Archive for November, 2008

Funding for Political Parties

When Stephen Harper first came on the political stage, and in his first election drive that saw his party sneak into power, the issue was transparent & accountable Government. Fine sentiments really, good one’s too, though the Harper Conservatives only speak the talk, they do not walk it. From his first get go, Harper & his Conservatives have made every effort to ignore transparent government, and certainly haven’t made it accountable, blocking as many freedom of information requests as possible, even from sitting Members of Parliament.

How is that being accountable or transparent?

Now, the Harper Government seeks to limit the financing of political parties, mainly because they have a nice fat war chest of their own. They claim not to need it, yet Elections Canada has questioned many of the accounting practises of the Harper Candidates, who were eager for that funding. Makes you wonder, because Harper explains it all away, by saying that his party has used Creative Accounting Techniques, to insure they are properly funded. They even made a big deal of it, during their policy convention, touting how they used those ‘creative procedures’ to build up their war chest.

If you know anything about accounting procedures, when they talk about being ‘creative’ it means they are fiddling with the truth, using tactics that are not Kosher.

Federal parties currently receive $1.95 for every vote they receive in a federal election, provided they win at least two per cent of the nationwide popular vote. The annual subsidy is used to pay for staff and expenses.

Cutting the subsidies would effectively gut the opposition parties, who are far more dependent on them than the Conservative party. (source – CBC News)

There are some who believe that taxpayer subsidizing political parties is wrong, and that it should be based on support from people. Yet these are also the same people who don’t want to see giant corporations or special interest groups from having undue influence in any political party, or government. So you can’t have both, you need to decide which is more important, either public money or private money.

I will always choose Public Funding over Private, because we are asking ordinary human beings, to take on an awesome job, and we need to make sure that they are influenced by our needs, not those of who gave them money. In fact, I’d prefer to see NO PRIVATE MONEY be allowed to be given to any political party, but instead, a set amount be allocated to each party, including for running an election campaign.

What Stephen Harper is proposing, is to widen the door that is open, for corporate sponsorships of political parties, just as the two USA Parties have done. Look at how well that has worked for the Republican Party. They have been co-opted by Big Business and the Religious Zealots, which has given the world, George W. Bush. Now maybe some of you think that is good, but then again, look around and get your head out of your ass. Bush has single handedly led the world to the brink of a new cold war, and has wrecked the world economic fabric. He has single handedly forced his beliefs on the world, gone to war to back them up, and now we have Stephen Harper trying the same crap here.

By trying to eliminate public funding for the opposition parties, Harper is trying to seek an economic advantage for his own party, at the same time, opening up the other parties for corporate ownership, as well. In short, to create a system where it won’t matter who wins, because the ideas and policies will already be determined not by us, the people, but by the corporations who spent the bucks. Just like in the USA.

We simply cannot afford such Americanization of our political system. This isn’t the United States, YET.

With a possible deficit budget looming this year, a huge deficit looming for the next few years, the Opposition Parties are looking for ways to force the Inept Harper Government to change course, and do something that helps Canadians, instead of just the Corporate Elite. One of those plans is to forma a coalition government, between the NDP & Liberal Pary with support from the Bloc.

You know, it sounds interesting. Least we’d have a Government that actually represented a majority, and I know the retort to that. However, let us be honest, a Harper Majority would be even worse than putting Vic Toews in as Finance Minister. Canada is not the United States, and yet here we are, facing the same issues, thanks to the Harper Minority Government. They have stripped us of our industries, and are selling off our assets, simply to avoid a deficit. Truth is, selling your assets is like throwing away your savings account for a new plasma television, when you can’t pay the cable bill.

Hours later, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced all key votes would be delayed until Dec. 8 after opposition parties threatened to bring a confidence motion against the government and form an unprecedented coalition in its place.

“The portion dealing with political subsidies … will be part of a later bill,” said Teneycke. (source – CBC News)

I wonder, if Harper can survive, or will be facing a spring election, or perhaps a Winter one?

