Monthly Archives: September 2012

Losing the War

David Brooks wrote a very interesting piece in the NY Times recently, that has some context when examining the vote last night in parliament, not to re-open the debate on when a human life begins.

Subsequent to that vote where almost half the Conservative party caucus (and a few very brave Liberal members) voted against the grain and against Stephen Harper’s wishes, if you trolled the comments boards on any of the major newspaper websites, the National Post, Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, by and large it was either victorious crowing from the pro-choice crowd, or open weeping from big “C” Conservatives who are paranoid of the party being hijacked by social conservatives at the cost of losing the electorate next go-around.  It’s become dogma that in order to achieve electoral success conservatives need to abandon the war with the left on the cultural front, and stick to the economic issues.

But, we’ve argued before, social conservatism and economic liberty, which is basically what the current brand of conservatism is trying to champion, are two sides of the same coin.  Economic liberty (which is the only true path to prosperity for the maximum number of people) is only truly achieved if you a) get government out of the way and, b) have a population with the right mix of entreprenuerial spirit, work ethic and resolve. 

But if you remove government (or reduce it) you expose the lower tiers of society to some of the harsher realities of life, if you haven’t replaced the protections of government with the protections offered in the past by traditional institutions such as churches, charitable groups and extended families.

And if you concede the moral front to the left, the culture of victimization, entitlement and accomodation will take over, and all the economic liberty in the world will not rescue a society where the population is content to sit around and beggar others.

The irony is that by abandoning the social issues, conservatives open themselves up to criticism such as Linda McCuaig’s (incorrect as it is) argument that  a system of reduced taxes, smaller government, more economic freedoms will only make the strong stronger, the rich richer, since conservatives offer no concrete solutions for rescuing the weak in our society other than making grandiose arguments about a rising tide lifting all boats. 

It’s true, prosperity does filter down, there is no way anyone can argue that living standards for even our poorest members of society are not better than they were 20 or 30 years ago, but when the economic data come out showing the increasing disparity between the “rich” and the working man, when jobs that allowed a simple man or woman to go to work, earn a decent hour of pay and raise a family are going to China and Brazil, it is hard to argue that unfettered capitalism, maximized economic liberty, is good for everyone.

It is good for everyone.  But you need a moral foundation to build on.  So if we abandon that front, we’ve conceded the war.  

So, last night our so called “conservatives” abandoned an opportunity to start marshalling resources and taking back territory on that flank, and instead caved in to the popular dogma that these are battles not worth fighting.  They are very worth fighting.

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We Don’t Find It Funny Either, Heather.

We could, if we wanted, make a full time job out of blasting Heather Mallick, easily the worst columnist for a major newspaper in this country.

She writes;

What would I do without Jason Kenney? He’s not the gift that keeps on giving, he’s the gift that keeps forcing itself on you.

Our sentiments exactly when it comes to you, Heather.

Reason to Thank Jason 2: Kenney’s office sent out an email titled “LGBT Refugees from Iran,” touting his support for gay rights in a nation where Canada has abandoned its embassy (and thus presumably gay rights). Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender recipients were left wondering how on earth he knew who they were.

Heather loves to attack not real conservative positions, but caricatures.  So, typically it would not serve her purposes to have Jason Kenney have any sympathy for lesbians, gays or trans-whatevers, so she mocks his statement, because of course she is imbued with the power to see into the dark and malicious hearts of conservatives, and knows what they truly believe.  Note also Heather is conveniently silent on the fact that Iran  persecutes and kill homosexuals, and just maybe it might be the noble position to remove our embassy since why would we want to treat with a country that behaves as such and gives the finger to the rest of the world whenever it’s reprimanded for such behaviour.  But, of course, criticizing an enemy of the US and Israel is off-limits for leftists such as Heather.

Reason to Thank Jason 3: I save the best for last. Kenney this week announced that he favours Bill M-312 — to be voted on in the House of Commons Wednesday night — which would mandate setting up a committee, largely Conservative, to decide when human life begins.

As a woman, I have spent my life alert to any possibility of pregnancy, a waste of time since I clearly could just have called Kenney’s office to ask for a ruling. If a woman thinks she’s pregnant, she might as well be, for all the abortion rights she’ll have if Jasons ran the world.

