Monday, January 31, 2011

Canada Ranked Last in Healthcare But Tax Cuts for Rich Come First

Despite promises to fix our public healthcare, after five years, Canada now ranks dead last in terms of quality of care.

Dead last.

But what is the Harper government doing?

More tax cuts for the rich.

Polls consistently show that Canadians rank healthcare as their number one priority.

But what is the Harper government doing?

Building more prisons when our crime rate is the lowest in our history and buying fighter jets that no one else will take because they are considered to be junk.

Do you want public healthcare or to borrow money to give to the wealthy?

Healthcare or fighter jets?

Healthcare or prisons?

Healthcare or Harper?

Think about that. I know I have.

Harper and Flaherty's Voodoo Economics. Tax Cuts for the Rich?

Jim Flaherty stole George Bush's 'Tax Relief' catch phrase and now the Harper government has also stolen 'Job Creators' when describing tax cuts for the rich. They also stole "support the troops", yellow ribbons, "flip-flop" ....

But then they have the same Republican advisors, so why wouldn't they rehash the rhetoric?

The Conservative Party borrowed heavily from the U.S. Republican Party with attack ads distorting a speech by Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff and a recent campaign employing an anti-tax slogan the Republicans seized in their assault against President Barack Obama and the Democrats, opposition MPs say. Conservative spokesman Fred DeLorey denies the party lifted the term "job creators" from the Republicans as a catchy description of businesses Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Calgary Southwest, Alta.) and his government say will suffer if the Liberals force the government to scrap $6-billion in corporate tax cuts scheduled for next January.

The fact that Michelle Bachmann and the Harperites were both touring with tax cuts for the rich as "job creators", shouldn't be surprising. The Americans for Prosperity help to finance them both.

The "job creator" phrase was used in a string of statements by Mr. Harper and Cabinet ministers over the past two weeks as they fanned out to react when the Liberals released campaign-style video ads—a reaction to attack ads the Conservatives unleashed two weeks ago—that zeroed in on the tax cuts and the $16-billion acquisition of F-35 fighter jets as potential centrepieces for their election campaign platform.

Coincidentally, Republican Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachman drew attention to the Republican preference for the same term when she appeared on a Tea Party video responding to President Obama's State of the Union address to Congress last Tuesday. "We need to start making things again in the country and we can do that by reducing the tax and regulatory burden on job creators," she said.

Stompin' Tom Sings to Stephen Harper. Everybody on your feet!

This video was posted on Canadians Rallying to Unseat Stephen Harper and it's so fitting, given the fact that Stephen Harper has sold our country out to the U.S., lock, stock and barrel.

If he doesn't love his country, better than himself. He can better serve his country, by living somewhere else!

The Holy Grail Has Arrived. My Election Manual

After reading about former NDP leader David Lewis and The Committee for an Independent Canada, who had a huge impact on the 1972 election, by campaigning against Corporate Welfare Bums, I was on a mission.

I tracked down Mr. Lewis's book, that started it all. Louder Voices: The Corporate Welfare Bums, finding a copy on Ebay. It's four decades old but the problems then are the same as now. The loudest voices are the corporations, who refuse to even slide over an inch as they feed off the public trough. Once in a while if we're lucky, we can catch a few crumbs that fall out of their mouths, but don't let them see you, or you'll be tackled to the ground.

In Canada, as in the United States, this has reached catastrophic levels, and if we don't turn this around, taxpayers will never have any voice at all.

From the preface:

For many years, democratic socialists have recognized that despite Canada's enormous wealth and the native compassion of its people, gross inequities have continued to exist in our social and economic structure. We have laboured to make Canadians aware of these inequities. We have voiced them in Parliament; we have fought for legislation to correct them; we have knocked on doors to tell the people, and we have worked with other concerned organizations in the struggle to make our message understood, so that Canadians would take action to bring an end to these inequities.

Our message is not new. It is one of commitment to social and economic justice that others have shared for centuries. Perhaps the new element about our message is that we have found a way to help people understand. We have given them the information, the precise and irrefutable evidence they need to comprehend fully the extent of injustice in this great country.

It has been a difficult undertaking, but the rewards have been many. We know now that people are listening, becoming aware, judging. And this is the first step in the struggle to eliminate those injustices that no humane society will knowingly tolerate.

Months of research have gone into compiling the evidence on which we base our case against free-enterprise governments and their corporate allies. I cannot adequately express my gratitude to the many dedicated people who have contributed so much time and effort ...

Toronto September 24, 1972

I think Mr. Lewis would be quite surprised to learn that things in Canada are now worse than they were when he wrote those words. Our current government ascribes to the political-economic theory of Socialism for the Rich and Capitalism for the Poor, whereby corporations get to keep all the profit, while taxpayers assume all the losses.

His book arrived today and I think it was a sign because it's the same day that I read John Ibbitson's column in the Globe: Corporate tax cuts could bring down government. Michael Ignatieff has already said that we cannot afford them, taking his message to the business community, and the NDP is on the fence.

But what makes me boiling mad about all of this, is the fact that the taxpayers, the us's were left out of the equation.

Harper and Flaherty claim that they have it on good advice (from the corporate sector) that more tax cuts for the rich will be good for us. But when in the hell did this government ever take advice from anyone? They were advised not to cut the GST and did it anyway. They were advised not to scrap the mandatory long-form census, and did it anyway. The list goes on.

The ones that they should be listening to is us dammit.
... polls have shown huge public opposition to the tax cuts. A Leger Marketing poll commissioned by QMI News reported Sunday that only one Canadian in 10 favoured lower corporate taxes, while four in 10 wanted to see those taxes go up.
And yet Ibbitson goes right to the political. He says that Harper is gambling that his supporters, who don't want the wealthy to be given more of our money, will still vote for him,


90% of Canadians DO NOT WANT MORE CORPORATE TAX CUTS!!!! Those are the only voices anyone should be listening to, because that money belongs to us.

I don't give a flying fig who is going to get political leverage with this, although If Layton goes along with these tax cuts, it will be the end of the NDP, and both David Lewis and Tommy Douglas will be turning in their graves.

Because it means that their "commitment to social and economic justice" will all have been for nothing.

Stephen Harper and the Americanization of Canada

While Harper's attack ads suggest that Michael Ignatieff is too fond of the United States because he taught at Harvard for five years, it's interesting to look back at Harper's five years in power, and just how tied HE is to the United States.

I tried to make a short video to give some idea, but I had to leave many things out.

