Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Prime Minister Tax and Spend is at it again

Okay, so coming from someone who is for all intensive purpose generally to be consider to the left of Canada current Prime Minister that title should probably be taken tongue in cheek. But its not wrong.
Prime Minister Harper likes to talk a big game about believing in small government and balanced budgets and lower taxation, but the reality is he has led a government with no history of doing such things. In a matter of days - January 1st to be exact - the team of Prime Minister Harper and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will be taking an extra 5 cents away from Canadians for every $100 they earn. This in addition to the extra $53 of employment insurance premiums the government will be collecting from you; the taxpayer, next year. And they will pile that on top of the mountain of current income tax increases, new taxes on income trusts, etc. that hard working tax payers have seen come into force under this Prime Minister.

Put that all together and Canadians, on average, are looking at $142 less in their pockets and more in government coffers. To put it bluntly, that is $3,483 that goes from you to line the bank account of the Harper Government.

For those keeping track that is an increase of just about 5% - the largest in nearly a decade. Now the Harper Government is saying taxpayer should be thankful that the increase is not more. Does that sound like a government dedicated to reducing the Canadian tax burden?

Ladies and gentlemen, this is Stephen Harper's Canada. Say one thing. Do another. The Harper Government has a record of increasing taxes. Growing government in size. Growing government in reach. And spending Canada in its largest deficit ever. ...Funny... I don't seem to recall any of this being discussed back in May.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Feds post $2.2 billion deficit

In the words of Tim Hudak, ~"Only this government would post a deficit as a success."
Before I go into this, I want to address the Ontario deficit. I know everyone is going to say, "..but...but...McGuinty..."

I won't defend the provincial deficit. Put in the same situation, I would not have chosen to spend in such a way. But I trust Premier McGuinty and Deputy Premier/Finance Minister Duncan. They have experience in this area to which I just cannot compare. And to be fair, so does the Prime Minister and Finance Minister Flaherty. But here is where the situations diverge: Prime Minister Harper promised to never run a deficit. Given that he inherited a near $15 billion surplus from former Prime Minister Paul Martin and Finance Minister (and now Liberal Deputy Leader) Ralph Goodale this should not have been a difficult promise to keep. But here we are...

The team of Prime Minister Harper and Minister Flaherty squandered a once impressive surplus on various pet projects and one of the most ambitious expansions of government size since the 1980s even before the period known as The Great Recession began. And while some may defend this with the fact that the Government of Canada had money to spare; there is no defending the continued spending on pet projects and government expansion during and following the recession.

From fake lakes to $50 million gazebos to unneccessary prison and useless jets the government made clear what its priorities were and that its addiction to spending knew no bounds. We add this to the high costs of a "tough on crime" agenda that uses our own money to erode Canadian liberty, and what have got is a government that does not know when to stop.

If this government is serious about balancing the budget, it will need to prove it. The first step will be to stop spending on pet projects. The second will be stop raising taxes; leading to negative stimulation. If Minister Flaherty wants to be the first Canadian Minister of Finance to begin his career with a surplus, subsequently spend it all (and more), than turn it back into a surplus; the time to act is now.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Why I believe a Paul Dewar victory in March will be good for Ontario

Let me be clear. I do not have an NDP membership. But I do believe a Dewar victory in Toronto on March 24th will be a good thing for my province. Let me outline why.

First there is the obvious - Paul Dewar is from Ontario. He knows that as a province the Harper Government has neglected us; choosing instead to take tax dollars from Ontario in an effort to pander to Quebec, the West, and the Martimes. His voice sitting two sword lengths from the Prime Minister should help Ontario's voice in a Parliament that is increasingly ignoring it. Equalization needs to be corrected. Having worked at the municipal level in Ottawa, Dewar would know that. And his loud (and frankly charismatic) voice might just push the Prime Minister to do it. We certainly know Nycole Turmel has no intention to.

There is also the notion of job creation, in which Paul Dewar is making central to his campaign for leader. Just today he earned another endorsement from organized labour. Now, whatever your opinion of organized labour, they always have their members' interests at heart. What they want is to give Canadians and Ontarians jobs.

