Sunday, July 02, 2006

Calling All Policy Wonks!

I have often complained that my M.P. Karen Redman doesn't seem to bother getting feedback from constituents. However, in her Spring 2006 newsletter, she actually did seek to take the pulse of the community on various issues. I have been a bit tardy getting back to her, but better late than never, right? (Never mind that she ignores me).

Here is a sampling of the questions from her brief survey "intended to review current public opinion on various issues currently before the House of Commons." I need your help to determine if these questions seem objective, or are they worded in such a way as to elicit a particular response?

1. Do you agree with the Conservative government scrapping climate change programs in favour of a tax credit for transit users?

2. Do your support the Conservative government's 1% reduction in the GST rather than an income tax reduction?

3. There is no evidence to suggest that jailing more people works as a deterrent to criminal behaviour. However, the Conservative government has recently tabled legislation to address Conditional Sentences and Mandatory Minimum Penalties. Do you support mandatory minimum penalties as an effective tool in crime prevention?

4. The recent federal budget provides no additional funding for wait times reduction, nor any explanation of how the wait times guarantee will be implemented. Do you believe a better, stronger health care system to be the most important issue for the federal government?

5. The Canada Council was supposed to see its funding doubled this year, but instead receive only $50 million over two years. Is federal funding to support the arts important to you?

6. The 2006 budget cuts the funding for Aboriginal Canadians provided under the Kelowna Accord, a reduction in funding by 80 percent, down to just over $1 billion. Do you believe that abandoning this agreement jeopardizes Canada's relationship with its Aboriginal people?

7. Does the reduction in regulated child care spaces cause a hardship for your family?

8. Since 2001, Canada has been committed to long-term stability and strengthened governance in Afghanistan. Canada continues to work with the United Nations, NATO and the international community to help Afghanistan become a stable, democratic and self-sustaining state. Do you support Canada's continued military mission in Afghanistan?

I have no problem with the last question. I would answer with a resounding "Yes"!!!

Several of the other questions are not black-and-white, yes-or-no questions. I am assuming that Ms. Redman is looking for some kind of riding mandate with which to support her position in Parliament.

Any input is appreciated here. As a good constituent I must reply to my M.P. even though I am waiting for several responses from her.


RGM said...

This is going to be fun. :)

1. False dichotomy. It is not strictly a case of "not A, thus B." It's more a case of "the Liberals failed A miserably, so we're going to explore, inter alia, B."

2. This question is laughable. This is not a case of "A, not B." Simply put: there is both A and B.

3. Beats the hell out of a revolving door, doesn't it? Remember the recent case of the man who brutally murdered his girlfriend because she didn't want to have sex with him? If the man were in jail with an automatic mandatory minimum for murdering another woman under similar circumstances years earlier, this atrocity would not have occurred. Clearly a free pass the first time around didn't deter this sick individual from committing another murder.

4. No I don't believe that "a better, stronger health care system [ought] to be the most important issue for the federal government." But I'm a foreign policy wonk, so that explains that. That being said, all in due time the Tories will be introducing their plan to implement their wait times guarantee policy plank. They only had a short time in the first session, dominated as it was by Afghanistan, child care, and a unanimously-supported budget; the fall session will undoubtedly provide more on this issue, as well as further options for question 1.

5. No, subsidizing CanCon undermines true artistic development. Canadian artists are, or should be, strong enough on their own. Let the people decide what constitutes quality (hint: don't subsidize porn movies, a la Bubbles Galore).

6. It's a disappointment, but it hardly jeopardizes the 'relationship,' which hardly has a strong foundation in the current environment. There are a number of accountability and equality issues that need resolving before we start throwing billions of dollars around.

7. No, but I don't have kids. Even if I did, I'd rather they be left in my family's hands to make our own decisions regarding child-raising rather than Carolyn Bennett's. What did the Liberals do for 13 years on this issue? Exactly what day was it that Liberals woke up and decided that child care was an urgent, pressing priority?

