Tag Archives: Conservatives

Time to Pay Attention

When people ask me what political party I support, the best answer I can give is, it’s complicated. My views and beliefs are constantly changing and evolving and don’t all fit into one nice and neat political party. I like to listen to a wide variety of opinions before developing my own, so nobody should draw any inference from the fact I follow any particular journalist, author, blogger or media source. I regularly read or follow the Toronto Sun, Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, National Post, Huffington Post, New York Times, CNN, CBC, Macleans, and so many more. So you get the idea – I listen to everyone, mull things over in my head, align what I hear to my own beliefs and values, and come up with my opinions.

I came of age in Toronto reading this new cool little newspaper called The Sun. It was a tabloid format and easier to read on the subway. Many of the journalists came from the defunct Telegram and the newspaper provided a flip side to the news reported by the Toronto Star.  When Sun News Network was launched, I have to admit I never watched it. I don’t watch much television to begin with and this network reminded me of Fox News in the US; high on drama and conspiracy and low on actual facts.

I admit to initially not knowing The Rebel Media and Ezra Levant were from the ashes of that network, and when I found out, it didn’t really matter. I was just listening so I subscribed to their newsletter. It didn’t take long for me to realize that there was absolutely nothing I could learn from these kooks. Besides the constant emails asking for donations, it quickly became clear that they were not about advocating for responsible government or anything like that. At one point I actually started thinking they were a shill for Stephen Harper’s conservative government, with overtones of xenophobia, Islamophobia, and sometimes antisemitic.  Long after I unsubscribed I heard stories of them inciting fear about Romanian immigrants, supporting neo-nazi groups – sorry, I believe they now call themselves white nationalists – and publishing antisemitic videos.

So it wasn’t a huge surprise that The Rebel (and Ezra Levant) are now imploding. And it isn’t a surprise to learn that Joe Oliver – former finance minister with Harper’s government – is listed as one of their contributors. What is a surprise is learning that Andrew Scheer – newly elected head of the Federal Conservative party – and his campaign manager are tightly involved with this circus.  Hamish Marshall, Scheer’s campaign manager, even served on the board of The Rebel Media – well, until it became politically inconvenient for him to do so last week.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/why-did-it-take-so-long-for-the-conservatives-to-denounce-the-rebel/article36088082/

After the incident in Charlottesville, VA, groups like this are no longer kooky fringe groups. If allowed to exist and thrive, they are dangerous – dangerous enough to drive their cars into crowds of innocent people. If we can condemn terrorism from Islamic forces, why is domestic terrorism any different?

I despise this brand of politics. It’s the politics of hate and fear. I will always choose hope over fear. I will always feel that every culture and race is as important as mine. I will always vote for inclusion and equality. For those who want to even joke about ethnic cleansing, you have no place in MY Canada. It’s a vile way to think and it sickens me – my father and father in law fought against the Nazis in WWII and it seems there’s a new generation that has grown up without that shadow that now want to espouse Hitler’s values.

We’ll have another election soon enough but be aware of the type of people you’re voting for when you vote for Conservatives. Trump politics in Canada? It can happen if we don’t pay attention.

Pay attention and start listening.

Conservatives won’t say whether they will cut all ties with Rebel media

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/tories-mum-on-whether-rebel-booths-will-be-banned-from-future-party-events/article36092284/

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/andrew-scheer-the-rebel-analysis-wherry-1.4251357

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Things Change

My friends tell me I’m focusing too much on politics lately, so I thought I’d mix it up a bit. Since I just sold our 1993 Daytona and I have my 2008 Nissan Sentra for sale, I thought I’d take a trip down automobile memory lane.

My first car was a 1972 Datsun 510 and there is a story behind how I came to buy it, and how I became a driver.

I actually don’t remember where I was living at the time, or even where I was working. I must have been working though, since I ended up with car payments. In my recollection (let’s face it – that was a long time ago), I woke up one day and decided I wanted… no, I NEEDED a car. So I looked in the newspaper and saw a couple of cars for sale that I thought were in my price rangedatsun and I went to visit Islington Datsun. My first car buying experience was a bit surreal. I told the sales person what I could afford and he told me he had the perfect car for me. I actually bought it sight unseen. It was a yellow four door car with a vinyl roof and an A/C unit that had been installed (so I was told) by the Radman in B.C. It was cute.

