What if Canada's ruling party was ousted because of copyright reform?
January 11, 2006 3:22 PM   Subscribe

What if Canada's ruling party was ousted because of copyright reform? Sarmite Bulte, Canadian MP and incumbent in the January 23 election, has been getting a lot of press in the "blogosphere" as of late - too bad it's all negative. Ms. Bulte, the primary backer of Bill C-60, a copyright reform bill, is accused of taking a lot of money from industry lobbyists. She may not be Tom Delay, but in a minority government where every seat counts, Bulte's loss could swing the minority government from the Liberals to the Conservatives - based on an issue that has hardly any newspaper coverage.
posted by GuyZero (257 comments total)
 
I figured we needed SOMETHING about the Canadian election around this place. Full disclosure: I live in Bulte's riding, and I am not a registered member of any Canadian political party.
posted by GuyZero at 3:28 PM on January 11, 2006


The method of Canuckistans elections will result in this being as big a story as The Globe warrants it to be, eg. nil. I'd bet less than 2 percent of the voters in her riding know about this, and less care.

It's a non story (for pratical purposes, not that I wouldn't find it a fitting end to see her lose). Besides, the recording industry will find a Conservative to take her place should they win the election.
posted by Keith Talent at 3:38 PM on January 11, 2006


What if Canada's ruling party was ousted because of copyright reform?

Then we'd get a Conservative government, and way more American-influenced policy in five years than Sam Bulte could come up with in a lifetime.

The best realistic outcome on the Bulte thing is that the Liberals keep their minority without her.
posted by mendel at 3:45 PM on January 11, 2006


GOD can the Liberals stop fucking up for ONE ROTTEN MINUTE?! I want them to win this election, dammit! And those latest tv commercials are NOT GOING TO HELP.

*facepalms*
posted by Hildegarde at 3:45 PM on January 11, 2006


What mendel said.
posted by furtive at 3:52 PM on January 11, 2006


GOD can the Liberals stop fucking up for ONE ROTTEN MINUTE?! I want them to win this election, dammit! And those latest tv commercials are NOT GOING TO HELP.

If ever there was a sinking ship; pressure from in the party scandal, out of the party with all 3 oppositions ganging up on them and even from former party (cough, Chretien) members causing trouble. Paul Martin just looks tired.

There's no final 10 days that is going to save them; outside of extraditing Stephen Harper, we'll have a non-fiscally conservative conservative prime minister.

Please, dear God, let this not be our Bush.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 3:58 PM on January 11, 2006


dflemingdotorg: With any luck, if the Conservatives get a minority, Martin and Layon will conspire to let them hang themselves, and then bring them down in a civil rights and fiscal irresponsibility hellfire, ensuring they don't come into power again in the near future. (Also see: NDP -> PC, Ontario)

I do not want to think of the damage that an effective Conservative government (in the same way that Mike Harris was effective) would do to my country.
posted by Jairus at 4:01 PM on January 11, 2006


What hildegarde said.
posted by duck at 4:03 PM on January 11, 2006


If the Conservatives get a slight majority, I don't think it'll had mattered if Parkdale-High Park switched from Liberal to NDP. Voting NDP only benefits the Conservatives when it splits the vote against them and gives them a win, right?
posted by bobo123 at 4:17 PM on January 11, 2006


Canada sucks more every day.
posted by wakko at 4:18 PM on January 11, 2006


Actually the Liberals will lose all by themselves. I haven't seen a party collapse like that since 1993. Couldn't have happened to a more deserving bunch of pricks either; it's only too bad that this will give Stephen "Bush Light" Harper his chance to become PM. Hopefully it'll be a minority government, unable to screw things up too much.
posted by clevershark at 4:21 PM on January 11, 2006


C-30 C-60 C-90 Go!
posted by gimonca at 4:22 PM on January 11, 2006


What Hildegarde said.

I wonder if we can start making t-shirts, or get group flight discounts to move if the Conservitives win...
posted by phyrewerx at 4:38 PM on January 11, 2006


Damn. Another reminder that I'm going to be forced to vote for the NDP, for lack of anyone less unappealing. The whole tedious copyright reform process appears in the end to have been something of a joke. Hardly surprising after some statements from the office of the minister in charge sometime last year that sort of gave away the ending.

The leaders' debate was fun. I particularly enjoyed Martin's speech when Duceppe demanded that he refer to Quebec as a "nation". So he says something like "Oh yes, I have no problem with calling that province, of Quebec, a nation. I will use the word, nation, in reference to that particular province, any time without objection. I'll do it willingly, because there's nothing wrong with that, you know, nation being a word that I can see how it might be appropriate there." When he could have more simply said "The nation of Quebec is a necessary part of Canada. Without it, the Canada we know could not exist." What the hell. The local MP talks just the same way, too. Idiots, all of them.
posted by sfenders at 4:39 PM on January 11, 2006


...of course, the really sad thing is that the Liberal leader came out sounding much better than two out of three of his opponents, in both languages. You'd think these guys would have some talent for public speaking. You know, given that sensible policy about actual important issues like copyright law certainly isn't what got them elected.
posted by sfenders at 4:49 PM on January 11, 2006


It's looking more and more like a Conservative victory, but I don't think they have a prayer of forming a majority government (not without seats in Quebec). Hopefully this limits their right-wing agenda and ultimately their term in office .
posted by rocket88 at 4:59 PM on January 11, 2006


The Liberals have a lot worse problems than this to worry about.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 5:09 PM on January 11, 2006


What Hildegarde said.

I'd say this was like Gore vs Bush, only this seems worse. In G vs B, people couldn't tell the difference between the two, and Nader siphoned off some of Gore's support, you all know the result.

In this election, it was a neck and neck thing initially, but the Libs seem determined now to hand it to the other side on a silver platter.

And while this site is supposed to be tongue and cheek, what scares me is that these are in fact the people in Harper's party and this might not be far wrong as a cabinet prediction goes.
posted by Zinger at 5:22 PM on January 11, 2006


What Hildegarde said +

Why do the leaders of all four major parties have to suck? My MP is Jack Layton, but it's almost impossible for me to vote for such a jackass.

It feels like everyone has decided to just let Harper win because Martin is an unlikeable passionless slob. But Harper has the charm and professional demeanor of a monitor lizard and the intelligence of George Bush. And NOBODY IS ASKING HIM ABOUT HIS PLANS VIS A VIS IRAQ, God help us.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 5:28 PM on January 11, 2006


The Liberals have a lot worse problems than this to worry about.

What, like right-wing wackjob bloggers trying to understand what's going on up here?
posted by 327.ca at 5:28 PM on January 11, 2006


I mean it's not like we don't have lots of right-wing whackjob bloggers closer to the source.
posted by 327.ca at 5:29 PM on January 11, 2006


From what little I've seen of the Conservative campaign (I don't pay attention to this stuff, much), their main idea seems to be "Liberals are bad." As long as they just say "Liberals are bad, vote for us" they get that all-important brand exposure, without actually giving away anything about what they're really about. It seems to work. Then they throw in a few of the usual silly campaign promises, as inoffensive as possible (cut the GST!), and it could be a winning formula.

So, if the Conservatives do win the largest minority in the house, how can they form a government? Or do we just go straight to yet another election next month?
posted by sfenders at 5:34 PM on January 11, 2006


On the bright side, Harpo has never let us down. He consistently turns certain victory in defeat with shocking regularity. Hell, he can't buy a doughnut without frightening the hell of children and parents alike.

If I were a conservative strategist I'd probably suggest Harpo take a couple of weeks off out of the public eye. The more people see him, the more they will think of Bush.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 5:39 PM on January 11, 2006


I think parties should be obligated to do what they promised during the campaign and only what they promised during the campaign. Especially now. Because if all Stephen Harper gets to do for the next 5 years is sit on his ass not being a Liberal, that would be the best possible outcome.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:58 PM on January 11, 2006


Finally, the CPC has learned from their previous election disasters and seem to be running a reasonable (by Canadian standards) campaign, and are not simply presenting them as better than the Liberals. Since 1993, I have not seen a Liberal campaign as poor as this one, and I'm starting to think more and more that rather than being impossible (because of Quebec), a Conservative majority (and the first non-Liberal majority since 1988) is now simply a matter of time. I'd vote CPC, except it won't make a lick of difference in my riding. So I'm voting communist!
posted by loquax at 6:03 PM on January 11, 2006


Jairus has the better outcome.
Liberals have to be ousted: they have been in power for 12 years and think they own the place. Out-out-out.
The best would be a minority Conservative government, ensuring it doesn't have enough power to do much damage while Martin and his cronies are sent to retirement.
Meanwhile, the Bloc Québécois should have candidates in every Canadian riding, like the Rhinoceros Party once did. (This last one is joke.)
posted by bru at 6:28 PM on January 11, 2006


"What if bloggers took credit for an election defeat everyone else saw coming a mile away?"
posted by Space Coyote at 6:37 PM on January 11, 2006


How about the opinion of a left-wing Canadian cartoonist? (And here.)

By the way, 327.ca, Ed Morissey is the guy who broke open the Liberal "Adscam" embezzlement story last April by violating the Canadian judge's gag order. Since Ed is an American, he could safely ignore the gag order, and people who were attending the hearing kept mailing Ed with info about what was happening, which he posted to his blog. That, in turn, permitted Canadian newspapers to publish the information so that good Canadian voters like you could find out what their government had been doing with their money.

Ed knows a hell of a lot about Canadian politics.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 6:43 PM on January 11, 2006


I don't know, Jairus. I think what the Canadian government needs is a good leader. I don't see any uniting forces, any passionate orators, or even any strongly held opinions. Harpo, Martin, Layton and Duceppe are all pathetic. I've met the Green leader three times, and I still can't remember his name. Personally, I don't feel the same way about parliamentarians as a whole. There are many I really respect.

I should feel really good about the Green Party or the NDP, or at least have faith in the Liberals. Afterall, Canada is more prosperous than it's been in years. Nobody I know feels good about his or her party. It's sad.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 6:47 PM on January 11, 2006


Would a government sucking american cock be any better on copyright? No. Sorry Canada, you're fucked as bad as your neighbors to the south. Sorry about that.
posted by delmoi at 7:05 PM on January 11, 2006


One more and I'll let it go: here's an article from the Christian Science Monitor about how Ed Morrissey (whoose naem I speled worng erliar) defied the publication ban.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 7:14 PM on January 11, 2006


gesamtkunstwerk, if you don't think Duceppe is passionate, you're not paying attention.

Canada needs good leadership, but not with bad policy. Again, look to Ontario under Harris. The man was a great leader, but the province will be broken for a long, long time.
posted by Jairus at 7:21 PM on January 11, 2006


Can you say, "conflict of interest"? Sure you can! ;)
posted by squeak at 7:30 PM on January 11, 2006


Again, look to Ontario under Harris. The man was a great leader, but the province will be broken for a long, long time.

So you're saying that Ontario was better off under Rae and Peterson? And would have benefitted from a few more terms of the chaos that was the NDP? Ontario is far from broken, it is funding (along with Alberta and BC to a lesser extent) the rest of confederation. Not that it's germane to this discussion.
posted by loquax at 7:34 PM on January 11, 2006


I'm saying that Harris slashed and burned our health and education to fuel our economy. Now, we have shitty health, and shitty education.

Sure, we contribute to the economy, because we still have skilled and healthy workers.

We'll see how long that lasts.
posted by Jairus at 7:42 PM on January 11, 2006


loquax, you're sounding like Paul Martin, saying that the Country is better off, while individuals are collectively worse off. It's small compensation.

And that the Conservatives are the ones pointing this out is the most bizarro part of this whole political system.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:13 PM on January 11, 2006


Now, we have shitty health, and shitty education.

I don't have enough time to wade through and cite the Ontario budgets for the last ten years, but suffice it to say that Ontario increased health and education spending in the province between 1995 and 2000 despite the slashing of Federal transfer dollars to the provinces, while also cutting taxes, creating over 800,000 jobs, slashing the deficit, and making Ontario globally competitive after a long period of stagnation. Which shouldn't be easily dismissed. More jobs and fewer taxes means more money in pockets, more RRSP and RESP contributions, more money to spend on post-secondary or private education, and a generally higher standard of living. And Ontario doesn't just contribute to the Canadian economy - we pay out hard cash to the other provinces to the tune of over $6bn a year (most of which goes straight to Quebec). That a handicap that the entire province has dealt with for decades (especially Toronto), and one that isn't going away anytime soon.

In 1995, health spending was at 17.4bn. This was increased to 18.9 bn by 1998 (again, with the cuts from the Federal Liberal government), and again to 25.5 bn in 2002, Harris's last year in office. Both public education and post-secondary institution grants increased by roughly 30% from 1995 to 2002.

You may disagree with the institutional reforms he implemented within the health and education infrastructures (and/or some of the other things he did), but I think it's difficult to argue that he slashed and burned health and education based on the facts. I don't know how you define shitty health and shitty education, but the numbers don't seem to support that assessment.

while individuals are collectively worse off

You mean in Ontario since 1995? How so? I'm certainly open to the argument. I just don't see the stats that prove it.
posted by loquax at 8:27 PM on January 11, 2006


Some other economic and spending highlights as of 2002:

In 1995-96, base health care operating spending made up 38 per cent of government program expenditures (excluding capital and Public Debt Interest). Health care's share grew to 45 per cent in 2001-02 and will increase to 47 per cent in 2002-03.

Starting in 1994-95, federal Canada Health and Social Transfer (CHST) payments to Ontario began a steady decline, dropping to as low as $3.6 billion in 1998-99, down more than $3 billion from $6.6 billion in 1994-95. Federal CHST transfers have been increasing over the last number of years but only in 2002-03 will CHST transfers to Ontario approximate their 1994-95 levels.

Since 1995, the number of people directly employed by the Government of Ontario has declined from over 81,000 to about 60,000 as of March 2001.

Ontario has been the leader in cutting taxes and in economic growth in Canada. Over the 1996 to 2001 period, the Ontario economy, on average, grew by a full percentage point faster than the economy of the rest of Canada. According to private-sector forecasters, Ontario growth is again expected to outpace growth in the rest of Canada over the 2002 to 2003 period.


From the second quarter of 1996, when Ontario income tax cuts began, to the fourth quarter of 2001, Ontario real disposable income increased by 18.5 per cent, stronger than the 15.3 per cent pace for the rest of Canada.

