Sunday, December 30, 2007
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Rocking some buttons and a t-shirt
Bob himself gave a good speech
Lots of signs
Bob makes the rounds
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
As I'm heading back up to Ottawa today from Mississauga, I thought it would be appropriate to make an Ottawa-centric post.
While I do believe that the provincial government would work well with any municipal government, particularly with the importance that the provincial government has placed on helping Ontario's cities, I can't but think that McGuinty would prefer either for O'Brien to step down, or suffer further political embarrassment, as O'Brien has had some notable policy clashes.
Of course, given my previous thoughts on the rumour mill output of Jim Watson running for mayor, McGuinty's comments, while diplomatic, can be interpreted as firing a warning shot across O'Brien's bow that he could be in for some serious competition if he decides to wait it out.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
As I've written many times, Hazel McCallion should be the role model for fiscal responsibility, and her moderate and pragmatic values should serve as inspiration for all those who call themselves fiscal conservatives, as well as municipal governments.
While this incident further shows Conservative hostility towards Ontario's cities, the more interesting matter Hazel's bashing of the Conservatives should serve as a sign that the Conservatives have in fact abandoned fiscal conservatism. Given the huge deficits and gross spending by the Bush administration, and economist baffling decisions such as taxing income trusts and the GST cuts, it can be very fairly postulated that "economic conservatism" as generally understood, is no longer an actual set of policy prescriptions, but is merely a piece of rhetoric.
Replacing "fiscal conservatism" is two contrasting policies. While the Conservatives and Republicans cry they are fiscal conservatives, what they really are is "fiscal populists". The Bush administration, with its costly Iraq war spending, and military Keynesism, has been described by commentators as "Big Government conservatism", a combination of socially conservative domestic policies, expensive foreign policy, pork barrel spending, and corporate subsidies. In Canada, the Conservatives have seemingly showed disdain for basic rules of economics, and the advice of economists, in favour of implementing flimsy policies more concerned with bumping up Conservative support 1-2 points than with moving Canada's economy forward and helping individual Canadians achieve financial security.
Back to Mississauga, good to see the "small man of Confederation" has delivered the goods while Lawrence Cannon dithers.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
While it is perhaps somewhat cosmically funny that these allegations of bribery to get Kilrea to drop out at the same time both the NDP and Paul Martin apologized to David Oliver, I do wonder how dedicated O'Brien really is to staying on.
This is a situation which could rapidly worsen, even having federal implications for the Conservatives, as the Liberals are alleging that John Baird, (who is currently off sinking the Bali conference: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20071212.wbaliyork1212/BNStory/International/home)
may have been involved. Obviously O'Brien has to say he will stay on at this point, lest he appear weak and scared, but I would not be surprised at all if he were to step down if this affair becomes worse, particularly given O'Brien's relative unpopularity.
Simply on a rumour mill note, I have heard from various places around Ottawa that Jim Watson, the former mayor of Ottawa, current MPP for Ottawa West-Nepean, and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, may have more than a fleeting interest in having his old job back. Watson's name is sometimes thrown around with those of Smitherman, Bryant, Duncan, and Bentley as potential leadership candidates, but given O'Brien's tailspin, I wouldn't be surprised if Watson threw his hat into the mayoral ring.
Friday, December 7, 2007
Moving backwards, reducing Canada's influence on a pressing global issue:
For all the Conservatives sound and fury about "Canada's Back", and the important they placed in the throne speech on improving Canada's role in the world, once again the Conservatives are showing that "Canada's Backwards", by not only dismissing, but openly being spiteful of global frameworks and agreements, and rapidly moving Canada from a global leader to a global loser.
That even China is making more relative progress, and shows more enthusiasm for an effective climate change agreement, while the Conservatives seem more than willing to wrong-foot the world community by deliberately setting the process up for failure shows that the Conservatives recklessness is destroying Canadian leadership in the world.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
As an end of the term gift to the class, my Public Affairs teacher managed to get Ian Brodie, the Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister to come in and give a little talk. From the perspective of someone who entertains thoughts of going into a political career, having the God of Hacks come in was particularly interesting.
The first half of his talk was basically non-partisan, as Brodie discussed mainly the challenges any new government faces, particularly one of a party which has not seen government in over a decade. He focused mainly on Canada-US relations as a main priority for the government coming into power, and how that relationship affects almost every other policy area for the government. Brodie was openly critical of what he saw as lackluster performance of the Bush Administration, being particularly harsh on The Department of Homeland Security, criticizing the higher levels of that department for incompetence. I asked him if the Democratic takeover of Congress had changed the working relationship between the PMO and the White House, and Brodie said that it had actually been a good thing, as the Democrats grilled many Homeland Security higher-up's who Brodie had trouble with. Also, he mentioned, The Prime Minister has 2 personal washrooms too, apparently, one of which has a full shower.
It was when questions came from the class that Brodie started to get partisan. He lauded the child care benefit as if it came down from heaven, and dropped hints that the defense of this program will be a big part of Conservative strategy in the next election, and that the Conservatives will want to establish Dion before he gets a chance to establish himself, so we can expect a full wave of negative attack ads right from the word go.
