Steelcitygrit [in exile]

Ruminating on all things Canadian and political.


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

My response

The "We didn't get the job done" ad uses what other non-Conservative people (Ignatieff) have had to say about Dion re: the environment. Although I think the ad is only moderately succesful, that's not a bad strategy. So if I was a campaign guy and asked to respond, I would adopt the same tactic. Let non-Liberals tell us about who Dion is and what he has done:

What kind of an environmental leader is Stephane Dion?

''If they try to smear him and say that he's somehow associated with past Liberal corruption, they're just barking up the wrong tree. If they try to say he was anything other than a very strong environment minister, they're making it up." - Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party

"[Stephane Dion] is a man who is, if I may say so across the partisan divide, ...a committed Canadian and a man of principle and conviction." - Jack Layton, Leader of the NDP

"Mr. Dion has made the environment a key part of his... platform - correctly identifying that protecting the planet's ability to provide for us by stabilizing our climate and absorbing our wastes is one of the key issues of the 21st Century. " - David Suzuki

What kind of an environmental leader is Stephen Harper?

"In the last few weeks alone, the Harper government has broken promise after promise to the world. Our Kyoto commitments are critical and urgent, yet no plan exists to meet them." - Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party

"[The Conservative Clean Air Act] is a disappointment on the scale of a Rolling Stones concert. I mean, what were the policy wonks at Environment thinking? And how could it have taken so long – eight months – to hatch something that does not accomplish a single major environmental goal?" - MP Garth Turner, kicked out of Conservative caucus

"Stephen Harper not only opposes Kyoto, but he refutes the science. He’s back in the dinosaur era. Harper is just totally out of it" - David Suzuki

That all can't fit in a 30 second TV spot, but any combination would work.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

opening salvo goes awry

I went to check out the attack ads for myself. This one caught my eye. The ad alleges that Dion + his shadow cabinet equal a return to the old Liberal status quo. The title reads "Back to the Future". Did this strike anyone else as an odd mixed message? I think the future is where we want to go. Wouldn't "Back to the Future" in fact make for a good Liberal campaign slogan? i.e. Dion will get us back on a progressive track with regards to the environment, etc after Harper derailed us, etc. etc. I think what they meant to say was "Forward to the Past". But they didn't. Anyways, if this is what the CPC PR machine is churning out I think we might be OK. I may actually take next election off.

UPDATE: Someone else noticed first.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

use your Oka-noggin

The red tory exodus continues. Some members of the riding association of Okanagan Shuswap are in revolt, after shining star MP Colin Mayes' latest telling gaff. Mayes, Chair of the Parliamentary Aboriginal Affairs Committee, received a racist joke via email about a Native man at a Tim Hortons, to which he responded "Good joke". The character talks in 1950s Hollywood Injun broken English - "Want coffee." He is referred to both as "Chief" and later "Tonto".

Local media learned that Mayes was unavailable for a comment because he was en route to Ottawa. Unfortunately, said media outlet shortly ran into him on the street in Vernon. "I laugh because they're just grasping at straws," said Mayes. He said that if "good joke" was his response, "it wasn't intended as any sort of endorsement." Plus he had some family that weren't White or something.

We all know that this guy is the "jail reporters" guy. His wife also had this hilariously psychotic and ominous quote: "We know that we are being attacked by principalities and powers that are evil."

I see this sort of dopey racism fairly regularly. It's the stupidity that's shocking in this case.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Marc-Yvan Cote back in?

I'm not sure I understand this at all. I don't know the story behind the story, and if Marc-Yvan Côté is an innocent and a fall guy then so be it. But if he isn't... "exaggerated" punishment? A life-long ban from holding a membership in the party? Believe it or not, people can go on to live fairly normal lives without pulling the odd Marie-P. Poulin email out of their junk folders. This isn't Buzz Hargrove - Côté hurt the party dramatically by acting exceptionally unethically. What do you have to do to earn a ban from the party? Why even unearth the issue now? This is very strange to me.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Gary McHale and the Maple Leaf

I have an opinion piece in the 'Point of View' section of today's Hamilton Spectator. It's my effort to pre-empt an exceptionally silly protest set to take place this weekend.

The PDF version is here:

I always appreciate when the Spec gives me space to vent.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

"when there is much light, the shadow is deep"

New shadow cabinet unveiled today.

Favourite choice:
David McGuinty on environment. Simply because he's the best damn legislator available and this is the most important critic spot. Yes, outside of John Godfrey who holds the Chair, Marc Holland would also have been a good choice. But his combativeness (which I love - don't get me wrong) can also turn people off. McGuinty is just plain likable, and he will preserve the environment portfolio as a Liberal asset heading into the election.

Least favourite choice:
Nothing really upset me. Belinda's portfolio "Competitiveness and the New Economy" sounds tailor-made for Scott Brison, but this is splitting hairs.

