Thursday, January 31, 2008

As Lost Returns...

Lost: The freedom this Afghanistan mission was supposed to bring. This is really quite shocking (hat tip JBG):

A young man, a student of journalism, is sentenced to death by an Islamic court for downloading a report from the internet. The sentence is then upheld by the country's rulers. This is Afghanistan – not in Taliban times but six years after "liberation" and under the democratic rule of the West's ally Hamid Karzai.

The fate of Sayed Pervez Kambaksh has led to domestic and international protests, and deepening concern about erosion of civil liberties in Afghanistan. He was accused of blasphemy after he downloaded a report from a Farsi website which stated that Muslim fundamentalists who claimed the Koran justified the oppression of women had misrepresented the views of the prophet Mohamed.

Lost: Rudy Giuliani. Both Edwards and Giuliani are out of the race. For Giuliani, this Presidential race will go down as a complete failure to launch. As John Stewart said last night "Giuliani was the frontrunner...until people started voting". Then he became nothing more than a 5th place candidate.

Lost: Mike Huckabee's tough guy edge. Hulk Hogan endorses Obama and Ah-nold is ready to endorse McCain. Hasta La Vista Romney!

Lost: Stephen Harper's composure. Every now and then Harper just seems to slip up and go too far, be it the Navdeep Bains incident last year, or his latest Big Fat Greek Gaffe:

Michel Guimond had just asked if the aforementioned fundraiser had ever paid a visit to 24 Sussex. And this was the Prime Minister's response.

"Mr. Speaker, the Bloc MP has mentioned the names of two people of Greek origin, one who's an employee who works here in Ottawa, and another who's a supporter of the Conservative Party in Montreal. The fact there are two Montrealers of Greek origin doesn't mean there's a conspiracy."

Uh-huh. So, to recap, questions have been raised about Dimitri Soudas using undue PMO influence. It's a completely mini-scandal (all together now: "it's all Greek to me!") but, the point of the matter is, no one had even so much as alluded to race before Harper brought it up. A BCer in Toronto has a good run down on this, include Peter Van Loan, taking it to a whole new level.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

When Life Immitates West Wing

So McCain takes Florida, Giuliani is expected to endorse him, and polls show McCain poised to rack up the delegates on Super Tuesday. It's going to take an awful lot to knock this train off the tracks.

Things are a bit murkier on the Democratic side. But with a McCain-Obama showdown certainly possible, is anyone else thinking that would be eerily similar to Vinick versus Santos?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Hung Out To Dry

There were a flurry of rumours floating around that Stelmach would drop the writ today, catching Taft in Toronto which would have been freaking brilliant. Instead, it appears that everything is on track for an election call after next Monday's throne speech (which I imagine will feature a big ticket promise like high speed rail or abolition of health premiums).

Ed did make an announcement today - releasing the 20 year capital blueprint. In it, he uses the word "plan" 389 times - me thinks someone is overcompensating. But, despite his goal to make the whispers of "no plan" go away, here's the synopsis:

EDMONTON - The 20-year capital blueprint Premier Ed Stelmach released today forecasts a steady-as-it-goes approach towards 2028, avoiding any commitments of a Calgary-to-Edmonton high-speed train or even a mention of how many schools will be needed in two decades.

The much-hyped capital plan instead offers broad strategies along the lines of: "There will be a continuing focus on building schools close to where children live, especially in high-growth communities."

I, for one, am relieved that Ed hasn't decided to build schools where children don't live. That would be as silly as, I don't know, changing the fast lane on the highway to the right hand lane.

Of course, the news isn't all bad for Stelmach. I suspect that headlines like "Alberta's Liberal leader says other provinces should profit from oilsands" or "Liberals would end heating subsidies" won't exactly generate the kind of momentum they want heading into a campaign.

Oh, and as for the post title? That's in reference to this. I couldn't resist.

