Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
You can be sure that the Conservatives' motives for getting into a pissing contest with Dalton Mcguinty are far from capricious. The Conservatives are aiming to do two things. One, they want to play to their “Western” base and two they want to reassure Quebec and the Maritimes that things will not get out of hand --- hence the small man of Confederation reference. Most people understand this. What they do not understand why this strategy is likely to work. You see one of the long simmering sources of “Western” alienation is the perception that Ottawa, for reasons relating to Quebec, is unwilling to recognize the region’s growing economic and democratic clout. The Conservatives are not so much trying to reduce “Western” alienation as trying to stoke it. The Conservatives are betting that the Liberals will defend the status quo and so far the Liberals have done just that. During the next election the Conservatives will mention how the Liberals are content to continue short changing the “West”. It is no accident that the Conservatives are proposing to give the same number of seats to the BC and Alberta as Quebec has. On the other side of the ledger Ontario’s huge rate of growth in absolute terms is bound to scare the bejesus out of Quebec and the Maritime premiers and by short changing Ontario the Conservatives are signaling to these provinces that they recognize these concerns and are willing to do something about it.
The Conservative fall back position is to say to Ontarians that while Ontario might be shortchanged in comparison to BC and Alberta and Quebec, it nevertheless gains more seats under the new system then it would under the old system. (It is should be noted that in absolute terms this is true; Ontario will gain more seats in absolute terms; after all, the new system adds more seats than the older system. However in the long term such a system will see the gap between what percentage of the population of Canada lives in Ontario and what percentage of MPs are from Ontario grow faster than under the current system.)
If the Liberals were smart, they would surprise the Conservatives and say that the 4 largest provinces should all be held to the same standard and cash in in Ontario. The problem is the Liberals are tactical dummies and they do not know the first thing about strategy. Indeed, as Canada’s 3 largest cities grow, their suburbs and not just the urban cores are becoming more liberal. What is more, the Liberals still have better relations with new Canadians than any other party and most Canadians are in Canada three largest cities. These areas are the biggest potential for long term Liberal growth; the more seats they are given the better. So what are Liberals doing? They are busy worrying about what Harper’s chew toy (Charest) has to say.
Monday, December 03, 2007
Kyoto: Canada was not going to meet the 2012 Kyoto targets without buying emission credits and that was just was not sell domestically. There is no use going to war over something that is glaringly false. That was just the half off it. So long as Kyoto was the focus, the question arose as to why Canada is not going to meet its targets and this allowed the Conservatives to offer up Liberal inaction as the reason why. As for Bali, Dion has again let Harper outmaneuver him. He has allowed Harper to turn the issue into whether such a deal is workable and fair. The problem for the Liberals is however unpopular the general thrust of Harper’s stance is with the public, Harper is not wrong in everything he says and many Canadians, call them Rex Murphy Canadians, will be appreciative of such tough talk. Harper, for example, is right about the following. Without an accord that binds all major emitters to the same standards, the chances of such an accord actually making a dent in the problem and even holding together over time are not good. It does not matter a lick that industrialized countries per capita emissions are much higher. It does not matter that the developed nations are responsible for most of emissions thus far. The past means nothing; the only thing that matters in the dog eat dog world of international affairs is what happens going forward. What is more the developed world is holding most of the aces. There are parts of the developed world that are going to be hit hard by global warming, but global warming is going to have a far bigger impact on the undeveloped world and the undeveloped world does not have the same ability to deal with it. (While it might be sacrilegious to say this, Canada is one of the few countries that could actually benefit from global warming.)
In order to fully capitalize on the issue the Liberals have to switch from talking about international treaties designed to deal with the problem of global warming to how the various parties plan to reduce carbon emissions at national level going forward. The Liberals have a plan, the semblance of a plan anyway, and the Conservatives have a potential political piñata known as intensity based emissions. Do not give Harper the opportunity to speak hard truths about the treaty process. In politics, the long game goes to those who manage to force their opponents continually trade in half truths or worse; Truth is a turtle, a lie a rabbit. Force Harper into defending his undefendable intensity based emissions plan. The longer the focus stays there, the better. If the focus is left there for a month or more, environmentalists, academics, pundits and yes bloggers will devour the Conservative party’s credibility on the issue like so many scavengers and insects picking clean a carcass. Moreover, if the Liberals are successfully able to reveal the Conservatives intensity based plan as such much hot air, the Conservatives will appear insincere whenever they try to talk tough on Bali.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
The skilled worker category is equally puzzling. It is weighted, accidently I am sure, in such a way as to favor older applicants over younger ones. A premium is placed on experience, being married is advantageous and age is not penalized much at all. For example, a 49 year old is given the same number of points for age as a 21 year old. All this is completely at odds with the stated aim of using immigration to mediate some of the stresses of having a low birth rate, a shrinking supply of labour and a graying population. Canada needs immigrants and probably needs more than we are already letting in. However, the average age of immigrant to Canada is 37; this is the same age of the average native born Canadian resident.
Now, in order to get at appreciation for some of the short comings of the current points system consider this. Under the current formula, a single 28 year old who has just completed a PHD in Canada, and who speaks perfect English, but who lacks relevant work experience and is not proficient in French would likely not qualify. Indeed, assuming no family ties and no relevant work experience, they would score 56 out of 100. In other words, if they were not able to quickly secure a job in one of the relevant fields, they would be heading back to their country of origin in short order. Even, if that same applicant spoke perfect French and English they would still not qualify. They would score 64 out of 100.
By contrast a 49 year old who has never set foot in the country and speaks no French but has a BA, 3 years experience, moderate English skills a spouse with a 1 year diploma, and a cousin in distant Canadian city would score 67! This is absurd.
That is why I say that instead of offering just 5 points for completing a graduate degree in Canada an applicant should be given 16 points. Taking a graduate degree in Canada should place a foreigner on the road to becoming a Canadian citizen.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Andrew Coyne: “I am not sure anybody knows [what the Liberal party stands for] least of all the Liberals.”
Gordan Gibson: “They [The Liberal Party] have got to develop policy and they haven’t.”
Russo: “What the Liberal party has become is a party of nostalgia.”
Hebert: “Sometimes a rebirth [the 2006 Liberal leadership convention] is a stillbirth.”
The Liberal Party is a party without a soul, without courage, without direction, and without policy. Above all else, the party is hopelessly conservative.
