Sunday, June 28, 2009

Imagine What It Would Be Like Without M&M's

Not the candy. I'm talking about McGuinty and Miller. While either an Ontario or Toronto election are in the distant future, signs in the last few weeks seem to indicate that both the people of Ontario and Toronto are finally starting to pay attention to how poorly mismanaged both the Premier and Mayor have done their respectful jobs.

In McGuinty's case, Ontario has seen a steady decline since he first came to office. OLC scandals, the ongoing eHealth debacle, and the loss of jobs at a pace never seen before in the province all have McGuinty's fingerprints all over them. And Ontario has done the unthinkable, falling in to have-not status. That alone should be enough to make voters take notice. But McGuinty has gained and remained in office due to a weak opposition party and leader. With the election of Tim Hudak as new leader of the PC that should change. While John Tory is a decent man and excellent businessman, provincial politics just didn't seem to be the appropriate role for him.

Which takes us to mayor David Miller. Toronto has been on a greater downward spiral than the province thanks to Miller's socialist ideas, which consist mostly of overtaxing residents of the city, and then blowing that tax revenue on policies that bring no bang for the buck. And Miller now has a Pandora's box opened with the trash strike (name seems appropriate). Miller has been successful in getting both elected and re-elected by kowtowing to the unions, and is now caught in the position of doing what's best for him or the city. Toronto has far worse problems than a garbage strike, but it has just magnified the city's problems under Miller's leadership. The fact Miller just cost the people of Toronto federal stimulus funds by making only one application that didn't meet guidelines shows his ignorance of doing things properly.Ironically enough, polls show John Tory would beat Miller in an election for mayor. Is it possible voters now realize the made a boo-boo by not voting for Tory when he ran for mayor before? I think Tory would run the city in a way similar to Mel Lastman. Say what you will about Mel, but he always put the city first, and the residents of Toronto reaped the rewards of his time in office.

Imagine a time with no McGuinty or Miller. We can all dream of those days ahead.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Conservative Home Reno Tax Credit Deserves An A+

Just saw on CP24 that a survey done on the Home Reno tax credit in January's budget shows 1 in 3 have or plan to take advantage of this program, which was designed to help stimulate the Canadian economy. A few weeks ago, the CEO's of both Rona and Home Depot publicly stated that the home reno chains had seen "tens of millions" in revenue as a result of the tax credit. Both companies now promote the plan in their weekly flyer's to help further increase sales.

I myself have taken advantage of the credit, doing some home improvements that I wasn't planning on doing for a few years. The plan is also green friendly, with many taking advantage to install new windows, more energy efficient things such as a/c or furnaces. Private contractors are booming. Plumbers, electricians, carpenters, drywallers, have all seen an increase in business. Those installing decks, fences, sidewalks and patios are also reaping the benefits of this smart initiative.

For all the talk about the lack of stimulus getting out the door, this is noteworthy in that it has stimulated the economy, the government puts out no money for the program until tax time next year, and at the same time receives increased tax revenues from income taxes as well as gst on sales. It also helps get people off of EI and social assistance when finding a job in the reno industry, putting all levels of government in a win-win situation, now getting revenues in instead of going out.

If I were Professor Ignatieff, I would give this stimulus program an A+.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

An Economic Recession Like None I've Seen Before....

In my 49 years, I've experienced a few recessions. In 1990 I was laid off for almost 18 months. Job searching proved futile. Nobody was hiring, unemployment was rising as were the number of people on the welfare rolls here in Ontario. In the early 2000's another recession hit, albeit a smaller one than in the past. I survived this one with some down weeks at work but no long term layoffs. I know people who also struggled at this time to find an employment opportunity.

Flash forward to today. I see daily in the media that this is an economic recession like no other. Well, I have to agree. Unemployment is at 8.4%, still relatively low during a global recession. This in no way is meant to disrespect those who have lost their jobs due to the current economic conditions, but I have noticed something different this time around. There are jobs out there. Quite a few actually. Those who follow my blog know that I started a new position a little over a week ago, after completing a college course in April. Of the 26 fellow students in my class, all but two have started full-time jobs with promising futures.

But what has really struck me this time is the fact the job market is quite resilient right now. The manufacturing sector has taken a major hit, particularly in Ontario and Quebec. Some of this is obviously related to the current recession. But the fact is manufacturing really started to bleed jobs beginning in 2002, long before the financial meltdown in the U.S. And for all the doom and gloom I see reported daily, since starting my new job a week ago Monday, I have had four more job offers come my way. All good jobs, decent pay and benefits.

Which is why I say an economic recession like none I've seen before.

Jack Layton: Politically Irrelevant and Too Dumb to Realize It.

Jack Layton sure seems to be bouncing all over the map. Just yesterday, he called a news conference to warn the PM he won't support the government in the fall. Today he says he is willing to compromise on EI reforms. Of course that comes just days after he ridiculed Michael Ignatieff for also willing to accept compromise on EI. Layton boasted that he got $4 billion out of Paul Martin in exchange for supporting the Liberal's. Because of this Layton has lost what little credibility he had. He's flailing around trying to stem the bleeding of NDP votes to all parties. In doing so, he has completely undermined his supposed hard-line stance with the government.

On EI reform, his about face is pathetic, having just ridiculed the Liberal leader for doing the same thing. His boasting about getting $4 billion in social spending is where the most damage to his reputation will be done. The difference between him supporting the Liberals is that he was willing to allow a government who had just been found in a federal inquiry to have been involved in an illegal kickback scheme, to remain in power. Compare that to today, where he and his party vow to vote against anything put forth by the Conservative government without even reading it. It's even more ironic when he repeatedly states that he doesn't support the government because the PM can't be trusted. So to recap, he thought enough to give a Liberal PM a lease on government, despite the governing party found to, and admitted to, scamming Canadian taxpayers for their own benefit. I wonder how many kitchen tables Layton sat around and discussed Adscam.

But Layton's hypocrisy is much much worse. And I must say I am completely dumbfounded that not one supposed journalist has called him on it. The January budget, the one Layton decided to vote against without so much as reading the title page, shows exactly how irrelevant he and his party really are. Layton bringing up the $4 billion he managed to get from Paul Martin shows just how much of a showman he thinks he is, and how absolutely incompetent he is as leader of the NDP. Aside from the fact that the money he supposedly negotiated from Martin never ended up being spent, the January budget is a better example of why the NDP would be lucky to get even 30 seats in the next election.

The January budget included $1.2 billion for affordable housing. Layton's deal with Martin called for $1 billion for affordable housing. The January budget included spending on aboriginal housing, as well as improving such things as drinking water. Again, the amount was more than Layton's deal with Martin. During the coalition tripe, Layton pointed out the need for stimulus funding. The January budget provided $22 billion in stimulus. Layton demanded help for the auto sector, and demanded worker pensions be saved. Yet he hasn't mentioned the auto bailouts since the federal and provincial governments said they were providing help to the sector.

Despite a budget that provided things he and the NDP have rallied for over the years, he and his MP's voted against the budget. They just last week voted against the means motion to allow the stimulus funds out the door. I'm thinking Layton is the one who can't be trusted. And come next election, when the final votes are tallied, Layton's wikipedia entry will be revised to state he was the former leader of the NDP. That's what happens when you vote against what you demand. You quickly make yourself irrelevant. A party that thinks winning 37 seats out of 308 is an electoral victory, tells you all you need to know.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

How About Downsizing The Price Too!!!

It's been going on for quite some time now. And yet I have seen no consumer groups complain, nary a peep from any politician, nor have I heard a reasonable explanation from any manufacturer. What am I talking about? This incredible new trend to downsize the items we buy, while at the same time maintaining the original price of the larger size.

