Wednesday, February 28, 2007
It's been right in front of us all this time. Of course alien technology is the answer. I bet those teleportation devices have an unbeatable green rating.
We should ask the aliens if they have some ideas for us on other issues we are struggling with like the threat of terrorism. I bet they have a big laser or a forcefield or something.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
From the story in the National Post here are some of the other numbers:
Toronto, ON – A new Ipsos Reid survey released today on behalf of CanWest Global indicates that when it comes to the question of who Canadian believe would make the best Prime Minister, forty-six percent choose incumbent minority government Prime Minister Stephen Harper– nearly double the proportion who choose Stephane Dion (25%), and well ahead of Jack Layton (29%). Further, the Prime Minister does well on other attributes that were tested among the three Federal Leaders:
- “Someone who will get things done” (Stephen Harper (51%) compared to Stephane Dion (25 %) and Jack Layton (24 %);
- “Someone who has what it takes to lead Canada” (46% choose Stephen Harper vs. 26% for Stephane Dion and 25% for Jack Layton);
- “Someone you can trust” (39% choose Stephen Harper vs. 25% for Stephan Dion and 31% for Jack Layton); and
- “Someone who has values that are close to your own” (37% choose Stephen Harper vs. 24% for Stephane Dion and 32% for Jack Layton).
"sincerely committed to dealing with climate warming"
"conceited and full of themselves"
"will say anything to get elected"
We here in the NDP have always known that Jack is a better leader than Stephane Dion. It's nice to see that Canadians agree with us.
Now, if we could only get him some more friends on facebook...
UPDATE: This poll has Liberal blogger Jason Cherniak so upset that he seems willing to risk a defamation suit from Ipsos Reid in order to discredit it.
Let's examine some of the most recent aspects of Dion's less-than-stellar leadership, starting with his performance in the House. If you want to know what Dion will lead with in Question Period on any given day, you need only to search Hansard for what the NDP was asking about the day before. In Tuesday's Question Period, Dion had the nerve to ask pretty much the exact same question that Jack Layton asked the day before about foreign-trained professionals getting proper credentials to work in Canada. This is an important issue, but when Dion raises it he oozes hypocrisy. This case of making use of immigrant skills, to ensure that we have fewer doctors driving taxis, is a very clear case of how while Dion was in cabinet, the Liberals ignored common sense solutions to real problems for years and let situations like this escalate.
Not only is Dion a bad opposition leader in part because most of his QP material is poached from the other opposition parties, but he can't keep his caucus together. Sure it was the National Post which is known for its tabloid-style headlines, but over the weekend there were reports of a "mutiny" in the Liberal caucus over the vote to extend the anti-terrorism measures.
And all that weirdness over Ujjal trying to lure away NDP women? What a ridiculously bad strategy. A tip to whoever came up with that bright plan: if you are going to try to get NDPers in BC to do something for you, do NOT send Ujjal "most hated turncoat in BC NDP history" Dosanjh to try to persuade them. Why didn't they just send Bob Rae after the Ontario NDP women while they were at it? But the plan was flawed to begin with because no self-respecting NDP woman would consider jumping ship to join the Liberal Party. The whole thing just proves that Liberals, and Stephane Dion, don't want to do their part in the struggle to increase women's participation in politics; similar to their approach on many issues, they only want to look like they care by increasing their own ratio.
It just seems like it is 'amateur hour' over at the Liberal camp, and although Dion isn't likely to be micro-managing all of the details of the pre-election strategy, these screw-ups are happening under his watch.
The Liberal bloggers are right to point out that Stephen Harper was in close to the same position in the polls about six weeks before he became Prime Minister. The difference is that at that time, Harper hadn't just won a hotly contested leadership battle. Just over two months after the leadership convention Dion should still be in his honeymoon period. Instead he is practically flailing trying to cope with being the Leader of the Official Opposition while his kool-aid drinking followers sit comfortably in denial and talk about how great everything is going. It's embarrassing really.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
New health care spending for infrastructure to address long-term growth: $0
Fighting climate change: $4 million (over 3 years)
Increase to Cabinet Ministers' Office budgets: $1.1 million
I wonder if the Office Budget increase is so that they can splash "Pacific Century" all over their stationary right under "Golden Decade."