It is amazing at how arrogant the Conservative Party is. Just like their counterpart in the United States, the Bush Republican Party. Just like them, Harper refuses to accept that people are what drive an economy, not big corporate interests. The massive amount of money that has been poured into corporate pockets, has yet to make a real dent into the economic mess we are faced with. And let us keep in mind, it was those Bush policies, that Harper pushes, that led to this nightmare in the first place.

His attempt to deny funding to the Opposition Parties is a clear cut effort to deny us, the people, an opportunity to hear all sides in a political campaign. It may seem like not much, but this threatens our very Democracy. Sure, campaigns are based on how much money a party can raise, but just like Harper tried to deny the Green Party access to the debate, he is now trying to limit the effectiveness of our opposition parties.

I don’t want my political parties, no matter which one, to be forced to sell their souls, like the Republican Party & the Harper Conservatives have done. It really is that crucial, because this is OUR COUNTRY & NOT EXXON or MAPLE LEAF FOODS. Remember the huge Sponsorship Scandel? In part, that was about insuring we stayed together as a nation, but it was also about paying off campaign debts and support. Now Stephen Harper has taken that avarice to new heights, by threatening to deny all the parties, from being on a level playing field.

Anyone that knows anything about business, knows you don’t sell off assets during a downturn. That is when you actually buy, but not the Harper Conservatives. Then again, they are allowing their corporate sponsors to buy at fire sale prices. They are selling off our assets, making deals to sell then lease back assets that cost us more, than if we kept the assets. Course it benefits the Corporations, but it harms the people, and how is that a responsible government?

HARPER MUST GO.

Winter Election Call?

Is this the secret plan of Stephen Harper, in case he didn’t get his majority government on October 14th?

Or is it simply a sign of how incompetent the man and his party are, when it comes to dealing with serious issues like the Economy?

The gamble for the Opposition Parties, is will the People be convinced that the Harper Government is not what we need, and what about the Liberal Party? With Dion having resigned, will they go with him leading them on, or what?

And was that also part of the Harper strategy when he came up short on October 14th?

Canada’s opposition parties said Thursday they will vote against the Conservative government’s fiscal update, sparking speculation the country could face another election in the midst of a global economic crisis.

The Liberals, NDP and Bloc Québécois said they would not support the update introduced by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty because it contained no stimulus package to spur Canada’s slumping economy and protect Canadian workers during the crisis. (source – CBC News)

The thing is this, the time to fart around is gone. We, as a nation, need to be serious about the situation, without panic. Stephen Harper lied in the last election, when he claimed our economy would avoid the economic melt down that was happening. How can we trust him now?

Stephen Harper lied when he said we’d not have deficit financing, but in his drive to keep that promise, he is selling off crown assets. Now, I don’ know, but if things make you money, when things are bad you don’t get rid of what adds revenue, for a quick buck to avoid reality.

This is the problem when you have a leader who has one goal, to stay in power, at any cost.

By making promises he knew were likely to be broken, he is now selling off assets to try and keep them. The result is we may not have a deficit this time around, but we are going to have a bigger deficit next go round. That is also what happens, when you LIE. You have to use wrong choices, to try and cover up your LIES.

While Stephen Harper flops around, pushing failed policies like Free Trade with Columbia, and Brazil, there is NO PLAN to help Canadian Industries. Least any that still remain alive, nor is there any plan to help hurting workers, or citizens. Other than more tax cuts, the Harper Government has no idea on what to do, or how. They buy more mortgages, claiming it won’t cost taxpayers, that somehow it will spur more credit, but it does nothing about lowering credit card rates.

During the last election, Stephen Harper said that the experts were all wrong, that there would be no deficit, that employment would continue to grow, that he had made several key decisions, such as his tax cuts, that would stimulate industrial growth. Well once more, the experts are being proven right, Stephen Harper wrong.

Is the time right for another election?

No, course it isn’t, but the alternative is to have a Government that is simply too inept to solve or even manage the serious problem. Harper has shown, his party is not equiped to adapt to the changing economic climate, as all he has is failed George Bush policies. After all, those are the policies that created this Global Mess. Yet our Prime Minister still hasn’t a clue, and so yes, we need to head to the polls, and hopefully this time, get it right.

