Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Episode 05 - Shoot Yer Mouth Off

Topics Covered:

Emerson Exonerated: Ethics Commissioner finds Harper and Emerson acted within boundaries, Alex objects to Shapiro's soapboxing on floor-crossings, Jeremy buys Shapiro's counter-argument to the PMO's "double standard" accusation.
Inter-Party Dissent: Liberals officially back the Conservatives on not opening debate on Afghanistan despite Ujjal's earlier comments to the contrary, Liberal senator shoots her mouth off in a "not reflective of party views" response to an American family upset over the seal hunt, Conservatives crack down on public comments and require PMO authorisation to ensure everyone sticks to the script.
Harper and Quebec: Bloc fearmongering over seperatism continues as Harper develops close relationship with Cherest.
Boarder Control: Americans propose stricter rules on identification at the boarder, Americans invoke 190 year old treaty to arm ships patrolling the Great Lakes.
Et Cetera: Judge imposes bail conditions on teens accused in Calgary fatal beating, Australian protest over Queen's visit to the Commonwealth games.

Relevant Links:

The Harper-Emerson Report
Liberal's back Tories on Afghan Mission
Harper's plan helps separatists, Bloc says
Senator fires back at U.S. Family Upset with Seal Hunt
U.S. ID card scheme fatal for tourism: survey
Machine Guns on Coast Guard Boats
Bus slaying suspects free on bail
Protests greet Queen at Commonwealth Games

2 Comments:

At 3:29 PM, March 23, 2006, Blogger Russell McOrmond said...

A few quick comments:

Floor crossing: To me the problem isn't crossing the floor, but the structural problems that make people believe they have to leave their party in order to have a voice. As a country I believe we need to decide whether we are electing representatives from ridings who happen to be members of parties, or electing people who are members of parties who happen to be from across the country.

If we have riding representatives then we need to get rid of the whole party-whip and party discipline, allowing MPs to vote based on their constituencies first and their party later. I think the riding representative would be stronger if we guarunteed that they had 50%+1 support in their riding, suggesting a need for Instant Runoff or similar advanced vote counting that allows citizens to indicate preferences.

If we have party representatives then we should be electing them via proportional representation. This would not allow "floor crossings" given a member is in the house based on what party they are in, and leaving the party means leaving the house (Other party can put your on their list, and maybe bump one of their sitting members out instead).

Our current system is a mixture that I don't think anyone is happy with.


Anti-Americanism: Quick way to shut down healthy debate. Suggesting that any disagreement with a foreign governments policy makes you anti- that country is never constructive.

When people talk about the unelected US president I believe there is legitimacy to that: the vote difference between the Democrats and the Republicans on the presidency is far smaller than the error that a growing number of people recognize was introduced with ballot-less electronic voting machines. I count myself early among that growing number of people who believe that the current US presidency has no legitimacy and was not elected in a free and fair democratic election. (IE: I was writing about this electoral corruption years prior to the 2004 election).

On the 22'nd of this month, Prime Minister Steven Harper sent out a press release stating that, "In the view of the Government of Canada, the election in Belarus this past weekend was not free and fair. Opposition workers and candidates were harassed and intimidated by the authorities during the campaign."

My views on the US election, or various US policies, no more makes me anti-American than this statement from Steven Harper makes him anti-Belerus.

I understand where the Senator is coming from : those who live in glass houses should not be throwing stones. Worrying about the seal hunt in Canada is a case of massively misplaced (I would say almost sickening) priorities given the far larger world issues we all have before us. We should each be doing what we can to reduce the negative impact (or encourage a positive impact) of our own countries first.

Maybe the letter writer agrees that there are problems with current US foreign policy. I still have no sympathy for their situation given the time spent writing the silly letter to the Canadian senators could have been better spent sending additional letters to US policy makers. Simple pamphlets handed out to neighbours letting them know your thoughts on domestic policy would have a far more constructive impact.

 
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