So now we know...

...what kind of Canada we might end up with following the election two weeks ago.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper (ick, I feel dirty just typing that) was officially sworn into office today, along with his new cabinet.

Does anyone remember Mike Harris</b> (Premier of Ontario, 1995-2002) and his "Common Sense Revolution"? Many residents of Ontario remember Harris and his governments for the massive cuts to health and education programs in the province.

Well, two former Ontario cabinet ministers under Harris are now in Harper's cabinet. Tony Clement, who famously fumbled the SARS crisis as Ontario's Minister of Health a few years ago, is now Canada's Minister of Health. His other Ontario Conservative leadership rival (both lost to Ernie Eves in 2002), Jim Flaherty, who as Harris's Minister of Finance promoted tax credits for parents sending children to private schools, and also advocated making homelessness illegal, is now Canada's Minister of Finance.

Great. Two of the most important portfolios, going to these two neo-cons. With Stephen Harper, former head of the National Citizens Coalition — which supports entrenching property rights in the Constitution (popular among polluters), privatizing the CBC (so we can all watch more American TV), "restoring" union workers' rights (which means gutting unions and preventing them from bargaining effectively), and "get better return on investment from our health care dollars" (which means private health care) — this triumvirate will do their utmost to gut our health care system and social programs. Thank heavens they don't have a majority.

The best part, though, comes from two other cabinet ministers, neither of whom won on January 23rd as Conservatives. Remember when Belinda Stronach crossed the floor from the Conservatives to the Liberals? Remember all the names she was called then? Well, funnily enough, David Emerson (who ran for the Liberals in both 2004 and 2006) made a surprise appearance at Rideau Hall to be sworn into Harper's cabinet. I don't see him getting called the same names by the same people. As well, Michael Fortier, co-chair of the 2006 Conservative campaign, has been selected to Cabinet, even though he was never elected to anything. He'll be appointed to the Senate (what happened to elected Senators, Stephen?), but "is expected to step down and run in a byelection as soon as possible". Mmhmm.

What a lovely start. About the only thing we can be thankful for is that Stockwell "Doris" Day didn't get the Foreign Affairs portfolio. However, he will be Minister of Public Safety, which doesn't exactly instill confidence in my safety. Sigh.
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Well, it could be worse...

He had set his features into the expression of quiet optimism which it was advisable to wear....
—George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

I'm no fan of Stephen Harper. I only ever voted Conservative once, as a youth desperate to get rid of Trudeau and unaware of the horrors Brian Mulroney would unleash upon us all. Mea culpa.

Given the awkward balance between how sick most Canadian voters were of the Liberals, and how concerned they were about the Conservatives' aims, Monday's election results are not surprising at all. In fact, they might be the best results possible.

He's losing it, you say. He's off the twig. How could Harper winning — and another minority government that means we'll all be voting again in another 18 months — possibly be a good thing?

First of all, the Conservatives aren't pure evil. I doubt Stephen Harper really has a pet dragon in his shed.

The corollary to this is that they have some good ideas. Let me list the ones I like the best (lifted straight from "the Blue Book"):
  • Reform the financing of federal political parties;
  • Toughen the Lobbyists Registration Act;
  • Ban secret donations to political candidates;
  • Make qualified government appointments;
  • Provide real protection for whistleblowers;
  • Strengthen the power of the Auditor General;
  • Strengthen the role of the Ethics Commissioner;
  • Strengthen Access to Information legislation;
  • Demand that the U.S. government play by the rules on softwood lumber;
  • Raise the age of consent from 14 to 16 years of age to stop adults from sexually exploiting vulnerable young people;
  • Immediately compensate all individuals who contracted hepatitis C from tainted blood, as recommended by the Krever Inquiry;
  • Allow the parents of young people under 16 years old who register their children in programs that promote physical fitness to claim a federal tax credit on spending up to $500 per year per child;
  • Require 5 percent average renewable content in Canadian gasoline and diesel fuel, such as ethanol and biodiesel, by 2010;
  • Begin reform of the Senate by creating a national process for choosing elected Senators from each province and territory;
  • Propose further reforms to make the Senate an effective, independent, and democratically elected body that equitably represents all regions.

