Thursday, March 29, 2007

Quick Hits

-The debate for reasonable accommodation takes on a whole new life. (Hat Tip MaD)

-Polls go up and down and the common consensus changes by the week so I won't move away from my prediction of no spring election. BUT...if the Tory internals show numbers like this consistently over the next few weeks, Harper would be crazy not to pull the trigger.

UPDATE: I was just about to post when I came across this poll. I can't take any poll that has the Liberal party at 22% too seriously Quite simply - wow.

-I don't know why anyone would want to lead the PQ given the shape that party is in right now. But, at the same time, there's not much left for Gilles Duceppe to do in Ottawa which hasn't already been done before so I guess a jump provincially shouldn't be too surprising.

-I'm not sure what can be said about Danny Williams which hasn't already been said before. Canadian federalism seems to require a "bad boy" and with Harper smitten with the Premier of Quebec and Ralph Klein gone from Alberta, Williams seems to be willing to step up to the microphone and assume that role.

-Speaking of thorns in Stephen Harper's side, Bernard Shapiro is GONE.

-I know that if I were given the choice between meeting Vladislav Tretiak and the President of Liberia, I wouldn't think twice about going with the former. But I'm not the Prime Minister of Canada, now am I?



  • Actually, the Liberals are at 27%. The poll that put them at 22%, put the Tories at 33% when the undecided vote was included. When the undecided vote was removed, they were at 27% and the Tories 41%, so that is why they were so low. Since the undecided vote never breaks completely for one party, they will definitely do better than that.

    By Blogger Miles Lunn, at 7:41 PM  

  • Miles, I think you are mixing up two different polls, the Leger poll was the one with the different numbers with the undecideds, but the 680 news poll is from Angus Reid.

    I don't believe the Angus Reid numbers, they just seem so out of whack with all the other polls that came out recently.

    By Blogger Andrew Smith, at 8:06 PM  

  • I like pastafarianism - it was invented to make a point, and, whether or not I disagree with each use that it is put to, I do think it makes that point well.

    Dammit, if only I could remember the emoticon for the Flying Spaghetti Monster... grr!

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 8:22 PM  

  • If anyone's too uncool to know, you can read about the Flying Spaghetti Monster at wiki or at a fan site.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 8:29 PM  

  • I'm not surprised that my Liberal friends would not believe the Angus Reid poll. If I were them, I sure wouldn't want to. However, Angus Reid does have some credibility because they seem to have been a lot closer on the results of the Quebec election than other polling firms.

    Oh, by the way, here's the link to the one which shows the 17-point Tory leader.

    By Blogger Brian in Calgary, at 8:42 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Mike the Montrealer, at 9:08 PM  

  • To summarize:

    Tories 39%
    Liberals 22% (!)
    NDP 17%
    Green 11% (!!)
    Bloc 10%

    [deleted bad link which I later realized was better posted just above]

    By Blogger Mike the Montrealer, at 9:14 PM  

  • Perhaps I'm dense, but... since we don't vote directly for our Prime Minister, I'm always a bit shaky on understanding what polls like this mean.

    I love *any* kind of survey, and I participated in that Angus Reid poll. It was tough -- while I think Stephen Harper is the best choice right now to be Prime Minister, I've always voted locally. I could end up Green, or Conservative, or NDP - it all depends on the candidates.

    So I'm one of the people, I guess, who contributed to that poll result. But it doesn't reflect how I might vote whenever an election comes - who knows?

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 9:49 PM  

  • The Church of the Flying Spaghetti monster is definitely a clever parody. Anyone who hasn't heard it should check out the wikipedia entry.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 10:26 PM  

  • Andrew Smith, actually no these are the numbers I did notice it showed the Tories at 23% in Atlantic Canada behind the NDP so not all regions are they doing well.

    By Blogger Miles Lunn, at 10:34 PM  

  • Jason,

    I admit I am "uncool" by your definition, but upon reading the wiki link, I think the Flying Spaghetti Monster looks like a high tech, high carb version of the Canadian Rhinoceros movement, with a much narrower platform.

