Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Elite Eight

After a spirited first round of voting, we're ready to narrow the field to the final four. One of this blog's readers, who is clearly way more computer savvy than me, agreed to write up the html code for the poll. This will allow the poll to copy the voting format for the Canadian Blog awards, where you can vote once every day. This will be the format for the remainder of the contest - promise. (This was my original idea for the poll so that the momentum could be sustained over the full week of voting but due to my limited computer skills, I went with the double vote format instead)

Voting will close Tuesday at noon Mountain time and, once again, I'll post comments and blog entries about the PMs involved over the weekend since the point of this is to get people talking about Canadian History and our PMs.

Now, the second round matchups, with their first round winning percentage in brackets:

(1) King (89.5%)
(9) Diefenbaker (66.3%)
It's the all crazy clash! At least King kept his insanity private and didn't let it affect his job. After seeing the right mobilize in round 1, King has to be somewhat worried that he's in the only Liberal/Tory battle.

(2) Macdonald (92.0%)
(7) Mulroney (70.9%)
BlueGrit said it best: "Then we've got Macdonald in round 2 of his "get revenge on the people who killed my party" campaign"

(3) Trudeau (50.1%)
(11) Pearson (50.2%)
Do these two have anything left after bloody first round battles? It's PET versus the man who brought him to Ottawa.

(4) Laurier (75.8%)
(5) Chretien (75.7%)
Laurier ushered in the 20th Century and Chretien ushered it out. The Century may not have belonged to Canada, but it sure belonged to the Liberal Party.

BlueGrit has also posted a very good preview of the four matches that I encourage everyone to read. And now, the voting. Remember, you can vote once a day so vote early, and vote often. A seat in the Final Four is up for grabs!

Greatest Prime Minister (Round 2)
Match-up 1
(1) Mackenzie King
(9) John Diefenbaker
Match-up 2
(2) John A. MacDonald
(7) Brian Mulroney
Match-up 3
(3) Pierre Trudeau
(11) Lester B. Pearson
Match-up 4
(4) Wilfrid Laurier
(5) Jean Chretien

(view results)

Come Hell Or High Water

In the news now:

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Paul Martin exercised his patronage prerogative again Monday, making his 15th and 16th appointments to the unelected Senate since becoming prime minister.
Martin rewarded Montrealer Francis Fox - one of the architects of his Liberal minority election win and former principal secretary - with a $119,300-a-year job.

In thew news 17 months ago:

In a campaign-style speech delivered to the Quebec City Chamber of Commerce, Martin promised he is "personally and profoundly committed to rapid and permanent changes in the way things are done in Ottawa."

"We have declared all-out war against waste and mismanagement. We will put an end to cronyism," the prime minister said in French.

"I am going to change the way Ottawa works," he said. "This is not a slogan, this is reality. We are going to change the way government works. And we will do it come Hell or high water."

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Who Wants To Be A Supreme Court Justice?

Oh Irwin...

Round One Results

Well, it was a dramatic finish to round one of voting. At today's noon-MST close to voting, a final day push managed to send Trudeau and Pearson on to round two with 5 and 8 vote margins of victory respectively. I'll give the right a lot of credit for their "vote out Trudeau" campaign...yet once again, Joe Clark has managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Here are the full results:

(1) King 1408
(16) Turner 165

(2) Macdonald 1465
(15) Campbell 127

(3) Trudeau 837
(14) Clark 832

(4) Laurier 1180
(13) Meighen 377

(5) Chretien 1066
(12) Martin 343

(6) Borden 811
(11) Pearson 819

(7) Mulroney 1136
(10) Bennett 467

(8) St. Laurent 541
(9) Diefenbaker 1063

The round two poll will open tomorrow and follow the same pattern as this week's. The matchups for round two will be King vs. Diefenbaker, Macdonald vs. Mulroney, Trudeau vs. Pearson, and Laurier vs. Chretien.

Monday, August 29, 2005

24 Hours Left

Round 1 of voting will close at noon MST on Tuesday. And Kim Campbell is only 1290 votes behind! Come on guys, push her over the top!

Greatest Prime Minister (Round 1...second chance)

  (1) Mackenzie King
  (16) John Turner

  (2) John A. MacDonald
  (15) Kim Campbell

  (3) Pierre Trudeau
  (14) Joe Clark

  (4) Wilfrid Laurier
  (13) Arthur Meighen

  (5) Jean Chretien
  (12) Paul Martin Jr.

  (6) Robert Borden
  (11) Lester B. Pearson

  (7) Brian Mulroney
  (10) RB Bennett

  (8) Louis St. Laurent
  (9) John Diefenbaker

NDP: Need Dynamic Platform

One of the more entertaining blogs out there, Capitalist Pig vs. Socialist Swine, wades into the debate on the NDP's next platform here. The porkster first comments on the ideas raised by Koby at Progressive Bloggers, which I'll repost here:

1) 5 weeks of vacation for all Canadians

2) Free dental care for all Canadians

3) Legalize marijuana

4) Abolish the Senate

5) Abolish the Monarchy

6) Euthanasia

Personally, I'd be somewhat in favour of all six of these, and strongly in support of the last four. But are these issues Jack should get behind? I'm not so sure. Layton has come a long way in the past year to present himself as a dignified statesman and I think he could lose a lot of that by coming out in favour of pot or vacations. Similarly, John Manley got a lot of flack for his views on the Monarchy so it's likely best for Layton to lay off that one for the time being.

I do think he might be able to get some support on euthanasia since Canadians are usually quite progressive on freedom of choice issues, but I just can't see anyone changing their vote towards the NDP because of euthanasia. Looking down that list, the only topic I can really see being a winner for the NDP is Senate reform. The NDP won half their seats in Western Canada and came very close in a lot of ridings out west. Senate reform is seen as a "western" issue and while I don't think it's a policy that would draw a lot of votes their way, I think it's the sort of issue that could make the party more appealing to individuals who are fed up with the Liberals on corruption but are still leery of Harper. And we all know there are a lot of people like that out there.

Now, here are CP vs SS's five suggested policies for the Dippers and my thoughts on each of them:

1. Anti corporate tax cuts: Everything I've heard has the Liberals announcing massive tax cuts right before the next election, similar to the 2000 campaign strategy. This means the NDP is going to have to run on an anti-tax cut platform and, if it comes down to opposing middle class tax cuts or corporate tax cuts, the choice is obvious. Still, my advice for the NDP would be to talk more about social issues than tax cuts, since they're not seen as having a lot of credibility on economics.

2. Public health care: Personally, I've had it up to here with the hollowness of the current health care debate but with this spring's Supreme Court decision, I think we're stuck with it for another campaign. All party leaders are going to talk about how they'll defend health care without giving any real specifics...the only way this issue can be a winner for Layton is if he actually has some substance to his politics to match the rhetoric.

3. Education: Even though education is a provincial issue, there's lots of room to maneuver on the post-secondary education file. I've always thought that any of the three parties would do well if they came up with a national post-secondary education plan, be it for University funding, student loans, or even free tuition (which has been wildly successful in Ireland).

4. Environment: The NDP needs to stress this to cut off the Greens at the pass. I also think that some sort of smog reduction strategy could net them a few seats in the GTA.

5. Get tough trade policy: I wouldn't be surprised if the Liberals ran with this, which could leave the NDP with little else to say on this file. And, similar to economics, I can't see foreign affairs or trade as being big winners for the Dippers.