    A lot of things like this — and things that aren't quite as good an idea but that will sell well, like cutting the GST — could be passed in this minority Parliament without too much difficulty. I mean, who would dare be seen opposing raising the age of consent to 16, or compensating all hepatitis C victims?

    The more contentious aspects of Harper's platform, however, probably won't pass. If he's smart, his government house leader will sound out the other three parties on those issues, and just not introduce the ones that are doomed to failure.

    Now, we all know how well Chrétien lived up to his "Red Book" promises. If Harper has the same "success" rate, well, we can toss him out in a couple of years. If he spends too much time trying to force through things that most Canadians don't want, ditto. But if he can govern moderately, with consensus and co-operation, and change the things that really do need changing? Well, that would be a nice surprise, wouldn't it?

    So everybody take a deep breath, get used to the phrase "Prime Minister Stephen Harper", and remember the famous words from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Don't Panic!
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    He's back....

    Well, given that I've been publicly identified as "a political activist who generally supports the NDP and runs the blog 'Out in Left Field,'" I suppose I'd better fire the thing up again, eh?

    The upcoming Canadian federal election (voting day Monday Jan. 23) has been driving me nuts. The ads on TV this last week of the campaign are almost entirely American-style attack ads, focussing more on stupid things like Jack Layton's moustache (see "Jack Talk") and less on important things like, I don't know, policy?

    The good news is, it appears the voters are going to finally give the "culture of entitlement" Liberals the butt-kicking they deserve. Also, the NDP looks like it's going to go up to 30-something seats, giving them an even greater chance of being able to influence our government towards more progressive policies.

    The bad news is, the Conservatives are going to win. The Liberals led in the polls early in the campaign, but a New Year's surge by the Tories flipped things around. (And, unfortunately, cost me a couple of hundred dollars in the UBC Election Stock Market. Grrrr.)

    While a few polls have suggested that the Conservatives might crack the 40% target — generally enough to get a majority of the 308 seats in the House of Commons — most are showing the Conservatives stalled just below that line, suggesting a Conservative minority government. (The UBC Election Stock Market, as of this writing, is showing a projection of 133 Conservative seats, 90 Liberals, 31 NDP, 53 Bloc Québécois, and 1 Other/Independent.)

    I'll rant more about why I'm not a big fan of a Conservative government — and why I'm glad they won't get a majority (I hope!) — but right now, I just want to rant about Buzz Hargrove. As president of the Canadian Auto Workers union, you'd think he'd be supporting the New Democratic Party, Canada's social-democratic/labour party. But no, he's suggesting voters choose Liberal candidates to block Conservative candidates; a strategy that backfired in the 1999 Ontario provincial election. To block the Conservatives in Québec, he suggested voters choose Bloc Québécois candidates, an appalling choice for anyone who cares about keeping the country together.

    Hargrove reminds me of a quote from former Egyptian president Gamel Abdel Nasser: "you never make clear-cut stupid moves, only complicated stupid moves which make us wonder at the possibility that there may be something to them which we are missing." Sigh. What a maroon.
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    Some comments by me on the 2004 US election

    ...which stem from comments made by and columns posted by whoopseedaisy. Enjoy.

    gillian (</a></b></a>whoopseedaisy) wrote,
    @ 2004-10-28 15:02:00
    Current mood: frustrated

    This is important. Please read it. [Ed. note: It's from the New York Times Magazine.]

    And if that one is too long you can read Arianna Huffington's synopsis.

    [Ed. note: While the whole column was in whoopseedaisy's post, I just cut it and stuck the link here.]

    Thanks to </a></b></a>euphoricdaze for the links.


    What I don't understand is why half of the American population supports Bush despite everything he has screwed up and lied about.  Is it really more important to be decisive than informed? Is it really so bad to change your position when the situation changes? Do Americans really think Bush is a messenger of God and if so, do you REALLY want a wannabe messiah in the White House?

    I just don't understand it. And yes, IT IS TOO MY BUSINESS.

    2004-10-28 19:05 (link) Delete
    I just don't understand it.

    Let me share a few observations on people in general which might help explain it.

    Note that these observations (a) are gross generalisations, and (b) are not limited to Americans. However, it appears to me that Americans as a whole often appear to act as if these observations are true in spades for the nation as a whole.

