Weekly Highlights from our Conservative Overlords

Weekly Highlights from our Conservative Overlords

Monday, May 30, 2011

International Futility - Week 4 - May 25-30

It's easy to look at US failures to respond to natural disasters and cast all sorts of judgement. They just always seem to get it wrong. Perhaps our sparse population makes it somewhat easier to respond to disasters? When's the last time a major Canadian city was hit by a disaster? We also don't seem to have the giant areas jammed full of the poor and disenfranchised. But I read this story about the initial reluctance to send in extra help to aid in Quebec floods (via boingboing) and I worry. This doesn't sound very Canadian. And just to put this in to perspective, an interesting take on what might happen when the big one hits (hint - we're kind of screwed).

Speaking of not sounding Canadian...when did we become the rightest of the Israel supporting hawks? Aren't we supposed to be the source of reason and sanity in the worlds conflicts? Apparently Stephen Harper is...actually, I'm not even going to suggest that he's holding things up, because the rest of the G8 probably isn't listening to him... Stephen Harper is crafting his own policy on Israel and the Middle East. As an added bonus, here is a Salon article about the image that Israel has crafted. Oh...wait...he is actually holding things up now.

And speaking of right wing posturing...A "Russian Diplomat" speaks out about Canada' overly paranoid hang-up on Russian expansion into the arctic. Key quote - "It could come out of a lack of knowledge of reality". Indeed, my Russian friend, indeed.

And lastly, this final story represents the complete lack of accountability in the Conservative government. Long story short - Jason Kenney's office sends out fundraising information on House of Commons Letterhead. Jason Kenney says it's an honest mistake, but scapegoats member of staff. Jason Kenney rehires said member of staff, several months later. So not only are they accepting no responsibility for the mistake, but they're not even holding their scapegoat accountible. The shocking thing is that they don't seem to care and that it doesn't seem to matter. At least hire him in a different ministry. It's insulting that they can't even get a tiny bit creative about this.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Left Below - Week 3 - May 17-24

This is the headline of the year. "Believers confused as Judgement Day doesn't come." I can actually see a whole bunch of Stephen Harper's cabinet getting together late Saturday evening, speculating on where it all went wrong and trying to decide on what the new plan is.

On to Senate appointments. I never thought that I would envy the US democratic system. However, here we are. The US has it's crazy system with a Senate, House of Representatives and President (let me just check Wikipedia to make sure I have that right...yep...). They require a hyper-majority to get anything done, they give way too much power to lightly populated states and the President can more-or-less veto anything at any point and time. But look at us. One Parliament. An appointed Senate. Our national leader selected with 24% of the vote. It's practically a dictatorship.

So, I'm almost on board with Stephen Harper's ideas for Senate reform. Why not have a secondary branch of government as a check and/or balance to Parliament? It makes sense. And that makes the appointment of recently defeated candidates to the Senate all the more baffling. Is it an elaborate ploy to enlighten us on the perils of the current system? Or a giant middle finger to those who might question his power? Lucky for us, they aren't actually responsible for doing anything.

As well, the cabinet was named this week. I don't have anything to say about this, other than I hope that John Baird is more civil in his dealings with other countries than he is in his dealings with other political parties.

Oh boy, does this ever sound ominous. Tony Clement promises deep cuts in government programs. Funny, I don't remember them campaigning on that.

And speaking of things not campaigned on, the Globe and Mail talks about the "Solid Americas Strategy" but doesn't really explain what it is. It does, however, point out that "the missing substance to the plans has been a liability."

And finally, some scathing commentary on Canadian foreign policy, specifically relating to John Stewart and Asbestos mining.

Lastly...in AmericaLand. How awesome would an Obama "Made in the USA" T-shirt be? I don't think we're allowed to donate as Canadians. I need to figure out how to get one of those shirts.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Getting Busy - Week 2 - May 10-16

The Conservatives bring the heat in their second week.

First up, I think the headline "Tories Back off Campaign Pledge..." is a bit sensationalist, but I'm all for the piling on. I think a more appropriate headline would have been "Tories Don't Understand Basic Math or Economics" or "Tories Confuse Many, Selves with New Budget Statements". Regardless, is it still considered to be a campaign promise when nobody believed you in the first place?

