Sunday, January 31, 2010

Strong on doing nothing

We knew this was going to happen, it was just a question of when. Yes, the Harper government has decided that our target is too weak on not cracking down enough on polluters. Our emissions target has been lowered from our former reduction of 3% from 1990 levels to an increase of 2.5% over 1990 levels. So actually, our new plan will let us pollute a whole 5.5% more than before. And that's providing the Conservatives actually fulfill this commitment, which we know they won't. Some "science-based" target now, huh?
So the 17 per cent cut Prentice promised Saturday would bring levels down to 606.73 megatonnes — which is actually 2.5 per cent higher than 1990 levels.
Given that Canada has already backed away from the Kyoto accord, where this country promised to reduce 1990 emissions by six per cent by 2012, the latest targets raise serious issues about whether these new agreements will be also met, Martin said.
“Trust is a huge issue here. Not only have they reneged on their target . . . Now, we have a whole new target. It’s heading in exactly the wrong direction from where we need to head,” said Martin.
Prentice did not address the change in baseline years Saturday other than to say the federal government has actively sought to align its clean energy and climate change policies with those of the Obama administration.
The U.S. government has based its targets on its own 2005 emissions.
Prentice said the Canadian government will continue to co-operate on a “continental basis” on how to address passenger vehicles and other emitters, said Prentice.
“We will continue to deal with those on a continental basis because we occupy the same economic space, the same environmental space and the same energy marketplace on a continental basis with the United States,” Prentice said.
Although 1990 is seen as a key base year for reducing targets by European countries and those in environmental circles, the Harper government does not give it the same recognition.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

What a target!

When Harper came out with his old Target of -3% from 1990 levels by 2020 many environmentalists were angry. Because the Kyoto protocol which Canada signed stats that we have to reduce are emission by 6% from 1990 by 2012. Canada's new target is increasing emissions by 2.5% from 1990 levels by 2020. Canada is going in the wrong direction. Instead of lowering our emissions we increased them from 1990 levels. The worst part is that the U.S came out with the same target. Jim Prentice even said that this target will be hard. this target is not at all hard, the European Union said they will follow the Kyoto protocol and reduce their emission by 6% from 1990 levels by 2012, and they are very close to reaching that target so if E-U can do it why can't we.
While the government's previous emission targets, announced in 2006, would have resulted in a 3-per-cent reduction in emissions over 1990 levels, these latest targets will actually increase emissions by 2.5 per cent, said Dave Martin, a climate and energy co-ordinator with Greenpeace.
“We're heading in exactly the opposite direction that we need to head,” Mr. Martin said. “Not only have they reneged on the target that they adopted a couple of years ago, they have also failed to put in place the regulations that they promised last year.”
He said the lack of details on how to achieve those emission cuts is indicative of the real problem the Conservative government has with the climate change issue. 

Friday, January 29, 2010

Toyota's Recall

The world's largest car manufacturer has ramped up its recall for accelerator sticking. This is a good thing. Maybe the American manufacturers used to have bad quality, but now they don't. This recall is a great example of car quality. Accelerating out of control is not a benign issue. Many people could get hurt. American cars have just as good if not better quality than the Japanese ones. Personally, I am a big fan of the Ford Fusion Hybrid. It's the most fuel efficient mid-size sedan with 4.6 L/100 km. That means that on two of those big coke bottles, this car can go 100 km. The more cars like this we have (or electric cars) the better.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Liberals are ahead!

Well it happened and many of us were expecting it or hoping for it. The Liberals are ahead! This is the first poll since last summer showing that the Liberals are ahead. While the Liberals are ahead the NDP are stile way below on were they were in the 2008 election. The Green party is at 11% and 4% higher than were they were in the 2008 election, and the Bloc at 9.1% are 0.9% less than were they were in the 2008 election.
The Liberals' revival is strongest in Ontario, which was a longtime Liberal stronghold that had been taken over by the Conservatives through the fall.
Support for the Liberals is also strong in Quebec and the party is edging up in British Columbia as well.
The Liberals have been gradually winning support among middle-aged baby-boomers and seniors — groups more likely to vote than younger Canadians.
The Liberal have also recovered their lead among groups that had traditionally supported them, including new Canadians and the university educated.
"We have seen public opinion reverse itself a couple of times in the last year, so it would be a mistake to say that any trend is irreversible," said Graves.
"However, the fact that prorogation backfired on the government and that its response to Haiti has been well-received but has not translated into support for the Conservative party suggests there may be some sturdiness to these trends."

