Thursday, July 31, 2008

Making some things clear

After my last post became a bit of a circus, I deleted it, and now want to set the record straight. After having talked with various people within the party, and being given more information, I need to say a few things. First off, I apologize for anyone involved with the campaign at any level of organization who felt that my comments were a rebuke of them. I as much as any Liberal Party member want to see us move forward in the renewal process, and a Liberal victory in Westmount-Ville Marie under Marc Garneau and his campaign team. I would like to re-affirm my loyalty to the Liberal Party of Canada, and my belief that the next election can be won with a united Liberal Party, and that I want to contribute as much as I personally can to this victory. That my previous post has become an issue can only be attributed to a lapse in my personal judgement and responsibility. No one but myself can take any blame for this, and I do not want anyone taking any blame that should not be shouldered by them. I should have been more aware of the consequences of my actions, and taken more professional steps. My own passion for the Liberal Party, and desire to win the next election blinded my vision, and as a result, and this combined with some ignorance on my own part of the situation led my to take steps which were not the correct ones. I am doing what I believe are the right steps to take, and I know that together the Liberal Party will win not just Westmount-Ville Marie, but the next election.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Back from Guelph

Well, that was a fun adventure. Hell of a lot of Young Liberals dropped a hell of a lot of lit in Guelph. While the Tories bus in staffers and MP's, it was good to see what just a bunch of enthusiastic kids could do. A few notes before the pictures:

-Getting caught in a thunderstorm during a lit drop is not that fun, particularly when lightning strikes a tree about 2 blocks away.

-An apartment building can be lit dropped in about 2 minutes with 15 people.

-Liberal Frank Valeriote seems to be winning the sign war, at least on public property. On private property Conservative Gloria Kovach is winning the lawn sign war, of what I saw. Of course, I only saw 6 lawn signs (3 Gloria, 2 Frank, 1 for the Green's Mike Nagy) so that sample size probably has quite the margin of error.

-Suburbs look pretty much the same where ever you go.

-Frank had a very impressive, 3 page, glossy paper intro piece, so cash flow is evidently not a problem for this campaign.

-Of the signs themselves, Frank was the only candidate who had different varients for big and small signs.
-The Liberal and NDP signs both have by-lines, Frank's say "Doing the Right Thing" while Tom's say "Guelph's National Voice"

-The Greens are the only party really advertising the party, the Liberal signs have a small Liberal logo up in the corner, the Tory logo is slightly larger, but still dwarfed by Kovach's name, and the NDP logo is shoved into the corner as well.

-Greens get some bonus points for having the only bi-lingual signs. Guelph doesn't have a big francophone communnity, but bi-lingualism in signs is always nice. Now the actual photos:

Saturday, July 26, 2008


So Stephen Harper has called 3 by-elections to fill vacant seats; Guelph, Westmount-Ville Marie in downtown Montreal, and Saint-Lambert in south shore suburban Montreal. In just a few hours, I'll be heading down the a bus load of Ontario Young Liberals to knock on some doors in Guelph, and later next week I'll be going up to Montreal to both visit a friend and campaign in Westmount-Ville Marie. The national implications of the by-elections are simple: if the Liberals do well, Dion will pull the plug on the Tories, and we will see a fall/winter election (Harper is probably going to prorouge Parliament until after the November Conservative Party convention, so any election will take place after that). If the Liberals do poorly, the Liberals will be forced to wait it out, and might not pull the plug on the Conservatives at all before the fixed election date of November of 2009. The 3 ridings, one in Ontario and 2 in Quebec, will offer a glipse of the parties abilities to run good local campaigns on national issues. Here's my anaylsis of all 3 ridings:
Guelph is probably the most interesting of the three ridings being contested. A bellweatherish riding, is has swung back and forth between Liberal and Conservative in the past, although lately has been trending Liberal. All 4 major parties are claiming they have a shot at the riding. While the riding is usually a Tory/Grit swing, the NDP have a strong candidate in former broadcaster and Order of Canada member Tom King, while the Greens are coming off getting 20% of the vote in the provincial election. For the NDP and the Greens, the September 8th voting date could prove critical. Guelph is a university town, and universities tend to be centre-left hotspots, and U of G students certainly helped propell the Greens to 20%, and could also be expected to support the NDP and the Liberals in healthy numbers. With the election falling on the 8th, that will mean the students of U of G will be in riding. Of course, the youth vote is always unpredictable, by-elections tend to have very low turnouts, and the voting takes place in the busy first week of school, so how many youth will actually turnout to vote will be a crapshoot, although expect the campus to be teeming with student activists looking to pull the vote out. For the two big parties, both candidates have interesting backstories. Frank Valeriote is the Liberal candidate, a former longtime Catholic School Board member. Valeriote won the nomination in a tough fight, and after the nomination, some rumours floated around the divisions were still present in the Liberal camp, although those have subsided. Conservative Gloria Kovach, a city councillour and former President of the Canadian Federation of Municipalities, is a strong candidate...who lost the Tory nomination to Brent Barr, who also ran in 2006 for the Tories. Barr was later removed as Tory candidate by Tory party HQ at the same time as Toronto Centre Tory Mark Warner, with Party HQ saying Barr was not campaigning hard enough. Barr publically blasted party HQ and the accusations against him, and mulled running as an indepedent before deciding against it, as Kovach was installed as the parties candidate. Hmm...a democratic nomination process pushed aside by Tory HQ, the installation of a candidate, brushed aside candidate publically taking shots at the party and thinking about a run as an independent, a potentially large group of angry Tory supporters...ring any bells, my fellow Mississauga Southians? With potential divisions in both the Liberal and Tory ranks, this could give the NDP and the Greens chances to pull off a big surprise. While both the Liberals and the Conservatives are downplaying the race, the stakes are big for both of them. Guelph is the Tories best shot at picking up a seat in this round of by-elections, and they will be pouring resources into the riding. Guelph is the kind of mid-sized urban seat the Tories will need to win in Ontario if they want to form a majority, and they want this one bad. The Liberals meanwhile, will put up a strong fight to show that the Green Shift has given the Liberals back some momentum, and that they can hold onto the seats they need to have to form government, and show that they are clearly the top party in Ontario. With both the Greens and NDP running strong campaigns, some Liberals might fear centre-left vote splitting could give the Tories the seat, but I think Valeriote, who is seen as a centre-right Liberal, can eat into some traditional Tory support, and his background as a Catholic trustee and the only Catholic in the race could help boost turnout for the Liberals in that demographic. Overall, I predict a fairly wild ride, with both the NDP and Greens making gains at the expense of the two larger parties, and the Liberals winning this one in a little bit more than a tight finish.

Prediction: Liberal hold
Frank Valeriote, Liberal: 35%,
Gloria Kovach, Conservative: 30%
Tom King, NDP: 25%
Mike Nagy, Green: 10%

