Thursday, 30 July 2015

Harper’s Economy

As I watched the news in recent weeks, I cannot fathom the glee on the faces of media anchors as they report a possible Canadian recession( a mild one at that). They obviously wish for the demise of the Harper government, but rarely provide explanations as to the real reasons for the economic slowdown. An uninformed Canadian electorate should really think hard before considering a change to the NDP or Liberal. Since the media is not being forthright, I will attempt to explain the real reasons behind the economic slowdown.

First, we have a collapse of the oil market as Arab producing countries strategically produce more and flood the market with cheaper oil. Their strategy is to make North American oil more expensive to extract and thus control the market. Since Canada, is a major producer we take a hit and the dollar loses value. As a result we pay more for imports, but in the long run may benefit for increase exports as our goods become cheaper. Furthermore, we may continue to see oil prices fall as Iran, thanks to Obama, will flood the market with more oil as all economic sanctions are removed.

Second, the U.S continues to see the slowest economic recovery in decades. Obama’s policies have done nothing to improve the economy. Instead unemployment although showing some improvements continues to be higher than expected. GDP is mired at around 2% -3.0% not enough to generate demand for goods and services, which could be provided by Canada. Slow growth around the world is also affecting the Chinese economy as its biggest customer Europe remains in economic doldrums..
Despite the fact that some banks have declared that Canada is bordering a ‘recession, there does not seem to be any real evidence  as stated by the  C. D. Howe Institute’s Business Cycle Council The council defines a recession as a pronounced, pervasive and persistent decline in aggregate economic activity. The fact is that Canada’s economy may have dipped but is not on the verge of a recession. This is pure politicking by Harper’s opponents who have seen an opening for their electoral campaign.
During the past years of the ‘long recession’ Canada has fared better than most of the G7 countries. We have been lucky that the Prime Minister is an economist and not an ideologue lawyer like Mulcair, or a neophyte politician like Justin Trudeau. The NDP and Liberals would love to see Canada in a recessionary state, so has to implement more Keynesian economic policies in order to  tax and spend.

Canadians should be very careful in accepting what the media portrays without real evidence. Talk of a ‘recession’ can quickly become a self-fulfilling prophecy, which both Trudeau and Mulcair will promote as Harper’s economic blunder. Supporting the NDP and/or Liberals at the next election may in fact take Canada into a real economic downturn which may continue for years to come.
 Beware of socialists bearing gifts.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Uniting the Right: Learn, Adapt or Perish

In the aftermath of the last provincial elections, which saw the decimation of the Progressive Conservatives (PC) and the rise of the NDP, it is becoming quite apparent that many disillusioned people are thinking about a merger between the PC and the WildRose (WR). Due to the antagonism that may linger among the members of the two parties, this scenario may be a non-starter. Therefore let us consider if politicians learn anything from past history.

The first lesson to be learnt is that the PCs lost because of their own fault. It all started after the departure of Ralph Klein, a former liberal who ran the province as a conservative. Since then the PC establishment was successful in electing progressives instead of conservatives. The membership, manipulated through rules of selection, elected three progressives in consecutive leadership races – Ed Stelmach, Alison Redford and Jim Prentice to the detriment of three conservatives Jim Dinning, Ted Morton and Ric McIver.

Many Albertans wrongly believe that the PCs are still the Peter Lougheed party. Over the years the party has been infiltrated by progressives ( sic. Liberals), because they could never have been elected had they ran under their true colors. Policies have gradually reflected their position rather those of true conservatives. To stay in power, unfortunately the party moved to the left to counter the so called social conservatives, and in fact they gradually ran the province as liberals in disguise..

As a result, for many the alternative was the WR, a conservative party who often was branded as far-right and radical due to comments made by a small minority of its members. But more importantly, their lack of success at the last election was the product of impatience, and stupidity by their leader Danielle Smith. Jim Prentice and the PC establishment seduced Smith and with bad advice from Preston Manning, she decided to switch to the PC. The outcome of bad Prentice policies and betrayal by some of the WR gave Alberta the NDP majority which we shall live to regret sooner rather than later.

