Monday, May 31, 2004

Free Falling:

According to SES:

Grits 34%
Tories 31%
NDP 19%
Bloc 12%

The weird thing is, this was a good week for the PM. He revealled key parts of his platform which should have drawn people towards the Liberals and he stayed out of trouble. Meanwhile, Layton had a very bad week and Harper got in trouble on billingualism.

But the result? The Liberals are falling fast in the polls. This has got to be worrisome because there is a good chance that:
1. Martin will get tired as the campaign progresses
2. Martin will do poorly in the debates
3. Martin or his team will make a major gaffe at some point

If Team Martin is falling before this happens, you have to wonder what will happen once things start to go poorly? My take on this is that Canadians are simply not warming up to Martin and they want to kick the Liberals out. Harper is looking more and more human to them so support is being bled off to the Conservatives

Given this, I think we can forget a majority government. The real question now becomes who will win the election?

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Week 1 Review:

Blog of the Week:
Revolutionary Moderation has been a lot of fun this week with their Gaffe contest.

Weekly Winner: Toss up. No one made a big splash this week.

Weekly Loser: Jack Layton.

Laugher of the Week: I’ll give Scott Reid and Scott Feschuk credit for taking a few shots at their own party in the top 10 list they came up with for the Liberal plane nickname. Among the highlights: “The Most Important Campaign Plane Ever”, “Still pretty much screwed in the West-Jet”, “Enola Gay Marriage”, and “Majorit-air”. The media has christened the plane “Minorit-air”, while Harper gets “United Scarelines” and Layton gets “Balance of Pow-air” (apparently High-Jack was the original winner but they couldn’t use it for obvious reasons).

Bumbly Martin Quote of the Week: Paul couldn’t even get the election date in his French opening remarks on Sunday.

Jean Lapierre mistake of the week: Speculates about Liberal minority. But honestly, it was a good week for Lapierre by comparison.

We’re flying towards…Likely a Liberal minority. Not much changed this week.

Grade: B-
Highlight: Health Care package
Lowlight: Herle connected to Ontario budget
He finished the week a lot stronger than he started it. A lot of little mishaps but nothing major. Obviously the McGuinty backlash is still crushing them in Ontario.

Grade: B+
Highlight: "You don't have to be a Liberal to be Canadian"
Lowlight: Bilingualism controversy.
Harper looks really good so far. He’s taking it easy on the campaign trail but he’s been joking and will likely last longer than Martin, who’s already looking tired.

Grade: C
Highlight: Good optics to start the campaign off with his launch and then taking Olivia to Vancouver
Lowlight: Says he'd throw out Clarity Bill
Layton started off good but he’s made a few head scratching decisions over the last few days. He also got a lot of negative press on the inheritance tax which, in itself, isn’t a terrible idea.

Grade: B+
Highlight: Great slogan
Lowlight: Accused of running campaign in a bubble
He’s stayed on message and looked good so far.

Friday, May 28, 2004

You Don't Know Jack

Ugg. Jack Layton came out today and said he’d overturn the Clarity Bill. Honestly, as a left leaning Liberal, I was all set to vote for Layton on the 28th but now…I dunno. I just can’t see any reason for this. Broadbent got in trouble in ’88 for cozying up to separatists and the NDP has never been a factor in Quebec. And this is not the election for them to make a breakthrough in Quebec – the Bloc vote is solid right now according to the latest poll and soft nationalists will vote Bloc, not NDP.

Terrible move by Layton. I’m really going to have to re-think my vote now.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Hockey and Politics

Here’s a little theory I worked out which I feel offers an infallible system for determining election winners and Stanley Cup champions.

The last time a Canadian team won the Stanley Cup was in 1993 when the Montreal Canadiens took it. This corresponds to the year that Jean Chretien, a Quebec born Liberal leader (which is the traditional party of Quebec for all intents and purposes) first became Prime Minister. In the years prior to this, it had been the Alberta teams who dominated with Edmonton winning Cups in ’84, ’85, ’87, ’88, and ’90 and Calgary winning in ’89. During this time, the Western based Conservative party held office, with massive majority governments. However, since the Conservatives were reduced to 2 seats in ’93, the Alberta teams have struggled year in and year out, displaying as much ineptitude as the federal Tories. It should also be noted that the first year the Oilers won a Cup was 1984, the same year when Brian Mulroney won his majority government.


