Friday, July 31, 2015

The Most Powerful Symbol You Will See This Election

I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind. John Diefenbaker
On January 6, 1941, Franklin Roosevelt, in his State of the Union Address; put forward four tenets of freedom that every citizen should enjoy:

Freedom of Speech
Freedom of Worship
Freedom from Want
Freedom from Fear

I watched a short Canadian newsreel recently, that would have been shown in movie theatres as propaganda.  It was made in 1943, at a time when Canadians were growing weary of war.

Lorne Greene of Bonanza fame, narrated, and started out by showing victorious battle scenes in an attempt to convince the movie goers that we were winning.  They just had to hold on a bit longer.

He then repeated those four tenets of freedom, one at a time, with all the passion he could muster.

It was very moving, and they were not just empty promises.  On behalf of the Government of Canada, Social Scientist, Leonard Marsh, prepared a report that was presented to a House of Commons committee that year:  Report on Social Services for Canada; as part of the plan for post-war reconstruction.

It wasn't enough to just bring soldiers home, They had to come home to a country committed to making that country, not only worth coming home to, but with visible signs of the things they had fought for. Their sacrifices were not in vain and the welfare state was born.

Initially, the term was used to describe an industrial capitalist society, in which the state manipulated the market, but in 1967, British historian Asa Briggs, in The Welfare State, laid out revised provisions of what the welfare state should look like:

- Provision of minimum income
- Provision for the reduction of economic insecurity, resulting from sickness, old age and unemployment
- Provision to all members of society a range of social services

Not just the freedom from want but the freedom from need.  If we were expected to make sacrifices during wartime, we needed to be taken care of at times of peace.

Then in the 1980s, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, turned the whole thing upside down.  Forget all that.  There was no such thing as society and no need for social services.  Give more money to the wealthy and the resulting economic boost would trickle down to everyone.

The corporate welfare state was reborn.

Conservatives will take every opportunity to use the word "freedom",  but clearly have no idea what it means.  Chest thumping and carnivorous nationalism is not freedom.  

Instead of freedom from want, they leave society wanting, and use fear, attacks on religious groups and stifling of free speech, so they can have us participate in perpetual war.

Photo-ops with soldiers, first responders, or anyone in uniform, might make you look good, but you can't remove them from the picture once the cameras are turned off.

Those who risk their lives for us, deserve better.  Indeed, all Canadians do.
Our hopes are high. Our faith in the people is great. Our courage is strong. And our dreams for this beautiful country will never die.  Pierre Trudeau
This election campaign, we're hearing a lot about the middle class.  There's no denying that a strong middle class is tantamount to economic security.  However, even with a strong middle class, there was still poverty. 

There was still want.

Instead of a higher minimum wage, that will only force small businesses out, we need a living wage guarantee for everyone. We need a strong social safety net, that includes a housing strategy, so terms like "homelessness" and "food banks" are removed from everyday conversation.

Courage, my friends; 'tis not too late to build a better world. Tommy Douglas

George Bush referring to corporations as "job creators" is a myth.  Corporations only create jobs when it's convenient to do so, and will shed jobs anytime they threaten their bottom line (as we're seeing now in Alberta).  And despite the fact that the public has subsidized these corporations for years, shareholders take priority over stakeholders.

Enough is enough.

A recent Nanos poll indicates that 2/3 of Canadians are ready for a change.  It's up to us to make sure that that change, is not simply more of the same.

If a picture speaks to us, the image of the crest above is speaking volumes.  It's not only a reminder of what freedom was supposed to look like, but also a reminder that we are failing our heroes and heroines.
Patriotism is not dying for one's country, it is living for one's country, and for humanity. Perhaps that is not as romantic, but it's better. Agnes MacPhail

Thursday, July 30, 2015

What a Relief. C.R.U.S.H. is Alive and Well. C.R.U.S.H.E.T Deranged Copycat

I mentioned in a blog posting yesterday, my experience with a Facebook group I had received a notification from.

Canadians Rallying to Unseat Stephen Harper and Expose Trudeau (CRUSHET)

I thought that my old group of friends, Canadians Rallying to Unseat Stephen Harper (CRUSH) had been hijacked by a bunch of crazy people.

What had they done with, or to my friends?

Fortunately, after posting that, I discovered that this was just a group bounced off the original, and the real CRUSH can be found here.  Whew!

This new group of NDP supporters are not doing the party any favours.  They frighten me.  Like zombie people.  Mention the name Justin and their eyes roll back, spittle forms at the corner of their mouths and their heads start to spin around.

