Thursday, December 21, 2006

Nothing New to Report . . . .

Unfortunately there is no new news on the immigration front, nor am I particularly enraged about any stupid moves by bush or "shrub" these days so . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

How 'bout some photos of sunrises and sunsets over "our" bay here in Florida??

The period of the year between early November and early March is the best for both sunrises and sunsets in this part of the
Gulf Coast.

Hope you enjoyed sharing them with us!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Why Rummy Really Lost His Job . . . .

Just a little humour for your day . . . .


Sunday, December 10, 2006

Spring Election: Is It a Good or Bad Thing? . . . .

We are seeing quite a few articles on this topic the past couple of days.

Is a spring election a good or bad thing in your opinion?

Buoyant Grit poll numbers could banish spring election threat
Darrell Bricker
For CanWest News Service

Is the Dion bounce for real? The answer is "yes." At least out of the gate. Why? Because just as Stephane Dion was the ideal compromise candidate for delegates at the Liberal leadership convention, this first week as Liberal leader, he's the ideal compromise candidate for the pockets of voters in Ontario, Quebec, B.C. and Atlantic Canada that will decide the next election.

This week's Ipsos-Reid poll for CanWest News and Global National illustrates this point. Dion's victory has re-constituted a centre/left coalition that comprises the traditional Liberal core, plus disaffected New Democrats. This is the coalition that Jean Chretien rode to three majority victories in 1993, 1997 and 2000 -- and the demise of this coalition pushed a struggling Paul Martin into a minority government in 2004.

The immediate desire of the traditional Liberal coalition to embrace Dion puts proof to the point that Stephen Harper and the Tories weren't so much elected back in January, as the Liberals were defeated. Without a strong anti-Liberal issue like the sponsorship scandal at work, one wonders how successful the Tories will be in an election against a cleansed and re-energized Liberal party.

The major issue that Harper needs to confront in the run-up to the next election is that his party and leadership divide the electorate. Against a candidate who unites the Liberal coalition, this is a bad place to be.

How divided are Canadians on Harper? The percentage that has a positive impression of both Dion and Harper is roughly equal, but the group that has a negative impression of Harper is 17 points larger than the group that has a negative impression of Dion. Voters that have the most negative impression of Harper are urban dwellers, university grads and women. In fact, half of Canada's female voters say they have a negative impression of Harper. That's quite a head start to give to an opponent.

Importantly for Dion, Jack Layton's leadership is also divisive. While Layton does much better with voters than his party, he still has personal negatives that are 10 points higher than Dion's.

The big question about Dion has been about his ability to win seats in Quebec. This poll's results are somewhat ambiguous on this point. While Dion's leadership has pushed the Grits back to at least Chretien levels (30 per cent), this growth has come at the expense of neither the Tories nor the Bloc. It's mostly been at the expense of the NDP and the Greens. One has to wonder how real the Liberal gains in Quebec are given that these two groups are among the least likely to cast a ballot in a federal election.

So, where does this leave Canadian politics, and what does it mean for election timing? First, it means that the Liberals under Dion are definitely back in the hunt, and that Paul Martin did the right thing when he resigned after the last election. Second, it means that, unless Dion and the Liberals see a major dip in support, a spring election is off. Why? Because, given their current prospects, the NDP and Bloc are unlikely to agree to bring the government down. And, the Tories will not want to trigger an election until their numbers improve -- and that's going to take some time.

Darrell Bricker is president and COO of Ipsos Reid Public Affairs.

© CanWest News Service 2006

We can see "Pros" and "Cons" both for having a spring election, and not having a spring election. Please give your views as we are definitely "newbies" at the Canadian politics thing . . . .

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Stephane is Sounding Good So Far . . . .

If Stephane Dion keeps this up, he is sounding better and better . . . .

From today's CanWest News Service:

Mr. Dion has stressed that a large political divide exists between his party and the Conservatives, whom he portrays as pursuing a right- wing ideology similar to the Bush administration in the U. S.

“ The fact that they never saw a tax cut they don’t want to make — this is a very Republican approach … We need to believe in government and I feel that they do not believe in the government,” said Mr. Dion.

He denied that he is preaching “ anti- Americanism,” saying the U. S. is an ally of Canada, but “ not a model.

That last statement is great. It appears Stephane could be a very good result of the Liberal leadership convention free for all . . . .

