Canadians Are Timid Voters

timid Canadian voter

Election 2015: Canadians decided it was time for Stephen Harper to go. Unsurprisingly, two very familiar names shaped this election.
Q: What names?
A: ’Liberal’ and ’Trudeau’.
From my vantage of Canada’s politics, this was confirmation that Canadians are timid voters.

The movie that plays in my head suggests it went down like this: OK, let’s get rid of the Conservatives. Who will we replace them with? Presented with a choice between the devil you know and something better, Canadians chose the devil, the Liberal Party of Canada.

When I wrote ‘The Conservative Liberal Teeter Totter’, almost two years ago, I hoped to see a change in Canada’s very narrow political voting pattern. It has always been Liberals up, Conservatives down and vice versa. One hundred and fifty years of Liberal and Conservative governments have led to the near-total domination of Canada by multinational corporations. Both Liberal and Conservative back rooms, the guys behind the curtain, are controlled by multinational banks, insurance companies, corporations, Big Oil, billionaires and Bay Street. This control has led to massive wealth inequality. Despite Liberal promises to help our ‘middle class’ inequality will get much worse. Canadians are timid voters and cast their ballots like lemmings! Canadians looked at BILL C-51, the TPP, planned Liberal deficits and the Liberal Campaign Co-Chair scandal and they concluded “Oh, well, I’m OK as long as I don’t have to try something new. The NDP is new. That would be scary.” Voters missed an opportunity to create the Canada of our dreams. Tom Mulcair would have been an exceptional Prime Minister.

I’m delighted that Stephen Harper has been minimized! Thank you Canada.

Congratulations to Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party of Canada. I wish you well and I’ll be delighted if you prove me wrong.

Harper, Mulcair, Trudeau and Truth Serum

Parliament buildings Ottawa

Canada Election 2015: What would happen if you combined Harper, Mulcair, Trudeau and truth serum?

Let’s take the ‘job interview’ TV ad a step further. Picture this: The three, major-political-party candidates, for the office of Prime Minister, Harper, Mulcair and Trudeau receive truth serum before they’re asked, “Why are you running, who do you want to help? How will you win? Here’s how I imagine their ‘truthful’ answers would play out:

  1. Stephen Harper – My earnestly-held ideology has compelled me to toil on behalf of Big Oil, major corporations and rich, caucasian Christians. My tactic is fear.
  2. Justin Trudeau – I want to prove that I can live up to my father’s name; I guess you could say, I’m running for myself. My tactics change frequently, I follow the lead of my advisors.
  3. Tom Mulcair – We’re in this together, I will serve all Canadians. Together, we will create the Canada of our dreams! My strategy is experience, educated-common sense and compassion.

Who will you vote for?

Who Should I Vote For?

Are you asking yourself, "Who should I vote for?” Some people enjoy digging into the candidate’s and political party’s details, others, not so much. For those of you who are not information junkies, I offer this straightforward Election 2015 overview.

The Conservative's 'Protect Our Economy' slogan was created to mislead us. The Conservatives are hoping you haven’t noticed Stephen Harper’s lost decade of six straight budget deficits, two recessions and more than $125 billion added to Canada’s national debt. That plus, the Harper Government has badly damaged Canada’s international reputation.

The Liberal’s 'Real Change' is another misleading slogan. After decoding, their slogan reads Chrétien, Martin and Trudeau Junior. Repackaged ideas from all too familiar Liberal names. When I saw Chrétien and Martin, I flashed back to the $100 million, Sponsorship Scandal. That plus, Justin Trudeau is the least qualified Liberal leader in my lifetime.

Clearly, after 148 years of Conservative and Liberal corporation-focused BS, the time has arrived for actual CHANGE. The Canadian people deserve better governance. The NDP has always had the best ideas and today, they’re electable.

The NDP’s ‘Change that’s ready’ slogan is perfect. Tom Mulcair is an impressive leader. He’s ready. The NDP has wonderful MP candidates. They’re ready. When they’re elected, they will become a motivated team, that is ready to serve us and govern. Working together, we will create the Canada of our dreams.

Change that’s ready.

For the first time in my life I'll be voting for the NDP. Millions of our fellow Canadians will do the same. Join us!

Are you registered to vote? Click here to check or update your voter registration.