Like the aggressive trade deal 'Buy American':

Last week the Council of Canadians, along with the Canadian Union of Public Employees, leaked a copy of the Canada-U.S. Agreement on government procurement (the "Buy American" deal) to the media. It was the first time the wide-sweeping deal, which will permanently constrain provincial spending options in many areas, had been put forward for public scrutiny. This deal binds the provinces to World Trade Organization (WTO) rules on public spending – something they had been unwilling to do until now, for very good reasons.
Other references for the video are:

1. Big fish feed in Canadian pond: Investment is welcome but impact on economy should be studied before declaring open season, By David Crane, Toronto Star, March 11, 2010

2. The National Citizens' Coalition loves you - ha! ha! ha! 35 years of fighting for fat cats while posing as ordinary citizens, NUPGE

3. Talking trade with John Turner: Canada’s eldest former Prime Minister sits down with Journal Features editors Kerri MacDonald and Michael Woods to discuss the economy, the Liberal Party and the future of Canadian democracy, The Queens Journal, October 28, 2008

4. Stephen Harper speech to the Colin Brown Memorial Dinner, National Citizens Coalition, 1994

5. U.S. investigations on Canadian soil done within the law, CBC News, October 5, 2006

6. The Jelly Bean Summit, Council of Canadians, Autumn 2007

7. Canada to join controversial nuclear partnership, Toronto Star, November 29, 2007

8. Canada, U.S. agree to use each other’s troops in civil emergencies: Canada and the U.S. have signed an agreement that paves the way for the militaries from either nation to send troops across each other’s borders during an emergency, but some are questioning why the Harper government has kept silent on the deal, By Ottawa Citizen, February 22, 2008

9. Joint RCMP-Homeland Security “Shiprider” pilot project to be made permanent, by Stuart Trew, Council of Canadians, March 20, 2008

10. Over a Barrel: Exiting from NAFTA's proportionality clause, By Gordon Laxer, John Dillon, July 16, 2008

11. From Correct to Inspired: A Blueprint for Canada-US Engagement, Canada-US Project, January 19, 2009

12. Stiffed with the bill: A private banquet at civil society's expense, By Elizabeth Littlejohn, Rabble News, September 22, 2010

13. Future of North America: Vancouver 2010, Coronation of the North American “Community”, by Andrew G. Marshall, Global Research, March 15, 2008

14. Has John Turner's Premonition Come True? Are we Now an American Colony?

Stephen Harper: More Private Profits and Socialized Losses

Despite saying otherwise, it would appear that Stephen Harper is considering pouring millions of dollars of taxpayer money into helping to build a professional hockey arena, the operative word being PROFESSIONAL.

This is another example of 'Socialism for the Rich and Capitalism for the Poor', a political economic theory that allows for the "privatization of profits and socialization of losses."

Because although WE will be paying for the arena, THEY will be netting the rewards. Millionaires profiting on our tax dollars. No money for social housing, but apparently we have money to fund for profit sports teams.
The Harper government is leaning toward pouring millions of dollars into an NHL-calibre arena in Quebec City despite the political risks of using taxpayers' money to support millionaire hockey players. The Conservatives are signalling their willingness to pick up part of the tab for the politically popular project in Quebec from an unused $1.25 billion federal fund.

That could open the way for Ottawa's support for similar projects across the country.Saskatchewan wants help building a $430 million domed stadium in Regina for the CFL's Roughriders and Hamilton is trying to put together a $154 million renovation of fabled Ivor Wynne Stadium to keep the Tiger-Cats in town. Calgary may be looking for help before long to replace the 28-year-old home of the NHL's Flames.
And during the last public backlash over his scheme, Stephen Harper did indicate that what he did for one he would have to do for another. And yet he claims that Michael Ignatieff is being reckless with our money for wanting an election during 'hard times'.

We need an election, because we can no longer afford to keep Harper in the lifestyle he's become accustomed to.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Canada's Rally for Sanity Was a HUGE Success. We Need More of Them.

I mentioned on Friday a planned rally in Hamilton against the Harper government for allowing the Americans to mess with employee pensions at Stelco.

It was a huge success.

Union banners and flags showed the local crowd was swelled by members of the Canadian Auto Workers, Service Employees International Union, McMaster University students, Communication Energy and Paperworkers union, and public sector unions including the Canadian Union of Public Employees. The marchers were exhorted by the presidents of the United Steelworkers, the Canadian Labour Congress, Ontario Federation of Labour and Hamilton and District Labour Council and area NDP members of federal and provincial Parliament.

Labour rallies contributed so much to this country, and it was nice to see so many people out. Maybe the fear of Harper is dwindling, now that we realize that he is not as tough as he likes to pretend. Most bullies are just cowards with loud mouths.

We need to continue to inspire. This rally was very inspiring.

Andrew Coyne is Puzzled But the Answer is Quite Simple

There was a lot of back slapping and hallelujahs from the Harper gang, when they celebrated their fifth anniversary.

But there was also a lot of reflection by Canadians, who wondered whether the past five years were as rosy as the neocons would like us to believe.

Much of the criticism came from the centre and left, but there was also a few murmurs from the right, especially the more moderate conservatives.

Andrew Coyne called the Harper style: A know-nothing strain of conservatism.

He starts out in his column wondering why half of the country believe that we are heading in the right direction, yet Harper is barely able to hold onto a third support in the polls.

The answer to that is quite simple. With a media blackout, the Canadians who believe we are headed in the right direction, have no idea what is going on behind the scenes. Ontarians, like myself, have some idea, because when Jim Flaherty looked after finances for Premier Mike Harris, he had everything hidden under his desk. When he left office and the books were opened, it was a nightmare.

Our "balanced budget" turned out to be six billion dollars in the red.

But another factor to consider, is that while half of Canadians believe we're on the right track, many don't attribute our success to Stephen Harper and his government, but measures put in place before his arrival, that have kept us out of trouble. Again, if those same people realized how many of those safety measures the Harper government has torn down, they might feel differently.

But Harper's low polling numbers are a direct result of his actions. As Coyne points out, "Clearly, it’s the way they govern, rather than the results—their tail-gunner style of politics, notably—that is the issue."

And he lists several undemocratic actions.

The census debacle "... what on Earth the Conservatives could have been thinking. Playing to the base?" That's a Karl Rove tactic, who constantly told Bush when he had doubts, to always "play to the base". When Guy Giorno, Canada's answer to Karl Rove, was Harper's chief of staff, he told Harper to "play to the base" by leaving safe abortions out of maternal health.

And their anti-intellectualism that has to exclude expert opinions - again George Bush.
I think my colleague John Geddes came closest in his piece last week. It isn’t just that the Tories habitually ignore the expert consensus on a wide range of issues—crime, taxes, climate change—it’s that they want to be seen to be ignoring it. It’s the overt antagonism to experts, and by extension the educated classes, that marks the Tory style. In its own way, it’s a form of class war.
And the sneering references to Michael Ignatieff because he not only taught at Harvard but earned his PhD there. No different from Mike Harris who referred to Rhodes Scholar Bob Rae as "the Professor" with just enough spittle on his chin. If your qualifications don't equal your opponent's, then tear down your opponent's qualifications in as ignorant a fashion as possible ... playing to the base. That 30% that won't desert you, and believe that anyone educated at Harvard must be the devil. Harvard educated Obama is getting the same nonsense from the Tea Party. And as Coyne reminds us:
The intellectuals that conservatives generally rail against are those they disagree with. But the Harper Conservatives are just as hostile to the interventions of experts on what one might suppose to be their own side. The decision to cut the GST, rather than income taxes, was made in defiance not of radical economists, but of the orthodox free-market variety.

... The result is a uniquely nasty, know-nothing strain of conservatism. The Thatcher Tories, unlike their forebears, weren’t anti-intellectual: her cabinet contained some of Britain’s most fertile social and political minds. Ronald Reagan, though hardly an intellectual, did not demonize expert opinion, or pit the educated classes against the rest.
Again, the anti-intellectualism is George Bush and the Republican strategists he surrounded himself with, including Frank Luntz, the man who has played a huge role in the Canadian Reform movement.

