Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Quebec completely rejects Harper's abandonment of climate change file

All 3 parties voted in favour of the motion, showing that even amongst the Conservative-friendly ADQ, the realization of Harper's outright hostility to showing real Canadian leadership on climate climate has hit. It is refreshing to see Quebec playing a leadership role on this file, and I hope the Ontario Liberals follow suit.

Layton's NDP joins Conservative fear mongering

Jack Layton, whose record as NDP leader is largely one of doing the Conservatives work for them, and selling out progressive Canadian values whenever he thinks he has a chance to damage the Liberals, for the benefit of the Conservatives, continues his track record by jumping on the Harper bandwagon on the face veil issue.

Chalk this one up either to Layton's desire to kowtow to Quebec and further minimal gains made there, or simply to take a policy opposed to the Liberals, but the NDP has unabashedly jumped on this bandwagon since the start. While I have never considered myself an NDP supporter, I think it is unfortunate that the NDP under Layton has largely moved away from representing the interests of the working class, back when it was the party of Tommy Douglas, and is now a party of divisive identity politics and jumping on whatever left-wing cause is fashionable, as it is now the party of Jack Layton's ego.

The Liberals admittedly failed to take a strong stand on this issue the last time, this time the Liberals must take a clear stand in defense of the Canadian traditions of rights and multiculturalism, to show Canadians they are the true voice of progressive Canadians.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Khan humour

I just felt this needed a post

Canada alone at Commonwealth

Canada, who has a legacy of acting as a progressive vanguard within the Commonwealth, such as the leadership role it played on the Apartheid issue, has become, under the Conservatives, a road block to progress on a global issue. With the defeat on John Howard, Harper becomes the only leader to stand on the side of denial and dismissiveness of the climate change issue, and his lack of leadership is risking Canada's position as a positive influence on global affairs within international bodies, as also demonstrated by dismissal of the UN vote on the death penalty. This lack of leadership can be contrasted to Dion's decisive action at the UN Conference on Climate Change in 2005, where he got 191 nations to agree on a climate change agenda. The Conservatives cry "Canada's Back" when discussing foreign policy, but the governments actions have only shown "Canada's backwards".

Bonnie Crombie is feeling pretty good right now

Not exactly a great run of luck for Liberal-turned-Conservative floor crossers in Mississauga, is it?

First Tim Peterson gets smashed by Sousa, and now Wajid Khan (who I just mentioned in a blog post the other day, even) is stepping aside from the Conservatives after being charged with violating the Elections Canada Act. While the accusations do date from when he ran as a Liberal, the obvious focus now must be on the contrast between Khan and Bonnie Crombie, the Liberal candidate for the next election. (Which could be as soon as Feburary, if rumours are true) A local entrepreneur and community leader/activist, I fully expect Bonnie to be able to win Mississauga-Streetsville against whoever the Conservative candidate is, Khan or no Khan.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Mark Warner and Bob Rae's fundraiser

I've written about the disconnect and outright hostility of the Conservatives to Canada's urban areas, and so this is not that surprising to me.

While Warner states his attending of a Rae event should not be seen as an endorsement, a man of Mr. Warner's intelligence of course realizes that it will be broadly seen as one. Warner, while he was a candidate, ran a localized campaign, on issues of relevant to the people of Toronto Centre. However, issues like poverty, equality, and opportunity don't mesh well with the current Harper Conservative platform and strategy, which is more focused on throwing potentially billions of dollars down the drain in an unneeded drug war, abandoning Canadians on death row, and borderline unconstitutional crime bills. That Warner's "endorsement" comes on the heels of the defection of the Progressive Canadians comes as no surprise, and should be a sign to dissafected Red Tories that they do, again, have a political home from which to work towards a moderate agenda.

After all that talk on Red Tories being said, I urge Liberals in Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River to vote against David Orchard.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Liberals and Conservatives on getting things done for Mississauga citizens

Mississauga South Liberal Paul Szabo has been named the hardest-working MP in Ottawa for the second consecutive year.

Pat Martin can childishly name-call and disrupt the Parliamentary process all he wants, but Paul Szabo, my member back home, is very effective for the people of Mississauga South.

The Conservatives:

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said the 86-year-old mayor of Mississauga should shut up and stop whining about her city's infrastructure problems and get to work fixing them.

It is fairly rich for the former Minister of Downloading and Locking up the Homeless, whose most high profile actions as Finance Minister federally have been a broken promise on income trusts, and a GST cut the vast majority of economists have been critical of, to speak so ill of the Mayor whose city has become associated with successful urban growth, balanced budgets, and lack of debt. While a general urban bashing makes sense from a Conservative stand point (they won't win any seats in the major urban core areas, and bashing big cities and big city values plays well in rural areas and among SoCons, the Conservatives bedrock supporters) the sheer hostility towards much of the suburban areas, and Mississauga in particularly I can't understand.