Thursday, December 07, 2006

As Expected, But Sweet Nonetheless . . . .

MPs defeat motion to reopen same-sex marriage debate

Motion tabled by Tories falls 175-123

Last Updated: Thursday, December 7, 2006 | 4:53 PM ET

A motion to reopen the same-sex marriage debate was easily defeated in Parliament on Thursday, as expected.

MPs voted 175-123 against the controversial motion tabled by the ruling Conservatives.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks with the media in the House of Commons in Ottawa Thursday after the government failed to pass a motion to reopen same-sex marriage legislation.Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks with the media in the House of Commons in Ottawa Thursday after the government failed to pass a motion to reopen same-sex marriage legislation.
(Tom Hanson/Canadian Press)

The motion had asked the government to introduce legislation to restore the traditional definition of marriage without affecting civil unions and while respecting existing same-sex marriages.

The Liberal and Conservative parties allowed their members to vote freely, and there were some surprises.

Twelve Tories broke from party lines and voted against the motion. They included cabinet ministers Peter MacKay, David Emerson, John Baird, Jim Prentice, Lawrence Cannon and Josée Verner.

Most Liberals also gave the motion the thumbs down. Among them were Joe Comuzzi, who gave up his cabinet post in 2005 so he could vote against a same-sex marriage bill proposed by the Liberal government.

All Bloc Québécois and NDP members present voted against Thursday's motion, as directed to by their party leaders.

The vote should put an end to parliamentary wrangling about same-sex marriage, as Prime Minister Stephen Harper had said a free vote — promised during January's general election campaign — would settle the matter.

A 'hollow' motion, Liberals criticize

Same-sex marriage became legal in Canada last year, when the Liberal government passed Bill C-38 in response to a series of court rulings that said gays had the right to marry.

The bill passed 158-133.

Maybe the US will one day follow suit . . . .

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

"Welcome Home" by Sara Robinson . . . .

Sara Robinson's post on Orcinus today is an excellent description of crossing the Canada/US border at the Hwy. 99/I-5 Peace Arch crossing in British Columbia.

Her details of the ATS program are, quite frankly, rather chilling.

The post is entitled "Welcome Home" and is well worth a read . . . .

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Gay Friendly Vancouver . . . .

Just one more reason to look forward to our move north from today's Vancouver Sun:

Officials celebrate No. 1 gaytravel nod

Vancouver is taking pride in its selection as the No. 1 gay travel destination in Canada.

“We couldn’t be more pleased,” said Candice Gibson, marketing manager at Tourism Vancouver. “Vancouver openly welcomes gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender travellers.”

The survey was conducted by Community Marketing Inc. with 7,500 gay and lesbian participants. Vancouver topped Montreal and Toronto.

Vancouver’s Gay Pride Week draws thousands of visitors each year, and sensitivity training is available for hospitality staff.

Tourism Vancouver has actively marketed the city to gay travellers for a decade.

The campaign includes advertising in gay-specific travel magazines as well as attendance at key industry trade shows.

The marketing program included a “win your wedding” sweepstakes for same-sex couples. B.C.’s same-sex marriage laws attract hundreds of couples each year to exchange vows.

“Vancouver has been doing it right when it comes to being truly gayfriendly. It’s working,” said Thomas Roth, president of Community Marketing Inc.

We're really looking forward to our gay-friendly
future home . . . . .

Welcome to New Family Members . . . .

We just had contact with another same-sex couple in the process - actually near the end of the process - of leaving the US for Canada. In fact they will be neighbours of ours, as they are moving to Victoria, BC.

Check out their Our Journey Toward Canadian Immigration blog to catch up and give them your own greetings . . . .

Welcome to the club, ladies!

It looks like our little "family" continues to grow . . . . 'Ya gotta love it, eh?

Monday, December 04, 2006

When Can the US Expect an Article Like This?

Perusing the Montreal Gazette today "drf" found an article on Stephane Dion and his actions after the Liberal Leadership convention. Here is an excerpt:

And Dion is moving fast to mend bridges. Moments after his news conference, he trotted up the hill to his campaign headquarters at the Place d’Armes Hotel, where he had invited the seven other candidates and their spouses – gay candidate Scott Brison attended with his boyfriend – for lunch.

Wouldn't it be nice if the US would print an article similar and not have the screaming right-wing zealots throwing stones at the media who reported it? Personally, I think it's going to be quite some time before that happens . . . . .