Saturday, April 30, 2011

Election Day minus 2 - Orange Crush, Irony and Hope


Day 36: NDP opposition or NDP minority? The pundits have stopped "pundit-ing," they don't even want to hazard a guess, that's how unexpected the polls are for this election so far.
Today the largest Canadian daily newspaper The Red Star has come out in favour of the NDP Socialists, The Star is finally showing its true colours. Many years ago I cancelled my subscription to The Star as a way of showing my displeasure with their editorial bias back then. I invite my GTA readers to do the same, think of it as another opportunity to vote.
The irony in this election popularity contest is that the negative advertising seems to be working. The Conservatives have been targeting Michael Ignatieff since before the election. Saying things like "he is just visiting" from Harvard, and that he was parachuted in to save the Liberals, stuff like that. Ignatieff himself comes across as an aloof academic, not really your 'everyman.' but of course people don't like Stephen Harper either. The Liberals and NDP paint Harper as a 'micro-manager' with a 'hidden agenda.' So in an election campaign that is really devoid of issues as this one is, it's a popularity contest. Ironically Jack Layton is perceived as the 'everyman,' the guy who goes to the bar to watch a hockey game, the guy you want to share a beer with. Of course nothing is further from the truth, he is a career politician from a political family, and he has a chance to bring to fruition 50 years of building the base of a socialist Canada, the orange crush.
There is a silver lining in all of this, a hope. It seems like months ago, but at the start of this election campaign, the general consensus was that it was going to be a repeat of the last election. Well, oops on that, so much for consensus opinion. The pundits did not count on just how irrational the voting public is. Who would have thought that voters chose just on the basis of superficialities? But it seems to be happening, look what happened during the Obama/McCain election of 2008.
There is a lesson here for us. We just need a charismatic leader, that will forcefully spew some acceptable promises, with no intention of keeping them. It might work, telling people the truth sure doesn't work. The biggest reason for hope is that the electorate is fickle, so the unexpected is always a possibility, the pendulum swings both ways.

In my own little one-man campaign, I'm making 'appearances' at various local shopping malls and the liquor store distributing pamphlets that most people accept. I have had a couple of interesting encounters, one today was almost exciting. A woman took my flyer, looked at it, then asked if I was the guy on The Edge interview the other day? "That was me," I said, she shook my hand and said: "you got one." What are the odds?  

Friday, April 29, 2011

Election Day minus 4 and 3 - Time for NOTA


Day 34 & 35: The cartoon says it all. It was published in the local Markham Economist & Sun on April 28th. While I keep ranting that there is no real choice between the parties, the polls don't agree. Apparently many Canadians believe (are under the illusion that) that they have a choice. Instead of the statist Conservatives or Liberals they are clambering for the even more statist New Democratic Party (NDP). Some choice!
Of course the NDP has nudged the rudder that steers this country for decades now, why not make it official and give them the helm and the captaincy? The good ship Canada will survive, but the pain that will result may also last for decades, and we may be cured of this disease that is socialism, or not. I shake my head when I hear explanations for rising health costs, education costs, any cost that government has accepted as its responsibility. All these problems can be "fixed" by creating yet more government  programs, more government spending etc. etc. ad nauseum.
Today I had the opportunity to speak to students at a local secondary school near my home, as part of an all-candidates debate in the waning days of this campaign. I think I made an impact, I felt I was on "home-turf" speaking to students - Grade 12's, 11's and 10's. A few spoke to me later, commenting on how they had never heard of Libertarians before, found some of my ideas interesting and worthy of examining, and of course that was the whole point.   So chalk one up for me, a small (no pun) voice in a very big country. Will it make a difference? Who knows, but we will find out soon. I mentioned to the group that I will be back for the October Provincial election, so I planted a seed, and our message then will be very similar to our message now. Maybe, some day, we could be more than "none of the above."

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

VOTE 2011: YouTube of Introductory remarks

I've mentioned my participation at the public forum held at OISE University of Toronto on April 23, 2011, in a previous post. The good people who organized this gathering have posted the introductory remarks of each of the participating parties onto YouTube, so thanks to Support Local Scene's Channel.
Here is what I had to say:





Election Day minus 5 - Are the Liberals Toast?

Day 33 - Just to follow-up on my comments yesterday, Jack Layton's NDP may become the official opposition in Canada on May 2. As I suggested yesterday the NDP has been adjusting the orbit of the Canadian welfare state for so long, they might as well run the show.
It may be too early to write the obit for the Liberal Party, but I'm not the first. I was at a (Libertarian) party caucus meeting almost two weeks ago when I heard our keynote speaker (Gerry Nicholls), predict the end of the Liberals this election or the next. This was well before all the NDP media hype of the last few days, so I just tucked that idea away. But it could be happening now!
A column in my morning paper is suggesting the same thing. So whats going on?
Well, I think it just confirms the idea that Canadian voters fail to see differences among the major parties. Over the years, Liberals and Conservatives have stolen platform ideas from the NDP and the Greens - the Liberals in particular. So, if one needs a microscope to see differences between the Liberals and NDP, and the NDP leader is "likeable," while the Liberal leader is not, then it makes sense for voters to choose the NDP. The Liberal reason for being fades.
Its too bad really, like many other libertarians, I would consider myself liberal, in the classical sense. Libertarians value individual freedom of choice, with regard to their body, and individual freedom of action with regard to the state. The power of the state needs to be limited in such a way that it does not interfere with regard to economic and social interactions. While the liberal idea still exists in Canada, the Liberal Party may disappear. The country may be polarizing between statists who claim to be fiscally responsible but social conservative, and statists who prefer to grow the nanny state, yet happen to be socially liberal. Some choice! Wait until people realize that Layton wants a "cap-and-trade" system.
The poll picture below shows the virtual tie between the Liberals and NDP. This may split the vote so much, that the Conservatives win a majority with even less of the popular vote of than in the last election.


