Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Tonight I am back at home, enjoying the roar of the fire and the cacophony of family. I hope everybody has the same. Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it and Happy Holidays to everyone.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tokamak, Polywell, and focused IEC

Completely unrelated to usual posts, but I have found some exciting material as of late.

I had believed that fusion power was at least a hundred years away. In BC we have great hydroelectric power production, and capacity for many more dams. While there are many problems with large scale hydro electric, it is still the best utility scale method for environmental performance. But what about Ontario? What about Israel? What about Australia? What about France?

These places do not have the natural surroundings for dams, and are relying on coal or nuclear fission for electricity. Fusion is the sort of holy grail of clean electricity production.

Up until last week, I had thought the only real alternative for fusion was the upcoming ITER, a massive multi billion dollar international collaboration to build a Deuterium Tritium Tokamak Fusion reactor. It turns out there are people working on a few different, much cheaper, and maybe just feasible designs. Its got me excited that I may see fusion power in my lifetime.

If you are a clean energy geek like me, you may find the following rather interesting.

Bussard's Polywell

Focus Fusion

PS - I love everything Google.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Why I hate politics

Today there is an article in the Globe about Michael Burns and Atomic Energy of Canada Limited. It looks like Michael Burns was appointed as chair of AECL for purely partisan reasons, and in a similar fashion to Michael Brown of FEMA fame, was probably not the most appropriate choice for this position.

No political party that has been in power in Canada has not committed this error to one degree or another. The question I ask, is why are there so often people appointed to important positions in government that are not qualified to be there, and what can we do about it.

Why - During an election, those wishing to get elected have to build a team of volunteers and staff to run the campaign. The politicians are truly in the hands of those working on your campaign, and so you have to trust those in important campaign positions. If the politician is elected and forms government, they are now in the hands of the public service. The politicians rely on the public service to get the things done that they were elected to do. So what do the politicians do? They get rid of the people the people they don't trust, and hire the people that helped them win, people they already trust.

So what is the outcome? Every time we change governments, we end up with a bunch of people in key positions that are really not qualified to be in those positions. While these people may be great people, they are put in over their heads until they can learn how to fill the role properly. As citizens we like to ignore this learning processes unless it is a key position that really needs to have a qualified person, such as Chair of the Bank of Canada, or Chair of AECL.

So what do we do about it? I'm not sure there is much we can do about, outside of getting involved. This is what I have done. I'm not willing to let some dough heads make the important decisions for our riding. I am supporting a party I believe has the right values, and will do everything within my capability to make sure they don't commit the same patronage mistakes that seem to plague our governmental system.

If anyone has a better idea on how to fix the system, please let me know.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Article on the Importance of Market Forces and Innovation

A friend of mine recently sent me an article that outlines some good economic principles when looking at the challenge of fighting climate change, including explaining why large companies are do not have an incentive to invest in major energy R & D.

This is why I really like BC's intent to monitor the governments emissions and buy "virtual offsets" which go into a research fund for clean energy. Its a bit misleading as they are not buying actual offsets and so won't be offsetting their emissions, but may in the long run be creating a more important outcome: clean technology.

I'd like to see a national carbon tax replacing the lowest bracket of the income tax. However, this tax must NOT go into general revenue. It should be used for education and research, preferably run like a large venture capital fund. This also creates a challenge, as we do not want the government to crowd out people doing good work in the Venture Capital field. It would have to be structured to only fund the technology that is too risky or too early for Venture Capital funds to be involved with.

This is good for the environment and good for the economy. Mr. Baird, Mr. Prentice, Mr. Flaherty, could you please get together and propose this to Mr. Harper? Or can you not find time in your busy schedules to deal with the most important issue of our life times?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Google Goofiness

I put a google adsense ad on this sight down a bit on the right hand side, really just so I can use their excellent tracking information. I was quite surprised to find an ad for a Taser.

Friday, December 14, 2007

One more item before I get back to work,

If you get a chance, check out Jordan Bateman's Langley2020 site. Jordan and I disagree on some issues, but we both agree that Langley, really the whole area south of the Fraser, is woefully under served by public transit. Please check out his ideas and leave some comments if you like them, don't like them, have questions, or have some more ideas of your own.

Unfortunately, (or fortunately) all of the comments, including mine, are very supportive. In order to make really cogent presentations and arguments, us pro-transit folks need to be aware of the counterarguments and be able to address them. So please, be critical!

Merry Christmas for those who celebrate it, and Happy Holidays for all,


Idea for the next post

I'm thinking Why Jim Flaherty is a terrible choice for Minister of Finance? The problem is there is simply too much material for posts like this.

Why John Baird is a Terrible Choice for Minister of Environment

I had written a post that I vetted through some trusted friends, and though they agree with what I wrote, several recommended against posting it. I'm generally level headed, but I am happy to have some friends to tell me when I need to tone it down. So instead I have written a point by point explanation of why I think Steven Harper made a very poor choice in appointing John Baird as the Conservative Minister of Environment.

John Baird lacks experience and knowledge of the subject matter.

Baird's undergraduate degree is a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Baird has been a politico all his professional life. Prior to being appointed by Steven Harper as Minister for the Environment, he had never worked in an industry that has to manage environmental affairs, nor had he ever been part of an environmental NGO, nor had he ever worked in an environmental regulatory capacity. Link.

John Baird's history of statements and actions show he does not take environmental issues seriously.

"We have already seen the impacts of climate change in the north with melting
permafrost, schools shifting off foundations, and the spread of the pine beetle."
This from the man that as President of the Treasury board cut Federal spending
to beetle kill programs in BC at a time when the federal surplus was a record
13 billion dollars.

John Baird is regarded as having killed (for political vendetta reasons) an
already approved light rail plan for the City of Ottawa. Link.

"We've had unusually warm weather in parts of the country and
unusually harsh weather in other parts of the country and I wanted to
come out first hand and see it," he said. "It's demonstrably worse than
anything you can see on television and it's a wake-up call." So the decades
of science won't convince you, but trees blown over in Stanley Park will?

Interaction of John Baird and Dr. David Suzuki at the Green Living Consumer show,
April 27th, 2007

"It's a disappointment, John," Suzuki said.
Baird countered: "This is more action than any government in Canadian history has
ever taken."
Suzuki was unmoved by the minister's words and replied, "It's not enough John,
you know there's a lot of opportunity. Please come and see us."
Baird replied, "we're very happy to," before walking away.
He hasn't been to see Suzuki yet.
A quote from the Financial Post, a typically conservative supporting paper, "Meanwhile, in an apparent effort to fend off international attacks over its climate change policies, the Harper government began a series of multimillion-dollar environmental announcements. Mr. Baird insisted the funds are proof that the government is taking real action to stop global warming. But he was unable to say whether his main announcement of the day, a pledge to spend $85.9 million over four years on climate change adaptation and research, is any different from a Natural Resources Canada climate change adaptation program that his government shut down last summer. The now-defunct federal climate research network conducted studies to help various communities and economic sectors cope with the impacts of a changing climate, such as severe weather, the pine beetle infestations in western Canada, and crumbling infrastructure."