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Obama plans to freeze spending.

Obama plans to freeze spending. Now this means that Obama intends to freeze spending on certain parts of the budget, but Defense, homeland security, veterans benefits, Medicare, Medicaid and social security are exempt. . Now this only applies to 12.5% of the budget and is only expected to save 250 billion dollars this decade. The U.S is expected to bring up the debt another 9 trillion this decade so this is not at the least a solution to the debt. Now republicans say it does not go far enough and democrats say they do not like the freeze because it stops money going to social programs. Not much support in congress is a fair assumption. Here is the interesting part Obama actually said as a candidate that he would not freeze spending. Now I think it is good that the U.S.A is thinking of a way to reduce the deficit but as you can see not enough.If the U.S.A wants to cut the deficit you are going to need to do more than that, but I think the number one rule in getting a surplus is fixing the economy.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

No understanding of…

our city’s metro system. Zhuzhou locomotive works from China is planning to sue our governments because the bids to create the new metro cars had a condition that the trains had to run on rubber tires. They say it was a direct exclusion of any other train makers except Bombardier and Alstom. Anyway, Zhuzhou doesn’t plan to make steel wheel trains. What Zhuzhou doesn’t understand is that our metro runs on exclusively on rubber tires. There has to be significant upgrades to the tracks to let steel wheel trains run. This construction in our metro would be extremely expensive and could shut down the system for one whole year. If steel wheel train makers want to bid, let them; on he condition that they upgrade our system for free. And if the cost is blended into the projected price, then their bid price will be significantly higher than Alstom and Bombardier’s bids. This way, we only have to gain from the conversion of the metro.

MONTREAL - There's more trouble for the Bombardier-Alstom consortium, whose locked-in deal to build Montreal's new métro cars was terminated and thrown into open competition last week. The challenger, who apparently was instrumental in blocking the deal, said yesterday he will sue to change the stipulation in Friday's call for tenders that the cars must have rubber tires.

Glen T. Fisher said the lawsuit will be launched in about two weeks by high-profile civil rights lawyer Julius Grey, on grounds that the rubber-tire clause constitutes a thinly veiled rigging of the terms to favour Bombardier and Alstom, to the detriment of the Chinese firm he represents, CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Co. Ltd. Zhuzhou is proposing to build the cars with steel wheels and assemble them in Montreal, which Fisher said would cost about one-third of the price quoted by the Bombardier/Alstom consortium.

According to the notice of intention filed on Friday by the Société de transport de Montréal (STM), the bidders will have to make subway cars that ride "on pneumatics."

"We're challenging the correctness of the tender procedure," Fisher said. "The specifications blatantly favour one company's products and are therefore not competitive."étro+pact/2484011/story.html

Monday, January 25, 2010

New Metro Cars...

are now not going to be finished on time by the way things are looking. The final negotiating stage was just called off between Bombardier, Alstom and the government. It seems that the cars will not be finished on time. We all knew that something like this would happen. It's not a surprise. But, now the bidding process is going to start from scratch all over again. Our metro cars are some of the oldest in the world. The newest cars date from the 70's. Hopefully, the cars will be in service by 2020.
MONTREAL – It's back to the drawing board - again.
Four-and-a-half years after it was formally launched, for the second time and at the very last moment, the quagmire that has become the contract to replace Montreal's métro cars is headed back to the shop. The Société de transport de Montréal and Transport Québec yesterday pulled the plug on "final-stage" talks with Bombardier Inc. and its consortium partner Alstom SA and said that if more bidders expressed interest, the deal would go to public international tenders on March 1.étro+deal/2473103/story.html

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Canadians speak out!

All across this country there are major rally's asking Harper to get back to work. I think that this is a great day for our democracy because we are showing that you do not just Prorogue Parliament when there are many tough questions on the table that you need to answer. I would just like to say that I thank all those who go to these rally's to show Harper that we do know he closed Parliament and that we are not happy with his decision. So Harper get back to work!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

High speed rail surprise

High speed rail might be coming to Canada in a way we never expected. The US state of Minnesota has planned a huge HSR plan connecting a number of cities one of which includes Winnipeg. Whoa! Never expected that coming! Even though the Winnipeg link wouldn't be completed until 2030, the way our government acts (or doesn't since it's prorogued), you'd think that they are trying to destroy rail travel. This HSR link would connect Winnipeg to St. Paul, Minneapolis, Chicago and many other communities. If our politicians aren't going to bring the way of the future to Canada, I guess the US will. Hopefully, once Winnipeg is connected, the other provinces and the rest of America will build our own interconnected rail network.
ST. PAUL, Minn -- The Minnesota Department of Transportation here is developing a plan that could have a profound impact on our railways and airlines.
Earlier this month, the department released the most sweeping rail plan in Minnesota's history. It proposes high-speed passenger rail links among the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul) and other communities such as Chicago, Duluth and Winnipeg.
The Winnipeg link, which would be started in 2030, poses some age-old problems for Canadian politicians: Should Canada's rail services move goods and people east and west through Canada or should they be integrated with those in the United States?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Reduce PM's Powers

