The Dalai Lama Comes to Calgary
11:17 PM |
Musings from a Canadian liberal woman on the state of Canadian and US politics.
What? You want to know stuff about me?
11:17 PM |
July 23, 2009 - Recession over, Bank of Canada says
Sept. 21, 2009 - Harper says recession over only in technical sense
Sept. 30, 2009 - ‘Okay, this is a shocker'
Labels: Canadian economy
3:40 PM |
Speaking at the Southern Railway, Mechanical Shop & Administration Office, Harper used the announcement of his economic update to say that trying to force an "unnecessary and wasteful election in the middle of a global recession is not in the country's interests."
10:40 AM |
The rift between Ignatieff and Coderre broke open last week over who should be nominated as the Liberal candidate in the Montreal riding of Outremont.
Former justice minister Martin Cauchon, who left politics in 2004, has signalled his intention to return to Parliament Hill and reclaim the riding he held for 11 years.
However, Ignatieff announced last Monday that he would appoint businesswoman Nathalie Le Prohon, who was selected by Coderre, as the Liberal candidate in Outremont,
The decision seemed to end Cauchon's hopes of a political comeback, but Coderre announced later in the week that another riding would be offered to Cauchon.
Meanwhile, a number of Liberal MPs, including Bob Rae, rallied around Cauchon in his bid for Outremont.
By the end of the week, Ignatieff had reversed his own decision about Outremont to allow for an open nomination contest in the riding.
"We do know that Mr. Coderre has been very angry at Michael Ignatieff, who overruled him -- had first supported him when he said that Mr. Cauchon could not run for the Liberal party in Outremont -- and then changed his mind and then supported (Cauchon)," Fife said. "So over the weekend, Mr. Coderre...has been mulling over his plans."
According to Fife, Cauchon would likely emerge as a rival to Coderre to replace Ignatieff in a future Liberal leadership contest.
But an immediate concern, Fife said, is that should Coderre step down, the move would cause turmoil "and perhaps open warfare in the Liberal Party."
"In the long-term here, nobody in this country who wants to lead a party can win if he can't control his own party," Fife told CTV News Channel. "Voters don't elect people who can't run their own party. More important than that, this is happening in Quebec, where the Liberal Party needs to win seats if they are going to have any chance of beating the Conservatives and forming a minority government."
The riding was a onetime Liberal stronghold until New Democrat Thomas Mulcair grabbed the seat in a 2007 by-election upset victory.
9:10 AM |
BILL MOYERS: Those conservative protestors we saw are not afraid of confrontation. They're willing to use sharp elbows and brass knuckles in fighting for what they believe in. Why isn't labor more confrontational in behalf of those very people, the working people of this country?
BILL FLETCHER: Well, part of it is that there's I know people won't appreciate my saying this. But among many of the leaders, there's really a fear of losing respectability. I mean, you have leaders that have now gained these positions and they're really afraid that if they shake the table too much, that they will be excluded.
MICHAEL ZWEIG: What has happened is that the corporations and the corporate elite have structured what this country is, what's valuable, what's important, how we organize our lives. And labor has not come forth with an alternative set of values.
BILL MOYERS: But why haven't they? Now, that's
MICHAEL ZWEIG: Well, there I think because we used to have that. And all the labor movement did have that.
BILL MOYERS: Solidarity forever, right?
MICHAEL ZWEIG: Well, and the labor movement had a very militant, very aggressive stance in the '30s, '40s, '50s that challenged capital. That got tremendous benefits. You know, the labor movement is the people who gave us the weekend. Let's not forget. The labor movement is what…
BILL MOYERS: The eight hour day.
MICHAEL ZWEIG: Got us the eight hour day, and the social security, and all the other things that we think are so very important, but are just natural. That came out of a labor movement, but a labor movement that was led by people and was fueled by people who understood that there was antagonism. That there was a battle that they were involved in. This was not just, 'Let's sit down and have lunch and figure out what's the best thing to do for America.' This was, 'Here's a group of people who run the country and run businesses. And they have a certain set of interests. And they do not have our interests at mind at heart. They are not for us.'
