5.20.2005

dipstick

So there won't be an election yet. Talk about a squeaker. Feel free to tell us how you feel about this, unless it's all been said already, then feel free not to.

ALPF mustered his courage and sent more links, so I have some good commentary to post. I found this Macleans story on the Conservative party's reaction to Stronach's decision - and public reaction to that reaction - very interesting.

Canadians seem almost universally turned off by the name-calling and sexist slurs. On the other hand, when a certain governor made his "girly men" pronouncement, his constituency howled with glee. (Which is not to say the rest of us weren't appalled.)

The Macleans article also notes that not all the sexism came from politicians:
Some of the most sexist characterizations of Stronach didn't come from her political adversaries, but from media.

Montreal's La Presse newspaper ran a cartoon of Martin leaning out his car window to solicit a street-walking Stronach.

Columnist Christie Blatchford in the Globe and Mail wrote that if Stronach's perfidy "isn't politically slatternly behaviour, what on earth is?"

"Blond Ambition" headlines sprouted across the country.
I can't even express how beyond sick of this I am. It is the 21st Century. Women are astronauts, soldiers, surgeons, heads of state. And they are still being characterized in terms of hair color, sexual habits and reproductive capacities. (You know the one: "Grandmother Chases Thief". Turns out she's a 50-year-old former track star. I don't think I've ever seen the male equivalent.)

The mainstream media is so far behind! In the US, throughout the 1980s and 1990s, it seemed every story about political protest began with "It was like the 1960s all over again...", as if public protest began and ended in that decade. That kind of laziness and ignorance just drives me nuts.

Elsewhere, military historian, writer and thinker Gwynne Dyer held court on, among other things, Canadian-American relations.
"Any politician in Ottawa understands how to say 'no' to the Americans without getting hurt too much, but also they have to calculate how many times they can say 'no' before they've got to say 'yes.' If the present two administrations (Paul Martin's Liberals and George Bush's Republicans) continue, we can probably manage it without getting the Americans too cross."

"Of course, if [pro-U.S. Canadian Conservative leader] Mr. Harper became Prime Minister we'd all be effectively under the same government wouldn't we?" Dyer chuckled.
Dyer also talked about the war in Iraq, terrorism, and US military power.
Interestingly, Dyer predicted that Islamic terrorism would peter out due to a lack of success on its part. Dyer said the war is all about a panicky America worried about losing its status as the world's only superpower trying to reassert its might by making Iraq an example of what it means to tangle with the U.S.

[interesting military predictions based on historical precedents . . . ]

Dyer predicts that by 2045 the U.S. will have lost its sole superpower status and be one of several great powers, including the two awakening Asian giants - China and India. That said, Dyer believes the U.S. must become multilateral in its thinking and adhere to the United Nations efforts in striving for a more harmonious world.

"What we need to do is hang on to that multilateral world and not slide back into military confrontations and alliances, which the current American strategy risks driving other countries into."

"America has to stop trying to take over."
As the Irish say, Can't say fairer than that. Article here. I don't know what L-TV is, but I like the name!

47 comments:

B. W. Ventril said...

I stopped paying attention to Gwyn Dyer when, in the midst of the Yugoslav civil war, he proclaimed that people in Reeboks would never go to war against each other (or something to that effect). One Thomas Friedman is quite enough, thank you very much.

L-girl said...

You don't have to approve of everything a person says to find something he said interesting.

I occasionally quote Nat Hentoff, or William Safire, or Maureen Dowd (for example). I disagree with much of their writing and thinking, but sometimes they have something interesting to say.

That's how it is for me, anyway.

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

On the election thing, wow, that was some real political theatre.

You had all the elements of a good drama: a scandal, a love story, jealousy and betrayal, and a dramatic climax with a razor thin vote.

L-girl said...

Truly. I couldn't follow the voting here, but I when I saw the headline last night - wow!

Lone Primate said...

I, for one, am relieved. I know an election can't be held off forever, but the idea of the Reform Party reborn taking office for no other reason than people tired of the Liberal Party per se wearies me. The one encouragement I have is that the Grits have held office for twelve years, largely because people still remember the bad taste Mulroney left in their mouths not all that long ago.