8. You're damn right I do, and shame on all of your colleagues who do not.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

RGM - Thanks! That is great. Lots of solid ideas there. I think I'll have to send her a detailed analysis along with the questionnaire.

Many of the so-called Liberal solutions were just thrown together in a last minute bid to save the sinking ship. And as you point out, accountability was sorely lacking.

The Liberal solution was just to throw a bunch of money at a problem, and then gloat about what a great job they were doing.

Looking for more input here...

TrustOnlyMulder said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
TrustOnlyMulder said...

Joanne, talk about a fun assignment!! This lady has loaded up her questions in the worst manner!!

1) The tories haven't released their full plan yet. It is not an either or situation as she questions.

2) I love this one already and am saving about 60 cents per fill up at the gas tank and I saved about $1.15 on two dinners out this weekend with the family, not to mention the 1 to 3 cents a day at Tim Hortons!! it will add up.

3) jailing more people may or may not be a deterrent but her question begs a return volley. How many of those violent offenders in longer will kill or hurt people while in jail? errrrr....NONE!!

4) they have been knocking off the promises one by one. I guess she expects immediate turn on promises. Which is good, you can hold her accountable should the Libs get back in power. 13 years didn't give us squat. What a hypocritical remark on her part.

5) no. Arts have been funded by countless millions in the heritage file. How many more museums do we need? how many more lazy asses doing Tom Green impersonations with a paint brush do we need to fund? Let them make their money on supply and demand. No demand?? Ohhh I wonder why. Shut em down or make them focus the money on REAL art and heritage.

6) If native Canadians won't open the books to the auditor general then screw them. They should be just as accountable as any other government expenditure. If I had my way they wouldn't get anything until they open the books.

7) not me and not anyone who works at night or works evenings or gets family like grandma to watch the kids because we care about how our children are raised.

8) Yes, as part of the UN mandated mission, which it is and which the Liberals signed up for. I give those Liberals who voted for this like Bill Graham and Iggy kudos for their position on this.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

This lady has loaded up her questions in the worst manner!!

I'm glad you said that. So it wasn't just me thinking it. She obviously is seeking a particular response, and has framed her survey in such a way as to deliver it. Either that or it's some kind of poorly-disguised propaganda ploy.

You guys have no idea what I put up with here. At a recent Townhall meeting, I could not believe what I was hearing. I made notes the whole time, and recently sent her my impression of what she said. I asked her to verify that I had understood properly and to get back to me asap. Well that was early last week, but I'm still waiting. I'll give her a few more days, and then I'll just post my notes as is, if she doesn't reply.

Where is the accountability in this?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Mulder, somehow your comment seems to have got posted twice. Not sure if that was me or what, but never mind. It was such a good list, it is worth repeating!

KPK said...

This is what bugs me. The Liberals mail out propaganda with half truths and outright lies. This is how their MPs stay elected. Why don't our riding associations counter attack with their own pamphlets accusing her of telling lies and provide countering evidence.

Anonymous said...

1. I don't see that as an either or situation and am willing to wait for them to unveil their program before I judge it. Based on the other well thought out policies from the Conservative government I am sure it will be more positive for the environment than anything the Chretien or Martin Lieberals ever did.

2. Absolutely. It affects every consumer in Canada not just income tax payers and it is disproportionately favourable to those who have the least to spend. It was a great disappointment to me that Chretien did not live up to his election promise to scrap the tax.

3. Yes. It deters criminals while they are in prison. The longer they are in prison the safer I am from them.

4. No. It is not the most important issue for the federal government. How did the federal government get into the health care business anyway? Isn't it unconstitutional? How can the feds have the high road in this matter if the health care they legitimately ARE responsible for is run with such bureacratic overhead? Besides all that, I trust the Stephen Harper conservatives to deliver on their commitments in due course. Just look at how little time they have had in office and how much they have accomplished. Given time they will get to everything they need to.

Obviously the other parties must agree with the budget since it was passed without a dissenting vote.

5. I see absolutely no value to the taxpayer or the country for the state at any level to be funding art or radio or TV. Federal funding to support the arts is really important to me. I think it should be abolished. What right do you have to spend tax dollars on art?

