Decision Canada 2006

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Liberals trying to get "Tough on Crime"

Wow, looks like the Liberals are willing to declare war! Oh, wait, it’s a war on guns. Yup, Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin, Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty, and (Liberal) Mayor David Miller agreed to, as CTV puts it, “use all levels of government to bring about tougher sentences, tougher bail conditions and the full force of the RCMP and Justice Departments.” In fact, “They also spoke of increasing mandatory jail sentences specifically for gun-related crimes.”

Wait a minute, where have we heard about increasing the sentences (and mandatory minimums) on gun crimes before? Oh, right, from the Conservatives.

Bill C215, tabled by Daryl Cramp (Prince Edward – Hastings), reads in part

(3) Every person who commits an offence under subsection (1) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to an additional minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of

(a) five years if the firearm is not discharged in the commission of the offence or during flight after committing the offence;

(b) ten years if the firearm is discharged in the commission of the offence or during flight after committing the offence; or

(c) fifteen years if the firearm is discharged in the commission of the offence or during flight after committing the offence and a person, other than the offender or a party to the offence, is thereby caused bodily harm or death”

It goes on to clarify that those are consecutive times, not concurrent times, with the original offence.

So, defender of our streets Paul Martin must have supported this, right? Nope. Harold Macklin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, stated, “ … the manner in which Bill C-215 proposes to realize that objective raises serious concerns. The most glaring concern is the proposal to add a sentence on top of a life sentence in the case of murder committed with a firearm.” (and if Life in prison meant Life in prison, that’d be almost a decent point, but Life doesn’t mean Life). This one died on the order paper – it squeaked through second reading 149-148, with all the Conservatives, all the NDP, and 34 Liberals supporting (Paul Martin not among the supporters)

Come on, Paul, if you’re going to try to pretend to be the defender of our streets, put your vote where your mouth is.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Harper's transit pass tax credit... a good start but lets do more

I like this, I love it.

Conservative leader Stephen Harper announced a 16% tax credit for people who use public transit passes to get around. I agree that this is a good way, raising the credit even more might help attract even more users to transit and get more cars off of the road.

While we're giving environmental tax credits, why not cut the GST on bicycles, why not offer a tax credit on hybrid cars. Public transit works for some trips but for others that I make often, it takes me 5 times the time (no pun intended) to take transit than it does to drive. When time = money, it's hard to justify using transit.

So, a great move to start Mr Harper, lets keep the environmental tax credits flowing faster than Alberta crude!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Ads review #2.0

This is the shortest ads review ever. We need some new ads!! I have seen a grand total of 0 new ads come out in the time from my last ad review, maybe BC isn't the battleground that it is.

This just in! As I'm writing this, the Conservatives just came up with a new ad. Another attack ad! I'm sick and tired of hearing about how bad the other guy is and what they (the party/leader) would do to improve the company. 2/5* for this ad!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Toronto was "Innocent"?

“Toronto has finally lost its innocence”, said Det. Sgt. Savas Kyriacou of the Toronto Police. With no offense intended to my friends from Toronto, didn't that ship sail a long time ago? Yet another crime committed by an illegally-carried (and likely, illegally-possessed) firearm, that our precious firearms registry didn't prevent (just like, oh, the other 52 shootings in Toronto over the past year).

The Liberal solution is, in a word, asinine – they want to make illegal guns illegal. That's like me saying, “there are a whole lot of murders happening, so let's make it a crime to commit the felony of murder”. It makes no sense. We don't know yet if the crimes were committed by an adult or youth (the fact that no specific age or name has been released leads me to believe that the individual arrested was a youth), but given the state of our justice system, if it was a youth he/she will probably get off with a few hours of community service, and a stern lecture from a judge.

Toronto's mayor is marching right along with his Liberal friends. CBC reports that Miller, “... said the provincial and federal governments needs [sic] to do more to help get guns off the streets.” Sure – let's do that. The guns on the streets, by and large, aren't ones that law abiding citizens own. Statistics Canada (or any other such group) hasn't done any research that I can find to show where these firearms uesd in crime are from – I'll bet strongly that the majority are prohibited (under C-68) firearms that were smuggled across the border.

Getting a gun (or ammunition) isn't as easy as the left (such as, for example, Michael Moore) want us to believe. Watching that movie, we saw Michael walk into an Ontario Wal-Mart, and buy some ammunition. Shows that “Canadians are peaceful, even with guns”, or some such BS like that. Well, either Michael and Wal-Mart set something up to fake the purchase, or Michael (and Wal-Mart) broke the law. You need a possession/acquisition license (PAL) or possession only license (POL) to buy ammunition (or guns) in Canada. He may have applied for, and received (well in advance of his trip to Canada), a non-resident temporary borrowing license for non-restricted firearms (hunting/target rifles, shotguns; unless the gun looks scary, then it'll be considered restricted) The other possibility is that he brought a firearm with him, declared it at the border (answering, by the way, less questions then a Canadian wanting to get a gun), and filled out a Non-Resident Firearm Declaration form.

That being said, the limitations that we have in Canada haven't stopped crime – they have, in fact, increased it. Read through criminologist Gary Mauser's “The Failed Experiment”, published by the Frasier Institute. That will also show what can happen if we go further with the prohibition of guns, looking at Australia and England's prohibition and the resulting increase in crime.

You want to stop crime? Let's get more police officers on the street. Let's make sure they have the equipment they need to do their job, which often includes tasers. Let's make sure that our border is secured – more men and women patrolling it, and equipping them properly – if we want them to stop a gun smuggler, they may want to be armed themselves. Let's get some tough sentences – life in prison meaning just that, mandatory minimums for violent crime, reforms to young offenders, consecutive sentences rather then concurrent, to name a few possibilities. Let's crack down on the criminals, rather then those of us who just want to enjoy a nice day at the range.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

It's break time, see you in the new year

Many readers to Decision Canada 2006 have been wondering (yes, we've had emails) why there hasn't been an update in x days. To make a long story short, it's coming up on the Christmas/Holiday/Whatever you want to call it season and one of the few times of the year to be with family etc.

The leaders are not doing much this week, so I figured I'd give it a rest and spend some quality time with my family/friends. The same goes for the rest of the Decision Canada team.

From all of us, Have a very safe and happy holiday and a happy new year. We will see you in 2006!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Out in Quebec, On My Street Corner

Well, things have been pretty interesting here in the francophone province since my last post.
!) M. Alain Dubuc, of La Presse, has written an article that isn't anti-Harper! It even sanctions him to the extent of saying that his views on decentralizing power from Ottawa, allowing Quebec a presence on the international scene in certain areas (delineated by articles 91 and 92 of the Constitution, if I'm not mistaken), and dealing with the fiscal imbalance are similar to the average Quebecker's views. Now, if you read Dubuc's editorials, you would know his positions go from just left of center, to way out in left field. I was delighted to read this centrist, common-sense article that cuts straight to the facts.
@) French language channel TQS has offered to televise the PM debating Duceppe, on "any street corner in Quebec, at any time" as Martin challenged Duceppe. Ironically, Duceppe accepted the challenge, and Martin's declined TQS offer. Guess who's said they'll go on TQS to debate Duceppe, here in Quebec? Lil' ol' Stephen Harper. From what Andrew's explained (below, in one of his posts on the debates) Martin had his ass handed to him by Duceppe in the French debates last year, so I'm not really surprised at the PM's reaction.
#) If Harper and Duceppe want it, I'll be glad to have them drop by my street corner and have it. We had 41 cm of snow here in Montreal last Friday, and given our mayor's terrible inefficiency, it's still there. It'll be a real, authentic Canadian setting, and I'll even make them lots o hot cocoa during the debate. Speaking of debates...
$) The Liberals keep dodging around with my requests to have Justice Minister and Mount-Royal MP Irwin Cotler join a candidates' debate I'd like to organize in the riding. The Green, NDP, and Conservative candidates have all agreed to participate, and I expect the Bloquiste to join the fun too, as soon as I can contact him (the phone number the Bloc HQ gave me is out of service, and the Bloc hasn't answered my email...). More details at my other blog: http://www.centrerion.blogspot.com.
%) With two Quebecker police officers dying tragically in the past coupla' days (one retired, from the RCMP, got shot in Haiti, the other also got killed, but I'm not quite sure how) I'd like to know what the leaders would do to strengthen the RCMP. Incidentally, it seems Harper's got a good idea with raising minimum sentences. One of the RCMP guy's catches was a big mob boss who was bringing in dope and laundering money, and he got out of prison (though his two brothers are still there.) I don't understand people ruining others' lives and being allowed back into society after a couple of years. I'd like to see minimum Life in Jail, nogetoutajailfreecard (IE good lawyers who get parole and/or deals for assholes), sentences for this kind of guy, who's causing havoc with society. The drug lords and mob bosses need to get busted, and stay busted.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Can we stop the mud slinging please!

