Agonized over for more than a year, the new Canadian Foreign Policy was launched with much fanfare recently. (and a ton of taxpayer's money, no doubt!)
Needless to say, I don't think we're going to get much bang for the buck on this one. From the Foreign Policy magazine review of G8 Leaders prior to the next summit:
Paul Martin, Canada
Wants: It’s unclear, and nobody’s very curious. Martin was one of only two leaders that Blair failed to meet with face-to-face before the summit (the other was Koizumi). Canada will continue to lobby for the expansion of the G-8, which would make itself even less relevant.
Will get: Eighteen holes on the famous Gleneagles golf course. But Martin will be most grateful for a chance to get away from the funding scandal that is dogging him at home.
A little underwhelming to say the least. For anyone who was wondering just how marginalized Canada is becoming on the world stage thanks to the Liberals lacklustre efforts, there's not much doubt left now.
Just to remind you of the Jack Pack's approach - seek Jack Pack #1
Running your own business is challenging, exciting and rewarding, but all work and no play makes Paul a very grumpy person. Once every two weeks I like to take a night off, meet a few good friends and enjoy a pint (or two) at my favourite watering hole - Windsor's own Kildare House.
It's a big Dipper hang-out, but the owner is a good Conservative and a friend. Besides, what better place to hone your debating skills.
The NDP has been quick to announce that they are the ones making Parliament work today. Given their artificially heightened influence in a Government willing to play "Let's Make a Deal" on a daily basis, I thought it prudent to keep an eye on the 'Jack Pack'.
Where Apple goes with this technology, others will follow. Stephen Taylor has started things off for the Blogging Tories with regard to this new genre. Will others follow?
If you think blogging is fun - give Podcasting a whirl. Create your own 1/2 hour or hour long show. How many of us have watched the analysts and pundits ramble on and think - I could do better than that. Well - now you can.
In today's 24hr news environment, organizations are constantly looking for content. Eventually, radio stations will incorporate this into their programming. Now's the time for Conservatives to lead the way on this. No need to complain about MSM bias when you are bypassing them and delivering your content direct to the people.
I'm dusting off my digital soapbox as we speak. Who wants to join in?
Audacity - Recording software: The Free, Cross-Platform Sound Editor. Audacity is free, open source software for recording and editing sounds. It is available for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems
PodProducer - free software for creating podcasts. Simple and easy to use. Manual available.
Blog Matrix - Sparks!: Blog Matrix is a Canadian company providing several different recording/hosting options. Accounts are free for their Sparks software. Casting will cost, with several options available.
Just hours before the historic vote, Minister of State Joe Comuzzi quit cabinet so he could vote against the government's bill. He was among 32 Liberals who voted against the government.
NDP MP Bev Desjarlais was booted to the back row and stripped of her critic's duties as punishment for violating orders from Leader Jack Layton to support the bill.
"I understand it's party policy and recognized there would be discipline, and I can live with that," she said.
Judy Sgro - "Shades of Gray"? - seems pretty black and white to me. The fact that she is still a member of the Liberal caucus and not under criminal investigation speaks volumes. Paul Martin will probably have her back in cabinet as soon as he can re-shuffle the deck chairs on the Titanic. Maybe Minister of Human Resources so she can arrange cushy jobs for all those visa applicants she approved during the last election. You can't forget your supporters now, can you?
Ujal Dosanjh - yet another display of Liberal ethics and morals. That he remains in cabinet is an affront to Canadians.
...balance these two with:
Joe Comuzzi - resigned from Cabinet in order to be allowed to vote by choice, not by Paul Martin's orders
Bev Desjarlais - stripped of her critics portfolio and banished to the back benches for having the temerity to actually exercise her vote, as she was elected to do. I guess the Jack Pack doesn't value democracy as highly as some other things.
Three Conservative MPs voted with the government, in support of Bill C-38. They did this with the full knowledge that the CPC policy respects the right of MPs to vote freely, without coercion.
At the rate Paul Martin and the Jack Pack are going, we should be in a full-fledged Democratic Recession by fall.
Stephen Harper's Speech, June 28th. - Five thumbs up! (en francais)
This speech speaks for itself - excellent job Stephen. Looking forward to lots more this summer.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 28, 2005
One-Year Anniversary of 2004 Election
Address by the Hon. Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P. Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada Leader of the Official Opposition
OTTAWA Tuesday, June 28, 2005
As you know, today is an anniversary of sorts. The last election was just one year ago today. It was an election in which we, the new Conservatives – after only a few weeks of preparation, elected the largest official opposition in a quarter century.
Now, we stand on the threshold of another beautiful Canadian summer, and a period of enormous political opportunity.
Rona and Monte have just given us an informative and amusing report card on the achievement of the Martin Liberals over the past 12 months. But, the truth is, little of this has to be said. Canadians already know they are led by the most corrupt, incompetent, visionless government in our history.
Canadians are also becoming aware that two of the three opposition parties in Parliament offer no alternative of any kind. From budgets to marriage legislation, the NDP and the Bloc are working hand-in-hand with the government.
The Bloc especially has lost any raison d’être here in Ottawa.
We’ve known for a long time that Gilles Duceppe can never form a national government. And now we know that he is not even interested in leading the sovereigntist cause. The Bloc is a dead end for Gilles Duceppe, and the Bloc is a dead end for Quebec.
All of this gives us the opportunity to present the one principled alternative to this Liberal government. As the other parties work with the Liberals, it is our opportunity to talk to Canadians.
As I said at our Montreal policy convention, I will go anywhere in this country in order to bring about change. I will meet any group that will help us elect a Conservative government. I will leave no task undone, no voter unheard and no region unvisited.
But I do not have to do this alone. We have a great team in caucus. We have now nominated candidates in virtually every riding in this great country. We have completed most of the work on our platform.
This summer, I will be working. Our caucus members will be working. Our candidates must be working. And all Conservative supporters need to be working – to bring our message of change to Canadians.
Our message is that now, as never before, it is time to stand up for Canada. It is time to finally elect an honest, principled government with vision – a vision that grabs the future and makes it ours.
Friends, the election may wait. The other parties will wait. But we don’t have to wait. This time is for us an opportunity and a challenge. the challenge is to lay the groundwork for the change that must come, to convince Canadians to elect a Conservative government, and to see what a Conservative vision would achieve.