It's all well and good to use how many MySpace friends a candidate has as an indication of a candidate's popularity or web presence but the real burning question in my mind is not who can get the most friends, but who has the best MySpace? Now the quality of one's MySpace depends on a few factors: the overall look, types of friends, widgets, and of course content. I will spare you all from a detailed rating of all of the candidates' MySpaces and just throw out some highlights.
Creepiest friends: Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) wins hands down. His top friends all have this creepy "Ron Paul for President" picture as their profile picture and his first friend on his list is the Central Pennsylvania Militia. Check out the leader of the "Ron Paul for President" MySpace group. shiver.
Most endearing: John Edwards is a man after my feminist social democratic heart. He pays homage to his wife and all of her work (he says she's his hero), and upon loading his site, a YouTube video of him plays in which he publicly espouses universal health care. *sigh*
Coolest widget/ link: Sen. Chris Dodd (D-IA). Two words...Dodd Pod.
Most egregious use of the American flag: This one was tough. There were lot of offenders. But I am going to have to go with a tie between Tom Tancredo (R-CO)- cannot even read the text on his site- and Joe Biden (D-DE)- when tiled photos go wrong.
Best music: Nothing annoys me more than MySpace profiles where music starts playing as soon as they load. It can lead to some very embarrassing incidents when one is trolling through MySpace in class. Seriously. Not fun. But Mike Huckabee (R) wins this one because I didn't immediately panic and shut the music off. "I'm so excited...and I just can't hide it..."
Most boring MySpace: Barack Obama. He may have the most friends by far- but his MySpace is ridiculously dull. In the place where his interests are supposed to be listed, instead there is a list of the prominent organizations that he has been a member of. He can't win all the time. He has the coolest everything else in cyberspace.
Coming soon: how do the MySpaces of Canadian politicians compare?
UPDATE: Sadly, most of the MySpaces have changed since I posted this. That will teach me for not getting screenshots dammit.
Friday, February 16, 2007
BC Liberal Finance Minister Carole Taylor announced today that there will be nothing in the budget coming down next week to pay for all of the promised GHG emission caps, and that the government has no answers on how they plan to reach all of the targets set out in the Throne Speech. Maybe Taylor didn't get the memo, printed on the Premier's new green stationary with his new green pen, about how the BC Liberals have just added climate change to list of things that they pretend to care about. More likely, the Throne Speech was a big smoke and mirrors act aimed at scoring some political points during what can best be described as the green revolution that has swept North America and much of the globe.
The BC Liberals have spent a lot of time and effort trying to soften the Premier's image since his unpopularity kept growing even after his tearful apology for his DUI in Maui. They have had some successes in this regard, but this marks a return to the Gordon Campbell that we British Columbians have all come to know and detest. You know, the one whose environmental list of accomplishments includes: scrapping the Ministry of Environment, defending burning dirty coal and planning to build two new coal-fired power plants, firing the Commissioner for Environment and Sustainability, scrapping the existing climate change action plan, gutting the environmental assessment act, cutting 1000 environmental protection officers, eliminating 800 forest service jobs, axing the climate change working group, and speaking out against Kyoto.
The promises from the Throne Speech were surprising considering the BC Liberal government's record. Even though the targets were set way into the future and the action that is desperately needed right now was absent from the speech, it seemed as though Premier Campbell had had an epiphany and was whole-heartedly flying the green flag. Instead it was just a half-assed attempt at political opportunism made with little-to-no regard for the welfare of future citizens of British Columbia and the world. The irresponsibly smug indifference that emanates from the BC Liberal benches drives me crazy.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
In a question about the troubled auto sector Scott Brison said : "Canada's New Opposition has some information for Canada's New Government." Now, the most likely scenario is that Scott just strayed from the message box on this one. After all, I find it hard to picture the 'Big Red Machine' deciding to go with branding like "Canada's New Opposition." At the same time, I can't help but remember that these are the same geniuses at Liberal communications HQ who brought us "soldiers… with guns… in our cities… in Canada". So perhaps this newest line is more than just an anomaly that slipped out in Question Period. Perhaps this is all part of the new Liberal messaging. If so, I know one thing for sure – and I'm not making this up – they'd better get used to the idea of being Canada's New Opposition for a little while longer.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Anyways, this isn't a post about Holman, it's about the so-called story he posted the other day. He used his amazing powers of deduction to decide that since BC NDP MLA Adrian Dix has more flattering quotes about himself on his website than BC NDP Leader Carole James does on her website, that it must mean that he is better than her.
