Monday, August 31, 2009

The Roots of Reform: Passing the Torch

A CULTURE OF DEFIANCE: History of the Reform-Conservative Party of Canada

Preston Manning was born on June 10, 1942, in Edmonton, Alberta. His godfather was William Aberhart, then premier of Alberta.

Within a year, Aberhart would be deceased and Ernest Manning, Preston's father, would become premier, and hold that position for 25 years.
The influences that have been brought to bear on Preston Manning could only have been created in Alberta. His father, Ernest Manning, was not just premier for twenty-five years but premier of what was often called a one-party state. Revered almost as a saint by many, he dominated Alberta political life during the years he was in power. Through Ernest Manning and his predecessor and mentor, William Aberhart, evangelical Christianity played a role in Alberta politics for which the only Canadian parallel is Catholicism in Quebec. Ernest Manning was both spiritual and political leader of Alberta. Preston Manning grew up under the tutelage and the shadow of his larger-than-life father. (1)
And by Preston's own admissions his father was often distant and cold, but he grew up in a household dominated by Social Credit politics*.
While he has said that his father did not bring politics into the home, Preston Manning acknowledges that the political influence was nonetheless felt early on: "The family itself did not play that great a role in politics in those days. But at a very early age, I began looking at things from a governing point of view because my father was the leader of the government." (2)
But he also grew up sheltered for most of his early life.
Ernest Manning was also intensely private — and very formal. John Barr writes in The Dynasty, his book on the Social Credit Party: "Everyone knew that Mr. Manning (as he was almost universally known; probably no more than half a dozen people ever called him 'Ernest') was Premier and that he was 'there' somehow, but his public appearances were sufficiently rare that he was neverover-exposed. Manning did not invite familiarity." (2)
Every day he was expected to go straight from school to his father's office, where he did his homework, and most of his life was centred around school, family and church. His one sibling, Keith, was born with Cerebral Palsy, and spent much of his time away, so Preston focused on his studies.

By the time he went away to university in the early 60's, he realized that the world had changed, but that he and his family had not changed with it.
At university in the early sixties he gave the impression of a rural kid completely isolated from the ways of urban society. He presented an odd image. "He was part of the Youth Parliament's Social Credit caucus at the same time Joe Clark, Grant Notley (the late, former leader of the New Democratic Party in Alberta), Jim Coutts (who became prominent in the Liberal Party under Pierre Trudeau), and others were representing their respective parties. He was a good speaker, but you never saw him on campus. People knew who he was, and the rumour was that his father didn't want him to hang around the university too much because it would be a bad moral influence on him," recalls Fred Walker, a student at that time. "He looked very out of place — odd enough in his mannerisms and physical appearance and dress to be the occasional subject of ridicule. He gave the impression of being a very serious and committed young man — but more an apologist for his father's party and policies. He didn't play a very prominent role." (2)

Footnotes:

*Stockwell Day's mother said the same thing of her son's upbringing

Sources:

1. Preston Manning and the Reform Party, By Murray Dobbin Goodread Biographies/Formac Publishing 1992 ISBN: 0-88780-161-7, pg. 1

2. Dobbin, 1992, Pg. 3-4

Sunday, August 30, 2009

I think Stephen Harper Has Gone Stark Raving Mad

I don't know what is going on with Stephen Harper these days, but I think he's gone nuts.

First stacking the senate with some of the most blatant patronage appointments in our history. Jacques Demers can't even read or write. What in the hell is Harper thinking?

But as if that wasn't enough, he's rewarding even more friends with patronage appointments in the form of cushy government jobs.

Maybe he knows the writing is on the wall and he's on his way out, so is going to go out with a bang.

Everyone who worked so hard to take the Reform Party this far, must be so disappointed.

Harper cabinet unleashes flood of patronage
August 30 2009
The Canadian Press

OTTAWA -- Weeks before Stephen Harper named some of his closest Tory friends to the Senate, his cabinet quietly approved a flood of appointments to federal boards that also rewarded party faithful.

At least 20 of the 111 appointments made Aug. 4 went to identifiable federal and provincial Conservative donors and supporters.


That includes a failed candidate in Vancouver, a top organizer with the Nova Scotia party, and a would-be Senate nominee from Alberta.

The postings come with per diems of up to $450 for part-time positions and salaries of up to $118,000 a year for full-time posts.

Some of the bodies involved were: the Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada Pension Plan review tribunals, employment insurance referee boards, the parole board, coastal pilotage authorities, port authorities and museum boards.

Nearly a third of the posts were first-time assignments and the remainder were renewals of three-year terms set to expire in late October or November.

The rush of appointments followed a little-noticed series of judicial appointments to superior courts across the country in July.

That round brought the total number of superior court judges appointed by the Harper government to 201 since 2006.

It also further fuelled opposition claims that the prime minister has abandoned election promises of transparency and merit-based public-service and judicial appointments.

Conservative appointments to courts, boards, quasi-judicial tribunals and Crown corporations now total an estimated 3,000 since Harper became prime minister.

The Tories are also closing in on the Liberals in the Senate after Harper's appointment of nine senators Thursday, including at least two close advisers.

Several of the earlier judicial posts went to lawyers with Tory connections.

Lawrence O'Neill is a former Progressive Conservative MP from Nova Scotia whose anti-abortion positions were the subject of controversy when he was named to the bench in 2007.

And Ronald Stevens was a member of the Alberta Conservative party, a sitting member of the legislature, and former attorney general, when he was appointed in May.

Harper has yet to establish his promised Public Appointments Commission to set standards and criteria for cabinet nominations to federal posts. That despite the fact that Treasury Board documents show a four-person secretariat set up to support the commission has cost taxpayers a total of $3.6 million since 2006.

Liberal MP Dan McTeague said Harper should be concerned that voters will be wary of him following his failure to deliver on his accountability and transparency promises from the past two elections.

He added that the public should not have to dredge through Google or newspaper clippings to determine if there are political connections behind the scores of appointments the government hands out.

"These were things that were part of his pledge to make Parliament more accountable and the process to be more transparent," McTeague said.

"He has done everything that he has criticized. I think the prime minister and his team should be well aware of the fact that there frankly isn't a single pledge they can make now or down the road that the Canadian public can take seriously."

A spokesman defended the prime minister's approach, noting Harper shelved the Public Appointments Commission after the opposition parties opposed his nomination to lead the new agency -- former Calgary energy executive Gwyn Morgan.

"The opposition decided to play partisan political games with that nomination and, as such, our government was unable to fill the position," said Dimitri Soudas. (Lie, LIE, LIE, LIE. Gwyn Morgan was a Reform Party fundraiser who had made racist remarks in the past))

New Democrat MP Joe Comartin called for the creation of a special committee of the House of Commons to review all federal appointments and establish a "code of laws" that would eventually be the standard for public service nominations.

He also called on Harper to expand the jurisdiction of advisory panels for judgeships and re-establish a system set up by the previous Liberal government that allowed the Commons justice committee to interview nominees to the Supreme Court.

