3.30.2012

Harper didn't even try to hide it

They didn't even hide itThe Conservatives have decided to take on Canada's charitable sector, primarily the Environment groups, accusing them of being too political and un-canadian. This is not the first time either, in the past they have gone after women's organizations, religious groups working in Palestine, and HIV/AIDS groups.

In every case they have cut funding, eliminated programs, and attacked the groups integrity. This Time however they have decided to use more muscle. The recently released budget will increase scrutiny of charitable organizations in a blatant attempt to harass the most effective environmental groups. These groups perform several charitable missions, primarily to educate and inform Canadians and governments of the need to protect our environment and the harm industry and development can and or has on our environment.

The tipping point for the Harper Conservative government was the extremely effective job these groups were doing - to the detriment of the Northern Gateway oil sands pipeline, which must travel across BC. As Canadians hear more about the project, the more they become concerned about the potential environmental, social and economic costs.These concerns are just now being heard by everyday Canadians. The government has been focused solely on building the pipeline, no matter what the costs are. This shouldn't surprise us as the Harper Government has made selling our commodities a high priority, especially oil and gas. The government rarely meets with groups concerned about the development of the oil sands, instead they spend their efforts finding ways to assist in their rapid development. The budget lays out a multi-pronged effort to limit, hinder or render useless any resources that could stand in the way of developing our raw resources. They announced they would be cutting the Ministry of Environment, reduced the time and number of environmental reviews, cuts to the department of Fisheries and Oceans, (this is needed to ensure tanker traffic on BC's rugged coast will face less scrutiny and fish farms won't have the feds go after them), and the Department of Natural Resources.Remove governments ability to review and you are more likely to have fewer problems come up when reviews of projects occur. The only people fighting your efforts will be those discredited political environment radicals.There is however one group the feds cannot muzzle and that is the first nations. The Northern Gateway pipeline must cross tens of different first nations territories. To do this the Harper Government is going of have consult meaningfully and address the concerns raised by first nations. "This incredibly stupid move on the part of the Harper government will only serve to expedite the battle in the courtrooms and on the land itself," said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs told Canadian Press. He described the situation between B.C. aboriginals and the federal and provincial governments as "volatile."This "pipeline is going to traverse the territories of literally dozens and dozens of First Nations. And all of them have said very clearly that they do not support the Northern Gateway project and that they will do everything that they can to stop this project," added Phillip.“The over-arching theme here is this is a budget for the great pipeline to China,” Megan Leslie said. “This is about pipelines, pipelines, pipelines, and at any cost.” Leslie is the NDP critic for the Environment.“Whether it is going after charities, who might have a different opinion, cutting the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy and cutting Environment Canada and not relying on science and evidence, or whether it’s going after the Environmental Assessment Act and weakening it, that’s what this budget says to me, it’s all about pipelines,” Ms. Leslie said.

The big thing in the budget, its not what you thought...

OAS changes not Needed.

I will look at the budget over the next few days and offer some views.  Today I want to focus on Old Age Security or OAS for short.  The Harper government have decided that anyone aged 53 or younger will have to wait until they are 67 instead of 65, to qualify for OAS.

OAS is paid to every Canadian, in the case of well off Canadians the money is partially clawed back.  Lower income Canadians also qualify for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).  GIS is meant to raise incomes for retired people to a minimum level.  To qualify for it, you must also be in receipt of OAS.  The conservatives have just raised that age two years, thus also denying Canada's least well off seniors to wait two more years to collect GIS.  A double whammy.

Currently OAS and GIS contribute 30% of seniors overall income in Canada. The two programs contribute 70% to those seniors earning $15,000 or less each year.  Raising the age is going to require these low income seniors to work longer, save more.  The problem is that if your income is already low, or you have a disability you can not save.  Most of your income goes to paying for food and shelter.

Many people in their 60's are in poor health or as we all know too well, looking after another person their age or older.  This negates their ability to earn the money required to save anything for retirement.  Provincial Governments are going to have to pick up some of the slack with social assistance and disability funding, for an additional two years.

