Canadian Politics

Trudeau Lacks Substance

Posted on Mar 1, 2015 in Canadian Politics | Comments Off on Trudeau Lacks Substance

https://i0.wp.com/www.thestar.com/content/dam/thestar/opinion/editorials/2013/04/06/justin_trudeau_is_best_bet_to_renew_federal_liberals_editorial/justin_trudeau.jpg?resize=201%2C154 I absolutely do not want to support Harper in the next election scheduled for October of this year. Anyone who knows me, knows that has been a very consistent stance for me.

I also don’t feel inclined towards the NDP and Mulcair. While I tend to lean towards social justice issues, I also know that no social justice can be achieved without hard economic choices building the economy. I also know that the problems of the world can’t be resolved through peacekeeping or not participating when the tough choices have to be made by countries.

So, logically, that would mean I support the Liberals and Trudeau, right? That would be a, ‘not at this time’ response.

Paul Wells writes in Macleans this week on “Why Justin Trudeau is suddenly the underdog“. He points out that Trudeau has been steadily losing the edge he enjoyed in the polls and for the last two months has been first neck and neck with the Conservatives and now, slightly behind them.

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My Loyalty is to Sovereign and Country

Posted on Jul 12, 2013 in Canada, Canadian Politics | Comments Off on My Loyalty is to Sovereign and Country

So three permanent residents of Canada — also known as non-citizens — are using the judicial system of the country they have yet to become citizens of to try dictate how they will pledge their allegiance.  I suggest they become residents of a country that they can bring themselves to pledge allegiance to if they can’t do so the Canadian way.

One of their arguments is that those who are born in Canada are not required to take an oath of allegiance. That is not completely true, most of our politicians, members of the armed forces, the judiciary, police forces and a score of other organizations all include oaths of allegiance as part of being sworn in. In fact, as a member of the Royal Canadian Legion, I have both taken an oath of allegiance to the Sovereign and my country, and I’ve also administered the oath to new members.

While I can agree to adding a specific reference to allegiance to Canada as well as our constitutional head of state, I very much disagree there is any need to remove the Sovereign from the oath. Queen Elizabeth is the Queen of Canada. It is Her Majesty’s government which we as citizens elect to govern the country.

The underlying roots of our form of government goes back to the first step towards democracy ever taken in the world, the Magna Carta. That document formed the basis of the limitation of absolute power of the sovereign and started the process of turning much of the power over to elected representatives. The two roles of inherited power and elected power became intertwined into the system of constitutional monarchy that governs Canada today. If you can’t have loyalty to the sovereign then it is pretty hard to have loyalty to our form of governance.

Some try to argue that we should mature as a nation and drop the reference to the Sovereign. IF we want to be mature as a nation, we need to drop our personal prejudices and recognize that reference to the Sovereign is an acknowledgement of both our roots and our form of government. It’s not a reference to a colonial system, it is the form of government which Canada chose to build itself into since Confederation.

It’s the country our veterans, past and present, fought and died to uphold. Those non-Canadians can either take part and become one of us or choose not to. They have a choice to take on what I was born with a duty to be…. a Canadian, loyal to Sovereign and Country.

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Finally!! Conservatives With Courage Emerge

Posted on Apr 19, 2013 in Canadian Politics | Comments Off on Finally!! Conservatives With Courage Emerge

Marionette : hands control a businessman puppet

I’ve been watching over the past few weeks as some of the Conservative backbenchers have finally broken the wall of compliance with the Prime Minister’s Office and stood up to speak up on behalf of their constituents. I’ve wondered how long elected MPs would continue to behave like a troupe of marionettes being controlled by the minions in the PM’s Office. It has taken far too long, but thankfully, human spirit is beginning to emerge.

The break in the wall of compliance started with some backbenchers wanting to bring forth the long dead abortion issue. Personally, the issue needs to remain dead but if it serves as a catalyst to re-assert freedom of speech into our House of Commons, then so be it. While the Conservatives are not the only party to attempt to assert party discipline on the freedom of speech of the elected parliamentarians, Harper and his minions have taken it to an all new level.