What?  Does this last paragraph make any sense to anyone?  If you are pregnant – you are pregnant.   There are tests that say it, Heather.  Or are you inferring now that even that is a question to be resolved?  You are not pregnant until 4 weeks?  8 weeks?  Never?  Pregnancy is a state of mind?

Motion M-312 is a no-win proposition for the Conservatives, who already have the support of the Canadian Tea Party, there being no one else to vote for. The Conservative party whip, Gordon O’Connor, has already stood up in the House and defended abortion rights in terms so frank that I love him more than Jason himself. “Abortion is, and always will be part of society,” he said.

Yes, well.  Let’s examine what her hero Mr. O’Connor actually said in parliament in the slap down of Stephen Woodworth;

Whether one accepts it or not, abortion is and always will be part of society. There will always be dire situations in which some women may have to choose the option of abortion. No matter how many laws some people may want government to institute against abortion, abortion cannot be eliminated. It is part of the human condition.

I cannot understand why those who are adamantly opposed to abortion want to impose their beliefs on others by way of the Criminal Code. There is no law that says that a woman must have an abortion. No one is forcing those who oppose abortion to have one.

Within the free and democratic society of Canada, if one has a world view based on a personal moral code that is somewhat different from others, then live according to those views as long as they are within the current laws. On the other hand, citizens who are also living within the reasonable limits of our culture and who may not agree with another’s particular moral principles should not be compelled to follow them by the force of a new law.

It is an amazing speech from a so-called conservative.  Nowhere in the whole speech does he address the heart of the matter – when can we as a society consider something as a human life?  Is he willing to unequivocably say that the fetus is not a human life?   If he is not, then is he conceding that we should just accept that human lives are routinely ended by abortions, let’s just move on?  Is he OK then with late term abortions, is he OK with feminist heroes like Dr. Kermit Gosnell, who thought nothing of plunging scissors into a “newborn’s” neck and snipping the spinal cord, because maybe the baby wasn’t completely, technically, all the way out yet?

The cowardice of some people to run from this issue is amazing.

But back to Heather;

So this private bill won’t matter in the short term. But it is infinitely humiliating to women to have the matter of abortion rights raised again in Parliament. It makes one think that Harper has tacitly given approval to his more primitive MPs to try to renew ownership of women’s bodies, a suspicion the NDP has voiced to great effect.

Strange how destroying barely-borns wouldn’t be perceived as “primitive”.  And why, oh why, do the feminists always have to turn this into an issue of “ownership” over a woman’s body?  In the minds of Heather Mallick and her kin, conservatives are always trying to control and enslave women and turn them into birthing machines.  The paranoia is astonishing.

So there’s Kenney and MP Stephen Woodworth and the gang — they are the Mississippi of the House of Commons — being handed a free vote on women’s lives. At this point, the joke stops being funny.

Yes, it has stopped being funny.  It is not funny that Canada cannot even find the courage to seek a reasonable accomodation between both extremes, between the zero abortion crowd, and the 39 week abortion-is-OK crowd.   They moan about pro-male fetus sex-selection abortions happening after 20 weeks, but wouldn’t even entertain the idea of miming the more reasonable restrictions of between 12-16 weeks seen in some of the left’s more “enlightened” countries like Sweden, Denmark and France.

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Hello? Anyone Awake in Ontario?

It wasn’t all that long ago that when a cabinet minister, MP, MPP or politician in general was discovered to have f*cked up, it was expected that that politician fall on the sword.  It was the honorable thing to do, resign.

Now there seems to be almost no shame.  And we here in Ontario are proof of the saying that ‘you get the government you deserve’.  Scandal after scandal from the McGuinty government, from eHealth blowing billions of dollars, to the ORNGE mismanagement lining some Liberal friends’ pockets to now the whole power plant fiasco.

