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Keep Parliament, Send Us the Schedule

10 Dec

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Stuff the Westminister model, with that prime minister and toy senate. But, Americans could appreciate conducting the nation’s business in a week instead of months.

As if North America were converging, Canada’s Liberals want action on the economy.

“Since the recent federal election, it has become clear that the government headed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper has no plan, no competence and no will to effectively address this (economic) crisis,” the parties said in a letter to Governor General Michaelle Jean.

Dion said the proposed coalition government will push a plan to actively stimulate the economy for the next two years and will provide aid to the auto and forestry industries and to the housing sector.

They also pledged to return to budget surpluses within four years. Officials have said previously the proposed government plans to introduce a new budget by Jan 27, 2009.

The parties plan to vote next week on a bill that will say the House of Commons has lost confidence in Harper, which would force him to ask the Governor General to either call a new election or allow the opposition to form a government.

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Prop 8: A Quickie Musical

8 Dec

Who’da known John C. Reilly had a stump speech in him? Poor Jack Black had his spotlight stolen! But, seriously, Reilly put a point on it, when he argued that government is not YOURS, it’s all of OURS. Watch out, curly-haired freaks!

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Becerra Is a Free Waffler

4 Dec

I’ve been waiting for the tug-o-war over trade policy ever since the Austen Goulsbee episode. It seems President-Elect Barack H. Obama is determined to keep playing both sides of the mud pit: is he pro, or anti? Even more perplexing is, that pro-trade groups are not hassling Obama for his selection of Representative Xavier Becerra, a member of House Ways and Means who famously confessed his regrets over supporting NAFTA. It’s almost as if Becerra’s waffling works for both teams.

Beccera hasn’t accepted yet, but if he does, my initial reaction is that this is a solid choice. No, it’s not perfect – Beccera voted for the landmark China PNTR deal in 2000 and for the Peru Free Trade Agreement. But perfect shouldn’t be the enemy of the damn good.

Getting a U.S. Trade Representative who is on record against the NAFTA trade model and with votes against CAFTA and Oman is a huge change from both the Bush administration and the Clinton administration. And it’s not just a good pick because it’s a change from really bad Trade Representatives, the selection itself is good – and way, way, way better than what it could have been. The selection suggests Obama is serious about reforming our trade policies, and it should be applauded.

I wonder if this is Becerra’s road to survival in the House – and confirmation. There’s nothing like a little “change of mind” to placate disparate constituents in gerrymandered districts and still look competent. It got Obama through the Goolsbee episode – and the general election.

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