Friday, April 29, 2005
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Harper, Martin, Layton, and Duceppe 'playing nice' for the camera's during the 2004 Leaders Debate
According to the Globe & Mail, Prime Minister Paul Martin and NDP Leader Jack Layton reached an "agreement in principle" meaning that the NDP will support the minority Liberal Government's budget when voting time comes. The NDP support came in exchange for the Liberals cancellation of promised corporate taxcuts (but not the proposed taxcuts for small and medium sized businesses).
Here is an exert of the "Agreement in Principle" from Jack Layton:
"It appears likely that we will have an agreement in principle reached with the government. Families will pay less for their kids’ education. Workers will get better training. We’ll reduce pollution. Build affordable housing. Protect pensions – and have a place in the world that makes us proud.
This likely agreement in principle also gives real hope that the child care money and first installment of the gas tax can start to flow back to communities. It also lets the investment in the Kyoto plan move ahead. The Liberal plan doesn’t keep our Kyoto promise. It has major flaws. But it is vital we move ahead and ensure even the most basic first steps are protected…from year one to year five."
As a Liberal with NDP tendencies, I like it! I like the idea of a Liberal-NDP Agreement and I like the idea of scrapping the corporate taxcuts.
But, if you take a look at the numbers in the House of Commons, it may not make a difference in the face of a Conservative/Bloc non-confidence vote. So far, what we know is that if the Conservative/Bloc Quebecois alliance pushed a No vote on the Liberal Budget, two of the Independent MP's (former Reform/Alliance/Tory MP Chuck Cadman, and former Tory/Liberal MP David Kilgour would also vote No.
A Liberal/NDP coalition (which would support the budget) would receive the support of Independent MP Carolyn Parrish.
So, according to the numbers, here is how things work out...
Will vote for the budget
Liberal - 132
NDP - 19
Independent - 1
TOTAL - 152
Will vote against the budget
Conservative - 99
Bloc Quebecois - 54
Independent - 2
TOTAL - 155
So, an Liberal/NDP Agreement may not be enough... depending on who shows up for the budget vote... interesting times ahead.
Posted by daveberta at 6:35 PM
Monday, April 25, 2005
BC NDP Leader Carole James
BC Green Leader Adrienne Carr
The British Columbia election is on and the parties and their leaders are on their way to May 17.
In the 2001 BC Provincial election, Gordon Campbell's BC Liberals crushed the NDP government of Premier Ujjal Dosanjh (now the Federal Health Minister and Liberal MP for Vancouver South), taking all but 2 of the 79 seats in the BC Legislature. Much of this was due to the unpopularity of former NDP Premier Glen Clark and his equally unpopular government. The 2001 election also saw a massive rise in support for the BC Green Party. Since then, the NDP have changed leaders (twice) and elected a third MLA in a by-election, a couple of BC Liberals have became Independent MLA's, and one former BC Liberal joined the Democratic Reform Party.
The weird part about BC politics is that the BC Liberals are closer policy-wise to the Federal Conservatives than to the Federal Liberals. From what I can tell, BC politics tends to be pretty polorized, swinging from the left to the right (between the left-wing NDP and the right-wing Socreds/Liberals) and generally skipping the middle-ground.
Also, in this election, the BC electorate will be voting on whether to accept or reject a new form of electoral system known as STV (Single Tranferable Vote). I know how STV works, but unfortunately, I can't explain it in a reasonable amount of space, so... here are a couple of STV links:
Good coverage of the BC Election can be found at the CBC BC Votes 2005 website. Also, check out the BC Election Prediction Project for some interesting riding predictions. If anyone has anymore good links, feel free to post them in the comments section.
If I lived and voted in BC: I would most likely vote either NDP or Green depending on the riding and candidate, the BC Liberals are far too right-wing for my liking. I also would vote FOR the STV preposal.
My BC Election Prediction: A reduced BC Liberal majority (40-50 seats), an increased BC NDP Opposition (20-30 seats), and perhaps some suprise upsets on the way from the smaller parties (1-3 seats). I also predict that the STV system will be rejected due to the simple fact that it's nearly impossible to explain it to the average person in less than 20 seconds (this is the advantage of First-Past-The-Post, it only takes 5 seconds to explain: "The candidate with the most votes wins"). This is unfortunate, because I do believe that a move to STV would be a good one for Canadian Electoral Politics.
