Monday, September 29, 2008

2008 Election Polls

The federal election polls are now suggesting that Jack Layton has a shot at becoming the leader of the official opposition after the smoke clears. This could only be possible as a result of the worst liberal leader and liberal campaign in recent memory. Both the liberals and the NDP would be a disaster for Canada at this point in Canadian history. I am not involved in any campaign and I don’t even hold a membership in any Canadian political party. If the NDP forms the official opposition they would have to win a significant number of seats in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and BC. This is not very likely unless the liberal support completely evaporates leaving the voters with virtually a two party choice. That is the only way the NDP can win significant seats in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and BC and have a shot at forming the official opposition.

I will admit that Jack Layton is performing better than St├ęphane Dion, but who couldn’t? Dion is done and Layton is still spewing venom on corporate Canada. Canada always votes right down the middle and that is precisely where the Harper conservatives are positioned. Again, a left wing vote split will elect conservatives and that means Ralph Goodale may go down to defeat. On the other hand, if the NDP simply makes the point that a majority conservative government needs a strong NDP opposition then some incumbent MP’s in Saskatchewan may lose their seats, but only if the liberal vote falls to a poor third place finish. Layton and the liberals in this campaign are just too far off the mark and I am hard pressed to understand why anyone would vote for them. They have no chance of forming government, which should leave all their promises falling on deaf ears.

Canadian voters have an uncanny way of getting it right on Election Day. I will leave it to the voters and trust in their best judgment. I encourage you to get out and vote for the person you feel will best represent your interests in the House of Commons.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

US - Canadian Economy

It is generally believed that government’s have less to do with assisting an economy and more to do with harming it. So the question you must ask yourself is which party would least harm our economy over the next four years?

In January of 2008 I sounded an alarm on my blog regarding financial markets and the economy in the US and Canada. None of the politicians heard the alarm. The Harper conservatives are still downplaying the impact the failing US economy will have on Canada. Harper argues that the fundamentals of our economy are strong. That is the same argument the conservatives in the US are making, but Harper has never defined the fundamentals of an economy. It is my belief that very few voters have any sense of just what the fundamentals of an economy really are and Harper should have explained to the voters his definition of the fundamentals of an economy.

Economic fundamentals is a broad term which includes economic measures as interest rates, the government’s budget deficit, the country’s balance of trade account (relating to exports and imports), the level of domestic business confidence, the inflation rate, the state of (and confidence in) the banking and wider financial sector and consumer confidence. Now consider the economy in North America with this definition in mind.

The US Senate is staring at a $700 billion plus bailout decision of financial institutions. It could reach a trillion before it is all over. Granted our financial institutions and banks are better regulated than in the US, but we are still at some significant risk as this milestone meltdown in the financial markets plays out. Harper, Dion and Layton all continue to play the argument that we are better off than the US and that our situation here is different and that we should not worry. Well, that sounds good but the US economy performed better than Canada over the last year and their economic growth from June 30, 2007 to June 30, 2008 was 2.2 % compared to our 0.06%. The US is not statistically in a recession, but with US consumers beginning to realize the plight of their situation spending may soon come to an abrupt halt. They represent 75% of the American economy and their shattered confidence could push the US into a statistical recession, which is specifically a decline in the GDP for two consecutive quarters.

The stock markets are a key indicator of things to come in the financial market place and are usually six months ahead of the trend. Economists believe consumers are set to stop spending and in Canada stock markets are near their worst point. The US economy will flood over into Canada and is expected to hit Canada over the next month or two if trends continue the same in the US. This will hit every aspect of our economic fundamentals that our politicians argue are sound.

Interestingly, the impact on Canada will take place long after the election on October 14, 2008. This allows the politicians on the campaign trail to tell you anything they want and the voters are not well positioned to argue what they are being told as it relates to our economy. I can tell you that there is every indication that we are in for a rough ride given the current trends. This campaign has been more about trash talk than a serious debate on the issues that matter to Canadians like the economy, infrastructure, health care, the environment and education. When you go to the polls be sure to ask yourself who will least harm our economy? Who will best speak for Canada, manage our economy and the real issues that matter to all Canadians? The party with a proven record and the leadership to perform in tough times will be your best choice.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Gerry Ritz, MP

The Gerry Ritz issue is a serious matter that will dog the conservative campaign right up to Election Day. Ritz made tasteless comments about the listeriosis outbreak that was linked to processed meats that has now killed 17 people. There are calls for his resignation from Cabinet and as a candidate. Ritz has since apologized, but it was a serious error by Gerry Ritz and he will pay a political price if the ever-harsh Harper treats him like he treats others that purposely or accidentally get in his way. Ritz and the conservative government poorly managed the listeriosis outbreak and the fact Ritz used this serious matter as grounds for tasteless jokes is very unfortunate

From a Saskatchewan view point it is yet another unfortunate disappointment coming from a Saskatchewan MP. Consider the past events relating to Larry Spencer, Tom Lukiwski and Dave Batters. Each was uniquely different from the other, but still unfortunate and disappointing.

