web posted September 1997
Opposition to socialists forms in Saskatchewan
Early August saw a new political party form in Saskatchewan. Formed of four Liberal MLAs and four Progressive Conservative MLAs, the new Saskatchewan Party instantly became the second largest party in the Legislature.
The party hopes to form a strong, clear alternative to the governing New Democrats who captured less than half the popular vote in the last Saskatchewan election.
The new party grew out of aborted talks for the Tories and Liberals to merge - and in the face of news that the Reform party will consider a provincial party in Saskatchewan. The new party is expected to have a Reform-like platform. It has no official ties to Reform yet, but supporters include Reform members.
The move was hardly surprising since the Liberal Party was basically disintegrating leaving the New Democrats only forming government because the opposition vote was split.
And even less surprising is the party's platform. It is expected that platform of the party will include a push for smaller government, reduced taxation, balanced budgets, high-quality health care and a strong social safety net. How exactly smaller government, less taxation, high quality health care and a strong social safety net can be reconciled together is a question yet to be answered, but it does bare the marks of two parties with largely incompatible visions joining together.
Ken Krawetz will lead the party while Dan D'Autremont will serve as deputy leader. A leadership convention will be held next year. Krawetz said he would not be a candidate. Krawetz also stated that party members will begin travelling the province to get input from voters before a proposed fall policy convention.
Alexa McDonough, leader of the federal NDP, not surprisingly called the formation of the Saskatchewan Party an "act of desperation."
Even more interesting is the fact that the Reform Party is attempting to make inroads into Saskatchewan with its first provincial wing. Many believe that the new party could be this provincial Reform wing. But again, one must ask if the Reform Party and these Progressive Conservatives and Liberals could sit together as a cohesive unit.
Well if you thought the Liberals were sitting through this all weepy eyed, you'd be wrong. Saskatchewan's Liberal leader wrote to 16 000 party supporters in an attempt to keep them from shifting allegiances to what he called an alliance of two-faced Liberals, corrupt Tories, and sinister Reformers that make up a new provincial party.
The letter, signed by Jim Melenchuk, federal cabinet minister Ralph Goodale, and Liberal Party president Anita Bergman, marked the beginning of a counter-offensive aimed at preventing the new Saskatchewan party from stealing any more Liberal MLAs, key organizers and grassroots supporters.
Said the letter, "The involvement of the Reform party signals a right-wing agenda that includes two-tiered health care, benefits for the wealthy and "questionable attitudes toward minorities. (Reformers) feed off the dark underside of human nature, practicing the politics of greed, fear and division."
Is Reform moving into Saskatchewan?
The notion of a provincial Reform Party was approved just the weekend before the announced Tory-Liberal Party.
Party Leader Preston Manning said Saskatchewan - birthplace of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, forerunner of the federal New Democratic Party - might be the best site to found Reform's first provincial wing.
"It's got a history on the one hand of supporting new movements, but on the other hand it's had a history of doing it in a very stable, constructive way, not a reactionary, overly exuberant way as Alberta or B.C. might do sometimes."
So why does Reform want to begin in Saskatchewan?
Just days before the merger, the deputy leader of the province's Tories, Dan D'Autremont stated he would welcome discussions to merge his party with Reform. Then days later, D'Autremont left the Tories to join the new party.
Manning has always been opposed of moving into provincial politics so that he could concentrate the party's resources on building a federal party, but since Reform wasn't able to move past the Western provinces in the recent federal election it he probably feels its the right time.
The question remains what this new Saskatchewan Party will end up becoming -- and if there is room for Reform afterwards.
Ontario government spurns notion of privatizing Workers' Compensation
If you already read ESR's piece on privatizing pensions you would think that a conservative government which has cut spending and taxes and is in our good graces, would run to privatize a troubled system like the Workers' Compensation Board, right?
The Progressive Group for Independent Business (see item below this one) is urging Ontario's government to allow private business to insure workers. The Ontario government, in the midst of a controversial campaign to get the wasteful WCB back into the black, is rejecting the call.
"There is an immediate crisis at the board," said Bob Wood, a Tory backbencher who headed a committee that reviewed operations at government agencies including the WCB. "We've got to get the thing on sound financial footing. Once we do, we can look at ideas for better service."
Under the current rules, many Ontario employers already seek insurance against worker injuries from private firms.
Not only does the WCB do a bad job covering the employees its responsible for now (although if you listen to the unionists it does a smashing job), it only covers 70 per cent of workers in Ontario, compared with almost 98 per cent in British Columbia, 77 per cent in Alberta and 92 per cent in Newfoundland. The majority of companies are required to pay into the system, others, such as law firms and doctors' offices, are not. Still others, including legal aid offices and funeral parlors, must seek permission to join the program.
Some groups, such as the Toronto-based Injured Workers' Union, are pushing for a "universal" system that would require every employer, regardless of the type of industry they represent, to cover their employees under WCB. "We recommend more automatic coverage for everyone," says spokesman Phil Biggin. "It's better for the employees and the studies show a private system isn't cheaper for employers."