Among Conservative supporters or those with Tory connections who received posts or had them renewed in the August round of appointments:

Lorne Mayencourt, who ran unsuccessfully in Vancouver in the last federal election, was named chair of the employment insurance boards of referees for B.C.
David Usherwood, who placed ninth as a Progressive Conservative candidate in the 2004 Alberta Senate nominee election, received a second three-year appointment as chair of the employment insurance referee boards in Alberta.
Geoffrey Machum, who chaired the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative leadership convention in 2006, got a second three-year appointment to the Halifax Port Authority.
Brian Coburn, an Ontario Progressive Conservative MPP under former premier Mike Harris, received a second three-year appointment as a citizenship judge.

The Media Gloss Over Real Listeriosis Threat

Since reading several articles concerning the rightward migration of the mainstream media in Canada, I'm starting to realize that people who care are right to raise the alarm.

During the Parliamentary crisis, National Post columnist, Kelly McParland, went so far as to suggest that there was a left-wing conspiracy out to get Harper. (Kelly McParland: The vast left-wing conspiracy that ensnared Stephen Harper)

"Mr. Harper's stated belief that the NDP and Bloc Quebecois were conspiring against him well before his plan to end public funding for political parties blew up in his face. I thought there would be headlines the next day: “Harper accuses opposition of conspiracy.” But not a word..." (Maybe because others not playing footsie with the Conservatives were aware of the hypocrisy)

Either McParland was deliberately trying to spin the coalition or he's been living under a rock.

In 2004, Stephen Harper did the exact same thing, meeting with opposition members before Parliament even opened. Was that a right-wing conspiracy? Hardly, since we now only have one right-wing option, representing roughly 1/3 of the population. Sadly, because of people like McParland and his ilk, that 1/3 dictates what happens to the remaining 2/3, who aren't narrow minded bigots and care about the direction this country is headed.

More recently, we've seen the media gloss over the possibility of another listeriosis outbreak, and a government once again abusing their powers rather than taking responsibility for their actions.

The media is treating it like a little spat, rather than actually doing their jobs and at least pretending to be journalists who want to keep Canadians informed.


Listeriosis outbreak still prompting political spats
August 27, 2009
The Canadian Press

Liberals and Conservatives are accusing each other of playing politics over the listeriosis outbreak one year ago that resulted in 22 deaths.

Opposition MPs on a Commons committee had hoped to hear Wednesday from Dr. Sheila Weatherill, who investigated the outbreak and issued a report to Parliament containing a number of recommendations to prevent a similar occurrence.


Instead, the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food adopted a motion commending Weatherill's work and declaring that no further investigations are needed into the outbreak that was linked to a Maple Leaf Foods plant.

"Ms. Weatherill's in-depth examination has provided Canadians with a complete and comprehensive review of the events of last summer and recommendations that will improve Canada's food safety system," the motion read.

"Due to this extensive review, the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food is of the view that no public inquiry is necessary."

But the Liberal Opposition accused the Conservatives of using political tricks to silence Weatherill, saying the Tories voted in favour of the motion to maintain a "veil of secrecy" over the government's handling of last summer's crisis.

"We came prepared to ask Sheila Weatherill questions about her report and find out if the government has made any progress in improving the food safety system," said Liberal agriculture critic Wayne Easter.

"Instead, the Conservatives used every dirty trick in their manual to obstruct, distort, and hide the truth by blocking witnesses from testifying." (sound familiar?)

"They'd rather show their secretive side than be open and get down to fixing the problem."

Ritz doesn't appear

The Opposition also wanted to hear from Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. But a spokeswoman for the minister told The Canadian Press that Ritz had other commitments.

"[Minister Ritz] could not make the schedule work to fit the opposition's political games at the last minute," Meagan Murdoch wrote in an email.


The political wrangling over last year's outbreak came on the same day as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a warning about deli meats from a Quebec food processing plant that may contain listeria monocytogenes.

The warning involved Compliments-brand smoked beef eye of round pastrami and roast beef from Delstar Foods Inc. of Montreal. The warning also applied to Delstar-brand smoked beef eye of round and pastrami smoked beef round club packs.

The meat might look and smell safe, but could still cause listeriosis, the CFIA said in its online Health Hazard Alert.

The recalled deli meats were distributed only in Quebec and there were no reports of illness associated with the products.


So why wasn't the headline "Canadian Food Inspection Agency fears another outbreak of listeriosis, and not dismissed as a spat?" Hope the media are all vegetarians or their own nonsense could make THEM sick, and not just me.



Back to - The Gerry Ritz Story: Can't Fall Back on Comedy

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sunshine Boys and a Flash in the Pan


A CULTURE OF DEFIANCE: History of the Reform-Conservative Party of Canada

The Toronto Sun became famous for their 'Sunshine Girls', and in 1972, under pressure from female readers, they introduced their first ever 'Sunshine Boy'.
Over the years, the daily Boy has featured the likes of Mark Messier, Rod Stewart, Ravishing Rick Rude and Mike Tyson. Besides, of course, the best Toronto has to offer. (1)
In 1980 one of those Sunshine Boys was James Alexander McQuirter, whose picture was published under the name Jim. "He'd like to find himself a seat on Parliament Hill," read the caption under his photograph. (2)

According to former colleague Robert Smith: "I worked with Jim McQuirter, the only Canadian Klansman to become a Toronto Sun "Sunshine Boy" We nicknamed him "Media Man," after a song by the 1980's band Flash in the Pan*". (3)

McQuirter would go on to lead the Canadian chapter of the KKK but it was a long journey.

Wolfgang and Jim

James Alexander "Jim" McQuirter was born in May of 1958, the eldest of five children, to a middle-class family in North York. At the age of 14, he began reading hate literature, that he tried to share with fellow students at York Mills Collegiate, hoping to convert his peers. His parents were less than impressed and forbid his discussing racial issues at home, so he took to streets to find kindred souls.

In 1975, when just 16, he met Wolfgang Droege and the two became instant friends.
Recalls Droege: "McQuirter was a very smart fellow. He was young, articulate and intelligent. Very capable, with a lot of ideas. We met, and we started to form a close friendship. (4)
McQuirter joined the Western Guard while still in his teens and describes his decision to get involved in far-right causes:

James Alexander McQuirter was attracted to Don Andrews's organization while still in his teens. His background was different from that of his fellow Guard members, many of whom seemed to have inherited their fascist leanings from their European families or experiences ... [and claimed to have come from a "liberal, middle class" home in the Toronto borough of North York. At "about 14 or 15" years of age McQuirter, through his own readings, became convinced of the inferiority of blacks and Jews and started to try and win his friends at York Mills Collegiate over to his beliefs: "I was always a conservationist. When I was going to high school, I was interested in the whales and seals. Then I started reading about some of the population statistics of the white race. We're a dying species. I used to talk to other conversationists about this, but they weren't interested — it was all racist stuff to them. But at the time, I wasn't a racist. I just thought, well, gee, everything should be protected.**