The Alberta Social Credit  showed that a ruling party that stays too long and that feels entitled disappeared .The PCs went the same way.  Any merger between the dilapidated PC and the WR should be a careful and slow process. Differences must be put aside and name calling must come to an end. More importantly both parties must realize that a conservative move to the centre is always a move to the left. As for the social conservatives they must come to the realization that the law of the land has already decided on the divisive issues of same-sex marriage and abortion. To fight each other on these grounds is not only futile but will never get them votes to form a majority in the near future. I do not advocate the capitulation of beliefs but understand that there has been a cultural change in society. However we must respect others beliefs and embrace the freedom of speech. Both parties will have to compromise and adapt to the new realities to accomplish unification.
   The only way to get conservatives back in power is to let the grassroots join the party of their choice. A merger at this stage will still have the establishment members who screwed us involved. Members of any party who crossed the floor and who have been in legislature for eight or more years should not be directly involved in any merger talk.
By the same token we must ensure that members of the new party are true small ‘c’, common sense conservatives. WR who are in a better position should recruit new members from the disaffected PCs. To do so they will have to state clearly that they will embrace true conservatism ideals that are acceptable to the majority. As I wrote in Conservatives: Dead or Alive? ( “Conservative values are about freedoms - the freedom to choose, the freedom of speech, the freedom of association and most of all economic freedom. True social values are about education, healthcare, respect for seniors and the rule of law. Conservatives should leave their egos at the door and avoid being trapped by social wedge issues set up by politically correct liberal zealots of convenience. I am optimistic about the future of conservatism, but cautious about candidates who will compromise conservative principles to gain and stay in power. “

Failure to arrive at a consensus will see conservatism perish in Alberta. Egos must be put aside for the good of the province; the status quo will only produce a leftist NDP governments for many years to come.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

The Entitlement Democracy

As the world watches Greece hold the European Union (EU) to ransom, we are experiencing a new form of democracy, where the entitled demand that the rest of us continue to support their unaccountable expenditures and this contagion is now reaching the shores of Canada.

The socialist mantra is spreading across the industrialised world. We had the Occupy Wall Street movement, the Idle No More movement and now we see that the Assembly of First Nation (AFN) is calling for a new approach by asking members of First Nations across the country to vote strategically to oust the Conservative government.

History does not bode well for relationship between governments and the First Nation. To be fair there has been some unbalance dealings in the past but governments of different persuasion have tried to remedy some of the most egregious issues, but in the end it always boils down to a financial issue. The Jean Chretien Liberals learned that they were vilified when they tried to modernize how reserves manage their finances, and the plans were abandoned by Paul Martin. Despite the efforts of the Harper government to negotiate a $1.9 billion deal on education, they suffered the same objections. No matter what is done, it seems that it is never enough. Over the years billions of taxpayers’ dollars have been spent on reserves which have seen absolutely no progress in standard of living or quality of life. Why?  Because there is no accountability. Very few know exactly how the money is distributed and spent once the 630 chiefs get their hands on the funds.

Of course both Mulcair and Trudeau are tripping over each other to gain favour with the AFN. Both leaders promise to make changes if elected as the next government. The promises include vague references to an enquiry into murdered and missing indigenous women; rescinding laws that conflict with aboriginal rights - but no mention of curtailing financial mismanagement. Underlying all this fawning by the two leftist leaders, is the never mentioned costs of acquiescing to the demands that will be made once elected.