Conservative leader Stephen Harper's latest statement on Quebec regarding how the Liberals wish the Bloc to take power so they can be heroes for uniting Canada is your typical dirty politics and guess what Harper, we're not buying it.

Of course, I'm most likely picking on Harper just because he's been the party leader in the headlines 99% of the time so of course I will see his dirty politics more than the others. I'm sure there's not one party leader that isn't engaged in some mud slinging and I'm sick of it.

Can we start talking about what people would do to improve Canada and stop the dirty attack on the records etc. You wonder why voter turnout is at an all time low, Canadians are sick of dirty politics!!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Is Harper encouraging separation with his new stand on Quebec

With Conservative leader Stephen Harper's announcement today that if elected, he would give Quebec more independent control - possibly allowing Quebec to have it's own national hockey teams among other "national" roles.

Aside from the obvious blows to Canada's national hockey team this move would cause, there are several reasons why this is a bad idea.

from cbc.ca

  • Revising and tightening all procedures related to issuing contracts and using public funds.
  • Giving greater independence to the ethics commissioner and increased powers to the auditor general.
  • Creating an independent and objective parliamentary budget authority.
  • Ensuring that all governmental institutions – including foundations – are subject to full audits by the auditor general.
  • Reforming federal political party financing along the lines of the model established in Quebec by René Lévesque.
While some of his ideas such as the tigher control on funding to prevent another scandal would do some good to prevseparationtion, letting Quebec make one step towards seperation is a bad idea, once we seed the idea we never know where it will go!

Of course, I do think it's time for Canada to have equal representation across the country with seats being assigned to population and nothing else. I don't think Harper will do much to this front as he's scared of losing Quebec support.

I will have the final part of the Vancouver debate within the next couple days, I just have had way too much stuff on my plate and it's made the back burner!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Vancouver Debate: Part III

Here is part III of the Vancovuer Debate, 3 parts down, 1 to go after this.


Issue 9: “National Day care program – should money flow to families”


Layton: Liberals have only had promises on child care, not deliveries. NDP will invest in new spaces. ANSWER THE QUESTION! The question asked should money flow to families, he didn’t answer it.


Harper: The Conservative government will bring in a federal tax credit for parents. Harper will bring in the child care allowance which goes to money. Attack on public centers having too much red tape.


Duceppe: Quebec program is the best in the world, CAN YOU ANSWER THE QUESTION please!


Martin: More spaces in the public sector and a focus on early learning. Attack on the child care money being a tax cut and doesn’t cut access to high quality child care.


The question asked should money flow to families, almost nobody answered that question!


Issue 10: Atlantic Canada isolation


Harper: Policies that are fair and balanced that don’t reward friends of the government. Regional strategies are needed, did not get specific.


Layton: EI doesn’t work, attack on Martin regarding tax cuts. No investment in post secondary funding, needs strategies not tax cuts. Another “vote NDP message”


Martin: This is a rural issue – needs a strategy for rural areas. Called for re-training and more not just taxes.


Duceppe: Attack on the Liberals – better access to EI is necessary, suggested many things but no solutions.

Issue 11: Softwood lumber – “Should we re-negotiate NAFTA”

What a good question, this one should be good


Duceppe: The problem is not NAFTA; it’s the US not respecting NAFTA. Must give loan guarantees to companies affected.


Layton: Independence of Canada challenged by NAFTA. Another attack on Martin. Proposed import duties regarding energy and water. Opposed to NAFTA’s provisions. Called for NAFTA to be re-worked.


Martin: Will not re-negotiate until US agrees to their provisions. Discussed additional markets, China etc that are opening. “Will stand behind Canadian workers” – no real platform.


Harper: NAFTA is critical for Canada, must improve access to the US market. Must not simply shout anti-American statements, must focus on envoys etc to improve relations.


Well, this is the hot issue; I think nobody really won it. Layton may be too aggressive and tick the US off further which won’t gain us anything, Duceppe and Martin call for domestic strategies to ease pain and Harper wants to get into bed further with the US. 4 positions, 0 winners!


The follow up questions basically brought in attacks on each other; I did not see any actual debating, just a bit of an insult fest!! On the issue with Iraq, it was only insults and no real debate!


Ok folks, the mics are turned off for a reason, it means your time is up, so shut up and move on!!!


Issue 12: “GST – How a reduction in income tax opposed to GST would help?”

Martin: Focus on income taxes because it will put more money in pockets. Suggested refundable tax credit for people who are unable to work.

Duceppe: Must reduce income tax but must focus on transfer to the provinces.

Harper: Cutting income tax would leave out people who do not file tax returns and low income earners. Called for additional tax refunds on income taxes for specific people. All tax cuts must be visible.

Layton: People need the help that they need, how tax cut won’t lift people out of poverty. Attack on Martin’s corporate tax cut. Would rather spend money and did not support tax cuts at all!

Well, I can see Harper winning public support on this one, Martin may come in a close second. Layton’s strategy of not cutting taxes won’t win with voters at all. Duceppe kept calling for more money to the provinces (read: Quebec)


To wrap off this component, we started to see the leaders drone on. We saw more mic cut offs (I think Layton was the worst for going over followed by Martin and Harper) than the previous segments. It’s not as bad as the shout fests of past, but it’s starting to get there…

On deck is the final issue of the debate, the Quebec seperation issue. I'm going to take a little break from the debate (the leaders are sounding too robotic now) and will post the final segment later today.

Vancouver Debate: Part II

I’m finally awake again – it’s time to post another segment.


Issue 4: Immigration – What is your plan to stop discrimination against new highly educated immigrants? With respect to respecting degrees.


Duceppe: Education is a provincial responsibility; Ottawa needs to work with provinces to modify rules to ensure that trained people can do the jobs they are paid to do.


Layton: Another “getting something done or the record” speech. Attack on cuts to immigration startup program, did not offer any platform.


Martin: Program in place called “bridge to work” to help immigrants come in. Also believes Canadian government has a role in allowing immigrants to obtain Canadian work experience. Also called for language training.


Harper: Will setup Canadian agency for assessment of credentials to allow immigrants to obtain Canadian credentials without starting from scratch.


I think Harper won this won by a mile; Martin gave a speech about what they have done, but did not provide any idea of what he would do. Layton and Duceppe basically talked about what a big problem it was but did not offer solutions. This is our first clear cut winner this debate!


Winner: Harper


Issue 5: Accountability – Why should party leaders not be accountable for actions?


Martin: Talked about Gomery report and how Martin turned it over to the RCMP. Claimed Liberals formed lawsuits to recover funds lost. Essentially tried to save face.


Duceppe: Talked about how Martin expelled 10 members from the Liberal Party and how he paid back $300,000 of taxpayer’s money. Demanded Martin release names of people who received money.


Harper: “Only way for government be held accountable is to defeat it” – Again his fast act being the Federal Accountability Act to ensure scandals don’t happen again, limiting donations to parties to $1000, independent offices of Parliament and commissions etc. Also called for whistle blower protection.


Layton: Many Canadians have lost face in the democratic process. Another “vote NDP” message (what is that, 4 times in a half hour.) Called for removal of lobbyists.


Reaction to all leaders being called crooks: Everyone basically called for accountability. Everybody was shocked at being called crooks.


On the issue, I don’t think anyone really won; the only one to bring out policy was Harper, although he has touted the Accountability act too much to make an impact.


Issue 6: What would you do to stop “party hoping?”


Duceppe: Stated MP’s won’t be re-elected unless they leave for good reasons and people are not fooled.


Layton: NDP opposed to hopping, brought in legislation in the House to stop hopping, MP’s could only sit as an independent, not as a member of another party. “Elect NDP” message 5


Martin: MPs must be able to have a free vote and must be able to change if the party does not suit their views. A question for Harper on third party advertising and more.


Harper: Attacks to move MP’s were “bribes” – Conservatives have looked at various private members bills on the issue – stated that bill would give too much power to party leaders.


Issue 7: “Would you be willing to enforce legislation to ensure that an election promise would be executed reasonably within a fair period if time, if they did not, they must resign?”


Harper: Conservatives would implement changes immediately, suggested such a process would simply bog down in the courts.


Martin: Voters must punish voters who do not keep promises but it cannot be set in law. Suggested benchmarks in promises, suggested many Liberal promises met.


Layton: Agrees with Martin but an attack on Martin for breaking promises, turned into an attack on Martin. He was attacking Martin on broken promises that were slightly unreasonable. Brought up international aid issue how Bono was not supporting Martin. Guess what, Bono isn’t even Canadian, the Canadian people told Martin how to allocate funds, NOT a music star!!!


Duceppe: Another attack on the Liberals regarding Liberal changes to platform. It would be tough to bring in a timeframe, the situation changes too much.


Issue 8: “Do leaders have a plan to ensure that MP’s will get down to work?”


Layton: ANOTHER “vote NDP message!”


Harper: Some obligation for MP’s to work together. Talked about Conservative record was solid and then an attack on how the Liberals would not admit they had a minority.


