From Science Blogs - The Canadian War On Science: A Long Unexaggerated, Devastating Chronological Indictment by John Dupuis.
This is a brief chronology of the current Conservative Canadian government’s long campaign to undermine evidence-based scientific, environmental and technical decision-making. It is a government that is beholden to big business, particularly big oil, and that makes every attempt to shape public policy to that end. It is a government that fundamentally doesn’t believe in science. It is a government that is more interested in keeping its corporate masters happy than in protecting the environment.
Click the link for the details.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
From Science Blogs - The Canadian War On Science: A Long Unexaggerated, Devastating Chronological Indictment by John Dupuis.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Christy Clark may have led her party to a stunning upset against all predictions, but she lost her own seat to the NDP's David Eby.
Elections BC: Vancouver-Point Grey results.
My two cents on why the NDP lost: Conservative party support swung to the Liberals to stop the NDP, and the youth vote, which strongly supports the NDP, didn't show up to vote.
Friday, May 3, 2013
The Ontario NDP would like to hear your feedback on the budget before deciding on supporting it or not. The Liberals sort of supported the NDP demands, but not exactly.
Here is a link to a table that shows what the NDP demanded and what the Liberals offered.
As you can see, some of the items the Liberals decided to offer to bring in partially or sometime within a number of years. Other items, the Liberals offered even more funding.
Give feedback to the NDP on the budget here at yoursayontario.ca
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
- Close corporate tax loopholes (while running a deficit, it makes no sense to allow so much potential income to escape)
- Reduce car insurance rates by 15 per cent (Ontario has the highest rates in Canada)
- Introduce new measures to help reduce youth unemployment
- Strengthen health care
- Improve Welfare rules
- Improve support for home care for seniors
- Generally make life more affordable for Ontarians
On Tuesday, Wynne, Finance Minister Charles Sousa and Health Minister Deb Matthews tried to meet a key NDP demand by announcing $260 million in additional funding for home-care services.“This is not a political game. This is not a ping-pong game about ‘you put out a policy and I’ll put out a policy, and we’ll see which one we can fight about and where we land,’ ” Wynne scolded her rival. “We will not be held hostage to a list, an arbitrary list.“It’s not that it’s a Liberal budget, it’s not that it’s an NDP budget, or it’s a Conservative budget. It’s the right budget for the people of Ontario,” the premier said.Horwath, who told reporters she was taken aback by Wynne’s “arrogance,” said it’s about delivering for Ontarians, not the NDP.“People have told us that they’re looking for change — simple, affordable change — that makes their lives better,” Horwath said. “They’ve been promised it over and over again but constantly find that they’re being asked to pay more and expect less from their government.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Rob Ford and his council lackeys want to differ discussing transit funding until AFTER Metrolinx' deadline to agree on what they will present to the province - in other words, until after it is too late to have their input considered by Metrolinx in their recommendations to the province.
Typical Rob Ford/Ford Nation idiocy.
The mayor should be doing all he can to encourage ideas and debate on this issue in order to come up with some input for Metrolinx BEFORE this deadline. Instead, he is burying his head in the sand and trying to stifle progress, as usual.
Transit Fees: Ford, Councillors Headed For A Showdown
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Thursday, March 28, 2013
The other day, Martin Regg Cohn wrote a horribly twisted piece of anti-NDP propaganda in the Toronto Star.
Andrea Horwath and the ON NDP are not changing their stance on any of this. They are still
looking at the root cause of the money problems for public transit -
the provincial and federal government increasingly cutting corporate
taxes and making up the loss of revenue on the backs of everyone else.
Public transit used to be funded by the province and the feds. That made
sense. Then this funding was removed to pay for corporate tax cuts. The
NDP is saying lets get back to sensible taxation of the corporations
and sensible funding of large projects (like public transit).
Continuing with the aim of constantly giving to the rich and
corporations, and, at the same time, taking more and more from the rest
of us, is a plan that cannot continue (unsustainable) and a plan that is
very unfair. It is also a plan of the corporate parties (Liberals and
Cons). It is precisely because of this plan that our public transit is
suffering and begging for money. This plan is why money has been pulled
out from under public transit over the years by the provincial and
federal governments. When the Chretien-Martin government massively cut
transfers to the provinces, the provinces then began to massively cut
programs and funding in the provinces (remember what Harris did in
Ontario, including removal of provincial funding from public transit?). And
besides these cuts, the Ontario governments have continued to reduce
their funds by steadily decreasing corporate taxes to a ridiculously low
amount - and STILL plan to continue cutting this revenue source for the
province. The end result is that many important things go underfunded
and the funds now have to come from those who can least afford to pay.
Horwath and the ON NDP want to reverse this trend and stop trying to
force those least able to pay, to pay for everything. I support this
stand by the ON NDP.
