"A Citizen"s Eye View"

Friday, August 15, 2014

What John Baird Said In His Latest Speech (Video)


Friday, August 1, 2014

Gaza As A Ballot Box Issue In 2015

Our home sweet Gazan home!

So being enraged by the senseless slaughter of innocent people in Gaza - children bombed while they sleep in supposedly safe U.N. schools, children being killed while they play soccer on the beach, the destruction of schools, hospitals and Mosques, children being murdered as they play on swings in public parks - I decided to voice my opinion to our leadership who have been anything but leaders regarding this horrific state of affairs.

Our government has steadfastly stood by the Israeli state, claiming that it's Israel's right to defend themselves, so "oh well" about the collateral damage. "It's all the terrorists fault". I'm quite sure none of those sleeping children were terrorists. This reminds me of the case in the States recently where a guy shot and killed a pregnant women who attempted to burgle his house. The overarching opinion of folks south of the border seems to be that it was the woman's own fault for being caught committing a crime. The man was simply defending his home so he had a right to "bust a cap into her baby belly". No one there is talking about murder or the un-justified use of lethal force.

Anyway, Our Government is in no way seeking an end to the slaughter, merely stoking the flames of discontent by pointing the "flying fickle finger of fate" at the very people who are dying in their hundreds. It's their own fault for supporting Hamas so "fuck em"!

I would expect nothing less from our Conservative Government. They have displayed nothing
There are only friends and enemies to
Citizen Stephen. Friends can do no wrong
and enemies can do no right. 
even remotely close to a balanced approach to affairs in Israel. Stephen Harper is incapable of that kind of response. He sees the world as black and white, friends and enemies. It's connected to his mental health issues. And the fact that Citizen Stephen dismisses out of hand any condemnation by the U.N. regarding Gaza, is also not surprising. He's been at war with the U.N ever since Canada was denied a seat on the security council in 2010, thus placing the U.N squarely in the enemy's column.

So the response from Harper and his hand-puppet, Bellicose John Baird, while reprehensible, is not surprising. But what about our Opposition leaders? Why does Justine Trudeau, the great hope for a new and different Canada seem to follow lockstep, Harper's unmitigated support for Israel's war crimes? The official statement on the Liberal Party website regarding Hamas as being a terrorist organization and Israel having the right to defend itself parrots almost to the letter the Harper response. Hardly the stance of a progressive Liberal leader.
The "Once and Future King" has
lost his way.
And what about Thomas Mulcair, leader of the opposition and Canada's traditionally most progressive party? Well Mr. Mulcair's stance was somewhat more balanced, but he still chose to point a bony finger at Hamas, saying it's "all their fault" while declaring Israel has the right to defend itself. No mention of excessive force, breaching of international law, illegal occupation or, heaven help us, the "G" word (genocide). Just like the Conservatives and Liberals. I somehow doubt that this is the kind of response we would have seen from Jack Layton's NDP.

Which brings me to Elizabeth May and the Greens. At their recent convention, the Green Party voted to adopt a resolution which decried the illegal occupation of Palestinian land. This was a good start. But then the president of the party, Paul Estrin, put out a rambling, poorly written statement (possibly penned whilst in a drunken stupor?) That actually goes beyond Harper's and Trudeau's highly political statements about the Gaza crisis. He declared he openly felt sad that Israel simply had to take the steps it's taking to defend itself and claimed that it's methods were highly "moral". Ms. May quickly distanced herself from these comments while defending Estrin's right to his own opinion.

So like many, many Canadians, I am beyond anger and frustration regarding our collective leadership's lack of a balanced, neutral approach to the current Gaza humanitarian crisis. One that not only expresses discontent with rockets fired from Gaza (which have killed very few civilians by the way) but the ones fired indiscriminately into masses of defenseless Palestinian civilians. There's nothing wrong with one friend saying to another: "hey, we're still your friend, but what you're doing is wrong". So I emailed each of the four leaders mentioned above plus my Member of Parliament, NDP Deputy Leader David Christopherson, to highlight my extreme displeasure with their lack of leadership and unbalanced positions regarding Gaza. So far, the only person who has responded is Elizabeth May. Here is what she had to say: 

Even the Greens are divided
"Thank you for writing about the situation in Gaza and Israel.

I am heartbroken to watch such death, destruction, and violence with seemingly no end in sight. In recent days, the death toll has soared to unspeakable numbers, mostly civilians. With each death, the prospect of a lasting peace seems further away.

I firmly believe that Israeli children and Palestinian children have an equal right to grow up free of bombardment. This should not be a controversial statement. While I, of course, condemn Hamas as a terrorist organization for sending rockets into Israel, the Israeli retaliation and the invasion of Gaza violates international law and humanitarian norms. The death and destruction in a place that was already experiencing a humanitarian crisis is simply unjustifiable.

