Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Toronto Star Reality Check

Source My comments in red

Tory nose-stretchers

January 20, 2007

On their way to power and since gaining control in Ottawa, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives have talked a great deal about the need to restore public credibility in the country's elected leaders.

But even allowing for the fact that hyperbole and sweeping generalities are the common fare of public life, the federal Tories have often let their rhetoric overtake reality:

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said his budget last May lowered taxes for Canadians.

The reality: The budget raised the lowest income-tax rate by half a percentage point to 15.5 per cent as of July 1, 2006.

The budget cut 20 billion in taxes, including the GST by 1% and increased the personal exemption by $1000 dollars. I challenge the authors to find me any Canadian that is paying more in total taxes because of this budget.

On Canada's military activities: In an interview with CBC-TV, Harper said Canada is on the front lines in Afghanistan – a role he said was in marked contrast to the traditional Canadian approach. "For a lot of the last 30 or 40 years, we were the ones hanging back," Harper told CBC.

The reality: More than 125 Canadian soldiers have died on peacekeeping operations around the world since 1956.

This passes as journalism? The PM is 100% correct in that our forces combat role in Afghanistan is not the same one that they have generally undertaken in the past. What is the point the authors are trying to make here?

In changing how equalization payments to have-not provinces are calculated, Harper said his party, if elected, "would ensure that non-renewable natural resource revenue is removed from the equalization formula to encourage economic growth."

The reality: The provinces are convinced that Flaherty's new formula for calculating payments to poorer provinces will include half of each province's natural resource revenue – an expectation that is sparking stiff resistance in Newfoundland, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

"The provinces are convinced" something will happen, makes something a reality? For someone who is paid to write for a newspaper this is absolutely pathetic. The authors need to buy a dictionary and look up the definition of reality. None of this has happened yet and is entirely based on speculation and rumours, so calling it a reality is an absolute joke.

On the Liberals' gun control record: "What this last government did is that, instead of worrying about insane people or criminals, they simply went after farmers," Harper said during question period in the House of Commons.

The reality: The Liberals' firearms licensing and registry program – with its background checks and requirements for training and safe storage – applied to all would-be gun owners, not just farmers.

Correct, the law applies to everyone, but only the law abiding ones are going to care. The criminals who already do not follow the laws will just ignore this one as well. 1/2 marks on this one.

After Liberal MP and former leadership candidate Michael Ignatieff said that an Israeli air strike in Qana during the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict was a war crime, Harper responded: "This is consistent with the anti-Israeli position that has been taken by virtually all of the candidates for the Liberal leadership."

The reality: Liberal leadership candidates denounced the remark as an inaccurate and unstatesmanlike "insult" that risked dividing Canadians for partisan political motives.

"Virtually all" was a stretch, but it cannot be said that 'all' the candidates were pro-Israeli either, something conveniently left out of this article. 1/2 marks.

"Canada's back," Harper said on Sept. 20 in New York.

The reality: But Harper used a string of statistics and figures to illustrate that the return to fiscal health and economic growth in Canada began under the Liberals.

Again, what is the point trying to be made? At a speech made to the Economic Club in New York the PM did what every other PM has done, and that is to promote Canada abroad . So what if it began under the Liberals as you suggest, as an argument can be made that it began under Mulroney just as well, but in either case it is irrelevant to what the PM said.

During the last election campaign, the Tories said if elected they would "stop the Liberal attack on retirement savings and preserve income trusts by not imposing any new taxes on them."

The reality: In a surprise decision on Oct. 31, the Conservative government moved to do away with income trusts, a decision that saw more than $20 billion in value lopped off the stock market.

Finally some truth, but I guess a 4 1/2 line article wouldn't make the Star so all the rest of the above BS was added to pad this one point out. I will not discuss why it was the right move by the PM nor list the many Liberals that agree with the decision, as this is not the place, but will give full marks to the authors. Just one question though, why add the $20 billion part to the story?

On climate change, Harper slammed the Liberals in a year-end interview with the Star, saying "literally nothing was done for 13 years at all on the environment, literally nothing."