They are not so much against new funding sources for transit, but FOR old sensible funding sources for transit.
Thursday, January 31, 2013
What can I say? How did these 3 get loose from their leash? How can this be a good thing for the Conservatives?
They know that abortion is not homicide by law in this country. Hopefully the RCMP will tell them so and this will end there.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Instead of checking the news to see when the exact time and date of Rob Ford's removal from office is, just bookmark the Mayor Rob Ford Countdown Clock page!
Start the betting pool on whether he will have to be forcibly removed from office or not when the time comes.
Monday, November 19, 2012
Summary of demands:
Which seem more reasonable?
- No fighting (well, you can't attack us, but we can attack you)
- We continue to cut off all your trade and travel by water and land with Israel and the rest of the world (except for through Egypt) (but we can continue to trade with and travel to and from the rest of the world)
- You are allowed to get no more weapons (but we can continue to increase our military might)
- We will continue to assassinate your members of parliament (which may include deaths of other civilians in the area)
- Allow us to trade
- Stop assassination bombings
- stop continual raids
- stop attacking our fishermen
Friday, September 28, 2012
A new Forum Research Ontario tracking poll is out. The results show the NDP and PCs in a virtual tie, with the Liberal support continuing to plummet.
Horwath's and Hudak's popularity remains about the same with Horwath way in the lead, but McGuinty's popularity has dropped significantly.
Results of the Sept. 25th poll compared to level of support at the election in Oct. 2011:
PC: 37% (+2%)
NDP: 35% (+12%)
LIb: 20% (-18%)
The NDP has been steadily rising overall since the election, while the PCs have remained about the same. The Liberal support has steadily dropped since the election with an increased drop since last month.
Leader Popularity compared to level of support Jan. 2012:
Andrea Horwath (NDP): 48% (+8%)
Tim Hudak (PC): 26% (no change)
Dalton McGuinty (Lib): 20% (-13%)
If the trends continue, we could be looking at a minority NDP government by the time an election rolls around.
Also of note:
The NDP and PCs are running about neck and neck in all regions of the province with the PCs having the upper hand in the 905 region and in Eastern Ontario. Liberal support in all regions is a distant 3rd, except in Eastern Ontario, where they are doing a bit better.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
In a Forum Research poll, conducted Tues. Sept. 4, 2012, support for the NDP was at 42%, while the Liberal and Conservative support had dropped to 26% each. In their previous poll early in August, the NDP and Liberals were at 30% and the Conservatives were at 34%.
Story from The Record.
This is good news as it keeps the Liberals from getting a majority (Which would allow them free-reign to bring in even worse Harper-Government-esque policies), sends a message to the PCs that their recent track record and ideals have failed with the people of Ontario, and that Andrea Horwath's NDP are on the right track.
Results of the election:
Saturday, August 25, 2012
More details in this Globe & Mail article
Key segment of testimony so far, from the linked G&M article:
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
|This appeared on Facebook later in the day|
More details here and here.
Photo by Twitter user @ryanghaughton.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Also, collect more royalties from the companies that are extracting the oil (the royalty levels are insanely low right now) and use those to help the manufacturing industry across Canada. And make the extractors pay for the clean-up of the waste products and the pollution they create. Makes sense.
This is more or less what the NDP has been saying all along (although the corporate media and the Conservatives across Canada have been doing a great job of making you think that the NDP is not for this but is instead against the oil industry and "The West". - These are bare-faced lies about the NDP policy and anyone with more than 2 brain cells can see that these are lies. Observe the polls showing the NDP support continually increasing/staying high, while the Con support keeps dropping. Most Canadians are not dummies).
But the corporate Harper government (a.k.a. looters in suits) doesn't want this - they just want to keep things going as is and damn the consequences (as the corporations will make more money if they don't have to be responsible for the consequences).
And, can we get rid of the subsidies the Canadian government pays to the companies extracting oil from the Tarsands who are making $ billions in profit?!!! These made sense in the beginning to entice companies to begin extracting - but they don't make any sense now that the processes are established already and these companies no longer need the subsidies.
Sunday, June 17, 2012
Since Tom Mulcair was chosen to lead the party back in March, the NDP has maintained a strong support across Canada, which has continued to grow. The opposite is true for the Conservatives. Their support has been steadily dropping. Canadians are becoming more aware of the scandals plaguing them. And the exposure of the omnibus budget bill has not helped the Conservatives either. The Liberals are maintaining their support in the low 20s.
Of Significant Note:
Some things of significant note about the latest poll numbers from Forum Research are that the NDP are now ahead of the Conservatives in the Prairies (43% to 33%), and are tied in Ontario at 34% each.
