Sunday, 6 May 2012
Canadian Politics this Week (30 April to May 6th)
In Quebec students continue to protest the raising of tuition fees, although Quebec has the lowest in Canada. Violence has marked the protests and certainly has not won them the sympathy of citizens.
TransCanada Corp has announced that it has resubmitted its application for approval of the XL Keystone pipeline, which was rejected by the Obama Administration earlier this year. The Administration cited environmental concerns, while proponents called it a political decision during an election year.
In Alberta the Highway 63 issue was front end centre, culminating on Saturday in a rally in Fort McMurray to urge the Alberta government to make the highway, which is touted as the deadliest highway in Alberta, a priority. Premier Alison Redford has responded by stating that she would have the Transportation Minister make it a top priority, once her cabinet is appointed. She did not respond to an invitation to join the rally in Fort McMurray.
Friday afternoon Elections Canada investigators said that they believe that the IP address used to send misleading robocalls to Guelph voters on election day was the same address used by a worker from the campaign office of local Conservative candidate Marty Burke, Elections Canada investigators believe.
The address was apparently used by campaign worker Andrew Prescott to arrange legitimate calls through RackNine, the Edmonton voice broadcasting firm.
But the same IP address was also used to arrange the fraudulent “Pierre Poutine” calls that pretended to be from Elections Canada and sent hundreds of electors to the wrong polling stations, Elections Canada alleges in court documents.
RackNine records provided to Elections Canada showed that Prescott’s account had been accessed from a Rogers IP address in Guelph, 188.8.131.52.
The IP addresses used by Pierre Poutine to set up the calls were hidden by a proxy server that masks the originating IP. On one occasion, however, Poutine — or Pierre Jones, as he was known to RackNine — made contact from same address used to access Prescott’s account with the company. National Post
Needless to say this produced a number of tweets on Friday by those that oppose the Harper government, which includes environmentalists and the far left, calling for Harper's dismissal, including some name calling.
Since the investigation is in the hands of Elections Canada and it appears that the Conservative party is co-operating, we should all take a deep breath and wait for the results of the investigation. The Conservative Party establishment should also do more to inform the public. Too much secrecy just opens the door to ridicule.
There can be no doubt that the implementation of Stephen Harper's agenda, including the opting out of Kyoto, steamlining of environmental reviews, delegating approval authority to provinces, budget cuts, which the unions say reduces services to Canadians, and the fait accompli of health care spending have raised eyebrows with the opposition. None of this should have been a surprise though. The Harper government has been quite clear what legislation it wanted to pass.
The reform of Old Age Security by changing to eligibility from age 65 to 67 was a surprise and one could criticize the first official mention of it. Prime Minister Harper mentioned it for the first time earlier this year at an economic forum in Davos, Switzerland. The reform affects those that are 54 or younger this year. It does not affect current recipients or those close to retirement.
Canada has a couple of plans that permit people to save for their pensions. Those included the Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), a tax deferment plan and the Tax Free Savings Account (TSFA). 20% of ones earning can be deposited into RRSP, while Canadians can save $5000 annually in their TSFA. Of course, for Canadians just getting by it will be difficult to deposit into either of those accounts.
Next week, the Robocall issue should be front and centre again, making for interesting exchanges in the House of Commons during Question Period. The F35 issue will continue to haunt the government and there is sure to be more pushback by environmentalists. Peter Kent and John Oliver will have to be on their toes.
With the success of the New Democrats, the Liberal Party appears to be looking for a new identitiy, moving it closer to the centre. IMHO what the Liberal party really needs is new ideas, a generational change in leadership and an outline plan of how it would move ahead as a governing party.
While it is the oppositions job to pose, Canadians at some point will also want to see a plan, which is funded, on how they would move the country ahead.
There are certainly turbulent times ahead in Canadian politics.