It’s a trend that I hope continues on both sides of the house. Some lively, honest debate on the legislation which is destined to govern our lives is long overdue. The National Post carries an interview today with Brent Rathgeber about his becoming one of the 10 MPs who have stood up to the PMO in defense of their right to speak up and represent their constituents.

The people and the media need to take some responsibility for the trend towards the stifling of honest debate and the rise of partisan sniping that dominates Question Period these days. Instead of developing a culture that holds the individual MPs to account for their stands on issues, we have been conditioned, largely by the media and then reinforced by political parties to associate the party’s position with the individual.

The party’s official position comes from their policy conventions and is delivered through their leadership. That is not to say that every member of the party is going to agree. If that was the case, people who vote one way would never consider another way and only new voters would ever decide the outcome of elections.

There could be hope for democracy in Canada. I have to admit that it’s a bit stunning it is coming from the Conservative side of the house but I’ll take hope where it can be found. God Bless Canada.

 

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Residency Rules Don’t Need to be Complicated

Posted on Feb 24, 2013 in Canadian Politics | Comments Off on Residency Rules Don’t Need to be Complicated

I’ve been watching the reports of the Senators who are being scrutinized over their expense claims, in particular their claims related to travel to their places of residency. Senator Mike Duffy has garnered considerable attention on this matter, largely I suspect due to his former role as a political commentator.

I grew up watching CTV news and Mike Duffy was one of the reporters I regularly watched. How often have I observed his skepticism over politicians and their pork barrel conduct on the public dime. It seems that now Duffy is receiving that public dime, he is just as inclined to take as the ones he’s scorned in the past.

After weeks of media members trying to get some answers from Duffy on the question of his claimed living expenses and where he actually does reside, he finally has decided that maybe, just maybe he ‘made a mistake’ claiming the expenses he did. He claims that when completing the annual declaration on residency it is confusing and not clear on where he should claim his place of primary residency.

It seems that there is a couple of standards being used here to determine eligibility for the seat in the Senate and another for living expenses related to that appointment.

To be appointed to the Senate the constitution requires residency in the area the Senator is to represent and ownership of property with the value of $4,000. Yes the value is pretty antiquated but the principle remains, you need to own real estate in the area. Actually being resident in the area, well in our mobile society, residency can take on several shades of grey.

For most people, our roots are where we were born and raised. We may even deliberately retain those roots by owning property of some description that allows us to return to those roots on a regular basis. All too often, the ability to make a living means we have to be on the move, away from where our roots are to other areas of the country or for that matter the world.

When it comes to the living expenses the Senator is able to claim, to me, it becomes a matter of integrity. The rules allow that if the Senator’s primary residence is more than 100km from the National Capital Region then the Senator may claim up to $22,000 in travel expenses. This is a fair and for the most part reasonable allowance for someone who is coming from the region they are to represent and needs to establish a living arrangement in the National Capital Region in order to attend to their duties as Senators.

When a Senator already has a residence in the National Capital Region and in particular if that person has been known to be using that residence on a regular basis prior to the appointment to the Senate, he should be declaring himself ineligible for the travel allowance. That speaks to integrity. I know, something in short supply in that bubble called Ottawa.

So, to me if someone like Mike Duffy has a residence in the region he represents, and spends at least a portion of the year in that area, he should be considered to be resident in the region for the purposes of being appointed to the Senate. Since integrity is in short supply, there likely needs to be some rules laid out on what a portion of the year means. Let’s get really radical here, maybe if the perspective Senator isn’t a full time resident of the region the provincial government should be consulted to determine if they even agree that the candidate could in fact represent the region.

The purpose of the Senate is to be a chamber of sober second thought on the legislation that the House of Commons passes. It has become a place of political appointments by the government in office and has become an extension of the House. An elected senate wont solve that problem. It will mean that two branches of government will be lying errr … vying for the public vote.

Reform is needed, there is no question on that, the question is how to bring it back to its roots and make it truly a chamber of sober second thought that serves the people. Come to think of it, the House of Commons needs the same question asked.