The NDP proposed today to reduce the PM's powers to avoid an anti-democratic prorogation. Parliament would be able to be prorogued only if the House majority voted for it. A great idea. This will stop future Prime Ministers from going election crazy or prorogue crazy. The power of a PM to call an election should also be reduced. The Prime Minister must have a valid reason; not a random excuse like the election of 2008. The Liberals haven't responded on this platform yet. I hope that they will follow the lead of the NDP and also reduce the anti-democratic powers of the PM.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The truth about prorogation

I am going to tell you the truth not what the left is saying about prorogation and not just what the right is saying. The truth is when both houses (house of commons and the senate) have finished a session business, Parliament is prorogued until the next session, which must,by law,come within a year. so Harper had to prorogue Parliament at least 1 a year, but I do not think the first time when a vote of confidence in the house is the end of a session business. The second time I do not think a afghan detainee torture committees is the end of business. So you may still believe what you believe, but at least you know that what Harper did was legal,also in my opinion just playing politics.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

the power of one

Scott Brown has just been elected Massachusetts first republican senator since 1972. This may sound so small and will not do anything, but Obama had 60 democrats in the senate, but since this latest win republicans push to the big 41, and Obama down to 59. This means that since all the republicans including Scott Brown will vote against Obama health care bill. The bill will not pass. The democrats can do another way to pass the bill with just a tiny majority of 51, but this will be very time consuming. Time the democrats do not really have, because the mid term election is coming in the end of next year. Which will give the republicans enough time to out fundraise the democrats (while they are trying to pass health care) and be able to out spend them in the next election. Second even if health care does pass it will take a while and many other people who care about diffrent issues like gay marriage will not be so motivated to vote democrat, and people who care about terrorism will be more motivated to vote republican, because their issue is being ignored.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Against Proroguing

Yet another Youtube video speaking out against the prorogation. We want Parliament to go back to work. Running away from the problems won't solve anything.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Letter to the Editor

Howard M. Greenfield's letter  appeared today in the Gazette. He expresses what I've been dying to say. Harper says that Parliament should work, especially during this recession. He also says that the opposition is blocking progress. But, didn't Harper prorogue Parliament two years in a row. What "work" happened during the prorogations? MPs should be back in Parliament working to improve our country.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper's constant claim that he speaks for ordinary Canadians is a little less credible since his proroguing of Parliament for the second straight year. Harper thinks that such issues are only of concern to tedious intellectuals and talking heads. But the Timbits bunch that he courts so assiduously will want to know why MPs get a two-month paid mid-winter holiday while the rest of us who are lucky enough to have work are expected to show up every day.
When the opposition becomes fractious, the prime minister scolds the House, advising the MPs that Canadians want Parliament to work. Someone should tell him that for Parliament to work, parliamentarians must be at work.
Howard M. Greenfield

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Transit Deficit

The STM's deficit is going to balloon in the coming years because of improvements. The STM wants to improve its service and has, but, the government has been underfunding the replacement of older buses and other changes. In our world, the time has come for public transport. The roads are clogged with cars and the pollution is ever-increasing. I would be willing to pay a few extra dollars a year so we can have one of the best public transit services in the world. I would be willing to pay to save the environment. And I would be willing to pay for public transport, the solution to our urban transport problems.
MONTREAL – Enjoy the new buses and the added service while you can, because Montreal's transit authority is veering toward a debilitating deficit that threatens to undo the last few years' improvements if it doesn't get new sources of funding, the directors of the Société de transport de Montréal told a city hall budget panel yesterday.
In a presentation of the STM's $1.09-billion 2010 operating budget, transit board chairperson Michel Labrecque revealed the agency's hidden deficit is $40 million in 2010 and will balloon to $363 million by 2018 because the agency's long-term debt will grow as it replaces its aging fleet of buses and métro cars.
"We need a new, dedicated source of financing that's constant and indexed (to inflation)," Labrecque told the budget committee of the island council that manages common services for Montreal and the 15 island suburbs.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