I was curious to see what Rob's reaction would be, and I couldn't help nipping over to his blog. I find it amusing that he accuses me of straw man arguments when he seems to suppose that it's being suggested Tories can't ever vote against the Liberals without being accused of siding with separatists. Talk about whitewash. Let's be clear about this. We're not talking about bright, shiny, angelic Tories voting for what's right and happening to look up at devils speaking French and saying, "Oh... jolly good, I see you voted very much as we did, eh, wot?" We're talking about the Conservatives getting into office the very same way they did in 1984 and 1988... by explicitly (then) and implicitly (now) internalizing the fair-weather support of people whose real goal is to destroy this country. And most of us know it. Even Conservatives.

Did you all listen to Harper after the vote last night? I did. Did you happen to notice, like I did, how nearly two thirds of his speech was aimed at Quebec? Quebec voters this, Quebec people that, Quebec the other... Does he really think he has a snowball's chance of getting votes there? The remaining federalists in Quebec already have a party that reflects their values. Sadly, for Harper, it's not his, and it's unlikely to be. As I sat listening to him, I had this impression of millions of Western Canadian Conservative supporters squirming uncomfortably in their chairs, wondering where they'd heard all this before, and suddenly picturing Harper with a bass voice and much bigger chin. It could not have been a prize moment for them. They've been here before, and not that long ago…

Rob talks about creating a rump regionalist party, and co-operating with the BQ against the middle. I'm stunned that he thinks this is a new idea and novel thinking. What does he think the Reform Party was all those years? You can say "states rights" and paper over "slavery" all you want; "Western alienation" (with the exception of the NEP) is really a euphemism for "stop pandering to Quebec and pay attention to us!". And that's what Mulroney failed to do. After the 1988 election was out of the road, all Mulroney had time for was catering to Quebec. You want the CF-18 contract instead of Calgary? You got it. Oh, you want me to spend years tinkering with the Constitution? My pleasure! What's that? You want to gargle a pint of English Canadian blood every morning? Yeah, I can get you that, no problem... When he couldn't deliver, the separatists separated and formed the Bloc. And when he wouldn't stop trying to deliver, a couple dozen Western Tories separated too and created Reform. And as I recall, there were a surprising number of times Reform and the Bloc saw eye to eye on a lot of issues... usually ones that weakened Confederation and emphasized the differences between regions.

There were a lot of years of wrangling between Reform and the PCs before they finally merged. But in the end, it isn't so much the rebirth of the Tories as, it seems, the triumph of Reform. The problem for them is, in most urban areas outside Alberta, this party is out of step with Canada by about 30 years. It's a party that frets over immigration. Well, sorry, but most of the votes in this country are in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver, and their metropolitan areas; cities with huge immigrant populations that work and don't sweat the idea of someone moving in next door who has a permanent tan and a name that ends in a vowel. There's also a perception that the Tories are now a party that holds that if it ain't in the Old Testament, it ain't a right. I know that's an exaggeration, but not by much. Canadians hear about voting on human rights and Parliament second-guessing the courts and start wondering what the point of having a Constitution is in the first place if you’re going to disregard and overrule it every time it actually means anything.

The tragedy for the right in the country is the character of how it came back together. If it had been a rebirth of the PCs in the character it had under, say, Joe Clark, it would have a chance, and a really good one. But it's still a regional party. It isn't a Canadian party. It doesn't have a right to form a government; it has to appeal to enough voters across the country to earn that right, and it's too far out of step with most of us. It needs to move more to the centre; not as far as the Liberals, but far enough to click nationally. That's the lesson they need to take out of the last few weeks. I hope to God they do, because I believe that a government formed by the present "Reform" version of the Conservatives, wedded to the Bloc Quebecois, will probably precipitate the death of Canada.

RobfromAlberta said...

There's a lot in loneprimate's post and after the vote last night, I've lost the enthusiasm for the fight. So I'll beg off. I will say this, though. The Conservative party may have born of the old Reform/Canadian Alliance party, but it has left those roots behind. In the last policy convention, the Conservative party dropped abortion and other socially conservative planks from its party platform, but apparently Easterners still believe in the Liberal propaganda about a "hidden agenda". Since there appears to be nothing the Conservative party can do to overcome this perception, it's time to move on. As I said in a previous post, we really have nothing more to say. We've come halfway, we won't go any further.

