Monday, January 9, 2012

Pot, Meet Kettle

Source: CBC News: 'Radical' Groups Working Against Oilsands

I figure now that we're approaching the middle of January, the blog has been dark long enough and it is time to illuminate 2012 with that special brand of insight that I bring to the blog...Whether or not it is truly special is unimportant, what is important is that there are a few things worth talking about today.

Some house cleaning, first though: I probably will not be posting on the selection of Toronto-Danforth's new NDP representative; if only because being in Saskatchewan, I know little about the candidates vying for the role left open the wake of Jack Layton's passing.

Furthermore, there is the discussion of several new Senators being appointed...I've talked about senate reform en masse before on the blog, and the appointment of Harper cronies to the Upper Chamber, so you all know my opinion on that matter...However, I may have something to say about reforming the Senate at the end of this post.

So, let's begin with the quote I saw today that spurred me to get back to writing the blog.

Radicals, are: "a group of people who don’t take into account the facts but are driven by an ideological imperative." - Conservative MP, and Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver.

Excuse me, did you honestly just say that? If so, you might want to tell Justice Minister Rob Nicholson that he's a radical. After all, in his defense of Bill C-10 (the Omnibus Crime Bill) Nicholson rejected statistics that crime was dropping and that they were pushing the bill forward due to their mandate over facts.

Hence the title of this post; Conservatives yet again show their hypocrisy by denouncing those who speak out against their plans and aspirations as radicals and ideological blowhards...Yet, these are methods that they themselves use. As noted, Bill C-10 was introduced as a bill that was driven by ideological ideals and election promise over fact.

Harper's continued push to buy F-35 fighter jets, despite mounting costs and daily reports of new problems (anyone else see the report of them being unable to land on aircraft carriers due to an engineering fault with the hook designed to catch cords on the deck of the carrier? No, read about it here: LINK) shows another ideological tactic taking precedence over fact.

Even in the backbenches of the Conservative caucus you see this ideological drive. Kitchener Centre MP Steven Woodworth is said Canadian law treats the unborn as 'sub-human' and wants to see debate on the issue in the House of Commons. Despite the fact that most Canadians are content to leave the abortion debate alone, and Harper even campaigned on the fact of letting it be if re-elected, there are ideological drives to push for these arguments and to create laws around them...Despite the facts.

Essentially, what we're getting at is that any Conservative who proclaims to be a champion for facts and reasons over ideological drive and motivation needs to give their head a good long shake. Since coming to power, we've seen nothing but ideological drive from this government and this political party. Every action they make and every bill they bring forward is just another means to achieving a part of their political ideology.

In Harper's Canada, facts are irrelevant and relying on them makes you some kind of enemy of the state...Especially when those facts directly contradict what the government is trying to achieve with their agenda.

To change gears a little, I want to talk about Senate Reform briefly.

I had a chance to meet Brian Topp over the weekend, and found the discussion fairly enlightening. I've still yet to decide who I will support in the Leadership Race, but Topp got onto the topic of the Senate during the discussion.

Topp supports abolishing the Senate outright, as a number of NDPers do. I must be one of the few who still sees a use for the Upper Chamber, as I favour reform over abolishing it. Now, I came up with a plan for Senate Reform on this blog, however, I've decided to make a few changes to that formula. So, here's my newly minted Senate Reform plan:

1.) Tie Senate seats proportionally to the amount of votes each party receives in the province they are to represent. For example, Saskatchewan has 6 Senate seats. If the NDP receives 25% of the total vote in Saskatchewan during a federal election, the NDP becomes entitled to 25% of the Senate seats for Saskatchewan. There would be an electable threshold of 10% that a party would need in order to qualify for a seat in the first place. So, any party garnishing less than 10% of the provincial vote would not receive a Senate seat.

2.) Remove the appointment process from the Prime Minister's hands. For awhile, I thought that Opposition leaders should nominate the Senators to represent their parties. I've since decided that this system is ineffective, and propose that we use the following method instead.

Federal Party leaders would discuss potential Senators with the Premiers of the Provinces that their Senators are to represent. As such, the leader of the Liberals would have to propose candidates for Saskatchewan Liberal Senators to the Premier of Saskatchewan. The Premier would then either confirm or deny the choices made, but work with the party leader to ensure representation.

Let me clarify that last bit: The Premier is not given carte blanche over the appointment of Senators for their province. They must appoint individuals who reflect the proportional vote share and they reach an agreement with the Party Leaders over appointments, it cannot be a unilateral decision.

3.) Once in agreement, the nominees are made Senators and will serve a term that is tied to the House of Commons. During an election, all Senators lose their status and must be re-nominated to serve in the Senate.

I think that about sums it up. I know some of you are probably asking why the Premiers should be involved at all...Well, the Senate was originally meant to be an arm of the provinces in the Federal Government. I don't think it ever successfully filled that role thanks to partisan politics in Ottawa; but that doesn't mean that it shouldn't be given the chance.

There's also a few smaller details to consider with this reform...But, I did say I was going to be brief on this topic; so, I shall let it alone for now.

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