If you want to, you can even push it back further. The Canadiens (who we’ve established that, as the dominant hockey team, are the equivalent of Canada’s dominant party, the Liberals), dominated hockey through the late 60s and 70s, at the same time another Quebec born Liberal leader dominated politics. Trudeau’s time in power marked the glory years of the Liberals in much the same way these were the Montreal Canadiens glory years. The Habs last Cup from that dynasty came in 1979…coinciding with the year Trudeau was defeated. If you want to go further back, the last time the Liberal party had an Ontario-born leader who won an election was with Mike Pearson who’s last full year as Prime Minister was…wait for it…in 1967 when the Toronto Maple Leafs last won the Stanley Cup.

Now obviously this theory isn’t perfect. Montreal won a cup in ’86 but I believe Turner may have led in the polls that year. Without doubt this was Turner’s high point as Liberal leader before the wheels started to fall off the track. It should also be noted that the Quebec Nordiques left Quebec the same year the referendum was held which most certainly fits into this theory (if we try and push hard enough).


Since this theory is most certainly flawless we can apply it to present day and the Calgary Flames playoff run. With the Flames in the Stanley Cup finals and poised for the Cup, this means Alberta is once again poised to make a breakthrough with their party, the Conservatives, led by Calgary-born Stephen Harper. Martin, with roots in Ontario and Quebec could be classified as either a “Habs Liberal” or a “Leafs Liberal” but since neither team managed to get past the second round this year, clearly things do not bode well for him. And as for poor Jack Layton, you must certainly be wondering where he fits into all of this. I haven’t worked out the details yet but I’m absolutely positive that an Anaheim Mighty Ducks win last year would have set in motion the karma needed for an NDP government. Tragically this did not happen which has me betting heavily on Harper’s Conservatives forming government this spring. If the Flames lose, I’d gamble on minority but if the Flames win, I think a majority government may be in the cards.

(Disclaimer: This theory is not foolproof and may not be 100% accurate. As a result, I do not endorse any wagers on sporting events or political outcomes on the basis of this theory alone)

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Dalton Versus Paul

I've got to wonder what Dalton McGuinty has against Paul Martin. First he supports John Manley in the leadership race. Then he delivers a budget which may cost the feds 5 seats in Ontario. Now, he makes these comments:

May 26, 2004 - OTTAWA -- Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty yesterday dismissed Prime Minister Paul Martin's multi-billion dollar health-care funding promising as nothing more than an election promise. "What we're talking about now ... (is) a campaign promise made in the thick of the campaign. Let's wait to see the outcome of that campaign so we can better determine exactly what we're going to end up with," the premier said.

He's sure not helping the cause, eh? Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge Dalton fan but I'm not sure he's the one who should be giving lectures on "campaign promises made in the thick of the campaign."

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Credit Where Credit Is Due:

I've been waiting a long time to actually say something nice about Paul Martin on this blog (it is a Liberal blog after all). And believe me, I've been trying to find something nice to say...anything. I would have settled for a nice haircut. Suffice to say, there's been little good to be said about Turner 2's campaign so far. In fact, I'd been all set to come on here and talk about Martin stealing the CSL slogan for his Quebec campaign and Herle advising McGuinty on the budget.

But then, gasp!, Paul went and did something smart. The Liberal Health platform released today is very good. I don't know if he'll follow through on it or get approval from the Premiers but if he does, I'll tip my hat to Paul on a job well done. The big ticket spending is needed as are the little things like recognizing foreign credentials and adding 1000 spots to med schools across the country. Proof enough of just how sound this program is: the NDP is attacking it on the "Liberals can't keep their promises" strategy as supposed to "it's not enough" strategy.

Will people believe the man who gutted health care in the 90s? Will Ontario voters trust Liberals? I don't know. But, for the first time since becoming Prime Minister, Martin has actually put something substantial on the table. Sure beats opening up the Louis Riel trial, eh?

Key Issues

The National ran a story tonight on the Top 10 issues for the election campaign, based on a poll they did. I forget the details and can't find the list on their website but, from memory, the top 7 were:

7. Iraq
6. Gas prices
5. Poverty
4. Taxes
3. Economy
2. Sponsorship Scandal (14% of respondents)
1. Health Care (35% of respondents)

The thing is, I doubt any of these will be the main issues by the end of the campaign (although gas prices could be a bit of a sleeper issue). Sure, the sponsorship scandal and taxes vs. health care are front and centre now, but will they stick? The 2000 election was decided by Barney the Dinosaur, Rick Mercer, a ski-do and Niagara Falls. I also have a hunch the debates will be very important this time around. With three new leaders and an election which matters, mistakes will be made and no one will want to play it safe. As a result, we might see a repeat of 1984 or (to a lesser extent) 1988, when the debates made a real difference. Which issue will get the sound byte? Your guess is as good as mine but I wouldn't be surprised if that issue turns out to be the one which frames the campaign. And it might be something trivial like CSL or Harper's firewall comments - who knows?

