Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Die Cap and Trade!

Cap and trade legislation in the US has already passed the House and is now going on to the Senate. It had a ton of trouble just barely passing the House in a very watered-down form. I'll actually be happy if it gets defeated. Cap and trade is a waste of time and money. A carbon tax combined with income tax rebates is much better for the environment, people and the economy. I hope that in the not-so-far future, Stéphane Dion's Green Shift makes a comeback in Canadian politics. The one who pioneers it will have to explain it much better so that we will better understand how it will help us. Our taxes get cut, while our emissions get reduced. Everyone wins except big polluters.
Other than maybe Jason in Friday the 13th, nothing has supposedly died and come back to life more often than climate legislation and carbon cap-and-trade. A year ago, thanks in part to fierce opposition from business interests led by the Chamber of Commerce, the cap-and-trade bill cosponsored by Henry Waxman and Edward Markey just barely passed the House of Representatives, 219 to 212. As Eric Pooley writes in his great new book The Climate War, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had to wield a mean whip to get her members in line for the vote. (Just eight Republicans voted for Waxman-Markey, and 44 Democrats opposed it.)
Read more at Time Magazine.

Canada Needs High Speed Rail

Heather Mallick writes about the sale of the high speed rail lines in the UK and that Canada needs high speed rail. With high speed rail, everyone wins. It creates jobs, both temporary and permanent and will protect the environment. It's a faster way of travel than the car, yet it doesn't come with all the inconveniences of flying. he UK shouldn't be selling off its high speed rail lines. They will prove useful for the future. It's much better if passenger rail transport is watched over by the government. That's as long as it does a good job. In Canada, Via Rail has gone through a series of heavy budget cuts which forced it to close down many train routes. With many countries seeing the benefits of high speed rail, it is obvious that it's the way of the future. Canada must invest now. By the way, Canada is the only country of the G8 that doesn't have a high speed rail system and one of four in he G20 that doesn't have a high speed rail system. (h/t)
It is ironic to hear Brits bemoaning the possible sale of their one rather dishy fast railway track – High Speed One from St Pancras International to the Channel Tunnel – to a bunch of retired Canadian teachers. It's too late for Britain now. Any society that would allow the sale of its phone, electricity, gas and water to private companies, particularly foreigners, decades ago and then complain about losing Cadbury chocolates... well, your values are skewed.
So are Canadian values, which is where the irony comes in. We'd love it if our teachers bought a high-speed rail line from us. If we had one to sell, which we don't.
Read more at the Guardian.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Disregarding Own Advice

Once again, Prime Minister Harper has shown complete disregard for the facts and his government's advice. In last year's G20 meetings, world leaders agreed to phase out fossil fuel subsidies. In the spring, the Department of Finance recommended that Canada should end tax breaks for big oil and big gas. Last year, we promised to end the wasteful subsidies to big corporations. We are running a deficit. We cannot afford to keep giving presents to multinationals that make billions of dollars in profits each year. Companies make enough money as is. Why don't we keep some of our money... for ourself? These subsidies promote pollution and are a waste of money. They should be ended immediately.
TORONTO — Prime Minister Stephen Harper rejected advice from his officials to eliminate tax incentives for the oil patch on a weekend that saw the world's most powerful leaders disdain fresh attempts to combat climate change in favour of fighting deepening deficits.
The G20 countries promised at their last meeting in Pittsburgh to examine where governments were subsidizing fossil fuel consumption and production and then move to eliminate those subsidies.
Read more at CTV News.

Wow! Is that really it?

What came out of the summit this week was that all countries must cut there deficit in half by 2013. This is not such a big target for any of these countries. As this year's deficit is the one with the big stimulus bills costing billions and billions of dollars. This big increase in spending is stooping after this year, so deficits across the world will shrink for the 2011 budget, and as long as a new recession does not come along, they do not have to try to reduce the deficit any more. Even the U.S. has it easy. Obama has the biggest deficit in the U.S. history, because of all the things he has proposed. By 2013 as long as a double dip recession does not come he is out of the clear too. The only thing anyone here may have a problem is with stabilizing GDP to debt ratio by 2016. This is easy for us since by then we will have a surplus (projected) or at least a very sustainable deficit by then. The U.S. has this problem: their deficit in 2016 will be is 700 billion (projected). This deficit is not going to get them out of the clear for this target. This target I find will be a challenge for only some countries. But the question I would like to ask the leaders "is this initiative worth a billion dollars?" I don't think a billion dollars in extra spending is worth an initiative that many may not have a problem with. The more I think about it the more I feel like this entire thing was a disaster, because nothing really concrete and big came out and I find , and was a complete waste of money. I hope the next one will be done better.

Look at Canadian deficits here

Look at U.S deficit here

Monday, June 28, 2010

G8 G20 what good will it do

The G8 and G20 meetings have ended, but really this will be the same as Copenhagen: the leaders will make promises and forget about it the next day. I support having these summits, but really if we are spending 1 billion dollars then at least actually stay true to your commintements. Because I want to know if this summit is worth the controversy, cost and protesters. If the leaders want to make the G8 and G20 work they have to make the people see more than fake lakes and empty promises. I want something done, but with Stephen Harper not even caring about the environment nothing real is going to happen. So I am still hoping that are leader keeps his promise on spending monety on helath in Africa and keeps the pressure on North Korea and Iran.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The impossible G8/G20

I know we all think this summit cost a lot, but this money is needed for safety. Sarkozy said something kind of risky. He was asked about the cost of his G8/G20 summit in France next year. He said that his summit will cost 10 times less than ours. I would like to see him try. Our summits cost 1 billion, so his summit he thinks he can sprinkle that down to 100 million. Most summits before this one cost around 600 million or more. So unless there are not going to be police, I don't think Sarkozy can pull this off. Although I like the idea, I just don't see it happening. What he should have said was that his summit will be efficient, safe and have no unnecessary cost in it. Now I think if Sarkozy maybe does not want this to end up as controversy next year he should maybe restate his position. Now I think summits do have to have a lot of money on security I just don't support fake lakes that cost 2 million dollars and other pork barrel spending.
A reporter who scrambled to the microphone asked whether French citizens should brace themselves for a similar summit tab as Canada, which is expected to pay out more than $1-billion to host the G8 in Muskoka and the G20 in Toronto this weekend.
As for the French G8/G20, even though I can’t confirm the Canadian numbers, they will be ten times less. Exactly.”
Read more at the Globe and Mail.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Summits of Fossil Fuels

