Monday, October 15, 2012

Regina Civic Election

The civic election should amount to more than which candidates support the proposed new stadium for the Riders. Even candidates whom support the stadium, but not exactly as currently proposed are deemed opposed to the stadium and against the Riders. John Gormley takes the position that if you want the stadium there is only one candidate to support for Mayor. I disagree!

Reducing a civic election to essentially one issue is wrong and fails to hear the concerns of Regina residents on other important issues. It is never right to fight an election on one or two issues. Unfortunately, that too often is the case in many elections. There are many issues like infrastructure, the rising debt, the pension fund deficit, tax rates, property taxes, governmental transparency and a lack of affordable housing to name a few.

I suggest that Regina voters make their choice for Mayor, council and school boards based on a range of issues, accountability, and transparency. Moreover, that will include the stadium even if you do not bleed green.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Harper fails Voters

Stephen Harper continues to fail voters to the extent that he says one thing and does another. There was a time when he condemned the liberal government of patronage appointments to the Senate and other positions. It turns out he is no different from the liberals.

He has filled Senate appointments with his supporters and now he has appointed a defeated cabinet minister, Lawrence Cannon, as Canada’s ambassador to France. It is not that Mr. Cannon is not qualified, but it feeds public opinion with the view that Prime Minister Harper is no different from the liberals. Changing the government seems to change very little.

The frequent scandals around government spending and waste continue to plague the conservatives. Their spending continues to drive the debt higher and higher costing Canadian taxpayers more. Stephen Harper is a disappointment to many voters. When will politics ever change?

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Harper Conservatives Failing Canadians

The Harper government is feeding the opposition every day with many unnecessary cuts to the civil service. Library and Archives Canada is just one example of where cuts will be harmful. All reasonable efforts are necessary to record Canadian history for future generations. Our history is the foundation upon which we build our future in this great country. The Harper government needs to get their own financial house in order before lining up dedicated and important public civil servants at the firing wall. True, some trimming may be necessary, but be careful that it is not at our own peril and at the risk of failing all Canadians. First, cut the lavish and despicable spending habits of Harper’s cabinet, which angers working Canadians.

After only one year with a majority, the Harper government seems incapable of governing without embarrassing Canadians on a weekly basis. There must be something wrong when the NDP is now in a virtual tie with the Harper conservatives in recent polls. Stephen Harper seems to have lost control of his cabinet, MP’s, and government in less than a year. As a life long conservative, I find this difficult to understand. My dedicated and hard working liberal MP, Ralph Goodale is looking better everyday thanks in large part to Stephen Harper.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Prime Minister appoints Jean Chrétien

The following appointment is interesting.  Prime Minister Harper has a total disdain for liberals, but still appoints a former liberal Prime Minister to a prestigious position.  Regardless, Jean Chrétien is deserving of this appointment.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced the appointment of the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien as Canada’s representative to The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust. Established to honour Her Majesty’s 60-year reign, the Diamond Jubilee Trust will raise funds to support a variety of charitable initiatives across the Commonwealth.

The Diamond Jubilee Trust is chaired by Sir John Major, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and will be managed by a board of trustees. A Commonwealth Advisory Group is currently being established and Mr. Chrétien will serve as the Canadian representative.

“Former Prime Minister Chrétien is uniquely qualified to serve as Canada’s representative to the Diamond Jubilee Trust. Mr. Chrétien is a member of the Queen’s prestigious Order of Merit. His relationship with Her Majesty, which spans over 40 years, includes six official Royal Tours he hosted during his time as Prime Minister,” said Prime Minister Harper. “The Diamond Jubilee Trust is a fitting tribute to Her Majesty’s dedicated service to Canada and the Commonwealth. I would like to thank former Prime Minister Chrétien for representing Canada in this worthy charitable initiative.”

