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Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Should there be a referendum on PR?

The Conservatives are vowing to filibuster attempts by the governing Liberals to reform the way we elect our MPs – be it alternative vote or some kind of proportional representation, unless there is a referendum. Normally, changing the rules for repres… . . . → Read More: Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Should there be a referendum on PR?

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Libs to repeal spanking law

It is decades overdue, but finally in response to a recommendation from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission the Trudeau government will move to repeal §43 of the Criminal Code, which allows for "corrective force" (i.e. spanking). No doubt this will get the socons riled up as yet another example of social engineering. But there is simply no proof corporal punishment works. If anything, it . . . → Read More: Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Libs to repeal spanking law

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Yeah, like I’d turn over my tax refund to Queen’s Park …

… yet since the Mike Harris days, people in Ontario have actually had the option of donating some or all of their tax refund to help pay down the province’s debt. How much has been raised so far in the last 19 years? $2.8 million. That’s it. What is … . . . → Read More: Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Yeah, like I’d turn over my tax refund to Queen’s Park …

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Make the ORPP voluntary, or enhance the CPP

Kathleen Wynne seems hell bent to introduce an Ontario Retirement Pension Plan by the year 2017. The idea is if a company doesn’t have a pension plan or deferred profit sharing plan of its own, it will be required to pay a payroll tax of 1.9%, to be ma… . . . → Read More: Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Make the ORPP voluntary, or enhance the CPP

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Boy did I dial a wrong number!

I’m still surprised by the results:

Liberal – 184 Conservatives – 99 NDP – 44 Bloc – 10 Green – 1

Much has to do with some districts where the Lib candidate who was running in third throughout the campaign, triumphed over the other two parties. That certainly was the case in my home district of Bob Bratina who was written off as a yesterday’s person, yet pulled it off. GOTV, name recognition,

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: My fearless prediction for Decision 2015

And here it is …

Liberals 143 Conservatives 132 NDP 55 Bloc 7 Green 1

My sense is that the Cons will do well at the expense of the NDP because large parts of Quebec are still socially conservative (especially rural areas), as well the “shy Tory” phenomenon – people who are polled simply lie about their intentions until they actually get to the polling station. But it won’t be enough to catch

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Prediction

Nothing partisan, I assure you. But it’s obvious that unless hell freezes over we’re looking at a minority situation – no one will get the magic number of 170. This is what I think will happen Monday:

Liberals – 143 Conservatives – 135 NDP – 51 Bloc – 8 Green – 1

I simply think the Cons are much better at GOTV than any of their opponents. Plus the KISS format to the disadvantage of any party

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: How to vote, how to vote …

This will be my last post on the election until it actually happens … barring a freak of nature. I will be working as a Deputy Returning Officer (i.e. I will supervise a poll and count the ballots at night’s end); and according to Elections Canada, when I inquired, their head office told me that blogging that leans towards or against one party or another could be construed as partisan activity.

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Look who we’re dealing with in the TPP

So the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal has been initialled. I’m not prepared to discuss the merits of the agreement. But let’s consider the countries that are in it, besides Canada: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and Japan – as well as the US.

Australia, Chile, New Zealand and Japan have fairly comparable human rights records and are

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: About those shared cost programs …

In last night’s final debate, Tom Mulcair said if he’s elected, then Quebec – and only that province – would get the option to opt out of new shared cost programs, including his $15 per diem child care program.

I realize Canada has never been totally equal on social programs. For example, every province has the right to opt out of OAS and the CPP. Quebec, so far, is the only province to get out

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: What’s "barbaric" exactly?

Today, the PMS campaign announced if it gets re-elected on October 19th it will introduce legislation to make illegal “barbaric” practices. On the surface, this may sound, well, sound. There are very few people in Canada who think FGM is acceptable. Other forms of torture should be illegal, and in fact already are. But how far would this go? Do animal sacrifices for religious purposes count? What

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: What does Harper want from our military?

Brian Stewart has a good op-ed piece on what Harper has said what he has done for Canada’s military, and what has really been done. Three words: Stretched. Too. Thin.

When you appropriate $10 billion more for defence spending than what you actually intend to spend, that’s not “prudence”. That’s telling our fine men and women in uniform they don’t count for much.

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Don’t match donations during an election!

Maybe it’s me, but it seemed like awful timing when the Cons announced last week they were going to match donations to this year’s Terry Fox Run, up to a ceiling of $35 million. Today, they retracted the pledge – for now. Awful timing, of course, because we’re smack in the middle of an election, indeed in the final legs.