G said...

Yeah, loneprimate's right - memory on Mulroney is still strong in Ontario. The man broke hearts at a higher rate than his party's spending.

Thing is, Canadians don't forget, and don't ignore ignorance (pun fully intended). Remember the seat-plummet BM the PM's party took during its fall? He put Kim Campbell in to absorb the blame, but we all knew it would have happened even had he not stepped down. Now the Tories of today are in danger of having the exact same thing happen to them as memories of old resurface in the wake of Harper's talk last night.

If not that, then the embarrassing manner in which he and his party conducted themselves during this whole ordeal will strike a chord with those who don't remember enough about the Mulroney days. Sorry, but I think it's safe for me to say that Canadians don't want a guy who defined himself as Public Asshole #1, and a party that makes the kind of comments it did towards Stronach, as its ruling power. I think even in Alberta, Rob, PC support may well decrease a bit (though not by as large a margin as out here) because of those actions.

B. W. Ventril said...

Re: the reading of people you otherwise disagree with, I completely agree. I usually read George Will, for example, while largely disagreeing with him on most things. Then again, some statements are so absurdly moronic that they make you question the person's underlying sanity. Dyer, like Friedman, is prone to sweeping long-term prognostication that often amounts to wankitude.

RobfromAlberta said...

I think even in Alberta, Rob, PC support may well decrease a bit

I doubt it. I can't speak for all of western Canada, but certainly here in Alberta most people take insults directed toward the Conservative party personally. When an Easterner says "Conservatives are racist" and "Conservatives are sexist", what Albertans hear is "Albertans are racist" and "Albertans are sexist". I suspect there will be more of a "Fortress Alberta" mentality after this and any criticism of Harper will be viewed as yet another Liberal smear campaign.

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

Speaking as a libertarian, it's two sides of the same coin.

In Rob's defense, the Liberals *are* corrupt, just like any grand 'ol party.

The old Conservative party was also corrupt, and even though its a few divisions and mergers later, the same people are in this "new" party as the old one.

From my vantage point, either party is a bad choice.

As for Alberta, if they're angry, there's a lot they can do short of all-out secession. Everyone whines about Quebec's "special treatment", but really Quebec is only excercising powers that are already their's under our constitution. The federal government doesn't have any authority over language, healthcare, education, etc. The other provinces willingly "uploaded" those powers in return for various federal grants, transfer payments, etc. Alberta can opt out of all of them if it wishes, and there's nothing the federal government can do about it.

Really, a lot of those things should be pushed down to the municipal level. One size really doesn't fit all, and different communities have different needs.

RobfromAlberta said...

As for Alberta, if they're angry, there's a lot they can do short of all-out secession. Everyone whines about Quebec's "special treatment", but really Quebec is only excercising powers that are already their's under our constitution. The federal government doesn't have any authority over language, healthcare, education, etc. The other provinces willingly "uploaded" those powers in return for various federal grants, transfer payments, etc. Alberta can opt out of all of them if it wishes, and there's nothing the federal government can do about it.

This is exactly what Stephen Harper was talking about when he made his famous speech about building a "firewall" around Alberta and he took holy hell for it in the "national" media. I guess what's good for the goose isn't always good for the gander.

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

That's because there's been a lot of muddying the waters over the past 20 years that makes people believe that Quebec is getting special favour instead of excercising its own rights. It's been a political ploy used by both left and right politicians (along with a willing media) to deflect people's angers on Quebec and away from what the politicians are doing.

I hate saying it because it sounds mean, but the vast majority of people are sheep who will mindlessly take on whatever opinion is fed to them. And what's worse, most people recognize it when it's being applied to others, but not to themselves.

L-girl said...

BWV: Really, you're probably much better than I am about reading people whose opinions you disagree with. I avoid it. I'll generally found out what David Brooks is babbling about by reading letters from disagreeing readers.

Lone Primate said...

but apparently Easterners still believe in the Liberal propaganda about a "hidden agenda".

