frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
Of thugs, CEOs and tax increases | rabble.ca:
But here's the thing. If the TD Bank (and the majority of the 150 CEO of the CCCE) can call for tax increases on high income individuals (Clark did not seem to be targeting his own sector), why are the labour movement, the NDP and civil society groups so reluctant to do so?
Very good question Mr. Dobbin, very good question. I'll spare the NDP, since I don't recall anyone campaigning on tax increases, but other sectors like Labour need to prepare the ground so that when tax increases do come, Canadians will understand why they are necessary.  Maybe getting out of Afghanistan will create some cool budget space as well...
frandroid: (conservatives)
Who do you think are the greatest enemies of autoworkers in Ontario right now?

If you said "automakers", you'd be partially right at this moment. Chrysler, in particular, is demanding more wage and benefits concessions than GM agreed to, while the CAW says they've given enough.

If you are a GM autoworker though, you're in better hands. According to the Star, "General Motors' new chief says worker concessions in Canada already make the teetering automaker competitive", and is not requiring further wage cutbacks after those agreed to by its workers in the last few weeks. However, Dalton McGuinty and Stephen Harper are asking autoworkers to do more in order for the companies to receive more government funding. Can you believe this?

Let's follow the logic here. The two governments, who want to save the auto industry, because it brings wealth to the province and the country, wealth that is channelled in great part to the workers, is asking that less wealth be transfered to the autoworkers.

The worst part in all this is that these wage and benefits concessions are insignificant in the grand scheme of things, if we follow the numbers supplied by the CAW (I know, hardly neutral numbers here; but their economist, Jim Stanford, is respected). Ken Lewenza wrote that "the direct labour targeted by the [then-]Bush administration represents just 7 per cent of the average cost of a new vehicle should be proof enough that cutting wages cannot solve the automakers' problems."

So far, autoworkers have offered $7.25/hr of wage and benefits cuts, and Chrysler is looking at $19/hr in cuts. Now depending on two different Star articles referring to the $7.25/hr figure, the current cost of an autoworker is $70 or $75 an hour. So Chrysler is in effect asking for a 10% to 27% cut. But the thing is, this is a cut of 10 to 27% on the 7% of the new vehicle cost. So all in all, the governments are looking at cost reductions of .7% to 2% in order to grant their financial support.

Do the governments think that that difference is really what's going to make or break the automakers? As far as I'm concerned, AIG has received a $170 billion dollar bailout from the U.S. government and until the public expressed its outrage media whipped public outrage, the government was not asking for a bloody cent of employee wages and benefits cuts. Now if that's not class warfare, I don't know what this is.
frandroid: (conservatives)
I'm late on the news here, but damn...

Out of Africa - The Responsbility to Neglect:
There was no chance to explore the fact that the Rwandan ambassador to Canada, who only discovered the cuts from a press release while outside Canada, has bravely challenged the Canadian’s government’s raw treatment of aid to that country. More time might have dug into the reality that, while the government says it’s doubling aid dollars to Africa, they are merely emergency “tsunami” type funds, not the kind of development investments necessary for any devastated country to emerge from the rubble.
CIDA Shift Married with Foreign Policy Priorities: Oda
Rwanda ambassador urges CIDA to reverse slashes on aid
frandroid: (conservatives)
Hillier says we don't need more units

The Conservative party's Canada First defence plan [laid out during the last election] included proposals to establish a new airborne regiment and as many as 14 territorial defence battalions stationed in cities across the country.

Territorial defence battalions? Who are we defending against? Angry North Dakotans? Hordes of poor Michigonians, jealous of our universal healthcare, stoked by Michael Moore's Sicko?

Next thing you know, Harper will have Canadian troops parade in front of Himself in Ottawa, walking the goose-step...
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
If you can read French, I suggest reading this column by Vincent Marissal, which describes the current state of French-English relations in this country as seen by Québec. There's talk about the Globe coming down on Québécois for irresponsibly electing the Bloc (what's new?) and a smart reply by Marissal, anglo journalists being annoyed at Harper's French speaking, Graham Fraser's report finding Harper's French speaking commendable but a very weak façade behind which a mostly unilingual anglophone government sits (including unilingual heritage and intergovernmental relations ministers).
frandroid: (bad religion)
This dude had a shave before having his press conference:


Civil servant arrested in government leak case is an anarchist, has helped open infoshop (The Star)
"He's also a drummer with the punk band The Suicide Pilots, which has an album called Rock Against Harper." (CBC)

Oh yeah. He says Harper sucks, his government is vengeful and is trying to intimidate civil servants. But you know. Anarchist in the news. That's the news.

