Canadian Politics: 2011 Edition

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Raven, Mar 24, 2011.

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  1. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    I suppose it's just easier to simplify my previous post than actually debate my points. If you see fit to quote me with words I did not write and are a misrepresentation, I'll assume that you concede that most of what I wrote is actually correct. Otherwise you would have objected.

    Well, when one looks past the surface, sometimes Liberals cut taxes and sometimes Conservatives increase social spending.

    I did vote for the Liberals in the 1990s. At the time I thought they were the best party for fixing Canada's financial woes, but the way you downplay the importance of some of the economic tools that came into their own after Mulroney's government is a bit silly. Heck, our government and nation still is still reaping the benefits of NAFTA and the GST. Personally, I think Mulroney was a better Prime Minister than he gets credit for.


    That is mostly because Mulrooney is dumped into the bottom of the barrell of Prime Ministers. I suppose that has been unfair -- to a degree. Joe Clark was still a much more decent guy.

    It is not that I am saying that NAFTA and the GST played no role: they did, although it deserves to be mentioned that the GST was in part replacing the higher telecommunications tax... but that you needed more than these tools to turn the deficit around. The Mulrooney government had both of these tools late in thier period of government -- why did they not press for the GST earlier?

    Both of the measures that you state were hampered by Liberal Senate "stonewalling" only had thier timeslines delayed by a time period of 1-2 years from introduction. If NAFTA itself was of such a clear help, 5 years with it should have been enough to start seeing an effect. It wasn't just these tools: there was something the Liberals were doing that the Conservatives before them were not doing.


    Anyhow, I'd like to point out that Harper's Conservatives also ran large surpluses until the global economic recession hit us. They did preserve a lot of the legislation that kept Canada's economy stable, and I think they deserve some credit for that. And yes, they (obviously) ran a large deficit afterwards, but I attest that the size of it mostly due to opposition pressures, and I can't even comprehend how anyone can argue that.

    The Conservative government merely kept up the trajectory the nation was on: decreasing surpluses. None of the surpluses prior to the global recession were larger than thier Liberal predecessors. And frankly had the surpluses disappeared, ther would have been an outcry. All that says to me is that Harper knows how not to screw something up that works: since that in itself is better than what was going on in recent years south of the border, I suppose it's been enough. But it doesn't show that he can get results: for all he promises, he's acheived nothing in the past years. Rather he's just seen us through a period of global crisis that we avoided becuase our market happened to not de-regulate in the ways the American market has: areas where Harper's philosophy would dictate we shoudl de-regulate and merely repeat the mistake.

    But now the Conservatives have outlined a plan to gradually reduce spending to balance the books, and the Liberals under Ignatieff are not making any promises to try and balance the budget. I don't see how Liberal supporters can be so angry with Harper for running deficits when their leader wants to do just that. Instead of cutting back, the Liberals are peddling a Trudeau-esque tax-and-spend agenda which I cannot support, because it is a careless thing to do, in my opinion.

    I haven't heard anything from the Liberals on how they intend to spend heaps of money on anything more than the Conservatives will. The conservatives have merely indicated they will spend money on other things, like the Crime Bill to address the non-existant prison crisis (statistics having shown, btw, that crime is DECREASING since the late 80s across the US and Canada, not increasing). Harper is also advocating tax decreases: how that gets us back into buget surpluses I d
  2. BLACKJEBUS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 9, 2002
    star 4
    NAFTA didn't actually come into effect until 1994.



    I agree with the Conservative tough on crime bills, basically because I think prison sentences should be carried out in full and the risks posed from dangerous offenders and repeat offenders being released from prison early should be mitigated as much as possible.

    As for the contempt charges, I think it just hasn't been tried before even though it probably could have been done hundreds of times in the past. The opposition MPs on the committee that recommended the charge pushed it ahead, because they saw it as an opportunity to take Harper down a notch. they really had nothing to lose by throwing that out there. The politics of the last 7 years of minority governments have been really dirty, and pretty much every party has craftily used tools like this for their own political gain. So I think that an opposition-led committee that uses their power to find the Conservatives in contempt of Parliament to bring down government is no different than when Harper (or Cretien, for that matter) prorogued Parliament in order to silence opposition to remain in power.
  3. BLACKJEBUS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 9, 2002
    star 4
    The Prime Minister can't just "kick out" Senators. Unless they are charged with a crime or voluntarily retire, they can stay until they are 75 years old. Trudeau was in power for a long time, and got the opportunity to stack the Senate with Liberal sympathizers year after year. Chretien did the same thing (and he had every right to). In fact, I just looked up Senate members and there is still an active Liberal Senator (who I am sure Harper would love to get rid of) who was appointed by Trudeau himself.