The center point on the political spectrum is not achieved by splitting the difference between what the NDP say and the Conservatives say. What lies between the two is not fertile ground, but rather a desolate no mans land. The Liberal party brass does not seem to realize this. They love pasting together Conservative and NDP talking points to create a shit mix. Afghanistan is a great case in point. Talking points are not starting points. They are an end points. They must flow from a coherent position
Worse, the Liberals approach is entirely passive when it should be active. They should not seek to occupy the political center but to define what is central to being Canadian and let the Conservatives position themselves on the right of that vision and the NDP on the left. This is a daunting task, but it has done before. What we think of Canada is really the Liberal vision of the country under Trudeau and Pearson.
The Liberals need to again duplicate Trudeau and Pearson approach circa 63 through 68. They have to attract those on the left by proposing universal social programs and they need to bring libertarians under their tent by pursuing socially liberal ends. Finally, they have to tie this too approaches together using pragmatic Red Tory language.
The $64,000 question is what polices to pursue.
Long term legalize prostitution
Universal Pharmacare program
4 weeks vacation for all Canadians
Universal dental care
Universal Child care
Long term preconditions for success
Deal with under representation of the cities in the House of Commons
Introduce mandatory voting; As long as seniors vote in much greater numbers than young people, Canadian politics will be stuck in the past
Abandon special interest politics
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
The problem is two fold. First such an argument rests on a false contrast; seats in the House of Commons are supposed to be assigned on basis of population, but in actuality that is not the case. For example, PEI has a population of 135,851 and has 4 MPs and people in the Federal riding of Oak Ridges Markham has a population of 169, 642 obviously only has 1 MP. In other words, a vote in Oak Ridges Markham has less the 5th the value of a vote cast in riding of Charlottetown. Harper’s planned increase in the number of seats does not go nearly far enough. The government would have to add a lot more than just 22 seats to insure that no province is overrepresented and no province underrepresented.
Of course no government would ever dare take away seats from a particular province or region and even if they were so bold there are constitutional hurdles. For example no province can have less MPs than senators. This means that it more or less impossible for PEI and the territories to be anything other than outliers. They would still be over represented.
However, if the government would commit to an MP for every 70,000 people, things would be more or less equal everywhere else. Such a commitment to fairness would see Ontario gain 67 seats, Quebec 32, BC 23, Alberta 19, and Manitoba, Nova Scotia 2 each. All told, 145 seats should be added, most of those in urban areas and nearly half in Ontario.
However, even if Ontario, BC and Alberta and Quebec were to given their proper allotment of House of Commons Seats, there is still no need for the Senate. Whatever regional concerns a population of a lesser populated province might have are taken care of by the very fact that live in a such a province. This becomes readily apparent when instead of looking at what province has more clout, as if that makes any sense whatsoever, one instead compares how much clout various populations have. Indeed, the 135,851 in PEI have, for example, a million times the political clout of the 169, 642 people in the Federal riding of Oak Ridges Markham. Indeed, not only do the 135,581 people in PEI have the power to determine everything under provincial jurisdiction, and provincial representation, but they have also have 4 MPs to Oak Ridges Markham one MP. Giving the 135,851 people in PEI the same number of “effective” senators, as per the Triple E Senate model for instance, as 12.1 million Ontarians is grossly undemocratic.
All told, what should happen is the government should add those 145 extra seats. Fairness requires it. The government should then seek to abolish the Senate to pay for such an expansion. The current senate serves no purpose and reformed senate is an affront to democracy. The provinces abolished their senates. Federal government should follow in their footsteps. Let Canada would then join the club unicameral states. Canada would be in good company. New Zealand, Denmark, Finland, Israel, Sweden, Iceland, Liechtenstein, South Korea and Portugal are all unicameral.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Campbell’s opinions are well known, Rintoul’s plain stupid.
Province: Sgt. Scott Rintoul mans the RCMP's drug-awareness bureau in B.C. Well-acquainted with the arguments for legalizing marijuana, he challenges the legal-pot advocates to consider one important point -- our children.
"It has to be our priority. They're our future," Rintoul says.
Yes, let us think of the children, i.e., teenagers. Tell them just what just Rintoul said. Those that do not burst out laughing, will certainly roll their eyes. I am dead serious. Walk into, for example, a grade 11 or 12 law class and try out that line on them.
"The majority does not smoke marijuana [or] drink [or] use
Granted Vancouver is not Moscow or Prague, but to suggest there are more people who do not drink then who do is ridiculous. There are more vegetarians than teetolers.
"Marijuana is an addictive drug.
Yeah what are the symptoms? Be specific. Maybe a headache and irritability for chronic users, but that would be grounds for banning caffeine tobacco too.
We do have people in the city of Vancouver who are suffering a dependency on cannabis [who] are going through treatment, yet you never hear that. Ten or 20 per cent of marijuana users have a problem with cannabis.
Oh yes “psychological dependency”. Anything where routine and repetition are involved could lead to “psychological dependency”. There are people with obsessive compulsive disorder who are psychologically dependent on hand soap, but that is hardly a reason to bane hand soap. Many scholars have argued that the term is politically motivated and was designed to obscure the fact that marijuana is not physically addictive the way, say alcohol and heroin can be. Whatever the term’s origins, it is certainly employed by the drug warriors to serve political ends.
Indeed, the number of people seeking treatment for marijuana dependence in the States is indeed decently large, but the vast majority according to most studies (70% and above) are there because they were given a choice when charged with possession: “Treatment” or jail. In true Orwellian fashion, the US government turns around and uses the number of people it forces in “treatment” as proof of the dangers of marijuana.
As for Canada, the numbers are not large, but of the 6300 people in Ontario (population 12.1 million and anywhere from 1.5 to 2 million users) seeking help for marijuana dependency in 2005, most reported being coerced into treatment and not being there of their own violation. Most were male single, under age 20 and in high school. Legal system involvement and school- or family-based pressure to enter treatment were the commonly reported cause of their seeking treatment. It should also be noted that only 13% of people seeking help drug treatment in Ontario in 2005 were marijuana users even though the number of marijuana users dwarfs the number of heroin and cocaine users. In other words, the figures Rintoul sites are utter fiction.
"[Pot advocates] are trying to legitimize something for perhaps an adult or a young professional -- and I think that's wrong at the expense of young people."
Translated: Rintoul is saying that he can not offer any kind of argument for why an “adult” or “young professional” should not be allowed to consume marijuana, but my god think of the children. Listening to Rintoul you would think that the senate committee, that recommended legalization, said that they saw no reason why children as young as 6 be permitted to purchase marijuana.
Rintoul also argues that a black market in marijuana would still exist if it were legal, since growers would try to avoid paying tax on it.
Yeah and there is a huge black market in home made wine and moonshine. Look, people will still grow it for their own consumption and there will still be smuggling so long as it is illegal in the States. However, no one is going to be buying pot from the local hood when they could go purchase it legally from a liquor store. The main reason is quality control. If it was legal and regulated, people would know exactly what they were getting, they would know that it was not laced with anything and just how strong it is etc.
