Tag Archives: conservative

Shattering the Myth of Conservative Fiscal Responsibility

Nicely played by “Views From The Lake – Eh?“, where the blog author shows clearly and completely how the Conservatives are inept when it comes to managing the country’s finances.

I’ve stolen the graphic that was created, but more can be found at the original site.

Vote buying has never seemed more obvious.

Unfortunately, Flaherty and the rest of the Cons will use their own incompetence as an excuse to privatize everything from the CBC to the CRTC to the CMHC to the AECL and a thousand other useful public services.

cdn-spending-1983-2010

Action Plan Infrastructure Inquiry Needed

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We need to question the authenticity of Stephen Harper’s Canadian Economic Action Plan.

Last year, I suggested that it would translate to a $60 billion marketing plan for the Conservatives.

Many other publishers are starting to agree with this perspective:

To quote from one article:

Millions of dollars in taxpayer stimulus cash doled out by the Harper government was conditional upon project managers putting up federal promotional signs, The Canadian Press has learned.

What were the objectives of Canada’s Economic Action Plan?  Were they to generate long-term jobs with a healthy infrastructure for future generations or was it all about lining the pockets of conservative supporters and friends?

Or were key ridings showered with cash in order to shore up support for the Cons in the next election, as this article with the Globe suggest:  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/quebec/key-tory-ridings-in-quebec-showered-in-stimulus-money-study/article1665981/

Did the Action Plan actually have objectives like the following:

  1. Clean water for all Canadians
  2. Top-notch digital infrastructure
  3. State-of-the-art hospitals or schools
  4. Advanced research facilities for new technologies

The central concern here is that Canadians are being fleeced by the Stephen Harper regime in exchange for loose diatribe about ‘economic recovery’.  Our tax dollars are financing billion-dollar boondoggles and we need an inquiry into the scope and effectiveness of this ‘action plan’.

We need a review of where the money has been spent, if it has been spent at all.

I’d like to see the following in a table of details related to the Canadian Economic Action Plan:

  • Project
  • Money Spent
  • Riding
  • MP Name
  • Party Affiliation
  • Category (identify 20+ categories like ‘Schools’, ‘Hospital’, Clean Water, Energy Infrastructure, etc
  • Employment (# of jobs created, total person-hours, average wage, job title, duration of project, etc)
  • Beneficiary (contractor hired, affiliation with MP, Conservatives, donations made in the past)

Only by thoroughly exploring the expenditures that took place across the country will we be able to determine the true economic impact of the ‘Action Plan’ and who benefitted from it.

A crowd-sourced listing would be the most ideal way to generate a full inventory of these projects and what their supposed impact was on the economy.  Only once we’re all able to see the waste in its bigger picture will we truly resent the waste that’s been thrust upon us.

Armageddon Factor: A Must Read

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I picked up “The Armageddon Factor” by Marci McDonald several months ago, shortly after it hit the book racks.

For those who are interested in Canadian politics, this is a must read.

McDonald explores many ideas in this book and the central theme that I drew out of her meticulous work is the idea that Canada is being run by a very small group of nihilists and self-righteous Christian propaganda experts.

Besides that, I came to three conclusions as I put the book down:

  1. It seems the Harper Conservatives could care less about legislation.
  2. Progressives are fucked.
  3. Canadians are as blind to Harper as the Jedi were to Palpatine / Darth Sidious.

It Seems The Harper Conservatives Could Care Less About Legislation

In reading this text and observing current events, I now see that Stephen Harper could care less about moving Canada in any direction when it comes to legislation.  Time and time again, the Conservatives have ruined their owned agenda and progress by proroguing government or timing actions so that it would be impossible to make them come to fruition before the end of a session.

All they really seem to want to do is maintain their hold on power while they pack little baby chirping Cons into the halls of federal offices, be they the halls of the Public Service, various commissions, the Senate, any level of judicial positions, all non-government organizations that are funded by the government and so on.

Even if a new progressive wave of political and media authorities get elected into office, the battles will last for decades as they do what they can to push Conservatives out of work and office.  It will prove to be a holy administrative terror that few will be able to erode.

