Jason Kenny doesn't get it!

This is a snip capture of a Tweet from Conservative heavy weight, Jason Kenny from this afternoon.  It's clear the Conservatives and Harper's team just don't get it.  Its not funny.


Individual MP's can make a Difference - Lynn McDonald

So you think individual MP's can't make a difference?  Lynn McDonald would tell you otherwise.  McDonald was the MP in the federal riding that comprised part of what is now Toronto Danforth, Jack Layton's riding.

McDonald was elected to Parliament in 1982.  She is the first MP to be referred to as Ms.  McDonald introduced a private Members Bill C-204, the Non-smokers’ Health Act.l

This private-member’s bill, introduced in the House of Commons by Lynn McDonald (NDP) in October 1986, proposed to restrict smoking in federally regulated workplaces, as well as on planes, trains, and boats. The bill placed tobacco under the Hazardous Products Act, thereby prohibiting all advertising and sales except what was permitted by regulation.

It took two years but Bill C-204 passed 3rd reading on May 30th 1988.  A government Bill C-51 passed the following day.

Today Canada's fight back against tobacco can be traced back to a New Democrat MP who with the support of her party took up the fight.  McDonald's bill was passed with the support of all political parties as was the government Bill C-51 which as I noted above was passed the next day.  It wasn't easy as many MP's stayed away for the vote.

Individual MPs do make a difference, your vote counts when you cast it for someone that you believe in.

You can read more about the fight to pass the two Bills here.

Lynn McDonald works on the faculty of the University of Guelph.

Lawrence O'Donnell on Catholics pro-gay views

Lawrence O'Donnell of msnbc rails against political pundits who hold up the so-called "Catholic vote" to make points about gay rights, using a new study which shows that American Catholics are at least five points more supportive than the general public across a range of gay and lesbian issues..

I knew many Catholics growing up and worked with a few Knights of Columbus.  They were great people, supportive of my rights as a gay man.  We fund raised for each other. They had a booth at the Williams Lake Stampede.  The money we made from working their booth went to a political group that supported gay rights.  They knew this.  These people will forever be in my thoughts.

Read more: http://www.towleroad.com/2011/03/catholics_odonnell.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+towleroad%2Ffeed+%28Towleroad+Daily++%23gay+news%29&utm_content=Twitter#ixzz1HWKYSypl

H/T to Towlerroad


If Coalitions are bad then how did this happen?

2004 Coalition Proposal Harper Duceppe Layton -

NDP, BLOC show up for Liberal Motion - Too Bad the Liberals didn't

Iggy's Liberals couldn't organize a a piss up in a bar.  They planned a perfect way to get the Harper Conservatives to go on record as being opposed to contraception.  They forgot to tell or compel Liberal MPs to be there. Three of the Liberals there voted with Harper.  Read all about it here and here. The blog that sums up what the other two said albeit with video is here.

Who did the heavy lifting on the vote, the NDP and Bloc.  Both Parties felt it was vital to be in the House for this vote.  Why couldn't these Liberals be there, Anita Neville, Gerard Kennedy, Andrew Kania, Borys Wrzesnewskyj, Alan Tonks, Marlene Jennings, Joe Volpe, Lawrence MacAuley, and Stephane Dion, Jim Karygiannis.
h/t Dammit Janet


NDP Support of Harper Budget - Not Likely

The NDP provided a list to Prime Minister Harper for tomorrows budget.  The meeting was short and quite some time ago.  Since that date the Harper Government has not discussed budget options with the NDP.  Today we have been hearing from the Media that the Harper Government has caved into NDP demands.

That's not the case so far as I see it.  Though the Conservatives could change or tweak a couple things before morning, they don't seem inclined to.  If they were serious about implementing enough NDP ideas, they would have taken time to meet with the NDP. 

Unless there is a big and I mean a big surprise in the budget tomorrow, like major reform to CPP, you can count the days to the start of the next election campaign.   

Don't count on the Quebec HST funding to happen tomorrow.  That's too big a thing to throw out in Parliament, no that one has to be the carrot held out in front of people while they decide who to vote for. 

We Don't Deserve a Contempt Ruling Against Harper

My friend CK over at Sister Sage is speculating that Stephen Harper will drop the writ tomorrow before his budget is tabled in the House of Commons.  I don't disagree CK's premise that Harper will do anything he can to prevent Parliament finding him and his Government in contempt.