The Diamond Jubilee Trust was launched on February 6, 2012, to coincide with the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty’s Accession to the Throne. The Trust will focus on Commonwealth priorities such as combatting curable diseases and promoting education and culture. The Trust will be funded by governments, individuals, organizations and the private sector, and will invest in projects that seek to make a real and enduring difference in people’s lives throughout the Commonwealth.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

2012 Alberta Election

In most cases, a high voter turnout is a signal change is coming. This was not the case in the 2012 provincial election. Albertans turned out in record numbers. After counting all the votes, it was the best turnout since 1993. The polls favored the Wildrose Party, but on election night, the voters again supported the Progressive Conservative Party led by Alison Redford.

The polls have been wrong before on various elections, but none more so respecting the Alberta election. It seems that voters, especially the left leaning NDP, Liberals and younger voters became shy of voting for the more right wing Wildrose Party, and moved their support to the conservatives. It is even likely some old conservatives were flirting with the notion of voting for the Wildrose Party.

Voters could have stayed with the more centre conservatives or go back to conservative roots and vote for the Wildrose Party. In the end, most roads led to the Progressive Conservatives on election night. Premier Redford won, but at what cost to the taxpayers? Danielle Smith of the Wildrose Party and her colleagues in opposition will press Alberta’s new Premier hard on fiscal issues.

The Progressive Conservative Party under Premier Alison Redford may continue to mess around in the middle of Alberta politics. If that continues and Danielle Smith performs well in opposition, responsibly to the right of Redford, look for a different result at the next Alberta election.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Alberta Provincial Election - 2012

I am intrigued with the Alberta provincial election. My involvement in Canadian and Saskatchewan politics for over fifty years allows me to see campaigns beyond the polling. Albertans have a special opportunity before them as they approach Election Day. It is not often when fresh, young leaders like Danielle Smith, leader of the Wildrose Party, offer voters a better future.

I have been a conservative all my life, but if I lived in Alberta, I would be voting for Danielle Smith and the Wildrose Party. Yes, Peter Lougheed was a great Premier when he broke on the scene unseating the governing Social Credit Party. Allison Redford is desperate. The fact Peter Lougheed came out in an effort to break the conservatives fall from power is evidence of that reality.

Danielle Smith is the right leader for Alberta now and for their future. Albertans have more to gain by voting for her and the Wildrose Party than any other leader or party in this election. It is an opportunity for voters to get big government out of their face for a while. It is an opportunity for voters to take back control of their elected officials and regain control of their government. It is an opportunity for a fresh start with a fresh young leader like Danielle Smith.

Come on Albertans vote for the Wildrose Party and make Danielle Smith your next Premier.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Roy Nelson

The passing of Roy Nelson is the loss of a kind and respectful man. He served his country, province, and community with enthusiasm and dedication. He served his family and friends with love, loyalty, and commitment.

Roy and I were elected to the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly in the same year. I was elected as a Progressive Conservative and Mr. Nelson as a liberal. Regardless, he was easy to respect. I always considered him one of the best people I was privileged to serve with in the legislature. Roy and I would occasionally run into each other at a coffee shop or a mall. It was always a pleasure to be in his company. I will miss him.

My condolences go out to his wife Kay and their family. My prayers and thoughts are with them.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Guilty or Not Guilty

The accused found not guilty. I am a non-drinker and I ride a motorcycle. I am a taxpayer and I have to pay an ever-increasing cost charged by SGI to ride my motorcycle. I have never had an accident while riding my motorcycle. A bad driver of both automobiles and motorcycles causes SGI to increase charges to the operators of vehicles due to accidents. We also pay court costs to sort these matter out and determine who is at fault. In this case, the motorcycle operator was in the wrong place at the wrong time and guilty of nothing. What am I missing?

Now you be the judge! How would you find? Guilty or Not Guilty! Read more...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Saskatchewan 2012 Budget

The Brad Wall SaskParty government introduced a so-called austerity budget. The problem is they missed the mark as total spending increased. They are not different from any other government. They just cannot stop spending and they rely on unreliable income forecasts. Total debt is increasing and the government is paying down less this year than last.

