Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Making History

It's official: C-38 has been passed and this session of Parliament has finally been put out of its own misery.

Looking back, it's pretty clear that this Bill will likely be the only bit of noteworthy legislation to come out of a session that will be remembered for cancelled opposition days, the Grewal tapes, shocking Gomery revelations, a re-written budget, a Prime Minister begging for his life on TV, racial insults, wild accusations, high profile defections, and constant speculation about non-confidence votes. It was a session of parliament where the Liberals used every trick in the book to stay in power, while the Tories spent every waking hour mad about something and trying to bring them down. It was a session of Parliament that was fun to comment on but extremely discouraging for anyone holding out hope that our elected MPs could be productive or, at the very least, act like adults.

But, finally, for the first time since he took office, Paul Martin is making history for the right reasons.


  • You seem to have forgotten about Jack Layton.. he came out smelling like roses - and showed he could be productive in Parliament.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:23 p.m.  

  • CG, what do you think about Ralph musing about repealing the Alberta Marriage Act. Do you think he will?

    By Blogger Greg, at 10:26 p.m.  

  • I think that would be utterly stupid - and it would backfire on Ralph big time.

    We'll see what Ralphie has to say tomorrow morning, but if he's smart, he'll go along with the new law.

    Contrary to common belief, there is a fairly large gay community in Alberta (e.g., Calgary). Ralph should keep this in mind.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:39 p.m.  

  • Yeah Hat tip to Jack...he did better than even us die-hards thought he would!

    By Blogger Mike, at 10:39 p.m.  

  • Good stuff. Canada will get a lot of international press over this and most of it will be positive. I hope this convinces him to do something really bold, such as pushing Canada to become the first country to legalize marijuana.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:49 p.m.  

  • Yes, indeed, Jack Layton has been quite a class act for the last few months. Chapeau!

    Honour where honour is due, I say, and Layton certainly deserves a lot of kudos.

    Let's not forget either that leading up to the May 19 vote, it was him and the NDP that did the decent thing and suggested pairing as a tool of fairness with respect to cancer-stricken CPC members who weren't able to attend the vote.

    That had some real class. I hate to repeat myself, but here goes: Chapeau, Monsieur Layton!

    (P.S. Layton's French is also quite good; much better than Harper's)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:54 p.m.  

  • It's not quite over yet. We still have the Senate to keep us entertained.

    Look for Former Liberal and 'traditional' marriage proponent Anne Cools to provide some wacky antics.

    When REAL Women of Canada appear before the Legal committee of the Senate, it could be better than Live 8. (for hardcore political junkies, at least.)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:16 a.m.  

  • Yeah, Layton's stock has shot sky high in the past 3 months. It's amazing the NDP aren't up to 25% in the polls.

    Greg; Klein raised a huff about the SSM legislation a while back but I think he's accepted it's going to happen.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 12:38 a.m.  

  • I've always got the impression that Ralph doesn't personally give a hoot about gay marriage, but he is always conscientious about putting on a good performance for his audience.

    He'll put on a bluster for a while, then maybe put together a committee to discuss some semi-wacky ideas. Then after a several months, when the initial furore has worn off, they'll shrug and admit that there is really not much they can do. Perhaps they'll suggest that people vote for an anti-gay candidate in the next federal election...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:37 a.m.  

  • Give me a break...Jack Layton has about as much class and dignity as a rabid racoon in the town dump. He rented out his party to save the budget because it was the only thing he could do to stave off irrelevance. Any idiot NDP leader could have done it in the circumstances in which the Liberals found themselves. The NDP-sponsored amendments are noteworthy only for being both badly planned AND a waste of money, such as the tuition-relief portion that will help well-off students and completely screw needy ones. And the guy can't make a major announcement without checking with Buzz Hargrove and Ken Georgetti first.

    Oh, and he was the only party leader who didn't allow his members to vote their conscience on same-sex marriage. Whatever you think of SSM, if ever there was matter that deserved a free vote, this was it. What's worse, he used the old Martin trick of using his communications aides to threaten Bev Desjarlais in the media instead of having the guts to do it himself. So not only is he inept, but a coward too.

    Layton's great success has been in blowing smoke up all your asses through his confederates at the CBC to create this myth that he's an effective and sophisticated leader.

    Give your head a shake people.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:23 a.m.  

  • Derek, don't mistake your opinion of Layton with what he's accomplished.

    I don't agree with the NDP Budget either but only a handful of MP's (19), he's managed to get a budget passed that reflected NDP ideals and helped get the C-38 passed. Out of all the parties in government, his has been the most effective. The Liberals still look corrupt and the Conservatives still look inept.