I do think that we will see Prime Minister Harper's government introduce a budget prior to pulling the plug, either by doing it himself or waiting for a confidence vote to defeat him.   Harper is one of the most secretive and controlling Prime Ministers in Canada's history.  He has governed by simply ignoring the opposition and the majority of MP's. 

What is astounding, is how he has managed to hold onto power so long.  The opposition have had plenty of chances to defeat the government and one way or another either with Harper proroguing Parliament or the opposition, primarily the Liberals, voting or not voting, to prevent an election.  

The opposition parties have to do a better job of telling s what they will do if elected.  Who knows what the Liberals stand for.  If you listen to the media you likely know that they will give federal money for and arena in Quebec.  You might know that they would also give federal money for arenas across the country.  What else do you know?

To some extent the main stream media are at fault.  The media can't seem to get by the talking points.  They don't discuss the differences between the parties other than the talking points. 

The NDP is also failing to get a message across.  Partly due to the failure to consistently add detail to their proposals.  They still sound like tax and spend.  That's not what they are about but they have not managed to show Canadians there is a better way.

My guess, we are going to the polls very soon, with Mr. Harper visiting the GG before the Liberal contempt motion has a chance at a vote.  In some ways the opposition deserve to be outwitted by Harper.

Remember the days of the coalition.  Do you recall the tour?  The Harper Conservatives outwitted opposition parties.  He turned the discussion.  The Liberals, especially Ignatieff and those in the backrooms did not like the idea from the start.  Oddly enough, lots of the progressive wing in the Liberal caucus did like it.  They saw a way to get rid of Harper.  They could have made a difference.  The Liberals played their hand with the ousting of Dion and Ignatieff's demand for economic updates.  Harper turned that around as well.

The Opposition does not deserve to defeat Harper on the contempt motion.  As much as Harper deserves it, had the opposition done their job, Harper would not have the opportunity to find himself in contempt of the house he lords over today.

Budget 2011 Canada - Who will win the day?

Tomorrow is budget day in Canada. Jim Flaherty the Finance Minister will introduce the budget in hopes it will cause the Government to go down instead of the expected confidence motion to come after his government is found in Contempt of Parliament.

The Liberals and Bloc have indicated they will vote against the budget.  For the Liberals it would be the first time they have done this since Harper was elected.  The Bloc will of course hold their fire as they await news that a deal has been reached with the Quebec Government to compensate them for the conversion costs associated with the HST.  Quebec did not get the same money as Ontario or BC when they combined the provincial sales tax with the GST.

That leaves the NDP.  Jack Layton, leader of the NDP has put a few things on the table.  If the government meets the goals set by the NDP they would vote for the budget.  Some of the items put forward by the NDP include, removal of the GST on home heating fuel, Increases to Seniors income (GIS) and changes to the Canada Pension plan for seniors, and the continuation and funding of the ecoHome renovation program.

Barring a self detonating bomb in the budget and Harper meets Layton's requests, we may see the NDP support Harper on the budget.  There is of course lots of room for Layton to dismiss any efforts by the Harper Govt on these issues as being too little and or the big deal breaker of inclusion of significant corporate tax cuts.  We won't know for a couple of days what will happen.

In the interim Harper and company along with the Liberals will blast the NDP until they vote one way or the other.  Harper by saying he gave them much of what they asked for and Ignatieff  because of all the heat he has taken from the NDP for supporting Harper. 

Its a mine field in the House of Commons right now.  One that will easily blow up on which ever party fails to step carefully.

update: The NDP list presented to Prime Minister Harper.

Jack Layton and the New Democrats have put forward a set of practical, affordable proposals – all focused on taking pressure off your family budget:
  • Take the federal sales tax off skyrocketing home heating bills and restore the EcoEnergy Retrofit program.
  • Increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement for our most vulnerable seniors.
  • Strengthen the Canada Pension Plan we all rely on.
  • Hire more doctors and nurses across Canada.


Big Moon on Brucie's juke box ... oh and in the sky tonight

A full moon that is 14% bigger than usual tonight. If you are in Toronto, the Moon rise is at 7:27pm EDT.

Here's a clip from NASA with everything you need to know...

Now just to put you in the mood, here is an oldie from Brucie's jukebox

A Bad Moon Arising.  Bruce and I talked about this song one evening while we were both high on each others company and maybe a few brewskis.  We must have sang every song we ever listened too that night. 

There happened to be a full moon that night and Bruce said, I know what we need to hear...  We turned the volume up, went out on the balcony

watching the moon rising in the east between two buildings...  two of us, two beers, two boys, and one big ole moon.... and CCR booming out from somewhere.