Ontario has a highly competitive and diverse manufacturing sector. Over the 1996 to 2001 period, it created 209,000 jobs-more than any other province or any U.S. state.

posted by loquax at 8:45 PM on January 11, 2006


Harris inhereted a growing economy from Bob Rae, so his spending doesn't much impress me. I define 'shitty health' and 'shitty education' as follows:

1994: 1-hour average wait in ER, 1-month wait for surgery.
2004: 8-hour average wait in ER, 18-month wait for surgery

Our education grants may have increased, that's irrelevant in the face of how our per-student resources have been cut. In 1994, Ontario ranked 30th in North America for per-pupil expenditure. By 1998, we were at 55th place out of 63. By the time Harris left office, public spending on elementary and secondary had been cut by almost 15 percent since 1994.

Christ, he cut an entire year out of high school forever.
posted by Jairus at 9:00 PM on January 11, 2006


And he disheartened and embittered an entire generation of teachers, whom he used as strawmen whenever his popularity lagged.
posted by Hildegarde at 9:12 PM on January 11, 2006


And he disheartened and embittered an entire generation of teachers, whom he used as strawmen whenever his popularity lagged.

...and then he closed their schools.
posted by Jairus at 9:13 PM on January 11, 2006


Harris inherited a growing economy from Bob Rae

When I previously made the same argument about Chretien inheriting a growing economy from Mulroney, I was lambasted for it. I agree in part that Harris (and Chretien) inherited growing economies, but in Ontario's case, I believe it was growing despite Rae's governance along with Canadian and more broadly North American upturns in the economy after the problems of the late 80's and early 90's. Rae practically crippled the economy with his labour fights, bizarre legislation, awkward infrastructure investment and, of course, Rae days. Rae cut grants to educational institutions (in some cases, citing "elitism") and only won the 1990 election because of gross arrogance and incompetence on the part of Peterson and the Liberals. He never expected to govern, and had no plan to do so until a few years into his term. His popularity was negligible by 1993, and he reneged on almost every promise he made during the election. He was, as even many NDPers (including the ones that called for his resignation in 1993, and all of the unions) will admit, an abject failure as a premier, and did nothing but hamper what should have been a booming Ontario economy in 1990. And I say this knowing the man and his family personally, and having a great deal of respect for what he's accomplished after his run as Premier.

1994: 1-hour average wait in ER, 1-month wait for surgery.
2004: 8-hour average wait in ER, 18-month wait for surgery


In 1994, Ontario ranked 30th in North America for per-pupil expenditure. By 1998, we were at 55th place out of 63.

Where did you get these numbers from?

By the time Harris left office, public spending on elementary and secondary had been cut by almost 15 percent since 1994.

The 2002 and 1996 Ontario budgets state that spending on elementary and secondary education had increased from roughly $8.4bn to $14.6bn during Harris' time as Premier (roughly). That's an increase of what, 70%?

Christ, he cut an entire year out of high school forever.

It was about time. Ontario's victory lap was absurd when almost no other jurisdictions (as far as I know, in the world, but certainly Canada and the US) had a grade 13. What exactly was the point? Especially when many students headed to university fast-tracked anyways? The elimination of grade 13 combined with a vastly increased commitment to community colleges, trade schools and other non-university post-secondary institutions was one of the best things Harris did, if you ask me.

And he disheartened and embittered an entire generation of teachers, whom he used as strawmen whenever his popularity lagged.

...and then he closed their schools.


He antagonized teachers, that's for sure, but I don't see any harm done to the profession. The teacher's pension is still in place and immensely wealthy. There were no major layoffs. There were no major pay freezes or cuts (at least none compared to the paring down of the rest of the civil service. You could almost say that Rae had fewer friends among the teachers in some quarters. I saw a tightening of professional requirements, improvement and standardization of the curriculum and testing, and a lot of entrenched education interests that resisted any modicum of change that they were presented with. What schools were closed? What was the tangible impact of Harris' government on the education system? I see greatly increased funding, reducing the power of unions, expansion of Ontario's universities, and a better basket of educational services and options since 1995.
posted by loquax at 9:30 PM on January 11, 2006


Where did you get these numbers from?

University research notes. I don't have references handy, but googling "ontario per pupil expenditure" turns up a few stats.

There were no major layoffs. What schools were closed?

Are you serious?
posted by Jairus at 9:43 PM on January 11, 2006


You know, there's no possible answer to my "Are you serious" question which would make me want to continue a discussion with someone who says 'there were no major layoffs' and asks what schools were closed. I'm done.
posted by Jairus at 9:55 PM on January 11, 2006


but googling "ontario per pupil expenditure" turns up a few stats.

Those numbers refer to the period up to 1996 or have no date (that I could see) attached.

Are you serious?

Quite, and I wasn't being entirely rhetorical. I don't remember major school closings (perhaps a few consolidations) and while I do remember teacher layoffs, as far as I recall they were along the lines of early retirement packages and exemptions to that Ontario civil service "80 year rule" (time served plus age, right?). The only numbers I could google are "projected" closings and layoffs from the unions, no hard facts. I acknowledge, however, that I could be misremembering the details. Doesn't seem to change the fact that Harris increased public funding of schools by 70% over the course of his time as Premier.

Here's an article that discusses the subject at least partially, indicating that a comparison with the US is ineffective as the US spends more per student that almost any other country, yet is less efficient than many, sort of like their health care spending (which is higher than ours).

Here's another I stumbled across that purports to deal with how the OSSTF lies about such matters. (which should probably be taken with a similar sized grain of salt one should take when reading the OSSTF's own figures.

On preview, OK then.
posted by loquax at 9:59 PM on January 11, 2006


Did anyone hear Nash mention her stance on TPMs?

She agreed to take Geist's pledge, to not become the Minister of Heritage or Secretary thereto. Which I'm sure crushed her dreams ;)

But Bulte's been moving towards the
job for a while.. the "Junction Art's Festival" was supported by her, and Toronto got a bunch of cash for the ROM and COH (Across the street from Osgoode Hall).

Is this the election where we finally, for all time, get to decide that we don't want our elected representatives to be corrupt?
posted by ecco at 10:12 PM on January 11, 2006


From the Ministry of Education, 2001-2002:

3969 Elementary Schools
839 Secondary Schools

And 1994-95:

4370 Elementary Schools
804 Secondary Schools

During Harris' term, the number of elementary schools dropped by 9% (students accommodated primarily with the use of portable classrooms) and the number of secondary schools grew by 5% while the number of students enrolled grew by 5%. The number of teachers decreased by 10%, almost exclusively due to attrition as opposed to layoff.

Certainly there were closings (mea culpa, I certainly don't recall any closings in my area, and wouldn't remember elementary school closings and consolidations, which comprised the bulk), and certainly there was a reduction in the number of teachers, but to say that in itself that is a bad thing presupposes that there were either just enough or not enough teachers and schools prior to Harris' arrival. Which I'm not sure is true. We went from 17.8 students per teacher to 20.7, and from about 400 students per school to 450 (but no increase in secondary school student:school numbers). Hardly the end of education in Ontario as we know it.

Before McGunity took power, the number of Secondary schools went up to 870, and elementary schools increased above 4000. The number of teachers also increased to levels just below the figures in 1995, lowering all of the ratios mentioned above.
posted by loquax at 10:43 PM on January 11, 2006


Politics, Facts and Civil Discourse. I love my country. This round of Poutine is on me.
posted by srboisvert at 3:38 AM on January 12, 2006


Voting NDP only benefits the Conservatives when it splits the vote against them and gives them a win, right?

Right. You may as well stay home and not vote.
posted by zarah at 4:27 AM on January 12, 2006


Poor Loquax, weeping over the loss of the wonderful, popular, constructive Harris government. How did we ever loose him? He was clearly such a boon for our province. We should elect more dopey golf stars. I can't wait for the Harper regime! Goody goody! Milkshakes and strawberry shortcakes for children everywhere!

I don't know about you, but I love it when my income tax goes up! Won't we have FUN with Stephen Harper! At least we'll get 5% off the GST, which we'll really feel when we buy those cars and washing machines every single income family buys each month! And we can stop those dirty gays from pretending they can get "married". Yeah, we can turn this place into somewhere Republicans Canadians can be proud of.
posted by Hildegarde at 5:26 AM on January 12, 2006


...2% off the GST. Dammit. You know what I meant.
posted by Hildegarde at 5:27 AM on January 12, 2006


*wipes tear from eyes*

I love you guys.
posted by GuyZero at 5:48 AM on January 12, 2006


How did we ever loose him?

Well, after two consecutive majority governments, it was time for him to go. I won't argue that. But it wasn't because of a lack of popular support, like, say, Bob Rae.

He was clearly such a boon for our province.

Given the evidence I've provided and a lack of any referenced, non-partisan numbers to the contrary, I'd say you were right about that. Or do you only oppose him on the basis of a vague feeling?

Milkshakes and strawberry shortcakes for children everywhere!


No no, that was the Liberals under Chretien and Martin. Well, replace "milkshakes and strawberry shortcakes" with cash and favours and replace "children everywhere" for friends of the government and Quebec.

I don't know about you, but I love it when my income tax goes up! Won't we have FUN with Stephen Harper! At least we'll get 5% off the GST, which we'll really feel when we buy those cars and washing machines every single income family buys each month! And we can stop those dirty gays from pretending they can get "married". Yeah, we can turn this place into somewhere Republicans Canadians can be proud of.

So have you actually read Harper's and the CPC's positions on the issues you reference or do you get all your information from OP/EDs in the Star and Liberal campaign ads?
posted by loquax at 6:45 AM on January 12, 2006


Harris slashed and burned our health and education to fuel our economy.

No, he tried to slash and burn health and education, and cut taxes, to reduce the size of government. He thought himself some kind of government minimalist, thought it should be starved and reduced, and where possible sold off to private interests at low low prices. He didn't do a very good job of it. I'm not sure if Harper has similar tendancies, but not if you believe what he promises.
posted by sfenders at 6:59 AM on January 12, 2006


Hopefully it'll be a minority [Conservative] government, unable to screw things up too much. - clevershark
I don't want a Conservative government at all. But if it's going to happen it better damn well be a minority. If Harper gets a majority, I'll cry.

I wonder if we can start making t-shirts, or get group flight discounts to move if the Conservitives win... - phyrewerx

But to where?
posted by raedyn at 7:00 AM on January 12, 2006


I never thought I'd meet a Harris apologist. How curious. How old were you when Mike Harris first got into office, Loquax?
posted by Hildegarde at 7:23 AM on January 12, 2006


You never thought you'd meet a Harris apologist? He was an extremely popular premier (as premiers go)! He won two overwhelming majorities! 44% of Ontarians voted for him in 1995 and 45% in 1999. Bob Rae only had 37% when he won in 1990. I never thought I'd hear someone claim that Harris inherited a booming economy from him. Granted there was vote splitting between the NDP and the Liberals, but Harris had (and still has) many supporters in the province. In 1995 I was in the late stages of high school, smack dab in the middle of the education debates of the day. I don't know how public high schools are doing now, but from my (relatively limited experience with them), they couldn't be much worse then they were then from a curriculum and a staffing perspective. At the very least, Harris opened a debate about education in Ontario, and even if everything he did didn't turn out well, he broke some of the taboos that existed regarding direct political interference in public education. Understandably the education bureaucracy was upset, but that in itself doesn't mean that it was a bad thing to do.
posted by loquax at 7:37 AM on January 12, 2006


Is Hildegarde the Canadian ParisParamus?!?
posted by angrybeaver at 8:03 AM on January 12, 2006


Hildegarde? Are you sure you don't mean me?
posted by loquax at 8:07 AM on January 12, 2006


Mindless ideological blindness towards one's chosen political party. Nope.
posted by angrybeaver at 8:13 AM on January 12, 2006


He was an extremely popular premier (as premiers go)! He won two overwhelming majorities! 44% of Ontarians voted for him in 1995 and 45% in 1999

Ontarians are famous for being the stupidest voters in the nation, partially because they "revenge" vote. The GTA aside, all the older white Ontarians are easily stirred up by the conservatives' convenient bogeymen. During Harris' reign it was welfare mothers, and for Harper it's the nasty gays & a scandal that those most outraged over don't even understand: People I speak to think the Liberals stole 100's of billions of dollars from them for god's sake. Simple minded revenge voting, it's what Ontarians do best. They always live to regret it, and somehow never learn their lesson.
posted by zarah at 8:38 AM on January 12, 2006


Yeah, I'm the only one in the province who didn't like Mike Harris. That's my mindless ideological blindness for you.
posted by Hildegarde at 8:46 AM on January 12, 2006


It's not Mike Harris. I don't know much about him, but if he's anything like Gordon Campbell in B.C., I wouldn't like him either.

It's the Liberal Party of Canada. And not just you, it is everyone in this thread who said " What Hildegarde said. "

Honestly, given Paul Martin's record over the past 18 months and the past 30 days, and the Liberal Party's record over the past 13 years, I can't comprehend how anyone could support them.

There's plenty of alternatives out there. NDP, Conservative, Bloc, Green. The Liberals are unfit to govern.
posted by angrybeaver at 8:59 AM on January 12, 2006


I'm an NDP voter. So stop with the accusations already, Jesus.

But I know the NDP aren't going to win, so I'd prefer to have a Liberal government with a strong NDP in opposition. The Conversatives make my skin crawl. I don't think this is ideological blindness. Stephen Harper considers me, as a lesbian, a second class citizen. There is no way in hell I will support a party that wants to treat me that way. I would consider resting at ease with a Progressive Conservative government led by someone like Joe Clark. There's a man with integrity. But this party? No way. If get a majority I will have to start looking at my options and join the brain drain out of here.
posted by Hildegarde at 9:15 AM on January 12, 2006


given [...] Liberal Party's record over the past 13 years, I can't comprehend how anyone could support them. [...] The Liberals are unfit to govern.

I have yet to see evidence of this, to be honest. I don't like the Liberal party, but we have the lowest unemployment in three decades, we went from having the second worst G7 debt-to-GDP ratio to the best debt-to-GDP -- that's staggering. They paid it down from 68.4% to 38.7% -- in addition to being the only G7 nation to post a surplus last year.

