Saturday, April 30, 2011

Unbelievable. Harper Now Asking Liberals to Help Him Get Majority

Another photo from Friday's protest in Kingston. A good old Kingston welcome for Stephen Harper.

I think he may be cracking under pressure. After years of constant personal attacks, he is now asking the Liberals to help him get a majority or risk the "extremist NDP". Is he insane?

I mean seriously.

Most of us know that polls are grossly inaccurate at best and fraudulent at worst. He is nowhere near a majority, and if strategic voting is successful, won't even have a minority.

The pollsters are not factoring in just how badly Canadians want this man gone.

Wanting the Liberals to help him destroy our country? I don't think so.

Harper's Goons Shout Down Questions. How is This Democracy?

Above is another photograph from Friday's protest rally in Kingston, where Harper made a stop.

The news appears to be the same at all of these rallies. Heavily staged. You can't get anywhere near the man and he is bringing his own crowd.

And Terry Milewski got shouted down again for asking a question that Harper didn't want to answer.
Conservative supporters booed CBC journalist Terry Milewski at a GTA campaign stop Saturday after he challenged Stephen Harper on whether he would accept a decision by the Governor General to hand power to the opposition parties in the wake of the May 2 election.
He wants to be our prime minister but refuses to speak to us. I don't think so.

The man has got to go.

This is not what democracy looks like.

Harper Spent More on Advertising Than Bell Canada

The above photograph is from the Harper protest rally held in Kingston on Friday.

The gentlemen beside Mr. Big Head belong to the prison guard union, and are fighting for the restoration of the prison farms, a vital rehabilitation program.

In typical Conservative arrogance, local candidate Alicia Gordon supported the closing of the farms, suggesting that only 1 in 10 find jobs on a farm. What an incredible insult to the farming community.

During the protest, one of her supporters came down to talk to us, saying that it would be better if the prisoners learned carpentry and other things.

However, sadly they are being taught nothing. And what Gordon and the rest of her party fail to understand, is that farming is a business like any other.

I told the guy that, saying that they do far more than raise animals and grow crops. They learn machinery, accounting, business management, and responsibility. He just waved his hand and walked away.

I spoke with one guard who told me that they worked hard. It was not a free ride. The inmate farmers were up at 5 am everyday and there is no loafing. It's hard physical labour.

Now they do nothing but sit in their cells.

The Conservatives refused to give any breakdown of costs, but suggested that they would save about 4 million a year.

This from a man who spent $136 million tax dollars for self-promotion advertising in 2009-10, $46.5 million more than corporate giant Bell Canada.

Bell sells a service with their ads. The Canadian taxpayer got nothing in return for this enormous expenditure. 34 times what it costs to run the prison farms, assuming the numbers are accurate.

And Harper spent $38.7 million tax dollars to hire a team to monitor the media, to make sure that they could either pull anything negative or go into damage control to soften the blow.

The Canadian taxpayer got nothing in return. 10 times what it would have cost to run the prison farms for a year.

And $100 million was poured into Tony Clement's riding on roads to nowhere, gazebos and lighthouses on stumps. 25 times what it would have cost to run the prison farms for a year.

And he wants us to trust them with the economy.

Democracy in Action: We Need More of the Same This Weekend

Yesterday at a rally in Kitchener, Michael Ignatieff was joined by two, perhaps surprise guests.
Green Party candidate Jamie Kropf and former NDP candidate Rod McNeil. Kropf said there was no chance an NDP or Green party candidate would win in the region, so they were supporting the Liberals.
In Edmonton, there appears to be a friendly agreement between the NDP and Liberals, where the NDP candidate, Shawna Knowles is lying low to help bolster the Liberals, while the Liberal candidate in the adjoining riding, is returning the favour, to assure that Linda Duncan keeps her seat.

It has Rob Anders in a right flap. This bastion of democracy, whose own riding association has been trying to oust, but Stephen Harper can't quit him.

In Quebec, 2 former members of the Bloc (not candidates) are throwing their support behind the NDP.

In Saanich Gulf Islands, a prominent former Conservative and Reform party activist, Fraser Smith, and a former NDP MLA, Don Scott, have opted to support Elizabeth May.

This is how I thought this election would go. With our very democracy on the line, I thought that all progressives would campaign like hell but in the end, those with no chance to win, would stand with those who do, if it means taking a Conservative seat.

In 2008, when some balked at strategic voting, it was because of the $1.95 per vote subsidy. But we already know that Stephen Harper intends to scrap that.

Some of my NDP friends are angry with me because I refuse to believe that there will be an NDP wave that will save us all. I'm too much of a realist to take my chances on waves.

If I lived in the West I might join that movement, but in Ontario, the hotly contested ridings are still mostly between the Conservatives and Liberals, so I'm going to dance with the one that brung me.

I spoke with one of the organizers of a strategic voting group, and asked if they had changed any of their seat projections, and if we should now promote an alternative. But they have been out door knocking and hand shaking and assure me that they see no NDP wave in Ontario.

I got the same feel in Kingston yesterday, when I was out talking to people. They want Harper out and are sticking with Liberal candidate Ted Hsu, as the best option to beat out the Conservative candidate.

I'm sure there will be many surprises, but I'm more concerned with the shock, if we find that once again vote-splitting has returned Stephen Harper to power, possibly with a majority.

When I was at the Harper protest in Kingston yesterday, and we were finally allowed on the parking lot, two men came out of the building with 'Here for Canada' signs. I told them that they weren't here for Canada at all, and had a lot of nerve carrying those signs.

One of them asked: "so I guess you're voting NDP". And I said "no, I was voting strategically in the riding, so would be sticking with the Liberals". They mocked, saying "Oh, but haven't you heard. The NDP are on a surge." I said, "the day a Conservative tells me to vote NDP is the day I know I'm being played."They just laughed and walked off.

There was some justice though, because the wind caught one of the signs and it blew across the lot. Immediately a group of young people who had attended the protest, grabbed the sign and ceremoniously stomped on it, smashing it to smithereens.

Shannon Rupp wrote yesterday in the Tyee: Memo to Iggy, Jack and Liz: Get Strategic!
Attention: Michael Ignatieff, Jack Layton and Elizabeth May Re: Interpreting the Polls. As a card-carrying member of the Lesser of Evils Party (LEP) I’ve been asked to send you a note regarding those increasingly wacky polls leading up to our biannual election.

You seem to have trouble interpreting them, although they’re all saying the same thing: More than 60 per cent of Canadians want a coalition that does not include Mr. Harper. So, Mr. Ignatieff, Mr. Layton, and Ms. May, we are asking you to set aside your agendas, personal and professional, and consider the good of the nation. Please ask your candidates and supporters to cast a vote, riding by riding, for whichever party has the best chance of denying The Harper Government even the hint of a mandate.
We have a real chance here to oust him, not just keep him to a minority. But only with co-operation.

And on another note, while the realist in me is supporting strategic voting, the Canadian in me, does not just want a change in government, but a government that is fit to run our country.

And whether that's an NDP minority, a Liberal minority, a coalition led by Jack Layton or Michael Ignatieff, it has to be a strong alternative. Otherwise, the right-wing noise machine will deafen us all.

When I first learned that the NDP were leading in Quebec I saw it as a good thing, until I read about many of the candidates. Some are school teachers and union leaders, which I applauded as good choices. But many others were a joke.

