Entries from March 2007 ↓

Worth it

vimy2.jpg Thanks a lot to those folks who sent me twenty bucks yesterday, in the first known digital equivalent of passing-the-hat. Under new election fundraising rules, supporters of a candidate can toss a bill into a hat (or a jar, or a hand), or in this case a PayPal account, and it goes to the cause without the same bureaucracy as a larger donation.

This is welcome indeed, as next Friday we take delivery of a honking big mess of arterials and bag signs, in anticipation of the election call PMSH will engineer after his trip to Vimy, and when the House resumes in the second week of April.

By the way, don’t look for pictures of Stephane Dion or Jack Layton or Gilles Duceppe at the historic 90th anniversary of our greatest battle, cuz they won’t be there. PMSH is taking his kids, however, and his wife, and his political advisors and his communications team, and his videographers and still photogs. But no other Canadian politicians have been invited to share this moment, because Vimy is being politicized. Not the reason, I would say, that so many died there.

But I digress, only slightly. There will be an election, and I will be fighting to be in Parliament again. Last time I gave you some reasons why, and there are many more. From gaining justice for income trust investors (cutting the tax they face down to 10%, from 31%) to electoral reform (the current government was elected by 24% of eligible voters) to safety standards for pet food (you know why). I’m also fighting for my wife, whose father was a veteran. This morning – at news of the Vimy trip – she is walking around putting her fist through walls.

Well, to win my seat again will take between $50,000 and $90,000, since the campaign covers one of the most populous ridings in the country, containing the fastest-growing town in Canada. The Conservatives have a $30,000 head start, since that’s what I left them in the bank. We start with zero – except for the hatful you sent me yesterday!

Meanwhile, visitor Georgine has come up with a boffo idea: A Ride For Garth! A poker Run…or something like that. With a barbque at the end and a 50/50 draw (separate) and say, $10 dollars a head to join in. Garth, you must have done a poker run before, they are a fun afternoon and people get silly prizes for good or bad hands they draw. Bikes can carry Lib and your signs and flag and go all thru your riding. All you need is a sunny afternoon. My good idea for the day. Do wish I still had my bike. G.

Of course, I love it. Besides writing my blog (!), riding my bike is the thing I live for. Imagine – being able to raise cash, save democracry, and cruise, all at the same time. Awesome. Let’s do it. Georgie, baby, you’re in charge!

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I was out for a nippy ride this morning.

Not done yet

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Most of you know my story thus far. The last 14 months have been extreme, with an unexpected outcome. I did not expect to clash with the prime minister over basic values, nor to end up a member of the Liberal caucus. Along the way there was more attention than could have been imagined and enough criticism to last a lifetime.

But that’s okay. My values have not changed. I still call myself a Progressive Conservative, focused on being careful financially, tolerant socially and focused on finding ways the country can be better for people. Period. These days I find it is one man – Stephane Dion – who has reached out to me the most. I like the guy, for all the reasons I do not admire Mr. Harper. Strikes me it’s more in the Canadian nature to persuade and lead by example, than to bully and demand. I have found we share a lot. He’d make a great PC. Will make a great PM.

* * *

There’ll be an election called in the next couple of weeks, it seems. Likely over the Clean Air Act, or the Kyoto implementation issue. The battle may be about the economy versus the environment, but not really. More it will be between competing visions of the future and two styles of leadership which are diametrically opposed. But, lots of time yet to discuss that.

When the writ drops in April, I’ll be a candidate. Yes, amazingly enough, I want to be an MP for a while longer. Here are a few of the reasons why – some of those things I’ve not finished fighting for.

• Income-splitting between couples, and a family tax return. The entire Canadian society is based on families, and yet we tax people as individuals. This is nuts, and we need to join progressive countries which tax people as they actually live. A FTR could even the disparity between different kinds of families, pay people to look after kids, allow much better financial planning within households, and increase family tax flow. It’s time.
• Less income tax instead of less consumption tax. The best way to help families and create a better economy is not through another drop in the GST but through an across-the –board reduction in income tax. Consumption taxes are inherently fair in a society which is trying to achieve environmental goals, and make far more sense than taxing away income – and incentive – from successful, risk-taking, people.
• A better, more accessible, retirement savings plan. We have a demographic time bomb ticking right now, with an aging population, nine million house-rich and cash-poor Boomers, and a national savings rate of zero. Politicians who ignore that are disrespecting the future and must be swept aside. We need an after-tax savings plan that lets everyone shelter income – now.
• Serious help and reform with educational costs. The average university debt is over $30,000, and yet without a degree, jobs are scarce. Families cannot cope with this level of expense, and graduates should not start their live as serfs of the banks. Surely a rich society like ours can made post-secondary education a right.
• Guaranteed annual income. If that sounds socialist to you, then talk to the young single mother my office is trying to help. She has leukemia and further treatments are only available in US, but she has absolutely no money to pay for them, or get to Buffalo. We should not have to be turning the tax system on its head to wrangle her a tax refund to finance this. She should have some personal and financial dignity, as should we all. It’s time we had a serious look at folding our patchwork of programs together into an income floor for everyone.
• An environment we can work in, and live with. The anti-Kyoto crowd of alarmists is misguided, as are the anti-business tree-huggers. I’m for a federal government with the guts to impose hard caps on pollution, because that will spur the technology to move forward.
• And it’s time government served us again. Why can’t the mail be delivered to everyone’s house? Why can’t you get help from CRA to do your taxes? Why is Ottawa selling off our priceless heritage buildings? Why do we have money to send frigates to the Persian Gulf, but we can’t patrol our coastlines?

CLICK to Support Garth NOW!My work is not done, and I could sure use your help. The $30,000 I left in the Halton Conservative Association bank account is gone from me. The local Liberals have no funds, after an expensive federal leadership convention. In order to mount a credible campaign against the Harper machine, my volunteers will need tens of thousands of dollars – starting next Friday when the signs arrive.

Sure could use your help. If you can spare twenty bucks, please go here. There is no doubt, you will get your money’s worth.

Dion speech

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Stephane Dion’s pre-election rally speech, with reaction: