Some things just need to be said...

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

It Changed in Kelowna!

Sometimes a picture says a thousand words.
Kelowna elected a new Mayor on the weekend. It was a decisive victory for three term Councilor Sharon Shepherd who ran a campaign for change. The slogan, "It is Time for Change" resonated with voters.

Shepherd is listening to outgoing (and defeated) Mayor Walter Gray.

Shepherd and her Campaign Manager watch the recap of the election results on local television news.

Local media missed Mayor Gray's arrival at Shepherd's campaign office at approximately 10pm. Mayor Gray arrived to polite applause when he entered and immediately asked if he could find a glass of good red wine.

Its the Okanagan, of course we had a good glass of red wine. The Mayor then offered his congratulations and mingled with the many campaign supporters for approximately 45 minutes before heading off.

And what would the election of a new Mayor, especially someone you really believed in be if you weren't there. Thats me in the orange, Sharon Shepherd, Karen Alexander (campaign manager) and one of Kelowna's brightest up and comers, Carol Kenzie. Karen's daughter completes the picture.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Humour tag,

I have been tagged by Chimera's Cavern It seems some folks are getting alittle too hot in the canadian political blogging sphere. So the idea is to tell a joke and then tag three people. Ok here is my try at it. Its a joke my brother told me when he was five.

Question: "What do you do if you are swallowed by an elephant?"

Answer: "Run around until you get pooped out!"

I tag, oh I hate this... ok you are it ...

Trevor at Everything I Say and Do is Right. Trevor is the leader of a cult of blog readers from BC, Alberta and around the world.

And I add Kayber's Blog, a hot place for BC Liberals. And no one said the joke couldn't be political KB.

Finally I tag Aunty Bertha who is a west coast blogger who sees through the fog and rain, well you take a look at Aunty's blog... Eclectic Eccentricity.

I would tag The Gazetteer, a clever guy with a wickedly and strange adoration of Hunter S. Thompson, but I missed one of his tags to me a long time ago. He might remember. Whoops.

Remember Life is not a VCR, you can't rewind it. Think Carole James knows this now.

I deserve it! Mayencourt spouts (spews perhaps)

But coffee costs so much. That was the sentiment expressed by Lorne Mayencourt in voting against Bill 19 today. The Bill was brought in to undo the stupidity of all BC MLAs last Thursday, voting themselves big raises and a glutinous filthy rich pension plan.

The heat was on. Friday Carole James recognized she wasn't going to grab for the asbestos gloves. She threw cold water on the wage increase. To her credit she reacted quickly to public opinion and outrage. Gordon Campbell spent Friday and Saturday saying he had a deal with the NDP and they backed down. Campbell should have done so Friday as well.

The good thing is they have killed the wage increase for MLA's and the pension plan. Too bad eh.
Yet one MLA seems a little slow to understand. Lorne Mayencourt (Vancouver Burrard), the infamous Westend party boy was the lone MLA to vote for keeping the pay raise.

Was Mayencourt ticked because he wanted to use the money to meet a commitment he made in the 2001 election to a packed public Forum in the Westend Community Centre? Mayencourt was asked about his personal bankruptcy. Mayencourt responded that if he were elected he would begin paying back the creditors who lost money when he took the bankruptcy route. Mayencourt has not been asked by any mainstream media as to whether he has kept his commitment.
"I think I can get three lattes with that." - Mayencourt speaking in opposition to Bill 19, in the BC Legislature, Monday November 21, 2005

Or maybe Mayencourt just can't afford (on his $78,000+ salary and seemingly limitless cell phone charges) the cost of a coffee and still have change to give to a street pan-handler. You know how scary that can be. Can you bill coffee to a cell phone now?

Mayencourt of course blamed his loss of income on one person today, the leader of the Opposition. She betrayed us he said every one of us.
"And today the Leader of the Opposition is going to support Bill 19. The only difference between Thursday and Monday is maybe 150 nasty e-mails and a couple of calls from George Heyman and Jim Sinclair and Jinny Sims. For that, the Leader of the Opposition betrayed her caucus, betrayed everyone in this House."

I don't know about you, but I think there were more people ticked off over the MLA's self imposed wage increase than labour leaders. Carole James recognized it and did the right thing in the end. For that she is blamed for the loss of the increase. If I am Carole James, I take that blame. Sorry to say Mr. Mayencourt, but most people out here in the Heartlands agree with repealing Bill 17.

Today Mayencourt wrapped up his speech opposing rolling back the MLA's salary package asking, "...
I ask the people of British Columbia, my computer's turned on right now; you can e-mail me, to tell me if you think I'm wrong. If you think I'm wrong, well, we'll disagree, but at least you're going to make an informed decision at home today."

Email Lorne directly at End Legislative Poverty for MLA'S.