Now, as for health care, the interesting thing about the CBC poll was they asked which party was best equipped to handle health care:
Liberals 30%
NDP 22%
Conservatives 20%

Honestly, I'm surprised those numbers are so close. And assuming very few feel the Bloc or Greens can handle health care, that leaves a good 30-35% of the population undecided. So can the Liberals really run on health when only 30% of Canadians feel they're the best to handle it? I guess we might be about to find out.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Advice Followed...Part 2

It's not exactly the same format which I used in my suggested ad for the Tories, but it comes close. You can view the new Conservative ad here. I still think "There are some things money can't buy. Unfortunantly for the Liberals, you vote is one of them." would be a better end line to use but it's a start.

As for my other 3 suggestions to Steve, he's doing alright - thin on ideas which is good and I'm sure MacKay will be featured prominently throughout the campaign. I haven't seen him go at Paul yet on the separatist issue, maybe because he'll need the Bloc to support him if he forms a minority government.

The Liberals new ad is out too. I've got to say, I think this "Choose your Canada" attack plan is very risky. Harper's got the line of the campaign so far ("You don't have to be Liberal to be Canadian") and he'll just keep saying it if the Liberals proceed down this road. Also, given the reaction to Dalton's budget (which I actually liked), campaigning against tax cuts might not play so well.

Advice Followed

In an article I wrote a few weeks ago for Freethought, I gave five pieces of advice to Stephen Harper and the first one was to get his family involved in the campaign. Well, lo and behold, Harper was out today with Ben and Rachel for his first campaign stop. The guy looks relaxed; He joked with reporters at his first press conference today and sang a little Elvis to party faithful. My hunch is if he keeps doing things like this, Canadians will see him as a normal Canadian like them - not a right wing monster. Hell, I didn't like the guy a month or two ago and I've warmed up to him. I'd never vote for him but I've warmed up to him. If only he could learn to smile, the guy would be unstopable...

Harper also gets credit for the best line of the day: "You can still be Canadian, even if you aren't a Liberal". I know I've predicted a Liberal minority but I really do think this guy could win.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Attaboy Warren!

Glad to see Warren's going to be gunning against the Martin boys this election.


Unless Herle and friends are hit with a last minute dose of sanity, the writ will be dropped in an hour's time. So, here are my predictions for the upcoming election which I've entered at James Bow's site.

Lib: 123
Con: 100
NDP: 30
BQ: 55

Lib: 18
Con: 9
NDP: 5

Lib: 20
BQ: 55

Lib: 68
Con: 30
NDP: 8

Lib: 8
Con: 12
NDP: 8

Lib: 1
Con: 27

Lib: 6
Con: 22
NDP: 8

Lib: 2
NDP: 1

Let the fun begin!

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Those Who Do Not Learn from History:

I'm in the process of reading John Duffy's "Fights of our Lives" which focuses on five major elections in Canada's history. While I don't think the repercussions of this election will be historic, it may be one for the ages, solely because of the unprecedented collapse of the Liberal Party under they long time dauphin Paul Martin.

What it interesting is that Duffy is part of the Martin iner circle who gave him advice before, during and after his leadership campaign. Given this, I found a few interesting quotes from the book which gave me a chuckle or two:

1. p.77 "In English Canada [the Conservatives] would portray [Laurier] as a dangerous French Catholic, alien to the majority interests of the Maritimes, Ontario, and the West."
I guess John wasn't the one who commissioned the "religious fanatic" polls in Ontario then, eh? Funny how that Laurier guy went on to have a descent career.

2. p.77 "The Conservatives did what losing campaigns do to this day: they went negative, aiming their Double Tribal Whipsaw entirely at trashing Laurier."
Losing campaigns? Boy, now I'm really curious to see the internal polls.

3. p.207 "In this speech St.Laurent did what most stumbling front-runners do: he went negative, ridiculing the "Tory election promise to spend more and tax less."
Stumbling front-runner? Ridiculing the Tory promise to "spend more and tax less". Does Duffy even remember what he wrote in this book?

