Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The cost of satisfying the Opposition's demands

Is the Opposition asking legitimate questions, or are they purposely asking unanswerable questions to waste taxpayers' money and the government's time?

It takes the government roughly $60 per hour per person to research Opposition questions.  Some Opposition questions are purposely lengthy, sometimes listing over 100 sub-questions within a single question, according to Parliamentary Secretary Kellie Leitch.

The highlights:
Liberal MP David McGuinty on library funding: $6,000
NDP MP Peter Stoffer on IT spending: $15,733
Liberal MP Kevin Lamoureux on announcement backdrops: $15,358 (a total of $46,228 including 3 other questions he asked)
NDP MP Alexandrine Latendresse on government letterhead: $21,600 (a total of $39,000 including 2 other questions he asked)

And, the whopper... Liberal MP Frank Valeriote on vehicle procurement policies: $150,000

Should the Opposition be allowed to waste taxpayers' money as they please?  Is asking this question an "attack on democracy" or an attempt to put a price on the Opposition's obstructive and wasteful process?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Kevin Page's misleading statistics

This, my friends, is why the proper use of statistics is important:

I’ve surveyed my colleagues and a few other friends who work in the Public Service.  We’re pretty sure we’re not seeing about $70,000 from what Kevin Page says we should be.

But what is Page really saying?  He’s saying the average public servant makes that much.  Here’s his math:

$43.8 Billion / 375,500 = $116,644
Federal government’s human resources budget / number of federal employees = $114,100

(Page’s calculations also include the cost savings of early severance payouts, resulting in the $2544 difference)

Simple, right?  Wrong!

Such is the easily misleading opportunity presented when looking for an average rather than the mode.  The mode, in simple statistics, is the number which occurs most frequently.  In other words, what Page should be presenting is what most public servants cost taxpayers, which should be significantly less than $114,100 per year.

Let’s say, for argument’s sake, most public servants make $60,000 per year.  Even adding in pensions, medical and dental coverage, and other minor human resources expenditures, it’s incredibly unlikely that most employees are costing Canadians upwards of six figures per year.

Page's suggestion is a deliberate attempt to lump in an EX-05 (making $198,300) with an AS-01 (making $30,375).  The average between these two people is $114,338, but knowing this neither sufficiently accounts for the person making $200,000 nor the entry-level employee making 15% of that.

All employees do not cost the same – not even close.  What’s probably happening here is the top 20% of earners accounting for over $300,000 in expenditures each, with the vast majority certainly not benefiting or raking in over $114,000 per year.

Page, an educated individual, certainly knows this.  But his office’s pursuit for outrageous attention-grabbing headlines is apparently more important than providing accurate, relevant data.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Ottawa's light rail project finally off the ground

First, let me state that it's excellent to see progress finally being made on Ottawa's light rail project.

However... for a $2.13 billion, 5-year project, why wouldn't it at least connect Kanata and Orleans?  Not to mention leaving out Rockcliffe and Gatineau in the north, and South Keys and Manotick in the south.

As it stands now, all this route does is replicate the existing Transitway in an attempt to relieve stress from the downtown core.

With 30 trains on the tracks at all times (increasing to 55 by 2031), and a one-way trip from Tunney's Pasture to Blair Station taking less than 24 minutes, is there any reason why at least a few trains wouldn't run further north, south, east, and west?

What are your thoughts?  Is this proposal sufficient?

Submit your team name for Ottawa's new football and soccer teams

Further to my earlier article on why naming Ottawa's football team the Ottawa Highlanders is a good idea, naming suggestions are now open: http://www.nameourteams.com.

Take a few seconds and choose a name which suits Ottawa's history, culture, and identity.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Justin Trudeau: he'll tell you anything for your vote

2010: Liberal MP Trudeau: The gun registry saves lives:

2012: Liberal leadership candidate Trudeau: the gun registry was a failure.

2010: Liberal MP Trudeau: Canada is in bad shape because Albertans are running Canada:

2012: Liberal leadership candidate Trudeau: insists he's all about bringing people together, and not pitting region against region.

Can you imagine such leadership as head of the Liberal Party or - shriek - head of Canada's government?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Another NDP Filibuster on the Horizon

Another NDP filibuster is on the horizon.  Luckily, this one, taking place tomorrow evening, is only expected to last 8 hours and deals with 1600 amendments.

NDP's recent filibustering history:
June 2012: NDP filibusters committee hearings on F35 costs
June 2012: NDP filibusters committee hearings on F35 costs
June 2011: NDP filibusters Bill C-6 (restoring Canada Post services) for 58 hours

... Have other NDP filibusters to add to this list? Send them to me.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Elections Canada makes exceptions for Liberals to break laws - AGAIN!

We already know this entire "robocall" conspiracy originated in Guelph, and that it was from the Guelph Liberal campaign rather than anyone else.

So, why hasn't this story been the centre of the media's attention?

Anti-Tory robocalls received in Guelph days before election

Valeriote campaign behind anti-Tory robocalls

We also already know Elections Canada makes exceptions for Liberals to break the Canada Elections Act, while no one else could ever hope to be so lucky.

Well, here are more of those same exceptions in response to Marty Burke, the Conservative candidate in Guelph who tipped off Elections Canada about the Liberals' fraudulent robocalls:

July 25, 2012 
We are satisfied that the message in question originated from [the Valeriote campaign] and that the authorization statement was inadvertently omitted. We also note that the cost of the message had been reported with the electoral campaign return of Mr. Valeriote.
 In light of the nature and specific circumstances surrounding the omission, the fact that this is the first complaint regarding advertising by the Valeriote campaign, and because the Commissioner received full and prompt cooperation, the Commissioner has concluded his investigation and will not be seeking any formal enforcement measures in this matter.
Your correspondence also alleged that the number displayed had no call back capability and that such calls may have been made on weekends after 6pm.  These allegations raise no issues under the Canada Elections Act and are outside the Commissioner's jurisdiction.