So I was forced to look at different groups, so-called right-wing fanatical groups. I was interested in what they had to offer, what their solutions were." McQuirter's parents apparently did not take too kindly to their son's new ideological bent, and he was told by his parents not to talk about the race question at home. "Today, I don't see any of [my parents] very much," he said in one newspaper interview. "Let's say they don't agree with me." After he graduated from high school, McQuirter spent four years in the Canadian militia [then] joined up with Don Andrews "... the Western Guard was the only game in town," McQuirter explains. Andrews was instrumental in fleshing out the style and substance of the young McQuirter's right-wing politics. 1 remember McQuirter coming to my house in the early days when he was about 18," recalls Andrews. "He used to come into my back yard and we would discuss organizational and political things. McQuirter didn't really know how to speak to the press all that much because he didn't have much background knowledge on political, international and other racial matters. So we would chit-chat and I would give him some pointers on how to answer some questions."" (4)

But McQuirter and Droege would eventually become disillusioned with Don Andrews.
We had the same feelings about Andrews. We felt he was trying to play this role of dictator and that he was not interested in working for our race or the advancement of our race. He just wanted a group so he could be the boss of it. He just wanted to be a mafia don." Andrews, not surprisingly, rejects this criticism: "A lot of Germans have an attitude problem when it comes to the right wing. They want to be in charge of everything—and, if they were, they would just go and lose it a third time." He pauses. "He got to be buddies with McQuirter, who wanted to do all sorts of wild things. Wolf assisted him in that." (5)
McQuirter certainly did want to do all sorts of "wild things".

In September 1976, Wolfgang Droege, John Ross Taylor and McQuirter attended David Duke's International Patriotic Congress of neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups in New Orleans, and the plan was hatched to start their own Klan.

Footnotes:

*The band also became a flash in the pan






**Sher believes that McQuirter may have fabriacated the conservationist story since it
is a favorite argument of the American Klan


Sources:

1. THE FIRST BOY AND MORE, Toronto Sun 25th Anniversay, August 27, 2008
Nationalist Party of Canada

2. White Hoods, By Julian Sher, New Star Books, 1983, ISBN 0-919573-13-4, Pg. 13

3. Bayou of Pigs: Not Your Average Caribbean Cruise, Bob's Beat, Nationalist Party of Canada

4. Sher, 1983, Pg. 83-84

5. Web of Hate: Inside Canada's Far Right Network, By Warren Kinsella, 1994, Harper Collins, pg. 211

The New 'Patronage King' Does the Back Step Polka

As I pointed out in another post, Former Prime Minister John Turner wore the patronage appointments of Pierre Trudeau, and Brian Mulroney in the debates leading up to the 1984 election, made sure that he did.

So who will wear the patronage appointments of Stephen Harper? Where is his crack team, and heaven forbid his elected MPs? Why is no one standing their ground? They must be hearing rumblings of this in their home ridings.

Harper, once the mouthpiece for an elected senate, has just made some of the most blatant patronage selections to the upper chamber in Canadian history. The last time it was this bad was when 18 Conservative buddies were given these prestigious seats, and that was by Conservative PM ... hmmm .... oh, yeah ... Stephen Harper. I guess he beat his own record. He should be so proud.

But for any members of his caucus who want to use the tired "I had no option but to go along", as Brian Mulroney said to John Turner "You had an option sir ... it was an avowal of failure". It cost John Turner the election. Something to think about.

A BCer in Toronto provides links to the headlines shown in the video:

PM now the king of Senate patronage

Tory boss says he's qualified for job

Harper dubbed 'patronage king'

Stuffing the Senate

Critics blast PM over appointments

Harper's Senate picks have strong Tory links

Harper joins the crony club

Harper names Tory pals to Senate

But let's hear it straight from the horse's ass ... er ... I mean mouth.

In his own words: Senate Harpocrisy
August 27, 2009

"We don't support any Senate appointments."(Stephen Harper, Winnipeg Free Press, January 29, 1996)

"Despite the fine work of many individual Senators, the Upper House remains a dumping ground for the favoured cronies of the Prime Minister."(Stephen Harper Leadership Website, January 15, 2004)

"In the 21st century, those who want to sit in the parliament of a democratic state should have a mandate from the people." (Stephen Harper, February 7, 2006)

"A conservative government will not appoint to the senate anyone who does not have a mandate from the people."(Conservative Party website during 2006 election)

"As everyone in this room knows, it has become a right of passage for aspiring leaders and prime ministers to promise Senate reform - on their way to the top - but once they are elected, Senate reform quickly falls to the bottom of the Government's agenda. Nothing ever gets done."(Stephen Harper, Speech on Senate Reform before Senate Committee, September 7, 2006)

"I don't plan to appoint senators; that's not my intention."(Stephen Harper, Cornwall Standard-Freeholder, January 14, 2006)

"Stephen Harper will cease patronage appointments to the Senate. Only candidates elected by the people will be named to the Upper House."(Stephen Harper Leadership Website, January 15, 2004)

"I challenge Mr. Martin, once he becomes Prime Minister, to turn a page on the past, and appoint only elected Senators to the Upper House." (Stephen Harper, Canadian Alliance Press Release, July 4, 2003)

"Canadians from Newfoundland and Labrador to British Columbia remain ashamed of Canada`s senior legislative body. They are ashamed the Prime Minister continues the disgraceful, undemocratic appointment of undemocratic Liberals to the undemocratic Senate to pass all too often undemocratic legislation."(Stephen Harper, Hansard, March 7, 1996)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Are We Really Prepared for Another Harper Mandate?



ARE WE REALLY PREPARED FOR ANOTHER HARPER MANDATE?

If We Give Stephen Harper Another Mandate it Means That we Are Giving Him Permission

The Suspension of Women's Rights. Are We Really Prepared for This?

Is it Wise For Harper to Anger the Media so Soon?

Stephen Harper's Social Contract. Are we Really Prepared For This?

The End of Public Healthcare. Are we Really Ready For This?

The Remaking of Canada. Are we Really Prepared for This?

We Can't Think About a Harper Majority. We Have to Focus on a Harper Unemployed

How Do We Turn Down the Volume on the Right-Wing Noise Machine?

I Love it When Young People Get Involved

I really like this video and am always encouraged when young people speak their minds. It was also nice about half way in, when the elderly woman in a clear voice, with intellect and compassion; expressed her concerns with what war is doing to the environment and naturally the waste of human life and dignity.

My father gave me the gift of skepticism, and while at times it's been a curse, I can't settle for simple answers to complex questions.

Whether I choose to agree with everything the protesters are saying or not, I admire their courage and determination. They are right to be concerned that Stephen Harper is selling our sovereignty and they are right to be concerned that American soldiers are now allowed to patrol our cities. They are also right to question exactly what the North American Union (NAU), and Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) will mean for their future.

And of course, they should also question the official version of 9/11, as I myself do. I don't want to believe that a government would allow an attack on their own soil to happen just to advance an agenda, but until all the questions are answered, many will never find closure.