But that kind of politics failed to resonate with Canadians. All the cunning and personal attacks have wore us down. "After so many miscues, unforced errors, too-clever tricks and utter botch-ups, does anyone still cling to the “strategic genius” view of Stephen Harper?"

He's just annoying now. Add that to his economic myths, and I think we have enough to vote him out of office. Hallelujah!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Gail Shea and When a Fisheries Minister is Not a Fisheries Minister

In a normal situation, when cabinet ministers are chosen, the selection is based on who has the right education and experience, to best carry out their mandate.

Therefore, you might expect that someone chosen to head up fisheries and oceans, would at least have a scientific background, so that they can speak the language and understand the concerns of stakeholders.

But Gail Shea has none of these qualifications nor does she appear to have much interest. Her primary function is to attend trade shows and entertain lobbyists, who have been working to tear down Canadian safeguards to protect our waterways and marine life.

In 2008, she ordered the slaughter of 560 Narwhal whales who had been trapped in the ice around Baffin Island. The American humane society had hired Inuit to keep the blowholes open, while they arranged to have an icebreaker rescue the whales.

But before they could do that, Shea instead ordered that they all be shot. These are not the actions of someone who takes her job of protecting these sea mammals seriously. It was one of the worst acts of brutality in the history of our country, and she offered no apologies. Instead she launched a personal attack on the sea captain who tried in vain to rescue them, attempting to have him fired.
"A government that refuses to abide by democratic principles and closes the door of Parliament rather than to submit to the rule of the majority is hardly in a position to demand my resignation. The Canadian government has no power or authority over us and we have no cause to respect any demands from the Canadian government, especially the ridiculous Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Gail Shea remains Minister only because the honourable members of Parliament have been denied the floor from which to fire her," said Captain Paul Watson.
Shea is also promoting the shrimp farming industry, which erodes coastlines and is damaging to the eco system. And instead of addressing the concerns of marine biologists troubled by the devastating results of salmon farming, she was in Norway schmoozing with the people who are causing the destruction.

And under her watch mining companies are being allowed to dump toxic waste into our lakes and rivers.

So I found it rather interesting, that she is now in Summerside, apparently on the campaign trail, touting the accomplishments of her government and selling the notion of giving corporations more tax cuts. She should be doing her job as a public servant.

Canada is a beautiful country, and we have always taken pride in our shorelines, clean water and wildlife. When salmon become infected, they are not only unfit for human consumption, but also for other animals in the food chain, like the grizzly.

And when waterways become toxic, complete eco systems are destroyed.

Shea defends her actions by suggesting that she is protecting and creating jobs. But shrimp and salmon farming is mostly seasonal work, often performed by migrant workers. And green jobs could be created without harming the environment, but protecting it.

If Shea wants to work for multinationals, she should do so. But not when she's on our payroll.

Stephen Harper's New Attack Ads are Ignorance Over Substance

Rick Mercer is right. This latest round of attack ads by Stephen Harper are pretty low. If after five years this is all that the Conservatives have to campaign on, they are in serious trouble.

I posted on Chris Matthews trying to get a straight answer from the Tea Party as to why leader Michelle Bachmann was trying to re-write history on slavery.

It was like talking to a Harper Conservative. Straight answers are not within the real of possibility.

But typically, Glenn Beck came to the rescue, attacking Matthews as being "Ivy League", and even going further suggesting that Bachmann may be the next president of the United States. Good Lord.

The fact that Chris Matthews never attended an Ivy League school, didn't matter. Apparently smart people are the enemy these days, and just implying that they attended places like Harvard or Princeton means that they should be banished from the land of stupids.

Friday, January 28, 2011

What do You Mean Stephen Harper Has Done Nothing For Women?

As we look back at the five years of Harper, many are suggesting that he has done nothing for women. C'mon. Give the man a break.

Did he not have his minister for the Status of Women announce that date rape was the result of the hypersexuality of young girls? How else would we have known that young men had been so victimized?

Did he not remove that pesky word "equality" from their mandate? I mean if women see that word, they are only reminded of how empty it is.

Did he not reduce the number of women in the public service? All the estrogen was making men too sensitive.

Did he not close down 80% of the Status for Women offices, saving taxpayers thousands. Of course he spent any money saved to finance his fundraisers, but his heart was in the right place.

And did he not defund a database of nearly 600 cases of missing or murdered aboriginal women in Canada. If his police have to spend time looking for missing women, when will they possibly find the time to beat up the rest of us?

Stephen Harper has done a lot for women, and now women have a chance to return the favour, by giving him an early retirement.

Are Canadians Now Wanting to be the Change They Want to See?

I know that using words like "change" now seem like rhetoric, as we witness the demolition of Obama and his principles.

But the problem for Obama is that the liberal class in the U.S. had already been annihilated. We still have fragments in Canada, and I believe those fragments are in the process of joining together for a common cause.

Chris Hedges in his book Death of the Liberal Class, is critical of the Religious Left, for not renouncing the Religious Right, who now teach a doctrine of greed, hatred and bigotry.

But in Canada we still have hope.

A coalition of churches is now renouncing Harper's crime and punishment agenda.
Congregations of Christian churches across Canada are being asked to tell the federal Conservative government they don’t want to pay for its justice agenda. The Church Council on Justice and Corrections, a 39-year-old coalition for justice reform that represents 11 of the largest Christian denominations, has written a strongly worded letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper condemning legislation that is expected to increase the number of convicts dramatically and require billions of dollars worth of prison construction.
That's what I'm talking about. We need to stand in solidarity with these people.

There is also a planned labour rally:
Workers from across Ontario are to jam Hamilton’s core on Saturday to denounce both U.S. Steel and the foreign investment policies of the Harper government. The campaign, dubbed The People Versus U.S. Steel, condemns the company for locking out 900 Hamilton workers to back demands for pension concessions, and the Conservative government for allowing the company to purchase the former Stelco.
That's what I'm talking about. We need to stand in solidarity with these people.

There is another group calling for a Canadian Department of Peace. Be sure to sign the petition. We need to stand in solidarity with these people.

Democracy Watch has launched a campaign. Have a Coffee Party for Good Government and Corporate Responsibility in Canada!
If Canadians spent as much time writing politicians about their concerns as they spend lining up to buy coffee, we would have the good, democratic governments and responsible big businesses we want.Unlike the Tea Party movement in the U.S., the Canadian Coffee Party movement is pushing only for well-researched and broadly supported changes that will make Canadian governments and big businesses operate more honestly, ethically, openly, representatively, efficiently and effectively.With a federal election likely soon, and provincial elections this fall in Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan, the window of opportunity is wide open for Canadians to elect politicians committed to making themselves, and big businesses, more accountable and responsible.
That's what I'm talking about. We need to stand in solidarity with these people. But just changing governments won't be enough. We have to become good citizens, and keep government responsible, no matter who it is.

There is another excellent group called Leadnow, devoted to restoring our democratic principles. They are seeking input from everyone.
Leadnow will bring Canadians together to take action for our long-term interests and hold politicians accountable. We want to deepen our democracy, strengthen our communities, advance social justice, extend economic opportunity and protect our planet. Tell us - why do you want to see change in Canada?
If we really want change, we have to be part of the change. Unions, churches, seniors, young people, students, veterans, women, gays, Muslims ... everyone who has been marginalized by this government must work together. Maybe a national day of strike during the election, if it's deemed to be warranted.

