Showing posts with label Stephane Dion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stephane Dion. Show all posts

Thursday, May 7, 2009

LPC Biennial Convention in Videos

I knew I wouldn't get to blog all that much at a convention where I was a busy delegate so to make up for that, I had a less busy delegate video tape much of the proceedings to post here when it was all over. So I've compiled about 30 videos from across the 3 days of the convention for your enjoyment. Some of these (like Stéphane's 7.5 minute speech at the reception to retire his leadership debt) were not broadcast by the media. Though only about half of these are original and the other half are poached from other blogs to make for a more complete collection (source indicated in brackets - to give credit where credit is due those videos look much more professional). I haven't been able to upload all the videos I have yet, so please come back to this post later as there are still some really good speeches and debates that will go up. And within the next few days I will be sure to find the time to give my own thoughts on all the major happenings of the weekend of the Vancouver and maybe some other stuff going on on the Hill.

DAY 1: Thursday April 30th

Council of Presidents

John Turner Speech (BC'er in Toronto)

Michael Ignatieff Speech (WAM0)

DAY 2: Friday, May 1st

Young Liberals of Canada (YLC) Biennial

YLC Presidential Candidate (and now President) Sam Lavoie Speech

YLC Presidential Candidate John Lennard Speech

YLC Representative to the National Women's Liberal Commission (NWLC) Monika Drobnicki Speech

Incoming YLC National Director Keith Torrie speaks to YLC delegates

Outgoing YLC President Cory Pike speaks to YLC delegates

Michael Ignatieff's Speech to YLC Delegates (Jennifer Smith)

Paul Martin Speech to YLC and Aboriginal People's Commission (APC) members

TO BE UPLOADED (This was an excellent speech! Come back later to see it)

Canada and the World Thinktank (WAM0)

Reception for Stéphane Dion to Retire His Leadership Debt

Paddy Torsney (former Burlington MP) and Don Boudria (former Glengarry-Prescott-Russell MP) Introduce Stéphane Dion
(Not sure why but this video is the only one uploaded that ended up being mostly blurry/choppy, but the audio is fine)

Stéphane Dion Gives Speech to Reception Attendees

Party Officer Elections

VP English Candidate (and eventual winner) Steve Kakucha Speech (Liberal Minute)

Convention Opening Ceremonies

Jean Chretien Speech Pt. 1 (WAM0)

Jean Chretien Speech Pt. 2 (WAM0)

Stephane Dion Tribute Video, Part 1

Paul Martin Tribute to Dion (WAM0)

Stephane Dion's Speech at His Tribute Night

DAY 3: Saturday, May 2nd

Voting for Executive Positions Ended at 11 AM

Policy Plenary

Debate on "Removing the Ban on MSM Organ Donation"
(Very pleased to see this pass so overwhelmingly, but was surprised and saddened by some of the things said by those opposed to this policy)

Debate on "Climate change" Policy

Introduction and Vote on "National Water Policy"

Vote on "Human Rights Commission" Policy
(Closest vote of them all)

Constitutional Plenary

Debate on OMOV

TO BE UPLOADED (Will include entire debate from start to finish)

Debate on YLC amendment to ensure all policies put forth by commissions and PTAs are voted on by delegates before going to the floor (watch for a cameo by a famous former blogger)


Debate on YLC amendment to establish an Outreach Secretary on the National Executive

Leader's Speech

Bob Rae Nominates Michael Ignatieff Speech (Jennifer Smith)

Announcement of Results for Leadership Vote

Michael Ignatieff Makes His Entrance

Ignatieff Intro Video (LPC)

Ignatieff Acceptance Speech Pt. 1 (LPC)

Ignatieff Acceptance Speech Pt. 2 (LPC)

Ignatieff Acceptance Speech Pt. 3 (LPC)

Ignatieff Acceptance Speech Pt. 4 (LPC)

New Liberal Party of Canada Logo

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Thank You Stéphane Dion

It’s definitely been the craziest two weeks in Canadian politics I’ve seen in my lifetime. But lost in all the recent developments is that were Stephen Harper not such a coward and suspended Parliament in the middle of an economic crisis simply because he had no ideas on how to solve it (except for beating up his opponents and pandering to his base), Stéphane Dion would have become Prime Minister earlier today due to Stephen Harper losing the confidence of the House the day before. With Stéphane officially relinquishing the leadership shortly I thought it appropriate to give him the appropriate due as he goes. He's certainly had a formidable career.

Stéphane Dion didn’t choose to go to Ottawa, but when he was called I don’t think anyone could deny that he gave everything he could to his country and his party.

As Intergovernmental Affairs Minister he put Lucien Bouchard in his place, beat back the separatists, advanced federalism, and drafted the clarity act so that should the PQ hold another referendum they’ll have to fight it fairly. Yet despite Dion’s now universally approved performance he was dropped from the Paul Martin cabinet. But he never complained, he remained a party stalwart through and through and in the end he was credited with saving several Quebec ridings from defeat in the dying days of the 2004 election. Dion got another chance to prove himself as Environment Minister and again he didn’t disappoint. He brought forward a plan to meet our Kyoto targets (much of which the Conservatives scrapped and later re-instituted after wasting a year) and brought together over 180 countries at the Montreal conference to come to a consensus agreement on a way forward post-Kyoto. As Elizabeth May has said, "anyone who says he was anything other than an excellent Environment Minister is simply making it up".

In his race for Liberal leader he managed to go from getting snide remarks like “even Stéphane Dion has entered the race” to coming out on top in the end, which considering who he was up against was no small feat. As Liberal leader he made lots of mistakes (as every leader does), almost of all of which he has owned up to (something it seems we'll never see from Stephen Harper) but many other problems were beyond his control (such as being heavily outmatched financially as the Conservative attack ads flooded the airwaves). I'll leave it for others to dwell on his mistakes though. Less often talked about is how despite not getting the electoral results we hoped for, we enhanced the Liberal brand on 3 issues that we were not exceptionally known for before: infrastructure, poverty, and the environment. While in the midst of the economic crisis everyone is talking about the first as a way of helping us out of it, no one can doubt the Liberals put forth the strongest plan in the last election. While we aren’t hearing as much about fighting poverty and combating climate change these days Stéphane Dion’s championing of these issues has ensured that no Liberal leader will possibly do anything other that keep them central in our future platforms. When the environment comes back to the fore again as it surely will thanks at least in part to Dion’s efforts the Liberals will no doubt have a strong environmental platform that puts other parties to shame.

Dion also stood up strongly for human rights in a way that will set the bar high for all future leaders. It wasn’t popular but he defended Omar Khadr’s right to fair trial. He also spoke out strongly against the death penalty, for ratifying the UN Treaty on the Rights of Aboriginal Peoples, and he put in his platform a vow in implement a Corporate Social Responsibility Framework for Canadian mining companies operating overseas (an issue I had championed in the past). These issues may not be in the forefront of Canadians minds but I’ll always respect any leader willing to stand up for them as strongly as Stéphane has.

We all know how the election turned out, but I do think in the debates he put all the caricatures of him to shame. It’s too bad Canadians couldn’t see the real Stéphane more often, but such is the political game.