Rob, just like you, I have a brain. Nobody tells me what to believe. And what I believe is what I've heard, and that is, Stephen Harper talking about using the notwithstanding clause and instituting parliamentary review of judicial decisions (in other words, anything he doesn't like), reversing centuries of the evolution and tradition of Anglo-American jurisprudence. It's Bible Belt dogma like that that retards the growth of Conservative fortunes in this country that one would otherwise rightly expect in the face of Liberal scandal and arrogance (believe it or not, I voted Reform in 2000). But it's hard to replace them with a government that promises to take the Constitution and say, "yeah, but we didn't really mean this... and we didn't really mean that... and this part just sounds nice, but..." Forget it. I'm glad they're not going to chase women into the back alleys, but they've still got to come to terms with the fact that most of the country's moved past 1975.

L-girl said...

I hate saying it because it sounds mean, but the vast majority of people are sheep who will mindlessly take on whatever opinion is fed to them. And what's worse, most people recognize it when it's being applied to others, but not to themselves.

It may sound mean, but it sure sounds true.

RobfromAlberta said...

To be fair, loneprimate, the Conservatives have some obligation to represent the views of their constituents. You don't like it and, actually, I don't like it either, but the fact is a significant number of Canadians oppose gay marriage. I mentioned in my blog some time ago a poll suggesting that it might even be the majority view. So what would you have Tories do, simply ignore the voters and do the "right thing"? The Conservatives will never win an election if their right wing keeps peeling off and forming new parties.

RobfromAlberta said...

Further to my last point, the poll:

52% oppose Bill C-38 which would change the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples
44% support the bill

http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2005/04/10/gay-marriage-050410.html

L-girl said...

"the fact is a significant number of Canadians oppose gay marriage. I mentioned in my blog some time ago a poll suggesting that it might even be the majority view."

This seems odd, given the ease in which the laws passed in most provinces. I realize there is opposition - what issue has 100% support? especially a new idea - but it seems like a decided minority.

Of course I'm of the opinion that the right thing has to be done regardless of popularity, and the public must be brought along, willing or not.

But putting that aside, where is the evidence of what you say here?

B. W. Ventril said...

I do draw the line at David Brooks! George Will, at least, writes well. Friedman makes me want to bash my own brains out with a hammer.

L-girl said...

I posted my question before your link showed up. I'll check it out. Seems odd. Perhaps it's the "change the definition" wording?

L-girl said...

I also loathe Friedman. I am amazed at how many otherwise intelligent people think he's a genius. I've heard several people say they'd love to have him as a dinner companion.

Bulimics, I guess.

Lone Primate said...

I can't speak for all of western Canada, but certainly here in Alberta most people take insults directed toward the Conservative party personally. When an Easterner says "Conservatives are racist" and "Conservatives are sexist", what Albertans hear is "Albertans are racist" and "Albertans are sexist".

What, and you think we don't get mighty sick and tired of being portrayed out west as Snidley Whiplash, cackling and twirling our moustaches while we think up new ways to screw Widow Westwind out of her hard-earned cash? Where does that come from, anyway? Quebec can howl for this, Alberta can whine for that, but Ontario's role is to hold its tongue, smile, and come up with whatever it takes to placate one or the other so the country will stagger along for another year or two, and then be villified for it, for no good reason that I can see?

RobfromAlberta said...

To paraphrase Jon Stewart, you control the government, you control the media, you control the economy, no wonder you're so angry.:D

Lone Primate said...

52% oppose Bill C-38 which would change the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples
44% support the bill

http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2005/04/10/gay-marriage-050410.html


Sure, we can play that tennis game all day. Lob back...

Canadians, by a small majority, endorse same sex marriage.
20/01/2005
Should Parliament pass a law to change the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples.?

Yes – 54%
No – 43%


That quotes an Environics poll from earlier this year. The fact is, older Canadians by and large oppose it. Younger ones by and large support it. But it's the younger ones who've gotta live here, in the long run. Furthermore, we have Charter that implicitly, and several human rights codes that explicity, prohibt discrimination on the basis of sexual preference. The courts have only caused laws -- statements of policy -- to accord with statements of fundamental principle in this country and its various provinces. I don't dispute that the Tories have the obligation to represent the opinions of their constituents... but what if their constituents were telling them that court decisions allowing blacks and Jews to move into their neighbourhoods needed to be overturned, the Constitution be damned? Would you be telling me Stephen Harper had to jump up and champion that too? The point is, this is about the rights of individual human beings to have their fair share of dignity, and live their lives without undue interference. And since it's no skin off anyone else's nose (so long as they keep their noses out of everyone else's business), it's a matter of right, not public debate.