    Disclaimers out of the way, let's go:

    1. Most people don't like to think. It's a bother. Thinking is for eggheads and geeks. (This ties in with the "Protestant work ethic", the belief that physical labour is more "work" than mental labour, and so on.)
    2. The world is a scary place to most people. Things happen to you with (seemingly) no warning. 9/11 was a hell of a surprise to most Americans, even though the same bunch of loonies tried to do the same kind of thing to the same buildings a decade earlier. "Why would they want to do that to us? What did we ever do to piss them off?" This ties right in with 1. It also explains why the book Who Moved My Cheese? is so (a) popular, (b) useful, and (c) scarily accurate.
    3. While I think faith should be an ongoing exercise in searching, learning, doubting, pondering, examining, and re-evaluating, many people find comfort in faith as a refuge from thinking. Having faith in a pre-set list of things is much easier than having to (a) think about those things, and (b) continue to think about those things as your thoughts evolve and as conditions change. Again, this ties right in with 1.
    4. Many people have really low self-esteem. They feel like they're constantly being compared to others. This is especially true of our materialistic/lust-driven society. If you don't have the latest computer or cell phone or home theatre or DVD or fancy car, or if you don't have Shania Twain's tummy or Britney Spears' tits or whatever, or if you don't have Donald Trump's money or Martha Stewart's fame, then you're A Bad Person. And, of course, nobody likes to feel like that for very long. But Faith can help you feel OK about that. It can do it in a good way ("My faith in God helps me understand that all that material crap isn't what I need, and I can focus on the things that really matter.") or in a bad way ("My faith in God helps me understand that all those people on TV are going, I say going straight to hell, so screw them and all their liberal faggot-loving friends."). But if you're intellectually lazy, Faith is a great excuse for not thinking. Yet again, see 1.

    Does that help?

    Yes, I really should write a book. Someday. I already have the title and the cover picked out: The Lady Wears Green, with the Whore of Babylon depicted on the cover as a skinny short-haired brunette (think Cynthia Dale, but in her nasty/slutty persona on Street Legal, wearing a shimmering iridescent dark green dress that, upon closer examination, is made up of what look like American currency printed on silver foil. She wears a tiara of diamonds, with an emerald dollar sign front and centre, with sapphire pound and euro symbols on her left and red yen and yuan symbols on her right. In her right hand, she holds a scepter which is a stick with a swill bucket hanging upside down from it (see here for the logic behind the quote; just Ctrl-F for "swill"). Her left holds a cornucopia of consumer goods — DVD players, processed food, what have you — which is spilling out onto the northern part of a globe which lies at her feet. Her right foot, however, is planted firmly on the southern part of the same globe, and while the mostly-light-skinned people by her left foot are enjoying the goodies, the mostly-dark-skinned people under her right foot are squirming and not looking at all comfortable.

    Anyhow. Ahem. Sorry for the ramble. Hope it helps.

    (Reply to this)

    • Current Music
      "Never Stop", The Brand New Heavies

    Best possible election result?

    Well, the Canadian election results are pretty much in, and here is what's on the screen on CBC right now:

    Total seats: 308 Total needed for majority: 155

    Liberals 135
    Conservatives 89
    Bloc Quebecois 56
    New Democrats 26
    Independent 1
    Not reported yet 1

    IMHO, that's the best possible result out of a range of not-so-great choices.

    You see, the polls before the election were all saying the Liberals and the Conservatives would be a lot closer. The pollsters were right in guessing that the Liberals and Conservatives would share about 220 seats, but everyone thought the split would be between 120-100 and 100-120.

    But last week, a video clip from a documentary scheduled to be relased later this summer by some 'focus on the family'-type group fell into the hands of the Liberals. MP Randy White, of the Conservatives, was quoted as saying essentially that a Conservative government would mercilessly use a clause in our Constitution to overrule Supreme Court decisions re: abortion, same-sex marriages, etc.

    Now, I'm a religious Christian social conservative in a lot of ways. I'm no fan of abortion or same-sex marriage. But I recognise that we live in a pluralistic secular democracy. And if I want to maintain my rights to be a Mormon and believe what I believe and so on, I can't approve of any arbitrary measures to stamp on anyone else's rights.

    I think what happened was that a lot of voters in our most populous province, Ontario, freaked when they saw this video and jumped back to the devil they know, i.e. the Liberals. Everyone thought the Conservatives would get as many as 60 of Ontario's 106 seats; instead, they only have 21. That's where the Conservatives have thrown away their chance to take power.