For more on Lorne Mayencourt, use the technorati search box in the sidebar

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Judging Campbell

Terry Smith, B.C.’s chief coroner is one of six people reviewing the the very sad state of affairs of the forgotten children. Is it just me or is Terry Smith likely in conflict here. Will he be able to sit in judgement of his own actions taken as a result of decisions he made?

I do not question this man's integrity but I do have concerns about the people that appointed the panel. They did appoint some strong critics of the government, yet they appointed the Chief Coroner, the guy that did not or could not do the reviews of child deaths in BC.

He would much likely be a better witness than contributing judge.
"Why did it take until November 14, 2005 before the Chief Coroner revealed that there could be 80 investigations that were halted, only to have that number increased to 713 on November 17th?" - David Schreck Strategic

The Gazetteer has much more on Defending the Indefensible

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Rush wants you to adopt a soldier

As incredible as this sounds, Rush Limbaugh, the oft forgiven (by the Christian Right) drug abusing and ranting lunatic of the american airwaves, (likely the largest single source of air and noise pollution in the USA) has launched an aid package for US soldiers that would make Jimmy Swaggert beam with envy.

For $49.95 you can offer an American soldier 24/7 to premium internet access to Rush Limbaugh's website. That's a deal you can't say no to. It's for the troops. I can imagine these soldiers are dying to spend their downtime in Iraq cruising through the Rush site. Now the people at Moron' have another suggestion that is too cheap. I mean they are giving it away, can it be worth as much as Rush's offer if they can give it away.

Sometimes you just have to say "Only in America" for things to make sense.

It does help explain one thing. These are the same people that sent money and votes to George W. Bush.

Bush, ,

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

New low for Bush and his administration

Verez-Bencomo led a team that developed a very cheap vaccine for Haemophilus influenza type B, also known as Hib, a bacteria that causes meningitis and pneumonia. The diseases kill up to 700,000 children worldwide each year. The US government refused to let him in the country to acceopt an award for his work. Apparently Cuban's developing vaccines for Children are on America's do not let in list!

"It's incomprehensible that a civilized nation can confuse someone who has dedicated his life to saving the lives of children with someone who goes against the interests of the United States," Verez-Bencomo said with a sigh. "I wasn't going there to talk about politics, I was going to talk about science." See full story at MSNBC

Bush it seems understands Intelligent Design, just can't stomach a smart Cuban that has put alot of big time Pharma companies products to the back of the shelf.

President, Republicans, Bush, Politics, Cuba,

Who knows why BC Children died?

In opposition, Gordon Campbell - like Judge Thomas Gove - rejected the idea that standard coroner's investigation was adequate. An independent commissioner was needed, he said then, and must look at every child death. Campbell was at a convention centre construction photo op in Vancouver when the new questions were raised in the legislature. - Paul Willcocks BC Legislative Reporter, November 15, 2005

80 Children's deaths went uninvestigated in BC. Today we learned in the Legislature that the BC Solicitor General admit there are many more, many that he knew nothing of. Many the Ministry knew nothing of.

We have gone from a place where the government had every child's death investigated independently to where it appears over 100 deaths were not investigated. What happened? The Chief cornoner for BC was to investigate we were told. He did not do it with Sherry Charlie.

It seems the corner has asked for more resources. Seems he couldn't get the investigations done without staff and money to pay them. That's the price people. The BC Government decided to cut costs and not investigate some deaths of children.
G. Campbell: "...The fact is that everyone in this House has to make priorities. Our priorities, on this side of the House, are to care for children in need and to make sure that children in the government's care are protected. Our legislative officer -- the child, youth and family advocate -- has said quite clearly: "We need to challenge the 'too bad we can't afford it' attitude about essential services for children and youth, knowing that if we don't pay now we will pay more dearly later." TUESDAY, MAY 5, 1998, BC Legislative Assembly

Now they have an unholy mess on their hands. They created it, they did it. As a result of their budget cutting the Sherry Charlie case has several investigations underway. There is a whole whack of new investigations about to start in the deaths of Children.

Just how big a mess is it. Every other day new cases surface, its been going on for weeks now. Today the opposition said it was time for an independent investigation into the government's handling of these issues. As usual the BC Liberal government said it wasn't needed. They will look after it. Kinda reminds me of the Catholic Church and the authorities in addressing child abuse cases.

See Defending The Indefensible - Part II
and Who Will Defend The Defenseless in B.C.?
Liberals stumble again in child death reviews

, Victoria, , , , , , Family, ,

Developers couldn't buy City Hall could they?

Kelowna City Council, a band of largely developer yes men, has passed more motions that the community wants in the last three months than they have in the last three years. They did not have time to address citizen issues as they were too busy going over developer plans, nodding their heads in approval and making all the changes needed in the Official Community Plan required to go ahead.

Same with all the road work, convenient that it occurred just before the election. I am surprised they haven't re-announced the bridge in the same fashion Sindi Hawkins and Rich Coleman had.

So now we can take our dogs on a leash along the main city park's walk way. This is long overdue and I am glad they did it. Still they have made it a temporary move. These good ole boys can't make a decision unless they are given it by those with money.