Friday, November 09, 2007
As Red Tory pointed out the above was in reference to a 1975 headline. http://redtory.blogspot.com/2007/11/leave-it-to-beaver.html#links Just to note, Red did get a little carried away though. Half the blogsphere was not born in 1975.
"Any barely sentient person should be aware that the deliberately provocative headline in the Toronto Star (and faithfully repurposed for the web by the good folks at National Newswatch) was quite obviously a direct knock-off of the infamous headline “FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD” that was run by the Daily News in 1975 regarding the bankruptcy of New York City government and the refusal of President Gerald Ford to provide financial assistance."
Naturally Tory Hack Angry, and what Conservative is not?, in the great White North lost his pretty little head. http://stevejanke.com/archives/246088.php
"Actually, attributing words to someone that we never actually said could be grounds for legal action if those words cast that person in a poor light."
This was the headline: PM to Cities: Drop Dead http://www.members.shaw.ca/nspector4/clip_image2001.jpg
Do you see quotes? I do not see any quotes. Therefore the Star was not attributing any specific words to Harper. It is just that simple. If they were attributing a quote to Harper this is how it would have read: PM to Cities: "Drop Dead"
The other purpose of the senate in both the US and Canada, of course, was to provide regional representation. Smaller states and Provinces wanted their interests protected before agreeing to form a Federation. For example, the Southern States wanted to make sure the Northern States, were most Americans lived in and live now, would not be able to abolish slavery. Yes the US senate has done a lot of good over the years.
Some believe that the regions need more say and an “equal” “effective” and “elected” senate is the best way of achieving a balance between population centers in Eastern Canada and the rest of us. The problem is two fold. First such an argument rests on a false contrast; seats in the House of Commons are supposed to be assigned on basis of population, but in actuality that is not the case. For example, PEI has a population of 135,851 and has 4 MPs and people in the riding of Oak Ridges Markham has a population of 169, 642 obviously only has 1 MP. In other words, a vote in Oak Ridges Markham has less the 5th the value of a vote cast in Charlottetown. Assuming that no government would ever dare take away seats from a particular province or region, the government would have to add a ton more seats to make it have way equal. If the government would commit to an MP for every 70,000 people the new numbers would break down as follows. Ontario would gain 67 seats, Quebec 32, BC 23, Alberta 19, and Manitoba, Nova Scotia 2 each. All total, a 145 seats should be added, most of those in urban areas. Even then there would still be outliers. PEI, and the territories would still be over represented. The second reason is that comparing province to province is a perverse misnomer. It is comparing apples to oranges. The people living in Canada’s less populated provinces (hello again PEI) have a mechanism assure that regional concerns are addressed; it is called province jurisdiction and provincial representation. By the very nature of living in a province with a small population, the 135,851 people in PEI have plenty of ways of addressing regional concerns that are not available to, for example, the 169, 642 residents of Oak Ridges Markham. All in all, comparing province to province is a perverse misnomer. A province is no more or less than the people that make up that province. Giving the 135,851 in PEI the power to determine everything under provincial jurisdiction, provincial representation and 4 MPs well all the while given 169, 642 Oak Ridges Markham one MP is bad enough as it is. Giving the 135,851 people in PEI the same number of “effective” senators, as per the American Triple E Senate model, as 12.1 million Ontarians is beyond stupid and grossly undemocratic.
Needless to say, if push comes to shove, abolishing the senate is far more preferable to senate Reform. No province has a second chamber, most abolished them, and they are doing just fine. Furthermore there are numerous examples of unicameral nation states. New Zealand, Denmark, Finland, Israel, Sweden, Iceland, Liechtenstein, South Korea and Portugal are all unicameral.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
“Whether Canada ends up as one national government or two national governments or several national governments, or some other kind of arrangement is, quite frankly, secondary in my opinion.”
Anyway, this is Belgium today.
However that is not the worst of it. I am afraid with the help of a soulless Liberal party the Conservatives may succeed in reforming the senate. That would be the worst of all possible words.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Thomas Walkom, one of Canada's best columnists, has a good article on the dollars decline. http://www.thestar.com/Business/article/274630
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Having established the illegitimacy of current senate in the form of the referendum question, Harper will thereafter argue that he is justified in going ahead with his plan to reform the senate in a piece meal fashion – senate reform being one of two acceptable options.
Just to recall, under the Conservative plan, new senators would be elected and would be limited to serving out an 8 year term. The problem is people already in the senate would be free to serve until the age of 75. The result the of such nonsense should such a bill reach the senate and pass would be either to transform an unelected political body with no power into a largely unelected political body with real political power or commit Canadians to the farcical and expensive act of electing people to office who hold no real power.
So the issue will stand heading into the referendum. The question will be Reform Harper's mess or cut bait and abolish the senate. The obvious reluctance of the provinces to do anything right now will not matter. If Harper wins the next election and there is no reason to believe the hapless Dion will be able to beat him, the Provinces will have no choice but tackle the issue of senate Reform. As Harper likes to say, God bless Canada. We will need all the help we can get.
So what do? The Liberals need to start rolling out policy and may even have to go as far as calling a policy convention. Until they start rolling out some new policies the media will continue to write about Dion’s many short comings, the Liberals lack of unity, the party will remain stuck in the polls and the fund raising numbers will remain poor.
If the Liberals hold such a convention and it is as dull and unproductive as the last, I will be the first one calling for Dion’s ouster.
Friday, November 02, 2007
Plett [Conservative party president] didn't argue with Warner's characterization of the dispute.”
This is the offending passage
“and am proud to have been a delegate to the XVIth International AIDS Conference held in Toronto in August 2006.”http://www.markwarner.ca/
Why would the Conservatives ask Warner to remove this passage? Well one could argue that the Conservatives did not want to draw attention to the fact that Stephen Harper did not attend. Of course that would not be much of an explanation because such a response would only beg the question as to why Harper did not attend in the first place.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
“conservative parties simply cannot shy away from values questions. On a wide range of public-policy questions, including foreign affairs and defence, criminal justice and corrections, family and child care, and healthcare and social services, social values are increasingly the really big issues. Take taxation, for example. There are real limits to tax-cutting if conservatives cannot dispute anything about how or why a government actually does what it does. If conservatives accept all legislated social liberalism with balanced budgets and corporate grants - as do some in the business community - then there really are no differences between a conservative and a Paul
Third, rebalancing means there will be changes to the composition of the conservative coalition. We may not have all the same people we have had in the past. The new liberal corporatist agenda will appeal to some in the business community. We may lose some old "conservatives," Red Tories like the David Orchards or the Joe Clarks. This is not all bad. A more coherent coalition can take strong positions it
wouldn't otherwise be able to take - as the Alliance alone was able to do during
the Iraq war.”
