Monday, June 22, 2009

Google Helps Volunteers connect with Non-profits: on the All for Good website

Volunteer with Project417 - Help the Homeless or take part in Hurricane Disaster Relief

Google's All for Good - Bringing search, scale and openness to community service

It's great to see a corporation be part of the solution and lend a helping hand to non-profits and charities engaged in community service and volunteerism. At Project417 - the Canada News Blog's sponsoring non-profit - we host more than two thousand volunteers a year in two main programs: the Sandwich Run to the Homeless and Gulf Coast Hurricane Hurricane Disaster recovery and Re-Building.

Check out the official Google blog and visit All for Good.

Official Google Blog: All for Good: Bringing search, scale and openness to community service

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Iggy and Harper Blink

Meet the new bosses - same as the old bosses:

Official Opposition leader Michael Ignatieff of the Liberals and the Conservative minority government's Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that they had worked out an agreement to avoid a non-confidence vote and summer election.

They blinked. Harper has been trying to seem in control of the parliament, dismissing opposition and coalition criticisms as undemocratic and dangerous to a country in the midst of economic turmoil. (Last year during the Coalition debacle he repeatedly referred to the BLOC as separatists). Here he is now though, hammering out closed door deals with the Liberals. While Iggy has proved true to the traditional Liberal form, consistently propping up the minority government because the polls don't show a strong enough possibility of winning an election. Most polls show a slim lead for the Liberals, but that translates into yet another minority outcome most likely.

I predicted here on the Canada News blog that Ignatieff would cave into the Conservatives rather than using his bargaining position to effect real change for Canadians. At the time NDP Leader Jack Layton referred to Iggy's appoach as the new "Liberal/Conservative Coalition". This weeks announcement of meetings betwwen Harper and the Liberal leader support this view. Ignatieff had held the Conservatives to a reporting schedule when supporting the recent economic stimulus package - that had set the stage for this weeks parliamentary vote on the economic update, a confidence motion. And Iggy had used strong language leading up to the weeks events, claiming in the news that it was almost impossible to trace any actual payments from the stimulus fund. Additionally, he had joined the opposition chorus in denouncing current Employment Insurance policies as unfair and inadequate in the face of massive recession layoffs.

You remember the recession right? Ordinary Canadians are having a hard time dodging the bullets, unlike our firmly ensconced MP's. Plants are closing, whole industries are disappearing - even the blessed few in Rosedale are firing nannies, declaring moratoriums on gala parties and selling their mansions. Working Canadians are increasingly unemployed Canadians, not seeing any immediate benefits from the massive Conservative stimulus package and are concerned about the equally massive (and ballooning) deficit. It's OK to spend bailout billions on bankrupt GM, but not OK to bailout the ordinary working stiff. Iggy could have been the hero here - if he even has it in him - by vigorously pushing the Conservatives and joining the other opposition parties using non-confidence as a way to extract more immediate and effective relief.

But Iggy blinked. The upshot of private meetings with Harper, is an agreement not to defeat the government in return for... study groups!! WTF - Canada needs action, not study, the opposition already has called for easily enacted changes that would bring real relief much sooner. (read the terms of the agreement elsewhere, canayjun is too disgusted to print it here). Layton and the NDP, pre-coalition, were much more adept at wresting concessions from the minority government, several of their member bills were adopted in entirety by the Conservatives and passed. Ignatieff has been away from Canada for too long perhaps to understand the urgent need for decisive action. Whatever the reason, he has neglected the reponsibility he assumed himself when he asked for quarterly updates. Now parliament will recess for the summer while we all struggle our way through the dog days of the recession. Harper and Ignatieff will resume their posturing and poll pleasing performances in September. I can hardly wait.

Insight: Read what they had to say on Peace, order and good government,eh?

Friday, June 12, 2009

H1N1 Influenza A - Pandemic Upate - Ontario

Important H1N1 Information -

Seriously, if you're looking for reliable H1N1 -Influenza A - Swine flu information search for your local government health agency listing. Here in Ontario it can be found at the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care -

In Canada a good source of breaking news, local and international is the CBC -
Internationally, start at the World health organization -

Thanks - The Canada News Blog.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Ignatieff vs Harper in the polls - Here we go again

Polls show Ignatieff Liberals edge Conservatives - could form another minority government if election held:

From the Here We Go Again Department - Ignatieff has shown himself to be a skilled opportunist if nothing else in the past few months. Fresh from his Liberal leadership election win, Michael Ignatieff is flexing his partisan muscles, pouncing on Conservative blunders seeking to flip-flop on his initial parliamentary support of Stephen Harper and the minority Conservative government.

:: source:
Faced with recent reports by Conservative Finance Minister Jim Flaherty that Canada's budget deficit will balloon to over $50 Billion this year, Ignatieff and the Liberals are making hay with dire predictions of yet another non-confidence vote which would spark a new federal election. Ignatieff is confident the Liberals can win - polls show at least a minority victory.

Here's how the seats in parliament stack up so far:

  • Conservatives - Harper 143
  • Liberals - Ignatieff 77
  • Bloc - Duceppe 50
  • NDP - Layton 37
  • Minority Conservatives 143
  • Opposition Parties 164
Recently, when Ignatieff lashed out on Youtube at Conservative attack ads depicting his long absence from Canada and foreign career [Ignatieff strikes back at attack ads] it sparked a debate on Reddit. I described Ignatieff as an interloper and ivory tower dreamer, which prompted one redditor to ask state," You call him an "ivory tower dreamer" as if he's some aristocratic idealist. Show me how you can back up this characterization through his policies or even through his rhetoric. Right now, it's just an empty accusation being almost universally pursued by the political right". To which I replied -

" Ignatieff worked most recently at Harvard - am I wrong in depicting Harvard as ivory tower? (or a sanctuary for the rich). We're just ordinary folks here - Iggy's the son of a diplomat. Iggy was a book reviewer, a commentator, an author and journalist who wrestled with the philosophy of war (and supported the invasion of Iraq in the process). He wrote more than 100 articles since the 70's, many for the elitist New Republic - and described by one reviewer in 2006 as "one of the most prolific highbrow writers of his generation" source.

Policies? - As soon as he was appointed Liberal leader, he similarly parachuted his most faithful Toronto buddies, dubbed the Rosedale Gang, into prominent backroom jobs. [source - The Star,Jan.9, 2009] More misguided policies: propping up Harper's minority, giving him carte blanche to throw billions at companies already bankrupt, who are rewarding the largesse by turfing working Canadians out of jobs in favour of cheaper off shore labour. By toughing it out, I mean what has Ignatieff done for Canada in 30 years? Ian Davey, who ran Ignatieff's failed 2006 leadership campaign, had to persuade and convince Iggy to return to Canada - it wasn't Iggy's idea. So you can see the accusation is not empty and, in my case and many others, not just the political right who oppose him. You can see your error - just because I opposed Iggy, you assumed I was Conservative and right wing. Never fear, Canada has plenty of ordinary, liberal minded, working stiffs who will never trust him." [endquote]

[to be continued...]