Thursday, May 31, 2007

"I'm a Liberal. And I'm a PC..."

Since my fellow libloggers are being shy about posting the new YLC ads, and everyone probably missed them yesterday, I figured I'd toss them up here.

Bottom line - they're clever and funny, which is what you want in a viral ad campaign.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Stephane Dion is not a hero. You know who is a hero? Hiro. From Heroes.

Unable to break into majority government territory, Stephen Harper's Conservatives have turned to the burning issue on everyone's mind this spring...yes...Senate Reform! An exciting series of new ads attack Dion for...zzzz.....sorry, I'm already sleepy just thinking about the topic.

That's right, apparently Liberal Senators are delaying Harper's Senate Reform Bill. Uh-oh. If this doesn't spur protests on the grounds of Parliament Hill, I don't know what will.

The best part of the ads is that their main focus seems to be to convince Canadians that Stephane Dion is not a hero. I mean, I like the guy, but I'd never consider Stephane Dion my hero. I doubt even Jason Cherniak considers Stephane Dion his hero. And, let's say for a second that Canadians from coast to coast do consider Stephane Dion their hero. I don't think his stance on Senate Reform is going to make anyone change their opinions. After watching 23 episodes of Heroes this year, never did I once see a hero who had the ability to speed legislation through the Senate. (although, it would make for a fun episode if John Baird wanted to do a guest spot next season)

Oh, and I'm not positive if saying your opponent is unfit to lead because he obstructs Senate business is necessarily wise one week after a handbook on how to obstruct parliament's business was leaked.

I'm just sayin'.

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In the interests of bipartisanship...

As President of the Alberta Young Liberals, I would just like to take this opportunity to help the Alberta Young Tories get a little publicity. Far too often, youth are too partisan and unwilling to work together, but I firmly believe that by helping each other, we can all benefit.

Anyways, here's the top story on their website and a big media hit they got in the Herald this morning:

Disenfranchised Young Tories

In 2004 a group of young Albertans decided to contribute to the betterment of PC Alberta, by joining the Party’s youth wing (at the time refer to exclusively as the PC Youth, now referred to as the Young PC’s or YAPCA).


In early 2005 the Young PC’s had a website, Unfortunately, PC Alberta controlled the site, in an attempt to control the messages going out. This forced the newly minted executive to created their own website and try to attract new members –


It is however strange, that it was reported in the Calgary Herald (May 29, 2007) that PC Alberta in fact does not have any legal opinion but is “… seeking legal opinion as to whether the new youth executive elected this past weekend in Calgary is legitimate and can remain in place, she added. A decision is expected in a few weeks.” According to acting Executive Director of PC Alberta, Pat Godkin.

Clearly, the Young PC’s have reason to be concerned. An illegal election (in our opinion) may have been forced on the membership on May 26, 2007. PC Alberta has attempted to silence the Young PC’s through strong-arm tactics. Tactics, which some members of the Executive fear will only escalate. This in conjunction with $9,000 of funding being withheld, a Party Brass bent on controlling young PC’s, and a lack a of leadership within PC Alberta have left us with no choice, but to take our position to the court of public opinion.

PC Alberta members deserve to know that like the City of Calgary, no funds will come to YAPCA without strings attached so that the puppet masters can have Young PC’s do their bidding.


Political Suicide

So Jean Charest is ready to die on the hill fighting for a tax cut that 70% of Quebecers are against?

Uh-huh. Yeah right. I'm pretty sure the guy is gonna blink on this one.

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Monday, May 28, 2007


It appears that Canada's longest serving Premier is going down to defeat in PEI. Although young leaders have been flamming out across the country, 33 year old Robert Ghiz will be taking over as PEI's Premier.

So, for those keeping score on your 2007 election ballot, that gives incumbents a 2-1 record so far. (That is, if we're exceedingly generous and give Charest a win)


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Free Alberta

Since fringe parties and fringe movements are one of my personal political interests, I was, of course, overjoyed to come across the Free Alberta website. While I'm hesitant to direct any traffic to their site and boost their google ad revenue, there are just too many great things on this website to pass up posting a link. Among the highlights:

-You'll learn lots of interesting facts. For example, did you know that none of Alberta's elected Senators have ever been appointed to the Senate? Did you know that mad cow disease was caused by federal government protectionism? Did you know global warming isn't real?

-Alberta suffers from "taxation without representation". Why? Because the province is not as populated as Ontario or Quebec so they get less seats than them in the House.

