Archive for the ‘Parliament’ Category

MacBooks for Bloggers

January 28th, 2009
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I really had my hopes up on this one. It seemed such a natural. Hey, these are hard times for bloggers. We labour away day after day; basements get cold in January. People don’t hit your tip jar, they don’t click on the google ads. Up there in Ottawa they are throwing money around, our money, both higgeldy and piggeldy.

MacBook for Bloggers: 24-carat gold MacBook Pro

MacBook for Bloggers: 24-carat gold MacBook Pro

Alas! I have been searching through the budget documents: toilets and sinks; roads and sewers; paint for Gods sake;  shipbuilders and car builders; builders of flying saucers and hewers of wood;  sports, culture, newspapers, magazines … wait a minute…


New media. There’s a new media fund!

The Canada New Media Fund, administered by Canadian Heritage, encourages the production of Canadian interactive digital cultural content, and fosters the development, production, and marketing/distribution of original, interactive or online Canadian cultural new media works.

In recognition of the contribution of new media to Canadian culture, Budget 2009 confirms funding of $28.6 million over the next two years to the Canada New Media Fund, and $14.3 million annually thereafter.

Well, this is embarrassing. This was supposed to be a joke piece: they gave something to everybody, including the kitchen sink, what about us bloggers? Turns out, the joke is on me. And you, assuming you pay taxes.

MacBooks for bloggers appears to be a go. Sure hope it doesn’t fall in that nice new kitchen sink.

Ottawa, Parliament, pimply minions of bureaucracy, Showing the proper feudal spirit, watergate - shawanigate - profligate

Stéphane Dion, classy guy

November 28th, 2008

Remember during the election all the stories, what an upstanding, honest, ethical guy Stéphane Dion is? So how come today he is negotiating to bring the traitorous Bloc Quebecois into the government of Canada and the story is, Stephen Harper blinked, as I heard it reported on three different newscasts this afternoon?

I’m still trying to imagine Stephen Harper negotiating to put Gilles Duceppe in cabinet, and not being called a traitor. Yet nobody is calling Stéphane Dion or Jack Layton a traitor (or hypocrite,, since they would be teh first to scream if Harper did this). I’m going to spend some time looking for it tonight, but wasn’t there once a picture of the two of them sitting together that ran as a “look how close they are” story?

Oh, and one last request for the media, can we please stop calling it a stimulus package and call it what it is? A spending package! This is nothing more than Bob Rae, spend your self rich stupidity that the Liberals Bloc and NDP are screaming for, and it’s bad public policy. Last week you were yelling deficit, he’s put us in deficit, this week your yelling spend! Spend!! SPEND!!! And shame on the media for letting you get away with it.

Want to overthrow the legally, elected, constitutionally legal government? Then what is your plan. Let Canadians know exactly what you mean by stimulus.

Update: From the comments:

*“We would see him [Stephen Harper] and (Bloc Québécois Leader) Gilles Duceppe, if they get enough seats, working together to dismantle this country that all of us are so proud of.” (Paul Martin, Toronto Star, December 3, 2005)
* Martin questioned how the Tory leader can explain “his common agenda with the separatists.” (Ottawa Citizen, June 3, 2005)
* “Stephen Harper has made it so clear that he is prepared to do the Bloc’s bidding in Parliament, which I find incomprehensible…” (Paul Martin, Ottawa Citizen, April 28, 2005)
* “Let me tell you, Stephen Harper, you made an alliance with the Bloc, not me. The Bloc wants only one thing: a referendum to divide us and break up our country.” (Paul Martin, Globe and Mail, November 29, 2005)
* “The Conservative Party and the separatists … want this Parliament to fail because the Bloc wants Canada to fail.” (Public Works Minister Scott Brison, Hansard, May 2, 2005)
* “…it is impossible to understand why the Conservative Party supports the Bloc” (Scott Brison, Hansard, April 5, 2005)
* “It has become clear that the Conservative-Bloc alliance is alive and well, despite the Leader of the Opposition’s claims to the contrary.” (Susan Kadis, Hansard, May 17, 2005)
* “It is an unholy alliance [Between Conservatives and the Bloc] and Canadians need to know all about it. I take great exception to the hypocrisy of saying that they are not in bed with the Bloc and the separatists because they are.” (Roy Cullen, Hansard, April 14, 2005)

bad journalism, Economic Fundamentalism, Jacobian Piece of Impertinence, Parliament, pimply minions of bureaucracy