    Now, if the results were what were expected — e.g. 115 Liberals, 111 Conservatives, then 56 BQ, 24 NDP, 1 Ind — you'd have a weird situation. Neither of the two major parties would be able to manage in the House without help from the BQ. And neither party was in a hurry to want to be seen as working with separatists.

    But now, the Liberals plus the NDP can manage a majority. This has been done before, notably in 1972-74, and 1962-65-68. In fact, that latter set of minority governments — led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Lester Pearson and NDP pioneer Tommy Douglas — brought in national Medicare, one of the key pillars of Canada's social safety net — if not Canadian national identity — which wouldn't have happened without the NDP's prodding.

    So, as a big NDP supporter, I'm thrilled by the current results. I'm sorry the Liberals didn't get spanked harder, but aside from that, I'm content. The NDP will demand moves towards proportional representation and other progressive policies, and the Liberals will gladly go along, having dodged a major bullet.

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    The Canadian election - Part I - Introduction

    I figured it was time to say a few things about the election that's happening up here. A few weeks ago, Prime Minister Paul Martin visited Governor General Adrienne Clarkson and asked her to dissolve the 35th Parliament. The election will be held on Monday June 28th.

    To remind those unfamiliar with our system, our federal elections are really 308 individual elections in the various constituencies across the country. Over 100 of those seats are in Ontario, 75 are in Quebec, the rest among the other provinces, down to 1 seat in each of the three territories.

    Since 1993, the Liberal party has been in power. When the Progressive Conservative party collapsed in the 93 election (crashing from a huge majority down to 2 seats), it was in large part the result of a fracture in Canada's right. The populist Reform party, created in the late 1980's following dissatisfaction with the PC government of Brian Mulroney (who's speaking at President Reagan's funeral, by the way), took many western seats, and allowed Liberals to come up the middle in just about every seat in Ontario by splitting the right-wing vote. Jean Chretien managed three successive majorities, thanks to that vote-splitting.

    But last year, the Reform party (which had morphed into the Canadian Alliance in one failed attempt to "unite the right") finally arranged a merger with the PC's. The new Conservative Party has a leader, Stephen Harper, who is very bright and has very strong ideas. He's pretty short on charisma, but so far, that isn't hurting him; the latest polls put the Liberals neck-and-neck with the Conservatives.

    The Liberals became quite a right-wing party (by Canadian standards) upon election in 1993. Their infamous "Red Book" in the 93 campaign was full of promises to renegotiate the free trade agreement with the US (and Mexico), to repeal the hated 7% federal Goods and Services Tax (GST), to bring in a universal childcare program, and so on and so forth. Instead, led by Paul Martin, then Chretien's finance minister (who wrote most of the Red Book, apparently), the feds slashed spending to kill the ongoing federal deficit. On the one hand, we have now had half-a-dozen or more straight years of surplus in the federal budget; on the other hand, much of that came through massive cuts to moneys transferred to the provinces to pay for health and social programs. (Health is, constitutionally, a provincial responsibility, so the medicare system here is a collection of 13 provincial/territorial health insurance agencies. However, the money used to be 50-50 from the feds.) So many of the provinces ended up with huge deficit problems, and health care across the country has suffered.

    With Paul Martin having succeeded Chretien as Liberal leader and Prime Minister last year, the Liberals were all set to do the same thing; campaign from the left, then govern from the right. However, they've had a number of hiccups. First, Martin and Chretien didn't really like each other much. Martin campaigned within the party for a good two years or more to be in place to replace Chretien and to attempt to force Chretien to leave earlier than he may have wanted to. There are a lot of fractures within the party thanks to that.

    As well, a lovely scandal broke a few months ago. In 1995, Quebec held a referendum on independence which almost passed (the votes were something like 49.5% Yes and 50.5% No). Chretien had not paid enough attention to the separatists in Quebec to that point. After getting a lot of heat for nearly losing Quebec, he over-reacted and started flooding money into Quebec through public works projects (google for "fountain" and "Shawinigan" just for fun) and federal advertising.

