Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Here’s a quote for the “Shameless Advertising” section of your blog, Cherniak:
“Jason Cherniak is a self-important, koolaid drinking, wingnut who is read by the media and general public for the same reason that people can’t help but look at a train wreck. He is a very small man with a very big ego who has made it his mission to distort the truth in order to score juvenile political points against his opponents. His reporting style is much like a pre-pubescent schoolyard bully. The fact that he is considered to be the most influential Liberal blogger really says something about the Liberal Party of Canada.”
You can put that one right above the one about how Dion’s wife reads your blog, you nerd.
This post was inspired by the growing coalition of Bloggers Against Jason Cherniak.
The video takes you through my journey towards getting some kind of interview with Layton. Very tough to do during an election campaign. But his tour, even though they have an effective RCMP detail, is still a strong contrast to Harper's bubble (Layton's press secretaries seem like way more fun than Harper's as well).
Anyways, enjoy my fine camera work and cheesy interviewing skillz.
Jack Layton had better believe that when this madness is over, and he is all settled into 24 Sussex, that I am coming for my exclusive.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Most of it came as no surprise. Just a soild plan including the announcements we've heard throughout the election. Layton did however, announce the New Democrat plan for tackling poverty. It's big.
Robert Benzie from the Toronto Star reports:
Unveiling the New Democrats' plan for governing today in Toronto, Layton pledged a new $17 billion child benefit plan that will reward families up to $400 a month per child.
"The New Democrats' child benefit will give every middle-class and working family in Canada a raise," he said.
"Our priorities are those of the kitchen table, not just the boardroom table."
As first disclosed by the Star, families with a household income of $38,000 or less would receive $400 a month per child.
Those making less than $188,000-a-household would get $250 a month per child.
And families earning more than $188,000 a year would receive $100 a month per child.
Unlike the current Conservative $100-a-month per child baby bonus policy, the money wouldn't be taxed.
The NDP would also extend the eligibility threshold from the existing cut-off – currently when a child turns six – to 18 years old.
Layton's 57-page platform document boasts a slew of other measures designed to eliminate poverty within 12 years, including a minimum wage of $10 that would be indexed to inflation.
A New Democratic government would introduce a Poverty Elimination Act, setting firm reduction targets and make the government accountable for meeting those goals.
A progress report would have to be tabled every five years.
The NDP wants to reduce child poverty by more than 50 per cent and the overall poverty rate by more than 35 per cent in the first five years.
A new poverty elimination office, to be part of Human Resources Development Canada, would assume overall responsibility for helping the poor.
The NDP defines the poverty line as Statistics Canada's "low income cut-off" or LICO, which calculates the income level at which a family may be in dire straits because it has to spend a greater portion of its income on shelter, food, and clothing than an average family. The LICO measurement varies, depending where in Canada a family resides.
The child benefit that New Democrats are proposing is the first serious step I've seen made by any party to reduce child poverty.
It puts Jack Layton in stark contrast with Stephen Harper who offers families barely enough for beer and popcorn and calls it a child care plan while he gives $50 billion away in corporate tax cuts.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
A local Liberal candidate says he hopes Michael Ignatieff will take over the party's leadership one day.
Gerry Lenoski, candidate for Burnaby-New Westminster, made the comments Thursday, the same day Ignatieff was scheduled to appear in Burnaby.
Some Liberals have been casting doubt on Stéphane Dion's leadership as polls show him lagging behind Prime Minister Stephen Harper."Some day Mr. Dion may not be leader, and I hope Michael Ignatieff will replace him," Lenoski said in an interview. "Everybody has a best before date."
Lenoski's comments would not have been as bad if they hadn't come after weeks of Liberal insiders trashing Dion. It's obvious that many Liberals think that Dion is well past his "best before date" and is starting to stink up the fridge.
Here is a sampling of some of the coverage Dion has been getting:
In the 2008 election, Dion has been a flop. Inside the party, there is disarray. Reporter Linda Diebel documented earlier this week in the Star a litany of campaign missteps, from the failure to have an airplane on deck at the election start to Dion's refusal to listen to anyone's advice.
Many Toronto-area Liberal MPs are furious with Dion, who seems oblivious to their concerns and their suggestions. And some long-time loyalists who knock on doors and stuff envelopes are sitting this one out, uninspired by their leader.
A number of senior Liberals tell me privately they feel Dion is an embarrassment – not an asset – for the party and that a thrashing on voting day, which they fully expect, is what the Liberals need before they can regroup and rebuild.