As for Warner's processed roots in the Progressive Conservative party, Harper was always quite clear that he regarded the Progressive Conservative party as a “second Liberal Party”.
As to Warner's attempts to address issues relating to social housing, access to education and issues related to poverty, make no mistake Harper has no time for such issues and is not afraid to say so. To wit:
"These [federal government] proposals included cries for billions of new money for social assistance in the name of 'child poverty' and for more business subsidies in the name of 'cultural identity'. In both cases I was sought out as a rare public figure to oppose such projects. ..."
Harper’s unwillingness to attend the AIDS conference in Toronto is a pretty good sign that he regards such conferences and Warner's interest in them as so much “social liberalism” and he wants nothing to do with them.
The case of Mark Warner should serve as a wake up call to chattering classes. Harper is no Red Tory. There is not one policy proposal in the Rediscovering the Right agenda that Harper has not adopted and he is only dropped one, viz., ssm, and that was only after a three year loosing battle.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
The Liberals offer Canadians no vision. They are the party of the status quo. This crop of Liberals seems utterly disinclined to challenge societal “taboos” the way Trudeau did with his Omnibus Bill in 1968. It is the party of bourgeoisie respectability. There is a hodge-podge of technocratic solutions aimed at tweaking things a bit. Many are well thought out and well intentioned, but none inspire. There is not a single Liberal policy that Canadians would trade even up for shaving another point off the GST. This crop of Liberals is decidedly not “cool”. They are painfully nice, in Canadian sort of way, but they are as dull as dishwater and hopelessly temperamentally conservative. They lack any kind of sex appeal. It as if the Liberals decided that Stanfield and Clark are better role models than Pierre Trudeau.
It gets worse. The Liberals claim to be the party of a united Canada, but not one of their policies is aimed at all Canadians. The Liberals talk about university students, Maritime Canadians, Native Canadians and the poor, but offer Canadians no policy that will have a tangible benefit to all Canadians. They have abandoned universality altogether. Moreover, Dion hints at wanting to carry on the proud Liberal tradition of standing up for a strong Federal government, well all the while announcing that he was solidly behind the rightly loathed Meech Lake and Charlottetown Accords and otherwise sounding like the loathsome Jean Lapierre in a mellow mood. In both senses, not only has the party failed to capture the imagination of Canadians, they have also betrayed the legacy of Lester Pearson and Pierre Trudeau.
If the two parties continue as is, the Liberals will loose the next election and loose badly.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Their crime bill is ridiculed by criminologists.
Their environment plan is dismissed by environmentalists as nothing more than window dressing.
Their plan to cut the GST is ridiculed by economists
For the entity formerly known as the “New government of Canada”, sound policy is not a distant second to politics; it is altogether irrelevant. In this respect, the entity formerly known as the “New government of Canada” resembles the Bush administration more than perhaps any other government around.
Still, that begs the question: would Canada be better off with two “effective” houses? The answer is of course not. As Benjamin Franklin put it, having two equally matched houses makes as much sense as tying two equally matched horses to either end of a buggy and having them both pull. This should be obvious. It certainly was obvious to the original supporters of the senate. The name of Britain’s two houses, the House of Lords and the House of Commons, is very telling in that regard. The purpose of having a House of Lords was to check the will of common people. One of the main purposes of the Canadian senate, which was modeled after the British system, was to do the same.
The class based nature of the senate has long since been forgotten though and we are left with a corpse destined to provide regional representation. Some believe that the regions need more say and an “effective” and “elected” senate is the best way of achieving such a balance between population centers in Eastern Canada and the rest of us. The problem is two fold. First such an argument rests on a false contrast; seats in the House of Commons are supposed to be assigned on a rep by pop basis, but in actuality that is not the case. For example, PEI has a population of 135,851 and has 4 MPs and people in the riding of Oak Ridges Markham has a population of 169, 642 obviously ony has 1 MP. The second reason is that comparing province to province is a perverse misnomer. It is comparing apples to oranges. What one should be comparing is the political resources of people in any two ridings. When one does this it is abundantly clear that people in Canada’s urban centers in particular are getting the short end of the stick and that people living in the less populous regions of the country already have far more clout on a per person basis by virtue of the fact that the provincial and territorial jurisdictions in which they are a member or far less populous. Indeed, PEI and its population of 135,851 and 4 MPs, as a province, has revenue streams available to it that are simply not available to Oak Ridges Markham and its population of 169, 642 and 1 MP. Oak Ridges Markham does not get Federal transfer payments for one. Empowering 4 PEI senators to represent the interests of 135,851 people while only empowering 24 Ontario Senators to represent the interests of 12.1 million Ontarians simply adds insult to injury. It is also grossly undemocratic.
I should have mentioned that even the means by which Harper hopes to “Reform” the senate is perverse. Being unable to “reform” the Senate in one fell swoop, Harper has proposed electing Senators piece meal. It is hard to image a dumber idea. Under the Conservative plan, new senators would elected and would be limited to serving out a 8 year term. The problem is that people already in the senate would be free to serve until the age of 75. As a result the effect of such nonsense could be either to transform an unelected political body with no power into a largely unelected political body with real political power or commit Canadians to the farcical and expensive act of electing people to office who hold no real power.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
So why is Harper doing this? He is would like nothing better for the Liberal senate to touch his bill. Can he regard a senate vote as a matter of confidence? Make no mistake the Conservatives are tactically smart.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
This is on the Conservative website
May I sugggest the following caption: "Why not?"
About the polls 4 things should be noted. One, the Conservative Party has more potential for growth than the Liberals. While the Liberals have remained stuck at around 30 for almost 2 years, the Conservatives numbers are up and down, Two, the Bloc vote looks like it is soft and while there are signs the Conservatives are positioned to pick up a Bloc voters outside of urban Montreal, there is no signs that the Liberals stand to pick up any of the Bloc vote, inside urban Montreal or outside, if it indeed collapses. Three, the Conservatives have more money and better ground presence than the Liberals. Four, Conservative vote is more efficient than the Liberal vote. Now, granted if you take away Alberta most polls would show the Liberals leading in the rest of the country. However, what Liberal supporters forget if you take away Toronto, Conservatives are ahead in the rest of the country. Moreover the Conservatives are competitive in virtually every province now. Last election they were above 30% in every province except two. In Quebec they were at 24.6% and in Nova Scotia they were at 29.69%. By comparison, the Liberals were at 27.6% in BC, 15.3% in Alberta, 22.4% in Sask. 26% in Manitoba and 20.7% in Quebec. In other words, in terms of population and in terms of the Provinces, in half the country the Liberals are well under 30%.
