A reason a day not to vote Ontario Liberal

Day One

In the secrecy of shuttered doors at Queen's Park, one of the few places in Toronto without a surveillance camera, Premier Dalton McGuinty and his Liberal cabinet met on June 2, 2010 to amend the wartime Public Works Protection Act, passing regulation 233/10, before the beginning of the G20. 

This is the now infamous “five-metre rule”.  This led to people being held by police for breaking the law, a law they could not possibly have known they were breaking.  It created a great deal of chaos during the G20 and lead to the arrest and detention of hundreds of people. 

Ontario's independent Ombudsman Andre Marin`s report titled 'Caught in the Act', stated the passing of the regulation was unreasonable and told reporters, "For the citizens of Toronto, the days up to and including the weekend of the G8/G20 will live in infamy as a time period where martial law set in the city of Toronto, leading to the most massive compromise of civil liberties in Canadian history, and we can never let that happen again." 

The McGuinty Liberal Government knew what they were doing was wrong.  They did it anyway. 

"Go F--k Yourself" - Anti Abortion GOP Candidate

Over 500 women each and every single day are raped in the United States. That is an astounding number. Imagine for a minute what that means. Each and everyone of these women were assaulted in the most denigrating way possible. They are our sisters, daughters, nieces, mothers, friends and even grandmothers.

" Josh, this is Pat Feeks, a Navy SEAL killed last week in Afghanistan. Take a good look and then go fuck yourself."  Those are the words of the Republican Senatorial Candidate in Washington State. 

State Sen. Michael Baumgartner typed those words into an email to a reporter.  Baumgartner was upset over an interview he gave to reporter Josh Feit. It seems the GOP candidate for Senate does not want to spend time talking about his party's position on abortion and his colleague who is running in the "Show Me State", Todd Akin's talk of Legitimate Rape. 


Jack Layton's Letter released to Media

I recall being at home when they released Jack Layton's letter to Canadians. I was taken by much surprise. Then CBC began reading the full letter. I was hanging on every word. I was wanting some hope. Losing Jack Layton was almost too much.  All of my adult life has been spent moving the social democratic ideas forward.  Losing Jack Layton seemed almost too much.  It was like it almost always is, we get so close you can smell success, only to have it whisked away.

Jack's letter made his passing less ominous. He lifted me up with pride to continue. He gave us a way forward.

Here is the first reading of the letter, on CBC Newsworld,by reporter Andrew Nichols...

Baking with Jack - 22 Minutes

Jack makes Stephen Harper's Salsa and John Baird's chocolate cookies with a little NDP magic added in.  This Hour Has 22 Minutes

Rick Mercer Report - Jack Layton Compilation

Rick Mercer Report - Priceless...

Rex Murphy - Canada's Smilin Warrior Jack Layton

TVO - a retrospective of Jack Layton

The evolution of Jack Layton from Toronto City councillor to leader of Canada's New Democratic Party. A retrospective of appearances by Jack Layton on TVO.

Stephen Lewis - Inspiring Eulogy of Jack Layton

  From Rabble.ca

Never in our collective lifetime have we seen such an outpouring, so much emotional intensity, from every corner of this country. There have been occasions, historically, when we've seen respect and admiration but never so much love, never such a shocked sense of personal loss.
Jack was so alive, so much fun, so engaged in daily life with so much gusto, so unpretentious, that it was hard while he lived to focus on how incredibly important that was to us, he was to us. Until he was so suddenly gone, cruelly gone, at the pinnacle of his career.
To hear so many Canadians speak so open-heartedly of love, to see young and old take chalk in hand to write without embarrassment of hope, or hang banners from overpasses to express their grief and loss. It's astonishing.

Jack Layton's letter to a Nation - text

A year ago, Jack Layton passed away, cancer taking him. One of the last things he did was write a letter to Canadians. I have copied the text below...

August 20, 2011
Toronto, Ontario

Dear Friends,

Tens of thousands of Canadians have written to me in recent weeks to wish me well. I want to thank each and every one of you for your thoughtful, inspiring and often beautiful notes, cards and gifts. Your spirit and love have lit up my home, my spirit, and my determination.

Unfortunately my treatment has not worked out as I hoped. So I am giving this letter to my partner Olivia to share with you in the circumstance in which I cannot continue.

Gay sex workers ready for the GOP team in Tampa

It seems sex workers are gearing up for the Republican convention in Tampa Florida.

Check out this report...

from Bilerico
Okay, maybe a few of you shouldn't have looked. If you are married to a republican politician or operative, pretend you didn't see this... it's better that way, trust me..

Akin should have stuck to the code - Forcible Rape

The Republicans are attacking one of their own.  Now that's exciting right?  He must be way out there for Karl Rove and Senator McConnell to call for GOP Senatorial candidate Todd Akin to pull out of the race. 

See this from potential Presidential Candidate in 2016, Chris Christie for the GOP here... 