Since the election I think he performed well in the House and I believe ALL Liberals should be incredibly thankful that he stopped Stephen Harper’s attempt to remove public financing dead in its tracks. Had he not negotiated the coalition Harper may not have backed down and we could have been right back into another election or been forced to support his fiscal update . I’m really not sure if anyone else could have pulled off the kind of agreement Stéphane did that didn’t really sacrifice ANY Liberal policies or principles whatsoever in the coalition accord with the exception of the Green Shift (that it was clear could not be implemented when the two parties that supported did not receive more than 1/3 of the votes in the last campaign). If he had stepped down after the campaign then I think the Liberal Party and its future might be in much greater jeopardy today. Instead, with the coalition in place we actually have a possibility to form government should Stephen Harper continue his reckless approach to the economy and fail to substantially reach out to the opposition parties in the presentation of his budget. I do hope the coalition holds and since I don’t think Stephen Harper has it in him to actually meaningfully compromise and govern based on the policies a majority of Canadians voted for, I hope the coalition does vote him down and take power on Jan. 28. If that comes to pass then I think Stéphane Dion would be pleased to know that one of his last acts as leader was to put together an agreement that did in the end bring Liberals back to power. I'm sorry that Stephane couldn't lead the coalition in government for even a few months, but he stepped down in order to better ensure the coalition could be successful and accepted both by the Governor General and the general public. Once again Dion put the interests of the country ahead of his own.

If the coalition doesn't take power and Stephen Harper is able to continue governing we can at least know that because of Stephane’s efforts with the coalition, Stephen Harper has been chastened and finally forced in govern in the interests of a majority of Canadians.

But unfortunately despite all the good I feel Stéphane Dion did, I really think there are few politicians who’ve taken as many hits as he has. He's admitedly not the best retail politician but I question how many others could successfuly withstand the onslaught he's faced. First from the separatists and the Quebec media who literally did everything they could to savage his reputation and then the Harper Conservatives who tried the same but this time unfortunately with millions of dollars to be able to do it more effectively and in some ways with help from the media who never missed an opportunity to savage Dion when they could. Dion took the bullet on the Green Shift, a policy that would have likely been our policy in the last election even if Stephane wasn’t our leader. I still believe in that policy, but I guess we found out there’s still much work to be done to convince Canadians of it. Stéphane Dion took a beating form the Con and the media though because of it. But through it all, no matter what was thrown at him, Dion never wavered in his commitment to his country and his party and retained his honesty and integrity until the end of his leadership.

Right now most of the pundits and even many Liberals may look poorly on Stéphane’s time as leader, but I’ll leave any of those criticisms to others. Regardless, I do think (and hope) history will in the end see him much better and come to see the positive contributions he made in a much better light. It was nice to see such a positive acknowledgement from Jack Layton, I guess it was too much to expect the same from someone with as little class as Stephen Harper.

I hope we won’t have seen the last of Stéphane Dion as a prominent figure in Canadian politics, I believe he still could make great contributions, but if he decides in the next several months to retire from political life I do think he leaves with a lot to be proud of. Politics is so often a thankless job and I’m sure Stéphane has come to that realization as well, but I know I’m far from alone in being proud of what he accomplished. People of his character are definitely a rarity in politics.

So thus ends one chapter and begins a new one. Very shortly we will have a new leader in Michael Ignatieff and we can all turn our focus back where it belongs: on the appalling government Stephen Harper leads and on rebuilding our party together in the ways it needs to in order to be the strongest national party again. Canadians expect and desire no less.

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

The FAIREST approach for Liberal leadership

My expert solution that surely everyone would agree with is laid out below. So with LeBlanc’s exit the possibilities for the way forward have narrowed. Let me first say that I’m disappointed to see a race with only two contenders, I think we could have benefited from more, not less voices in this race (I think 4 or 5 would have been a good number). But I guess Dominic LeBlanc has become the John Edwards of this race (absent the torrid affair), bowing to the reality that he couldn’t win so dropped out early in the race. Has he been promised a jet ski by Rae or Ignatieff in order to get his endorsement? I’m sure we’ll know for sure quite soon.

But this leaves us with two key issues to resolve going forward:
- What should be the future of Stephane Dion’s leadership?
- How do we select the leader in time for the Jan. 26 return of Parliament as both Rae and Ignatieff seem to want?

Here is my gold 4 point solution that should satisfy EVERYONE.

1) Stéphane Dion stays on as interim leader until the permanent leader is selected in 3rd or 4th week of January when a permanent leader is elected.

The man has made many mistakes (which he has admitted to), but he has given the past decade of his life to this party and his whole life has fought hard for this country. He deserves some respect for what he has done. One could certainly make the case that anyone else might not have been able to put together the coalition that ultimately caused Harper to back down on public financing and leaves us with a chance to form government at the end of January. If we are going to elect a permanent leader in January anyway it seems unnecessarily cruel, not to mention ineffective to push him out sooner and replace him with an interim leader for a matter of 5-7 weeks. Parliament is not in session at this time and the organizational hassles involved in switching leaders for such a short amount of time simply because many people are upset right now just doesn’t make sense. I hope caucus can take the more rational and respectful approach here.

2) Hold at least 4 nationally televised debates between Ignatieff and Rae. Hopefully the major networks will cover them (the times and dates should be arranged for maximum coverage and ratings) and this will be an excellent way to get coverage for our party while Parliament is not in session (which is always a tough time to get the media to pay attention to the opposition)

3) Bob Rae and Michael Ignatieff both release full platforms very early in the new year. I hope these platforms detail what they would do in their first 100 days as Prime Minister since that still remains a possibility should the coalition take power at the end of January or if we get an election should the government fall at that time where either will be running to be PM.

I will note that neither have answers my questions yet though! I have gotten assurances from the Rae camp that the answers will be coming soon and the Ignatieff contact said he “is trying to get answers to your(my) questions” so hopefully both will be up here soon.

4) Electing the leader through a One Member One Vote procedure that protects smaller ridings and the voices of youth, seniors, women and Aboriginals.

Here is how I envision this working:
- A date (or it can even last a whole weekend) is set in the 3rd or 4th week of January for when voting will take place by ALL Liberal members who have signed up ONE WEEK before the vote. Given that the dynamics of the leadership race have radically changed it seems unfair to set an earlier cut off. Everyone was under the impression the membership cut off was going to be February 6th so setting it for mid January seems pretty fair.
- Voting is done online, by phone or in person (I think we should follow whatever is done by other parties who use OMOV)
- Each riding is apportioned 100 points based on the percentage of votes received for each candidate in each riding. 50 points in each riding go to male members’ votes, 50 points go to female members, 33 for youth, 7 for Aboriginals, etc…. so that it matches EXACTLY the proportions that WOULD HAVE been given delegate spots to vote at the convention in Vancouver.
- Whoever has the most points “wins” and the other agrees to drop off the ballot for Super Weekend so the other is acclaimed in Vancouver at the leadership convention as per our constitution.
- That winner is appointed interim leader by the national executive as Stephane Dion steps down follwing the vote of the membership.

