Wednesday, February 27

Comments on the Conservative's Third Budget, Feb. 26

Hi again friends:
Thought I should share with you Mr. Dion’s letter to me on the latest budget tabled for Canada for 2007-8. There’s not much that I can add other than that I wholeheartedly concur with Mr. Dion. Seems like most of the budget shows the Conservatives' acceptance of what had already been proposed by us though “watered down”. Obviously it's their continued attempt to capture Canadian imagination and votes; but, hopefully Canadians will see through it. The only new initiative appears to be the tax-free savings plan. My immediate reaction is; how will it benefit the many Canadians below the poverty-line struggling with a couple or more low-paying jobs to obtain enough to get by. Hopefully, the change to UI will help though we’re left in a scary situation if the slowdown in the economy increases and they’ve still done little to deal with aging and crumbling infrastructures. Today it's worth checking what the various news sources, political commentators and business leaders including Jayson Meyers, President of the Canadian Manufacturing and Exporters’ Association had to say about this budget. It looks like they’re not very positive about it. Also, see letter below:
Letter from Mr. Dion on the Conservative Government's Third Budget February 26, 2008
Dear Michael:
As you know, earlier today the Conservative government tabled its third budget. Immediately following the Budget speech in the House of Commons, our Leader Stéphane Dion declared that the Liberal Opposition will not give the Conservatives the election they so badly want based on their latest budget because it adopts many of the measures that Liberals have championed.
The Conservatives have in effect presented a watered-down version of pre-existing Liberal policies. In fact, they appear to have repackaged many Liberal initiatives and commitments including:
• making the Gas Tax Transfer permanent, as we committed in February 2007;
• providing direct support to the auto sector, as we called for in January 2008;
• creating jobs and improving public transit through additional investments in infrastructure, as we advocated in February 2008;
• increasing the Northern Residents Deduction, as we committed to doing in December 2007;
• providing funding to hire more police, as we committed in March 2007;
• improving cash-flow support for livestock producers, and providing direct payments for hog farmers, as we recommended;
• reversing some of the Conservatives’ previous cuts to university granting councils and the indirect costs of research program, which would have grown substantially under the Liberal Economic Update of 2005; and,
• replacing some of the funding from the Liberals’ 2005 Update for Student Grants and modernizing the Canada Student Loans program.
Despite these announcements, this budget would have been more effective if the Conservatives had not already spent the cupboard bare with their previous budgets and Fall Economic and Fiscal Update. As Liberals, we worry that the government is now left with a razor-thin surplus to protect Canada’s economy should it continue to falter. In fact, we are concerned that the Conservatives’ projected surpluses of $2.3 billion for this year and $1.3 billion for next year are well below the $3-billion contingency fund that we Liberals consider the bare minimum to cushion against unanticipated economic shocks. In addition to exercising questionable judgment, the government lost an opportunity to address Canada’s infrastructure deficit through acting on Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion’s proposal to use the $7 billion of this year’s debt pay-down to fund infrastructure projects across the country.
Nevertheless, there is nothing in this budget that warrants an election that Canadians don’t want, particularly at a time when so much remains to be done in this Parliament. This includes the debate of the motion respecting Canada’s Afghan mission, getting to the bottom of the Mulroney-Schreiber affair and the long-anticipated ruling by Elections Canada on the Conservative Party’s in-and-out election financing scandal.
An important measure of how Canadians assess the Conservative government's performance will soon be available for all to see when the results are in from four upcoming by-elections. We look forward to this measure of the relative support for the competing visions of Stéphane Dion and Stephen Harper.
Though we remain ready to fight a general election at any time, as Liberals we will focus on how best to make Parliament work for all Canadians. If the Prime Minister insists on making this impossible, then it will be clear that he alone will be responsible for starting an election.