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) on Monday called Rep. Todd Akin's (R-Mo.)suggestion that victims of "legitimate rape" rarely get pregnant "reprehensible."  The GOP governor, who will deliver the keynote speech at the Republican National Convention next week in Tampa, blasted the congressman's statement as "absolutely asinine" and "ridiculous," according to CBS New York. "He should be ashamed of himself to be talking about it in that way," Christie said. "It’s stunning to me that somebody who’s offering themselves for high office like that would have those kind of thoughts and use that kind of language."
That's an amazing attack. Yet it really was all about words.  See if Todd Akin had said Forcible Rape none of this would have come up. Earlier this year, every Republican in the House along with some 16 Blue Dog Democrats voted for a bill that would have redefined rape in federal statutes to be "forcible rape." If this bill had become law, then statutory rape, the rape of a drugged or mentally impaired woman, or any rape where the rapist did not use physical force would not be considered rape. The bill died in the Senate. When Akin said "legitimate rape" he undoubtedly meant "forcible rape" as defined by the House bill but forgot the exact terminology.
All of this is a smokescreen. A candidate for the GOP said what is the reality behind their plans to change rape laws. If the woman somehow doesn't scratch the hell out of the attackers back and claw his eyes out, its not 'forcible rape'.
Legitimate Rape has been part of the GOP anti-abortion lexicon for years. Garance Franke-Ruta at the Atlantic goes into much of the background here. These folks generally see women as asking to be raped. Sure the guy shouldn't have done it, but yeah, I understand how any red blooded American man would succumb to a woman's charms. 
The sin of Todd Akin was not that he opposed abortion for rape victims that weren't legitimate rape, but that he called it the way most the GOP see it.  They have a word for it, forcible.   The GOP are using language to hide their intent. Akin spoke the GOP truth. It makes you wonder, when a rape is not forcible.  Legitimate Rape is what they want, Forcible is what they call it. Either way its repugnant to democracy and especially to women that have been raped.
If Akin had stuck to the GOP code words, Forcible Rape, we would be sitting back and watching his lead grow over the Democratic incumbent.


Dear Jack Celebration - Toronto

On August 22, Canadians will gather across the country to celebrate the life and accomplishments of Jack Layton.

In Toronto these celebrations will be held at Nathan Phillips Square beginning at 6pm.

More on facebook here,

Dear Jack: A Celebration

UPDATE: August 16

The Performers for the Jack Layton Celebration on August 22 in Toronto at Nathan Phillips Square   include: Raffi, Jason Collett, Ron Sexsmith, Lorraine Segato, actors Wendy Crewson, Eric Peterson


"Mr. Penashue, what federal riding do you represent?"

"We've made a submission to Elections Canada, and we will be, we are working with Elections Canada to rectify any errors that were made.

cbc video
Reporter: "Mr Penashue, can you tell me what day it is?"  
Mr. Penashue: "We've made a submission to Elections Canada, and we will be, we are working with Elections Canada to rectify any errors that were made."
Reporter: "Mr. Penashue, what federal riding do you represent?" 
Mr. Penashue: "We've made a submission to Elections Canada, and we will be, we are working with Elections Canada to rectify any errors that were made."
Reporter: "Mr. Penashue, could you suggest an activity in your riding that would be of interest for a tourist?"
Mr. Penashue: "We've made a submission to Elections Canada, and we will be, we are working with Elections Canada to rectify any errors that were made."

Okay it wasn't quite like that but really, check out the video. Every question Mr. Penashue was asked resulted in the same answer. He is hiding, he is avoiding questions that he knows the answers too. 

Peter Penashue's campaign in the last federal election saw him overspend by $4,000, take out a loan for $25,000, and receive cheques with no name and donations from unnamed sources.  

Truly disgusting, truly Conservative, truly disturbing...

CBC story here: 

Penashue offers few details on campaign spending

Big Ass Power Play looks to back fire on McGuinty

Its a slow ending, but there is an end in sight for the Ontario Liberals and Dalton McGuinty.  The question is who will it be, the Ontario Progressive Conservatives or the Ontario New Democrats.  

The McGuinty team were playing big ass politics when they choose a sitting Conservative MPP to appoint as head of Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario (WSIB). The move opened up a seat in the Provincial Legislature.  If the McGuinty Liberals won the seat they would have the slimmest of possible majority-like power.  They would be tied with the opposition in seats and the speaker (also a Liberal) would then break all tie votes in favour of the Liberals.  

Polling at the time the decision was made to undertake this sneaky, albeit legal, road to a majority gave the Liberals hope.  After all the took out a very popular local MPP.  What they were not counting was a couple of other factors.  They underestimated the public's growing interest in the NDP under the the leadership of Andrea Horwath.  Horwath has consistently out polled her opponents, McGuinty and Tim Hudak. They underestimated the NDP's choice of Catherine Fife, a woman that understands the education file very well and the Liberals hand picked fight with teachers is playing into to her hands.  

The Conservatives have done well in their choice of a candidate.Tracey Weiler, a former RIM executive and Wilfrid Laurier University instructor, has done a great job of holding Tory support. 

We have all seen it coming. The Liberals are a vanishing breed. They are about to get tossed in BC next May, they are very tiny parts of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, losing ground in Atlantic Canada and last election lost more ground to the NDP.  

In Kitchener-Waterloo its the a three way fight. The NDP could take the seat. The Liberals will try to scare us all.  The usual line about a vote for the NDP will be a vote for Tim Hudak. It didn't work in last years provincial election and it wont work in this by-election. 

Progressives can now become real progressives with a legit chance of succeeding in Kitchener-Waterloo and in the next provincial election likely a year away at most. 

see the Toronto Star: 

Ontario Liberals supported in Vaughan, but lose ground in Kitchener-Waterloo, new polls show


I was mean...

Two things happened within minutes.  First someone posted a picture on my facebook that was homophobic. Then I myself made a bad joke with a friend who is male and has wonderfully long hair.  I teased him and said he looked like a girl.

I was wrong. It was not nice and since he had been teased a great deal about it as a young boy, he has always been sensitive to comments made about him in that respect.  Its no different than the many other ways we make fun of people.  Its not funny.  Even if we think it might be we need to stop and think before we say things.

I am often thought of as being a considerate person, today I screwed up and made someone feel bad.  That was not what I wanted to happen, I did it and now I hope I learned.  I hope you don't have to say sorry for something you say that could hurt someones feelings.  


Dalton McGuinty Fails to lead

The McGuinty Liberal government in Ontario wants unions to take zero in wage and benefits.  The reason being, the province is having a tough time balancing the budget.  I get it.  So do lots of union members.

The last election, Dalton McGuinty received incredible support from unions and their membership. At no time during the election did McGuinty ever state that the province will have to seriously reduce spending.  In fact McGuinty and the Ontario Liberals proposed during the election to spend billions!  The increased spending was either in the form of cutting taxes for corporations or in new program spending.