-In the history section you'll learn about historical grievances (like the NEP), Pierre Elliott Trudeau (who brought in the NEP), the history of secession (due to the NEP), guessed it...the NEP!

-In the debt section, you'll learn that Alberta's wealth is not due to oil. Why is this? Because even when oil prices were low in 1999, Alberta didn't have a deficit. And, because Don Getty ran up deficits, it proves that Alberta's wealth is not because of oil.

-One reason Albertans should separate is because cruelty to animal legislation may make it illegal to shoot rats at the Alberta border. Another reason? Because a bill which proposes to make hate speech illegal.

-Gun ownership is a "right" in Canada. Why? Because "firearms are property, and ownership of firearms is no different than ownership of other property".

-We need to have an elected Senate! However, a "Triple E Senate will not protect Albertans from Ottawa".

-In the polls section, you can vote on the currency of a future independent Alberta. Among the options: Euro, Gold, Swiss Franc, or commodity basket.

-These guys have a huge man-crush on Colby Cosh.

(hat tip to the blog I saw this on two weeks ago...but, alas, forget which one it was)


Thursday, May 24, 2007


An interesting game of chicken is developing in Quebec, with both the ADQ and PQ promising to vote against Charest's budget over the fiscal imbalance solving tax cuts. I'm sure someone will blink in this one, probably Charest, since a defeat at this point would probably mean Mario Dumont taking over as Premier.

Of course, given Harper's talking points over the past year, this begs the obvious question: Was all that money for Quebec in Flaherty's budget intended to help defeat the most federalist Premier from Quebec in Stephen Harper's lifetime?

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Random Thoughts on the MMP Ontario Referendum


The year above was the last time the Tories got more votes in Ontario than the Liberal and NDP cumulative vote.

Just thought I'd toss that out there.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007


...was how Hugh McFadyen described it.

Gary Doer cruises to a third straight majority government after a campaign that could only be described as "dull", even by Gary Doer or Manitoba standards.

Still, good on Gary. He's been a top notch Premier and is certainly deserving of a third term.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Signs "R" Us

Consevative Calgay Elbow candidate Bian Heninger's campaign headquaters is missing that cetain something...

Hat Tip: Davebeta


Monday, May 21, 2007

This Time, Go Deep

I was up in Edmonton for the long weekend, which gave me an opportunity to drop by the nomination meeting for a good friend of mine, Sandeep Dhir, who was being acclaimed as the Alberta Liberal Party candidate in Edmonton Manning (Manning may be a conservative name, but it's a fairly left-wing riding). There were over 75 people in attendance - certainly the most for an uncontested nomination meeting I've seen since getting involved in politics.

Rather than extolling Sandeep's virtues here, I thought I'd include some excerpts from his outstanding nomination speech. I'll also toss up a few pictures from the nomination meeting - pay close attention to the posters featuring what Kevin Taft called "GQ pictures".

The recent rent debacle is just the latest example of the price we all pay for a government that refuses to plan beyond winning the next election. And even when it gets a plan, in this case a Committee Report, it sacrifices the plan on the Darwinian alter of survival of the fittest and a vague notion of the market adjusting itself.


With foresight, Peter Lougheed anticipated that famous bumper sticker we all saw in the 80’s: “Lord, please give me another boom, I promise not to waste it away again.” Or something close to that – “waste” might not be quite be the word that was used.

Today, the famous “rainy day” fund has only $15 billion dollars in it. It has wasted away and been abandoned by successive Tory governments.


Every time our children come home from school with another chocolate bar fundraising drive or magazine sales drive, we are reminded that something isn’t working.

Every time an Alberta family sits around the kitchen table and tries to figure out how they are going to pay the rising tuition costs at our universities, colleges and technical institutes we are reminded that something isn’t working.

Every time we wait for hours for emergency services at our hospitals; or read that most family doctors in Edmonton won’t take new patients, even as our city grows. Or drive through towns with signs advertising for a doctor, we know that something isn’t working.

Or recently, when we learned that there is a critical shortage of experienced Crown Prosecutors, which is compromising the safety and security of all Albertans, we know that something isn’t working.

Every time we drive on our roads and feel the failing infrastructure under our tires, we know that something isn’t working.


What all of these examples highlight is that the Tory regime has become so arrogant in power, so complacent in their right to govern, that they no longer consider themselves responsible to any of us.


