Saturday, January 21, 2006

When a non-issue becomes THE issue

Paul Martin is making hay about Conservative candidates who are being 'hidden' because of their 'extreme right-wing' views on social issues.

These candidates are being hunted by the national media to talk about issues that are not on the table. We've already seen Harper state that his opinion is irrelevant because he has promised not to introduce legislation, and not to support legislation on the issue, and yet he's being damaged by the suggestion that 'if' a private members bill was put forward, and 'if' it came to a vote . . .

Never mind that everyone knows private members bills are incredibly hard to get on the docket. Harper is being smeared because of what he might think. Nothing Harper has said, and nothing he has done, or would do, even suggests he'd change the status quo on abortion, but how well would a local candidate do, trying to field loaded questions from a socially 'progressive' media?
No one in the media is running around asking John McKay et al. how they'd vote on abortion and the stance Martin has taken on this has simply hurt and offended people who are not part of his definition of 'caring,' 'compassionate' Canadians'

Everyone is worried about the Conservative candidates who aren't talking, but here we are, only two days to go in this election campaign, and Paul Martin has yet to reveal which MPs received taxpayer cash diverted from the sponsorship programme to help their 2000 election campaigns. We know these people exist -- but he won't tell us who they are. Why hasn't he given the names so people can ask whose money they're using this time?

Babbling Brooks points to Tiger in Exile who contrasts the positions of Paul Martin and Stephen Harper on issues like abortion and gay marriage. No wonder Harper is frustrated, and Martin is elated. The information here is readily available to anyone who goes to the effort (thanks Ben) of looking -- but instead of doing their research, much of the media coverage just shows Martin and his ranting.

I don't know who Martin thinks his constituency is, but if people want government from the left, the NDP isn't tainted by corruption and desperation. If the Liberals are looking for voters in the centre, Paul Martin's offensive style of campaigning and marginalizing differing opinions, will not endear him to people with moderate views.

Paul Martin is musing about Conservative candidates who aren't talking to reporters. When the votes are counted on Monday night, the Liberals might realise that Paul Martin has made the mistake of talking too much.


Expressing my views and advancing my cause

What's going to happen after the election? Are these social conservatives going to stay in hiding ... (or) are they going to come out and start expressing their views, advancing their causes?" Paul Martin, speaking in Atlantic Canada today
I am a 'social conservative' -- not a radical. In fact, my views are moderate. I have no extremist vision and no desire to impose my values on anyone else -- unlike the radical left that Paul Martin has come to extol.

I believe that there should be some regulation on abortion based on the age of the fetus.
I believe that gays and lesbians are entitled to the same rights as any other citizen. I do not believe marriage is a right. I believe civil unions or registered domestic partnerships of some sort would allow the same benefits as marriage, and would respect the dignity of gay people.

How are these positions controversial? They are in line with the mainstream, modern views of countries like Britain, Finland, Switzerland and France. Very few western democracies allow completely unfettered access to abortion and at least 17 modern, civilized, forward-thinking nations recognise civil unions between gay couples, but not gay 'marriage.'

My views on marriage and abortion are not related to my religion. I have no idea about the Anglican church's view on abortion, and on marriage, they are impossibly divided. I believe that most people who are against abortion or against gay marriage concede there must be compromise -- not so on the 'yes' side. The pro-choice and pro-same sex marriage contingent are so rigid in their views one might call them dogmatic, or even fervently religious to the point of intolerance.

When Stephen Harper says the issue of abortion won't be on the table should he become Prime Minister, I believe him. Why? Because this is a toxic issue for Conservatives. Should he want a solid mandate or second term (whatever the case may be) he can't touch the issue. He knows it. Paul Martin knows it. And yet Martin runs around Canada in the name of women everywhere, telling anyone who will listen, that my opinions are so extreme that they are frightening.

Whatever side of 'rights' issues or 'social' issues you come down on, it should be unsettling that the prime minister of our country has such contempt for so many of the citizens he is supposed to represent. A prime minister is supposed to be the Prime Minister of ALL of the people, not just the people who agree with his narrow world view, and fit his exclusive definition of Canadian.

Buzz Hargrove says that Albertans are not quite Canadian -- Paul Martin doesn't distance himself on that comment, and the media is still writing about the abortion non-issue.