Christy Clark has torpedoed BC's decades long ban on tankers

Liberal Premier Christy Clark has finally made the BC Government's position on the Northern Gateway Pipeline known.  The position is that BC will allow pipelines and tankers as long as someone will pay more to the BC government and promise to clean up any spill and give the first nations a few dollars.  The Clark Government has torpedoed BC's decades long ban on tankers.


Political decision cost you and me 190 million dollars.

The McGuinty government and it's lackeys are trying to say that the opposition parties would have made the same decision he just made with respect to the gas plant in Mississauga . This is an outright attempt to do more than bend the truth, its an outright lie.

The Ontario Liberal Government had awarded contracts to build gas fired plants. They never specified where they should be built nor did they demand any substantial performance bond.  Soon after getting the green light to build and supply power to Ontario, one company was unable to secure adequate financing.  At the same time the government had awarded another company the go ahead to build another plant, which was to be built in Oakville. That company had the financing and was ready to proceed.  The trouble here was the local community objected.

The local Liberal MPPs were under a great deal of pressure. The Ontario Liberal government then stated the plant could not be built in Oakville. There is still a matter of compensation due to the owners of the would be Oakville plant to be negotiated.

The Liberal Government made a decision to let the Mississauga folks go ahead, to avoid having to pay compensation as I guess they felt the company would not be able to obtain the needed financing.  It was a gamble, that has turned out costing the Ontario citizens over $190 million.   The Ontario NDP said in 2009 there should be a moratorium put in place on new power plants while we look at options and the fact that putting gas plants in heavily populated areas was not a good idea.

Again the Liberals did nothing. They allowed a gas plant to proceed through municipal zoning and approval. They allowed the plant to begin construction.  In fact the Liberals missed many opportunities to mitigate the cost of any settlement with their in-action.  The provincial election was coming up and the plant was being built.  If it was the government's intention to stop the plant, why did they wait so long, adding to overall compensation that would be needed to buy off the company for cancelling the plant?

The Liberals made a mess of it and then decided the best thing to do was wait for the election and then cancel the plant.  That provides maximum political advantage.  A political decision that has cost you and me 190 million dollars.

Both the opposition parties were opposed to its location. Both would not have allowed it to proceed.  Only the government of E-Health and Ornge could have come up with such an undisciplined approach to decision making.


Lightning in Toronto!

Lightning in Toronto Ontario

We set a record for July 17 in Toronto today, 36.4 C.  The big thunder storm has yet to happen.  Lots of sheet lightning, no thunder.  


This is how you beat the Conservatives

The Mulcair led NDP is certainly showing up the old Liberals.  Mulcair and the NDP have decided not to leave Conservative Party of Canada attack ads unanswered.  We all recall what happened to Dion and Iggy.  The Conservatives ran attack ads which went unchallenged by the Liberals.  I recall many of us at time wondering why they would not respond.  It has proven to be, perhaps just another example of a dysfunctional political apparatus torn apart by adscam and the Martin - Chretien civil war.

The NDP ad itself  employs many of the techniques used in the recent Conservative attack.  The dark thumping music, the unflattering images and a simple message.  It appears the NDP are going to hit back as hard as Harper and his Conservatives come at them.  That makes me happy.

Here is the ad...

Then some people thought it was Megan Leslie doing the voice over, see @kady of CBC, then Aaron Wherry of Maclean's clears that all up here.


Catholic Schools using Students to lobby on Abortion

Debbie Fisher - Speaking to Students in 2011
XTRA reports that Debbie Fisher spoke to a school assembly on April 19, 2012. Fisher is the head of the 'Right To Life' organization in Toronto. Students were asked to raise $20 each for her organization, a Catholic lobby group.  Teachers are circulating petitions to students to criminalize abortion and the students are being asked to contribute financially to the Church's political campaign. 

Missouri, The Show Me State, unless you happen to be gay...

Just pretend that gays don't exist and we will all get along fine.  New bill to go before the Missouri House of Representives...
Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, no instruction, material, or extracurricular activity sponsored by a public school that discusses sexual orientation other than in scientific instruction concerning human reproduction shall be provided in any public school. Bill 2051
With millions of Americans underwater with their mortgages, millions without work, the GOP obviously has no answers so they are legislating away rights of women and in this case gays.

New Level of Partisanship by BC Liberals

Government resources are to be used only for government activities. Again, the BC Liberals have used government resources for partisan purposes as my former colleague David Schreck points out here.
Christy Clark, Premier Photo-op
In an astounding display of bad judgment, Premier Clark's response to the April 19th by-elections was posted to the government website. That may have been appropriate had she limited her remarks to congratulating the candidates, but most of the response was a rant about how to defeat the NDP with a coalition.


Get the Facts on Amendment One - North Carolina

Are you or do you know someone in North Carolina?  If so I have some important news on Amendment One in that state.  The Amendment was passed in the State Legislatures to go to a vote on May 8.  The amendment reads,  'Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.' 

This language as is, will if passed be plopped at the end of the North Carolina State Constitution.  The amendment is being sold to people as a means to prevent same sex marriage.  This despite a twenty year state law that does this.  However in reading the amendment there is something else that comes to light.  

Sign on my lawn, in Durham NC
Here is the amendment again,  'Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.' I highlighted the key wording for you.  

This means couples that are not currently married, that are living common law, could lose all rights they currently have if those rights come from state law.  This will see the State and local governments and employers tied up on both sides of the issue in court, spending millions of taxpayer dollars on lawyers.

Vote No on Amendment One. 

Check out this video from Protect All NC Families

Will there be HST on that Six Million Dollar train trip?

