Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Quadra Equation

Given what happened in the Quebec by-elections, one imagines people will be paying close attention to round two, expected this fall. One of those by-elections will be in Vancouver Quadra, Stephen Owen's old riding and a Liberal riding since a man by the name of Turner won it in 1984.

The Tories held their nomination meeting in Quadra last night and a funny thing happened. The hand picked candidate of John Reynolds, Mary McNeil went down in defeat. Reynolds had been touting the BC Cancer Foundation Chairman as a "star" all summer and had invested a lot of political capital to get her to run. And for those keeping track, this is not the first star recruit of Reynolds to go down in flames during a nominating one imagines big names will think twice about being lured onside in the foreseeable future.

As for Quadra, the Tories will be puting up UBC professor Deborah Meredith, while the Liberals will put up former provincial Environment Minister Joyce Murray. The likely bronze medalist will be Rebecca Coad, of the NDP.


Saturday, September 29, 2007

On The Take Book Signing

I decided to venture out to the Mulroney book signing in Calgary on Wednesday. Sure, he wasn't a great Prime Minister, but he was a Prime Minister nevertheless. And not even the way Joe Clark or John Turner were Prime Ministers...Lyin' Brian was a real Prime Minister.

Now, the last book signing I went to in Calgary was the Paul Wells one so I was kind of assuming it would be a similar crowd and atmosphere. D'oh. Even though Brian has never had a blog, there were hundreds of people there so I was forced to stand in line for an hour and a half, waiting to get my chance to meet the man himself. Because of this, I missed the Q & A and the reading, but it was described to me from another Mulroney fan as follows:
Holy crap...Mulroney's bitterness must be seen to be believed!

As for my event, as I inched towards Brian, I was thinking of clever and witty things to say ("thanks for giving us 13 years of Liberal government") but at the end, I sort of stood there dumb faced and said something fairly un-inspiring like "Da...nice to meet you...".

I'll have a full review once I get through all 1152 pages so I'm thinking that will be sometime in 2011. Until then, enjoy the photo highlights of the book signing:


Friday, September 28, 2007

Mr. Potatoe Head

It's getting hard to keep track of all the hits Ed Stelmach's government is taking (note to opposition researches - maybe you should save some of these for the election). The latest involves the...I am not making this up..."Idaho-Alberta Transboundary Task Force", where Tory MLAs were paid $19,000 for doing absolutely nothing. And I'm not using "absolutely nothing" in the sense that Tory MLAs aren't doing anything for the province - I mean "absolutely nothing" in the sense that it was a non-existent committee. The committee was tasked with improving the relationship between Idaho and Alberta which by itself is fine, so long as "improving the relationship" doesn't involve any Alberta politicians tapping their feet in airport washrooms.

The problem appears to be that:

According to the documents, the only work the task force did was hosting an
Idaho delegation that came to Alberta for a conference in July 2006.

That must have been one great conference. But, although I found my Larry Craig joke above somewhat funny, the best line goes to Roch Bergeron for this letter to the editor in today's Herald:

Idaho - Re: "$19,000 paid for little or no work," Sept. 25.

So, Tory MLA Cindy Ady received roughly $11,500 because she "was in charge of making sure that we had a good relationship with Idaho."

Well, Cindy, our family drove through Idaho this past summer, and everyone there was very friendly.

I think you are doing an excellent job.

By the way, there are a couple of ad agencies in Montreal that sure could use your expertise.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Random Wishes

Given that the throne speech is still 19 days away, I'd really rather not have to endure daily election speculation around it.

I mean, can't we talk about something a little more relevant, like Paris Hilton, or Britney?

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

MMP, not really for me

I've been watching what has turned into quite the blog war over the Ontario MMP referendum with fascination. I'm fully aware that most people in the general population probably aren't very interested in the debate but, if you're reading this blog, odds are you're a political geek, in which case, West Wing reruns aside, you probably love nothing more in life than debating electoral reform (unless you stumbled across this by mistake on a weird google search).

Does Ontario Need Electoral Reform?

In general, I do think electoral reform is a good thing. Fixed election dates, more openness and transparency, maybe a preferential ballot...I can generally get behind a lot of moves aimed at "democratizing" the system (whatever that means).

