Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 Year in Review Quiz: Live from Campaign Headquaters

How closely did you follow politics this year? Take a crack at these 20 questions to find out. And no, my felow Liberals, there is no benefit to abstaining on any questions so take a guess on all of them.

1. Which hockey player’s alleged anti-French comments were investigated by parliamentarians this spring?

a) Saku Koivu
b) Sean Avery
c) Darcy Tucker
d) Shane Doan

2. Who, among the following claimed to be “cured” of gayness in 2007?
a) Larry Craig
b) Ted Haggart
c) Dumbledore
d) Rob Anders

3. Who is the NDP MP puppeteering Toxic Timmy in this video?

4. Which PC candidate said he’d like to choke Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach during a by election loss in Ralph Klein’s old seat?

a) Craig Chandler
b) Craig Cheffins
c) Jim Dinning
d) Brian Henninger

5. Which of the following did Michael Ignatieff give as a reason to make the puffin the Liberals party’s mascot?

a) There’s rampant infighting in puffin communities
b) You can’t find any west of Winnipeg
c) They hide their excrement well
d) Their numbers have dwindled in recent years
e) They fly around in circles
f) They have a left wing and a right wing

6. What was Stephen Harper’s reaction to calls for a Brian Mulroney inquiry?

a) Called it “dangerous”
b) Appointed a third party to decide if an inquiry was needed
c) Appointed a third party to set terms of reference for an inquiry
d) All of the above
7. How many provinces held provincial elections this year?

8. How many elected new Premiers?

9. Name the new Premier(s)?

10. Who is now Canada's longest serving Premier?

11. We know all too well what happened in Outremont. But who won the other two Quebec by elections and by which party/parties were those seats previously held? (party names will suffice)

12. Put the following four events in chronological order:

a) Jim Flaherty declares "The long, tiring, unproductive era of bickering between the provincial and federal governments is over."
b) Peter Van Loan calls Dalton McGuinty the “small man of confederation”
c) Rona Ambrose becomes Harper’s third minister of intergovernmental affairs
d) Danny Williams pays for national attack ads against Stephen Harper

13. Put the following events in chronological order:

a) Gilles Duceppe's 1 day run for PQ leadership
b) Stephen Harper revealled to have a taxpayer funded stylist
c) James Moore accused of looking at a scantily clad woman on his lap top

14. Name the Cabinet Minister

15. Who is Canada's secretary of state for multiculturalism? (hint: who is the last person in the world you would suspect?)

16. How much will you save on a 2 dollar box of milk thanks to Jim Flaherty's GST cut, starting January 1st, 2008?

17. Whose book is currently higher on the Chapters and Globe & Mail best seller lists - Chretien's or Mulroney's?

18. Which of the three seat winning parties increased their popular vote from 2003 in this year's Ontario election?

19. Oprah Smoprah. Who got Chuck Norris' endorsement for President?

20. What did the Mayor of Oshawa declare March 20th, 2007 to be?

How You Rank
20 out of 20: Almost as good as Ed Stelmach, who took this test and gave himself 21 out of 20 on it.

18 or 19: Like Danny Williams' near sweep, practically perfect.

14-17: Like a Tory memo on Afghanistan, a lot has been blacked out, but you seem to have a sense of what's going on.

10-13: Like a Tory Cabinet Minister, you have a rough idea of what's going on in Ottawa.

Under 10: It is not easy to answer quizes. You are not a leader.

Feeling Nostalgic?

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

An ABer in Toronto

This fall, Craig Chandler told Albertans to "adapt or leave" and it appears I've selected the later. Tonight, I catch a WestJet flight to Toronto where I'll be starting work in January.

As I've been telling people this, their first reaction is rarely "good luck" or "I'll miss you", it's usually "so what are you doing with the blog?". Fair enough question. Renaming the thing "Toronto Grit" would create bookmarking hell and, let's be honest, would be an incredibly lame and redundant title. So the title stays the same, although the banner and side bar description have undergone minor changes.

