Saturday, December 18, 2010

Canadian Economy

Well, so much for all the talk that the mainstream media in the US goes easy on President Obama. President Obama is turning out to be the best Republican President the US has had for a long while. Like other democratic Presidents before him, like Bill Clinton, he is leaning on and seeking the support of republics on his administrations policies. On December 17, 2010 he signed into law an 858 billion dollar economic stimulus that will, as reported by the US media, cut taxes for the super rich.

In my view cutting taxes is not the best way to stimulate an economy. Government and the private sector need to work together to provide long-term sustainable jobs that can’t see the minimum wage in the rear view mirror. A focus on long-term, necessary investments in Canada’s infrastructure is a good start to create those kinds of jobs and should be expanded. This will help provide funding for cost-efficient social programs for all Canadians.

Prime Minister Harper is long on cutting corporate taxes and public spending. Neither of these two will do anything to stimulate Canada’s fragile economy. He is fighting a national unemployment rate that is in the 8% range. Harper has bailed out the banks and the auto industry, ran up a $56 billion 2010 budget deficit, and has run Canada into an historic national debt. Finance Minister Flaherty has projected it will hit well over $500 billion by 2011-12 and that was predicated on a 2009-10 deficit of $33.7 billion, not the actual $55.6 billion.

Now consider interest rates going up and the resulting cost to government to service that debt. Also, consider that the average Canadian family carries $1.50 in debt for every $1.00 they have in disposable income and how an increase in interest rates will affect their service charges.

The Prime Minister always talks about the strength of Canada’s economic fundamentals. 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. With these economic fundamentals in mind it may be that Prime Minister Harper and President Obama are not on the right economic track for Canada or the US. Only time will tell.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fur Protest Ridiculous

PETA is over the top on this issue. The lobby in Canada and other countries to prohibit or discourage the use of fur in the clothing industry is ridiculous. Why we have allowed this to happen in Canada is an interesting question.

CBC News - Montreal - Trudeau's holiday card stirs protest

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Penny Gone - Next the Senate

How ironic! A Senate Committee has concluded that the government should stop production of the penny and after that to with draw it from circulation within a year. The penny should have been taken out of circulation long ago, but government works slowly even on the simple issues.

Neither the penny nor the Senate makes any sense (cents) having around. The penny costs more to produce than it is worth. The Senate costs a small fortune and no real value has ever been calculated as to the worth of the Senate. The term “not worth two cents” will still apply to the Senate since the cent soon won’t exist and therefore will have no value. It will be like “as phony as a two dollar bill.”

Regardless, it will be good to be rid of the useless penny. Now we can direct our attention on the future of the Senate. We should at least attempt to attach a real and tangible value that determines their worth.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper used to believe they should at least be elected. Then their existence would be based on the same principle (elected) as any politician, but would they be worth any more. It’s less expensive to appoint them. Maybe we should appoint all politicians and do away with elections. A revolving appointment committee would appoint one candidate out of twelve selected by the public based on their qualifications. Each candidate considered would be required to submit an extensive resume along with an endorsement of no less than 5000 signatures of people that person would be expected to represent. Their appointment would be for no more than a five-year term and could be terminated by the appointment committee if they failed to represent the will of the people or violated any rules associated with their appointment. Their termination would be final and binding. The successful candidates would be responsible for forming the government and committees from within their own ranks.

Please take all this with a grain of salt or a lump of coal, but it would make for an interesting debate. The party system is failing the people and reform is truly necessary. Try running as a conservative against an incumbent conservative MP and see how far that gets you. And the other parties aren’t much better. What happened to democracy?

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Prime Minister Harper Rocks

Regardless of your political persuasion you have to give Prime Minister Stephen Harper full marks for his performance as a musician and a singer.  His latest performance is at the conservative caucus Christmas party.  Most politicians would never risk it, but not Harper.  He has had other public performances as a musician and singer and you just have to love it every time he performs.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper too often comes across as cool and calculating and he is all of that, but these musical performances show the other side of Prime Minister Harper.  In my view he isn't passionate about politics.  He just likes politics, trusts few and seems always to be in total control.  That is what is necessary to be totally successful in politics.  I made the mistake of trusting too many and too often.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper loves hockey and music and for a politician in this country it doesn't get any better.  He may not be your favorite rock star, but he is your Prime Minister and he will likely sing his way to at least another minority government.  Not everyone is in tune with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, but he is the one rocking on Parliament Hill right now and performing well in more ways than one.  Politics can be interesting and entertaining!

Watch this video on CBC and you will agree.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Canada-Israel Relations

Regardless of your position on Canada's relations with Israel this video is an education and worth a look.  It is an excellent insight into the current relations between these two countries.

More at The Real News

Prime Minister Extends Deadline

Prime Minister, Stephen Harper recently spoke to the success of the federal government’s stimulus initiatives.  He announced the deadline for completing projects under the government’s various infrastructure initiatives has been extended to October 31, 2011.  This involves about $16 billion dollars the federal government has provided, but the extension does not involve any new funding.  It is intended to allow time for planned projects to be completed that otherwise had been interrupted due to bad weather the construction season experienced this past year.

Money spent on infrastructure projects in communities across the country is where the government deserves some credit.  These projects relieve the costs to local and provincial governments and are funded projects that are worth the investment.  The projects also provide for all levels of government and the private sector to work in partnership to secure necessary infrastructure projects.  The Prime Minister’s announced extension of the deadline for these projects is worth applauding.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The Fate of Drug Abuse

The following sad story is a fate that in the future will fall on many more of those involved in drugs as users or pushers or both. Parents are left with a feeling of despair where they are resigned to accept there is nothing more they can do for their children involved in drugs. It is interesting to note how society has attacked smokers and, to a lesser extent alcohol abuse, seems resigned to accept the abuse of drugs that may eventually kill our children. Parents need to know what can be done to save their children from an addiction that will make them sick, that will turn them into common criminals and may result in their death. Parents want their children to have a long, healthy, productive and happy life. Is there nothing parents can do to make that happen?

TheStar Father not surprised teen son was killed

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Extreme Measures

You decide.

Palin: Hunt Wikileaks director; U.S. explores espionage charge -

Were MP's Rights Breached?

Breach or no breach. That is the question!

Ottawa – A parliamentary committee will dig into the leak of a confidential Commons committee report now that Speaker Peter Milliken has ruled the leak is a breach of MPs’ rights.  Read more: The Star

Tom Lukiwski, the parliamentary secretary to the House leader, said there was no breach of parliamentary privilege.  Read more: CBC

Monday, November 29, 2010

Human Rights

The SaskParty government has made changes to how human rights issues will be managed.  It is believed the courts will better protect human rights than any system outside the courts.

