Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Choice Is Ours

And don't forget that the first leaders' debate is August 6. Hosted by Paul Wells,
it will be recorded in City’s Toronto studio and air live, commercial-free and with closed captioning, on City, OMNI.1, OMNI.2, and CPAC. It will also stream live at,,,,, Facebook, YouTube, and on Rogers Radio stations at,,,, and
Perhaps not as accessible as the consortium debates would have been, this will nonetheless be Canadians' first opportunity to see the federal combatants in the same arena. Whether it will be fairly moderated by Wells is another question entirely. Having read his book, The Longer I'm Prime Minister, I couldn't escape the impression that Wells has a rather deep admiration for Harper.

But I guess things could be worse. At least John Ibbitson won't be hosting it.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Friday, July 31, 2015

If Canadians Have Any Self-Respect

.... this will outrage them.

It turns out Stephen Harper is not going to interact with anyone during the election campaign that wasn’t cleared in advance by his staffers. Even “public” rallies with hundreds or thousands of people will be made up entirely people who are pre-screened.

Conservative spokesman Kory Teneycke said Friday that only invited guests will be allowed at each and every event over the expected 11-week campaign.

“You need to have been invited and if you don’t have a ticket you’re not getting in,” Teneycke said.

Like the cowards he and his master are, Teneycke broke the news late Friday afternoon before a summer long weekend, so statistically you’re not reading this.

Share. Inform. Engage.

It sounds like it will be a long campaign. Each of us has a role to play.

Putting A Stake Through The Heart Of Harper's Lies

As a youngster, there were few things I enjoyed more than vampire films starring Christopher Lee, in my view the best cinematic vampire there ever was. Usually, at the end, either a stake through the heart or exposure to the rays of the sun ended his evil hold on people. It was a satisfying form of exorcism.

In this impending (or is it never ending?) election campaign, the only thing that will release Canadians from the foul grip of the Harper regime's lies, deceptions, attacks and secrecy is the metaphorical light that only facts and truth can provide.

And there are so many untruths and that we need to be armed against, including the one about how a low-tax regime spurs the economy and proves Harper's economic 'mastery'. Star reader Russell Pangborn of Keswick, Ontario begs to differ:
Re: Budget watchdog predicts $1B deficit, July 23

The Conservatives told us their plan to reduce taxes was good for the country. Reminds me of the disastrous low-fat diet craze. While we were obsessing about lowering the quantity of fat in a serving, we overlooked the corresponding sugar increase that was introduced to make the food palatable.

Instead of improving our health, the low-fat mania actually ended up increasing our weight and our chance of getting health-unfriendly diseases like diabetes and heart problems. The new message, just starting to get through to the public, is that some fat is actually good for us.

There have been negative repercussions related to our acceptance of the promise of prosperity with the reduction of taxes. The truth is that we are in a recession. Health care, affordable higher education, proper infrastructure all sound like reasonable endeavors funded by taxes.

Attacking the amount of fat we eat and the amount of taxes we pay has not worked. I don’t want a huge tax increase, but I do want to stop hearing that “all taxes are bad” ad campaign that is thrown out to discredit some political parties.

My overall health improved when I stopped buying only low-fat products. Let’s hope that our country’s general health also will improve when we stop following the “lower taxes are always better” refrain.
Excerpts from a missive written by David C. Searle of Toronto offer some pungent reminders of Harper's failures on the economic front:
Stephen Harper’s attack on Justin Trudeau’s “budgets balance themselves” may soon ignite an implosion of fortunes for the “omnipotent Conservative Grand Poobah,” who impetuously ditched the wise and prudent Red Tory Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s sound $3 billion contingency fund, steering Canada back into deficit with “a barrage of tax cuts,” well aware that oil commodity storm clouds were gathering.

The highly reputable Flaherty warned against the billions that income splitting for 15 per cent of households loyal to the Harper base would cost and actually had a conscience to resolutely stand against it.