Meanwhile in my own "campaign" such as it is, I'll be out at public places handing out flyers, and at home trying to complete government income taxes :-( too. Which one should I give priority too?
     

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Election Day minus 7 and 6 - Momentum


Lenin and Layton

Day 31 and 32 - Poor Bob Rae, he picked the wrong partner. Those who live in Ontario remember Rae when he was the first and only NDP Premier in this province. He actually tried to control government spending by instituting "Rae-Days" or furlough days for government workers like teachers (me). I happen to know the very same type of thing is happening in California now - furlough days for teachers, and in other States and Federally. Most Canadians probably don't know this, why should they, they don't even know what's happening in their own country.
So, why am I picking on Bob Rae? It seems that the NDP (socialists who prefer orange to red) are big news in the waning days of this election. Maybe Canadians are acknowledging that we indeed have a fairly socialist big government that keeps growing despite the so-called Conservative Prime Minister Harper. The truth is Harper's minority government has made so many concessions to the NDP, we may as well have the NDP governing us. Bob Rae switched from Leader of the Provincial NDP, to leader-in-waiting of the Federal Liberals, and the Liberals seem to be fading fast in the polls - bad move for Bob.
Jack Layton, up there in the picture does bear some resemblance to Lenin in more ways than one. People say Layton is a nice guy (Lenin I hear was not), they would love to have him over for a beer - Layton not Lenin. I'm sure he is a nice guy, and while that might qualify him for a friendly beer, it doesn't mean you want him doing anything else. But who knows, a Layton government may actually be better than a Conservative one. Layton is anti-war, like Libertarians, so if his government brought our troops home, that would be a savings of lives and money. Several NDP provincial governments have actually been known to cut spending and act fiscally responsible when in power, Layton might do the same. I don't thing the corporations will like him though, but with six days to go Jack has momentum. The graph shows NDP poll results in orange and more can be found here.


  

Monday, April 25, 2011

Canada’s dirty little secret

Among the lies that are bandied about by Canada's politicians (not including me) during an election, is the one about Canada's fiscal restraint, and how we have our house in order compared to our American neighbours for example.
In the midst of this election campaign most of the "news" has focused on polls, parties, leaders and their whereabouts, with very little on issues that will affect everyone in the not-to-distant-future. An article in the National Post by Diane Francis highlights one of those issues. Her column Canada's Case of 'Dutch Disease' illustrates that the economy is not as rosy as the politicians paint it. Ms. Francis claims that much of Canada's current prosperity is due to the commodity boom fuelled by China's growth. If China were to stumble, look out.
I've written before on why I think China's growth is an illusion based their government's desire to export cheap stuff to the rest of the world, keeping their employment high, even at a loss, which they can absorb for the time being. At some point even they will not be able to continue, that could be months or years from now, its impossible to know. But when, China does stumble Ms. Francis says Canada gets badly hurt.
Her column comes after a report issued by a Montreal independent investment consulting firm MacroResearchBoard (MRB). Ms. Francis criticizes the report because "it ignores, as do politicians, Canada’s dirty little secret, which is that federal public debt to GDP may be the lowest in the developed world, but when provincial debts are included, the ratio is nearly as serious as America’s in relationship to GDP. To separate them is misleading because provincial debts are guaranteed by Ottawa. And a year from now, Ontario and Quebec alone will owe more than Ottawa, or half a trillion dollars." Ms. Francis goes on to say: "In fact, Eastern Canada’s economies resemble Michigan’s, Detroit’s or Spain’s, but are hidden by the boom in the West, led by Alberta.
But once commodity prices head downward, China slows or both, it will have a huge impact on Canada. This is the report’s important takeaway."

Ontario's debt is approaching $240 billion, Quebec's debt is approaching $236 billion, and the Federal government's debt is approaching $570 billion (April 25th, 2011). So the question is, how long before a problem occurs? Maybe when interest rates rise, do you think they ever will? This video won't make you feel any better either:

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Election Day minus 8 - Into the heart of darkness


Day 30: Yesterday I spent much of the day at OISE part of the University in downtown Toronto. It was like a home coming for me, I had attended classes there about 40 years ago when I was a student getting my teacher's accreditation. Sadly, it hasn't changed much. 
I don't want to sound self-serving but I was at public forum of the Small Parties, like us. Well, not really like us, all that we have in common is we are just minor parties in the May 2nd election.
Many of the party reps present thought that the media ignore us in favour of the mainstream parties. Of course that's bunk. In the marketplace of political parties, the minor fringe parties are given short shrift for many reasons. Some of these parties are just plain single issue parties like The Marijuana Party, Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party, and the First Peoples National Party. Of course I would consider the Green Party a single issue party, and they should have been at this conference, because like us they have no representation in Parliament. They were invited, but chose to ignore it. 
No, the reason that we are ignored by media is that we are ignored by voters - we really don't have much to offer to the vast majority of voters who are too busy to select good political representation. The Greens of course emerged as a larger party to save the world from the scourge of human environmental recklessness, you know global warming and the like. But the writing is on the wall for them, they don't yet believe it, but they are yesterday's leftovers, maybe they will join the minor party group next election.
Other parties present were the Canadian Action Party, Christian Heritage Party, Communist Party, Marxist-Leninist Party, Pirate Party and the Rhinoceros Party. All but the Pirates and Rhinos (see picture of two members above) are state-loving power parties. The Pirates are interesting, not sure why they aren't libertarians but hey, I like the name. The Rhinos are funny, full stop.
One party I thought was interesting enough to sort of join is the Online Party. Like all the others they are interested in issues, but they aren't pushing anything, they are just polling apparently, and offering a place for issues to be discussed, very refreshing.
For me the whole thing was possibly a waste of time though, unless there is some real press attention (none that I have seen yet) from it that discusses issues, not just the fact we were a motley crew.
Each of the party reps and their helpers I'm certain, were dedicated to their cause and passionate about getting their particular message out. I respect that, and those that I met, and spoke to, seemed like good people, people I would like as neighbours (maybe not the Rhinos ;-) ). I knew that going into the University campus, a socialist hothouse, was not going to be fun for me, and it wasn't fun. Central Toronto itself tends to vote for left leaning parties and people. So going down there was like banging my head on a wall, it felt better when I left. Would I do it again? Not unless there was more to gain than I did this time. This was a mix of Stranger in a Strange Land and Heart of Darkness.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Election Day minus 9: Time to bunt