But do we need to change the system? I dunno. First past the post has given Canada, and Canadian provinces, pretty good government over the past 140 years. Yes, there are some problems with a lack of diversity among elected officials, representation not directly related to vote totals, and low voter turn-out rates. For me, I think the system can be fixed with tinkering but I can at least see where people are coming from when they say that change is needed.

The Effect of MMP from a Practical Perspective

OK, so you're one of those people that wants change. But we could change the system to anything from a Monarchy to a philosopher king - there needs to be reason enough to believe that MMP would be an improvement. So what can we reasonably expect MMP to change?

Well, the smaller parties would get more seats, for starters. That's good news for NDP and Green supporters. It would also mean perpetual minority/coalition governments - whether that's good or bad is debatable. As for fringe parties, they'd need to pick up 3% to get seats so it only changes things if you think the "abortion party", "jewish rights party", or "NDP" could reach that threshold. My main fear is that there's no incentive to be a big tent party under this system. I could guarantee that the PCs would split within five years because it makes more pragmatic sense to have a PC party hugging the centre and a separate right wing party to bring out the hard right wingers.

As for being more representative, yeah, if the list candidates were appointed, you'd get more females and minorities for sure. Then again, if the list candidates were appointed, it could get consumed with patronage.

Then you get voter turn-out. I know the argument is that certain ridings are slam dunks so people feel there's no reason to vote because their vote doesn't matter. If you think about things, the odds that one vote, out of five million province wide for 39 seats will make a difference is nearly non-existent. Maybe there'd be a psychological thing that would encourage more people to vote, but I'm a little skeptical myself.

Since I'm not a huge fan of minority governments and MMP increases the odds of large parties fracturing, it doesn't do much for me from a pragmatic point of view.

MMP from a Theoretical Perspective

Liking the system because of actual benefits it would bring is one thing. Liking it from a theoretical perspective could also be a good reason to bring it in. You know, all that feel good "fairness" and "democracy" crap people seem so attached to for whatever reason. And, having the percentage of MPPs correspond to the percentage of votes certainly sounds fairer.

On the flip side, you have MPPs being elected indirectly. Like him or hate him, Rob Anders does get directly elected by the voters of Calgary West so there's a certain legitimacy to him being in Parliament. That gets blurred a bit once you start talking about lists. I personally think STV makes more sense from a theoretical perspective than MMP but I guess that's a preference thing - Coke or Pepsi, Marianne or Ginger.

The very least I can see where MMP supporters are coming from when they talk about it from a theoretical perspective.


MMP would be an interesting experiment but I just don't think the problem is big enough or that the solution would improve things. And I'm saying this fully aware that MMP would mean a lot more Liberals, both federally and provincially, elected in Alberta. For a counter-point, here's a good post on the New Zealand experience.


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Ed's "Pension Moment"

It's really amazing just how big the royalty review has become in Alberta. In just four days 210,000 people have read the report online - I'd always thought those kind of hit numbers were limited to youtube or porn sites.

The report calls for an additional 2 billion dollars in royalties a year and several sliding scale rates that would depend on the price of oil - makes sense to me. Those on the right are already gearing up to scream "Stelmach's NEP" if he brings the full report in, while those are the left will no doubt claim that Mr. Ed has sold out to big oil and shown a lack of leadership if he doesn't implement every recommendation.

This is quickly turning into Ed Stelmach's "pension moment" that will probably make or break his leadership. Back in 1993, the PCs were down in the polls and left for dead by most. A huge backlash over MLA pensions was brewing, but Ralph Klein went into caucus and laid down the law, telling his caucus they'd have to slash their pensions or they'd lose the next election. They came into line and Ralph's World was created.

The situation is similar now. Implementing the full report, would let Stelmach say he's standing up to big oil, that he's willing to make difficult decisions, and it would cut the Alberta Liberal Party off on one of their big issues. The fringe parties on the right aren't real threats and all Stelmach has to do is remind Albertans that it was Peter Lougheed who massively increased the royalties back in the 70s. "This oil belongs to Albertans, blah blah blah, we deserve our fair share, blah blah blah".

I hate to give the guy advice but I'm fairly confident that Stelmach will take a wishy washy middle ground solution that leaves everyone pissed off. If he surprises, he might be able to extend the PC dynasty another decade. If not? Well, all good things...