Developers rule Kelowna. Not all developers are bad. You cannot blame then when they appear to be taking advantage only of the people they have endorsed and or provided money to during election campaigns. How much money we don't know yet. The Mayor won't tell us. Neither will the other incumbents other than Sharon Shepherd. She says not one cent from them.

If you get lots of money from someone, don't they usually want something in return? I am sure they will say no. Just like the good ole boy. Well, it will be interesting to see how many developers have given money to Walter Gray or his slate of incumbents here in our city. Heck my guess is they have received money from developers that are from outside our city and the province.

Naw, it won't affect the decisions of people like Walter right? Lets see whose development moves ahead, needs a change to the Official Community Plan. Then you decide. Trouble is we find out after the election. These good ole boys have it all worked out eh.

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BC Business calls loans to government

A full court press has begun in BC by big business. The payback required by the BC Liberals for years of support and millions of doallrs in campaign dollars has come. A day of reckoning will be here soon.

First the BC Chanber of Commerce has launched a campaign to get back the double vote in municpal elections. Its not enough that they already bankroll many candidates and buddies to run City Hall.

A media release went out claiming that the changes to the municipal act, the arrival of the community charter has had a negative impact on local businesss. Amazing that they would attack one of the instruments business people and local chambers have been cheering for.

They really don't want the Community Charter changed. They simply want to have a bigger say than they already have. The Chamber in areas like Kelowna have been extremely vocal cheerleaders of the BC Liberals. Usually they are enthusiastic supporters of all candidates forums in provincial elections. For two elections in a row they have failed to hold one in Kelowna. Could that be because our new deputy speaker and failed Cabinet Minister Sindi Hawkins did not want them?

On another front, logging companies that have given millions of dollars to the BC Liberals, in fact they have given more to the Liberals in elections than any other political party has received in donation from all sources, want to ship logs to China.

The BC Minister Of Forests and Range, Rich Coleman has stated that he believes there must be rationalisation in the industry. Today we hear that the Coast Forest Products Association used money from the government, some one million dollars to build an export strategy to China.

Today Rich Coleman says its not on. Says he told the association it wasn't on. Yet he paid them one million dollars to develop a strategy that would export raw logs to China. I hope he is not misleading us. Yeah right.

If it quacks like a duck ....

, Victoria, , , ,

We want our Money Back

Direct action by a 10 year old boy has become a national boycott. Luke McAndless-Davis with help from his friend Matthew (in Calgary) and his Mom and Dad launched a campaign to end the softwood lumber dispute and to pressure American companies to force George W. Bush to settle and pay up.

A Boycott of MacDonald's on December 3, 2005 has been set in motion. To learn more go here.
"Yo Yo Yo Give us our dough; no Mc-D on December 3!"

Who Owns the News?

Why are your blogs and this one important? Some of course are better than others. We see more and more people tuning into our writing or re-posting. What are we doing that is bringing people to see what we have to say?

The media are driving people to us. Many of the mainstream media even have their own blogs to get their stories out.

The reason alternative media forums are becoming popular are many. Often blogs are the first to get the news out of live events, beating the likes of CNN and others. Another reason is the disenchantment with mainstream media.

With consolidation we have lost many independent or smaller players in the media. Looking for an alternative point of view in Vancouver for example. Don't buy a paper other than the Georgia Straight or watch the news on TV. The rest are owned by just a few folks. With consolidation, reporters were laid off, fewer indepth pieces are done. We get fluff in its place, or the same story written for 2o other papers. There is no Canadian "Washington Post or New York Times". Both papers while owned by conglomerates, maintain some objectivity and actually do some investigative work.

In Vancouver and Canada if it wasn't on the AP or CP wire it is not likely news. Some folks in Greater Vancouver will be discussing this in a couple of days.
Who Owns The News? An Event in Support of Independent Local Media Vancouver suffers from the highest concentration of media ownership in the country. CanWest Global controls 100% of our daily newspapers, 70% of our evening news, and the content of 12 of the Lower Mainland's community papers.

This adds up to media control never seen before in Canadian history. In this glut of media concentration, locally owned and operated media are often the lost voices of real journalism, telling the stories of our diversity, of the communities we live in, and of the issues that matter most to us.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Bush's Enemies List Sees Daylight

Bush's Enemies List Sees Daylight

PEJ News has a good short story on the Bush Administration's enimies list with some suggestions Karl Rove uses the powers in the Patriot Act to get the dirt on people he sees as enemies of George W. Bush.