Election Season

August 25th, 2008
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Now that summer is all but over and the kids are spending their last few days of freedom with weepy eyes and furrowed brow, it’s time to think election. Specifically a federal fall election. PM Harper has announced that he will summons Stéphane Dion and insist he actively support the Conservatives fall legislative agenda, instead of passively supporting it by declaring the new holiday, Confidence Motion Day, a statutory holiday for all Liberal MPs. Expect Dion to refuse his support. Expect a scary October 31st with politicians knocking on your door offering tricks and treats.

I’m of two minds on this one. As an ideological conservative I’d rather an election call be on issues. Let Stephen Harper decrease the excise tax on diesel fuel, or put forth his bill on Senate Reform and let it fall or pass as it may.

As a follower of the game of politics, however, any Conservative Party of Canada faithful wants an election now. The Conservatives chances of winning an election next fall would appear to be much less so than they are right now. There are various reasons why this is so, why the Liberals may want to wait a year, the Conservatives less so.

First there is The Green Shift, which hasn’t won the hearts and minds of the nation outside of the editorial offices of The Toronto Sun. Meant to be Dion’s jumping off point for a platform, it appears to have fallen flat with voters.

Second is the budget surplus, which is rumoured to be heading into minor deficit this year. While a small, temporary deficit during bad times doesn’t bother me too much (far less than not paying down debt during good times), it’s not a position a government seeking re-election wants to be in. The Conservatives may or may not be there this year, but better to go to the polls now and explain a deficit from the position of newly re-elected government than one seeking re-election.

A third reason for wanting an election now is inflation. It has reared it’s ugly head around the world and is expected to hit hit 4.3% by early next year here in Canada. The Bank of Canada has an inflation target of 1 – 3%. If the rate stays above 3% interest rate hikes are inevitable. But what if rate hikes don’t work? Or as Maclean’s pondered a few weeks ago, what if inflation goes higher? It is possible in that a year from now we could see borrowing costs 2, 3, 4% higher. That starts to hurt families trying to make ends meet. And it starts hurting Conservative chances a year from now.

That all said, The Conservatives brought in fixed election legislation for a reason: to stop governments going to the polls for their own political advantage. The dissolving Parliament clause may make it legal but clearly Harper would be breaking the spirit of the law by calling an early election. An argument can, I think, be made that minority governments constitute a different situation than a majority, but for Harper to set the precedent of violating the concept of fixed dates renders the law meaningless. It would be better if he lost a confidence motion. We all know Stéphane Dion is loathe to vote the Conservatives down, but if the Conservatives abstained 1 for 1 with the Liberals, sit 95 MPs out of the next confidence motion, they should have no problem losing a motion based on the NDP and Bloc’s vote. Harper could get the fall vote he wants without violating the intent of the fixed election date law.

Personally, I’d rather he kept on governing like he had a majority and let the chips fall where they may, but Stephen Harper leaves nothing to chance, and he doesn’t look like he’s about to start now.

Fall Election, I don't have confidence in any of them, Parliament, Stephen Harper

Shane Doan and a Bunch of Whacked Out Nut Jobs.

May 3rd, 2007

Thanks be to Kate and SDA, who provides the link to this clip.

The thing I keep noticing is how they say we gave them money, we have a right to ask how they choose their captain. This is the problem with big government, and with even seemingly innocuous
handing out of powers and rights to government.

While technically true that the federal committee has the right to ask questions, it is not at all clear that they are right to do so. In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say no, they ought not be asking these questions. But give government, any government of any stripe, the right/power to do something and sooner or later, they will.

Meanwhile, there’s a petition. Go sign it, tell them you think this is stupid.

Parliament, pimply minions of bureaucracy, Shane Doan, whack-a-mole politics

Visiting Parliament

April 24th, 2007
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I have family in Ottawa, and go there once or twice a year. Last week, however, was the first time I was there while Parliament was sitting. This gave me a chance to sit in the visitors gallery for question period. If your a political junkie like me, put it on your “must do” list, it was a great experience.

