Wednesday, September 23, 2009

More about By-Elections

The two recent by-election losses by the SaskParty to the NDP did not surprise me, but it does raise a few questions. To begin with Premier Brad Wall’s popularity rating is very high. He is a young, dynamic, common sense Premier who has gained recognition across the country and in the United States. Premier Wall and the SaskParty government have managed the province relatively well and our economy is second to none in the country. The SaskParty is not marred in any scandal or blatant mismanagement of the province. They have not flirted with any foolish extreme policies and have governed with relative modesty. The SaskParty government has not provided any substantive reason for Saskatchewan voters to turn against them. To the contrary, they have provided a positive atmosphere for Saskatchewan voters and made it difficult for voters to come up with rationale reasons to vote for any other party. So why did they lose two by-elections?

To begin with the margin of victory for the NDP was not that good in what has historically been two strong holds for the NDP. I believe the SaskParty failed right out of the gate when the popular Brad Wall made comments that lowered expectations for their hope of winning either of the two by-elections. Brad Wall should have put out a strong call to win and then followed it up with a strong personal involvement in the campaign to influence voters with his personal popularity. Did the SaskParty put forth their best candidates? I suspect not because good candidates return phone calls and I know that didn’t happen. The SaskParty cannot claim they were short of funds to run a strong campaign so that reason for losing is out the window. In short, they lost because they thought they would and they were right.

So where does that leave them? Well, in some trouble because Dwain Lingenfelter will give them their strongest opposition since they formed government. I have no idea why voters would support the NDP given the record of the SaskParty, but they did. Further, I have no idea why Saskatchewan voters would return the NDP to power, but they might. The SaskParty needs to reach out to new voters and known supporters and begin to build new dynamic urban policies that will attract urban voters. Failure to do so will be hazardous at best.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


The recent by-election results leaves one to wonder. Brad Wall is a popular Premier and his government has performed well. Our economy is second to none and there were no substantive reasons for voters to choose the NDP over the SaskParty. So why did they?

To begin with Brad Wall and the SaskParty believed they would lose and they were right. There was no all out effort, on the tails of Brad Wall’s popularity, to win. Granted, these two constituencies have historically voted NDP, but I believe they could have been won. The NDP did not win by a significant margin. A stronger campaign by the entire SaskParty machine led by Brad Wall may have made a difference.

So where does this leave the SaskParty? Well, in some trouble because Dwain Lingenfelter will give them their strongest opposition since they formed government. I have no idea why voters would support the NDP given the record of the SaskParty, but they did. Further, I have no idea why Saskatchewan voters would return the NDP to power, but they might. The SaskParty needs to reach out to new voters and known supporters and begin to build new dynamic urban policies that will attract urban voters. Failure to do so will be hazardous at best.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Canada-US Relations

The following is an American's view and appreciation of the good relations between Canada and the United States of America.

One American's View - David Meadows is a retired US Navy Captain and the
Author of numerous books and articles on military subjects.

This message was on the USMilitary.Com website.

It appears that Mr. Meadows knows one helluva lot more about what our
Military is doing than most Canadians.

David Meadows ~ April 27, 2006

On April 22, 2006 four Canadian soldiers were killed in Afghanistan by a
Roadside bomb. Respects and heartfelt sadness go to the families of
Those heroes who stand alongside the U.S. In the Long War half a world
Away. While we focus on the war in Iraq, the fighting continues in
Afghanistan where side-by-side the U.S. And one of its most loyal
Allies, Canada, engage the re-emergence of the Taliban.

Canada is like a close uncle who constantly argues, badgers and
Complains about what you are doing, but when help is truly needed, you
Can't keep him away: he's right there alongside you. We have a unique
Relationship with Canada. We have different political positions on many
Issues, but our unique friendship has weathered world wars, global
Crises, and the ever-so-often neighborhood disagreement.

Canada has been with us since the beginning of the Global War on
Terrorism. In February 2006, without fanfare Canada, leading a
Multinational force combating growing Taliban insurgency, increased
Troop strength in Afghanistan to 2,300. With the American military
Stretched thin against rising instability in both Iraq and Afghanistan,
An ally that increases its troop strength is inspiring and deserves our

Katrina was another example of our close family-like relationship.
Katrina struck the Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005.
Two days later, the Vancouver Urban Search and Rescue Team rushed from
British Columbia, Canada to Saint Bernard Parish, Louisiana. In this
Parish of 68,000 Americans, the first responders were Canadians.
Overall, within the devastated Gulf Coast area, it appears Canada was
The first responder outside of local efforts. They worked 18-hour days,
Going door-to-door alongside Louisiana State Troopers, rescuing 119
Americans. While FEMA ramped up to surge into the catastrophe; while the
Administration and Louisiana fought for the politically correct way to
Respond; Canadian aid was already at work.

