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I Am Skooter
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
I crossed many states just to stand here now, my face all hot with tears, / I crossed city, and valley, desert, and stream, to bring my body here:
— Woody Guthrie, Remember the Mountain Bed
July 21, 2004

Canada’s New Cabinet

Paul Martin has named his new cabinet, and in an entirely predictable move failed (once again) to reduce the size of cabinet itself.

He has reduced some things though: there are only 9 women in this cabinet, or about 25%. This is 2 fewer cabinet posts held by women than before. One of those gone is Hedy Fry (demoted to a Parliamentary Secretary), although this has barely raised a blip on the national media scale when compared to the attention paid to David Anderson’s complete dismissal.

B.C. is well represented by numbers (5) but perhaps not by talent: new ministers abound here, led by Ujjal Dosanjh and David Emerson. Emerson - my opponent in Vancouver Kingsway - is now the Minister of Industry, and while I’m concerned about such a critical portfolio being handed to a first time Minister, this is probably a good place for him. Emerson’s rampant drive for privatization makes him - in my opinion - poorly suited to be Finance minister but he should be in a place which allows him to put his talents to work improving the economy overall. Of course, Stelco just closed a rod mill in Hamilton and laid of 160 people, providing yet another example of exactly how much work there is to do here.

As for Ujjal - really, BC’s health care system is in such good shape this smacks of brilliance.
Sorry. Sarcasm doesn’t always work well here. At least he’ll fight against further privatization of the system, which is a generally admirable goal.

Mr. Martin has, meanwhile, announced that he’s going to reintroduce legislation to decriminalize marijuana. This is going to be very interesting. Leaving aside the obvious question of why the Martin government scuttled the thing in the first place (Anne Macllelan anyone?) the Liberals current minority status creates a conundrum. If this doesn’t pass, the Conservatives are going to look an awful lot like neo-Conservatives who want to restrict what the people of Canada can do and the Liberals are going to have a very easy time painting this picture in about 18 months. If the bill passes, with Conservative support, there’s a very real risk of alienating a key support base.

Aren’t minority governments fun? I can’t help but wonder how Mr. Harper is going to navigate this one, particularly given the party’s commitment to increasing the number of free votes in Parliament.

Posted by skooter at 11:00 PM This entry is filed under Politics.

July 1, 2004

Canada Elections, 2004

Our federal election is now 3 days past, with Vancouver going largely Liberal except for those seats that are traditionally NDP held. There are some positives here - at least Ian Waddell didn’t win Kingsway - but generally, I had higher hopes for Stephen Harper as Prime Minister.

It’s Canada Day - the 137th birthday of our country - and Mr. Martin is giving the requisite speech in Ottawa alongside Adrienne Clarkson. I won’t call him Prime Minister Martin - make no mistake, this guy stole the job by taking over his party with a take no prisoners attitude.

Today is, I suppose, a day to be happy. I’m doing my best.

Voter turnouts for this election were at an all time low, in a country in which turnouts are already ridiculously low.

Burnaby Douglas had 61.1%; Vancouver Kingsway showed 58.9% and Vancouver South even less.

Pundits are, naturally, wondering why.

Continue reading "Canada Elections, 2004"

Posted by skooter at 11:02 PM This entry is filed under Politics.