"Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!"
-Homer J. Simpson

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Monday, November 27, 2006

Federal Cabinet Minister Resigns

National Post:

A cabinet minister in Stephen Harper's government has reportedly resigned in advance of today's vote on a motion to recognize Quebecers as a nation within Canada.

Michael Chong, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and MP for the riding of Wellington-Halton Hills, will hold a news conference announcing his resignation this afternoon, according to sources.

I just watched the announcement on Newsworld and it is true, Chong is resigning.

Regardless of the issue or any party's stance on it, and regardless of any political considerations we need more people who will take a stand on principle - in any party.

Mr. Chong obviously felt this strong about the issue and good for him for standing up for what he believes in.

I salute you Mr. Chong - this may be the only time you would get a hard-core dipper like me to say that.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

What do you like about the Liberals? Survay says: Nothing!

SES/Sun Media Poll: What Canadians like/dislike about the Liberal Party of Canada

Canadian (N=1,002, MoE ± 3.1%, 19 times out of 20)

What words would you use to describe what you like, if anything, about the Liberal Party of Canada? [Open-ended]

Top Likes
Like nothing – 22%
Policies/moderate/flexible – 16%
They are ok/as good as any other party – 8%
A good alternative – 5%
Getting better/trying to change – 5%
Reflect society/pan Canadian – 3%

The detailed tables with the sub-tabs by party affiliation and methodology are posted on our website at: http://www.sesresearch.com (BTW we've updated our website...check it out!)

Any use of the poll should identify the source as the “SES/Sun Media Survey.”

I agree. I too "like nothing" about the Liberal Party :-)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Saskatchewan Conservative Party Lies and Half-Truths

At the NDP convention last week, some protesters showed up. Thinking that they were the same SGEU protesters that had been picketing the day before (and joined by one of the MLA’s) most people didn’t think anything of it.

So a lot of people who took the literature of the picketers the day before and had talked to them, just breezed on by the protesters on the second day thinking that this was just another day of the same protest.

However, these picketers were not SGEU people again, they were protesters of the government on heath care issues

Here is what Don McMorris (The Saskatchewan Party health critic) had to say in the house about this topic (Which resulting in Deb Higgins getting quite upset and calling him a liar – which is against the rules of the house) :

Mr. McMorris: — Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Friends and family of Doug Bonderud went to the NDP convention this weekend. They didn’t get any answers. Marj and Terry Rak went to the convention as well. They didn’t get any answers. Some of the members opposite had the courtesy to at least stop and listen, and I applaud them for that. But all too many of these members across the way blew past them like the member from Moose Jaw Wakamow, like the member from Saskatoon Meewasin, like the member from Cumberland. The member from Saskatoon Nutana didn’t even break stride but at least she had the nerve to go in the front door and at least go by these protesters. Whereas the other members couldn’t, didn’t have that common courtesy. Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker . . .

The Speaker: — Order, order. Order. Order. Order. Order. Order. Order. Order please. Order please. Order please. Order. Order please. Order please. Members, on a point of order, the member from Moose Jaw Wakamow has made a remark which was unparliamentary and which was heard by all in the House, and I would ask her at this time to rise and withdraw it unequivocally and apologize to the House.

Hon. Ms. Higgins: — Mr. Speaker, I withdraw my remarks and apologize to the House.
Wow! Sounds like Mr. McMorris was there, doesn’t it? I mean, he describes, in detail, who did and did not walk past the protesters and even went as far as to describe one of the MLA’s as “not breaking stride”

The only problem is, Mr. McMorris was not there.

So was he lying in the House? No. He did see this action happen – ON FILM, and we know this because he later admitted as much to the media.

So that seems like a lot of weight to put on a video that was, by his own accounts, quite short and may not have told the whole story. Why would he stand in the House and make a statement based on that video?

Well, it turns out the video was recorded by Ian Hannah, who just so happens to be the Director of Communications for the Saskatchewan Party

Here is what the paper had to say about this this morning:

Hannah's videotape was immediately placed on YouTube (an Internet broadcast service) for all to enjoy and was then raised by Saskatchewan Party health critic Don McMorris in the assembly Monday, as he listed off a number of NDP MLAs that he believed either didn't stop or supposedly ducked the protest. In mean-spirited fashion, McMorris accused NDP politicians like Learning Minister Deb Higgins of not caring for cancer victims, setting off a firestorm in the legislature with accusations of "lying."
Here is the video

You will note that what is most interesting is that the part of the video the Sask Party posted contains a cabinet minister or two talking to the picketers and DOES NOT include the scene described by McMorris in the house.

I wonder why?

Particularly when you factor in who took the video......The Sask Party communications director Ian Hannah.