6.I do not believe that "Canada" should have a separate relationship with its "aboriginal people" any more than with any other group of citizens. It should work at removing any barriers to this ideal and that would start with dismantling the Indian Act or whatever politically correct name it currently has.

Reducing funding from a desperation, last-minute, made-with-an-election-coming-at-them deal after years of doing dick is a step in the right direction.

It is paternalistic and racist to fund race based systems. If you are going to fund them, however, every tax dollar that is spent should be subject to independent audit and if not subject to audit it should not be spent.

7. I no longer have children of day care age. Thinking of when I did and thinking of my grandchildren who are of this age I see no value of regulated day care space to them. It is a non issue. I would rather see families have the money that will help them with their choices, especially since regulated day care space is the right answer for such a narrow spectrum of parents.

8. I support it. It is one of the policies of the Liberal government that would benefit from staying the course. I hope you are not one of the people who cynically reversed her stand on the issue once you were not a government member.

Brian said...

Nice phrasing of the questions.

1) yes

2) I agree with both. In 13 years which option did the Liberals offer? As a heavily overtaxed Canadian I'll take the bird in hand, thanks.

3) There is no evidence to suggest people in prison commit crimes. There is also no evidence to suggest there is any benefit in letting dangerous people out of jail.
Thanks for letting us know EXACTLY where the Liberal party stands.

4)In 13 years of Liberal rule, wait times got dramatically worse. This is not a quick fix, Paul Martin aside, and it is dishonest for you to suggest it is.

What did Karen Redmen ever do to solve the wait times problem when she was part of governement? At what time did the Liberals offer a wait time guarantee?

5) Would I have to give up my GST/income tax cut to double the Canada Council funding? Why, exactly, is the government funding the arts? Didn't Sheila Copps last week blame infustructure problems on non-existant tax cuts, and if so, shouldn't the Canada Council funding go towards her infustructure problems?

6) No. Aboriginals taking the law into their own hands, taking billions of government dollars without oversight, without solving any of the native problems "jeopardizes Canada's relationship with its Aboriginal people"

7) What reduction? and No!

8) Yes, and YES!

Joanne, this is a heavily loaded questionnaire with untruths, and sugegstion of Liberal programns that never exisited.

This is, by the way, and MP who truly believes that she know better whats good for her constituents, and has very little respect for their intelligence. Scary lady.

David A. Giles said...

Here I go.

1. Really hard to make any comment on this one until the full CPC platform is released.

2. Yes. The savings alone on GST will add up over the year.

3. Yes. How many crimes would not have been commited if there had been tougher and longer sentencing in the first place? Another factor: How much crime would longer sentencing have detered in the first place?

4. No. Anyways, I thought PMPM solved the healthcare crisis for a generation.

5. No. If people want to support the arts, then by all means do so, just not with my tax dollars which is better spent on strengthening our country (see 8).

6. No. Open the books to full accounability before another cent is given to the First Nations.

7. No. When my children are with me, then it is Grandma that takes care of them while I work. If she is not able, then it is a trusted neighbour that runs a daycare that is not subsidized. Never will trust any subsidized regulated daycare.

8. Yes. Mandated by the UN, approved by the former government, supported by current Liberals and it is the right thing to do.

My thoughts anyways.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

kpk - Why don't our riding associations counter attack with their own pamphlets accusing her of telling lies and provide countering evidence.

That is an excellent suggestion. Most people who don't follow politics too much might give that questionnaire a quick glance and totally get the wrong idea about the facts. Karen is very respected in this community and I don't think that very many people would even consider that she might deliberately mislead the constituents.

Another way to call her up on it might be a letter to the editor.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Anon - Great point about the health care. It's a provincial juristiction for Pete's sake! It's not the job of the Feds to oversee it. They can assist, but the provinces ultimately have the final say regarding health care.

I also agree with your view on Kelowna. Every penny should be audited.

