Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Israel: "the region's bully"

Al Jazeera English - Focus - Israel's failure to learn < read me
Already we see tensions increasing in the region. Damascus has pulled out of third-party talks with Tel Aviv and Arab anger has been mounting not just at Israel, and not just at America, but also at their own regimes which have collaborated with Washington.

Some Israelis have started to realise their government's flawed approach. While 81 per cent of Israelis support the military campaign, a poll has showed only 39 per cent believe it will succeed in removing Hamas or reducing violence.

An editorial in Haaretz, an Israeli daily, even went so far as to label Israel "the region's bully".

Barack Obama, the US president-elect, remains silent as Israel kills Palestinians with impunity. In his silence he expresses his complicity.

Friday, 19 December 2008

We could have a $20 billion surplus

TheStar.com | Canada | Harper says deficit could hit $30 billion

Hey Stephen.
How about you roll back the $50 billion in tax cuts to corporations? We already have one of the lowest taxes for corporations in all the industrialized nations. And, it has been proven time and time again that the trickle-down effect down not exist/work. So cutting back these tax cuts would a) not change any of the corporations' practises, and b) not affect the economy one way or the other (except to make more money available for services and stimulating infrastructure spending), and c) it would actually boost jobs by increasing the money for services and infrastructure spending.

Lets take that $20 billion surplus and invest it in Canada - not in foreign-owned corporations who will just pocket the money and invest it outside of Canada.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Bill Blaikie - running for a seat in the Manitoba legislature

Winnipeg Free Press

Welcome back Bill!

Veteran New Democrat Bill Blaikie will run for a seat in the
Manitoba legislature in a byelection expected to be called this spring.
Blaikie won the NDP nomination for the provincial riding of Winnipeg Elmwood.

Friday, 12 December 2008

"I can't believe that the Prime Minister is just literally giving Canadians the finger."

TheStar.com | Canada | Harper's Senate plan blasted

For someone who was all about making the Senate more fair, representative and elected, this is an odd way to suddenly deal with the Senate.

OTTAWA–Constitutional experts and opposition parties yesterday
condemned Prime Minister Stephen Harper's plan to fill every empty
Senate seat in advance of his government's possible defeat in the new

Constitutional scholar Desmond Morton called the move a
scandal in view of the precarious position of Harper's minority

"He has the power to do it, but he shouldn't have the gall," said Morton, a professor emeritus at McGill University.

think it's more in keeping with the principles of parliamentary
democracy that a potentially lame-duck administration should not make
appointments," said constitutional scholar Ned Franks.

will name the new senators before Christmas – likely in one fell swoop
– in a move his office says will bolster the chances of eventual Senate
reform, but opposition critics called a hyper-partisan power grab.

outrageous," said New Democrat MP and reform critic David
Christopherson (Hamilton Centre), whose party advocates abolishing the
Senate. "I can't believe that the Prime Minister is just literally
giving Canadians the finger."

Read more of the article at the link above.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

James Laxer ponders what will Ignatieff do

No time for Ignatieff to play Mackenzie King | rabble.ca
If Ignatieff's idea of leadership is to provide confidence for the Harper government as his first act, he could be dooming himself to a short and unhappy career at the helm.

The Liberals would then wear the Harper record on the economy as their record. And while the Conservatives are bound to include some stimulus measures in the budget, there is no way that Harper and Flaherty are going to propose the overhaul of the Canadian economy based on very extensive public investments. And that is what the country needs.

Much though Ignatieff may wish to avoid it, he faces a clear choice. If he keeps Harper in power, it will be Harper who will hold the strong hand. He will determine the date of the next election, and he could well go on to win it. Meanwhile, the NDP, the Bloc and the Greens will feel deeply betrayed if Ignatieff dumps the coalition and allows Harper to remain in power.

At a date, not of his choosing, Ignatieff would go on to face the electorate, squeezed between the Conservative base vote on the one hand and the one third of the electorate already inclined to support parties other than the Liberals and the Conservatives on the other.

For Ignatieff, the WLMK option is a chimera. "A friend to all is a friend to none," Ignatieff could say if he comes to his senses, that is if Aristotle hadn't already said it.

To date, Bob Rae is showing a much clearer understanding of the lay of the political land than is his former roommate.

Click the link above - read the whole post

Monday, 8 December 2008

What Harper would do if he had a majority

If Harper survives | rabble.ca
Both know only too well just who Stephen Harper is and what he would do to the country should he ever achieve a majority.

With no mandate to do so, he would dismantle the work of three generations of Canadians in building a decent, if far from egalitarian, society.

He would, for starters, gut and or sell off the CBC.

