Thursday, March 31

Conservative G8 Legacy Fund had no controls, documents reveal Liberals launch G8/G20 “Wish you were here – you already paid for it!” postcard campaign

Days after announcing a Liberal government’s plan to cut Conservative waste and stop corporate giveaways, Liberal candidate David McGuinty revealed new evidence today that there were no controls over the $50-million G8 Legacy Fund or any requirement that the projects actually relate to the summit.

“This confirms what we have been saying all along: Industry Minister Tony Clement used the G8 Legacy Fund as his own personal slush fund to pepper his riding with $50 million in taxpayer-funded vanity projects,” said Mr. McGuinty, Liberal candidate for Ottawa South.

The information was obtained through a House of Commons Order Paper response that was quietly tabled by the Conservatives just 70 minutes before their government was defeated for being in contempt of Parliament – likely in the hopes that no one would notice, said Mr. McGuinty.

The documents show that the $50-million fund was doled out to Mr. Clement’s hand-picked projects with no requirement for municipalities to report which companies received the funding, and no requirement for the projects to be connected in any way to the G8.

The documents also reveal the Conservatives wasted no expense requiring an Economic Action Plan sign be erected in front of each of the 32 projects, and they budgeted an additional federal contribution of $1,000 per sign.

“What’s clear now is that the G8 was used as a flimsy excuse to spray $50 million in public money across Tony Clement’s riding, with no controls and no connection to the G8 whatsoever,” said Mr. McGuinty. “We’ve already established that most of the projects had absolutely nothing to do with the G8, were located miles away from the summit site, and many were not completed until well after the summit was over – and now we know why.”

To commemorate the wasteful excesses of the G8, the Liberal Party launched a G8/G20 “Wish you were here – you already paid for it!” postcard campaign. The postcards, featuring marquee examples of G8/G20 waste, are signed “Love, Stephen & Tony.”

“These pork-barrel vanity projects are etched in the public consciousness as iconic symbols of Conservative waste,” said Mr. McGuinty. “A total of $50 million spent by Tony Clement to buy votes could have bought 50,000 annual Learning Passport grants for young Canadians.”

The postcards feature a landlocked wooden lighthouse that doesn’t light up, public toilets over 30 kilometres from the summit, a sidewalk 81 kilometres from the site, a $380,000 antique steamboat and the world-famous,$2-million fake lake pavilion.

“The Conservatives wasted no expense using GPS to track the $1,000 EAP signs that went in front of these projects, but didn’t bother tracking how $50 million of taxpayer funds were spent,” said Mr. McGuinty.

Wednesday, March 30

Michael Ignatieff on Family Care

Monday, March 28

Harper Budget Offers Crumbs for Families

* The Conservatives are offering crumbs for seniors, family care and learning and making the wrong economic choices by spending billions on corporate tax breaks, mega-prisons and stealth fighters.

* Seniors: The Conservatives spent more on the G20 in a single day than this budget has for seniors in an entire year. They are giving 20 times more to Canada’s richest corporations than to the poorest seniors.

* Learning: The Conservatives are spending 1,000 times more on fighter jets than post-secondary students.

* Family care: They spent three times as much on self-promoting advertising than this budget has for family care next year.

* Public safety: The Conservatives are spending 1,000 times more on mega-prisons than youth crime prevention.

* Conservative budget numbers don’t add up and can’t be trusted. The Harper regime ran up a record $56-billion deficit and has shown contempt for Parliament and Canadians by hiding the true costs of their $6-billion corporate tax cuts, $13-billion mega-prisons and $30-billion stealth fighters.

Small Business

* The Conservatives are borrowing $6 billion – and adding to Canada’s record debt – to pay for more corporate tax breaks for the top 5% most wealthy businesses in Canada – these extra tax breaks do not help small business.

* In January, the Conservatives raised job-killing payroll taxes for all Canadian businesses when they increased EI premiums.


* There are more than 100,000 fewer full-time jobs in Canada today compared to the fall of 2008.

* All of the net new work created since then is part-time, a fact the Conservatives conveniently left out of their budget.

* Youth unemployment is nearly twice the national average.