At least the Conservatives seem keen on forcing the issue.  Shame no one in the media is grabbing hold of it.  You’d think the blatant buying off of a couple of ridings for the Liberals, at a cost that looks like it might exceed $150 million (maybe way way higher when all is said and done) would be such a transparent example of the wrong use of public money, that not only would the cabinet minister(s) responsible be hoisted on their petards, but the Premier himself.  In this time of fiscal armaggedon coming down the pipe, you’d think the hypocrisy of a government that;

  • a) sees no problem with ignoring advice to locate power generation facilities on an existing site in Mississauga;
  • b) is friggin’ building new power plants when there is such an excess of hydro generation in this province that we are selling it below cost (especially when you factor in the feed-in-tariff costs) to other jurisdictions;
  • c) has no compunction about cancelling said power plant projects during the election in an effort to make sure that swing vote of simpleton NIMBYistas in Oakville will then stampede back to voting Liberal, because heaven forbid they remember who was going to locate the power plant in their riding in the first place;
  • d) now wants to hide the documentation and emails and chain of communication outlining the complete lack of process and unilateral decision making that went into this whole fiasco and finally;
  • e) has no problem telling teachers and public sector unions to suck it up with pay cuts, because we have a fiscal problem that needs to be addressed.  Seems to us that your position on this matter would have a bit more credibility and foundation if you weren’t spending $80 million+ of public money per riding just to stay in power.

You have to wonder what it says about our modern society when there is such apathy about public waste.  One could suppose that we’ve become so numb to news of this sort that we just shrug it off as in “what do you expect?’.  Or is it because we have it so good, living on credit and our grandchildren’s paycheques that we could care less, but heaven forbid if you try and make us pay 5 cents more for our XL Tim’s.

Sigh.

We finish with this wonderful bit of news;

Government House Leader John Milloy insisted that all documents requested had been released and accused the opposition parties of turning the legislature into a “kangaroo court.”

“There was nothing redacted,” insisted Milloy, who noted the legislature’s usual function of debating and passing bills like the proposed home renovation tax credit for seniors could be halted for days or weeks.

“Until this is dealt with there will be no more question period and there will be no more opportunity to discuss legislation. It’s already been as slow as molasses in there and now it’s gonna be no movement at all.”

Oh heaven forbid something as earth shatteringly wonderful as a home renovation tax credit be held up.  Seriously?  Is that the best stuff on the agenda right now?  Fiddling while Rome burns, fiddling away…

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Free Tuition? Why Not?

It’s always with great joy that we get to write about La Belle Province, Quebec.

Now that the PQ government is in power and cancelled tuition hikes, the student unions are feeling their oats and want to press on – thanks Ms. Marois, now how about no tuition at all.  And it’s all about accessibility to higher education.  We can only hope that these elightened students will see the need for more nude protest marches. 

And why shouldn’t tuition to a Quebec university be free?  It’s worthless afterall, so why make people pay for something worth nothing?  It just ain’t right.

As the saying goes – when half the population thinks the other half of the population will take care of them, and then that half says “why should we bother working, everything we earn just gets taken from us to be given to the other half’… when you reach that point you are staring in the face of the dilemma at the heart of communism.  And that’s obviously where these communist wanna-be’s are headed; they get their free tuition to get their worthless degrees that they graduate from at the age of 35 after hiding from life as long as possible, and then wonder, where are the jobs?  I have a Masters degree in psycho-poli-sociological witchcraft, and can’t find any meaningful job that allows me to work 20 hours a week, live in a downtown condominium apartment and sip lattes at the cafe every morning.  So I demand the government employ me!  And on it goes.

All good.  We trust the PQ government will move ahead with the idea, because after all, a government that takes from Peter to give to Paul, will always have the support of Paul.  So we’re sure the main agenda item for the PQ government will be to get as many people sucking at the government teat before the next election as they can, and then portray themselves in the next election as not only the defenders of French in North America and Quebec against the Rest of Canada, but the defenders of the Quebec way of life i.e. moochers extraordinaire.

Quebec has some of the lowest real estate prices in the country right now.  Huh.  Couldn’t be because nobody cares to live there.

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You Are Being Watched. Always.

There are two stories in the news today that actually have some commonality in that they both teach a valuable lesson to conservatives and others in positions of responsibility and power.

Act like you are always being watched.

