Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Extreme Measures

You decide.

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

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.