For the 25% or so of this blog's readers who hail from Alberta - don't fret, I'm personally a lot more interested in the next provincial election than whatever Dalton McGuinty is up to, so you can expect a lot of blogging on that (of course, I also find the over 70 Canasta championship more interesting than Dalton McGuity). For the 25% or so of this blog's readers who hail from Ontario, I guess there will be a bit more local content for you. For everyone else...the post frequency may decrease while I settle in but not a lot else will change save a small increase in the frequency of Leafs jokes.

In Case You Missed It...

I know I didn't catch this one over the holidays. From La Presse:

Stephen Harper souhaite que la résolution qui reconnaît les Québécois comme une nation soit incluse dans la Constitution canadienne dès que « le terrain sera fertile ». Dans une entrevue exclusive accordée à La Presse, le premier ministre invite donc à se raviser ceux qui croyaient que cette résolution serait sans lendemain.

Translation: Eeek!

RANDOM THOUGHT UPDATE: I wonder when Harper will start saying this in English...

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Festivus

Today being December 23rd and, therefore, Festivus, I felt I would take this opportunity for the traditional airing of the grievances. While I may not have as many grievances as, say, Craig Chandler, there are certainly many people who have disappointed me over the past year:

1. To Jean Lapierre and Ralph Klein – you have disappointed me immensely by retiring from politics thus denying me hours of blogging material. I’m especially aggrieved towards LaP since his by election went a lot worse than Ralphie’s.

2. Boo to Dion and co for f’ing up the aforementioned by-election, if only because it made Jack Layton ego grow three sizes that day.

3. To Lindsay, Britney and Paris – quit grabbing headlines that could be used on something more interesting, like Senate reform.

4. To my buddy Steve – quit being such a prick. The Liberals are not allied with the Talliban, Navdeep Bains’ family are not all terrorists, and it wasn’t a Liberal appointee who created the isotope mess. Not every ill in this world can be exploited for political gain by blaming it on the Liberal Party. So, no, you won’t get that elusive Toronto breakthrough by trying to pin the state of the Leafs on the Liberals via Ken Dryden.

5. Shame on Ed Stelmach for not accepting the recommendations of his task forces. And shame on Kevin Taft and the Liberals for not being able to capitalize on this more.

6. A big thumbs down to Avril Lavigne for giving the world “hey hey you you I don’t like your girlfriend”. And a bigger thumbs down to myself for downloading it to my iPod.

7. To Wajid Khan. I don’t care that you crossed the floor. I don’t care that you broke election finance laws. What I am annoyed at is that whenever you do something I have to read a full page of Liblog posts titled “Khaaaaaaan!”

8. To Gilles Duceppe – just because.

9. Shame on whoever is to blame in the Writer’s Guild strike for denying me my daily Daily Show and Colbert Report snark.

10. Pat Martin, yet again you have annoyed me just by being yourself.

11. To Brian Mulroney – did you feel it necessary to go reminding Canadians why they didn’t like you in the first place? It’s a safe bet you’re on everyone’s Festivus list as the second most annoying comeback of 2007 (after, of course, the Spice Girls).

12. To the members of the House of Commons committee that tried to pass their time by smearing Shane Doan – you suck.

13. And my largest grievance of 2007 goes to Jim Dinning for not releasing a follow up to his 2006 smash hit “sing a song for Jim”.

And for those interested, Mr. Cherniak has aired his grievances too. It may take me a few days to recover from the feats of strength so don’t expect any posts over the next few days until my year end quiz goes up later this week (mind you, seeing how this government operates, I’m fully expecting some embarrassing story to be dumped on the 25th). So, to everyone, have yourself a merry little Christmas!


Friday, December 21, 2007

By-Elections Called

Four federal by elections have been called for March 17th which, one imagines, will make the urge to "go green" tempting for most candidates.

The two Ontario ones should be cake walks for Bob Rae and Martha Hall Findlay, giving Dion some fresh front bench strength. In Toronto Centre, Bill Graham won by over 16,000 votes in 2006 and the Tories are in disarray after the bizarre disqualification of Mark Warner. Expect NDP candidate El-Farouk Khaki to finish second here. Willowdale is an equally safe Liberal seat - a nice reward to Martha Hall Findlay for her strong performance during the leadership race and her endorsement of Dion at the convention.

