Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Wisdom from an elder

Every so often, one of my less politically aware friends or family will say something that will make me go, "Couldn't have said it better myself." Over dinner tonight, my father gave me his assessment of Maurice Vellacott's stupidity.

In short, he basically marvelled at the foolishness of a pissant little government backbencher picking a fight with probably the most powerful woman in the country, Beverly McLachlin, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. That's a big title, and I assure you Mr. Vellacott, it's bigger than "The Honourable Member for Saskatoon--Wanuskewin." Oh maybe not by letter, but in terms of raw political power, you're outclassed, not just because she outranks you, but also because Canadians have vastly more respect for judges than they do for politicians.

Vellacott is so outclassed, in fact, that all she needed to do was issue a simple press release to, as Dad put it, "crush him under her heel. She took one look at this bug and squashed him."

Going into damage control, Vellacott was quick to point out that he speaks only for himself, not for the government as a whole. Yeah, where have we heard that before? And is it just me, or has ANYONE seen or heard from Cheryl Gallant in the past year? I've missed her.

Honestly, what was this man thinking?

Well, the problem is obvious - he wasn't. Vellacott is, how to put this, not the brightest shade of blue the Tories have to offer. To put it simply, he's a homophobic racist.

He has a history of picking fights with powerful women - in 2001 he said that Adrienne Clarkson had abused her office by sending a "best wishes" card to a gay couple. He introduced a motion to censure her. Wishing gay people well is apparently an unforgivable offence to Vellacott. He was the only MP to speak against a parliamentary motion recognizing the Armenian genocide. (Kind of reminds you of that lovely time when Conservative MP Rob Anders was the only MP denying unanimous consent for recognizing Nelson Mandella's heroism.) He has defended the indefensible, taking the side of two Saskatoon police officers who drove an intoxicated native man to the outskirts of the city and left him there to fend for himself.

And that's just the tip of the iceburg. Do a little research on this guy, he's quite the piece of work. You can really see why the Rt. Hon. Beverly McLachlin wasn't going to stand for being slandered him.


At 5/10/2006 1:51 a.m., Anonymous Loony in LotusLand said...

Blue Grit should all MPs, government or opposition, be required to step down from their cabinet, committee chair, designated critic, etc. position if they have voiced a critical opinion of the Supreme Court?

The speech McLaghlin gave in New Zealand was widely republished on blog sights in Canada. You should probably read it and find out how the court really views their role in the post charter age.

At 5/10/2006 10:47 a.m., Blogger Prairie Kid said...

To fill you in, here is what the "most powerful woman in the country" had to say in New Zealand.

"McLachlin told her N.Z. audience that judges must unearth the "unwritten principles" behind the laws of the land. It is their duty, then, to use these unwritten principles to supercede written laws whenever they see a discrepency.

They are not bound by legal precedents; they must create precedents."

This statement points out that she not only considers herself to be the most powerful woman in the country, but also above all other Canadian citizens whether they are politicians elected by us to enact laws or just average Joes.

At 5/10/2006 12:50 p.m., Blogger Clear Grit said...

Yeah, that's pretty much the job of judges.

At 5/10/2006 10:12 p.m., Blogger Miles Lunn said...

Maurice Vellacott is an absolute disgrace. Contrary to what some may say, I don't hate all Conservatives, there are some good ones. But I have zero respect for nutbars like Maurice Vellacott. The constituents of Saskatoon-Wanuskewin need to boot this clown out of office come next election.

At 5/16/2006 12:01 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read it and weep blue grit, you oxymoron! Cheryl was re-elected as the most popular Conservative in Ontario!