"Entitlement .... pretty boy .... Bill C-51.... "

Fortunately, most NDP supporters are not like that.  They are sensible and passionate about steering our country in the right direction.  Sadly, with the party moving closer to the political right, it has attracted a band of kooks.

I've decided to just ignore them.  I suggest you do too.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

How Bill C-51 Has Taken Away My Freedom of Speech

In February of this year, Thomas Walkom wrote of the NDP and Bill C-51.

The party hadn't yet decided on what position they should take, as the best route to a political advantage.
By all indications, they will vote against Bill C-51. Mulcair signaled that again this week when he compared the sweeping security bill to Ottawa’s use of the War Measures Act 1970. 
That’s when most (but not all) New Democrat MPs voted against then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau’s decision to suspend civil rights across Canada in order to deal with two political kidnappings in Quebec.
As we know, it wasn't that simple, but let's move on.
Indications were that Mulcair would oppose the bill, so the next concern was how to frame that opposition.  
In the end, they chose that rather than highlight the content of the bill, in part because there are a few necessary elements; they would instead focus on the lack of oversight.
In March, Althea Raj reported for Huffington Post, that Justin Trudeau and the Liberals would be supporting Bill C-51, but only because, as Justin explained, they didn't want Stephen Harper to "make hay of it".
How could they have known that Thomas Mulcair loved hay.  When he was in the Quebec legislature, if he could find a microphone and a camera, he'd chew it up like a hungry goat.
So they had their campaign.  They would blame it all on Justin, as silly as that was.
Now, as a Liberal supporter, I cannot have a conversation with an NDP supporter about Bill C-51, without facing a barrage of Justin visceral.  Even when you remind them that Stephen Harper has a majority and that the bill would  have been passed anyway, they are relentless.
I now find myself defending a bill that is indefensible.
They have taken away my freedom of speech, by not allowing any other opinion than their own.  How did this get so screwed up? 
Moving to the Right Comes With a Right Left (?) Wing Noise Machine
Newly re-crowned Bloc leader, Gilles Duceppe, has found a different political climate than when he stepped down in 2011.  He's absolutely right.
I have not been blogging much since then, but have noticed a remarkable change on my return.  I used to be inundated with comments and emails from Conservative supporters, opposed to my criticisms of Stephen Harper.  Even when ethical issues were raised, they would defend him mercilessly
And if they ran out of silly comments, they would always fall back on Adscam.
I'm getting the same thing from this new breed of NDP supporters.  I can't open my mouth or type a word, unless I'm wearing a helmet.  
I received a few email notifications from an old Facebook group, I had belonged to: Canadians Rallying Against Stephen Harper or C.R.U.S.H., so I thought I'd check it out.  We were more than just a Facebook group in 2011, when it was formed.  We raised funds and published ads in newspapers, reminding Canadians why Stephen Harper had to go.
But apparently it has either been hi-jacked or the name plaguerized, with the addition of 'and expose Justin Trudeau'.
When I noticed that most comments were hyper-partisan NDP glorification, I asked it the site was no longer non-partisan, but simply an NDP support group.  I was given a short answer "yes".
Sucker for punishment, I responded to some of the anti-Justin stuff, surrounding their Bill C-51 distortions. You don't want to do that, trust me. 
Finally, fed up, I posted a link to the right-wing MacDonald-Laurier Institute on the subject. If they thought I was a Conservative troll, I knew I'd get blocked and avoid the continuation of a  futile venture that would only make me lose perspective.

UPDATE:  Good News.  Fortunately I was right. C.R.U.S.H was plagiarized by a spin off group kicked out for hyper partisanship and nonsense.  The real C.R.U.S.H. is alive and well and still fighting the good fight.  You can find them  here. 
In 2011, all opposition members worked together for a common goal.  My social media friends knew that I was supporting the Liberal Party, just as I knew they were supporting the NDP or Green.  It didn't matter.  We could agree to disagree.
Fortunately, most of those NDP supporters from that time, have not changed.  Many are also upset with the direction the party has taken, and not happy with the leadership of Thomas Mulcair.
Conservative NDP Talking Points Now Pass for Political Debate
What I had noticed when I used to have to deal with Conservative supporters, was their use of talking points in any argument.  There was a reason for this.  Those talking points could be found on the Conservative Party website, where their flock was encouraged to track internet postings and challenge conflicting views.
Now I find that the NDP are using the same strategy.  They are  calling on "truth warriors" to find "lies" and correct them.  Bizarre.

