Tuesday, November 27, 2007

An update


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        From time to time a condition arises that prevents my sitting in front of the computer for the hours it takes every day to compose the Digest.

        As you can surmise it has been alleviated to an extend - but not wholly as yet.

        There probably will not be a resumption of a Daily for a few days yet. In the meanwhile the links below will enable you to keep abreast of
        what the national media find worthy of heir consideration.

        As well you may find Al Heisey's latest musings worth a read.

        What you will receive next will interest some more than others,but some I hope.

        'Bye for now,

                  Joe

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Publisher comments

Exactly why our leader, Stephen Harper, should get ON more seats!

Exactly how many additional seats?

Not the issue!

The compelling discussion right now about how many more House of 
Commons seats for Ontario must not be distracted by trying to define 
the exact number we are talking about.

That hugely important number can best be pinpointed by demographers 
accepting assorted governing principles and getting on with their 
calculations.

Key point is that the magic number is a lot closer to the 20 seats 
propounded by newly-interested premier Dalton McGuinty than to the 10 
seats grudgingly offered up by our prime minister through his 
populist front man, Peter Van Loan.

At the time of the last national meeting of the Progressive 
Conservative party in August, 2002 in Edmonton I prepared a now 
dated, layman's assessment of how far behind its proportional share 
of Commons seats Ontario then was.

You can make your own assessment of what we Ontarions should be 
demanding - (no one "asks", or "proposes" any more, we "demand") - by 
consulting this web site:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ List_of_Canadian_provinces_and_territories_by_population
supposedly based on the latest estimates of provincial and 
territorial populations based on Statistics Canada information to the 
middle of this year.

What matters right now is the budging of Stephen Harper and his 
government north of their magic number of 10, in what I see as their 
own interests, Ontario's and the whole country's.

On the way to that assessment, admire the magnificent shadow-boxing 
of Van Loan, all around the operative consideration of population.
He would offer as a restriction on expansion of seats in the chamber 
the fact that it cannot hold any more members! Even Joe Hueglin,
long- gone parliamentarian, dares to suggest that the curtained off area 
behind the rows, which once permitted smoking off camera, has lost 
its justification and could squeeze in additional arrivals, even from 
Ontario.

A much more entertaining insight is Van Loan's muddying the  issue of 
bring Ontario up to an appropriate seating with the case, not being 
propounded by anyone, of dinging the over-represented other provinces 
by applying rep by pop rigorously - a total non-starter and he knows it.
Scanning the voluminous stories excerpted here in  Naples, the 
following two quotes show his determination to try to set it up as 
Ontario versus the other guys, as in ""even more seats for Ontario 
would result in an increase to the size of the House overall and 
entail a decline in representation for smaller provinces." or , 
better still, ""The reason for not having the full top-up for Ontario 
is that Ontario already has the most seats in the House of Commons. 
Ontario does very well, but we don't want to have so many politicians 
that there's no room in this House."

Consider too, the private pressures when parliamentarians from his 
own party and others lobby, behind the curtains!  Recognize that the 
seven other provinces and three territories over-represented right 
now have some 19 additional M.P.s  who are only there because the 
1985 Representation Act prevented their seats from disappearing as 
their provincial populations have shrunk compared to Ontario, B.C. 
and Alberta. Add in the eight additional M.P.s, earlier creations of 
the Constitution Act, last revised in 1982. Here we have some 27 
M.P.s over-representing other parts of the country lobbying furiously 
to keep Ontario's representation lower than justified by our population.
And recall how baldly some Quebecers would nurse their comparative 
over-representation by keeping Ontario's numbers down, since Quebec's 
population does not grow at anything like the percentage of 
Ontario's. Van Loan's boss has reasons to think that Quebec is 
listening to his messages, and there is an impression abroad that 
Ontario is less receptive.

The Tory cabinet clearly does not appreciate the chasm between 
contemporary Liberal views on electoral reform and federal 
Conservative views!

I spell it out for them. When the McGuinty provincial government set 
up its project on electoral reform how was attention to aspects of 
one person one vote excluded from the terms of reference?????
The answer is that in Liberal terms making progress on proportional 
representation was much more important than the older, less sexy, but 
much more profound concept of representation by population!
I further charge that McGuinty was anxious to steer public 
participation in this widespread interest into some forms of 
"electoral reform" well away from his adding a totally unjustified 
additional M.P.P. into Northern Ontario's voices in the provincial 
legislature.