We briefly touched on this last Friday with our DOTW award going to Rob Ford, the Mayor of Toronto, mostly for his seemingly non-stop series of gaffes and blunders that gives his opponents ammunition and moral strength.  You can’t do this if you’re conservative; there is little forgiveness in the media and in the population at large because the perception is that conservatives are the straight-arrows brought in to clean up the messes left by everyone’s favourites, the fun, romantic lefties.  As soon as the arrow appears a bit bent, then lo and behold unleash the hounds.

So Princess Kate decides to air out her ta-ta’s in the company of her husband on a balcony that they thought was private.  No doubt in our minds that the photographers invaded her privacy; her intent was not to do this publicly, she had taken all reasonable measures to insure that where she did this was protected from view and so the photographers are in the wrong as are the papers that publish the photos.  And Silvio Berlusconi who you can now add to the list of people lining up to publish the pics – why are we not surprised.

But because of the position she’s in, we’d ask the question if this is something she really really needed to do?  Not really.  It may not sound fair, but she should just always assume she’s being watched and behave accordingly.

Then the parallel story is of dumbass Mitt Romney getting caught saying that 47% of Americans are essentially free-loaders who pay no taxes and he’s just going to give up on trying to woo them, since they’re Democratic voters

Ironically, it’s the one-year anniversary today of the start of the Occupy protests.  Remember their favourite slogan – we are the 99%.  To which many of us, including on this blog, responded that perhaps we need to talk about the 53% – the ones who actually pay the taxes to fund all these wonderful plans the Occupods would love to see come to life.

So, although we say that we admire forthrightness and honesty in our politicians, we don’t actually Mitt.  What you said is true, but you can’t say things like this.  You should know this.  You have now essentially written off 47% of the vote, and essentially said that you are working with just half the population when in fact you are seeking to lead all Americans, aren’t you?

So, even though he thought he was talking to his supporters, saying something that they would silently nod in agreement with while they wrote campaign cheques, he still should have assumed, like Kate, that he is always being watched.  Always.

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The NHL Lockout

We are not hockey bloggers, and there are certainly many many of them out there who are probably more knowledgeable than us on the matter.  But as Canadians, and fans, here’s our two cents as it looks like the season is likely on ice (HAHAHAHA… how clever) until January, and maybe the season will get lost altogether (again).

What kind of greedy bastards are these owners?

Oh sure, you say, aren’t the players just as greedy?  Aren’t they making millions upon millions for playing a game?  Sure – but the difference is that they are only getting paid what the market is willing to pay them.  One might think what they get paid is absurd, but then look in the mirror because if one didn’t watch on TV or buy tickets or that stupid shameful Maple Leafs jersey they wouldn’t have the money to pay out would they?

But then that’s the case the owners are making – they can’t afford to pay out what they are currently doing so under the terms of the old agreement.  It’s such a stifling economic arrangement that oh… WAIT A MINUTE – I’M GOING TO SIGN PLAYERS TO NEW LUCRATIVE DEALS ON THE EVE OF THE LOCKOUT.

Can you believe that one of the hardliner owners, Boston’s Jacobs, signs Milan Lucic to a new deal the day the old collective bargaining agreement expires? 

No, here’s the problem from our perspective – the owners are so stupid they wouldn’t be able to  find their own asses in the dark with two hands and a flashlight.  They got greedy in the 90’s with expansion teams and pocketed all that cash from expansion fees, then when the markets they expanded showed (what should have been obvious) that they weren’t really hockey markets (Tampa Bay?  Miami?  Columbus?  Nashville?  Seriously?) they came up with this system of trying desperately to keep them afloat with a player salary cap and a tax on the richer teams in the name of some kind of sports socialism to try and keep the poorer market teams’ heads above water.  So, the Toronto Maple Leafs fork out $35 million a year to the league, so they can turn around and give that money to the franchises listed earlier, and then those franchises put better teams on the ice.  Why is that not spit on by Toronto fans?

Would the league though let failing franchises relocate to better markets?  Heavens no, because those better markets are good for expansion – and the fees the other owners can divvy up and put straight into their pockets.

It’s time for something radical – a Canadian professional hockey league.  Why isn’t there more of a cry for Canadian teams to stop subsidizing teams in US markets where the hockey coverage is on page 7 of the sports section?