Duceppe: “Bloc is open to ideas” – is it good for Quebec being the issue. Gave stats on voting record. Talked about when Quebec’s interests are at stake. What is this guy doing in a NATIONAL debate talking about Quebec’s issues?


Martin: It will work if party leaders want to make it work – the other party leaders are not willing to debate and work. “Let’s work together.”


Nobody really won this one, everyone gave the run around! Is it that hard of a question, it really was not that hard to answer?


Part III is coming up next with taxes and the economy on deck!

Off topic: Where the parties web servers are located

I found this link when looking through my comments today, I find it rather interesting. Both the Liberals and the Conservatives have a Canadian address on their webservers, the NDP does not. For someone talking about protecting "Canadian jobs" - the NDP should at least stick their web servers in Canada

http://www.catprint.ca/blog/blog/linux/idiots.html is the link

Friday, December 16, 2005

Vancouver Debate - Issue by Issue

I'm posting this as a work in progress - this will be updated very frequently within the next two hours, so check back often.

Now that the debate is over, we come to the review and analysis. I've recorded the entire debate on my TiVo, now I'm going through each issue and my thoughts on who won the "issue."

As an opening note, a poll conducted before the debate told us that 29% of people expected Paul Martin to win the debate, 25% for Harper, 10% for Layton and 3% for Duceppe and 33% didn't know, that is a pretty big undecided margin, we could swing either way here.

Opening statements: Martin made the very inspirational "belief speech" Duceppe made the attack on the sponsorship scandal and Layton focused mostly on health care as well as additional attacks on the Liberals and the Conservatives. Harper focused on accountability, taxes and crimes - basically the party platform in 30s. Everyone but Martin of course made attacks at the Liberal party over the sponsorship scandal.

First issue: The same sex dispute.

Harper: Supports traditional definition of "marriage" - supports additional definitions for other relationships. Will allow free vote on the issue but the only person to bring the issue up.

Martin: Must protect rights of everyone, the PM cannot cherry pick which rights he wants to protect. A short attack on Harper with respect to changing the definition and how Harper cannot change it without the notwithstanding clause. The theme of "taking away a Charter right" was a common theme in Martin's speech on the matter.

Layton: Proud of how NDP candidates stood up for rights of minorities and how it is a sad that this issue is coming up. For the third time in the debate so far, telling people to vote for the NDP.

Duceppe: Similar to Martin and Layton, a speech about respecting rights for individuals and how rights must be protected. How the "religion of some" should not overwrite the rights of others.

Everyone but the Conservatives wants to consider the issue closed, and to be honest, I'm sick and tired of the issue coming up. The law was passed over a "free vote" and that is it. Let's drop the subject and move on to something more important.

Sub issue: Who interprets the Charter, the Courts or the Government

Layton: Off topic response, did not address issue.

Harper: Parliament should make laws and courts should interpret laws.

Duceppe: Parliament to make laws.

Martin: Attack on Harper, speech about how Martin will defend Charter of Rights.

Issue 2: Gun Control - Is the gun control bill a failure? What change would you make to gun control bill?

Martin: Must choke off supply of handguns by tighter controls at borders and prevent guns from being stolen. He will create special squad of RCMP officers to help with issue. Will ban handguns and give people hope.

Duceppe: Tougher control of border. He brought up issue of closure of RCMP offices at border. Suggested definition of different types of firearms. Attack on the mismanagement of the gun registry.

Harper: Effective handgun ban for years, suggested abolishing gun registry. Harper would spend money from gun registry into enforcement, mandatory prison sentences for illegal guns.

Layton: “Why hasn’t there been action on this” – suggested Liberals will talk again and not do anything. Focused on cutbacks under Martin, no platform just an attack on Martin.

All promises there, no real action plans. Nobody won this one; it was a lot of attack ad style speeches and not a lot of platform. Why can’t we give solutions and stop screaming at the other leaders!!!

Issue 3: Health Care – What steps would you take

Layton: Very anti private health care, only supports public health care. Supports additional training and certification for foreign trained doctors. In addition, he would reduce price of drugs.

Harper: No “quick fix.” - Will work with provinces to bring in “health care guarantee” to ensure that if people don’t get services within a timely manner, they can go elsewhere and the government will pay for it.

Duceppe: Way too much red tape. Wants front line people not marketers.

Martin: Have to protect universal publicly funded health care system. Will fund home care, will fund new doctors. Announced benchmarks to measure healthcare system.

I think everyone had a good point here, I think Layton does need to stop thinking that the private sector is evil, some private providers are a good thing! I agree with Harper and Duceppe there, we need to cut the red tape and bring in more front line people who can deliver the services. More doctors and fewer managers, that’s what will solve this crisis. Not a word about the big system, keeping people healthy and more. Almost everyone passed the problem off to the provinces, and no-one provided specifics.

And with 3 issues down, I’m going to call it a night. I’m about to fall asleep on my keyboard, and asleep commentary is not good commentary. I’ll have this finished by tomorrow afternoon at the latest!


The full transcript of the debate can be found at

http://www.cbc.ca/canadavotes/voterstoolkit/debate_trans.html



Update: Liveblogging status

I had a last second reservation that I have to meet, the debate is on my TiVo, I will post commentary when I get back (around 8PM PST)

Update 2: I'm about halfway through the debate on my "play by play" of the debate, I should have the article posted by midnight.

Ads: NDP hits LPC hits CPC hits BLOC hits LPC...GPC ignored

Ads in review: week 2.5
The CPC's french language Quebec ads (like there are french language ads elsewhere right?...) portray the Bloc as making a valiant effort to defend Quebec. The catch is that without power, the Bloc can't achieve anything, say the ads. For example, one of them portrays a sweating, fighting cyclist (the Bloc) and eventually fades to reveal a stationary bike. The other ad is boring and just features a woman (quebec as rep'd by the Bloc) talking without a mic, so no one can hear her. Incidentally, I just found this video called Momentum, and it's a collage of campaign footage. I noticed that in it, and elsewhere, Harper's smiling. It doesn't sound like much, but the media here have made a big issue of it.
It was cute, it got the point across and the French was proper and had a French accent, not an Anglo one.
Score one for the CPC
The Bloc, basically ignoring and discounting the CPC as a serious contender for any Quebec seats, has focused its energies on the Liberals. Some of it is informal advertising, like these videos of Jean Lapierre, which show the Liberal Cabinet minister back in his Bloc days. These not only attack the Liberals' integrity, but are also humorous in an ironic way, as one of the videos shows Lapierre lauding the separatists who always stayed true to the cause.
The Bloc radio ads are also highly likely to succeed. They parody a well-known French folk song that teaches little kids the days of the week, but substitutes the happenings of each day for scandals and problems with the Liberals, like tax evasion and being the worst at implementing Kyoto. Interestingly, the ads link Martin and Chretien, which might presage things to come in the Bloc's campaigning.
The Bloc's funny, and issue focused. Nice.
I tried to watch the Liberals' video ads, but they took forever to load, and I finally dropped the topic. I listened to Paul Martin's weekly radio addresses. The latest one attacks Harper's tax cuts as fluff that won't save Canadians anything substantive, while the Liberals will cut (if I understood this well; it sounded vague) middle Class Canadians. Martin's accent is a strange mix of Anglo and Franco, and he stumbles in a few places in his speech banning handguns. (You'd think that with the Liberals having experts find editing of the Grewal tapes, they could at least cut the stumbles out.)
At any rate, the speech is well-focused on the issues, though as I noted on my own blog, Centrerion, there are a few difficulties with this handgun ban promise (namely that handguns are already pretty much banned. Interesting ideas, but it's dry stuff, and there's a good handful of grey areas. For example, is there really a problem with Americans gun smuggling, or is he just playing to stereotypes of Americans as trigger-happy nuts?
I should point out, however, that there is an exception to the otherwise dry stuff: Martin's speechwriter has a blog, and he's Funny.
The NDP, for its part, has a series attacking the Liberals corporate tax cuts, referring to them as gifts to their well-connected friends. It's mostly funny, and Layton's also talking about the environment and such. "The Liberals promised to reduce pollution and yet pollution is up." Coming from this guy, it sounds credible, and it makes the point with some decent examples. Also, it's short and sweet, as opposed to the Libs' radio spots.
I notice they have very little in way of ads, and nothing specifically for Quebec...
I'll edit and add the Greens tomorrow, cuz I have to go now.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Debate 2006 from Vancouver

Tomorrow, just a few kilometers from me, the leaders of 4 political parties (every major one but the Greens) will be engaged in Debate 2006. As you know, changes have been made to prevent this from becoming a shoutfest like last time.

The broadcasters producing this debate have thoughtfully decided to mute the other mics when someone is not scheduled to be speaking, much to the delight of our ears. Think about it, for once we will be able to hear what someone is saying instead of 4 voices giving us mumble jumble.

I will be liveblogging the debate tomorrow, check back for fequent updates as the debate progresses. In fact, the entire Decision Canada 2006 team will be watching and posting their thoughts as the debate progresses with lots of follow up coverage tomorrow.

