Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ignatieff Liberals are back to thinking Kyoto is just the name of a dog.

For the federal Liberal Party the environment isn’t a crisis. It isn’t even an issue. It’s a prop. For decades the Liberal Party has campaigned on the environment, collected the votes for their song and dance and then walked away from our browning planet.

Check their stats:

In 1993 the Liberal Party ran on a platform that mentioned the environment 118 times. Yet 13 years and four Liberal governments later left us with a worse environment.

In 1997 they signed the Kyoto Accord pledging to reduce GHG emissions 6% and then “didn’t get it done.”

More recently, the Liberals declared climate change the number one threat to Canadians and our planet. Not just Dion, but every Liberal including Ignatieff clapped their hands and voted in favour of Jack Layton’s Climate Change Accountability Act, which to the chagrin of the Harperites passed the House in June and was in the Senate when Harper called the early election three months later.

Yet over at Peterborough Politics, Cam is reporting that Liberals might not support the bill when it comes back to the House this week.

The Sierra Club of Canada, once considered a virtual clearing house for the Liberal Party now finds itself inexplicably pleading with Liberal MPs to vote in favour of the bill that will hold future governments accountable for hard climate change reduction targets.

Tomorrow’s vote is an opportunity for each MP to demonstrate to their constituents where they stand on climate action, and to live up to their previous commitments,” said Stephen Hazell, Executive Director of Sierra Club Canada.

On one hand it’s no surprise to see Liberals heaving their convenient environmentalism of the past two years overboard like ballast from a sinking ship -- it’s just that Canadians are more accustomed to seeing this when Liberals are in government -- not opposition.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Layton loses no ground – ranked the leader best able to understand the problems of Canadians

Imagine that every time you applied for a loan or met someone new your cheating ex-spouse was permitted to comment on the matter.

That’s the way it is with Buzz Hargrove. In terms of fidelity to the New Democratic Party the former Paul Martin-booster ranks with such courageous defenders as Hazen Argue, Rick Laliberte and (in a delightful twist of irony that has never been fully examined) his old arch nemesis Bob Rae. The man who New Democrats could almost never count on for anything can now be counted on by journalists with tight deadlines and unimaginative editors to heap mud on Jack Layton with the all the suspense of a vending machine.

Which accounts for this.

But aside from Hargrove’s ludicrous objectivity and absurd claims (he says the NDP “felt more comfortable attacking the Liberals” than Harper in the last election. Um, WHAT?? Did the eagle-eyed Hargrove not catch a glimpse of the most vicious attack ad of the last campaign?), the article builds its house on the sand of recent polls to suggest New Democrats should be worried about the Liberal “juggernaut” version 3.0.

But recent polls don’t show much evidence of this at all. The Angus Reid poll that came out last week had the Conservatives at 35, the Liberals inching to 31 and the NDP down at 16 percent. A margin of error drop for the NDP since the election is hardly proof positive of a hollowing out.

If anything, New Democrats should be buoyant from this poll. In terms of leadership “best ats,” Canadians rank Layton first or second on almost every issue.

Which leader is the most honest and trustworthy? Jack Layton ranks first.

Which leader agrees with you on the issues you care about? Jack Layton ranks first.

Which leader cares about the environment? Jack Layton ranks first by a 22 point margin!

And on the critical vote-determining question of which leader understands the problems of Canadians? Canadians rank Jack Layton first by four points over Harper.

Ignatieff’s only first place ranking is “inspires confidence.” After the leader Liberals just had the contrast alone makes this understandable. But even in political death, Dion haunts the Liberals.

Consider that days after becoming leader, after a leadership race that blistered his credibility for “not getting it done” and at a time when the economy was showing no signs of weakness and Harper appeared in control and confident, Stephane Dion brought his party to a record 40 percent in the polls.

More than 90 days since becoming leader himself in circumstances far more favorable, 40 percent support remains a feat Michael Ignatieff hasn’t come close to matching.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Come back Floyd Laughren! All is forgiven.

Hey, who remembers 1995 when the Ontario Liberals and Mike Harris Conservatives pilloried the New Democrats for having the brazen gall to take dramatic measures to protect Ontarians from the recession?

Judging from the highlights of today’s doomsday budget in Ontario, the McGuinty Liberals don’t … or if they do, they just think hypocrisy suits them better.

