Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The OLO Responds to Wafergate.

From Kady O'Malley at ITQ comes the official response from the OLO to her query about Liberal involvement in the Wafergate story.

“This is nonsense. We didn’t record the videotape – CPAC did. And as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Canadians need only look at the video on You Tube to see what happened.”

Bob Fife thinks otherwise:

Wow. It looks like the Liberals are still maintaining that this fraudulent story which has cost the job of Telegraph-Journal editor Shawna Richer is the truth, even though the paper retracted the story after finding they had NO facts to support it, and the priest who administered communion states that the PM ate the wafer. (Does that mean the Lib's are calling the priest a liar?)

Update: The Telegraph-Journal makes another apology.

Well what are you gonna do Iggy?

Michael Ignatieff has many times stated that he is going to do politics differently, with no attack ads and with much more "civility and common purpose."

This does not look very civil to me and if someone in your party is responsible for this, what are you going to do about it?

My guess, nothing. More hollow words from the hollow man.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Stelmach boots out MLA for speaking out on an unkept promise.

Fort McMurray MLA Guy Boutilier got a phone call from Premier Stelmach Friday informing him that he was being kicked out of caucus for speaking out about a long term care facility that was promised for his riding and approved 18 months ago but which has now been put on hold.

You can read the story here.

Classy move Mr. Premier; not only have you not kept a promise which would improve the health system overall by freeing up much needed hospital beds occupied by elderly patients with nowhere else to go, but you couldn't even meet the man face to face to fire him and had to do so over the phone. That sure is some leadership you are showing there. If you take this latest example added along to some of the other great moments of your governments record such as reckless and now deficit spending, the total disregard for rights and fairness with your support of the AHRC, your regulating what a private business can charge their own customers for product, and other such nanny state ideas, I can see it is going to be a banner year for the Wildrose Alliance Party and all thanks to your great leadership.

Keep it up Mr. Premier and you could go down in history as the man who destroyed a dynasty.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Hollow Words.

More from Michael Ignatieff, but this time he has gone international with his hollow words.

Canada's "fragile" unity is being rattled by a rigidly Conservative government that plays "region against region and language group against language group, "In our country, a politics that arouses ethnic and regional resentment, creating wedges in order to mobilize a conservative base vote, is playing with fire."

He has gone from coast to coast saying that he will not play the divisive politics game, but to date we have only heard the words. But the words mean nothing if they are not backed up with actions and so far Ignatieff has waffled on pretty much everything he has ever said or written. Seriously, has there been anything he has stood by? Yes Ignatieff is that predictable, and I expect him to again shy away from taking a stand or show any type of real leadership.

So you tell me. Will he waffle again or will he stand by his oft spoken words and for once show some balls and publicly distance himself from his alleged 'war room guy' for playing perhaps the most divisive card possible, religion. At the funeral of the Godfather of his own daughter no less.

It doesn't get more divisive and blatant than that people.

I say he waffles again even though he really can't afford to do it again. The man has almost no credibility left and the polls are starting to reflect this.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

PM Harper and Michael Ignatieff are off to Europe.

Today the leaders of both major political parties in Canada are off to Europe, but they go to Europe with different purposes in mind. One of them is working for Canada. The other for himself.

PM Harper goes to Europe get some work done at the G8 summit in Italy.

Michael Ignatieff goes to give a speech and sell some more of his books. With Ignatieff the arrogance abounds.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Are the Liberals targeting my riding?

Being a resident in the EDA of Edmonton-Millwoods-Beaumont I often read in various places about how this riding is/should be targeted by the Liberals as a possible place to pick up a seat in the next federal election. I have read this on blogs, in the newspaper, and during the last election campaign I saw various talking heads on TV suggest the same.

But why us?

To be honest I have no idea other than the misguided thinking that because this riding was once held by David Kilgour that with a little work it could go Liberal again in the near future. I say misguided because this is based on nothing other than the popularity of one David Kilgour, who the last time I checked was not running, and who even if he was going to run, was not even a Liberal caucus member at the time of his retirement so it would not be for the Libs.