Previously, the Conservatives led in Alberta, Ontario and the Prairies, while the NDP led in Quebec, BC and in the Atlantic provinces. Now the Conservatives only lead in Alberta, are tied in Ontario, and the NDP leads everywhere else.
Also, Bob Rae's decision to bow out of the Liberal leadership race boosted his approval rating to 40% nationally.
This poll had a sample size of 1529, which has a margin of error of 2.51%, 19 times out of 20.
Other poll findings:
Favourable support of party leaders:
Tom Mulcair 39%
Stephen Harper 31%
Bob Rae 40%
Net Approval (approve minus disapprove)
Tom Mulcair +8%
Stephen Harper -30%
Bob Rae +8%
In a sign that Canadians appreciate a clean exit, Bob Rae's approval rating has
increased from one third last month (33%) to 4-in-10 now (40%), and he has a
net approval (approve minus disapprove) of +8. This compares very favourably
with Tom Mulcair's approval of 4-in-10 (39%), and net approval of +8. Both these
scores easily outdistance those for Stephen Harper (31% approval, net approval
Majority expects government to be defeated in next election
In a measure of perception rather than voting intention, more than one half of
Canadians expect the current government to be defeated in the next election
(53%), while one third expect it to be re-elected (34%). While this is very similar
to levels of Conservative support, it should be noted that just 8-in-10
Conservative voters expect their party to be re-elected (79%), while one tenth do
not expect this to happen (11%). In an exact reversal of opinion, 8-in-10 NDP
supporters do not think the government will be re-elected (79%), and one tenth
think it will be (11%).
Trudeau as leader improves Liberal fortunes
If Justin Trudeau were leader of the Liberal party and the election were held
today, while the reduced plurality (32%) would still support the NDP, the Liberals
and the Conservatives would draw even in second place, with just more than a
quarter of the electorate each (28% each). The Bloc would claim the support of
5% and the Green Party of 4%. It is clear that Trudeau draws support (about 5%)
from the NDP.
Justin Trudeau leads all other contenders
When asked to select from a list of contenders for the Liberal leadership, one
quarter of Canadians in general (23%) and one third of Liberal supporters (33%)
pick Justin Trudeau, and no one else comes close. Close to one half of Canadians
(44%) and one quarter of Liberal supporters (26%) don't know who to select.
John Manley (7%) was more popular among Conservative supporters (13%) and
residents of Manitoba / Saskatchewan and Alberta (14% each). Like Trudeau,
Dominic Leblanc (4%) had highest support from residents of the Atlantic (11%)
and Quebec (6%). Gerard Kennedy (5%) was more likely to be selected by
Ontarians and British Columbians (8% each) than those of other provinces. Martha Hall-Findlay was more popular among Albertans (6%). In addition, Marc
Garneau had the support of close to a tenth of Quebeckers (8%).
Majority of Liberals approve of Trudeau as leader
When asked directly if they approved or disapproved of Justin Trudeau as leader
of the Liberals, the majority of party supporters (58%) approve, while just one
fifth disapprove (21%). Among the general populace, there is a split in opinion,
and just less than 4-in-10 approve (39%) and just more than a third disapprove
Quebeckers had the highest approval for Trudeau as the leader of the Liberal
Party (49%; compared to 40% Atlantic, 39% Ontario, 36% Manitoba /
Saskatchewan, 31% British Columbia, 25% Alberta).
Dave Akin's On The Hill: Has It Ever Been So Good To Be A New Democrat?
One thing that people are debating in the comments to Dave's post is that Ed Broadbent had 40% support in between polls back in 1986, but that dropped significantly when it came to election time and the NDP remained in 3rd place. The major differences here are that there was a huge rise in support for the NDP before the most recent election, at which time the NDP became the official opposition with a large number of seats, and that support for the party has pretty much maintained since that time.
Saturday, June 16, 2012
You would think that the premier would do this if he was really interested in making things work and doing his job. This shows that Andrea is serious about making parliament work for Ontarians.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is asking both Dalton McGuinty and Tim Hudak to meet this weekend to ensure passage of Ontario’s Budget.
“The people who sent us here last fall want us to focused on their jobs, their health and the economy, not another campaign. We can spend the next four days getting real results here and avoid four weeks on the campaign trail,” said Horwath. ”Every party Leader has said they don’t want a needless election. I know I don’t. I know we can make this work.”
It has been less than 10 months since Ontarians sent a minority government to Queen’s Park. In that time, New Democrats have been working hard for real results that protect local hospitals, create new childcare spaces and ensure fairness by stopping corporate tax giveaways and enacting the NDP Fairness Tax on high income earners.
Horwath noted that all parties are seeking changes to the government omnibus bill and a total of 214 amendments have been proposed by all three parties.