If you want to catch the debate, it can be seen on just about any major tv network in Canada. Apparently, for the first year ever, the debate is also going to be broadcast in HD as it's showing up in my on screen guide as being on CBC-HD and CTV-HD in addition to the regular CBC and CTV channels.

Ad Battles Continue in Quebec

Update on the LNI vs. the Liberals, and other issues pertaining to ads in Quebec.

The Union of Artists has thrown its support behind the LNI. They agree with the LNI's claim (that their rights in the intellectual property of the Improv games have been violated. Now they've got a lawyer and they're grandstanding.
Picking up on an important issue mentioned thus far only in sidelines, today's La Presse editorializes that the principal reason for all this hemming and hawing is that the LNI and its members' entourages are generally separatists, and thus want to fight the Libs.
The passing newspaper references to the LNItes support for the Bloc became increasingly noticeable, but today's editorial puts things in perspective saying that its basically friends trying to steer their friends away from helping the enemy. It sounds logical, because if this push was really just about getting paid, there wouldn't be this repeated demand for the ads to be pulled, and furthermore, the LNI wouldn't have rented its place out to begin with. It's not like their set is some generic backdrop. You see the thing, and you know it's the Improv' artists' place.
In other news, the Conservative candidate running for the riding of Pontiac has dared, believe it or not, to put up unilingual ENGLISH signs. Naturally, anti-anglo hardasses are whining and 'demanding' that the signs be removed, stating that if there are going to be any unilingual signs, they ought to be in French. Ironically, those guardians of French orthodoxy, the Office Quebecois de la Langue Francaise, have ruled the signs to be legal. The Conservative candidate has said he has no intention of removing the signs, and to be quite honest, considering Pontiac's significant anglophone population, he's right.
Doubtful any CPC running in Quebec will get elected, but he's right on the issue, at any rate.
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For more commentary and analysis, from the perspective of a Centrist in Quebec, check www.centrerion.blogspot.com

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Conservatives to elect Senate

The topic says it all and this is a GREAT idea that is long long overdue. Currently Canada has a rather ineffective senate that is nicknamed "floridenors" - Canadian senators must be a huge boost to the State of Florida's economy!

However, we do not pay Senators to sit on a beach chair in Florida, we pay them to ensure that Canadian laws are reviewed to prevent the House of Commons from rushing in a bill that has no purpose.

Of course, opponents will claim that an elected Senate will halve the speed bill are passed, but look at our last government, nothing was passed within a reasonable amount of time anyways, so what is the difference.

The point being, an elected Senate will restore accountability, accountability that has been long lost over the years of political "rewards!"

Martin on Bush

Over the last few days, Liberal leader Paul Martin has had one attack after another attack after another attack on the United States, especially President George W. Bush.

The US has not been exactly nice and many many Canadians are not very happy with our friends down south. We are experiencing major turmoil with Canada leaning one way and the US another. Canadians are not happy about Iraq, Canadians are sure not happy about way the Americans have cheated Canada on the softwood lumber dispute.

Naturally, the US needs to recognize climate change, Bush's policy is a joke and Martin does need to take a stance. As the recipients of most of the pollution coming out of the US, Canadians have a right to demand that the US agrees with an international treaty (that has still yet to be signed by the US) that helps propose a solution. The US is a joke with their lack of respecting the fact that global warming happens, and someone needs to give them a kick in the pants.

However, Martin's plan of attacking the US may have some problems down the road. As much as Canada may like to see the Bush administration gone, it's not going to happen for a few years unless a miracle happens, and granted some of Bush's previous attitudes, insulting him is going to bring nothing but bad for Canada.

Martin's strategy is making Canadians happy, but over the long run, it's going to put Canada-US relations even further down the drain, something that isn't going to help Canadians!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Liberal Adscam Vol II

Guess what the Liberals are being accused of, and who they're working with, these here days in Quebec?
1) Stealing from ordinary Canadians.
2) Old associates involved from Adscam vol I.
The Liberals' ads in Quebec are modelled along the lines of popular local improv-comedy show, the Ligue Nationale d'Improvisation, or LNI for short. In a miniature sports-style arena, members of two teams debate an issue and then people vote on who said the best things, awarding points to the funniest group.
In the Liberal ads, members of a Liberal team are seen discussing important issues, while their separatist opponents are stuck repeating the word sovereignty over and over.
So? (The following is paraphrased from Tristan Peloquin's article in today's La Presse).
The shit hit the fan a few days back when members of the LNI claimed they didn't know what the Liberals had rented their premises for. "The Liberal party never indicated that it wanted to make ads using the LNI's space, " said Yvon Leduc, the LNI's co-founder. The LNI people recognize having rented the place, but they complain that the Liberals are violating their real rights (real rights are property rights opposable to third parties, as opposed to personal rights, which only bind someone in particular) in the intellectual property. "Renting a place does not equal acquiring the rights [to the intellectual property]," Leduc said.
Other LNI people were equally furious. "It's pure theft," said Luc Piche, an LNI board member and bigwig. He added that the LNI leases the rights to its idea to groups in Europe.
Andre Noel of La Presse also found that people formerly employed by GroupAction, one of the adscam companies, were responsible for the LNI-ad idea. The man in question is Marc-Andre Rivard, a former VP at GroupAction. Interestingly, the ad was carried out by Turbo Marketing, which was devoid of employees and resources until quite recently. Noel's newspaper article also reveals that a number of other Adscam tainted companies were involved in the creation of these ads.
With this background, stay tuned for yours truly and Decision Canada's review of ads during week 2 of this federal election campaign. Andrew's invited me to join the panel, and we're going to have a crazy post for your on the week's ads!
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You can also find my analysis of the campaign and his entirely unrelated, smart-ass Quip of the Day (QOTD aka aka Quoted aka Quote it!) over at www.centrerion.blogspot.com. As the pseudonym suggests, I'm a centrist in Quebec.

Harper: more airborne troops

Conservative leader Stephen Harper announced today that he would buy more military aircraft to replace our aging transports but also form a new airborne division of our armed forces.

Yes, Canada does need a military, yes, a few planes would be nice, but shouldn't we make sure that our troops on the ground had the proper equipment before we start creating more demands on a shrinking budget!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Poll report: (short edition)

Liberals: 34%
Conservatives: 30%

This is the short poll report. It does seem rather interesting that despite Harper's daily policy announcements, the Tories are dropping in the polls. Is it the public doesn't trust Harper or are they fed up with him being constantly in the headlines?

Either way, it's not looking good for the Conservatives at this point in the game.

This was the latest Ipsos poll conducted for GlobalNational's "Decision Canada."

Child care: The 2 camps

With respect to the child care plan, we have two main camps.

The Liberal/NDP Camp
The Conservative Camp

The Liberal and NDP camp consists of the two parties, both platforms are basically the exact same wording, spaces for a Quebec style system of public day care centers. The Liberal plan is $6.4 billion over 4 years the NDP plan is $8.7 billion over 4 years.

The Conservative camp on the other side offers a $1200 annually "baby bonus." The cost of such bonuses will be aprox $1 billion per year. The purpose of such a bonus is to allow parents to choose which style of daycare they want for their children.

Both plans have their merits, I do like the ability for parents to choose their daycare provider yet I am concerned that some parents will spend the money on other things and not direct the money directly into day care. For most people, it will work, for some, the Liberal/NDP plan works better (for the children at least)

On the other hand, the Liberal/NDP plan of creating solely public spaces prevent the funding going anywhere but day care yet it doesn't allow one to have any choice, it's the government funded program or nothing. In addition, government centers may not be convent or accessible for some parents!

Either plan, it's a glass half full or half empty depending on which side you are on. Neither gets glowing review, you can't have the best of everything.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Is There Anyone the Liberals Actually Like?

Over the past three days, the Liberals have managed to insult, oh, nearly half of Canada’s population.

It started on Friday, with the finance ministry’s communications director, John Embury, calling Canada’s Association for the Fifty Plus Associate Executive Director Bill Gleberzon “old and confused” for having stated that he was contacted by Goodale’s office hours before the official income trust announcement. This leaves me asking, hey guys, do you think that all elderly Canadians are “confused”, or just the ones that you told about the income trust decision ahead of time. This was reported by CTV.

And then this morning/afternoon, two senior Liberal strategists opinioned that parents would be more likely to spend the $1,200 (Conservative) direct child care transfers on “beer and popcorn” then on quality child care. First came Scott Reid (Martin’s Communications Director) on CBC, and then Martin’s senior advisor John Duffy backing it up on CTV. This follows Ken Dryden stating that parents taking care of their own children does not constitute “child care”

So, by Liberal logic, seniors = “old and confused”, parents = selfish… I suppose they haven’t insulted parentless 18-49 year olds, or children (except those that own firearms). But, never fear, the campaign is still young.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

One tax cut promise after another, we're not buying it Harper!

It seems within the last week, Conservative leader Stephen Harper has been making one tax cut announcement after another tax cut after another tax cut.

The problem is, we're not buying it.

Canada's economy is fairly stable but who knows how it will last. With our aging population we will require more and more funding for health care and other services seniors require however with many of the tax cut promises, seniors won't be putting in as much money into the tax pool as before.

We simply can't afford such tax cuts. Canada's deficit is still way too large, we need to pay it down to make sure we are fiscally stable. While I admit, we are not in as bad of shape as our friends to the south, Canada still is way too deep in the red!

What we need to do is figure out ways to streamline operations, ensure that we don't have government waste on the books and then look at tax cuts once we have enough income to do it. There is still far too much red tape and bloat in the government and that needs to stop. Focus on the issues before promising rosy tax cuts that you can't deliver on please!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Ads review #1

We are one week into the run and we just received the first NDP ads. Now that we have all 3 parties ads, here's Decision Canada's review by it's panel of one judge (me)

Conservative: Scripted "news interview" - the anchor looks like she is reading off a teleprompter the whole time, it seems a little fake. The message does make sense, though it is very conveniently packaged and doesn't imitate a real news program at all. **

Liberal: Very open, they almost look like they are produced by somebody walking around with a camcorder. Seems to give the real Canadian approach, not someone in a suit yapping on forever. **1/2

NDP: The classic American style "attack ad" - very similar in scope to the ads the Conservatives presented last election, may work with some people but overall is way to negative and may discourage voters. **

This will be a weekly feature reviewing the ads of the week. We will introduce a bigger panel soon, if you are interested in joining the Decision Canada ad panel, email us @ decisioncanada@gmail.com

Harper attacks Liberals over seniors' funding

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper made an announcement regarding pensions today but the topic quickly changed to the latest information leaked regarding the Liberal's platform regarding income taxes and the lack of change on taxes involved with them.

As usual, we have a call for a resignation over something we don't know or understand. Leaks happen, it might have been an intentional leak, it also could have been false information. We simply do no know.

Harper's attack on the leak consisted of "Remember, it was the Liberals who threatened to tax income trusts," Harper said. "This was a direct attack on the retirement incomes of millions of Canadians. And when the government changed its mind, it now appears that it was again privileged insiders, not ordinary seniors, who benefited."

Trading was up on income trusts, leading to allegations that people were profiting on the insider information.

Now for Harper's actual statement (copied from cbc.ca)

The Conservatives, he said, would work for the benefit of seniors by protecting all existing public pension plans, and by doubling the amount of pension money they can shelter from taxes.

That amount would go up to $2,000 in 2006, he said, and would be raised further to $2,500 over time.

Harper said the promise is worth $2.2 billion over five years.

As well, he said, a Conservative government would create a national seniors council to advise the minister responsible for seniors.

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As usual we have the usual political statements. I think we do have some very valid ideas in Harper's plan, the question is would he follow through with it, or would he simply "forget" about such a plan.

Federal Involvement in Provincial Jurisdiction - it Can be Done Well!

Let’s start off by saying, education is a provincial matter. Any federal program dealing with education has to be very careful to ensure it does not infringe on provincial responsibility. That said, I think that the Conservatives are on the right track with yesterday’s release of an education plank of the policy.

This helps not only those attending universities, but those who are going into the trades as well. Harper announced a tax deduction for tools, an apprenticeship grant for apprentices, and a tax credit for companies who bring on apprentices (I think that one was a double-release from their small business tax announcement a couple days ago). This should help to attract more people into the trades and open up training spots for them – there is a shortage of skilled tradespeople in Canada right now, and this will address the issue to the best extent that the Federal Government can.

And then, we have the post-secondary education planks. A tax credit of $500 for textbooks is good – that’ll cover, oh, between a third and half of the cost of textbooks over a year, helping students without giving them a completely free ride. Working with the provinces to increase family income thresholds for student loans – absolutely good idea. I wanted to take out a loan when I was in University in order to pay for my own education (rather then live off my parents), but because my family income was too high (you only needed, at that time, a family income of around $50k or so for a single child not to qualify) I could not take out a loan. Yes, my parents could have afforded to help me out some – but, instead of living off them, I wanted to work it off myself. Exempting the first $10,000 in scholarships and bursaries from taxation – again, a good idea.

This goes about as far as the federal government can (and should) go with regards to education. It doesn’t infringe too far on the provinces, and instead of hauling bags of money around, it seeks to reduce tax burdens.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Pull the troops out of Afghanistan?

Today NDP leader Jack Layton called for a withdrawal of Canadian troops out of Afghanistan. While I think everyone wants to have the troops home, I'm not sure if pulling our troops is the right message.

While the US may use bases in Afghanistan for military operations leading into Iraq, the war that brought Canadians in was a UN sanctioned and approved war. Canada, as a member of NATO and the UN was following the international trend and sent in troops to help keep the peace and provide humanitarian operations, not to wage war.

Canada cannot allow the terrorists to win, it has been established via credible intelligence that there are still threats to global security in the country. While Canada needs to make sure that we are on good terms with everybody, being the level mind in the dispute, we also need to send a strong message that Canada will not tolerate terrorism.

(link - cbc.ca)

Unions, not evil

Fellow blogger, Blazer, made some comments that called unions greedy, and un-necessary. I agree that unions can and have been greedy, but they are certainly not unnecessary. Without unions, there would be no middle class and our economy and class structure would look like Canada in 1900.

As I said before, unions can and certainly have been greedy in the past, but I would like to point out that it’s not like businesses and employers aren’t greedy either. Look at Nike, Adidas, and many other clothing manufacturers. There are no unions or minimum wage laws in countries like India so they employ workers in sweat shops and they don’t even make a dollar a day for 12 hours of work. Enron lied to their costumers, and Halliburton is certainly greedy way beyond the point of any union. If the teachers had no union, what could the government do to them – almost anything they want. If loggers and other workers in primary industries had no union, their employers wouldn’t need to bother wasting money on thorough training, and safety. They could pay them whatever they wanted and could give them any working conditions they please. There is a reason that unions exist, when there were no unions the kind of conditions I described above were reality, and Canadians fought hard to get themselves protected. Unions may be greedy on occasion but they certainly are not unnecessary.

Now generally if a union is greedy, what happens. Some rich people don’t make as much money as they used to. Less taxes from the now slightly poorer millionaires, but more from many wealthier middle class workers. If a business or a crown corporation gets greedy what happens? The rich people or the government that owns the company gets a lot of money, great. The workers, however, can’t meet standard of living, they need to downsize, and they can’t be as active in the economy because they don’t have the financial means to. They may have families to provide for and can’t manage it now. And of course, there will be way less tax money coming from them, and overall, less customers for business throughout the economy because the middle class is financially hurt and becoming poor. Personally, I prefer a well off upper middle class and some not as rich millionaires, to a poor middle class and some really rich millionaires.

I don’t know where the Conservatives stand on this issue, but since they believe in less provincial support, that would probably lead to more conservative provinces and fewer union rights. If I am wrong, I’m sure Greg P will let me know.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Issue of the day: The environment

Today was environment today.

We started off with Martin giving a cheerleading speech about how Canada needs to lower it's greenhouse emissions by following the Kyoto accord to reduce to pre-1990 levels.

Now, the Conservative's don't support the Kyoto accord and have not released their environmental policy yet so no comments there.

The slam is the choice of planes. The Liberals are using a B727, the Torries a A320 and the NDP an A319. Can we stop the petty talk and start talking about the issues.

Social Issues? (more on health care and unions)

Ok, about social and economic values. What kind of a country do you want? An economically progressive country with conservatives? Or a socially progressive country with the liberals? I would vote economically progressive. What is a country without a good economy? In a war, you know that for a country to have a bad economy means that they lose the war from lack of resources. To be socially progressive means more money in public works and less money in the businesses. Personally I'd be glad if they were a little even. But by the way the left wing parties are going, it looks as if they want much more money in public sectors. Our friend "whatever", the socialist commie is totally into all money going to public works. Why? Isn't our country already progressive enough? Don't unions already have enough power? Aren't people in Canada already making decent wages?

Now think of the GM situation. What will happen if their workers decide to strike? What is it with them wanting to get better wages. The nerve. Don't they know that to ask for a wage increase and walking off the job could get their jobs placed into another factory where the workers work for less? Or worse the company could go bankrupt? This is an example of where more power for the workers is damaging for the economy. The same has happened with the BCTF and their stint back in Oct. that gave us a 2 week break. The unions in BC are a bunch of corrupt people wanting more money. Everything is about money, no matter what you think. More money for the teachers means more union dues which means more money for them. Going on strike illegally is the risk they needed to take. Even is they get put in jail, they will be hailed as heroes, fighting for the "freedom" of the oppressed people. But wait. Don't they have the 3rd best minimum wage in Canada according to the BC Government statistics? And they also have a maximum wage well above the Canadian average. New wages were already thought up last time that went with inflation. You can't distrust this info. Who pays them? The unions? What are they complaining about? To get a wage increase would just mean more money for the tax payers and more money for an already corrupt union. I know another story of a worker in a steel factory who had good wages and conditions, yet they went on strike. Before you know it, they shut down the factory and most of those people are still out of a job. All they have to do is open up a place where labour is cheap. Screw the disgruntled and spoiled workers. Telus is having a tech support line that comes all the way from India. When I was having a problem with my Dell computer, it wasn't some guy in Toronto who answered, but a person in India who could hardly speak English. These are the kind of things you need to think about when you support the "more workers rights" issue. This isn't the industrial age where people literally "smoke" all day. I think that the new federal government should impose stricter laws on the people.

Privatization of health care is another social issue. Now think of our school system when you say private is bad. Rich people put their kids in school where they are expected to do better than the public schools. They do get better results to a certain extent but sometimes, only sometimes public schools outrank them. Why is this? Did you expect ALL of the good teachers to go to the private system? No, the public place is doing fine with good marks while the teachers have some of the best wages and conditions in the world. Heck, some public teachers get more than private teachers from what I've heard (which is weird). On the health care issue. Privatization is not ALL bad. Yes some doctors will go over to the private sector, that does not mean all good doctors will go. A balance between the private and public sector in health care like the education system would be fine. This would take rich people from the lines of the public hospitals and decrease waiting times while creating a demand for doctors in the public sector thereby fueling the economy. If rich people decide to go private, fine, this isn't a scheme for total privatization and it definitely isn't going to destroy public health care. Don' t the rich still pay taxes? I don't see what's so bad if we balance both.

Some weird communists in this country are so worried about the people of Canada that they don't think of the consequences of their views. Those people think of the NOW. Other people think of the THEN. More money for the people? More taxes. In the end it's all the same so what is the point? And if you do get all you wanted, you could lose your job after your few months of bliss and your job could go to some poor kid in China who will be more than happy to make 1/10 of what you made before. As I said before, we are not in some oppressive regime where the workers get no rights at all. Take a look around in other parts of the world and even the US and you will see.

Get your Hands out of my Holster!

Ok, listen. I'm not a bad person. I work long hours during the day, pay my taxes on time, and except for a couple of photo radar tickets, stay well within the boundaries of the law. When I decided to take up target shooting a year or so ago, I went to the range a few times with a good friend, studied the manuals, and took the tests for the restricted and non-restricted firearms license. I passed both practical exams with 100% marks (had to load, unload, and show safe handling and firing methods with three restricted, and three non-restricted firearms). I passed one of the writtens with 100%, the other with 98%. I purchased my firearms (one handgun, one shotgun, and one rifle), registered them, and in the case of my handgun, received an Authorization To Transport (ATT) from the Canadian Firearms Centre (CFC) , to bring the package containing my handgun from the post office (attached to my apartment building via an underground tunnel) to my apartment. I then went down to the local CFC office, applied for and received, a long-term ATT to bring my handgun, “via the most direct means practical”, from my apartment to a firing range, port of entry into Canada, gunsmith, or gun store. That meant that I could not, on the way from my apartment to my range (½ hour north of the city) stop off at Tim Hortons for a coffee. I followed every rule to the letter, and right now have my trigger-locked handgun, rifle, and shotgun in locked containers that cannot easily be broken into.


However, according to the Liberals, I am now somehow a danger to others because of my hobby. Never mind that more people are killed by bathroom fixtures every year then firearms. Never mind that shooting a handgun at a range is safer then, oh, playing bridge (ok, that might be pushing it, but among sports, handgun shooting is one of the safest). They want to confiscate my guns, in the manner of the Nazis in Germany.


This isn't going to make a difference when it comes to gun violence. The guns used, for the most part, are unregistered to begin with, imported illegally from the United States, and many would already be prohibited under C-68 and C-10A. The NDP realize that this is a useless attempt to stop crime. The BQ... hard to say, they have loved C-68 thus far, I don't see them having too much of a problem with it (unless they end up having a moral objection to stealing private property).


All in all – hopefully Torontonians (because really, that is exactly who this is aimed at, let's not fool ourselves into believing this is attempting to do anything but save some seats from falling to the NDP primarily, a few [maybe] to the CPC) see through this BS, and realize that confiscating items which are not the problem, will not somehow be the solution.

Liberals and Values? HAH!

Before actually debating the worth of any of the “values” that “whatever” listed below, maybe I should do readers of this blog a service and dispel some of the, well, lies.

“The Conservatives proved that they don’t accept all people because of their efforts to make gay marriage and abortion illegal”

Not quite. On abortion, in his keynote address to the Conservative Party policy convention in Montreal this year, Steven Harper was very clear, saying “I will not introduce legislation which would limit access to abortion”. The 2000-plus delegates to the convention took that one step further, passing a resolution which read, “A Conservative government would not support legislation which will limit a woman’s access to abortion.” But, let the left believe what it will.

It is true, the majority of the delegates to the convention did not support gay marriage – around ¾ of them. However, what we did support (and is party policy) is a free vote on this (and all other issues other then those of confidence); and that in the event that same-sex marriage was not allowed in Canada, we would establish a type of “civil union” to provide the same rights and benefits to same-sex couples as opposite-sex couples currently enjoy. Giving them the same rights… not quite discriminatory, eh? But, let the left believe what it will

“I’m sorry, but there is no way that the Conservatives would provide more foreign aid than the Liberals with their tax cuts.”

Well, when there are hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars no longer going to the Liberal Party, useless programs like the registry for farmer’s shotguns eliminated, and Dingwall no longer being entitled to the entitlements to which he claims to be entitled to, that frees up a bit more money for foreign aid. The delegates at the 2005 Convention were very clear – our party supports giving 0.7% of GDP… try finding that with the Liberals. But, let the left believe what it will.

“Now the Conservatives want to cut healthcare spending and create a private healthcare sector.”

Now, just because the Conservative Party is not in favor of legalization of marijuana, doesn’t mean you have to go smoking it before you write a rant against them. Truth be known – the NDP have actually come out to the right of the Conservatives, now. Layton stated pretty clearly that he does not care about private health care, as long as they do not take money from the public purse. So, no P3’s (which could be completely within the Canada Health Act), but a nice step towards that “evil” “private, parallel health care system”. But, because we are "Conservatives", we must be bad. Let the left believe what it will.

Those “Values” are ones that the Liberals have paid a lot of lip service to over the past 12 years – and it will take a Conservative government to see action.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Values that make Canada great.

What are the values that make Canada a great country? Lets just name a few: freedom, acceptance of all people, kindness (foreign aid from a government stand point), and equality. The Conservatives would try to limit and hurt these values.

First of all freedom and acceptance of all people is a value that the Conservatives do not believe in. The Conservatives proved that they don’t accept all people because of their efforts to make gay marriage and abortion illegal. So yeah, we live in a free country, except that you can’t be gay and you have no freedom over your pregnancy with the Conservatives.

Canada has prided itself on its foreign aid. It’s why if citizens of other countries see a Canadian flag on your back pack while traveling, and tend to be kind to you – Americans know this, its why they pretend be Canadian in Europe by putting Canadian flags on their stuff. I’m sorry, but there is no way that the Conservatives would provide more foreign aid than the Liberals with their tax cuts. So there goes another Canadian value.

Now Canada also believes in equality of people. It’s in our constitution that you can’t discriminate and recently the Supreme Court said that it is illegal to unintentionally discriminate too. Now the Conservatives want to cut healthcare spending and create a private healthcare sector. This would mean that the rich would receive better quality and quicker healthcare than the poor for reasons described in an earlier blog of mine. Now this seems like unintentional discrimination. If you don’t have as much money as someone else, you have to settle for lesser quality healthcare. According to the Supreme Court, this should be illegal.

Those are just a couple of the values that Canada prides its self on. They have been upheld by Liberal governments for years. The Conservatives would not uphold these values. I don’t know, maybe these values listed above are harmful and wrong, but to me, they seem ethical and reasonable, and I don’t see why so many Canadians want a government that would not uphold these values to the same extent as previous governments.

Expanding the Military is not a road for Canada

Conservative leader Steven Harper in last election’s debates made comments about increasing military spending. Martin was against that and Layton was too. Why is it that Harper believes that Federal spending should put more money into the military. Frankly I have no idea.

Lets put this into proportion. Harper plans to lower taxes, thus lowering the amount of money that the government takes in. Great less money out of citizens’ pockets, and less money for all public services except for one, the military. More money for the military from less tax money. This sounds like a great plan. Cut spending on healthcare, education, transportation, and provincial support, and put it into a military with no influence within the world. This does not seem like a brilliance economic move.

What real benefits come from a some-what larger military. Possibly more jobs, but jobs that would be lost from cuts to other government industries anyway. Its not like Canada is going to become a dominant world power with Harper’s military spending increase, so what’s the point? It just hurts Canada economically and socially.

Your vote: $1.75, it would have gone on eBay for $20

Currently, each political party gets $1.75 CAD for every single vote cast for them in the election. I often read the oddities section of the newspaper, here's the Decision Canada oddity of the day.

Someone in Quebec put up an auction for 1 vote in the federal election. There were 17 bids cast reaching $20 before Elections Canada found out and stopped the bidding. Yes, it is illegal to trade/sell votes in Canada, so don't try.

(cbc.ca - link)

In a related story Larry Zepp, a Green Party candidate in Prince Albert, SK is running his campaign in zero, nada, zip, $0 dollars. What an idea, why not use the media to get your message across, isn't that what it exists for? Why should we be using taxpayers money for TV attack ads, 50 million signs that we get tired of looking at. Let's see campaigns run without taxpayers money!!!

(cbc.ca - link)

Choice in daycare

Yet another election platform which demonstrates the difference between the left and right. With a $1,200 benefit for every child, parents will have a bit of help in determining how to take care of their child. The Liberal plan is to force parents who want assistance with health care to put their child in a public institution – let the brainwashing of the young start even before they enter school, I guess. This has the support of the NDP, and of the unions. The union support is very easy to understand – daycare for kids = more people working = more union dues = more money for Buzz.

The criticism of the Conservative plan is that $1,200 will not fully subsidize a daycare spot. Again, I fail to see the problem with that. By what right am I forced to fully support your child? If I have a kid at some point later in life, I will expect to pay for his/her care – that’s part of being a parent. The counter to this is, “children are an investment in our future.” I would tend to argue that, while the children of today will be supporting my old age security and health care in retirement, I should not be forced to make a given investment. It is like the government saying, “well, we know that you really want to invest in (for example) RIM, but you can’t; instead you have to buy Canada Savings Bonds to help out the country.”

Beyond parental choice, the Conservative plan actually makes sense. The Liberals have pledged, by my accounting 11 billion over 10 years (2005-2015). They haven’t provided any numbers which show that every child will receive a daycare spot. If the Liberals really want to provide universal daycare – I bet it’ll cost more then a billion and change per year. How much more? I don’t know, neither do the Government’s accountants. Frightening.

Health Care - Private is not evil

Looks like I am the new guy here, so I should probably introduce myself. My name is Greg Phelan, I am a 21 year old from Winterpeg, Manitoba. I work within the aviation industry, in a unionised (CAW) workplace. (Despite) being CAW, I am both a small-c and big-C Conservative (with libertarian leanings). After I posted some arguments to some of the left-of-centre leanings here, I was invited to join and provide a bit of a voice from the right, so to speak. As a nice generic disclaimer, any opinions expressed are my own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Conservative Party, or any candidate thereof.

Health Care is the hardest issue for Canadian politicians to discuss. If the third rail of American politics is social security, for us it is health care or, more specifically, the involvement of the private sector in health care.

On the political right of this issue is, of course, the Conservatives. Steven Harper, in his health care policy announcement here in Winnipeg on Friday, stated that he would not shut down private clinics – that shutting them down would not help cure the health care system at all. Makes sense, doesn’t it – the problem is not enough medical facilities, so the solution isn’t shutting facilities down. He also stated unequivocally that he would not allow for a parallel, private health care system.

The NDP is the next group, well to the right of the Liberal’s stated position. According to the CTV, Layton said that, “private clinics are a "fundamental aspect" of the health-care system founded by former Saskatchewan premier Tommy Douglas…” To be fair, he stated explicitly that no public money will go towards private clinics.

And then there are the Liberals. As of their last stated position, they were dead set against any private health care. That would include, I guess, the Victorian Order of Nurses, who since 1897 have been providing health care services to Canadians. Even worse is the Copeman Healthcare Centre, a new clinic in BC who, for $200/month (or $2,300 per year, children under 18 free) will provide private treatment, outside of the public system. Medically necessary services will be provided by their physicians (and paid for by provincial heath care); extra services such as comprehensive disease risk screenings (which would have to be paid out of pocket as they are not covered) are covered by that annual fee. Heck, they even provide house calls!

The left will say, “but… but… but… then the rich get better health care!” Yup… and I am missing the problem with that. The “rich” are a) still contributing to the public health care system through taxes, and b) are reducing the burden on the public health care system by getting their services elsewhere, thus improving the services that the rest of us can get.

Canada is only one of three countries in which individuals cannot legally pay for their own medically necessary health care – North Korea and Cuba are the other two. So, because we have “univeral” health care, we must rank highly on the WHO’s ranking of health care quality, right? Wrong. Canada ranks 30th in the world (as of 2000). To be fair, the US ranks worse (38th), however having a mix of private and public health care, the left’s accusations notwithstanding, is not stricly “Americanization” of health care. We could call it, “Europeanising” (France has the best health care system, according to the WHO, and a lot of other European countries rank higher then Canada), “Asianising” (Japan has the second-best health care system, or even “Colombianizing” (Colombia has the 22nd-best health care system). And yes, this study does also look at access to health care across the socio-economic spectrum (that is why the USA fell so low, because of poor access to health care for the poor)

No matter which model we follow, the fact remains that there are 29 better systems then ours. It would be nice to see a politician (of any stripe; blue, red, orange, green) stand up, admit that our system isn’t the best, and that improvement may (or will) involve private health care. Too bad the media will crucify that individual.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Voting: Who cares & how to fix it

GlobalNational did an episode tonight about the extremely low voter turnout among the youth and ways to start changing it. Currently voter turnout among under 30 year olds is less than 40%.

How can we improve voter turnout for everyone. There were a few suggestions that came up on the segment including:

a) Internet Voting
b) Mandatory Voting

I think Internet voting is a great idea. We can buy almost anything online and get it delivered to us. People nowadays want to be instant, it's all about convenience. It takes far too much effort to get in a car/bus and go to the polling station when one could be watching television etc. Why not offer internet voting? Yes, we need a secure way of identifying people, why not use a little USB dongle keychain type thing, a "national electronic ID" as it were. If people didn't want the online version, they could always go to polling places.

b) Mandatory voting. Australia has mandatory voting, and it does improve voter turnout but is "forcing" someone to go to the polls going to allow them to make an educated vote. People voting based on who has the best looking signs or flashiest TV ads is not something we want. People need to be aware to vote, forcing everyone to vote may result in more ballots cast, but many people won't have a clue who to vote for!

The TV segment also did a write in comment section from their website. There was one comment from "Tony" (ok, , It was me, I pulled the name from a random list as I had already submitted one comment) that stated "This government refused to lower the voting age to 16." There was a private members bill in the last parliament which would have lowered the voting age to 16, introducing voting at an early age and hopefully getting people involved. Although it was supported by many MP's, having one of the longest seconder's lists in Canadian history, it was not supported by any party and was defeated in an informal vote.

We need to solve our voter turnout problem, how we do it is something we all need to take a look at.


(canada.com - link)

Decision Canada Podcast

I'm looking at doing a Decision Canada podcast sometime this weekend. Would anybody be interested in such a podcast or would nobody listen to it. It's a fair bit of work and I don't want to start producing the podcast if we don't have an audience.

Post your response on a comment please.

A View on the Election Issues

With the upcoming vote coming up, we have to ask ourselves what we believe in. You would say that I am crazy by stating the obvious but sometimes we do not know ourselves. Only today did I see that to vote for the Liberals would mean larger takeover by the US in the same way the Nazis were given land back through the policy of appeasement. Democrats in the US are described as cowards and traitors, all the Republicans have to do is "just dub someone a liberal and that is the end of that loser"(Dude Where's...Michael Moore). The same issue is in Canada only the Liberals have been accepted because of the rush of progressive people from the South and the middle leaning people from the other side of the Pacific. As you could see in the softwood lumber dispute, our government had a hard time trying to get the US to pay money for the "illegal" tariffs placed. With a conservative government in place, this would not have happened. They know how to take the initiative and lead the combat in politics.

Conservatives have shown that they can lead without spending too much money. The problem with our left wing Grits today is that they over tax and in the end they have a large surplus which, although people say is a result of good government spending, is a result of the overtaxation of the people. NDP Leader Jack Layton has laid out his ideas on the public health care system and "more money in the pockets of every citizen". He gives out the idea that he will be bankrupting Canada. And if this doesn't happen, where will the money come from then? More public spending would mean more of those blasted taxes. Not exactly the best message. The new idea of the Conservatives to cut the GST to 5% is a good idea that will put money in the pockets of all people regardless of how much income they get. Paul Martin is proposing tax cuts but what will that do for people who pay income tax? Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives say 32% of Canadian tax filers pay no income tax. What good will the tax cut do for them? This cut is a cut for everybody. The idea of Paul Martin defending the tax he swore to get rid of in 1993 is a laughable idea. Just remember that the Liberals were the ones who tried to bribe voters with billions of dollars and they call themselves "sound fiscal managers"?

