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Dion will ensure the world knows the majority of Canadians disagree with Steve on climate change.

I’d just like to repeat what I’ve read elsewhere on this topic and say I think it’s absolutely a stroke of brilliance that Dion is going to go to Bali next month – out of his own pocket if necessary – to the United Nations climate change talks to ensure that the rest of the world knows that Stephen Harper does not speak for the majority of Canadians on climate change.

Dion is well known by most of these world delegations from the Montreal climate change meetings, and its generally agreed by observers he was well regarded, so he will certainly have the ability to have more then a few […]

A good start.

As a liberal with a social progressive bent, I get very happy when I see governments fight very important social issues that often have been overlooked – and Ontario appears about set to do that by announcing a new dental plan for the poor in our society:

McGuinty is giving his anti-poverty initiative teeth with a $45 million dental care plan for the working poor… The new dental program…will help about 500,000 low-income workers unable to afford private insurance coverage for their teeth. It will cover preventive care, including fluoride treatments and cleanings by dental hygienists, and fillings and extractions by dentists.

That’s not all there is though: the Liberal […]

Going over like a lead balloon.

Three cases of that statement that caught my eye this evening.

First, Harper’s statements on climate change and declaring that Kyoto was ” a mistake” earned him a unanimous disassociation of that statement in the Quebec legislature by all 3 parties. Regardless of what Chantal Hebert opines, I believe Dion should be hammering on that issue everywhere, but particularly in Quebec come next election.

Secondly, and on a related note, the UN issues about as unsubtle a diplomatic rebuke as you can do with regards to Harper and Canada’s position on Climate Change.

Thirdly, the decision by the NDP and Jack Layton to support the Cons. motion on prohibiting veiled voters from casting ballots has enraged traditional NDP supporting bloggers, and unaffiliated blogs on the progressive left who are normally sympathetic to the NDP today, although with the NDP’s view on blogging regarding it as the black sheep of the family, one wonders what if any effect it will have, or if anyone in NDP HQ even notices the discomfiture this has caused amongst their normally very loyal supporters.

Liberal and Con. blogs and the netroots for those parties may have no more influence on their respective parties, but we do know they get read up on the Hill by the MP’s and staffers. I’m not sure the same can be said of the NDP MP’s and staffers for the NDP bloggers, whose party seems to treat the venue and those who use it as pariahs. Perhaps the better way to get their attention is to get the media notice their rumblings, like say, Kady O’Mally, who wrote today wondering who exactly came up with this strategy to vote for this in the NDP backroom. People like her and others in the media could make a few NDP’ers rather uncomfortable when its pointed out to them that their netroots/grassroots supporters aren’t too happy about this.

And I support their stance, by the way. How can we have a problem with MAYBE a few hundred veiled voters, when we have thousands of Canadians sending in absentee mail-in ballots who apparently are just fine and dandy and we have no problem trusting who they are? The appearance of fearmongering against Muslims is way too obvious here.

Perception is everything.

I still don’t know what to make of this whole Mulroney/Schreiber business and whether it will hurt the Cons or not. However, for a government that supposedly has nothing to do with this affair, it sure is giving off the appearance of having something to hide, when the Justice Minister refuses to use his power to prevent or stay Schreiber’s extradition (or more comically, pretends he doesn’t have the power to do so when every legal opinion out there says he does), which causes this almost unprecedented legal move by the Speaker:

The Speaker of the House of Commons has issued a rare warrant compelling Karlheinz Schreiber to appear at a committee hearing Thursday to discuss his business dealings with former prime minister Brian Mulroney… The archaic legal process last used in 1913 could have been avoided if Nicholson had instructed officials to follow the original commons directive, issued last week. It ought to be straight-forward, Rob Walsh, the impartial Commons legal counsel told MPs on the ethics committee today. Its within the power of the justice minister. Its his call. Its his judgment.

Nicholson however, is doing a “I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” routine with Parliament over this.

As I said, when the government and the Justice Minister are going to such great lengths to avoid Schreiber being here to testify, you have to wonder what it is they don’t want people to hear. If the government has nothing to do with any of this affair, at the very least, Nicholson and the Cons have brought a lot of rather unnecessary attention and suspicion to themselves by their actions, or lack thereof.

