Saturday, December 6, 2008

Rainy Saturday in Vancouver

I've had quite the adventure over the last 2 1/2 hours in the cold rainy Saturday that will typify winter here in Vancouver.

I attended the Rally for Canada at Library Square. Only half of the speakers were MPs, I was rather impressed. The most rousing speech came from an average citizen. One of those young, formerly disengaged, Facebook types. He started a group that now has 15,000 members opposed to the Liberal-NDP (propped up by the Bloq) coalition. The best moment came from a member of the Korean-Canadian community. She used the term "Jack and Gilles".... Jack and Jill... get it? Funny. Anyway...

There were a good number of people out, even in what one would call the worst weather Vancouver gets. Leaving the square, I got a pamphlet in support of BC-STV, the proposed single transferable vote system that some in BC want to implement, instead of the traditional first past the post (FPTP). An interesting concept that would see multiple MLAs (they are like MPPs), hopefully of different political parties, representing each riding. So you could approach any, or all, with your concerns. It would of course aid the Green Party most, but would give people the comfort to approach someone who is at least affiliated with the same political stripes as themselves. Check out:

On my way home, I ran into Hedy Fry, MP for Vancouver Centre, while shopping at The Bay. I had about a 10 minute discussion with her. Nothing new, really. But she was willing to talk for quite a while. Mostly lecture. But what I did get from my chat with her was that the Coalition is now more of a tool to be used in their negotiations on the upcoming budget and stimulus package. But if Harper isn't willing to play ball with them (which remains to be seen, either way), she claims they are still willing to pull the plug. Time will tell.

Finally, I got another little ad about DreamBank. Their slogan: "Give Dreams. Not Stuff" is catchy. But it's not much of a site. It's like a wedding registry, but for Christmas. Boo'urns.

It's not even 3pm... I feel so accomplished for today. Time to relax and watch some hockey.


The whole unity issue is starting to surface again, due to this latest political crisis. Quebec separatism mysteriously received a boost, when Charest sided with the Coalition and derided Harper's comments about making a deal with the separatists.

Charest, you have fallen far my friend.

Western alienation is also starting to reach a furor. Just read the Western Standard.

As for Atlantic Canada.... they're feeling a bit left out. This is the best quote that I've heard, from a commentor on the CTV website:

What about Atlantic Canadians or do we matter?

Maybe Tommy Douglas was right. Canada is like a cow. The West feeds, Ontario and Quebec milk it and we all know about happens in the Maritimes.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tale of the Tape

I implore you. Find the video of the two National Addresses from last night. Mr. Harper came off Prime Ministerial. Mr Dion, PM-in-hiding, came across like a high school student council president putting up a video on youtube. CBC, CTV and The Star each have links to the videos on their websites.

In other, mathematically related news, the Liberals clearly CAN NOT control this coalition. The separatists and socialists have MORE VOTES than they do. I believe the numbers come down to 86 - 75.

That, and 74% of Canadians voted AGAINST Dion's leadership.

Simply stated, this coalition is a disaster in the making.

The GG's decision to prorogue government at the request of PM Harper is good news for the LPC. If the coalition had taken over today (or whenever the non-confidence motion was to be voted on), it would surely have collapsed by spring-time, and most pundits are willing to guarantee that the Conservatives would win a clear majority in that scenario. As it stands, if the coalition falls apart before the budget is presented to Parliament (which is at the end of January, more importantly AFTER President-elect Obama's economic stimulus is announced) only Dion is likely to lose face, and not the entire party.

In the end, I'm still hoping to attend the Liberal Leadership Convention in May. It's going to be an exciting time!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Say What?!?! A long discussion on the foreseeable political future

The most exciting moments in Canadian politics in my lifetime...

This past weekend has been the cold shower that I needed to get back into Canadian politics. My initial reaction to the whole mess: Shock. Disbelief. Curiosity.

No need to go over the gory details of what have happened to lead up to the upcoming coalition government of the Liberals, NDP and Bloq. If you have the opportunity, listen to what Rex Murphy had to say in Monday night's piece on The National. I'll include a few of his points in my discussion.

Most importantly, yes, this is all a partisan game. For both sides. Anyone who denies this fact is either lying or kidding themselves.

Stephen Harper saw an opportunity to further decimate the organization of the LPC. The merits of public financing of political parties aside, his move was simply an attempt to further weaken the Liberal Party, perhaps to the brink of existence. He was, simply, completing his mission as Leader of the CPC. Which brings me to my subpoint, on his continued leadership of the CPC.

I believe that Stephen Harper has run his course as Leader of the Conservative Party. He has done many great things for the party, most notably being his efforts in bringing together the remains of the former PC party. He was instrumental in returning the right-of-centre ideologies to the forefront of the national consciousness. He has also succeeded in taming the far-right ideologues that threatened to take over the combined party in its infancy (although some of these people have found homes online). His mandate as leader has always been to bring the Tory voice back to the prominence it had enjoyed in the early part of Canadian history. He may not have delivered a majority government, but he has placed the party in a position where it is capable of virtually anything in the immediate future. Every party requires new blood and new ideas, especially coming out of a transformation like the one the CPC has undergone. Now appears to be the time.

Back to the main point about this being a partisan game. No, the Liberals did not make this move to try to fix the economy because this fiscal update does nothing to fix the current economic problems that Canada is facing. They simply did not want to lose their funding. They currently have very little grassroots fundraising support, which is a sign of a stagnant base. They would not have been able to mount anything close to a decent campaign next time around without the additional funding. This might have impacted them for a generation to come. This is the scenario that the LPC is so desparate to avoid. This coalition ploy is just that, a partisan attempt to keep the party alive. It has nothing to do with the economy.

The NDP on the other hand have no reasonable excuse to join the coalition, other than power. The NDP now has the power (for the 2nd straight government) to push pieces of their agenda. This should be a scary proposition for the average working Canadian (who the NDP love to talk about all the time). Their positions on the economy are based in some fanciful world where government income does not come from the very people they claim to be so worried about. Once again, their participation in the coalition is simply to appear to be a useful political party, and become part of the Cabinet.

The Bloq. What can I say? The very Separatists that want to tear this country asunder. Having a formal arrangement with them is troubling. All the conjecture and insinuations can be found elsewhere (deal with the devil, etc), but my point about them will be about the ideological bankruptcy of their party. Yes, they too need the funding, but WHY DO THEY STILL EXIST? Everything that they have done over the past 3 or 4 years goes to show the futility of their efforts. Not only did Harper one up them with the recognition of the uniqueness of the Quebec peoples (who will argue that?), but now they have signed a deal with the very man who crafted the Clarity Act. Dion is the enemy of the sovereignty movement. The Clarity Act is one of their most hated pieces of legislation. And yet here they are, handing him the keys of power. If you really believed in the sovereignty of the Quebec nation, why would you be in bed with the man who made it virtually impossible for you to separate?

Well... a lot said there. (Maybe not, I dont know) The bottom line I think is this: Yes, they can do what they want, it is within their constitutional rights. Should they? As their initial response to the funding measures, yes. Now that the offending piece of the bill has been removed, probably not. But it is too late to back down from their stated intent. What we are witnessing is one of the grandest moments in Canadian political history. Not the prettiest moment, but they will definitely be teaching this one in Gr. 10 history for generations to come.