And if the polls are right, a humbling defeat is what Dion and the Liberals are facing. - Toronto Star "The Worst Liberal Campaign Ever" Sept 18, 2008
As one senior Liberal insider puts it: "For us to make any significant gains would require that just about everything go terribly wrong for the Conservatives."
Another muses that perhaps Dion should be dispatched to campaign in Newfoundland for the rest of the election, leaving Bob Rae and Michael Ignatieff to lead the fight for seat-rich Ontario.
Among a dozen veteran Liberal stalwarts and strategists we interviewed last week, most privately admit they are no longer worrying about winning as much as avoiding losing in a carnage that could deep-six the party for a decade or more. -London Free Press
Wait, there's more:
Why Mr. Dion hasn't trundled out Mr. Rae and Michael Ignatieff sooner is a mystery -- well, maybe not a big one -- but he didn't have much choice given the funereal tenor his ill-starred journey has taken on. Even the Liberals' balky old campaign plane won't co-operate -- the rented 737 had to put down in Montreal for repairs, forcing Mr. Dion to rent a Bombardier borrowed from Porter Air to get out of town. You know you're in trouble when the ever-loyal Toronto Star refers to your "flagging campaign" in the first paragraph of its news report, while its big-name columnists line up to write your obituary. Chantal Hebert gave Mr. Dion a week at most to turn things around; James Travers suggests local MPs are just hoping to survive the slaughter.
Someone in the Liberal camp who doesn't like Mr. Dion has been talking to the papers, and stories about intrigue sourced to unnamed Liberals appeared in both the Globe and Star. The reports had similar themes: he doesn't listen to advice; he ignores the party's seasoned old guard; he micromanages down to vetting campaign ads; he's failed to mend fences since the leadership race or to share the stage with more popular figures who could leaven his stodgy image; and most of all he seems to have no idea the campaign is meandering along in no particular direction. -National Post, Sept 17, 2008
I have a whole other post full of other examples. These are just the ones I found without looking too hard. The big story on the Liberals this election is how badly they are tanking.
One thing is for sure, the knives have been sharpened and will be coming from all directions if Dion fails to deliver in the debates.
From a riding profile on Vegreville - Wainwright published in the Edmonton Journal:
One can understand how Munsey drifted to the Green Party. When Elizabeth May says things like "I don't think a woman has a frivolous right to choose" she is bound to make Conservatives feel right at home in her party.
Will Munsey, 47,
Do you anticipate that it will be hard to sway voters?
"I'm going to make an admission to you. I used to vote Conservative. I didn't vote for Stephen Harper in the last election, but in the one he lost in 2004, I voted for him. And I am a conservative. God, my father even has pictures of Stephen Harper hung up in the basement."
The latest video from the creative and talented NDP candidate David Sparrow, is quite clever and fits nicely with this post. Enjoy!
Friday, September 26, 2008
To tide you over until my return, here are some of my favourites of the videos posted in the Orange Room.
Behind the Scenes of Jack Layton's tour:
Rick Mercer sticking it to the Liberals:
Nice use of hipster dance music:
A classic that warms the hearts of New Democrats everywhere:
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Mostly thanks to the Big Red Smear Machine, which is particularly vile here in BC. The Liberal Team BC website (refuse to link to it) reads like Frank magazine lately. And it's only going to get worse as the Liberals keep tanking out west. Yuck.
But candidates are getting smoked by their skeletons across party lines and throughout the country. Just today there were four more casualties.
The internet has bitten a lot of people in the ass in the past few weeks. If it didn't directly provide the dirt, then it helped fan the flame for every fallen candidate. Yup, blogs and social networking sites, the power-tools of democratic expression, are flexing their might.
While parties spent a lot of resources this time around creating interesting web-2.0-y ways to connect to voters (the Orange Room is, hands-down, the coolest btw - notaleader.ca is just weird and Scandalpedia is severely lame), there is a general consensus that more attention could have been paid to researching one's own candidates and their online identities.
No party gets out of this one unscathed though. Except the fringe parties. Who no one cares about unless they have a candidate who is overwhelmingly unpleasant in a well-documented way. But the Conservatives, New Democrats, and the Liberals all have fallen soldiers.
I'm willing to cut them some slack however, because candidate vetting in the Age of the Internet is a whole new ballgame. It's not as simple as just googling candidates. It is nearly impossible to go through every dark corner, every blog post, every discussion board, and every facebook group looking for dirt on 308 people. Especially in a snap election situation. And nobody seemed to predict how severe a weapon the internet was going to be (except an unnamed friend of mine who thinks the internet is evil and needs to be taken down, and would be really upset with me for referring to him on the internet, even in an unnamed way).