Canada's law enforcement is also a failing issue. While Martin was snoozing, Harper was giving his views of the issues at hand so far including drug and law enforcement. I know myself that I will never use harmful drugs, do you know why? I was educated and I was told the consequences. I don't think that people would like being in debt for drug money and then spend the rest of their days on the streets panhandling. Our current government is NOT tracking down the people who sell drugs and they wouldn't care less is more people got hooked on the killer drugs. With the social stance the NDP take, I'm sure they wouldn't object to the legalization of marijuana. This means that youths will be encouraged to take drugs and there will be no way stop them from doing drugs. Generally, in the minds of most people, more drugs means more violence. If our own communities on the North Shore are infested with drug addicts, think of what it is like in the slums of our own Vancouver. I am glad to live and grow up in a good community where streets are safe, or at least, a somewhat more safe and secure place than most other places. And what about those people who aren't so lucky? We need to help the Average Joe and Bob and Mary. Once again, the government needs to take a stand on the way they enforce their policies so that people can be stopped and educated before it is too late.

Health Care, the system that makes Canada unique, is failing. Not long ago, my grandmother had to be transferred from hospital to hospital, sometimes she didn't get the right doctor and was diagnosed with the wrong type of injury. I have heard of people on long waiting lists to get surgery sometimes waiting weeks, mostly months. No wonder people are switching to private health care! The fact is that the Liberals have been presiding for 12 years over a crumbling health care system and have not made many significant changes to it thereby allowing privatization to seep in. People get old and we are entering the time when the baby boomer age is starting to get old. We definitely can't rely on the Liberal Government to handle this situation. Not everyone can afford a family doctor. What will happen with those people? The current health care system simply cannot handle them.

All of these issues to change, and Stephen Harper has introduced an assertive plan of action to fix the problems of everyday Canadians which will NOT take more money and will solve the issues at hand.

Ed Note: This article was written by Blazer, I just posted it

Harper allocates $200 per family for child care

Today Conservative leader Stephen Harper announced an $100 allowance per year for Canadian children under the age of six. In comparison, Martin's Liberals have not released any statements regarding child care this year - last election they announced $5 Billion for Quebec style community child care centers.

I think both plans have merit here but I'm leaning towards the Harper plan. There are many more options for child care than just group centers. Teenage babysitters, play groups, pool programs etc all offer flexible options for taking care of our youngest citizens.

The only fear I have with Harper's proposal is that parents would spend the money on unrelated items such as a dinner out, hockey tickets etc, stuff that isn't for the children the program is intended to be for.

Maybe a "child care voucher" system might work, providing the money in a form of vouchers that could go to child care providers.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Softwood Lumber - Who is going to step up to the plate?

With much focus being placed on health care, the GST, and the Quebec separation issue little has come to light with respect to softwood lumber. As many readers of Decision Canada are aware that the US has disregarded multiple WTO and NAFTA rulings the US still continues to illegally collect millions in import duties on Canadian softwood. The previous government was totally ineffective in ensuring that Canadian softwood producers have fair access to the US market.

Many of the US home improvement retailers and thousands of American citizens have called for the duties to be abolished and the ~4.9 billion that has been collected be returned to Canada but the current American government has listened to a few extremely "red" states that produce lumber and have kept the duties in place. With the hurricane causing a great need for supplies to rebuild, this is driving American lumber costs up harming millions of consumers.

The question is, which party has the guts to stand up to the US and start fighting back. All three opposition parties voiced their support for loan guarantees for softwood lumber producers (press release - NDP.ca.) Not one party has released any policy documents regarding softwood lumber.

Phone queries to party headquarters returned the following:

Conservative: They will appoint a special envoy to focus on dispute and work to improve trade in general with other countries in NAFTA.

Liberal: Will not go into a trade war, will attempt to utilize every diplomatic means and the courts to eliminate the duties. In the interim, they have brought in relief for the companies harmed by the duties.

NDP: "Fairly disappointed with Paul Martin's inaction" They are in favour of the producers getting their money back. Suggested linking oil and other energy trade to the issues.

I know, I've been very across the board with respect to what I'm saying here. Although my initial reaction was to support starting a trade war, thinking about the magnitude of our trade relationship with the US, Cutting the US off on energy resources may cause more duties to be placed on more Canadian goods to counter regardless of the NAFTA and WTO rulings.

With the Bush government not being especially pro-Canada will raising "war" of a sort would making a stand on one issue cause more harm to the rest of the Canadian economy than necessary. On the other hand, is providing relief for the companies involved going to raise the US based softwood lumber producers case for the duties.

The softwood lumber dispute is a tricky issue for everyone. Clearly the US is wrong in the dispute, Canada's reaction will have long lasting consequences.

Dec 3rd Poll

33% Liberal (up)
31 % Conservative (unchanged)
17% NDP (down)
5% Green (unchanged)

(link)

It appears that Martin's income tax cuts have played a small factor over Harper's GST cut. I think we can see the shift in the NDP support as going to the Liberals partly due to the "lesser of two evils" factor.

Again, it is extremely early in this campaign, nothing has been set in stone and the trends can swing either way right now.

Let the Green Party Debate!

In the leader's debates in the past, we have allowed the Bloc, a party that only caters to one province, Quebec, to participate in the debate, yet we have denied the Green Party the right to appear. Although the Greens have yet to elect a MP, they are a party that has run candidates in every single riding across Canada and have attracted a very respectable percentage of the population in doing so. It's time to let all of the national leaders debate, if that means cutting the Bloc from the national debates, so be it!

(cbc.ca - story link)

Does Canada balance its Social values with its Economic Interests?

It is difficult to balance social and economic priorities. Often in order to improve the country socially, it will harm the country economically, and vise versa. For example a private healthcare sector could help the country economically, but would also likely have negative social effects. Are we doing a good job balancing our social values and economic needs? I think that we have been, at least with a Liberal/NDP government.

When Layton and Martin work together I believe that Canada balances social and economic interests well. For example, we have made great progress in the acceptation of gay marriage rights (which I believe is a positive social movement) with Layton and Martin running the show. To clarify, I know Martin is the Prime Minister and Layton is not, however, for the time that Martin had power, it was due to Layton’s support, therefore, it has been an NDP/Liberal government.

Even with money being spent on social issues like senior’s care and education, our economy isn’t too bad. Yes, we are in dept, but it is a manageable dept. I mean, compared to our friends south of the border, we are in fine shape. Layton and Martin can work well together because Layton will enforce Martin to move forward socially, and Martin will be able to keep Layton under control when it comes to managing the economy financially and the federal budget.

Unlike an NDP/Liberal government, a Bloc/Conservative government would harm the country both economically and socially. Harper would spend less money, but he would also tax less. He would also likely shift a lot of federal spending from departments like provincial support, which leads to better healthcare and education, into the military, which is a poor economic and social move (look at the United States with Bush as opposed to Clinton).

Furthermore, the only issue that the Bloc and the Conservatives agree upon is an increase in provincial independence from the federal government. Other than that, the two parties are socially opposite each other. This would create constant fighting between the Bloc and the Conservatives. Plus, provinces other than Quebec would be unhappy with less federal support. I would say with confidence that these circumstances would not create the ideal Federal government for our country.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

How many signs do we need

In Kingston, there is a "sign truce" and of course, there is controversy surrounding it. I have to admit, some signs are a necessary component of campaigning for an election but we don't' need to see a sign on every single lawn, every single street. People don't vote on how many signs they see anyways, stop wasting resources posting one everywhere and why not spend the money/effort on connecting with voters!

(cbc.ca - link)

Private Healthcare is a road Canada should not take

Throughout federal politics, there has been some discussion of a private healthcare sector within our public healthcare system. This idea is mostly supported by the Conservatives and some Liberals are open minded to it as well. Jack Layton and the federal NDP have been very closed minded on this issue, they do not believe that Canada should have any sort of a private healthcare sector. Layton has taken heat from the public on not considering this issue. I however believe that Layton is right on the topic of private healthcare within Canada and shouldn’t be receiving any negative public impact.

The smallest privatization of healthcare would start a trend that few Canadians would desire. A private sector of healthcare would be very attracting to patients with strong financial means, and physicians with the exceptional skill that richer patients would pay good money to have treat them. The problem is that even if the private sector of healthcare starts small, there is a supply (above-average doctors) and a demand (wealthy patients) for it to grow. This trend would lead to the majority of giftedly skilled physicians to do work in the private sector for more money and the richer proportion of the population to receive pay a lot of money for better, quicker treatment.

The problem however lies back in the public healthcare system. If the skilled doctors choose to work in the private sector, then the public system becomes weak and slow. The problem with a weak private healthcare system and a strong private sector is obvious. The majority of the population would likely still have to use public healthcare. Only now, for those less financially fortunate, their healthcare would be slower and lower quality.

It is not fair for people with financial strength to get quicker and better quality healthcare. This is why the private sector shouldn’t become part of our economy. We are a country that believes in universal healthcare, and more than that, we have believed in and still believe in quality healthcare for everyone, not just the wealthy pocket of the population, that is an American belief, not ours. Layton does not deserve so much heat from the public on being so closed minded on privatization, because it a private healthcare sector is not a path to a better Canada.