They haven't been out campaigning at all, and several are now just sporting Jack Layton signs.

It can be heartwarming when a candidate spends little or no money on a campaign, and wins. But when a candidate does none of the work, and is instead just hoping to ride some one's coattails into a high paying job, it's something else all together.

Strategic voting allows the second strongest candidate to win. And the reason they are the second strongest, is because they have done the work and are accepted in their communities.

So please to everyone out there. If you know you can't win throw your support behind someone who can. This is not the time to let egos get in the way. It will leave you with a good feeling knowing that you have restored our democracy, or at least given it your best shot.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Michael Ignatieff Gets a New Pair of Shoes

Michael Ignatieff is finishing the campaign in a new pair of red shoes.

I spent most of my day out talking to people and then at the protest in Kingston, giving Harper a grand welcome.

Two comments were distressing. One was from a man about 40ish, who said he wouldn't vote for Ted Hsu because he was Asian. I must have gasped because he said "that didn't come out right". Then he went into a rant about "cheap stuff from China".

I realized I had just met someone from Harper's base.

The next was from a business owner who is a friend. I had convinced her to vote Liberal but she was having doubts. Not because of the Liberals themselves or Ignatieff, but she said that many business owners were frightened that the NDP might get in, so were considering going Conservative. I think, or at least I hope, I changed her mind.

But the protest was great and I plan to blog more on it along with photos tomorrow.

Been a long day.

Investors Warn People to Lock in Mortgages in Case NDP Win

Normally I dismiss headlines like this, but I'm doing what I can to get people not to split the vote. Experts agree that the only way Harper will get his majority is if we do that.

And with Layton's ego now leading him around, we have to start taking this seriously.

The chance of his becoming prime minister are pretty slim, and will be even slimmer if he hands Conservatives key ridings. But the "alarm" does have some merit.
The markets have made little movement so far, but Doug Porter with BMO Capital Markets thinks “we could see a significant shift next Monday if these polls are remotely accurate.”

Already, there is some speculation that the polls are hurting the dollar. During this morning’s rally of major currencies against the U.S. greenback, the Canadian dollar was notably sluggish.

... Markets are notoriously tough on democratic socialist governments, particularly untested ones. Like voters who are wary of conservative governments cutting their social programs, left-leaning governments have to work twice as hard to prove their fiscal-management credentials.
This plays right into Harper's hands.

PLEASE DON'T SPLIT THE VOTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Canada Could be Facing War Crimes for Refusing to Handle Detainee Issue

All the games that Harper played with the Afghan Detainee issue could land us in the International criminal court, facing charges of War Crimes.
When Toronto filmmaker Barry Stevens asked Moreno-Ocampo in his film, Prosecutor, if the ICC would pursue a country like Canada over its role in Afghanistan, he replied: “We’ll check if there are crimes and also we’ll check if a Canadian judge is doing a case or not . . . if they don’t, the court has to intervene. That’s the rule, that’s the system, one standard for everyone.”
This is not something we can simply sweep under the rug and hope goes away.

International Union of Labourers Throw Support Behind Ignatieff

This is a very important endorsement, given that most unions typically go NDP.

The Labourers' International Union of North America (LIUNA) today endorsed Michael Ignatieff and the Liberal Party of Canada for its commitment to help ease the economic pressure on middle-class families. "LIUNA represents working men and women in a wide range of industries — and Michael Ignatieff s platform and the Liberal Family Pack offer solutions that fit the priorities of our families."

"A Liberal government's policies will support stronger public pensions, create good-paying jobs for our workers, defend Canada's universal health care system, and help those in our society who need an extra hand – while at the same time offering a responsible fiscal plan that puts families first." LIUNA is a one of Canada's most powerful and respected trade unions with the goal to help improve wages, benefits and working conditions for its members. It has represented workers in North America for over a century, with diverse membership including )N workers in building construction, heavy construction and highway construction, manufacturing and commerce, health care and the public sector.

"The Liberal commitment to investing in middle-class families is in line with LIUNA's priorities. These are commitments that are important to us – but the Conservatives aren't interested in middle-class families and the NDP don't have a reliable plan to deliver on their promises. "On May 2nd, we encourage all of our members to vote Liberal because they offer voters the choice of a credible plan to help families now and defend public health care."
Let's hope it works. The NDP spending platform would be great if we were in better financial shape.

Think twice, vote once and DON'T SPLIT THE VOTE!

Vote Splitting Means American Style Justice System

It is no longer useful to remind people why they shouldn't vote for Harper. I think they already know.

The only message I can give now is to not split the vote, because that is the only thing that will give Harper a victory and possibly even a majority.

Layton's only ambition now appears to be more seats, a replay of his election strategies past. According to James Laxer in 2006:
Strangely, in the 2004 election, and much more overtly in 2006, the ndp leader exhibited a penchant for short-term fixes over long-term party-building. He became a servant to the proposition that what was good for working people and for the left was more seats for the ndp—no more, no less. Playing right into Conservative hands, in the 2006 election Layton helped frame the central issue as Liberal scandals. The Canadian Election Study, published just after the election, suggests this issue was responsible for the Conservative victory.
One of his Quebec candidates is still in school and according to his Facebook page, he likes to play videos and collect comic books. He may need a note from his mom to go to Ottawa. How is this good for the country?
To cap it off, in what was billed as his last statement as an MP, Ed Broadbent declared that power “should be taken away” from the Liberals, that the party “no longer [had] the moral authority to deserve people’s votes.” He said not a word about what a Harper government would mean for the country.
Layton appears to be using the same strategy. This election is now about him, and the rest of us be damned, even if it means returning Stephen Harper to power.

And what is the NDP stand on issues of importance? Gun control advocates are warning not to vote NDP if we want to save the gun registry. In a recent interview Layton was quite evasive on the topic, knowing that many of his MPs want to scrap it.

But what about law and order?

According to Laxer, who is an NDP insider:
On crime, Layton cravenly tried to capitalize on urban anxiety, attempting to compete with the law-and-order Conservatives by proposing four-year minimum sentences for certain gun-related offences. Urban advocacy is one thing, but US-based evidence suggests that such punitive policies simply don’t work. Regardless, Harper can now conscript the ndp’s positions in support of his own proposed legislative solutions. On these fronts—government ethics and crime—the party of progressive principle has become an accessory to the Conservative agenda.
So how can Layton possibly challenge Harper's law and order agenda, when he shares the same views, even when he knows they're wrong?

All I can say people is THINK! And please, please, please, DON'T SPLIT THE VOTE!!!!

This election is now about battling egos and we could all end up being collateral damage.

Harper Majority May be Out of Reach But Let's Not Celebrate Yet

Conservative insiders now feeling like a majority is out of reach.

High-ranking sources confide that even with the collapse of Michael Ignatieff's Liberals — and NDP Leader Jack Layton's surge, which helps split the vote in many Ontario ridings — it will be very difficult to make such immense gains in Canada's most populous province.
At the dissolution of Parliament, the minority Tories held 51 of Ontario's 106 federal seats. Party sources say the possible loss of several British Columbia ridings to the New Democrats — and others in Quebec, where Layton is surfing an orange wave — has forced them to revise their projections.