The reality: While the Liberals did not halt the increase in greenhouse gas emissions, they used their final months in power to introduce "Project Green," an eight-year program at an estimated $10-billion cost designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 270 megatonnes between 2008 and 2012.

You may have had something, but ignored the obvious and started talking about another future reality. The Harper statement spoke about the last 13 years and your reality speaks of the future that is "designed to" do something. Go ask a 6th grader to explain it to you how silly this is.

On child care, Harper said that during 13 years of Liberal government, not a single child-care space was created.

The reality: The Liberals' $5-billion, five-year plan to create a national child-care program along with the provinces led to the opening of more than 5,000 new spaces in Ontario alone, with 20,000 more on the drawing board. But plans for more spaces in Ontario were slashed after the federal Conservatives announced they were cancelling the previous government's funding for the provinces as of this year.

Where are those 5000 spaces in Ontario? But facts aside, yes Mr. Harper did use some rhetoric in the comments so you get the marks for this one as well.

Compiled by Les Whittington

and Tonda MacCharles

To borrow from the above article: But even allowing for the fact that hyperbole and sweeping generalities are the common fare of media, the Toronto Star have often let their rhetoric overtake reality: as shown by the above article.


Anonymous said...

The MSM says they are fair and balanced.
The Reality They are a bunch of left wing dialogs who are pushing the secular-progressive agenda. They are so immersed in this they don’t even realise they are biased.

Anonymous said...

The MSM says they are fair and balanced.
The Reality They are a bunch of left wing dialogs who are pushing the secular-progressive agenda. They are so immersed in this they don’t even realise they are biased.

Anonymous said...

I beg to differ, the MSM is not only hopelessly biased but they know they are too. They must maintain the charade that they are balanced in order to fool the average guy on the street and feed him the propaganda they want him to eat.

Is there not some law about this being illegal? If so what is anybody doing about it?
(real conservative)

Guy on the Street said...

Mmmm propaganda. It's now part of a liberal balanced meal!

Anonymous said...

So painting Harper with a long nose because of these half-baked concepts is opk, but McGuinty, who is a pathological liar gets a pass.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad the Star printed the FACT that over 120 of our Blue-Helmet forces have been murdered as Peace-makers that can't defend themselves until fire upon .
The UNIFIL deaths were exploited by Taliban Jack Layton , and where was the outrage when Liberals quietly allowed those murdered Blue-Helmet soldiers to return to Canada with no MSM coverage , not even Chretien or Martin greeting the families and murdered soldier.

The STAR should be more angry at how Hezbollah receiving support from the Leftists in Canada while Hezbollah fires rockets and wages war on Israeli civilians from Lebanon and fires within 20 feet of Canada's UNIFIL outpost , and the STAR should have spoke up about China shooting a satellite out of orbit during a Test of their new weapons.

The anti-USA/Israel bias by the MSM merely enables the agressors to quietly build up strenghts , even Pearl Harbor had its beginnings in about 1933 as Japan started their crusade for global domination along with the Nazis.
If you think the World was outraged at Japan and Germany you only need to watch the 1936 Olympics and see how the Leftists were sleepwalking into the abyss by worrying about the USA's expansion as a democracy and forcing a "Non-Agression" policy
where Pearl Harbour had to be allowed to happen before the Peaceniks even saw a threat .
Even 9/11 had to be allowed to happen because we all know that if those 19 Muslims were rounded-up before 9/11/01 we would have the ACLU and every Muslims group screaming Racism and Islamophobia.
We in Canada are seeing what happens when a alleged Terror cell is rounded-up , it was June 2006 and after 9 months of monitoring by CSIS the RCMP moved in on the Toronto-17 and within 3 days David Miller sent our Police Chief to a Mosque for a Press conference to tell everyone that Islam and being Muslim had nothing to do with these persons trying to buy 3 Tonnes of potential explosives.

MSM has reporters that do the drive-by coverage and care very little about the whole story .

Ardvark said...

How did that article get past an editor? Fact checkers?

That article was much worse than much of the crap I read on liberal partisan blogs. Why, because bloggers check facts.

What does that say about the Toronto Star when partisan bloggers care more about facts and reality than the "professionals"?