Saturday, 26 October 2013

Turns out that I'm in a swing riding!

I've looked at the results of the 2011 General Election.  The difference between the first and second place results was less than one percent - the Conservative candidate received 25, 792 votes to the New Democrat candidate's 26,198.  If I'm still living in this riding when the next election occurs, my vote will be meaningful!

I grew up in Alberta where the only question was ever if the PC or Reform or CRAP (or even the CPC) would win every seat, or if there would be one or two MPs to carry the voice of the 40% of Albertans that chose to support other parties.  As a result, the idea that my voice would have meaning in an election is quite novel!  For me now the question is, which candidate will earn my support?

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

I don't get the Senate scandal

If I understand this, Duffy and Wallin are accused of making fraudulent expense claims.  Of course this is bad, but things should never have gotten this far.  It seems simple to me - the Senate should have clear guidelines on what constitutes legitimate expenses, and then all claims can be assessed to determine if they qualify.  Legitimate claims get paid, and others are denied.  End of story.

If the problem is that the guidelines are unclear, then fix the guidelines.  Simply trusting that politicians will only make legitimate claims, and paying off every claim that's made, and only afterward checking to see if the claims are legit is, quite frankly, stupid, and the Senate shouldn't go blaming the cats if they took more goldfish than they are entitled to.   I mean, really, my company won't pay my expenses unless I can prove that I'm entitled to get them, so why should we treat politicians differently?  The problem here is less the actions of some 'bad eggs' and more a lack of clear policy.

I hope that the opposition parties won't get completely hung up on this issue, and instead focus on the real reason to get rid of the Conservatives:  Stephen Harper's government is bad for Canadians.

Not transparent.
Bad at managing the economy.
Reducing level of service.
Waging war on government employees.
Acting only in the interest of corporations.
Driving down wages.
Retroactively changing rules.
Bargaining in bad faith.
Betraying veterans.
Refusing to work with provinces.
Denying climate change (or maybe refusing to acknowledge climate change).
Attacking any who disagree with government diktats.
Muzzling government scientists.
And that's just for starters.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

When did public servants become the enemy?

I have, on occasion, worked for the government.  I've been an employee of federal, provincial and municipal governments, so I've seen civil servants at work as well as being one myself.  Some, I'll admit, are lazy, but they are by far the minority, and most simply want to do their job, and do it well.  It seems to me that, rather than recognising the hard work and dedication provided, our government (especially since they obtained a majority in the House of Commons in 2010) has been on a more or less sustained attack on the civil service.  One of their first acts in 2010 was to push Canada Post to lock out its employees, and then force a contract onto the CUPW members at a lower rate than they had negotiated.  Since then, they've laid off thousands of government employees, thus reducing or even eliminating services.  (I've been affected as one of my clients is a First Nation.  We can't get any feedback from AANDC, and as a result our sanitation project has been stalled for months, soon to be years).  Muzzling of scientists has been generating a low-level and gradually increasing protest.  Now, Jim Flaherty has decided that the government (and only the government) will get to decide when workers are "essential", and then use that ruling to cancel legal strikes and also impose contracts.  Flaherty claims that the system will be fair, but if only one side at the table has any power, it's hard to see how the workers will be able to make any points about their side of things.

It's time to give these bastards the heave ho.

Monday, 7 October 2013

And now he's taking on the Commonwealth

Stephen Harper has decided on behalf of Canadians that the Commonwealth of Nations is not worthy of our support.  Fortunately, China's human rights record is sufficient to maintain our support.