Day 29 - Baseball is the perfect game for summer, slow, gentle, and cerebral. That's right cerebral, it is a mind game, a game of strategy and probability. Team managers like to play the percentages. What are the odds of such-and-such happening in a particular situation? A good manager will try to choose particular tactics that have worked in the past in a certain situation, only because there is a likelihood they may work again. So there is a constant collection of data in the form of statistics that team managers can refer to, and the best managers have this data in their heads.
Today I had an opportunity to be at a local event, an all-candidates meeting in my voting district. I was asked by our party V.P. of Political Action to sacrifice my own attempt to gather votes for my campaign in favour of the party, the team. This is a common practice in baseball, if there are runners on base with the chance to score, subsequent batters may be asked to "sacrifice" themselves for the team, depending on the situation. How? Well,  a batter could hit the ball really hard into the air - creating a fly ball, but deep enough into the outfield so that a runner could advance after the ball is caught. Or a batter could be asked to bunt along the first base line. This forces the opposite team to throw to first, and get that bunter while whomever is on base advances. It's a sacrifice too, for the team.
Now lets be clear, my sacrifice today is not going to ruin my chance at being elected, far from it, but it does not look good in my community. For the sake of representing the party I appeared at a staged media event of minor - "fringe" parties from across the country that was held in the heart of Toronto.
I just got back from that, and I'm beat. The socialists of central Toronto have beaten me, air-heads that they are. I'll say more later.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day 2011

Even in the heat of an election campaign, when I don't have time to, well, time to do all sorts of things, I can't resist taking a swipe at the Eco-nuts, especially when I'm given ammunition. Such ammunition came from the good people at ReasonTV.
Now you may have noticed the awful silence amongst the media regarding Earth Day (April 22, 2011), I certainly have, here in the Great White (still thawing) North. I have not been cajoled today to turn off my lights, avoid driving, flush the toilet only when necessary (ugh!), use less toilet paper, pick up street garbage, have a candle-light dinner, buy local produce (good luck in Canada in April), compost my left-overs or any of those thing. What a relief! Its been quiet, I guess the eco-crisis has subsided, because there are no frantic pleas from the green mob.
Any way I have things to do, so here is ammunition for the rest of the year to ponder the next time an enviro-nut admonishes you for being alive.



Election Day minus 11 and 10 - State Holiday Today, or else!


Libertarian says: party is socially
 liberal, fiscally conservative.

Day 27 and 28: Is Canada, particularly Ontario, Christian country? You would think it was today, Good Friday. Drive around my town and almost everything is closed. Yet I have been listening to the local all-news radio station and they report two and three hour wait times at the Canadian - US Border, for entry into the United States where it is business as usual. Those Yankees even have Good Friday/Easter Sales, and with the Loony worth about $1.05 for each US Greenback, well, that is irresistible for many not so religious Canucks. You would think in a free country people are grown-up enough to choose whether they want to work or pray or shop. Not here, it is an Ontario law and I have commented on it before. Just think of all the business being lost to our American neighbours as we are encouraged to stay home and hunt Easter eggs.
In another area, many Canadians are finding it much more difficult to cross that once very porous US-Canadian border. The legislative over-reaction to the  9/11 hysteria has created new ways for our governments to observe our movements, as you may want to read in this article.
Today is also Earth Day, did you know? I totally forgot, and the media did not remind me as it has dutifully done for the previous 20 years. I guess things have improved, or more likely people don't really care. Every day should be a day we respect property and how people use it. The destruction of the environment, I believe is largely due to poor laws for the protection of people's property. Canada is a perfect example, our Charter of Rights contains no provision for property rights and this phrase from the Libertarian platform sums up our policy: 
We maintain that no one has the right to violate the property rights of others by pollution. We believe that the laws of nuisance and negligence should be modified to cover damages done by air, water, and noise pollution.
We support the development of an objective system of law defining individual property rights to air and water. We believe that ambiguities regarding these rights (e.g., the concept of "public property") are a primary cause of our deteriorating environment.
In my own little election campaign, my wife helped me post all of my remaining large signs (30) throughout town, and repair many that have suffered wind damage. I have more large signs posted than either the New Democrat or the Green candidate. In fact the Green candidate isn't so green. His signs are plastic bags (non-recyclable) stretched over metal holders, and they are all lawn signs which contravenes the local Town by-law about size and sign type. Talk is cheap in the world of politics.
The two pictures above are from the local newspaper, and the reporter was reasonably accurate in reporting what I had said to her. I doubt that this will cause a stampede of voters in my direction, but who knows, I may attract the odd thinking individual.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Election Day minus 12 - Be the Gorilla