The Canadian Forces Joint Task Group 306 consisting of the warships
HMCS Athabaskan, HMCS Toronto, NSMC Ville de Quebec, and CCGC William
Alexander sailed to the Gulf Coast to deliver humanitarian supplies.
They stayed, working alongside U.S. Navy and Mexican warships, to
Provide aid to Katrina victims. Katrina was not an anomaly of our close
Relationship. When Hurricane Ivan devastated Pensacola, Florida in
October 2004 Canadian humanitarian help was there also. Canadian power
Trucks roamed the streets and countryside helping restore electricity
Where Americans had a unique experience of running into workmen who only
Spoke French.

Canada took a lot of undeserved flak for failing to leap into Operation
Iraqi Freedom when our administration sent us galloping across the
Desert. But Canada remains one of our staunchest allies in the war.
When United States military forces were fighting up the highways in
Operation Iraqi Freedom, Canada quietly increased troop numbers in
Afghanistan and continued Naval operations with U.S. Warships in the
Persian Gulf.

I was at the Pentagon on 9/11, stationed on the Joint Staff.
During the early hours after the attack, the United States closed its
Air space and ordered every aircraft within our borders to land
Immediately at the nearest airfield. Canada immediately stood up an
Operations Support Post. With civil aviation grounded, aircraft destined
For the United States were forced elsewhere. Most landed in Canada.
Re-routed travelers and flight crews were hosted at Canadian Forces
Facilities in Goose Bay, Gander, and Stephenville, Newfoundland;
Halifax, Shearwater, and Aldershot, Nova Scotia; Winnipeg, Manitoba;and
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.

Canada rapidly mobilized its forces. Within hours, the Canadian Navy was
On alert with ships preparing to cast off immediately for any U.S. Port
To help victims of the 9/11 attacks. Canada's Disaster Assistance
Response Team prepared to deploy from Trenton, Ontario. Canada dispersed
CF-18 fighter aircraft to strategic locations throughout Canada. No
Politics. No negotiating. No questions. They were just there. Canada
Would have fought any adversary that approached the United States that

Canada has been such an integral partner with the United States in the
Global War on Terrorism that on December 7, 2004 when President Bush
Awarded the Presidential Unit Citation to Commander Joint Force South
For combat success in Afghanistan, he was also recognizing the secretive
Canadian Joint Task Force 2 commando counter-terrorism unit.

The U.S. Department of Defense has awarded 30 Bronze Star medals for
Heroism in combat to Canadian Forces personnel. Some of those 30 died in
action. Many of the others were wounded. These Canadians earned this
American medal for heroism fighting alongside Americans. When we recall
our own dead heroes, we must remember that these warriors gave their
lives not only for Canada, but also for the United States.

Canada is more than a neighbor. It is a close family member with the
gumption to disagree with its brother to the south but always be there
when disaster strikes and America needs help. For that, I salute you,
Canada, and extend my respect for the sacrifices given by members of the
Canadian Forces. What an awesome Country you are Canada!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Federal Election

It seems likely the nations politicians are going to burden us with yet another federal election. It comes at a cost of about 300 million with no apparent benefit to the Canadian taxpayers. When it is all over we will most likely be left with a minority liberal or conservative government. The NDP and Bloc are fringe players in Canadian politics and have no hope of forming government.

Stephen Harper argues that Canadians he has talked to don't want an election. Well that is a little weak. I suspect the liberals are saying that Canadians they are talking to want an election. The fact is both the Harper conservatives and the liberals are politically aligned in the middle of the political spectrum. This is where you have to be to form government and it is a natural place for the liberals. The conservatives have to work at it and are uncomfortable having to act like liberals, but they know they have no choice if they want to maintain their minority government or the possibility of forming a majority government.

The winners in this election are the politicians who get elected. They are very well paid and you have to ask if your MP is really worth it. The media also benefits as they get to cover this whole sorry mess as if it is the most important issue facing the country. The taxpayers will be the losers again as usual with little benefit resulting from a federal election. I suggest our nations politicians reject the notion of an election and get down to business and address the important issues facing Canadians. A federal general election will do little to serve the best interests of Canadians at this time.