From Environmental Defense - "For far too long they have found themselves on the receiving end of promises that packaged a whole lot of punch but delivered little more than a pinch - what you call empty promises. Unlike our predecessors we are doing more than just talking, we're taking real action." But environmentalists were not impressed. "I'm actually shocked at how little it is," said John Bennett of Climate for Change. "What is industry's target? How many megatonnes will industry do? "

John Baird is implicated in a scandal regarding the past Ottawa Municipal Elections

There are no charges against Minister Baird yet, but there is a public investigation by the OPP into allegations that the current Ottawa Mayor tried to bribe one of the opponents into dropping out by offering him an appointment. The appointment would be made by Minister Baird. It may be nothing but a smear, but give it a bit of time. The truth will out. Link.

I could go on for days. John Baird, like so many of the Conservative Ministers, is simply ill equipped, inexperienced, and way over his head.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

I wish I better understand the legal ins and outs of libel, or it is my personal opinion that John Baird may be mentally defficient

I wrote a few paragraphs about John Baird, but I'm worried that if I post it, it may be libel. Are there any lawyers I can send this to for a free opinion before I post? I'm happy to preface every sentence with something like "It is my opinion that . . . "

It's so hard to write about what the guy is doing without descending into a complete rant.

I will try and remove the nasty parts this afternoon, and form a cogent, non-malicious explanation of why I think John Baird is a complete turd. Oops, this is hard!


Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I'm not anti-Taser, I'm pro very defined Taser use policy. I'm of the opinion it should be located right before a firearm on the continuum of force. I believe an officer would be warranted in using a Taser in a situation that if they did not have the Taser, they would have used their fire arm.

Unfortunately for the members on the street, the guidelines for Taser use have been hazy at best and absent at worst.

Competing Taser Headlines, or Why You Have to Get News From More Than One Place

Here are two different headlines for the same news piece.

National Post: No ban on Tasers needed now, watchdog report says

Globe and Mail: RCMP should restrict taser use immediately: report

Both of these articles refer to the same report, just published by the RCMP Public Complaints Commission. The first headline suggests that all is fine, however if you go through and read both the articles, you will discover that the report does not suggest all is honky dory. I wish the newspapers would provide a link to the actual report, but they don't, so here it is. What it says is that Tasers have not been used correctly, and more disturbingly, the RCMP has not tracked how tasers have been used or what the outcome from their use has been;

"there exists no empirical data generated by the RCMP as to the benefits, or detriments, of using the weapon. The CEW has been deployed in push stun or probe mode over 3,000 times since its introduction in December 2001, yet not one annual report has been produced and the information captured on the Conducted Energy Weapon Usage Form has not been thoroughly examined nor utilized in the development of current CEW policy."

These findings are very close to the discussion at our last Electoral District Association. Usually discussions at these meetings have individuals that have drastically different view points, however on this issue, the discussion was quite unified. We talked about how the RCMP were using the Taser as if it was not harmful to the person being subdued. Interestingly though, nobody argued that the Taser should be banned, just that the guidelines for its use were likely not in line with the potential harm of the device.

When safety figures have been quoted by law enforcement agencies, they are quoting figures from studies funded by the manufacturer of the devices. These studies only look at direct lethal effects, so they only count a death from a Taser if the shock stops a healthy and not on drugs subject's heart. However, there are many other potential sources of harm from a Taser shock. Falling and hitting the head, acidosis of lung muscles from repeated shocks preventing respiration, Cardiac arythmia, and the very strange and scary "post-shock lethal events."

One other thing, I wish the RCMP would not use the term Excited Delerium when talking about Robert Dziekanski. This is a term that has been invented by law enforcement agencies, has no formal medical recognition, and refers to people who are in a state that is usually brought on by the use of PCP or cocaine. In fact, several studies have shown that Taser use on subjects in this state is very dangerous as both PCP and cocaine can cause heart perturbations which can be than be turned fatal by the electrical discharge of the Taser.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Somethings I love about Canada.

When certain politicians attempt to do something really stupid, people raise up and tell them to their face that they are being stupid.
Link 1 Link 2
Now we just have to get some people in there that don't have to be told every day that they are being stupid.

Monday, December 10, 2007

What keeps me busy

I've been getting quite a few questions about what I am up to, so I thought I should let you all know what occupies the bulk of my time outside the campaign.

1. I am the regional manager for the Fraser Valley for the Rock Solid Business Development Program. We help small and medium businesses develop core business management skills to build solid, dependable enterprises that form the economic core of healthy communities. Part of what makes Langley a great place to live is it's economic success. Healthy businesses of all sizes are what allows us to afford good health care, child care programs, education systems, infrastructure projects and everything else that goes into making Canada one of the best countries in the world to live.

2. I'm a founding partner of Econic, an online retailer of low carbon impact products. Our mission is to help savvy customers find products that have lower carbon impacts than current alternatives, yet fit with our western lifestyles. There are a lot of products out there claiming to do this, but we are cutting through the chaff to find the products that actually make a difference. Consumers want to make a difference, are willing to pay a little extra to make that difference, but are having a tough time navigating through the marketing. We're trying to be the compass. The government is not taking action to reduce our carbon impact, so we are trying to take things in our own hands.

3. I'm studying to take the Project Management Professional designation exam. It's a bear of a test that barring an election, I will be taking in February. My mom keeps telling me that you can never have enough education, and you can never brush you teeth enough.

4. I'm trying to learn how to swim better. I'm going to enter a triathlon this spring, but my swimming is not good enough. If anyone uses the Walnut Grove Community Center and would like to give me some constructive criticism, let me know when you are free and I'll meet you there.

5. I try to keep up to date on all the going's on in the community, but it is hard. There are so many people doing many great things in Langley, that it becomes impossible to keep up with all of the great work. Go Langley!

6. I post to the intarweb. I'm getting used to the semi regular writing regime, however I have no idea if the people who read this enjoy it. I can tell I am getting hits, but I have yet to generate many comments. Perhaps I should be more controversial?

By the way I am going to start documenting the discussions we have in our Electoral District Association meetings. They can get quite heated and lively, and I humbly think our little group are some of the better informed folks out there. I hope it will generate just as heated discussion on here.


Next Fundraiser


We have booked the Clova Theater in downtown Cloverdale for an afternoon movie showing at 3:30 pm Sunday January 20th. There is some regulation that prevents us advertising the movie, but it is recent, funny and family oriented. (I can tell you when you buy a ticket) Ticket price will be $10. Get tickets early as we only have 235 seats. You can leave a comment, send me an email or call me if you need tickets. I will get up and speak before we play the movie, but I promise to keep it short.


Friday, December 7, 2007

The Ultimate Christmas Present

Special Interest Groups, Take a Lesson in Lobbying

A bill is set to be introduced in parliament that will lead the way to US style suings of kids with shared songs on their computers.

Its a good example of people who don't understand changes in the world lashing out in the wrong direction.

The internet is here.
It is not going away.
Suing children will not stop file sharing.
DRM controls will be hacked the day they are released.

They shut down Napster, and eMule, Gnutella and Bit-Torrent were born. Faster, more anonymous and larger catalogs of pirated material.

Mr. Prentice, please, do not listen to the recording industry. Listen to the artists. Listen to the Bare-naked Ladies, Avril Lavigne, and Sarah MacLachlan. They don't need or want American style DMCA copyright control. You will risk sounding like the now laughing stock Doug Morris, CEO of Universal Music Group.

Please check out these links.

A list of questions from CBC listeners that Industry Minister Jim Prentice refuses to answer

Michael Geist, professor of Internet Law

Boing Boing, a Repository for weird and wonderful things, and proponents of Free Speech and Privacy

These copyright laws being proposed were written by people that do not understand the Internet or how to use it. It is being sold and implemented by people who don't understand the implications of what they are doing. It is not a series of tubes.

