Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Drunk Drivers

Driving a motor vehicle is a challenge as you dodge all the poor drivers on our streets and highways. Many people are involved in vehicle accidents. There are accidents on our streets and highways every day. It is why we have to pay high insurance fees on our vehicles. Vehicle accidents can be minor and annoying. They can also be very serious leaving people injured either for a long time or for life. They are often deadly. Serious injuries often leave people with long periods of pain and rehabilitation. An accident involving death leaves families and friends with a lifetime of mourning.

With all this in mind, why do people drive while intoxicated. Zero tolerance is the only reasonable approach to dealing with drunk drivers. One drink is simply too many if you plan to operate a vehicle. Is it really worth risking your life and the life of others? There is no excuse worth hearing from those found guilty of driving while intoxicated. One convicted on a second offense, should lose their privilege to drive for life. The alternative is to run the risk of these drunk drivers seriously injuring others or worse, the risk of causing the death of completely innocent people. These risks also include pedestrians.

Bad drivers need to have their driving privileges removed based on their driving record. Drunk drivers should have their privileges removed more quickly and for longer periods. There may be some hope of rehabilitating a bad driver, little for an intoxicated driver and next to none for one addicted to substance abuse like alcohol. What reason is there for us to feel sorry for someone facing driving while intoxicated charges before the courts?

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

City States - Vatican City

Vatican City

THE WEALTH OF THE VATICAN CITY In American currency, today’s bankers estimate the consolidated wealth of the Vatican (The Holy See) is between 10 to 15 billion dollars! Of this wealth, Italian stockholdings alone run to $1.6 billion, 15% of the value of listed shares on the Italian market. The Vatican has big investments in banking, insurance, chemicals, steel, construction and real estate. Earnings produced from tax-free incomes provide dividends which pay for the Vatican City expenses. I refer to the book entitled THE VATICAN BILLIONS by Avro Manhattan. I want to bring to your attention the fact that this information was published 10 years ago, and the figures will undoubtedly be even more startling today: "The Vatican has large investments with the Rothschilds of Britain, France and America, with the Hambros Bank and with the Credit Suisse in London and Zurich and elsewhere. In the United States it has large investments with the Morgan Bank, the Chase-Manhattan Bank, the First National Bank of New York, the Bankers Trust Company, and others. The Vatican has billions of shares in the most powerful international corporations such as Gulf Oil, Shell, General Motors, Bethlehem Steel, General Electric, International Business Machines, T.W.A., etc. At a conservative estimate, these amount to more than 500 million dollars in the U.S.A. alone. "In a statement published in connection with a bond prospectus, the Boston archdiocese listed its assets at Six Hundred and Thirty-five Million ($635,891,004), which is 9.9 times its liabilities. This leaves a net worth of Five Hundred and Seventy-one million dollars ($571,704,953). It is not difficult to discover the truly astonishing wealth of the church, once we add the riches of the twenty-eight archdioceses and 122 dioceses of the U.S.A., some of which are even wealthier than that of Boston. "Some idea of the real estate and other forms of wealth controlled by the Catholic church may be gathered by the remark of a member of the New York Catholic Conference, namely 'that his church probably ranks second only to the United States Government in total annual purchase.' Another statement, made by a nationally syndicated Catholic priest, perhaps is even more telling. 'The Catholic Church,' he said, 'must be the biggest corporation in the United States. We have a branch office in every neighbourhood. Our assets and real estate holdings must exceed those of Standard Oil, A.T.&T., and U.S. Steel combined. And our roster of dues-paying members must be second only to the tax rolls of the United States Government.' "The Catholic Church, once all her assets have been put together, is the most formidable stockbroker in the world. The Vatican, independently of each successive pope, has been increasingly oriented towards the U.S. The Wall Street Journal said that the Vatican's financial deals in the U.S. alone were so big that very often it sold or bought gold in lots of a million or more dollars at one time. "The Vatican's treasure of solid gold has been estimated by the United Nations World Magazine to amount to several billion dollars. A large bulk of this is stored in gold ingots with the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, while banks in England and Switzerland hold the rest. But this is just a small portion of the wealth of the Vatican, which in the U.S. alone, is greater than that of the five wealthiest giant corporations of the country. When to that is added all the real estate, property, stocks and shares abroad, then the staggering accumulation of the wealth of the Catholic church becomes so formidable as to defy any rational assessment. "The Catholic Church is the biggest financial power, wealth accumulator and property owner in existence. She is a greater possessor of material riches than any other single institution, corporation, bank, giant trust, government or state of the whole globe. The pope, as the visible ruler of this immense amassment of wealth, is consequently the richest individual of the twentieth century. No one can realistically assess how much he is worth in terms of billions of dollars." Read more...

Friday, December 02, 2011

Saskatchewan Legislative Assemby

The First Session of The Twenty-Seventh Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan is set for Monday, December 5, 2011.  This is when our provincial politicians will attempt to work together on the legislative agenda set by the government.  The "together" may be difficult.

There is already some competition within the SaskParty to see who will be elected as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.  The current speaker, Don Toth seemed to be doing quite well.  He is apparently now being challenged for that position from within his own party.  Is the SaskParty is looking for someone who will favour them in rulings?  Or is someone not likely to be in Cabinet looking for a higher pay cheque?  Either way, the conflicts and division among our elected officials has already started before the opening of the Legislature.  Is anyone surprised?

Investment Advice

Investors always advise you to invest for the long term. Is that good advice? Some problems are not likely to go away anytime soon because of worldwide government debt that is on the rise. As long as we have unmanageable government debt, we will have long-term problems with the markets.

In Canada, annual health-care costs have more than double since 2005. They went from $140 billion to near $200 billion in that time. $25 billion comes from the federal government’s transfer of funds to the provinces. Additionally, the federal government spent well over $10 billion to fight a ten-year war in Afghanistan.

The Harper conservative government cannot stop spending money and has a growing national debt crisis they do not know how to stop. If they did then they would not have contracted a private company costing them millions more in expenditures to tell them how to stop spending and adding to the national debt. That tells you how smart our elected officials are, including their administrative officials.

The left liberals interestingly have a better record managing government debt than do the right leaning conservatives who moved to the middle. Various media reports have detailed this many times. The history of Canada’s national debt is a matter of public record.

It seems controlling government spending is the best way to stabilize the markets. Otherwise, the debt in Greece, Italy or any other country in Europe would not affect the markets. The debt in Europe, US, and Canada are all a problem and will be for the long term. Where does that leave investing for the long term?

Where was the Canadian dividend fund before 911 and where is it today? That would be the best indicator of where long-term investing will get you.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Statement by PM Stephen Harper

Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a recent statement recognized the contribution of Muslims in Canada.  He also recognized the growth of Islam in Canada and how religious freedom is an essential building block for peace in Canada and around the world.  Read more...

