Sunday, 17 June 2012

NDP Rise To 37%, Conservatives Drop To 30%

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.

Poll Standings
NDP 37%
Con 30%
Lib 22%
Green 5%
Bloc 6%

NDP 34%
Con 34%
Lib 28%
Green 3%

NDP 41%
Con 15%
Lib 18%
Green 4%
Bloc 22%

NDP 45%
Con 30%
Lib 17%
Green 7%

NDP 13%
Con 60%
Lib 18%
Green 7%

NDP 43%
Con 33%
Lib 19%
Green 5%

NDP 44%
Con 28%
Lib 22%
Green 4%

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%

Forum Research:
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).

More Analysis:

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, 16 June 2012

Andrea Horwath Asks McGuinty And Hudak To Meet To Work On The Budget This Weekend

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 - The Hits Keep On Coming

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:

The Elections Act prohibits donors colluding with others to “circumvent” the prohibition against an individual donor giving more than that amount to a candidate in an election.

Elections Canada records show that the Peterborough Conservative Electoral District Association received 12 donations in the amount of $1,000 each, dated Sept. 19, 2008, from people with links to the company, as described in the former employee’s statement.

Then, on Sept. 26, Del Mastro’s campaign received another seven donations of $1,000, also from people who were friends of Deltro employees, or friends or family, according to the former employee. Another friend of a Deltro employee donated $1,000 on Sept. 25.

Most of these donors are listed with addresses in Brampton or Toronto — nowhere near Dean Del Mastro’s Eastern Ontario riding of Peterborough.
... three donors to Del Mastro’s campaign or riding association, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, say they were asked to make $1,000 donations and were reimbursed by Deltro for the full amount plus a $50 bonus.

“It was put, ‘We need to find some people to make $1,000 donations,’” said one former Deltro employee.

Numerous sections of the Elections Act forbid donors from exceeding the individual limit on donations by concealing their donations and forbid others from helping to conceal the real source of a donation.

In a statutory declaration produced at the request of the Citizen and Postmedia, the former employee said David Del Mastro approached the then-employee and said he wanted him to make a large monetary donation to his cousin’s campaign.

The former employee signed the declaration before an Ontario Commissioner of Oaths.

The former employee was asked to make a donation of $1,000 of personal funds and was assured the company would provide reimbursement for the same amount with a “$50 bonus,” the declaration says. The donors could also claim the donation as a deduction on their tax returns.

Employees were also asked to enlist friends or family to make similar donations, the former employee said.
He [David Del Mastro] said it was reasonable to believe that his employees volunteered to each give $1,000 to a candidate running for election in a riding three hours away.


Ontario Budget Attempts to Privatize Public Transit and other Public Services

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.)


  • 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: (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.
Finally, an opinion piece in the June 5th Toronto Star by TTCrider Joell Vanderwagon, titled, Premier should tame Metrolinx beast sets out the details and dangers of the situation.

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

Andrea Horwath's Message To The Premier - Video

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, 15 June 2012

Fact Check On The Ontario Budget Agreements Between The NDP and the Liberals

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.”, 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., 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, 14 June 2012

Olivia Chow's Budget Speech

The Conservatives are pushing their Trojan Horse budget bill through Parliament in a reckless manner. But worse than mocking our democracy is the devastating effect this bill will have on families, Olivia Chow points out in her speech.

Olivia on the Conservative Budget:

What does a job mean to the average Canadian? It means earning a salary where food can be placed on tables. It means the rent can be paid, it means the mortgage can be met on time.

It means that families can earn enough to provide subsistence to their children.

When a person loses a job, it can be devastating. For some people, a loss of self confidence, self esteem. A loss of friends, a community of working colleagues.

In the Conservative budget we are debating tonight, we are really talking about the lives of the 43,000 Canadians who will lose their jobs because of this budget.

43,000 Canadians, workers, who will no longer have money to contribute to the economy. They will suffer the humiliation of being laid off. Some will lose their houses, other will suffer depression. A few may not recover from being unemployed, or ever be able to find a job again.

Some lives will be destroyed.

43,000 Canadians are the causalities of this terrible budget.

43,000 is the number quoted by the parliamentary budget officer in his analysis of this budget. On April 26th, the parliamentary budget office confirmed that this budget will slow Canada’s economic recovery. He confirmed that when combined with prior cuts there will be a total of 103,000 jobs lost. About a third from this number are from the public sector, the rest from the private sector.

The PBO’s numbers point to the fact that this budget will create a significant drag on our economy.

We are talking about the lives of over one hundred thousand workers.

This budget will induce an overwhelming increase in unemployment doing little to create jobs

What are the implications of this budget?

It is a job cutting budget.

It is a job reduction budget.

It is a job loss budget.

In addition, the employment insurance clauses in this budget will make matters worse.