I believe in Free Speech.
I believe that free flows of information lead to greater innovation.
I believe no corporation has the right to invade my privacy.

One of the big problems with our government system, is those that are most affected by decisions made today are the least represented in government. Those who are in there 20's and 30's today are going to have to live with the decisions our government makes today, and yet there are very few people under 40 or even under 50 in government.

Time to change that.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

2010 Mascots

Whether you like them not, you have to be impressed by the secrecy Vanoc was able to maintain, and how quickly the roll out has happened.

Personally, I like them, although I half expect them to transform into some sort of robot/spaceplane with rockets, lasers and strange psychic abilities.

Dear Mr. Rogers, My Phone Bill is Too High.

To Jim Prentice,

Bravo. Thank you for your start in breaking the oligopoly of wireless transmission.

We are 8-10 years behind Europe and Asia in the wireless phone game. This is a good start in getting more competition, better service, and lower prices.


Monday, November 26, 2007

51-2, we all lose

For those interested in Climate change, Canada just embarrassed itself again. At the Commonwealth meeting on Saturday, Mr. Harper scuttled any mention of real binding greenhouse reduction targets, once again showing he is the biggest greenwasher of them all. His speech after was nauseating, stating that the leaders of the Commonwealth had created a "significant statement" on climate change.

Perhaps Mr. Harper is a bit deaf.


Everyone knows it.
Everyone is ready for it. Everyone wants it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Karlheinz, the prince of pork

Let me start by saying I really like the Airbus planes. The seats are wider and more comfortable than the same era Boeings. But at least the Boeings don't have a funny smell. . . .

I will insert a large disclaimer right here. I do not have any more information on this topic than anyone else with a computer and a radio. I here the news and read the papers. All I can say at this point is their is a lot more to this story than we are currently getting, and it all stinks like a pork fat rendering plant that is in a state of disrepair so that half rendered, rancid grease seeps from every cracked pipe.

Here is my admittedly hazy understanding of the affair to date. Most of which is gleaned from the Globe and Mail article here. I've inserted comments in brackets and additional dates in italics.

1974: Karlheinz Schreiber makes his first trip to Alberta, looking for business opportunities (nothing wrong with that, lots of people go to Alberta looking for business opportunities)

1976: Brian Mulroney makes his first run at the leadership of the federal Progressive Conservative party and loses to Joe Clark. Mr. Schreiber later testifies that he donated $25,000-$30,000 toward Mr. Mulroney's efforts. (Also nothing wrong here. Leadership contests are expensive and donations are welcome. Today it is not possible for one person to make such a donation, as one of Chretien's last moves was to limit personal donations to parties, and leadership races.)

1981: Mr. Mulroney, then president of the Iron Ore Company of Canada, begins his lunchtime meetings at the Mount Royal Club, plotting his second run for the leadership of the Conservative party, even though Mr. Clark had not stepped down. Among the confidants was Frank Moores, the former premier of Newfoundland. (Kind of sketchy, definitely not illegal)

Feb. 23, 1982: Mr. Mulroney sends a Telex to Mr. Schreiber's room at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Montreal, where the German-born dealmaker is celebrating becoming a Canadian citizen: "Dear Karlheinze (sic), Congratulations and best wishes on this important and first day of your new relationship with our country. It is a pleasure to welcome you to Canada." (really its the least he can do for someone who has been supporting him for 6 years.)

January 1983: Progressive Conservative Leader Joe Clark announces a leadership convention after receiving only 66 per cent support from delegates at a party meeting in Winnipeg, many of whom were flown in from Quebec. Mr. Schreiber later reveals that he gave money to the wives of anti-Clark delegates to go shopping while in the Manitoba capital. (hmm, probably not technically illegal, definitely a bit shady)

June 11, 1983: Mr. Mulroney is elected leader of the Progressive Conservative party, defeating Mr. Clark.

Sept. 4, 1984: Mr. Mulroney becomes prime minister designate.

March 7, 1985: Airbus Industrie, a European consortium, enters into a secret agreement with International Aircraft Leasing for assistance with the sale of aircraft to Canada — $500,000 per plane. Mr. Schreiber's embittered accountant later identifies International Aircraft Leasing as a shell company belonging to Mr. Schreiber. The contract stipulates that the agreement will be automatically terminated "in case of a major political change in the territory."

March 30, 1988: Air Canada's board of directors agrees to the Airbus deal — 34 A320s at a price of $1.8-billion. (There is no mention of any interference by Mulroney in this deal, which if there was would really fuel the scandal)

Sept. 18, 1989: Mulroney writes to Schreiber on the Prime Minister's letterhead: "Dear Karlheinz, Thank you for your letter of August 28. I too was pleased to have the opportunity to meet with you. The recent General Meeting provided a tremendous opportunity for the PC party to reflect on its past success and to look ahead to a future that promises to offer Canadians countless opportunities both at home and abroad."

June 23, 1993: Mr. Mulroney sends a limousine for Mr. Schreiber to visit him at the prime minister's official residence at Harrington Lake, Que. Over the next two years, they meet three times in hotels and Mr. Schreiber gives Mr. Mulroney a total of $300,000 cash. (The thing to note here, is that according to Schreiber, WHILE MULRONEY WAS STILL PRIME MINISTER, they agreed to this $300,000 grand deal, either pay for the plane deal or pay for continued influence, also this is still an accusation not a fact)

June 25, 1993: Mr. Mulroney's last day as Prime Minister.

July 27, 1993: Mr. Schreiber withdraws $100,000 from his Swiss bank account — a Canadian funds account coded 'Britan.'

Aug. 27, 1993: Mr. Schreiber meets with Mr. Mulroney at a Montreal airport hotel and gives him $100,000 cash.

August, 1993: Mr. Mulroney rejoins his old law firm of Ogilvy Renault.

Nov. 3, 1993: Mr. Schreiber withdraws another $100,000 from 'Britan'

Nov. 11, 1993: Mr. Schreiber meets with Mr. Mulroney at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel's Gold Key Lounge and gives him $100,000

July 21, 1994: Mr. Schreiber withdraws $50,000 from 'Britan'

Nov. 21, 1994: Mr. Schreiber withdraws $50,000 from 'Britan'

Dec. 8, 1994: Mr. Schreiber meets with Mr. Mulroney at the Pierre Hotel in New York City where he gives Mr. Mulroney $100,000.

March 1995: The RCMP, in the midst of a criminal investigation into the Airbus deal, sends a letter of request to Switzerland, seeking access to Mr. Schreiber's bank accounts and alleging that Mr. Mulroney defrauded Canadians. (this was the cause of Mulroney's $50 million lawsuit. The letter was not written carefully, and implied guilt prior to having evidence or a trial.)

Nov. 18, 1995: The Financial Post publishes a story about the letter of request to Switzerland and the allegations. The same day, Mr. Mulroney announces he will sue the federal government.

April 17, 1996: Mr. Mulroney is examined as part of his lawsuit and when asked about his relationship with Mr. Schreiber and when they have met since he stepped down as prime minister, he says under oath: "Well, from time to time, not very often. When he was going through Montreal, he would give me a call. We would have a cup of coffee, I think, once or twice." He elaborates: "Well, he doesn't pass through Montreal and visit me. He comes … when he's on his way to Montreal, he called me and asked me and I say perhaps once or twice, if I could come to a cup … have a cup of coffee with him at a hotel. And I think I had one in the Queen Elizabeth Hotel with him … the coffee bar of the Queen Elizabeth Hotel." (Mulroney fails to mention that he has received $300,000 in cash from Schreiber.)