Day 26: I know some Libertarian candidates read this blog just from the feedback I get. We have just over one week to make some noise. The fact is thats all we can expect to do, no Libertarian is going to be elected this time around. It may be years or longer before a real libertarian candidate even threatens in an election. So what is the most that can be expected?
If you are running a "real" campaign, with some money, maybe pamphlets or signs or both, the most you should expect is recognition within a portion of the local electorate. That means that people may remember the party or you, the next time around.
Even though I ran Federally in 2008, the only people that remember that, besides my family and friends,  are some media types, like the people at the local paper, and the incumbent candidate. I did not register to most people, even a fraction of the electorate. I know this because people tell me they have never heard of us. Some will recognize my name because I've written letters to the editor locally, beyond that, nothing.
So this time I was determined to make some noise, say some outrageous things, at least make it memorable for some people and possibly they will remember me and the party when we do this again in Ontario in just 5 months. So in some sense the timing of this election was fortuitous, because many of our current candidates in Ontario will run in October provincially.
We will see if it works, but you need to think just like that. No sense playing it safe, there is no percentage in that. Be the gorilla, find out about gorilla political marketing and adopt some of those ideas, and be ready for the next one or use them NOW.

Jim McIntosh sent this around:  "If you want more government and higher taxes, you have many choices. If you want less government and lower taxes, don’t waste your vote on any other party. Vote Libertarian and send a message to Ottawa." (or Queen’s Park as the case may be.)

For those of you who did not yet hear my radio appearance on a local alternative rock station (The Edge 102.1FM)(it is gorilla-like), my YouTube friend from the west did the following video:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Election Day minus 15, 14 & 13 - Humour and Passion

Day 23, 24, 25: Its has been busy. On Sunday the Ontario Libertarian Party held a Caucus Meeting that had been planned some time ago. With an election set for Oct. 6, 2011, we are preparing to have many more candidates and a real presence, so maybe the media will give us some credit. Our keynote speaker was Gerry Nicholls, "One of the top five political minds in Canada," and he has libertarian leanings. It was well worth going, unfortunately I missed an all-candidates meeting for the current election. Too many elections!  

The interview on the Edge FM102 was on Monday morning. I had been warned that I might be in for a rough ride, and after listening to that station I was prepared. Here is the link to the particular show (Dean Blundell Show), then look for the podcast for April 18th, 2011, next let it load onto your computer. You can PAUSE the playback while it loads, my interview is at the 42 minute mark (after it loads). You should find it funny, certainly entertaining, and ultimately serious. Enjoy, it's 8 minutes long.

Last week I was invited to speak for two minutes by my local cable channel RogersTV. That picture (left) is from that talk, and here is the link with a brief commercial at the beginning. If you listen to each of the other candidates you will see why Markham-Unionville is as safe a  Liberal seat as there is in the entire country. My wife thinks my talk was the best (and she is of course, unbiased ;-) ). I think it is the most coherent, but you decide.

Today I met all the candidates for the first time in a debate of sorts at the same place I did that two minute talk. I was one of five candidates and I was totally ignored in any of the comments made by them, as expected, even though I was possibly harsh in my criticism of their parties. I know I must have made an impact though, because after the taping session one of the studio employees told me that I had "won" on passion. Too bad passion does not register on election night.
If you live in York Region my debate will air on Friday April 22 at 8:00 pm in all areas, and Tuesday April 26 at 1:00 pm in York South and April 27 at 3:00 pm in York North. Check this for exact times.
By-the-way, I still have not had time to repair my blown-over signs. I've done the odd one, when I'm in the neighbourhood of one, but, I have had family gathering these last couple of nights and that has priority, the signs will wait.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Election Day minus 17 and 16 - Frustration


Day 21 and 22: Yesterday was supposed to start with an early morning radio interview on The Edge 102.1FM. Unfortunately I was "bumped" by Charlie Sheen. That's right, Sheen was in Toronto Thursday/Friday to do his "show," such as it was. The excitement on this radio station was so great, that they ran out of time, and I have been pushed to Monday at 8:15 am. No problem, I will be ready.
I was interviewed by the local (really local) newspaper, which I thought went well, but lets see what they write.
The remainder of the day was spent erecting signs - a really wind day, and with the help of party V.P. and friend John Shaw, we planted about two-thirds of my large signs. Here is where lack of experience starts to show. Today we had gale-force winds and rain, lots of it, and the ground really got soaked and soft, and I think all of my signs are down. Really frustrating!
I don't think I'll have time to fix them tomorrow because the Ontario Party has a planning session for the Provincial Election in October and I am involved there. The Province has fixed dates for election, the Feds, well, lets say we were caught with our pants down on this one. But, live and learn, we need longer posts for the signs. Another problem with tomorrow is that a local group has organized an all-candidates debate (M.A.G.I.C. - Markham Action Group for Improved Community) which they failed to notify me about until yesterday (I was told by the newspaper reporter). So, go to the debate or go to the Provincial Caucus Meeting? The meeting will be more fun, and really I'm in this for the fun and the cause. The debate will largely be "pandering" to "rent-seekers" - I don't pander well.

More action on the Q & A front, here is a series of questions and answers (edited) from one of our candidates in the heart of Toronto, Bob Rae's riding:  

1) What made you get involved in politics and bring the libertarian message to the riding and Canada?
I am not political. (That is unfortunately true of most libertarians, they do not seek power)
With the advent of so much alternate (non-mass media) information, we are privy to enough information to correctly ascertain the frightening powers of government. Waste in government is staggering. And government hypocrisy is even more so. When I hear politicians say they want to help, or improve something - especially something "in the name of the common good," it is always the bureaucrats and the machinations of the state that benefit most. I could not ignore that fact for very long.

2) Is Canada actually ready for libertarianism because of government involvement in all aspects of life for decades?
Yes! Most Canadians already accept the basic principle of Libertarianism - the right of the individual to pursue his/her own goals without coercion from others. Canadians are becoming knowledgeable to the fact that government interferes and controls too many aspects of our lives.