As of Thursday, they said they needed to win at least 74 seats in Ontario to achieve a majority. “It all comes down to Ontario and we're just not there,” a source said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the party's internal polling is closely guarded. Another source confirmed the Tories' data echoes publicly available polls, such as Wednesday's Toronto Star-Angus Reid survey showing the Conservatives at 35 per cent, the New Democrats at 30 per cent and the Liberals at 22 per cent.
I've had so many people email me from Quebec ridings saying they have no idea why the media believe that the Bloc will be trounced. They are still the favourite in their home ridings.

I am now more afraid than ever that vote splitting is only going to give us years and years of Harper.

No one is going to be willing to call another election after this fiasco, that started off so well.

I really thought we had a shot. Feeling far less sure now by the minute.

Seat projections show the Bloc at 43. The Liberals and NDP together 121. They would need the support of the Bloc for a coalition and we all know how that will play out.

If I find out that the pollsters fabricated this whole thing, I'm going to be furious, because this was our last best shot at saving our democracy.

Now Appearing More Likely That "Surge" Will Split the Vote

I'm still having difficulty figuring out what's going on here with this NDP "surge" and pollsters waiting for the "wave".

Nanos continues to show a very high margin of error in their regional polling from 5.6 to 10.1.

And those who go riding by riding are not seeing many seats that the NDP can actually take. And in many cases the NDP candidate is so weak that if they did win, they would be merely occupying a seat and collecting a fat paycheque for it. Not unlike most Conservatives.

At a debate on Wednesday, one NDP candidate, when asked, knew little of the party platform, and he doesn't even have his own signs. Only put up Jack Layton signs. Does he really believe that the people in this town are going to vote for him? Stranger things have happened I know, but.

And in the many ridings where the Liberals and Conservatives have been neck and neck, I think this "surge" could just split the vote and assure a Conservative win.

I know that's what Harper is hoping for.

They said that in an unguarded moment this week, Harper, when looking out over Niagara Falls said "waiting for the wave" with a half smile. Is he seeing the Reform Party in 1993, whose unofficial motto (and the title of a Tom Flanagan book) was "waiting for the wave".

When they hit the Hill, many reporters asked "who are these yokels and who voted for them?" And in government many of us are still asking the same thing.

Their success came only because of a broad discontent with Brian Mulroney's Conservatives, who only took 2 seats that year, and eventually faded into oblivion, being swallowed up by the Reform-Alliance.

Does he feel that he may face a similar fate? Not likely.

According to the Hill Times there are 95 hotly contested ridings. Most are hotly contested Conservative/Liberal. I'm fearing that a last minute movement to the NDP by the confused and those caught up in the hype, may give Harper his majority, or at least another minority. Then it won't matter who is in opposition.

The Conservatives will come out meaner than ever, saying "see we told you the election was a waste of time".


Feisty Senior Goes After the Globe and Mail

I love this woman. She has a few videos. All very good.

Gun Control Advocates Say Don't Vote NDP or Conservative

Gun control advocates are urging Canadians to vote either Liberal or Bloc if they want to save the gun registry.
“What’s unfortunate from the NDP is that Jack Layton came to Dawson once and promised us to have a strong position about gun control in his party,” said Hayder Kadhim, who was wounded in the 2006 shooting at Montreal’s Dawson College. “But unfortunately in September I witnessed with my own eyes, that he didn’t hold his promise.”

On Sept. 13, 2006, Kimveer Gill stormed Dawson and opened fire. One student, 18-year-old Anastasia De Sousa, was killed, and many others were injured before Gill turned the gun on himself. Several people who were affected by the Dawson shooting and the 1989 Montreal Massacre held a news conference in Montreal on Thursday. The conference was held at the home of the parents of Anne-Marie Edward, one of 14 women killed in the École Polytechnique massacre in 1989.
Think twice, vote once.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Conservative Insider Charged With Breach of Bail

The Conservative law and order agenda must include keeping the criminals close by. Another one is facing charges of fraud and now breach of bail.

Boy they can pick 'em.

NDP Were Never Serious About Forming Government

Up to now Jack Layton has been given a free ride because no one really took him seriously as a true contender.

Then the so-called "surge" and he's running around telling us he's the best choice for prime minister. If he was serious about wanting to be our prime minister he would have taken a bit of effort to find candidates who could actually do their job.
The NDP's sudden burst of momentum is shining new light on the party's candidates and some of those standard-bearers are being found far from the ridings they are seeking to represent. NDP Leader Jack Layton has been forced to address both his recent surge in public opinion polls but also why some of his candidates are not being seen in their ridings.

Isabelle Maguire, the NDP candidate in Richmond-Arthabaska, has left for a three-week trip to France, according to La Nouvelle Union, a Victoriaville, Que., newspaper
One candidate currently in Las Vegas but running in Quebec, can't speak French. Do they really believe people from Quebec are going to vote for candidates they can't find or can't speak to?

And the media is also now critiquing the NDP platform which includes 70 billion in new spending.

The economy is still important, since it determines whether or not we can continue to pay for things like healthcare. The NDP has no track record and their platform is a fairy tale.

Only the Liberals can offer a viable alternative to Harper.

Listen to Jean Chretien and you'll be reminded of why.

NDP Wins Bid to Keep Auditor Generals G-8 Report Quiet

Canadians could have seen the Auditor Generals's G-8 spending report but the NDP decided it was best buried until after the election.

Avaaz sued, believing that Canadians had a right to know before the election, but unfortunately lost the bid.

Harper sent Layton roses today.

Enough said.

Could Dean Del Mastro be Taken Down by Two Women?

The horrible Dean Del Mastro and his brother have launched a smear campaign against a Peterborough resident, simply because she has a Liberal lawn sign.

It was uncalled for and pretty low class.

Why does Peterborough keep sending this man back to embarrass them?

Betsy McGregor would be a much better MP.

What Passes For Democracy in Harperland

The Globe and Mail are endorsing Harper because he's kept on message and blah, blah, blah.

Of course he's kept on message. He doesn't take questions. Anyone can stay on message when they allow no one to challenge it.

Right across the country Conservative candidates are avoiding debates and all-candidates meetings. How can they be assessed when they can't be accessed?

Anne McIntyre discusses her situation just trying to get into a Conservative rally. And her story is far from unique.

John Baird refused an invitation to a media event at a homeless shelter, Rob Anders and Cheryl Gallant stormed out of meetings and most just fail to show up.

We deserve better than this.

Dr. Marlo Raynolds is Rising Up

Dr. Marlo Raynolds, the former Executive Director of the Pembina Institute, has also thrown his support behind Michael Ignatieff.

We need to get Harper out.
I don’t say this lightly. But the breadth and depth to which Harper has dismantled our environmental safeguards and failed to address significant threats to our health and prosperity, such as climate change, is beyond anything I could have imagined – and should be of grave concern to Canadians.

This is why I am speaking out. Over the past five years I worked endlessly to try to compel, convince and cajole the Harper government to take meaningful action to protect our environment.
We have to be realistic here. The NDP is not ready to form a government. They have a lofty platform filled with big expenditures, and no plan on how they will pay for them.

The only real alternative to the Conservatives are the Liberals. It's that simple. And as Dr. Raynolds says:
I want a Prime Minster that will listen to Canadians, who will respect democracy, who will respect the majority of Parliament that has said time and again that we must take action to reduce pollution, protect our environment and safeguard the health and well being of our kids and grandkids. This is why we need to do everything possible to get Harper out.