Got it?  First offence, full cooperation, and allegations outside the Commissioner's jurisdiction?  All charges dropped and no "formal enforcement." So why are they investigating robocalls at all?

Have further information on the Guelph robocalls or the real robocall story? Send them to me.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Is a leak at Elections Canada providing confidential voter information?

On Friday, Canada’s notorious robocall propagandist Stephen Maher published yet another “Gotcha!” moment in the robocall conspiracy: that some Conservatives in the riding of Laurier-Sainte-Marie never actually donated to the Conservative campaign, despite the Conservative’s financial statements saying they did.

Of course, it all blew up when it turned out those individuals did donate to the party, and it turned out Maher published his bogus story without even bothering to ask the Conservative Party for comment.

But there’s a more concerning issue here:

“Postmedia tried to contact all the donors on the riding’s donor list from 2007 to 2009, almost 550 people. Many failed to return calls; others could not be located.

Here’s the Elections Canada database, in which you can search for any person who’s donated to a political party.  No issue there: it’s publicly available information.

Anyone can click on a person’s name, which opens up a pop-up window which says the person’s name, city, province, and postal code.  That’s it.

So here’s what concerns me: how was Maher able to contact these individual donors – indeed voters – when the only information Elections Canada publicly provides is the postal code?

As if it’s not sleazy enough to have these two rifling through garbage cans to stir up their next false controversy, it’s just plain suspicious to be attempting to contact voters – and succeed at least 11 times.

From whom did Maher obtain these voters’ information?
How many times did Maher attempt to contact them?
At what times of the day did Maher attempt to contact them?
What exactly did Maher say to these individuals once he got a hold of them?
What exactly did these individuals say to Maher?
How did Maher contact these voters?  Elections Canada apparently does not track phone numbers, so are we to believe Maher contacted over 500 people by mail – and by postal code only, no less?

And secondly, if Maher was able to use another source of information to contact voters, doesn't that prove he's using another party's database (or some other voter ID software) to contact these voters?

Most importantly of all, is there a leak at Elections Canada?  At worst, they could be providing confidential access to voters lists, which is not allowed:
Safeguarding your personal information 
Elections Canada takes precautions to ensure that the information contained in the National Register of Electors is kept secure and used for authorized purposes only. Employees' access to the Register is carefully controlled, and the database itself is physically secured and protected by hardware, software, firewalls and procedural controls.

We already know Elections Canada has had employees leaking information to the media for months, so it’s not a far stretch.

What do you think?

Update June 2013: I'm not the only person questioning whether a leak exists at Elections Canada.  Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro has had confidential interviews with Elections Canada mysteriously leaked to the press.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Another "Gotcha!" Moment. Oh, wait

It's another "Gotcha!" moment by Canada's dumpster-diving reporters:

"Several people listed as donors to a Conservative riding association in Montreal say they did not make the donations attributed to them by the party."

Oh, wait:

"The federal Conservative Party on Friday produced copies of cheques for seven donors from a Montreal riding association who earlier had told Postmedia News they did not contribute to the party.

One businessman who earlier told Postmedia News that he hadn’t donated to a Conservative riding association was able to recall his donation after Postmedia News published a story on Friday."

(H/T: BC Blue)

So much for another have-not scandal.  Isn't it amazing, even with all these false controversies and unproven allegations, that this summary, written 9 months ago, is still the only substantive true information we have on this fake witch hunt?

But seriously, how desperate are you to find any impropriety that you're shopping through the Elections Canada contributions database, somehow finding those individuals' addresses or phone numbers, contacting them, then running to your computer when someone doesn't remember a donation they made two years ago?  They're not even dumpster diving properly!

Friday, November 23, 2012

A week in review for the Liberal Party

Let's recap this eventful past week for the Liberal Party:

David McGuinty, younger brother of Dalton McGuinty (disgraced former Premier of Ontario), says anyone who believes in energy sector innovation is a "shill" and should "go back home" to Alberta.

Justin Trudeau, Liberal leadership candidate, apparently shares McGuinty's hatred for Alberta, and says Canada is better off when Quebecers run the country.

Joe Fontana, former Liberal cabinet minister and current mayor of London, Ontario, is charged with fraud, breach of trust, and uttering forged documents after he used over $20,000 in taxpayers' money to pay for his son's wedding.

Yep, I have no clue why the Liberals are the third-placed party.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ottawa South Liberal MP's divisive comments

Anyone who believes in energy sector innovation is a "shill"

Alberta MP's should "go back to Alberta"

... Well, if the Liberals aren't again attempting to divide Canada from east to west and force Canadians to fight Canadians, Albertans to fight Ontarians, then I really don't know from where these despicable comments are coming.

I guess now that McGuinty has ruled out running for Liberal leadership, and the McGuinty namesake is completely destroyed across Ontario, David can finally say what he really feels.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Ottawa Highlanders a fitting name for 2014 CFL team

Partially published in the Ottawa Citizen on November 26, 2012

Sports team names these days reflect a city’s culture and heritage more than ever before.  The relatively new Winnipeg Jets were named after the Winnipeg Air Force Base: 17 Wing.  The Ottawa Senators were named after Roman soldiers who also sat in that Empire’s Senate, homage to Ottawa being Canada’s capital and location of our Senate.

