Friday, February 17, 2006

Catching Up

A few news stories from the past couple of days:


1. Harper has brought in Jenni Byrne, to help with hiring staff. Her close connections to the Reform Party (and to Pierre Poilievre, for that matter...) should certainly be taken as a sign that the old Alliance crowd will be well represented among Cabinet staffers.


2. Ezra Levant sure isn't trying to make any friends. After the Western Standard posted the Mohammed cartoons earlier this week, we now see this about Ralph Klein's wife:
"Once she [Colleen Klein] stops being the premier's wife, she goes back to being just another Indian."

I'm not a big fan of Colleen Klein and her insistence that she be called "Doctor Klein" because of her honourary degree, but Ezra should know better than to allow stuff like this to make it to press. (Update: As explained by people who obviously pay more attention to the news than I do in the comments section, the Standard was reporting these comments, not making them - read their comments for context. It does raise an interesting debate about media citing anonymous quotes though - there's a good post on that here.).


3. There's a Decima Poll out showing the Tories comfortably ahead:

CPC 35%
Lib 25%
NDP 24%

Now, there are very few things less popular than leaderless parties (except, perhaps, parties led by Paul Martin) so it's likely not worth reading too much into these numbers. However...it should be clear to everyone out there that the main threat for the Liberals right now is on the left, not the right. Which means that, when it comes to picking a new leader, the Liberal Party would be well served to look to left-leaning candidates who would annoy the heck of the NDP. Bob Rae anyone? Or, what about a fan favourite of this blog's comment section?


4. There's talk that some of the other "big shot" Martinites in Alberta and BC are none too pleased at John Bethel's decision to jump on the Brison bandwagon so early. So we may see some fracturing of the old "Team Martin"...

30 Comments:

  • What's wrong with reporting "just another indian"? It's not an op-ed, it's a news story where someone very close to Klein said this. Someon who, apparently, will be involved in the government post-Klein. It says a lot about some of the people around Klein and is newsworthy. Don't tell me that hurt feelings are reason enough to censor news.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:05 PM  

  • Yeah, no fair on the Standard comment CG. It was a quote from a close associate of Ralph Klein's (described as a fishing buddy), and immediately following the quote, the writer even states that the quote is meanspirited.

    People are taking this one way out of context in order to pile on for the Standard printing the cartoons.

    By Blogger The Hack, at 2:18 PM  

  • OK, OK. With that context, it makes a bit more sense.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 2:37 PM  

  • You can still make fun of Ezra's bow ties though.

    By Blogger The Hack, at 2:42 PM  

  • Thanks for the correction, CG. Your willingness to be open-minded on stuff like this is one of the reasons I read this blog.

    Apparently the rest of the media don't undestand that the outrageous thing here is the person who made the remark, not the ones who published it.

    By Blogger dr_dog, at 2:50 PM  

  • The only poll that you can believe is the SES poll.....the rest just make up the numbers to suit themselves....remember the polls before the election///remember strategic corp....and then they say they changed their minds the day before election....do not believe them they are all run by tories....or business....that want the tories in......Nik Nanos from ses tells it like it is.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:58 PM  

  • Not sure that I agree entirely with your poll analysis. Assuming the poll is accurate (a big assumption).

    One of Paul Martin's strongest selling points was his perceived ability at managing the economy. A left leaning candidate may not help us win those voters back.

    Another of Paul Martin's great selling points was that he was seen as doing something to clean up the corrupt mess left behind by his predecessor. I would suggest that Canadians might be wary of a party that would reinvent itself by going back down the "culture of entitlement" path.

    I think the left/right question of the next leader is less important than the look ahead/look back question.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:05 PM  

  • When you look at the poll averaging work that Greg Morrow has done on his Democratic Space blog, you'll see that Decima polls typically over estimate NDP support by 2.6% and under estimates the support to the other parties.

    I'm an NDP supporter myself, but I'd like to see a poll from SES or Strategic Counsel that reflects these numbers before I put any faith in them whatsoever.

    By Anonymous Deanna, at 3:29 PM  

  • Whoah, whoah, hold up. The Standard folks are totally BSing us with this "we're just as outraged as you" schtick. The column, which unlike the spin control requires registration to access, is an anti-Colleen Klein polemic. Here are some choice selections, and there are more like this - you tell me if this is the Standard reporting in shocked tones on scandalous racism, or if it's just part of Dolphin's attack on C. Klein:

    "Ralph's ready to retire and his party wants to send him off peacefully. His wife, however, has other plans"

    "These are not Colleen's and Ralph's concerns. Colleen wants her man to stick around because he still has things to do. Those things are mostly Colleen's things."

    The section in question: "To many Tories concerned about succession, the preservation of the party, and the larger matters facing the province--for example, how to properly spend those $10-billion surpluses and manage the exponential growth associated with the red-hot economy--the premier appears to have developed an actual hole in his brain.

