Friday, May 27, 2011

This is what strong leadership looks like

(Reposted from BLY - May 27, 2011)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper continues to be unequivocal in demonstrating Canada's support for Israel - (via MSNBC) - Canada takes firm pro-Israel line at G8 summit:
...Diplomats involved in Middle East discussions at the G8 summit said Ottawa had insisted that no mention of Israel's pre-1967 borders be made in the leaders' final communique, even though most of the other leaders wanted a mention.

"The Canadians were really very adamant, even though Obama expressly referred to 1967 borders in his speech last week," one European diplomat said...
There are times when straddling the fence simply isn't an option, and a firm stand must be taken - even if it means standing alone and losing a seat at the UN Security Council.

And as L. Ian MacDonald points out, Prime Minister Harper has real street cred now.

Let's hope some of the other world leaders learn by example.

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MUST-WATCH! Janice Stein on Power & Politics - around the 7 minute mark. (H/T Fay) Actually the whole clip is worth watching.

PM plays key role at G8 summit - Tim Harper, Star. (With a great pic of the PM going barefoot in the sand! - Was he drawing a line?)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Green Energy Act a #Failure

(Reposted from BLY - May 17, 2011)

In today's Financial Post, Ross McKitrick logically explains why Dalton McGuinty's Green Energy Act is doomed to failure on two fronts - job production and environmental:
The pledge by Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak to roll back key provisions of the Ontario Green Energy Act is a courageous move and deserves to be applauded. It will likely spark intense debates as we head into the upcoming election. It is hard to say whether public opinion will be on his side, but the facts certainly are.

The Green Energy Act (GEA) was proposed as both an environmental policy and a job-creation policy. It is misguided on both scores...

Some of the money quotes:
...An industry that depends on subsidies for its survival is not a net source of jobs. The funds for the subsidies have to be raised through taxation, and the burden of taxes kills more jobs than the subsidies create. This is as true for wind power as it is for greenhouse cucumbers, and it doesn't matter if the taxes are visible or are hidden in the form of feed-in tariffs and artificially inflated electricity bills...

...expanding the renewables portfolio is redundant since 75% of Ontario's electricity comes from nuclear and hydro power, which do not generate emissions. Twenty-two per cent comes from coal-and natural gas-fired power plants. Ontarians have paid hundreds of millions of dollars for installation of advanced emission control devices on those plants. As a result, Ontario air pollution levels have fallen dramatically since the 1970s and 1980s, a point easily confirmed by consulting any edition of the government's annual Air Quality in Ontario report...

...Whether the goal is to create jobs or protect the environment, the GEA is a failure, and the provincial Tories should be applauded for taking on the challenge of phasing it out.

This is a MUST-READ column on so many levels (H/T Lorrie Goldstein via Twitter).

Now all that remains is for Dalton McGuinty to come clean on the penalty question in the secret Samsung deal. Does one actually exist, and if so how much is it?

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Matt Gurney: McGuinty, self-styled bargain hunter, will better any union offer - Full Comment

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Wednesday Update

PC Leader Hudak bringing in some big names - Adam Radwanski, Globe:
...along with Mr. Denley, Mr. Rossi and Mr. Gaudet are at least a few other high-profile candidates – among them former North Bay mayor Vic Fedeli, Hamilton television personality Donna Skelly and Ben Shenouda, the president of the Independent Pharmacists of Ontario. And it’s expected that there will be a couple more quasi-star candidates unveiled in the near future, including at least one member of the business community.

Ontario ready to rebel against Premier Dad?

(Reposted from BLY May 14, 2011)

With an election looming in Ontario and several other provinces this fall, today's Chantel Hebert column is very pertinent - Shifting provincial politics gives Harper the upper hand (Star).

She explores the historic changes in the recent federal election and speculates on how they might impact the upcoming provincial elections - and the eventual working dynamics between the premiers and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

What particularly caught my interest in Hebert's column was her mention of an apparent mood shift against elitism and towards populism which could very well explain what happened in Toronto:
...Looking at the May 2nd results, it is impossible to completely divorce from Mayor Rob Ford’s victory the return of the federal Conservatives to the city after a two-decade absence.

An attraction to populism rather than an ideological swing to the right may have tilted the balance in both outcomes. But the fact remains that twice over a six-month period, a significant section of the Toronto electorate embraced a less elite-driven less activist approach to governance.

The NDP was not totally immune to lingering Toronto municipal dynamics either.