CBC News - Saskatchewan - Proposed changes to Sask. human rights law introduced

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Former SaskParty MLA Guilty

The report of Saskatchewan's Conflict Commissioner has found former SaskParty MLA Serge LeClerc's actions were unethical and highly inappropriate for an elected representative of the people of Saskatchewan. Are there lessons to be learned from any of this? Likely, but any discussions to diminish the findings of the Conflict Commissioner should simply not be entertained.

Discussions on the radio and on the street attempting to sugar coat or find flaws in the findings in this matter are foolish at best. Attempts to justify the conduct of Serge LeClerc or attempts to soften the decision or deflect away from the Commissioner's findings serves no meaningful purpose.

The Conflict Commissioner submitted a clear and conclusive report that is without question. I would like to believe that most people in life do more good than harm, but in the end that is not usually how we are judged.

Further, any attempts to score political points on this issue are also unethical and lack any sense of class or professionalism. Moving backward on this issue is not an option. It is time to accept this issue for what it is and move on.

The full report of Ronald L. Barclay, Q.C., Conflict of Interest Commissioner for the Province of Saskatchewan is available on the Internet. I commend the Commissioner for his comprehensive investigation into this matter and for his concise and fair findings contained in his well-written report.

CBC News - Saskatchewan - Sask. MLA drug admissions true: report

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Democracy at Risk?

It is always interesting to hear the political parties talk about the ideologies of left and right politics. It is often reported that the left leaning liberals in Canada are aligned with the left leaning US democrats and that the right leaning conservatives in Canada are aligned with the right leaning US republicans. There is little truth, if any, to these reports. The liberals and the conservatives in Canada are both fighting for the middle ground where most Canadian voters sit. That’s right, right in the middle and that’s as right as it gets in Canada. The reality is that both liberals and conservatives in Canada are somewhere left of the democrats and republicans in the US.

Elections and resulting changes as to whom governs us sadly results in little change. It is generally argued that we are ruled by the elite and have been for some time. What governments do is most often done for their own interests and not the interests of the general public. Governments make decisions with little or no consultation with the general public. Our voices only count during an election and that most often changes nothing.

It has increasingly become difficult to get any politician to respond to the simplest of questions and near impossible to get a meeting with them or their staff. Further, returning phone calls is not high on their agenda. My experience has found that getting responses to email may take up to two or three months and that is if they respond at all. They are either in a meeting, away from their desk, on another line, out of the office, on holidays or simply not available at this time. Local governments are far more accessible and it only gets worse as you move up to provincial and federal governments.

We have lost control of our politicians and our governments over the last few decades. They say anything they want on the issues and we generally just move on and wait for their next move. Democracy is a fragile system of government and when the people fail to fight for their right to be involved is when they may evolve to a place they don’t want to go regardless of left or right ideologies. So, is democracy at risk?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Big Lead for Premier Wall and SaskParty

Back in September 9, 2010 I wrote a Letter to the Editor and posted it on my blog.  In the letter I was making the point that our governments, in particular the federal government, are not responsive.  In this letter I made the following observation.  Quote - “According to the information I have on file I can see no reason why anyone should not vote for the SaskParty. Regardless, of what you look at the SaskParty has most of it covered. Based on performance it would be unreasonable to vote for any other party.” - Unquote.  A few people took exception to this supportive observation I made of the SaskParty.  One of those people who took exception was Mr. Kent E. Peterson who posted a Letter to the Editor pointing out his reasons why people should vote against Premier Wall and the SaskParty.  His letter was printed in the Nipawin Journal.

He went on to ask where I was getting my files or information to come to the conclusion that most people don’t have a good reason to not vote for the SaskParty.  Let me answer that question this way.  Angela Hall of the Leader Post recently posted an article that reported on the findings in a recent poll by Sigma Analytics.  The poll showed that the SaskParty is favored by 57.3% of the voters compared to 29.4% for the NDP.  It also showed that Premier Wall is favored by 73.3% of the voters compared to 16.7% for the NDP’s leader Mr. Lingenfelter.  On the matter of BHP Billiton’s takeover bid of PotashCorp the poll showed that nearly 82% of the voters favored the position taken by Premier Wall as being better able to secure the best result for the province versus the NDP.

Finally, it is not for me to say how anyone should vote, but it is for me to come to certain conclusions on a range of issues based on the information I may have in my files.  My position regarding the current status of the SaskParty back in September was dead on, which I reported in the papers and on my blog nearly two months ahead of the Sigma Analytics poll.  I write for free as an independent non-partisan freelance writer who holds no membership in any political party.  I thank Mr. Peterson for taking exception to my viewpoints.  I made him think about the issue and that is important to democracy.  He may have to agree that the polls pretty much said the same thing I had said two months earlier.  On the other hand he can choose to disregard the polls.  It doesn’t matter to me either way.  I don’t care what position people take on the issues that surround them.  All I care is that they at least think about the issues.  This is why I write Letters to the Editor.  I want the public to get involved and pay attention to what their politicians are saying and doing.  It’s your money they are spending and it’s your right to voice your views on the issues.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Securing Our Retirement Future

The changes set out in this Consultation Paper have some merit.  Ontario may gain the support of the federal government.  It is possible for the Paper to benefit both retirees and government.  Read how it is reported in The Toronto Star.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Party System Fails Constituents

I have long held the position that partisan political parties, with their highly dominant hierarchy, are failing within the political party system. This so-called democratic system that is the current foundation upon how we nominate and elect individuals to serve in provincial legislatures and the Parliament of Canada is failing supporters of all political parties.

A new and principled system within all political parties, with a common set of rules for nominations, is needed to assure the support of volunteers and to assure the parties are equally open to all those who may wish to run. A new system is needed to relieve the supporters of various political parties from the unfair bias forced on them by the party hierarchy that supports one candidate over all others.

The hierarchy of the political parties is comprised of simple individuals whom are usually directed by the leader of respective parties. This dysfunctional system only gets worse among parties that are in power within government as they use this new found power to build on the strength of their heady and high-minded hierarchy. It is always unfair and often brutal how some bright enthusiastic candidates for nominations within the current party system are kicked to the sidelines by the hierarchy in favour of their choice over that of the membership of political party associations. The so-called star candidates almost always win their nominations to represent their party at the next election, but they are often not the best people to have as your elected member. Either way the system is usually tilted against any dwindling powers individual members of party associations may have thought they were entitled to in return for their efforts as volunteers.

In Saskatchewan there are 13 conservative members of Parliament. None of them are particularly outstanding and some would argue that they are mediocre at best. None are the brightest stars in Parliament, but they were either star candidates or the chosen ones of the political hierarchy at their nomination.

The political system currently in place within the federal conservative party locks in mediocrity and disallows any party member from challenging an incumbents' nomination. How is that democratic? How is that fair? How does that serve the best interests of the party faithful and the volunteers whom are expected to run the campaigns for barely competent incumbents whom are already failing to provide the strong representation that constituents expect and deserve?

