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December

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    MPlib
    Enjoyed Globe Theatre's holiday performance of "Charlie Brown" last night. Today - off to visit Saskatchewan Youth Parliament.
    Dec 28, 2014 7:40 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Environment Canada's 2015 weather trivia calendar is great, but one question - is photo for August of "Itoona" (Sk) or "Ituna"?
    Dec 26, 2014 5:03 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Best wishes to all at Christmas Time http://youtu.be/I-4XD9Sz0rk
    Dec 25, 2014 6:00 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Mark + Craig McMorris host a big gala in Regina last night, supporting "JumpStart" to help get all kids into sports.
    Dec 24, 2014 4:11 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    INFRASTRUCTURE EXPANSION CRITICAL FOR GROWTH Except for the Harper government, there seems to be complete consensus about the leading importance of municipal infrastructure in building a more prosperous Canadian economy. Globally, the G-20, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development are all promoting it. So are the provincial Premiers, the Bank of Canada, the Parliamentary Budget Officer and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, along with major “think-tanks” like the C.D. Howe Institute, the Conference Board and the Canada-West Foundation. Add to that the voices of industry – the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Council of Chief Executives, the Canadian Labour Congress, the Construction Association, three different groups of Professional Engineers, the Urban Transit Association and the Insurance Bureau of Canada. Internally, even the federal Finance Department agrees. Their analysis shows that expanding infrastructure is the most cost-effective way for the Government of Canada to boost jobs and growth – far more effective than tax cuts, for example. Statistics Canada has pointed out that our greatest gains in productivity have occurred when we were making our biggest investments in infrastructure. And Former Bank of Canada Governor David Dodge says that such investments now are especially advantageous because they transform the value of historically low interest rates into long-term capital assets to underpin growth for generations to come. Municipalities are responsible for more than 60% of the nation’s public infrastructure, but with less than 10% of the nation’s tax-base, local governments obviously need more federal support. Many of the physical facilities that our communities depend on today were built decades ago. They’re worn down, while our population and economy have outgrown them. So we’re falling behind in public transit and transportation, adequate and appropriate housing, water and sewer services, flood protection, environmental integrity, recreation, culture and other amenities. All of this makes it hard to understand why the Harper government has chosen to cut its major program for supporting municipal infrastructure projects this year by 87%. It’s been chopped down to just $210-million for the whole country (compared to $1.7-billion last year). Mr. Harper says he may put some more federal money into this program in future years, but at best, it won’t get back to last year’s levels until after 2019. So why this 5-year funding gap? The answer is actually pretty simple. The timing is all contrived to help Mr. Harper claim a budget surplus in 2015 so he can implement his “Income Splitting” scheme. That expensive Conservative campaign promise from four years ago is trumping things like municipal infrastructure (and decent levels of support for veterans too). The late Jim Flaherty warned about this problem. He said this government could actually take some additional time to balance its books. There’s nothing magical about 2015. But Mr. Harper contradicted him. Mr. Flaherty also said Income Splitting in inherently unfair because 86% of Canadian households cannot qualify and thus get nothing from the $2-billion it costs to implement. Canadians would be better off by refocusing available resources on a more substantive and immediate expansion of community infrastructure – creating good jobs today, and laying the foundations of a bigger and better economy tomorrow.
    Dec 22, 2014 9:06 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Some of the great dancers celebrating the 51st Jamhuri (independence) day for Kenya - in Regina last night!
    Dec 21, 2014 5:04 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Maharlika Dancers perform the national dance of the Philippines at the annual Christmas Party in Regina.
    Dec 20, 2014 6:50 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Paintings by Pete Escanlar on display at the Philippine Christmas Party in Regina tonight.
    Dec 20, 2014 6:06 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Philippine Assoc of Sask is gathering in Regina tonight for their annual Christmas Party - it's a big happy crowd!
    Dec 20, 2014 5:24 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    After 2 foggy nights, hoar frost covers Regina's urban forest, now being coated with freezing rain.
    Dec 20, 2014 9:10 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Best wishes to all at Christmas Time http://youtu.be/I-4XD9Sz0rk
    Dec 20, 2014 6:00 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    A startled lama at the Nativity Scene just outside Regina Apostolic Church - big pre-Christmas crowd, especially kids!