    Back in the late 1980s, the only reason Mulroney got Senate approval for the GST was because he got permission from the Queen to appoint 8 new (Conservative) Senators, putting an end to the Liberal Senate stonewalling.
  4. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 18, 2002
    star 7
    The "Alberta = Texas" analogy is a product of international perception of Texas rooted in America's own mythologizing of Texas as a place of belligerent, uneducated, conservative religious fanatics. It's a common comparison to hear from Canadians, as Alberta has a similar mythos within Canada.

    A lot of countries have areas that are perceived in this manner and are often compared to Texas. For instance, Germans will often tell Americans that their "Texas" is Bavaria, former Nazi stronghold and current home of the Christian Social Union of Bavaria (which is aligned with Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats party). This owes not only to Bavaria's political history, but to their reputation as deeply religious and nationalistic. The noted existence of separatist sentiment among some Bavarians contributes to the comparison as well.

  5. BLACKJEBUS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 9, 2002
    star 4
    I think it is a very unfair assessment of Alberta. Fiscally-conservative political leanings aside, most of Alberta's population is urban and progressive, and the province as a whole is less "religious" than every province, except BC.
  6. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    The Prime Minister can't just "kick out" Senators. Unless they are charged with a crime or voluntarily retire, they can stay until they are 75 years old. Trudeau was in power for a long time, and got the opportunity to stack the Senate with Liberal sympathizers year after year. Chretien did the same thing (and he had every right to). In fact, I just looked up Senate members and there is still an active Liberal Senator (who I am sure Harper would love to get rid of) who was appointed by Trudeau himself.

    Right, but the Conservatives are able to do the same thing, and do. 9 years is still some time, and Mulrooney was a'packing. I just find it hard to believe that the Senate was what broke the camel's back, here. I don't doubt that it had an effect.
  7. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 18, 2002
    star 7
    Texan and her partisans say the same type of stuff. ;)
  8. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    Well for an urban and progressive bunch, they vote for the same party a whole lot -- even more so than Quebec.

    The rest of the country is warming up to voting Conservative a whole lot more than Alberta is warming up to voting for anyone else.
  9. BLACKJEBUS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 9, 2002
    star 4
    Edmonton and Calgary tend to vote for more socialist-leaning politicians at the local level and more conservative-leaning politicians at the Federal level. It is slightly more balanced at the provincial level (by popular vote, anyway - the rural constituencies are disproportionately large in number to the urban ones in Alberta, so conservatives rule there).

    Many of the policies put forth by left-leaning parties such as the NDP I think can work at a local level, but there's no way I think their socialist principles should run a country. I am from Alberta, and I know thre are a lot of voters here who agree with me.

    The truth is, Federal Liberals have had seats in Alberta for a long time, and probably still would if it wasn't for adscam. And even some of the ridings where Conservatives won in the last election were very close. There is an NDP seat in Edmonton, as well.
  10. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    Well if the coming years prove sufficient to prove me wrong concerning Alberta's voting habits, I will not hesitate to repudiate my statements.

    However considering the Praries have been reliably conservative for quite some time now, I have my doubts. From how I see it, the region is the most political-party homogenous in the country.
  11. BLACKJEBUS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 9, 2002
    star 4
    I think the Federal Liberals will win some seats back in Alberta when:

    a) they can wash away the remaining "stink" of adscam
    b) they put forth a more fiscally-conservative platform
    c) they can distance themselves from the NDP
    d) they can promise something to Western Canada in return for Ottawa making Alberta feel like "Canada's ATM"


    The Conservatives had to go through an entire tear-down and rebuild to regain power in Ottawa. The Liberals might eventually have to as well (to regain voter trust in Western Canada, anyway).
  12. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6
    I don't think that they're belligerent or uneducated. They are Canadian after all. :cool:



    The Liberals basically lost the west when the Trudeau National Energy Program went into effect. The west generally still believes that it was unnecessary interference by the federal government into provincial matters. Couple that with equalization payments drawing money from Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia and transferring the money to PEI, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario and you have a recipe for ongoing resentment of the east by the west.
  13. ImpKnight Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2008
    star 3
    If the Conservatives are elected with another minority government, how can the Liberals, Bloc, and NDP support the government, when just 36 days before they found basically the same group in contempt of Parliment?