That is the very definition of a fit governance record.
posted by Jairus at 9:52 AM on January 12, 2006


Look! Pretty graphs!


posted by Jairus at 9:58 AM on January 12, 2006


...for the sake of comparison -- if the Liberal Government was our accountant, and they saved us $63,000 over the past dozen years, Adscam would be equivalent to them charging us $100 for work they didn't actually do.
posted by Jairus at 10:10 AM on January 12, 2006


If [the Conservatives] get a majority I will have to start looking at my options and join the brain drain out of here. - Hildegarde

Again, I hear this idea and I wonder where you're planning to escape to. Bush's US of A? Castro's Cuba?
posted by raedyn at 10:20 AM on January 12, 2006


I wish I had more time to reply, but alas I must earn my paycheque. But I will return to this thread around 6pm PST.

But before I leave, a little bit of gasoline:

Hildegard, I strongly believe that the Charter will protect your rights, no matter who forms the government. Having said that, the Liberals should have invoked the notwithstanding clause when the Supreme Court made their decision on gay marriage. That would have given the country time to take a step back and decide the best route of action to protect the interests of all Canadians.

Jairus, the Liberals reduced the deficit on the back of the provinces. That is why Mike Harris had to do the things that he did. And Adscam is only the tip of the iceburg - it's not just $250 million that was stolen - the true amount is in the billions of dollars.
posted by angrybeaver at 10:23 AM on January 12, 2006


angrybeaver: It wasn't $250 million. It was $100 million of a $250 sponsorship budget. Additionally, the provinces are doing fine:



If you have evidence that the Liberals stole billions of dollars, I can put you in touch with a judge who would be very interested to hear it.
posted by Jairus at 10:26 AM on January 12, 2006


Also: Harris had to do what he did because he promised 14 BILLION DOLLARS in tax cuts to get elected, and didn't have the money to back it up when he took power. Not because of the big bad federal government.
posted by Jairus at 10:29 AM on January 12, 2006


Yeah, for me, the graphs say it all. Someone in the Liberal party knows how to put togetehr a budget and do the right things for the economy. That person is probably Paul Martin.

This is why the original topic of my post pains me so... I'd be happy to vote for Paul Martin, but vote for Sam Bulte? Ugh. No. And she keeps digging her hole bigger every day.
posted by GuyZero at 10:32 AM on January 12, 2006


Hildegard, I strongly believe that the Charter will protect your rights, no matter who forms the government. Having said that, the Liberals should have invoked the notwithstanding clause when the Supreme Court made their decision on gay marriage. That would have given the country time to take a step back and decide the best route of action to protect the interests of all Canadians. - angrybeaver

This doesn't make any sense. How can the charter be said to protect someone's rights if those rights are set aside under the notwithstanding clause?
posted by raedyn at 11:05 AM on January 12, 2006


Mindless ideological blindness towards one's chosen political party. Nope.

Touchée!

Ontarians are famous for being the stupidest voters in the nation

According to who? Quebecers who vote for separatist parties federally and federalist parties provincially? I don't like this kind of statement. Revenge vote? What does that mean? The Harris platform was about a lot more than "welfare mothers", as the press liked to frame his welfare reforms. For instance, health and education, as has been discussed here, and job creation, fiscal responsibility, debt reduction, tax cuts, infrastructure improvement and government reform. Harper's platform is similarly about a lot more that gay marriage. Check their website (or the links I provided). I can understand why one wouldn't want to vote for them on the strength (or lack thereof) of their platform - I'm no huge fan, but I cannot understand why one would be "terrified" of them or want to "flee the country". The are not Republicans. Not even close. Most democratic senators are much further to the right than Harper and his gang. Everyone needs to relax a little and stop buying into the Liberal scare tactics concerning the CPC and start judging their platform and policies on their own merits. The CPC is not suggesting anything other than not allowing the use of the word "marriage" in conjunction with same-sex unions. The benefits and rights enjoyed by same-sex couples would be identical to those enjoyed by opposite-sex couples. You can agree or disagree with this (and I happen to disagree), however it's a far cry from the subtle implied threats of a reduction in civil rights for gay people, or the conservative hatred for gays. Show me where the CPC has identified gaymen, lesbians or anyone as a "second class citizen".

What do people think about proposed CPC tax legislation encouraging the construction of low-income housing? What about the child care credit to all families? What about the proposed revamping of the immigrant education recognition system? What about their proposed cuts to the GST and the capital gains tax? What about their support of parents adopting foreign children and making them automatic citizens, or cutting the right of landing fee in half? What about their fisheries plans? What about their plans to strengthen Canadian presence in the Arctic? What about their proposed democratic reforms?

Does none of this matter when it comes to federal elections anymore, just the leader's out of context quotes about gay marriage and the US?

How can the charter be said to protect someone's rights if those rights are set aside under the notwithstanding clause?

There are a great many "rights" that the charter "grants" us that are stripped away by law or court decision without the use of the notwithstanding clause. All that needs to be shown is that the abrogation of a given right is for the greater good, to put it simply. Like the right to be free of unreasonable search and seizure - anybody been stopped by RIDE lately? The notwithstanding clause isn't going anywhere until the process for amending the constitution is actually realistic, rather than the absolute disaster that it is today.
posted by loquax at 11:16 AM on January 12, 2006


Interesting statements at last night's all-candidates meeting in Parkdale-High Park.
posted by transient at 11:28 AM on January 12, 2006


An interesting take on the election as a whole from the Toronto Star:

So Liberals who foolishly believed they could fight and win this election the way they fought and won the last must now stop the erosion of core support and find the energy to soldier through 11 difficult days.

How else to explain the sudden preoccupation with Toronto and what should be safe Liberal seats? By spending time where they are strongest, Liberals are repeating the Conservatives' damaging 2004 retreat to rock solid Alberta.

posted by loquax at 11:46 AM on January 12, 2006


What do people think about proposed CPC tax legislation encouraging the construction of low-income housing?

Weak, especially compared to the active and sustainable stance taken by the NDP. Passive incentive for the free market is not enough.


What about the child care credit to all families?

Worthless. $1200 to each child is a waste of money. The government has the capacity to make much better use of money to provide bulk services than any consumer does. Throwing billions of dollars in $1200 parcels will not have nearly the positive effect that using billions of dollars to provide sustainable child care would.


What about the proposed revamping of the immigrant education recognition system?

Perhaps the single positive light in the policy. The NDP also promise reforms.


What about their proposed cuts to the GST and the capital gains tax?

Horrible ideas which primarily benefit financially secure citizens with large disposable incomes.


What about their support of parents adopting foreign children and making them automatic citizens, or cutting the right of landing fee in half?

The NDP and Liberals will cut the landing fee entirely. The NDP will also allow sponsorship for automatic citizenship.


What about their fisheries plans?

Weak. Their capital gains deferral program affects only commercial fishermen, and pales in comparison to the Liberal's capital gains tax exemption extended to all fishers.


What about their plans to strengthen Canadian presence in the Arctic?

Any potential benefits are outweighed by the proposed "Canada First" defence policy.


What about their proposed democratic reforms?

Weak. They promised to "consider" STV and proportional representation, while the NDP promise to implement.
posted by Jairus at 12:10 PM on January 12, 2006


Jairus, I have a pretty graph too:



It's easy to hack away at the debt when one offloads spending onto the provinces and increases the tax burden through tax bracket creep.

Also, which judge would be interested in the theft of taxpayer money? Justice Gomery would not be interested as the terms of his inquiry were restricted to a very narrow time frame that conveniently excluded Paul Martin and Earnscliffe.

Once again, Adscam is only the tip of a very very large iceberg. If you think only $100m was stolen from the taxpayer, you are sadly deluded. The auditor-general, Sheila Fraser reported that the government violated just about every rule in the book in the HRDC scandal which has not been investigated. The gun registry had a $2b cost overrun, and there is some funny stuff going on there too.

The Liberals have also squirrelled away over $10b of taxpayer in multiple foundations such as Technology Partnerships Canada. That itself is not an issue, but I find it very disturbing that the monies are beyond the oversight of Parliament and the auditor-general.
posted by angrybeaver at 12:36 PM on January 12, 2006


Jarius: I don't entirely disagree with you (especially about the GST cut, which I strongly oppose) - I'm just sorry that these issues are generally not discussed and voted upon while image and trivialities generally are. Like scary pictures, vague accusations, weapons in space, and proposed changes to the charter that are impossible to implement.

I don't think many people in Canada would have been as well prepared as you to contrast CPC proposals with those of the other parties or even comment at all - not a good thing at all for our country, no matter who wins the election.
posted by loquax at 12:39 PM on January 12, 2006


Jarius: $1200 to each child is a waste of money. The government has the capacity to make much better use of money to provide bulk services than any consumer does. Throwing billions of dollars in $1200 parcels will not have nearly the positive effect that using billions of dollars to provide sustainable child care would.

Yeah, those parents are just going to waste it on beer and popcorn.

If a parent is unable to find a job that earns enough money to pay for daycare, then he/she is better off staying home and taking care of the kids.
posted by angrybeaver at 12:40 PM on January 12, 2006


I agree with angrybeaver about that though - creating another giant federal program is not the answer. Why government would be in the business of providing daycare is beyond me.
posted by loquax at 12:43 PM on January 12, 2006


Why the government would be in the busines of providing education pensions healthcare daycare is beyond me.

... While I would much rather have a national discussion on why families need two incomes to provide what used to be attainable with one, as it stands with our current economy this is something that would benefit Canadian families enough that it's worth doing.

$1200, on the other hand, won't pay for a babysitter for one day a week. It's not enough for families who can't afford childcare, and is a lovely little bribe for those that don't need the money for their kids' care.

I thought social credit died long ago .What gives?
posted by Space Coyote at 12:54 PM on January 12, 2006


Yeah, those parents are just going to waste it on beer and popcorn.

HURRRR

If a parent is unable to find a job that earns enough money to pay for daycare, then he/she is better off staying home and taking care of the kids

I agree. Hence why I think the government should create a program to subsidize stay-at-home parents instead of blowing it on credits.
posted by Jairus at 12:55 PM on January 12, 2006


If the Conservatives get a slight majority, I don't think it'll had mattered if Parkdale-High Park switched from Liberal to NDP. Voting NDP only benefits the Conservatives when it splits the vote against them and gives them a win, right?

Actually I'd like to second what clevershark said.

The Liberals are falling apart, full stop. The more NDPers in there the better, because I'd rather see a stillborn Conservative minority taken down after a year (it happened to Joe Clark) by the NDP and the Liberals than just the Liberals, who are slowly becoming indistinguishable from the Tories anyway.

Harper can't govern. Has anyone actually heard any realistic policy come from this man's mouth? If he wins it's not because people want him, but because they don't want Martin.

I figure two things can happen. The Conservatives will actually manage to get their shit together (seems unlikely) in which case, worried Canadians will get their shit together in response. On the other hand, they will crumble under their own weight. Either way, things are looking up for the NDP, a fact which might push the Liberals who are in power to run to the left.

Or, I am full of shit.

Whichever.
posted by poweredbybeard at 1:05 PM on January 12, 2006


Why the government would be in the business of providing education pensions healthcare daycare is beyond me.

Now we're talking! Well, except for maybe pre-university education and some healthcare. If the government is going to run daycare, why not an airline? Or a chain of gas stations? Or beer and liquor stores?

The price of nationalized child care will be paid, one way or another. Is it really better to (yet again) increase or maintain an unnecessary tax burden to fund (another) bloated federal program in order to provide a service that the private sector can provide more efficiently, given perhaps government aid, tax credits, subsidies, or regulation? I'm not saying the CPC plan is flawless, but I'm sure the Liberal plan is a) never going to happen as it's an empty election promise, b) a huge mistake if it does, and one we'll pay for for generations.
posted by loquax at 1:10 PM on January 12, 2006


I also live in her riding and it's the primary reason why I'm not voting Liberal in this election. As much as a minority Conservative government scares me, this is one issue that I will not waiver on and my vote is (like usual) going NDP.

I will also be informing Sam tonight as to why am I not voting for her party.

The second debate for that riding is tonight.
posted by purephase at 1:13 PM on January 12, 2006


RUHHH?? Beer and popcorn is not a strawman. People make much better choices for themselves than any government ever could.
posted by angrybeaver at 1:18 PM on January 12, 2006


Something new to add to the Bulte saga: A bouncy video where Bulte says her actions are transparent, she is fighting for the rights of artists and she "I will not allow Michael Geist and his pro-user zealots, and Electronic Frontier Foundation members to intimidate me into silencing my voice."*

btw, GuyZero the issue of Sam Bulte's campaign contributions has been covered by the CTV, CBC, Maclean's and a google news search brings up some more (mostly from the usual suspects: p2pnet and digitalcopyright.ca but there are others)

*what the american eff.org is doing in Canada's copyright reform playground, I haven't a clue.
posted by squeak at 1:23 PM on January 12, 2006


It's the literal definition of a strawman.

You took my argument (government has greater purchasing power), distorted it (families make poor choices), and then attacked it ("People make much better choices for themselves than any government ever could.")

The most amazing part is you don't even see it.
posted by Jairus at 1:24 PM on January 12, 2006


to provide a service that the private sector can provide more efficiently, given perhaps government aid, tax credits, subsidies, or regulation?

Anything can be more efficient if you offload externalites like inspections and regulation onto governments.

RUHHH?? Beer and popcorn is not a strawman. People make much better choices for themselves than any government ever could.

Except for the ones that don't.
posted by Space Coyote at 1:26 PM on January 12, 2006


Except for the ones that don't.

Zing!
posted by Jairus at 1:30 PM on January 12, 2006


Apologies to GuyZero for continuing to derail his thread.

Every one of us needs to make our Members of Parliament accountable to their constituents and to the country. Their expenses and campaign donations need to be scrutinized.

We should not have to trust our MPs. I don't trust my Member of Parliament. I don't trust Harper. I don't trust Martin. We need strong laws and transparency so that we don't need to trust them.

When Bulte accepts donations from entities with a vested interest, when the finance minister meets with brokers over income trusts, when Paul Martin's CSL blind trust is not so blind, democracy is damaged.

On preview: Space Coyote - yes people also make bad decisions. That is their choice - it is a free country. But don't force me to pay for their bad decisions.
posted by angrybeaver at 1:31 PM on January 12, 2006


But don't force me to pay for their bad decisions.

Great, you're also coming out against social credit bribes instead of a useful solution, good to see you've come around.
posted by Space Coyote at 1:33 PM on January 12, 2006


Jairus, just because the government has economies of scale does not mean that they know what is best for our kids.