36 years ago, Peter Lougheed went to Albertans with a simple proposition. He argued that Albertans should receive a fair royalty return for our oil and gas.

He said that Albertans deserved a competent government which could manage the complexities of the economy of that time and plan for the future.

The Social Credit government had been power for 36 years and was complacent and out of touch.

Lougheed’s slogan then was simply “Now.”

36 years later we find ourselves at a similar juncture in Alberta’s history. Peter Lougheed’s criticisms of the Socred government can be applied with equal justice to the Tory government.

The parallels between 1971 and now are striking. The choice between the Parties is clear and the stakes could not be higher.

Over the next few months I plan to door knock in Edmonton Manning. For the first time, in a long time, there is a real opportunity for change. The riding of Edmonton Manning will be closely contested in the next election, and I need your help.

Albertans want a responsible and competent government. After 36 years its time for a change and I’m ready. NOW.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Holy Month From Hell Batman!


After what was, truth be told, a fairly strong first year in power, things have sure been falling apart quickly for Harper over the past month. The summer break can't come soon enough for these guys...

Phrases I Never Thought I'd See in the Calgary Sun

"In Calgary, it seems to be permissible to call yourself a Liberal. In public."


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Stand up for Canada

Tories tighten rules for foreign strippers:

OTTAWA — The Conservative government says it is taking action to keeping foreign strippers out of Canada.

Not surprisingly, the Globe comments section is abuzz with one liners. Among the highlights:

The Harper "conservatives" are not SOFT on foreign strippers.

Clearly the Conservatives are governing by the poles.

The govts. going to get lots of heat over this one. Can you imagine going to a bar to see "Canadian" strippers? Uggh!

What do the Tories have against foreign strippers all of a sudden? They SEEM to enjoy them, I mean whenever I see a Tory MP in a strip bar in Ottawa or Toronto they LOOK like they're having a good time.

Why do the Tories hate Romania?

FINALLY a federal government is going to deal with the foreign stripper problem. for too long this government has been tinkering with the tax code, environmental legislation and that bothersome war that the media won't shut up about. far better to leave those half finished and unattended to confront the real threat to canada..... foreign strippers.

I'll also bet Ignatieff doesnt even know what they're talking about here.

Why should our stripper industry (which some co workers from out of the country claim is the best on the world!) be assailed by cheap, un professional, half as good looking foreign strippers?

This is clearly evidence of the Harper govts. "hidden agenda"

SAY NO TO FOREIGN WORKERS and support home grown.

Is this in retaliation for Romania's banning Canadian strippers? Or is it another ploy in free trade negotiations? Are Romanian strippers unfairly subsidized? Don't Canadian strippers get Canada Council grants or some other such cultural program grant in Quebec?

This is fantastic news! For too long we have neglected the development of our own Canadian based strippers. I am looking forward to a new domestic crop which doesn't try to marry me everytime I purchase a lap dance.

If this passes, exactly who is going to canvass for Liberal cabinet ministers during election campaigns? This seems so mean spirited!

I can see it now as a summer replacement series on CTV - 'The Next Great Canadian Stripper'. Is Ben Mulroney looking for a summer hosting gig?


Political Elbow

A pair of provincial by-elections have been called for June 12th to replace retirees Ralph Klein and Shirley McClellan. The one in Klein's old riding is crucial, in that it's a huge litmus test to see if a Calgary breakthrough is possible for the Alberta Liberal Party. The only way Alberta will get it's first competitive election since 1993 is if Calgary swings Liberal, so all eyes will be on Calgary Elbow over the next month (no pressure Craig).


Although there are more dinosaurs in this riding than Liberals, I'd be willing to bet the Liberals increase their vote total here from the last election. Part of this is because they've found a well respected local candidate in Tom Dooley. Part of this is because they didn't run a candidate here last time.

Expect the PCs to cruise to an easy win in this one. Their candidate, Jack Hayden, was Ed Stelmach's rural Alberta campaign chair - given that Stelmach snuck in thanks to the rural vote, one figures Jack knows a thing or two about running campaigns.

Calgary Elbow

Ahh...this one will be fun. For 36 years Calgary Elbow has been held by the Conservatives, and Ralph Klein won it by a 51.5% to 36.5% margin over his Liberal challenger last time. But all signs indicate it will be a competitive race between Tory Brian Heninger and Liberal Craig Cheffins.

