Saturday, May 21, 2005

A proud member of the Red Ensign Brigade.

Material Girl / Criminal Stupidity

The lack of humility demonstrated by the Liberals after their 'win' Thursday night is front page of the Toronto Star today. Ottawa Bureau Chief Susan Delacourt:

Victory dance comes too soon
Liberals boogie to mark budget vote
Party slow to learn lesson in humility
Partying Liberals were treated Thursday night to the incredible sight of Belinda Stronach, Canada's new human resources minister, and Tim Murphy, the Prime Minister's chief of staff, dancing atop a speaker at an Ottawa bar.

The tune? "Material Girl," by Madonna.
The lyrics to that song include these memorable words:
"Some boys kiss me, some boys hug me, I think they're OK
If they don't give me proper credit, I just walk away.
They can beg and they can plead,
but they can't see the light.
That's right,
'cause the boy with the cold hard cash is always Mr. Right"

Delacourt goes on to say: Stronach, of course, was not promised cash in exchange for her spectacular defection from the Conservative benches this week. And it could be argued that she had to move left, politically, to find Mr. Right.

Delacourt's analysis here brushes off the questionable motivations of Stronach's sudden enlightenment. Though she brings to light this unfortunate display of arrogance, this statement dismisses the fact that there are considerations beyond 'cash', which are more valuable and coveted by someone of Stronach's wealth.

* * * * *

CTV and the Globe are reporting that Gilles Duceppe and Jack Layton are calling on the RCMP to investigate Liberal attempts to buy the budget vote. The Libs of course, are denying any wrong-doing, despite the damning Grewal tapes.

The irony is, they'd already bought the vote when they paid Stronach with a cabinet post, but because a cabinet post is within parliament, it isn't illegal.

If the Liberals hadn't been so greedy to make the Conservatives look bad by having some abstainers, no one would have noticed beyond calling Belinda a traitor. After the Belinda double-cross, the Libs already knew they had theconfidence vote sewn up, which is why they didn't suggest Grewal take a seat opposite. This was really an attempt to make it look like anyone and everyone was fleeing the Conservative position -- and you can't do that if it looks like too many people are suddenly 'converted' to the cult-Liberal.


Thursday, May 19, 2005

Loyalty and Leaders

Leadership does not occur in a vacuum. A leader takes strength from those who follow.

When faced with a setback, there are always those who would undermine, murmur, question and doubt. Our reaction to them will be what sets the course for failure or success of the party.

In the days ahead there will be questions about leadership. There are those who even before this vote were beginning to say "If Harper hasn't done it by now he never will" and "people are never going to trust him".

Loyalty is an essential to being part of a team -- this is where the Liberals have it over us. Think of the most recent leaders of the Progressive Conservative Party, the Reform Party, and the Alliance.
Kim Campbell, Joe Clark, Preston Manning, Stockwell Day.

Each of these people was ridiculed and not just by the Liberals and the media. They were mocked by those within their party, and within the same movement (conservatism). Even now, petty bickering between the old parties rears its ugly head in call-in shows and letters to the editor. David Orchard is a name that still stings.

There are divisions in every party over social issues, but only conservatives divide over them. Social-conservatives are accused of 'taking over the party', and in turn, they resent that their input has to be pushed aside in order to be more 'mainstream'. There are social conservatives in the Liberal Party, and they are perceived as people of conscience. Why? Because the Liberals say so. Paul Martin stood in the House and said that it was unCanadian not to see that same-sex marriage was a rights issue. A goodly number of his members voted against him. They spoke out against the legislation, but not against their leader. All Liberals who spoke in favour of same-sex marriage levelled their criticisms and accusations across the floor -- not at the people sitting beside them.

Lack of loyalty is one of the major causes of failure. It isn't a matter of not questioning a leader, it is a matter of not undermining him. Internal bickering came with the party, it is not Harper's fault. As grown-ups, we are responsible for tempering our attitudes towards those with whom we differ. Accusations and hostility only advance the Liberal cause, not our own.

