2014 Stapleford Lecture on Senate Reform at #UofR

Part 1

I really have to disagree with Dr. Barnhart, who had the power to sign, or refuse to sign laws of Saskatchewan into effect while Lieutenant Governor, that he is a powerful person. Now his influence may be lessened, even to the point where Global TV won’t keep a promise to him, but he did get invited to to a prestigious lecture for the UofR too, didn’t he?

There’s a time to be modest, and a time to be real.

Part 2

You Can Vote, But You Can’t Travel in Canada

This situation is BS.

A Manitoba MP is crying discrimination after two aboriginal women were not allowed to board a plane with her, even though they had tickets.

Niki Ashton, who represents the Churchill riding for the NDP, said Gail and Joyce Nepinak were scheduled to fly to Ottawa from Winnipeg with her on Sunday evening.

MP Niki Ashton said the Nepinaks were embarrassed when they were not allowed to board the plane. (CBC)

​ The Nepinaks had been invited by the House of Commons to speak at the special committee on missing and murdered indigenous women on Monday.

If an MP (with ID) cannot vouch for a passenger, then the whole point of security is exposed for what it is. It’s not to ensure that the people boarding are who they say they are (or who a trustworthy public figure says), it’s to demand red-tape obedience from lowly people not afforded the human dignity to travel freely. It exposes the system’s racism.

Manitoba to Ottawa is an in-Canada flight. There should be no requirement to have photo ID to travel freely within Canada (especially at the request of Parliament).

Ashton asked to speak to an Air Canada manager but one never showed up.

She said that in many ways this situation is symbolic of the systemic discrimination aboriginal people face in so many areas of their daily lives.

This doesn’t just show Air Canada’s horrible customer service, it shows our airline industry and culture around airport travel is very sick and inhuman.

Drivers From Hill: MPs Shouldn’t Drive

MPs should quickly pass legislation to encourage the widespread adoption of self-driving cars, because an increasing number of MPs can not drive themselves properly. They are Drivers From Hill.

“Conservative minister Maxime Bernier was arrested Sunday in the county [sic], while driving the vehicle of his wife without holding a valid license, which forced the immediate towing.” Maxime Bernier, PC, MP is a Canadian politician currently serving as the Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism in the cabinet of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Years ago, this was written about Bernier:

But for those seeking a revolution in government behavior that will confine Ottawa to a limited and shrinking role in their lives, well, fasten your seat belt. Mad Max is the guy you want in the driver’s seat.

National Post

{emphasis added for additional hilarity}

Conservative MPs Poilievre, Eve Adams, and now Maxime Bernier have all run afoul of driving laws in recent history. NDP MP and leader Thomas Mulcair also did so, by running a checkpoint or a stop sign on the Hill, and Conservatives would like to point out that in doing so he ran over a family of baby ducks and bumped a child in a wheelchair. If you can watch the CTV video without dying inside as the Cons mock the STOP Harper stunt by DePape, and the super-serious voice of the reporter states that Mulcair didn’t even get a ticket, you’re hearty stuff.

Maybe we shouldn’t have got on Bev Oda’s case when she hired a limo to drive her $16 orange juice swilling butt to wherever she wanted to go? Maybe we shouldn’t have been concerned that Harper gave the PM’s jet a new paint job with his party colour, and specially imported a limo to India so that he could be driven around there instead of hopping on an ATV again?

A well-placed source on the Hill told The Hill Times earlier Tuesday Ms. Adams (Brampton South-Mississauga, Ont.) was ticketed for using a cell phone while driving through the security stop.

The source said she impatiently pointed out to an RCMP security officer that she was an MP after she was first stopped, and that she attempted to pull rank on the officer by declaring she was an MP and pointing to the official collar badge all MPs wear for security reasons and a sign of their office.
Ms. Adams emailed The Hill Times at 5:53 p.m. to say parts of the story were incorrect.

“I need to correct some misinformation being reported by the media,” her email said. “I recently received a traffic ticket outside the main precinct for not coming to a complete stop. Unlike Thomas Mulcair, I immediately stopped and did not intimidate the officer.”