The NDP should do very well during the next election. With Layton's personal popularity far higher than Martin's or Harper's, he'd be wise to stay away from the controversial issues and instead put forward sound policies a lot of left wing Liberals feel comfortable with. And, for God's sake, avoid a repeat of the Clarity Act and dead homeless incidents of last election.

Saturday, August 27, 2005


Stageleft has come out with an interesting idea - a blog-o-pedia to keep track of the many, many blogs out there. If you've got a blog, sign up.

A Second Vote

We’re halfway through the first round of voting for Greatest Prime Minister. With over 1,000 votes in, the Trudeau/Clark and Borden/Pearson matchups are virtual dead heats while King, MacDonald, Laurier, Chretien, Mulroney, and Diefenbaker are poised to advance to the second round. Since I’m only allowing one vote per computer, I decided to give everyone a chance to vote a second time. So the first poll has been locked (you can see the results here) and an identical poll will appear lower in this post. This Tuesday at noon MST, I’ll close this poll and add the results of the two together. This pattern will continue in subsequent rounds.

So if you’ve had a change of heart and feel bad for Kim Campbell’s 7%, this is your chance to change your vote. If you’re determined to bounce Trudeau, or push him to the second round, this is your chance for that as well. And if you’d like to read up a little more on some of the contestants, I’ve put up a post on the Borden/Pearson matchup here.

Greatest Prime Minister (Round 1...second chance)

  (1) Mackenzie King
  (16) John Turner

  (2) John A. MacDonald
  (15) Kim Campbell

  (3) Pierre Trudeau
  (14) Joe Clark

  (4) Wilfrid Laurier
  (13) Arthur Meighen

  (5) Jean Chretien
  (12) Paul Martin Jr.

  (6) Robert Borden
  (11) Lester B. Pearson

  (7) Brian Mulroney
  (10) RB Bennett

  (8) Louis St. Laurent
  (9) John Diefenbaker

Profile: Borden vs. Pearson

Every weekend, I’ll also be looking at one of the more interesting matchups since one of the points of this contest is to learn a little more about Canadian history. A lot of the focus has been on the Trudeau/Clark matchup and you can read some comments on that here and here. The comments section of the Western Standard Shotgun also has the post of the week, which I’ll reprint here:

I never voted for that knock-kneed collaborator Clark and I won't start now...although Trudeau was honest enough to be openly hostile to the west, and no doubt burns in eternity for his treachery towards his fellow Canadians, there's a special place in hell for capitulating traitors like mittless Joe the western quisling.

We note the Clarks call California home when they aren't selling out Canadian conservatives to mushy red policy.

Posted by: WLMackenzie redux Aug 24, 2005 5:38:32 PM

But despite the strong feelings everyone has for Trudeau, and the strong feelings Mr. WL Mackenzie redux has for Joe Clark, the most intriguing first round matchup is certainly the Borden/Pearson one. Both Borden and Pearson were reluctant politicians and individuals you could admire. Neither were great politicians but both helped create Canada’s identity in the world. Before I give brief bios of Robert and Mike, I thought I’d include some of the comments from readers on the Borden/Pearson showdown:

I am not sure if you are being fair to Robert Borden though. He was Prime Minister during WWI had a tough go of it. Bringing together the Conservatives and Liberals to form a Unionist gov't was a big deal.

No doubt that history has looked favourably on Pearson but he was uncerimoniously dumped by his party.

This should be a closer race than you are making it out to be.
-Greg Staples

Pearson over-rated? As a politician perhaps. Pearson never was much of a politician (60 Days of decision come to mind), but he was an extraordinary policy guy (by which I mean he stole the best ideas from everyone around and implemented them). He was a statesman more than a politician.
-By Jonathan W

Borden gets some credit for war-time leadership but the Union government nearly destroyed the country. A government entirely of Anglophones v. an opposition entirely of Quebecers? No Canadian PM should ever allow that to happen. Its a typically Canadian problem though: international stature vs. national unity.

Robert Borden VS Lester Pearson
Canadians should know more about Borden and the great things that he did for Canada but they just don’t stack up to Pearson. Amazing to think of all he accomplished in only 5 years. Makes one almost hope for another 4 years of minority government.
-TB @ Cerberus

Robert Borden VS Lester Pearson
Pearson by a mile. Borden pitted French and English against each other in a bitter struggle over whether or not to send unwilling people to die in a pointless war the Europeans inflicted on themselves with their own stupidity. That alone pretty much makes him lose, but add in the fact that Pearson himself was a great leader and I think we have a winner.
-Blue Grit

Borden vs. Pearson: Pearson. Nobel Peace prize... But I give Borden credit for demanding that Canada have its own seat at the Paris Peace Conference. Margaret MacMillan even refers to his representation of the traditional Canadian sense of 'moral superiority' in her best-selling book, 'Paris 1919'. Chuckle.
-Bruce Lyth

Borden-Pearson: I must confess I dont know what Borden did other than lead us in World War I and kill his own party in Quebec with conscription. Pearson was about as ineffectual a leader as Martin and his government was plagued with a scandal that kept it in minority, again like Martin. Pearson's saving grace was that he was a leader when great ideas ruled the day and he took the best ideas that came from Quebec's quiet revolution and from the populist socialist west and made them his own.
-Jeremy Dawson

The Case For Pearson

Not only is he the only Prime Minister to ever fight in a war, he is one of only two Canadians to ever win a Nobel Prize. While he was only Prime Minister for five years, that makes his many accomplishments even more impressive. Pearson is almost single handedly responsible for bringing in the welfare state and the national health care program. He brought in the world’s first race free immigration policy, workplace reforms, the CPP, and student loans. He also said “no” to getting Canada into Vietnam and, of course, gave us the Canadian Flag over loud protests. On the National Unity front, he made French an official language, set up the bi and bi commission, sent Charles De Gaulle packing when he created a ruckus, and recruited the three wise men to give Quebec a louder voice in Ottawa.

The Case Against Pearson

It’s called “Greatest Prime Minister”, not “Greatest Diplomat” so giving Mike credit for the Nobel Prize would be like saying Paul Martin deserves to win because he ran a successful shipping line. Pearson was one of the worst politicians the Liberal Party has ever had as a leader, giving Diefenbaker the opening he needed for his 1958 romp when he challenged Dief to call an election in the House. He also stands alone with John Turner as the only 20th century Liberal leaders to never win a majority government. The accomplishments of his minority governments reflect policies he was forced into by the NDP, rather than visionary policy on his part.

The Case for Borden

Borden rebuilt a party that had been through five leaders in five years to the point where he did the unthinkable and defeated Wilfrid Laurier in 1911. In 1917, Borden put the country’s good above partisan politics by creating the Union government. In one of the most unselfish acts in Canadian history, he even offered leadership of the Union government to Laurier. Borden also showed himself to be progressive by giving the vote to women. He’s best remembered for increasing Canada’s role on the international stage – under his leadership, the Commonwealth became a group of equals, Canada was allowed to sign the Versailles treaty, and the country received its own seat on the League of Nations. Before he become Prime Minister, we were a British colony - when he left, we were a country. And, hey, under the “Canadian Mint Rankings”, Borden wins this contest on the basis of being on the 100$ bill.