Again, let's go back to the newspaper:

However, what was truly sad about this is how smugly gleeful Saskatchewan Party MLAs and political hacks seemed to be about using such borderline-sleazy tactics of misrepresentation to drag provincial politics even lower.

Given that both Bonderud and the Raks have been to the legislature several times and talked to several NDP politicians, what exactly does it prove that any particularly NDP politician didn't choose to stop and speak with them on this particular day?

If the roles were reversed and it was Saskatchewan Party MLAs walking into their annual convention with their families, would they be any more inclined to stop and talk to angry protesters? Given that about half their caucus can't make it through a reporters' scrum without losing their cool and walking off in huff, one somehow doubts it.

And didn't the Saskatchewan Party pass guidelines for political ethics at its last convention? Did they include videotaping NDP MLAs and presenting the results in a misleading way?

And that, friends, is the crux of it. While I don't know if any political party has a problem with legitimate use of video and YouTube, I think the problem is that any tool can be used or misused. Given the fact that the Sask Party seems to have a problem with representing the truth when it comes to the written word, what makes anyone think they are not above manipulating the story from start to finish?

For example here are just SOME of the times the Sask Party and Brad Wall have lied or made up quotes or misrepresented the facts and were caught by the media:

At issue was a quote attributed to Crown Investment Corp. Minister Maynard Sonntag, supposedly from a June 13, 2000, debate on the budget estimates. It quoted Sonntag saying: "With respect to Con-Force in the construction of the buildings, they were jointly owned. The ownership was Con-Force 51 per cent and ourselves 49 per cent."

Here's what Hansard indicates Sonntag said: "First of all, with respect to Con-Force in the construction of the buildings, they were jointly owned but they were entirely debt-financed and SaskWater -- the Spudco division of SaskWater -- subsequently bought Con-Force out."

Not only did the Opposition completely distort Sonntag's statement, but it did so to make the point that there needed to be a special legislative investigation of him for "lying to the legislature." That's not just irresponsible. It's contemptible.
"Minister's self-absorption sad" Saskatoon Star - Phoenix: Feb 26, 2003. pg. A.12

Contrary to Wall's near-hysterical press release Wednesday forewarning Premier Lorne Calvert of another looming National Energy Program… no one has actually called for another NEP.
“Oil rant doesn't add much to national debate” Regina Leader Post: Sep 2, 2005. pg. B.7

“In this case, it's all about history, beginning with what has become the annoying, disrespectful and sometimes downright dangerous habit of the Saskatchewan Party of implying scandal, fraud and corruption from within the safety of the legislative assembly when they have had virtually no evidence thereof.”
“Politicians are architects of their own misery” Regina Leader Post: Mar 24, 2006. pg. B.7

“Less than a month after he rose in the house to suggest that SaskEnergy should hurry to lock in a contract at $5.56 a gigajoule until October 2002, Saskatchewan Party critic Brad Wall issued a press release that berates the company for failing to take advantage of prices that have now fallen to $4.61 a GJ for a one-year contract. Forget that Wall was wrong on June 5 about the $5.56 price he was tossing about in the legislature because he failed to include several costs, including delivery charges, that make the price considerably higher in Saskatchewan. Ignore that he's again conveniently leaving out these costs in citing a $4.61 price that applies only in Alberta. Wall's June 29 press release serves to underline why consumers are better served by having experts who know the natural gas market make SaskEnergy's purchasing decisions than to follow the whims of politicians trying to outguess a commodity market that's more volatile than the NASDAQ.”
“Energy critic disingenuous” Star - Phoenix: Jul 7, 2001. pg. A.8

“An Opposition plan to embarrass the government went awry Thursday when a businessperson invited to the legislature to condemn the province's sales tax increase and threaten a move to Alberta found out he doesn't have to charge his customers the PST. During question period in the legislature, Saskatchewan Party MLA Brad Wall said the government's PST expansion threatens to put Stein out of business However, following the scrum with reporters, Stein was invited to meet with Department of Finance officials. Less than an hour later, he emerged from the meeting a contented man.”
“Opposition's sales tax challenge backfires” Star - Phoenix: May 5, 2000. pg. A.8

"Say what you will about Romanow's Opposition, factual mistakes in questions were rare as hens' teeth. But such question period screwups have become a weekly thing for the Saskatchewan Party. Last week, CIC critic Brad Wall railed on about a non-existent SaskTel investment in a Honolulu cable TV company. This week, we heard Brenda Bakken complain about Liquor and Gaming Minister Ron Osika "hiding from the public" an annual report that the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority had actually made public in August."
"Sonntag admits scary ignorance" Saskatoon Star - Phoenix: May 2, 2003. pg. A.14

And after all of that they expect us to believe that they represented this video fairly? That they didn't make any edits or ommisions? *bah*

The Sask Party has just figured out how to use the new media of videotaping and YouTube to carry on their campaign of misinformation from the Internet.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

NDP youth video

As I have already blogged about, the Saskatchewan NDP convention had a presentation on using the new media. One of the tools that was discussed was YouTube and it looks like some of the delegates are talking that to heart.