3) When there is talk of limited government by Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party, do they really mean it or is it just blind rhetoric? What is your view of a limited government?
Clearly someone who has increased spending, even allowing for growth in the economy, by 25%, who has passed draconian mandatory sentencing requirements to expand the war on drugs and who is bent on increasing the military to support more adventurism in other countries is not a supporter of small government. The rhetoric about having reduced taxes is just empty words, that extra spending will have to be paid from more taxes. They are the worst choice for smaller government.
Our view is one where government is reduced to doing only the role they must do. The role that only they can, and that is not too many things.

4) During the all-candidates debate, what do you expect from the candidates? Will it be more of the same?
It will be more of the same. Politicians pandering to those groups who provide them with the most votes. The debate this week showed that the aim of all parties is to take from one group and give it to the next. I ask, 'how are they going to pay for all these promises?"

5) Have you been canvassing? If so, how have constituents responded to the libertarian message?
I have not canvassed, as I entered into the race just a few days before the due date for registration. However, I do have discussions with co-workers, family members, and others. When explained, most people find the Libertarian idea very reasonable - and an acceptable alternative to the chaos we see today.

6) In terms of foreign policy, the libertarians differ on Canada's role in the world. What do you believe Canada should be doing in the world? Should Canada have an interventionist foreign policy (I.E. The war in Afghanistan)? Should Canada have a role in NATO? United Nations? Canada should be in NATO, but only within the mandate as signed. NATO is mutual defence only, attacking other countries as has become their way of acting is not acceptable to a Libertarian. Afghanistan was a huge mistake.
The only role we should have outside the country are minimal embassies to assist citizens and to maintain relations required with other countries.
The United Nations is too corrupt to serve any useful function now, and we should withdraw. The WTO and other international organizations provide a better forum for specific actions. If something better was to be formed we have no ideological objection to such organizations.

7) Canada has a near $600 billion national debt. What can Canada do about its deficit and debt?
Spend less by cutting programs that are not required. Transfer payments would be the first to go. They are $57 billion now and rising, cutting them is a first large step.

8) Healthcare is a big issue in Canada. What is your view on healthcare? Should the country move towards a free market (not U.S.-style) healthcare system?
The US does not have a free market in health care. The US federal government currently spends more per capita on health care than Canada does. The U.S. have myriad and complex regulations that strangle the system, and provide no help to the sick people.
When the Libertarians say there would be a free market we mean free. The only role of the government would be to regulate against fraud.
  

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Election Day minus 18 - Ominous signs


Day 20 - Busy day, the radio interview didn't happen, but I was contacted by a producer from 102.1FM The Edge. My interview is Friday morning between 7:30 and 8 am, and it is already being promoted as: "Libertarian candidate Allen Small will tell you why his party wants to legalize your pot." As if we are a single issue party, like the Greens for example. But that is a good message for that particular demographic, who knows it may attract some listeners.
What did happen is my two minute-talk-to-tape for the cable channel went reasonably well and I got my signs, the prototype is on the left. Mostly the day was spent driving to one or the other of those things. Friday I have a helper and we will post some signs around town.
The war of words continues online, there are so few of us running: 26 out of a possible 308 spots, and we are so spread out that the web etc. is the only way we can "meet."
At one of the "meetings" this morning Jim McIntosh our Provincial CFO, my official agent and the agent of several others sent these "policy" notes around just to give candidates ammunition for the coming debates. I thought I'd share these, because they really get to the heart of who and what we are in Canada:

Topics covered: Taxation, Aging Demographic, Economic Development, Accountability, Family Doctor Shortage.

Re Taxation
Question - How many of you have got YOUR taxes done? Why do you call it "YOUR" taxes? Isn't it really THEIR taxes [referring to the Liberal, Conservative and NDP candidates]? This is money you earned that they are prepared to come and take from you, at the point of a gun if necessary, so that THEY can spend it as THEY see fit. So they can give money to corporations with big unions, or build stadiums for wealthy team owners, or provide government contracts to their friends. We work for almost six months of the year to support all levels of government. Do you have any choice? Doesn't that make you a slave for half of your life?

Re Doctor shortage (this is really a provincial issue - but things are so confused)
Question - If government provided bread for free, do you think we might run out of bread pretty damn quick? Lots of people would go without bread. It's the same with doctors. Government provides them for free to people. So lots of people go without doctors. Hey - you aren't paying for it, how can you complain? [sarcasm] But of course, doctors are not free of cost. The more doctors there are, the more it will cost the government. So several years ago, the government decided one way to control health care costs was to limit the number of
doctors graduating from our universities. And the number of nurses and hospital beds. Thank you Liberals and Conservatives. And Thank You NDP for persuading them to make a monopoly out of Health Care in the first place. Government-run monopolies are the problem. Competition is the solution. For more choice in health care, choose the Party of Choice, Libertarian.

Re Accountability
"You want accountability? Let's start with your MP (fill in the blank here). Did s/he tell you about the dozens of bills s/he was going to vote for before s/he was elected. Did s/he tell you he was going to ban incandescent light bulbs (thats a provincial issue, but you get the point) and force you to buy those twisty lights with mercury in them? Did he tell you he was prepared to give lots of your money to car companies so they could build more of the cars you didn't want in the first place? Did he tell you about all the other laws to restrict our activities that his party was going to pass in the last three years? Is there any way for us voters to say, "NO, repeal that law?" Of course not. Politicians don't want you interfering in their plans. They won't even give you the right to vote for "None of the Above". But that's why I'm running; If you vote Libertarian they will know you don't want any more of their programs.  (good one)

Re Aging demographics
Why is this a problem? Is it because people are living longer? Isn't that a good thing? Is it because families are having fewer children? Why is that a bad thing? Maybe it's because we have fewer people earning money that can be taken by the government to pay Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security, and Guaranteed Income Security to more and more old folks. And all the health care that old people need. Maybe the government didn't expect people to live very long after retirement when they introduced all these programs. Now they've taken your money, thereby limiting your choices to prepare for your own 'golden years' and turned them into the 'rust years'. Government is not the solution, it is the problem. If you don't want to become a ward of the state in your old age, vote Libertarian.

