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.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Sir W. Raleigh

'Men well governed should seek after no other liberty, for there can be no greater liberty than a good government.'

_ Sir W. Raleigh

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Minister Helena Guergis

A recent despicable act of disrespect for security employees at a Charlottetown airport should not be allowed to pass without consequences. Junior cabinet minister Helena Guergis is off the hook with a simple apology that has been accepted by the Prime Minister’s Office. That is little consequence for a minister who, according to media reports, allegedly threw a tantrum and screamed obscenities at airport staff who asked her to take her boots off for security screening.

In her apology Minister Guergis, minister of state for the status of women, said she was rushing to catch a flight and spoke emotionally to some staff members. She also said, “Regardless of my workload and personal circumstances, it was not appropriate and I apologize to airport and Air Canada staff.”

The larger issue here is how elected officials see themselves after their election to office. It becomes an issue of whether or not they appreciate the trust voters and the Prime Minister’s office expect of them. I believe voters should hold politicians to account for their actions. In most cases an apology is sufficient, but in this case something more than a simple apology would be appropriate and should be expected by both the Prime Minister’s office and the voters. Maybe since she is a junior minister she should be required to wear an “In Training” label for a month at minimum wage as a consequence of her inappropriate conduct. Or, maybe she shouldn't be in cabinet at all.