Out in BC, Vancouver Quadra has been Liberal since John Turner took it in '84, with Stephen Owen winning by 20% in 2006. After a contentious nomination that saw John Reynolds' hand picked "star" go down in defeat, Deborah Meredith will carry Harper's banner. The Liberals will send out former provincial Cabinet Minister Joyce Murray, the NDP will run Rebecca Coad, and the Greens are sending out Dan Grice. Expect the Liberals to hold onto this one.

The most interesting of the four comes is certainly the riding of Desnethe-Missnippi-Churchill River which engulfs all of northern Saskatchewan. The Liberals took the seat by 67 votes in 2006 when Gary Merasty knocked off Tory incumbent Jeremy Harrison (now a Sask Party MLA). This riding has been the source of controversy in recent days for the Liberals, with David Orchard gunning for the nomination amid rumours Dion will appoint former NDP MLA Joan Beatty. Personally, I hope Dion does go ahead with the appointment and not just because I'm not a big Orchard fan or because I have $10 riding on this by election in a bet I made before Merasty stepped down. Beatty is an accomplished female aboriginal who would be a big addition to the Liberal caucus and who stands a far better chance of winning the riding than Orchard.

Orchard certainly has the right to run for a seat in the next election given that he played a major role in electing Dion and does have a large following on the Prairies. And I can only imagine that the poor guy is having flashbacks to the Peter MacKay broken deal. Still, I'm sure another winnable rural riding can be found for David to run in. He should take a page from Justin Trudeau who, when denied the chance to run in Outremont, decided to fight a contested nomination in a Bloc held riding.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007


Lib 32
CPC 30
NDP 15
Green 12
BQ 10 (guess)

You know what this means don't you?

Well, not much except the Tories will be "going up" in the next poll...


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

2007 Man of the Year

It's that time of year again when everyone picks their person of the year...or cops out and does something incredibly lame. So, always one to follow suit, it's time for the prestigious Calgary Grit person of the year selection. As was the case over the past three years when Michael Ignatieff, Belinda Stronach, and Ralph Klein were crowned, this doesn't go to my favourite politician, the best politician, or even necessarily a good politician. It goes to an individual who had a big impact on Canadian politics. And, when possible, I try to resist the urge to go with the big party leaders in Ottawa because that's a bit easy. So, without further adieu, votre gagnant:

Despite all the election speculation and viciousness in Ottawa, 2007 in Canadian politics was all about the provinces with six provincial elections and a new era of inter provincial bickering. And while a good case could be made for crowning Dalton McGuinty, Brad Wall, or Danny Williams, much like Forrest Gump, Jean Charest just seemed to be in the centre of everything this year. Hell, he even made a cameo appearance or two in the Mulroney-Schreyber affair. The debate on reasonable accommodation that spread across Canada was at its most intense in Quebec, with Charest establishing the Bouchard-Taylor commission to study the issue.

On the national stage, Charest's drive for re-election led to a massive influx of cash from Ottawa to ensure the election of the most federalist Premier in Stephen Harper's lifetime. When Charest turned the cash around into a 700 million dollar tax break in less time than a Gilles Duceppe leadership run, he pretty much exposed the fiscal imbalance hype as being nothing more than a mythical creature. It also set off a new round of bickering between the provinces and Ottawa that featured attack ads and lawsuits. And, if the polls are to be believed, the tax cuts were about as popular in Quebec as they were outside the province, nearly threatening to bring down his government a few weeks after the election.

As for the election itself, it was far and away the most interesting of the six, with three parties legitimately in the game. The ADQ was on the rise led by Mario Dumont and the PQ was floundering with Andre Boisclair, the biggest bust to come out of Quebec since Alexander Daigle. And while it's hard to claim victory when a majority turns to the slimmest of minorities, Charest did manage to hang on. If you're someone who watches politics like sports (and you probably are if you're reading this blog), it doesn't get much better than the 2007 Quebec election.

And that's why Jean Charest was the Man of the Year in the eyes of this blogger.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Via Daveberta, Craig Chandler will be running as an independent candidate in Calgary Egmont and he has started to fill out a slate of men who share his views. While I have serious doubts about any of them, save Chandler, drawing a huge chunk of votes, they will have money and will be relatively well organized so they might be able to drain up to 10% of the vote in their ridings. This is notable since three of the Chandlerettes are running in seats the ALP could win.