Regarding the last question, I do believe that Karen supported the troops in Afghanistan, if memory serves me correctly. So kudos to her for that.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Brian - this is a heavily loaded questionnaire with untruths, and sugegstion of Liberal programns that never exisited. This is, by the way, an MP who truly believes that she know better whats good for her constituents, and has very little respect for their intelligence. Scary lady.

Very well said. That's what's bugging me - It's the innuendo that the Liberals actually had these programs in place. They just threw all that stuff out at the last minute without even a plan. It is very disingenuous to say the least.

I can't read Karen's mind about what she thinks of her constituents, but I can tell you that I often feel patronized when she talks to me. She often refers to her political background and experience as if that is supposed to make her an authority.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

David - 4. No. Anyways, I thought PMPM solved the healthcare crisis for a generation.

lol! Good one! Lots of good responses in your comments! Thanks.

Hey! Where are the trolls today?? Could it possibly be that they don't see anything here to defend?

Joe Calgary said...

I'd troll, but your on the same side, so what would be the point. Redman is coaching her questions, and I don't play to that.

Typically, she will drop the "yes,but" answers, and stick with the ones that fit her fucked up agenda.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

J.C. - Well, said. After seeing how you express yourself at Chuckercanuk's, I'm grateful for the self-restraint used here. ;)

Yes, It would appear that Ms. Redmond wasn't actually after a "survey", but was instead trying to push her side of things in a not-so-disguised manner, and possibly tally up the number of responses that fell in line with her agenda, as you call it.

Mac said...

Make sure you hold onto your copy of the "survey" so when the next election rolls around as it inevitably will, you have some ammo. It's too easy to shred these things and no longer have them to refer to when you want to later.

In the meantime, a well-written letter to the editor addressing each of her "questions" would be appropriate but pick your paper carefully. Heck, it might net you an opinion piece. In my community, we have a couple of local papers but only one of them publishes letters or opinion spots which don't toe the liberal party line.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Good advice, Mac. Thanks. Yeah, I was going to send it in, but now I'm thinking that she wouldn't read it anyway. Yes, I'll hold onto the "evidence". lol!

The local paper here is Liberal, but they do pride themselves on the 'appearances' of objectivity, so maybe I'll give that angle some thought...

TrustOnlyMulder said...

I deleted one. No reason to keep them duplicated and taking up space. But thanks for the thought.

Returning today I am glad to see so many who agree the questions are loaded.

liberal supporter said...

mac is right, hang onto that "survey".

I wish I'd held onto "surveys" put out by the local Conservative, NDP and Reform candidates back in the old days. Same old loaded questions as this one it seems, that make you into an irresponsible spendthrift thug hugger, or an irresponsible tightwad control freak, if you chose the obviously "wrong" answer.

It seems that all the parties get the same hacks working for them that put out this kind of junk.

Mac said...

Hmmm, since anything mailed to your MP is handled for free (ie: no stamp required) perhaps you should photocopy your "survey" once, complete it with the answers suggested here, and then photocopy it one hundred times or so and then mail them to Redman one per day until the election.

That should convince her to stop sending out propaganda surveys.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

lol! Good suggestion, Mac, except I'd go broke from the photocopying! I'm going to hang onto the newsletter though. I'm pondering that idea of an opinion piece.

At the very least I feel reassured that my 'gut' feeling didn't let me down on this, judging from everyone's reaction.

Steph said...

Hey, I didn't get one of these surveys! Might be a good thing though as I think my blood would have boiled when reading the leading way those questions are asked. She's smart I guess -- making people feel like she cares by sending a survey and at the same time, disguising misinformation and insinuation in the form of something that is supposedly unbiased.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Steph- Exactly my thoughts. Politically brilliant, as long as the reader can't see through the manipulation.

BTW, if you want to request an on-line newsletter, you can do it


I just sent in a request, but since you have to give your name, I doubt they will bother to comply. I should have given a fake name! D'oh!!

RGM said...

I think B&W photocopying at Staples is something like 5 cents each copy isn't it? Couple that with a couple bucks for a couple boxes of envelopes (could I use the word 'couple' more in that sentence?), and you can have a lot of fun!