To make matters worse, the media has not held the Conservatives to task on this mediocre legislative program, which means they’re either lazy or in cahoots.

Progressives Are Fucked

I’m sorry, but I have no other way to explain this nicely.

Another more polite way to suggest my opinion is to reflect on the fact that most progressives – by nature or definition of who they are and what they believe in, myself included – are not quite the ‘A-type’ when it comes to personality.

We don’t run newspaper chains, television stations or tight political campaigns.

We run on emotion, reaction and, in many cases, panic.

There is rarely a plan.  There is rarely a vision.  We fall for smokescreens and fail to see the big picture.

We need to learn from the lessons that Marci McDonald clearly spells out in the Armageddon Factor.

Case after case, she clearly identifies the driving interest, the tactics used to gain momentum and the key players involved and how they got things to the point of being some of the most influential organizations in Canada and the rest of North America.

Conservative ‘values’ are tied in to nearly every component of every day life that everyone (including progressives) is influenced by, including the media, judges, education, our communications infrastructure (you can’t have the Internet without selling out to Bell, Telus or Rogers), the military, foreign affairs, the UN and other institutions that affect our day-to-day activities.

Conservatives leverage the fragmentation that exists in every single progressive camp.  They belittle the bickering that goes on and on and on, while they push forward with single messages and memes that dazzle the general public.

If progressives are ever going to get anywhere in this country, we need to start a process of wearing down every politician in this country from the municipal level right up to the Senate.  We need a checklist and/or inventory of people that are available to cross-pollinate educational and investment opportunities.  We desperately need our own media that will tell the general population the truth about Canadian politics and the poison that Stephen Harper brings to the Hill.

Canadians Are Blind

Seriously.  While watching Star Wars III – the one Anakin becomes Darth Vader – the analogy seemed perfect.  For some reason, Canadians have completely blinded themselves to the reality that Stephen Harper and the Conservatives have only one thing in mind when it comes to Canada:  endless domination, despite their smaller numbers.  And that’s just the starting point.

As I’ve already suggested, most of the cause of this blindness is due to taking media messages at face value, but it’s also related to a very consistent and carefully crafted spin job that comes from the PMO every single day.

Apathy is Comfort – Action is Danger

How do we emerge from the mess that surrounds us?

Neither the Liberals nor the NDP have proven that they are capable of referring to a wider base of Canadian citizens to select their leader, nor do they effectively leverage today’s technology to develop a platform or array of positions that all Canadians want to support.

Our institutions have failed us as well and we need to build our own tools, again leveraging today’s technology.  It has to come from the ground up, preferably with our infrastructure.  If not, we’re just riding on the backs of people that will sting us to death when we’re not looking.  We have all kinds of online tools, like wikis, social tools and other platforms but even with aggregators like Progressive Bloggers, we still only seem to capture the hearts and ideas of the passionate and not the average citizen.

Since progressive-minded people represent the majority of Canada’s population, how do we create a tsunami wave of ideology that our politicians simply can’t ignore?

Making Sense of the Census

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Or … Dear Tony, Please Don’t Count Me In Your Numbers

There’s an insane level of noise happening with respect to the census and the Conservative plan to drop the mandatory aspect of the long-form.  There’s very little clarity.

As part of his defense, Tony Clement is suggesting that with the last census, several Canadians did not submit the long-form census on the grounds that they were concerned about their privacy.  This is only half true.

I am one of those Canadians, but allow me to explain myself.

I did not submit the long-form census because I was concerned about my privacy.  That’s a fabrication that’s being spread by the Conservatives because they don’t like statistics and the reality that they reveal (eg. lower crime rates or people dropping out of organized religion).

Unlike the Conservatives, I trust Statistics Canada with my personal information and also trust that it will be aggregated to show general trends and observations about our population, our needs as citizens and where investments should be made by our various levels of government, just to name a few ways in which we rely on this information.

