Monday, 4 November 2013

Buck stops with PM, unless I'm PM

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Vandal jumps off board EPC

Saint Boniface Councillor Dan Vandal has jumped
off the Sammy boat by quitting EPC.

Image Source:  Marine Insight
March of this year I asked James Hope Howard if "civic centre-leftists like Brian Mayes and Dan Vandal [were] destroying themselves by joining aboard the failed Katz administration" while conservatives like Paula Havixbeck were jumping off the Sammy boat. James Hope Howard's ever hopeful answer provided a hilarious piece of postmodern Winnipeg municipal political fan fiction.

It seems that centre-left councillor Dan Vandal realizes just disastrous his link to Sam Katz is. Yesterday, Vandal quit the rightwing fake populist's Executive Policy Committee (EPC).

Who knew exactly what about exactly which scandals in the Katz admin is still up in the air. Following a dubious land swap deal with Shindico - a firm with links to the mayor -, Katz buddy Phil Sheegl quit.

Our mayor never paid much attention to what a conflicting and unholy relationship business interests could have with City Hall. Sam Katz opposed bans on corporate and union donations to city council campaigns because that'd hurt "right of centre" councillors.

Apparently, mayor Katz was unaware of the conflict of interest getting paid by private interests could have on city councillors.

The mayor also stood against P3 Accountability - i.e. safeguards to ensured we, the public, don't get screwed over by private business interests.

Councillor Dan Vandal (left) with Mayor
Katz (right).

Image Source
BORIS.MINKEVICH@FREEPRESS.MB.CA)
Obtained from Winnipeg Free Press
The enormous blind spot of our country club Conservative mayor has finally come home to roast. Even folks fooled thrice by Katz, like the Winnipeg Sun or Charles Adler, are abandoning the fake populist's ship.

Vandal, however, came late to the Sammy boat. As Glen Murray's Deputy Mayor and a contender for .
mayoralty in 2004, Vandal started off as a critic of Katz. Nevertheless, the Saint Boniface councillor was appointed to the Mayor's EPC in 2010

As an EPC councillor, Vandal (along with fellow centre-leftist Brian Mayes) has voted for the reckless and unsustainable development of Ridgewood South. This continued with subsequent votes, including the most recent Ridgewood South precinct plan vote where centre-right councillor Paula Havixbeck voted no to this costly 'burb.

In the run up and aftermath of announcing his run for the Federal Liberals in Saint Boniface Vandal has distanced himself from the Katz mayoralty. He introduced a (successful) motion to compensate 'Peggers whose laundry was damaged by brown water - which the civic government initially said it would not do. The Saint Boniface councillor has also introduced a successful motion to legally review the audit of the land swap scheme.

All motions serve to highlight his status as a reformer and opponent of "business as usual" on Sam Katz. Quitting the mayor's inner circle serves to further wash his hands of the boondoggles at City Hall.

Nevertheless, one wonders if this'll be enough to disassociate him from the toxic smell that is the public trust burning Sammy boat.

Monday, 28 October 2013

New Manitoba Liberal Leader

Manitoba Liberal Leader Rana
Bokhari

Image Source: Manitoba Liberals
Well, it's a new era in the Manitoba Liberal Party. For the first time since 1998, the Party has a new leader in lawyer Rana Bokhari.

Rana Bokhari wins MB Liberals

It's been a sad few decades for the Manitoba Liberals, as their support's been eaten up left and right. Only the socially liberal upper middle class riding of River Heights sent a Liberal to Broadway last election. This is a long way down from forming the Official Opposition of Manitoba with 20 seats and 35.5% of the popular vote in the 1988 provincial election.

The Manitoba Liberal decline continued under Paul Edwards and Ginny Hasselfield - a leader who's era was so strife filled that two of the few members of the Party caucus left. The election of Jon Gerard as party leader did not stop the Party's ongoing decline (despite throwing everything - including the kitchen sink - at Dipper governments throughout his tenure). The Liberals were witnessing the tide of history turning against them, with little any individual leader could do to stem their significant defeats.

Jon Gerrard announced that he would step down as party leader after the 2011 provincial election. This presented a chance for new blood to enter the party and the Liberals ran an actually competitive leadership race, unlike the coronations seen so often in the Manitoba CONs.

Bokhari is a younger leader, a first generation Canadian who grew up in the rural southern Manitoban community of Anola, and former president of the Manitoba Law Students Association. She claims to not just be running for the "Winnipeg Liberal Party" and wants to reach out to rural Manitoba. How she'll make inroads into either the ultraConservative rural south or the solidly New Democratic rural North remains to be seen, but perhaps some Interlake ridings will be up for grabs if disaffected New Democrats can't stomach Pallister.

Right now is, indeed, the best time in decades to be a Manitoba Liberal. Manitobans hate the PST hike, with most (rightly or wrongly) blaming it on "poor fiscal management". With 20% popular support, including strong performance in southern Winnipeg, and 10% of 2011 NDP voters up for grabs, the Liberals have much room for growth.

The Manitoba CONs choose a man with 1950s social attitudes, the Liberals chose a dynamic, young individual as leader. If NDP support remains low amid the heat of the 2016 election campaign and Pallister continues fixating on trivialities, the Libs might just make some breakthroughs in seat count.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Pallister angry with "delay" in byelection

Mavis Tailleu, Pallister CON
who quit mid-term.

Brian Pallister is angry that
a by-election isn't happening
"soon enough".


Image Source: PC Manitoba

(obtained from reproduction
on ChrisD.ca)

Manitoba Conservative leader Brian Pallister is angry because the NDP "delayed" the provincial byelection in Morris until January 2014.

This whole issue of when to call a costly by-election in Morris emerged because Pallister CON Mavis Taillieu decided to quit her job as MLA for Moris midway through her term.

As Fort Whyte Green Party candidate Donnie Benham pointed out, byelections forced by midterm resignations from MLAs of both major parties have cost the Manitoba public one million in real (inflation-adjusted) dollars.

Maybe the "fiscally conservative" Pallister could tell some of his MLAs to quit just before the election, rather than years after or before it. Heck, if you can reduce the public spending without hurting services by trimming 1% fat from each department (as the Pallister CONs seem to think there's enough "fat" to cut, quite like Rob Ford mistakenly thought there'd be at Toronto City Hall), surely getting his team to serve full terms would help.

But Brian Pallister seems to think the late date for the byelection is a ploy so the NDP will have time to market the PST hike to Morris.

Is he on the same planet as the rest of us? There's a zero percent chance that Manitoba NDP political strategists are targeting or looking for gains in one of the CONs' safest ridings in Manitoba.

The thing is, as Freep commenter Beekpr1 notes, Pallister has a habit of crying "politics" over by-election announcements. Pallister also complained about the timing of the by-election in Fort Whyte - again, caused by a CON MLA who quit rather recently after the last election. Apparently, the NDP was also targeting - with "cynical politics" - one of the safest CON ridings in Winnipeg.

Pallister, for the record, won that by-election.