The conclusion that I’ve drawn is that the only way we can achieve this is by making sure that Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff becomes Prime Minister. I believe he is a man that listens first, and then takes real action. I believe Mr. Ignatieff will respect democracy, will respect Parliament and will respect Canadians.
Forget the "surges", the "waves" and the polls. Our country depends on it.

Is Peter MacKay on His Way Out?

Peter Mackay may be going for the Libyan dictator look here, but next week he may be looking for a new job.

According to ThreeHundredandEight:
In Nova Scotia, the New Democrats have taken two seats from the Conservatives: Central Nova and South Shore - St. Margaret's. David Parker is the new favourite in Peter MacKay's seat, while former NDP MP Gordon Earle is the favourite in South Shore - St. Margaret's.

The Liberals have also regained a seat themselves, taking Random - Burin - St. George's back from the Tories in Newfoundland & Labrador.
I don't agree with all of their seat predictions, because I think the Green will get at least one, and possibly two or three.

But the Mackay story is interesting. It shows that people are paying attention to things like the Afghan detainee story, contempt of Parliament and self-serving prorogations.

I think the pollsters have read this election all wrong. Democracy is important.

Andrew Coyne is Voting Liberal Choosing Democracy

Andrew Coyne has written a great column today where he provides his reasons for voting Liberal.
For me there are two issues of overwhelming importance in this election. The first is the economy, not only in its own right but for what it means for our ability to finance the social programs we have created for ourselves. The second is the alarming state of our democracy: the decaying of Parliament’s ability to hold governments to account, and the decline, not unrelated, in Parliament’s own accountability to the people.

I can eliminate two options off the top. While both the NDP and the Greens offer appealing proposals for democratic reform, I can’t bring myself to vote for either. It isn’t only their policies—the enormous increases in spending and taxes, the ill-judged market interventions—but their personnel. Simply put, neither party is ready for government.

So the choice for me is between the Conservatives and the Liberals. And as I have wrestled with it, the ballot question that has occurred to me is this: would the Liberals do more harm to the economy than the Conservatives would do to democracy? Or perhaps: would the Liberals harm the economy more than the Conservatives would? Would re-electing the Conservatives do greater harm to our democracy than electing the Liberals? And: which concern should weigh more heavily in the balance?
This is what I try to tell people about Kingston. We are a moderate, Conservative, military town. People here usually see two options: Liberal or Conservative. I don't see a major shift to the NDP.

At the end of the day, with so many problems facing the country today, are we really prepared to go with an untested party? Neither the NDP nor the Green are prepared to govern.

As Coyne says, the economy is important, but our democracy is worth more. The Liberals already have a good record on the economy, and it was the Liberals who put things in place that safeguarded us from economic collapse.

Michael Ignatieff is still standing and I have faith in the Canadian people that they will do the right thing.

We're not looking for people to just fill seats. We need a realistic replacement to the Harper government. Coyne made the right choice.

I've Done the Math. Why Jack Layton Will Never be Prime Minister

The late senator Eugene Forsey, was considered to be one of Canada's foremost constitutional experts. A few days ago someone shared an opinion of Forseys':
“Suppose the government gets a dissolution, and no one gets a clear majority. The government retains office and meets the new Parliament - as it has a perfect right to do - hoping to pick up enough votes to keep it in power. But the new Parliament defeats it. It declines to resign; governments don’t automatically resign on defeat..."
They interpreted this to mean that even if Harper were to be defeated, and either the Liberals or the NDP won a minority, that Harper would still have the option of trying to secure enough votes in Parliament to stay on as prime minister.

Remember we don't elect prime ministers in this country, only Members of Parliament, and in a minority, the legitimacy of the prime minister is contingent upon gaining the confidence of the House.

It seems unlikely that he would, but then what if he said I'm going to the GG, a Conservative cohort of Brian Mulroney's, by the way, and I'm going to ask him to dissolve Parliament?

According to Forsey: "Rather than simply being a rubber-stamp for the Cabinet in office, the Crown, with its “reserve” power to refuse its ministers’ advice, may be all that prevents an autocratic government from “spanking the electorate into submission”" According to Lawrence Martin in Harperland, the Conservatives were going to go right to the Queen if the Governor General wouldn't allow them to prorogue to save their jobs.

Expect the unexpected from Stephen Harper if it means power.

So what would he do if the GG refused? We already know what he would do. He will create such a public outcry that Canadians wouldn't know what hit them, especially if any combination of opposition members made Jack Layton prime minister.

It explains why a Conservative operative, emailed this to me. The NDP's socialist agenda includes closing down the tar sands (good news for environmentalists), and nationalizing the auto industry, banks, insurance companies and big oil.

Now we know that's pretty out there, and not likely to happen, but it won't matter. The Conservatives have it in their arsenal, ready to fire off, when and if needed.

Why else has the MSM started to ask about the NDP Constitution? They didn't really care about it before.

They are creating a new fear factor. Socialism. Lock up your children, bar the doors and nail the windows shut. They're coming for you.

It's not fair, but since when has Harper or the media in this country been fair?

Since this so-called NDP "surge" the headlines are changing. NDP can't handle economy. NDP wrong in times of trouble. Reality check on the NDP.

And Michael Ignatieff is right when he told them all to go to hell. They headlined him out of the race, while Jack Layton has been given a free ride. He hasn't had to endure 2 1/2 years of attacks ads. He's had a week, and what a week it's been.

And sadly the strategic voting has now hit a snag. Layton was on board , but is no longer. And the NDPers are asking us to hold our nose and vote NDP, because of some "wave" that's going to knock Harper out. That must be a tsunami.

So now that leaves the rest of us to do all the heavy lifting. Because we are not just looking for warm bodies to occupy seats, and if the NDP did sweep Quebec, the only way this fairy tale works, their MPs would be a ragtag bunch of the mostly disinterested.

How is that going to help our country move forward?

The only way Jack Layton will be prime minister, is if he gets a majority, and even then don't expect Harper to go down without a fight. But the chance of an NDP majority are pretty slim.

So I'm sticking with strategic voting to the end, and fortunately so are most others determined to get rid of Harper.

The NDPers can sit on shore, waiting for the "wave" if they want to, but I'm going to storm the barricades.

It Now Comes Down to the Battle Between Two Little Books

The common misconception about Stephen Harper is that he brought Republican style, divisive politics to Canada.

That's certainly true. His connections to the American Tea Party/Religious Right/Republican movement, are vast and well recorded. But this brand of conservatism originated in Canada when Harper was just a lad, pulling wings off butterflies, or whatever he did to pass the time.

And it started with a battle between two little books, both written by Conservatives, in the same era, but with completely different visions.

In 1965, scholar George Grant, wrote Lament for a Nation, fearing that the fall of Diefenbaker, would spell the end of Canada as a sovereign state: "To lament is to cry out at the death or at the dying of something loved. This lament mourns the end of Canada as a sovereign state." George P. Grant (1).

The book was an instant best seller and though written by a conservative, became the new battle cry for the left. And as an expansion of Diefenbaker's "One Nation" philosophy, it also, in many ways, became a thesis for the Red Tory.

