Monday, April 30, 2007

Another P.M. Trudeau? Doubt it.

Justin Trudeau, the son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, has won the Liberal nomination in the Montréal riding of Papineau.

And already, even before he has started to campaign to try to win Papineau, people are speculating that he might be a future Prime Minister.

Personally, I highly doubt that he will be the leader of the Liberal Party someday, let alone prime minister. I am quite astonished by people who think that just because his father was prime minister, he will also be a prime minister, just because he is entering politics.

From what I've seen (and heard) of him, he does not (yet) have the qualities and talent that would be needed to even consider the job.

So while the Liberals really need to get a new leader, I don't think they should be turning to Justin Trudeau (or even thinking about it right now). Just because he had a special prime ministerial father doesn't mean that he should have any fast-track through politics. The public and the media should just let him develop 'naturally' like any other politician.

Monday, April 23, 2007

O MY GOSH! The opposition is destroying the world as we know it!

Last week, Environment minister John Baird released his brand new report on what would happen to Canada's economy if the opposition's (particularly the Liberal's) environmental plan came to be.

According to this report, if the emission standards of Kyoto were implemented in Canada, our economy would basically collapse, and many Canadians would lose their jobs (and the Conservative's will implement "meaningful" and "tough" action to combat climate change without hurting the economy).

Baird told the committee that analysis from economists shows implementing the Kyoto Protocol would mean the following:
- Gasoline will cost more than $1.60 a litre over the 2008-to-2012 period
- 275,000 Canadians working today will lose their jobs by 2009
- Job loss will cause unemployment rates to rise 25 per cent by 2009
- The decline of economic activity in the range of $51 billion

And by the way, I don't think anyone is sure what "tough" and "meaningful" action implies. Compared to what we should be doing (Kyoto), the original Clean Air Act was far short of being tough and meaningful (it was more like soft and easy-to-do action).

See, the thing that Baird doesn't realize is that Canada can actually create a 'green' economy which would be able to employ all the people who won't have jobs (note that his estimate his quite extreme), which in turn (by having the green businesses) would be able to bring more money to Canada's economy. And most importantly, the environment would benefit significantly.

Nor does Baird realize that if we don't actually fulfil Kyoto, all that supposed economic loss would really mean nothing when compared to the environmental consequences that will face our health, etc. etc. etc.

(To read more "Nonsense by Baird", read CTV Question Period's interview with him.)

This whole report of the Conservative government is simply a scare tactic to make it acceptable to Canadians how little the government is doing for the environment. It is not the government's job to scare people; it's the government's job to do what the people say needs to be done (also, polls indicate that the CPC is not the enviro-party of Canada; it's the NDP). Now wouldn't it be nice if the environment minister stopped wasting his time of scare-reports, and started to actually do something that is progressive?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Railway Continuation Act vs. Labour rights

I am sure that there were a great deal of people watching CPAC last night due to the debate and voting on Bill C-46 (Railway Continuation Act, 2007). Unfortunately, the bill was passed by 195 votes, versus 71 against (please note that CTV recorded, on the internet, the second reading results versus the third reading; the latter really means more).

The bill was passed, of course, by the Liberals and Conservatives, while it was contended by the NDP and the Bloc Québecois. (If you would like to see who exactly voted which way, please see Hansard, and go to the vote near the bottom of the page.)

What really is the railway continuation act of 2007? Well, it is intended to end the strike/lock-out (different people see it differently; I like the latter) of the United Transportation Union workers at Canadian National railways. The reason that the Conservatives and Liberals cite for passing such legislation is that the 'non-working status quo' is hurting the economy and the farmers, financially. However, the reason of the Bloc and NDP for voting against the bill is that the conditions pre-'non-working' period were not at all good for the workers, especially concerning safety.

So my thoughts on this ordeal. While I am an associate member of the National Farmers Union, and thus on the farmers' side, I would have to stand with labour on this one. While the initial strike was started by the workers, they did have good cause: their safety while working was compromised by CN in favour of more money. So it was completely acceptable for the workers to strike. However, they are now locked out, not on strike; why should labour have to continue to suffer now at the benefit of CN? It makes no sense.

It would be nice for a change to have the Liberals and Conservatives on the side of labour and the people for once, instead of on the side of big business. But yet, they continue to claim that they are. It just doesn't make sense that if they are on the side of labour, that they'd vote for this bill (actually, they never even really mentioned labour at all in last nights events, they know they have the weak side). They may not get the message now, but we can sure show them next election.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

NDP taking on pet food regulation

A couple weeks ago, there was quite a lot of talk on pet food, as there was the pet food contamination at Menu Foods. However, all that talk has now died down, at least on the news.