Now that the obstructive Friends of Landsdowne lawsuits have been beaten into the ground for the last time, it’s time for Ottawa to focus on drafting, creating, and hosting our new Canadian Football League team come 2014.

There is no better name which best celebrates Ottawa’s history, culture, and identity than the Ottawa Highlanders.

The current Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa traces its Ottawa roots back to 1866.  The 43rd Battalion of Infantry was on Parliament Hill for Canada’s official Confederation on July 1, 1867.  In 1870, the regiment defended Ottawa in the Fenian raids, mobilizing nine companies of soldiers in Ottawa, Prescott, and surrounding areas to secure Canada.  They would later quell the Riel separatist threat in western Canada in 1881.

The 43rd Battalion paraded at Landsdowne Park before moving to their current location of Cartier Square Drill Hall.  They maintained the stadium and assisted the players before and after games.  And the Drill Hall, too, is central to Ottawa’s history: it was originally a shelter used to dry the wood being driven down the Rideau Canal and Ottawa River, before being shipped further into Canada.  The log drivers’ motto then was “Advance!” which is carried by Ottawa’s regiment to this day: a reminder to continue to push forward, carry on, and advance.

During World War One, the then-titled 38th Ottawa Battalion earned battle honours for Canada which are still heralded today. Ottawa’s Battalion sustained over 2800 casualties defending Canada at Somme, Arras, Ypres, Vimy, Passchendale, Amiens, and Hindenburg Line, among others.

The Ottawans fortunate enough to return did so with 299 decorations for bravery: two Victoria Crosses, nine Distinguished Service Orders, 35 Military Crosses, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, and many more.

In 1933, the regiment was named The Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa and was honoured to be presented The King’s Colours and its Regimental Colours on Parliament Hill by His Majesty King George V.

By World War Two, the Camerons deployed 800 of Ottawa’s finest, bravest citizens to Europe.  In fact, the Cameron Highlanders were the only Ottawa-based unit to land at Normandy on D-Day (June 6, 1944), and provided significant support to several Allied forces in the area.

One hundred sixty Ottawans laid down their lives in that war, and again returned home with numerous battle honours for their sacrifices.  These included Normandy Landing, Caen, The Orne, The Rhineland, Leer, and many more.

Ottawa’s Regiment has done our city a great service for over 140 years.  Returning from WWII, the Cameron Highlanders remained in constant support of local police and national authorities.  They served overseas protecting people in Cyprus, Croatia, Israel, Lebanon, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, and the Congo.

In 1989, the Camerons were honoured to be named the best militia infantry unit in Canada.  It is also no wonder that the regiment comprised of some of Ottawa’s finest, most dedicated individuals was proclaimed Ottawa’s Regiment and given Freedom of the City in 1996 by then-Mayor Jim Watson.
The 1998 ice storm crippled cities and infrastructure with little notice.  When police, fire, and emergency responders were stuck, the Cameron Highlanders were some of the first boots on the ground, and they quickly stepped up to provide vital rescue and assistance efforts which saved lives and restored city services.

More recently, they continue to serve Ottawa and Canada proud in Afghanistan and other vital humanitarian missions at home and around the world.

But perhaps most notable of all, these fine Ottawa residents carry out often thankless duties while continuing to live, work, and attend school among ordinary citizens.  They go to school at Carleton, uOttawa, and Algonquin College.  They work as security guards and police officers.  They work for other government agencies such as Transport and Revenue Canada.  They tirelessly parade with the Ceremonial Guard throughout the summer.  They own and manage small businesses.  Indeed, many of these extraordinary citizens perform their military duties on top of their “day jobs.”  They demonstrate the highest commitment to Ottawa and our country, worthy of the highest honour and respect.

Considering this history, it only seems a fitting name for our city.  As Jeff Hunt, Chair of the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (the company that owns the currently unnamed CFL team), admits, a name with strong connections to Ottawa’s history is a must.

If I could make one suggestion to make the Highlanders even more representative and historic, it would be to increase the use of the Cameron of Erracht tartan, the blue hackle, thistles, and St. Andrew’s Cross.  The silhouette of a soldier in a WWII helmet is certainly historic – but what of the current generation’s commitment to Bosnia, Israel, and Afghanistan?

Just imagine: Ottawa’s football team in kilts, with a blue hackle over the left ear and a thistle over the right. Conversely, a plaid jersey.  The possibilities are endless to create stunning uniforms which maintain their connection to the Highland tradition.

In recognition of a military regiment so deeply engrained in Ottawa, representative of our history, culture, and identity, there is no better name for our 2014 CFL team: the Ottawa Highlanders.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Durham Liberals set up front group to secretly solicit donations

The party rightly thrown out of office in 2006 for their shady handling of taxpayers' money should have learned by now.

There's this new organization called "Durham 4 Vets."  It sounds like a great organization, as are most organizations that make it a priority to assist those who have served Canada's interests at home and abroad. They can't spell that well, but their intentions seem good.

Upon entering you're given this page:

(It's heroes, by the way, unless you're intending to speak up for heros, a type of fish.)

So far so good.  What does this organization stand for?  They've taken exception with the NDP's decision to vote against tough penalties for people caught defacing war memorials.  Great.  They also encourage Canadians to wear poppies and remember the ultimate sacrifices our veterans made - and continue to make - so Canadians can carry on living our way of life.  Also great.  And I can even sign a petition saying I'm concerned about Canada's veterans and want to make a $20 donation to keep this organization going.  Perfect.

