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Everything posted by jdobbin

  1. Conservatives in the U.S. are demanding a first strike and regime change in North Korea. Bush is understandably more reticent about North Korea because he may have to use nuclear weapons to prevent North Korea from attacking the south.
  2. The U.S. began the mission in Afghanistan and it is the American public themselves that are wondering if the mission wasn't hampered by moving a large amount of the force to Iraq to deal with the insurgency there. While NATO is moving in troops now, this is a problem that could have been dealt with one and half years ago. No one is saying the U.S. isn't pulling its weight. What people are saying was the mission was not complete when they began a new mission. Rarely are all crisis in the world solved before the next begins. Assuming we can hand pick an issue of the hour and deal with it outright, is simply not viable. There are numerous situations that demand our attention, such as Iraq and Afghanistan and Darfur, not to mentioning the developing problems in Iran and North Korea. The idea that the world only deals with one war at a time was outdated at the end of the second world war. The Bush Doctrine has been that the U.S. can take on the Axis of Evil all at the same time. Conservatives in the U.S. today are complaining that the U.S. is appeasing North Korea and that a first strike should be contemplated with regime change and occupation. Understandably, Bush is a bit hesitant because North Korea is so close to South Korea and could potentially be in the South Korean capital in less than a few hours through sheer numbers. Only a nuclear wepaon could stop it. Not exactly an appetizing solution for a president to make. As for the argument that a crisis rarely comes one at a time, that's true. But it also means that you can be stretched thin as the U.S. is in Afganistan and you rob Peter to pay Paul. And now...when there is a real crisis with North Korea and Iran, the cookie jar is empty. I just hope there is still enough in the cookie jar for Afghanistan.
  3. In this case the opposition would have to take responsibility for paralyzing the country's government. It would be their responsibility entirely and they would eventually have to answer for it. A government might actually welcome it under certain circumstances. Also, if a Parliament demonstrates that it is unable to govern, the GG might be quite justified in dissolving it on his/her own. That is after all, one of the GG's primary functions. An interesting scenario to make life a little more so. In principle, you might think the Opposition takes the heat but it is generally the government that gets the blame historically. Case in point, the latest bell ringing in Manitoba which brought the NDP down in the polls and not the Conservatives. And the Governor-General can only disslove Parliament if there is a confidence vote or if the Prime Minister requests it. If the Prime Minister requests it, clearly it violates his own legislation of waiting for a fixed election date.
  4. The U.S. began the mission in Afghanistan and it is the American public themselves that are wondering if the mission wasn't hampered by moving a large amount of the force to Iraq to deal with the insurgency there. While NATO is moving in troops now, this is a problem that could have been dealt with one and half years ago. No one is saying the U.S. isn't pulling its weight. What people are saying was the mission was not complete when they began a new mission.
  5. I just hope that we can do as well as we did in Kabul at stabilizing a rough area. But as I mentioned, American attention on ABC News tonight as well as Congress has focussed on Afghanistan and how the mission is understaffed by the Americans. NATO is picking up some of the slack but it should not have come to this. This is a problem that might have been dealt with a year and a half ago.
  6. Not really, they've got plenty of soliders in Britain. It's a very small component relative to the Canadian commitment, and has nothing to do with Iraq. I was referring to the U.S. specifically. They are the ones who asked NATO to come in to replace troops that were needed in Iraq. ABC News is reporting tonight that every local command they visited have asked for more troops.
  7. Dobbin, I think what you are asking is, with fixed election dates, what do we do if we have a hung parliament?At present, the PM can go to the GG (or the GG can call the PM or someone else) and either dissolve parliament or ask someone else to form a government. You are saying that with a fixed-election date, that option would be impossible. Assuming that fixed-election date really meant that, then I guess the bells would ring and parliament wouldn't sit. That's what happens in countries with fixed election dates such as the US. Filibusters in the US Senate in this century have lasted for up to two months. Exactly. But unlike a filibuster, a vote call not answered can go on for the entire mandate of the government. There is *nothing* in the legislation to compel a vote. And yes, with Harper's present legislation, he could not dissolve Parliament and go to the people. This isn't theoretical either. The Conservatives of Manitoba were using this as a strategy four months ago.
  8. http://www.cbc.ca/story/world/national/200...ain-troops.html That's a lot of troops. Probaby the type of committment that could have been made many years earlier if so many forces were not in Iraq.
