This is disgraceful. Canada’s foreign affairs seem to be in the hands of the Three Stooges. Recent events in Jerusalem, Kyiv and Hollywood appear to be making the point.
First of all, Prime Minister Harper leads an invasion of Israel. That is a small country and they hardly need more gawkers, self-serving politicians and rabbis cluttering the landscape. While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu obviously wondered at what they wanted, it was low tourist season in Israel and “Bibi” appreciated the hotel room bookings and restaurant revenue. And, not many people are satisfied with having a bird sanctuary named for them. (Read more…)
The objective of foreign relations is not to pander for votes at home. And it is conducted with diplomacy, not a baseball bat. Those are just two of the lessons that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his eager understudy John Baird have yet to learn. What they are doing is destroying the work of many years by competent foreign affairs personnel on behalf of all Canadians. A century of hard work has been lost in just a few years.
But they are not just incompetent, they are deliberate. They neither understand the tradecraft involved nor do they care. They neither (Read more…)
There is confusion across the country. The Hair is sending Foreign Minister John Baird to the Ukraine. Canadians know that if there is an important trip to anywhere, the first people allocated space aboard that big Airbus A310 are the Hair and the hairdresser.
But on this trip, the Hair sends Baird? We all know that the Hair only takes John Baird along sometimes because he asks politely and does not make a scene wanting to get into picture opportunities.
But why send Baird this time? Is there a possibility of some more shooting? Do you think Mr. Putin, Emperor (Read more…)
It is Justin Trudeau’s political instincts that never cease to amaze the older apparatchiks in the Liberal Party. It is remembering a long argument with the late Senator Keith Davey some 30 years ago over Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau just mentioning his family in a speech. If you had sweated as hard on that speech as this writer, you hardly want to see it spiked because you have ignored some damn taboo of an up-tight prime minister.
But Keith won (it was his job). And the PM gave a bloody lecture on economics to a bored Canadian electorate. It was (Read more…)
As you recall the Supreme Court decided that the Conservatives need sex education. Long overdue, you might add. The only problem was that nobody could agree on who should teach sex education to the Conservative caucus. We are not sure but we think it was Peter Mackay who solved it by suggesting that they would all sit quietly and listen to Laureen Harper, the leader’s wife. They would have no choice.
Laureen was, as you would expect, quite reluctant but is believed to have agreed to it on the condition that her husband does not attend. The caucus seemed to (Read more…)
One of the very first lessons of politics is to understand that the average voter does not relate to discussions involving millions of dollars. What people relate to is coffee money. If Torontonians, for example, could just think of the billions their city needs for an upgraded transit system in terms of the daily cost of their Tim Horton’s coffee, it would all make sense.
And in dealing with national policies at the Liberal Party conference this weekend, we have to know that if we cannot relate costs to coffee money we will only confuse Canadians. That is the challenge (Read more…)
It should be the first order of business at the Liberal Party Convention February 20 to 23. How else can we be having a policy convention if we do not know what it really means to be a liberal? We need to define who we are and where we want to go.
It is hardly enough to damn the Conservatives for their ideology bound direction. At least they know where they are going. Too many Liberal Party members think they can support a vaguely right-wing party that has something of a social conscience. Hell, Paul Martin Junior proved that the (Read more…)
If Conservative Immigration Minister Chris Alexander does not like this blog, why does he not say so? Here we always thought it was just fair political comment. Given time though, Alexander hopes he can strip people such as the writer of their Canadian citizenship. Despite being born here, sworn allegiance to the Queen of Canada, served in the Canadian forces and lived here all our life, Alexander and the Tories want to pass a law that could take our Canadian citizenship from us.
It is unbelievable! The Conservative government wants to pass a new citizenship act that can take Canadian (Read more…)
The Hair and hairdresser are heading for Mexico next. It will be a meeting of the three heads of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Prime Minister Stephen Harper will hardly feel the love that he did in Israel. President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico has every reason to be angry with Harper. And American President Obama also has good reason to be leery of him. There are no more three amigos at this meeting.
Someone was explaining yesterday the idiom that “Pigs get fat; hogs get slaughtered.” It simply means that it is okay to be a (Read more…)
By design, Tuesday’s budget was a non-event. The public’s eyes are on Sochi, and the pundits’ eyes are on next year’s budget. So, it should not be surprising that it was the post-budget fallout that grabbed the most headlines, when Finance Minister Jim Flaherty mused that the Tories central 2011 campaign promise of income splitting might not actually be in next year’s budget.
We can debate the merits of income splitting (and this ensures we will), but what I find most shocking about this is that we appear to have the first public rift between Stephen Harper and the only (Read more…)
If oil and gas pipeline proponents can talk about indirect economic benefits stemming from new pipeline infrastructure, opponents should be able to consider the environmental impacts of those indirect actions when arguing against them, according to the Pembina Institute’s federal policy director.
Fair is fair, according to Clare Demerse, and if oil and natural gas companies tout the economic benefits of upstream oil sands production and downstream refining when making the case for new pipeline infrastructure, organizations like Pembina should be able to include the environmental and climatic impacts associated from such activities in the national discussion about our (Read more…)
The arrogance of the Harper Conservatives knows no bounds. Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty delivered a budget with such a thin veneer of civility yesterday that he could do nothing more afterwards but say wait until next year. This 2014 budget was cynical, shallow, untruthful and an insult to the Canadian people.
If you want whistles, bells and hope with your budget, you have to wait until the budget running up to the election next year. And what was really disgusting was that Flaherty did not bother to sugar-coat the lies.
It was obvious to anyone who can add two (Read more…)
It is law that you cannot be a registered charity and indulge in strictly political activities. Back when that law was passed by a Liberal government, it was met with laughter in some quarters and the charities just carried on as before. With most health charities, it was easy to show that the political activities undertaken were part of your patient services and health research objectives. It comes as a shock today to hear that the Canada Revenue Agency is auditing environmental charities that are fighting tar sands pollution.
And what is even more shocking is that a non-profit organization (Read more…)
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty bought new shoes the other day. It is part of the traditional run-up to delivering a federal budget. Somehow, he found one of the last companies in Canada still making shoes. He bought an inexpensive pair of steel-capped safety shoes. He is going to need them for the kind of budget he is about to deliver. It is expected to be a budget that does nobody any good.
This says a lot about the arrogance of Jim Flaherty. It also says a great deal about the “screw you” attitude of the Conservative government. Flaherty has made (Read more…)
They must be Babel’s most successful thieves. They are the parking meters and parking lot gate machines at our local hospital. The amount hospital visitors have to pay to park is disgusting. It is nothing more than a tax on our health and love and caring. It is bad medicine. And something needs to be done about it.
And not just in Babel but across Ontario. This observation was stimulated by an excellent column last week in the Toronto Star by veteran reporter/commentator Carol Goar. Carol believes that citizens need to be relieved of high hospital parking fees and we (Read more…)
Having crossed swords with Elections Canada in the past, it is easy to understand the Conservative disdain for the bureaucrats of Elections Canada. What we should question is the desire of the Harper government to add another layer of bureaucracy to what is already glacier-like policing of elections. Instead of taking four to six years to clean up political corruption, we can now take twice as long.
But before you buy into the Conservatives claiming this proposed elections act to be an improvement that they label as “Fair Elections,” you should ask: Fair for whom?
Taken in context with previous (Read more…)
It took some digesting. Long-time New Democrat Robin Sears tried his hand in the Toronto Star the other day at damning Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau while hoping to rescue NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair. As a long-time Liberal Party apparatchik, we can only admire Sears’ pluck in taking on the task. And as a fellow public relations practitioner, we can only hope he was paid more for the task than the Toronto Star’s usually miserly pittance for such gratuitous op-eds.