 Susan Delacourt also recently published a piece on political party communication.
Last December, speaking to a crowd of NDP partisans in B.C., Mulcair advised them to monitor the media for examples of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau being mentioned before the NDP. In that case, Mulcair urged his followers, “write them (the media) a letter. Give them s---.”
As if the media wouldn't catch on after just a few such letters.  Maybe we need to phrase our posts, something like:  "Thomas Mulcair is an idiot and Justin Trudeau is not."  Or maybe just put this out there and let the two right wing parties duke it out.
But then I'm sure we'd get a visit from the NDP "truth warriors", who have now trounced on our internet freedoms.  I'd report it to OpenMedia but their founder is too busy trying to get the NDP a bump in the polls.

In 2012, Ed Broadbent defended his public concerns over Thomas Mulcair's credentials.
Broadbent reiterated his concerns, saying: the NDP could disappear if Mulcair brings it too close to the political centre; that Mulcair had claimed false credit for the party’s breakthrough in Quebec in last May’s election; and that New Democrats ought to be worried about whether he has the personal temperament to lead a united caucus.
"... the NDP could disappear".  No truer words were spoken.  I have no idea where they are.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Thomas Mulcair is wrong to Invoke Tommy Douglas and the War Measures Act.

On October 12, 1970, Pierre LaPorte's wife received a letter from her husband: (1)

The day before Quebec premier Robert Bourassa had also received a letter from his labour minister: (1)

How could Mr. Bourassa not be moved by such a letter?  How could anyone not in that situation?  "You have the power of life and death over me..."

LaPorte's kidnapping, had followed the kidnapping of British Diplomat James Cross, the week before.

Cross would survive.  Mr. LaPorte was not so lucky.

To understand the severity of the crisis, you had to have lived during that time.  Anglophone communities in Montreal were targeted, especially in the affluent neighborhood of Westmount.

Between 1963 and 1970,  the FLQ had detonated over 95 bombs, including one at the Montreal Stock Exchange, Montreal City Hall and the RCMP recruitment office.  Dozens more were in mailboxes.  This was not like the false flag war that the Harper government has used as an excuse for Bill C-51.

This was no exaggerated far off threat.  The threats were real and the terrorist activities were taking place in our own country.

The kidnappings were an attempt to have 23 prisoners, charged with previous bombings, released; in exchange for the hostages.

The Quebec National Assembly voted unanimously to implement the War Measures Act, and Pierre Trudeau complied.  We were indeed at war.  There was some hyperbole, mostly written of in modern times, but there was definitely a clear and present danger in October of 1970.

We know that Tommy Douglas opposed the implementation of the WMA, and said so in his October 16, 1970, address to Parliament.  Four NDP MPs broke ranks, but the rest supported their leader.  He would later explain to CBC, why he raised the alarm:
I'm not saving that the government is going to do all these things. But I am saying that it is dangerous to take these tremendous powers in order to deal with a situation that could be dealt with very easily, namely by bringing into the House of Commons a bill to amend the Criminal Code, giving the powers to search without warrant and whatever other powers it needs to cope with the situation in the City of Montreal. (2)
I see amending the Criminal Code, "giving the powers to search without warrant and whatever other powers it needs to cope with the situation in the City of Montreal" being a slippery slope, since it is quite vague, without an exit.  How long would the allowance to search without warrant be on the books?

There has been a suggestion that Douglas's opposition to the WMA was political, but I don't believe so. Tommy Douglas was a man of conviction. Thomas Mulcair is not, nor would he have opposed the implementation of the Act.

In 1982, the Government of Canada funded a new group called Alliance Quebec, to protect Quebec Anglophone economic interests and combat the threat of separatism.  Mulcair would become their director of legal affairs.  He had also been part of the anti-separatist movement, protesting the 1980 referendum.

Recently, a former president of the AQ had this to say:
My name is William Johnston. I am a veteran journalist/writer and former president of Alliance Qu├ębec. I believe the use of the War Measures Act by the federal government of M. Trudeau was necessary at the time. To know more about my views, consult the Virtual Library.
If Mulcair had opposed the WMA at the time, he would never have been allowed membership into Alliance Quebec.  Yet I'm constantly being reminded of the NDP stand, in discussions over Bill C-51.

Like only they have ever stood up for our rights.

As we know Tommy Douglas's opposition was not popular at the time.  85% of Canadians supported the idea, including a large number of NDP members.