The Case Against Borden

As anyone who has ever taken Canadian history knows, the conscription crisis of World War I is the closest Canada has ever come to civil war. By bringing in conscription and placing anti-french Orangemen in charge of recruiting in Quebec, Borden did irreparable damage to National Unity and poisoned the Conservative Party in the province for over a generation. He rigged the rules in 1917 to win the election and, most damning of all, he brought in income tax! Curses!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Mind of David Herle

Given all the right wingers descending on this site to support their hero Joe Clark, I thought I'd engage in an activity they will no doubt enjoy - David Herle bashing! By now, I'm sure everyone has read this article. Apparently, Herle has his sights set on a majority government and while he doesn't have any polling number to back this up, he's still quite bold in his predictions:

He predicted the Liberals could win between eight and 10 seats in the Prairies and make "real gains" in Ontario, said the sources.

The Liberals now occupy three of 14 seats in Manitoba, one of 14 seats in Saskatchewan and one of 28 seats in Alberta.

Either David Herle is full of it, or he's been dipping into Sheila Martin's magic brownies. Here are the ridings in Manitoba where the Liberals lost, but were within 5,000 votes:

Charleswood—St. James: Star Candidate Glen Murray loses by 750 votes to Stephen Fletcher
Churchill: Bev Desjardins wins by 1,000 votes
Kildonan—St. Paul: Liberals lose by 280 votes
Winnipeg Centre: Pat Martin wins by 3,000 votes
Winnipeg North: Judy Wasylicia-Weis wins by 3,000 votes

And in nearly every other riding the Liberals lost by over 10,000 votes and were often in third place. With NDP numbers up, I really have a hard time seeing the three NDP incumbents losing. I think Fletcher is probably safe but let's give it to Herle - I can optimistically see two seats for the taking here.

Now, let's take a look at Saskatchewan:

Blackstrap: Tories by 4,000
Churchill River: Tories by 1,500
Palliser: Liberals were only 3,700 down third place.
Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre: Libs lose 100, with the NDP right behind them
Regina—Qu'Appelle: Andrew Scheer beats Lorne Nystrom in a squeaker, with the Liberals well over 2,000 back.
Saskatoon—Humboldt: Liberals in third, 440 back
Saskatoon—Wanuskewin: Chris Axworthy 4,600 back

I just can't see NDP voters getting scared into voting Liberal in Saskatchewan after Dick Proctor and Lorne Nystrom fell to Conservatives last time due to the stupidest strategic voting in the history of politics. If a few three way races break right, I guess it's not impossible to pick up 3 or 4 seats.

Yet this still leaves us short of David Herle's bold 8 to 10 Prairie pick-ups for the Liberals. Which means...David Herle's election strategy is based on Liberal gains in Alberta! Oh boy.

And if there was any doubt as to what makes this guy tick, here's the money quote:

Senior insiders said David Herle, the national Liberal campaign co-chair and the party's pollster, characterized it as a "daunting task" but said "if I pull it off they won't talk about David Smith any more, they'll talk about me."

Mr. Herle, the architect of the 2004 campaign for the Liberals that resulted in a minority government, was referring to Jean Chrétien's campaign strategist, Ontario Senator David Smith, who helped the former prime minister win three consecutive majority governments.

Get Out the Vote

Liberals may be great at stacking nomination meetings, but when it comes to the internet, we're sadly lacking. Big campaigns from the Shotgun and Small Dead Animals have pushed Joe Clark ahead of Trudeau. Then again, considering Joe Clark endorsed Martin last election, maybe it's Liberals voting for Joe Who?

The vote doesn't close until Tuesday, so there's still plenty of time to weigh in on Clark/Trudeau, Pearson/Borden, or, dare I say it, begin the Kim Campbell magical comeback!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Greatest Prime Minister

If you've followed a link here, the final contest results can be found at

As the summer winds down, and everyone gears up for the opening of Parliament, I thought it might be fun to take a look at Canadian history and some of the great, and not so great, Prime Ministers from our past. So I'm very pleased to be launched the "Greatest Prime Minister" contest - sort of March Madness meets the Greatest Canadian.

I’ve picked the fourteen 20th Century PMs plus Paul Martin and John A MacDonald. So, for any Mackenzie Bowell fans out there, you’re out of luck. I then bracketed the 16 in order of the time they held the office for, in March Madness style. This means there are 8 matchups this week, with the 8 winners advancing. Next week, we’ll vote to get down to a Final Four, then 2, then 1. Here's a look at the bracket:

Every Wednesday I'll post the new matchups and leave voting open until Tuesday when the results will be announced. I'll also write a bit about some of the Prime Ministers and link to anyone else doing likewise over the weekend.

So have fun with this! This isn't any more scientific than Canadian Idol, but I'll be very curious to see who comes out on top. Before we get to the actual poll, let's take a look at the first week matchups:

1 Mackenzie King (6-2, 22 years)
16 John Turner (0-1, 3 months)
We’ve looked into the crystal ball and all signs point to a King win.

8 Louis St.Laurent (2-1, 8 years 7 months)
9 John Diefenbaker (2-2, 5 years 10 months)
These polar opposites met in 1957 and Diefenbaker crushed his opponent then. Will the result be the same now?

4 Wilfrid Laurier (4-3, 15 years)
13 Arthur Meighen (1-3, 20 months)
Look for meighen to try and make this a one-issue campaign about conscription.

5 Jean Chretien (3-0, 10 years)
12 Paul Martin (1-0, 20 months)
I swear I didn't rig the matchups to get this one! Without a doubt, the most interesting first round matchup.

6 Robert Borden (2-3, 8 years 9 months)
11 Lester Pearson (2-2, 5 years)
This contest looks to be the trendy upset pick of the first round.

3 Pierre Trudeau (4-1, 16 years)
14 Joe Clark (1-1, 9 months)
Team Clark lost their luggage and may not have uniforms for the game. The two were 1-1 in previous contests.

7 Brian Mulroney (2-0, 8 years 9 months)
10 RB Bennett (1-1, 5 years 2 months)
Mulroney gets a lucky first round draw.

2 John A MacDonald (6-1, 19 years)
15 Kim Campbell (0-1, 5 months)
He created the Conservative Party…she killed it.

And, now the votes. One vote per computer.

Who Is The Greatest Prime Minister?

(1) Mackenzie King
(16) John Turner

(2) John A. MacDonald
(15) Kim Campbell

(3) Pierre Trudeau
(14) Joe Clark

(4) Wilfrid Laurier
(13) Arthur Meighen

(5) Jean Chretien
(12) Paul Martin Jr.

(6) Robert Borden
(11) Lester B. Pearson

(7) Brian Mulroney
(10) RB Bennett

(8) Louis St.Laurent
(9) John Diefenbaker

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Phase Two

The Conservatives have launched "phase 2" of their summer campaign with four new TV ads. I must say, as with most things Harper does, the intent is really good: They're talking policy and highlighting the supporting cast of MPs. Here's my synopsis of each ad, with the mandatory sarcastic jabs thrown in:

Health Care for All: This one features Peter MacKay and Rona doubt to show that talking about health care can be sexy! Harper concludes by saying "that's the plan, and it's time Canadians knew it"...Unfortunately, we don't actually hear the plan during the add. They mock Martin for being vague in his "fixing health care" and don't say a single thing about how they'll fix health care. Yeah, it's a 30 second spot and most people will be glad to simply gaze at Peter and Rona for most of it but I would have preferred a little more detail.

Choice in Child Care: This is my favourite ad. It features Rona again, and this time she's joined by Helene Guergis. Watch this add and pay very close attention to Helena - while she doesn't say a single word during the entire commercial, she does a convincing job of nodding approvingly at everything Stephen and Rona say. But that's alright, I don't expect Jessica Simpson to say a lot in the new Dukes of Hazard movie either and it will likely still be a hit.