One could probably understand if Pallister kept obsessing over these by-election issues when there was nothing popular to run on against the NDP Government of Manitoba. But a lot's happened since, including a deeply unpopular one percentage point or 14% PST hike that's opened up a groundswell of rightwing populist backlash.

Surely, Pallister has better, policy related stuff to talk about this by-election time than conspiracy theories of NDP ploys to win super-safe CON ridings.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

#SenScam2013 Heats up

Prime Minister and Conservative Party Leader
Stephen Harper's senate caucus has out of control,
badly behaving members. If he's unable to lead  his
senators onto the straight and narrow path,
then is Harper a real leader?

Image constructed by the Analyst using a screen shot
from "Stephen Harper's solution" ad.
The Conservatives' Senate Expense scandal just keeps growing and growing.

The irony and karma of this latest low point in the Harper Misgovernment is just breath-taking given the high-minded rhetoric over AdScam that drove the Harper CONs to power in 2006.

Further highlighting the rank, moral hypocrisy of the Harper Misgovernment is the vindictiveness with which they're going after environmentalists, First Nations organizations, and labour groups.


Before their majority, the Harper CONs mocked Stephane Dion for having trouble controlling "his own Liberal senators" for votes.





Dion's weak party discipline in the Senate looks like child's play compared to the weak moral discipline Harper's asserting over his Senators. Inappropriate expenses, schemes to bury scandals out've the PMO, and even accusations against the PM himself have all come out of the Senate Expense Scandal. The Senate Scam is descending into a Conservative cesspool very quickly.



Let us also recall how the Harper CONs had to change tactics on Senate reform due to Harper's inability to control his own senators. Under Harper's leadership, the CON Senate Caucus has both weak moral discipline and weak party discipline.



 Last year, before the Senate Scam blow up, this same Harper Misgovernment tried to install a high priced third party manager (while the government was already co-manager -meaning they had to approve any Chief and Council decisions before it came into effect) at Attawapiskat First Nation.

Perhaps, rather than bullying the powerless with made up manufactroversies & coming up with ways to enrich private sector consultants, the Harper Misgovernment could focus its reform efforts a little closer to home.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Another former NDP Affiliated Councillor is going to run for the Liberals - What could be the possible reason for that; I'm just askin'

"The NDP has always been involved in civic politics, albeit in an informal way, said Lorraine Sigurdson, president of Manitoba's NDP. While party politics have no official role at city council, most sitting members have affiliations to one of the province's three major parties. Five have formal ties to the NDP: Couns. Jenny Gerbasi (Fort Rouge), Lillian Thomas (Elmwood), Dan Vandal (St. Boniface), Harvey Smith (Daniel McIntyre) and Russ Wyatt (Transcona)."

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/ndp-to-field-council-candidates-79038547.html

So once again, we have the spectacle of a formerly NDP affiliated city councillor deciding to throw their hat in with the Federal Libs. Haven't we seen this before? I'm just askin'.

"A former provincial New Democrat, Vandal has been a member of the federal Liberal party for only six months. Nonetheless, he was invited by Liberal Sen. Maria Chaput to co-chair Justin Trudeau's party leadership campaign in Saint Boniface.
Vandal said Tuesday that should he win a Saint Boniface nomination contest expected next spring, he looks forward to working with Trudeau.
"I'm not taking anything for granted. The first challenge is to win the Liberal nomination. I expect there will be other people interested in running," Vandal said in an interview." Really Dan? I'm just askin'.

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/vandal-looking-to-fight-glover-227969161.html

Yes Dan, I'm sure you are "not taking anything for granted" and you ARE "looking forward to working with Trudeau". Cabinet Minister aspirations? No, that COULDN'T be it! Could it? I'm just askin'.

This has a very familiar, traditional LPC old style "politics" feel to it. Get a former prominent New Democrat to join the LPC and then run him in a nomination meeting where he'll run against " other people interested in running". Yeah, sure he'll run against "other people". Colour me cynical. Anyone ever hear of someone named "Glen Murray"? Again, I'm just askin'.

And what about Kevin Lamoureux? Two Cabinet Ministers from Winnipeg? I don't think so! Parliamentary Secretary to someone Kevin? Would you be open to that? I'm just askin'.

I say go ahead; people are not so easily duped and are so fed up with the way politics is played and cynical, they could quite well vote in a New Democrat, or even return Glover in response to a Vandal candidacy.

Don't expect the NDP to not run a strong candidate here. And no, it isn't the NDP's fault if the Lib candidate loses. And given how I feel about people jumping ship with what any reasonable person MIGHT think was the possible motivation of a Cabinet Position, seeing Glover being re-elected doesn't really bother me much. No, one Tory MP, DOESN'T, a Harper Cabinet, make.

Be careful for what you wish for here Dan, you might be in for a very rude surprise.

What would you do then?

I'm just askin'.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

With stars like this, who needs enemies?

Former General Andrew Leslie talking
to sales management at CGI.

CGI now pays Leslie, who co-chair's Trudeau's
advisory council on International Affairs.

Image Source: 
 

Over at the Huff Post, this headline:

"Stars Aligning", http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/09/18/andrew-leslie-justin-trudeau_n_3950424.html?utm_hp_ref=canada-politics.

Who is Andrew Leslie? Why he's a noble General who was Commander of the Army and left the Service to serve the oridinary citizen? Righ? Right....WRONG!

Here, try this:

Andrew Leslie is a key employee of a mega corporation that makes BILLIONS off of war & military actions...

``CGI also announced the appointment of Lieutenant General Andrew Leslie to lead the new Defence, Public Safety and Intelligence unit``...

http://www.cgi.com/en/CGI-launches-defence-intelligence-unit-provide-Canada-leading-edge-solutions-global-capabilities

http://www.cgi.com/en/CGI-Awarded-Prime-Contract-Multiple-Award-ID-IQ---US-Army-Forces-Command

http://jobs.cgi.com/key/CGI-Afghanistan-jobs.html

http://www.cgi.com/en/careers/hts

http://www.cgi.com/en/CGI-deliver-ISR--IO-support-Space-Naval-Warfare-Systems-Command

http://www.ausa.org/membership/sustaining/members/2011/Pages/CGI.aspx

http://www.canadianmanufacturing.com/design-engineering/news/cgi-awarded-89m-u-s-military-contract-52518

Real change, right?
Trudeau Liberal economic advisor
Christia Freeland.

Image Source: NPR

Well, what about that women of the People, Christia Freeland? She's OK, right....

Mrs. Freeland retweets info from Fraser Institute. guess #lpc economic team 'shoots the hippo' #torcen http://www.fraserinstitute.org/uploadedFiles/fraser-ca/Content/research-news/research/publications/economic-freedom-of-the-world-2013.pdf …
#cdnpoli
Now we know how progressive the Fraser Institute is and how up and progressive the Koch brothers from USA who are big donors of Fraser are, right? RIGHT????.

Wrong.

Anyone who has the audacity to call themselves a progressive and still votes LPC, better give their heads a shake.

Sorry Libs, this ISN'T going to end well for you.

Oh well, Le Dauphin can always go back to the "Rubber Chicken Circuit".