The Conservative Liberal Teeter-Totter

Conservative Liberal teeter-totter

Bluntly, it’s time for Canadians to get off of the Conservative Liberal teeter-totter. There’s a better ride.

Canada’s federal politics have always been predictable. Voters alternate between The Liberal Party of Canada and The Conservative Party of Canada. When one party is up, the other is down, thus, the teeter-totter analogy. Get tired of one, elect the other. Many would argue that this habitual behaviour has worked well for our nation. I agree, it once did. Two parties satisfied the majority of us for well over one hundred years, but there’s a snag going forward. Have you noticed that Canada is moving to the political right? Today, both the Liberals and the Conservatives lean right. The direct result is that corporations and the rich have benefited while the vast majority of Canadians are being left behind. The ‘First Law of Holes’ states, “When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.” If there was ever a time for real change, this is it. Swapping Liberals for Conservatives won’t cut it.

Recent Canadian political leadership polls hint that Stephen Harper’s support is in decline and that Justin Trudeau’s stock is rising. I’ve written about Justin before, but this time I’m asking, “Why should we consider voting for The Liberal Party of Canada and specifically, is Justin Trudeau likely to get us out of the mess we’re in?”

Why are the Liberals currently leading in the polls? The two most obvious reasons are:

  1. Canadians are embarrassed by the Harper Government
  2. Canadian voters remember the ‘Trudeau’ name.

If you’re anything like me, it’s easy to understand our collective embarrassment, the last eight years have created a Canada I barely recognize. Regarding reason number two, I have fond memories of Pierre Elliot Trudeau, but, stating the obvious, Justin is not his father. So, what does Justin have going for him?

  • he’s a Liberal
  • the Conservatives are falling out of favour
  • the ‘Trudeau’ name
  • he’s fluently bilingual
  • he’s young and has a nice looking family
  • he has “great hair”.

What goes against him? From my vantage, Justin, a son of privilege, is unqualified, but his biggest problem is that he’s leading a political party that looks more and more like the Conservatives with every passing year. The Liberal mantra is “fiscally conservative and socially responsible”, but Trudeau’s party has become overly corporation-friendly hoping to solicit funding and the Liberals appear to have forgotten their social responsibility pledge.

If not Justin Trudeau, who? Isn’t there an even better alternative to Stephen Harper? Absolutely, yes there is. It’s the current Leader of the Opposition. Unlike Justin, Tom Mulcair, is ready to lead. With our support, the New Democratic Party of Canada can get rid of the Conservative majority and work toward:

  • making life more affordable
  • reducing household debt
  • lowering credit card interest rates
  • capping ATM fees
  • getting rid of The Senate
  • ending the muzzling of our climate scientists
  • protecting our fresh water and our coastlines
  • making Big Oil work for us
  • ending gas-price gouging
  • reducing greenhouse gases.

Canada is very fortunate to have an abundance of natural resources, but multinational corporations, including Big Oil are taking home almost all of the money. That’s not right. It’s time that someone stood up for Canadian families. Tom Mulcair and the NDP will stand up for us.

Somewhat ironically, the best way to create ‘Jobs and Prosperity’ is to get rid of the Harper Conservatives. Hopeful Canadians can make a difference in 2015.

We’re Being Played

When I woke up today, my local TV, morning news was highlighting the National Energy Board’s investigation of Enbridge and specifically their pipeline safety record. That’s good news for those of us who oppose the Northern Gateway Pipelines, right? It should be good news, because Enbridge is now infamous for their pipeline leaks. Unfortunately, I had trouble accepting the good news.

Q: Why wasn’t I happy about the news?
A: The sequence and timing of recent pipeline news releases has my gut telling me that we’re being played by Big Oil, Enbridge, the Harper Government and possibly even the NEB.

A classic sales technique is the ‘Feel — Felt — Found’ approach. When a salesperson encounters resistance, referred to as an objection, they will often counter with, “I know how you feel, I felt the same way, until I found…”. Stephen Harper and his merry band of Big Oil sycophants are well aware that there are very significant objections to the planned Northern Gateway Pipelines. To assuage British Columbians, they’ve, for the moment, strategically chosen to appear reasonable, even conciliatory; after all, there’s still plenty of time for them to achieve their ultimate goal of selling tar sand’s bitumen (heavy crude oil) to China.

Here’s what I see as the ‘Feel’ part of the Conservative’s plan:

  • “This project will not survive public scrutiny unless Enbridge takes far more seriously their obligation to engage the public.” – James Moore, Harper Government Cabinet Minister
  • “The only way governments can handle controversial projects of this manner is to ensure that things are evaluated on an independent basis scientifically, and not simply on political criteria…” – Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada

The ‘Felt’ and ‘Found’ parts of Harper’s plan will only become evident when the NEB report is released. I’d be willing to wager that the National Energy Board will report that the Northern Gateway Pipeline’s potential financial benefits to Canada far outweigh the potential, minuscule, environmental risks to British Columbia. When that happens, Stephen Harper will be able to say, “I share the environmental concerns of British Columbians, but today I’m reassured, because independent, scientific analysis has concluded that the Northern Gateway project will be safe and will deliver enormous benefits to all Canadians. It’s a great day for our jobs and prosperity initiative.”

Now, suppose I’m wrong and the NEB actually surprises me by not endorsing the Northern Gateway Pipeline. I imagine that, at that time, Stephen Harper will be forced to reveal his carefully orchestrated agenda. Recall that the Harper Government’s Bill C–38 gave the federal Cabinet the power to overrule the NEB’s recommendation. If this government gets ‘bad’ news from the NEB, I’m convinced they’ll endorse the Northern Gateway Pipelines anyway.

Don’t be misled by their recent statements, everything the Harper Government has done, so far, points toward an ultimate outcome that is favourable to Big Oil, Enbridge, Alberta and China. I don’t trust the Harper Government and neither should you.

The Enbridge Northern Pipeline

Enbridge Keystone Kops

My first post on this website was ‘Northern Gateway Pipelines’, but since then I’ve commented about the potential dangers of the Enbridge northern pipeline again and again.

Enbridge was obviously concerned that environmentalists opposed to the Northern Gateway Pipelines were gaining a little traction here in British Columbia, so the Enbridge PR team was tasked to launch a $5 million ($5,000,000) pro-pipeline ad campaign. If you’ve missed it, so far, you really must have been living under a rock, the ads were and still are pervasive.

Q: Has the Enbridge PR team managed to sway public opinion in favour of the Enbridge northern pipeline?
A: Probably not.

Q: Why has their impressive ad campaign failed?
A: Enbridge was making news.

Enbridge news:

  1. The USA’s National Transportation Safety Board recently referred to Enbridge as Keystone Kops/Cops. Here’s the NTSB’s Press Release regarding the 318,000,000 litre oil spill into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. The ‘clean’ up* took two years and cost about $800,000,000.
  2. The recent Enbridge Athabasca pipeline leak that occurred Monday, 18 June 2012.

The end result is that, right now, everyone seems to be writing off the pipeline, saying it’s dead. Whoa, stop, hold on, let’s not forget that the Harper Government devastated environmental and fisheries laws specifically to ensure approval of the Enbridge pipeline. The Cabinet can still approve this thing. Most people have a very short attention span and short memories is what Stephen Harper always relies upon. Unfortunately, we still can’t assume the Enbridge northern pipeline is dead.

Here’s the Enbridge northern pipeline parody video:

*Can diluted bitumen (heavy crude oil) be cleaned up? The following, unconfirmed, video suggests that spilled heavy crude returns to it’s original state, leaving Michigan with their own mini-version of Canada’s tar sands courtesy of Enbridge and Big Oil.

Related articles:

  1. Scathing U.S. report won’t change Ottawa’s mind on Northern Gateway
  2. It’s semi-official: The Enbridge Northern Gateway project is kaput!

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The Conservatives’ Biggest Lie

Q: What is the conservatives’ biggest lie?
A: The conservatives’ biggest lie is, “I’m better than you are!”

Money, Alone, Is Not the Measuring Stick
of a Successful Life.

“I’m better than you are!” is the lie many financially successful conservatives whisper to themselves. They rarely utter this one in public, but it’s a big part of who they are and unbeknownst to them it’s obvious to everyone they meet.

Let’s use a couple of people as an example: Is there any doubt in your mind that Mitt Romney and Donald Trump think that they’re better than you are?