I would reduce the size of government, slow spending, introduce a plan to eliminate the total debt in someone's lifetime, and reduce the size of the legislature by at least ten MLA's. Do these things all incrementally and consistently in less than ten years and you have a plan I can support.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Harper Government in Retreat

The Harper Government is finding itself in retreat on a number of issues lately. They have finally come to their senses, as have other countries, regarding the purchase of F-35 fighter jets. The costs of these jets over recent months kept going up. The Harper Government mocked the opposition whenever they opposed the purchase of these expensive fighter jets.

The government in retreat on this issue will save taxpayers a lot of money. There is no question Canada must consider the purchase of new fighter jets if we are to assist our allies in war missions around the world. The question to be considered is how many jets we need, what supplier and at what cost.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Takeover Bid of Viterra Inc.

With the threat of a takeover bid of Viterra Inc. we have to wonder how much the demise of the Canadian Wheat Board played in this takeover bid. Viterra is a Saskatchewan based company and vital to our economy. Viterra is Canada’s largest grain company based right here in Regina, Saskatchewan.

Saskatchewan Premier, Brad Wall does not see Viterra in the same light as BHP Billiton. We have no definitive position from the Premier other than to say it has to be a net benefit to Canada and Saskatchewan. Well, that is not hard to figure!

We have even less knowledge of where Prime Minister Harper will come down on this issue. The Harper Government rejected the BHP Billiton takeover bid of Saskatchewan’s potash industry after a lot of pressure from Saskatchewan. Will Prime Minister Harper show leadership this time or do we have to turn again to Premier Brad Wall.

It seems to me our land and resources and the management and handling of our resources is best left in Canadian hands. It is hard to believe that foreign companies, regardless of whom they are, will have the best interests of Canadians at the top of their management agenda.

Not to put too fine a point on this issue, I do not want to wake up some morning and wonder where my shredded wheat is for breakfast.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Infrastructure Improvements

Here in Saskatchewan many of our main roads are in need of repair. The Trans-Canada highway needs work. Travel from Regina to Moose Jaw and back is a good example. Our cities have potholes that cost motorists thousands of dollars on tie rod ends, cracked boots, and suspension repairs. I have the receipts to prove it. We are in need of infrastructure repair for sewer mains, reliable drinking water, and lagoon expansions throughout the province. In many smaller communities, their recent population growth requires them to expand and improve their infrastructure system, but they have no funds for the improvements.

In Toronto, the federal government announced a project to build a pedestrian tunnel under ground and water. It will connect the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport to the mainland at the foot of Bathurst Street. The Airport Improvement fee will apparently largely fund the project. Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, Finance Minister, Jim Flaherty and the Toronto City Mayor, Rob Ford and the Toronto Port Authority Chairman, Mark McQueen announced the project. That would suggest the federal government and the City of Toronto invested in the pedestrian tunnel.

Prime Minister, Stephen Harper in his announcement of the pedestrian tunnel said, “Our Government is committed to building strong, prosperous communities that are engines of economic growth.” Well, we agree with that here in Saskatchewan. So, what is the problem? Is it because there are no more votes to gain in Saskatchewan and our conservative MP’s are failing to push for improvements to our infrastructure system?

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Statistics Canada

Statistics Canada works seven days a week.  I received a phone call from Statistics Canada on a Sunday and was informed they work seven days a week.  Maybe we should freeze government salaries and make them work six days a week.  Now what should we do with our politicians?

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

MP's Sleep on the Job

Well, we always thought many politicians must be sleeping on the job.  Rob Anders, MP for Calgary West has proven the point.  Recent news reports and video show him sleeping like a baby in the House of Commons and in Committee.  One has to wonder what he is doing in the night that has him sleeping during the day.  The Prime Minister is known not to like early mornings, but he has made the adjustment.  He has a busy schedule flying all over the world and then keeping his members awake when he is home.  You can be sure of one thing.  The Prime Minister will rightfully not be pleased over the sleepy antics of Rob Anders.  What action will the Prime Minister take to get his MP's working hard for Canadian taxpayers and what is the penalty for sleeping on the job?

