Weekly Highlights from our Conservative Overlords

Weekly Highlights from our Conservative Overlords

Monday, July 25, 2011

More Asbestos! More Asbestos! - Week 12 - July 18-25

I start this week with the most shockingly ludicrous thing I have encountered in an incredibly long time. How this is not bigger news puzzles me. Apparently the last Asbestos mine in Quebec (you know, the one that the Conservatives are selling out the rest of Canada for?) might be RUNNING OUT OF ASBESTOS. Yes sir. Apparently good leadership involves making your country a laughingstock over a mine that will probably have to close in a short period of time.

Youth advocates are worried that the "tough on crime" bill is going to have a negative impact on susceptible youth. Isn't it awesome that we have a government that completely dismisses the opinion of Criminologists? Why would the people that study this stuff for a living know what they're talking about. They must have a hidden agenda.

Adding to that, we have new statistics out showing that the crime rate is the lowest it has been since 1973. The Conservative response? "Unlike the Opposition, we do not use statistics as an excuse not to get tough on criminals." Wow. This is like a Trifecta of Conservative response awesomeness. Make the question asker feel stupid. Throw in a jab at the Opposition. Ignore and diminish all that silly sciency type stuff.

In this week's 2nd installment of Strange Stephen Harper Obsessions, we once again have the Arctic. Nothing new here, just more talk about Mr. Harper's blustering and an observation that what it lacks in substance is made up for in politicking.

It's funny that there is still a discussion about whether or not additional immigration will cause a drain in society. Most of the immigrants that I work with scare me, not because I fear I might have to pay for their health care. They work so damn hard and I fear that it makes me and my entitled ways look bad. So, ya, I don't think an extra 30,000 immigrants a year is going to ruin Canada.

This boingboing post explains precisely why we should not pursue a US style copyright system. Shortened version - Man creates song, posts it to the Internet. Major label likes song, wants Eminem to license it and use it as his own. Major label submits DMCA takedown notice to Youtube claiming it owns the rights to the song and that the youtube video is committing copyright infringement. Label initiates negotiations with the artist to take ownership of the song. Criminal. This is why music companies should not be allowed to arbitrarily decide what is and what isn't allowed on the Internet. This is what they are pushing for in Canada.

And to follow up on that, apparently there was a report commissioned to follow up on the purchasing habits of users of a raided and shut down file sharing site. The findings? Well, the average "internet pirate" on the site actually spent far more on legitimate entertainment expenses (movie theaters, media, etc.) than the average person. Which kind of reinforces the argument that piracy can help sell copyrighted items...but the company that commissioned the report didn't like the outcome so it was never released.

Lastly, apparently files are not always handed over from one MP to another in the event of a Parliamentary defeat. This does not seem like the best way for a government to transition, does it?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer Takes a Toll - Week 11 - July 11-18

Strange Stephen Harper Obsessions - The CBC. The Harper Government starts talking about cutting the budget on the CBC. And why not? There's so many other great, fair & balanced news agencies out there.

A rare attaboy for the Conservatives as they consider protection for Woodland Caribou.

Apparently somebody did a survey on the lack of decorum and respect in Parliament. Read, pause, and then weep for democracy.

John Baird goes to China. He doesn't seem to yell at anybody while he's there, either.

I'm not entirely certain, as this whole thing is so murky, but it appears that the entire Helena Guergis affair has boiled down to a slap on the wrist for sending out self-serving documents on official parliamentary letterhead. So much for the hookers and cocaine?

I just read this article on McSweeney's. It's one of a series highlighting "dream jobs you're glad you didn't pursue." "You learned that the reason the senate chambers are so empty most of the time is not because senators are abusing their powers and not doing their jobs, but because that is the only way a senator can keep his job" is just so sadly on point.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Stampede of Ridiculousnous - Week 10 - July 4-11

We start this week with an "Oh my god! They're talking about us!" article from Salon. It talks about Canada's experience with the recession as a rebuttal to an incorrect (surprisingly!) statement made by Michelle Bachmann about our fantastic unemployment numbers even though we lacked a stimulus plan. And this really got me thinking. It's hard to argue against this article. It's an unbiased viewpoint of how our country weathered the recession. It's sober and honest and could probably only be written by somebody far removed from all the yelling and anger and, quite frankly, by somebody that doesn't care all that much about what is going on here.

So here's my new theory for fixing democracy. Rather than voting for our own government, we allow our neighbours to vote for our government. Washington State can vote on behalf of British Columbia. Montana or somebody else handles the prairies. New York can do Ontario. Or Michigan maybe? Maine handles the Maritimes. We could tell them what our problems are, show them who we have to pick from and they can calmly and rationally decide who would be best to fix it. It makes nothing but sense.

With that, we move on to broken campaign promises. The Conservatives are starting to indicate that user fees are about to rise in a number of areas. But it's okay. They didn't break the promise. They aren't raising user fees as part of the "Strategic and Operating Review Process". They're raising user fees because 13 completely different government departments have just all of a sudden decided that they need to be raised. See. Promise kept. You're all a bunch of idiots for even asking a question about this.

A new round of government job cuts are announced, but not necessarily campaigned upon.