At the recent national convention in Fredericton, the Green Party of Canada passed the following emergency resolution:

Be it resolved that the GPC urges the immediate cessation of hostilities between Israel and Palestine. The GPC will adopt a posture of engaged neutrality, opening all available diplomatic avenues in both Palestine and Israel to press for a peaceful resolution to the conflict consistent with the GPC’s commitment to justice and custom of speaking truth to power.

The people of Israel and Palestine desperately need a ceasefire. They desperately need this battle to end so that they can return to resolving the enduring issues in this conflict. The people of the Middle East cannot afford to have this flare up so tragically every few years. The issues of the blockade of Gaza, settlements in the West Bank, permanent borders, refugees, and terror, will need to be dealt with in a cooperative and comprehensive manner, so that Israeli and Palestinian children can grow up without fear and without hatred.

Canada can and should play a constructive role in this process. A one-sided stance on this issue forfeits any opportunity for Canada to be a useful mediator. Canada needs to stand up for human rights and international law wherever they are violated. Canada should continue to condemn Hamas rockets and terror but any Prime Minister of Canada worth his or her salt would also say, as a friend and ally of Israel, “you’ve gone too far - you must move to peace talks.”

Thank you again for writing.


Elizabeth May"

2015 is fast approaching fellow citizens. While the tragedy that is now taking place in Gaza is a world away, how our leaders react to this humanitarian crisis speaks volumes regarding their views about Canada and it's place in the world. If they can't be trusted to be the voices of justice in times of international crisis, how can they be trusted to be the voices of justice here at home? So keep this in mind fellow Canadians when we go to the polls in October of 2015.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Wynne's Win: Did Ontario Vote FOR Kathleen Wynne Or AGAINST Tim Hudak?

We'll have to wait and see what the
"Lady in Red's" true colours are.
Well Ontario has a new Premier. Or I should say, the same old Premier we had before this cockamamy election, just with a majority now and a blank cheque to govern with impunity. 

But I have to say I'm somewhat relieved. At least Ontarians didn't opt for the "Uncommon Nonsense Revolution" Part II. That would have been an unmitigated disaster. Still, I would have much preferred a "progressive" minority government in Ontario. With a minority, there is, at least theoretically,  more room/need for collaboration - for all parties to get along, to work together if the government hopes to survive every vote of confidence that comes along. In this way, there are more checks and balances. There is more accountability, though Stephen Harper and Dalton McGuinty have demonstrated that all you have to do to avoid accountability is to prorogue Parliament. 

So now we have to wait and see what kind of Progressive Ms. Wynne really is. Is she a Liberal with a distinctly social conscience or is she just a "Red Tory" in sheep's clothing? And will the abuses of power continue or will the "Lady in Red" be able to put an end to  her party's attitude of entitlement?  Time will tell. I'm not relaxing just yet.

But really, based on the history of corruption within the Ontario Liberal Party, this was Hudak's contest to lose. And he did, unequivocally. So was this a victory for Wynne then, or an indictment of Hudak and his hysterically austere "Million Jobs Plan"
Time for soul searching,
not for sour grapes...

Every comment I heard from the PCs at Hudak's campaign headquarters on election night spoke of Wynne running a negative campaign and blamed the "Big Unions" for attacking the Conservatives. It sounded like sour grapes to me and failed to take into account the failings of their own campaign and the impact it had on the collective psyche of Ontario voters. Perhaps, if the PCs hadn't openly threatened so many people with their jobs, the "Big Unions" might not have been so vocal. And maybe if their leader was a little better at math.... In the final analysis, I think many people (with the possible exception of old white men) probably held their noses and voted for "Anyone But Hudak".

I like the lady, but she wasn't destined
to be the chosen one.
As for Ms. Horwath... well, I like the lady personally. I had the opportunity to meet with her a few times professionally when she was a lowly MPP. We discussed advocating for the rights of special needs children. In my opinion, she was extremely responsive  and actively supportive of the subject. She proved to be a valuable ally. I liked that. 

But as leader of her party, Horwath went out on a very shaky limb by inducing this election. She probably had the most to lose of any of the top three leaders and lose she did, more so than Hudak and his tea-sipping cronies. While the NDP ended up with the same number of MPPs as they had before the election, they lost the big stick that comes with holding the balance of power. And  Horwath took a lot of flak, both from inside and outside of her own party for what many viewed as an arbitrary decision to spark this election. And quite frankly, even though it's been 20 years since Bob Rae, Ontartians are still not yet ready for another NDP Premier.

Something to be proud of.
But I have to say, I am extremely proud that Ontario was not only able to elect it's first female Premier, (regardless of her party) but one that is openly gay. And not ONCE in the entire campaign did the dreaded "L" word (rhymes with thespian) get raised by ANY of the candidates or the mainstream media. I Can't say I even saw anything about it in the on-line community either. It was entirely, a non issue. So that restores my faith in the electorate to some degree. They voted on the issues while the politicians and media chose not to resort to gutter-sniping. Good for them.  

Of course, there's still the argument about a majority government being formed with only 38.5% of the popular vote, which is the exact same figure Stephen Harper won his questionable majority with. So the faults of our "first past the post" system are being called into question once again. But that's an argument for another day. For now, I will breath a little easier and tonight, I may sleep  a little more soundly. 

How can anyone claim that 38.5% 
of the vote share equals a majority?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Hudak Aims To Recreate "Harper's Follies"

Hudak's bad math has been under a
microscope since day one of this campaign.
No matter how you add, subtract, multiply or divide Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak's  bogus "Million Jobs"numbers, the outcome would not be good for thousands of Ontarians. 

Hudak is, of course, proposing the slashing of 100,000 public sector jobs - one out of every six public employee in the Province. This would include teachers, educational assistants, paramedics, welfare workers, child protection workers, occupational therapists, behaviour therapists, group home staff, probation officers, jail guards, personal support workers, speech and language pathologists, communication disorder specialists, nursing home staff, water safety inspectors (think Walkerton here) and the list goes on and on. These are highly trained, dedicated people who make a difference in our communities.

Hudak wants to eliminate these 
dedicated people who make 
a difference in our communities 
in favour of a 30% corporate
tax cut

This "public sector genocide" would, of course, supposedly offset the gigantic loss of revenue that would occur as a result of reducing corporate taxes in Ontario by 30%. Hudak's conservative ideology would have us believe, that this tax break to big business, would "trickle down", thereby creating a million jobs and reinvestment in the Province. 

It's a quaint fairy tale that, but Mr. Hudak either doesn't understand or doesn't care about the devastating impact of his destructive platform, either on the middle class of this Province (a great number of those public service jobs are middle class), or the vulnerable and needy people  whose lives depend  on the hardworking public servants he wishes to fire. 

The truly sad part is, that there are so many citizens who take the Conservative leader's numbers at face value and also don't understand the devastating course Hudak is plotting. They simply don't grasp that what he is proposing, is nothing less than a crime of colossal proportion against our Province, our communities and the citizenry as a whole.  

But Hudak's corporate tax cut theory has already been disproved by circumstances at the federal level. 

In 2005, the year before Stephen Harper came to power, unemployment in Canada stood at 6.8%  

After drastically slashing corporate taxes across the country to record low levels and imposing similar crippling cuts on the federal public service that has devastated the lives of multitudinous  Canadians (such as our veterans), unemployment currently sits at 6.9%. And this does not include the 39% of unemployed Canadians who have simply "given up" looking for work.  Since Harper's tax breaks then, Canada has seen a net increase in unemployment of +.1% nation wide over eight years. So there are actually slightly more people unemployed now (discounting the 39% who have given up) than there were before the massive tax cuts. What happened to all the jobs?

Well aside from the fact that there was a recession midway through those eight years which saw unemployment peak at 8.3% in 2009, jobs have been slow to rematerialize in the five years since then. There has been no evidence of "trickle down" and in fact, corporations are sitting on any savings they may have gained from their tax breaks. All of which prompted former Bank of Canada Governor, Mark Carney to call on corporate Canada in 2012, to reinvest the vast amounts of "dead money" they were sitting on. In essence, big business has been hoarding it's savings from lower taxes rather than using them to benefit the economy and the country. 

And recently, The Conference Board of Canada has found that cuts to corporate taxes alone will not create new jobs without Government stimulus. In fact, they discovered that government spending on it's own, will create more jobs than reducing corporate taxes. But Harper, clinging to his Calgary School dogma, has already implemented what Hudak is proposing -  austerity measures that are just the opposite of The Conference Board's findings and that have proven to be detrimental to our economy and to our society as a whole. 

But what Harper has succeeded in achieving, is the creation of a large number of part-time "McJobs" with no benefits, no retirement savings and low wages. Hardly the kind of employment that is suitable for Canadian families. And Mr. Hudak is proposing the exact same thing for Ontario. The PC's plan would guide Ontario down a dark and foreboding path that would lead to  large scale, long term suffering. Our economy would experience immeasurable if not irreparable damage. 

And in the meantime, those 100,000 out of work public servants would end up selling their homes and slinging burgers at McDonald's in a desperate attempt to make ends meet. And only God knows what would happen to the people who used to depend on them. But it's a safe bet that their diminished and discontinued services would likely result in thousands of them ending up on the streets, in hospitals and in our jails, thereby negating any savings Hudak ever hoped to gain from terminating their supports. 

Ontario's most vulnerable would be hurt the worst.