Jim Blake – Running as a Wildrose Party candidate or as an Independent in the Constituency of Calgary Currie.

Sid Helishauer - As an Alberta Alliance Party candidate or an Independent in the Constituency of Airdrie Chestermere.

Harley Shouldice - As an Independent in the Constituency of Calgary North Hill.

David Crutcher – Either as an Alberta Alliance or as an Independent in the Constituency of Calgary Glenmore. David Crutcher will be delivering a message very clearly to the Deputy Premier, Ron Stevens.

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Master of My Domain Name

For anyone looking to save ten valuable characters on their bookmarks, I've finally landed the which will forward to the usual blogspot addy. If Warren can get permalinks, I figure I can handle this.

In other blogging news, the 2007 Canadian Blog Awards have a new home and are now accepting nominations in a plethora of categories. And there's still time to submit a video and win some cash for the Liblogs video contest.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Well, he did find witches...

The much anticipated Paille report has arrived! And, wouldn't you know it, after sitting on Senator Michael Fortier's desk since October 5th, it was published the exact same day as Brian Mulroney's appearance before the Commons Ethics Committee. Talk about weird coincidences, eh?

So what did the report, designed to embarrass the Liberals find? Plenty of embarrassing stuff, all right:

-More than two polls commissioned per business day, a figure Paille calls "quite astounding".

-A shocking 31.2 million spent on public opinion polls in one year alone!

-Certain polls strayed into the political realm. For example, some asked Canadians to rate how the PM and his Cabinet Ministers were performing.

Ouch. It befuddles me as to why Harper would want to bury this news story because...what's that?...oh...

OTTAWA - An independent investigator hired by the Harper government to look into past Liberal polling practices has wound up shining an unfavourable light on the Tories' penchant for polling.

Yes, it turns out that the above bullet points refer to Canada's New Government, rather than the old one Paille was tasked to investigate. After finding it would not be worthwhile to pursue an inquiry into Liberal polling practices, Paille "took the liberty" of exceeding his mandate and stuck his nose into the practices of the current government.

Embarrassing indeed.

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Brian Time

I'll be updating this as the ethics committee continues to grill Mulroney - not as frantically as Kady O'Malley, but updates will be forthcoming. From what I've seen so far, Brian is certainly in fine form - despite his age, he's still an all-star at this. Among the highlights so far:

-“My biggest mistake in life, by far, was ever agreeing to be introduced to Karlheinz Schreiber in the first place,” Mr. Mulroney said. The former prime minister said his second biggest mistake was accepting cash payments from Mr. Schreiber. I'm sure Canadians would have a wide range of options for choosing mistake number 3.

-Brian says he only got $225,000, not $300,000. Well, then, that makes the whole thing seem kind of trivial, eh?

-Mulroney admits he got the first cash payment while still a sitting MP, although says no business was discussed at Harrington Lake with Schreiber while still PM.

-The opposition MPs are trying to bring the wireless lobbying issue into this, despite obvious objections by the Tories on the committee. Mulroney says he never met with Bernier while in Industry, although he did meet with him when he was in Foreign Affairs.

-The tax issue seems to be the area where Mulroney is weakest in his response. He claims the money was for "expenses" alone so that technically income. Eek! Over to you Warren:

"What "expenses" would necessitate $300,000 in advance? Was he travelling to the moon and back, on a gold-plated rocket encrusted with jewels? Was he staying in hotels on Venus, for $30,000 a night?"

10:29 am: Mulroney is just eating Sukh Dhaliwal alive. "May I just say that I thank the Liberal party for their strong defense of the GST" after asked if he paid GST on the $300,000 $225,000. Brian's also far too smart to bite when asked to show how big the envelope of cash was.

10:46 am: The irshman Brian Murphy seems a little awe struck but maybe he's just trying to disarm Brian with flattery. Mulroney re-emphasizes that he was not broke after he left 24 Sussex.

10:56 am: Closing statement. Cue the violins.

11:01 am: Szabo: "We've had a lot of conflicting testimony between our two witnesses." No kidding. Looks like Brian will be asked to come back in February...assuming no election, of course.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What Else Could I Do?