So let's theoretically say that I, as your average Durham resident, want to donate to this seemingly great organization.  But who's their President? I'm not sure. Their Managing Director?  Their founder?  Their Board of Directors?  What's their address?  When were they founded?

I mysteriously have no answers to any of these questions.  I guess I can just blindly click the "Donate" button and hope my money gets to the right place.

Oh, wait. It's a Liberal Party front group, attempting to secretly funnel donations intended to "support our vets" into the Liberal Party's byelection campaign in Durham.

The irony here is overbearing, as is the potential illegality of such a campaign.  But let's first consider the irony: the Liberal Party attempting to campaign on supporting our veterans, yet, when in office for over a decade, they drastically cut funding for Canada's National Defence. There was a name for that decade - the Decade of Darkness - and not just because the Liberals were frivolously handing taxpayers' money to their friends in dark alleys at night.  (Where is that money, anyway?)  Liberals campaigning on supporting our veterans would be like the NDP campaigning to have the lowest corporate tax rate in the world - their words simply don't match their actions.

Next, the potential illegality.  Contributions - obviously - have to be freely given to a political party or candidate with the intention of supporting that party or candidate.  To attempt to secretly solicit funding for the Liberal campaign under the guise of a front group for "supporting veterans" is tantamount to fraud.  It's taking your money intended to support our veterans and putting it in sticky Liberal hands for a completely different purpose.  Since when do the Liberals have any ability to take your money and support our veterans? They don't.

In fact, there isn't a single Liberal logo on this website.  It's not until you click the Donate button that you actually discover the warning "gee, we can't actually fraudulently take your money this way, so if you'll continue to our Liberal website we'll take your money there."

(It's actually the Canada Elections Act or at least the Elections Act.  And "To donate to continue our campaign" makes no sense whatsoever; I think you're missing a "Click to donate...")

This desperate funny business comes at a time when the Liberals have already been fined for illegal robocalls and have a history of shady money handling.  It's a complete disgrace that the Liberals are using our veterans as a charity (in their words) to solicit campaign funds, and it might also be illegal.

I'd love to see what the Chief Electoral Officer has to say, and I'm sure you would too. So here's his contact information:

Email: info@elections.ca

General Complaint Form

Phone: 1-800-463-6868

Mail: Marc Mayrand, Chief Electoral Officer
Elections Canada
257 Slater Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0M6

Friday, November 2, 2012

Real answers are needed in Elections Canada’s incompetent robocall investigation

Embattled former Conservative staffer Michael Sona had his first sit-down interview with Evan Solomon on the CBC’s Power and Politics this week.

Regardless of your perspective on the “robocalls” scandal (if there is one) you have to admit that a Conservative giving an interview to the openly hostile and anti-conservative state broadcaster was a feat to overcome in itself.

Sona answered questions on Conservative candidate Marty Burke’s campaign in Guelph, including Sona’s communications role, unauthorized polling stations at the University of Guelph, and – plainly – whether Sona was the imagined “Pierre Poutine.”

But there was one gaping hole in Solomon’s interview: it still assumes that any of these calls were done by Conservatives.

Sona confirmed he was not in any way involved in fraudulent calls within the first 30 seconds of the interview.  Yet for the next 20 minutes Solomon grilled Sona as if he or his party was.

Are you Pierre Poutine?  No.  Did you conduct fraudulent robocalls?  No.  Sona didn’t even have access to the database to be able to conduct these calls – again, assuming it even came from a Conservative.

Then again, Sona was already cleared from any wrongdoing months ago when Elections Canada recognized they had misattributed quotes to Sona, leaving absolutely no evidence against him.  Woops.

Thus, the entire interview was premised on old news which was disproved ages ago. It’d be like having a debate in 2012 about whether dinosaurs still exist or whether the Earth is flat.

What about some current news which could have been discussed?  Canadians need real answers to real questions regarding what has been revealed to be an entirely fake scandal.

In Solomon’s entire interview with Sona, not once did he remind viewers that the Guelph Liberals have already been fined for illegal robocalls.  In those deceptive robocalls, a female caller with a fake name attempted to solicit fear against the Conservative candidate for his views on abortion.  There was no identification as the Liberal campaign, there was no “Lori McDonald,” and they used a fake phone number with a prepaid, “burner cellphone” which was disposed of after the calls were made.  The Guelph Liberal MP behind those calls also may have slipped in admitting these calls targeted Conservatives.

All of these are mysteriously similar – if not identical – characteristics of the illegal calls now being investigated.  Why are we not exploring whether they also targeted other voters with their claims that a polling station or two had moved? It’s not a far stretch.

Some other questions Canadians deserve to have answered relate directly to the gross incompetence of Elections Canada in the handling of these claims.

Elections Canada became aware of misleading calls in Guelph on May 2, 2011 – the day of the election.

That’s 551 days and counting.  What have they accomplished?

Sona has been told the Elections Canada investigation has been completed and the report is written.  Where is that report?  What does it say?  Why hasn’t it been released?  When will it be released?

How many millions of taxpayers’ dollars have been wasted on chasing an innocent person?

Tales of call centre employees who knew what was “really” going on have been revealed to be completely false.  How much money has been spent on investigating legitimate leads?

How many Guelph Liberals have been interviewed on their role in illegal phone calls?

How many Guelph NDP staffers have been interviewed on their role in illegal phone calls?  And other fringe parties?

How many anarchist, anti-government, and obstructive leftist organizations have been interviewed on whether they had a role in illegal phone calls?