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

2011 Saskatchewan Election

Congratulations to Brad Wall and the SaskParty for their landslide election win on November 7, 2011. The result essentially mirrored Brad Wall’s popularity as Premier of Saskatchewan over the last four years. The election focused on leadership as much as it did about issues. It was an election based on the SaskParty’s performance in government and going forward as opposed to turning back to the old NDP. The decision on election night could not have been clearer.

Brad Wall will be the Premier for the next four years with the challenge of maintaining his level of performance. Brad Wall must now train a new crop of brand new MLA’s and keep them busy. Brad Wall can now move forward unrestrained by a small NDP opposition and that may be a challenge.

Brad Wall was humble in accepting the decision of Saskatchewan voters for handing him the responsibility of serving as Premier for another four years. He and his caucus must remain humble over the next four years. That too will be a challenge.Being at the top is tough because the alternative is going down and that is a real and present danger.

Regardless, congratulations to everyone who participated in this election and especially the voters’ responsible for this historic election in Saskatchewan’s history.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


How many reasons do the US and Canada need to get out of Afghanistan? Recent comments from Afghan president, Hamid Karzai stating he and Afghanistan will be there for Pakistan if war breaks out between the US and Pakistan is the latest reason.

No good is achievable, on the long term, in the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan. The measure of success in Afghanistan pales in comparison to the loss of life within our military and the cost of over a billion dollars a year to Canadian taxpayers. Prime Minister, Stephen Harper even had this rebel address the House of Commons. I never did understand the merit of that decision.

American politicians are outraged as Operation Enduring Freedom cost 468 billion US dollars and 1,820 American soldiers. All this and Afghanistan will back Pakistan in a war against the US!

Leave Afghanistan, and only Afghanistan, to decide their own fate. The time to leave Afghanistan is now.  Read more...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Coffee Obsession

The obsession with Tim Horton’s coffee is amusing. I can appreciate a good cup of coffee as well as anyone, but sitting in a long line of vehicles at Tim Horton’s on a regular basis burning gas is ridiculous. On many days there are long lines of traffic that back right onto the street with the potential of an accident waiting to happen. Caffeine craze works 24/7 with peaks at certain times of the day and on certain days.

Orders for large or extra large double double or triple triple are high on the list if not the norm. People are truly hooked on coffee if not addicted. It truly is a phenomenon.

I refuse to get in the coffee line. I enjoy Tim Horton’s coffee and other coffee providers like Robin’s Donuts, McDonald’s and other providers. I refuse to sit in long lines anymore over a cup of coffee. It is easier to make a coffee at home for the road, and then cast a smile of relief as you drive by the long lines of traffic at a coffee drive through.

May patience, respect, and safe driving be on the minds of those still hooked on their obsession with a great cup of coffee? Moreover, Have a Great Day!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Regina South Campaign

Yens Pedersen is a quality candidate for the NDP in Regina South. Regardless of how you may have voted in the past or of your political ideology Yens Pedersen is deserving of your vote. He is a fresh young face and a man who is prepared to hear and act on your particular point of view. Yens Pedersen is motivated by his constituents and less by the beliefs of his party or leader. He is a candidate with leadership qualities and a positive view to change for the future. He is not bogged down with the rhetoric of old party policies and more likely to act on modern day concerns faced by his constituents.

Bill Hutchinson is the incumbent MLA for Regina South. I met him once in my life and that was at my initiative a long time ago. Since his election, he never called me or came to visit. Hutchinson is a typical career politician. What else has he done?

By contrast, Yens Pedersen took the time to sit down in my backyard and visit with my family knowing I have been a conservative all my life. He knows I should naturally vote for the SaskParty, but still remained respectful and heard my views.  Further, he returns my phone calls.

I do not hold a membership in any party and I have not financially supported any party federally or provincially for many years. I vote for candidates whom are quality candidates and the best candidate running in my constituency. In Regina South, that would be Yens Pedersen.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Brad Wall Kicks Off Campaign

Brad Wall speaks to his government's record in the last four years as he kicks off the SaskParty's campaign for the 2011 Saskatchewan provincial election.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

2011 Saskatchewan Election

Well, here we go with another election in Saskatchewan. This one is interesting, as the outcome is clear before we get to vote. A foundational shift in Canadian and Saskatchewan politics has taken place over the last thirty-five years. Conservative parties have shifted to the centre and dominated the liberals and the NDP.

In Saskatchewan, it began in 1975 when I was elected as a Progressive Conservative. The liberals held the Moosomin constituency for decades and now shut out since my election in 1975. It continued in 1982 when the Grant Devine conservatives swept the province and eliminated the liberals. It became clear to conservatives when the Devine government was defeated in 1991 by the NDP that right wing policies would not fly in the long term.

A coalition of conservatives and liberals formed and the SaskParty was born resulting in Brad Wall becoming Premier of Saskatchewan. Over the last four years, they have governed near the middle keeping the left out of play. This foundational shift has worked nationally as well. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has abandoned his right wing policies in exchange for near middle policies.

This is why this provincial election result is clear. Expect the Brad Wall SaskParty to be re-elected to govern for another four years. This will leave the NDP and liberals with few elected members when the votes are all in and counted.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

MP Brad Trost Remains Firm

Brad Trost, the conservative MP for Saskatoon-Humboldt remains firm in his opposition to the federal government funding Planned Parenthood.  The recent announcement by the federal government commits six million of Canadian tax dollars to Planned Parenthood outside our borders in countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Mali, Sudan, and Tanzania.

John Gormley opposes the position taken by Brad Trost.  The public needs to know that John Gormley was never re-elected like Brad Trost.  The public also needs to know that MP's have a right to speak their minds on the issues regardless of the consequences.  It is their responsibility.  Too many MP's remain silent on the issues and that serves no good purpose.  John Gormley attempts to make the argument that Trost does not represent a majority of Canadians on the issue of Planned Parenthood.  That point is irrelevant as Brad Trost makes no claim in this regard.

Brad Trost is performing as all MP's should and that is to speak out on the issues that matter to him and his constituents regardless of whether it represents a majority of voters in his constituency or the country.  At least the voters know where he stands on this issue.  They knew it before the last federal election and still returned him to office.  It does not matter what John Gormley thinks on any issue because he is accountable to none other than himself.  It does matter what Brad Trost thinks on the issues because he is accountable to both himself and his constituents.

Attempts by John Gormley to paint Brad Trost as some kind of renegade opposing the Prime Minister on this issue is unreasonable.  We should take John Gormley with a large grain of salt.  Brad Trost is right on this issue.  He deserves the support of voters in his constituency and across the country.  If the Prime Minister is eager to spend six million dollars, it should be for Canadians.  Read more...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Canada's Foreign Policy

Canada needs to review and renew our foreign policy in how we interact with other nations around the world.  Are we becoming too involved in foreign conflicts?  Are we investing too many dollars in the form of assistance to countries struck by some kind of disaster?  Are we too linked to the foreign policies of the United States.  Ask your MP how many millions we spend each year outside Canada in conflicts like Afghanistan?  Ask your MP how many millions we spend each year outside Canada to assist some nation struck by a natural disaster or a disaster of their own making like Chernobyl?

