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Decline In Women’s Rights? Change A Line In The Anthem

March 3, 2010 D. Collier 3 comments

After a damning report stating that women’s rights in Canada have been in decline since 2004 in February, the Harper government has lain out a response in today’s Throne Speech.

The response being you might ask? Let’s use the Throne Speech’s own words:

Our Government will also ask Parliament to examine the original gender-neutral English wording of the national anthem.

What exactly does that mean? Well, let’s look at the words:

Current Original (1908)
O Canada! O Canada!
Our home and native land! Our home, our native land,
True patriot love in all thy sons command. True patriot love thou dost in us command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise, We see thee rising fair, dear land,
The True North strong and free! The True North strong and free;
From far and wide, O Canada, And stand on guard, O Canada,
We stand on guard for thee. We stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free! O Canada! O Canada!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee. O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

So basically, as far as I can tell, the Harper government is going to ask Parliament to replace the words “True patriot love in all thy sons command” with “True patriot love thou dost in us command.”

From a gender-neutrality point of view, this change is a step forward. But does it do anything substantive to address the wage gap between men and women, or a lack of affordable, accessible, professional child care?

I don’t think so.

Categories: Conservatives, Federal

Johnnies-Come-Lately

December 8, 2009 D. Collier Comments off

There has been some snickering on the blogosphere today in regards to the Liberals calling for pension reform, a month or so after the New Democrats and Conservatives.

But has anybody else noticed that serious discussion of pension reform started in the provinces a year ago as a result of a joint Alberta-British Columbia report that recommended the creation of an Alberta-British Columbia pension system. Or the provinces are to meet in Whitehorse on December 17th to discuss the issue, with the implicit threat that if there is no progress on national pension reform, some provinces will go it alone and create provincial plans.

So really, it looks like the federal parties are not only late to a serious discussion on the issue, but dangerously late.

HST: A Wedge Issue For The Federal New Democrats?

November 13, 2009 D. Collier 1 comment

Ever since the New Democrats’ solid by-election win in New Westminster-Coquitlam on Monday, there have been increased suggestions from both the party and pundits that the HST issue could be used as a national wedge issue, especially since the Conservatives support the HST wholeheartedly and the Liberals generally support the HST but don’t want it implemented at this moment.

However, I question the possible effectiveness of the HST as a New Democrat national wedge issue.

In New Brunswick, Newfoundland, and Nova Scotia, the HST has been a fait accompli since 1996, and it doesn’t seem that it is going to go away soon (even in New Democrat-run Nova Scotia, where the government has only made adjustments in regards to which products are charged the provincial portion of the tax.)

Newfoundland, PEI, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan do not have an HST.

Quebec has a provincial Value-Added Tax (as opposed to the other PSTs, which are Cascading Taxes) and has no interest in giving up control to Ottawa. Alberta doesn’t have a PST.

That eliminates the HST as an issue except for Ontario and British Columbia, which admittedly have a large chunk of Canada’s voters.

But even in Ontario, I have doubts that the HST as an issue that can swing votes to the federal New Democrats. Why? Simply have a look at the results of the “first ‘real’ election on the HST,” the St. Paul’s by-election in September. Despite the fact that the provincial Progressive Conservatives and New Democrats used the by-election as referendum against the HST and the HST-supporting provincial Liberals, the Liberals won St. Paul’s quite handily (47.6% to the PC’s 28.3% and the NDP’s 16.9%.) Furthermore, those results were very similar to the 2007 general election, placing further doubt on the HST as a vote mover.

Only in BC does the HST look like it could be an effective wedge issue for the New Democrats, and that’s probably a result as to how the BC Liberals introduced the tax, after an election in which that denied that the HST was under consideration (it was.) Even then, questions arise. After all, the New Westminster-Coquitlam by-election was fought between a strong New Democratic candidate and a lackluster Conservative candidate.

So, is the HST the wedge issue that will give the New Democrats more victories in the next election? I don’t think so. I think that the issue could have a role in getting some voters to have a closer look at us, but I don’t think the HST is the game changer that some are trying to say it is.

The By-Election News

November 9, 2009 D. Collier 1 comment

The Conservatives won Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, following the riding’s previous history. More surprising, however, is the Conservative win in Montmagny–L’Islet–Kamouraska–Rivière-du-Loup, formerly a relatively solid Bloc seat. At the very least, this could show that the Conservatives are a factor in rural Quebec.

The New Democrats retained New Westminster—Coquitlam, and got high seconds in Hochelaga and Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley. Of course, if the New Democrats want to gains seats, they are going to have to figure out out to convert these second place finishes to first place victories.

The Liberals had nothing particularly to lose, and certainly didn’t gain.

The Bloc lost Montmagny—L’Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup. That’s got to be a bit of a concern for them.

Of course, little of this matters in the long run unless confirmed by a general election.

Doing Something Twice And Expecting Different Results Is Called Insanity

November 2, 2009 D. Collier 2 comments

What? Tell me how this makes sense.

The New Democrats should make a deal with an entity that totally, unilaterally, ripped up a previous semi-legal agreement with the New Democrats. Recently, too.

Uh, Michael Byers? The answer is no.

After all:

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Categories: Federal, Liberals, NDP