Ontario was hit harder than anyone following the last recession. And while the province has gained back more than 100% of the net jobs lost, many Ontarians still find themselves unemployed. The country needs a strong voice in opposition to push the Prime Minister to actually do something for those that live in an area of the country that he does not personally care for. Paul Dewar has the ability and he has the talent to do that.

At the end of the day there is still four more years until the next election. New Democrats and Liberals will have to work together in the House to ensure that the Harper government does not run unrestrained. Nycole Turmel has proven that she cannot do this. And frankly, with the possible exception of Peggy Nash, I don't believe any other New Democratic leadership candidate can do that either.

Mr. Dewar is the best shot for Canadians that stand in opposition to this government. I hope he wins. Canadians need someone that can stand up to this Prime Minister.

Attention Alex Anthopoulos: Trade David Cooper!

Let me be clear; this is not an attempt to diminish Cooper. He is afterall coming off a season as the PCL batting champion. Rather, it is an attempt to be realistic about the Toronto Blue Jays and their situation. Cooper is a solid first baseman. But with Lind solidified at the position and the Snider/Thames/Encarnacion log jam at LF/DH there simply is not room for David Cooper (of whom I am a fan) on this team - especially when there are greater positional needs at hand. The Blue Jays require both a 'second baseman of the future' and a mid-rotation starter.
Currently the Blue Jays are looking at a depth chart at second base than would go as follows: Kelly Johnson, Luis Valbuena, Mike McCoy. That leaves no forseeable replacement for Kelly Johnson when his contract runs at the end of this season. So here is what I am proposing: Trade David Cooper. Aquire what this team needs to succeed. Personally, I'd like to see the Blue Jays take a run at Neil Walker - 26 year old second baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Given the Pirates history of trading players just as their about to hit their prime and a hole at first base, I see this as an opportunity to solve a few problems.

In addition to Walker, the Pirates have a pitcher by the name of Brad Lincoln. Some may remember him as the 2006 4th overall pick. Others may not. That is because in the last five years he has pitched exactly 100.1 innings over 23 games. That gives the Blue Jays an opportunity. So, fellow fans here is what I am proposing:

David Cooper/Brett Cecil for Neil Walker/Brad Lincoln.

Both Cecil and Lincoln need a change of scenery. This is could be an opportunity for both. David Cooper needs to go somewhere where he can start tomorrow. And the Blue Jays need a second baseman.

Maybe I'm playing fantasy baseball here... Maybe this just occurred to me and I decided to slap together a quick entry to see what people thought about it...

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Thoughts on Toronto-Danforth

The entire Canadian landscape realizes there is an upcoming by-election in the East York riding of Toronto-Danforth. Let's be honest the by-election will have Jack Layton's ghost of all it. As such, Canadians can expect an NDP victory. But such expectations give the NDP something to lose. And such an situation gives Toronto-Danforth Liberals a real opportunity.

With only one declared candidate for the Liberal nomination - Nick Bibassis - it seems like local Liberals aren't jumping at the possible opportunity. I've never met Bibassis; which should say something. Don't mistake that comment. Its not intended to toot my own horn. But I have been involved in the Toronto political community - and specifically the Toronto Liberal community - for a good eight years now. If you are a Liberal in Toronto, odds are we've met each other; at least would recognize our names.

A simple glance at the Bibassis' website would teach that he is a fairly qualified candidate. But if Liberals are to seize this opportunity they will need more than "fairly qualified". Who is that candidate? While I'm a fan (and friend) of previous candidate Andrew Lang, he has expressed his lack of interest in seeking the nomination. As such, I will drop one name and I sincerely hope this popular, charismatic, intelligent, and just plain impressive candidate seriously considers a run.

Marissa Sterling.

Chisholm out!

Robert Chisholm's statement can be found here.

I don't think this comes as a shock to anyone. As the only unilingual candidate for leader of a party who MPs are primarily from Quebec, Chisholm never really stood a chance at victory. But I will say this. He certainly gave himself a greater profile. Should the NDP win the 2015 election he has become a lock for cabinet. I'm thinking Labour, Intergovernmental Affairs, and/or ACOA.

So that's one down. Seven more to go. If I worked in the Liberal or Conservative war rooms I would currently be preparing the team to face off against Peggy Nash right about now.

And if I were Romeo Saganash I would be preparing my concession speech right about now.

