Monday, December 29, 2008

Senator David Smith: A Coward?

The title is just meant to be provocative. I would however like to hear Senator Smith and MP Anita Neville, of the "Liberal Parliamentarians for Israel", to comment on the disgusting behaviour of the Israeli goverment. To object as a caucus to Harper's decision to not intervene in cases of Canadians sentenced to death in other countries, but to stay mum about the arbitrary (let's be honest) and immoral killings of the people locked into the concentration camp that is the Gaza Strip, is cowardly. Senator Smith, stand up for the Jewish people in Canada, and demonstrate how the government has abandoned morality.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

ONLINE Vote: T-Minus...?

Dear IT-inclined bloggers,

How long would it take the Liberal Party to set up a robust online leadership vote? Given that it took me about 10 minutes to set up an online poll, I cannot imagine it is really that hard to do. Maybe one problem is compiling all the national membership lists, as was suppose to be done after the last convention. Perhaps the Executive would be against this because it would show how little important work they had done!

There seems to be a possible excuse to go against OMOV as the motion for this system did not pass at the convention with the required 2/3 majority to change the party constitution. Fine. But there should be a process of popular expression for any non-convention selected leader. A non-binding online one member, one vote is perfectly legitimate for that purpose.

For worried Iggy fans, I dare say he'd probably win anyway; it would just be important for the membership to express what direction they wanted Iggy to go in, as he seems to be rather non-committal on issues right now. Maybe even combine the vote with a referendum on a publicized terms of agreement on NDP-Liberal coalition - well, that might not work as a good tactic against Harper.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Humour

Edmonton MP Linda Duncan to bring down Harper!


The perfect icon to move a motion of no confidence in Mr. Harper's dictatorship is NDP MP Linda Duncan. She represents a crack in Harper's Alberta firewall, dispells the smokescreen of "western alienation" and represents a change in Canadian politics.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Conservatives Would Hold Balance of Power, Not Bloc


If the Conservatives found themselves in opposition then the balance of power would be with them not the Bloc. Indeed, if they chose to never support the government then this power would be with the Bloc. Thus, the conclusion is that if the Conservatives could not help make Parliament work then they would be destabilizing the government and allowing the Bloc to play their "nasty" cards on controversial issues.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Results: Large Majority Support Dion

The results: 65% of us remain in support of Mr. Dion staying on as leader.

The poll I put up on Oct 18th for Liblog participants received 126 votes that day, but only 10 the next. I think it is safe to say, all votes are cast. I do not think it was descended upon by Tory bloggers and believe it represents a fair size of the Liblog-reading public.

Personally, I hope the Liberal Party of Canada does not make the wrong choice tomorrow.

If you want to keep voting, here ya go...

Polls Powered By MicroPoll

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Liberal Leadership Poll: Dion - Yes/No

The aim of this poll is to poll Liblogs, NOT push people either way, i.e. don't be a loser and keep answering.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Dion Should Stay

Mr. Dion has guts and brains. I believe this election has taught him a few brawler moves, at least I hope so. He learned the French fighting techniques with his Clarity Act fight. The liberal leadership have lessons to learn; most important to them and those of us who are addicted to politics, 'how do we engage the electorate and generate enthusiasm for a progressive party?'

Dion's experience and familiarity with today's public is the key ingredient to a progressive liberal government next time around.

Dion Should Stay

Mr. Dion has guts and brains. I believe this election has taught him a few brawler moves, at least I hope so. He learned the French fighting techniques with his Clarity Act fight. The liberal leadership have lessons to learn; most important to them and those of us who are addicted to politics, 'how do we engage the electorate and generate enthusiasm for a progressive party?'

Dion's experience and familiarity with today's public is the key ingredient to a progressive liberal government next time around.

Monday, October 06, 2008

BOuNCE... It's actually a good political tune.

HERE>>> Listen.

Check out Baba Brinkman's website: <<>>

Pretty cool that's he's Joyce Murray's son, too.

BOUNCE... It's actually a good political tune.

HERE>>> Listen.

You can see Baba Brinkman's website here:  >>>XXXX<<<

He's Joyce Murray's son, oddly enough.



Sunday, September 28, 2008

Rural Women: "Sexy Stephane"


Getting his fashion right at the Stampede seems to have been his foundation.  The latest Harris-Decima poll shows a steady, dramatic climb for Liberal popularity amoungst "rural women"* at the same time as the media at the Liberal's Celebration of Women event today were asking about the possible downward trend in support from "urban women".

See for yourself:
A consistent rise from 20 to 30% over the course of 10 days.  Does this suggest the Conservative "rural advantage" a cracking foundation?  And, what's this, Ekos predicting a Liberal seat in Alberta?

*Of course, it does depend on what is "rural" and what is "urban" in these polls

Make Poverty History: Dion is Brilliant!


Make Poverty History is a media savvy and well publicized organization.  They have posted short clips of one-on-one interviews with the party leaders answering 5 specific questions on poverty.  Dion's answers are excellent - specific, compassionate and intelligent.  Harper refused to sit down with the group.


Education: Student Loans... Navigating the platforms

One of the most difficult things when you graduate from post-secondary education is realizing you have yet to earn proper income but your student loan becomes due in 6 months.  The challenge shifts from paying it off to paying off just the interest.

For me, the two policy changes I would like to see made are:

1) Lowering the interest rate to the prime rate (it's now prime+3%)
2) Extending the interest-free period to at least two years

I reviewed the websites/platforms of the Tories, Grits, NDP and Greens to see what they had to say to the issue of student loans.  I did NOT look at their wider post-secondary policies, such as lowering tuition fees and increasing university funding.

A) Conservatives:

There is nothing on their website that I could find.  I even did a word search for "student" in their posted October 2007 Throne Speech, 0 hits.  Education was not listed in their section "Key Issues"... sovereignty was though.  In the "Taxes" section they do say they "eliminated income taxes on student scholarships, fellowships and bursaries."  Sadly, I was never bright enough to gain much from those.

B) NDP:

Their platform was released today but I can't find it on their website anywhere.  Looking through their section on "Education & training your family can afford", they highlight a couple of achievements, all seemingly led by Victoria MP, Denise Savoie:

- Tabled the "Canada Post-Secondary Education Act" which gave the provinces cash in exchange for guaranteeing "reasonable access" to such education regardless of socio-economic status.  Sadly, C-398 was tabled in February of 2007 and never got further than first reading; of course, I don't know why, as there was never a vote on it.

- Started a petition calling for: increasing grants, decreasing interest rates, a student loan ombudsman, conduct rules for collecting agencies, increased relief situations, extending full-time studies to include medical residency, liberalize bankruptcy protection.  When this petition was sent out I don't know but it does call for decreased rates and hints at increased interest-free periods.  Strangely, they ask for this period to be 6 months, which it already is.

C) Green Party:

I dared myself to first go through the platform.  Wow, that didn't take long, it's written in bullet points using large fonts.  Their "Vision Green" section is more detailed and costed in their budget:

-"Increase funding for a needs-based Canadian National Student Loan and Bursary Program with low interest rates and reasonable repayment schedules." There is no line for this in their budget.  Does that mean it doesn't really exist as a policy?

-"Forgive 50% of a student's loan when they complete a degree or certificate program." ($2.2 Billion/year)

-In the budget only, it mentions: 200 tuition-free university positions for art students ($3 million, increasing over three years to $9 million/year), and tuition-free graduate studies for healthcare professionals who agree to work in under-serviced areas ($30 million/year, rising to $150 million/year).

D) Liberals:

I left this party last due to my bias, hopefully I am now informed what others have on offer to compare whether they truly have a "real plan" not "monopoly money" like they claim about the NDP and (probably) the Greens.

Well, to start, it took me much longer to download the Grit plan than the Green platform.  Then, you actually get to read, with logic and goals explained using real sentences.  The section on "Reforming Student Loans" and the one just before it presents:

- The creation of "200,000 needs-based bursaries of up to $3,500 per year and 100,000 access bursaries of up to $4,000 per year" once fully implemented.

- All students eligible for $5,000 student loans regardless of parent income

- Lower loan interest rates to prime rate +0.5%, claiming this is the rate given by banks to their best and most credit-worthy customers.  Hm, I know students that negotiated student loans paid off by banks for lines of credit at the prime rate.  Maybe these are rare exceptions.

- Increase interest-free grace period from 6 months to 2 years.  Well, that's exactly what I wanted, plus they actually knew the period as it stands now.

- Extend the repayment period.

- Increase access to loans for under-represented groups.

The total "Support for Students" section is costed at $1.15 Billion spread over a three-year period.  Of this, $550 million are spending plans and $600 million come from tax changes.