Lower Taxes: Harper is playing economics professor in this one, but when I pause the video on his flip chart, I can't for the life of me understand what it has to do with taxes. It looks like a blue line and a red line randomly drawn. I sure hope that's not the chart Harper used to conclude that "the average Canadian family earns no more today than they did twelve years ago". Jim Prentice and Diane Finley also appear and, along with Harper, they engage in the kind of real life dialogue previously only seen in life insurance commercials.

Opportunity for new Canadians: Rahim Jaffer (or his assistant, playing Rahim Jaffer) appears and perfects his "Helena nod" for the last half of the add. Monte Solberg is going to be really pissed that Bev Oda made the cut to appear in these ads and he didn't.

Like I said, the "spontaneous" dialogue is a little weak but far better than last year's ads of Paul Martin speaking to the horrified group of average Canadians in his kitchen. The Conservative position is portrayed as being very moderate so I don't see any harm in commercials like these. And, hey, Stephen even ditches the tie in three of the ads!

Update: The Globe & Mail critic weighs in...sounds like we're pretty much in agreement. Craig Cantin and Political Staples both offer fairly positive reviews as well.

A little S-E-S

SES is out with some new polling numbers. I don't really put a lot of stock in either of these polls because they're the type of questions that are really difficult to draw any conclusions from. But they're fun nevertheless, so I figured I'd post them here.

If there were one thing that you could change, if anything, about Prime Minister Paul Martin, what would it be? [Unprompted]

Be more transparent/accountable/honest - 15.5%
Be more aggressive/decisive/get a backbone - 7.8%
Change policy positions - 7.3%
Change everything/new leader - 5.1%
Be more down to earth/listen to Canadians - 4.7%
Change his attitude/be less arrogant - 3.0%
Too close to Bush/stand up to Americans - 2.4%
Too close to big business/CSL loopholes - 2.3%
Change nothing - 2.1%
Other (Answers with less than 2%) - 11.4%
Unsure - 11.5%
No Answer - 26.9%

If there were one thing that you could change, if anything, about Conservative Leader Stephen Harper, what would it be? [Unprompted]

Change everything/new leader - 8.7%
Be more open-minded - 5.8%
Have more personality/better image - 5.3%
Change policy positions - 4.7%
Be less conservative/religious - 4.0%
Be more honest/have more integrity - 2.3%
Change his attitude/be less arrogant - 2.0%
Be more charismatic/inspire Canadians - 2.0%
Other (Answers with less than 2%) - 14.4%
Unsure - 18.4%
No Answer - 32.4%

It is interesting that image problems do seem to score a lot higher up on Harper's list than on Martin's. And this is probably what convinced Harper's entourage that he needed an image make-over. The problem is, while someone may answer "have more personality" or "be more charismatic" in a telephone interview, is there anyone out there who honestly votes based on this? I mean, I would hope that more than 4.7% of Canadians voted against Harper because of his policy position.

Onto the second poll:

Question: Regardless of how you vote, who would be your choice to succeed Paul Martin as Liberal leader?

Frank McKenna 23% (Liberal voters 28%)
Bob Rae 11% (Liberal voters 11%)
John Manley 11% (Liberal voters 13%)
Martin Cauchon 4% (Liberal voters 4%)
Michael Ignatieff 4% (Liberal voters 4%)
Other* 4% (Liberal voters 4%)
Undecided 43% (Liberal voters 37%)

Regardless of how you vote, who would be your choice to succeed Stephen Harper as Conservative Leader?

Peter MacKay 17% (Conservative voters 30%)
Mike Harris 15% (Conservative voters 21%)
Bernard Lord 13% (Conservative voters 12%)
Jean Charest 9% (Conservative voters 6%)
Jim Prentice 3% (Conservative voters 5%)
Other* 2% (Conservative voters 2%)
Undecided 41% (Conservative voters 25%)

There are a ton of problems with polls like this. First of all, they only pick five candidates for each party and all the public really bases their response on in name recognition. It was silly hypothetical polls just like this that helped get John Kerry nominated and, well, we all saw how that worked out.

Also, if you asked me who I hoped would succeed Stephen Harper, as a Liberal, my choice would be Stockwell Day. I suspect this might explain why Bob Rae performed so well...

Details, Details...

The following has most of the raw numbers I used for my projections. If you'd like any more information on how I compiled these projections, just send me an e-mail.

new sales:
Kennedy 4000
Rae 3000
Dion 1500
Volpe 1000
Iggy 750
Dryden 200
Brison 200
Fry 50
MHF 40
Bennett 30

Kennedy: 2.5
Ignatieff: 2.5
Rae: 2.5
Dion: 2.5

The existing support is out of ten points for each province and it's meant to complement the formula so it doesn't have to be a perfect percentage representation of support. In BC, it seems that existing members are split between the big 4, so I simply gave them each 2.5 points.

new sales:
Kennedy 1900
Ignatieff 1200
Volpe 1200
Dion 800
Rae 800
Brison 500
MHF 100
Dryden 100
Bennett 75
Fry 10

Kennedy 2.5
Ignatieff 2.5
Dion 2
Rae 1
Brison 1

There are some unaccounted for forms floating around in the new sales department so it's possible I'm underestimating one of the campaigns for their numbers. I also added about 100 Orchard forms to Dion's total. I've done some phone outs of the existing member list and it's pretty clear that Ignatieff, Kennedy, and Dion have a lot more support than any of the other candidates.

new sales:
Rae 600
Kennedy 250
Dion 225
Volpe 125
Brison 100
Ignatieff 50
MHF 20
Bennett 10
Dryden 10

Ignatieff 4
Rae 2.5
Kennedy 2
MHF 1.5

The existing numbers are meant to compensate which is why Ignatieff is high here. His team didn't do much selling of new forms but he does have a good team on the ground and support among existing members. Similarly, Martha Hall doesn't have 15% of the membership list, but she certainly has a lot more than the formula would give her credit for here which is why she gets those points.

new sales:
Rae 1500
Dryden 1500
Ignatieff 1000
Kennedy 450
Dion 100
Volpe 100
Brison 50
MHF 20
Bennett 10
Fry 5

Ignatieff 4
Dryden 3
Rae 2
Kennedy 1

Once you get past the top three candidates in new sales, the numbers are only approximations and are probably off by quite a bit. This is, without a doubt, Dryden's best province.

new sales:
Ignatieff 10000
Kennedy 10000
Volpe 8000
Rae 4500
Dion 4000
Dryden 3500
Brison 2000
MHF 750
Bennett 500
Fry 50

Kennedy 3
Ignatieff 3
Dion 2
Volpe 1

For new sales, there are definitely a few tiers and, once again, I may be off on the lower tier estimates. For existing support, I'm going off word of mouth and the straw poll results from the Spring Fling.

new sales:
Volpe 4400
Ignatieff 4000
Dion 2500
Rae 1200
Kennedy 500
Dryden 500
Brison 500
MHF 100
Bennett 50
Fry 20

Ignatieff 4
Dion 3.5
Rae 1
Kennedy 0.5
Volpe 0.5
Brison 0.5

The Rae rumours have been all over the place in Quebec but most seem to agree he was third and that the support they'd hoped for in la belle province never really materialized.