Let’s do a Canadian league, cap the salaries at 55% of individual team revenues so the big market teams can spend more money on players as their fans deserve (being in bigger markets why should they be punished), then let the Americans do the same thing, and let’s then set up a Champions League for hockey, where the top 3 Canadian teams, top 4 US teams and maybe top 4 Russian teams and top Swedish team etc. compete.  There’s some money for you.

Rant over.  Go to hell Gary Bettman.

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Trucks

One day, we’re going to write a book called “The Trouble with Trucks” and it is going to document all of the issues with truck traffic on our highways in modern society.  There isn’t a day in the Greater Toronto Area that there isn’t a traffic snarl caused by a truck accident here, a flipped truck there, a truck losing its load all over the highway or any manner of calamity that ends up closing the roadways for extended periods of time.

Take today for instance; a truck crashes into another diesel fuel truck on the 401 Highway outside of Milton.  The crash happens just after midnight, but as of mid-afternoon the highway is still closed because the spilled diesel fuel has emulsified the asphalt pavement.  So beyond just removing the big trucks, cleaning up the road, now they have to literally grind out the bad pavement and repave the roadway.

The 401 has perhaps 400,000 vehicles per day through that section.  Let’s say the crash and the subsequent delays and detouring onto alternative routes impacted half of that number of vehicles (being conservative).  If the typical delay was, say 15 minutes of added commute time, then that single crash added 50,000 hours of delay to the economy.  Assume an average hourly cost of $50/hr (when you consider the delays in shipping and what not) and what you have is essentially one jackass truck driver causing, conservatively,  $2.5 million dollars in damage to the economy, never mind the actual cost to fix things.

Anyone who has driven the 401 has to be amazed at the level of truck traffic volumes.

Trucks not only seem to be the source of a high proportion of these types of accidents, but also a single truck trip causes more damage to pavement than 10,000 car trips over the same surface (hard to believe, but true), trucks are hard on fuel, half of these trucks are half empty in the name of just-in-time delivery and the geometric designs of most our roads, highways and intersections is done to accomodate truck turning movements, and thus we are in a sense “overbuilding” our roadway infrastructure.

Whatever happened to trains?

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Our Back of the Napkin Solution

Tired of all this teacher griping in Ontario?  We covered off how good teachers have it in Ontario before.  Now they’re going to stamp their feet in protest at the McGuinty/Hudak alliance and don’t want to coach or supervise extracurricular activities.

We all know teachers – they’re everywhere, most everyone either has a family member or good friend who’s a teacher.  A lot of good decent people with best interests at heart.  But then again, there are a lot of decent people in all walks of life, including the private sector, whose taxes support those on the public payroll.

They work hard.  But you know what?  We all work hard, so bravo, but that doesn’t entitle teachers to any special brownie points.

Is it wrong to have the Ontario government come in and lay the hammer down on a wage and grid freeze?  Yeah, probably.  It’ll probably be ruled unconstitutional when it gets to the Supreme Court, because they’ve upheld the right to collective bargaining before, and they’ll say this is an infringement on collective bargaining rights again.  And when that happens the teachers will get all their banked sick time back, their 3% pay raise and whatever else they wanted extended from the previous agreement.

So where does that leave the taxpayer, the one in the private sector, who is being asked to finance the “haves” – those who have a great paying job by almost any reasonable standard, have an average of 185  working days per year vs. 235 for the rest of us stiffs (more if you are a professional on salary in some jobs), have a great benefit plan and pension plan and, have a great super-funded activist union backing them.  The rest of us are increasingly becoming “have-nots”.

Here’s the quick and dirty, back-of-a-napkin solution to ending the teacher’s unions grip on the rest of us and removing the sword of Damacles they hold over every parent’s head during contract disputes;

  • We spend in this province, on average, $8,000 per kid in the system.  So cut a cheque to every parent for $8,000 to be redeemed for educational purposes only, but spent where they want, at the institution of the parent’s choice.  Parents are allowed to supplement this amount as they see fit;
  • Set up a comprehensive set of standards and testing regimens so that anyone who then wants to set up a private school must insure that a mimum basic curriculum is being taught.  Licenses to run private schools will be contingent on meeting minimum criteria year to year;
  • Watch as thousands and thousands of kids flee the public and Catholic school boards for alternative private schools; art schools, schools that promise to teach Mandarin and Swahili, schools that have half day hockey practice and schools that teach calculus to Grade Sixers – whatever the parents decide.  Watch as thousands of young unemployed teaching school graduates finally find work in private non-union institutions.