    Colleen's influence is seen as destructive and her motives less than altruistic. "Once she stops being the premier's wife, she goes back to being just another Indian," says one of Klein's fishing buddies, in an unkind reference to Colleen's native heritage. "Colleen likes being picked up in a car with security and being driven to her next function," says a longtime campaign manager close to both Kleins."

    Conclusion: "The campaign manager thinks it would be best if Klein uses his speech on the Friday night to announce his retirement and thus avoid any embarrassment. If this were to occur, one might expect a 90-day leadership campaign and a new premier by July. Good news for Jim Dinning. Good news for the Progressive Conservative party, which has been having a devil of a time selling memberships this past year. I doubt, however, that Colleen would think much of the idea."

    This is why this is a controversy - and the Standard does well to hide this article behind a registration process that will keep most Standard-haters from seeing the original.

    By Blogger Jason Townsend, at 3:33 PM  

  • How is Rae's French?

    By Blogger matt, at 3:33 PM  

  • Expect an announcement concerning your experiment in the next 10 days. A 1-on-1 with him is well deserved and will definitely not disappoint.

    By Anonymous MississaugaPeter, at 3:40 PM  

  • I wonder how Bob's math is, much less his French. Unless it's gotten better, I don't see Rae as much of a fix for the Liberals. He'd just end up scaring all the centerists over to the Tories.

    Wait a minute, that's a good thing...

    By Blogger Joe Calgary, at 3:43 PM  

  • Back to the WS quote for a second, you can't let them totally off the hook here. This is one of the problems with journalists using unnamed sources. The only reason this 'fishing buddy' made this 'mean-spirited' comment was because he knew his name wouldn't be used.
    He's not a whistleblower, so what is he scared of? Making mean-spirited comments behind a cloak of anonymity makes him a pussy, and the WS had no journalistic reason for printing it.

    They can say it's mean-spirited in the next line, but the fact they still printed the line without identifying him says something. Had the named him, it's a whole other story.

    By Blogger A BCer in Toronto, at 3:50 PM  

  • Ok, I see now. A story that focuses on Ralph's wife, that exposes rifts in the Tory machine on whether and why Ralph will stay on, is unfair, or ist it unfair because it is unfavourable to a metis woman? And if it exposes latent racism in the PCs, isn't that important? And BCer, anonymous, cowardly, however you want to characterize it, doesn't make it any less newsworthy. If you want to debate anonymous sources in journalism, fine, lets start with the New York Times, or the Washington Post, not some dinky paper in Alberta. Unless it's the political leaning of the paper that bothers you, not their reporting integrity . . .

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:09 PM  

  • After the massive propaganda campaign waged by the mainstream media for the Conservatives through false polling numbers, I put my trust in no public opinion polling except for CPAC/SES polling.

    By Blogger John Murney, at 4:32 PM  

  • As for the Klein thing, I haven't actually read the article (obviously...). They certainly have a right to report it since, because it is a horrible comment, it's somewhat newsworthy.

    Of course, it was an anonymous comment so, in that context, it doesn't really become news so much as colouring for an article. So I can see both sides of it.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 4:46 PM  

  • So much to comment on.

    1) John Bethel.

    CG surely you mean people who were Liberals before John Bethel left primary school. Some of the Senior Marinites (cough, gag) in Alberta are actually Liberals too.

    2) Polls

    A party winning an election generally shows a honeymoon surge. There doesn't appear to have been one. I can live with these numbers. And your point on watching the left flank is well taken.

    3) Dr. Klein

    Ezra's doing an awful lot of "don't shoot the messenger this week". There was no need to use the quote.

    It is racist. The friend and the Standard should apologize.

    If cronies are concerned that Dr. Klein is influencing Ralph to stay, and preventing them from accessing the entitlements to which they feel entitled, they should say so. Directly and publicly. And the Standard should report those concerns directly.

    If they won't say so directly, cronies should just shut up. Annonymity is the cowards best friend.

    By Blogger CfSR, at 4:57 PM  

  • About the Decima numbers.... despite the CPC having their rough start (espeically in the media with Vancouver-Kingsway's Emerson crossvoer) it seems no one is really paying attention. Could it be that Canadians on the whole (the non-junkies like us) have developed a wait-and-see attitude about Harper?

    Maybe the honeymoon isn't over in overall public opinion?

    Just asking.

    By Anonymous Roby, at 5:05 PM  

  • Is that a "US style" wait and see attitude. The MSM are so blatent in the way they try to paint Harper as America's "man on the ground".

    I suppose if the MSM would print "the socialist style" Liberals, I wouldn't mind so much. Of course that will never happen, honesty in press being what it is.

    By Blogger Joe Calgary, at 5:49 PM  

  • Don't really see the United States fits into "wait and see attitudes."

    And "socialist-style Liberals?" If you're talking about social democrats, that's a large umbrella and not a stick to beat any party with, certainly in Canada.

    If by socialist you mean marxist, then I don't really know what you mean.

    By Blogger Jason Townsend, at 7:04 PM  

  • I remeber the last time a party elected a saviour from the provincial level as leader.

    But not a bad opponent in comparison to the Harvard guy and turncoats I guess.