Low-income Canadians

* The Conservatives deliberately excluded low-income Canadians from qualifying for measures under this budget – like the Family Caregiver Tax Credit and the Volunteer Firefighters Tax Credit – by making the tax credits non-refundable. Non-refundable tax credits only help Canadians who earned enough income that year to pay income taxes. But low-income Canadians get left in the cold.

* Under the Conservative plan, a volunteer firefighter with a dependent who earns $20,000 a year would get no money from the Conservatives’ tax credit. The Liberal proposal is for a refundable tax credit.

* The Conservatives deliberately excluded the poorest caregivers, with a paltry $300 from a non-refundable tax credit that isn’t even available to low-income Canadians. A Canadian taxpayer earning $20,000 with a dependent wouldn’t qualify for any help as a caregiver. Compare this to the Liberal Family Care Plan that would offer up to $1,350 for low- and middle-income Canadians, and help Canadians take time off work with a Family Care EI benefit.


* Under the Conservatives, a senior who earns $170 per month (outside of Old Age Security) is considered to be so rich that the new $50-a-month GIS supplement will be clawed back. And if they have a pension of $366 a month, they’re too wealthy to receive even a penny of the GIS increase.

* By choosing not to cut corporate taxes, the Liberal Party will be able to do more for seniors than this budget does.

Child care and affordable housing

* The budget has no plan for child care or affordable housing.

Health care

* We are on the eve of important negotiations with the provinces on health care. In 2004, the previous Liberal government invested $41 billion in health care. But that funding is set to run out in 2014, and must be renegotiated. This budget has no credible plan to deal with long-term health care costs and to improve care quality – and instead spends $30 billion on stealth fighters and $13 billion on mega-prisons.

Hidden costs

* This Conservative regime still refuses to provide Canadians with detailed information on the cost of their prison bills and their untendered stealth fighter jet deal. This completely undermines the credibility of the entire budget. They expect MPs to vote on this budget without knowing how much these things will cost.

* The Parliamentary Budget Officer has already said the costs of the jets is double what the Conservatives say. And both the PBO and the IMF have shown that the Conservatives’ promise to balance the books simply isn’t credible. In fact, they are on track to adding $200 billion in new debt over the next five years.

Friday, March 25

Great Day Yesterday!

Fracking Conference @ UofL was great. Attendance over 300. Had the honour of attending naming ceremony for the Speaker, Josh Fox, Oscar winner after. Was great; speaker super. He won an Oscar for documentary on Gasland, pollution of water and air and methane gas.

In pm attended a presentation at the UofL by Nizar, Peace and Development, Edmonton on "The Complexities of the Middle-East". He was super; great grasp of it, really helps one understand.

I and Church and Social Justice minded organizations meet him tomorrow for lunch. I just wish more could have heard him. It is great to have organizations and people actively working for a better world and it demonstrates true ecumenism in action since Nizar is a Muslim working for a Christian Organization. He made it all feel alive and understandable.

Looking forward to another great day today!

Wednesday, March 23

Water Wars, Fracking in the Oil patch and a "townhall" with Scott BrisonMP, Nova Scotia.

This evening viewed documentry, 'Water Wars' @ Lethbridge College. It chronicles some History and major water wars of recent years in Central America and elsewhere. I wish everyone could see it. It says to expect big water issues by 2025 and desalenization is not the answer. Push for privatization everywhere and Bolivians forcd government to legislate back the right of people to hold demonstrations and the people power forced Bechtel out of country. It all demonstrates the power and greed of the coporations and others from high places. Some may be surprised at some of the key figure involved in the purchase of land and water rights in Central America. Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians and international leader in the water movement is to be admired for dedicating her life in the service and rights of others. May you live long and healthy andhopefully many will follow in your footsteps.

Tomorrow I'll be attending a conference at the U of L on the contrversial issue of Fracking. Also, earlier in the evening I sat-in on a "townhall" meeting by phone with Scott Brison who very ably,honestly and intelligently answered several questions raised throughout the call by listeners across the country.

(Unfortunately, time did not get to a couple questions I intended asking on the debts being chalked-up by student physicins studying outside Canada e.g. our daughter who wll owe a huge debt as she graduates this Fall. The other question I was ready with was a Liberal Government's intentions for dealing with lengthened sentences as a result of Mr. Harper changing legislation lengthening time served and thereby creating need for more pprison space. I wonder when will we encourage "alternative sentencing and an emphasis on rehabilitation?)