Lone Primate said...

To paraphrase Jon Stewart, you control the government, you control the media, you control the economy, no wonder you're so angry.:D

Hmm, we have 14 fewer seats in the Commons than our porportional due, and our annual deficit is almost to the dollar the amount of money Ottawa takes from us and doesn't give back (somewhere in the neighbourhood of $23B). Yeah, just imagine how well Alberta'd be doing with control like that. Here's hoping you get it.

L-girl said...

Everyone in this discussion supports the rights of same-sex couples to marry, including Rob, if I recall correctly.

We totally don't need to debate that here. We're all on the same side.

RobfromAlberta said...

Actually, I wholeheartedly agree with you. I am 100% in favour of allowing gay marriage. I'm merely explaining why the Conservatives have taken the position against it. It isn't because everyone in the party is a scumbag homophobe (although, I'm sure there are a few), it is because we live in a democracy and elected representative are, at least theoretically, supposed to represent their constituents, even when the constituents are dead wrong. As with all things, of course, there are limits.

RobfromAlberta said...

Yeah, just imagine how well Alberta'd be doing with control like that. Here's hoping you get it.

Really? Does that mean you're going to vote Conservative next time?

Lone Primate said...

Really? Does that mean you're going to vote Conservative next time?

If Harper would foreswear his plans to kneecap the Charter and saddle us with endless pandering to Quebec separatists a la Brian Mulroney, I'd certainly consider it. After that, I'd need to find out if he's going to send troops to Iraq or launch our budget surplus into space like a giant firecracker on Star Wars II. Otherwise, sure, I'm ready to give them a shot.

RobfromAlberta said...

launch our budget surplus into space like a giant firecracker on Star Wars II

I wouldn't worry about that. In the last month, Paul Martin spent our budget surplus for the next decade.

Lone Primate said...

I couldn't find a link to it, so I hope you'll all forgive me this huge text dump. It's an article from The Star from late last February by Tony Keller, and it points out some of the truths of Confederation for Ontarians. Sure, everyone else has gripes. But I think it's high time the rest of the country got past the image of fat Ontario stealing their apples and gave some credit where credit is due. We work damn hard to make this country work. Don't kiss our ass, but don't kick it either.

Go to Newfoundland, and visit your money

Tony Keller wonders when Ontario voters will finally get angry

My grandfather had a saying: when they give, take; when they take — scream. Advice to consider, as you ponder how last year Ottawa took $23 billion more from Ontario taxpayers than it returned in transfers, services and benefits. To put things in perspective, $23 billion is almost as much as the province spends annually on health care.

And as we gave, others received: last year, Newfoundland benefited from net federal inflows of $2.6 billion, Nova Scotia was ahead by $4.4 billion and Quebec was up $3 billion.

Four other provinces received additional billions. Albertans, and above all Ontarians footed the bill.

Ontario's budget is in deficit, we've gone years without substantial tax reductions, living standards lag those in the United States and our level of university funding is dead last in Canada. "Other provinces are using our tax dollars to out-spend us," is how one senior official in the McGuinty government describes it.

In Toronto last week, the city contorted itself over a budget shortfall of a few million dollars — yet each year, the federal government takes $5.4 billion more out of the Toronto economy than it puts back in, according to a 2002 study by the Toronto Board of Trade.

Federal policy has always been based on the assumption that voters in the receiving provinces can add, but voters in Ontario can't subtract. Maybe if s true: Ottawa has been buying votes in have-not provinces for years, always putting it on your tab.

Come election time, have you ever gotten mad at them because of it? No, not even once.

But Newfoundlanders know how to get mad. So do Mari-timers and Quebecers. They're expert at packing off politicians who don't deliver the pelf.

So when Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams screamed, Paul Martin dutifully backed up the truck and unloaded $2 billion in new equalization payments. These are on top of previously agreed upon additional benefits, which are themselves over and above regular equalization. Total bill: in the neighbourhood of $5 billion over eight years. Nova Scotia got the same deal, too.