There are a couple of things that most people are forgetting about or are taking for granted here about why this riding ever went Liberal or would go that way again. The first is that when Mr. Kilgour was first elected in 1979 he ran under the banner of the Progressive Conservative Party; had he ran as a Liberal he would have probably lost and had a very short political career. He was kicked out of the PC's in October of 1990 by then PM Brian Mulroney over his objections to the GST, but in the 11 years previously he had already proven himself to the community as a good strong local representative so when he crossed over to the Liberals it was not the party that the good people of his riding were voting for but the man himself. The second thing is that our current MP, Mike Lake, has continued on with the tradition of his predecessor by being not only accessible but by working hard for the people of EMB both here and in Ottawa. This is what got Mr. Kilgour re-elected and this is what will get Mike Lake re-elected when the time comes. Sure I may be biased in my beliefs, but it is plain to see to anyone paying attention just how hard Mike works for this riding, as this recent Edmonton Journal article points out just one aspect of the good job Mike is doing.

So to all of the Liberals out there who continue to believe that EMB can be won in the next election; I say please keep it up. Keep sending those heavy hitters such as Bob Rae and Carolyn Bennett here to drum up support. Keep pouring all of the resources and money that you can into our riding, and keep on believing that the Liberal brand is enough for you to be victorious in EMB. Because the more you concentrate and spend on us, the less that you will have available for ridings where you actually might have a shot at winning.

Bring it on!

Reprint of Journal article written by Alexandra Zabjek. July 2, 2009

At ceremonies across the country Wednesday, Canada's newest citizens celebrated the nation's birthday by pledging to accept the rights and responsibilities some of their neighbours may well take for granted.

At a citizenship ceremony at the legislature, MP Mike Lake was on hand, paying special attention not only to the newcomers' collective words, but to individual voices.

For while they recited their oaths in unison and in a common language, their pronunciations were enriched with the tones of India, Africa and other far-off lands.

"It's in English, but you've got all of these different accents," said Lake, who has been the Conservative MP for Edmonton-Mill Woods-Beaumont since 2006.

"And you can pick out a whole bunch of different (ones), even if it's the same volume. It's quite emotional. These are people who are specifically choosing to become citizens of Canada."

In a riding where immigrants and refugees make up almost 30 per cent of the population, Lake, perhaps more than many MPs, has had to tackle head-on the issues newcomers face once they've taken their citizenship certificates home.

He has developed a strong reputation for helping newcomers and taking extra steps for those most in need.

"I'm really proud of our country and I always have been," says Lake, whose own family history in Canada stretches back so far he can't pinpoint exactly when his ancestors arrived here. "And I want people's experiences with Canada to be a good experience, and what we do in our office plays a part in people's experiences of our country."

Lake admits the sheer number of newcomers in his riding has meant he's had to develop expertise in navigating the immigration system. It's been a steep learning curve, and sometimes a delicate balancing act to determine exactly which cases deserve extraordinary attention.

"Any time you have a system that big, there are going to be times when the system is not going to function the way it should," he says.

"We have, in Canada, the most generous immigration system in the world. Understandably, there's a reason for all of the checks and balances we have, but it's important for me, as an MP, to balance the limited resources I have with the ability to recognize when someone is being affected by a blockage in the system that's really negatively affecting their family."

Take the case of Joseph Largao and Gbassay Konneh. The Edmonton couple was granted refugee status in 2005, years after they had arrived at a refugee camp for amputees in Sierra Leone.

The couple struggled for years to bring their young son, Quenty, to Canada, after a series of mistakes and a tangled bureaucracy had left him in the care of an aunt in the West African country.

The couple had been relying on advice from volunteers at the small Newfoundland church that sponsored them. When Lake heard the Mill Wood couple's story, he invited them to a meeting.

"(The church)tried their very best, but it was very hard," Largao says. "When I met Mike, it was very exciting. These are people in authority, and they can really help develop the country and the province."

The boy was granted a visitor's visa and was reunited with his family in February.

Lake credits his staff for working "tremendously hard" to contact the right officials to help the family's case. The MP goes without a legislative assistant in Ottawa so he can employ three people at his busy Edmonton constituency office.