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Monday News

1. Ed Stelmach is going to skip out on the climate change talks tomorrow at the first Minister's meeting. This follows in the grand tradition of Ralph Klein playing hooky from first Minister's health care talks to go to a casino in Hull. And this guy is trying to run on change?

2. Macleans profiles the twelve biggest power players in Stephen Harper's inner circle. And, no, his stylist did not make the cut.

3. No surprise here. Harper backs Manley's recommendations and implies he might get the extra 1,000 troops lined up sooner, rather than later. If he does, it will be interesting to see if he schedules the Afghanistan vote before or after the budget vote.

4. For those who haven't caught in, here are the top ten Barack Obama campaign promises, as presented on Letterman last week. Speaking of which, Obama adds another Kennedy to his endorsement list.

5. The Rhinos are back in Alberta. Among their promises: "Annex Saskatchewan to create more room for affordable housing" and "Merge with the Tories to stop splitting the 'silly vote'".

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

90 Day Deadline: Day 95

Remember back in the fall when Ed’s don't-call-this-a-compromise on royalties meant the big oil companies, Syncrude and Suncor, would have to renegotiate their existing deals with the government? Remember how in a rare moment of leadership, Ed showed he had a plan by giving them 90 days to renegotiate?

Well, that was 95 days ago. Perhaps one of the Alberta media types who frequent this blog might want to toss that question out to the Premier next time you see him. Might also want to ask him if his lame environmental plan that has been embraced by big oil was part of the unofficial renegotiation...

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"You know my Answer: When we see the budget..."

You've probably already seen this on a few other Liblog sites, but I got a real kick out of it.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Signs your Green Plan Sucks...

Stephen Harper is going to have to chew you out for not going far enough:

OTTAWA, CALGARY -- Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach is at odds with the federal government and on a collision course with other premiers after the release yesterday of his long-anticipated climate-change plan.

On the eve of an expected election call, Mr. Stelmach promised that his province will freeze greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and reduce them by 14 per cent from 2005 levels by 2050. But that target is a long way from Prime Minister Stephen Harper's promises at international summits that Canada will reduce its heat-trapping emissions at least 60 per cent by this century's halfway mark.

Also, you have to wonder where Albertans for Change got the idea that Ed doesn’t have a plan, eh?

Mr. Stelmach said that the policy represents a “real plan” that doesn't contain “hot air.” However, aside from the commitments to create a carbon capture council and an undefined pledge to commit up to $500-million towards carbon capture initiatives, the plan provides almost no details on what actions will actually be taken by the government, such as financial assistance for the carbon dioxide pipeline development.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

There's something happening here, What it is ain't exactly clear

A pair of pre-election polls were released this week, painting very different pictures of the upcoming Alberta election. If you only look at the horse race numbers, there’s not much to be cheerful about in Liberal land – the Strategic Counsel had the PCs at 58% of decided voters, while Leger had them at 49%. I tend to think the former fell victim to a bit of federal/provincial confusion (they didn't put leader names in the question) but even the second set of numbers leave the parties pretty much where they were at the end of the last election campaign.

Above and beyond that, the Tories should be feeling pretty good since they do better with older Albertans (who vote) and rural Albertans (whose votes are worth more). If you buy the Strategic Counsel poll, just about the only good news for the Alberta Liberals is that 54% of Albertans think 37 years is too long for one party rule (almost half of Albertans don’t?!?!). Even the 39% who think it’s time for a change in that poll is dwarfed by the number who want to re-elect Mr. Ed.

Today’s poll tells a completely different story. A third of voters are undecided and the decided votes breaks down as:

Progressive Conservatives 32%
Alberta Liberals 18%
New Democrats 7%
Wild Rose Alliance 6%
Greens 3%

Not bad if you’re a PC, ‘till you look at this one:

Time for a Change 46%
Re-elect the Tories 35%

Which means the undecideds are, by and large, breaking against the government. Calgary, especially, has got to be an area of concern for them with Taft in a statistical tie with Stelmach on the “best Premier” question.