The US tends to be too involved in the affairs of other nations.  They are too quick to enter into conflicts abroad and too generous in assisting other nations.  The US needs to look after domestic policies and their own economic crisis.  Canada should do the same!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Rising Fuel Costs

The cost of fuel is on the rise again.  There is speculation it may go higher and stay high over the long term.  Today Industry Minister Tony Clement has indicated fuel costs are less than transparent and he wants the oil industry to explain to a Commons committee how they are arriving at their pricing levels.  The public has always been in the dark on this issue and they deserve an explanation to assure that the industry is not simply gouging consumers on fuel pricing.  Is it possible the new majority conservative government will get some action on this issue or will they cave in to the big oil giants.

The rising cost of oil and fuel at the pumps is a windfall for governments.  The government may have to consider sharing increased revenues with consumers by reducing taxes on fuel.  The Harper conservatives are always talking about reducing taxes.  Now would be a good time to put that theory into practice.  Read more...

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Conservative Majority Government

The 2011 Federal Election is over and we can now all get back to normal. Congratulations to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He proved all the pollsters and political pundits wrong. It was an impossible election to call and the voters democratically made their choice.

Stephen Harper had a sense of both the fears and the hopes of Canadian voters. It was an historical election in all regards. Rare conservative back to back victories, a first for the NDP forming the official opposition and the once mighty liberals being relegated to third party status. Further, the Green Party made history with the election of their leader, Elizabeth May.

The NDP will be pleased with a conservative majority, as this will give them time to solidify their support and train all their new members. The liberals are not so fortunate. They have the daunting task of rebuilding their party from the ground up and selecting a new leader. Only the Bloc Party is worse off than the liberals are.

The voters were the real winners in this election. They were tired of too many elections in such short periods. They chose a majority government. The voters chose the best party and the best leader to govern Canada at this time in our history. Voters chose a western leader who built on the belief that the west wants in and a leader with support across all regions of the country. A leader whom will govern from the center right and whom will serve all Canadians regardless of how they voted. We are now closer to a two party system given the results of this election. Now nearly eliminated, the Bloc may be gone forever. That will better serve Canada.

The voters granted Prime Minister Stephen Harper the majority government he asked for. Voters will now watch carefully to see how better he will serve Canada with his majority government. Voter expectations will be high. It will be a challenge for the Prime Minister, but we should all wish him well as it is in our best interests.

The results of this election produced an historical political realignment. It is certain we are entering some form of new era in Canadian politics. We can thank all the voters for these exciting times in our political history. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out. We face a political future governed by Stephen Harper’s conservative majority with the official opposition lead by Jack Layton and the NDP. May God Bless Canada and all Canadians.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Election Day

The big day has arrived. It is Election Day in Canada and the outcome has never been more uncertain. Polling companies across the country published numbers regularly with some on a daily basis. Voter intentions varied from day to day and predictions for the outcome today will be a guess at best.

The last reported polls indicated an historical realignment of voter intentions. It is likely we will have another conservative minority government. It is likely the NDP will form the official opposition. The liberals across the country and the Bloc in Quebec seem likely to be the big losers.

It is surprising to hear Stephen Harper begging for support from liberal supporters in his attempt to stay ahead of the NDP. Harper has been obsessed with destroying the liberal party and now he is begging for their support. Stephen Harper’s obsession with power and control is a threatening aspect of the Harper conservatives.

A majority government would better serve Canadian voters. No party to this point has earned a majority confidence of the voters. The Harper conservatives made repeated calls throughout this election for a majority government from voters and that may turnout to have been a big mistake. The same is likely true of Harper’s plea for support from the liberals in the dying days of this campaign. It makes Stephen Harper look desperate and many believe he is desperate for power. Will voters keep the Harper conservatives in check by denying them their desperate grab for power?

One can only speculate on what voters will decide today and what we will wake up to come Tuesday morning. One thing is sure. The media will have a great week immediately following this election.

The female and youth vote may be more prominent in this election than in previous elections. In addition, voter turnout should be higher.  Be sure you are part of the numbers that make up the outcome of this election. Please respect our democratic rights. Get out and vote. This is your day.

The predictions of this blog are as follows:

Conservatives: 144
NDP: 84
Liberals: 57
Bloc: 23

Conservatives: 12
Liberals: 1
NDP: 1

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Stephen Harper - Minority Man Again?

The Harper conservatives failed to run a successful campaign by focusing on the issue of a possible coalition government if they failed to win a majority government. They began the campaign with harsh and personal attacks on Michael Ignatieff. They claimed he would lead some form of coalition with the other opposition parties. This added to the demise of the liberal party already struggling to define themselves with voters.

Now over the last ten days the NDP have surged past the liberals. The Harper conservatives are now directing harsh and personal attacks against Jack Layton. Stephen Harper is now claiming Jack Layton will lead some form of coalition with the other opposition parties. He is also claiming a Jack Layton lead coalition would be the total demise of our economy. This is a stretch since we have had successful NDP governments in Saskatchewan and Manitoba for decades. Harper is even on record praising Gary Doer, former Manitoba NDP Premier, when he appointed him to serve as Ambassador of Canada to the US. The Harper conservatives have been losing support across the country in the last week and are now less than ten points ahead of the NDP with the liberals still falling in third place.

Now Stephen Harper is refusing to say what he will do if he fails to win a majority and the confidence of the House of Commons. If Stephen Harper believed a coalition was possible it seems he should have been prepared with a plan to deal with his own prediction. Apparently, he has failed in that regard as well as he refuses to answer any questions on the matter.

The failure of Stephen Harper to run a Prime Ministerial like campaign raised concerns with nervous voters. They are now less likely to give Harper a majority government. The voters are always right and it seems they do not have enough confidence in any one of the parties to hand them a majority. A majority would stave off yet another early election. It seems at this time Stephen Harper will continue to serve as Canada’s Minority Man, but for how long.

Friday, April 29, 2011

NDP Surge

The Harper conservatives caused the surge in NDP support. They pushed the coalition argument too hard and failed to address the issues voters feel are important. Happy Jack Layton pushed harder on a range of issues. In Quebec, it was a simple matter of their voters becoming tired of the separatist argument. They became more interested in the issues that matter to them. When Quebec voters pushed back on the other three parties they had only Jack Layton to support.

When the NDP support went up in Quebec both conservatives and liberals made the mistake of launching attack ads against Jack Layton. This only caused his momentum to spread across the country. Influenced by polls the mainstream media placed the Layton NDP at the top of their news reports and added further support for the NDP.