Another standard Conservative line was that Conservative supporters are "hard working, honest, busy Canadians" and letting his mask slip for a moment by dismissing Liberal supporters as mostly "singles, young people with no particular responsibilities" as well as openly admitting the Conservatives were writing off urban centres and ethnic communities. Being from Mississauga, I found this part particularly relevant, and I can only imagine what shade of red Hazel McCallion would have turned if she had heard Brodie, with a literal wave of the hand, dismiss the complaints of urban mayors about infrastructure concerns. I was somewhat taken back at his remark about "young people with no particular responsibilities" considering he was talking to a group of very political active and aware students, perhaps he was thinking that most of the youth wouldn't vote Conservative anyway, so no point in acknowledging them.
Also of note is that Brodie's young child was used as the poster child on all the child-care related Conservative literature.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
All 3 parties voted in favour of the motion, showing that even amongst the Conservative-friendly ADQ, the realization of Harper's outright hostility to showing real Canadian leadership on climate climate has hit. It is refreshing to see Quebec playing a leadership role on this file, and I hope the Ontario Liberals follow suit.
Jack Layton, whose record as NDP leader is largely one of doing the Conservatives work for them, and selling out progressive Canadian values whenever he thinks he has a chance to damage the Liberals, for the benefit of the Conservatives, continues his track record by jumping on the Harper bandwagon on the face veil issue.
Chalk this one up either to Layton's desire to kowtow to Quebec and further minimal gains made there, or simply to take a policy opposed to the Liberals, but the NDP has unabashedly jumped on this bandwagon since the start. While I have never considered myself an NDP supporter, I think it is unfortunate that the NDP under Layton has largely moved away from representing the interests of the working class, back when it was the party of Tommy Douglas, and is now a party of divisive identity politics and jumping on whatever left-wing cause is fashionable, as it is now the party of Jack Layton's ego.
The Liberals admittedly failed to take a strong stand on this issue the last time, this time the Liberals must take a clear stand in defense of the Canadian traditions of rights and multiculturalism, to show Canadians they are the true voice of progressive Canadians.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Canada, who has a legacy of acting as a progressive vanguard within the Commonwealth, such as the leadership role it played on the Apartheid issue, has become, under the Conservatives, a road block to progress on a global issue. With the defeat on John Howard, Harper becomes the only leader to stand on the side of denial and dismissiveness of the climate change issue, and his lack of leadership is risking Canada's position as a positive influence on global affairs within international bodies, as also demonstrated by dismissal of the UN vote on the death penalty. This lack of leadership can be contrasted to Dion's decisive action at the UN Conference on Climate Change in 2005, where he got 191 nations to agree on a climate change agenda. The Conservatives cry "Canada's Back" when discussing foreign policy, but the governments actions have only shown "Canada's backwards".
First Tim Peterson gets smashed by Sousa, and now Wajid Khan (who I just mentioned in a blog post the other day, even) is stepping aside from the Conservatives after being charged with violating the Elections Canada Act. While the accusations do date from when he ran as a Liberal, the obvious focus now must be on the contrast between Khan and Bonnie Crombie, the Liberal candidate for the next election. (Which could be as soon as Feburary, if rumours are true) A local entrepreneur and community leader/activist, I fully expect Bonnie to be able to win Mississauga-Streetsville against whoever the Conservative candidate is, Khan or no Khan.
Friday, November 23, 2007
While Warner states his attending of a Rae event should not be seen as an endorsement, a man of Mr. Warner's intelligence of course realizes that it will be broadly seen as one. Warner, while he was a candidate, ran a localized campaign, on issues of relevant to the people of Toronto Centre. However, issues like poverty, equality, and opportunity don't mesh well with the current Harper Conservative platform and strategy, which is more focused on throwing potentially billions of dollars down the drain in an unneeded drug war, abandoning Canadians on death row, and borderline unconstitutional crime bills. That Warner's "endorsement" comes on the heels of the defection of the Progressive Canadians comes as no surprise, and should be a sign to dissafected Red Tories that they do, again, have a political home from which to work towards a moderate agenda.
After all that talk on Red Tories being said, I urge Liberals in Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River to vote against David Orchard.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
The Conservatives: http://www.mississauga.com/article/8760
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said the 86-year-old mayor of Mississauga should shut up and stop whining about her city's infrastructure problems and get to work fixing them.
It is fairly rich for the former Minister of Downloading and Locking up the Homeless, whose most high profile actions as Finance Minister federally have been a broken promise on income trusts, and a GST cut the vast majority of economists have been critical of, to speak so ill of the Mayor whose city has become associated with successful urban growth, balanced budgets, and lack of debt. While a general urban bashing makes sense from a Conservative stand point (they won't win any seats in the major urban core areas, and bashing big cities and big city values plays well in rural areas and among SoCons, the Conservatives bedrock supporters) the sheer hostility towards much of the suburban areas, and Mississauga in particularly I can't understand.