  14. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    If the Conservatives are elected with another minority government, how can the Liberals, Bloc, and NDP support the government, when just 36 days before they found basically the same group in contempt of Parliment?

    Unfortunately, it's easy: the people have just told them they essentially don't care. So they just get away with it.
  15. BLACKJEBUS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 9, 2002
    star 4
    This is the most boring election campaign ever.

    Or, I have forgotten the last one.
  16. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6

    It may depend on your news sources. I've found this election cycle extremely entertaining.

    For example, the Harper/Ignatieff debate flap. Harper challenged Ignatieff to a debate, one on one. Ignatieff said that he's up for it. Harper backpedaled and said that he'd either debate Ignatieff alone or he'd debate all three additional leaders together, but he wouldn't do both. And besides, there was no time to find a new location, a moderator, set up TV coverage, etc. And then Rick Mercer said that he'd offer to handle all that, serving as the moderator, and giving $50,000 to each of charities of choice of the two leaders. The National Post has an article that summarizes it; what's left unsaid is interesting in of itself.

    Then there's Harper's five question a day limit Harper has set; two in English and two in French, and one for a local reporter. And if he doesn't like your question, he'll just not answer. Ignatieff, on the other hand, isn't using notes or a teleprompter, and doesn't have a defined question limit.

    And then there's the students that were ejected from the Harper rally because of Facebook pictures that showed them with Ignatieff.

    The way I see it, Stephen Harper doesn't like putting himself into positions where victory is uncertain. He doesn't like fighting on ground he hasn't prepared. He's not going to take unnecessary risks. He'll stay on message. That makes things rather boring from the Conservative perspective, but from the center... for the first time ever, I'm excited about Ignatieff. This election cycle has answered a lot of my criticism about him, while deepening the areas where I feel Harper is weak.
  17. keynote23 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 26, 2006
    star 1
    I agree with Raven. This election is turning out to be pretty interesting from where I sit.

    This tossing people out of his rallies just because they've taken a picture with Michael Ignatieff strikes me either paranoid or cultish on the part of his followers. The fact that Harper himself doesn't really care, possibly in an attempt to minimize the media play, makes it that much worse.

    Apparently even talking to the liberals makes you a threat to security. This is the sort of utter BS that I expect to find in third world countries and tyrnannical regimes. Not in Canada. More than ever now I want Harper and his fat, cowardly @#$ out of that office.

    The PM is someone who has to be able to stand toe-to-toe with the other leaders of the world and be able to handle himself and his country's interests while doing so.

    Harper can't even manage this at his own rallies or in front of his own people without an extreme amount of control first. Something he won't have in most other situations. I trust Ignatieff to be able to do this but certainly not Harper.

    The thing that frustrates me the most about this election is how some people are ready to hand power to the conservatives simply for the sake of having a majority government while being totally ignorant of what sort of person they're handing power to.

    It's like saying, I've found a loaded gun I want to give away and don't mind if it's either a cop or a criminal just so long as someone starts shooting.

    It's a lazy, irresponsible and dangerous way to cast a vote.

    Brings to mind an older idea of mine about voters having to take some kind of a test first to ensure they're familiar with the issues otherwise they shouldn't get a vote at all. What is the logic in handing such power to a community when they continuously demonstrate a willingness to remained incredibly uninformed before exercising it?
  18. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    I think it's important to not demonize the opponent.

    I'm neither excited nor un-excited about Ignatieff: he's something of a technocrat, which I prefer -- Governments are usually best served by Technocrats, Canada being no exception. However he supported the Iraq War, which I'm not crazy about.

    This generally just means that I prefer Layton as a leader to Ignatieff: were Layton running for Liberal leadership, I would vote for him over Ignatieff, economic platforms notwithstanding. Ignatieff has not had the chance to do anything but decide timing for an election -- but the Iraq issue, in my mind, happens to count for a lot.

    Harper's style does not speak well for him. This doesn't mean he's necessarily a coward, it just means its another reason I'd have to look past in voting for him. His party is already touting policies that have proven as unworkable as the NDPs (in fact even worse: NDP-style economics results in a slow grind as deficits grow and taxes gradually increase to unworkable levels. However it takes some time to get to this point and once there, you still have many years in which to act in order to avert the worse effects. Conservative-style economics as evidenced in the American GOP results in full-brunt disasters as already-lenient controls are removed from the private sector).