The voting public have a basic distrust and disrespect for government and for politicians. There are a few exceptions from time to time and they are almost always based on certain policies or issues. Even among popular governments like the SaskParty you will find it is run by the chosen few and not by the general membership of the party. In fact, it was the hierarchy of two individual parties that jointly created the SaskParty. Now they have been at each others throats publicly and in the courts over certain details of their very own creation.

As the base of a political party is diminished and the hierarchy is heightened the party becomes top heavy and eventually will collapse. Whatever is left unchallenged soon adopts a right to rule belief. The party system of politics in Canada and in Saskatchewan is at that point. If it is not soon changed to return control back to the membership and to the volunteers then the party system will continue to fail their constituents. The system may be near collapse and at the very least needs to be changed if we are to attract the best people to represent us and govern our country and our province.

The following CBC media link is yet another example of how the hierarchy continues to rule.  It is further confirmation that the party system is failing constituents.

CBC News - New Brunswick - Tory MP used public funds to back candidate

Saskatchewan Virtual War Memorial

Please visit the Saskatchewan Virtual War Memorial.  It is a wonderful project and I thank all those who contributed to this website.  The site honours all those brave and courageous people who sacrificed their life for the sake of freedom and peace.

Thursday, November 04, 2010


The decision is in and BHP Billiton is out. At least for the next thirty days as Industry Minister Tony Clement has indicated to give BHP an opportunity to tweak its offer. I suppose this so-called tweaking is akin to sweetening the pot and therein lies the rub. This issue will now be debated for another month and then who knows what decision the federal governmnent may come to on this unprecedented issue.

When I was first elected in 1975 to the Saskatchewan legislature the big issue was Allan Blakeney's nationalization of the potash industry. Saskatchewan's Premier is beginning to sound a bit like Allan Blakeney when Wall announced that the potash resource doesn't belong to one company, it belongs to the people of Saskatchewan. This observation was also reported in the Calgary Beacon by Murray Dobbin.

It's a good fight regardless of what side of the issue you stand. Of course, you could stay out of the fight and take no position like Saskatchewan's 13 conservative MP's. At least Premier Brad Wall took a position on the issue. At this point, we are not yet exactly sure where the federal government stands given they have not slammed the door on BHP Billiton, which I understand is a requirement under the Investment Canada Act. As it stands we still don't have a final and binding decision by the federal government. I expect everyone will climb back in the ring tomorrow and continue to fight this out until a decision is final.

Check out the news report in the Montreal Gazette captioned; "BHP's potash Bid Bounced" for more information on this controversial issue.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

PotashCorp Takeover Decision Expected Today

The federal government is expected to make a decision today whether to allow or quash the BHP Billiton takeover of PotashCorp.  The decision is expected late this afternoon and will be highly controversial regardless of the decision by the federal government.  One thing is sure.  We will see whether the 13 conservative MP's in Saskatchewan are on the outs with the governing SaskParty or are in bed with them.  Either way, we will finally learn if the conservative MP's are now prepared to break their silence on this issue and let the people of Saskatchewan know where they stand.

It seems to me that given so many people from around the world want to buy PotashCorp it is likely the best reason why Saskatchewan should oppose the takeover.  If the federal government approves the takeover with conditions, I will be surprised if those conditions satisfy the SaskParty even if it included a new stadium for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.  If the federal government quashes the deal then they will have broken with a long tradition of approving such foreign acquisitions and they will have raised an interesting question.  Are the Harper conservatives selling off their ideology and policies regarding business in exchange for votes at the next election?

Check out the CBC to get the most recent developments and video regarding this important news story.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

What are your MP's Expenditures?

The following link provides you with a summary of what MP's expenditures were from April 1, 2009 to March 31, 2010.  It is official information as provided by the Parliament of Canada.

MP Expenses

Friday, October 29, 2010

CBC News - Canada - Thais stop 100 Canada-bound Tamils

My compliments to Immigation Minister Jason Kenny and the federal government for finally taking some positive action and cooperating with authorities in other countries on the important issue of human smuggling. Also, my compliments to CBC for reporting on this issue.

CBC News - Canada - Thais stop 100 Canada-bound Tamils

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

PotashCorp versus BHP Billiton

At some time near November 3, 2010 the federal government will make an important decision.  That decision will either allow the BHP takeover of PotashCorp or it will quash the bid with the authority it has under the Investment Canada Act.

The SaskParty government has made their decision and that is to back PotashCorp over BHP Billiton.  I would guess that is the most popular move as most people in Saskatchewan likely support PotashCorp.

It is not a matter of ownership.  PotashCorp is primarily an American owned company and if BHP were successful in their bid to take over PotashCorp then it would be primarily owned by an Australian company.  The matter of concern is what is best for Saskatchewan and Premier Brad Wall has made his decision.

It is now time for 13 Saskatchewan conservative MP's to make the right decision and back the Premier.  That of course is based on the assumption that Premier Wall and the SaskParty have made the right decision.  Either way the time has arrived for the Saskatchewan MP's to say something definitive on the issue.  They are the quietest group of MP's that I can ever remember.  I am sure they all tremble in fear of saying something that may offend their leader, Prime Minister Stephen Harper.  Harper could make a decision on any issue affecting Saskatchewan and every conservative MP would promptly tow the party line and back Harper.  How disgusting is that?  I would support anyone of them that could muster the courage to speak out in support of Saskatchewan on any issue that Harper may not support.  Having to answer to anyone other than your constituents is simply not right regardless of the issue.  What do you say Saskatchewan?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Saskatchewan Opposes BHP Billiton

On October 5, 2010 I wrote about BHP Billiton’s bid to buy PotashCorp on this blog.  I came to the following conclusion in the final paragraph; “It’s a tough call, but either way you can count on the provincial and federal governments being too involved in business and our lives regardless of their respective ideologies.” This is currently unfolding as Saskatchewan’s Premier, Brad Wall has came out against the take over bid by BHP and now his government is fully engaged in attempting to convince the federal government to block BHP and save PotashCorp.

Here is some history now worth considering. The SaskParty was formed as a coalition of progressive conservatives and liberals. This was done in conjunction with placing the Progressive Conservative Party of Saskatchewan in hiatus for a couple of elections to give the SaskParty a chance to succeed. I never supported the manner in how this all came to pass. The Progressive Conservative Party and the SaskParty are still fighting over this and even in the courts over power and money. Either way, it proceeded, and in part, to distance the provincial conservatives in Saskatchewan from former Premier Grant Devine (who Brad Wall consulted with regarding BHP) and, in part, to isolate the SaskParty from decisions made by whomever was in power in Ottawa. I attended a meeting in Regina one-morning years ago with Stephen Harper who referred to the SaskParty as his fair weather friends. The snow arrived in Saskatchewan today and that is not fair weather. Will the Prime Minister see the BHP issue as fair weather and support the SaskParty’s effort to block BHP Billiton?