The BC Liberals are on the way out the door.  As in days gone by, this recent incarnation of Social Credit Big Business party has out worn its welcome.  The HST seems to be the last straw for people.  The fudge-it budget in the lead up to the 2009 election showed voters first hand the Liberals were lying to them.

In an effort to get back on track they elected an old new leader, Christy Clark. Clark was part of the Gordon Campbell government and introduced and passed labour laws against teachers. Years later the laws were determined to be unconstitutional by Canada's Supreme Court.  The damage was done. Clark was also a feisty partisan. Never missing an opportunity to gore her opponents, whether it be the NDP opposition, unions or poverty activists.

Clark got out of town just in time, as the BC Rail scandal came to light.  She was intimately entangled as her brother was implicated in in the scandal, though no court action was ever taken.  As two senior political aides were charged and on trial, information was starting to spill out, the aides were not going to take the fall.  The Liberals in BC were grateful on several occasions to see the process of the trial delayed, through two elections.  Surprisingly, the trial judge was promoted just as the trial was to continue, a new judge was needed, another delay.

The BC Rail scandal died in court with the surprise about face by the defendants. They agreed to plead guilty and in return the BC Liberal government would pay them Six Million dollars.  It was unprecedented in BC or even Canadian history.  If they were guilty, why would the Government fork over the money.  What was the value obtained by people of BC for such a payment?

To this day the BC Liberal government is refusing to hand over documents to the Provincial Auditor General who is seeking answers as to why government money was used to "what appears to be a bribe" in ending an embarrassing trial that was about to get a whole lot more embarrassing, when former BC Liberal Finance Minister Gary Collins was set to testify under oath.  Rumours that then Premier Campbell and other former politicians would have to testify, perhaps even Premier Christy Clark was on that list of potential witnesses.  We may never know.

The BC Rail sale itself must be scrutinized much more.  The connections between then Premier Campbell and the head of CN Rail, the political donations in the thousands and thousands of dollars, the role of one Mr. Kinsella, the fire sale price for BC Rail, and the loss of the passenger rail service to the Cariboo. So many unanswered questions.

One is almost certain, the BC Liberal brand is about as good as the Ignatieff brand. Clark will be screaming WAC Bennett's call to action, "The socialist hordes are at the gates." It will fall on non-listening voters.

On the list of things for new Premier Dix, a royal commission into the BC Rail Scandal with powers to recommend charges.

Want more on the BC Rail scandal, check out these links below...

The Gazetter
The Legislative Raids
No Strings Attached
Whose Who in BC Rail/Legislature Raids
A to Z - Railgate


Orwell's Bastard: And the PB exits continue ... @DrDawg and @gallopingbeaver

Orwell's Bastard: And the PB exits continue ... @DrDawg and @gallopingbeaver

Many of my Friends are gone

I have been on vacation while the issue of women's health has been a key discussion among Progressive bloggers. I have found several bloggers on this site to be among the proponents of Catholic like approach to human rights. At times I have taken issue with them. Now it appears to be time to say good bye.

Fern Hill hit the nail on the head. Human rights are not to be taken away. You don't let someone take them away. You don't sit back while so called progressive bloggers are giving credence or outright support for taking away someone's rights, or in this case half of the populations rights.

The last straw for me was Warren Kinsella attack on Fern Hill. I'm not sure if he was supporting decisions made by PB mods or acting on his own.  It doesn't matter now. He galvanized the real progressives. He has lead election efforts that turn a blind eye to people he is helping to elect. People opposed to women's rights to choose, people opposed to same sex marriage, opposed to everyday people bargaining for rights in the work place.

What is clear here is that he is not alone at PB. He is simply the loudest. It was becoming clear to me several years ago when PB folks I met were supportive of the BC Liberal government in BC under Gordon Campbell and now by Christy Clark. This government took tore up contracts with workers and many saw their wages and benefits cut in half over night. Eventually the Supreme Court found they did it illegally. They gave BC Rail away for pennies. They promised not to sell it and then they sold it.

Two PB folks while championing the idea that we needed to work together to defeat the Harper Govt last May actually went to BC and Saskatchewan and worked for Liberal campaigns that had no chance, but did allow the Conservative candidate a narrow victory. I don't begrudge their choice, just their rhetoric that said we needed to work together, their actions were not the same as their words.

So Fern Hill has made my decision easy. Warren Kinsella has made my decision to leave PB a must. I can come back, let me know when things have shaped up.

I will miss some of the gatherings arranged by PB. I will miss some of the bloggers there. See you online from the outside.


Harper didn't even try to hide it

They didn't even hide itThe Conservatives have decided to take on Canada's charitable sector, primarily the Environment groups, accusing them of being too political and un-canadian. This is not the first time either, in the past they have gone after women's organizations, religious groups working in Palestine, and HIV/AIDS groups.

In every case they have cut funding, eliminated programs, and attacked the groups integrity. This Time however they have decided to use more muscle. The recently released budget will increase scrutiny of charitable organizations in a blatant attempt to harass the most effective environmental groups. These groups perform several charitable missions, primarily to educate and inform Canadians and governments of the need to protect our environment and the harm industry and development can and or has on our environment.