Jan. 9, 1997: The federal government apologizes to Frank Moores, Mr. Schreiber and Mr. Mulroney.

May 7, 1997: Germans issue an arrest warrant for Mr. Schreiber for tax evasion. He has changed his primary residence to Switzerland and is not arrested.

Oct. 6, 1997: Mr. Mulroney obtains a $2.1-million settlement from the federal government

Sometime in 1998-1999 (exact date unavailable): Mulroney makes a voluntary disclosure to Revenue Canada regarding the $300,000 cash payments.

Feb. 2, 1998: Mr. Mulroney meets Mr. Schreiber in a private suite in Zurich. Mr. Schreiber says that Mr. Mulroney wanted to know if there was any evidence that could connect him to the cash payments.

May 7, 1999: Former Tory MP Elmer MacKay flies to Switzerland and meets with Mr. Schreiber. The next day, they fly to Toronto and then to Nova Scotia

Aug. 31, 1999: Mr. Schreiber is arrested by RCMP on a warrant from Germany

October, 1999: CBC producer Harvey Cashore obtains Mr. Schreiber's Swiss bank records, including the records of an account with the code name 'Britan.' There are four substantial cash withdrawals totalling $300,000. When Mr. Cashore tries to obtain an interview with Mr. Mulroney about the account, Mr. Mulroney's spokesman, Luc Lavoie, calls Mr. Schreiber "the biggest fucking liar the world has ever seen." (ha ha ha, what a great response. Schreiber is a diaper head. No interview)

Oct. 17, 1999: Before the CBC airs its piece on the mysterious bank account, according to Mr. Schreiber's Alberta lawyer, Robert Hladun, Mr. Mulroney makes two phone calls to Mr. Hladun, saying that he is going to send a letter to the CBC in an attempt to quash the show.

April 22, 2003: RCMP announces that the Airbus investigation is concluded, no charges

Nov. 10, 2003: Author William Kaplan reveals in The Globe and Mail that Mr. Schreiber paid Mr. Mulroney $300,000. Through a spokesman, Mr. Mulroney says the payments were made to help Mr. Schreiber promote his pasta business. (except that Mr. Schreiber has no idea about the stated pasta business, and there is no evidence he had started or intended to start a pasta business)

Feb. 8, 2006: The CBC's fifth estate show reveals that the $300,000 in cash came from a Swiss bank account connected to the Airbus Affair. The account had the codename 'Britan.'

Feb. 14, 2006: The federal justice department explores whether it should set aside Mr. Mulroney's $2.1-million settlement. In an e-mail, Assistant Deputy Minister Brian Saunders writes, "Research would be required to evaluate whether this new element justifies any attempt to set aside the settlement." The department decides not to proceed for reasons that have never been explained.

March 22, 2007: Mr. Schreiber sues Mr. Mulroney for the $300,000 plus interest, alleging that he has done no work for the money.

March 29, 2007: Mr. Schreiber sends a letter to the Prime Minister's Office addressed to Mister Harper. This letter outlines the cash arrangement that Mulroney and Schrieber allegedly came to while Mulroney was still Prime Minister. Harper currently alleges never having seen the letter.

May 11, 2007: The Ontario Court of Appeal dismisses Mr. Schreiber's second-last legal strike against his extradition, leaving him with only one last appeal to the Supreme Court.

July 26, 2007: A registrar in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice orders a default judgment against Mr. Mulroney and awards Mr. Schreiber $470,432.88. The decision is later set aside when a judge rules that Mr. Schreiber's lawyers went behind the back of Mr. Mulroney's lawyers to obtain the judgment. Mr. Schreiber's lawyers are ordered to pay some of the costs of the process

Oct. 4, 2007: An emergency injunction filed by Mr. Schreiber's lawyer, Edward Greenspan, saves him from being hauled off the to the airport in handcuffs to be surrendered to Germany. Mr. Schreiber's fate is undecided until Nov. 15, when he is scheduled to appear before the Ontario Court of Appeal.

Nov. 9th, 2007: Stephen Harper announces that because of the new information (which was received by his office in March, but which only hit the media this week) he will appoint a third party advisor to look at Mulroney's cash dealings and see if a Public Inquiry is warranted. Opposition Parties call for a full judicial inquiry saying that a third party advisor is a stall tactic, and question why the PMO did not act on the information Mr. Scheiber sent in March. Mulroney also calls for a public inquiry to clear the issue.

Is a full judicial inquiry going to shed more light on this? Maybe, but one has to remember, these are very clever people, that if their has been any impropriety (I'm not saying there has, but I'm also not saying there hasn't, wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more squire) it will be very well hidden. It is likely that it will take several years and several millions of dollars in judges, lawyers and court time to ferret the information out.

By which time the next election may have already come and gone.

So that leaves us citizens with many questions. Is Mr. Schreiber desperate to stay in Canada? You bet. Is he someone who would lie, cheat and steal to get ahead? Maybe. Are his allegations an elaborate to ruse to prevent getting deported? We have no way of knowing at this point. Is Mulroney as dirty as a pig, fresh from a day spent rolling in the sty? Its about as clear as mud. Is Harper implicated in covering up the scandal? We'll see.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Foreign Takeovers that Have Not Had Net Benefit for Canada

Ill write a bit more about it, but for now, here is an article in the Globe that causes me great concern.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Throne Speech 2

Here is my bet on what is going to happen. Throne speech will pass, probably with some form of amendments.

Crime bill will come almost immediately, it will be offensive and unworkable, and we'll be in an election right around Christmas.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Throne Speech

So the throne speech is just over, and here is my first ideas:

It was vague, but here is what I took away.

Mapping of the Arctic Ocean. Okay. I'm not sure why we'd do this except to flex our muscles against Russian incursions. But why not say we are going to put a military presence up north? I don't like these "subtle" signals, that are not really subtle.

Crime. They are going to bring back the crime bills that failed in the previous session. This is the issue they want to fight an election on. I'm all for tougher penalties, but it has to be merged with prevention measures, or we just end up with more crowded jails.

Environment. They are going to bring back the clean air act, but I couldn't tell if they were going to bring back the amended clean air act, or the unamended clean air act. If it is the amended version, I'm all for it.

Tax. This is stupid. Tax cuts for the rich, cut to GST, with an overheated economy and a dollar so high it is killing manufacturing. With these cuts they could have eliminated the lowest tax bracket. There is not a country in the G8 that is cutting consumption taxes. Blatant vote grab that is not in the long term interest of the country. I'm all for corporate tax rate cuts, it helps they economy in a number of ways.

Lowering Inter-Provincial barriers to trade. This I fully support. I hope they don't pooch up the implementation.

Limiting Federal Spending in areas of Provincial Jurisdiction. This sounds very much like the social union Liberal plan. This was woefully unpopular in Quebec, but I like it. I'm always amused when the Conservatives re-release Liberal programs.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A very effective arugument

This is a similar argument to what I have been trying to say to people who don't believe drastic action on climate change is needed today. However this fellow articulates the argument better than i have been able to.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Somebody is listening

So Jim Prentice is going to announce new rules on foreign investment. I suppose I can live with the conservatives reading my blog if they implement what I recommend.

Its too bad they haven't been using the tools that are already in place, and have let Alcan, Inco, Falconbridge, Dofasco and Prime West to be bought by foreign state owned enterprises.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

A little correction

While I am happy to hear about any expansion to transit, I have to provide a little correction.

