Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The difference between a Liberal and a Conservative

Taken from Alberta Hansard, Monday afternoon, February 27:

Mr. Taylor (Liberal): "...It seems that advanced education has gone from
the penthouse to the doghouse on this government's priority list in the past
year. Not one piece of legislation is scheduled from Advanced Education yet this

Minister Hancock (Conservative): "Legislation is not the only way to create
a priority. In fact, if you don't need more laws, you ought not to make more

And there you have proof of why the Liberals will never form the government in Alberta, they simply do not get it.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Too cold to care

Does anyone else see the humour in how today is the 1st Anniversary of the Kyoto Protocol being in effect, and so-called "environmentalists" all over the world are taking to ice rinks to demonstrate that we need to move on global warming? This morning it is -27 degrees outside in Edmonton, with a windchill of -40. Now, i'm not a scientist or any sort of expert on the subject, but i'm not too concerned with global warming this morning, i'm way too cold.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Legislating against "crossing the floor"

Alot of anger this past week over the actions of David Emerson. I can understand why Liberals would be upset, and I can understand why Conservatives would be upset. There's even an online petition being set up to encourage the Canadian Government to force Mr. Emerson to stand in a byelection. What I most enjoyed however was the day-by-day update by Mr. Garth Turner, an Ontario Conservative MP. He probably received the most publicity for his outspoken comments against Mr. Emerson's move to the Conservative government. It was even hinted that Mr. Turner might leave the Conservative party in protest. All in all, I found his blog to be quite interesting.

What interested me most of all was the growing debate over whether their should be legislation which would force anyone who switches parties to immediately have to run in a by-election in their riding. Mr. Turner is 100% in favour of this, you can read his post right here. There is some serious momentum behind this proposed law, after all, many people of all political stripes are upset with Emerson, and there is no doubt of the lingering emotions that follow the defections of Belinda Stronach, Scott Brison, and Keith Martin. So with support seeming to come from all political parties, is it the right thing to do to introduce legislation effectively barring any MP from crossing the floor? I say no.

By forcing an elected official to stand for an immediate by-election in their riding, what you are effectively doing is convincing them not to switch parties at all. Why would any MP even think of crossing the floor when the repercussions would be facing an electorate when the only issue that will surface in the election is they switched parties. Not to mention how the party that the MP would switch too might not even want them, and therefore would not be willing to support them financially, and with volunteers. It would be very difficult to mount a campaign, let alone win, so why would anyone cross the floor? The answer is they wouldn't, hence, what this legislation does is ensure no one switches parties.

Is it a bad thing to ensure that floor crossing will never occur again in Canada? I say yes. What is the big wrong being committed by someone who crosses the floor to join another party? Other than hurting people's feelings, is there some key argument that can be made to explain how this is a fundamental breach of democracy? Of course there isn't. This anger emanating from the Liberal party is the same as existed from the Conservative party when Ms. Stronach defected to the Liberals, and that is people were hurt that they lost someone they considered a close friend and a member in good standing of their party. Of course it hurts when someone leaves, it hurts even more when they leave to join your bitter rival, its like if a girl-friend or boy-friend dumped you for your best friend, does it hurt? Oh yes, very much. Is it wrong? Maybe in your opinion, but the truth is that no rule was broken.

Let's break down Mr. Turner's arguments:
-"Everybody who makes up the government should be elected"- I agree, and Mr. Emerson is elected, so this point is unnecessary.

- "They should be elected as members of the party that forms the government" - This argument does not make any sense, after all, what about coalition governments? What about when the Liberals used the NDP to keep themselves in power in the last term? The people of Canada did not vote for an NDP government and yet the NDP were in a position to determine government policy. This argument is also very dangerous in that it insinuates that voters should vote for the government party if they want government representation.

-"Anybody who switches parties should go back to the people. To do otherwise is to place politicians above the people when, actually, it’s the other way around" - here is the core of the argument. And this statement is incorrect. You cannot pick and choose your democracy. You simply cannot say, "I like this in a democracy, but I don't like that, so lets change that." The rules of our electoral system may not be perfect, but they are better than those that anyone else has suggested to date. All MP's eventually face the people, its called an "election." To do so for the reasoning that someone disgrees with you and no longer wishes to sit in the same party is irresponsible. The second line is an extremely clever ploy to appeal to your emotion. Who doesn't read that and say "damn right, the people hold the power." Of course we hold the power, that is what democracy is all about. But remember this, we elect people to speak for us, by doing so, we give them the ability to speak for us in the best way that they know. If they believe that what they are doing is right, then I say, let them do it.