A new poll shows that the majority of Canadians want the dual summit to talk about ficing the problem of the world's reliance on fossil fuels. No matter what the Conservative Party of Canada hopes for, polls will just keep on coming, saying, "Canadians want the government to protect the environment and fight climate change." 70% of Canadians want to end the subsidies to big oil and big gas, contrary to the position of the government that continues to give tax breaks for the huge corporations. Interestingly, almost 80% want Stephen Harper to use the dual summit to show the world that Canada wants to be a leader in the global climate change fight. Time and time again, Canadians will show the Tories that climate change is not a sideshow and is a major issue that we need to fix.
Two of three Canadians want the Harper government to show leadership at the G8 and G20 summits and announce plans to eliminate subsidies for the fossil fuel industry, according to results of a poll released on Friday.

The survey, commissioned for Climate Action Network, coincides with ongoing G20 discussions about phasing out the incentives as part of a clean energy strategy for the economic recovery.
Read more at the Vancouver Sun.

Fake Canada

The Toronto Star reports that fake grass was used for the G8 summit pictures. It was even installed over real grass! Again, there goes wasteful spending for no good reason. I don't even think that there is a bad reason to create fake grass when there is a lot right over where they are standing. According to suppliers of artificial turf, this would have cost about six grand. This may not seem a lot compared to the money spent by the government each year, but the real grass that costs zero dollars seems like a bargain when compared to the fake grass. Once again, the Harper government shows stupid ways of spending money we do not have (deficit).

Leaders of the G8 nations and other representatives pose for a group picture - on artificial turf - during the G8 summit in Huntsville, June 25, 2010. From left are, European Union Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan, Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, gesturing, US President Barack Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy.
Read about it at the Toronto Star.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Stpehen Harper's Not-So-Shining Hour

Jeffrey Simpson remarks that the dual summits held in Canada should have been a big victory for Stephen Harper. They were supposed to show off Canada to the world and indirectly, gain him support from Canadian citizens. As we can see now, his plan didn't work. The cost of the summits was just too large. In my opinion, both summits should have been done in Huntsville where security would have been much cheaper. Because of security, there are many invconveniences for people in the Toronto area. Two of the most prominent ones is the fence around a certain area of downtown and the fact that Via Rail is not going to route trains through Toronto Union Station. Many people are unhappy with the Conservative hanndling of the double summit. We can see that in the newest EKOS poll where the Tories would get just a small minority with 120 seats if an election was held tommorow. The Liberals would grow to 91, NDP to 37, Bloc 56 and Green to 2. This is bad news for the Conservatives and we'll see how they deal with it over the summer. The full poll results are embedded below.

Read more at the Globe and Mail.

Comercial Canceled!

An advertisement in France has been canceled. I don't think it should have been canceled. The commercial shows just a male cat with a human body shaving. When the cat is done, it uses a soft drink for after shave. A man then touches the cat's shaven chin. This ad is 10 seconds! This ad has nothing wrong in it.  People are calling it the "gay cat ad". I say so what ? what is the world coming too when you can't even put an ad like this on the air. it is banned from french television for being "polemic". Merriam Webster defines Polemic as "an aggressive attack on or refutation of the opinions or principles of another" or "the art or practice of disputation or controversy." Neither of these sounds like good reason. This ad has nothing bad in it. Even see it for yourself.

See it at the Huffington Post.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Coalitions Next Election?

Tom Flanagan describes the many posibilities that the next election could bring. According to him, there could be a Liberal minority, a Conservative minority or a Liberal-NDP coalition, together getting a majority. He does touch on an issue that some people have not written about lately. What if Stephen Harper lost next election but didn't resign as prime minister? Also, as prime minister, he doesn't need to ask the Governor-General to assemble Parliament. I believe that this is completely unreasonable. This would be an abuse of executive power and should be outlawed. These are just games to hold on to power. It should be like this: if you lose the election, you lose your place as prime minister. Maybe, but unlikely, Harper will outlaw this horrible abuse of executive power.
The bottom line: Michael Ignatieff’s best chance to become prime minister is for the Liberals to win more seats than the Conservatives, and his second-best chance is for the Liberals and NDP together to win an absolute majority of seats. Otherwise, Mr. Harper will continue in office.
Read more at the Globe and Mail.

Stupid Subsidies

Canada subsidises stupidly. Our government still subsidises fossil fuels, the energy of the past and the pollutor of the present. As usual, during the G20 summit, the Conservative government will not show leadership on climate change. Nevertheless, all the leaders of the world's twenty largest economies signed a pact nine eagmonths ago to phase out the subsidies to big oil, big gas and big coal. This is great, but we all know how eager Prime Minister Stephen Harper is to act on climate change. If anything, he promotes increasing our carbon emissions. A responsible government with concerns for the future would end the subsidies immediately. The oil companies already make too big a profit. We do not need to reward them for destroying the environment. What we need to do is penalize them with a carbon tax. It makes the pollutors pay so Canadians get reduced taxes. But since when is Harper for saving the environment? That is why we need a new government.
Ah yes, climate change, the subject Prime Minister Stephen Harper hates. Two weeks ago, while visiting Europe, he called the subject a “sideshow” that wouldn’t get any attention at G8 and G20 summits focused on the economy. European leaders considered his position to be so fossilized that a week ago Monday, at 3 p.m., Mr. Harper had to reverse himself by issuing a revised agenda that, yes, included climate change. Once again – how many times has it been? – Canada’s position on climate change has proved to be an international embarrassment.
Read more at the Globe and Mail.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Go! Canada Go!