Of course, I don’t expect the Alberta Liberals to lose Redmonton, even though both polls say they might, so I can see why Conservatives wouldn’t expect to lose a city they have dominated for 40 years. But, I’m telling ya, I was in Calgary for most of last year and there was something in the air. Ed Stelmach has become a punch line…but not in the benign “Ralph Klein is a drunk” way – in the much more dangerous “we hate Ed Stelmach” sort of way.

So, with the writ expected to fall within the next dozen days, it’s looking like this will be an election to watch.

UPDATE: More numbers today, with pretty damning approval ratings for Stelmach on most issues, especially the two biggest in the province right now. On health care, 28% approve and 60% disapprove, while on affordable housing 23% approve and 63% disapprove.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

And the Nominees are...

Yes, yes, Ellen Page and the girl from Road to Avonlea got Oscar nominations. Well, La-de-da. The more exciting nomination news to be announced yesterday was for the Canadian Blog Awards. While I doubt I will be much of a match for the Small Dead Animals vote-stacking machine or the Daveberta facebook group in the race for top blog, it's an honour just to be nomina...what's that? Oh... Regardless, I did snag nominations in two categories, and I encourage everyone to go vote for me for best political blog and best progressive blog. Remember, if you were nominated, I would vote for you!

Go Vote

Other blogs I like who got nominations:

Best Blog: Daveberta. Vote Daveberta and piss off Ed Stelmach!

New Blog: Uncorrected Proofs and Danielle Takacs (but, god, the colour scheme burns my eyes!)

Non-Partisan Blog: Bow. James Bow

Best Local Blog: Miss 604, of Test the Nation fame.

Best Religious Blog: Jordon Cooper

This Date In History

Today marks the two year anniversary of Stephen Harper's election win. This is notable because nobody thought his minority government would last this long. Only one has lasted longer since World War II and no Tory minority had ever even celebrated a one year birthday before. Hell, I remember the media stories about the PMO opening a bottle on wine when they passed Joe Clark's 273 days.

So Canada's New Government now enters the terrible twos. I doubt it will see a third birthday but, as just mentioned, you never know...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Manley Report

First of all, kudos to Stephen Harper for his wickedly brilliant selection of John Manley to chair this panel. I know, I know, the tendency is always to assume everything Harper does is some sort of evil strategic ganius coup de force but his time it really is, for reasons that a lot of other smart people have already mentioned.

As for the report...things like this take time to digest. John Manley's a pretty smart guy and my military knowledge is limited to Steven Spielberg movies so I'll try to focus on the political ramifications. And from a political perspective, the key recommendation is to extend the mission indefinitely if other countries pick up some of the slack. Presumably, this will be a big issue when NATO meets in Bucharest this April so one would think the vote won't come until after then...

...or not. If Harper's itching for an election, this might very well be the issue he uses to force it and, with the economy expected to stumble, it might make sense to get things rolling before the next budget. While I could see the Liberals abstaining on the budget, in the words of Stephen Colbert "we're at war, pick a side" - abstaining on this one just isn't an option. Siding with the government would mean the end of one of Dion's best wedge issues so this would be a very hard motion to support. (Then again...)

But let's assume for a minute that Harper takes Manley's recommendation and waits until after Bucharest to hold the vote. What happens if Harper can't talk NATO into ponying up the extra 1,000 troops? Does he pull out then? One presumes Harper's going to get that hypothetical question a lot between now and April and the bluff doesn't really work unless Harper's willing to go all in. Now on the flip side, if he talks NATO allies into picking up the slack and Canadian troops get rotated out of the hot spots, could the Liberals actually oppose it?'d be a hard vote for Dion to whip.

Interesting times ahead...

UPDATE: Radwanski hits the nail on the head with respect to vote timing:

What we've got is a bit of a chicken-and-egg scenario. Harper can't really go to other countries without first getting the Liberals on board, but if there's any chance at all of the Liberals coming on board it'll only be after those other countries commit to extra troops.