However, at about the same time, another Canadian conservative was writing a little book, called Political Realignment: Challenge to Thoughtful Canadians. It was a bit controversial at the time, because its publication was funded by a group of wealthy businessmen, but Ernest Manning with the help of his son Preston, laid out their vision for a Conservative Canada. It became the framework for a party of the right-wing, that would be based on pure ideology and the 'will of God'. (2)

Manning's book caught the attention of Colin Brown, founder of the National Citizens Coalition, that Stephen Harper would eventually head. In fact, it was Manning who suggested that the NCC incorporate, and he would be on the advisory board.

I've read both Lament and Realignment, and could find no common ground.

Ron Dart, professor of Political Science, Philosophy and Religious Studies at University College of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, BC, wrote a book The Red Tory Tradition: Ancient Roots, New Routes.
The recent decision by the Progressive Conservative party [2003] and the Alliance party to fold into and become the Canadian Conservative party does raise some interesting and important questions. What does it mean to be a Canadian conservative? Who defines the term? Why, at this juncture and point in Canadian political life, is the more republican interpretation of the term trumping, censuring out and banishing the older Tory interpretation of what it means to be a conservative?

Those with little or no sense of the Canadian political journey will not even realize there was and is a Tory tradition that has, in many ways, been the backbone of Canadian conservatism. It is this High/Red/Radical Toryism that needs retrieving and remembering at this point in history. The right of centre, republican read of conservatism is before us night and day. This needs little comment or commentary.
And he also saw the clash of the books:
The 1960s in Canada (and in many other parts of the world) were an unsettling and turbulent time. Much was up for redefinition. Two important political tracts for the times were written, in Canada, in the 1960s. Lament for a Nation: The Defeat of Canadian Nationalism (1965)and Political Realignment: A Challenge to Thoughtful Canadians (1967). As we briefly unpack and unravel these missives, we will get a feel for how Canadians have, in our history, understood the meaning of conservatism in different ways. It is as these two traditions lived in tension, there was some degree of political health. It is as these two traditions have fragmented, the republican brand of conservatism has redefined Canadian conservatism in a right of centre manner. (3)
Two Conservative visions for Canada. One Republican the other Tory. Why is the Republican version winning?

Money probably. Manning's movement has been very well financed and never changed direction. Pure ideology. While the Tory tradition was more organic, changing with the times and the needs of Canadians.

In fact, there was often little difference between the PCs and the Liberals, so elections were always about the platform.

Isn't it funny how things come full circle?

Four decades ago did either man see that their books would do battle, literally and figuratively?

Because you see, George Grant is Michael Ignatieff's uncle, and of course Stephen Harper not only headed the 'Realignment' inspired National Citizens Coalition, but was Preston Manning's lieutenant in the Reform Party. He also wrote it's policy:
Harper said that “the agenda of the NCC was a guide to me,” while then NCC President David Somerville crowed that Reform “cribbed probably two-thirds of our policy book.” (4)
So in many ways this election has been about the clash of "conservative values". Republican or Tory? And the clash of visions. American or Canadian.

And I'm afraid I'm now feeling like one of those authors almost 50 years ago "To lament is to cry out at the death or at the dying of something loved. This lament mourns the end of Canada as a sovereign state." George P. Grant (1).

Republican is winning. Are we going to let it?


1. Lament For a Nation: The Defeat of Canadian Nationalism, By George Parkin Grant, McClelland & Stewart, 1965

2. Political Realignment: Challenge to Thoughtful Canadians, By Hon, E. C. Manning, McClelland & Stewart Limited, 1967, Kingston Public Library call no. 320.971 M31

3. Ernest Manning And George Grant, By Ron Dart, ViveleCanada

4. Stephen Harper vs. Canada, By Scott Piatkowski, August 8, 2005

A Bit of History for the Trivia Buffs

When I read that the Globe and Mail was now endorsing a Harper majority, it reminded me of something.

Not a conspiracy theory, just a bit of trivia.

In 1998, Thomson Newspapers (Globe and Mail) launched a challenge to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The landmark decision 'struck down a law that prohibited the publication, broadcast or dissemination of opinion surveys within the last three days of a federal election campaign.

I remember a time when election laws were more stringent. All political signs had to be removed the day before and bars had to be kept shut down until after the polls closed.

And in 2004, when Stephen Harper sued the Canadian people in the Harper vs Canada challenge to the Charter, he cited the 1998 Thomson Publishing decision.

A the time he was seeking a ruling that would allow corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money during an election campaign.

There are many who believe now that if given a majority, Harper will simply go over the head of the Supreme Court and Canadian citizens will no longer have a voice.

So should we be surprised that the Globe is endorsing a Harper majority? The ultimate plan to create a zero corporate tax rate in Canada, and the multi gazillionaire Thomson family, will benefit enormously.

And so starts the countdown to "D" Day.

Catch 22 Harper Conservatives Making the News

Despite everything we see in the polls, whether real or imagined, the feelings on the ground haven't changed. Canadians want Harper out.
The greeting widens tired eyes outside the Lawrence West subway station in the middle of a rainy weekday morning commute. “Hi, we’re trying to stop Stephen Harper,” says a cheery middle-aged man wearing a rain jacket and a yellow “Vote for democracy — not Harper” T-shirt.

Armed with a handful of soggy pamphlets flapping in the wind, Nick Fillmore, of the Catch 22 campaign, is trying to convince centre-left voters to help thwart the Harper government’s quest for a majority by voting strategically against the Conservative Party. “I plan on it, don’t worry,” says one man on his way into the station.

Another resident, miffed, pushes the pamphlet away. “No, I’m not voting for Harper,” she blasts, having mistaken Fillmore for a Tory supporter. He chuckles and tries a new line. “Hi, we’re campaigning against Stephen Harper,”
I get the same thing in my community. Few discuss who they're voting for, but most suggest it won't be Harper.

That sentiment hasn't really changed, though there is now some confusion, with the latest poll results, real or fabricated.

It's funny, I emailed Frank Graves when he was predicting 108 NDP seats, about half coming from Quebec. I wanted to know what ridings he felt the NDP could take from the Bloc, given that many of their candidates are only "paper" entries. The NDP office told Le Devoir that they only have about six ridings with fully functioning campaign offices.

And his response was odd. He said that they didn't do that, focus on ridings, only that when the "wave" hit, local campaigns wouldn't matter. When the "wave hit"? I thought it already hit. Aren't they all talking about an NDP "surge"? Do we now have to wait for a "wave"?

This election, local campaigns very much do matter, especially in vote rich Quebec and Ontario. And Catch 22 have provided a list of those they're targeting in the coveted GTA:

Catch 22 recommendations

Conservative-held ridings

Riding Endorsing Incumbent

Mississauga—Erindale Omar Alghabra (Lib) Bob Dechert

Oak Ridges—Markham Lui Temelkovski (Lib) Paul Calandra

Oakville Max Khan (Lib)Terence Young

Oshawa Chris Buckley (NDP)Collin Carrie

Thornhill Karen Mock (Lib)Peter Kent

Vaughan Mario Ferri (Lib)Julian Fantino

Opposition-held ridings

Riding Endorsing Incumbent

Ajax—Pickering Mark Holland (Lib)Mark Holland (Lib)

Brampton—Springdale Ruby Dhalla (Lib)Ruby Dhalla (Lib)

Brampton West Andrew Kania (Lib)Andrew Kania (Lib)

Don Valley West Rob Oliphant (Lib)Rob Oliphant (Lib)

Eglinton—Lawrence Joseph Volpe (Lib) Joseph Volpe (Lib)

Mississauga South Paul Szabo (Lib) Paul Szabo (Lib)

Welland Malcolm Allen (NDP) Malcolm Allen (NDP)

York Centre Ken Dryden (Lib) Ken Dryden (Lib)

They currently have a fundraising drive on so if you can help them out at all, please do. They have been working tirelessly for over a year. Real boots to the ground activism.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fox News North Making a Big Splash - "Drip"?