BILL MOYERS: For the working people.
MICHAEL ZWEIG: For the working people. We have to be organized and be a contrary force, a counterforce that's a real force. That isn't just a debating society. That doesn't just have resolutions that it passes.
BILL MOYERS: A real force to take on capital
MICHAEL ZWEIG: To take on capital.
BILL MOYERS: And power.
MICHAEL ZWEIG: And power.
BILL MOYERS: And why have they lost that?
MICHAEL ZWEIG: Well, because they got crushed.
BILL MOYERS: No one.
MICHAEL ZWEIG: Because the people who tried to do that. And the people who did do that were leftist. They were people who had a class analysis of society. Many of them were socialists and some of them were communists, but not all. But that sentiment, that understanding of the basic structure of society as divided by class interest. That there's a working class that's a majority of the population in this country. And they have interests. And they have a set of values that that convey those interests. That are very different from the corporations. They're very different from capital.
And if the people who held those views and mobilized the labor movement at an earlier point in our history. Those people were pushed out. And they were pushed out by the labor movement, internally, because there was great division and splits. And so then the labor movement got drawn into an era of cooperation. An era of, "Well, let's all sit down. And we'll all be reasonable. We'll all figure out what to do that's best for America." And it turns out America is not one thing. America is divided by these deep class antagonisms that we are now living with.
BILL FLETCHER: Well, first of all, I think that the election of Richard Trumka has a great deal of potential. Because
BILL MOYERS: The new president of the AFL-CIO.
BILL FLETCHER: The new president of the
BILL MOYERS: Why?
BILL FLETCHER: Because Trumka comes out of a history of militancy. He you know, in terms of his vision of the United Mine Workers that he led. His emphasis on organizing. His clarity on the nature of the economic crisis that we've been facing. And what he has articulated so far. And all I can say, this is a hope, is the notion that we have to engage in that confrontation that you're describing.
We have to do much more massive organizing. Particularly of the poor, the increasingly poor sections of the working class. So, I think that there's a vision here. And I can't overstate this issue of vision. Because it's not simply the technique of unions putting resources into organizing. People have to feel compelled that there's a vision of success, but a vision of a different kind of country. And indeed, a different kind of world.
MICHAEL ZWEIG: It's also a different understanding of how you do politics and how you exert power. It's one thing to say, "I'm the leader of an organization of eight and a half million workers. I'm the head of the AFL-CIO. We have eight and a half million members in our affiliates." And I'm going to sit down at a table. And I'm going to say, "I have eight and a half million members out there." It's another thing to have eight and a half million members out there, who are in the streets, who are not just sending in letters and not just signing petitions. But who are actively engaged in exercising power, in building power in the streets, in the communities, in the schools.
BILL MOYERS: And we don't see that happening. Why? Why isn't that happening?
MICHAEL ZWEIG: But see, I think that Rich Trumka understands something about the need to do this. And we'll see where this goes now. But, you know, it's hard to change culture.
BILL FLETCHER: Right.
MICHAEL ZWEIG: It's hard to change the way we understand how things should happen.
9:58 PM |
He [Jaffer] was a charter member of the Snack Pack, six young Reform MPs with some growing up to do who patronized Ottawa restaurants and bars in the late 1990s, hungering for the day when their party could pry power away from the Liberals.
Although evidently prone to spectacularly bad decisions, he always struck me as one of the more human of our parliamentarians. Younger MPs, in particular, tend to be an off-puttingly hyperpartisan and hyperambitious breed (see Poilievre, Pierre). Jaffer always seemed like a fairly normal guy who was a little surprised to be walking the chambers of power. The "would you want to have a beer with this guy" test has become a cliché, and it really shouldn't be the standard when you're choosing someone to run a country, but it's nice to have at least a few of our 308 federal representatives fit the bill. The fact that he was fully prepared to have a beer with people from other parties, not just his own, helped matters considerably.