The obvious solution is for the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Official Opposition to sit down like two grown men and plot this thing out. It wouldn't exactly be unique; partisanship is supposed to occasionally take a back seat when your country is at war. But it remains to be seen if either of these two have it in them, let alone both at the same time.

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Tory Times Are Tough Times

The buzz out of Kitchener is that the Liberals may do the honourable thing by not taking advantage of an impending economic slow down. Garth Turner explains:

"I think the most important thing for us is not to just say, 'Oh goody, here's an opportunity for us to bring the government down' when people are feeling most anxious about the future. That might be politically advantageous but it's not the right thing for Canada."

I agree 100%. I think the"right thing for Canada" would be to wait until things get bad enough that people are willing to toss Harper over the economy and then bring 'em down.

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Answer is "Bee"

I just got back from competing on the bloggers team on CBC's Test the Nation. Ever since I was a little boy, I've dreamed of appearing on Test the Nation so this was quite the thrill.

After arriving at the studio this afternoon, I walked down the hall of a thousand Rick Mercer pictures into the holding room. There, I took pictures of the celebrity look alike team and chatted with the bloggers - as you can imagine, this involved a lot of talk about the awesomeness of Google analytics and the new Star Trek teaser. A few of the more adventurous bloggers also tried in vain to land fake Paris Hilton's phone number (I suspect it'd be a fake number).

After a lengthy wait, we entered a CBC studio designed in a way they thought the future would look back in the 50s. I was seated in the back row (too many Mansbridge jokes on this blog I guess) but, being a huge Myron Thompson fan, I've always dreamed of being a no-name backbencher so I can't complain.

We were instructed to always look excited and to cheer wildly even if we got bored but, having attended many Stephane Dion rallies, I'm already an pretty good at that. The celebrity team captains then entered. Now, by "celebrity" I mean "Canadian celebrity" so it was the usual collection of Little Gas Station on the Prairie cast members. Also on the panel was the Canadian "Randy", the hot cylon, and the blogging team captain, Samantha Bee (who I guess is stuck doing stuff like this until the writers strike ends).

As the game show went on, I was feeling good about the bloggers' chances but questions lingered. Could we win without Google? Would Tricia Helfer's legs cause the blogging geeks to lose their concentration? What would be the worst pun of the evening? (my vote: "the chefs have whipped themselves up into a frenzy")

Finally, the moment of truth came. Brent Bambury went to the "nerve centre" (which consisted of an intern and her lap top) to get the results and...all those years of social rejection paid off and the bloggers were crowned champions!!! The most prestigious trophy in Canadian trivia was ours! Samantha Bee took top celebrity and blogger Rick Spence had the top score, making it a clean sweep.
Other Recaps from Team Blogger:

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The Race Is On

Sure, sure. Romney and Clinton win Nevada, while McCain exorcises his demons in South Carolina. But who cares? The real race, as I see it, is the epic battle shaping up between former "front runner" Rudy Giuliani and...Ron Paul? Here are the results to date:

Iowa - edge Ron
Rudy 4%
Ron 10%

Wyoming - draw
Rudy 0%
Ron 0%

New Hampshire - edge Rudy
Rudy 9%
Ron 8%

Michigan - edge Ron
Rudy 3%
Ron 6%

Nevada - edge Ron
Rudy 4%
Ron 14%

South Carolina - edge Ron
Rudy 2%
Ron 4%

And, in the ever important delegate count, Ron holds down fifth place with 6 pledged delegates, compared to Rudy' Oh, and that only leaves Rudy tied for sixth place on the delegate count with Duncan Hunter who picked up a delegate in Wyoming.

In fairness, Rudy's strategy was always to suck as much as possible at the first few (fifty?) primaries so I'm fairly confident he'll be able to overtake Ron Paul by the end of this thing.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

At Least He Didn't Promise To Invade Norway...