In summary, the Conservative plan doesn't exist.  The NDP plan lacks firm commitments, dollar numbers and is founded on claims of half-efforts lacking follow-up.  I suppose their platform will have more details.  The Green Party have some numbers, big numbers, and I'm not sure how some of their plans benefit the majority of students.  While the half-relief of debt for graduates is a positive idea, it doesn't fix any problems; nor does it help those who have socio-economic reasons for interrupting their studies.

Inspite of my bias, the standout choice is the Liberal platform which is aggressive and covers all students.  It addresses my concerns of interest rates and payment schedules.  The bursary programs could help the poorer and under-represented students.  I was impressed with the low cost of the programs.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Harper's National Energy Program

Harper pledged to limit exports of bitumen* if re-elected.  But according to the Deputy Premier of Alberta, Alberta disagrees and the province has jurisdiction.  Let's make some noise so this sticks out as Harper's National Energy Program.  The truth of the matter is that Harper will walk over any jurisdiction or person to benefit himself.  Here he's contrived a pointless policy that is no more than a headline and didn't consult or hesitate to ignore the government of Alberta.

*As I read elsewhere: the limit is in fact all nonsense as it applies only to "new" contracts and the conditions for limitation are a joke.

Dion's Video Blog

Stephane's video blog posts on the Liberal website are excellent.  They are personal, natural and really well produced.  They show the day's events without media editing.  We should encourage voters to look them up.  Also, the Harper's Indexes are great.

Monday, September 08, 2008

The 2006 CBC Ombudsman Report

The previous election raised the same problem for the Green Party; my advised complaint now was also made back in 2005.  In reply then, the ombudsmen wax on about the difference between "equitable" coverage vs "equal" coverage.  But, they cite the Consortium's submission of debate inclusion criteria and the right to "editorial freedom".  As Ms. May has said, her party has fulfilled all of these strict criteria.

Regarding editorial rights, the ombudsmen had even warned the Consortium to set some proper ground rules to account for the lack of proportional representation in government and the advent of minority governments.

The rather wanting report is here: 2006 Ombudsman Report 

Dis-May'ed: Contact CBC Ombudsman!

Does CBC not have a mandate to include Ms. May as Green Party leader in their televised debates?

As the national public broadcaster, the CBC do have an obligation (more than CTV or Global TV).

I have been troubled with who to push to object to the "Consortium's" disgusting, undemocratic decision but surely the CBC Ombudsman has a role in this affair.  I suggest like-minded individuals email him:

ombudsman@cbc.ca

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Politicians Fail on CTV's QP

Watching Jane Taber interviewing the politicians then David Suzuki this morning provided a shocking reminder how poorly politicians are at leading, informing and debating.

Some Tory, Peggy Nash and David McGuinty squared off with Taber throwing questions at them about their view of Dion's new proposed tax reform.  The Conservative guy with Trailer Park Boys hair was pretty obviously rotten.  Peggy Nash and David McGuinty did a good job saying "my policy was better".  I thought it was a reasonable back-and-forth between them.  I have to say, McGuinty got the benefit of the argument from Taber.

But then Suzuki came on and demonstrated why politicians are subsidized with their own shows outside the real world, with the only 'intelligent' interjections coming from the tiresome talking heads and columnists.  They don't do well with anything but talking-point politics.

Suzuki, in probably less than 5 minutes, actually explained policy beyond rhetoric, criticized the Harper government for inaction, the NDP for obstruction and the past Liberal government for inaction.  Indeed, he spoke passionately and convincingly about how past "aspirational reductions" don't work and how Canadians need our noses put in it.

He cites the NDP opposition to the BC gas tax as a tempest in a teacup, $10 per tonne of fuel, whereas in Sweden for years they have had a $150 per tonne charge on fuel.

Our proposed action seems a joke, but at least it's a start.

He chided politicians for endless rhetoric, committee-ing, and myopic vote-hunting.  He cited a 1977 government panel during the OPEC crisis that came to conclusions that are the same as today, energy efficiency, 30 years ago!

I'd love to read that committee report, if anyone reads this post that knows could you please post a link?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Women: Us vs Them

Women are big in politics in the US this year.  We haven't had a woman in a key position of political power in ages, many columnists have written about this before.