"Beyond the botched break-in of the Democrat's election HQ by Nixon's so-called "plumbers," one of the most troubling facts to come out of the subsequent 'Watergate' investigations was the existence of an "official enemies list" compiled by the administration with the aid of J. Edgar Hoover's FBI. Now, the Beltway broadsheet, Capitol Hill Blue is reporting the Bush administration too has an enemies list, one dwarfing Tricky Dick's, and again the FBI is implicated. " - C.L. Cook, PEJ News

, Politics, President, Republicans, Current events

Canada too choose VISA for Health Care

Deep Intergration

It sounds like a spy thriller. It is much more and it is no thriller. Canada, the United States and Mexico are in secret talks to "harmonize" our nations. They have named the project, "The Task Force on the Future of North America."

The task force is to work on economic, security and foreign policy integration. These moves will severely affect our independence as a nation and threaten our social programs, especially health care.

Maude Barlow's new book Too Close for Comfort: Canada's Future within Fortress North America points out....
In its submission to the Romanow Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) stated that Canada's health care system should be taken out of the hands of politicians and bureaucrats and turned over to provincial Crown corporations that would be run by "experienced business people" and would provide performance bonuses, incentives, corporate discipline and private sector innovation.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce echoed the position of the CCCE at the
Romanow Commission, calling for greater use of voluntary, private sector
delivery of health cares services and private sector investment. The CCCE was
delighted, of course, with the June 2005 Supreme Court ruling on the unconstitutionality of Quebec's ban on private health insurance.

The goal of big business in Canada and the United States and supported by the leaders of the Christian Right is the removal of Universal government delivered programs, programs like health care, social services and education.

The recent Supreme Court ruling on health care in Canada was not an endorsement of for profit health care. It was a warning to our leaders that if they did not start re-investing in health care the courts would allow a two tier program in Canada. The man responsible for the loss of health care funding over the last 12 years and thus the the Supreme Court ruling is Paul Martin. As Finance Minister he took billions of dollars out of health care.

These actions along with the talks underway now with Bush and Mexico's Fox will allow large American Health conglomerates to set up shop in Canada. Even now we see provincial governments in BC, Alberta and Ontario enter into Public Private Partnerships. Under NAFTA we have to let American companies compete for these contracts. Costs will rise as they have in the United States and we as taxpayers will foot the bill. Those costs as in the US will make health Care unaffordable to many Canadians.

Look at the US system and Canadian systems. A large health care company in California has recently directed people to get health care in Mexico where it is significantly cheaper. Americans are buying billions of dollars of medical drugs from Canadian pharmacies saving incredible amounts of money in the process. Many US employers are demanding drugs be purchased in Canadareimbursementement purposes to cut costs.

Health care is one of the biggest costs of employers in the US. I recently spoke to an American who said his employer was paying $550US per month for his health care insurance. Every service he accessed had a deductible payable. An operation would cost him thousands of dollars.

Recent studies released in the US stated that 50% of Americans would delay or fail to get medical attention or fill a prescription due to the costs.

The picture is very clear. Canadians need to act to protect and reinvest in our public health care system and end the privatization that is under way. Jack Layton attempted to extract this from the Liberal government recently. Paul Martin and the Liberals have refused to implement legislation to stop further privatization.

The next election is about how closely we want to be intergrated with the United States and George W. Bush. Do we want to continue along the road that will lead us to American style health care and be forced to support Amerforeignriegn policy? My answer is no and I suspect many Canadians feel the same.

Will that be on your Visa, American Express, Diners Club, Mastercard or Exxon card?

P3 Hospitals in Canada Click here for PDF
Public-Private Partnerships the UK Experience Click here for PDF
More information including Reports, Fact Sheets, Speeches and Related Links.
US Study Finds Billions Of Health Insurance Dollars Used For Administrative Costs
U.S. Veterans Denied Health Care, Retired General Hoar Says
Study shows U.S. health care paperwork cost $294.3 billion in 1999

Friday, November 11, 2005

Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day

A veteran arriving to visit with his buddies at the Vernon BC Legion.
I took this picture in Vernon in August of this year. I do not know the man in the photo. He was arriving in the early evening as I was waiting for a meeting.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Promise Keepers

Aboriginal summit in Kelowna

The Prime Minister, Premiers, Aboriginal leaders and opposition members will be meeting in Kelowna November 24.

BC's Premier Campbell says, " This is -- for me -- a call to nation building." I sure hope the other leaders watch closely because Campbell has a pretty bad record when it comes to addressing issues of poverty, healthcare, jobs and affordable, safe and secure housing.

Recent headlines have told the story as to why we need this summit and how improtant it is to have our national and provincial leaders held accountable for what has to be done. I don't need to go into the appalling circumstances many of Canada's aboriginal people find themselves in.

Government response has been slow or delivered in the form of a promise. In the case of Gilford Island, a remote aboriginal settlement off BC's coast people are living in houses that if they exisited in any municipality would have been condemed due to the extensive mold and lack of maitenance. The Martin government response was to build a three houses now and over five to ten years replace the others. Hardly a quick response. How many children or seniors or those in poor health will be left in these homes before they are replaced?