*** ETA: He's a former OPIRG member, and also a member of Books to Prisoners! (nat'l post) This article has a fuller portrait of him.
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (queer)
True to form, the Liberals will put forward a motion tomorrow calling for the tax-deductibility of foreign-affiliate interest and for lower taxes on income trusts in the name of economic nationalism.

Copied straight from this [livejournal.com profile] prog_economics entry.

(This icon should be seen in context of the Harper "fuck the people" icon!)
frandroid: (conservatives)
Someone tell me that the editor at cbc.ca did not accidentally juxtapose the following illustratively ironic headlines:

MacKay to raise Celil's case in Beijing
Independent monitors visit Afghan prison
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
Current Québec election standings, as we speak:
ADQ 47
Liberals 45
PQ 32
Québec Solidaire was said to be ahead in one riding earlier tonight, as well.

These are preliminary scores, there are many more votes to be counted.

For those not keeping the score, there hasn't been a right-wing government in Québec since 1959. Of course this will finish in a minority, so it's not as bad. But Dumont has like, 5 "ministrables" at most. Also, as the outgoing head of government, Charest can ask the Lt.-Governor to continue to government, if he can hold the confidence of Parliament.
Keep your eyes peeled.

ETA: The Liberals finished on top. Phew. This is the beginning of the end for separatists in Québec. If the Liberals manage to move a bit left, they might squeeze the PQ off the scene in a few elections.

A lot of people are thinking that this bodes well for a federal spring election for Harper. I'm not quite so sure, but the prospect frightens me a lot. But the politics of individualism have finally caught up with Québec.

Amir Khadir and Françoise David almost won for Québec Solidaire. That's some pressure on the left for the PQ there. Next time around, if the PQ is down in the polls, some lefties my skip on the strategic voting and vote with their heart.

ETA2: I've been invited to the La Presse examination for their summer internship!! Fingers crossed.
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
Maybe I could have mentioned Tout le Monde en Parle in my Top 5... It's Québec's most-watched talk show with 2 million viewers, basically a third of the French-speaking population. It's an intelligent show with a wide, popular reach. Host Guy A. Lepage receives about half a dozen guests who are interviewed and spend about 4 hours on the set; afterwards, their conversations are compressed into a 2 hour show, with Guy A. doing the editing himself. He's not an ace interviewer; he can be witty, but most of his questions are prepared in advance and he doesn't really budge from his show plan. Guy A. used to be part of Rock et Belles Oreilles, the comedy troupe that broke every taboo, and accordingly the show has few limits, should the guests want to go there. Guy Fournier, Radio-Canada/CBC's president, learned the lesson at his expense when he praised the joys of defecation, and later on had to resign after the public outcry (louder in English Canada, I should say).

What's really interesting about this show is that the day's most important actors come to talk about their experiences. Since we're in an election campaign, this week André Boisclair visited the show, to be followed by Mario Dumont and Jean Charest in the next couple weeks. Boisclair really needed a boost, as he is seen as detached from the regular population, too refined and mealy-mouthed. The overwhelming response (both blog entry and in comments, en français) seems to be that he just saved his election campaign on the show tonight. His answers were quite to the point, he was speaking in every day language and didn't flash his idiotic Colgate smile too much. He also addressed the question of "reasonable accomodations" correctly, one of the hot topics of this election campaign. He didn't give any KO, but his few attacks on his opponents were to the point and will stick in people's minds for the week to come. If Boisclair can continue to behave like he did on that show tonight, the PQ might be back in the race, or at least it can stop the bleeding to the ADQ.

The results of the Québec election will bear a serious weight on the federal scene. Harper is praying that the PQ doesn't win, since in a follow-up federal elections, people would be more inclined to vote for the Liberals, the known separatist-fighters. A Québec Liberal re-election, on the other hand, would cement the Harper-Charest relationship. A Charest victory would boost Harper's claim that federalism works for Québec. But in order to give Charest a hand, Harper will release the federal budget one week before the provincial election. Will Harper spend billions of dollars in Québec? A proposal to re-engineer the perequation formula was leaked to the press in January: resources revenues were included at 50%, with Québec being the only winner of the new formula, and Alberta losing some money. Will Harper push this forward? If so, will people in Québec just take the money and run, or recognize the attempt at buying them off and vote accordingly?