4. p.207 "Moreover, by discussing the pipeline, he was reminding voters of what they liked least about his government."
Substitute "pipeline" for "sponsorship" and you will see that Paul wasn't the first politician to go on a "Mad as Hell" tour.

5. p.196 "[Diefenbaker] wouldn't simply be asking Canadians to vote for him because he was a new man, but because he had a vision of the future."
This was in response to St.Laurent's lack of vision. Funny how Paul is running on being a "new man" yet he conveniently has no vision outside of "The Politics of Achievement."

Obviously Herle would be advised to give his buddy a call and ask for some historical advice on how to run campaigns. Because right now, it's looking like 1957 or 1984.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Free Falling:

I was going to post something on the changes to the gun registry today (and, as an aside, since I'm always praising Harper here and knocking the Liberals, I just want to point out that, I am a leftist...and as an example of that I'm 100% behind the gun registry, even if it costs 100 million a year, which it doesn't...but maybe I'll have more on that this weekend). But the polls that came out today make it abundantly clear that we are heading towards the first epic election since 1988. I've been predicting a Liberal minority for quite some time but I'm now feeling more and more like Stephen Harper will win the next election. Even though they're going into the election in front, the "hidden" numbers have got to be absolutely petrifying for the Liberals. Just so you can follow along at home, the numbers I'm quoting are pulled from either the COMPASS or the Ipsos-Reid polls. Let's start with the Compass poll:

1) The Liberals once again sit at 39% in this poll which is consistent with every other poll we've seen. However, the Conservatives are now at 31%. This should be extremely scary for the Liberals since it will only take a 4% swing in vote to leave the two parties in a dead heat. And since polling has existed, the incumbent party has dropped an average of 7% during elections. And the absolute scariest number is this one: In Ontario the Liberals lead 42% to 39%. That translates into 40 Conservative seats by my count. Given that there's no way the Tories get under 60 seats in the West and that translates to an opposition party with over 100 seats for the first time since 1980.

2) An interesting part of this poll is the "issue section". They ask respondents how they'd vote if the election were decided on certain issues. On "Health and Education" which are the Liberal strong points, they have a very modest 38-29-24 lead on the Cons and NDP. The Liberals also do very well on the economy, terrorism, leadership and separatism. However, I can't see any of these issues, except perhaps leadership taking a dominant role in the campaign. What I can see being a major issue is the sponsorship scandal, which actually puts the Torries in front 37-30. The Torries also take the lead on "change" (wouldn't they have to by definition?).

3) The poll found that the Liberals had little chance to make gains by attacking Harper on tax cuts, or the fact that he's from Alberta or the fact that the Conservatives are full of "religious fanatics". Considering the Liberals appear hell bent on "demonizing" him and attacking him on tax cuts...well...I think the results may be closer to the anti-Chretien gameplan of '93 than the anti-Day gameplan of '00.

4) 76% say there was "much corruption" in the scandal and the Liberals "helped their friends". 71% think Martin was in the loop. And in a very telling number, 40% feel they are worse off than they were four years ago, compared to 27% who feel they are better off.

Now we move on to Ipsos, who have the Liberals with a healthier lead but with absolutely scary peripherals. Consider,

1) 61% of Canadians believe the Liberal Party is corrupt. And that number is at 70% in Quebec. When I first saw this, it occurred to me that this means the Liberals won't do anything unless people are willing to vote for a corrupt party. Well, it looks like they are. 35% of Liberal voters feel the Liberal party is corrupt. Eek!

2) 58% of Canadians believe Martin is "too friendly with big business". Remember the CSL fiasco that hit the week before the sponsorship scandal? My prediction is the NDP will capitalize on this massively. I heard a report the NDP was planning to go to the Barbados for one day during the campaign to play up the offshore flags angle but backed out. Regardless, you'll have the NDP attacking on CSL, the Bloc on Sponsorship and Harper on money management. It's going to get ugly.

3) "only 23 per cent of Conservatives say they might change their minds, whereas 29 per cent of Liberals say they could." Uh-oh. Guess who has more growth pottential?

4) 2 in 3 Conservatives say they will definitely vote this election. That compares to 56% for the Liberals. That 10% swing means the Liberals will lose about 3% of their lead on voter turn-out alone.

5) And finally, we get to the absolutely scary stuff. 47% of Liberal voters feel the country is better off with a minority government. Unbelievable. 36% of Canadians feel the Liberal Party deserves to be re-elected under "the new leadership of Paul Martin". wow. They question was even phrased to favour "Team Martin" and they could only get 36%. How on earth do you get over 36% when only 36% of Canadians feel you deserve to be re-elected. Not surprisingly, 60% of Canadians feel it's time for another political party to be given a chance to govern.

