The Star: Top climate scientists urge Canadians to vote strategically

October 9, 2008

From the Toronto Star, with a hat tip to The Stop Stephen Harper Blog and another excellent blog, Thoughts on Climate Change:

VANCOUVER–More than 120 of Canada’s top climate scientists have signed an open letter criticizing Conservative government policy and urging Canadians to vote “strategically” for the environment in next week’s federal election.”Global warming is the defining issue of our time,” said Andrew Weaver, a lead author with last year’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

But Weaver said Tuesday that Stephen Harper’s government “has yet to get engaged in the innovative and urgent policies that we need to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.”

This is shaping up to be “the rare election in which the environment is the issue,” said the group’s John Stone.

Read the entire article here.


Why does style matter more than substance?

October 8, 2008

This is the letter I wrote to The Star on Sunday afternoon in response to an excellent commentary by Haroon Siddiqui. It was published on Monday, October 6th.  The short line underneath my letter was written by a good friend and fellow activist Gary Markle and published on the same day: – Federal Election –

Why does style matter more than substance?

October 06, 2008

Re:No charisma, not an orator, but a decent man of substance, Comment Oct. 5

Thanks, Haroon Siddiqui, for being the only mainstream columnist to voice the opinions of most of the people in my community who are outraged by the media’s blatant bias against Stéphane Dion. No matter what he does, says, or wears, it is derided, ridiculed and considered wrong by pundits, TV/radio hosts, newspaper commentators.

I am a member of a party other than the Liberals, yet I find these actions nauseating. They assume Canadians are so shallow and ignorant that we cannot see beyond Stephen Harper’s gimmicks, the out-of-context sound bites in his party’s attack ads and the media’s complicity in this campaign.

Stéphane Dion is a good, honourable man genuinely wanting what is best for his country. That he is not a member of the corrupt, scandalous Old Boys’ Club shows the obvious strength of his character; it is the reason why his party elected him.

Annamarie Bohus, Brampton

A true leader stands on integrity, not other people.

G. W. Markle, Brampton

Gerald Caplan: unless progressive forces unite, Cons will rule

October 6, 2008

This post is taken directly from The Stop Stephen Harper Blog. Thanks, and much appreciated, my friend!

This is long time NDP stalwart Gerald Caplan, in Ŧhe Globe and Mail, on the fate we will have in store for us, unless progressive forces unite. The important part is at the end in bold:

On the other hand, the night did not change the key dynamic of this election – that Mr. Harper will win handily, and whether he sneaks his elusive majority or not, he will govern for the next several years as if he has a majority. He will do whatever he wants in his lifelong quest for a smaller social state and larger security state.Why? Because Mr. Dion will certainly be forced to step down, if he hasn’t the wit to do so on his own. Mr. Duceppe may well join him, knowing that Mr. Harper helped him pull off his great political comeback, allowing him to leave on a high note. The NDP will be deeply in debt, having gambled a fortune in this campaign, and will be incapable of even muttering the word “campaign” for a long time to come. And Ms. May might have as many as one MP in the next House prepared to vote against the government.

Even though it is clearly a violation of parliamentary conventions, if it’s a minority Mr. Harper can stoop once again to labeling every vote a non-confidence vote, since in our system there’s no one to slap him down. But really, he’ll hardly need to do so. No one will be looking for another fight for the foreseeable future. The Liberals, already a shell of their former selves, are likely to tear themselves apart as Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae go after whatever carrion is left on the dying bones.

I have no idea how it can ever happen, but unless the more-or-less progressive anti-Harper forces can come together in some form, conservatives who accumulate anywhere between 36-40% of the popular vote will continue to rule this country. Ask Jean Chretien. He won his three majorities exactly this way. Ask Stephen Harper. He recognized the secret of Mr. Chretien’s success and is now busily exploiting it.

The Harper Record unmasked

September 23, 2008

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has just released The Harper Record, the most detailed and comprehensive analysis of the record of the Harper government yet released.

It is very impressive, containing detailed analyses of their performance in all policy areas, including the Harper government’s own raison d’etre, crime policy. It also includes an overview of Harper’s background. I strongly recommend checking it out.

“The Harper government’s policies are moving our country backwards towards the vision of society, the role of the government, and the nature of the federation reminiscent of the 1920s.”

“What becomes clear … is that the Conservatives are committed to a market-driven world economy and that Harper is not committed to national democratic or multilateral institutions… For Harper the only international relationship that matters is the one between Canada and the United States.”

To read or purchase the complete publication visit:

A few important links for Canadian voters

September 23, 2008

Thanks to my friend Klara for e-mailing me the following links about non-partisan groups, advocating for Canadians to vote strategically.

Department of Culture

Vote For Environment

Andrew Coyne: The Harper leadership cult

September 16, 2008

Andrew Coyne wrote an interesting, compelling analysis of Stephen Harper’s leadership. “Everyone knows Harper is a strong leader. But where would he lead us?”, asks Coyne in this Macleans article.

On the Conservative party website, it’s all about “Harper Leadership 08.” Tory campaign ads show us Sweater Steve, shyly revealing a fondness for veterans, immigrants and his kids. Party message-trackers hammer home the point at every turn: this election is all about “leadership.” Or as an early campaign slogan has it: “Strong leadership on your side.”

Everyone agrees Stephen Harper is a strong leader. He dominates his party as few other leaders have; he is more or less a one-man cabinet; he has manoeuvred adroitly through 2½ years of minority Parliament, often through sheer projection of will; his personal strengths are undoubted. Leadership polls put Harper ahead of his nearest rival by 25 points or more. So overwhelming is his advantage that even other party leaders acknowledge it. An NDP ad suggests that, while “Harper is a strong leader,” so, too, is Jack Layton — surely one of the more bizarre attempts at borrowing an opponent’s clothes in electoral history.


Read the rest of this Macleans article here.