If the Conservatives wish to win a majority, Mississauga is an area in which they will need to make gains. On the Mississauga South Federal Conservative webpage, one of the lines they have states "Who will represent Mississauga South in a Conservative majority government?" The line is more than just filler, it has real substance. Mississauga South is among the top targets for the Conservatives, missing it by less than 5% in the last election, and if any real Conservative beachhead will be established in the GTA, it will be on the banks of the Credit River.
It isn't as if Mississauga is downtown Toronto, beyond the South, the Conservatives even have an incumbent in the city in Mississauga-Streetsville (albeit via a floor crossing), and have a realistic shot at Mississauga-Erindale, meaning that in the best of times, they could control half the city riding's, meaning Mississauga is not exactly an electoral wasteland.
The only possible explanation I can think of for the cold shoulder the Conservatives are showing towards Missers is they have figured that general urban bashing will secure more rural seats than developing actual urban policies would gain urban seats. Mississauga voters need to realize that Conservatives ultimately do not care of them, which is a real reflection that the Conservatives are willing to ignore and trash a city that ultimately represents so much of what is right with Canada; economically successful because of moderate and balanced approaches, wonderfully multicultural, and based around a successful federation.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
The non-partisan committee advisers employed by the House of Commons had informed Szabo that the motions dealing with the Mulroney-Schreiber affair were not within the written mandate of the ethics committee.
So far following the advice of non-partisan employers, Pat Martin calls the Member for Mississauga-South a "son of a bitch" and a "disgrace". Martin, who has long been one of my least favourite MP's because of his seemingly pathological and often aimless hatred of the Liberals, shows again why the NDP is ultimately a protest party. Had the situations been reversed, and Szabo used unparliamentary language to disrupt important committee meetings, much more focus would be on Szabo. Actions like these show the NDP is more focused on creating shows like these than the business of Parliament.
I also want to include this bit of smack down my hometown member put on the NDP finance critic:
Paul Szabo, a Liberal MP for Mississauga South disputed Wasylycia-Leis's credibility on May 10, 2007 in the House of Commons. Wasylycia-Leis charged that the Liberals were unduly influenced by the Canadian Association of Income Trust Investors (CAITI) who, she asserted, had donated $282,000 since 1993 to the Liberals and $53,700 to Liberal leadership contenders in 2006. Szabo pointed out that the CAITI did not exist until January 2007, after the Liberal Leadership Convention and continued "The member has immunity in the House. She can say whatever she wants, whether truthful or not, but she cannot say those things, I believe, outside the House. Will she go outside the House and say the same things to the media and expose herself to the consequences of misleading of the House of Commons?"
During the same Parliamentary session Szabo read the following email into the record written by CAITI to Wasylycia-Leis: "You need to publish a[n] immediate retraction of your false statements and assertions made in today's House of Commons today about our association funding the Liberal Party. CAITI did not come into existence until January 11, 2007. Please provide evidence to support you[r] statement that we have funded the Liberal Party to the tune of some $280,000. We have provided no funding to any political party directly or indirectly' Never have, Never will. Please advise immediately. In the absence of an immediate response, CAITI will pursue legal recourse." To date, Wasylycia-Leis has refrained from repeating her remarks outside the House of Commons where her Parliamentary immunity does not apply.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Well, this is interesting. As the article points out, the Progressive Canadians are hardly an electoral force, but this move, with the Liberals and Conservatives in a tie poll-wise, is a propaganda coup. Given the emergence of the Mulroney-Schreiber scandal, it is interesting to draw the differences in the legacies of the Progressive Conservative Party that have been inherited by the Liberals and Conservatives. The Liberals inherited the traditional Red Tory emphasis on national unity, social cohesion and progress, while the Conservatives have inherited the Mulroney sleaze. I wouldn't be surprised to see Parsons and Love be candidates in the next election.
Some choice quotes:
“As a political party you are always trying to find your differentiators [with other parties] and I found that when Stéphane Dion became the leader of the Liberal Party that that differentiator was harder and harder to locate.”
"He had a lot of the same visions for the country that we had. And, of course, the Liberal Party has sort of moved into that Progressive Conservative space anyway.”
Senator Marie Poulin, the president of the federal Liberal Party, said the Liberals take the new arrivals as evidence of their leader's broad appeal to Canadians of many political backgrounds.
Friday, November 16, 2007
The Mulroney vs. Thibault saga continues, with each side upping rhetoric as the war is now more of one than just words. While this development is certainly worth following and watching, the Liberals must be careful to keep the issue about Brian Mulroney and Karlheinz Schreiber, and not let this aspect become more dominant, as it is significantly less spin-worthy.
