Bob Rae is out

And good for him. Today, the interim leader of the Liberal Party, the past leadership candidate for the same, and the former NDP Premier of Ontario announced that he won’t be seeking to make his current job permanent. No, Rae will not run to be leader of the Liberal Party and carry the Grits into the next election. In the end, he kept his word that he would not run, despite the fact that the party executive was ready to bend space and time in order to allow it.

Why did he dance and skate, as he remarked, through so many scrums and interviews on his leadership intentions? Perhaps Rae recognized that despite its legacy status, Parliament’s third-place party had an uphill battle when it came to generating news coverage for its activities and positions taken in the House of Commons. If Rae were perceived to be a “lame duck” leader with no clout, the press would have just passed over him knowing that any of his pronouncements were temporary at best or lacked legitimacy at worst. By leading everyone on until now, it is certain that he was able to shine a brighter spotlight on his party.

It won’t surprise you to hear that we at the National Citizens Coalition think that Rae made the right decision. While we do wish him well in his future life, if Rae were to become Prime Minister, it would have been a nightmare scenario. During a recession in Ontario, Rae worsened the province’s standing rather than improved it. The NDP has always feared Rae because of his cross-partisanship and ability to draw socialists and centrists together. A Rae leadership would have done more to unite the parties of the left. Even this week, Rae and Mulcair were singing from the same songbook when it came to bailing out Spanish banks and the Eurozone with Canadian cash. Throwing good money after bad is a hallmark of the worst in fiscal management. As Europe seeks to discredit capitalism by rescuing bad investments, flattening risk, increasing sovereign debt while thumbing their nose to calls for spending restraint on entitlements, an amalgamated Canadian left within striking distance of power would only embolden and encourage these instincts at home squandering our hard-won advantage.

But Rae as Prime Minister, or now that he’s out, any Liberal for that matter? That is indeed projecting far into the hypothetical future. Indeed, the Liberals haven’t even found their foothold yet to rebuild their party to challenge the NDP for opposition status. But yet, that is the next task that they face. Rae’s exit will allow an open and fresh leadership race that won’t likely be haunted by any phantoms from generations-past. Granted, Justin Trudeau’s name carries a lot of baggage west of Ontario (and in Quebec) but with Rae out, we will likely see full generational change in the lineup of Liberal contenders.

This will excite some Liberal partisans because the Liberal Party will be a blank slate, without foundational policy to anchor it in any way or another. This will also be to the benefit of other parties that will easily define the Liberal Party for their purposes as well.

About that National Post op-ed…

A few days ago, the esteemed Kelly McParland of the National Post published a piece on the Post’s online group blog Full Comment on the Quebec student protests and education boycott.

He included this paragraph,

[The York Federation of Students’ (and various leftwing groups’)] petition, posted on the website of Stephen Taylor, director of the National Citizens Coalition, heaps praise on the efforts of the small minority of Quebec post-secondary students who managed to disrupt the final weeks of the school year through a program of street violence and intimidation.

I read the piece on Full Comment at the time and it didn’t strike me as odd or out of place. But then again, I know my position on the student protests and McParland does too as he published my own op-ed in Full Comment on the Quebec student protests and how Charest would do well to polarize against them. In fact, McParland has been nothing but fair to me and, as you can see, has been good enough to me to encourage my own contributions.

Yet, the piece ran in print today and boy, did we get letters at the National Citizens Coalition! Are we in favour of the student demonstrations in Quebec? Have we donned red squares and joined the riots? Have we lost our good conservative minds?

No, no, and no.

It is the petition that I uncovered that heaps praise on the protesters. It of course heaps praise upon them because it was written by Ontario Marxists. I was only bringing it to everyone’s attention. The sentence structure in McParland’s op-ed takes two ideas (my website and the petition) and breaks the flow between mutually exclusive actions (posting and praise). I posted the petition. The petition praises the protesters.

In short, I think the petition is mad. And those spoiled students don’t know how good they’ll still have it in seven years time.

I hope that clears things up!

Stakeholder reaction to the 2010 budget

National Citizens Coalition

Instead of fixing the job crisis as it promised in yesterday’s Throne Speech, the Harper government appears to be coasting on last year’s stimulus budget, offering no meaningful new initiatives to get Canadians working again.

