Saturday, April 28, 2007

A Very Busy Time

These are very busy times for me (Rob). Just a quick update on a few items and events.

1) Today (April 28) is the National Day of Mourning for Workers Killed or Injured on the Job. A ceremony will take place at the ILA Monument at the foot of King Street in Saint John - 11AM.
2) On May 1, a private members bill will be read in the NB Legislature requesting permission to grant an easement for a natural gas pipeline through Rockwood Park. People who do not want to see further legislated "breaks" for the Irvings need to submit a letter stating that they are against the private members bill to the Clerk of the Legislature (Ms. Loredana Catalli Sonier - by 12 noon on April 30.
3) On May 1, Peter Corbyn ( is presenting a live version of "An Inconvenient Truth" at the Hammond River Angling Association headquarters - 7pm. It would really help to have a strong NDP presence.
4) On April 27, Federal Environment Minister, John Baird, publicly endorsed the 2nd Oil Refinery in Saint John - CBC's "The Current". While he is entitled to his opinion, he potentially is the judge of any environmental impact assessment and necessarily should remain neutral. Those who wish to voice their complaint should drop him a line at 613-996-0984.
5) On May 5, comments regarding the NB government's draft guidelines for an environmental impact assessment of the 2nd Oil refinery are due ( - gov't draft; - Irving Oil's take; - Harvard Medical School's summary of the Oil Industry).

Good luck.

NDP Supporting the Conservatives?

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Many people have suggested that Jack Layton and the NDP supported Stephen Harper's party when we voted against a Liberal motion to recall the troops from Afghanistan at the end of the mission in February 2009.

Before I try to explain this odd event, let me clearly state that the NDP supports our soldiers but not the mission.

1) The NDP did not support Stephen Harper's party - we voted against the Liberal motion. We want withdrawal to begin immediately. The NDP did not support extending the mission to February 2009 in the first place (neither did Stephan Dion by the way).
2) The NDP has been consistent in its criticism of the Afghanistan mission.
3) As far as I understand, the Liberal motion was not a confidence motion. As such, even if it had passed, Stephen Harper and company could have ignored it just like they are ignoring Kyoto targets.
4) Now just suppose it had been a confidence motion and the 'newish' minority government lost the confidence of the House. A new election would have taken place and we could have seen the Liberals back in power. However, now the NDP would have supported the mission end-date of February 2009 and it would be hard to call for an earlier withdrawal.
5) In reality, on April 26, Jack Layton and the NDP tabled a motion to call for withdrawal to begin immediately.

For more on the War in Afghanistan and the NDP, please visit:

Before I let you go, I have one final point your may want to consider. We have been told that Canadians fight for peace ... we fight to build peaceful societies and we stand ready to fight in order to maintain peace. If this is true, why then is there no desk or committee for the study of peace in the Department of National Defense (

Monday, April 16, 2007

Upcoming Events

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(1) Just a reminder of Wednesday (April 18) night's strategy/planning meeting at 7:30 p.m.
If you need directions, contact Pat Hanratty (

(2) Fundy Royal NDP is booked to serve breakfast at the Kingston Farmer's Market on May 5th (opening Saturday). The new dining hall seats about 120, so it promises to be a very busy day. We need as many volunteers as possible. Please show up early (7:30-8:00am) as we'll be the guinea pigs in this experiment.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


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By this morning, the bodies of 6 Canadian soldiers, killed on Easter Day, will have returned to Canada. While we are saddened by the loss of life wherever it occurs, these deaths are especially tragic because 3 of the soldiers are from New Brunswick and 5 were based in Base Gagetown. We should all set aside some time to remember these soldiers, and indeed all the Canadian soldiers, who have paid this ultimate sacrifice in service of our country. They deserve our deep honour and respect.

My thoughts and prayers go to these soldiers and their families in their time of grief. We should also remember all people touched by war and conflict. May we all find peace one day.

Friday, April 6, 2007

A Voice in Fundy Royal

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It's time for Fundy Royal to be heard. It's time for New Brunswick to be heard.

Let's be honest - we want better jobs, higher pay, better schools, cheaper tuition rates, better opportunities for our children. But guess what? We won't have these things unless we get a say in our own resources. We won't be able to realize any of these dreams without generating new revenue sources for our province.

Last election, I raised the issue of the natural gas available in the McCully field outside of Sussex. We could have had an Energy Park. I can only speculate as to why my province didn't pursue such an idea (and my thoughts are very unnerving). I do know that my current MP - Rob Moore - heard me during the debates. He even ran a radio ad mentioning the issue towards the tail-end of the campaign. He won, flew off to Ottawa, and didn't say a word about it.

And here we are in 2007 shipping OUR natural gas to Boston! Now let's be fair, there will be an employment spike in the Sussex area - once the lateral pipeline is built, the workforce will increase by a little less than one overtime position.

We need a voice; a loud, carrying voice! Fundy Royal and New Brunswick needs to be represented by someone who will demand fair treatment.

If you think I brought some good ideas to the debates and the doors the last time around, just wait for what we have in store this time. See you on the hustings.

Rob Moir (Candidate)

Bank Vaults Bursting - Piggy Banks Empty

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Amazing ain't it - banks pulling in record profits year after year and yet charging us to deposit and withdraw the very cash we give them so they can make their profits. That's just not fair, no matter how you look at it. The Federal NDP has already proposed that banks remove ATM withdrawal fees (the Liberals balked at this while the Conservatives had a lunch with the bankers and asked them to look into it). Wait a sec ... this sounds like the NDP is promoting good old market interference!

But wait a second: (1) Banks profits are in the BILLIONS, (2) all bank service fees account for just 5% of bank revenues, and (3) banks in Britain operate without ATM withdrawl fees and still make handsome profits.

Don't let them tell you it can't be done!

So, where might we go from here?

This election, I decided to shift my mindset. I'm not just a candidate, I am a potential MP. And potential MPs propose legislation. So, here's my idea to help limit crippling credit-card interest rates.

In Canada, concerns over credit card interest rates have been expressed since 1993. The MacKay Report (1998) eventually led to the creation of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada and changes to the Bank Act, but credit card rates still remain in the 11.5-19.5% range for the major cards, and over 20% for some store cards. While I agree that banks should be allowed to make money, it is not clear to me that these interest rates are at all competitive.

I think I have a solution, but I'd like your feedback. Suppose we created legislation which did not limit a card-issuing company's right to set an interest rate, but rather said that cardholders shall be permitted to save money with the card-issuing company at a rate equal to the charged interest rate less prime plus four percent. For instance, if my credit card charges me 18%, and prime is 6%, then I would have the right to deposit money onto my credit card at the rate of 8% (i.e., 18-(6+4) = 8). Higher interest rates on the card means higher interest rates regular working Canadians can earn on depositing to their cards. Lower interest rates lessen the chance that working Canadians will go into debt. I am not sure whether "prime plus four percent" is the best value, but I think you can see my point.

What do you think?

** recent issues for you to check out:

(1) VISA and Mastercards from major banks have a hidden penalty. Suppose you are a habitual full-payer; you pay your entire bill every month to avoid all interest charges. Now, just suppose you are one day late in your payment (e.g., the due date falls on a Sunday and your cheque clears on a Monday). Many cards now charge full interest for THE NEXT TWO MONTH'S CHARGES even if your payments are on time.

(2) Suppose you overpay your bill - just to make sure you aren't penalized for cases like number (1) above. Many of these same cards carry a flat $25 handling fee for overpayments.

Rob Moir (NDP Candidate)