Not any more

Jack Layton turns U.S. fire hose on Stephen Harper

In Canada on August 26, 2010 at 08:58

NDP Leader Jack Layton speaks at an Ottawa news conference on July 6, 2010.

Thursday, August 26, 2010 8:24 AM

Jack Layton turns U.S. fire hose on Stephen Harper

Gloria Galloway

1. PM is no Barack Obama. Jack Layton will take to an international podium today to point out some of the failings he perceives in the governance of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The NDP Leader, who is the only Canadian politician invited to address the convention of the International Association of Firefighters in San Diego, will praise the work of the union’s members and talk about the cutbacks they faced during the economic downturn .

But he will also take time to contrast the political leadership in the United States with that in Canada.

“After a long and dark period in American politics, we see things moving in the right direction for working people. That stirs our hope in Canada too – where our Conservative government is moving in the wrong direction,” Mr. Layton will say in his speech, a copy of which was obtained by The Globe.

“Even as President Obama expands access to health insurance … Prime Minister Harper is letting Canadian medicare erode. Even as Obama leads the way in creating full-time jobs and heading off a double-dip recession … Harper is turning off his stimulus tap, ready to say ‘mission accomplished.’”

Mr. Layton has made no secret of the fact that he is a big fan of Mr. Obama’s and started off the last federal election campaign in this country with a speech that was very much in the style of the charismatic U.S. president.

2. ‘Important tool for law enforcement.’ As opposition members and supporters off the long-gun registry await the release of an RCMP evaluation of the Canadian Firearms Program, the CBC says has learned some off the findings of the report.

As suggested by others who have seen the document, which has spent an unusually long time in translation, the evaluation concludes that Canada’s long-gun registry program is cost effective, efficient and an important tool for law enforcement.

According to the CBC, one section of the report states: “The program, as a whole, is an important tool for law enforcement. It also serves to increase accountability of firearm owners for their firearms.”

The report also found that the cost of the program is in the range of $1.1-million to $3.6-million per year and that the Canadian Firearms Program is operating efficiently, says the broadcaster.

“Overall the program is cost effective in reducing firearms related crime and promoting public safety through universal licensing of firearm owners and registration of firearms,” the report states.

MPs will vote in September on a motion to scrap a Conservative private-member’s bill that would do away with the long-gun registry and opposition members have demanded that the report be released before then.

But the Conservative government, which has the report, argues that Canadians know the registry is inefficient and additional studies on the subject will not sway them from that opinion.

3. Exit, stage left. Marizio Bevilacqua has made it official.

After months of speculation, the long-time Liberal MP who was most recently his party’s immigration critic, has said he will quit federal politics to run for the job of mayor of Vaughan, just north of Toronto.

“It was a calling at the age of 28 when I first ran and public life has provided me with great experiences and a great satisfaction of helping people. It also allowed me to develop a skill set and to learn,” Mr. Bevilacqua told Caroline Grech of the Vaughan Citizen.

“My next question now is where can I bring all I’ve learned, all the experience and everything that is embodied for 22 years at the federal level to the best service to the people that I’ve been representing for the past 22 years,” Mr. Bevilacqua said.

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