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Random Links

I've been fairly busy of late so I've got a bunch of half posts that never materialized and e-mails with links I've never got around to posting sitting around. So, here's a completely random Friday link list:

1. The Better Calgary Coalition has their website up and online. They'll be commenting on the civic election in Calgary and *gasp* actually talking about the issues. Some of the issues getting media play so far in the campaign have been taxes and transit. Although, given the weather in Calgary, the sleeper issue might very well be snow removal.

2. Speaking of the race so far, I'd like to direct all my Ward 3 readers over to George Chahal's website. George is a very strong candidate who would be a big addition to council - go check out his site to see what he's talking about.

3. A hot rumour going around is that Bronconnier has brought on Rod Love and Hal Danchilla to help with his campaign. Hmm....Setting him up to replace Stelmach perhaps?

4. is up and running.

5. From the people who brought you Derision 2006 comes The Goose, a satirical look at the Ontario election.

6. Here's an article slamming biofuels.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

On Top

The year was 1976. The Canadian dollar and US dollar were on par, Sylvester Stalone played Rocky Balboa in the theaters, the Progressive Conservatives ruled Alberta, and the Toronto Maple Leafs were in a Stanley Cup drought.

The big news today is, of course, the Canadian dollar inching ahead of the US dollar ever so briefly this afternoon. Since Canadians enjoy beating the Americans at anything, this is was probably pretty good for moral and, let's face it, it's been 31 years so it is a fairly newsworthy achievement.

Since I'm not an economist, I don't really know what it means. I guess it means that unfunny "dollar jokes" will need to be altered. So, instead of saying "can I give you an American dollar, that's worth, like, twenty bucks, ha ha", you'll have to lamely say "can I give you an American'll owe me a quarter, ha ha" or something of the sort. Apart from that, I'll have to let the economists speculate as to what it means but the economy certainly seems to be rolling along quite nicely so I'm certainly not going to worry about it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Yesterday, the Progressive Conservatives broke the Social Credit government record, celebrating their 13,157th consecutive day in power. During that time, there have been 30 provincial government changes across Canada. There was no big victory speech last night, but it would probably go something like:

I'd like to thank the Alberta Liberal Party, Lawrence Decore for musing about abortion in '93, the NEP, the NDP, PET, the ontinuously divided right wing, Ralph Klein, Peter Lougheed, and, of course, God, for puting the oil in the ground.

How many more days they last in power will probably depend on how they handle this. Oilsands royalties could very well be the top issue of the next election campaign.


Somewhat Disconcerting Spin

The Dion aide said their team doesn't yet have the "capacity to run a by-election."

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that Paul Wells and Andrew Coyne have the best analysis of the Quebec by elections this morning. Building a bit on Coyne's post, here is the average change in popular vote for the respective parties in the three by elections (compared to election night 2006):

Conservatives +10.2%
NDP +10.2%
Liberals -1.6%
Greens -1.8%
Bloc -15.3%

Before I get into a party by party breakdown, let's remember these were by elections. And weird things can often happen in by elections. The Tories and NDP both benefited from strong local candidates in the ridings they won and a strong local candidate has a much larger impact on a by election than on a national campaign. Also, voter turn out was low, with Outremont only getting 59% of the total votes cast there they got in the 2006 election. Still, their results shouldn't be discounted because even if weird stuff goes down during by elections, they can often be quite telling of shifting political winds.

CPC: The Tories made big gains in both the rural ridings (dropping in Outremont) and certainly have the Bloc on the run. Despite all the flack Harper has gotten over Afghanistan, it certainly appears that the potential for a Quebec breakthrough is there under the right circumstances. If you ask me, he's a bigger winner than Layton tonight, because I can't see the NDP gaining from this in the next election, whereas the Tories could pick up another 10 or 12 seats if things broke right during the next campaign.

NDP: Yeah, it was somewhat historic, but they did take a 1990 by election in Quebec too and the 1993 election didn't exactly usher in a socialist revolution. Outremont was their best riding in 2006 and I really can't see another seat that's within their grasp. That said, having a Quebec MP is a huge boost for the Dippers and they now have a strong leader in waiting, with even more facial hair than Jack Layton. Not that leadership is really a question now, as Jack must be grinning even more than usual today.

Liberals: Like Coyne said, the drop in Outremont wasn't cataclysmic given that it was an incredibly inept local campaign, from the sound of things. And, hell, maybe Jean Lapierre had some appeal on the Quebec nation that was lost on me. But it's still a big body blow to the Party and to Dion. There's no denying that, especially when you consider that the party seems to be worse off now in Quebec than during the height of Adscam. What hurts more than the by election loss is the internal party snipping. At the risk of losing my "G" rating, enough with the fucking anonymous quotes already. That goes for the Iggy people who may or may not be trying to undermine Dion and that goes for the Dion people who see a conspiracy plot around every corner. It's abundantly clear that unless this party can renew itself, get better structurally organized, and come together, we won't win another election for a long time. And that's true regardless of whomever the leader is. Dion is here until at least the next election whether people like it or not and the kind of antics that are reported to be going on don't help anyone.

Bloc: Ouch. The Bloc had massive drops in support in all three by elections, losing to the NDP in the cities and to the Conservatives in the rural seats. This party is in deep trouble and the only real question is whether it's them or the Liberals who will be forced to reluctantly support Harper in an effort to stave off an election.

Greens: Lost in the shuffle is the fact that the Greens lost more support than the Liberals province wide - and they had very little to begin with. Despite all the talk about the environment and high poll numbers, it just didn't happen for them - and one would expect more protest Green votes in by elections than in a general election too.

So that's a snapshot of the scene in Quebec. By elections in Ontario and Saskatchewan this fall should give us a better sense of the rest of the country.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Zut Alors!

Wow. That sure sucked.

Pretty impossible to spin this one. Huge wins for the Tories and Dippers. Pretty brutal nights for the Liberals and Bloc. I don't think anything else needs to be said.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Who you know in the P.O.

It's been a rough weekend for Ed Stelmach. The private eye spying scandal (or, perhaps, the "Hall & Oates scandal") continues to grow and, now, front page headlines in Calgary and Edmonton are blasting him hard on patronage. It appears half the board appointments in the province are card carrying Tories and, while they certainly have over half the seats in the province, the number of card carrying Tories is not even remotely close to that. Some board are made up 100% of well connected Conservatives. So, yeah, the optics kind of suck.

On Tuesday, the Tories will break the Socred record as Alberta's longest serving government. However, given the past year, that one is sure to go over about as well as Barry Bonds' 756th did this summer.


The Panic Button

There has certainly been a bit of panic in Liberal land since the "Outremont Poll" came out on Friday, showing the NDP in front. Given the strong candidate the NDP is fielding and what I'm hearing is a very disorganized ground campaign by the Liberals, this might not be as surprising as it would seem at first glance.

Either way, given low voter turn-out in by elections, there's no use panicking until Monday night, and there's certainly nothing to be gained by going around and spreading conspiracy theories about espionage from within.

It should make for an interesting night of results - less glamorous, but more important, would probably be a Conservative win in Roberval-Lac-Saint-Jean.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

This Liberal Outrage Brought to you by FOX News...

The Tories have a pretty funny You Tube ad up about he Ontario election.

Mind you, given copyright laws, they might be needing one of these soon:


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

(18% of) Calgary Votes

Calgary's municipal election gets off and rolling officially on Monday but things are already heating up. So, yes, my Toronto readers, go read one of the many other liblogers blood feuding over MMP, today's post is all for Calgarians.

1. Ward 1 challenger Carol Neuman has some absolutely hilarious posters on her facebook group that made me chuckle. It might be a good idea for the Alberta Liberals to do a similar "the world has changed since 1971" campaign virally next provincial election:

2. Barry Erskine has announced he won't be running again in Ward 11. Rumour is he'll be going for the PC nomination in Calgary Elbow against Craig Cheffins.

3. I did my first post on the Alnoor Kassam HQ blog on Tuesday, recapping the Monday council meeting I attended. As you can see by the information package they gave out to everyone attending it put it mildly...a long meeting.

4. From the looks of things, there should be somewhat serious challenges to most of the aldermen except for the trio in the far south.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007


And the winner, with 53.2% of the vote, is...

Peter Lougheed. In a photo finish, Alberta's first PC Premier has been crowned as Canada's best Premier, defeating Ontario's Premier for much of the 19th Century, Oliver Mowat.

Lougheed won a wild battle with Tommy Douglas in the first round, before knocking off Ed Schreyer and Ernest Manning, en route to his final fight with Oliver Mowat.