    By Blogger bza, at 7:22 PM  

  • "The Harvard guy?" What is this, Yalie prejudice?

    By Blogger Jason Townsend, at 8:37 PM  

  • Why aren't people calling on Sheila Copps to run fo rthe leadership? She'd be an attractive candidate for the lefties.

    By Anonymous Two Cents, at 11:12 PM  

  • What this poll suggests is that conditions are ripe for a merger of the Liberals and the NDP. How about Jack Layton for leader of the Liberal Democrats ?

    By Blogger cardinal47, at 11:29 PM  

  • I don't know that Copps has ruled out running; the dinner being held for her is a gratifying suggestion that fences will be mended after that ugly and unfortunate nomination business. However, she's been out of politics and speaking her mind in an unpoliticiany way - not that that stopped Stephen Harper. I doubt it, on the whole, but I'll be glad if she's back in the fold for the process.

    Cardinal: The NDP will never go for it at this time and place. The (largish) group of NDPers who believe Liberals are Stephen Harper in maple-leaf garb would inevitably form the "real NDP" - those chosing to merge would be that much likely to form only a small part of the new LDPC.

    Additionally, not to deploy trademark 'liberal arrogance' or anything, but I doubt very much that the NDP polling numbers - transitory to begin with - actually have much meaning in terms of voting behavior.

    Recall that the PCs occasionally led the Alliance in the polls - that didn't make the eventual merger any more of a one-sided absorption.

    I like the NDP most of the time - a lot of my friends with the most idealistic politics support them, and that always makes me sit back and think. But I've given up on prospects of merger or absorption; at the end of the day, it will be our regretable job to hold them to as few seats as possible in every election for the forseeable future. Depressing, fratricidal, wasteful, you betcha, but what's the alternative? It's a two-way street, and a good lot of them hate us and always will.

    By Blogger Jason Townsend, at 12:08 AM  

  • I thought I read somewhere that Sheila had rulled out a leadership run.

    It'd also be odd for her to be raising cash for female candidates if she turned out to be a female candidate.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 2:07 AM  

  • I might have missed a definate announcement by Copps - I just figured she was a sufficiently long shot not to need to issue a statement if she didn't wanted.

    As for her fundraising for her self, that'd be only somewhat stranger than the spectacle of her fundraising for Stronach - but that's not fair. There's already another female candidate with more to come hopefully.

    By Blogger Jason Townsend, at 4:31 AM  

  • "If cronies are concerned that Dr. Klein is influencing Ralph to stay, and preventing them from accessing the entitlements to which they feel entitled, they should say so. Directly and publicly. And the Standard should report those concerns directly."

    STOP CALLING HER 'DR.' KLEIN, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. She did NOT earn the right to be called that. Anyone who "insists" that they must be called "Doctor" based on an honorary degree shows a real lack of class.

    Now, for the record, the racist remark against her was slimy and despicable, and probably a common sentiment among SOME old-boy Alberta PC circles, but dammit, let's not console the woman by humoring her into thinking that she's got a PhD.

    By Blogger Jim, at 7:13 PM  

  • Re: The Western Stunned Herd article.

    I would say the odds are 50-50 the "just another indian" quote is made up. The author, Ric Dolphin, former Herald scab and degenerate alcoholic, was fired from The Herald for penning a hateful screed basically calling for apartheid of natives. All his source data and quotes, however, were made up, fictionalized, bullshit, utter fabrications. Dolphin is a liar with a longstanding beef with the First Nations, and I'm sure it just gets worse after he dives into the firewater.

    Ralph has so few fishing buddies these days that he'd be able to pick out the one who slandered his wife pretty easily. Dolphin is just putting up straw men to take cheap shots at his irrational and booze-fueled fear and hatred of indians.

    The Al-Ezra Martyrs Brigade has had great fun burning at the stake of journalistic integrity the last week. One of the first rules of using anonymous sources is that you NEVER let them hide behind their anonymity to advance a personal vendetta. Have the courage to stand on your good name when making an attack like that. At least that's what a good journalist would say.

    Of course, that rule flew out the window when the Reid, Herle, Littler, Mahoney, etc. demanded their chickenshit cloak of anonymity whilst engaged in regicide. Another victory for the public trust thanks to Jane Taber. But that's another story.

    Courage is in short supply these days, at the Stunned Herd, in Ottawa. It's amateur hour all around.

    Re: The Decima Poll. Give me an effing break. The poll means nothing, and Decima is wasting its money by going in the field right now. The first polls after Martin became PM reported him at 50-plus and poised to win the biggest majority in Canadian history. That worked out well, didn't it.

    Re: Bethel as the Alberta brains of Brison. Count Brison deader than Elvis as of now. Here's the guy that let Sheila Copps get her biggest percentage of total provincial support in the 2003 leadership race...IN ALBERTA FERGAWDSAKE!

    By Blogger Raymaker, at 9:44 PM  

  • Pretty helpful data, thank you for the article.

    By Anonymous relationship, at 9:49 AM  

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