He would repeal the Canada Health Act and open the Medicare system to massive privatization and balkanization.

He would, as quickly as he could, further gut the spending powers of the federal government with more destructive and ill-considered tax cuts for the wealthy and for Canada's corporate welfare bums.

He would rapidly devolve power to the provinces, balkanizing the country and its egalitarian approach to social programs.

Our foreign policy would be made in Washington and our energy and environmental policies would be made in Alberta. More billions would be poured into making our military a war-fighting adjunct to the U.S. war machine. (If you think Obama is going to dismantle the American Empire, think again.)

None of this will ever be part of a Harper election platform. But it is what he would do.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Conservatives wasting your money

TheStar.com | Canada | Luxury travel contradicts Tories' frugal image

This article from the Toronto Star exposes that the federal Conservatives are not so fiscally responsible with your money. Another example that they can't be trusted with our money and our economy, and how they don't practise what they preach. [I know this news came out a couple of weeks ago, but I just bumped into it now.]

Read the whole article for all the details. Here is a snippet below:
Some federal travellers can't seem to get to London, England, for less than $6,000, even though economy seats were available for $1,000 to $2,000. In our analysis of 60,000 travel records over four years, we found $18,000 flights to Australia, $7,000 flights to Paris, $11,000 flights to Indonesia and $8,000 flights to Switzerland.

By contrast, travel surveys show businesses are reducing costs by choosing more economical flights. At least one other government, Alberta, has shown more care with taxpayer dollars. For example, the Alberta environment minister and an aide spent $3,200 each to fly to Bali for a United Nations conference on climate change last year. The former federal environment minister, John Baird, took a $10,920 flight to the same conference. Three political aides and two bureaucrats joined him at similar rates. Total airfare was $61,000.

Friday, 5 December 2008

An excellent resource on the record of the Harper Conservatives

start [DokuWiki]

Canada may be the first industrialized country to fall into political
crisis as a result of the global economic recession. Could this crisis
involve the suspension of our democratic institutions?

So here's the story so far:

In the last parliament Harper was a bully, pushing around opposition parties and forcing them to support his agenda.

The Harper Government introduced a new culture of secrecy and
centralized control. No more press conferences, and Cabinet Ministers
are muzzled

Harper broke his own election law by calling the last election.

Attempted to bankrupt the opposition parties by introducing a motion to eliminate voter subsidies to political parties. Debate on Party Financing

Attempts to dehumanize Quebec sovereigntists. Debate on including the Bloc Quebecois in the coalition

Demonizes the opposition. Debate on the Ethics/Constitutionality of Coalition-Forming

In this light, perhaps proroguing Parliament should be viewed as a
dictatorship in function, since the PMO would remain in power and in
control of the Government while the opposition is shut out and
Parliament closed. Debate on the Ethics/Constitutionality of Prorogation

This may be the end of the Harper reign. The Conservatives want power
and as long as Harper could deliver, they supported him, even if it
meant biting their tongue about some of the more outrageous moves. But
he blew it - he misjudged the opposition and the troops will turn on
him just like they did to Kim Campbell when she blew it with the “face”
ads. Hatred is not a family value, but it characterizes a lot of
Conservative politics.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

How does Stephen Harper respond to this global economic challenge? He locks the doors of Parliament so he can desperately cling to power.

"Today’s families have spoken loud and
clear – we need action on the economy right now. Action to create jobs,
to protect your pension and retirement, to build the green economy of
tomorrow. Stephen Harper didn’t act.

That’s why the
New Democrats have joined with the other opposition parties to put
forward an alternative government – a coalition for real change.

does Stephen Harper respond to this global economic challenge? He locks
the doors of Parliament so he can desperately cling to power.

you and I can send a strong message to Stephen Harper. Change is coming
– and even Mr. Harper must respect the majority of Parliament and the
majority of Canadians." - Jack Layton

"Confidence isn't going to be restored by seven weeks of propaganda"

TheStar.com | Canada | Parliament shut for 7 weeks
The Governor General has decided to prorogue parliament until Jan 26, 2009.
In this time, Stephen Harper has said he will ask the opposition parties for input toward economic issues. The Conservative aim is to put together a budget for the end of January. However, considering their record, it is hard to believe that whatever they come up with won't be full of things that will be bad for Canadians and that the opposition parties cannot stomach.

Canada needs an economic boost NOW, not 7 weeks from now. This delay is going to make Canada seem even more unstable in the eyes of the world and will hurt our economy.

We can also be sure to see Harper's Conservatives spend our tax dollars lying to us in ads and statements over the next 7 weeks. Their propaganda machine will be in full force.