This conference has to kick start action. Given the federal Liberal history of promises, their lack of response and Paul Martin's budget cuts over 12 years I have to take these new promises for action with a grain or tub of salt. Premier Campbell's own inaction and his record has not included first nations and in many cases its been adversarial.

Promise keepers they have not been. Is it too much to hope that this time it will be different? I hope so. With the possibility of an election hanging over the meeting, the best way to ensure action is to return as many MP's to Ottawa that will hold whomever is elected to account. Jack Layton managed to get money added to the budget this year for Aboriginal issues when none was the Liberal budget. That's how you make Parliament work.

Perhaps then we can have Promise makers become Promise keepers.

Its time we put the wheels back under the buses

Last night's civic forum in Kelowna was long and not for the weak. In all 35 of 36 candidates showed up. 31 for Council and 4 of the 5 candidates for Mayor.

Sharon Shepherd continued to outline the differences with the current Mayor "I have taken the risk and made a decision to not stay status quo," I am promoting responsible growth, I am promoting targeting crime, I am promoting more citizen involvement."

Walter Gray not to out done claimed everything was great in Kelowna, we need not worry, he would look after all of Kelowna, " ... the sky is not falling. Things are going very well in Kelowna. Growth is on track as forecast and prescribed in the Official Community Plan." One of the growing businesses in Kelowna has been the sale of newspaper advertising. Why you might ask, the city and developers have to buy ads to let people know there will be a change in the Official Community Plan (OCP), referred to as the "Occasional Community Plan" by council candidate Brad Dunlop. Just look at the papers, how many ads have you seen indicating a change in the OCP.

Shepherd has often been alone on council, being the person speaking up for many people while council takes a bulldozer through the Official Community Plan to meet the needs of developers and ignores the wishes of citizen groups. "It's Time for Change," she repeated, citizens must be consulted and involved in the decisions and restore faith in the planning process.

One of the best lines of the night came from Brad Dunlop, candidate for council who has hit on the often neglected issue of Transit. Dunlop referred to Walter Gray's statement that everything is running well adding "Its time we put the wheels back under the buses." Dunlop has put transit among the top issues to be addressed if he is elected.

An indication of voter interest in an election is the advance polls. Generally it is accepted that a large voter turnout is a good sign for those challenging those in power. 876 people cast ballots this time out, an increase of almost 200% over the 2002 election when only 300 voted in the advance poll.

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Monday, November 07, 2005

Ralph Reed to tell us how!

The right wing Christian groups in Canada recently said they needed a "Canadian" Ralph Reed. It did not take them long and they are off to the races. A national activist school is being held in Toronto this November 29 to December 1. Not wanting to make a mistake, they are bringins in American Christain radical Ralph Reed.

The prospect of another federal election may have these people chomping at the bit. That said it will take some time. They do not have a great mechanism to get out their support all across the country yet. That said they remain a force in the Interior of BC and Alberta along with some regions of Rural Ontario and around the city of London.

These people are spending big money to bring activiusts to Toronto. This action is building on the success they had within the Conservative party on same-sex marriage and supported by their views that they should have been able to do more by passing anti-choice postion in the party.

The next step for this group is to wortk activly in candidate selection and ongoing support across party lines on issues based campaigns.

Looks to me on the eve of a possible winter election the Christian Conservatives are about to become a bigger force in Canadian politics.

The course outline is not that different from what they may learn in any political or activist organization.

Read more below ...

The course poster states that Ralph Reed will be the conference speaker in the search for a Canadian Ralphie. Among the attributes they praise Reed for include;
Senior Advisor to the campaign of President George W. Bush
Chairman of the Southeast Region for Bush- Cheney2004.
Reed has worked on seven presidential campaigns

Mr. Reed served as executive director of the Christian Coalition in the 1990’s and built one of the most effective grassroots organizations inmodern American politics. The Wall Street Journal called Dr. Reed “Perhaps the finest political operative of his generation.”

“Mr. Reed believes that the pro-family movement is the main force reconfiguring American politics today” Wall Street Journal

Also attending and leading the conference are the following ...

Joseph Ben-Ami
Executive Director
Institute for Canadian Values

Charles McVety
President, Canada
Christian College

Brian Rushfeldt
Canada Family Action

Joe Varner

Michael Coren
CTS Television
Toronto Sun

Gwen Landolt
Real Women

Frank Diamant
Executive Director,
B’Nai Brith

Dr. Anne Cools

Jim Hughes
Campaign Life Coaltion

Naresh Ragubeer
Canadian Coalition for Democracies

Conrad Winn
Compas Research

David Harris
Former Director of Strategic Planning of CSIS

Layton "cannot express confidence"

Jack Layton spoke today at the Empire club. His speech was much different that he expected it would be. The Gomery report has changed a great deal along with the Liberals refusal to bring in measures to protect medicare, a system brought in when Tommy Douglas forced the federal Liberals to act.

The Liberals while clinging to power refuse to stand up to protect medicare from further privatization and from improving it to ensure future Supreme court rulings will support public funded health care for all Canadadians. Jack said in his speech today ...