New Brunswick
new sales:
Ignatieff 35
Kennedy 20
Rae 20
Brison 10
Dion 4
Volpe 4
Dryden 3
Bennett 2

Ignatieff 4
Kennedy 2
Rae 2
Dion 1
Brison 1

For the Maritimes, complicated renewal procedures make it very hard to look at new sale totals. Because of this, I simply approximated each province out of 100 for new sales and worked on the assumption that 20% of the memberships sold were new sales (except in Newfoundland where I used 10%).

Nova Scotia
new sales:
Brison 40
Ignatieff 22
Kennedy 15
Dion 5
Rae 5
Volpe 5
Dryden 3
Bennett 2
Fry 1

Brison 5
Ignatieff 3
Kennedy 2

This is Scott's home turf, although it is possible that Ignatieff could win the province. Like I said, I'm not overly confident in my Atlantic Canada numbers.

new sales:
Ignatieff 35
Kennedy 25
Rae 17
Dion 5
Volpe 5
Dryden 5
Brison 5
Bennett 1
Fry 1

Ignatieff 3
Brison 2
Kennedy 2
Rae 2
Dion 1

new sales:
Kennedy 23
Rae 18
Volpe 18
Ignatieff 18
Dryden 10
Brison 5
Dion 5
Bennett 1
Fry 1

Kennedy 3
Rae 2
Ignatieff 2
Volpe 1
Dryden 1
Dion 0.5
Brison 0.5

Websites Rankings

Iggy 8.75
Dion 7.5
Brison 7.5
Rae 7.5
Dryden 7
Kennedy 7
MHF 5.5
Fry 5.5
Volpe 5.5
Bennett 5

Iggy 86
Dion 69
Brison 36
Rae 68
Dryden 45
Kennedy 88
Fry 2
Volpe 8
Bennett 12

Iggy 31
Dion 7
Brison 3
Rae 5
Dryden 3
Kennedy 14
Fry 1
Volpe 6
Bennett 1

Blog Endorsements
Iggy 29
Dion 31
Brison 8
Rae 6
Dryden 5
Kennedy 28
Fry 0
Volpe 0
Bennett 1

Media Mentions
Iggy 329
Dion 116
Brison 168
Rae 301
Dryden 112
Kennedy 143
MHF 62
Fry 71
Volpe 192
Bennett 99

Money Raised
Iggy 293896
Dion 32250
Brison 100674
Rae 384795
Dryden 43617
Kennedy 103778
MHF 34645
Fry 15150
Volpe 210170
Bennett 65100

Numbers of Donors
Iggy 525
Dion 65
Brison 112
Rae 208
Dryden 67
Kennedy 142
MHF 56
Fry 15
Volpe 91
Bennett 37

Monday, August 22, 2005

Screwing America

Feminist Linda Hirshman has started a blog to defend the 100 people Bernard Goldberg feels are "screwing America". Today's entry deals with number 6 on Goldberg's list - Jimmy Carter.

Definitely worth a visit.

Embarrassment of Riches

The federal government surplus will be higher than predicted, at 4.8 billion dollars. GASP! What does this mean? Ralph Goodale is going to be able to come out with a very generous tax cut proposal right before the election this year which means Harper is going to have to find another issue to make his own during the campaign.

But while 4.8 billion is a lot of money, it's nothing compared to the Alberta government, which is now looking at a...wait for it...7 B-I-L-L-I-O-N dollar surplus. It's gotten to the point where the biggest problem facing Ralph Klein is that he really has no idea what to do with all this money. With this kind of revenue, Alberta has to potential to dream big and do whatever they want. A high speed train between Calgary and Edmonton? Free tuition? The best research facilities in the world? The end of income tax? Massive investments in alternative energy? A 50 foot solid gold statue of Pierre Trudeau in downtown Calgary? The sky is really the limit right now.

What Alberta really needs is a leader with some vision, not one sticking around because he wants to beat Peter Lougheed's PC longevity record. I'm not delusional enough to think that person will be a Liberal, but if I were advising PC leadership contenders, I'd tell them to aim big. Albertans want a big project they can get behind, not more of this aimless drift we've seen over the past 3 or 4 years.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Straw Men

Is anyone else getting a little annoyed by the attack strategy we've seen on an almost monthly basis this year that people's political opponents are "helping the separatists". We first saw this back during non-confidence-mania when the Liberal talking points were that Stephen Harper was in bed with the separatists to bring down the Liberals. The implication was that Harper should put aside his political ambition and disgust in a government perceived to be corrupt and adrift because the BQ would do well in an election at the Liberals' expense.

Then, in the most bizarre political claim of the year, Stephen Harper claimed that the gay marriage law lacked legitimacy because it was sailing through with the support of the Bloc. This statement, more than his cowboy costume, is what has convinced me Stephen Harper is going to have a very difficult time ever becoming Prime Minister of Canada.

And now, Andy Savoy has jumped on the bandwagon. Savoy claims that Bernard Lord "played into the hands of the separatists" by having the nerve to ask Michaelle Jean to "clear the air" about her separatist and FLQ connections. It's unclear as to whether or not Savoy feels that Jean's statement "played into the hands of the separatists" or whether Paul Martin letting/urging her to make this statement to clear the air "played into the hands of the separatists".

I've been as critical of the separatist cause in Quebec as anyone but it's ridiculous to suggest that you can't question the government because it might help the separatists. That bears an eerie similarity to the Republican Party's masterful use of the "you're with us, or you're with the terrorists" line over the past few years.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Lions and Tigers and Bears - Oh my!

And now for something completely different...

Courtesy of Little Red Satan comes this highly amusing news story about a group of ecologists who wants to release lions, cheetahs, camels and elephants into Saskatchewan. While releasing lions and cheetahs would keep the gopher population under control, there is this ominous line for the story:

They note the potential for conflict between the big African animals and humans is "high."

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Sound of Silence

More perplexing that the fact that the PMO appointed an individual who they now admit they knew was in videos and books supporting separatism, is the absolute lack of a credible explanation by anyone involved.

Apparently Michaelle Jean will finally speak but it just blows my mind how long it's taken for her to defend herself, considering:

1. She has been in media for most of her lifetime. Surely she can handle herself in front of the cameras, right?

2. Remember when Paul Martin said he'd change the way business was done in Ottawa? Remember how heads of Crown Corporations and Supreme Court nominees would be put under intense scrutiny? Yet when he appoints a head of state with ties to the only Canadian terrorist organization in modern Canadian history, it's considered "Stalinist" to ask her to explain herself.

In the United States, any trivial appointment is run through a rigorous screening procedure where any perceived problem in their past invalidates the nominee for the position. I'm not saying I want a system like that but I don't think it's asking too much for our Head of State and Commander in Chief to answer a few questions on whether she actually believes in the country she's leading.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Rising Storm

I was more than willing to give Michelle Jean the benefit of the doubt at first but when Pierre Bourque can dig up a dozen stories a day with fun little tid-bits from her separatist past, it’s becoming very difficult to defend her. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights:

1. This video shows Michelle Jean, with six well known Quebec separatists, toasting to independence. To be fair, it’s not clear to whose independence they are toasting but given that they are six separatists, including one FLQ leader, I suspect it’s not to Basque independence or to the independence you get when your wife is out of town.

2. There is also this exchange from that same video:

During the scene, Front de Liberation du Quebec leader Pierre Vallieres says his book Negres blancs de l'Amerique was inspired by Cesaire's writings on colonialism, explaining that being a "white nigger" means "being exploited, dominated, held up to contempt."
"And Quebec's white niggers also have their black niggers more and more," adds Jean, referring to Quebec's growing black population.
Seated next to Vallieres, Jean supports the separatist's statement that Martinique "should not only go for independence, but towards a revolution, like Quebec also."
"In general, yes, independence is not something that is given - it is something that is taken," Jean says.

