates. Harper and Layton actually threatened to boycott the debates, if she was allowed to participate (they eventually backed down, after Canadians made it clear that they wanted her there). Imagine the Prime Minister whining and acting like a little child, refusing to take part in national televised debates during an election he called, if he wasn’t going to get his way. That is simply pathetic. During the debates, Harper had nothing to say on the economy, even though he had asked for extra time to be alloted on that very subject.

His statements echoing Republican candidate McCain “that the fundamentals of our economy are strong” were wrong as the stock markets have suffered their greatest losses ever over the past two weeks. His fellow Conservative members have been rude and inconsiderate to the public they are supposed to work for. They have spewed forth hatred towards a parent of a fallen Canadian soldier, who questioned the purpose of the war in Afghanistan. MP Ritz made bad jokes when Canadians were dying due to poisoned food. MP Richardson questioned the value of immigration and suggested that immigrants cause crime.

Harper is still ahead. Even though Dion has proven that he has great ideas, a true vision for Canada and the empathy to lead the country, there seems to be some misunderstanding over the “Carbon Tax” and the media is not helping matters at all. They have spent most of the campaign hitting the Liberals just as hard as the Conservative attack ads. The latest media attack involves the challenging Dion because he misunderstood a question. It is really a sad state of affairs at the CBC.

I always thought that the media was supposed to be impartial in Canada but they have been anything but. They have openly speculated on the demise of the Liberal party and undermined their leader. There have been very few criticisms of the Prime Minister and fewer critical comments on the damage the Conservatives have done to our social programs. There has been almost total silence on where all the money has gone from the surpluses the Conservatives have enjoyed over the past 2 1/2 years. It is very weird.

During an economic crisis, the only thing that Harper has to offer is more jail time for teenagers and billions of dollars to the army. Let’s not forget his famous line that Canadians should go shopping on the stock market because “there are some buying opportunities right now”. That’s his advice to Canadians and yet the media still criticizes Dion (they barely mention the NDP, Greens or Bloc) to try to weaken his image in the eyes of the Canadian voters. It is just bizarre.

The war in Afghanistan is costing at least 2 1/2 times what the Conservatives said it would cost. The auditor wasn’t even able to get all the figures from the various departments. That means the cost is even higher. The media doesn’t challenge the Conservatives. The CBC commentators just repeat Harper’s comments, reinforcing them instead of asking the real questions like: Where are the Conservatives taking the country with their policies? and Why do they keep hiding the costs? Why isn’t the CBC criticizing Harper for not releasing his party’s platform until after the advanced voting took place? That’s much more important than Dion misunderstanding a question.

How can the CBC justify showing all those documentaries on the USA and their problems, if they are not willing to scrutinize our own Conservative, right-wing government? Something unseemly is going on at the CBC. Harper’s scared and the media is wasting our time depicting Dion as confused, instead of demanding that the Conservatives who called the election, explain their position and policies. If Harper doesn’t have a plan, he shouldn’t be Prime Minister. The media is only helping the Conservatives by constantly attacking Dion.

Maybe Canadians do not want a Francophone Prime Minister. Maybe they do not want a leader from Quebec to lead the country. Is the carbon tax that confusing? I think that it is very straight forward. Shift tax from income to pollutants so that Canadians will have more money in their pockets and as they modify their behaviour with greener technologies and products, the environment will get better. It is not about raising taxes at the gas pumps.

The Carbon Tax is going to be slowly implemented over four years (the actual time frame might even be close to five or six years, depending on the start date, after the first Liberal budget). It is a system that is used in several countries in Europe and those countries (Finland, Sweden, Germany among others, have very stable economies). The program is designed not to cost Canadians money. That means it is going to give back all the money it takes in through lower income taxes and rebates. The Liberals have stated that the plan is going to be constantly reviewed by an auditor to be sure that it is living up to its promise of revenue neutrality. Sounds very straight forward to me.

There is A LOT of info on the value of a carbon tax on the internet. So why isn’t the Canadian media informing the population? The carbon tax will not lead to a recession because it hasn’t done that in any of the countries that have one! All you need to do is Google “carbon tax” and read about it.

