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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Political welfare

Full Comment over at the National Post’s website carried a piece by John Ivison recently, which reminds us that:

“The annual [Elections Canada] returns for 2009 underlined the fund-raising gap between the main [federal] parties. The Conservatives raised $17-million from 101,000 donors; the Liberals raised $9-million from 38,000 donors, while the NDP raised $4-million from 24,000 contributors.”

With Elections Canada expected to release new financial reports for the main federal parties on Monday, Ivison reports that sources in Ottawa say the Liberals raised only $1.5-million in the third quarter of this year virtually the same as the NDP. In the same timeframe, the Tories brought in about $4-million, and, apparently, several of the Tory appeals were made after the failure of their attempt to kill the long-gun registry.

It is quite clear to me who the party of the elite is: it’s the Liberal Party of Canada. For decades, the Grits depended on large contributions from well-to-do individuals and organizations—contributions of the size that used to buy influence in Ottawa. Inexplicably, former PM Jean Chrétien put an end to most of the influence peddling as way of fattening his party’s purse and replaced it with subsidies from taxpayers. PM Stephen Harper further tightened the rules and lowered the annual contribution to $1,100.

Since those changes took effect, Liberal fund-raising has plummeted with some improvement lately, while the Tories—with a larger base of contributors of more modest means but greater commitment to their party—have flourished financially.

In 2009, 101,000 Tory supporters gave a modest $168 average contribution. The Grits received a more generous $237 average donation from only 38,000 supporters. Grits are more affluent, of course, but there are much fewer of them who are financially committed to their party.

I’d like a return to the system whereby political parties are fully supported by their membership—the Conservatives have proven this is a viable thing to do. If a party cannot drum up financial support for its ideas, then those ideas are probably not worth prattling on about to the electorate every four years.

We should drop the $1.95 per vote annual government subsidy each political party gets, and reduce the income tax deduction they benefit from to the same level that charities get.

Perhaps if parties have to be self-supporting, members will demand a better quality of candidate for their money. If someone wants to run for parliament, they’d better have the sort of ideas voters will support with their pocket books.

Government subsidies have allowed the continued existence of two (of only five) national federal parties, the Bloc and the Greens. These would be very different entities if they weren’t on the dole.

Perhaps we could put this to a national vote and see how these political welfare bums make out.

 

© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

When the rule of law is not applied equally, what sort of state do we have?

The juxtaposition of two examples of the application of the law in Ontario informs my conclusion that under the current provincial government headed by Premier Dalton McGuinty, residents cannot expect equal treatment under the law. There are other examples too, of course, but this one fairly drips with irony.

Contrast the policing style of the OPP officers beginning February 2006 at Caledonia, Ontario and that of the Niagara, Ontario police this past January:

  • OPP officers at Caledonia stood by as laws were broken by local and outsider aboriginals who claimed Canada had no legal jurisdiction over them. Instead of taking contemporaneous action, OPP officers reportedly chose, on more than one occasion, to make a video of the events so that they could take action later… maybe. [Source]
  • Niagara police in January pulled over Mika Rasila for driving his van without licence plates. Rasila—apparently not an aboriginal—insisted that he didn’t need plates because he’s a “Freeman on the Land.” He’s reported to be an anti-government extremist who denies government has any legitimacy at all and wants to be left alone to live according to his own rules. Police seized his van immediately, arrested him and charged him with six traffic offences. [Source]

Who would know that in Ontario a traffic offence devoid of violence warrants immediate arrest, while actions including trespass, vandalism and assault are videoed for later review and possible action?

What rule of law is it wherein a government seizes one non-aboriginal’s car because he drove it without a license, while rewarding aboriginals with the gift of an entire subdivision after their had illegally occupied the property?

Get any sense of incongruity here? Do you feel as if you’ve just dropped down the rabbit hole and entered Alice’s Wonderland? I do.

Aboriginals break the law with acts of trespass, vandalism and violence—even threats to the safety of police officers—and they are rewarded with millions of dollars of real estate while justice for their actions is delayed if not permanently denied. A Non-aboriginal breaks the law in a non-violent way, and he loses his van and the full force of the law is applied against him immediately.

To me, it is quite clear that under the current Dalton McGuinty-led government, residents of Ontario cannot expect equal treatment under the law. And that is a bloody shame.

 

© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

Helpless: Caledonia’s Nightmare of Fear and Anarchy, and How the Law Failed All of Us

The best thing the Globe and Mail newspaper has going for it, Christie Blatchford, appeared for the full hour on the The Michael Coren Show last evening to talk about her new book, Helpless, sub-titled Caledonia’s Nightmare of Fear and Anarchy, and How the Law Failed All of Us. Pretty compelling television from a show that’s too often ho-hum.

Ms. Blatchford did a great job of reminding us of the shameful events surrounding the illegal occupation of the Douglas Creek Estates by a handful of individuals from the nearby Six Nations reserve and from elsewhere in Canada and the United States.

Douglas Creek Estates was a residential project under construction at Caledonia, a small community near Hamilton, Ontario. Locals claiming to be aboriginals invaded the project and a nearby strip of land claiming it as their own—through some sort of aboriginal land claim. They were later joined by likeminded individuals from outside the community.

What a nightmare. What an abject failure of Premier Dalton McGuinty’s Ontario government to provide equal protection to all equally under the law.

Residents living nearby were made to pass through native barricades, and face demands to show native-issued “passports.” Occasionally they were threatened with body searches and routinely subjected to threats and abuse. At its worst, the situation deteriorated into lawlessness, much of which occurred under the very noses of the Ontario Provincial Police. Residents were even forbidden by police from flying the Canadian flag anywhere near the illegal occupation, an area often festooned with native flags and pennants.

The OPP, meanwhile, merely observed and made videos for future action. Arrests they did make, were made weeks or months later.

But the aboriginals won: Dalton McGuinty used taxpayer money to buy out the housing developer and effectively handover the whole works to the thugs occupying it. No due process at all from our premier.

Knee-deep in this shameful affair was the new Tory candidate and former OPP commissioner Julian Fantino. Mr Fantino is expected to contest a by-election for Vaughan, a city north of Toronto. I hope the voters of that community read Ms. Blatchford’s book to learn of the questionable judgment exercised by this candidate.

I plan to buy the book.

 

© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Michael Ignatieff: I’m shocked!

Can this really be true? According to the Alberta Ardvark blog, “In the 40th Parliament, 3rd session (March 2010 - Present) out of the 125 recorded divisions, Michael Ignatieff was recorded as absent a total 96 times which works out to him missing votes 76% of the time.”