    Dec 19, 2014 6:14 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Large crowd from Regina's Pakistani community gathers on steps of Sk Legislature to mourn school killings + condemn terrorism
    Dec 19, 2014 4:40 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    The Broletariat quintet at The Artful Dodger this morning, on Global Regina's Morning program. Merry Christmas!
    Dec 19, 2014 6:58 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    All the servers lining up for the rainbow Youth Christmas Dinner in Regina - always a great success!
    Dec 18, 2014 4:16 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Here's some sound advice from Justin Trudeau for the next federal budget http://lpc.ca/9yqj
    Dec 18, 2014 7:00 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    See how those needing CPP Disability benefits were penalized by the Harper government's obsession with Income Splitting http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/harper-pco-approved-15-month-hiring-process-for-social-security-tribunal-1.2152053
    Dec 18, 2014 5:40 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Happy to join with Justin Trudeau in extending Hanukkah greetings to all my Jewish constituents http://www.liberal.ca/statement-by-the-liberal-party-of-canada-leader-justin-trudeau-on-hanukkah/
    Dec 16, 2014 6:49 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    UofR Board Vice Chair Dan Kwochka + President Vianne Timmons present UofR Community Service Award to volunteer dynamo Renu Kapoor
    Dec 16, 2014 5:40 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Roomful of young entrepreneurs at Junior Achievement's "Jingle Bell" lunch in Regina - inspiring youth, building the future!
    Dec 16, 2014 10:12 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Christmas elves - Margaret Aitken + Jean Cameron - helping me deliver poinsettias today to all the seniors homes in Wascana!
    Dec 15, 2014 7:02 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    CANADIANS LOOK FOR SOME HOPE & AMBITION Since his campaign promise in 2011 to benefit primarily wealthier Canadians through an Income Splitting scheme "just as soon as the federal budget is balanced", Stephen Harper has focused all of his economic attention in that one direction. The push for Income Splitting has trumped every other policy possibility. For example, important services for veterans have been sacrificed, including the timely treatment of mental health issues. Public safety is another field that's been shortchanged - in rail, marine and air safety, search-and-rescue, emergency preparedness, environmental protection and food inspection. The list goes on. $10-billion in community infrastructure investments got postponed. Defence department procurements have been delayed. Federal assets like community pastures across the prairies and the historic tree farm at Indian Head, Sk., have been unceremoniously dumped. Forensic labs, immigration offices, trade services, National Parks - they've all been hit. And employment insurance payroll taxes were inflated and are now frozen at artificially high levels. What was all this for? To position Mr. Harper to claim a surplus so he could impose Income Splitting. As the late Jim Flaherty warned, it's a costly scheme at $2-billion every year, and it's unfair because 85% of Canadian households won't gain a cent. And it does absolutely nothing to stimulate more growth or better employment. That is Canada's biggest economic challenge - a growth rate that is far too mediocre, compounded by a federal government that is far too complacent and unambitious. In a thoughtful essay published just yesterday, Canada's first Parliamentary Budget Officer, Kevin Page, noted our economy is just "muddling along" and he made a number of crucial observations: * "...the Canadian economy is not firing on all cylinders and we are failing to address major long-term issues..." * "...median after-tax incomes for all families (or real GDP per capita) has been virtually flat since 2007..." * "...Why are we taking resources out of federal labour market training at a time of weak employment..." * "...faster growth is going to require higher investment rates and sustainable public finances..." * "...The austerity approach set out in the 2012 federal budget will succeed in generating a balanced budget, but at a cost: slower growth and degraded public services like support for veterans..." Our country can and should aim so much higher than Mr. Harper's mediocrity. He holds us back. Instead of Income Splitting, Canadians would be further ahead with a vigorous plan for investments in community infrastructure and housing; post-secondary learning and skills; research and innovation; smart, clean sustainable energy and resource development; a diversified, more value-added economy; and aggressive global branding and marketing to rebuild a consistent trade surplus for Canada. These are some of the elements of a better growth agenda - with hope, ambition and hard work, we can regain our economic momentum and rebuild that legitimate expectation of progress among Canadians, from one generation to the next.
