Thursday, September 30, 2004

Hands Off!

In a speech before the Edmonton Petroleum Club yesterday, Premier Ralph Klein warned Ottawa to keep its hands off the province's oil money. Alberta has an incredibly strong economy, driven in large part by the incredibly high price of oil right now. The province has no sales tax and unemployment is extremely low.

Premier Klein is outlining his platform in advance of next month's First Minister's Conference on Equalization Payments. Alberta is concerned about the possibility of a renewed National Energy Program. The NEP was introduced by Pierre Trudeau in 1980 to increase national control over the oil industry and oil prices. The program was reviled in Alberta as a method for federal government to steal money from Alberta.

For perhaps the first time ever, I agree with Premier Klein. Almost every province has an area of the economy in which they specialize. Beyond that, the entire concept of equalization payments is frustrating. Newfoundland has consistently received payments, after decades of being a "have not", one must question the effectiveness of the equalization payments and whether or not the program should continue.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Political Distrust in the US

A new American poll shows that distrust of politicians has reached an epidemic level. Driven by Republican lies used to fuel the Iraq War, the Enron scandal and concerns of a repeat of the 2000 Election debacle.

The poll found that 61% of respondents had lost faith in politicians over the last four years. The poll found that politicians received a "C" on scales of trustworthiness. Both Kerry and Bush also received Cs. Businessmen received a C- and the media received a C.

The poll also found that more women had faith in their leaders than men.

People most trusted their families and firefighters who both received A-.

The masses are starting to catch on to the fact that their leaders are systematically lying to them and seeking to take advantage of them. Sadly, the public still views the media as remotely trustworthy -- even in light of several media scandals.

Obviously, there is still work to be done.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Martin at the UN

Today, Paul Martin made his international debut with a lengthy speech at the UN in NYC. As with most things he does, Mr. Martin's speech was controversial.

The Prime Minister called for greater international involvement in world conflicts. He repeatedly criticized the UN for its lack of involvement in the tragedy in the Sudan. He also pledged Canadian financial support for halting the deadly conflict.

The fact of the matter is that the Prime Minister's speech is the first step in his lengthy plan to reform Canada's international role. Mr. Martin has often pledged to increase the size of our military, take a larger role in international peacekeeping and increasing foreign aid. Martin also wants to reform the UN, likely changing the permanent members of the UN security cancel.

Mr. Martin's first speech at the UN was a success. Now it's on to Russia, back to parliament and an effort to follow through on his campaign promises.

Friday, September 17, 2004

CanWest Changing Stories

One of the world's largest news agencies, Reuters, has accused CanWest of altering its copy. Newspapers frequently make minor changes to the text of articles written by organizations such as Reuters and AP, but CanWest has crossed the line.

In particular, CanWest is accused of making gross alterations to stories about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and the War in Iraq. CanWest consistantly belittles the Palestinian cause, ignores any rationale for Palestinian resistance and worse. CanWest makes any neccessary changes to Reuters articles in order for them to fit with the organization's ideology.

As an example, Schlesinger cited a recent Reuters story, in which the original copy read: "...the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which has been involved in a four-year-old revolt against Israeli occupation in Gaza and the West Bank."

In the National Post version of the story, printed Tuesday, it became: "...the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a terrorist group that has been involved in a four-year-old campaign of violence against Israel."

All around Toronto, National Post paper boxes have been covered with the words "anti-Palestinian Propoganda". It would seem our nere-do-well preacher is correct.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

We Have a Deal

It seems that our leaders do have the ability to compromise. The 4 premier negotiating team has reached a deal with the Prime Minister. All parties are hailing the summit as a success and the Prime Minister has taken credit for saving health care for a generation.

The past four days have been an incredibly difficult and divisive time for our nation. However, they have yielded a deal which should be able to save health care for our children. This deal is our last best hope. 3.5 billion over two years, 6% per year increase, 4.5 billion over six years to reduce wait lists.

Given this deal, the goal now must be to make sure that we do not allow our politicians to create two tiered health care and hand our nation over to pharmaceuticals and American style HMOs.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Summit in Ruins?

Canada's desperate effort to safe our national health care lies in ruins. Alberta's Ralph Klein has returned to Calgary, having pledged to fix the province's ills on his own. Prime Minister Martin himself was heard to exclaim "Jesus Christ" during the televised meeting. Both sides accuse the other of lying, and it appears as though everyone may go home unhappy.