Today’s budget measures are a good step in the right direction, but more needs to be done to put Canada back on the road to sustainable economic growth.

Responding to today’s federal budget, National Citizens Coalition President Peter Coleman commended the Harper government for introducing measures that will limit the size of government, and address the bloated spending that has become pandemic in Canada. At the same time, the NCC criticizes the budget for not going far enough to secure the country’s financial future.

“This is a matter of fiscal leadership, and doing what is right for Canada,” added Coleman. “This government needs to go further in their efforts to reduce the size of the civil service, and more needs to be done to reduce spending.”

Fraser Institute

Fraser Institute senior economist Niels Veldhuis had harsh words for today’s federal budget, saying the $105 billion in budget deficits over the next five years will prevent the government from making improvements in competitiveness that would lead to a stronger economy.

“The 2010 federal budget does little to strengthen the Canadian economy. By putting off balancing the books for at least five years, the federal government is sacrificing Canadian competitiveness,” Veldhuis said.

“With revenues expected to rebound this coming year, the government could have balanced the budget within two years. Instead, Finance Minister Flaherty has chosen to keep the spending taps open and saddle Canadians with $104.6 billion in deficits over the next five years.”

Canadian Wind Energy Association

The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) today expressed its serious disappointment with the federal government’s failure to expand and extend its very successful ecoENERGY for Renewable Power Program in the 2010 federal budget. Despite its expressed desire to harmonize climate change and clean energy policies with the United States, the federal government is now clearly moving in the opposite direction with respect to efforts to attract wind energy investment and jobs.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) responded today to the 2010 Federal Budget expressing with great dismay that the Harper government continues to delay efforts to balance the federal budget.

CTF Federal Director, Kevin Gaudet, said “a plan to balance the budget should actually balance the budget and this doesn’t do that. Restraint delayed is restraint denied. Taxpayers have heard similar promises of restraint before. Canadians will believe it when they see it.”

Canadian Chamber of Commerce

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce today welcomed the federal government’s strategy to achieve its recovery plan, to return to balanced budgets and to promote a more innovative and competitive economy.

Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association

Hidden in today’s budget is the government’s plan to significantly raise employment insurance rates – which means employers will be paying a much higher price to create new jobs during the economic recovery.

Higher EI premiums will cost the restaurant and foodservice industry nearly $30 million a year starting in 2011.

In pre-budget consultations the 33,000-member Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA) opposed an increase in employment insurance premiums, calling it a tax on jobs. According to the federal budget, the EI premium rate for employers is rising by nine per cent in 2011 and will continue to increase through at least 2014.

Canadian Alliance of Student Associations

Budget 2010 is making intelligent investments to help students find their way into post-secondary education, and assisting new graduates in finding employment, but has announced little for existing students facing over $500 million in lost income, due to the recession last summer, and are having difficulty paying for college and university.

“Unfortunately the federal government did not recognize the needs of students that are currently facing a cash and credit crunch due to last year’s recession,” said Arati Sharma, National Director of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, “Students lost $500 million in income last year due to high unemployment but there were no new investments in the summer jobs program, no increases in the Canada Student Grants Program, and no changes to the student loan system so students can pay the bills they are facing today.”

Budget 2010 also included one-time funding of $30 million in wage support for Career Focus, a program to help businesses hire recent college and university graduates. It also announced up to 140 fellowships for recent graduates of doctoral programs of up to $70,000 per year for two years to do research in Canada.

Canadian Federation of Students

Today’s federal budget contains no measures to address record high tuition fees and the student debt crisis.

“Chronic underfunding of Canada’s post-secondary education system has resulted in skyrocketing tuition fees and record high levels of student debt,” said Katherine Giroux-Bougard, National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. “With a record number of Canadians enrolled in college or university, this budget does nothing to help students and their families afford an education.”

The Investment Industry Association of Canada

The federal budget, released today, charts a prudent course to support recovery of the Canadian economy and bring public finances back into balance. The government has set out a realistic plan to reduce the $54 billion deficit to near fiscal balance in five years. The Investment Industry Association of Canada (IIAC) supports the commitment to spending restraint to achieve fiscal objectives. The responsible fiscal actions taken in the past four years underlie the credibility in the fiscal projections.

“The measures in the Extraordinary Financing Framework previously introduced by government were timely and effective and have contributed significantly to improved credit and economic conditions,” said Ian Russell, President and CEO, IIAC.