Okay Mr. Mulcair - Its time to ask some questions

Mulcair backs away from a wealth tax.

Time to ask the tough questions.

Image Source
Canadian Press/Adrain Wyld

Post on CityTV Toronto
If you are a regular reader of this Blog, you probably know I spend most of my time going after the Libs. That is due in very large part, to the fact that the MSM simply won't do its job.

Normally, when I slag the Libs, some anonymous, partisan Lib responder implies that I am being unfair, and not being critical of anyone else. Well, as Jim Nabours, as Gomer Pyle was want to say, "surprise, surprise, surprise", take a look below.

It appears that Tom Mulcair may be backing away from the idea of a wealth tax, a plank in his leadership platform that won my vote, and a small contribution to his campaign. To say the least, I am pretty unhappy with Tom's apparent about face on this. Why, it looks like he thinks Le Dauphin is right, an who in a past National Post article indicated he not only was against any kind of such tax, but also though Corporate tax rates were just fine, thanks very much. (remind you of anyone, oh say, Paul Martin, President of Canada Steamship "Flags of Convenience" Lines).

So, truly believing in calling a spade, a spade, and actually calling someone out when it was right to do so for OTHER then Partisan purposes (yes, Libs,that, WAS, meant for you), I emailed the Honorable Member for Outremont, the following, "Little Missive":

"Sir:

I hope you may recall having met me. My name is Arthur Cramer. I am from Winnipeg, supported your bid for leader and contributed to it, at least in part based on your support of a wealth tax.

I believe that Corporations and wealthy Canadians are getting a free ride and not paying their fair share as a result of Canadians as a whole allowing them access to the commons. The Libs and Tories, by purposely removing these streams of revenue have limited the ability of Government to provide for its citizenry. More seriously, they have allowed the meme to take hold that taxes are a penalty, and not, a civic duty. Many great figures in history have cited this fact that taxes are the price we pay and the duty to which we are obligated in providing a society in which all are cared for, among them, and ironiclly, Teddy Roosevelt. If you are in fact siding with Mr. Trudeau, what is the real point of my actively supporting the NDP, and instead, sitting on the sideines?

Le Dauphin, aka Justin Trudeau.

Not the best fellow to take economic
advice from.

Image Source: The Economic Club of
 Canada
.

Because they sometimes need a
break from serious economic talks.
Mr. Trudeau has said he did not support your wealth tax position well in advance of your recent, and apparent concession, that Mr. Trudeau is right. Do you now agree with Mr. Trudeau? If so, where do you intend to find the revenue needed to provide for those you wish to govern. I am serious in wiriting you and respectfully request your personal reply. As a long time and current NDP party member, I believe you, as my leader, owe me the courtesy of your response. I supported your candidacy on the belief you would carry on following the tradition of the many great leaders who proceeded you including T.C. Douglas, who was a personal friend of a departed family ancestor and,  David Lewis who was also a friend of other departed family ancestors (NOTE: I actually identified in my email to Mr. Mulcair to whom I was referring regarding knowing previous NDP leaders, but frankly,  am not willing to share this here. You'll just have to take my word for it).

I humbly await your reply.

In solidarity.

Arthur B.B. Cramer, Winnipeg"

So, see, Libs (do Tories actually read this blog?), unlike you guys, I don't blindly accept whatever stand
my leader takes because there are votes in it.

I'll post any reply I receive.

Again, to say the least, the fact Mulcair seems willing to concede Le Dauphin was right, "miffs me". My response, stop whining and pay your G-d damn taxes, and be happy for the privilege and duty. Anyone ever hear of someone named "Teddy Roosevelt"?

If you don't understand the reference, look it up.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

"Bloggers are the new Jesus"

You heard it regurgitated here first (unless you didn't): bloggers are the new Jesus!!!



I'd like to thank a fellow member of my household for that one. I'm not nearly lewd and crude enough to watch "Impractical Jokers" on a regular basis, so being informed of this Messianic comparision was quite nice.

While up to the eyelids in work, I hope to get out some more good, sufficiently researched posts by the end of the month.

In the meantime, enjoy the good Word (and perhaps some posts from fellow contributors, we don't really coordinate these things at all).

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Corporate Press Priorities





Top:

 Osborne House Executive Director Barbara Judt.

Called for Deputy Premier Eric Robinson to apologize
for an off-the-cuff comment in private email and, after
he promptly did, said he wasn't "sincere".

Accuses the predominantly white NDP Government of
Manitoba of trying to give her the push 'cause
she's white. 


Bottom:

Brian Sinclair - who died, well after it
became apparent he was vomiting, waiting 34
hours in an emergency room. The release
of footage detailing his final hours merited
a small snippet article in the Winnipeg Sun compared
 to a full page article detailing Judt's
angry accusations against the Deputy Premier.


Image Source: Winnipeg Metro (Top)

CBC (Bottom)
So, on August 28, 2013 I had the grave misfortune of going  through the Winnipeg Sun. They had a full page, picture featuring article on the whole "do-good white people" manufactroversy, detailing Osborne House Executive Director Barbara Judt's allegations against the Province and Deputy Premier. Meanwhile they had a small, picture-less snippet on the (then recently) released video footage of Brian Sinclair's final hours.





Monday, 2 September 2013

Regarding the FIPA vote of Tuesday April 23rd

So as anyone who follows Canadian politics knows, the LPC line on their FIPA vote is that the NDP "made them do it". If you want to know more about this, and feel like "getting it", from the "other side", here's a link, http://www.liberal.ca/newsroom/blog/fipa-vote-tuesday-april-23rd/, "Regardig the FIPA vote of Tuesday April 23rd".

So, what about that pesky vote anyway? Well, a bit of background, first

Quoting failed LPC Leadership Candidate Joyce Murray's Press Release cited at the link, and in part"

"....Protecting Canadian businesses exporting to, or investing in, China is particularly important for jobs in British Columbia and Greater Vancouver, where our governments and businesses have invested billions into the Asia Pacific Gateway. That is why we do not support the outright rejection of FIPA embraced by the NDP Opposition motion...."

Followed by this gem:

"Liberals believe that, before being finalized, international treaties such as the Canada-China FIPA must be transparent, include proper consultation, and be subject to arms-length examination to ensure the best interests of the Canadian people are being served. That is why I put forward a Motion in the House of Commons on October 24, 2012 to require the government to send all such treaties to a Parliamentary Committee for public hearings and study, after being tabled in the House of Commons and prior to the treaty coming into force"

So what about that motion? Well, in actual fact, Hansard notes the motion was introducted on the 25th of October, 2012 (http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Pub=NoticeOrder&Mode=1&Language=E&Parl=41&Ses=1&File=7&Col=1) It was one of over 400 motions on the order paper. And what did it actually say? Try this:

"Ms. Murray (Vancouver Quadra) — That, in the opinion of the House, the government should amend the Policy on Tabling Treaties in Parliament in order to require that all treaties signed with a foreign nation be sent to the appropriate standing committee of the House for comprehensive review prior to the treaty or agreement coming into force."

