Tag Archives: Harper

Election Day in Canada – May 2, 2011


Stephen Harper, Canadian politician

Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Well a historic election has just taken place in Canada. The Bloc was decimated in Quebec, and almost wiped off the map. Newfoundland told Conservatives what to do with themselves. The Greater Toronto Area is painted blue and Toronto has gone NDP Orange. Also, it looks like we have our very first Green member of Parliament. So what went wrong for the Liberals? They took their support for granted. Canadians were looking for change and they did not see it in the Liberals, in Ontario. Yes, there was a lot of vote splitting, however lets be honest. Ontario has been red for a long time. This is a breakthrough for the Conservatives in Ontario. The question is, can they live up to that support?

The G.T.A is an important battleground and they better take note. As for the NDP, they better not take their Quebec support for granted. The Bloc imploded, Liberals were yesterdays news and they did not like the Conservatives. So we are left with the NDP. Jack the time to start working is now. As for the Liberals, there is a lot of soul searching.

However I will offer this advice to all parties. (1) Liberals, you need to go back to your roots. Your party is not dead. I’d rather say that it is in hibernation and healing. Canadian’s have not forgotten you, rather the opposite happened. You forgot them. Remember who you are and what you stand for. Otherwise, what is the point of the Liberal Party. It is time for you to reconnect. (2) NDP you have been given the chance to prove your worth, so do not disappoint. From the people I have spoken to many parked their vote with the NDP. Also, in Ontario, people simply love and trust Jack Layton.  It will be important, despite a majority Conservative government, that the NDP choose their battles well and fight for those who voted for them. Less we forget, as often Canadians do! (3) Conservatives fought a simple and straight-forward campaign. You delivered your message and Canadians listened. We are concerned about the economy and trust in that has been given to you. However, do not take that trust for granted. A lot of Canadians still do not trust the Conservative Party and a lot of seats were gained from vote splitting. Be careful how you govern. Canadians are watching. Do not slip to the right with arrogance. As Harper said, keep a steady ship. If you can prove your worth maybe your quality will be remembered. (4) Finally, to Elizabeth May and the Green Party. You have made Canadian history! Despite the media ignoring you, thank you for running and not giving up. The Green Party should be a wake up call to ALL parties. People voted for Elizabeth May and the Greens across Canada. Their ideas and policies should not be ignored! Summed up in Elizabeth May’s own words “amateurs built the ark and professionals built the Titanic”. People are wary in Canada and if the status-quo parties cannot deliver, Canadians may decide someone else can.

Congrats to Prime Minister Harper, who has finally gotten a majority government for the Conservative Party. We will all watch, wait and see what policies are implemented and what happens in the next Parliament. See you in 2015!

By Mannee Jay

Toronto Mayoral candidate Rossi plans on stopping all TTC Light-Rail (Transit City) Expansion


TTC LRT

New Light-Rail for Toronto

Have we learned nothing from history and the reasons why there is a lack of good public transit options in the city of Toronto? What about jobs for the people of Thunder Bay? Again, with another knee-jerk reaction we may loose all we wanted in the city of Toronto and public transit by electing Rossi. Remember, if this is the attitude we took in the past, we would never have had the full Bloor-Danforth line, Spadina extension or top-end of the Yonge line (even our network of Streetcars that make the city). In other words, if you think transportation is bad now, what do you think it would be like in the future?

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Rocco RossiToronto mayoral candidate pledges to make waves at city hall by banning bike lanes on major arteries and possibly quashing light-rail plan.

When Rocco Rossi vowed to banish bike lanes from major streets, the suit-and-tie crowd at the Empire Club event erupted into its most enthusiastic applause yet for the first real speech of the 2010 mayor’s race.

The line demonstrated that Mr. Rossi knows whom he’s after: right-leaning suburban voters fed up with David Miller’s city hall.