Dan McTeague's comments that "The hunter is now the hunted" is interesting. Given that the Conservatives at this point are going to be trying to avoid an election, but are still going to be pushing ahead with a policy agenda to try and re-gain momentum, this could be an opportunity for the Liberals to flex some muscle without triggering an election. The Liberals should say about any proposed legislation that it won't pass without changes x,y,z, but if those changes are made, the Liberals would support it. This would allow them to use the "making minority parliament work" rhetoric, and actually mean it, and if the Conservatives reject any changes, the Liberals can counter that the Conservatives are being obstructionist and more concerned with triggering an election that Canadians don't want than governing the country.
And yet another standoff in Ottawa as Larry O' Brien and his Harris and John Tory-esque rhetoric about preventing service cuts with "efficiencies" and not raising taxes versus the city manager Kent Kirkpatrick's predictions that holding the zero line on taxes would result in service cuts. O'Brien proposal of a two-per-cent infrastructure tax levy is interesting to compare to the steps taken by Hazel in Mississauga.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Support for Hazel, in the GTA, and in the urban centres of the province continues to grow, as her campaign against the most anti-urban government in modern days.
This week, it was federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty who ran into the municipal rock of ages. "I tell you I'm taking on Mr. Flaherty," the mayor said. And, as a result, he and his government might well be picking up bits of wreckage for the foreseeable future.
McCallion slapped a 5-per-cent infrastructure levy in place – no muss, no fuss, no months of squeamish agonizing – to vacuum up some of Ottawa's GST cut and take care of what the feds won't do.
And, step aside, boys, from now on she'll lead a national campaign entitled Cities Now!, to demand Ottawa use its huge surplus to help urban centres tackle their many and mounting problems.
"I'm not fighting for Mississauga," she declared. "I'm fighting for the municipalities of Canada."
Others might be content to wait for bridges to fall down. Not Her Worship.
Suddenly, the easy outs of Ottawa have been closed off. No one can accuse Hazel of being some union lackey. No one can accuse her of running a fat and wasteful shop.
Unlike your more effete urban pols, McCallion's got a style and face and sensibility at home in every Tim Hortons and curling rink, legion hall and mall in the country.
She had street cred before the term was invented. If she says so, it must be true. And if she's angry, something must be wrong. And if you're in her crosshairs, well, might want to get your affairs in order.
"I am in a fighting mood," Greater Toronto's best-loved octogenarian announced
Come election time, the Conservatives will find that Misser Liberals will be in a fighting mood, not content to let federal mismanagement destroy Canada's greatest urban success story. The recent provincial election showed that Mississauga, once a safe Conservative area, is becoming Liberal country. Wajid Khan, at a rally the other day, talked about how proud he was to be a Conservative, and how the GTA needed more Conservative representatives. As long as the Conservatives take an openly hostile. approach towards Ontario's cities, and the GTA in particular, Khan should be spending more time discussing with his riding why he felt the need to join an anti-urban party, and less time grandstanding.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
"We are doing the right thing. We shouldn't have to, but we have no choice," McCallion said after the 9-2 vote.
This is about par for the course for Hazel. Mississauga and McCallion herself have long prided themselves on prudent fiscal management, and remaining debt free. While the blame for rising infrastructure costs can be spread around to many sources, from the Peel Regional government and the unfair burden it places on Mississauga, to the Mississauga government of the past which has displayed pro-growth policies at the sake of infrastructure development in the past, in the here and now, Hazel criticisms of the federal government should definitely be noted.
"The federal and provincial government better not come here and tell me we are not managed efficiently. They wouldn't dare tell us that. I tell you, we could teach them a lot of things as to how better they should be managed," she said.
"They're doing everything to put money in people's pockets to win the next election, using the taxpayers' money to win a majority," McCallion said. "I take real exception to that, I tell you. We are fighting. I'm in a fighting mood. ... We are going to get a real campaign going across this country."
When asked if she'll have problems selling the idea, McCallion said: "The citizens of Mississauga are disappointed that the federal government has disowned the cities of Canada, absolutely. It's a complete neglect of the cities of this great country."
She said Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's mini-budget, which ignored urban needs in favour of cuts in the GST and income tax, left Mississauga with no choice but to impose a levy that could be collected annually for the next 20 years.
"It's a sham," McCallion said, slamming the tax cuts as a cynical attempt to gain re-election.
"Is the federal government going to wait for more bridges to fall down?" she said, citing the results of neglect in the recent collapses of bridges in Quebec and Minnesota.
And then David Miller's comments:
"I don't think they can dismiss each city systematically," Miller said. "Mississauga has benefited from extraordinary growth, and even they are facing challenges that are unaffordable in their city without massive property tax hikes.
"So Minister Flaherty may try to marginalize Hazel McCallion. Good luck."
Hazel, who is extraordinarily popular in Mississauga, is arguably the most credible political figure in the country when it comes to urban areas. Jim Flaherty, hailing from the opposite end of the GTA, ignores her at his peril. Given that Mississauga is an area the Conservatives hope to make real gains in, (Khan doesn't count) particularly Mississauga South, which is bound to be a top Conservative target in the next election, as it was the seat they came the closest to winning in the GTA proper, Hazel's criticisms will certainly put a dent in any plans to paint Misser blue.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Interesting developments, particularly for me in the South as Carmen Corbasson of Ward 1 is my councillor.