Federation of Canadian Municipalities

FCM applauds the federal government for protecting core investments in cities and communities as it reduces the federal budget deficit. These investments will help local governments – and Canadian property tax payers – build the infrastructure that is the backbone of our economy and quality of life.

The government is standing by its promise to permanently invest $2 billion a year in gas tax revenues in safer roads and bridges, quality public transit, and clean drinking water. This commitment, along with funding for affordable housing and the GST Rebate for municipalities, is helping local governments build greener communities that can compete for new jobs, talent, and investment in the post-recession world.

The Canadian Urban Transit Association

The Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) is pleased that today’s Budget maintains existing investments that support public transit infrastructure.

“Transit investment stimulates the economy, and builds sustainable transportation choices for the future,” says CUTA President and CEO, Michael Roschlau. “Canada’s transit industry recognizes and supports the recent progress made by the Federal Government in addressing transit needs.”

While CUTA is thankful that the federal government will maintain existing commitments to the $4-billion Infrastructure Stimulus Fund, the $8.8 billion Building Canada Fund and the $2 billion per year Gas Tax Fund, the lack of investments dedicated to public transit will make it a challenge for transit to fully meet the growing needs of Canadian communities.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is pleased to see some measures to tackle the deficit and recognize the contribution of small business in growing the economy and creating jobs but more could have been done. “Building confidence among small business owners will do more to create jobs across Canada than any other measure,” said Catherine Swift, CFIB’s President and CEO.

Addressing paper burden and regulations has always been a top priority for CFIB members and the establishment of a Red Tape Commission is welcome news. “Providing clear leadership, committing to measuring and publicly reporting on the number of regulations, as well as putting some constraints on regulators will make this initiative a success,” said Swift. “CFIB is a strong supporter of moving this process forward as it really is a low cost way of making our economy more productive and efficient” added Swift.

CFIB was also pleased to see measures to curb government administration costs. “The federal budget deficit cannot be tackled unless the government gets a handle on reducing costs in the public sector,” said Swift. “Many in the private sector have had to make sacrifices during the past year and so must the public sector to help get Canada’s books back in order. This is just a start, however, and much more needs to be done on public/private sector salary and benefit inequities”.

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

The Harper government’s budget fails to measure up to its own job creation promises, says the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), a progressive think tank.

Cardus

Ray Pennings, Director of Research for Cardus, expressed concern that although today’s federal budget rightly focuses on returning the books from deficit to surplus, it pays too little attention to imminent deficits in elder care, charitable service and broad social architecture.

“It’s a good budget, but it’s not visionary,” said Pennings. “Canada will begin facing down critical problems in the coming decades that need bold fiscal leadership, and by that standard, today’s budget is focused too much on short-term physical stimulus, and not enough on helping institutions outside of government build capacity for providing critical services over the long term.”

Certified Management Accountants of Canada

Certified Management Accountants of Canada (CMA Canada) welcomes Budget 2010’s focus on making Canada more globally competitive and encouraging greater investment in Canada.

The budget contains specific measures that will help Canadian businesses increase their capacity to innovate and become more productive.

While CMA Canada welcomes the new investment in public sector R&D included in Budget 2010, the government must continue to encourage business-led R&D, which is a critical source of innovation. To this end, the government should consider CMA Canada’s pre-budget recommendation of enhancing the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax credit by enhancing the refundability provisions.

Canadian Auto Workers

“This budget does little to help Canadian workers secure their footing during a period of severe economic instability and is rooted in government-destroying, deeply ideological values,” CAW President Ken Lewenza said in response to Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s budget today.

The budget shifts the Conservative government policies further in favour of businesses and corporations, to the detriment of average Canadians. It outlines a series of plans to reduce the federal deficit through major spending cuts, including $6.8 billion from the public service budget. The budget also highlights the government’s intent to further reduce tariffs on manufacturing inputs, deregulation of the telecommunications and uranium mining sectors, an expansion of free trade, and boasts that Canada will have the lowest corporate tax rate in the G7 by 2012.

The Direct Sellers Association of Canada

The Direct Sellers Association of Canada applauded the federal government for the extension of the GST/HST collection mechanism currently used by thousands of small businesses across Canada and for continued measures to create jobs for Canadians.