A BC Native Band accuses the Conservative Government of holding up the treaty that they (the Conservatives) negotiated. Sorry. Awkward sentence.

Early reports on the non-mandatory long form census don't sound very positive. Interestingly, The Huffington Post has the exact same article. Word for word. Globe & Mail cites "The Canadian Press". Huffington Post cites...absolutely nobody.

I really have to break away from the Globe & Mail. Nobody else really has anything of substance to add though, over and above what they provide. But take a look at this article. It makes no sense. None at all. It seems to be complaining about a loan provided to a small donut maker to expand their business. It brings up past ralings against "corporations" receiving government loans and handouts. This is the example that you can come up with as a strory about "corporate welfare bums"? A small donut maker in New Brunswick? I realize that a headline like Stephen Harper's Conservatives to pony up $190,000 for doughnuts is supposed to grab some attention. But isn't that precisely the kind of small business expansion loan that everybody and their grandma has been encouraging for the last 400 years? Maybe do a story on the massive tax breaks for Oil Companies? Banks? Etc? It's not even coherent in it's wrongness.

And this article...well...this is why people think Stephen Harper is a dick. He heads out to Alberta. He says stupid things to his rabid base of Conservatives. But it doesn't really matter because nobody really pays much attention. Except other politicians. And they just get all angry and sad.

Jason Kenney complains about the entrepreneurs immigration system being broken
and of having "huge backlogs that we inherited." Well Mr. Kenney...you've had a few years to get that sorted out, haven't you?

If/When the long gun registry gets scrapped, the Conservatives have vowed to not offer any help to Provincial governments looking to create their own plan. They won't even turn over their records. Seeing as, if memory serves me correctly, one of the prime Conservative problems with the whole thing was the cost...why wouldn't they help a Provincial Government save some money in setting up their own registry? Their "re-purposing" and "privacy concerns" argument is a bit weak.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Celebrating the Crap out of Canada Day - Week 9 - June 27-July 4

This started out as a really boring week, before it picked up some steam over the long weekend. Can you believe that Parliament only sat from June 2nd-June 23rd? I mean, thank god. Who knows what kind of crazy crap they'd come up with if they actually stayed in session for any period of time. But 21 days? That's crazy. They're not back until September 19th.

Anyhow, I started the week grasping at straws, so we'll start with my panic post.

In honour of Canada Day, let's look back on some history. Did you know that Income Tax in Canada originated during the First World War? Indeed, it was meant as a temporary measure to help pay for wartime spending.

So, doing a bit more research...the Prime Minister at that time? Sir Robert Borden. Who happened to be a Conservative. Yes. The Conservatives brought in a "temporary income tax"...94 years ago. That's probably one of their oldest broken campaign promises.

Moving along to actual items...

This Globe and Mail opinion piece nicely sums up my exasperation with the political landscape of today.

Another Globe and Mail article talks about the Senate and it's handling of the Canada Post back to work legislation, pointing out that their reading of it added a "real, ongoing contribution to public discourse and public policy." Which is a fair point. In the past, Liberal senators have made some remarkable points about drug law, amongst other things. But honestly...we have an entire branch of government in place to add to public discourse and public policy? That seems a bit indirect and frivolous, no? Especially when nobody, especially the Prime Minister, is required to listen to them.

To further honour Canada Day, the "Harper Government" decided to show it's appreciation for the arts. So they've decided to micromanage arts funding because Canada does not want to "fund plays that glorify terrorism." They have cut off the funding to an entire festival because they didn't agree with one of the plays that happened LAST YEAR. Because anything that talks about terrorism is obviously glorifying it.

Slate takes Canada to task for it's stance on Asbestos. They point out that as we're busy exporting the stuff we're making sure we remove every last molecule of it from the Parliament buildings. Another Globe and Mail article on asbestos as well.

Tony Clement steps in it by tweeting a candid shot of the visiting Royals. Once again, I don't think it's the photo or the tweeting that bothers me, it's the complete lack of acceptance that he may have done something wrong. Only a Harper Cabinet Member could be oblivious to the questionable optics of using your government post to put yourself in a position to take a photo of the backs of two of the most privacy-crazed individuals on earth and then tweet about it. And then...standard Conservative response..."We did nothing wrong. You're stupid for even raising this as an issue. The whole thing might even be your fault." Perhaps the last bit might be a bit of a stretch, but not much.

Moving along to even more concern about the G8 Summit. This time, the RCMP has pointed out that if somebody had decided to shoot one of the 8 leaders, Muskoka probably would have worked out pretty well for them. The same report also points out that several planners had little relevant experience, information and file sharing (amongst security groups, I assume) was poor and that six undercover teams were quietly monitoring all protest groups. Because obviously that's going to be your source of assasination attempts and other "criminal activity".

And finally, in our Strange Stephen Harper Obsessions posting for the week, a "show of force" in the High Arctic is planned for the near future. I'm not sure if I'm more troubled by us wasting money running around in the arctic thinking that people are impressed or by us considering 1,000 troops to be a "show of force".

Actually...more finally...let's end the week off with a running list of Strange Stephen Harper Obsessions:

The Arctic
The Long Gun Registry
Per Vote Subsidies

I feel like I'm missing a couple. But honestly...he just can't let some of that stuff go.