It is a time to stand up for Canada.
You know, that biggest problem with this Liberal government is that everything it does is phony. A grand strategy is proclaimed, an announcement is made, a deal is signed, and eventually a cheque is cut to somebody somewhere. But, for ordinary people, there are never any results. Nothing ever actually gets done.
There is no better example of this than the Liberal daycare scheme. The Liberal government has promised to build a national system of institutional day care. They have no idea how much it will cost, but they’re willing to throw the first five million dollars into the hole.
At best, the program has no flexibility, and only a tiny minority of families with children will ever see the money.
As the summer unfolds, we will announce details of our plans. But make no mistake, Conservatives will give the bulk of the child care dollars to the millions of child care experts who already exist: their names are mom and dad. That is because we believe parents – not politicians – know what’s best for their kids.
Our program will have different parts, but the key will be that we will give families tax dollars for childcare – not raise taxes on parents. We will provide a universal childcare payment directly to every Canadian family, regardless of where or how they choose to spend it. We will stand up for choice in childcare.
We will talk about health care as well. There is no area of public policy where this government’s record is more phony. Every year they sign another health accord. Every year they sign more cheques. And every year nothing happens.
Paul Martin said he would fix health care for a generation, and he has provided enough rhetoric to last a lifetime. Despite their high sounding words, the Liberals will not even require waiting list reduction targets for at least another three years.
Among other things, a Conservative government will:
o Insist that all jurisdictions be held accountable for meeting wait time reduction targets;
o Examine a care guarantee that would ensure patients received treatment within the clinically acceptable waiting times;
o Ensure that public health insurance covers a choice in delivery options to the patient.
Our approach will not centre on preserving one type of delivery and spending lots. Our approach will centre on serving the patient and achieving results.
The Supreme Court’s ruling on health care is a damning indictment of the Liberals’ health care record. As the court said, access to a waiting list is not access to health care.
A Conservative government will stand up for the health care access of ordinary Canadians.
This summer, we want to begin to better lay out our plans for the environment. We have had eight years of inaction under the Liberals’ Kyoto accord, and this year, we will again have one of the worst summers in terms of smog. In the Liberal-NDP budget, hundreds of millions of your tax dollars have been set aside – to do what? To clean up air quality? To purify our water? To preserve our natural heritage?
No. Instead, hundreds of millions of your tax dollars are being spent to buy hot air credits – literally as phony as three dollar bills – from other countries, many of which have far worse environmental records than Canada’s.
This money will not clean the Canadian environment, develop Canadian technology, or reduce the effects of this summer’s smog. This money will just transfer Canadians’ hard-earned wealth.
What we will do is take that money out of hot air credits, bring that money back to Canada, and put it toward tax credits for public transit users.
When it comes to real environmental results, we will stand up for Canada.
Finally, let me just talk today about national unity. Once again, this is a subject this government talks about incessantly, but what have they done?
It was Conservatives Sir John A. Macdonald, George Etienne Cartier and their associates who founded Confederation - the most lasting act of national unity in our history.
In recent times, other prime ministers have made their own contributions, some of which remain controversial to this day.
o Lester Pearson gave us our flag, against great opposition – even as he led a minority government;
o Pierre Elliott Trudeau enacted official bilingualism and, though strongly contested in his home province, patriated the Constitution;
o Brian Mulroney, after a hard-fought election, secured our access to the American market. And, though ultimately unsuccessful, tried to modernize the constitution through a national referendum.
After 12 years of this Liberal government, after three Liberal majorities and one minority, we can ask ourselves: What is their vision for the country? What are their lasting achievements?
The sad reality is that this Liberal administration - through waste, corruption and mismanagement - has tarnished the reputation of federalism in Quebec so badly that they have given new life for the Bloc, a party that can’t even explain why it’s in Ottawa.
Support for separatism in Quebec is now higher than in the 1995 referendum when the Liberals almost lost the country.
Our current prime minister’s only contribution to a national vision has been to give our problems a name – the democratic deficit - not to propose any solutions. We deserve a government that is prepared to stand up for Canada and give the country some direction as a nation.
You know some of the things I stand for, and they are long overdue:
o The Senate of Canada should be modernized and occupied by those who are elected by the people they represent;
o The growing areas of Ontario and British Columbia are underrepresented by population in the House of Commons - and this situation should be rectified;
o And we need to do something about the fiscal imbalance, where Ottawa rolls in billions of dollars of waste, mismanagement and corruption – while lower levels of government struggle to provide essential services without going into debt.
The fiscal imbalance is not only a question of numbers, but rather one of government philosophy. The federal Liberals think our money belongs to them- that they can do whatever they want with our tax dollars – while the provinces struggle desperately to make ends meet.
The Liberal ideal is a dominant federalism with a rich, central government with poor provinces. The Conservative ideal is an open federalism that considers provinces and municipalities as partners – not adversaries.
Our Conservative government will stand up for a fundamental rethinking of transfer arrangements and revenue-raising capacity between all levels of government.
Our Conservative government will stand up for our provinces and our municipalities, as well as our federal government – because there are no federal Canadians, provincial Canadians and municipal Canadians.
There are only Canadians – and they need our governments to work together. Friends, over the next few weeks before Parliament returns, our caucus members, our candidates and I will be talking directly and frankly to Canadians about our plans:
o Our plans to help in childcare; o To rebuild our health care; o To improve our environment; o And to restore trust in Canada’s institutions and our national unity.
We’ll also talk about some things I haven’t touched on today, like standing up for hard-working immigrants, and standing up for our rural economy.
For too long, we have allowed other parties to define us, but we have a modern, mainstream and realistic program to put forward. This is what I will be doing, as I travel in a small van... paid for by the party…not on a government jet paid by Canadian taxpayers.
Friends, everywhere I go, I will be talking about the fundamental values we share as Canadians.
Mr. Martin likes to say that the Liberal party believes in what he calls “Canadian values.” But we know what Liberal values are –paying off your friends and buying off your rivals. That’s how they became corrupt and how they stay in power.
These aren’t the real values of Canadians. The real Canadian values, the values that built the country are:
o Honesty and hard work; o Safety and security; o Community and compassion; o Democracy and decency; o And family and freedom.
These are the real Canadian values. These are not the values of today’s Liberals. They are the values of Canada’s Conservatives.