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Attawapiskat Audit Legitimate Concern

Posted on Jan 8, 2013 in Canadian Politics | 2 comments

Okay as anyone reading this blog knows, I have a very low opinion of our current federal government. There is considerable skepticism about the timing of their release of the audit done on Attawapiskat reserve. Coming at a crucial time when their chief is engaged in a hunger strike to protest the government’s treatment of First Nation’s people on many fronts. The protest is not without merit and needs to be given serious attention.

However, this audit, regardless of timing , needs to be paid attention to as well. Not in order to discredit the protest by Theresa Spence or the Idle No More movement. She does need to respond to the audit and move to correct the very serious errors being made in managing the community she has stewardship of.

While she’s wanting to call the government to account, she needs to be accountable for her part in the care of the Attawapiskat community. Even in the most careful operation, some supporting documentation can go astray but 81% of audited transactions lacking supporting documents is inexcusable.

It raises some very serious questions about how the money was used. Appropriate documentation of expenditures not only keeps the air clear but can serve to demonstrate just how effective the support sent to the reserve is or is not. The community has the right to know, the government has the right to know and so do the public.

That doesn’t let the government off the hook for their actions, nor does it make the concerns of our First Nations any less important. Let’s keep things in perspective here, the problems go deeper than housing on a remote reserve.

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Robocalls Should Be Serious Cause for Concern

Posted on Dec 10, 2012 in Canadian Politics | Comments Off on Robocalls Should Be Serious Cause for Concern

Federal Court today started hearing the case brought by eight citizens who are challenging the election of six Conservative MPs in the 2011 general election. The case centres around the use of deceptive calls, both live and automated, to people who didn’t support the Conservatives. They want the elections overturned thus forcing by-elections

The Conservatives are responding in usual form by attempting to discredit the litigants and their supporters in an effort to have the case thrown out. The Conservatives are not actually claiming the calls were not made, they are trying to claim they a) were not made by the Conservative campaign and b) didn’t influence the outcome of the election.

The investigation by Elections Canada into thousands of complaints across the country at this point hasn’t nailed down the definitive source of the calls but there seems to be a lot of clues pointing towards the Conservatives. I find it interesting that the media outlet following this matter most closely is the National Post, an outlet I find tends to lean towards the conservative viewpoint. They are not defending the Cons, they are bringing the details to light.  I for one find them very disturbing.

In a report this past weekend, they report on the experiences of one of the litigants in the case before the court. The wife received a call for her spouse a few days before election day, reportedly from the Conservative party. Since her spouse was resting, she was asked if she was a Conservative supporter. Her response was an emphatic no. On election day she received another call with the caller claiming to be from Elections Canada telling her that her poll had been moved. She knew this to be false as it was right near her home and they had just voted.

Other reports have detailed how people were complaining to Elections Canada about a wide range of calls seemingly targeted at supporters of other parties. Elections Canada contacted the lawyer for the Conservatives raising concerns about the reports and received denial and evasion in return. The calls amount to voter suppression, efforts to divert people from exercising their democratic right to vote in a free and open democracy.

The Conservative party, which now forms the government, should have and still should setup an unfettered inquiry into what went on and by who. It should not be left up to citizens to have to use the court system to try to get at the truth. If it can be proven beyond a doubt that the Conservative party, or any of the parties, were not involved in this then the tainted elections should be allowed to stand and those responsible should be facing some serious prison time for their attack on democracy in this country.

If any political party was involved, then those responsible should be facing prison and the ridings where this took place should be holding by-elections. If need be, the calling of a general election should not be ruled out.

I know, some could argue that even if political parties were not involved in this, by-elections should still be held. To some degree, I agree with that argument. However, in a time of financial restraint, the cost of elections caused by the criminal actions of others compounds the crime. If a political  party wasn’t involved then there was no intent to suppress on their part and they should not have to pay the price.

Whoever the guilty party is, their actions amount to terrorism. When we stand by while our rights and freedoms are chipped away, we surrender our democracy to those who crave power for the sake of power and control. Nothing is more basic in a democracy than the right to vote. Choosing not to exercise that right is one matter, having it subverted is another matter.

All Canadians should be deeply troubled when democracy is thwarted.

 

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