11:48 AM |
Aboriginal leaders in Manitoba are horrified that some of the reserves hardest hit by swine flu in the spring have received dozens of body bags from Health Canada.
The body bags — which were sent to the remote northern reserves of Wasagamack and God's River First Nation — came in a shipment of hand sanitizers and face masks.
Grand Chief David Harper, who represents northern First Nations, says body bags send the wrong message and no one can understand why Ottawa would do such a thing.
"It really makes me wonder if health officials know something we don't," he said. "I have a right to speak for my people. I make a plea to the people of Canada to work with us to ensure the lowest fatalities from this monster virus. Don't send us body bags. Help us organize; send us medicine."
"Is the body bags a statement from Canada that we as First Nations are on our own?" Wasagamack Chief Jerry Knott asked. He said his community's nursing station received about 30 body bags.
Knott flew to Winnipeg with the bags on Wednesday and took them to the Health Canada building on York Avenue.
The office was closed at the time, so he stacked the bags on the doorstep and marked them "return to sender."
9:56 AM |
12:05 PM |
...in the candid speech given to party members in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. last week, the prime minister repeatedly stressed his aspiration to win a majority.
He warned that, without one, the country would get a Liberal government propped up by "the socialists and the separatists."
OTTAWA — The New Democratic Party will join the Bloc Quebecois in supporting the minority Conservative government in Friday's confidence vote.
NDP deputy leader Thomas Mulcair announced the decision Wednesday following a caucus meeting.
He told reporters it would be "irresponsible" not to support the ways and means motion, which is a confidence vote, because of the home renovation tax credit that it contains.
"Mr. Harper is trying to scare Canadians with the thought that we would jeopardize the home renovation tax credit," Ignatieff said on Friday. "That’s completely false, and he knows it."
“We supported the home renovation tax credit before. Our problem is we just don’t support the government any more. But home renovation tax credit is a good measure, and it would continue under a Liberal government."
12:05 PM |
Earlier this year, President Barack Obama ordered 21,000 more troops to Afghanistan, which will bring the total number of U.S. forces there to 68,000 by the end of the year.
McChrystal is expected to ask for more troops soon, but would not elaborate on numbers Friday.
"My position here is a little bit like a mechanic. We've got a situation with a vehicle and I've been asked to look at it and tell the owner what the situation is and what it will cost to make the vehicle run correctly and I will provide that," he said.
"Now I understand that the vehicle owner then has to make a decision on what the car is worth, how much longer he intends to drive it," he added. "Whether he wants it to look good or just run."
10:30 AM |
In the world according to Colberta.com, it would be out with Ed Stelmach, Norman Kwong and all things French (Leduc would become The Duc), and in with Stephen Colbert, he of Comedy Central faux-Fox News fame, who would become a kind of non-aligned provincial leader for life.
“It is time for The Colbert Nation to rise up and request . . . no, demand, that the province of Alberta be turned over to the leadership of Colbert, who can rule the new state of Colberta with an iron fist, an unyielding gut, and balls of steel,” says the website, which also includes a number of Colb-mandments (Article Five: “Nickelback has got to go. We hear Saskatchewan [boring correction: "Manitoba" -catnip] may be interested.”)
He is holding off on contacting Colbert himself until he has some actual Albertans behind his scheme. You see, there’s one catch: Zinman is from Toronto. He has never actually been to Alberta.
5:57 PM |
Harper and other Conservatives have, by and large, been reluctant for the last four years to speak publicly about the possibility of a majority Conservative government for fear it might alienate "soft" supporters who would drift back to another party.
Indeed, when Canwest News Service asked Harper in mid-August how he intended to win a majority government, he would not answer the question, saying only that he did not want an election.
11:25 PM |
Clyburn said the episode was as disgraceful -- if not more -- as Gov. Mark Sanford's revelation that he traveled to Argentina to conduct an extramarital affair when state officials believed he was on vacation in the nearby Appalachian Mountains.