Power firms were paid millions not to generate power - Moneyville.ca

Want another good reason McGuinty and company are likely to be sent packing in this Fall's election? Look at your hydro bill then read this article below. It seems we in Ontario are paying private generators of electricity not to provide power. It gets worse. We also pay them not to import power.

In one case a power plant shut down operations for less than two hours. If they had continued to produce electricity they would have made $10,000. That's a healthy amount of money, yet by shutting down for less than two hours the company was paid $50,000. I'm not joking. Ontario paid this same operator 500% more to produce nothing.

That's not all. The same company did this a staggering 336 times. My math suggests they made $13.5 million (50,000 - 10,000 x 336) in excess of what they would have been paid had they actually produced power we used.

Power firms were paid millions not to generate power - Moneyville.ca

I know Mike Harris and his pirate crew of privatization zealots created the mess, it has however only got worse under the Liberals.


Union Ad in Wisconsin - Fighting Back

Governor Walker (Wisconsin) is not relenting on his union bashing tactics in Wisconsin, so unions are fighting back with a new ad, aiming at Republican State Senators who stand by Walker.

From FreakOutNation

New Ad Fights Back At Those Who Stand With Gov. Walker

Recall The 8 Wisconsin Republican Senators

This is the time my fellow Americans.  You need to take this last best chance to take your country back from the Republicans and their very wealthy friends.  Right now workers in Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana and Iowa are being made to pay the price for ever growing tax cuts for the most wealthy people in your country.

In Wisconsin, Gov Walker said he had save money.  He told the unions to pay more for pensions and health care.  The workers agreed to do this.  They gave the Governor all money he asked for.  The governor then said that wasn't all he wanted.  He wants the union to be limited to bargaining for wage increases as long as those wage increases are below the cost of living, he wants the union members to vote once a year on whether to keep the union and he wants to disallow unions in spending money on political campaigns.

If this was simply about the budget, the governor got what he wanted right off the bat.  But this is not about the budget.  Its about giving more power to people with money.  You notice the governor didn't say corporations should not be able to spend money on political campaigns, just workers.

The same thing is happening in Iowa, Ohio and Indiana.  For some reason, the current budget problems are because of workers pay and benefits.  The government gets its revenue from taxes, from workers, sales taxes and other fees.  A disproportionate amount of those taxes are now coming from workers. The corporations continue to get big tax breaks and the wealthiest individuals continue to see their taxes go down.  

There is no need for this.

Right now 14 Wisconsin Senators are fighting back.  They have been joined by 100's of thousands of people in Madison and across the State.  The 14 Senators have left the State.  By doing so the have deprived the State Senate from having a quorum.  No quorum, no Walker legislation.  Obviously this can not go on forever.  So an action plan has been put in place.

The action plan includes recalling 8 State Republican Senators.  The clock is ticking.  They have 60 days to do it.  Only three senators need be recalled.  Recalling 8 makes those defending against the recall spread resources wider.  If at least three senators are recalled and replaced by Democrats, Governor Walker will have to deal with Democrats and not his Koch bought team of Republicans. 

I wish I was permitted to donate to the recall effort. Being "not" American, I can't.  But you can donate to the effort.  If you are an American living in Wisconsin, the United States, Canada or anywhere else in the world, you can make a difference right now. 

The Koch brothers and their friends will be pouring money into Wisconsin and republican campaigns.  They can't however beat out the people if the people keep going forward.  ACT Blue is a political group working on the recall in Wisconsin.  They are asking for donations.  Here is your easy step forward.

Go screw yourself

The media and others have been  ticking me off for years.  Now Hilary seems to have stirred the pot recently with her comments that US media seem to be providing wall to wall coverage of Charlie Sheen and his temper tantrum while Al Jazeera is covering real news.

Clinton is right and no one has said it better lately than this excerpt from a post at Daily Kos...

'CNN, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, the Washington Post, The New York Times, Sunday morning talk shows and everyone else in the media? Go screw yourselves. You spend so much time either parroting idiotic quotes from politicans (mainly "serious" Republicans) and trying to show "both sides of an issue" that you don't bother with facts. Global warming? Let's balance one of the 999 scientists who understand global warming with one of the three Republican-funded hacks who deny it as though there really some question about it all. Evolution? Do the same. Hey media, go screw yourself.'

You can find the whole post here If you are republican "Go Screw Yourself!"