Next, Harper proves himself to be "all style, no substance" with his harsh words about the Arctic. By "style" I mean "superfluous" or "non-functional", not, you know, stylish. Nobody would ever suggest that Stephen Harper had style. Perhaps "all bluster, no substance" would have been more appropriate.

This is carryover from the last Parliament, but the court case over supervised injection sites is finally upon us. This is a surprisingly progressive take from the Globe and Mail and I especially love the line describing it as a "bare-knuckle brawl between political ideology and evidence-based research". I mean, why let a few "facts" get in the way of some good, old-fashioned law-making?

And lastly....Junkets. Why do these stories always come out just after an election? It is kind of sad that US politicians get bought off for hundreds of thousands of dollars and all a Canadian can hope for is a trip to Disney World. And it's funny that Liberals actually went on the most trips. How is that possible? Shouldn't step #1 in junketing be "find a person in a position of influence"?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Vote for Change

Awesome. As I drove in to work today, Christy Clark has affixed "Vote for Change Today" decals to all of her campaign signs. It seems a bit delusional. You know. Seeing as her party has been in power for the last 10 years or so.

I have to admit that I haven't paid very much attention to this by-election. I knew I'd be casting my anybody-but-Christy-Clark vote and I didn't think too much about it. But David Eby is actually kind of awesome. I hope he wins.

And what will Christy Clark do if she loses this by-election? I would imagine that she'll probably construct some sort of sun-blotting structure to prevent the citizens of Point Grey from ever experiencing happiness again.

Update - May 12
Congratulations to David Eby. A job well done. It didn't really shut the Liberals up at all, but we're still proud of him.

Updated Update - May 13
What the hell, Christy Clark? You can't just announce the day after you're elected that you might leave the riding. I think that "I will stay in the riding longer than the 6 months required of me" counts as an implicit campaign promise.

Monday, May 9, 2011

No News is Good News - Week 1 - May 2-9

Ya, I know. It's going to be a little while before Parliament reconvenes and the madness starts. Still, it all feels a little too quiet. The lack of public celebration and grandstanding makes me a bit nervous. Like they're putting all their energy into something really large and unexpected.

In other news, I happily get to keep my weekly election streak going by voting in the Point Grey by-election for MLA on Wednesday (next week, I'm going to vote for my favourite fast food chain in an online poll). Christy Clark is really freaking me out these days. Her optimism and perkiness leaves most of my normal bullshit detectors broken and confused. I can appreciate her desire to announce a few positive things in the run up to an election. But is the adoption of a low-risk, crowd pleasing idea of your opponents really cause for celebration? Shouldn't recognizing good ideas and working closely with all members of the Legislative Asssembly be the rule rather than the exception? It's kind of like a 40-year-old celebrating flushing the toilet all on their own.

Update - May 11
Forgot to talk about the NDP. First up, some of their elected candidates have some unexpected backgrounds.

And the amount of scrutiny on Ruth Ellen Brosseau is staggering. Not to condone a mid-campaign Vegas vacation, never having visited your riding or creative fact manipulation (I won't mention the nomination papers as she's been cleared in that), but if we were this thorough in questioning and humiliating every riding parachuting, out of touch, resume padding political candidate, nobody would ever run. For me, the most troubling part is the Vegas vacation. Have you ever been to Las Vegas? God. It's a terrible place. I would hope a Member of Parliament would show more advanced tastes in travel.

Election Wrap-up - Oh dear...

Honestly, on election day, I did not think it was a possibility that the Conservatives would receive a majority government. I laughed at all the stupid polls. I imagined that somehow a previously ignored lost demographic (young people, either too poor to own a landline or too lazy or smart to answer it at 7PM on a weeknight) flooding polling stations in droves, ousting the Conservatives in the most unexpected election in Canadian History.

That didn't happen.

Looking back over the last few years, this seven year run of minority governments seems like the best decision Canadian voters have ever made. Why would anybody want to hand everything over to one party to do whatever they please? It seems crazy. What’s not to love about minorities?

