Monday, June 30

Happy Canada Day to you and all

Just want to wish you "Happy Canada Day". I think I can safely say that most if not all Canadians are intensely proud of our great country, and rightly so. Anyone that has traveled abroad know the esteem that others hold us in. We have so much to be proud of and this is borne out again in the latest issue of Macleans magazine which has verified it scientifically and we're away ahead of "our American cousins" from south of the border in all the satisfaction indicators surveyed, even better health and richer financially as well. How's that for you. Happy Canada Day. I hope you can attend some of the many festivities that will be going on around us. It also gives me great pleasure to provide Mr. Dion's wishes to us here as well and as follows:

For Release: Immediate

Statement from the Honourable Stéphane Dion, Leader of the Official Opposition, on Canada Day 2008

On July 1, Canadians at home and abroad will celebrate our great achievements as a country.

Canada Day reminds us that Canada is unique. We are a model of how peoples from around the world can come together as a nation, sharing such values as democracy, freedom, and respect for diversity.

We are a nation of historic accomplishments, proud of overcoming the challenges of geography at home, and establishing a reputation as a major participant in the global community.

We are also a forward-looking nation, prepared to take on the environmental and economic challenges of the 21st century as we build a richer, fairer, and greener society.

On behalf of the Liberal Party of Canada and our national caucus, I wish you and your loved ones a happy Canada Day.

Press Office
Office of the Leader of the Opposition

Friday, June 27

Best wishes to all Canadians on Canadian Multiculturalism Day

For the benefit of those keeping-up with the latest on this site and to wish all Canadians and aspiring Canadians te best as we celebrate Canadian Multi-culturalism Day. The following is Mr. Dion's release:

Release Date: June 27, 2008

For Release: Immediate

Statement by the Honourable Stéphane Dion, Leader of the Official Opposition, on Canadian Multiculturalism Day

On behalf of the Liberal Party of Canada and our parliamentary Caucus, I would like to extend my warmest wishes to all Canadians on Multiculturalism Day.

People have come to Canada from all over the world bringing with them histories, cultures, and languages that enrich the fabric of our country. This joyous occasion is an excellent opportunity to celebrate the richness of Canada’s multicultural spirit as well as the tremendous contributions that Canada’s varied ethnic and cultural communities have made to our great country.

Since 1971, when Canada became the first country to adopt an official policy of multiculturalism under Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, we Canadians have demonstrated the value of diversity. And today, as our country faces up to the great challenges of the 21st century – an increasingly competitive global economy, climate change, and child poverty – it is more important than ever that we tap into the diverse talents and skills of our population.

Together we can ensure Canada remains an open, peaceful, and caring society while at the same time making it richer, fairer, and greener.

To all Canadians from coast to coast to coast celebrating this special day, please accept my best wishes.

Press Office Office of the Leader of the Opposition

Courtesy of Michael Cormican, Candidate, Lethbridge

Tuesday, June 24

happy Saint-Jean Baptiste Day/une bonne Saint-Jean-Baptiste

Today it gives me great pleasure on behalf of myself and local Liberals to wish all our local French-speaking Canadian constituents the best on this special day as well as to pass on Mr. Dion’s wishes as copied below. Once again let’s celebrate our commonalities and differences that make us who we are – wonderful Canadians, “happy Saint-Jean Baptiste Day/une bonne Saint-Jean-Baptiste”:

Communiqué Date : Le 24 juin 2008

Pour diffusion immédiate

Le chef de l’opposition officielle souhaite à tous les francophones une bonne Saint-Jean-Baptiste

Au nom de tous les députés fédéraux libéraux, je souhaite à tous les francophones du Canada de passer une bonne fête de la Saint-Jean-Baptiste.

Le 24 juin est l'occasion de souligner l'apport extraordinaire des francophones à notre pays et de célébrer la vitalité du fait français au Canada. Nous sommes privilégiés en tant que Canadiens d'avoir deux langues officielles qui sont des langues d’envergure internationale et qui nous ouvrent les portes sur le monde.

Je souhaite encore à tous les francophones une excellente Saint-Jean-Baptiste en compagnie de leur famille et des leurs amis.

[(Translation en Anglais)
Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion Wishes all Francophones a happy Saint-Jean Baptiste Day

On behalf of all the Federal liberal caucus, I wish to all of Canada’s Francophones a happy Saint-Jean Baptiste day.

June 24 is an opportunity to recognize Francophones’ extraordinary contribution to the Canadian experience and celebrate the vitality of French in Canada. We are privilege to enjoy two official languages whose international stature has opened a window on the world for all Canadians.