So why are we doing all this?  The Parliamentary Budget Officer suggests that there is no looming funding crisis for OAS.  Currently this money amounts to 2.36% of the GDP.  It is forecast to grow to 3.14% of GDP by  2030 and fall off sharply after that.  Additionally, we should also realize these benefits pay back 25% in taxes by those that receive them.

So the questions is, why is the Conservative Government doing this?

3.27.2012

Who said that?

A last look at Toronto-Danforth by-election.
"The Liberal Party sees a very, very good opportunity in Toronto-Danforth, and the effort there will be to have a vigorously contested nomination. I think a lot of people have been surprised at the stature gap that the NDP has created by nominating such a low-key and frankly uninspiring candidate."
Who said that?  


George Smitherman, former Deputy Premier, after the NDP nominated Craig Scott, a well respected human rights advocate and Law Professor.



3.25.2012

Okay, We have Mulcair

After a long seven months, the NDP have a new leader.  Thomas Mulcair survived four ballots, gaining ground on each successive ballot. In they end he won with 57% to 43% for runner up Brian Topp.  


Mulcair after being elected leader
Now the NDP will see the return to full strength in the House of Commons. A front bench to rival any in opposition in more than a generation.  


With the likes of leadership candidates Niki Ashton, Nathan Cullen, Peggy Nash, and Paul Dewar joining Charlie Angus, Marie-Claude Morin, Yvon Godin, Hoang Mai, Jack Harris, Robert Chisholm, Irene Mathyssen, Megan Leslie, Jasbir Sandhu, Peter Stoffer, Françoise Boivin, Pat Martin, Olivia Chow, Joe Comartin, Peter Julian and Libby Davies the NDP has the pieces to effectively challenge the Harper Government.


Think about that team for a minute. In almost every instance, its would not be hard to imagine them replacing the current Conservative government Ministers. Now add to that team a leader who is well informed, who commands attention, who is a formidable debater and lets face it, who is the one guy the Harper Government was hoping would not win the NDP leadership. 


Thomas Mulcair
Thomas Mulcair has been an effective leader in Quebec for years, he has been one of the oppositions best critics since his election to the House in 2007.  


I have mentioned only a few reasons why you can expect a very dynamic and challenging official opposition in the days ahead.   It's unfortunate that Harper will not be in the House of Commons Monday, Mulcair's first day in the house as Official Opposition Leader.


The NDP are now at full strength. The opposition Jack Layton imagined is now in place.


See also:

Everybody is overreacting - Peace Order and Good Government (Pogge)


Thomas Mulcair Is The Leader Of The New Democratic Party Of Canada And I Support Him Completely! - Left Dog

Can Mulcair fight the good fight?  - Cathie From Canada



Stephen Lautens' Parking Space: It's In The Fine Print

Check out this posting from Stephen Lautens.  It's another not so fine point to investigate in the robocon scandal.  I found it very interesting and I suspect you will too.

Stephen Lautens' Parking Space: It's In The Fine Print: Toronto's Globe and Mail published a story March 23rd full of interesting Robocall nuggets in their ongoing investigation. It included som...

3.24.2012

voting extended.

balloting has been extended by 30 minutes. the system for voting is getting a work out. It only took me less than 5 minutes in line to vote. it is noisy in the convention hall. Peggy Nash team seems to be showing the most excitement. Cullen's team is doing a good job of trying to catch up noise wise.

Being here is exciting. Not being fed the talking head stuff on TV is somewhat liberating. time to walk about and check out the floor again... back after the second ballot.

first ballot

the first ballot is out. dewar has dropped out. now we wait. mulcair has the most votes, 30%. that is no where near where he needed to be to end this day early. its round two coming. where will dewar go? i suspect he will go to nash if anyone

It will be Nash or Mulcair

Judging by the hospitality suites last night Peggy Nash drew the most attention. That is not a big surprise, it is however an indication of her support growing. She has a great deal of second and third ballot support. Peggy also has a huge phone bank in Toronto and in Vancouver that kicked in high gear yesterday, calling voters that have been identified as second or third ballot voters. Peggy looks to me to have the best organization on the ground at this moment and very inspired supporters.

This convention is unlike any other yet many of the same rules apply. We will see leaders drop out of the race and support other candidates. The difference is that they have less access to the voters. In the old days you could swing a deal and get your message out quickly and efficently. It was contained inside the walls of the convention hall. Voters can expect many calls, emails and face book and twitter messages as the various camps attempt to reach everyone.