How many Elections Canada officials have been interviewed on whether they sent out legitimate notices of poll changes, only to have that message conflict with what senior managers intended to communicate?  We already know rogue Elections officials love doing things without authorization from their bosses.  Some of them completely close polling stations to go for dinner; some of them open up unauthorized, illegitimate polls on university campuses; and others take ballot boxes for a joy ride in their personal vehicle.

Michael Sona’s name was cleared months ago.  Now it’s time to focus our attention on the gross incompetence of Elections Canada in opening, investigating, and closing a straightforward investigation, and whether they should even have the authority to do this in the future.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Conservative MP keeps Etobicoke Centre Seat

The Supreme Court of Canada has released its ruling which rightly allows Conservative Member of Parliament Ted Opitz to retain his seat in Etobicoke Centre.

It is essential to note, before the media or Opposition attempts to weave this into an issue which it is entirely not, that this had nothing to do with the fake “robocalls” scandal.  This massive mishandling of the election is completely the fault of Elections Canada, due to rampant “procedural errors, record-keeping, how people registered to vote when they weren't on the list” and questions on whether records were properly kept.

The Liberal candidate asked the Supreme Court “to disqualify the votes of several Canadian citizens on account of administrative mistakes, notwithstanding evidence that those citizens were entitled to vote.”

The Supreme Court refused, saying “There is no allegation in this case of any fraud or wrongdoing.”

The full text of the split 4-3 ruling is available online.  Interestingly, Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin wrote the dissenting opinion suggesting the election be overturned.

These are a few other interesting points in the ruling:

  • Why did the Chief Electoral Officers of British Columbia and Alberta act as interveners on behalf of the Liberal candidate, Borys Wrzesnewskyj?  The case involves an Ontario riding and both the Conservative and Liberal candidates are from Ontario.  Canada’s Chief Electoral Officer was also a respondent, so what business or interest does the Alberta or B.C. CEO’s have in this case?

  • If voter registration certificates were never completed, that would constitute an “irregularity.” However, since the certificates were completed but lost, this is not an irregularity.

  • Registration certificates not signed by the person registering to vote is an irregularity, but did not affect the election result.  This could simply be a “clerical mistake.”

Monday, October 22, 2012

It's time to abolish the Indian Act

Every once-in-a-while political parties, regardless of their position on the spectrum, propose policies that are long overdue and just make sense.

Today, the Liberal Party did exactly that by proposing the IndianAct be outright repealed.

Conservative Member of Parliament Rob Clarke introduced Bill C-428: The Indian Act Amendment and Replacement Act back on June 4, 2012.  This Act proposes, in its own words
“… To require band councils to publish their by-laws and repeals certain outdated provisions of the Act.

It also requires the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs to report annually to the House of Commons committee responsible for Aboriginal affairs on the work undertaken by his or her department in collaboration with First Nations organizations and other interested parties to develop new legislation to replace the Indian Act.”

But today the Liberal Party suggested the Conservative government should go further than Clarke’s bill and repeal the Act altogether.

Bob Rae called the Indian Act “an international embarrassment” for Canada.  Some would go further to call it what it really is: Canada’s apartheid system.  A system which blatantly says certain people – depending on their race – should receive special privileges and should live distinctly separate from the rest of us.

Former Auditor General Sheila Fraser was clear in her report which stated that aboriginals were in their present position for reasons beyond their personal control: she said “structural impediments severely limit the delivery of public services to First Nations communities and hinder improvements in living conditions on reserves.”

What’s more, aboriginal reserves have become a magnet for financial abuse: creating starving, dilapidated communities which seem better suited for a third-world nation rather than Canada.  Dozens of reserve chiefs made – and continue to make – over $300,000 per year while their communities struggle to maintain dry houses and adequate schools.

It is clear that repealing the Indian Act is welcome news.

But what would we replace the existing Indian Act with?

Why not nothing?

The Indian Act was passed in 1876 and is a relic of that time.  It was a time when Europeans felt it was their duty to grant special protections to the “others” with whom they were sharing the land.  Among other affects, it creates:

·         The reserve system.  S. 18 creates reserve lands which are owned and managed by the Crown, but lent out to aboriginals while also giving them healthy, unaccountable subsidies to remain destitute on those lands.
·         Permanent reliance on government.  S. 20 states that no aboriginal ever owns his own land, unless the band’s council has specifically allotted him that land.  And under subsection 4, even if the band has allotted this land, the minister can overturn the decision.  Every Canadian should have the right to her or her own private property.
·         A lack of ambition or desire.  When aboriginal lands (er, government lands loaned to aboriginals) are located above valuable resources such as oil, their communities see none of the profit.
·         A double standard for law enforcement.  Trespassing under the Criminal Code is a summary conviction, yet the Indian Act says trespassing on a reserve is only punishable by a $50 fine or one-month jail term.
·         A dangerous black market, or no market at all.  Under s. 32, aboriginals in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta are not allowed to sell or barter cattle, animals, grain, hay, or root crops, unless the minister personally exempts them.  Yet if you travelled outside those reserves to Saskatoon, Winnipeg, or Calgary, you’d be hard-pressed to find the same laws.
·         Undue interference in private contracts.  S. 46(1) allows the minister to void all or part of a person’s will or last testament if it is “against the public interest.”  But the rest of Canada has a court system in place to try wills and estates, and they seem to usually do an okay job.
·         Unfair red tape.  An aboriginal wishing to take out a loan must submit a request to the minister, who in turn may request money from the Minister of Finance in order to make loans to aboriginals.  But at any one time, the minister is not allowed to have loaned out any more than $650,000 to all aboriginals.  Ridiculous laws like this prevent aboriginals from owning their own private property, especially important investments such as houses.