Premier Campbell says “Today, the percentage of transit ridership in the Metro Vancouver region is about 12 per cent. The leading cities of the world, be they London, Paris or Hong Kong, see ridership in the 20 to 25 per cent range.”

Unfortunately we are much further behind with non-car transportation than the Premier believes.

New York 50-55 percent train, bus, metro, bike or foot.

London 55-60 percent train, bus, metro, bike or foot.

Tokyo 57 percent train and metro.

Paris train 65-70 percent, bus, metro, bike or foot.

Moscow 85 percent train, bus, metro, bike or foot.

Hong Kong 95 percent train, bus, metro, bike or foot.

So why do these cities have such high rates of ridership? Their systems work. It is very easy to get around these cities using the public transit system, and very slow and annoying using a car.

We have a long way to go, but a good first start would be using the interurban line to get rail service in the Valley.

Strange Happenings

The US is a very interesting political landscape. If you can't make something happen one way there are many other avenues to pursue.

The supreme court found that the EPA has the authority to regulate carbon dioxide and other green house gas emissions. The California Attorney General with the help of several environmental groups is now petitioning the EPA to regulate green house gas emissions from shipping vessels entering US ports. Here is a link to the New York Times article.

I suppose this is good news?

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Planes, Trains, Cars, Boats, Horse Carriages and Walking

Anyone who has drives in the Fraser Valley knows that we need massive investments in transportation. Transit, roads, and highways are all inadequate for the volume of people and goods attempting to move through and in the Fraser Valley. We have under-invested in Transportation for several decades, and now the problems are coming home to roost. The Provincial Government is spearheading the Pacific Gateway project which is targeted at removing road bottle necks to goods transportation throughout BC. I am going to express some concerns I have with the direction transportation investment is going, but I am by and large in favour of Gateway. However I would like to see a more comprehensive plan that addresses public transportation, rail corridors and roads.

What I like about Gateway.

Mary Hill/Pitt River Bridge Interchange
I've never lived in Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows or the Tri-cities area, but I have had to get through them on occasion. The whole area near Pitt River is a traffic gong show. The bridge is too small and the traffic lights are a complete bottle neck. They are also dealing with this area properly from a transit point of view. They have decent bus service, the Evergreen line is going ahead, and they have the West-Coast Express. Good use of multi-mode transportation options.

Fraser Perimeter Roads
This has been a long time in the works. The Fraser River is the natural corridor for transportation through the valley. The current roads up and down the Fraser are completely inadequate for the current volume of traffic, let alone the volume that is projected.

Economic impacts for Prince Rupert
Prince Rupert was wasting away. It is now set to become a second major port for BC. This will only be good news for the north of the Province.


Delta Port Expansion and Rail Traffic
A third berth is likely going to be added to the Roberts Bank terminal for container traffic. The trains that carry this traffic run on the old BC Electric/Southern Railway rail line which runs through the heart of Langley, Cloverdale and Delta. These trains cause havoc with traffic in Langley. The current plan calls for the addition of 9 more grade separations. There is an alternative. The existing CN line can be joined to the BNSF line and then to the CN Delta Port Spur, or a dedicted new line could be built parallel to the South Fraser Perimeter road. The first option would be much cheaper than the estimated 300 million for the new grade separations, and get the rail traffic out of the heavily inhabited areas. This would free up the Southern Railway line for passenger use.

Allows Increased Car Traffic Without Increased Transit Options
Adding bridges and roads generally does not provide a long term solution to congestion. Many major cities in the US that have much larger highway systems have realized that adding lanes just adds more cars. These cities (Boston, LA, Seattle) are now investing heavily in light rail in attempt to get people out of cars. Gateway adds lanes with out adding much for transit. If transit is not a significantly better alternative to the car, why will people get out of the car?

Does Not Help Traffic That Stays in The Valley
Much of the traffic these days south of the Fraser stays south of the Fraser. The gateway project does not address the inter community congestion problems of the Fraser Valley. This is not what the planners had in mind. They expected that traffic would be centered around getting in and out of Vancouver. That is no longer the case. People and goods are moving between suburbs.

Spending Heaps on Roads and Bridges, Not on Rail
A good transportation system uses all modes of transportation, using those modes in the most effective manner. Gateway is heavily focused on roads. Yes the lower mainland needs investment in roads for the movement of goods and people, however that investment needs to be in a balanced plan that takes account of multiple modes of transportation, the needs of communities, and the desires of the electorate.

So what are the alternatives?

The Valley Transportation Advisory Committee ( is working hard to promote a rail or light rail transit alternative through the Fraser Valley.

The Delta MP, John Cummins, who unfortunately is a member of the *gasp* conservative party, is making some very interesting proposals and comments on his website, and I encourage those interested to check it out. It's too bad he is having to fight to get himself heard within his own party.

What can people do? Get involved. Join a group that aligns with your interests, and if you can't find one start your own. You can go to Translink's public consultations and speak up. Write letters to your local papers (they do make a difference). Write to your council members, MLA, and MP. If they don't give you the response you like, find one of their competitors (citizens of Langley, I am always looking for volunteers!) and help get them elected.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Interesting Article

There is an article on the 1st page of the Globe and Mail business section today titled "Climate change top issue, CEOs declare". It seems even big business is now calling for tough action on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Foreign Takeovers

I'm as free market economy as they come, but the recent rash of foreign takeovers over Canadian companies got me to thinking. What happens when those companies get bought out? Are Canadian companies buying as many foreign companies and if not why, and what companies are buying Canadian companies?

The answers to these questions are a bit disturbing to say the least, but what is more disturbing is the lack of action from the current government.

1. What happens when those companies get bought out?
While each deal is different, the usual end result is the loss of a corporate head office, and often the loss of many more jobs. As well, when a Canadian company becomes a subsidiary to an international conglomerate, corporate tax revenues also disappear. International corporations have many methods of playing with numbers to move revenues to the area with the lowest tax rates, which is not likely to be Canada. And so, when Canadian businesses are subject to foreign takeovers, we lose the corporate tax base, high paying corporate head quarter jobs, and spin off industries.

2. Are Canadian companies buying as many foreign companies?
No they are not. Many more Canadian companies are being bought, than foreign companies being bought by Canadians. Is this normal for free market economies? Not really. Well over half of Canada's manufacturing sector is foreign owned, while in the U.S., Japan, Germany, the U.K., Italy, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Finland and Sweden, foreign ownership in the manufacturing sector is less than 4 percent. Its gets scarier when you start looking into foreign ownership of companies controlling natural resources.

3. and if not why?
This is a complicated issue, but here are my gut feelings, and some reasons for them.

A. Lack of fair playing field rules. Many countries, including Australia and the U.K., have what are called fair playing field rules. These are laws that stipulate for any foreign takeover to be allowed, the company being taken over must be legally capable of taking over the foreign company taking them over. For example, Oil and Gas giant Primewest recently agreed to a 5 billion dollar takeover bid from TAQA North, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company. TAQA can takeover Primewest, but Primewest cannot takeover TAQA. Another example is Inco's takeover by Brazilian giant CVRD. The Brazilian maintains shares with veto power, essentially eliminating the possibility of Canadian company taking CVRD over. We don't need the government to protect Canadian companies form unprotected foreign competitors, but we need the government to enforce fair rules.

B. Government not using the power of the Investment Canada Act. This act allows the Federal Government to block foreign takeovers if it is found that these takeovers do not have a "net benefit for Canada." It is simply not being used.