Sunday, November 4, 2007
I agree with the idea that currently Parliament is in a bit of a phony war, or a cold war, with all sides building up arms and ammunition, but with no immediate flash point on the horizon, and I also think that this gives us a glimpse of the style of campaign the Conservatives will run.
''We have been running TV ads letting people know that Liberals and NDP say one thing and do another.''
Conservative attack ads, portraying Liberal Leader Stephane Dion as being indecisive and keen to restore the recently announced cut to the GST, debuted this weekend.
A Conservative spokesman in Ottawa refused to say whether ads are being prepared to attack NDP Leader Jack Layton.
In an indication the Conservative campaign will be as centrally managed as the last election, candidates will be able to call upon the war room for even the most minute of details, such as drafting a local press release.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Perhaps the Liberal government has a grand scheme to make the GTA West a hot spot of tourism. While Fonseca's riding does cover the "downtown" of Mississauga, and as such would probably be the focal point of any tourist development, for us down in the South, developing the lakefront would be a good tourist draw. and is something Sousa stressed during his campaign, to work towards turning Lakeview into "the Beaches of the West". Between Fonseca in Tourism, and Harinder in small business, Mississauga can probably expect some nice little investments over the next 4 years to help keep moving forward.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Hopefully, things like this can show that Dion's leadership of the party is in command, particularly given that the GTA is the powerbase for Rae, Ignatieff, and Kennedy. The annual meeting is a good step forward to ensure a connection between the Leadership and the grassroots, and combined with the upcoming LPC-O AGM, should be a good step forward in ensuring party unity and renewal.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Wow. This comes as a pretty big surprise. Sorbara, who is a close ally of McGuinty, and basically saved his ass after the 99' election, seemed pretty secure in his spot as Finance Minister, particularly after running the very successful re-election campaign. Sorbara said he "wants to spend time with his family", which could either be very true, or be a euphemism. While it is still too early to tell what Sorbara's resignation could mean from a policy perspective, to me, it raises two key points:
1. With McGuinty's closest cabinet ally quiting, is that a sign the next leadership race might be starting sooner than we think? I don't think Sorbara has an interest in being party leader/Premier, so I don't think he himself would make a run, but his departure could be a sign that the "old guard" of the party wants to make a peaceful exit before the gritty stuff happens. I do think that McGuinty, whose personal popularity is below that of the party and the Liberal brand, will probably want to pull a Bill Davis, and step down as leader whenever the polls are showing he is really popular, but I don't see that happening for at least a couple of years. As Sorbara was the 2nd in command, and such a close ally of McGuinty, it is hard to imagine anyone could muscle him out but McGuinty, and no reason why McGuinty would want to remove him is apparent.
2. The new cabinet will be wide open. Ian Urquhart wrote (http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/269115) about how Smithermann would be the key character in any cabinent shuffle, and that if Smithermann wanted to stay at Health, the cabinet would retain much of its current make-up, but if he wanted to move to another portfolio (the article discusses Environment) in preparation for a run for either party leadership, or for Mayor of Toronto, that would be a sign the cabinet would be more wide open. With Sorbara gone however, even if Smithermann does want to stay at Health, I think we can expect more of a major shuffle. The media buzz has focused on some of the more high-profile rookies, including Margarett Best in Scarborough-Guildwood, Sophia Aggelonitis in Hamilton Mountain, and my man Charles Sousa in Mississauga-South. I think Sophia is a good bet, being both a woman, and a Liberal in Hamilton, which is an NDP area, and Charles has a good shot too, since he won a traditionally PC seat that was supposed to be close so overwhelmingly, combined with media speculation about Harinder Takhar losing his portfolio, and the need to have a cabinet minister from Mississauga. I think that it is a safe bet that irregardless of what happens to Takhar, a Portuguese guy from Mississauga will be in cabinet, meaning either Charles in the South to both consolidate the gains made in a traditionally PC seat, and reward him for his victory, or Peter Fonseca, who has seniority over Sousa and has built himself a very nice power base and a safe seat in Mississauga East-Cooksville.
Outside Mississauga, look for former federal cabinet minister Aileen Carroll, who picked up Barrie, (the seat she used to represent federally) from the PC's, to be a fairly safe bet to get into cabinet. Kevin Flynn in Oakville has a shot, as does Deb Matthews, particularly as with the defeat of Caroline Di Cocco, the Liberals have a female, South-Western gap to fill. I also think that Kathleen Wynne, fresh of the victory over John Tory, might be a dark horse to get a promotion to finance minister. And be sure to watch the big names that have leadership whispers around them; Jim Watson, George Smithermann, Michael Bryant, and Dwight Duncan.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
"Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion called it a sovereigntist plot to broaden the French-English split and increase the PQ's popularity. He urged Marois to withdraw the bill.
"Thankfully we have a Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which prevents certain politicians from going off the rails like she has," Dion said."