Mr. Rossi is promising to halt all but one of the city’s planned light-rail lines until he can review the project’s finances; to replace the Toronto Transit Commission’s board of councillors with private-sector experts; to create a region-wide economic development corporation; to sell assets, including Toronto Hydro; and to outsource city work in a bid to decrease the power of unions.

“Make no mistake, last summer’s city workers strike showed just how weak the city has become in the face of its major unions and how utterly without a plan we are to correct this imbalance,” the former Liberal fundraiser and businessman told a packed room at the Royal York hotel. “As mayor I will bring us back into balance by pursuing outsourcing and managed competition for certain city services.”

Mr. Rossi’s speech was unusual for making concrete commitments early in the marathon campaign, leaving his competitors 10 months to savage his proposals. They didn’t waste time.

“I’m glad to see he’s throwing out 1,000 ideas and seeing what sticks,” scoffed Joe Pantalone, the deputy mayor who is running to replace his boss. “But this is not a carnival we’re talking about here. This is a city that’s complicated.”

Mr. Rossi drew the most fire for suggesting he might halt the Transit City plan, even temporarily.

In his speech, Mr. Rossi lamented the delays and cost overruns that plagued the construction of a streetcar right-of-way on St. Clair West, but it wasn’t until afterward that he expressed his concerns about Toronto’s plan to lay 120 kilometres of light rail on dedicated lanes.

“I think there’s some real problems that have been shown by what’s happened at St. Clair and I think we’d be foolish not to have a deep and long look at that,” he told reporters.

Asked whether that constituted a moratorium, he replied: “On anything that we can stop right now, yes.” Only one Transit City line, Sheppard East, has broken ground so far.

“Mr. Rossi’s suggestion that he would freeze all new transit projects until he has reviewed the city budget would not only put countless constructions jobs at risk, it reflects a troubling lack of understanding of the city’s finances,” a senior member of George Smitherman’s campaign said. “These projects are funded almost entirely by the province, sometimes with federal help.” Mr. Smitherman, the former deputy premier, is the race’s early front-runner.

The centre-right voters Mr. Rossi is hoping to attract likely would have voted for former Ontario Progressive Conservative leader John Tory.

But Mr. Rossi will have to run a campaign vastly different from Mr. Smitherman’s if he hopes to make the leap from virtual unknown to mayor. For now, he’s casting his lack of elected experience as an advantage.

“It’s been over a hundred years since we elected a mayor who wasn’t already in elected politics,” he told the crowd. “Maybe, just maybe, that’s part of the problem.”

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Flip Flop? – PM changes his tone on running deficits


Harper and our money - we have none

Harper and our money - we have none

We warned you during the election that the numbers did not make sense. As with others in the past who promised no deficits it seems that Harper has retracted on what he said during the election. Flip-flop? We focused so much on the Green Shift that other issues were put to the side. Now we are stuck with this situation. Are Canadians prepared for deep cuts to funding? Show me the money!

With reports from Joe Friesen in Toronto and Ian Bailey in Vancouver

QUEBEC, TORONTO, OTTAWA — Stephen Harper refused yesterday to rule out the possibility of a deficit next year despite his promise during the election campaign that he would not allow one if re-elected.

While the Prime Minister said he intends to maintain a balanced budget this year, he did not say the same for 2009-10.

“I don’t think we’re in a position yet to know all the information in that regard,” Mr. Harper said in Quebec City, where Canada is hosting a summit of French-speaking governments. “It would be premature to speculate on that. I will just say that the Government of Canada will maintain responsible fiscal policies and the Government of Canada will ensure that whatever we do is in the long-run interests of the Canadian economy.”

The government will unveil an updated economic statement this fall. Should revenues be affected by economic turmoil after this year, the Tories would have to choose whether to run a deficit, cut spending or find other revenue sources such as increasing taxes.