I was just looking at the numbers again, and the Senate is surprisingly better than the House; I guess that's because women live longer, especially with Hugh Segal stealing all the guys' lunch money.  Imagine those frail male bodies, spare a little change for food?

Senate: 32 (34.4%)
House of Commons: 65 (21.3%)

I get the feeling Harper would only appoint men to the Senate.  The number of women should drop further.  Imagine the House of Commons numbers and how they would plummet if there was a Conservative landslide.

Worldwide, we are 49th (fitting maybe).  I thought the US was going to do better in their Senate or House, but nope:

#69:
US Senate: 16 (16%)
US House: 73 (16.8%)

And our parents, the UK and France?

#58, UK (tied with Cambodia)
House: 126 (19.5%)
Lords: 148 (19.7%)

#62, France (tied with the Grenadines)
Lower: 105 (18.2%)
Upper: 60 (18.2%)

None of this is close to the equality in Cuba and Scandinavia, but we are working towards it.  I wonder how many people vote for gender more than anything else.  That would be an interesting poll.  Maybe it's one that Dion did back in his days as a sociology prof?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The House: Dion & Rae

Bob Rae and Stephane Dion were very clear and well-spoken again in the media, on May 10th's The House (link to the podcast).  Mr. Dion was clear with his views of pricing carbon pollution.  The clarity was enlightening, he was honest and convincing.  If the Liberals could replay that segment in ads right now, Canadians would vote for the Dion team ASAP.

Beyond the above, I think the strong Liberal team should be sold to the public.  There is a huge amount of skill and competence to contrast with the Tory cabinet joke.

To that end, Rae will get slagged by opponents for his rocky Premiership in Ontario.  To counter that, the Liberals should be promoting Rae's international experience of mediating in Sri Lanka.

I have a great deal of respect for Lloyd Axworthy, who spearheaded the anti-landmine campaign and deservedly received a nod for the Nobel Prize-winning work.  Rae and others can further this popular legacy of peace and mediation; I think Ignatieff's missteps don't poise him to stand on his own at this point.

A New Candidate? Blair's waiting. BC is waiting!

The riding is a mouthful: West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country... sooo westcoast, haha.  Damned hippies.

We should all remember this: Blair Wilson, excommunicated from Liberal caucus for not being entirely above the board... according to his own father-in-law.  Well, Wilson is still working as the MP and seems not to be a thorn in the local riding association's side.  Now, who will be the new candidate, and when?

This riding is one of great wealth, great diversity and will be the focus of the World in 2010.

It is a microcosm of a lot of BC issues.  Tourism, logging, quality of life, money.  West Vancouver, a tony suburb of Vancouver; Whistler, the tourism Mecca of BC; Squamish, the resource town in between, with large working class and First Nations populations; the Sunshine Coast, resource workers and hippies, not to mention a few retirees.

The riding is a battleground.  In 2004, John Reynolds, Tory house leader (and creep), was prematurely called the loser.  In the end, he won by a scant 1687 votes (3%, down from a 21% margin in 2000).

In 2006, with Reynolds retired, his perennial opponent Liberal Blair Wilson  beat the new Conservative candidate, John Weston, by only 986 votes (1.5% margin).  Then, in 2006, things went pear-shaped for Wilson, (as linked above).

It was claimed that Weston was a "star" candidate.  Sure, maybe, I dunno.  But here we are now, post-sponsorship scandal (having won the riding), with a new slippery Liberal MP.  How will the riding's voters react?

Likely, same as last time.  If they didn't mind voting for a Liberal when the country was sick of doing so and more than a little turned off of the party, why would they change their vote now? At the same time, Reynolds was never a popular figure but rather won the riding through name recognition.  Obviously his successor didn't have that advantage in 2006 but may in the coming election.  While likely that the Liberal vote will stick, it is in no way guaranteed.  Politics is local and the Liberal MP is scandalized.

The riding must be carried by the Liberals to keep their lock on the big cities.  It will also give them a much needed seat in BC.  The riding cannot be neglected.  The Conservatives have a strong organization in the riding, and surely taste blood in Wilson's ejection.  The Conservatives spent $86'000 in the riding in 2006 (the Liberals spent $82'000).

It's time to focus, build a campaign and select a strong, well-respected, progressive candidate for West Vancouver - Sunshine Coast - Sea to Sky Country - Candy and Bubble Gum - Trees and Shrubs - Skis and Snowboards.