Friday, February 22

The wisdom in Dion's debt strategy

Hi Folks:
Due to the Provincial Election under way as you can imagine it is considered best that I minimize campaigning so as not to confuse the public and as you might guess I've been helping with the Provincial campaign. However, I could not help but be impressed by this article in the National Post that many consider a Conservative leaning paper. If you wish to read the full article please see the Nat. Post or email me and I will forward it to you. The article portrays Mr. Dion strongly Mr. Corcoran appears to endorse the wisdom of Mr. Dion's fiscal strategy. Otherwise, I keep busy, on Monday I met with Hon. John McKay in Calgary and on Thursday I attended the AGM and Conference of the Alberta Soft Wheat Growers Association. Read on...

National Post Wednesday, February 20, 2008 Page: FP15 Section: FP Comment
Byline: Terence Corcoran Column: Terence Corcoran Source: Financial Post

To hear the Conservatives tell the story, Liberal Leader Stephane Dion has announced new budget principles that would create a new round of federal deficit spending. The Tory Web site, full of their typical putdowns of Mr. Dion, includes a visual suggesting a Liberal budget would sink Canada into "$62.5-billion in new debt."

It's just partisan gamesmanship. The Tories took a list of Mr. Dion's latest pronouncements on spending and his earlier fiscal comments, added them all together, and came up with a big number. Mr. Dion, and his finance-minister-in-waiting, John McCallum, quickly branded the Tories as thieves and liars, or something like that. Actually, Mr. Dion – speaking yesterday in Montreal -- used the following phrases against the Tories: deliberate miscalculations, misrepresentations, misinformation, the epitome of desperation, and distortion of the facts.

I'd check the veracity of all this if I weren't already certain the Conservatives had done all of the above, and maybe more. What's really fascinating isn't the facts so much as the Dion speech last week in Ottawa that triggered the Tories' attack on Mr. Dion's debt strategy.

Because what Mr. Dion had to say about government spending and deficits and debt made a lot of sense. ...

Mr. Dion said he was proposing "nothing less than a new contract between a Liberal government and Canadians -- for the benefit of current and future generations." It is time, he said, to take these federal surpluses and do something else with them. "A lighter debt burden is good news -- it gives us the flexibility to address our most urgent priorities while also putting our children in a better position to pursue their own dreams."

In practical terms, Mr. Dion was saying that, unlike the Tories who will announce next week that they will take this year's surplus and pay down the debt by up to $10-billion, the Liberals would find some way to spend the money. Specifically, he said, the Liberals would spend the surplus on infrastructure. And in future years, a Liberal government would limit debt-reduction to $3-billion a year. Any money left over after that would go to infrastructure.


As a fiscal debt-management strategy, Mr. Dion's plan makes for good policy.
We don't need to reduce the debt any more than we have. By committing surpluses to infrastructure (however difficult that may prove to do in budget practice), Mr. Dion is helping to change the nature of the national budget debate over surpluses. It's not quite like saying debt and deficits are good. And it would be better if he could have offered tax cuts as the alternative to debt reduction. But Mr. Dion has served a strong counterpunch to conventional Tory budget wisdom, which may be why the Tories are reacting so strongly.

The Globe and Mail also describes the Tories as "shooting blanks" these days.

Saturday, February 16

Conservatives Playing Politics with the Criminal Code and Afghan situation

Some of you will guess that with the Provincial Election call it was appropriate that it is appropriate that I minimize my own campaigning and you guessed it, I'm assisting the local Provincial Candidates while also keeping tabs federally. Since last note I've attended more community meetings, educational sessions and keep up with the latest from Ottawa. Of course, as you might guess, some of it bothers me especially when I know that we are fed info taken out of context and distorted. Consequently, I felt challenged to help correct the info and sent the following to the Herald but felt it should appear here too for the benefit of those who did not see it:

It bothers me how Mr. Harper and the Conservative government continues to distort the truth by taking things out of context and/or giving only part of the story on such important matters that affect us and appear to be getting away with it. I trust people realize they have been doing this for quite some time most recently with respect to Afghanistan and the crime legislation they want passed really want rubber-stamped, likely so they can help shore up their claims to get rid of the Senate which as we all know is supposed to be the “house of sober second thought” before final proclamation. They claimed that Bill C-2, the omnibus Justice legislation, was being held up in the Senate really only had a dozen days because of breaks, week-ends etc. They said they considered the bill a confidence matter and threatened an election if it is not passed by the end of the month, and said they would introduce a confidence motion in the House to that effect.