"You look at a situation, you have to measure it and say, 'I have to get involved in this one. We have to see what we can do,' " he says.

Immigrants often retain close ties to their home countries, and it can be difficult for them to navigate the bureaucracy that governs how they might bring loved ones to Canada for a visit or to stay.

The most common request Lake receives is from Canadians wanting temporary visas for relatives to visit for a special occasion. Lake and his staff help people focus on questions that immigration officers need answered. In exceptional circumstances, he can help ensure officials look at an application in a timely manner.

For Varinder Grewal, an immigrant from India, Lake helped navigate the process of bringing a Punjabi-speaking live-in caregiver to Canada to help his 28-year-old daughter, who has a mental disability.

Though it took more than a year for the caregiver to arrive in Canada, Grewal was grateful.

"Whatever power he had, with whatever limits he had, he helped me," says Grewal. "My daughter is very happy. It's been especially good for my wife, because she's been taking care of her almost all of her life."

Lake knew before his election that immigration issues have long been a top concern in the riding. His predecessor, longtime MP David Kilgour, had a reputation for helping immigrants and refugees.

"You're judged by newcomer communities on how hard you try," says Kilgour, now retired from federal politics.

For Lake, working with immigrant communities has opened him to conversations he thinks all Canadians should have--where has your neighbour come from? It doesn't matter if that neighbour's family arrived in Canada in the last year or the last century, Lake says. He admits that before becoming an MP, he didn't necessarily realize just how many stories existed in his community.

"We have a real opportunity to travel the world without leaving your neighbourhood," he says. "What builds communities is getting to know each other. And that's a real key to the unique nature of Mill Woods and the unique opportunities that come with living there." © Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Michael, you may have missed my comment the last time....

Michael, you may have missed my comment the last time but because you have been out of the country for so long I will cut you some slack on it and repeat it for you once again.

The Conservative Party of Canada is a separate entity from the Government of Canada. Got it?

This should be rudimentary basic knowledge for most people but I am afraid to say that if you keep saying stuff like "For heaven's sake, we're in the middle of a recession. We're in the middle of the toughest situation in 25 years and all this government can think of doing is running a $4-million attack campaign against yours truly." people are going to start to wonder if you are really as smart as you claim to be.

I mean if my 12 year old daughter knows and understands the differences between political parties and the government, why don't you?


A rather quick update to help those that still remain confused. Read the fine print.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Ardvark's Law: On Michael Ignatieff Quotes.

Godwin's Law: "As a Usenet (online) discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1."

Ardvark's Law: "The more damaging the words of Michael Ignatieff, the higher the probability that someone will claim that the words were taken out of context."

Some examples of Ardvark's Law in action.

On Ukrainians: "If Vic Toews wants to set me against the Ukrainian community, he will not succeed," Ignatieff said, adding that Toews took the comments out of context. (source)

On Qana: "One rule I understand about this is that you're fully responsible for your words. You're even responsible when they're quoted out of context, as I believe I was in this instance," he said. (source) and "Well, a remark taken ludicrously out of context." (source)

On torture: "But hey, that’s what I object to. I’ve had three years of people taking quotations out of context on the torture issue," (source)

There are of course hundreds of examples on the blogs where Ignatieff quotes on anything from his country being the USA, our flag looking like a beer label, his love for Algonquin Park, and his belief that the west has and always will be french, are claimed to be taken out of context by trolls Ignatieff supporters, but you get the idea and it would take too long to dig through all of them to make the point.

So the next time you have someone claim that Ignatieff's own words have been taken out of context, help stop the spin and feel free to cite Ardvark's Law.

h/t to commenter Jeff for the original idea and allowing it to be named Ardvark's Law. You rock Jeff!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Ignatieff Speaks in Edmonton.

Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff is in Edmonton for a few days and last night he held a little town hall style gathering where he took questions from the audience. I would put the crowd at about 450, which is larger than Stephane Dion's numbers last July, and has to be considered a good turnout for an Alberta event.