Most of the blogs tonight were positive and optimistic. For those who can't be positive, now is the time to take a step back. Our anger and frustration should be at the Liberals, who through conniving and manipulation have orchestrated an assault on democracy.

It is laughable that anyone swallows that Liberal chant that Stephen Harper is scary.
This sort of rhetoric allows people to feel like they are clever, without having to actually acquaint themselves with the issues.
Separatism? Stephen Harper is scary. No need to think at all. No need to know that we owe the Clarity Act to him.
Rights issues? Stephen Harper is scary. No need to know that Stephen Harper and the Conservatives want property rights to be enshrined in the Charter (and the Liberals don't) and that only the Conservatives will allow free votes on issues of conscience.
Health care? Stephen Harper is scary. Don't have to question why the Champion-of-Universal-Care-Paul-Martin uses a private health clinic and Stephen Harper doesn't. No need to think about the proliferation of private clinics since the Liberals came to power.
The Atlantic Accord, the Gas Tax Transfer -- Conservative ideas. The GST and NAFTA? We didn't want them -- they aren't perfect, but Paul Martin owes his 'record surplusses' to them and he became Canada's hero by slaying the deficit because of them. They're Conservative initiatives, of course.

The Liberals gave us separatism (Quebec and Alberta) and they are taking us closer to socialism. They have given us less accountable government and more restraint on freedom (particularly religious freedoms). Think of the gross mismanagement of funds and goods. Passports missing, military equipment unaccounted for, people investigating the corruption within their own departments and party, special appointments in return for favours, and if this is what we know -- what don't we know? People who say we can't paint all Liberals with the same brush, are the first to deride all Conservatives as part of the 'religious right'.

Canadians don't want an election. Canadians want to wait for Gomery. -- what a crock! The press started chanting these gospels as soon as the words exited Martin's mouth. Due process does not apply to government -- just individuals. They would have us believe we have to give them the benefit of the doubt in the interest of justice. They are laughing at Canadians tonight. They have taken our money and tried to sell us on the idea that we should be grateful to them for saving us from the scary conservatives -- and even some "Conservatives" are buying!

Any person who says that because of Stephen Harper there is 'no alternative' to the Liberal disaster in Ottawa deserves whatever this regime visits upon this country. (The rest of us do not.)

Any Conservative who says it, should talk a walk with Belinda over to the dark side.


Bloc-head Belinda

The editorial in the Toronto Sun today points out something I've thought about, but found too obvious to state. Seeing it in black and white, really clarifies the line of BS Stronach was spouting when she decided to take her courageous leap to power:

Think about how absurd Martin's (and Stronach's) logic is.
This is a minority parliament. The only way the Liberals can ever be defeated is if the Bloc and the Conservatives combine forces to bring them down. What Martin is really saying is that even a Liberal minority government must never be defeated -- because any attempt to do so would be allying with separatists.

Having it put that plainly accentuates how biased toward the Liberals most of the mainstream media is. This accusation about 'being in bed with the separatists' has been around since the night Paul Martin went on TV. You know it's rubbish, but not once have I seen this put out there as plainly as the SUN put it today.


MacKay's Heartbreak Still Headlines?

After a tape like we heard last night -- in what other country in the world -- would the lead headlines be about the Conservative deputy party leader's broken heart?

Whether the tapes are good for the Conservatives, or damning to both parties -- these tapes should be the top story everywhere.

CFRB's Bill Carroll, not a fan of the Liberals by an means, suggested this morning that the best thing that could happen for the country would be for the budget to pass, for Stephen Harper to step down from the Conservative Party, and for an election to be called after Gomery. How does the media turn this from another Liberal scandal, to a call for the CONSERVATIVE party leader to resign? Because Belinda showed she hasn't the loyalty to follow, that translates into 'Stephen Harper can't lead' ?

What is wrong with this country? It doesn't matter who was buying, who was selling, who approached whom, or if 'specific' terms were agreed upon. These tapes bring the whole political process into disrepute -- and the government has no morality -- let alone moral authority -- to continue in this sham of a parliament.