When we change the rules mid-stream I think it’s important that no groups voices are weakened as a result and this ensures that doesn’t happen. Some people may have problems with this arrangement for allocating votes (and in fact I’d hazard to guess it won’t even happen), but if this isn’t what happens I imagine it will end up the case that a smaller percentage of women, Aboriginals and youth will have a say in the leader than would have happened under the originals rules. This could in turn upset the Commissions. For instance, I recall the YLC opposed OMOV vote last time unless there was an agreement to apportion a certain percentage of votes for youth.

So this proposal doesn’t favour any camp over the other, and important to me, doesn’t weaken the voices of women, Aboriginals, seniors, or youth compared to the representation they would have had if we elected the leader in Vancouver as originally planned. I hope many others would agree with this modest, fair proposal.

It’s essential this be done right. This party needs unity which means having a procedure where EVERYONE accepts the results as an entirely fair way to decide the leader and so that Liberals can get behind the leader without any supporter of the other candidate or neutral Liberals having misgivings about how the race was done.

UPDATE 10:10 PM: Rumour is Ignatieff gave the jet ski to LeBlanc up front (as yet unconfirmed). Also, it appears that Jeff (BC'er in Toronto) would agree with my proposal

UPDATE 2: I was unaware it was possible to move up the DSMs for Super Weekend to mid January and appoint an interim leader then based on the results, but if it is possible to do that and still have a bit of flexibility on membership cut-offs (for the reasons I outlined above, ideally it should be a week before the voting) then I think that would be a fair solution as well since all members get to vote as DSMs. I still think what I proposed here is fully in line with the constitution but moving up DSMs would be more consistent I suppose. If you agree with that option OR the one I proposed in this post, vote Yes for the poll in the top right corner.

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

"When a government starts trying to cancel dissent or avoid dissent is when it's rapidly losing its moral authority to govern"

Wise words, spoken by none other than Stephen Harper on April 18, 2005. Can a single Conservative really say that if there was a Liberal PM today under similiar circumstances that you would be applauding the Governor General's decision to allow the porogation of the House of Commons? Thanks to the Harper-Jean precedent (which Harper is SOLELY responsible for and never should have forced the GG to choose between two troubling precedent setting choices) that day is much more likely to come under a future PM who doesn't wish to test the confidence of the House. At least I will remain consistent should that day come, but I trust the Conservatives will be about as consitent with their statements and past positions as Stephen Harper has been throughout this whole crisis. In the end for Conservatives it's all about putting Stephen Harper and the Conservative cabinet minister's jobs before everyone else's.

Stephen Harper still doesn't enjoy the confidence of the House of Commons. These petitions signed by every MP from the opposition parties delivered TODAY to the Governor General clearly demonstrate that. These MPs must hold together. If there was no coalition waiting in place then Harper would never have backed down on his fiscal update. If divisions start to form Harper will make NO or very minimal concessions on his budget. And in the end if his budget doesn't reflect the policies that 62% of Canadians voted for and represent a DRAMATIC departure from what was in his fiscal update then he should be brought down and replaced. I don't expect him to do that because it's not in his character and Harper has completely betrayed the trust of all opposition MPs. But Harper is gambling that this opposition will crumble or cower away.

For all the talk of "belt tightening" a large sum of taxpayer money was spent on this past session of Parliament to be the least productive in Canadian history and accomplish absolutely NOTHING. I imagine Conservatives are proud of how they "put the opposition in a corner" on this one though and are hoping that millions spent on ads over the next few weeks will help Canadians forget how much they are interested in preserving their own power than doing what Parliamentarians are supposed to do.

But we shouldn't give in to his strong arm tactics, the man has shown a complete lack of respect for the Parliament Canada elected and to let his get away with it all and come back stronger to laugh at the success of his gamesmanship later (which will happen if he passes a budget with very minimal concessions) is not in the best interests of this country and nor is it the best solution for this economic crisis that Canadians most want their Parliamentarians to deal with right now.

Canadians could have had a budget and response to the fiscal crisis before the end of this month. Harper instead wants them to wait two months when people need help NOW.

Canadians could have had a government that brought in common and economically sound policies 62% of Canadians voted for. It appears they won't get that before the New Year, but it is my hope they still will.

This is justice delayed, let it not be justice denied.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Calgary Grit Has it All Wrong on the Coalition – Reasons Why We Should Never Listen to Dan Arnold Again (Unless of Course He’s Right)

So I see that Calgary Grit Dan Arnold has taken on the role of official downer of the Liberal Party (don’t listen to him! You’ll see why below).

Dan don’t you know the Liberals have been so starved for good news these past few months (or even years!)? Yet now we may be on the cusp of finally coming back to power and you choose to rain all over our parade. Shame! How dare you try to be a voice of caution!

If this coalition falls apart or never comes to fruition, I’ll be holding you responsible. Just like I still firmly believe that you choosing not to give your Victory Fund dollars to Brant was the only reason the Liberals lost that riding (in your heart you know I’m right!).

So I see you’ve come up 11 reasons why we may want to re-think or be more cautious about this whole coalition business. And you say you MAY write some rebuttals to your own points? Time is of the essence Mr. Arnold, what if the Liberal or NDP brain trust decides to pack it all in because they are unable to think of any rebuttals? Well then it falls to the rest of us to make up for your reckless behaviour.

So below I’ve listed each of Dan Arnold’s 11 feeble points of caution in italics and listed my rebuttals below each point. And yes these are serious rebuttals, but I do encourage other Liberal bloggers to shamelessly gang up on Calgary Grit as well and show him we aren’t the party of pessimism! It’s time for Hope! Change! Caution to the Wind!

Seriously now…

1. Western Allienation: As other Alberta Liberals have pointed out, the backlash in Alberta and across Western Canada is going to be huge. You thought the "No! No! No!" headlines were over the top today? Well you ain't seen nothing yet.

Western alienation is probably the biggest issue in my view. I don’t doubt the backlash in the West will be huge. It will likely take months (maybe even close to a year) to subdue and reverse it (in fact I predicted the coalition will start out relatively unpopular across all of Canada at the beginning). But we can recover and make this into winning conditions in the West in particular.

3 Things will be important to be successful
1) Make sure Westerners are well represented in cabinet. Harper obviously has way more Western MPs than the coalition will have, but seriously I’d be surprised if most Westerners could even name 10 of them.
2) Find some issues that are most popular out West and bring them in (ok you’ll have to consult someone who knows the West better than I do but there must be some that the coalition could agree on)
3) Start running ads about 8 months to a year into the coalition government comparing how the new coalition has done MORE for the West than Harper ever did. We value the West, Conservatives took them for granted, etc. etc…

2. The NDP is Legitimized: The one thing which has always kept the Liberals ahead of the NDP, even when the LPC sinks to it's lowest of lows, is the widely held perception that the NDP is not up for the job of being in government. By placing the NDP in Cabinet, you're implicitly admitting that they can handle the job. Plus, I have this rule of thumb that any move that makes Jack Layton grin from ear to ear like a Cheshire cat is a bad move.

This cuts both ways. The NDP’s main talking points about the Liberals will be damaged too. No more “13 years of inaction, blah blah”. And no longer being able to just blindly oppose everything the Liberals do. The NDP used to like to have it every which way as they never had to make a responsible decision. That will change now as they’ll have to wear the decisions made by the coalition.