So, what the LPC ACTUALLY introduced was a generic motion that said NOTHING about FIPA, and that expressed a sentiment that SHOULD the government want to introduce legislation concerning trade, that it should be "SENT" to a Committee so MPs COULD talk about it. It didn't mention ANYTHING, about FIPA.

That\s a little bit different from what you asserted Ms Murray, but, nice try. Splitting hairs on my part? I don't think so.

So what about the NDP's position on this? Speaking in the House on 18 April, 2013, Don Davies explained in introducing his motion calling for the scrapping of FIPA, and, in part (http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=6087364):

"... New Democrats believe in the importance of engaging with diverse economies and emerging markets. We support the development of clear rules that give confidence to investors, create level playing fields, preserve democratic policy-making and are transparent and accountable to Canadians. We believe in trade and investment policies that promote and protect Canada's interests.

With respect to China, we believe that Canada should deepen and broaden our economic relations. China is the second-largest economy in the world, it is in ascendancy and there are many opportunities for mutual benefit and synergies between our two nations. Developing a rules-based framework that improves the investment and economic activities in both countries is desirable and necessary. With careful negotiation, it is also achievable.

New Democrats know that an investment agreement done well has the potential to be of great benefit to both countries. However, a deal that is poorly negotiated risks doing great harm. Because the Conservatives have taken an extreme ideological approach to negotiating and ratifying trade and investment agreements, they have concluded a carelessly and poorly negotiated deal. Put bluntly, this FIPA will do harm to Canada's economic interests. Canadians deserve better...." So says Don Daies, as the NDP's Official Voice on this issue.
Well, never one to ignore the chance to use the old Liberal mis-direction-song-and-dance, Lib MP, Wayne Easter rose in the house to say (again, (http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=6087364):
"Mr. Speaker, I enjoy working with the trade critic for the NDP and expect my office received many of the same emails that he mentioned receiving overnight on this particular issue.

I disagree with the NDP motion, by the way, to just throw this out. We need rules around investment, serious rules, but I understand why the motion was put. As the member said, there was a request for an emergency debate, which was denied by the Speaker as it was not seen as an emergency, and there were several attempts by myself and the NDP to have the committee look at this issue, but, of course, the Conservative members on the committee would not even allow that debate to happen in public and the motions were lost.

My question to the member relates to the box that I think all parliamentarians are in. This motion is to reject the agreement. I believe the member would probably agree that if we had transparency around the discussion and hearings across the country and maybe other countries around the world to put in place the safeguards to make this investment treaty work for Canadians, then maybe we could come up with a better treaty. My question to the member is along those lines. Why can we not get that kind of transparent and open debate and would that not be a better procedure, so that there is investment protection for Canadian investors and we can improve our economic relationship?"
So what do we have, the Honourable Mr. Easter, even though HE KNEW there was NO POSSBILITY OF DEBATE, complains the NDP is trying to derail the trade process for no reason, because the NDP isn't allow any debate. Really?

Sigh, yep, REALLY!
Of couse, as is ALWAYS the case whenever a Lib tries to tell Canadians what the NDP said, a NDP MP, ALWAYS has to explain what the NDP, ACTUALLY SAID! Mr. Davies rose to his feet: 
"Mr. Speaker, I very much enjoy working with the hon. member for Malpeque on the trade committee as well. I must say I am disappointed to hear that the Liberal Party will not support the motion, though. All the motion says is that the Government of Canada should inform the Government of China that it will not ratify the FIPA. That is all it says. In its present form, this FIPA is seriously flawed. There is nothing in the motion that says we would not seek to amend or improve the agreement to put it in a form that would actually be acceptable to Canadians."
So, its pretty clear isn't it? The NDP didn't say it wasn't open to the amending of the agreement. Doesn't fit the Lib line on this very well, does it? It doesn't sound at all like the NDP wasn't open to ammendments, right? RIGHT!

Oh, and by the way, in case it wasn't clear, Mr. Davies had previously noted in this same debate:

"On October 23, as official opposition critic for international trade, I presented a motion to the Standing Committee on International Trade to conduct a study of the agreement and to call a varied list of Canadian stakeholders to committee to provide their views. Conservatives refused to even debate that motion in public. No study was agreed to.

On October 31, the NDP member for Ottawa Centre rose to request an emergency debate on the FIPA. That request was denied by the government.

On October 2, 18, 24, 25 and 31, members of the NDP rose in question period to request that the FIPA be properly studied by a parliamentary committee. Each time, the Conservatives refused even to address the merits of the question"
What can you conclude from that, clearly, is the Conservatives had no intention of allowing any discussion, and the Libs, and, MR. EASTER, knew it. And by the way, if you are open to ACUTALLY hearing what the Official Opposition said regarding the decision to go ahead with the motion, the NDP decided to do so, as the above illustrates, because the Conservatives wouldn't allow any amendments to the deal. And, the NDP HAD SAID THIS, in exlaining their decison to go ahead with their motion. So to say the least, the Libs are "stretching-the-truth" in asserting the NDP hadn't been open to debate, "forcing" them to vote with the Tories, because, well if they hadn't, it wouldn't have "sent the righ message" to Canadian and Foreign, "Investors". Please....spare me!
Mr Davies continued:
"I want to talk for a moment about the Conservatives' refusal to debate this. They often boast about the fact that, unlike the Liberals before them, they put trade agreements before the House for debate, but they do not do that with investment agreements and I do not understand the difference. When Canada signs a treaty that covers trading goods and services, that is considered appropriate to put before the House for scrutiny, but when Canada signs a treaty that covers investment, they do not consider that to be worthy of the same treatment. I do not understand that.

If the Conservatives believe that this deal they have signed is justified, why do they not bring it forward and make arguments in front of the Canadian people? Parliamentarians have a prime responsibility, and that is to come here, debate legislation, and give it a thorough scrutiny before it is passed. The Conservatives have a majority and can ultimately pass what they want, but why are they afraid of detailed scrutiny? Why are they afraid of bringing in people from across this country, such as trade experts, academics, economists, business people, people who trade, the public, provinces, and first nations, and really taking a look at this agreement?

Once again, it took 18 years to negotiate, it would be in force for 31 years. We can take a few weeks or months to make sure that Canada gets it right. New Democrats say we should. Why do the Conservatives not?"
What a sec, how could this be possible? I mean after all, the Libs said the NDP was trying to limit debate and didn't want to either enter into discussion, or consider working with the other members of the House on behalf of ALL Canadians.  That's really kind of "odd", on the part of the Libs, right? I mean I thought Mr Easter had said that the NDP weren't amenable to "transparent and open debate".
Well, actually, where it comes to the Libs, if you have read any of my previous posts, I have already illustrated clearly how the Libs, to say the least, tend to "play free and easy with the truth". So, really, nothing new here, or as the Cops say in movies over and over again, "move along, nothing to see here (move along, these aren't the droids you're seeking?). As I have said, don't expect the Libs to ever avoid letting a good story get in the way of the facts.