Remember the rallies for democracy during Harper's last self-serving prorogation?

We have got to wake this country up.

Take it away Grannies ...

The New Canada: Socialism for the Rich and Capitalism for the Poor

Robert Kennedy Jr., son of the late Senator Robert Kennedy and nephew of JFK, has suggested that America is now a land of “socialism for the rich and brutal capitalism for the poor”.

And he is not alone in that assessment, as it is now shared by many progressives and critical thinkers, giving it a proper place as part of a larger political-economic argument.

Income disparity is on every one's lips these days, though American pundits believe the affliction is unique to the United States. Paul Krugman, as I mentioned before, blamed it's origin on Ronald Reagan and claims it has only happened once before outside of the U.S., in Britain, under Margaret Thatcher.

I've written to Krugman to let him know that he might want to start paying attention to Canada, because we have now replicated the Reagan/Thatcher government for the wealthy. And we are also now in a situation where a small minority hold the bulk of the wealth, while the rest of our population has stagnated, or fallen so far behind their only hope is to win a lottery.

And while Jim Flaherty and the gang are on a taxpayer funded tour, to sell Canadians on the notion that we should give the wealthy even more money, it's time to take a step back, scratch our heads and think. If their statements don't make sense to you, it's because they don't make sense.

The concept of Socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor, which we can shorten to So Rich/ So Poor, is based on capitalist societies, whose policies assure that more resources flow to the rich than to the poor. This is done with transfer payments, as we've seen with the tar sands and the enormous amounts of our money that the Harper government has funnelled to them. It is also done with relieving them of their duty to pay their fair share of taxes.

And it is a capitalist state that bestows favorable treatment to corporations by the government, who adopt a wink and a nod approach to protecting the environment, by eliminating "red tape".

But perhaps the most compelling attribute of the So Rich/So Poor political thought, is the "privatization of profits and socialization of losses." When the economic crisis first hit, who got all the money? Wall Street and Bay Street gambled and lost, but still walked out of the casino with their silk shirt on their back.

It reminds me of a joke I heard from an ex-gambler, who said that he cleaned up in Vegas. "I travelled to Vegas in a $20,000 car and came home in a $100,000 bus."

We were all crammed into that bus, while the wealthy refused to part with even one of their Mercedes. And we are being told that we will have to tighten our belts even more, while the rich are at the back door with their hands out, and getting them stuffed with our money (their pockets won't hold anymore)

And this notion of "corporate welfare" and financial corruption, is not new. In 1834 Andrew Jackson said:
"I too have been a close observer of the doings of the Bank of the United States. I have had men watching you for a long time and I am convinced that you have used the funds of the bank to speculate in the breadstuffs of the country. When you won, you divided the profits amongst you, and when you lost, you charged it to the Bank. ... You are a den of vipers and thieves."
"Vipers and thieves", and our government is providing not only the getaway car but the safe house. It's time to get this country back for the middle class, because when the middle class dominated, social programs were brought to the table. And that's because the middle class has a heart and a soul, two things carved out of the corporate sector and neoconservative politicians.

I am not anti-capitalism and I believe in a healthy business structure. But gluttony is not healthy. It's time the rest of us were thrown a few crumbs.

And that's not socialism. It's democracy.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Who Needs the Tea Party When You've Got Peter MacKay?

Michelle Bachmann has been vindicated, because Americans now believe that Canadians must be the stupidest people on the planet.

Maybe not all Americans, only Arnold Schwarzenegger and his entourage, but when a Canadian cabinet minister and defense minister no less, is so ignorant of geography, how does that reflect on the rest of us?
“California and British Columbia have a shared border, a strong relationship. And some would say that our countries are probably as close as any two nations on the planet.”

MacKay was speaking with California’s “Governator,” former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, at a Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce dinner at the Fairmont Hotel.

The former Mr. Universe and Conan the Barbarian put his acting skills to good use, remaining stoic at the border blunder, with only a small sideways glance indicating he’d heard MacKay’s slip-up“California and British Columbia have a shared border, a strong relationship. And some would say that our countries are probably as close as any two nations on the planet.”

We really should just make these guys stay home. We'll pay them just to sit in a room and watch re-runs of Hee-Haw. I can't take anymore.

I Don't Care Who Thinks Otherwise. Corporate Tax Cuts Are WRONG!

David Akin has an interesting and somewhat misguided column in the Sun, focusing on corporate tax cuts.

His implication is that Michael Ignatieff is only posturing over corporate tax cuts, because they already went into effect on January 1, so the only way to reverse them is to raise them. I love that idea.

Akin also quotes the Ontario provincial finance minister who is in favour of lowering them. I don't care if a little green man has said we need to lower them. He would be just as wrong as Jim Flaherty and Stephen Harper.

This is not a partisan issue, it is a Canadian one and a human one.

Given the greed, the idea of more tax cuts for our wealthiest citizens, has now become the eighth deadly sin, though I suppose it would also fall under "gluttony". It's become obscene and any politician singing their praises should include a warning before their speeches. 'This is not intended for all audiences. Viewer discretion is advised.' If there are young people in the room, shield their eyes and ears.

I would ask Akin though, that if the tax cuts have already gone through, why is Flaherty and other Corporate Party cabinet ministers, wasting our money travelling across the country in support of them? Do they have more in the offing?

This government has raised taxes on workers with an increase in payroll taxes and the HST. But they have further widened the gap between rich and poor, by pandering to the wealthy. There's something not right.

I might have sympathized with the corporate sector if they hadn't lined up with their hands out during the economic crisis, laying off workers, and then call those workers lazy because they had no jobs.

125 billion to our banks and they give their executives 18 billion in bonuses? It's a slap in the face to the rest of us.

In the video at the bottom of this page, you'll hear Paul Krugman discuss the income disparity that is threatening the health of the United States. This was in 2007, and he suggests that this is a phenomenon unique to the United States. But as we know, with our first federal neoconservative government, Canada now has the same dangerous income disparity.

We need to reclaim this country for the middle, and a healthy middle class was created by raising taxes on the wealthy, raising corporate taxes and strengthening our labour unions. It's that simple.

This is not about pulling up your socks and getting an education, and you'll do better. As Krugman reminds us, most school teachers have the same education as hedge fund managers. And yet the highest paid hedge fund manager in 2007, earned the same as all 80,000 New York school teachers put together ... for three years!!!!!

Still not convinced?

Well how about this one. Because Flaherty and Harper have lowered our corporate tax cuts to unheard of levels, now lower than the United States, the American corporations operating here, must make up the difference to their government.

So any money that they are robbing from you and I, is going to the U.S. treasury.
In a bizarre twist of fate, some of the money saved by American companies operating in Canada simply gets transferred to the U.S. Treasury. Their rules require that foreign operations pay taxes at no less than the U.S. rate, or make up the difference to Uncle Sam. Studies by economist Erin Weir show that money not collected by Ottawa is instead taxed by Washington for the benefit of Americans. Instead of helping to solve the massive infrastructure backlog in communities across the country, Flaherty is giving away billions to his U.S. counterpart.
Mad yet?

