Canada’s top news makers for the year 2008.

– The COALITION,The three-headed political monster that nearly swallowed Stephen Harper’s minority government has been chosen as the top Canadian news story of 2008 by the country’s newspapers editors and broadcasters. The stunning opposition bid to cobble together an unwieldy coalition government to replace the Conservatives was the No. 1 choice in the annual year-end survey of newspaper and broadcast newsrooms conducted by The Canadian Press. Not even the stock market meltdown, which ran a close second, could beat the coalition gambit for sheer drama or for provoking a stronger – and mostly irate – response from average Canadians, survey respondents concluded.    

– Amazing Canada’s news editors selected Bad Conservative Stephen Harper as the news maker of the year.. including his failure to make a majority government again. “Stephen Harper.  What a difference a few weeks make in the political world. Remember when Prime Minister Stephen Harper badly miscalculated Parliament, and plunged the country into a political crisis of his making.  Even the Globe and Mail was calling for his resignation as Conservative leader, such was the over-reach and arrogance of the Sweatered One late in 2008. Steve’s Grinch-like uber-partisan heart was laid bare with his ham-fisted attempt to bankrupt democracy by cutting federal subsidies to political parties. And Harper’s ugly ideological core was exposed with his stimulus-less economic update. We must also mention Harper’s blatant demagogic misrepresentation of the functioning of Canada’s parliamentary democracy. This was beyond naughty. It was inexcusable ” and“The Governor General (and, by extension, Queen Elizabeth). Prorogation was her prerogative, and we don’t even get to know her rationale for giving the Harper government a stay-of-execution in face of a coalition ready to pull the plug. The GG may have set a disastrous precedent where any embattled minority PM can merely padlock Parliament to cling to power..” 

The Harper seven-day war. Just 44 days after pledging peace and parliamentary order, Prime Minister Stephen Harper inserted a paragraph into the fiscal update to cancel $30-million worth of public funding for political parties. It was allegedly a cost-savings gesture, but clearly intended to whack less-solvent opposition parties the hardest. Not surprisingly, it unleashed the political firestorm of this century. In less than a week, a coalition of all three opposition parties formed and forced the government to retreat on the party financing cut. When that failed to pacify the trio, Harper delayed a confidence vote and ultimately prorogued Parliament after just 13 sitting days to avoid the government-toppling coronation of Prime Minister Stephane Dion. After Parliament was unplugged and the coalition lost momentum, Liberals shunted aside Dion for new leader Michael Ignatieff and all sides now brace for the return of the re-poisoned Commons atmosphere in late January. Another election lurks on the horizon. The buying opportunity: With the market in meltdown mode and seniors nervously eyeing their cracking nest-eggs, a campaigning Harper declared it a stock-buying opportunity. Never mind that it was a slap to anyone losing their shirts without the financial means to buy back in, it was lousy advice. Anyone who’d followed his suggestion would’ve lost roughly 20 per cent of their investment. Fiscal update: Whatever could’ve possessed Finance Minister Jim Flaherty to add the trickery of cancelled party financing to the rows of imaginary surplus projections in an economic stimulus package and still expect the opposition parties to roll over and endorse his scheme remains the headscratcher of the year. He almost toppled his own government with that recklessly irresponsible, bogus document. No deficit, no recession, no bailouts: So said Stephen Harper repeatedly and defiantly during the fall election campaign. We are now a month away from unveiling a huge deficit to fight a possible depression topped by aid packages for auto, forestry and mining sectors. Oops. The quickie prorogation: After one of the shortest sessions in history, Harper sent MPs home early to avoid his government’s defeat.  http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/story.html?id=cb23ac69-e4a7-43e9-b833-d7f7e5f79ac9 
     

The senate. Senate choices are revolting,  Harper handing Liberals more ammunition by his patronage appointment of senators. There are those like me who think the Upper House is nothing more than a high-priced retirement home for political hacks. it will cost hard-pressed Canadian taxpayers a fortune. Each senator makes $134,000 a year, or far, far more than the average person who toils at a real job. But wait that is just the begining, add on their paid overseas  trips, expense accounts, etc. This was more about saving his government supporters than anything else.  Harper would have had a lot more credibility if he’d left the positions open and kept pushing for reform.  

   
let us call the Senate what it is: a reward for the party faithful; an occasional arbiter of legislative common sense; and a supreme seat of patronage that looks like a violation of democratic principle to most Canadians, and like its epitome to those who rest their backsides in its cushy red chairs.   ( jmeek@herald.cahttp://thechronicleherald.ca/Columnists/1097828.html   