Canada better wake up and replace the Conservatives. If we don’t, I think that’ll end our right to laugh at and criticize any other country who elects a cold, secretive, right-wing, pro war type of government. Somewhere between 65-70% of Canadians do not want a Conservative government so let’s hope that people will get behind the Liberals and put them in power. We could have a really great parliament with the Liberals, Greens and NDP leading the country.

Election home stretch

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

I was listening to Rex Murphy after last night’s English language debate in Ottawa and he made a couple of interesting points on why he felt that the format did not really do anything to help inform the people on policy. There were no opening/closing statements by anyone to give the viewers a sense of where each party saw themselves in the grand scheme of Canadian politics. The round table format did not lend itself to really go into depth on the issues, which is what most of the voters have been asking for.

Normally in a debate, someone presents a point of view and then there is a rebuttal from the opponent who also presents their pov. Under this format, there was almost none of that. Stephane Dion, Elizabeth May and Jack Layton made very good points when they each criticized Stephen Harper for not presenting a platform and Layton added some punch when he quipped “Is it under your sweater?” But there wasn’t the sense of structure that encourages meaningful exchanges. It seemed like a noisy dinner party at times.

Harper seemed weak. He almost hide his face behind his glass of water, when the moderator asked him to promise that the Conservatives would not raise taxes. Stay tuned for that, if they win (wouldn’t that be ironic). It was as though he was afraid to say anything that would advance his party’s position except for his points on crime. Harper seems to be determined to put more people in jail under the guise of helping victims, even though Canada’s overall crime rate has been going down for at least 10 years. It is just a repeat of Ronald Reagan style fear mongering. Are people over 45 so afraid of everything that they would vote for a party that wants to put more citizens in prison and really do nothing else?

Dion made a good point against Layton when he reminded everyone that it was the NDP that led the motion which brought down the Liberal government and put the Conservatives in office. I don’t know how the rest of Canadians saw it but that was an important moment for me.

This is what I would like to see for future debates: A real debate where the government has to answer questions and define their position which could then be criticized by its opponents. I think that the public would be better served if there were a few more debates. The first two could be between the government and the leader of the opposition with subsequent debates between the government and the other parties and/or three all party debates over a longer format of 3 hours. Canadians watch hockey, football and shop at the mall for 3 hours at a shot, so I would like to think that they could put the same effort into the future of their country.

Each debater could have 2-3 minutes to make a point followed by a formal rebuttal concluding with a 10 minute open exchange. It was too easy for one or two people to dominate the empty dinner table format which only favours the government in power because they do not really have to explain themselves, they can just sit back and let the others attack them for two hours and then go home. Even though strong points were made against Harper and he didn’t have an answer for anything that Elizabeth May had to say (she really impressed me with her overall understanding of the economy and foreign policy issues – she was fluid and in control on all her points) it wasn’t as damaging as it could have been due to the time constraints and individual point making. A Liberal, Green Party mix would be excellent for Canada.

Dion is a thinker. He has a great plan that has been undermined by the media. The same media who have given the Conservatives a pass this election. Harper has yet to produce a platform and no one in the media is asking why… Jack Layton is just hungry for 2nd party status. So much so that he wanted to prevent May from being at the debates. Not very New Democratic at all (more like old paternalistic). In fact, the NDP has been supporting the Conservatives for the the past 3 years. The NDP launched the motion which brought down the Liberal government and every time the NDP had a chance to vote down the Conservatives and trigger an election, they sided with them. I understand the Liberal party’s pov because they were rebuilding their party and finances after the leadership race but the NDP didn’t have that excuse. Layton just sat back and supported Harper while he chipped away at the fabric of the country.

So Canada, what’s up? Are you really into Harper’s party? Here are some questions for the Conservatives and Canadian voters: Do you really think that our economy is strong? That immigrants create crime? That 14 year olds should be put in jail with adults? That Global Warming is sort of real but not urgent? That we are not already paying more for everything? That artists are rich elitists who do nothing but have galas supported by government subsidies? That when Canadians die of food poisoning, the best response is to make bad jokes about it and go to Denver to party? If you answer is yes, you’ll probably vote for Harper. If your answer is no, then let’s give the Liberals the ball, to help the country.

Are Canadians really voting for Harper or against Dion? Is there an anti-Francophone vibe running through Canada right now? Are Canadians reluctant to support another Prime Minister from Quebec? Maybe there is a fatigue with so much of the country’s future caught up in the opinions and power from la Belle Province?

