Saturday, March 15, 2008

Once Again, Conservatives Deceive Canadians

The current Harper Conservative government is not being accountable to Canadians, once again. Harper's ministers continue to blatantly distribute information that is not factual. Take for example the recent comments by Gerry Ritz the Minister of Agriculture. He actually stated in a public setting that Western Grain farmers were receiving half of what their colleagues in the East were receiving. This is factually incorrect and a blatant attempt to mislead the public. The facts speak for themselves - I ask you to read the following release and decide for yourself what the truth is.

Will the Minister apologize?

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz Misleading Parliament on Wheat Prices
March 12, 2008

OTTAWA – Conservative Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz is misleading Parliament about wheat pricing in an effort to undermine the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB), Liberal Agriculture Critic Wayne Easter said today.

“On March 10, 2008, the Minister stated that producers in PEI were receiving $600 per tonne for milling wheat while those in Saskatchewan under the Canadian Wheat Board were receiving ‘half that,’” said Mr. Easter.

“This statement is blatantly false. Under the CWB’s Basis Price Contract Program, farmers could have availed themselves of prices ranging above $700 per tonne in the month of February.”

Mr. Easter pointed out that as the Minister responsible for the Wheat Board, Mr. Ritz has access to this information and therefore has a duty to be honest about the pricing programs of the CWB.

“Unfortunately, just like his fellow Conservative MPs, the Minister isn’t interested in letting the facts get in the way of his ideological quest to undermine the Canadian Wheat Board,” he said.

“Mr. Ritz is just as wrong on this issue as he is in believing that the majority of farmers in Western Canada support the elimination of the Wheat Board. At a minimum, the Minister owes western grain farmers and the Canadian Wheat Board an apology.”

Susan Whelan

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Abuse of Taxpayers Money

Tonight, I arrived home to a mail box stuffed with propaganda pieces disguised as government information fliers, otherwise known as ten per centers.

The source of this material, which held no relevance other than strictly promoting partisan views….Jeff Watson, the MP for Essex. The funding for these fliers is you, the hardworking Canadian taxpayer. I am writing this blog tonight in outrage at the absolute abuse of your taxpayer’s money.

Ten per centers, or information fliers, issued by MPs and paid for by the taxpayers of this country are meant to provide constituents with information on government programs, policies and services. They can also be used to provide information on what your MP has been doing to represent the riding. Legally and ethically, however, these pieces are NOT supposed to be used as political campaign fliers or tools. Nor are they supposed to mislead people, or dole out false information and accusations. But tonight that is exactly what I found.

Now this is not the first time that I have found the information to be misleading or slanted, but to purposely misinform people – and having the people pay for it…literally – is what angers me to the point of blogging it here.

Also this week, there were some serious ethical and moral infringements brought up concerning the possible bribing of an independent member of parliament to sway a vote in the House of Commons. This is a serious matter that needs to be addressed and of course, Liberals are deeply concerned, so they asked the RCMP to investigate the matter. As an opposition party, it is our duty to the citizens of this country to ask tough questions – and to ensure that the government of the day is doing its job fairly and just. Yet, after receiving misleading and false information in the mail – again, at your expense, the leader of the Conservative party, Stephen Harper, Canada’s Prime Minister and Jeff Watson’s boss, has the nerve to suggest that he will file a lawsuit against prominent liberals to prevent them from speaking out. Is it purely ironic and hypocritical that Stephen Harper’s own caucus member has deliberately provided information that is false, and sent it to thousands of taxpayers at their own expense?

Needless to say, given the recent blanketing of ill-informed fliers, I feel the need to set the record straight:

It is absolutely false to suggest Stephane Dion will raise the GST. This is not true and Jeff Watson knows it.

It is absolutely false to suggest that Stephane Dion’s plan would plunge Canada into deficit and raise taxes. This is not true and Jeff Watson knows it.

It is also false, in my opinion, to suggest that Harper has restored confidence in the economy by cutting taxes, paying down the debt and investing in the priorities of all Canadians. In fact it was the previous Liberal Government, with the help of all Canadians, that balanced the books, ended the deficit and created the opportunity for new investments for Canadians. What is absolutely factual is that it was the previous Conservative Government that left Canada with a 42 billion dollar annual deficit and the largest national debt in the history of this country. Perhaps it is time to remind all Canadians that prior to 2006, the last time a Conservative Government actually balanced the books was in 1912.

It’s fact and not fiction that should be sent out to the public. Let the facts speak for themselves.

Susan Whelan

Thursday, January 17, 2008

It Took Less Than Two Years...

In less then two weeks, Stephen Harper will have been Prime Minister for two years. In less than two years our economy is stagnant, our unemployment rate has risen, bankruptcies are on the rise, and our manufacturing and automotive sectors are struggling to stay afloat. Yet, Harper, in his latest political ploy, has stated the aid dollars he finally offered to assist the manufacturing sector and other sectors this week will have to wait until the upcoming budget, another six or seven weeks from now. Someone should strongly remind the Prime Minister that Canadians looking for jobs can NOT wait until the budget to buy food for their families or to make their next mortgage payment. They can NOT wait for the budget to pay their hydro bills or buy gas for their cars. They need the Government to step up to the plate and stimulate the economy NOW, today, not in six or seven weeks.

