Archive for the ‘News’ Category

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?

Hello everyone!

Saturday, September 8th, 2007

Well, it’s almost a go! I am getting closer to understanding what I am a-doin’ ;) . Stay tuned, it is going to be a lot of fun!