Saturday, September 27, 2008

Maybe They Should All Resign

Today the Liberals are calling for the resignation of another NDP candidate. The candidate's crime was calling someone a bad name on Facebook.

On Thursday the NDP said a conservative candidate should resign for connecting immigrants with crime.

On Wednesday the Liberals dumped one of their candidates for some seriously nutty comments about the September 11 attacks on the US.

As of now there have been 8 candidates that have quit or been fired since the campaign begun. Some of the incidents were extreme, but many of the incidents are for old quotes from the distant past. Two of the dismissed candidates made comments nearly 20 years ago about conflicts with natives in Quebec. I'm almost too young to remember the Oka standoff with natives, but I know the military was involved and I can imagine people would have made some heated comments that they would like to take back later. The comments were surely wrong, and the candidates should never have said them, I'm sure now they wish they didn't.

But here's the thing, people say stupid things. Some people say a lot of stupid things. Politicians get to be quoted when they stupid things, and today with blogs like this one we all have the power to create a permanent record of the stupid things we may say. Saying something stupid should not disqualify you from public office - If it did it would only be a short matter of time until almost every politician was booted from office. The only ones left would be some hangers-on that haven't ever said or done anything significant, and I don't think these are the people we want to run our country.

I say unless there has been an actual crime committed, let them run. Voters are more than capable of deciding if they want someone who has controversial opinions to represent them.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Arts Funding Controversy

So the election campaign has finally started to get a little bit of life to it. Unfortunately, it's surrounding one of the least important issues of the campaign. If you ask me that is. Jack Layton disagrees he says:

"Mr. Harper says that protecting artists and funding the arts is a waste of taxpayers' money," Layton told reporters. "We say the arts are at the core of the economy."
Core of the economy? We're talking about $45 million dollars of cuts that have already happened and that most Canadians haven't noticed . Compare that to the $700 BILLION the US government is talking about investing in its banking sector or that Canada's GDP is estimated at $1.3 TRILLION. My point is simply that this is by no means the core of the economy Jack. It's a tiny issue.

Justin Trudeau has claimed that arts is an $85 billion industry so even by that measure the $45 million that people are talking about is less than a tenth of one percent of the value of this industry. It's small potatoes and yet the NDP, Liberals, and Bloc, are acting as if Stephen Harper declared that all music and film studios, museums and art galleries would close over night.

Stephen Harper is reading the country right when he says:
"I think when ordinary working people come home, turn on the TV and see ... a
bunch of people at a rich gala ... all subsidized by the taxpayers -- claiming their subsidies aren't high enough when they know those subsidies have gone up -- I'm not sure that's something that resonates with ordinary people."
Don't get me wrong I appreciate art, but the only time this funding has been in the news over the past 10 years has been when the funding has gone to either an extremely offensive project or an extensively wasteful government purchase.

I'm trying to be impartial in this election, but this rag-tag group of opposition politicians is just making this too difficult.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sign War

All the major parties finally have at least 1 election sign up in my town now. 2 weeks into the campaign that's actually news, before last Friday (Sept 19) the only signs in the entire town were blue. Maybe there will be a race - maybe, but probably not in this riding.

Nora the Piano Playing Kitty.

We interupt the election campaign coverage to bring you Nora the Piano Playing kitty!

The sequel is worth watching too. One day, I hope to be able to play an instrument as well as Nora.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Greens are Worse than the Liberals

I don't plan to write a lot about the Green Party because they are mostly irrelevant. However, their promises to increase the GST, and institute a carbon tax are predictable and will be costly to Canadians. Their claim that the carbon tax increase will be offset by income tax cuts sounds all too familiar and is just as uncredible as the Liberals claims. Sounds like more of the same from the loopy left, except the Greens offer the added bonus of legalized pot.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

It's Worth Staying in Afghanistan

I didn't write about it last week and I should have. The Conservatives' announcement that they will pull all troops out of Afghanistan by 2011 is a bloody shame. A Toronto Star Headline highlights the bitter irony well: Afghan war worth fighting . . . but only until 2011. Thomas Walkom is right when he says, "Logically, this position makes no sense. If this is a war worth fighting, we should stay until the job is done. If it is not, then we should exit as quickly as possible."