Another illustration much closer to my own electoral district of St. 
Paul's was the public seminar convened a couple of years ago by its 
Liberal M.P., Carolyn Bennett. Because of my continuing interest in 
the subject I sat in on the meeting and all speakers and herself were 
preoccupied with proportional representation!

I took advantage of the question period at the end to ask where 
concerns about the under-representation of urban dwellers fitted in 
to electoral reform and the lady was quite hopeless, making a passing 
reference to some school child asking why P.E.I. is so over 
represented but offering not a sentence on this larger issue.
I search my recollections for the slightest evidence that recent 
national Liberal governments or N.D.P. leaders have addressed these 
lingering grievances of city dwellers, and find nothing!

Contrast these patterns of indifference, or even misdirection, with 
the recurring comments from our party while still in opposition that 
three most vigorously growing provinces were seriously under- represented in the commons and we proposed a changed formula to add 
more seats on their behalf!

And contrast the national interest in the current bill C-22 with the 
voters of Ontario bouncing out of contention any form of proportional 
representation, for at least a generation. The progressives of the 
province and the country promoted p.r. because it would probably 
shift more seats from centrists' controls to their own, and they were 
brutally rebuffed, in spite of strong McGuinty government assistance.
My thesis is much more optimistic for the Tories giving Ontario the 
due seats: finally recognizing the central province's legit seating 
dues will earn much goodwill across the province, most particularly 
in the cities which have been under-represented from the gitgo.
This should even help the hapless provincial progressive 
conservatives. I have been very disappointed in the mute opposition 
they offered to McGuinty's adding on another seat in the north. But 
the in-your-face opposition to it which Van Loan set out should help 
them immensely to find their own position.

And there's more: the elected Senate threat!

At the last, August 2002 convention of the national Progressive 
Conservative party their leadership recognized the meeting's setting 
and the western mood and voted for a senate made up of equal numbers 
of senators from British Columbia, as from the prairie provinces, as 
from Ontario, as from Quebec and as from the Atlantic provinces.
This plan, based on the senate as the voice of the regions, as 
distinct from the house, meant the western population at that time of 
some 30.2%  of the country total would have the same seating as the 
62.1% represented by the two central provinces of Ontario and Quebec. 
I took some satisfaction that the overall vote was some 700 in favour 
to some 400 opposed, suggesting a hard time ahead if it came to 
actual implementation.

But there is no way round future vigorous regional demands for any 
form of an "effective", elected senate will add to our province's 
disadvantage in the national parliaments. I maintained at the time 
that it was crucial that representation in the house of commons be 
vigoroursly related to populations before we lose more role to an 
ambitious senate.

This is quite aside from the mixed enthusiasms for an elected senate. 
I believe that a national referendum for a second, upper house of 
elected, well paid senators would not now be popular across the 
country, but it is a given with our prime minister.

Van Loan's unworthy suggestions that if Ontario wasn't playing its 
old role of Canada-first we should be ashamed of ourselves shows how 
quick he forgets the turns in our fortunes. As western energy gains 
in importance, Ontario's muscular manufacturing industry is under 
massive attack, not from the U.S. whence came much of the capacity, 
but from countries and continents a long, long way away!

Exactly how Mr. Harper, possibly aided by Stephan Dion, ("not a 
leader"??) can make it happen!

Former Tory M.P. Reg Stackhouse has pointed out to me how little 
concern over the decades was expressed across our province and at 
Queen's Park about the under-representation of our population in the 
national parliament. I think that reflected Ontario's recognition of 
our general longterm prosperity and concern for the country overall.
The best single way of persuading the national government that that 
was then, and this is now, would be a flood of communications between 
Ontario Tories and their party leaders at every level. The Ontario 
media are lit up like a Christmas tree on the issue and just possibly 
a lot more concern is percolating up through the community that we 
bloody well need those additional seats.

It would be entirely in order for Peter Van Loan, Ontario's own 
spokesman on the issue, to set out to his caucus that just possibly 
some more seating room has been found in back corners of the House 
and he therefore is recommending X more seats than originally 
forecast. This would be a classic case of Peter putting in his thumb 
and pulling out a plumb and keeping much goodwill of his home 
province which he, personally, may need again in the future.
Such duly diligent listening to voices from the boonies would ensure 
a wave of good feelings across the province. More particularly I dare 
to think that this is exactly what our homeprovince's key man at this 
hour hopes will happen. We propose, we listen, we hear, we do the 
right thing. We go on to glory in the next election.
I worry that it will not happen this way because our party's upward 
internal communications are nowhere as well cultivated as the 
downward. (see the next item.)