Ask yourself a simple question, “Would your life, today, be different if you had attended the best schools that money could buy and then had many millions of dollars deposited into your bank account”?

Background: Mitt Romney’s dad, George, was Chairman and President of American Motors Corporation (today’s Chrysler), Governor of Michigan and the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Mitt is said to have inherited millions and millions of dollars. Donald Trump’s dad, Fred, was a very successful real estate developer and left young Donald assets valued at about two hundred million dollars ($200,000,000).

Both Mitt and Donald have absolutely no idea what it would be like to start from zero and compete on an even playing field. They selfishly seize all of the credit for their successes and they demand your envy. There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that their very privileged backgrounds have skewed both Mitt and Donald’s views of the poor and the middle class. Neither is altruistically attempting to serve, they’re both constantly seeking media attention and power. Both men ooze phoniness. Their persona betrays their conviction that they are better than other people. Can’t you just feel Mitt and Donald wondering aloud, “What’s up with the Occupy Movement?” completely failing to grasp the very real frustrations of folks who work for a living?

Mitt’s disdain for those who are not super rich would lead to more:

  • tax breaks for corporations and
  • tax breaks for the wealthy.

Referencing the USA, did you know that:

  • “in 2010 the average salary for CEOs on the S&P 500 was over $1 million and climbed to over $11 million when all forms of compensation were accounted for”
  • “… tax rates on the super rich are now lower than they’ve been in three decades”
  • “corporate profits now constitute the largest share of the economy since 1929”?

Interestingly, if the USA’s gross national income were divided evenly across the entire population, every household would be classified as middle class. Unfortunately, instead of even a little fairness, we have the 1%—2% with all the money and then the rest of us.

Recommended reading:

  1. Peter Edelman’s ‘So Rich, So Poor: Why It’s So Hard to End Poverty in America’
  2. Robert B. Reich’s ‘Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life’

Stephen Harper would have you believe, it’s completely different here in Canada, it’s not really, we’re just about a decade behind the US.

Humorous note: A fortune “trickled down” to Mitt Romney, perhaps that’s why he supports the discredited, “trickle down”, economic theory.

Related post:

  1. Arrogant Harper Government

Canada Under Harper

I hope my title for this post, ‘Canada Under Harper’, wasn’t as bad for you as it was for me. A psychiatrist could write a pithy journal article about the nasty movie-clip that just played in my head. 🙂

To understand where the Harper Government is planning to go, you have to know where Stephen Harper has been. About ten years before his minority government first assumed power in Canada, Stephen Harper said, “Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it.”

“Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it.”
– Stephen Harper 1997

Knowing that this is one of Harper’s core beliefs, it’s not at all surprising that the Harper Government’s 2012 Budget and the now infamous Budget Implementation Bill C–38 included changes to OAS (Old Age Security), is it?

Q: What’s next for Canada under Harper?
A: Could it be the your healthcare, specifically the Canada Health Act? After all, the Harper Government has already mucked with Health Transfer Payments to the provinces and territories, so we can’t rule out even more sinister changes. Is the Harper Government already encouraging a two-tiered system, one for the rich and another for the rest of us? Will they… ?

Healthcare is very expensive, so it’s a natural target for Stephen Harper’s bean counters, but privatization and a two-tiered system is definitely NOT the answer.

Q: What is the best way to deal with rising health care costs?
A: Canadians would be best served if our government:

  1. focused on community-based, wellness promotion and prevention
  2. established multidisciplinary, diagnostic clinics, led by nurses, to offer help when prevention has failed and lastly,
  3. allowed doctors and hospitals to do what they do best, but doctors should be the last step, not the first.

We should also consider dumping fee-for-service, but more on that another time…

Related post:

  1. What’s Happened to Canada?

Senator Patrick Brazeau’s Judgement

Senator Patrick Brazeau photo

Q: Is it fair to question Senator Patrick Brazeau’s Judgement?
A: I won’t weigh in on Senator Brazeau’s Senate attendance record, but his Tweet, in response to Jennifer Ditchburn’s article, was ill-advised and definitely calls into question his maturity; so, yes, in my opinion, it is fair.

Background: Who the heck is Patrick Brazeau? Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau is just one of a total of forty-three Senate appointments made by Stephen Harper. He is an Algonquin from the Kitigan Zibi Reserve, near Maniwaki Quebec and previously served as the National Chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples. He is still in his thirties and is not due to retire from the Senate until November 11, 2049.