And as we fan out across the country in the weeks ahead, taking our message directly to Canadians. Remember, that as we stand up for these values, we stand up for Canada.
Thank you ladies and gentlemen. Thank you to all the MPs and staff who are here for your hard work over the last twelve months. Now I’m off to flip a few burgers.
This kind of stuff just leaves me shaking my head. The Canadian Military is already a top heavy, bloated organization to begin with. We need to be reducing commands, not creating new ones. The Forces are under-staffed, under-funded and stretched to the breaking point.
I don't have the stats at hand, but the last time I checked the Canadian military still had one of the highest ratios of Officers to Enlisted in the world. We have more people working at headquarters or commands etc, than we have total strength in the Navy and Air Force combined.
More smoke and mirrors to make it look like the CF is being 'revived and renewed'. Canada Command certainly is catchy, but is it useful and cost-effective? Not likely.
"With the current deal guaranteeing NDP support for the Liberals set to expire within days, Layton made clear his party is bent on using its new status as a free agent to wring new concessions from the ruling Liberals"
We all know what the answer to this is going to be. Paul Martin just can't say no.
My guess is that this next round of NDP blackmail will cost in the neighbourhood of $6 to $8 billion.
Blackmail? Considering that only 15.69% of Canadians voted for the NDP's socialist utopia, that leaves a full 84.31% who want no part of Jack's pack.
Paul Martin will agree to just about anything to maintain the NDP support in the fall. Jack will continue to prop up a government bereft of legitimacy, policies or scruples.
Jack would have you believe that this is 'making government work' - late night hotel deals to spend $4.5 billion dollars. Where I come from, the exchange of money for services in a hotel room, late at night, has another, very different name.
The 'NDP budget' might as well have been a blank cheque given to the Liberals. The bill implementing it, C48 - An Act to authorize the Finance Minister to make certain payments is so lacking in details that it borders on the criminal. Other than a few broad strokes, there is virtually no limit on how and where this money can be spent. Is this how Jack Layton (or Buzz Hargrove) takes care of Canadians?
If any Canadian business walked into a bank and asked for a $4.5 million dollar loan on the basis of a 3 page business plan, they would be laughed out onto the street, if not sized up for a straight jacket. So the question is - Why is the Jack Pack patting themselves on the back for helping approve $4.5 billion dollars of your hard earned tax dollars on the same basis?
PS. - on a purely personal and selfish side note, anyone have any old copies of the Liberal Red Book lying around. Sears doesn't publish anymore and the facilities stock at the cottage is getting dangerously low.
Set a goal of at least one letter a week. Encourage your friends and associates to join in. The letters page is your opportunity to speak out, so do so. Loud, Often and Clearly.
Email your successful letters to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will post a list each week with all the letters I receive. Names will be witheld upon request, but I would like to print the city and paper that the letters appeared in.
Now that I've suitably relaxed after a few frustrating hours reading thr0ugh bureau-speak reports from Industry Canada, I thought it would be suitable to pull back the curtain a little - so to speak - and roll out the next "Hidden Agenda Highlight" .
Coming soon to a Government Department near you .....
The "Take Back Canada Tour" (sponsored by the Conservative Party of Canada)
26. Economic Principles
A Conservative Government will create an economic climate in which Canadians can thrive and prosper, and with their success create quality job opportunities for Canadians. The Conservative Party believes that a dollar in the hand of a Canadian citizen is better than a dollar in the hand of a government bureaucrat. Canadians should be enjoying a higher standard of living, a more competitive economy and greater productivity, similar to our major trading partners. A Conservative Government will ensure that Canada’s competitive position in the world is not impeded by a lack of ethics in government.
28. Science, Research and Development
i) A Conservative Government will establish a single authority or single window to review big science projects according to published guidelines. These types of projects are often tied up in the bureaucracy because, under the current system, they are forced to seek funding from a myriad of departments and agencies. A single-window approach would be more transparent for the research community and more accountable to Canadian taxpayers.
There's those pesky anti-Liberal words again. Transparent and accountable.
Susan Riley's piece in the Ottawa Citizen and Windsor Star this weekend got me thinking. (subscriber only content, but it should be in most CanWest papers).
Time bomb for Grits?
You could here a steady ticking in question period this week.
It sounded familiar. A bit like a time bomb.
It started when the Conservatives began pressing for answers on a controversial government program, Technology Partnerships Canada, intended to promote business innovation. It has emerged that about $3.7 million was improperly paid to lobbyists, who secured TPC loans for four unnamed firms.
I figured we might as well get in front of this one and coin a name for the upcoming 'suprise' that the program is riddled with problems and that the taxpayer is getting hosed yet again. Over $2.7 billion in 'loans' to industries have been given out since 1996 with a repayment rate of only 5%. Now we have kickbacks with unnamed lobbyists and firms benefiting from government money. For some strange reason - this sounds very familiar.
IndustryGate is too lame, and isn't everyone getting tired of the whole 'gate' label?
Adscam was good. We need to be ready with the appropriate moniker for this barrel of monkeys.
Here are my suggestions on how we should refer to this going forward:
RoboGate - I know - there's that 'gate' again, but it's just too easy. In honour of former Industry Minister Lucienne Robillard, who was minister when all these fine audits and reports were completed. You know - the ones that say that there are no problems! ;
RockPet - can't forget former Industry Minister Allan Rock;
Grease - self explanatory;
I know, these are kind of weak, but it's 1:30am and I'm stretching a little here. I'm sure all the others out there can chime in with a few gems.
Below you can find a series of background links to put all of this into perspective.
Look very carefully at all the no's in the above chart. I wonder why they don't report yearly on things like Repayment and Accountability. I'll give you a hint:
THEY DON'T KNOW!
The first evidence that TPC has gathered and analyzed information on the full range of performance indicators is provided by a report dated October 2002, entitled Reporting on 2000-2001 Program Performance Results. This report, and the accompanying memorandum to senior management, is indicated to be a first prototype of the summary report.
The report states that Tier Two level performance measurement information first mentioned in the 1998-99 Business Plan is not included, as it is subject to further development work.