The Governor General has locked the doors of parliament and the doors of democracy in Canada. This is indeed a sad day for parliamentary democracy.

I urge you all to keep up the fight for democracy and truth in Canada. Keep up the letter writing campaign. Maybe if enough people protest to the Governor General, she will re-open parliament and let us get on with democracy and the urgent needs of this great country.

Naomi Klein on this moment in Canadian history

Naomi Klein: 'We can't lose this moment' | rabble.ca
Just to be clear, what I mean by the shock doctrine, as you know, is the use of crisis to push through unpopular pro-corporate policies. This bundling of a whole package of policies: denying the right of public sector workers to strike, the attack on public financing of political parties, with the economic program - that is what failed, and people were offended by the opportunism of it.

This is what so many of us were worried about during the election - the context of a Tory victory in an economic crisis, because we know that there is this pattern of using an economic crisis to push through policies that were nowhere during the campaign.
... what I find most exciting about what is going on right now - beyond
just getting rid of Harper, which is exciting in and of itself - is
that we have this opportunity to show what proportional representation
(PR) would look like, because all of this talk that this is a coup is a


To me the best case scenario that could come out of this is, one,
you get the coalition, and, two, the NDP uses this moment to really
launch a national discussion about why we need PR and that that becomes
one of the things that comes out of this crisis.

Now, they don't have the mandate for that right now, but we could
come out of this with a national referendum on proportional
representation. People might actually like it, which would be really,
really exciting.


The way in which public financing for political parties has been
presented in the press is "oh the politicians, they just got mad when
they went after their money," right? This is another key point that I
think is somewhat related to the issue of proportional representation.
We need to be talking about our political process here, and the issue
of public financing for political parties in elections is key to
protecting and deepening democracy in Canada, and for keeping it out of
corporate control. It is not for nothing that the Tories are attacking
that. They see attacking public financing of political parties as a way
to entrench their power.


So, what is exciting about this political moment, and how people can
get involved, is that this is building on that. The political parties
caught up with the grassroots movement that was happening anyway with
those initiatives like voteforenvironment.ca, Department of Culture, and people like Murray Dobbin
who have been making these arguments pretty steadily outside of the
political parties. Now it is happening, and it is happening thanks to
Stephen Harper and his extraordinary arrogance and over-reaching. We
can't lose this moment.

I just want to emphasize this point: If even through smart tactics,
Harper pulls this off, if he prorogues Parliament; if the Governor
General lets him get away with it; if the Liberals lose their nerve
over Xmas, then the Harper we will have in January will be a deeply
chastened Harper.

What everybody agrees with is that he made a massive error, that he
massively overreached, and his own party, his own base agrees with
that. Worst case scenario we dodged a bullet here. Best case scenario,
we leverage his overreach, his attempt to use a crisis to push through
his ideological pro-corporate agenda to have a deeper democracy in our
country, and to prevent forevermore a situation where a party with 35
per cent of the vote is government.

62% Majority downloads and blog banners

Jack Layton's response to Stephen Harper's speach

CBC.ca - Video

"... Stephen Harper has broken his trust with the Canadian people, and
because of that he’s lost the confidence of Parliament. He seems to be
more interested in his job than in protecting your job. Now that’s
simply wrong.
Stephen Harper’s job was to ensure that Parliament would work, but
he refused to do that. By locking the door behind me he is rejecting
the democratic choice of 62% of Canadians - your choice - and every
Member of Parliament will see his right, his democratic right to
express his confidence in the government refused.

Every Member of Parliament will be denied their vote. Every Canadian
will be silenced because this House will not be permitted to speak . We
will have a Conservative government without legitimacy at the time of
an economic crisis. That doesn’t have to happen because this is a
remarkable moment in Canadian history. The opposition parties acted
together, with a common goal, to give hope back to Canadians and help
them to come through these difficult economic times. For the first
time, the majority of the parties chosen by the people set aside their
differences for the welfare of everyone.

The majority of Members of Parliament - the people’s representatives
- have set aside their differences for the good of Canada, and for the
good of every Canadian. This is a time of hope. Tonight, only one party
stands against the welfare of the Canadian people. On Monday, two
leaders of the proposed coalition sent Her Excellency, the Governor
General, a letter making it crystal clear that the majority of Members
of Parliament no longer have confidence in this Conservative
government. Nothing we have heard tonight changes this fact. Tonight,
Mr. Harper had an opportunity to chart a new course - to accept some of
the ideas we have been putting before him. But he did not. And tonight
we are announcing that if it pleases Her Excellency, we will arrange
that every New Democratic Member of Parliament will indicate
individually and together - formally - a lack of confidence in this

A new government is possible, and ready to serve. A new kind of
government with a new kind of politics is ready to serve. One that will
put the economy and working families first. Thank you very much."