"I thought he [the governor] had embarrassed us as much as we could be embarrassed. But to have a congressman use the floor of the House of Representatives in a joint session to insult the president the way Joe Wilson did is as embarrassing as anything anyone could think of," House Majority Whip James E.Clyburn, D-S.C., said. "Our state can do without this."
9:45 PM |
Obama's finest speeches do not excite. They do not inform. They don't even really inspire. They elevate. They enmesh you in a grander moment, as if history has stopped flowing passively by, and, just for an instant, contracted around you, made you aware of its presence, and your role in it. He is not the Word made flesh, but the triumph of word over flesh, over color, over despair. The other great leaders I've heard guide us towards a better politics, but Obama is, at his best, able to call us back to our highest selves, to the place where America exists as a glittering ideal, and where we, its honored inhabitants, seem capable of achieving it, and thus of sharing in its meaning and transcendence.
- Ezra Klein, January 2008
"I give all praise and honor to God," Obama began. "Look at the day the Lord has made."
Obama's wife, Michelle, opened the rally with a description of her husband that could, at moments, have been a description of Jesus Christ.
"We need a leader who's going to touch our souls. Who's going to make us feel differently about one another. Who's going to remind us that we are one another’s keepers. That we are only as strong as the weakest among us," she said, echoing biblical passages.
Winfrey also touched on Christian themes that had not been highlighted in Iowa.
"It's amazing grace that brought me here," she began, adding that she was "stepping out of my pew" - television – to engage in politics.
It isn't enough to tell the truth, Winfrey said. "We need politicians who know how to be the truth."
- Politico, November, 2007
9:37 AM |
10:43 AM |
Canada to stage mock Afghan attack in Washington
The Taliban will attack an Afghan village set up in the heart of Washington courtesy of the Canadian Forces, who will send in a medic in a dramatic effort to save a civilian crippled by the explosion.
At least four times over two days this month, simulated IED blasts will bring the Afghan war – and Canada's combat role in Kandahar – home to Americans if an elaborate scheme based on modern training realism attracts widespread attention, as is hoped.
“If this works the way I want it to, more Americans will know what Canada is doing in Afghanistan,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Douglas Martin, a military attaché at the Canadian embassy.
Between scheduled IED attacks at noon and 2 p.m. on Sept. 23, the first day of the conference, there will be an Afghan luncheon hosted by Kabul's envoy to Washington, Ambassador Said Jawad.
A division of Lockheed Martin [double check that bill when they're done. -catnip] that specializes in combat-training simulations will construct the mock village of three buildings and a mini-souk and provide the role-players – Afghan actors who will play the defenceless civilians [because they're running out of real defenceless civilians -catnip]. Strategic Operations Inc., a California company that claims to bring the “magic of Hollywood” to hyper-realistic training, will provide the pyrotechnics for the IED explosions.
1:51 PM |
In February during a discussion on energy at Berkeley, Calif., (and prior to his joining the Obama administration) [Van] Jones referred to Republicans using an epithet for a proctological orifice, which he called "a technical, political science term."
Asked why Republicans asserted more control of the Senate when they had a smaller majority before 2006, Jones said "the answer to that is, they're a--holes." He added that President Obama is not an a--hole, but, "I will say this. I can be an a--hole, and some of us who are not Barack Hussein Obama are going to have to start getting a little bit uppity."
- Controversial Obama Administration Official Denies Being Part of 9/11 "Truther" Movement, Apologizes for Past Comments
11:42 AM |
White House officials said they were surprised and frustrated by the reaction to a speech they said amounts to an educational pep talk.
- the WaPo
Democrats also say that for all their preparations, they never anticipated Republicans and their allies rolling out incendiary accusations that the Obama plan would empower "death panels," help illegal immigrants and raid Medicare.
- the WSJ
"I don't understand why the left of the left has decided that this is their Waterloo," said a senior White House adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "We've gotten to this point where health care on the left is determined by the breadth of the public option. I don't understand how that has become the measure of whether what we achieve is health-care reform."