In 2004, when Scott Brison left the Tories to join the Liberals, Mr. Harper said: “Leaving a party and defecting to the other side for 30 pieces of silver is part of corruption.” Then, on the day after Mr. Harper won an election campaign on ethics, he was the one handing out the silver. There is a striking hypocrisy in this, and in many of Mr. Harper’s subsequent actions — where he behaves the same as the cynical Liberals he once compared to Judas Iscariot. It continued this week, when Mr. Harper appointed 18 senators, something he had promised not to do, all the while denouncing the Liberals for blocking his efforts at Senate reform. Mr. Harper, an old Reformer, swore he would be different from his Liberal and Progressive Conservative predecessors. But when faced with the same temptation, he behaved in exactly the same way as prime ministers always have — he appointed old bagmen and political organizers who had been helpful to him in leadership races and election campaigns, along with a few high-profile Canadians as a fig leaf.

Also now, He promised to establish a Public Appointments Commission to review all political appointees, then reneged when the opposition sniffed at the man he selected to head it, and has continued to make partisan appointments without scrutiny.  What makes Mr. Harper different from other hypocritical politicians is not his reversals but the withering brutality of his attacks on his opponents, reinforced by a legion of talented spin doctors and advertising experts.   It suggests either a psychological inability to recognize that his actions are morally equivalent to those he attacks — or, more likely, a willingness to be as mean as is useful. That meanness, though, has recently backfired on Mr. Harper, twice, at some cost.First, in the recent election campaign, his harsh comments about culture cuts cost him the Quebec seats he needed to win a majority. Then, in the fall fiscal update, his attacks on the opposition’s funding almost cost him power, necessitating another round of hypocritical attacks that boosted his support in the West and burnt his bridges in Quebec. If Quebecers have permanently soured on Mr. Harper — which would put a majority out of reach — Mr. Harper’s appeal would fade in the rest of the country. Having lived, for three years, by the sword, he risks dying from a self-inflicted wound.  http://thechronicleherald.ca/Columnists/1097842.html 
 
Quebec singer-songwriter Michel Rivard’s YouTube video sensation, which mocked Conservative arts funding cuts, likely turned enough tide to prevent the Harper majority from emerging out of Quebec seat gains. It’s deadliest satirical shot featured stiff Anglo bureaucrats auditioning the francophone singer and mistaking his use of “phoque,” or baby seal, as a dirty word. As a hilarious attack ad, it had far greater vote-shifting effects than all the Bloc Quebecois and Liberal advertising combined. Arts funding cut: Hopes for a Conservative majority were built on winning Quebec ridings. So by waiting until the eve of the election to announce modest arts funding cuts and then convincing the prime minister to belittle as caviar-gulping gala hosts all those who receive federal arts subsidies, it was campaign brain death. http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/story.html?id=cb23ac69-e4a7-43e9-b833-d7f7e5f79ac9 
 
– The troubled relationship between Couillard and Maxime Bernier got many people’s attention now too, the Couillard-Bernier scandal
 
The tempest in a D-Cup. They had allegedly split as lovers, yet Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier jumped off the plane after a NATO conference on Afghanistan, dashed over to glamorous Julie Couillard’s townhouse for a sleepover and promptly forgot a stack of secret documents in the former biker chick’s living room. The woman scorned got even by disclosing his left-behind documents to media. That little oversight cost Bernier his ministerial job, prompted an internal inquiry, landed Couillard a tell-all book contract and ended with her infamous cleavage-exposing dress being put up for charity auction. You couldn’t make this up either.
   
About face of the year Ian Brodie. Not only did Harper’s former chief of staff leak damaging information to reporters on the U. S. presidential race, revealing that all their bad-mouthing of NAFTA was meaningless candidate posturing, he hasn’t embraced the spirit of Conservativeimposed rules prohibiting former political appointments from lobbying the government. When he “retired” last spring, Brodie swore an “undertaking” he would not lobby his former boss or the cabinet underlings. First stop in the private sector? An Ottawa lobby firm where he will advise lobbyists on how to lobby the government. Unspeakably shameless.   http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/story.html?id=cb23ac69-e4a7-43e9-b833-d7f7e5f79ac9
  
Remember how it seemed that Harper  didn’t care that he was leading a minority government, next a  single,  monstrous, Harper’s miscalculation caused a chain reaction that,   brought Canada’s economy tumbling down further  and Stephen Harper to his knees and he is now cowling in fear.. for the support a coalition government for Canada is growing and why?. It’s clear that Prime Minister Stephen Harper isn’t serious about helping families and . Harper said he’d make Parliament work better this time. He said he’d do something substantial for the economy. Harper the big liar who still cannot be trusted too. It seems  that it would only be fair if the mostly useless MPs still can shut down Parliament for 50-plus days, that we, the Canadian taxpayers, should be able to rightfully shut down their paycheques for the same period.
   