The Conservatives said the bill was stalled in the Senate for 68 days; however, what they failed to mention was that this total included the Holiday break and weekends. By the Conservatives' logic, their Justice Minister was also absent from the House for most of the 68 day period. The bill was introduced in the Senate on November 29. Second reading debate began on the next possible day, and the bill passed Second reading in 6 sitting days, on December 12. The Senate then adjourned on Dec. 14, and debate resumed in the committee as soon as the new session began.

Mr. Dion made clear Liberal intention of bringing down the government on the motion the Liberal Party has been dealing seriously with crime legislation for the past year and a half while the Conservatives have been playing partisan games, latest being they manufactured this crisis, to push for an election. They, the Conservatives allowed months to pass between introducing their justice bills in their original form and bringing them forward for debate; so why the sudden change of heart?

The public should be aware the Senate Committee dealing with Bill C-2 agreed to extend its sitting hours as well as to meet at irregular meeting times, including during the February Parliamentary break week to deal with it. Also, it should be noted that there have been no filibusters in the Senate, unlike the Conservatives¹ ongoing bad behavior in the House as they try to prevent the procedures and house affairs committee from looking into their in-and-out election spending scandal. Could it be that the Conservatives want Canadians to believe the Liberals are delaying this legislation, the fact is, the government could have re-introduced the individual elements of the bill at the stages they were at when the House was prorogued last spring. Instead, they chose to amalgamate 5 bills, including bills the Liberals had offered to fast-track, and start the process over. Actually the Liberals put more effort into passing the government's crime bills in the last session than the Conservatives did. What can we expect next? Wouldn’t the time be better spent attending to Canadian’s needs with respect to the environment, water management, health and child development programs, affordable housing and education, manpower, farming and industry and manufacturing etc; in short, governing.

Michael Cormican, Federal Liberal Candidate, Lethbridge Riding

P.S. Some of the above was quoted from Party reports and some of it generated by me. Also, since I compiled the above earlier in the week it was nice to see some change of heart and concurrence by the Government with the alternative motion put forward by our Liberal Opposition on Afghanistan. Once again I want to remind you that I appreciate feedback to help me reflect your issues and can be contacted at 381-7635.