    So let's go through the list:

    1. His spending record is, at best, no better than the previous Liberal government (whose party has shown no visible change from the Chretien/Martin era), at worse the spending has been rather worse.

    Let's take an example of two programs it has been argued have no benefit to any Canadians: the gun registry versus the crime bill: the statistics on the gun bill are not, to my knowledge, conclusive that it has no effect but let's say it is... the registry costs 66 million a year as of last year.

    Compare this to the Tory crime bill, which has a price tag of 11 billion and the tories have relied on some sort of "hidden statistics" to support. They claim this is needed because of some "unreported crimes" estimates drawn from the Canadian census which I think were theoretical and not calling for this anyway... you know, the same census Harper wanted to cut back on to save money.

    Allowing for a little give and take, 11 billion buys the cost of the gun registry for over about 165 years, give or take (66 million a year means it takes 15 years to reach 990 million -- I'm going to call that 1 billion even just to be nice -- And then you multiply by 11: 66 * 15 * 11 = 165.

    So... how exactly are the conservatives any better stewards of spending? Even if we think of the gun registry as of questionable worth, at least when the Liberals do it it's on a really small scale. 11 billion bucks is a HECK of a lot of money to be throwing away on dodgy statistics when crime has been shown to be steadily decreasing since the late 80s (actually it broke even just a few years back, but it certainly hasn't been increasing).

    2. His economic stewardship has not yielded any benefits. The best thing we have gotten out of the economy since he took control is that it has not failed nearly as bad as in neighboring countries: but Harper, in his then two-years of governance, did nothing significant about the economy. The answer lies either with the previous Liberal or PC parties -- whichever one you choose, it's a completely different party with different people running it from the current Conservative party.

    This isn't to say that Harper should not have put together bailout packages as he did: it's that the other parties would have done the same, so what's the difference there? the significant thing there is that Ottawa's bailouts didn't have to be as big as those in the US or France or Germany, and if there's any credit to be had there, none of it really goes to Stephen Harper. We might have had a shield against the downturn, and he might have wielded it, but he didn't build the shield or make it available -- he just used it. All the other parties would have: and of all the parties, had his been in control from 1980-2006, by thei
  19. ImpKnight Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2008
    star 3
    No matter who you vote for, it should be clear the gun registry is a waste of money. It's cost over 500 times what we were first told it would cost. Criminals don't register their guns.

    BlackJesus has said that he thinks that this is the sort of thing that could have happened hundreds of times over the years, but considering this is the first time this has happened in the history of the entire commonwealth, that's still very unlikely (the Commononwealth, you understand, is comprised of 54 nations since the 1920s and could even be thought to go back to the earlier British Empire, which has several hundred years of history).

    This might be because this is the longest minority parliment in Canadian history. It could have been done many times before. It was done now to put on a show.


    I fail to see why prison sentences being carried out in full by all inmates benefits society -- it would seem to me that we only want that for a minority of inmates. If a criminal is rehabilitated, it's a pointless cost to keep him around. And our crime statistics are doing very well for the prison system we have. This is a LOT of money we're talking about here. This is major-agenda problem money for a nation like Canada. In the US it's chump change: here it's a significant chunk of moolah. Don't you think you should be applying a higher standard of investment versus return? If our crime stats are among the lowest of western nations, what more could this be than a significant waste of money?


    It is not pointless. It's called PUNISHMENT. It is also a deterence method, the greatest we have since there is no capital punishment. Also, our crime rates may be declining, but our violent crime rates are increasing.
  20. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6
    Nope, sorry, that's flat-out wrong. Overall violent crimes are decreasing, though at a slower rate than non-violent crimes; some types of violent crimes are increasing, but they've been balanced by larger declines in other forms of violent crime. The only way that overall violent crime is "increasing" is as a percentage of total crime.



    If we have an extra $9-10 billion sitting around burning a hole in our collective national pockets, I'd personally rather see us building nuclear power plants. Having an effective power network is a national security issue, especially given the steadily increasing cost of oil. In the short term, excess power generation can be sold to the US. In the long term, nuclear powers plants are a government investment that will pay for itself, whereas prisons will drain federal coffers for generations to come. I'd rather see people that are at low risk of re-offending be released; a person in prison is there courtesy of the tax payer, a person out of prison is paying taxes.

