Tuesday, September 29, 2009
The Opposition Liberals are determined to bring down Prime Minister Stephen Harper's minority government on Thursday despite Harper's claim, made in New Brunswick on Monday, that a "fragile" recovery may be at risk if the country is plunged into its second election in a year.
"Doing anything less than staying focused on the economy is reckless and irresponsible," Harper said. "Trying to force an unnecessary and wasteful election in the middle of a global recession is not in this country's interest."Recommend this Post
Saturday, September 26, 2009
"If at the first time you face a major crisis you are forced to abandon your economic philosophy does that not mean your economic philosophy is bollocks?"Still waiting.
Today Jim Travers gives reason to pose a similar question with regards foreign policy. To wit (MEIB):
Perhaps it could be phrased thus:
Midweek, Harper played to his party base by not speaking to the forum Liberals love and Conservatives loathe as the epicentre of wishy-washy, do-gooder internationalism. By week's end, he was wisely, if reluctantly, bowing to shifting global realities. ...
He grasps what makes heads bob over coffee and fritters, even if it embarrasses chattering classes nervous about the damage to Canadian multilateral traditions and vital interests. And he's pragmatic enough to understand when going with the flow, no matter how unappealing the direction, is the only viable option.
Of Harper's two performances, the second was the more demanding. Comfortable in his political skin in Oakville, the Prime Minister spoke scripted lines through gritted teeth in Pittsburgh. Faced with hosting an increasingly irrelevant G8 summit or throwing open Canada's doors to the G20, Harper, under considerable world and U.S. pressure, chose the lesser evil of speeding a bright Paul Martin idea toward its logical conclusion.
Wise or inescapable, Harper's choice is rich in ironies. Timing and circumstances are forcing a Conservative prime minister to bring his Liberal predecessors' global governance vision into focus. If that isn't galling enough, it now falls to Harper to set a prestigious place at the table for China, the economic elephant Martin spotted in the room and the Dragon this prime minister tries so hard to ignore.
Smaller annoyances add both to the difficulty of Harper's decision and the credit he deserves for getting it right. Canada's approval is now stamped on a collegial approach to solving world problems that isn't central to the Prime Minister's thinking or record. At the same time, morphing two summits into one adds pressure and prestige to foreign affairs, a department he particularly distrusts and starves of resources as well as influence.
In the end – and the Muskoka summit will now wrap one power broking era and begin another – Harper has improved Canada's prospects of not being pushed aside in the scramble for places in the elite club of nations. To wait would have only drawn attention to the receding importance of a host country whose relatively small economy and population make long-term inclusion in the G20, let alone the G8, far from certain.
Canada's challenge now is to make the Huntsville summit more than symbolically memorable. To safeguard this country's future G-Something membership, Harper will have to craft an agenda that moves beyond accepting inevitable change to reinforcing this country's role as a willing agent of change.For Canada to hold its world place, the Harper who stands up in Huntsville must be the shrewd prime minister seen this week in Pittsburgh, not the crafty politician who swilled coffee in Oakville.
"If you are forced to abandon your foreign policy philosophy when it is tested by the real world, does that not mean your foreign policy philosophy is bollocks?"Given the discredited reputation of Tom Flanagan and his ilk referring to the "thoughts" of The Calgary School will not be accepted for credit.Recommend this Post
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Despite adamant government claims to the contrary, dozens of photos of Prime Minister Stephen Harper have vanished from the taxpayer-funded website that promotes the Conservative economic plan.
The photos disappeared after The Canadian Press questioned the government about complaints of partisanship in federal advertising, including a website plastered with Harper photos.
"We have not removed any pictures of the PM," a Privy Council Office spokeswoman insisted late Monday.
A spokesman for the prime minister made the same assertion.
After being presented with a cached image of the www.actionplan.gc.ca site from last week which featured over 40 photos of Harper, the government did not respond to further inquiries on the matter Tuesday.