I think the Liberals will still always outpoll the NDP in the popular vote because we will always be presenting more moderate mainstream policies. As evidence of that, aside from the Green Shift (which we simply do not have a mandate to implement, even though I still believe it’s the right approach) I can’t think of any policies from our platform we had to concede to make this coalition deal work. Meanwhile the NDP had to give up their biggest policy from the last campaign which was raising corporate taxes by $50 billion (instead we’ll get corporate tax cuts as Liberals planned). I’m sure the NDP cabinet ministers would do a good job in the coalition government, but it will be the policies they propose in the next election that will keep their party down below ours.

3. The Coalition Precedence: Similarly, the NDP is going to expect Cabinet posts in any future minority government. So if we wind up with a Liberal plurality in the future, the NDP is going to be demanding seats at the Cabinet table as a condition of support.

Perhaps, but after the Rae-Peterson accord, the Liberals won a majority (if that happened federally the Liberals would just have to make sure they played their cards A LOT better than Peterson did with his majority mandate). Even if they didn’t win a majority, if it’s a strong minority they should be able to govern soundly on their own on an issue by issue basis as Paul Martin did.

As the largest non-Conservative party it will be the Liberals choice to make whether to accept the NDP as coalition partners and I’m fine with that. The amount of seats the NDP would get in a cabinet (or if they get any at all) would surely always depend on how many seats they had relative to the Liberals. A Liberal-NDP coalition still beats Conservative government by a long shot.

4. The Coalition Precedence II: As Stephen Harper's 2004 letter shows, what's good for you one day, is not so good the next. And I have strong doubts that Liberals in love with the idea of a coalition government now would have welcomed one back in 2004. It's highly possible that a future Liberal leader who wins a plurality of the seats might find himself or herself in Stornoway.

Unless the Conservatives start moving to the left of the Liberals or a new strong opposition party comes about I can’t quite see how the Conservatives could really come to a deal with the other opposition parties as the Liberals have. By virtue of their “uniting the right” they have much less common with the remaining parties than the Liberals do. If the 2004 deal had come to pass and they toppled Martin and Harper took over without an election I don’t think his government would have lasted very long with NDP/Bloc support.

5. The End of Strategic Voting: Since I've been following politics, the final week of every campaign has featured a Liberal leader appealing to other progressive voters to vote Liberal in a bid to stop the scary Conservative bogeyman of the day. Once voters have seen a progressive coalition take power, they're going to laugh at any Grit who tries to make the case that a vote for Layton is a vote for Harper. While it might be good for democracy to see this argument disappear, it's a potent argument to surrender.

No strategic voting still makes perfect sense under a FPTP system. In 3 way races where the NDP is running clearly 3rd, a vote for the NDP could lead to a Conservative being elected in that riding. Only if we change electoral systems does strategic voting no longer make sense (something I will be posting about at another time, as I do favour electoral reform).

6. Coalition Times are Tough Times: If we do hit a recession, do you really want to be in power when it happens?

I believe we will hit a recession, but after 18 months hopefully we will be out of it and can claim credit for governing through the storm. And in reality I believe the policies we are proposing are actually a better means of getting out of the storm than what the Conservatives would do. If the economic crisis is not over in 18 months, well hopefully we can manage to extend the deal until the recession is over or at least on the mend (and if Conservatives were in power under similar circumstances after 18 months you can bet they would try to sustain their government in a similar manner).

7. The Race for 24 Sussex: With 30 month and 18 month deals signed, Dion has given his successor the keys to 24 Sussex as a parting gift. But Dion has also handcuffed whoever wins the Liberal leadership race to this contract. Sure, they can break it, but that would be a political hit in and of itself.

All Liberal leadership candidates agreed to the deal. Dion showed the deal to them before the Monday caucus meeting and they all signed on. And why wouldn’t they? As I've said before, it will be FAR easier to combat the inevitable Conservative fear mongering ads in government than from the opposition benches.

Dan I know this means you have to change the name of your Liberal leadership series from the Race for Stornoway, but I hope you don’t mind taking one for the team.

8. The Black Swan Effect: Sure, these parties can probably find common ground on the economy. But what happens when the unexpected happens? Will the Liberals and NDP be able to find ground on foreign policy? And, taking point number 7 to one of its three possible outcomes, could the NDP and Michael Ignatieff find common ground on foreign policy?

The accord lays out what they will focus on and says they will govern on a “no surprises” basis. I think in the end the cabinet will discuss matters as they come up and come to a consensus. The Liberals and NDP already agreed on Afghanistan to stay till 2011 which was another major concession by the NDP. If they can give up that (which was a MAJOR rallying cry for them), then I think the NDP will, for the most part, be willing to cede foreign policy (particularly the most “hot button” issues) to the Liberals (I presume the Foreign Affairs minister will be a Liberal). But with a few exceptions (e.g., positions on Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict where I imagine the Liberal position will be the official position of the coalition government) the Liberals and NDP have a fair amount in common with the NDP on foreign policy as it is. The NDP have basically been decrying these past few years the move away from our “proud record on the world stage”, which for the most part is a Liberal record, so I think there’s a lot of room for common ground.

9. No Bloc Party: Yes, I know they've worked with other parties before. And I know nothing has been promised to them. And I trust Stephane Dion more than anyone else to stand up for Canada and to not cave in to Bloc demands. But I hate the Bloc Quebecois with a fiery passion. So this just feels wrong. Especially when the first letter from the trio talks about "a majority of Canadians and Quebecers".The only way to ever stop these kinds of arrangements is for the Liberals and NDP to have a combined majority in the House and for Quebecers to start voting for the Bloc is much smaller numbers.

It’s just an unfortunate reality that in the current House we have to choose between Conservatives propped up by the Bloc, or Liberal-NDP coalition propped up by the Bloc. I’ll choose the latter and it will be a lot better for Canada and the functioning of Parliament than the former.

10. Voter Reaction: Maybe voters will grow to love the coalition. Maybe it will lead to a Liberal majority - a common result of past Liberal/NDP cooperation. But you have to at least recognize that it could backfire. You also have to recognize that after seeing the craziness of the past week, the stability of a Conservative majority will sound appealing to some voters (then again, so could a Liberal majority).

Ok this one is easy, I say voters will “grow to love the coalition” :). Canadians are for the most part centrist or left-of-centre. 62% of them voted for parties that offered what this government will give to them. Again I don’t think the Liberals really surrendered anything other than the Green Shift so I see no reason why anyone who voted Liberal should oppose what they get. The NDP and Bloc supporters seem to be on board with what’s on offer as well. I predict that after a year in government at least 45-55% of Canadians, and hopefully more, will be very happy with the government the coalition provides which is a lot higher than the satisfaction level Canadians would have with a Conservative government one year from now.

11. Mandate: Yes, I know the leader with the fewest seats can govern. Yes, I know we elect parliaments, not Prime Ministers. But at the end of the day, Stephen Harper got 38% of the vote and Stéphane Dion got 26%. The Conservatives got 143 seats and the Liberals got 77. Heck, even the Liberal-NDP coalition only got 114. So, from a purely conceptual point of view, this doesn't feel completely right.