Old news: Iran has been accused of getting nuclear weapons. The UN has imposed multiple sanctions on Iran, and now Canada has imposed sanctions to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons. I have said that Iran should be pressured by the international community to not build weapons of mass destruction. Now it is happening. So I am congratulating the UN, Canada, U.S , and all other countries for doing this. We must make sure that no new countries get nuclear weapons, and that countries that have threaten our allies do not get weapons.  
On June 9, the UN passed a resolution imposing a fourth round of sanctions against Iran that was approved by a final tally of 12 "yes" votes, two "no" votes, from Brazil and Turkey, and one abstention, from Lebanon.
Canada demands that Iran fully co-operate with the International Atomic Energy Agency by suspending its enrichment activities, as well as engage in a constructive dialogue with China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States with a view to reaching a diplomatic solution as soon as possible, Cannon said.
Read more at CBC.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Voices for Climate Change

A nice song made by various artists on climate change. Climate change is happening now. The consequences will be dire if we do not take action. Our carbon emissions must be reduced. Many Canadians are doing just that, but without the intervention of the government, not much more can happen. We need a carbon tax and soon.

Merger is Bad

Lysiane Gagon also thinks that a merger between the Liberals and the NDP is bad. A merger would happen based on the idea that with both parties' votes put together, it would be much easier to win a majority government. However, there is one factor left out of the calculation. By leaving the centre of Canadian politics to move to the left, there would be a lot of voters going to the Conservative party. It would never be a two choice decision anyway; the Bloc and the Green party would still get about 20% of the popular vote combined. The centre must be occupied by a political party and it is the Liberal party. I still do not like the idea of a two party state. The world isn't black and white.

Even though both Michael Ignatieff and Jack Layton have officially rejected it, the idea of a coalition between the Liberal Party and the NDP is still in the air. Former Saskatchewan premier Roy Romanow is promoting a merger, with the support of former prime minister Jean Chrétien and some influential Liberal activists who believe this to be the only way to beat the Conservatives
Read more at the Globe and Mail.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Waste Clock

Today, the Liberal Party of Canada released a waste clock displaying how much the G8/G20 meetings are costing per second. I have to say the figures surprise me. Apparently, the meetings are costing about five thousand dollars per second, 300k per minute. It's still pretty interesting to see how much money Stephen Harper has blown since I began writing this post. Just sit back and watch the numbers fly by. It's pretty fun until you realise that it's our money being spent. Get the clock for your website/blog here.
The Liberal Party of Canada today launched the “G8/G20 Waste Clock” that gives a second-by-second costing of Stephen Harper’s $1-billion boondoggle, following news that Prime Minister Harper’s department has been awarding contracts after the work for them has already started.

Kill the Vote Subsidy?

There is much debate on the issue of whether we should destroy the vote subsidy or not. In Canada, a party receives about two dollars annually per vote it received in the previous election. I am for reforming the system in its entirety. Public money would only be used for election funding. There would be different amounts of public money given to parties depending on how much money they raised privately in the previous twelve months. The party can then choose to accept the public money and use zero dollars of fund-raised money or take no public money and use only fund-raised money. Between elections, there would be no subsidies given. This way it's fair. No party is left behind greatly in funding and those who have an enormous supply of people ready to give money will be able to use their weaponry with all their force. With my solution, the $1100 limit would be abolished.
The Conservatives are ready to re-visit the issue of subsidies for political parties, a welcome assertion of the importance of individuals in the political system, and a necessary move given the subsidy's failure to make politics cleaner or more inclusive.
The subsidy gives political parties that got at least 2 per cent of the vote in the last general election $1.95 per year for every vote they received. Dimitri Soudas, Stephen Harper's director of communications, told La Presse recently that the elimination of the subsidy would be “written in black and white” in the Conserative Party's next electoral platform.
Read more at the Globe and Mail.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ignorant Ignatieff

Once again, Ignatieff shows ignorance on the tar sands. He continues to say that the polluting source for oil can be sustainable and can reduce its emissions. The tar sands will never be able to become sustainable. It just takes so much force to harvest the oil. If we are not going to shut down the tar sands, then we should at least benefit from their existence. That's what a carbon tax does. We use the money gained to lower income tax. That would make sure that the polluters pay and Canadians gain. The bitumen sands are not a clean source of oil nor will they ever be. While it might be possible for the tar sands to reduce their carbon footprint, it will still be enormous. The only thing we can do is make sure we get rich of this oil instead of the companies getting rich.
Ignatieff said the oilsands provide a great benefit for the entire country and will continue to do so in the future.
"We're going to be in a hydrocarbon future for a long time," said Ignatieff.
"The key thing is to make it sustainable -- to create an industry that has great working conditions for the people in it, that drives down excessive use of water and that gets CO2 under control."
Read more at the Calgary Herald.

G8 TOO expensive say Canadians!

78% percent of Canadians think that a 1 billion dollar price tag on the G8 and G20 meeting is too expensive. Now who can blame them? This will be the most expensive G8 and G20 meeting in global history. To be fair, there is a lot of money going to safety, but most of this money is pork barrel spending. Money that is absolutlely not worth the bad press. What are these people thinking spending millions of dollars on stuff like fake lakes? Canada is the country with the most lakes. This meeting is also on the shores Lake Ontario, one of the five great ones. We do not need to spend millions on something we have right in our backyard. I do not call this fiscal responsibility. Canadians are pinching pennies, and Harper goes spending millions on his ego trip. And we are paying for it.
As a new poll suggests Canadians are concerned about costs of funding the G8 and G20 summits, the Liberals are accusing the Conservatives of funnelling millions of G8 dollars into “pork-barrel projects” in the Muskoka-Parry Sound riding of Industry Minister Tony Clement.
Read more at the Globe and Mail.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Oil Must End

Barack Obama recently said that the oil spill is a reason to cure our addiction to oil. He is completely right. Fossil fuels are powerful, but will only give us trouble in the future. They are non-renewable meaning that they are going to run out eventually. They pollute the environment and the air. Compared to clean electricity, fossil fuels don't look so good. While Obama says he is going to increase investment in green technologies, who knows if he's actually going to do it. The future will tell whether he will live up to his promise. Meanwhile, in Canada, we have a prime minister who is continuing to give tax breaks to big oil. They already make billions of dollars each year. You may as well give the companies subsidies for destroying the environment. What we really need in North America is alternatives to oil. We need high speed rail, subsidies for electric and hybrid cars and cleaner electricity. Most of all we need a carbon tax so that our addiction to oil will end and soon.
The stakes are high for Canada, as U.S. President Barack Obama starts talking about a greener energy future, because any attack on the oil "addiction" in the United States influences our own oil habit.
BP's Gulf oil spill gives Obama a terrific opportunity to make changes. Now we have to hope the president has better cards up his sleeve than his predecessors.
Read more at the Ottawa Citizen.