  9. No, I don't see your point. If the opposition will not call for a vote of confidence and they don't show up for votes, they are effectively handling the government a majority and it will be able to pass whatever it chooses. It is not unheard of for minority governments to call snap votes in the hope of catching enough opposition members away from the house. That's not true. The government cannot put through any votes when the bells are allowed to ring. The Opposition shuts down Parliament. This was the tactic used when the government used cloture to push through their bills. The Opposition just stayed away from the vote. The bells rung day and night.
  10. A supply bill is a non-confidence vote so a government need only present one and lose.I don't think this change makes for fixed-date elections; it just changes the rules of the game. If the opposition shows up to vote. They can thwart Parliament by letting the bells ring. It was used most recently in Manitoba in the last months. It's an old tactic that could work even more effectively if an election date is fixed. Imagine it done in Ottawa. The opposiition just stays away from Parliamentary votes and lets the bells ring day and night. The govenment can't lose because there is never any vote on confidence. No minority initiated election. Just a ground down Parliament. And you might magine this reflects poorly on the opposition but history has shown that it is the government that suffers the most during these tactics.
  11. I agree with you, more or less.The current system is that parliament cannot go longer than five years. Harper would make two changes: reduce the maximum length of parliament from five to four years and fix a specific election date in advance. Reducing the length of parliament might work but the specific election date won't. Any future PM who wants to call a snap election will find a way. Harper's legislation just makes it a little more difficult to do. Overall, the idea is to curb the power of the government so I suppose it's a good idea. A minor question. If our next election is by chance on 10 Feb 2007 and a majority government is elected, does that mean the locked-in subsequent election date will be 10 Feb 2011? That is, are we stuck with winter elections forever? This is the other sucky thing about the legislation is that if a minority government is brought down in dead of winter, we could have several elections in dead of winter if the time is fixed. I agree that a reducing the election call to every four years is doable. What shouldn't happen is that a prime minister should not have to be held captive to election timing while the opposition can call it any time they want (at least in a minority situation).
  12. It's true Harper may regret it but so what? He works for us, not the other way around. Working well here in BC so far and I hope the system stays. Of course a loss of confidence could trigger an election at any time but I am all in favour of a system that prevents a government from throwing all the nations business in the dumpster and puts it through the inconvenience and an expense of an election, just because a party which holds a majority sees an opportunity to press a political advantage. That in my opinion is irresponsible government. We elect a government to do a job for a certain length of time as long as it can maintain the confidence of Parliament. It should do the job it was elected to do for the full time it was hired rather than screwing with the system for no other reason than the pursuit of power. But you see my point is that a shrewd opposition could thwart Parliamenent and *not* call a vote of non-confidence and grind Parliament to a halt. A government would then be stuck till the next election because they've trapped themselves into the fixed election date. It is quite possible that we might see this soon in BC. Some commentators have already predicted it as a tactic for opposition parties.
  13. The idea that Canada has no fixed election dates is odd. The system *does* have fixed election dates. From the date of a new election, a timetable clicks down to when a new election must be held. What the Canadian system allows for is for the government to call an election when it suits them. However, it also allows for the opposition to call a vote of non-confidence and bring about an election as well. Harper might regret a fixed election date of 2009. The system in Canada was never set up as a "checks and balances" system. It was set up as "responsible" government. And for responsible government to work, it means that the confidence of Parliament must be maintained. Harper might find Parliament is at an impasse and the opposition won't call a vote of non-confidence but simply let the bells ring for vote calls. It will paralyze Parliament. Normally, the prime minister could take the issue to the electorate and possibly win. There are just as many problems of fixed dates. I don't think it is as simple as many would like to think.
  14. They all sound like candidates to carry on the Trudeaumaniacal torch. If only the Liberals could find a person to possess all of those characteristics.... This is a not a prudent argument. It comes up all of the time but it makes no sense. How can Canadians leave a federal government in a minority situation? People vote for a candidate to win. The distance between one person's vote and how it translates into a winning federal government is so convoluted. Granted, when people vote, they do think of what other people are voting, to make their final decision before they scratch and save -- I mean, vote at the ballot box. However, they can not possibly make a decision to vote for (or against) a candidate to create an overall minority federal government. That sort of decision-making requires balancing an exceptional amount of information. You can say, that the end result, after all of the marbles are counted, will lead to a minority government, but to attribute a collusive decision-making process to each Canadian is not a practical argument. I guess to be precise, if Harper hopes to makes gain in Quebec, the situation in Afghanistan has to seem like it will end. Harper can't win anymore seats in Alberta, if you know what I mean. He could win more in Ontario but then he has to win over the cities that also share Quebec's sense of unease about Afghanistan. That's what I mean when I say that Canadians might not want to take the plunge to full out support for a majority government. We've seen this sort of hedging a lot in Canada. Vote Tory provincially, Liberal nationally or vice versa and throw in the occassional NDP government just to be contrary.