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Tories face $10B deficit, report suggests


Canada risks running a $10 billion deficit in the 2009-2010 fiscal year if the re-elected Conservative government fails to stitch a “looming fiscal hole” that is already raising the spectre of higher taxes and possible spending cuts, a report suggests. That stark prediction was made yesterday by Merrill Lynch economist David Wolf.

That stark prediction was made yesterday by Merrill Lynch economist David Wolf, hours before Prime Minister Stephen Harper unveiled a six-point economic plan and vowed to keep government spending “focused and under control.”

Merrill Lynch’s report suggests Ottawa may succeed in eking out a small surplus this year, but it is on track to recording its first deficit since the 1990s – a political anathema for Canadians.

Wolf is known for his pessimistic views. His analysis in this case assumes no change in fiscal policy. Nonetheless, some of his contemporaries agree the growing likelihood of a deficit will force the Harper government to make some difficult spending decisions if it intends to live up to its no-deficit pledge.

At least one other economist is taking Wolf’s argument to the next level. Don Drummond, TD Bank’s chief economist, said a multi-billion dollar deficit is not only possible, it is unlikely to be “a one-year wonder.”

For his part, Wolf argues that Canada’s real economy is stagnating amid the global financial crisis. Sharp declines in commodity prices will weigh heavily on exports, while corporate profits are set to fade.

“This fiscal year still looks on track for a small surplus given the better results in the first half of the year, but next year looks awful – we estimate that nominal GDP (gross domestic product), the best proxy for the tax base, will contract outright in 2009 for the first time since 1933,” he wrote. “The effects on government revenues are likely to be profound.”

The last federal budget projected a $2.3 billion surplus for 2008-2009. When asked about that estimate last week, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty told reporters: “No, actually we’re on track – a little bit ahead of the track – on the surplus.”

Still, some private-sector economists say posting a surplus this year will be tricky. The idea of a deficit, however, is politically taboo. The last time Canada recorded one was in the mid-1990s. At the time, legislators worked tirelessly to slay it and subsequent governments vowed to never to repeat it.

“Given the circumstances that we’re in, a budget deficit is more of a political issue than an economic issue,” said Doug Porter, deputy chief economist at BMO Capital Markets.

“If it is caused by the fact that the global economy is struggling mightily (rather than by overspending), then a deficit is something we probably have to accept.”

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Harper likely to proceed with full platform


STEVEN CHASE
October 15, 2008

CALGARY — On the surface, another minority government mandate would appear to frustrate Conservative Leader Stephen Harper’s plans to enact all of his $8.67-billion in campaign platform promises. But with Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion’s future in question after his party’s loss, Mr. Harper could have free rein if the Liberals abstain on Commons votes. The Tory Leader has already said he would interpret a win as a mandate to proceed with his full platform.

The Tories’ tough-on-crime plans will be the most controversial in the Commons.

Measures likely to proceed more easily Allocating another $400-million for key manufacturing sectors in Ontario and Quebec: $200-million each for the Automotive Innovation Fund and the Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative.

Slashing tariffs on imported machinery and equipment by $345-million a year.

Giving self-employed Canadians access to employment insurance parental-leave benefits.

Extending country-of-origin labeling to all consumer products instead of just food.

Sweetening the $100-a-month universal childcare benefit to index it to inflation and make it tax free for single parents who are the sole supporters of their children.

Allocating $500-million over four years for farms and farm towns.

Reaffirming the ban on bulk exports of water.

A question mark hangs over the Tory crime agenda Eliminating long guns from the firearms registry.

Eliminating the Criminal Code’s “faint hope” clause, which allows criminals to seek early release.

Allowing Canadian victims to sue the sponsors of terrorism, including states designated as sponsors of terrorism.

Amending the Criminal Code to make pregnancy “an aggravating factor in sentencing if a woman is assaulted or killed,” but the Tories would not initiate or support legislation to regulate abortion.

Making registration and DNA sampling mandatory for sex offenders and dangerous offenders.