The timing is set so that the budget can have its impact on the provincial election, but before it gets voted on in the House of Commons, allowing for some backtracking or simply the defeat of the Harper government. It's going to leave a rather short time for people to react, especially since budgets are such large documents. First impressions and early analysis of the federal budget could have a certain impact on the election... Anyway, we'll see what happens.
frandroid: (stephen harper)
Harper veut acheter le Québec avec deux milliards de dollars [cyberpresse.ca]

So allegedly Harper has decided to make the Bloc an offer it can't refuse. Should the Bloc bring down the government budget on Kyoto concerns, Harper will have a good tool to bludgeon Duceppe with in Québec. If this goes forward, it will most probably guarantee Charest's re-election this spring. Look at how federalism works. Why yes, Harper buys an election now and cuts in services (or skimps on Kyoto, anyway) later in order to pay for the purchase.

It's kind of interesting because Harper would do this mostly with Alberta and Saskatchewan's money, actually, for the perequation part. If you let me take your money to buy off Québec, we will end up with a majority and we'll rule the country from Calgary.

Once this budget goes through, not only Charest but also McGuinty will have to admit that Harper fixed a problem that the Liberals created in 1995 when they gutted social programs. That's going to be some mighty support for the next election.

After I wrote my entry on simultaneous elections (which now makes even less sense), I was thinking that it would be just much cheaper to buy off the Bloc than the NDP, both economically and ideologically. The Bloc has conflicting interests that can be played off each other, whereas the NDP's conflicting interest is the Conservative Party.

This could work for Harper. Be watchful.
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
Chantal Hébert on the same-sex marriage vote:

Still, Harper has earned a place in the history books for his efforts this week.
[...]
Harper became the first post-war Prime Minister to ask the Commons to consider taking away the rights of a Canadian minority.


She doesn't chew words on Dion either:
Over the course of his leadership campaign, Dion had argued that the Liberal approach of allowing rights to be subject to free votes was unacceptable.

But faced this week with a choice between backing off and enduring the first internal crisis of his short leadership tenure, Dion opted to once again leave his members free to choose, explaining that a motion did not require the same dose of party discipline as a full-fledged piece of legislation.
[...]
Under Dion's two predecessors, a federal party that takes pride of ownership of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms has treated it like a pull-down menu, allowing its MPs to pick and choose where they stood on gay rights.
frandroid: (stephen harper)
Paul Tellier, Don Mazankowski et Robert Lacroix conseilleront Harper

Paul Tellier, formerly the butcher of the CN and Bombardier, Don Mazankowski, formerly Mulroney's jack-of-all-trades, Dominic D'Alessandro, VP of the CCCE, and a couple CEO-types (along with a university president) are going to advise Harper on the federal public service. We need to form a betting pool on how many jobs they will suggest to cut. 5,000? 10,000? 50,000?
frandroid: (conservatives)
So in a state of procrastination, I came across this article [thestar.com] by James Travers entitled "Harper trying to market alternative universe" about the Conservatives' Clean Air Act. Somewhere in there, Travers called Rona Ambrose Harper's minister of pollution.

There is a long tradition in leftist literature to disentangle ministry names from their doublespeak, such as calling the minister of defense the minister of war, but it's a rare sight to find such a literary device in a mainstream newspaper such as the Star. The title of the article is also quite striking.

I mean, the Star is almost as Liberal as the Toronto Sun is Conservative, but that's still quite impressive to see this from a newspaper that pretends to objectivity, unlike the Sun.
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
Did he or did he not call her a dog?  Do we or do we not care?  Although I must say I enjoy the parallels that the Liberals have made from this remark to funding cuts for Status of Women.

news round

Jun. 1st, 2006 11:52 am
frandroid: (stephen harper)
Jaggi chases Monte Solberg from church. Well, not all by himself ;]

The article calls Jaggi a "local protester"... I don't think he's moved to Ottawa though? I've seen him at the Montréal bookfair, but then again people come from all over the place for that event. [livejournal.com profile] accusehistory, do you know anything about that?

*** ETA: Judge wonders why cops did not move in and turn the Caledonia occupation into a fullblown violent conflict. I think it's going to be exciting to see cops and/or the AG tell the judge to back off =)

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