As I said above though, the game changer moments will still happen, people at home watching on TV or the internet will experiance much of floor movement. I expect we will see Topp and Dewar dropping out after third ballot if it goes that far.

If Mulcair is close to 40% on the first ballot, we are going to have a very lively time of it early on. This will force Topp and Dewar to act. They will see that only Nash can stand a chance at that point. If Mulcair has less than 30% on that first ballot we are in for a long day.

NDP convention not so divided

The media are watching a different leadership than the one many delegates are watching. There are obvious tensions between some of the leadership camps, especially those between Brian Topp and Tom Mulcair. We hear the comments being made by former leaders, people like Ed Broadbent. Broadbent has said some pretty hard stuff about Mulcair, obviously stuff the Topp camp want delegates to consider.

The delegates seem to have heard Broadbent's comments and seem to be taking them with a grain of salt. If Broadbent has done anything, it is likely to have caused many people to reconsider their thoughts of voting for Brian Topp. I expect in any leadership to be divisions created. Oddly this exercise has not created what the msm have and are trying to convey and that is 'big' divisions.

Peggy Nash's campaign made it pretty clear to its volunteers to keep it positive. That it wouldn't help her campaign if her supporters were engaging others either here at convention and or online to be running down other leaders but to talk about her positives instead. It's a strategy that seems to be working.

Niki Ashton's supporters have been very good at staying positive as well. She has gained a great deal of respect fpr her efforts. Many delegates would like to give her their first vote as encouragement and to bolster her standing within the pafty and the new leader. Likely the happiset leadership candidate has to be Nathan Cullen. I have seen him walking through the convention hall talking to delegates or his team members with a huge smile and joking as he makes he way through. I know that is what you should be doing if you want people to consider you for leader, it does not come across as put on and I expect its not.

Dewar's and Topp's teams seem the most intense. That appears to be a reflection of their leaders, both very serious and studious. They both have a problem of expexpctations weighing on them as well. Topp has gone from the 'annointed' one to being the one out to stop Mulcair. Dewar's team is facing a failure to live up to high expectations they had for themselves.

Singh has very little visiable presence here. He is virtually running I guess. I have not once been approached by his volunteers. I assume he his working delegates primarily not at convention. He will likely get his votes from those he signed up and have very little if any room to grow his vote numbers.

From here it looks to me like the final ballot will be between Peggy Nash and Tom Mulcair. That's where it will get very interesting. Nash, Topp and Dewar are seen by many to be more alike than they differ. The people supporting them could decide to fall in behind any of the one with the best chance of winning. That person would be Peggy Nash. The other big variable is the possible assumption from voters that Mulcair is going to win so they jump on board.





3.23.2012

today so far

the first day has been good. this has to be the first time a convention in Canada has been run with new media. the different campaigns have put together good programs. the leadership candidates all managed very thoughtful and inspiring messages. Part of a convention like this is to create a sense of momentum for your candidate. Cullen, Mulcair, Dewar and Nash did this and to some extent so did Topp. They had volunteers and signs everywhere. Handing out material, buttons and friendly handshakes.

I have heard very little of the hardnosed campaigning. The one I did over hear was a Cullen delegate suggesting that Mulcair will move the NDP to the center. What is amazing is that was the only conversation like that, that I heard. I'm sure there are more conversations like that, yet no where near what one might think would be happening.

The leader presentations were inventive and inspiring. Two however did stand out from the others. Mulcair's presentation sent goose bumps up my arms. There was a sense that something very important was happening. Nash did a great job in hers. Focusing on her ability to get things done, and her record in Toronto and with the CAW certainly underline her strengths.

Our Time Has Come

i am going to the NDP convention to elect the person who could well be the next Prime Minister of Canada. it feels good. We have fielded a great group of candidates for leader. As Jefferry Simpson of the globe said, I doubt the Liberals or Conservatives could field such a list of talent for leader. It feels to be like our time has come. A new poll puts the NDP tied with the conservatives. Another poll says half of all Canadians feel the NDP is ready to govern.

our time has come.