Thursday, February 7

Two Years of Harper Government Mismanagement and Hypocrisy

Since we Liberals don’t have the luxury of coffers of millions of dollars at our disposal to help to counter the negative advertising the Conservative party has been using to influence public opinion to further their agenda I feel responsible to do my part to remind the public of the other side of the coin. We all need to remember the power of advertising not to mention the fact that as a result of our humanness and unless we question we can be easily be duped into believing half truths if they are repeated often enough. My caution for us is that repetition does not change the truth and I respectfully suggest that we consider and reflect on the following; I trust you will take time to do so:
• Today marks the two-year anniversary of the swearing-in of the Stephen Harper Conservative government.
• The Conservatives have few concrete accomplishments that they can point to over the last two years, but when you look at mismanagement, hypocrisy and dishonesty, they have racked up quite a record.
• Here are some highlights of the Harper government’s record over the past two years:
• Even Prime Minister Harper’s hand-picked panel levelled devastating criticism over the secretive manner in which the Conservative government has managed the Afghanistan mission.
• The government has misled Canadians over allegations of Afghan detainee abuse and has kept Canadians in the dark about the decision made three months ago to halt detainee transfers.
Nuclear Safety and Public Health
• By dismissing the safety concerns of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) and by attempting to smear and scapegoat its former president, Mr. Harper has undermined the credibility and independence of the regulator on which all Canadians depend to ensure the security and safety of Canada's nuclear supply.
• Equally shameful is the Conservative government’s lack of preparedness and late response in addressing the public health crisis caused by the production shortage of medical isotopes.
Economic Mismanagement
• While Canada faces the impact of instability in international markets, Conservative fiscal policies have done little to stimulate the Canadian economy, notably our ailing manufacturing, forestry, livestock and tourism sectors.
• Worse still they got rid of the “contingency fund” generated by the Liberals to help tide us over in emergencies i.e. in the BSE and other crises a “best practice”, highly recommended by those in financial circles for anyone, including business and which could help many sectors now suffering as a result of their “slash and burn” policies.
• Also, rather than providing significant tax relief to kick-start the Canadian economy, the Conservatives chose to proceed with their costly and inefficient two per cent cut to the GST.
• The Conservatives broke an election promise not to tax income trusts, resulting in a loss to Canadians of $25 billion and counting.
• Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s incompetence was exposed when pressure from the Liberal caucus and Canada’s business community forced him to flip-flop on his disastrous interest deductibility measure.
• While Mr. Flaherty has been missing in action on the economic uncertainty facing Canada, he has found the time to ignore Treasury Board guidelines and dole out contracts to his friends from the Harris administration.
• Liberals were also successful in pressuring the government to reverse its decision to tie its new $1-billion community trust fund to the next budget and release the desperately-needed funds now.
• In Nairobi, Uganda, and then in Bali, the government continued its campaign of sabotaging the world’s efforts to combat climate change, while sinking Canada’s international reputation as a leader on the environmental file.
• Upon coming into office, the Conservatives gutted 92 per cent of program funding for climate change programs, threw the regulations for large polluters into the trash and shut down the four most successful climate change programs in Canada: the One Tonne Challenge, EnerGuide, Wind Power Production Incentive and the Renewable Power Production Incentive. They later repackaged many of these programs, reintroducing them with new names, less money and less accountability.
Death Penalty
• The government suddenly and without debate announced it would no longer seek clemency for death row inmates in other countries – providing further proof that Canadians should be wary of a majority Conservative government.
• By not standing up for Canadian citizens facing the death penalty, the Conservatives are reversing a long-standing Canadian practice and are appealing to a right-wing base of support that does not represent the views of most Canadians.
The Larry O’Brien Affair
• The Ontario Provincial Police have filed criminal charges against Ottawa Mayor Larry O’Brien in their investigation into allegations that an Ottawa mayoral candidate was bribed with a federal appointment to drop out of the mayoral race.
• OPP evidence suggests several members of Harper’s inner circle – including the Minister of the Environment, John Baird, the chair of the 2006 Conservative Election campaign, John Reynolds, and the party's National Director, Doug Finley – may have played a role in this affair.
• The government operations and estimates committee is now looking into whether Mr. Baird’s decision to withhold funding from the Ottawa Light Rail project – a decision that may have helped Mr. O’Brien’s campaign – constituted political interference.
“In and Out” Affair
• The Commissioner of Canada Elections is looking into an alleged multi-million dollar "in-and-out" scheme where the Conservative Party channelled expenses for national radio and television ads through local candidates in the 2006 election, thereby allowing them to exceed the party's national spending limit and claim illegitimate rebates.