I think it is pretty clear by now that, if my MP, Mr. Lamoureux is any indication, that you can pretty much count on Lib MPs to conciously, and with intent, mislead and misdirect deabte any time it suits them. I have already explained how my MP has tried to distort the NDP's position regarding Senate reform, and you can add this fairy tale told by Mr. Easter to the list of misinformation attempts Mr. Lamoureux has attempted to foist on his consituents in his most recent "mailer", in the name of "informing", them.

Ha, Ha.

So yeah, regarding the FIPA vote, want to try that again? And maybe this time, try telling the truth for a change, Libs. Or, does Le Dauphin want you to do something else?

I'm just askin'!

POST SCRIPT:  I don't think its unreasonable to ask whether it is principled on the part of the Libs to spead misinformation like this using their Tax Payer allowances for staff and all the amenities. Given the fact that I don't have anyone HELPING ME with this, I don't think that's an "unreasonable" thing to ask. Maybe I should ask Mr. Easter and Mr. Lamoureux to make a donation to the Winnipeg RAG Review; after all, "turnaround is fair play", isn't it? And on top of that, we want to encourage debate, right? RIGHT? ............right.

Friday, 30 August 2013

A dopey leader with pretty hair, a puff of fuffy policy and a hearty "Hi-ho, Justin!" The Lone Lamoureux!

Yep, the Lone Lamoureux (AKA as Kevin Lamoureux, MP Winnipeg North), is riding the plains of Winnipeg again, metting out his unique form of injustice.

I got a mailer from the "Honorable" MP yesterday in my mail box, despite the no junk mail warnings taped to it. It included in part, this whopper....

"Does the New Democratic Party see the mote in their adversary’s eye but not
the beam in their own?

It looks like it now that the NDP is requesting an RCMP investigation into
the Mike Duffy gong show while their leader, Thomas Mulcair, keeps refusing to
answer very basic questions about his own lies concerning a bribe offered to him
in 1994 by the then-Laval mayor, Gilles Vaillancourt.

Three years ago, former Parti Quebecois justice minister Serge Menard
admitted that the Laval mayor offered him $10,000 cash in an envelope. The day
after, another Liberal Member of the National Assembly, Vincent Auclair, also
confessed he had the same bribe offered by the same politician.

My colleague Brian Lilley then clearly asked Mulcair a few days later, in
November 2010: “Were you ever offered cash in an envelope by the mayor of Laval?
Did you ever see envelopes of cash around the mayor of Laval?”
Mulcair answered with a straight “no.”

Mulcair even went further. He said that if ever an envelope was offered to
him, he would immediately go to the police and wondered why Menard waited more
than 15 years before he came out publicly.

A few months later, in 2011, Mulcair changed his version of the story when
the police knocked at his door and interviewed him. He then admitted he met
Vaillancourt in 1994 and was offered an envelope, and he added “it was clear
that this was money.”

From, http://www.torontosun.com/2013/05/22/thomas-mulcair-pushes-the-envelope-in-ethics-talk, and written by that Scion and believer in an open and accurate press, the fun-lovin, Eric Haimel.

My Lib MP, the truth seeking, honest as the day is long, fair minded, non-partisan, Kevin Lamouruex quoted only part of this artice in his latest mailer, adding "I know that is the above would have happened to our current Prime Minster ther would have bee an uproar in Ottawa The qestion is shoul Mr. Mulcair be let off the hook becse he is only the Leaderof the NDP and not the Prime Minister".

So of course, being unable to resist the urge, I emailed our erstwhile MP, as follows:

"Mr. Lamoureux:

I received your latest missive regarding your work on behalf of the consitituents of Winnipeg North. I couldn't help but notice the smearing of Mr. Mulcair.

I did check out your reference and see you only quoted it in part; I was wondering why that it is? I must say I obeject to your underhanded attack on the Leader of the Opposition. Your action in this matter simply confirms my belief, as I have communicated to you previously, that you are completely unsuited to sit in the House as the representative of the entirety of the constituency of Winnipeg North. I would say it is not a stretch concluding that your actions confirm that you obviously place petty partisanship ahead of building consensus and seem to have no difficulty with smearing and despoiling the reputations of your political opponents if it meets your own petty partisan goals.

Further to this, I note that you still have not replied to my previous two emails regarding FIPA (see my previous post for more on this). Is it your belief that you are only obligated to reply to supporters? Do you believe that you are above the need to answer queries from all your contituents? Do you feel it is below you or not worth your time, and that anyone who demands you be accoutable is of insignificant statue and not worthy or deserving of a response? Or is it instead more likely the simple truth that you know that in actual fact, there is no defense for your stance?

I now demand your reply as a consitutent of Winnipeg North. It is my right as YOUR consituent, regardless of whether I do or do not support you. Your requirement to reply is not optional, nor up to you decide.

I look forward to your prompt response.

Thank-you."

Honestly, I don't expect any kind of response from Mr. Lamoureux. He's kind of like one of those Cockroaches, you know, the kind that scurries out from under a rock when you lift it up and then scampers under something else for safety before you even have the chance to crush it under your foot.

Then just to add insult to injury, and from the same mailer, this beaut...

"...the NDP's opposition to abolish the Senate is a crude attempt to get votes and destroy any form of positive reform...."

OK, regarding this...notwithstanding that Lamoureux' whole flyer is a "crude attempt to get votes", it has been the NDP/CCF position from almost its inception that the Senate should be abolished; from Lamoureux though, he continues to be one who has no trouble keeping truth from getting in the way of a good story.

Well, there'll be more of this to follow. I am waiting for a reply to Lamoureux's assertion from the Honorable Leader of the Opposition and will post his reply as soon as I receive it. Unlike Mr Trudeau, who doesn't want to make any public statements on policy because he "doesn't want to short change discussion", on that or frankly any other topic that doesn't suit his fancy, Mr. Mulcair actually does believe in open and transparent discussion.  As for Mr. Lamoureux, I'll keep trying to get an actual response from "the people first MP".....

Hi, Ho Justin, Away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

UPDATE: I just received an email from Mr. Lamoureux inviting me to his office for a face to face. I will post after meeting with him.



Monday, 12 August 2013

Vic Toews as U of W President?

Vic Toews receives on honorary
degree from University of Winnipeg
president Lloyd Axworthy in 2010.

Will Toews succeed Axworthy come July 2014?

Image Source
JOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA
/Winnipeg Free Press 
Vic Toews left parliament this summer to focus on "family" and the "private sector". Meanwhile, some conservatives in Provencher are urging that Pallister CON Kelvin Goertzen run as a Harper CON in the federal byelection. Others think he's better as a provincial MLA because he can take down the provincial NDP - a notion highly dubious as he frequently falls into PR disasters.

But, really, what's most intriguing now is what's next for Vic Toews.

One particular suggestion has really caught my attention: that Vic Toews will become the next President of the University of Winnipeg.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Interesting take on debt

Dirk Bezemer, an economics professor, has an interesting take on debt and money. The first video basically summarizes the idea of endogenous money (money isn't just created externally or exogenously by central banks, but rather can be created - via the logic of double-entry bookkeeping & loans - by private banks). The key concepts, which run contrary to the way most economists look at money, is that money is debt and loans create deposits.