Posted by daveberta at 7:43 PM
Sunday, April 24, 2005
In the spirit of all the new Federal polls being released lately, I've set up one of my own (see sidebar). Vote early and vote often!
Here are the results of the previous poll:
Total Votes - 43
Posted by daveberta at 11:43 PM
Friday, April 22, 2005
"Instead of being viewed as a problem, borders must gradually be treated like organic bedding pots, where each local growth is the transformation with the bonding of Earth’s human garden of families."
For the weekend, I leave you with this. I thought it was quite an interesting manifesto.
Posted by daveberta at 6:43 PM
Thursday, April 21, 2005
THANK GOD! EXAMS ARE OVER!!!
Wow. That felt nice.
Posted by daveberta at 6:43 PM
Last week, the PM called a by-election in the currently vacant riding of Labrador. As I am a political science student, it's in my bizarre nature to be interested in such events. So, here I go:
LABRADOR SHOWDOWN 2005
The skinny: A by-election was called following the death of Labrador Liberal MP Lawrence O'Brien. Mr. O'Brien, who had served as MP for Labrador since elected in a 1996 By-Election, passed away from cancer last December.
2005 Candidates (so far):
Graham Letto, Conservative - Mr. Letto is the Mayor of the Town of Labrador City (yes, it's a town of a city).
Todd Russell, Liberal - Mr. Russell is the President of the Labrador Metis Nation (and has a way better website than Mr. Letto).
No word yet on who the NDP or Green candidates will be. The final list of candidates will be announced by Elections Canada in the upcoming weeks.
There wasn't that much information that I could find on this by-election. For up to date breaking news on the by-election, keep an eye on ourlabrador.ca. I do know that if a General Election is called before May 24, the by-election would be cancelled and it would merge into the General Election.
Interesting Labrador facts:
...there are 27,865 people.
...there are 20,049 registered voters.
...it costs $30.00 to purchase a dog licence.
...it costs $3.00 to purchase a cat licence.
...the average winter temperature is between -10°C and -25°C.
...the average summer temperature is between 5°C and 15°C.
...95% of North America's Puffin's breed in the Newfoundland and Labrador region.
Past Labrador Election Results
Lawrence O'Brien, Liberal - 6,182
Randy Collins, NDP - 4,615 (Mr. Collins is now the NDP MHA for Labrador West)
Mike Patton, PC - 842
Stephane Girardin, Reform - 573
Lawrence O'Brien, Liberal - 7,153
Amanda Will, NDP - 1,284
Hayward Broomfield, PC - 1,254
Eugene Burt, Alliance - 677
Lawrence O'Brien, Liberal - 5,524
Merrill Strachan, Conservative - 1,400
Ern Condon, Independent - 919
Shawn Crann, NDP - 856
Lori-Ann Martino, Green - 178
UPDATE: The NDP have nominated Ms. Frances Fry as their Candidate. Read the ND Press Release here.
Posted by daveberta at 6:19 PM
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
PM may have ordered Gomery Inquiry, but courage is now needed to reshape Liberal Party, and to ensure this never happens again
By: David ***** and Howard ******
EDMONTON, ALTA. — As young Canadians who have been involved in federal Liberal Party politics for many years, we believe we speak for a great number of Young Liberals who are absolutely flabbergasted at the allegations unveiled at the Gomery Commission. We share the frustration, anger and resentment that many are feeling. The implications of these allegations, if proven true, are far ranging, and will sow the seeds of discontent for many years to come.
The decline of youth involvement in Canadian politics has been an issue which youth from all partisan backgrounds have striven to deal with for many years. Whether it is low youth turnout in election voting or the growing age of the average Canadian party member, democracy is losing the battle. Youth members from all parties have dedicated countless amounts of time and energy trying to involve our fellow young Canadians in our parties of choice. If one conclusion can be made from these exercises, it is that the youth of Canada are disenchanted, disengaged, and distrustful of politicians and political parties. When allegations such as those presented at the Gomery Commission are revealed, it only serves to grow the rift between the political process and the youth of Canada.