    Rhinoceros Party

    A missed bit of election levity. The real reason voter turnout has dropped since Jean-Pierre Kingsley nuked them in 1993.

    By Blogger The Anonymous Green, at 11:15 PM  

  • Calgary Grit,

    I'm waiting for one of your fans to start praying for body bags coming home from Afghanistan.... jimtan, where are you?

    Oh, and please promise me Jason Cherniak will be giving us an in depth analysis of how the methodology at Angus Reid is not up to snuff... please!

    By Blogger Chuckercanuck, at 11:19 PM  

  • I remember the Rhino Party! I remember when they were promising to put steroids in the lakes to make Canada the biggest country in the world!

    Always wondered what happened to them - thanks for the link.

    Actually, Anon Green, you're very cool in my book.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 11:22 PM  

  • Jason Cherniak is the Liberal party version of the Iraqi information minister.

    The infidel Conservatives are not winning in Leeds-Grenville. They have been been defeated by the party. Still, we warn you, do not take their tax cuts, they are booby trapped.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 11:33 PM  

  • Chuckercanuck,

    The spring offensive against the Taliban known as Operation Achilles. The fighting in Helmand Province will be the most fierce NATO troops will engage in since the Korean War.

    I hope you will not link this fact into suggesting that we Liberals are happy that the body bags are coming home.

    By Blogger Mushroom, at 11:39 PM  

  • However, Angus Reid does have some credibility because they seem to have been a lot closer on the results of the Quebec election than other polling firms.

    Oddly, they did not publicize their QC numbers until AFTER the election. None of the many QC election blogs, sites, or media outlets referred to this poll before the polls closed and the ballots were counted.

    By Blogger WJM, at 11:52 PM  

  • Just to totally confuse everyone, here is a link to yet another poll, with different results:

    By Blogger Gayle, at 12:27 AM  

  • Chucker; Wishing for body bags isn't cool.

    I personally have my fingers crossed for a massive collapse of the Canadian economy and unemployment levels unseen since the great depression...

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 12:40 AM  

  • chuckercanack said

    “Calgary Grit,

    I'm waiting for one of your fans to start praying for body bags coming home from Afghanistan.... jimtan, where are you?”

    Yes? You called?

    I think your comment was pretty sick. I have always been conscientious about the well-being of the people involved in the Afghan conflict. The locals and our troops.

    I am concerned because the military effort is hopeless, and is producing the wrong results. On CBC tonite, a Canadian-Afghani woman was talking about her recent trip to Kandahar.

    The insurgents had posted in the streets US$1,000 reward posters for the killing of foreigners and officials. The astounding thing is that no one bothered to take the posters down.

    Once again, I must criticize Canadians who support our troops in Afghanistan, but send them on a hopeless mission. Said Canadians may have never been to Asia, much less speak the language or understand the context.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 1:33 AM  

  • From Yesterday;s Thread, from Mushroom:

    "One issue that will help the BQ - Afghanistan.

    The Van Doos will be deployed there too. Bodybags coming home in more than a trickle and Harper shoots the political capital he gained in Quebec."

    By Blogger Chuckercanuck, at 7:07 AM  

  • The polls are all out of whack. One day the Tories are at the cusp of a majority, the next day they're back where they were on Jan 23/06.

    Here's the latest one. This time from Ipsos Reid - contradicts the online Poll from Angus Reid yesterday.

    Two observations:

    Call me crazy, but all this contradictory polling must be impacting the credibility of polling firms in this country.

    Call me crazier, but since the media is bankrolling a number of these polls only to find someone else's poll contradicts the one they just paid for, aren't they also losing some credibility here?

    By Blogger Sean Cummings, at 7:53 AM  

  • If it's the French battalion holding the fort in Afghanistan, we don't have to worry about body bags... might have to take the fort back when they rotate out, but no body bags. (Teasing you Chucker:)

    Seam, media, losing credibility??? How could they lose something they don't have now.