3.14.2012

Abortion - A PM Harper Problem

It seems to be Conservative in The USA or Canada, your goals include controlling women. It is obscene the pieces of legislation these morality bullies are proposing.  Here in Canada, many federal Conservatives are opposed to abortion.  They are made up of almost all men.  
MP Stephen Woodworth
Tory MP Stephen Woodworth wants Parliament to create a committee of politicians whose task it will be to review a law that stops short of defining unborn children as "human beings."A committee of MPs has agreed to give Woodworth at least one hour of debate sometime in April. He will receive a second hour of debate sometime either in late spring or early fall.  Read more: 
This is nothing short of an end run around the debate.  To allow the further intrusion of the state into the lives of women. I don't care for abortion, but then you know its not me that has the biscuit in the oven.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has promised that there will be no changes to abortion laws in Canada.  It looks like he is about to break that promise.  They have a majority in the House of Commons.  Unless Harper tells his Ministers they have to vote against  MP Stephen Woodworth's proposed committee, it will pass.  What a mess that will become.

Birth Control Pills
For a glimpse into where this could lead think about what is happening in Arizona.  A bill will be coming before the Senate that will compel a woman to tell her boss she is taking birth control pills and why.  If she isn't taking them to control her acne or to control her hormones, her boss can fire her.  I'm not making this up. 

If a woman is taking birth control pills to prevent getting pregnant, her boss could fire her. Its that simple.  Of course that could mean she ends up having an abortion, but that's limited as well.  God forbid she has one and has complications, her boss will surely fire her then, but then he may have decided to fire her when she got pregnant anyway, so we may not have to worry about my previous point. 


The whole premise, being made by-in-large by men, is that you cannot stop having a baby. That includes, nothing that would prevent a pregnancy, having sex where the possibility of a baby isn't possible, ie enjoying sex for just the sex, wearing protection by either party (to prevent disease/illness) is abhorrent. 


Stephen Harper and disgraced CPC worker Michael Sona
It is astounding to read this stuff.  The USA has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in the the western world. This despite the fact that US schools often only teach abstinence sex education or no sex education. Apparently teaching kids about sex is something that doesn't happen, and a boy and a girl first have sex on their wedding night. Don't even think about boy on boy or girl on girl.  And while you're at it, don't ever ever contemplate the idea of more than two opposite sex people having fun together. 


That's what we're going to get here in Canada.  14 Conservative ridings last year used Republican Voter contact firm Front Porch Strategies, the people behind the effort to define a  fetus as human being at conception.  They lost , but they will be back. They run 100's of anti-abortion campaigns every year, and they are winning. 


Stephen Harper may not let his MP get to second base this time.  Another Harper win in 2015 will surely see Harper's loyal following of MP's say to him "screw you, were going to deal with this," and they will.  Unless we stop them.

3.08.2012

Stephen Harper Government is built on a lie

Can you trust the Conservatives?  As we learn more about Robocalls, election fraud, the guilty plea in the IN and Out Scandal, and now the Fantino by-election fiasco and 2700 strange voters in a GTA riding, it seems its not possible, How can you trust a party that was built on deception to begin with.  Peter MacKay won the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada after David Orchard through his support behind Peter MacKay.

The move to support MacKay came at a crucial point during  the Conservative party's convention.  It was very dramatic.  Prior to the action on the floor Jim Prentice had the support of Scott Brison who was dropped from the ballot. Strange bedfellows you might think, Scott Brison later defected to the Liberals, choose to support the more conservative choice of Jim Prentice over MacKay, who would one day become one of Harper`s inner circle.  Prentice is now the VP of CIBC.

When Senator Noel Kinsella from New Brunswick, a supporter of MacKay arrived unannounced, he found the Orchard folks talking to Prentice`s team. Kinsella managed to deliver an offer and Orchard countered with his demands.  Kinsella took those back and they were agreed to by MacKay and Fred Doucet, who had worked for Brian Mulroney when he was Prime Minister. Doucet was implicated in the AirBus affair and the exchange of monies to Prime Minister Mulroney.