Putting all of this together and we see that the Liberals cannot win a majority unless:
-People who feel they are corrupt vote for them
-People who feel they don't deserve to be re-elected vote for them

Now, as I mentioned before, with the exception of 1974, the incumbent party has lost support during the campaign since modern polling came into being. Given that the Liberals have the weakest support, the voters least likely to vote, and the pottential to lose an election fought on the sponsorship scandal and I don't see how they can reverse history. This party has to drop at least 5% during the campaign, which leaves Harper dangerously close to them. I still think Martin will eek out a minority since some NDP vote might bleed to the Liberals but I would not be surprised to see the Conservatives on top.

And despite this, Herle and co are set to drop the writ this Sunday. I don't know what the Earnscliffe focus groups are telling them but if it's anything like these two polls, it's a mind-boggling decision to go right now.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Credibility Deficit

I said it last summer and what was just a vague notion then is starting to get some supporting evidence to back up the theory. And that notion is that Paul Martin’s all things to all people shtick is going to turn into his tragic flaw. A lot of people will point to the fact that he has 28 “number 1” priorities as the problem with this strategy but that’s not what I think will be his undoing. The problem as I see it is that Martin’s all things to all people routine comes from the fact that he’s a bit of a megalomaniac. This isn’t a bad thing – Louis XIV had the same problem and it made him a great King but when Paul Martin says “this will be the most important election in Canada’s history” I think he truly believes it. When he feels that Jean Chretien must be forced from office because Canada needs Paul at the helm, I think he firmly believes it. So when Paul finally realized his ambition of becoming Prime Minister, he wasn’t satisfied. No, he wanted to be the greatest Prime Minister ever. Fed on by the delusions of his advisors, he honestly felt Canadians would fall so madly in love with him that he’d win 220 seats, destroy the Bloc, and make electoral history. But the only way to do this was to be all things to all people.

And that is my convoluted way to bring me to my point. By wanting to be all things to all people, Martin has destroyed any credibility he might have had. I got to thinking this while reading through the quotes at . I got to thinking how strange it was to see a site put up by the Conservatives, trying to trash their opponents, arguing the Conservative platform. I’m not sure if this has ever been done before. I mean, when Martin trashes Jack Layton, he doesn’t say “Jack shares my opinion on this and this and this”. However, Harper is trying to show that his party isn’t the only one full of anti-Gay, pro-private health care, pro-Iraq war, anti-Maritimes candidates. The problem is, since Martin wanted his 200 seats, he have to get votes from people he was better off not getting votes from.

Look at paulmartinsaid and you’ll see quotes from Keith Martin and Scott Brison. How can Martin expect to attack Harper for being too Conservative when he welcomes Conservatives to his party with open arms while forcing out Sheila Copps and Charles Caccia? Similarly, his cabinet he unveiled in December was one of the most right wing in Liberal history. He named David Pratt his Minister of Defense, knowing that Pratt was the biggest hawk in the caucus. How then can he attack Stephen Harper on the Iraq war? He named Anne McLellan his Deputy PM knowing she shares Harper’s views of Health Care. I’m not sure if he knew Pettigrew’s Health Care views but he sure should have made it his business to find them out before naming Pierre his Minister of Health. As a result, the Health Care argument goes out the window. Never mind that Paul slashed Health Care more than any Finance Minister in Canada’s history.

Similarly, he wanted to woo Quebec onside and felt the best way to do this was to become a soft separatist. So he tried to run Stephane Dion out of town and made the founder on the Bloc his Quebec Lieutenant. Jean Lapierre then went on to recruit separatist candidates to run for the Liberals in the next election. How then can Lapierre spout that a vote for the Bloc is a waste vote? How can Martin appeal to federalists outside of Quebec? The Lapierre fiasco has led to vicious attacks on Martin by Paul Wells, Warren Kinsella and many others in the on-line bloging community.

Martin has other credibility problems too. How can he run on fixing the democratic deficit when his supporters were the most corrupt in Canada’s history when it came to a leadership race (a leadership race which was already over before it even began making their tactics all the more unwise)? How can he appoint his friends as candidates when he called the Sheila Copps fiasco a “local matter”? Good question.

But the fact is, the majority of his problems come from his desire to not only win, but win big. He became a Conservative and lost 10% of his vote to the NDP while not attracting Conservatives. He became a separatist but saw his support plummet in Quebec.