Interviews with TPC, Industry Canada Sector, IRAP and Other Government Department Representatives
Interviews with TPC managers and staff confirmed that TPC has been planning to develop and improve its performance measurement and reporting system for several years, and has made some advances in data collection, but still has much to do before an integrated PMRS system is operational. The information that is presented in the Annual report is provided from the TPC data collection system. While the October 2002 report entitled Reporting on 2000-2001 Program Performance Results is an important first step, interviewees were not able to provide information on the extent to which TPC management has made use of the information in the report to inform decision making.
Even better is management's response to the 'internal audit' and 'evaluation report'.
An internal TPC audit was initiated to ensure the program meets the test of quality administration and financial accountability. The audit was complemented by a program evaluation conducted with clients to assess overall program effectiveness. Both initiatives confirmed that: there are no cases of impropriety; TPC is a valuable and essential instrument; and in the spirit of continuous improvement, there are initiatives that will refine the program. In addition, the program evaluation recommended a mid-course re-alignment through a policy review to improve relevance and effectiveness.
Just think, this is the kind of thing that is going on in a department subject to the full scrutiny of Parliament and the Auditor General. I wonder what's happening in all those 'arms-length' foundations beyond such needless prying eyes. Who needs effective Whistleblowers Legislation or Access to Information laws that actually give access. We have the Liberal Party of Canada looking out after our best interests.
And you thought Freddy Krueger was scary. Excuse me, I have to go find my Teddy Bear.
Make Jack and Jill and everyone else very boring --- sooo!
In the spirit of fun (I'm stuck working all weekend, so this is the only fun I get to have)
Blue Blogging Soapbox's Political Game Contest
We've all seen those funny little flash games floating around the net, you know, the ones you NEVER play at work, only at home. One of my favourites has always been the Penguin Swing.
The Challenge: create a game with a Canadian political theme. Let your imagination run wild! Personally, I don't have an artistic bone in my body, but I do appreciate others talents. How about a game where Jean Chretien is throwing golf balls at Justice Gomery. Your job is to keep Justice Gomery from getting three head lumps. Another good one might be Paul Martin throwing out bags of money. Your job is to catch the bags - drop too many and the game is over - the Canadian ecomomy crashes. Just a couple of ideas off the top of my head. I'm sure we have both the artistic talent and creative minds out there to come up with some outstanding little gems.
The Prize: $100.00
The Rules: 1. Open to anyone 2. Games are to be submitted to email@example.com 3. The games are not limited to flash, but should be in a format that is either easily hosted online or small enough to email.
I will make all submitted games available online for everyone to try out. Winners will be determined by the votes of Bloggingtories. (to be eligible to vote, you must be a member of the Bloggingtories at contest close) Contest will close Monday September 5th at 12 noon EST. Voting will take place over the course of the week and the winner will be announced on Friday, September 9th.
If anyone else would like to sponsor the contest with either a cash prize or donated goods please drop me a line. I'd wouldn't mind adding a Second, Third and Honourable Mention to the contest.
I discovered this site while surfing one night about a year ago. It's a virtual treasure trove of political information, specifically online.
Their reports are current and detailed, studying current trends and effects of the internet on politics. The studies here are must reads for any serious political junkie. There are also some great videos from their most recent conference, the 12th Politics Online Conference
Some recommended reading:
The Political Consultants' Online Fundraising Primer June 2004: The success of the 2004 presidential candidates has spurred a revolution in Internet-based fundraising. By introducing an alternative model for raising money that is quick, cheap and easy, the Internet has increased the pool of small donors and holds the promise of lessening candidates' reliance on large contributors. This primer, designed for campaigns, nonprofits and issue advocacy groups, explains how they did it.
Political Influentials Online in the 2004 Presidential Campaign February 2004: A new community of citizens defined the 2004 presidential campaign. These citizens are Internet-oriented, politically energized, and they support their candidates by visiting their websites, joining Internet discussion groups, reading political Web logs and making political contributions over the Internet. Even before the first primary, they played a pivotal role in the campaign, and they may be harbingers of permanent change in American politics.
Putting Online Influentials to Work for Your Campaign July 2004: Putting Online Influentials to Work for Your Campaign describes the techniques that the Bush campaign and others have adopted to take advantage of the unique characteristics of online political Influentials--their persuasive ability, their political activism and their large social networks.
Under the Radar & Over the Top: Online Political Videos in the 2004 Election Autumn 2004: A study of the independently-produced political videos that were circulated on the Internet during the final weeks of the 2004 Presidential campaign. These videos tended to be far more mean-spirited and partisan than the two most popular videos of the genre, JibJab’s “This Land is Your Land” and “Good to Be in DC,” which were shown on national television broadcasts and viewed by tens of millions of people. The study found that these amateur videos were spread by e-mail and posted on political blogs, giving them an underground currency that is larger than generally recognized. Because this activity occurs out of view of the political press, this new and growing phenomenon has largely escaped the media’s attention.
Bonus Question: see if you can spot a fellow Bloggingtories member on the site.
I'll leave the typical 'the media is biased against us' topic for another day. My opinions on this are many, varied and probably not what most people would expect. Before I dive into the deep end with the sharks, I want to make sure I have my First Aid kit with me. :)
Although much of what I'm going to list here is probably preaching to the converted, I believe it's still worth saying if it motivates even a couple more people to jump onboard.
Blogging has opened up an entirely new world for everyone to have their say - unedited and uncensored. This is a very good thing, especially for Canadian Conservatives, thanks to inititives such as the BloggingTories.ca
While techology is a great thing, we certainly don't want to ignore the basics. Letter writing and Radio Call-in shows are still mediums that are important to getting the conservative message out.
An effective letter writing campaign can work wonders. Four or five people dedicated to sending in one or two letters a week will produce results - especially if the letters are well written. Even in traditionally non-conservative ridings, there are plenty of conservatives to be found. We need to give them a reason to step forward. Show them that there are other like-minded people out there that are not willing to accept the status quo.
Try it out with your local paper. Form a group and focus for a month. Pick topical issues and send in a well written piece highlighting Conservative policies on the issue. Stick to the positive, avoid the negative and certainly don't give the Liberals more ink by talking about them. Here's a link to a good style guide that we prepared for supporters during Frank Klees' leadership run. I haven't had time to update it, but the guide itself is simple and effective.