I thought I would take this opportunity to stand up for my MLA and throw out one of my favourite flattering quotes about the illustrious Carole James. This was written by an American journalist so we can forgive him for totally not understanding why it's not cool to call New Democrats gritty:
True grit: Head of the opposition New Democratic Party in the B.C. Legislature, Carole James is the Northwest's grittiest politician.
Raised in a rooming house, and part native, the former Victoria school trustee became leader of B.C.'s decimated political opposition in 2003.
James took the New Democrats from three to 33 seats in the 75-member Legislature in the 2005 election. A year later, she was diagnosed with a rare form of uterine cancer. She has fought off the big "C" and returned to the Legislature late in the year. She has been effective in opposition, despite rapturous treatment given incumbent Premier Gordon Campbell by the Winnipeg-based media empire that owns both Vancouver daily newspapers and a TV station.”
-Joel Connelly, Seattle Post Intelligencer, December 29, 2006
I have been asked by at least one or two people about what I think about Carole and how long she will be our leader. Every time I give the same answer: the woman has staying power. She is solid as a rock. Carole has a strength and resilience that is unmatched in the world of BC politics, and that is why her opponents are constantly looking for new ways to try to chip away at her stellar image. So when I read PEO or the comments that people leave on his site doubting her leadership it just seems ridiculous. Even now, almost two years after her stunning election performance that essentially resurrected the BC NDP, when she enters a room full of New Democrats the room explodes with energy and the overwhelming feeling is that Carole is our leader and that we wouldn't have it any other way.
Truthfully, I think Holman was just feeling a little desperate for content. As a blogger, I feel his pain. There have been at least a few occasions where I thought that it would be easier to start making stuff up about politicians than to offer a substantive post. Something like "Harper Eats Kittens for Afternoon Snack" would likely grab readers' attention and drive traffic to my blog. But personally, when I get stuck for an idea to post on, I prefer to opt for the ranting or the strange current events item. The gratuitous partisan post works in a pinch as well.
Sunday, February 11, 2007
What is funny is that even after the first round of bad press that they received on the issue, the PR geniuses over at Telus thought to themselves 'oh, this story has no legs' and even defended their ethically questionable marketing decision with the whole ' they are downloading porn anyways so we might as well profit from it' argument. Some of them may even think that they are pretty lucky to get all of this free advertising for their new service from all of the media outlets that have picked up the story. I understand that we have a capitalist economy, where major corporations like Telus exist to maximize their profits regardless of the social impact of their actions; what I don't understand is why Telus would be so commercially irresponsible as to put themselves out there as the vanguard of the cell phone porn revolution.
This whole thing sort of reminds me of a certain university students' society that continues to sell cigarettes in their student union building even though student groups have asked them to stop, and even though they are currently the only providers of tobacco products on campus because the less-than-progressive university administration decided a long time ago that it was inappropriate to sell tobacco products in any of its buildings. Okay, this comparison might be a bit of a stretch, but I think there's a point to be made here.
Friday, February 9, 2007
As George Bush may say, you're either with Harper or not. But that's how low debate has sunk: Just scream Harper Helper and watch facts and possibilities fly out the window all because that's how Liberals say politics work.