Maritime lobster fishermen in need of financial help got a lift of another kind Tuesday when they were directed to a toll-free number that was supposed to detail an aid package but connected them to a lusty sex line instead.
One of the several toll-free information numbers released by Fisheries Minister Gail Shea hooks callers up to a sex line that offers fishermen nary a detail on the lobster stimulus package.
“Hey there hot stuff, I’ve been waiting for your call,” a breathless female voice proffers.
“Are you ready for some tantalizing fun?”
Sorry Madam, but there is nothing tantalizing or fun about these twits.
But everyone has bad days. Tomorrow will be better. Tomorrow Harper will make up for missing the climate change talks going on in NYC while he was there to talk to Mayor Bloomberg. Although he will make it for dinner.
Actually no. The tragic history of today gets repeated as a farce.
The Prime Minister’s itinerary for tomorrow. No really.
11:30 a.m. – Prime Minister Stephen Harper will participate in a photo opportunity.
Tim Hortons Innovation Centre
226 Wyecroft Road
*Photo opportunity (cameras and photographers only)
Now I realize that at least 20% of the Conservative vote can be explained by SoCons and other troglodytes who will believe almost anything. But as for the other 15+%. Come on people.
Monday, September 21, 2009
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Sunday, September 20, 2009
... Layton has to decide who the New Democrats are.
Do they want to be a political party that aims to become a government, as some provincial parties have done, or remain a political lobby group that is happy to generate some good ideas implemented by others?...
There is a split in the party. There are some who are tired of being in opposition and want to be in government. Others would prefer to remain in opposition and keep preaching what is right for Canadians without being bothered by the annoying question of what is possible. Going in either direction presents some problems for the NDP leader. However, the worst decision is not to make one at all and risk losing both options. ...
It is up to the NDP leader to decide in which direction he wants to take his party. However, Layton has to understand that he can't take it in both directions at the same time; he can't simultaneously please the ideologues and the pragmatists.
After so many years in Ottawa, the NDP has to decide if it wants to be a party getting ready to be in government or a parking space for potential Liberal votes. ...
He doesn't have a lot of time to decide, probably two weeks. In that time, Layton has to choose if he wants to attack the Liberals and upset the ideologues in his party or go after the Conservatives and help send Ignatieff to 24 Sussex, Harper to Stornoway and, in the process, himself back to Toronto. ...
For the time being, in the fight between Harper and Ignatieff, the loser is Jack Layton.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
ne day after claiming victory for extracting employment insurance reforms from the Conservatives, New Democrats now say they've read the fine print and the government's latest bill is not the prize they had hoped.This post isn't intended to slam the NDP but rather to lament the ineptitude of all of the parties to the "left" of the Conservatives. Just as the NDP was wrong to crow about the 79 non-confidence votes by the Liberals, so would Liberals be wrong to harp on this point.
While progressives fight amongst themselves Lawrence Martin points out how Harper benefits. Yes I know it doesn't mention the NDP, Bloc or Greens directly but it follows that Harper benefits the more the Opposition (representing the majority of Canadians) squabbles.
He lords over all. It's a jaw-dropping performance. It's as if he's bulletproof when, in fact, he's highly vulnerable.
Attack Harper not each other.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
In a significant shift in stance, Exxon's chief executive, Rex Tillerson, told an audience in Washington that he considered a tax to be a fairer route to curbing emissions than a cap-and-trade system of pollution allocations.
"As a businessman it is hard to speak favourably about any new tax," said Tillerson. "But a carbon tax strikes me as a more direct, a more transparent and a more effective approach."
He must have been reading this guy.
Gregory Mankiw is a professor at Harvard University and a world-renowned economist. He was chairman of U.S. President George W. Bush's Council of Economic Advisers and adviser to Mitt Romney's campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. Mankiw definitely understands how markets function and he, too, prefers market solutions to public policy problems....
But Gregory Mankiw suggested something considerably different when I called him at his Harvard office. Gas should be taxed much more, he said. So should lots of other energy-related products. But be sure to off-set those taxes with cuts to income and other taxes.
