Nov. 26, 2019

 

 

 

 

COMMENT - Editor@nanaimonet.com

Nov. 15, 2019

Hey, you people, it’s not your money, you are entrusted to responsibly look after our money.

Before he was elected to city council, Don Bonner wanted city taxpayers to sponsor one or more refugee families to come to Nanaimo. When informed he could not do that, it’s not the city’s role, his response was “well we should do it anyway”.

The latest scheme calls for the city to provide and pay for free transit bus transportation for school kids, assuming up to and including university. The school district is already has a fleet of school buses funded for that purpose. Nanaimo Transit is managed by the Regional District under the control of the provincial government. He argues that free transportation at city expense would teach young people to take buses in the future when they grow up. That’s another education function, not a city role.

People who are elected to public office often lose focus of the office they were elected to – city council. They are not MPs, MLAs, school trustees and should not act as social engineers.

Bonner recently posted on social media that he rode a bus and was convinced free bus transportation was a solution to a city-declared climate emergency. There is no free ride, it’s always someone else picking up the tab. And there are other councillors with this type of thinking. 

We are left to wonder what programs or services councillors plan to cut from the budget to pay for this, or raise taxes above the five-year financial plan. 

COMMENT - Editor@nanaimonet.com

 

Oct. 25, 2019

Many will recall the slogan – “The West wants in.” That appears to have transformed into “The West wants out.”

That’s an arguable interpretation of the federal election where most Canadians rejected the Eastern establishment in no uncertain terms. The Liberals did not get a single seat in oil-rich Alberta and Saskatchewan which have been victimized by the power brokers over resources and (carbon) taxation.

Not quite so obvious is the subtle regionalization of our country. Indigenous people have been demanding nationhood for ages, and have been slowly getting just that. On election night the resurgent Bloc Quebecois leader kept referring to the Quebec Nation. Now there are not-so-subtle similar stirrings in the West.

The present scenario revives memories of former B.C. Premier W. A. C. Bennett who envisioned in the 1960s that Canada could become a collective of five regions – representing separate entities like B.C. The Prairies, Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes. He said they would be basically independent, but all under a new federalism roof. If memory serves, Bennett suggested a senate of equal representation from each of the regions, i.e. 10 or 20 senators from each, making a federal government of 50 or 100 representatives.

Though the idea never reached first base, with Ontario and Quebec not even entertaining equal power sharing with the rest of the country. Under that formula, the three other regions could have out-voted them.

That general concept with First Nations, The West, Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes, as participants might resurface, especially at this time when three of those regions are looking for a new deal.

There are a lot of intracasies to consider, but it may be something that is worth revisting. It would be much cleaner than the ongoing cries for the convoluted proportional representation – in fact it would be more proportional than what we have now.

Comment – editor@nanaimonet.com

 

Oct. 22, 2019

Congratulations to Paul Manly for winning two federal elections in just under six months – that’s almost unheard of in Canadian politics.

And it wasn’t easy, the opposition threw everything they had into trying to unseat the Green Party rookie member of Parliament. The Greens reinforced that the May byelection victory was not a fluke. As a matter of fact, the final figures Monday night were very similar to what each party got in May.

Like the national campaign, the New Democrats went with a negative campaign, misrepresenting the Green platform. That was disappointing.

People constantly preach against hate, but the NDP kept up their decade-old campaign against former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper. (A little secret, Harper was not running in this election).

And the insults and attacks were aimed at current Conservative leader Andrew Scheer with messages like “we don’t trust Conservatives” and anything to stop Conservatives.

And Scheer was not in the clear either.

And all parties hammered Prime Minister Trudeau, but he has the track record of actual obstruction of justice and tons of other misbehaviours. 

Another distraction for the NDP was leader Jagmeet Singh’s early drive to form a coalition government with the Liberals, even before voting day. That may have led some voters questioning if that’s what’s coming, why not vote Liberal in the first place?

Most of the campaigns were based on telling voters about the other parties, and not enough about themselves. And that was what substituted for real policy which voters could be enticed with. The handout promises did not come with the backing about how they could be implemented while reducing government revenue sources from our resources. Canadians are not buying into the “free stuff” – prescription drugs, hundreds of thousands of affordable housing units and more.