We can’t just focus on the Liberal numbers, this will be a Liberal-NDP government. The Liberals and NDP got 44.4% of the vote, the Conservative 37.7% that’s what we should be mentioning again and again. More Canadians voted for our parties than his, that’s a fact they can’t deny. If they want to talk about how they have more seats while at the same time pretending we don’t have a Parliamentary system and that we directly elect the PM their contradictions will eventually catch up to them.

And the Greens and Bloc also support the coalition so that makes 62% of Canadians that should theoretically be behind this. Beats Stephen Harper’s 38%!


So take that Dan “Stephen Harper is a genius” Arnold! Your pessimism is unwelcome. Only sunny skies ahead!

Unless of course things end up going horribly wrong in a way only Dan Arnold could have predicted, in which case this post may quietly disappear…

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Forget King-Byng, Remember Clark-Schreyer

"Mr. Clark was defeated on a budget seven months after the election that brought his Tories to power. He asked Edward Schreyer, then the Governor-General, for a dissolution of Parliament. Mr. Schreyer, quite properly and according to constitutional convention, asked the Liberals, under Pierre Trudeau, whether they could govern with a working majority in the House of Commons."

I don't agree with many of the points in the Globe editorial (did they forget they endorsed Stephane Dion for Liberal leader originally?), but I assume they have their facts straight on what happened in 1979. At that time, Joe Clark had a minority with a slightly greater percentage of seats in the House than Stephen Harper currently does. 7 months, not 7 weeks had passed since the election. And there was no formal deal between opposition parties. Yet even considering all that Shreyer denied Clark's request for dissolution and asked the leader of the official opposition if he could form a government. Trudeau refused and that was his right, but the precedent in the upcoming case is obviously clear, Stephane Dion must be given the opportunity to demonstrate he can govern with majority support in the House of Commons.

Governor General Jean's decision should never rest on a PR war, polls, rallies, petitions or any other kind of public display. Her decision should rest solely on her constitutional responsibilities and ample precedents, not just from 1979 in our system but dozens of precedents from other countries that also carry our system. If Conservatives can't accept the Westminister Parliamentary model we have and the role of the Governor General perhaps they should advocate constitutional change, but you can't do an end run around our constitution just because you don't like the result. The formation of coalitions is common enough with this system (just take a look at other countries that have it and whose government have been managed well) and the ONLY reason the Conservatives oppose it this time is because they will lose power.

They were fine with the Governor General handing over power to Stephen Harper without an election in 2004, why the problem now?

They were fine with the "separatists" being the ONLY party to prop them up on confidence votes for almost the first full TWO YEARS of their last government, why the problem now?

I expect no response from a single Blogging Tory.

This is no undemocratic power grab. Harper has lost the right to govern, it's nobody's fault but his own (even many Conservatives admit this) and there is a coalition waiting in place to govern better and more in the interests of all Canadians. I hope Harper just accepts his fate, doesn't run, and the Governor General respects precedent and allows a new government to assume power. Not only is it the right thing to do constitutionally, it's what's best for Canada and Parliament during these troubled times as well.

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

When You’ve Run the Country’s Finances Into the Ground and the Economy is in a Tailspin….

Apparently Harper thinks it’s time to use an economic crisis for partisan gain! People are suffering all over the country and this is Harper solution? Absolutely shameful.

So it will be delays on fiscal stimulus to actually help the people hurting most, but moving right away to gut the opposition’s primary means of financing! The magic solution for the deficit from the biggest spending (while delivering the least results) government in Canadian history!

As Impolitical notes all this talk about “belt tightening” is straight out of the John McCain playbook: trying to make a cause célèbre of tackling supposed pork barrel spending that, in reality, amounts to an extremely tiny fraction of the federal budget. Yes there is room to cut back on some parliamentary expenses, but public financing is no pork barrel project and exists for a good reason: to create a level playing field so that all voices of the political spectrum are able to be represented by political parties.

There’s only one party on the right that gives the Conservatives an inherent fundraising advantage already that they’ve exploited to no end. But I’m sure Conservatives relish nothing more than to have a Canada with no one opposing the Conservatives. And let there be no doubt about their motives here. As Stephen Taylor, the top Conservative blogger, notes, “in this, the Conservatives aim to level a strategic blow to the Liberals as Conservative fundraising efforts”. So this is the new co-operative spirit Harper pledged to bring in? This is what Harper thinks Canadians are looking for in tough times?

Public financing brings far more benefits to the health of our democracy than what it costs. In the end the amount each party receives is ultimately earned by the amount of support each party gets in an election, so it’s not just free government handouts either. The federal treasury would be saved an insignificant amount and the health of our democracy would suffer far more if the per vote subsidy were removed. This is not a price worth paying, nor does it get us anywhere near getting the country's finances back in order.

For those that say “well Liberals will just need to do a better job appealing to Canadians in order to earn their money”, well I’d agree Liberals do need to do a better job at that, but there currently exists a dramatically unlevel playing field and if this were really about just “belt tightening” for the sake of helping the economy and not a means to crush the opposition why not, as a fellow Liberal blogger suggested, remove donation limits at the same time then?

Donation limits don’t impact the federal treasury so Conservatives should have no problems making it easier for parties to fundraise from private citizens if they think public funds shouldn’t be used to subsidized parties at all.

We will see how this plays out, but I'm hoping Liberals, and indeed all opposition parties, stand absolutely firm and call Harper on this for what this is: pathetic partisan gamesmanship when Canadians deserve, and expect, A LOT better!

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Tale of Two Harper's

Below is a comparison of Stephen Harper and his party’s election statements with their post-election ones on a range of issues. What we are seeing with each passing week is a Stephen Harper slowly reversing everything he said in the last election. Yet amazingly he seems to have reversed himself on so many fronts without having to openly admit he was wrong or mistaken in his original view. In some cases he had the wrong position in the election and a better one now and sometimes the opposite, but is it too much to ask that the media actually call him to task when he contradicts himself so quickly? That Harper be forced to own up to the mistakes he’s made? So here’s just a small number of examples…

Election Harper Conservative Positions

Post-Election Harper Conservative Positions

On Deficits

"Stephen Harper, who's vowed to avoid a deficit in any circumstances – without raising taxes – says he considers questions about how he'd therefore cut spending to avoid going into the red as the economy weakens 'a ridiculous hypothetical scenario.' " (Oct 11 2008)

"it would be misguided to commit to a balanced budget in the short term" (Throne Speech, Nov 19 2008)

[Canada – now faces] "the classic circumstances under which budgetary deficits are essential." (Nov 22 2008)

On the Seriousness of the Financial Crisis

"if we were going to have some kind of big crash or recession, we probably would have had it by now.” (Sept 15 2008)

"I think there's probably some great buying opportunities emerging in the stock market as the consequence of all this panic" (Oct 6 2008)

"The financial crisis has become an economic crisis, and the world is
entering an economic period unlike, and potentially as dangerous, as anything we have faced since 1929"
(Nov 21 2008)

"We may well be in a technical recession the last quarter of this year and the first quarter of next year" (Jim Flaherty, Nov 23 2008)