Mulroney-Schreiber Affair
• The Prime Minister is backing off from his initial promise to hold a full public inquiry and Canadians are still waiting for the Prime Minister to appoint a commissioner for the scaled-down inquiry.
• The conflicting stories that came out of PMO about Mr. Harper’s knowledge of the Mulroney-Schreiber affair further underscore the need for a broad-scope judicial inquiry.
• Questions have also been raised about what was discussed at meetings between Mr. Harper and Mr. Mulroney, and what Justice Minister Rob Nicholson knows about the Harper government's decision to scrap a Justice Department review of the Mulroney settlement.
Canadian Wheat Board
• The Conservatives used abusive and underhanded methods to try and dismantle the Canadian Wheat Board against the wishes of the majority of farmers.
• After getting rid of the CWB president last year, it appears the government is continuing its campaign of muzzling its critics with the firing of former vice-president Deanna Allen last week.
Democratic Reform
• The government’s proposed redistribution of seats in the House of Commons is grossly unfair – Alberta and B.C. would have a seat in the House of Commons for every 105,000 citizens in their respective provinces, but Ontario will only have a seat for every 115,000 citizens. This difference will only get worse over time.
Broken Federalism
• Prime Minister Harper’s claim to have solved the so-called fiscal imbalance was exposed as a complete sham. In 2007, the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan launched furious campaigns against the government for breaking promises that will result in millions of lost revenue.
• Even long-time Conservatives in those provinces have turned their backs on the party. Long-time Conservative MP Bill Casey was kicked out of Caucus after voting with his conscience – against his government’s budget.
Social Programs
• The Conservatives cut $1 billion from crucial programs and services that help improve the lives of women and vulnerable Canadians.
• The government was forced to reinstate funding for the Summer Career Placement Program following pressure from the Liberal caucus and non-profit organizations across the country. The reversal came after the Liberals announced they would restore full funding to the Summer Jobs Program.
Aboriginal Canadians
• The government broke an election promise to honour the $5.1-billion Kelowna Accord.
Women’s Equality
• The Conservatives turned back the clock on women’s equality by shutting down Status of Women offices across the country and removing the word “equality” from the mandate of its Women’s Program.
Child Care
• The Conservatives broke an election promise to create 125,000 new child care spaces, and cancelled the Liberal Early Learning and Child Care agreements to pay for a $100-a-month taxable allowance, much less when declared, that does nothing to help families in need of child care. Phone around and check how many hours of child care it will buy you for the month.
Curbing Charter Rights
• The Conservatives tabled and supported a motion in the House of Commons to remove the rights of same-sex couples to marry across Canada, becoming the first government in Canadian history to actively support removing rights, rather than extending them.
• The government eliminated the Court Challenges program which has been vital in protecting the rights of visible minorities and official language groups.
Veterans Rights
• In 2005, the Prime Minister promised to immediately extend the program to widows of all Second World War and Korean War veterans, but after two budgets he has still not delivered.
Accountability Hypocrisy
• The Conservatives passed a Federal Accountability Act that Information Commissioner John Reid described as “retrograde and dangerous”, breaking 21 election promises relating to conflict of interest and failing to change the Access to Information Act.
• Many of the watered-down provisions that did make it into the final Accountability Act – notably lobbyist restrictions – still have not been brought into force.
• The Prime Minister continues to break his election promise to stop patronage appointments. The Conservatives have stacked independent judicial advisory committees with police officers, ignoring the objections of the Canadian Bar Association and even the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.
• Even Brian Mulroney’s former chief of staff, Norman Spector, slammed Mr. Harper this week for breaking his election promises to tighten up the influence of lobbyists.
Softwood Lumber
• The Conservatives promised to get every cent of the $5 billion owed to Canada by the U.S. in duties. Instead, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Industry Minister David Emerson cut a softwood lumber deal which only gave $4 billion to Canadian producers – leaving the U.S. with a $1 billion tip.
• The U.S. is now using this flawed deal to challenge Canada’s ability to assist workers and towns that are struggling to cope with job losses in the industry.
Wait Times
• The Conservatives broke their election promise to implement the Patient Wait Times Guarantee and downloaded responsibility for their wait times promise to the provinces and territories without investing any new money.
It appears like anyone that speaks against them are silenced or let go even from judicial committees. The list mounts, including the WCB and the latest victim being Linda Keen from the Canadian Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Is this the kind of leadership Canadians want? If you would like to keep up on the latest please check,, press, local paper or TV news.
Michael Cormican, Liberal Candidate; Lethbridge Riding