No Clear Leader = Coalition?

People have been saying that because of no one is getting anywhere near in the polls to a majority or a strong minority that there will have to be a coalition. I think that there can be a coalition that will help make a strong sustainable goverment. Now, if there is another minority goverment in the next election, should there be a coalition? I think anyone who can form a majority should try (not that I would support any coalition). A coalition is a great way to create compromise between parties, and make parliment work more. Now the current polls have the Liberals at 26.3% the Conservatives at 30.5%. This shows us that the Canada is divided between the Liberal and the Conservatives, and that means a coalition is either likely or improbable.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fast Trains without Federal Help

During a joint cabinet meeting between Ontario and Quebec in Quebec City, both premiers said that they might go ahead with high speed rail even if the federal government is not willing to fund it. In fact, they might use American money to fund high speed rail.
“It would, after all, be ironic if we actually did more with the federal government of the United States than we did with the federal government of Canada on developing a fast train.”
Charest is completely correct. Obama spent 8 billion on rail infrastructure this year and it is obvious more is coming. It's great that the leaders of these two provinces have the insight to capitalise on the spending of money for trains. Too bad Harper doesn't. We could have a North American train network by the end of the decade. High speed rail is coming to Canada and even Premier Dalton McGuinty knows it. It's just a question of when.
Ontario's Dalton McGuinty added: "When we build this line (in the Quebec City-Windsor corridor), it's more than just connecting 16 million Canadians, strengthening our regional economy, better protecting our regional environment. It's going to plug us in to a North American network of high-speed rail."
Notice that he said, "when," not "if." High speed rail is in the making and I'd be really proud of Quebec and Ontario if they choose to plow full speed on without federal money.

Read more at the Montreal Gazette.

The people are speaking out

A new poll shows that 51.5% of all Canadians now think that the government is going in the wrong direction. I think this just shows how people don't like Lake Wastemytaxes. As usual, Quebec with an unprecedented 66% think that the government is going in the wrong direction. I think that people can agree we need someone else than Harper to govern our country. What is also important to state is that all age groups are against the direction of the government, this goes the same for all levels of education and gender. Now at this rate, I hope that Canada can get a new government and a better one in all ways.

Read the full results here.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Oil spill turns 60 days !

60 days ago an oil spill happened. BP said it would be very small spill, and would not have much environmental damage. Capered to the Exon Valdez spill it was suppose to be very small. (Exon Valdez spill 11 million barrels in total). Then the number incresed overr time and the issue became bigger. Now we have the equivalent of an Exon Valdez spill every five days. This spill is now 60 days in. Do we need more of this ? Do we want more of what happens in an oil spill like this? I think that we should stop this from happening by making the oil camapnies pay for inspectors to visit oil drilling areas so that the company who is the safest gets more contracts. We should invest in renewable ressources that will never give us billions of dollars in damages, eviromental effects, animals dying and the loss of economy. The real question is: do you want more of this?

More Merger Talk

More from the Globe and Mail on how a merger on the left side of the spectrum is not going to be good for anyone. There have also been articles about a merger with the Conservatives. Even though it might seem possible now, they haven't been as Conservative as they would like to be. They are just waiting for their majority. A merger of any sort would not be good for the Liberal party and I do not support any "Unite-the-Left" action.
Merger is constitutionally impossible for both parties, politically unwise and, more important, intellectually bankrupt. A coalition after the next election? To paraphrase a great Liberal leader: a coalition if necessary but not necessarily a coalition.
Were the Liberals to win more seats than the Conservatives, but fall short of a majority, they could reasonably turn to the NDP and try to work something out. But if the Conservatives won more seats, as the British Conservatives did, it would fall to that party to make the first move. Who knows what that would bring.
Read more at the Globe and Mail.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cap and Trade in Canada

Ontario and Quebec recently announced that they are planning to install cap and trade in these two provinces. Besides the fact that it doesn't work, adopting this kind of legislation is a great symbolic gesture. What's really needed is a carbon tax. Even in Canada, we have a living example of a carbon tax in British Columbia. This western province hasn't collapsed economically so we can assume that a carbon tax does not going to destroy then economy. Compared to cap and trade, a carbon tax is easy to set up, cheap to maintain and can be enforced without difficulty. The following video will provide insight on how cap and trade does not work. Read the news at the Globe and Mail.

Ignatieff you are right. Maybe.

Ignatieff just stated that he would support a type of Afghan mission to last longer than the July 2011 period. I have said this before: Canada should have some sort of involvement in Afghanistan after the military mission. Now, I think if Afghan officials are not yet trained enough to beat the Taliban, we should stay for a minor time until they are, but still end the mission anyway. Now Ignatieff is proposing to keep on schedule, but believes that there should be a "fixed period" of training. I support this only if it is needed. I still believe in leaving Afghanistan, but I think what is more important is for all countries to have some sort of involvement to make sure that Afghanistan is stable for the civilians after 2011.While I commend Harper on his decision to leave Afghanistan as scheduled, I believe that Harper should stay committed to Afghanistan after 2011 (non military). We can have a post Afghanistan involvement without military, but again we would have to wait to see if the Afghanistan is ready and stable.
Along with a continued civilian presence to bolster Afghanistan's fledgling government, Ignatieff proposed that some Canadian troops to remain in the Afghan capital Kabul for an undefined "fixed period" to provide training at a military and police staff college.
In the meantime, he accused Prime Minister Stephen Harper of "walking away" from the Afghan mission "as if it never occurred."
Read more at CBC.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

G8+12 Summit

The G8 summit is supposed to include only 10 countries. Wait, ten countries. Isn't it supposed to be eight? Well, there's Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the UK, the US and two European Union representatives. However, Harper invited ten additional guests to the G "8" meetings: seven from Africa and three from Central and South America. So now, there is actually going to be 20 representatives being housed in Huntsville. That's the town Harper said was too small to be able to provide amenities for 20 representatives. What is this? First he says that Huntsville is too small to host the G20, then he basically transforms the G8 into another G20 while remaining in Huntsville. After we consider this self contradiction, we have to consider if inviting all these additional countries is for show. Was this planned using an MEP just to get the photo Harper wants? This is Canadian tax money being spent so we can be brainwashed. We should not feed Harper's ego.

