Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Canadian Election

Here is a list of some of the things I would like to see the Tories them get done. Let me know if there are any problems with it, and if there is anything I left off! I know there are several things I didn't even cover, but this is a start!

This post was originally a comment on the self styled "Conservative Blog of Canada". Like all political blogs, its not worth the read, normally, but it had a list of things the guy would like to see. Like "a job for everybody" Yeah, pretty lame. I think I can do better. And today, a person I greatly respect suggested that she would not vote for the conservative party because Stephen Harper is "Bush's Lapdog" and "he is a cyborg". Yeah..not very helpful.

Actually, this is a repeat of a blog entry I made about a year ago. And you know, I don't think there has been much change, or progress on these issues. If anybody is reading this, and is planning to vote in a Canadian Election, why not print it out and ask your local candidates where they stand? I guess it would be too much to ask to get some of these ideas implimented in a Private Member's Bill. I don't think any of them are particularly "conservative" ideas... I would personally vote for anybody who would bring in any two items on the list below whether they were NDP, Green, Tory, or Grit!

1) Give farmers an even playing field. Remember, no farmers, no food, no future. Wean them off potentially volatile foreign markets. We have an excellent Central Experimental Farm which created rust resistant Red Fife wheat, and the best dairy cows in the world. Why is the funding to the CEF being cut every year?

2) Increase the number and training of food testing inspectors, and create a Canadian FDA. Health Canada seems unable to cope with the Walkertons and listeriosis outbreaks, and I see that the drugstores are still filled with countless preparations that are worse than useless.

3) Demand that home building contractors have at least a provincial and possibly a federal license to be able to enter a job site and that they post a bond to ensure responsibility. Fly by night roofers and chimney repair men are a bane on the industry.

4) Create a regulatory board which works WITH the unions to ensure that homeowners don't have to call in Mike Holms to fix their deck. (They do that now with electrical and gas...) It should be the same for anything which requires a permit to build. Which is of course, anything.

5) Change the building code to require better insulation, site orientation, ventilation and fire resistance. (U of Manitoba standards, the R2000 house at a minimum!) Why are we still building crappola houses that waste energy, last for only 20 years and selling them at record high prices? Why are people dying in fires? Don't we know how to build a house that doesn't burn?

6) Build a better and more complete Codis, Afis, and firearms data base with serious safeguards against unauthorized hacking. If you can't use the firearms registry to prevent crimes, than scrap it. (Well late breaking news is that they DID that, sort of. It still exists, it is just not being expanded at the ridiculous rate it was a few years ago. ...the discovery that the firearms registry cost more than the police budget of Montreal, Toronto and Vancover combined seems to have sunk home.) This is a very contentious issue, read the above statement again carefully...IF you CAN'T use it to PREVENT crimes, then scrap it. If you just want it for SOLVING crimes, then put the money into Codis and Afis data bases and a decent reward for information system....basically more police officers, and less computer one-upmanship. I have an awesome story around here somewhere about an abducted child found after fifteen years due to a random job related fingerprint many more good news stories would there be if we had a better AFIS system. Then there is the chronically underfunded Criminal Profile Data Base which could have prevented the Killer Karla and Pretty Paul Bernardo murders if the cops had the resources to hire some kid to fill out the data forms.
Then we would need to deal with some human rights issues regarding all those can be resolved, again, without spending a billion dollars on a failed data base.

(Personally I would like to see the banning and destruction of all short arms, yes including including patrol police. Then arm the patrolmen with seriously good shotguns, not cheap modified hunting guns. Then anybody with a pistol is "automatically" charged with carrying a prohibited weapon. Contentious idea, I know but stats don't lie, other countries have done this surprising thing with excellent results. Again, I didn't say disarm our police, rather I am saying, arm them with better stuff than pistols. And even WITH the uproar about tasers, tasers are STILL better than shooting a raving crackhead dead in the street! But I don't expect this idea to fly very far! Grin! In my previous blog entry, a reader asked me if I was on crack to think of such an reality, it would solve a lot of problems (10% of police injured with firearms are injured with their own guns, 30% of school shootings are done with daddys don't think that is significant? And I have the studies to back up a really whacko idea like this!)

7) Bring in federal initiatives to get cookie cutter (read economy of scale cheaper) environmentally sound small scale ethanol or biodiesel plants spaced all around the country. Owned and operated by municipalities who will get the profits that they can use for local initiatives. Use the same model as water purification plants.
I think it is too draconian to pass laws demanding oil companies MUST install 70% ethanol pumps, the way Brazil did, however if they drop the federal tax on such fuel, market demand will do the rest. The feds have a unique opportunity to control such initiatives by adjusting the tax rate on the desired products.