The Harper government discourages any kind of independent thinking. Jason Kenney is trying to tell us that any criticism of Israeli aggression can be deemed to be anti-semitism, and therefore a hate crime.

Former Liberal candidate Lesly Hughes wrote an article several years ago after the first deaths of Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan, and Peter Kent used it against her; trying to paint her as some kind of nut. Now a once respected journalist can't even find work in her field. She's suing him and I hope she throws him into bankruptcy. He should be ashamed. He was once a journalist himself.

Harper not only silences his caucus but is also trying to silence the Canadian people. These guys on the video are funny and passionate and obviously intelligent. I love when they tell Harper to come down so they can place him under citizens arrest, claiming "we promise we won't water board you".

Very comical.

Steven Fletcher and the Conservatives Threaten Our Democracy Once Again

One of the items that nearly brought down the Harper government last December, was their plan to end voter subsidies for political parties.

These subsidies were put in place by Jean Chretien to replace the eligibility of corporations and unions providing financial backing for politicians.

It was democracy at it's best, because it meant that all votes count. No longer could you say that you weren't going to bother to cast your ballot because your favourite didn't have a chance to win. At least your vote put a bit of money into their next campaigns.

When the right-wing parties united, they not only eliminated competition for that side of the political spectrum, but they also eliminated the competition for campaign funding. However, all those centre or left of center parties have to battle it out between them for dollars, and during a recession, it may be even more difficult.

The Liberals are doing much better now, but elimination of what amounts to less than $ 2.00 per voting taxpayer, will have a huge impact on the NDP, Bloc and Green parties, who count on these payments to survive.

Yet, here we go again. The Conservatives are about to table another motion, to end the silly notion that Canada is a democratic country. I'm not sure if it's wise to try to choke off left wing parties that help split the vote, making it more difficult for the Liberals to gain ground.

The Tory non-stop attack ads are already turning people away. Though maybe they figure low voter turnout will go in favour of the incumbent. Man Harper must really hate a democracy. He could do so much better with a dictatorship.

Fletcher assigned to push funding cut for parties
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
By: Mia Rabson
August 24, 2009

OTTAWA -- When Prime Minister Stephen Harper's attempt to cut off political party subsidies last year led to a very close brush with defeat, one might have thought the vote-tax debate would be dead and buried.
Think again.


It appears Manitoba cabinet minister Steven Fletcher has been tasked with promoting the idea all over again.

Fletcher -- the minister of state for democratic reform -- has been talking about gearing up to take on the vote tax again. He has indicated it is something his government still plans to pursue.

"We believe that political parties should support themselves with people who voluntarily donate to whichever party they wish to support," said Fletcher. (they do when they vote for the party they wish to support)

Last November, you might remember, Conservative plans to cut off the per-vote subsidy which parties get led to a near meltdown of Parliament. The opposition parties accused the government of trying to use the threat of a recession to kill off its opponents by bankrupting them. Then the Liberals, NDP and Bloc banded together to form a coalition and were prepared to vote down the government and take over.
Only Gov. Gen. Michaƫlle Jean's decision to grant Harper's request to suspend Parliament kept the Conservatives from facing a confidence vote they surely would have lost.


So the fact Fletcher is bringing it up again has the tongues a-wagging.

There is likely one big difference, however.

A year ago, the Liberal Party was absolutely reliant on the money from that allowance. The Liberals raised a little over $5.8 million in direct contributions but received $8.7 million in the per vote subsidy.

The Conservatives, in comparison, raised $21 million in donations and $10.4 million came from the vote tax. Losing $10 million would hurt but they would still have had four times as much money as their nearest opponent.

But with a new leader, a new fundraising plan and at least the appearance so far of a wider appeal with voters, the Liberals' financial fortunes have improved. In the first two quarters of this year the Liberals already surpassed their 2008 fundraising totals, registering $5.9 million in donations with Elections Canada.

Added to that, with the Liberals' 2008 elections showing so dismal, they are bringing in far less in the per-vote subsidy because they got 800,000 fewer votes. In 2009, they will raise $7.2 million in the vote tax subsidy. If they raise another $4 million in the third and fourth quarters, they will no longer be as reliant on the vote tax money.

As well, the Conservatives cutting off the vote tax would not cripple the Liberals finances but would hamper the NDP and Bloc Quebecois, both of which earn more from the vote tax than from donations.

And that would be bad news for the Conservatives, whose victories are in part due to the splitting of votes on the centre-left of the political spectrum.

Some comments at the end of the story:

1. The history of this is that to improve democracy political parties gave up the ability to raise funding from corporations and unions - both of these are now limited under Election Canada rules. To make up for this loss, public financing was instituted so that parties had closer to equal opportunities to put forward their message to the public, based upon the number of votes they received in the most recent election. The minister of state for democratic reform should not be advocating a move that makes campaign financing less democratic! As it is now, every voter is making a contribution with their vote, no matter how poor they might be. Since our first-past-the-post system means that NDP and Green have far fewer seats than their percentage of votes, at least each vote counts for something in financing.

2. Terrible! The amount of money that a party has can greatly influence the result of an election. Without public campaign financing, those that have money that they can spare to donate to a political party, have more influence than those of us who don't. With public campaign financing, parties get financial support based how much support they have from the public as a whole, not how much support they have from the small part of the population who can afford to donate.

3. While thinking scrapping Campaign Finances would sound like a good idea, it isn't. As Overall the NDP, Bloc Quebecois, and the Green party rely heavily on campaign financing(and lesser extend the Liberals) and without these finances Canada would become a two-party system and this would hurt democracy greatly as not ALL opinions would be able to get a voice, no matter how large or little EVERYONE DESERVES REPRESENTATION! As look to the south of the boarder because they don't have something like campaign financing other parties can't get in, and now it's all become who can spend the most money and get the most interest groups. It's not about "what's best for our people". There it's become "In the interest of winning"

From Partisans to Pioneers; Donald Clarke Andrews

A CULTURE OF DEFIANCE: History of the Reform-Conservative Party of Canada

He liked greenhouses. So he built himself a greenhouse. He used to rest there, among the poinsettias and the cactuses, like an old lizard in the sun. Now they have buried him in the greenhouse, in front of his residence in Belgrade. There is a large white marble slab, with bronze lettering which reads Josip Broz Tito, 1892-1980.

No one much visits any more, and the place is neglected. On the day I visit it is raining, and rain is dripping from a broken skylight on to the Marshal's grave. Nobody cares. On his birthday in 1945, some teenagers ran a relay race from Kragujevac to Belgrade and presented him with a baton. Every year of his reign, the 'youth' of Yugoslavia repeated that race, and at the end of it they presented the old dictator with the relay batons. His birthday became 'Youth Day'. Twenty thousand batons are kept in the museum next to his grave. Nobody visits the batons any more.


How quickly the legitimacy of power drains away. The batons were not ridiculous twenty years ago. The relay race meant something to people. Now it seems to belong to the rites of some vanished tribe. (1)

Many of those youth so devoted to Tito, belonged to the Union of Pioneers of Yugoslavia. Like the Hitler Youth before them, they wore uniforms, but if Tito himself was paying a visit they dressed in traditional costume.