If Dion and company think they can win the next election without a major policy overhaul, they are delusional. The Liberals can start by going back to the modern roots of the Liberal party, i.e., social democracy and social liberalism. The last time the Liberals captured the imagination of British Columbians, for example, was when Person and later Trudeau were pushing ahead with Medicare, CPP and liberalizing divorce and abortion laws, and kicking the police out of the country’s bedrooms. The Liberals have made a fuss about the Conservatives taking steps to confine Federal government spending to, really, funding the military. However, they have not proposed the very kind of policies that Harper seeks to outlaw. Propose a universal dental Care. Propose a national pharmacare program the way the NDP are. By the way, if the Liberals think the can win over the hearts and minds of Canadians by reintroducing a child care plan that does not even come close to addressing the problem of a lack of affordable child care in this country, they deserve to loose. Go universal, or do not bother. It is time to bring the era of conservative Liberalism to an end.
The Liberals are in better shape when compared to the NDP. The NDP are within striking distance of Sukh Dhaliwal, and Keith Martin and they finished within 5,000 of David Emerson. However the Liberals are within striking distance of Bill Siksay in Burnaby Douglas and Peter Julian in Burnaby-New Westminster
Realistically, the high water mark the Liberals would be 11 seats in BC or 2 more than the won in 2006 and three more than they have now. On the flip side of things, the Liberals could be reduced to 3 seats in BC.
I should have mentioned this right off the top.
1993 28.1 6 seats of 32 seats
1997 28.8 6 seats of 34 seats
2000 27.7 5 seats of 34 seats
2004 28.6 8 seats of 36 seats
2006 27.6 9 seats of 36 seats
The Liberal numbers in terms of the popular vote have been remarkably consistent for the province as a whole, but have gone up in places in the lower mainland at the expense of some of other parts of the province making the Liberal vote more efficient. I do not see any prospect for any kind of Liberal surge.
One has to go back all the way back to 1974 to see the Liberals above 30% in BC and the Liberals last won BC in 1968. That year they took 16 of 25 seats and took the popular vote with 41.6% of the vote. It should be noted that PCs were shut out that year and won a mere 18.9% of the vote the worst total in any province of Territory. By contrast the PCs won Alberta that year with 51% of the popular vote and 15 of 19 seats. The NDP had won BC in 1962, 63, 65 and 72. Outside of 1988, when the NDP took the province, since then, BC has been PC, Reform and Conservative.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
There is hardly any proposal worth supporting. The Crime package: The mandatory minimums, for example, might appeal to Joe and Jane law and order and might be good politics, but they are disastrous stupid policy. The same can be said about the Conservatives environmental policies. The Conservatives intensity emissions based plan is a joke and the fact that the Conservatives are right to point out that Canada has no hope of meeting its Kyoto targets should not warrent the free pass the media is giving them on the subject. I can not think of single columnist or reporter that pointed out the obvious flaws of such an policy. That is not the only the thing media has given the Stephen Harper a pass on. Indeed, is the media so mesmerized by Stephen Harper’s tactical acumen that they let the Conservatives get repeatedly get away with ridiculous stupid talking points? For instance:
“Families now have real choice in child care through the Universal Child Care Benefit.”
Repeat after me; $100 a month is not a childcare plan. It is a redo of the family allowance, that Brain Mulroney, much to Stephen Harper’s delight, scrapped in the 1993. Harper, it should be noted, was against his “childcare” plan before he was for it. Stephen Harper: “Universality has been severely reduced: It is virtually dead as a concept in most areas of public policy. The family allowance program has been eliminated and unemployment insurance has been seriously cut back." http://www.canadians.org/wordwarriors/2006/jan-10.html He “flipped flopped”.
Germany, Mexico and Austria were world's top three searchers of the word "Hitler" while "Nazi" scored the most hits in Chile, Australia and the United Kingdom, data from 2004 to the present retrievable on the "Google Trends" Web site showed.
Chile also came in first place searching for the word "gay", followed by Mexico and Colombia.
The top searchers for other keywords were as follows (in order from first to third place):"
He leveled the same tired and worn out criticisms and promised more of the same tepid policies. To date the only thing the Liberals have offered the faithful is the promise of “deep” corporate tax cuts. Harper mocked the political optics of such a move and so shall I. The Liberals are not going to out tax cut the Conservatives. If this the best the party can offer, they are doomed to loose the next election and doomed to loose badly.
It is hard to believe this hopelessly temperamentally conservative party was once lead by Trudeau. I have no trouble, however, believing that it was once lead by Paul Martin and John Turner and neither do other Canadians.
It would be a fine national debate. On one side would stand the Conservatives opposing pharmacare as (a) an expensive, unnecessary program, (b) an intrusion into the sacred provincial jurisdiction over health, (c) a further expansion of government into the lives of Canadians, and (d) an insult to Quebec.
On the other would stand the Liberals proposing pharmacare as (a) a necessary extension of medicare, (b) a program once supported by at least five premiers during Mr. Martin's time as prime minister, (c) an affirmation of the federal government's relevance to citizens, and (d) the best way to restrain soaring drug costs.”
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Kyoto Accord: The Conservatives announced that the targets set under the Kyoto protocol are unattainable. The opposition parties disagree and there will be a lot of righteous indignation heard from them over this. The thing is, though, the targets are unattainable. Canada is not going to meet the 2012 Kyoto targets without buying emission credits and this just will not sell domestically. That is just the half off it. So long as Kyoto is the focus, the question will arise as to why Canada is not going to meet its targets and this will allow the Conservatives to offer up Liberal inaction as the reason why. There is no use going to war over something that is glaring false and the Liberals would do well to move on. Indeed, what the Liberals need to do is to focus the debate on how the various parties plan to reduce carbon emissions going forward. The Liberals have a plan, the semblance of a plan anyway, and the Conservatives have potential political piñata known as intensity based emissions. Call into question the effectiveness of the Conservative plan and then sit back and watch as environmentalists, academics, pundits and yes bloggers break it into a million pieces. Under intense scrutiny, I give such a plan no more than month and half, maybe two. As for the other parties, the Bloc’s reason for being means it is no position to offer up a plan and the NDP poise no realistic challenge to the Conservatives. Whether they have a good plan or not is moot. The NDP will not win the next election. The underlying message is thus this. Only the Liberals are both able and willing to tackle global warming and the Liberals will be in a position to commit Canada to the second round of Kyoto talks.
