Is this what goes for leadership in the Liberal party these days?

As I and many others have written, Joe Volpe’s candidacy for the Liberal leadership appears to have received a financial shot from Apotex executives and their children. As an update, it appears that the Liberal Party is not planning to investigate these allegations, as it is apparently perfectly normal for children to save their nickels and hundreds and hand them over by the chocolate-stained fistfulls to their local Liberal riding committees. How do I get one of these gigs?

Now I’m not sure if, strictly speaking, it’s actually illegal for a 16 year-old (or whatever, we don’t know yet how old the donors are) to give their allowance to Joe Volpe, but it sure smells bad. Seeing as it is illegal to work around Elections Canada donation laws, and this seems to be the case at hand here, there is at the very least the appearance of wrongdoing, and the Liberals should be far more concerned with this appearance than they appear to be.

If I was a Liberal, I’d be hopping mad right now – and I’m sure many are. The Conservatives came to power this year solely because the public felt that the Liberal Party looked a little too cozy in power; as if they felt entitled to govern. Actions like Volpe’s lend nicely to this scenario and validate the public’s decision lasy January. If the Liberals ever want to govern this country again, they are going to have to take away, or at least share, the mantle of accountability that the Conservatives have donned. Why they have not taken Volpe to the woodshed over this is beyond me – it is a lose/lose scenario for them. Either Elections Canada finds nothing technically wrong with the donations, Volpe continues on to lose the leadership race and the public is left with a stink that someone got away with something, or Elections Canada finds something wrong with the donations and the Liberals are in the position of disciplining him only after being forced to.

I know that he’s innocent until proven guilty, but I’m sorry “Elections Canada regulates contributions to leadership candidates. The Liberal Party does not,” is lame. The Liberal Party might not regulate contributions, but they are responsible for the behaviour of their people, at least to the public.

It looks like the Liberals are losing the forest for trees here.


Maritime muscle behind Scott Brison

It appears that some of Nova Scotia’s business notables are giving Scott Brison’s campaign a bit of a boost by coughing up $50,000 loans. Included in the list are John Risley (Clearwater), Donald Sobey (his dad), John Bragg (blueberries), and David Hennigar (Jodrey family money).

I know that you’re not supposed to judge a person by the company they keep, but this list has me a little twitchy.


Canadian healthcare: more bang for half the bucks…

Okay, so a cross-national study of health care in the United States and Canada has discovered that (drum roll, please…):

“The data is clear and really irrefutable: Canadians are healthier than Americans and they have better access to medical care,” Dr. Steffy Woolhandler of the Harvard Medical School said Tuesday.

Not only that, but the study also determined that the American system costs nearly twice as much per year per person than the Canadian, while at the same time providing poorer service and less of it to much of the population.

Isn’t it time to expose once and for all the motivations of those for whom “two tier” health care is a priority. Let’s see, could it be doctors with a yen for yachting? Big pharma’s drug dependency? Drug companies collecting politicians with their kids’ allowance? Or maybe it’s just wealthy tax payers that are sick (sic) of paying for the healthcare of others?

So what is it, NCC – greedy doctors, rich druggies, corrupt politicians, or ingrateful, tight taxpayers?

h/t to Greg at Sinister Thoughts.


Joe Volpe: the Ben Johnson of the Liberal leadership race?

It looks like Joe Volpe’s leadership campaign might be on steroids and Pat Martin of the NDP might be administering the pee test. If the allegations prove out, several high-ranking officials of Apotex, the drug manufacturer and their children, each donated the maximum amount allowable by Elections Canada law.

Are we going to see Mr. Volpe make the decision that it’s better to spend more time on constituents’ issues soon, I wonder?


…And are You a Group of Paranoid Control Freaks?

The Halifax Regional School Board, in what is now the latest in a series of dunderheaded exploits, has decided to distribute a survey to its teachers, asking whether they are heterosexual, bisexual, gay or lesbian.
The Lindsay Willow decision (and all of the patently bigoted decisions on the part of many ‘educators’ that led to the human-rights hearing in the first place) has apparently prompted a paranoid conservative backlash. Although not generally in favour of labour unions, I have to agree with Teacher’s Union president Mary-Lou Donnelly:

Donnelly also worries about the confidentiality of the survey answers. She said she suggested the school board collect the information anonymously, but so far the board has refused.

Collecting survey information on such a personal matter, and not insisting on anonymity, just shows how much of a witch hunt this really is. The Board wants to be able to open the file next time a teacher is accused of acting inappropriately to check whether the person is gay, lesbian or bisexual before deciding it’s ok to discriminate against them.

As a Sociologist, I am appalled that any survey of this type is being conducted at all by an employer. I’d also be surprised if, upon legal challenge (note emphasis – Mary-Lou, put this on your to-do list) , this type of action isn’t completely condemned by any court or human rights body in the land.

The fact that nobody has raised an alarm about this before now is troubling. The fact that Mary-Lou says she is “unsure about how to advise union members to respond” is even more troubling, and displays nothing less than a politically fatal moral weakness. That’s a no-brainer, M.L. – your members should tear such a document into tiny pieces, and unequivocally refuse. What kind of message is the Board sending the children under their care?

Let them have their witch hunt – I’ll be very surprised if any of the ‘witches’ they’re searching for opt to raise their hands and identify themselves in that type of working environment.

Update: Oh, now I get it. Donnelly hasn’t said anything before this because it would hurt her chances of re-election as president of the NSTU. Now I’m really sickened.


This report naturally brought to you by a British newspaper…

77 US television stations are being investigated by the FCC for broadcasting items produced by the Bush government and a handful of corporations, while promoting them as unbiased “news”. These reports, referred to as video news releases (VNR), have been used to sell drugs by Pfizer, chocolate bars by Mars, and the murder of Iraqi citizens spread of democracy in Iraq by the Bush administration.

None of this is likely a surprise to anyone aware of the state of the modern MSM, but I do have to wonder why the Bush Administration felt the need to bother when they already have Fox News?

[Update: Joe Edmonton suggested in a comment that the Clinton Administration also used VNRs to promote their own agenda. I followed up with a quick search of the Accuracy in Media site and came up with this. It appears that this kind of “reporting” goes back at least 15 years.]


Is this someone conservatives can listen to?

Actually, no, because he makes too much goddamned sense.

Even though companies here in the United States are not subject to Kyoto’s emission caps, U.S. companies that operate in nations complying with the Kyoto Protocol do have to meet those countries’ caps. Until the United States passes its own limits on global warming emissions, innovative companies based here will lose out on opportunities to sell reduced emission credits to companies complying with the Kyoto Protocol overseas. Additionally, without enacting our own emission limits, U.S. companies will lose ground to their competitors in Europe, Canada, Japan, and other countries participating in the Protocol who are developing clean technologies

Where does this quote come from? From the The Nature Conservancy (emphasis mine), whose chairman of the board, Henry Paulson is also CEO of Goldman Sachs Group and is being considered as the new Whitehouse Treasury Secretary.

So not complying with Kyoto is going to cost money and lead to further degradation, and complying with Kyoto is going to cost money and start the process of reversing environmental damage. Which is the smarter course?

For more, go to Think Progress.