And now, he can’t seem to break through the opposition defense because he’s calling passes from their playbook.

More on Harper’s platform

I’m not sure why I keep talking about Stephen Harper on this site. I’m a card carrying Liberal and I’ll likely vote NDP but, for some reason, Harper seems to always be my focus here.

Regardless, I’ve been looking over his platform and I’ve come to the conclusion that this man is going to be Prime Minister in the near future. Maybe not this time, but within 2 or 3 years. And I’d give him a 1 in 4 or 1 in 3 shot of taking a minority this election.

The fact is he’s given the Liberals nothing to gripe on. He’s matched them dollar for dollar on Health Care spending and he’s actually supporting the Health Accord signed by Jean Chretien (which Martin is mute on). Harper’s (misguided in my opinion) desire for more private integration into the system is going to be offset by the Pettigrew comments and Martin’s private physician. In addition, Martin was the man who absolutely gutted Health Care (albeit for good reason) in the 90s – I’m sure Harper can find some good numbers to quote in “Paul Martin: CEO for Canada” by Murray Dobbin. Yet bafflingly, they’re still going to make Health Care the issue. If there is any doubt on this, look at Goodale’s feeble retaliation to the Conservative gasoline tax proposal – the Liberals will put the extra cash into Health Care since this is Canada’s top priority…not tax cuts.

But it goes beyond Health Care. Harper’s gas tax plan will cost peanuts and save Canadians pennies (literally) but it’s something everyone can relate to with soaring gas prices. As for the other tax cuts, it’s not how I’d run a government but I think people can relate to personal tax cuts like these – these aren’t tax cuts for the rich or big business, these are tax cuts for ordinary Canadians. The Liberals may claim it’s tax cuts versus social programs but in reality the money is there for both. The Liberals have lowballed surplus projects for years so they can no longer be taken seriously on the issue. Harper is an economist and he’s a lot more credible on things like this than Jack Layton. The money can be spent on tax cuts and social programs so it becomes a matter of tax cuts versus debt repayment. Personally, I’d rather see debt repayment but I think I’m in the minority there. Harper will try to go one step further and play it as tax cuts versus government waste and it will be interesting to see if he’s successful in that strategy. The fact is, the HRDC scandal, the gun registry and Adscam cost taxpayers next to nothing. Maybe 200 million dollars a year…tops.

On top of this, Harper is going to bite his tongue on referendum, abortion, gay marriage and anything else which could portray him as a fanatic. Add it up and what do you get?

Our 22nd Prime Minister.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Ken Dryden

So Ken Dryden is going to run for the Liberals. Very interesting. I guess this will give Air Farce some material for jokes but appart from that, it's hard to comment much on it.

What I'll say is that I'm fully behind this move. A lot of people may write it off as "Schwartzetschwhstatzcnneggzhscger North" but there are a few differences to consider:

1. Dryden is running to be a backbench MP or maybe a Parliamentary Secretary. Not governor of a state the size of Canada.

2. Dryden is a smart guy.

It'll be interesting to see how he does. I'd like to see him get a minor cabinet post (Sport?) and see how he handles it.

Advice for Stephen Harper

Here's an article I wrote for freethought a few weeks back.


Prime Minister Stephen Harper? A year ago, I figured I’d be saying President Kucinich, Stanley Cup Champion Blue Jackets or Pope Spears before I uttered those four words. Stephen Harper may be the most boring person ever to, well, exist, but the guy is poised for greatness. Hell, I don’t even like him and I’ll concede there’s a good chance he’ll be Prime Minister within five years. He can get that job a lot sooner if he follows these five simple pieces of advice.

1. What good is family if not for cheap photo-ops?

Stephen Harper has a six year old son, a four year old daughter and a fairly good looking wife. Then why, oh why, isn’t he doing what any sane man would do and shamelessly use them to further his political career? This guy can engineer the take-over of Canada’s oldest party but he can’t understand that TV cameras like fathers holding their cute, four year old daughters. Stevie – The Liberals are going to try and paint you as “Stockwell Day: The Sequel”, a cruel inhuman monster with no feelings. Playing soccer in the park with your kids (after someone anonymously tips off the media to this) would do wonders to fighting this. Go to a Flames game with your son – show you’re a normal guy. I picture Paul Martin as more of a “hey, let’s read some Tolstoy!” than a “Go Flames Go!” type of guy – use it to your advantage.

