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Saturday, December 24, 2005
This week's Strange New Respect Award goes to...
Yesterday, Warren Kinsella predicted an upsurge in Tory polling numbers. He notes that he agrees with Toronto Star political columnist Chantal Hebert, whose latest column is headlined "Harper Puts Progressive Back Into Conservative."
Hebert, for her part, tries not to frighten the horses. She writes:
"In substance and in style, it [the current Conservative campaign] bears more resemblance to Brian Mulroney's bid for power in 1984 than to any of the failed Reform/Alliance attempts of the '90s. That includes not only the open hand to Quebec this week or the mainstream policy announcements of the past month, but also the party's controversial stance on same-sex marriage — the issue that critics of the Conservatives wrongly use as proof that the party has not outgrown its Reform roots.In fact, if the past is any indication, the old Tories would also have promised to hold a free vote in Parliament on the matter. That is exactly how they appeased their right wing on capital punishment in 1987 and again on abortion in 1988."
Perhaps I am too much of a Westerner or I am too much of an idealist, but the argument that "Harper's Tories are only as conservative as the Mulroney Tories" does not reassure me. I can only hope that this is due to Tory backroom operatives whispering things in the ears of the national press, in a bid for swing votes.
I'm sure that Terry O'Neill's upcoming interview will touch on this difficult ideological balancing act that Mr. Harper is trying to pull off. I'm looking forward to seeing what Mr. Harper has to say.
[Hebert's column is here: http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=
Posted by Rick Hiebert on December 24, 2005 | Permalink
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I think that people enjoy wasting their time on meaningless issues like SSM because the real problems are so deep that they can't handle it.
Government is still growing out of control, but all the industries that used to be the sources of wealth that paid for all the little Bananadians' welfare are themselves turning into welfare recipients. Personal debt is growing and savings are non-existent, which means that millions more welfare bums are going to be turning up at the polling booths, asking (in a whiny and expectant voice), "Where's my subsidy? I'm entitled to my entitlement! I'm a victim too you know!" Immigration is out of control, as we shovel hundreds of thousands of people into our big cities every year - and a very large number of them are uneducated, inexperienced, sick or criminals. Why? Because the welfare state needs more taxpayers. But they're not exactly being shoveled into a roaring economy, they're landing in a sick economy where debt and government entitlements rule the day. It turns out, from some stories that have been surfacing, that probably most of the landed immigrants are getting enrolled on the voter lists - illegally.
Is the MSM interested in the collapse of Canadian industry? The disappearance of personal savings? The possibly hundreds of thousands of illegal voters? The consigning of huge regions and entire industries over to permanent welfare status? Nooooooo! Let's stir the pot good and hard about the wording of gays' connubial contracts, and try to decide whether government should issue marriage contracts to assorted three-way, four-way and five-way groups of various ethnic people, who are going to do whatever they please anyways.
If you really enjoy worrying about issues like this then go ahead - everyone needs a hobby. But hobbies must be paid for by a day job, and if we stop acting most of the time like money grows on trees and that there is no connection between hard work, entrepreneurship, risk taking, low taxes and wealth, then I don't see a good future in this country for well-paid day jobs.
Merry You-Know-What everybody, and a Happy New Year.
Posted by: Justzumgai | 2005-12-24 12:09:57 PM
The defections of Stronach, Brison and Martin did not bother me. I cheered. Better to lose as true Conservatives than to win with the party in control of red tories. If we are not truly conservative we will never be able to turn this country around. At best past PC governments have only delayed the decline and enabled successive Liberal governments to continue on the path to the Trudeaupian eutopia.
Posted by: rebarbarian | 2005-12-24 12:44:42 PM
Is James Travers of the Toronto Star a Liberal shill? His article "A lot at stake in dramatic campaign" seems tired and his attack on the CPC policies read like Liberal talking points. His opinion (which is what it is, not news, right) is that the GST cut proposal and the Child Care plan (which he only mentions the $100 per child and nothing on the $250 million for spaces and the incentive to create spaces... things that any good Liberal omit) speak to individual choice. Well surprise, he is right, it does! And from the rest of the paragraph I think he doesn't trust Canadians with their own money any more then Scott Reid does.
His ending with "A winter election fought between Liberals with a destructive strategy and Conservatives with bad ideas: Now that's Canadian, eh?" shows his stripe better then the whole article. No matter what the CPC propose it will be a bad idea, and his hope for the Liberals is that they will not self destruct.