The media is deflecting the importance of this tape, by leading their newscasts and headlines with talk about MacKay's hurt feelings and Chuck Cadman's office being inundated with bogus phone calls, and Belinda Stronach having to take verbal slurs (none of which appeared to have come from any Conservative MPs by the way, although from the reporting of it, the way the media just says 'Conservative Bob Runciman' or a 'Conservative from Alberta' without adding the tag that these are MPPs or MLAs -- not federal Tories.)

What do they have to do?

How can people not be outraged by the way this story is being played down? How can anyone justify the focus on the Conservative reaction to the Stronach affair, rather than the duplicity it reveals? Why is this tape not being played constantly and commented on incessantly in the news despite the fact it was released well within the news cycle?

Whether it explicitly proves attempts to buy or sell this parliament -- this should be bigger news.

Small Dead Animals is right. This is Bananada.


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Still On the Side of Right

Last night when I wrote lamenting the state of the Conservative Party, maybe I jumped the gun.

Politics in many ways is not exactly like real life. Sometimes in politics, conceding some ground, even when it means some principle must be bent, is legitimate in facilitating your objectives. I suppose that's why so many people cross the line, because the line can become fuzzy after a while. It's when it gets twisted into pretzels that a government no longer deserves to hold power.

The Conservative party represents mostly what I believe -- and in the areas where it doesn't, the earnestness of the people who are drawn to this party makes up for differences in ideology. Even now, with a 'united right' anyone who takes on the role of candidate for the Conservative party is leaving themselves open to insults and ridicule, so when one runs for the Conservatives, I have to believe they are sincere.

The standing 'O' in the house for Belinda underlines the smugness of the Liberals. The hugs, the handshakes, the solidarity of women-who-are-victims-of-nasty-name-calling are enough to make a big girl cry -- but it's all show, like everything with that regime.

There are no issues in this parliament. It's all illusion. Like when they appear to give answers in Question Period. Their mouths flap, noise comes out, but linguistic flatulence fills the air and they tell us we're hearing an aria.

And as for Harper, I think he handled himself well yesterday. Had he shrugged, people would have said he was indifferent; he showed he was frustrated, and they think he's nasty. So what.

I saw a couple of bloggers today go on a rant about Harper -- too right-wing! too religious! too cold! too scary! unable to appeal to moderate, urban, women voters. Those bloggers were white men in their 50s, judging by their photos.

I'm a youngish woman, on the bubble between boomers and generation x. I belong to the Anglican church (another house divided, but which is quite liberal in its outlook) and I came to the church in adulthood. My congregation is neither evangelical, nor conservative. I live in Toronto, and have done all my life. I have some higher education. I'm separated, have kids and I work two jobs outside the home to make ends meet. I don't need old white men telling me what should appeal to me.

Harper appeals to me. He's a thinking woman's kind of guy. You know he's safe. He'd probably never raise his voice let alone hit someone, he doesn't cheat on his wife, I'd bet he helps tuck in the kids at night -- and makes every effort to do the right thing so he'll be a good example for them. And he's smart, and he's funny, and private. These qualities are the kind of qualities adult women look for in a man. It's teens and twenties who look for the charm and 'charisma'. Maturity looks for decency and Harper is the personification.

Margaret Wente said today that Harper's failing was that he didn't use Belinda's talents to their potential. He 'stuck her' in a portfolio where 'the big issue was mad-cow disease'. Stronach didn't think that was good enough? Our farmers aren't important enough? Could she not see that by giving her an assignment where her work would be primarily with western Canada, Harper was softening the west to Ontario, and introducing Belinda to the real world. This portfolio was urgent to those living in farm country. To dismiss it as not good enough, is an example of why Belinda didn't fit into the Conservative Party. I regret to say that I do not believe that Belinda Stronach is truly sensitive to the needs of each part of the country and just how big and complex Canada really is.