    Now that the spring session is over, watch what going to happen on the summer circuit. [My prediction] The Liberals will do what they can to do damage control (Gomery, NDP Budget, etc.) and hold their polls numbers where they are. The Conservatives, despite announcing a platform, will continue to fall. The NDP, touting their victories, will grab more popularity and that'll turn into more seats in the January election.

    By Blogger Lex Luthor, at 11:15 a.m.  

  • Koby Said:
    "Good stuff. Canada will get a lot of international press over this and most of it will be positive. I hope this convinces him to do something really bold, such as pushing Canada to become the first country to legalize marijuana."

    Let's hope NOT!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:37 a.m.  

  • I agree with your strong stand anonymous, let's hope not. It would be a crying shame if Canada got some press for being a leading edge, progressive country, not stuck back in the 19th century regarding marriage. In fact, I think we should go back to the time when interracial marriages were extremely frowned upon in Ontario and Orangemen were so accomodating of their Catholic brethren.

    As for legalizing marijuana, I could not agree more. Once you realize that, you are going down a very sliperry slope. You may see woman cohorting with apes (not conservatives, apes) and smoking pot and free love and all the rest. And once that happens, society as we knew it in the 17th century will be no longer.

    I really could give two shits about this post, I just think my name is better than yours. lol

    By Blogger more anonymous than anonymous, at 12:11 p.m.  

  • Hmmm..wonder if the two posts above would feel more at home on the "FreeDominion" site. Lots of CPC'ers there farting dust about SSM. Several want to bring back the Red Ensign (I shit you not). Much scorn heaped upon all Liberals in general, Martin in particular. They do an uncommmon amount of weeping and praying and fervently dream of Alberta separating. Too bizzare. Scratch a Liberal, find a federalist. Scratch a CP'er, find a braying jackass demanding 14th century treatment of women and gays, pouting and threatening to break up the country or mege it with the U.S. No wonder we've kicked the shit out of them 90 out of the last 110 years.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:20 p.m.  

  • "No wonder we've kicked the shit out of them 90 out of the last 110 years."

    Violating the campaign finance and election laws that you wrote might've helped, too, no?

    By Blogger deaner, at 2:15 p.m.  

  • Anyone check out Klein's response yet? It's classic.

    If same-sex marriages can't be stopped, then the province may get out of the business of marriages altogether

    link to news article on CBC

    -Kirk Schmidt

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:56 p.m.  

  • I agree anonymous, I love the freedominion site. Please out a bid in on my horse and carriage on ebay, as I am raising money to lobby the government to ban automobiles. That way, the gays will have a harder time getting around.

    Unfortunately, I am ahead of my time at freedominion, as horse and buggy was at best a late 18th century, early 19th century invention, and was likely not around during the plauge in the 14th century.

    By Blogger more anonymous than anonymous, at 3:52 p.m.  

  • Yea whatever. Meanwhile in the rest of the world:
    China and India continue to outstrip us in job creation, innovation, and tech research. China is using its devalued currency to buy strategic Canadian companies; think that having the US owning us was bad I shudder to think what the Chinese will do to us.
    Crystal Meth is raveging our young people, especially rural youth. What is our response to that? Lets legalize pot!
    Our provincial governments are addicted to VLT revenue. Revenue that is mainly generated from lower income Canadians.
    Green house gases are killing our largest city. Why is there no highspeed rail transport in the Windsor-VDQ corridor? Why is there no national urban transit strategy?
    Day care fundingis going to make the SSM fight look like a play-ground spat. Who will win? Families (or is that now a dirty word) or social engineers?
    Our national infrastructure is falling apart, but eventhough the feds have promised gas tax money, municipalites are realizing that there are so many strings attached that the fiscal year will be over (and the money disappear) before all the bueraucratic hurdles are cleared.
    I fear for this country and are very annoyed that a vocal minority hijacked the focus of the nation from important issues to such a useless and frivolous adventure.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:52 p.m.  

  • http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2005/06/29/newsamesex050629.html

    I think this is very amusing. What Klein doesn't realize is that this means that both gay and straight couples will have to go to other provinces to be legally married. If he really wants to protect marriage, why is he banning it?

    Of course, this could just be a lot of Klein's hot air.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:05 p.m.  

  • I'd like to *decriminalize* pot to free up resources to combat crystal meth.

    And wonder how greenhouse gases are hurting Toronto moreso than, say, smog (not the same thing).

    And wonder why when Via doesn't go through Calgary, and costs way more than greyhound, we worry about a highspeed link.

    And would love to chat w/ Calgary Observer entierement en francais, car s'il pense vraiment que Layton parle mieux que Harper j'ai un pont a le vendre.

    Good on the Libs for passing SSM.

    And good on MPs who voted their consciences in a spirit of democratic debate.

    By Blogger matt, at 5:07 p.m.  

  • So let me get this straight, the Chinese devalued their yuan so that it would cost more yuan to buy Canadian dollars and then they decided to take over Canadian companies. Interesting strategy.