The tipping point for the Harper Conservative government was the extremely effective job these groups were doing - to the detriment of the Northern Gateway oil sands pipeline, which must travel across BC. As Canadians hear more about the project, the more they become concerned about the potential environmental, social and economic costs.These concerns are just now being heard by everyday Canadians. The government has been focused solely on building the pipeline, no matter what the costs are. This shouldn't surprise us as the Harper Government has made selling our commodities a high priority, especially oil and gas. The government rarely meets with groups concerned about the development of the oil sands, instead they spend their efforts finding ways to assist in their rapid development. The budget lays out a multi-pronged effort to limit, hinder or render useless any resources that could stand in the way of developing our raw resources. They announced they would be cutting the Ministry of Environment, reduced the time and number of environmental reviews, cuts to the department of Fisheries and Oceans, (this is needed to ensure tanker traffic on BC's rugged coast will face less scrutiny and fish farms won't have the feds go after them), and the Department of Natural Resources.Remove governments ability to review and you are more likely to have fewer problems come up when reviews of projects occur. The only people fighting your efforts will be those discredited political environment radicals.There is however one group the feds cannot muzzle and that is the first nations. The Northern Gateway pipeline must cross tens of different first nations territories. To do this the Harper Government is going of have consult meaningfully and address the concerns raised by first nations. "This incredibly stupid move on the part of the Harper government will only serve to expedite the battle in the courtrooms and on the land itself," said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs told Canadian Press. He described the situation between B.C. aboriginals and the federal and provincial governments as "volatile."This "pipeline is going to traverse the territories of literally dozens and dozens of First Nations. And all of them have said very clearly that they do not support the Northern Gateway project and that they will do everything that they can to stop this project," added Phillip.“The over-arching theme here is this is a budget for the great pipeline to China,” Megan Leslie said. “This is about pipelines, pipelines, pipelines, and at any cost.” Leslie is the NDP critic for the Environment.“Whether it is going after charities, who might have a different opinion, cutting the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy and cutting Environment Canada and not relying on science and evidence, or whether it’s going after the Environmental Assessment Act and weakening it, that’s what this budget says to me, it’s all about pipelines,” Ms. Leslie said.

The big thing in the budget, its not what you thought...

OAS changes not Needed.

I will look at the budget over the next few days and offer some views.  Today I want to focus on Old Age Security or OAS for short.  The Harper government have decided that anyone aged 53 or younger will have to wait until they are 67 instead of 65, to qualify for OAS.

OAS is paid to every Canadian, in the case of well off Canadians the money is partially clawed back.  Lower income Canadians also qualify for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).  GIS is meant to raise incomes for retired people to a minimum level.  To qualify for it, you must also be in receipt of OAS.  The conservatives have just raised that age two years, thus also denying Canada's least well off seniors to wait two more years to collect GIS.  A double whammy.

Currently OAS and GIS contribute 30% of seniors overall income in Canada. The two programs contribute 70% to those seniors earning $15,000 or less each year.  Raising the age is going to require these low income seniors to work longer, save more.  The problem is that if your income is already low, or you have a disability you can not save.  Most of your income goes to paying for food and shelter.

Many people in their 60's are in poor health or as we all know too well, looking after another person their age or older.  This negates their ability to earn the money required to save anything for retirement.  Provincial Governments are going to have to pick up some of the slack with social assistance and disability funding, for an additional two years.

So why are we doing all this?  The Parliamentary Budget Officer suggests that there is no looming funding crisis for OAS.  Currently this money amounts to 2.36% of the GDP.  It is forecast to grow to 3.14% of GDP by  2030 and fall off sharply after that.  Additionally, we should also realize these benefits pay back 25% in taxes by those that receive them.

So the questions is, why is the Conservative Government doing this?


Who said that?

A last look at Toronto-Danforth by-election.
"The Liberal Party sees a very, very good opportunity in Toronto-Danforth, and the effort there will be to have a vigorously contested nomination. I think a lot of people have been surprised at the stature gap that the NDP has created by nominating such a low-key and frankly uninspiring candidate."
Who said that?  

George Smitherman, former Deputy Premier, after the NDP nominated Craig Scott, a well respected human rights advocate and Law Professor.


Okay, We have Mulcair

After a long seven months, the NDP have a new leader.  Thomas Mulcair survived four ballots, gaining ground on each successive ballot. In they end he won with 57% to 43% for runner up Brian Topp.  

Mulcair after being elected leader
Now the NDP will see the return to full strength in the House of Commons. A front bench to rival any in opposition in more than a generation.  

With the likes of leadership candidates Niki Ashton, Nathan Cullen, Peggy Nash, and Paul Dewar joining Charlie Angus, Marie-Claude Morin, Yvon Godin, Hoang Mai, Jack Harris, Robert Chisholm, Irene Mathyssen, Megan Leslie, Jasbir Sandhu, Peter Stoffer, Françoise Boivin, Pat Martin, Olivia Chow, Joe Comartin, Peter Julian and Libby Davies the NDP has the pieces to effectively challenge the Harper Government.

Think about that team for a minute. In almost every instance, its would not be hard to imagine them replacing the current Conservative government Ministers. Now add to that team a leader who is well informed, who commands attention, who is a formidable debater and lets face it, who is the one guy the Harper Government was hoping would not win the NDP leadership. 

Thomas Mulcair
Thomas Mulcair has been an effective leader in Quebec for years, he has been one of the oppositions best critics since his election to the House in 2007.  

I have mentioned only a few reasons why you can expect a very dynamic and challenging official opposition in the days ahead.   It's unfortunate that Harper will not be in the House of Commons Monday, Mulcair's first day in the house as Official Opposition Leader.

The NDP are now at full strength. The opposition Jack Layton imagined is now in place.

See also:

Everybody is overreacting - Peace Order and Good Government (Pogge)

Thomas Mulcair Is The Leader Of The New Democratic Party Of Canada And I Support Him Completely! - Left Dog

Can Mulcair fight the good fight?  - Cathie From Canada

Stephen Lautens' Parking Space: It's In The Fine Print

Check out this posting from Stephen Lautens.  It's another not so fine point to investigate in the robocon scandal.  I found it very interesting and I suspect you will too.

Stephen Lautens' Parking Space: It's In The Fine Print: Toronto's Globe and Mail published a story March 23rd full of interesting Robocall nuggets in their ongoing investigation. It included som...


voting extended.

balloting has been extended by 30 minutes. the system for voting is getting a work out. It only took me less than 5 minutes in line to vote. it is noisy in the convention hall. Peggy Nash team seems to be showing the most excitement. Cullen's team is doing a good job of trying to catch up noise wise.

