Best of luck to us all.

How Donald Trump’s Power Will Be Checked

It starts with the U.S. Constitution.

Donald Trump will become leader of the country. The Republicans will retain both chambers of the U.S. Congress. The next Supreme Court justice will swing the high court back to conservatives. All that being noted, it would be a mistake to believe Trump’s power will be unchecked over the next four years.

The results of Tuesday’s election is a tough pill for progressives in the country and may frighten those who, during the campaign, heard about everything from a proposed Muslim immigration ban to the promised jailing of opponent Hillary Clinton. One thing unchanged, however, is the U.S. Constitution. Those fearing autocratic rule in a Trump Administration can at least place some hope in the judicial branch of government.

Yes, Trump will likely be able to appoint Justice Antonin Scalia’s replacement, but the Supreme Court, as powerful as it may be, represents just a small part of the federal judiciary. The high court entertains just a few dozen cases per year. Meanwhile, because Democrats have held the presidency in 16 of the past 24 years, district courts and lower appeals courts adjudicating thousands of cases are packed with judges who owe their lifetime-long seats to Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. In fact, nine of the 13 federal circuits now have more Democrat-appointed judges compared to just three of 13 when Obama took office.

Thanks in part to filibuster reforms by the U.S. Senate when Harry Reid was majority leader, the score will begin to even as judicial vacancies occur, but in the meantime, those opposing Trump’s moves may find friendly-forums like the 9th Circuit (which includes California), the 2nd Circuit (which includes New York) and the DC Circuit. These three jurisdictions currently are stacked 2-to-1 with Democrat appointees.

Trump talks a big game about ripping up international treaties and “opening up” libel laws, but he will undoubtedly be challenged in court. In fact, Democrats, now in the minority in the House and Senate, should already be looking to the courts as a venue to wage political war. Even moves that could generate broad political agreement — like Trump’s pledge to block AT&T’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner because, he says, “it’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few” — could be subject to judicial review. When that happens, Trump will come face-to-face with those who perhaps share the sensibilities of Nevada judge Gloria Sturman, who on Election Day presided over a Trump campaign demand for information about poll workers overseeing early voting in Nevada’s Hispanic-heavy precincts.

“Have you watched Twitter? Do you watch any cable news shows? People can get information and harass them,” the judge said in rejecting Trump’s request for records.

Certainly, the judiciary’s power isn’t limitless, as the framers of the U.S. Constitution intended. There will definitely be areas where political opponents can do nothing but complain loudly and bide their time.

A Trump Administration, for instance, could mean a more relaxed regulatory state. The FCC may no longer attempt to enforce net neutrality. The EPA could scrap initiatives aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions. And so forth. Additionally, those in Trump’s cabinet will bring their own agenda. For example, Rudy Giuliani leading the Justice Department could place greater emphasis on national security to the detriment of investigations and prosecutions of corporate fraud and antitrust activity.

What then?

The fathers of the nation didn’t explicitly discuss the role of the so-called “fourth branch of government” — interest groups, the media and the public — in the U.S. Constitution, but there’s enough in the First Amendment to protect most of their activities. As such, Trump’s hostile relationship with the press is likely to continue throughout his time in office. He regularly voices his opinion that the media is “dishonest,” and it’s true that much of the public agrees there’s rampant bias in the reporting corps. But a wholesale re-writing of libel laws would face a major court battle.

Then again, Trump does care about validation. What else explains why he once sued a journalist for questioning his asserted net worth? Or felt the need to suck up to Billy Bush of all people on an Access Hollywood bus?

If skeptical judges rein in his worst impulses, Trump’s own bottomless need for approval could provide the greatest check on his power. The president-elect is defensive and combative as heck. Still, he did tend to fire the right people on The Apprentice when people screwed up. That’s something, no?


It would be a tough decision to make!!