Young Liberals are, in general, moderates who steadfastly hold strong to eternaloptimism, a hunger to maximize equality of opportunity for all, and a belief that government can be a force for good. When we hear allegations that senior party officials, whom we look up to, are acting in a way that benefits a few rather than the many, we get angry. Perhaps we are idealistic, but young people demand that our leaders set our sights a little higher, and exhibit a betterstandard of behaviour. Nothing less should do, and nothing less will do.
Canadians have had a few weeks now to absorb the enormity of the allegations of wrongdoing. What is absolutely clear is that it is essential that we find resolution to potentially one of the greatest betrayals of the public trust perpetrated against the Canadian people. The Liberal Party of Canada requires a fundamental change in its mindset, its philosophy, and its way of operating. Governing a country is a privilege bestowed by the people who entrust it to accomplish the great aspirations of the nation. Governing a country is not a divine right to rule.
The Liberal Party of Canada has reached a critical junction at which it has the option of sinking or swimming in the hearts and minds of young Canadians. In the past few years, it has been clear that this is a party in need of reform and redefinition. What is needed is a Liberal Party which is not solely concerned with following the ups and downs of the weekly opinionpolls to gain and maintain its place in government at the cost of liberal values. What we believe is needed is an association of Canadian liberals from across the country who are committed to Canadian liberalism in policy and practice; an association which truly heeds to the will of its members across Canada, rather than a select few party bagmen and backroom strategists.
The Prime Minister may have established the Gomery Commission to get tothe bottom of the rot, but courage is what is needed now to reshape the Liberal Party to ensure nothing like this ever happens again. The party cannot spin its way out of the present mess—there must fundamentally be a renewal that starts from within. We cannot wait until Mr. Justice Gomery releases his two reports this fall. Instead, renewal must start now, from the premise that the Liberal Party is a vehicle for setting before the electorate policies that will lead to a better country, instead of a vehicle for the lust of power. When we are privileged to be the governing party, we must always keep in mind that Canadians expect the party to implement its policies in a way that is accountable to and respectful of the Canadian citizen, voter and taxpayer.
There are many Young Liberals like us who hold, in the words of the late GeorgesP. Vanier, “An active desire to right, as far as it was in my power, the heinous wrong done.” The Liberal Party of Canada can dobetter, and it simply must do better.
David ******** and Howard ***** are long-time members of the Alberta Young Liberals.
Posted by daveberta at 2:45 PM
Sunday, April 17, 2005
It's April 17... where did the month go!?!
Two final exams done last week, only two final exams left this week. More daveberta original political commentary to come after that.
What do you think? Election or no election? I've bet $20 on it being this year and $5 on it being in the fall. So, either I win $25 or $15. I'm set. :)
I added some new links to the sidebar for your blogging pleasure. Check them out when you get the chance.
Posted by daveberta at 12:23 PM
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Well, as promised, here is my recap of what went on at the Budget 2005 announcement at the Alberta Legislature this afternoon - a BIG THANKS to my favorite MLA for getting me a pass for the afternoon. : )
Well, this budget was labeled by the Tories as an investment budget, the first budget of the new debt-free Alberta. The air of excitement never caught on. These guys have been in power for 34 years and it shows. No new ideas...
So, instead of giving you budget details which you can easily find here, here, and here, I decided to give you a recap of my exciting adventure at Budget Day 2005 in Edmonton.
Enter scene: Cloudy spring day in Edmonton, Alberta. No sun, just clouds (it had rained the night before).
2:10pm - Left work, hopped on the LRT at University Station and waited 5 minutes for the LRT to show up...
2:20pm - Finally arrive at Grandin LRT Station, get off and run over to the Legislature Annex to pick up my pass for the Public Gallery. Got it! Yeah! Talk to some people I know and shoot the breeze for 5 minutes.
2:40pm - I run over to the main Legislature building with a friend of mine who works over there, get in (pretty lax security). On the elevator ride up to the fourth floor.