The second video is basically a summary of economist Hyman Minsky's "financial instability hypothesis". The idea is that rising asset prices are prone to unsustainable, speculative bubbles because as prices go up people buy more (rather than less, as is the typical price-demand relationship). To finance the purchase of increasingly costly assets, consumers will borrow more debt  which increases their purchasing power. With more purchasing power people continue to bid up the price and hence demand for the assets. This vicious cycle continues until people can no longer afford to service their debt, at which point the whole bubble collapses.



Real Housing Prices in Canada & the US.

Image Source: The Economist
(obtained via Krugman's blog)
A debt bubble like this lead to the collapse of the US housing market, which plunged the world into recession. Similar housing bubble bursts ravaged various European nations and has lead to tensions that are challenging the stability of the European Union.

Household debt and house prices in Canada, by the way, have gotten the attention of one Nobel Laurette in economics and an economist who predicted the US housing crash.

Cheerful thoughts, eh?

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Good Riddance

Vic Toews, Member of
Parliament for Provencher,

 resigned to focus on
"family, private sector".


Image Source: Wikipedia
Well, an extremely sad and embarrassing chapter in our great province's history is finally over. Harper CON Vic Toews is no longer the MP for the southeastern Manitoba riding of Provencher. He left on July 9 to allegedly focus on his family and the private sector.

I suspect the case will be him advising companies on federal policy and law, perhaps with an eye for getting through it's loopholes as well as maybe some outright corporate lobbying. Or maybe he's being rewarded for possible past legislative favours?

Just a reminder, former CON Premier Gary Filmon served on MTS Board of Directors after privatizing the company as Premier. It isn't reasonable to rule out the possibility of corporate power players rewarding those who pursue favourable policies with cushy jobs.

Regardless, don't let the revolving door hit you on the way out, Vic.

Toews has disgraced our fine province with enough of his wretched antics and so good riddance to him.

For starters, he had a hissy fit with all sorts of drivel spewing in every direction after his dirty deeds as a spouse were made public. Apparently, there's a long history of whacky electronic communications coming from the ex-MP for Provencher whenever someone gets under his thin skin.

He asks people to support draconian security bills or "stand with [...] the child pornographers". That's right, fellow Manitobans and Canadians, if you fear runaway surveillance statism - the horrors of which were revealed by Snowden in the US a year after Vic's announcement - then you're with the "child pornographers" under Toew's rhetoric.

Don't know about you, but I'd rather not have the government spying in on everything I do.

All in all, though, I have to thank him for resigning. I called for it a year ago and it's good to see that enough factors have come into play to make my wish a reality. Hopefully the next MP for Provencher will better embody the spirit and legacy of the father of Manitoba than ceiling Vic.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Harper CON applies for Official Opposition of Manitoba

Well, the scandal plagued Harper CONs are focusing their best efforts with communication. You may wonder what they're communicating (aside from using $100 Million plus Economic Action Plan ads to say the economy is a-okay despite youth joblessness). Are they trying to assure voters that everything is under control and that public funds are in good hands regardless of the fact that many view the CON-dominated Senate as a cesspool? It seems something far from their jurisdiction has caught at least one CON MP's eye.

Saint Boniface CON MP Shelly Glover seems to have had a bright idea about how to deal with the fallout from her party's misgovernment. Glover, the member of the party that hates worker representatives who worked in a job that enjoys the benefits of unions, has decided to join the Official Opposition of Manitoba. Governing, it seems, is just too hard for these CONs.

This message brought to you be
Shelly Glover.

Via Nicole Audette 

The PST hike was a bad idea and it would've made more sense for a purportedly progressive party to use progressive taxes to finance expenses - but the Harper CONs surely have enough problems of their own. Is launching a political campaign against the Manitoba NDP the most important thing to do now?

Though messing in Manitoba's affairs has sorta been a pastime of theirs. The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) was one of the few good policies Manitoba Conservative Premier Gary Filmon brought in.

In a lightly populated province, whose harsh continental climate fails to draw new arrivals, the PNP served to bring in new residents, new workers, and new ideas. It gave Manitoba the policy space it needed to construct solutions and work with community groups to welcome newcomers and create dynamism. It would be no exaggeration to say that this program has played a part in increasing the vitality and desirability of the West End and downtown in the late 2000s.

So Stephen Harper and his anti-Annex-secularist-man-of-the-immigrant/thank-me-for-denying-refugees-much-needed-healthcare Immigration Minister Jason Kenney gutted the Manitoba success story. There goes a Made in Manitoba policy that served our needs and helped our community.

Rather than defending their last leader in government's greatest legacy, Manitoba CON MLAs blasted the Manitoba NDP and shilled for their federal counterparts anti-Manitoban move. Thank you, (then McFadyen) CONs, for being an accomplice to the screwing over of our province. I'm sure when Manitobans vote against the NDP by voting for you next election we'll be in a for an age of accountability and good policy ... or not.

The appearance of a tit-for-tat relationship you Manitoba CONs have with the Federal Party is pretty amusing, though. We shill for you, you (effectively) advertise for us is what it looks like.

That'd be a nice gig is all I'm saying.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Happy Canada Day!

Winnipeggers strive yet again for the largest
living flag in the country this Canada day.

Image Source: Ron Gillfillian/Downtown Winnipeg BIZ

As our city strives to hold the title of largest living flag in Canada, I wish you a happy Canada day. It's a great time to acknowledge all our country has to offer and the potential, through working together, that Canadians can achieve.

From coast to coast to coast, this is a great country but it has the potential to be a greater, fairer, and more just.


From far and wide,



Happy Canada Day

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Great talk on inequality



Canada does comparably well to the US/UK on these measures, but we've been heading in the wrong direction. One has to wonder what the continued fabian neoconservative assault on Canada's public social investments will do down the line.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Speaker-Gate

Justin Trudeau - The $20,000 speaker?

Image Source: Huffington Post Canada
Before I begin, let's note that I have some deep disagreements with Federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau. For starters his position on fixing the Senate is breathtakingly naive - just appoint good guys! Any system that relies on people being Angels is doomed to fail.

He's also attacked Mulcair's Dutch Disease analysis as "divisive" despite Liberal Scott Brison using the same idea in a response to the Harper CONs' 2011 budget.

Additionally, Arthur Cramer has criticized the Liberal leader's trade policy - though I haven't looked at the deals thoroughly enough to come to a conclusion yet.

All this is to say that there are legitimate criticisms of Trudeau. The new manufactroversy - that he dared to accept money charities paid him - is not one of them.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Fiscal axeman votes for Costly Sprawl


Axemen: Not the best people to run a city.
Russ Wyatt, as you may recall, is a fiscal axeman when it comes to the inner-city and hard working poor Winnipeggers. He just dreams of swinging that financial axe, brutally chopping off key supports and even infrastructure like the Arlington Bridge.

So when it comes to funding a new, costly outer-ring suburb in southwest Winnipeg, Wyatt would have "no choice" but to vote no, right?