In an absolutely bizarre story I somehow missed last week, three of my favourite people in Alberta got tied up in...well...words almost fail to describe it. The only thing missing from this story is a Rob Anders cameo.

On Tuesday, [Craig] Chandler showed CBC News an e-mail written to him by Calgary Sun columnist Paul Jackson.

[...] the columnist also wrote two separate articles leading up to the nomination vote supporting Chandler's rival Jonathan Denis.


The e-mail to Chandler dated Oct. 22 reads: "Sorry about how things have turned out. I got an urgent call from the Premier's Office asking me to back Jonathan. What else could I do?"

Chandler said the e-mail proves Stelmach's office was trying to meddle with the outcome in Calgary-Egmont.

In fairness, Stelmach's office has denied making the phone call and, unless he's taking tips from Vladimir Putin, they can probably be taken at their word. Regardless, Paul Jackson confirms he wrote the e-mail and, in doing so, admits that he'll write whatever the Premier's office asks him to. Welcome to Alberta.

Paul Jackson went on the CBC Eyeopener last week to try and explain himself and what followed was probably the funniest interview I have ever heard in my lifetime [and while I'm hesitant to link to, I can't find it on the CBC page and the interview is just so absolutely amazing that I had to]. It should be mandatory listening for anyone who has ever read a Paul Jackson column.

Ken Chapman chronicles Jackson's various contradictions quite effectively here. Among Jackson's highlights:

"I never said I'd support Chandler - I wouldn't vote for Craig Chandler if he gave me a million dollars"

"I've never in my life supported Craig Chandler."

But...wait a minute...if you go to Craig Chandler's site, you can see video of Jackson pre-phonecallfromPremier'soffice saying:

"we need Craig Chandler and people like him in elected office"

Now, Jackson explains himself by saying, gosh, Craig asked me to emcee his fundraiser because no one else would do it and, you know, I was trying to be polite. If this is the case, I can only hope that, for his sake, Paul isn't asked to emcee Chandler's upcoming "Democracy Denied" fundraiser because then he'd have to accept, and once again sing Chandler's praises.

More on that fundraiser in a second, but first, my favourite exchange from the eye opener interview:

Jim Brown: "How do you think this incident will affect your credibility as a columnist"
Paul Jackson: "Mr. Chandler has ruined my career after 43 years"

I only hope that Jim Brown was asking Paul Jackson about his "credibility as a columnist" as a tongue in cheek joke...

Oh, and for all of you "supporters of democracy and freedom" out there lamenting "the day democracy died in Alberta", Craig is hosting a fundraiser on January 31st because:

On Saturday December 1st , Democracy was Denied, as Premier Stelmach and the PCAA executive decided to ignore the democratic process and give Craig Chandler the boot. What Premier Stelmach has done is a blatant attack on democracy, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion.

If you care about freedom of speech, freedom of religion and democracy, then you need to attend the Democracy Denied Dinner on Thursday, January 31, 2008. This is not just about Craig Chandler, but is about what we want Alberta to be. Come and meet members and candidates from the Alberta Alliance, the Wildrose Party, Independents and many from the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party who are organizing to insure that Ed Stelmach is not supported in his next leadership review.

Belated hat tip for the CBC article on this to The Greatest Political Organizer Ever In The World

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tuesday Tid-bits

-This is kind of cool - Stephane Dion blogging from Bali.

-Radwanski is right on the money here. There needs to be some sort of degree of presumed innocence among Parliamentarians because, if scantilycladwomangate has taught us anything, the wild accusations being tossed around are starting to get way out of hand.

-Also via AR, comes Pat Martin's latest media stunt:

DECEMBER 11, 2007


…with toxic toy consumer tips for Canadian parents

Oh, please, somebody get this up on Youtube because:

a) I assume Pat Martin will be the one dressed as Santa.
b) This is going to be even more awkwardly entertaining than the puppets press conference this spring.

-From this week's Hill Times:

An online Angus-Reid poll released last month of opposition party leaders showed that 34 per cent of Canadians think that Mr. Layton would make a good Prime Minister of Canada compared to Mr. Dion who had 23 per cent support and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May who had 14 per cent support.