MacKay, Orchard along with Senator Noel Kinsella, Fred Doucet, Marjaleena Repo, and Grant Orchard met secretly in a room at the Crown Plaza Hotel.  Orchard scribbled out the terms of the agreement.  The principle term was that MacKay would not merge the Progressive Conservative Party with the Canadian Alliance.

The terms could not have been more clear. If MacKay wanted to be leader, he needed Orchard. Senator Kinsella and Doucet said take it.  I can only imagine the back room discussions beyond what we already know.  Promise anything, they likely said. Once you're leader you can do what you like.

Orchard's demands agreed to by Peter MacKay
MacKay did exactly what he promised he wouldn`t.  MacKay became the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada because he knowingly misled Orchard, or more directly, MacKay lied.

Senator Noel Kinsella, Appointed to Speaker's position by Stephen Harper
As for Senator Noel Kinsella, he was rewarded with the Speakers job in the Senate, by Prime Minister Harper, on February 8, 2006. His reward for delivering Mr. Orchard to MacKay and the subsequent MacKay move to Mr. Harper. 

The whole Stephen Harper Government is built on a lie, deception and a blatant disregard for ones word and democracy.

3.01.2012

Braddick and CPC joined in Marriage

Robo calls, robocon, election fraud.  These things are on the minds of many due the alleged fraudulent phone calls from the Conservatives or their friends.  Yesterday we learned from CBC that Elections Canada was visiting the offices of RMG.  RMG is likely the largest supplier of robo calls and voter contact in the country.  They work for a variety of charities and the Conservative Party of Canada and like minded provincial parties.


Stewart Braddick
One of the owners of RMG is Stewart Braddick.  Many of you will never have heard of him unless you happen to be a Conservative operative, evangelical activist or a really tuned in political strategist.   Braddick made a name for himself in the Conservative party years ago.  He came to my attention in 1997 when I met him in the BC Legislature. It was a short meeting as we were both entering the building after hours.  We just said hi and that was it.  


I learned that this guy worked for Gordon Campbell, then the leader of the official Opposition in BC.  Campbell led the BC Liberals which was in fact a conservative party.  Braddick worked in Caucus Communications, likely making 70 to 80 grand a year.  In 2007 he was the mastermind behind a Liberal caucus householder that was extremely partisan the likes of which had never been done before, even in BC's hyper partisan political atmosphere. 


Braddick resigned after the Auditor General of BC found the householder to be a misuse of Taxpayers money, almost one million dollars.  The scandal went even deeper than that.  Braddick personally chose Jan-Paul Shason's company to print the householder, the owner of Gastown Printers at the time and a very close friend and political ally of Gordon Campbell.  Braddick also paid a consulting fee from Caucus funds to Greg Lyle, owner of Navigator in Toronto.  Lyle was paid $5,000 to provide advice for the householder. Lyle subsequently went on to work for the Manitoba Conservative government of Gary Filman. 


Braddick eventually ended up working for Ontario Conservative Premier Mike Harris.  


Here is an excerpt from question period where Ontario NDP leader Howard Hampton asks the Premier about using taxpayers money to pay the salary of Stewart Braddick....