When people ask, "What do Liberals stand for?" this is a good example to point them towards: Defending democratic rights, making a united Canada work within the framework of the Charter, defending the rights of individual citizens under the law, and committed to the ideals of a just society and multiculturalism.
And what of the Conservatives, who claim to be "putting Canada on the right track?"
Labour Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn turned aside questions on the issue.
"That's their debate," Blackburn said, referring to provincial politicians.
Prime Minister Stephan Harper's office declined to comment.
Shameful. Apparently the Conservative vision for Canada is one of government apathy towards the rights of citizens. Although given the slashing of the Court Challenges Program, the stacking of the independent and trusted judiciary with socially regressive party hacks, and the desire to wantonly abandon all federal government power for the sake of vote buying, it is too be expected. Actions, statements, and views like these are another warning of what Canadians can expect from a Conservative majority.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
The Conservatives have been ramping up the rhetoric recently on drugs in Canada, discussing the need to get "tough" on the issue, and that, in the words of Tony Clement, "The party's over". While the Conservatives had attempt to frame the issue as one of "safer communities and families", an examination of the actual issues and policy shows that the Conservative plan is focused on things they want to do very badly: ignore urban voters and issues (because urban voters won't vote Conservative anyway) kowtow to social conservatives in the party, attempt to win over suburban voters (who generally haven't, but might start voting Conservative) and blatantly copy Republican Party style rhetoric that is short on results but long on soundbites about "toughness" and "leadership".
Perhaps the prime example is the issue of safe injection sites. Despite clear results of the benefits of supervised injection programs, Conservatives want to ignore "inconvenient truths" about harm reduction because it is harder to sell to the base, and, because it requires seeing issues like drug use and abuse in more than nuanced terms, is difficult for Conservatives to remove the black and white tinted glasses.
Former mayor of Vancouver mayor Philip Owen, who invested in, and saw results from, Vancouver's drug safe-injection site, has called the plan "uninformed". Considering Harper is an economist, one would have assumed he would understand issues like supply and demand, but the Conservatives seem to be taking a page out the NDP playbook by ignoring basic rules of economics. By locking up drug dealers, both minor and major, yes, supply can be affected. But demand will still exist, and given the lack of emphasis on harm reduction in the Conservative plan, all that can result is a destructive cycle that will lead to ever more amounts of tax dollars being thrown away, less safe communities, and the high paradox of US-style drug policies, more criminals convicted, but a more broken system. A heavy-handed, paternalistic, freedom endangering drug policy can do no good for anyone. Drug polices must take into consideration those on the front lines of the struggle against abuse, rather than political convenience, and the Conservatives are showing a lack of leadership, and failing Canadians in this regard.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
The NDP does own the seat federally, with Paul Dewar being the incumbent. His victory over arch-Martinite Richard Mahoney in 2006 was somewhat of a surprise, as it was thought that Mahoney (who had he been elected would have most certainly been given a high level cabinet post) had only lost to the NDP in 2004 because former leader and living legend Ed Broadbent was the candidate. Let's examine the both the 2000 and 2004 Federal results:
In 2000, an election which saw Chretien at the height of his power, the Liberals easily held the seat. In 2004:
A massive surge for the NDP, a drop for the Liberals, and the growth of the Greens are all notable here. Now, making allowances for the drop the Liberals saw overall in this election, and the star candidate make the NDP victory less surprising in retrospect. By 2006 however, the Liberals wanted the seat, and given that Broadbent was not running for re-election, Mahoney was figured by many to have a much easier go. The results though, didn't pan out:
Another NDP victory, although both the NDP and the Liberals appear to have lost some overall percentage to the rising Greens and Conservatives. Something to remember though, the rough breakdown of the votes was 35%-30%-20%-10%.
Lets examine the provincial scene. The incumbent Liberal, Richard Patten, had been around forever, and left in a bit of a huff, (although he still played an active role supporting Yasir's campaign) leaving the riding fairly open. In step 4 youngsters in Yasir Naqvi, Will Murray, Trina Morissette and Greg Laxton to try and win the divided riding, although only Yasir and Will had an actual chance, save for a massive PC lifting. For context, here are the 2003 provincial results:
So Richard has a fairly safe seat, and the NDP and PC's battle it out for second. Oddly enough, a glance at the provincial results show that although the PC's never won the seat, they were extremely competitive, coming in under 10% behind in every election from 1967-1981, and after that, finishing well behind the eventual winner, with the exception of 1999, coming in 6% behind.
