Weekly Highlights from our Conservative Overlords

Weekly Highlights from our Conservative Overlords

Monday, January 27, 2014

Mandatory Exploding Israeli Train Taxes - Week 143 - Jan 20-27

Stephen Harper has fully, truly, completely gone off the deep end with his Israel policy.  He has officially stated, in front of the Knesset, that Canada will never criticize Israel in public.  Full stop.  No ifs, ands, buts.  The hardliner, crazy faction within Israel will thing this gives them the right to do whatever they want, if they have support like this.  An Arab-Israeli Member of the Knesset explains exactly why Stephen Harper is a short-sighted buffoon.  You know you're doing it wrong when Sarah Palin is on your side.

Another judge has decided that mandatory minimum sentencing doesn't work.  "Cruel and unusual", even.

Even more library insanity, this time with Health Canada.  This story outlines terrible service from the 3rd Party delivery team, rogue unsanctioned libraries and government employees seeking information from industry and universities, all because the Conservatives are breaking the government library system.  As well, the Canada Centre for Inland Waters has been losing scientists and facing cuts.

This Tyee article outlines the type of abuse temporary foreign workers face when they come to Canada.  Insane fees to recruiting companies.  Excessive living allowances.  Etc.  Seems like it should be pretty easy for government to prevent this - don't grant permits to any person or company found guilty of infractions.

This is how it should work.  Government should have independent scientists and Engineers who determine the best, safest way to do things and they then require it from Industry.  Hell, Industry should pay the government for those scientists and engineers to do their oversight.  Anyhow, the Transportation Safety Board has recommendations for how to haul oil by rail.  We'll see what happens now.  Because even though these are TSB recommendations, apparently it's not even a done deal on the TSB's side as the Minister has to think about it.

The Globe has a story about ad spending, pointing out that the "Economic Action Plan" ended a few years ago.

The National Post tells the story of Conservative MP Mark Adler scrambling to get closer to the PM for a photo op in Israel.  Of course he insists that it was all just a really funny joke on his part.

A breakdown of how delusional and dishonest the Conservatives can be.  They raked the NDP over the coals for proposing an "iPod tax", and then introduced one themselves...while insisting it doesn't exist.

Holy shit!  I actually agree with part of what Rob Anders said!  I agree that "rape" has a more devastating connotation than "sexual assault", and it can make the crime sound less devestating.  But perhaps that change in language will further stigmatize victims?  That's the only negative I can see.  I'm open to hearing the other side of the argument here.

This does not paint a very pretty picture of Afghanistan and Canada's role in it.

When push comes to shove, Chuck Strahl does the right thing...and quits the crappy government job to become a high paid lobbyist.  Of course, being the good Conservative that he is he didn't do anything wrong and it's all your fault.

More great copyright news.  The Canadian RIAA, or whatever the hell they're calling themselves, want Internet surveillance and control in the name of fighting piracy.  Which sounds pretty awesome.  Especially when you consider stories such as this one, where a movie theater phones the MPAA who then phones ICE who then comes down to the movie theater and forcefully detains somebody watching a movie wearing Google Glass.  Two separate stories, yes.  But this is where we are heading when we create laws and use publically funded law enforcement to support an industry (that just sort of makes shit up about things).

What an interesting country.  The National Post doesn't really seem to have a problem with bigoted comments or stories.  Except when it's bigoted French Canadians.  It feels a bit bad to pile on a couple of narrow-minded fools speaking at the hearings on the Quebec Charter of Values, but here we go.  I'm actually surprised that these people managed to leave their hometown, let alone travel to predominantly muslim countries.

If you thought the National Post comments section was bad, wowzas!  Sun News is like a Conservative infomercial.  I wish I could be that passionate about a politician.  I guess that's half the problem though, isn't it?  Left wingers know things are bad but don't have a pole to rally around.  Righties seem to love bending over backwards to cheerlead their dear leader.

The richest 85 humans on the planet own more than the poorest 50% combined.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Hierarchy of Voter Apathy

I've been asked several times why I bother to do this blog.  And I struggle to find an answer.  But I will get around to formulating a response to this question by the bottom of this post, I promise.

As I was heating my lunch up in the microwave I started thinking about the different levels of voter apathy in Canada (and in any democracy, really).  Let's dive in.

Level 0 - Is unaware that Canada is a democracy and that we have such things as elections.
Level 1 - Has heard of elections, but views "election day" as nothing more than a minor traffic inconvenience around the neighbourhood school, and perhaps a chance to duck out of work an hour early.
Level 2 - Thought about voting once, but hasn't progressed much beyond that.
Level 3 - Votes from time to time, but it is generally a totally uneducated and ill-informed vote brought about by some contentious, high visibility issue, or a taxpayer funded flyer sent out by their MP.
Level 4 - Votes often or always but has no justification for their vote other than "I always vote that way" or "the other guys are going to take away my guns"
Level 5 - Votes and might even recognize the name of a local candidate if it wasn't on a lawn sign or the ballot.  May even watch a debate and gives off the impression that they think about what they're doing.  But don't, really.
Level 6 - Now we're talking.  Votes almost always.  Starting to understand and hold an opinion on most issues.  Capable of an informed discussion on politics.  (Note - Some conscientious vote objectors might start to work their way in here, but I would argue that anybody who doesn't vote because "they're all bad" really doesn't know what's going on)
Level 7 - An informed citizen with ideas and reasons for their vote.  Knows the name of the local candidate and could pick them out of a police line-up if pressed to do so.
Level 8 - Political junkies.  Informed, but starting to drink a bit too much of the Kool-aid.
Level 9 - Quite possibly a member of a political party.  Often parrots talking points.  Beyond help, really.
Level 10 - Under the right circumstances, this person would think about starting a militia or fire-bombing a corporate office.

Level 9 and 10 are probably beyond help.  Level 6,7 and 8 probably don't need help in making up their minds on who to vote for.  It's everybody below that that is contributing to our problem.

So my idea, and the idea of this blog, is to start kicking the bottom feeders up the hierarchy.  If we can start convincing the guy who doesn't vote that there's political decisions that are impacting their lives, or forward a story to an ignorant voter that will blow up their regurgitated opinions...well...we might actually start doing something in this country.

Not voting is our biggest problem.  Voting from a position of ignorance is a close second.  So, that is the (new) stated goal of this blog; Trying to kick people up a level or two on the hierarchy of voter apathy.

Shameless Self Promotion - Week 142 - Jan 13-20

Alright people.  I don't ask for much from you.  But if you're reading this thing...man...I need some Facebook likes.  This is just downright embarrassing.  I'll make you a deal.  Like me on Facebook and I'll buy you a beer the next time I'm in your town.  Promise.  God I hate Facebook.  It makes me so needy.

And this people...this is Conservative insanity.  A Conservative MP is raising money to fight against the totally over-reaching, borderline fascist, big brother (Conservative) law to ban incandescent light bulbs.  And funneling the money directly into the Conservative Riding Association.  I wonder though...how many people voted Conservative, will vote Conservative and can't wait for the Conservatives to stick it to those arrogant fat cats that keep screwing us over with all these terrible laws?

Didn't we end up in this predicament largely because the Liberals were funneling advertising money to "Liberal" ad companies?  Yet nothing when ad money is funneled to a Conservative Senators family?

Hold on a minute.  I thought pipelines were safe and Enbridge was a great company?  Then how is it possible that one of their pipelines is leaking?  This is the point I will continue to make.  Even if you really, really, really like pipelines...why would you trust Enbridge to build it for you?

Another "loyalty pledge" from Harper.  In this one, any government watchdog or employee of would be subject to disclosure of any previous political activity.  This is just staggeringly obtuse.  This is some 1930's Germany type shit.

Holy shitballs!  Stephen Harper's entourage in Israel is going to be in the neighbourhood of 150-200 people!  All paid for by the government!  Why would so many people need to go?  Is he flying his limos over as well?  As well, in the lead up to the trip, they're really laying it on thick these days.  Anything less than total support for Israel makes you an anti-Semite in Harperland, it seems.  Don't worry though.  We just have an insane policy for the Middle East because of Stephen Harper's father.  The Conservatives have launched an extra special website to announce Stephen Harper's first official visit to Israel.  My question, if Israel is so special...why has it taken so long to get to the "First Official Visit"?