Did I mention I didn’t have a driver’s license? I’m so glad they check those things these days. That’s real progress!

The first time I ever drove in my life, was the day I drove that car home. I knew the theory of driving (thanks Dad!) so all I had to do was put it into practice. I did end up getting what was called a Learner’s permit (aka 365) and went for a road test. I was kind of shocked when I failed the test the first time though – after all, I’d already been driving for months! I was experienced!

I could devote almost the length of a book to that car, my adventures in it, my misadventures in it, and how I almost quit driving for good because of it, but for now, I want to talk about my cars in general.

My father was not a fan of my Datsun. He was a GM guy, born and bred. He never could wrap his head around why I bought a Japanese car and he doubted it was even suitable for our Canadian climate – did they even have snow in Japan?

After I got married, my Dad sold us his car, a 1977 Malibu – the famous Iraqi tMalibuaxi. That Malibu took us to Florida and back, up to northern Ontario, and all over the New England states. Despite not having A/C, it was a very well made car.

Our next car was a 1982 Pontiac J2000 (manual transj-2000mission) that my cousin sold me. I’ve heard that those cars were the prototypes for the Sunbirds. Another excellent car – it just didn’t want to die.

While my father was a Chevrolet guy, I found I preferred Pontiacs. My husband was a Chrysler/Dodge guy but I’m only going to talk about MY cars.

My next car was a 1987 Pontiac Bonneville – what luxury! A plush interior, wood-grain dash, V6 engine, A/C, power windows, cruise control, etc. I bonnevilleloved it. I loved it through 2 transmissions and 2 A/C units. The power windows stopped working well, much to the annoyance of people waiting behind me going into the underground parking at work.

The Bonneville had given me so many prsaturnoblems (and cost me so much money) that the next car I purchased was a 1995 Saturn SL1 – another manual transmission car. No A/C, and no power windows. Basic transportation became my main priority. I purchased it two years old from Richmond Hill Honda on Yonge Street and drove it for many years. I sold it for $2000 less than when I purchased it.

Then my father stopped driving, and he gave me his 1998 Caprice Classic. It was a very comfortable car, but very large. He had hardly ever driven it and the mileage was quite low, but that actually isn’t a very good thing. The capriceproblems I had with it had to do with the seals and stuff like that, the type of things that happen to cars that aren’t driven much. It was rear wheel drive and built like a tank. The first time I had to put gas in it, I felt like I might need a second mortgage on my house to afford it!

The first “brand new” vehicle I had ever purchased was a 2002 Pontiac Montana minivan from Slessor Motors in Newmarket. It was hard to believe that it ended up being worse than the Bonneville. I loved that minivan – the ergonomics were fantastic, the fuel consumption decent, the engine design? not so much. Around 100,000 kms, montanathe cylinder heads cracked (both of them) and that caused a problem with coolant. I don’t understand the whole thing, but it involved the intake manifold gasket, cost $3,000 to repair and was part of a class action lawsuit against GM.

cateraI must be a slow learner because after I sold the Montana, I purchased a 2001 Cadillac Catera from Broadway Motors – which I quickly came to realize was just a prettier piece of crap sold by a slimy used car salesman. Within just a few months, the heating module needed replacing, followed by the module for the high beam lights, each of which was a few thousand dollars to replace. On top of needing premium gas, it then started burning oil. I purchased it for $10,000 and was only able to get $3000 on a trade in about 6 months later. What an expensive lesson.

The trade in was for my 2nd “brand new” car – a 2008 Nissan Sentra. It’s sentraa car I still own (although I just listed it for sale). For those that don’t know – Nissan is actually Datsun. It seemed I had come full circle (sorry Dad!), and my Sentra was the very best car I’ve ever owned. It had all the features I needed and wanted, and it never, ever broke down or left me stranded. Whoever buys this car is definitely getting a gem. Great fuel mileage, and still warranty left on the CVT transmission.

So, what have all my cars taught me? They’ve taught me that things change. When I bought my first car, GM was quality and the Japanese imports were the cheap cars that students bought. Isn’t it funny how that got turned around? It reminds me of political parties. The Conservatives are kind of like GM; once they were a decent party, but things change. And the Liberals are acting more like NDP in this election.