We have a choice, if the Opposition holds to its guns, and forces the issue. Either we give Harper his majority, and risk the collapse of our entire way of life, or we choose a new Government, that at least is willing to try new things. I mean we can’t keep on falling back to solutions that didn’t work the first time around, nor did they work around the second & third time. Yet that is what Harper is doing, using failed tactics, so we do need to make a choice.

Old Back Room Deal Politics or Something Fresh & New.

ANYONE BUT STEPHEN HARPER & THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY

Throwing More Money Away

I wonder, what do you do when your eight year throws a tantrum, demanding you but them a certain gift, which you know is not good for them?

Do you give in, because it is easier to do that, than listen to them scream, call you names, insult your love for them, or do you hold your ground, to teach them that just because they want it, doesn’t mean they can have it? In short, do you spoil your children, giving them everything they want?

Remember when you got an allowance from your parents, but only if you emptied the trash out every day, only if you did certain other chores? Think you can remember how it was when you wanted something from the store, and your parents told you how you had to earn the money, that they weren’t going to just give it to you? Recall those memories?

I think we have all forgotten it, because once more the Bush Adminisration is wiling to buy now, and pay later, long after they are all gone. Treasury Secretary Paulson has announced another EIGHT HUNDRED BILLION DOLLAR PLUS GIVEAWAY. This time though, the goal is to make it easier for big business to loan you and me money. Now that should get George a nice bump in the polls, before he leaves office, but is it really a good plan? Is it a worthwhile way to fix an ailing economy, for the long term, or just for this holiday shopping season?

“As a result, millions of Americans cannot find affordable financing for their basic credit needs,” Paulson said. “Credit card rates are climbing, making it more expensive for families to finance everyday purchases. This lack of affordable consumer credit undermines consumer spending and as a result weakens our economy.

“Remember that $200 billion is a starting point,” Paulson said. “It’s going to take a while to get this program up and going and then it can be expanded and increased over time.”

The government, while looking to reduce fear in the credit markets, is eager to see lenders resume more normal levels of lending to help stimulate the economy. Since September, when credit markets first froze, financial institutions have been hesitant to hand over money for fear they won’t be repaid. That, in turn, has made it harder for businesses and consumers to borrow.  (source – CBS News)

In reading this little item, not sure if it is talking about the already passed bailout, or if this is a new packge, but either way, in my mind it fails to address the real issue. TOO MUCH CREDIT.

To begin with, consumer spending has gotten out of hand, and it is time people began to buy what they can afford, not what they can afford to borrow for. Credit is not a right, it is supposed to be something one works for, something one earns over time, not automatic. Yet that is exactly what is happening here, credit is being extended to people that haven’t a hope in hell of paying it back, so now the taxpayer foots the bill.

It is driven by the greed of big business, who has one goal only, to increase its profit margins, for its own pocket, not for the millions who work for them, but for the elite few that run these big conglomerates. Oh, they’ll share a bit with the common investor, if need be, but that isnt what they want. Still, the issure comes down to this insane rush to give credit.

Life is not easy, and when prices go up, it is hard to survive on what you earn, but if you borrown, you gotta pay it back. So for me, the approach isn’t to give people easier credit, but should be to tighten the rules up, to put things back in perspective. I am, by no means, self sufficient as to income. I am not able to ignore the rising costs of fuel or food, and so in order to survive, it means sacrifices. It means a cheaper cut of meat, it means buying when things are on sale.

However, it also means buying what is needed, NOT WHAT IS WANTED.

Perhaps it is time Government started the same approach, because all this money being thrown out, that is never going to be repaid in my lifetime, or the next generations, isn’t going to help tomorrow. Oh, it may help this holiday season shopping, but what about next years? Will there be another stimulus package to boost the corporate profits then, or more bailouts and throwing of money at banks & credit card companies, that helped create this mess?