It’s shocking that any member of parliament could miss votes 76 per cent of the time. But it’s egregiously so when the leader of the official opposition does it after he has famously led a nationwide campaign against the proroguing of Parliament on the grounds it prevented MPs from doing their jobs.

Well let’s not be too critical. With that many missed votes, Mr. Ignatieff is giving the Conservatives a nod and a wink that they’re getting the job done just fine and his is not really needed.

 

© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

When justice and common sense are in harmony…

How sweet it is when justice and old-fashioned common sense are in harmony. Mr. Justice Ramez Khawly of the Ontario Court of Justice, in a packed courtroom gave his ruling: David Chen, Toronto’s vigilante grocer, is not guilty on all charges.

Back in May 2009, police charged Mr. Chen with assault and forcible confinement after he and a couple of other men caught a shoplifter and tied him up while they waited for the police to arrive. Since then Mr. Chen has become somewhat of a hero to many across Canada—leading two MPs to introduce private members’ bills to amend provisions in the Criminal Code dealing with citizens’ arrest.

In his decision, Mr. Justice Khawly reportedly “accused many [members of the public and media] of attempting to manipulate public sympathy for the grocery to waylay the course of justice and called on them to curb their criticism of Toronto’s justice system.”

Well, if the police had used better judgment in the first place, criticism would not have been needed, and the justice system would not have been needlessly tested.

Thankfully, common sense has prevailed.

 

© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

Help Blazing Cat Fur

The Blazing Cat Fur (BCF) blog is apparently under attack from the human rights industry for offending someone. Why am I not surprised? Who among us bloggers have never offered offence? Fortunately, for most Canadians, giving offence is not a crime. They believe it is a fundamental human right that should be protected.

If we are not careful, the mere notion of conservatism or libertarianism will be made unlawful. For too many, if you’re not progressive, then you’re hard/extreme right. They’re nuts, of course, but they have legislation—wrong-headed as it may be—to back up them up.

Attacks on freedom of expression hurt us all. There is no more fundamental human right than freedom of speech/expression. Our system is broken and badly in need of a legislative fix. It’s times like these when we could really use a government that is more interested in basic justice than in votes.

These lawsuits, even the most ridiculous ones, must be defended and that’s costly to do—BCF says on the blog that it’s already cost $10,000, ouch! Contributions towards legal defence are therefore needed and appreciated. Hope you readers can help.

Here’s a link http://blazingcatfur.blogspot.com/2010/10/heartfelt-thanks-to-all-for-your.html to BCF’s blog where you can make a donation.

 

© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

A Liberal who understands the danger of our human rights commissions

Akaash Maharaj is CEO of Equine Canada. He has served as National Policy Chair of the Liberal Party of Canada, as a member of the party's governing National Executive, and as one of the authors of their Red Book platform.

In the following video, this articulate Grit gives a marvelous defence of freedom of expression, a must see.

 

Don’t provincial jurisdictions matter anymore?

When the leader of the official opposition, Michael Ignatieff, pledges a billion dollars for a new plank in his Liberal party’s election platform, does anyone find it somewhat curious that he chooses an extension to our publicly funded healthcare program? Well I do.

Has Mr. Ignatieff’s decades of living abroad dulled his memory of our constitution and its clearly defined separation of areas of legislative authority? Unlike his former home, The United Kingdom, Canada is a federation in which provinces are primarily responsible for health and social services. Perhaps the fact the United Kingdom is more of a unitary state confused Mr. Ignatieff when he acceded to the idea of the federal government appropriating provincial authority over healthcare.

Yet, perhaps we shouldn’t be too critical. The premier of our largest province, Dalton McGuinty seems quite happy to hear a federal politician speak about launching healthcare initiatives. In fact, the only provinces who ever seem to give a damn about provincial rights are Quebec and Alberta. The others seem satisfied to see power concentrated in Ottawa—far from most who are governed by it—and allow provincial powers—nearest to those governed—to atrophy.

If Ottawa is to be responsible for everything and can intervene at will in provincial jurisdictions, why then have an apparently redundant provincial layer of government and the massive costs that entails?

And where are the conservative voices on this matter? Of the many dozens of conservative MPs and MPPs across the country, only Maxime Bernier and the Bloc seem to care about protecting provincial powers.

As for the MSM, they’re so predominantly progressive in their views, they don’t care who taxes whom so long as as much tax as possible gets spent on social programs. Don’t look to that quarter for support of provincial rights.

Do Canadians need or want a billion dollars spent on homecare. Perhaps. But that’s a debate to be held at the local and provincial levels where it can be integrated into already existing healthcare programs. If we add more homecare, perhaps we can save money elsewhere. That something for local and provincial authorities to decide, not some far-off politician or bureaucrat in Ottawa to dictate.

If Mr. Ignatieff really wanted to help, he could campaign for “tax room” to be conceded by Ottawa and offered to the provinces so that provinces can raise their own funding for homecare, should they decide to do so. In other words, lower the federal income tax rate so that provinces can raise theirs by the same amount, if they wish.

And while he’s at it, Mr. Ignatieff should be advocating that the feds get out of healthcare entirely and stop meddling in other areas that they have no constitutional authority to be in. Do we or don’t we want a federal system of government?

 

© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Harris-Hudak years: what was so bad about them?

The Dalton McGuinty Liberals are desperately trying to tie together former Ontario premier Mike Harris with current PC leader Tim Hudak as if they expect voters to be repelled by that association. But this strategy could very well backfire.

Remember the Liberals’ and Bob Rae’s New Democrats’ fiscal irresponsibility and excesses of the eighties and early nineties and how Mike Harris and his PC team came to Ontario’s recue with his Common Sense Revolution platform, which called for spending and tax cuts to eliminate the province’s then record $11 billion deficit and mounting debt load?

I do. I see little negative in the strong fiscal medicine we were forced to take. The country and the province were in terrible shape and the federal Liberals were, quite rightly, slashing transfer payments to everything including healthcare and education. The province had its back to the wall.

Were there mistakes? Yes. But were the mistakes anything as egregious as the Grits and the greedy, spoilt teachers and public service unions claim? No they were not—not even close.

Thanks to prudent management by the PC’s, we emerged from the economic doldrums and budget deficits and helped carry Canada along with us, leading to a run of prosperity the likes of which have seldom been seen. Ontario was a “have” province and proud of it. So what’s so bad about that?