I would love to continue the debate, but work beckons. Regards.
posted by angrybeaver at 1:34 PM on January 12, 2006


Space coyote, it is a tough balancing act. The social credit bribe is cheaper than nationalized daycare, so I do prefer that. We shouldn't be paying people to have kids.

On the other hand, there is a benefit to society to encourage reproduction to fight our declining birth rates, so yeah, maybe we do need those social credit bribes.
posted by angrybeaver at 1:37 PM on January 12, 2006


... A bribe that isn't enough money to realisticalyly help anyone pay for childcare. Ideology aside, a useless program is a useless program.
posted by Space Coyote at 1:43 PM on January 12, 2006


Now we're talking! Well, except for maybe pre-university education and some healthcare. If the government is going to run daycare, why not an airline? Or a chain of gas stations? Or beer and liquor stores?

Because the government is there to supply goods and services for which the supply is low, even when the demand is high. Or to reduce the cost of goods or services by spreading their cost across the largest possible user base (the whole country). Plus the government runs services not-for-profit, presumably further lowering the cost.

But the issue with child care has little to do with the most economically efficient way to deliver a service. The program is an incentive to get more people into the workforce. Many, many government programs try to incent people to do higher-productivity activity. We subsidize university so we have more high-productivity white collar workers instead of low-productivity miners. Taxes favour working couples over couples where one partner stays at home (deductibility of child care expenses, etc) because it's supposed to be an incentive to get more people in the workforce.

If 5% of stay-at-home parents go back to work because of a government childcare program, I imagine the program would be considered a success, regardless of whether it's more or less efficient than private childcare.

And angrybeaver, the point of my post was to derail MeFi from the usual flood of tedious, US-centric political wrangling. I'd have twenty posts like this on the front page if I could get away with it.
posted by GuyZero at 1:46 PM on January 12, 2006


Is the incentive to get more stay at home parents into the workforce really that straightforwardly seen as universally good?

I think I'm turning into a conservative, but that sounds kind of creepily institutional.
posted by Space Coyote at 1:57 PM on January 12, 2006


The point of childcare is not to get more people into the workforce. Most parents have no choice but to work for a living, and a thousand bucks is not going to change that. Even a subsidy for stay-at-home parents isn't going to help a single mother pay her rent and buy groceries, unless we call this subsidy "welfare".

We need a national childcare program to give people some basic choices.

And excuse me, angrybeaver, I'm not really happy to sit around and wait for a bunch of homophobic fucks to decide whether or not they want me to have the same rights they have. Unless you don't mind waiting through another 12 years of Liberal rule while we decide what's best for you.
posted by Hildegarde at 2:30 PM on January 12, 2006


I'm sorry to bring this up again but you keep referencing it - why do you call the CPC "a bunch of homophobic fucks"?. What evidence do you have to support your assertion? I can tell you that I am a member of the party and I am the furthest thing from homophobic. I also have worked on various PC, Reform, CA and CPC campaigns, as well as provincial PC campaigns alongside many gay and lesbian volunteers. Are there people in the party that may be privately "homophobic"? Probably. Are there CPC voters that are "homophobic"? Certainly. I think you could say the same for all parties. Show me in the party platform where the CPC indicates its consideration of homosexuals as "second-class citizens" and where it expresses its homophobia. Show me when and where Harper has done something similar. Until then you're disparaging a great number of people, straight and gay who support the party despite their stance on the "marriage vs. civil union" debate. After all, I wouldn't call NDP supporters a bunch of theives because of the actions of Svend Robinson, or Liberal supporters Marxist-Leninists because of their intention to nationalize a private business in a narrow area of their policy intentions.
posted by loquax at 2:53 PM on January 12, 2006


How about "A bunch of panderers to homophobic fucks."

Better?
posted by Space Coyote at 3:02 PM on January 12, 2006


What the hell is CPC?
posted by Hildegarde at 3:10 PM on January 12, 2006


Stephen Harper is the only one who wants to revisit gay marriage. And why? Because he's a homophobic fuck, and the conservative party supporters wanted him as their leader. I have no problem calling the entire party homophobic. If you're not prepared to stand up for my civil rights, I'm going to call'em like I see'em.
posted by Hildegarde at 3:13 PM on January 12, 2006


Hildegarde, metatalk
posted by angrybeaver at 3:17 PM on January 12, 2006


Most parents have no choice but to work for a living, and a thousand bucks is not going to change that. - Hildegarde

Ding! Exactly.
posted by raedyn at 3:34 PM on January 12, 2006


What the hell is CPC? - Hildegarde

Conservative Party of Canada.
posted by raedyn at 3:42 PM on January 12, 2006


To judge from this video of an alleged Conservative candidate linked in the latest entry on Rick Mercer's blog, Hildegarde might not be all that far off. It may seem unfair, but I do have trouble imagining a reason that could motivate anyone, if not for their being a "homophobic fuck", to feel so strongly against gay marriage as to make it an election issue.

"We cannot change the definition of marriage. The definition of marriage has been
in place since Adam and Eve. That's about 6000 years ago for those who might not
be aware.
" - Rondo Thomas, Conservative candidate (Ajax-Pickering)
posted by sfenders at 3:45 PM on January 12, 2006


Everything else aside, there is a world of difference between defining "marriage" as the union between a man and a woman while supporting full and equal rights for same sex couples without the title, and "homophobia", "suppression of civil rights" and "treating homosexuals as second class citizens". If there is to be a serious political dialogue on this subject, both sides will have to be mature about it and not ascribe motivations to the opposite side that do not exist. I see your comments, Hildegarde, as the exact opposite of the kind of rhetoric from some (not, as far as I know, in the CPC) that allege a vast "gay agenda" that somehow intends to subvert "traditional values". Both trains of thought are destructive. The last I'll say on the subject.
posted by loquax at 4:11 PM on January 12, 2006


When Harper announced a $1k/year subsidy for daycare, I thought he must have been tripping hard. One thousand dollars a year. For a child who'll require over 200 days of the year in daycare. Even in the heavily-subsidized Quebec system ($7 a day daycare) that would only cover 142 days. For people who have only two weeks' vacation a year (common) that barely clears the mid-year mark.

This must be the Harper "golden formula" -- make sure it still costs the taxpayers something, and yet make nobody happy.

Given a majority I fully expect Harper and the Cons to invoke the notwithstanding clause to forbid gay marriages once more, because that's exactly the sort of progressive thinking you'd expect from the likes of Rondo Thomas, Art Hanger and Myron Thompson.
posted by clevershark at 4:16 PM on January 12, 2006


there is a world of difference between defining "marriage" as the union between a man and a woman while supporting full and equal rights for same sex couples without the title, and "homophobia", "suppression of civil rights" and "treating homosexuals as second class citizens".

Straight people may marry. When gay people may not, that's a textbook example of treating homosexuals as second class citizens.

I don't know how you can *not* see that.
posted by clevershark at 4:18 PM on January 12, 2006


the kind of rhetoric from some (not, as far as I know, in the CPC) that allege a vast "gay agenda" that somehow intends to subvert "traditional values".

Not in the CPC? So, you didn't watch the video, then. That he isn't kicked out of the party for that kind of talk is just ridiculous. The "homosexuality is evil" vibe isn't even the worst thing about it. The "6000 years" remark puts him beyond homophobia and well into insanity. Not even my extremely conservative grandmother would think this guy was anything but a raving lunatic. Very sad indeed that Harper and the CPC are trying to placate people like this with promises to revisit the gay marriage thing, rather than completely disowning them as decency would demand.
posted by sfenders at 4:23 PM on January 12, 2006


Clevershark, what is marriage? Is it not a set of rights a legal obligations and privileges bestowed upon two people? Is the CPC suggesting a difference in those rights and obligations depending on the sexual preferences of those entering into a union? Not as far as I know. The only difference is the terminology. Straight people marry, gay people enter into an identical civil union. I disagree with this, and would prefer that marriage be extended (if only to end the debate), but I cannot understand how this can be viewed as a "gay rights" issue. All of the rights and privileges of marriage will be available to same-sex couples under a CPC government, as far as I know. If this is not the case, I will publicly retract my support of the party. Live. On Metafilter.

sfenders, I can't watch the video - is that all he says about it? Does he say that homosexuals should not be able to enter into identical civil unions? Does he say that homosexuality is a sin and should be illegal? Does he say that he hates gay people for the second class citizens they are? If he does, he should be banned from the party, and if not, I will again, reconsider my support. If he is expressing his honest belief, even if it comes from his religion (which is a protected right under the charter, under which he cannot be discriminated against), that the word "marriage" should be reserved for men and women, then I will respectfully disagree with his opinion and not let it cloud my opinion of the rest of the party and their platform, though I personally would likely not vote for him.
posted by loquax at 4:39 PM on January 12, 2006


Meanwhile, as if determined to find some way to lose his lead in the election campaign, Harper promises to abandon the Kyoto accord.
posted by sfenders at 4:40 PM on January 12, 2006


For the benefit of those that don't click through to the article:

"The Liberal government signed an international agreement that touches on provincial jurisdiction — without consulting the provinces," he said.

"The result is that the government was incapable — and remains incapable — of meeting its obligations."

While Kyoto calls for a six per cent cut in emissions by 2012, Canada's have actually risen about 24 per cent since 1990. The country's record is even worse than the U.S., which never ratified the agreement.

Environmentalists have harshly criticized Canada's performance on climate change. But many still believe the country still has a slim hope of meeting its commitment — especially if it purchases clean-air credits from other countries.

"The government of Canada has never had a plan to achieve the objectives under this accord. What we're going to do is obviously proceed with what we can do in developing a real plan in collaboration with our provinces," Harper said.

"That's the only realistic way of proceeding."

posted by loquax at 4:42 PM on January 12, 2006


If it's exactly the same thing, why does it need a special term?
posted by Hildegarde at 4:44 PM on January 12, 2006


loquax - no, he never specifically mentions homosexuality at all, in fact. He just goes on about the war he's waging on behalf of Righteousness against "immorality". Suggests that homosexual marriage would lead to the end of procreation, and constitution.some unspecified future things that would be even worse.

Anyway, if gay marriage wasn't an issue of civil rights, then it wouldn't involve the charter.
posted by sfenders at 4:45 PM on January 12, 2006


Sorry, here it is:

"We are committed to this war, to win it,
and we're going to win it for righteousness and for morality in our society

There is going to be a clash of morality view between those who believe in
righteousness, and those who believe in immorality, and when they collide, there
is going to be conflict.

We are engaging the enemy today. We are going to win this battle. It doesn't
matter what the media says, it doesn't matter what the government says. The facts
don't count. We are going to win this conflict.

We cannot change the definition of marriage. The definition of marriage has been
in place since Adam and Eve. That's about 6000 years ago for those who might not
be aware.
"
posted by sfenders at 4:47 PM on January 12, 2006


If it's exactly the same thing, why does it need a special term?

Tradition? The same reason we have separate washrooms for males and females? The same reason common-law marriage has a different designation from marriage? Religious reasons? I don't know, a combination of the above? Like I said, I don't agree with it either, but I can understand how people have a particular association with a word and what it entails, and the word marriage has always been associated with the union between a man and a woman. Stupid and silly, if you ask me, but I would say the same about the fixation on the word from the other side on the issue. 10-1 that within 10-20 years, no matter what the legal designation is, everyone will be calling it marriage anyways. I do it now.

Anyway, if gay marriage wasn't an issue of civil rights, then it wouldn't involve the charter.


As far as I know, the only reason it involves the charter is because of religion, not as a individual rights issue. There is no mention in the charter of homosexual rights, or even defining sexual preference as a prohibited ground of discrimination - although it has been read in by the SCC. The issue as I recall with gay marriage is that there was a theoretical challenge brought against gay marriage legislation that claimed that the government was trampling on religious rights by forcing churches to marry same-sex couples. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think that this is a straightforward charter issue, only a roundabout attempt to block gay marriage.
posted by loquax at 4:56 PM on January 12, 2006


Um, I've no idea about the legal issues really, but it was my understanding that they would need to invoke the "notwithstanding clause" to put an end to same-sex marriage, which would imply that there is more to it than that. Personally, I think you're right that it's stupid and silly to spend time fighting about it as a political issue. Marriage is not something the government should be involved in at all. They may as well be debating whether the catholic church is right about transubstantiation. It's bizarre.
posted by sfenders at 5:08 PM on January 12, 2006


I agree. It's completely bizarre. And it gives me hives that it's coming up again.
posted by Hildegarde at 5:13 PM on January 12, 2006


loquax: Paul Martin states very clearly that it is a charter issue:

"The second argument ventured by opponents of the [same-sex marriage] bill is that government ought to hold a national referendum on this issue. I reject this - not out of a disregard for the view of the people, but because it offends the very purpose of the Charter.

The Charter was enshrined to ensure that the rights of minorities are not subjected, are never subjected, to the will of the majority. The rights of Canadians who belong to a minority group must always be protected by virtue of their status as citizens, regardless of their numbers. These rights must never be left vulnerable to the impulses of the majority.

[...]

Third, some have counseled the government to extend to gays and lesbians the right to "civil union." This would give same-sex couples many of the rights of a wedded couple, but their relationships would not legally be considered marriage. In other words, they would be equal, but not quite as equal as the rest of Canadians.

Mr. Speaker, the courts have clearly and consistently ruled that this option would offend the equality provisions of the Charter. For instance, the British Columbia Court of Appeal stated that, and I quote "Marriage is the only road to true equality for same-sex couples. Any other form of recognition of same-sex relationships ...falls short of true equality.

[...]

Will you use the notwithstanding clause to overturn the definition of civil marriage and deny to Canadiansa right guaranteed under the Charter?

[...]

But much has changed since that day. We've heard from courts across the country, including the Supreme Court. We've come to the realization that instituting civil unions - adopting a "separate but equal" approach - would violate the equality provisions of the Charter. We've confirmed that extending the right of civil marriage to gays and lesbians will not in any way infringe on religious freedoms.