    I fail to see the connection of the crystal meth and the marijuana, please explain in greater detail. Is it because of the evil consequences of marijuana being a gateway drug??

    VLT's are a voluntary tax, much like liquor tax, cigarette tax, hotel tax, GST etc. If someone wants to voluntarily give money to the government, knowing that the odds are they will lose money 70% of the time, so be it. I would love to know the stats behind VLT's disproportionately affecting lower income individuals

    Um, on the national urban transit strategy, I am guessing because it would cause holy constitutional hell, but despite that, I have to agree with you. I personally wish the feds would take over everything.

    Daycare, I think a third group will win on that one, and that is the children. Think about the children Don, the children...

    The biggest hurdle on gas tax money (conservative opposition to helping cities) has been overcome. Most mayors I have seen on the subject seem quite pleased that they are getting money from the feds, despite the fact that the lack of money at the municipal level is a provincial area of concern.

    I fear God's wrath on the same sex marriage, but do not fear for this country.

    By Blogger iloveLaP, at 5:18 p.m.  

  • Hey CG. As a Toronto liberal and sometimes Liberal, always enjoy visiting your site to get some insight on Alberta that I fail to get in the Globe/Star/Post/CBC/CTV. So, in the wake of the SSM victory for Canada, I have a question for you (and for other Alberta/Western posters). What now for the country? There is clearly a growing divide among social right and left in this country. That's fine and probably healthy for democratic debate. However, there is a distinct regional tint to the debate that is not healthy.

    While I absolutely do not buy the conservative myth that the overwhelming majority of Westerners are both fiscally and socially conservative (the Libs increased their popular vote in both Alberta and BC in 2004), there is an element of truth to that. There is also a whiff of truth to the fact that central Canada moves the country politically as it will, regardless of different points of view from the rest of the country. Not surprising when Ontario and Quebec, most often along with the Maritimes, represent over 70% of the population, but still, hard to always be shut out because of numbers in a country that touts its tolerance for minorities.

    How to mend this ever growing divide? Or is the divide simply not that real, something the Western Standard types have over-hyped? How do we acknowledge and hail the great contributions of Alberta (which are more than just fiscal) without backing off ideals held widely such as equalization, national healthcare and SSM?

    Not trogging for votes here - though that would be nice - but how do we find our historical Canadian consensus or at least acceptance in light of the vociferous division over SSM and other issues?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:29 p.m.  

  • Klein is a complete tool. Klein's proposal is idiotic for any number of reasons. Unlike the state, which has to marry whoever meets the legal means test, Churches are free to discriminate as they see fit. Atheists, for one, will have to take a knee and plead for some religious institution to marry them in of all things a religious ceremony!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:31 p.m.  

  • TB as you probably know Vancouver's nickname is "vansterdam". Calgary and Vancouver are not of a piece. Social liberal/social conservative spilt does not run east west so much as rural urban, young and old. That said even in regional terms the old thinking does not apply. Quebec and BC, for example, are one two in terms of support for gay marriage and support for marijuana legalization. With the focus of Federal politics in the west shifting from regional opposition to Ottawa to social issues, "the West" does not mean much these days. Currently the Conservatives sit third in BC, 7 points behind the NDP and 20 points behind the Liberals. In the Lowermainland the Consevatives numbers are shockingly low. The Conservatives could loose 6 seats in Vancouver.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:48 p.m.  

  • ilovlap;
    Since I am a conservative dinosaur posting on a liberal blog, I expect to be tarred, feathered and hoisted on a pike. (a nice soothing colour mind you, because you are all sooooo caring and kind)

    Crystal Meth - I don't know if pot is a gateway drug, but I sure have seen a lot of childhood friend go from pot to harder drugs. And my wife and I have been teaching our kids about drugs and alchohol. Don't know if that will keep them off it but its worth a try.
    China - may (more than likely do)have my facts wrong, but the push from China to purchase Canadian companies is worrisom.
    VLT, yes it is by your own volition to put the money into those infernal machines. But if you lived in Nova Scotia in the 90's, they had VLT's in Sobey's (grocery stores)and I observed that most of the folks using them did not look like they could afford to buy milk let alone play the VLT. Also my Father-in-law is a rural municipal councillor. He has the stats on the amount of money leaving the municipality via VLT's and the amount of money they are spending on addiction assistence and welfare rates. This is a low populatation municipality. The numbers would astound you.
    Day care - I know that my kids are better off with us than with some government hack. end of story.
    As for gas tax money, since I and my family have been veterans of numerous government largess before (remember Mad Cow and the Billion dollars given to Canadain Cattle Producers), after the government middlemen and the rest of the hacks get through with their "administration" their is SFA left of the money by the time they get to the end user. Mark my words, if Miller and Campbell's head weren't so firmly up their own and Martins ass, by next year they will be crying to the feds ; "Where's our Money! Where's our Money!"