Jack Layton — who emerged as the main opposition option in the days leading up to the federal vote — is closely identified with the opposition forces at Toronto City Hall. He sat on the municipal council in a previous life; last fall he campaigned on behalf of son Mike and some of his left-leaning seatmates.

On May 2nd in Toronto, the NDP did well where Ford had not while the Conservatives made their biggest inroads in the periphery of the downtown core.

Hebert suggests that the McGuinty Liberals might therefore have reason to be fearful, but may also cling to the "hope that voters stick to their longstanding practice of not putting their eggs in the same basket at Queen’s Park and in Ottawa when they go to the provincial polls next fall."

This is where things start to get interesting though. First of all, the federal Conservative Party of Canada and provincial Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario are entirely different not only in jurisdiction but also in philosophy. I would argue that policy-wise the PCPO is very close to the OLP.

However what differentiates them is the Top-down elitist approach in which Dalton McGuinty uses/abuses his power. This is where I think Tim Hudak and the PC Party can make some traction.

Premier Dad has been telling us what to do for eight years now. The Nanny State of Ontario is a mess. There is little respect for the taxpayer and the average working family. It's all about secret deals like Samsung and financially-crippling environmental policy being shoved down our throats.

Tim Hudak needs to exploit Dalton McGuinty's arrogance and Father-Knows-Best attitude for all it's worth. The working people are getting sick and tired of elitists. It's time to rebel.

Eight years of Dalton McGuinty's stifling parental approach is enough!

Let's show him that we're all grown up now.

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Merriam: McGuinty's Liberals likely next victim of 'vote-against' wave - Toronto Sun:
...There's little likelihood voters will be in any better mood by then. And the Dalton Gang has provided an abundance of reasons why people will choose to show them the door.

The latest is the secret 1% deal with one public sector union, while government leaders were talking about wage and cost controls.

Not only is a secret deal anathema to a democracy, but this one also illustrates a government with the backbone of a garter snake. The Gang was willing to freeze the wages of non-union workers, where they knew they'd face little opposition.

But they ran scared of the unions doing nothing to control either negotiated or arbitrated wage settlements. The secret deal shows things were even worse than imagined.

The Gang has done other backroom deals, such as the one involving offshore electrical giant Samsung. The company is to bring green-sector jobs to Ontario, in exchange for sweetheart pricing and years of bonuses.

This deal is part of the green energy imbroglio in which the government finds itself. Even supporters of green energy don't understand the above-market prices paid for power that regularly is sold out of province at discount rates because it isn't needed...

Ontario's Liberals look for a way to win - Lee Greenberg, Ottawa Citizen:
...In framing the discussion about energy in terms of health and education, the Liberals are relying on their two core policy strengths, both areas where voters have traditionally favoured them over their opponents. (Conservatives are typically trusted more on economic issues, including taxes.)

But Nanos says those hard and fast rules of past elections should be thrown out the window.

According to his latest poll numbers, the Conservatives are nearly tied with the Liberals when respondents were asked whom they trusted on health and education. An additional 30 to 40 per cent are not yet sure who to turn to on those issues.

And the negative signs are mounting...

Toronto Tory has more.

Ontario Liberals helped hospitals hide embarrassing information: critics - Social Policy in Ontario

Canada Wins!

(Reposted from BLY May 3, 2011)

Last night's election results are the very best thing that could have happened for our country, and for each individual party except the Bloc and the ABC Press Party.

Obviously I am thrilled that we now have a strong, stable Majority Conservative government in Canada. The implications are excellent for our economic future.

But as John Ivison points out there are benefits for other parties as well - notably the NDP:
...This is the best of all possible worlds – our politics have been transformed by an energetic, young party and the election of the country’s first Green MP; the separatists have been reduced to a rump; and, the country is still in the hands of the most experienced and competent of the men who were running for the job of Prime Minister.

(John Ivison's back in my good books again.)

Yes it was a historic night for the NDP and Green Parties too.

And the Liberal party now has much-needed time to reinvent itself from the bottom up instead of constantly needing to be battle-ready, and lurching from one failed leader to the next.

Last night's biggest winner was Canada.

Lots more to discuss but I just want to savour the moment for now. Readers are welcome to share their emotions and stories as always.

Oh yeah. Congratulations Stephen Woodworth and other Conservative area incumbents. Woo-hoo! And a big shout-out to everyone who worked so hard on the campaigns. Every donation, every footstep, every phone-call, every sign - it's all so appreciated.

One big final thank you goes to the Coalition that caused this election in the first place!!!

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