Perception is everything in politics. Yesterday, it appeared all was lost. Then today, I read Preston Manning in the Globe & Mail (subscription only). Read it if you can. Politics belongs to us. People vilify the 'reformers' but let's remember what started the movement -- the belief that governance belongs to the people. It was never about 'social conservatism' as liberals try to make out. It just so happened that these were the people who felt marginalized in the mainstream political system.

As an aside -- the 'outrage' of the Liberal women at the 'sexist' language being bandied about with regard to Belinda -- words like 'whore' and 'prostitute' are not gender specific terms. To run around acting all offended now, is to claim those offensive terms as words which define only women. Now that is sexist.

How about the Grewal tape? I'm off to read all of your takes on it.


Defection En Masse

Angry in the Great White North tells us that the Conservatives emerged from their caucus meeting with the news they'll support the budget, but not the NDP budget amendment.

Why bother running against the Liberals in the next election at all. They can just change their name to : Liberal, but not those Liberals .

This might be an attempt to save the seats of Hearn and Doyle, but the party has lost a lot of credibility by this cynical move.

Harper has been running around the nation, promising to keep up with Martin on every deal he's signed, every cent he's spent. Now, Conservatives are going to support the same budget on which they abstained in the first place.

If you have principles, you don't back down. You don't change your vote because you don't have the numbers. Either it's a good budget or a bad one. Either it's a corrupt regime unworthy to be propped up, or it's a government with authority.

It's not good enough to say they don't like what the Liberals have done and are doing. They'd be better to lose to vote in the House Thursday, than to allow their resolve to crumble in the face of Stronach's departure. There's dignity in principled loss. Instead, they plan to defect en masse.

Rather than define themselves, they have allowed the Liberals to define them. They lurch more and more to the left in hopes of becoming popular, but they've turned their backs on their values and now stand for nothing. They are Liberals, wearing blue. They are 'wannabes' to those who 'are', and they are disloyal to those who put them in office.

What happened today was the beginning of the dissolution of the Conservative Party. They must think agreeing to vote with the budget will be good PR. Whatever this strategy was intended convey, in my opinion it will end by making Canada more of a one-party state than anything the Liberals ever did. You might never form a government in Canada with right-wing policies, but at least you could call them to account. At least you could be the voice of all of us who are not liberals. At least history would reflect that someone tried to prevent the downfall of this country.

Belinda Stronach didn't betray conservatives -- we knew she was never really there in the first place. But this news says the whole party has turned its back on its core support.

If they vote for budget, the Conservatives will have responded to today's humilation by conceding that Belinda Stronach was right.

Its no wonder people sit out elections.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Liberal Family Compact

Now that the dust is settling, where do we go from here?

It doesn't matter that Belinda is a lightweight, or that she loses credibility by crossing the floor, or even that she was never really a conservative anyway.

All that matters is how this looks.

In her brief, oh-so-angst-filled statement today, Belinda took a few good parting-shots at Stephen Harper. These shots are just the beginning. This is a woman who is intimate with the insiders of the Conservative Party. She would have been privy to strategy and planning. No doubt her new party will benefit from her insights.

In one swift act of hypocrisy Belinda Stronach may have done what a million dollars worth of attack ads couldn't -- solidified the perception of Stephen Harper as both scary, and a separatist.

At the time she vied for the leadership, it seemed Belinda thought she was young and hip, she could work within the party to move it further to the left. I worried that it would work. With her family's ties to the Liberal Party, why did she choose the Conservative Party in the first place?

She couldn't have done better for the Liberals if she'd been a ringer all along. Hmmmm . . .


Belinda Stronach -- Sold! To the Highest Bidder

Was Belinda EVER a Conservative?

Had Stronach made this move over 'principle' it would have been made immediately after the caucus meeting where the Conservatives unanimously agreed to attempt to bring down the government. What she did that night was set the bait. She let the Liberals know she was on the fence and waited for them to throw the bone.

The move has been described by some as 'gutsy' and 'courageous'. Ms Stronach is a self-important billionairess, who has daddy's money and a career in his corporation to fall back on should this blow up in her face.

