Wednesday, September 06, 2006

We Now Return You To Your Regularly Scheduled Blogging

After a fun sojourn across Hungary, I have returned to cowtown, so you can expect posting to resume at it's usual pace. It should be a busy September with a crowded fall agenda on the Parliamentary horizon and the Liberal leadership race heating up. In the coming days, I'll get some house cleaning posts out of the way, including a recap of the Greatest PM We Never Had contest, an update of my first ballot projections, results from the month old "who will run" pool, and another special post which I think a few people might find somewhat interesting.

For right now, here are a few interesting news stories from recent days:

1. Another bad weekend in Afghanistan.

2. A great article on the Afghanistan situation which echoes a lot of what Kennedy has said on the way we should be going about rebuilding that country.

3. Speaking of which, there was a good discussion between Scott Brison and Gerard Kennedy on Afghanistan on QP Sunday. It was reassuring to see that the two could find a lot of common ground, despite their different opinions on the mission.

4. The Senate will be stalling on the ethics bill. Good on them. I really like the accountability act, but there are still a lot of problems in it which need to be ironed out.

5. Two weeks to go in the New Brunswick election.

6. This is an interesting poll, but the CTV story completely misses the point. Here's the conclusion:

Concern seems to have reached a tipping point and the Conservatives neglect the issue at their peril, said Angus McAllister, president of the company which does research for government agencies, corporations and non-profit groups.

The federal government has been promising to release a major environmental plan this fall, but it is not clear whether the package will include a plan for climate change, or just a promise of consultations.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has rejected the Kyoto Protocol, an international pact to cut greenhouse emissions that cause global warming, and federal officials suggest their top priority is air and water quality, not climate.

Now, here are the poll results:

In the poll, the most frequently named environmental issues were air quality (35 per cent), global warming (20 per cent), water quality (12 per cent) and nature conservation (six per cent).

Don't get me wrong - I think climate change is important. But, looking at the poll numbers, it seems to me that a plan which focuses on air and water quality (47% between them) would be more popular than one which focuses on climate change (20%).

7. This is the first real road bump in the Stephane Dion campaign to date. If nothing else, it does finally give us an answer to the age old riddle: "what do Ralph Klein and Stephane Dion have in common?".

This is far from fatal but it will probably mark the end of the Dion media honeymoon. It will probably also overshadow what was a very thorough environmental platform.

8. How big is your Canada? Ken Dryden has released his "Big Canada" platform (click here to read the full platform). It doesn't have a ton of specifics but I do really like the key priorities he identifies for Canada. As I've always said, Ken Dryden understands Canada better than most politicians and it shows in this document.


  • Adam Radwanski wrote this weekend in the National Post:

    "the Liberals would do better to choose someone like Gerard Kennedy - a younger candidate who would start off slow, but work around the clock between elections to rebuild the party."

    On June 15, 2004, you wrote

    "And finally, Stephen Harper. I think Harper did the poorest of the four but that's likely to be expected given his weak language skills. The messages were all right but the delivery just wasn't there. He seemed extremely uncomfortable up there and a little nervous. He did a good job defending himself but was terrible in his attacks. Especially against Martin."

    Andrew Coyne's blog commentary at the same time (note: June 2004):

    also attested that Harper had a less than spectacular command of the French language during the debates.

    Less than 18 months later, significant improvement.

    Gerard's "work around the clock" ethic, which has included daily French lessons and living in Quebec for part of the summer, will be under the spotlight this weekend. Relatively gaffe-free, and at the helm of an incredibly well-run campaign, everyone will be gunning for Gerard.

    Expect his French to not be at the level of Dion and Ignatieff, but significantly better than the supposed 2- bilingual rating given by the Globe and Mail. And expect his French to be even better in Montreal in less than 3 months.


    By Blogger Peter, at 3:11 AM  

  • With his understanding of Canada domestically, he would be a perfect fit for being the domestic policy front man for Ignatieff, whoes weakness is domestic understanding...


    By Blogger Manley Man, at 3:52 AM  

  • Dryden was pretty well mobbed in East Van in late August. Ignatieff could walk down Hastings and Main with a cup of coffee and have change thrown in it. Ignatieff has enviable credentials but he is not electable nationwide, as he is still too new and gaffe prone.