Now, in between the last provincial election and the 2007 one, the NDP had won the riding fairly convincingly twice, and seen the long-time incumbent MPP leave. Ottawa Centre was probably amongst the top 5 targets for the NDP in this election, and a must win seat if they had wished to hold the balance of power in a minority situation. They focused lots of resources on the seat, with federal MP Paul Dewar showing his face frequently, and numerous visits by Howard Hampton. The Liberals ran a tough campaign, wanting to show the NDP that they didn't own the riding yet. The results are as follows:
So what do we see? My first reaction was that the share of votes for each parties position was nearly the exact same as the previous federal election, with the winner taking 35%, the runner up 30%, (with the actual winner and loser being reversed) and the Conservative and Green votes remaining similar, at 20-ish% and 10-ish percent. Now of course, federal and provincial dynamics are different, but I can draw similarities between Yasir and Paul's victory. Both saw victory despite a decline in overall vote share, both were running to take over from high profile incumbents, and both faced tough fights. Overall, the fact that we were able to run a more effective campaign is what kept the riding Liberal. Will Murray had a potential pool of 40% of the voters who went NDP only 3 years ago, and was only able to get 30%, while Yasir and his team were able to raise the Liberal vote from below 30% to a victory. The victory was certainly a morale raiser, and should help the team manage to get Penny Collenette a very good shot at knocking off Paul Dewar, who didn't seem to help Will Murray much.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
1. His floor crossing showed his lack of respect for the democratic process and the people of Mississauga South
2. He does not have a single idea or thought that was not first had by John Tory
3. He would be Queen's Park voice in Mississauga South, not Mississauga South's voice in Queen's Park
4. His weakness and indecivness on faith based schools, refusing to take a clear position on the issue
5. He crossed the floor not out of conviction or purpose, but because he didn't think he could get re-elected as a Liberal after the riding boundary re-adjustment
6. Was handed PC nomination in an undemocratic process criticized by previous PC MPP Margaret Marland called "despicable"
7. Sold out the family business
8. Turned his back on the investments made by the Liberal government in Peel and embraced a PC legacy of cuts and downloading.
9. On every issue he claimed was a reason for leaving the Liberals, he had prior praised the government on
10. Because Charles Sousa simply deserves it
Sunday, October 7, 2007
Saturday, October 6, 2007
Thursday, October 4, 2007
So the 2 parties which can't form government are starting to fight with each other. What I can say from personal experience is that de Jong is basically correct when he accuses the NDP of attempting to spread misinformation on the Green platform and try to convince Green voters that the party is something it's not. NDP canvassers are told to knock on doors that have Green Party signs on the lawn, and "enlighten" the voters about the Greens "real" position. They try to paint the Greens as eco-libertarians, and that good leftish voters have no business voting for them.
I can imagine this strategy is being less successful this time around for a number of reasons. Firstly, this is the first election in which the Greens have actually gotten publicity and coverage, so voters who have decided to vote Green are probably aware and agree with the Green platform, as opposed to just the Green brand. Secondly, given that the rise in Green numbers hasn't been matched in a fall in NDP numbers, many voters who will be voting Green this election are likely Conservative voters turned off by faith based, or Dalton disliking Liberals, who are attracted to the Green's eco-capitalist ideas and emphasis on fiscal responsibility, so they wouldn't be attracted towards the NDP anyway. Having to deal with the Greens is probably the last thing Hampton and the NDP want at this point in the campaign, as they want to try to pick up leftish Liberals voters and maybe disgruntled Tory's who want to cast a protest vote in narrow ridings. For the Greens, any publicity is good publicity, and expect de Jong to continue to attack the NDP for the next couple of days to try and get Hampton off message.
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
"In Guelph last Monday, Mr. Tory said: "It's obviously an important element of our platform and I would expect that people will support what's in our platform. It's do what you said you would do."
That was then.
"MPPs will be allowed a free so that they are at liberty to vote their conscience and represent the wishes of their constituents...Through this free vote, in this significant way, the public can be more involved in the decision making."
A week or so, and a 10 point Liberal lead later, this is now.
And of course, "leadership" is also being attacked by members of your own party:
"One long-time Mr. Tory said the decision “reinforces” the impression among some that Mr. Tory has bad judgment. “The rest of his policies are all so mushy,” said the source. “It didn’t give him any place to go when he came forward with the faith-based thing.Here’s one big policy and the rest is all so vague and mush that he didn’t have an escape hatch.”
And of course, "leadership" is having front bench members discuss leadership races during campaign crunch time.
"Supporters loyal to Mr. Hudak and Mr. Flaherty (and potentially Ms. Elliott) have been distancing themselves from the faith-based “fiasco” lately, the source said, telling party activists that the unpopular funding approach was always second best to a tax credit. Some party members think Mr. Klees, a social conservative who lost to Mr. Tory in the September 2004 leadership race, would have difficulties running again. He is widely credited as the force behind Tory’s disastrous religious school funding policy. "
Greg Sorbara, Finance Minister and Liberal campaign chief, I think, says it best:
“It took an awful lot of gall on Mr. Tory’s part , today of all days, to talk about leadership and his special style of leadership...this is an appalling example of bad leadership and weak judgment. The fact is, the issue remains the same. Mr. Tory proposes to continue the debate into the next two, three or four years with all of the incumbent destabilization in public education, all of the division, all of the rancor.”
