News from British and Canadian Conservatives

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Time to stop fighting America’s wars

So much for the special relationship between Britain and the US.  After years of laying down British lives in Iraq and Afghanistan, isn’t it time for some support back from the States?  Yet Obama doesn’t even feel able to offer words of support when the Argies try to blockade British territory in the south Atlantic.  Instead, he declares his country to be neutral.

It was understandable when the Marxist Venezuelan dictator, Hugo Chavez, declared his support for Argentina.  He has never shown any interest in democracy, so I wouldn’t expect him to give a damn about the opinions of Falkland Islanders, who don’t want to be taken over by a corrupt Argentine regime.  Whilst Obama may share his Marxist ideals with Chavez, one would have hoped that the leader of the Free World would have had some regard for democracy.

Sadly not.

Join Keep the Falklands British on Facebook

h/t Telegraph blogs

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Prorogation: Lee Richardson’s view

Lee_Richardson At today’s AGM of the Calgary Centre Conservative Electoral District Association, Lee Richardson defended the decision to prorogue Parliament.  The decision has proven controversial, and has been blamed for the drop in Conservative support in recent opinion polls.  I have to admit that I was none to keen on the decision, it being an alien concept to me given that it never happens back in the UK.  However, I certainly thought that Lee made a good case.

In summary, he said that it was quite normal for Parliament to return from the Christmas break towards the end of January, and that it normally rises for the Olympics, when attention is elsewhere.  That would have left only two weeks between restarting Parliament, before then closing it again and it would have been impossible to do anything in that time.  Instead, the Government has been able to spend time talking to Canadians across the country.  Normally, MPs are able to spend a considerable amount of time in their constituencies, talking to the general public, but that has been difficult in a hung parliament, which has required MPs to spend more time in Ottawa in case a tight vote arises at short notice.

Meanwhile, prorogation is not an unusual situation in Canadian democracy.  Parliament has been prorogued 105 times since Confederation, with the average duration of a session standing at 122 days.  The last Parliamentary session was actually longer than average, at 138 days.

Finally, there was the difference between adjourning and proroguing.  The former involves suspending a Parliamentary sessions, whereas the latter ends the session.  The advantages of the latter are twofold.   Firstly, it saves taxpayers’ money.  When Parliament is adjourned, the committee chairmen continue to receive their allowances.  In a prorogued parliament, there are no committees, so no chairmen to pay.  Secondly, prorogation resets the committees.  That means that the new committees in the Senate will reflect the new balance of power, meaning that the Liberals will lose their inbuilt majorities and the associated opportunity to filibuster.

It’s worth noting that the legislation that was not passed before the prorogation will not be lost.  A simple vote of the House of Commons can restore the Bills to their pre-prorogation status and pass them onto the Senate to debate.

That all being said, the CPC really needs to improve its PR operation.  The Opposition got a real jump on the government in the propaganda war on this one.  It’s time to learn from those mistakes, or we’ll never see a Conservative majority government in Canada.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The free trade area that isn’t

The European Union makes much of its position as the world’s largest single market.  Europhiles decry British Eurosceptics as “Little Englanders” determines to cling to the Britain of old in the face of inevitable progress.  They simply can’t comprehend any other reason why we might object to handing our hard-earned freedom and national sovereignty to an unelected regime in Brussels.

Well, maybe the 2010 Index of Economic Freedom will clear things up.  The second free-est nation in Europe is Switzerland.  That oasis of independence in a sea of EU-induced bureaucracy, which continues to hold out hope that Britain may one day enjoy an independent future once more.

Most startlingly, one area that EU states fall down is freedom of trade!  That great trading block that developed out of the European Economic Community, aka the Common Market, restricts international trade more than independence loving Switzerland.

So, can I once again point out to the Europhiles, that they are the inward looking (if not backward looking) ones, while those of us they decry as Little Englanders are often freedom-loving internationalists.  Why else do they think that so many Brits now emigrate to Canada (7th free-est) and Australia (3rd free-est)?  Canadian trade regulations are amongst the least restrictive in the world, and it’s no accident that the Canadian economy is also amongst the world’s strongest.

Pauline Hanson is in for a shock!

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wildrose Alliance publish alternative budget

Danielle Smith and the Wildrose Alliance have published their alternative budget proposals, designed to eliminate Alberta's deficit within two years and reduce this year's funding shortfall by two thirds. A key theme is reducing the cost of government bureacracy, by shrinking Alberta's bloated cabinet by almost two thirds and shrinking the Civil Service management through natural wastage. Beyond that, a lot of the savings come from proposals to delay capital projects until the economy recovers and keeping a tighter reign on health budgets. Alberta already spends more per capita on health than any other province, and this year's budget allocates an astonishing 13.7% increase.