The poor soul who lost his job will get a few e-mails a day, in fields that are not related to his experience, for job offers that are nowhere near his community. To add on to the stress of not being guaranteed a job, the job that he may have previously been doing could easily be offered to one of the 200,000 temporary workers coming into this country every year.

These temporary workers will be paid 15 percent less than the community rate. So instead of 10 dollars an hour, the temporary worker will get paid 8.5, depressing the wages for everyone else.

This budget also repeals the Fair wages and Hours of Labour act, which will allow employers to undercut good wages for construction workers engaged in projects funded by the federal government. An act created in the 1930s to set minimum standards for wages and hours of labour. That is now gone.

There are 1. 4 million Canadians out of work. The number is much worse for young people. At this time, on this day, thousands of young Canadians are looking in vain for summer jobs, for any jobs, but there aren’t just enough jobs out there.

The jobless rate for young Canadians are at a high of 14 percent. This means that one or two out of every ten individuals looking for a job will not be able to find one.

Then there are those who have given up hope of finding a job.

If you are a woman, who may have raised a family and wanting to come back to the employment market, good luck. Or if you are a new immigrant trying to find your first job in Canada in your own field. Good luck. Or you have a slight disability, you are going to have a tough time in today’s poor labour market.

The result to this budget that has just amended the employment equity act so that it will no longer apply to federal contractors, is a direct attack on the four designated groups in Canada that includes Aboriginal peoples, women, visible minorities and persons with disabilities.

We know that the 100,000 Canadians who will lose their jobs are the losers of this budget. This means that there are 1.4 million of unemployed workers who will continued to struggle looking for a job.

Who then are the winners of this budget?

Certainly the CEO of all the oil and gas companies are big winners.

Like the CEO of Suncor, Richard George, who earned $9.1 million last year, on top of his $ 3 million of bonuses and shares of his company.

And when he retires, he gets… wait for it, how many millions for his pension?! $26.6 million.
So average seniors who have to wait two more years for their pension, losing thousands of their tax dollars when they need them the most, but not the top 1 percent. The top CEOs salary when up 6 percent in 2011, and 13 percent in 2010. An average of over $5 million increase in salary alone.

They will earn even more because this budget gives them even more – more profit and shares as they don’t have to worry about the environmental degradation they inflict.

These multinational companies don’t even have to do any environmental assessments. They don’t have to go to the national energy board and submit reports and facts and data, because the conservative cabinet will just give them card blanche to develop as much as they want.

In fact one third of this so called budget bill is dedicated to environmental deregulation. It repeals the Environmental Assessment Act, it gives minister discretion over major pipelines. It will certainly help the Enbridge CEO Patrick Daniels who racked up $8 million last year.

The environmental degradation caused by this budget is going to be so bad, that the government doesn’t even want the public to find out. That’s why the Environment Round Table is eliminated. That’s why the Kyoto Implementation Act is repealed so Canada is no longer required to report on its emission.

With all that has been said, the Budget Bill C-38 is a bad bill all around. It is a bill that will kill jobs, ruin the environment, punish the unemployed and senior citizens while all mean while making those who are rich even richer.

Statement by NDP Leader Andrea Horwath on the 2012 Budget

“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.

When discussing the Ontario’s Budget with the Premier, I made it clear that I would not rubberstamp the government’s 300 page omnibus bill.

I made a commitment to ensure passage of the Budget and I will keep my word.  I also made a commitment to the people of Ontario, and the Premier, to make that Bill better at the committee stage.

Now the Premier is threatening an election. I am disappointed: I expect the Premier to keep his word.

People don’t want an election at this time. I don’t want an election at this time.

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.

What a lot of people think of Stephen Harper right now

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, 11 June 2012

Opposition Reacts To Speaker's Ruling On Budget Bill

Earlier today from Nathan Cullen, NDP House Leader:
(from 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, 10 June 2012

Doug Ford + foot + mouth - brain =

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.

Conservatives Opening A Door To The Spreading of Hatred In Canada

Bill C-304: Hate Speech Clause's Repeal Gives White Supremacists Rare Moment Of Glee

White Supremacists might be happy about this, but the purpose of removing this clause was to allow the Christian Right to further spread hatred against the the gay community, same sex marriage and a woman's right to choose to have an abortion. The Christian Right has been pushing for changes like this (removing this clause of the Human Rights Act) for years in order to spread their hatred.

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.

The Christian Right has been part of the Harper Conservative government for years now and are a core supporter of this government. To maintain this support, Harper has to continue to open doors for them. In an effort to make it look to the rest of the public like his government is not pushing for draconian measures, he is getting his MPs to introduce controversial legislation as private members bills. He and his ministers may also claim that they are not interested in supporting them. But make no mistake, his government is 100% behind these private members bills.

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)