Saturday, September 27, 2008

Stop picking on Stephane Dion!

Or he'll stamp his feet and cry!!!

Poor, poor, Stephane Dion. Stephen Harper is picking on him.

The Prime Minister suggested that Dion's attitude about the economy is tantamount to cheering for a recession. Here are a few quotes from Dion after the stock market crisis and some follow up from experts, sometimes in the same article:

But Dion said as badly as the U.S. has performed economically, Canada has done worse and lays the blame for that at the feet of the Prime Minister.

Dion, while in St. John's, Nfld., said that Harper's economic formula is one that will land Canada in a deep recession.

"Their (the U.S.) first six months have been better than ours in terms of economic growth," Dion said.

"(Harper) made bad choices in the way he spends. He spent more than any other government before him," he said. "We've got to stop going in the direction that Mr. Harper is sending us and that is deficit and recession."

Harper urged "a more sober analysis" of the global economic woes.

People should not "turn to complete doom and gloom" scenarios, Harper said at a Monday news conference.

The Toronto Star, September 15

Seems to me that Dion is happy to interprets Harper's policies as 'sending us into a recession.'

And then:

"The Canadian market fundamentals are still solid . . . ," (Industry association president Calvin Lindberg) said, echoing the reassurance about the health of the overall economy issued earlier in the day by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

"The Canadian economy's fundamentals are solid," Harper said, stressing that Canada is in better shape that the U.S. to withstand the current financial turmoil and suggesting that the worst of the crisis has already passed. "Our household sector, our government sector, and our financial institutions have solid economic fundamentals."

However, Liberal opposition leader Stephane Dion charged that were it not for the policies of the minority Conservative government, the economy would have been in better shape to withstand the U.S. slump.

"The difficulties in the United States are something we worry about," Dion said, adding "bad choices" by the government have resulted in economic growth being weaker in Canada this year than in the United States.

While most indicators - especially job growth and housing market sales, prices and construction - have been much stronger in Canada than in the U.S., overall levels of economic growth have been stronger there than here - with Canada's economy barely skirting a technical recession of back-to-back quarterly contractions in total output of goods and services and an actual decline in the first half of the year.

The Vancouver Sun, September 15

Note that two men who know a little bit about economics say that our economy is holding steady. The voice of dissent comes from Stephane Dion. It could even be argued that the man is almost hopeful of a recession, just to prove his point.

As the U.S. economy slipped deeper into financial turmoil Monday, Dion cast the Conservative economic plan as an anchor that has dragged Canadians to the brink of recession.

Dion blamed Harper for doing little to protect Canada from the looming economic downturn.

"Stephen Harper has allowed what was a booming economy to hit a brick wall," Dion said.

"Stephen Harper governs for the next day, the next poll. He wants to buy your vote with gimmicks for the next election."

The Liberals have also targeted the Conservative government's economic record in a new TV ad they dubbed "Harpernomics."

The Toronto Star, September 16

There's Dion, suggesting that Canada's headed for recession and it sounds like it would suit him fine. After all, it fits right into the clever and witty "Harpernomics" line. Is Harper really wrong for suggesting that he's practically drooling, hoping for a downturn on Harper's watch?
"He spent a lot, he has no direction and we are close to a deficit and close to
a recession," Dion said.

"The federal government has entered the 2008-2009 fiscal year with pretty solid momentum at least in the early stages of the year that momentum has continued," said Derek Burelton, an economist with TD Bank Financial Group.

"I think the numbers coming in so far this year suggest that the surplus is declining but we're not looking into an immediate return into deficit."

The GST cut has robbed the government coffers of around $12 billion a year, a move that has subtracted significantly from excess surpluses, Burelton said.

"We're still in surplus territory. No doubt the GST cut has eaten into that," Burelton said.

However, he said, the federal government is benefiting greatly from greater revenue from taxes in the resource sector despite the fact that commodity prices have fallen.

The Tories are projecting a $2.3-billion surplus this fiscal year and $1.3 billion for the next, down from the $10.2-billion surplus for the 2007-08 fiscal year.

Dale Orr, managing director of Global Insight Canada, believes those are conservative estimates and has predicted a $4 billion to $5 billion surplus for this fiscal year.

"There's not much chance of a deficit this year," Orr said.

Orr said the tax base continues to grow more rapidly than was forecast in the budget, offsetting the softening economy. Also, interest rates are lower than predicted, which provides some relief on debt charges.

As well, the government has not included in its forecast the $44 billion collected in Ottawa's auction of wireless airwaves. Orr said many believe the Conservatives will budget 10 per cent of that revenue to be used for over the next 10 years, meaning an extra $400 million of revenue will be coming for the current fiscal year.

Mark Gollom, CBC Reality Check, September 15

Again, Dion says recession, deficit and two experts say not. Is Harper wrong to think Dion almost seems hopeful that the economy will plunge in order to prove his own hypothesis?

One could almost forgive M. Dion for his fallacious belief that all one had to do to become Prime Minister of Canada was to don the red banner, point at the people in blue and scoff, but his reaction to criticism is to whine. Not very becoming of a man who hopes to lead the nation.

It seems inconceivable to Stephane Dion that anyone would question his policies, his demeanour, his strategy of predicting economic decline in order to boost his own fortunes. Instead of trying to justify any of those things, he becomes shrill and childish and blames those who would challenge his narrow world vision.