If not, and this is a grizzly thought, the leader of the opposition, 
the honourable Stephane  Dion, reflecting further on his party's 
continuing strong presence in the Ontario parliamentary benches, and 
even more particularly on how well his party's standing seems to be 
holding up in the esteem of Ontario voters, in spite of the merciless 
attacks on him personally, decides that just possibly he should do 
the right thing by this province and move an amendment bringing our 
seating up to where it should be.

What I like about that scenario is that Ontario gets bipartisan 
support for a bid for correct seating and we get the seats. What is 
not as clear is how all the other reverberations would play out!

CPC 2008 calendar: leader IS party!

As a sometimes thousand dollar, and therefore "a most loyal and 
steadfast" contributor to our national party I received recently an 
interesting brochure, a genuine collector's item, via the always 
affable Irving Gerstein, chief fund raiser for our party.

The brochure is a full colour, glossy stock, 2008 calendar, with a 
separate page for each month, labeled "Conservative Party of Canada" 
with mailing address, phone, fax and website for the party. While 
labeled for the party, it is in fact a detailed presentation of our 
leader  and only of our leader in fifteen different, interesting 
settings, in Canada or abroad, with one or more members of his family 
with him in seven of the photos.

I admit to having trouble with the concept of the calendar. As a 
continuing admirer of his work and leadership I find the visually 
strong brochure much too focused on the single man and his attractive 
family who heads up our party and government's service to the country.

When I glanced over it, - there is remarkably little reading involved, 
- I went through a whole kalaedascope of emotions. First came a whiff 
of darshan, that marvelous Hindi word, evoking the mystical thrill 
which comes from being in the presence of the mighty. Thence followed 
a nanosecond of Strangelovism, with the urge I see on occasion 
elsewhere to present a straightarm salute with the appropriate 
expression to the beloved, or is it feared, leader. Then followed a 
touch of the reaction felt by the kid in the crowd when the emperor 
paraded by, and if you don't know that analogy look it up.

My last reaction was resignation as I faced the fact that whether or 
not I like it, all the smart people in political marketing favour 
personification of all the complexities into the leader, wise, 
strong, knowing where to point the way - and of course, the single 
alternative, the un-leader, the one we can usually mock in the now-
much-applauded, ubiquitous attack ads.

Only thing this brochure spared us was the Bill Davis-type beach 
stroll, pantlegs rolled up, sloshing along some shoreline of Georgian 
Bay, father figure, weekending!

Fresh ideas for the 2009 calendar

I predict the party's 2008 calendar will be much reproduced in 
assorted blogs, however forbidden such copying is.

My reactions are slightly different. First of all I wonder why there 
was no passing reference to a french-language edition, surely needed 
as we build on the goodwill we enjoy currently in the province. I was 
also fascinated that all the photos, everywhere, were attributed to a 
couple of photographers. Presumably, but not clearly, they assembled 
all the photos, but who knows, perhaps they took them all.

From my backstreets perspective on the things that make our party 
tick, or not, tick in the big cities I know, I savour thoughts of how 
the equivalent calendar for this next year, or for 2008 in the french 
language might be constructed quite differently.

I plead guilty to seeing such a document as a great recruiting piece, 
designed to encourage non-members to think seriously of the benefits 
of membership and participation. In that connection I favour more 
concern for the benefits to the individual and his or her family of 
participation in the democratic processes of the country, not the 
present, total fixation in getting a few dozen more qualified 
individuals elected to party seats in the house of commons.

That's why I favour photo one to be a real family of average 
resources bringing home the weekly shopping bags and putting them on 
the kitchen table. I think the party is all about serving just those 
families in employment and other opportunities, where they live.
Photo two should be a clutch of party members in a raggedy meeting 
plotting program, with no M.P. or candidate in the photo, a reminder 
of what life is mostly like in most of the 308 ridings across the 
country.

Photo 3 is a candidate and helpers at a local meeting in a campaign 
and photo 4 is the new M.P. introduced at his first national caucus 
meeting.

In one of these months the M.P. is photographed with a provincial 
M.L.A, and a member of a town council, to remind all of the other 
aspects of public life we support.

Then a cross section of photos of the cabinet, deputy ministers, the 
governor general and the queen.

As you can see I am deliberately downplaying the personna of the 
prime minister, but S. has to be in, in at least one candid shot with 
his hair slightly mussed and lips moving as if he were saying "shit!" 
or some other expletive.

You get the idea. Perhaps your e.d.a. should have its own calendar 
distributed widely to remind all that there is party life aside from 
raising election funds or canvassing, in other words some modest, 
neighbourhood, continuing fun.

Tri-Spa's daring resolution

I plead quilty to hugely enjoying encouraging the executive of the 
Tri-Spa provincial association to actually pass a resolution calling 
on our national and provincial leaders to arrange more seats for 
Ontario in the house of commons. I reproduce it here to urge others 
to consider the sense of useful political influence which comes from 
resolving collectively and disseminating it via email and however to 
whomever.

One could not expect the sophisticated city editors on Toronto's 
major media to pass along the mutterings of some six or seven closely-
knit activists in a downtown riding. But on the other hand if they 
had a half dozen, or even a dozen mutterings trickle in then possibly 
some  sleepyhead might think there was a story out there! As it was 
Joe Hueglin, the wandering Tory email publisher, assisted mightily by 
forwarding it to all the Ontario daily and weekly newspapers and to 
parts of his own guarded lists of the once-faithful!

As is my wont I tried furiously to see the idea of amending bill C-22 
put seriously before the federal Liberal caucus and believe I did. I 
think there still is time to influence this whole process and hope 
you will do so. As the auto company ads used to say, the job you save 
may be your own!

07 11 19 Monday

Statement from Trinity-Spadina Provincial Progressive Conservative 
Assocation

To whom it may concern:

The Trinity-Spadina Provincial Progressive-Conservative Association 
executive at their meeting, Thursday evening, November 15, 2007, 
endorsed a resolution from their policy committee as follows:

The Policy Committee of the Trinity-Spadina Progressive Conservative 
Association, asks the Executive of our association to review at the 
upcoming November 2007 meeting and if seen as appropriate to endorse 
the following motion regarding electoral representation of Canadians 
resident in the province of Ontario in the House of Commons, and to 
forward it to:

Ontario Progressive Conservative party leader John Tory and members 
of the Progressive Conservative caucus of the Ontario legislature; 
and to the officers of the Progressive Conservative Party of the 
province of Ontario; and to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and 
Conservative members of the House of Commons and Senate; and to the 
officers and directors of the Conservative Party of Canada; and to 
the mass media:

The Policy Committee and the Executive of the Trinity-Spadina 
Provincial Progressive Conservative Association congratulate the 
national Conservative government on its plans to correct the long- standing
under-representation of the populations of British Columbia, 
Alberta and Ontario in the House of Commons. We ask, however, that 
the relevant bill, "C-22, An Act to amend the Constitution Act, 1867 
(Democratic representation), introduced by the Minister for 
Democratic Reform and Leader of the the Government in the House of 
Commons" be amended so that Canadians in Ontario receive the same 
treatment as those in British Columbia and Alberta. Based on current 
population and future projections, the people of Ontario are entitled 
to at least 10 more seats than anticipated in the present draft 
legislation.

For further information please contact  Alan Heisey, Vice President 
Policy, <hize@sympatico.ca>   currently at 239 513 0444.

Soon: regional constitution meeting

From: John Hawkins [ mailto:johnhawkins99@rogers.com]
Sent: Thursday, November 15, 2007 To: Ron MacKinnon 
(ron.mackinnon3@sympatico.ca)

Hi Ron!

As you know,Whitby-Oshawa will be convening a conference on 
Saturday ,December 8th,beginning at 12:00 pm to consider proposals to 
amend the constitution of the Conservative Party of Canada.

The Conference will be held at the Montglen Hall of the McKinney 
Centre in Whitby, just east of Brock,off Taunton Road.

We would anticipate serving pop&pizza to lighten up what might 
otherwise be a dry event!!

It is expected that Jason Hickman will attend as our keynote speaker.
Jason is our Ontario rep. on the CPC Constitutional Committee.

At least one detailed proposal has already come forward; I would be 
pleased to send it to you,if that would be helpful.

Ajax-Pickering has asked to participate in the conference; we would 
be honoured if Oshawa would do the same.

While AMH understands that the official schedule calls for all 
amendments to be forwarded by the end of this year I have also been 
told unofficially that there is no such deadline. It would be helpful 
to those of us on the fringes if our edas would each give us the 
straight goods!


Re Conservative Party website:
(Emailed from Naples, Fl 07 11 15, Thursday) To Website Webmaster:
As a caring member I dare to ask whose campaign is being discussed in 
"MyCampaign Home"?
I think it is the leader's, but as an active member of the St. Paul's 
federal - and provincial - campaigns, I sincerely find it unclear! Do 
lemme know, cordially,

Alan Heisey (no answer yet received)

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