Being here is exciting. Not being fed the talking head stuff on TV is somewhat liberating. time to walk about and check out the floor again... back after the second ballot.

first ballot

the first ballot is out. dewar has dropped out. now we wait. mulcair has the most votes, 30%. that is no where near where he needed to be to end this day early. its round two coming. where will dewar go? i suspect he will go to nash if anyone

It will be Nash or Mulcair

Judging by the hospitality suites last night Peggy Nash drew the most attention. That is not a big surprise, it is however an indication of her support growing. She has a great deal of second and third ballot support. Peggy also has a huge phone bank in Toronto and in Vancouver that kicked in high gear yesterday, calling voters that have been identified as second or third ballot voters. Peggy looks to me to have the best organization on the ground at this moment and very inspired supporters.

This convention is unlike any other yet many of the same rules apply. We will see leaders drop out of the race and support other candidates. The difference is that they have less access to the voters. In the old days you could swing a deal and get your message out quickly and efficently. It was contained inside the walls of the convention hall. Voters can expect many calls, emails and face book and twitter messages as the various camps attempt to reach everyone.

As I said above though, the game changer moments will still happen, people at home watching on TV or the internet will experiance much of floor movement. I expect we will see Topp and Dewar dropping out after third ballot if it goes that far.

If Mulcair is close to 40% on the first ballot, we are going to have a very lively time of it early on. This will force Topp and Dewar to act. They will see that only Nash can stand a chance at that point. If Mulcair has less than 30% on that first ballot we are in for a long day.

NDP convention not so divided

The media are watching a different leadership than the one many delegates are watching. There are obvious tensions between some of the leadership camps, especially those between Brian Topp and Tom Mulcair. We hear the comments being made by former leaders, people like Ed Broadbent. Broadbent has said some pretty hard stuff about Mulcair, obviously stuff the Topp camp want delegates to consider.

The delegates seem to have heard Broadbent's comments and seem to be taking them with a grain of salt. If Broadbent has done anything, it is likely to have caused many people to reconsider their thoughts of voting for Brian Topp. I expect in any leadership to be divisions created. Oddly this exercise has not created what the msm have and are trying to convey and that is 'big' divisions.

Peggy Nash's campaign made it pretty clear to its volunteers to keep it positive. That it wouldn't help her campaign if her supporters were engaging others either here at convention and or online to be running down other leaders but to talk about her positives instead. It's a strategy that seems to be working.

Niki Ashton's supporters have been very good at staying positive as well. She has gained a great deal of respect fpr her efforts. Many delegates would like to give her their first vote as encouragement and to bolster her standing within the pafty and the new leader. Likely the happiset leadership candidate has to be Nathan Cullen. I have seen him walking through the convention hall talking to delegates or his team members with a huge smile and joking as he makes he way through. I know that is what you should be doing if you want people to consider you for leader, it does not come across as put on and I expect its not.

Dewar's and Topp's teams seem the most intense. That appears to be a reflection of their leaders, both very serious and studious. They both have a problem of expexpctations weighing on them as well. Topp has gone from the 'annointed' one to being the one out to stop Mulcair. Dewar's team is facing a failure to live up to high expectations they had for themselves.

Singh has very little visiable presence here. He is virtually running I guess. I have not once been approached by his volunteers. I assume he his working delegates primarily not at convention. He will likely get his votes from those he signed up and have very little if any room to grow his vote numbers.

From here it looks to me like the final ballot will be between Peggy Nash and Tom Mulcair. That's where it will get very interesting. Nash, Topp and Dewar are seen by many to be more alike than they differ. The people supporting them could decide to fall in behind any of the one with the best chance of winning. That person would be Peggy Nash. The other big variable is the possible assumption from voters that Mulcair is going to win so they jump on board.


today so far

the first day has been good. this has to be the first time a convention in Canada has been run with new media. the different campaigns have put together good programs. the leadership candidates all managed very thoughtful and inspiring messages. Part of a convention like this is to create a sense of momentum for your candidate. Cullen, Mulcair, Dewar and Nash did this and to some extent so did Topp. They had volunteers and signs everywhere. Handing out material, buttons and friendly handshakes.

I have heard very little of the hardnosed campaigning. The one I did over hear was a Cullen delegate suggesting that Mulcair will move the NDP to the center. What is amazing is that was the only conversation like that, that I heard. I'm sure there are more conversations like that, yet no where near what one might think would be happening.

The leader presentations were inventive and inspiring. Two however did stand out from the others. Mulcair's presentation sent goose bumps up my arms. There was a sense that something very important was happening. Nash did a great job in hers. Focusing on her ability to get things done, and her record in Toronto and with the CAW certainly underline her strengths.

Our Time Has Come

i am going to the NDP convention to elect the person who could well be the next Prime Minister of Canada. it feels good. We have fielded a great group of candidates for leader. As Jefferry Simpson of the globe said, I doubt the Liberals or Conservatives could field such a list of talent for leader. It feels to be like our time has come. A new poll puts the NDP tied with the conservatives. Another poll says half of all Canadians feel the NDP is ready to govern.

our time has come.


Abortion - A PM Harper Problem

It seems to be Conservative in The USA or Canada, your goals include controlling women. It is obscene the pieces of legislation these morality bullies are proposing.  Here in Canada, many federal Conservatives are opposed to abortion.  They are made up of almost all men.  
MP Stephen Woodworth
Tory MP Stephen Woodworth wants Parliament to create a committee of politicians whose task it will be to review a law that stops short of defining unborn children as "human beings."A committee of MPs has agreed to give Woodworth at least one hour of debate sometime in April. He will receive a second hour of debate sometime either in late spring or early fall.  Read more: 
This is nothing short of an end run around the debate.  To allow the further intrusion of the state into the lives of women. I don't care for abortion, but then you know its not me that has the biscuit in the oven.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has promised that there will be no changes to abortion laws in Canada.  It looks like he is about to break that promise.  They have a majority in the House of Commons.  Unless Harper tells his Ministers they have to vote against  MP Stephen Woodworth's proposed committee, it will pass.  What a mess that will become.