    By Blogger Joe Calgary, at 9:51 AM  

  • Careful about what you say Chucker.

    You are subscribing to the school of attack pioneered by Harper, Van Loan, and the Tory caucus.

    I had said that the BQ will likely do well once the war turns out poorly in Afghanistan. You spin it to that some Liberals have more sympathy to the Taliban killing Canadian troops.

    I expect you to suggest next that Liberals want to ruin the Canadian economy because CG was hoping for a major economic recession. Or are you proud that the Van Doos are actually doing the fighting rather than running off at the first sound of gunfire, as Joe Calgary suggests.

    By Blogger Mushroom, at 1:32 PM  

  • This site is set up to tease Calgary Grit, not Chucker. F'rinstance:

    As soon as the Grit finishes school, gets a job, gets saddled with a kid and a mortgage: bang-o! Calgary Tory he becomes. He's too funny and smart for it to be otherwise.

    By Blogger Chuckercanuck, at 1:32 PM  

  • For chuckercanack

    Alright! I won’t take your comment personally.

    I’ve lived in Asia most of my life. I remember the arrival of American units in Vietnam, the escalation, the Tet Offensive, the American withdrawal, the fall of Saigon, and the flood of refugees in the aftermath. The class struggle of the Khmer Rouge!

    So much blood and tears! The fall of nationalist governments in Laos and Cambodia! A Buddhist civilization in Indo-China falls to the communists.

    The darn neo-cons are doing the exact same thing in southern Afghanistan. They are sending in troops to support a corrupt and unpopular regime, when the ‘countryside’ has already been lost. The rebels operate from sanctuaries in Pakistan. The expansion of the war into Pakistan and non-rebel Afghanistan!

    So far, the bloodshed has been light because there are so few NATO troops in Southern Afghanistan. A Canadian task force of only 2k force has been detailed to police the entire Kandahar province. This means that there are fewer than 1k infantry and cavalry troops. In the field, our contingent can only muster 600 troops at any one time.

    All our troops can do is to hold on to Kandahar Air Base, and operate search and destroy missions. In Helmand, the British have tried to defend outposts in 2006, and were hammered. At Musa Qulam, lightly armed peasants defeated paratroopers of a modern army.

    And, the rebels haven’t got up to speed on IEDs or gotten their hands on armor piercing weapons.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 2:43 PM  

  • For chuckercanack

    From my Asian experience, the human rights issues are not the deciding factor. The key is security and money. That said here’s a perspective that you may not be familiar with.

    Here are statements from RAWA (Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan). Check them out in wikipedia. This is how they describe themselves.

    “RAWA is the oldest political/social organization of Afghan women struggling for peace, freedom, democracy and women's rights in fundamentalism-blighted Afghanistan since 1977.”

    RAWA is against both the Kabul government/parliament and the Taliban. RAWA has the view that they are all fundamentalists. The west backs the Kabul politicians; and the tribal rebels back the Taliban.


    Five years ago, the US and allies attacked Afghanistan in the name of bringing "Human Rights", "Democracy", and "Freedom" to the war-torn country. The Taliban regime fell and Hamid Karzai's puppet regime, which included the world-known Northern Alliance criminals, or as UN envoy Mahmoud Mestri said, "the bandit gangs", took over in the name of a fake democracy. However, today, the deceitful policies of Mr. Karzai and his Western guardians have brought Afghanistan to a very critical situation in which disaster is a ticking time bomb that can explode any minute. Treason and mockery have efficiently been used under the name of "democracy" and "freedom" in these five years, and the human rights situation in Afghanistan is a product of the painful deception of the warlord led government.

    As long as the fundamentalists are in power, there will be no end to the oppressions and crimes against Afghan women

    By Blogger JimTan, at 2:58 PM  

  • "All our troops can do is to hold on to Kandahar Air Base, and operate search and destroy missions. In Helmand, the British have tried to defend outposts in 2006, and were hammered. At Musa Qulam, lightly armed peasants defeated paratroopers of a modern army."