    Anyhow, it turned out that a lot of the advertising money that went into Quebec went through a small number of PR firms, who, interestingly, were good Liberal buddies and who had donated to the Liberals. You would find things like the feds placing $100,000 worth of advertising in Quebec, but paying one of these firms $125,000 to do so. The commissions were huge, there seemed to be no reason why the government couldn't have bypassed these parasitic middlemen, and last fall the Auditor General said that of the $250M spent on the program, probably $100M was blown on these apparent kickbacks.

    As well, the Liberals brought in mandatory registration of all firearms in the 1990's. (Before, only handguns and related weapons had to be registered.) Apart from angering many rural and native Canadians, the software and bureaucracy set up to register the guns has sucked about $2 billion into a black hole. (The original plan was for fees to make the registry roughly self-sufficient, with the budgeted net expenditure planned to have been only $2 *million*.)

    Add on a bunch of other money-wasting scandals, and a lot of people are really ticked at the Liberals right now.

    The way the polls are looking, the results of the election could be something like this:

    Liberals 115
    Conservatives 110
    Bloc Quebecois 60
    NDP 18

    Of course, with 308 seats, you need 155 to have a solid majority. In the past, we have had Liberal minorities propped up by the NDP, most notably between 1963-68 (when the NDP prodded the Liberals to introduce Medicare among other things) and 1972-74. But this time around, the NDP couldn't prop the Liberals up to a majority. Neither big party wants to work with the BQ, them being separatists and all. So the big questions now are something like this:

    * The Conservatives have the big momentum now. Is it enough to push them into majority territory? There are still a lot of people worried about their social conservatism, with abortion and same-sex marriage being unexpected flashpoints in the campaign lately.

    * What will the BQ do? The GG traditionally asks the leader of the party with the most seats to attempt to form a government. If that government were to lose a confidence vote, you either have a new election, or the GG could ask the other major party to give it a go. Would the BQ topple both parties just for fun? Neither of the big parties would want to form any kind of coalition with them. Would they try to keep things stable by just working with whichever party they think they can get the most out of? (Aside from their separatism, the BQ tends to the socialist side of things, much like the NDP. So they'd have better luck with the Liberals on social and economic policy. OTOH, the Conservatives lately [thanks to the Reform roots] are big on giving more power to the provinces, which the BQ obviously likes.) The BQ could never form a government themselves, since they only run in Quebec; theoretically, they could get 75 seats total (Quebec's total seat count), but in practice their maximum is in the low 60's.

    * If we do have another election quickly after this one, will people be ticked off and just not vote? How many tries would it take to get someone into a majority position? A lot of young voters don't remember 1979, when the PC's under Joe Clark came 6 seats shy of a majority. There were 6 MP's from a further-right party that doesn't exist anymore federally that worked with them, but they forgot to count one day on a routine budget vote, and had to call another election 9 months after the 79 vote, in which the Liberals under Pierre Trudeau stormed back with a majority. There were three minorities in a row in the 1960's: a PC minority under John Diefenbaker in 1962, a Liberal minority in 1963 under Lester Pearson, and another Liberal Pearson minority in 1965. Those last two, however, were relatively stable thanks to the NDP. Anyhow, could we end up with a succession of "pizza parliaments" with frequent elections that don't decide anything? How would the resulting instability (minority governments tend to spend all their energy just hanging on, not doing new and exciting things) affect Canada in international relations, the economy, the Canadian dollar, foreign investment, you name it? (I might just go out and buy some more US and European stocks with my pension money....)

    This is going to be a pivotal election in Canadian history. We seem to have 'em about once a decade. The last one was when the PC's imploded in 1993. Before that was the PC's triumph under Mulroney in 1984, when the Liberals almost imploded. Before that, it was 1968 and Trudeaumania. Before that, Diefenbaker's huge majority in 1958. The 2004 election will be spoken of in the same terms, no matter what happens.

    I'll post some further stuff later re: the individual parties, and some of the key issues. Just in case y'all are interested. %-)

    The late President Reagan

    I was never a big fan of President Reagan. After the debacle of the 1970's, between Vietnam, Watergate, and stagflation, having someone go around in 1980 proclaiming "Morning in America" sounded like a calculated effort to pander to unreality and ill-founded optimism. I like to joke that I had my last alcohol on the night Reagan got elected, on the grounds that it was enough to put anyone off booze. (In fact, it was just a coincidence that I was investigating the church then, and that that happened to be the night I took one sip of beer and thought "No, I can't do this anymore, I'm becoming an alcoholic and I'm sick of the blackouts and I think I'm going to become a Mormon.")