Radio Call in shows are the same. Identify local call-in shows and listen to them. Keep an ear out for topics that relate to Conservative policies. Never waste an opportunity to jump in and get the message out. As with the letter writing, keep it positive and about Conservative issues, not about what the Liberals are doing. The last thing people want to hear is another 'angry conservative'. Kill 'em with common sense. When you do it this way - even the most left-wing radio personality has a hard time responding. Here's the Call-in guide that we prepared for the same campaign.
I'll end this with a little story. Earlier this year a Conservative Regional workshop was held in this area. Stephen Harper was there and participating in an open free for all question and answer session. He posed this question to everyone attending - "How do we start attracting good candidates in all the ridings" A friend of mine stood up and answered - "Stop losing by more than 10,000 votes." While many laughed, my friend was dead serious in his reply. Many ridings won't be won over night and certainly not without plenty of work. Be a leader:
Get the message out
Get supporters out to vote
No riding will be won without doing this work. Even so called 'no-hope' ridings need to have attention focused on them. Essex hadn't elected a Conservative in over 47 years. People would fall down laughing if you even mentioned that a Conservative could win in that riding. Today the riding is represented by a member of the Conservative Party of Canada.
It isn't easy, it often isn't fun - but it certainly is necessary. One vote at a time - We will succeed.
Even though this is from Microsoft - it's worth a glance. RSS is on the leading edge of changing the way many use the net. With the recent addition of podcasting - delivering audio and video content through RSS - look for browsers to integrate everthing. Mozilla is starting to make Microsoft squirm a little in this regard.
Feedburner Mobile Feed Reader 2.0 - A mobile handset with the J2ME MIDP 2.0/CLDC1.0 platforms, such as the Sony Ericsson P900 and Nokia 6600, and Palm OS 5 with network access (Palm Tungsten T series, Handspring Treo600)
Feedburner Blackberry Mobile Feed Reader Beta 2 - Important: Beta2 is currently only for devices running BlackBerry OS 3.8 and above. It will not install on older BlackBerry OSes. To check your version, go into Settings->About (on newer models) or Applications->BlackBerry (on older models).
Since RSS seems to be my theme this evening, I figured I might as well go all the way.
For those not familiar with RSS here's a real quick explanation from the Feedburner site and a list of some free readers to try out.
What is RSS?
"RSS" stands for Really Simple Syndication, Rich Site Summary, and/or Rockdale, Sandow, and Southern (Railroad) (if you trust the good folks at AcronymFinder.com). Really Simple Syndication is probably the most widely agreed-upon choice. As far as we are concerned, all three acronyms do an inadequate job of describing what RSS actually is:
RSS is a standard for publishing regular updates to web-based content. Using this standard, Web publishers provide updates, such as the latest news headlines or weblog postings. Meanwhile, consumers use RSS reader applications (or one of a growing number of online services) to collect and monitor their favorite feeds in one place (RSS content from a publisher, viewed in one of these readers, is often called a "feed").
Consumer Bottom Line: RSS makes reviewing a large number of sites in a very short time possible.
Publisher Bottom Line: RSS permits instant distribution of content updates to consumers.
Some readers to try:
Sharpreader - is a simple, but easy to use reader. This has been my favourite for a while.
Feedreader - another free, easy to use Windows reader
RSSBandit - I just started using this one myself and love it. It's a full featured reader based on Microsoft's .NET framework. This little puppy can really move and shake.
Newsgator - offers a free, online reader. They also have a paid version that integrates with Microsoft Outlook. MyYahoo - if you use a MyYahoo page, you can add feeds. MyMsn - will accept RSS feeds in their 'Add Content' search box. I have found this to be a little hit and miss though.
By no means is this an in-depth review of everything that is out there. This barely scratches the surface, but hopefully it's enough to get some people up and running.
Feed2JS - it just doesn't get much simpler than this.
Style your feed - again, enter your feed url. You have many different css style to choose from. You can preview each style. Once you find the one you like, simply cut and past the code.
You can also download your own copy of Feed2JS if you host your own blog. It is open-source software distributed under the GNU public license.
CaRP - free and PRO versions available. You will need a server in order to use this program.
There are plenty of good php scripts and other utilities out there for displaying feeds, just thought I'd share a few with everyone. I've dropped a quick one into my sidebar as an example.
Seems like someone out there was listening. Imagine my suprise when I saw this on the CPC site today when I went looking for the latest news releases.
On another note - you know you have some serious issues when you are celebrating RSS feeds - lol.
Hat tip to the CPC webmasters. RSS on Conservative.ca Conservative.ca RSS (Really Simply Syndication) feeds provide you with a simple, up-to-date information source from the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC). It also allows easy integration of CPC news and activities within your blog or web site.
How to use our RSS feed? You can view our RSS feeds with either an RSS Reader or a RSS web module. Simply click on the link below to add the desired RSS feed to your application. Many RSS news readers are available on the web and can be downloaded for free.
Canadian soldiers will soon receive treatment from private doctors, thanks to a deal the Department of National Defense (DND) has struck with Calian Technologies Ltd.
Over the next five years the government will pay more than $400 million to Calian in exchange for various skilled professionals, like laboratory technicians. They will also get doctors to fill in for the army's medical staff as needed.
Michael McBane of the Canadian Health Coalition finds the government's actions hypocritical.
"They're the guardian of public health care in Canada, and yet when it comes to delivering service in their own jurisdiction they're privatizing," he told CTV's David Akin.
I haven't had the time to do any background on this, but I believe this has already been going on for years. This is just a new deal, with a new company. More on that when I have time to dig some.
Just another example of say one thing and do another by our favourite Liberal spin-meisters. The great defenders of single tier health care are "the largest purchaser of private health care services in the country." I wonder if politicians still avail themselves of the excellent services at the National Defence Medical Centre in Ottawa?
Go figure. And they call the Conservatives 'scary'.
You gotta love the quote from Defence Minister Bill Graham:
Defence Minister Bill Graham defended his department's spending, arguing Canada's health services are insufficient for the military.
"For a long time we had our own health services which covered everything," he told Akin. "Now we are unable to do that and we find it more efficient to go outside."
WHAT!? Our national icon of universal healthcare isn't the most efficient way to deliver health services? Hmm - makes you wonder about what's going to happen to that $41 billion dollars over the next 5 years. For some strange reason, visions of a bottomless black pit keep popping into my head.