If the Conservatives wish to win a majority, Mississauga is an area in which they will need to make gains. On the Mississauga South Federal Conservative webpage, one of the lines they have states "Who will represent Mississauga South in a Conservative majority government?" The line is more than just filler, it has real substance. Mississauga South is among the top targets for the Conservatives, missing it by less than 5% in the last election, and if any real Conservative beachhead will be established in the GTA, it will be on the banks of the Credit River.

It isn't as if Mississauga is downtown Toronto, beyond the South, the Conservatives even have an incumbent in the city in Mississauga-Streetsville (albeit via a floor crossing), and have a realistic shot at Mississauga-Erindale, meaning that in the best of times, they could control half the city riding's, meaning Mississauga is not exactly an electoral wasteland.

The only possible explanation I can think of for the cold shoulder the Conservatives are showing towards Missers is they have figured that general urban bashing will secure more rural seats than developing actual urban policies would gain urban seats. Mississauga voters need to realize that Conservatives ultimately do not care of them, which is a real reflection that the Conservatives are willing to ignore and trash a city that ultimately represents so much of what is right with Canada; economically successful because of moderate and balanced approaches, wonderfully multicultural, and based around a successful federation.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Pat Martin's histrionics

Pat Martin has a bit of a history of pulling vulgar stunts like these:

The non-partisan committee advisers employed by the House of Commons had informed Szabo that the motions dealing with the Mulroney-Schreiber affair were not within the written mandate of the ethics committee.

So far following the advice of non-partisan employers, Pat Martin calls the Member for Mississauga-South a "son of a bitch" and a "disgrace". Martin, who has long been one of my least favourite MP's because of his seemingly pathological and often aimless hatred of the Liberals, shows again why the NDP is ultimately a protest party. Had the situations been reversed, and Szabo used unparliamentary language to disrupt important committee meetings, much more focus would be on Szabo. Actions like these show the NDP is more focused on creating shows like these than the business of Parliament.

I also want to include this bit of smack down my hometown member put on the NDP finance critic:

Paul Szabo, a Liberal MP for Mississauga South disputed Wasylycia-Leis's credibility on May 10, 2007 in the House of Commons. Wasylycia-Leis charged that the Liberals were unduly influenced by the Canadian Association of Income Trust Investors (CAITI) who, she asserted, had donated $282,000 since 1993 to the Liberals and $53,700 to Liberal leadership contenders in 2006. Szabo pointed out that the CAITI did not exist until January 2007, after the Liberal Leadership Convention and continued "The member has immunity in the House. She can say whatever she wants, whether truthful or not, but she cannot say those things, I believe, outside the House. Will she go outside the House and say the same things to the media and expose herself to the consequences of misleading of the House of Commons?"
During the same Parliamentary session Szabo read the following email into the record written by CAITI to Wasylycia-Leis: "You need to publish a[n] immediate retraction of your false statements and assertions made in today's House of Commons today about our association funding the Liberal Party. CAITI did not come into existence until January 11, 2007. Please provide evidence to support you[r] statement that we have funded the Liberal Party to the tune of some $280,000. We have provided no funding to any political party directly or indirectly' Never have, Never will. Please advise immediately. In the absence of an immediate response, CAITI will pursue legal recourse." To date, Wasylycia-Leis has refrained from repeating her remarks outside the House of Commons where her Parliamentary immunity does not apply.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Progressive Canadian Party all but merges with the Liberals

Well, this is interesting. As the article points out, the Progressive Canadians are hardly an electoral force, but this move, with the Liberals and Conservatives in a tie poll-wise, is a propaganda coup. Given the emergence of the Mulroney-Schreiber scandal, it is interesting to draw the differences in the legacies of the Progressive Conservative Party that have been inherited by the Liberals and Conservatives. The Liberals inherited the traditional Red Tory emphasis on national unity, social cohesion and progress, while the Conservatives have inherited the Mulroney sleaze. I wouldn't be surprised to see Parsons and Love be candidates in the next election.

Some choice quotes:

“As a political party you are always trying to find your differentiators [with other parties] and I found that when St├ęphane Dion became the leader of the Liberal Party that that differentiator was harder and harder to locate.”

"He had a lot of the same visions for the country that we had. And, of course, the Liberal Party has sort of moved into that Progressive Conservative space anyway.”