Did the Common Sense Revolution platform do the job Ontario voters hoped it would when twice they endorsed it in general elections? Yes it did. So what’s so bad about that? And was Tim Hudak part of that success? You bet he was.

Do we need another Common Sense Revolution? Not exactly, since so much has changed in the intervening years. But we sure do need something to get our province back on track, and Dalton McGuinty has shown he’s part of the problem; not a provider of solutions. Of that, I’m sure, and if the polls can relied on, so do most voters in Ontario.

Mike Harris was the right leader at the right time. Now Tim Hudak is shaping up to be the new man of the hour and I for one am pleased about that.

 

© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

New poll: Conservatives pulling further ahead of Grits and nearing majority territory

The latest Angus Reid Public Opinion poll on federal political support has found in an online survey that 37 per cent of respondents (up 3% since September) would support the governing Conservative Party in the next federal election. The Michael Ignatieff-led Liberal Party is in second place with 26 per cent (no change), followed by the New Democrats with 19 per cent (up 1%), the Bloc Québécois with 10 per cent (no change), and the Green Party with six per cent (down 5%).

It’s interesting to see that the federal parties are all within a percentage point of their totals in the 2008 federal election. Also interesting, though not at all surprising is the fate of the Greens, whose large gains made in September have evaporated.

The really good news for PM Stephen Harper and his colleagues is that, in Ontario, the Tories lead the Liberals by nine points (41% to 32%). Quebec, however, is largely still a near shut-out for the Conservatives, who hold only 16 per cent support, while the Bloc continues to dominate with 39 per cent followed by the other two federalist parties which are far behind (Lib. 24%, NDP 14%).

[Source]

 

© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Enough with the demands for apology already

Ontario cabinet minister, Glen Murray, Tweets a slur about Canadian conservative politicians, a nasty one at that. Then he apologizes. His slur is now a matter of public record, so can we please move on now? Let’s get back on track, Mr. Hudak.

I thought it was the progressives who aren’t ever able to accept a simple apology and move on. Inappropriate comments are made on a daily basis. It’d be nice if that were not the case, but it will always be so.

So let’s take Murray’s and Dalton McGuinty’s apologies at face value and get back to work. The minister is not going to resign over this—and neither should he—and the premier isn’t going to fire him, so enough already.

We must hold the Grits’ feet to the fire, I get that. But can’t we be adults as we do so. I’m too damn old to be a cry-baby. I’m now officially moving on. Join me.

 

© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

Grit madness: Michael Ignatieff vows to cancel fighter-jet deal

Here we go again: Liberal Party playing politics and screwing our military in the process. The Vancouver Sun reports that a Liberal government would cancel the F-35 fighter-jet deal and hold a competitive bid. Michael Ignatieff has reportedly promised on Wednesday to rain on the military’s parade much as Jean Chrétien did with the old helicopter deal.

Chrétien’s political grandstanding stunt cost Canadian taxpayers a billion dollars or more for which we got nothing in return, and our military has yet to recover fully from that stunt. Now the nutty professor plans to scuttle a deal set in motion by a past Liberal government and set the fighter plane program back ten years.

Can these Grits stoop any lower to pander for progressive, anti-military votes? Apparently they can: they’ll scuttle the military in the hope of getting a few votes in return—what a terrific Canada-first strategy. They tried to starve the military for decades, then sent them off to Afghanistan to fight with sub-standard equipment, costing precious young lives (e.g., substandard body armour, tin-can armoured cars, no troop-carrying helicopters, no heavy armoured vehicles to counter roadside bombs).

And now the Grits are at it again.

God help Canada if these folks are let loose in Ottawa with a majority/coalition. Can you imagine the lot of the military if an NDP-backed Liberal government takes over?

 

© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

Auditor-General Sheila Fraser concludes the Harper government’s stimulus program was well-managed

Liberals across the country and especially the Michael Ignatieff-led Liberal caucus in Ottawa must be very disappointed that a major, multi-year Canadian government program went off without the usual foul-ups, favoritism or corruption that seemed to dog major Liberal government-sponsored programs.

In her report released yesterday, Auditor-General Sheila Fraser concluded the Harper government’s stimulus program was well-managed. Imagine that. She reportedly found that the “government adequately handled the ‘risks’ of designing a $47-billion job-creation scheme in a hurry, and that the money went to applicants that met eligibility criteria.”

This was a major test for PM Stephen Harper’s government, which has been disparaged and maligned by the Ignatieff-Layton opposition at every turn throughout the major international financial crisis that faced this nation in the past couple of years.

Ms. Fraser did find fault in other areas, but the stimulus program was my primary concern, and the Conservative government deserves both our praise and our gratitude for this job well done under constant pressure from an opposition who—too often lately it seems—would rather see Canada fail than see its government succeed.

Hats off to the PM and his cabinet!

 

© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

Grits shouldn’t count on Ford’s victory helping McGuinty in 2011

There are those who—like Liberal war room veteran Warren Kinsella—believe provincial Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty will benefit from Rob Ford’s victory in Toronto. Their reasoning seems to go something like: Ford will screw up and that will reflect negatively on all conservatives.

I see this more as wishful thinking than political analysis. The Ford victory was less a left vs right issue than it was a tax-spend vs prudent fiscal management one. I see two strong trends developing. Firstly, there are small “c” conservatives breaking ranks with both progressive parties and with the Conservative/PC parties to vote out of office those who have favoured big government and big budgets with tax increases to pay for both. Secondly, there seems to be emerging an anti-career politician trend, and none of the parties save the Bloc Québécois are immune from that.

The Bloc is a special case. It gets its mandate from Quebec voters who either believe Quebec should separate or should squeeze every penny it can from the rest of Canada and see the Bloc as the best way to achieve either or both of those ends.

But the Bloc may have troubles of its own with the emerging Quebec Freedom Network, a right-of-centre political party in Quebec. The party is unnamed and does not yet have a platform, but has made it clear it plans to focus on economic issues instead of separation, and that it is time to get away from “interventionist” government.

In 2007, the Action Démocratique du Québec, a provincial conservative party, won 41 seats and Official Opposition status, demonstrating a new conservative movement could resonate with Quebec voters. A strong conservative party in Quebec will be bad news for the incumbent Jean Charest Liberals, the federal Liberals, the Parti Québécois and the Bloc Québécois.

But I digress.