Newfoundland has seven seats in the Commons. The whole of Atlantic Canada only has 32 seats, and its population is falling. Ontario has 106 seats, and its population is rising. If you, the voters of Ontario, want to put a stop to this, you can.

Maybe someday you will. In a recent paper, University of Toronto law professor Sujit Choudhry writes that "the level of net outflows from Ontario is an astonishing and potentially politically explosive figure."

The mystery is that it hasn't exploded yet. But voters in Ontario, who are increasingly urban and immigrant, are bound to eventually ask why so much of their money is being used to encourage mostly rural people to remain in economically under developed regions.

The party that should be interested in this agenda — if they can stop obsessing over gay marriage — is the federal Conservatives. This is their kind of issue. The solution is not to transfer more federal tax revenue back to the Ontario government, as Dalton McGuinty wants. If s for the feds to take less money out of Ontarians' hands in the first place.

The Conservatives are often said to be hamstrung by their legacy as a regional grievance party, but perhaps all they need is a bigger region, and a more saleable grievance. After all, the cash register provinces of B.C., Alberta and Ontario have 62 per cent of the Canadian population, and their standards of living are depressed by the federal government s decision to make its main business that of inter-provincial wealth redistribution. The cash registers also have a majority of the seats in the House.

Besides, it's not like all the money sent to the regions is helping. As the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies put it last year, "Ottawa's policies of regional development spending, equalization transfers, and regionally extended employment insurance benefits are well-intentioned failures. They have left Atlantic Canada with a per capita gross domestic product that is no more than three-quarters of the national average, well below average productivity levels, and unemployment that is high even as the region suffers from increasingly significant labour shortages."

My grandfather would have known what to do.

RobfromAlberta said...

The party that should be interested in this agenda — if they can stop obsessing over gay marriage — is the federal Conservatives. This is their kind of issue.

What and be accused of being greedy bastards who want to screw the have-not provinces? The Liberals would have a field day.

I just don't think Ontarions are all that pissed off about it. It makes them feel like good people, you know, like when you donate to a homeless shelter.

Lone Primate said...

I wouldn't worry about that. In the last month, Paul Martin spent our budget surplus for the next decade.

Actually, the finance department continues to project surpluses. Last I heard, the budget amendment called for $4.6B in spending, and not all of that in the course of a single year.

Since balancing the budget in 1997–98, the Government of Canada has recorded seven consecutive budget surpluses.

Budget 2005 delivers on the Government’s commitment to keeping its books balanced and Canada’s debt on a permanent downward track. Specifically:

It predicts balanced budgets or better in 2004–05 and in each of the next five fiscal years.
Canada’s debt-to-GDP (gross domestic product) ratio is expected to decline to 38.8 per cent in 2004–05, down from 68.4 per cent in 1995–96.
The Government remains committed to reducing Canada’s debt-to-GDP ratio to 25 per cent by 2014–15.


Of course, the debt and deficit peaked on the backside of the Mulroney government... you remember, the last time we let those "fiscally responsible" Conservative types get control of the economy; when they did all the same wonders for Canada the Republicans are currently doing for the United States. Say what you want about the Liberals; they've been paying the debt DOWN since they got into office, and that was something I swear to God I never expected to see in my lifetime, and it's one of the big reasons I (and a lot of other Canadians, I bet) are really wary of changing trains. You might not worry about it, but I do.

Lone Primate said...

I just don't think Ontarions are all that pissed off about it. It makes them feel like good people, you know, like when you donate to a homeless shelter.

My point exactly, the flip closer notwithstanding. Ontarians aren't pissed off about it, much, but I have heard rumblings lately. But it's accepted here that this is Ontario's part in the country. There's more industry here and there are more people here, and so if this is where the country generates its income, it has to come from somewhere. But what does puzzle a lot of people here is how we're perpetually portrayed as a bunch of dicks for no more reason than that we happen to live where there are certain strategic advantages to industry and finance, and the immigration that attracts. It's not like we're STEALING it from the rest of the country; it's here. On the contrary; with balance payments, we're sharing those advantages and making them national, not just regional. But we're resented for it. It's fine for Alberta and now NFLD and NS to hog their oil profits, but not only are we expected to share whatever we've got, but we're supposed to eat everyone else's s*** while we do it! I can tell you, Rob, even as someone having grown up in Maritimes resenting my cousins here, it's getting to be a little bit much. Fair's fair, and this isn't.

RobfromAlberta said...

Say what you want about the Liberals; they've been paying the debt DOWN since they got into office

It is their only saving grace. But even in that, they balanced the books largely by transferring the debt load to the provinces and municipalities instead of using real spending discipline.

G said...

Yeah, but all logic aside, one fact remains strong and true.

When the haves have, they will be despised by those who have not, no matter the what, the why, or the how.

I'm waiting for the Great Canadian Civil War to arise out of all this, where East and West get drunk on Labatt's and Big Rock, respectively, then charge across the Prairies at each other, hockey sticks in hand, to administer to the other the beating of a lifetime.

Could happen. Wouldn't do much to defeat any Canadian stereotypes, but it would be fun to watch nonetheless.

L-girl said...

Thanks for the laughs, G.

Please wait til I get there so I can watch!!

RobfromAlberta said...

Labatt's and Big Rock

No comparison, even our beer is better.:)

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

Sheesh, you two are really on the same side of the fence. Why are you arguing?

Rob thinks Alberta's getting the shaft and is unfairly resented by everyone else, and LonePrimate says Ontario's getting the shaft and is resented by everyone else.

Here's my take on things:

- It's absolutely fine for Newfoundland and Nova Scotia to continue to recieve transfer payments as the oil money starts coming in. The goal should be to make put them into the "have" province category. They now have a potential rich source of income, but they won't become have provinces overnight. This is essentially my take on welfare in general. It's better to give someone $1000 today if it gets them off welfare now and instead makes them net contributers, then to give them $1 a day for the rest of their lives.

- Ontario and Alberta do give more then they take in, but that's not unique to Canada. It's fairly standard around all the developed countries, such as New York and California in the U.S., and New South Wales and Victoria in Australia.

- On the deficit: I don't think Martin will spend it all away. Unlike Chretien, Martin does have a legacy. He put the government back in black, and I don't think he'd jeopardize that. It would be political suicide, since that's all he really has going for him.

L-girl said...

Hooray for Kyle the mediator. Maybe let's give this a rest, eh? Or if you can't, then don't. I don't want to be a party pooper.

I've never had Big Rock beer. Where can I find some?

RobfromAlberta said...

Ontario and Alberta do give more then they take in, but that's not unique to Canada.

That's not really the issue. I don't mind paying money to other provinces. I see the value in ensuring a relatively similar quality of life for all Canadians. But if you are expected pay for the banquet, it's only right that you have a seat at the table.

I don't think Martin will spend it all away

Truth be told, I actually agree with this. I think a lot of NDP supporters are going to find they've been used to prop up the government and are never going to see the benefits they hope for, especially if the Liberals win a majority next time.

G said...

I have to give Rob credit on one thing he said that I totally do agree with.

Hear that world? G and Rob agree on something!!!

Western Canada does produce better beer. Much, much better.

G said...

What, you didn't think I was going to say something serious, there, did you?

RobfromAlberta said...

Agreed, I'm tired. We lost. I need a couple shots of Highland Park.

Big Rock is a Calgary-based microbrewery. They make Traditional (a dark ale), Warthog (a honey brown ale) and Grasshopper (a wheat ale). It's a local favourite. I don't know about availability in Ontario.

L-girl said...

"I don't know about availability in Ontario."

When I make it up to Alberta, let me buy you one or three.

RobfromAlberta said...

Deal!

G said...

It can found in Ontario also. You can always tell the quality of an Ontario bar by the quantity of non-Ontarian (meaning "good") beer on tap.

It's one of the reasons we hope Alberta will never separate. Rob, are you reading this? Here's how you get what you want from Ontario: threaten to hike the taxes on Alberta beer. Many of us would rather get drunk than haggle over political differences that will, at the end of the day, make little difference to our day-to-day lives. We can settle for disagreeing with principle so long as we can continue to get drunk on good beer.

Of course I'm kidding on that point, but sometimes it feels like it's getting close to that around here - most of the people here look at politics, sigh heavily, and vote for the guy who pisses them off least.

Hence Harper's upcoming troubles in Ontario (the ranting will do him in) at the next election this fall (yes even I admit it will likely be that soon - too soon - ugh).