Proposed social welfare to big three automotive Car makers -General Motors, Chrysler with all the spins..- Canada’s federal government and three provinces have agreed to provide C$4.45 billion ($3.65 billion) in backstops to support a plan to restructure C$32 billion in asset-backed commercial paper that has been frozen for more than a year. The margin facilities provided by Ottawa and the provinces of Quebec, Ontario and Alberta bring the total guarantees for the restructuring to $17.82 billion, the investor committee that organized the plan said in a statement on Wednesday. 
  
On top of that Canada’s  Bell, BCE made major headlines twice even with their internet download capping, restrictions  admissions and also with the Ontario teacher’s failure of the BCE takeover, and related drops in Bell share prices this year too. Don’t forget the bad “CRTC, for siding with Bell Canada and Big Telecom against consumer and net neutrality. In November, the CRTC announced that they would not force Bell to stop its controversial practice of net throttling. “
  
 
Donna Molnar’s husband said Tuesday “God reached down and cradled” his wife — helping her survive 72 hours buried under snow in sub-zero southern Ontario weather.
 
The world wide recessions, falling oil prices and falling home prices as well made up a serious part of the news in Canada too. so did Alberta’s new deficit..The economic crisis –   How many rich people in Calgary, Edmonton Alberta?
    
Health – The Maple leaf tainted meat Scandal got our attention as well.. . China entered the spotlight again with their olympics and their a melamine-laced milk products scandal. Canada had its own listeriosis outbreak involving processed meats, Maple Leaf Foods recall  Shit disease continues to kill people in Canada’s Hospitals. The outbreak of listeriosis   killed 20 Canadians last year. It is in ours and in the GOVERNMENTS interests, after all, to ensure that no similar tragedies occur under ALL of  their watch. . On Sept. 3, 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper had announced that there would be “an arm’s-length investigation to make sure we get to the bottom, on the government side, on the bureaucratic side, of exactly what transpired” in the fatal outbreak of bacteria in Maple Leaf Foods luncheon meats, “and to make sure as we go forward and we make changes to our system that this kind of thing can’t happen again.” Specifically on Sept. 6, the day before the election was called, Mr. Harper announced the terms of reference – including a reporting deadline of March 15, 2009. That deadline may have been a little ambitious, since an investigation of complex regulations and their enforcement could take longer than a few months. But yet now the same federal government does not appear to be making an effort to meet it – or to treat the matter with any degree of urgency. Even Four months later, and nearly two-thirds of the way through its self-imposed time-frame, it is now still being reported that the government has not yet even named a lead investigator. At this rate, it unlikely that the investigation will even be completed this year. Stephen Harper’s government’s apparent failure to launch an investigation it promised early last fall raises the unsettling thought that its pledge was made largely to prevent the issue from jeopardizing its prospects in the election campaign. There is no plausible justification for this delay. Parliament need not be sitting for the government to appoint investigators; it requires no legislation.   If Mr. Harper was comfortable appointing 18 senators while Parliament is prorogued, he should have no qualms about naming someone to help protect.   With the exception of the controversy surrounding some ill-advised jokes made by Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, the listeriosis outbreak played little role in the fall campaign. Canadians did not have much reason to believe the Conservatives bore responsibility for it, and were led to believe the government took the matter seriously. ALL Canadians should now feel differently knowing that  the issue would not be attended to promptly once the federal lection campaign was over. Once again Stephen Harper THE PRETENDER does not keep his promises.
 
  
In addition it was clear that the bad RCMP again  this year made major headlines with their use of Tasers and their murder of a polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski   in Vancouver, BC, plus the alcoholic RCMP cops Alcoholism, Cops included   Speed traps  .. Rest in Peace, Robert Dziekanski. How long will we tolerate the cops investigating themselves? How many more families will be denied fair and impartial justice? “
   
 I find it really unbelievable that the Number one story in Canada based now   on the number of Computer users complaints, hundreds of thousands,  on the net too, and the related readers of Canada Bell’s capping is not mentioned at all by the news media.. is this a false corporate cover-up? or fear of reprisals from Bell? or no one really cares about the consumers? and what the bad RCMP did also not get a mention, spot. No wonder too  many people prefer to get their news on the net.
Sports – The defeat of the Montreal Allouettes in football again.The underdogs Calgary Stampeders won the Grey Cup. 
 
