Politics Blogs - Blog Top Sites Blog Flux Directory Green Assassin Brigade: 2011

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Who owns our MPPs? Ontario has an ethical problem

Disinterested, despondent, fed up. All of these can be used describe my feelings at various points in this election. The NDP are pretending they are not socialists, the Conservatives are pretending they aren't evil(and doing a crappy job), the Liberals are pretending they've done a good job the last 8 years and my Greens after being shut out of 98% of all media coverage are pretending they have a chance.. all in all very sad indeed.

While the Greens have campaigned on killing corporate and union funding of political parties the issue has gained no purchase despite this report from Democracy Watch which clearly shows we have a problem

Unions can't vote or hold a seat in government and Businesses cannot not vote or run for Premier yet they both supply a good deal of the funding to parties in Ontario which in my opinion is legalized influence buying.

When corporations and Unions, not individuals fund political parties you have to ask, who's agenda are the parties working to further?

Before you vote consider this fact

Corporations provide about 50% of donated money to Ontario Liberal Party, and 43% to Conservative Party, and unions about 28% to NDP -- 99% of Green Party donors are individuals.
Recommend this Post

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Turmel, No Good Deed Ever Goes Unpunished

I can't know what went on in Turmel's head, was it simple opportunism to jump ship at this time?, Did she have an epiphany and learn to love Canada? Is her story of supporting a friend true?

I don't know and it doesn't matter!

While I applaud her for leaving the Bloc the NDP leadership blew this big time, they should have known of her previous status and they should have realized how it would play out in the media, no fault on her.

Did no one ask about her previous status? Did no one think it would matter or play badly in the press? Did they think they could keep it a secret?
The NDP has helped fan the flames on enough scandals over the years they should have researched Trumel more thoroughly and they should have know how unsavvy this decision was. That it came at Jack's suggestion might be dismissed because he's sick and preoccupied, I get that, but the caucus supported the decision making it their own.

I'm sure some would even say there has to be a trade off between attracting and rewarding quality people, and making them pay their dues. Is a 2-3 month rookie a suitable interim leader? I doubt she knows the workings of Parliament yet, the entire workings of her own party, or the dynamics within caucus.
Had Turmel served a whole term as MP to prove herself and distance herself from the Bloc this might not have been an issue.

I suppose the other option would have been to sell Turmel as a coup on the Bloc rather than let this come out after the fact. The open and reformed ex sovereigntist story would have shone compared to the dirty little secret story out now.

"It's not a bug, it's a feature!"

The NDP is likely to have a number of sovereignty issues while digesting this new cadre of MPs. I'm not gloating, I wish we had such a daunting problem, but they need to find these issues NOW, deal with them and not give the media these gotcha moments. They've been around long enough to know better.

Turmel did nothing wrong, in fact she did a very good thing and now she's getting tarred and feathered for the party's naivete.
Ferengi rule of acquisition number 285 No good deed ever goes unpunished

To be honest if a Bloc member renounced sovereignty and joined the Greens or even better crossed the floor I'd welcome them like a conquering hero. I'm not against people changing their beliefs, its a healthy part of personal growth. I wouldn't however expect them to immediately jump the into the leadership even if only an interim position, nor would I be comfortable with it.

.Recommend this Post

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Newmarket Debate review #elxn41

Last night was the Newmarket Chamber of commerce all candidates debate, well not quite all candidates as the NDP Candidate was unable to attend and the Animal Alliance Candidate was present but unable to debate.

At the big table we had Lois Brown (Con MP), Vanessa Long (Green), Kyle Peterson (Lib) and Dorian Baxter (PC)
Some one please email me a picture, my Camera was not charged.

For the most part the candidates were largely respectful, that is if you don’t consider lying to be disrespectful. It is after all the new norm in politics where facts are not facts, experts are not experts, quotes are not quotes and there is no shame in lying.

I’m not going to detail all the minutia of the debate but I will say that it was not entirely what I expected. Brown as always was frustratingly calm and totally shameless in not answering the question or robotically repeating her programmed talking points. I was rather annoyed that when asked about proportional representation she went onto a tirade about seat division which in my opinion is no where near as important as insuring seats are proportional to popular vote. I don’t get it, why not just say you’re against PR rather go on about conservative attempts at gerrymandering?

She also made a false claim that it takes a constitutional change to alter the voting system. As I understand it how we vote in not detailed within the constitution but simply decided in the House of Commons. It doesn't even require a referendum, referendums are simply ways of confusing the issue so much you can make sure it won't pass, as we saw in BC and Ontario.

I don’t know if it was simply an error or the sign of a new police state but Brown clearly stated that she supported police demands for funding that would bring give us 1 law enforcement personal for every 7 people in the country. WTF? Not only that but Peterson the Liberal supported the number unaware it was wrong or insane, lest he be seen as less tough on crime.

Other items I found distasteful from Brown were the claims that the Conservatives were making good progress on greenhouse gases and claiming the Copenhagen climate meetings were successful. Yes so successful that Canada received numerous Fossil awards for their lack of progress internally and our interference with progress internationally.