Read more at CBC.

PM Layton?

A poll shows that if a NDP-Liberal merger were to happen under the leadership of Micheal Ignatieff, it would lose by 6%. Under Bob Rae it is a tie, but under Layton would beat Harper by 6%. Now why? Simple. People like Layton more than they like Ignatieff. More importantly, if there was a Liberal-Democrat party  where would Liberal supporters go? Some would go to Harper, but more would go to the merger. The reason why Layton would win and not Ignatieff is because that Ignatieff is not as popular as Layton is. Now I do not support this merger because it compromises the Liberal party, and Layton's platform is too left. I think that the Liberal party can win a goverment without a coalition, so the Liberal party should consantrate on winning an election, and then working with other parties to create a stable government.
In one respect, the results of an Angus Reid poll to be released on Monday are not surprising — the Conservatives are at 35 per cent, the Liberals at 27 and the NDP are at 19 per cent; in Quebec, the Bloc leads with 37 per cent.
Read more at the Globe and Mail.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Change to Summit Agenda

The Harper government has completely made a U-turn and announced today that climate change will be on the agenda of the G8 and G20 summits. Many environmentalist groups have noted that since the leaders of African countries are here, it wouldn't be fair to ignore climate change as they are the most affected by this issue. Even though this is a symbolic gesture, I am not so sure how much good it will do. Back at the Cop15 conference in December, Canada did all it could to obstruct progress on this issue. I'd rather have extended talks about the economy than talks on climate change and zero progress. Or even worse, going backwards. All I hope for is that we finally get somewhere on this issue and that Canada gets pressured into adopting stronger targets.
OTTAWA—Canada has added climate change to the G8 agenda after coming under pressure from world leaders and environmentalists.
A spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper confirmed Monday that climate change will be on the table at the G8 and G20 summits.
“We anticipate that climate change will come up, in fact, at both summits,” Andrew MacDougall said.
Read more at the Toronto Star.

Climate Change a "Side Show"

Move aside the fake lake, the bigger problem with the G20 and G8 meeting is that it will be ignoring climate change. Harper said that climate change will be a side show at the meeting. To be fair, this meeting is about substantial growth and recovery, but the environment has a role in this exact issue. The environment has a role on growth, as green jobs are the permanent jobs of the future. The double summit should work on how to ensure that world countries switch from an oil based economy to a green economy with clean energy sources. Harper should make the environment an important issue on the G8 and G20 meeting, and shouldn't wait for the U.S. to take the lead as usual. Canada can take a leadership role.
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May said Harper has failed to lay the groundwork for significant discussions by failing to organize a meeting of G8 or G20 environment ministers prior to the summit.
“At this point it should be very clear that climate is an economic issue,” said Demerse, noting that G20 co-host, South Korea, has put 80 per cent of its economic stimulus money into green initiatives.
Read more at the Vancouver Sun.

New Ads

The Liberal Party of Canada has launched new radio ads attacking Harper on the fake lake issue. I am embedding them here, however, I'm not sure if this was the right time to spend this kind of money. Of course the Harper government spent way too much money on the double summit, but, I just don't feel that it is the right time for ads. But hey, I'm no political strategist.



Visit the Liberal website.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Tourists like Fast Trains

Less tourists are visiting Canada and according to CEO of the Tourism Industry Association, it's because of the "neglect" that that policy makers have been showing. Government thinks that tourists will just appear on Canadian soil because Canada is so great. However, the infrastructure for tourists isn't good in Canada. There is no real alternative to the airplane; high speed rail doesn't exist in Canada. The truth is, tourists like rail travel. Canada has failed to invest in high speed rail and therefore, has failed to attract more tourists. Many countries have decided to include high speed rail as a crucial part of their plan to move into the future. Even the United States, perceived by many as a car nation, is investing billions in high speed rail. Many states look forward to start constructing soon. The Harper government credits itself with being strong on the economy. If it was, it would start planning and building high speed rail lines immediately.
The summer season is approaching, and millions of vacationers from around the world are about to pile into planes in search of that perfect holiday. Unfortunately, many of them will head to places other than Canada.
David Goldstein, president and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, has collected some alarming data: Between 2002 and 2008, Canada dropped like a stone in the ranking of tourism destinations.
Read more at the Ottawa Citizen.

Offshore Drilling is Okay

I think that the U.S.A can have offshore drilling, still be environmentally friendly, and not have another oil spill disaster. The reason is simple: first the U.S needs oil. Now the question is, where from? Does the U.S want to keep buying Iranian oil just for the money spent to be used against them. NO! So the U.S should have offshore drilling. The question you may ask is how can this be environmentally friendly. The U.S should only take oil they need, and at the same time spend even more money on alternative energy like wind, solar, biomass and hydroelectricity so that the energy they use is more clean, and so they need less oil. The U.S should also increase the minimum fuel economy for a car. Now, of course, this is not a long term solution because America doesn't have a lot of oil reserves. This, although is an important step forwards. The next problem you may have, is an oil spill. Easy solution: have inspectors come to oil drilling places to make sure that every thing is done properly. Now, you might say that this would be expensive. Even better is to make the oil companies pay for inspectors, because if this company wants to drill, it should pay to be able.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Conservative Spin Control