The Senate

Mr. Harper wants to limit terms to eight years and establish a new selection process, but Liberal senators could frustrate him until 2010 when retirements shrink their ranks.

Limiting Ottawa’s scope

The Tories will introduce measures to constrain Ottawa’s ability to intrude on provincial powers.

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The bigger story: Justin Trudeau wins Montreal riding. Will he become the next leader of the Liberals


Justin Trudeau

Justin Trudeau

Globe and Mail Update

MONTREAL — Justin Trudeau, heir to one of the most famous names in Canadian politics, will succeed his father to Ottawa after securing a victory in the Montreal riding of Papineau last night.

Mr. Trudeau’s campaign headquarters erupted in chants of “Jus-tin, Jus-tin, Jus-tin” as his victory was announced.

Greeted by cheers from his supporters, Mr. Trudeau promised to fight for social justice and against Tory policies, especially on the environment.

“Canada once again chose to tell Stephen Harper, ‘We just don’t trust you with a majority’,” Mr. Trudeau, flanked by his wife, Sophie Grégoire, said in the theatrical voice that Canadians came to know when he delivered the eulogy at his father’s

He acknowledged that carrying the Trudeau name wasn’t always easy during the campaign. Speaking to reporters, he said he weathered the personal attacks against him by recognizing he was being targeted “because of my name, not because of me.”

He said that while his father’s presence was always with him, he is now is the father of an 11-month-old himself.

“I’m a father now, not a son,” he said.

Margaret Trudeau, his mother, said she hoped politics would be kind to her son, “but I have no illusions.”

“I’m very proud of Justin. This is what Justin wanted and as a mother I wanted him to fulfill his dreams,” she said in an interview.

Mr. Trudeau, burdened by an image as a lightweight, campaigned hard after a tough nomination battle in the Montreal riding of Papineau. Now the 36-year-old political neophyte will head to Parliament, 43 years after his father, Pierre Trudeau, was first elected as an MP. Read More


The bigger story: Canadian Election is the lowest in history at only 59 percent


CLOSE TO 10 MILLION CANADIANS DID NOT BOTHER TO VOTE!!!

OTTAWA — Early figures indicate Canadians avoided the ballot box more than ever before on election day.

Just 58 per cent of eligible voters visited the polls — from a high of 69 per cent in Prince Edward Island to 48 per cent in Newfoundland, according to preliminary numbers.

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Harper wins again, gaining 16 seats and some in the precious 905 region around Toronto


By ROB GILLIES Associated Press Writer © 2008 The Associated Press

Oct. 15, 2008, 4:05AM

Harper wins big in the election

Harper wins big in the election

OTTAWA — Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Wednesday he will reach out to all parties during the global financial meltdown after his Conservative Party won in national elections but fell short of a parliamentary majority.

Harper had called Tuesday’s elections early in hopes of getting his party a majority, and in doing so he became the first major world leader to face voters since the financial crisis.

Instead, the Conservatives will once again be forced to rely on opposition support to pass budgets and legislation — as it has had to since a 2006 election victory.

Harper sought to put a good face on the results Wednesday, pointing to an increased number of seats and pledging cooperation.

“We have shown that minority government can work and at this time of global economic instability we owe it to Canadians to demonstrate this once again,” Harper said. “We hold out a hand to all members of all parties asking them to join together to protect the economy and weather this world financial crisis.”

With nearly all the returns in, Canada’s election agency reported on its Web site that the Conservatives had won or was leading in races for 143 of Parliament’s 308 seats, an improvement over the 127 seats the party had in the previous Parliament.

The Conservative Party needed to win 155 seats to govern on its own.

The Liberal Party, long Canada’s top party, suffered a severe drubbing, dropping to 76 seats from 95 in the previous Parliament, according to the election agency. Bloc Quebecois won 50 seats, the New Democrats 37 and independent candidates 2.

