Sunday, December 30, 2007
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Rocking some buttons and a t-shirt
Bob himself gave a good speech
Lots of signs
Bob makes the rounds
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
As I'm heading back up to Ottawa today from Mississauga, I thought it would be appropriate to make an Ottawa-centric post.
While I do believe that the provincial government would work well with any municipal government, particularly with the importance that the provincial government has placed on helping Ontario's cities, I can't but think that McGuinty would prefer either for O'Brien to step down, or suffer further political embarrassment, as O'Brien has had some notable policy clashes.
Of course, given my previous thoughts on the rumour mill output of Jim Watson running for mayor, McGuinty's comments, while diplomatic, can be interpreted as firing a warning shot across O'Brien's bow that he could be in for some serious competition if he decides to wait it out.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
As I've written many times, Hazel McCallion should be the role model for fiscal responsibility, and her moderate and pragmatic values should serve as inspiration for all those who call themselves fiscal conservatives, as well as municipal governments.
While this incident further shows Conservative hostility towards Ontario's cities, the more interesting matter Hazel's bashing of the Conservatives should serve as a sign that the Conservatives have in fact abandoned fiscal conservatism. Given the huge deficits and gross spending by the Bush administration, and economist baffling decisions such as taxing income trusts and the GST cuts, it can be very fairly postulated that "economic conservatism" as generally understood, is no longer an actual set of policy prescriptions, but is merely a piece of rhetoric.
Replacing "fiscal conservatism" is two contrasting policies. While the Conservatives and Republicans cry they are fiscal conservatives, what they really are is "fiscal populists". The Bush administration, with its costly Iraq war spending, and military Keynesism, has been described by commentators as "Big Government conservatism", a combination of socially conservative domestic policies, expensive foreign policy, pork barrel spending, and corporate subsidies. In Canada, the Conservatives have seemingly showed disdain for basic rules of economics, and the advice of economists, in favour of implementing flimsy policies more concerned with bumping up Conservative support 1-2 points than with moving Canada's economy forward and helping individual Canadians achieve financial security.
Back to Mississauga, good to see the "small man of Confederation" has delivered the goods while Lawrence Cannon dithers.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
While it is perhaps somewhat cosmically funny that these allegations of bribery to get Kilrea to drop out at the same time both the NDP and Paul Martin apologized to David Oliver, I do wonder how dedicated O'Brien really is to staying on.
This is a situation which could rapidly worsen, even having federal implications for the Conservatives, as the Liberals are alleging that John Baird, (who is currently off sinking the Bali conference: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20071212.wbaliyork1212/BNStory/International/home)
may have been involved. Obviously O'Brien has to say he will stay on at this point, lest he appear weak and scared, but I would not be surprised at all if he were to step down if this affair becomes worse, particularly given O'Brien's relative unpopularity.
Simply on a rumour mill note, I have heard from various places around Ottawa that Jim Watson, the former mayor of Ottawa, current MPP for Ottawa West-Nepean, and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, may have more than a fleeting interest in having his old job back. Watson's name is sometimes thrown around with those of Smitherman, Bryant, Duncan, and Bentley as potential leadership candidates, but given O'Brien's tailspin, I wouldn't be surprised if Watson threw his hat into the mayoral ring.
Friday, December 7, 2007
Moving backwards, reducing Canada's influence on a pressing global issue:
For all the Conservatives sound and fury about "Canada's Back", and the important they placed in the throne speech on improving Canada's role in the world, once again the Conservatives are showing that "Canada's Backwards", by not only dismissing, but openly being spiteful of global frameworks and agreements, and rapidly moving Canada from a global leader to a global loser.
That even China is making more relative progress, and shows more enthusiasm for an effective climate change agreement, while the Conservatives seem more than willing to wrong-foot the world community by deliberately setting the process up for failure shows that the Conservatives recklessness is destroying Canadian leadership in the world.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
As an end of the term gift to the class, my Public Affairs teacher managed to get Ian Brodie, the Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister to come in and give a little talk. From the perspective of someone who entertains thoughts of going into a political career, having the God of Hacks come in was particularly interesting.
The first half of his talk was basically non-partisan, as Brodie discussed mainly the challenges any new government faces, particularly one of a party which has not seen government in over a decade. He focused mainly on Canada-US relations as a main priority for the government coming into power, and how that relationship affects almost every other policy area for the government. Brodie was openly critical of what he saw as lackluster performance of the Bush Administration, being particularly harsh on The Department of Homeland Security, criticizing the higher levels of that department for incompetence. I asked him if the Democratic takeover of Congress had changed the working relationship between the PMO and the White House, and Brodie said that it had actually been a good thing, as the Democrats grilled many Homeland Security higher-up's who Brodie had trouble with. Also, he mentioned, The Prime Minister has 2 personal washrooms too, apparently, one of which has a full shower.
It was when questions came from the class that Brodie started to get partisan. He lauded the child care benefit as if it came down from heaven, and dropped hints that the defense of this program will be a big part of Conservative strategy in the next election, and that the Conservatives will want to establish Dion before he gets a chance to establish himself, so we can expect a full wave of negative attack ads right from the word go.
Another standard Conservative line was that Conservative supporters are "hard working, honest, busy Canadians" and letting his mask slip for a moment by dismissing Liberal supporters as mostly "singles, young people with no particular responsibilities" as well as openly admitting the Conservatives were writing off urban centres and ethnic communities. Being from Mississauga, I found this part particularly relevant, and I can only imagine what shade of red Hazel McCallion would have turned if she had heard Brodie, with a literal wave of the hand, dismiss the complaints of urban mayors about infrastructure concerns. I was somewhat taken back at his remark about "young people with no particular responsibilities" considering he was talking to a group of very political active and aware students, perhaps he was thinking that most of the youth wouldn't vote Conservative anyway, so no point in acknowledging them.
Also of note is that Brodie's young child was used as the poster child on all the child-care related Conservative literature.