Some more detail on Chuck Strahl as CSIS Watchdog/Enbridge Lobbyist.

One of the (potentially) key players in the Robocall saga has been granted immunity.  Will we finally find out what happened?

People seem to be lumping in Justin Trudeau's expense issues with a larger "Expenses Scandal".  Because accidentally claiming $600 worth of travel, immediately paying it back and telling everybody about it is pretty much exactly what Mike Duffy did, right?

Shelly Glover, the Heritage Minister, has started shaking down artists for donations.  It's all good though...because...well...because she said so.

This seems to be a new Conservative meme.  "Just end this excruciating hell and make a decision!"  I call it the Del Mastro.  Here, John Baird demands that his personal Keystone XL hell be put out of its misery.  I like that John Kerry basically told him to fuck off.

Stephen Harper holds ethnic specific media briefings where he:
a) Answers questions.
b) Turns somewhat charming.
What a strange world we live in.

Ah, Capitalism...ain't it grand?  Spill a bunch of chemicals, poison a town, declare bankruptcy!

I kind of hesitate to link to this...basically...Canada hasn't contributed "much" to global warming.  What it doesn't account for:
- per capita contribution
- supplying the worst offenders with the means to offend (i.e. oil sands oil, lumber, etc.)
At least Canadians seem to understand that the Conservatives haven't done anything to help the situation.

Conservative plans to celebrate Canada 150 seem to be out of step with what people want.  Their celebration plans tend to focus on war and pre-1950's Canada, while people are more interested in celebrating our multiculturalism and inclusive society.

I think it's pretty funny every time a High School makes a student take off a shirt with a message that they don't appreciate.  Especially since "Got Land?  Thank an Indian." is relatively innocuous.

We've all heard this story to death.  But...Security theater at its best.  An 18 year old kid boards a plane in Edmonton for Mexico.  Forgets that he'd built a pipe bomb with his buddy and left it in his camera bag.  It gets found at the airport, where they try to give it back to him.  Then they let him go on vacation to Mexico, and respond in force with a SWAT team and bomb dogs when he arrives back in the country.  Amazing.  Oh.  He got a $100 fine.  Now imagine if a non-white-guy had done this?  Well, he would have been renditioned somewhere and we'd have never heard the story, I guess.

The Federal Government has agreed to turn over police reports to residential school victims.  It took some work.

Some details on how the secret TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) will allow corporations to sue governments if they pass environmental laws that are "bad for business".  This seems like a really, really terrible thing.

Jason Kenney has collapsed on his requirement to have Province's match job grant money.

Some more on Norweigan oil revenues and why Canada's oil extraction policies are so insanely stupid.  As well, this article points out how much less money is collected on oil revenues, even than in the United States.

I hadn't really been following this Marc Nadon Supreme Court nomination.  Seems to be a bit of a cluster.  I had no idea that this guy didn't really "qualify" in the traditional sense of the word and that the Conservatives changed the law to accommodate him.  This government really loves sticking it to Quebec.

This is kind of funny.  Not one, but two stories about improper Conservative business cards.  Tony Clement ordered gold leaf on his.  And John Baird only has English on his.

Dean Del Mastro's entire family seems to have gotten in on his electoral fraud act.  His cousin was raided last year by Elections Canada.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Used it all up - Week 141 - Jan 6-13

Stephen Harper continues his advertising extravaganza.  $22 Million to sell the oil sands to the world.  Why wouldn't the industry (that makes billions) spend their own money to do this?

There was a Fifth Estate on the Harper war on science.  Mainstream media is catching on.  Check out the insane list of scientific programs cut by Harper.  And on and on it goes.

Can you imagine spending $1.7 Billion on something, and having nothing to show for it?  Stephen Harper proves yet again that his government is absolutely terrible at military procurement.  Replacement of the Sea King helicopters is a shit show.

Norway's oil riches have grown to serious levels.  It's actually hard to wrap your head around.

CSIS/CSEC admits that Canadian citizens have been caught in the crossfire.

Things don't seem to be going much better for Mac Harb.

The Conservative MP for Fort Mac has resigned.  Wonder what sort of gravy train he'll step in to?