On the one hand, Ed Stelmach has proven to be ignorant and ambivalent towards Calgary during his short time as Premier. Calgary Herald headlines over the past week have included "Tories express anti-Calgary sentiment", "angry renters storm Tory office", and "latest [Tory] strategy clumsy, brainless". Back before he was hired to work for Stelmach, Tom Olsen described his future boss' leadership win as "just say no to Calgary". In short, everyone in this city thinks Stelmach won the PC leadership because Jim Dinning was "too Calgary" and snubbing Calgary MLAs from Cabinet and being unaware and uninterested in Calgary issues such as rent control hasn't helped this reputation. Since by elections lend themselves to protest votes, this one would appear ripe for the picking.

On the other hand, many Calgarians simply can't bring themselves to vote Liberal and don't seem to understand the distinction between the federal and provincial parties. A lot of voters seem to be under the impression that Alexander Rutherford brought in the NEP, so any Liberal candidate starts with an automatic handicap.

It'll be a close one, but I'll predict Elbow swings Liberal. A win for the Alberta Liberal Party here would certainly be a big momentum builder for them heading into the next provincial election. But, like I said above - no pressure Craig.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Random Question

Given that the best way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet Kyoto targets would be through higher gas prices, should the Liberals and NDP really be calling for the government to intervene and lower gas prices?

Just a random thought, since no news headlines are really grabbing my eye today.


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Guess who's coming to dinner?

The Star had an excerpt from Linda Diebel's new book on Stephane Dion and the Liberal leadership race in yesterday's paper and it certainly looks like the book will be packed with behind the scenes stories and interviews.

The excerpts in the Star deal mostly with the post-leadership challenge of managing egos and bringing the team together. They certainly make for some interesting reading...

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Even Hedy Fry lasted four months

Making this perhaps the shortest leadership bid in Canadian history, Gilles Duceppe's one day campaign for PQ leadership has ended.

It was a great campaign by Duceppe, full of highs and lows. Let's look back at some of the highlights of his bid:

Friday, May 11: Gilles Duceppe announces intention to run for PQ leadership.
Saturday, May 12: Gilles Duceppe drops out of PQ leadership race.

They'll write books about this campaign!


Advice from Alberta

For those who missed it, Don Martin offered up some advice to Stephane Dion in a column earlier this week. Truth be told, his pointers were mostly spot on. Among the highlights:

- Smile occasionally.

- Get better at pretending you actually enjoy meeting people. Mr. Harper learned to fake it, so you can too. They have consultants who can help.

- Keep on avoiding a script during Question Period.

- Stop giving deputy leader Michael Ignatieff the best questions. You pick first.

- Find and stake your claim on any defining issue except the environment to freshen up the leadership image.

- Never EVER go to Kelekis in Winnipeg and eat one of the restaurant's world-famous hot dogs using a KNIFE and a FORK like you did last month.

- Get a cat to play with your dog called Kyoto and name it Charisma.

- Reach back to the highly successful Jean Chretien era for staff recruitment. They were, after all, the architects of three consecutive majorities. Instead your office is dominated by Paul Martin leftovers, those big brains who delivered a single minority win and thought up the constitutional amendment on the notwithstanding clause.

- Being decent, cerebral and cautious, you should hire staff who are ruthless, fearless and take no prisoner partisan. See Chretien aides above.

- Take Justin Trudeau on the road to boost the heart-throb factor, but skip over Alberta because his daddy's name is still an obscenity there. Let Trudeau be seen. Letting junior be heard before he's received a history lesson or two has proven to be risky.

- Consider doing what the political textbooks call a "Preston" after former Reform leader Manning or a "Peterson" after former Ontario premier David. We're talking the full meal deal - glasses gone, hair style changed, upgraded suits and perhaps a voice coach to amp up those low-projection chords a bit


Friday, May 11, 2007

Bart's Books: French Kiss

French Kiss: Stephen Harper's Blind Date With Quebec
by Chantal Herbert

I’ll be honest. The only reason I decided to review Chantal Hebert’s latest book was because I’m hoping to get a few google hits for “french kiss”. I’ve always found Hebert’s view of federal politics and federalism frustrating but she certainly knows Quebec politics inside out and is undisputedly Canada’s preeminent Quebec columnist for people living outside of Quebec. With a Quebec election behind us and the possibility of both separatist parties delving into leadership races, now seems like a good time for an in depth look at Quebec politics and some speculation about the future of the politics in that province.