First off, a big thank you to my MP Gary Goodyear and his staff. For question period you can just arrive and stand in line to sit in the end gallery, or, you can contact your MP’s office and let them know when you will be in Ottawa. They can provide you with a pass to sit in the gallery opposite your MP, thus you can watch your representative in action. This is what I did.

I was met at the door by Jennifer Dodd, Gary Goodyear’s assistant, and escorted around the line-up to security. After a brief security check, I was back in Jennifer’s hands, who then took me to a more private elevator to the gallery level. At this stage I had to hand in my cell phone and camera, then got passed on to a security guy, who helped me find a seat, and everything else I needed.

I got there before question period, but it doesn’t mean nothing was happening as debate on a Liberal motion to pull our troops out of Afghanistan was on-going. There where only a few dozen MPs present, most of them working away on laptops, reading briefings &tc.

The real action starts with question period, which is rollicking, fun and entertaining. It also has a rhythm to it, a give and take back and forth that adds to the entertainment. If you’ve ever watched it on TV you know the feeling that the MPs act like children, but it’s not true. All that annoying background yelling you hear on TV is part of the flow of question period, and very much adds to it’s flavour. As I said before, it should be on every political junkies to do list, just to get a feel for what it’s really like.

But of course, what’s Parliament without the Parliamentarians? This also provides a chance to get fairly close to the politicians and gather better impressions than you get off TV. Here’s my take on people I saw (and remember, I was able to view the Conservative/NDP side of the house, not the Liberal side.

Stephen Harper does look sullen. He’s a sloucher, and he looks entirely displeased to be there.

Peter MacKay, on the other hand, is tall and handsome. I always thought he looked like a fish, but he doesn’t. Further he’s very well dressed and carries himself with poise and confidence. In short, he looks like a successful guy.

Jack Layton looks arrogant and smug; possibly more so in person than on TV.

Rona Ambrose is not the Conservative hottie, that distinction goes to Josée Verner, Minister of International Cooperation and Minister for La Francophonie and Official Languages.

The star of the day was Environment Minister John Baird, who presented his Kyoto report to Senate that morning and was getting grilled. He was quick and sharp, and got the best laugh of the day as well (From Hansard):

Hon. John Baird (Minister of the Environment, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal member said, “when Canadians see the cost of Kyoto they will scream”.

Let us look at what one of the former Liberal ministers of the environment, Sheila Copps, said. She said, “On the environment, the Liberals are not on solid ground”. She also said, “People like Ralph Goodale and Anne McLellan were viciously against Kyoto”.

Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

The Speaker:

I would urge all hon. members, and particularly the Minister of the Environment, to avoid using members’ names. The person may have said that but the member knows that you cannot do indirectly what you cannot do directly. I think the member meant the hon. member for Wascana and he should use those kinds of terms in addressing the House.

Mr. Pablo Rodriguez (Honoré-Mercier, Lib.):

Mr. Speaker, it was a difficult day for the Minister of the Environment, who appeared before the Senate committee with only one thing in mind: spreading fear among Canadians.

Except that when he brought out an incomplete report based on partial information, he instead discredited himself before the members of the committee, and before all Canadians. When he was asked for specific figures to justify at least one of his dire predictions, he had nothing to say.

Now that he has had a few hours to read his report, can he give us some explanations or figures that justify at least one of his outlandish conclusions.

Hon. John Baird (Minister of the Environment, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, not only are we justifying the conclusions of the report, we had a number of Canada’s leading economists from outside of government validate it.

I would encourage the member opposite to listen to members of his own caucus. This is what one of his caucus members said two months ago, “We’re so far behind now that catch-up is impossible without shutting the country down”.

I cannot say who said this but I did see it on a website called

That last line had everyone in the house laughing – well maybe not on the Liberal side, I couldn’t see them. Baird is young and good, and looked like was enjoying himself. Look for more from him in the future.

As an aside, I lunched at the Parliament Pub directly across the street from the Parliament Building and while it had good food, it is noteworthy because it has a great, fun menu:

Senators Soup of the day
Like our Senators this soup is the result of a decision by the Head chef

Johnny Crouton Caesar Salad
Shaved asiago, bacon, garlic croutons and home made tangy
caesar for a King or …a friendly dictator and good
for your legacy.