  15. The Separation Party of Alberta has been quiet as of late. Their website has barely been updated. The last poll by the Standard on separation was prior to the election and it would be interesting to see where the standing are now. True separation thinking is when a view doesn't change regardless of who is in government. I haven't see that type of determination in a majority of Albertans or Quebecers at any time in our history.
  16. I think Afghanistan is what could hurt the Conservatives. While Canadians might be supportive of the troops, they might just be nervous enough to leave the government in a minority situation because of the belief that Harper might get Canada bogged down there.
  17. And by the way...I was just teasing on meeting Winston Churchill et al. I was channelling Lloyd Bentson from the vice-presidential debates.
  18. Winston was a fine fellow. Not an robust as Sir John A. MacDonald when I met him but a fine fellow nonetheless.
  19. Not soon enough. Hopefully in my lifetime. If you want a more precise time, you are making a stupid request to avoid the issue of Quebec's independence on the longevity of the monarchy. Paying money to a monarchy will cost just as much or more than not paying money to a monarchy??? Quebecers rarely use the word separation. It's always couched in the terms of sovereignty. As for stupid for asking when you think it will happen, I guess I'm curious as to what sort of timetable you think this independence will happen. Time is on the side of Canada. The old sovereignty movement is aging, in fact some of the old warhorses have departed the scene. It remains to be seen whether the new PQ ledership has the fire to go the a referendum again. Quebec's population is static without immigration. It is that new population that Canada has to win over. I was referring to paying for a Governor General as head of state. It is less expensive than a republic head of state according to countries who have made the switch. But that is neither here nor there. The head of state in Canada is merely a figurehead. We don't pay for a monarchy in and of itself. We pay for our parliamentary system of which the Governor General is but one small part. I see no great itch in Canada to move to a republic, not even in Alberta if the latest polls are any indication. There are far greater issues to deal with than constutional reform.
  20. Winston Churchill changed sides and was regarded as one of the of the greatest prime ministers of all time in Britain. But I knew Winston Churchill and Belinda, well, she ain't no Winston Churchill.
  21. A theocracy where churches runs all trade. Wait...were you asking what America is becoming?
  22. Its okay ..It seems everytime I turn on the TV there is a "discussion" consisting of Americans saying what is wrong with this country or that country and how they can fix it, and make it toe the "American line" and be more "American" or what Americans think Amercia is ...... and I think "whats the point of it all?" The US is seen as the world power and no one challenges them, no matter what they do so what IS the point? Vikings came from Denmark, Sweden and Norway. And red hair was not a Irish, Scottish or English trait. They came from Viking invasions of the British and Irish coasts. So no...Vikings bad. But they did have cool ships. Sort of an early gunboat, no diplomacy sort of lifestyle.
  23. I don't know that there will be any reform to the Security Council. The nations that have a veto will not give it up. They will also be reluctant to enact real reform that might challege their authority. I think it is academic whether Japan, Brazil or any other country will be brought into the permanent Security Council. I think the only effective change in the U.N. might come in the reform of its agencies so that they become the foremost authorities in their respective fields.
  24. Is there anything that Bush has done that you don't think was well handled?
  25. There is an even simpler reason why it will happen: Quebec will separate. The ease with which Quebec will dispense of the monarchy (and of a government in Ottawa, for that matter as well) will be a glaring wake up call to the rest of Canada. No doubt. After Quebec separates, every other Canadian will ask: why Ottawa??? why monarchy??? So, monarchist ostriches can keep their heads in the sand until Quebec sovereignty kicks them in the ass. Neither do I (except for the money saved by not having to fund the Governor General's festivities) but the question will come up after Quebec separates. There will not be a chance to avoid the question. Relax. Stop worrying about solving those "problems" in Canada and start promoting Quebec sovereignty. It is the most fair and efficient way to open up constitutional debate. So when do you think this Quebec separation will take place? As for saving money, a Republic will likely cost just as much or more. That has been the example thus far from constitutional monarchies that have become Republics. The Australians have looked into this a lot and cost savings was not one of the things that a Republic offered.
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