It’s time for the Indian Act to go – not just amended, but abolished.

Abolishing the Indian Act would mean Canada would no longer handle certain races separately than others.  It would, gasp, mean all Canadians are equal.

And that’s something all Canadians should agree on.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dalton McGuinty’s Legacy: The Tax-and-Spend Liberal

Premier Dalton McGuinty announced his resignation yesterday, putting his 9-year record of contempt, frivolous spending, mismanaged projects, and incompetent government to bed.

The Liberals insist his legacy will be the “positive” changes McGuinty forced onto brought to health care and education.  And in a completely expected farewell salute, the Toronto Star praises McGuinty for leaving a “solid legacy” in education and health care.

Luckily, most Ontarians have a vivid memory of McGuinty’s actual record.  McGuinty’s legacy should be rightly be remembered as your typical tax-and-spend Liberal premier, drunkenly spending extreme amounts of money without a care for the consequences.  Here’s the record most Ontarians will and should remember:

  • Over $1 billion wasted on eHealth.  McGuinty favoured his buddies’ companies over others, and rewarded them with $100,000+ bonuses and cookies (paid for by you and me).
  • Strategically cancelling power plants in Oakville and Mississauga just days before the 2011 election.  This has cost us $733 million and the number is still growing.
  • Over $1 billion given to ORNGE over 5 years.  Health Minister Deb Matthews admits she simply can’t account for at least $25 million of money sent to ORNGE.
  • The largest deficits in Ontario’s history, including a $14.1 billion deficit for 2009-2010 alone (if you don’t remember, this record beat even Bob Rae’s socialist government in the 1990’s).  Projections indicate that Ontario may be bound to over $136 billion in deficit spending over the next 6 years.
  • Adding $133.4 billion to Ontario’s debt while paying down none of it.  Today’s debt stands at $272.2 billion, or $21,180 for every Ontario man, woman, and child.
  • Over $35 million in bonuses for public servants, after promising the public sector would face a wage freeze.  The Sunshine List – public servants making over $100,000 per year – is up 10% in just one year.
  • The “health premium:” a tax which costs up to $900 per person per year, which supposedly helps with lowering hospital wait times.  But wait, according to the Auditor General, only 10-15% of patients are actually seen within the recommended wait time.  In fact, the Auditor General acknowledged it was not uncommon to wait 10-26 hours before getting a bed for your urgent medical issue.
  • According to the Auditor General in 2009, “electricity prices for the average Ontario consumer …are projected to rise 46 per cent in the next five years.”
  • Ontarians are paying $4.4 billion more for our hydro to be produced with McGuinty’s friend’s solar and wind farms.  And while McGuinty has tried to claim these exorbitant amounts of money have created jobs, in reality most of the jobs created will be for short-term construction jobs.  In fact, the drunken throwing of money at green energy experiments has created some jobs.  And those jobs have been created due to $100,000-300,000 per job in government subsidies.
  • And finally, just to limit this to a relatively short list, McGuinty’s Samsung deal.  The same deal the Auditor General condemned McGuinty for, since it was done “with no formal economic analysis” and “neither the Ontario Energy Board nor the Ontario Power Authority was consulted” about the proposed deal.

But let’s not forget other “promises” by McGuinty which today can be best described as sick jokes.  “I won’t raise your taxes” McGuinty promised in 2003.  And 2007.  And 2011.  Yet, as we all well know, Ontarians saw their taxes raised time and time again: the HST, the health tax, increasing corporate and small business taxes, the eco tax.  And best of all, the surtax on high-income earners which was first proposed by NDP leader Andrea Horwath.

This is the true legacy of Dalton McGuinty’s Liberal government after 9 years in office.  Corruption, job-killing taxes, ridiculous spending, routine job losses, and horrible investments in green energy experiments.

This is indeed a “solid legacy” for McGuinty: no one will soon forget the last 9 years of Ontario Liberal governance.

Follow Daniel on Twitter at @DDickin

The worst jokes after 9 years of Liberal government

"I promise not to raise taxes"

"We will not raise taxes one cent on Ontario families"

"We will not be raising taxes. Families are carrying enough of burden as it is.”

"We're not going to raise taxes. That's just not on the table."

"I, Dalton McGuinty, leader of the Liberal party of Ontario, promise, if my party is elected as the next government, I will not raise taxes or implement any new taxes without the explicit consent of Ontario voters and not run deficits. I promise to abide by the Taxpayer Protection and Balanced Budget Act."

After 9 years of Liberal government, Ontarians are laughing whenever a Liberal opens their mouth about not raising taxes.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Voter turnout in Canadian elections

What needs to be done (if anything) to encourage voter turnout at Canadian elections?

(Click for full-size view)
Data from Elections Canada.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Is this yet another Mulcair flip-flop?

As parliament resumes today, apparently the news-of-the-day is that the NDP never advocated for a carbon tax.  In fact, Thomas Mulcair and House Leader Nathan Cullen went so far to say the Conservatives were lying about it!

The NDP response came after Conservative House leader Peter van Loan commented thatIn the last election, Thomas Mulcair campaigned on a platform that had right in it, in black and white, a $21 billion tax hike from carbon."

The NDP’s denial is news indeed, since, right there, in the NDP’s 2011 election platform – in black and white just as Van Loan said – is:

“We will put a price on carbon through a cap-and-trade system, which will establish hard emissions limits for Canada’s biggest polluters to ensure companies pay their environmental bills and to create an incentive for emissions reductions” (p. 12).

Page 13 then speaks of selling “emissions permits,” which, as a simple Wikipedia article can explain, is a central theme of any effort to tax or regulate carbon.

