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Archive for May, 2006

A general show of disrespect is what it comes down to. Stephen Harper does not, and I am convinced of this now, respect the people who put him in power. He does not respect their wishes, or their beliefs, or their convictions. Just days ago, Captain Nichola Goddard’’s funeral was held in a Calgary church. Her father honored her daughter, paid tribute to the immense sacrifice that she has made in the line of duty, and said goodbye to his daughter.

Captain Goddard was killed fighting for a good and just cause. She deserved to be honored by her fellow Canadians, the people she died serving. Our Prime Minister did not let that happen. When the family wanted the repatriation of their wife and daughter’s body made public, their requests were ignored. The flag was not lowered. Questions regarding these questions were deflected. But that is not what this is about.

Captain Goddard died in our service. She laid down her life fighting for the freedom of the people of Afghanistan, and the safety of our nation. She has made the ultimate sacrifice, leaving behind grieving loved ones. We must always remember the price people pay fighting in our armed forces. Godspeed to Captain Nichola Goddard. May she rest in peace.

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I take pride in the initiatives and the programs that the Liberal government brought in. I’m pleased with the incredible amount of things that our party has accomplished. These were, generally, good programs, and while they were not without fault, these initiatives – child care, Kyoto, Kelowna, the long gun registry – were good programs that are being eviscerated for the purpose of destroying a legacy of good governance, only because we are Liberals and they are vindictive.

These are not the dismantling of programs to save costs, or eliminate waste. This is Tories being Tories. These people, the bright lights of Stephen Harper’s cabinet, the Jim Prentices and Rona Ambroses – they are black holes of innovation. God forbid a majority be won – they could very well destroy Canada.

Now, on the topic of Jim Prentice. As a person, I like this man. I appreciate that he had the courage to vote in the affirmative on Same Sex Marriage. However, he seems to be a woefully inadequate Minister of Indian Affairs. He has destroyed a monumental agreement – a new way of addressing age old problems, in favour of a system that is not working. Kelowna was a Liberal Legacy, so I suppose it had to go. Now, when confronted with a massive problem in Caledonia, one that is an issue between the Federal Government and the Six Nations, he has remained unacceptably silent. He needs to address the Caledonia confrontation, and he needs to reinstate the Kelowna Accord.

Regarding Rona – this is where the half measures come in. She scrapped the Kyoto Accord. We, as a nation, should have kept the goals in mind. She has at last done something good. Increasing the ethanol content of our gasoline is good for the environment, but this measure is meaningless if it is not done within the context of something larger. Yesterday, two reports were released that indicate that a seven degree rise in temperature could take place over the next fifty years, with catastrophic results. It addresses the cyclical nature of climate, and works humans into the equation. Climate change is a real issue, one of those Facts that the Conservatives seem to be so fond of, and it needs to be addressed. Perhaps Rona’s Made in Canada plan will work. I doubt it, but there needs to be a plan. Without it, these things are half meausres, the random contortions of a man in the last throes of life, grasping at a long past hope.

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On Ownership

Ownership. Some of my blogospheric colleagues was talking about the importance of Michael Ignatieff and Scott Brison taking ownership for their actions in the House of Commons last night. They are upset that these two MPs, and leadership candidates, voted to extend the Canadian mission in Afghanistan.

Before we go on, I have a bit of a confession to make. In my previous post, Irresponsibility, I initially accused both these men of being Irresponsible with their votes. About 3 minutes after posting, I went back and changed it because the statements I made just didn’t feel right. I didn’t actually think they were Irresponsible. Personally, I don’t know how I would have voted on this issue – I wasn’t in the house, and I didn’t hear the arguments, but I respect those that did. They made the right decision based on their conscience and their thoughts on what would be best for Canada.

Each MP is responsible for acting in the best interests of Canada, and doing so how they see fit. Yes, there will be some people who are anti-war regardless, and I respect their views, but we have the capability to do a lot of good in Afghanistan. In 2009, when we leave (potentially), Afghanistan could be a far better place than it is now (if only we could find something that grows as well as an opium poppy). Insurgencies have historically lasted an average of nine years, and I don’t see why this should be any different. My opposition was based on locking us into the commitment, but, frankly, I don’t have all the facts. I didn’t sit throughout the entire debate, and I didn’t have the questions I had answered. This will be a NATO mission, we will play a leadership role, and we can make a difference. If people can say that they listened to the entire five hour debate in the house on this subject, you are qualified to comment. If not, you are a ranting ideologue making a visceral decision. I ask those people to think of the good we will no doubt do.

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Irresponsible

There are people in our country who evidently do not care about the welfare of those around them. We, as Canadians, and as global citizens, have a responsibility to do what is best for Canada and the world. Like it or not, those in the public eye: the media and the politicians, should be held to a greater account. To not defend the interests of our nation, and our globe in general, is irresponsible.

Who, as of late, has been acting irresponsibly? This may seem like a question with innumerable answers, and this is probably true, but we can at the very least point out some key offenders. The offenders of which I speak are Stockwell Day, Rex Murphy and Jason Kenney.

When I level my barrels at Mr. Day, you can probably guess what ammunition I’m going to be using. This man is in charge of protecting the public safety of our citizens, yet today announced that he would be eviscerate the gun registry. What bothers me most is that this was done purely for political gain – the gun registry was unpopular, but important. It did cost money, but it was also working. Day has decided to do away with a system that police officers were using over 5000 times a day. Yesterday, on the National, a family of gun auctioneers was saying how they were selling less guns, which, while rather unfortunate for them, is kind of the point. I don’t mean to say that guns are bad, but paperwork and registration keeps guns out of the hands of those who would use them for less than noble purposes. This was a system that was working, was being used, and should have been sustained. Stockwell Day is being irresponsible.