So the lesson here is don’t make your decisions based on historical experiences. You need to look at each party (like each car manufacturer) to see what they’re like today and try to figure out if you think they’re going to be reliable or if eventually, they’ll let you down and disappoint you.

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Voting for Hope

I’ve been giving some thought lately to what drives change (or not) during an election and I have a few hypotheses that I’d like to muse about and relate them to each of the party leaders in the coming election.

When things are going well, of course people will vote the ruling party in again. But when things aren’t going well, people will vote for change. It doesn’t even matter why things aren’t going well and it may not even be anybody’s fault.

A ruling party cannot campaign on a policy of holding the line or keeping the course steady when things aren’t going well. When people are looking for change, they’ll vote in change. Governments need to at least seem to be listening to people and to give the appearance of change. Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing and expecting a different result. If you’re looking for change, you won’t get it by keeping things the same.

We need hope. In difficult times when the economy is stagnate and jobs are being lost, crime rates increase among our youth because they’ve lost hope. The solution isn’t to toughen the laws or build more jails; we need to examine the root causes. Our young people need hope for their future, that they can get affordable education and training, find jobs and affordable housing. When the middle class is losing jobs, or losing their houses, and may be facing an uncertain future or retirement, they also need hope. Hope may very well be the most important thing in any election.

Our leaders must inspire hope. When they speak to us, their words must compel us to believe them, to follow them, to fill us with hope. Not everyone can do this, it takes a special kind of passion and charisma. John F. Kennedy had it. Martin Luther King Jr. had it. Ghandi had it. In my lifetime, Pierre Trudeau had it. I voted for Chretien (sorry) because he had it. I’ll call it the Leadership Gene.

Paul Martin had it. He was a steadying influence that calmed us down and made us believe everything was going to be okay. He connected with voters, as a businessman and as a father figure.

Justin Trudeau has it. The Conservatives can run all the negative ads they want about him not being ready, but let’s face it – he’s just the guy out front – the face of the party. Behind him is a well-oiled machine. They’ll make him ready. He already has more experience than his father did when he was first elected PM. He’s definitely a contender.

The biggest mistake the Liberals kept making in the past was electing intellectuals to lead the party. You can make all the jokes you want about Stephane Dion and Michael Ignatieff, but intellectually they were brilliant. They belonged in the party behind the charismatic leader; they lacked the Leadership Gene. When you combine the lack of charisma with the growing mistrust of intellectuals, it’s easy to see why they failed to gain momentum.

Elizabeth May has it as well. When she speaks, I find myself nodding my head in agreement with most of what she says. She speaks with passion. The party behind her isn’t ready yet though, but I’m looking forward to watching them grow and maybe someday they’ll be ready for her.

Thomas (Tom) Mulcair has a certain amount of it. He’s definitely riding the wave of change, buoyed by the recent victory of the NDP in Alberta. Let’s face it though, he isn’t Jack Layton. We want to trust him, but there’s something holding us back. Maybe it’s the dual citizenship with France. Maybe it’s his history when he was a Liberal in Quebec and supported separatism. Something worries me.

Harper completely lacks passion and charisma (in my opinion), and that will be his downfall. He comes across as cold and calculating. He recites party lines despite being proved wrong time and time again. He appears almost delusional in his denial that Canada is in a recession (despite the overwhelming proof). The party behind him isn’t exactly a stellar example either, with all the scandals and criminal charges. The smart Conservatives have fled the ship; only the original Reformers remain and now Stephen Harper is going to import talent from outside the country to help get his campaign on track.

Peter Van Loan is the incumbent in my area. He spent $60,469 on advertising and printing (2008 to 2009), compared to the average of $47,014. He has spent $362,977 on self promotion for flyers, advertising and mailing costs, from 2009 to 2015. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sick and tired of getting these in my mail every week.

Thanks to Peter Van Loan, $654,747 of our tax dollars has been spent on similar type things over an 11 year period. There must be a better way to communicate in this technological age that doesn’t cost so much, or kill so many trees.