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:15 p.m.  

  • I bet most people went from coca-cola to cigarettes to marijuana first, but that is just a guess. I think the government should get completely out of the business of personal morality, but that is just me

    I do not know the scene in NS, but to the best of my knowledge, the provinces administer the assistance programs in regards to gambling addictions. And I still think it is a personal choice at the end of the day.

    The raising of your kids is up to you. Government sponsered daycare is not going to prevent you or your wife from raising your kids however you wish. Maybe your kids are better off with you than some government hack, but there surely are children that would be better off with the hack, that is undeniable. End of story.

    I guess I will wait for the mayors to be crying for their money, I will have to see if that happens. I personally think they will be satisfied with the money they receive, but that is just me. It is also difficult to argue against these vague nepharious characters who stole all the BSE money, I have no idea who the hacks or middlemen are. I have a feeling some of them were packing plants, some were large feedlot operators, other than that I do not know. My understanding on BSE aid was that it was a certain amount per head of cattle, but that is just my understanding.

    By Blogger iloveLaP, at 6:53 p.m.  

  • VLT's are addictive. That is bad. Taxing cigarettes is one thing to do: recoups revenue spent on healthcare and acts as a disincentive. Purveying an addictive and ruinous habit is quite another. The entity in charge of the public good ought not to propagate a social ill.

    By Blogger matt, at 6:57 p.m.  

  • social ills like smoking and drinking, which are also highly addictive behaviors. Government should completely get out of the business of trying to decide what people do on their own time. If they want to gamble on VLT's so be it.

    Smoking and drinking is addictive and can be ruinous as well.

    By Blogger iloveLaP, at 7:00 p.m.  

  • I agree: government should get out of the business of gambling. Perhaps you don't realize, but the vast majority of VLT revenue goes to the government. And, unlike alcohol/tobacco taxes, there's no disincentive.

    There's a very real distinction between casinos and VLTs in terms of social harm.

    The reason we tolerate alcohol and tobacco, but not crack, are the harmful social effects (coupled partially with custom, tradition). VLTs don't get a pass because of custom, like tobacco, and enjoy the status of their very own AADAC programs.

    So, I repeat: VTLs do more harm than good. They addict those who can least afford it. Initial individual choice or not, the ultimate outcome is that society chooses to directly profit from the misery of its vulnerable.

    By Blogger matt, at 11:35 p.m.  

  • TB; I don't think the social divide in Canada is any worse than in the United States or any other country.

    It's really only Alberta anyways. The Liberals may not do well in the West, but the NDP gets huge percentages of the vote in Saskatchewan and BC...Alberta is the only province that comes close to being 50% Conservative.

    I don't think SSM will have a huge impact here. Although a few people are dead set against it, I expect the storm to die down. There will however be a lot of really pissed off Albertans after the next election if the Liberals get re-elected though. And I don't have a solution to solve that. Senate Reform is a possibility but, to be perfectly honest, I think the election of a Conservative government is the only way Alberta is going to be satisfied.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 1:23 a.m.  

  • We have made history...and yet, now I read about increased gay bashing and gay-hate in Edmonton?

    I know I'm just a Liberal Ontarian, but what the hell is going on with people in Alberta? Earlier this week on The National, the comments of Albertans in a restaurant left me very disturbed. It's almost as if the cliche about redneck bigoted Albertans is true.

    Someone tell me honestly...are the tolerant, egalitarian, sane people in Alberta (and I know there are many of them) actually outnumbered by the bigoted, hateful, prejudiced people?

    I could use some reassurance after what I've seen and read the last two days...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:00 a.m.  

  • Dan:

    Let me offer you some reassurance.

    The tolerant, egalitarian, sane people in Alberta are probably in the majority. And we don't have as many bigoted, hateful, and prejudiced people as we have ignorant, gullible, and fearful people.

    But even they don't vote on that basis. They vote on the basis of personal benefit. Being the richest province in the country, and having suffered the perceived expense of the NEP, can you blame 'em for voting right wing?

    By Blogger Gauntlet, at 4:26 p.m.  

  • Dan: go to Nanticoke and asked the same questions. In my view the divide you're targeting isn't ON/AB but urban/rural.

    By Blogger matt, at 5:56 p.m.  

  • Reassurance is good.

    Hmm...urban/rural is a more interesting way of looking at it. I'm guessing that's going to be next major flashpoint in Canadian politics.

    As for Nanticoke...if I were them, I'd be more worried about the giant pollution generator that dominates their horizon...ugh. Same sex marriage is tame by comparison.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:21 p.m.  

  • People should be directing their efforts to decriminalization of DUI: fewer people are hurt by drunk drivers than by drugs, including pot.

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