C. Taxes. Our corporate tax structure is overly complicated, favours certain industries over others, and is too high (Canada = 36%, Finland = 29%, Norway and Sweden = 28%, Brazil = 25%, Ireland = 12.5%, OECD average = 28%). This is a strategic disadvantage for Canadian businesses. The tax system should be simplified, applied equally across industries, and taxed at a rate that is competitive with other similar countries. I'm told the Income Trust debacle has left many companies vulnerable to foreign takeovers. I'm not entire sure I see the connection yet, however I believe going back on a campaign promise, especially one that impacts people's savings and pensions, is reprehensible. I would prefer to see one simplified tax system applied across all companies.

I believe the we need to re look at the rules around foreign takeovers. Economists believe we need to re look at the rules around foreign takeovers. Canadians believe we need to re look at the rules around foreign takeovers. Its too bad our government doesn't.

Something I don't understand

It is a tough time to be a politician in Canada. There are precious few real issues with which to distuinguish oneself. Everyone clamors for the middle ground. This is why I really do not understand the conservative government's continued attempts to water down, delay, and ultimately ignore the single largest threat not only to Canada but to humanity. Canadians want there government to lead. The scientific community says we need drastic action on climate change, the financial community says we need drastic action on climate change, and the voters are ready to say we need drastic action on climate change.

So here is an issue I expected to be fairly difficult to capitalize on. I figured that everyone would be jumping on the Climate Change band wagon trying to out green each other. The Conservatives, usually so quick to follow the polls, don't seem to be reading the polls on how Canadians feel about climate change. The Prime Minister is continuing to push internationally to weaken, delay, and otherwise subvert international climate change efforts. The conservative plan delays real reductions to as late as 2030. This is in contradiction to what the entire scientific community, and recent polls suggest the majority of Canadians, say we need to do.

"The time for doubt has passed,” Mr. Ban, the Secretary General of the UN said. ”What we do not have is time. The time for action is now. That is why I have invited you, the leaders of the world. … The unprecedented challenge of climate change demands unprecedented action and unprecedented leadership.”

I wish this was not an issue I could campaign on. I wish this was an issue upon which everyone agreed on the course of action. I wish my country was a global leader in preventing climate change, and I plan to do my damnedest to make sure we are.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

One more thing

The Langley Cruise-In was fantastic! I hadn't been in a couple of years and was blown away at how big it has gotten. My favorite vehicle was a 1912 Detroit Electric car brought by the Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association.

First we need better transit, ie a rail option through the valley, but electric cars need to happen as well. If anyone is interested in converting there car to electric, or purchasing a full electric car, please send me an email at I'd be happy to help.

Loonie breaks greenback, SPP is Evil, need lower taxes on investment

What a surprise to wake up to find the Canadian dollar is above the American dollar. Unless you are taking a vacation in the US tomorrow, this is bad news for the Canadian economy, and another sign of Conservative fiscal mismanagement.

A high dollar, while it may seem nice if you are going on holiday, is very hard on the economy in general. It makes our goods and services more expensive to other countries which really hurts any export business. Tembec, a large lumber and pulp and paper company recently halted shipments of lumber as it simply can't afford to sell its products to the US at the current value of the dollar. It may prevent the Bank of Canada from being able to control inflation. It discourages foreign investment. It encourages Canadians to invest abroad instead of at home.

One of the major reasons for concern around the dollar's meteoric rise, is the reasons behind why it is rising. The number one reason, is not actually a rise in the value of the Canadian dollar, but a precipitous drop in the American dollar. Canada is still very much tied to the U.S. economy, and the current government seems to not be concerned. Personally, I would much prefer to have our exports spread around the globe, and not rely so heavily on the U.S. to buy our goods and services. It makes Canada subject not only to the Conservative mismanagement of the Economy, but also the Bush mismanagement of the U.S. economy. Anyone concerned about closer ties with the U.S. , should read up on the S.P.P., here is a link to the wikipedia entry:
If you google S.P.P. you will find many leftist, protest everything type websites, but their concerns are valid. I am not necessarily opposed to such an agreement, but the method with which it is being pursued is abhorrent. No public debate, no parliamentary oversight, no public discourse.

That was a bit of a distraction. So back to the causes of the rising Canadian dollar. Second is the high price of oil, and the governments continued subsidizing of the tar sands. Oil is currently at 82$ US a barrel. Canada is a major supplier to the US, the largest consumer of oil in the world. So here is something I do not understand. We are subsidizing (and make no mistake, the accelerated capital cost allowance for tar sands projects is a subsidy) an industry that is massively profitable, pollutes water and air, creates massive amounts of greenhouse gas, is not renewable, and contributes to the rise of the dollar that hurts our sustainable industries such as forestry, the automotive sector and any export services. I don't want to penalize the oil industry, but I certainly don't think they warrant any continued tax protection.

Thirdly, there is continued high global demand for commodities. Canada's large production of these basic resources also puts upward pressure on our dollar.

So where does this all lead to? Is it all doom and gloom? Well, maybe. The Bank of Canada is in a tough place. They are facing a dollar that is significantly above their target level. Normally in that case one would cut interest rates, which discourages foreign purchases of the dollar. But they can't do that, because our economy is currently overheated, and cutting the interest rate encourages spending, which would lead to inflation. Now if the economy is overheated, and the bank wants to slow things down to avoid inflation (which they do), they would usually raise the interest rates. But they can't, because that would put more upward pressure on the dollar, as international investors would lend in Canada to take advantage of the higher rates. The last time the dollar was this high, Canada faced the economist's nightmare: stagflation, inflation at the same time of recession. Does this sound confusing?

Try throwing in a GST cut that nobody from the Bank of Canada recommended, destroying the Income Trust sector by going back on a campaign promise, a US economy heading for recession, a collapsing US real estate market and the hollowing out of many Canadian industrial sector because of weak controls on foreign takeovers.

So what can the government do? A high Canadian dollar, while it make it difficult to sell goods for export, makes it easier to invest in equipment. The current tax structure does not encourage companies (or individuals for that matter) to invest. A lower corporate tax rate on investment that doesn't discriminate by sector would go a long way to helping Canadian companies take advantage of the current high dollar.

Unfortunately, it doesn't seem that any of the Conservatives are at all conservative with their fiscal or monetary policy.

APEC Summit thoughts

I was dismayed at our Prime Minister’s recent speech at the APEC Summit and hope that the residents of Langley share these thoughts. It was my sincere hope that the coming session of Parliament would see a government that was prepared to act on climate change, a government that is prepared to make the decisions that Canada needs and demands it to make, a government that sees the future of Canada as more important than the latest poll. What I hear is a Prime Minister that uses the international stage to play party politics, a government that will wait for important issues to settle themselves, and a party that fails to understand the gravity of the situation.

Let me explain my dismay with this speech.

In Mr. Harper’s speech he said “The weight of scientific evidence holds that our atmosphere is getting hotter, that human activity is a significant contributor, and that there will be serious consequences for all life on earth.” This is progress from his previous statements on “so-called” climate change.

However he immediately follows it up with a partisan attack, claiming that the previous government paid little more than lip service. I guess he has forgotten who signed the Kyoto Protocol and who chaired the Montreal conference on climate change, when he and his party were still denying the existence of global warming.

However this still gave me hope as maybe this was the beginning of an announcement for real action on Greenhouse Gas Emissions. We know Mr. Harper is an addict and can’t resist a party jab, but perhaps this was finally going to be some real action.