Re Economic Development
What industry has experienced the greatest economic development in the last couple of decades? Isn't it technology, like computers and communications? [Hold up your cell phone.] How much 'stimulus' money did we provide this industry as taxpayers? Not nearly as much as we freely chose to spend on products and services provided in a highly competitive market. Who needs government to provide "economic development?" Companies that can't provide what we want at a price we are willing to pay, and politicians who hope to
get a cushy job when they are voted out of office. Some of you more mature folks may remember when Bell had a government-granted monopoly phone services. When they removed that privilege, look at the economic development that followed. We will have much more economic development if the government gets out of the way. Government is the problem, not the solution.

Now I have to go do their taxes. :-(

Regards;
Jim

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Election Day minus 20 and 19 - Repetitiveness


Day 18 and 19: The "English" debate was last night, the only one that I understand. Tonight is the French debate, welcome to Canada.
That picture is of the three main party leaders who have representatives in Parliament from across the country, the fourth guy on the far right is the leader of the Bloc, a separatist party whose purpose at this debate is beyond me. Every time he opened his mouth it was to whine about one thing or another and how his province Quebec should be a nation - separate from Canada. Yet there he was, most of us are not able to vote for him, or against him, because he belongs to the archetypical single interest party - one Province. But that is an indication of the kind of liberal democracy Canada is, imagine such a debate in the United States, I can't imagine it.
The debate itself was uneventful, no knockout blows, but as you might expect everyone tried to gang up on Mr. Harper the government leader. His counter, was to be calm and repetitive, over and over he mouthed the mantra of his Conservative Platform, and I guess he succeeded in fending of his opponents. They eventually seemed to tire.
Fiscally, Harper sounds acceptable to me, but I don't trust him on his record or on the record of previous Conservative governments. The Liberals have in the past, been more prudent fiscally than the Conservatives, as counterintuitive as that may seem.

In my own little campaign, not much to report, no election signs yet, and not much campaigning this week. I've been busy writing speeches and answering emails from just about everyone. Tomorrow I have my first two public appearances, a radio show at 9 am, and a TV taping at 12 noon. So I need to look that over right now.  

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Yuri's Night 50th

That picture (left) is ostensibly a fuzzy black and white TV image of Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin in Vostok 1 (mission patch above) during his one orbit space flight around the planet on this day 50 years ago, and I remember it too. Pretty exciting day, but it must have been terrifying for Gagarin, he was the first person to orbit the earth and thus the first to spend an extended period in space - one orbit. Much of the time in orbit Gagarin was not in contact with controllers in Moscow and his capsule automatically fired retros about one hour into the flight. Gagarin parachuted from his capsule 7 km above the earth when the capsule door blew off and he landed in South Western Russia. While dragging his chute along the ground in a field, Gagarin met a farmer and his daughter and asked for a phone to call Moscow.
Ironically Gagarin died during a routine training flight in March 1968.
The video below is an interesting tribute. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Election Day minus 21 - Futility?


Day 17 - The close of nominations - a warm and windy day, "April is the cruelest month," that is Eliot, a poet not a weatherman. Tomorrow will be cool, I always thought April was cruel because it teased. I also had my snow tires swapped today (so did everyone else from the size of the crowd at the shop). It could still snow, that would be cruel.
All my papers are in, so now the real hard sell begins. The problem for Libertarians is we have nothing to sell but freedom, and people think they already have that, and are unaware that they lose it in dribs and drabs every time some blowhard politician declares a new program to help this group or that. The good news is, I can still insult the Prime Minister, even in a public debate, and few will think anything of it, thats freedom. Try doing that to the POTUS in the States, call Obama a name in public, even FOX NEWS will defend him.

This morning's National Post had an OpEd piece from a friend (the Party V.P.). In 750 words John Shaw, tried to encapsulate the essence of the Libertarian Platform for Post readers, a daunting task. The second paragraph in my link above gets to the heart of libertarianism, and I'm sure most readers will think they are in control of their lives, so they will dismiss it but conveniently forget that as much as 50% of their income is taxed away and spent by some level of government or other, 50%. The federal government takes a good chunk of that. Is it wisely spent? Well, each time there is a spending scandal (who can keep up) that is a clue the money is not wisely spent, as if we really had a choice in how it is to be spent. Of course thats what we are about. Libertarians are all about choice.
On the topic of choice, a new movie opens this week, I hope at a theatre near you. You should choose to see it. It is possibly a foreshadowing of things to come, or just a commentary on things as they are; whatever it is I can relate now, as I could when I first read the book. Have a peak:

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Election Day minus 23 and 22: Rule 8


Day 15 and 16: Rules are rules - Late Saturday afternoon I received a phone call from my Returning Officer. She is effectively in charge of the conduct of the election - all the polls - in my riding.
She informed me that everything is in order except for one item. If you scroll down to the April 8 posting, I mentioned that I must bring the original copy of a fax that my RO received on April 8.
It turns out that Rule #8 (see above) gives me until April 13 at 2 pm. to present all the papers and confirm my nomination, and that is true for everyone. So her threat to dismiss my candidacy (which she mentioned), while worrying for a moment, means nothing. She called me Sunday to apologize after speaking to her bosses at Elections Canada.
Meanwhile I have been busy researching for a two minute TV promo that the local cable channel Rogers (63) will give me on Thursday.
The coming week is already booked up, getting and posting signs, writing speeches, swapping my snow tires, campaigning in the riding and to top off the week, a Caucus Meeting of candidates who wish to run in the Provincial Election in October. 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