Recently, in response to a Canadian Press article questioning his Senate attendance record, Senator Brazeau Tweeted the CP reporter, @jenditchburn while u smile Jen, others suffer. Change the D to a B in your last name and we’re even! Don’t mean it but needs saying.”

Senator Patrick Brazeaus Tweet to Jennifer Ditchburn

Although my wife’s uncle was also a Canadian Senator, I’ve frequently questioned the value of the Senate. For whatever reason, it has proven difficult to reform the senate, I wonder if it would be easier to abolish it? Stephen Harper has set a record by appointing forty-three (43) Senators. Compare that to Pierre Trudeau’s 5, Brian Mulroney’s 14, Jean Chrétien’s 26 and Paul Martin’s 15 (one of Martin’s 15, was Conservative). I could have sworn that the Harper Government campaigned stating that it would save the taxpayers’ money and reduce Government costs. The base, annual salary of a Canadian Senator is $132,300 (2010) and the benefits package is apparently very impressive. Abolishing the Senate would save taxpayers tens of millions of dollars every year and it would also streamline Canada’s governance.

Humorous note: Perhaps the Harper Government’s Senate appointments were part of Stephen Harper’s ‘jobs and prosperity’ initiative and not patronage. 🙂

Related articles:

  1. Senator Patrick Brazeau calls journalist a bitch after she reports his poor attendance record
  2. Truant Tory senator apologizes for sexist slur at reporter

Related post:

  1. Harper Government Political Patronage

Mulcair’s NDP Video

Tom Mulcair photo
Photo courtesy of Reuters – Wattie

The Harper Government’s attack ad, ‘Mulcair’s NDP’ makes it glaringly obvious that Stephen Harper is, figuratively, wetting himself, again. Mr. Harper has a long history of nervous incontinence. Mulcair’s NDP video isn’t the Harper Government’s first attack ad, you’ll recall their mean-spirited ads attacking Stéphan Dion, Michael Ignatief and then, most recently, Bob Rae.

Here’s the ‘Mulcair’s NDP’ video:

Q: Ask yourself, “Why is the Harper Government so nervous?”

A: Although, it’s true that Tom Mulcair and the NDP bested the Conservatives in a recent nationwide popularity poll, that’s not the Harper Government’s biggest worry. They’re most worried about a simple but very powerful idea. Canada’s natural resources should benefit all Canadians and Canada’s environment is not for sale. The Harper Government sides with multinational, corporate greed. Tom Mulcair and the NDP side with Canadians.

The Conservatives are also well aware of a trend that poses another significant threat to their power. A growing number of people don’t like the Harper Government’s style of governance. I’ll bet you’ve heard some of the descriptive words folks are using when they mention the Harper Government. I’ve listed some of the polite words here, but I’ve also written an entire post about the Arrogant Harper Government that you might find interesting.

I won’t critique the Harper Government’s attack ad except to say:

“Risky Theories” like putting Canadians and Canada’s environment ahead of multinational oil and gas corporations, pipeline corporations, foreign workers and China is not a reason for concern. There’s certainly nothing risky there, in fact, Tom Mulcair’s ideas are a breath of Canada’s fresh air.

The Conservative’s biggest pitch is always, “We can’t afford… (insert opponents name here)”, they want you to be nervous when you walk into the polling station. Have you noticed the Conservatives are always fear mongering? It fits their agenda, that’s why they’re always yammering on and on about guns, jails and fighter jets.

When you walk into a polling station in 2015, or sooner, you won’t need to be worried about things like the Harper Government’s scary, petro-state, guns, jails and greed-focused agenda, instead, you can smile a big smile and think about Stephen Harper wetting himself. 🙂 Then you’ll be able to vote for a positive vision of Canada and hope.

Canada is blessed with an amazing abundance of natural resources, most, if not all, of the rest of our world would love to be in our position. It’s time for Canadians to benefit by electing leadership that has a hopeful, altruistic vision and a solid plan. In the next election, vote NDP.

Update 20120710: Here’s the NDP’s initial response to the Harper Government’s Mulcair’s NDP video attack ad.

Related article:

  1. On carbon pricing, the Tories aren’t just battling Mulcair