Paul Martin keeps stressing there is a 'fundamental difference' between himself and Stephen Harper. Well, in Stephen Harper's Canada, people are entitled to express diverse opinions on matters of conscience and not be subject to ridicule or derision.
In Paul Martin's Canada, when the government wants your opinion, it will tell it to you.

Choose your Canada.


Friday, January 20, 2006

Liberal appointments and Stephen Harper

Could it be that when Stephen Harper vowed he wouldn't use the notwithstanding clause to 'force' through the traditional definition of marriage is because he knew, that like the attempt to pass an abortion law in the 90s, it would be stalled by the Senate.

Could it be that Stephen Harper mentioned that the senior levels of the civil service are composed of Liberal appointees as one of the 'checks and balances' he referred to was to assure this senior level of bureaucracy that he had no plans to universally and swiftly fire them the way that the Liberals fired Conservative appointees when they swept in to power in 1993.

Could it be that when Stephen Harper suggested that the judiciary was dominated by Liberal appointees, he knew that there was only one vacancy in the nine judge court, and he was assuring both the NDP and the Bloc -- both of which favour an overhaul of the vetting process, that he intends to follow through with the ideas that the three parties put forward (which were rejected by the Liberals) and will not appoint judges based on their political world view but on their interpretation of the law.

No one is saying they want an American-style inquisition type process of determining the credibility of judges, but all three opposition parties agreed on needed changes.

Canadians would do well to remember that even with a majority government, there will be constraints on Conservatives. There is no such mechanism in place to keep Liberals in check should weak-kneed people decide to maintain the status quo.


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Activist judges -- never!

n. One who takes a position in the political center; a moderate.
adj. Marked by or adhering to a moderate political view.

For the longest time I've believed that activist types have been yanking the political spectrum to the extreme left, and re-labelling it 'the centre'.

Paul Martin and the Liberal Party are the self-proclaimed centrist force in Canada. They say they embody Canadian values and represent the opinions of the average Canadian.

Paul Martin makes a point of saying that Stephen Harper once said 'you won't recognise Canada when I get through with it.' He castigates Harper for pointing out that the judiciary and the Supreme Court are stacked with Liberal appointees, and yet the social fabric of Canada has changed over the past 20 years -- based entirely on decisions of a Liberal heavy judiciary and the Liberal laden Senate.

In twenty years with a majority Liberal appointed judiciary, Canada has gone from a country that had a law regulating abortion, needed no law respecting the traditional definition of marriage because for centuries it was simply understood, upheld the standards of public decency, and held possession of child pornography to be illegal.

No more.

Liberals have set the agenda and changed Canada over the past twenty years - not through elected members of Parliament, but in the two unelected, unaccountable branches of government which are dominated by Liberal appointees. Are they impartial? Maybe they are, but the fact remains that the lack of abortion law, and the laws regarding child pornography, same-sex marriage and community standards all reflect an extreme liberal, rather than centrist view of social issues. They have sought not to balance justice but to force it. By reading rights into the Charter, they have indeed been 'activist', and gone beyond interpreting law and are now making it.

The radical social agenda has always belonged to the Liberal Party and they have managed to implement it -- particularly over the past twelve years. Not because they believed it was right, but because it was a way to differentiate themselves from the 'Christian right' they pretend lurks in the shadows of the Conservative Party.

Should the Conservatives win a majority, there is nothing Stephen Harper or the Conservatives would be able to do to transform Canada into the theocracy Paul Martin is prophesying, but Martin's current denunciations of Harper and all things conservative will likely have influence, at least here in Toronto.

Come on, Tuesday.


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Questionnaire for Liberals

Q. Why do you call your child care transfer payment to the provinces a 'Universal Child Care Plan' when it isn't universal and parents will still pay market value for daycare just like they do now?

Q. If the Liberals and NDP are both against privately delivered health services, why don't they object to publically funded, privately delivered abortions?

Q. If Buzz Hargrove was speaking out of turn when he said that Stephen Harper is a separatist, why did Paul Martin approve the ad that says:
Gilles Duceppe and Stephen Harper worked together to bring down the government.

Lots of late night secret meetings.

Apparently, they're quite a team.

Which is great.

Because if Harper wins this election?

He'll need to work very, very closely with Gilles Duceppe.