The Liberals are wondering why Peter McKay hasn't stepped in to, you know, enforce laws, with the Senate scandal.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

So much stuff! - Week 140.5 - Dec 30 - Jan 8

This is just totally insane.  Chuck Strahl, while still acting in some sort of CSIS oversight role, has registered to lobby on behalf of the Northern Gateway pipeline.  This has so many layers of wrong.
1) He's a government employee.
2) He's a former cabinet minister (isn't he?)
3) His son is an MP
4) CSIS seems to be monitoring environmental groups on behalf of Energy Companies
I mean, bravo Enbridge, but what the fuck?

Stephen Harper has appointed a non-diplomat, super pro-Israel ambassador to Israel.  It sounds like she has knowledge and history in the area, but shouldn't a position like this be held by somebody with a bit more balance?

A Conservative MP seems to have acknowledged the existence of climate change and postulated on its contribution to extreme weather.  A clarifying statement will most likely be issued in a day or two.  In other news, Al Roker comes to the defence of the polar vortex.  It's not actually a fabrication of the left wing climate change zealots.

A Conservative MP attempted to bill taxpayers for his trip to New York to run in the marathon there.  But he's such a good guy he's not going to try to get that money now.  After people freaked out about it.

Senator Bob Ruciman wants to create some sort of magical "no protest" bubble around the Prime Minister.  Because how dare those guys sneak in and try to get the PM's attention when hard working businesspeople paid hundreds of dollars for that privilege!  Steve-O thinks the whole thing is hilarious.

Another train hauling crude oil blew up (in New Brunswick).  If I was more of a conspiracy theorist I would think Enbridge is paying rail companies to blow things up.  Speaking of which, Kitimat is planning on holding a plebiscite to see if there is support for a pipeline.  Not a terrible idea.  Judging by real estate shooting up by 25% there I can imagine what the results might be though.  Unfortunately, many people would sell their souls for a 25% jump in their property value.  As well, oil companies seem very aware that this stuff is explosive.  And the train that exploded in North Dakota was carrying the stuff.

Charlie Angus broke a minor campaign finance law.

Our good buddy Rob Anders is facing a nomination challenge in his home riding.  Again.

An amazing post on car manufacturing standards that is really a lesson in trade barriers.  Very interesting.

The government is delaying it's offshore tax evasion snitch program.

Proof that closing DFO libraries was done for nefarious purposes ("culling of materials") rather than to save costs?  That's what this memo suggests.  I love how this is buried in the "Technology" section of the Province...Harper cutting the budget and jobs in the DFO.  Of course, there's been pushback from the Conservatives...and now pushback on the pushback.  And mainstream news organizations are starting to pick this up.

The War on Piracy is working!  Pirate Bay uploads were up 50% in 2013.

An International survey shows that news of our terrible foreign policies hasn't trickled down yet to common folk across the world.

Seeing as a majority of Canadians didn't vote for the Conservatives, is this really surprising that the majority of Canadians think we're heading in the wrong direction?

France has passed a massive wealth tax on any earnings over a million Euros.  Of course, it will "destroy the economy".  Or at least French football.

A theory on the cause of the UK housing bubble: Policies created in the 80's to prevent building new public housing.
The always amazing Matt Taibbi just wrote the most on-the-nose comment about Tea Party America and, well, right wing politics in general:
"the "movement" was about always about rallying ordinary struggling Americans behind an idealized anti-tax/deregulatory agenda that, in an amazing coincidence, also favored the super-wealthy industrialists who happened to be backing groups like FreedomWorks."

Monday, January 6, 2014

2013 Best Of Canadian Federal Politics

Seeing as 98% of you are new readers and you have no idea who I am or what this is, I’ll give a brief introduction.  This little blog here is my attempt to keep track of all the wonderful things that the Harper Government is doing to this fine country.  I update it once a week and this is my summary of all the terribly awesome things that have happened in the past year.

And who can keep track?  Looking back, this has been a staggeringly awful year for Canadian politics.  Or perhaps it’s been an amazing year?  Who even knows anymore?  Let’s plunge in.  We’ll start with a photo of our dear leader with Justin Bieber, because who doesn't want to see that?

The Senate

Of course you couldn’t read a fortune cookie this year without a mention of the Senate.  Who can make sense of this crazy, crazy debacle?