Early childhood education: The problem with the Liberals early childhood education was that it was not universal. As a result, the more the Liberals talked up the need for such a program the more inadequate and lackluster their proposal appeared and the attractive the Conservatives universal baby bonus became. Indeed many voters hedged their bets. They figured that a $1200 bird in their hand was better than 15% chance of nailing two in the bush. If the Liberals want to capture the imagination of Canadians by again promising an national early childhood education program they better make sure that they are able to deliver universal program and that they are able to deliver and all at once.
Afghanistan: Until recently the Liberals did not even have any decent Afghan talking points. The childish and silly “its their turn” has at long last morphed into something much more weighty. It has become the following: If other NATO countries are unwilling to share the economic, political, and military costs of deploying in the South, the mission is doomed. Either way, Canada will abandon its military mission in the South under a Liberal government in 2009. Either because someone else has assumed the burden or no one has and the mission is doomed to fail. However the policy is yet to catch up to their talking points. Liberals are still hedging their bets and have yet to commit to pulling Canadian troops out of Kandahar province by 2009. The party is playing semantics and seems willing to sanction a deal with the Conservatives that would see Canadian troops stay in Kandahar, but not in a non combat role, as if this is distinction with difference. Such a policy might not have immediate short term implications, but the party should note that should it sanction a longer stay in Kandahar, no matter what role, the party base, especially what is left of it in Quebec, will never forgive them.
Kelowna Accord: I do not have anything positive to say about the Kelowna Accord. It is just more money thrown after bad. The root cause of native poverty is not a lack of government money, but can rather be sourced back to the emphasis placed on communal property to exclusion of private property and manner by which government monies are distributed by the bands. That said, the fact that Kelowna Accord does nothing to address the underlying causes of Native poverty does not mean that Native poverty is any the less real and any effort to fight poverty, however superficially, is usually welcomed by the public. Furthermore, there is political payoff to pursuing a policy that has been agreed upon by all the principle players.
“Deep” Corporate Tax Cuts: A small reduction, such as the one the Conservatives are suggesting, will do just fine thank you very much. The Canadian corporate earnings are higher than anywhere else in the industrialized world and cost of doing business in Canada is cheaper than in Britain, the US, Italy, Germany, Japan, France. The promise of corporate tax cuts is nothing new for the Liberals. Beginning in 2000 the Liberals cut the corporate tax rate by 8%. That said, the optics of such a cut look better in 2007 than they did in 2005 for two reasons. One, the dollar is real concern and two the Liberals have rolled out much more effective talking points this time around. Indeed, Dion all but short circuited Layton's most likely line of attack.
"Some will say that a cut in corporate taxes is a right wing policy. I’m sure my friend Jack Layton will say this. But to believe this is to believe that Sweden, with its low corporate tax rate, is the hot bed of neo-conservatism while the United States, with its very high corporate tax rate, is a socialist paradise – or to quote Stephen Harper when he described Canada – “a second tier socialistic country”. A low corporate tax rate is not a right wing policy or a left wing policy. It is a sound policy."
All and all, should the Liberals force an election anytime they would not exactly be playing with the strongest hand, both from a policy perspective and from political perspective.
Whereas the NDP is still committed merely decriminalizing Marijuana, the Green party will legalize it.
Whereas the NDP remains silent on the "vacation gap” between Canada and Europe, the Green party will address the "vacation deficit" by giving Canadians an extra week of vacation a year.
The Green Party will match the NDP on several other issues.
Both the NDP and Green party support ban on all hand guns, semi automatic and fully automatic guns.
Both the NDP and Green party support a National pharmacare plan.
Both the NDP and Green party support a national $10 an hour minimum wage indexed to inflation.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
This is not all bad. Consider the so called poison pill: the Conservatives are going to announce that targets set under the Kyoto protocol are unattainable. The thing is they are unattainable. Canada is not going to meet the 2012 Kyoto targets without buying emission credits and this just will not sell domestically. That is just the half off it. So long as Kyoto is the focus, the question will arise as to why Canada is not going to meet its targets and this will allow the Conservatives to offer up Liberal inaction as the reason why. The Liberals need to focus the debate on how the various parties plan to reduce carbon emissions going forward. The Liberals have a plan, the semblance of a plan anyway, and the Conservatives have potential political piñata known as intensity based emissions. Call into question the effectiveness of the Conservative plan and then sit back and watch as environmentalists, academics, pundits and yes bloggers break it into a million pieces. Under intense scrutiny, I give such a plan no more than month and half, maybe two. As for the other parties, the Bloc’s reason for being means it is no position to offer up a plan and the NDP poise no realistic challenge to the Conservatives. Whether they have a good plan or not is moot. The NDP will not win the next election. The underlying message is thus this. Only the Liberals are both able and willing to tackle global warming.
As for what Conservatives crime agenda etc, let them spend their wad. Only make sure to make plenty of noise while they are doing so. How do you make noise? You roll out policy. You include a nice mix of policy designed to tackle the big issues and controversial policy to catch the media’s and public’s attention. Hopefully by the time the Conservatives are finished, they will have run out of things to do just as the Liberals have wetted the public’s interest for their new policies.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Dion's comback was the best line of the week.
"I hope you have had a very good Thanksgiving,” Liberal leader Stephane Dion began, his entire existence, as usual, seeming to hang in the balance. “Some of you may ask where I went. Well, I decided to follow the advice of the Prime Minister. I cut bait and went fishing.”
This is Dion at his best. A little Impish. A very nice contrast to Angry Dad Harper.
"I think the prime minister has a lot in his hands and I'm not surprised he's so willing to go into an election before Canadians know more about it," Dion said Friday.
Dion referred to an Elections Canada investigation into whether the Conservatives may have broken election financing laws during the Conservative party's 2006 election campaign, something the Tories deny and are fighting in Federal Court.
Dion said Harper must also deal with an OPP investigation into allegations that the municipal election in Ottawa was tampered with and that it involved the Conservative party's top organizer. The Conservatives have denied any involvement.
Dion also pointed to the federal privacy commissioner's launch of a preliminary inquiry following several complaints that Harper compiled a mailing list of Jewish Canadians.
The Jewish thing is a none starter and only serves to distract from the other two. It should not have been mentioned. Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad though. My only complaint is why was released on a Friday afternoon and not earlier in the week? Something has happened to the Liberals late this week. Their messaging today is hundred times better than what it has been. It is clearer and more sophisticated.
While the Liberal environment policy would penalize industries that don't reduce emissions, the money would remain in the province to pay for research, he explained.
"High calibre research institutions like the University of Alberta and the Edmonton Research Park have the potential to become ground zero for a revolution in environmental innovation."
Alberta companies and universities could also make money by creating new ways to reduce emissions, he said.
"If we make Fort McMurray sustainable, we can export that know-how to the world, and by cutting megatonnes of emissions, we are going to make megatonnes of money."