    Dec 15, 2014 5:12 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Here's some sound + thoughtful advice from the always valuable Kevin Page. Thank you, sir. http://m.thestar.com/#/article/opinion/commentary/2014/12/13/kevin_page_finance_ministers_need_to_have_tough_conversation.html
    Dec 14, 2014 9:48 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Going to @Corner Gas The Movie in Regina tonight.
    Dec 13, 2014 5:07 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Hurray for Nicky+Marina Makris, Nicky's Cafe, annual fundraiser for the LeaderPost Christmas Cheer Fund. Many thanks!
    Dec 13, 2014 9:21 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Best wishes to Libby Davies on her retirement from federal politics. She was thoroughly dedicated to her VanEast constituents.
    Dec 12, 2014 12:38 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    The House of Commons has adjourned til late January. I'm looking forward to being home in Regina for the Christmas Season. Here's an Open Invitation to Wascana Constituents - drop by my riding office on Friday, January 16th for coffee + conversation. That's Friday, Jan 16th, Wascana Open House, from 10am to 2pm, at 310 University Park Drive in Regina (just off Arcola).
    Dec 12, 2014 12:32 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Another tragic suicide in Canada's military, but Harper govt's answers in Question Period are complacent and defensive. No sense of urgency. In response to repeated concerns from Vets, HarperCons always say they "won't apologize" for slashing services, staff, offices. Parliament adjourns today with Fantino, Harper and their lawyers still denying any "sacred obligation" to meet needs of Veterans.
    Dec 12, 2014 8:39 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Members of House of Commons security staff honoured in the House today for their brave service on October 22nd + every day!
    Dec 11, 2014 12:19 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Another dismal day in Parliament for Veterans Minister Fantino -- he was warned 2 years ago by the Auditor General that government projections about vets' needs were too low. He also had warnings from two Veterans Ombudsmen + from retired General Hillier + then again from the Auditor General. And still he failed.
    Dec 11, 2014 12:08 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Here's a statement I made today in Parliament about the election of Saskatchewan's Perry Bellegarde as National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations http://youtu.be/zvv6IW8Kxds
    Dec 11, 2014 11:22 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Congratulations to Sask's Perry Bellegarde elected today as National Chief, Assembly of First Nations. A tough but crucial job!
    Dec 10, 2014 1:04 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Under pressure for his manifold failures, Veterans Minister Fantino won't answer questions. Here's his hapless Parliamentary Secretary subbing: http://youtu.be/NW0VPD5F6IE
    Dec 10, 2014 11:50 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    In Question Period, Fantino hiding again. Leaves his Parliamentary Secretary to drone through meaningless trivia trying to defend the indefensible. HarperCons cannot explain why service to Vets have been reduced while partisan political staff and government advertising go up. After firing nearly a thousand frontline service providers in Veteran Affairs, Cons now say they may rehire - admission of failure.
    Dec 10, 2014 11:41 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Roomful of Liberal candidates from across Canada join the National Liberal Caucus this morning in Ottawa. Campaign training well advanced!
    Dec 10, 2014 7:55 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    So sorry for the loss of Saskatoon's Cliff Wright - a great Mayor, wonderful citizen, made us all proud. Sincere condolences.
    Dec 10, 2014 6:02 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    On the day we say good-bye, here's a treasured souvenir of the great Mr Beliveau. RIP.