Westmount-Ville Marie
The NDP is going to try and recreate the upseat in Outremont which gave them a seat in Quebec. They have recruited a strong candidate, (and another former CBC personality) in local newswoman Anne Lagace Dowson. Thomas Mulclair, the NDP MP elected in Outremont, says that internal party polling shows a tight race between her and Liberal star candidate, Marc Garneau (the first Canadian in space and an unsuccessful Liberal candidate in 2006), but I'll believe that when I see it. The main reason for the NDP's victory in Outremont wasn't the collapse of the Liberal vote (although the Liberals did run a poor campaign) but a massive shift from the Bloc to the NDP. All that happened is that voters shifted from supporting one protest party to another, and simply put, Westmount-Ville Marie doesn't have the Bloc support needed to give the NDP such a similar boost. BQ numbers have been down for awhile in Quebec now, but in 2006 they only captured 15% of the vote in W-VM, and I doubt those numbers will change much. With the Tories and BQ running low profile candidates in a poor riding for them, lets take a look at the Greens. The Greens are running their Deputy Leader and Quebec spokesperson, Claude William Genest, in a riding where they captured 8% of the vote in 2006, one of the better performances for them in Quebec. Given that Tories and BQ seem to be taking this by-election off, the Greens in theory could have a chance to potentially overtake both parties for a third place finish, but by-election results from Quebec for the Greens have seemed a bit off. While performing relatively strongly in by-elections in English Canada like Toronto Centre (13%, beating the Tories, nearly beating the NDP for second), London North Centre (Elizabeth May finishing a strong second to the Liberals with 26%), Vancouver Quadra (13%, nearly knocking the NDP into 3rd), Willowdale (only 5%, but beating the NDP) and an expected strong result in Guelph, the Green results in Quebec by-elections are profoundly poor: not even contesting Repentigny in 2006, 2% in Outremont, 1.7% in Roberval-Lac-Saint Jean, 3.7% in Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot. This would in theory sugest a poor ground organization for the Greens in Quebec. Given that if the NDP wanted to win this seat, they would need the Greens to steal Liberal votes en masse, that bodes poorly for NDP hopes. Besides, the Greens are just as likely to steal Bloc or NDP votes as Liberal ones. I'm going to give the Liberals this one in a fairly easy race, with the NDP improving it's 2006 result and finishing in 2nd, but still a fairly distant 2nd. With the Bloc and the Tories running lackluster campaigns in an area that has shown Green strenght perhaps despite a weak ground game in Quebec, I'm going to give the Greens a chance at nipping the Bloc down into 5th.

Prediction: Liberal hold.
Marc Garneau, Liberal: 40%
Anne Lagace Dowson, NDP: 25%
Guy Dufort, Conservative: 15%
Claude William Genest, Green: 11%
Charles Larivee, Bloc: 9%

A southern shore Montreal riding, S-L is was won in 04 and 06 by Bloc MP Maka Kotto, a rising star of the Quebec seperatist movement who steped down for a seat in the Quebec National Assembly. Keep an eye out for Kotto, he could go places. The riding has a federalist history, having been held by both the Liberals and the Conservatives for periods before the BQ takeover. That it is a federalist majority riding with both Liberal and Tory histories is important, because one of the factors (the other being Kotto's strenght as a candidate) that led to Kotto's wins were splits in the federalist vote between the Liberals and the Conservatives. None of the candidates in the by-election have a nation profile or could be considered star candidates, so this will show the relative strenghts of the parties outside the island of Montreal. I think the Bloc is going to hold onto this one thanks to more federalist vote splitting, with the real battle being for 2nd. SL was one of the few ridings the Bloc won outside of the island of Montreal that had the Liberals finish in 2nd, with the Conservatives hot on the Grits heels. The riding is neither in downtown Montreal Liberal heartland or the rural areas of Quebec where the Tories have done well, so a 2nd place finish will be celebrated by whatever party as evidence that they have the momentum with federalist voters. The NDP and Greens are non-factors here (the Greens have yet to nominate a candidate). A BQ hold with the Liberals edging out the Tories for 2nd.

Predicton: BQ Hold.
Josee Beaudin, BQ: 40%
Roxanne Stanners, Liberal: 25%
Patrick Clune, Conservative: 20%
Richard Marois, NDP: 10%
???, Green: 5%

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Liberal Side Projects

As the NDP continues to place partisanship over progressive action on the environment, one of the main lines of attacks they have towards the Green Shift is that it is a "side project", while the NDP is pushing for more work on cap and trade systems (that Dion supports cap and trade is apparently willfully ignored by Dippers all too glad to do Harper's dirty work in attacking the Green Shift.) Lets take a look at some other Liberal "side projects":