We all know about Harper's control of information. However, according to an Op-Ed in the Gazette, everything that gets out to the media from the government is propaganda made to gain support from the public. What surprised me though, is that journalists are barred from public events. Instead, they are given handout photos and videos done by the Prime Minister's Office to know what happened. This means that everything that the media gets is controlled. The bad thing, is that the media never tells us that this information has been produced by the PMO. This is added to the MEPs that ensure that everything is scripted in advance. Everything is staged so that it is positive news for Mr. Harper and his government. We should not accept this propaganda from Harper. We do not need to be manipulated to support him. We need government transparency, and with it, the truth. The Conservative Brainwashing of Canadians must stop here.
No one begrudges a government trying to get its message out with a coordinated communications plan. But when federal bureaucrats are forced to focus more on messaging than governing, Canadians should wonder if they are being sold a bill of goods.
In an exposé this week, The Canadian Press revealed the Conservative government's unprecedented reliance on a media management technique known as the “Message Event Proposal” (MEP). Until these revelations, the extent of government manipulation and spinning was not fully understood.
Read more at the Montreal Gazette and the Toronto Star.

No to a Merger

An Ipsos Reid poll has found that the majority of Canadians are against a merger of the Liberals and NDP. 56% think it's a bad idea while 30% think it's a good idea. I am part of those who don't want the parties to merge. The Liberal party has campaigned under a Liberal banner since Confederation in 1867. We have been in power 70% of the time. There is no need to sacrifice the Liberal Party of Canada and Canadians recognise this fact. More importantly, 55% of Liberals don't want a merger. There is not going to be a Liberal-NDP merger any time soon. There probably never will be. Since Confederation, Liberal governments have been Liberal. There is no need to merge. We Liberals will remain Liberals.
OTTAWA -- Canadians have given a thumbs-down to the notion of a merger between the Liberals and NDP, a new poll conducted for Canwest News Service has found.
The Ipsos Reid national survey, conducted this week as Parliament Hill was awash with rumours, speculation and denials about a deal between the two parties, found that voters appear to want none of it.
Read more at the National Post and the Montreal Gazette.

Friday, June 11, 2010

High Speed Rail in an Editorial

Yesterday, there was an editorial in the Ottawa Citizen saying that high speed rail should be a high priority in provincial and federal government. This is the first time I've seen a Canadian newspaper write that in an editorial. It's good that more organisations are pushing for high speed rail in Canada. There have been many studies done on fast trains in the Quebec City-Windsor corridor. All of them have suggested that we build high speed rail. Even South Africa opened a high speed rail line. Only good can come out of high speed rail. If Harper wants to work with the Americans so much, he should invest in high speed rail because Obama just spent billions in rail infrastructure. Rail transport is the way of the future and we are going to be left behind if we don't start planning soon.
However, fighting traffic to and from airports takes valuable time. So too does security and boarding waits. Weather throws another wrench in the machinery.
High-speed rail is much more efficient. Maybe that's why the Obama administration is pursuing that mode of transportation as a way of linking U.S. cities.
When public and private officials go looking for the next big project for Ontario, intercity high-speed rail should be high on the agenda.
Read more at the Ottawa Citizen.

Bangladesh Biodiversity

Climate change is harming the world's ecosystems. Now, we can only see the major consequences in the poor countries. The sad thing is that they don't cause climate change; we do. However, they are the ones who are paying. It's not only climate change that is killing the animals. It's cutting down forests, polluting water and air: basically, destroying their habitat. The ecosystem can't deal with such changes so fast. We must keep preserving the environment for biodiversity of the world and so that the consequences won't keep growing. How many more wake-up calls do there need to be?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

No Need for Merger

Barbara Yaffe from the Vancouver Sun says that there is no need to unite the left. She blames our low poll numbers on leadership. However, I do not think it is our leadership itself that is the problem. The problem is that the Conservatives are so good at branding something as bad with their attack ads. Even before the 2008 election, the Tories launched attack ads against Stéphane Dion. He never had a chance after those well-done advertisements. What the Liberal Party of Canada needs to do is find a way of getting the message out and making sure that Ignatieff is seen as a better leader. We need to be seen as the better way and when the time comes, we will grab power.
It's true the centre and left have become splintered, especially with Greens scooping nearly seven per cent of the vote; but all Liberals need is the right set of circumstances to win.
Canadians, when the appropriate time comes, will know how to vote strategically to turf an offensive government.
For the moment, Liberals are led by someone who has yet to catch fire, failing 1½ years after becoming leader to present an appealing policy platform. This is unfortunate for the Grits but no reason to kill the brand.
Read more at the Vancouver Sun.

A Carbon Tax is Needed

Dan Gardner from the Ottawa Citizen argues that a carbon tax could help break our addiction to oil and all of its problems. There is no ignoring the advantages of a carbon tax. It's easy to set up, easy to regulate, cheap to maintain and can be used to reduce taxes. Yet politicians and people keep shying away from it. It will actually help us. I fully acknowledge Stéphane Dion's try to sell his Green Shift and good for him. He did the right thing in standing up for the environment in front of the attacks of Jack Layton and Stephen Harper. We must have a carbon tax to reduce further spills and damage to the environment.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Boycotting the Tar Sands

A small town from Washington state has decided to stop using the Canadian tar sands for their transportation needs. Good for them. They have stood up for the environment and their future. Even though this action won't make a big difference alone, this can go to show that there are people who won't tolerate the enormous destruction of the environment that the tar sands promote. The tar sands will never be green and it's a waste of money to invest in Carbon Capture and Storage: it doesn't work. What we need is a carbon tax on polluters. The money gained can then be used to reduce taxes. It makes polluters pay so that Canadians win.
A small, environmentally conscious town in upstate Washington has moved one step closer in its bid to stop using fossil fuels derived from the Alberta oilsands for its transportation needs.
City councillors in Bellingham, Wash., on Tuesday voted unanimously in favour of a motion calling on the city "to identify ways to shift operations and consumption away from fossil fuelled transportation and specifically high-carbon based Canadian tarsands."
 Read more at CBC.

