Monday, September 11, 2006

Catching up

Trying to get back into the swing of things, and catch up on some of the things I’ve missed.

Mair for Dion: BC talk radio king Rafe Mair endorses Stephane Dion in a roundabout, half-hearted, kinda sorta way. And he still won't vote Liberal. Said Rafe:

If the Liberals win, I hope Dion is at the helm. For slim though the odds are that either of the major parties will care about our part of the environment, with Dion, while it’s a long, long shot, at least there is that distant ray of hope.

The debates: Didn’t watch them. Truth be told, I watched the first ones (where were they, Winnipeg maybe?) but none since. Wake me when they’re over, I say. I will likely, though, try to go in person to the one in Toronto, if I’m in town. Instead, I went to see Hollywoodland, about the death of Superman actor George Reeves. Wasn’t keen on the ending, but a good movie otherwise.

Senate reform: Putting aside Steve Harper’s “do you have the gonads” routine over holding up his (lacking)accountability act in the Senate, I say once again that piecemeal Senate reform is very, very bad for the country, particularly for the peps Steve is supposed to represent in Western Canada. Speaking of the Senate and gonads though Steve, why doesn’t your unelected, unaccountable Senator and Minister Michael Fortier have the gonads to run in this by-election, and why don’t you have the gonads to make him?

Pourquoi Michael?: I understand Michael Ignatieff wants to reopen the constitution to get Quebec to sign. I’d like to ask him pourquoi? What is the compelling need to reopen the constitutional quagmire? I have no problem with doing things that are difficult, I just want there to be a good reason that makes it worthwhile. What will doing this change in Quebec? Who in Quebec is this a priority for? What does he propose giving Quebec? How’s the rest of the country going to like that? What’s in it for British Columbia? What if Jean Charest doesn’t win the next election and the PQ gets elected, will he negotiate with them? Is the status quo perfect? No, but if it ain’t broke, why go screwing with it? There’s no appetite in the rest of Canada for this, and no support for concessions to Quebec. The country has no desire for another Meech or Charlottetown. The people told the media and political elite where to go on that last one, it’d be wise to heed their advice. Focus instead on the real priorities of all Canadians: a healthy economy, healthy bodies, healthy minds and happy kids.

P.S. There is no fiscal imbalance. While they’re loathe to admit it even the Conservatives now agree with that. Playing footsie with soft nationalists isn’t the right strategy for us, just ask Jean Lapierre how it worked out for us in 04 and 06.

P.P.S. I admit I'm no constitutional scholar. Or any other kind of a scholar. Except a gentleman and a scholar. But can't we just grab the constitution from the archives and hand Charest a Bic? No fuss, no muss, they've signed. The Pizza Hut will be on me: a pan crust Canadian of course, mmm. BYOB.

Ground control to Major Jack: With the possible exceptions of Peter Stoffer and Judy Wasylycia-Leis (probably my favourite parliamentary surname) it becomes increasingly clear that, as much as they dream otherwise, these guys are just not ready for prime time. Putting aside the Israel be nicer to terrorists resolution, look at the Afghanistan one. Even Layton’s attempt at moderation last week is rejected by the fanatics: screw February, send Stephen’s Airbus One over to Kabul right now, they say! Jack slams the government for not having a plan, or communicating it well. OK, fair enough. But what does the NDP propose, besides an immediate withdrawal? How does he propose democracy be nourished in Afghanistan, and the Taliban stopped from blowing everything up? Or does he just prefer we take the isolationist route, and leave the Afghans to their own devices, and the girls from their schools? Leadership means proposing alternatives Jack. As much as he rails against kneejerk pro-Americanism, kneejerk anti-Americanism is just as tiring.

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Antonio said...

Canada has a lot to gain from all its provinces being under the same constitutional framework.

In 1990, Stephane Dion was in favor of Meech and he was saying Quebec needed to be in the Constitution to thwart the separatists.

His opinion has changed, and I would like to know what made his opinion change.

Anonymous said...

I guess it's a choice of re-opening the Constitution issue or a choice of constant threat of referendums, blackmail and financial payout to Quebec to appease them.

Dion changing his mind is for political reasons during the leadership race. He knows it's a hot button issue and risky.

About Jack Layton - what are these people thinking? He better pay attention to Elizabeth May. If people aren't happy with the Liberals or Conservatives I think they might go in her direction. She is a dynamo and she's got her jogging shoes on.

I've listened to Stoffer before on panels, etc. He's smart and reasonable and I don't understand why he is NDP.

A BCer in Toronto said...

Antonio, I can't speak to Stephane's evolution of thinking on the topic. Myself, I know I was too young at the time of Meech, and while still in Jr. High (I remember I saw Joe Clark speak at my school) I wasn't keen on Charlottetown. I think Canada is working just fine right now, I don't see how a symbolic act would change anything.

Or, anon, do anything to hinder the federalist cause. First of all, separtism will always be a threat of some level in Quebec, and that's because for the hard core separtists there is no appeasing them, they want out. I think everyone else has other priorities, and the way to keep them onside is to make Canada work for all Canadians.

I still haven't heard what, if anything, would be offered Quebec or changed in the constitution here. If it's nothing at all, maybe just letting Charest keep the pen, then I'm cool. If he wants to start making changes, then we'd have issues.

A BCer in Toronto said...

*help the federalist cause, or hinder the separtists

Ed King said...


All provinces are currently under the same "constitutional framework". Quebec's signature was not necessary to make the constitution legally binding in the province. It would be more accurate to say "Canada has a lot to gain from citizens in all its provinces feeling that they are under the same constitutional framework". I would agree with that statement, but I would hasten to add that, right now, the risk of failure is too great to embark on this process simply to make some Canadians feel better about their constitution.

I'll tell you what changed Dion's mind: Meech and Charlottetown failed. Miserably. Dion and Rae don't see the point of going down that road again if the outcome is likely to be the same.

Peter Rempel said...

"I say once again that piecemeal Senate reform is very, very bad for the country, particularly for the peps Steve is supposed to represent in Western Canada."

But the status quo, which your party maintained for 12 years, is just fine and dandy?


A BCer in Toronto said...

Sayeth Peter:


Takes one to know one Peter.

Jason Bo Green said...

I wouldn't call anyone an idiot, but - I do personally have a general feeling that even small Senate reform could be better than what we have. A lot of Canadians want Senate reform, and the proposed eight-year limit seems like a pretty big reform to me. I'd actually be comfortable with appointed Senators, I think, if terms were limited to 8 years - that would be a great reform on its own.

A BCer in Toronto said...

Jason, I didn't want to rehash my argument against piecemeal Senate reform in this post, but if you follow the link to my previous post you'll find a more detailed argument.

In a nutshell, I'd favour abolition, but that's not likely to happen. So if we are going to do reform it should be full bore, accross the board. Otherwise, it opens up a can of worms.