It's about time that this "Conservative" province had a fiscally conservative agenda. Ed Stelmach has fallen for the old Socialist dream - see a problem and throw money at it. Reality check Alberta PCs; all you're doing is making the problem more expensive.

The Wildrose proposals in full:

WILDROSE CAUCUS

2010-2011 DEFICIT REDUCTION OVERVIEW

Although Albertans expect their elected representatives to protect frontline social programs (health, education, PDD) while providing critical public infrastructure, they also expect their government to responsibly protect the Alberta Advantage, live within their means and prioritize needs before wants.

Erasing the $7.55 billion cash deficit in one year is not practically possible without heavy cuts, however, the Wildrose Alliance Caucus believes the PC government can cut this cash deficit by approximately $4.668 billion to roughly $2.882 billion by implementing the following spending adjustments:

  • Spread the $20.1 billion capital budget over 4.5 years rather than three years. This yields a budgetary savings of nearly $2.79 billion in 2010 alone.
  • Increase Health and Education operational spending in line with inflation plus population growth (3.5%) rather than the astounding Budget 2010 increases of 13.7% (Health) and 4.6% (Education). This would yield $1.33 billion in savings for 2010 and still provide significant investments in these two areas.
  • Delay the Green TRIP mass transit initiative until economic conditions improve for savings totalling $70 million.
  • Cancel the wasteful and unproven $2 billion Carbon Capture and Storage experiment saving Albertans $100 million this year.
  • Eliminate Alberta's Venture Capital Fund. Government should not be allocating funds to private business ventures. This would return $100 million to the balance sheet in 2010.
  • Cut corporate subsidies for product commercialization. The government has no business being in business. This would save Albertans an additional $110 million in Budget 2010.
  • Terminate the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency. Marketing beef is a role for private farmers, agricultural marketing organizations and private business, not the Government of Alberta. This correction will save roughly $50 million in 2010.
  • Reduce the size of cabinet from 23 to 16 by combining, among others, Infrastructure with Transportation, Treasury Board with Finance and Enterprise, and Municipal Affairs with Housing and Urban Affairs. This will save Albertans approximately $44 million.
  • End the direct subsidization of horse racing, saving $25 million per year.
  • Through retirement and natural attrition, increase the Government's worker to manager ratio from 4:1 to 12:1 (the ratio in the private sector is about 25:1). This will save Albertans approximately $35 million this year alone.
  • Cut the Government's communications (public affairs) budget in half saving $7 million.
  • Significantly reduce spending in the Premier's Office and end Alberta's wasteful 'rebranding initiative' and save $7 million this year alone.

PC Government's Real Cash Deficit........$7.550 billion
Total Wildrose Alliance deficit savings.....$4.668 billion
Revised Cash Deficit.............................$2.882 billion

These proposed adjustments would not cut the government services Albertans deem most important, such as health care, education, PDD, seniors or public security. They would simply limit their departmental increases to the rate of inflation plus population growth. More importantly, they would reduce our province's real cash deficit from a staggering $7.55 billion to a much more manageable $2.882 billion (a roughly 62% decrease in the real cash deficit) making it possible to eliminate this deficit by next year.

The PC Government, even if all their rose-colored projections pan out, will keep Alberta in a cash deficit position well past 2012 (contrary to their claims of being back in the black by that time).

Monday, February 01, 2010

Shepway Lib Dems rewriting history once again

So, Shepway Lib Dems claim that they "have consistently pushed to keep Folkestone Council Tax down." A case of selective amnesia, it would seem. For most of my time as a Folkestone Councillor, we were constantly fighting against the Liberal urge to raise taxes. In 2005, they pushed through a massive increase, well in excess of 100%, against Conservative objections and counter-proposals.

As we predicted, much of the 2005-2006 budget went unspent. Yet, the Lib Dems once agains pushed through an inflation-busting increase in 2006, against Conservative calls for a tax freeze or reduction.

The subsequent tax freezes between 2007 and the present, and the currently proposed tax cut prove one thing and one thing alone. Shepway Lib Dems got their sums wrong. Yet again. For years, Folkestone Town Council has been over taxing Folkestone's residents. Having finally admitted their past mistakes, Shepway's Lib Dems have the nerve to seek credit. The golden rule of politics is to never trust a Liberal. I'm sure that the people of Folkestone and Hythe will remember it in this year's General Election.