    And when you look at most of the "highlights" of Reagan's 8 years in office, you see a lot of stuff that makes me cringe. The gap between rich and poor grew tremendously in America in the 1980's. A "free trade" agreement was negotiated with us here in Canada that has indeed benefited us, but with a lot of unfairness and bullying on the side (see "softwood lumber" for one example). The Iran-Contra scandal which, frankly, was a greater threat to the Constitution of the United States than anything Nixon, Johnson, or Kennedy ever did. The conniving way in which the Iran hostages were arranged to be released on Inauguration Day. The astrology stuff with Nancy. Dan Quayle.

    And finally, something related to my thesis that the Whore of Babylon wears a dress of shimmering black and green (i.e. the colours of American currency). I believe the beasts of Revelation are economic in nature. I believe that the "mark of the beast" will be chip implants designed to "secure our credit and access to our bank accounts to prevent identity theft and fraud". (Give it 10 years.) I believe that much of the chaos surrounding the last of the last days will be a direct result of the huge indebtedness of individual Westerners generally and Western governments (and especially, of course, the US) specifically. And I believe that many members of the church of the devil wear $2000 suits and red suspenders, and Gordon Gecko will be their patron saint.

    So the enormous rise in the US federal debt under Reagan, along with the mental atmosphere surrounding his election that led in large part to the "greed decade", strikes me as potentially being his most lasting legacy.

    I am, indeed, grateful that European Communism fell under Reagan's watch (essentially). I am grateful for the things Reagan did to topple what was, indeed, an "evil empire".

    But I worry about the evil of the economic empire that is the US and its economic allies. Did Reagan cut off one head only to have three new ones pop up?

    The man had many solid principles, and he knew what he wanted and how to get it. I admire his resolve, his determination, and his ability to communicate with and touch people. While 93 is a good innings by any stretch, my sympathies are with his family and loved ones.

    But I can't jump up and down and say "He was the greatest." I fear for the fruits of his legacy.

    On freedom of speech/expression in election campaigns, and democracy vs. plutocracy

    A letter to the editor of the Globe and Mail regarding a certain battle underway before the Supreme Court of Canada:

    Mr. Nicholls makes a passionate case for allowing unlimited third-party spending in Canadian election campaigns.

    But in this issue, as with so many others, all we have to do is look south to see what to avoid.

    As much as we like to assume that voters "are to be approached on the basis that they have a certain degree of maturity and intelligence", the fact remains that in the US, the side that spends the most money in a campaign almost invariably wins.

    Mr. Nicholls quoted one great thinker in his column, but I prefer to quote Abraham Lincoln: "government of the people, by the people, for the people," or, in other words, democracy (demos=people). Mr. Nicholls would have us move further in the direction of "government of the dollar, by the dollar, for the dollar," or, in other words, plutocracy (ploutos=wealth). Mulroney's Tories and Chrétien's Liberals (including Prime Minister Martin) have already taken us too far down that road; let us not go any farther, if we really want to preserve democracy and avoid plutocracy in this great nation.

    For background, please see these links:

  • A column from Gerry Nicholls, vice-president of the National Citizen's Coalition, from Monday's Globe. This is what I'm referring to in the letter;
  • A basic news story from Monday's Globe;
  • An editorial from Tuesday's Globe.
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    Letter to the editor re: the growing Liberal government sponsorship scandal

    UPDATE: The National ran this letter at the end of their broadcast on Wed. Feb. 11. Woo-hoo!

    I sent this to CBC's nightly news program The National last night:

    Lincoln spoke eloquently of "government of the people, by the people, for the people." But the sponsorship program scandal proves yet again that the Liberals, like the Tories before them, believe in "government of the dollar, by the dollar, and for the dollar." That's not democracy; I hope Canadian voters realize that later this year in the polling booths.

    If you don't know what I'm referring to, read any of these stories:

  • A story from today's Globe and Mail;
  • A column from today's Globe and Mail;
  • A backgrounder page from CBC with links to relevant stories.

    I swear, if anyone votes Liberal in the upcoming federal election (likely due in May or thereabouts), they're either deluded, ignorant, stupid, blinded by bullshit, or power whores. There's no other explanation.
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