I guess just making stuff up and spouting nonsense isn't going over so well with Canadians: Sun News drawing as little as 4,000 viewers during some time slots
Despite launching in the middle of a federal election, the new Sun News Network has so far had little impact on the Canadian news scene. The Quebecor venture launched April 18 after months of "Fox News North" buzz and had an estimated 37,000 viewers across Canada tune in for its initial half-hour, when it hit the airwaves with a splashy promise of "hard news and straight talk."

Showcased commentator Ezra Levant's "The Source" rated highest with an estimated 31,000 viewers on opening night, according to BBM Canada overnight estimates provided by sources. That total had fallen to 12,000 by Wednesday, with less than 1,000 viewers in the coveted 25-to-54-year-old demo. By this Monday, a week after launch, Levant's show was up to 19,000 viewers.

By the end of Sun News's first week, shows featuring Winnipeg-based radio host Charles Adler and Ottawa-based journalist Brian Lilley were drawing 4,000 and 5,000 viewers across Canada in their evening slots (Adler had opened the week with 31,000 viewers and Lilley with 17,000).
Starting off with a bang.

The NDP's Constitution May Be Missing But not Their Agenda

The media has just made it so easy now for Harper to sail to a majority. It'll be like taking candy from a baby.

The CBC is wondering where the NDP's constitution is:
Now that the NDP is within shouting distance - maybe- of forming government, a lot of people might want to take a closer look at the party, at its founding goals and principles. Questions to the NDP's media hotline yield the response that the NDP constitution is "an internal document", available to members only, and that the NDP is running on its platform, not on its constitution. And yet, anyone who wants to join the NDP has to first agree to abide by its constitution, presumably without getting a chance to read it.

The NDP's constitution is hard to ferret out, but there are copies to be found on the internet, dating from 2001 and 2003, and of course there's no way of telling if the ideas expressed in them still represent the NDP's thinking. But, crucially, there are fundamental and seminal ideals expressed, and they are potentially explosive. The principles of "democratic socialism" are laid out, and they might prove troublesome for the party as it heads towards what may be the official Opposition or even more.
And of course the gloating Conservatives who won't post a comment, but email me regularly are absolutely delirious.

I got this wonderful attack from Sun Media:

And another reader couldn't wait to send me a link to this. It will fry the NDP and Harper's smug face will be with us for decades. And with him goes our democracy.

These are the "Socialist Caucus Resolutions for the Federal NDP Convention in 2011"

The first two are fine with me but then they get dicey: 3. Nationalize U.S. Steel. 4. Close the Alberta Tar Sands

Save the jobs of the steel industry but throw oil workers out of a job?

7. Legalize Cannabis is good. 8. Canada out of NATO, NATO out of Afghanistan. Fine with me but I can hear the Cons now. In fact, the National Citizens coalition ran a complete campaign when Broadbent suggested that we get out of NATO.

Skip to 10. Justice for Palestinians, Boycott apartheid Israel. I agree but they gave Libby Davies a dressing down for suggesting the same thing.

Here comes the whoppers: 11. Nationalize the Auto Industry 12. Nationalize the Big Banks and Insurance companies 13. Nationalize Big Oil and Gas

And: 14. No NDP coalition with Business Class Political Parties. And yet Layton was ready to form a coalition with Harper.

It was a Harper supporter who sent me this so I imagine they are drafting attacks around it already.

Sometimes idealism can be just as damaging as ideology. Much of this won't play out well with moderates.

Normally, I would have dismissed this, but with Harper now poised for a majority, I have to do what I have to do. There has never been a more challenging time in this nation's history.

I've spent two years exposing Harper and neoconservatism and I feel like it's been for nothing. He's going to win.

Time For a Reality Check. Do You Really Think These Guys Can Beat out the Bloc?

I don't think anyone, at least not any Canadian, has taken the personal assaults that Michael Ignatieff has, and is still standing. Two years, non-stop.

And today he went after the people who really need to be taken to task. The media and the pollsters.
Ignatieff criticized the national media for starting to write him out of the race after a week of polls — from Angus Reid, EKOS, Nanos and Ipsos Reid —have all shown the NDP vaulting into second place. He insisted he's still very much in the race.
They are suggesting that the NDP are going to get 108 seats, but that's only if they can reduce the Bloc to 3.

I emailed them all individually, asking them what seats they felt the NDP could take from the Bloc. I've yet to hear from any of them.

One of the NDP candidates is in Las Vegas.
Until last week, she'd been working in Ottawa – about three hours away from the riding – as an assistant manager of Oliver's Pub, on the Carleton University campus.
Why let an election get in the way of a trip to Vegas?

And it doesn't get much better:
The vast majority of the party’s Quebec candidates don’t list any contact information with their profiles on the NDP sites. The slate of Quebec candidates includes union leaders, teachers and a Cree leader, Romeo Saganash. Others are still in school.

Two candidates running for office are Charmaine Borg in Terrebonne-Blainville and Matthew Dubé in Chambly-Borduas. The two are co-presidents of the McGill NDP club. Mr. Dubé’s posts on Twitter are largely devoted to hockey, comic books and computer games, with the occasional forward of tweets by NDP Leader Jack Layton.

Another, Sana Hassainia, who is running for the NDP in Verchères-Les Patriotes, makes no mention on her Twitter page of her NDP connections, except when asked by others to confirm that she is in fact the NDP candidate.
Do they honestly believe that the Bloc will be beat out by these people? Of course they don't.

But what would it mean if they did? The Bloc has some very high quality MPs. They would be replaced by people who don't even appear to be very politically engaged.

The $150,000 a year might help the comic book collector add to his holdings, but seriously? This is someone you want making decisions for you? It would be the Reform Party c1993. Most of the MPs were ignorant bigots, but at least they were ignorant bigots who cared, sort of.

I just listened to Layton's new ad and it was all "I", "I", "I". He believes the hype even if common sense tells him otherwise.

The sad thing is that any NDP gains, if in fact they're real, would be at the expense of other progressives. How is that going to restore our democracy?

All the more reason to rise up.

Love This Elizabeth May Ad

We may have lost our democracy but at least there's a very good chance that Elizabeth May will get a seat.

Only symbolic I know in a Harper majority, but pleasing none the less.

ShitHarperDid, now have a page ShitMayDid, reminding us of what a wonderful human being she is.

When we were a just society, she could have accomplished so much.

An Uplifting Story. What Religion Used to be About

I love Rev. Jim Wallis. I'm not religious at all, but respect thinkers. And Wallis is a profound thinker.

A progressive Evangelist who inspires instead of judges.

Wallis fasted throughout Lent to oppose a budget that attacked the poor.
On Easter weekend, I will break my fast. I will have spent almost four weeks drinking only liquids. But, as is often true of fasts, what has been gained is far greater than anything given up. More than 36,000 people and 28 members of Congress joined the fast in their own ways. Millions of people heard the message that a budget is a moral document. Politicians have begun to feel the pressure of those in the faith community who believe that we should not balance the budget at the expense and pain of poor people.
I remember when religious leaders used to care about things like that.