- the WaPo
"I am surprised, compared to where I started, when we first announced for the race, by the number of critical issues that appear to be coming to a head all at the same time," Obama said on a question at a press conference on the occasion of his completing 100 days in office.
Vice President Biden voiced surprise at the criticism some House liberals have voiced about the administration's economic stimulus plan and said yesterday that he is holding out hope that the final version of the measure will attract support from "more than a handful of Senate Republicans and more than a couple dozen in the House."
- the WaPo
Within 24 hours of calling Rush Limbaugh “incendiary” and “ugly,” RNC Chairman Michael Steele had bowed down before the radio host, declaring, “There was no attempt on my part to diminish [Limbaugh's] voice or his leadership.” When Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was asked about the episode today, Gibbs suggested Steele’s reply proved that Limbaugh is in fact the head of the Republican Party:
GIBBS: I was a little surprised at the speed in which Mr. Steele, the head of the RNC, apologized to the head of the Republican Party.
- Think Progress
The Obama Daughters Surprised With a Swing Set
- ABC News
Well, I’m shocked and surprised at their shock and surprise.
- Paul Krugman, the NYT
10:16 AM |
OTTAWA — Peter MacKay denied Thursday that he was in a conflict of interest when he was a director of two family forestry companies while serving as a federal cabinet minister.
The defence minister and Central Nova MP acknowledged being in violation of the Conflict of Interest Act, which forbids ministers from serving on the boards of private companies, but he said that doesn’t necessarily mean he was in a conflict.
“As I have acknowledged, earlier this week I discovered I was not in compliance with section 15 of the act and took immediate steps to rectify the situation,” Mr. MacKay wrote in a letter emailed to The Chronicle Herald on Thursday. “A lack of compliance with section 15 does not, in itself, constitute a conflict of interest.”
Mr. MacKay objected to the headline on the front-page story: MacKay in Conflict of Interest.
“This headline is misleading, as it is simply not supported by the story you have published,” Mr. MacKay wrote. “Nothing in the story you have published establishes the existence of a conflict of interest.”
8:06 PM |
An election does nothing for the country than present a great risk that we could get off track.
"There's an effort here on the part of the Conservatives to create an atmosphere of total instability," Rae said. "Well, we're not a banana republic. Mr. Harper's not a generalissimo yet. He has to get used to living in a constitutional democracy."
The performance of Canada's economy has been significantly better than elsewhere.
Canada, which fought off recession much longer than its peers in the Group of Seven nations, will trail them down the road to recovery, according to new projections by the Organization for Economic Development and Co-operation.
All G7 economies save those of Canada, Britain and Italy will expand in the third quarter, the Paris-based OECD said Thursday.
11:14 AM |
"I don't take this seriously."
The documents include classified information about NATO's plans to expand operations in the Balkans, Taliban prisoners in Afghanistan, arms control in the Middle East, security in Ukraine, and al-Qaeda's presence in Pakistan.
At the time, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Bernier did not breach national security by leaving the documents behind. Harper indicated the documents included a mix of public and confidential material, and briefing notes for meetings.
11:14 AM |
Stephen Harper hasn’t just failed to stand up for Canada—he’s also failed to stand up for Canadians.
Suaad Mohamud. Omar Khadr. Makhtal. Bahari. Mohamed. Abdelrazik.
Being a Canadian must mean the Canadian government will stand up for you—no matter where, no matter when. This is at the heart of what every Liberal believes: a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian.
A Liberal government would stand by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
We would stand by our citizens.
And we would bring forward legislation to protect Canadians abroad—to make it illegal for the government to pick and choose which citizens it protects—to make sure these abuses never happen again.
- Ignatieff's speech
Graham concedes that the Liberal government's response was not unlike that given by Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government today – that Canada will not interfere as it accepts U.S. assurances Khadr is being treated and will face justice.
"That was our response as well," Graham said. "I think a year or two years after 9/11 that was a perfectly legitimate response."
12:46 PM |
"Going through more political games, more political instability, does not serve the country's interests right now."
12:02 PM |