Loaves of bread now have 6-8 fewer slices, yet bread costs the same, if not more than the larger size. Cheese used to come in 680 gram blocks, now it's 500 grams. Yet I'm lucky if I can get it on sale for the old price of 680 grams. Some soft drinks are smaller. Yogurt single servings are the same size single servings if you eat two. Laundry detergent is now coming in boxes with less loads, yet at the same or higher price of the previously larger size.

But now they have pushed me too far. Shopper's Drug Mart had Pringle's chips on sale Saturday for 99 cents a can. That's not a great deal but what they normally go on sale for at No Frill's and Wal-Mart. So I go to Shopper's Saturday and what do I see? Pringles cans are roughly half the size of the old ones, which also used to go on sale for 99 cents. So to put it in perspective, I now have to pay $1.98 to get 2 cans that will equal the size of the old one, that used to be on sale for 99 cents.

Oh the humanity....
p.s. Feel free to add any examples you have experienced in comments.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Week In Review Through Bob Fife's Eyes

What most people saw:

  • NDP and Bloc vow to vote against budget spending motion
  • Ignatieff and Liberals vow to bring down government unless they get concessions
  • PM says no to concessions
  • Ignatieff begins to backtrack on firm stance to bring down Conservative government
  • PM reiterates he won't concede 360 hour EI qualifying standard
  • Pm and Liberal leader meet
  • Ignaiteff concedes Isotopes, stimulus spending, 360 EI qualification
  • PM agrees to a "blue ribbon" EI panel, all other Liberal demands abandoned
  • Ignatieff backs down on 4 supposed conditions for continued support
  • Duceppe says Ignatieff sees Dion when he looks in mirror
  • Layton ridicules Ignatieff for settling on blue ribbon panel, bragging he got billions
  • Election avoided, Conservative government gets summer to make spending announcments
  • Conservative government should see increased polling due to rebounding economy
  • Vast majority see this as win for PM, Ignatieff diminished

How Bob Fife saw it:

  • Ignatieff and Liberals were the winners for avoiding an election they supposedly would have won.
  • Ignatieff ignores hand-picked strategist Warren Kinsella, also David Herle's advice in forcing an election. Brilliant
  • Libloggers unhappy with Iggy capitulating on demands, sign Iggy made the right move.
  • Prime Minister the big loser for avoiding an election he would have supposedly lost
  • Conservatives give in to none of the Liberals demands, standing firm on EI qualifying rules, yet Ignatieff won the staredown.

I'll have some of whatever Fife is smoking please.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Top Liberal Strategists Advice Means Nothing....

Man, I love the memory of the internet more and more. Just recently top Liberal strategist Warren Kinsella wrote a Top 10 list on his blog on why Michael Ignatieff must force an election now. For weeks WK boasted about looking for a place to stay in Ottawa, Harper bad, Iggy great, blah, blah, blah. The last opportunity for the Liberals to bring down the government would be this coming Friday, by either tabling a non-confidence motion or by defeating the budget implementation bill.

Conservatives were toast Wk boasted. He mentioned possible Liberal cabinet ministers. Strategy to destroy the PM in the campaign. Of course he mentioned a few times how great he did his job for Chretien, never mentioning the vote split on the right. Glossed over the fact Liberals won a bare majority in '97 when Adscam was at it's height. But that's all meaningless now anyways.

The thing to pay attention to is the fact WK advised Iggy to force a summer election, and Iggy never took his advice. It could be because we learn now there are some discrepancies with Elections Canada audits from a previous election, and that the Liberals have not received their rebate cheques, so funding an election could be an issue. Or perhaps internal polling showed a different dynamic than the media pollsters. Maybe Iggy was worried about a stream of good economic data appearing in the media during a 37 day campaign swinging votes to the Conservatives. All valid arguments.

Or maybe Iggy just realized what many people already think. WK's days as a top-notch war room strategist are like Pontiac's. You still see them around, but you know their best years are over. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm hungry and feel like some take-out Chinese food.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Did Michael Ignatieff Hire Jasmine McDonnell?

Because it sure seems like it.

J(asmine) M(cDonnell): Thanks for hiring me Mr. Ignatieff".

Iggy: "Jasmine, that was terrible what the Conservatives did to you"

JM: "Thank you Mr. Ignatieff, I was very upset about losing my job".

Iggy: "Well I would never make a 26 year old be responsible, it's not the Liberal way".

JM: "Thank you for that. I forgot a binder. I said My Bad".

Iggy: " I know, saying My Bad is all I would ask if you forgot some documents".

JM: " Whew, that's a relief, after that tape thing I was wondering if anyone would hire me".

Iggy: "I'm sure you'll do a great job".

JM: "Have you seen my blackberry?"

Iggy: "Wha, no. Now lets get down to business, Pass me that binder with our strategy about forcing an election this Friday".

JM: "Ummm".

Iggy: "You do have it still, don't you"

JM: "I know I had it when I used the bathroom a few minutes ago".

Iggy: 'You didn't forget it there, did you?"

JM (now panicking): " Oh, I think this is it".

Iggy: "Well pass it, the media and cameras are waiting".

JM: " Mr. Ignatieff, I...I...I.....

Iggy: " We'll talk after the presser".

JM (under her breath): "oh noooo".

A few minutes later, Iggy returns from the media scrum, redfaced and obviously unhappy with Jasmine.

Iggy: " You lost the binder, didn't you?

JM: " I'm sorry, I got nervous and panicked, so I gave you another binder that I found".

Iggy: "And what was that binder?"

JM: " It was talking points for Stephane Dion to back down from his election threat".

Iggy (wiping his brow and rubbing his temples): "I can't believe I left Harvard for this!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Iggy Does A 180 on 360...

So we now all know what Iggy meant when he stated that the PM better watch it because "if you mess with me, I will mess with you until I'm done.'' When he openly stated that ominous threat publicly, people were taken aback. What does Iggy mean, and should the PM be very afraid.

We've all seen great characters with trademark warnings for their opponents. Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry is forever remembered for the line "do ya feel lucky punk, do ya". Arnie had that famous "Ull be back. Hulk Hogan taunted his foes with "Hulkamania".

So this was Iggy's chance to stare down the PM over the 360 hour national qualifying time for EI. If he didn't get it, we go to an election. So what to make of Iggy's threat of messing with the PM? Near as I can tell, it wasn't meant as a physical threat, nor was it meant as a threat to attack the character of the PM through attack ads.

It appears that Iggy's idea of messing with the PM is to confuse the heck out of him by changing his position on what will force an election for the umpteenth time. EI, stimulus, deficit, reports to Parliament, resignation demands of ministers. Do as I say, cause if you don't, I'll change my mind.

I'm beginning to wonder if Iggy is really Stephane Dion in disguise. Can't remember the last time I saw the two together.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Will Iggy Cancel Construction Season?

With both the NDP and Bloc vowing to vote against the ways and means budget vote this Friday, a summer election sits squarely on Michael Ignatieff's shoulders. Liberal strategists Warren Kinsella and David Herle have both publicly stated that they want the election now, as the economy is beginning to rebound, and that as the economy improves itself, so will Conservative polling numbers and their electoral chances in a future election(not too bright a comment to make publically).

The first thing that comes to my mind is the recent Conservative attack ads, as the media like to call them. If we do end up going into an election campaign, those ads, combined with Kinsella and Herle's comments, will be used to reinforce in voters minds that Iggy truly is only in it for himself and the Liberal Party. That in itself would probably not be enough to guarantee an electoral victory for the PM.