“The amendments to the GST/HST collection rules for direct sellers announced in the federal budget confirm this government is committed to creating an environment where entrepreneurial activity can grow and jobs can be created,” said Ross Creber, President of the Direct Sellers Association of Canada (DSA). “The changes Minister Flaherty announced today will benefit thousands of independent sales contractors in the direct selling industry.”

United Steelworkers

“The federal budget provides no new support for green jobs or general investment in manufacturing,” said Ken Neumann, United Steelworkers’ (USW) National Director for Canada. “It projects a higher unemployment rate this year than last year, but proposes only token improvements to Employment Insurance (EI) benefits.

“The government should significantly enhance the accessibility, level and duration of regular EI benefits. It should stop deducting severance pay from EI benefits and shorten the two-week waiting period.

“While the budget continues previously announced stimulus spending, it provides almost no new money to create jobs or help unemployed workers,” says Neumann.

The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada welcomes the government’s strategic choice to invest in university research as announced today in Budget 2010.

“Given Canada’s fiscal outlook, we are pleased that the government is continuing to invest in university research and innovation to create jobs today and to build the economy of tomorrow,” says Michel Belley, chair of the AUCC Board of Directors and rector of the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi.

The $32 million annual investment in the three major granting councils will help universities to pursue the kinds of research that will drive innovation and produce the highly skilled workers that all sectors of the economy need. The budget also provided $8 million for the Indirect Costs Program.

Canadian Youth Business Foundation

In today’s federal budget, Prime Minister Stephen Harper strengthened the government’s partnership with the Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF) with the announcement of $10 million in funding. The funds will ensure that CYBF continues to help aspiring young entrepreneurs open businesses in communities across Canada, creating jobs while strengthening Canada’s economic recovery.

“At CYBF we know that youth entrepreneurship is fundamental to Canada’s economic recovery and long-term competitiveness,” explained Vivian Prokop, chief executive officer of CYBF. “The government’s continued investment in CYBF is recognition of our role as an important partner in job creation, economic development and building a culture of entrepreneurship in Canada. This federal funding, coupled with effective public and private partnerships, demonstrates an understanding that young entrepreneurs have great potential to generate ideas and drive innovation in Canada’s communities from coast to coast.”

Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union

“All political parties should vote to bring this government down now,” says Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union President Dave Coles in reaction to today’s budget.

“Yet another budget, filled with rhetoric and platitudes, that does nothing for workers, families and communities in hundreds of forest-dependent communities,” says the leader of Canada’s largest forestry union.

“We saw the same show in last year’s budget,” says Coles. “In fact, in the past year, the Conservatives made many announcements about aid to the forest sector, yet we saw a record number of bankruptcies.”

“Mr. Harper and Mr. Flaherty are simply continuing to milk the media for their own gain.

The Forest Products Association of Canada

The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) today welcomed the spending initiatives and direction announced in the Federal Budget saying it will strengthen the industry’s plans for renewal.

“From a forest industry perspective, the Government has its priorities right: investing in green jobs of tomorrow, stimulating the economy through clean energy technologies, and inviting investment by changing the Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance, will give Canada the edge it needs to move into the new bio-economy,” says Avrim Lazar, President and CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada.

“The Next Generation Renewable Power Initiative leverages the industry’s ability to make a significant contribution to Canada’s vision of becoming a clean energy superpower. This is a win for the environment, economy and the next generation work force.” says Lazar.

Canada’s Chartered Accountants

Canada’s Chartered Accountants (CAs) are cautiously optimistic about the federal budget giving it a B-plus rating.

“This is really a wait and see budget,” said Kevin Dancey, FCA, president and CEO, Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA). “We won’t know if this is a successful budget until the government demonstrates that it has the ability to rein in costs.”

It also is a transition budget as the government prepares to move away from its stimulus spending to restraint. The budget confirms $19-billion in new federal stimulus under the second year of the government’s Economic Action Plan. It also charts a course to return Canada to fiscal balance but only brings the deficit down to 1.8-billion by 2014-2015.

Certified General Accountants Association of Canada

Although it includes no major initiatives, the Finance Minister introduced a budget that lays the groundwork for economic recovery and emphasizes productivity and innovation, says the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada (CGA-Canada).