Ms. Adams said she paid the ticket “immediately.” {She did NOT say, “Can I pay this ticket… immediately, officer?” as is done in countries with police forces more corrupt than the RCMP, so as to make a bribe instead.}

“At no time did I identify myself as a Member of Parliament and since I do not wear an MP pin, could not have pointed to a pin,” Ms. Adams said.

Ms. Adams would have faced a fine of $125, along with a victim fine surcharge and $5 in costs had she been cited for using a handheld device while driving.
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New Conservative Party? Yes Please

I’ve felt badly for a while now that conservative voters have no ethical right wing party to vote for in Canada (or the USA, for that matter). The Conservative Party of Canada is the only Canadian political party with the word “coalition” in its Constitution. The CPC coalition of the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservatives, removed right wing voters’ choice, so Harper’s new CPC could more easily cheat their way to victory.

With the future crop of Conservative Party of Canada MPs already heading toward jail, what are conservative voters to do? The present parade of perps, is patently preposterous. Do they stay home? Vote Liberal? Hold their noses and vote for more election fraud and other crime while simultaneously endorsing unbalanced budgets and the bigger Harper Government?

I’m opposed to the Liberals, NDP, and Greens merging their distinct parties, since electoral cooperation can be achieved without uniting under one (corruptible) banner. Putting all eggs into one basket is an efficient means to move them from point A to Ottawa, but you’ll never unpack those eggs when they get to Ottawa. They’ll be “Ottawashed”, says Rathgeber. A multi-party system serves Canada best, since there are many distinct regions with their own interests. The problems have been a lack of electoral reform (to keep pace with technology), and a centralization of power in party leaders, the unelected staff of the PMO, and an antiquated, unaccountable, appointed Senate.

ConCalls: “The Liberals Did It First”(TM) #RoboCon #cdnpoli

The Conservative trolls will have to get new talking points so they don’t look hopelessly dated. Multiple Conservative parties, the NDP, and another Liberal MP were all fined thousands of dollars for broadcasting robocalls in a deceptive manner where the true identity of the caller was not revealed.

Just the other day I had to mock a flying monkey that was using this year old canard:
“No mention in the article that the only confirmed case of robocalls involved the Liberals.”
That hapless chap was stuck on the Liberal MP for Guelph sending a robocall that got confused with the Pierre Poutine robocalls pretending to be from Elections Canada. The Guelph Liberals were calling people to say the CPC candidate had a distasteful stance on abortion, but didn’t use their real name, naughty, naughty.

The CRTC got a little more strict after that point. Prior to that case, were the Irwin Cotler slander calls by Nick’s Campaign Research, which the Speaker called “reprehensible”. I don’t think the CRTC gave a fine for those push poll calls.

Bottom line: “The Liberals Did It First”(TM) is a Conservative dismissal that has jumped the robo-shark. If you see a Conservative using this line, send them the link to this blog.

I’ll point out every so smugly (and with acceptance that this may one day change) that the only national party not involved in a robocall scandal, is the Greens.

Marc paid a $2500 fine for listing his name at the end, with no address.

Coal Hard Truth #skpoli

The Leader-Post may be giving kudos to the Sask Party’s singular focus on Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS), but I won’t be. The primary reason CCS (clean coal) is getting so much Conservative and Sask Party government funding, is because it’s a hidden subsidy to the oil industry so that they can recover more oil from otherwise exhausted oil fields.

“We have a great story to tell,” Wall said.

We need more than a fairy tale, or a Sask Party narrative to save us from climate change. We need significant improvements in energy efficiency in our homes and transportation utilization, as well as plenty of increased investment in renewable energy.

On the question of overall provincial support for the environment, the NDP Opposition correctly notes the Sask. Party government cut funding for climate change activities by 73 per cent in the past two years. This is not exactly a great record for Wall when he goes to Pittsburgh or Washington to tout Saskatchewan’s clean energy.

Friends recently told me that PARC at the UofR had been cut significantly, since I last noted on my blog that PARC was a significant admission by the Sask Party that climate change is coming, and will be a huge economic and quality of life game changer. The lack of meaningful investment in renewable energy leaves Saskatchewan behind in the global economic situation emerging.

One year ago, the opposite from the oil industry:

“Our decision was essentially based on the fact that we could not see a way to make the economics of our CCS project work as we originally intended,” said Don Wharton, vice-president of policy and sustainability at TransAlta.

He said markets for pure carbon didn’t develop as expected, and federal and provincial governments took no steps to recognize the value of reduced emissions by implementing a price on carbon, for example, or a cap-and-trade system.

In short, despite nearly $800 million in government subsidies, the company had no incentive to invest in CCS.

The “Clean Coal” lie rolls on. Now it has a new timeline for implementation. Let’s collectively watch it be missed (again).

The government boasted at last week’s Boundary Dam symposium that the project will be up and running this fall and completed by next April, on time and on budget. It will reduce CO2 emissions at the plant by 90 per cent (one million tonnes a year) by shipping emissions 60 kilometres to Weyburn’s enhanced oil recovery project.

From 2009:

“The committee will complete work on the development phase by August 31, 2009, including a full project plan, engineering design, business plan, detailed budget and construction timeline.

With the financial support of the Governments of Canada and the United States, construction of the plant could begin as early as September 2009 and the plant could be operational as early as the summer of 2011. The goal for the reference plant is to test a range of technologies in the capture of up to one million tonnes of CO2 over a four-year period.”

Aboriginal Students Centre Launch at UofR

The expanded space for the ASC was launched on Thursday in the RIC building. Many dignitaries were on hand. Shawn Fraser was rep’ing the City, and gave a short and sweet 2 minute speech. Everyone else was a bit more verbose, but all heartfelt and excited by the newly christened space intended for all students to have a common gathering place with support staff nearby. The older space in College West remains part of the ASC.

The reception after had excellent food, including four kinds of bannock! Baked, baked with Saskatoon berries, fried, and fried with cheese.

I spoke briefly with Regina MP Ralph Goodale, and MLA Warren McCall. I also introduced myself to MLA Mark Docherty afterward, who I learned had heard of my blog. We traded stories of civic politics and our hopes for improved, honest political discussions around hot topic national and provincial issues like alcohol and marijuana. Having both run for city council at times, we each had to agree that anyone putting their name forward for public service is taking a bold step that not everyone cares to make (not saying that to pat ourselves on the back, Mark noted). Try running, and you’ll feel it too I’m sure.

#IdleNoMore: Regina Round Dance on Albert St. Bridge

Another exciting day of protest in Regina, and across the country, as Canadians rise up against the Harper regime and their undemocratic ominbus bills. This was at least the second march down Regina’s main street, Albert St. in the past weeks, and the second appearance of a crowd of hundreds in front of the Legislature too.

#IdleNoMore Regina

#IdleNoMore Regina

I estimated more than 300 people were packed onto one lane of Albert St. for the entire Green Mile (and then some). A few minutes were taken on the Albert St. Bridge (longest bridge over shortest span of water, in the world) to do a round dance.

Last night, Saskatoon’s downtown mall saw thousands of people show up in protest of the Harper ominbus bill C-45, and the removal of fresh and navigable waters protection (among other abuses).

Today, Warren McCall reminded people that it’s not just First Nations this undemocratic bill harms. Chief Spence in Ottawa, starving for justice, is leading the way. Harper has time for Bieber, but not for Chief Spence or other Chiefs?

#IdleNoMore Regina

#IdleNoMore Regina

-Goodale makes an announcement that draws a roar from the crowd.

ADDED – CTV’s report.

Last Updated Friday, Dec. 21, 2012 7:45PM CST

In First Nations culture, a round dance is common – it symbolizes peace and friendship. But Friday afternoon what wasn’t common was where an Idle No More round dance was held .