And one of "Tito's Pioneers" was a young man named Vilim Zlomislic. His father had been one of 'Partisans', the resistance fighters led by Tito himself. But he was killed fighting against the German occupation and Vilim's mother Rose was captured and transported to Germany in 1943 to work as slave labour for the Nazis, while young Vilim was placed in an orphanage.

Rose would survive the war and eventually marry a Canadian, Frederick Andrews, who was then working for a United Nations agency in a German displaced persons' camp. The couple moved to Toronto, but Rose never gave up looking for her son, even after she was told that he had been killed in an air raid.

Her perseverance paid off, and with the help of the Red Cross she was reunited with the ten-year-old Vilim, and immediately had him re-Christened, Donald Clarke Andrews, leaving their past behind for good. "As a youth, he was an excellent student who liked to read. He attended Ryerson Polytechnical Institute under a scholarship and, in his spare time, volunteered with various social democrat groups". (2)
But by the late 1960's he began to grow alarmed by Soviet expansionism, and became a dedicated anti-Communist and his life would change forever.

Don Andrews, through the Edmund Burke Society and the Western Guard, dominated the extreme right-wing stage in Toronto for most of the decade and became a sort of godfather to many of the present-day organizers of the Klan. "Many of them were my lieutenants in the Guard," he boasted ...

"I'm not upset if you call me a fascist," he once told a reporter. He worked in the Scarborough public health department and later at Toronto East General Hospital. Andrews, by his own admission, received money from right-wing sympathizers in the Serbian and other Eastern European immigrant communities. Neatly attired in business suits, Andrews was intelligent, well-read and eloquent.

In his six years as Guard leader, his penchant for violence seemed to be matched only by his political and organizational cunning. As a candidate in Toronto's mayoralty race in 1972, he polled 1,916 votes. Running again in 1974 on a white power ticket with his name on posters plastered across the city, he came in second in a field of eleven, with close to 6,000 votes. Andrews's political career did not come to an end when he was sentenced in 1978 to a brief jail term and forbidden to associate with the Guard. (3)

And of course that was the same Western Guard to which Alex McQuirter and Wolfgang Droege belonged.
Andrews and another Western Guard member, David (Tarzan) Zarytshansky, dreamt up a plot to launch a terrorist bomb attack on the Israeli soccer team during an exhibition match at Varsity Stadium.

Hearing this, Droege, who had been chafing under Andrews's dictatorial leadership style, was unimpressed. "By this time," he says, "I was getting pretty fed up, because I was starting to see what Andrews was all about. So I just conveniently left town because I didn't want to be any part of it. So I went fishing that weekend."

When he returned, Droege spotted the handcuffed Andrews and Zarytshansky on the evening news, being led away to the Don Jail by RCMP officers. The pair had been turned in by a paid informer. At his trial in late 1977, Andrews testified that non-whites were "human and organic garbage" and added, for good measure, that he possessed "a general dislike of Jews." He received two years in a federal penitentiary, while Zarytshansky received an I8-moth sentence in a provincial facility.

"After he was arrested," Droege says-of Andrews, "he was not allowed to be involved in the Western Guard any more. So he was gone for two years." (2)
It was at this time that Droege and McQuirter began to look into creating a KKK group in Canada. Andrews* would go on to found the Nationalist Party of Canada, which is still in existence. He also runs in every mayoral race in Toronto, including the last one.
My friend and I met him at his home. It was nice place around the Beach, and full of paintings (one was by a member of the Romanovs, he said.) There was also a
Swastika and a painting of SS soldiers on his wall. His teenage daughter was there too--a polite and kind looking girl.


"I'm running to give the white people an opportunity to express their views," he told me. The media "is always trying to shut you out; it's run by the Jews of course." I asked him whether he considers himself a Nazi, and he told me he's a racist first. "Call me what you want, just not late for dinner," he joked.

Andrews insisted he doesn't hate other ethnic groups, and said that "racism is for everyone." He expects people of different ethnicities to stay together. "It's about a sense of belonging," he concluded. (3)
Ah, yes. That's what it's about.

Footnotes:

*Andrews also endorsed Holocaust denier Jim Keegstra's bid to lead the Social Credit Party of Canada

Sources:

1. Blood and Belonging: Journeys into the New Nationalism, By Michael Ignatieff, Vintage Press, 1994, ISBN: 0-09-938951-7, Pg. 38

2. Web of Hate: Inside Canada's Far Right Network, By Warren Kinsella, 1994, Harper Collins, pg. 207

3. Toronto's Fringe Mayoral Candidates, By Guest Contributor, BlogTo, April 9, 2010

Jack Layton's Deal With the Devil


THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT: Will it Hold Up Without its Foundation?

At the beginning of the last election campaign, Stephen Harper focused his strategy on an "Ignatieff led" coalition.

Many in the media then began questioning the Liberal leader hard about the possibility of such a coalition if Harper failed to get a majority, while others dug up Harper's own agreement in 2004.

William Johnson mentions it in his book: Stephen Harper and the Future of Canada. He says that after the disappointing results of the 2004 election, Harper contemplated resigning, until he developed a different strategy. So over the summer he arranged several meetings with Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe, where an agreement was hammered out, and the three party leaders signed a joint letter to then Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, that should the prime minister [Paul Martin] seek to dissolve Parliament, she would first speak with them.

Harper's campaign manager at the time, Tom Flanagan confirmed the "coalition", and stated emphatically that it included the full support of the Bloc. (2)

The topic came up again during the debates, when Gilles Duceppe told the story of the meetings, and how he and Jack Layton were willing to make Stephen Harper prime minister in 2004.

Most of the alarm was that it was a deal with "separatists" something that the Harper government was using as a rallying cry. But everyone missed the obvious here.

Why was Jack Layton so keen to make Stephen Harper prime minister, knowing how hard progressives in the country fought to keep him out of office?

In fact the Council of Canadians, and other like-minded groups had questioned why Jack didn't go after Harper during the election, and started a "Think Twice" campaign, to do what Layton and the NDP refused to. According to longtime NDP supporter, James Laxer:
Maude Barlow, chairperson of the Council of Canadians, for one, told me that she felt pressure “not to critique Harper,” and that the top priority was “to win more seats for the ndp.” During the election, the Council was involved in the Think Twice coalition, made up of groups that came together to warn Canadians about Stephen Harper’s record. “If the ndp was not going to talk about Harper’s record,” Barlow said, “we felt we had to.” (3)
So did the agreement between Harper and Layton go back even before the 2004 election? Not likely. The NDP no doubt feared strategic voting as a way of keeping Harper out, would hurt their chances of acquiring more seats.

However, there was certainly one firmly in place by 2005/06. Laxer mentions receiving a call from a frustrated reporter who indicated that no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't get Jack Layton to say anything bad about Harper. (3) And some Conservative candidates in the West complained that all national ads shown in their area were against the Liberals, while their biggest threat was from the NDP.