No Support for Fake Lake

I think we have all heard about the fake lake being built for the G8/G20 summit. Now I think this lake is a waste of 2 million dollars, and it seems support has shrunk from the Conservatives. It is also important to mention that this poll still gives the Conservatives a government. However, this poll raises this question: is there going to be an election? It would require either that Mr. Harper gains a humongous amount of support or Micheal Ignatieff becomes very popular. Therefore, there shouldn't be an election for a while. Even with the economy recovering in Canada, the Conservatives are still averaging around 33%. The Liberals are staying around their 2008 result. The NDP have been growing but still not at there 18% 2008 result. The Greens are at double digits. The political environment as not changed to much recently. This means there is not going to be an election any time soon, nor a Harper majority.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

More MEPs

Jeffrey Simpson from the Globe and Mail writes about Message Event Proposals and Harper's need to control everything. He promised better transparency and now it's all gone. Every media release or event is based around getting a better image for the party. Harper makes sure his party gains political points and to do it, every event is heavily scripted in advance. We don't need this brainwashing.

From then on, centralized message control, enforced by the Prime Minister himself and reinforced by fear, became the modus operandi of this government.
Obviously, the Prime Minister thinks this system works, or it would have been changed. It offers the spin and control he desires. It also conveys the impression of a government of little emotion, with distant, even fearful men and women.
Read more at the Globe and Mail.

The Fake Lake

For the G20 summit, the Conservatives have decided to build a 2 million dollar artificial lake. I have no idea why they are building this nor where they have the extra money to throw around. Ironically, Lake Ontario, on of the five Great Lakes of North America is right next door. Apparently, this is supposed to be for foreign journalists. This fake lake is supposed to impress them and showcase Canada to the world. I'm all for doing that, but do we really need to spend 2 million on it. Moreover, we should impress foreigners with real Canadian scenery, not with artificial mimics of nature. In fact, the Conservatives are telling the world to show austerity and then they go around spending money on something that's really worth it: a fake lake. Whoever thought up this plan must be pretty stupid.
“This is supposed to be a meeting about dealing with the international debt crisis. We’re supposed to be leading the world in showing austerity and we invite them to our doorsteps to sit around a $2 million fake lake — it’s pretty ridiculous,” said Liberal MP Mark Holland.
Opposition critics on Monday raised several questionable expenditures in the House of Commons — from a new washroom dozens of kilometres away from the Hunstville G8 summit to paved roads to nowhere. Even though construction hasn’t started yet, it is the phony lake complete with Muskoka chairs, mocked-up canoes and changing scenery at the CNE grounds that captured the most attention.
Read more at the Toronto Star or the National Post.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Conservative Control

Harper must have control over every news event. To do this, the government uses a tool called the Message Event Proposal. Basically, it lays out the goal and strategy of the news event before it even happens. It even includes the desired headline, the ideal event photograph and the media lines. In the end, it's Harper's office that decides who gets to create an event. We can conclude rapidly that MEPs are being used for political gain. After all of Harper's promises for transparency, he now controls everything that is said at every news conference. Even one worker said so.
“We discussed every single issue and micromanaged every news release — everything,” said one former Harper-era PCO official.
This is like propaganda. These media events are arranged in advance, scripted in advance, and approved in advance to show the "greatness" of the government. Harper is trying to brainwash us with his MEPs. His government has control over what is said. It's censorship. We, as Canadian citizens should not stand up for this. Canadians deserve better than this.

Read more at the Toronto Star.

High Speed Rail in Africa

Africa's first high speed rail link will open tomorrow in South Africa for the World Cup. There was problems with getting the rail line built but nevertheless, a certain part of it will open. Just as it has proven in other countries, the officials say that it will reduce congestion between Johannesburg and Pretoria. A ticket for this segment of the line will only cost about $5 CAD. Meanwhile, we Canadians are still waiting for high speed rail. There wasn't even a rail link between Vancouver and Whistler for the Olympics. If South Africa can build high speed rail for World Cup Soccer, what was stopping us from building a link for the Olympics? Studies have shown high speed rail is viable in Canada, especially from Vancouver to Portland (Amtrak Cascades), Calgary-Edmonton, and the Corridor (Quebec City to Windsor). We should have high speed rail lines in all of these areas. It can only help us advance into the future for a better economy and environment.
But authorities in Gauteng province, the country's economic powerhouse which includes both Johannesburg and Pretoria, say it will help transform the lives of traffic-frazzled commuters and draw in long-term investment.
"This is going to be an asset and property of the people of South Africa for generations to come," she added.
 Read more at the Sydney Morning Herald.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Harper wants Merger

L. Ian MacDonald is completely right when he says that a merger between the NDP and the Liberals will only be good for Harper. Harper has done well before in branding things before they even get started: Stéphane Dion not a leader, separatist coalition, Michael Ignatieff just visiting. What we need to do is convey our message in a better way. Even though Liberal numbers are low, it's would get better if we got our message out there in a better way. That's what Michael Ignatieff, his caucus and us Liberals need to do. That's why I write for this blog.
He's just getting warmed up. Wait until he gets out on the campaign trail against the putative Liberal-NDP coalition. Remember the separatist coalition? Welcome to the socialist coalition.
What would lend credibility to such a line would be the clear memory of the Three Stooges, and their famous signature ceremony.
Read more at the Montreal Gazette.