The conservatives held all but one of Saskatchewan’s 14 constituencies prior to the election call and by any standard they have been the quietest group of MP’s I have ever known. Generally, as a group, they have been ineffective and they have not earned their bloated salaries. I don’t care if the voters re-elect them or replace them, but I do care that MP’s at least attempt to earn the salaries taxpayers must fund. Saskatchewan voters deserve better!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Gas Gouging

While serving as Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper has stood with the oil companies. He failed to do anything to protect consumers from unfair gas price gouging. Now in the midst of an election he has decided something should be done to protect consumers, but he has yet to say what that may be. At least he has acknowledged that the oil companies have been taking advantage of consumers. It is too bad that it has taken an election for Harper to finally realize that the government must do something to protect consumers.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Harper's Election Mistakes

The Harper conservatives may be leading in the polls, but they are also leading in some very significant mistakes beginning even before the election was called. The conservative government spent billions of taxpayers’ money to buy votes in the lead up to the election call. This is the very thing Harper has always argued against when he was in opposition. It’s called pork barrel politics and Harper is as good as it gets at this kind of careless spending and abuse of tax dollars.

Then there is the matter of some very important MP’s that have chosen not to run again. They use the argument that they want to spend more time with their families. As a good friend of mine argued does it mean that all the candidates running in this election want to spend less time with their families.

The conservatives have not cleared the courts on allegations that they over spent Election Canada guidelines in the 2006 election campaign. They have spent millions of party funds in the lead up to the election, which is apparently not subject to election spending.

Then there is the matter of their communications staffer who has been removed from the campaign and the massive War Room bunker the liberals refer to as the fear factory. The staffer (Sparrow) gaffed when he authorized an ad wherein a puffin (bird) was shown pooping on the shoulder of liberal leader St├ęphane Dion on a conservative Internet site. You can see the relationship between Sparrow, bird and shit. Sparrow got the axe after making the claim that the father of a deceased Canadian soldier criticized the conservatives because he was a liberal. Make no mistake the conservatives have some nasty people on their campaign.

Then Harper made the announcement a day before the 9/11 anniversary that Canada would be pulling out of Afghanistan by 2011 and leaving only a handful of soldiers in that war torn country. This was a mistake in the middle of an election campaign after threats from the Taliban that Canadians should be careful how they vote in this election and that they have stepped up threats against our Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan. This is just what the Taliban wanted to hear. Since when do you communicate to your enemy when you intend to surrender and leave all that has been fought for over the last ten years? When and how you leave a war zone is as important as when and how you get into a war. This is Harper’s worst mistake during this election campaign and it should cost him votes. Harper has always loudly proclaimed how we should support our troops in Afghanistan and now he announces they will be coming home just to support his bid to be Canada’s Prime Minister after this election. Sacrificing our military and all they have fought and died for in the name of politics is rather disgusting.

Yes, the Harper conservatives have made the most mistakes to date in this election campaign, but will it make any difference? That will be your decision on Election Day.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Harper Calls Election

On Sunday, September 7, 2008 Prime Minister Stephen Harper pulled the pin and called Canada’s 40th General Election. Canadians will cast their votes on October 14, 2008. The conservative minority government was the second longest minority government in Canadian history. This is quite amazing since both Harper and the opposition parties were trying to get an election going only a few weeks after Harper was elected Prime Minister. Stephen Harper apparently became impatient with opposition failures to bring down his minority government and brought it to an end with his own call for an election.

NDP leader Jack Layton has been arguing that Harper quit his job and that he (Layton) is applying for it. Well Jack you may as well apply to head up the Fraser Institute because your chances of succeeding would be about the same. The NDP should just give up on federal politics since they have no hope of forming government. Harper may have given up his job, but be assured it is temporary. Harper’s move to call an election will very likely secure his position as Canada’s next Prime Minister after October 14, 2008. He is in majority territory right now and the conservatives are likely to get stronger as the campaign heads toward Election Day.

Dion is dead out of the gate and will soon learn the true meaning of here today and gone tomorrow. That having been said Dion is far more likeable on a personal basis than Harper can ever hope to be and further he hasn’t yet followed Harper’s lead of feeding Cheerios to children.

Harper seems obsessed with proving he is a family man and how much he loves his children. Why is it that he now seems so pressed to prove to us that he is soft and cuddly and loving and caring? Well I could tell you, but I won’t. You figure it out it’s your vote. When was the last time you heard a female candidate trying to prove she is a family woman in an election campaign? You got it they don’t have to.

Harper called this election because in his view parliament wasn’t working and the government couldn’t govern. Well, they passed 65 pieces of legislation and Harper is now apparently the biggest spending Prime Minister in Canadian history. The opposition is supposed to be the guardians of the public purse and they failed miserably. Parliament seemed to be working for Harper and he made that point when he spoke in Regina when he listed a litany of conservative promises they had delivered while working in a minority government position.

This election is not about the voters or what is good for Canadians it is all about Stephen Harper securing a four year mandate for his conservative party to serve in government with a majority. Harper is without doubt the sharpest knife in the drawer and he will get a majority government on October 14, 2008. There will be some serious cutting over the next four years and only time will tell how well it will serve Canadian voters and Canada as a nation.