Unfortunately, French Kiss doesn’t really provide either. It’s yet another book on the dynamics of the Martin versus Harper era, with a focus on Quebec. Less than half the book deals with Quebec politics which is unfortunate since Hebert is clearly more in her element when writing about that topic than about, say, Alberta politics, where there is no real deep analysis on her part. There’s also no profound speculation about the future beyond “Harper will fail...or he won’t”, which is probably fair enough since no one really knows how Harper’s courting of Quebec will end. For Hebert, it’s hard to predict how the Harper positives of offering more autonomy for Quebec will be balanced against policy issues like Afghanistan and the environment where he’s completely off base from Quebecers. She does get off a good line at the end of the book though, by cautioning that Harper should “not read too much into a first date kiss”.

Hebert should have taken a page from her subject’s focused priorities approach, because she jumps around from topic to topic in Paul Martin style, leaving the reader dizzy at times. For example, one chapter starts off talking about the benefits of a Liberal-NDP merger, moves into electoral reform, and winds up lamenting the lack of women in politics. Another chapter starts off talking about the legacy of the Charter in Quebec, moves on to BC politics, and ends with an analysis of the equalization formula. As a result, French Kiss reads like the transcript of how you might imagine a talk with Chantal Hebert over beers at a pub might sound, rather than a book tightly focused around a central thesis about Quebec politics.

Much like Chantal often does, I’m probably sounding fairly negative so far, so I will say that Hebert does provide enjoyable reading when she sticks to Quebec. Her opinion that the presence of the Bloc Quebecois has hurt the separatist cause was especially fascinating. In her view, by showing separatists working with Canada and by bringing Quebec issues to the fore, it undermined the argument that Canada doesn’t work. Hebert also believes that the Clarity Act debate turned into a “family affair” with Dion and Duceppe duking it out in Ottawa, whereas without the BQ, it might have been seen as Ottawa imposing its will on Quebec.

Not surprisingly, I strongly disagree with Hebert’s opinion that the only way to power in Canada is through “open federalism” and decentralization. Throughout the book, she is constantly urging the Liberals and NDP to copy the Harper/Mulroney federalism blueprint. In addition to disagreeing with this in principle, I’m not sure it would be a political boon for either party to shift their view in that direction. Her chapter long “Ode to Meech” where Hebert describes the utopian society Canada would be had the ill-fated accord passed had me rolling my eyes a few times.

Still, even though I disagreed with many of her points, throughout the book Hebert defends her arguments well and writes in a very readable style, full of colourful analogies. So while it probably won’t be my favourite political book of 2007, it does have its moments.

Recommendation: Pick it up as a bargain book or borrow it from a friend.

Other Reviews
Bound by Gravity
A BCer in Toronto
Political Staples interview

A copy of French Kiss was provided free from Random House, for review

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Blair's Goodbye

I don't follow British politics that closely, but I always thought Tony Blair was one of Europe's better leaders and, certainly, one of its best politicians. Today, he announced that he will be leaving June 27th.

Enter Gordon Brown.


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Won't the real Gord Brown please stand up, please stand up, please stand up...

-One of my pet political interests is finding leadership races I could win by signing up a rec league soccer team. Last year, I reported on the PEI NDP race, won in a close 29 to 19 vote. This week, the Nova Scotia Green Party held their AGM and, in a tight three-way race, Ken McGowan emerged the winner in a 32 to 20 to 9 nail bitter.

-Apparently the oilsands will be exempt from several of the clean air can bet the opposition parties are just going to love this.

-Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. UPDATE: And Lawrence Cannon gets hit too...

-Leeds-Grenville Conservative MP Gord Brown (no doubt busy campaigning for Tony Blair's job), has been caught Jaffering a constituent.

-Didn't take long for Justin Trudeau to attract controversy.

-After going 7 for 8 and 3 for 4 in the first two rounds, I'll take my chances and bet against Detroit for the third straight round. Anaheim versus Buffalo is your final.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Boisclair's Walk in the Snow

After watching party members line up against him, Andre Boisclair has rolled over and quit as PQ chef. Boisclair has been behind the eight ball, and on a powder keg, due to chronic problems over the past year and his leadership was on the line going into the last provincial election. After the PQ bit the dust in March, it was inevitable that their members would eventually smoke Boisclair out and drop him like a ton of bricks.

To be blunt, Andre Boisclair blows as PQ leader, and they will be better off without him. So the high hopes of the sovereignty movement will hand over the keys to their new white knight, Gilles Duceppe.