Monday, March 21

Contempt report undermines credibility of budget – and entire government

March 21, 2011

OTTAWA – A report tabled in the House of Commons today that recommends the Harper regime be found in contempt of Parliament undermines the credibility of tomorrow’s budget, Liberal MPs said today.

“This contempt report – a first in the history of Canada and the Commonwealth – is the result of the Harper regime’s abuse of power,” said Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff.

“How can we believe tomorrow’s budget has any credibility?” said Mr. Ignatieff. “The Harper regime continues to hide the costs of new mega-prisons, stealth fighter jets and corporate tax cuts – because they know their numbers don’t add up.

“Stephen Harper thinks he’s above the rules. Today’s contempt report shows that parliamentarians won’t let him get away with it,” he said.

In the House of Commons today, a report from the Procedure and House Affairs Committee was tabled concluding that the government is in contempt over its refusal to fully disclose the costs of its prison legislation, corporate tax cuts and untendered F-35 deal.

“The Parliamentary Budget Officer has already found that the F-35s will cost nearly $30 billion, not the $16 billion claimed by the government, and that just one prison bill will cost $10 billion or more,” said Liberal Finance Critic Scott Brison. “Yet the Conservatives refuse to release the full costs of their spending plans."

“Hiding their budget numbers is only part of the story,” concluded Mr. Ignatieff. “With two RCMP investigations, charges of breaking election laws, four Access to Information investigations, a $500,000 gag order on the former Integrity Commissioner, and a Minister falsifying documents and misleading Parliament, this is a pattern of abuse of power, attacks on democracy, and contempt for Parliament and the Canadian people.”

Michael Ignatieff on the National Debt

By the numbers: Canada's national debt

Today, Canada's national debt will peak at $562.8 billion. In just five years - and after previous Liberal governments spent years wiping out our debt - Stephen Harper's government has returned Canada to its all-time-high 1996-97 debtload level.

Here is a look at Canada's debtload over the years:

'Politics and Pints' session at "The Stone" on Sunday evening.

Kudos to Lethbridge East on the very successful 'Politics and Pints' session last evening at the stone. Great questions and issues raised and it was even better to welcome new people interested in such discussion. Thanks all.

Sunday, March 20

Michael Ignatieff

Wonderful introduction to the next Prime Minister of Canada.

Wednesday, March 16

The TV ads you've been waiting for

Stephen Harper has attacked our democratic institutions and lost touch with the priorities of middle-class families. Sharing short link: Pass on.


(Copy of speech given this morning to fellow-Toastmasters)

Democracy is too valuable to be taken for granted. Wherever this form of government is, it was hard won and paraphrasing Winston Churchill ‘despite its deficiencies it seems the best form of government we’ve come-up with to-date’.

However, though most of us may think we’re more educated and civilized given recent unanticipated developments even disclosures of the past week in Ottawa we should be extra vigilant.

I’m referring of course to the rulings last week by the speaker of our House of Commons which if we think about them, must generate some concern that our rights and conventions are as some of us keep saying are being abused, over-ridden and ignored.

Today more than ever before in history, politicians and governments need to pay attention to and respect democracy or eventually they and subsequently we all will pay the price of their folly. And, as you’ve likely heard some say, “our actions come back to haunt us” and as some also say “what goes around comes around”.

All ‘The good Books’ proscribe and encourage us to respect each other. In fact; the purpose of the 10 commandments or the “Golden Rule” as some use is to help us regulate, guide and help us to live in harmony and respect with each other.

And, we expect those in authority especially politicians to adhere to the spirit of these codes in place to help order society. But often they don’t abide by them and we wonder why not since it seems common sense to minimize difficulties likely to arise down the road.

Of course, one reason is that they have totally lost touch with their constituents; otherwise how can they justify and allow the blatant abuse and inequities to occur, even continue.

Despite religion and increasingly educated populations common sense seems to be forgotten. Even if only from a common-sense perspective and a knowledge of ‘civics’ and psychology to reinforce the need for progressive adjustment to ever changing circumstances it must be recognized that we need some laws and regulations to help maintain some order and stability in society.