How’s that for an idea? Maybe the real reason Dion and the Liberal party are behind in the polls is because Canadians want the seat of power in the country to come from outside of Quebec. Who is going to be brave enough to take that on? The Liberals have the best plan, an experienced set of MPs from across the country, they led Canada out of an disastrous deficit left by the previous Conservative government to almost unprecedented growth and stability, at least 65% of Canadians do not want the Conservatives in power and yet the polls are still not in the Liberal party’s favour. Hmmm…

The Green Shift does not raise taxes. It transfers taxes from income to oil and then gives Canadians a rebate based on their income. It will help everyone (especially the middle class) deal with the fact that the prices for everything have risen and corporations don’t give money back to their customers, they raise prices. In Montreal, gas prices rise almost every weekend and descend during the week. It’s an expensive game and we’re losing. In my opinion, the Liberals are the best party to lead Canada through the changes we all must make to deal with our economy and the environment.

Here’s a great website for more info: http://www.carbontax.org/

More election blues

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

The Canadian election is getting stranger by the day. This past week had Mr. Harper laying down his law and order policies. Basically, he wants to do away with most summary sentences (in Canada, that means jail terms of two years or less – generally given out for minor offenses). Some of those who have been convicted of summary offenses spend their sentences under house arrest. Mr. Harper wants to put these people in prison. So guess what? That means more prisons are going to be constructed. Great, exactly what Canada needs…

Canada is one of the safest countries in the world and the man who wants to be Prime Minister thinks that we should put more people in prison!? How is it that the media is letting the Conservatives get away with this nonsense? Anyway, the media continues to pummel Stephane Dion everyday and strangely enough occasionally Obama as well. There was a very strange photo of Obama used by the CBC during an election show named YourTurn on Friday, September 26. The CBC chose a picture of him with a HUGE grin, it was strange. It looked as though they were trying to make fun of him…

Something smells rotten at the CBC.

The man who was the immigration minister for the Conservatives and is running once again for his seat made a Nazi-type comment this week as well. Lee Richardson, the Conservative MP from Calgary stated that immigrants were responsible for crime in Canada.

For all of you who don’t know, Canada has the 2nd largest landmass of all the countries in the world after Russia, yet our population is about 33 million. Canada’s crime rate has been steadily declining over the past 12 years or so and our murder rate is very low as well (approximately 550-660 murders per year over the past 10 years or so for a country of 33 million).

Here’s the link regarding Canada’s yearly homicides from 1996-2006:
http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/071017/d071017b.htm

Now here’s the irony: This year, the Foreign Affairs MP Maxime Bernier left a secret NATO file at his girlfriend’s home for 5 weeks without any one asking any questions about it. His girlfriend apparently did not contact him to inform him that she had the missing file and no one in the “Law and Order” Conservative government noticed that the secret NATO file was missing either. It so happens that Julie Couillard (Bernier’s girlfriend) was once married to a man in one of Quebec’s drug dealing biker gangs (who work with the Mafia) and has been also seen associating with members of Montreal’s Mafia (some of which have been arrested in a huge police operation in Montreal – they all seemed to have pleaded guilty avoiding a trial and the disclosure of their contacts and operations in a court of law – no, the CBC/media has not made this easy connection either – really, what are they doing over there!?).

All this is going on in Canada under the government of the Conservative Party, the same party that wants to put more Canadian citizens in prison for minor offenses and wants to put 14 year olds in prison with adults.

The result of the Bernier affair? Well, Bernier resigned his cabinet post but is still running for the party. The Prime Minister, Mr. Stephen Harper repeatedly told the Canadian parliament that whoever Bernier dates was a private matter and that the government would not investigate it any further. Wow! Ms. Couillard promised to release a tell-all book before this election is over.

My question is where did they meet? Where does a woman who associates with the Mafia meet the Foreign Affairs minister of Canada? That’s a question no one seems to want to ask.

Bad CBC

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

Well, well almost two weeks into the Canadian election and the CBC keeps putting down Stephane Dion. It is a daily occurrence where at least 2 or 3 journalists from the national public broadcaster question Liberal leader Stephane Dion’s efforts and repeatedly suggest that people in his party are against him and don’t support his policies. They do not criticize Stephen Harper nearly as much. Maybe they are charmed by Harper’s sweaters.