“The budget addresses the right priorities – continuing with necessary economic stimulus, focusing on innovation, and charting a course for a return to budget balance,” says Anthony Ariganello, CGA-Canada’s President and CEO. “The fact that there are no major new initiatives is not a surprise. Nonetheless, the budget contains a number of interesting smaller measures, especially those related to innovation.”

VANOC

The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) today commended the Government of Canada for committing an additional $17 million annually in funding in support of the Own the Podium program: $11 million for winter athletes and $6 million for summer athletes. The funding announcement came as part of the Government of Canada’s release of the federal budget.

“The Prime Minister and Government of Canada have today confirmed that sport counts in Canada – that sport is an important and vibrant part of the fabric of life in our country,” said John Furlong, VANOC’s Chief Executive Officer. “Canadian winter athletes, through their stellar performance at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and at the upcoming Paralympic Games, are making a significant impact on the country, inspiring national pride and a showing what can be done when confidence is raised to the highest level through strong support. Our summer athletes have tremendous potential as they prepare for the London 2012 Games,” he said.

Shutting down speech on Canadian television

In Canada like the United States, television content is subject to review by regulatory bodies for a variety of reasons. In Canada, however, this material is subject to review for undesired political messaging.

Take a look at the following two produced-for-television spots from the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association (CRFA):


Bio Who?


On The Hill

It might surprise you to find out that the spots were canned by a regulatory body of private broadcasters called the Television Bureau of Canada (TVB). In the opinion of this self-regulatory body for networks such as CTV and Global, the content of the ads has been classified as “Issue and Opinion” by TVB. In fact, according to a letter obtained by this blogger (reproduced below), “the subject of renewable fuels being a hot topic these days makes it an opinion expressed.” Uh oh.

You might be thinking that opinion has never really been subject to censorship in Canada unless it crosses the line of hateful speech, decency or the promotion of unlawful activity. Of course, the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association is doing nothing of the sort in these spots.

Here is the letter from TVB to the advertising agency for Canadian Renewable Fuels:

The “On the Hill” spot was deemed unairable for a couple of reasons. First, Canadians would not be protected, it seems from clandestine opinions to change their economic behaviour (in the advertising industry, this is called “9 to 5, 7 days a week, 365 days a year”). Because renewable fuels is a political “hot topic”, vulnerable Canadians might suffer if the source of the advertising is not “on screen for at least 6 seconds [occupying] 1/3 of the screen in size”. The closing tag “greenfuels.org” on the spot is too covert for the audience even though it is likely meant as a plug for a website on which the CRFA presumably wants the audience to visit.

And what’s this about an “attestation letter” to the rights to use footage of Harper and the claim that the PM’s personal permission to use electoral footage of himself is needed before CRFA can proceed? Did anyone else know that the use of footage of a political candidate is forbidden in this country without the express written permission of that individual?

My pal Kory Teneycke, executive director of the CRFA wrote to the Conservative Party to inquire about such a request and passed on the party’s response to me:

Armed with confimation of his common sense, Teneycke wrote to TVB and expressed his concern:

What is your opinion on the stifling of speech on the over-regulated medium that is television in this country? I can think of a few instances of the suppression of public debate in this country, but only via government bodies. This marks a particularly egregious example perpetrated by a private organization. Further, this case is yet another example of how YouTube is helping individuals/organizations get around the regulatory filters. And why was the use of Harper’s image in a commercial that actually compliments his environmental plan such a deal-breaker for the Television Bureau of Canada?

You can write Jim Patterson, the President of the Television Bureau of Canada (Telecaster, TVB) at jpatterson@tvb.ca

UPDATE: CRFA mascot, Corncob Bob is on a Hunger Strike to protest the Television Bureau of Canada’s decision!

UPDATE: Gerry Nicholls, VP of the National Citizens Coalition and veteran of fighting censorship in advertising had the following to say when contacted for comment:

“Just another sad example of how we are regulating speech in this country and how we consistently underestimate the intelligence of Canadian consumers.”

UPDATE: Gerry also comments on his blog

Freedom-Government crossroads

freedom-crossroads.jpgI’d like to pose a simple question: “Could the Canadian government censor the Internet?”

Now, depending on your political leanings you might respond, “you Conservative wacko conspiracy theorist, the government wouldn’t do that!”