“We all agree this Bill can be improved. We all agree we don’t want to hit the campaign trail.
There’s too many important challenges facing families to waste time on a needless election,” said Horwath.
Dean Del Mastro is Harper's Parliamentary Secretary. He is also the point man for the Cons in dealing with the election fraud scandal. He is currently being investigated for cheating on election expenses (if found guilty he could face 5 years in jail).
Now, it has been discovered that there appears to have been some illegal contribution activity towards Del Mastro's campaign.
So far, the guilt here points to Dean's cousin, David Del Mastro, and the people who were paid to make additional contributions for David. But, there is no evidence (yet) that Dean knew of this contribution plan.
Excerpts from The Ottawa Citizen: Employees linked to cousin’s company each gave $1,000 to Del Mastro campaign:
From TTC Riders site:
Just as we savour our victory in winning back four Light Rail Transit lines for Toronto, an even greater threat is presenting itself—two provincial government initiatives that may foster privatization of our public transit systems. They are:
1) Schedule 28 (The Government Services and Service Providers Act, 2012), which is a section of the provincial government’s Budget Bill 55 that goes for a final vote at the Legislature this Wednesday, June 20th.
There is still opportunity for an amendment to eliminate Schedule 28 this Monday, during the meeting of the Standing Committee on Financial and Economic Affairs. We can call or email an MPP today and Monday morning and ask them to oppose Schedule 28. Here is why:
Section 28 will give a new Cabinet Minister sweeping power to authorize contracting out or privatization of any and all Ontario Government Services, with no requirement for transparency or accountability—even if this contradicts the mandates and regulations of other ministries. These measures will also apply to local municipal services and agencies. Concerns are compounded by Ontario’s obligations under international agreements, such as GATS, CETA, and NAFTA, which may prohibit favouring local contractors over international bidders. In addition, once a service is contracted out, restoring public ownership may be prohibited. (Here is a legal opinion on the Provincial budget bill that expresses many of these same concerns.)
WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY:
- Call or email your MPP. Here is a link which will give you their name and contact information when you enter your postal code.
Contact members of the Standing Committee on Financial and Economic
Affairs and ask them to vote for an amendment to eliminate Schedule
28. Here is a list of the members of the Committee and the Committee
Clerk's contact info:
Chair Bob Delaney Liberal Mississauga - Streetsville
Vice Chair Teresa Piruzza Liberal Windsor West
Members Victor Fedeli PC Nipissing
Cindy Forster NDP Welland
Monte McNaughton PC Lambton-Kent-Middlesex
Yasir Naqui Liberal Ottawa Centre
Michael Prue NDP Beaches – East York
Peter Shurmen PC Thornhill
Soo Wong Liberal Scarborough - Agincourt
The Committee Clerk is Valerie Quioc Lim. She can be reached at 416-325-7352 and can be sent messages for distribution to the Committee at her email: Valerie_quioc@ontla.ola.org. (I've bolded the Toronto MPPs.)
2) The Province and Metrolinx's handling of the four approved Light Rail projects opens the door to privatization of financing, project management, and potentially ownership and operation of these new transit lines. Privatized transit has been a disaster around the globe. We need to remind our MPPs of this to ensure we don't repeat the mistakes other cities have made privatizing their public transit systems. (Here is a short youtube video on the dangers of privatizing public transit created by the Public Transit Coalition in 2010.)
At it’s April 25th meeting, Metrolinx decided to take project management away from the TTC and implement work in the context of a public-private partnership with one large company. TTC staff voiced their concerns with this approach at their May 30th meeting, while the Commission quietly endorsed Metrolinx's approach.
In addition, here is what acclaimed author Taras Grescoe reports about Vancouver's Canada Line in Straphangers, his comprehensive new book about transit systems in 12 cities of the world:
- The Canada Line to the [Vancouver] airport … was the first major piece of transit infrastructure in North America to be built with a public-private partnership, an initiative many commentators say was plagued by corner-cutting. Three stations had to be eliminated from the planned route, and the station platforms … were too short to allow future expansions. Thanks to cost overruns, the provincial government will be compensating the private company that operates the line with payments up to $21 million a year until 2025.
There is still time to stop this takeover. Stay tuned for actions that can be taken to address our concerns with this approach to building the desparately needed LRT network.
For More and Better Public Transit,
Jamie Kirkpatrick, Public Transit Campaigner
Toronto Environmental Alliance
Watch the video here:
Queen’s Park - New Democrat Leader Andrea Horwath called on the Premier to stop the election threats and work with all parties to pass the Budget.
“I want to spend the next four days working to pass the Budget. It’s disappointing that the Premier wants to spend the next four weeks trying to win back a majority,” said Horwath. “I want to keep working here to pass this Budget so parents can get the childcare they need and Ontario’s richest will pay their fair share. I plan to keep my word and pass the Budget, and I hope the Premier will keep his word and do the same.”