Iggy's bigger problem is if an election does occur, all those comments by Iggy, McCallum, Goodale and company about getting stimulus out in time for the construction season to save Canadians from the economic recession will be shown for what they are. Partisan tripe and fear mongering. I've lost track of how many times I've heard Iggy and company mention construction season, and what it will mean for Canadians if that stimulus money doesn't get out in time. Another of their favorite phrases is "shovel-ready". Both Layton and Duceppe have also used the same language when describing the need for quick stimulus funding. Where they differ is they voted against the budget, whereas Iggy endorsed it.

The problem now is that should we fall into a summer election, any chance of stimulus funds getting out the door will have evaporated. Instead we will be faced with a minimum 37 day campaign. Whoever the victor is shall have to wait for the house to again begin sitting, at which time a new budget will be tabled. The fact is the only way these stimulus projects will come to fruition this year is if Iggy supports the vote Friday clearing the way for the money earmarked in the budget to be released to provinces and municipalities. Failing to do so will result in no stimulus funds going out the door until at least late this year and more likely next spring, which makes Iggy's whining about the need for stimulus ending up being rather hypocritical.

So all that remains to be seen now, is whether Iggy wants to cancel construction season.

I've Decided To Switch Sides And Work For The Other Guys

I have to admit, this has been a painful decision for me. But after giving it much thought I feel I have no choice. I have been a loyal member and supporter since the early eighties. We were almost wiped out because of a previous leaders decisions. Things looked brighter awhile back with a much talked about merger that was supposed to turn us into a powerhouse and overtake the competition. While there were some excellent results at first that merger never really did give the results it was meant to. Recently there have been controversies with both leadership and the handling of fiscal accountability. We have been getting our ass kicked in getting our message out there. Million dollar ads have done nothing to improve our fortunes. Long range planning has been almost non-existant, resulting in our numbers plunging. After standing back and reflecting, it is now clear that the other guys have a better vision for the future. Better leadership. A better grasp on what Canadians want. A better long term future. It is because of this I must now accept the fact that the other guys are better, and are going to be the winners in the future.

As you all know, I have been a CAW member for over 30 years, and during that time I have been vocal about supporting the North American automakers. I have been a Chrysler employee for almost 25 years. But on Friday, I did something I never thought I would ever do, I accepted a job offer with Mazda, and start Monday. What did you think I was talking about?

Friday, June 12, 2009

e-Health: Ontario's Adscam?

Most of the bloggers have already done an excellent job with posts about the decision Iggy now must make in regards to forcing a summer election. In that light I've decided to take the time to post about what appears to Ontario's version of Adscam. What started out as criticism about Liberal patronage appointments is now spreading to greater proportions, with Ontario taxpayers realizing they have been paying out millions for work of little or no value.

It now seems that every day we have new revelations coming out, and if there is nothing that has taken place illegally, it certainly shows the gross incompetence of both David Caplan as minister, and Dalton McGuinty and the Liberal Party of Ontario. In the latest installment we now learn a consultant was billing for Tim Horton's tea and Choco Bites:

"An eHealth Ontario consultant who was paid $2,700 a day – and still charged taxpayers $1.65 for Tim Hortons tea and $3.99 for Choco Bites – left the troubled agency yesterday, justifying her expenses and licking her wounds over the spending scandal.
"I billed what the policy told me I could do," Donna Strating told the Star, noting she often worked from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m."

$2700 a day and yet she thinks the people of Ontario should also be on the hook for her Timmies? This might even top David Dingwall expensing a pack of gum. What this does is show the glaring lack of respect the Ontario Liberal government has shown the people of the province. We have learned that the now disgraced head of e-Health, who received a $140,000 bonus after a few months on the job, is now receiving in excess of $300,000 in severance to go away. The $140,000 bonus was supposedly fair as she would have received the same bonus had she stayed at her previous job. Problem is that was a bold-faced lie. The former employer has stated she would have only received a bonus of $40,000. And it's not just limited to the minister. A report in The Star has now drawn the Premier's office into the mix:

"Key members of Dalton McGuinty's inner circle are surfacing in the eHealth Ontario spending scandal, documents obtained by the Star show.
Premier Dalton McGuinty's former health adviser was paid $327 an hour by eHealth to, among other tasks, correspond with McGuinty's former chief of staff in his new capacity at a polling firm on "eHealth Ontario priorities," billing records demonstrate.
Karli Farrow was paid $10,646 for 32.5 hours of eHealth work as a Courtyard Group consultant over a period of three weeks in January.
Farrow, a one-time chief of staff to former health minister George Smitherman, had previously served as McGuinty's health policy adviser and was an architect of the Liberals' health-care platform for the 2003 election. She has worked with McGuinty periodically since 2000, including a stint as his director of policy and research, beginning in 2004. She left Smitherman's office in 2007."

We've heard reports of a consultant charging thousands for reading the newspaper. Apparently nobody in the Premier's office is educated enough to read a newspaper to glean information from it. All in all it appears taxpayers are on the hook for gold-plated severance packages, all to rid ourselves of money sucking leaches who obviously had no regard for our tax dollars, and even worse the fact they tried to hide it as saying they would improve our health care.

As this story unfolds over the next few days and months, I'm sure we will be hearing more horror stories about wasted money, incompetence, cronyism, and all that is wrong with politics, the Premier will be assuring us the necessary changes will be made to prevent this from happening again.

All that's left to be determined, is if we were screwed legally, or illegally, because scam sure seems like the appropriate word when discussing e-Health.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Michael Ignatieff and Short Term Memory Loss....

So today the PM releases the governments update on it's performance and how well the budget is working to get us out of the recession. To Michael Ignatieff's credit, he says he wants to read the report before making a decision on whether to put forth a non-confidence motion. as usual, the NDP and Bloc are against the report, without ever having to turn a page. Morons! But here is the thing. Forget about the economic report, Iggy giving the government a passing or failing grade. Because if you do forget, you will have something in common with the Liberal leader, who also seems to be forgetting something.

For months, Ignatieff would lead off Question Period with demands the government adopt a 360 hour standard to qualify for EI. This was a matter of sticking up for Canadians he said. Of helping those who had lost their jobs as a result of the economic downturn. In fact Iggy said that unless the Conservative government met his demands, he would have no choice but to force an election:

" VANCOUVER — Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said Sunday his party’s election platform will be ready in June and in the meantime he will push the government to allow far more jobless workers to qualify for employment insurance benefits.

He said if the government does not budge on jobless benefits “then we’ll have to have an election.” But he also reiterated his vow to make Parliament work and urged the public not to read any election timing into the June date of the platform.

“I’m not playing games,” he said. I’m trying to help these unemployed workers across the country,” he said at a news conference as the Liberals wound down a national convention at which Ignatieff’s leadership was affirmed. “And if the government will work with me we can get it done. And if they won’t then we’ll have to have an election.”

The PM repeatedly stated that there would be no changes made to EI like the ones demanded by the Liberal Party. Jim Flaherty also stood in the house on a number occasions, as did Diane Findley, to let Mr. Ignatieff that there was no way those changes were coming. So why does Iggy even need to make a decision on the economic report? It was he himself who said there would be an election if the government never implemented his proposed changes by summer recess, and that's obviously not going to happen.

So did Ignatieff just throw all those unemployed under the bus, or did he just forget about them?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Liberals Slam Raitt Over Political Opportunism While Kinsella Promotes It.....