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Wheat Research Funding

A recent announcement by the Saskatchewan government will invest $10 million into new funding for wheat related research over the next five years. That is good news for Saskatchewan farmers and for the entire province. Recent reports indicate food production will have to increase by 45% by 2030. It is a great decision for Saskatchewan by the Brad Wall SaskParty government. What is not to like about this announcement? The western Canadian Wheat Growers Association supports the announcement. The funding will help prairie farmers stay competitive.

However, hold on just a moment. The NDP say they support the decision, but feel the Saskatchewan government should spend research dollars on the impact of the demise of the Canadian Wheat Board and to study how to sustain the small family farm. Now you know why the NDP is a small opposition party. They just have no idea of how to drag themselves out of the past. The future is today and tomorrow. The NDP is yesterday and part of our history. Their policies are destined to keep them there for a long time. Is there a liberal party in Saskatchewan? If there is then maybe they and the NDP could get together and have a conference on the future. They could have Brad Wall as their guest speaker.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The New Canada

John Baird and Vic Toews represent what seems to be the New Canada. Is it in Canada's best interests when senior ministers make statements based on fear over facts? Even more alarming is admissions that they do not know what the facts are surrounding their ministerial responsibilities. It is even more alarming if they are misleading Canadians about the facts. Former President George Bush and George Bush junior both took the US on an invasion mission into Iraq based on the unproven claim of "weapons of mass destruction." The cost of this mission in lives and money now questions that decision.

Then there was Canada's 10-year stint in Afghanistan now essentially taken over by the US. According to regular news reports coming out of Afghanistan.  We have to question what we gained and at what cost.

Back to Baird and Toews. It seems Baird is using fear over facts abroad and Toews is using fear over facts at home. We are a big country with an economy based on our natural resources that we must market on the world stage. As we have found with pipelines for oil as in the Keystone Pipeline and now a proposed pipeline to the west coast, there is conflict both at home and abroad. Ottawa we have a problem!

Balancing our conflicts and our trade with countries around the world is no small feat. I am not saying it is easy, but some reason and facts need to be the basis for the governments approach. The Baird/Toews approach is fraught with danger, but it may well be the face of The New Canada. Read more...

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Prime Minister in China

The Prime Minister's visit to China is one of the most successful visits by any Canadian Prime Minister to China.  Over 20 agreements or a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) have been signed.  One of the agreements, that especially benefits Saskatchewan, will expand Saskatchewan's export of uranium products to China.  The Prime Minister's visit will benefit the entire economy of Canada in one way or another long into the future.  Check out the Prime Minister's website for expanded information on his achievements.

Monday, February 06, 2012

The Harper Government

Stephen Harper once stated he would not run deficit budgets. Well, where are the balanced budgets? The Harper Government reports that they will not balance their budget until 2014. It will likely be later. What happened to fiscal responsibility? What happened to transparency? What happened to honesty? The Conservative Party violated Canadian election laws during their 2006 campaign and finally pleaded guilty in court paid a small fine and no one went to jail.

Stephen Harper has failed to reform the Senate. He once held the position that he would never appoint anyone to the Senate not first elected in some form. He also once held the position he would not appoint anyone from the Senate to Cabinet. Stephen Harper, in his first Cabinet in 2006, appointed a liberal in the name of David Emerson to the Senate and into Cabinet in one move. Where is the elected Senate he once supported? Where is Senate reform?

The Harper Government’s tax cuts have come in the form of tax credits that fail to assist low income Canadians who pay no taxes. Consider how this affects fire fighters and kids in sport or arts. It is lower income Canadians who need tax relief. 10 million Canadians will not benefit from a tax credit. Now expect a 1.2 billion-tax increase on the Employment Insurance payroll the Harper Government plans to introduce on January 1, 2012.

Rail Service plays an important role regarding Canadian transportation. Canadian National (CN) and Canadian Pacific (CP) are failing to meet expectations of shippers. The Harper government completed a Rail Freight Service Review in 2010 that was three years in the making. The Review identified deficiencies in how CN and CP fail to meet reasonable shipper expectations. Is The Harper Government acting to address identified deficiencies in how the two railways move freight in Canada?

