Saturday, September 25, 2004

The C Word

It was only a matter of time...

Health deal is building block
The Montréal Gazette’s MIKE DE SOUZA reports :
“The recent federal-provincial health accord brings Quebec one step closer to signing the Canadian constitution, Prime Minister Paul Martin said yesterday.
"This is the first time that premiers have actually signed onto the health accord. There have been previous accords but they have not been signed. There hasn't been the commitment that was in this health accord, and that's a major, major step forward," said Martin after touring the National Optical Institute.
"I would very much like to see Quebec sign (the constitution). I think we all would. ... I think that what happened with the health accord is a very important building block that shows how we can work together."

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

When Conservatives Join the Cabinet

Scott Brison who spent a decade trashing Paul Martin before undergoing a transformation not seen since St.Paul (fittingly) has gone to work privatizing the federal government
. Brison, perhaps unaware of the reason no one in their right mind sells their house to the bank and then takes out a lease on it, has decided to sell off federal building in order to get a short term cash infusion. This comes days after the announced sale of Petro-Canada. And days after Martin shoveled heaps of money into health care without getting any binding conditions in return for it.

It looks like Martin is going to sell off every asset this government has in a mad rush to fulfill his election promises. Sure, future generations of Canadians will lose valuable assets and will have to pay for his start on "Campaign 2005" but Paul will be long gone by then so it's not any of his concern.

Bold Prediction. Come budget time, if he's a little short on funds, Goodale decides to put the Parliament Buildings up for sale. It would help turn a surplus after all.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Fixing the NHL for a Generation

Paul Martin says he won't intervene in the NHL lock-out. This begs the obvious question about a Paul Martin negotiated collective bargaining agreement:

Would the Montreal Canadiens be exempt from the salary cap given they play in a distinct society?

Friday, September 17, 2004

King Ralph

Ralph Klein did Alberta huge disservice by storming off from the Health Summit in a huff. On Monday he cut out of a meeting to go gambling in Ottawa, proving that he’s just trying to make his way through all the major addictions before he retires. Then, he stormed back to Alberta, saying that he really didn’t give a damn about the Health Summit.

I can see why he’d want to make a statement after being scapegoated during the federal election but he owed it to Albertans to stay at the summit. Even if I don’t agree with the direction he wants to take Medicare, he should have stayed and used the TV cameras to talk about his reforms – be it P3s or privatization or two tier or the execution of sick, poor people. At least then, we could have had a meaningful discussion on health care and he could have defended his views. Instead he comes across looking like a lazy, tired, worn-out Premier.

Which he is.

Can Someone Explain...

...How Quebec is a "distinct society" with respect to health care? Language, culture, food, sure - but health care? Even though I'm of the opinion that most of the "conditions" Martin got in the deal are essentially meaningless, it sets a very dangerous precedence. Ralph Klein for one is licking his chops over this. As is anyone who wants a highly decentralized Canada. Pierre Trudeau would not be amused.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

The Next Generation

Well, that was, well, un-historic. Don't get me wrong: more money for health care is a good thing. Far, far better than pumping it into the military or tax cuts. And it's too early to judge until the full details on what conditions Martin managed to get become public. Mind you, there was nary a word spoken about pharmacare last night. Just about how the provinces need to report on how they're coming along on waiting lists ("Coming along nicely Paul. Thanks for asking! I'll give you another update next year."). Basically, this deal is slightly bellow the 2003 Health Accord in terms on content and importance - it's not transformative change and it's not making history. The summit itself was a nightmare with the Premiers calling it one of the worst organized summits in recent history. And the real work was done behind closed doors, showing how ridiculous it was to televise the entire process.

And did we fix health care for a generation? Uh, no. First of all, my guess is we'll hear Premiers bickering over health funding within a year. Even if this deal lasts for 10 years as intended (ha ha ha! yeah, right!), it raises an interesting definition of a generation. For example, Paul had to make due with Jean Chretien as Prime Minister for a full generation, perhaps explaining why he was so anxious to kick the guy out. Just two generations ago, Paul Martin himself was running CSL. And it was a full seven generations ago that Mr. Martin's father was first elected to the house of common. Paul Jr himself has seen six or seven generations of Canadians come or go during his lifetime. I think the "fix for a generation" will go right up there with "most important Canadian election ever" in the growing list of overblown rhetoric which never really comes to pass.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Fixing Martin for a Generation

I'd say things are off to a good start, wouldn't you?

Daily Dose

Without a doubt, the Daily Show is the funniest thing on TV right now. With the US election on the horizon, everyone should check their TV Times and set their VCRs Monday thru Thursday because it is truly biting, hilarious politcal satire at its best.

You can get a good sense of the show in this interview Jon Stewart did with Among the highlights: What would a Kerry administration mean?

With a little fine tuning and a bit of work, Rick Mercer's Monday Report could really become the Canadian equivalent of the Daily Show. But until then, the Daily Show remains the best thing on TV. Well, after "Who Wants to Marry my Dad?" of course.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Ahead of his Time

Buried at the bottom of this article on Stephane Dion's speech in Calgary is an interesting fact: 82% of Canadians now support the Kyoto accord. And...70% of Albertans. This from a province which supposedly was dead-set against the accord when it came in. Or, at least, was dead-set against it when the government spent dollars advertising against it and publishing push-polls. The point of the fact is, Canadians have come around to support what they now realize to be a wise move.

In Jean Chretien's last year, he made four incredibly controversial decisions. Each one could have gone the other way in a Paul Martin government and certainly would have in a Conservative government. In each case he was heavily criticized by the opposition and, especially, in Alberta. But all are looking like great moves. Pot decriminalization? No one even raises eyebrows over this one anymore. In fact, I'd wager support for legalization is now higher than opposition to decriminalization. Gay marriage? I know a lot of people are still opposed but every poll I've seen sees support for it growing. Yes, I know it was a Supreme Court decision but Chretien and Martin Cauchon campaigned for this feverously within their own party when they didn't have to. The war in Iraq? Harper was adamantly in favour of it, Martin was quasi in favour, and the country was split right down the middle. Now? Is there anyone out there who still thinks the war was justified? And Kyoto? Well, this latest poll shows Canadians now see it as the right move.

The point of this? As far as lame duck years in office go, 2003 was a very productive one.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Waking up Sleeping Dogs

Well, well, well. On the front page of today's Globe and Mail is a story on corkscrews. The story itself is useless and meaningless and details one out of hundreds of wrongdoings which will be revealed in this public inquiry. Sort of makes you wonder if Pauly is having second doubts about calling a judicial inquiry into this. Get ready for daily reminders to the public of how the Liberals are corrupt.

It may have been the right thing to do but, boy, was it ever a stupid political move.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

The Real Enemy

There’s a good debate going on in the Freethought forums on the US election which is definitely worth checking out. A big Bush fan (and I still can’t, for the life of me, figure out why this guy is so popular among his devout supporters) says that Bush is ahead of his time since he’s been able to adjust to the post-9/11 world.

My opinion is basically that the opposite is true. Bush sent troops into Iraq despite the fact that Saddam had no connections to Al Quaeda whatsoever. He’s undergoing a costly missile defense shield which likely won’t work when we know terrorists will not be using intercontinental missiles to attack the US. If anything the heaps of money poured into Iraq and Star Wars should be spent on security, intelligence, border security and strikes against known terrorist groups. Airplane bombs, ships of explosives being sailed into ports, bio-weapons in a subway system, suitcase bombs…these are where the threats of the future will come from. Not from Iraq or intercontinental missiles.