At the end of the day, when the heartbreak is over, and the hurt feelings have been mended, Mr. Emerson will again have to face the voters, it will be interesting to see what the people of Vanouver-Kingsway decide to do. I am sure many people will still be upset, which is their right, and perhaps many people will change their minds and see that he may have made the right decision after all. Maybe Mr. Emerson will be able to convince the electorate that he deserves another chance to serve them. If that happens, then not only will he need the Conservative voters, but he will also likely need many of his former Liberal voters as well. And if the people are allowed to change their support from Liberal to Conservative, MP's should be as well.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Spirit of Alberta will Prevail -- By Doug Griffiths

This is an article that Doug Griffiths wrote for the Edmonton Journal and it ran on December 26. I hope you like it.

Spirit of Alberta will Prevail

This year marked the 100th anniversary of the Province of Alberta. We are no longer a young province that can claim inexperience or naivete for mistakes made. We have come out of our teen years and into adulthood strong, wise and wealthy because of character-building choices made early on. We must not lose sight of that as we continue to grow and evolve as a mature province that has finally "come into its own."

The first innovative prospect I see for our province 20 years from now is an Alberta where geographical location is irrelevant to our way of life. It will not matter in the future whether you are from Peace River, Airdrie, Edmonton, Provost, Pincher Creek or Rainbow Lake because infrastructure like the SuperNet and private Internet service providers will ensure instant and unhindered communication to the world. It won't matter if you are practising law or specialized medicine, teaching a foreign language or are a business owner, you will be able to choose the type of life you want, where you want while still providing services to anyone in the province.

Rural Alberta is too valuable a resource not to develop and nurture it like our other important resources. It offers a quality of life like no other in the world with little crime, immediate access to our beautiful environment, lower costs of living and excellent business opportunities. The intellectual infrastructure that we have built today will be extremely important in the development of the rural Alberta of tomorrow as quality health care and education, and new business opportunities continue to develop. It is the key to our future -- fully utilizing every part of Alberta for all Albertans.

I see a province where learning simply does not end when the classroom lights turn off. Our province is diverse and vibrant and has never shied away from seeking new knowledge. Twenty years from now the Campus Alberta approach will have achieved its full potential as any Albertan, anywhere in the province will be able to access any program from any institution anywhere in the province. There will come a time when you enter a learning centre in Sedgewick, Alberta, to learn from a professor in England, or an Edmontonian can learn from a paleontologist at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, or a teacher of Spanish can live in Whitecourt but reach and teach students from around the province.

The province of 2026 will be a leader in innovation in so many fields. Much like education, Alberta will also become a leader in delivering health care. Often it is said that with the technology that is developing it will be possible for a rural Albertan in a remote location to reach medical specialists in the city, perhaps all at once, and be remotely diagnosed and treated more quickly and effectively. I believe however, we will come to understand that the technology that is developing works both ways. We will see medical professionals choose where they want to live based on the quality of life they desire and that they will use the technology to provide services to all Albertans. We may see specialists living in rural Alberta and offering services remotely to urbanites.

Those innovations will lead to development of the entire province, ensuring that all Albertans enjoy the Alberta Advantage, but those innovations will lead to new innovations that are even more profound. Albertans will lead the world in attracting a capacity of thinkers, technicians, developers, inventors, entrepreneurs and investors because of the mindset of innovation that has developed and will continue to develop here. In fact, in 20 years Alberta will be known for its innovation in the same way that Wall Street is known for finance, because we will be epitomize the word in thought and deed.

We can see examples of the importance of research and development in our own story today that will provide us with clues for our future tomorrow. Alberta has been a leader in researching new and innovative ways of harnessing our energy potential. We see new energy sources like wind turbines in the south of the province that are providing us with new sources of energy that were not realistically available 30 years ago. Our past innovations are powering the homes of many Albertans today. This will only expand into the future as instruments like the Alberta Energy Research Institute and the Alberta Ingenuity Fund provide us with opportunities to limit our dependence on traditional non-renewable energy sources. Just as we are leaders in supplying energy to the world, in the future we will be the leaders in supplying clean energy and renewable energy technology to the world.