The following is Saskatchewan Young New Democrats telling the NDP Convention 2006 what they believe is necessary to create a better world.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Saskatchewan NDP Convention

Whew! Sorry for the lack of postings over the last few days but the Saskatchewan provincial convention was on in Saskatoon and it was a busy, busy week!

The convention was great and there were a number of great discussions. One of the most notable presentations was on blogging and the new media which was very well done and I think helped a lot of our members understand this new technology.

Also there was an overwhelming rejection of the name-change to the Social Democratic Party. The delegates wanted to stay with the NDP.

I agree

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

An Equalization Deal and Tax Cuts

I occasionally am a guest blogger on the Saskatchewan Citizen's Federation blogsite.

Today is one of those days

Monday, November 13, 2006

Liberal's Keynote Speaker

Yeah, yeah, I know, I'm late to this party. Work have been pretty busy for the past few weeks and threatens to continue to be busy for a couple more. But watch this blog in December when I can get back into it all

Anyway ....

What the hell would the Liberals say if the key note speaker for the Conservative party was American?

They would go ape-shit crazy.

So what makes this ok?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Saskatchewan Conservative Party and Devine

The Sask Party is always whining that we talk to much about Grant Devine. But they do it almost as much as we do.

For example, in his response to the throne speech a couple of days ago, here is what one of the Sask Party MLA's had to say:

“I remember the member from Saskatoon Nutana talking about the last, I would say, 25 years in this province. And if she is learning from that history that she recited, we’re going to be in big trouble with this government and we are in big trouble. Because her recitation of what the history was in this province is completely different than what I remember and I believe what most people in the province remember,... Madam Deputy Speaker, certainly when the Devine government took over, there was debt from the Blakeney government….You know, they think that the Devine government was the only government that promised and that went into debt.”
- Don McMorris (Indian-Head Milestone) Nov 7, 2006 Hansard

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

NDP MP Tony Martin in Saskatoon this Thursday

This Thursday, November 9, 2006, the Saskatoon Anti-Poverty Coalition (SAPC) and the National Anti-Poverty Organization (NAPO) are hosting a forum with federal NDP Social Policy Critic Tony Martin who is bringing his national 'End Poverty' campaign here.

"Our social safety net has become an incoherent, inefficient mess that must be repaired," Martin said. "These Saskatoon statistics point to a human story to tell. We're asking people to give us concrete recommendations to take to this Minority Parliament."

"The depth and persistence of poverty is quite troubling. There are also 650,000 working poor in Canada. Something is terribly wrong in Canada when people working full-time for a full year still cannot make ends meet."

"We need political will and for Canadians to push their politicians to make fighting poverty a priority. The NDP is taking up this fight and we welcome allies."

Organizers want to hear from those now poor or once poor and their advocates. The plan is to raise awareness of poverty and develop recommendations for change. We will all have a better life if we work together to eliminate poverty.

The forum is scheduled for 7.00 pm to 9.30 pm with the dialogue to start at 7.30 pm. This will be located at St Paul 's Hospital (the old nurse's residence) 230 Ave R South, Room G30

For further information: Please contact the Saskatoon Anti-Poverty Coalition at 653-2662 or email: antipoverty@sasktel.net or Tony Martin's office (613) 992-8851

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Great Halloween Costume

Of all the pictures I saw of Halloween Costumes, this was the one that made me laugh the most:

The Conservative Saskatchewan Party sells out Farmers on Wheat Board

So what does the Saskatchewan Party have to say about the ongoing Wheat Board issue?

They don't stand up for the farmers of Saskathcewan, they stand up for their Federal Overlords.

Here are some quotes from thier throne speech debate:

“Farmers at night don’t lay awake at night worrying about whether the Canadian Wheat Board exists or is going to survive.”
- Sask Party MLA Randy Weeks, October 30, 2006

The larger philosophical point which exists here is the members opposite believe that it is all right if people with property, if 51 per cent of them are to vote, that they have the right, in a tyranny of the majority, to suppress the rights of the other 49 per cent.
- Sask Party MLA Jason Dearborn, October 20, 2006
“And the agriculture industry is in a terrible shape while we’ve had the Canadian Wheat Board in place.”
- Sask Party MLA Randy Weeks, October 30, 2006