Again, I wish to all Canadian Francophones a happy Saint-Jean Baptiste day spent with their family and friends.]

Renseignements :

Service de presse
Cabinet du chef de l’opposition

If you wish to contact me you may email me at or call at (403) 381-7635. Bon jour et merci beaucoup.

Michael Cormican, Liberal Candidate

Saturday, June 21

Statements on National Aboriginal Day

Really Mr. Dion says it better than I could. However, given how I believe and feel about our Aboriginal peoples I wish to add my two cents worth. People that know me know I really feel for and beleive that justice will not be served until our Aboriginal brothers and sisters, descendents of our original Canadians enjoy equal rights and opportunities as every other Canadian. They also know that I have long been putting my money where my mouth is since I spend many hours with my Aboriginal colleagues and do everything I can to advance the Aboriginal cause. It is tough being a minority and so easy to be overwhelmed by the predominating culture. Also, as i have often said "when any [part of a community looks bad, it is reflective of the rest of the community and when any segment benefits we all do and are the greater for it". Let's all; especially Aboriginals, hold heads high and feel proud of who we are. Happy National Aboriginal Day!
Michael Cormican, Liberal Candidate, Lethbridge

The following is Mr. Dion's message for National Aboriginal Day:

Today, we honour and celebrate the First Nations, Métis and Inuit people of Canada. First proclaimed twelve years ago by a Liberal government, this day pays tribute to the immense contribution of Aboriginal Peoples to the social, economic and cultural fabric of Canadian society.

This year’s celebration comes less than two weeks after the long overdue apology from the government of Canada for the legacy of residential schools.

In this spirit, I would like to pay special tribute to some of the individuals who made the apology possible. They include Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil Fontaine, who is himself a survivor of the residential school tragedy; Willie Blackwater, and other survivors like him, who had the courage to speak out and pursue justice; and, finally, former Liberal Member of Parliament Gary Merasty, whose motion calling on the government to apologize to survivors of residential schools was unanimously adopted by Parliament on May 1, 2007.

On behalf of the Liberal Party of Canada and our parliamentary caucus, I would like to thank these people for their commitment and dedication to seeing the apology through to fruition, and for their contribution to our nation.
Honourable Stephane Dion, Liberal Leader and Leader of Her majesty's Loyal Opposition in the Government of Canada.

Conservatives bypass the Parliamentry Process again.

June 21, 2008

In typical fashion and disregard for the Parliamentary process and Canadians, after Parliament had recessed for the summer, apparently last night the Conservative government posted details of its defence procurement strategy on the Department of National Defence website which shows it spent almost half a billion dollars.

It prompts one to ask why such huge expenditure wasn’t raised while the House of Commons was in session. Was it that they were fixated as visible in media casts trying to tear apart the Liberal Green Shift Plan released yesterday by Mr. Dion.

It’s difficult not to postulate that the timing for the post was chosen strategically in hopes no one would notice it; however some see it as deceitful. If the second speculation is true, irresponsible jumps to mind.

Either way, they obviously have little respect for Canadians in avoiding debate by posting it right after the House had recessed. They must think we’re all fools. How long do they think people will tolerate such behavior? Where is the accountability they preached during the last election campaign? How can they be trusted?

Yesterday’s move by the government to hide its procurement strategy was in stark contrast with Liberal efforts to engage Canadians in an open and honest debate regarding the steps necessary to combat global warming.

Obviously there’s a huge difference between the Liberal Party and the Conservative government. Our leader, Mr. Dion announced a bold and ambitious plan that includes detailed information we will be happy to discuss with everyone. We trust voters will see right through such action when it comes to voting next time.


'Food or Fuel ... and what’s happening with Oil'

The following is a summary of the Presentation on 'Food or Fuel ... and what’s happening with Oil' by Bob Russell, June 16, 2008 in Lethbridge sponsored by the Lethbridge Federal Liberal Policy Committee. I compiled it from the notes I took at the session. We will advise later as to whether or not we need to generate and forward recommendations with respect to policy on the issue.

Rightly so, we urbanites are increasingly interested in where food comes from even if only prompted by recent high increases in prices of both products - food and fuel. However, considering everything Canadian grain farmers might best stick to growing grains and oilseeds for food and leave the production of biofuels to other countries i.e. Brazil. Mr. Russell says, he’s not opposed to biofuels i.e. ethanol or biodiesel, his concern is with the emphasis and high level of subsidy by our government when so many are starving in the world with concerns and lower than ever per capita food stocks. He says, he’s got an ethical dilemma using food to produce fuel. He also says, we’ve got to be careful we don’t ascribe causes and blame wrongly and it behooves all of us to be as educated as possible not only as broadly as possible but especially on the issue and ramifications.