(This was the best image I could find to sum up balanced budgets/surpluses, I also couldn't find a decent image for multiculturalism)
The Green Shift represents a generational, political, economic, and social shift towards moving Canada further into the 21st century, and it is unfortunate for the greater progressive movement in this country that the NDP is marching lock-step with the most right-wing government Canada has ever had on the wrong side of history. While the NDP has often had a positive role in contributing to the Canadian policy debate, (most notably in health care, being ahead of the curve on LGBTQ rights, and other social issues) the Layton policy of making the NDP a partner in Canada turning its back on the future reflects poorly upton the proud history of the CCF/NDP.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Navdeep Bains BBQ

I went to Navdeep Bains' BBQ yesterday, with special guest Paul Martin. It was a wonderfully diverse event, showcasing the multiculturalism of Mississauga-Brampton South. The food was great, split between that most Western of foods, the hamburger, and an array of Indian subcontinental foods. A number of local MP's and candidates were present, including Mississauga Streetsville candidate Bonnie Crombie, Mississauga Erindale MPP and Cabinet Minister Harinder Takar, Mississauga Erindale MP Omar Alghabra, and Etobicoke Centre MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj. Mr. Bains gave a speech detailing the importance of the Green Shift, and his experiences as an MP under Paul Martin, while Paul Martin gave a very strong speech about the topics of aboriginal affairs, a subject close to his heart, and the need for a Liberal government in Canada. Here are some pics:

Crime, and Visions for Canada

The country's annual bill for policing, courts and incarceration – an estimated $13 billion excluding provincial costs – is about to jump. And rather than make neighbourhoods safer, the opposite is likely: troubled communities figure to get worse.
Propelling Canadians down this road – one proven to be monstrously expensive and inept at reducing crime in the United States – are seriously flawed perceptions of crime and punishment.

That about sums it up. The Tory vision of Canada: A government which won't lift a finger to tackle the environment or poverty, but will gleefully slash billions from the federal coffers, and burn cash to prove a point to its socially conservative base by importing failed policies. In Harper's Canada, throwing people in jail for a single marijuana plant is a more important priority then moving Canada's economy into the 21st century. In Harper's Canada, government is reduced to a tax collector, rather then the force for social good limited government intervention can be. In Harper's Canada, law and order is reduced to a brute fist, rather then a protector of about common society and individual rights.

When an election comes (likely this fall) Canadians will be presented with a choice, between two Canada's. One Canada is a regressive, deficit ridden, determinedly backwards looking land, while One Canada is a richer, greener, fairer Canada, one of open minds, open hearts, and proudly standing together towards oncoming history, ensuring a future for people and communities across this great country. The people of Mississauga, and of all of Canada, cannot afford to fall behind.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Tory Mental Crime Wave

I was reading this article: about how new crime stats could damage Tory attempts to play the "tough on crime" card. While crime rates are in fact lower across the board, the Conservatives seem to be sticking to their messaging that an obviously shrinking problem is more of an issue then the environment, a slowing economy, or Canada's place in the world. A couple of quotes from the article are particularly worrying:

“(They) try to pacify Canadians with statistics,” he told party supporters in January.
“Your personal experiences and impressions are wrong, they say; crime is really not a problem. These apologists remind me of the scene from the Wizard of Oz when the wizard says, ’Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.”’
That assertion was echoed today by Justice Minister Rob Nicholson.
“We are not governing by statistics. We are governing by what we promised Canadians in the last election and what Canadians have told us,” he said in an interview.

Pacify with statistics? Not governing by statistics?

Good to know that the Canada's government is not bound by inconvenient things like, you know, the truth, in favour of placating the socially conservative "lock em up and throw away the key" base of the party. I'm waiting for the Elections Canada style accusations thats that Stats Can is full of Liberal hacks trying to cook up conspiracies against the government. Furthermore, given the inaction of the Conservatives on the economy, I wonder how far an ignorance of statistical truths and reality based evidence extends in the party. The article also talks about how media and popular public perspection of crime can be far off the mark in terms of actual crime rates and the like, which brings to mind the comments of former Republican Senator and John McCain economic advisor Phil Gramm, on how America is statistically not in a recession, but the public perception is overwhelmingly that they are in one, a situation Gramm called a "mental recession." Some of Gramm's remarks can be seen in this article:, and some of them can be very easily applied to the crime situation in Canada.