What Sears attempted in his opinion piece was to claim that Justin Trudeau should have used party manipulation and process to (Read more…)
Nenshi made history in 2010. His Chief of Staff might do the same in 2015.
We’ve all heard the jokes.
When Calgary was hit with flooding in 2005, the Calgary Herald ran a delicious cartoon showing a giant ark being loaded up at the Stampede grounds, and Noah lamenting that, despite his instructions to rescue 2 of each kind, he couldn’t find a second Liberal.
It’s been 46 years since the Liberals won a seat in Calgary, meaning local grits are 0 for their last 83. However, loss number 83 in that streak – Harvey Locke’s near miss in the (Read more…)
It is called doublespeak. Bureaucrats use it to leave themselves open to whatever their political bosses prefer to do. They have not said yes and they have not said no. The American State Department issued its Final Environmental Impact Statement on the last day of January and leaves everyone in the same state as they were before it was issued. All the State Department functionaries did was get it out and get it done with as far as they were concerned. Like the Oracle at Delphi though you will learn that their findings are whatever you want them to be.
Speaking of mixed metaphors! Thinking of trashing Conrad Black over his recent bereavement brought to mind both the BBC’s Downton Abbey series and musical Fiddler on the Roof. It really takes both to put Conrad Black in perspective.
Downton Abbey is a period piece despite the fact that it was only 100 years ago. It is a wonderful dissection of the traditions and mores of the period. The noble Earl, his extended family, his retainers and the influences of his time interact in a poignant tale of the richness, refinement and basic cruelty of the times.
You probably have to (Read more…)
Julian Fantino is in trouble again. Prime Minister Stephen Harper is so bereft of talent in his Conservative Party ranks in Ottawa that he felt he had to give former Toronto and Ontario top cop Fantino the Veterans’ Affairs portfolio. That choice could haunt Harper long after he is thrown out of office by an angry electorate.
The Conservative Leader thought it might be a safe place to warehouse the retired ex-cop. He had no idea of the trouble that would cause. There is nothing compatible between a cop and the military. They are oil and water. And Fantino might (Read more…)
Canadians now know the definitive difference between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. And it is not just that Trudeau takes action and Harper takes your money. Harper only talks about Senate reform; Trudeau does something about Senate reform. He has kicked the Liberal Senators out of the Liberal Caucus. He did not need the provinces to agree to that. It was not a constitutional reform. It just made sense.
After all, what good are they doing as Liberals? It is not as though the Liberal label was doing them or the Liberal Party any good. They (Read more…)
It’s rare that something happens in Ottawa that truly surprises everyone. Despite having spent the last year talking about the senate over and over again, it’s safe to say very few saw this coming:
Trudeau leads on Senate Reform: Liberal Leader takes concrete action to remove partisanship and patronage from the Senate
OTTAWA – The Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement:
“Canadians expect their leaders to be open and honest with them, and they expect us to come forward with practical solutions that address problems directly. The Senate, through extreme patronage and (Read more…)
In the late 1970s American TV sitcom, Welcome back, Kotter, the character played by comedian Gabe Kaplan returned to his old high school to teach a remedial class of misfits. Somehow, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Senate misfits seem to be replaying the series. They are not only almost as funny but the various players in the current show are probably hoping that they can go on to greater roles like the kid who played sweathog Vinnie Barbarino, John Travolta.
Consider Nigel Wright. Is this a bit player? The R.C.M. Police have already made it clear that (Read more…)
Back in the 1800s when Oliver Mowat was Premier of Ontario, he had his best fights not with his provincial opponents but with the federal government. His skill as a politician and his knowledge of how to pick his fights kept him in the premier’s office for 24 years. It is fascinating today to watch Premier Kathleen Wynne attempt to follow his example. Her only mistake to-date was to bring in former Prime Minister Paul Martin as her advisor on the Canada Pension Plan squabble.
The first question is just what expertise does Martin bring to the table? As a (Read more…)