Dennis Mills Danforth Greek Salad
Cherry tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, kalamata olives, feta
cheese and roasted garlic vinaigrette. Like Mills, this salad is a
of ingenuity and taste sprinkled with a hint of assertiveness.

Bill Graham’s Roasted Portobello Mushrooms
and New Potato Salad

with roasted red pepper coulis.Roasted and baked just like
Canada’s Foreign Policy on the Middle East

Stephen Harper’s Mixed Baby Greens
Pesto Dijon vinaigrette and roma tomatoes. Let’s focus on
green” here. Hey Stephen you still have to apologize to the
Maritimers – when you do we will name this item “mixed and
polished greens”

David Pratt’s Bunker Buster Tandoori Chicken
Mixed greens to camouflage the oncoming assault of the
palette, honey Dijon vinaigrette to lure the diners to the plate
riata that will blow your mind. This salad will target your
hunger and take it out permanently.

The Jack Layton Coalition of the Unwilling Chicken Caesar Wrap
Roasted chicken, romaine lettuce, asiago cheese, bacon and
Caesar dressing in a flour tortilla. This is the most politically
correct sandwich available……anywhere… the world.

Peter MacKay’s Philly Melt Sandwich
Sliced roast beef, mixed mushrooms, caramelized onion and
Swiss cheese. Served on toasted baguette with horseradish
pommeray aioli. – it looks good, it tastes good, it is good…and
it melts on its own when David Orchard is around.

Bloc Quebecois Smoked Chicken Quesidilla
b.b.q. sauce, guacamole, asiago, corn, and side sour cream .A
distinct sandwich with its own notwithstanding clause that’s
good for your overall constitution.

Paul Martin Roma Tomato Bruschetta
Served cold on toasted baguette with shaved asiago. Like Paul,
this is in a class all by itself.

John Godfrey’s Guantonimo Bay BLT WRAP
Roma tomato, bacon, mixed greens, asiago cheese, Dijon
mustard and avocado aioli imprisoned in a tomato tortilla wrap.
John Godfrey, the Liberal MP from Toronto known for his
passionate defense of the Al-quaida “non-combatants” who are
being “unfairly” held in US military prisons in Cuba.
We suggest he send them some of these sandwiches.

Stan Dromisky’s Roasted Vegetable Wrap“THE STAN”
Liberal red pepper, mixed with Kyoto Protocol themed zucchini,
eggplant, portobello mushrooms and red Tory onions, with a
collegial spot of Bloc Quebecois brie cheese, mixed greens and
roasted pepper sauce in a spinach tortilla wrap. Like Stan, this
is a meal for a team player who is always loyal to your
gastronomic desires.

Canadian Alliance Smoked Salmon Sandwich
Marinated capers and red onion, dill cream cheese and lightly
toasted dark rye bread. This Salmon is like theCanadian Alliance
– a fish out of water that got smoked in the
last election

Don Boudria’s Voodoo Chicken Sandwich
Mango and chili roasted chicken breast and provolone cheese.
Served on toasted baguette with avocado aioli. A true grit
sandwich with a loyal following. Like Don, this is a sandwich
you can always count on when the chips are down.

Stockwell ‘s Pasta of the Day

… with mixed green or ceasar salad. Served steaming hot…Amen.

Myron Thompson’s Quiche of the Day
with mixed green or ceasar salad…because REAL men
do eat quiche.
Pizzas are served with a choice of Caesar or garden Salad.

Bevilacqua’s Pesto Pizza
Roast chicken; sun dried tomatoes and goat cheese. Aaaaah
Maurizio. Smooth, tasty, palatable. A pizza that both Martinites
and Chretienites can stomach.

Parliament Pizza
Liberal portions of Tomato sauce, mixed with an Alliance of
prosciuitto and mixed mushrooms, red Tory onions, asiago and
mozzarella that’s as cheesey as the Bloc Quebecois.

Roasted Vegetable Pizza
Fresh basil, zucchini, red pepper, red onion, eggplant and goat
cheese. In honour of Hedy Fry, Art Eggleton, Alfonso
Gagliano and some of the other “bright lights” in the Liberal
government who have delusions of adequacy.

Scott Brison Crème Brulée
John Manley’s Cheesecake
Deb Grey’s Chocolate Torte
Carolyn Bennett’s Lemon Tarte

Food, Hotties, Ottawa, Parliament