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Harper is lying

Harper 'lies' about coalition details: Broadbent

To save his own government, Stephen Harper is deliberately trying to
deceive Canadians about the facts surrounding a proposed Liberal-NDP
coalition, former NDP leader Ed Broadbent said Wednesday.

"I've never seen the leader of a Conservative party, certainly not Bob
Stanfield, certainly not Joe Clark, lie — I choose the word
deliberately — the way Mr. Harper has," Broadbent said.

The former NDP leader, who helped negotiate Monday's deal between
the New Democrats and the Liberals with the support of the Bloc
Québécois, said Harper also lied when he said the three opposition
leaders refused to sign their agreement in front of a Canadian flag
because Gilles Duceppe, a Quebec sovereigntist, objected.

In fact, there were at least two flags present at Monday's signing
ceremony, as well as a painting of the Fathers of Confederation.

Broadbent said Harper is conducting a "shameful operation" by trying
to turn certain defeat in the House of Commons into a national unity

"I'm concerned I have a prime minister who lies to the people of
Canada and knows it," Broadbent said. "It's one thing to exaggerate.
It's another to deliberately tell falsehoods."

The former NDP leader also accused Harper of lying about the details
of the proposed coalition, including his charge that the Bloc Québécois
is a formal partner and that six Bloc MPs would be offered Senate
positions under the coalition government.

The Bloc has said it will support the Liberal-NDP coalition for 18
months in the House of Commons, but none of its members will sit in a
cabinet led by Stéphane Dion as prime minister and a Liberal as finance

"They make it up," he said of Harper's Conservatives, who have been quick to label the proposal a "separatist coalition."

"They lie. They pay people to destroy things."

He said Harper was betraying the honourable legacy of past party
leaders by continuing to delay a confidence vote in the House of
Commons. The prime minister pushed back the confidence motion brought
by the opposition parties until next Monday and could delay a vote
indefinitely by proroguing Parliament.

"I had, my predecessors had a sense of integrity. Bob Stanfield, a
Conservative, Joe Clark, a Conservative, had a sense of integrity,"
Broadbent said.

"They would have done the proper thing. If we lost the confidence, then we would accept that and have to resign."

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Write a letter to the editor in support of the opposition forming a coalition government

This was sent to me today from the NDP. I used it to quickly write a letter to the editors of 3 major newspapers in support of the coalition government formed by the opposition parties. You can too!

you tired of seeing Tory complaints about a coalition being
undemocratic in all the papers, on all the radio shows?? Its because
their website allows their activists to post letters to the editors,
and radio shows through their website...

Lets use it against
them!! Use the below link to write with your SUPPORT of an NDP-Liberal
coalition. Lets use their own website to flood the waves with the


Monday, 1 December 2008

A summary of what led to the formation of the Coalition Government

TheStar.com | Opinion | Harper to blame for political crisis

Update to this article: Most of you know now that the details have been hammered out, and that Stephane Dion will be the leader of the new coalition.

The Choice of Dion for Leader of the Coalition Government

Some may say that choosing Dion to lead the coalition is a bad idea.

I'll admit that I don't think much of Dion's leadership skills considering how he did with the Liberals in the past as their leader, and leading up to the election. But, this coalition government will be altogether different. I think the fact that the Liberals and NDP, and the Bloc for that matter, will have to work closely together to make things work (and they have agreed to do this now) will change things for Dion in such a way that he will be taking more direction from the new cabinet and less from close personal advisers.

Also, for the Liberals to chose Dion to lead the coalition instead of one of the 3 leadership candidates is probably a smart move. Think about it. What if the coalition fails? If so, then the failure will seem connected more to Dion and less to the 3 leadership candidates in the Liberal party. Dion is on his way out as leader and has nothing to lose here. And, if the coalitions works, then this looks good on all involved in the coalition.

Dion will lead the Liberal-NDP coalition.

Dion tapped to lead Liberal-NDP coalition

Liberal caucus members agreed unanimously on Monday that Stéphane Dion
will stay on to lead a Liberal-NDP coalition, following reports that
the two parties reached a tentative agreement to replace the minority
Conservative government.

Layton to the Conservative party: "Good riddance to you!"

Winnipeg Free Press
Layton ridiculed the Conservatives over the issue Sunday night at an Ontario NDP event in Toronto.

"It's entirely possible the Conservative party is recording what I'm saying here right now," Layton told the partisan audience. "Here's what I have to say to the Conservative party tuned in: 'good riddance to you!' "