The new buzz word preached from almost every podium is “progressive” - socialism in a new wrapper.

Constantly preaching the end to pipelines, the energy sector and mining resources did not catch the fancy of voters In the west. And they could have done some research into the ongoing climate catastrophe fear mongering, which an increasing number of Canadians are not buying into. And, of course, the carbon dioxide tax that’s scheduled to keep rising and rising. Being against everything is not appealing. NDP representation in Parliament was cut virtually in half. The Liberals also lost a large number of seats, and Conservatives picked up a bunch of seats.

With that in mind, it was an eyebrow raiser when Trudeau’s victory message was about bringing unity to the country. He first made that pledge four years ago, and look what we have now – an energized Bloc Quebecois which has the third largest representation in Parliament – and rejection of the Liberals in western Canada. There are a lot of fences to mend between now and whenever this minority government has to go to the people again.

We even heard the word Wexit on Monday night, a play on the British Brexit. Quebecers and Western Canadians are not a happy lot these days.

editor@nanaimonet.com

 

Oct. 7, 2019

What have we sunken to? This election, more than anyone I can remember, has been devoid of reality as to the future of our country. As is so often the case, when the topic at hand is uncomfortable those responsible seek diversions. If you don’t want to talk about something, change the subject.

This election has been more about shovelling bull manure than about what this country’s future. First we  were distracted by puffed up fake indignation that at some point in his youth the prime minister had black and/or brown paint on his face in a school theatre presentation. Fake indignation because so many people feel offended and the standard feel-good is to cry racism. Rather than really caring about skin colour, too many people are thin skinned, it seems to make them feel better even if it may be condescending.

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer’s dual citizenship is not a genuine issue – it doesn’t matter. Dual citizenship of a party leaders is trivial (which by the way he has already renounced).

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh wearing a turban is not an issue – it doesn’t matter. Wearing a religious symbol – freedom of religion is guaranteed in our country.

Green leader Elizabeth May being born in the U.S. – it doesn’t matter. Nobody cares about the number of members of Parliament and cabinet ministers born in other countries. You see, criticizing the U.S. is politically correct, talking about other immigrants, oh that’s politically-incorrect racism.

What about bread and butter issues? Everyone can think of a ton of them. Why in a country this size and with this wealth do we have a large segment of our population living on the streets as a result of homelessness and mental health issues? 

Of course, the biggest detractor has been the imaginary climate catastrophe that’s about to descend on us diverting us even further from the real problems of the country.

Why are we playing around with an imaginary fossil fuel and cow fart doomsday while turning a blind eye to Quebec cities merrily dumping millions of gallons of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence River every day? Image the damage to the climate from that methane alone? But utter silence.

Our government bought a pipeline without needing to, and now it’s just an asset on the books for accounting purposes. We have billions invested in an asset that is turning into a boondoggle. Then there’s the ongoing interest cost on those borrowed billions of dollars.

And on that topic, why haven’t party leaders paid attention to the fact that our country is importing oil to eastern Canada from hostile foreign countries while regional obstructionism is delaying the development of a delivery system from our own oil to Eastern Canada? Is it really about concern for a west-to-east pipeline or are there people with their fingers in the oil importation cash drawer? 

Why bring up abortion again and again when it has been the law of the land for decades, and all leaders have vowed the issue will not be revisited? It’s another example of diversion from the real issues.

The unacceptable treatment of our veterans, the lack of clean drinking water on reservations, the massive amounts debt piled up while sending Canadian tax money to other countries, I could go on and on. 

As a friend of mine summed up his expectations for the final leaders’ debate on Monday, each one of them will just be dodging the bullet as to what is happening and wrong with our system and smoothly deflecting to subjects the public couldn’t really give a tinkers damn about – past minstrel show participation, professional accreditation, turbans, place of birth, etc. 

The debate script will be meaningless hyperbole about “more jobs for Canadians, more money in the pockets of the middle class, more money for health care and education, higher taxes for the rich, zero carbon emissions, just more blather”. As comedian Jerry Sinefeld described his show –  a show about nothing.

With two weeks left in the campaign to determine the future of our country, it’s time to wipe the smudge off our shaded glasses to focus on what really matters.