We can skip Biggin's collectivist idea, but the Ontario government should recognize that while it's fixing a badly flawed program, it should go all the way and make it a voluntary and privatized system. Band-aid solutions do not work.
Conference on uniting Canadian Conservatives
Roots of Change Conference Update
It's got to be the fault of the white male patriarchal system which holds women down by their throats...
Everyone agrees that spousal abuse is a problem that must be stamped out, so it was good news when Statistics Canada released numbers which showed a "substantial drop in wife assaults reported to police", right? Wrong-o!
Statistics Canada, in its annual report on crime, said incidents in which women were assaulted by their spouses or ex-spouses had declined by 18 per cent in 1996, compared with 1993. The finding was based on police reports from 61 communities across the country.
In Toronto and Montreal, the trend was even more dramatic, with drops of 30.9 per cent and 22.5 per cent respectively, while in Vancouver the number was down by 7.2 per cent since 1993.
Stats Canada has had its problems, but rather than admit that perhaps the problem may be going away, Canada's women's abuse industry attacked the findings...without releasing any of their own numbers.
"Our experience is certainly not that the amount of woman abuse is going down," said Vivien Green, co-ordinator of the Toronto-based Metro Woman Abuse Council. "In fact, if anything, it is increasing."
One explanation for the finding is that abusers are deterred by the get-tough policies implemented by an increasing number of police departments. Psychologist Peter Jaffe, director of Ontario's London Family Court Clinic, a children's mental health centre that studies family violence, said studies in London show such a policy can work. "What we found . . . was that when the police did lay charges, new incidents of violence were reduced in half," he said.
Now I'm not saying that the numbers are right or wrong, but I would like to know if the women's abuse industry is capable of anything besides hysteria combined with no facts.
The real cost of doing business
(Sarcasm alert) The New Democrats and their leftist ilk are right, business pays no tax what-so-ever...
Boston to business: We'll run the show
Reform tries moving in Ontario...again...and succeeding?
"We're going to be launching a pretty serious effort in Ontario to bring together voters who are looking for a fiscally responsible, democratically accountable alternative to the (federal) Liberals,'' said Rick Anderson, the Reform Party's key strategist.
The party's executive council met in Calgary recently and approved a reorganization of Reform's full-time staff in Ontario, complete with the creation of a new position aimed at co-ordinating the efforts of right-wing voters at the constituency level to support Tories provincially and Reform federally.
The plan? Reform wants the support of Progressive Conservatives federally in return the Reform Party will back the Harris provincial conservatives.
"We are going to be more explicitly reaching out to people, and encouraging riding associations and members to look at ways of consolidating those voters. Quite a few of our card carrying Reformers are card-carrying (provincial) conservatives, including right up to being campaign managers and so on."
"We ended up splitting the vote in Ontario in quite a lot of ridings," said Anderson. "There were 28 ridings, I think, where the combined Reform-Conservative vote would have beat the Liberal."
Nancy Branscombe, the party's former eastern Ontario organizer and defeated candidate in Peterborough, has been named executive director of the initiative.
It seems though, that neither party is waiting for any formal move. A
unite-the-right movement spurred by frustrated small-c conservatives in
Ontario has mushroomed and progressed farther than either the Reform or
Tory parties has previously admitted.
What will happen? The next by-election will tell us where conservatism in Ontario stands.
Ontario lends hand to anti-gun registration fight
Solicitor General and Minister of Correctional Services, Robert Runciman,
announced in August that Ontario will present oral submissions to the
Alberta Court of Appeal on September 8 through 12, 1997, challenging the
federal government's Firearms Act (Bill C-68). Ontario is challenging
the registration provisions of the Firearms Act.
Group demands lower EI premiums
The Alliance of Manufacturers and Exporters Canada is tired of the Canadian government paying off the deficit off their backs.
The Alliance sent letters last month to Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, Finance Minister Paul Martin and Human Resources Minister Pierre Pettigrew asking for a cut in the employment insurance premium rate. The alliance wants the rate cut to $2.20 per $100 of earnings for employees and to $3.08 per $100 for employers, effective January 1998. That would be down from the current $2.95 for employees and $4.13 for employers.
"We object to the unreasonably high premiums that both employers and employees are required to pay," said alliance president Steve Van Houten.
As of December 31, 1996, the federal government's employment insurance account had a surplus of $5.7 billion. It is widely estimated the surplus has now reached almost $9 billion and will hit $12 billion by the end of the year. Business groups have been complaining for months that Ottawa is using the fund as an extra payroll tax to pay off the deficit.
And Paul Martin's response? The fact that the government has managed to cut the deficit (that the current Prime Minister has helped create), has led to lower interest rates and more jobs. I guess that means the government does have the right to steal from you after all.
Can private Medicare be far away?