This wasn’t like the Boxing Day Tsunami, or the earthquake in Pakistan, or

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Old stock???

For so many years, we in Canada have been trying to get away from the whole “we versus they” mentality. That one group of Canadians are better than another – that we are all in it together. The other night, Stephen Harper made a comment about so-called “old stock” Canadians.

What does he mean by that? To me, it suggests that true Canadians can only be those who can claim on both sides of their

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Don’t let the refugees down

Yeah, it’s been a while. But I had to take to my keyboard today because of the refugee crisis that is swamping Europe – since many of them may be headed Canada’s way. And I never thought, a month into the election, that it would become a debating point, but here we are.

I have an interest in this because my father and his brother, my uncle, came to Canada as refugees – in fact, fifty years ago

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: No notwithstanding clause on assisted suicide

In the three months since the Supreme Court of Canada handed down its decision on assisted suicide in Carter v. Attorney General of Canada, there has been a lot of thumb twisting about what to do. The Court gave Parliament a year to come up with something new before the law is officially taken off the books. Given a fall election, it’s hard to imagine our legislators will come up with a new law

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: You don’t have to take income splitting. At least one guy hasn’t …

The income splitting option is not mandatory for those who qualify for it. Like any other tax credit, it’s optional. Tax software will flag credits to make sure you get every loophole you’re entitled to – problematic if you still do it manually. One guy in the 15%, a labour leader, was given the option by his software to opt out. And he did. Even though it cost him 1500 bucks. His reason: Health,

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: The Senate and transgenders

To my knowledge, I have never met a transgendered person in my life. That does not mean I don’t have respect or compassion for those who live the sex opposite of the one they are by birth, or for those who decide to take it to its logical conclusion and have sex reassignment surgery.

Our society has generally become accepting of gays, lesbians and bisexuals, which is a mark in this country’s

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Terrorism comes home

It’s been thirty years or so since there was a coordinated terrorist attack in Canada – the bombing of the Litton plant in Toronto that was making guidance systems for American cruise missiles. Since then, and especially since 9/11, we’ve kind of hoped and prayed that it wouldn’t happen again. Well, it has.

Two days after a soldier was shot and killed and another maimed at Saint Jean sur

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Kick Russia out of the Helsinki Accords

Is the Helsinki Accord of 1975 a worthless scrap of paper? Because Vladimir Putin sure seems to think it’s a joke.

I was not even three years old when the declaration was signed but my father, an emigré from Croatia, understood its meaning. As a younger it was impressed on me the importance of a document that, among its provisions, was a statement of several important principles:


The Canadian Progressive: NDP Youth Reject Leaders’ Support of Israel’s Gaza Atrocities

The New Democratic Youth of Canada rejects party leaders’ uncritical support of Israel’s ongoing war crimes in Gaza, demands that Israel “be held accountable for its actions.”

The post NDP Youth Reject Leaders’ Support of Israel’s Gaza Atrocities appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Oil spills, oil schmills

So the Cons have announced they’re raising the penalty for offshore oil spills – from $161 million to $2 billion ($400 million for the actual offence, the rest for environmental damage). It’s not just they’re not kidding anyone. It’s that they made the announcement on the East Coast where the risk is way less than a spill on the West Coast — where tar sands oil would be headed, the higher

The Canadian Progressive: Harper’s Attack on Supreme Court Chief Justice McLachlin Unacceptable

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s attack on Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin is an attack on Canadians and Canadian democracy. It’s unacceptable.

by: Obert Madondo | May 4, 2014

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is so desperate for political capital he’s willing to publicly smear the Supreme Court of Canada and its Chief Justice, Beverley McLachlin.

Speaking to reporters in London, Ont., on Friday, Harper accused McLachlin of acting inappropriately last July when she advised his office concerning his appointment of Marc Nadon as the Quebec representative on the Supreme Court.

To be clear, there was communication between the chief justice’s office (Read more…)

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Federalism wins with Senate decision

When Stephen Harper tried to go about his ideas about Senate reform, his belief was that one could have Senate elections and fixed terms without the consent of the provinces. Today, the Supreme Court of Canada reaffirmed that Canada is a federation, not a unitary state like France and not a devolved state like Spain. The Senate is such an important part of the Confederation bargain, it said, that

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: With the new Québec government, the provinces should push back

Monday’s landslide win by Phillipe Couillard and his Québec Liberal Party is a great sign that the idea of sovereignty may have been set aside for a long time. But I think it should lead to something more. It should lead to the federation our Founders wanted but has often wavered from this principle, especially under Stephen Harper.

At the outset, I have to say that with the win, the new