I have always found the Liberals carbon fee plan politically clever. It also has the potential to be pretty good policy. I think they could do without the “megatonnes” of money line though.
Dion said that every month Canada delays is a mistake that makes it more difficult for NATO to find a replacement for the Canadian mission.
Extending the mission indefinitely also threatens the future of NATO because other members will hestitate to participate in missions if they see that a country accepts a two-year mission and ends up staying forever, he said."
Wow at long last substantive talking points. The childish and silly “its their turn” has morphed into something much more weighty. It has become the following: If other NATO countries are unwilling to share the economic, political, and military costs of deploying in the South, the mission is doomed. Either way, Canada should leave the south. Either because someone else has assumed the burden or no one has and the mission is doomed to fail.
Friday, October 12, 2007
A small reduction, such as the one the Conservatives are suggesting, will do just fine thank you very much. The Canadian corporate earnings are higher than pretty much everywhere and cost of doing business in Canada is cheaper than in Britain, the US, Italy, Germany, Japan, France.
Even the timing of the announcement sucks. The lead Story tonight is bound to be Al Gore’s sharing the Nobel Price followed by the announcement of the Afghan advisory group.
There is no time for such soul searching now though. The Liberals will hav to define themselves by the choices they make. They will have no choice but to develop bold new policy and take that existential leap by presenting it to the public.
Dion should have made the Conservatives intellectually dishonest and completely useless intensity based plan the issue, but alas. Instead he made Kyoto issue. As a result, past Liberal failings are in play and so too is the aforementioned unpalatable solution.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Monday, October 08, 2007
"Outspoken blogger received Tory contract The Harper government gave a
contract for communications consulting on Parliament Hill, worth up to $20,000,
to an outspoken Conservative Internet blogger.
Privy Council Office records show Joan Tintor, author of a popular weblog or "blog," in June received the one-year contract for "communications professional services not elsewhere specified."
“In his new book, Harper's Team: Behind the Scenes in the Conservative Rise to Power, party strategist Tom Flanagan notes the Tories' innovative use of blogs in the 2006 election campaign.
He cites in particular two members of the Blogging Tories, Steve Jank and Stephen Taylor, who write highly partisan blogs on federal politics.
Mr. Flanagan writes that campaign manager Doug Finley "appointed people to monitor the blogosphere and to get out stories that were not quite ready for the mainstream media."
These bloggers "amplify and diversify our message," he wrote.”
The ad reads in full “Dion of the Dead Conservative majority? A New and improved Canada ”
I do not know where the title comes from but this seems to be candidate
“Dion of the Living Dead
The Liberal leader is fighting against new worries that he's not up to the job
JOHN GEDDES October 1, 2007
By the way, are they charged by the hit.
Update: The "Dion of the dead" ad is still there. For example: http://www.electionprediction.org/2007_on/r_sw.html However, I now find a second ad linking to the Blogging Tories. This one is one is upfront though. The ad reads in full "The Blogging Tories proudly Canadian proudly conservative bloggingtories.ca." For example: http://www.electionprediction.org/2007_on/riding/024.php Finally, ads are found on other websites such as Calgary Grit http://www.calgarygrit.blogspot.com/ When you are over at Grit's site be sure to hit on the link.
You sir are no JFK.
Upbeat Bernier contradicts UN reports
Foreign Affairs Minister declares Kandahar more secure despite statistics that say situation is worsening
October 8, 2007
KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN -- Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier contradicted all publicly available assessments of security in southern Afghanistan yesterday with a bold claim that insurgent attacks have decreased in Kandahar, leaving the province more secure for humanitarian work.
"The territory is more secure now today, here in Kandahar than it was a year ago," Mr. Bernier said. "Look just a year ago what happened, there were many attacks, and the attacks have diminished."
Canadian officials have often pointed to hopeful developments in southern Afghanistan, but they rarely challenge the statistics cited by the United Nations and private security analysts that suggest an overall worsening trend.
"The security situation in Afghanistan is assessed by most analysts as having deteriorated at a constant rate through 2007," said a paper by the UN Department of Safety and Security in August. That report showed violent incidents increased almost 25 per cent this year, although the authors noted that the figure may be conservative.
Kandahar was among only three provinces listed in the United Nations report as places where the security situation has fallen into its worst category - "Extreme Risk/Hostile Environment" - across most of the province. This rating causes less accessibility to UN programs, the report notes.
These statistics fit with those collected by other analysts. The respected security firm Vigilant Strategic Services Afghanistan found that Kandahar suffered more anti-government attacks than any other province, in a tally of incidents from the beginning of the year to Sept. 30.
He also claimed that it's getting easier for aid workers to travel the province.
"We have improvement because our civilians, our humanitarian workers are able to go out there and do their work," Mr. Bernier said.
In fact, the growing risk of kidnapping among aid workers has prompted the UN to develop a new map assessing the likelihood of capture by insurgents in districts across the country. Almost the entire province of Kandahar is shown as "high abduction risk."
In a survey this year, Afghan government employees said they have limited ability to visit the majority of Kandahar's districts without armed escort; across the south, local officials said their access was decreasing because of the rising insecurity.
Another measure of aid workers' ability to work is the UN's internal security map.
This summer the map showed about one-third Afghanistan in the highest-risk category for travel, representing a deterioration from the summer of 2006, when only 15 per cent of the country earned the same rating.
The Canadian Press also makes note of this.
"The territory is more secure today here in Kandahar than it was a year ago," he said.
Last year there were many attacks, he added.
"Those attacks have diminished," Bernier said. "It's still difficult. I saw that it's still difficult. But the situation has greatly improved."
A recent review by the UN Department of Safety and Security described the situation in Kandahar as "volatile."
Across the country, 2007 has been the bloodiest year since the Taliban was ousted from power in a U.S. invasion six years ago.
So far this year, there have been an average of 525 violent incidents a month, compared with 425 last year.
The fact this is the most violent year since Afghanistan was invaded is evidence according to Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier of “real positive momentum”
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Now to be sure, Dion is no Trudeau. However, the Liberals badly need to reestablish their bona fides as champions of generational change. They need to propose something akin to Trudeau’s Omnibus Bill.
Indeed, the Liberals are not going to build any kind of grass roots movement unless they are willing to step on some toes the way Trudeau did in 1968. They are not going to attract anyone by trying to be all things to all people. Canadians feel no loyalty to the party anymore and quite frankly the Liberals bore most of them silly. The Liberals must seek out controversy rather than run from it. They must propose readily understandable policies that cut to heart of various hot button issues and they can not wait for an election to do so. They must trot out these policies as soon as possible. They can not afford to slave away in obscurity while the Conservatives dominant the headlines. They can not afford to be merely reactive. They must seize the initiative. They must adopt the motto Trudeau adopted in 1968. “If you are on the Liberal side, you should take risks on the side of progress. If you are going to be beaten, you should be beaten because you have been too progressive. Rather then take risks on not moving and be beaten because you have not moved fast enough.”