Further, will all the conservative MP’s finally speak out and back the SaskParty or will they continue to allow themselves to be muzzled by Stephen Harper? Remember how Harper left the Saskatchewan MP’s dangling in the wind over the Income Trust Fund issue?

Will MP Andrew Scheer finally break his silence and support his good friend Jeremy Harrison who is a former defeated conservative MP now serving in the Cabinet of the SaskParty government. Harrison is the MLA for Meadow Lake. He is also accompanying minister Bill Boyd in an attempt to lobby the federal government to stop the BHP take over bid. The time could not be better for Andrew Scheer to hook up with his old friend Jeremy Harrison and support the SaskParty.

Regardless, the BHP Billiton issue will define how closely aligned the federal conservatives and the SaskParty are when it comes to making major decisions. Interestingly, the best support the SaskParty has had in Ottawa has come from the one and only liberal MP in Saskatchewan, Ralph Goodale. Is Saskatchewan really open for business under the conservatives and on what terms? I guess we will soon find out!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Canadian Economy

Prime Minister Stephen Harper continues on a regular basis in his attempts to paint a rosy picture of the Canadian economy.  His attempts are solely for political reasons.  There is very little reason to be optimistic about the Canadian economy.  The economy in the United States is going nowhere and as long as that condition exists the Canadian economy will continue to struggle.  For every dollar of disposable income in the average Canadian household, there is nearly $1.50 in debt.  Canadian families are among the most indebted in the western world and interest rates will rise whenever the economy does improve. 

The Harper conservatives have this country in debt like never before due to reckless and needless spending.  Stephen Harper even admits we won't see any stability in the economy until late 2012 and that is on pure speculation over the future of the US economy and his ability to get spending under control.  Stephen Harper has taken Canada into debt with reckless spending on the G8/G20 summit (1.3 billion), 26 billion for new military equipment, new or expanded prisons expected to cost around 13 billion and about 6 billion a year in tax cuts for large wealthy corporations.  How are average middle income families doing?  What has happened to the Canadian standard of living?  Are we really better off under the Harper conservative government?

The country is over 50 billion in debt and rising and yet the Harper conservatives are seen as the best hope to manage our insecure economy.  How can that be?  Regardless of your personal political bias you still have to consider the facts.  Isn't it time for Canadian taxpayers to pay attention and get into the game.  It's your money isn't it?  It's your future and the future of Canada.  Well, isn't it?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

United Nations snubs Canada

Canada’s bid to secure a seat on the United Nation’s Security Council was rejected by member countries disturbed with Canada’s foreign policies. Some argue this is an embarrassment for Canada who was beat out by Portugal. Others argue that it really doesn’t matter since we were voted out by tin can countries who oppose Canada’s stand on human rights and our support of Israel.

Some humor was added to the matter of Canada losing in their bid for a seat on the Security Council by Canada’s foreign affairs minister, Lawrence Cannon. He chose to blame Michael Ignatieff, leader of the liberal opposition in Parliament. It is difficult to believe that Ignatieff has more influence on member countries of the United Nations than does Lawrence Cannon or the Prime Minister. This was a huge political mistake by the Harper conservatives. They should simply have stated the loss was no surprise as it was expected that member countries who oppose our way of life and stand on foreign policy were likely to vote against Canada. And they did!

The reality is that nearly half of all Canadians don’t feel the United Nations has any relevance on the world stage. Regardless, Canada should never be blackmailed into developing foreign policies that please member countries of the United Nations so we can gain a seat on the UN’s Security Council. Canada was essentially voted out by our enemies. I have no problem with that.

It may be time for Canada to focus more on domestic policies that support Canadians and less on foreign policies that support ungrateful countries that oppose Canada on the world stage.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Séance Controversy

There has been plenty of controversy over the Western Development Museum in Moose Jaw deciding to cancel a Halloween fundraiser that was intended to feature mentalist Jeff Richards. It was reported that he would conduct a so-called séance.

A séance is a type of ritual conducted to communicate with spirits or ghosts of the dead. It is usually presided over by a medium, a "sensitive" person through whom the spirits are supposed to communicate. A typical séance is conducted by a small group of people, often sitting around a table usually in the dark. The word séance comes from the French for "session" or "sitting." The séance was at its most popular during the Spiritualist movement of the 19th and early 20th centuries, during which many of the current aspects of the ritual were developed. The 1887 Seybert Commission report marred the credibility of Spiritualism at the height of its popularity by publishing exposures of fraud and showmanship among secular séance leaders.

In a recent interview, Jeff Richards indicated that all precautions would have been made to protect against any spiritual or physical harm. He suggested that there have been cases of physical harm, but not spiritual harm. It is more likely that someone tripped and hurt themselves in the dark or fell of their chair while gazing at the flickering candle in wind. Either way, how do you make precautions against something that does not happen?

Back in the days of Abraham Lincoln séances were held in the White House to communicate with the dead. All else has failed so maybe they should attempt a séance in the House of Commons. I have problems communicating with the living let alone the dead and especially as it comes to politicians. I find communicating with the living to be sometimes a challenge and I am not the least bit interested in any hoax to communicate with the spirits of the dead. Have a Great Day, happy Halloween and may the Force be with you.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

BHP Billiton versus PotashCorp

Sometimes there are only slight differences between socialist and conservative governments. Socialist governments like to be in business and conservative governments are more inclined to regulate business and almost everything else in our lives. In reality, federal and provincial governments are too involved in our lives.

We are seeing how this plays out regarding BHP Billiton’s bid to buy out the private company, PotashCorp, the world’s largest fertilizer company by capacity. A socialist government would be more likely to take over the company with our tax dollars. On the other hand we see the SaskParty government deferring to a commissioned study, which they now claim they will have to review for a few weeks before coming to a decision. The federal conservative government will also reserve their decision for about a month or so before we know where they stand.

On the surface it seems like BHP would be better for Saskatchewan as they have indicated the top executives would work out of Saskatoon as opposed to Chicago. From an employee viewpoint Saskatchewan would be better off with BHP. Then there is the matter of Canpotex, the world’s largest exporter of potash, which is wholly owned by the potash producers of Saskatchewan. BHP may not agree to work with Canpotex and from that viewpoint Saskatchewan may be worse off if BHP is successful in taking over PotashCorp.

It’s a tough call, but either way you can count on the provincial and federal governments being too involved in business and our lives regardless of their respective ideologies.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you've got anyway.

_Author Unknown

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Not Fair

It is not fair when you irresponsibly drive your vehicle and cause the death of a person and then only have to serve 26 months in jail.  An example of this unfairness can be found in the folling link.  Criminal negligence in any case causing death should draw a more severe penalty than 26 months.  What happened to the new criminal code where street racing is involved?