There’s been a lot of hubbub over some comments made by Dion earlier in the week, that certain people have interpreted as a suggestion NATO invade Pakistan. Today’s Post editorial calls it “Stephane Dion’s Obama Moment”which is probably the nicest headline the Post has given to him in a year.

As for Dion's actual comments, here they are:

"We are going to have to discuss that very actively if they [the Pakistanis] are not able to deal with it on their own. We could consider that option with the NATO forces in order to help Pakistan help us pacify Afghanistan."

Wow! That's a totally...non-controversial opinion. What Dion was getting at is a perfectly valid argument - the At Issue Panel on CBC said as much last night. You won’t get stability in Afghanistan and the region unless Pakistan does something about its border and stops harbouring terrorists.

But the problem, as is so often the case, isn’t one of content but of communication. I don’t think there’s any doubt what the Tory message is going to be next campaign and the ambiguity in these comments plays right into that. The National had a clip of Mansbridge interviewing Dion last night and, when asked what his solution was, Dion started to answer “I don’t have any solutions” before quickly correcting himself to “I don’t have a magical solution” - if he hadn’t caught himself when he did, the Tories would be making their next attack ad buy right now (they still might).

Foreign policy seems to get everyone into hot water no matter how much of an expert they are. We know the Tories will distort every word come campaign time, so Dion is going to have to get his talking points down cold to make sure he doesn’t fall victim to another “Obama moment”.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

McCain Mitts His Match, and other news

The Mittster came up with a big win in Michigan last night, keeping it a four man race for the Republican nomination. The next big test is South Carolina, where McCain will try and exorcise the ghosts of 2000. Meanwhile, Giuliani's strategy to lull his opponents into a sense of overconfidence by sucking royally in the early primaries appears to be working swimmingly, given his 3% sixth place showing in Michigan.

The markets still have McCain in front but no one seems to stay the front runner for long in this race.

In Other News...

-Having already gone with a brutally bad pun in the post headline, I'll resist the urge to use any obvious "nuclear" play-on-words when recapping the Linda Keen firing. Actually, I won't use any words to recap this one because, truth be told, I haven't been following this story very closely. Thoughts?

-Writer's strike got you down? Well, the CBC will be airing another edition of "Test the Nation" this Sunday. I mention this only because I will be part of the blogging team (which will, I suspect, be quite ineffective without our trusted friend "google"). With over 200 people in studio, this should give me a good idea of what it's like to be a backbench MP, if nothing else.

-PTimHB has more on the upcoming Alberta election - looks like a promise to scrap health care premiums could be in Stelmach's platform. Flip-flops aside, it would be a smart political move on his part and it's not like Alberta is short on cash.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Vote Early, Vote Often

Round one of voting for the Canadian blog awards has begun. Voting is open until January 21st.

While I have said in the past that I find stacking Internet polls tacky, I should clarify that statement to say I find it tacky except when I'm doing it. So feel free to go and vote. I'm up for best blog, best political blog, and best progressive blog, but I can think of a few worthy winners in each of those categories so be sure to browse the full list.

The Man With No Plan

I don't know a lot about the "Albertans for Change" group but they certainly appear organized and well funded. Few Alberta opposition parties have had the dough to run commercials in recent elections but this group, composed of Alberta unions, is now airing three attack ads directed towards the Premier.

With ominous music, black and white pictures, newspaper headlines, and a repetitive message, these ads are fairly textbook and I suspect they'll be effective. Just as the federal Tory ads (successfully) branded Dion with the "not a leader" tag, these ads will try to paint Stelmach as the man with "no plan". Regardless of whether or not that's true, the message is believable enough that it could stick.

You can watch them online here.

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Monday, January 14, 2008


If you're just looking for some quick junkfood, the latest Ipsos poll has the Liberals up 20 in Alberta. Given the sample size, I wouldn't put any stock in it, but I couldn't resist posting it - seeing a Liberal surge in Alberta the second I leave was too funny to pass up.