Now, once again, notice how she doesn’t say that Quebec independence should be taken, merely that “independence is something that is taken”. Mind you, when it’s in response to a comment that Quebec independence should be taken…by an FLQ leader…uhh…

3. There’s also this:

Ms. Jean is also featured joining in a toast to "independence." She says, "C'est fini, les petis peuples!" (Which translates roughly as, "No more, dominated people!") She also notes that there are "three choices for independence." She says that in Haiti, the country of her birth, the choice was "painful." In Martinque, it is that of "compromise" and in Quebec it is "on hold."

Once again, I suppose it’s possible that “no more dominated people” is in reference to other people and that the fact that Quebec separatism is “on hold” is merely her analytical interpretation of the situation rather than wishful thinking that it will one day resume. But if I went to a white supremacist meeting and started making borderline racist comments, I think there would be just cause to assume the worst in those statements.

4. Her husband, Daniel Lafond, meanwhile, is also getting in trouble with this:

"So, a sovereign Quebec? An independent Quebec. Yes, I applaud with both hands and I promise to attend all the St-Jean Baptiste Day parades," the cinematographer wrote.

I’ve got to admit, I’m salivating at the prospect of Scott Reid trying to explain this one.

5. It also appears that the new GG won’t say how she voted in 1995 which, I guess, is fair enough. I just find it odd how many people in Quebec forget how they voted in 1995.

Maybe there’s a rational explanation for all of this. But I think it’s gotten to the point where there “some ‘splaining to do”. First, by Madame Jean, to reassure Canadians that she is committed to Canada. I’m not even that keen on the fact that Canada is still a subservient to the British crown but if we’re going to be, it’s absolutely essential that our head of state’s representative believe in Canada.

Secondly, it wouldn’t hurt for the PMO to explain their screening procedures. Did Jean Lapierre run the background check? I find it hard to believe that Paul Martin could have known about these video clips and still appointed her, but I find it hard to believe that the RCMP could have missed them. I am relatively certain that someone like Jean Chretien who was obsessed with fighting separatists would have damn well made sure his GG appointment wasn’t a closet separatist (or, in Mr. Lafond’s case, pretty much openly separatist). Even if this isn’t Martin’s fault, it’s quickly turning what looked to be an inspired GG nomination into another mishap. I’ll leave you with a quote from one of the “hardline independentists” trying to “smear” Jean:

Bourgeois said yesterday his target in the revelations about Lafond, and now Jean, is Prime Minister Paul Martin.

"We want to show that Paul Martin is a washed-up incompetent who made a nomination like that without checking anything," he added. "For us, the hardline independentists, it is a bit comforting."

UPDATE: Paul Wells has found someone willing to stick up for Jean!

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Belinda Bill

There’s an interesting article in the Hill Times on a pair of private members bills we can expect to see this fall which would ban MPs from crossing the floor. While it’s abundantly clear that a private members bill this contentious would never come close to becoming law, it will no doubt get a bit of publicity.

While I’ve been fairly critical of certain floor crossers in the past (let’s just call them JL and BS), I do think a bill like this is a bad idea. I can understand the reasoning behind it: Voters generally vote for a party, rather than a candidate. I tend to think Art Hanger would have a tough time carrying Calgary Northeast as a Liberal, just as I suspect several Toronto area Liberal MPs are likely getting elected due to their party name rather than their intelligence and charisma.

But voters base their votes on a lot more just the party too. Say I was really won over by Paul Martin’s stirring rhetoric and promises from the last election. Now, let’s hypothetically go to an alternate world where his time in government since the last election has been less than thrilling. Would that justify a by-election?

More importantly, what if a party changed leaders? Perhaps someone voted for Stephen Harper and would no longer support their local Conservative MP in a party led by Bernard Lord. I think MPs would be justified in leaving their party if they don’t approve of a new leader, just as John Bryden did in 2004. I also think MPs are within their right of quitting their party if they don’t approve of dramatic changes to their party’s platform or their stance on new issues which weren’t even on the table in the last election. While I really don’t think very highly of Pat O’Brien, he was perfectly within his right to quit the Liberals over gay marriage and then indignantly vote against them in every vote until the next election.

A lot of people will concede that point and argue that MPs in those situations should just sit as independents. And, in reality, that’s what most of them do. But is that really any different than switching parties? If Newmarket- Aurora residents voted for a Conservative last election and their MP quits the Conservative Party, she’s not a Conservative regardless of whether or not she’s an independent, a Liberal, or a Bloc Quebecois MP.

The intent may be to prevent the big “pay-off” of a Cabinet post for crossing the floor but anyone who thinks they can write legislate to remove political favours from politics is seriously deluded. Scott Brison waited 6 months for his Cabinet spot and Belinda waited 6 minutes – is there really a huge difference?

So while I can understand the intent of this legislation, I’d much rather keep things the way they are and put a little faith in the Canadian electorate (boy, there’s a bad idea) that they’ll punish ill-intentioned floor crossings come election time.

Summer Fix For Political Junkies

From SES:

Canada - Ballot
LIB - 39% (+3)
CP - 25% (-5)
NDP -19% (+1)
BQ - 13% (+1)
GP - 5% (+1)
*14% were undecided (+2)

Best PM
Martin - 31% (-1)
Layton - 15% (0)
Harper - 14% (-13)
Duceppe - 8% (+2)
None - 19% (+11)
Undecided - 13% (+4)

Government Performance
Very good - 6% (0)
Somewhat good - 21% (+4)
Average - 39% (+8)
Somewhat poor - 17% (-1)
Very poor - 16% (-9)
Unsure - 2% (-1)

Based on this, I think we can officially call the Glad as Hell tour a complete and miserable failure. It's mind boggling to see a politician's personal approval ratings plunger over the summer. Sure, Harper could still conceivably win the next election but if I were Bernard Lord, I'd start planning out my exit strategy from New Brunswick now.

For the Liberals, the approval ratings are up at a time when they have done absolutely nothing. This could either be because:
1) The less people see of the Liberals, the higher they think of them
2) Sponsorship is becoming more and more a distant memory
3) People liked the way Martin handled gay marriage
4) Compared to Harper, the Martin Liberals are looking better and better
It's probably a bit of all four.

It's also interesting to see that fewer Canadians see the sitting Prime Minister as the "best PM" than the number who would vote for his party. And this at a time when no one wants to the opposition leader as PM and the third party leader wants to destroy the country. I'm sure Martin never thought it would get to the point where people would vote Liberal in spite of him, but I'm sure he'll take it.

All of this paints a picture of a disgruntled electorate who aren't very happy with anyone but are quickly beginning to view Harper as nothing more than Stockwell Day v 2.0.

UPDATE: Allan Gregg's latest poll is slightly better for the Tories on voting intention, with them only down 36-28. However, it shows that only 2% of Canadians rate the sponsorship scandal as their major concern.

This Week in Politics

Well, I hope everyone had fun in the NEP free for all discussion last week (I'm still waiting for an explanation on how Trudeau caused the world price of Oil to plummet - come on guys!). Here’s a catch up on some of the news stories of the past seven days:

I’d say it’s time to play hardball on softwood. I’m a big free trade proponent and actually think Canada needs more free trade, not just with the US but with other countries too (preferably ones less hypocritical in their trade practices). But you can’t win every appeal out there and just sit back and take it. I say, hit ‘em where it hurts, and that means energy resources.