The conservatives pressed too hard on the issue of who was going to govern the country after the election. The voters generally feel one party is as bad as the other is when it comes to governing the country. Harper comes off as if he is the only person whom can govern the country. It seems the voters may not agree and again confine him to a minority government.

When the smoke clears, we may not see the historic changes predicted by the media and polling companies. The voters are having some fun with the politicians this time around. It is an interesting election!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Harper Campaign Troubles

The Harper campaign continues to toss supporters out.  The most recent story involves a Harper conservative insider and strategist by the name of Patrick Muttart whom apparently lives in Chicago.  The story is complex and leaves the Harper conservatives on the defensive by removing Muttart from their 2011 election campaign.  This in turn apparently leaves other insiders angered and leaves many conservative supporters questioning what is going on.  To get all the details on this intriguing story you can Google Patrick Muttart and Sun Media.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Wascana Campaign

There are many reasons to not vote for conservatives. Ian Shields, the conservative candidate in the riding of Wascana is one of them. The wind in his sails comes from his own high opinion of what he thinks he knows about politics. Many of us worked conservative campaigns ten years before Shields came to Canada from Scotland.

Ian Shields lost the Wascana conservative campaign he ran for Brad Farquhar in 2006. Then he left Saskatchewan to lose the conservative campaign in Sault Ste Maria, Ontario. He seems to be little more than a big voice achieving little in Saskatchewan for conservatives. Now as the conservative candidate for Wascana, he claims he will be a better MP than will be Ralph Goodale. Conservative candidates have repeatedly lost to Ralph Goodale.

So why is Ian Shields running in Wascana? He may be running for only one reason. That may be to give him more power and control within the conservative party hierarchy. If he loses to Goodale, which is likely, he will have proven he is a Harper loyalist. This means he is prepared to do only what Stephen Harper's inner circle tell him to do.

Being a conservative under Stephen Harper may cost you your right to free speech. Speaking your mind without Harper’s approval may cost you your right to run as a conservative candidate, your right to serve as an MP and your right to hold a membership in the conservative party.

Two good examples in this regard are Grant Devine and Larry Spencer. Devine, a former Saskatchewan Premier, was denied the right to run for a conservative nomination. Larry Spencer, a former MP, removed from the conservative caucus also had his successful nomination removed by the Harper elites. Then they had his membership in the conservative party revoked as well. Both Devine and Spencer ran and lost as independent candidates.

Ian Shields played a significant role as one of Harper’s loyalists in assuring Larry Spencer's demise. His campaign in this election works to prove his loyalty to Stephen Harper and his inner circle. Mean spirited conservatives are easy to find and there are more of them today than ever before. If you value your right to free speech, you have a good reason to not vote for Ian Shields and the Harper conservatives.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Conservative Brad Wall

Brad Wall should stay out of the federal election unless there is some issue that directly concerns Saskatchewan.  His recent comments slamming Michael Ignatieff are akin to kicking a dead dog.  Further, he has made it clear he either does not understand our Parliamentary system of government or disagrees with the system.  He needs to be reminded that the SaskParty was formed to get unhitched from conservatives.  Now it seems, with his recent comments, he and his government are clearly supporting Stephen Harper and the conservative party.  Brad Wall is a long way from taking a shot at becoming a conservative Prime Minister.  Now would be a good time for him to be quiet on the federal election and focus on the next provincial election.

Brad Trost Controversy

Recent campaign comments made by incumbent MP Brad Trost are not surprising. Stephen Harper has muzzled Saskatchewan conservative MP’s. It is refreshing to hear from one regardless of what you believe on the controversial issue of abortion. The conservative government de-funded Planned Parenthood International. Trost agreed with the decision and claimed the decision was due, in part, to petitions from the Saskatchewan Pro Life Association.

Stephen Harper failed to defend his government’s decision or the comments made by one of his MP’s, Brad Trost. This is not surprising, as Harper will throw anyone under the bus for no good reason. Brad Trost supports de-funding of Planned Parent Hood International and so does the conservative government. So, what is the problem?

The only problem for the conservatives is that it opens up the larger issue of taxpayer-funded abortions. There are contrasting viewpoints between pro-life and pro-abortion in Saskatchewan. So, why is that a problem?

Brad Trost has a right to his viewpoint and a responsibility to express it anytime he wants. His constituents also have a right to know where he stands on issues. Stephen Harper has a right and a responsibility to make his views clear on all issues. This should include defending his decision to de-fund Planned Parenthood International and the larger issue of abortion. He should also have some respect for the viewpoints of his MP’s.

Many Taxpayers have a problem funding abortions in Canada let alone outside Canada. So, why is that a problem?

We have accommodated a wide range of religious and cultural rights and beliefs in Canada. Many Christians do not support abortion. Why is it a problem to respect their religious rights?

Brad Trost has made it clear where he stands on these issues. It is time for Stephen Harper to make it clear where he and his party stand on these issues. So, what is the problem?

The bad boy here is not Brad Trost, but rather Stephen Harper.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Harper Desperate for Majority

With the elusive majority government out of grasp in polling over the last few days Stephen Harper is desperate. He uses personal attack ads against Michael Ignatieff and the liberals. Now he has added fear tactics on Canadian voters. It will be interesting to see if the voters buy into the new strategy Harper has launched.

Harper claims fear that democracy will be at risk if he does not get a majority. Interesting, when he has displayed disdain for democracy.

Harper claims fear that unnecessary elections will arise if he does not get a majority. Well, that is democracy.

Harper claims fear that there will be economic instability if he does not get a majority. Now that too is interesting since all the instability came under his leadership as Prime Minister.

Harper now claims fear over the issue of sovereignty if he does not get a majority. Quebec separatism has thankfully been on the back burner for quite a while until Stephen Harper injected it into this election campaign. Quebec is a nation within Canada. Why is that and is that not enough?

The Ignatieff liberals may be on the right track when they argue that Stephen Harper has turned this election into a campaign of fear. It may be the desperate measures of Stephen Harper voters need to fear the most.

Moreover, Harper's greatest fear is not getting a majority.  Stephen Harper is desperate!

Stephen Harper's Interview with John Gormley

Stephen Harper’s most recent visit to Saskatchewan entertained no questions from the media, but he did entertain an interview with John Gormley. This would be the safest place in Saskatchewan for Stephen Harper. It was a love in and they may as well held hands as Gormley failed to press Harper on any issue.

When asked how he thought he was doing in Saskatchewan Harper stated he told his candidates to work as if they were nine points behind. Nationally that is about exactly where they are in the polls.  So, what else is new?

Then Harper went on to argue that if the voters do not give him a majority then the opposition parties will be calling the shots. That is simply not true if we believe Harper’s claim that he has been delivering good government from a minority position.