    Dec 10, 2014 4:00 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Canada has a duty to meet their social, economic, physical and psychological needs. - Ralph Goodale
    Dec 08, 2014 7:54 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    SHAMEFUL MISTREATMENT OF CANADA'S VETERANS Yes, Julian Fantino's shambolic performance as Minister of Veterans Affairs has earned condemnation from coast to coast, and he should resign. But he is not the ultimate source of the problem for Canada's veterans. That shameful distinction rests with Stephen Harper. Mr. Harper's government is a one-man show. Mr. Fantino has no influence, no independence of thought or action. He just does what he's told. That spinelessness - his failure to stand-up to Mr. Harper - is Mr. Fantino's greatest offence. Mr. Harper loudly proclaims his affection for the military. He gets his picture taken with lots of people in uniform. He attends many ceremonies, gives speeches and promises monuments and museums. But his actual record on things that matter is a huge contradiction. As Sir Robert Borden declared a hundred years ago, when he sent young Canadians off to battle in World War One, it is Canada's sacred obligation to fulfill the covenant it makes with its fighting forces when they are put in harm's way to defend our values and our way of life. They have stood ready to give their all. And when they come home, their country must "stand ready" for them. With gratitude and generosity, Canada has a duty to meet their social, economic, physical and psychological needs. Mr. Harper has fallen way short. Instead of honouring veterans, he has focused exclusively on claiming a balanced budget for 2015 - all to allow him to implement his long-promised Income Splitting scheme. He has sacrificed a great many things on that one alter. The late Jim Flaherty had the courage to challenge Mr. Harper on Income Splitting. He openly criticized the scheme as too expensive and unfair. It will cost $2-billion every year, and benefit only a small fraction of families, the more wealthy in particular. But 85% of households gain nothing at all. So Mr. Flaherty blew the whistle. Sadly, Julian Fantino is no Jim Flaherty. The Vets Minister meekly does Mr. Harper's bidding with a "bonus" system to reward senior managers in his department, not for better treatment, but for slashing services and staff. Nearly a thousand employees have been fired. That's about a quarter of those previously providing support to veterans. Nine specialized service centres have been closed. Over a billion dollars in funding for veterans, as promised by the government and approved by Parliament, was never delivered. The families of thousands of deceased veterans were denied support for dignified funerals. Veterans' health insurance premiums were doubled. Over the past decade, more Canadian military personnel have died by suicide (160) than were lost in Afghanistan. Many more have lingering mental health issues, and wait for months or even years to get the psychological help they need. And the Harper government's response is a pitiful trickle of funding dribbled over the next half century. To duck a critical Auditor General's report about his manifold failures, Mr. Fantino went AWOL for a week. Then he failed to show up to explain his department's spending plans for the coming year. When veterans came to Parliament Hill to protest their mistreatment, he deliberately insulted them. When the spouse of a PTSD sufferer asked for some help, he ran away. This government dragged vets through the courts for six years trying to claw back their pensions. Now they're in court again arguing that they don't owe any special duty to any veteran and that Borden's solemn pledge was just political hot air. Altogether, it's an appalling saga. It's Stephen Harper who dictated it, and it's Stephen Harper who must be held accountable.
    Dec 08, 2014 5:33 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Enjoying the "Friendly Folk" orchestra at Whitmore UC Winter Supper in Regina.
    Dec 06, 2014 5:08 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Nice to see a big busy crowd at St Matthew's Christmas tea+sale. This is a great+historic church community in Regina
    Dec 06, 2014 12:56 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Thousands of perogies on sale at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre in Regina today. Going fast!
    Dec 06, 2014 10:48 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    DISTURBING NEWS IN THE GRAINS INDUSTRY There have been several unsettling news reports in the past few days about issues affecting the western Canadian grains industry. In the wake of last year's multi-billion-dollar fiasco in grain handling and transportation, the Harper government's "order" to the railways to move certain minimum volumes of grain per week expired last month. It was replaced with a new order, involving less ambitious volumes, lasting until next spring. Given this year's more modest crop, there will be a somewhat smaller volume to move this winter and that will take a bit of pressure off the system. But due to widely varying weather conditions through the fall, crop quality is also widely variable - meaning the logistics of assembling grain cars and trains across the prairies will likely be more complex. So we're not out of the woods yet. The most recent expert calculations indicate costs and losses from last year's mess totalled more than $5-billion. Farmers simply cannot afford a repeat of that sorry performance - especially since the fines the government promised for failures to meet the weekly targets seem to be largely rhetorical and unenforceable. The new order does not reflect the quality variability issue. It does not attempt to achieve any equity among shipping corridors west, east, north and south. The government mentions, but does nothing tangible about the