Monday, September 20, 2010

CBC News - Saskatchewan - Artist wants to remove Tommy Douglas statue

CBC News - Saskatchewan - Artist wants to remove Tommy Douglas statue

The artist in this story has a good point.  If she decides to take it down then she will likely have to return some funds to the people who helped her raise the money she needed to make the sculpture of Tommy Dougas.  It seems the public and the media were more intested in movie stars than they were in Saskatchewan history.  I don't care if the sculpture is taken down, but I am sure the residents of Weyburn will care.

Keystone Pipeline Project

Keystone Pipeline Project

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Great Canadian

“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.”


Canada's Thirteenth Prime Minister

Thursday, September 09, 2010

2009 Sport Touring Motorcycle Comparison Review

Government's Not Responding

I receive regular information from both the federal government and the Saskatchewan provincial government. I also get regular information from my Member of Parliament, Ralph Goodale. With all this information I have come to some interesting conclusions.

There isn’t an uncut ribbon to be found in Saskatchewan because every SaskParty member is armed with a sharp set of scissors. They show up everywhere to be seen and to be heard. The federal government is no different as the Prime Minister flies all over Canada to announce new spending or to applaud some popular person, group or thing. This is what politics is all about.

According to the information I have on file I can see no reason why anyone should not vote for the SaskParty. Regardless, of what you look at the SaskParty has most of it covered. Based on performance it would be unreasonable to vote for any other party.

The federal government is another story. There are more reasons to vote against the Stephen Harper government than there are to vote for them. The problem is that the liberal opposition is not yet a viable alternative to the governing conservatives. Check the polls.

Is anyone really listening to their government unless they are directly affected? More importantly does it really matter if you are listening? My experience with both governments is that they expect you to listen, but I have had no success in getting either of them to respond to my questions and suggestions. I can live with that, but can you? The reality is that individual citizens have been effectively removed from the decision making process of government. All you get to do is vote. So what are you going to do about it?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Afghanistan War

The war in Afghanistan is not going well. The UN-mandated NATO-led mission to help the Afghan people achieve peace and stability is not likely to ever succeed. It is costly and more important Canada has lost too many lives on the foreign soils of this complicated war front. Having Canada and the United States engaged in this conflict is troubling in other ways. The President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, is burdened by his own corruption and yet we are somehow forced to accommodate him. Hamid Karzai is using Canada and other nations for his own agenda and his loyalties can turn on a dime.

Why Stephen Harper invited Hamid Karzai to address the House of Commons is an interesting question. I suppose it was believed entertaining one more loose cannon wouldn’t make much difference. Karzai has also dragged the United States into entertaining a visit for the sole purpose of stroking his ego to keep him on side.

The effort and sacrifice of our troops in Afghanistan, answering the call of duty placed on them by their government, is both remarkable and appreciated. Was this a conflict we should never have entered? Have we made a sustainable difference in Afghanistan? Is it now time to get out of Afghanistan? These are questions the Canadian people must answer and for our government to act accordingly.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Sir Wilfred Laurier

Wilfrid Laurier ideas on Immigrants and being a Canadian in 1907.

'In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes a Canadian and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet a Canadian, and nothing but a Canadian...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is a Canadian, but something else also, isn't a Canadian at all. We have room for but one flag, the Canadian flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language.. And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the Canadian people.'

_Wilfrid Laurier 1907

Monday, August 16, 2010

Migrant Tamils

The recent arrival of nearly 500 Tamil migrants on Canada’s west coast after a three-month voyage is troubling for both them and this country. This is not the first time that Tamil refugees have come here by ship and it won’t be the last as more ships loaded with immigrant Tamil refugees are expected to land on Canadian shores according to our government.

There is a lot wrong with this method of achieving landed immigrant status in this country. It is costly and unfair to Canada. How can people board a ship, suffer for three months on the open seas, arrive on our shores and then expect Canadians to harbor them for life? Worse yet, Canadians are often expected to take up the battle they left.

It is time for Canada and the US to get out of wars they should never have entered and can’t win. It is time for both countries to cool the troubled waters with strong doses of diplomacy leading to more peaceful settlements of disruptions in other countries, if we are to become involved at all. It is also time for our government to draw a hard line on migrant immigrants. As long as we keep taking them in they will keep on coming while others are left to go through the normal channels of a lengthy immigration process before they can come to Canada. How is that fair?

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Election Talk

There has been talk about an election ever since Stephen Harper formed a minority government.  The liberals booted their former leader, Dion for Ignatieff, and the liberals are still not high enough in the polls to form government.  This is the only reason Harper is able to hang onto his minority government.  It is also the reason why talk of an election is a waste of time.  None of the political parties want to have an election because there would be no clear winner according to the polls.

Harper just made some minor changes to his cabinet and then promptly stated that an election would interrupt the nation's economic recovery.  I disagree with the Prime Minister.  There is very little economic recovery and much talk about slipping back into recession.  Harper once said Canada would not likely be in a recession and if so we would be the last in and the first out.  He made that statement at the same time he told the media that a Harper conservative government would not run deficits or increase the nation's debt.  Harper has been wrong on the economy from the very beginning and little has changed.  When will he realize there is little the government can do to improve the economy and a lot they can do, and have done, to harm the economy.

Canada's economy may be better than most, but it is anything but stable.  Check your stocks and your savings and investment deposits.  How are they doing?  The politicians know the economy is the most important issue facing Canadians.  Canada is one player in a large global economy.  The best thing the government can do is to manage effectively within existing economic conditions and quit talking about elections.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

G8-G20 Meetings

The G8/G20 meetings in Toronto have come and gone along with a billion dollars in security costs alone. Riots and the resulting damage in Toronto left a bad image of Toronto and Canada for the entire world to see. These meetings in previous years in other countries around the world amounted to a fraction of Canada’s costs. The government is left to defend these lavish expenses until the opposition or the taxpayers decide to move on to some other issue. Herein lies a serious problem. When the people of this country give up in despair on issues that should matter to them their government will increasingly govern with disregard for the very people they were elected to serve.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has surpassed the liberals on a number of fronts. Most notably, his apparent obsession with power, authority, control and lack of transparency makes former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau look better with each passing day.

So what did we get out of these costly meetings? The media reported that Canada won a significant victory in securing deficit reduction targets for advanced countries. The plan is to cut deficits in half by 2013 and stabilize debt loads by 2016. Personally, I am not impressed. Advanced countries should not have to be told by Canada or anyone else to keep their deficits and debt loads in check. Individual Canadians have to do that out of absolute necessity at some point. Why should our government or other so called advanced countries not logically come to that same conclusion?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


The news today of a 5.5 magnitude earthquake in the Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal area is a reminder that bad things can happen at any time and anywhere. Fortunately, there have been no reports of injury, but some windows at Ottawa’s City Hall were apparently shattered and people were evacuated from various buildings including employees on Parliament Hill. We in the west have always known that Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal are the epicenter of Canada. This earthquake seems to have proven that point, as the epicenter was only 61 kilometres north of Ottawa.