8) Re-vitalize the railroads. Increase ridership. Use a fraction of the money we spend on building roads to create more light rail. Better advertising, better marketing. Less corporate welfare, smarter rides (say, smaller trains similar to subway trains running more often between cities? Just an idea. How about high speed trains across the prairies? I know...we would all like to see moving sidewalks between Toronto and Montreal, but I am trying to keep these suggestions in the real world. (If you can call the Concervative caucus the "real world"....ha ha!) But there is no reason why you could not have a roll on-roll off train which would ferry you in your car from Toronto to Vancover departing every hour on the hour. Or your company's tractor trailer! Oh heck, how about roll on roll off from Orleans to centre of Ottawa? The subsidy to provide such a service would be a lot less than creating an extra lane on the Queensway! Note the savings potential on greenhouse gas, improved traffic on existing roads, gasoline savings, and wear and tear on automobiles. The reduction in loss of life on the highways. And if that doesn't work, then make all other downtown roads into toll roads. Hey, they did it in Trondheim and London!

9) Reduce the tax burden on small business, and make grants and subsidies available for small business to start up, and more importantly, suceed against the drag of paperwork, taxes, and municipal bureaucracy. Remember, small business (under 10 employees) accounts for more than 80% of the economy. Why kill that golden egg laying goose with paperwork.

10) Demand to all provinces that they issue driver's licences that have a box to be checked if the owner does NOT want his organs to be used in a transplant in the event of a death. In this day and age of the internet, I would love to see a web site where a doctor could key in your driver's license number, and read the living will you left on file back when you got your licence. This would probably be a provincial thing but it could be driven by federal funding. I mean, really, a searchable web page? How expensive is that?

11) Increased border patroling, particularly on the East Coast to stop drug smuggling. There is so much of it going on, and so much getting through, that it is a national disgrace. The North has the "Canadian Rangers". A good initiative, but hardly professionals. There are barely enough of them to be listening posts. We need bases up there. Now! There are 6 bases in Ottawa (why? anybody going to attack Ottawa?) , and none on Baffin Island. Well, its cold up there, so why put a base up there? Well, as global warming takes its course, the North will become a more viable route for people, drugs, and foreign nationals looking to stake claims in the arctic. Right now, we have a dispute with Denmark over territory they claim which belongs to us. France is claiming the bulk of the offshore oil fields on the strength of two little islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The US is claiming that they can hammer through our sea ice with great "Manhattan" ice breakers carrying potentially ecologically catastrophic oil.
Its time we started caring about our territory, or we will simply lose it. On a related note, is there any way to prevent China from buying up ALL of our iron, lumber, sulphur, nickel and hardwood?

12) Speaking of national there some way to get rid of that seal hunt? It takes in, what, the same as a medium sized MacDonalds'restaurant every year? Can we not find some gainful employment for seal hunters besides risking their lives on the ice for f-all? I know...none of anybody's business but our own, but still, it makes us look bad. We sped hundreds of times more than what the seal fishery is worth to "improve our image abroad". How about doing it for real instead of doing it with hype?

13) A national federally funded mental health facility to
a) take the pressure off the provinces, and
b) to come up with ways to treat mental illnesses effectively. Like what for instance? about.... A centralized data base where medical records can be kept (again, with serious controls against unauthorized access or tampering) to deal with footloose street people. Associated with that would be doubling the number of mental health case workers on the "front lines". Don't think we need it? Drop into your local court house Monday morning around 7AM, and tell me again we don't need more case workers. We really need laws to demand that people who are precribed psychoactive drugs MUST take them under supervision, and we need to provide the supervision, no matter what the cost. In other words, you go off your meds, you go back to jail. (We could call it the Brian Smith law, or maybe the female astronaut law!) There MUST be some way to ensure a pschychotic will take his meds, even if he decides to move to Calgary or Vancover. An RFID comes to mind, but I know that conjures up images of 1984.

14) Federal laws against phishing and identity theft. You know, there are none right now! And it is getting to be a problem. There is a good reason why Montreal is the world centre for telemarketing fraud. Nobody cares but us voters....

15) Federal monitoring and licencing of pharmaceudical products and drug marketing agencies to ensure that inferior product is not shipped to other countries. Not that there is inferior products, but THEY say there is. ("They" being protectionist regimes who are scared of the low prices of our quality meds!).

16)Increase the number of inspectors at container ports to watch for contraband. If Canada customs has to go through my socks when I come back from Columbia, then they should go through a container I have delivered to my house! Yet the VAST majority never get xrayed, or inspected. But Mr. Jones comes across with an extra bottle of whisky...OMG! would require a lot more inspectors. And here is an idea, lets NOT just hire the local Mafia like they did in New York!

17) Require all auto manufacturers to add armour plates to the inside of doors of cars to prevent theft. Also, required anti theft devices to be built into all vehicles. With cell phones costing less than a saw buck, every car should have one installed somewhere as standard equipment. There are too many to list here, but I rather like LoJack. Too many vehicles are stolen, broken up, or shipped off shore to ignore, yet as long as the insurance agencies are allowed to increase their premiums to cover their losses, then why should they care. And how about that five mile an hour bumber which used to be on every car during the 90's? Did they HAVE to cave into the auto body repair lobby? Have you seen what a 5mph bump into the back of a minivan costs to repair, and how much your insurance will rise as a result? Its disgusting!