Now, if you want a nice and healthy full course meal, take a look at the post-Paille government commissioned polling on the Fall Fiscal Update. It gives a detailed look at the issues Canadians are concerned about and how they think Canada's New Government is performing on them. Kudos to Kady O'Malley for digging it up.

Individuals Who's Opinions on Election Timing Likely Aren't Worthy of a Headline

The provincial NDP leaders of New Brunswick and the Yukon.

Friday, January 11, 2008

From the home office in Balls Creek....

This is pretty good. I think Rodney MacDonald is my new favourite Premier...


In The News

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? And, boy, are they pissed. And 45 minutes late.

Schreiber & Mulroney Inquiry Called: A Game of 17 Questions.

I don't feel like giving a detailed, or even half-assed, analysis now. Luckily, Kady O'Malley has a run down of both events.

Feel free to debate away in the comments section.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Unite the Right

In the midst of masterofhisdomain-gate, I seem to have missed this bit of news out of Alberta:

Alberta's political right may be in for a realignment in 2008, with the Alberta Alliance and Wildrose Party preparing for a merger before the next election.

If the union is accepted by members of both parties, the new Wildrose Alliance Party of Alberta will run a full slate of candidates in the next election.

Before people get too excited about this merger, this is only slightly more significant than the eventual Marxist-Leninist/Communist Party merger that we all know is inevitable at the federal level. So, in the scheme of things, this is probably slightly less worrisome for Ed Stelmach than losing his domain name to some shit disturbing blogger and slightly more worrisome than getting a mustard stain out of his favourite suit.

For those outside of Alberta (which includes, I guess, me), the Alliance came into being in 2002, picking up 1 seat and 9% of the vote in the 2004 election. Given recent polls and by-election results, I tend to think 9% would be their best case scenario in the upcoming election.

As for the Wild Rose Party, their long and storied history will come to a close if this merger is ratified. Let's give them a moment of silence before moving on.

Should Wild Rose party members decide to kill their weeks of history in a bid to blow past the SoCreds on the relevancy scale, the new party would be cleverly named the Wild Rose Alliance (or, "Wild Alliance" for short) and would be led by Alberta Alliance leader Paul Hinman. This shouldn't be a major surprise given that the Wild Rose Party never selected a leader.

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Primary Numbers

It's election night in New Hampshire as the tiny state of one million people helps select the next President. I'll be flipping back and forth between the results and the hockey game so expect updates here throughout the evening. Given that I'm neither a New Hamshirite nor an American, I'm aware that my opinion doesn't really matter but here's my thoughts on the candidates who could still win the Presidency:


I would have been on the Gore bandwagon had he decided to toss his hat in but, understandably, he's happy winning everything except the Presidency (although some could argue he has already won that too...). As it is, I keep bouncing back and forth between the three front runners.

I really like what Barack Obama represents...I jut don't really understand why he represents what he represents. I have yet to see any coherent argument as to why he represents "change" more than Edwards or Clinton but, hey, it's a fun ride to watch and he'd make a hell of a candidate. But Hillary's getting attacked by Lou Dobbs right now so that probably means she's doing something right, and Edwards has as much charisma and better policy than either of the other two so I'd be fine with any of them.


This race is the fun one. I'm joining Jesus and Chuck Norris in endorsing Mike Huckabee. Not only is a regular on the Colbert Report but, as pointed out recently by a few libloggers, he's made a 22 Minutes cameo:

If you thought Stockwell Day was a fun candidate to follow, just imagine Stockwell Day with a sense of humour!

From Colbert's buddy, we move to Jon Stewart's. John McCain is expected to win tonight and has staged quite the comeback after being left for dead this fall. McCain is probably the most electable man in the field, although the generation gap is going to be the size of the Grand Canyon if it's him against Obama. He gets full marks for the best line of the New Hampshire debates when he agreed wholeheartedly that Mitt Romney is the candidate of change.

Fred Thompson, to the best of my knowledge, is still in this race, but it's possible he's dropped out and I just missed it.