Dorian Baxter, the President and one of only 9 remaining Progressive Canadians candidates left was his predictable bombastic self attacking the Conservative party and Brown when ever he could. As a perceived fringe candidate he could make blunt and aggressive attacks on issues like government trust, lying and the contempt of parliament charge leaving Long and Peterson to look reasonable and stately which was a good place for them to be. On one public question about Canada’s changing role from peace keeping to regime change he called out the Liberals and Conservatives for involving us in unnecessary foreign conflicts, while they defended our foreign entanglements as just and necessary.

The biggest disappointment of the night was Kyle Peterson whose nervous speed talking, occasional stammers and obvious lack of policy depth left him the weakest of the 4 candidates on the stage. Peterson’s only “on his game moment” was a slam at Brown about Conservatives attempting to steal Guelph ballot boxes. Peterson does not seem to be the candidate that can bring Newmarket-Aurora back into the Liberal fold. I don’t know if anyone short of “star” quality candidate like Belinda could revitalize a local party that was desperately searching for a good candidate last fall, it would appeared from this debate they failed.

I won’t fixate too much on my Candidate Vanessa Long, she started a little nervous but with Peterson next to her turning beet red most people never noticed. Her answers were spontaneous and thoughtful rather than stale and rehearsed and the crowd, despite being well stuffed with Liberal and Conservative faithful seemed to respond well. Vanessa was strong on the environment, did a great job of explaining the mechanics and benefits of a carbon tax, the need for local strong economies, and electoral reform. She made a great closing statement and her “ask” for the vote was certainly the best of the night.

From the audience response and supportive comments Vanessa received, it’s obvious that when strong Green candidates get to talk about their long term vision it will resonate with many people. Whether that’s enough to break decades and sometimes generations of habitual voting we’ll have to see.

I hope I’ll be able to get some edited video to add to this post later in the week.

For those of you with Cable, the Rogers debate was recorded today so check your schedule.
The Aurora debate will be held at Aurora Town Hall Wed April 20 7:30

.Recommend this Post

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada?

Considering we now have an AAEVPC candidate running for Parliament in Newmarket Aurora I figured we should have a quick look at them. First of all they need to come up with a shorter version of their name, AAE perhaps?

A quick look at their platform shows that every policy item is about the protection of an animal species not the environment as a whole. The environment is about balance and protecting entire ecosystems, plants and animals. This party seems more like the “we like animals party” (WLAP, that’s slightly better), which is all fine and dandy but it’s not a big picture environmental party.

I don’t want to delve into each issue but it would appear they disagree with many government sanctioned culls of such species as coyote’s, elk, moose and cormorants. I’m not a specialist in wild animal populations but I would suspect that the reduction in numbers of many high end predators in Canada (entirely our fault) requires that we occasional cull populations that are no longer fully controlled, especially those that are endangering people like the moose on highways in Labrador, and those destroying other species or their environment.

I’ve seen the damage a cormorant population can do and can’t help to wonder what original populations were like, size and destructiveness, and how their damage impacts other species. We’ve limited the range and populations of many species and because of that we have to limit their impact on each other up to and including the occasion culls.

I agree some culls have no purpose others however attempt to restore balance we’ve destroyed. I’m sensing they do not support any culls and I’m not ready to accept every cull is wrong,

AAE advocates better treatment of farm animals,

I’m good with that, we Greens support localization of our agriculture and believe feedlots and factory farms are unhealthy for us, create hard to deal with pollutions/runoff problems and are generally cruel and unethical. Greens want food to be smaller, local, organic and ethical.

Anti seal hunt, I believe we already have that one covered too.

Stopping the use of shelter animals for surgeries by vet students where the result is death, rather they should be kept after surgery, healed and adopted out.

I see that they want to be nice to animals but what about the problem that the shelters exist and are full most of the time? Where is the support for puppy and kiteeh family planning?
Where is the policy on
Transgenic species?
Invasive species?
Fish farms?

I’d say the AAEVPC is certainly more of an advocacy group than a political party but the paper work is done and Yvonne MacKie , one of seven candidates running in this election will be on your Newmarket-Aurora ballot..

7 Candidates is actually only 2 less that Dorian’s Progressive Canadians. I expect my next post to deal with the slow death of the PC party.

.Recommend this Post

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Newmarket-Aurora, the NDP sham continues v2011

I’ve often said that strategic voting is a mistake; I’ve also stated that no vote is ever wasted. I was wrong.

I still believe that people should vote their conscience even if there is no chance of winning but what I cannot condone is voting for a candidate that simply does not try.

In 2008 I blogged about the NDP and their local sham campaign and while I did hear a little second hand outrage about the post after the fact it does not seem to have to inspired them to do better.
The fact that this post is the top google result for the search "NDP Newmarket-Aurora" shows how quiet and ineffective the local party is.