A federal report revealed last month that for the first time since the
birth of Medicare in 1968 annual government spending on health care has
Reform MP asks for investigation into fraud, waste and nepotism at Revenue Canada
Reform Party National Revenue Critic Jason Kenney wasn't surprised mid-August when the RCMP laid 21 charges -- including sexual assault, criminal harassment, breach of trust and fraud -- against the former Assistant Director of the Ottawa Taxation Centre, Donald Regimbal. Just two weeks before Kenney wrote a letter to Herb Dhaliwal, Minister of National Revenue, asking him for an investigation into the activities of senior Revenue Canada officials.
"These charges demonstrate that all is not well at Revenue Canada. How could a senior official like this get away with the criminal abuse of his public position for so long?" asked Kenney.
Kenney wrote Dhaliwal on August 1 asking for a full, impartial investigation into fraud and negligence surrounding the department. Dhaliwal has not responded to the letter. In that letter, Kenney asked that the RCMP investigation underway may not be complete since they are limited to "probing matters of a criminal nature, their investigation will presumably will not deal with the troubling reports of unethical practices, such as managerial incompetence, wasteful spending, and nepotism."
Boy, one should be shocked that Dhaliwal didn't respond to that letter. Why fix a problem before it goes out of control?
Critics cry, "How dare you make sure people can actually pay for what they purchase!"
Can you imagine a society that would actually allow someone to find out if person attempting to purchase something actually has the money to do so? How evil.
In mid-August Ontario's government introduced its proposed changes to the Rent Control law, including a "controversial" provision allowing landlords to reject tenants based on their income. Housing Minister Al Leach said it only makes sense to allow landlords to turn down prospective tenants because their income is too low.
Well, everyone but those who are opposed to the right of private property.
Advocates for the poor say the provision discriminates against the poor and will force many into homeless shelters. "If landlords are looking for a convenient cover for discrimination, this is it," said Bruce Porter, spokesman for the Toronto-based Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation.
"This is the first province in Canadian history to explicitly legalize discrimination against poor people."
Even the vanguard of leftist action, Ontario's Human Rights Commission, attacked the bill earlier in the year, calling it demeaning.
"It's based upon, I suspect assumptions that are often made about people who are on assistance or low-income people - that they more frequently default in the payment of rent, that they are less responsible in the management of money, that they have more children," said HRC head Keith Norton
Norton should realize that property owners have rights too, except their rights are logically validated. The right to private property is a basic right, and right to do what one wishes with that property is an area that the government should not be allowed in. You do not have the right to demand a property owner rent to you.
China stamps out election rights
Hong Kong's government introduced a bill in August that would sharply curb voter power and urged legislators to pass it quickly or risk delaying elections planned for May. The bill would slash the number of voters allowed to cast ballots for 30 legislative seats from 1.1 million to 180 000. Twenty other seats in the 60-member chamber would be chosen by universal suffrage and 10 by a committee.
The bill would override rules that were in place for legislative elections in 1995. That year, 30 seats were selected by rank-and-file members of various professional groups. Under the new system, far fewer would have a vote.
In the 1995 vote, the Democratic party captured 29 seats, easily eclipsing pro-China candidates. The party and independent democrats criticized the proposed changes, saying they would entrench the power of Hong Kong's pro-China élites.
China's puppets in Hong Kong defended the changes saying that universal suffrage was promised for 2007 and that these "expediencies" would not last for long.
Neither apparently do Chinese promises.
Canada's Marxist-Lennist king dies
Hardial Bains, the national leader of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist), died in late August of cancer. He was 58. His partner, Sandra, and several close friends were at his side.
From his earliest days in India, and then in Canada from 1959, Bains devoted his life to the cause of communism and founded the party that is known as the Marxist-Leninists. It ran 65 candidates in the last federal election.
"(Bains) reserved his greatest love and attention for the younger generation whom he never failed to encourage to rely on their own convictions and abilities with utmost confidence and to kow-tow to no one," the party's 'central committee' said in a press release.
"Bains' selfless and unwavering revolutionary leadership in the struggle to humanize the social and natural environment, the essence of his life and work, has inspired thousands."
Bains had been on my radar screen for quite a while, but his "sovereignty of the individual" theory frankly left me too bored to ever respond to his work. Be that as it may, it seems that Bains finally lost more than those chains that his ilk rant about.
Reform Leader Preston Manning's decision to move into Stornoway will
wind up costing
Manning also said that he will still accept an annual $21 300 tax-free expense allowance paid to MPs to help cover the cost of commuting from their ridings.
Besides all of this, Stornoway got $68 000 worth of fresh new paint, buffed-up furniture and fine china to make it livable.
Like I said before. Manning made a big show of giving back the keys to his government car when he was first elected to prove how much he didn't want the little perks that come with office...because what he really wanted were the big ones.
Young Tories get Manning at convention
To lighten things up
A freshman at Eagle Rock Junior High won first prize at the Greater Idaho
Falls Science Fair. He was attempting to show how conditioned we
have become to alarmists practicing junk science related to environmental
issues. In his project, the young student urged people to sign a
petition demanding strict control or total elimination of the chemical
1. cause excessive sweating and vomiting
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