Rudy Giuliani is just hoping no one forgets about him by the time Super Tuesday rolls around. I don't mind Rudy - he cameo'd on Seinfeld once - but I have a hard time endorsing someone if his win means having to look up the spelling of his name every time I post about him during his Presidency.


8:00 pm: The polls close and CNN makes the ever-so-bold prediction that...John Edwards will be third! I guess they're going to hold off on that bold "Richardson finishes fourth" call until some more data comes in.

8:05 pm: CNN is profiling Salem now. Full credit to Wolf Blitzer for resisting the obvious Hillary Clinton joke.

8:16 pm: CNN projects that McCain wins New Hampshire. I guess it's time for Romney to get those push polls into the field in South Carolina...

8:32 pm: Clinton 40%, Obama 36%, Edwards 17%, Richardson 4%. You know, I'm shocked that Jed Bartlett's endorsement in his home state couldn't move votes for Richardson.

10:24 pm: Edwards is conceding now and he's using the SNL Gore "health care" speech...or at least a very close approximation to it. Clinton's up by over 4,000 votes with 63% of the polls in, so it certainly appears that she'll eek this one out. Not a great result if you think about it but, given the polls over the last two days, it likely leaves the Democratic nomination as a pick 'em.

I think the take home message from tonight is that Super Tuesday is going to be very interesting for both parties. And, while it's still early, does anyone else get the sense that the Republican nomination might actually come down to a delegated convention?

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"I don’t know where Ed Stelmach’s personality is but I didn’t take it"

Haven already provided a year of A+++ government, it appears Edward Stelmach has turned his attention to more pressing issues – those meddlesome kids. The Premier has threatened to sue Daveberta for registering the domain name, thereby misappropriating Ed’s personality.

Dave gives a pretty good run down of the facts but I would add that one of the four grievances by Edward Stelmach is that, since Daveberta has Adsense, a profit has been made off of Stelmach’s persona without his permission. Might I suggest to Dave that he just give the Premier a cut of his google revenues to solve this problem? I’m not sure the $3.84 a month will necessarily pay for Edward’s legal bills, but it would be a start.

The weirdest part about all of this is that, despite an army of “overzealous volunteers” scouring the province for “unethical donations” (Ed’s words, not mine), none of them were zealous enough to think of registering the Premier’s domain name at any point during the leadership race or during his first four months in office.


Monday, January 07, 2008

The Dreaded Carbon Tax

OTTAWA — The Canadian economy can transform itself into a clean-running green machine by 2050, slashing its emissions by more than half with very little economic pain, say the authors of a new report from the National Round Table on the Environment.

The federally-funded advisory panel is urging government leaders to quickly put a "strong" price on industrial emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants and says the sooner the better for both the economy and the environment.

The report urges Canadian politicians to focus the debate on either a carbon tax, a cap and trade system, or both.

I suspect that both the environmentalist, Stephane Dion, and the economist, Stephen Harper, already know that a carbon tax is the best way to cut emissions. They also probably already know that a carbon tax would meet with a lot of backlash.

But, you have to wonder – would this be unpopular anywhere outside of Alberta? And if Albertans are determined to vote for the same party for all eternity, do either Dion or Harper have a real incentive to listen to Albertans on this one?


Friday, January 04, 2008

Stay Informed

OTTAWA — Canadian taxpayers are footing the bill for a $650,000 ad campaign that boasts about a one-cent cut to the GST – a campaign that opposition members say is nothing more than pre-election advertising for the Conservatives.

Radio spots that began airing on Dec. 28 and newspaper advertisements that will soon appear in small weeklies inform Canadians of the benefits they will reap as a result of the sales-tax cut that came into effect on Jan. 1.

“The government of Canada is ringing in the New Year with another tax cut. Starting January 1st, the GST will be reduced to five per cent, the second cut in less than two years,” says the radio ad.