Mr. Russell says that with respect to increasing food-production costs there are many forces at work not least of which is the cost of fuel of which oil is the major influence. The major issue is that the main traditional source of fuel, oil is diminishing and demand increasing. Also, pressure has intensified to find new alternative fuel sources as well as improve technology’s performance. Bob suggests we’ve got to realize there are many forces at work and we need to ask questions. We need to look at the ethics of practices that impact the food supply and chain of supply. We need to understand often hitherto unknown factors i.e. diseases affect supply and we need to be cognizant of the amount of time and money we expend as well as to be aware the huge costs of infrastructure and moving products costs at all stages of the process. Also, we need to be aware of what’s happening in the U.S. which was ahead of us in likewise overemphasizing biofuels and especially now factor-in the latest new oil finds from less traditional areas i.e. the cross border find announced last Friday which is said to be many times that known in Saudi Arabia. It’s well known that we’ll be in oversupply from the Figures from two of the three plants in Alberta which indicate the quotas they’d set will create an oversupply problem. Also, it’s been noted that farmers have complained they’ve been awaiting payments for some time.

Mr. Russell says that currently there are 22 biofuels plants in Canada, 3 in Alberta. The Federal Government is subsidizing the ethanol industry in amount of 2 billion and there has been no clarity as to the extent of the Provincial contribution. He noted that with Government intervention by way of subsidy “there is no real free and open market for grain”. Another factor not known is what impact a sudden rush by the vehicle manufacturers to produce more efficient hybrids may have which Bob says pertains to cars. We can imagine the boon it would be if they succeeded in applying the hybrid technology to the real gas guzzling trucking industry. Bob also suggests that all would hugely benefit if they also applied principles used in the aviation industry that is believed to be far ahead in use of refined fuels. He says, cleaner burning fuels largely needs political will to ensure it occurs.

Mr. Russell noted with interest that only two of the eight up-grader plants originally planned for the Tarsands are online. There are lots of alternatives planned the public aren’t aware of i.e. a pipeline from California to Alberta to ship a thinning product for use in the Tarsands to help eliminate shipping of raw bitumen. It might be postulated that the delay with respect to the other up-graders may be as a result of such behind the scenes deals obviously in the interests of U.S. oil security. Bob noted that Mr. Stelmach said shipping the bitumen literally “is akin to selling the family farm”. We might need to consider that such movement may soon raise other problems considering difficulties and subsequent regulations imposed to help prevent transfer of disease from farm to farm North of Edmonton. He also noted that recently it has come to light that American biodiesel is now “seeping across the border as a result of NAFTA” and there’s nothing we can do without it.

In brief, and as confirmed in question period we need to be cautious of the information we’re using since much information being bandied around is very out of date and from the era when some foresaw difficulties as well as were trying to get attention of those whose interests were more in selling than stewarding of resources. Also, it was pointed out that Canada needs to be cautious about how much goes into subsidization bearing mind that the U.S. subsidizes 80-90% or research. One businessman suggested that we need to question the apparent waste of feasibility studies i.e. in Vulcan which has minimal water when copious amounts of water are needed in the ethanol process as verified in the case of the local distillery thus emphasizing recent attention suggesting a water issue looms on the horizon too. Another questioner pointed out the need for people to understand and not confuse all alternative fuels noting the huge difference between bio-diesel and ethanol. Another participant emphasized the need for caution with the information being used and another noted clauses of the NAFTA Agreement that outlines major repercussions with respect proportionality of sales as well as for reduction and/or withdrawl of options. Long and short is, we all need to realize and expect price increases for both food and fuel from hereon and we need to become considerate in our use and habits.

Summary by Michael Cormican, Liberal Candidate, Lethbridge

Thursday, June 19

‘Liberal Green Shift Plan’