The flip side regarding Ford’s victory helping McGuinty is, of course, if Toronto doesn’t self-destruct in the next ten months, voters could decide the Provincial Legislature needs some of the same strong medicine. Should that be the case, let’s hope Tim Hudak can show that he’s the man who can administer it.

 

© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rob Ford wins as voters send politicians of all stripes a message

Last night’s Ontario municipal election results has a cautionary message for both conservatives and progressives alike: incumbents beware! Voter dissatisfaction is not directed at a particular party or political philosophy, but rather at incumbents who believe they have a right to treat taxpayers’ money in any way they please.

The election of Mayor-elect Rob Ford should provide a warning to the Dalton McGuinty Liberals that there is a limit to taxpayers’ patience, regardless of how much voters may agree with one’s general political philosophy.

Mayor David Miller sensed the mood of the electorate and decided not to contest the election. Joe Pantalone did not, and he was spanked by voters with only a pathetic 11.7 per cent supporting the deputy mayor.

Even after his drubbing, Pantalone still hasn’t gotten the message. Mr. Pantalone said, in part, last night. “… he [Rob Ford] does not have a strong mandate for radical, drastic change—á la Mike Harris.”

For goodness sake, if defeating a former Liberal deputy premier and current deputy mayor with a handsome 47.1 per cent of the ballots cast is not a “strong mandate,” just what would be?

It’ll be bye-bye, Dalton McGuinty, this time next year if the current mood holds, but Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak and his team are going to have to earn victories riding by riding.

Bold action will be required to right the good ship Ontario and Hudak had better be able to concisely articulate just how his party intends to do that. Rob Ford had the stomach for such a message vis-à-vis the City of Toronto. Can Tim Hudak do so as well, or will we be fed more tepid fare? I hope for the former, but fear we’ll get the latter.

 

© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Khadr pleads guilty

Today, Omar Khadr admitted to a U.S. military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay that he committed war-crimes, including throwing a grenade that killed a U.S. medic in Afghanistan in 2002. With his guilty plea, he will, apparently, avoid a possible life sentence that could have resulted had he pressed on with his trial.

According to military justice, Khadr’s military jury will have an opportunity to deliver its own sentence, and he will receive the lesser of his plea agreement or the jury sentence.

Khadr is the last Western citizen to be held at Guantanamo and the only person who has been charged in connection with the death of an American in Afghanistan.

I have no sympathy for the young man or his family. They chose terrorism over a peaceful life in Canada, and it did not work out well for them. That’s life: As you sow, so shall you reap. And I’ll not waste my or readers’ time debating whether or not he’s a child soldier.

At 15, I was quite capable of deciding what was right and what was wrong; I assume he too knew the difference. In the fog of battle, he could have aimed high, so to speak, so it’s highly unlikely he was forced to kill anyone. Much of the outpouring of sympathy for him has more to do with anti-Harper sentiment here in Canada and anti-Americanism in general, i.e., politics as usual, and I’m not buying it.

 

© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

UK Chancellor George Osborne delivered austerity Budget 2010

In what has been described in the UK press as “one of the most courageous Budgets in living memory,” Chancellor (finance minister) George Osborne has outlined a series of fiscal belt-tightening measures, including the deepest public sector spending cuts in 50 years.

“We inherited an economic mess, but we can come out of it stronger.”

– George Osborne
Chancellor of the Exchequer

The Conservative-led coalition announced a net £5.75-billion (USD 8.3-billion) in cuts to existing government programs this year. Osborne said savings to current programs would total £6.25-billion, with around £500-million of savings to be “recycled” into new programs to help cushion the blow of the economic downturn. Austerity measures are widespread, extending even to the Royal Household with a 14 per cent spending reduction. Osborne also detailed how he planned to take around £80 billion out of the public sector budget over the next four years.

The chancellor said that urgent action is needed “to show the world we can live within our means.”

Brave words indeed for a minority government propped up by a coalition with the Liberal Democrats who generally favour a welfare state. The Lib Dems are a left-of-centre party that was born of a merger in 1988 between the Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party.

As pointed out by the UK’s Telegraph:

“It has not yet dawned on most Lib Dems that, beneath the bonnet, this was a Tory Budget. The Lib Dem policies which made it through were either ones to which the Tories were sympathetic anyway (raising the income tax-free allowance) or stripped down so they make next to no real cash (capital gains tax). Nor are many Lib Dems aware that Mr Osborne has initiated the biggest stealth welfare cut in recent history: the decision to link tax credits and public sector pensions to CPI inflation rather than RPI will end up costing families a combined £5.8 billion by 2014 – more than £250 for every household.”

Much is being made of the perceived toughness of this budget, however, one should understand that the cuts are only equivalent to 0.4 per cent of the UK’s gross domestic product, and will only slightly lower a troublesome budget deficit estimated to equal more than 11 per cent of GDP. The reduction in the deficit, mind you, will go from 11.8 per cent of GDP to 5.2 per cent over four years.

Though somewhat modest, the budget measures are seen as important first steps to restore confidence in the country’s finances.

We here in Canada are apparently in much better shape than the UK, but this does give a hint of the sort of thing we might see on this side of the Atlantic. Given the growth in government since PM Stephen Harper and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty assumed control of our country’s finances, some retrenchment seems in order.

Public-pay settlements in the UK will be held at a maximum of 1 per cent for the two years from 2011. Given the disparity in pay and benefits in favour of public workers over private workers in Canada, I see a 2- to 4-year pay-freeze as being more appropriate.

There should also be room to trim jobs here after the ramp-up in the civil service to manage the stimulus spending package. And we may want to implement some form of the UK’s budgeted 50 per cent reduction in spending on consultants by government departments and 25 per cent cut in marketing and communications budgets.

I not holding my breath waiting for this to happen, however.

 

© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

KFC doubles down on a winner

Fast food giant KFC is making a big impression with the introduction of its Double Down sandwich. This entrée is a delicious-looking KFC Double-Downsandwich combination of fried chicken—as only KFC does it—bacon, cheese and KFC’s secret sauce.

KFC Canada hopes to reproduce the enormous popularity the DD enjoyed in the United States where it reportedly became the most successful sandwich in the KFC’s history, with more than 10 million sold in less than a month.

To the companies delight, I’m sure, the launch of this latest entry in the fast food sweepstakes has caused a sensation and was a top-of-the-news topic for all the content-starved news media outlets, and received swift condemnations from all quarters. So what’s all the fuss about?

This sandwich is a hearty 540 calories, with 30 grams of fat and 1,740 milligrams of sodium. Not for those with heart conditions or those on salt reduced diets, perhaps, but neither is it particularly outrageous.

