The vast green prairie, the boundless blue sky, Polaris & a Tiger Lily

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Response to Huffington Post article by Ross Macnab

After a most frustrating time wading through the Huffington Posts requirements to comment on an article, I gave up and respond here to this article by Ross Macnab (Is Saskatchewan the New "It" Province?). He says (about Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Party):

"If you love this province, you should love the party."

I have no doubt there are many people here that love our province but do not share that love for the Saskatchewan Party. I was whisked away as a baby, and for many years swore I would never return to a place where winter can kill you. Personal record in my front yard, -57F with the wind chill.

I brought my (then) young family home in 1997, leaving behind an NDP administration in BC. I had survived a previous NDP government in BC and it was not good economically for the province either time. As W.A.C. Bennett used to say "The NDP couldn't run a peanut stand". My friends thought I was nuts, moving to not just another NDP province but one so firmly in the grasp of the collectivists.

The first polity to elect a socialist government in North America has firmly turned it's back on the successors to the CCF, the very party that had a proposition debated last year at their convention (and rejected, it might be noted, shortly before the 'hockey' riots) about removing the word 'socialist' from it's constitution. The provincial wing of the NDP has not sent a member from Saskatchewan to Parliament in many years, and the voters have rejected the socialists in two successive provincial elections.

For many decades our biggest export was people but the diaspora has ended, because the Saskatchewan Party is not the NDP. But do not mistake the SP for conservative right-wingers, for they are not even close to the center-line, only closer to it (and therefore to the right) of the NDP.

You cannot mix PROGRESSIVE conservatives and LIBERALS and expect to get a CONSERVATIVE party. And that is how the Saskatchewan Party came to be, the PCs and the Libs shed the blue tories and the red-dog libs and became the 'not the ndp' party. Certainly not conservative, not while growing the size and spending of the government, creating new Crown corporations, etc. (During the 2011 election the subject of the Crowns was brought up only once, by Ezra Levant, in an interview with Brad Wall on the Sunnews network, the only national media to provide any in-depth coverage of our provincial election, btw).

Given a huge mandate by the electorate in 2011 did Mr. Wall respond with (as did Mr. Harper, the known right-winger with a much smaller mandate) a rollback of many of the damaging socialist policies that kept the economy of Saskatchewan moribund for so long? He did not.

The surprisingly (to me anyways) muted response to one of the sacred cows of the left, the film industry, having a tax credit removed, shows how not conservative or right-wing the SP actually is. Ask yourself, how large would the response be if the Federal Government were to touch (or even muse about touching) the Federal tax credits offered to the film industry? Every other jurisdiction in N.A. dares not offend this industry by refusing them taxpayers money, except one.

The SK/SP governments bookkeeping has been criticized by the last 3 Provincial Auditors, for maintaining most if not all the sketchy passing around of Crown funds in systems largely set up by the socialist party currently serving as Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition.

And as long as the NDP were in power, business continued to shy away from investment in a place where socialist principles continued to dictate, well, most things. That's changed now.

As for the tax credit lacking for the film industry, there we share some common sense with Arizona, and they don't do that daylight saving thing either.

Update: I gave it another go to leave a comment at their site and trying to create an account using my usual gmail failed as it was already in use! By me!! I am Dana57 and I have commented at the Huffington Post.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

AT the Legislature

I am sitting in the public gallery awaiting the budget speech. The leg. Is beautiful, and at this point full of visitors.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Thank you to everyone that voted for me

The polls are closed and reported (for Biggar, that is). What an experience, I have learned a lot. My heartfelt thanks to the people that did vote for me, I really appreciate your trust and confidence in me. Thank you.

I will be running again in 2015, building on what I have learned since becoming leader in April of this year, and during this election. I will work hard in the next four years to grow our party and to keep bringing forward the ideas that I believe would be in the best interests of Saskatchewanians. Not having a seat in the Legislature does not mean I cannot continue to work for the people in my constituency and our province.

I am happy to see the socialists pounded so hard by the Saskatchewan Party. Since I brought my family home here in 1997, I believed that leaving a failed ideology behind (as I left an NDP administration in British Columbia behind) would be good for our province. For that reason alone, I am so very pleased to see that Saskatchewanians rejected yesterdays ideas so firmly. I sent a tweet to Mr. Wall that said:
@PremierBradWall Congratulations Mr. Premier, you & your party ran a good campaign, the people have spoken clearly
The people have voted, the election is over. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in democracy in a direct way, and I look forward to the future with optimism.