Now it's all about attacks on gays and women. The end of an era.

I'm Still Rising Up. This Video Inspires

Still looking for this 108 seat projection for the NDP, most at the expense of other progressives. I'm sure it's somewhere in the figment of someone's imagination.

In order for them to get it, the Bloc have to be reduced to three seats. I rather doubt that when the NDP are running paper candidates.

Are we being played? I don't know anymore.

But Harper has the campaign right where he wants it. Between him and Layton. And Layton has no history with the economy so Harper will eat him alive.

A very sad time for Canadian democracy.

I'll continue to fight against Neoconservatism, but it's a powerful force when it can take down a just society like Canada used to be.

Sun Media Lets Another One Go For Opposing Herr Harper

When we were at the grocery store the other day, there was a table set up and our local Sun newspaper was giving free copies of their paper. The Saturday edition.

They are getting desperate. I quit mine after 35 years because I couldn't believe the content. Horrible vitriol from a gaggle of right-wing commentators.

Sun fired Greg Weston for exposing the fake Lake story and now they have let Michael Harris go for a column he wrote Harper no longer on high moral ground

Yes folks our democracy is on life support. Five days left to save it. Please vote and vote wisely.

And so it Starts. Business Community Give Harper the Fuel he Needs for Majority

First off, I should say that if the NDP had a real chance of taking a significant number of seats from the Conservatives, and we could get our democracy back, I would be campaigning for them. But I fear it's 1988 all over again and we will be stuck with Harper until the bastard drops the bucket.

And he'll live to 150 just to spite us.

Now economists are sending out veiled warnings of a socialist agenda.

Silly them. Layton hasn't been a socialist, or even left wing for years.

I am now more frightened of Stephen Harper than I've ever been, becasue the corporate sector knows that Stephen Harper is their best friend. They will do what it takes to keep Layton in check, now or later.

Please Alberta Don't Send Jason Kenney Back

That guy is such a waste of space in Ottawa. Couldn't you find something for him to do in Alberta?

Blah, blah, blah.

All nonsense all the time.

Thinking Twice: Why a Conservative-NDP Alliance Would be Bad for Canada

With all the fabricated hype of a Jackomania and NDP surge, the reality is that the NDP will gain few seats. As 308 reminds us: "more than half of the NDP's boost in support is located in Quebec. But according to their own people in the province, they don't have a local organization worth its salt in more than six or eight ridings."

I've already posted on the people running for the NDP in that province and I don't see any gains. In fact, if some of them did get in, they might be worse than the Conservatives.

And in Ontario:
Lorne Bozinoff, president of Forum Research, also said polling has been mostly stagnant. With the exception of Mr. Layton in Quebec [margin of error 6.4], polling shows the Conservatives still dominate in the Prairies, and the Liberals have been holding steady in Ontario after initial Tory gains.
The only thing this faux news story might do is pull support from the other left parties, giving Harper his majority.

And Jack Layton is clearly running to be the leader of the Opposition in a Conservative government. But is that what's best for our country?

I posted last week of how Harper's National Citizens Coalition had helped to engineer a stunning victory for Ed Broadbent back in the day, but it was at the expense of the Liberals. And with a Conservative Majority under Brian Mulroney, the NDP accomplished little. We got the GST and the job killing Free Trade. But in 1988 it could have been avoided:
In the early days of the contest, the Conservatives topped the polls. In a televised leaders’ debate, however, Turner scored a powerful hit by warning Canadians of the consequences of Mulroney’s trade deal. “With one signature of a pen,” Turner thundered at Mulroney, “you’ve thrown us into the north-south influence of the United States and will reduce us, I am sure, to a colony of the United States.” The impact was immediate. The Liberals, having seized an issue that was at least as dear to the hearts of left-wing progressives, took the lead in the polls.

It was a moment of truth for business, labour, social movements, and for the ndp. Rather than joining the Liberals and other nationalists in a full frontal assault against free trade, the ndp reprised its 1984 election strategy, turned its guns on Turner (who was not even in office), and declared that there was no real difference between Grits and Tories. Those running the ndp campaign decided that what mattered most was the party’s seat total and its vote share relative to the Liberals’, not the fight for economic sovereignty.
When I first learned that Layton was going to change strategy and start attacking Michael Ignatieff, I started to really worry. It was 1988 all over again.

Broadbent got his 43 seats and Canadians got the shaft. According to James Laxer, in "Fake Left, Go Right": "Mulroney salvaged his free trade agreement, which took effect on January 1, 1989. To this day, we are witnessing the legacy of this deal in the softwood lumber dispute and other disagreements that bring into question Canada’s right to subsidize Crown and private corporations, and to use other instruments of state economic intervention."

In 2004 Layton tried a repeat performance. Instead of warning Canadians about the dangers of a Harper victory, he went after the Liberals. Many progressives were concerned because they knew how devastating a Stephen Harper victory could be.

So they started a "Think Twice" campaign, to do what Layton and the NDP refused to.
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.”

The ndp and the wider progressive community are divided over whether it really matters if a Stephen Harper or a Paul Martin is in power. The standard party answer during the election campaign was a flat no, a position Maude Barlow couldn’t agree with.
Some things are more important than party politics, or at least they should be.

Layton, again teamed up with Harper in 2006 and where did it get him? What has he accomplished that he set out to accomplish in his political life? Nothing.

As Laxer says of the Harper-Layton team:
Child-care advocates are, in turn, furious at the ndp for its electoral tactics. Immediately after Harper was sworn into office, and after Layton announced that he could work with the Conservative government, the new prime minister made good on his promise to scrap the Liberals’ national child-care program. Harper will cancel the agreements with the provinces after the minimum one-year notice period, meaning they will lapse on March 31, 2007. The deals the Liberals had negotiated would have provided an average of $1 billion annually for five years to create spaces, hire staff, and make existing provincial child-care programs more affordable and accessible to all families.

Martha Friendly, the coordinator of the Childcare Resource and Research Unit at the University of Toronto, told me, the implementation of the child-care agenda was “considerably less advanced than it could have been several months further down the road.” Friendly has worked for three decades in pursuit of a universal, not-for-profit, early child-care program of the kind that exists in western Europe. ...While child-care advocates have fight left in them, Friendly says the Conservative victory has put the quest for a universal not-for-profit system on hold.
30 years to get a childcare plan, and Layton squashed it. Five years to hammer out the Kelowna Accord, and Layton-Harper squashed it.

The big issue this election is our democracy. With so many people working so hard, a progressive revolution was within our grasp. But now, any NDP gains, if indeed there are any, will not be at the expense of the Conservatives, nor will they move us an inch closer to restoring democracy.

Like Harper, Layton has put party and power above everything else.

At this stage of the game, I thought I could just continue reminding Canadians why Harper had to go. I never thought in a million years that I would have to start going after the NDP. I thought they were on our side.

NDP tweets now are almost all about Ignatieff and they are even going after Avaaz, questioning it's legitimacy, after they sued to have G-8 documents released. The same G-8 documents that the NDP helped the Conservatives suppress.

How incredibly sad.

Harper's Gun Nuts. Is it Only a Story When the MSM Pick it Up?