A gutsy woman would have stood as an independent, or joined the Liberals as a humble back-bencher to work her way up in the party. But a woman of Belinda's class (the wealthy, governing elite) could accept no less than a plum Cabinet Post.

I wonder how the lowly Liberal backbenchers are feeling today.

This is no great loss for the Conservative Party, and no great gain for the Liberals. She was hesitant and lackluster in Question Period, and fell short of expectations.

Rona Ambrose and Diane Albonzy outshone her in the House and she was weak in comparison. And perhaps this was truly the issue. Belinda wasn't the brightest or the prettiest woman in the Party. She likely believed that if she couldn't be leader, she would at least be the most important Conservative woman, but her lack of vision and her weak intellect meant that wasn't the case. Money doesn't buy aptitude.

Belinda Stronach is a shining example of opportunism, self-interest, and power-lust --- she'll fit right in with the Liberals.


Monday, May 16, 2005

What's the Tax Rate on Stolen Cash?

When I finally scrape up the money to pay what I owe Revenue Canada, I will pay 7% interest, compounded daily:

Canada Revenue Agency interest rates for the second calendar quarter
Ottawa, March 7, 2005... The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) today announced the prescribed annual interest rates that will apply to any amounts owed to the CRA . . . in effect from April 1, 2005, to June 30, 2005.
Income tax
The interest rate charged on overdue taxes . . . will be 7%.

Payment arrangements
If you cannot pay your balance owing on or before
April 30, 2005, we will accept a payment arrangement only after you have reasonably tried to obtain the necessary funds by borrowing or re-arranging your financial affairs. We still will charge daily compound interest on any outstanding balance starting May 1, 2005, until you pay it in full.

The Liberal Party is still refusing to set up a trust to reimburse the treasury for the money they stole. Of course they made cash transactions and we'll never have a true accounting, but they won't even humour us. How much interest do you suppose they'll charge themselves on their ill-gotten-gains? Naw. Didn't think so either.

They steal from the poor, give to their friends -- and every day they smirk about it during Question Period. They got away with it. And they'll keep getting away with it -- if Canadians can be conned into believing that defeating the budget is 'killing the deal for cities" and "scrapping the Atlantic Accord". There was an excellent column by of the Winnipeg Sun about this yesterday.

There will never be answers. That money is gone and unaccounted for as though it never existed. And they sip their wine, drive their fancy cars and travel around on a government jet to spend more of our money to buy votes . . . as I watch it all I can't help but wonder . . . how many of those guys who took cash in brown paper bags will ever have to pay taxes on it?

Thought not.


Sunday, May 15, 2005

Putting Politics Before Principle

Title links to "Put People Before Politics"

This 'grassroots' anti - election Campaign will be starting a pre-budget vote advertising blitz with the theme:

If this federal budget gets defeated it could end this parliament before important decisions are made.

From their ad: Important action on the environment, equality rights,
childcare, aboriginal issues, social housing, municipal
infrastructure, immigration and many other vital issues
is at risk. A premature election could end this Parliament
just before key decisions are made. We believe that
people should be put before politics.

The list of signatories includes:

  • Campaign 2000 -- with the noble goal of ending child poverty in Canada by year 2000 -- apparently they haven't given up on the Liberals yet.
  • Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies -- the people who are currently advocating for Karla Homolka.
  • Canadian Auto Workers -- advisor to Finance Minister Layton/budget co-author Buzz Hargrove, doesn't want to see his handiwork crash and burn.
  • Canadian Union of Public Employees -- it's amazing to see so many unions come out in support of a government -- can't think why.
  • Canadians for Equal Marriage -- They will vote in a government based on one-issue -- because if you're wrong about gay-marriage, you must be wrong about everything else.
  • Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada, Childcare Resource and Research Unit - overjoyed at a new generation of young women, guaranteed pink-collar jobs, with no room for advancement, in perpetuity.
  • David Suzuki Foundation -- because the Liberals care so much about Kyoto they've made plans?
  • Egale Canada -- another one-issue group.
  • Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario -- they hated Harris, they'll hate Harper -- not for anything he'll do -- it's the 'c' word they fear (conservative - shhhhh).
  • Mayor David Miller, Mayor of Toronto, Mayor Larry Campbell, Mayor of Vancouver -- how's this for objective & non-partisan municipal politicians.
  • National Action Committee on the Status of Women -- the NAC never speaks for me (but I believe my taxes help pay their salaries)
  • Canadian Federation of Students -- another worthy group in need of help, duped by the propaganda that says: despite failure over the past 12 years, the Liberals are the ones to trust with the future.