That is a basic principle of statistics that I think Tony Clement and the rest of the Conservatives have failed miserably to understand:  statistics are about larger numbers, not individual details.  There are no privacy concerns if you trust the institution.

But let’s get to my personal choice to remain absent on the last census.  I refused to fill this document because the data is being stored and managed by a third-party called Lockheed-MartinYes, that Lockheed-Martin.

In fact, in 2006, there was a substantial grassroots movement that tried to stop the Canadian government from outsourcing this critical data collection exercise to a company that manufactures weapons of mass destruction.  It was called CountMeOut and details can be found here.

What’s fascinating to me is that the Conservatives have successfully taken a public protest against the government and turned it into some kind of libertarian boogie monster pep rally that has all deep blue Conservatives getting their pitchforks blabbing about the ills of big government coming to take my family away.

What’s worse is that this campaign makes all protesters of the original long-form census hypocrites.

The point of all this: when Tony claims that thousands of Canadians are refusing to submit to the long-form census because they’re concerned about privacy, maybe he’d better check his stats.

Oh yeah … he doesn’t have any.  Or he soon won’t.

Welcome to Stephen Harper’s “Conada”, where lies are truth and truth is terror.

How Canada’s Divided Left Can Get it Right

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Ron Love, organizer of the ‘United Alternative’, explains in this article how his efforts to unite the right paid off in 2000 and how they continue to pay off as Stephen Harper comes closer and closer to a majority government.  He shares his wisdom for the ‘left’ and demonstrates what ‘we’ need to do in order to mount a force that could oppose the ‘right’.

Read it.  Digest it.  Critique it.

And then you’ll realize that his basic premise couldn’t be more wrong .

My guess is that the ‘left’ probably won’t subject itself to the same kind of ham-fisted tyrannical forces that the right did.  What allowed the right to unite is that they had common ground that could arguably be found outside the political spectrum, such as religious dogma.  As a result, their basic political program (that which they revealed to Canadians in their public platform) was easily agreed upon by all of the founding members.  Examples:  neo-con economic policies (including disclosure of what they would do if they had a majority, like sell off public assets and allow banks to merge), tough on crime policies and money for defense.  The ‘Progressive’ part of the Conservatives disappeared.  Even Mulroney looks like a socialist compared to some of the ex-Harris brown shirts.

The challenge for the ‘left’ is that we have become the ‘bucket’ for everything that the Conservatives are not.  Green.  Socialist.  Marijuana Party.  Liberals.  Without speaking for anyone else, I feel that putting such a divergent range of political viewpoints into a single ‘bucket’ would destroy my sense of democracy.

Someone like Ron Love might argue that the ‘left’ would need to find a steady middle ground as we face media pressure and scrutiny, but I think that can only lead to failure because so many opinions and views would be left scattered at the perimeter.

Here’s an example:  right now it looks like Michael Ignatieff is the front-runner for the Liberals.  He has brow-beat every socialist and person with a cause into voting Liberal already and I would NEVER vote for the man if he lead a coalition group of progressive parties.  His views are just marginally left of Harper and if it were up to him, we’d be in Iraq today shooting babies.

More importantly, this viewpoint doesn’t reflect the Long Tail of politics, where everybody should be able to have an opinion and these opinions are negotiated (however long it takes) rationally in a legal setting, such as the House of Commons.

At the core of my opposition to this kind of ‘ramming of the right’ comes the notion that people need to be able to express their point of view and they need to do it within a democratic framework.  The Harper campaign has and continues to focus on leadership.  A single person.  Anything else would be tantamount to anarchy.

So, Mr. Love, you’re wrong to assume that progressive voices in Canada want to be silenced or marginalized into a single voice.  We represent an orchestra.  A choir.  All singing different parts, hopefully in great harmony.

In the short-run, this would take shape as a coalition that represented a balance of progressive opinions.  It would take the form of many people making many educated and informed decisions, with a lot of discussion taking place.  In public and not behind closed doors.

The long-run it’s Proportional Representation where the single angry voice of the right is muted by the rising swell of an entire chorus.