“Making minority government work is hard work. It won’t happen if we threaten to hit the campaign trail every time we hit a bump in the road,” she added.
Yesterday, Premier McGuinty threatened to call an election because a government committee had passed amendments to a 300 page omnibus bill connected to the Budget. New Democrats have committed to passing the Bill but are addressing serious concerns raised by the public. For example, Ontario’s Ombudsman says parts of the Bill will lead to “erosion oversight”. Dr. David Suzuki says other sections, “reduce the level of protection and undermine public management of cherished forests, lakes, and rivers and the immeasurable benefits they provide.”
“Nobody said making the Legislature work is easy. But that is the job that Ontario gave us,” said Horwath. “My door is always open to discuss issues with the Premier and to work with all parties to tackle Ontario’s challenges. I hope the Premier sees reason and doesn’t call an election no one wants.”
Friday, June 15, 2012
Premier Dalton McGuinty has been saying that Andrea Horwath and the NDP have reneged on a deal. This is completely false.
QUEEN’S PARK — Andrea Horwath and the Ontario NDP have been clear that Bill 55 has serious problems. From the day following the introduction of the budget New Democrats have said they would make amendments to the budget.
“Horwath left the door open to her party offering additional tweaks to the budget in future readings and amendments in committee.” CBC.ca, 23 May, 2012
“But Horwath said the New Democrats only “were committed to allowing the process to go forward,” so that it could be further scrutinized and amended…
“I’ve been clear from Day One that I want to see some scrutiny of that budget bill — it’s 330 pages long, it’s a significant piece of legislation that has some serious consequences and our job as opposition is to scrutinize that bill,” she said. CBC.ca, 24 May, 2012
“’This budget has very little to offer,’ NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said, adding it ‘falls short on key fronts’… her finance critic Michael Prue suggested the party may try to recraft bill more to their liking through amendments.” Timmins Daily Press, 28 March, 2012
“[T]he government has been forced to make this Liberal budget a little more fair for everyday Ontarians, but New Democrats know very well that this budget still falls very short for the people of this province.” Andrea Horwath, Hansard, 24 April, 2012
“All bets are off though for votes on the actual budget legislation, which Horwath said her party may well try to amend further.” The Barrie Examiner, 25 April, 2012
“The people who elected us want us to keep working on the challenges that they’re facing… Basically, they want us to do our jobs, not rubber-stamp a 300-page omnibus bill before people have a chance even to look at it.” Andrea Horwath, Hansard, 28 May, 2012
“She [Horwath] said she made it clear during a meeting with Premier Dalton McGuinty and their chiefs of staff that she intended to call for public hearings on the budget bill and propose amendments.” Globe and Mail, 24 May, 2012
Thursday, June 14, 2012
“Every day since the election, I’ve worked hard to make minority government work. I’m proud of what we’ve been able to achieve.
New Democrats have worked hard to make minority work. I want to keep working hard to ensure that funding flows to daycare centres that need it, that key health investments are made and that the new Fairness Tax on high income earners provides the province with much needed revenue.
My door is always open to discuss issues with the Premier and to work with all parties to tackle Ontario’s challenges. I hope the Premier sees reason and doesn’t call an election no one wants.”
McGuinty is going back on his word and is threatening to call an election over the budget. He seems to have forgotten that he has a minority government. He needs to work with the other parties to come up with something agreeable enough to pass the budget. If he wants to try to bulldoze through a bad budget it's just not going to work. Grow up McGuinty.
Andrea Horwath never agreed to rubber stamp the proposed Ontario budget. She agreed to not block the motion for the budget if the Liberals would agree to some terms. They agreed. But McGuinty assumed that this meant that the NDP would support the budget vote. No, that is another stage of negotiations. Liberals, you need to come back to the table in good faith with a better budget, or be willing to work with the NDP to make a better budget.
The PCs have flat out said they will not try to work with the Liberals to get a budget they like. They have turned their backs on parliament and the people of Ontario. The only ones left at the table are the Liberals and the NDP. Now the Liberals are turning their back on the NDP, parliament, and the people of Ontario.
This picture from the This Is Not My Government Facebook Page, is currently going viral on Facebook (at least).
Considering the history of his Conservative government, and the current destruction of Canada he is pushing through parliament with his omni-mess budget bill, it is no wonder that this picture is popular.
Monday, June 11, 2012
Earlier today from Nathan Cullen, NDP House Leader:
(from MaCleans.ca: C-38: 'Mr. Speaker, let us do the right thing')
Earlier today, NDP House leader Nathan Cullen stood in the House to respond to Elizabeth May’s point of order. Marc Garneau, for the Liberals, and Peter Van Loan, for the Conservatives, responded yesterday. The Speaker says he will get back to the House in “due course.”
