Monday, June 30, 2008

At Issue

CBC's At Issue Panel had their season finale last week, and while there was no bombshell cliff-hanger (Is Chantal Hebert the final cylon? Tune in this September...), it did make for enjoyable TV, or podcasting.

Here's the recap of what their panel said, with my two cents tossed in - if nothing else, it's a good excuse to look back on the first half of the 2008 political calendar.

Worst Play
Hebert: Flaherty vs Ontario
Coyne: L'Affair Bernier's Briefs
Gregg: NDP sucking
Rex: Liberal abstentions

Given the way the past few months have gone, I think you've got to pick a Tory scandal, and Bernier's leave-behind affair was certainly the most bone-headed move of the bunch.

I'd also nominate the somewhat misguided Tory response strategy to the In-and-Out warrants being made public.

Best Play
Coyne: Afghanistan, for all involved
Gregg: Afghanistan, for Harper
Rex: Tory scandals, for the Liberals
Chantal: Tory immigration reforms

First of all Rex, I'm not sure all the Tory scandals necessarily constitute a "good play" for the Liberals, especially since it's debatable how effectively the grits have made them stick. I'm going to side with Gregg on this one - Harper displayed tactical brilliance in taking one of his largest negative issues off the table and he deserves full credit for that.

Most Underrated
Gregg: Stockwell Day
Rex: David Emerson
Hebert: Chuck Strahl
Coyne: Maxime Bernier

Maxime Bernier? I'll give Coyne credit for going outside the box on this one and so long as Bernier isn't the biggest idiot in Ottawa, there may be some truth to it. As for the other selections, it certainly is interesting to see four three Tory Cabinet Ministers on this list, despite the widely held belief that Harper lacks front-bench strength.

As for my pick? Well, after his shocking election landslide this spring, maybe Ed Stelmach. Maybe it was the appetite for change in Alberta that was underrated, but maybe Special Ed deserves some (begrudging) praise for pulling it off.

Most Overrated
Rex: Maxime Bernier
Hebert: John Baird
Coyne: Harper
Gregg: Harper

While Coyne's selection of Bernier as being underrated was intriguing, Rex's selection of Bernier as being overrated just shows he has trouble grasping what exactly "overrated" means.

Choosing "strategic genius" Harper and calling out of the "chess versus checkers" media narrative is certainly a worthy choice, but I'd nominate another party leader - Gilles Duceppe. Since the 2006 election, he's seen his pet issues taken off the table, had a one day run for PQ leadership, lost badly in three by elections, and sounded like a complete fool nearly every time he's opened his mouth. Yet few are willing to criticize his leadership, simply because of an artificial seat bump in 2004 and 2006, courtesy of Adscam and little else.

Like all good season finales this one will be a two-parter. Tune in tomorrow for the thrilling conclusion.


  • You gotta love that the At Issue panel is basically four Tory hacks. The CBC obviously feels it needs to overcompensate for its reputation, not an uncommon phenomenon, thats why I find the prospect of a President Obama forboding.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:29 p.m.  

  • Yeah anon, they certainly brook no criticism of the Conservatives on that panel, either in general or last week in particular. :P

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:52 p.m.  

  • Big deal. They also awarded 7.5 of the 8 positive mentions to Cons. Its an all Con narrative.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:18 p.m.  

  • Dammit , anon is on to something here . I say we cut the funding for this rightwing propaganda factory , stat ! There's something fishy with that Newman guy , I think big oil bought him a long time ago ......and don't get me started on freaking Mansbridge , a Bush operative if there ever was one ....... Rove is the one talking in Strombo's earpiece , feeding him all the wingnut talking points ........ hold on ...... is that a black helicopt..............

    By Blogger Bill D. Cat, at 12:03 a.m.  

  • Actually, Rex has finally admitted the truth. That harper is the reason why the conservatives can't get a majority.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 12:47 a.m.  

  • There are lots of good left of centre pundits in Canada, the At Issue panel can´t even have one?

    Just because they aren´t happy with Harper doesn´t mean they are balanced.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:47 a.m.  

  • Jim Prentice deserves most overrated, despite his staff working studiously on his wikipedia entry and the media fawning all over him, his sellout of Canadians on copywright has earned him an infamy that he will never live down.

    Most underrrated has to go to Bill Siskay, the guy is a genuine class act, very unusual for such a quality person to find his way into the HoC.

    Oh yeah, and as if the At Issue isn´t horribly biased. Afghanistan for all involved..yeh right, a mounting civillian bodycount, Canada extrajudiciously executing people, record levels of Heroin entering our country, our armed forces acting as security detail for a pipeline, nothing to see here folks..

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:40 a.m.  

  • Adscam ?

    I had almost forgotten about that.

    Thanks for being a good little Liberal and reminding me.

    Always makes me wonder when the stolen $millions will be returned to the taxpayers of Canada.

    Never forget what the Liberal Party of Canada did to Canadians.

    On Chretien's watch and underscoring his political legacy.

    That and signing Canada up to Kyoto just to try and buy some good history.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:01 a.m.  

  • If the Tory cabinet wasn't poorly thought of, it couldn't be underrated now could it?

    Loved Coynes reasoning for Bernier though. He essentially likes because he's a right wing idealogue when it comes to industry regulation.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:41 p.m.  

  • Damn the CBC and its right-wing bias!

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 12:24 p.m.  

  • If only the flat earth party still existed.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:47 p.m.  

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