A veritable Conservative Armageddon

Harper-FordThere sure is a strong stench of scandal in the air isn’t there? I am thinking about quite a number of Conservative shenanigans and ticking time bombs that are all set to go off in the months to come. The most obvious and immediate is the late breaking revelations abstracted from RCMP affadavits this afternoon. In court documents, the RCMP allege that Nigel Wright, former Chief of Staff in the PMO, entered into a formal written agreement with Senator Mike Duffy offering some $90,000 and influencing an ongoing audit, in exchange for promises of confidentiality. The agreement also induced the Senator to lie to the public about the whole sordid mess with a concocted story.

Wright is cooked in his own juice now. I mean, the guy is supposedly a brilliant lawyer and businessman, who has been intimately involved in politics since his salad days. How could he NOT know that making a payment to a sitting Senator IN EXCHANGE for pretty well anything constitutes a breach of trust? And then he actually set pen to paper, and documented their ‘bribes for lies’ faustian bargain. Senators LeBreton, and Gerstein are in it up to their necks, as they were the ones who the PMO worked through in the Senate, and on that all important committee. It looks like the muck will be spread pretty widely, as there are at least a baker’s dozen of Conservatives who were involved in some shape or form. And of course, Stephen Harper is being tied into it, one thread at a time.

And the cover-up….. Oh boy, didn’t Harper know about Tricky Dick? Nixon went down in history because of the coverup. Harper has been very careful in his choice of words in Parliamentary question period, but it appears to this humble blogger that his choice of words was not careful enough. No matter what political stripes you wear, I do not think that anybody in the country actually believes him as he equivocates, and minces words. You know what I mean, many apologists can be found. Whole armies of Conservatives will split hairs, but people are paying attention now. Credit were credit is due, we have ‘angry Tom’ Mulcair to thank for getting a lot of troubling Prime Ministerial equivocations and hedging, and a number of outright contradictions into the Parliamentary record.

But it does not stop there. In fact, I suspect that this is only the beginning of a very troubling year for the Conservatives in general, and Stephen Harper in particular. The Prime Minister is going to need every scrap of credibility he can get when the trial of Michael Sona hits the headlines. Sona has already implied that he is being scapegoated, and that there was collusion within Conservative ranks. The Judge in the Robocalls lawsuit has already found that there was fraud in the last election, and that the Conservative database, CIMS was the tool used to perpetrate the fraud. Anything that Sona or any witnesses have to say about a widening circle of Robo-fraudsters is going to get a lot of attention. Stephen Harper, and the CPC had better hope that their credibility is at its peak when they are facing such allegations.

Is there anything else that I missed? Oh yeah, Dean Del Mastro is back in court in just a few short weeks. The evidence against him looks pretty overwhelming to me, and I will be very surprised if he avoids a conviction with actual penalties. The Del Mastro will start on Dec. 6, 2013. Parliament will still be sitting until Dec Friday Dec 13. I bet the Conservative front bench is looking forward to question period…NOT.

And the Senate scandal will continue to bubble away. It is clear that the RCMP is casting a wide net, and are conducting a serious investigation. Sooner or later there will be more court documents publicised. Charges will be laid, and court dates set. It is going to take many months, perhaps years before this scandal is finally put to bed. There will be many an opportunity to contrast what Stephen Harper has said in the house to what is being alleged, and testified to in court. Think about how it will play out, with the Senate case cropping up regularly as the backdrop to a string of sordid electoral scandals unfolding in the courts. Yep, a veritable Conservative Armageddon.

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Conservative to Blame for Cancelled Construction Projects

Go Home Boys

Go Home Boys

In the past few days, an awful lot of construction projects have been cancelled across Canada, and I lay the blame at the feet of Stephen Harper.

 I design and sell buildings for a living. I deal with hundreds of prospective clients all across Canada, and generally it’s a satisfying and well compensated occupation. This year has been  quite a roller coaster, with freight costs yo-yo’ing, steel costs surging by up to 50%, and uncertainty in the marketplace. OK, thats what makes life interesting, and there are sound reasons for all these things.

This year has seen agricultural construction demand collapse due to surging fuel and fertilizer costs all spring and summer, followed by the drop in many crop prices at harvest time. Construction for the manufacturing sector in Ontario, traditionally a huge and stable market has totally collapsed with the slow death of the whole automotive sector. Other manufacturers do not have a stable exchange rate environment, so despite the drop in the Canadian dollar, it is not dependable enough for exporters to sign long term contracts, without paying punitive fees to hedge the dollar.

Alberta has seen a raft of projects frozen, or even cancelled, for all the reasons above, PLUS collapsing energy prices.

There is still super strong demand in NewFoundland, and Saskatchewan, but fear is starting to set in, and good solid projects are being shelved due to uncertainty, and fear. It is that fear that is capping a bad year under the stewardship of the Conservatives, with a totally preventable disaster.