We can’t go without mentioning Rex Murphy’s “Point of View” on this topic. His thoughts were less inappropriate when it comes to the gun registry (although all he did was rehash some tired old arguments against a system that worked), but were deeply misguided when he spoke on Kyoto (and I don’t mean Stephane Dion’s husky). He, in no uncertain terms, ignored Science. The temperature of the globe is increasing, and one can not dismiss the correlation and likely causation between greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. Kyoto had a purpose, and a good one at that, and he dismissed it as hogwash. Rex Murphy is irresponsible.

Jason Kenney is not a good MP, or, for that matter, person. While there is no doubt that he, unlike his leader, is carbon based, he seems to be the exemplification of the statement “To err is human,” because Jason Kenney is sure erring a lot these days. I mention specifically his defense of the nomination of Gwyn Morgan to the office of Public Appointments Commissioner. Ironic that the man asked to clean up patronage is getting into office via (and yes I know the compensation was low) patronage. His comments on race and on immigrants were inappropriate, and he wasn’t the right man for the job. That’s not to say that the idea wasn’t good – but Jason Kenney defended Harper when he said, in effect “If I can’t have it my way, I’m not playing.” This just reinforces what we already knew – Jason Kenney is irresponsible.

It’s time for responsibility. Don’t posture. Don’t be irrational. Don’t ignore facts.

Don’t be irresponsible.

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There is a genocide in Darfur. As a first world nation, Canada can not stand idly by, but we cannot afford another mission. Our military is stretched too thin, and while I view our presence in Darfur as essential, I do not think that we can sustain continued presence in Afghanistan simultaneously. I think that Canada needs to honor its commitments, militarily, or, as I have mentioned before, environmentally. Here, we have made a commitment to stay in Afghanistan. I think that a continued rotation of UN sponsored forces from different countries is the correct fashion in which to act. Whether the Conservatives get their way or not and keep us there longer, we are in Afghanistan at this moment, and cannot be anywhere else.

This is indicative of a larger issue. We, when addressing foreign policy, spread ourselves too thin, whether it be with foreign aid or with military deployment. We need to triage, and determine where we can most effectively have the greatest impact on the world. Where is our foreign aid going right now? Everywhere. Military too could be rendered as ineffective as our foreign aid by spreading it out. We should be focusing spending in places like Haiti, where we can have a massive impact, and plan our military commitments. We can and should be in Afghanistan, and take action in Darfur in a feasible manner that has the greatest ground impact. We can send tactical helicopters, intelligence units, surveillance units, and plan for a full mission, but that full mission cannot happen concurrently with another. We are strapped for cash and resources, and, by thinking clearly, can make a far greater difference than by spreading ourselves too thin.

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For thirteen years, our party has endeavored to be a green party, a party that can balance the economic development of our nation with environmental sustainability. It was out party that signed the Kyoto accord. We were going to proudly lead our nation on the path towards greenhouse gas reductions, towards a state where all Canadians can live sustainably.

And now, after just over thirteen weeks of Conservative governance, it is all for naught.

All that our Liberal party has worked for is being dismantled by a partisan and vindictive Conservative Environment Minister. This oil patch MP, representing a city with vested interests in the oil sands and refining, was somehow seen as a balanced choice for the job. Rona Ambrose announced today that Canada would not be meeting its Kyoto Obligations. Rona Ambrose, in essence, announced that she had failed.

We, as a party, were ready and willing to take up the fight to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Our Environment Minister in the last government, Stéphane Dion, would have done what was necessary. His innovation, like changing how oil extraction is done, would have made it possible. I can only hope that he can become our next leader, of the party and the nation, and hastily repair what damage the Conservatives are able to perpetrate. Our current Environment Critic, Scott Brison, is right when he says that we would be able to meet our targets, but Conservatives do not typically listen to logic – it seems to be a foreign language to them (Not unlike French to the Minister for La Francaphonie). They think that in order to meet our targets, every car must be taken off the street, every train halted, every plane pulled from the sky, but this is simply not true. Of course, they seem to think that bus pass credits will solve the problem. There is some logical disconnect going on here.

Rona Ambrose has shown that her government is not willing to go the distance to save our environment, and has displayed a clear lack of logic and aptitude that borders on incompetence. She should resign, for she has, in trying to dismantle a Liberal legacy, failed our country.

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Judges must defend our nation, but first it seems like they have to defend themselves from their own countries government. ‘‘Activist judges’ seem to be something that is very much on the mind of our current government. The thing that worries me most is the recent remarks by Saskatchewan MP Maurice Vellacott. He has said that he doesn’t like how judges take on almost mystical powers when they assume office. Now, aside from the fact that it worries me that members of our government are describing things in the same manner as fortune tellers or the writers for a children’s TV show, this belies a far greater problem. Canada is not a nation that is founded on checks and balances -– that’’s the US. We operate as a responsible government (the current administration notwithstanding). However, the Supreme Court is far less partisan than the US counterpart, and is therefore free to act in the interest of Canadians -– to do what is Constitutionally right.

Vellacott was commenting on remarks made by Chief Justice Beverly McLaughlin, in which she stated that she would throw out laws that violated constitutional norms and text. Now, quite frankly, I don’t understand what the fuss is about. This is really what we pay them to do -– to UPHOLD our constitution. Apparently, our Conservative government doesn’t like that (not suprising). It is this, and not the comments of our Chief Justice, that should worry everyone immensely. To have Vellacott, a committee chair known for making insensitive comments First Nations peoples, speaking against our judiciary, is a terrifying prospect.

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