Trudeau ‘undecided’ about Liberal leadership
Liberal MP Justin Trudeau says he’s undecided about whether he wants to replace Michael Ignatieff as leader of their party following its historic defeat in Monday’s federal election.
The party’s disastrous results, which saw Prime Minister Stephen Harper secure a majority government and installed the NDP as the Official Opposition, cost Ignatieff his job.
Trudeau, one of only 34 re-elected Liberal MPs, said in an interview Wednesday on CBC News Network that the results were difficult to watch, but not entirely surprising. He said the Liberal party “has been in trouble for a number of years,” because it hasn’t been able to connect with Canadians.
“We saw this coming, although not this bad,” Trudeau said.
After being reduced from 77 to 34 seats, Ignatieff announced Tuesday that he is resigning as leader of the party. Ignatieff lost his seat in Etobicoke-Lakeshore. The Liberals will meet as a caucus next week and choose an interim leader to head the party until a leadership convention is held.
When asked if he’s interested in the job, Trudeau responded that he wants to see the Liberal party get strong again. “I’m undecided, to be bluntly honest. I don’t know whether me being leader is the answer,” he said.
Trudeau said that because of his name and the legacy associated with it through his father, former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, “a lot of people are turning to me,” and that it “concerns” him.
“Because the work that needs to be done is work on the ground. It’s not going to be fixed by picking a cute leader or the right leader or whatever. It’s going to happen by us putting our nose to the grindstone and really, really leaning into it, and right now I’ve committed and I am committed to making sure that the Liberal Party does those things,” said Trudeau, who was first elected in 2008.
“I honestly don’t know if me as leader is something that would help the party or the country,” he said.
Trudeau said that with two young children, he would have to take his family into consideration when making any decision about going for the leadership.
“I’m not sure that I can be the leader I want to be and be the father I want to be at the same time at this point in my life,” he said.
Trudeau said among the challenges that lie ahead in rebuilding the Liberal party is fundraising, and he acknowledged that the Conservatives are far better at it than Liberals.
Rebuilding the party is going to be even more challenging with fewer MPs on Parliament Hill, he added. He also said that knowing 43 of his colleagues won’t be returning to Ottawa with him was one of the most difficult parts of Monday night.
He called their defeats a “collective failure.”
“We all failed together in making sure that our values, our vision for this country, which I know is shared by an awful lot of Canadians, but wasn’t chosen on election night,” he said.


Vote, vote, vote!!!

Arcade Fire criticize PM Harper
TORONTO – Global warming has Grammy winners Arcade Fire criticizing Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper as he campaigns for re-election.
ìOur current leader has championed some pretty destructive initiatives on everyoneís behalf itís really important to get out and vote on May 2,î the indie rockers told their Canadian fans on their online blog.
While not promoting rival candidates, Arcade Fire points fans to a CBC news story where Harper dismisses the Kyoto Accord on climate change as a ìsocialist schemeî calculated to siphon money away from rich nations.
The entry concludes: ìCanada is still a pretty good country, and worth fighting for î
Arcade Fire gave the 2011 Grammys a major shock when the Canuck band beat out rival pop stars Eminem, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry for the best album trophy for ìThe Suburbs.î


Oh, Sean Penn!! Does anything make you happy?!?

Penn slams Wyclef presidency bid
Sean Penn has criticized Wyclef Jean for stepping into Haiti’s presidential race – insisting the former Fugees star has been “a non-presence” in aid efforts following the country’s devastating earthquake.
The Oscar-winning actor has made several trips to the nation in the wake of the January quake and become heavily involved in charity efforts to help the survivors.
But Penn isn’t impressed with the news that Jean is campaigning to become the country’s next leader and he is convinced allegations that the star misused money donated to his Yele Haiti foundation will come back to haunt him.
Penn says “He has been virtually silent for those of us in Haiti, he has been a non-presence. His voice has really been most loudly that which allegedly (sic) has taken over 400,000 dollars designated for Haitian relief for himself and claims he didn’t do it. That has to be looked into.
“I’ve been there. I know what 400,000 dollars could do for these people’s lives and for a 24-year-old girl right now who is dying.
“So, I want to see someone who is really, really willing to sacrifice for their country and not just someone who I personally saw with a vulgar entourage of vehicles that demonstrated a wealth in Haiti that – in context, I felt (was) a very obscene demonstration.”


