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.