Ignatieff had plenty to say. Here is how it went down.

(long post warning)

The usual local Liberals were in the room, including Senators Tommy Banks, Grant Mitchell, and Claudette Tardif, former Liberal MP Anne McLellan and a host of other committee chairs and organizers. Alberta Liberal party leader David Swann was in the room with a couple of tag along Lib MLAs, and a city councilor.

After a brief mix up as to who was going to introduce Ignatieff, Tommy Banks took the stage and gave a little talk about how lucky we are in Canada to not have the political upheaval that some other countries endure and the reasons that "we have chosen Michael Ignatieff" as the leader of the LPC. I guess Senator Banks had forgotten the details of how Michael Ignatieff became leader and that the members did not 'choose" him or about how popular the coalition was with Canadians, but the partisan crowd ate it up.

Michael takes the stage. I can feel my pulse race ( Sorry about that. I think I may have been channeling Kady O'Malley there for a second.)

Ignatieff warmed up the crowd a bit talking about Canada Day, the size of the "Edmonton" crowd and about an earlier town hall that he had just finished with some members of the Alberta Francophone community. Ignatieff commented that "the west has always been french, never forget that" and that this part of the world has always been french and "always will be french". I am not sure that his explanation of how since we have french names for some of our mountains and lakes it is enough to declare that the west is french,or if he could get away with saying that the east has always been english, but he is the intellectual, not I. He opined briefly on provincial politics by saying that the reason that the room was full was partly due to the "monopoly party government" in the Province of Alberta, but quickly returned to federal politics by taking a shot at the Harper government on income trusts even though that horse left the barn a long time ago. He went on to preach for more big government by committing more to education as well as for a state run childcare program. No mention of how he is planing to pay for this, but tonight was not to be about pesky details. He also brought up what to me sounded like a plan to regulate, or more than likely just a plan tax the crap out of, certain foods/additives in the name of health. If you use salt, sugar or oil you had better watch out because Ignatieff is coming for you and your wallet if he ever gets elected. I found it kind of ironic for Ignatieff to be talking about this while half of the audience was still chowing down on their double cheeseburgers with sides of salty oily salads from the Liberal fundraiser BBQ attached to the event, but irony and the Liberal Party seem to go well together. He talked very briefly on energy and the need to conserve; screwing up when he said "not getting enough miles per litre" which he quickly corrected into "litres per gallon". I have to cut him some slack on this one since as he was visibly tired from what no doubt was a busy day and I screw up more than my fair share on a regular basis to complain about this. To his credit Ignatieff did keep his opening comments relatively short in an effort to make more time for questions from the audience.

Question#1 was about prorogation and the gentleman asked if Ignatieff would do away with the ability to prorogue Parliament. Ignatieff with his answer blatantly borrowed from Barrack Obama as to why he could not do away with this power saying that "is way above my pay grade" to understand the constitutional issues/history of prorogation. Ignatieff added that he too shares the anger of the questioner about prorogation bringing up some of the history of the coalition and how it formed because of the fiscal update with no mention of the provision to cut off political parties from the public purse, which was the real reason that the 3 parties tossed all of their principles aside to form the coalition. Interestingly enough he went on to say how he saved the PM by deciding against going with the coalition idea, which he had just agreed to support, in order to prevent the turmoil that it would have caused, even though he apparently thinks that he could have won an election at that time with polls reading in the 50%+ range for the CPC.

Question #2 related to seniors financial issues. Ignatieff answered by talking about the current economic situation and was very critical (Remember this for later on) of the "51 billion dollar deficit" budget that would stretch into a "170 billion dollars" over 5 years, saying that this is where the PM has taken Canada over the last 3 years. He also talked about a discussion on national pension reform and brought up healthcare costs and how the Liberals would defend the principles of the Canada Health Act by fighting the provinces if they ever "go down those roads" of having any type of user pay private system. I guess he was out of the country for too long or maybe it is above his pay grade to be familiar with this supreme court ruling or that there are plenty of examples where this is happening already in Canada.