Posted by: Dwayne | 2005-12-24 1:56:33 PM
I'm up with the Missus getting the rest of the Christmas stuff out and thought I'd take a moment to read over what has been posted over the last little while. And going over your entry something struck me.
On another blog I saw, there was reference to a letter that was sent from Alberta to the national leaders regarding what would be each's approach to 'fixing' the labour shortage in Alberta?
And then it struck me! Why is there an immigration problem in Alberta (where minimum wage is (or just was) $5.90, but Wal-Mart is starting at $9.00 (no experience -- and that is to push items across a scanner and fill bags)). You can quit your job in the morning and walk next door and be wearing their uniform that afternoon. Cost of living is the lowest in the country (I don't know about rentals though, I think that in Calgary there maybe a shortage?), but we can't find enough workers. Hell, I even thought about getting another job, but it didn't make any sense since I am tired of paying for Liberal bagmen and every extra $ I make above board is halved by the time it makes it back into my pocket.
As well, your comment about the 'wholesale' willingness of these new arrivals to vote Liberal (even if they have no idea on what their or anyone else's policies actually are), I can't help but think if it is not in Ottawa's (read Liberals')interests to not encourage immigration of newcomers to Alberta. I mean they might be exposed to Conservative ideas and end up voting that way.
I mean living in the most prosperous, cleanest (no I do not adhere to the idea that CO2 is a toxic gas!) and most free province, with guaranteed employment for anyone who is willing to work, can't be that unattractive to most people who are trying to start a new life for themselves. The 'multicultural' approach sure seems to be working in the liberal's favour. Immigrants, immigrate to the place that they feel most comfortable (i.e. Pakistanis, to Pakistani-neighbourhoods in the large cities) where, low-and-behold, they are 'instructed to vote Liberal by too well-connected local leaders. The newbies haven't yet figured things out (and can't speak the language often) and thus vote blindly, as instructed by the religious, ethnic or whatever leaders, as they did from the old country.
I don't know what is Alberta's approach to immigration, but I think that whatever it is, it should be changed and take on the Quebec approach, whereby the province plays an extensive role in immigration issues to the province. A power grab? Naw, just a recognition that the federal government has been doing an absolutely terrible job in thier area of jurisdiction to meet Alberta's needs. And besides, Quebec is already doing it too. Alberta may as well belly-up to the bar, because I can't see how the current system or efforts are meeting Alberta's needs. And with all of the jobs available and yet to come, we are sure as hell going to need those immigrants.
Because if we don't get them, we'll be swamped by Canadian communists (Ontarians) who will suddenly show up, start sending money back to where they came from, and start to believe that they can run the province better. Next thing you know, they'll be trying to put a Liberal in the Legislature. And wouldn't that be the end of us all. Jeez, they'll start to think then to run the place like they do at Queen's Park.
And that would be a shame!
Ed the Hun
Posted by: EdtheHun | 2005-12-25 12:31:44 AM
Very nice comments!
I have a friend who went to live in Edmonton area. He seems quite happy. Moving from Chicoutimi to Edmonton should be quite a shock. But he seems to adapt pretty well.
If the CPC overture to Québec can help keep the new PQ cokehead away from power, it will be a blessing. Maybe Brian Mulroney started with pretty much conservative ideas. But I think it was better to have Mulroney than Turner. Mulroney managed the country pretty well, except for abortion.
So I guess when a person with conservative ideas come to grip with the possibility to lead this country, like S. Harper likely is, he has some grueling decisions to make. Was it Talleyrand who said that politics is the art of the possible?
Joyeux Noël, friends from Alberta!
And a Happy New Year, with Stephen Harper as our PM!
Posted by: Rémi houle | 2005-12-25 8:23:50 AM
Merry Christmas to you and yours. Joyeux Noel (sorry I don't have my computer set up for French accents!).
No, I'm not surprised to hear about your friend doing fine in Edmonton. The reason that I say that is because here in Alberta, people are trying to get ahead and live their lives. They are not trying to tell everyone else how to live theirs. In fact one very poorly understood concept by many is that Alberta isn't trying to run the country, they are just trying to run the province the way that Albertans want it to be run. Where the problems start is when Ottawa decides that Alberta has to act a certain way in order to be just like everyone else.
Thus, in the case of Quebec, it has been decided by Quebecers that French is to be the only (principle) language. While I think that that maybe unfortunate and misguided, it isn't my role to tell Quebec differently. Based upon the policy (or any other) I may not ever come and visit, but that is a personal choice. But it is not my job (or responsibility) to make Quebec more like Alberta (for instance) or for Alberta to be more like Quebec.