18) Insurance reform....see above....but apply it to everything from auto body repair to roofers. Doctors have to get malpractice insurance, yet contractors are merely "encouraged" to take out insurance against shoddy workmanship, there is no real requirement.

There. This is a start. Seventeen ideas which if implemented I would vote for that party, no matter WHAT party it is.

And I dunno Bill, Cara and justagirl, any of these applicable to YOUR countries race for the leadership?


Buffalo said...

If I were Canadian I would disagree with you on several points. But I'm not Canadian. I still disagree, but I don't have a hound in the hunt.

STAG said...

I suspect you have problems with data bases.

So do I. They are expensive, difficult to maintain and monitor effectively, and can result in some dangerous limitiations on personal freedom.

The banks keep a data base on your credit rating....which can screw you just as quickly as any government. There are dozens of others....from library card data to Costco memberships to browser habits that can sometimes startle you. Generally these data bases are not a problem. Generally.

I would like to see a service that one could subscribe to which would monitor such data bases and ensure they are remaining unhacked, accurate, timely, and are used for the purposes they are intended for.
Its the way of the future, and therefore should be dealt with now, before there are many MORE problems.

justagirl said...

I admit I know nothing about Canadian politics. I read these suggestions with great interest, though. I wonder whether a Canadian FDA would run things better than the American FDA, which has been rendered useless by big money (like everything else). Interesting about arming the police with shotguns, too. How would you go about making sure they don’t get into the hands of people who aren’t supposed to have them? Would there be an industry solely devoted to manufacturing police shotguns? How would they be distinguished from other shotguns? I am all in favor of using tasers, for the very reasons you mentioned. NO, NO, NO on ethanol. It is causing widespread famine all over the world. Whoever came up with using food for fuel ought to be shot (with tasers, of course, grin).

I’d be curious to know what you and other Canadians think about our current election. Who would you vote for if you were American?

STAG said...

My reasons for not liking handguns are based on extensive experience. Anything stupid involving firearms I witnessed during my 20 year military career and time as a range safety officer always involved a pistol. An injured co-worker in the military who let off a round by accident in the guard shack, a dead friend of a friend who was shot with his own gun, and witnessing any number of stupid and potentially lethal events on the range I ran for three years. A "long gun", like a shotgun is less likely to be pointed at other people by accident, and is less likely to injure anybody in the next room when it is discharged. It is a lot more difficult to conceal, and it is a lot harder to take off a policeman than a pistol. We have to teach our police to fight with one hand, the other holding the pistol down into its holster. How dumb is that?
Note that I didn't suggest anywhere that we should take shotguns out of the hands of the general population, just the sneaky, inaccurate, annoying, good for nothing but gangsta bangin pistols.
I spent years developing an "eye" for shooting the blessed things, and so I have lots of experience...and in my educated opinion, I think that a shotgun, taser, pepper spray, rifle, working radio are superior to the ubiquitous .38 that is more likely to hit the bystander or your fellow officer than the perp!

Ethanol around here is going to be made from straw and sawdust by Iogen corporation. Corn is only a stop gap measure.

Canadians, unlike Americans, can't vote for a leader of a party...we can only vote for the member of parliament in our riding. But if I suddenly discovered that I had dual citizenship and "could" vote, I suppose I would have to ask which party or individual has done the most for me and my family.

If I lived in Dayton, I would ask which party was prepared to help the auto industry in Dayton to recover or rebuild...and exactly HOW do they plan to do that? But perhaps some would prefer to cast their vote based on their perception of foreign policy, or jobs, or the influx of illegal workers, or whatever. That would be a bigger picture...

I fear that your presidential/electoral college system would make it difficult to push up those grass roots. I note that election campaigns I have witnessed on US TV seem to be long on "belief systems" and short on specifics, whereas Canadian election campaigns seem to be much worse, in that they are short on belief systems and even shorter on specifics. Just an observation...grin!

But then, as Buffalo says...I don't have a hound in the hunt, so it hardly matters what I think!

justagirl said...

“If I lived in Dayton, I would ask which party was prepared to help the auto industry in Dayton to recover or rebuild...and exactly HOW do they plan to do that?”

That alone makes the decision very easy, and also ties into the ethanol discussion. I have studied both of our candidates’ energy plans, and only Obama has the foresight to understand that the time for talking about renewable energy is over. We’ve talked it for 40 years. It’s time to act. He invests in companies that invest in solar, wind, and hydro technology, thereby not only breaking our dependence on oil but also creating jobs of the future. McCain does not allocate a single dollar to renewable energy. His idea of alternative energy is clean coal, which is a complete oxymoron. The only people who are pushing for clean coal are the coal miners. I’m VERY glad to hear Canadian ethanol is produced from sawdust and straw.

I think the electoral college system is broken…well, obviously, based on our last 2 elections! But it’s the system our founding fathers gave us. Shrug.

STAG said...