Am I missing anything?  Oh wait.  The funniest thing about all of this?  After thoroughly hanging Nigel Wright out todry, it comes out that our great leader actually praised Nigel Wright for his help with “ethics” in the foreword to his book about Canadian Hockey.  Which he wrote while sitting as the Prime Minister of our country.

Canada – Stephen Harper’s personal Advertising Agency

One of the perks of getting elected is that you get to spend millions and millions and millions of dollars advertising how great you are in hopes that people vote for you the next time around.  First off, "The Harper Government" has really blown up.  That phrase has shown up on 522 government news releases.  That was back in May though, so I'm sure it's much more than that by now.

Not only that, but Harper has gotten the PMO (an organization which was originally just supposed to plan his day out) to get involved in political mud-sligging.  The Conservatives also pretty consistently use taxpayer funded mailouts to do their partisan dirtywork and seem to routinely place criticism of the opposition on government websites.

Then there's the little annoying ones.  The splashy event, cancelled at the last minute, to celebrate the end of the Long Gun Registry.  Yes, nothing screams "prudent fiscal managers" more than spending a lot of money to cancel an expensive program and then spending more money on a party to celebrate all the waste.  They also decided to scrub references to "Environment Canada" from the Environment Canada website (I think to make room for more Economic Action Plan ads, by the look of it).

But that's just a tiny little amuse bouche leading up to the double fisting, strap on the fat pants, all-you-can-eat buffet of wasteful awfulness.  It's probably impossible to figure out exactly how much this government has spent on totally useless advertising since coming to power.  $548 Million is the best guess here.  Think about that for a minute.  The "fiscally conservative" government in the midst of cutting programs and benefits and environmental protection to "save money", has spent a half billion dollars telling the country how great they are.  I guess you need to do something to keep the 4,000 communications related employees busy.

These ad campaigns are so unbelievably insane.  Honestly, how desensitized are we to these things?
  • Advertising campaigns to convince the USA that we're not a bunch of oil burning knuckle draggers (so that they'll let a private corporation plow a pipeline down the center of their country).  They've spent approx. $40 Million on this
It's just an amazing act of gall to spend this much money blowing smoke up the asses of your own citizens.

Government Spying

Oh sure, America, you have the NSA.  Turns out we’re just as bad.  Not only are we your muckraking minions , like some sort of ill-conceived Hells Angels puppet club, setting up spy-posts in places the USA can't get to.  But we're also helping the USA spy on our friends that we invited to our great big G8/G20 gazebo blowout/Summit.  And it seems like we really learned some things, because then we turned around and started spying on foreign countries (friendly ones) on behalf of Canadian industries.  You have to credit the Harpoids for creating a new way to discredit Glenn Greenwald though – did you know that he’s actually taking money to write these articles?  Gasp.

And more good news.  They're actually looking to fund an organization to continually monitor your social media.  I mean, I'm sure they're already monitoring your social media, but this will be more involved.

Treating People Like Assholes

Did you know that 40% of Canada’s native children live in poverty?  No worries though, because we’re probably just going to throw them in jail when they grow up.  We’re equal opportunity child haters though, as James Moore points out, it’s not his job (or the Federal Government's) to feed his neighbours hungry children.  I mean, who expects help from the government, right?  Speaking of James Moore, I mean...what the Jerry Gergich is going on here?
But it’s not just children and natives that Stephen Harper hates.  He’d also like all the employees of Members of Parliament to sign ongoing, life long, forever inperpetuity, non disclosure agreements.  I mean, nothing screams “transparency” more than ensuring the (taxpayer paid) employees that act out your terrible, terrible plans can never speak to anybody ever about anything.  This isn’t without precedent though.  He tried to get librarians to sign a loyalty pact as well.

This year also saw a cabinet shuffle.  Fresh starts and all that.  Except...our great leader asked the outgoing Ministers to draw up lists of enemies as he hurried out the door.  Nixon would be proud.

We Blew up a Town

Okay, we can't entirely blame the Lac Megantic train explosion on Stephen Harper.  But after that train exploded, we sure talked a lot about preventing exploding trains.  And then another train exploded while we continued to talk about it.