On Dion’s Proposed First Minister’s Conference

"Stephen Harper swiftly dismissed the proposals as a flurry of needless meetings" (Oct 1 2008)

“The prime minister called for the meeting the day after winning his second minority government on Oct. 14, adopting part of Liberal Leader Stephane Dion's plan for dealing with the financial and economic crisis. During the election, Harper dismissed the Dion plan as an indication he was "panicking." (Nov 10 2008)

On Dion’s Proposed Accelerated Infrastructure Spending

"Leaders need to have a plan and not panic. You panicked, Stephane'' (Oct 1 2008)

"Stephen Harper said he's confident that billions of dollars in funding for big-ticket projects - such as roads, transit and sewers - will be accelerated in the next year." (Nov 10 2008)

On Dion’s Proposed Review of Canada’s Regulatory System

"It seems the Liberals are making it up as they go" (Oct 4 2008 - Conservative War Room mocking John McCallum saying that it would be due diligence to do such a review)

I have initiated, since the election campaign ended, a pretty comprehensive internal evaluation of Canada's own domestic systems of regulation in response to the international financial crisis” (Oct 30 2008)

On Afghanistan

"While there may be a few Canadian soldiers who stay on after 2011 as advisers, the bulk of the troops will be home by then, Harper said" (Sep 10 2008)

"We are in Afghanistan for the long term under a United Nations mandate for as long as we are needed and welcomed by the Afghan people." (Peter Mackay, Nov 21 2008)

Most of those were said by Stephen Harper himself (or his comments paraphrased by the media), but I’ve noted where it came from one of his Ministers or his War Room, but as we all know almost nothing comes from the party without his approval (bird poop incident notwithstanding). I’ll update this list over time as I discover new contradictions (please feel free to post more in the comments), or Harper unveils more for us.

There are surely many more (I hope the Liberals are keeping a running tab), but with it being not even a month and a half since the election what does this say about a man who reverses himself on so many fronts so quickly? How do his supporters defend this? Why should we believe anything Stephen Harper says in the future?

I wonder what Stephen Harper’s response would be if he were ever confronted with such a table. Thankfully for him the media have short memories and likely won’t call Harper on his all of these contradictions at any of his press conferences when they have the chance. It would be nice to be proved wrong on that count for once though.

UPDATE: BC'er also traces Harper’s “evolving” views on the deficit here.

UPDATE 2: More of the Harper government’s ever-changing views here, here, and here.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

What Was That About “Panicking”?

Didn't have great access to e-mail the past two days but IF I did, this is what I have had up earlier:
Don’t you just love it when an elected leader completely reverses him/herself within a day or two of the election? So when Stéphane Dion proposes a prudent 5 point plan for the economy Harper calls it “panicking” and “just a bunch of useless meetings”. Then days before an election Flaherty decides to copy the part of Dion’s plan that called for accelerated infrastructure spending and now Harper has copied all of the rest! And yet NONE of the headlines convey this obvious fact.

I do hope someone in the media calls Harper on this blatant reversal and questions how he feels about carrying out a plan he called useless less than a week ago. This reminds me again of the 2004 U.S. election where Bush was unwilling to admit he had made any mistakes in his first term and then all of a sudden just days after he won he was holding a press conference admitting different mistakes he made. It really builds trust in our leaders doesn’t it?

But seriously does Harper have ANY original ideas? What’s next is he going to introduce the Green Shift in his next budget? I won’t complain if he does, but even though the election is over and the people have spoken that’s no reason why the media and opposition should roll over and play dead and Harper’s actions do reinforce what we Liberals were saying all along: Stéphane Dion is a much stronger leader and knows better how to manage the economy than does Stephen Harper. I do wonder though just how many more reversals we will see from Harper before the week is over.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

What Would Another Year of Harper Mean? How Progressives Vote Tomorrow Could Shape the Next Decade

I’m convinced that IF the Liberals run a great ground game, place their final ads well, AND (more importantly) rally additional Green and NDP supporters to their side in the final hours of the campaign then we will see the most progressive PM in Canadian history, Stephane Dion, elected to lead our country. But part of that involves getting the message out about what an even miniscule victory for Harper would mean for Canada and the future prospects of ALL progressive parties.

If Harper comes out with the most seats on election night I believe he will strike a deal with the Bloc Quebecois, seeing it as his only opportunity to regain favour in Quebec after badly blowing it there this time. That means Harper would have a blank cheque on votes in the House for likely up to two years and there’s not much Liberals and/or the NDP could do to defeat his legislation.

So what would this mean policy wise? Well it would mean that for at least two years there would be...
- No progress towards any new child care spaces or a national program
- Increased poverty levels across the country with the government having no plan to address it
- No new investments in post-secondary education, leaving Canada ill-equipped to compete on the world stage. Each year that goes by we would fall further behind
- Further embarrassments on the world stage as a successor to the Kyoto protocol is formally drafted and we are left with an even worse environmental stance than the United States
- Continued rises in greenhouse gas emissions as Conservatives continue to hold to intensity based targets only to please the oil sands
- Further backsliding on human rights: ignoring the practices Canadian mining companies in the 3rd world, ignoring our own citizens facing the death penalty abroad (and possibly bringing it back here), and continued opposition to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Aboriginal Peoples
- Further head in the sand economic management so that our financial situation ends up like how Mulroney left it
- Extending of the Afghan mission beyond 2011 despite the fact that we will have done our part and likely could be used in other troubled regions of the globe
- Further gutting of press freedoms
- Further gutting of the Access to Information Act as Harper's penchant for secrecy reaches new bounds
- Further cuts to Status of Women
- Further weakening of the Gun Registry by stealth
- A continued carbon copy foreign policy that takes cues from elsewhere (remember most foreign policy decisions are not even subject to votes in Parliament)
- Paltry contributions to foreign aid and abandonment of Africa just as they need our help more than ever
- The final elimination of any spending room left to ever launch without needing to raise taxes (which no political party is ever willing to do) and much more that will have progressives realizing his second term is even worse than the first.

Now if you are a progressive and you think you can live with that for at least two years (possibly more) thinking that as long as Harper is defeated in the NEXT election after this one things would be fine and easily reversed, you would be mistaken to think the effects wouldn’t be linger long beyond another year or two mandate or that wouldn’t be even more difficult to defeat him in the next election.

The reason for this is that Harper would make every effort to spend the cupboard bare with further focus group inspired tax credits, maybe even another cynical 1% cut to the GST. That’s not only bad economic management, but it would leave ALL parties with less to offer in the next election.

For Liberals that should be obvious just look at how much financial room there was in our platform this time for child care, Kelowna and education compared to last time. There was less on all fronts because of Harper’s GST cuts and all his focus group tax credits that did nothing for our economy. Given the reality that no leader of any party (except the Greens I guess) is going to promise to raise taxes to create fiscal room for the aforementioned priorities any new tax cuts would likely not be reversed.

For those NDPers who think corporate taxes could be raised this election makes clear that that’s a non-starter for 80% of the Canadian population, not to mention all the recent NDP provincial leaders, who realize we need to corporate taxes to get our economy going again. I guarantee if Layton is around next time he won’t be promising to raise corporate taxes as he’ll follow the lead of every other NDP leader in the country. Even this time Layton has gone around claiming that he will never raise corporate taxes just cancelled planned ones.