When "climate science" ceased being a science

One thing I don't like about running as a candidate during an election is how it cuts me off from the daily "real" world news. As I try to focus on issues that affect my local riding, and the country in general, everything else goes out of focus. Opportunities to comment on issues like nuclear power, the environment, the banking industry and everything else that interests me, are lost. Fortunately I seem to suffer from some degree of ADHD and this allows me moments to quickly switch my attention to something else.
An article in the Financial Post yesterday literally begged me to share. The article by David Evans, an Australian scientist with impressive climate science credentials, agrees that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, but its effects on global temperature are miniscule. Dr. Evans points to other bits of evidence that many climate scientists choose to ignore for reasons he makes clear in this excerpt:
"At this point, official "climate science" stopped being a science. In science, empirical evidence always trumps theory, no matter how much you are in love with the theory. If theory and evidence disagree, real scientists scrap the theory. But official climate science ignored the crucial weather balloon evidence, and other subsequent evidence that backs it up, and instead clung to their carbon dioxide theory that just happens to keep them in well-paying jobs with lavish research grants, and gives great political power to their government masters."
It is a very good article, and it puts the issue in perspective again, pointing to one of the motivating factors behind the political support of global warming, the idea of world government. Here is where many climate alarmists or warmists (like the Gore's and the Suzuki's) fail to see danger. Their background and "education" has driven them to the idea that coercive collective action is required to stop impending doom. That idea has spawned in Canada a political party, the Greens, whose original purpose was to defend the environment and the planet. The Greens have morphed into yet another statist organization that assumes the other political parties have the goal of befouling our home. Now I'm getting political again, because as Dr. Evans shows clearly, global warming has nothing much to do with science, its all politics.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Election Day minus 24 - Nominated


Day 14 - two weeks in: There I am signing my nomination papers after having sworn an oath. My returning officer is strictly by-the-book, quite formal but courteous. All the papers required are in (except I need to deliver an original of a fax on Monday) and she has time stamped my documents, like I was punching in for work.
 Looks like I am the fifth candidate: there is a red incumbent, a blue challenger, an orange, a green and me, a Libertarian, much like the last time.
This time I've ordered some signs as well (thanks to money from the party). The incumbent Liberal has already posted many of his signs, but I've seen just a few Conservative signs. My riding is quite "ethnic," loaded with newly arrived immigrants and recently minted citizens. To break through the Liberal headlock on the immigrant vote will be daunting for anyone. The Liberal incumbent doesn't even live in my riding, he lives in Oakville at least an hours drive away - in good traffic. He is so entrenched here, that he just has to "mail it in" so-to-speak. It is difficult to understand how he knows what's really going on here in my riding where I have lived for 36 years.
I mentioned signs. Well, you would think that is fairly straight forward, and you would be wrong. My town has a booklet that contains the "Election Campaign Sign Regulations." Yesterday I ordered 100 lawn signs and today I discovered that they are too small to place on roadways, I need bigger signs or the Town will cash in my $250 sign permit deposit. I quickly cancelled the first order and substituted big signs for a much bigger price.
So far it has been like a race with hurdles, I never really liked hurdles.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Election Day minus 25 - Done the 100+

Day 13 - I'm done, 120 signatures should be enough to satisfy the Returning Officer in my riding district.
At this point I've already spoken to hundreds of people, most have accepted my pamphlet, but many refused to sign their consent to my nomination. After trial and error, I might have developed the elusive 30 second elevator speech (in rough) answering: "What is a libertarian?" How do you summarize a political concept that involves principles and ideas that are really foreign to most of the electorate? Nearly 100% of the people I spoke to, never heard of the Libertarian Party, and had no idea what it stood for. In fact, many refused their consent on that basis alone, which is understandable, I too may have refused. Eventually I realized that people need a reference point in order to understand who and what we are. I started telling them that we were far more fiscally conservative than Mr. Harper (Conservative Party) (then I added: we think he is in fact a big spender) AND we are more socially liberal that Mr. Layton (NDP - Socialists). I used that line on many of the people I thought might understand and be aware of the current Canadian political scene. I also elaborated on it with examples. Many did understand, in fact a few suggested that we were "off" the right-left political spectrum, so I knew they were getting it. They were even surprised that a party like that existed, it was very heartening to me.
My 120th and last signature was the best, a bright young man, recently graduated from the University of Toronto in business but was unemployed. He told me he assists his family during elections in deciding how to cast their ballots and he has been for a while. We started talking about the war(s) and how pointless and ineffective they seemed, and he was surprised that we were against them (there goes my comparison with Harper above), he was against them too. Our talk ranged all the way to how we would "create jobs." "We wouldn't" I said, and explained just how jobs are created and how governments get in the way, he actually liked that explanation. It was a great way to end the day.

The times they are a changin'

With any luck Canadian television NEWS will never be the same again. Starting April 18, in the middle of a Federal Election campaign, the SUN NEWS Network will start broadcasting across Canada.
I hope that it is better than the pap that passes for NEWS that we get now on the major and minor networks, it couldn't be worse. It's no wonder that the most popular NEWS channel in Canada is CNN, and that is pap with drug commercials. Sickening!
Bring it on, here's a peek:

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Election Day minus 26 - Making a federal case out of it......