Thank you
Dana Arnason
Leader - WIP

Sunday, November 6, 2011

2 Letters to the editor of the Starphoenix November 5th 2011

Democracy hurt:
"...Can any media guru explain to the public how eliminating the coverage of the third, fourth, fifth and sixth parties running in this election supports our democratic system?..."
Lori Isinger Saskatoon

Not just the 2 private and 1 public broadcasters, but also the 2 outlets owned by Postmedia need to explain the inexplicable. The electorate deserves answers. Democratic principles demand answers.
Another letter from the same edition
Reason to vote:
"...Clearly needed at election time is a debate in the free style of the Lincoln and Douglas series in America about 150 years ago. In contrast, the recent Saskatchewan debate was a travesty!..."
Perhaps the next two posts below may help in understanding the travesty we have witnessed this election.
For those (non-political-junkies) without Twitter, what follows is the back and forth between me and Mr. Mandryk, about his column, starting with my original tweet at ~12:40 PM:

wip_of_sk@MMandryk Hubris? Last edition of your paper B4 #skvotes & no chance 4 my response 2U 2B in your paper #skpoli #sk2011

MMandryk@wip_of_sk what is it you'd like to respond to? The column is about respecting the views all candidates put forward. I'd assume you'd agree.

57dana @MMandryk Did you read the response Are you insinuating I am running for the wrong reason? You only named 5 party's

MMandryk @57dana oh for Pete's sake! No. I don't how you arrived at that conclusion. The column says precisely the opposite. Please re-read it.

57dana@MMandryk 'whether PC, SP, GP, LP, NDP, we shouldn't discount the notion...all motivated by..."the Right Reasons"' No WIP in that list. Why?

MMandryk@57dana it was a sincere omission. No offense intended. Sorry. That said, please understand that I don't take the WIP seriously.

57dana@MMandryk Omitted sincerely? I could accept an apology for a sincere mistake; as your only product is words, your choice of them is telling.

MMandryk@57dana My point, sir, is I don't take umbrage with WIP sincerity or commitment. But like 99.6 of this prov., can't agree with WIP premise.

57dana@MMandryk Unlike 99.999% of this province, sir, you are an influential political columnist. And you dodged the question, omitted sincerely?

MMandryk@57dana bull... What did I dodge? You're on the ballot. You should have been mentioned. But also think WIP is a joke. Honest enough for you?

57dana@MMandryk You're still dodging. Was it "a sincere omission" as you said? Why the apology? Because I should have been mentioned but wasn't?

MMandryk@57dana last tweet was clear. WIP is on the ballot and should have been mentioned in column. But I repeat: I and 99.6 think WIP is a joke.

57dana@MMandryk "The column is about respecting the views all candidates put forward." Voicing your opinion that the WIP is a joke is respectful?

57dana@MMandryk "I don't take umbrage with WIP sincerity or commitment" & "also think WIP is a joke" you do not see the contradiction here?

MMandryk@57dana didn't say a damn thing about you, personally. Believe I said early your beliefs are sincere. I said WIP is a joke. Big difference.

57dana@MMandryk The what was it you were apologizing for?

MMandryk@57dana nope. No contradiction. Was talking about WIP candidates. That should have been obvious. I think WIP party/policies are a joke.

MMandryk @57dana for not including you as an individual with the courage to put forward his views on the ballot. I disagree with your views, but ...

57dana@MMandryk Only thing on the ballot is my name and the name of my party. The electorate relies heavily on the media to expose those views...

MMandryk @57dana WIP not on radar because public think Sask. Independence is stupid. They're right. Not gonna waste ink to convince them otherwise.

57dana@MMandryk And they will not be on the radar if you don't 'waste' ink on them. Most common response I get at doors is "no idea WIP exists"

57dana@MMandryk In '05 or '06 people in the West were polled (by Western Standard) with ~30% showing as open to the idea of independence. Stupid?

MMandryk@57dana either people are being polite or you're not asking: "Do you want Sask to be independent?" People don't take WIP premise seriously.

MMandryk@57dana yep... Western Standard. Please. Here's my deal. If we hold a referendum and you lose, will WIP go away?

57dana@MMandryk The name of the party was chosen to be obvious, and they are polite, open to listening, even if they don't end up voting for us.

57dana@MMandryk "Please"? The Western Standard is (was) a joke to you as well? Here's my deal, you will get a single vote in the referendum.

MMandryk@57dana don't want vote for you, eh? (Hope you're not offended by my Canadian accent. Damn proud of it, though.) Think that might be a clue?

57dana@MMandryk Up to them to decide on their own who to vote for. Up to me to make our case. They all like the idea of a flat tax. A lot.

MMandryk@57dana Somehow I don't think a flat tax is the WIP's defining issue, sir. Spit-balling here, but it might be that independence thing.

57dana@MMandryk Spit-ball noted. Education tax reform wasn't a defining issue either, but the SP govt. made it happen & the WIP first proposed it

MMandryk@57dana Look. I believe in One Canada. Our Oly. team needs Ont. forwards and Que. goalies. And 'Riders can't beat West teams.

57dana@MMandryk Fixed election dates wasn't a defining issue either, but again, the WIP proposed it first & SP govt. made it happen.

MMandryk@57dana Now it's YOU ducking, sir. Yes or no? Is the WIP prepared to go into the next Oly. without Crosby and Luongo? Well, without Crosby

57dana@MMandryk No ducking, just can't take sports as seriously as election issues. Yes, no Luongo or Crosby. Can the Oly team win w/o SK players?