A thanks to all the other blogs who helped run the individual provincial contests. For a full contest recap, feel free to browse the links below:


Monday, September 10, 2007

Monday Night News Hits

-The Ontario election is off and running...after being off and running for the past few months. I'd be betting on a McGuinty majority.

-SES has a town hall set up for the Ontario election where, amongst other things, you can try and beat the experts with your predictions. Sounds like fun.

-Stephen Harper has Senate envy. Except in this case, he's not envious of the size, but of how Australia uses it.

-Veil voting has become a hot topic in the Quebec by elections. To me, it doesn't seem unreasonable, so long as veiled voters can show their face to a female elections officer. The vote will be on September 17th.

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Friday, September 07, 2007

Best Premier Show Down

After 10 regional contests and 14 knock-out matches, it has all come down to this. Peter Lougheed versus Oliver Mowat for the title of Canada's Best Premier.

Voting will remain open until Monday night at 11 pm Mountain time, when a winner will be crowned.

The Matchup: Peter Lougheed squeaked out of the first round in the most hotly contested battle of the tournament, taking out Greatest Canadian winner, Tommy Douglas. After taking out another dipper in the quarter finals, Lougheed played Social Credit killer, beating Ernest Manning in a hotly contested 1620-1543 vote. One would expect the right to rally around Lougheed, although he has recently been quite critical of both provincial and federal Tories, and has advocated for slowed oilsands growth.

Oliver Mowat finished second in a tight three man race for Ontario's best Premier but got his revenge on John Robarts, defeating him handily in the first round. Mowat won a tight quarter final match against Louis Robichaud but then trounced Rene Levesque in the night of the long knives semi-finals, by a 6 to 1 margin. While Mowat died before anyone voting in this poll was born, that didn't stop Laurier from winning Greatest Prime Minister two summers ago, or George Etienne Cartier from going deep in "Greatest PM we never had" last year.

Peter Lougheed: Lougheed burst onto the Albertan political scene in 1971, leading the Progressive Conservative Party to victory, and ending the 36 year reign of Social Credit. Lougheed's youth, energy, and fresh ideas were instrumental in his win, especially when contrasted with the tired SoCred government of Harry Strom. Lougheed remained immensely popular throughout his tenure as Premier, never once coming close to losing power.

Lougheed oversaw economic growth in Alberta, raising oil and gas royalties, and creating the Heritage Fund to save the profits for future generations. While he did bring in modest advances in the areas of health, research, and recreation, he left his largest mark on the national stage, feuding with the Prime Minister (most famously with Trudeau, but also with Clark) and Ontario Premier Bill Davis. Lougheed raised holy hell over the NEP and fanned the flames of Western alienation but eventually signed a series of renegotiated deals with the Trudeau government.

Oliver Mowat: Mowat left his mark on both Ontario and on Canada as a whole. He attended the Quebec conference that laid much of the groundwork for confederation and was postmaster general in the Ontario government that helped bring confederation into being.

As Premier of Ontario from 1872 to 1896, he would reverse positions he held during the confederation talks and his fight to decentralize Canada was the defining characteristic of his premiership. He oversaw a period of rapid urban growth in Ontario and used his keen political instincts to manage language and religious conflicts with finesse. However, his ability to keep stability often led to timid moves on the legislative front and few decisions he made could really be classified as being of the "bold" variety. He also helped democratize and clean up the democratic process in Ontario, introducing the secret ballot and extending suffrage beyond property owners.

In 1896, he jumped to the federal scene, where the Liberals won under a "Laurier, Mowat, and victory" slogan. He would be appointed Justice Minister following the win.

Who Was Canada's Best Premier?
Peter Lougheed (2)
Oliver Mowat (12)
See Results


Thursday, September 06, 2007

Conservative Adscam

I wish I could take credit for that title term but it appears John Ivison coined it first.

Regardless of what you call it, this certainly strikes me as a newsworthy issue. For those unfamiliar, Jason Cherniak has a fairly detailed breakdown, complete with snazzy graphs and everything. The short of it is that the Tories had some fun with the accounting books, by shuffling money from the party to the local ridings, allowing them to break the spending limits and get larger refunds from Elections Canada.