Journalist Jacques Lemieux also questioned a Layton/Harper alliance:
Did you ever notice how apparently coordinated Mr. Harper and Mr. Layton's attacks were against Mr. Martin during the last election, as if Mr. Layton and Mr. Harper with his backroom supporters had discussed their strategies in meetings? (4)
And Paul Wells has also noticed a strange relationship, as both men worked in tandem to destroy the Liberal Party. (5)

Laxer suggests that like Harper, Layton wanted to carve out the middle, pushing for a two-party system.

Oscar Wilde wrote that there are only two tragedies: "one is not getting what one wants; the other is getting it."

I'm sure this is not how the NDP leader saw this playing out. Being the leader of the Opposition in a Harper majority, was likened recently to winning a game of Bingo on the Titanic.

So publicly Layton will probably jump up and down as the Harper government systematically dismantles our social safety net. But privately, I'm sure he'll question why he put his faith in a man that few had faith in, just for political power.

Because everything Harper does from here on in, will have Jack Layton's seal of approval. And to borrow a phrase from Linda McQuaig, he will be left "holding the bully's coat".

Back to Introduction

Sources:

1. Stephen Harper and the Future of Canada, by William Johnson, 2005, ISBN 0-7710 4350-3 6, Pg. 374

2. Ignatieff 'quality guy,' Flanagan says, By: Frances Russell, Winnipeg Free Press, December 11, 2009

3. Fake Left, Go Right: An insider’s take on Jack Layton’s game of chance, By James Laxer, Walrus Magazine, May 2006

4. Jack Layton and Stephen Harper forge an apparent alliance: Progressive NDPers and other Canadian voices undermined by elitist agenda, by Jacques Lemieux. The Canadian, 2007

5. The secret plot to destroy the Liberals, by Paul Wells, Maclean’s, April 17, 2006

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Stockwell Day Lied Through His Teeth and Jason Kenney Knew It!!!!

I'm showing this video again because starting at about 1:25, you'll hear Gilles Duceppe discuss a coalition proposed to him by Stockwell Day in 2000. Naturally Stocky denied it saying that it would go against his very DNA to make a deal with Separatists.

Well call in CSI because this little worm just spilled his DNA all over the place.

Back when he was running for the top job as leader of the Alliance Party, Day did in fact try to make a deal with the Bloc to assume power if Jean Chretien won a minority. Jason Kenney was his right hand man at the time and since it was splashed across leading newspapers of the day, he had to have known about it, assuming he can read.

In Trevor W. Harrison's book; Requiem for a lightweight: Stockwell Day and the Image of Politics, he discusses the controversy.

"Day repeatedly journeyed to Quebec ... During August and September, Day stepped up these efforts, going even further to suggest the Alliance party welcome Quebec separatists and might even consider forming a national coalition government with the Bloc Quebecois .... But Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe said he wanted nothing to do with Day whose values (re: gay rights, abortion, youth justice) Duceppe described as "inspired by the United States..."

Mr. Harrison lists as sources two newspaper articles: "The Report, August 28, 2000" and "Bloc leader denounces Day's ideas" Edmonton Journal August 14, 2000.

Neither of these pieces were available online, but I did stumble across this little gem from the New York Times, no less:

Rightist Shocks Canadians By Flirting With Separatists
By JAMES BROOKE
August 3, 2000

Stockwell Day's summer vacation in Quebec was going well. Every day, the rising star of Canada's right appeared on French language television, chatting in francais with his language immersion teachers, fielding reporters' questions about his politique fiscale, or posing for photographs with the eternal friend of language students, le dictionnaire Larousse.

Then the athletic Mr. Day, a former treasurer from Alberta, clumsily stepped on a classic Quebec land mine.

With newspapers reporting ''informal negotiations'' between his party, the Canadian Alliance, and the Bloc Quebecois, whose stated goal is to make Quebec an independent nation, Mr. Day refused to rule out teaming up with the Bloc in coalition after general elections, expected next spring, in order to dislodge the governing Liberals.

''An unholy alliance with people who don't believe in the country,'' fumed Allan Rock, Canada's health minister, and an aspirant for leadership one day of the Liberals.

Undeterred by Mr. Day's hurried disavowal of any electoral alliance, Stephane Dion, the leader of the Liberal government's unity drive, said, ''It's playing with Canada, and you don't play with your country.''

As Canada continues to be haunted by the lingering separatist threat, the sharpest rebukes came from some of Mr. Day's closest backers.

''The Canadian Alliance leader needs to stop playing footsie with Quebec separatist leaders right now,'' thundered the The National Post, which has more commonly been a cheerleader for Mr. Day.

In an interview on Tuesday, Conrad Black, chairman of The National Post, said the strategy would not work. ''It makes it too easy for the Liberals to represent him as a separatist fellow traveler, ambiguous about the future of the country.''

The misstep comes as Mr. Day's party, the Alliance Canadienne, as it is called here, starts to expand beyond its western roots, becoming Canada's dominant conservative party. In an Angus Reid poll released last weekend, the Alliance had more than doubled its support since March, with the support of 24 percent of those polled, the highest figure for any opposition party in almost five years. The poll also indicated that Alliance is now the most popular opposition party from the Pacific Coast to the Ontario-Quebec border.

In Quebec, Canada's second-most populous province, the poll indicated that in two months voter preference for the Alliance had risen from 1 percent to 8 percent. In this socially liberal province, Mr. Day has avoided talking about his opposition to abortion, gay rights and gun control. Instead, he has focused on issues dear to Quebec's voters like cutting taxes, reducing the number of paroles for criminals and deporting illegal immigrants.

In addition, Mr. Day, long an advocate of decentralism, has pitched his anti-Ottawa message to Quebec's ''soft nationalists'' -- the one-third of voters here who want more autonomy, but not outright independence, suggesting, for instance, that provinces be given control over tax money they raise for health, education and social welfare.

Overlooked in the flurry of denials and cartoons about games of ''footsie,'' Michel Gauthier, leader of the separatists, denounced Mr. Day as a vote poacher. Mr. Gauthier warned his followers about the perils of a summer romance with this handsome language student, saying Mr. Day was ''trying to seduce Quebec voters.''

Against his very DNA, huh?

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

More on Stephen Harper's announcement that he will be making nine patronage appointments to the Senate. Don Martin was having a good hair day.


PM's patronage sinks to new lows
By Don Martin,
Calgary Herald
August 27, 2009

When he anoints his very own Hallelujah Chorus to represent Canadians in the Senate in the coming days, Prime Minister Stephen Harper will have delivered his most compelling argument for electing senators.

Sources say up to nine vacant Senate seats will soon be filled, bolstering the Conservative standing to 46 seats in the 105-seat chamber.

Among the rumoured appointees are fawning Conservative party president Don Plett, bare-knuckled campaign manager Doug Finley and obedient former staffer Carolyn Stewart-Olsen.

An ideological politician who was disgusted at watching Parliament's upper house turned into a vote-stacking exercise, where only the faintest of serious or sober second thoughts actually take place, Harper has turned ruthlessly partisan in making his Senate appointments, elevating party loyalty into the sole consideration for the cushiest job on the Hill.