Senator Marie Poulin, the president of the federal Liberal Party, said the Liberals take the new arrivals as evidence of their leader's broad appeal to Canadians of many political backgrounds.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Events of the last week

The Mulroney vs. Thibault saga continues, with each side upping rhetoric as the war is now more of one than just words. While this development is certainly worth following and watching, the Liberals must be careful to keep the issue about Brian Mulroney and Karlheinz Schreiber, and not let this aspect become more dominant, as it is significantly less spin-worthy.

Dan McTeague's comments that "The hunter is now the hunted" is interesting. Given that the Conservatives at this point are going to be trying to avoid an election, but are still going to be pushing ahead with a policy agenda to try and re-gain momentum, this could be an opportunity for the Liberals to flex some muscle without triggering an election. The Liberals should say about any proposed legislation that it won't pass without changes x,y,z, but if those changes are made, the Liberals would support it. This would allow them to use the "making minority parliament work" rhetoric, and actually mean it, and if the Conservatives reject any changes, the Liberals can counter that the Conservatives are being obstructionist and more concerned with triggering an election that Canadians don't want than governing the country.

And yet another standoff in Ottawa as Larry O' Brien and his Harris and John Tory-esque rhetoric about preventing service cuts with "efficiencies" and not raising taxes versus the city manager Kent Kirkpatrick's predictions that holding the zero line on taxes would result in service cuts. O'Brien proposal of a two-per-cent infrastructure tax levy is interesting to compare to the steps taken by Hazel in Mississauga.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

More Hurricane Hazel

Support for Hazel, in the GTA, and in the urban centres of the province continues to grow, as her campaign against the most anti-urban government in modern days.

This week, it was federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty who ran into the municipal rock of ages. "I tell you I'm taking on Mr. Flaherty," the mayor said. And, as a result, he and his government might well be picking up bits of wreckage for the foreseeable future.

McCallion slapped a 5-per-cent infrastructure levy in place – no muss, no fuss, no months of squeamish agonizing – to vacuum up some of Ottawa's GST cut and take care of what the feds won't do.

And, step aside, boys, from now on she'll lead a national campaign entitled Cities Now!, to demand Ottawa use its huge surplus to help urban centres tackle their many and mounting problems.

"I'm not fighting for Mississauga," she declared. "I'm fighting for the municipalities of Canada."

Others might be content to wait for bridges to fall down. Not Her Worship.
Suddenly, the easy outs of Ottawa have been closed off. No one can accuse Hazel of being some union lackey. No one can accuse her of running a fat and wasteful shop.

Unlike your more effete urban pols, McCallion's got a style and face and sensibility at home in every Tim Hortons and curling rink, legion hall and mall in the country.
She had street cred before the term was invented. If she says so, it must be true. And if she's angry, something must be wrong. And if you're in her crosshairs, well, might want to get your affairs in order.

"I am in a fighting mood," Greater Toronto's best-loved octogenarian announced

Come election time, the Conservatives will find that Misser Liberals will be in a fighting mood, not content to let federal mismanagement destroy Canada's greatest urban success story. The recent provincial election showed that Mississauga, once a safe Conservative area, is becoming Liberal country. Wajid Khan, at a rally the other day, talked about how proud he was to be a Conservative, and how the GTA needed more Conservative representatives. As long as the Conservatives take an openly hostile. approach towards Ontario's cities, and the GTA in particular, Khan should be spending more time discussing with his riding why he felt the need to join an anti-urban party, and less time grandstanding.


On this Remembrance Day, it is important to remember both the sacrifices given, and the gains made by Canadians in battle across time. From the formation of our national identity at Vimy Ridge, to making the world a safer place in the era of peacekeeping, today Canada salutes and remembers our brave soldiers.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Hurricane Hazel vs. Jim Flaherty

"We are doing the right thing. We shouldn't have to, but we have no choice," McCallion said after the 9-2 vote.

This is about par for the course for Hazel. Mississauga and McCallion herself have long prided themselves on prudent fiscal management, and remaining debt free. While the blame for rising infrastructure costs can be spread around to many sources, from the Peel Regional government and the unfair burden it places on Mississauga, to the Mississauga government of the past which has displayed pro-growth policies at the sake of infrastructure development in the past, in the here and now, Hazel criticisms of the federal government should definitely be noted.

"The federal and provincial government better not come here and tell me we are not managed efficiently. They wouldn't dare tell us that. I tell you, we could teach them a lot of things as to how better they should be managed," she said.

"They're doing everything to put money in people's pockets to win the next election, using the taxpayers' money to win a majority," McCallion said. "I take real exception to that, I tell you. We are fighting. I'm in a fighting mood. ... We are going to get a real campaign going across this country."

When asked if she'll have problems selling the idea, McCallion said: "The citizens of Mississauga are disappointed that the federal government has disowned the cities of Canada, absolutely. It's a complete neglect of the cities of this great country."