There are more groups on the list, and perhaps every single one of them is putting people before politics, but because each of these groups has a political and economic agenda, it's hard not to be cynical about their message. These are organized, federated, politically motivated, government funded activist groups.

I saw the story on Global National (of all places). There is nothing at their website, but the gist of the piece was that these groups have come together to protest the upcoming election -- despite the fact that otherwise, they have 'nothing in common'.

Global appears to have missed all the hands sticking out.


Shoot the Messenger!

The Globe & Mail has three pieces about Stephen Harper and his 'temper'. Mr. Harper and the not nice politics of rage care of Margaret Wente, Come on Stephen, would it hurt you to smile? by Jeffrey Simpson, and Is Tory Leader justifiably hot at Liberals, or just too angry? from Gloria Galloway.

As a group they suggest Harper's "recent outbursts" threaten to turn off voters. Last year Harper was accused of having no passion, and now they accuse him of being too passionate? Go figure.

Galloway says that Paul Martin "has his own legendary bad temper. He blows up at staff members he deems to be underperforming. But his outbursts happen behind closed doors. Mr. Harper's vexation has been public." In Galloway's red world, Martin's duplicitous nature is something to be admired, and Harper's honest reactions are not.

Harper has displayed the courage and ability to explain his anger, calmly, if passionately. Quoting Oliver Cromwell and Friedrich Nietzsche when venting frustration at the government's disregard for the will of the House, can hardly be considered 'outbursts'.

Conversely, Paul Martin relies on pre-recording, or on a script to organize 'his' thoughts prior to commenting on anything -- otherwise he bumbles and fumbles or hands-off questions to the Minister of Public Works. Why doesn't Paul Martin take his own questions in Question Period? He hasn't bought the answers.

The Globe is focussing on the Stephen Harper's 'anger' rather than the government's refusal to work within the conventions of the House.

While Harper's reaction might 'turn off' Canadians -- Martin's make-it-up-as-you-go-along tactics should have us burning up.

What accounts for the apathy of the average person at the utter contempt this Liberal government has shown for democracy and for the Canadian people. Where is the outrage?

Have we become so inured to Liberal abuses of power and the betrayal of public trust, that we vilify those who confront them?

It has become leftist-chic not to question the governing elite. It's trendy to spout derisive comments about those who challenge the status quo.

How dare the opposition actually oppose the Liberal Party? We've been so used to one-party rule and a fractured opposition, seeing the opposition standing up to the Liberal Party is more disconcerting than the Liberal Party imposing its will on the House.

How dare the opposition refuse to vote for a budget they don't believe in? It doesn't matter that the Conservatives said they would never vote for this budget, the Liberal Party says it is good for the people. Whichever incarnation they present to the house, the Conservatives are 'harming the people' if they don't vote for it. Just ask the Toronto Star & the Globe.

How dare the opposition accuse the Liberal Party of using nefarious tactics to gain advantage in the vote? In the askance world of Canadian politics it is far worse to rightly accuse the Liberal Party of using dirty schemes, than it is for the Party to employ dirty schemes.

- Howard Zinn, author/historian said: "If those in charge of our society - politicians, corporate executives, and owners of press and television - can dominate our ideas, they will be secure in their power. They will not need soldiers patrolling the streets. We will control ourselves."

And so we do.