"And the question therefore becomes, how can this Parliament continue? Under the leadership of a Liberal Party whose ethical conduct Justice Gomery indicted– a Liberal Party that once worked with New Democrats to build public medicare, and now flatly rejects rules to protect that achievement.

We cannot express confidence in a government unwilling to act on such a critical issue."

I just spent a weekend with a friend visiting fro the United States. He thinks we are nuts. His employer spends $550 US every month for his health care. On top of that my american friend must pay a deductible of 30% on most costs including seeing a doctor.

The Liberals are allowing the system to change to private and the Conservatives embrace it already. It would appear the only one standing up for medicare is Jack Layton. Watch now, we will get a ton of Liberals claiming they support it too and even Stephen Harper will say something like he supports medicare.

The polls look good for the NDP in BC, Saskatchewan and Ontario. Canadians this time out have a better understanding of where the federal liberals stand on some basic issues. Better hope you don't need a hospital in a few years unless you can pay the deductible.

The Liberals also face another huge problem. Money. They haven't much when you compare them to the Conservatives. I guess when you rely on sponsorship money to run campaigns you get lazy.

The Conservatives are claiming impotence on the issue of holding Martin and the Liberals to account for the sponsorship scandal. They are playing it both ways, trying to blame Layton if a vote fails and take the credit if the vote passes. See this Voice in the Wilderness view.

Layton letter to Health Minister Nov 7, 2005

Layton Outlines Chaoulli Response Law To Protect Public Medicare Oct 31, 2005

Layton won't back Liberals
CBC News
NDP Leader Jack Layton said his party won't support the Liberal government in any new non-confidence vote as he rejected a Liberal proposal to protect public health and opened the door for a possible Christmas election.

BREAKING NEWS From all over: Layton rejects Liberal health planNational Post, Canada - 5 hours ago TORONTO -- New Democrat Leader Jack Layton says he cannot support the Liberals' health-care package. However, it remains unclear ... NDP's Layton slams Liberal health package but holiday campaign not ... Canada.comLayton opens door to election Globe and MailJack Layton's speech to the Empire Club Globe and MailGlobe and Mail - Fort Frances Times - all 150 related »

Bush Discovers American Insurgent

If he thought it would help his ratings, I am sure Mt Rushmore would go up in a flurry of bunker blasting bombs citing the area honours one of North America's earliest insurgents, One George Washington.

One person's freedom fighter is another's insurgent and both seem to have "GOD" on their side of the battle.

So with Bush in the basement of presidential polling he has to pull himself out. To do this he is looking for friends he hasn't abused yet. The Christian right and bloggers seem keen to help him out.

Our good buddy at Doucheblog has found a few of them who maintain Bush's greatness. Check out today's post Bush: Great President, or the Greatest President in History?

With the US deficit the highest in history, debt growing more and more, I conclude as many conservative folks point out, "its sure a good thing we don't have a free spending Liberal in the Whitehouse."

The last Liberal in the Whitehouse only managed to balance the budget and start cutting debt. How come Clinton was so stupid, did he not understand that the key to a good economy was a war!

Thank god we don't have the likes of Clinton around eh? Now that's a joke folks!

, Politics, President, Republicans, Religion, Current events

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Bush Roves on his own

George Bush is in free fall.

The last three years of his Presidency are going to be hell. I just hope at the end he has a new Vice president, new Secretary of Defense and Karl Rove is gone. Then Bush can sit in the White House and ponder where things went off the rails. He might want to go back to the days when he stole the election in Florida with the help of his brother Jeb.

In the end he is reaping what he sowed. He got office because of a Supreme court ruling that wouldn't allow a manual recount of votes. He kept office because people in Democrat areas of Ohio were forced to wait in long lineups and questionable results in other democrat areas that gave Bush higher vote numbers. Can anyone think of a better reason to remove partisan control of voting procedures.

Bush benefited because of the attack on New York. He was able to turn it into a Public Relations coup. Imagine what would have been the case if 9/11 had not happened. Would Bush been able to deal with domestic issues? Would people have seen the real Bush sooner?

So now the list of scandal and misdeeds is growing. He is at 35% in the polls with only the most hard line supporters still with him. It doesn't appear he can turn it around. The Wall Street Journal seeing their buddy GW in trouble jumped in to protect him after President Carter released his latest book condemning the White House, Christian Right and Bush. The WSJ said the book was full of errors and was too folksy. That will only sell more books for Jimmy.

With the failing war in Iraq, a drowning economy, the largest deficits in world history, Harriet Miers Supreme Court nomination not so politely shoved back at him, the Valerie Plame scandal, and his no show with respect to Hurricane Katrina one has to say he can't climb out of a hole he dug with the help of his Vice President and a cabinet of thieves.

Name one Republican that will be running in the 2006 congressional election with George Bush standing beside them. Oh some will have to have the President there, just to save the President some embarrassment, but it won't be where there is a tight race.