His reasoning is straight out of Economics 101. It starts with "externalities."
Take a Sunday drive and your car emits various gases, including carbon dioxide. This adds to the rising atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide that are the principal cause of climate change. But do you pay for having contributed to the flooding of Bangladesh? No, you don't. That is an externality: A cost suffered by someone other than the responsible party.
Taxing people to ensure they pay for the external costs they impose on others is fair, but fairness is more the bailiwick of philosophers than economists. What economists care about is the efficient allocation of resources, which markets do wonderfully -- except when there are externalities involved. So making people pay for externalities improves market efficiency.
But this could be a temporary lapse.
Except: Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) is concerned that Australia's proposed carbon-trading regime will lead to unstable pricing and favours a revenue-neutral carbon tax, the head of the oil major's Australian unit said on Friday.
"It's important to understand that allowing the cost of carbon to be determined by traders on a carbon exchange carries the potential to make carbon costs inherently unstable," Exxon Mobil Australia Chairman John Dashwood told a conference.
But that is just Australia, right?
Dion is too classy. So let me do it for him.
Recommend this Post
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
The strain of illegitimacy that Republicans use in attacking their opponents is infesting our politics too. What else are we to think when we have a political leader who is caught on tape demonizing his opponents. Using ads to question the personal motivations of the Liberal leader, sinisterly impugning intentions. We have a leader who is actively trying to suggest to the Canadian people that a Liberal government is something to fear, that will cause "long-term damage." Who is putting to the Canadian public untruths, running ads that are patently false on this coalition issue. It's something to behold.
One other aspect of this column stood out, and while the Republicans are much more far gone in their disconnect from reality than Canadian Conservatives, there's a grain of truth here too:The country needs a serious right-of-center party - one that has real ideas, one that can engage in a serious debate with the Democrats, one that has a sense of a larger national purpose beyond winning the next election, and one that can actually attract more Americans to its banner because it has earned their trust, not because it knows how to polarize.The echoes are a little too eerie these days.
A master of the fine art of letting the Conservatives destroy themselves, King staunchly avoided presenting anything new to Canadians especially during federal election campaigns. He was lucky in his opponents, sharp edged Tories such as Arthur Meighen and R.B. Bennett who were loathed by most Canadians. King’s job was to show up at the helm of a united party and to encourage Canadians to “throw the bums out” and later to keep them out. ...In the coming weeks, we will watch Michael Ignatieff present himself as a prime minister in waiting. He will offer reassuring sentiments to convince Canadians that he is civilized and vaguely progressive.There will be no new ideas, no green-shift, no reappraisal of the mission in Afghanistan, no plan to rebuild the Canadian economy and create jobs for Canadians. Ignatieff’s campaign will be all about presenting contrasts with the Iron-Heel Conservative of our time, Stephen Harper.
Friday, September 11, 2009
There is another explanation. Harper thought he was among the faithful and he could feel the juices flowing. Once he got to speaking on his one true passion, nothing was going to stop him. He might have even recognized the danger but he couldn't help himself. Perhaps this will serve as an analogy.
Males engage in ritualized mating behaviors during the rut, including posturing, antler wrestling (sparring), and bugling, a loud series of screams which establishes dominance over other males and attracts females. The bugle call is one of the most distinctive calls in nature.Out west it is always wise to pay attention to bugling elk. Avoid them at all costs.Recommend this Post
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
ichael Ignatieff set Canada on what could be an irreversible course toward a fall election, announcing the Liberal Party he’s led for nine months will no longer prop up the minority Harper government – and instead will actively seek to defeat it.
One of the only apparent obstacles to an October or November ballot – the fourth in six years – is the fact the New Democratic Party is now reserving judgment on whether it will follow suit. Keeping the Conservatives afloat however would be a significant political departure for the NDP....Mr. Layton's party prides itself on the number of times it has voted against the Harper government. Its political storyline is that the NDP is the only true alternative, or opposition, because the Conservatives and the Liberals are so alike.