Take a look:

* $57 billion in borrowed spending, starting with a record $14.1 billion this year (compared to a meager $12.4 billion under the New Democrats);

* $1 billion in unidentified “mystery cuts” (see ya in hell, TV Ontario);

* A 5 percent reduction in the public service (Rae Days never looked so good); and

* An 8 percent increase in the cost of household goods, including on electricity and home heating bills with the absurd combination of the provincial sales tax with the GST;

Hey, it’s not all bad! Bay Street still gets off with a sweet corporate tax cut while everyone else gets the privilege of paying Dalton McGuinty more for giving us less – (less pocket money and less services)

Meanwhile next door in Manitoba, increased core spending in education and health and ... wait for it ... a balanced budget from the New Democrats.

How do you like your McGuinty Liberals now, Ontario?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Liberal Peeps Opposition

So there’s a lot of anger out there that the Liberal convention to crown Czar Ignatieff is coming together as a completely perfunctory affair for the hundred or so faithful who are expected to hump over the Rockies from their base in the GTA in May.

"It's a convention about nothing," grouses one disgruntled Grit, echoing a description often applied to Jerry Seinfeld's television sitcom of the 1990s. "Some people are wondering why we're bothering to have a convention at all."

Honestly, what’s the fuss about, Liberals? When has a federal Liberal Party convention been about substance? This Liberal convention, like the ones before and after it have always seemed like the Peeps Easter candies that decorate store shelves this time of year - colorful and fluffy yet utterly generic and void of any nutritional value.

But that’s the way the Liberal establishment likes their conventions. It’s the way they like their leaders, and it’s the way they like their so-called opposition to the Harper Conservatives as well.

Just think about how Ignatieff and the Peeps continued Dion’s record of helping Harper get his budget passed. They claim to have put the government on probation - yet when the time came, they not only voted in favour of the Harper agenda – they fast-tracked it in the Senate, admitting that they didn’t even know what far-right measures were contained in the 500 page budget document.

"One of the problems is that if we have an omnibus bill there is all kinds of stuff. It is like a folder. So people put stuff in the folder that we don't know about. But at the moment that we have known that this problem [with employment insurance] was rising up, we reacted and the question that we need to ask is the government -- did the government know what was within its budget? I don't think so." – Michael Ignatieff, CTV Newsnet, March 12, 2009

Unbelievable. And this bunch claims to have put Harper "on probation."

Just like with Peeps, after a while of consuming Liberal talking points, you begin to wonder what attracted you to them in the first place.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Give FOX News' "Red Eye" a black eye

If you are disgusted by this schlock passing for "journalism" on a channel passing for a news network ...

... here's how you can let FOX News know: redeye@foxnews.com

Maybe it's time somebody gave this show and its witless production staff and host a year long break of thier own.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"I am a New Democrat" Obama says

Well, there you have it, Canadians.

Only a few weeks after being here - during which he had only the briefest occasion to shake NDP MP Paul Dewar's hand - and Obama has picked a side ... Obama: 'I am a New Democrat'. (Check it out! He even used the capital "N"!)

Single payer health care. Commitment to a cap and trade carbon market. Tough diplomacy in Afghanistan ... America really is back!

That must have been one hell of a handshake, Paul.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The answer is yes.

Citing two recent political developments in the war in Afghanistan, over at his blog Aaron Wherry asks “Does this mean we have to do away with the basic assumption that everything Jack Layton says is ridiculous?”

The answer of course, is yes.

And as the facetiousness of Wherry’s query suggests, the cynicism against New Democrats is less than entirely justifiable, and opinion leaders know it.

Presuming that New Democrats can’t be right because Liberals, Conservatives and their cheerleading establishment say so is like not letting your otherwise accomplished sister change a light bulb on the basis of several “dumb blonde” jokes. It’s prejudice in deliberate defiace of the facts.

Consider for a moment ...

When New Democrats, then the CCF, called for extending civil liberties to Chinese Canadians, the know-it-all establishment called them traitors.

When they called for the creation of public health care, the know-it-all establishment called them communists.

When they opposed the War Measures Act, the know-it-all establishment called them cowards.

Yet one by one, each of these positions came to be the opinion of the majority of Canadians.

Does this mean that New Democrats are always right? Of course not. But neither are they always wrong. Our political discourse would be stronger and more honest if more opinion leaders gave up on their cynicism (or their agenda) and aknowledged the latter.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Iggy who cried election, part XXII

First under Dion, now under Ignatieff, federal Liberals have not yet tired of bombastically, and energetically threatening an election over the latest matter of outrage courtesy of the Harper government they have chosen to let survive back in January.

They do so knowing full well that the media will report on their swaggering.

Not entirely in their calculation however is that the same reporters will also have to follow up on yesterday’s tale of defiance with this headline as Liberals swallow hard and take what remains of their principles with them.

And thus the paper tiger is once more among the chickens.