Birth Control Pills
For a glimpse into where this could lead think about what is happening in Arizona.  A bill will be coming before the Senate that will compel a woman to tell her boss she is taking birth control pills and why.  If she isn't taking them to control her acne or to control her hormones, her boss can fire her.  I'm not making this up. 

If a woman is taking birth control pills to prevent getting pregnant, her boss could fire her. Its that simple.  Of course that could mean she ends up having an abortion, but that's limited as well.  God forbid she has one and has complications, her boss will surely fire her then, but then he may have decided to fire her when she got pregnant anyway, so we may not have to worry about my previous point. 

The whole premise, being made by-in-large by men, is that you cannot stop having a baby. That includes, nothing that would prevent a pregnancy, having sex where the possibility of a baby isn't possible, ie enjoying sex for just the sex, wearing protection by either party (to prevent disease/illness) is abhorrent. 

Stephen Harper and disgraced CPC worker Michael Sona
It is astounding to read this stuff.  The USA has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in the the western world. This despite the fact that US schools often only teach abstinence sex education or no sex education. Apparently teaching kids about sex is something that doesn't happen, and a boy and a girl first have sex on their wedding night. Don't even think about boy on boy or girl on girl.  And while you're at it, don't ever ever contemplate the idea of more than two opposite sex people having fun together. 

That's what we're going to get here in Canada.  14 Conservative ridings last year used Republican Voter contact firm Front Porch Strategies, the people behind the effort to define a  fetus as human being at conception.  They lost , but they will be back. They run 100's of anti-abortion campaigns every year, and they are winning. 

Stephen Harper may not let his MP get to second base this time.  Another Harper win in 2015 will surely see Harper's loyal following of MP's say to him "screw you, were going to deal with this," and they will.  Unless we stop them.


Stephen Harper Government is built on a lie

Can you trust the Conservatives?  As we learn more about Robocalls, election fraud, the guilty plea in the IN and Out Scandal, and now the Fantino by-election fiasco and 2700 strange voters in a GTA riding, it seems its not possible, How can you trust a party that was built on deception to begin with.  Peter MacKay won the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada after David Orchard through his support behind Peter MacKay.

The move to support MacKay came at a crucial point during  the Conservative party's convention.  It was very dramatic.  Prior to the action on the floor Jim Prentice had the support of Scott Brison who was dropped from the ballot. Strange bedfellows you might think, Scott Brison later defected to the Liberals, choose to support the more conservative choice of Jim Prentice over MacKay, who would one day become one of Harper`s inner circle.  Prentice is now the VP of CIBC.

When Senator Noel Kinsella from New Brunswick, a supporter of MacKay arrived unannounced, he found the Orchard folks talking to Prentice`s team. Kinsella managed to deliver an offer and Orchard countered with his demands.  Kinsella took those back and they were agreed to by MacKay and Fred Doucet, who had worked for Brian Mulroney when he was Prime Minister. Doucet was implicated in the AirBus affair and the exchange of monies to Prime Minister Mulroney.

MacKay, Orchard along with Senator Noel Kinsella, Fred Doucet, Marjaleena Repo, and Grant Orchard met secretly in a room at the Crown Plaza Hotel.  Orchard scribbled out the terms of the agreement.  The principle term was that MacKay would not merge the Progressive Conservative Party with the Canadian Alliance.

The terms could not have been more clear. If MacKay wanted to be leader, he needed Orchard. Senator Kinsella and Doucet said take it.  I can only imagine the back room discussions beyond what we already know.  Promise anything, they likely said. Once you're leader you can do what you like.

Orchard's demands agreed to by Peter MacKay
MacKay did exactly what he promised he wouldn`t.  MacKay became the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada because he knowingly misled Orchard, or more directly, MacKay lied.

Senator Noel Kinsella, Appointed to Speaker's position by Stephen Harper
As for Senator Noel Kinsella, he was rewarded with the Speakers job in the Senate, by Prime Minister Harper, on February 8, 2006. His reward for delivering Mr. Orchard to MacKay and the subsequent MacKay move to Mr. Harper. 

The whole Stephen Harper Government is built on a lie, deception and a blatant disregard for ones word and democracy.


Braddick and CPC joined in Marriage

Robo calls, robocon, election fraud.  These things are on the minds of many due the alleged fraudulent phone calls from the Conservatives or their friends.  Yesterday we learned from CBC that Elections Canada was visiting the offices of RMG.  RMG is likely the largest supplier of robo calls and voter contact in the country.  They work for a variety of charities and the Conservative Party of Canada and like minded provincial parties.

Stewart Braddick
One of the owners of RMG is Stewart Braddick.  Many of you will never have heard of him unless you happen to be a Conservative operative, evangelical activist or a really tuned in political strategist.   Braddick made a name for himself in the Conservative party years ago.  He came to my attention in 1997 when I met him in the BC Legislature. It was a short meeting as we were both entering the building after hours.  We just said hi and that was it.  

I learned that this guy worked for Gordon Campbell, then the leader of the official Opposition in BC.  Campbell led the BC Liberals which was in fact a conservative party.  Braddick worked in Caucus Communications, likely making 70 to 80 grand a year.  In 2007 he was the mastermind behind a Liberal caucus householder that was extremely partisan the likes of which had never been done before, even in BC's hyper partisan political atmosphere. 