The DD stacks up well, in healthy eating terms, against Wendy’s Baconator, which contains 610 calories, 35 grams of fat and 1,130mg of sodium. Or against Burger King’s Triple Whopper with Cheese, which has a whopping (sorry, couldn’t resist that) 1,250 calories, 84 grams of fat and 1,600mg of sodium. Or something like Arby’s grilled Chicken Cordon Bleu Sandwich: 488 calories, 19g of fat, 1561mg of sodium.

Or what about the popular canned Habitant Pea Soup. One cup alone contains 650mg of sodium, and most of us have this by the bowl, not by the cup—you do the math. And watch out for poutine. A serving of Harvey’s version of the popular cheese curd topping contains 2,360mg of sodium, 640 calories and 33 grams of fat!

A serving of Kraft Canada’s recipe for Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu, despite calling for only four ounces of “boneless skinless chicken breasts” and using “Lower Sodium Stuffing Mix” and “reduced-sodium condensed cream of chicken soup,” still packs 930mg of sodium, 450 calories and 18 grams of fat.

So what’s all the fuss about? Just a lot of hot air to fill out the news cycle, I guess. Or can we expect a campaign to ban Habitant Pea Soup? Over to you Dalton McGuinty.

For those who love crispy deep-fried chicken and cheese, I say give it a try—just watch your salt and fat intake for the rest of the day.

 

© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

Why’s the truth such an elusive concept for some politicians?

Some politicians love to play fast and loose with the truth. Take Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty as an example—an extreme one at that. His broken promises in the run-up to his first election victory seven years ago and throughout his years in office must be something of a record for a provincial premier.

And remember when in April 2009 federal Liberal Party Critic, MP John McCallum, told a Windsor Star reporter that he owned a “North American-made car” and later explained it was “a General Motors car?” Later, he was even more specific, saying, “a Chevrolet.” But, of course, he didn’t own any of those things. He explained he had spoken “without thinking.”

Lie, explain with a lie, then excuse your lie with an even more banal one.

For some politicians a lie or half-truth is the default option. Mendacity comes as naturally to some as scratching a bothersome itch. They seem to do it without thinking—it’s an automatic reflex.

Here’s a recent example.

Health Promotion Minister Margarett Best was asked about the KFC Double Down meal, and said it was something the government could investigate. “It’s not something that we have discussed but it’s certainly something we may look at and review,” she told reporters.

Yet only hours later, Best’s office reportedly issued a statement in which the minister claimed to “reiterate” that there were no plans to review the availability of any food products in Ontario. This one smacks both of evasion/falsehood and political cowardice. If she’s inclined to prevaricate on the small issues, how can she be trusted with the large ones?

Of course, mendacity is not the sole purview of Liberal politicians, the New Democrats are often as guilty as they. As for Conservatives and PCs, well, the less said about that the better, eh.

 

© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Rob Ford still fending off George Smitherman, but for how much longer?

The Toronto Sun reported that a Nanos Research poll released Sunday showed the Toronto mayor’s race is in a virtual tie between Rob Ford and George Smitherman.

“I’m the only one that they [Toronto voters] can trust. You can’t trust someone [George Smitherman] who blew $1 billion on an eHealth scandal and gave himself (as an MPP) a $35,000 pay increase in the middle of a recession.”

– Rob Ford

The poll found Ford continues to lead among decided voters with 43.9 per cent, while Smitherman is steadily catching up and is now at a very competitive 40.5 per cent. Joe Pantalone, the last of the also-ran candidates, has 15 per cent.

The poll, which was conducted between last Thursday and Saturday among 1,000 likely voters, showed there are about 18.5 per cent of undecided voters. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Such a large percentage of undecided leaves this election up for grabs.

We’ve got about a week to go before the municipal election, and I assume, as voting day gets closer, Pantalone supporters will flee to line up behind someone who actually has a chance of winning. I also assume they’ll vote for more-of-the-same at Toronto City Hall—that is what Pantalone represents—which means they’ll likely go to Smitherman.

Assuming most of the Pantalone support goes to Smitherman, Rob Ford can still win if he can convince the lion’s share of undecided voters to back him. This may be too tall and order. Pity.

If Pantalone hangs in to the bitter, die-hard end on October 25th, then Ford has a much better chance of benefitting from the resulting vote-split of left-leaning voters.

Smitherman is, of course, anticipating such an eventuality and is trying to counter with his slogan that “a vote for (Pantalone) is a vote for (Ford).”

Next Monday night will be fun.

 

© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

Germany: latest casualty of “Multikulti”

The chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, is the latest Western leader to question how well multiculturalism is working in her nation. In fact, in a speech at Potsdam, she pronounced Germany’s attempts to build a post-war multicultural society an utter failure, breaking a long-standing taboo in Germany to address the immigration issue.

Multikulti, the concept that we are now living side by side and are happy about it. This approach has failed, utterly.”

– Angela Merkel

Ms. Merkel told a meeting of the youth wing of her party at the weekend: “We feel bound to the Christian image of humanity, that is what defines us. Those who do not accept this are in the wrong place here.”

Her remarks came just days following a poll that showed that a third of all Germans viewed immigrants as welfare cheats. Ever mindful of the lingering aftermath of the racist policies of the Nazi regime, post-war German politicians tend only to speak in broad positive terms of their multikulti society, which make the chancellor’s remarks more memorable.

Germany’s first lady echoed a widely held sentiment from across a host of Western democracies when she told her audience that immigrants who choose to live in Germany should adapt and learn German as “quickly as possible.”

Excessive nationalism may be a bad thing, as we saw in the lead-up to the Second World War, but a country devoid of nationalism is a sorry state indeed. Multiculturalism can fragment a nation’s identity to the point that that nation has no identifiable culture to call its own. This is not what most Westerners want for their countries.

 

© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

Justin Trudeau endorses George Smitherman

The former Liberal MPP and provincial cabinet minister, George Smitherman, brought in federal Liberal celebrity MP Justin Trudeau to endorse him for mayor of Toronto. Trudeau is MP for Papineau, in Montreal so it does seem rather odd he’d lend his name to a candidate in a municipal election some 300 miles away.

But he did. And I’m certainly glad he did. For without him to bring us up to date on international affairs, I can’t imagine where I’d be. Trudeau enlightened us thus:

“Around the world, there’s a battle going on between the politics of fear and division, and the politics of hope and responsibility.

“Canadians are better than that. Torontonians are better than that. We will not be divided. We will not be turned against ourselves. We will not sit and fear and cower about what the future may hold.”

Such insight, such wisdom. What a phony this guy is.

What Justin Trudeau failed to enlighten Torontonians about was how George Smitherman planned to balance Toronto’s books—without further ruinous tax increases, user fees and TTC fare increases. Perhaps Smitherman actually does plan to practice “the politics of hope and responsibility.” But if he runs the City of Toronto as shoddily as he did the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care for the province of Ontario, God help Toronto and those who pay its bills.

Or what about the time he was chief of staff and campaign manager to one-time Mayor of Toronto, Barbara Hall, then widely regarded as an unofficial candidate of the New Democratic Party? Hardly an endorsement for sound fiscal management. He may be a Liberal in name, but he doesn’t seem to mind supporting those with socialist roots. Just what Toronto needs: more unions, more pay increases, more staff.

The Central Ontario Building Trades announced its endorsement of Mr. Smitherman yesterday. That should be enough to send chills up the back of most Torontonians. This is the same body that backed outgoing Mayor David Miller two elections in a row.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Warren Kinsella joins the Sun?

The way the political world evolves can sometimes astonish me. Take for instance the news that Toronto-based lawyer, author and Liberal pundit—some prefer “attack dog”—Warren Kinsella has, in his words, “become a freelance Sun columnist and prospective Sun TV pundit.”

Kinsella is a lightening rod for right-wing invective, and frequently deserves—make that earns—what he gets. But, give the fellow credit, to write for an acknowledged conservative newspaper takes character for someone with his reputation and political history.

Of course, we don’t expect the “Jackal,” as I’ve heard him called, to change his spots (or should that be stripes?), that would be such a waste of his obvious talent. Few progressives get under my thin political skin more than does Warren Kinsella. Having said that, I never miss the opportunity to hear him square off against a conservative pundit, giving as good as he gets and winning his share of verbal joists.

I hope that, if the Sun’s proposed all-news channel ever gets off the ground, Kinsella will have a regular opportunity to counter-balance the conservative views of which we’re likely to get plenty. Watching paint dry would be more interesting and stimulating than a 24/7 news outfit giving us only one point of view, even if its a conservative one.

I am offended by the excessive bias towards the political left shown by CBC and CTV networks. I’d be no less offended if we got the same level of bias to the right from a conservative network. What I want is to hear conservative thought and philosophy openly expressed and respected. That it might also be debated, tested and challenged by opposing views is an added bonus.

Congratulations on your new gig, Warren Kinsella.

 

© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Michael Ignatieff warns us about “career politicians”

The former Harvard University professor Michael Ignatieff gives us a stark warning about career politicians as he muses in a video about his vision for Canada (see below). Isn’t it curious the Liberal party leader should issue a warning that PM Stephen Harper and NDP leader Jack Layton are career politicians while ignoring the obvious fact that his own party’s caucus is loaded with those for whom politics has become a career?

The most senior members of the Liberal caucus in Ottawa are that party’s “critics.” These are the primary determinants of policy and the official opposition leader’s—one might expect—main sources of political advice. So how do the high-profile Liberal critics measure up as regards being career pols? Here are a few:

Critic

Position

Political Career

Ralph Goodale Deputy Leader First elected in 1974
David McGuinty House Leader First elected in 2004
Judy Foote Deputy House Leader First elected as the Member of the House Assembly for the District of Grand Bank in 1996
Marcel Proulx Chief Opposition Whip First elected in 1999
John McCallum Transport, Infrastructure & Communities First elected in 2000
Carolyn Bennet Democratic renewal First elected in the 1997
Gerard Kennedy Environment First elected in 1996
Scott Brison Finance First elected in 1997
Bob Rae Foreign Affairs First elected in 1978 (left politics for about 12 years and returned in 2008)
Ujjal Dosanjh Health First elected in 1991
Dominic LeBlanc National Defence First elected in 1991

The above are some senior members of the Liberal caucus. These are the Liberals I see most often representing that party on TV and elsewhere. Some were elected in another level of government—sometimes representing another political party—before entering federal politics.

There are many others like Maria Minna (Critic for Labour) who was first elected to Parliament in 1993 and Judy Sgro (Critic for Seniors and Pensions) whose political career goes back to 1994, when she was elected to Metropolitan Toronto Council.

Newcomers are few among this gang of career Liberal pols. How helpful of Mr. Ignatieff to omit dubbing them as career politicians. Perhaps he didn’t want to scare us too much.

But I digress.

I believe Mr Ignatieff is on to something. I believe much of the erosion in our parliamentary system can be accounted for by there being too many career politicians in the House. Mr. Ignatieff says in the video:

“…career politicians” are part of creating a “bubble in Ottawa” where “journalists feed on politicians, politicians feed on journalists… they send out the same cynical message which is that it’s a game, and its a closed game and you [the ordinary Canadians] don’t get to play, we get to play…”

So true, sir. I agree 100 per cent.

Will politicians, who make politics a career and have to face re-election every few years, be likely to make bold decisions or take up unpopular causes? Do they fear “rocking the boat” and back off from addressing injustices and much needed change?

I say “no” to the former and “yes” to the latter.

Perhaps it’s time ordinary Canadians demand measures be adopted to mitigate this effect, measures such as term limits, or perhaps paying them less or eliminating their fat-cat pensions.

They like to tell us how much they like serving their country, so let them so it for a term or two then return to private life and give someone else a chance to offer service with fresh new ideas and vigor.

I seldom agree with Mr. Ignatieff, but this time he’s right on.

Here’s the video:

 

Contents except video © 2010 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

The Omar Khadr affair may finally be coming to a close

This morning’s National Post is full of articles suggesting that Canadian-born Omar Khadr will plead guilty to all war crimes charges he faces, including murder, and is, apparently, ready to serve a total of eight years in prison, seven of which may well be served in Canada.

Should this occur, we’ll finally have a sort of resolution to a sticky legal issue over how Canadians feels about “enemy combatants” as the United States has dubbed so-called “unlawful combatants” captured in Afghanistan and elsewhere. These unlawful combatants are persons who the United States believes do not qualify for prisoner-of-war status under the Geneva Conventions, such as alleged members of al Qaeda or of the Taliban.

Had the 15-year-old Khadr killed a policeman in Toronto because of his political beliefs—or those of his father—he would have been tried for murder and, perhaps, terrorist-related crimes. And, despite his age, he may very well have been transferred to adult court and received an adult sentence under Canadian law.