Hundreds of supporters stopped traffic on Regina’s busy Albert Street bridge. The rally was peaceful. It coincided with dozens of other such events across the nation. First nations elder Mike Pinay told CTV News “ we have to sit down and work together and save this land, this country and these waters”.

Idle No More supporters oppose federal bill c-45 which impacts many aspects of Canadian life – from the treaties of First Nations people to protection of lakes and rivers.

Regina Liberal MP Ralph Goodale argues the bill was “not advanced in a way that was proper and consistent with the democratic process of Canada.”

Organizers vow Friday’s event will not be the last.

By-election Monday; Plan to Fix Democracy

Well, the polls are closed in Victoria, Calgary, and Durham, ON so it’s time for some results. Since the voters of Durham were foolish enough to stick with Oda after her first waves of scandal until she burned out from too much $16 orange juice, they obviously stuck with the party of election fraud, and voted another Conservative drone into Harper’s harem. In Calgary, things were much more interesting, as the Liberals and Greens both have returns thus far as well over 30% and 24% respectively. The Greens last time got 10%, so this may signal that Chris Turner is awesome, or that Calgary isn’t as the Conservative ‘majority’ suggests it is.

What the results in Calgary also show is that the Liberals, Greens, and NDP are going to have to co-operate before the next general election in order to game the system as the Conservatives have. Why pretend the old traditions matter, when doing so ensures national defeat and disgrace? As Brandon explains, it’s not like Canada is a functioning democracy right now anyway. It can be again, with the right people in power, willing to fix our democratic institutions upon election.

RoboCon, The Robocalls scandal in Canada, March 2012

Before you get indignant and say, “We can’t ‘game the system,” I have to remind you that Harper did with election fraud, statistically demonstrated, with audio recordings and reporting in the media of the resulting crimes. By comparison, co-operating to decide using votes which candidates party leaders will authorize to run in specific ridings, is not a crime. We actually expect our politicians to work together to make our country better, except now they have to do it outside of the House, and where the personal stakes are higher. Are they up to the task?
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#YYCCentre By-election Pie Debate

The latest candidate debate in Calgary Centre riding had a twist, it was also a meat-pie contest. The winning pie, provided by the NDP candidate, was bison-tourtiere. The silliness didn’t stop there though, not when there’s a Sun TV, Wild Rose Party hack running as the pieholder for the Conservative Party. Joan Crockatt avoided many of the other debates, and it’s clear why when you hear her attempt to answer questions that take her off her PMO script.

First she suggested that MPs aren’t much good if they aren’t part of the governing party.

When the candidates were asked how they perceived Canada’s declining reputation, Joan’s answer wasn’t inspiring. When questioned, she didn’t know who had awarded the PM the title she cited, since the organization is so credible and prestigious. An audience member shouted out to “Google it!”, and she obliged.

Meanwhile the Green candidate, Chris Turner offered impressive answers, and responded to the world reputation question by remarking how he’d been thanked overseas once for being Canadian and part of the country responsible for rescuing American diplomats in Iran. He was very touched by that thanks offered to our country, via him. Now he says our international reputation has taken a hit because we’re not part of the world’s conversation on climate change, don’t take it seriously, and don’t put real resources into addressing the problem like other countries want to.

Turner is my obvious favourite, although I could see any of the four that were on stage as representing their parties as I’d expect, in Ottawa if elected. The sad thing is, that’s not saying something positive about Joan, and nothing special about Harvey or the NDP candidate either.

P.S. I’d like to know where the other candidates were, and if they were not invited, that stinks. If they’ve backed off to avoid splitting the vote for progressives, I could sympathize with their thoughts. I think Turner has a real chance this time if Liberal support swings around partially, and if the Greens have reached enough disengaged voters and re-energized them. GOTV on election day will be extremely important, where the by-election turnout is bound to be low. I also bit my tongue earlier when I saw a SK NDPer tweet they’re going to Calgary to help… but not with the GPC or LPC campaigns that appear to be well out in front in the ABC vote race.