Predictably, Conservatives have lept forward to defend themselves, the most common line appearing to be "it's not as bad as Adscam". I love this one since it's pretty much akin to saying "the last guy who held my job was fired for fraud, so I should be allowed to take a piss in the lunchroom". Hell, why didn't Martin just bring up the Pacific Scandal during the good old Liberal Adscam days to explain things away?

Another fun arguments I've heard is "it's just like Tim Hortons!" Because, you know, like, all the individuals chains, like, pay for those national inspirational ads about fathers and sons and soliders and puppies bonding together over Tim Hortons. Which is a valid point, because I can't remember Elections Canada ever going after Tim Hortons for breaking the election financing laws.

Now, in fairness, making fun of the arguments put forward by Tory bloggers isn't really fair - I should be looking to the official party position. Pierre Pollievre has brought forward the case that it's a freedom on speech argument. Basically, the Conservative Party is admitting they broke the rules but that the rules are unfair because there shouldn't be spending limits during campaigns. Yes, this from the party that brought you an Accountability Act with donation limits of $1,000 per person. An Accountability Act that was completely quiet on spending limits. Hmm...

Now, from my perspective, a few things seem fairly obvious:

1. These were obviously national ads. I'm sorry, but font size 3 white writing on a yellow background at the end of the ad, does not make it a local ad.

2. This danced around the rules. At least in the eyes of Elections Canada it did and they seem to be the ones best suited to judge this.

3. Even though this may not be the most sinister conspiracy ever perpetrated on the Canadian people, it still looks dirty to me and the Tories deserve to get some flack for it. And, yes, even those evil Liberals who brought you Adscam should be able to criticize them for it.

4. Had it been the Liberals who had done this, they'd have been crucified by Ivison, Pollievre, and the media as a whole. That's just the way it is and the double standard is reversed when it comes to things like abortion comments, but it's still there.

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Morning Round-Up

1. Yesterday, Dave Bronconnier declared September as "yellow ribbon month" in Calgary. While the timing is a bit suspect, rumour has it that October will be declared "provincial/municipal funding agreement awareness month" or "celebration of overpass construction month".

2. Brian Mulroney is in the news for "lashing out" against Pierre Trudeau. To be clear, this is a former Prime Minister trashing another former Prime Minister who has been dead for seven years, over things the later did a quarter century before becoming PM. Real classy Brian - good to see you aren't bitter or anything.

The Calgary Sun calls it a "clash of the titans", but I'm not sure it can really be considered a clash when one of the "clashers" isn't really able to, you know, respond.

3. Fred Thompson has jumped into the Presidential race and I'd have to peg him as the odds on favourite to take the Republican nomination at this point. The same way a lot of Liberals are longing for another Trudeau, one imagines a lot of Republicans would love to find the next Reagan and Thompson will probably be close enough for many of them.

4. Interesting move for McGuinty to release his full platform over a month before election day.

5. For those who missed it on Saturday, here's the link to Andrew Coyne's "politics here is uniquely stupid" column. Gotta agree, at least partially.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Has Anyone Booked Kinsella Into Canada AM?

...cuz I suspect Barney might need to be brought out of retirement.

In fairness to John Tory, he only said that creationism can be tought side by side with evolution.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Four Quick Hits

Municipal, provincial, federal, and American political links on this Labour Day Monday.

Municipal: The Alnoor Kassam campaign will be running the first batch of radio ads this week, on traffic. They're kind of cute, so feel free to give them a listen here.

Provincial: Apparently Ed Stelmach is getting the always unpleasant Mr. Dithers label, according to the Globe. As much as I'm not a fan of Stelmach, I've actually never heard him called Mr. Dithers. I've heard "Unsteady Eddie", "Mr. Ed", "Special Ed", "Harry Strom Jr." and about 50 other insults, but never Dithers. The article also has this inspirational quote:

“Will there be people without homes? Yes. Will there be some sick people that we can't save, despite all the medical technology that we have? Yes, there will be. But people are continuing to move here because where else are they going to go in Canada?

I think we may have a new slogan to replace wild rose province. "Alberta: Where else are you gonna go?"

Federal: The Tories continue to try and neutralize the Afghanistan issue.

US: Lots of Republicans seem to get themselves into sex scandals. And, for whatever reason, a large percentage of them seem to be gay sex scandals.

