Tag Archives: Parliament

Do the Work

I’m busy reading an April 2009 document called, “Advancing Change Together: A Time to Act” which is the report of the LPC Change Commission that was co-chaired by Doug Ferguson, Carolyn Bennet and Brigette Garceau.  First thing I want to know was why was this document not highlighted front and centre at every opportunity since its publication in 2009?  Why was it not sent as an e-mail attachment along with the LPC constitution to every member, especially every new member?

I realise that the leader has had to deal with Stephen Harper and with public opinion that grew out of misrepresentation though attack ads, but the organisation as a whole seems to have dropped the ball leading us to a party that has set a record low for voter support and elected seats following the last election.  We are at a point in time where a few in leadership are working towards taking the LPC into the NDP which basically results in the end of an LPC.  I am a member of the LPC and I am not happy about what is happening to “my” party.  It is my party and it is “your” party should you be a member or a volunteer, or someone who votes for the LPC.  The party doesn’t belong to a select few at the top, it belongs to us.  At least, this is what our constitution tells us.

As you can tell, I am a bit frustrated and angry.  However, I still have a hope that in the coming weeks and months that we will be able to reclaim the party with the selection of a leader who will commit to making the LPC a party that focuses on liberal Canadians.  Do the work and the party will again become the Government of Canada.

PS – Go to progressive bloggers and vote for this post.


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Obvious Lies to Canadians About Canadian Government

Getting my daily fix of Canadian news, a few things popped out at me, the Macleans interview with Harper and an article in the Globe and Mail,  about Ignatieff building a team for his new role as leader of the opposition.  Now, think about how this is structured in Canada, the party in second place is awarded the key role of official opposition, not first on the cheerleading squad for the ruling party.  I note that Warren Kinsella is likely going to make the team as chief of the “war room”, something that he has excelled at in the past for the Liberal Party.

For now, though, I will focus on the interview with the PM, Stephen Harper.  In the Macleans article, Harper states:

I think it’s just better for us to govern, and I think it’s better for the opposition, rather than just opposing us and rather than getting together to oppose us on everything, to actually tell us realistically what kind of things they think we should be doing for the economy.

That the interviewer should let this slide without reference to the mandated role of an opposition party, is just another opportunity for Harper to create a myth for Canadians about the nature of Canada’s parliamentary system.  Harper continues his campaign to poison the minds of Canadians about the realities of a Canadian election.  An election if it is to happen will again pit party against party.  It will not be an election of Conservatives against a coalition team.  Whoever is elected, if a minority government will need to find accommodation with other party MPs in order to enable a functioning government, something Harper is not so great at doing.  This is what has to happen, has always happened in a minority government situation.  If accommodation doesn’t happen, then we have two options, allowing the official opposition the opportunity to find that accommodation, or returning to the electoral process in hopes of a party getting enough seats to form a majority government.  It is “obvious” that Harper has no desire to respect the federal system.  And, it is “obvious” that he is doing all that he can to have Canadians have a different idea of how government in Canada works.

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Prognostications for 2009

Okay, I will join the ranks of those who are peering into teacups littered with a broken tea bag leaves, or those with illusions of having paranormal abilities, and making a few predictions for Canada in 2009. 

First, when Parliament reconvenes on January 26th, there will be no surprises in terms of a minority government being turfed in a non-confidence vote regarding the Speech from the Throne.  On the following day, the vote on the budget will pass as it will be more “liberal” than Liberal.  It might even be more “liberal” than the NDP.  Who will vote for the budget?  My guess, is that only the minority government will actually vote for the budget with enough opposition members missing due to colds, flus and pressing family matters.  I don’t think anyone wants to be tagged with the fallout of that budget.  Of course, the Bloc may be convinced to vote for the budget as it WILL contain all kinds of goodies for Québec in an attempt to cobble together a fast fading support of Conservatives in that province.

Second, like most are predicting, the economy will be much worse and last much longer than has been predicted.  Market fluctuations will give false signals of encouragement, if only to sucker in more investment dollars before sucking them away as profit for a few who would sell as people begin to buy back in.  This fits the Harper advice that there is money to be made in the market.  Saskatchewan will lose, not grow, during the year.  It isn’t an island outside of the storm waters.

Third, the Liberal party will take time to heal and partly refill election coffers while the Conservatives break every rule of their ideology.  Strategic avoidance of pulling down the government while appearing to attack the government will accomplish two things, time for the healing and powerful influence on Harper’s government to stay away from ideological traps that would spell out the end of their brief rule.

Fourth, the Conservatives will make mistakes and piss off even more of their own supporters.  They will “cross the line”, likely in the late spring, resulting in the government being tossed out in a vote of non-confidence. 