Friday, June 04, 2010


Scott Reid from the Globe and Mail says that the Liberal Party of Canada should not merge with the NDP. I agree with him. The Liberal party should remain its own with it's own heritage, beliefs and values. What we need to do to regain public support is to keep fighting for our beliefs, not to use a coalition to gain power at all costs. There is no need to sacrifice this party. The Liberal party might seem dead, but we do not need to surrender to Jack Layton. We need to continue to fight for a better Canada.
Who would suggest the party should now sacrifice its identity in the face of an opponent who has three times proven unable to secure a majority mandate? A Prime Minister who has rarely been able to rally more than 34 per cent of public opinion to his side?
The Liberals need to persist, not panic. To remember their history, not fear the future. The Liberal Party of Canada is the most successful political institution in the Western world. It has governed and shaped Canada into the country it is today. From medicare to public pensions to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Vancouver wants Green Money

The mayor of Vancouver says that he wants more federal money to spend on green infrastructure such as high speed rail and clean technology. It's good that Canada's municipalities are thinking green because the federal level isn't. Stephen Harper hasn't funded one worthwhile big green project since a long, long time ago. The problem is that I'm not so sure municipalities can do much on their own without intervention from the provincial or federal level. They just don't have the big bucks to take on big projects. This is why we should pressure our representatives to fund green economic ideas. It's not only good for the environment. it's good for the economy. Green technology will be the economy of tomorrow and if we do not invest in it soon, we will miss out on this great chance.
Robertson wants more federal stimulus spending, this time directed at greening urban infrastructure. “In other countries we’re seeing massive investment in rapid transit, high-speed rail, in renewable energy and clean technology,” he told Maclean’s. “Canada has been a leader in some of those sectors but we’re being surpassed by significant federal investments in other countries.
Read more at Macleans.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

It Hits the Poor

It's climate change. It's already hit the poor people of this world. The sad thing is that it's us that's polluting and they are paying. They are suffering in ways we have never seen before. However, it's only a matter of time before the consequences hit us too. We cannot escape the reality of climate change. It's going to hit us, it's just a question of how soon.

NDP-Liberal coalition

The president of the young Liberals said he wants the parties to unite and defeat Harper. Now is this Coalition actually realistic? Penny Collentte thinks not.
Penny Collenette, a former advisor to prime minister Jean Chrétien, told CTV News Channel's Power Play that talking about a coalition or formal merger before an election is not a realistic possibility.
I think she brings up a good point. Talks will only hurt the Liberals. Unless they actually have a coalition. Then we have a different problem, the government would have a majority, but Michael Ignatieff might have some problems proposing bills that all three of them will agree with.
A recent Angus Reid Poll said the Conservatives would defeat a coalition headed by Ignatieff.
So this is not even popular. I think that the Liberal party should not have a coalition. Because first, this coalition could not hold up. With the NDP leader Jack Layton having a much more different platform than Mr. Ignatieff the coalition could have many cracks. If you think of the U.K. election as an example of a coalition that is working "good eye". In the U.K the conservatives had a coalition with the Liberal Democrats. Now, unlike Canada, they have a third party that's platform is very center of the road, so this idea of Jack Layton having a coalition is not so possible here. I support coalition governments when the party in power can form a stable majority government, or when the opposition parties think that they can come together to form a stable government.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Tough-on-Crime Bill Illegal

According to the Child Welfare League of Canada, one of the Tories' tough on crime bills violates a UN convention on the rights of minors. This is yet another barrier preventing the bill from passing. Good. Not only does the Conservatives' stance not work, it's illegal. Studies have proven that shutting someone in jail for an extended period of time doesn't work. In fact, they have also proven that these tough-on-crime bills will just make criminals more likely to commit the crime. There is still one funny thing about this bill. It ensures that judges will have to consider protecting the public as a "primary goal." That would go against the tough-on-crime stance as to protect the public, it would be better to not lock someone up for a long time.
OTTAWA - The government's plans to get tough on young offenders violates a United Nations convention and will exacerbate an already racist criminal justice system, critics warn. 
Bill C-4 - dubbed Sebastien's Law which was reintroduced in March - would force courts to make protecting the public a "primary goal" of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Read more at the London Free Press.

Obama did not go to Arlington Cemetery

Barack Obama now joins a list of three presidents who do did not go to the Arlington National Cemetery for Veterans day. The list consist of Bush (the son) who went to Maine. He did of course go to a memorial in Maine. Ronald Regan did not go because he was at an international meeting. Obama now joins the list. He went to Illinois. He did of course went to a memorial service, but there was a storm. Now you might be thinking: what is the diffrence if he does not go to Arlington. The thing is that Obama is the President of the U.S he should be at Arlington grieving with the nation as has almost every presdent.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

First Priority: the Environment

Harper's government is not going to make the environment a priority any time soon. However, most Canadians said that climate change should be the priority for the G8 and the G20 meetings according to the polls conducted by Nanos. Interestingly, it beats the economy by about 7% support. (33.7% - 27.3%) Harper did just the opposite. Even under pressure from the UN and many other countries, climate change is not going to be on the agenda. This just goes to show that Canadians want the opposite of what Harper is doing. Many Conservative bloggers would say that they are high up in the polls and therefore, this one doesn't matter. But, is all they care about support? How about responding to what the people want and doing what is best for Canada and the future of Canada? Obviously, Canadians know the environment is extremely important, maybe even more important than the economy as demonstrated by this poll. I know most Canadians are looking for ways to cut down on their environmental footprint and I cheer them on. Harper should let them save the environment and make it easier for us to do so.
Invités à établir l'ordre des priorités pour les rencontres des leaders internationaux, un tiers des répondants (33,7%) ont mis tout en haut de la liste les changements climatiques, contre 27,3% qui estiment que l'enjeu de la reprise économique est le plus important. Les droits de la personne, la liberté et la démocratie arrivent au troisième rang (14,3%), devant la santé maternelle et infantile dans les pays en développement (10,9%), le libre-échange et l'ouverture des marchés (6,1%) et la sécurité nucléaire (4,6%).

Fire Away!

An MP from Calgary wrote on a card for Canadian troops, "When in doubt, pull the trigger." What a good attitude to the war in Afghanistan. The Conservative MP says that this expression is common in military use and means keep safe and to defend yourself. I actually believe him. However, I do think he could have used different words to express what he means. There is no need to offend people for no reason. He might need to make a few apologies, and that is fine. This MP wished well for the troops just as we all do. This should nevertheless be a lesson to others. Think before speaking, writing or expressing yourself in public.
Controversial Calgary West member of Parliament Rob Anders is coming under fire for a well-wishing note he left for Canadian troops that says: "When in doubt, pull the trigger."

A Christian group, El Shafie Ministries, asked if a large "Support Our Troops" card could be placed in the House of Commons lobbies for MPs to sign in Ottawa -- a request agreed to by the Conservatives and opposition parties.
Read more at the National Post.