The Harper Government is now embroiled in a hotly debated discussion on pension reform. Where did that come from? Was that in the Conservative Party campaign at the last election? Stephen Harper waded into the debate with remarks he made while in Switzerland. If he knew his intentions regarding his remarks then he should come clear with Canadians and let the rest of us in on his intentions. For now, the Harper Government seems to be in full retreat in the House of Commons. The Harper Government will need to attain the moral high ground before they proceed with any pension reforms. That will mean addressing the matter of MP pensions that are currently outrageous, as you will find in the Canadian Taxpayers Federation Report. This would have to come first before attacking pensions like the Old Age Security and the linked Guaranteed Income Supplement. An even greater concern is the Harper Government’s intentions regarding the Public Service pensions.

Canadians handed the Harper Government a majority government at the last election. We are now beginning to see what Prime Minister; Stephen Harper intends to do with his majority government.

Enjoy your government and Have a Great Day!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Bill Cosby

"I'm 76 and I'm Tired"

I'm 76. Except for brief period in the 50's when I was doing my National Service, I've worked hard since I was 17. Except for some serious health challenges, I put in 50-hour weeks, and didn't call in sick in nearly 40 years. I made a reasonable salary, but I didn't inherit my job or my income, and I worked to get where I am. Given the economy, it looks as though retirement was a bad idea, and I'm tired. Very tired.

I'm tired of being told that I have to "spread the wealth" to people who don't have my work ethic. I'm tired of being told the government will take the money I earned, by force if necessary, and give it to people too lazy to earn it.

I'm tired of being told that Islam is a "Religion of Peace," when every day I can read dozens of stories of Muslim men killing their sisters, wives and daughters for their family "honor"; of Muslims rioting over some slight offense; of Muslims murdering Christian and Jews because they aren't "believers"; of Muslims burning schools for girls; of Muslims stoning teenage rape victims to death for "adultery"; of Muslims mutilating the genitals of little girls; all in the name of Allah, because the Qur'an and Shari'a law tells them to.

I'm tired of being told that out of "tolerance for other cultures" we must let Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries use our oil money to fund mosques and madrassa Islamic schools to preach hate in Australia, New Zealand, UK, America and Canada, while no one from these countries are allowed to fund a church, synagogue or religious school in Saudi Arabia or any other Arab country to teach love and tolerance.

I'm tired of being told I must lower my living standard to fight global warming, which no one is allowed to debate.

I'm tired of being told that drug addicts have a disease, and I must help support and treat them, and pay for the damage they do. Did a giant germ rush out of a dark alley, grab them, and stuff white powder up their noses or stick a needle in their arm while they tried to fight it off?

I'm tired of hearing wealthy athletes, entertainers and politicians of all parties talking about innocent mistakes, stupid mistakes or youthful mistakes, when we all know they think their only mistake was getting caught. I'm tired of people with a sense of entitlement, rich or poor.

I'm really tired of people who don't take responsibility for their lives and actions. I'm tired of hearing them blame the government, or discrimination or big-whatever for their problems.

I'm also tired and fed up with seeing young men and women in their teens and early 20's be-deck them selves in tattoos and face studs, thereby making themselves un-employable and claiming money from the Government.

Yes, I'm damn tired. But I'm also glad to be 76.. Because, mostly, I'm not going to have to see the world these people are making. I'm just sorry for my granddaughter and her children. Thank God I'm on the way out and not on the way in.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Non-Smoking Week

The Prime Minister has reminded us that it is non-smoking week from January 15th through the 21st.  Here is his statement.

Quote... “Every year smoking adversely impacts the health of millions of Canadians – including those affected by second-hand smoke – heightening their risk of cancer, heart disease, emphysema and a number of other conditions. It also costs our health care system – and therefore taxpayers – a substantial amount of money.

“However, through initiatives such as National Non-Smoking Week, stronger labelling and distribution regulations, a Canada-wide toll-free quit line number and information website, and efforts to combat contraband tobacco, our Government is helping to reduce the smoking rate across the country – especially among youth.