2. Vive le Canada!

Paul Martin’s new Quebec Lieutenant co-founded the Bloc Québécois. Now, in Jean Lappierre’s defense, he can’t remember how he voted in the referendum (Good GOD! Does anyone in Ottawa remember ANYTHING?!?!), but there are federalists from coast to coast who might not like it that Paul’s in bed with the separatists. So Stevie – stand up in the House of Commons and ask Paul if he still supports the Clarity Bill. You won’t win any seats in Quebec no matter what you do but you might skim a few federalist votes off of the Liberal total and cost them a seat or two. Best of all, people outside Quebec will be relieved to know that at least one party still believes in a strong, united Canada.

3. 30 seconds to glory

If the cheesy Jamaican accent commercials aren’t your thing, then here’s all you need to do:

Contracts to Earnscliffe…60 million dollars
HRDC boondoggle…1 billion dollars
Gun Registry…2 million dollars…err…1 billion dollars
CSL government grants…130,000$...err…161 million dollars
Adscam Contracts…100 million dollars
Kicking the Liberals out of Ottawa…priceless!
There are some things money can buy. Unfortunately for Paul Martin, your vote is not one of them.

You deserve better – Canada deserves better. Vote Conservative.

There you go. Forget erasing the Canada/US border, this will go down as the greatest ad in Canadian political history. And even if you don’t like this add, the point is: hammer these guys on government spending and corruption at every opportunity.

4. Screw David Orchard

Make Peter MacKay your running mate. I know, I know – you’re dead set against two men being referred to as “mates” but it worked for the Chrétien/Martin ticket all those years and MacKay can keep your Maritime seats blue. Whatever you do, do not let Mike Harris campaign for you (although his people are welcome to). And do not get Ralph Klein’s endorsement! I can’t stress this enough. Tell him you’ll go public that he’s still off the wagon if he even thinks of endorsing you. This guy is like the Canadian Al Gore when it comes to endorsements.

5. “A campaign is no place for ideas”

Kim Campbell was crucified when she said it but take her advice Steve (she is after all one of the 50 greatest leaders in word history according to the National Geographic Society). Don’t discuss any ideas – especially when those ideas are things like private health care, abortion, the death penalty, referenda, recall, gutting of social programs, family “values”, or anything else from the Canadian Alliance playbook. Keep shouting out “Sponsorship Scandal”, “Earnscliffe”, “CSL”, and anything else that makes the Liberals appear corrupt. No one likes you Stephen – but they just might vote for you if you make the Liberals look bad enough. Hey, there’s another great commercial he could do: “I don’t like Canada much and Canada doesn’t like me…but at least I’m not Paul Martin!”.

There you go Steve – sound advice which even Conservatives can’t mess up. And make sure you know which way the Niagara River flows – you never know when that one could sink you

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Lastewka Screwka'd

Very interesting comments by Walt Lastewka on Question Period today. He basically came out and said that Pelletier was the mastermind behind the Adscam. After he made the comments, Jason Kenney was practically speechless following the gift Lastewka gave to the Conservatives.

If I were Prime Minister, I'd make sure to have my most trusted advisors go over what anyone remotely affiliated with my party was going to say on Question Period before he or she did the show. The fact is, all journalists watch it for a good Monday morning story and Lastewka just gave them that story.

Of course, I'm sure he's going to be Pettigrized within a few days and forced to parade in front of the media to "clarify" his statements.

Jean Lapierre

Have you ever had a friend who was involved with someone and you just couldn’t understand what he saw in her? Well, that’s sort of what Liberals have got to be thinking about Paul Martin’s love fling with Jean Lapierre. To fill people in, Jean Lapierre was the co-founder of the Bloc Québeçois, after he quit the Liberals the day after Paul Martin lost to Jean Chrétien for the leadership of the party. During his time with the Bloc, Lapierre is reported to have fed them Liberal secrets to discredit the federal party and he was an advocate for a separate Québec. Now, in Lapierre’s defense, he can’t remember how he voted in the 1995 referendum (apparently no one in Ottawa can remember anything anymore). But, the facts remain, he was a separatist.

And now he’s Paul Martin’s Québec lieutenant, the man who will deliver soft-separatist votes to Paul, deliver 60 seats, and wipe out the BQ. Opps. Now, obviously Lapierre is not completely to blame for the monumental collapse of the Liberals in that province, but let’s consider his accomplishments:

1) Completely discredit the Clarity Bill, considered by many to be the shinning achievement of Jean Chrétien. Lapierre said it was worthless, causing Paul to give his usual “well, gosh, on odd-numbered days its worthless, but on even numbered days I’m completely committed to it” answer. On top of this, the two of them tried to run one of the smartest men in government, Stéphane Dion out of town. Dion has shown nothing but complete support to Martin since he won leadership but the two made it known that as the Clarity Bill author, he was not welcome in the party.