So the next time you hear any one say that corporate tax cuts will create jobs, they could be right. Just not for Canadians.

New Study Reveals That Mark Steyn is Full of it

Not long ago, neoconservative Mark Steyn wrote a piece for MacLeans magazine, warning of an Islamic population explosion. The Canadian Arab community filed a hate crime complaint, but there was so much right-wing backlash that they eventually dropped it.

Since then Steyn has become a prime fear monger, helping to fuel the Harper government's anti-Muslim policies. The above video shows how passionate he is, that traditional European culture could be obliterated.

However, a new study has shown that Steyn has been blowing smoke.
An extensive new report on the growth of the world’s Muslim population should put to rest a lot of fears Anxious commentators have made sweeping predictions that Canada will have a Muslim prime minister in a decade as a result of high Muslim immigration and birth rates Other scare mongers have predicted Europe will be 40 per cent Muslim by 2030, and thus be largely governed by oppressive Shariah law. An extensive new report on the growth of the world’s Muslim population should put to rest a lot of fears.

Anxious commentators have made sweeping predictions that Canada will have a Muslim prime minister in a decade as a result of high Muslim immigration and birth rates Other scare mongers have predicted Europe will be 40 per cent Muslim by 2030, and thus be largely governed by oppressive Shariah law. Europe, say these worried forecasters, might as well now be called “Eurabia.”
The world is always changing and this kind of fear mongering is nothing new. There was a fear that Jews would be taking over the world, until the Holocaust reminded us of what can happen when these kinds of fears become all consuming.

The biggest fear for Canada is that unfounded hatred and prejudice will change who we are as a people.

Muslim is not a disease. It's a religion and not one to be feared.

Harper Government Charging Taxayers Millions for Dirty Work

Back in the day when Preston Manning was leader of the Reform movement, and Stephen Harper writing policy, the media unveiled something that Manning had instructed his candidates to do.

He told them to keep dossiers on their opponents, so that they would be prepared for any debate. And if they could dig up dirt, all the better, come election time.

These practices were not common in Canadian politics, and hence it made the story newsworthy.

Dirty tricks by the Corporate party of Canada, are no longer newsworthy, except when it involves taxpayer money. And that is the case with the latest discovery. The Harperites have cut down on opinion polls, since they don't really care what we think, and instead have hired agencies to keep track of media stories.

I wondered how they were able to come up with things so quickly. Often in the House of Commons, when a member of the opposition asks a question, someone from the government side will pull up a quote from a news story, turning it back on the person asking the question on our behalf.
The Harper government spends more money keeping track of what the media is saying than it does soliciting the opinions of ordinary Canadians, an Ottawa Citizen analysis of contracting records shows. The government has been steadily increasingly the amount it pays for private "media monitoring" services over the past three years, after dramatically slashing spending on public-opinion research. The prime minister's own department, the Privy Council Office, is the leading spender on media monitoring, the data show, having run up a bill of $3.8 million keeping tabs on newspapers, broadcasters and websites since 2008.
I would like to know who these companies are and what they are tracking. Fodder for attack ads? I mean, we pay their bills, shouldn't we get to know what we're paying for?

My Interview with Stockwell Day

Still trying to get used to this mike, but I think this one is a little better.

If Ignorance is Bliss Why are There so Many Unhappy People?

I watched a lecture that the brilliant Chris Hedges gave at the University of Toronto, where he was discussing his latest book The Death of the Liberal Class. It was broadcast on the show Big Ideas on public television (TVOntario), though I believe it may also be available on YouTube.

His appearance took place days after the U.S. mid-term elections, the results of which Hedges referred to as "the beginning of the empowerment of the lunatic fringe of the Republican Party."

And he's absolutely right. Moderate Republicans are losing their home, while many Democrats are becoming more like Republicans.

The Tea Party was the brain child of former Republican Majority House Leader, Dick Armey, and several corporate sponsors, including the infamous Koch Brothers, who felt that the Republicans were not right-wing enough. Armey created the AstroTurf group Americans for Prosperity, which has ties to the Harper government.

But where will it end? Hedges believes it may be too late to save the United States, and he could be right, because few progressives know how to break through the wall of ignorance.

In the video below Chris Matthews is trying to get an answer from Tea Party co-founder Sal Russo, on why a prominent Tea Party leader, Michelle Bachmann, is rewriting history on slavery. Matthews begins to lose his composure, as he is constantly presented with talking points.

This is an old neoconservative strategy. We saw it in the House of Commons, when they were debating the Afghan Detainee issue. The only thing we got from the government side of the House, was "there's no evidence" "we support the troops", "the opposition is attacking our troops" ... It was like happy hour at the funny farm.

And Bachmann is not the first in this movement, to attempt to rewrite history. In Texas, they are removing Thomas Jefferson from their school textbooks, because he advocated the separation of Church and State. He is being replaced with Billy Graham, which is ironic, because Graham denounced Richard Nixon when he attempted to exploit Christianity for political gain.

And Sarah Palin is constantly referring to Harvard grad, Obama as an "elitist", invoking the founding fathers. But what she fails to realize, is that all of the founding fathers were well educated, forward thinking men. They were lawyers, judges, scientists. And they would have hated this Tea Party movement, that attempts to dummy down a nation.

Yet they are taking over.

In fact one of their spokesmen, Matt Kibbe, when asked if the TP had infiltrated the Republican party, said that he preferred to think of it as "a hostile takeover".

And they are doing just that. A Tea Party Activist Takes Over New Hampshire Republicans and Arizona and Washington may be following suit. The Republicans embraced this movement as a means to achieve power, but in the end, they could be losing their brand.

If there's an upside to this, it's that the right may split the vote, but if the Democrats don't move away from right-wing politics, they will not be able to cash in. The only choice for Americans will be which right-wing party they choose, which will probably mean even fewer people voting at all.

A similar thing is happening in Canada, as the Christan Right and Tea Party thinking now fuels our government. But the problem is, that no one is talking about it. And when they do, as Rick Salutin found out when he called Stephen Harper a Straussian (neoconservative), they are fired.

And yet when Stephen Harper's Reform movement first hit the political scene, everyone called them neoconservatives. We already had a Tory Party, a Liberal Party and a New Democrat Party. The Reform was neocon, and their connections with the American Republicans was spoke of everyday.

Read books from the '90s. Neoconservative was becoming a common term. Now it's taboo. And if we can't use 'neoconservative', then we sure can't use Religious Right, but we have to start using those terms as part of normal political discourse. Because if we don't we will soon be where the U.S is. At the point of no return.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Bloc Say They Will Support Harper - For Five Billion Dollars

Gilles Duceppe said today that he will support Harper's budget for five billion dollars. So will Stephen Harper give five billion of our money to save his butt?

And how will that play with his base, after he's been spewing all this "coalition with separatists" nonsense?
The Bloc Quebecois is putting up a big price tag — $5 billion — as the cost of its support for the upcoming federal budget. It says Quebec has gotten a raw deal compared to other provinces in a multitude of areas, from regional development to tax harmonization. Now it wants some of that addressed in the upcoming budget.

The prevailing wisdom these days in Ottawa is that, if an imminent election is to be avoided, it will depend on the NDP supporting the Tories’ budget. That’s because the Liberals have already dismissed major elements of the government’s spending and fiscal platforms — and the odds appear slim of the Bloc’s demands being met.
The Liberals have already said that they will not support 16 billion for fighter jets or six billion for more corporate tax cuts, so if Jack Layton supports the budget, it means that he is favour of those things. Things that Canadians are not happy with.

So what will he be able to campaign on?

Does Stephen Harper do Anything that the Republicans Don't?

I always say that if I want to know what's going on in Canada I have to read the UK Guardian or anything from the American Press.

But I realize now that if I want to know what Stephen Harper is going to do, I just find out what the Republicans and the Tea Party are up to.

Census - Tea Party.

Gun Control - NRA.

Our Religious Right - Their Religious Right.

And, I've just discovered that the Republicans are also trying to end the democratic practice of allowing Americans to have a voice through a couple of bucks taken from their taxes at election time.

In the U.S. they now allow corporations to buy politicians, without having to hide it. I guess that's next. I mean Stephen Harper even sued us when he was with the corporate financed National Citizens Coalition, because we wouldn't slap a price tag on a candidate.

Jim Flaherty has been bought and paid for, as he's on his 'Corporate tax cuts are good for you' campaign. The Corporate Party of Canada at it again.

My Sorta' Almost Kinda' Interview With Stephen Harper

Another Assignment Army of Us's. Women's Rights

There is no denying that women have suffered under the Harper government, though many of the effects have yet to be felt.

Spread the word.

Why are we Surprised That Harper Has Turned Back the Clock on Women's Rights?

Laura Wood has an interesting op-ed piece on Rabble: Chipping away at gender equality: Harper's five-year round up.

She discusses his turning back the clock on women's rights, citing many of the measures taken to again subordinate our gender.

There are no arguments with her piece. However, as a nation we should not be at all surprised by this, if we had been following politics back in the Reform Party days.

Part of their policy was to put women back in the kitchen, where it was deemed they belonged. And they made no secret of it. In fact many men were drawn to the Reform movement because of it.

One of their founders, was William Gairdner and his book The Trouble with Canada, according to author and journalist Murray Dobbin, "functioned as ‘the de facto manifesto for the Reform Party’". He sold copies at Reform Party assemblies.

In 2007, Donna L. Lillian, then Assistant Professor of Discourse and Linguistics in the Department of English at East Carolina University, wrote her dissertation on sexist discourse as hate speech, and it was centred around William D. Gairdner. She writes:
In arguing that at least some sexist discourse should be considered hate speech, I first demonstrate that the popular discourse of Canadian neoconservative author William D. Gairdner is sexist.... Sexism, the ideology and practice of relegating women to a lower rung on the social hierarchy than men simply by virtue of their femaleness, is an integral component of neoconservative thinking, and one way that such sexism is produced and reproduced is through language.

To international readers, Canadian author William D. Gairdner may seem like an obscure and unlikely subject for an argument about hate speech. After all, there are many well-known commentators and public figures, particularly in the USA, whose writings might be considered sexist and whose names might be more recognizable internationally than Gairdner’s. In preparing this article, I have, in fact, read dozens of conservative books, articles, blogs, and websites, including some by prominent Americans admired and cited by Gairdner himself (e.g. George Gilder, Richard Viguerie, Newt Gingrich, Phyllis Schlafly, inter alia). Gairdner shares many views with these commentators; however, his discourse style differs markedly from theirs. Whereas they temper their style, largely avoiding obviously inflammatory modes of expression, Gairdner revels in what he describes as his ‘tell it like it is’ style of writing. (1)
He never held back. I read The Trouble With Canada, and the way he speaks about women, or as he likes to refer to us, "radical feminists", made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It was frightening.

And he was one of Stephen Harper's mentors.

Laura Wood in her Rabble piece also mentions the influence of the anti-women group, oddly named REAL Women of Canada. They were involved in the movement from the early days, and now brag about how often they are invited to Parliament Hill for their input.

Their president, Gwen Landholt, spoke of the "...takeover, by feminist ideology, of the judicial system in Canada, as well as its takeover of the UN. During the 60s, 70s and 80s, the radical feminist ideology was gradually instilled into the cultures of education, work, government and societal life."

"Feminist ideology"? Interesting. I remember a headline when I was in high school, announcing that women who were employed in banks, could now wear pants to work. However, they had to be pantsuits. Our school soon followed, allowing us to also wear slacks, but there were guidelines that were strictly enforced. No jeans, nothing too tight, etc.

We soon broke every rule. It was the late '60s. It's what we did.

But do we really want to go back to a time when we had to fight just to wear pants? For Stephen Harper and his neoconservatives, women's rights are seen as a threat to their masculinity. It is fundamental that they chip away at them, until they all come crashing down.

It took decades to accomplish what we have, and could take decades more just to go back to where we were five years ago. Canadian women have to stand up to this man, and we do that by exercising our hard fought for right to vote.


1. A thorn by any other name: sexist discourse as hate speech, By Donna L. Lillian, Assistant Professor of Discourse and Linguistics East Carolina University, 2007

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

If we are Going to Turn Things Around we Have to Stop Blaming the Opposition

"The test of serious moral commitment to the family is a willingness to spend public money. Effective child protection, universal access to health care, affordable child care, first-rate primary and secondary education - these are the building blocks of the protective arch that society must raise over its families. This institutional arch doesn't come cheap, but those exponents of family values who won't stump up for it are just engaging in cheap talk." - Michael Ignatieff (1)
We are in serious trouble in this country. We have had five years of the worst possible excuse for a government, and if we don't smarten up, we will have another five years, if there's still a country left to govern.

But this is not the opposition's fault. At least not entirely. And we can't even put the blame completely on the media, many of whom live in fear.

We have been attacked by a powerful enemy, that no one was really prepared for, though we should have been. Michael Ignatieff gave a lecture at the University of Toronto in 1998, and he said then that the worst a progressive society could do, would be to ignore the threat of neoconservative.

Conservative strategist Dalton Camp said the same thing. But we thought we were immune. Boy, were we wrong.

However, it's too late to whine over how Stephen Harper was able to take complete control of our country, and has everyone living in fear. It's now time to put our heads together and figure out how we are going to change things.

In Linda McQuaig's column yesterday she spoke of the audacity of Harper's chest thumping over his imagined accomplishments, including "saving us" from a legitimate child care plan.

It’s worth pausing for a moment to marvel at how Harper has managed for five years to get away with this sort of ludicrous, misleading, deceptive statement. Rather than showing disrespect for parents, a government child-care program — like the ones common in Europe and Quebec — is the only way to provide millions of Canadian parents access to decent child care.

By setting up a public program paid for through taxes, we can bring down costs and ensure high quality, thereby providing a vital service for people unable to afford it privately. In cancelling the child-care program upon taking office and replacing it with a $100-a-month payment to parents of young children, Harper was throwing a tasty bone to conservatives who believe a woman’s place is in the home. But he risked alienating the vast majority of Canadians who no longer live in the Father Knows Best patriarchical world of the 1950s.

But then she goes on to blame much of the problem on the opposition, referring to them as "meek". This attitude suggests that it's really not Harper's fault. I remember a day when blaming the government meant blaming the government. Now it means blaming others, and excusing our government for the problems they have created.

Michael Ignatieff has stated that he wants a national childcare plan to be his legacy. Many in the media scoffed while the Harperites cried cocka-doodle-do, or something like that. They spew such nonsense I rarely pay attention.

But constantly blaming the opposition only makes us part of the problem. We need to become part of the solution. If there's money for fighter jets, prisons and corporate tax cuts, then dammit there's money for social programs, things we need far more.

Michael Ignatieff says that he's ready to fight for the Canada we love. Are you?


1. The Rights Revolution: CBC Massey Lectures, By: Michael Ignatieff, Anansi, ISBN: 978-0-88784-762-2, pg. 111

Harper's Manipulation of the Media Doesn't Come Cheap

The Sun has just revealed that the Harper government spent almost $ 900,000.00 last year just for their press releases. That doesn't include the photographs and videos that they make, in an attempt to control every last bit of information.
The Conservative government uses two main news release services to disseminate its news, Marketwire and Newswire. In 2009-2010, the feds spent $680,985 for 30 accounts with Marketwire and $213,982 for eight accounts with Newswire. The information came to light after QMI Agency questioned the government about the cost of such services. Over the weekend, QMI reported that the government spent $1.9 million in the same time frame to monitor newspapers, radio and television reports.
And he has the nerve to tell us that he's worried about our economy?

What a hypocrite.

Army of Us's. Time to Put Harper's Coalition Nonsense to Rest

I don't watch much television, but did catch part of Harper's TV ad, where they are talking about the coalition. They have also posted a piece on the Corporate Party of Canada's website suggesting that Michael Ignatieff has a "secret" coalition plan.

By now most Canadians know that a coalition is a normal situation in a Parliamentary system. In fact, Stockwell Day attempted to join forces with the Bloc in 2000, and Harper with both the Bloc and NDP in 2004.

You will find all the links here.

The irony is that Michael Ignatieff was never really keen on the idea, and in fact it was he who ultimately saved Harper's bacon by voting for the budget in early 2009. He did it because the majority of Canadians at the time, wanted it.

And what did he get for his efforts? Harper immediately started running "just visiting" ads.

The man has no soul.

This is just a reminder that if anyone looks at this vain attempt to drum up support, by playing the victim, that we are all armed with the right information.

Stephen Harper must really be getting desperate, flogging the same old lies.

Who Says That Stephen Harper Fails to Inspire?

An opinion piece published in the Star suggests that after five years, Stephen Harper has failed to inspire.
“It hasn’t always been pretty,” he acknowledged in an interview with the CBC’s Peter Mansbridge this week. “But I think (Conservative minority rule) has served Canadians well.” Few will dispute the first part of that statement. Far from being pretty, much of his watch has been downright ugly. And as for the second bit, Canadians are deeply split on whether they feel well-served by Tory policies.

As an Angus Reid poll for the Star confirms, voters have not really warmed to Harper despite his mastery of parliamentary tactics, his attack ads running down the opposition and his party’s impressive ability to reach out to grassroots voters.

Many Canadians are in a glum mood. And while some credit him with exceeding their expectations, three times as many feel he has fallen short. That leaves the Tories stuck at 35 per cent or so in the polls, no further ahead than in the 2006 and 2008 elections. It also leaves them vulnerable to a potential Liberal/New Democrat coalition in the next election.
Dare we dream? But we all know predicting another Harper minority without an election campaign is a bit of a stretch. Going into the 2005/2006 challenge, Paul Martin was polling at over 40%. I'm tired of pollsters trying to tell me the outcome of an election before one single vote has been cast.

But I would also like to challenge the notion that Stephen Harper has failed to inspire. He has inspired me to write this blog and he has inspired me to learn how to make YouTube videos. Me, who a few years ago barely knew how to turn on a computer.

He inspired marches against his aggressive trade deals, selling us out to the United States. He inspired protests not only in Canada, but in the UK, against his sabotaging of climate change talks.

He inspired Greenpeace to scale the Parliament Buildings, again in protest of his sabotaging the climate change negotiations.

He inspired not one, but two, Colossal Fossil awards at international climate change conferences.

He inspired the United Nations to choose Portugal over Canada, to be granted a seat on the Security Council.

And he inspired more than 200,000 Canadians to rally for their democracy, after his second self-serving prorogation.

Yes Stephen Harper is very inspiring.

Keep up the good work Steve. You're about to inspire yourself right out of office, which will "inspire" the biggest party this country has ever seen.

Monday, January 24, 2011

What Fox News North and Media Lies Have in Store for Canada

In light of the fact that the eleven Harper appointees on the CRTC want to make media lying legal, because poor Santa Claus is having issues, we might want to look at what the media being allowed to just make stuff up really means.

The nut bar Glen Beck went into such a tirade against a seventy-eight-year-old social activist, that she is now receiving death threats.

Rush Limbaugh, another right-wing nutjob, whose last intelligent words were that he was heading to rehab ... again, claims that the best way to stop violence is to forbid liberals from buying guns.

Most liberals don't own guns, and we want gun control because we know you do.

And that my friends is what will pass for intelligent debate on our new Fox News North, coming soon to a redneck reunion near you.

But apparently Stephen Harper doesn't believe that Fox News North has a chance in Canada unless they are allowed to lie.

According to Stephen Scharper in the Star:
Earlier this month, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), without fanfare, posted on its website a potential game-changer in the world of broadcast journalism. The CRTC is seeking to relax restrictions concerning the broadcasting of specious information on radio and television. Currently, the law stipulates that broadcasters “shall not broadcast any false or misleading news.”

Sounds reasonable enough — and straightforward — as it should, since it concerns the integrity of news reporting. But not apparently to the CRTC. It is proposing to soften the regulation, banning “any news that the licensee knows is false or misleading and that endangers or is likely to endanger the lives, health or safety of the public.” In short, with the new wording, broadcasters could air false or misleading news with impunity, provided that it does not endanger the lives, health or safety of the public.
We need to raise holy hell about this. If Stephen Harper can't have his own television station without the ability to make stuff up, then he doesn't need his own television station.

And who gets to decide what is harmful to our citizens? The poison of Fox News has affected the mental health of a nation.

Write to CRTC and let them know that this is unacceptable. If we want media lies, we'll read the National Post.

How Stephen Harper Controls the Media

An important element of democracy is a free and independent media. But we in Canada have only a silenced one.

In Preparation for Fox News North Harper Government has Made it Legal for Media to Lie

It has been discovered recently that the Harper government has now removed all barriers for the media to just make stuff up. And I love their justification for this.

Rick Mercer and Jon Stewart do it.

Mercer and Stewart are not part of the media. They are comedians. Their shows are billed as comedies, where Fox News North will be anything but funny.

Oh, and they also bring up Santa Claus. Of course. Who doesn't love Santa?
Stephen Downes, of the National Research Council of Canada, raised the point that the current law "makes it illegal to broadcast news reports of Santa's journey from the North Pole on Christmas."
We have to rewrite our laws to accommodate Santa. But as Michael Geist says: "If enacted, the changes would move the Canadian broadcast framework closer to that found in the U.S." Of course it will move us closer to the U.S. model. Doesn't every single thing that Stephen Harper does, move us closer to the U.S. model?