Below, the text of Mr. Cullen’s remarks.
Nathan Cullen: Mr. Speaker, I rise today with respect to the point of order that was raised by the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands a number of days ago. We have now heard from the Liberal Party and the government and New Democrats want to add our voice to the conversation in, hopefully, a timely and somewhat brief manner.
I rise in support of the motion by the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands with respect to her concerns and the concerns shared by many of us in this place about the manner in which the government as moved Bill C-38, the omnibus budget implementation act. There are a number of points that my friend made, some of them, we would suggest, stronger than others for your purview, Mr. Speaker, but on the central theme we find ourselves in agreement.
On many of the concerns that were raised, you have heard from the official opposition New Democrats in many forms throughout question period, public commentary and in conversations in the House with you, Mr. Speaker, on the nature and form of the bill and the concerns we have and that we share with Canadians of its effect on members of Parliament to do our jobs. This is why I appeal to you directly, Mr. Speaker, in the decision that you have to make because, ultimately, it is your choice in the way we conduct ourselves as members of Parliament and the House conducts itself.
Let me take care of one point right away that the government has raised as a measure of defence of the process that we are engaged in with this more than 400-page budget implementation act, extending over more than 700 clauses, affecting as many as 70 acts of Parliament, either revoking them entirely or modifying them significantly. We have never seen the scale and scope of a bill like this before in parliamentary history, from our purview and the purview of experts who have watched this place over many years. Therefore, let us do away with the idea that the government believes that having a number of hours of debate either here or in committee has somehow satisfied the test that Canadians and parliamentarians understand what is in this act. That is, frankly, not the case. It is also the case that it is almost impossible to understand all of the implications that have been brought in this act because the government is withholding certain pieces of information, which we will bring to your attention in days to come.
The first point that the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands raised was around the fact that there is no central theme to the bill, thereby making it admissible or detrimental to Parliament and parliamentary democracy. The second point raised was that there was little or no link between the budget itself and what the government has called the budget implementation act. In passing conversation with somebody not as familiar with this place as members are, a Canadian would assume that a budget implementation act would be explicitly linked to the budget by its name and form and yet we find within the budget implementation act many pieces of government policy that are never mentioned at all. One example is the removal of Canada from the Kyoto protocol. There is no mention of this in the budget whatsoever, no mention of any aspects of climate change policy or anything to do with that particular act of Parliament, and yet in the budget implementation act there are a couple of lines that remove Canada from that international treaty.
Aside from concerns about whether one agrees or disagrees with the government’s intentions with respect to climate change and its lack of actions, the point has to be made that if a government is introducing a budget implementation act with all sorts of measures that have nothing to do with the budget itself, it becomes a budget act in name only, but in the actual function, the government is piling in a number of initiatives, policies and new directions for the government that should, in their proper stand, be alone and independent for discussion for MPs and the Canadian public.
The intervention by my friend in the corner is to simply suggest that for members of Parliament to be able to do our jobs, we need to be able, in good conscience, to hold government to account. Her third point was that the bill is not ready and imperfect and she made a number of interventions on that, which I will not touch on too much.
To your role in this, Mr. Speaker, ultimately you are the arbitrator of this place and the defender of our privileges and efforts as members of Parliament to do what Canadians send us to Parliament to do, which is to hold government to account. That is not simply the role of opposition members. So too is it the role of government members in this place. They too are encumbered with the effort to hold government to account at all times.
If we remember parliamentary history, there was a time in this country that when an MP was elected and then needed to be placed in cabinet, they actually had to run in a byelection because their role had fundamentally changed from one in which they were defending the government’s policy, that is in cabinet, as opposed to sitting as a member of Parliament regardless of party affiliation. That role is fundamentally different.
The concern that we have is twofold. We have seen a trending of increasing cynicism from Canadians towards politics in general and towards this—
Bob Zimmer: NDP not Conservatives.
Nathan Cullen: —place in particular. I thank my friend from Prince George—Peace River for his intervention, but it was most unhelpful.
In the growing cynicism that Canadians feel towards our politics, it is—
Bob Zimmer: You are welcome. You are welcome.
The Speaker: Order. I will just ask the member for Prince George—Peace River to let the opposition House leader make his point, and then we can move on orders of the day.
Nathan Cullen: Mr. Speaker, I think confirming my concerns about the cynicism growing towards politics is that when attempting to make a point in Parliament that is both sound and reasoned, it is difficult to do it without being heckled from the government side.
My point is this, that all members of Parliament have a duty to the people we seek to represent as well as we can to hold the government of the day to account. This bill encumbers that ability. It makes it difficult, if not outright impossible, for members to do our job.
