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?