Yeah, go back to the moon!!!!

Apollo hero Armstrong condemns Obama space plan
WASHINGTON (AFP) ñ Apollo 11 hero Neil Armstrong Tuesday lashed out at President Barack Obama’s decision to axe NASA plans to return to the Moon, describing the move as “devastating” to the US space program.
Armstrong, the first human to set foot on the lunar surface, was one of three former astronauts who signed an open letter to Obama ahead of his visit to Florida on Thursday where he will deliver a space policy speech.
Budget plans unveiled two months ago proposed scrapping the Constellation program, which was developing a new rocket to take Americans back to the moon; and giving private industry the role of building the space vehicles to take humans to the International Space Station (ISS).
However Armstrong and fellow Apollo program commanders James Lovell and Eugene Cernan bemoaned the proposals for the US space effort in a letter released to NBC News on Tuesday.
Armstrong, Lovell and Cernan said that while some of Obama’s NASA budget proposals had “merit,” the decision to cancel the Constellation program, the Ares 1 and Ares V rockets and the Orion spacecraft, was “devastating.”
American astronauts could now only reach low Earth orbit and the ISS by hitching a ride on Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft “at a price of over 50 million dollars per seat,” the letter said.
“For The United States, the leading space faring nation for nearly half a century, to be without carriage to low Earth orbit and with no human exploration capability to go beyond Earth orbit for an indeterminate time into the future, destines our nation to become one of second or even third rate stature,” the astronauts said.
“Without the skill and experience that actual spacecraft operation provides, the USA is far too likely to be on a long downhill slide to mediocrity,” they added in the letter.



Heritage minister promises no cuts to culture funding
Heritage Minister James Moore has promised no cuts to Canadian arts and culture spending in the upcoming federal budget.
“There will be no cuts, that was our campaign commitment,” he said in an interview with CBC’s Q cultural affairs show aired Wednesday.
Asked whether the $1 billion federal allocation to the CBC would be cut by the Conservative government, as the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting has suggested, Moore denied there would be cuts.
“The short answer to your question is, no, we’re going to continue our strong investment into the CBC. We believe in a Canadian broadcaster and that’s why we’re spending more money than ever before and we will continue to work with the CBC and obviously the concerns ó there’s issues over HD conversion that’s coming and mandate questions about how the CBC will fulfil its responsibilities ó but we’re looking forward to being strong partners with the CBC,” he said.
Moore suggested that arts and culture would be considered in the economic stimulus package the government plans to present.
“This is an incredibly important part of the Canadian economy. We often talk about arts and culture building value in communities and building networks and so bringing creativity,” he said.
“It’s a huge part of our GDP. It’s twice the size of all those who work solely in agriculture. It’s three times the size of our forest industry. So it’s a huge part of our economy and most importantly, in my view, is that arts and culture is about improving the quality of life of Canadians,” Moore said.
Moore defended the Conservative record on arts and culture, saying Canadians have an “incorrect” perception that the government does not support the arts.
He has been meeting with arts groups across the country in a good will tour aimed at counteracting the perception that the Tories are “anti-arts.”
When asked about the $45 million in cuts to programs such as Trade Routes and Prom Art, which helped promote Canadian artists in international markets, he said the money was reallocated to other arts programs.
“There weren’t cuts in arts and culture, the $45 million that you were describing in the campaignÖthat was money that was not cut from arts and culture,” Moore said.
Why Trade Routes was cut
The international programs were cut because of their “inefficiency” and “demonstrated ability to fail,” Moore said.
“Trade Routes ó one of the highest profile programs that received a lot of scrutiny and certainly in the city of Montreal ó is a small program, a $7-million program ó but it cost $5 million to administer $2 million worth of benefits. It’s a level of inefficiency that rivals the old long-gun registry and it’s just inappropriate,” he said.
The Trade Routes program, which helped for-profit and not-for-profit organizations in the arts and cultural sector prepare to export and sell in international markets, will end in April.
Moore claimed money from that program went to increases at the Canada Council, the Museum Assistance Program and funding for the National Gallery.
“It’s not a straight line ó that money is reduced and is then reallocated within different envelopes, but net, there has not been a nickel spending reduction by our government in arts and culture. We’re spending more money on arts and culture that any government in Canadian history,” he said.
Moore said Trade Routes will not be reinstated, but that the government “agrees with the goals” of the program and will consider other options.
He distanced himself from comments made by the foreign affairs office that suggested the cuts were ideologically motivated.
In September, Anne Howland, a spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Minister David Emerson, had mentioned the Toronto indie band Holy F— and writers such as Gwyn Dyer and Avi Lewis as artists funded by Prom Art and Trade Routes who should not have received taxpayers’ money.
Moore said that as heritage minister, he has no mechanism to affect who gets money or to cut funding where art has been controversial or even offensive. Those decisions are made by arm’s-length funding agencies such as the Canada Council for the Arts, he said.
“The Canada Council for the Arts ó $181 million this year, up 20 per cent ó because we’re a government that believes in those decisions being made independent of all politicians, whether they come from the right, left, centre, whatever,” he said.