Question #3 was on a carbon tax from someone familiar with Ignatieff's history on the idea. Ignatieff hinted that while he still liked the idea of a carbon tax, the political reality of such a tax makes it impossible to implement in a poor economy. He never ruled it out completely say if the economy improves, but votes ("practical politics") seem to be more important than the environment right now for the LPC.

Question #5 was a polite question which basically asked when Ignatieff was going to stop supporting the Harper government and force an election. Now of course he was not going to give a specific date or let too much out of the Liberal bag but he did give some specifics when he said that he would pull the plug if there were not significant changes to EI saying that he will "not settle for anything other than substantial reform". He also again brought up the coalition, praising Dion for forming it, and how it forced what was basically a "bad Liberal budget" to be passed for the benefit of Canadians, but adding that he thought that the coalition would lead to "permanent division" in our society. ( Remember how he hated the deficit budget in question #2, but now says it was good for the country.)

Question #6 was on medical isotopes, which is not above his pay grade to answer it would seem. This one was spin from the start when Iggy said that in 13 years of Liberal government that there was never a loss of isotope production in Canada while in the 3 years of conservative government it has happened twice. Look this is a serious issue but the PM does not take the limo down to Chalk River at the start of each day to crank out some isotopes before heading to the Hill for oral questions, give me a break.

Question #9 was about the recent proposed legislation giving more powers to police/security agencies for monitoring. Lots of fluff in the answer talking about rights but it looked like Ignatieff agrees with the legislation.

Question #11 Asbestos. While in the past Ignatieff has flip flopped on asbestos, tonight there was to be no beating around the bush on this one as Ignatieff answered by saying that "Canada has to be out of the asbestos business. We should not export it and we should not produce it".

The last question of the night dealt with farming and the difficulty with the selling/promoting locally grown products. There was nothing particularly special about Ignatieff's answer so I will not go into it other than to just highlight one comment that he made which sort of sums up why he is not yet ready for the job and shows the kind of trouble that he might find himself in if this was a real election campaign and not just a summer BBQ/speaking engagement. While talking about a book that he was reading just that very afternoon on the plane coming from Toronto to Edmonton, Ignatieff forgot the name of the book. Not a big issue really and not one that should cause much trouble for the Liberal leader, but it was not that he forgot the name, it was the little "joke" that he made about why he forgot that was the problem. Consider what a certain Liberal blogger who claims to be their war room guy, or even what the media would do if the PM had said the following about forgetting the title of the book: "I am having a senior moment I can't even remember its title". Do any of you think that this would not be spun to no end and that there would be a post dedicated to this small snippet possibly called "Making fun of seniors" at the top of his blog or appearing as the headline of a newspaper? It is a good thing for Ignatieff that I am not that petty.

Well that's it, take from it what you will and if you have read this far I thank you for taking the time.

Alberta Ardvark, going into the belly of the beast so you don't have to.

Update: Ignatieff had some thoughts for the press after the event last night.

"Governments have a role in saying there's energy demand out east; are there ways of moving some of that Alberta oil east to Sarnia for refining?
"But it's not for governments to say where the oil should flow," he was quick to add.

But he said it anyway. h/t SDA.

Update and Clarification: There have been some who believe that I have taken Mr.Ignatieff out of context with my use of the "the west has always been french, never forget that" quote. So I am going to do my best to transcribe what he said both before and after the quote and leave it up to you to decide if I did just that.(bolding mine)

"I would like to say one thing. Which is that before this evening began I had a session in french across the road. I had a session in french with members of the Franco-Albertan community of whom they have such a distinguished representative in Claudette Tardif. I saw something wonderful in that hall, which is I saw a great Canadian tradition, uh the west has always been french, never forget that. Yellowhead; where does that come from? It comes from TĂȘte Jaune. Some anonymous (I can't make out the french term used) that named the mountains, that named the rivers. This part of the world has always been french, always will be french. That tradition was in the room, and there is another tradition which has renewed and strengthened our country. People who have came from francophone Africa, from the Congo, from Rawanda ..." He continues on about how great it is to have all of these people together and how it is good for the country.

Out of context? You tell me.