I want a province where the water is clean, the air is fresh and the soil is rich with nutrients and growth. I think that our province will move away from the attitude of entitlement to our lands and be more mindful that we are the caretakers of our natural inheritance. I believe we in this province will finally resolve for the world the great conflict that typically sees economic growth and environmental stability, business and environment, or blue conservatism and green environmentalism as mutually exclusive. We will resolve it in such a way that both business and the environment prosper.

I know we will see more of Alberta's raw materials being kept here to make goods and services. Albertans will continue to develop the can do attitude that is our strength, and we will find ways to add value to our own resources, idea, and ingenuity that will make us leaders around the globe. This will happen because of investments in education and technology, which will lead to innovation, which, in turn, will change the world, and Alberta will be the instigator for that change.

We have to remember that Albertans have never been afraid to expect the very best of themselves and of each other. Every Albertan must realize that this province is going to advance quickly because of this high expectation. To whom much is given, much is expected and Albertans have never been afraid to face the future with optimism and courage. Undoubtedly, over the next twenty years, unforeseen events and unintended consequences will shape our character and our direction. But through it all, we should remember the strength, wisdom and spirit that have brought us through all our problems will continually guide us over the next 20 years. And because of this, I think Alberta will be unmatched in its success.

Doug Griffiths is MLA for Battle River-Wainwright and chairman of Alberta's rural development strategy task force

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Put me down for $1 on "I Don't Care"!

I am puzzled that this or any other story pertaining to this is even a news story. I could see if they were betting on hockey like Pete Rose was betting on Baseball, than it may be a news story. But they weren't, and unless they discover they were I could personally care less.

You wanna bet? here's a bet... I bet Gretzky brings home the gold with Team Canada... and I'd feel even more confident if he threw down a couple million of his own on Team Canada bringing home the gold. Janet can place the bet.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Thoughts on the new Federal Cabinet

Wow, some Liberals sure are upset with this new Cabinet. I guess that must mean that Harper did a pretty good job in his picks.

Here's the way I see it:

  • The only Cabinet Ministet open to criticism right now is Hon. David Emerson, not because he crossed the floor, but because he was a Minister before. He has a record as a Minister and so judgements can be made. The whole debate on "defecting" to another party are greatly exaggerated by opposition parties. Sure people voted for him as a Liberal, however I believe many of those votes came because they voted for their MP who was a Minister. Mr. Emerson will do more good for Vancouver, for BC, and for the 2010 Olympics in his current position than he would have as an opposition member. I predict in a future election that he does what Scott Brison and Belinda Stronach have done, he wins again. The difference between Mr. Emerson's defection and Ms. Stronach is that the Liberals needed Ms. Stronach in order to win a crucial vote and stay in power, in the case of Mr. Emerson, his 1 vote isn't crucial to the success of the CPC, but his portfolio is very important to the province of BC, he did it for his constituents, and he made the right decision.
  • The Liberals are very quick to try to create controversy, they mention all the Conservative MP's who were left out; ie. Diane Ablonczy and Jason Kenney, among others. What I find interesting is how they mention only Alberta MP's who were left out. The fact is everyone knew that Harper couldn't appoint more Alberta Ministers then he already did, and so tough choices had to be made.
  • Harper's Alberta Ministers were brilliant choices. Rona Ambrose as Environment Minister is excellent. The rest of Canada will soon learn what the polls have told us for years, that Albertans care more about the environment than most people give us credit for.

In summary, a smaller Cabinet, a more efficient government. Canadians have seen that the Conservatives are willing to do what is right for the country as a whole as opposed to what is right for themselves, unlike the Liberal party.

Lets reserve judgement on the Cabinet until we have actual issues to judge them on. For now however, the future looks bright for Conservatives in Canada, and for the country as a whole.

I'd be afraid too if I was a Liberal. They don't have a leader, no one seems to want to be their leader, and they will soon find themselves facing a popular government on track to be a majority in the next election.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Speaking of Gun Control.....

An 11 year old boy was suspended twice for bringing a loaded hand-gun to school in the southern United States.

Listen to what his mother had to say about it. "I can't lock up his guns, they belong to him, and he has a right to use them whenever he wants to use them."

What's that old saying? You need a license to drive a car, but anyone can have children? This sort of thing scares me, and don't think of this as a "USA" thing either, I would bet there are people all over the world, including Canada, who would agree with this.