Monday, October 13, 2008

Vote Wisely

Some more thoughts on the day before we go to the polls...

Stephen Harper's probable perjury is just the latest reason to want him out of office. From a surplus-killing $12-billion GST cut to a climate change plan that will allow emissions to rise, from arts cuts and film and TV censorship measures to the Canadian DMCA, from the MPs' handbook on obstructing parliament to In & Out, this has been the most disastrous Canadian government in recent memory. And the most secretive, least transparent government ever. Oh, and who can forget about broken promises on income trusts and fixed election dates?

Just four-weeks ago, Leader Harper made this prediction: "My own belief is if we were going to have some kind of crash or recession, we probably would have had it by now, a year into the crisis." Since then, the TSX has dropped by 26%, and Scotiabank and TD have said that the country is headed for a deep recession. Isn't it great to have a PM with a Master's in Economics?

Some two thirds of Canadian voters do not want to see the Conservatives reelected tomorrow, but we're poised to hand Harper another minority government, nonetheless. Here are the latest poll results from Nanos and seat predictions from democraticSPACE and Election Prediction Project, all of whom most accurately predicted the vote in 2006.

Hopefully, they'll prove sobering for anyone who bought Layton's line about running for PM. He doesn't have a shot. Either he's deluding himself or he's merely trying to delude you. If you're a staunch New Democratic Party supporter, I would think you're facing a really difficult decision tomorrow: will you vote for the NDP or against Stephen Harper? Unless you live in one of a handful of ridings, you really can't do both.

The same is true for Green Party supporters, but the situation is even more dire. There are but two ridings in which Green candidates might possibly be elected: Central Nova and Vancouver Centre.

If you oppose Stephen Harper, I really hope you've given some serious consideration to how you'll vote. I hope you've read all the parties' platforms and thought about the course this country will chart over the coming years. If you care about the environment, I hope you've reflected on how, for the first time ever, a major party has put an environmental issue at the heart of its campaign, and what it will mean for the future if that move is seen as a big part of the reason for its defeat. I hope you've at least used the tools available to see which candidates in your riding can defeat a Conservative.

Please vote, and please vote wisely.

Our Perjuring PM?

On Friday evening, it was revealed that Harper's expert witness found that the Cadman tape was not altered. A couple days later, that story seems to have dropped off the radar, but it's really significant.

In 2005, Conservative-turned-independent MP Chuck Cadman voted with the Liberal government, passing the budget by a single vote and preventing the government from falling. At the time, Cadman was battling malignant melanoma. After his death, his widow, Dona Cadman, revealed that her husband had been approached by two Conservative Party officials with an offer of a million-dollar life insurance policy in exchange for his vote against the Liberal budget. Under section 119 of the Criminal Code of Canada, it is illegal to bribe an MP.

At the beginning of this year, a tape-recorded interview by Vancouver journalist Tom Zytaruk came to light, in which Prime Minister Stephen Harper acknowledged that he had approved of making an offer to Cadman.

Zytaruk asked, "The insurance policy for a million dollars, do you know anything about that?"

Harper responded, "I don't know the details. I know that there were discussions. This is not for publication?" He went on to explain that the offer to Cadman was "only to replace financial considerations he might lose due to an election," and he failed to address specifically the allegation of a million-dollar insurance bribe.

Last March, Prime Minister Stephen Harper sued St├ęphane Dion and the Liberal party for defamation over allegations made linking Harper to the affair. So as to avoid demonstrating malice, the Liberals were forced to remove allegations from their Web site.

This August, Harper testified. During cross-examination, he was asked about Zytaruk's question regarding the insurance policy and responded, "That is not the question as he put it. He has done some editing there.

"What I do know is that this answer is not the answer to this question, I think there's been some editing in this question, so I don't think it goes from this question to this answer."

Harper tried to delay the proceedings until after the election, but on Friday lawyers for the Liberal party filed an analysis of the recording by Harper's own audio expert. His findings?

The key portion of the recorded interview contains no splices, edits or alterations.

The best information available to the public now suggests that Prime Minister Stephen Harper made verifiably false statements on a material matter while under oath in a court of law.

Mr. Harper has already made history with his defamation suit, which seems to have been engineered to silence any discussion of the matter until after the election. He is the first sitting prime minister ever to have filed such a suit. If Canadians return him to office tomorrow, he may also become the first sitting prime minister ever to be charged with perjury.

Saturday, October 04, 2008