Unfortunately, their unity won't do much for Canadian unity

Apparently Buzz was just parroting the Liberal Party line, so why is Paul Martin lying to Canadians when he says that what Buzz said, isn't what he meant?

Q. Why do the Liberals think it's a bad thing to want to have a positive working relationship with our closest and largest trading partner, the US, but it's good to encourage trade with Communist China despite human rights abuses and the potential flood of our market with cheap goods (cars, etc.) at prices we can't compete with?

Q. Why do the Liberals think that Stephen Harper will defer our sovereignty and independence to the whims of George Bush -- is it because the Liberals know that they have never been able to say 'no' to their friends?

Q. Why is Paul Martin all in a tizzy because Stephen Harper mentioned that the Senate, Judiciary and Senior levels of the Public Service are Liberal appointees -- Does Paul Martin forget Art Eggleton, Glen Murray, David Dingwall, and Rosalie Abella and is he pretending that they are not all Liberal appointees, and liberal thinkers?

Q. Does Dalton 'health premium' McGuinty really think his opinion matters to Ontarians or that we believe a word he says? Is he saying he won't try to work with Mr. Harper if the Conservatives are elected?

Q. Why are the Blogging Tories being referred to Elections Canada for violation of the 3rd Party advertising law -- but not the Toronto Star?

You don't really have to answer.


Glass-house nation building

At the request of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Paul Martin has pledged to create the Canada Centre for Peace and Democracy -- its purpose is:

. . . to serve as a concrete symbol of Canada's dedication to supporting Palestinians in their nation building (. . .) Canada has already allocated over $36 million this fiscal year, as part of its enhanced program of assistance for the Palestinians, to supplement the growth in volume of our assistance and to supplement our diplomatic presence with a broad-based facility that can support our activities in Gaza, the West Bank and throughout the Middle East. (PDF file from

Martin's announcement comes as Ariel Sharon remains gravely ill and the uncertainty and tension of the political situation in Israel is palpable. Aside from the bad timing, Martin's plan is as presumptuous as it is arrogant.

Canadians strive for 'peace, order and good government', but our current ruling party hardly embodies these noble goals -- yet it feels competent to pass along its vision of democracy to a fledgling Palestine.

Liberals would say the goal is to establish democratic principles and infrastructure prior to the formal creation of a Palestinian state. They would tell us that if Canada can work with Palestinians to create the foundations and the institutions -- democracy will follow.

Canada, under the Liberal Party, is a country divided. We are 'a nation of minorities', we are fractured regions competing for papa's money and attention; we are independentt nations wanting to secede and disrespected citizens angry and sometimes bitter that although our votes don't count, our taxes sure do.

The Liberal Party's handling of Quebec and Alberta over 30 odd years are enough to show that they have no place in nation building. Add to that the stench of corruption and incompetence still clinging to this stale government -- and Canadian should know that this initiative is not the right thing -- not now -- not under this flaccid and tainted administration.

Under the Liberal governments of Pierre Trudeau (1980) and Jean Chretien (1995) we had referendums on Quebec sovereignty. The second mightn't have been necessary, but for the fact that in 1982, Trudeau patriated our new constitution -- without Quebec's ratification. What other democratic nation would be so intent on having a new constitution that it would consider going forward without full participation from its provinces? If it took twenty years to negotiate a resolution satisfactory to all parties, it would have been better than the limbo the framers have left for Quebeckers and for the rest of Canadians who look on helplessly. All because another Liberal Prime Minister wanted a legacy. Brilliant.

Western alienation isn't taken as seriously by the Liberals because despite rapidly growing populations, the provinces in the west still don't have enough seats to hold political sway. Albertans in particular seem to feel isolated and the only appeasement the Liberals offer is in the person of Anne McLellan. Even a Liberal strategist was said to have told a reporter "Alberta can blow me." Alberta's alienation is hardly an effective and positive representation of democracy.

If the Liberal government can't lead by example -- which obviously it can't -- it also loses credibility because of its failure to support Israel at the UN. If Canada is going to take a hand in promoting democracy in a new state of Palestine, certainly goodwill toward its neighbour is important, but the trust of Israelis is paramount -- Canada can't offer a positive role model on this front either.