It proved one other thing and that is that Prime Minister Stephen Harper is not easily rocked. He said he did not feel the earthquake. One person joked that it was simply the result of Quebec separating from the rest of Canada. Interestingly, we had to wait for the United States to feed us exact data on the strength of the earthquake.

Again it was good to hear no one was injured. And as the politicians will say, “moving forward” will bring calmer days.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Right or Privilege

Should access to government information be a right enshrined in our nation’s constitution or should it only be a privilege that some politician or bureaucrat decides is not in their interest to share? I believe it should be a right, with few exceptions, and enshrine it in our constitution.

Getting a politician or some departmental bureaucrat to answer a question is near impossible. Since March of 2010 I have been attempting to get some questions answered regarding the Guaranteed Income Supplement. The Prime Minister and members of his cabinet have refused to answer my questions. A Saskatchewan Senator has refused to fully get involved. Various bureaucrats have refused to answer my questions. The evidence I have on file strongly suggests that the Parliament of Canada has failed to fully address the issue of impoverished seniors having been denied their rightful claim to retroactive GIS benefits. This situation resulted from the government’s failure to responsibly advise them of their right to the GIS benefit. This issue was front-page news in 2002 and then conveniently swept under the table and no one to date is prepared to even discuss the issue. How can this be?

The government and parliament should be challenged on this issue. Is there a politician who can think past their pay cheque?

Thursday, May 27, 2010


It has now been conceded that the government of Canada essentially new everything and did nothing regarding the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. It is argued that facts surrounding the on-going genocide never moved past the African Desk in Ottawa. It is believed the genocide claimed around a million lives. Ottawa has since apologized, but not for the fact that Rwanda was simply not on the government’s agenda. Ottawa had all the information it needed to know something terrible was happening in Rwanda. As a nation we failed in our humanitarian responsibilities. We failed because there was no leadership on this issue in Ottawa. Politicians, bureaucrats and lines of communications all failed. Parliament has since apologized for what has become known as a global indifference to human suffering. Still, Canada’s position on foreign policy matters seems to be more intransigent than it is from a clear policy position supported by the Parliament of Canada.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Seniors and GIS

I have been attempting to research an important matter regarding the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) dating back over fifteen years. It was clear that back then Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) failed to alert some 250 thousand seniors of their eligibility for GIS benefits. If payments had been made retroactive past the required 11 months to correct Ottawa’s failure taxpayers would have been on the hook for an estimated 2.5 billion dollars. Bureaucrats in Ottawa conceded that HRDC knew of the problems as early as 1993. Yet they failed to take responsible corrective measures to compensate impoverished Canadian seniors. This issue was once front-page news across the country and now the government acts like it never happened.

My research on this issue has been met with apparent indifference as the government has simply failed to respond. A public inquiry into this issue would get some answers, but if seniors are not on the government’s agenda then nor would be a public inquiry. At this point I am a one man inquiry going nowhere on this issue. It seems reasonable that the government would simply answer my questions unless they have something to hide or fear the financial consequences. Is that possible!

It seems apparent our government failed Canadian seniors regarding GIS. Their own government once wronged impoverished seniors. Where is their apology and where is their money, including interest on retroactive payments past eleven months?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Health Care

Effective April 1, 2010 the government no longer covers chiropractic services except for certain low-income individuals. I don’t have a huge problem with this, but I do for how the government justifies their decision. There was apparently an agreement in principle reached on March 31, 2010 between the government and Chiropractors’ Association of Canada. I can only assume that both parties agreed that it was prudent to join virtually all other Canadian provinces in limiting coverage for chiropractic services. If that was in fact the case then who am I to question their mutual wisdom?

If you meet the low-income qualifications the government pays for most of your chiropractic services. If you don’t then it costs you forty bucks a pop plus a few tax dollars to pay the costs for the low-income patients. What are patients doing who may be just above the poor line who have decided forty dollars is beyond their budget? It is likely they are making more trips to their family doctor, walk-in clinics and their local pharmacy for additional painkillers and muscle relaxants. This is another cost the taxpayers will share. It will be interesting to see if this new system saves the government their projected ten million annually. If it does then, as a taxpayer, I want my share of the savings.

Finally, the government argues that these cost saving measures were necessary to keep the overall system sustainable. Would reducing the salaries of politicians assist in maintaining the sustainability of the legislature? Not likely and nor does cutting necessary health services sustain the health system. If it does then we may soon be left with no system at all.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Governor General Appointment

The controversy swirls again over Governor General, Michaëlle Jean. Her appointment was controversial and relations between her and Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, have been somewhat strained at times. Now Michael Ignatieff is suggesting the public should have some input as to who should be appointed as Canada’s next Governor General. He is suggesting that her position be extended for a year or so conditional of course on her approval of such an extension. Now just where would be the real harm in that?

There is already a public discussion on Facebook, most notably to promote actor William Shatner. Now that would be a mistake. Then there is the argument that Ignatieff is breaking with tradition. Well, that is not entirely true. There have been two or three times when previous Governor Generals have had their terms extended.

The arguments against Ignatieff’s position are flimsy at best. Further, I don’t believe it throws Michaëlle Jean into a difficult political discussion. She is either done when her term is up or she chooses to stay on for a short while. This would give Canadians an opportunity to have some input on whom should be Canada’s next Governor General. It would also likely give Stephen Harper another headache.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Letter to President Obama

Mr. President,

It is apparent there are insufficient safeguards to protect against the different types of oil spills that may occur. In the case of the problems you are currently facing in the Gulf it seems no one knows how to stop this existing spill.

I understand you are going to inspect the situation on Sunday and that no new leases will be allowed until you receive a report in the next thirty days on what new technologies may be required to prevent this from happening again.  This is all good, but it seems to me that the most important issue is stopping the spill as soon as possible and then assess the damages and what safety regulations may be required to prevent a repeat of this spill in the future.  All resources around the world should be contacted to address this pressing issue.  Drilling in the gulf should be stopped until this current problem is resolved.  Other companies and rigs in the region should be called on to offer solutions.

Attention in the media is about the damage and not about the solution.  The public should be informed as to the nature of this spill as it regards getting it stopped.  There should be a resource center for people to go to on the Internet for information.  Who knows, maybe some person in the general public has an idea, but you will never know unless you inform them.

There is no moving forward until this spill is stopped.  I suggest a website be immediately established so the world can monitor the situation from one single source and offer solutions and assistance where possible.  If the energy industry knows how to stop this spill then they should get on with it and inform the rest of us how they intend to proceed.  Mr. President, if there was ever a time for you to reach out for help that would be now.

Yours truly,

Larry Birkbeck
Regina, SK.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Majestics Car Show

This past weekend I attended the Majestics Car show at the Canada Centre Building in Regina. I met some great people.