Bad news for the BQ and bad news for bloggers who lose the opportunity to slip cocaine euphemisms into their Andre Boisclair posts.

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Pucks & Politics

I've got to hand it to Hugh McFadyen - he may just have found a winning issue in the Manitoba election:

Bring pro hockey back to Winnipeg: Manitoba Tories

WINNIPEG — Manitoba's provincial election campaign has turned its attention to hockey with the Conservatives promising to bring the NHL back to Winnipeg.

Standing alongside former Winnipeg Jet Thomas Steen, Tory Leader Hugh McFadyen said he'll work with the private sector to bring back the team, who left Manitoba a decade ago.

Yeah, I know, I know. It's got that NDP "more vacations, axe ATM fees" feeling to it, but it's sure a lot more fun to talk about than taxes or the environment.

Between this and the Shane Doan insanity, I got to thinking about other times when the national pastime...and the other national pastime have intersected. Off the top of my head:

-Stephen Harper as a guest commentator on TSN last fall and his oft talked about but rarely worked on hockey history book.

-Gilles Duceppe promises Quebecers their own hockey team at international events during the last election campaign. No doubt the thought of Patrice Brisebois coughing up the puck in a key game scared voters away.

-John Manley's ill-fated NHL bail-out to help Canadian teams deal with the sinking dollar.

-The cross-over stars, such as Ken Dryden who have taken up a seat in the House.

-The Richard riot, which had a ton of political causes and consequences.

-Countless photo opps, bets, tortured analogies, etc...

That's all I got without cheating; a quick google search led me to this article with several anecdotes, including the time Brian Mulroney told off Eric Lindros.

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Leaders and Leadership

1. Sarkozy victorieux!

2. Andre Boisclair is drawing fire from within the PQ, and prominent sovereignist Yves Michaud has called Boisclair "childish". (no doubt this arrogant comment will rouse the distracted giant and lead to many attacks against Mr. Michaud from Quebec bloggers)

3. The provincial PCs held their annual convention in Edmonton this weekend. Usually it's hard to get media coverage of a policy convention but they succeeded in grabbing quite a few headlines, as far away as Calgary:

Tories express Anti-Calgary sentiment
Alberta divide appears to be growing

EDMONTON - A ripple of anti-Calgary sentiment seemed to permeate the Progressive Conservative convention Saturday in Edmonton, with samples coming in both noise and numbers.

Mayor Dave Bronconnier's political tactics were the target of rowdy party members, then Calgary candidate Joe Lougheed -- son of former premier Peter Lougheed -- was rejected in his run for Tory party president against Edmonton-area candidate Marg Mrazek.

But the most palpable moment came when a crowd of more than 1,000 Tories gave Premier Ed Stelmach a raucous 40-second standing ovation, after he attacked Bronconnier -- who wasn't in attendance -- over the mayor's claims a lack of provincial dollars are delaying LRT expansion.

They were also quick to put Stelmach's keynote speech up on Youtube. Since, as a Liberal, I feel it's in my party's best interest to have as many Albertans as possible hear Ed Stelmach speak, I present the clips for everyone here to peruse.

(clip 1, clip 2)

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Friday, May 04, 2007

The Sixth Priority

After slaying the fiscal imbalance, the Tories have directed their attention to a new mythical creature:

Bigfoot, the legendary hairy man-like beast said to roam the wildernesses of North America, is not shy, merely so rare it risks extinction and should be protected as an endangered species.

So says Canadian MP Mike Lake who has called for Bigfoot to be protected under Canada's species at risk act, alongside Whooping Cranes, Blue Whales, and Red Mulberry trees.

"The debate over their (Bigfoot's) existence is moot in the circumstance of their tenuous hold on merely existing," reads a petition presented by Lake to parliament in March and due to be discussed next week.

"Therefore, the petitioners request the House of Commons to establish immediate, comprehensive legislation to affect immediate protection of Bigfoot," says the petition signed by almost 500 of Lake's constituents in Edmonton, Alberta.

In fairness, there are probably more bigfoot sightings than Liberal sightings in Alberta but Mike Lake still seems a bit out to lunch on this one.

(hat tip - Scott Tribe)


Thursday, May 03, 2007

What's My Line?

Andrew Coyne has a funny take on the government's ever evolving position on the monitoring of Afghan detainees. For those looking for the specific facts, I present them in an easy to understand chronological order. If you understand the following, MENSA should be calling within the next few days.

