Saturday, September 27, 2008

CTV-Globe Battleground Polls discredited

The Battleground polls appear to be fully discredited now. Turns out they are only asking 45 people in each riding, each day. The cynic in me wonders if those are handpicked too?

The Canadian people are being bombarded by an underwhelming media performance in this election especially on television.

Follow the money is always the best course when one smells a rat. Harper intends to privatize the CBC and even further deregulate the airwaves in this country. The winners will be those who are currently employed in television newsrooms across this country. 

Do you think they might have a self-interested bias in supporting Harper in any way they can?

h/t The Turner Report

the Bubble campaign

Is Harper afraid of the Canadian people?

The Canadian Press video.

h/t Impolitical

Friday, September 26, 2008

Dion sets London on fire!

Dion on fire in London tonight

Foreshadowing next week’s debate, Stephane Dion took the question straight to Harper: “It’s time to debate like adults, Stephen.”

At the Marconi Club in London, Gerard Kennedy joined all the local candidates – Jacquie Gauthier, Martha Dennis, Sue Barnes, Glen Pearson and Suzanne Van Bommel – after a national media announcement at the Belmont farm owned by Elgin-Middlesex-London Liberal candidate Suzanne Van Bommel.

Kennedy warmed the crowd up and Dion set them on fire criticizing the vacuous campaign performance of Stephen Harper. “Harper has done nothing and intends to do nothing to assist Canadians who are anxious about losing their jobs and their homes.” With the team of Flaherty, Clement and Baird transported to Ottawa after they ruined Ontario’s economy, Harper encourages Flaherty as he says to investors that Ontario is the last place you should invest,” said Dion.

"Tory times are tough times because they don't respect the government. Tory times are tough times because they don't know how to use the government to help Canadians," emphasized Dion. Focussing on the incompentence of Harper and his non-existent team, Dion was firing on all cylinders as he challenged: "It's about the economy, Stephen."

Dion challenged Harper to reveal his plan and his ideas for Canada and the crowd ate up the rhetoric. They chanted after each announcement that Dion proposed the Liberals would undertake to lead a United Canada into the 21st century. Dion focussed on manufacturing, immigration, agriculture and the economy – exactly what the audience wanted to here in the manufacturing centre of Southwestern Ontario. Thousands of jobs have left this area in the last two years and people are frightened about the future.

The crowd of about 250 party faithful including the local MPPs Deb Matthews, Chris Bentley and Kahlil Ramal, gathered on a moment's notice and left on a high note - can’t expect anything more for a partisan rally.

Having seen Dion seven times over the last two years, I would say that today was one of his best performances ever. He was witty, challenging toward Harper and exceptionally forthright when pushing the crowd to step up to elect these Liberal team members.

There’s a good chance of painting London completely RED in this election.

Update from Twitter: Liberal Tour is saying the number was number of 250 includes those in the room where Dion was speaking and where I was during the event. Turns out there were many more people in the hall and outside. Liberal Tour's number is probably closer to the mark.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Is Tim Hortons' crowd paying attention?

Some bloggers are hinting that Harper is trying to appeal to the Tim Horton’s crowd (sorry can't find the link but I know I read in a blog with a reference to Tim Hortons' vs. Starbucks' customers).

I don’t doubt these Canadians are Harper’s target but what I do dispute is if the Tim Hortons' crowd is paying attention yet.

When they do turn their attention to the campaign, these Canadians may recall the promises of the last election and try to figure out if they’re better off. As a public service, possibly these figures will help them.

There’s that children’s fitness tax reduction for some of the minivan driving moms. Oh wait, maybe your child’s sport wasn’t eligible for that little tax credit. And that $75 didn’t work out as nicely as the $500 that was advertised in the campaign literature. Um, so much for soccer moms who thought they might be getting a refund of the total amount. They ended up with enough of a credit to buy a round at Timmies for the team but only if they made enough money to pay taxes.

Say, what about the little surprise that the $1200 child tax credit would be taxable in the hands of parents who still can’t find suitable child care? Kind of like being sold a used car that won’t run a week later!

How about the seniors who while away the afternoon between volunteer commitments while enjoying the chatter with their friends? Harper promised he wouldn’t tax income trusts last time. Well, I guess that didn’t work out so well. I’ve heard predictions of losses between $20 million and $35 million leaving the senior crowd wondering if they can support themselves through their retirement. Maybe instead of volunteering in their community, seniors will be working through their retirement at Tim Hortons like their American cousins working as greeters at WalMart.

Then there’s the price of a cup of coffee at Tim Hortons. In January, 2006, you could get a medium double-double for $1.17 plus 7% GST totalling $1.25. Harper cut the GST by 1% in July, 2006 and by another 1% in January, 2008.

On April 7, 2008 the price of a medium double-double was increased by Tim Hortons to $1.22 plus 5% GST totalling $1.28 effectively capturing the room left in your pocket change by Harper and carting the profits off to the US since Tim Hortons is no longer owned by Canadians.

So, the GST cut effectively left the country through the daily purchase of coffee at Tim Hortons (among other purchases) leaving the federal government of Canada at least $12 billion poorer just in time for the impending economic crisis on the horizon. By the way, Tim Hortons profits in 2007 were $1.9 billion, a 14.2% increase over 2006.

Since it’s unlikely a GST increase would be popular for any other political party to get elected on, it’s unlikely we’ll see a real child care program in Canada like the one Ken Dryden had negotiated with the provinces, at least not any time real soon. Of course, it is the intention of Harper to eliminate the effectiveness of a federal government to ever have a new social program or to fund health care any better than it is now. Are these really the goals of the Tim Horton’s crowd now?

Ever the optimist, I have to believe that Harper has suffered the same loss in positive public image that Tim Hortons has lately. Remember the worker being fired (then re-hired after public outrage) for giving a Timbit to a toddler? In my opinion, that one example of many lately at Tim Hortons illustrates the spirit of Harper too – stingy and mean.

Elections are when we measure a government's effectiveness in the past and review all of the party platforms to decide which one most closely resembles our values. What kind of Canada do you believe in?

kudos to blackandred at Mostly Water, Scott at DiaTribes, Garth Turner

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Harper Record

Pick your favourite topic and review the laws, policies, regulations, and initiatives of The Harper Record from the Canadian Centre on Policy Alternatives. The book is available for purchase but also for download.

Chapters include: 
  1. Governance, 
  2. Economy, Trade and Investment, 
  3. Racialization and (In)Security, 
  4. Energy and Environment, 
  5. (In)Equality and Public Services, 
  6. Culture and Communications, and 
  7. Federal-Provincial Relations
"This book is one in a series of CCPA publications that have examined the records of Canadian federal governments during the duration of their tenure. As with earlier CCPA reports on the activities of previous governments while in office, this book gives a detailed account of the laws, policies, regulations, and initiatives of the Conservative minority government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper during its 32-month term from January 2006 to September 2008.

The 47 writers, researchers and analysts who have co-written this book probe into every aspect of the Harper minority government’s administration. From the economy to the environment, from social programs to foreign policy, from health care to tax cuts, from the Afghanistan mission to the tar sands, from free trade to deep integration, and to many other areas of this government’s record, the authors have dug out the facts and analyzed them."

Lots of fodder for discussion contained within its 504 pages. Don’t be frightened by the size of the document, it’s exceptionally well laid out identifying each topic easily linked from the table of contents.

Since Harper won’t give us a synopsis of his record nor even his plan for the future during the election campaign, Canadians need to use their own resources…this is an excellent one.