Mr. Gramm said the constant drubbing of the media on the economy's problems is one reason people have lost confidence. Various surveys show that consumer confidence has fallen precipitously this year to the lowest levels in two to three decades, with most analysts attributing that to record high gasoline prices over $4 a gallon and big drops in the value of homes, which are consumers' biggest assets.
"Misery sells newspapers," Mr. Gramm said. "Thank God the economy is not as bad as you read in the newspaper every day."

Compare that to the Toronto Star article:
The numbers fly in the face of popular media and political messaging, which portrays crime across Canada as rising in both volume and ferocity.

Anyway, from a political perspective, tough on crime messages, particularly when deployed by Conservative parties, tend to be attempt to win/hold on to suburban voters worried about bad things happening in nice little bedroom communities, like say, Mississauga. Really, that is the only region where tough on crime messaging would be effective from a Conservative perspective, rural areas which might favour tougher crime laws are already generally Tory leaning, while urban areas won't vote Tory anyway. Crime also plays into favoured Conservative tactics relating to putting a scare in voters to get them to the ballot box (Tax on Everything, anyone?). In the past, when areas like the suburban GTA West could be counted on to deliver solid support for the Tories, a crime focus could be expected to work, however, times and demographics have changed. I'm going to semi-quote Gerard Kennedy's response to my question re: selling the green shift to small c-conservative suburbs, that the 905 belt has changed dramatically since the days of the Big Blue Machine sweeping the area (example, from 95 to 07, the provincial PC vote in Mississauga South, a former stronghold, fell from 69% and 23,000 votes to 34% and 14,000 votes) thanks to demographic changes coming as a result of younger, more socially liberal minded families moving in from the 416, and increased immigrant populations in the area, which tend to be more Liberal friendly. Conservative messages of fear based on "personal experience and impressions" as are bound to fail opposed to real progressive action based on, you know, facts. One last interesting tidbit from the Toronto Star article:

“For the fourth year in a row, the lowest provincial (crime) rate occurred in Ontario and Quebec,” said the agency.

Interesting that the Ontario crime rate is so low after 4 years of the "small man of Confederation" Dalton Mcguinty in charge, and following the "lock up the homeless" tough on crime PC's.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Gerard Kennedy OYL event