The bigger the government gets, the bigger arms it has to hug you!

So here we go. I was promted to address this following the discovery of this - an op-ed in yesterday's Globe and Mail written by a former staffer to Minister of Public Works Christian Paradis.

Before we get into it, I want to draw attention to this comment;

"A principal goal of government – particularly a conservative one – should be to further the freedoms and liberties of its people without the paternalistic pretenses of the state prescribing their actions. By engendering government control and restriction of human behaviour, Mr. Harper’s Tories are straying farther from championing the individual freedoms that are vital to the progress of society."
Under the Harper Government (I've received a memo telling me that's what its called) Canadians have seen the greatest expansion of the state in Canadian history - both in size and in reach. Central to this is the government's omnibus crime bill. We can talk about the lack of logic of strengthening crime legislation at a time when crime is falling - at least *reported* crime. We can talk about the fact that in what should be a period of austerity the government is dictating expensive policy to the provinces, regardless of comments made by Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty that provinces watch their spending. But I want to talk about liberty. I want to talk about how this government continues to, day in, day out, erode the personal liberties of this country -- all in the name of protecting us. You hear that, my friends? The government knows whats best for you. So just sit back and take your medicine. No thanks.

Primary to the bill is a section on drug usage. Personally, I believe it is time to legalize all drug use. (Sorry for taking the Ron Paul line on this one.) This is a victimless crime. People choose to do drugs. And government resources can be better allocated than to force our brave men and women in uniform than punish Canadians who simply choose to express their personal liberties. But this bill does not embrace liberty. It punishes it. It makes two 15 year olds sharing marijuana into traffickers. And worse, it delivers possible sentence for "traffickers" longer than that of a convicted pedofile. Is this liberty? Is this what a government that claims to believe in less government intervention should be doing?

All of a sudden "soldiers... on our streets.... with guns...." doesn't seem so far out reach. All of a sudden the spend and spend Conservative government's venture to expand the reach of the ever expanding state is impacting on the day to day life of Canadians. On our liberty.

So I ask you; does the *Harper Government* know what's best for you? Do you trust them to make such decisions for you? Certainly they do.

Thoughts on Kyle Drabek…

Below is a copy of my latest for The original can be found here.


Thought to be the prize of the Roy Halladay deal that sent former Blue Jays’ ace to Philadelphia; Kyle Drabek has quickly found himself in the unexpected situation of potential bust.

This was the player the Blue Jays fought for. The Phillies did not want to give him up, but Blue Jays general manager, Alex Anthopoulos, fought tooth and nail.

Also acquired in the trade were Travis d’Arnaud and Michael Taylor. Taylor, however, was immediately flipped to Oakland for Brett Wallace, who was then later traded for Anthony Gose.
And to add pressure to Drabek – both are coming off much better minor league seasons.

In fact, in 137 games in New Hampshire, Gose posted a .253 batting average with 20 doubles, seven triples, 16 homeruns, 59 RBIs and 70 stolen bases. Comparatively, his teammate, Travis d’Arnaud, posted a career best, .311 hitting 33 doubles, 21 HRs, and 78 RBIs. His dominance both at the plate and behind the plate named him MVP of the Eastern League this year.

Going into spring, Drabek will have the opportunity to return to the Major League starting rotation. But after a very disappointing start to his career in which he 4-5 with an ERA over 6.00, including a stint in the bullpen and AAA, Drabek does not have the inside track. The emergence of Henderson Alvarez and the return of Dustin McGowan makes Drabek’s return to the starting rotation slim.

So the question is, where does he go from here? With Deck McGuire and Drew Hutchison coming up right behind him and Luis Perez being given token shots at a rotation that is already full, the field is getting dismal for Kyle Drabek.

Now, this isn’t to say give up on Drabek. The Blue Jays gave up the best pitcher in team history (willing to take arguments for Dave Stieb) to acquire him. Without a doubt, he still has one of the highest ceilings of any pitching prospect in the Blue Jays system. But his failure to stick to the majors is disheartening – especially when there is so much pitching talent in this organization.