But because Khadr was captured in the village of Ayub Kheyl, Afghanistan after allegedly killing an American soldier, many Canadians want him treated as a “child soldier” and given the benefit of international law.

Curious how this confessed murderer and terrorist has gotten such sympathy from a cross-section of Canadians.

A Canadian civilian throwing a grenade at a Canadian ally in an armed conflict of which Canada was a party. Is this not treasonous? Do we owe anything to those who take up arms against us or our allies? I think not.

Terrorism is a modern scourge that strikes at us without warning and without mercy. Innocent lives are snuffed out because madmen decide their cause is just and any means justifies their ends. Yet, in Canada, no act is so terrible someone won’t have sympathy for the perpetrator, especially if the victim is an American.

I hope Omar Khadr rots in an American jail. I feel no sympathy whatever for the man.

 

© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Conservative movement vs. Conservative Party: perhaps Maxime Bernier can reconcile the differences

The past several months have left me somewhat disillusioned with many of the moves by the Conservative Party in governing Canada. I use the term “moves” as a replacement for “policies” because the government’s actions are not always in line with what I understand Conservative Party policies to be.

There certainly does seem to be an increasing gap between how we as Conservatives govern and how we talk at party conferences. Ah, the pragmatism of power and the retaining of it.

Whatever happened to prudent economic management, small government, primacy of individual rights and freedoms? In what way have those ends been furthered after about four years in power?

We have not had bad government from the Stephen Harper Tories, but neither have we had right government. Our government has grown enormously since the Tories came to power in 2006, and we are running a record budgetary deficit and, apparently, will be doing so for some years to come. The fast approaching 300,000-employee level of the civil service does not a small government make.

PM Harper did give us a reduction in the GST, but much of that has been sucked away when he participated in harmonization between the federal GST and Ontario’s PST. His government made a deal to dance with the ever duplicitous Dalton McGuinty and we’re paying the piper. No use saying it’s a different level of government socking it to us, for when all is said and done, we’re the same taxpayers being sucked dry by greedy spendthrift governments at all levels.

When will fiscal sanity return to Ottawa; when will we see civil servants treated on the same basis as employees of the average corporation? When will we see subsidies to well-to-do corporations end?

After over a decade of Liberal rule, we elected a conservative government and spending went up and up and up—it’s still going up as we write this, even though we went through a major financial crisis. The civil service has grown beyond the rate of inflation since we got rid of the big-government, big-spending Liberals.

Program spending is projected by Finance Minister Flaherty to rise an alarming $21-billion in the next five years, bloating this year’s deficit to $55-billion and adding to a federal portion of our national debt that is projected to reach a staggering $626-billion by 2015. And don’t let the politicians fool you, this is not the full level of debt we are on the hook for—there’s plenty more to come from provincial governments and agencies making Canada’s “real” debt to GDP ratio one of the highest in the world.

How could this have happened?

There’s the recent recession, of course, but that’s only a part of the story.

It now quite clear that there’s a gaping gap between the values and objectives of the conservative movement in Canada and those of the Conservative government. Hard core values have been sacrificed at the alter of almighty power.

So now, who speaks for us? Who stands for us?

I see only one elected politician at the federal level speaking like a conservative. Principles over compromise; values over pragmatism. He is former Foreign Affairs Minister and Conservative MP for Beauce in Quebec, Maxime Bernier. He alone among Quebec City MPs did not endorse the crazy notion of federal dollars being used to support a Quebec City hockey arena even though any future Quebec City team to occupy that arena will be, presumably, privately owned.

Earlier this year, Mr. Bernier got himself into hot water for a speech to party members in Mont-St-Grégoire, Quebec. He said:

“Let’s be frank: Many people in the rest of the country perceive Quebecers as a bunch of spoiled children who are never satisfied and always ask for more. This perception has some basis in reality.”

Now Mr. Bernier is making more political waves by advocating Ottawa end transfer payments to provinces transferring to provincial legislatures some $40-billion, perhaps more, of tax room to finance the health, social welfare and education services they are constitutionally obliged to deliver.

Mr. Preston Manning brought a lot of fresh ideas along with the Reform Party, but most of them have been watered down so as to be unrecognizable or abandoned by the Tory caucus and given lip service by the Conservative Party of Canada.

And with all this compromising and pragmatism, we’re still barely 30 per cent in most polls this year. I’m tired of compromise and power-at-all-cost initiatives, I want a right of centre government, dammit! And perhaps Mr. Bernier is the fellow that can give it to us.

 

© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

Canada loses chance for seat on U.N. Security Council

So Canada didn’t make it onto the UN’s Security Council and pundits across our nation all seem to have a reason why we were denied this prestigious position in favour of financial basket case, Portugal. Apparently, in the run-up to the vote, Canadian officials in New York were telling anyone who would listen that they were confident of victory. And the U.S. State Department even rated our chances as a “sure thing.”

Does it really matter? Probably does. The UN is a severely damaged institution with, for example, an incredibly obnoxious United Nations Human Rights Council, which is controlled by a bloc of Islamic and African states, backed by China, Cuba and Russia, who protect each other from criticism. Nevertheless, the U.N. is the closest we have to a world government, warts and all. And the Security Council is the inner cabinet around which table the hard policies are set and most important decisions are made.

Canada is a founding member and significant financial supporter of the U.N. It has served on the Security Council in each decade since the U.N. was founded. Canada is a G7 nation, it is also a larger, richer and more internationally proactive country than is Portugal. Canada is economically stable while Portugal is in desperate economic straights and is likely to need international assistance in the near future. If measured purely on merit, Canada would win over the Portuguese Republic on virtually every objective point of comparison.

Some say Canada does not help itself by being so supportive of Israel, so disparaging of the U.N.’s discredited Human Rights Council, so restrained in the embracing of the various initiatives to curb global warming/climate change. Others say Canada is not warm enough in its relationship with China.

Some point to the fact we’ve never lived up to former Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson’s promise of 40-plus years ago to give 0.7 per cent of GDP to foreign aid (a goal adopted by the U.N. for its richest member states). We are somewhere about 0.33 per cent of GDP, but Portugal is well behind us in terms both of percentage of GDP and absolute dollars, so how could this have hurt us in a vote runoff against that country?