H/T Chucker Canunk

Ya know this stuff is getting so pathetic it writes itself. The opposition parties have had ongoing feigned outrage extending past two days now, all because Lisa Raitt was heard mentioning that she hoped to get credit for solving problems in part of her portfolio as Natural Resources minister. One after another, Ignatieff, Goodale, Layton, Duceppe, McGuinty, Jennings, all rising to express their disgust over a politician hoping to increase her reputation, on what they say is the back of those suffering.

OK, I guess that's fair comment. But on the same day Liberals continue with accusations Raitt is exploiting those facing tough times, Ignatieff strategist Warren Kinsella takes it up a notch. Kinsella's latest blog entry is a top-10 list of why the Liberals should force an election now.(sorry, I refuse to link to his site). Of particular interest is #7:

"7. And while we are on the subject of the Reformatories: in politics, as in war, you attack when your opponent is weak, not strong. (That's so intrinsically basic, I'm not sure why I need to say it so often, but apparently I do.) Right now - due to the recession, due to a stumblebum Tory team, due to their leader who nobody likes - we know the other side is really, really weak. In a few months - due to a economy rebounding, mainly - they could be strong. Go with what you know is the reality, not what you hope may be the reality. (And hit first, make it hurt, and don't stop hitting the Harper Cons until the day after the election.)"

Yep, you read that correctly. All those Canadians Iggy is supposedly rallying for, those unemployed laid off workers who can't get EI due to Liberal qualifying rules, the lack of stimulus funding getting out the door , the isotope dilemma. All such serious matters Ignatieff feels needs to be desperately addressed. And what do we see today from Ignatieff's hand-picked strategist?

Why, a plea for Liberals to force an election now. Forget about that nasty isotope situation. Forget about getting that national standard for EI, forget about getting those stimulus dollars out the door. All because the economy is showing signs of rebounding, which will raise the fortunes of the Conservative government while decreasing the prospect of a return to power Liberals lust for.

Yep, Kinsella thinks Canadians should pay for a $300 million election, should make a decision on taking that long awaited summer vacation, or stay home and vote. Stimulus? Not that big a deal. Those unemployed who can't collect EI under the current rules? Nope, getting our asses back on the other side of the house is what matters.

Sure sounds like political opportunism to me. You can't make this stuff up.

Steve Maher and The Chronicle Should Release the Entire Tape

With the media unwilling to lower the rhetoric of the tape with Lisa Raitt, I find it odd that no one in the media has demanded the entire tapes contents be released. This would give a better and more balanced view of what the conversation and the context of Raitt's comments were.

In a recording that lasted well over 5 hours in length, Steve Maher and the Chronicle have released roughly one minute of that entire taped conversation. Compounding matters, we now have the media further editing those comments to try and make the story juicier. When talking about the health minister, Raitt remarked that "she is so capable'. Yet CTV and CBC apparently, either intentionally or unintentionally removed that portion when showing Raitt's comments to viewers. It seems rather odd to cut a portion of that discussion of the health minister out of the reporting, particularly in light of the fact that at that point Raitt was actually praising the minister and her talents.

Now we hear reports that Maher and the Chronicle might release another small snippet of the conversation where Raitt discusses Jim Prentice. Now I imagine Maher and the Chronicle heard the entire conversation on that tape before trying too release it's comments, so why not release it all at once? Is it perhaps because of the fact the Chronicle, like many media outlets in the country, are seeing readership numbers drop because people have had enough of National Enquirer type tabloid coverage of real news? It appears Maher is going to try and milk this for more than Sylvester Stallone did with all those Rocky sequels.

So here is the challenge to Maher and the Chronicle. Have at it, release the entire tape in it's entirety, and let Raitt be judged on the entire conversation, not just the parts where you think you can inflict the most damage to her reputation.

By the way Mr. Maher, I'm sure at no time in your career have you made disparaging remarks about any of your co-workers, nor made light of a serious situation involving others with humor, or with a flippant comment about someone who is suffering or has experienced a personal loss.

Because if you had, that would make you human like the rest of us.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Let's Talk About the Real Issue; A Global Shortage of Isotopes

News reports are still clamoring over whether Lisa Raitt should resign or be fired. How did Steve Maher get the tape, what else might be on that tape. Aside from a quick question from Tom Clark on Power Play that David McGuinty never addressed, and a similar question Dan Matheson asked Dipper Nathan Cullen, not one person on Parliament Hill has come up with a long term solution for the global isotope shortage.

Why? Because at the present time, there isn't one. There are only a handful of facilities around the globe capable of producing isotopes that are critical in the screening of various types of cancer. Governments around the globe deserve some blame, both current and previous governments going back 20+ years. It's hard to imagine why no government has taken the lead in making this the priority it should be. As it stands now, Australia appears to have done the best job, with their state of the art OPAL facility set to start production in a few weeks. This facility will be able to produce four times the production of isotopes of the plant it is replacing. The plant in the Netherlands has increased production 50% to try and fill the gap while Chalk River undergoes necessary repairs.

The problem is the world's population isn't receding, but growing, and one would imagine that as the population grows, so will the demand for isotopes. It's a little rich for the Liberals led by Michael Ignatieff to pin this as a Conservative problem. Those pipes never started rusting in January, 2006. At the same time its also unfair for the governing party to point direct fingers at the Liberals 13 years previously in power as the result of today's problems. The fact is Chalk River is in the area of 52 years old. Things wear out. Metal corrodes. New technology becomes available resulting in needed upgrades, which normally require the aged facility to be shuttered while repairs and upgrades are performed.

The Maple reactors, despite $600 million being poured in over the years, appear to be abandoned without ever producing a single isotope. It boggles my mind that with today's technology, especially in the area of computer programming, that these reactors could not be put into production with a series of safeguards to prevent any accidents or spills. And at a time when we should be coming up with a solution, we have the mayor of Toronto crying because he can't get $1.2 billion for streetcars that won't be on the tracks for 2-7 years. We see millions in government waste due to cronyism and patronage, ironically enough supposedly spent to improve health care in Ontario. We see companies that have been mismanaged for years getting billions in government money. We have the leader of the Green Party making remarks about the minister of natural resources fumbling the isotopes issue, while she and her own party are against nuclear facilities.

Perhaps it might serve the Canadian public if our elected representatives turned their attention to our real needs, instead of worrying about gossip and who's ahead or behind in the newest poll. We've seen committees set up for a PM out of office since 1993, nannies, election spending. we see finger pointing from both sides of the house, seeing who can score the best one-liner for that 15 minutes of TV time daily.

The only thing missing from the House of Commons now is that women saying I see Stephen, and Michael, and Gilles, and Jack. Because the more I watch it the more it reminds me of Romper Room.

Jasmine McDonnell's Voice Mail Message


Hi, Jasmine here. I can't find my phone so leave a message at the beep. I'm also looking for my binder, voice recorder, and car keys. If you find any of my things give them to Steve Maher and he'll make sure I get them.

p.s. Lisa Raitt is so not my BF anymore. Toodles.

Media Hypocrisy Hits New Heights, Bob Fife Leads the Way

Just a few short weeks ago, we had the MSM in this great country telling us how pathetic it was for the Conservatives to be running attack ads when they should be focusing on the needs of Canadian's, the economy. Most notably, CTV's Robert Fife led the charge, saying the ads reflected badly on the PM, who should be showing leadership rather than worrying about partisan politics.

Fast forward to Monday, June 8th. Those same supposed journalists are in a feeding frenzy that would make a school of pirhana look like guppies, all over a taped conversation, a private one at that, between Lisa Raitt and former aide Jasmine McDonnell. Those same journalists, the ones that chided the PM and the Conservative Party about playing politics during a deep recession, now playing their own cheap partisan politics.