Author Elaine Kalman-Knaves wrote of her personal experiences living in Montreal during this time.  She recounts the site of tanks during a different period in her life, when she was a child in Budapest.  They were Soviet tanks, invoking fear.  However, in 1970, while riding a bus home, she remembers seeing the soldiers with guns.
I was awfully glad to see those soldiers at the front of the bus. They were there to protect me and the way of life my family had come to Canada for.
Like many who supported the government's response at the time, she does feel some reget.  However, says Kalman-Knaves:
At the time, I was a card-carrying member of the NDP, yet I believed that David Lewis and Tommy Douglas, who opposed the War Measures Act, were wrong. They weren't going through what Montrealers were in 1970. They didn't feel the pounding of my heart.

1. Documents on the October Crisis, Quebec History, Marionapolis College

2. Comments by T. C. Douglas, Leader of the New Democratic Party, On the War Measures Act, CBC, October 16, 1970

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Dancing Around the Polls Will Only Make You Dizzy

The news this week was of two recently published polls. One was conducted by Forum Research and the other by Mainstreet Research; with completely different results.

Forum shows some drop in support for the NDP but has them forming a minority government. Mainstreet, on the other hand, shows a huge surge by the Conservatives, with them in majority territory, and too close to call for the opposition.

Tracking social media, comments are all over the place, depending on your political drug of choice.

Let's look at the Mainstreet Poll to the right, which has become a real bone of contention.

Liberal supporters are happy that they are gaining on the NDP, but naturally terrified that Harper could get another majority.

NDP supporters, understandably, are in a complete tither.

While they fed off the euphoria of polls conducted prior to this, they are now up in arms, attacking Postmedia and the little known firm Mainstreet.

Some say it's run by a Liberal, others say a Conservative.

Over on Rabble, David Climenhaga is blaming Postmedia, even going so far as to ask why they only published the results of one poll.

It's nonsense of course, because they commissioned the poll, and most newspapers only publish the poll they paid for, when they commission it. An opinion piece might delve into more.

Since the boost to the Conservatives is being attributed to the Universal Child Care cheques that went out this week, Climenhaga also finds this to be bogus.
... on Monday and Tuesday when the poll was taken, virtually no parent in Canada had received their Universal Child Care Benefit cheque. The first ones started showing up in mailboxes in most parts of Canada on Wednesday. I'm just saying.
He might be right about when the cheques appeared in mailboxes, but notifications showing the amount you would receive, were sent out the week before.  Also, many if not most, were direct deposit  My grandson's was in the bank on the 20th.

If we question Postmedia's poll, it would be why they wanted it conducted on the day and day after, the windfall, before the revelations that it's not such a windfall after all.

Besides, those cheques won't drive people to the polls on election day, the only polls that really matter.

So Who and What is Mainstreet Research?

Back to the NDP accusations that it is run by a Liberal or a Conservative.  I visited my friend Mr. Google, and it would appear that they are neither.

Besides conducting polls, they work on campaigns, mostly at the municipal level.

They have been advisers to the Alberta Conservative Party and ran the campaigns of at least two Liberals. They wrote favorably of Rachel Notley, and predicted her majority four days before the Alberta election. They were also the first to suggest that she had won the leaders debate.

As to being right-wing, they have several unions as clients, instructing them on how to get their message out and how to become more political.

What other polls do show this week, is that the Liberals are holding or gaining ground, and NDP support is dropping, with divided gains.

I read them for amusement but the only pollsters I trust are Wiarton Willie and Shubenacadie Sam, who by the way also had conflicting predictions this year.  Sammy won.

Although I did hear a rumour that Willie was a CPC operative and Sam once worked for Jean Chretien.

I'm just saying .....

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Why I Am Not Promoting Strategic Voting This Election. I Will Not Get Fooled Again

So as you know I took some time off from my blog.  I was tired and needed a break, but knew that I'd start up again,  when the election was near.

I didn't blog about any of the leadership races, but did have an opinion.

I think the Liberals got it right, but the NDP could not have got it more wrong.

I'll post on why I like Justin Trudeau later, but first want to explain why I am rejecting Thomas Mulcair and the NDP.  (don't get mad until you read it all)

I first got back on the horse, with the idea that there would be a spirit of co-operation between all opposition parties, since the need to get rid of Stephen Harper could not be more urgent.

Then I watched the news coverage of the protests over Harper's Bill C-51, and saw many NDP members carrying signs with Justin Trudeau's image, blaming him for the Bill.

First off, it would have gone through no matter what, and no one wants to be seen as not having concern for the nation's security, especially during an election year.  The Liberals fought for amendments that would have removed the worst elements.  The NDP waited, saying they hadn't yet made up their minds.  Odd, given the Draconian nature of the un-amended document.