Usually, as everyone gets more educated and wiser they’re not as readily fooled nor are they prepared to accept being treated like children or second-class citizens. As has been said; “you can fool some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all the time”.

Sure; laws can feel harsh and cold. But because of individuals’ tendencies to forget over time due to getting caught-up in living and our inclinations and want to control and get our way, we need help or reminders which may be better taken if couched less harshly. As some come to realize “we catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”.

For some it is more palatable or accepting when regulations and laws are presented as guidance rather than cold proscriptions which can also stimulate the reverse to the intended effect.

Human inclinations and forgetfulness can lead us to become insensitive to others so we must have some laws and reminders to help us and assure the public good. However, we also need examples since most of us unconsciously model others, but we need good mentors with high expectations since “what we expect and verbalize is what we will get”.

Somehow, despite history showing numerous examples of follies and though many more are more-educated nowadays such wisdom eludes many leaders as evidenced by recent happenings especially in the Middle-East. And, "lest we forget";

Though wars from time immemorial show folly of all sorts and some say our worst folly occurred in Germany in the years leading up to WW 2 we do not appear to learn and we forget. Good-living, law and order abiding people got duped into accepting and allowing de-regulation that resulted in unconscionable atrocities. Some see analogies to what happened in Germany in the ‘30s in our own political situation when in a few years people were stripped of their rights and didn’t appear to recognize it.

As I speak, Mr. Gadaffi is viciously annihilating his own people. Is the only recourse and hope that their Arab neighbors will step-in and put a stop to such wanton annihilation and destruction; or should we be doing more, even intervening?

How can such people claim to believe in God but I, and I suspect you question that how then they justify and do what they’re doing. Despite progress and learning is bad inevitable. Hopefully their neighbors will intervene and not allow them to bully defenseless people with sheer force and tyranny so they can continue to have their way.

On the other hand some tell us that we don’t even need to consider such long past or further-away happenings reminding us that what happened in Germany is happening right here in our own country.

Consequently not only and especially politicians and those in authority but all need to be alert or we too can unwittingly allow to happen what we don’t want and quickly we could be the next similar to Egypt, Tunisia, Iran, Bahrain, Sudan and now Libya.

We need to speak-up to ensure those behaving contrary to our expectations know such is not acceptable. We even need to be prepared to turf them.

We need to cherish and safeguard democracy and we need people of integrity and proven record that work for its continuation. I trust your good judgement; that we will make the right decision and when the next opportunity arises we will pick such custodians. Long live democracy! Michael

Tuesday, March 15

Upcoming Workshop at U of L on Fracking

A one-day conference on natural gas fracking on Thursday, March 24, 2011. Keynote speech will be delivered by Josh Fox, Oscar-nominated director of “Gasland”. Other speakers too. Keep tuned.

Accounting of day's activities

Volunteering at Nordbridge Seniors in am followed by news, email and working on speech for Toastmasters in am. Attended SACPA on Campus Student Speaker Challenge Final session at the University on ‘What is Social Justice and how can it be achieved?' Both speeches of extremely high quality and assuring as to how our young people are thinking. Thanks to the speakers, Thomas Fox and Channing Stenhouse for such interesting and engaging speeches. Keep up the great work and here's wishing you the best.

Monday, March 14

Latest news - Gov. action on health Care another affront to democracy

Latest news, the Harper government has given the unelected Senate the mandate to conduct a second mandatory review of the 2004 Health Accord. A previous review was conducted by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health in 2008. As noted by the Canadian Health Care Coalition “the move bypasses the House of Commons, where the Harper government is in a minority, to a Senate committee where the Conservatives are now in a majority”. This is another of anti-democratic actions by the Harper government.

As noted by CHCC, “hearings started today in the Senate Committee on Science, Technology and Social Affairs. Already, organizations that support a strong leadership role of the federal government in health care, including the Canadian Health Coalition, have been told they will not be allowed to appear and give testimony. “The message for Canadians is clear: The Harper government not only holds Parliament in contempt, it also seems to view Canadians who strongly support public health care with contempt as well.” Is this the kind of government you want? Please ensure you let your MP know your feelings on it.