It gives me great pleasure to provide the basics of the ‘Liberal Green Shift Plan’.
• The Liberal Green Shift plan will cut income taxes, put a price on pollution, fight poverty and position Canada to be a leader in the 21st century sustainable global economy.
• The Green Shift is bold, and it is the right thing to do.
• Our plan is as powerful as it is simple. We will cut taxes on those things we all want more of such as income, investment and innovation, and we will shift those taxes to what we all want less of: pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and waste.
• We need to take action for both the environment and the economy. Our plan is good for the planet and good for your wallet.
• Canada must be a leader in tackling the climate change crisis, which is the greatest ecological threat to ever face humanity.
• Canadians deserve a government that will be honest with them, put good ideas on the table, quickly put a price on pollution that reflects its real costs to us all, and bring forward a plan to help Canada succeed in the 21 st -century global economy. We will be that government.
• The Conservatives have done nothing for more than two critical years. They have no plan for absolute reductions of greenhouse gas emissions and no plan for the 21st century economy.
• The time has come to do what is right – not what is easy – for our environment and for our future.
• Environmentalists and economists agree that the best way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to put a price on carbon.
• Under the Liberal Green Shift Plan, the government will put a price on fossil fuels, like coal and natural gas, starting at $10 per tonne of carbon dioxide and rising to $40 per tonne over four years.
• No new taxes will be levied on gasoline at the pump, since there is already an excise tax in place which equates to $42 per tonne of carbon dioxide.
• Our plan will shift Canada’s tax system away from income and towards pollution, and in a revenue-neutral way – putting it in law that every dollar that is raised from carbon pollution will be returned to Canadians in tax cuts.
• Using the revenue generated through carbon pricing, a Liberal government will introduce broad-based and progressive income tax cuts, and implement measures to protect low-income Canadians and those who live in rural and Northern communities from rising energy costs. These include:
o Significant cuts to the first three marginal rates of income tax;
o A new, universal child tax benefit worth $350 per child, per year, on top of all existing child benefits;
o An $850 increase to the Employment tax credit (from $1000 to $1850) which will also be made fully refundable. The credit will now be phased out at an income level of $50,000 per year;
o An increase to the value of the Working Income Tax Benefit to help low-income Canadians get over the welfare wall;
o Tax incentives for business to encourage investment in green technology and innovation;
o An increase to the Northern Residents Deduction, and indexation going forward; and
o A credit worth $150 for every rural tax-filer.
• In addition to the Green Shift, Liberals will offer targeted benefits financed from the existing fiscal framework to help lift low-income Canadians out of poverty, including a $600 increase to the GIS for seniors, and benefits for low-income Canadian families.
• Our plan will also attract businesses to our sustainable, green economy with one of the most competitive tax jurisdictions in the world. We will:
o accelerate and deepen the currently planned corporate tax cuts, reducing the general corporate tax rate by an additional one per cent within four years;
o reduce the small business corporate tax rate by an additional one per cent, to help Canadian to lead the way in the development of new technologies and products for the green economy;
o accelerate capital cost allowance rates for green investments to help spur industry investments in green technologies; and
o make the Science, Research & Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax credit 25 per cent refundable to spur further innovation in developing the new products that will keep Canada competitive.
• The Liberal Green Shift Plan complements other Liberal commitments to green our economy, such as:
o the Renewable Power Production Incentive that will more than double the non-emitting energy sources available to Canadians;
o the $1-billion Advanced Manufacturing and Prosperity (AMP) Fund that will stimulate green manufacturing;
o the major Infrastructure Surplus commitment to upgrade our sustainable infrastructure such as public transit through unanticipated surpluses; and
o complementary regulations and incentives to Canadians for home retrofits, energy efficient appliances and vehicles, low carbon farm and forestry practices and other ways to help Canadians reduce their environmental footprint.

For details of ‘Green Shift Plan’ check or call
Michael Cormican, Liberal Candidate, 381-7635

Tuesday, June 17

Tories’ deteriorating behavior shows their true colors

This is tthe latest letter sent to the Herald on June 12th

At last the Tory Government is showing both its true colors and signs of pressure - shooting from the hip and not even anticipating consequences of its behavior. Hopefully Canadians are noticing this.

It’s obvious the Tories have noted that Mr. Dion and the Liberal approach are in sync with the electorate’s desire for attention on environmental and economic issues. They acted stupidly today, when they seemingly disrespected the long tradition against involving civil servants in distributing political messages on Ottawa streets. To me, this sounds antidemocratic and even desperate.

Obviously, since the Liberal plan with details on carbon-pricing hasn’t been unveiled, they concocted their message from mere speculation on future policy releases. I would expect a reasonable person or group to wait with a response until they’ve reviewed details. However, can we expect much else from those operating and guided by dogmatic ideology created to meet their goals?

Hopefully they’re realizing voters have a greater sense of responsibility than they thought. Canadians know the time for discussion has long passed; the experts are emphatic that we can’t wait until 2020, let alone 2050, for change or use 2006 limits as a guide.

One does not have to be bright to recognize the deterioration that will occur over the next 12 years, nor to realize that business just passes on any costs to us, the consumers.

At last it’s readily visible how crass, arrogant and dictatorial this government is - “planning to run their adds at the pumps” and declaring “we’ll run them on the radio” when declined by the advertising network. Thank you ‘Fuelcast’ for being ethical!