Then Harper discussed with Gormley how he intended to continue working toward an economic recovery that he largely caused to be necessary in the first place.  How impressive is that?

Nor did Harper accept any blame for the election in his interview with Gormley. John Gormley failed to raise the issue of why the conservative government is in contempt of parliament by a ruling of the Speaker of the House of Commons and confirmed by a majority vote in the House of Commons. An election became necessary due in part to this issue, along with Stephen Harper’s disdain for the rule of democracy. Harper said the voters did not want an election. Well, when do they want an election? Stephen Harper once believed in fixed elections. What happened to that belief?

To conclude the debate Stephen Harper essentially waffled on the question of why thirteen conservative MP’s are so quiet in Saskatchewan. He said they were strong supporters of gun control, but has Harper ever introduced a government motion to dismantle the gun control legislation?

Yes, it was a love in. Stephen Harper and John Gormley.

Stephen Harper in Saskatchewan

In Stephen Harper’s recent visit to Saskatchewan, he praised the strong economy in our province.  We should be mindful that our strong economy has more to do with a strong resource economy.  We should also credit the provincial SaskParty government for supporting this strong component of our economy.  The Harper conservatives have had little to do with our strong economy, but they have taken us into an unprecedented national debt.  This debt will take a decade or more to pay down and return to annualized balanced budgets.  Stephen Harper has stated certain conservative campaign promises hinge on debt reduction.  Huge debts are bad and Stephen Harper has to take some responsibility for this national problem.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Harper Campaign Plagued

The Harper campaign is plagued almost daily with one issue after another.  Each erodes public confidence regarding the integrity and leadership of Stephen Harper.  It is not one issue or another, but rather an accumulation of issues that may begin to take their toll.  Today, the issue of Helena Guergis will surface again prompting Harper to explain in more detail why he dumped her from cabinet on the basis of what appears to be bogus claims against her.  Guergis held a press conference today that questioned Harper's leadership.  This will draw Harper deeper into damaging controversy.  Issues like this may deny Stephen Harper the majority he so desperately is seeking.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Back on the Campaign

The two debates are over and the leaders are back on the campaign.  The debates essentially had no effect on voters as the polls have not moved significantly since the debates.  The conservatives still lead the liberals nationally with about a ten point lead.  It suggests the conservatives are still within range of forming a majority government.  All this will hinge on what party is most effective in getting their supporters to the polls on May 2, 2011.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Harper Takes Day Off

Interestingly, Stephen Harper has decided to take today off.  Michael Ignatieff is older and Jack Layton is not in perfect health, but they working hard on their respective campaigns.  Stephen Harper may think he has this election in the bag or maybe he is just not in as good a shape as his opponents.  Either way, it is interesting that he is taking the day off.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Harper Riding to Majority

Stephen Harper has completed yet another photo op.  This time he is riding an ATV on some farm in Ontario.  The voters seem to think this makes him more acceptable because he is getting down and dirty with normal folks.  Unfortunately, the reality is it works so how do the voters feel about that?  It really tells a lot about the intelligence of voters.  By contrast, Stockwell Day once took a ride on a sea-do wearing a wet suit and that ended his leadership hopes and aspirations to become Prime Minister.  Regardless, it seems Stephen Harper is riding, among other things, to a majority government on Election Day.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Leadership Debates

The fiasco over who is in and who is out for the leader's debate is a call for change in future elections.  It seems it may be necessary to establish an independent panel, possibly under the Elections Act, to make future decisions.  It will be interesting to see who takes the lead on this issue to provide voters with a meaningful debate that answers their questions and helps them decide whom to vote for on Election Day.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Harper's Coalition Scare - The Truth

The Nationals' Keith Boag decodes the coalition and provides the real truth.  Read more...

For even more clarity on this issue please view CBC's video featuring Keith Boag or get a copy of the ageement from here.

This should put an end to the conservatives' coalition scare.

Harper's Blunder

The conservative campaign is a guarded and negative campaign. Stephen Harper only allows four or five questions per scrum and keeps the media well away from him behind a guarded perimeter.  Their strategy is to hold their lead and little more. This essentially means it has no theme to attract new voters or to attract votes from other parties. The conservatives may have peaked in the first week and if the NDP vote does not collapse then that may be enough to give the conservatives another minority, or even majority government. If voters decide to choose between primarily the conservatives and the liberals then there is room for growth within the liberal party. At this point, anything is possible.

So, why would Stephen Harper challenge Michael Ignatieff to a one on one debate? This would only confirm the liberals are on even footing with the conservatives in this campaign. This is the worst blunder by the conservatives and the leader, Stephen Harper, made it. Now, he has decided to back away from his challenge to Michael Ignatieff and that only makes it worse. Stephen Harper has control over all the conservative candidates in this campaign. Maybe it is time for them to get control of him.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Stephen Harper's Coalition

This video tells you all you need to know about where Steven Harper once stood on balanced budgets and coalitions.

Michael Ignatieff Video

Conservative - NDP Coalition

Are the Harper conservatives in a coalition with the NDP?  It is very likely they are quietly propping up the NDP because generally when NDP support goes up liberal support goes down.  One poll shows the gap narrowing between the conservatives and the liberals.  This poll also shows the NDP support was down and this is why the conservatives are likely in a quiet coalition with the NDP.

Vote Compass

The Vote Compass sponsored by CBC and promoted on this website is an unnecessary controversy.  No one is required to participate.  No one is required to vote according to the Vote Compass.  An honest participation found Vote Compass to be accurate.  So where is the problem?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Last Letter

I have been writing in many papers for nearly two decades.  The time has come to move on with my writing.  The following is a transcipt of my last letter.

March 30, 2011

Dear Editor,

For nearly two decades, I have submitted “Letters to the Editor” on various issues. Over the last few years, papers across the country received these letters with the majority going to Saskatchewan weekly papers. It has been interesting writing on issues of importance. It is important for people to have a range of views on the issues.

There is respect for papers that allow their readers to submit letters. It is a service vital to the principles of free speech. Appreciation goes to all these papers. You have earned the respect of your readers.

Writing will always be important, but it will take a different form in the future. Thank you to the papers and to their readers for respectfully accommodating these letters.

Someone once said it is better to write for your self and have no public than to write for the public and have no self. For this and other reasons, it is time to move on to other interests.

Yours truly,

Larry Birkbeck

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wascana Nomination

Ian Shields, nominated last night to represent the conservatives in Wascana has an uphill battle against incumbent liberal Ralph Goodale. It will be interesting to see how many debates he is prepared to get into with Mr. Goodale. If there were one, you would not want to miss it.

Ian Shields is in tight with the conservative hierarchy and a candidate easily controlled by the conservative brass. Regardless, that does not make him a credible candidate nor is it any proof that he knows anything about politics. By his own definition, he is a peacock and every bit of what that implies. He is anything, but modest. If you want an “in your face” candidate then watch for Ian Shields to come knocking at a door near you. He will get your attention, guaranteed.