– The unpopularity of the now gone, past Liberal Leader Stephane Dion sure made many headlines now too
 
– The  2007/2008 long cold winter with plenty of snow was another top sellerseems to want to repat itself.. Note this important  brief introduction to road safety and the police .. Yes  you always do have to drive safely, in control, not impaired as well and yes there are many, many different factors that now can cause a vehicular, automotive  accident, including but not limited to the actual daily road conditions, even the type of tires you have .. for  it is a fact that good tires lead to a safer drive, and so does a 4 wheel drive.  Next when you start to first drive at any day do first immediately test the road condition by coming to a planned sudden stop , and see firsthand how your car reacts accordingly.. then next do use this experience to set how you will drive the rest of the day too. And no matter what car, or tires you have, or who is the driver, if you do hit a patch of black ice, due clearly to the failure of others, such as the Governments, municipalities,  to apply salt and gravel on the icy / snowy  road, to falsely try to save money here,  it can be very, very hazardous now too. Give them a fine, ticket, they firstly do deserve it too. Now hypothetical if you do not drive at all you are less likely   to have an   accident, assuming another driver does not hit you while walking.. 
 
– a big meteorite shower in Saskatchewan was also a hit.
– and the Greyhound bus beheading of Tim McLean.
Severed feet washing ashore in BC
 
  
 
 
 
Ex PM Paul Martin and Alberta’s Premier Ralph Klien resigned  from politics 
 
Stories of the year. Yup, it’s been one crazy, mixed-up 2008. The link between government economic policies and the ever-increasing financial woes of millions of Canadians. Brace yourself for 2009?
  
ESSENTIAL LESSON: Humility, one would hope. All the mainstream parties lost goodwill in English Canada. The Liberals and the Tories lost the most. They just are not connecting with what real people care about. The pre-Christmas power play was particularly disastrous. Unfortunately, because both Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff came out ahead politically, the lesson was likely lost. 
 

 PS:   ESR’s Person of the Year for 2008

“Our Person of the Year for 2008 is none other than Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.http://www.enterstageright.com/archive/articles/0109/0109personyear2008.htm

Governor Sarah Palin did more to revitalize the Republican Party this election year than any other person, including the Party’s presidential nominee. If it had not been for Palin, this election would have been an even bigger disaster. – A voter

To say that Gov. Palin wasn’t a figure on the national scene prior to her selection as Sen. John McCain’s running mate would be fair. While there were those in the conservative movement who had been talking her up for some time, the majority of Americans outside of Alaska likely had little idea who the hockey mom turned vice presidential candidate was. Thanks to the mainstream media, they probably still don’t.

Gov. Palin was ridiculed by the press but we have a feeling that laughter masked a very deep fear. Few people have exploded onto the national scene as she did to the rapturous joy of a political party. With one stroke Sen. McCain revitalized his campaign, albeit temporarily, and re-earned the support of his base. Gov. Palin became an instant media star, drawing crowds just as large as Barack Obama’s. And unlike Obama and his running mate, Sen. Joseph Biden, she could claim administrative and legislative experience. In fact, a lot more than either of them.

No single political figure in recent history has galvanized the conservative movement in America the way Governor Palin has. She is a plain speaking fresh face, with a track record of living by her word. – A voter

And that’s probably what the media and the Democrats were so afraid of. After a team of lawyers and investigators sent to Juneau and Wasilla could turn up no scandals, the left resorted to their classic tactic to smear Republicans: intelligence. With the exception of Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush, virtually every presidential and vice presidential candidate in recent memory has been described as ignorant or moronic. With Gov. Palin, they took it to new heights. Even comments made by comedians like Tina Fey were attributed to her. By the time November 4 rolled around, the average American likely thought Gov. Palin couldn’t tie her own shoe laces.

And yet they’re still in fear of her. They continue to attack her despite the fact that she’s returned back to her job as a popular governor of a state most people don’t take notice of. They continue to smear her every chance possible because they know that two things haven’t changed since she was nominated: The Republican Party remains in love with her and the American people still think she has something to offer. They feel it on an instinctual level because they know that Gov. Sarah Palin is one of them. Not a New York media hound, Washington, D.C. elite or Georgetown dinner party regular, but someone who goes to work every day, is family centered and has faith in both God and her country.

Anyone who can make the political left’s head explode as she did, is doing something right. – A voter

John McCain lost the presidential election last year but we can say with certainty that Sarah Palin won the soul of the conservative movement and the Republican Party. We don’t know what her plans for 2012 or 2016 are but we do hope that Alaska’s bet asset doesn’t decide to stay in Juneau for good. Conservatives, and the United States, need her too much.ESR

  
AND THEN WHAT THE  LYING POLICE BLAME THE CITIZENS FOR DRIVING TOO FAST IN POOR WEATHER CONDITIONS, WHEN IT IS THE FAULT OF THE PROVINCIAL, MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENTS FOR NOT KEEPING THE ROADS ADEQUATELY CLEANED, SALTED, GRAVEL?
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