It’s not new, the ideas are in practice already elsewhere.  Simplistic.  Yes, it is.  Would there be problems?  No doubt.   But to just allow government monopolies, in this case the education monopoly, to continue unabated, is to just put our heads in the sand and ignore the basic problem – we cannot afford to continue along the same path we are following.

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You Need Great Hair to be a Leader

The other news from last week that we want to comment on is Justin Trudeau’s entry into the federal Liberal Party’s leadership race.  We are soooooo excited at the prospect of a Trudeau led LPC, we nearly peed our pants when we heard the news last week.

Yes, it’s pretty much a done deal that he’s the next leader.  Considering he has almost 160,000 followers on Twitter, and the way the next Liberal leadership race rules are being set up, and the fact that almost anyone can sign up online and be eligible to vote in the race, it would mean that even if only half of his followers actually sign up and vote for him, he’ll still outpoll by a wide wide margin Marc Garneau and that Jim Karagynniaisssissyssaesades dude who’s still only thinking of running.  And don’t bother mentioning Bob Rae .

Awesome.   So let’s get down to all that JT brings to the LPC as leader;

  • His hair is so beautiful, he’ll get the votes of every hairdresser in the land;
  • No doubt he’s sewn up the female vote because we all know women vote for the most attractive man running for anything.  Issues don’t matter to women;
  • He gets all those young people votes because he looks like he’s all of 30 years old, and he’s so hip, and hop, and in tune with climate change and social tolerance issues and anti-bullying efforts;
  • Communists will love him because he grew up with Uncle Fidel;
  • Separtists love him since he said Harper was turning Canada into something he couldn’t love anymore;
  • Adrian Brody will love him because they can both rock the same anchor mustache, and we bet JT could do the Gillette commercials just as well;
  • Boxers will vote for him because he killed that Brazeau dude;

So, it looks like with Justin Trudeau as leader of the LPC, the Liberals will instantly be able to recapture at least 60% of the voting population (+ Adrian Brody, but he’s American so he doesn’t count.)

So, it’s an inspired and outstanding pick by the LPC, we wish Justin Trudeau the best in his leadership run, and may he remain leader for a long long time to come.

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What now Mr. Hudak?

So now that we’ve had a few days to reflect on not only the PC’s loss in the recent Kitchener-Waterloo bye-election for Elizabeth Witmer’s vacated seat, but also the ridiculous day-after comments from Tim Hudak, we have a simple suggestion – time to go Timmy.  Time to go.

You had  20 point lead in the polls going into the last election against McGuinty, and you pissed that away.

Then you needed to get one of two ridings that were up for grabs last week, both ridings where the federal Conservatives hold the seats at that level, and you came up with nada.

Then you blame the loss in K-W on massive union influence?  It sounds like cry-baby 101.   Having the unions as your enemy is a bonus – enemy of my enemies is my friend sort of thing.  The NDP have been supported by the unions, for…. ummm, like forever.  Nothing has changed on that front.  Deal with it, dude.  But most people cannot stand unions, most people are sick of hearing about teachers and government workers and the great deals they have compared to the private sector.  So why weren’t you able to capitalize, why can’t you tap into that anger?  Why did the anti-McGuinty vote go to the NDP, and not the Conservatives?

The fact is your momentum is trending downwards.  This is a problem.  Your campaign team obviously sucks, your use of social media is poor, you strategic decisions are weak and it’s not looking good.  You need a 180 turn around, and we haven’t seen anything to give us the impression you can do it.

We suppose you’re sticking it out because the odds of another election around the corner are pretty good, and there is some possibilty that Premier Dad will step away soon while he can do so still as Premier.    So you may be lucky to face a novice Liberal leader.   But we are not impressed.  Ontario is becoming the next Greece, and if we, we being conservatives who believe in smaller goverment and controlling our finances, cannot muster up a challenge to the socialists, then we’re all in trouble.

Wouldn’t it be great if Jim Flaherty came back to fix this?  We can only pray.

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