It’s all part of their plan to create a “lower carbon future” (13), so that the NDP would suddenly deny a central tenet of their platform is puzzling.

But wait, where did Van Loan get the $21.5 billion figure? How does he know that number? He probably made it up, right? Nope, the NDP acknowledge their carbon tax will cost Canadians $21.5 Billion between 2011 and 2015 in their own costing document!

Or perhaps this is another Mulcair flip-flop, attempting to reverse an NDP policy from when Jack Layton was still the leader, as with the legalization of marijuana and countless other policies?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Elections Canada makes exceptions for Liberals to break Elections Act

How rotten the Liberal election campaign in Guelph really was in 2011 is only beginning to be exposed.

The Canada Elections Act is clear on a number of important rules: landlords cannot stop political party representatives from canvassing an apartment building during a writ period; a person cannot make a false statement in order to vote; a candidate cannot accept "gifts"; and a bunch of other rules most of us accept as warranted and appropriate to conduct fair and free elections.

One such law is that partisan materials and identification are not allowed at polling stations.  It's right here:

  • 166. (1) No person shall
    • (a) post or display in, or on the exterior surface of, a polling place any campaign literature or other material that could be taken as an indication of support for or opposition to a political party that is listed on the ballot under the name of a candidate or the election of a candidate;
    • (b) while in a polling station, wear any emblem, flag, banner or other thing that indicates that the person supports or opposes any candidate or political party that is listed on the ballot under the name of a candidate, or the political or other opinions entertained, or supposed to be entertained, by the candidate or party; and
    • (c) in a polling station or in any place where voting at an election is taking place, influence electors to vote or refrain from voting or vote or refrain from voting for a particular candidate.

You read that, right?  No posting partisan materials outside a polling station and no person may wear anything that indicates partisanship while inside a polling station.

Well, don't worry.  If you're a Liberal and break the law, Elections Canada will simply say the rules don't apply to you!

> From: CommissionersOffice <CommissionersOffice@elections.ca>
> To: Kenneth Morgan
> Sent: Monday, October 31, 2011 1:46:06 PM
> Subject: Complaint
> File # E11-322
> Dear Mr. Morgan:
> This correspondence is further to your complaint that the Returning Officer and Assistant Returning Officer allowed the Liberal Party to distribute literature and wear political paraphernalia at the special ballot voting activity held at the University of Guelph on April 13, 2011, during the 41st general election period.  You also indicate that at the same activity, after “adhering to all relevant articles of the Canada Elections Act”, your scrutineer (candidate representative) was not allowed to scrutineer at the poll.
> For each allegation this Office must determine if the elements of an offence under the Canada Elections Act (Act) can be met.  Enforcement action, including a warning, compliance agreement or referral for possible prosecution, will not be contemplated if the elements of an offence are not met.
> The Act provides that electors can vote on polling day, at advance polls and by means of a special ballot.  The voting at the University of Guelph was a special ballot activity. The rules governing voting by special ballot are found in Part 11of the Act and differ from voting at a “polling station” within the meanings of the Act. 
> The prohibition of the distribution of literature and the wearing of paraphernalia indicating support for or opposition to a political party, applies to a “polling place” or “polling station” as defined by the Act.  Voting by special ballot does not take place at a polling place or polling station; consequently, the prohibition does not apply.
> The same is true with respect to the presence of candidate representatives to witness the vote. The Act does not provide for scrutineers in the case of voting by special ballot (representatives may be present when the special ballot votes are being counted “at the office of the returning officer”).  Scrutineers of all parties present at the University of Guelph special ballot activity were asked to leave because election officers believed there was no basis in the Act for them to be present.
> Based on the law and the evidence available to me, there is no reasonable basis to believe that the conduct described in your complaint involves a violation of the Act.
> Thank you for your interest in the electoral process.

> Yours truly,
> The Commissioner of Canada Elections

Reminder: the only reason this was a special ballot vote in the first place was because "a well-intentioned Returning Officer" set up a polling station without the authorization of Elections Canada.  A rogue Returning Officer operating without the knowledge or consent of her bosses is one thing; it's far worse to retroactively change the rules by saying they don't apply to one party.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

When political correctness goes too far...

... This happens:

According to the Durham Regional School Board, every corner of our society has been using bigoted, hateful, archaic language.

No longer are Foremen Foremen... they're Supervisors.
No longer are Janitors Janitors... they're Custodians.
No longer is mankind mankind... we're humankind.
No longer do employers calculate "man hours" or "manpower"
No longer are children asked "is your mom or dad home?" Instead, use "is your parent or guardian home?"
No longer are they "husband" or "wife" or boyfriend or girlfriend. They're simply "spouse" or "partner."
No longer should we address groups as "ladies and gentlemen."

What really bothers me is that accepting these guidelines is apparently the only way to become "culturally proficient." Otherwise, you could be labelled "culturally destructive" or "culturally blind." Sorry Durham, but sometimes the "differences between cultures" are not positive and they're certainly not "honourable" as you suggest. Simple as that.

... Seriously.  Is this really what a School Board should be concerned with when only 41% of their students are meeting provincial math standards?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Disgraced Liberal Guelph MP slips, admits his party targeted Conservatives with robocalls

The plot thickens against the disgraced Liberal MP for Guelph after being fined and admitting to participating in illegal robocalls.

In this interview with Sun News, Frank Valeriote has quite the revealing slip as he's being interviewed:

Krista Erickson: Why, Mr. Valeriote, did you feel an apology was necessary?