Which means if Harper gets in this time, even for just one more year, it could take 6 or 7 years to bring us back to a financial situation where a national child care program, meaningfully investing in post-secondary education, a real poverty plan, and tackling the infrastructure deficit would and a host of other programs all progressives believe in become financially possible again.

So with less money available Liberals (and all progressive parties) would have less to offer Canadians in the next election and Harper would have ample time to re-tool just like Jean Charest did in Quebec when everyone counted him out. And he would obviously have no shame in calling another election at the most opportune time. Of course the potential is always there to defeat him next time (and all of us will hard just as hard to do so), but it’s naïve to think it would be any easier than this time and it’s naïve to think that whatever he did in his next mandate could be easily reversed.

Plain and simple many people will suffer under another Harper mandate, our reputation will worsen, and Canada will fall further behind compared to other countries who seem to better understand that fostering a green economy and investing in PSE and child care are essential to being competitive in today’s world. It would be very hard to catch up with each year that goes by with Harper in charge. I don’t think any progressive wants to see this happen to our country.

So it should be clear that the stakes are VERY high for all progressives this time out.

We can work together to elect a progressive PM that would work with the NDP (and any Green) MPs to work on common priorities in a minority Parliament. Harper will NEVER listen to NDP and Green priorities and Dion definitely will, they would have far more influence than if Harper was PM.

We could have the most progressive Prime Minister in Canadian history or the most regressive one.

I hope NDP and Green supporters realize that all our parties and, more importantly, all Canadians, would be better off if Stéphane Dion becomes Prime Minister tomorrow night rather than Stephen Harper. Only one of those two can come out with the most seats.

So if you were thinking of voting NDP or Green but live in a riding where they finished 3rd, 4th or 5th last time, if you vote Liberal this time, I know that a year from now you will not regret that decision and see that in fact your own party has played a bigger role in Parliament than ever before. For Green supporters this is exactly what Elizabeth May has asked you to do, and for NDPers you should know your party will have far more influence if you did the same. If this happens we will definitely have a progressive Prime Minister elected tomorrow night.

We share a lot in common and I hope we can work together bringing progressive policy for Canadians in the next Parliament. But that all depends on how things go tomorrow…

N.B.: I’ll be back later tonight with my last two posts of this election.

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Harper/Flaherty Follow Dion on the Economy

Flaherty and Harper become the last arriving at the party with Flaherty saying now that now all of a sudden he does want to speed infrastructure projects. This is after spending a week of saying that this pledge by Dion would be "panicking". Obviously Harper and Flaherty have no idea how to get out of this crisis when all they offerred initially was stock tips that would have led to massive losses for any Canadians that followed them as they insisted nothing needed to be done. Now with only days before an election we get a $25 billion quasi-bailout of the banks and Flaherty admitting that the Liberals five-point 30 day plan was the right approach all along.

When the world economy is in dire shape this is not the kind of judgement we need to steer out country our of these rough waters. Harper and Flaherty have been asleep at the switch and only seem to react when the polls tell them they have to. That is not leadership.

Harper why don't you just admit that Stephane Dion and the Liberals know how to manage the economy and get us out of this crisis better than you do? Because what we've seen this week proves it in spades.

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Harper Realizes He’s Failed Quebecers

Realizing he really has no positive reasons left to offer the people of Quebec to vote for him and that's has consistently let them down, Harper figures “at least I'm not the devil” will do to keep what support he has left:
Harper tells Quebecers he is not the 'devil'
Andrew Mayeda, Canwest News Service
Published: Saturday, October 11, 2008
LONGUEUIL, Que. - Stephen Harper, looking to stem the dramatic slide of his party in Quebec, reassured Quebecers on Saturday that he is not the "devil incarnate."
Somehow I don’t think this is how Conservatives in Quebec hoped their campaign would finish. With Harper now refusing to rule out that he may appoint more unelected Quebecers (including Fortier even if he loses) to the Senate to serve in his cabinet, it seems Harper is less optimistic about his chances in Quebec as he seems to be about those "great buys" on the stock market.

Quebecers clearly have a better option in Stephane Dion and the Liberal Party of Canada and I hope other Canadians take note that they seem to be the only party able to form a government with significant elected Quebec representation.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Who Needs Scientists and Economists Anyway?

So I understand 230 leading Canadian economists and 120 of Canada's top climate scientists are calling for the federal government to adopt a Green Shift like Stéphane Dion has proposed. I wouldn’t listen to them though because they must all surely be “crazy” Liberal supporters. I’d much sooner put my trust in someone who confidently said a few weeks ago “My own belief is if we were going to have some kind of big crash or recession, we probably would have had it by now.

And he’s right, everything is fine. So 5 major bank economists are saying they are expecting "worse than a recession" on the horizon, what do they know? As Rob Silver says they’re just “panicking” and “cheering for a recession”.

Really we would be insane to listen to the advice of “experts” at a time like this.

The TSX may be down over 35% since the summer but as Stephen Harper tells us, the lower the market goes the more that will open up wonderful buying opportunities. That sounds like “we’re better off with Harper” to me. How about you?

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10X10 for Change, Part 3

I'll have a post up later on the Conservatives too little too late platform that surely will demonstrate that they don't really understand the Canadian economy, but for now he's another installment of why to cast for vote for the Liberals on October 14th.

Why Vote FOR the Liberal Party of Canada?
21) The Liberal Party has the strongest potential cabinet of any of the parties with front-bench experience that dwarfs the others
22) A Liberal government would fix the backlog in our immigration system and help ensure they succeed, without having to pick favourites and treat them like economic units
23) A Liberal government would do the most to help Canadians go Green in their homes (through financial support and Green mortgages)
24) A Liberal government would do the most to protect our natural resources and natural parks
25) A Liberal government would take greater efforts to ensure we have cleaner air, and continued fresh water supply
26) A Liberal government would hold an independent public inquiry into the listeriosis crisis and increasing funding for food safety inspection
27) A Liberal government would institute the first ever Commissioner for Gender Equality (as has been done in Australia, UK, and South Africa) to ensure all legislation is viewed with an equality lens
28) A Liberal government would restore the funding cut to Status of Women Canada and re-insert helping to achieve gender equality back into its mandate
29) A Liberal government will provide significant aid to the manufacturing sector during this difficult time with the Advanced Manufacturing Prosperity Fund
30) A Liberal government would get smart on crime by providing additional resources to the RCMP, creating a gun violence and gang prevention fund, banning military assault rifles, and improving the Youth Criminal Justice Act (following the recommendations of experts)

Why vote AGAINST Harper's Conservatives?
21) Conservatives would give Canada the weakest cabinet in history, even weaker than the one they had in the last Parliament with Emerson, Solberg and Hearn all not running again.
22) Conservatives are content to have the powers of the immigration system wielded by a single cabinet minister to decide which immigrants get favoured over others which won’t fix the backlog and flies in the face of the principles of fairness and equality on which our immigration system
23) Conservatives don’t make helping Canadians go green a priority even though if would save them money in the long run
24) A Liberal government would do the most to protect our natural resources and natural parks
25) Conservatives won’t commit to banning bulk water exports
26) Conservatives are only willing to hold a scaled-down closed door inquiry into the listeriosis outbreak that would pale into comparison to what was conducted for past epidemics. All the while their ministers have been AWOL in dealing with the crisis have been joking about the crisis as people died.
27) Conservatives oppose a Commissioner for Gender Equality because they seem to believe that gender equality has already been achieved despite all evidence to the contrary
28) Conservatives cut funding to Status of Women Canada which severely weakened its operation and forced 12 regional offices to close
29) Conservatives only believe in miniscule aid to the manufacturing sector and only then after months of pressure to do so. They don’t believe in it and can’t be trusted to follow through on what little they have promised.
30) The Conservatives approach to crime flies in the face of all evidence and advice from experts as to what actually works in preventing crime. In fact what they propose has failed in the United States and their youth justice proposals have already been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada and fly in the face of international law.