While it always pains me to see Paul Martin crack and give the Premiers whatever they want (“Sure Dalton, Ontario has gotten a raw deal. Here’s 5 billion and I’ll personally cut your hair for you every month.”), this is one issue I kind of hope he caves on. I know Paul has never said he’s going to “fix post-secondary education for a generation”, but 2 billion here would go A LOT farther than 2 billion in health care.

A new study shows Canadians are far from colour blind when it comes to immigration which is unfortunate. And, on the topic of immigration, I really don’t see why Canada doesn’t up our immigration rate substantially. Increasing to the often talked about 1% would bring nothing but positives.

This was completely unexpected and it’s one of those things where I really don’t want to rush to judgment. I mean, let’s face it, Jean-Daniel Lafond did not found any ad hoc temporary rainbow coalitions – it’s all been accusations and no facts so far. And I’m sure most people who have lived in Quebec for decades have, at the very least, some tenuous connections to separatists.

That said, if Lafond or Jean are close associates of Pierre Laporte’s killers, FLQ sympathizers, or closet separatists, there is no way Michelle Jean should be Canada’s next Governor General. And, if that is the case, there was a massive failure in whoever ran the background checks on the GG.

Monday, August 08, 2005


I'll be out out of town for the next week so don't expect any posts unless there's a national emergency or, you know, Stephen Harper wears a really funny hat. Before I go, a post on a topic Liberals in Calgary get more flack over than any other - the NEP.

I have been door knocking and had people who were in pre-school when the NEP was brought in tell me that it’s the reason they won’t vote Liberal. Over time it has grown to mythic standard even though no one in Alberta really knows what it was or what it did (contrary to popular belief, it did not allow Pierre Trudeau to sacrifice the first born son of all Albertan families). So this post is going to be my abbreviated defense of the NEP.

First of all, a little history. The NEP was implemented by the Trudeau Liberals in 1981 as the world price of oil soared. The NEP had three main goals:

1. Increase Canadian content in the oil industry by giving incentives to Canadian companies.
2. Keep the price of oil bellow the world price to protect consumers.
3. Tax oil exports to increase the federal share of the profits.

After protests, boycotts, and court challenges from Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed, he and Trudeau signed several revised, far less drastic NEP deals.

So what did the NEP actually do? Was it really evil in design? Did it destroy Alberta’s industries? Well, let’s take a look at the three goals I listed above.

Canadian Content
It’s hard to argue against this one. At the time of the NEP, Canada did not control its own oil. With its incentives program, Canadian control of the oil industry rose from 25% to 50% within a few years. By having the industry Canadian controlled, it left Canada more resilient to world events, more self-reliant, and getting a larger profit from the pie OPEC baked.

Fixed Price
Let’s remember that the price of oil had increased ten fold in the previous decade and everyone assumed 90$ or 100$ a barrel oil was on the horizon. Quite simply, the government had to do something to protect the 99% of Canadians who used oil. Albertans often feel they were sold out to protect Ontario consumers but that’s the nature of confederation. In the 1930s, Ontario bailed out Alberta and kept the province from declaring bankruptcy. In the 1960s, Diefenbaker’s National Oil Program helped Alberta’s oil patch at the expense of Ontario consumers. Trudeau had to speak for Canada and with oil prices expected to soar, Canadians wanted him to keep prices low.

Cash Grab
Make no mistake, there was a cash grab element to the NEP. But so what? Lougheed had done the exact same thing in the 1970s, by canceling existing contracts and then increasing the provincial share of the oil royalties. The federal government could legitimately tax exports and Lougheed himself admitted that his court challenge was a 50/50 shot at best.

As for the effects of the NEP – let’s be clear: THE NEP DID NOT CAUSE THE RECESSION. The oil industry in the States tanked at the same time and the NEP did not cause the world price of oil to fall. Trudeau was willing to renegotiate the NEP on multiple occasions as the price of oil fell.

Some will say the federal government was too confrontational, but Lougheed’s extreme inflexibility left them no choice but to be. When Joe Clark took over for his micro-term, his government suffered worse relations with Lougheed than Trudeau’s had. If Lougheed couldn’t work with a decentralizing, Alberta-born PM who swept the West and promised a “community of communities”, it’s hard to blame Trudeau exclusively for the bad relations. Lougheed knew that he could score cheap votes at home by fighting with Ottawa (sound familiar?) – even if it meant advancing the feelings of Western alienation in the process.

The bottom line is the NEP was a legitimate policy that fell victim to poor timing. It’s been an easy scapegoat all these years, even though no one understands its intent or consequences. There are a lot of good reasons for Albertans to be pissed off with Ottawa and the Liberal Party – I just wish they’d focus on some of them instead of living in the past and an ill-fated, good-intentioned policy.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

To My Conservative Peeps and Hommies

Although Stephen Harper is trying to be cool, let’s keep in mind that it could be a lot worse. Courtesy of the Universal Translator, here are key extracts from the “English to pimp” translation of Paul Martin’s famous “beg for mercy” speech this April and Harper’s response to it.

Prime Minister Paul Martin:

Good evening.

Ah want to talk to yo' ass directly tonight – about da problems in da sponsorship program; about how I’ve responded to 'em as yo' prime minister; 'n about da timin' of da next general election.

Let me speak plainly: what happened wid da sponsorship file occurred on da watch of a Liberal government n' shit. Those who wuz in powa be to be held responsible, man. And dat includes me.

Ah wuz da Minista of Finance, know what I'm sayin'? Knowin' what I've learned dis past year, Ah be sorry dat we weren’t 'mo vigilant - dat Ah wasn't 'mo vigilant, know what I'm sayin'? Public money wuz misdirected 'n misused, man. That’s unacceptable, man. And dat be why Ah apologized to da Canadian muthas a year ago.

Let me emphasize dat point: if so much as a dollar be found to has made its way into da Liberal party from ill-gotten gains, dat shit gots to be repaid to da muthas of Canada, man. Ah want naw part of dat money.

For dat reason, Ah commit to yo' ass tonight dat Ah gots to call a general election within 30 days of da publication of da commission’s final report 'n recommendations n' shit. Let Judge Gomery do tha dude's work, know what I'm sayin'? Let da facts come out, know what I'm sayin'? And then da muthas of Canada gots to has they say.

If da Opposition forces an election before then, dat be they choice n' shit. But Ah believe we can do better n' shit. Ah believe we can – 'n we should – use da comin' months to pursue da public’s business, know what I'm sayin'? To act on da issues dat matta most to yo' ass 'n make a difference in yo' life.

If we be to has an election, one dat gots to be at least in part about da work of Judge Gomery, surely dat election should occur only when we has da work of Judge Gomery.

In closing, let me say this: there be muthas who think Ah wuz wrong to call dis inquiry, wrong to expose ma government to da political cost of da scrutiny dat has ensued, man. They warn we gots to pay a price in da next election n' shit. And perhaps we will.

But Ah trust yo' judgment, man. And Ah gots to not dishonour dis office by tryin' to conceal or diminish such offensive wrongdoing n' shit. Ah has 'n all much respect fo dis place.

When Ah wuz young, Ah practically lived here in da Parliament Buildings n' shit. My fatha wuz a cabinet minista in four Liberal governments, know what I'm sayin'? Tha dude taught me dat those who serve in public office has a duty to protect da integrity of government.