This week alone, I have had a significant number of building projects collapse. Due to the Conservative induced, and ONGOING political uncertainty, the Canadian dollar is moving down, like a basketball bouncing down the stairs. There is no rhyme, nor reason, but with an integrated North American materials market, every participant has to build ever increasing hedges into their project costs. This is pricing marginal projects out of the market, and I have personally witnessed HUNDREDS OF CONSTRUCTION JOBS LOST because of this volatility. They are mostly good projects, and when the situation settles, then the projects will mostly proceed in the 2009, and 2010 construction season. What really pisses me off, is that these, plus a large number of Government funded projects could, and should be starting RIGHT NOW! Canada really needs this to happen, and every small town that sees a project delay is losing 20 – 50 jobs over the winter.

So, why do I blame the Conservatives? They started this mess with their gratuitous attack on the opposition. They piled more rhetoric onto the hyperbola, and continually raised the stakes. Now they are putting their communications team into high gear, inventing a spurious constitutional crisis. The world is starting to listen, and political risk premium is now driving the dollars crazy ride. The Conservatives need to acknowledge that they screwed up, and surrendered their right to govern. They need to pay the price for their screwup, and step aside so a majority coalition can take the reigns with the full confidence of the house. It’s no longer about partisan interests, it is the only solution that will kill the uncertainty dead. The fact is that the Conservatives cannot, under any circumstances form a majority in the house TODAY, and that is now the only thing that will settle the uncertainty, and stop this death spiral.

I’m talking to you Ottawa, are you deaf to Canada’s Plea?

Elizabeth May Appointed to Senate?!

This Globe and Mail article is a good synopsis of Canadian political situation at this moment.

A second Reuters piece discusses much the same.

Spot Elizabeth May's Seat

Spot Elizabeth May

There is a real eye opener, that has some very interesting, and potentially controversial implications.

“And Green Party Leader Elizabeth May is endorsing the proposed coalition government and says she has spoken with Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion about the possibility of her being appointed to the Senate.”

Holy cow! Appointment to Senate? First off, is this Elizabeth May’s entree to cabinet? Jack Layton will have

Jack Layton

Jack Layton

something to say about it if that’s the case. The Dippers AND Dions fellow Liberals will not want the GPC sitting on the front bench in Parliament. It would be good for Canada, and Elizabeth would make a brilliant Minister of Environment, but that’s another question. They will not want the GPC to have such a prominent role PERIOD.

Secondly, The GPC has a long standing commitment to democratic reform. How well does it sit in YOUR craw that she may have an appointed seat in the Senate? The counter argument is solid, and obvious. In what respect is it undemocratic that someone who received just short of 1 million votes should sit in the Senate?

Dig a bit deeper. The CPC will probably fashion a wedge to split soft Liberal supporters, on the issue that the coalition is a constitutional coup. If they succeed in managing the debate, then the electorate will be debating the democratic legitimacy of this coalition Government. Square the issue for the GPC, because the democratic legitimacy of Senate appointments does raise an ethical quiver with most people (I believe).

The GPC stood to gain simply by standing above the fray, and pointing to the children battling in the Parliamentary sandbox. Isn’t it a terrible shame, support the clean Party that wants to do politics a different way. Ask yourself this question. Is the Green Party of Canada going to do better with Elizabeth in the Senate, and perhaps in Cabinet, OR will the GPC do better by picking more support amongst an increasingly disillusioned, and disaffected electorate?

Parliamentary Democracy in Action.

It's not really like this

I just read a partisan Tory blog, with a difference. It didn’t rant at the undemocratic nature of the proposed coalition government, it addressed the potential weaknesses of the coalition. This is the kind of Tory that doesn’t eat babies, and should be wooed by the Green Party, as we did so well in 2004. I would enjoy debating these points with the author in a Pub, over a pint or two.

Here’s my non-partisan take on the current controversy:

We are governed by a Westminster Parliamentary Democracy. That means a Representative democracy, as any

He would agree

He would agree

true political conservative, like myself, or the members of the now defunct Progressive Conservatives, we seek to preserve our political traditions, because they are well establish by custom, law, and convention, and they work very well indeed.

I realise that in many respects this is contrary to official Green Party policy, especially with respect to proportional representation, but despite it’s imperfections, and blemishes, I am content to live under this ploitical system. In fact, this weeks events demonstrate that it IS robust, and it works well.
In order to form a government, a prospective Prime Minister must seek, and acquire the confidence of the house. Our current Prime Minister has a minority in the house, and an even weaker mandate from the country, with less than a third of the popular vote. There is no doubt that Stephen Harper sought to sow discord, and exercise power beyond the limits imposed by his parties minority position.

Hundreds of years of Parliamentary tradition support the Liberals and NDP in their intention to seek the confidence of the house, and form a coalition government. If the Bloc supports them, then it will be right and proper that they govern. If you seek to rule this country, and you pretend to be Conservative, then you are doubly bound by Parliamentary convention. There’s a pretty good discussion of this in todays Globe and Mail.
The Green Party has absolutely nothing to do with it, as they have no sitting members. The GPC will continue to build organisational strength, and continue to attract progressive conservatives, making it increasingly unlikely that the neo-conservatives will ever earn the confidence of the house. I am happy to say that Parliament is working, and that a Government that best represents the views of the majority of Canadian electors is about to take power. This is the my position, as a Green, and a Canadian.

Now don’t forget, the Green Party has room for many competing views of Canada. If you want to be part of a real political movement, that is sweeping away the cobwebs, JOIN THE GREENPARTY NOW!

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