Here’s hoping today is the first day of the rest of our lives!!

Obama takes office, saying choose ‘hope over fear’
WASHINGTON ñ Stepping into history, Barack Hussein Obama grasped the reins of power as America’s first black president on Tuesday, declaring the nation must choose “hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord” to overcome the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
In frigid temperatures, an exuberant crowd of more than a million packed the National Mall and parade route to celebrate Obama’s inauguration in a high-noon ceremony. Waving and cheering in jubilation, they stretched from the inaugural platform at the U.S. Capitol toward the Lincoln Memorial in the distance.
With 11 million Americans out of work and trillions of dollars lost in the stock market’s tumble, Obama emphasized that his biggest challenge is to repair the tattered economy left behind by outgoing President George W. Bush.
“Our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions ó that time has surely passed,” Obama said. “Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and begin the work of remaking America.”
It was a day of high spirits ó jarred by sudden concern about the health of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, a legendary Democrat who is suffering from brain cancer. He suffered an apparent seizure at a Senate luncheon in honor of Obama. “This is a joyous time but it’s also a sobering time,” Obama said. “And my prayers are with him and his family and (Kennedy’s wife) Vicki.”
As Kennedy was put into an ambulance, he told Senate colleague Chris Dodd, D-Conn., “I’ll be OK, I’ll see you later,” according to Dodd.
Obama wove a thread of personal responsibility and accountability through his inaugural address. He spoke of a “new era of responsibility” and alluded to the inability ó or unwillingness ó of Americans to adjust to the passing of an industrial-based economy. “Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age,” he said.
After four hours of pomp and ceremony at the Capitol, Obama and his wife, Michelle, rode in a tall, heavily armored Cadillac limousine along the 1.5 mile parade route to the White House. To the delight of cheering onlookers, the Obamas got out and walked down several blocks of Pennsylvania Avenue, waving to people kept behind police baricades.
Two years after beginning his improbable quest as a little-known, first-term Illinois senator with a foreign-sounding name, Obama moved into the Oval Office as the nation’s fourth-youngest president, at 47, and the first African-American, a barrier-breaking achievement believed impossible by generations of minorities.
He said it was a moment to recall “that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.” In another racial reference, he paid tribute to workers in the past who “endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.”
Obama’s election was cheered around the world as a sign that America will be more embracing, more open to change. “To the Muslim world,” Obama said, “we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.”
Still, he bluntly warned, “To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West ó know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy.”
“To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist,” Obama said in his address, which ran 18 1/2 minutes.
A mighty chorus of cheers erupted as he stepped to the inaugural platform, a midday sun warming the crowd that had waited for hours in the cold. There were some boos when Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney came onto the platform.
The dawn of the new Democratic era ó with Obama allies in charge of both houses of Congress ó ends eight years of Republican control of the White House by Bush, who leaves Washington as one of the nation’s most unpopular and divisive presidents, the architect of two unfinished wars and the man in charge at a time of economic calamity that swept away many Americans’ jobs, savings and homes.
Obama called for a political truce in Washington to end “the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.”
He said that all Americans have roles in rebuilding the nation by renewing the traditions of hard work, honesty and fair play, tolerance, loyalty and patriotism.
With the economy in a long and deepening recession, Obama said it was time for swift and bold action to create new jobs and lay a foundation for growth. Congressional Democrats have readied an $825 billion stimulus plan of tax cuts and spending for roads, bridges, schools, electric grids and other projects.
Contradicting the objections of Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton to big government, Obama said, “The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works.”
