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A victory for the Wheat Board over Harper and Strahl’s underhandedness.

Great news tonight. The Federal Court of Canada says if Deceivin’ Stephen and Chuckie Strahl want to change the Wheat Board’s ability to market barley, its going to have to do it properly thru Parliament, and not bypass it like they attempted:

A judge has struck down the federal government’s move to strip the Canadian Wheat Board of its monopoly on western barley sales. In a ruling issued Tuesday, Federal Court Judge Dolores Hansen said the government overstepped its authority in trying to end the monopoly through a simple cabinet order… The government changed the board’s barley-handling through regulations approved by the Conservative cabinet. Critics successfully argued the change can only be made by passing a law in Parliament — something that could be blocked by the opposition.

The Conservatives attempted this end-around of Parliament because they know they dont have the votes to do any major changes, but now, they have no choice. Their ending of the Wheat Board as sole marketer of barley was to take place August 1, so this ruling comes in the nick of time. They can appeal this to the Supreme Court of Canada, of course, which I wouldnt be surprised if they do, but this is a major setback for Harper, and a victory for democracy.

Parliament is what determines the laws of this land, and Harper and his Conservative clones may not like it, but in a minority government, you don’t always get your way. Thankfully, the courts have pointed out that trying to cheat to impose your minority views on the rest of the country isn’t the answer either.

UPDATE: 11:12 Pm – Steve has his take on the topic here.
UPDATE: 12:15 am – The Jurist is relieved that the courts weren’t fooled by the Cons. underhandedness here
UPDATE:  12:55 am – Chucky Strahl, obviously smarting from the slap in the face just given him by the Federal Court, issues a snotty, whiny statement.


A new TV station for the Blogging Tories and related conservatives.

I’m pleased to see Bell catering to our conservative crowd in Canada out there:

TV for babies? You’d better believe of last week…thanks to the launch of a 24-hour commercial-free channel aimed exclusively at infants and toddlers. Called BabyFirstTV, it is being offered for a free, limited trial period for subscribers of Bell ExpressVu Digital TV…plenty of footage of real babies.

With all the whining and crying that crowd does on a daily basis, this channel should be a big hit amongst them.


The fish rots from the head down.

This isn’t particularly surprising news:

Judging by the government’s first 18 months, the final say on any new agenda will lie with only one man – Stephen Harper. Despite years of championing accountability and the importance of MPs’ independent voices, Harper has established an unprecedented one-man hold on Ottawa…The Prime Minister continues to be the government’s spokesperson on most issues. As they have for a year and a half, cabinet ministers remain largely in the background, forced to clear all important announcements with the PMO.

By being a one-man show, Harper might project he is a “strong” leader, but he also projects that the rest of his government is very weak. As much as I detest President Bush and his main strategist Karl Rove, there is one political strategy that Rove has employed over the years that might make sense to do up here – rather then attack a political opponent’s weakness, attack or discredit his perceived greatest strength and neutralize it.

I don’t propose that the dirty tricks Rove is apparently (in)famous for doing be applied here. But,  I believe if the perceived strength of Harper being seen as a strong leader can be attacked and discredited, with his government being so dependent on him and his Cabinet Ministers being perceived as being nothing more then a group parroting Harper’s views, I think the house of cards would come down pretty quickly on this government and their hold on power.

Something to think about for certain other political party strategists.


On the 10th Anniversary of the Blogosphere

I just wanted to give some props to David Eaves and Taylor Owen (both affiliated with Progressive Bloggers and/or Liblogs) for their excellent article in the Toronto Star commemorating the 10th anniversary of blogging. The best quote of the whole article is here:

…blogging continues to be misunderstood by both technophiles and technophobes. For the past decade the former have maintained that blogs will replace traditional journalism, ushering in an era of citizen-run media. Conversely, the latter have argued that a wave of amateurs threatens the quality and integrity of journalism – and possibly even democracy.

Both are wrong.

Why do Taylor and David think both are wrong? Go read the entire article to find out.


Through the Looking Glass

Iraq has been such a disaster since the US invaded it that its supporters of the Bush-led war desperately cling to any scrap of perceived good news they can find to continue justifying that somehow it isn’t a disaster. The latest attempt by some of its supporters up in Canada is to somehow suggest that because the Iraqi soccer team won a tournament, that justifies the whole invasion thing, never mind the list of appalling statistics that Zorpheous brings up – the Iraqi’s won the Asian Cup, so that cancels all the other bad news out! Oh, and pointing out the bad news means that you’re really just trying to […]


Should Canadians be able to own assault rifles?

Just a rhetorical question I throw out there to the libertarians in my midst who have printed a lot of indignation on here when some of us would suggest banning the ownership of a handgun in Canada and restricting it to the police and the military.

Under their suggestions, we shouldn’t be mandating what Canadians should own or not, and that it’s not the handgun’s fault people die from it – it’s just due to the person who uses it. So.. under that theory, Canadians should be allowed to own assault rifles, right? Or is that somehow different?


Some more on the GTA Prog Blog BBQ – pics.

I’ve already posted at the main Prog Blog site where you can go to see some of the pictures of the event, but I’m going to repost this picture just to prove to my NDP colleagues I really don’t despise them, just get into the occasional argument or 2 with them.

This is a picture of me posing with Peggy Nash, NDP MP for Parkdale – High Park, who accepted our invite to attend (Kate Holloway of Fair Vote Canada/ Liberals For MMP is sitting to the right of me).

I think the blogger group as a whole found her very engaging and very smart and very impressive. She […]


My Day in the GTA for the Progressive Bloggers get-together.

In case you didnt know (you might not care, but hey, this is my blog. I can write about what I want on here) the Progressive Bloggers group held their 2nd annual get-together today in Unionville Ontario. Actually, that’s not quite true, as we are holding multiple events – one in Ottawa next week, and the BC folks were also trying to hold one today – but this is the 2nd year of our 3 years in existence where we’ve held blogger get-togethers to meet some of the folks in the large umbrella organization that is Progressive Bloggers.

My day started off getting to Toronto and meeting up with and […]


The Ontario Citizen’s Assembly: In Their Own Words

Hat tip to Mark Greenan of Fair Vote Canada and Blogging For Democracy for pointing out this Youtube Video of the Ontario Citizens Assembly explaining the process and their decision in their own words:

Also, I’d be remiss if I didnt point to the cute Youtube cartoon video of “Billy Ballot” explaining MMP PR others have already pointed out in the blogosphere.


How are those accountability reforms coming along?

Not so well:

The Conservatives lied to voters when they promised a new era of accountability by ending the controversial practice of appointing partisans to federal agencies, boards and commissions, a government watchdog group says. Since the beginning of the year, the Tories have made about 800 appointments, many of them with close ties to the party, and there is still no sign of an independent public appointments commission, said Duff Conacher, co-ordinator of Democracy Watch, a group advocating government accountability and corporate responsibility.

That’s not a partisan politician or Party saying the Conservatives lied; that’s a non-partisan watchdog group – a pretty strong statement. But, you might ask, what […]

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