I have to congratulate all those who organized this event. They are dedicated people. Then I considered those who had entered a vehicle in the show. Their entries were spectacular works of art and craftsmanship that just left you standing in awe at the final product.

Then as I talked to some of the people who entered their work for display I realized that the most important aspect of the show was not so much the final product as it was the people behind the product. They were all an inspiration to anyone who took the time to hear their individual stories of sacrifice, patience, dedication and gritty perseverance to believe in themselves and their quest to deliver an array of masterpieces.

I won’t single out any one of them because each was an inspiration as to what it takes to start a project and see it through to the end. I learned a lot from the knowledgeable, courteous and respectful people that make up the Majestics Car Show. For my part, they were all winners as were the hundreds of people who turned out to take in the show. Congratulations to everyone. It was a great and majestic car show!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Boots Challenges Genny

I would like to make a suggestion regarding your recent story titled “Dog Foiled in first bid for mayor’s job.” Why not open up the race to other dogs even if they don’t live in the constituency of Clarington council or in the province of Ontario. It would send a strong message to politicians and a bit of harmless humour.

I own a female Siberian Husky and her name is Boots. You could simply have people mail in photos of their dogs that they want to enter as mock candidates for council. This would include a short 200-word biography of their dog that you place in your paper and let the people decide. I am betting that my Boots can beat that dog Genny on looks alone any day of the week including Sunday.

Now there is my challenge and I have included some photos of Boots for your consideration. The winner would then be entitled to celebrity status and a day of recognition by Clarington council along with a sirloin steak. My Boots is great at shaking hands and putting on an appealing smile and I know how to run her campaign. I can see the headline in your paper reading “Boots beats Bowmanville dog in run for Clarington council celebrity.”

Monday, April 12, 2010

Harper Back on Script

The Star’s article by Susan Delacourt is a tad off the mark. The reality is that Stephen Harper is a callous character and he will most often deal harshly with those he feels are a threat to him, have been harmful to his government or the party or have failed to serve at the highest level. Harper’s rule applies regardless of sex or your posting. Harper’s relations have been strained with the Governor General as well and with various members of the bureaucracy and the military.

I have written recently stating; “historically, Harper has harshly hung people out to dry if they embarrassed him. That doesn't seem to be the case now and I often wonder why?” It seems Harper is now back on script in the lead up to an election that is likely to come sooner than later.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Rahim Jaffer

Politics can be very disappointing.  The sad story of Rahim Jaffer is one example.  It is a major story in the House of Commons and conservatives have every reason to be outraged over the issues surrounding Rahim Jaffer because it leaves all conservatives in a bad light and that too is sad and unfair.  The Stephen Harper conservatives need to distance themselves from Jaffer and his issues as best they can.  It is impossible to control the actions of a former Member of Parliament of any political party unless that party remains linked in some way to the likes of a Rahim Jaffer.  If that were the case then they need to get unlinked as soon as possible.

In the case of Jaffer that is difficult since his wife is Helena Guergis, the Minister of State (Status of Women), is currently serving in the Prime Minister's cabinet.  The problems both Jaffer and, to a lesser degree, his wife have caused the Harper conservatives is just cause for the Prime Minister to cut all ties with Jaffer and possibly his Minister of State.  Historically, Harper has harshly hung people out to dry if they embarrrassed him.  That doesn't seem to be the case now and I often wonder why?

Ronald Reagan

'Government's view of the economy could be summed up in  a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it.  And if it stops moving, subsidize it'
-Ronald Reagan

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Home Program Cut

The Federal EcoEnergy Retrofit Homes program known in Saskatchewan as the EnerGuide for Houses Program is out the window. Natural Resources Canada has cancelled their funding of new applications as of March 31, 2010. Thanks to the federal government Canadians will be left out in the cold if they are relying on the federal government to assist them with needed home renovations.

This was a necessary program to assist people with reducing their carbon footprint by using less energy to heat their homes. It helped individuals reduce their expenses to maintain a home and encouraged wise conservation. It was also one of the best and most efficient stimulus programs the federal government had to partner with individuals.

The federal government had plenty of money for bailouts and stimulus funds for the auto industry and billions in tax cuts for large corporations. I can hear my energy efficient furnace running as I write this letter with the assurance that the heat is not being lost thanks to this program. I will get some financial assistance from the EnerGuide for Houses Program to offset the money I spent to make my home more energy efficient. Contactors and building suppliers all benefited from the program. It created jobs and it was good for our economy.

I can’t explain the government’s decision on this issue. You should likely call your Member of Parliament and have them explain it to you.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Tom Lukiwski

If you live in Regina Lumsden Lake Centre and are pondering who you should vote for at the next election please do some research on the candidates.  You can find all you need to know about your incumbent Member of Parliament by clicking on the following link.

All about Tom Lukiwski

Monday, March 29, 2010

2010 Provincial Budget

The provincial government in their recent budget has again used the sin tax as a means of gaining revenue. Tobacco again gets hit hard and the fight is on with the reserve sales of tobacco. Minister Don McMorris claims it is “all about health.” He is partly correct, but considering the millions the government makes off the sale of tobacco it seems to be as much about money. If tobacco is as bad as the government and the anti-smoking lobby claims it to be then just ban the damn stuff. If you don’t then it is more about money than health. Obesity is a health issue. How will the government tax that health problem?

Then the government gets one right. They removed the subsidy for chiropractic services. It will save the government about $10 million annually. The savings will likely be partly absorbed somewhere else in the healthcare system. The Chiropractors Association of Saskatchewan failed in their efforts on behalf of chiropractors and their patients to effectively make the “all about health” argument that Don McMorris used in regards to tobacco. If you can’t make that simple argument then you should lose. Chiropractors in Saskatchewan should review who is representing them to the government. It is apparent their existing representation failed them.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ignatieff Liberals Lose Vote

Family planning is a divisive issue among politicians and always has been. Michael Ignatieff ran a dangerous risk and lost when the liberal opposition lost a vote on a motion they introduced in the House of Commons.

As reported in the media the motion called on the government to include a broader range of programs, including contraception, in the maternal health initiative for developing countries it is presenting at this summer's G8 summit.  It is risky enough when politicians touch on these matters relating to women in Canada. When it deals with women in developing countries it becomes even more risky. This is usually a divisive issue among conservatives, but this time it seems to be as divisive among liberals as some of Ignatieff’s MP’s voted against their own parties motion.

Michael Ignatieff apparently needs to be reminded that governments usually defeat themselves and there is most often not much an opposition can do to hasten the process. It may be that Michael Ignatieff and the liberal opposition became tangled in the very rope he was attempting to reel out to ensnare conservatives. It is not the role of the opposition to get too creative, but to closely monitor the government and be a constant guardian of the public purse.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Flipped Out Ministers

We have now learned of a second conservative cabinet minister who flipped out at an airport security screening. Minister Helena Guergis flipped out on February 23, 2010 and whined and yelled at security officials at the Charlottetown airport. Veteran Affairs Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn flipped out at the Ottawa International Airport when he was returning from his vacation in Mexico. He flipped out when security officials seized his bottle of tequila because it exceeded the 100-millilitre liquid limit rules for carry-on items. I guess the vacation in Mexico should have been a little longer.