Afterall, we want a progressive Liberal on the podium in 2010.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Polls: The UNdecideds

The polling numbers are always around 30-34 or something... but that's committed voters.  I want to know what the undecided numbers are.

What are they?

They seem to be the most important numbers if we've known for months that the committed numbers haven't changed.  In the past I always remember the undecided votes to be about 10-15% and that a big hoopla was made when they were at 20%.

I have a feeling that if both Tories and Liberals are stuck at 1/3 each, the undecided number is big.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

CPC & Double-dipping?

If you look on the CPC 1st Quarter donations list there are two entries on different dates:

Edward S. Rogers    March 13th, 2008    $1000
Edward S. Rogers    March 25th, 2008    $1000

Hmm, I'd be curious to know whether these entries were the same person or not.

Here is another less suspicious one I noticed:

Frederick H. Mannix   February 5th, 2008   $1000
Frederick P. Mannix    March 17th, 2008      $1000

Sunday, April 27, 2008

DION on Question Period, also Bill C-51

I thought Dion was excellent on QP this Sunday.  He answered questions earnestly and clearly, (in english).  He didn't sound like a used car salesman, unlike Flaherty.

Bill C-51, Food and Drug Act changes, was put to first reading recently; I've just read about them.  It seems there are two issues:


Now, my first reaction is "oh no!" to Item 1 and "oh good!" to Item 2.  I don't really know how to interpret the changes.  I hope I can read more about it in the near future.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Robert Silver at Macleans: Media Spin

Robert Silver

20, March, 2008 | 12:43 am

While the pile-on Dion continues, a bit of reflection:


Collective Media Groupthink ("CMG"): “It is so unseemly to have disagreement on matters of war between the two major political parties in Canada. Come on Dion, won’t you compromise with Harper and find a common position to extend the mission in Afghanistan? For the good of the country?”


Dion compromises on Afghanistan


CMG: “I can’t believe Dion caved like that on Afghanistan. I mean, it was the only issue he had going and he just handed it to Harper. He’s such a loser.”




CMG: “Dion is crazy if he forces an election any time soon. I mean, it would be just nuts to do it


Dion decides to not cause an election through the only means possible – abstaining on confidence votes.


CMG: “Dion is killing himself and his party by not bringing down the government. He’s such a loser”



CMG: “Dion had better win at least three of the four by-elections this week or he is toast, I mean, really toast”

Dion wins three of four by-elections


CMG: “I cant believe Dion only won three of four by-elections and one of them was really, really close. This can only be taken as a repudiation of Dion. What a loser."



Finally, Media in March 2008: paints a picture of Dion winning the Liberal leadership as if he was some homeless guy who walked in off the streets of Montreal in sweat-pants and was selected by the collectively drunk Liberal Delegates without any rational or reason as they ignored two clearly superior candidates. Why did they choose this loser?


But...but....Media in 2006:


Globe and Mail: “There is no perfect choice for Liberal delegates, but St├ęphane Dion comes the closest to deserving their support for leader.”Globe and Mail, November 26, 2006 Editorial Endorsing Dion


Montreal Gazette: “Liberal grandees have been making their choices, and expect rank-and-file party members to follow them to this or that candidate. But this weekend, at least, each card-carrying Liberal still has some individual clout. Using it to advance the cause of Stephane Dion would be a service to the party, and to the country.” – Montreal Gazette, September 29, 2006, Editorial Endorsing Dion


Toronto Sun (!): “Which brings us to Stephane Dion, our choice for leader because he was willing to fight for Canadian unity when it counted, despite the fact most of his academic peers in Quebec were separatists, who made his life hell. That took courage. While we think he's out to lunch in his support of the pie-in-the-sky Kyoto accord, we also think he's smart enough and tough enough to be a leader. And that's rare these days.” - Toronto Sun, November 26, 2006 Editorial Endorsing Dion

And I won’t even start pulling out quotes from folks on this site talking positively about the man.

The media may have bought into their own ridiculous narrative about it being a two man leadership race between Rae and Ignatieff but a plurality of papers in Canada thought Liberals SHOULD choose Dion - even if they thought Liberals WOULD choose Rae or Ignatieff.


I have about 100 problems with the Liberal Party of Canada these days – the party, its caucus, its members, its bloggers and yes, its leader are about three inches away from permanently turning into a sad caricature of a political party (I would include the party's symbolic bird, if only the party had one...). Even with that depressing state, some reality from time to time is called for.