After the ceremony, Obama and his wife escorted Bush and his wife to a helicopter on the East Front of the Capitol for the trip to nearby Andrews Air Force Base and a flight back home to Texas.
In his remarks, Obama took stock of the nation’s sobering problems.
“That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood,” he said.
“Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened. … Homes have been lost, jobs shed, businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly, our schools fail too many, and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.”
Outlining goals abroad and putting foes on notice, he declared:
“We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken. You cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.”
It was the first change of administrations since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Bush ó following tradition ó left a note for Obama in the top drawer of his desk in the Oval Office.
White House press secretary Dana Perino said the theme of the message ó which Bush wrote on Monday ó was similar to what he has said since election night: that Obama is about to begin a “fabulous new chapter” in the United States, and that he wishes him well.
The unfinished business of the Bush administration thrusts an enormous burden onto the new administration, though polls show Americans are confident Obama is on track to succeed. He has cautioned that improvements will take time and that things will get worse before they get better.
Culminating four days of celebration, the nation’s 56th inauguration day began for Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden with a traditional morning worship service at St. John’s Episcopal Church, across Lafayette Park from the White House. Bells pealed from the historic church’s tower as Obama and his wife, Michelle, arrived five minutes behind schedule.
The festivities weren’t ending until well after midnight, with dancing and partying at 10 inaugural balls.
By custom, Obama and his wife, and Biden and his wife, Jill, went directly from church to the White House for coffee with Bush and his wife, Laura. Michelle Obama brought a gift for the outgoing first lady in a white box decorated with a red ribbon.
Shortly before 11 a.m., Obama and Bush climbed into a limousine to share a ride to the Capitol for the transfer of power, an event flashed around the world in television and radio broadcasts, podcasts and Internet streaming.
Just after noon, Obama stepped forward on the West Front of the Capitol to lay his left hand on the same Bible that President Abraham Lincoln used at his first inauguration in 1861. The 35-word oath of office, administered by Chief Justice John Roberts, has been uttered by every president since George Washington. Obama was one of 22 Democratic senators to vote against Roberts’ confirmation to the Supreme Court in 2005.
The son of a white, Kansas-born mother and a black, Kenya-born father, Obama decided to use his full name in the swearing-in ceremony.
To the dismay of liberals, Obama invited conservative evangelical pastor Rick Warren ó an opponent of gay rights ó to give the inaugural invocation.
About a dozen members of Obama’s Cabinet and top appointees were ready for Senate confirmation Tuesday, provided no objections were raised. But Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas indicated he would block a move to immediately confirm Secretary of State-designate Hillary Rodham Clinton. Still, she is expected to be approved in a roll call vote Wednesday.
More than 10,000 people from all 50 states ó including bands and military units ó were assembled to follow Obama and Biden from the Capitol on the 1.5-mile inaugural parade route on Pennsylvania Avenue, concluding at a bulletproof reviewing stand in front of the White House. Security was unprecedented. Most bridges into Washington and about 3.5 square miles of downtown were closed.
Among the VIPs at the Capitol was pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the hero of last week’s US Airways crash into the Hudson River.
In an appeal for bipartisanship, Obama honored defeated Republican presidential rival John McCain at a dinner Monday night. “There are few Americans who understand this need for common purpose and common effort better than John McCain,” Obama said.
Young and untested, Obama is a man of enormous confidence and electrifying oratorical skills. Hopes for Obama are extremely high, suggesting that Americans are willing to give him a long honeymoon to strengthen the economy and lift the financial gloom.
On Wednesday, his first working day in office, Obama is expected to redeem his campaign promise to begin the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq under a 16-month timetable. Aides said he would summon the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Oval Office and order that the pullout commence.