Is it is time for Prime Minister Stephen Harper to expect more than a simple apology when his cabinet members flip out in public? It is the Harper government that promotes strong security at our airports to protect Canadians from criminal elements like terrorism. Why should his cabinet members expect to be exempted from the rules that other Canadians must obey? Harper isn’t soft on security so why is he soft on his cabinet ministers? Can it possibly be that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has lost the iron grip he has had on his cabinet and caucus? Either way, having what amounts to a tequila tantrum is an unacceptable behavior for any member of Harper’s cabinet. Is it reasonable for the public to expect more from our elected officials? I believe it is!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ronald Reagan

"I have wondered at times about what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses has run them through the U.S. Congress."

-Ronald Reagan

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Email to MP Inky Mark

Attention: Inky Mark
You don’t do yourself or your party any good by taking cheap shots at the liberals and Ignatieff. If you and your party are doing so well then why waste time taking pot shots at Ignatieff? Are you afraid of him? You make him out as if he is somehow less Canadian than you are and that is a stretch. You say Ignatieff is just in it for himself. Almost every politician I have ever known was in it for himself or herself. Why don’t you look at all the tricks and strategies your own leader, the Prime Minister of Canada, has pulled just to stay in power? You could also inform Canadians about former conservative MP Rahim Jaffer and his recent problems or how your colleague, Minister Helena Guergis, conducts herself in airports.
I live in Regina, Saskatchewan and no less than thirteen conservative MP’s represent us. So please tell me why I have to receive mail propaganda from you? Your riding is 300 kilometres long and 200 kilometres wide. It is larger than the size of the country of Ireland and contains 5 provincial ridings, 63 municipal governments, 15 Northern Affairs Communities and 13 Indian Reserves. You have hundreds of towns, villages and hamlets to service over 77, 000 people separated by the Riding Mountains and two provincial parks. Your neighbouring ridings of Brandon-Souris and Portage-Lisgar could fit inside its boundaries with room to spare. This geographical information about your constituency is taken right off your MP website and you still have time to send me propaganda.
I don’t want to hear from any Manitoba MP’s. I would rather hear from our Saskatchewan MP’s, but they are quiet and out of site in a province that is booming in comparison to the rest of the country, including Manitoba. I am more likely to hear from liberal Ralph Goodale, but then you can say that is because I live in his riding. That is true, but I don’t live in your constituency or the constituency of any conservative MP. I don’t hear from them, but yet I hear from you. Why is that?
Now just in case you think these are just partisan comments I want to inform you that I have been around this business longer than you and as a conservative. I haven’t held a membership in any party for years now and it because of political folks just like you that I don’t have a membership in a political party or movement of some kind. Inky, don’t take this too personal now because I have said the same thing about other politicians just like you. You just go and cash your next big cheque and leave me alone. Let me know if you want to know what else I think. I respectfully submit this without prejudice.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Toyota Recall

The Commons transport committee has revealed serious problems regarding vehicle safety. Toyota was apparently working on their vehicle safety issue before notifying consumers or Transport Canada about the sticky gas pedal problem. Government officials are investigating to learn how long Toyota took to instigate a recall after they confirmed they had a safety problem.

Transport minister, John Baird says his department is considering whether Toyota should face criminal charges. Toyota has recalled some 270,000 vehicles in Canada and around 8 million around the world. The committee revealed that once a problem has been identified, it has to be sent to Japan for an engineering review. Bloc Québécois MP, Roger Gaudet, asked, “why would you go to Japan without turning to Transport Canada when you knew there was a problem that put the safety of people at risk.” Interestingly, liberal MP Marc Garneau, said a string of complaints to government regulators dating back to 2004 should have set off alarm bells. Then liberal Joe Volpe told reporters that both Transport Canada and Toyota were playing the blame game and that, “Transport Canada and the minister knew about all of these defects quite some time ago” and that, “the government has been derelict in applying what few measures they have.”

Toyota executives are now calling on the government to put more resources, that’s right money, into Transport Canada to troubleshoot possible auto defects. Toyota has done well in Canada with a product line that is priced as high as consumers will accept. It is time for Toyota and other auto manufacturers to accept their responsibilities and produce quality autos with safety as a first priority. Toyota calling on the federal government to spend more money to assist them in identifying and resolving safety issues is unacceptable. Their requirement to report to Transport Canada first and immediately when a safety problem has been identified is their responsibility.

Addressing the laws and regulations in these matters is the Government of Canada’s responsibility for the safety of all vehicle owners. Auto manufactures must build safer vehicles not the Government of Canada. It is the auto manufactures responsibility to find, fix and report on auto defects. It is the Government of Canada’s responsibility to make sure they do!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Ronald Reagan

'Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong.'

- Ronald Reagan

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Rahim Jaffer

Google former Conservative MP, Rahim Jaffer and you be the Judge.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Power Grid Agreement

The province is growing and especially in Regina and Saskatoon. This is good, but it requires a major expansion of our infrastructure to accommodate the increase in population.

The recent first-ever joint cabinet meeting between Saskatchewan and Manitoba is also good. An agreement was reached to add 150 megawatts to the existing 105 megawatts power grid that connects the two provinces. Saskatchewan Energy Minister Bill Boyd, along with Manitoba Hydro Minister Rosann Wowchuk, said a preliminary deal has been signed that will eventually see new transmission lines and other infrastructures built, so that power can flow either way — depending on demand. Boyd said, “Saskatchewan needs to strengthen its energy supply because of the province’s growing population and economy.”

A working group representing both SaskPower and Manitoba Hydro was agreed to by both ministers Boyd and Wowchuk. Also, the working group is to develop a framework upon which both provinces can cooperate on green, renewable power development. Their first priority will be to find ways to boost power production in both provinces. Keep in mind that 150 megawatts is apparently only enough to power a 150,000 homes. The proposed new grid is expected to share that capacity between the two provinces. The new grid will best serve major power outages from storms or other events.

What Saskatchewan needs most is a huge expansion of our capacity to generate electricity to add needed revenue to our economy. Sharing with our Manitoba cousins is all well and good, but so too would exporting electricity for a profit. The development of nuclear power would best enable Saskatchewan to generate enough power for our own needs and as well to meet export market oportunities. This is the most effective way to strengthen our energy supply.

We should get on with it, but we won’t for political reasons. A non-controversial agreement to power an additional 150,000 homes in Saskatchewan and Manitoba with a grid expansion is not the most electrifying news, but it is politically safe for both provinces.