This year's election is not much different, Kassandra Bidarian the NDP Candidate is not campaigning, there are no signs, no web site, no twitter account and only the slightest mention on her Facebook page that she’s even running. Last election the NDP had a late nomination but did eventually get some activity going, this time they’ve had a candidate for some time but she’s just not trying.

Errata, when I first checked web site was basically a place holder, its now a functioning site
I totaly missed the facebook page because Vote KB for NDP was not personalize enough to be caught in the search I did, I'd respectfully suggest she use her full name for visability.

I don’t even blame Kassandra, It’s the party and its disrespect for local voters that so angers me. IF you cannot find a truly local candidate (she currently lives in Toronto), someone who is willing to put some effort into the campaign and someone who can invigorate your local base you should not be running a Candidate.

A vote for someone who doesn’t try, someone whose own party lacks the confidece in them to run a real campaign is truly a wasted vote

I wasn’t planning to make this an issue again but people are asking me “where the hell are the NDP?” Apparently contempt for voters is also a local issue.

added after original posting

James Morton shows us that you can respect your opponent if they really try

.Recommend this Post

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Lessons from Japan

We haven't seen the total death numbers yet, we don't know the long term economic impacts and we don't know the true story about Japan's nuclear reactors but we can already make a few observations about these disasters and how they relates to us.

1. Nuclear power will never be 100% safe. Sure you can engineer things to the nth degree but humans can't make any building that nature can't take apart be it by erosion, earthquakes, volcanoes or tsunami. We are also incapable of building reactors which can withstand human malice, stupidity and error, it simply cannot be done. Ontario for example has a pile of reactors many of which have had small leaks over the years as the tritium levels in lake Ontario prove. None of our reactors are built to withstand a direct airplane strike, none have adequate on the ground security and none could withstand a real attack by motivated terrorists.

We have never devised a way to store nuclear waste that will keep it safe for the 1000s of years required and no one ever includes these long term commitments in the final price tag when building these monstrosities

Today in Ontario both Liberals and the Conservatives support the construction of new nuclear reactors. Considering what's happening in Japan its very likely that nuclear will be taken off the table at least until the election is over but be assured both of these parties will scurry back to this unsafe and costly idea once the story has died down. Only the Green Party of Ontario has been consistent and clear in their opposition to more reactors, if what's happening in Japan is scary consider it happening at Pickering or Darlington.

2. Within close proximity to an earthquake there is very little you can do to prepare for, or escape from a Tsunami. Even with advanced warning you can only save lives not stop the massive property damage.
Has enough been done in BC to strengthen building codes and retrofit old buildings? How good are our emergency warning systems? Are we ready for a total collapse of the insurance industry when it gets brought down by the increasing number of natural disasters?

Additionally, recent articles claim that global warming will cause more earthquakes as the weight of shifting ice and fresh melted water redistribute pressure on the planets crust. Old faults frozen by the massive weight of ice will begin to move again and we can expect higher levels of geological movement in the north Atlantic especially as the crust around Iceland and Greenland begin to rebound after the ice melts. We also need to realize as seas rise more of the worlds coast become susceptible to tsunami damage all thanks to man made climate change, we need to move on this issue now.

3. A friend tweeted last night that his family in Japan was safe but that the supply network had collapsed and there was no food in the grocery stores. This is the result of the just in time delivery supply chain prevalent in all western nations. We need to realize that our supply network is just as fragile as Japan's and any breakdown that disrupts roads, fuel supplies, electrical power etc means the average grocery store has no more than 3 days supplies, if it can even be opened without power. In the third world, even many of the poorest people don't need to shop daily, they get a bag of rice, one of beans, a can of cooking oil and make it last as long as they can. In our affluent west we believe the stores never close. We believe we can go buy what ever we want whenever we want. We believe our overly complex and largely invisible supply lines can never be cut. We are wrong!

Complex systems are only as robust as their weakest link, no fuel, no hydro, or shredded roads and our ability to feed ourselves disappears.

The Japanese disasters shows us we need to invest in emergency preparedness but not necessarily in just big helicopters, warning systems and DART units but making our communities more robust and more resilient. We need safe, renewable and widely distributed power production and distribution systems, we need better local food systems including more local food storage, more local food production and a local distribution systems. We need to get off our asses and be ready to take care of ourselves in our own communities because from Haiti, to Japan, to New Orleans its obvious that governments can't or won't do the job alone.

How many of you have built your government recommended 72 hour emergency kit? How many of you have the food, water and medicine you need in the house at all times?

I don't claim that our situation is the same as Japan's but there are always risks of some kind and our society is not ready for them. Analyzing the risks and discussing how to mitigate them should be our focus rather than wallowing in CNN's 24 hour disaster porn marathon.Recommend this Post

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Holy Shit

There are any number of reasons to say Holy Shit! these days, be it social upheaval in the middle east; dumb ass ethically bankrupt Conservative ads or the coming wave of food inflation, but in this case Holy Shit: Managing Manure To Save Mankind is a new book all my gardener, farmer and wannabe farmer friends should check out.

And before someone else brings it up. Yes, I agree, this was a shitty post.Recommend this Post