Liberal Party leader Stephane Dion, in his concession to Harper, offered his “full cooperation in these difficult economic times.”

The party winning the most seats generally forms the government, with its leader becoming prime minister. The opposition parties could unite and topple Harper if they won enough seats for a majority, but analysts said that was unlikely because the parties have no tradition of forming such coalitions.

The opposition Liberals have typically been the party in power, forming the government for most of Canada’s 141 years. But the left-of-center vote was divided among four parties, giving an edge to the Conservatives.

Dion’s campaign was hindered by his unpopular plan to tax all fossil fuels except gasoline and by perceptions he is a weak leader. A former professor from French-speaking Quebec, Dion also suffered in other regions because he frequently mangles English grammar and his accent makes him hard to understand.

Dion said Canadians have asked him to be their official opposition leader, a signal that he’s not ready to step down at this point.

If Dion was ousted as leader after a loss, he would be just the second Liberal leader to fail to become Canada’s prime minister. The only other was Edward Blake, who led the party to defeat in the 1882 and 1887 elections.

Many Canadians complained Harper was slow to react as the global credit crisis worsened. He hurt himself by saying during a debate that Canadians were not concerned about jobs or mortgages. A few days later, he said stocks were cheap — just before Canada’s main stock exchange had its worst week in almost 70 years.

Harper later said he knows Canadians are worried and stressed that Canada’s economic and fiscal performance contrasts to the more dire situation in the United States.

Voter turnout Tuesday about 59 percent, the lowest in Canadian history. It was unclear how much stringent new proof-of-identity requirements affected the turnout.

New Voter Identification rules at the Polls


When you vote, you MUST prove your identity and address. You have three options:

Option 1

Provide one original piece of identification issued by a government or government agency containing your photo, name and address.

Examples

  • Driver’s Licence
  • Health Card
    • This applies only to Ontario
    • Note: Not all electors in Ontario will have cards with photo, name and address
  • Provincial/Territorial Identification Card (non-drivers) for the provinces/territories of
    • Newfoundland and Labrador
    • Prince Edward Island
    • Nova Scotia
    • New Brunswick
    • Alberta
    • British Columbia
    • Northwest Territories

Note: The above pieces of identification are examples only.

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Option 2

Provide two original pieces of identification authorized by the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada. Both pieces must contain your name, and one must also contain your address. Here is the list:

Identity Cards

  • Health Card
  • Social Insurance Number Card
  • Birth Certificate
  • Driver’s Licence
  • Canadian Passport
  • Certificate of Indian Status
  • Certificate of Canadian Citizenship or Citizenship Card
  • Credit/Debit Card with elector name
  • Canadian Forces Identity Card
  • Veterans Affairs Canada Health Card
  • Employee Card issued by employer
  • Old Age Security Identification Card
  • Public Transportation Card
  • Student ID Card
  • Library Card
  • Liquor Identification Card
  • Canadian Blood Services/Héma-Québec Card
  • Hospital Card
  • Fishing Licence
  • Wildlife Identification Card
  • Hunting Licence
  • Firearm Acquisition Card/Firearm Possession Card
  • Outdoors Card and Licences
  • Provincial/Territorial Identification Card
  • Local Community Service Centre Card (CLSC)

Original documents (containing name and address)

  • Credit Card Statement
  • Bank Statement
  • Utility Bill (residential telephone, cable TV, public utilities commission, hydro, gas or water)
  • Attestation of Residence issued by the responsible authority of an Indian band or reserve
  • Local Property Tax Assessment
  • School, College or University Report Card or Transcript
  • Residential Lease, Residential Mortgage Statement or Agreement
  • Canada Child Tax Benefit Statement
  • Income Tax Assessment Notice
  • Insurance Policy
  • Government Cheque or Government Cheque Stub with elector name
  • Statement of Employment Insurance Benefits Paid (T4E)
  • Canada Pension Plan Statement of Contributions/Quebec Pension Plan Statement of Participation
  • Statement of Old Age Security (T4A) or Statement of Canada Pension Plan Benefits (T4AP)
  • Statement of Benefits from provincial workplace safety or insurance board
  • Statement of Direct Deposit for provincial works or provincial disability support program
  • Vehicle Ownership
  • Vehicle Insurance
  • Attestation of Residence issued by the responsible authorities (shelters, soup kitchens, student/senior residences, long-term care facilities)
  • Letter from public curator