Harper Conservatives at Risk

The liberals are getting off the ground with their campaign. They had a good day yesterday with Ignatieff campaigning off script and enjoying it. The media have decided to begin questioning the Harper conservatives over snubbing immigrant Canadians by referring to them as “you people.”

Harper’s constant talk about coalition is beginning to irritate voters who want to discuss issues like health care and family issues. Canadian families are eager to know if they can expect support from the Harper conservatives. They want to know if it will come before the next election. The conservative’s income splitting policy will not kick in until 2015-2016 and only if the debt is sufficiently down. Whoever heard of making promises during an election for some future election? This conservative policy sounds like social engineering to keep one spouse at home with the kids while the other goes to work. It is a policy for the rich, not the poor. Voters please read the fine print.

The Harper conservatives are also on thin ice over Harper’s comments that essentially shrugs off the Speaker’s ruling of contempt against the Harper government as nothing more than House rule stuff in Ottawa. Get a grip! It was an historical ruling. A vote in both a committee and in the House of Commons found the Harper government in contempt of Parliament. Harper on this issue is only confirming that he has a flagrant disregard for parliament and the rules of democracy. We are in an election over this issue and not the budget, but it seems Harper has not figured that out yet.

Harper’s majority is a long way from being in the bag. If the liberals get under Harper’s skin on a few issues and anger him then this election could turn on a dime. Someone should find Harper a piano, as ping-pong Harper did not bounce well on television.

Stephen Harper, polled as the most popular of the leaders, but after today, he did more harm than good and more harm than all his muzzled candidates did. Running a campaign on the back of only the leader is risky at the best of times. If Harper stumbles then the whole campaign can be lost with no time to recover.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Last Campaign

All three party leaders may be leading their last election campaign. It is highly unlikely any of the party leaders will remain for another election if their party fails to form government. Stephen Harper may step down if he wins another minority government or even forced out. He is politically the “Minority Man.” This is why he is making his case that voters must give him a majority government.

Another minority government seems very likely and if that happens then look for new leaders for all the major parties at the next election. This may be our best hope for a majority government at the next election if not at this one.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Federal Election Called

The federal election is now official. After Stephen Harper met with the Governor General, the election was set for May 2, 2011 as the day voters go to the polls. The question is, how many will go? If voter turnout is higher, it may gain the conservatives a majority. A lower turnout may result in another minority government, but for which party.

This election became necessary because the Speaker of the House ruled the Harper conservatives were in contempt of parliament, it went to committee and, after hearings and the vote, the committee confirmed the government was in contempt. The matter then went before all members in the House of Commons and again the vote confirmed the Harper conservatives were in contempt of parliament. The vote, a non-confidence vote defeated the government. This issue will likely become a major issue lasting through the entire campaign.

Voters should pay attention and sort out the truth from the lies as the campaign moves along. The Harper conservatives have already attempted to mislead voters by stating that the liberals will form a coalition with the other opposition parties to form government if there is another minority government. That simply is not true and Michael Ignatieff, the leader of the liberal party has issued a statement declaring that he will not form a coalition with the Bloc party or any other party to form government. Gilles Duceppe, leader of the Bloc, called Stephen Harper a liar on the issue. Unfortunately, when one party lies about what the other party may or may not do it is necessary to respond to dispel the lie. This is unfortunate and the voters should punish the party that lies the most.

Postings will be regular on this election. It is important for voters to have another point of view on the issues.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

F-35 Purchase

Long-time journalist, Brian Stewart asks some hard questions about the purchase of 65 F-35 "Joint Strike Fighters" by the Harper conservative government.  You can read his article on CBCNEWS|World.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Federal Election

On March 22, 2011 the Harper government introduced their budget. The opposition parties have declared they will not support the budget. An election is imminent. Here are a few comments for the voters to consider.

· Prime Minister Stephen Harper has led one of the longest serving minority governments in the history of Canada.
· He rules over Canada’s largest federal debt nearing $559 billion with the voters’ share currently around $16 thousand.
· He rules with a flagrant disregard or respect for parliament and with disdain for anyone who opposes him.
· He argues the opposition has not read the budget. That is not true. They do not need to read every sentence to get the drift. After all, it is not a national best seller.
· He is currently the most dominant, some say dictatorial, Prime Minister in the history of Canada. Bar none!
· Regardless, voters view Stephen Harper as the best leader.
· More importantly, voters should set aside party politics and vote for the best person to represent their interests.
· Healthcare rules over the economy on important issues to voters. Ethics in government, transparency, and honesty are also top-rated issues.
· Only the conservatives or the liberals have a chance to form government.

It will be a dirty hard-fought election. Voter turnout may be up slightly and the Stephen Harper conservatives may form a majority government. Have a Great Election!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Notice to Papers

The following is an email I sent to papers throughout Saskatchewan and across the country.  I will continue to submit posts to my two blogs as usual for some period of time.

March 8, 2011

Dear Editor,

Effective April 1, 2011 I will no longer be submitting Letters to the Editor. My purpose in writing was solely to encourage people to become involved in the issues I addressed in my letters. It didn’t matter to me what their position was, but it was important for me to see them become engaged in the issues.

I don’t believe my writing made any difference, if any. Regardless, I have written letters in various papers for nearly two decades, but I never saved them in an archive until 1998. I never asked for any remittance and none was ever received, but again I never submitted letters for money. I wrote because I cared about the issues and felt others should care as well.

It is my intention to maintain my website and two blogs for a short while and then it will be time to move on to other matters more important to me. That will include my wife and family, my Siberian husky, photography, tennis, motorcycling and reading. I expect to continue writing, but it may take a new form in the future. That is a decision I have not yet made.

It has been a pleasure to write. I have immensely appreciated the various papers that have printed my letters. The weekly papers have been especially generous in covering my views. I commend them for the service they provide to their local readers. My only disappointments were two or three important issues I raised that the daily papers failed to pursue. Regardless, that was their decision and I had done all I could.

Again, thank you for entertaining my views by publishing my letters. It was appreciated. Before the end of the month I will write a more formal letter thanking the papers and your readers. I trust you will be kind enough to print that letter in your paper.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

How safe is you vehicle?

Disturbing research about the security and safety of your car will make you ask the question, how safe is my vehicle?  Read more

Harper Government in Contempt of Parliament

The Harper conservatives have displayed numerous acts of disdain for parliament and democracy.  The Speaker of the House of Commons has now ruled the conservatives are in contempt of parliament.  The ruling is not over one incident, but many.  Read more

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Domed Stadium Doomed

The domed stadium proposal for Regina is apparently doomed. We have now learned the federal government has a policy not to fund such projects. Why did the federal government and 13 Saskatchewan conservative MP’s fail to disclose this policy?