She said Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's mini-budget, which ignored urban needs in favour of cuts in the GST and income tax, left Mississauga with no choice but to impose a levy that could be collected annually for the next 20 years.

"It's a sham," McCallion said, slamming the tax cuts as a cynical attempt to gain re-election.
"Is the federal government going to wait for more bridges to fall down?" she said, citing the results of neglect in the recent collapses of bridges in Quebec and Minnesota.

And then David Miller's comments:
"I don't think they can dismiss each city systematically," Miller said. "Mississauga has benefited from extraordinary growth, and even they are facing challenges that are unaffordable in their city without massive property tax hikes.
"So Minister Flaherty may try to marginalize Hazel McCallion. Good luck."

Hazel, who is extraordinarily popular in Mississauga, is arguably the most credible political figure in the country when it comes to urban areas. Jim Flaherty, hailing from the opposite end of the GTA, ignores her at his peril. Given that Mississauga is an area the Conservatives hope to make real gains in, (Khan doesn't count) particularly Mississauga South, which is bound to be a top Conservative target in the next election, as it was the seat they came the closest to winning in the GTA proper, Hazel's criticisms will certainly put a dent in any plans to paint Misser blue.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Enersource plot twist

Interesting developments, particularly for me in the South as Carmen Corbasson of Ward 1 is my councillor.

Few details are available at the moment but one of the three resigning councillors, Ward 7's Nando Iannicca, mentioned the development at today’s council meeting and asked that the item be added to the agenda for discussion.Iannicca, Ward 1 Councillor Carmen Corbasson and Ward 10 Councillor Sue McFadden have resigned from the Enersource board, which has been embroiled in a dispute with the City following council’s decision to slash the salaries of board members.Board members refused to accept the pay cut last April and council responded with an ultimatum to take the cut or be fired.
Corbasson's name is sometimes tossed around as a possible future mayor once Hazel leaves office (and knowing Hazel's resolve, I would place money on the reins of the city being literally taken from her cold, dead hands) so I wonder if the kerfluffle around Enersource could affect a potential run.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Phony War, and the "Icebreaker"

I agree with the idea that currently Parliament is in a bit of a phony war, or a cold war, with all sides building up arms and ammunition, but with no immediate flash point on the horizon, and I also think that this gives us a glimpse of the style of campaign the Conservatives will run.

''Liberals sit on their butt,'' said the official, referring to the Liberal MPs who abstained in confidence votes on the throne speech and the recent mini-budget.
''We have been running TV ads letting people know that Liberals and NDP say one thing and do another.''
Conservative attack ads, portraying Liberal Leader Stephane Dion as being indecisive and keen to restore the recently announced cut to the GST, debuted this weekend.
A Conservative spokesman in Ottawa refused to say whether ads are being prepared to attack NDP Leader Jack Layton.
In an indication the Conservative campaign will be as centrally managed as the last election, candidates will be able to call upon the war room for even the most minute of details, such as drafting a local press release.
Attacks on Dion's leadership are too be expected, although one would think they might have learned from John Tory that a campaign based around a loose idea and hammered home with endless attack ads have a high risk of backfiring. As well, given the beheading of the two Conservative candidates in Ontario, as well as the Bill Casey situation, the Conservative campaign being micromanaged and centrally controlled by the Harperites is not a surprise.
What is interesting is the references to Jack Layton and the NDP. The great secret of the NDP is that they would prefer a Conservative victory, even a majority, as it would allow the NDP to attack the Liberal opposition as opposed to the Conservatives, as seen in the last election. While the NDP is obviously not a Marxist party, they do seem to put much faith in the idea of a "vanguard/icebreaker of revolution" which would be a Conservative majority, which NDP partisans hope would make the Liberals look weak, and allow the NDP to replace them as the main opposition to the Conservatives. This can be seen by the NDP's branding of themselves as the "Effective Opposition" and adapting the exact same "leadership" rhetoric as the Conservatives.
Likewise, the Conservatives would greatly prefer a strong NDP, as it does them much good, both for splitting the vote, distracting the Liberals from focusing on the Conservatives, and allow the Conservatives to compare themselves with the NDP, in an effort to win over centrist voters. The Liberals in the next election must realize that Layton and the NDP care much more about Layton and the NDP than actually protecting and promoting progressive values (as seen by the NDP adapting Conservative rhetoric, and the poor relations between the NDP and the Green Party, which was also shown in the Ontario provincial election) so the Liberals have a great opportunity to show themselves as the true voice of the progressive centre, and directly confront the Conservatives without getting distracted by the barbs coming from the left.