My pledge to yo' ass tonight be dat Ah gots to live up to dat ideal, know what I'm sayin'? Ah went into public life because Ah believe in da phat dat government can do, man. And Ah gots to do ma all as Prime Minista to make sure dat yo' government be worthy of yo' respect.

Da final judgment on whetha Ah has done dat gots to be yours.

Tank you, man. And phat night.

The Honourable Stephen Harper:

My fellow Canadians.

We has all just witnessed a sad spectacle -- a prime minista so burdened wid corruption in tha dude's own party dat tha dude be unable to do tha dude's job 'n lead da country, a party leada playin' fo time, beggin' fo anotha chance.

Dis be not how a prime minista should act.

A prime minista should not be addressin' da population on dis partisan issue, but ratha on da concerns 'n challenges wid which we be confronted: da health-care system, international trade, agriculture, da fiscal imbalance, safa communities, stronga families 'n a cleana environment.

Do Canadians mad believe dat da No n' shit. 2 muthafucka in a government now unda a cloud of corruption, be da person to clean up dat mess today?

Do Canadians mad believe dat da Gomery inquiry would be operatin' if da Liberals had won a majority?

And do yo' ass mad believe dat da Liberals gots to ultimately prosecute themselves 'n hold they own to account?

Ah don't believe that, know what I'm sayin'? Ah don't think yo' ass believe that.

Da Liberal Party has turned federal politics in Quebec into a choice between separation 'n corruption.

And one thin' be now clear -- da Liberal Party can naw longa speak fo federalism in Quebec.

Fellow Canadians, Mr n' shit. Martin's speech tonight wuz not about savin' dis country, man. Dat shit wuz about savin' da Liberal Party.

That's a question fo da voters to decide, but let me assure yo' ass there's naw needs to save dis country, know what I'm sayin'? There's only a needs to move dat shit forward.

Da Conservative Party wants to give dis country direction, know what I'm sayin'? We want, 'n we believe yo' ass want, to end corruption 'n restore honest financial management; to has a health-care system dat Canadians can count on when they needs it; to betta use da talents 'n credentials of new Canadians; to fix da fiscal imbalance plaguin' our provinces 'n municipalities; to act on a made-in-Canada plan fo cleana air, wata 'n land; to help our hard-pressed agricultural community 'n resource sectors; to give tax relief fo Canadian families; 'n safety 'n security fo our streets 'n our communities.

Ah look forward to sharin' all of dis wid you, 'n more, in da near future.

Tank you, 'n phat night.

Friday, August 05, 2005

MJ for GG

Since it's really only a symbolic position, it's hard to really have an opinion on the new choice for Governor General. She seems to fit all the right demographics, is telegenic, can handle the media, and should keep a fairly high profile.

I there anyone out there who can actually get worked up one way or the other over this?

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Book Club Time

I just finished off Pierre, the latest in the never-ending stream of books on Pierre Elliot Trudeau. Even if you’ve read every single piece of literature on Trudeau ever put out, it’s still worth the read because it explores the Northern Magnus from a different angle than anyone else. Instead of stories on the War Measures Act and the Constitution, it focuses instead on the personal. Editor Nancy Southam has collected a wide range of anecdotes from people who knew Pierre. Included are, of course, big name politicians: Jean Chretien, Peter Lougheed, Joe Clark, Jimmy Carter, and Marc Lalonde, to name a few. But there are also stories from Gordon Pinsent, Barbara Streisand, Margot Kidder, and Conrad Black. Because of this, the reader sees many different aspects on Trudeau’s life.

The vintage Trudeau one-liners can be seen in most stories. When asked by a heckler “where is the Just Society you promised”, Trudeau snarls “Ask Jesus Christ. He promised it first.” When asked to name his favourite author during the leadership race he replied “Machievelli”. Jimmy Carter added a delightful story of a time when he informed Trudeau that a Soviet satellite would fall to earth near Great Slave Lake: “he thanked me for calling him, said he would be sure to stay in Montreal, and would check to ensure that none of his Cabinet Members were fishing in the area. There was one whom he said he wouldn’t warn but he didn’t name him.”

But the best part of the book is that it really humanizes a larger than life figure. When talking about politicians, we seem to forget they’re human (well, except for Dick Cheney, who most certainly is part-cyborg). So when old girlfriends talk about their time with Pierre, and his friends talk about canoe trips with a 75 year old former Prime Minister, the reader sees a much more human side. I know I’m a Trudeau fan, but I think even NEP hating Albertans would enjoy these. Heck, I’d read a similar book on Brian Mulroney.

Since this blog isn’t “Calgary Book Club”, I’m going to add two little tid-bits from the book that may serve as advice for the two big men in Ottawa right now. First, for Stephen Harper. The stories of Trudeau and his boys were by far the most humanizing of the bunch. I’m convinced that even those who can’t stand the former PM would think more highly of him after reading about birthday parties on Parliament Hill and sandcastle building contests. I hate to say “use your kids as props” but…use your kids as props. It can be on your terms and infrequent; I’m not calling for a paparazzi invasion, but it wouldn’t hurt to show Canadians that you’re actually an average soccer dad. Quit trying to be a cowboy and just be yourself.

As for Mr. Martin, there’s a great anecdote about the ’72 campaign. Many Toronto area Liberals felt Trudeau didn’t respect Pearson enough. So Trudeau agreed to throw an impromptu birthday party for Mike in Maple Leaf Gardens during the ’72 campaign. The event was hugely successful and it brought the Pearson Liberals back onside with the current leader. I won’t write out the lesson to be learned from this because I think it’s abundantly obvious.

In summary, Pierre is definitely worth the read. I should offer this one warning: Given the leaders currently on the national stage, it might cause intense bouts of depression.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Glad as Hell Rocks Halton

Stop 4: Halton, Ontario

Although I touched on Harper's visit to Halton and the construction hat picture bellow, someone has let me know that Harper was there to support local candidate Garth Turner. And Garth has a blog! Thanks to Garth's blog, you can read a full recap of the event here. I also decided to skim through the back pages of Garth's blog for fun. Among the highlights:

1. Apparently Garth gets hits for "Stephen Harper Conservative Cowboy" too! If only Conservatives were willing to talk about gay people, his traffic would triple due to the incredible surge in "Stephen Harper gay cowboy" searches we've seen this summer.

2. Garth also tells a Stephen Harper joke in his blog: Why did Stephen Harper become an economist? Because he didn’t have the personality to be an accountant.

3. He also links to the riding's previous results:

Gary Carr (Liberal Party of Canada) 27,362
Frank Marchetti (Green Party of Canada) 2,889
Dean Martin (Conservative Party of Canada) 21,704
Anwar Naqvi (New Democratic Party) 4,642

Boy, if Dean Martin can't even win for the Tories, I don't know what chance Garth has.

Garth also touches on the hard hats:

We don them, and after receiving assurances from the four political aides now present that we do not look like dorks, go back outside.

heh heh. OK - now, the Glad as Hell recap:

Location: Halton, Ontario (as an aside, anyone notice the lack of Quebec stops on the Glad as Hell Tour?)
Positives: Garth didn't tell any of his Stephen Harper jokes in front of the media.
Negatives: See the village people jokes bellow.
Human Index: Dick Chenney. Harper scores 6 out of 7 on the human index this takes a true leader to don headgear and not look like a dork, but I think Harper actually pulls it off.

Previous Editions:
Nova Scotia