Liberal Government Fails to Protect the Rights of Native Women, says Guergis
22 June 2005
Ottawa – The federal government is contravening the human rights of native women by failing to protect them from a patriarchal system on reserves that often leads to the loss of their home after marital breakup or the death of their spouse, said Helena Guergis, MP, Simcoe-Grey.
“I believe this is morally wrong and should no longer be tolerated in Canada,” said Guergis. “It contravenes the basic equality rights guaranteed to everyone in Canada under the Charter.” ...more
i) The Conservative Party supports the development of a property regime that would encourage lending for private housing and businesses. This will promote economic opportunity and individual freedom.
ii) A Conservative Government, in conjunction with First Nations, would create a First Nations Land Ownership Act, which would transfer Reserve land title from the Federal Crown to willing First Nations.
74. Matrimonial Property
The Conservative Party supports, in conjunction with First Nations, the creation of a matrimonial property code to protect spouses and children in cases of marriage breakdown.
1. Don't make changes to blog template at 3 am. 2. When ignoring rule #1, make sure you check your results in Internet Explorer, not just Firefox
A few days ago I went in search of a better template than the standards served up at Blogger. I found one that I was happy with. Cut, paste, tweak and we're up and running - right! Yah, right. I hardly every use Internet Explorer anymore other than to do Windows Updates and to check how changes look on a website that I manage. Imagine my suprise when I finally got around to looking at BBS in IE. Oops. From what I can tell, the width of my new template was forcing the menu down to the very bottom of the screen, and everything else along with it.
I think I have the issue resolved now. If anyone notices anything funny when looking at the site - please feel free to drop a brick on my head. (or just send an email!)
Given the good spade work started by Angry, I decided to download and read through the entire report on this affair. (unlike many in the MSM it seems). The stats that Angry reported are quite revealing.
One thing struck me though, was the commissioners statements regarding Katherine Abbott, the Minister’s designated staff member, who acted as the liaison between the Minister and the Department of Citzenship and Immigration during the election campaign.
Generally, Ms Abbott was a forthright and very credible witness, and her testimony was very helpful. Unfortunately, in relation to this particular issue, she expressed some uncertainty as to whether or not she had informed the Minister about Ms Balaican’s status as a volunteer. She repeated that she thought she had, but she stopped short at the time of being able to fully confirm it. Perhaps her uncertainty is due to the fact that, by the time the Balaican decision was made, Ms Abbott had (as she suggested in a different but related context) “given up fighting” with Mr Wons over this and other departmental matters. On the other hand, Ms Abbott did indicate that, at the time, she raised the matter with two other colleagues on the Minister’s staff. Unfortunately, neither of them was able to recall her having done so.
While it certainly sounds like some plausible deniability being built in here, there is no doubt there are indications that this Ms Abbott was trying to do the right thing from the very beginning.
Following the federal election campaign, Ms Abbott did meet with Scott Reid of the Prime Minister’s Office in order to express concerns about the handling of some cases by Mr Wons during the campaign. While there is some inconsistency between the testimony of Ms Abbott and Mr Reid as to whether the Balaican case was discussed during their meeting, Mr Reid was satisfied that the Minister had not, in general, intervened inappropriately in the immigration cases.
Yet again, Ms Abbott is attempting to bring to light what should be clearly seen as a conflict, if not on the ministers part, certainly her Chief of Staff. In futher testimony Ms Abbott and another staff member speak of the 'pressure' to get things done because 'we might not come back'. Who was exerting this pressure?
However, upon further examination, Ms Abbott indicated that in relation to the number of permits that were issued toward the end of the election campaign:
“… we were reacting to the temperature in the outside world, and we were also getting a lot of pressure, and…... because were in that short period of time, because there was a thought that we might not come back, there was more of a pressure of just … getting it done.”
It is almost as if the entire issue became electorally defined rather than being understood in terms of the needs of the applicant. As Leigh Lampert testified:
“… I know certainly between … two weeks, three weeks before the election call until mid-election, there was a significant change in attitude. You are going from a no permit except during emergencies to … I won’t say a “free for all” … but to change of attitude that there are much more forthcoming permits.”
Given the fact that the following is former Minister Sgro's testimony:
With respect to the issuance of Temporary Residence Permits (TRPs), the Minister commented under oath:
“I made people aware of the fact that I was going to be more cautious even than before with >issuing TRPs through an election campaign. That I was not going to be engaged in using TRPs for election purposes or for political purposes through the campaign. I made that quite clear to people. We were going to try to keep ourselves down to the ones that were most urgent.”
How does she explain the veritable 'opening of the floodgates' in the final weeks and days of the campaign. With 24 of the TRP's signed during the campaign having her name attached to them and 19 of them approved in the last 24 hours, the above statement certainly seems like a stretch. With 97% of MP supported TRP's going to Liberals, there must have been some VERY nervous people in the final days of the last campaign.
But I digress.
Apart from all the other facts and figures presented in this report, I'm left with the feeling that had effective Whistleblower legislation been in place, we wouldn't have had to spend $170,000 dollars investigating this mess.
A tip of the hat to Ms Abbot for trying to do the right thing - in spite of everything.
OTTAWA -- Despite Conservative talk of changing tack with a summer-long charm offensive by the party's leader, Stephen Harper says he's not interested in an image makeover.
"I don't intend to change myself," Harper told Vancouver radio station CKNW during a nationally syndicated call-in show Monday. "I'm not a believer in these so-called image makeovers. I've watched politicians who tried to be something they're not and tried to have all these different incarnations. I think it just comes across as phony.
"I am who I am."
..."Some of the image politics frustrates me a bit because that's not, obviously, what I'm in it for," he said.
The real significance of getting out and meeting Canadians this summer, he said, is to reconnect with voter issues.
"That part of the job is important."
I have to admit - I have never been a big fan of the 'image' makeover. I think Stephen has it right here. He certainly needs to get out and connect with more ordinary Canadians. Changing his shirt or hairstyle isn't going to help this any. He just needs to go out and do it.
Anyone else irked by the fact that the CPC site doesn't offer a feed? I have to admit, it's a pet peeve of mine.
While the content can be scraped, it's a pain in the ass to do and shouldn't be necessary. It's a shame that I'm better able to keep up on the NDP's press releases through their feed. While it's a little hard to find, at least it's there.