Braddick resigned after the Auditor General of BC found the householder to be a misuse of Taxpayers money, almost one million dollars.  The scandal went even deeper than that.  Braddick personally chose Jan-Paul Shason's company to print the householder, the owner of Gastown Printers at the time and a very close friend and political ally of Gordon Campbell.  Braddick also paid a consulting fee from Caucus funds to Greg Lyle, owner of Navigator in Toronto.  Lyle was paid $5,000 to provide advice for the householder. Lyle subsequently went on to work for the Manitoba Conservative government of Gary Filman. 

Braddick eventually ended up working for Ontario Conservative Premier Mike Harris.  

Here is an excerpt from question period where Ontario NDP leader Howard Hampton asks the Premier about using taxpayers money to pay the salary of Stewart Braddick....

Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): I have a question again for the Premier, and I would say to the Premier it's remarkable how many "excepts" and "maybes" and weasel words he uses when he talks about education funding.I want to ask the Premier about the new employee in his office, one Stewart Braddick, who you've hired as your director of organization. We know Mr Braddick worked for one Brian Mulroney and then was hired by the BC Liberal leader, Gordon Campbell, but he was forced to resign from his job in the BC Liberal caucus because it was found by the Auditor General in British Columbia that he had misspent $1 million of taxpayers' money. He had used $1 million of taxpayers' money to fund a partisan political piece of mail for the Liberal Party in British Columbia. He was forced to resign because of this abuse. Premier, why are you hiring someone who abused the public purse to the tune of $1 million?Interjections.
The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Order. The third party, come to order.
Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): The leader raises a question of an employee we have hired, somebody who has an outstanding record in Manitoba, British Columbia, Ontario, at the national level as well. In fact, he even worked for our good friend Jean Charest in the last campaign.However, I think the issue you raise is that while he was working for the Liberal leader in British Columbia -- and yes, Stew Braddick had disclosed to us that he was employed there when a direct mail campaign that had the approval of the caucus and of the leader, signed by the Liberal leader at the time, and a piece of literature I might say a little milder than the stuff I see you and the Liberals sending out in Ontario -- the leader acknowledged as well that he had made a political decision to send the material in its form. There were questions raised about that mailout and Mr Braddick, to save the leader and the party from further embarrassment, resigned his position. That kind of honour is the kind we respect in Ontario.Interjections.
The Speaker: Supplementary.
Mr Hampton: Premier, it's a remarkable and valiant effort you put forward, but the Auditor General of British Columbia was asked to investigate the situation. Yes, he said that the BC Liberal Party had misused its privileges, but then the Auditor General specifically found that Stewart Braddick, the person you have now hired, had misused $1 million of taxpayers' money.I simply ask you this: What job do you have in your office that is so important that you have to hire somebody who lost his job in British Columbia because he misused $1 million of taxpayers' money and the Auditor General of that province found it to be so? What job do you have in your office that is so important that you have to hire someone like that?
Mr John R. Baird (Nepean): What about this?
The Speaker: Member for Nepean, that's out of order. Thank you. Premier.
Hon Mr Harris: I think his job description is pretty straightforward and I believe appropriate. If you quote from the Auditor General of British Columbia, it was on the content of a Liberal mailing, including material of a partisan political nature, and some of the mailings were not personally addressed. In other words, they were, "Dear Householder."You may want to check some of your mailings recently, leader of the third party, and you may want to be very careful in consulting a lawyer before you repeat the accusations outside the House that you made in here.
Mr Hampton: I will repeat the claim. The Auditor General of British Columbia found that there was a $1-million misuse of taxpayers' money and he identified the person you have now hired in your office, Stewart Braddick, as the person principally responsible.If the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party wants to hire someone to do the kind of partisan dirty tricks that Mr Braddick is identified with, the Ontario Conservative Party can do that. But Premier, I want to ask you: Can you tell us why the taxpayers of Ontario should be paying the salary of someone like Stewart Braddick, who has been identified with this $1-million misuse of public funds in British Columbia? Why should the taxpayers of Ontario pay this person's salary so he can work in your office?1450
Hon Mr Harris: I'm not sure the question is worthy of an answer. When it comes to dirty tricks, nobody takes a back seat to the NDP of Ontario: nobody, no party, no individual. The kind of accusations that you are making in this Legislature are inappropriate and inaccurate. They are wrong and I invite him to step outside and repeat them.Interjections.
The Speaker: Order. Leader of the third party, you had a point of order?
Mr Hampton: On a point of privilege, Speaker: I put it to the Premier: You explain why taxpayers should pay this person's salary.Interjections.
Mr Baird: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I wonder if you can tell me whether it's in order that the NDP sent posters -- 
The Speaker: Member for Nepean, that's not in order.
The Ontario Conservative Premier saw nothing wrong in hiring a person that was found to have misspent one million taxpayers dollars for partisan gain according to the Premier's statement.

Mr Braddick also raised the wrath of evangelicals when as a co-oners of navigator they were paid $750,000 to build a campaign to attract new students to the Catholic school System.  Lifesite, a religious right wing group took exception to the hiring of Navigator.  Their concern was that both Jamie Watt and Stewart Braddick were well know homosexual activists.  

Interestingly Jamie Watt was forced to resign his job with Premier Harris after it was discovered Watt was guilty of criminal fraud over $19,000.  

Braddick is obviously good at what he does.  He is extremely well connected to Conservative powers.  He is in fact key to the Conservative Party's success.  His company is the holder of all the information the Conservatives collect on voters.  At least two key members of the Conservative party have shown they are willing to commit fraud and or abuse taxpayer dollars for political gain.  

The link is not just business between the Conservative Party of Canada and RMG.  It is a marriage of thought, ideas and they both know where the bodies are.  One can not succeed without the other.

To further mystify this unholy alliance between Conservatives and Watt and Braddick, both are gay. I wonder how that informations sits with the Alberta Tories.   Remember that when you recall all those Conservative MPs rallying people to vote against gay rights.  The guys that helped them do it were queer mercenaries.  

see also:

Marketing strategist Stewart Braddick plays role in Conservative party’s electoral success