-Jamey Heath, Rabble News: For the Sake of Argument 01/26/07
I saw Buzz Hargrove, President of the CAW, on Mike Duffy Live yesterday. He was responding to the announcement made by Chrysler Canada about the 2,000 jobs that will be lost in their Ontario plants. Hargrove went on to tell Duffy that despite his efforts, he has not been able to get a meeting with the Prime Minister since the Conservatives took office last year. Buzz said that he wrote the PM a nice letter, congratulating him on his victory, but he never heard back. Shocking.
Then Mike Duffy asked Buzz about the NDP and Buzz told again of how he was booted from the party. He referred to himself as "a socialist without a home." Cute. But let's not forget that Hargrove was ejected from the NDP for telling people to vote for the Liberals and the Bloc Quebecois in the '06 federal election. When asked what he thought about the NDP working with the Tories, Buzz was adamant that cozying up with the Tories was not acceptable. He suggested, as he has been known to suggest, that the NDP ought to only work with the Liberals as they are much more open to social spending.
I am trying to figure out where Hargrove stands here. Is he saying that trying to work with the party in power to get results is wrong? Isn't that what he is trying to do? Doesn't he also have to work with the Tories to get results for the people that he represents? Is he sore because Jack can get a meeting with the Prime Minister and he can't?
And then his point about how the the NDP should work with the Liberals because they are more likely to put forward good social policy. Is that his strategic advice, that the NDP only talk to the Liberal opposition? Brilliant. How is that going to get important legislation passed? Last time I checked 101 + 29 doesn't make a majority. But the fact is, that the NDP did meet with Dion a couple times, and with Duceppe for that matter. In a minority situation, all parties should talk to one another.
And just because the Liberals run on semi-progressive social policy at election time does not mean that they are likely to put any of those policies forward once they are elected. I thought that was common knowledge. We are talking about the same Liberals that ignored climate change warnings for years and slashed transfer payments to the provinces thereby bleeding social programs dry across the country. The Liberals don't get a clean slate because they lost the election, then the old Environment Minister who screwed up the climate change file in the first place called his dog Kyoto, bought a bunch of green shirts and scarves, and won himself the Liberal leadership.
The NDP is clearly trying to make this democratically elected parliament work. Unlike the Liberals, they aren't whining because they didn't get as many seats as they would have liked. Instead, the NDP is doing what they have to do to get sound legislation passed that will have an impact. They have their eye on the prize and that prize is legislation that will get Canada closer to meeting Kyoto targets. The NDP seems to be the only party that has put aside posturing and grandstanding and rolled up their sleeves to get down to work. Some of us don't want to wait until after another election to see something meaningful done on the environment portfolio. Thanks to the Liberals, we are already years behind where we need to be on GHG emissions. They aren't even in power anymore and they are finding a way to avoid acting now on Canada's Kyoto commitments with their delay tactics at the committee.
And lets talk about getting results for auto workers. The Liberals had almost 7 years since the beginning of the downturn of the Canadian auto industry to come up with a strategy and they failed to deliver. Comprehensive solutions were put forward by the CAW, but most of them fell on deaf ears. The federal NDP has always supported auto workers and has been at the forefront of the efforts to make our auto industry in Canada more sustainable with its Green Car Strategy that Hargrove and CAW supported.
When will Buzz learn that his strategy of cuddling with the Liberals doesn't work. It doesn't work for auto workers or Canadians as a whole. It didn't work in the Ontario election of '99 and it didn't work in the '06 federal election. It confuses voters and it helps to legitimize years of Liberal inaction. All he has succeeded in doing is rendering himself politically homeless and pissing off the Conservatives enough that they won't meet with him. In fact, his "anyone but the Conservatives" strategy is probably a key reason why all the nice letters in the world won't get him a meeting the Prime Minister.
Wednesday, February 7, 2007
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
No words exist to properly describe how funny this is.
Although I hate to direct traffic to Public Eye Online, you just really have to read the email exchange between former Minister of State for Mining for the BC Liberal government Bill Bennett and a disgruntled hunter.
It is my understanding that you are an American, so I don't give a shit what your opinion is on Canada or Canadian residents.
Our government does not "…bow to the almighty dollar and face east to Wall Street each day…", but we do recognize a fool when we come across one.