Rapid communication is the name of the game - and we're not even in it. Aggregators are available for every platform today - even Blackberries. You just can't beat syndication for getting your message out. For a party that has been experiencing challenges in this regard lately, we really can't afford to ignore this.
Most of the columnists blathering on about Stephen's image: a. have never met him b. met him at an editorial board for an hour or so c. confuse the political with the personal d. forget that PET was an arrogant snob ...
This issue is just one more thing that individual Conservatives can help address. Whether it is through blogging, letters to the editor, call in radio shows or any other method. Whenever you hear someone regurgitating this nonsense, don't take it sitting down. Certainly, if Stephen is coming to an area near you this summer, take a few skeptical friends with you. The way to fight this is like anything else - one vote, one person at a time.
Edit - another good blog from Stephen Taylor on the same subject. With 130 bloggingtories on the roll - it's time to start rolling. Make your voice heard.
Hopefully, these are just the first of many more to come. Blogging and podcasting are two fantastic new avenues for us to get our message out, without being filtered by the media. While the Liberals hide in shame, our MPs and candidates are putting themselves out there for all to see.
Defence - long the poor step-child of both the Liberals and NDP. Paul Martin uses the military to attempt to buy an MPs vote - committing troops to Darfur without even telling the country they're coming. The Sea King helicopters were already old when I first flew in one in 1984. Jean Chretien cancelled the replacement over 13 years ago and our Air Force is still waiting for a replacement. The NDP wouldn't know what a parachute was for if they fell out of a Herc.
Neither party has a reasonable plan for saving the Canadian military. The military itself took the unprecedented step during the last election to cost out each parties program - and they declared the Conservatives to be necessary, possible and realistic.
With great fanfare, the Liberals have announced (and re-announced, and re-announced...) money for various programs for the military. Problem is, most of this money won't start flowing for at least 2 to 3 years, with the majority coming in the4th and 5th year. Coming from a party who has decimated the Armed Forces for the last 12 years, even these paltry amounts are suspect.
MP Gordon O'Connor, a retired Brigadier-General with 33 years of service, has spearheaded the Conservatives military policy.
Contrary to what the Liberals would have you believe:
vii) The Conservative Party supports:
a) Canada’s participation in negotiation of a North American Missile Defence System on the clear understanding that any agreement must serve Canada’s interest;
viii) The Conservative Party believes that a viable Canadian Defence Industry contributes to our national security and our industrial productivity, through such sectors as shipbuilding, aerospace, electronics, and land systems among others. Defence procurement will, subject to availability, quality and cost, support Canadian industry that can meet military requirements. The Conservative Party also believes that it is essential to ensure Canadian defence industry has access to the United States defence procurement market.
Call me crazy, but continually referring to your neighbour and largest trading partner as "bastards" tends to erode good relationships.
Canada First Defence Policy - realistic and necessary. A Conservative government will make it happen - not serve up more useless announcements.
Paul Martin's oppostition to BMD had everything to do with gratuitous vote buying in response to public opinion polls, not doing what is right for Canada. The reality is, we are committed to the Defence of North America under Norad and Norad is the command and control structure for the US Missle Defence program.
Rather than dealing with this issue in an open and forthright manner, the Liberals continue to operate in the shadows, fooling no-one and cheating everyone.
Seems like the NDP's Pat Martin has been hanging out with Carolyn Parrish lately. From a story in the Winnipeg Free Press regarding North Dakota's Devils Lake water diversion project:
Canada should be prepared to cut off energy supplies to the United States and "let the bastards freeze in the dark" if the George W Bush administration allows the Devils Lake diversion to flow polluted water in Manitoba, NDP MP Pat Martin said Tuesday.
Wow! Quite the constructive Foreign Affairs policy Mr. Martin is advocating.
The Conservative Party, on the other hand, favours a more balanced rational approach.
The Liberals refuse to do anything on this vital issue - dangling a carrot in front of local voters, hoping to reclaim seats. Even worse, the government is fighting in court the local Windsor-Detroit Truck Ferry's efforts to expand their service.
The NDP simply can't do anything on this issue, as evidenced by their failure to address the border in their 'deal with the devil' budget agreement with the Liberals. NDP MP Joe Comartin admitted they were powerless to get the government to move on this issue.
Senator Kenney's committee certainly doesn't pull any punches. Speaking about the current bogged down Bi-National bureaucratic process to select a new crossing:
When Smart Becomes Stupid
The type of cautious, step-by-step, approach currently underway is clearly the most intelligent approach for non-urgent projects. This is not one of them. Windsor-Detroit is of such strategic importance to both Canada and the United States that fixing it requires war-time urgency. What the process fails to take into account is the possibility that the Partnership’s timelines are unrealistic and likely to slip and that a crossing could be permanently disrupted between now and the completion of a new crossing....
Why the crossings at Windsor-Detroit are so important
Approximately 23 per cent of trade between Canada and the United States crosses at Windsor-Detroit. Between January 2004 and December 2004, the total value of the trade that passed through Windsor-Detroit crossings was $141.67 billion (CDN), $113.67 billion (USD. That equates to roughly the same amount of trade that Canada did with the Western Europe and Asia-Pacific regions combined or that the United States did with the Federal Republic of Germany last year. The crossings at Windsor-Detroit represent a critical continental linkage. Like the natural gas pipelines connecting western Canada to the energy markets of the Pacific United States, or the electricity transmission towers connecting northern Quebec to the northeastern United States, the linkages at Windsor-Detroit are vital to the economic prosperity of central Canada and the mid-western United States.
With almost one-quarter of Canada's trade passing over the Windsor-Detroit border the inaction of the Paul Martin Liberals borders on the criminal. The threat to Canadian jobs and the economy is staggering. Failing to implement a timely solution to this problem will have grave consequences for the people of Windsor, Ontario and Canada.
If there ever was an issue for Conservatives to "Stand Up For Canada" , this is certainly it!
The following websites have been found to be hiding policy documents as of 15 Jun, 05. The nerve! Help us seek out all these HAH! locations. If you spot any HAH!s hiding out their - email firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment here.
7. Oshawa Conservative EDA - another EDA who thinks they can hide their policy by putting it right on the main menu. Seriously though, one of the best EDA sites I've seen. Includes online dontations. Great job!
With thanks to Conservative MPs Rona Ambrose and Carol Skelton for today's HAH! inspiration - Child Care. Thanks to the Liberals and Ken Dryden, soon to dwarf the Gun Registry in terms of bureaucracy, waste and ineffectiveness.