  21. ImpKnight Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2008
    star 3
    [face_blush] Oops. Thanks Raven.


    I still feel the same way though. Violent crimes should be punished.
  22. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6
    Perhaps, perhaps not. It's an honest philosophical question, and I can respect the viewpoint that we need longer and harsher prison sentences. Having said that, there's only so much money available. While it's a false dichotomy that we have to choose between prisons and healthcare (or prisons and welfare, or prisons and social security, or prisons or lower taxes, or prisons or nuclear power plants, etc) the fact remains that we don't have so much available that we can afford to cover everything to the standards that everyone wants.

    Right now, to me, our current level of control regarding crime seems more than adequate given that crime rates are on a downward trend. If crime rates do start trending upwards, if we do start to see actual identifiable areas of opportunity rather than gut-feeling areas of opportunity, I will support reasonable solutions to increased crime rates. For example, longer prison sentences and more prisons to house repeat offenders. Again, since we're not in that position at the moment, I think that other things take priority.




    The Churchill Falls hydro project is a worthwhile piece of infrastructure, exactly the sort of thing we need to be doing. First Harper announced support for it, and then Ignatieff followed up by matching his support. With the full exploitation of the projects that Ignatieff is saying he intends to support, it'd add about 3000 MW to the grid. More hydro is good. We're still at about 25% fossil fuel use nationwide in terms of power generation; I want to see that minimized further, phased out for more hydro and nuclear.

  23. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    It is not pointless. It's called PUNISHMENT. It is also a deterence method, the greatest we have since there is no capital punishment. Also, our crime rates may be declining, but our violent crime rates are increasing.

    Firstly, where has it ever been proven that Punishment in greater varieties deters anything? Honestly, is a criminal ready going to commit a crime going to overhear that the jail sentence for their chosen crime has gone up 5 years and say 'gosh, well I can't do it NOW! Curse you, Stephen Harper!'?

    Of course not. Yeah, if we let murderers walk Scott Free, maybe THEN there would be more murder rates. But criminals everywhere already know they will go to jail for what they do. When it's already a significant portion of their lives, the amount of time they will ultimately do makes no difference, whether or not you spell punishment in all caps. Heck, in the US they do what they do knowing they could face the Death Penalty. Doesn't make much of a difference any more than it did when the Death Penalty was a regular thing way back.

    Punishment is only of limited use. There's a point where it's more about the person inflicting the punishment than the person being punished. Is adding 5 years onto a jail sentence really going to matter, or is it because the person adding it on feels that much better at having given someone, somewhere, some more comeuppance?

    In short, anyone looking at our society today and what's tried and failed before, and thinking "what we really need here is more PUNISHMENT" is probably not, at the root of it all, really interested in crime prevention. They're interested in getting back at criminals, which doesn't help the situation.
  24. ImpKnight Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2008
    star 3
    While I agree that jail isn't going to fix all our problems, that we can't keep someone locked up forever, I will never disagree for making someone pay for something they did. If someone commits a serious crime, they should not get out after sometimes serving as little as 1/3 of their sentence. Call me old fashioned but yes, I am interested in "getting back at criminals."

    And to be clear, I'm not a card-carrying Conservative. I don't agree with a lot of their policies, positions, etc. It's just I agree with the other major parties less. Unfortunately, I doubt there will ever be a picture perfect party for any of us.
  25. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    While I agree that jail isn't going to fix all our problems, that we can't keep someone locked up forever, I will never disagree for making someone pay for something they did. If someone commits a serious crime, they should not get out after sometimes serving as little as 1/3 of their sentence. Call me old fashioned but yes, I am interested in "getting back at criminals."

    You're old fashioned.

    Look, if someone is at risk to re-offend in terms of a crime with a clear victim, of course the justice system should not be letting them walk. I'm actually in favor of the death penalty myself for serial murderers proven guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt who have a number of said crimes under their belt (I'm not even in favor of executing mass murderers, just serial killers that WILL re-offend) -- although the number of cases I'm talking about are very, very, very small: we're talking the Ted Bundys and Green River Killers of the world, here. When the results are dire and there's no hope of stopping the person from re-offending were they released, we're at the end of the line.

    But just getting back at criminals in general is nonsensical: first of all they didn't do anything to you, it costs money to keep them in prison so... if they won't re-offend, what's the point? The end result of the system is not to punish wrongdoers, it's to stop crimes from happening so they don't happen to begin with. The US has followed the punishment model for a while now and its done them no favors: it's a disproven system to go down that route. It just becomes easier for someone to become a criminal, and stay that way -- ensuring that there will always be people to 'get back at' for something they did to a person you don't even know.
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