Regardless, the internet is here to stay and politics is going to have to adapt. Total lunatics used to be able to run in ridings where they had no shot of winning because the media wouldn't care. Well, no more.
This election has proven that there is a microscope over every single one of us now. It's a shame because it will likely deter even those with a very clean history from running. And we will probably end up with a higher percentage of crazies because one has to be either super-squeaky-clean or bat-sh@$ insane to be a candidate in the Age of the Internet.
But that is something to worry about next time we all meet to practice democracy for five weeks or so. Lesson learned. So, for the remainder of this election, unless someone is a fricken' serial killer, can we have the national MSM just stick to the issues?
Except for that Liberal guy who billed the government for Liberal campaigning. The MSM should totally nail him.
Liberals are just giving it to Dion in this campaign.
Day after day the story on the Liberals is how miserable their campaign is.
On Wednesday, the Globe ran an article about how the Liberals were pretty much claiming defeat. The title is harsh enough, "Liberals shift focus to 'living for another day'" but here are some excerpts that you know just gotta hurt:
Usually at this point in a successful campaign, however, there is thought given to forming a transition team.
Senator David Smith, one of the co-chairs of the Liberal campaign, said yesterday that he wasn't “going to get into it” when asked about transition...
Another senior campaign strategist burst out into laughter when asked about whether there had been any thinking as to a transition team.
“It wasn't even in my vocabulary or my brain,” said the strategist, suggesting the Liberals are trying to hold what they have...
One candidate is demoralized as he hears from former Liberal voters, “I'm not really sure about this Stéphane Dion.”
The senior campaign staffer there says they are emphasizing “the team” over the leader.
And after five hours of door-knocking over the weekend in his riding north of Toronto, a Liberal incumbent candidate heard complaints about his leader from 80 per cent of those he spoke to.
“[The candidate] is very discouraged and says that the only thing that may help him is that he is not identified as a Liberal and can run on his personal popularity,” a campaign insider said.
Quebec, according to some Liberals, is a “disaster.” The Liberals have 11 of the 75 seats.
And in British Columbia, Liberals are concerned about the rise of the Green Party and the credibility that Mr. Dion has given to its leader, Elizabeth May. Those who like a carbon tax will support Ms. May, whose platform is much stronger on the issue, the Liberals fear.
Ouch. Thank you anonymous staffer who "burst out into laughter" at the idea that the Liberals would form government. You have provided me with some laughter yourself.
My suggestion for Dion and the gang is along the lines of what former Liberal Party President Stephen LeDrew has in mind to enliven the out-of-touch, teetering on irrelevant Liberal Party: a sound "drubbing" in this election. But, it's cool with me if the Liberals don't get back up again as LeDrew predicts they will. Crossing my fingers for this eventuality in fact. But alas, Canadians will decide their fate.
And before any Liberals accuse me of helping Harper by suggesting that it would be great if the Liberal Party got their asses handed to them by Canadians, go read this. I am done arguing with you on your favourite Liberal talking point. I will be sending you to that link to argue with Scott Piatkowski, who has generously offered to shut you up with smartass answers, instead. I am actually considering posting his "snappy answers" down one of the columns of my blog.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Anyways, according to a story in the Ubyssey, Bob Rae was at an event in East Vancouver on Friday. Here's how the Liberals "unite" progressive Canadians:
In what is becoming increasingly common in many urban ridings across Canada, the Liberals on stage spent the night attacking the NDP instead of the Conservative Party, with longtime Vancouver East MP Libby Davies the target of their attacks. [Liberal Senator Larry] Campbell began his speech with strong praise for Davies, calling her “a friend,” and said he wouldn’t be campaigning against her if she was running for any other party.
Former COPE mayor Larry Campbell is the new definition of sellout. His attack on Libby Davies is shameful. But Senator Campbell doesn't have to worry about getting elected again. And a Liberal government would ensure that he continues to have job security. So his negative campaigning won't hurt him. But I hope this anti-NDP message really backfires on whoever the Liberal candidate is in East Van and he loses by an even larger margin than he would have before.
More from Rae at the rally:
He continued with strong rhetoric against the NDP, saying “the NDP has defeated all the progressive measures that we introduced in government...”