Leadership is restoring balance to the public system and civil society as a whole after the 8 years of mean-spirited cuts, public sector chaos, and fiscal mismanagement that is the legacy of the Harris/Eves governments. Leadership making the tough choices that serve the people, not political personality. Dalton McGuinty has displayed leadership in 4 years by acting less like a polititan, and more like a public servant. Leadership is also admiting areas that you've fallen short, and setting acheiveable and reasonable goals to fix those problems, and keep moving forward. John Tory's "leadership" as demonstrated throughout the campaign is empty promises, Karl Rove style negativity, glossed over platforms, and now, flip floping.
As I always say, John Tory is right about one thing, leadership does matter, and John Tory is not a leader.
EDIT: This: http://www.thestar.com/OntarioElection/article/262654 is hilarious!
"Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory’s scramble to change the channel from his flip-flop on funding faith-based schools suffered a setback this morning when a former party supporter ambushed him in a Scarborough supermarket."
There weren’t enough family physicians, wait times weren’t being measured let alone reduced, and hospitals were being closed.
The Liberal government is making real progress.
We set ambitious targets to combat wait times and we have met those targets. In Mississauga South, we invested in the Trillium Health Centre as part of our successful Wait Time Strategy. As a result, wait times have been reduced by 78% for angiography, 57% for angioplasty, 64% for cataract surgery, 26% for hip replacements, 42% for knee replacements, 23% for cancer surgeries, 48% for CT scans and 41% for MRIs.
We have invested millions to redevelop and expand our local hospitals. Construction of a new wing at the Trillium Health Centre is underway and will include 135 beds, as well as expand cardiac surgery, diagnostic, intensive care and support services. Credit Valley Hospital is undergoing an expansion that includes additional beds, operating and procedure rooms, and space for clinical services, including complex continuing care and palliative care.
We’ve invested in medical technology so that we can offer the best treatments and services available closer to home, including a new MRI machine at the Trillium Health Centre and a cancer centre and radiation treatment bunker at Credit Valley Hospital.
We’ve also delivered better access to family doctors. Half a million more Ontarians now have access to a family doctor thanks to increased medical school spaces, 150 new Family Health Teams and an expanded number of spaces for internationally trained doctors so they can practice medicine here. Starting in 2008, some of these doctors will be trained in our community at the new University of Toronto at Mississauga medical campus.
And we’re going to do more. Our plan to further strengthen health care means that we will deliver 50 more Family Health Teams, create 100 more medical school spaces and accredit more internationally trained doctors so that another 500,000 more Ontarians will have access to a family doctor.
We will also expand our progress on wait times to more services: emergency room visits, children’s surgery and general surgery.
In contrast, John Tory intends to rip $3 billion out of public health care, plus another $1.5 billion in unidentified cuts, which puts the progress we’ve made in health care at risk.
We’ve come a long way since the days of firing nurses and closing hospitals. We can’t afford to turn back to the days of Conservative cuts and neglect.
On October 10th I ask for your support – together, we can keep Ontario moving forward.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
The Conservatives are fully prepared to overlook the positives that out come out of places like the Vancouver's Insite safe injection clinic, and the lesser load on the criminal justice system that comes from liberal drug policies, in the face of kow-towing to social conservatism and American style rhetoric. This is an issue that the Liberals, should pounce on, particularly given the background and experience of a man like Dr. Keith Martin.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Tim Peterson had the fourth worst voting record in the Legislature.His overall voting attendance – 176 of 470 votes or 37%!
There were 33 days of meetings between the day Tim crossed the floor (March 29) and the last day (June 4). In those 33 days there were 62 votes. Mr. Peterson participated in one vote on the last day of the session (June 4).
You heard correct. As an Independent member, Mr. Peterson participated in one of 62 votes (2%).
The good people of Mississauga South (myself included) are going to reject Tim Peterson's floor crossing, irresponsible ways on Oct 10.
In addition to showing the obvious hostility of the Conservatives to any sort of real environmental legislation or protection, the article raises the interesting point of how although voters have claimed environment is a top priority for them, the environment has played very little role in the campaign, with education being the big headline grabber. At this point even the Green Party themselves are getting more attention from voters not because of their environmental policy, but because of the stand they are taking against public funding of Catholic schools. Interesting to see what the profile of environment will be in the next federal election.
So far I've been impressed with the tone of the Liberal re-election campaign. Faced with accusations of "broken promises", the Liberals and Dalton McGuinty have responded with openess and honesty, rather than attempt to gloss over percieved weaknesses, which has been the backbone of the John Tory Conservative campaign. When Tory has shifted blame and attacked the media for daring to compare his platform to Mike Harris, Dalton's platform was fully costed out and planned before the election. When Tory has pledged to introduce segregated schools and two-tier heath care, Dalton has stood up and defended our inclusive public education system, and investments in heath care after 4 years of Conservative mismanagement. Now Dalton is calling on John Tory to display some of his supposedly vaunted leadership, and discuss actual policy planks in his platform. Expect either no response at all, or a typical glossy "NegaTory" attack of Dalton. Leadership does matter. Only one of the two men who can possibly be Premier on Oct 10th is displaying any, and it's not the one who puts "Leadership" on his campaign signs.