Okay, let me make things a bit more personal. I’m often asked these days who I’m voting for. I am not a member of any political party. I did contribute a very small amount to the Liberals two years ago, but when the Liberal party supported Bill C-51, I destroyed the card and unsubscribed from all liberal emails. Besides, I can’t stand the provincial liberals and they seem to share the same email lists. I didn’t want my support of the federal liberals to indicate support of the provincial liberals.

So, how am I voting? I know one thing for sure – I want the Conservatives out. That’s my bias. I want change. According to www.votetogether.ca that may mean voting for the candidate most likely to defeat the Conservative incumbent in my area.

Other than that, I’m still listening.

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Give Me Back My Canada!

Right before every election, I become very outspoken. So much so that many of my friends and relatives think I’m very politically involved. I’m not. I’m not even a supporter of any particular party. I like to judge each of them each on their own merits and record.

In case you’re wondering, I’m not anti-government either, because that would make me an anarchist, wouldn’t it? No, I’m one of these rare people who actually doesn’t mind paying taxes. We need people to run the government, right? They need to get paid. We also need all the stuff the government is supposed to do – improve our infrastructure, develop our social and healthcare programs – lots of stuff. It takes money.

What I don’t like is wasting money. Or greed. I work hard for my money. I don’t want to give it (voluntarily or not) to be wasted foolishly. Isn’t that reasonable?

Our current federal government believes in trickle down economics which, if I’m not mistaken, means giving tax breaks to corporations who in turn will create more jobs. Guess what? It doesn’t work.

A business owner I know (who shall remain anonymous) is actually a huge supporter of unions (imagine that!), and when we discussed the tax breaks our government was giving businesses, he told me he’d gladly take the tax break but he wouldn’t be creating any more jobs with it. He just increased his profits. He even went so far as to say if the government cancelled those tax breaks or INCREASED his taxes, he’d be okay with it. He said he could afford to pay more.

Isn’t that interesting?

So, we have a Conservative federal government that has operated on the principle of trickle-down economics and what does their record show? I’ve lost count of the number of criminal charges against members of parliament or the senate. Our environmental record is terrible. Our treatment of First Nations people is shameful. Our rights and freedoms are under attack. We have to deal with a secretive, disdainful government (how many times did Harper prorogue parliament? Remember when he was found in contempt of parliament?) Our national resources are being sold off to foreign interests. The economy is stagnate, unemployment remains the same, and we’re actually heading into a recession. Good job guys!

On the other hand, we have a Liberal provincial government who loves to waste money. Cancelled gas plants, the ORNGE scandal, the e-health scandal – not to mention the assets we’ve lost – selling off Hydro One, allowing beer and wine to be sold in the stores, etc. All to “balance the budget”. The provincial debt has gotten so bad, we’ve had our credit rating downgraded. Even the CEO of Chrysler Canada is complaining that the high costs of hydro is this province may force them to leave. But this is the land of milk and honey, isn’t it? So we’re going to give the organizers of the Pan Am games millions of dollars in bonuses, and for what? For doing jobs they already are being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars (over $400k to one). Wow. Can I get a 100% bonus too for just doing what I’m paid to do? Where’s the rationale for that?

(Update Sept. 16/2015 – The cheques are being cut now, and  53 Pan Am executives will split $5.7-million in bonus pay – http://tinyurl.com/nwppw26.)

It’s easy to throw other people’s money around I guess. And when we have no more revenue generating assets left, we can always go back to the trough and raise taxes, right?

I’m becoming cynical. I’m starting to believe the reason these people are in politics is because they are incompetent and would not survive in the corporate world. It’s time we start holding our government responsible. It’s time to see politicians charged when they breach our trust. Take their gold plated pensions away when they break the rules.

More importantly, it’s time to elect responsible government. A Government with the interests of the people in mind – you know, common people, working people, people like you and me.

Give me back the Canada I was born into.
Give me back the Canada who was respected internationally.
Give me back the Canada that was a shining example of fiscal responsibility.
Give me back the Canada I used to be so proud of.

I don’t belong to a political party so I’m not going to suggest who people should vote for. Each one of us needs to examine the leaders we have in power today, and decide what type of country we want Canada to be.

What do you want your Canada to look like?

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