don't ask don't tell policy might be revoked

In 1993 a law was passed in the U.S that homosexuals are not to come into the military only if they did not mention that they were gay. Now many lawmakers and congressman's say that they want an amendment to revoke that policy in the military budget. I think that this is outrageous. If you want to revoke this policy fine but to try, and say that if you want money to go to our military then you need to revoke this policy is childish. I say if you want to revoke this policy have one bill just on this policy. Now the urban Institute reported in 2004 that 2.8% of those serving are homosexuals. now there are many generals, officers, lawmakers and politicians that have said they want the policy revoked, and also many other generals, officers,lawmakers and politicians want the policy to stay, but in the house only 187 congressman's say they support revoking the policy.186 democrats and 1 republican. I think that homosexuals should be able to openly serve in the military.

Friday, January 15, 2010

On vacation

I found a nice video from the Rick Mercer Report. I wouldn't be surprised if Stephen Harper keeps criticizing the opposition for "holding up the government when he's the one doing the damage.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

New Polls

Now that the polls are out, we can see whether the prorogation is a "blip on the Richter scale of upset." Two new polls have come out. In one of them the Liberals and the Tories are nearly tied. The Liberals are at 30% popularity and the Cons at 31%. Stephen Harper can't complain anymore that the opposition is holding up his crime bills. In fact, he is stopping his bills. If Stephen Harper calls an election, he's dead meat.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

An unfit nation

A report shows that 2/3 of adult Canadians are overweight or obese and 1/4 of children are too. In Canada the number of women have abdominal obesity increased 26% since 1981, and the number of men increased by 23% since 1981. The dangerously large waists went to 21 per cent from five per cent among men from 1981,and to 31 per cent from six per cent among women.the average waist has increased in 10 centimeters which is 4 inches. Among children 15-19 the percentage that have a waist circumference that is "increased or high risk of health problems" has tippled. All this is crazy,and i think that Canadians should think about what they eat because it does effect there health a lot,and if you do live healthy you will live longer.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Corridor good for High Speed Rail

The head of the SNCF has claimed that the Quebec City-Windsor corridor is good for high speed rail. He says that there are enough passengers to make building a high speed rail link worthwhile. Now we have recognition and support from the head of rail from another country. But, in Canada, there have only been studies done on high speed rail. The SNCF, those who pioneered the TGV are saying that this corridor is great for a high speed rail link. We already knew that but obviously, the government isn't listening to the citizens and the one of the first countries to develop high speed rail commercially. Now that it's 2010, maybe the tables will turn and this rail link will become a reality.
There are enough people along the Quebec-Windsor corridor to make it worthwhile to implement a fast train service, according to the head of the French railroad society.
Pascal Lupo, CEO of the Paris-based SNCF, said yesterday the success of such a rail line would depend on the strategies put forward by the cities that are home to 18 million people along the route.
"Conditions are good and results could be interesting because of the distances, demographics and the way the population is spread out along the corridor," Mr. Lupo said in Quebec City, where he praised the benefits of a fast train before a chamber of commerce.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Harry Rreid might lose in 2010

Although maybe a bit to early to predict, a poll was made in Nevada shows that only 33% of people have a favorable opinion about him, and 52% have a non favorable opinion on him. With republican support on the rise, Health care bill still not passed and with the new report that Harry Reid did say racist comments his reelection is not looking good. In many polls shows him pretty behind of probable 2010 candidates.He might be getting a bigger hit in this because he has a major part in Health care bill and since it has not passed him, Obama and Nancy Pelosi are all getting hit. In his state 54% do not like the health care legislation,but that can change considering that the health care bill has not been written yet,but never the less Nevada is not so supporting of the Health care bill. Many republican or anti-Harry Reid campaigns are fundraiser and spending money already for the fall election,but Harry Reid campaign seems like there trying to get ready for the election too. So Barack Obama will want him to get reelected because he is a big power in the senate. Now if Harry Reid wins it will be close, but now this is one of the major races to watch.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

New Ads

It's about time we took advantage of Harper proroguing Parliament. He says he wants to help recover the economy, but how can he do it with Parliament closed? This new ad portrays most of my feelings. I hope no Tories start whining about these ads. I remember the Stéphane Dion ads. They were cruel and cold-blooded. It's about time we give the Conservatives a taste of their own medicine.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Proroguing Parliment Puts burden on Harper