Not quite.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Please welcome new contributor Art Cramer

Image Source: Modified YMCA image
The Winnipeg RAG Review has a new contributor, left-progressive and New Democrat Art Cramer. You may have seen his first post, taking on Justin Trudeau and detailing his case for why the Papineau MP is not the progressive hope for Canada. In the upcoming year they'll hopefully be more insightful, provocative posts coming from our newest team member.

The Winnipeg RAG Review aims to provide a diverse array of left-progressive and social democratic viewpoints. There's a few other people with the power to contribute, but thus far pretty much all of the posts have been from yours truly (The Analyst). Hopefully, with some assistance from Art Cramer and others who may come to contribute, this blog will have a more multi-perspectival quality.

I can't guarantee that I'll agree with everything Art Cramer writes and I certainly can't guarantee that he'll agree with everything I write, but multiple voices should serve to broadened and deepen the discourse on this blog.

Best of luck to our newest contributor, Art Cramer!

New Blog Contributor takes on Justin Trudeau

Let me start from the outset by stating that I am a card carrying New Democrat, will always be a card carrying New Democrat, have never, and will never vote anything other then New Democrat.

OK, so now that is out of the way, lets get down to brass tacks. Justin Trudeau is being trumpeted as the new "Progressive Hope". However, he has taken a number of stances that suggest this is truly  open to question.Today, I want to focus on correspondence I had with Mr. Trudeau's Office regarding FIPA, another "Free Trade" agreement that will lock Canada into trade relations with China, where trade "disagreements" will be negotiated in secret by anonymous international "Trade Tribunals", capable of enforcing binding judgements that will place the wants and desires of Corporations ahead of Canadian citizens and their government.

I partook in an online petition campaign which solicited responses from Mr. Trudeau as follows:

"From: justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca
To: acramer@mymts.net
Date: Mon, 29 Apr 2013 11:33:01 -0400
Subject: Liberals demand a public debate on the Canada-China FIPA

"On behalf of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, I would like to thank you for your email regarding the Canada – China Foreign Investment Protection Agreement (FIPA).

The Liberal Party of Canada believes that foreign investment is good for our economy, but we must always work to protect Canadian interests and the interests of Canadians. The Harper government’s approach appears to be that by “signing” trade agreements with virtually any willing country, it somehow translates into a trade strategy. This is simply not the case, and we must ensure that any international trade agreement that Canada signs will be of net benefit to Canadians.

In order to attract foreign investment to Canada, both domestic and international business communities need to know that the investment rules in Canada are clear and that business deals must adhere to these guidelines rather than be subject to the political whims of the government of the day. As well, Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (FIPA) are important for Canadians investing abroad as well as businesses here at home.

China is rapidly growing into a dominant global player, and is Canada’s second largest trading partner. China is also a centralized economy and operates state-owned enterprises for unfair advantage.

The Liberal Party does acknowledge that there are concerns with this agreement. It is clear that the Canada-China FIPA is different from previous ones that the Conservative government has signed, but we believe that the agreement needs to be improved, not completely discarded. Liberals have raised concerns about provisions of this agreement, particularly on the issues of transparency during arbitration, termination of the agreement, and the length of time the agreement is in force.

But we also see benefits. For example, Canadian companies will be able to resolve disputes outside of the Chinese courts, in independent arbitration tribunals, and beyond that, China commits to treating fairly any Canadian companies investing in China. These company level benefits reduce business uncertainty and encourage the economy level benefits that can come from mutual foreign investment.

The motion that the NDP presented in the House of Commons on April 18, 2013 called for an outright rejection of the Canada-China FIPA and that is something that we cannot support.
The only way for the Canadian people to properly weigh the pros and cons is to have public scrutiny and debate, and the right place to have that is in a House of Commons committee. This is the reasoning behind the Liberal Party position on Canada-China FIPA, and that is why we did not support the outright rejection of FIPA embodied in the NDP Opposition motion
The Liberal Party continues to call on the government to have public hearings on the implications of this agreement so that Canadians can have their say. Regrettably, the Harper Conservatives refused to defend their agreement to the Canadian public and have blocked discussion on it. On April 18, the Liberal Party presented a motion in the House of Commons calling for the International Trade committee to conduct public hearings across Canada prior to the ratification of the Canada-China FIPA to ensure that the agreement is in the best interests of all Canadians. Regrettably,the NDP joined with the Conservatives and opposed this Liberal amendment calling for public hearings, which sought to allow discussion of the investment agreement to occur across Canada. These hearings would have given Canadian voices like yours a chance to be heard.

The Conservatives and the NDP are silencing Canadians and fueling the misinformation and fear-mongering surrounding the agreement. The role foreign investment plays in the Canadian economy will remain hugely important going forward. This does not, however, detract in any way from the serious need for Parliament to fulfill its obligation to seek input from Canadians. The Conservatives and NDP must guarantee that this investment agreement with the world’s second largest economy is widely supported and will result in a clear net benefit for Canadian families.

FIPA marks a significant step in our trade relationship with China, and it is important that we have a discussion on the concerns raised by Canadians about issues of transparency, the arbitration process, and the role of state-owned enterprises in our trade relationship.

Thank you for writing to the Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.

Yours sincerely,

Colin McKone
Office of the Liberal Leader"

While, I am about to give you my response, notice a key part of their justification for supporting FIPA, " China commits to treating fairly any Canadian companies investing in China. These company level benefits reduce business uncertainty and encourage the economy level benefits that can come from mutual foreign investment". It used to be Liberals crowed about trade being the way to foster the growth of political freedom and increasing democracy through the fostering of trade relations. Notice this assertion and tired old sop of a justifcation, is missing this time.

Well, being able to think for myself, I decided to reply back directly and sent Mr. Trudeau's "Office", the following:

"Sir:


Thank-you for your reply.

I simply cannot let your assertion that the NDP is complicit with the Tories in wishing to suppress the debate over FIPA go unchallenged. Your assertions that Mr. Trudeau wants Canadians involved in debate and hence voted, with, the Tories has not been reported in any significant way in the press. Your reply is disingenuous, at best.

I am old enough to remember how many Liberal Government inspired Commissions have travelled across Canada to collect "voter input", only to see the result disappear into the dusty storage shelves of Liberal Party Insiders, Libearl MP Offices, or those of the Parliamentary Library. The NDP has in fact outlined in great detail its opposition to your agenda and that of Mr. Harper, and has offered legislative counter, all of which have failed to garner the support of your party, or its leader. I am sure you know that. The selling point on the behalf of trade with China on the part of your party and its leadership has always been that trade will bring democratic liberalization within China's borders and foster greater trade between our two countries in a balanced fashion. You know full well this has not been the outcome in any meaningful way. To expect that the NDP will allow you to foist this tired Old Liberal Canard on Canadians yet once more, is to say the least, an expectation that borders on the fantastic.

While I appreciate your reply, I simply cannot believe that you would attempt what is basically a proverbial "pulling of the wool over my eyes" in the hope that you would placate my concerns and win me to your cause. I remain unconvinced, am aware of the lack of sincerity in your reply, and convinced even more now just how much a danger to national economic security the Liberal Party of Canada remains. Please communicate my reply to your Leader.