STEWART BRADDICK
Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): I have a question again for the Premier, and I would say to the Premier it's remarkable how many "excepts" and "maybes" and weasel words he uses when he talks about education funding.I want to ask the Premier about the new employee in his office, one Stewart Braddick, who you've hired as your director of organization. We know Mr Braddick worked for one Brian Mulroney and then was hired by the BC Liberal leader, Gordon Campbell, but he was forced to resign from his job in the BC Liberal caucus because it was found by the Auditor General in British Columbia that he had misspent $1 million of taxpayers' money. He had used $1 million of taxpayers' money to fund a partisan political piece of mail for the Liberal Party in British Columbia. He was forced to resign because of this abuse. Premier, why are you hiring someone who abused the public purse to the tune of $1 million?Interjections.
The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Order. The third party, come to order.
Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): The leader raises a question of an employee we have hired, somebody who has an outstanding record in Manitoba, British Columbia, Ontario, at the national level as well. In fact, he even worked for our good friend Jean Charest in the last campaign.However, I think the issue you raise is that while he was working for the Liberal leader in British Columbia -- and yes, Stew Braddick had disclosed to us that he was employed there when a direct mail campaign that had the approval of the caucus and of the leader, signed by the Liberal leader at the time, and a piece of literature I might say a little milder than the stuff I see you and the Liberals sending out in Ontario -- the leader acknowledged as well that he had made a political decision to send the material in its form. There were questions raised about that mailout and Mr Braddick, to save the leader and the party from further embarrassment, resigned his position. That kind of honour is the kind we respect in Ontario.Interjections.
The Speaker: Supplementary.
Mr Hampton: Premier, it's a remarkable and valiant effort you put forward, but the Auditor General of British Columbia was asked to investigate the situation. Yes, he said that the BC Liberal Party had misused its privileges, but then the Auditor General specifically found that Stewart Braddick, the person you have now hired, had misused $1 million of taxpayers' money.I simply ask you this: What job do you have in your office that is so important that you have to hire somebody who lost his job in British Columbia because he misused $1 million of taxpayers' money and the Auditor General of that province found it to be so? What job do you have in your office that is so important that you have to hire someone like that?
Mr John R. Baird (Nepean): What about this?
The Speaker: Member for Nepean, that's out of order. Thank you. Premier.
Hon Mr Harris: I think his job description is pretty straightforward and I believe appropriate. If you quote from the Auditor General of British Columbia, it was on the content of a Liberal mailing, including material of a partisan political nature, and some of the mailings were not personally addressed. In other words, they were, "Dear Householder."You may want to check some of your mailings recently, leader of the third party, and you may want to be very careful in consulting a lawyer before you repeat the accusations outside the House that you made in here.
Mr Hampton: I will repeat the claim. The Auditor General of British Columbia found that there was a $1-million misuse of taxpayers' money and he identified the person you have now hired in your office, Stewart Braddick, as the person principally responsible.If the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party wants to hire someone to do the kind of partisan dirty tricks that Mr Braddick is identified with, the Ontario Conservative Party can do that. But Premier, I want to ask you: Can you tell us why the taxpayers of Ontario should be paying the salary of someone like Stewart Braddick, who has been identified with this $1-million misuse of public funds in British Columbia? Why should the taxpayers of Ontario pay this person's salary so he can work in your office?1450
Hon Mr Harris: I'm not sure the question is worthy of an answer. When it comes to dirty tricks, nobody takes a back seat to the NDP of Ontario: nobody, no party, no individual. The kind of accusations that you are making in this Legislature are inappropriate and inaccurate. They are wrong and I invite him to step outside and repeat them.Interjections.
The Speaker: Order. Leader of the third party, you had a point of order?
Mr Hampton: On a point of privilege, Speaker: I put it to the Premier: You explain why taxpayers should pay this person's salary.Interjections.
Mr Baird: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I wonder if you can tell me whether it's in order that the NDP sent posters -- 
The Speaker: Member for Nepean, that's not in order.
The Ontario Conservative Premier saw nothing wrong in hiring a person that was found to have misspent one million taxpayers dollars for partisan gain according to the Premier's statement.


Mr Braddick also raised the wrath of evangelicals when as a co-oners of navigator they were paid $750,000 to build a campaign to attract new students to the Catholic school System.  Lifesite, a religious right wing group took exception to the hiring of Navigator.  Their concern was that both Jamie Watt and Stewart Braddick were well know homosexual activists.  


Interestingly Jamie Watt was forced to resign his job with Premier Harris after it was discovered Watt was guilty of criminal fraud over $19,000.  


Braddick is obviously good at what he does.  He is extremely well connected to Conservative powers.  He is in fact key to the Conservative Party's success.  His company is the holder of all the information the Conservatives collect on voters.  At least two key members of the Conservative party have shown they are willing to commit fraud and or abuse taxpayer dollars for political gain.  


The link is not just business between the Conservative Party of Canada and RMG.  It is a marriage of thought, ideas and they both know where the bodies are.  One can not succeed without the other.


To further mystify this unholy alliance between Conservatives and Watt and Braddick, both are gay. I wonder how that informations sits with the Alberta Tories.   Remember that when you recall all those Conservative MPs rallying people to vote against gay rights.  The guys that helped them do it were queer mercenaries.  


see also:

Marketing strategist Stewart Braddick plays role in Conservative party’s electoral success