Wednesday, February 6

The Future of Canada’s Mission in Afghanistan

• Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion met yesterday with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to discuss the future of Canada’s combat mission in Afghanistan.
• The Prime Minister will introduce a draft motion in the House of Commons on Thursday to extend Canada’s mission in Afghanistan until the end of 2011.
• The Conservatives’ draft resolution does not include many of the Manley Panel’s recommendations, such as improved diplomatic efforts, a better balance with respect to reconstruction and development efforts, or the need for greater accountability by the government on the progress of the mission.
• The motion also does not address important issues Liberals have been concerned about for over a year, such as the safe transfer of Afghan detainees, the cultivation of opium in Afghanistan or fixing the way the government manages this mission in Ottawa.
• But the most important problem with the motion is that it does not respect our position that the combat mission should end in February 2009.
• Therefore the Liberal Opposition will not be able to support the government’s motion. We will not abandon our principled and responsible position.
• As this motion is debated in the coming weeks, Liberals will be putting forward amended wording that clearly respects our position. If the Prime Minister is serious about reaching a consensus that would be supported by a majority of Canadians, he will be receptive to our revised wording.
• Liberals will not abandon the people of Afghanistan, but Canada’s mission has to change.
• The Liberal position is clear: the combat mission in Kandahar should end as scheduled in February 2009, and the government should have acted responsibly and notified NATO, so that it could make the necessary arrangements to ensure that a proper rotation of NATO troops would take place at that time.
• We are united in our stance on this issue and we will stand together, just as we did last April when we put this position forward as an opposition day motion. We will not allow Prime Minister Harper to continue to needlessly politicize Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan and question the loyalty of those who challenge his government.
• In the coming weeks we challenge the Prime Minister to act like a leader. Together, we will show him what true leadership really is.
• The Conservatives’ draft resolution calls for extending the current mission until the end of 2011, with a “review” of the mission in February 2011. It makes no commitment that the mission will actually end in 2011.
• The motion says that the emphasis will shift to training and that the combat element of mission will decrease over time but it clearly allows for the continuation of the combat mission after 2009.
• The motion also makes clear that the extension is conditional upon the provision of an additional battle group from NATO of 1000 troops which must be operational in Kandahar as of February 2009. It is also conditional upon the government securing medium helicopter lift capacity and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Report on LPCA Convention, Calgary; Feb. 1 to 3, ‘08

Everett Tanis and I attended the Annual Convention on Feb 1, 2 and 3 and report as follows:

Despite the cold weather we got there in time for the official opening. In fact, we were amongst the first ones to arrive though didn’t get to eating until after the celebrations closed. The co-chairs of the convention, Jade Boldt and Neil Mackie did a super job. Everything was first class. Mme. Marie Poulin, National President addressed the delegates through video conference as did Mr. Dion. Gerard Kennedy attended opening night though unable to stay due to another commitment. Hearing all of them reassured us we have a great pool of talent. Other dignitaries present over the w/e included Joyce Fairbairn, our beloved Senator, Senator Grant Mitchell, Hon. Navdeep Bains, MP; Dr. Carolyn Bennett and our Deputy Leader, Michael Ignatieff. All spoke at various points over the w/e, all gave super presentations and I wasn’t the only one moved emotionally by their addresses. We really felt proud to have such great people among us. It gives us great hope for our future. We felt pumped. Though I didn’t count I would guess there was close to 300 in attendance. Also, Harry Mortimer, Richard, Adam Smith and several others attended from Ottawa.

Unfortunately with choices of three and four sessions running simultaneously no one could attend all so had to choose. Due to being the candidate I attended those I felt would be most appropriate. Candidates were show-cased at lunchtime on Saturday. It sounded from other’s reports all sessions were interesting and lively. On Saturday evening those of us wanting to attend the Agriculture session missed out on the Laurier Club reception. Everyone in attendance agreed it was one of the best. Bob Russell, Don Thompson, Jake and the couple others speaking gave us lots to think about with respect to marketing and food security etc. Mr. Russell has agreed to present to our policy committee in Lethbridge. Many of us didn’t even have time for a drink between then and supper. Mr. Ignatieff with his slow and deliberate style really pumped us. Lethbridge was honored with several awards including recognition for our level of activity. Mary Insley was identified as having received volunteer of the year award for long and dedicated service last year and Marie Moar was noted for same for this past year. It was well after 10 pm on Sat. evening before we got to party and some of us older folks cut short since it was an early start on Sunday with voting followed by resolutions.