On a day when the OECD releases a report stating Canada is leading the globe in emerging from the recession, when reports show house starts had a noticeable jump in May, when the markets are rallying, when the heads of banks state that there are signs the economy is now turning the corner, every major media publication ran the Raitt audio tape as their top story.

Today we have Bob Fife trying to infer Raitt's comments about the health minister as being racist. That's right Bob, calling her "such a capable woman" is a sure sign Raitt is displaying racist tendencies. Your such a pathetic journalist I'm surprised you didn't use photo shop to make a picture of Raitt wearing a white sheet with eye holes cut out.

But what makes this whole msm reporting more than vile, is the fact another one of our brave soldiers, Pte. Alexandre Péloquin, 20, lost his life yesterday in Afghanistan. Yet because of the media's fixation with "gotcha politics", this brave man's death was a second-runner in the world of reporting. Certainly the Raitt tape was newsworthy, but I think most Canadians, myself included, would consider this brave young man losing his life as the true headline of the day. My deepest condolences go out to this brave man, his family and friends.

And you in the media might want to take a long look in the mirror, and see how utterly pathetic and shallow your supposed journalistic skills have fallen.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Raitt Caught Dissing Health Minister On Tape, Calls Her A Capable Woman

Isn’t that interesting,” says Ms. MacDonnell. “They’re just so …. I wonder if it’s her staff trying to shield her from it or whether she is just terrified.”

“I think her staff is trying to shield her,” says Ms. Raitt.“Oh, God. She’s such a capable woman,but it’s hard for her to come out of a co-operative government into this rough-and-tumble.She had a question in the House yesterday, or two days ago, that planked. I really hope she never gets anything hot.”

Someone's distracted, but I think It's David McGuinty....

I turn on question period, and there is Liberal MP David McGuinty asking that the minister of natural resources be removed from the Chalk River file because she is "distracted". Of course McGuinty first asks about an alleged audio tape that nobody has heard yet, and that has absolutely nothing to do with Chalk River or isotopes. So who's distracted?. Now one would think that if you are going to accuse someone of being too "distracted" to do a job properly, you might want to ensure you have been handling your job competently So what does McGuinty have explained to him by the minister he call "distracted" about comments he made the day before?:

"He said that Australia would not be able to export a single medical isotope. And again that is false," Raitt charged, "And he confused the countries of Belgium and the Netherlands."

I think McGuinty might have just had a Mr. Carlson of WKRP fame moment. I can just hear him now, " as god is my witness, I thought Holland was in Belgium".

Sunday, June 7, 2009

NDP might be on verge of history in N.S. election, Ontario still reeling from NDP government 14 years later.

"The NDP is on the verge of a historic election win in Nova Scotia, which would the first time the party formed a government in any of the Atlantic provinces.
Polls show the NDP well out in front, followed by the Liberals, and the Progressive Conservatives, who have been in power for a decade, trailing in third."

Apparently nobody in Nova Scotia has ever heard the phrase "Rae Days".

Conservatives and the Arts; Yes, Blues Music is part of the Arts

Remember the hoopla over supposed arts cuts made by the Conservative government last year. Just last week in Montreal Michael Ignatieff was talking about restoring funding to the arts. Considering arts spending actually went up instead of being decreased, that statement was somewhat disingenuos. What the Conservative government did was evaluate program spending and whether it was cost effective for you and I, the taxpayers. One area of the program did receive cuts because the taxpayer was not getting bang for the buck. and that was an election promise made in the 2006 election, reviewing programs and making choices on those deemed not getting the value of the investment put in.

Of course during the past election we heard clamoring that Conservatives don't appreciate the arts. Bull crap. The government made a business decision in the interests of the taxpayer. No more, no less. But what surprised me in all the talk was mention of galas and parties for upper-class performers. That was proven in one particular video showing a taxpayer funded gala event. Most in attendance were performers who have made quite a lucrative living off the arts. Why taxpayers should be subsidizing that type of event is beyond me.

Where money should be spent is things like outdoor music festivals, dance performances by those seeking to make a living by becoming a professional performer. In my case I attend Blues festivals throughout the year when time permits, and play in a Blues band. When attending the festivals, we meet people from all around the globe, letting me see first hand the economic benefits of holding such events Pictured is part of my collection of guitars I use when performing. At no time did I receive or ask for taxpayers to foot the bill. It was my choice to do so. When we do play a gig, the money we receive barely covers our costs, and on some occasions we actually lose money playing.

Why do we do it? Because we love playing. Because we love interacting with those watching. Because music is soothing for the soul. Because we enjoy it. Because the arts is supposed to be about exactly that, the arts, performing, providing entertainment. And we will continue to do that, without ever expecting the government, by way of the taxpayer, to foot the bill.

I Wonder What Al Gore Would Think.....

I doubt Al Gore would approve. Thank god we avoided that thing called the "greenshift" in the last election or I'd be broke. What you see pictured is my latest creation. Some people do crosswords, some knit, some take pictures. I like to build things that run on fossil fuels and go faster and quicker than they really need to be. Sitting there is 350 cubic inches of pure Chevrolet V8 power. It's had a nice cam added, as well as high rise and big honkin' 4-barrel carb. If I did my figures right, it should be in the area of 330 horsepower with 300+ ft. pds. of torque. It will be going in my 1968 Camaro in the next week or so, replacing that reliable inline 6-cylinder that gets you from point A to point B. Just not fast enough for my taste.

I'm sure the Goreacle would not be impressed, although I should point out that even with the performance improvements, I should get better fuel economy than that limo Gore insists he needs to ride in. Maybe if he laid off the artic char on all those global flights on his private jet he might lose enough weight to fit in something more environmentally friendly, like say a '68 Camaro.

It's Funny They Can Make Parliament Work When It Benefits Them..

Lot's of huffing and puffing going on from ALL parties about an election, whose right, who's wrong, who should resign or be fired. One would think Parliamnet has hit an impasse, with the parties unable to agree on anything. Well, now we find out they can agree on something:

"OTTAWA – Members of Parliament have exempted the cash and benefits they receive from political parties and riding associations from restrictions and public disclosure under the House of Commons conflict-of-interest code.

The move was unanimously approved without a vote in the Commons after committee hearings conducted entirely in secret.

The closed-door decision counters a trend toward more accountability in government and should have come under public scrutiny, a democracy advocate says.

It could also erode the independence of backbench MPs, making them more beholden to party bosses instead of voters, adds Democracy Watch chief Duff Conacher.

All four parties approved the change Thursday after a House rules committee and a subcommittee held eight meetings on the topic that were closed to the public. "

To me this reflects badly on ALL PARTIES, and will just further make more Canadian's turn their backs on Parliament and on voting.

Full story here-

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Coalition? It Was All About Bloc MP's Pensions Stupid

All credit for this post goes to Bec, who left this comment "18 months of support/veto power (call it what it is)= time needed for Bloc MPs to receive MP's pensions " at Alberta Ardvark's

So it turns out the Bloc signing on to the coalition agreement really had nothing to do with the Conservative government led by Stephen Harper as PM, and had everything to do with Gilles Duceppe ensuring 16 of his seperatist MP's would be able to suck off the Canadian taxpayer's teat. I've known for sometime that there are a number of Bloc MP's who are closing in on the required 6 years of service needed to guarantee a lucrative federal pension plan mere mortals can only dream about. Bec's comment at Alberta Ardvark's fantastic blog made my brain finally put 2+2 together.

