November 29, 2004

We're having Bush for dinner!

Who's Coming to Dinner?- Toronto Star Oooohhh! We're being blessed by his holy-republicaness' presence. There seems to be a lot of expectations riding on Bush's visit. We're going to end the beef ban, softwood lumber tarrifs, etc. I actually doubt any of this is going to happen. Some of Bush's people have already said there may have been a misunderstanding about ending the beef ban on the part of the Canadian government and at the rate the US government is working on the softwood deal, the Maple Leafs are more likely to win the Stanley Cup before the tarrifs are eliminated...And trust me, I will never see a Leafs win in my lifetime (I'm a Habs fan by the way)! This 'visit' by Bush has already started off on the wrong foot since he cancelled an official visit and downgraded it to a business/policy/patronizing dinner/meet-and-greet with our powerless PM, past PMs, and opposition leaders. Oh, and there's a stop in Halifax to patronize Nova Scotians as well. In reality this stop over is nothing more than a joke after they decided not to make an official visit to Canada, something which Bush has not done since he took power after he lost his first election run. Basically, the only reason he is not doing it again is because our protestors and dissentors are allowed to do so no matter if it's our PM or some visiting dignitary such as the US Prez. In the US, well, you can protest the President in public as long as you are five blocks from where he is speaking, cannot see him and he cannot hear you. The idea of Bush truly experiencing open, public, democratically granted dissent seems to be a problem for his handlers. Even within our own house Bush could have been jeered by our MPs - just think back to Sven Robinson during Reagan's visit. So for Bush to cancel his official visit is not really a surprise. There are couple things of note about Bush's visit. The first is Jack Layton's open letter to Bush. Layton is trying to decide whether or not to even appear at the dinner to protest the missle defence pact and the fact that the only person Bush is meeting with privately aside of Martin, is Harper. Layton wants Bush to explain to Martin the real details about the Missle Pact in hopes of opening Martin's eyes to the truth. Good luck with that one! Bush wants the Pact signed. This is a guy that lies to his own citizens to go to war. Does Layton really think he's going to be open to Martin about something much less insignificant? What Layton should do is go to the dinner and open the conversation up himself? If Layton wants any real hope of representing Canadians - whereas the majority opposes the Missle Pact - then he should ask the tough questions and force Bush into a corner. It's common knowledge that Bush doesn't handle on-the-spot questioning without an advisor speaking into his ear piece! Secondly, there is a concern about Harper meeting with Bush. While this may seem like an innocent meeting since Harper is the leader of the opposition, we shouldn't be quick to forget that the Reform/Alliance/Conservative party also holds special conferences with the Republicans every so often to discuss how to go forward with hard-right-wing ideology in North America. In fact, the Alliance was conferencing with them earlier this year to discuss election strategies. Isn't that nice?! If Canadians ever wanted to really know how close we would become to the US under a Conservative government, I think the answer is right there. This is also scary because the Republican party has been known to run very questionable campaigns and are often having to defend themselves from charges of corruption during elections. There is list of criticisms about the 'conflicts of interest' surrounding them and their supporters. Some of these include interference from Republican state governors to judicial interference from Republican appointed judges to electronic voting machines being produced, monitored and installed by Republican owned companies. I'm not saying that Harper's party is likely to get involved in these things but there is a concern about the advice that is being passed and the relationship that is growing between these parties when one of them is, arguably, highly corrupt. If Bush is willing to meet with one opposition leader, he should meet with them all and should do it either publicly or meet them all together. Harper is likely to take after Stockwell Day and Ralph Klein and act like he is speaking for all Canadians while spouting opinions and views that are obviously not supported by the majority. This is also something that Layton should bring to Bush's attention, in person. Bring it up over dessert with Gilles Duceppe present and push the issue that Harper is not the only opposition leader in Canada and that each of them deserve equal helpings of Bush. Layton has made his career so far by being extremely vocal in public and within Parliament. And now when he should be vocal again, he considers sending a letter. There are too many issues at hand that need to be resolved and dealt with properly while Bush is here that are better served in person rather than some letter.

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Quotes from people smarter than me...

"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich" ~ JFK

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. " ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. " ~ Benjamin Franklin

"First it is necessary to stand on your own two feet. But the minute a man finds himself in that position, the next thing he should do is reach out his arms. " ~ Kristin Hunter

"When you're a mayor and you have a problem you blame the provincial government. If you are provincial government and you have a problem you blame the federal government. We don't blame the Queen any more, so once in a while we might blame the Americans." ~ Jean Chretien

"Which is ideology? Which not? You shall know them by their assertion of truth, their contempt for considered reflection, and their fear of debate." ~ John Ralston Saul

"It is undoubtedly easier to believe in absolutes, follow blindly, mouth received wisdom. But that is self-betrayal." ~ John Ralston Saul

"Everybody dies, Tracey. Someone's carrying a bullet for you right now, doesn't even know it. The trick is to die of old age before it finds you." ~ Cpt. Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly, Episode 12)

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