2:45pm - I join some people I know, in the Public Gallery overlooking the MLA's in the Assembly. The MLA's below are debating about snowmobiles or something... Tory MLA Wayne Cao says something about restaurants…?
2:50pm - Talk about an upcoming Federal Election begins amoungst us. Someone said they thought the Tories could win up to 5 seats in Quebec, someone else said they thought the election would be in mid-May. I still think it'll be in the fall.
2:55pm - Speaker of the House, Ken Kowalski calls for a 5 minutes recess before the Budget announcement by the Finance Minister.
3:00pm - MLA's start filling back in to their seats. ND MLA Ray Martin is in a wheelchair (I think someone said that he broke his leg - that sucks). More people begin filling into the Members and Public Galleries. I notice the disproportionately large amount of white haired men presumably over the age of 60 in the Galleries.
3:05pm - Finance Minister Shirley McClellan begins her speech. I notice that a rep from the Alberta Federation of Labour is sitting next to me and some folks from the good ol’ Parkland Institute are sitting in the row in front of me.
3:10pm – Promises, promises, promises…
3:25pm – Shirley McClellan is still talking. Tories cheer. Man, she's boring. I think the next time the Tories pick a Finance Minister, they need to pick someone with a little more ‘ompf’ than Mrs. McClellan. I think the perfect person would be...
3:30pm – Shirley McClellan is still talking and I think one of the old guys in the Members Gallery across from me has fallen asleep. I try to count the amount of grey haired MLA's in the Assembly. I lose count.
3:35pm – Shirley McClellan is still talking. I notice that one of my favorite Tory MLA’s has been conspicuously missing from his seat the entire time… hmmmm, very very very interesting.
3:40pm – It’s finally rapping up… Alberta Liberal Leader Kevin Taft responds to the speech, says he looks forward to the debate beginning tomorrow morning.
3:44pm – We all file out, I say hi to Dan McLellan from the AUPE. He doesn’t remember me.
3:48pm – I take the stairs down to the Rotunda to check out all the media scrums going on. There are probably a few hundred reporters, MLA’s and staffers, spies and Tory goons, and political hacks like me wandering around. I listen to some of the scrums - Education Minister Gene Zwozdesky, Health Minister Iris Evans, the Finance Minister, and the gang. ND MLA David Eggen has a nice tie (yellow and blue), I like it.
4:00pm – I’m really thirsty, need a drink. I go and find a water fountain. Come back and the orgy of scrumming is still going on. I bump into Edmonton Gold Bar MLA Hugh MacDonald. We say hi and he asks me if I’ve seen some reporter from the CBC, I say no, he continues his hunt.
4:07pm - I go and check out what Advanced Ed Minister Dave Hancock is saying (He’s organizing for a bid at the Tory Leadership). I get semi-accosted by one of Mr. Hancock’s goons; he wants to know who I am, who I work for, and why I want to listen. What a nice man. :P After my beating, I got to meet Mr. Hancock. He seems like an interesting person. I think he must have dyed his hair at least 7 different times and colours since being elected in 1997. Out of all the Tories here in Alberta, he is the only one which I (grudgingly) *like*… I move on…
4:12pm- I run into Liberal MLA’s David Swann and Weslyn Mather, the critics for Environment and Childrens’ Services. Nothing for their departments in the budget... I guess clean air and cute kids (see the picture in my previous post) aren’t good enough for this budget… I have a nice little chat with the two of them...
4:22pm – I continue to mull around and check out the scrums. Things are starting to wind down, still no Ted Morton. To bad, I wanted to say hi.
4:29pm – Things are really winding down. I’m hungry, time to go home and get something to eat. (I exit stage left)
Posted by daveberta at 7:19 PM
Posted by daveberta at 5:46 PM
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Monday, April 11, 2005
Why can't our elections be fun like the one's in the UK?
This is not a discussion club for like-minded intellectuals!This is a very beginning of a proactive and practical organization that is seriously planning to take power in the United Kingdom.
Some of us are not very liberal, many are not very green. Generally, we are not especially nice and several are outright dangerous. We all have different ideas and beliefs. This is OK (for now). We will sort what is right and what is wrong on the way, but first let get things rolling, pots boiling, sausages sizzling....Let us became a Power, after that we would have plenty of time for intellectual discussions, arguments and bonding.