This, Mr. Speaker, is your role. I do not for a moment suggest that this is an easy role for you to perform on a daily basis, not just in question period as we attempt to have some sort of civility and decorum, but also throughout Parliament’s deliberations over important pieces of legislation.
It cannot be understated how critical this legislation is, how wide-sweeping and profoundly impactful this bill will be on the lives of Canadians, from taking $12,000 away from seniors as they attempt to retire after long service to this country and building our economy, to removing and fundamentally altering environmental legislation and gutting the protections, taking environmental assessments of major industrial projects from between 4,000 and 6,000 assessments a year to perhaps as few as 20 and 30 a year.
The role of MPs is to hold the government to account. The role of the Speaker is to defend this place and defend this institution.
Our point is that if there is no, or little, link between the budget and the budget implementation act, we continue and actually aid that cynical trend Canadians feel towards their politics and their politicians, that the break between who we represent and their hopes and visions for the future is more profound when governments enact bills like this.
What signal do we send to them if we say that an omnibus bill of this wide a scope and scale is permissible, acceptable and even favoured? Can we not imagine a day, and I think of Speaker Lamoureux’s point in 1971, if we want to go back, where there is no point of return, when governments now seek, through omnibus bills, through Trojan horse bills, to move one, two acts of Parliament a year and put absolutely everything into those acts, that Parliament can sit for 20 days, get through 2 bills and that is it. Accountability is impossible under such a scenario, reforms to immigration, reforms to the oversight of the Auditor General, transparency and accountability.
For a Parliament to sit through two omnibus bills a year is perhaps what the government may be seeking, but is fundamentally against the spirit and nature of this place in which we come together to discuss bills before the House and try to seek to improve them, amend them.
Know this, the government is suggesting that in those 400-plus pages the bill is perfect incarnate and not a comma, not a period needs to be altered. At three various times, just in this Parliament, the government has had to modify or completely scrap their own legislation when it faced evidence and pressure from Canadians. So three times on separate stand-alone bills, the government has had to fundamentally alter themselves.
Last night we had our 25th vote on closure in this place since the government was elected to its majority. We now have the largest and most complex omnibus bill in Canadian history, and the lack of accountability in this is breathtaking.
We believe that there is a pattern of language in this and a very dangerous one. We believe that from the beginning of this process, the official opposition has attempted to work with the government to break this bill into its component parts to allow Canadians to see the aspects of the bill and understand what the implications would be, because that is our job.
From the beginning we have reached out to government and said “Do the right thing. Split this into bills.” We have quoted, and you have heard me, Mr. Speaker, quote back to the Conservative Party their own principles with respect to omnibus bills, to closure motions, to Trojan horse legislation, that when they held the seats of opposition, they strongly stood for the principle that this place should be accountable to Canadians, that governments should be accountable to Canadians.
We have used their own arguments and words, not our own. We do not expect the government to be swayed by what I say here today, but we thought, we assumed that the words and principles of the Prime Minister, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism and the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages would mean something powerful enough to them that they would actually pause and be swayed by their own arguments and principles.
What happened to those principles? There is a certain seeking of convenience from the government, that it finds this whole process difficult or annoying.
This process that we engage in as parliamentarians is critical and essential, not an inconvenience.
We feel no remorse for the government, that it will now face as many as 500 to 1,000 amendments on this piece of legislation in the days to come. It built a piece of legislation that now allows this to take place. We warned the government of this from day one and gave it an alternative.
We now see the motion from the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands that says this bill has serious flaws and contentions and in, fact, undermines what this place is about. We find that she has sound reasoning in this and that as Speaker and in your role as an impartial observer and arbitrator of this place that we must have pause. We must send signals to the government from time to time that, yes, while it has the votes to do this, it does not have the moral superiority and the grounds on which to stand on because Canadians did not give the current government, or any government, a mandate to do this kind of thing. Canadians never vote a government in to say that, “You will govern by fiat. You will disregard the democratic process and the open and transparent need for conversation.” Because, ultimately, that is what Canadians are about: seeking consensus; seeking the middle ground; seeking some sort of way to live together as we have, harmoniously, for so many years.
Mr. Speaker, let us do the right thing. Let us make this thing a proper piece of legislation.
Sunday, June 10, 2012
Today on the Rob and Doug show. Doug Ford (speaking to Rob):
“They’re so many great teams, I wouldn’t want to pick one over the other. I guess (in the) Euro, you go back to the ancestors — boy, we go back quite a ways, but I’m not too sure — is there any WASPy teams on there? We’re just Canadian,” he said with a laugh. “Anyways — well, you’re married to the Polack, so you gotta cheer for the Polish team.”