In May of 2007, Susan Delacourt sounded the alarm on the Gun advisory panel, hand picked by Stockwell Day and Garry Breitkreuz. All were pro-gun lobbyists, including the man in the above photo.
The Conservative government's firearms advisory committee, appointed and operating in virtual secrecy, is made up almost entirely of pro-gun advocates opposed to the firearms registry. Its dozen members include a man who argued that more guns in the hands of students would have helped in the recent Virginia Tech massacre, in which 32 people were killed, and another shooting aficionado who described a weapon used in last September's Dawson College killings in Montreal as "fun."

The committee's pro-gun tilt lends to the perception that Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government is out of step with urban concerns on firearms violence – especially in Toronto. Jordan Manners, 15, was killed last week in a school shooting, days after philanthropist Glen Davis was gunned down. Over the Easter weekend, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day quietly extended a long-gun amnesty program to allow those firearms owners yet more time to register their weapons – pleasing registry opponents but angering those fighting for tougher laws. In background research obtained and confirmed by the Star, members of the Conservatives' committee have shown themselves to be vocal proponents of gun use.
But the story gained little traction and all but went away. This allowed the Conservatives to continue their pro-gun agenda.

Harper's Reform movement has had long and deep ties with the American NRA and follows their belief that citizens should be armed for their own protection. In 2001, Conservative MP Garry Breitkreuz, posted on the NRA website.
A Canadian Alliance MP has defended his appearance on the U.S.-based National Rifle Association Web site and his assertion that Canada has harboured terrorists while persecuting gun owners. But in an interview Thursday, Saskatchewan MP Garry Breitkreuz said he has no evidence to support his claims that Canada is a terrorist haven and its negligence contributed to attacks in the United States. "We should not be targeting duck hunters and trying to put them in jail. (Alliance MP Defends Remarks, Leader-Post (Regina) / CP, October 5, 2001)
Also revealed:
In 2009, former Chief of Staff to Maxime Bernier, Bob Valcov was named as executive director of the Canadian branch of the international gun lobby group, Safari Club International, a group with strong ties to the NRA. Another former Conservative staffer, Brant Scott, who was Executive Assistant to Conservative MP Garry Breitkreuz, became Director of Communications to the Canadian Sports Shooting Association which also has strong links to the NRA. Media reports earlier this year reported that the NRA is helping Canadian groups like the Canadian Shooting Sports Association, Canadian Firearms Institute and the Canadian Unlicensed Firearms Owners Association to fight the registry by raising money and coaching them on how to lobby politicians.

In 2006, Conservative MP Garry Breitkreuz co-hosted with the Canadian Shooting Sports Association, a forum featuring then-NRA president Sandra Froman, as keynote speaker at the CSSA annual meeting in Toronto.

In 2006, then-Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day appointed the Minister's Firearms Advisory Committee which was composed exclusively of opponents of the gun registry, including many with direct ties to the National Rifle Association, including Professor Gary Mauser [in above photo] whose research had been directly funded by the NRA. Former Canadian Alliance MP Jim Pankiw appeared in an NRA video in 2001 claiming that the gun registry turned law-abiding Canadian citizens into “instant criminals.”

Former Conservative MP Art Hanger appeared in an NRA infomercial in 2000 claiming that the Canadian government “wants every firearm seized in this country.” Ontario Progressive Conservative MPP Jerry Ouellette also appeared in the video claiming that the government was intent on confiscating guns saying, “It's coming. We've got the test waters here in Canada to prove it and you're next on the list.” He claimed his comments had been pre-vetted by then-Premier Mike Harris’ office.

In 1995, then-NRA executive director, Tanya Metaksa, wrote to Prime Minister Jean Chrétien threatening a tourism boycott of Canada if the long gun registry Bill passed: “An overwhelming negative reaction can be anticipated and it could seriously erode revenue into Canada generated by visiting U.S. sportsmen and women.”
Two weeks ago I posted on an alarming story where another member of Harper's gun advisory board, compared our police officers to the Nazi SS. These guys don't fool around.

Yesterday the Canadian Press picked up the column written in the Gun Digest:
A man who advised the Conservative government on firearms policies has compared the Ontario Provincial Police to a fascist paramilitary group and the Nazi SS. Dr. Mike Ackermann, a physician in Nova Scotia, was appointed in 2006 to a firearms advisory committee, reporting to then-public safety minister Stockwell Day.

Ackermann wrote a note in a Canadian Firearms Digest mailing list earlier this month discussing a police raid on the home of a gun owner in central Ontario. In the note, he compares the police to the Black Shirts, a fascist paramilitary group in Italy under Benito Mussolini and the infamous Nazi SS police.
Yes we should definitely give Harper another mandate. I've got my eye on a nice little .38 special snub nosed revolver, that will fit nicely in my purse.

The next time someone butts in line in front of me, I'll pop 'em.

Is this really your vision for Canada? On May 2, ignore the polls, and vote wisely.

Surprise, Surprise. Democracy Matters

The two key issues this election are democracy and getting rid of our autocratic prime minister.

And Gloria Galloway in the Globe confirms this. On the Internet, it’s anybody but Harper

Polls continue to suggest a climb for the NDP, but there appears to be few, if any, seats they can take in Ontario or Quebec. This means possible gains in the West, their home base, but I'm afraid that in the two key provinces, they will only further split the vote and possibly give Harper his majority.

In fact, I'll bet the Conservatives are counting on this.

Damn pollsters and their games.

However, locally, most people know who is the strongest contender to the Conservatives, so hopefully that will impact the vote.

The latest Nanos results still have an unusually high margin of error, suggesting that like us, they really have no idea what's going on.

This election will be decided by us, not them. And us wants Harper gone.

Conservative Law and Order Agenda Tough on Victims

By now most of us know that Harper's law and order agenda is misguided at best, dangerous at worst.

But his constant use of the term 'victims' has many 'victims' angry over being used as props.
When the Conservative government created the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime four years ago, it said the watchdog would promote access to programs, explore systemic issues and make sure Ottawa met its commitments to victims. None of that can happen if the justice minister keeps the office’s annual reports under wraps. Sullivan says he filed his 2008 and 2009 reports before his three-year term ended last April but they have yet to be made public by the government.

And what does it say that the highlight of office’s work is getting the Conservative government to invest $5 million to fund centres for children who have been victims of abuse at a time when it was happily committing taxpayers to spending billions of dollars to house more inmates in ever more prison cells? It suggests the Conservatives are more interested in using victims as props in their ongoing drive to impose expensive and unnecessary anti-crime bills on Canadians than helping those victims through better services and programs.
One more reason to throw the bums out.

Harper Trading Cancer for Votes

In a shameful bid for votes Harper is endorsing Canada's asbestos industry. My brother-in-law died from Asbestosis, one of the worst forms of lung cancer, because of exposure. We should be banning it, not promoting it, and certainly not exporting death.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has just set a new low in trolling for votes, with a shamelessly self-serving campaign stop in Asbestos, Que., home to one of the country’s most notorious exports.

In Ottawa the Conservatives may be stripping asbestos from Parliament, Harper’s official residence and other public buildings as a health hazard. But Harper is only too eager to court rural Quebec voters by extolling Canada’s role in a dirty industry that ships the mineral to developing countries, where it can cause deadly lung diseases including cancer if not properly handled.
Just how low can this man go?