    The party faithfull really cannot underestimate the electability of Dryden over the 10 other candidates combined.

    Dryden is also becoming a more attractive option as the wheels fly off the "Dion" bus.

    I expect the landsape to change as Drydens fundraising kicks into gear.

    Next time Ignatieff is in Vancouver make sure he keeps-a-lid on things or at least his coffee cup.

    By Blogger VanEastGrit, at 5:27 AM  

  • I think you know I'm no Liberal, so I certainly am not blindly defending my chosen candidate here. But I'm with the David Suzuki Foundation--I don't see the big deal with Dion's camp "stealing" from them. In fact, I kind of wish more politicians would "steal" from environmental leaders.

    By Blogger Idealistic Pragmatist, at 8:28 AM  

  • I think the whole point of the suzuki report was to urge politicians to use it.

    That being said, you are correct in that this has overshadowed the best environmental platform in years.

    By Blogger Hammering Jow, at 11:00 AM  

  • Afghanistan will never become safe for development if NATO goes after the narcotics trade, because the druglords are "on our side".

    It was the Taliban who had the most success ever in stopping opium production.

    If we want to stop opium production, we are fighting the wrong guys.

    Kennedy has effectively advocated a policy that would restart a full scale civil war in Afghanistan, because the our/NATO's/Americans druglord allies would turn against us.

    The Americans have basically paid off the druglords/warlords to behave.

    It is the reason why our/NATO's efforts in Afghanistan are doomed to fail, and why the Martin and Chretien governments made a huge mistake sending us there in the first place.

    By Blogger godot10, at 11:14 AM  

  • I kind of wish more politicians would "steal" from environmental leaders.

    I completely agree - I think it's spectacular that a candidate would follow Suzuki.

    It of course should bave been footnoted, but the worst thing is the handling -- they should have apologized immediately, and claimed a mistake in posting a rough draft rather than the finished, annotated, font-amended, etc. version, and that would have been the end of it.

    I'm sure Suzuki would have been happy to even appear with Dion and shaken hands and thanked him for setting the record straight, claps on backs, and there you go.

    The mistake wasn't the lack of attribution, but in foolishly trying to ignore the matter.

    I hope it doesn't hurt Dion too much - I want to see him as a contender still.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 11:45 AM  

  • The New Brunswick election is starting to get interesting after a boring few weeks and the debates are later this week.

    Could go either way and I'll be curious to see the national reaction if Lord loses. Certainly it wouldn't be a huge surprise to New Brunswickers but I don't think the rest of the country is quite ready for that yet.

    By Blogger nbpolitico, at 1:57 PM  

  • Okay, while bloggers might remember this, the public at large - and, indeed, Liberal party members - either won't care about this "gaffe" in the slightest or simply won't remember. A mistake? Certainly. Will it affect anything, especially on the convention floor? I seriously doubt it.

    By Blogger Josh Gould, at 2:23 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Peter, at 2:23 PM  

  • The Senate isn't stalling, they're simply taking the required time that a Bill of this magnitude demands. These kinds of things usually take four or five months, for the Conservatives to insist that it be done in 3 weeks is rediculous.

    By Blogger The Alberta Correspondent, at 5:25 PM  

  • OK, who wants to start a pool with the following proposition to get the funds flowing: the Liberal Senate will buckle to Harper's demands on the Accountability Act on this date: _____ ___ , 2006. The person who picks the right date wins the pot. Anyone?

    By Blogger The Cyber Menace, at 5:29 PM  

  • Welcome back, CG. I agree with your comments about Ken Dryden's platform. He understand the average Canadian better than anyone in the race, and he can relate to people, and make people feel like they are being heard.

    By Blogger Concerned YL, at 11:41 AM  

  • I agree about the results of the poll and have a suspicion that the 'conclusion' was based on the pollster's political considerations rather than the stats that he collected.

    That being said, for me, I'd hope Harper brings forward something on air and water quality soon.

    Good news is my other pet peeve (Senate reform) is now being addressed. =)

    By Blogger SouthernOntarioan, at 7:42 PM  

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    By Blogger harrywanggu, at 9:01 AM  

  • The writer is totally fair, and there's no doubt.

    By Anonymous, at 5:26 AM  

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