2006-early 2007: Gordon O'Connor maintains that the Red Cross are monitoring transferred detainees and reporting their findings to Canada.

March 8: Gordon O'Connor admits that the Red Cross does not inform Canada of the treatment of detainees captured by Canadian troops and transferred to Afghan authorities.

March 19: Gordon O'Connor apologizes for misleading the House.

April 23: Amid calls for his resignation, Gordon O'Connor defends himself by "telling Commons that a recent agreement with the human rights commission of Afghanistan guaranteed any detainee abuses would be reported."

April 24: A front page Globe story reveals that "the Harper government knew from its own officials that prisoners held by Afghan security forces faced the possibility of torture, abuse and extrajudicial killing." It shows that many of this information had been blacked out in documents.
April 25: The government maintains that it is the AIHRC and not any Canadian organizations who monitor detainees.

April 25: AIHRC says that "we couldn't go there [to the prisons]".

April 25: Gordon O'Connor's elevator scrum reveals that Canada has struck a deal with Afghanistan to allow Canadian officials to monitor detainees "any time they wanted".

April 25 (later): Peter MacKay is first told of this deal by journalists.

April 26: In QP, Stephen Harper says that there is no signed deal.

April 27: Stockwell Day says that Corrections Canada has made 15 17 trips to prisons to monitor detainees, saying they are there "to see if there are cases of torture".

April 28: "Urging an end to the "political circus" over Afghan detainees, Afghanistan's ambassador to Canada says no Canadians, including corrections officers, have monitored treatment of prisoners turned over by Canadian military forces."

April 29: Stockwell Day tells Question Period that there have been no specific accusations by detainees of torture.

May 1: Stockwell Day says that Correctional Services Canada had been told by 2 detainees that they had been tortured.

May 1: The opposition parties decide to move on to far more important issues - the captaincy of Shane Doan to Team Canada. Stephane Dion calls the Tory silence "shocking", Ducceppe criticized Harper for not taking a stand on the issue, and Jack Layton said Doan's captaincy would "cast a shadow" on the team. Elizabeth May says the choice of Doan was akin to Chamberlain's appeasement of the Nazis.

May 2: Foreign Affairs complains that they were not consulted on Hillier's 2005 detainee deal.

May 3: Rick Hillier concedes that "perhaps [the deal he signed] was no sufficient"

May 3: The Canadian ambassador signs a new detainee deal.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

"Hocus pocus, boogah boogah economics"

1. Elizabeth May is in hot water for comparing someone or some action to Hitler or Chamberlain or something of the sort. Since I'm sure you all came to this blog for my expert analysis, I will offer this profound insight which you are unlikely to see anywhere else: it was stupid of her to say that.

Obviously, Jack Layton is in agreement with this assessment:

"Well, we certainly would have never made any such comparison," he said. "I think it's very unfortunate and certainly not something that we consider to be wise or appropriate."

I agree. Anyone who would compare something like the Kyoto accord to appeasement lacks common sense and good judgment.

Via Aaron Wheery comes this gem from Jack:

"Mr. Speaker, enough is enough. We have been hearing those kinds of comments from the Prime Minister for 16 years since he began promising to clean up the air for Canadians and instead we have worse pollution than ever. He makes Neville Chamberlain look like a stalwart in standing up to a crisis. Smog is sending people to emergency wards at unprecedented levels. The prairies are drying up. We have forest fires like we have never had before. All we get are promises of plans to be brought forward some day. Will he bring forward a plan, yes or no?"

2. Speaking of Macleans, their Instapundit feature gives a nice round-up of the daily news for anyone wanting to get caught up on the news at a site that doesn't sell headlines.

3. The Danny Williams Dave Bronconnier versus Paul Martin Stephen Harper Ed Stelmach feud is is all the rage in Alberta these days.

4. It's always fun to see what different Tory Cabinet Ministers think of the entire "nation" question. Jean-Pierre Blackburn appears to subscribe to the Diefenbaker deux nations philosophy.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

They also want to know why Crawford picked Bourque in the '98 shoot-out

Gack! Even when I try for some leisure net browsing, I can't escape politics. I did about 5 double takes on when I saw this headline:

Parliamentary committee summons Hockey Canada over Doan's captaincy

Good grief. Hopefully they'll also voice their displeasure over the starting goalie selection, penalty killing tactics, and line combinations being used...