“This means significant tax savings on most everything you buy, like a coffee, a new home, a computer or a new car. To learn more about the GST reduction, visit or call 1-800-O-Canada. 2008 will be a less taxing year for Canadians.”

I know some libloggers will be up in arms over for this, but I for one would like to thank Canada's New Government for keeping Canadians informed. Why, just this morning I was in line for a cup of coffee and had already calculated the cost when I remembered the ad I'd heard on the radio the night before. I quickly recalculated the new cost and managed to pay in exact change. I can only imagine what I would have done if I hadn't heard the ads - I might have had to put two pennies away when told the price! How embarrassing would that have been!

I'm sure this scene has happened thousands of times coast to coast this week (given the $650,000 price tag for the ads, hopefully many thousand times). I look forward to more informative ads in the coming months along the lines of "Did you know the Canadian government has been Adscam free for two years?".


As the Orchard Army Prepares to Go Insane...

Full marks to Stephane Dion on this, for reasons I don't need to go into again. Hopefully Orchard will accept this and find a winnable riding to run in during the general election:

Liberal Party of Canada Announces Joan Beatty as Candidate

OTTAWA - Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion today announced that Joan Beatty, former Saskatchewan NDP cabinet minister and Aboriginal activist, will be the Party's candidate in the riding of Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River in the upcoming federal by-election.“Joan Beatty brings to the Liberal Party of Canada a strong mix of local knowledge, Aboriginal expertise, political experience and a tradition of service to the people of Saskatchewan,” said Mr. Dion.

“I am confident that her passion for her home-riding of Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River, coupled with her passion for her province and country, will make her a strong Member of Parliament and I am so pleased to welcome her to our Caucus.”

Ms. Beatty said her continued desire to make a positive change for the north, together with the best possible way to serve the people of northern Saskatchewan, has resulted in her accepting Mr. Dion’s invitation to join the Liberal Party of Canada.

“Under Mr. Dion’s leadership,I believe that I can best represent the constituency at this level, in particular, the First Nations communities where the need is so great. For me, at the end of the day, it’s about being practical. I am proud to announce my candidacy in the federal riding of Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River and continuing to fight for a richer, fairer and greener Canada,” said Ms. Beatty, who is currently a Member of the
Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan.

“This is a diverse riding with significant First Nations, Métis, and farming communities. Having been born and raised in the riding, along with my professional and personal experience, I have had the opportunity to see first hand the issues faced by northerners, and I look forward to taking those concerns to Ottawa and pushing for solutions.”

In 2003, Ms. Beatty became the first Aboriginal woman and First Nations person to be elected to the Saskatchewan Legislature. Shortly thereafter, she became the first Aboriginal woman and First Nations person to be appointed to cabinet as Minister of Culture Youth and Recreation and Provincial Secretary.

In 2006, she became Minister of Northern Affairs and the Minister Responsible for the Status of Women. Until recently she served as the critic responsible for Women’s Issues and Northern Affairs.

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

All's Quiet on the Northern Front... let's look south to the land of corn, cold winters, and disproportionate political power!

Yes, today and Tuesday two states making up a cumulative 4% of the US population (less than Newfoundland vis-a-vis Canada; fun quiz - how did Stephane Dion do in Newfoundland during Liberal leadership race? Anyone? Anyone?) will, by and large, decide the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees. Or, at least they would in a normal year - the races are so tight this time around that the early primaries may only complicate things further...especially if the polls are to be believed and the front runners under perform.

For the Dems, Hillary is now third in Iowa, with a reduced lead in New Hampshire and nationally. For the Republicans it's Huckabee vs. Romney in Iowa and McCain vs. Romney in New Hampshire, for the right to be the "not Giuliani" candidate of this campaign.

UPDATE: A convincing win for Huckabee, which puts the pressure on Romney to win New Hampshire. Of note, Ron Paul picked up 10%, good enough for 5th, ahead of Rudy Giuliani.

For the Dems, it's Obama with 37% and Edwards and Clinton with 30% each.