If you feel being a part of "mp3-generation", "mp3-community", join us now !!!
Let kick some shit together!!!
Ruslan G. Fedorovsky (temporary Leader)"
Check out the rest of them here
Posted by daveberta at 11:00 PM
Well, what an interesting week in Alberta politics.
1) It looks like David Kilgour, MP for Edmonton-Mill Woods-Beaumont, is interested in rejoining the Tories. How many "cross-the-floor" monopoly cards does Mr. Kilgour have?
This contridicts rumours I have been hearing for a couple of months that he was planning on retiring before the next election. Maybe this is his way of distancing himself from the Feds and then retiring with somewhat of a good name? Though he's a Liberal MP, I have never really considered him to be a liberal, his right leaning views tend to clash with some of the basic principles of Canadian liberalism (he was a PC MP from 1979 to 1993, then crossed to the Libs). This aside, he has served the constituents of southeast Edmonton for 25 years and has obviously gained their respect (and votes!).
2) According to the latest EKOS poll (which has been covered in about 99% of Canadian blogs minus this one) was released recently, here are the numbers.
Conservative - 36.2%
Liberal - 25%
NDP - 20.5%
Bloc - 12.6%
Green - 5%
The breakdowns has the NDP leading in BC, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, the Tories leading in Alberta (no suprise), Ontario, and the Maritimes, with the Bloc taking a massive lead in Quebec.
This doesn't look good for the Federal Liberals no matter which way they spin it. Interesting times ahead.
3) The Alberta PC convention rapped up last weekend with internal infighting and political divisions displayed front and centre. Premier Klein told leadership candidates to "cool their jets." But, I guess if by "cool[ing] their jets" he meant:
-set up campaign websites (such as this one and this one),
-host networking parties (ie: free booze and food),
-take out newspaper Ad's (a la Mark Norris),
-and print up some buttons,
then the Alberta Tories are one big happy family. Let the entertainment begin! : )
4) The Provincial budget is being released on Wednesday (13 days after the fiscal year began) - as noted earlier, I will be there and will bring you all the good gossip - apparently the government will finally be raising the AISH subsidy (still not even close to living wage though), present the already promised money for education, and won't be dealing out any tax-cuts. So, it looks pretty lackluster so far.
This is all for now.
Posted by daveberta at 8:02 PM
Sunday, April 10, 2005
Saturday, April 09, 2005
Check out Daveberta's thoughts on the First-Ballot of the Alberta PC leadership race...
(Make sure to check out the updated list of MLA endorsements in the Alberta PC leadership race.)
Well, I promised it, and here it is - some gossip from my ‘source-on-the-floor' of the Alberta PC Convention at Northlands in Edmonton this weekend.
Apparently, other than the disturbingly large amount of delegates wearing 'Lyle Oberg for Leader' buttons, the Tories made some interesting decisions related to their 'youth' wing.
In order to address the lack of youth involvement in their party, Alberta PC delegates came up with a truly Alberta Tory solution. They have voted to change the definition of 'youth' from 14-25 to 14-35. So, that means, if you were a 35 year old Regular PC member yesterday - today you are now a member of the Progressive Conservative Youth Association...
Oh oh! but it gets even more bizarre - under the new category, 'youth' members who are +26 are not voting members of the 'youth' association even though they are technically members.... does this seem really weird to anyone else?
And just when you thought there couldn’t be anymore juice!!
The big 'renewal initiative' that the Tories undertook after being slapped around in the last election recommended that they hire a staff member to support the youth-wing with organizing, etc. Well, apparently the President of the PC 'youth' association got up to the mike and spoke vehemently against this motion - to the chagrin of the 'youth' membership which he supposedly represents... the motion was defeated...
Wow, these guys are better than pay-per view TV!
Posted by daveberta at 2:17 PM
Shannon the Futon Revolutionary has some great posts about the Tory Leadership contenders. It's a good laugh to start out your day!
D : )
PS. I noticed that since I put the site metre up a month ago - over 830 people have visited. Wow. Thanks!