As a pet owner (and one who buys Iams and Purina), I was particularly concerned about this whole event. But as much as I was concerned, I also spotted it as an opportunity for the NDP to make gains among pet owners. It is for that reason that I sent a short email to Jack Layton (or his office, I don't really know who checks it):

I obviously don't have to say anything regarding what has happened; it has been all over the news. As a pet owner, I find this particularly troubling. But, of course, I am not the only pet owner in Canada; of the people I know, at least 60% of them have pets. And many people, of course, are very attached to their pets, and would do a lot for them; possibly even move their political support.

So it is for that reason, as well as that this has made such a big impact on the news, that I would like to see my party, the NDP, move very quickly to take up the issue of pet food regulation in Canada. With pets being such an important part of many families in Canada, it only seems natural that the NDP, as the party of the people, should also become the party of "man's best friend". Also, I cannot for the life of me see any Canadian arguing against pet food regulation.

I hope that you agree with me that this is something that could be a great 'feature' to add to the NDP's family-friendly agenda: advocate for pet food regulation in Canada.

Close to a week later, I read in the newspaper that the NDP, particularly Olivia Chow, is now calling for pet food regulation in Canada. While I do not think that I was the only one to write, I do think that each call upon the NDP led to this. And as far as I know, no other party has taken the cause for the pets (another political victory for the NDP).

To kick-start this campaign for regulation, Olivia Chow released a video on YouTube concerning pet food:

Also, she created a petition (PDF) that we can all print off, get people to sign, and send it back to her office. I would encourage you all to do that.

So in conclusion, I would like to encourage you all to back up the NDP and Olivia Chow on this battle. While it may not be as big of an issue as, say, climate change, it is something where the NDP can score "brownie-points" with the electorate, and, of course, is a good cause, too.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Part 3: Why and how you should support Barack

This is the final part to my 3-part series on Barack Obama (Democratic Party leadership candidate, U.S.). For my final part, I will highlight why Canadians should support Barack, and how this can be accomplished.

What Barack as President would do for America, and why we should support that
    This topic is answered by my previous post, and I would ask that you refer to that one. Barack's platform for America comprises several important topics, such as universal medicare, ending the Iraq war, and creating green cars and green fuel.

What Barack as President would do for Canada
    Of course, if elected, he would not be working for a better Canada. However, from what I've heard from other Canadians who support him is that he respects the importance of the relationship between Canada and the U.S. While I don't expect him to ditch NAFTA for anything like that, I believe that from the row of candidates for Democratic leadership, he would benefit his own people (Americans) and Canada more than any other candidate.

How you can support his candidacy

  • If you have any American friends, especially those who are eligible to vote in the Democratic primaries, call or email them, and talk about American politics, and Barack Obama
  • Buy Barack merchandise and wear it. Do this especially if you are taking a trip to the States.
  • Write blog articles on Barack, and why Canadians (and Americans if they read our blogs) should support him
  • Write a letter to the editor to an American paper and hope it gets published
  • Finally, you can "join the campaign" by going to his website, and at the top, enter your postal code and email address. I haven't figured out yet what this whole process is about, but I'm sure it's great.

This concludes my 3-part series. I hope by now, as Canadians, from what we know about Barack, can all rally around Barack and his campaign to be the next president of the U.S. Yes, right now, Canadians aren't particularly fond of America; this is mostly due to the last four and a half years of Bush as president. But I hope that, by supporting Barack, we can reconcile the relationship between Canada and the U.S.; Barack is not looking to continue what has been happening for the last four years, but instead, he is looking to turn that all around.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Why I support Barack Obama, and my views on his policy

Last Thursday, I wrote an article on Barack Obama's (Democratic leadership candidate, U.S.) fundraising. Today, I am following that up with why I support Barack Obama. Let me give my reasons why:

1. Health Policy

"In the 2008 campaign, affordable, universal health care for every single American must not be a question of whether, it must be a question of how. We have the ideas, we have the resources, and we will have universal health care in this country by the end of the next president's first term."

– Barack Speech, January 2007
In his health platform, along with several other specific initiatives, Barack supports two central systems: universal healthcare and lowering drug costs.   Lowering drug costs is something that we haven't really accomplished as a country in Canada, but hopefully Barack, as president, could do just that.
While Barack's platform on universal healthcare is very loose, he does believe, as far as I know, that the U.S. should have a universal healthcare system like that of Canada (his platform would do a lot of public consultations).

2. Environment Policy

Just check this out for yourself (click on the link above). His environment program is classified under energy, and includes plans for hybrid cars, reduced energy use, and renewable fuels.