"Never has a government spent so much to destroy a person and his policies as Harper has towards me," Dion said during a campaign event in Stoney Creek, Ont., just outside Hamilton.

The man has a persecution complex. Politics is a blood sport and Dion seems to bruise easily. Maybe he should stick to what he's good at -- maybe fishing or saving the universe.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I don't wanna subsidize your 'art' -- I'd rather pay my mortgage -- thanks anyway

If the left-wing parties think the arts are underfunded, then they should be encouraging wealthy Canadians to create endowments and foundations to help foster both artists and young patrons.

Only established writers/singers/dancers/filmmakers/artists/musicians are eligible to receive arts grants of the type the whiners are griping about. It isn't galleries going without, or starving artists unable to keep a roof over their heads because they lack the cash for basics while they paint their masterpiece or write the great Canadian novel. Galleries are still being funded, and those poor first-timers are like the rest of us, slogging their guts out to make ends meet while trying to fit their creative passion into what little spare time they have. Instead, it's the Canadian Arts elite -- the kind of folk who don't live on my street --- they're getting Arts cash, much of which comes with very few strings and no accountability.

It's far easier to fill out an arts grant application than it is to go to the private sector looking for backing for your play or your movie idea -- or God forbid, a bank. Normal people who want to start a business have to go to the local TD or BMO. These celebrity sorts come to us. They write their books and create their music video with taxpayer money -- with what return for the taxpayer? The privilege of viewing their creations? Thanks anyway -- I've seen some government funded 'art'. I'll pass.

Who funded Lucy Maud Montgomery? Mary Pickford? Emily Carr? Peter Appleyard? Stompin' Tom? For generations, in every country, great artists/musicians/writers etc have managed to keep their hands on their crafts and out of taxpayers pockets. Talent and merit should determine success, not government subsidies.

Maybe the whiners should face facts -- if their art were more worthy, people would actually pay for it and they wouldn't need government handouts.

I don't think you'll see riots in the street over this one.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Meet the Candidate

A Canadian Press article had a link that led me to the writings of R.K. Finch, Liberal candidate for Dufferin-Caledon. Over the years I've read some shrill, over-the-top assessments of Stephen Harper. There are comparisons to Bush, allusions to some malevolent right-wing cabal, accusations of snobbery and critiques of his parenting style. Never have I come across a one-stop hate-fest like this. Keep in mind, this piece was written in March of this year -- long after most Canadians began to shed the 'fear' of a 'hidden agenda' and see Harper in a more positive light.
Originally it was based on the same basic intuition all Canadians feel when staring at those glassy, watery eyes; eyes that only show a glint of real emotion when they're blazing in delight over the taunting or jeering or destruction of someone else, or accidentally revealing an astoundingly low self-esteem and less surprisingly high sense of paranoia. It was in reaction to the early indications that his right-wing, ultra-conservative agenda is not good for all Canadians yet is slowly but surely going to be forced upon us anyway if he has anything to do with it, which unfortunately at this moment in history, he does. It was due also to the sense of that hidden agenda that almost all Canadians know with every ounce of intuition is there, though they just can't put their finger on it.
This is how it begins. Never mind that much of her opinion is based on his looks and her 'intuition' -- it's also based on innuendo and allusions to gossip that circulated ages ago. Apparently Rebecca Finch has had her head in the sand for the past couple of years -- but that was just the warm up:

Let's start with the really nasty stuff, though, the stuff that conjures up comparisons to Hitler or Stalin; let's talk about a damaged psychology, a malevolent personality disorder, and lessons that we, the discerning public who are ultimately affected by these characters, should have already learned.

When I recently re-read the definition of the term, "malignant narcissism", I felt like I was sitting in the gallery of the House of Commons, watching Harper . . .
Harper mightn't be your cup of tea, but Stalin-like? A bit much.
A megalomaniac? Malignant narcissist? Wonder if it's a pot/kettle thing.
And taking "
delight over the taunting or jeering or destruction of someone else." Maybe poor Becky's projecting a little. And she's not finished:
What we have here is an immature and conscienceless man who is using this country as an experiment to prove a theory posited in a university paper (which got him great attention) he can't get over, and for the ongoing attention he discovered after writing that paper which led to meeting the people who secured his success in politics, allowing him to simultaneously indulge his megalomania while holding fast to his grudges and punishing those who treated him badly in his erased history. This is a story about a radical Christian who denies his beliefs in order to win over what he shows with disdain is the moderate majority, who has bought into a story of a political parousia that includes Canada as the landing strip for Jesus' triumphant return to Earth.
This woman has put a lot of time and energy into hating Stephen Harper, yet most of what she says is completely unsubstantiated. It just flows from a visceral, blinding hatred that seems to seep into the very fibre of her being. Look at those adjectives -- so certain and so hostile -- immature, conscienceless. Look at the tone, mocking and sneering. It's creepy and weird how very much she hates a complete stranger, based solely on the biographies she's read, some snippets on CPAC and some pseudo-pychological conjecture about his motivations. This obnoxious, toxic screed says a lot about its author. If she manages to win her riding, let's hope she tones down her rhetoric and learns to judge people based on more substantial criteria than their eye colour, or the province they choose to live in, or their religious beliefs -- no matter how ugly or ridiculous she finds them.

For those who are interested, here is a post I wrote a while back responding to someone who shared a similar distaste for Stephen Harper. Defending Stephen Harper from January, 2006.