MMandryk@57dana OK, now I know you guys are nuts. Sask. boys can't win on large ice surface with no hitting and European refs. I am appalled.
57dana@MMandryk Give 'em the same amount of time as every other team playing and practicing as a team, no matter the ice or the ref, they'll win.

There is no further response from Mr. Mandryk after 7:14 PM.

Here's the problem Mr. Mandryk, in your own words, in four sentences:

The column is about respecting the views all candidates put forward.
I don't take umbrage with WIP sincerity or commitment.
...please understand that I don't take the WIP seriously.
...also think WIP is a joke.

That last two are not at all respectful, just honest, and completely negate the first two.

I am (and your readers presumably are) led to believe by you that a candidate should be applauded for the courage to put forward their views, which are not a joke unless they are WIP views, a party you view as a joke, a party you do not take seriously. And when a party you do not view as a joke, that you do take seriously, adopts any of those views then they are presumably no longer a joke and you do take them seriously. Crystal clear Mr. Mandryk.

You of all people should know that words matter, especially coming from an esteemed writer like you, read by people who rely on the media to publicize different party's views for them, no matter who proposes them, or adopts them.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

My response to a "columnizer"

The last newspaper edition from a Postmedia outlet before an election (leaving no chance of a response being printed in that paper) and Murray Mandryk offers this opinion piece:

Monday's vote about making a choice for right reasons

I urge you to read it first.

Unable to respond in his newspaper in the usual method, a letter to the editor, here instead is my response as Party Leader and as a Candidate:

Hubris, Mr. Mandryk? It appears you speak very knowledgeably on the topic, after 30 years in "journalism". Does offering your opinion in a newspaper really count as journalism? There was a time newspapers confined opinions to the Op-Ed (opinion-editorial) page, leaving the rest of the NEWSpaper to contain news and advertising. I'm willing to absorb "bumps and bruises" by running for political office, to bring forward my beliefs about what would best serve the interests of Saskatchewan, clearly putting Saskatchewan first and foremost. What do you run for Mr. Mandryk, aside from advertising dollars? Or would the correct conclusion be drawn simply from noting that the title of your article parrots the slogan of Mr. Yachysens campaign?

Reading your opinion (as a "columnizer", your word) about one of only 5 candidates running under the PC banner in Saskatchewan, the PC candidate who is " in the federal party..." and who was parachuted into the rural constituency of Biggar ("...a PC candidate in Saskatoon Fairview in 2007..."), plainly exposes your preference for the Confederation, leaving fair minded people to conclude that you prefer to leave Saskatchewan in second place. It's a valid point to consider, as your opinion is read by a public that would likely view (for now anyways) the two Postmedia outlets in Saskatchewan as fair and balanced providers of fact, notwithstanding the opinions of a political columnist written outside of the Op-Ed page.

There are still no links (4 links only) from either of the Postmedia outlets' election pages' "ELECTION RESOURCES" box to two official party websites, one being the PC's, whose candidate you made the focus of your column, and the other being my own, The Western Independence Party of Saskatchewan.

BTW, your newspapers' website still hasn't corrected the "Election Tracker" to show how many candidates the PC's and Liberals are actually running. I had two blatant errors removed from that tracker, and Mr. Lau, Leader of the Green Party, had at least one removed, but how many other errors are still contained in what could have been (and should have been) a useful tool for the electorate making an important decision in the only manner available to the average citizen to have their voices heard in a democracy?

Is there an insinuation that I am running for the wrong reasons? You state:
'But whether Progressive Conservative, Saskatchewan Party, Green Party, Liberal, New Democrat, we shouldn't discount the notion that they all motivated by the sentiment of Yachyshen's campaign slogan: "For the Right Reasons."'. I count only 5 party names above, leaving out my party, the WIP.

Your contempt for my party and its overall goal could not be clearer, Mr. Mandryk, but just to hammer home the point, you had this to say in a tweet:
"@saskboy Are you advocating the WIP have full debate participation, too? Anyone else? The Funny Hat Party? Yes, let's let the public decide."

The public relies on reading newspapers for honest (and fair) coverage of the election, even from political columnists, and you, as a writer in those 2 Postmedia outlets, and many other local and regional papers in Saskatchewan, compare the WIP to a Funny Hat Party? Hubris and contempt are an ugly combination Mr. Mandryk.

Another tweet by you:
"@wip_of_sk ... No one taking a Sask separation party seriously? Can't speak for everyone, but - will tell you I don't."

You would not respond to me (@57dana) in a Twitter conversation initially, but finally did after this tweet by me:
"@MMandryk So, you'll answer the Green Party Leader immediately but not WIP Leader @57dana? This is evidence of...? #skpoli #skvotes #sk2011"

You ponitificate on the need for conversation, but you appear to have gotten used to a one-way megaphone. Keep in mind the internet never forgets.

Of all of the ridings Mr. Yachysen could have floated into, Biggar was chosen. This made it the only riding in Saskatchewan with 5 parties running, the only rural riding where a PC candidate is running, and shock of shocks, the very riding where the Leader of an Independence Party is running.

Not hard to draw conclusions from that fact.