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Sunday, September 02, 2007

The Final Four

UPDATE: The final is set. Oliver Mowat crushed Rene Levesque 602-97, while Lougheed outdid his felow Albertan 1620-1543. So it will be Lougheed versus Mowat in the final.

We've reached the final four in the Best Premier contest. Voting remains open until 10 pm Mountain Wednesday night. Thursday I'll post the final battle which will be voted on until next Sunday evening when a champion will be crowned.

Eastern Semi-Final

Rene Levesque (16) vs. Oliver Mowat (12)

Game Story: Rene Levesque continues his surprising run, after knocking off Jean Lesage in the quarter-finals. As for Mowat, he's already booted a pair of 60s premiers, Jon Robarts and Louis Robichaud. Will it be a night of the long knives with the man with the mutton chops coming out on top, or can Levesque make it to the finals?

Rene Levesque career highlights (Quebec 1976-1985): Drew headlines around the world with the PQ's victory in 1976 and is best remember for going uno-a-uno with Trudeau during the 1980 referendum. Despite this, he does have a strong domestic accomplishment record with campaign finance reform, Hydro-Quebec expansion, and increased social service delivery. Oh, and he killed a homeless man while driving drunk.

Oliver Mowat career highlights (Ontario 1872-96): As Premier, Mowat fought the federal government over jurisdiction of provincial issues, such as liquor, timber, and mineral rights and won, greatly decentralizing Canada. He introduced the secret ballot and extended suffrage beyond property owners. He also created the municipal level of government in Ontario and the Children's Aid Society. Oh, and he's Farley Mowat's great uncle.

Western Semi-Final

Ernest Manning (11) vs. Peter Lougheed (2)

Game Story: After taking out a pair of prairie dippers, Lougheed sets his sights on a fellow Albertan, Ernest Manning. While Manning beat Lougheed's party in the 1967 election, Lougheed offed Manning's successor in '71, ending 36 years of Social Credit rule in Alberta. With two conservative titans from Alberta going head to head, this should make for a good battle.

Ernest Manning career highlights (Alberta 1943-1968): During Ernest C. Manning's period of service as Premier, Alberta became Canada's major oil-producing province following the discovery of the Leduc field in 1947 and the Redwater field in 1948. Education, health, and highways were priorities of Premier Manning's Government. In 1947, it legislated free hospital and medical care for senior citizens and, in 1965, provincial civil servants were given the right to engage in collective bargaining.

Peter Lougheed career highlights (Alberta 1971-85): Ended the Social Credit's one-party rule of Alberta, replacing it with Progressive Conservative one-party rule. During his tenure as Premier, the Alberta Government's major priorities were the control of Alberta's natural resources and their development for future generations of Albertans; participation of Albertans in the mainstream of Canadian life; economic diversification; and the improvement of health, research, and recreational facilities in the Province. In 1976, the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund was established, and a portion of these royalties was deposited as long-term investments to be used to meet unanticipated future needs. Is most famous for his fights with the federal government during the energy wars.


Saturday, September 01, 2007

Write Your Own Punchline

Oh man...

The beaver is one of Canada's national symbols and now a senior Liberal wants to make the puffin the symbol of the country's self-proclaimed natural governing party.

Liberal deputy leader Michael Ignatieff says the industrious little seabird -- with its black and white plumage, distinctive striped beak and orange feet -- is a "noble'' creature that exemplifies Liberal values.

"It's a noble bird because it has good family values. They stay together for 30 years,'' Ignatieff said Thursday outside a Liberal caucus retreat in the Newfoundland capital.

"They lay one egg (each year). They put their excrement in one place. They hide their excrement. ... They flap their wings very hard and they work like hell.

"This seems to me a symbol for what our party should be.''

UPDATE: Saw this "puffin rap" on facebook which was written by former Iggy co-chair Alf Apps:

What's all this huffin'
''bout the aristocratic puffin?
Is it so absurd
That a Newfie bird
Could point the way
To a brighter day?

Have the mighty Grits
Completely lost their wits?
Or does Iggy simply see
What might yet be
If Canadians start to flap
About the way the Tories crap?

It is surely an affront
To watch the Tories grunt
Take Kyoto's abrogation,
A too public evacuation!
Or their election spending cheat,
How utterly indiscrete!

Such partisan poo
Compared to Avian doo
However uncouth,
Is now Canadian truth.
And the Libs new mascot
Is just so so hot!