But Liberal MP David McGuinty (Ottawa South, Ont.) said he does not put any stock in polls in between elections. "[If] Mother Theresa were alive, she [would] have obviously [had] the highest rankings too. I don't believe it for a second. When people walk into a ballot box in the next federal election, there will be many questions on their minds.

By my reading, David McGuinty is either comparing Jack Layton to mother Theresa, or implying that Mother Theresa's support levels would dry up during an election campaign. While there is probably some truth to the later statement, I have my doubts that even mother Theresa has the political sense to nix a Santa Claus press conference.

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

In and Out

Mr. Smith is out of Washington...with a six figure severance package, despite leaving his posting early by his own choosing. Man, I would totally be gunning for that job if it wasn't for the fact that you need to be a Tory Cabinet Minister to get it.

Also out is Minister of Finance Lyle Oberg (AKA Skeletor), after feuding with Stelmach for most of 2007.

Possibly in, however, is Craig Chandler ally David Crutcher who has announced his intention to run for the Calgary Egmont nomination his buddy was DQ'd from:

After last week's ruling, Chandler denounced the party and accused it of intolerance toward people of faith.

Crutcher said he shares Chandler's belief system, and that's why he's testing the democracy waters with his nomination bid.

But he wants the party's affirmation up front that it will accept his candidacy, so that he isn't saddled with the bills of a rejected bid.

Chandler says he plans to sue the Alberta Progressive Conservatives for the $127,000 he claims he spent on his campaign to secure the party's nomination.

"What I don't want to do is go through the same thing that Craig Chandler did, where he put a lot of time and money into winning a nomination only to be told he can't run," Crutcher said.

A spokesman for the premier said nominations are a party matter and declined comment.

Advil, Ed?

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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Partisan Jabs

I'm going to be a good little Liberal blogger today and take a few jabs at the NDP and CPC. If Gilles Duceppe does something stupid by the end of the day (a 50/50 proposition at worst), I'll update the post to include a shot or two at him.

First up, remember that investigation into Liberal Party polling practices headed up by former PQ Cabinet Minister Danielle Paille? Well, you probably don't because his conclusions have been sitting in report purgatory for a month, no doubt waiting for a quiet December 24th publication. Well, it seems the CPC have broken Paul Martin's spending record, with the PMO quadrupling its polling budget since '05-06. When asked about it in the house, James Moore said he was "surprised" to learn this.

Speaking of James Moore surprises, hot on the heels of scantilycladwomangate, the NDP have been forced into yet another apology, this time over accusations levelled during the last election:

NDP House leader Libby Davies formally apologized Thursday on behalf of her party for spreading allegations that a Liberal candidate in the last federal election tried to bribe his NDP rival to drop out of the race.

“The New Democratic Party admits we seriously erred in making the allegations public and in putting a young and inexperienced candidate in a position where he felt justified in making those allegations and to repeat them on some 40 occasions to media across Canada,” Ms. Davies told the Commons.


Ms. Davies admitted that the NDP erred in arranging for Hansen-Carlson to repeat his accusations widely in the media 10 days before the Jan. 26, 2006 election. And she said it made “another serious error in judgment” in failing to make public a letter from Canada's elections commissioner, three days before the election, which cleared the two Liberals.

You think? But, really, NDP errors in judgement aren't that surprising; they're as much a way of life as Liberal patronage or Conservatives complaining about Liberal patronage...

What's that?

OTTAWA — The Conservative government appointed a raft of Tories to federal boards, agencies and as citizenship judges yesterday.

At least seven of the 11 appointments yesterday to the National Film Board, Via Rail, the CDIC, two shipping agencies, and citizenship judgeships, went to people with Tory links. They include a former MP, a former Manitoba MLA who now works for a Conservative MP, a former Canadian Alliance candidate, and advisers to federal and provincial Tory ministers.

Stephen Harper practicing blatant patronage after railling against it for all those years? Man, he really must be using Mulroney as a mentor...

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Friday, December 07, 2007

Drugs are bad...mmmkay...