Tonight I went to a wonderful OYL event with Gerard Kennedy, who gave a very youth driven talk and Q&A session at Ryerson University. It was a very diverse crowd, with dozens of Young Liberals attending, including several OYL execs who gave a brief Q&A session beforehand about various programs and initiatives. Gerard Kennedy then arrived, and gave a brief speech focusing on his duties as Intergovernmental Affairs critic, and the role of the Green Shift in the campaign plan overall. Kennedy said that an important area of of the Green Shift as it relates to his portfolio is the idea of filling the policy vacuum left by the Conservatives on the environment file, to get the whole country working together for the benefit of the future of the nation, and why myths about the regional divisiveness of the Green Shift need to be put to rest. Kennedy, as someone with roots in the West, talked about the importance of the Western economy, particularly the Oilsands, to the overall economic health of the nation, and that any Western bashing is harmful both for the party, in it's efforts to rebuild as a national entity, and the nation as a whole.
Kennedy, as someone with on the ground experience in fighting poverty, was passionate about the tying in of anti-poverty efforts into the Green Shift, and that Liberals need to do a better job promoting the poverty reduction they made while in office, and be committed to the goals they have set for themselves when they get back into power. Kennedy vigorously promoted a populist strand that politics must be for the people by the people, saying "Policy isn't ideas you send to need to relate to people...don't be elitist, have policy from the bottom up, bring people into the policy making process", and that the Liberals are the best equipped party to listen to people. Kennedy gave the example of the Carbon Challenge that his local campaign is running, which both reaches out actively to people to get them to reduce carbon, and triggers e-mail alerts straight to the PMO, telling them what you are doing, and why he is not doing more. Kennedy tied in this to the Liberal Action project, which is largely based around unheld ridings, which seeks to get Liberal critics in the House listening more to the grassroots, increasing both the overall transparency of the policy process, and creating better policy ideas, and better policy implementation.
The Q&A session started with a question regarding the regional needs of the various parts of the nation (with an emphasis on rural and northern communities), and if various offsets for these areas in the Green Shift would still ensure an environmental benefit. Kennedy answered that regional considerations must be taken into effect, and that the key element of fairness in the Green Shift must not be overlooked. Yes, certain areas and certain people will have a harder or an easier time adjusting to the shift, so the playing field must be levelled in order for real progress to happen, so these communities must be given an "invitation to change" in order to move the policy forward.
Kennedy's next question was about the impact of the Green Shift on businesses, particularly small businesses. Kennedy stressed the tax cut aspects of the Green Shift here, and the importance of helping businesses develop greater innovation for the green economy of the future. Returning to anti-poverty measures, Kennedy implored that the most vulnerable in society must be protected, and that without this protection, the grand shift of national values that the Green Shift brings cannot work. This flowed into a question about Kennedy's local campaign against the NDP, and how the Green Shift could work to take NDP votes. Kennedy rejected calls for advertising strategic voting, to whip up fears of progressive voters about the Tories to rally them to the Liberals, but rather focus on positive contrasts, that while the NDP can yell and scream at the Conservatives all they want, only the Liberals can bring about progressive action and hope.
I myself asked sort of a flip version of the previous question, that while environmental measures and anti-poverty concerns are great, in the swing ridings of the 905, the tax break elements of the Green Shift might be a better angle to sell the shift on, and so would more of a balance be struck in terms of selling the Green Shift both as a progressive environmental measure, and a tax saving device. Kennedy gave me a frank and straight-forward answer, that the Green Shift is an environmental policy first, and while the tax break aspects of the Shift are certainly important, and certainly will be promoted, the Liberals need to and are going to hold their ground on the environmental file, turning into into a leadership issue in a portfolio where the Conservatives have not moved forward on. The Liberals are going beyond the fringe of the Greens, beyond the protests of the NDP, and making environmental issues a mainstream political issue. In response to concern that voters in the suburban, smaller urban, and semi-rural areas are more concerned about the economy than the environment, Kennedy again promoted the idea of tomorrow's green economy, with the Liberals leading the way in its development.
In order for the Green Shift to work, in response to a question about media and message control, the Liberal grassroots, and Liberal activists must believe in the shift. My personal thoughts are that is in an incredibly important aspect of the Green Shift that cannot be overlooked. One of the main reasons the Ontario PC campaign was a disaster is that many PC activists and even candidates themselves (who are generally much further right then John Tory) were clearly uncomfortable selling an overtly centrist document, and defending an issue (faith based funding) that they had serious problems with ourselves. The Green Shift is going to be another example of a self fulling political prophecy: If Liberals stand united for progress, and belief that the Shift will succeed, it will succeed, if we allow petty personal and policy divisions to get between us, and we are selling the Green Shift through clenched teeth, we are looking at more time in opposition. Kennedy himself refereed to his experience selling the Ontario Liberal Party's education plan in the 2003 election to voters who weren't necessarily going to be concerned with educational issues, and that the Green Shift is another example of a truly transformative policy that if implemented, will bring Canada into an innovative future. Kennedy closed his presentation with an inspirational call to Young Liberals, the future of our party, that if we want to be involved in a post-Green Shift era, we must promote the Green Shift as what it truly is, a technology shift, a political shift, and a positive economic shift.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Look at what Szabo's dug up now

The Mississauga News article is from last night, so it was before the CEA Marc Mayrand spoke before the Committee, but Szabo's quotes are good foreshadowing:

"The issue really is determining what was spent, on what and how was it accounted for," Szabo told The Free Press...."If it's legal, why not discuss it?" ...The committee managed to get the hearings on the agenda only after months of stalling by the Tories. Szabo told The Free Press he finds it ironic they are insisting they have done nothing wrong after trying hard to prevent a public examination of the matter.