Posted by daveberta at 10:15 AM
Friday, April 08, 2005
For those of you interested:
Posted by daveberta at 5:36 PM
It's about 1:56am and Pope John Paul II's funeral is about to begin in a couple of minutes.
They say that there are over 200 Heads of State and Government who have come to the Vatican to pay their respects. Millions of people in Rome and millions watching on television from around the world. Including me.
Posted by daveberta at 1:56 AM
Thursday, April 07, 2005
The Alberta Tory convention is this weekend. Apparently, there are no hospitality suites allowed! Now, say my name was Josiah and I was a Conservative party member who was coming to the convention in Edmonton all the way from Cardston or Cereal or something, and found out that there weren't going to be any hosptiality suites simply because the 'illustrious and *benevolent* leader-for-life of my great great great government for the millennia' Party didn't want his rivals to shmooze and party it up - I would be very bent up in the wrong direction.
Does anybody else think that it is quite ironic that Premier Klein is the one who doesn't want the boozefest of hospitality suites to flourish and spread their wings of alcoholic bliss upon the PC Convention?
But alas, I am sooo glad that i'm not in that situation and that I belong to a Party who knows how to party it up with the best of them.
On another PC leadership related note, I thought this was fun and a little ironic. Go to google.com and type in "elect dave hancock'. I was as shocked as you will be...
Ah, and soon to come: my review of Summa Theologica by our good friend, St. Thomas Aquinas.
-Keepin' it real since 1983-
D : )
Posted by daveberta at 5:18 PM
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
I decided that today I would write a post not about Gomery, corruption, publication bans, or any of those other things that has ticked me off in the past few days. Instead, I'm going to write about a good book.
Last summer, in order to escape what had been some of the 4 most stressful and trying months of my life (I'm not going to elaborate on this), I spent a month doing some solo backpacking across Canada's Maritimes. I made my way across Gaspesie, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and enjoyed every moment of it. Sleeping in hostels, bus stations, airports, ferry terminals, on ferries, and meeting the most incredible people.
FYI Halifax is an awesome party town: 6 nights partying in Halifax here, here, here, and others that I can't remember = tonnes of fun, some very wild times, a game of frizbee at 4am on the front lawn of the Lt. Gov's residence, stealing street name signs - then losing them, and a huge dent in my bank account. And St. John's NFLD was just as good. George Street was awesome.
But, as much as it was a great time to party, it was also a very spiritual, soul searching time. There's nothing like meditating on an Atlantic beach (wear a hat, it's usually windy).
The entire trip was great, but the best part was being on a boat 10 feet away from 3 humpback whales - one of the most incredible experiences of my life. It is an incredibly beautiful part of our country.
While I was in St. John's, Newfoundland, I stopped at a used book store to find some interesting reading material (I had bought the DaVinci Code in Halifax, and had finished it by then). What I found was one of the best books I can say i've ever read. For $1.50 at the Afterwords Bookstore (I still have the receipt in the book) I bought 'History on the Run: the "Trenchcoat" Memoirs of a Foreign Correspondent' by Knowlton Nash, the former National Anchorman for CBC News.
In this book, Nash writes about his time as the top CBC reporter in Washington DC during the turbulent 1960's. The Kennedy's (John and Robert), Martin Luther King Jr., Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Vietnam. It covers it all. What I found what touched me the most were the personal acounts Nash had with Robert F. Kennedy, including being one of the last reporters to interview him on his last trip to California, where he was shot and killed. It found it to be a very powerful acount of an important point in US history. I also liked Bobby Kennedy alot more after I read this.
So, if you are in the market for a really good book, check out "History on the Run" by Knowlton Nash. You won't regret it.
Posted by daveberta at 5:03 PM
Monday, April 04, 2005
Sunday, April 03, 2005
Saturday, April 02, 2005
I have again updated the sidebar to your right -->
I've moved the links sections around a little and added a bunch of new blog links (scroll down) - check'em out - half of them are interesting, the other half are filled with crazies! - you decide which is which.
I've also added a new poll - for those of your paying attention to this, this, this, and this, and of course this, this and this you will understand what I mean.
Here are the results of the former poll:
Posted by daveberta at 12:28 AM