This is a bit off-topic but I was at a Liberal policy thingy (for lack of a better term) on Monday and got into an argument with a fellow participant (and blogger) about marijuana legalization. I could do a lengthy post on this but that would probably mean looking up facts and figures and, well, I don't really feel like doing that. Unless you favour a return to alcohol prohibition, there's no reason you should oppose this. People will smoke pot regardless of whether it's legal or not and at least by legalizing it, it's easier to regulate the content and who has access to it. Better to have the government as Canada's drug dealer because the government won't sell to minors or push buyers on to harder stuff (a safe assumption now that Andre Boisclair has left politics). And, it's probably better that the government be making billions off of this, rather than the criminals (although, given how money is spent in Ottawa, I guess this point is perfectly debatable). Those radical unelected pot heads in the Senate agree. So do a majority of Canadians, apparently (admittedly on a poll where the decriminalization option wasn't given). Going further, Foreign Policy had a good article on the world drug trade that pushes for legalizing pretty much everything.

So, rather than get into a huge debate on the benefits of marijuana legalization, I'm going to pose an open question. Given the jokes and ridicule it would generate, would this be a politically viable position for any of the major parties (or the NDP) to take as an election issue? Failing that, would it make sense for a party to push this forward once in the comfy confines of a majority government?


The Plot Thickens

The word of the day is "airbus", as Schreiber deflects attention away from the mounting scantilycladwomangate scandal that has engulfed Ottawa.

While this will probably just turn into a big game of "he said, he said" between various shady individuals, Mulroney's appearance Tuesday is gonna be must see TV.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007


Finally, we understand why James Moore is deemed less competent for a Cabinet position than Gordon O'Connor, Michael Fortier, or Jason Kenney - he's a pervert. Yes, NDP MP Irene Mathyssen, has dropped the bombshell that I can only imagine will splash across the front page of the Globe & Mail tomorrow morning. Rather than snoozing, heckling, or pretending to laugh at Peter Van Loan's jokes, James Moore spent question period...on the Internet...looking at...a scantily clad woman!

"There was an image of a scantily clad woman in very flimsy lingerie" on the computer of Parliamentary Secretary for Public Works James Moore, New Democrat MP Irene Mathyssen told reporters. "It was dark in color and she was a brunette."

"It was, I would say, not hard porn by any stretch," she said.

"I would describe it as soft porn, Playboy-type stuff .

My first thought upon reading this was: ewww...Irene Mathyssen is, like, some sort of pornography classification expert. But those unnerving thoughts quickly turned to feelings of anger and rage. While Moore has flimsily tried to defend himself, this is perhaps Canada's biggest sex scandal since the Munsinger Affair. I am therefore proud to be the first to call for a full public inquiry in order to answer the following lingering questions:

Was Stephen Harper aware of this? Just how flimsy was her lingerie? Was this "playboy-type" soft porn or "Toronto Sun-type" soft porn? Is she Moore's "girlfriend" as reported in some stories or just his "friend" as reported in others? Are they "in a relationship" on facebook or are they at "it's complicated"? If she's single, what is her phone number? Given it's a sex scandal, I assume Peter MacKay must be somehow involved - how? Who is Irene Mathyssen and why have we never heard about her before? Did James Moore ever donate money to Jean Charest's leadership campaign? Has he ever signed golf balls? Did he dream of being a back bench MP when he was in kindergarten?

Canadians demand answers. We're mad as hell and, come hell or high water, we need to get to the bottom of this!

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Devil's Advocate

So Luc Lavoie is out and NDP spinster Robin Sears is in as Mulroney's spokesman. Not a good sign given how long Lavoie has been spinning for his old friend...

You've got to wonder if this has something to do with Lavoie's comments on the fifth estate special from February '06:

"There never was any money. He's too smart to do something like that. It's just too dummy. It's too damn stupid.

He said it himself under oath. So it would be major perjury, right? A former PM of a country like Canada doesn't go under oath to say something like this. You don't lie about this stuff. To think otherwise is pretty insulting."

Yup. Hard to disagree.

In other news, poor Jean Charest has now been pulled into this mess and the "name that scandal" contest has four finalists:


While I do love the way "Schreiberbriber" rolls off the tongue, I'm partial towards Airbucks myself.

5th estate Hat Tip: tGPOitHotW


I Heart Huckabees

While there is certainly "polling overload" going on right now in the states, it's clear that Mike Huckabee's surge is having a bit more success than Bush's. From Rasmussen:

Giuliani 20%
Huckabee 17%
Thompson 14%
McCain 13%
Romney 11%

While other polls have Giuliani breathing a bit easier, the general trend seems consistent. It's amazing what a little Chuck Norris will do for ya, eh?