MP Tom Lukiwski on the John Gormley show dropped what was reported to be a “bombshell” when he disclosed he had received a letter from Ken Cheveldayoff suggesting the provincial government would not be going forward without federal funds. How was that a “bombshell” when Lukiwski new the federal government could never fund a project of this nature?

Lukiwski then announced on the Gormley show that he and MP Andrew Scheer had put their heads together to research what federal funds were available for a domed stadium. These two MP’s seem to have conspired to have us believe they researched their own government on a project their own policies could never fund. What’s up with that?

The John Gormley show hosted some lady who wrote a book about funding such projects. Her book was based on research of similar projects in the US wherein she declared that the funding norm for such projects is 75% private and 25% public. The media now reports on this funding ratio like a revelation we should all blindly accept.

It is disappointing how our governments, politicians and the media manipulate public opinion on important issues? Was the public intentionally misled? If so, should anyone be held accountable?

Monday, February 28, 2011

Amber Holland Team Wins

Amber Holland and her teammates were fittingly all heart at this years’ Tournament of Hearts curling championship. All week they were the heart of Saskatchewan curling fans and the entire province. The Holland team proved they had heart on every shot of every game. This included the final against the famed Jennifer Jones wearing the Team Canada colors. In sports, as in life, it is heart that gives you the courage to believe that you can attain your goals.

The Holland team gave up three in the first end and trailed 6-3 at the fifth end break. They had their backs to the wall against arguably one of the best teams to ever play the game. The Holland team never lost heart as they fought back with three in the sixth end with a dramatic shot by Holland to even the score 6-6. This was the turning point. The Jones team realized it was game on having to contend with the heart and courage of Amber Holland and her teammates.

In the final 10th end Amber Holland made another spectacular shot to draw behind cover and lay shot rock. She forced a difficult last rock of the game shot on her opponent. It was missed and Saskatchewan’s Amber Holland emerged victorious at this years’ Tournament of Hearts.

Congratulations to Amber Holland and her entire team. You’re all heart!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Economic Action Plan

The federal conservative government now holds the largest deficit in Canadian history. To counter this the Prime Minister has ordered 70 MPs, ministers and senators to fan out across the country to tell Canadians how well they are managing the economy. The idea is to push the merits of the government’s Economic Action Plan.

It will be a hard sell. Some argue it has driven the country too far in debt. Some argue the Action Plan was too late getting off the ground during the recession and then arguably favored conservative ridings. The government argues up the middle that the Action Plan has created some 460,000 jobs and pulled Canada out of the recession. Out of the recession and into debt. The nation’s total debt now stands tall at over 560 billion and the latest budget rang up a $55.6 billion deficit.

The government argues that profits in Canada’s corporate sector are continuing to show strong growth as an indication that Canada’s economy is recovering. The conservative government also plans to cut taxes for large corporations already posting huge profits.

The federal government is expected to run their next election campaign on the economy. How the government manages your tax dollars is an important matter. Now would be a good time to call your MP and express your economic concerns.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Multi Purpose Sport Complex

PPP Canada is a Crown Corporation recently established to support the development of public-private partnerships (P3) and facilitate the development of the Canadian P3 market. The Government of Canada established a $1.2 billion fund that is managed by PPP Canada to support P3 infrastructure projects.

P3 funding is the federal government’s mandate to develop the Canadian market for public-private partnerships for the supply of public infrastructure in the public interest.

Is a multi purpose sport complex part of our infrastructure? Roads, bridges, sewer systems, water treatment and the like are what the average person views as infrastructure. These are the types of projects that are viewed by the general public as being in the public interest. Will the public view a sport complex as a public infrastructure that is in the public interest? If the public informed themselves of the P3 Funding details they would be better positioned to answer that question. Linking the removal of the rail lines that run through the City of Regina with the construction of a new sport complex capable of accommodating the Saskatchewan Roughriders would better qualify a multi purpose sport complex under the P3 funding program.

If a new multi purpose sport complex goes ahead it must be financially sustainable without government funding for it’s continual operation. The creation of a management board including all the major funding partners with the power to establish a professional management executive for the sport complex would seem to be one way to assure the proposed complex is sustainable over the years. Unfortunately, this whole matter is reduced to building a new stadium for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The discussion needs to be more about a total infrastructure project that is in the public interest. Good luck with this Saskatchewan!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bev Oda

Bev Oda, Minister responsible for International Cooperation is taking the fall for a CIDA funding project “NOT” approved.  The question should not be so much who inserted the word “NOT.”  The question should be more who ordered the insertion.  Bev Oda doesn’t strike anyone as a person capable of such malicious contempt for the office she holds.  She has made a confession in parliament and is the “fall person” in this matter.  Bev Oda is one small cog in a very big wheel that drives parliament and the government of Canada.  Is there more to this story than a three-letter word?  Either way it reflects badly on Parliament and the Government of Canada.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Egypt under Military Rule

The courageous demonstrations of the people of Egypt have secured their goal.  President Mubarak is out and the administration of the country is now under military rule.  Now we will see how this will play out on the world stage.  Egypt under Mubarak has been, although repressive, on good relations with the US and Israel.  There is now a new dimension in Egypt and, for that matter, the whole middle east region.  I suspect there will be tensions until time tells if the consequences of the demonstrations will work for Egypt, the region and the rest of the world.  Read more

TMX/LSE Merger

Is the proposed merger between the principal stock exchanges of Britain and Canada in our best interests? Right out of the gate most commentators made the claim that it is simply what we should expect out of the ever-increasing global economy. Any thoughts that the Prime Minister and his government may intervene to put the brakes on the merger of Canada’s TMX Group Inc. (TMX) and Britain’s London Stock Exchange PLC (LSE) seems out of the question at this point. On the long haul I am not so sure.

There is no question that Canada will surrender more control than the Brits. And who can imagine the Brits surrendering control of their principal equities? Turning over control of our financial interests and especially securities regulation to another country seems not to be in our interests. Tight regulation of our banking sector diminished the effect of the recent recession. A fact proudly proclaimed by the Prime Minister. The same principles of regulation should apply to this proposed merger.

Canadian politicians intervened to stop the sale of Potash Corp. and stopped plans to sell our famed Canadarm assets to US interests. These moves by our government were widely approved by Canadians. Is it time for our government to once again step in to protect Canadian interests?

I may be out on the limb on this issue, but this proposed TMX/LSE merger is not a done deal. I am suspect of LSE’s track record on mergers and so too should be our government and Canadians. We need to ask what will be the long-term benefits for Canada? Is it in our interests?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Gas Tax

It has generally been accepted over the years that government taxes on gasoline should be used for road construction and repair or other infrastructure projects. The federal government’s expected plans to change the rules as to how these taxes can be used may apparently fund a major NHL hockey arena in Quebec City.

