Monthly Archives: March 2011

MayDay 2011: Shame on the CBC

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Shame on the CBC.


The CBC is a publicly funded institution that is blocking out legitimate debate in Canada’s 2011 election.

For the record, I only want Elizabeth May to join the debates because we need to see that the Green Party is more like the Conservatives than any other mainstream party.  As such, her presence would actually fracture the Conservative vote as opposed to dilute the centre-left vote.

That said, I have a modest proposal:  we find a way to have a “non-broadcast consortium” debate that leaders of ALL parties are welcome to join in on.

We need to send a message to all of the broadcasters – including the CBC – that elections are important to Canadians and that this kind of ‘shaping’ of the debates is counter to the democratic ideals of all Canadians.

We need to methodically block them out of the process and take this into our hands.

Of course, I’m useless when it comes to building something like this, but here’s how I see it working:

  • YouTube or Vimeo based
  • Users can pose questions
  • Leaders respond to those questions
  • It can either be real-time or delayed, but it would be important that each leader post their own video response to the questions
  • Answers to questions would be circulated to the users that posted the question AND the network of people that they follow

The absence of any leader would be to their detriment because they will lose out on opportunities to influence a growing volume of Canadians that RELY on social platforms to get their information.

So (and here’s the lame part) … can anyone help me get this going?  If it already exists (is LeadNow doing something like this?), please post a source and link below and I’ll do my best to circulate it.

MayDay 2011: Conservatives vs Women

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So far, the Canadian election is turning into a rally cry around the ‘family’.

The Conservative Party of Canada announced it’s plan to allow income splitting (although we already know it’s an empty promise because aliens have to colonize the planet first).

In most circles, this concept has been tossed out by tax experts and feminists because it’s generally an insult to women.

Picture the proposal in the context of single people or those who choose not to have children:

  • You must have children
  • The children must be 18 or under
  • You must be in a relationship with a higher income earner

A lot of people in Canada simply don’t qualify so it’s a targeted policy as opposed to a universal one.

Here’s what Queen’s University Law Professor Kathleen Lahey has to say about this:

Queen’s University  law professor Kathleen Lahey says the proposal will only benefit  couples with one reasonably high income, which is statistically a man with a  stay-at-home wife and children. She says such programs always give couples incentives for women to stay out of the workforce –  and then create huge tax barriers to any future decision to return to  work. In an email sent to journalists, she added:

When the Reform Party became the official opposition back in the  late 1990s, it immediately demanded that special hearings be held on the  merits of income splitting. A special committee struck to investigate this  scheme recommended against it because it would be costly ($4 billion for  1998), discriminatory, unfair, and economically counter-productive – it would  use government revenues to induce educated and experienced workers to  withdraw from paid work instead of remaining engaged in the labour  market.

Other critics suggest that the conclusion to be had from all of this is that income-splitting only benefits wealthy families that typically have a spouse (almost always the wife) staying at home to take care of the kids.  Erin Weir of Progressive Economics has this to say about income splitting:

A 1999 report of the standing committee on finance unanimously concluded that “a dual-earner couple with the same total income as a single-earner couple is not as well off as the latter. Not only are there additional employment-related expenses that must be incurred regarding the second worker, the value of unpaid work in the home, or leisure, must also be taken into account.” The Ontario Fair Tax Commission noted, “it has been shown that single-earner couples may have greater ability to pay than two-earner couples with the same income.” The current system of taxing individual income, with credits for dependent spouses and children, is more equitable than income splitting. Parents should have the option of caring for young children at home. However, giving $5 billion to couples in high-tax brackets is not a fair or effective way of providing this choice.

REAL Ways to Support All Parents

Instead of pursuing income-splitting, all parties should reinforce legislation related to pay equity and make examples of those organizations that do not pay people equally for equal contribution.

Also, a truly ‘family friendly’ AND ‘female friendly’ campaign platform would offer support for women (married, common-law, with a partner or single) with national day-care programs and other child-support infrastructure.  This would address ALL women that take on the role of managing their lives as well as those of their children.

Finally, longer maternity leaves, better EI benefits and stronger enforcement of rules for part-time employees would go a much longer way to securing stability for one-parent families, particularly those lead by women.

Stephen Harper’s Hidden Message

Stephen Harper’s proposal is a well-designed and coded meme structured to appeal to the ‘stay at home’ and ‘traditional family’ models that limit the opportunities – and voice – of female voters.  It’s also an attempt to appeal to their fundamentalist and religious base without having to talk about more sensitive issues like abortion and national day care.