On the CBC (Newsworld, YourTurn, The Hour), the journalists routinely cutoff callers, commentators and guests who criticize the Conservatives. The Conservatives created a vulgar, nasty web page that actually had a bird defecating on the shoulder of Stephane Dion. I thought it was gross, cowardly and immature. The so-called journalists of the CBC however, spent the most of their time laughing about it. One of them even stated that she thought it was supposed to be good luck.

Imagine if you were applying for a job and your closest rival created a web page that had a bird relieving itself on your shoulder, as a way of suggesting that they were the most responsible person for the job, to the prospective employer. Very sad indeed. In the past, it seems that people slept with their employers or took them out for drinks (Mad Men anyone?). Of course, Stephen Harper (the Conservative Prime Minister whose party created the childish website) stated that he only briefly saw the image!? Stephen Harper is the most controlling Prime Minister in recent memory (his minsters don’t even speak to the media). Yet during an election campaign he wants us to believe that he didn’t know what his campaign team were going to put on the front page of his party’s web site?

Is that Stephen Harper’s idea of leadership?

On the show YourTurn there were various criticisms of the Liberal Party’s plan to add several billions of dollars in spending to help the infrastructure of our Canadian cities, which are sorely in need of help. The CBC commentator did not criticize the Conservatives promises of up to some 20 billion announced over the last 90 days before they called an election nor the 490 billion (yes, Billion) promised to the Canadian Army by the Conservatives over the next 20 years (all you need to do is google “490 billion canadian army”).

This is the link to the main source. Ironically, it is from the CBC who have stopped referring to it.
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/06/20/military-plan.html

Another point: Stephen Harper uses the exact same terminology to criticize Stephane Dion that John McCain uses to criticize Obama. They both claim that their opponents will raise taxes and are not fit to be leaders. They both have stated that the fundamentals of our economy are strong while thousands of people are losing their jobs and life savings. At times, it seems as though Stephen Harper is being coached by someone…

When a MP makes jokes about Canadians dying because the Conservatives have actually reduced the role of the food inspectors giving corporations more control over the reports that are written, the CBC defends the Conservatives. Stephen Harper said that the phone call was private and the CBC journalist simply echoed Harper in his commentary.

Conservative MP Ritz was not speaking on the phone to his family, he was on a conference call to other leaders in the industry to deal with the crisis that was killing Canadians because the meats they bought from Maple Leaf foods were contaminated. Mr. Ritz’s response was to make a joke about it. Stephen Harper’s response was to complain that a private call was leaked… The call should have been leaked sooner. Canadians need to know how the Conservatives deal with a crisis. Now we know. Tasteless jokes and inaction. I wonder if the CBC journalists would have defended the comments, if one of their family members had died.

Last week, the Conservatives announced a 50% cut in the taxes for diesel fuel (most of the users of diesel fuel are corporations). Stephen Harper’s rational is that these corporations will pass the savings along to consumers, the same way oil companies and banks have modified their prices after their multi-billion record profits. In fact both gas prices and bank fees have gone up, gouging customers.

There is also the sad silence on Afghanistan. Stephen Harper apparently has a crystal ball and knows the Afghanistan will be pacified and stable by 2011. That must be the reason why he stated that Canada will withdraw its troops in that year. What if Afghanistan remains unstable or worsens? If Harper is Prime Minister, what will happen to his promise? Do we really want to find out? And why isn’t the CBC challenging him? Very, very strange…

There is a perplexing silence from Canada’s national broadcaster. They seem to be willfully hiding the facts and are reluctant to question the Conservative government on their record of cuts to social groups, attacks on homosexuals and tax cuts to corporations.

There has been no media coverage regarding the forcing of ethanol onto the market which drives up the cost of food. The cuts to arts groups which employ thousands of Canadians and the introducing legislature to censure Canadian art in one of the most tolerant countries in the world has also received very little press. If the media doesn’t take their job seriously and question the policies of the government, then we Canadians are the poorer for it.

It’s a shame that the CBC is too busy laughing. Canadians could really use some accurate information to understand how serious this election really is. By the way, Question Period on CTV isn’t any better.

What do you think? Have you noticed any bias in the media during this election? Does anyone really think that an MP should be making jokes about Canadians dying on their watch and still keep their job? How would you feel if it was your relative that died?