And so where does that leave us? It leaves us staring in the face of the Charter of Rights with but a single decision to make Do we abide by the Charter and protect minority rights, or do we not?

posted by Jairus at 5:14 PM on January 12, 2006


Rondo Thomas sucks. But that video was shot before he was an official candidate for the CPC. And there are a lot of distasteful candidates (like the corrupt Liberal that we started discussing here, or for that matter, the smuggling conservative in BC). The US evangelical movement has been spending a lot of time and money in Canada trying to elect both Liberal and CPC candidates. I don't like it. I don't like Thomas. But he won the nomination. And his individual opinions don't reflect in any way the position of the party, or the policies that the party would put in place. For what it's worth, among the people I work with, I can tell you that there would be a revolt if the party were elected and did anything to abrogate gay rights or limit the extent of same sex partnerships the way I described. If they tried, count on never seeing a CPC government again (at least until this issue is dead and buried).

I was not aware of this though, and how forceful he was in pushing his (single issue) agenda. I'll talk to some people and see if I can find anything else out about what the party line is about him. Without knowing more, I don't like him, and I don't want him in my party or representing me in government, but I don't know what one can do in a situation like this without totally subverting grassroots democracy.

As for the notwithstanding clause, to be honest, I have no idea how it's proposed to be used with respect to gay marriage. As far as I know, the SCC has ruled that the definition of marriage falls under the domain of the federal government, invalidating any provincial legislation that sought to define same-sex and straight marriages differently (like in Alberta, but the two were still equal). Therefore it's on the federal parliament to make law defining marriage however they like, or repealing past legislation and creating a new definition - remember, there is no charter right to marriage, and no charter rights specifically for homosexuals. If they have the power to do so, then the use of the notwithstanding clause is unnecessary, unless it is intended to insulate the legislation against future theoretical charter challenges. So it would serve to pass legislation notwithstanding a charter right that doesn't yet exist, if that makes sense. Unless I misunderstand, but I don't think I do.
posted by loquax at 5:19 PM on January 12, 2006


...and on the topic of conservative wackos:

Darrel Reid, the party's candidate in Richmond, B.C., is a past president of Focus on the Family.

Cindy Silver, who will run for the Tories in North Vancouver, was the executive director of the Christian Legal Fellowship for two years in the 1990s.

Dr. Thomas (Ajax) is a top official with the Canada Christian College, which is run by Charles McVety, a senior director of the Defend Marriage Coalition.

David Sweet, candidate for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale, is the former President & CEO of Promise Keepers Canada,

"Rondo Thomas beat former Conservative MP René Soetens for the nomination in Ajax, on the eastern edge of Toronto.

"The Defend Marriage Coalition engaged in a concerted effort to help pro-marriage candidates become nominated," Dr. McVety said.

"There is a desire to see pro-marriage nominees as candidates right across the country. We know that we have 141 pro-marriage MPs now and our hope is to achieve a pro-marriage Parliament."


The Conservative Policy Convention in 2005 stated "A Conservative government will not support any legislation to regulate abortion."

The Globe and Mail, however, reports "A backbench member of Parliament would likely introduce anti-abortion legislation if the Conservatives form the next government, the party's president said.

"When we form a government, we can be rest assured that there will be a private member's bill on this," Don Plett wrote in an e-mail in November to a Conservative Party member in Quebec.


They make me sick.
posted by Jairus at 5:20 PM on January 12, 2006


I posted before seeing what you wrote Jarius, I think Martin is overstating the case. The BC Court of Appeals in not the Supreme Court, and the Alberta courts have disagreed consistently. Martin is reading in a lot of undefined rights into the charter that as far as I know, are certainly not settled law. Defending the rights of minorities is certainly part of the spirit of the charter, but again, how does that extend to the terminology of two equal legal relationships?

We've come to the realization that instituting civil unions - adopting a "separate but equal" approach - would violate the equality provisions of the Charter.

I have absolutely no idea what he is talking about here. Maybe he's come to that realization, but the Supreme Court hasn't, as far as I'm aware. The equality provisions don't even recognize homosexuality as a prohibited ground of discrimination, to our shame. This is really campaign rhetoric, and not a legal argument.
posted by loquax at 5:26 PM on January 12, 2006


Paul Martin has been saying the same thing the whole time. This isn't election rhetoric. That's the Liberal platform in and out of an election.
posted by Hildegarde at 5:27 PM on January 12, 2006


This is really campaign rhetoric, and not a legal argument.

Christ. This is a parliamentary speech from February 2005.
posted by Jairus at 5:28 PM on January 12, 2006


Fine, then it's just plain rhetoric. Sorry. Sheesh.
posted by loquax at 5:29 PM on January 12, 2006


Also: It's spelled Jairus. I can take a misspelling or two, but three a thread is where I draw the line.
posted by Jairus at 5:29 PM on January 12, 2006


Sorry.
posted by loquax at 5:30 PM on January 12, 2006


It's really good rhetoric, anyway. That was about the best speech I've heard from any Canadian politician. Thanks for the reminder, Jairus, that they do occasionally get things right.
posted by sfenders at 5:37 PM on January 12, 2006


I was enjoying this thread until the "homophobic fuck" comment. That kind of gutter language is uncalled for.

I originally said:

Hildegard, I strongly believe that the Charter will protect your rights, no matter who forms the government. Having said that, the Liberals should have invoked the notwithstanding clause when the Supreme Court made their decision on gay marriage. That would have given the country time to take a step back and decide the best route of action to protect the interests of all Canadians.

It was cowardly of Paul Martin to ask the Supreme Court for a reference on gay marriage. We voted for and elected 308 MPs to debate and write legislation. It is not up to nine unelected justices to come up with new laws; their duty is to rule on the constitutionality of such legislation when and if it appears on their bench.

I fully agree that civil unions for gays and marriage for men and women is totally and blatantly unconstitutional. But we should have had the national debate about the definition of marriage and different options that would have satisified Canadians. Gay marriage is a fairly radical change in our society and it is extremely upsetting for some people. Those people should not be ignored.

But that debate was short-circuited because a cowardly Prime Minister did not want to stir up any controversy.

And it was not a free vote on the legislation. The vote was whipped. It should have been a free vote.

Personally, I believe that the government should get out of the business of marriage altogether and legislate civil unions for all. And civil unions would not necessarily imply a sexual relationship. If two people care enough for each other that they want to form a bond where they will care for each other financially, then they should be allowed to do so.

But we never had that debate.

Marriage should be a religious institution and it should be up to the churches whether they want to allow the two people in front of them to engage in holy matrimony. I'm quite enjoying the schism developing in the Anglican church over the issue of gay marriage.

And Hildegarde, yes, we should have imposed the notwithstanding clause to allow for that debate and to think through the potential consequences. Would other countries recognize marriages in Canada, gay or straight? What are the financial ramifications for civil unions, civil marriage, religious marriage, common-law marriages, roommates and so on? Are there any unforseen consequences?
posted by angrybeaver at 5:46 PM on January 12, 2006


and if that makes me a homophobic fuck, so be it.
posted by angrybeaver at 5:48 PM on January 12, 2006


Marriage should be a religious institution

Marriage has existed for as long as human memory, spanning cultures and existing in the absense of religion. This is a foolish statement.
posted by Jairus at 5:51 PM on January 12, 2006


GuyZero, it's no surprise that metafilter is full of US-centric political wrangling. Most of the posters are American. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
posted by angrybeaver at 5:52 PM on January 12, 2006


Ok, then call it common-law marriage instead of civil union. Or put some other adjective in front of it.
posted by angrybeaver at 5:56 PM on January 12, 2006


We already have common-law marriage. It means something else entirely. Just because religious groups want to hijack the term 'marriage' doesn't mean that the word has suddenly lost ten thousand years of context.
posted by Jairus at 5:59 PM on January 12, 2006


We already have marriage. It means something. Just because gays want to hijack the term 'marriage' doesn't mean that the word has suddenly lost ten thousand years of context.
posted by angrybeaver at 6:05 PM on January 12, 2006


Are you fucking serious?

I wonder why you got called a homophobe.
posted by Jairus at 6:06 PM on January 12, 2006


How about you try reading the content of my lengthy post above and determining whether I'm a homophobe instead of fixating on the word "marriage".
posted by angrybeaver at 6:08 PM on January 12, 2006


Hint: I fully agree that civil unions for gays and marriage for men and women is totally and blatantly unconstitutional.
posted by angrybeaver at 6:09 PM on January 12, 2006


Oh thanks! I hadn't considered reading this thread that I am currently replying to! Good advice from "Beer and popcorn is not a strawman", I'll get right on that!
posted by Jairus at 6:09 PM on January 12, 2006


Well I'm sorry, I didn't have daycare when I was growing up. Maybe if I did, I would have been better educated and know what a strawman is.
posted by angrybeaver at 6:11 PM on January 12, 2006


Perhaps you should have tried reading the content of my lengthy link, then.
posted by Jairus at 6:13 PM on January 12, 2006


doesn't mean that the word has suddenly lost ten thousand years of context.

Hey, pay attention. The world was only created some six thousand years ago. Anyway, you don't think we had enough "debate" on gay marriage! That's something. I seem to remember the newspapers being filled with little else for weeks on end, long and tedious parliamentary debates on the subject, family discussions that I'm sure were repeated all across the country, and a metafilter thread or three. All this for the "radical change" that gay marriage will bring to the non-homosexual masses: the distant knowledge that somewhere not too far away, gay people could be getting married. Good thing it got so much more debate than say, for example, some relatively mundane change like new copyright laws that will decide on rights that only people who sometimes make use of copyrighted material might care about.
posted by sfenders at 6:14 PM on January 12, 2006


...what makes me most sad about copyright reform is that it never had a chance. The Heritage Minister had her mind made up about how it was all going to go.
posted by Jairus at 6:16 PM on January 12, 2006


Just wait until copyright becomes a charter issue. I really wish the talk I attended on this very topic was webcast like it was supposed to be so I could link to it right now.

Rights of the user, man. Rights of the user.
posted by Hildegarde at 6:19 PM on January 12, 2006


Just wait until copyright becomes a charter issue.

As an arts promoter, writer, semi-musician and pirate, nothing would make me happier.
posted by Jairus at 6:23 PM on January 12, 2006


It seems to me AngryBeaver, that you're arguing this two ways, and you can't have it both ways.

On one hand, you believe that the term 'marriage' at the very least has a special meaning.

On the other hand you're saying it's okay for gays and lesbians can get hitched as long as they don't call it marriage.

This is kind of like saying, okay, we'll end segregation, but blacks over here please, and whites over here.

For my part, I have yet to have anyone who is opposed to gay marriage on the grounds it 'dilutes' the meaning of marriage, explain to me how two men or two women getting married is going to make me love my husband and son any less.
posted by Zinger at 6:24 PM on January 12, 2006


We really need to get to work on this. Your people and my people (librarians). The lawyers we've spoken to say it's just a matter of time before it goes there. It's very inspiring to consider.
posted by Hildegarde at 6:25 PM on January 12, 2006


Look Jairus, the reason beer and popcorn is not a strawman is because it is a reference to the debate over whether we should have institutional daycare or trust parents to do what is best for their children. Just because the government has economies of scale on its side does not mean that approach is best for Canada. You stated that nationalized daycare would be a much better use of resources than providing $1200 for each child under six and provided no evidence to back that up. RUHHH! Did you read my link?
posted by angrybeaver at 6:26 PM on January 12, 2006


Here's hoping.
posted by Jairus at 6:27 PM on January 12, 2006


No. 'Beer and popcorn' is a reference to the argument that parents make poor choices, which has absolutely nothing to do with anything I was saying. That makes it a strawman.
posted by Jairus at 6:28 PM on January 12, 2006


Zinger, I never said "separate but equal". Whether its a man and a woman, or two men, or two women - call it the same thing. Marriage, civil union, whatever. Jarius said that "common-law marriage" had a special meaning and I countered that "marriage" also had a special meaning.
posted by angrybeaver at 6:29 PM on January 12, 2006


What exactly will $1200 do for a single mother? How much daycare do you imagine that will pay for?

But how nice it will be for middle class families with lots of support, who don't actually pay for childcare at all (like my sister and her husband). It would really help with the renovations on their house.
posted by Hildegarde at 6:30 PM on January 12, 2006


Your argument ($1200 to each child is a waste of money. The government has the capacity to make much better use of money...) goes directly to the heart of "beer and popcorn".
posted by angrybeaver at 6:33 PM on January 12, 2006


So? It is a waste of money. It's not enough to help the people who really need it. It won't pay for a year of childcare. It's a nice amount for people who don't really need it. I don't give a shit about "beer and popcorn", I want single parents to have actual childcare options.
posted by Hildegarde at 6:35 PM on January 12, 2006


$1200 will help families. Plain and simple. It's not going to provide daycare, no, but it will subsidize it. Or put food on the table. Or buy clothes. Or yes, help with house renovations or a trip to Disneyland.

We really shouldn't be giving families money. If someone chooses to have a kid, they should be financially responsible for it. Why should I pay for someone else's kid? When and if I have children, I'm not going to ask anyone else for help.
posted by angrybeaver at 6:35 PM on January 12, 2006


angrybeaver, you're either as blind to logic as my mother, or as intellectually dishonest as my father. Either way:

"Beer and popcorn" references a specific event where a politician spoke about how parents make poor choices which are not in the best interests of the child -- not about how the government can make better use of money, only better decisions about what to spend money on. Specifically, not beer and popcorn.

My argument has nothing whatsoever to do with the decision-making abilities of parents or governments, and has to do entirely with the demonstratable ability of the government to leverage weight and massive bulk purchases to achieve a purchasing power entirely unattainable by any parent anywhere.

You have taken my argument about purchasing power and framed it in the context of decision making. That is a strawman.
posted by Jairus at 6:38 PM on January 12, 2006


We really shouldn't be giving families money.

This is where I stopped caring about anything you had to say.
posted by Jairus at 6:39 PM on January 12, 2006


incoherentbeaver
posted by Space Coyote at 6:39 PM on January 12, 2006


Ok, the government has massive purchasing power. So what? Really, I'm not being intellectually dishonest, so I must be blind to your logic.
posted by angrybeaver at 6:40 PM on January 12, 2006


If I have a child, why should I be entitled to free money from the government?
posted by angrybeaver at 6:42 PM on January 12, 2006


Heureusement, ici c'est le Bloc. No I'm serious, I'm stuck in Jean Lapierre's riding.
posted by furtive at 6:43 PM on January 12, 2006


Issue: Canadians want childcare.

Liberal, NDP position: Let's implement a childcare program to people can have the option of working and not have to leave their kids at home alone.