Just like Greece, First Nations with its 630 chiefs come to the negotiation table with one agenda – to gain as much money as possible without any real commitment for austerity and accountability. In both cases it is time to stop caving in to the demands of organizations, countries and people who feel that they are entitled to other peoples’ money. By not kicking Greece out of the EU, Europe has perpetuated the entitlement democracy. The Greeks themselves voted NO to any drastic change, but politicians once again compromised to save their skins.
Let this be a lesson for Canada who needs a new relationship with the First Nations. We must cut the umbilical cord and demand that funding is accompanied by real financial reforms. As I wrote in Conservatives: Dead or Alive? ( “Any new agreement, while addressing land and resources\ sharing, should help to create viable independent First Nation communities through education, proper housing and proper utilities with greater transparency. The AFN must also take responsibility for the current failures. Welfare without proper accountability is no longer the solution.” 

So what is the fuss about democracy? In the case of Greece it is all about entitlements and in Canada it is all about the 630 chiefs not the people. It seems that we are now approaching an era where the minority dictates how the majority should rule, If they do not like the way things are going let us turf the government and get as much as we can. Heed the words of Margaret Thatcher: “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples’ money”. Greece and the AFN have run out of other peoples’ money, and yet European leaders, Mulcair and Trudeau continue to believe that the solution to entitlements is bailing out failed financial systems. 

Of course everybody is entitled to vote in any way they wish for, but the majority who in the end bears the burden of funding the minority should also stand up and be counted

Friday, 3 July 2015

In search of a Legacy

As Obama approaches the last years of his Presidency, he is looking for every chance to establish a legacy. In the past week the Supreme Court handed him two wins – Obamacare and Same Sex Marriage, which he once opposed. Now he is trying to compare himself to Ronald Reagan. Let us look at this latest attempt to ingratiate himself to historians.

When he became President Obama promised to ‘transform America’ - Well he has succeeded in a certain sense but not necessarily for the better. His healthcare will be judged in future years, and as costs and premiums go up it is not certain that the 51% of Americans who oppose the program are going to allow it to continue.
On the economy, his failed socialist policies have created a debt of $19 trillion, and true unemployment is at its highest levels. For the past six years there has been no real economic recovery, and yet taxes have gone up and redistribution of wealth through wage policies may increase unemployment, especially among young uneducated Americans.

Within months of his election, Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, not for any great accomplishment but only for being African American. He used the race card at every opportunity to push his socialist agenda, and today racial tensions are at their worst in years. On foreign policy, he has been a disaster and an apologist who has created chaos around the world. He cannot be blamed for armed conflicts but for caving in to every terrorist organization and Vladimir Putin.
Today, many allies of America are concerned and no longer trust the U.S.  Iran has taken control in most of the Middle East. And yet the Obama the administration with the help of a feckless Secretary Kerry is about to grant Iran the possibility of acquiring nuclear weapons, within ten years or even sooner. Russia has not only invaded Ukraine, but is now providing missiles to Iran, in a bold move reminiscent of the Cold War. 
If Obama believes that he should be recognized as a transformational President like Reagan, maybe he should be reminded of some facts. Reagan rebuilt a faltering economy, he brought Russia to its knees and the Cold War was ended. Iran was put into its place after the Ayatollahs’ coup that got rid of the Shah and the hostage taking. By contrast Obama will leave the world in a chaos only seen after World War II. The Middle East crisis will linger and more lives will be lost. His approach to open diplomatic relations with communist Cuba does nothing to liberate the oppressed Cubans. While surrendering to the enemies of the Western world, Obama dissed his closest ally and neighbor. He will also leave many Eastern European nations open to the whims of a new Russian dictator.

Now with the 2016 Presidential elections fast approaching, Obama tries to create a legacy like Reagan by trying to continue his failed presidency by getting Hillary Clinton in the White House. But what we must remember is that his latest critic is Jimmy Carter, an expert on failed foreign policy, who hinted that Obama’s presidency maybe a failed one – he should know as his title of worse President is going to be passed to Obama.

Uninformed Canadians in a recent poll overwhelmingly supported Obama.  The liberal media wants to compare the ‘smart’ Obama presidency to Reagan’s, who they once referred to as the old and senile actor.
To even hint that Obama is to be compared to Reagan is to say that Stalin should be viewed in the same light as Churchill. -  Oh Bummer!