I first linked to PostSecret a few years ago, and it set off a huge response with the folks who come to this web site. It continues to be fascinating and sad and compelling.

I’m going to go black for a couple days – June 15 approaches – so best wishes to you and yours. Hug your parents.

Microphone-eating time (updated)

Former Saskatchewan premier Roy Romanow is ignoring the wishes of the Liberal and NDP leadership and forging ahead with attempts to bring the two parties closer together.

Mr. Romanow, who was the leader of the Sasketchewan NDP from 1987 to 2001 before heading a federal inquiry into health care, said in an interview that the idea of closer collaboration with the Liberal Party is “nothing new.”

“Even in the 1990s, when [Liberal leader Jean] Chrétien and I were in office, we would frequently discuss this,” he said.

Mr. Romanow urged the current leaders of the NDP and the Liberal Party to have the courage to “discuss new ideas.”



Seize BP assets now

There are tens of thousands of gallons of oil that continue to gush into the Gulf of Mexico, destroying the environment and peoples’ lives. Since April 20, as many as 100 million gallons have spewed into the sea – which, last time I checked, is a body of water that connects pretty much everyone.

By now – with the oil reaching throughout the gulf, and expectations that it will hit much of the Atlantic coast by Summer – it is apparent that BP is not doing nearly enough. President Obama made a mistake in assigning so much of the early responsibility for a fix to the company that created the problem in the first place.

Not surprisingly, BP’s net worth has plummeted, and many expect they cannot survive the calamity. That is a problem because their ability to cap the pipe, and clean up the mess, is directly linked to their financial position. At some point soon, BP will petition itself into bankruptcy protection and attempt to walk away.

That can’t be allowed to happen. At this stage, I think the U.S. government needs to seize BP assets – and take full control – to ensure that remediation efforts continue.

A petition to that effect is found here.

Sign it if you feel as I do.

The Kory story

A few years back, I had the pleasure to work for Kory Teneycke. He was an environmentalist back then, and I was working with a bunch of hardcore Conservatives.

It’s true. Kory was part of an outfit that was pushing green fuels – ethanol, specifically – and he hired me over the Conservatives I worked with (they didn’t like him, and he didn’t like them).

I can’t say anything about the campaign, but I will say that one of the best parts of it was working with this gangly, genial right-wing guy who looked young enough to be carded. Previously, he’d advised Preston Manning and Mike Harris. He was sharp as a tack. Still is. I trust him, and I think he trusts me.

We’ve been on opposite sides of the false political divide, in the intervening years, but we’ve tried to stay in touch. Often, I see him waging war with some of my 2,700 Facebook friends. Knowing Kory, he probably sees it as a unique opportunity to have some fun, and stir up 2,700 Liberals at once.

When I heard about his plans to set up an ersatz Fox TV thing in Canada, I smiled. (And I was a bit bewildered by some of the overreactions.) If there is anybody who could pull off such an ambitious venture, it’s this 36-year-old Conservative wunderkind.

He likely sees it as a unique opportunity to have some fun, and stir up many more thousands of Liberals at once.

UPDATE: BCL points out how Kory could be swimming in libel writs, if he’s not careful. Words worth heeding!

Hey, big spenders

The ongoing revelations about Harper regime G8 expenditures reminded a sharp-eyed reader about what happened when the Cons had their hands in the provincial till. From the archives:

Smarties, cocktails expensed by Tories — 12,000 pages of documents yield unusual receipts
Seven years of spending from ministers and staff

Richard Brennan and Theresa Boyle
Toronto Star
553 words
5 December 2002
The Toronto Star
Copyright (c) 2002 The Toronto Star

Former Northern Development and Mines Minister Tim Hudak travelled the world, his successor Dan Newman spent more than $23 on Smarties, and former environment minister Elizabeth Witmer’s staff sipped Cosmopolitan cocktails.

And they did all of this on the taxpayers’ tab.

They’re just a few of the thousands of examples of Conservative cabinet ministers, their parliamentary assistants and staff expenses.

The information is contained in about 12,000 pages of Freedom of Information documents dumped on reporters to limit media coverage of spending over the past seven years that the Tories have been in power.

“This is just more evidence that this is a government that regards public money as something that you play with, whether it’s rewarding their corporate friends, their consulting friends, or their own expense accounts,” NDP Leader Howard Hampton said yesterday.

The Tories introduced legislation they say will tighten things up after former tourism minister Cam Jackson was forced from cabinet for spending more than $70,000 on fancy meals and downtown Toronto hotels.

“I can’t do anything about what has gone on before except ask people to repay the taxpayers what they think was paid inappropriately …,” Premier Ernie Eves told reporters.

Hudak said his travel was business related and dealt with the mines side of his portfolio, and insists his then-girlfriend paid her own way on trips to Las Vegas and Rio de Janeiro, although there is no record of that.

Hudak also billed taxpayers $575 for a television set from Future Shop.

Liberal MPP Michael Gravelle (Thunder Bay-Superior North) said Hudak’s globetrotting did little for Northern Ontario.

“It is sure difficult to understand what benefit there would be to northerners having the minister spending times in exotic locales…it really is bizarre,” Gravelle said.

Energy, Science and Technology Minister Jim Wilson told reporters yesterday it is not unusual for his staff to be paid for getting to and from work.

“It’s not unusual to have a package of salary and benefits for people and that was one of the benefits extended,” Wilson said, referring to his executive assistant getting his GO Transit ticket paid for.

Education Minister Elizabeth, when she was environment minister, allowed her staff to charge $15 for two Cosmopolitan cocktails at the Muse Bistro and Wine Bar. Ministerial rules say that alcohol can’t be claimed as an expense.

When Chris Stockwell was labour minister he and his staff charged more than $100 at a place called the Old Sod Pub in Etobicoke.

On June 12, 2001 his office had a “meeting” and expensed $571 at Sassafraz, a swank Yorkville restaurant that is a favourite haunt for visiting movie stars.

During his three years as labour minister he and his staff charged thousands on pub visits and expensive meals, eventually $3,000 was paid back.

While he was on a $300,000 contract to the health minister’s office as a communications consultant, Gord Haugh billed taxpayers more than $6,400 in expenses on a six-day trip, including $2,500 for hotels, $600 for phone calls, and $2,783 for meals and six bottles of wine.

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