A new poll done by EKOS shows that ever since the last poll on Dec 17, Harper's popularity has dropped 2.8% putting him down to 33.1% ,while the Liberals grew 1.1% and that puts them at 27.8%. They're still behind but that puts the 9% (which is 2% less of a lead Harper had in the 2008 election) into 5% lead. This is a sign that people aren't so happy with Harper and with 3 month of this the lead could get much smaller and maybe could put the Liberals ahead. One suprising part is that the NDP lost 1% from the last poll. Usually when the people are not happy with the government some of them go to a smaller party. Maybe they have all gone to the Green party which has grew 2.2% from last poll and put the green at 13.4%,and are above 10% in every part of the country and are ahead of the NDP in Alberta,Quebec and even Ontario. In Quebec, the Bloc still have a lead, but Harper is back down to 14.6% while the liberals are back up to 27.5%.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Returning to work

Harper's Conservatives will be on vacation during the prorogation. However, the rest of the parties' caucuses will be hard at work. Most of them plan to be back working around January 20th. Harper shouldn't have a control on these matters. He cannot be able to run from democracy and the questions on the Afghan detainees. He says that a prorogation is "standard procedure." Well, he's proved just that, proroguing parliament two years in a row. I have one question to ask: will Harper's pay be prorogued?
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff called the decision by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to prorogue Parliament and muzzle the opposition "a crazy way to run a democracy," but he stopped short Friday of threatening to bring down the government.
Instead Ignatieff said all of his party's MPs and senators plan to return to work in Ottawa on Jan. 25, the date Parliament was set to resume before Harper shut it down until March.
Ignatieff, speaking from Ottawa in his first public appearance since Harper prorogued Parliament on Dec. 30 until after the Vancouver Olympics, said his party plans to return to work because that's what Canadians have told him they want.
"We're going to be working right until the Olympics because I feel that this is in response to the needs and wishes of Canadians," he said.
Ignatieff said the suspension of Parliament reflects a tendency by the prime minister to shut down or muzzle the opposition and government watchdogs when they criticize the government.
"Each and every time he seems in difficulty, each and every time he feels the pressure of democracy, he tries to have the work of this House behind me stop," he said.
"We think this is a crazy way to run a democracy."

Thursday, January 07, 2010

High Speed Rail Needed

Britain has invested in high speed rail, France and Japan have had it for ages and our closest neighbor, the U.S. has put up a special fund for it. Most of the Western world supports it yet we still have to hear from Stephen Harper. Rail is the clean environmental alternative to flying and driving. It's also profitable. The only line that makes makes money in the US is the Acela Express and even that doesn't really run at high speed. However I disagree with Derek Moscato on the fact that we should be paying more attention to the Cascades line. The Corridor makes up more than half of Via Rail's profits. The implementation of high speed rail would make attract more passengers and increase profits even more. Then, we can concentrate on expanding the system.
It’s time for Canada to wake up to the reality of high-speed rail. While federal politicians pay limited lip service to the idea of connecting our urban regions with this sustainable and efficient mode of transport, other countries are forging ahead with more concrete plans.
Last week, U.K. Transport Secretary Andrew Adonis declared to the BBC that 2010 would be the year of the bullet train. 
“I want Britain to be a pioneer in low-cost, mass-market high-speed rail,” he said, noting the lines could be developed through public-private partnerships.
South of the border, U.S. President Barack Obama has made huge strides toward high-speed rail projects across the U.S., setting aside at least $8 billion for such projects.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Airport security tightens up

The governments is putting in body scanners on airplanes all across Canada.This is great,because we can find out if someone is trying to take bombs in a airplane.Now here are the important facts the person who looks at the picture will be in a separate room and will never meet the passenger.The picture that is taken will not be saved,kept or printed says Transport Minister John Baird.Transport Minister John Baird also said there will be a watch system to look at suspicious passengers and have enhanced screening.This is outrageous what he is saying that Canada is doing racial profiling,but if you think it is okay to do racial profiling then terrorist groups are going to specifically pick people who are not what we are looking for. Canadian Civil Liberties Association general counsel Natalie Des Rosiers said she had concerns about the behavioural screening plan, which she says could be used to single out certain groups for racial profiling. Transport Canada will also set up an airport watch system to look for suspicious passengers and tab them for enhanced screening, Baird said. CBC News has confirmed that the machines, which can scan through clothing, be installed in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax.

The artic is melting!