Part 2 of the series
Part 1 of the series

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Sunday, October 5, 2008

10X10 for Change, Part 2

The Liberals may be narrowing the gap on the Conservatives, but we can’t stop communicating why people should casting their votes for us at the polls. So as part 2 of this series here are 10 more reasons each (in no particular order) to vote FOR the Liberals and AGAINST the Conservatives in this election.

Why Vote FOR the Liberal Party of Canada?
11) The Liberals will provide continued support for InSite to save lives and combat drug addiction in Vancouver
12) The Liberals will provide an increase in the Guaranteed Income Supplement for seniors
13) The Liberals will provide the lowest income taxes of any party, encouraging work, investment and savings
14) The Liberals will provide the lowest corporate taxes of any party which will help get our economy moving again from its lowest productivity since 1991
15) The Liberals will restore the Court Challenges Program to protect minorities and disadvantaged groups in society
16) The Liberals will increase support for support for R&D to bring about the ideas of the future
17) The Liberals will increase support and funding to arts and culture which will pay large economic dividends in return
18) The Liberals will re-establish the $3 billion contingency reserve than Jim Flaherty did away with so Canada is prepared to cope with economic downturns without going into deficit
19) The Liberals will defend Canadians’ human rights everywhere and will oppose the death penalty in ALL circumstances
20) The Liberals will restore Canada’s proud tradition of having an independent, principled foreign policy

Why Vote AGAINST Stephen Harper’s Conservatives?
11) Conservatives want to close Insite despite all evidence that it works and saves lives
12) Conservatives destroyed the savings of seniors across the country with their broken promise on income trusts
13) Conservatives cut the GST instead of income taxes at zero net benefit for the economy. They can’t be trusted to manage the economy any further.
14) Conservatives let big polluters off the hook by using intensity rather than absolute targets in their environmental “plan”. Greenhouse gas emissions will continue to rise as a result.
15) Conservatives gutted the Court Challenges program leaving many groups powerless to challenge laws that might infringe on their Charter rights.
16) Conservatives have not seen the value of major investments in R&D.
17) Cuts to arts and culture and referring to artists (who have an average salary of $23,000) as a bunch of elitist spoiled whiners. Harper doesn’t understand how this industry contributes to our economy and has no desire to see Canadian culture promoted abroad.
18) The abolishment of the $3 billion contingency reserve to manage to economic hard times. As a result Canada was in deficit in the first two quarters of this year and is still perilously close as fears of a recession mount.
19) Harper’s refusal to opposte the death penalty for Canadians abroad, making us the ONLY western nation in the world with this policy.
20) A foreign policy that always seems to take cues from elsewhere and that has left our world standing never lower.

Part 1 of this series

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10X10 for Change, Part 1

With us in the homestretch I think we Liberals need to be giving just as many reasons to vote FOR us as to vote AGAINST Stephen Harper. In the spirit of this I am starting a 10 part series "Danielle's 10x10 Campaign for Change". Each part will give 10 new reasons to vote FOR the Liberals and 10 contrasting reasons to vote against the Conservatives (who I note have REMOVED their last platform from their website that used to be here – why’s that Steve? Didn’t you keep your promises?). Part 2 will be tonight, with parts 3 to 10 coming each night thereafter. By the end of the last night of the campaign I'll have listed 100 reasons (in no particular order) for each. The lists are far from exhaustive, so I encourage other Liberal bloggers to come up with their ows lists. There are literally hundreds of reasons to vote for our party and against Harper so we can have a government to be proud of again. So let's get the message out.

Why vote for the Liberal Party of Canada?
1) An environmental plan endorsed by environmentalists endorsed by environmentalists that could be implemented in the next budget (not waiting until 2012)
2) A short-term economic plan to deal with the financial crisis to ensure we don’t face the same fate as the U.S. (which no other party has stepped up to provide)
3) A costed long-term economic plan endorsed by economists that has succeeded in those countries where it’s been implemented
4) A long-term infrastructure plan, endorsed by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities that finally provides municipalities with the stable long-term funding they need to tackle the infrastructure deficit
5) A plan to cut the poverty rate by 1/3 and child poverty by 1/2 over the next 5 years
6) The Liberals will build a STRONGER relationship with our Aboriginal People and they will do more to lift them out of poverty and settle land claims, hold a First Ministers Conference on Aboriginal issues within 6 months of assuming office, and bring back the Kelowna Accords
7) The strongest commitment to running female candidates at 36.7% with plans to run more next election
8) A strong plan to reduce wait times and increase the number of trained and family doctors in this doctors
9) The strongest plan to strengthen our post-secondary education system and access for students
10) Enhanced financial support to families combined with the restoration of a national child care program to provide real choice in child care.

Why Vote Against Harper's Conservatives?
1) An environmental plan that in the words of Conservative columnist Andrew Coyne is "just as costly as the Liberals'...… twice as complicated… and probably half as effective." Not to mention it’s been panned by every independent group that’s evaluated it (see here, here, here, here).
2) Harper’s “don’t worry be happy” about the economy which leaves him as the ONLY G8 leader who isn't doing anything about the financial crisis
3) Harper has no long-term plan for our economy, only ideas to get himself to October 14th.
4) Harper has ignored the needs of municipalities for long-term stable funding and the growing infrastructure deficit. Harper’s finance minister’s only response to this being “we aren't in the pot hole business” and calling municipal leaders “whiners”.
5) No plan to cut poverty or any mention of it frmo Harper in this campaign
6) Harper tore up Kelowna, does not plan to re-visit it and has no plan to combat Aboriginal poverty
7) The weakest commitment to female candidates among all the parties. It’s not a priority at all for him to see more women in the House of Commons and/or give them a louder voice in making government policy.
8) Broken promises on wait times and no plan to reduce them (we may get a belated one on Tuesday, but we have no reason to believe Harper on this since he broke his word already)
9) No plan for post-secondary education and whatever is included in his eventual platform will surely not place it in high of priority as the Liberals do. Harper doesn’t understand how essential our PSE system is to our economy.
10) The failure to create any new child care spaces despite promising to create 125,000. His Universal Child Care benefit offers no choice to families as those looking for child care spaces can’t find them.

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