Add to all this Americans suddenly waking up to the fact Cheney is making over $21,000 a day because of all the lucrative contracts Haliburton has received from the US Government in Iraq and even in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Now we learn Rumsfeld is at least a million dollars richer because of the bird flu and likely many times more.

One wish really, with the next three years to be hell for Bush, I hope he has a Democrat controlled congress and spends his time fighting off an impeachment.

Is it enough to get Karl to rove over!

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Candidate for Penticton city council Brigid Kemp has found a cool way to campaign!

VIDEO: Percy Schmeiser - GE-Free Canada
(speaking June 2, 2005, hosted by the Council of Canadians)

6:00 P.M.
Leir House, 220 Manor Pk, Penticton

This is a fund-raising POTLUCK SUPPER, to support candidate Brigid Kemp for City Council

Community by community, citizens are coming together to create zones across Canada that are free of genetically engineered (GE) plants, animals, crops and trees. The goal is to have 50 communities in Canada declare themselves GE-Free in the next 2 years.
"This movement is about long-term economic sustainability, local control over food production, a healthy environment and democracy, as opposed to food profiteering and the destruction of our genetic biodiversity through corporate control of seeds and agriculture," says Saskatchewan organic farmer, Percy Schmeiser.

Penguins still locked out

sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words! From Voices for change

Telus workers rally on bridge in Kelowna
Castanet Okanagan Story

Kelowna's Shepherd on KSS site

Shepherd shares vision for future of KSS site

Mayoral candidate Sharon Shepherd in Kelowna shared her vision of using the former KSS site as a "showcase of sustainability" which could bring people from all over the world to see a municipal model of long-term planning and innovation.

Shepherd commits to starting her mayoral term by appointing a Community Coalition that would report back within the first quarter on site conditions and/or concerns. The committee will be made up of members of the city-planning department, members from Okanagan College and UBC-O, social agencies, the development and business communities, and residents.

She views the site as a multi use community, incorporating park space, mixed-use housing including affordable, subsidized, college/university units and market housing with adaptable and accessible designs and roof-top gardens. She has visions of a basketball training facility (historical use from KSS), a daycare located near a senior center, community gardens, a community and family center, mixed with some commercial or service provider component such as a shoe repair, hairdressing salon, medical or dental office, small grocery store and/or a community policing office.

The entire site could be built utilizing world-renowned sustainable principles such as solar and geothermal energy. Her excitement is evident as Shepherd declares, "Imagine all of this in a site so close to the heart of downtown – close to the lake, entertainment in our Cultural District and the broad range of wonderful downtown shops. What better way to revitalize downtown than to have more close and accessible options for them to live, work, and play downtown?"
When asked about a timeline for building, Shepherd says a full report on the site is required to determine any environmental or other concerns, but given the size of the property feels it can be build in stages with some construction able to begin as early as 2006.

"It’s Time for Change"

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Friday, November 04, 2005

A Bridge too far from Surrey?

So what happened in Victoria? Just 13 months ago the Minister of Transportation, Kevin Falcon said in the Legislature that construction on the Needles Bridge would begin in summer of 2005. As projects proceed in the lower mainland and Liberal strong hold of Kelowna, the Needles project is no where to be seen.

Is this part of the province too far from Surrey? The Minister made it known October 27, 2005 after pressure from Corky Evans, MLA for the area that the cost of steel was too high so it is not likely that the bridge can be built. The Minister had a different view prior to the election. In an effort to bridge or should I say throw a life jacket to then MLA Liberal Blair Suffredine Minister Falcon said in the legislature ....


Hon. K. Falcon: ... the Premier made a commitment to the folks in the Kootenays that the Needles bridge would be a priority of this government, something that this government will be doing. I had the opportunity along with the member to visit with many of the residents from Fauquier, in the Kootenays, to talk about the Needles bridge. I am pleased to let the member know that detailed design work on that bridge should be completed by December of this year, when we will then review all that information. I'm pleased to say that we should have construction starting on the new Needles bridge by the summer of next year(2005). ~ Official Report of DEBATES OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY (Hansard) MONDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2004 Afternoon Sitting Volume 26, Number 2

Falcon said in the Legislature on October 27, 2005, that the business case is not there and he never intended the bridge would be built until the later part of the ten year plan. Was he lying then in the House on October 4, 2004 when he said construction would start in in 2005? Or was he deliberately misleading the House.

MLA Corky Evans asked the Minister if the bridge could be built for 49 million and not 68 million as projected, Falcan stated that the business case for the bridge was not there. But the business case was there on October 3, 2004 or a Minister like Falcan would not have announced the government would be building the bridge?

Falcon use to lead people in rallies before the 2001 election with a chant that said "Have you had enough yet!

Broken Promise number ___ (you fill in the blank, we lost count in the Heartlands years ago).