"We will continue to press for the kinds of [UN] reforms that will eliminate the politicization of the United Nations and its agencies and in particular, the annual ritual of politicized anti-Israel resolutions." - Prime Minister Paul Martin, November 13, 2005
Despite that assertion, Canada's voting record has not improved, and the attitudes about sensitive issues like Jerusalem remain rigid and one-sided:

  • Canada holds that any actions taken by Israel to enforce its laws, or assert jurisdiction over the Holy City are illegal saying Israel has no jurisdiction over any part of Jerusalem. In 2005, Canada withdrew all passports that had "Jerusalem, Israel" as a place of birth.
  • In April 2002 Canada accepted the "Jenin massacre" hoax as fact, and has not apologized.
  • Canada has called upon Israel "to cease obstructing the movement of the staff, vehicles and supplies of [UNRWA]." Canada supports this "free movement" even after wire service videos show UNRWA ambulances being used to transport terrorists, and an admission by UNRWA's secretary-general that some of their paid employees might be Hamas members. Canada has never called for UNRWA to end its involvement in terror.
  • Canada says Israel has obligations to Palestinian Arab refugees, with no obligations to displaced Palestinian Jews for the same period.
  • Canada has re-stated calls for the prevention of all acts of violence by Israeli settlers, with no call for an end to offensive Palestinian violence against innocent civilians.
  • Canada accepts the idea of a Palestinian state without insisting the PA end terror.
Israel is a fragile nation in the midst of great hostility. Its government is in a state of suspended animation with Ariel Sharon's condition uncertain, and his successor unclear. Iran's enmity and capabilities are both heating up, and Paul Martin wants to inject himself into this volatile mix.

How can the Liberal Party of Canada be a credible nation-builder or peace broker with their credentials? To be an example to developing nations, Canada must be free of scandal and able to demonstrate that its own electorate is up to the task of holding government to account. The only way to do that, is to extract the Liberals from their grasp on power, and start rebuilding our own battered democracy. That can't happen with Paul Martin as Prime Minister.


Monday, January 16, 2006

Whose promises do you make and keep?

Is a treaty or a promise made by a government, binding on successive governments?

Apparently, the Liberals don't think so -- Paul Martin's Liberals, who ran on a promise to scrap NAFTA, are now worried about Stephen Harper's commitment to scrap Kyoto -- because he's concerned about Canada's world image. The fact that Martin and the Liberals reneged on this election promise is irrelevant. He believed that deals signed under a previous government were open to renegotiation or reversal -- decisions made by governments are not written in stone.

Paul Martin was also part of the team that promised to scrap a the previous government's helicopter deal -- the cancellation penalty of $500,000,000 was taken from the military budget -- not general revenue. Taxpayers will have to pay the increased cost for replacement helicopters, which still haven't been delivered despite the Sea Kings being 13 years older and more decrepit than they were back then. Martin felt no obligation to honour an existing contract then -- even when it was financially imprudent to cancel.

The same Party that tore up the agreement for an essential tool for our military is bleating that the Conservatives will scrap a daycare scheme which will cost billions of dollars and benefit less than 20% of children.

The interesting thing about the Liberal plan is that it is modelled on the Quebec $7/day daycare plan(which costs considerably more than $7/day to run) -- but while the Liberals have said they will create more spaces, I haven't heard anything about it being more affordable (like the Quebec $7/day plan) Could it be that they didn't negotiate this part of the plan with the provinces -- so they have no idea how much parents will be charged?

The big red book of doom says that the essential principles of their daycare scheme are QUAD principles 'Quality, Universally inclusive, Accessible and Developmental'. So the 'A' doesn't stand for affordable. Some plan. They're transferringg money to the provinces and calling it a child care plan. At least with the Conservative policy, Quebeckers will only have to fork over $10 a week for their full-time childcare arrangements instead of $35, because they'll get the other $25 directly from Ottawa under Harper. With Martin's plan, who exactly is better off except maybe bureaucrats and daycare workers who will now be under the government employee umbrella?

Martin scarcely keeps his own promises, and even those he has kept are not kept in a timely fashion. Yet, he blusters about Stephen Harper's plans and pretends that Harper's decision to follow the Conservative's platform, rather than maintaining the status quo and enacting all of Martin's plans, is shocking.

Paul Martin is so arrogant as to think a Liberal signature renders something holy and untouchable.
His habit of keeping most of the wrong promises and breaking most of the right ones makes his indignant act even more comical.

However this week turns out, I can't wait until it's over.