Alas no. Mr. Harper says he wants Canada to be a leader in Greenouse Gas Reductions, then says our emissions will not start to decline until 2010 at the earliest. By then, the UK’s emissions will be 12.5% below 1990 levels, not just flattening out. It doesn’t appear Canada will be a leader on reductions under his plans.

Mr. Harper says he wants to balance economic and environmental concerns when dealing with global warming. He says that “So, for the first time ever, Canada is now setting mandatory emission reduction targets for industries that produce greenhouse gases and air pollution.

Companies will be required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 18 percent per unit of production over the next three years.”

However this plan has no cap on the total emissions.

Mr. Harper says “They can buy emission credits from other Canadian firms that have beaten their targets.
Emissions trading is an important element of our government’s market-driven approach. It creates strong incentives for firms to go beyond their targets.”

However economists such as Don Drummond, Chief Economist at TD disagrees. “If regulations were not put in place to cap emissions, free reign on emissions would render the price of pollution equal to zero.”

It doesn’t appear Canada will be a leader on developing a global marketplace for Greenhouse Gas emissions.

Mr. Harper says he wants Canada to be a global leader in clean energy technology, then cites Clean Coal as an example.

“There is no such thing as clean coal.” Marilyn Berlin Snell, The Sierra Club.

“There is no such thing as clean coal.” Janice Nease, Executive Director, Coal River Mountain Watch.

“There is no such thing as clean coal.” Dan Becker, director of the Sierra Club's Global Warming and Energy Program.

“There is no such thing as clean coal.” Jan Davis, president of the Hunter Environment Lobby group.

“There is no such thing as clean coal.” US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

It is dirty when it is mined, it is dirty when it is burned. It doesn’t appear Canada will be a leader in developing clean technology under Mr. Harper’s plan.

Mr. Harper finishes his speech by saying “We want to lead, not by lecturing, but by example,“

I think this is a great idea. When?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

83rd annual Fort Langley May Day Parade

Monday May 21st, we had a great time participating in the May Day Parade in Fort Langley. There was a HUGE turnout all along Glover. I got to shake hands with many people, and I got about a thousand high fives from kids lining the route. I was expecting a frosty welcome, as this was my first major public event as the Liberal Candidate, and the Liberal Party hasn't been particularly popular in Langley.

However, it couldn't have been farther from the truth. Except for one grumpy old farmer from Saskatchewan, everyone was very supportive. I heard
"Way to go!"
"Stick it to Ottawa!"
"You've got my vote!"
"Gray, what the hell are you doing in the Parade?" Joe Williams, a friend from L.S.S. who I hadn't seen in ages happened to be on 88th with his young son.

We passed out 600 invitations to a Barbeque on June 16th, and anyone interested in federal politics (Jordan Bateman are you reading this?) is invited.

24182 80th Ave. Langley B.C.
12-3 pm

Please RSVP to (604) 961-0934 so we can have an idea of how much food to have handy.

Monday, April 2, 2007


On Thursday night I was declared the the Liberal Candidate for Langley for the next Federal Election. The turn out was fantastic. I had called almost every member of the party, and everyone I know. Many showed up. We filled the Murrayville Hall. I was super excited and nervous giving my first campaign speech. If you missed it, don't worry. I'm sure there will be plenty more opportunities.

Speaking of which, Tuesday April 10th, we are hosting a round table discussion about Child Obesity with the Honorable Ken Dryden. Space is limited, so if you wish to attend please let me know. (

I'm trying to meet as many people from Langley as possible, so if you would like to get a few friends together, and invite me over, I'm happy to show up with a box of Timbits(tm) and discuss any topic under the sun. I find this type of informal get together is often very productive in terms of coming up with common sense, real world solutions to difficult problems.

I'm off to the Abbotsford nomination meeting. I'll try and post later tonight.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Got a letter to the editor printed in the Langley Times

Editor: I am shocked and dismayed by the recent Conservative budget. It is a short-sighted and blatant attempt to buy Quebec and central Canada votes with Western money. What Canada doesn’t need is Mulroney-esque spending, insignificant tax cuts, a complete lack of vision for the environment, and no push for Canada’s competitiveness.

Canada needs a budget that integrates economic prosperity, social justice and environmental sustainability, while building for the future.

Look at the equalization plan that Finance Minister Jim Flaherty seems to think will stop the “bickering between the provinces and the federal government.” This Conservative budget includes B.C.’s sky-rocketing property values in the calculation of transfer payments, effectively eliminating any benefit B.C. might derive from the plan. When we talk about Western alienation, one has to wonder if this term is news to Flaherty.

Let’s look at the environmental issues. There are no industrial targets. There is no plan to reduce industrial greenhouse gas emissions, yet industrial polluters take up the lion’s share of the greenhouse gas emissions. There is an automobile purchase incentive, “but the amount of the rebate is just not enough to make a difference for people making choices to buy a car,” says Sierra Club’s John Bennett.

The Harper government does not understand the implications or the urgency of the climate change crisis. The Conservatives are ignoring climate change. At the same time, there is not nearly enough in this anti-B.C. budget for city and public transportation infrastructure — something Langley sorely needs.

What about tax relief? John Williamson, president of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, said, “The fellow working the line or anyone with a salary income and no children will receive no tax relief.”

There is nothing for post-secondary education. Aboriginal issues have been dragged back 10 years. Businesses are still paying the highest tax rates in the G7. Child care is virtually non-existent. And there is not a word on affordable housing.

Never before have so many been so disappointed by a government which has done so little with so much.

Jake Gray,


Editor’s note — Mr. Gray is seeking the federal Liberal nomination in Langley.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Nomination Meeting

The nomination meeting for Langley has been called. It is scheduled for Thursday March 29th, 7:30-9:30 PM, Murrayville Hall, 21667, 48th Ave, Langley B.C.

All Liberals are cordially invited.

Sad News

I am deeply saddened to report that Gary Tayler passed away Monday night.

Gary was an active, out-spoken, generous member of the Liberal Party, and the community around him. He will be sorely missed.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Super exciting

I had a great day today. I met some fabulous people, fixed my car, and read a fantastic piece about me printed in the Langley Times. I have to get bed because tomorrow is full. If anybody is interested, I am going to run the 10 K in the green hair half marathon in Abbotsford.

I'll be near the back of the pack.

Fundraiser coming soon. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A day in Langley

I was out and about late last week with Karen Kersey, a long time Langley Liberal, and all-round awesome lady. We went to visit Pat at A Bread Affair, a local artisan bakery at 206th and 56th. If you have a chance, go in and get a Lavender and White Chocolate muffin. They are awesome. I tried a sample of a pumpkin seed loaf (not my favorite, but Karen liked it) and I bought a loaf of sprouted whole wheat bread, which I ate in a day. I like bread, but this bread is dangerously good. Pat is a pretty nice guy as well, but he gave me a pretty rough time, which is exactly what we went there for.

Karen is helping me meet a bunch of old time Langley Liberals who haven't been too active as of late. It is very encouraging to see how many Liberals are in the city and township, and who are excited about getting back involved.