Stephen Harper has spent several years rightly defending the mission. The mission was just and remains important for the people of Afghanistan and for protecting our country against Islamist terrorists. The Canadian Forces are behind the mission, we have heard constantly from the parents of soldiers who have died how they supported this mission. It really does seem to be a betrayal of the sacrifice that's happened already especially when the mission is not complete.

It's strange that Peter MacKay sounds like he could be Stephane Dion here:

"We will … be there, and the role will change," he said, "We'll emphasize the humanitarian aspect, continue with training, continue with our people there that
are both with the domestic police and maybe on the military side to build … capacity."

Some Canadian soldiers will remain in Afghanistan after 2011, MacKay said, primarily working on training and reconstruction.

"We have combat engineers that are there helping with the Dahla dam, we have people building roads and supervising some of the training exercises that go on but the emphasis will change, and that's consistent with the parliamentary resolution."

C'mon guys, you've been showing real leadership on this issue for years, now you've fallen back to some lame humanitarian aide is as good as military support. How spineless.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Parental Leave Program Will Really Help

Stephen Harper's promise today to extend parental leave to self employed Canadians is an excellent idea that will help encourage families to choose small businesses at a time when many people are faced with starting a new career after layoffs or downsizing.

To start his day, Harper visited a spa partly owned by female entrepreneur Angela Macheado. Harper used that event as visual prelude to announce that his government would allow self-employed Canadians to opt in to the employment
insurance fund in order to qualify for parental leave benefits.

"Ironically, self-employed Canadians who are successful and who create jobs must pay into the EI system on behalf of their employees, but cannot access those benefits themselves. This is not right," Harper said.

"Self-employed Canadians, and those who one day hope to be, shouldn't have to choose between starting a family and starting a business because of government policy."

Self-employed persons would have to opt in at least six months prior to making any claim. The independent Canada Employment Insurance Financing Board will set premiums and other details at a later date.

Today's promise meets the Conservative's standard of "tangible, meaningful and affordable announcements." It is very tangible and meaningful to small business owners and professionals with several contracts as opposed to one full time job. If you are operating your business this way and then choose to have a baby, you currently earn nothing for the time you have off, whearas people with a full time job get one year's worth of benefits. It can make the decision to start a small business and the decision to start or grow your family very difficult. This announcement makes both decisions easier and makes government policy more fair.

Today's announcement is affordable for governments too, because those who opt into the program still pay premiums. Naturally it will cost the Employment Insurance more because it's voluntary and families that are planning to have children will be more likely to opt in. Still, the overall cost will be very manageable while the benefit for those affected will be very real.

Well done Stephen.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Mashline Girl - "I've got a crush on Harper"

If you have a second, you've gotta listen to this song. It's so over the top it's funny.

Unfortunately it's a knock off of an Obama campaign song, which is kinda creepy.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Guess I'm Just Another Stupid Canadian

So Green Party leader Elizabeth May gets to be part of the debate. Hoo-rah! Now we have to listen to this election's number one loose cannon while we're trying to make a serious decision. This short clip shows us what Elizabeth May thinks of us:

Here's the quote: Canadian Politicians are scared to use the word tax and they think Canadians are stupid, and I fundamentally agree with that assesment!

Hey Liz - The feeling is mutual.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Election Day II

Today was certainly an improvement on Day 1. The Conservatives have come out with a plan to make cut the diesel excise tax in half. The program is pretty much symbolic and liberal MP Dan McTeague rightly points out that the increase in GST collected on diesel because of rising prices will mostly offset this tax cut. Still this is timely and responsive and it will hopefully partially stem the effect of rising shipping costs on inflation. Harper gets the impact this is having on prices in general: "At a time when Canadians are concerned about affordability, and energy prices are rising, we should do what we can to lower prices. This has to be done."