    You are telling the story of defeat and have given up hope of a NATO victory in Operation Achilles. Operation Mountain Thrust, in which you described, was the high point in the Taliban offensive in 2006. The Canadians fought well in subsequent battles in Panjwali, Mountain Fury, and Falcon Summit. The major test is the current battle of Helmand. It will be fierce and if we do the right thing than the NATO forces can prevail.

    By Blogger Mushroom, at 3:01 PM  

  • jimtan,

    you're right, not meant personally. good on you for responding like a gentleman.

    By Blogger Chuckercanuck, at 3:03 PM  

  • "From my Asian experience, the human rights issues are not the deciding factor. The key is security and money. That said here’s a perspective that you may not be familiar with."


    I originate from the Far East and one can argue that security is the deciding factor in all international conflicts.

    Did a wiki search of RAWA. Does good work. However, it is increasingly marginalized in a quarter century conflict that has no resolution. RAWA wants a social democratic world similar to ones found in most Western European countries. We are farther from this ideal in Central Asia than ever before.

    By Blogger Mushroom, at 3:15 PM  

  • Yeah, the polls are all over the place.

    That Angus Reid one looks WAY off though. I think it's fair to say the Tories have a 6-7% lead over all.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 4:06 PM  

  • mushroom said

    “The major test is the current battle of Helmand. It will be fierce and if we do the right thing than the NATO forces can prevail.”

    The generals are fighting a conventional war. For example, we pit our tanks, guns and infantry against the enemy’s tanks etc. The name of the game is to mass more troops and firepower than they can.

    Victory is possible if we destroy more of their assets than we lose. We would win the war if we can replace our losses more rapidly than they can.

    In Afghanistan, we are fighting irregular forces; low tech and cheap. We can easily kill more of them than we lose. But, they can replace and grow their forces more rapidly than we can.

    The army cannot defeat insurgencies like these. Our forces can win every battle, but still lose the war. Last year, the rebels out-number us by 2 to 1. This year, it’s 5 to 1. Next year, it could be 10 to 1.

    Our current mobile tactics is worthless. We win no allies. We hold no ground. All we are doing is to hand the local population over to the corrupt and inept minions of the Kabul government.

    The army’s role should be to buy time for a political solution. At Pangwali, our troops prevented the Taliban from claiming and holding a stronghold. A Taliban victory at Pangwali would be a decisive strategic victory.

    There lies our dilemma. We can only inflict tactical defeats on the rebels. But, the rebels are looking for a strategic victory.

    We can prevent the rebels from constituting a stronghold in Afghanistan. But, the rebels have strongholds in Pakistan just a short distance from Kandahar.

    Without a political solution, the rebels will win because they have local support in southern Afghanistan. Western armies cannot win a protracted struggle because of the financial cost.

    In Malaya, the British were able to deploy enough troops (10x1) for the short time needed to win politically. They would not have been able to maintain such a numerical superiority in a protracted war like Vietnam. Nor, will the Americans deploy enough troops in Afghanistan to finish the job.

    Eventually, the rebels will get strong and skilled enough to create strongholds. NATO forces will be able to enter but not stay in these areas because the cost will be too high. The Soviets with a 150k army (plus substantial local forces) were unable to subjugate Ahmad Masoud’s Pangshir Valley.

    Today, the generals and politicians are desperately doing a PR job. The reality is on the ground, and the truth is in the hearts and mind of Afghanis.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 7:01 PM  

  • Polls change from week.

    Some individual polls have bizarre aberrations that even out.

    The value of polls is in detecting trends.

    Arguing over the validity of an individual poll proves there are people with a lot of free time on their hands.

    And those who write and debate with really long posts must live very insular lives.

    You have convinced yourself that you are right but

    1. raise a lot of doubts in the minds of others and

    2. harden the opinions of those who disagree with you

    And the point is . . . .

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 7:49 AM  

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