Show Us Your Work, Sunny Jim

Sunny Jim "Everything is A-OK!"

Parliament may be shuttered and our elected representatives locked out from doing what we pay them for, but the business of government carries on…

Canada’s parliamentary budget officer is publicly questioning the projected budget surpluses of the Conservative government’s recent economic statement and is asking for evidence to back up the predictions.

Kevin Page asked Finance Deputy Minister Rob Wright to turn over details on the projected spending reductions in departments and asset sales that the government has said will generate $10 billion in savings over five years. These are seen as key to the maintenance of a federal surplus.

Page’s letter, sent on Dec. 3, has now been posted on the budget office’s website. It asks for a reply this week.

He also asked for economic data and assumptions used for the 2008 budget and recent economic statement. Finance refused to give the data for the 2008 budget even though the numbers are routinely turned over to Bay Street forecasters. The assumptions, key to estimating the impact of economic volatility, used to be published by previous governments.

Imagine that. The economic data and underlying assumptions used to be published by previous governments. I guess that would be, um, the Liberals. Heh. Go figure.

But never mind that little quibble. Many of us have pretty much given up on the Harper government being anything more than a lot of hot air when it comes to accountability and transparency. Won’t it be interesting in the weeks to come to see what’s slated for some of Sunny Jim’s “belt-tightening” as part of the projected spending reductions, and more especially, what may be on the chopping block in terms of selling off federal assets.

Update:
“Let’s have the books, please. If we’re going to have any discussions at all, we’ve got to know where we are. You’ve not told Canadians the truth. Let’s have some truth here.” — Ignatieff on CBC’s Politics this afternoon.

Automakers: Giving Consumers the Gears

It’s interesting to view the dubious business practices of the automakers through the prism of the pending bail-out, err, “bridge loan” in the offing from taxpayers. In this case CBC News highlights the increasing trend of gouging people with exorbitant “repair” costs when leased vehicles are returned to the dealership.

Speaking of the bail-out, some Republicans aren’t happy about it…

Ignatieff: The Guy in the RED Sweater

A roundtable discussion with constituents in Etibicoke-Lakeshore during the last election campaign (that already seems like ages ago).

And here he is in one of the videos from his 2006 leadership campaign. This one on “citizenship” (which includes comments about the “grassroots” some might find highly ironic under the circumstances).

Apparently, he’s going to be on Politics with Don Newman today. And he has a press conference this afternoon (should be starting in minutes).

One More Thing…

Larry Craig — still guilty.

Also, the “Lame Duck Watch” feature with some pretty amusing stuff about the “Bush Legacy Project” including extracts from the memo containing official talking points highlighting Bush’s achievements that’s been sent to cabinet members for them to weave into their communications (actually called a “speech topper”) over the next several weeks.

Talking to Liberals

Intolerant "liberals"

It’s always kind amusing when people on the “left” or “right” of the political spectrum accuse “the other side” of some egregious moral failing or negative character trait while demonstrating a complete lack of self-awareness by committing the exact same sin they’re attributing exclusively to their opponents.

On recent post where Scott Ross is complaining rather bitterly that “the National Executive, the Liberal caucus, and the Leadership candidates are guilty of indirectly violating the right of its members to select their own leader,” I made the following comment:

Scott — While I respect your opinion, unfortunately, all you’re doing with grumpy rants like this is providing fodder to the “Blogging Tories” to seize upon with glee and then crow about the presumed disunity amongst Liberals and their deep dissatisfaction with the party in regards to the way in which the leadership “race” played out.

Certainly, the process was less than ideal and reform is in order, but the outcome is probably for the best. Perhaps it would be more prudent at this juncture to focus on that and leave grievances about the process for another time with a view to advancing them in a more constructive way at the upcoming convention in May.

To which, someone posting as “The Independent Blog” responded thusly:

hey redtory, let me put it politly, shut the fuck up, unlike the other side, we all have the right to our opinions, for or against, unlike you some of us enjoy disenting opinion, and we dont cry to the liblogs administrator when we dont agree with one…
realise that the liberal party, is not in agreement with your views, we are not the tories, we dont censure opinions, your in the wrong party little girl.

Alrighty then. I’d link to the blog in question, but the moron hasn’t even included his blog address in his profile. Apparently, the inherent contradiction of saying that “some of us enjoy disenting [sic] opinion” and “we all have the right to our opinions” while telling someone to “shut the fuck up” is lost on his individual. And isn’t it cute when “liberals” consider calling someone a girl to be an insult? What a terribly liberal point of view!

New Clean Coal is a Merry Old Soul

Clean Coal Carolers

What could be more festive during the holiday season than… singing lumps of coal? Yes, courtesy of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) comes a truly bizarre marketing gimmick promoting the virtues of this widely touted, yet wholly fictional solution to the multitude of problems associated with the burning of dirty fossil fuels.

Hey look, you can even dress up your chipper lumps of coal and accessorize them with different seasonal garb!

Clean Coal Accessories

Who knew that Santa’s traditional punishment for “naughty” children had been re-purposed into something that’s just so much darned fun?

Kevin Grandia at DeSmogBlog has much more on this farcical promotion, along with some vintage commercials that the ACCCE maybe had in mind when they devised it.

h/t: Saskboy.

p.s. Speaking of coal, if Superman could crush a lump of coal into a diamond, why did he always give Lois such cheap gifts?

The Good Soldier

Bob Rae appearing on MDL yesterday discusses his decision to drop out of the Liberal leadership race with Jabba the Hack.

“When [a vote of the membership] didn’t happen… I learned how to count a while ago, Mike. So I drew a conclusion it was time to pack it in. Also time, I think, to recognize that we’ve got some tough decisions to make as a party, as a country, over the next six weeks. We need to have a permanent leader in place.”

After suggesting there was some comparison to be made with the sense of disillusion many Canadians experienced with Pierre Trudeau after his first term in office, in typical fashion, Duffy asked the most inane question of the day: “Is there a danger here, in the rush to judgment, Mr. Ignatieff may, at the end of the day, turn out to be ‘less than perfect’? Answer: “Well, we’re all less than perfect, but Michael’s pretty good.” Bob then went on to sing his praises in a most convincing way.