And here comes Marc Mayrand, confirming what everyone save Pierre Poilievre already thought/knew:

"Elections officials found no evidence that other political parties engaged in a scheme to circumvent spending limits as the Conservatives are accused of doing in the 2006 federal election, Canada's chief electoral officer said Tuesday."

Marc Mayrand told MPs he asked Elections Canada staff to review the returns of all major political parties in the 2004 and 2006 federal elections.
The review, he said, found no evidence of other parties directing money to local candidates who would then transfer the funds back to the party to spend on more advertising for the national campaign.

"Elections Canada has not identified any other transaction or group of transactions in which all of the other factors were in play," Mayrand said.

Which has pretty much been the opposition line the whole time, now backed up by official Elections Canada findings.

Of course, the Tories still think that a non-partisan, independent, globally respected institution is full of Liberal hacks (just like the civil service) out to bully the Conservatives, so they have bravely defended the promises they made about open, accountable government by insisting the Liberals knew about the raid. Look Pierre, I was volunteering at Liberal Party HQ during the period around the raid (I wasn't there the actual day I should note, but I've talked to plenty of people who were) and you wanna know how we knew about the raid? Just down the hall from the lobby, the we have a kitchen/caf room. Nothing fancy, just a sink, a fridge, some cabinets with cups/plates/cutlery, and an old almost broken TV mounted up on the wall. This TV (along with others in various places around HQ) is almost always set to CBC. So when we saw the CBC report that Elections Canada, someone rushed over to Tory HQ, (which is only a couple of blocks away) camera in hand. No evil conspiracy on the part of the Liberal Party, just someone who happened to be watched CBC in the kitchen room. So if the Tories want to sue anyone, they can sue the Liberal Party fridge, although last time I checked, it was pretty empty, although I think they had some coffee in it.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The NHS and implications for Canada

I'm a regular reader of The Economist, and while this article is focused on the British national health service, (celebrating it's 60th year) the analysis of the role of the private sector in maintaining a publicly funded service is excellent, and I believe the Canadian health care system can learn lessons from the NHS.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I agree with an NDP MP, for once

As someone with family ties to the Windsor area, Joe Comartin is one of the few NDP MP's I personally like, and I support his lobbying efforts to expand what forms of gambling are allowed in casinos.

The Windsor-Tecumseh MP estimates it could generate as much as $3 billion in gross wagering a year.
"It's very important for Windsor and Niagara Falls, in particular, because it will give us a significant competitive advantage over the casinos on the other side of border," Comartin said Wednesday. "Given our current economic situation here, there's a potential for a reasonable number of additional jobs, both at the casino and elsewhere in the city."

Spot on, I think. Comartin mentions that he thinks the Conservatives have been harsh towards the idea because increased gambling would rub the so-con element of the party the wrong way. I find it telling that of the Windsor area MP's to be in the news today, the NDP one is helping promote ways to improve the local economy, while the Conservative MP for Essex, Jeff Watson, is harping about Morgentaler and somehow finding a way to blame Paul Martin for it while insulting the Governor General in the process.

"Today, through his appointee for governor general, Mr. Martin has succeeded in politicizing the Order of Canada and in doing so diminishing its value and undermining our culture of life."

Isn't it comforting Conservative MP's are more concerned about settled social issues and playing the base then improving local economies? At least my socially conservative Liberal MP, Paul Szabo, serves Parliament well as Ethics Committee Chairman.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Columbian hostages rescued?

Betancourt, who is an international Green icon, has been rescued from the leftist FARC rebels in Columbia, along with 15 other rebels, according to CNN.