needs of producer-car shippers or short-line rail operators. There is nothing to ensure decent service to domestic grain users. At the bottom-line, the grain handling and transportation system remains inadequate with little ability to cope with volume surges or adverse weather. Shippers remain captive with no competitive commercial alternatives and no legal recourse when the system fails. And threatened fines, to be paid to the government, have no real impact and are no substitute for liquidated damages payable directly to affected shippers. In a recent survey by RBC Capital Markets, more than three-quarters of shippers label the rail service they have received recently as just fair or poor. That level of dissatisfaction is way up from less than one-third of shippers who were complaining a year ago. The lingering consequence of transportation failures is the damage done to Canada's reputation as a reliable global supplier. Some excellent traditional customers for Canadian grain, like Japan, just walked away last winter. And there are growing signs of another troubling dimension to Canadian unreliability. Customer concerns are rising about defective grain quality issues. High quality and consistency used to be well recognized Canadian strengths. But following drastic cuts and other changes at the Canadian Grain Commission, weaker inspection systems are allowing serious mistakes on protein levels, weights and gluten. Canada's reputation is taking another hit. Finally, there's the news about the government's secret machinations to dispose of the vandalized remains of the Canadian Wheat Board. Among farmers, views about the CWB differ profoundly. But whether you loved it or hated it, surely the process of changing from the single-desk selling system should be intelligently managed. Instead, blinded by ideological rage, the Harper government has made no effort to maximize the return to farmers and taxpayers from the Board's demise. By eliminating the CWB's single-desk, the Conservatives acceded to what has been the US government's Number One demand in its trading relationship with Canada. The Americans disliked the Board because it was their toughest competition. Getting rid of it gives the US a big leg up in global markets. So what did Canada get in return for this huge trade concession? Absolutely nothing. Mr. Harper totally squandered what could have been a major bargaining chip. Canada gained nothing on guaranteed access to US markets, nothing on insidious "country-of-origin" labelling, nothing on approval of the KeystoneXL pipeline, nothing at all on anything. And that's just dumb. Compounding this blundering is the way in which the government is privatizing the CWB. The process is totally opaque. There's no transparency or accountability - even though the Board's assets are derived entirely from its past marketing success on behalf of farmers, back-stopped by a federal financial guarantee. There's no proper Annual Report or even audited financial statements. Barring some last minute change, the Harper government seems determined to gift the CWB, free-of-charge, to a US multinational grain corporation. Again, farmers and taxpayers will get nothing in return. And the premium "Canada Brand" in world grain markets will be dead.
    Dec 05, 2014 6:26 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Harper Government has no answer for why all their trade giveaways to the US have netted absolutely nothing in return for Canada. The elimination of the Canadian Wheat Board got no market access guarantee, no end to Country-of-Origin Labelling, no approval for Keystone XL -nothing. Now the vandalized remnants of CWB are being gifted to a US multinational - FREE - with no return to farmers or taxpayers.
    Dec 04, 2014 12:13 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Fantino/Harper continue their insulting Court attack against Veterans - read this: http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/disabled-war-vet-calls-class-action-against-gov-t-the-biggest-battle-of-his-life-1.2131341
    Dec 04, 2014 5:44 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    In Question Period, Stephen Harper defends Minister Fantino right down the line - says Canadian Veterans have nothing to complain about. Why then do Vets organize public protests against this govt's negligence? Why are Vets forming "Anything But Conservative" campaigns?
    Dec 03, 2014 11:40 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Trouble around Julian Fantino and Veterans just keeps getting worse with evidence now that a quarter of his department's staff has been shed. He and his department are in court right now asserting that the Government of Canada has NO special duty or sacred obligation to Veterans. Minister Fantino is a hapless, pathetic figure who is doing what he's told to do by the Prime Minister. Mr Harper is calling all these shots.
    Dec 03, 2014 8:35 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Mourning the loss of Jean Beliveau, a truly great "Canadien" in every way!
    Dec 03, 2014 4:08 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Here's my tribute in Parliament to Brent Butt and the entire team from Corner Gas: The Movie http://youtu.be/XfsU1_y81KQ
    Dec 02, 2014 11:31 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    On the last day of filming CornerGas: The Movie this past summer on the main street of Dog River (Rouleau, Sk), Brent Butt and Fred and others from the cast and crew were given a hero's welcome by more than a thousand fans. ((Just 5.5 miles from our family farm to Ruby's Diner.)) A great show resonated across the country and beyond. Well done. Thank you. And break-a-leg with the Movie!
    Dec 01, 2014 7:33 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana

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Ralph Goodale

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