He has a fastball riding the mid-90s, a solid cutter and change-up and quite possibly the best curve ball on the 40-man roster. He has potential. But potential can sometimes be a word that people use when they really mean a missed-opportunity. *Cough* Mark Prior. *Cough*

But I have hope. Perhaps all Drabek needs is a shot of confidence. With an offense and defense bolstered by the presence of Brett Lawrie and Jose Bautista and a full season of Colby Rasmus in centerfield and heated competition between Travis Snider and Eric Thames in left field; Drabek could be looking some much needed run support.

I have got high hopes for Kyle Drabek. But like many Blue Jays fans that remember 1992-1993 and have a near two-decade long tenure of disappointment, Drabek’s performance last year was legitimate cause for concern.

But with that said… as always… I hope for the best!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Zach Paikin for Policy Chair

I admit I was prompted to come out with loud support of Zach's candidacy following the recent statements made by Max Naylor. (If you wish to read them I invited you to search Google. I won't linking to such material.)

Max attacked both Zach's personal political positions and his character as a person. I know Max. I've never had a personal issue with him. But this is over the line.

I want to first address the attack "blue Liberals". As one myself I take personal offense. Whatever you wish to call us - Turner Liberals... Manley Liberals... Martin Liberals... Maybe even Brison Liberals?... - we are dedicated to this party and its rebuilding process. Policy difference will occur. That is part of the big tent. But starting some kind of push to cleanse the Party of either its "blue" or "orange" elements is not what a political party coming off a historical worst showing needs. If Max (or anyone for that matter) believe that a member of this Party (especially a fairly prominent one internally) is not a "real" or "true" Liberal (or liberal) I would suggest you keep it to yourself. This Party has more important things to do.

As far as questions of character are concerned; Zach and I may not agree on every issue but I have never encountered the person Max is speaking of in his blog. Zach is always open to discussion and debate - exactly the attitude you'd hope for from someone facilitating our policy process.
I've known Zach for years. And I've known him to be dedicated to this party and to its policy process. He believes in re-empowering the grass roots and would be an assert in helping us regain government.

Take a look at Zach's website. You'll see his plan for engaging in the creation of an independent think tank. You'll see how he plans to return power to our grass roots.

In Ottawa I'm encouraging all members to vote to make Zach Paikin the next Policy Chair of the Liberal Party of Canada. To quote my political mentor George Smitherman, "Zach Paikin is exactly what the Liberal Party of Canada needs right now."

Friday, 9 December 2011

What's next for the public broadcaste​r?

I am a Liberal. I look to the political legacies of great Prime Ministers like Laurier, Pearson, Trudeau, and Chretien. So make no mistake when I say this; I have thought it through. It is time to for the Government of Canada to sell the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; otherwise known as the CBC.

Canadians must move away from the simple left v. right dynamic of supporting a public broadcaster. It cannot be a question of Conservatives (or conservatives) disliking a perceived bias of the network. Nor can it be a knee jerk reaction of everyone else to defend the status quo on the CBC.
When we discuss the CBC there a few important questions to address. First; who is the CBC accountable to?

In recent years the answer has been no one. The Harper Government under Minister of Canadian Heritage James Moore has only increased the CBC's budget while cutting elsewhere in the department despite increasing scrutiny and criticism of how the CBC spends public funds.

Where does the CBC spend your money?

Good question. Unfortunately no one is really publicly saying. The CBC feels these files are confidential. The opposition seems to agree. Ask yourself if you really see logic in a Crown Corporation actually defending its secretive practices.

Do we get our money's worth?

This one is debatable. We know the CBC receives approximately $1.1 billion from the Canadian public. I watch Being Erica. Its a good show. Its also being cancelled due to an expanding budget that the network cannot keep up with. You know who has a larger budget? CTV. Global. CityTV. You name it. They can all afford to support such a program.

Which leads into our final question. Would the CBC be more successful as a private network?

I believe so. As a private enterprise they would have constant stable funding. They would have access to free market advertising and programming. And frankly; they would get Quebecor off their backs.

I understand that people have concerns about the Government selling the CBC. Notably I've heard about "Americanization". Frankly folks; it is illegal for an American to own a Canadian broadcaster. And I would look at distinctly Canadian broadcasters like CTV and City for guidance on whether privately owned broadcaster must capitulate to American interests.

I know “James’ Plan will be a Key Part of Our Rebuilding”

Before I decided to support James Morton, I looked at the other candidates running for VP – English and considered my support carefully. James impressed me. He reached out personally to tell me what he planned to do for our Party and where he wanted to see us go as a political party – not just following 2015, but 2019 and beyond. We need to admit some realities to ourselves as Liberals. First being that we probably won't form government following the next election. But if we work hard, we might in 2019. James understands this. He understands that the rebuild process will not occur overnight.

James' plan will be a key part of our rebuilding. That is why I am asking my fellow members of the Liberal Party of Canada to join me in supporting James Morton as the next Vice-President – English of our Party.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

The Wheat Board

I want to be honest with this. I have been pretty open about the fact that I actually support the Government's position on the Canadian Wheat Board. And let us be clear what that is exactly. The Government of Canada's legislation will make the Canadian Wheat Board voluntary. It will not dismantle it. Some may kick and scream about slippery slopes. Don't. I've been saying since the debate on marriage that I will not buy into slippery slopes. End of story. And the piece of legislation - known as the Marketing Freedom for Farmers Act - will make the Wheat Board voluntary. End of story. That only makes sense. It should not be a criminal act for one to market their own goods by their own means.

But here's the crux.

The way the Government went about introducing this legislation was apparently illegal. So the question isn't about whether or not we support the government's position on this issue, but rather whether or not the Government's actions were actually criminal in the fashion in which this legislation was introduced. A ruling today confirms that, yes, they were. To say the least I find this development intriguing. I have this Government on a number of policy points. But I cannot defend the degradational effect they have had on Canadian democracy. The 1998 Act that amended the Wheat Board Act stated that a government must first seek approval of the Wheat Board's members before altering it in such a way. This Government didn't. That makes their actions illegal. That makes their actions criminal. End of story.

Monday, 5 December 2011

The next President of the Liberal Party of Canada?

Is the Liberal Party of Canada dead?

In a word, "No."

Those who question the future existence of the Liberal Party of Canada need only look at the fantastic candidates seeking the Party's Presidency. Former Deputy Prime Minister Sheila Copps. Former MP Alexandra Mendes. Kingston-area riding President Ron Hartling. Calgary-area Liberal Charles Ward. And, my choice, former President of the Liberal Party of Canada (Ontario) Mike Crawley. All five candidates bring to the something unique. Whether it be getting down to what brought the Party into government in 1993. Or whether it be being a representation of the next generation of our Party. Or as a face of the little success the Federal Liberals have enjoyed as of late. Or as someone with an eye for future of what this Party can be.

The Conservatives and New Democrats that root, root, root for their home team; while root, root, rooting for the Liberal Party to whither and die should be be worried. We have a handful of candidates ready to get down to the nitty-gritty of rebuilding a once great party. Don't worry, folks. You won't have to make room in your parties for people such as me - who believe corporate tax cuts stimulate the economy, but that it is time to end subsidies to Alberta Big Oil. Liberals will survive.

But our best bet to that will come with making the correct choice in January in Ottawa. For me that is Mike Crawley. More than any other candidate Mike is looking to the future of this party. He knows we can't rest on the laurels of the likes of Laurier, Pearson, Trudeau, and Chretien. We can't go in to 2013 looking for the next leader in this line. We can only look to 2015. And than 2019. And than 2023. Is that David McGuinty? Is that Dominic LeBlanc? Is that Scott Brison? Is it someone else? I don't know. But I do know we can't treat them like we've treated Stephane Dion and Michael Ignatieff. And Mike understands that.

Its time for change in the Liberal Party of Canada. Its time for Mike Crawley to become our next President. He has my support. I ask that you make sure he has your's too. But I also ask that you make an informed decision. As such, I will be including website to all candidates below.

Mike Crawley -
Sheila Copps -
Ron Hartling -
Alexandra Mendes -
Charles Ward - [Please note that I could not locate a website. If someone would provide a link, I would be more than happy to include it.]

Sunday, 4 December 2011

I'm Back!

So... After some convincing I'm rejoiing the blogosphere. My last tour kicked off with The Jordan Glass Times. It was primarily started as a means to endorse the candidacy of Bob Rae for leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. I'm going to look for this blog to be a little more broad. I want to speak openly and honestly about issues important to me. So folks; give me some feed back. Let me know what you think. And we'll see how this goes.