Friday, October 05, 2007
The Liberals Should Use The Perception of a Divided Caucus and Party to Unleash Policy Trail Balloons
Vancouver police member Gil Puder
HT: Un femme verte http://femmeverte.blogspot.com/2007/10/phishing-expedition.html
The problem is this. The Liberals have long maintained that Canadians should not be saddled with a criminal record for consuming something that is, after all, less harmful than alcohol. It is this light that Chrétien famously joked about having a joint in one hand and the money to pay for the fine of having it in the other. “I will have my money for my fine and a joint in my other hand.” At the same time as they have downplayed the affects of smoking marijuana they have stressed the importance of stiff penalties for trafficking. Taken in isolation such bipolar position has a certain superficial appeal. However, the Liberal policy of decriminalization is inherently incoherent; it is political position; it is an attempt to appeal to both sides of the political divide at the same time and it will not take too much time and effort to show how conflicted the Liberal position is. Indeed, image how ridiculous it would have sounded if this is what Chrétien said? “I will have my money for my fine and a joint in my other hand. Having paid my fine I would hope the cops find the person who sold it to me and put him in jail for a very long time.” This is essentially the Liberal’s current position. The problem is if it not already obvious by now that if the act of consumption is not deemed overly ruinous then the whole punitive rationale for trafficking comes crashing down. Add to the mix an acknowledgment that marijuana can serve a medical purpose and you have a conceptual train wreck as a policy.
All of this plays right into the Conservatives hands. The public is concerned about the growing number of grow ups and wants something down about it. The Conservatives not only promise action, but are going to blame the Liberals for the increase in grow ups. They are going to say that the Liberals have long sent out mixed messages about marijuana. This has led to increased demand for the product and as a consequence an increased number of grow ups to meet the demand. In order to boaster their case the Conservatives are going to force feed the Liberals their own words. One can count on them repeatedly bringing up the Chrétien quote and probably the 2002 senate report will be referred to but not quoted. Incidentally, I do not know if it matters to Harper and crew that such go hard approach will prove disastrous for the country. The Conservative position is first and foremost about politics.
Now, back in July Ontario’s marijuana possession laws were struck down by Judge Borenstein. Should the Ontario government loose its appeal and or the other similar discussions follow, the Conservatives will also launch new campaign a new campaign against “activist judges”. Such a campaign will not be aimed so much at suburbanites as the Conservatives social conservative base. Where he can, Harper will get his digs in about the Liberal senate and the 2002 report that recommened legalization.
The Liberals have only one effective counter. They can propose to legalize marijuana. They would then be in a position to actually use the senate report rather than having to look downward at the floor whenever the Conservatives mention it. I consider it very unlikely that the Liberals would be so bold though. I hope they prove me wrong.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm, I get high with a little help from my friends
Mm, gonna try with a little help from my friends
Meanwhile, The Conservatives are claiming, based on the Liberals' choice of songs, that the Liberals will propose that marijuana be legalized. http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5hUvLbSdjOyIsYKd90lMb5EPMonrQ According the Conservatives, “their motto for the upcoming campaign is ‘a friend with weed is a friend indeed.’”
"Marijuana won't kill you and we love marijuana. The five million Canadians who use marijuana cherish it like Christians cherish their religion, or a gourmand cherishes good food.”
The advocates of legalization have made great strides over the years and according to an Angus Reid poll released in June 55% of Canadians favor legalization. http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/view/16300 The next step for such advocates is to convince one or more of Canada's major political parties that it is in their political interest to pursue legalization.
The only good thing to be said about Liberal’s decriminalization policy politically or otherwise is that it could serve as a Trojan horse. Robbed of the ability to charge traffickers with the lesser charge of possession, police may not be able to keep up with the huge number of growers coming onto the market and the whole rotten prohibition edifice may come crashing down. Marc Emery may get his wish. The producers might over grow the system.
Needless to day, the Liberal approach plays right into the Conservatives hands. The Conservatives will argue, checked that they already have argued, that Liberal mixed messaging has real consequences and will repeatedly reference the recent UN report on marijuana use.
I responded to Copps thus;
“So what happened? Contrary to the usual post-modern, leader-driven campaign, an idea took centre stage.
An idea that could cost Tory his own seat.
In an ironic twist, he is facing down the education minister in a quasi-referendum on public education versus faith-based funding.
Was Tory on the wrong side of this one!
The last thing the public wants is a fragmentation of a functioning education system into multiple religious schools.
Tory's own base is eroding so fast that he was forced into a Hail Mary pass this week to save a campaign run aground.
What does all this have to do with Dion?
Well, when superficialities are scraped away, it proves the public can be engaged in more than the colour of the candidate's eyes.
When a powerful idea dominates the debate, Canadians demand more than simple leadership politics.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper thinks he can win a majority government because Dion is dead man walking.”
I agree with you and I think if the Liberals would promise to legalize marijuana, they would have their issue. Harper has been trying to create distance between himself and his social conservative base and the Bush administration ever since he become Prime Minster. If the Liberals promised to legalize marijuana, not only would Harper find himself in lock step with Campaign for Life and Real Women, but Dick Cheney, George Bush, John Walters, Fox news, the Washington Times, James Dobson, Pat Robinson and the faculty at Bob Jones University will line up behind him. The Liberals could play the nationalist card and social conservative card all at once. The thought of being able to strike a fatal blow the US ’s war on drugs will make Canadians giddy with excitement. If that was not enough, on the flip side of things, a legion of rock stars, intellectuals, movie stars, and high brow magazines, such as the New Yorker and Harper’s will line up behind the Liberals. Imagine a hundred and fifty thousand people or more at a pro legalization concert in Vancouver in the midst of an election campaign. Seattle ’s Hempfest regularly draws over a 100,000 and in terms of significance such a concert would, how should I put this, smokes it. It would not be possible to organize anything now, but should the Liberals announce such a policy now and stave off an election for say another 6 months it is possible. Dion would certainly not lack for name recognition anymore. Overnight he would become a household name, not just in Canada but abroad as well. Continuing on, such a promise would tear the Right apart. Libertarians and social conservatives would be at each other’s throats and the National, Post and great swaths of the Sun Media chain will side with the Liberals on this one! Last but not least the Conservatives would left defending a bunch of talking points that are so discredited they are considered a form of “madness”, “reefer madness”.