A new study by a U.S research institute shows that Canadian arctic ice is melting 30 days before it usually does from 1979. For example let's say that the arctic ice in Canada melts in March 1 in 1979, and now it is melting on February 1. Now this means that the ice is melting sooner and melting more with the ice freezing less for a less amount of time.Which means that if the ice melts sooner and with hotter climate it melts more during the spring and summer,and it freezes less because the winter is getting warmer and freezes for a less amount of time because it melts sooner. Now with this happening we are losing ice which raises sea levels. We have to reduce our emissions. The gradually opening water could affect everything from access to Arctic resources to habitat for animals such as seals and polar bears.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Dr Roy's Thoughts: Dan Cook on Parliament's Prorogation

Dr Roy thinks that these online groups can show people's opinions. Not everyone has a Facebook account and people can be mad about something without going out of their way to join a group. Notice that the group has collected more than 30 000 members in less than a week. I'm sure that if a proper poll was done, instead of looking at members of a group, Canadians would not like that Harper's prorogued Parliament for the second year in a row.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Harnessing Renewable Energy

This was in Africa. Look at what they did. This is in Africa. One of the poorest countries in the world. If they can rely on this clean energy, then so can we. However, the government refuses to fund good clean energy. When will we follow the other countries in saving the environment.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Where is our High Speed Rail?

Bombardier is based in Canada. This could be good news to us as they are selling their trains around the world. Bombardier is the world's largest rail manufacturer. They've sold in China, Italy and many other countries. Those are the wise ones who have chosen to invest in high speed rail. And it's been proven that high speed rail is the only moneymaker. For example, the Acela is the only Amtrak line that makes a profit of $41 per passenger. All the others lose money and need to be subsidized. It's been proven that high speed rail works, it makes money and it saves the environment. We have one of the most advanced high speed rail makers in our country. Right now, Bombardier is building trains for everywhere but Canada. It's time to invest in high speed rail.

But the Acela is Amtrak's only profit-maker, with an average profit per passenger of $41. Amtrak's other lines lose an average of $32 per passenger.

For all that, Bombardier looks on the U.S. as only a "medium-term possibility" for revenue gains. In countries like China and France, Bombardier deals with one decision maker, the central government along with a state-owned transport authority.
In the U.S., 24 states are clamouring for high-speed rail funds – a promising sign of interest, to be sure, but a reminder of the labours of dealing with multiple levels of bureaucracy. Republicans in those states have balked at the proposed expenditure. And train buff Obama will be in office, at most, for only seven more years. After that, who knows?
The decades-long wait for high-speed rail in central Canada proves the same point, that commitment to passenger rail – high-speed or conventional – remains far stronger outside North America.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Proroguing Parliament doesn't Work

A couple months ago you heard Michael Ignatieff say he wants to bring down the government, but you also heard the Conservatives say that an election now would delay a recovery. So if they believe that delaying a recovery is important, then why would they prorogue parliament, because if you prorogue parliament then nothing gets done. I do think that having an election is not the best thing to do, but economists say an election will not damage the economy that much. An election last 5 weeks. Proroguing Parliament will last 2 months plus the extra weeks of holidays. So in summary proroguing Parliament does not help at all.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Democracy Killed

By proroguing Parliament, Stephen Harper has diminished democracy. He says that the economy needs urgent fixing, but if he was working in the favor of Canadians, he would not run away from his troubles. The Afghan detainee issue is one that must be addressed. Harper can run if he wants to. The question is whether the opposition will let him hide. They must not let him hide. Torture is a serious issue that can't be bypassed. I'm glad the Globe has condemned Harper's actions.
For the second consecutive December, Stephen Harper is putting Parliament on ice. In the act, the Prime Minister is turning prorogation, a sometimes sensible parliamentary procedure, into an underhanded manoeuvre to avoid being accountable to Parliament. In the interests of political expediency, the government will diminish the democratic rights of Canadians.
Proroguing stops committee work and makes all legislation pending before Parliament vanish. Historically, it has been used when a government has implemented most of its agenda. Until Mr. Harper's innovation, it was not an annual occurrence; the last minority government to use it more than once was Lester B. Pearson's Liberal administration in the 1960s.
Today, the Conservative agenda remains unfulfilled. More than half of all government bills – 37 of 64 – introduced since January, 2009, have yet to be passed into law. Eleven of these are justice bills, dealing with such weighty matters as elimination of the faint-hope clause (which still needs to be taken up by the Senate) and tougher sentencing for white-collar criminals and drug traffickers. These can be re-introduced when the new Parliament resumes in March, but they will need to go through the legislative process anew. In any case, Mr. Harper's decision means Parliament will lose more than 20 days: time that could have been used debating, amending and passing these bills.