“Despite this positive trend, we recognize that the number of people smoking in our country is still too high, which is why we are continuing our efforts in 2012 to help bring it down further.

“I encourage all Canadians who smoke to make a resolution to quit the habit both for themselves and for their loved ones.”  _Unquote.

This comes on the heels that his government will keep their promise to reduce spending on health care.  This will require the provinces to pick up where the Harper Government falls short.

If the Harper government is truly concerned over tobacco then ban the product or at least assist people to quit smoking with something more than a toll-free quit line.  Retailers of tobacco claim they make very little out of selling tobacco products.  Then quit selling tobacco and support the move to reduce smoking.  Market all tobacco products out of the existing liquor outlets and especially those operated by the government.  Alcohol products are supplied in designer bottles and snazzy containers and the artistic displays in liquor stores are impressive.  There are no disgusting photos of an auto accident on a liquor bottle.  Tobacco on the other hand has a photo on the package that is disgusting.  That is why the product is hidden behind a cheap shower curtain or hinged doors in gas stations and other outlets.  Then it is argued that they are kept out of site so no one is tempted to take up the habit.  What sense does this make and why the difference between alcohol and tobacco.  They are both addictive and neither is good for your health.  It is fine to be a social drinker, but you can not be a social smoker.  Alcohol is socially accepted and tobacco is not.

People using liquor and tobacco could make use of off-sale outlets and drive through locations to pick up liquor or tobacco.  It seems odd that you are old enough to drive a vehicle at 16 and go to war and die for your country at 18, but in most provinces in Canada you can not consume alcohol until 19 or sell tobacco products to a minor.

There is a lot of talk about the terrible consequences of smoking.  There is very little talk about the consequences of using alcohol and even less talk about the consequences of drug abuse.

Maybe it is time to have the government introduce mandatory periodic drug testing in our schools, universities, technical schools, like SIAST, and other educational institutions.  Why should taxpayers fund students going to school while intoxicated with illegal drugs?

Each year when the government announces anti-smoking week they should also announce how much revenue they raked in through the sale of tobacco.

Why not introduce an anti-fat week to address the problem of obesity.  Is that not a health issue as well?  Being over weight is not healthy and it too must be a burden on our health care system.  What is the government doing about that?  Is it time for the government to introduce regulations prohibiting food outlets from marketing unhealthy foods?  Is it time for the government to be more involved in healthy lifestyles as a means of reducing the cost on our health care system.

Now do not blame me for all this.  It was the government under pressure from various non-government agencies and lobbies that got us into this mess.  Hence all the anti-smoking regulations.

Years ago many of my elders used to smoke cigarettes, cigars and pipes, chew tobacco and stuff it up their nose, hang out in smoke filled facilities like curling rinks, ate fatty foods like eggs fried in pork fat and were never involved in all the exercise programs currently available.  They never knew terms like saturated and unsaturated fats and likely never ever heard of Yoga.  Regardless, they lived long lives with few exceptions.  What is up with that?

Well, that is all I have to say for now.  I have to go and have my oatmeal porridge sweetened with real Maple Syrup washed down with a coffee sweetened with artificial sweetener.  Then it will be time for my Siberian Husky to take me outside for exercise on a cold January day.  I may even have a cigarette if there is no one within a hundred yards of me and feel good that I am helping to fund my government to tell me I am costing them money by smoking.

Please do not get too fussed over this blog post and Have a Great Life.  You may live longer than you think unless you die of stress by thinking about all this too much!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Year

Well, here we are in the year 2012. Time just keeps rolling on and speeds up as we grow older. Regardless, Canada is a great country and Saskatchewan is leading the way in economic growth and prosperity. It has not always been this good and we should be prepared for the eventual peaks and lows that are associated with any economy.

To make things even better our weather in Saskatchewan and across the country is absolutely unbelievable. We will enjoy it for now and prepare for more seasonal temperatures before winter runs out.

I wish everyone a Happy New Year, prosperity and good health throughout this year 2012.