In closing, allow me to inform you that I intend to distribute your reply to my many acquaintances, asking that they pass it along as well. I think it is very important people see your reply as it represents your party's position, along with my reply, which in its counter shows the inherent intellectual and moral weakness of your party's position and the reason why the re-election of a Liberal government poses a real threat to the future well-being of all Canadians.

Yours Truly.

Arthur Cramer"

I haven't received a reply of any kind, if  I do, I'll post it.

But, wait, there's more......

I forwarded a copy of my email reply to Tom Mulcair, who replied to me directly, and who has given me permission to post his reply in full anywhere I have opprtunity. So....here it is:

"Dear Mr. Cramer,

Thank you for sharing your follow-up email regarding the recent vote on our motion to reject FIPA.
As you state, the Liberals are being disingenuous on this issue. We introduced a motion in Parliament to reject the Canada-China FIPA deal. On April 18th two votes on our motion took place. The first vote was on a Liberal amendment to our motion which called for - non-binding - public hearings. We voted against their amendment because we know the time for public consultation has passed. Holding public hearings at this stage will not have any effect on FIPA. NDP Critic for International Trade, Don Davies, repeatedly called for consultation and discussion on this deal, but the Conservatives showed no interest in seeking any input.

As it stands, FIPA has been signed by both the government of Canada and the government of China. The next step is simply to ratify the agreement. It is not possible to renegotiate it at this stage. The Liberals know that compromise on this matter was not possible and their suggestions to the contrary are disingenuous.

The second vote was on our motion that called on Canada to reject the deal. The vote represented the one opportunity for Parliamentarians to let Canadians know where they stood. New Democrats voted to reject FIPA while the Conservatives and Liberals voted together against our motion. As you already understand, the Liberals do not support the outright rejection of the Canada-China FIPA. This flies in the face of what we heard from the tens of thousands of Canadians who signed the LeadNow.ca petition and the many Canadians who have spoken out against this deal.

Canadians deserve better. They deserve a party that is listening to their concerns. New Democrats will be their voice in Parliament.

Again, I appreciate hearing from you.

All the best,


Thomas Mulcair, M.P. (Outremont)
Leader of the Official Opposition
New Democratic Party of Canada"

NOTE: It is SIGNED by Mr. Mulcair, himself. That is to say the least, extrardinary. The Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Oppostion replied directly himself. to correspondence sent him by an ordinary citizen. I should say at this point, I am not the member of any NDP study group, guiding group, or Executive, at least at the time of this posting. Given  how reportedly "angry" Mr. Mulcair is, at least that is what Mr Trudeau says, one has to wonder how he managed to even write  me back without having a heartache or trashing his PC by throwing it across his office, after reading my email detailing the Trudeau Office reply.

This correspondence is a real insite into how Mr.Trudeau, and thus the Liberal Party of Canada, views the electorate and what they think people will believe. It is a deliberately crafted message aimed at confusing Canadians by deflecting their support of FIPA onto the Opposition in the form of accusations that somehow the Loyal Opposition is preventing Canadians from have an open discussion of FIP. Given what acutally happened, that is "one whale of a tale".

 Given how well NAFTA has worked out, and Jean Chretin's refusal to reopen NAFTA when he had the chance and had promised to do so, that is, to say the least, a real stretch.

Grilling a squirmin' PM

It's been argued here that, in spite of all of Federal NDP leader Tom Mulcair's virtues as a parliamentary debater and interrogator during Question Period, he really has a bland public image. His leader defining ads have been short, generic, and boring while his public appearances have been concentrated at elite political institutions, where the Very Serious People congregate.

His exposure and image in the minds of the vast majority of Canadians is very weak and shallow. He's not well-defined compared to charismatic figures like Jack Layton or Justin Trudeau or polarizing figures like Stephen Harper.

But the recent Senate expense scandals serves to highlight his strengths. The Federal Dippers would be wise to showcase these strengths in youtube montages and perhaps the odd "fighting for you" TV ad.

The Senate expense scandal, to recap, involves many Senators - including CON Senators appointed by Harper to clean up the joint - claiming ridiculous expenses. One such Senator was Mike Duffy.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Blasts from Manitoba's Past

Elections, 1969 and 1981. Moderate social democrats actually felt comfortable talking about equality of condition in '69.



Adele Wiseman's discussion of "cooking our own food" is certainly ironic given Winnipeg's current high concentration of restaurants.


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Monday, 27 May 2013

Katz dislikes CUPE & wastes $90K in public funds


Sam Katz is kicking the public in the face with his
reckless disregard for our money.

Image Source
 CBC
Like all well heeled, fake populist rightwingers Sam Katz has a hate-on for organizations that democratically represent workers.

In the past, our Mayor has claimed that P3 accountability measures - measures to ensure private contractors don't fleece the public purse for private gain - are based on "union interests".

Public sector unions, like the rest of the public, seem concerned that private companies don't legally loot our city. This, apparently, is a bad thing in his worship's mind.

Now, however, our mayor has taken his hatred of labour organizations to a new low and squandered $90,000 in public funds.

How so?

Well, after launching the $90K ad campaign to drum up citizen support for privatizing our golf courses before a council vote, Katz claims he "knew" he'd lose the vote.




Sam Katz, enjoying a hard day's work
at the open house of the  St. Charles Country Club (top)*.

The St. Charles Country Club is a place
Winnipeggers with means can go for golf if all the city
courses are sold off..

The nefarious men and women of
CUPE. (bottom).

Image Sources: Winnipeg Free Press (Top)
CUPE Manitoba (Bottom)

*Don't know that Sam Katz is an actual
country club member (tho' it wouldn't be surprising).
 Does have country club conservative mentality, though.

His rationale for spending $90K on a highly questionable ad campaign coming up to a council vote he "knew" he'd lose?

Because CUPE!!!

Katz said the ads were meant to ensure Winnipeggers had all the facts, and to counter an anti-privatization campaign launched by CUPE, the union that represents many city workers.

Katz said several councillors who were elected with union support would never endorse a proposal to lease city facilities, but it was important Winnipeggers know the plan is one response to significant budget challenges.

("Katz knew golf plan doomed 'months ago'". Mary Anges Welch (May 24, 2013). Winnipeg Free Press)
It's funny that Katz is so concerned about prospect of undue labour influence on council. Funny because he had rather harsh words to say about the provincial legislation that prevents labour organizations from donating to council campaigns.

Of course, he had harsh words about said legislation because it also prevented big corporate players from giving money to council campaigns!!

It apparently made it "more difficult for people who are right of centre" on council. 

This seems to indicate that the right-faction of council is much more captured by corporate interests than the left-faction is by labour interests. I guess the right's support among the public really is so thin that they're desperate without big corporate bucks. 

The extreme power of private interest over the civic right really shows with the proliferation of questionable deals with businesses under the Sam Katz mayoralty. One can only imagine in their worst nightmares how much worse matters would be if these interests were funding Katz's re-election campaigns.

Municipal politics can be a scary business, eh?  

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