Fifth, there will be no coalition government to follow this fall from power if the Conservatives can last until May or June.  If for some reason such as a death-wish policy proposals, that the government falls earlier, I do expect a coalition that will be open to NDP, Liberals and a few Conservative backbench MPs or even leader wannabees.  It would be a coalition of necessity for all parties at that point, one that would actually be welcomed by the public.

Sixth, Harper will lose his status as party leader.

Seventh, Prentice will become the next Conservative leader, not Charest.

And, I will end there.  Seven is a nice number.  Besides, the crystal ball is getting cloudy at this point, likely because the wind has picked up.  It will be interesting to watch the year unfold now that I have a measuring stick. 

Happy New Year.

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This is economic war!

A couple of things to mention before I get to the heart of this post.  First, who cares?  Palin is a grandmother.  That is nice for her, but it is definitely not “news” in the big picture.  I am a grandfather, five times.  The only people who care about this are my children and grandchildren and a smattering of my extended family and friends – as it should be.  Another brief mention, continuing activity in Gaza with both sides still stubbornly fighting on – this is far from over.  And, there still isn’t a hope of pointing out bad guys and good guys in this.  I get the feeling it is more like a bar scene where two drunk and belligerent patrons take offense with each other for the simple reason that they have always hated each other and decide to once again attempt to beat the crap out of each other.  Only this scene has frightening global ripples.

The Financial Post had an interview with Stephen Jarislowsky: ‘This is economic war!’, which was definitely worth a read and consideration.  It was refreshing to hear an economist type stand up and say:

I never underestimate the stupidity of mankind, which is based on greed and fear and what they do when they are afraid or too greedy. When the emotions rule, you can be sure it will lead to some form of stupidity of one form or another. The idea of saving GM [General Motors Corp.] is the dumbest thing in the world. Let it go bankrupt, let it go renegotiate its wages and put them on the comparable level paid by its competitors.

Needless to say, this fits my point of view.  I don’t believe that bailouts are going to do anything to actually save an industry that has consistently refused to do its own work.   Like any caught in a welfare cycle, there is little incentive to do the hard work when some outside agency will continually bail you out.  To find a future, GM and likely Chrysler as well, will have to go under.  If there is a will, then out of their ashes a new and improved version will arise like some Phoenix. 

Jarislowsky goes on to say:

What we need is common sense, logic, rationality, putting aside politics and fighting the common enemy. What worries me is the proroguing of Parliament and losing two months to tackle the problems. I’ve been trying to tell the politicians for Christ’s sake, don’t do something politically stupid. This is economic war!

He goes on to say:

I would not have prorogued Parliament because I am democratically inclined. Having said that, I believe we need a coalition of all the parties, just like in wartime, to get at it. We need to stop this bitter infighting, put politics and ideology aside and hopefully do the right thing, rather than experiment with the wrong things like what they are doing in the United States, where they are panicking. This is a total emergency situation that has to be handled correctly.

This is one of the best arguments for a coalition government that I have yet heard.  I hope Ignatieff reads this article.  There isn’t any time to play games with Harper.  Toss him out and then invite him to join in the real work of wrestling with changing world.

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Harper as a Liberal in Disguise

I do have to admit that the latest actions taken by Stpehen Harper have had an impact on my thinking.  As the current Prime Minister, he is within his rights to make Senate appointments.  It doesn’t matter that he has campaigned vociferously against just such actions.  He is the Prime Minister and this is Canada.  As for who is appointed, it really doesn’t matter.  Some will be good senators and some will just collect the money.  This is as it always has been. 

There is one appointment though that has me shaking my head, that of  Michel Rivard who was elected to the Quebec government in 1994 as a member of the Parti Quebecois.  In 1995, he was a strong supporter of the sovereignty referendum.  I guess it takes all kinds of people to sit in the senate, even avowed Quebec separatists.  I just didn’t think that Harper would have even thought of appointing a separatist to the Senate.  But then again, it might have the people of Quebec rethink their aversion to Harper.  If so, this is a brilliant tactical move.

With all the activity since Parliament has been porogued, it appears to almost the most active the government of Stephen Harper has been.  I guess one can get a lot done without the nonsense of listening to opposition members waste time and energy. 

Looking back over these past two weeks and the activity, I would swear that we had a Liberal government that had decided to go for broke with the cheque book.  Perhaps, Harper has realised that he is a better Liberal than he ever was a Conservative.  Of course, his early roots are in Ontario and as a young liberal in high school.  It pays to listen carefully and watch.  We now have the Conservative Liberal party (CLP) in power with the Liberal Liberal party getting ready to prop it up while the CLP learns how to govern as Liberals.  Who is the puppet and who is the master?


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