Sunday, March 13

Update and election preparations

The past few days have certainly eventful not only in Canada but elsewhere. In fact, the destruction caused by the tsunami that hit Japan is downright scary. Really makes one thing how lucky we are and yet how tentative things can be. Then there was the unexpected political fall-out in Ottawa as well as surprise announcements by some Conservatives including a couple of government ministers of their intention not to run in the anticipated election. It is difficult not to wonder what may be
causing such resignations. It was a week I suspect Mr. Harper and the Conservatives would prefer not to have experienced. The rulings handed down certainly lent credibility to the Liberals that have been working diligently working and trying to help get the government accountable. It was a big slap in the face to a government that got to power using accountability as one of their key planks. Who could believe things could change so fast, however; as the saying goes, "the show must go on".

Also, with vacation over and the media projecting strong indications of a likely Spring Election to be precipitated by the upcoming budget you can imagine I felt the need to start preparation s for same. I have already got somethings in place including an office and yesterday we had our first meeting. I shared plans with those attending and received valuable feedback and we finished off the day with a BBQ and refreshments. Unfortunately not all were able to attend the BBQ. I thank everyone for attending and sharing. Watch for announcement of the next meeting and bring your friends as we still need more volunteers. Today I had my first indepth lesson from my friend Kevin to help me get familiar and using Twitter. If you have any issues or suggestions please contact me by email or phone me at (403) 381-7635.

Friday, March 11

Recent and Pre-election update and planning meeting

As many are aware from news casts of recent weeks it is getting closer to an election call despite Mr. Harper’s denials of any orchestration. Along with same in other ways desirable to any party or politician “the Gods” seemed to favor him with increased preference in the polls. Everything suggested the stage was being set for election, the likely trigger expected to be a vote of non-confidence over the budget. However, almost like the weather that can quickly change suddenly results of some unfinished business needing conclusion were announced much to Mr. Harper’s and the Government’s chagrin that some suggest now may cause attempts to defer election to avoid accounting. Unfortunately, though hopefully money will not save them the governing Conservatives by their own admission and broadly-known have plenty of cash to help counter backlash as they have already been spending liberally financing dirty adds calling down the opposition especially their biggest contender Michael Ignatieff and the Liberals. Who would believe things could change so quickly. Take your pick, the issues are as follows:

30B fighter jet boondoggle

Bev Oda’s Dishonesty

In and Out Fraud

The ‘Harper Government’ Edict

(Jason Kenny’s) “Very Ethnic” funding request letter

Christine Ouimet’s gag order and severance pay-out; all issues that thumb their nose at democracy and Canadians. Though the government and Mr. Harper attempt to minimize the issues and rulings, speaker of the House of Commons, Mr. Millicken ruled the government in contempt on several issues and noted it as less than honest in costing for the purchase and servicing for the much touted F35 fighter planes. Apparently the cost is almost twice as expensive as they have attempted to lead the Canadian public to believe.

As the saying goes, “eventually the chickens come home to roost”. Despite Mr. Harper’s and his party’s money and expensive attack adds hopefully Canadians will see through them and their misinformation and realize who is the one really looking after the interests of average Canadians.
Who said – “eventually our misdeeds catch-up with us” was right and right will win-out once again!
Also, whoever said “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” or “pride comes before a fall”, were also and still are obviously correct.

It is hard to keep a good person down and eventually the cream rises to the top. Small wonder people do not want dictatorship! However and regardless it behooves us and we need to be ready for a campaign so Liberal supporters and friends are invited to meet and start the planning necessary to win.

Elect Michael Cormican Campaign Pre-election Planning Meeting

Saturday, March 12, 2011
Time: 2pm

Location: 1273 – 3rd Ave. South

Bring your friends and ideas


1. Outline of planning to-date
2. Announcement of office, Team etc.
3. Review of platform, schedules and fundraising
4. Sign-up for committees
5. Qs and As etc.

Come, catch-up, meet friends and have fun! Refreshments provided.

BBQ to follow. Enquiries to (403) 381-7635 or email

Michael Cormican, Nominated Liberal Candidate