First, pay attention to this, from when the coalition was first signed:

"OTTAWA–NDP Leader Jack Layton and Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion have signed an historic accord to form a coalition government to replace Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives.In an extraordinary scene on Parliament Hill late this afternoon, Dion and Layton signed a formal deal to work together through to June, 2011.And they signed an agreement with Bloc Quebecois Gilles Duceppe that commits the separatist party to support the coalition through to June, 2010."

Now check out this quote from L. Ian McDonald's editorial in the National Post today:

" There are 16 reasons why there won't be an election this summer, and probably won't be one before next summer. Sixteen is the number of Bloc Quebecois MPs first elected with the class of 2004, who will qualify for their parliamentary pensions six years to the day later. On June 28, 2010."

So months after the birth and death of the coalition, we continue to see just how disgusting the coalition deal really was. You had a Liberal party that wanted to take power through the back door, after their worst electoral showing since Confederation. You had the NDP who were willing to sell their souls for the chance at six cabinet minister's position's. And you had the Bloc, who it now appears, were only looking out for themselves, not the people of Quebec who's cause they insist they champion.

But what makes this even worse than most Canadians had realized, is that both the Liberal and NDP parties were willing to allow seperatist MP's a chance to live high on the hog on the backs of average Canadian's like you and I, for their own personal gains. There is no doubt both parties are aware of that June 2010 qualifying date for Bloc MP's.

And they had the nerve to state it was all about taking care of Canadian's. And they wonder why people are turned off of politics.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Don Martin: Hypocrite Of The Day,Month, Year

Funny to see Don Martin's newest editorial, dealing with the allegations against Ruby Dhalla and the committee looking at it. Take a look at this line from Martin:

"Left unsaid was the impropriety of having an MP’s personal life subjected to a public inquisition for obvious political reasons."

Seems commendable. Martin is arguing that an MP's personal life should be outside the boundaries of public view. The problem is Don Martin is a hypocrite of monumental proportions. In defending a Liberal MP Martin reaps scorn on those who would dare bring Dhalla's personal life into the public domain. If only Martin held himself to the same standards.

Just over a year ago Martin wrote an editorial speculating on a rumored appointment of Conservative MP Vic Toews as a judge. In typical Martin fashion, it turned out to be wrong, nothing more than tabloid gossip. In that article, Martin seemed to have no problem discussing Mr. Toew's personal life:

"But the 55-year-old Mr. Toews' public face of self-righteous morality is now clashing with his troubled private life. An MP dubbed the "minister of family values" by Liberals is embroiled in a messy divorce after fathering a child last fall with a much younger woman.
That's his business, frankly, yet it might explain why Mr. Toews was demoted to the Treasury Board and immediately cloaked by invisibility, stewing in Question Period silence while his junior parliamentary secretary juggles tough questions on election financing irregularities."

Martin states "that's his business frankly". Actually, it isn't anymore because you just wrote that information into an editorial that ran in print and on the web all across Canada. Perhaps if Martin and others in the media applied the same rules equally to all they wouldn't be worthy of the title:

"Don Martin: Hypocrite Of The Day, Month, Year."

Update: This writer took Martin To Task over his article

Did Jack Layton Lie To Obama, Repeat Same Lie On CTV?

Jack Layton and the NDP wonder why people don't take them seriously. This is just another example why. I caught a clip of Layton earlier today advising the Democrat's that 50% of the people who seek treatment in a hospital emergency room in Canada receive treatment within 6 minutes. That's right, 6 MINUTES!

At the time, I thought maybe I heard it wrong, so never gave it much thought. Turn on Power Play to see Tom Clark interviewing Layton from the U.S., and he repeats again that 50% of people receive medical care within 6 MINUTES.

Exactly what socialist utopia is Layton living in? About the only way you are getting treatment that fast is if you are flat lining. About the only thing that happens in the first 6 minutes is the nurse handing you the forms for admittance, and even then 6 minutes is a stretch. So I thought I would take a look at some of the average hospital wait times in various provinces or cities.

Quebec- The latest emergency room rankings are out and the average wait is more than 17 hours. (as of May 26th, 2009).

Ontario- Ontarians typically waited one to four hours in the province's emergency rooms over a recent one-year period, although wait times in some larger cities stretched past nine hours, according to a new study.

Alberta- A new emergency department team will be working on setting provincial targets on how quickly patients should receive care in hospital emergency wards in Alberta. Patients in Edmonton hospitals are currently waiting an average of six hours in emergency departments to get treatment once they enter the doors. Some are waiting too long and are dying or having heart attacks in the waiting room, doctors say.

Calgary- New statistics show lineups in Calgary emergency rooms have increased dramatically this winter because of hospital overcrowding, with some patients facing delays 31 per cent longer than just one year ago. The figures show emergency patients requiring hospitalization faced a median wait time of 16.6 hours at the city's three hospitals in February before being transferred to a bed.

Toronto- The poorest performing hospital emergency rooms for patients with minor health issues in the Toronto area include Toronto East General Hospital, with a 6.5-hour wait for nine out of 10 patients, and Mount Sinai Hospital, at 6.2 hours.

Sure Jack, 6 minutes. Looks like you might need some treatment ASAP!

And on the same day Layton says that we read this: "A woman admitted to Montreal's Royal Victoria Hospital for an induced birth was forced into a do-it-yourself delivery last month, with only her non-medically trained common-law partner to assist. A hospital official said Wednesday that an investigation is under way."

The Canadian Health Care System: If were to busy, just do it yourself.

H/T to commenter Surecure, who left some very informative comments and also provided this link as well. Layton certainly appears to have mislead the Democtrat's in regards to how well our health care system funstions.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Should We Start Calling This FifeGate? Possible Smoking Gun...

Just came across this on National News Watch.

Could it be possible that there were some dirty deeds being done to try and smear Lisa Raitt? Judging from the article, more notably, the accompanying picture, I think perhaps the government might need to do a major investigation into this. If you look at the picture, taken last Thursday as Raitt and her aide were leaving the Television studio's after doing interviews, something stands out.

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but that sure looks like the same binder in the aides hand that Robert Fife was showing off for the cameras, or an identical one. I highly doubt the aide would have returned to the studio and left the binder, as she most likely would have returned with the minister to her office. And the aides normally carry documentation for the ministers. Is it possible the aide actually returned the documents, and somebody else passed them along to Fife? The aide would take the blame if she was the last one to sign them in and they were found missing.

Could be nothing, but something does indeed to be getting stinky as this story evolves.

A commenter has pointed out that it is the National Press Building on Wellington. Still, the picture does provide proof that it was indeed the aide who was in charge of the documents.

Memo To Robert Fife: This Is Why The PM Accepted Bernier's Resignation...

Robert Fife appears to still be having a coniption every 15 minutes on CTV. It seems Booby is having trouble with the fact the PM accepted Maxime Bernier's resignation but not Lisa Raitt's. Now Fife, who's hair color today was quite similar to the seat covers in my dad's '56 Oldsmobile way back when, has even tried to imply that Bernier was let loose because he is a Quebec MP, and Raitt stays because she isn't. Poppycock Bobby. It took me 10 seconds after going to google to figure out how the two cases differed. And so Mr. Fife, I present you with this, which by the way was taken from the CTV website's ccached page. Read and learn:

"In Bernier's resignation letter to the prime minister, he wrote that "the security breach that occurred was my fault and my fault alone and I take full responsibility for my actions."

See that Bobby? It was Bernier himself who misplaced the documents, not a ministerial aide. Although I guess if there was an aide at Couillard's at the same time, that would be a whole new story. And by the way Bob, I noticed you didn't like Raitt's answers in Question Period today. I refer you to this government document, dated 2001, I believe at the time of a Liberal government:

" Report 4 - Access to Information Review Task Force
Published: August 2001

Pay particular attention to this paragraph Mr. Fife. Being a supposed journalist, you should know it.