We are living in historic times, however unfortunate that is!!

Harper to visit GG Thursday morning
Prime Minister Stephen Harper will make a highly anticipated visit to the Governor General on Thursday, a day after promising Canadians in a televised address that he will use any means in his power to prevent a coalition government.
In a five-minute, pre-recorded statement Wednesday night, Harper spoke bluntly against a proposed Liberal-NDP coalition backed by “separatists,” saying the federal government must stand unequivocally for keeping the country together in the face of the global economic crisis.
His criticism drew quick reactions from opposition leaders, who called on the Conservatives to accept a coalition government as the will of Parliament.
“The opposition is attempting to impose this deal without your say, without your consent, and without your vote,” Harper said.
“This is no time for backroom deals with the separatists. It is a time for Canada’s government to focus on the economy and specifically, measures for the upcoming budget.”
Harper will visit Gov. Gen. MichaÎlle Jean at 9:30 a.m. ET, the Prime Minister’s Office announced shortly after Harper’s address.
It is widely believed Harper, who pledged Wednesday night to use “every legal means at our disposal to protect our democracy, to protect our economy and to protect Canada,” will ask Jean to prorogue, or suspend, Parliament.
Harper has accused Liberal Leader StÈphane Dion, who would head the proposed coalition, of working to weaken Canada by signing a pact with the Bloc QuÈbÈcois to bring down the Conservatives. The Bloc is not an official member of the coalition but has agreed to support it for 18 months, should it take power.
Conservatives have lost right to govern: Dion
In a taped rebuttal broadcast shortly after Harper’s address, Dion defended the notion of a proposed coalition government “as normal and current practice in many parts of the world.”
Moreover, the Conservatives ó largely based on their reaction to the Canada’s financial crunch ó have lost the confidence of the majority of members of the House of Commons and thus, “have lost the right to govern,” Dion said.
Dion said he sent a letter to Jean on Wednesday, urging her to reject any attempt by Harper to prorogue Parliament.
“If Mr. Harper wants to suspend Parliament, he must first face the vote of confidence,” Dion said.
The back-to-back addresses were the latest in a political crisis that threatens to topple the minority Conservative government ó a prospect Harper has vowed to prevent at almost all costs.
The prime minister has invited the premiers for an economic summit on Jan. 16, increasing the likelihood that he will seek to suspend the current parliamentary session until January, when his government would present a budget.
In his address, Harper said the Conservatives have invited the opposition parties to offer specific suggestions for managing the economy, and even adapted some of its own proposed measures to assuage opposition concerns.
“Unfortunately, even before the government has brought forward its budget and only seven weeks after a general election, the opposition wants to overturn the results of that election,” Harper said.
Reacting to Harper’s address Wednesday night, the leaders of the Bloc and NDP, Gilles Duceppe and Jack Layton, said their recommendations on how to deal with the economy have fallen on deaf ears since the Conservatives were re-elected on Oct. 14.
“Instead of acting on these ideas, unfortunately, or presenting any plan to stimulate the economy, Mr. Harper delivered a partisan attack,” Layton said.
Dion said a coalition government would enable the kind of co-operative action needed to steer Canada through the current economic chaos, noting that similar efforts were being made around the world to overcome ideological differences.
“Leaders are working to cope with the recession to bring forward the kinds of investments that will help their people and their economies,” Dion said. “Rivals are working together. Why not in Canada?”
Greens, Bloc to support coalition
Dion noted that both the Bloc and the Green parties have agreed to support a coalition Liberal-NDP government on matters of confidence. Three of the parties ó the Liberals, NDP and Bloc ó signed a coalition accord on Monday.
The Bloc will not be part of the new coalition but has agreed to support it “based on an agreement that meets the interests of Quebec,” Duceppe reiterated Wednesday night.
“What we want is that in the next 18 months, the next government will work to kick-start the economy and help people affected by the crisis,” Duceppe said.
The NDP’s Layton accused Harper of refusing to act to preserve the economy, instead turning the financial crisis into a political one.
“Stephen Harper has broken his trust with the Canadian people and because of that, he’s lost the confidence of Parliament,” Layton said.
NDP leader Jack Layton gives his rebuttal to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s address to the nation. (Tom Hanson/Canadian Press)
The fate of the Canadian government now depends on how Jean, who returned to Ottawa on Wednesday from Europe, decides to handle the political crisis.
If she is asked to prorogue Parliament and agrees, Harper’s Conservatives will be able to avoid a no-confidence vote in the House of Commons on Monday that could precipitate the rise of a Liberal-NDP coalition.
But if Jean refuses to suspend the current parliamentary session, she will then have to decide whether to call an election should the Conservatives lose the vote of confidence, or approve the proposed coalition government.
“Mr. Harper’s solution is to extend that crisis by avoiding a simple vote, by suspending Parliament and continuing the confusion,” Dion said Wednesday night.
“We offer a better way. We say settle it now and let’s get to work on the people’s business.”
Talk of a coalition government was triggered when Finance Minister Jim Flaherty delivered his fiscal update last Thursday.
Opposition parties blasted the Tories for failing to include a stimulus package for the slumping economy and accused the party of using tumultuous times to try to push through ideologically-driven measures they said attacked women and public servants.
The mini-budget originally proposed a three-year ban on the right of civil servants to strike, limits on the ability of women to sue for pay equity, and eliminated subsidies for political parties.
The Conservatives have since promised to present their budget on Jan. 27, with the suggestion it will contain a stimulus package, and have eliminated some of the most contentious issues from the fiscal update.
The coalition has vowed to make a stimulus package a priority, proposing a multibillion-dollar plan that includes help for the auto and forestry sectors.
The coalition would have a 24-member cabinet with six New Democrats and 18 Liberals and would operate with the support of the Bloc QuÈbÈcois for at least 18 months.
With 77 Liberal MPs and 37 New Democrats, plus the support of 49 Bloc members, the three parties have more seats than the 143 held by the Tories.