Day 12: As I've been saying for days now, the hunt for the 100+ nomination signatures continues. It's not just me, but my colleagues find this to be a hurdle as well, and the weather has not cooperated. So this morning I got an email from a Hamilton ON, candidate and helper that collected signatures at a local mall. They were hassled by mall security, but the candidate countered that they were allowed to be in a public area like a mall, for the purposes of campaigning as outlined in the Elections Canada Act Part 6. Who knew? The two were taken to mall management (I had visions of those dumb movies - Mall Cop or something) and after some checking, the mall people let them go and they continued their hunt. Apparently there is a $2000 fine or 6 months in prison or both, for obstructing a candidate in an ordinarily public place like a mall. (see section 81.1(1) below) I know, it sounds ridiculous, because malls are private property, but this law supersedes that idea. Dumb, eh?

Rights of Candidates
Campaigning in public places

81.1 (1) No person who is in control of a building, land, street or any other place, any part of which is open without charge to members of the public, whether on a continuous, periodic or occasional basis — including any commercial, business, cultural, historical, educational, religious, governmental, entertainment or recreational place — may prevent a candidate or his or her representative from campaigning in or on that part when it is open without charge to members of the public.

Exception
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply in respect of a place if campaigning in or on it would be incompatible with the function and purpose of the place or inconsistent with public safety.
S.C. 2007, c. 21, s. 12.


At my wife's suggestion, I decided to head for my local library (see idyllic picture above); it's a public place, its warm, there are seats, a washroom, and it's a place of learning. What better place to educate my neighbours about libertarianism, right?
Well, upon entry I first introduced myself to one of the library workers, as a courtesy. After about 20 minutes of begging for people to sign my nomination papers, a tall librarian approached me and said I must stop because I was breaking library policy. No soliciting! I showed her my letter from the Chief Electoral Officer, but that didn't phase her, library policy is library policy, rocks beat scissors. She took me to the head librarian, same story. At this point I'm feeling that the law is on my side (dumb as it was) for once. I sat down, she said she would call the police, I heard myself saying: "go ahead." As I sat there thinking: "I'm wasting my time here, the cops will take there sweet time and I have a deadline." So I retreated to the library foyer (out of sight) and continued soliciting. After another twenty minutes, and very few signatures (many people were from outside my riding district) the police arrived and I showed them the letter. They left me to confer with the librarians, and I continued collecting signatures and handing out my brochure. They returned and suggested that I should have asked permission first, I apologized, then said I didn't really need permission but I would next time. They left and I apologized to the librarian (I am trying to get votes).
The upshot of the whole thing is that I was right, but no one had ever tried this in the library system. When I got home I spoke to the library CEO, who apologized to me, and said he will send an email warning other branches that I might arrive. Tomorrow is another day.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Election Day minus 28 and 27 - Still Getting Nominated....


Day 10 & 11: Yesterday was surprisingly, almost uncomfortably and certainly unexpectedly warm outside (18C). The evening prior, it snowed and today there is a stiff wind and it is cold again - a typical "spring" for these parts.
 I'm still collecting the 100+ signatures which I must say is the toughest part of this or my previous campaign. I need to convince people that their signature does not obligate them to anything - it just consents to having my name on the ballot. Sometimes people are wary. My daughter suggested I try a local senior citizens complex nearby because they will be home. They were home, and many did sign, but just as many did not, and with good reasons. I was surprised at how "tuned in" to politics many of these elderly people were. I had some good discussions about a wide range of topics, but it was tiring.
A group of the "minor-fringe" parties, including us, are planning to hold a public forum for press and electors next week. Elizabeth May (that's here) was invited, but declined pointing out she is neither minor nor fringe. Ah, but she is getting minor as the days go on. Take a look at the daily poll here. The Greens are fading. Maybe she should reconsider?


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Election Day minus 30 and 29 - Getting Nominated

Day 8 & 9 - I saw my first Red-winged blackbird this morning, a sure sign of spring around here. They come to raid my feeders, waiting for the insects to come out of their eggs or winter hiding places. Talking about birds, the Blue Jays are 2 and 0, and they look very entertaining which could be the most we can ask for this year.
My door-to-door campaigning has begun, my neighbours are very receptive to signing my nomination papers. Canadians generally have a strong sense of fairness, my neighbours do anyway. Several of them have commented that they admire my determination, I did run in 2008 as well. I need 100 signatures by the end of this week to put my name on the ballot, plus $1000, an Official Agent and the requisite paper work. All should be in place, barring a catastrophe.
The first invitations for local TV appearances, and a televised all-candidates debate have also arrived. Those will take place next week and the week after that. Things are getting busy.
My friend out west has put words to the "baby debate video" I posted last week, enjoy:

Friday, April 1, 2011

Election Day minus 31- Opening Day


Day 7 - Play Ball. The Blue Jays are feasting on the Twinkies as I write, 11 to 3 in the 8th inning. There is a big crowd 50K or so, just like back in the early '90s, and they look pretty good for a bunch of kids. There was an E5 for our third baseman, Jays fans will know what I mean.
In the political games, they are still debating the debate. Do the Greens get a seat at the leaders debate table? I'm thinking that people are tiring of the whole green thing, and maybe the Greens are just splitting the votes of the leftist statist parties so that the rightist statist party gets in. As for me, statists are statists, it makes no difference.
Talking about statists, the CBC Vote Compass thing I wrote about earlier in the week is still making the news. The CBC claims that their vote discerning tool is unbiased. Of course it is, it is posted on the website of a government funded network that is staffed by overpaid unionized employees in a closed shop. No bias there, eh?
The pictures above represent both sides of my trifold brochure, outside panels are on top. The bulleted points are selected from the Libertarian platform. The message I'm driving at, is that we are different from all the other parties and the bulleted points highlight some of the differences. If people really read this over and understood the moral underpinnings of it, how could anyone disagree? That's what make political games.