"The answerability component of the doctrine requires that each minister answer to Parliament, in the form of explanation or defence, for all the actions of his or her department. Thus, when public servants make an error, the minister is expected to explain to Parliament what went wrong; to promise that the error will be remedied and that measures will be taken to prevent its repetition; and to impose appropriate sanctions within the department on the public servant(s) who committed the error. In practice, this answerability component is generally respected, even though ministers often do not provide answers that are complete and unambiguous."

Tom Clark CTV: Documents Were Kept Protected, Robert Fife CTV: Video Proves Otherwise..

So now that CTV has also found itself in the hot seat for keeping government documents for a week, reading said documents, and allegedly photocopying some of the documents, Tom Clark, host of CTV's Power Play assures viewers that the documents were kept "protected".

Now when I hear that documents are being protected, I envision being in a safe, a locked filing cabinet, a room no one has access to. Makes sense right? And would make CTV appear to be less sleazy, if that's possible.

So what does CTV run as soon as Clark is done talking? Robert Fife handing the documents to a government aide to return to the proper place. Does Fife open a safe? Nope. Filing cabinet? Uh Uh. Maybe a briefcase? Wrooong. A locked drawer in his desk? No way.

Where were these "protected documents", as Tom Clark called them? Well, ole Bobby Fife, bends over and picks up a plastic shopping back off the floor beside his desk, and pulls out said protected documents. And it wasn't even a new shopping bag. It looked like one Fife had been using to carry his lunch in for the past six months.

Protected Tom Clark? C'mon. Give your head a shake. Those documents would have been safer with Fife's wife holding an Innuit carving. UN-FREAKIN-BELIEVABLE!

Update; Fife stated on CTV that he made two copies of the documents, one was returned with the original and CTV kept the second copy, given to their lawyers. Fife stated they will claim client-solicitor privilege if the government demands the copies be returned. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but stating these documents are of national interest and secret 24/7 on TV, and then stating you kept a copy for yourself doesn't sound too bright to me.

And Bruce has posted this information on Joanne's blog. Did Fife implicate himself in a felony?

"Security of Information Act;
Miscellaneous Offences
Wrongful communication, etc., of information
4. (1) Every person is guilty of an offence under this Act who, having in his possession or control any secret official code word, password, sketch, plan, model, article, note, document or information that relates to or is used in a prohibited place or anything in a prohibited place, or that has been made or obtained in contravention of this Act, or that has been entrusted in confidence to him by any person holding office under Her Majesty, or that he has obtained or to which he has had access while subject to the Code of Service Discipline within the meaning of the National Defence Act or owing to his position as a person who holds or has held office under Her Majesty, or as a person who holds or has held a contract made on behalf of Her Majesty, or a contract the performance of which in whole or in part is carried out in a prohibited place, or as a person who is or has been employed under a person who holds or has held such an office or contract,
(a) communicates the code word, password, sketch, plan, model, article, note, document or information to any person, other than a person to whom he is authorized to communicate with, or a person to whom it is in the interest of the State his duty to communicate it;
(b) uses the information in his possession for the benefit of any foreign power or in any other manner prejudicial to the safety or interests of the State;
(c) retains the sketch, plan, model, article, note, or document in his possession or control when he has no right to retain it or when it is contrary to his duty to retain it or fails to comply with all directions issued by lawful authority with regard to the return or disposal thereof; or
(d) fails to take reasonable care of, or so conducts himself as to endanger the safety of, the secret official code word, password, sketch, plan, model, article, note, document or information.
27. Unless this Act provides otherwise, a person who commits an offence under this Act is guilty of
(a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 14 years; or
(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 12 months or to a fine of not more than $2,000, or to both.

PM Issues New Rules For Ministers Carrying Documents.

OK, just thought I would have a little fun at the expense of our own party.

As I understand it there were handcuffs involved in the Maxime Bernier affair, but unfortunately they were attached to the headboard.

Robert Fife; Turning CTV Into The National Enquirer

Robert Fife June 2nd, 2009: "Insider report from CTV's Robert Fife indicates the federal Liberals are searching for a Ontario riding for the possible return of 'Rock Star' Belinda Stronach... developing"

Robert Fife June 3rd, 2009: "UPDATE: Well placed sources inform National Newswatch that Strronach is not considering a 'Rock Star' return to politics."

And CTV wonders why it's in trouble. I think we all now know why Robert Fife has been dying his hair over and over, trying too get just that right color. It appears Fife has developed a man-crush on Perez Hilton.

Ontario: Smart Meters and Electric Cars...

With Ontario set to usher in new electricity rates that vary depending on the time of day, I'm puzzled as to what effect those new electric vehicles will have on off-hours usage when electric cars become widely used. Both Chrysler and GM have electric cars set to sell in 2010, as well as some of the import makers like Toyota and Honda. And word has it Magna owner Frank Stronach is seeking federal funds to begin building electric vehicles here.

But here is where I can foresee a major problem. The sole purpose of the smart meters is to get consumers to use electricity during non-peak hours. This isn't as much to do with being green as it is about governments letting our power grid deteriorate over the years, and being unable to supply enough power during peak periods, particularly in the summer months when everyone has the a/c running in the house.

The problem is the lowest price for KwH will be 11:00PM to 7:00Am. Consumers will be running washer/dryers, dishwashers, etc., during this time to take advantage of the cheaper rate. This will also be the time everyone with an electric car will be plugging it in and charging overnight. The vast charging needs of these vehicles will put a huge load on the system. These vehicles require a 6-8 hour charge to be fully powered.
So then what? Will the Ontario government hike the lowest rate (likely), increase the capacity of the grid (unlikely), or will 1000's of Ontarian's wake up late for work with the alarm clock flashing due to a brownout from those electric cars overloading the system (ding, ding, ding, we have a winner).

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

What Happens When TD Economists Have Their Facts Wrong?

On a day when many economists and banks are pointing to a somewhat sunnier economic outlook on the horizon, one bank's economist's has a cloudier view.

One thing immediately caught my eye in this article as being factually wrong:

"Since the late 1990s, after the federal government successfully steered the country out of deficit, annual program spending has increased at a rate of between 6% and 8%"

As soon as I read that I knew something was wrong, so I checked the Fiscal Monitor for the past number of years, and sure enough, these TD economist's had their numbers wrong. Here are the numbers starting with the most recent.

'08-'09- Program expenses were up $6.8 billion, or 3.5 per cent.
'07-'08- Program expenses were up $12.5 billion, or 6.8 per cent
'06-'07- Program expenses were up $9.2 billion, or 5.2 per cent
'05-'06- Program expenses were up $4.3 billion, or 2.8 per cent
'04-'05- Program expenses were up $13.7 billion or 9.9 per cent
'03-'04 Program expenses were up $10 billion, or 7.8 per cent
'02'-03- Program expenses were up $6.5 billion, or 5.3 per cent

The '07-'08 is an anomaly, in that it reflects increased federal transfer payments to the provinces. But even using that figure shows that only one of the past four years has seen program expenses increasing in the 6%-8% range the TD economists have used in their forecasting. In fact if one looks at this line in the article, you realize their figures are pretty much useless, as they have used a forecast of the 6% to 8% as the basis for their deficit projections:

"The TD analysis indicates the only way the budget gets close to balance in 2013-14, as anticipated, is if Ottawa freezes program spending growth after fiscal 2012-13, which is when TD expects the economy to fully rebound from the current downturn. If that were to happen, it would record a small deficit of $1.7-billion in 2013-14, followed by a $12-billion surplus in the next fiscal year.
Otherwise, spending growth could be held at 2% following 2012-13, which would lead to a $5.7-billion surplus in 2015-16".