Oh, and Huckabee and Obama are both leading in Iowa - fun times ahead...


Monday, December 03, 2007

Money for Nothing

Craig Chandler is none too happy today:

Rejected Tory candidate Craig Chandler says he plans to sue the Alberta Progressive Conservatives for the $127,000 he claims he spent on his campaign to secure the party's nomination in Calgary-Egmont.


Chandler said he now wants his money back.

"Why didn't they let me know beforehand that they weren't going to let me run," said Chandler. "I think it's cruel and unusual punishment to allow me to spend $127,000 and six months of my life on the campaign," he said.

Forget a lawsuit. Given the cruel and unusual punishment that's been inflicted on Chandler, I think he should be taking this one in front of the Alberta Human Rights Commission.

Delayed Hat Tip because he insists upon it to the GPOitHotW


Sunday, December 02, 2007

How Far We've Come

It was a year ago today that the green scarves spread throughout the Palais de Congress, propelling Stephane Dion to a surprising 5th ballot victory in Montreal. There are no shortage of reflection pieces out there about this anniversary, many of them taking on obituary form.

It would be hard to deny that it hasn't been a good start for the backpacked professor. But, at the same time, his first year wasn't any worse than the first year of his three predecessors. It certainly wasn't any worse than the first year of the other consensus candidate who won his party's leadership on the same day.

There haven't been any high profile gaffes or glaring strategic mistakes (apart from his selection of Jocelyn Coulon for the Outremont byelection). Instead, three nagging problems seem to have cropped up. First, the Tory "not a leader" ads have resonated with both the media and the general public. It was a smart branding and, since it's a lot easier for a PM than an opposition leader to look like a leader, it's gained traction. It certainly hasn't helped that a few Liberals would rather organize against Dion than against Harper but that's a fact of life in politics.

Second, the Liberal Party is a mess structurally. The constant election threat that hangs over minority governments has made rebuilding harder - the was no time for a Kingston or Aylmer conference and the party has had to focus on election readiness rather than fundraising or restructuring. In Quebec especially, the party appears to be in shambles and it certainly doesn't help matters when people like Denis Coderre and Pablo Rodriguez refuse to step up to the plate when called upon to do so by their leader. Outremont showed what a lack of organization can lead to and it's clear work needs to be done - not just by Dion, but by the party as a whole.

The third problem is Dion's less-than-Churchillian communication abilities in English. I don't think this is fatal, but there aren't a lot of obvious solutions. Easier to fix is the lack of a clear message or general sense of what the Liberal Party stands for. I think there's a lot of potential with the "three pillars" and "green economy" stuff and, luckily, most Canadians do have a good sense of what the Liberal brand represents - always being in power will do that for you. All that's really needed is an overarching theme or story as to why Harper shouldn't be Prime Minister and why Stephane Dion should be. And, no, that theme is not "Brian Mulroney". There are definitely punches to be landed on the yet-to-be-named-scandal but there needs to be an easy to understand message for Canadians as to why Stephane Dion deserves to be the next Prime Minister. On the policy front, I think Dion is well positioned. He's got ownership of the environment and poverty. He's got credibility on federalism from his Clarity Act days. I also think there are votes to be gained on Afghanistan (with a clearer position) as well as traditional Liberal issues like cities, social issues and immigration - all it takes are some decisive, well communicated policies. What's missing is a simple and clear message of what Stephane Dion and the Liberal Party represent.

Despite a decade in elected office, Dion has never been touched by scandal. The Elizabeth May deal showed he's willing to think outside the box which is encouraging. And there's a very strong team of candidates with the likes of Bob Rae, Gerard Kennedy, Martha Hall Findlay, Marc Garneau, and Justin Trudeau vying for seats. With a clear election message and structural improvements to the party, there's no reason things can't be turned around.


Saturday, December 01, 2007

Adapt or Leave

No surprise - the saga of Craig Chandler has come to an end...or has it?

Knowing Mr. Chandler, I suspect this isn't the last he'll be heard of.