Sorry for the politics people … but some things just really rub me the wrong way. Premier Ralph Klein of Alberta is threatening to pull from our “equalization payment” system due to his desire to hold onto the $$ from “their” resources. Alberta … a powerhouse in todays Canadian economy … has been really pushing a higher-than-though attitude of late. Sure … right now they have it good at the moment. Oil is doing well and the northern tar sands has placed Canada into 2nd largest oil producer in the world. But that does not make them and independent member of our family … but more just makes them sound like a adolescent child searching for their place in the world.

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Bush arrested

This just in … Canada charges president for war crimes!

The article was absolutely hilarious …

… protester justified Bush’s arrest with a hypothetical analogy. “Let’s say I heard that my ex-convict neighbor is stockpiling weapons in his apartment. I call the police but they don’t act swiftly enough. So, in order to protect my family from this threat, I take matters into my own hand and break into my neighbor’s home while torturing and killing members of his family. Of course, I do not find any weapons.”
“If justice is to be served, regardless if my claims had proven true, I would be thrown in jail forever for acting like an insane, murdering, vigilante cowboy. All we ask is that George W. Bush – who did the same exact thing in Iraqi on a larger, more horrifying scale – be likewise held accountable.”

But by the time I really thought about it the site was already down (DUH!) … however, I did manage to find a cached version on Google and saved a PDF version for everyone.
Another spoof along these lines can be found here.
— Now, we all know that Bush left Canada just fine after a relatively successful visit. Canada is stepping up a bit and asserting itself as a nation a little more (good to see) … but this is definitely the first step to thaw the chilled border, something I believe is important to both countries. [But … you have to love the humor that ensues]

Election Day

Cover the of The Economist, thought it was a great cover
It is once again the peoples chance to vote down here in the U.S. of A. At time the everyone gets a say in how the country will spend the next four years. And it looks to be shaping up like another great election … well, at least entertaining from the side lines. The problem is these elections effect everyone … globally … just ask those folks in Iraq. Thus this is something the global community is watching with a very close eye.
What frustrates me the most is that if the world actually “had” a say I don’t feel it would be very favourable for the current president. Now what United States citizens should be asking themselves is why? With the world in such strong and united support of the states after September 9, 2001 … how was it that public opinion dropped so fast. What it comes down to is respect. Respect for citizens of the world. Respect for the cultures of the world. Respect for differing opinions.
Yes, the President is concerned with internal affairs such as the taxes, education, and jobs. But being what they like to call “the leader of the free world” means that you must take the “free world” into account every time you act on the international scene. It means that organizations such at the U.N. and the World Court need to be treated with respect. They are the voice of that “free world” and if you want to be a leader in it then you have to listen to what they are saying. That does not mean that you have to agree and it sometimes means acting without their support. However, you better respect their opinions and have very good reasons for acting against their wishes.
As for the internal affairs of the country … that I feel a little less able to speak on. Yes, I live here. Yes, I pay taxes. Yes, their decisions effect me and my friends. However, I am not a citizen and if I don’t like it … I can move.
So President Bush … Senator Kerry, good luck to both heading into the polls. The next fews hours and days should prove to be interesting.

The people have spoken

Snapshot of the CBC page
So … the Canadian people cast their ballots and selected the first minority government since 1979. And the situation is even more volatile since no two parties can unite to create a majority (Liberals and NDP are still one seat short). What does this mean? How did it happen?
First, a little background for the American readers. The Canadian election suffered the fate of “3-level” world news on behind “Karzai: Send NATO troops now” and “Chirac chides Bush over Turkey”. Anyways …
Canada is split into 308 electoral districts (ridings) that span the country. Each of these electoral districts select a representative, Member of Parliament (MP), to sit in the “house” (House of Commons). And the full 308 MPs make up parliament and the government, so a single party (there are 4 major parties – down from 5 in the last election) must obtain at least 155 seats to claim a majority government – which means that any laws that are presented by the governing body (party the won the most seats) can be passed. Keeping in mind that each MP is suppose to vote based on the opinions of their represented region – and not necessarily on the party (yea right!). If the governing party Proposals a law that gets voted down they are suppose to call an election … which now brings us to the fun of minority governments.
This time the Liberals (think Democrates) only won 135 seats, the Conservatives (think Republican) took 99 seats, the NDP (think Communist) took 19, and the BQ (read Quebec separatists) took 54 – there was also one independent that took a riding in Surrey, BC. So … it will take at least 3 parties to produce the required 155 seats, and really the Liberals and NDP are the closest in ideology (Liberals are left-center with the NDP way out left) and combined with the independent could form the balance of power — either way expect another election within 2 years.
Now why? Well, this is pretty simple. – note: personal opinions ahead – The NDP have held an important place in Canadian history and even today ground us in some of the things we hold as representative of Canada. However, socialist governments do not work – they lead to a society of people that depend solely on the government. They don’t reward people for working hard since everyone is equal, seniority always wins – hard work/better qualifications are discounted. When they have entered power their few positive changes are smudged with problems. They have sent both provincial and federal governments into huge fiscal problems by borrowing without concern for the future. They are strong union supporters which sends businesses packing. Their positives of ‘medicare’ and social assistance programs have trouble funding themselves. Thus … they get only a few seats federally and typically in areas where current economics are struggling.
The Conservatives are too right for most Canadians. They tend to fill their ranks with more religious candidates and are less open to change. While they have several ideas that fit with my own (reform welfare to a temporary crutch rather than a paycheck, promote more privatization to give choice to the people, and reform the military taking us into the new century). However, they are also against things like gay marriages (just make civil unions legal and leave “marriage” to the churches) and tend not to be a ‘liberal’ as I would like.
So … then the Liberals. They have won the last 3 elections, guess now 4, and hold more of the popular ideals. However, I personally have been frustrated with their lack of ‘official’ stance on several topics – always opting to sit on the fence. Combine that with the scandals that have emerged as the previous PM left office and you find that while they may have managed to balance the budget – they are wasting money while not providing new equipment to the military or funding health care … Canadians don’t like that.
Therefore, I did not know where my vote would have stood – and I think a lot of Canadians felt the same way. Those who are a little right saw the Liberals leaning left and voted Conservative … those not happy with the health care commitments voted NDP … Quebec, still want their voice heard as an independent society voted BQ … and everyone else stuck with the Liberals hoping that a change in leadership recently will lead to changes down the road.
In the end, keep the pencils sharpened …