I can’t imagine why any woman in their right mind would vote to support this.

MayDay 2011: Shut up. Democracy Belongs to the ‘Media Consortium’

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In the early days of May Day 2011 (Canada’s 2011 Election), Canada’s media is doing a massive disservice to Canadian voters by asking the following questions with moronic levels of reptition:

  • Do we really need an election, especially when it costs so much?
  • What if we don’t get a majority?
  • Will it just be endless coalition talk amongst the opposition parties?

For the record, these are stupid questions and it’s essential that we all remind the media just what an insult they are.

Here are some sample responses:

  • Why does the election cost $300 million?  Who’s making $300 million to tally Canadian votes and why are they getting so damn rich off our democratic right to vote?
  • How come we can’t have more elections?  If we cancel the jet order ($30 billion and counting), we can have 100 elections and break even.  I’m all for that idea.
  • I’d much rather have a minority of parties that I can trust – including the Bloc – instead of the crooks that were in charge as of last Friday.  If Ignatieff didn’t pull the plug on Harper, he’d still be destroying the fundamental building blocks of this country.  Diplomacy wins out over dictatorship.

And now, to kick sand in the collective eyes of Canadians, Elizabeth May is being blocked from all public debate by the ‘Media Consortium’.  George Orwell couldn’t have created a better term to describe the control that the 5-6 media conglomerates have over our lives.

With all of this in mind, Canada desperately needs media reform before we need democratic reform.  Preferably by May 2, but I’ll take it after that date as well.

Yes, you’ve read correctly.

The media in Canada is controlled and it is loaded with people that are incapable of asking tough questions, particularly to the crooks and cheats that run the Conservative Party of Canada.

We need an unMedia consortium that would allow all leaders to post responses to specific questions generated by the public.  If you need to explore the question ‘why’ in a little more detail, please read this post by Global Research that speaks to the issues surrounding media and message control.

Here are a couple of tidbits from this article:

Two of the most “esteemed” sources of news in the U.S. are the New York Times (referred to as “the paper of record”) and the Washington Post. The New York Times has on its board people who are past or presently affiliated with: Schering-Plough International (pharmaceuticals), the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Chevron Corporation, Wesco Financial Corporation, Kohlberg & Company, The Charles Schwab Corporation, eBay Inc., Xerox, IBM, Ford Motor Company, Eli Lilly & Company, among others. Hardly a bastion of impartiality.

And the same could be said for the Washington Post, which has on its board: Lee Bollinger, the President of Columbia University and Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; Warren Buffett, billionaire financial investor, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway; and individuals associated with (past or presently): the Coca-Cola Company, New York University, Conservation International, the Council on Foreign Relations, Xerox, Catalyst, Johnson & Johnson, Target Corporation, RAND Corporation, General Motors, and the Business Council, among others.

Voters don’t have a hope in hell of standing up with a collective voice against these kind of forces because we’re fragmented and they want us to remain that way. They’re consolidated and THEY want to remain that way.

It’s not in the best interest of the corporations that run our lives to do anything but shift discussions away from relevant issues like ‘corruption’ and ‘contempt’ and into areas like ‘coalition’ and ‘need for an election’.

As you try to make up your mind about voting, Independent Media has a comprehensive list of publishers and sites that will bring objective reporting to the Canadian election.

Also, AdBusters and its readers have compiled a list of alternative media publications that might be of interest.

Please post your thoughts below on other alternative publications that we should all be paying attention, not just during the election, but afterwards as well.

MayDay 2011: The Debates and the True Colour of ‘Green’

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Stephen Harper and his media friends are holding Elizabeth May at bay for a specific reason:  the Green Party of Canada (GPC) is more BLUE than people think.

In fact, this gets back to a classic debate about what the Green Party represents.  Most of the media stooges who fail to do their research almost always describe the Greens as being aligned with left or centrist views as opposed to right-wing, market-based solutions views.  Even the CBC ‘Vote Compass’ shows the Greens way off in the upper left quadrant as opposed to being in the middle or to the right.  I’m not going to suggest that this is a conspiracy, but I’m still a little suspicious of these results.

A lot of this bias comes from the notion that the Greens are anti-business.  They’re not.  At least, I don’t see them as being that way.  At the Ontario level, the Green Party of Ontario is lead by Mike Schreiner and a core focus of their platform is based on supporting and fostering the small business sector.  (NOTE:  Again I acknowledge that these are my perceptions and I’m open to correction).

That said, what I am trying to clarify is that if you are left or centre oriented, voting Green may not be the way to go because you might be surprised that some of their solutions do not fit your own personal ideology set.