Protecting Hate not Free Speech

A report by Professor Richard Moon has been submitted to our Human Rights Commission, which advocates a drastic curtailing of what is hate speech, and what isn’t. Basically the Professor from the University of Windsor Ont. wants, is the repeal of Section 13, claiming it violates the principles of Free Speech. He goes on to make more claims, about how this section really is not needed, that it is censorship and that besides, hate will not be eradicated in our society, because there are too many different cultures that clash.

Uh, Professor, can we say Adolph Hitler & Nazi Germany?

“My principal recommendation, in the end, has been for the repeal of Section 13,” Moon told CBC News on Monday. “That does not mean that we no longer have hate speech regulation. What it means is that the Criminal Code of Canada, which has a ban on the wilful promotion of hatred, would be the recourse.”

In his report, which was made public Monday, Moon also suggests that the application of the Criminal Code provision should also be limited. He says it should only be applied in cases where the speech “explicitly or implicitly threatens, justifies or advocates violence against the members of an identifiable group.” (source – CBC News)

As a member of two minoritie, i can honestly say that if we were to repeal that section, we would be facing the same kind of racial divide that now exists in the United States. The sentiment of so many, may indeed be hard to eradicate, but by not letting it be taught in schools, by not letting it be broadcast across the media platforms, we do curtail its spread, we do prevent its eruption into violence.

Being Jewish does give one some insight into being a target. Hate is a powerful weapon, and we only have to look at the turmoil in the Middle East to see this. If there was less Hate, less speeches that were nothing but hate, their actually might be peace there. Entire generations are being brought up to hate, because there is NO LIMITATIONS ON HATE SPEECH IN THAT REGION.

I am also Homosexual, and all one has to do is to look at how the so called Free Speech Advocates, the Anti Hate Speech Lobbyists have managed to convince so many that who I am, what I am, is evil. This constant attack on Gays in America, includes increased violence, and while the Professor says it is protected under the Criminal Code, he doesn’t see how wanton speech incites people to such acts.

If the Professor needs a lesson closer to home, how about he examine the recent flurry of crimes committed by school age children, against Red Haired classmates? It is those type of incidents, that would occur far more often, if there were no hate speech laws in place. At least now, these instigators can be held accountable, something any good Conservative Thinker should applaud.

Our Hate Crime Laws that include Hate Speech, are about protecting the minority from the bigots and racists who hide in the majority. It prevents any group from domineering another group, by proclaiming its rights over the other. Hate is a powerful weapon, it got Adolph Hitler elected, and resulted in WWII. Does the Professor remember the Holocaust? Or does he perhaps think it is an over exaggeration?

Hate exists, but by allowing it to have free reign in our society, we are actually promoting it. That isn’t what I call Democracy. No, we may never be able to eradicate Hate, but we can certainly limit its effects on our society, which is exactly what these Hate Laws do. The whole nonsense about it being censorship, is a trick, to allow for bigotry, racism, and prejudice to flourish. It is unbecoming of any ‘educator’ to be pushing for such an ideal, but then again, it is hard to believe that Canadians elected a Government dedicated to such an agenda.

What Professor Moon fails to understand, is that there is a difference between voicing an opinion, and between spewing hatred. Censorship means to stop the flow of ideas, and that isnt what Section 13 does. It helps stop the flow of HATE, not the opinon that one group is better than another. It doesnt stop the Catholic Church from calling Homosexual Sinners, but it does stop them from demanding a Government make such a claim, a law.

It does stop teachers from claiming the Holocaust was a hoax, that no six million Jews were exterminated in any camp during WWII. That is what our hate speech laws do, they protect the truth, not censor it. If the Professor had his way, those who shout the loudest, who lie the loudest, would change history, would alter the truth, all under the guise of Free Speech.

Joseph Goebbels, the head of the Nazi Propaganda Ministry was quoted as saying, that if you tell a lie often enough, loud enough, the average person will believe it. Professor Moon is just one more following that path. Free Speech exists, under Section 13, it is not censorship, but it protecting the rights of the minorities, all of them, and it is helping to reduce the Hate in our society. That is why people like the Professor are so quick to condemn it, because it does work.