Sunday night was a big fundraiser at the Imperial Restaurant in Vancouver. It was a great turn out, being over sold by 30 tickets. The ability to meet people at these events is truly awesome. MP's, senators, and the leader of the Liberal Party, Stephane Dion. I have to admit, I was a Bob Rae supporter, and while I still believe he would have made a great leader, I am warming to Monsieur Dion. At first I was not particularly happy with the outcome of the convention. That is rapidly changing. The more I see him speak, or perhaps the more he gets to speak, the better he gets. The accent is getting better, but the passion remains. He truly has a vision for the country, and the drive to make it happen. So the question I have, is why is the media not giving him more air time? Last night I was watching Jack Leyton on CBC newsworld. Boring. Speaking of the media. . .

Yesterday morning I met with Frank Bucholtz of the Langley Times. What I thought was going to be a 10 minute "hi how are ya" turned into an hour and a half gabfest. We talked about everything from election dynamics to the looming baby boomers entry into the sunset years and its effects on health care, to child care, to the environment and my personal favorite transportation. I had a great time, and I hope I didn't bore Frank too much. Yesterday afternoon I went out to Aldergrove, where I was to meet Kurt Langman, editor at the Aldergrove Star.

Well it seems that Kurt fell off a ladder late last week and broke his arm! So he wasn't available to see me, however, I ran into an old friend in the Star office. Mr. Harry Hunt, the beloved custodian from L.S.S. and Aldergrove Secondary. I hadn't seen harry since our school ski trips in High School. He looks exactly the same (little more salt in the big moustache) and has the same high spirits and sparkling eyes.

My friend Karn, who used to be the M.L.A. for Coquitlam-Burke Mountain, told me that during decision to run for office he faced too many moments of serendipity for it to be accidental. I may be starting to believe him.


Thursday, March 8, 2007

A little bit about me, and Why I am seeking the nomintaion

My Background

My family moved from Vancouver to Langley when I was 12. I attended Aldergrove Elementary School in the French Immersion program. I attended Langley Secondary School, where I continued in French Immersion, the Advanced Placement program, played rugby, performed in school plays, played french horn in the band (what a dorky instrument, second only to the oboe), took shop, skied and snowboarded every chance I got and generally had a great time. I also began working part-time jobs when I was 14. During High School I worked as a bus-boy, gas attendant, sports store salesman, shoveling sand during the construction of a golf course and a milk truck driver.

Following High School, I attended U.B.C. in science. I took as many different courses as I could, from the modern British novel to coordination chemistry. In third year, the university forced me to declare a major, and the degree that required the fewest course at that point was Animal Biology. The second half of my third year, and my fourth year were thus mostly biology courses, of which the bulk were evolution or genetics based.

During my time at U.B.C. I was actively involved in the community on many fronts. I wrote for the 432, the science newspaper, I held positions on both the science council and the Alma Mater Society council, I was an active member of a fraternity, I was a member of several clubs, and I attempted to get elected to the AMS executive 3 times. During the summers I had the fortune to have a well paying job. I worked in Logging camps doing forestry engineering. This had the double bonus of paying well, and also keeping me somewhere I couldn't spend the money I was earning. This allowed me to pay my own way through school, something that many of my friends were unable to do. And now, almost ten years later, they are just finishing paying off their student loans.

Following University I worked for several months at a planer mill to save money to go traveling. I set out on my first large backpacking trip. I spent 4 months in Europe, followed by 4 months in India and Nepal. This was a pivotal experience for me. Not only did it show me that Canada is pretty awesome, it also showed me that we do not exist in a vacuum. Our actions in Canada can and do affect things around the world, and events elsewhere affect us as well. I have since traveled to Kenya and Tanzania in 2002, and Peru in 2004. I have a strong desire to visit China and will likely go in the next 2 years.

Upon returning (it was difficult to come home after eight months of not staying anywhere longer than three days) I began working at the Flavelle Sawmill in Port Moody. I started fixing a few broken computers. I performed this reasonably well, so was allowed to start helping repair some automation equipment. I performed this reasonably well, so I was allowed to start rewriting automation code. I performed this reasonably well, so my supervisor left my alone and went to India for three weeks. When he returned, the mill was still running and I had managed to fix a few things in his absence. I was promoted and my supervisor moved back to Merritt. I became a shift supervisor, as well as a project manager for the installation of new equipment.

In 2004 I decided it was time to return to school. I originally contemplated law, however after further investigation, I decided that I would likely enjoy the practice of law, but dislike the business of law. At the same time I was developing a keen interest in entrepreneurship. I had several ideas of businesses I thought would be interesting to start, and also provide a good value to society. However I had no idea how to get started. So I decided to pursue an M.B.A. I looked at several schools and decided Queen's had a program that most suited my needs. I entered in May 2005 and completed the program in May 2006.

During that time I had the opportunity to meet Frank Dottori from a company called Tembec. We were looking for a prominent person to interview about leadership. Frank was the head of Tembec which was started from one bankrupt pulp mill, and has grown to a 4 billion dollar member of the pulp and paper industry. Frank helped us for our project, but really thought that Bob Rae was the guy we should interview.

Upon graduation, Bob had just declared his candidacy for the Leadership of the Liberal Party. Bob came to BC where we met and had a very good conversation. I put off my work search and joined in helping out his race in BC. I had no idea I would meet such a fabulous group of people from all across the country. Convention turned me from a "liberal minded person" to a "liberal action person". I am no longer content to allow things to unfold. I want to help make sure that liberal values continue to build the Canada that I am proud of.

I had intended to help out in several ridings, but came to the conclusion that Langley needs a voice. Langley needs someone to step up to the plate and win. And so here I am ready to work to make Langley a Liberal Riding.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

New Website Coming!

My friend Jer is helping me put together something a little more professional looking. Check back soon for Photos! Content! Links! Bio!

Oh, and I'm seeking the nomination for the Liberal Party to run for MP in Langley.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery

I'd like to know what the conservatives are actually going to do, because so far they haven't done anything. "But Jake" you say, "what about the ecoEnergy Efficiency Intiative?" The conservatives canceled Energuide, changed name and brought it back with lower funding, at a time when Canadians are demanding the government do more for climate change. "But Jake" you say, "what about the 270 million dollars for the Homelessness Partnership Project?" What about the 270 million dollars they cut from the liberal Supporting Community Partnership Initiative, both programs targeted at reducing homelessness? "But Jake" you say, "what about the ten million dollars the Conservatives gave to the Terry Fox foundation?" You mean the re-announcement of the money pledged the previous year by the Liberal Government? In agriculture, health, environment and housing, this government seems to thrive on cutting important programs, then relaunching them a short time later with a new name. Well, at least they're following the right platform.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Movement in the House

I have to ask the question, what is Harper up to?

His recent comments about Liberal MP Navdeep Bains, and his refusal to apoplogize, cannot be written off as a moment's vindictive weakness. This is a move that was discussed, prepared and calculated.

So the Question is why? Is it an attempt to paint the Liberal's as in bed with Sikh extremism? Possibly, but it was the Liberal party that started the Air India probe, and actively pursued justice. Is it an attempt to split the Liberal Party on an issue that is viewed as causing a rift in the party? If so, it was a bit of a backfire as attacking an MP in this fashion not only solidifies a party together, but could provide another strong rallying point for the public. Is it a diversionary tactic meant to divert attention away from the real issue? Maybe, but this has brought much more media attention to the issue at hand; extend or do not extend the anti-terrorism provisions. This is an important and complicated issue that deserves ardent and open debate, not mud-slinging.

Or perhaps, it was a moments weakness where we get to see Harper's true character. In any event, these events do not reflect the proud tradition of the House of Commons, and are an embarrassment to all Canadians. I can only shudder at the thought of what Harper and his cronies are planning next.