However, consider that the government already regulates the content of television and radio through the CRTC. The government body has the power to pull a station’s licence if they don’t play enough Canadian content or if they happen to be quite outspoken against the government in Quebec (see: ChoiFM). The Canadian government has incredible power over magazine publishers and think-tanks as well as these groups receive millions of dollars of government grants and support. Many Conservative think-tanks (e.g. Fraser Institute) and magazines (e.g. the Western Standard) are proudly independent of government subsidy and thus do not have to worry about publishing contrarian opinion and getting their funding cut.

In a discussion with Gerry Nicholls of the NCC over the weekend, we discussed the gag laws and the dissemination of Liberal-harmful news and message over the internet. Considering Jean Brault’s publication ban failure and the eventual NCC election gag law loss in the Supreme Court of Canada, Gerry mused that the Internet technology may have caught up with political censorship and thus gag laws have become pointless.

It is actually possible to censor the internet in Canada. The government would merely require that Rogers/Cogeco/Telus/Bell include a couple of lines of code within their global settings on their networks. The government can require that these companies ban connections to certain IPs or even ban pages automatically with certain keywords.

“But they only censor the internet in repressive third world countries”, you might say. However, consider that I, along with several Blogging Tories, and Brian Neale of Nealenews were facing potential charges for breaking the Jean Brault publication ban and consider that this very ban on Internet linking (!) is a circumvention of our right to free speech. Now consider that the Internet is the only unregulated medium in Canada (satellite television signals, that float through the air, are also regulated for CRTC-approved content). Also consider that more and more people get election news from the internet and that blogs will be front-row-centre(-right) during the next election. Furthermore, trends such as these mean that the government will either make a globally embarrassing move to regulate “the great democratizer” that is the Internet, or it will make no move at all. If the latter is true, government pressure on broadcast TV, radio, satellite, thinktanks and magazines will become less relevant as the Internet provides more freedom of information for all Canadians.

Liberty Summer Seminar – Summary of the event

What if the “establishment” was left-wing?

Yesterday I returned from a camping trip with some friends in Orono, ON. More specifically, our particular group gathered with other like-minded individuals and discussed ideas, activism and how to effectively oppose those that make the rules and those that are in power. The gathering represented various activist groups that sold either sold t-shirts emblazoned with hip slogans, gave speeches that stirred the crowd, or performed stirring songs that promoted the common agenda.

Now don’t worry, I haven’t joined the hippie hoard, but you might be surprised if I told you that everyone present found themselves firmly on “the right”.

This weekend I attended the 5th annual Liberty Summer Seminar, hosted by Peter Jaworski. The cause of the event was liberty and it was well-attended. Speakers at the seminar included Ezra Levant of the Western Standard news magazine, Marni Soupcoff of the National Post, Tasha Kheiriddin of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Mark Mullins (executive director of the Fraser Institute) and Gerry Nicholls of the National Citizens Coalition, among others. Certainly, the attendees were supporters and leaders in liberty and libertarian ideals in Canada. Perhaps the most notable invited guest was the one who didn’t show: Marc Emery, who faces extradition to the United States.

The event had the well intended feel and character of activism, so often practiced only on the left. Quite characteristic of the feeling of the event, one of those t-shirts sold at the event proclaimed (with a bar across the iconic Che Guevara), “Real rebels don’t support centralized state authority”. Our country has been disabled by those on the left that seek to give more power to the federal government, that seek to restrict personal freedom and reduce choice in healthcare and education.

What if “the establishment” was left-wing?

It is.

The libertarian philosophy finds itself squarely within the Conservative Party. It is often at odds with social conservatism but shares its disdain for liberalism and the gluttony of the state. Stephen Harper has also been described as a libertarian as his resume both boasts a master’s degree in economics and a stint as the president of the National Citizens Coalition. In a letter to Preston Manning, before he was even a politician, Harper advised the Reform party leader that socially conservative issues, such as abortion and traditional family values, cannot distract from the actual intentions of the Reform party, (fiscal liberty, reduced government and democratic reform).

I enjoyed the weekend incredibly and would like to thank the Jaworskis for their hospitality (and the best sauerkraut I’ve ever tasted). I represented Blogging Tories at the event and was surprised and humbled by how many of the invited speakers cited the website as a perfect example of how Liberty- and Conservative-minded individuals need to organize to take back the government in order to make a freer country for us all.