First, the CPC policy on Child Care: 66. Child Care
The Conservative Party recognizes that parents are in the best position to determine the care needs of their children, and that they should be able to do so in an environment that encourages as many options as possible, and in a manner that does not discriminate against those who opt to raise their children in family, social, linguistic, and religious environments. We also recognize that the delivery of education and social services are provincial responsibilities under the constitution. We believe that support should go to all parents and families raising children, especially to lower and middle income parents. All existing levels of support will be maintained and improved if necessary.
Now for the really interesting part - Ken Dryden - our esteemed Minister. He has no idea what the National Day care program will cost, it probably won't be universal in scope, and it will be applied differently across the country. ??? For something the Liberals have been promising since the first Red Book, you would think they could rustle up a detail or two. I mean, c'mon - it's only been 12 years!
Dryden Admits Child Care Plan will not be Universal
13 June 2005
Conservative Plan is Universal and Supports Choice
OTTAWA- Carol Skelton, critic for Social Development and Rona Ambrose, critic for Intergovernmental Affairs today questioned the Minister of Social Development about his admission that his national child care system will not be universal and he has no idea what it will cost.
"The Liberal daycare plan only supports one choice – 9:00 am to 5:00 pm institutional daycare and will only increase funding for those spaces by three percent," said Ambrose.
"The Social Development Minister openly admits that he has no idea what he’s doing or where he is going. He finally admitted his child care plan will not be universal, costs aren’t calculated and children will be funded differently based on where they live,” said Skelton.
“Why is the Minister abandoning low-income Canadians, shift-workers and rural Canadians while misleading them with a story of inclusion?” asked Skelton in the House of Commons.
Ambrose added that almost 100 percent of working parents have said that if they could afford it, they would stay home part-time with their children.
“Not one cent of the liberal daycare plan will support that choice for parents. The Liberals are intent on creating a two-tier childcare system. When will this government understand that all children deserve equal support and all parents deserve choice?” asked Ambrose.
Skelton concluded by saying, “the Conservative Party of Canada plan is truly universal. We will put cash subsidies into the hands of all parents so they can make their own childcare choices.”
Honestly, let's put this in perspective:
they lost a couple of billion dollars somewhere in HRDC,
underestimated costs by some 2 billion for the Gun Registry,
send our air force into the sky every day in flying death traps called Sea Kings (they were already old in 1984 when I first flew in one)
sent the army to Afghanistan in Iltis jeeps that even the broke, desperate Afghani military doesn't want - and though they'll never admit it - cost CF personnel their lives,
are willing to send the military to Darfur, arguably one of the most desperate situations in the world right now, to try to buy the vote of a dissident Liberal MP
are closing RCMP detachments across Canada; ...
These are the people that we want to entrust with our future - OUR CHILDREN?
That ladies and gentlemen is the truly scary thing to behold.
Seems like the Liberals and NDP are having some issues with accountability and transparency with this bill. Our Conservative MPs are fighting to try and inject some form of controls on how this money is spent. Naturally, with the Liberals and NDP controlling things, why would we want or need any sort of control?
The worst part is - this will be portrayed as the Conservatives 'needlessly' delaying the bill.
You would think $4.5 billion in new spending initiatives would involve a little bit of planning. Where are the details? How is this money going to be distributed? Where? Who will be controlling it?
The text of the bill basically authorizes the Finance Minister to spend $4.5 billion dollars, as approved by the Governor in Council, on four broad categories:
(a) for the environment, including for public transit and for an energy-efficient retrofit program for low-income housing, an amount not exceeding $900 million;
(b) for supporting training programs and enhancing access to post-secondary education, to benefit, among others, aboriginal Canadians, an amount not exceeding $1.5 billion;
(c) for affordable housing, including housing for aboriginal Canadians, an amount not exceeding $1.6 billion; and
(d) for foreign aid, an amount not exceeding $500 million.
Correct me if I'm wrong - but isn't this how we ended up with the HRDC boondoogle, the Gun Registry Black Hole, Adscam and others too numerous to mention. Two pages of text to explain how to spend $4.5 billion. If you presented a plan like this to a bank to get a Business Loan you'd be laughed back out onto the street. So why is it, we as Canadians are willing to accept this type of shoddy work from our Government.
Jack Layton is patting himself on the back for giving Paul Martin an excuse to spread another $4.5 billion in pork around the country with little or no planning or controls. This is good government and helping out Canadians?
Given the fact that Martin has committed to calling an election 30 days after Gomery reports, that gives us roughly 6 to 8 months to see what happens with these commitments.
Keep your eye on the ball everyone - or we're going to end up losing our collective shirts.
A fundamental component of Parliamentary government is Ministerial accountability to Parliament. The Conservative Party is determined to enforce parliamentary principles of government accountability. Ministers in a Conservative Government will have authority and be accountable for the policies they implement and the administrative actions of their departments.
3. Public Service Excellence
A Conservative Government will ensure that Canadians have an efficient, effective, and independent professional public service. A Conservative Government will legislate whistleblowing protection to ensure that those who expose corruption and wrongdoing are protected from reprisal.
4. Sound Financial Management
i) A Conservative Government will strengthen the internal audit and comptrollership functions of government, ensuring that program delivery matches the intent of the program, spending is measured against objectives and cost overruns are brought immediately to the attention of Parliament.
ii) A Conservative Government will create the independent office of the Comptroller General reporting to Parliament with a mandate to ensure that the highest standards and practices of expenditure management are enforced in all federal departments, Crown corporations, agencies and foundations.
iii) A Conservative Government will restore the audit role of the Treasury Board.
iv)A Conservative Government will allow the Auditor General to table reports with the Clerk of the House of Commons when Parliament is not sitting, and have them made public through the Speaker. Currently, the Auditor General can only report when Parliament is sitting.
v) A Conservative Government will ensure transparency and accuracy of and confidence in the government’s finances by providing the Auditor General with full access to all documents from all federal organizations, including all agencies, Crown corporations, the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Investment Board, and foundations. Currently, the Auditor General does not have full access to all of the government’s books.
5. Government Duplication and Waste
A Conservative Government will streamline government services and eliminate waste, unnecessary overlap and duplication between the levels of government.