So i have to ask, how much credibility can you give a report that uses improper data for program expense projections 3-4 years in the future? Perhaps they meant something else, like total government spending. But even if that is the case, how do they know what will be included in next years budget, let alone a budget 4 years from now? How can they take into account the sale of assets not yet determined, as well as their value.

H/T to Joanne, where I came across the link.

Such Wise Advice From The Prime Minister of Canada.

"I think there's probably a lot of great buying opportunities emerging in the stock market as a consequence of all this panic

During an interview with Peter Mansbridge on the CBC on Oct. 7, 2008, prime minister Stephen Harper suggested that the sudden drop in equity prices represented a good chance for Canadians to buy stock at a discount. all opposition leaders ridiculed the PM's comments. Perhaps they should have taken the advice. For example finance critic John Mcallum could have invested some money and bought a brand new Chevrolet with his windfall.

Now the market will have some up and down days to be sure, but it does appear that the PM
knew what he was talking about, the opposition parties, err, not so much. You can track it here:

"This Is Incompetence On An Historic Scale" Part 2 La Belle Province

Michael Ignatieff on the changing deficit numbers: ""This is incompetence on an historic scale," declared Ignatieff last week. Liberals would like voters to question whether the Conservatives know what they're doing."

In my previous post, I alluded to the fact the Ontario government, correction, Liberal Ontario government, was also struggling with it's figures, needing to update and worsen the numbers weeks if not months after the last projections. For today's facts, we will head to Quebec, where the Quebec Liberal government of Premier Jean Charest and finance minister Monique Jérôme-Forget's seems to be having similar problems making accurate predictions.

March 2008 Quebec Budget- budget balanced for 2008-09 and 2009-10.
surplus of $717 million, $517 million reserve, total reserve $1.8 billion
November Budget Update- No deficit next two years,
February 2009- $1.8 billion reserve wiped out.
February 2009- deficit of more than $1 billion in 2009-10.
March 2009- $3.9-billion deficit in 2009-10
March 2009- Quebec to run budget deficits for next four years

So Quebec's deficit quadrupled in one month using the finance minister's figures. So I challenge anyone to please explain why Monique Jérôme-Forget's should not be labelled incompetent and either resign or be fired by Quebec Premier Jean Charest.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Sorry, But It's Time For This Incompetent Finance Minister To Resign!!!!

Not that finance minister, this one. made you look. With all the chest thumping in the last week, most notably Ignatieff, Goodale, and Chevy McCallum over the new deficit figure for the federal government, I thought it might be good to show that old saying "people in glass houses" holds true today. Federal Liberal's took quite some glee in demanding Jim Flaherty's resignation, calling him incompetent, a disgrace, embarrassing due to his inability to accurately pin down deficit numbers.

What makes this post such a joy to write is Ignatieff's left-hand man, and McGuinty ass-kisser Warren Kinsella recently posted on his blog "They Are So Done", referencing the now greatly ballooned federal deficit. So for Warren, Iggy, Ralphy, Chevy, and yes, for you Ted, I present the Ontario Liberal governments fiscal record for the past year and a few months. They Are So Done:

March 2008 Ontario Budget forecast- '08-'09 $1.8 Billion Dollar surplus
October 2008 fall economic update forecast- '08-'09 $500 million deficit
March 2009 Ontario budget actual- '08'-09 $3.9 Billion deficit
March 2009 Ontario budget forecast- '09'-'10 forecast- $14.1 billion deficit
June 1st 2009, Deficit update- 2009-2010- $18.5 Billion deficit

So Dalton McGuinty and Dwight Duncan, in the course of just over a year, have made a swing of -$20.3 billion in Ontario's finances. That's quite a feat.

So I challenge any of the finger-pointers named above, to please explain why Dwight Duncan should not be labelled incompetent and either resign or be fired by Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.

p.s. I don't think any of either the PM, Premier, or either finance minister are incompetent. Just that Liberal's might want to be careful when throwing names out like that.

Update: Joanne nails it with this comment- "But anyone who tries to take a shot at the Feds will have to take one at the Ontario Grits too."

The Toronto Star: Never Letting The Facts Get In The Way.

It has been pointed out in various media sources that GM will be required to maintain a percentage of it's production in Canada, most recently confirmed again during the PM's news conference regarding GM:

"Under the deal hammered out with GM's Canadian arm, the automaker must maintain a 19% share of GM's combined Canada-United States production capacity. GM will also commit to invest in a new engine module for its St.Catharines engine factory and spend $2.2-billion through 2016 on capital investments in its Canadian plants. The company is required to invest $1-billion in research and development spending in the country.".

Now the way I read that is under the federal-provincial loans given to GM, the company will have to maintain a set level of production capacity, as well as invest in new tooling and R&D. I think this is a way of stating that there will be jobs in Canada proportional to U.S. manufacturing.

So how does the Toronto star Report it? With This headline:

No employment guarantees in rescue package

From the same article: "There are no employment guarantees in the rescue package, which will see Canadian taxpayers put up to $9.5 billion (U.S.) – or roughly $10.5 billion (Canadian) – in loans to the teetering automaker."

Nowhere does the Star mention the 19% share of capacity, St. Catherines engine plant investment, or $2.2 billion in capital investments. Why is that?

The CBC: Canada's National Broadcaster Making Us All Proud.

Looks like someone was having a bad day. So did the MP actually say those words, or did she just ad-lib?

The CBC: How To Turn Bad News For The Liberal's Into Good News..

CBC Headline : Minority government possible for Liberals, poll suggests
EKOS survey indicates Ignatieff's party would clip Tories in election tomorrow

If your a Liberal that headline would be good news, right? Wrong. Technically the poll is right in that the numbers could indeed lead to a Liberal minority government. Aside from that, this article has been spun more than cotton candy in that machine at a carnival.

Take this line for example: "News of the federal deficit topping $50 billion appears to have put the Liberals slightly ahead of the Conservatives in a poll asking Canadians how they would vote if an election were held tomorrow."

Reading that sure gives the impression that the new deficit figure has put the Liberal Party ahead in the polls, right?

Then this line: "Up until the deficit news of May 26, the Conservatives appeared to have been benefiting from the fact some more prosperous Canadians, perhaps with an eye more to the stock market than the job market, were becoming more optimistic about the economic future.

Reading tha sure makes one believe that Conservative numbers are dropping, right?

And this line: "However, their advantage appeared to vanish after Finance Minister Jim Flaherty revealed Ottawa expected a budgetary shortfall of $50 billion for the 2009-10 fiscal year that will end in March 2010"

That sure makes it sound like Conservative's had an advantage in the polls, but the recently released deficit figure has caused that advantage to disappear, right.

The fact is all these statements are wrong, in fact they are wrong based on the same CBC and Ekos polling companies information from the April poll. The numbers from April to May show a drop of -3.7% for the Liberal's, while the Tories gained +1.8%

H/T to Wilson who left this comment on Joanne's blog:

"p.s. What the CBC article doesn’t state is that Cons have GAINED support since the last poll done April 8-15,THEN Michael Ignatieff’s Liberals enjoying an upsurge, says a new poll from EKOS released exclusively to CBC News.

April…. 36.7 Libs ,
30.2 Cons
May …. 33 Libs,
32 Cons

One would have thought today's headline might read Harper enjoying an upsurge, says a new poll released exclusively to CBC news. Funny That...