Even the Conference Board of Canada and the Canadian Council of Chief Executives now appear to be siding with environmentalist David Suzuki in advocating a green tax shift. Liberal revenue-neutral policy will ensure we benefit when we comply.

I believe a positive approach is always better. In this case it will be fair to all and will penalize us only if we disregard what’s right; yet will give opportunity to improve things when we change our habit.

The Liberal proposal is designed to reward and encourage responsibility in keeping with use. Canadians want action on Global Warming.

A carbon-pricing approach is rightly in sync with the rest of Liberal policy and will encourage and support responsible investment, innovation, research in all aspects of our economy to help create the sustainable world we want for ourselves and our children.

Michael Cormican, Liberal Candidate, Lethbridge Riding

Tuesday, June 3

For the Record

Date: June 2, 2008
Conservatives Misleading Canadians on Leadership Debts
The Conservative Party website mistakenly claims that “June 3rd is the Elections Canada deadline for candidates from the 2006 Liberal leadership race to have paid off their loans and outstanding debts. Otherwise, they will run afoul of Canada’s election laws.”
The website goes further, asking if Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion will “seek an arbitrary extension from Elections Canada?”
Given the trouble the Conservative Party seems to be having with election financing rules, as illustrated by the alleged “in-and-out” scheme, it is understandable that they would be confused by the leadership campaign filing requirements.
In fact, the rules are clearly spelled out in the Canada Elections Act in Section 435.29. A number of people are under the impression that June 3 is a debt repayment deadline. In fact, the Elections Act allows candidates to honour binding agreements to pay beyond the 18-month period. The June 3 deadline is not a “repayment” deadline at all, it’s a date set to report.
Our former leadership contestants continue to work hard to retire their debt, and they will fully comply with the statutory requirements of the Canada Elections Act. The new numbers are expected to be posted on the Elections Canada website in the next few weeks.
With regard to the Leader’s debt, other factors are at play. As leader, Mr. Dion has put the Party’s interest ahead of his own. Raising money for his campaign has been secondary to ensuring the long-term financial stability of the Liberal Party. Nonetheless, he is also working hard to retire the debt and has shown significant progress.
Finally, it is important to note that the various leadership campaigns had raised roughly $12 million as of June 2008. They raised that much in addition to what the Party was raising at the same time. And they did that under the strictest fundraising rules that our system has ever seen. That is a sign of strength.
For more information, please contact:
Liberal Party of Canada Press Office
Daniel Lauzon
(613) 783-8403

Monday, June 2

Happy Environment Week!

Environment week is June 1 to 7. The theme is, “your action counts”. It's my hope that everyone will do everything they can to be conscious of it and do whatever they can to contribute. It’s in our own best interest.

A good place to start is to ask yourself and others questions. Do we understand basically what is entailed when we talk about environment, why should we be concerned about the environment, etc? Since the week is designated we can expect there’ll be lots on the radio, TV and on the papers; so tune in.

To find out more you can google the word on your computer. To help yourself get enthused, if possible attend presentations and/or demonstrations and discuss with your friends what you and they can do to “lessen our footprint”. Understand what lessening our footprint means! Again check it out.

Actions that will help are as simple as turning off lights when not needed, watering less, ensuring taps don’t drip and instead of running the tap to get cool water to drink fill a jug and keep it in the fridge. Wash dishes by hand and don’t run the tap while washing your teeth. Consider using a rain-barrel to catch the water from your downspouts for the flowers and/or lawn. Installation of low flush toilets is highly recommended.

Change to energy-efficient whatever – even bulbs and a better performance air filter in your vehicle. Considering the price of gas you’ll be happy and you’re conserving for those that come after us. Shop only when necessary and wait until you can take-in several stores in one trip. Use a bicycle and/or walk and you get the added benefits of exercising.

If you haven’t been doing so already start composting, reuse resources as often as possible and lessen, I suggest eliminate pesticides and help lower our cancer rates and other upsets in the chain of life. There's also a push mower for exercise. There's also a weed grabber that neatly catches those dandelions without bending.

Also, I suggest planting vegetables and you can enjoy their frshness. Flowers also help improve our air quality and tickles the heart as they unfold their beauty and scent and attract the bees, butterflys and dragonflys.

Write and talk with your elected representatives and let them know where you stand and how you feel about especially the need to enact laws that will protect our environment including resources.

I’ll be happy to discuss it and your concerns further. Check my website and blog at and/or our Liberal site at Best wishes.

Michael Cormican, Liberal Candidate, Lethbridge