So, then... the Liberals defeated progressive measures in the last parliament (like anti-scab legislation) as a clever way to get back at the NDP? Ahhh. I totally get it now. Well played Liberal Party.
But seriously, this is getting ridiculous. The Liberals had government after government to deliver on child care, the environment and all the other things that they claim the NDP "defeated". Instead Liberal governments broke their election promises and embroiled themselves in scandal. That is what brought them down. Period.
I have heard enough Liberal BS about how we need them to stop Harper. If Martha Hall Findlay or Bob Rae or some other Liberal from Ontario comes to my door in East Vancouver to tell me that "progressives need to stick together, so vote Liberal blablabla", this is pretty much the gist of what I will be telling them:
Where I live, voting NDP not only beats a Conservative, but it elects a strong New Democrat who gives me and my fellow East Van residents a real voice against Stephen Harper and his Conservatives, unlike a Liberal MP who would have abstained or voted with Harper when it really counted in the last parliament.
In fact my New Democrat MP, Libby Davies, has been a strong voice against the last decade of regressive governments. She stood up to Liberal governments while they gave tax cuts to corporate Canada for years on the backs of students, and middle and low-income families. She has demanded that both Conservative and Liberal governments enforce the Canada Health Act instead of allowing private clinics to erode our universal health care system. She fought for same-sex marriage against Conservatives and socially conservative Liberals long before it was made law. And she has spent most of her career bringing much needed attention to the growing crisis in the Downtown Eastside.
Libby Davies is never going to be a Liberal MP because with her experience, she is in an even better position than most to call BS on Stephane Dion and the so-called Liberal 'dream team' (puke) when they claim that only the Liberals can deliver the change that progressive Canadians are calling for. Libby Davies seems to know that only a New Democratic government will do that.
And Libby isn't the only one. She is one of hundreds of New Democrats running to represent Canadians in an NDP government. New Democrats who have witnessed the Liberals either breaking their election promises while in government, or letting Harper get away with $50 billion in corporate tax cuts (and much more). When elected, Jack Layton and these hundreds of New Democrats, like Libby Davies, will bring forward progressive policies to solve our economic and environmental challenges (like they always have) and shape a country fit for future generations of Canadians.
Because of how low the Liberals seem to be willing to stoop with their smear campaigns, these New Democrats are putting themselves and their families in harm's way just to tell their communities what a government led by Jack Layton has to offer.
Every single one of these New Democrats deserves the vote of Canadians who are fed up with Stephen Harper and want real change.
Led by Jack Layton, a New Democratic government will change the way that politics are done in Canada and take measures to ensure that all Canadians make it through the tough economic road ahead. That is something that no other party can promise with any credibility.
So, no matter where I lived in Canada, no matter what riding, I would be putting my vote towards achieving a New Democratic government. Because 'not being Stephen Harper', does not qualify someone to be Prime Minister. And because after Liberal governments have gotten us into most of the crises we now face, why would we trust them to get us out?
Besides, raise your hand if you really believe that Stephane Dion is in any position to stop Stephen Harper?
How far into that speech do you think I would get before Martha and Bob would mark me down as 'not voting Liberal' and take off?
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Just today, another candidate, this time a Liberal, is being burned by information dug up on the web. Apparently the Liberal candidate for Winnipeg Centre, Daniel Hurley, billed election expenses to Canadian taxpayers to the tune of $1,547.56 in the 2005/06 election.
Stephen Taylor deserves a lot of credit for this one. He weaves together news items and expense claims that he found on the internet to prove that Hurley (Stephane Dion's chief of staff at the time) traveled with Dion to Edmonton for the purposes of electioneering, and then filed an expense claim for the trip with Environment Canada. Included in the claim was $166.60 for meals. For two days. No Harvey's or Timmy Ho's for this Liberal.
This newest scandal is not as immediately intriguing as some of the others, but it's probably more shameful. I mean, this heightened-sense-of-entitlement Liberal thought that Canadians should pay for his Liberal campaigning. Somebody should have explained to Hurley prior to the 2005/06 election that "the Natural Governing Party" is just what Liberals call themselves. It's not actually true. There are still elections, and those elections are supposed to be fair.
But this candidate's misuse of government funds likely won't get the same level of coverage that other candidates got for say, smoking pot. I guess it's lacking the web 2.0 angle...maybe if there was a YouTube video of Hurley submitting the expense claim, this story might take off.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Conservative Party 35% (-1)
Liberal Party 30% (-1)
NDP 22% (+2)
BQ 7% (NC)
Green Party 6% (-1)
Undecided 18% (-1)
It's not so much the numbers themselves as it is the trend. According to Nanos polling (the same Nanos who projected the popular vote to within 0.1% in 2006), the NDP is on the rise. Notice the upward slope. I'm trying not to pay too much attention to polls in this election, because there are so many of them (and some of them are all over the place), but it's hard not to take the Nanos polls seriously.