I think they waited to see which way public opinion would swing, hoping to gain some leverage.

When it looked like there was enough opposition, they flatly turned it down, even voting against their own amendments.  Some pundits see it as a smart political move.  I see it as a disaster.

They let Stephen Harper completely off the hook, neutralizing what should have been an important election issue.  Now he can shift focus to the economy, something many people believe is his strength.  It's not of course, but there's nothing like those taxpayer funded ads, and big fat cheques,  to convince Canadians otherwise.

Thomas Mulcair also came out of the gate attacking Elizabeth May.  Thems fighting words.  You do not attack Elizabeth May unless you are prepared to go a few rounds with me.  I was already angry with Mulcair when he went after Libby Davies, because she dared to sympathize with the Palestinians.  Then of course there was the caucus revolt against Jack Layton and the whole "pooling" scam.

However, even given his shortfalls, I was still prepared to promote him for prime minister, if he was deemed to have the best shot (not based on polls months before an election).

On my Facebook page, I have many discussions, some of them quite heated, since I have friends from all political stripes; even ones who want to kill me, or at least shut me up.

NDP supporters don't want me to speak ill of Mulcair, constantly saying that we need to work together. ABC and all that.  However, what they are really saying is that I should just get behind Thomas Mulcair.  Yet, if I bring up the Bill C-51 fiasco, many will immediately start slamming Justin Trudeau's "support" of it.

He's not a wizard and doesn't have a magic wand.  If he did, Harper would be sunning himself on Alcatraz Island.  Or better yet, on  one of the polar drifts, broken away because of global warming.

Bill C-51 is now a distant memory for most Canadians, which is sad because it really is a horrible bit of legislation, though I think much of it will be nullified by the Supreme Court.

When Pierre Trudeau enacted the  War Measures Act, in response to the terrorist FLQ kidnappings and murder, many Canadians were appalled.  This was nothing short of treason.  However, polls of the day either supported Trudeau or had no opinion.  History gives it credence.

Despite the attack on Parliament Hill being perpetrated by a mentally ill homeless man with a gun, it gave Harper his false flag war, and an excuse to further erode our civil liberties.  I can't tell you how many people I speak to, who still believe that ISIS was behind it.

If Bill C-51 is going to be used as an election issue, Harper will win that debate.  Let it go until after the election.  There's nothing anyone can do about it now.

From Anger to Hissy Fit to Oh My Gawd!

So here I was, all peeved and throwing darts at my autographed picture of Tom Mulcair (kidding I don't have one), and to relieve some tension I took out my blog.  I was just going to publish a couple of silly attack style pieces.  That'd fix him.  (Like he cared)

But then when I started doing a bit of research, I discovered that almost everything the NDP  uses to sell this man to us, is a fabrication.  I soon realized that this was not a person of principle, but kind of a buffoon.  His entire career was based on advancing his career.  No one likes a headline more than Mr. Mulcair.

I started getting a knot in my stomach, not unlike the knot I got in my stomach, when it looked like Stephen Harper was going to win the election in 2006.  I want Harper gone too, but I'd like his replacement to be worthy of the job.

With all of this conflicting emotion, I decided to start another blog.  One that just challenged some of the things people believe of him, with my usual list of sources. In fact, a lot of what I discovered, could not be made up.  It's just too weird.

Justin Trudeau grew up in the public eye. We feel like we know him, and can't deny the accomplishments of his father.  But what do we really know of Thomas Mulcair?

I went on the NDP site and notice that they only have about a third of their candidates in place.  Are they hoping to create so much hysteria around Mulcair, that they can again push through paper candidates like they did in 2011?

How is that any less undemocratic than the unfair elections act or Harper's gerrymandering?  Besides, Mulcair will no doubt self destruct before election time anyway.  He always does.

If they were really hoping to use the cult of personality to win, they should have gone with someone like Peggy Nash, who has the creds to back it up.  She could have generated some excitement.  A woman, strong and smart, with a good union background.

However, when it comes down to it, my politics are in this order:

1. Canada
2. liberal
3. Liberal
4. Green

Canada is first, so in the final days, I will promote and vote for who ever is best to take down Stephen Harper.  However, I think that everyone should forget talks of ABC, strategic voting, or heaven forbid, coalitions.

All parties are jockeying for position, and need to focus on what their party has to offer.  I visit Facebook pages of my NDP freinds and they are often more about Justin than Steve, so I don't apologize for any partisan rants, though I'm often just messing with people.

We need more political debate in this country.  That's how we got into this mess in the first place.