What's awesome is that the amount of oil shipped by rail has gone up by 28,000% since 2009, yet we deregulate, and train companies do things like lobby to use obsolete rail cars.  But why shouldn't we let these companies haul more oil with fewer and fewer regulations.  I mean, the company responsible for Lac Megantic has really stepped up to the plate.  By going bankrupt and by having their license pulled for inadequate 3rd party liability insurance.  Real princes of private enterprise.

Winning the War on Crime

If there is one thing Conservatives are good for, it's being tough on crime.  In fact, this government has been so tough on crime lately that crime has steadily been going down since 1991, a full 15 years before they came to power.  If I've learned anything in my career as an Engineer though it's this: If you see a really positive trend and things are heading in the right direction, start messing with stuff!  Let's look at some graphs (and this is from the National Post!  Who knows what fancy statistics the left wing can dig up)
But of course it's only radicals and criminals that are opposed to this stuff.  People like judges, who are refusing to honor minimum sentencing laws.  Or pointing out that mandatory sentencing laws are unconstitutional.  Or charge criminals the "victims services surcharge".

The judges aren't the only radicals though.  Look at this crazy guy, the Ombudsman for Federal Inmates"More crowded and violent."  "Less successful at rehabilitation."  Yes, the Conservatives war on crime is creating less rehabilitated, more violent criminals.  Who can trust somebody that says things like "You cannot reasonably claim to have a just society with incarceration rates like these. And most troubling, the growth in the custody population appears to be policy, not crime, driven. After all, crime rates are down while incarceration rates grow,"

Another crazy radical not on board: The Parliamentary Budget Officer.  Here, he shows how radical he is by pointing out that most of the costs of all this new legislation will fall to the Provinces (and that crime rates are falling and these expenditures don't make sense).

But what pisses me off the most is just how red-meat-for-the-base all of this stuff is.  Is our countries top priority really stripping terrorists of their citizenship?  Should we focus on keeping the mentally ill in prison for longer, or should we put some money into getting them help?

Dominating the War on Science

This is becoming such a thing, there are actually several roundups (and a book) on all the damage Stephen Harper has done to science in this country.  You may cry a little.

It's getting so bad that scientists are actually starting to march in protest.  Prompting our "Science Minister" to send out fundraising letters to combat "radical ideologue" scientist.

Not all science is bad though.  When you can re-purpose a Federal Research Organization (The NRC) to do science on behalf of industry, that's good science!  When you can just sort of make some shit up about polar bears to forward your climate change denying ideals, that's good science!  When you can use "science" to determine when life begins, that's good science!

Unfortunately, most science in Canada is bad science, and needs to be scrapped.  Research into the effect of lead bullets and shot?  Scrap it!  Fisheries libraries with irreplaceable documents (many fisheries libraries...and apparently not just libraries but budgets and jobs at the DFO as well...and perhaps proof that it's been done to "cull materials" rather than "save money")?  Scrap them!  Protection for endangered freshwater fish?  Scrap it!  A program that has greatly reduced heroin overdoses on the Downtown East Side?  Better try to scrap that!  Doctors trying to reduce heroin dependency using prescription heroin?  Scrap it!  The UN Drought Convention?  Scrap it!

And this is how crazy it has gotten.  Can you believe that Statscan is actually putting disclaimers on it's data due to scrapping of the mandatory long form census?  Our Environment Minister has doubts about climate change!  Gee, can't imagine why they are so afraid of admitting that climate change is real?

Hiring everybody but Canadians

(It's tough to talk about this stuff without sounding like a xenophobe.  Really, I'm pro immigration.  I'm just not pro bring-people-in-from-outside-the-country-at-lower-wages-and-then-send-them-home) I’ve got to admit, this is just a stroke of genius.  John Le Carre couldn’t dream up a plot this thick with cunning and irony.  Imagine selling Canadian people on all sorts of environmentally harmful mega projects with the promise of long term, well paying jobs.  And you have to cut all those pesky environmental reviews because they take too long and gosh darnit, Canada needs job.  Except.  Man, we need these projects done so quickly we don’t actually have enough people to do these jobs so we’re just going to hire all sorts of people from outside of the country (even if there's lots of unemployed people with the requisite skillset) and pay them a lot less and steal their money and not really bother with creating all these Canadian jobs in the first place.  It’s beautiful.  Not only that, but we’re also going to:
So we're going to have some sort of hand-picked, corporately acceptable society of welders?  Just so that we can harvest oil really cheaply?  Not that there's anything wrong with welders.