Conservative positiion: Let's do something that won't help the people who need childcare, but will give the 905ers something to smile about.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:43 PM on January 12, 2006


Anyone who uses the term "free money" in the context of social services funded via taxation is not someone I'm going to debate with.
posted by Jairus at 6:44 PM on January 12, 2006


I think (properly) subsidised daycare makes a lot more sense than just throwing taxed money being redistributed to parents so that they can buy their mini-vans.
posted by furtive at 6:47 PM on January 12, 2006


We are talking about a massive expansion of social services. Daycare is not cheap. In British Columbia, the maximum subsidy for day care is $750/month or $9000 per year. If a single mom has a minimum wage job, she can earn $15000 per year. Why can't she pay for that daycare out of her own pocket?

[yes, this is an extreme example, but it is wholly possible for a single mother and child to live on $6000 a year plus GST credits plus other forms of social assistance]
posted by angrybeaver at 6:54 PM on January 12, 2006


If you know of a way to, by all means, share. Said single mom would be terribly grateful for the advice.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:59 PM on January 12, 2006


Yeah, single mothers should live on $6000 a year, and upper middle class families should get a $1200 bonus for having babies. Score all around!

I laugh, but I'm crying at the same time. What's about to happen to our nice country?!
posted by Hildegarde at 7:01 PM on January 12, 2006


[yes, this is an extreme example, but it is wholly possible for a single mother and child to live on $6000 a year plus GST credits plus other forms of social assistance]

Uh... In Argentina, maybe, if you're earning in Canadian dollars and buying in the local currency.

Sure as heck not in Canada. $6000/year won't even cover the rent for a two bedroom apartment, much less those frivolities like food, heat, light etc.
posted by Zinger at 7:02 PM on January 12, 2006


Rent an apartment with another person. Move to a small town where rents are much much cheaper. Rely on the assistance of family and friends and charities. Don't get high-speed internet and full cable. Don't smoke. Differentiate between needs and wants. It is possible.

Minimum wage jobs are generally starting jobs. If the single mom is even the slightest bit competent, she should be able to get a higher paying job.
posted by angrybeaver at 7:03 PM on January 12, 2006


I'm nice. I already pay for your healthcare and for your child's education. What more do you want from me?
posted by angrybeaver at 7:06 PM on January 12, 2006


Good grief AngryBeaver, a SMALL two bedroom apartment in a small town is minimum $540/month. Do the math.

That's $6480/year. Just on rent.

That's not including the gas bill. The hydro bill. Or the food bill. Or things like clothes for your kid, or yourself. And it definitely doesn't cover day care or babysitting.

And how, exactly is a single mom supposed to get a better paying job in a small town? Wearing Salvation Army clothes?
posted by Zinger at 7:10 PM on January 12, 2006


Conservatives expect people to politely starve to death if they don't earn enough money.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:11 PM on January 12, 2006


Conservatives expect people to politely starve to death if they don't earn enough money.

After all, if they were even the slightest bit competent, they wouldn't be starving.
posted by Jairus at 7:13 PM on January 12, 2006


Apartments are expensive. I can find a basement suite in a decent area of Burnaby (Vancouver) for $600. Or I can find a roommate.

Right now my share of the rent for my apartment in Kelowna is $300/month. Not bad, huh?

Sure, why not wear Salvation Army clothes? I shop there. They have good deals.

I'm deaf. I had to buy some hearing aids last year, that cost me a full month and a half's salary. The only assistance I got was $700 through my extended health insurance at work.

It would be easy for me to sit back and collect Level Two disability. I know plenty of people who do that. But I have some pride. And five years down the road, I will be better off, while those people will still be collecting the disability and bitching about how the government doesn't give them enough money.
posted by angrybeaver at 7:20 PM on January 12, 2006


And $1200 disappears from my paycheque every month to pay for all these social programs. I could really use that money. But c'est la vie.
posted by angrybeaver at 7:21 PM on January 12, 2006


Drawing conservatives out of their safe little obfuscations and getting them to say what they really think is utterly depressing when you realize people like that are running for office and might actually win.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:29 PM on January 12, 2006


The lowest average rent for a 2-bedroom apartment is $361/month, in Shawinigan. There are at least three or four places in Canada where it's below $500, though I suppose it's probably not going to be easy to find a job there. This random and almost completely irrelevant statistic brought to you by the CMHC.

$300/month. Not bad, huh?

You still have a long way to go if you're going to try and convince us that your total expenses are less than $500/month.
posted by sfenders at 7:30 PM on January 12, 2006


"Safe little obfuscations"? I'm not sure what you mean.

And what's depressing about what I said?
posted by angrybeaver at 7:32 PM on January 12, 2006


Right now my share of the rent for my apartment in Kelowna is $300/month. Not bad, huh?

Sorry, how many children was that you had to feed again?
posted by Zinger at 7:37 PM on January 12, 2006


I never said that my expenses were less than $500 a month. But I do live frugally and try to put money into my RRSP every month.

on preview: Condoms. Use them. People have to be responsible for their own actions.
posted by angrybeaver at 7:39 PM on January 12, 2006


I'm gonna go make some popcorn.
posted by Jairus at 7:40 PM on January 12, 2006


$1200 will help families.

Are you a parent? $1200 doesn't cover *a single month* of day care at a good facility in Toronto.

My friends just had a child and tried to get cheap daycare ($900/month) but they were booked way way way in advance. Many that they spoke with told them that if they really wanted a spot, they should have booked it... 4 months prior *to getting pregnant!*

The place they went with is $1400 a month, if I recall correctly, and they were on the waiting list for 16 months.

$1200 per year is a fucking joke.

The Conservative party is a fucking joke.

And yeah, I'm with Hildegarde: CPC is a bunch of homophobic fucks. You should be ashamed of yourself for voting for them, let alone campaigning for them, if you truly consider homosexuals your equal.
posted by Manhasset at 7:41 PM on January 12, 2006


I never said that my expenses were less than $500 a month. But I do live frugally and try to put money into my RRSP every month.

Oh bravo. And while you're tucking away money for your retirement fund, please try again at explaining exactly how a single mother with one child is supposed to live on $6000 per year.

And if you can't get past the tired old stereotype of single moms somehow being sexually irresponsible hussies or something, try to visualize our example family as a widow with a six month old baby. With no death benefits forthcoming from dear hubby's estate because, well, they didn't have one.
posted by Zinger at 7:45 PM on January 12, 2006


34 Liberal MPs voted against same sex marraige. They were not purged from the party. People should be ashamed to vote for the Liberals.

I'm not arguing against same sex marriage. I support it. I just didn't like the process.

$1200 per year will help families. Maybe in a Liberal utopia, nobody will have to worry about money.
posted by angrybeaver at 7:51 PM on January 12, 2006


$1200 per year will help families.

But calling it a solution to childcare is utter horseshit, and a transparent and childish way to buy votes.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:54 PM on January 12, 2006


Don't be dense, angrybeaver. Of course 1200 dollars will help families. $100 will help families, too. But it's a slap in the face and (not even) the bare minimum as a "childcare plan".

On preview....
posted by Manhasset at 7:55 PM on January 12, 2006


The example family can get help from friends and family. They can go to the food bank. They can collect welfare. There are plenty of social programs out there.

I never called the $1200 a year a solution to childcare, just a form of assistance to families. I think it is fairly generous and not a slap in the face at all.

Why should I be responsible for paying for someone else's childcare? Why can't parents, grandparents and friends help out?

If $1200 a year is a transparent attempt to buy votes, then what do you call the childcare plan?
posted by angrybeaver at 8:00 PM on January 12, 2006


The thing that bothers me about the childcare talk is the way they are trying to sell it as such a great thing for the children, that they'll be getting an early start on their education. I remember my childhood. I wouldn't have wanted to go to school at a younger age, and I'm damn glad my parents didn't find it necessary to send me to some government- or corporate-run daycare centre. That parents are finding themselves forced to do this strikes me as a problem in itself, one that in the long run deserves a more fundamental solution than addressing the symptom by providing daycare services.
posted by sfenders at 8:01 PM on January 12, 2006


As I understand it, under the Conservative plan, my family would be getting $1200 for "childcare."

We don't use, and don't plan to use, babysitters or daycare facilities. We have that luxury of choice.

And while $1200 extra will be a very nice addition to our grocery fund, it's $1200 that's not being used to provide child care for a family that needs it.

Indeed, the thing about the conservative plan is that it just puts money in your pocket but does absolutely nada about actually providing a place for your kid.

On preview: Still waiting on your answer to the $6000 question there AngryBeaver. And in the meantime, exactly which friends do you have that would be able to provide 40+ hours of babysitting a week? For free?

Sfenders: Agreed. I'm not sure what the solution might be though.
posted by Zinger at 8:05 PM on January 12, 2006


Is this what we want in Canada?
posted by angrybeaver at 8:08 PM on January 12, 2006


Let me tell you, this is some good popcorn.
posted by Jairus at 8:09 PM on January 12, 2006


Why should I be responsible for paying for someone else's childcare?

Hey, I never thought of that! Come to think of it, why should I be responsible for supporting the arts, stocking the libraries, funding community centres, parks, cultural establishments, and local transit, or, hell, fixing the roads? You might be on to something, angrybeaver. Fuck families! Fuck communities! Fuck everyone that's not me! Vote Conservative!
posted by Manhasset at 8:12 PM on January 12, 2006


Privately run monopolies? No, that's exactly what we don't want. Do you even read what you're linking to?
posted by Space Coyote at 8:12 PM on January 12, 2006


*passes Jairus a beer*
posted by Hildegarde at 8:18 PM on January 12, 2006


In case anyone is actually interested in the subject of the post, I just thought I would post a follow-up to the debate that happened tonight in the same riding.

First question of the evening was in regards to the copyright law issue and besides the soapbox nature of the preamble it was clearly a question aimed at Sam Bulte in order to completely obliterate any ambiguity over her previously stated position. Sam was not apologetic regarding her fund raising party sponsorship (and at one point derided Peggy Nash for even mentioning it publicly) under the auspices of artist support, not corporate influence on an elected member of parliament.

I feel bad for Sam in that, while she should know better, her primary concern is artist support and these particular group of lobbies are quite good at covering-up the real drive behind their interest in C-60 (money in their pockets, or their interested parties pockets). Meanwhile, Peggy was right out of the gate by mentioning a fair approach to copyright law (which I do support) that protects not just the holder, but users and consumers of the content.

All in all though, not as interesting of a night as what I was hoping for.
posted by purephase at 8:22 PM on January 12, 2006


Did you even read my link? You don't think the same thing that happened in Australia could happen here?
posted by angrybeaver at 8:25 PM on January 12, 2006


Thanks, purehpase. I wonder what it will take to make copy rights a higher-profile issue.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:26 PM on January 12, 2006


When the Ontario Library Association takes someone to court. It's bound to happen. Eventually.
posted by Hildegarde at 8:28 PM on January 12, 2006


You don't think the same thing that happened in Australia could happen here?

The problem in Australia was a private monopoly. This very well could happen if the system is implemented the way the Conservatives want it to.

The nature of a for-profit monopoly's motivations and a publicly run system should be apparent to a reasonably bright fifth-grader.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:28 PM on January 12, 2006


Manhasset, now you're being disingenuous.

All those things you cited are municipal responsibilities. And we pay local taxes for those things.

Why is the federal government responsible for childcare?

It's a federal government for crying out loud. The feds shouldn't be responsible for anything more than what's enumerated in the Constitution.
posted by angrybeaver at 8:28 PM on January 12, 2006


Yawn. While you're formulating your clear, concise and well-thought out response to the $6000 question, Mr. Beaver, I'm going to go catch up on my TV show. I may check in later to see what non-sequitur link you've posted in the meantime.

Purephase, thanks for the update on the original post!
posted by Zinger at 8:32 PM on January 12, 2006


Glad you're enjoying the popcorn Jairus.

I give up.

Zinger wants a line-by-line breakdown of monthly expenses for a single mom. And then he will probably critique each line.

Manhasset wants me to pay for his friend's $1400/month childcare.

Space Coyote thinks giving money to families is a bribe.

Sfenders actually shows some critical thought.

Hildegarde probably wants me to pay for her artifical insemination.

Jairus probably makes a whole lot more money than I do.
posted by angrybeaver at 8:32 PM on January 12, 2006


A flamewar that ends in a wimper rather than a meltdown?

I have to say I'm a little disappointed.

(and for the record I'm in agreement that educatoin is a provincial matter, but arguing that at the same time as arguing that no government should provide such services is trying to have it both ways.)
posted by Space Coyote at 8:37 PM on January 12, 2006


I have no idea how much you make, angrybeaver, but I lived on the streets during Harris' reign, and I can say with absolute certainty that cuts to social programs kill people.

I'm passionate about social politics because it's not an abstract to me, it's not how much money I save in taxes, it's how many people are going to die so other people can have tax breaks. That's what it comes down to.

So I'm not going to get into an academic argument about what living on $6K a year is like for a single mom, because I've seen it, and lived with it, and watched people live miserable and hungry lives.

Neo-conservatism is an abomination, and goes against everything that this country stands for.
posted by Jairus at 8:38 PM on January 12, 2006


*applauds*
posted by Hildegarde at 8:43 PM on January 12, 2006


on preview: Condoms. Use them. People have to be responsible for their own actions.

Then why give a $1200 credit at all? Any person who needs that $1200 is obviously irresponsible.

on preview: Why not just give the $1200 to singles without children, by extension of your/CPC logic they would use it to buy condoms, helping us avoid single parent families and alleviate daycare shortages (which is a real problem here in Quebec).

P.S. angrybeaver, your responsible for their own actions shtick in not the way Canada has ever been run.
posted by furtive at 8:49 PM on January 12, 2006


Sorry to disappoint you Space Coyote. When there's 6 people ganging up on me, there's only so much I can do.

I mentioned that $1200 a month in income taxes is deducted from my paycheque. You can do the math.

I pay taxes for healthcare, for education, for welfare, for unemployment insurance, we all do. You can only squeeze so much blood from a stone. There are plenty of social programs out there to help the less fortunate. But I oppose a massive expansion of social programs that will drain more and more money from the taxpayer.

Opposition to childcare is hardly a neoconservative agenda. You want to see a neocon agenda, look southwards. We are very fortunate in this country to have public health, as dysfunctional as it may be.

People have to help themselves. Life is not supposed to be easy. Because I am deaf, I know plenty of other people who are disabled. Some of them work very hard to support themselves while there are others that are leeches on society.