Except for VP Policy, all executive positions were unopposed therefore declared elected. Dr. Nally did a great job chairing the resolutions session and was re-elected to the position. As a result of prioritization half the resolutions dropped to lower rating which included the young Liberals one to move the Senate to Calgary. Unfortunately, when we got to the proposed Constitutional changes we got bogged down and since some people indicated they had not received them they were deferred to next year. The conference closed shortly before noon.

The new Executive headed by new President, George Hodgson met from noon until mid-afternoon. I represented Lethbridge Riding. A major issue is funding due to the changes enacted by Mr. Chretien and they decided to push for the new program called 5/5 which will return 50% to the ridings. We are also encouraged to hold lots of activities and not to be afraid to “pass the hat” at functions. It is believed the new rules as well as being democratic will help us more locally. A proposed meeting schedule for the year ahead was set and people will be notified in due course. We still remain on Election Alert. The media also came by and spoke with both Everett and I with respect to the anticipated Provincial Election. It was a busy w/e and lots achieved.

Summary by – Michael Cormican, Candidate Feb. 4, 2008

Friday, February 1

Candidate Activity and Issues of Interest

Two weeks ago I other candidates from Southern Alberta were invited to Calgary to meet with Senator Larry Campbell and Paul Zed, MP who were on a cross-country trip to hear about issues facing cities. The largest issue appeared to be homelessness and affordable housing and I found myself having to speak-up for Lethbridge. Over the past couple of weeks I have attended a couple more charitable fundraisers and met with Herald staff, Chamber of Commerce director, Mayor Tarleck and Mr. Craig, mayor of Coaldale. It was interesting to note the different issues a small town experiences versus larger towns and cities. Mr. Tarleck noted Lethrbidge’s Master Plan highlighting homelessness and housing issues and the upcoming Centennial Celebration for the High Level Bridge. Also, attended SACPA sessions, one of the more interesting topics being ‘Reform of the Welfare System’ given by Dr. Bruce Miller, MLA, Edmonton. Another interesting environmental topic I attended was a presentation on Utilization of Exhaust CO2 to enhance Crop Growth while also helping the Environment. Also, talked with Lorne Hickey, County Reeve and agreed to meet for a longer session.

With respect to Government or lack of it and though quieter over the Xmas break issues continued and now that Parliament has resumed it appears to be heating up again. Recent issues simmering are:
• Linda Keen, President of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, fired in the “dark of night” for embarrassing the government by exercising her mandate to enforce nuclear safety regulations.
• Adrian Measner, President and CEO of the Canadian Wheat Board, fired for his decision to follow the direction of the CWB’s farmer-elected Board of Directors.
A few similar, earlier interesting ones were:
• Johanne Gélinas, Environment Commissioner, fired after publicly commenting to the media about her not receiving sufficient information from the government about its "Made in Canada" environmental plan.
• Yves Le Bouthillier, President of the Law Commission of Canada, fired after all federal government funding for the Commission was eliminated.
• Allan Amey, President of the Canada Emission Reduction Incentives Agency, created to oversee federal compliance with the Kyoto Protocol, fired in 2006 and the agency dismantled.
Almost appears like a pattern! One can see how easy it to jump to the conclusion that they only want people who will do their bidding. Then there is:

The Rosdev File - A key staffer in Prime Minister Harper's office and a Conservative fundraiser made separate backroom interventions in a dispute between a Montreal real-estate firm and the Dept. of Public Works.
• Mr. Harper’s Fend-for-Yourself Federalism Leaves Provinces to Fight Climate Change Alone.
• Manley Panel’s report on Canada’s Future Role in Afghanistan.
• The Schreiber and Mr. Mulroney issue etc. as well as the continuing sagas on lack of disclosure on detainees in Afghanistan and lack of action with respect to the environment.

Some Liberal announcements you’ll be interested in are as follows:
• Liberals Introduce Legislation to Boost Farmers’ Control over Canadian Wheat Board.
• Liberals Move to Implement UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
• The 30/50 plan to combat poverty, as well as help for Industry.

For more details check