We Only Help Countries that Have Something to Offer Us in Return

You’ve heard of foreign aid?  That’s where you help out countries that are less fortunate than your own.  You’d think you’d decide on who needs help based on who needs it the most, right?  No.  Canada decides based on who can offer something in return.  I think all charities should function like this.  I think I'll only give to the food bank if they can send somebody over to mow my lawn.

We've also started telling our diplomats to worry more about developing trade than on...well...whatever they'd normally be doing.  Spying on friendly countries, I guess.  And anybody that has a problem with any of this is an "extremist fear monger".  Is there like one old lady in Mississauga that isn't an extremist fear monger according to the Conservatives?

The Stephen Harper 2013 List of All-Stars

Let's end this list by focusing on our Great Leaders best performers.

"Sleepy Time" Rob Anders - First, I'd like to congratulate Rob Anders on a fantastic 2013.  I don't think he was caught sleeping on the job at all this year.  Well done.  Unfortunately, it seems this left him more time to talk and express himself.  He did such things like rail against that terrorist Nelson Mandela (in his defense, Stephen Harper probably used to agree with him).  Unfortunately, this was not his only windbag moment.  Thanks for sending this great Canadian to Parliament, Calgary West.  Sorry.  Can't resist posting this photo.
Dean Del Mastro - Poor Dean Del Mastro.  People just wouldn't lay off him with the accusations of election shenanigans.  He complained that his good name was being sullied.  He used his Parliamentary privilege to bully witnesses.  He begged to either be charged or set free of his terrible hell.  So they charged him.  I hope he's feeling better about all of this now.

Peter Goldring - I missed this guy last year.  He somehow managed to beat his drunk driving charges for refusing to blow (honestly, read through this story and try to figure out how this came to pass) and has been welcomed back to the Conservative fold with open arms.

Jim Flaherty - I used to think Jim Flaherty was one of the okay guys.  He didn't do or say anything terrible.  He just hacked and slashed budgets.  And then...well...I can't even believe I'm writing this.  He's started confronting other Conservatives who have spoken out against Rob Ford.  I think he might be on the wrong side of this issue.  As well, he had some difficulties filling out expense claims this year, which is a bit troubling considering he's the Minister of Finance.  We're also going to celebrate the only mention of Rob Ford in this article by showing a picture of Rob Ford with the Hamburgler.

Vic Toews - I was almost sad to see this guy go.  I feel like nobody brought Canadians together quite like Vic Toews.  He actually blamed the opposition for the Conservatives fiercely enough when they appointed a now disgraced former CSIS watchdog.  It was their fault that they didn't question them hard enough about what they were doing.  Not only that though, but after creating a bunch of laws that will put a bunch more people in jail, he complained that policing costs have gotten too high.  For a Minister of Justice, he seemed to have a tremendously poor understanding of crime statistics.

Peter "Helicopter Captain" McKay - Peter McKay freaked out when Justin Trudeau talked about marijuana legalization in front of "school children"...after some high school kids directly asked Justin Trudeau about it and he answered their question.  I've heard politicians talking about marijuana is one of the #1 causes of drug addiction.  I think Peter might just be confused because most Conservatives aren't used to the concept of directly answering people's questions.

Tony Clement - Good old Tony was actually following me on Twitter for a while this year.  Which is odd.  He had the unenviable task of explaining to Canada that the government hadn't actually lost $3.1 Billion dollars, they just didn't know where it was.  These things are different, apparently.

Jean-Guy Degenais - Jean-Guy Degenais is a Conservative Senator.  An unelected Conservative Senator.  He's upset because the MP for his region is "useless and powerless", by his estimation.  If only the good people of Quebec would be smart enough to vote Conservative and hop on board the gravy train.


In the end though, what can we do about this?  Who is going to make it all better?  That's what I keep asking myself.  And I think I found the solution.  Anything the Conservatives are this strongly against is probably worth looking into.