Child Commissioner needed - Former Socred

Former Social Credit Deputy Minister Bob Plecas calls for Child Commisioner

CBC reported yesterday that Bob Plecas, the key man behind the Bill Bennett restraint programs of the 1980's and later hired by the NDP government has stated BC needs to create an independent Commissioner that is not looking to lay blame but to support changes required in the system. (Interview on CBC with Bob Plecas, November 3, 2005)

Plecas can hardly be called a namby pamby kinda guy or a left wing activist. He was instrumental in the downsizing of government and an attack on government workers while working for Premier Bill Bennett. His voice adds to many the need for the Gordon Campbell government to come to its senses on this issue and reinstate the office of Child Commissioner.

Yesterday the BC Liberals under a great deal of pressure, announced the creation of a six person panel to assess the way the province meets the needs of vulnerable children.

BC Liberal Budget cuts Destroy Child protection

"Justice Gove was very clear. Justice Gove, hon. Speaker, said quite clearly that the death of every single child known to the minister or in the care of the ministry should be investigated promptly. It should be investigated in a way that we would be sure that it's thorough, so that we understand what's going on." Gordon Campbell, Leader of the Official Opposition speaking in the Legislature, July 25, 1996,

The Ministry of Children and Family has been hard hit by the BC Liberal government since 2002. Just a few things to consider. The budget was slashed, the staffing cut on top of a gigantic re-organization. Add to this the fiasco of Doug Walls, the Premier's cousin and former Prince George BC Liberal Constituency President and you have a recipe for disaster.

Throw in cuts to the Ministry of Human Resources (Income assistance), special needs classroom support and the rushed implimentation of Kith and Kin programs and you see just what a mess the Gordon Campbell BC Liberals made of it.

It does not stop there, the Liberals eliminated the The Child Protection commissioner and budget leaving the coroner with the added responsibility of investigating each child death in the province with his own now reduced budget and staff.

The situation in BC has been rolled back to the pre 1990's. After the Judge Gove inquiry into the death of 5 year old Matthew Vaudreille many systemic changes were made in government programs and significant protections for children added.

In opposition Gordon Campbell was a staunch advocate for the protection of children. He demanded day in and day out more money for programs, more staffing, more accountability. It should have been good for children after Campbell was elected. BC should be looked upon as a world leader.

When Jane Morely wrote her report, she indicated that tranparency and reporting from the Ministry would become better...

"...With respect to the monitoring function, I envision that the question of how well MCFD is doing its job will become increasingly transparent through publicly reported performance measurements. MCFD and the Children’s Commission are currently both conducting audits of plans of care of children-in-care. I envision that MCFD alone will be legislatively mandated to carry out systematic audits of plans of care. MCFD and the Children’s Commission are both conducting reviews of critical injuries of children-incare. ..."

In addition, when informed of a critical injury, the Public Guardian and Trustee's office is the third agency to investigate. The Public Guardian and Trustee does this as the guardian of the child's estate, to determine whether legal action is warranted. I envision that critical injuries will continue to be conducted by MCFD and that the only external agency investigating these incidents will be the Public Guardian and Trustee's office. - Report on the Core Services Review of the Children's Commission, December 2001

It's not working. Sherry Charlie died in 2002. The public only learned the horrible circumstances of the Ministry of Children and Families failure two months after the the provincial election. The Government essentially failed to report the details to the public and held onto a report until after the election. The report paints a very critical picture of the government's failure and the effect budget cutbacks have had on the protection of children in government care.

Had the Children's commissioner still been in place Sherry Charlie's death would have been investigated and a report would have been made public forcing the government to respond. What we get in its place is political spin from the government.


B.C. social workers say budget cuts sabotages their ability to protect kids (second link)

Who Will Defend The Defenseless in B.C.?

Cody's Death: How Deep an Investigation?

Matthew John Vaudreuil - it happened again

Screwed By The Surplus

More answers in the sad case of Sherry Charlie

Ministry office lost five of seven social workers

BC Liberals ignored secret report into Child's death

Clandestine battle waged for inquest in foster child's death

Report on the Core Services Review of the Children's Commission and Overlapping Services Provided by the Child, Youth and Family Advocate, the Ombudsman, the Coroner and
Ministry of Children and Family Development (December 2001)

Report of the Gove Inquiry into Child Protection in British Columbia (1995)

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Kelowna Councillors Politically Arrogant

Kelowna Municipal politics is heating up

Candidate for Mayor, Dave Porteous accused Councillor Barrie Clark of being arrogant, in a media release. Porteous stated Clark's objection to a local residents association, Okanagan Mission, was wrong to issue a list of endorsed candidates. Clark contends that they should not be openly endorsing any candidate.

Porteous, president of a national insurance and employee benefits company with its headquarters in Kelowna says, "stop trying to maintain the " status quo" it shows nothing but political arrogance."

You can read more at Castanet and hear Dave Porteous's interview with Kelly Hayes.

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