Here's the best part (in reference to his Polish comment):
Doug Ford: “I didn’t realize it was derogatory."
Then, later in the show:
Doug Ford joked that homeless people should be given plastic bags to sell outside stores after Toronto’s bag ban comes into effect
Toronto Star: Councillor Doug Ford apologizes for using ‘Polack’ to describe Mayor Rob Ford’s wife
More Doug + foot + mouth - brains quotes here - from the same day on the show. Listener Mel has a good point that the mayor and Doug did zero preparation going into council to try to get the 5 cent bag tax stopped, so much of the blame of how things turned out must lie with them. Doug still has no clue and proceeds to put his foot in his mouth with his response to listener Mel.
From Marci McDonald's The Armageddon Factor: (2010, p. 276 hardcover edition): Indeed, as Christian nationalists ... vent their views in the unregulated ether of the Internet, their chief worry is a complaint filed against them with one of the country's assorted human rights commissions, which have become the religious right's new bete noirs - the latest gatekeepers of balance and secular humanism forcing Bible believers to measure their words.
From the CBC article Should The Human Rights Act Forbid Online Hate Speech?:
The Canadian Bar Association says that promotion of hatred is a "social evil" that has increased with the proliferation of the internet, and that the standard for wilful promotion of hatred in the Criminal Code is very difficult to prove. The CBA supported "retaining section 13 as a useful tool," but had reservations about the punitive fines. (PDF file)
Monday, May 28, 2012
This poll had a sample size of 1836, which has a margin of error of 2.29%, 19 times out of 20.
Other poll findings:
Favourable support of party leaders:
Tom Mulcair 41%
Stephen Harper 33%
Bob Rae 33%
Net Approval (approve minus disapprove)
Tom Mulcair +10%
Stephen Harper -26%
Bob Rae -5%
Forum Research: "One third approve of the job Stephen Harper is doing as Prime Minister (33%), stable from last month (34%), while one third also approve of the job Bob Rae is
doing (33%) and this is down slightly since last month (35%). NDP leader Tom
Mulcair's favourables are at 41% and this hasn't changed. In terms of 'net
approval' (approve minus disapprove), Mulcair is at +10, while Harper and Rae
languish in the negative numbers (-26 and -5, respectively). Harper's low net
approval rating is due to high levels of disapproval not applied to the other two
Canada suffers from income gap
77% agree that the rich are getting too rich and the poor are getting too poor
Lower dollar preferred
Forum Research: "Close to one half of those polled said a low dollar supporting manufacturing was better for Canada than a high dollar bolstered by resource exports (45%), while about one third disagreed (35%)."
Majority want to deny Conrad Black Canadian citizenship
Forum Research: "More than six-in-ten say they disagree convicted media tycoon Conrad Black should be given back the Canadian citizenship he renounced (61%). Just one fifth
(21%) think he deserves this second chance.
Supporters of either the federal Conservatives or Liberals (28%, 26%; compared
to 18% Green, 15% NDP, and 7% BQ), and Canadians residing outside of Quebec
(28% Alberta, 24% British Columbia, 24% Ontario, 24% Atlantic, 22% Prairies, and
9% Quebec) were more likely to agree that Black should be given back his
"Canadians are proud of their country, and value its citizenship. It is clear they do
not think Conrad Black deserves the benefits of being a Canadian anymore," said
Forum Research President, Dr. Lorne Bozinoff."
Sunday, May 27, 2012
Facebook has blocked blogspot.ca. This means anyone with a blog on Blogger in Canada can't post their links to Facebook. I've written them about it this morning. Hopefully they will unblock it soon.
Here is the message that comes up if you try to post a blogspot.ca link:
Sorry, this post contains a blocked URL
For more information, visit the Help Center. If you think you're seeing this by mistake, please let us know.
As of June 1, 2012, it seems that Facebook is no longer blocking the core blogspot.ca site. Thank you to all those who wrote to Facebook about this.
Friday, May 11, 2012
Party - Oct. 2011 - May 2012
NDP 16% 39% (+23%)
Cons 51% 31% (-20%)
Libs 28% 29% (+1%)
Green 4% 4% (no change)
From the latest CARP Poll report:
The vast majority of CARP members disagree with bundling so many controversial pieces of legislation in one Omnibus Budget Bill.
Fully one half do not expect the government to survive the next election, and those who do are fewer than those who say they support the government.
The clear majority, or five times as many, say they will vote against the government if it proceeds with Bill C-38 as say they will vote for the government in the next election, and the government stands to lose a significant tranche of itʼs core support because of this issue.
For the first time in four years of CARP member polling, a party other than the Conservatives leads in electoral preference, and the NDPʼs lead is substantial, not marginal
These polls were responded to by 1900 panel members (Oct 2011), and 2500 panel members (May 2012).