I could give an example of one of my friends who is a single mom with two kids and she is managing to survive while working 3 nights a week at a restaurant. She was able to move out of her parents' home recently and guess what, she doesn't get government childcare. I would say more but I don't want to give personal details and I'm sure there are posters here who would demand a budgetary breakdown. The reality is that right now people are surviving and actually doing something with their lives with assistance from family, from friends, from charities, and yes, from the government.

Jairus, I am glad you made it off the streets. Did you get any government aid?

People die. That's the reality of life. But it is very very very hard to help those who do not wish to help themselves. For those people who are willing to help themselves there are resources and government programs out there.

on preview: furtive, daycare shortages are a problem in Quebec? What makes you think shortages won't be a problem in the rest of Canada? And what is the solution to those shortages? More and more money? Also, hell yes, "you are responsible for your own problems" was the way that Canada was run until the 1970s or so. And our country seemed to do pretty well even then. "Why not just give the $1200 to singles without children" - fuck you, don't put words in my mouth.
posted by angrybeaver at 9:07 PM on January 12, 2006


But it is very very very hard to help those who do not wish to help themselves.

Your assumptions about the wishes of the less fortunate are both ignorant, and offensive.

I'm going to go back to not talking to you, now.
posted by Jairus at 9:09 PM on January 12, 2006


Oh come on Jairus, now you're being offensive. I'm trying to have a reasonable debate while you and everyone else here is playing holier than thou.

I've been in a situation where I didn't want to help myself. And there was nothing anyone could have done to help me. It was only when I decided that living a miserable existence was no fun, that I managed to drag myself out of the gutter.
posted by angrybeaver at 9:13 PM on January 12, 2006


The basis of the welfare state is the pragmatic realization that starving people become desperate people, and desperate people create problems for the rest of us.

Oh, and also something about whatsoever you do to the least of My brothers..
posted by Space Coyote at 9:43 PM on January 12, 2006


angrybeaver, your assertion that anyone who requires assistance is unwilling to help themselves is ridiculous. As someone raised by a single mom (with three kids, one of them handicapped and with a heart condition), I'm speaking from experience.

We are very fortunate in this country to have public health...

Well it's pretty clear that if we didn't have it, and certain parties were attempting to introduce it, you (and the CPC) would be against it, no? Do you not see the contradiction here?

All those things you cited are municipal responsibilities. And we pay local taxes for those things.

So you're not against full-on childcare support, you just want it to be funded by local government. Am I understanding you correctly? If not, who's being disingenious?

My point was that you saying "not my tax dollars!" when it comes to childcare is no different from those saying "not my tax dollars!" for any of the other things I listed, which I took for granted you weren't against (though I'm starting to think I was wrong).
posted by Manhasset at 9:45 PM on January 12, 2006


Sorry to disappoint you Space Coyote. When there's 6 people ganging up on me, there's only so much I can do.

It's not ganging up. It's asking you to provide concrete backup - not vague, conveniently lacking in detail anecdotes about how some of your best friends are poor - to support what are outrageous statements.

When you're prepared to come to the table with something substantial, we might have a reasonable debate about public policy in Canada. Meantime, consider yourself lucky to be able to be making enough money to pay $1200/month in taxes AND contribute to an RRSP AND have a computer and internet connection with which to complain about how the state is sucking you dry.

Gnight folks
posted by Zinger at 9:54 PM on January 12, 2006


furtive, daycare shortages are a problem in Quebec? What makes you think shortages won't be a problem in the rest of Canada?

Well for starters, the Quebec Gov't of the day had a moratorium on for-profit daycares for a few years when it first implemented the daycare scheme, which created a shortage of space. So we wouldn't want that to happen in the rest of Canada. The good news is we can learn from the growing pains that have already happened here in Quebec. Their solution was to lift the moratorium and allow private daycares to charge what the market would bear. Sure this creates a two tiered system, but one that is no different then what we have for primary and secondary education, and few people complain about that.
posted by furtive at 10:40 PM on January 12, 2006


Manhasset: I think you and Jairus need a lesson in reading comprehension. I said that government assistance was available for those who are willing to help themselves. I never ever said that people who required assistance were unwilling to help themselves. I'm already providing enough entertainment here without you and others putting words in my mouth.

How on earth did you manage to survive without government daycare? I assume your family got zero assistance. Oh wait, you probably got some help from government programs, from friends, from family, and from charity.

The amount of tax dollars is limited. I would love to be able to help everybody but it is not possible. We need to spend public money carefully and wisely.

Federal responsibilites are different from provincial responsiblities and municipal responsibilities. We are talking about the federal election and federal tax dollars and federal childcare.

If you want to start a thread about municipal responsibilities and municipal tax dollars, I would be more than happy to contribute to that thread.

Generally I believe that tax dollars should be directed to where there is an overall benefit to society. Public health and welfare provide benefits to society that outweigh the cost of those tax dollars. National defense, police services, pensions, EI, etc., provide a benefit to society and should be funded. I have yet to be convinced that spending tax dollars on childcare would provide an overall benefit to the taxpayer.

[regarding municipal tax dollars, I believe that free public transportation provides a benefit to society, so I would support that more than I would support free roads]

Space Coyote: You and I provide to the least of our brothers welfare, health care and social programs. What more do you want from me? All my savings?

Zinger: Please provide concrete backup that spending more tax dollars on childcare would provide an overall benefit to society. The onus is on you because you are requesting additional resources from me, the taxpayer. Also, what statements have I made that are outrageous? I can hardly think of anything I have said which is not currently the status quo in Canada. As for my income, I make about the same as the average Canadian. Less than 40 grand a year. And like you, I work hard for my money. So I'm just an ordinary joe and not outrageously wealthly.

[and for everybody here who thinks I'm a raging Conservative, I voted Green in the last election. I will not be voting for the Liberals for many reasons; I will not be voting Green because us taxpayers gave them over a million dollars in electoral funding and they seem to not have done anything constructive with that money. That leaves the NDP and Conservatives and I'm not wanting to vote for the Conservatives because my local candidate is a so-con. I may just eat my ballot.]

furtive: for-profit daycare is what lead to that Australian monopoly situation...
posted by angrybeaver at 10:45 PM on January 12, 2006


If you want to start a thread about municipal responsibilities and municipal tax dollars, I would be more than happy to contribute to that thread.

Funny, this was a threade aobut copyright after all.

And your comment about "all your savings" is a straw man.
posted by Space Coyote at 10:55 PM on January 12, 2006


angrybeaver: monopolies can be avoided, and standards can be set.

I'd just like to add one more thing. Without universal daycare, you have single mothers out there who are forced to remain on pogey because they can't afford daycare for their child(ren) if they were to work. With universal daycare you give these women the opportunity to return to the workforce, you cut down the burden on the welfare system, which I agree is tit for tat but it also means we receive more tax revenue, and empower women who are in difficult situations as it is.
posted by furtive at 11:09 PM on January 12, 2006


space coyote, you want a meltdown, you got it.

stick that straw man up your ass.

i've tried very hard to provide answers about taxation, about why the taxpayer shouldn't be paying for your fucking rugrats.

what more do you want from me? we pay outrageous levels of taxes here in canada. why do you think families need two incomes in order to survive? it's because we pay those goddamn fucking high taxes. we have an absolutely huge fucking debt that we need to pay off. one third of our tax dollars goes to pay the fucking interest on that debt. now is not the time to be expanding social services. maybe when we finally pay off that debt then we can talk about gold-plated rattle toys for our kiddies.

canada should be the best goddamn country in the world. we're wealthy beyond belief with natural resources. but it's not because people like you and zinger and janus are robbing the taxpayer.

and believe it or not, our social programs are among the most generous in the world. but it's not enough for you. you want more. more. more. i only have so much to give. i pay and pay piles of taxes, and the government holds a fucking gun to my head and demands that i give them more money.

guess what? there's no more money to give. my pockets are empty. i give plenty of money to the homeless, to the unfortunate, to the crippled, to the criminal. and yet there is this incessant whine.

it's people like you and every other communist fucker here that results in us being a northern european welfare state in the worst sense of the term.

i love canada. it is the best country in the world. we have incredible compassion for those less fortunate than us. and we give. and give. and give. but we can only give so much. i need to survive. i need to live. and i need to enjoy live a wee bit. but that's not possible when greedy fucks take every spare penny out of my pocket.

go to hell.
posted by angrybeaver at 11:27 PM on January 12, 2006


The income tax rates are lower now than they were in the 60s and 70s when one could reasonably support a family on one income.

THerefor all your rage is misplaced.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:36 AM on January 13, 2006


Yeah, angrybeaver, did you miss the announcement where the rates on the lowest tax bracket go down in 2006 and the floor (aka the personal credit) is going up? Everyone will pay less tax in 2006 - a CBC news piece estimated it at around $500 less for a family of 4 making $60K.

From here:

2005 Basic Personal Amount: $8,648
2006 Basic Personal Amount: $9,039

And the lowest federal tax bracket (15%) covers:
2005: the first $35,595 of income
2006: the first $36,378

Damn those liberals for lowering your taxes!! And, apparently, Harper wants to reverse this particular tax cut.

Also, it seems like everyone has forgotten all the other child-related payments from the government. Because I was in school last year and had $0 income, my family receives $480 per month from the feds and $90 from Ontario. The only difference that Harper would make is that I'd get his $100 regardless of my income.
posted by GuyZero at 5:55 AM on January 13, 2006


Oops, crap, my post is wrong - it's not the rate that goes down, but more people stay in the 15% bracket rather than bumping up to the 22% bracket.
posted by GuyZero at 5:56 AM on January 13, 2006


but it's not because people like you and zinger and janus are robbing the taxpayer.

MOTHER OF GOD IS IT SO HARD TO COPY AND PASTE

J A I R U S
posted by Jairus at 6:18 AM on January 13, 2006


typical. I make postings at 9:07pm, 10:45pm, and rant at 11:27pm. nobody addresses the content of those postings yet they feel free to lump on me.

sorry for misspelling your name, jerkus.

furtive makes a reasonable argument in favour of universal daycare -- but none of the other posters here care about debate. it's more fun to pile on the mean capitalist.

email is in profile if anyone wants a reasonable debate.

goodbye.
posted by angrybeaver at 6:42 AM on January 13, 2006


Thank christ that's over.

...

I wonder if Michael Geist will kill himself if he's accidentally responsible for a Conservative government?
posted by Jairus at 6:50 AM on January 13, 2006


Angrybeaver, I asked you several times, point blank, to provide back up to your statement that a single mom and a child could survive on $6000/year. That was just one of your outrageous assertions on this thread.

Your posts since then have done nothing to answer that question, and further, demonstrate how totally screwed up your knowledge of this country is. On hand, you claim this is the best country in the world, on the other hand you suggest it's turning into a northern European welfare state. On one hand you say this a generous and compassionate country, on the other you complain about the greedy fucks that take "every spare penny out of your pocket."

Do you even know what a northern European welfare state is, or is this just a cool phrase you read once on FreeDominion? Do you realize that these include Sweden, and Finland, which are nice, safe, generally wealthy countries in which to live? Do you have any idea why this is the best country in the world to live in? Do you suppose it might be because we have good and generous social programs?

If there's an incessant whine anywhere it's the one coming from you. Again I say, you with your salary/wage that is enough to warrant $1200/month in taxes, your RRSP contributions and your nice computer and fast internet connection, spare us the moaning about how hard done by you are. You aren't.
posted by Zinger at 6:51 AM on January 13, 2006


Jairus writes "I wonder if Michael Geist will kill himself if he's accidentally responsible for a Conservative government?"

Umm, probably not. Besides, this is only one seat and if that is all takes to crumble the chances of the Liberals in the next election (which it very well might be) then with an almost equal Liberal opposition banging the non-confidence drum I doubt the Conservative minority will be successful in swaying social policy way back to the right.

The best outcome is that we'll hopefully see a different Liberal party in our future, with fiscal conservatism, and a social policy that the lionshare of Canadian voters actually support. As much as I dislike Harper and the old Reform values he truly believes in, there are some Conservative ideas that I actually like (accountability act, tax credits for transit riders) that, while by no means swaying me enough to actually vote for them, could make some positive differences. They have yet to publish their platform, so who really knows what they're after.
posted by purephase at 8:42 AM on January 13, 2006


Rondo Thomas sucks. But that video was shot before he was an official candidate for the CPC. [...] And his individual opinions don't reflect in any way the position of the party, or the policies that the party would put in place. - loquax

But with Harper's committment to free votes on what he calls "issues of morality" it is pertinent to know what your local canidate's position on those issues are, independent of official party policy.

Gay marriage is a fairly radical change in our society and it is extremely upsetting for some people. - angrybeaver

What does it change? There's already millions of gay Canadians, working, raising kids, shopping for groceries, falling in and out of love, all the normal stuff that straight people do. They are already treated as common-law couples in many instances (like tax & welfare laws, some insurance situations, etc). Seriously, what is the major change?

And it was not a free vote on the legislation. The vote was whipped. It should have been a free vote. - angrybeaver

Why on this topic and not others? Shouldn't votes on budgets, crime and immigration be free votes? Why this topic for special consideration?

What exactly will $1200 do for a single mother? How much daycare do you imagine that will pay for? - Hildegarde

Well full-time non-subsidised daycare for one infant in my part of the country runs $500/month or more - and this it for private non-regulated care in a home, one of the cheaper options. So it would pay for roughly 20% of the childcare costs. Depending on the parents' income and where in the country they live, a family may qualify for subsidized care and may not pay nearly that much.

Why should I pay for someone else's kid? - angrybeaver

Who do you suppose is going to pay into the CPP and healthcare etc to take care of your old sick self when you're 90? Who will be the doctor that treats you or the janitor that cleans up after you? Who will pay the taxes that keep police on the streets?

No one is asking you to foot the whole bill for everything a kid needs. But I think it's reasonable that we all pay for some of the neccesities, like we already do with education.

"$1200 per year will help families." But calling it a solution to childcare is utter horseshit, and a transparent and childish way to buy votes. - Space Coyote

Yes! Well put! I have a two year old, and $100/month would make a difference to me, sure. But it won't get my kind into higher quality care, because there just aren't enough spaces, period.

for everybody here who thinks I'm a raging Conservative, I voted Green in the last election. - angrybeaver

The Greens are fiscally very conservative.
posted by raedyn at 8:49 AM on January 13, 2006


Seriously, what is the major change?