Monday, January 15, 2007

This isn't a timely post in any way. However, I feel I've ignored it long enough. Also, I may as well take advantage of the snow day I have been awarded (Southern Ontarians continue to labour under the misconception that they must withstand brutal and punishing winters. I continue to encourage them to visit Winnipeg, where they will be humbled before the terrible greatness of God. At least we haven't called in the army yet.) is a website launched by the Government of Ontario. The intention is to educated Ontarians of the cross we all bear. It is one response to a multi-party resolution passed last summer that called on the federal government to address the fiscal imbalance. Simply put, it's the last thing Canada needs.

The website provides shocking factoids that will leave you breathless if you carry an Ontarian pulse. For example, that Ontarians pay 43 cents of every tax dollar collected by the federal government. 43! But don't we only represent only aprox. 40% of the country's population? That's slightly more than our proportionate share. Next someone is going to tell me that people in the +$100 000 income bracket pay more taxes than their proportionate share of the population. Nothing would surprise me anymore.

It also pillories the so-called cynics with hard-hitting myth expositions. For instance:

Myth: The main reason that provinces are facing budgetary problems today is because they cut taxes to unsustainable levels in the 1990s, not because of a fiscal imbalance between provinces and territories and the federal government. (A very reasonable explanation that has been argued convincingly)

Reality: More than enough taxes are being collected from the Canadian taxpayer to sustain public services.

We'll take their word for it, I guess.

If you aren't fully convinced yet supportive quotations are provided... by Maritimers! Ta da. If Maritimers feel Ontario ought to get back more of what it sends to Ottawa, than surely there are no grounds to disagree. Never mind that those Maritimers belong to the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, a right-wing free-market think tank (Fraser Institute on donairs) that is ideologically opposed to wealth-redistribution schemes.

No party has opposed this little endeavour. I nevertheless find it embarassing that a Liberal premier is behind something so simultaneously conservative and provincial.

It's high time the Federal HOC passes a multi-party resolution asking that the provinces recognize and respect the concept of Canada.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

by-elections announced

The Greater Hamilton region will see a by-election now officially on February 4th. Cam Jackson's former riding of Burlington is up for grabs. In the Conservative corner is Joyce Savoline, who wrapped up her apparently undistinguished career in Halton Regional Council to take a run at Queen's Park. The riding is something of a Conservative bastion, but if any Liberal is going to win it it may well be Joan Lougheed. After all, she may still be a member in good standing of the Burlington PC riding association.

It's an exciting time to be alive.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Outremont for Justin

La Presse reports that Justin Trudeau may seek the Outremont nomination. Apparently his reception hasn't been entirely rosy. Well if he's got the Frulla/Lapierre-heads bristling he must be doing something right.

Every franchise player must face the opposition of conservative "trade the draft pick for a veteran role player" types.

For that matter, every Trudeau must face the opposition of medium-firm nationalists who proclaim him the end of liberalism in Quebec.

None of it should dissuade Justin from pushing onward, and I don't think any of it will.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Pikangikum faces ideological foe

Today the Globe offers a poignant snap shot of Pikangikum, microcosmic representation of a social crisis far larger than itself. One Grade Seven class in one year sees six suicides. I daren't suggest that some sort of governmental action might be called for, lest the Taxpayers Federation reign scorn and indignation down upon my head.

The story at Pikangikum is housing, though. And Tom Flanagan, close friend and confidant to our Prime Minister, presents his version of the problem:

"Paradoxically, housing on Indian reserves is on average much newer than the general supply of housing in Canada, but it is also in much worse condition. People do not respect what they do not have to pay for, and they do not invest in the upkeep of what they do not own.

A drive through a reserve will show the sad results. Even though there may be a current housing shortage, derelict homes stand vacant, no longer habitable because they have not been maintained over the years."

It ain't our fault, get it! With some swift strokes of the pen, 308 Ottawa-based consciences are mericfully unburdened.

And it only gets better. If community ownership is the problem, the solution is of course a private housing market. So we parcel off pieces of treaty-guaranteed Reserves and sell them to the residents. You'd better believe it's going to work. If I steal your car and sell it back to you at a premium, you're going to appreciate it that much more. And if I make a pretty penny in the doing, so much the better.

The dispassionate political end of this is I believe there is an ideological battle raging within Indian Affairs. Thus far, Jim Prentice has lost more than he has won. The new housing agreement with Pikangikum will be a good indicator of who's really running this show.

On the human end, smarten the hell up Canada.

- Mike (SCG)

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Strange Days

Did I miss something, or has a leader from the most supposedly accountability-focussed parties/interest groups we've had, who was elected largely on accountability, who's supporters have at times considered the "terror" of the Senate in Canada enough for potential separation, now given two positions in the cabinet to unelected senators?