Sunday, January 27, 2008

I'm black, and I'm proud.

That's all I have to say about this.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Newsmap - a different kind of news aggregator


I remember seeing this a while ago, but just came across it again today.

An interesting way of looking at the news... maybe a bit irritating to, if it bothers you to see a visual depiction of Britney's suicide watch outweighing most Canadian news.


Enjoy (or not).


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Saturday, January 12, 2008

More typical Conservative bullshit - Peter MacKay edition

So Peter MacKay is so desperate to grasp for ammo that he's reaching back to 1993, specifically to the Chretien governments decision to cancel the $4.8 billion dollar contract to replace the Canadian Military's fleet of aging Sea King Helicopters.

I guess MacKay figured it would sound "Defence Minister-ish," and he could get a cheap shot in at a Liberal government. And why might you ask, is he resurrecting this old smear? As Mike Blanchfield's article for the Canwest News Service puts it:
MacKay blamed delays in delivering the first in a new fleet of Sikorsky Cyclone ship-borne helicopters squarely at the feet of previous Liberal governments...

"It's a tremendous, tremendous disappointment to see once again this vital piece of equipment may be delayed. And it can all go back to a single, solitary decision and a flippant and callous stroke of the pen,"

However, in his memoir My Years as Prime Minister, Jean Chretien explains the reasoning behind the controversial move, which was far from "flippant and callous" as MacKay puts it.

Chretien, writing about the huge task of getting the Canadian budget back in the black:

"More significant in terms of savings - but just as important as a symbol - was the Cabinet's decision, taken at its first meeting, to fulfill our campaign promise and cancel the Conservative government's order for 43 new EH-101 military helicopters, even though it meant having to pay a $500-million contract penalty. Given the size of the deficit the Tories left us, we would have had to borrow $6 billion to pay this additional bill and, as a result, been that much further from balancing the books. Indeed, when all items were accounted for, we would have had to borrow even more than that: it's a reasonable calculation that those helicopters would have cost the people of Canada at least another $6 billion in interest over ten years. compared to that bill, the penalty didn't look quite so bad"

But you say, what about the fact that the Liberals got the budget in order in a couple years; what's their excuse for not replacing them sooner? Jean covers that next:

Eventually, when we had managed to get from deficits to surpluses by taking hard decision such as this one, we were again pressed by the military to replace its fourty-year-old Sea King Helicopters. "Okay," I said. "If they're so dangerous to life and limb, go and buy some good used ones from the Americans right away." And do you know what our Defence Department discovered? One, the same model Sea King was still in use by the United States military to ferry the president from the White House to his retreat at Camp David. And, two, the helicopters our generals looked at turned out to be in worse shape than the ones we already had.

Hardly flippant Peter. Callous? Maybe, if you call doing the really tough spade work to balance the Canadian budget after it absolutely ballooned under the poor fiscal management of Stephen and Peters good friend Brian Mulroney.

Again, the Conservatives demonstrate that anytime is a good time for a cheap shot, no matter how patently deceptive it is.

Sunday Update: The Galloping Beaver has a much more detailed take on this.

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Monday, January 07, 2008

Why?

Why, the Neo-Tories ask themselves in frustration, aren't Canadians embracing them? Especially, why aren't women warming to them?

Perhaps because after presiding over a few nifty surpluses themselves, large enough say, to give over $10 billion in regressive tax cuts, they still have to go and cut 6 million the SWC (Status of Women Canada).

Meanwhile, back in December, the Liberal party released their second Women's caucus Pink Book.

If they still can't figure this out, its about high time they were handed their lunches and sent on their way.

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year

This could be an interesting year, in general as well as for Canadian politics.

There may be a Federal election this year; barring a sudden increase in Neo-Tory popularity, it will be time for the Liberals to force the next election.

My guess is that the issue of whether or not to extend the mission in Afghanistan will be the one to trigger the fall of the government, especially if Harper should obstinately hold fast to his desire to extend the current mission to 2011.

If he proves to be more pragmatic, then Harper will likely take heed of the growing unease the Canadian public is feeling towards our current role, and the level of the burden Canada is shouldering in Afghanistan.

One factor will be the results of the non-partisan panel led by John Manley to examine and provide a report on the future of Canada's mission. If they propose continuing the mission, even in a different role such as providing training and aid rather than combat force, then it may be hard to refute their recommendations.

On their findings, I'm going to predict the final report will be less black and white than the government would like. While there has been progress on the ground, the situation in the region is complex and dangerous, all the more so with the recent accusations levelled at Iran, and along with the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

We may have to face the prospect that even though the mission is worthy and necessary, the position occupied by our forces, trying to rebuild Afghanistan in a pro-Western image, is untenable; history has shown that getting into Afghanistan is easy, but this doesn't mean that ultimate victory is assured. Then the question may become: How much are willing to risk losing?

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