And that friend, is the problem that Albertans (and Quebecers, I think) has with the federation. In an effort to make everyone the same, the feds are always imposing what they think to be the best ways and ideas on the provinces, EVEN IF THEY DON'T WANT IT. Universal daycare may work just fine for Quebecers (or Ontarians, etc) [although I don't know what in the hell a person/parent is to do when they strike!], but in the case of Alberta (a much more rural-based situation) this does not fit as well. Thus, why should Ottawa's incursions be so that every province is the same.
And because of the fiscal imbalance, Ottawa holds all of the funds (surpluses) that they dangle in poor provinces faces with the offer of more money if they adopt a federal program. How can a province turn down money (especially when they are all running deficits). This isn't about equalization payments, this is about the federal government trying to make Canada into something that it is not, nor was ever meant to be. Canada was built as a Confederation, with provincial rights. The reality at the time of confederation was that there wasn't even income tax (those were the days). Of course since 1917, with the imposition of the temporary tax, Ottawa now generates excessive amounts of funds that aren't needed to provide the services that it is constitutionally required to provide (defence, postal, etc). The provinces were always responsible to provide the social safety net(s). Unfortunately at the time, Canadian society was such a non-welfare type state that the fathers of confederation never envisioned having a need to generate so much in the way of revenue (daycare? healthcare?).
Today of course these costs billions and the provinces can't raise the necessary revenue, BECAUSE the federal governnment takes up so much of the taxation room. To add more taxes (by a province) just results in less money for its citizens. In today's society it can't be allowed since we don't live in a communist society (I hope!).
What needs to be done is for the federal government to stop over-taxing us and let the provinces raise their taxes in order to meet the needs of its citizens. In that way, if Quebecers decide it wants to have a universal daycare system (like the one it setup previously), then good on it. Quebecers will have to pay via the provincial government. And if Alberta wants to subsidize oil companies, then it should allowed to, but Quebecers shouldn't be required to pay for that service.
Unfortunately most Canadians think that the fiscal imbalance is about transfer payments (equalization). Because of that this issue has become a Quebec versus Alberta versus Ontario versus etc.... This is really an Ottawa versus the provinces issue, but for this to be resolved it means that we will need a government (federal) who knows that it isn't there to stick its nose into the provinces' business.
I think then the federation would have a chance to work properly and who knows, maybe we would see the disappear of separatists in both Alberta and Quebec.
And then I think Canada could survive.
Ed the Hun
Posted by: EdtheHun | 2005-12-25 10:24:41 AM
I'm not worried so much about the Tories not being conservative enough. Policy is important, no doubt about it. And yes, the Tories have moved to the centre on policy. But the true measure of how "conservative" a party is only becomes apparent in how they react to the unexpected. Would they support our allies unequivically in the event of another 9-11 style attack? Or would they take four days to carefully formulate a response, only after measuring the mood of the Canadian public? Would they respond to threats to our sovereignty in the arctic by throwing hissy-fits over US submarines trespassing? Or would they build up our own military presence in the North and cooperate with the US on continental defence, so that the Americans wouldn't feel that they even had to trespass? If surpluses are unexpectedly large, would they announce a bunch of new social spending, or would they cut taxes by more than they initially planned?
Those decisions, made in response to the issues of the day, are far more important than the policy platform the party is running on. And I think I trust a Stephen Harper government to react in quite a conservative fashion to the above scenarios, and many others. Let's get behind him.
I believe it is possible to APPEAL to the centre without GOVERNING from the centre. Appeals are made with policy; the fashion in which the country is actually governed can still be acceptably "conservative".
Posted by: Raging Ranter | 2005-12-25 5:20:40 PM
Martin's voodoo/doodoo economics:
"One of the reasons for having a strong economy in Canada is to be able to help people who lose their jobs."
Martin, speaking to students at Cornwall, Ont. Nov.30, 2005 where Domtar announced plant closures/job losses & etc.
Posted by: maz2 | 2005-12-25 6:01:12 PM
"One of the reasons for having a strong economy in Canada is to be able to help people who lose their jobs."
Martin and the Liberals wish to give you the clap, then get rich selling you penicillin.
And the Conservatives ... ?
Posted by: Justzumgai | 2005-12-26 9:26:44 AM
Correction: They wish to get rich selling you the hair of the dog.
Posted by: Justzumgai | 2005-12-26 9:34:54 AM
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