Someone also needs to remind Prime Minister Stephen Harper that the aid dollars he has put on the table are NOT enough. In 2004, Prime Minister Paul Martin put 500 million dollars into an automotive fund alone. The estimated 350 million Stephen Harper is allocating for the province of Ontario for all sectors including manufacturing pales in comparison. It is too little and it will be too late if it is after the budget. Essex County, Windsor, and all of Ontario need substantial assistance, NOW, and much more than what Stephen Harper is offering.

What is also deeply distressing is the fact that the automotive company, Ford, is willing to keep the engine plant in Windsor open with a new product if the federal government is willing to contribute 30 million dollars for the retrofit. To me this is absolutely a no brainer. The province has already stepped up to the plate and someone should please tell the Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty, to stop dilly dallying and write the cheque. It was federal funds that brought the engine plant to Windsor in the first place in the mid 1970s. For over 30 years we have had the employment of hundreds if not thousands of individuals, and numerous spin off jobs as well.

I urge you to write to the Prime Minister and ask him to reconsider both the size of the aid investment fund for manufacturing and the immediate injection of 30 million dollars into Ford in Windsor, to save jobs.

Today, is the day to get our economy moving again, not six or seven weeks from now.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Canada That Canadians Want

I am almost afraid to pick up the newspaper in the morning these days.

We have a Prime Minister who was going to spend 2 million dollars of taxpayers money on a new press theatre so he could control who entered and what issues were covered. Does this make any sense when we have a perfectly usable National Press Theatre a block away. A Press Theatre that has been used by all prime ministers and cabinet ministers since it opened in 1965??

We have a Minister of National Defence, Peter MacKay who is deliberately misleading Canadians and other countries about the Liberal record on defence spending. The fact is when the Liberals were in government 12.8 billion dollars in new money was committed for defence - the largest increase in 20 years. Why is Minister MacKay spreading false partisan propaganda to our NATO allies? To divert attention away from the Conservative Government's mismanagement of the Afghanistan mission.

If we dare to go beyond the daily newspaper, we can also read the book published by Tom Flanagan, one of the Prime Minister's closest advisors. It is a fascinating read. Mr. Flanagan brags about the things he helped Harper do while in government:
- stopping dead the national plan for early learning and child care
- ending the Court Challenges Program
- breaking up the Wheat Board and planning to end Supply Management
- ignoring kyoto, because global warming is good for Canada's weather
He truly believes it is ok for the Conservative party to mislead Canadians if that's what it takes to win.

Well I don't believe it is ok. It is not right to mislead Canadians, it is not right to mislead Canada's allies and above all it is not right to try to end freedom of the press in this country.

This is not the Canada that Canadians want.

Susan Whelan

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Once Again Harper Gives Canada a Black Eye

He did it again! Just when I didn't think Canada's international reputation could get any worse, it did. Harper voted against the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Some of you may be saying, so? Is this a problem? And the answer is YES - absolutely it is a problem. Why? Because it marks the first time Canada has opposed a major human rights document at the UN.

September 13th will be remembered as the date that Canada lost credibility around the globe and is no longer respected for protecting human rights.

I wonder what's next.....

Monday, September 10, 2007

African Green Revolution Conference

I attended the second African Green Revolution Conference held in Oslo, Norway from August 30 to September 1st. It brought together leading experts on sustainable agricultural development, including government representatives from across Africa. Both optimism and urgency emerged from the conference.

The Oslo Conference has become the prime venue for Public-Private Partnerships (PPP). If we recognize that small business is the backbone of the Canadian economy, then we can quickly see the need for the private sector to develop in African countries. It is urgent.
We must also recognize that agricultural subsidies in the developed world are "undermining the effort to strengthen African farming".

Canada has always been a leader in assisting developing countries, but with the current leadership in our country our influence and level of assistance is on a slippery downward slope. Millions of people on the continent of Africa are counting on us to work with them. Canada needs to step up to the plate today, not tomorrow.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Meeting Ken Dryden

On Friday, August 10, I spent the day with an amazing Canadian - current member of parliament, author, lawyer, former cabinet minister and hockey player - the Honourable Ken Dryden. We spent the day meeting with local service providers and Child Care agencies, discussing the urgent need to deal with child poverty. At the round table discussion, and at a press conference later, Mr. Dryden's sincerity and passion quickly became evident.

At the Comber Fair Ken took a tour of vendors alley, sampled the baked goods display, and learned about the local 4-H program from the members themselves. The new "trolley" in Essex picked us up in Comber and took us to Danielle's for a quick burger and shake, then off to the Youth and Family Resource Center in Harrow where Ken answered questions about his hockey career, his education, and his life as a member of parliament. A visit to a local winery explained the significance and the recent growth in the indusrty. It also allowed a bit of sampling!

At each stop throughout the day, Ken met many people, signed a few autographs and asked many questions. He was genuinely interested in learning about our Essex County. At a Liberal fundraising event in the evening he spoke of the Canada he knew growing up and warned of what was happening to our beloved country under the current government. And he spoke about the new group of Liberals who want to protect Canada and preserve our way of life. It is evident to me that Mr. Dryden and Mr. Dion and the rest of these new Liberals share something- a sense of dignity and an air of integrity that is sorely lacking in Ottawa with the Conservatives. We must put these people in office because they understand what Canada should be - a country for the people, for everyone, a country that is not divided, that is self-determining and independent. We have tremendous potential and after spending the day with Ken Dryden, and the previous afternoon with Stephan Dion, I know that I share the same vision for Canada, and I want to work with the new Liberal team and serve my country.

Wow, what a great day!

Talk to you soon.