Note: A document bearing an address may be used as proof of the elector’s address if this address was written by the issuer of the document and is the same as or consistent with the address on the list of electors. No document other than those included on this list may be accepted to establish the name and address of an elector.

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Option 3

You can be vouched for by an elector whose name appears on the list of electors in the same polling division and who has an acceptable piece or pieces of identification. Both will be required to make a sworn statement. An elector cannot vouch for more than one person, and the person who has been vouched for cannot vouch for another elector.

http://www.elections.ca/content.asp?section=ele&dir=40ge&document=index&lang=e&textonly=false

Carbon tax: a conservative concept, not the Liberals


By: Werner Patels

Jonathan Kay raises interesting points about the carbon tax and posits that it’s actually quite a “conservative” tax. I’d like to refer readers to Kay’s article, in which he makes a number of very valid observations – apart from the fact that Stéphane Dion should be sacked, he also reminds people that conservatism is not the mean-spirited ideology that the less-than-intellectual always make it out to be:

Many people casually associate the word “conservative” with unfettered capitalism and mindless consumerism. That is a fallacy. A true conservative in the Edmund Burke mold is suspicious of any revolutionary creed that challenges the established qualities of a humane society, especially a creed — such as unbridled materialism — that corrodes family life and human spirituality.

Absolutely true. This is why a real conservative won’t be the typical frenetic Bible-thumper, because he or she has realized that a fundamentalist Christian is often no better or worse than a fundamentalist Islamist, for example.

I fully agree that Dion deserves to be sacked — not only over his Green Shift, but quite generally. He’s not cut out for politics and should be sent back to his Ivory Tower at university where he belongs (or some Marxist summer camp in Paris) – back to your real roots, Monsieur Dion!

Having said that, it was a high-profile conservative who made a very strong case for shifting taxation away from income and on to consumption: David Frum, in his excellent book Comeback: Conservatism That Can Win Again.

So, a carbon tax is actually quite a good concept in theory, one that fits right in with the green-blue environmental conservatism championed by none other than one of Canada’s greatest politicians ever, if not the greatest, Preston Manning.

Manning formed the Reform Party in 1987. His chief policy adviser was Stephen Harper, a student at the University of Calgary and now the Prime Minister of Canada. Harper designed the Reform Party’s 1988 campaign platform. The Reform Party was a combination of fiscal conservatism and populism, though aspects of social-conservatism grew, branding the party as “very right-wing.”

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John McCallum: Tory emissions plan is all pain, no gain


With all the apocalyptic warnings coming from Conservative MPs about the Liberal Green Shift plan, it is eerie how silent they have been about their own plan — especially the part of their plan that will raise energy prices for Canadians.

The Conservative government’s greenhouse gas reduction strategy is included in their document, Turning the Corner. When it comes to energy prices here’s what Turning the Corner has to say: “Our modelling suggests that Canadians can expect to bear real costs under the Regulatory Framework. For the majority of individual Canadians … these costs will be most evident in the form of higher energy prices, particularly with respect to electricity and natural gas.”

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Jobless rate at record 107,000 – Spinning the numbers


Statistics Canada has surprised economists and tossed a wild card into the federal election campaign, reporting that the Canadian economy generated a record 107,000 new jobs in September. However, almost all of the new jobs – 97,000 – were part-time. Listening to 680 News, you would think that all is fine. YOU DO THE MATH! Will be interesting to see how the politicians spin this one.

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