There sure are a lot of “small persons” in Confederation, all of a sudden.

The title of course is referring to the comment that Conservative House Leader Peter Van Loan made about Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty when the Premier protested about the unfairness of Albertan and BC getting seat redistribution that would accurately reflect representation by population for them, while Ontario got shortchanged of seats.

I have said prior that this was nothing more then a gerrymandering exercise to get more seats in provinces that the Cons have a better shot of winning then in urban Ontario, and it appears via Impolitical, the Premier of Quebec and the Premier of Manitoba agree with Dalton’s position on this.

I am willing to bet you won’t […]

Leading from behind

I saw a great description of the strategy Stephen “I ain’t doing nuthin’ on climate change till everyone else does it too” Harper is following over at Desmogblog, and I thought I’d re-print it here:

It’s called leading from behind. See, we can encourage a country like Bangladesh to contribute foreign aid first to set a low standard, and then if we beat that standard we can go on TV and claim to be doing more than our part.

Also over at Desmogblog, they publish the 5 new commandments they expect to be issued from “me-last” Harper any day now, in the spirit of his attitude on climate change. I […]

What real “leadership” on climate change looks like.

While Stephen Harper leads the world now in foot-dragging on hard targets for Greenhouse Gas emissions, newly victorious Kevin Rudd of Australia shows that he means business on the environmental front:

Australia’s new prime minister, Kevin Rudd, made climate change his top priority on Sunday, seeking advice on ratifying the Kyoto pact and telling Indonesia he will go to December’s UN climate summit in Bali…Rudd …planned talks with officials and advisers about administrative arrangements for ratification of Kyoto as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, while Harper claims that his position on aspirational targets and/or waiting until everyone gets onboard with hard caps is “the strong position” on climate change, other countries […]

One less foot-dragger on climate for Harper to be buddies with.

The people in Australia have spoken, and they have spoken rather emphatically:

Official figures from the Australian Electoral Commission showed Labor well ahead with more than 70 percent of the ballots counted. An Australian Broadcasting Corp. analysis showed that Labor would get at least 81 places in the 150-seat lower house of Parliament a clear majority.

And what will be the major impact globally? Why, it appears Australia now believes we need more then “aspirational targets” to go at climate change, but meaningful targets:

..one of the biggest changes will be in Australia’s approach to climate change. Rudd has nominated the issue as his top priority, and promises to immediately sign the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions.

This would also probably mean a withdrawal of Australia from the group of countries who reject hard caps on GHG emissions. That also means that Canada is now indeed alone amongst the Commonwealth in opposing such caps, and it means Harper now only has George Dubya Bush as a fellow resister to hard targets amongst the industrialized world. What a lovely couple they make.

I’m sure John Baird will try to spin this somehow as being nothing big, but this is indeed a big blow for the Cons on the world stage as it comes to the environment, and at home domestically.

Canada’s back? More like Canada’s a pariah.

You all remember that slogan that Harper uttered about Canada being “back” in the world, when a lot of us wondered where Canada had ever gone. Maybe Harper means Canada is back to being noticed, and if he means it in that sense, then he’s done quite a sterling job at it at the Commonwealth Summit as being noticed as one of the the lone holdout nations to a resolution calling for international climate-change targets.

Apparently Harper won’t support this resolution unless it calls for binding targets on all nations – which is kind of interesting, since Canada is one of those nations that under Harper publicly opposes binding climate-change […]

The Cons are hypocrites about “supporting the troops”

It appears our Conservative government has taken to heart another bit of strategy from its Republican mentors down south – demonize any criticism and critics of a war mission by questioning their patriotism and their loyalty towards the troops, but then do actions that show you’re doing nothing more then using the troops for your own partisan and political purposes:

The federal government is about to stop its practice of giving extra money to Canadian soldiers posted to some of the country’s most expensive cities. Since June 2000, almost half of Canada’s soldiers have been receiving a bump in their monthly salary – dubbed the post living differential – for […]

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