What's that? It was a CRTC decision and has nothing to do with Stephen Harper? Guess again. Harper has appointed 11 of the 14 current members of the CRTC.

Just another day in Harperland.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Harper Government Followed the Blueprint of the Bush Administration

It's interesting looking back to George W. Bush and when he first came to office. Many were then concerned with their loss of democracy, in light of the fact that Bush had stolen the election.

The theft of our election by Harper, wasn't apparent until later.

Cheating with the "In and Out" scandal, when candidates scammed tax payers out of almost $800,000.00, getting rebates they weren't entitled to. And the party spending more than a million dollars over and above the legal limit.

Dirty tricks.

They used the RCMP to discredit the Liberals in the middle of the election. The entire thing turned out to be a setup.

Dirty tricks.

And one of the leading members of the American Religious Right, Paul Weyrich, instructed his members to not talk to our media, because Harper didn't want Canadians to know how deeply he was involved in the American movement.

Dirty tricks.

And as Michael Moore reminds us, the United States before George Bush was a different place.
Pardon me if I was dreaming, but weren't things looking up ...? Weren't we supposed to be living through the "largest economic expansion in history"? Hadn't the govern­ment ended fifty-five years of operating in the red and finally boasted a "cash surplus" large enough to fix every road, bridge, and tooth in America?

Air and water pollution were at their low­est levels in decades, crime was at a record low, teen pregnancies had dropped out of sight, and more kids were graduating from high school and college than ever before. Old people lived longer ... Palestinians broke bread with Israelis, Catholics shared a pint with Protestants in Northern Ire­land. Yes, life was getting a whole lot better—and we all felt it. People were friendlier, strangers on the street would give you the time of day, and Regis made the questions easier so we could have more millionaires.

By mid-2001, thirty-seven countries were at war around the world. The United Nations kicked us off their Human Rights Commission, and the European Union attacked us for unilaterally violating the ABM treaty by reintro­ducing "Star Wars." ... In short, all of a sudden everything sucked. Whether it's the shaky economy, depleted energy supplies, elusive world peace, no job security, no health care, or the simple unusable ballot we were given to pick a President, it has become maddeningly clear to most Americans that nothing seems to work.
And the so-called global economic melt down, was caused by further deregulation, under Bush.

Before Harper, we were sitting on a surplus, our debt had been substantially paid down and though we were in Afghanistan, after four years, we had only lost 11 soldiers. I don't like to really use the word "only" when it comes to deaths, but compared with the 143 under Harper's watch, it's worth noting. And that's because, according to Rick Hillier, our prime minister made the decision to put our troops in the most dangerous areas of conflict. And why? To impress George Bush.

And we have also been rebuked by the United Nations because of our aggressive foreign policy and our many attempts to sabotage action aimed at slowing down Global Warming.

And the Harper government had spent through our surplus long before the economic crisis. Bush took eight years to destroy his country. Harper did it in five. We are now sitting on a record debt and deficit, women's rights have been diminished, gay rights are non-existent, and the tone of our political discourse is ugly and toxic.

Richard Brennan wrote a piece for the Star: Harper’s democratic record wins little praise
It was one of those rare times politicians from all parties on Parliament Hill agreed. They concluded that Canadians’ right to know demanded significant enhancements to the Access to Information Act based on the premise that democracy thrives best in the light of day. But Justice Minister Rob Nicholson dismissed the October 2009 recommendations from the Commons committee — in direct contrast to the Conservatives’ 2006 promise to be the picture of openness and accountability.
And though Brennan brings up the Liberal record, everyone agrees that government secrecy has NEVER been this bad. A common statement is that they've "never seen anything like this".

The Harperites are pointing to their Accountability Act, which turned out not to be worth the paper it was written on. The office they refer to was opened only to say that it was there. By 2009, it was still just a room:
The government should scrap the Federal Public Appointments Commission because it still doesn't have a promised patronage watchdog and has spent $1-million since 2006, says NDP MP Pat Martin.
And yet that didn't stop Harper from having the nerve to demand that the budget for the phantom office be increased. As Greg Weston reminded us in January of 2010:
Canadian taxpayers have shelled out more than $1 million for a federal appointments commission that has no commissioners and hasn’t overseen a single appointment in four years. In fact, it isn’t even supposed to exist. Stephen Harper created the commission in 2006, and promptly scrapped it in a huff. Yet the spending continues, and indeed the commission lives on, despite serving no apparent use.
His accountability is non-existent and our democracy has disappeared. But everything he's done, he learned from George W. Bush. Spend, lie, cheat and destroy.


1. Stupid White Men: And Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Union, By: Michael Moore, Regan Books, 2001, ISBN: 0-06-039245-2, Introduction

Israeli Soldiers Fired at Gaza Aid Flotilla in Self-defence"? Give me a Break.

It was announced today that the attack on the Gaza bound flotilla of aid ships, in which nine activists were killed, has been deemed an act of "self defense".

Give me a break.

Israel would not allow an international investigation, but instead launched one of their own, placing two pro-Israel voices on their "independent" panel.

David Trimble is an Irish Conservative who has been an outspoken critic of Palestine. As one reader of the UK Guardian asked, when Trimble suggested that Palestine must end it's violent assaults: "Why does Mr Trimble not ask Israel to renounce violence? The violence that the IDF inflicts daily on the palestinian population. And the frequent miltary attacks into Gaza and the West Bank. And the kidnapping and detention without trial of thousands of Palestinians, including elected officials."

And Brigadier-General Ken Watkin of Canada has a history of being involved in cover-ups.
The other foreign observer is less well known. He is Ken Watkins. Watkins is a Canadian and military judge advocate general. Perhaps Watkins was chosen because he is great at cover ups. Recently a Canadian diplomat Richard Colvin blew the whistle on the practice of Canadian troops transferring captured suspected militants to Afghan custody knowing that they might be tortured. Colvin wrote several reports on the issue to his superiors warning them this could be a war crime. Among those to whom he reported was Ken Watkins. Here is a short bit from an inquiry into the issue: (CTV)

-Gen. Ken Watkins, the military judge advocate general, claimed solicitor-client privilege about whether he'd seen warnings from a diplomat in Kandahar and whether he'd received direction from the prime minister's office. "Obviously the coverup continues," said Liberal defence critic Ujjal Dosanjh.
This is a sham.

I am so ashamed of my country now. I'm not anti-Israel, but am pro-Canadian, and Canadians always sought peaceful solutions to conflict. Now we are aiding and abetting.

The Harper government has aligned themselves with the Jewish Defense League, a terrorist organization if I ever saw one. Inexcusable.

We have got to start speaking up.

This Sure Isn't Canada. It's Harperland Now

Another interesting video has surfaced, where police officers during the G-20 weekend from hell, tell peaceful protesters that they weren't in Canada now (about the 4 minute mark in video at bottom).

Like they needed to be told.
York police media officer Sgt. Gary Phillips said the incident was the subject of a citizen’s complaint. In the video, a woman’s voice from behind the camera points out that the protesters are not within 5 metres of the cordoned-off zone — the area in which Torontonians were led to believe, erroneously, that they could legally be searched by police officers at whim. The male protester insists that, as a Canadian, he has the right to refuse the search. But the officer disagrees. “This ain’t Canada right now,” he says.