As someone who has spent the past six years working my ass off for my constituents, I am not about to take that kind of bullshit from someone who, for all I know, is up here as an American spy who is actually interested in helping the US create a park in the Flathead.
Oh forget it, the whole thing is gold. Just go read it.
Have a nice day.
Turner is making the Dion Liberals a whole lot more Conservative and is not exactly being welcomed by Liberals with open arms; it doesn't affect the balance of power; and this move crushes the hopes and dreams of Turner's longtime friend Elizabeth May.
May needed Turner to join her and the Green Party to lend them some legitimacy. It was her best hope of getting in the Leaders' Debate at election time. She has been courting him for a while so this rejection has to hurt.
You have to wonder what the Liberals offered him to make him violate his own principles and desert his friend. I didn't realize that shadow cabinet portfolios were such a hot commodity. I guess he'll take what he can get.
And now, totally gratuitously, my personal favourite 'Garth Turner the Hypocrite' quote:
from Canada AM (02/10/06):
But I just think there's a pretty simple point of democratic principle here. And guys like me who spent a long time pounding the pavement and knocking on doors, getting elected, think that that's a pretty important thing that somebody should do when you want to represent a party . . .
He will no doubt have to pound the pavement a little harder in the next election to explain to his moral flip-flop to his constituents and restore his credibility. Campaigning as a Liberal probably won't help.
Adding insult to injury: Not only has Garth Turner rejected Elizabeth May outright, but he just stole her spotlight on Mike Duffy Live by sitting right beside her to cut short her appearance.
I had to change the layout. It sucks when you are surfing through the blogosphere and you see blogs that look like yours. Plus, I was getting a lot of people telling me that I should put a picture up.
So here it all is! My shiny new template with my shiny new picture. I have to give serious credit where it is due. Morgan Stewart, who made my cartoon look better and tried to fit it into the header of my new template (damn you Internet Explorer...it was working beautifully in Firefox), you are far too amazing for words. I probably just got myself on some kind of CSIS list by even mentioning your name, but you deserve the credit. And any New Democrat worth their salt ends up on those lists anyways.
Monday, February 5, 2007
Aside from being absolutely ridiculous, this practice of the PMO, of picking and choosing which reporters they will take questions from in what should be an open scrum, threatens Canadian democracy. We live in a country where the leader of our government has significantly more power within his own jurisdiction than many of his international counterparts. The powers of a Canadian PM within Canada rival those of dictators abroad. If we were to add this new power of selective accountability...well lets just forgo all of the slippery slope metaphors and say that it would be dangerous.
On a lighter note, I hate it when the Conservatives make me laugh when they are misbehaving, but this account, from the Hill Times story, of what can happen when members of the press gallery fall out of favour with the PM and his staff is pretty funny:
Before Christmas, Yves Malo, TVA bureau chief, Susan Delacourt, the Toronto Star bureau chief, and Keith Boag, the CBC bureau chief, all received Christmas cards from Dimitri Soudas, the PM's press secretary. The cards had open front frames, intended to be filled by a friendly personal photograph, but they were empty.Harper's utter disregard for the freedom of the press used to be a big deal among the press gallery in Ottawa but now, sadly, his new practices have become so commonplace that they are no longer deemed newsworthy. Maybe members of the Press Gallery are afraid of repercussions like those mentioned above, or that if they make too much of a fuss, they will miss out on the invite to the PM's next big party. I bet he throws a pretty serious rager.
Finally, a warning to the Liberals who may try to exploit Harper's treatment of the press to score some political points: Dion doesn't sound like he would be any better at dealing with the press if he were in power. He gets notably contemptuous when reporters ask him questions that he does not deem worthy. Couple that with the typical Liberal arrogance that would no doubt exist in his fantasy PMO, and you can bet that Dion would be almost as bad as Harper and his gang. Probably not as entertaining or creative though.
Suddenly I don't feel so militant about my earlier anti-second-hand smoke post.