But does any of this even matter? There are only two seats allocated to the group in which Canada finds itself: the so-called Western Europe and Others bloc, which includes Western European nations, Australia, New Zealand and Israel. With the Arab states (57-member Organization of Islamic Conference) and their supporters lined up against us and with the European Union (27 member states) voting for their own, that’s 84 of 192 votes lost before the voting starts. What real chance does our country have?

The United States would probably vote for us and, I assume, so would Israel. Perhaps we can add Haiti to that list and maybe a few other Caribbean nations. Beyond those, who can we really count on? We do not belong to any exclusive groups such as the EU nations do. We and Mexico are fellow members of NAFTA, but that’s unlikely to secure Mexico’s vote if we were, for example, up against Spain in a future vote.

So does this mean Canada’s term of influence at the U.N. is over? Will we no longer (assuming we ever did) hit above our weight there? Probably, at least, for the foreseeable future.

Should Canada formalize an association with the European Union as is being contemplated, this could shift a few more votes our way. But in the absence of any large voting bloc in which Canada could become a member, it’s unlikely we be on the Security Council any time soon.

Unless, of course, we trade our principles for the seat. We could, for example, be much cooler to Israel, sign up for every nutty international environmental initiative, really cozy up to China, ignoring its horrible human rights record, radically increase our foreign aid to poorer countries and join the cheering section for the U.N.’s Human Rights Council.

A Stephen Harper government is not likely to do these things—except, perhaps, for increasing foreign aid—but a Michael Ignatieff-led one might very well do all of those things, especially if they had to rely on the New Democrats to keep power.

 

© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Duplicity reigns in Ottawa

Duplicity seems to be the order of the day in Ottawa where the whole point seems to have little to do with what’s best for Canada—or even a political movement—and far more to do with what best suits caucus members. On the Hill, MPs make deals as easily with those who hope to break up the country as with a like-minded member.

The enemy of one’s enemy becomes a friend, at least, while it suits a particular situation. Ethics, morality, doing the right thing are silly nonsense meaningful only to the rest of us lesser mortals.

Clinging to power so one can rule by doing the opposite to one’s political philosophy so one can cling to power is the smart thing to do. Get on your high horse, take the moral high ground when it suits, but never when it may hurt one’s political career of strategy.

Sell your integrity down the river so you can curry favour with Quebec voters by pretending you really don’t agree with Maclean’s argument that Quebec is Canada’s most corrupt region. (I’ve lived in both Quebec and Ontario, Maclean’s has a valid point.) And while you’re at it, pander for Quebec voters by using phrases like “Quebec nation”—as distinct from “Québécois nation”—in a formal, unanimously approved motion of the House of Commons and hope the rest of us won’t notice.

Expediency, compromise, doing the possible are all platitudes and euphemisms behind which to hide as principles are traded away like fish at the local farmer’s market.

Use phrases like: if you don’t like what we’re doing, just think what the other guys will do if they had the power. Which can be translated as: screw you, who else can you vote for.

When political lobbyists outnumber several times over the entire membership of the  House of Commons you know we ordinary folk are in trouble. And when they typically get monthly retainers of $3,000 to $10,000, or hourly rates of $150 to $500 you know they are getting something in return for their clients and screw the rest of us.

In the United States, the disaffected are finding a political outlet that boils down to dumping incumbents. Perhaps that’s the only way we’ll rid Ottawa of the rot that’s set in the plush offices, huge salaries and perquisites, not to mention unconsciously generous pensions with insanely short qualification periods.

© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

Something stinks on the banks of the Rideau Canal

The Bloc Québécois, aided and abetted by all other parties in the House of Commons, successfully tabled a motion last week that must have sent a chill through media circles across our land. The motion tabled by Bloc Québécois MP Pierre Paquette expressed “profound sadness at the prejudice displayed and the stereotypes employed by Maclean’s magazine to denigrate the Quebec nation.” Readers will recall that Maclean’s ran a cover story arguing that Quebec is the “most corrupt province” in Canada.

Apparently, this all-party cooperation went even deeper than I had first realized, for now I read that the NDP’s Thomas Mulcair—among the most self-righteous politicians in the House—claimed in a speech at the NDP’s federal council on Saturday that he worked with the Bloc in drafting the motion and that he is responsible for its key wording.

So what? some may ask. Well, isn’t this is further proof of the tight, chumminess that seems to exist between the separatist Bloc and the socialist New Democrats? Moreover, today Don Martin of the National Post tells us of reports that Gilles Duceppe boasted he was the December 2008 Lib-NDP coalition’s catalyst. Imagine the separatist Bloc going to the Dippers and the Grits with a proposal to defeat the newly elected Conservatives and the Stéphane Dion and Jack Layton buying into the scheme.

Ain’t that sweet? They all got together to curry favour with Quebec’s voters and the rest of Canada be damned. The Bloc’s motion was an almost unprecedented censure of the press by our parliament. And that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and official opposition leader Michael Ignatieff supported this affront to freedom of expression tells us a lot about the sort of people who claim to represent Canadians.

The Bloc is in parliament to spread dissent and to help make the House dysfunctional, and our other parties can find common ground with them? Disgraceful!

Perhaps we do need a Tea-Party-like movement in Canada to begin to shove out the career politicians in Ottawa, for their loyalties sure seem to be to power, to each other and to fat-cat pensions and plum appointments and not, as we should expect, to the people of Canada.

 

© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Michael Ignatieff and his gang that cannot shoot (or talk) straight

Of course we don’t know for sure since Michael Ignatieff seems to change his mind with each change in the phase of the moon, but the intrepid leader of the federal Liberals seems to be advocating home-care for the sick regardless of whether the home environment is a healthy one.

A case in point is the well publicized—by the Grits—Website brochure entitled, The Liberal Family Care Plan, which on page 4 shows what I assume is an example of a typical family unit that will receive benefits under the Liberals latest give-away.

Nothing unusual there? Well the chap on the right was originally pictured with a lit cigarette between his fingers. After deserved criticism, the phony-baloney Grits have removed the cigarette to give a false impression that the home environment of this family unit is a healthy one.

Why advocate sending a sick person home to a cigarette smoke contaminated environment to recuperate? Only the insensitive clods at Liberal Party headquarters would see that as okay. An only the morally bankrupt would then see as okay leaving that family picture in the brochure with the cigarette Photoshopped out to mislead future viewers.

Undoubtedly, had the Liberals not been publicly criticized, the cigarette would have stayed in the picture telling us how they truly view the world: smoking is okay and lying about it is also okay.

Scorpions sting, Liberal politicians lie.

 

© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

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