Yet in our darkest hour, there may yet be a glimmer of hope. Rumours have circulated that the Premiers have chosen four from amongst their numbers to negotiate on behalf of the others. If true, tomorrow's sesion will not be televised. Instead, Ontario's Premier Mcguinty, B.C's Gordon Campbell, New Brunswick's Bernard Lord and Quebec's Jean Charest will negotiate behind closed doors with Prime Minister Martin in a desperate effort to safe health care for all of Canada.

If we want to keep two tiered health care, HMOs, and ridiculously prized medical care out of this country...our fate lies in the hands of five men meeting in Ottawa.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Health Summit

Tomorrow, the First Ministers Conference will determine the future of health care for a generation. At stake is the foundation of Canadian society of which we are most proud -- universal medical care. Created, essentially, by Tommy Douglas half a century ago, every Canadian alive today has benefited from the program.

There is great cause for concern before the summit begins. Alberta appears to be moving towards two tiered health care and all over the country private clinics are popping up. Health care costs are spiraling upwards and as the population increasingly ages the situation will only grow worse.

Prime Minister Martin pledge during the election to preserve health care for a generation. He won this spring's election largely on the basis of that promise. Tomorrow, he must deliver.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Republican Party of Canada

This past week the Republican party held their national convention to officially nominate George W. Bush for President. Delegates from all over the US came, a few people from Canada came as well -- Conservatives.

Stockwell Day led a delegation of Conservative MPs to New York City to witness the debauchery which was the convention. They took notes and prepared to bring the vile brand of politics employed by the Republicans north of the border. This all occuring despite the fact that approximately 85% of Canadians think Bush is a poor President, members of the Liberal government have spoken out publically against the Republicans, and in the last four years the US has abused Canada repeatedly in trade.

Many right wing media outlets have taken up the practice of referring to the Conservatives as 'Tories' -- the monicker of the old Progressive Conservative Party. The time has come to refer to them as what they are: The Republican Party of Canada.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Siege Ends in Tragedy

As predictable as it was, the massacre in Beslan is one of the greatest tragedies of the year. Hundreds of children are dead, the muslim religion has taken another black eye, the cause of Checnyan liberation has been weakened in the eyes of the world and a school lies in ruins.

The past three days have grabbed the attention of the entire world. The question now is whether or not we will continue to care tomorrow -- not only about the thousands of people who have lost family members, but about the millions of Chechnyans who are so desperate for freedom they are willing to be led by fanatics.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Fear Mongering

Tonight, the Republican National Convention concluded exactly how Karl Rove had wanted it to -- with pomp and ceremony trumpeting a 'war time President'. The man who is villainized by liberals everywhere has guided President Bush since his early days as Governor of Texas and is Dubya's political guru. Despite all the cheering crowds, standing ovations and, false, bi-partisanship, the Republican Convention was, in fact, little more than a carefully choreographed effort to scare the American people in to voting for the incumbent.

Whereas the Democratic Convention kept a very positive tone the Republicans went entirely negative very early on in the convention. The Democrats almost never mentioned the President by name and often spoke about the promise of the future. The did not take liberties with the facts and they spoke of a grand future. Barrack Obama, the superstar Democratic candidate for Senate from Illinois, in particular delivered a stunningly positive speach. The Republicans, on the other hand, were full of doom and gloom. Constantly speaking of how September 11th had changed the world forever, and things could never return to normal.

Pardon me, but I thought the goal of the war on terror was to return things to normal?

Even John McCain, normally a liberl Republican, joined the fray speaking of a "bright September morning...destroyed by savage atrocity." Rudy Gulliani, wives of 9-11 victims and even Democrat Zell Miller all spoke about the same thing. 9-11 has left an indelible mark on American society, but only because politicians and the media are so desperate to force that mark onto ever single American for their own selfish reasons. As long as we listen to their propoganda we play by their rules. Less than 3,000 people died on 9-11, yet we have spent the last three years having the memories of that day rammed down our throats every single day by a government that does very little to prevent it from happening again. At the same time, this self same government claims they are protecting Americans while running around making the world more dangerous by starting meaningless wars.

Be afraid. Be very afriad.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Hostages in Beslan

Apparently Chechan rebels have taken hundreds of children hostage in the town of Beslan. Given what happened with the hostage crisis at the Moscow Theater we can only pray for the childrens' safety.