Valeriote: Because we've made a mistake and, through inadvertance, we broke some of the CRTC rules - specifically, the requirement to include a phone number and an address in the message.

Erickson: When you say through inadvertance that you made that mistake, what exactly do you mean? What was done inadvertently?

Valeriote: Mr. Ignatieff had visited [Guelph] that morning and some campaign team members felt it necessary to respond to some very negative characterizations of a position that I had taken on an election issue and to clarify the position the Conservative candidate had taken and as I understand it in that confusion and chaos they sent a message to a number of Conservative... er sorry... a number of voters in Guelph, of all parties frankly, and in doing so and in haste they left off the phone number, address, and on whose behalf the call was being made.

Was this a Freudian slip as Valeriote quickly realized he mistakenly told the Sun what actually happened on that day in the Guelph Liberal campaign office?  More importantly, how did the Liberal campaign have the data to exclusively call Conservative supporters, unless their party had connections in a Conservative office or was able to obtain Conservative ID documents?

We already know Valeriote is guilty of the illegal robocalls he's admitted to and for which he's been fined - but how deep does his involvement go in such illegal activity?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Baseless robocall allegations continue to crumble

It's tough being on the left these days.

First of all, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair is having trouble shaking the "Angry Tom" nickname he was given during the NDP leadership race.

Secondly, your leader is entirely silent on issues vitally important to the Canadian union, such as whether a separatist movement in Quebec with 30-something percent support is legitimate.  Oh, but if you want to talk "Dutch disease" or the next new tax on Canadians, they're game.

Thirdly, your party was just forced to repay over $344,000 in illegal political contributions.

But worst of all, that baseless monstrosity some call "RoboGate" or the "robocall scandal," which united the Liberals and NDP in hilarious rhetoric questioning whether the May 2011 election was legitimate, is crumbling more by the day.

When the "scandal" first broke, a few hardworking Canadians, myself included, questioned whether this was really a scandal at all, and quickly found little evidence of the ridiculous allegations which quickly ballooned into charges of "widespread voter fraud."

Then it turned out that a vital witness - a woman working in the call centre which supposedly initiated those "robocalls" on behalf of the Conservative Party - was lying.

And then it turned out the only thing rotten in the Guelph campaign - the only riding to-date with any solid allegations of elections malfeasance - was the Liberal campaign, as Liberal MP Frank Valeroite was fined for illegal robocalls!

But these robocall allegations have suffered yet another blow, as today it was revealed that Michael Sona is completely cleared from all allegations. Why? An error by Elections Canada investigator Al Mathews:

“In an earlier (sworn affidavit) I wrote that Sona called McBain ‘about a campaign of disinformation such as making a misleading poll-moving call,’” Mathews wrote in a footnote on page 30 of the 36-page document. “On checking I realize that in both interviews Mr. McBain … did not recall Sona as relating the call to ‘disinformation’ or about a ‘misleading poll moving call,’ only that he wanted to set up an autodial call that would not track back to the Burke campaign.”

What actually happened is becoming clearer every day:  The Liberal campaign in Guelph setup a series of misleading robocalls intended to misdirect voters from their actual polling stations. Guelph residents are fooled and quickly point the finger at the Conservative campaign, and the anti-Conservative media quickly find a random staffer who worked the Conservative campaign and blame him with orchestrating a nation-wide campaign of "voter fraud."

It's time for a by-election in Guelph, and an apology to Michael Sona.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The largest case of elections financing fraud in Canadian history

The largest case of elections financing fraud in Canadian history has just been uncovered.

Over $344,000 was illegally donated to a certain political party in exchange for a “sponsorship” with that political party.

You’re probably saying “I’ve already heard this story! It broke months ago! It was those pesky Conservatives and that ‘in-and-out’ scandal.”

But it wasn’t.

“Oh, well then it was those evil Conservative robocalls!”

But it wasn’t.

It was really none other than Canada’s socialist party – known as Thomas Mulcair’s New Democrat Party.

The NDP was caught following a complaint to Elections Canada, but now the NDP thinks they can just ignorantly proclaim “oops! We didn’t know!” without letting Canadians know the full story of what that money bought.

When the Conservative government came to power it banned contributions from big unions and corporations following the Liberal corruption scandal.  Legally, only individuals can donate up to $1200 per year.

But that’s not acceptable to the NDP: they have the lowest income from donations and the lowest number of donors of the big three political parties.  Even the Liberals, with a third of the seats of the NDP, raise more money from more people.

So the NDP chose to go the illegal route, and asked unions such as the Public Service Alliance, Labour Congress, Union of Public Employees, and Communications, Energy, and Paperworkers Union to “sponsor” their party’s national convention.

Until the complaint to Elections Canada, the NDP had over $344,000 in dirty money sitting in their bank.

But this wasn’t even all of the money – there’s more money from other “sponsorships” still out there, and the NDP certainly gained interest while their dirty money sat in the bank.

We already know the Liberals have just been fined for illegal robocalls, yet that story has also gone unreported except for a few true newspapers – your Prince Arthur Herald included.

Canadians deserve to know what influence in Thomas Mulcair’s party was bought for $344,000.  How many meetings did Mulcair have with union leaders?  What kind of favours is Mulcair doing for his union buddies?

The Liberals have been caught breaking the law yet again – six years after they were booted from office for stealing hundreds of millions of dollars from Canadian taxpayers – and now the NDP have been caught funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars from their left-wing union friends directly into Mulcair’s NDP bank account.

The Conservative choice – the choice of low taxes, less government, a strong military, and, most importantly, tough anti-corruption rules - is looking better and better every day.

Follow Daniel on Twitter at @DDickin