The argument for such warped behaviour was first advanced after Harper rushed 18 bums into Senate seats when the Liberal-NDP-Bloc coalition was threatening to take down his government. Better to load up the red chamber with loyalists before the Liberals handed out those juicy plums, he argued. (Don got this wrong. The Bloc were not part of this coalition. They only agreed to support it on confidence motions for 18 months)

But is it absolutely necessary for Harper to fill these $132,000 positions, with retirement deferred to age 75, with fanatical loyalists?

These insiders may not be known outside the parliamentary precinct, but that only makes their appointments more outrageous.

Their strongest, indeed ONLY, character traits for the job are blinkered vision and blinded loyalty. They will serve as little more than a vote administered by remote control from the PMO for as long as Harper owns the job.

There is a certain shenanigan symmetry to this, of course.

The Liberals appointed a former prime minister communications director named Jim Munson to the job. Stewart-Olsen comes from the communications wing of Harper's PMO.

The Liberals put their election wizard, David Smith, into the Senate. Finley has been the campaign guru for the Conservatives through all Harper-led elections.

But there's something sad about justifying the sliming up of the Senate with patronage trough-feeders on the grounds that Tories are no worse than the Liberals.

There's also the incongruity of giving faithful Conservatives a job representing provinces which rejected them in the polls. Fabian Manning grabbed a Senate gig representing The Rock just two months after he was defeated as an MP there in the last federal election. Rumours have former premier Rodney MacDonald, ousted from power in Nova Scotia only two months ago, landing a seat.

The Senate is becoming the land of the misfit politicians, but at least most of those types have solid people skills.

Not so much for gruff Doug Finley, who excels at campaign donor shakedowns and serving as guard dog in deciding who was worthy of receiving Conservative nominations (including his wife Diane Finley) . Ditto for Stewart-Olsen, severed from the PMO a few months ago, whose enforcement of low-level directives and constant singing of Harper's praises are somehow seen as ideal senator material.

Of course, the ultimate objective can only warm the hearts of true blue Conservatives. This batch of appointments edges the Senate closer toward the glorious day when it will fall under Conservative control.

But Harper could've and should've done better--even though the inside view is that he did not get enough credit for delivering decent appointments under his watch.

True, the appointment of Bert Brown, who had been voted in twice in Alberta elections, was commendable.

Former broadcaster Pamela Wallin deserves credit for projecting a dignity of independence as a bona fide celebrity senator, even while standing with the government when the votes are called. And while I've been hard on former CTV icon Mike Duffy, at least he bonds with average Canadians even while shamelessly promoting the Conservative agenda.

But the names so far fall short of having any skills to represent their assigned provinces in a more effective Senate. They will only represent Stephen Harper. That's why we must find a better way of making quality Senate appointments --or elect to abolish it entirely.

I say abolish it, since the Conservatives have simply found a new way to make it dysfunctional.

Stephen Harper and More Broken Promises

Aaron Wherry at MacLeans discusses briefly Harper's plan to name 8 new senators next week, all patronage appointments.

He discusses the 2006 platform of the Conservative Party and the hypocrisy of a group who came to power claiming they were going to end this kind of family and friends rewards system.

Yet since then they have:

Consistently given top jobs based on patronage

Proven that nepotism is alive and well

Already rewarded friends with senate seats

Took cronyism to new levels

Hired Republican buddies to stay connected to George Bush

But let's peruse a few more lies from their infamous Standing Up For Canada platform:


Stand Up For Families:

Better health care for Canadians.......................................................................30
Real solutions for health care – a Patient Wait Times Guarantee....................30
The Liberals have delayed or failed to take action
on many other health issues
over the last twelve years.....................................31
A new Choice in Child Care Allowance...........................................................31
Security for seniors.............................................................................................32
Support for students and families with students................................................32
Promoting health and wellness..........................................................................32
Giving MPs a free vote on marriage...................................................................


Stand up for Our Communities

Improving Canada’s national infrastructure......................................................36
Building more affordable housing......................................................................37
Fight congestion through public transit.............................................................37
A cleaner, healthier environment......................................................................37
An immigration plan that works for Canada.....................................................38
Opportunity and respect for aboriginals.............................................................38
Promoting arts, culture, and competitive sport..................................................39
Supporting charitable giving .............................................................................39


Stand up for Canada

Open federalism–strengthening national unity.................................................42
Fiscal imbalance.................................................................................................42
Protecting and promoting official languages......................................................43
Enshrining property rights in the Constitution.................................................43
A better democracy............................................................................................44
Ensure fairness in party nomination races..........................................................44
Advancing Canadian values and interests on the world stage..........................44
Defending Canada..............................................................................................45
Creating jobs through international trade.........................................................46

Accountability: A Conservative government will:

Give the Public Service Integrity Commissioner the power to enforce compliance with the Public Servants
Disclosure Protection Act.
• Ensure that all Canadians who report government wrong doing are protected, not just public servants.
• Remove the government’s ability to exempt Crown corporations and other bodies from the Act.
• Require the prompt public disclosure of information revealed by whistle blowers, except where national
security or the security of individuals is affected.
• Ensure that whistle blowers have access to the courts and that they are provided with adequate legal counsel.
• Establish monetary rewards for whistle blowers who expose wrongdoing or save taxpayers dollars.

Of course there are a lot more broken promises. Like the respect of the parliamentary budget officer and truth in reporting. Same Old, same old.

But the most important ones are below:

Tories Break Law in Cadman Affair

The "In and Out" and Their attempt to Defraud Taxpayers

Does Stephen Harper Have the Legal Right to Govern?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sometimes a Cigar is just a Cigar and Sometimes Stockwell Day is Just an Idiot

So I mentioned that a came across a book written about Stockwell Day, and his incompetence; A Requiem For a Lightweight, by Trevor W. Harrison in 2001, after Day's fall from grace.

Some excerpts are cached online, and you can even read all of chapter one here.

But the book gives us a lot of insight into this former Alliance leader, and begs the question, how in the heck did he ever get to the position he has? Since when has a high school education and a life of radical evangelism, qualified a person to hold key cabinet positions in both provincial and federal governments?

It boggles the mind.

I found an excerpt here:

Requiem for a Lightweight
Parkland Institute
by Trevor Harrison
Winter 2001

As Canadians melted in the summer heat wave, Stockwell Day was undergoing his own political meltdown. One year ago, the newly minted leader and the Alliance party were flying high in the polls, garnering enough support to shake the Liberals into an early election call.

Today, support for the party hovers below double digits, and Day’s capacity to lead - as opposed to simply having the title of 'leader' - is at an end. What explains the remarkable events of the last year that have so reversed Day’s (and Alliance’s) fortunes?

Let’s put aside the Alliance party's policies, as unsaleable as some of them are, as well as the foibles of some of its prominent members. And let’s not dwell on the party’s political culture, an admixture of populist self-delusion and top-down reality, or the Reform legacy left by Preston Manning.