Sunday, February 4, 2007
"I think what you are going to see is we're [the Liberals] going to say you cannot exploit that resource, basically go in there and pump it out as fast as you can to give it to the Americans and sell out our national interests and blow apart our emissions targets."He sounds a little off message but his comments hardly warrant the firestorm of accusations that he has faced since then. Don't get me wrong, Holland is worthy of much criticism, but the barrage of climate-change denial and blind faith in oil industry is making me sick. Apparently, as further evidenced by the PM's letter about the "socialist scheme" that is the Kyoto accord, if you believe that climate change is caused by humans and you think that the government should regulate greenhouse gas emissions, then you are a socialist. I'm pretty sure that Holland would not be welcome at his local chapter of the International Socialists.
A good number of the Conservative bloggers are even using the "hidden agenda" line. Remember when the Liberals were going around trying to scare people about Harper's hidden agenda? How did that work out for them? Didn't these Tories learn anything from the mistakes of the Liberal fear campaign of 2005-06?
I can picture what the next attack ad would sound like if it were up to some of these blogging tories: Stephane Dion named his dog Kyoto. Kyoto is a socialist dog. Do you want a man with a socialist dog ruling your country?
It's clear from all of this that Albertan tories are scared. They are scared because, as everyone looks around to see where we as a nation can cut down on greenhouse gas emissions, the oil sands are an obvious target.
TDH Strategies offers a well researched argument for scaling down oil sands development as did the recently fired environment commissioner in her report...Those crazy socialists.
Saturday, February 3, 2007
UPDATE: I have added the correct link now to the earthquake story. My most humble apologies to those of you who ended up with the story on the guy who changed his name to Free-A-Store-Us-Rex. I wasn't trying to throw you off or be clever in a random/obscure sort of way, it was just a careless mistake.
Thursday, February 1, 2007
Today France becomes smoke free. In public places that is. Bars, restaurants, and cafés follow suit next year. It may not seem that drastic a move since most of Canada went that way in the last few years, but it signals the beginning of the end for smoking in France, a country so famous for smoking that it almost seems as if they hand out cigarettes on street corners in Paris.
With a worldwide trend towards banning smoking anywhere where it can cause significant harm to non-smokers one institution stands out as a very surprising ally of the smoker, and the tobacco companies for that matter. This Monday, the University of Victoria Students' Society (UVSS), an organization located in the heart of health-conscious, hare-infested, hippy-land, voted against supporting a proposal put forward by an on-campus group called the Tobacco-Free Pro-Health Club (TFPHC- badly in need of a name with a cooler acronym) which called for an end to the sale of tobacco products in the Student Union Building (currently the only place to buy cigarettes on campus) and for designated smoking areas outside for smokers. Read about it here and my bias will be evident.
What was funny about the meeting was that the arguments against the TFPHC proposal were all along the lines of 'it would be SUPER inconvenient for smokers if they had to smoke in designated areas and if they couldn't buy smokes on campus'. It was so surreal. It was as if we were talking about candy bars or tampons instead of products that kill 45,000 Canadians every year. I wanted to respond with something smart-ass like "you know what's also SUPER inconvenient? Lung cancer. Goin' to the hospital, being hooked up to those machines and stuff, and then whole dying part...yeah, it's a hassle." I resisted the urge. Until now at least.
Over-the-top smart-ass comments aside, with more and more evidence of the harmful effects of second-hand smoke, cities everywhere are going smoke-free. Google "smoking bans" and you will encounter stories from around the world. What's more is that there is some compelling evidence that these smoking bans actually help smokers quit smoking. That is one of the many reasons that the attitude that 'smoking should be made more convenient for the smoker' is almost extinct. Now its up to governments and organizations to decide if they are leaders or followers.
The people of France, who are accustomed to a glass of wine or a pastis with a Gitane as the apéritif of choice before le dìner, will face some initial shock and possibly a protest or two (how many French stereotypes can you fit into one sentence?) with their new smoking ban, but they will have to eventually accept the inevitability of a smoke-free world. UVic smokers however, will get to enjoy the status quo for a little while longer.