Is it a brand new day in America?

Obama triumphs, will be first black US president
WASHINGTON ñ Barack Obama was elected the nation’s first black president Tuesday night in a historic triumph that overcame racial barriers as old as America itself.
The 47-year-old Democratic senator from Illinois sealed his victory by defeating Republican Sen. John McCain in a string of wins in hard-fought battleground states ó Ohio, Florida, Virginia and Iowa.
A huge crowd thronged Grant Park in Chicago to cheer Obama’s improbable triumph and await his first public speech as president-elect.
Obama and his running mate, Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, will take their oaths of office as president and vice president on Jan. 20, 2009.
As the 44th president, Obama will move into the Oval Office as leader of a country that is almost certainly in recession, and fighting two long wars, one in Iraq, the other in Afghanistan.
The popular vote was close, but not the count in the Electoral College, where it counted.
There, Obama’s audacious decision to contest McCain in states that hadn’t gone Democratic in years paid rich dividends.
Fellow Democrats rode his coattails to gains in both houses of Congress, toppling Republican incumbents and winning open seats alike.
Obama has said his first order of presidential business will be to tackle the economy. He has also pledged to withdraw most U.S. combat troops from Iraq within 16 months.


Don’t mess with the Foo!!!

Foo Fighters tell McCain to stop using song
NEW YORK – Yet another band is complaining about John McCain’s use of their song to promote his campaign. This time, it’s the Foo Fighters.
The rockers sent out a missive telling the Republican presidential candidate to stop using “My Hero.” They said they learned it was being use through news reports.
“The saddest thing about this is that `My Hero’ was written as a celebration of the common man and his extraordinary potential,” the band said in a statement. “To have it appropriated without our knowledge and used in a manner that perverts the original sentiment of the lyric just tarnishes the song.”
The band noted it’s not the first time McCain has been told to stop using a song. John Mellencamp, Heart and Jackson Browne have also complained ó Browne even filed a lawsuit.
Soul legend Sam Moore also has asked the campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama to stop using “Soul Man.”
McCain’s campaign did not immediately respond to a phone call seeking comment.