It means you can ride the ambulance with your gay partner when they are sick. It means than you can collect the pension of your gay partner dies. It means you can share all the same benefits of any other married couple. It means one less stigma for our society as a whole. I don't see how anyone could take offense in that, or wish to withhold it from anyone.
posted by furtive at 9:04 AM on January 13, 2006


It's a major change for gay Canadians and their families, absolutely. I'm questioning angrybeaver's assertion that it's a major change for "Canadian society" that needs a lot of "careful consideration". Hooey. It will make a meaningful difference to those families that it affects, and no difference at all to everybody else.
posted by raedyn at 9:16 AM on January 13, 2006


it's people like you and every other communist fucker here that results in us being a northern european welfare state in the worst sense of the term.

Do you even know what a northern European welfare state is, or is this just a cool phrase you read once on FreeDominion?

HAY GUYS I FOUND IT

"Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term" -- Stephen Harper
posted by Jairus at 9:55 AM on January 13, 2006


Take note AngryBeaver, who emailed me privately instead of posting on here, that Harper uses the phrase, not Martin. And if you're going to use terms like ad hominem attack, make sure you know what they mean and how to spell 'em. Just sayin'.

I'm done on this thread as it's dwindled into very little that's productive.
posted by Zinger at 10:03 AM on January 13, 2006


I emailled Zinger privately as I was not getting anywhere in this thread. I explained my views on taxation, but everybody kept beating me up over my assertion that it is possible to live cheaply in this country if one makes efforts to be frugal.

And take note that yes Stephen Harper orignated that phrase, but it has been Paul Martin's favourite phrase of late

Also take note that Zinger took a selective excerpt from my email to him.
posted by angrybeaver at 11:32 AM on January 13, 2006


oops, i got zinger and jairus's comments mixed up. my mistake. zinger did not quote from my email. and my email to him was polite.
posted by angrybeaver at 11:42 AM on January 13, 2006


Harper promises no cuts to social programs in the just released platform.
posted by loquax at 11:55 AM on January 13, 2006


raedyn:

Gay marriage is a fairly radical change in our society and it is extremely upsetting for some people. - angrybeaver

What does it change? There's already millions of gay Canadians, working, raising kids, shopping for groceries, falling in and out of love, all the normal stuff that straight people do. They are already treated as common-law couples in many instances (like tax & welfare laws, some insurance situations, etc). Seriously, what is the major change?


It is a huge change from before. Gays are no longer discriminated against.

And it was not a free vote on the legislation. The vote was whipped. It should have been a free vote. - angrybeaver

Why on this topic and not others? Shouldn't votes on budgets, crime and immigration be free votes? Why this topic for special consideration?


Because the Prime Minister promised a free vote.

Why should I pay for someone else's kid? - angrybeaver

Who do you suppose is going to pay into the CPP and healthcare etc to take care of your old sick self when you're 90? Who will be the doctor that treats you or the janitor that cleans up after you? Who will pay the taxes that keep police on the streets?

No one is asking you to foot the whole bill for everything a kid needs. But I think it's reasonable that we all pay for some of the necessities, like we already do with education.

I already pay taxes for those things. There are plenty of social programs, as well as family, friends and charities to help those out in need. I am opposed to a massive increase in social services.

If some of the denizens of this place had their way, I most certainly would be footing the whole bill for everything a child needs.

"$1200 per year will help families." But calling it a solution to childcare is utter horseshit, and a transparent and childish way to buy votes. - Space Coyote

Yes! Well put! I have a two year old, and $100/month would make a difference to me, sure. But it won't get my kind into higher quality care, because there just aren't enough spaces, period.


I never called it a solution to childcare. I just said it would help families.

for everybody here who thinks I'm a raging Conservative, I voted Green in the last election. - angrybeaver

The Greens are fiscally very conservative.


Yes that's why I voted for them. They are not socially conservative. (people here were calling me a homophobic fuck, nice!)
posted by angrybeaver at 12:08 PM on January 13, 2006


"I wonder if Michael Geist will kill himself if he's accidentally responsible for a Conservative government?"

What purphrase said with an added:

I don't think Geist's point is to oust Bulte from the Liberal party per se, think it is a little more nuanced than that. Bulte is the chair of the committee on copyright reform and Bulte is extremely pro industry (see the Bulte Report for how pro industry she is) and I think Geist is trying to discredit her position on copyright reform, hoping that this will have an effect on the reform process and how things are changed. Btw, this isn't a new issue, Michael Geist has been bringing up industry contributions to Bulte since 2004, it's just that no one has really been listening until now.

ps: I'm kinda surprised no one said anything about:

"If a single mom has a minimum wage job, she can earn $15000 per year."

The minimum wage in BC is $8 an hour (one of the highest in the country IIRC) and unless she is working ooodles of overtime or has a second job there is no way her take home pay would be $15,000 a year. Also need to factor in federal income tax, provincial tax, CPP, etc.
posted by squeak at 12:52 PM on January 13, 2006


$8/hour * 40 hours/week * 52 weeks = $16640

And she would not be paying much if any tax on that income.

Also, minimum wage jobs are generally starting jobs. She should be able to get a raise if she works hard.
posted by angrybeaver at 1:01 PM on January 13, 2006


Also, aforementioned single mom with one kid would be getting approximately $3500 in benefits.

(not including the Liberal daycare proposal or the Conservative benefit proposal)

source: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/benefits/calculator/menu-e.html
posted by angrybeaver at 1:11 PM on January 13, 2006


uh $8 an hour x 37.5 hours a week (we don't get paid for lunch breaks) and it is beside the point, she still has to pay taxes and our figures only apply to BC. What about the rest of the country where minimum wage rates are lower?
posted by squeak at 1:24 PM on January 13, 2006


Anybody read the Post today?

Legalize polygamy: study


The paper by three law professors at Queen's University in Kingston argues that a Charter challenge to Section 293 of the Criminal Code banning polygamy might be successful, said Beverley Baines, one of the authors of the report.

"The polygamy prohibition might be held as unconstitutional," Ms. Baines said in an interview last night.
...
The possibility of a Charter challenge to polygamy laws has added significance since Paul Martin pledged this week that the first act of a new Liberal government would be to remove the federal government's ability to use the Constitution's notwithstanding clause to override Supreme Court decisions dealing with Charter rights.

posted by loquax at 1:33 PM on January 13, 2006


um squeak, what's your point? there's people who make more than $8 an hour, and people who make less. there's people who work more than 40 hours a week and those who work less. there's people who live in areas where the cost of living is lower than it is in British Columbia.
posted by angrybeaver at 2:02 PM on January 13, 2006


Ok let's legalize polygamy today!!! Let's send a reference to the Supreme Court.

No, wait. Let's put some thought into how we want to deal with this.

Why is polygamy illegal? If there is no harm to all consenting parties, than it should be permitted.

Where child abuse occurs, such as in Bountiful, BC should be dealt with harshly by the justice system.

polygamy != child abuse
posted by angrybeaver at 2:07 PM on January 13, 2006


The proper way to deal with the polygamy issue is the same way that we dealt with same sex marriage. Let it go through the courts all the way up to the Supreme Court. If the Court finds it unconstitutional (and I would be very surprised if they did), then it is up to Parliament to write a new law that would be constitutional. But Parliament should not short-circuit debate on polygamy by sending their proposed legislation to the Supreme Court as a reference.
posted by angrybeaver at 2:34 PM on January 13, 2006


Also, minimum wage jobs are generally starting jobs. She should be able to get a raise if she works hard.

Myth
posted by Space Coyote at 2:38 PM on January 13, 2006


loquax writes "Harper promises no cuts to social programs in the just released platform."

Interesting. Not so much the Conservative government's position on cuts to social programs, but the fact that the party that initiated the non-confidence motion that dissolved parliament and forced us into the election is the last one to release their official platform.
posted by purephase at 5:40 PM on January 13, 2006


My point?

*goes off in search of a spoon* :)
posted by squeak at 10:28 PM on January 13, 2006


"polygamy." clunk. With one word, I've suddenly (perhaps temporarily) lost all respect for loquax (and for the National Post, though it hadn't earned much to begin with). Presumably this is a follow-up to Rondo Thomas' speech predicting dire consequences if we start letting the gays get married; soon it will lead to polygamy, and sodomy, and bestiality, and then satanist marriages of entire cities to bleeding goats on a black altar at dawn. Never mind that the real debate of polygamy has no actual connection to the same-sex marriage thing other than that it's claimed to involve some sort of Charter right. It's not, or at least shouldn't be, about "marriage" of the normally-recognized kind at all. The Muslim polygamist dude thinks it is, but I'm pretty sure he's not going to win any legal case with argument like that. The right to same-sex marriage is simple to understand: the law shouldn't treat you differently because of your sex. Polygamy, there is no such clear rights-based argument. What, the law shouldn't treat groups of two people any differently from groups of more than two? Why not, exactly? It doesn't fly. If there is some other Charter argument to be made for polygamy, its absence from the Post article is conspicuous. Instead there is just the suggestion that it should be de-criminalized. I can imagine that there might be a case for letting people go ahead and do it, but I don't see any sign of an argument for the idea that their polygamist "marriages" should be recognized by the state in the same sense that real marriage is. Some far-out shaman who joins himself with the spirit of a tree should be free to go ahead an do that, but it seems equally unlikely that he's going to successfully mount a legal challenge to get it recognized as an official marriage.

But so what? What has that got to do with this election campaign? Nothing, that's what. Until there's a coherent explanation of exactly what the legal issues are, it wouldn't count as honest debate even standing on its own, much less as an apparently deliberate addition to some kind of kind of Rondo Thomas-style scare campaign about the sanctity of marriage.
posted by sfenders at 8:06 AM on January 14, 2006


sfenders, relax, I was just linking to it because it was pretty germane to the discussion here, and it was on the front page of a national newspaper.

The charter right invovled is freedom to practice the religion of your choosing, even if it involves polygamy, which is illegal. The issue is that if the federal government removes the notwithstanding clause in order to protect gay marriage against future theoretical challenges on charter grounds, then the government will not be able to pass anti-polygamy laws notwithstanding the charter right to freedom of religion. I'm sorry that you lost respect for me (and the post, I guess) for linking without commentary to a front page news Queen's legal study chartered by the federal government on the very subject that we were discussing earlier upthread.
posted by loquax at 10:13 AM on January 14, 2006


eh, don't take me too seriously there. I was a bit hung-over, maybe. Anyway, my complaints still stand that that Charter argument suggested makes no sense, and is nothing like the argument for gay marriage.

If somebody does come up with an argument good enough to convince the supreme court of the land that polygamy must be allowed, then I do absolutely agree that we should respect that decision and not attempt to overturn it with legislation. Despite my deep prejudice against Mormons, legislation about genuinely novel (to Canada) types of marriage (as opposed to the only superficially novel homosexual marriage) is not the sort of thing I'd want to see played around with politically like the Post is trying to do. As fun a topic as it may be to discuss, it barely registers on the scale of things the federal government should care about.
posted by sfenders at 12:09 PM on January 14, 2006


If somebody does come up with an argument good enough to convince the supreme court of the land that polygamy must be allowed, then I do absolutely agree that we should respect that decision and not attempt to overturn it with legislation.

What if they come up with a good legal argument for why slavery is constitutionally acceptable? Or a good argument for making religion or free speech illegal according to section 1, the greater good? The notwithstanding clause works both ways, and is a very good check on government, not so much in its application, but in the potential that exists to rectify a wrong - think of it, in a way, as Canada's electoral college. Hardly used, but we may regret it if it's gone.
posted by loquax at 1:24 PM on January 14, 2006


Slavery is a better example to use in this kind of argument, IMO, since it makes it clear how absurd the thing is. There is no right to slavery in the Charter. I've read the thing; it isn't that complicated.
posted by sfenders at 1:28 PM on January 14, 2006


1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

What if I brought forward a charter challenge to the right to abortion, or drinking alcohol, or tobacco, or marijuana, citing that it is not reasonable under section one to have the right to any of those things? Forget about how likely these examples are, think about 50 years from now, when something else might come up, like genetic modification, or stem cells, or cloning, or god knows what. Given that the charter already limits rights and freedoms as specificed in section one, isn't it a good idea to have the notwithstanding clause around for an occasion where a challenge may be *legally* correct, but morally or socially bankrupt? Eliminating section 33 for the singular purpose of preventing future, theoretical challenges to gay marriage is shortsighted and can have disasterous consequences given that the process for amending the constitution is as convoluted and difficult as it is (of course, by the same token, that's also the same reason why section 33 is going nowhere, and why Martin was dreaming when he was talking about eliminating it).
posted by loquax at 1:37 PM on January 14, 2006


That does not "limit rights and freedoms", it stops short of granting them absolutely. While it could be hypothetically possible for someone to argue that slavery is a demonstrably necessary requirement of a free and democratic society, and for the whole world to agree with them, and for the courts to go collectively insane and decide that it's permissible under the Charter, that still would not mean that the Charter under that interpretation was supportive of slavery; only that it didn't absolutely prohibit it. Same thing goes for the obvious relationship it might have to all the other examples you mention.
posted by sfenders at 1:58 PM on January 14, 2006


that still would not mean that the Charter under that interpretation was supportive of slavery; only that it didn't absolutely prohibit it

So then what happens when Sasketchewan or Nova Scotia or Canada tries to pass a law banning slavery (or cloning, or affirming abortion rights) and is unable to do so because of the charter ruling?

Obviously I'm simplifying the argument, but do you really disagree that the notwithstanding clause serves as a check against absolutism, either in the courts or legislatures?
posted by loquax at 2:18 PM on January 14, 2006


There is no way, at least no way suggested thus far, that the charter could be used in support of slavery (or whatever). So there could be no such impediment to banning slavery unless it's guaranteed elsewhere in the Charter (I don't see it). The restriction of rights described by that first sentence means only that the specific rights that are granted *can* be over-ruled by legislation where it's necessary to keep them within "reasonable limits". Basically, it's intended to do exactly what you want the even more powerful "notwithstanding" limitation on powers of the Charter to do!
posted by sfenders at 2:44 PM on January 14, 2006


Anyway, no, I don't believe there's anything else in the Charter that it does any good to give the federal government the power to override at will. I trust that document, short and simple as it is, a lot more than I trust any government, let alone any imaginable future one.
posted by sfenders at 2:47 PM on January 14, 2006


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