But here we are. We now face four years in which the Conservatives can do whatever they please. We soon will not recognize this country. We’ve taken our first step onto a slippery cliff face. In four years time, after we've tumbled into the abyss, we’re not going to remember what this country looked like and we won’t have perspective on what we lost.

To counter this, I am going to do my very best to create a weekly record of Harper's wonderful progress. In four years time, when your son has to spend the next 10 years in jail for smoking a joint, your daughter has to pay the veterinarian down the street to give her an abortion, and you have to go through an RCMP background check to get connected to the Internet, you’re going to have this wonderful resource to look back on all the awesome things that have happened.

“Expect the best, prepare for the worst” is how the saying goes. Best case, a kindler, gentler Stephen Harper emerges and this website fizzles out in 6 months time. Worst case, after Fox News Canada moves in to the vacated CBC building downtown, after a mutant sub-species of oil resistant Canadian Geese emerge from a hole in Northern Alberta, and after New and Improved Public Health Care (a private company) rejects your claim for knee surgery based on pre-existing conditions (ummm...you checked the box here where it says you used it to walk)…well…worst case we’ll have had four years to get our shit together to not completely screw things up again. Thanks a lot, Ontario.

This is the first posting of what will hopefully be a limited-run website. We’ll have years to talk about crazy policy decisions, so today we’re going to focus on the “best” of the election campaign. Here goes:

Conservative Election Campaign Roundup

Helena Guergis – Look at what this guy does to his friends! At first, this appeared to be a gift from heaven in Conservative embarrassment (Hookers! Cocaine! Nipples!). But then, in a patented Stephen Harper create-your-own-lemons-and-then-deny-that-lemons-exist-and-then-use-the-lemons-for-your-own-political-gain move, it turns out that there weren’t any hookers and/or blow, that somehow, amazingly, the driving force behind the whole sordid affair and leak seemed to be Harper himself, who then he refused to discuss the whole thing or even say the name “Guergis”. And nobody cared. Remarkable.

Chuck Strahl’s Son – In Chilliwack, you could dress a street lamp up as your Conservative Candidate and it would get elected. So, in a less than above-board process, Chuck Strahl gift-wrapped the replacement nomination for his son, handing him a spot in the House of Commons. Even the Conservatives thought something was fishy, which is really saying something. To top it all off, he then ducked an all-candidates meetings and skipped out on a few interviews. Why jeopardize a sure thing by actually talking? Probably knocked a good 2-3 points off the pitiful 57.2% of the vote he received. Way to hold him accountable, Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon.

Facebookgate – I know that everybody knows all about this, but in four years time nobody is going to believe that this was possible and we're all going to chalk it up to a fault in our collective memories. Or this is just the first step in government mandated Facebook updates and the creation of the new Facebook Monitoring Ministry. Either way, we're going to want some sort of un-tainted memory. To re-cap, a girl was thrown out of a Stephen Harper rally for posting a picture of herself with Michael Ignatieff. I can’t even keep pace with my friend’s steady stream of baby photos but Stephen Harper has a team large enough to sort through the Facebook sites of all the people attending his rallies?

Wai Young/Ujjal Dosanjh – At first, I thought this whole thing might just be stirring the pot for the sake of pot stirring. But the more I think about it, the more awesome it seems. First up, you should have things together enough such that you don’t have suspected terrorists attending your campaign events. Hello! Bill Ayers, people! Has America taught us nothing? But if you do have suspected terrorists attending your events, at least have the decency to put some sort of consistency in to your explanation/question dodging. But why bother coming up with a coherent or fact based answer when the whole thing is going to result in a backlash against your opponent and an election victory?! Amazing.

But in a turn of awesomeness, Ujjal is being sued by said accused terrorist and is happily going to take the whole thing to court in an effort to get some sort of truth into the public record. Ya, sounds like exactly the sort of courageous and principled action we want to avoid in Parliament, right South Vancouver?

Harper Question Dodging – And really, the whole thing in a nutshell…Stephen Harper refuses to take questions from the media. Sorry. Refuses to take more than five questions. But come to think of it, five questions is a lot in one day. For somebody that wants to be Prime Minister.