Tuesday, May 9, 2006
Mrs. Cheryl Gallant (Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, Conservative): Mr. Speaker, I It is an honour and a privilege to rise today on behalf of the people of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke to participate in the first Conservative federal budget in 13 years to address the concerns of Canadians. The budget plan of the new Conservative government is called “Focusing on Priorities”. The priority this government is focusing on is people: Canadians and their families.
That represents a fundamental change in attitude on behalf of the Government of Canada. For the first time in over a decade, Canadians from all walks of life will start to see the change in attitude that has only become possible with a generational shift in leadership in this country. That comes from electing a Prime Minister who is a member of this generation, the one that the demographers call the baby boomers.
Who better understands the needs of a majority of Canadians who are raising a family day to day than someone who is experiencing the day to day responsibilities of raising a family? Who else but a parent whose children are involved in organized physical activity could see the great benefit of government encouraging that activity?
These are the types of policies that represent a generational shift in thinking, from the old to the new. There is no doubt that the membership of the official opposition has been reduced to a club of grumpy old men. The mindset of the old party establishment, with its cult of leadership, was symbolized by a ruling clique. This was pathetically demonstrated by the claims of entitlement that Canadians heard from members of the old boys club when they were caught with their fingers in the taxpayer-funded expense claims cookie jar.
The debate over the GST is a prime example of how the budget of the new Conservative government represents fresh, innovative thinking on the part of the Prime Minister. There is no question that the tough decisions that allowed for balanced budgets were made by the former Conservative government in the 1980s.
The fact that the past administration shamelessly tries to take credit for past Conservative leadership has to be the most comical position the Liberal Party has ever taken, in that it has claimed ownership of the GST. The GST has become Liberal tax policy. The member for Markham fiercely defends the Liberal GST against all attacks. The party that campaigned on eliminating the GST has become the party of the GST. How appropriate.
Let us talk about the GST. If there is one tax that affects all Canadians, it is the GST. If there is one tax reduction that will benefit all Canadians, it is a reduction in the GST. It is as simple as that. The money that is saved by Canadians through reducing the GST returns directly into the economy, where it does the greatest benefit.
When a farmer in my riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke purchases a new piece of equipment, he will see the benefit immediately. The GST is being lowered effective July 1 of this year, not three, four or five years from now. The previous regime would announce and re-announce tax changes that never seemed to happen or were so complicated that ordinary Canadians could never tell if the changes were really made. That farmer, in addition to joining all Canadians with a cut in the GST, will also see $1 billion in new funding for farmers added to the GST tax cut, which is a measure that will benefit all Canadians.
When loggers in places like Madawaska, Palmer Rapids and Deux-Rivières replace a piece of equipment, they will have the benefit of a reduced GST. They will have the benefit of the new federal government that negotiated an agreement to end the softwood lumber dispute. This dispute created much hardship for the loggers and their families who work in the forest industry. It was time for leadership and our Prime Minister delivered.
On July 1, working Canadians, like the farmers and foresters in my riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, will pay less tax thanks to a brand new $1,000 Canada employment credit. The new $1,000 credit, in addition to the $500 deduction for the cost of tools tradespeople are required to purchase to work their trades, will benefit all working Canadians.
I know the mechanics I rely on at Butler Chev-Olds as well as those at Rick Voskamp's local Suzuki dealership will appreciate that tax credit, as will all tradespeople in my riding who are required to purchase tools as a condition of employment. The families of those same tradespeople will appreciate the recognition our new government places on the work they do. If their children decide to follow their parents' footsteps into the trades, our new Conservative government is there to assist with help for apprentices themselves as well as the people providing the apprenticeships.
Our help for families with children is not limited to the trades.
Not only is our Conservative government eliminating federal income tax on all income from scholarships, bursaries and fellowships, a new textbook tax credit will assist students in purchasing the textbooks they need to study. This is being done at the same time we are expanding eligibility for the Canada student loan program.
While these measures assist families with children as they prepare to leave the nest, our new Conservative government has focused on the priority of assisting Canadians with young children with a plan that respects parents and the fact that like every child, every household is unique.
On July 1 of this year, not three or four years from now or never as the case used to be under the old government, the new Conservative universal child care benefit will provide all families with $1,200 per year for each child under six. In addition to trusting parents to make their own choices, when it comes to child care, the new Conservative government will allocate $250 million to create real child care spaces and develop a plan that actually provides the spaces. This second point is very important when one looks at what has happened in the province of Ontario.
In my riding of Renfrew--Nipissing--Pembroke, in the case of child care, this program has been downloaded to the County of Renfrew by the Ontario government. In order to access the dollars that are offered by the province, the County of Renfrew is being asked to cost-share on an 80:20 split for child care funding. The federal government allocates 100% to the Province of Ontario, which in turn directs it to the municipalities that are expected to deliver the program.
As the Consolidated Municipal Service Manager, CMSM, for child care services, the County of Renfrew is expected to make up any funding shortfall through its already overburdened and overtaxed municipal property tax base. This is not feasible. With some of the highest property tax rates in the Province of Ontario, the County of Renfrew chose to opt out of those child care programs because it recognized that its taxpayers could not afford to subsidize through their property taxes. The 20% cut that the province was taking was going to have to be made up by the everyday taxpayers of Renfrew county.
By targeting child care spaces in businesses and community organizations that require assistance, spaces will actually be created by our new Conservative government. This directs the child care where it is needed, without creating financial hardship on individuals on fixed incomes who are struggling to pay high property taxes. The additional burden on the CMSMs in Ontario results in the conflict of social services versus cuts to basic services like fixing potholes in roads. Shuffling funds between levels of government does not create child care spaces.
I briefly wish to touch upon the plight of older workers and the need to respond to those situations where older workers, through no fault of their own, find themselves facing unemployment.
Recently it was announced by Smurfit-MBI that its Pembroke plant would be closing, throwing 139 employees out of work. I want to assure the employees at Smurfit-MBI that it is a priority of myself and the new Conservative government, as identified in the budget, to assist them so they are able to continue to contribute their talents and experience in gainful employment.
In the brief time allotted to me to speak on behalf of these residents, I focused on the benefits that our first budget provided to all Canadians.
We recognize that it is the middle class in our country who pay the bulk of the taxes, so it should be the middle class who should first see the benefits of a government committed to the tax cuts to improve their quality of life.
Mrs. Cheryl Gallant: Mr. Speaker, the new Conservative government tried and succeeded in providing broad-based tax benefits to all Canadians.


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