Currently, cities and towns can access a shared fund of over $2 billion from the federal gas taxes you pay when you fill up at the pumps. Municipalities have the right to choose how they spend these funds. Until now the government has been clear that the funds are to be used for infrastructure projects like roads, sewers and water treatment systems. Apparently, federal government plans to change the rules will expand what municipal projects qualify to access the gas tax fund.

I expect there will be problems if a municipality funds entertainment projects with the gasoline tax. Especially, when they hike your taxes to fund repairs and improvements for roads, sewers and water treatment facilities. Does it make sense to fund entertainment facilities with gas tax revenue in the face of deteriorating infrastructures across the country? Watch for this issue at the next election and you decide.  Read more

Changes to CPP

Important changes to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) deserve your attention if you are nearing retirement.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

History of American Foreign Policy

This excellent video provides an insight into the history of foreign policy.  In many ways it details through various US Presidents how we came to arrive at where we are today.  The US has had an immense influence on the numerous world conflicts that have occurred over the years.  It also explains, in part, what caused the US to be involved in so many conflicts.  Of interest to Canadians is that as goes the US so goes Canada.

A security strategy for the North American continent is the new priority.  This has brought us to the discussions Prime Minister, Stephen Harper has just concluded with President Obama.  These discussions will begin the process for new arrangements to secure the border between Canada and the US to protect against terrorism.  Secondly, it will set agreements in place for how trade between Canada and the US can move freely without any sacrifice to US national security.

Canadians should be asking what is at stake and what issues are on the table for discussions.  At some point the Prime Minister has an obligation to Canadians to disclose what measures are being considered and how they may affect Canadians.  I don't think that is too much for Canadians to expect from their Prime Minister.

More at The Real News

Monday, January 17, 2011

Federal Election

There is again talk of a federal election. The power-driven Prime Minister, Stephen Harper wants an election and a majority. Canadians don’t want an election. Someone apparently has to be blamed for causing the election. Harper says he doesn’t want an election, but is that the truth? The conservatives hold a 7% lead over their nearest rival opposition liberals in recent polling. With those polls who else would want an election?

I don’t care how you vote when a federal election is called, but be sure you are clear on who caused it. Prime Minister Harper may taint the budget just enough to cause any self-respecting opposition party to vote against it.

Prime Minister Harper wants an election, he wants a majority and he wants it bad. He sings a good tune and has some good moves. Why else would he be dancing all over the country singing songs of praise over the government he leads?

Yes, Stephen Harper will be the cause of the next election. If he wins a majority he will be the most domineering Prime Minister in the history of Canada. Who will lead the conservatives at the next election if he fails to win a majority?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Paul Jay Commentary

More at The Real News

Sarah Palin's Accusations

Sarah Palin is often controversial as are all politicians.  Any attempt to connect her in anyway to the recent Arizona shootings is irresponsible and despicable.  Regardless, this video is defensive, self-serving, carefully scripted and again controversial.

Sarah Palin: "America's Enduring Strength" from Sarah Palin on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Afghanistan War

The never-ending war in Afghanistan may be doomed to another decade of fighting. The Afghan people are largely opposed to the Taliban, but the Taliban is fighting for their religion and their country and can likely fight forever. Getting the Afghans and Taliban to discuss how they can share power in a democratic model of government is the best solution.

The Taliban have no incentive to protect Al Qaeda and that could be the wedge issue. An agreement to share power within an Afghan regime that excludes Al Qaeda would likely be supported by NATO and the US. Al Qaeda is reported to be down to only 300 people. Although it is Al Qaeda the US wants after 9/11 it may possibly be achieved by getting the Afghans and Taliban to share power and by getting Pakistan unconditionally on side.

Unfortunately, the US has other interests, which is primarily establishing permanent residence via military bases in Afghanistan to protect their larger interests in the region. The Afghans and Taliban will oppose this indefinitely and it makes it more difficult to isolate or capture Osama Bin Laden who is believed to be still living somewhere in Pakistan near the Afghanistan border.

The US driven NATO presence in Afghanistan is one the US may have to fight alone. Afghanistan, the Taliban, Al Qaeda and Pakistan are not natural allies, but they do all oppose the US and any western presence in the region. It is time to push for peace through negotiations or get out of the region completely.

Finding Osama Bin Laden, defeating the Taliban, gaining the unconditional support of Afghanistan and Pakistan has eluded NATO and the US. It is a complex mess of religion and divergent views and objectives flowing from all sides. A military victory is highly unlikely. Continuing the fight in Afghanistan will see the needless loss of more lives on both sides and fail to satisfy the region or the US led NATO involvement. So why are we still there?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Tuscon, Arizona Shooting

My prayers go out to the families of those killed and injured in the Tucson, Arizona shooting. Congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords, is fighting for her life. It is time for prayer, sorrow and sympathy for the families. It is not the time for public debate over whether gun laws or hateful politics was the cause of this shooting. That debate should come later not now.

I understand the emotional political comments coming out of Arizona blaming mean-spirited politics and gun control laws. And blaming Sarah Palin’s website that used gun site targets on a political map targeting democrats including the district represented by Gabrielle Giffords. Palin’s website was cleaned up immediately after the shooting. Did that suggest her website was inappropriate?

I don’t understand the “John Gormley Live” talk shows’ attempt today to determine the cause of this tragic shooting. The show launched needless assaults on the left in a dispute over blame. This was untimely and insensitive. Gormley said he predicted the left would blame the right. How is that comforting?

It is known that one individual is in custody charged with the shootings. The cause of the shootings is not known and will never be determined on any radio talk show. These matters are best left to the professionals.

The tragic deaths of this event, including those of an innocent nine-year-old child, are what really matter. My comments are submitted with heartfelt sympathy for all affected by this sad event.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Harper Rules

Why are we talking about a federal election? Prime Minister Stephen Harper still believes the public has no appetite for an election. The liberal opposition has no appetite for an election. The polls currently indicate there is no hope for a majority government.

The Prime Minister is over obsessed with power. He often has a disdain for democracy and parliament. He has failed on his promise to run a more ethical and accountable government. The reality is the Harper conservatives are no better than the liberals. The voters are right. They are all the same and sometimes worse.

Further, the voters view Stephen Harper as the best person to rule on economic matters. Today he rules over one of the largest national debts ever and it continues to grow each day now standing over $554 billion. The conservative government claims they will balance the budget around 2015. But, they will need consecutive surpluses to pay down that huge debt. When will that be? The Prime Minister has asked that we all do our part and live within our means. With the means available to politicians that would be easy. How easy is it for you?

Finally, the voters need to vote for either the conservatives or the liberals and give one of them a clear majority government. This will remove the excuses for poor government and the constant election talk. And it will give Canada some hope for a brighter future.

Monday, January 03, 2011