The Liberals came out with a solid policy too. They want to throw more money away at the wasteful court challenges program. It's bad ideas like this that make me thankful the Conservatives are in power. The Conservatives killed this program back in 2006, and I'm thankful it's dead. Essentially the program funded left wing activists in their bid to change our laws by over ruling the legislature. It's anti-democratic at it's very heart, with promises like this Dion will make my decision this election very easy!

Monday, September 08, 2008

And They're Off . . .

. . . to a terribly disappointing start to the election campaign.

I'll pick on the Conservatives first. They started the day with a 6:00 AM press conference so that they could define the agenda of the day's campaign. What was so important? They wanted to tell Canadian's that the Liberal plan to introduce a carbon tax, take away the $1,200 per year child tax benefit, and possibly raise the GST would cost Canadians a lot of money. Uh really? Raising taxes costs us money, we get it. Even if we were a little slow, you've only spent countless dollars on radio and gas pump adds to convince us. Canadians are already convinced that Harper is a better leader than Stephan Dion, and we know the carbon tax is ill timed and expensive. Now is the time for the Conservatives to tell Canadians what they would do with a majority government if they get it. Stephen, we're almost ready - BUT nobody is going to give you a blank cheque - tell us what you are going to offer us!

My second gripe with the Conservatives is why did you call the election on Sunday? Couldn't you wait just one more day?

OK, now for the Liberals. Stephan Dion is making it too easy for the Conservatives. He's presented a real plan for change, even if it is ill advised. The Conservatives gave Dion a gift by making today all about him. What does he do? He whines like a school boy:

"They are piling their lies upon lies," he said. "They are unable to stop to lie. Canadians will not accept that."

Dion also said the Conservatives have misrepresented his environmental plan to combat global warming, adding that he wants a serious debate with Harper on the issue. He called on the prime minister not to "try to win an election by lying."

Oh my, what a baby. Canadians will not elect someone Prime Minister who debates like a two year old.

My message to all the politicians this campaign: Please just tell us what you're going to do, throw some mud that makes things interesting, but you have to earn my vote and that means letting me know what your plan is in case you win.

H/T: It's my one stop shock for links to election coverage.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Listening to John McCain

Yeah I'm pumped now! Just finished listening to John McCain. I only caught the last 15 minutes, but I ate up every word I heard. He outlined his commitment to free trade and to help those people who have their jobs displaced. He outlined his common sense energy policy that commits to drilling for more oil, creating new nuclear power plants and investing in renewable energy alternatives.

I was touched by how he described his time in a Vietnamese POW camp saying, "I was blessed by misfortune." His depth of experience is real, and it shone through in this speech!

No doubt he successfully energized his base by talking about the issues that are important to them and his call to action, "Nothing brings greater happiness than to serve a cause greater than yourself."

Combined with his brilliant move to appoint governor Palin as his running mate, he's already exceeded my expectations and has launched what I hope (and now dare to believe) will be a successful campaign.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Howdy Pilgrims

We were treated for a special treat after Mass when we visited Formosa yesterday. A group of
World Youth Day Pilgrims were sharing their story of how they had travelled to Australia in Juy and carried on to Fiji for a service project afterward.

They told us how the theme for the event was taken from Acts 1:8 "You will recieve power whent the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you will be my witnesses." The theme seems somewhat prophetic, because on Sunday this small group stood in front of hundreds of people sharing stories of how they were able to energized bythe Pope and by each other, how they experienced God's providence through the hospitality of their hosts, and how they relied on God to overcome minor hardships and sickness during their travels.

The pilgrims have already been witnesses to the people of Australia where the papal mass was the largest gathering of people in a single place in the history of Australia. Now they will be witnesses at home to their family, friends and others in their parish.

I pray that everyone who participated in WYD 2008 will have many opportunities to share their faith and their experiences from their pilgrimage. No doubt the memories will be with them forever, my memories of World Youth Day 2002 are as clear as ever, and I only had to travel a few miles rather than flying half way accross the world.