However, if you’re a red tory or a small-c conservative with a conscience (and such a breed actually does exist), vote for the Greens.  The good news for the rest of us is that you’ll fracture the Conservative vote and give the Liberals and NDPers a much better chance of forming the next government.

Most seniors that are frustrated and disgusted with the Conservatives and Stephen Harper are taking this route and are voting Green.  They refuse to vote NDP because they’re not ‘socialists’ and they have a long memory when it comes to fiscal questions raised as far back as Pierre Trudeau.  Recently, Stephen Harper’s Conservatives just put another nail in their ability to garner senior votes when Shelly Glover in Manitoba created ageist confusion by declaring that a 68-year old candidate was ‘past her expiry date’.

On a personal level, I could be convinced to vote Green because I’m a small business owner, but I also don’t want to split the vote away from the leading contender in my riding that will defeat a Conservative and will vote according to this situation.

Ultimately, a split small-c conservative vote is exactly what the Conservatives want to avoid and is why they want to block the Greens from the debate.

Getting back to the GPC:  The reality is that most of their positions declare that if we let the market work, we’ll solve most of our environmental and economic problems.  I know it’s a simplistic summary, but the reliance on market tends to outweigh recommendations related to government interjection and regulation.

Here’s a quote from their site in context of specific platform issues:

“Smart Economy”

We support:

  • no more grey-industry bail-outs
  • income-splitting for families
  • lower payroll and income taxes
  • higher taxes on polluting industries

By ‘grey industry bail-outs’, I’m assuming this refers to the bailouts that were organized for GM and Chrysler.  The NDPers and the Bloc were passionate about car-industry bailouts because it meant protecting union jobs in Ontario and Quebec.  The Liberals were concerned about the companies because they wanted to maintain seats in vital suburban ridings around Toronto and Montreal.

The Conservatives could have cared less, but they eventually supported the bailout, most likely because they saw an opportunity to scoop up votes in the much-desired suburban ridings.

As you can see, the Green point of view is more consistent with the Conservatives.

‘Income-splitting’ was the first platform promise unveiled by Stephen Harper just a couple of days ago.

Lower taxes are fine, but do we know if the Greens support progressive taxes (ie. higher proportionate tax rates on higher income earners)?  I’m not sure, so I welcome feedback and clarification from any Green readers out there.

Where Greens and Blues Diverge

My understanding (and that’s what this blog is all about – if I’m wrong, please correct me in the comments below) is that the Green Party is very different from the Conservatives because the Greens are about Parliamentary reform.  Proportional Representation (PR) is at the top of their list and might become an election issue or question if they are allowed to debate.

That said, PR has also been a central piece of the NDP platform for a very long time, and we’ve yet to hear a peep from Jack or others at the provincial level when it comes to introducing reform that will actually stick.

Ironically, PR was also central to the Reform Party back at the end of the 80s and into the 90s before the Conservative emerged from the CRAP (Conservative-Reform-Alliance Party).

This proves that as parties become more ‘mainstream’ their concerns about democratic reform become more marginal and less important than seeing that ‘majority’ light at the end of the tunnel.

Regardless, you can see that the Greens are actually more consistent with the Conservatives.  This would become much more evident in a public debate.

As a result:  Elizabeth May is intentionally blocked from the debates in order to keep the confusion going for left-centrist voters and to protect the Conservatives from any kind of splitting of their votes.

MayDay 2011: Conservatives vs Seniors

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Hot on the heels of announcing a ‘family friendly’ platform, Shelly Glover of the Conservative Party of Canada (MP, Saint Boniface, interactive map) declared that at least one senior citizen was past her due date.

What exactly does that mean?

Are seniors no longer productive members of society once they retire?  While Shelly Glover claims the comment was meant to reflect the person’s effectiveness as an MP, there’s a lot of potential for the statement to be misunderstood as ageist.

That said, is this why the Conservative Party of Canada has declared ‘family friendly’ policies (that will perhaps one day take place when they finish destroying the budget) in lieu of needs for seniors?

Looking at the last election, Shelly Glover had about 9% of votes (less than 5,000 in total) over her closest competitor, Raymond Simard.

In this situation, the NDP collected 5,500 votes and the Greens got 2,100 votes.  If you’re Green or NDP in this riding, shifting your vote to the Liberal challenger would send a nice message to Ms. Glover.

(NOTE:  Again, I repeat that I have no affiliation with the Liberal Party or any other registered political party.  I just want to see the Conservatives lose).