2) Absolutely messed up the nomination process in Québec. Although to be fair to Lapierre, there have been messes in the nominations in Ontario too…and BC…and Alberta…and, well, you get the picture. But the sheer hypocrisy in the way Stephen Hogue was treated under the pretext of getting more “female candidates” in remarkable (while at the same time, females were denied the right to run against Denis Dawson and Jean Lapierre). I could go on for a while about this, but Paul Wells catalogues it a lot better than I ever could in a million years.

3) Openly mussed that it would help the Liberals if the RCMP could just “lay some charges already” in that darn sponsorship probe. Since, you know, getting those star female candidates election in kamikaze ridings is more important than justice and law. As a result, when the RCMP finally laid charges, the opposition could point to Lapierre’s comments and muse that it was “convenient” that the charges were laid now.

4) He’s recruited “star” separatist candidates to run for the Liberals in the next election. This was the tilting point which cause Warren Kinsella to declare he wouldn’t vote Liberal in the next election. Obviously Martin has forgotten that federalists outside of Québec actually have an alternative option to the Liberals (two in fact).

The problem with Lapierre is that he has absolutely no credibility whatsoever. He quit the party in a huff when Martin lost and spent a decade trying to destroy Canada. So when he accused Stephen Hogue of not being a loyal Liberal, it caused a few jaws to drop. Likewise, last night, I saw him on the National telling the Québéquers that their interests could not be served by voting for an opposition party like the Bloc. The same party he founded and ran for.

Sometimes when your friend is involved with a complete mess-up, it tells you more about your friend that the person their involved with. Canadians need to think twice about Martin's taste in Lieutenants.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Harper's Scary Platform (for the Liberals, that is)

Big bad Stephen Harper released his ultra-scary platform yesterday (well, it was leaked...likely in anticipation of the Liberal smear adds which will start airing next week). Among the SCARY, SCARY things he's proposing:

-Tax break for the second lowest tax bracket
-Fixed election dates
-An increase of 2,000$ per child in the child-tax deduction
-Giving 3 to 5 cents of the gasoline tax to the provinces
-More money for health care

This is about the worst case scenario for the Liberals. Harper is supporting the Health Accord signed by Jean Chretien and arguably has the stronger pro-health care platform of the two parties (we're still waiting on Martin's). Throw in Pettigrew's "ahh-shucks" Health Care comments and Martin's private physician and suddenly it becomes impossible for the Liberals to attack Harper on Health Care which had been their plan all along. In fact, there is absolutely nothing in this platform they can attack the guy on. What are they going to do? Campaign against child tax deductions? Campaign against Martin's beloved fuel tax to the cities scheme? The Liberal reaction yesterday was of the "how will we pay for this?" variety which is going to ring hollow when Martin starts making promises himself. There's nothing they can hit this platform with.

Harper has given Canadians a platform they can live with. Which means Canadians who are fed up with Martin (and I'm sure there are plenty of those) might be willing to give Stephen a chance. Don't get the wrong - the Liberals are going to go ahead with the Stockwellification of Harper but it just won't work. Attack him on Health Care? What about McLellan and Pettigrew's comments. Attack him on the war? What about David Pratt, Martin's own Minister of Defense.

I wouldn't at all be surprised if Stephen Harper is Prime Minister 6 weeks from now. Or, at the very least, within 2 or 3 years.

Most Important Election Ever?

In the self-agrandisizement department, comes last week’s Globe & Mail
front page story that Paul Martin feels the upcoming election is “the most
important ever.” Wow. So I suppose those elections fought during the
depression and during World Wars, those two to decide who would fight a
separation referendum, those two on Free Trade and that one on conscription
were just run of the mill elections. I can see where Paul’s coming from here.
I mean, sure, deciding whether to send thousands of men to fight in Europe is
one thing but when Stephen Harper’s vision of tax cuts comes up against Paul
Martin’s vision of, well, tax cuts, things get put into their historical

OK, some people have big egos – I get that (some might say all to well). However, if I win a game of Clue, I don’t proclaim it to be the “most important victory” in the history of mankind, on par with the invasion of Normandy (or Norway, if you prefer) or the 1972 Summit Series.