3. Overall Policy

Overall, his policy is well rounded and quite left, as far as America goes (although, I think the platform could be a bit more detailed). I would ask that you check out his whole platform, and see what you think.

4. Barack Himself

By just reading his bio on his website (click above), you can see why he would be an excellent president. The other, smaller factors are that he is not an oil typhoon, terribly rich, or anything like that, which would be a nice change for America. Also, he is an African-American (from what I heard, he is not pure African, though), which, too, would provide a different prospective for America, and would probably make a move more to the left.

Tomorrow, I will have the third and final installment on my 'mini-series' on Barack Obama: Why you should support him, and how.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Go Barack!

Even though I am Canadian, thus my life is not American politics, I am a supporter of Barack Obama. (If you're one, too, please leave a comment here!) And yesterday was one of those happy days for me: Barack managed to raise US $25 million in the first quarter of 2007, versus Clinton's US $26 million.

Most of us (especially the Canadian observers) know that money virtually drives U.S. politics, and, as a general rule, the more you have, the more supporters you are going to get. So while Clinton was able to get a million bucks more, Obama actually has more money to be spent in the Democratic primaries (Clinton has a whack of money she's not going to spend just now).

But I have a funny feeling that, from now on, Obama might actually start to get more money. One stat that backs this up: 90% of his donations were under $100, meaning that there are a lot of people who can still be tapped for more.

While the polls of democratic members supposedly put Clinton as front-runner, Obama actually has a greater donor base: he has more than 100,000 unique donors, while Clinton has half that (50,000).

So, yes, at the moment, Clinton has more overall support (if you like polls), but Obama has a greater fundraising base than she will probably ever have. And yes, Americans have traditionally been (much) closer to the right than Obama is, I think that once they see how much better life would be with his platform compared to the status quo, people might just change ideologies. So if it's true that money buys votes in the U.S., Obama could possibly be the next President of the U.S.A.

Either tomorrow or next week, I'll have a post on why I support Obama, and why you should, too.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

NFLD Attack Ad & Tory Campaign Office

This year, we've had Tory ads attacking Dion (in English & French), NDP ads promoting themselves, Premier Williams' ads attacking Harper, and now we have a new batch. Now, the Conservative Party is launching a newspaper ad campaign in Newfoundland and Labrador to counter that province's premier's efforts to discredit the federal Conservative Party.

But that is not the only 'awkward' news story from yesterday and today. The federal Conservative Party has opened their new election 'war-room' in suburban Ottawa. I saw a few pictures of this place, and it has a fairly large size (and looks quite expensive), especially if the Conservatives are saying that they will not push for an election. I am not 100% sure that they would put all that money into the place already if they were not adamantly sure that an election would happen this spring or early fall. In my books, if the governing party is almost 100% there is going to be an election in the very near future (enough so that they'd start spending money), there will be an election in the near future.

(However, it would be a good trick if the opposition parties kept the government afloat for another year, just to help deplete their resources.)

Monday, April 2, 2007

My Thoughts on the Status of Quebec

The whole topic on Québec is a very sensitive one, but alas, I will start to tackle it today. As everyone who lives in Canada knows, Québec officially became a "nation" last fall in the eyes of Parliament. But what comes after that? Should Québec be bilingual, venture into full nationalism, or actually separate? I'm going to start from the last item on the list to the first.

Countries of North America: U.S., Canada, Québec?

There is obviously not too much for me to say on Québec separatism: I am against it. I think it would be one of the worst things to happen to Canada. And it wouldn't really benefit Québec, either. Yes, they would receive all tax dollars collected in Québec, but they would not have access to federal services; they would have to set up their Québec tax system with e-filing, etc. etc., which would cost money.

The Nationalism Argument

While I am not as extreme on this stance as Mario Dumont (ADQ leader), I do agree with the principles of Québec Nationalism. The culture and language of Québec is one of the most important features, in my opinion, of Canada. Resorting to Nationalism, to a certain extent, would protect that status. What I think Nationalism should encompass is the Québec and European traditions, and the French language itself. Québec is not just another province, but a society in itself. I will elaborate on my views on Nationalism at a later time.

Do you live in Quebec? Oui, j'y habite.

I cannot see bilingualism to be a good thing for Québec and its heritage. Once English is given an equal status in Québec, it will slowly and discreetly kill French as the main language in Québec. This is, in fact, completely the opposite direction that Québec should go.

So as you can see, there are many different options that Québec can choose. I do not feel whatsoever that Québec should be eaten up by North American culture and the English language. That is why I do not support separatism, yet, I feel that Québec should seek the Nation alternative.