The unveiled Harper legacy is one forsaking of our military personnel with rusted, trouble-plagued submarines, obsolete air and ground assets, a born-again-like sense of purpose at the last minute for veteran’s affairs that many deem as nothing but a charade, our aged suffering from deteriorating health care infrustructure, sewage and water repair backlogs in Toronto and Montreal are direly highlighting the need for federal help, meanwhile investments are disproportionately going to Conservative ridings in less trouble-prone areas.

We can thank Finance Critics Liberal Scott Brison and NDP Nathan Cullen for requesting a Parliamentary Budget Office Update exposes Harper’s fallacy of a balanced budget in 2015 and we should be awakened by this forecast from the PBO that warns, “Doubling Tax-Free Savings Accounts and indexing them to inflation could harm Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplements for the poorest of the poor the majority of which are women, yes our mothers.”

We shouldn’t buy into Harper’s fear-mongering-hysterics about terrorism, as he is merely deflecting our attention from the reality of a crumbling currency and economy.
Continuing with economic matters, J. Richard Wright of Niagara-on-the-Lake assesses Mr. Harper as a "smug corporate pawn':
Stephen Harper has never met a free trade deal he didn’t like and seems ready to sign anything placed in front of him as he turns Canada from a benevolent and caring country into a corporate fiefdom. But, in doing so, he is playing a dangerous game.

Many of the agreements have little protections for Canadian rights but he doesn’t seem to care. For the almighty dollar, he is happy to give away out country and our resources to business interests despite the damage Canada may suffer. Of course, after the damage is done, the foreign investors will just move on, leaving us with the mess.

For instance, since many of these free trade agreements have investor protection clauses in them, he has exposed every Canadian citizen, through their tax contributions, to legal action if a foreign investor doesn’t realize a return on its investment because we won’t allow them to destroy or pollute our land.

Even now there is a $250 million lawsuit against the Canadian government by Lone Pine Resources Inc. (registered in Delaware), because the province of Quebec has banned fracking for natural gas in its province. Lone Pine wants to frack under the St. Lawrence River where it says there are massive deposits of natural gas.

Farmers and others near fracking operations in Pennsylvania regularly show that their drinking water can be lit on fire. So, imagine the St. Lawrence River on fire.

Experts say that even if the suit doesn’t succeed, it creates a libel chill for governments, discouraging them from passing environmental laws for health and safety for fear it will upset foreign investors. In addition, Harper’s latest free trade agreement with the European Union is expected to generate even more lawsuits against our government.

Also, Harper is saying he will sue the provinces if they pass laws, environmental or otherwise, that interfere with a foreign investor’s profits and leads to an action against the federal government. Is there no end to this smug, corporate pawn’s lunacy?
Those who fought Dracula's evil reign were armed with garlic, crucifixes and stakes. Going into the October election, the best things we can arm ourselves with are facts, facts and more facts.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Reminder Of What We Were And What We Can Be Again

H/t The ChronicleHerald

Honouring A Dead Woman's Wishes

By the newspaper's account, Catherine Finn was a lively, passionate and engaged woman. I think I would have liked her, as would many others.

Catherine died on July 9 of this year; it is her obituary, written by her sons but, they say, very much representative of her values, beliefs and opinions, that is getting such wide attention:
Catherine was born with a sharp wit and steely backbone that can only come from growing up as a woman in the Irish Catholic tradition of the middle 20th Century. She was a voracious reader, a lover of life, and a fearless defender of the world of ideas. She loved family, fine wine and good food, in that order, preferably shared over a candle-lit table with good music and excellent company.

In lieu of donations, Catherine would want you to do everything you can to drive Stephen Harper from office, right out of the country, and into the deep blue sea if possible. Also, she would like you to fix the CBC.
According to her family, Catherine was a Canadian fully engaged in life, and had a particular interest in politics:
“I never had a phone call where she didn’t rail about Stephen Harper,” said Patrick [her son]. “That boldness of the statement was her. We were trying to channel her.”

Although she wasn’t a member of any political party, Finn was “somewhat vehemently opposed to Stephen Harper,” according to Jonathan. “It was that way from his rise to political stardom until the day she died.”
Too bad she couldn't have stuck around til after the October election when, one hopes, many people can finally check the defeat of Harper and his regime off their bucket lists.