Instead, let us turn our attention to Day’s own role in his debacle, and that of others who fooled themselves into thinking he was their Great Right Hope.

There will be those, including Day himself, who will long contend he was the victim of a conspiracy - left-wing, right-wing, or otherwise. Indeed, beliefs in such a conspiracy will likely grow over the years. The urge to reject simple answers in favour of complex ones is normal. It is part of the human capacity for invention.


As Freud said, however, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. And sometimes the simple explanation for events Is also the correct one. Yes, much of the media disliked Day. But not all. Day and Alliance received an easy ride in his home province of Alberta (actually Day was born in Barrie Ontario, grew up in Montreal and later moved to British Columbia. He only went to Bentley Alberta because it was a haven for the radical right) - indeed, was a product of that media - while the National Post early on fit him for the national mantle.

Yes, the 2000 Liberal campaign was nasty. But Day’s chief difficulties did not emanate from outside the party.

And yes, many former Manning supporters leaked damaging information and have worked hard for Day’s resignation. But this merely describes Day’s internal opponents - a kind of bookkeeping - and doesn’t describe the nature of their opposition.

The fact remains: one year ago Stockwell Day was a deeply flawed and untested politician. There was little evidence to suggest he possessed the qualities necessary to lead a successful political party. From wetsuit to lawsuit and other events since, this truth is all too apparent.

If there is a story "behind the story" of Stockwell Day’s rise and fall, it lies in those who knew all along their champion’s limitations, and yet still promoted him. In a radio interview the day after Deborah Grey resigned from Alliance ‘s caucus,
Cliff Fryers (Alliance national council member and Manning’s former Chief of Staff) claimed Day had “sold the party a bill of goods.” With due respect to Fryers, a lawyer by trade, one is reminded of the axiom,"buyer beware."

Gerry Gagnon, an executive member of Grey’s constituency, better accepted the responsibility that goes with making bad decisions when he said: "We have tried to take shortcuts to power which included trying to find a good-looking leader and included borrowing money, thinking we could get into power through television commercials. I don’t think those shortcuts work. We are seeing the proof of that right now.”

To anyone who took time to see, Stockwell Day was never more than what he appeared. Always his own greatest promoter, Day's greatest “fraud” - that he was capable of being a national leader - was primarily perpetrated on himself. He rose and fell to rhythms of his own making.

What excuse, however, have Ralph Klein, Mike Harris, Rod Love, and Jason Kenney? How could so many Reform and Alliance MPs, including some of the later dissidents, not to mention the media, have missed the obvious? How did so many “grassroots” Alliance members, especially those who had followed Day’s career in Alberta, fool themselves into believing he ever had the “right stuff” to be a political leader?

The answer is they knew, but chose not to know. They saw, but chose not to see. And for their blindness, they lost their party.

Our story ends there. For Stockwell Day there will be no big payday, no title shot. A politician of modest background, he rose steadily to soaring heights, then crashed. Little more need be said. His future lies now in playing in smaller venues to gradually diminishing crowds. Like soldiers and boxers, politicians sometimes just fade away.

This article is adapted from the Harrison’s forthcoming book, Requiem for a Lightweight: Stockwell Day and Image Politics.


What Mr, Harrison couldn't have known is that Day may never have gotten to be Prime Minister, but Stephen Harper needed his religious right connections enough that he gave him key cabinet posts. My local flyer if and when there is another election, will be "If you vote for Brian Abrams you may get stuck with Stockwell Day .... and Jason Kenney, and Pierre Polievre , and .......

Jim Flaherty Sticks it to Taxpayers Then Walks Away While We Bleed

For all the Conservatives' bluster about the harmonized tax, blaming it on the provincial governments; it was Jim Flaherty who first proposed the idea in his 2008 budget, and then again in 2009.

He's now trying to walk away from it when it's pretty clear that it was his idea to tax everything. And we thought Jim Prentice's cap and trade carbon tax was going to drive up the price of everything.

Let's call this one 'Hurricane Jims', because it's a double whammy.

Jim Flaherty’s permanent tax on everything

Federal budget 2008: Replacing remaining provincial retail sales taxes (RSTs) with value-added taxes harmonized with the GST is another area where provinces can contribute to strengthening Canada’s Tax Advantage … The Government recognizes the significant economic benefits to Canada from sales tax harmonization and is willing to work with the five provinces that still have RSTs to help facilitate the transition to provincial value-added sales taxes harmonized with the GST.

Federal budget 2009. Modernizing these harmful taxes by implementing a value-added tax structure harmonized with the GST is the single most important step that provinces with RSTs could take to stimulate new business investment, create jobs and improve Canada’s overall tax competitiveness.

Washing their harmonizing hands

Stephen Harper's Conservatives wish to have it both ways. For years, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has lobbied the provinces to harmonize their sales taxes with the federal goods and services tax. Now that two provinces have complied, some Conservatives are shrinking from the ensuing controversy. Don't blame us, they're saying; it was all the provinces' idea.

Michael Ignatieff Hiding Out in Yellowknife

While the media has been going on and on about
where Michael Ignatieff is supposedly hiding out, he has been travelling the country, introducing himself to Canadians.

As Warren Kinsella points out
, the Liberal leader "...has literally had four times as many events and activities as his main opponent." It just doesn't command much media coverage when the House isn't sitting.

So this story is about Michael Ignatiff hiding out with his feet up in Yellowknife. I'll bet he didn't block anyone from attending his events.
Former N.W.T. premier acclaimed as Liberal candidate
August 24, 2009

Federal Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff landed in Yellowknife on Monday afternoon, in part to show his support for the party's latest addition.

Liberals in the Northwest Territories riding of Western Arctic confirmed on Saturday that former premier Joe Handley will be their next federal candidate.

Handley, who was N.W.T. premier from 2003 until 2007, was the only person to seek the party's nomination.

On his arrival on Monday afternoon in Yellowknife, Ignatieff toured Buffalo Airways' facility at the local airport, then visited a local daycare centre.

Speaking to reporters, Ignatieff said resource revenue sharing is the most important issue facing Canada's North.

"Our vision of the North is tied to making sure that all the peoples of the North get a fair shake out of what's obviously going to be a resource for them over the next five, 10, 15 years," Ignatieff told reporters Monday afternoon.

"We think that we've got to work that out now before the resource boom really hits."

He is also expected to attend a barbecue hosted by the Western Arctic Liberal Association.

Handley, 66, has been working as a private consultant in Yellowknife since he retired from territorial politics in 2007. Handley was appointed to the CBC's board of directors in 2008.

The Western Arctic riding is held by New Democrat Dennis Bevington, who has been the territory's MP since 2006.

The Liberal leader's visit to the N.W.T. comes after Prime Minister Stephen Harper toured the three northern territories last week, in what some had called a pre-election campaign jaunt with numerous repackaged funding announcements.

Green party leader Elizabeth May spent the weekend in Whitehorse, releasing her party's northern strategy on Friday and supporting Yukon Green candidate John Streicker.