Great piece written by Blaikie in the Globe today on the toxic environment in the HoC. Here is an excerpt:
I have always been proud of the role and the behavior of the NDP in the House of Commons. Sure, we have had the odd louder-than-appropriate voice in our corner of the House, and the odd unparliamentary incident, usually driven by rage at some form of government inaction. But my memory of my life in the NDP corner will primarily be one of trying to raise important issues while the Liberals and Conservatives, aided by the fatal attraction of the media, preferred to spend their parliamentary time debating who among them was the least corrupt.
He will be missed.
The Absent Liberals:
Hilarious that there is now a resource for Canadians to watch every vote from the last parliament where the Liberals enabled the Harper agenda. The votes where the Liberal benches are empty are my favourite. Like this one:
This is the best use of CPAC footage that I have seen in a while.
And of course, Jack Layton:
His leadership numbers are great (well above Stephane Dion's, of course) and he is in Hamilton today announcing New Democrat trade policies:
Renegotiating NAFTA chapter 6- which right now limits Canada’s control over our own energy resources; and NAFTA chapter 11- which currently allows foreign investors to challenge Canada’s right to make laws to protect our interests. Correcting NAFTA’s deeply flawed dispute resolution mechanisms. Requiring strong labour and environmental standards in every trade deal Canada signs. Exploring opportunities for a model fair-trade deal with the European Union.
Jack's performance in this election has been spectacular. He has a clear message on the issues that matter, he stands as a strong contrast to Stephen Harper, and he's been handling the crap that the Liberals throw at him like a champ. I'm a very proud New Democrat with Jack Layton as our leader.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Best Jack Layton quote this week:
The troubles in the financial markets “are the clearest possible warning that the North American economies under Conservative governments, both in Canada and the United States, are on the wrong track,” said the NDP Leader.
“Conservative governments don't do their jobs. They don't keep their eyes on the stock promoters and the bond sellers and the mortgage brokers and bankers. Today, we see the results.”
-Globe and Mail, September 16,2008
He gets it.
In stark contrast, we have someone who either doesn't get it or has internal polling that shows that Canadians don't trust a Conservative government to look after their interests during a recession:
"There are and there will be difficulties in the world economy. At the same time, Canada is not in the same situation as the United States. My own belief is if we were going to have some kind of big crash or recession, we probably would have had it by now."
- Stephen Harper, CBC, September 15, 2008
This is the scariest thing that Harper has said in a while (although "do you like handcuffs?" was kinda creepy).
Gilles Duceppe, in response to more ex-bloquistes coming out about the Bloc's irrelevance:
"People say that during every campaign, and every campaign Quebecers give us a majority," Duceppe said as he toured northwestern Quebec on the federal election campaign trail."And it will be the same this time as well."Somebody's a touch on the complacent side. I hope Quebecers kick his ass into retirement for that remark.
-CBC News, September 15, 2008
Elizabeth May on the campaign support she is getting from her coalition partners:
Young Liberal Carmen Cipolla admits to feeling a bit of "discomfort" as he walks the streets of Antigonish in hopes of converting party loyalists to the cause of Green Leader Elizabeth May...
"He's fabulous. These young Liberals are very idealistic," May says of her temporary convert.
Cipolla - a leader of the St. Francis Xavier University Liberal Society - decided to work for the Greens after May and Liberal Leader Stephane Dion struck a deal not to run candidates in each other's riding-The Canadian Press, September 18, 2008
Young Liberals everywhere are likely cringing at the idea of the leader of the Green Party calling them "idealistic."
And from the media. Just a couple of items because it's getting late. Feel free to add your own favourites in the comments section.
I am tempted to paste the entire Randall Denley article here but I won't. Here's a quote that summarizes it:
One might reasonably ask what, other than habit, makes the Liberals the automatic alternative to the Conservatives. After all their years in government, the Liberals still retain an aura of credibility -- but is it deserved?
-Ottawa Citizen, September 16, 2008
Go read the whole article if you haven't already.
From the Maclean's blogs:
"Glen McGregor pointed this out to me today, a new Liberal spot. Is this the worst political ad ever made?"
-Maclean's Andrew Potter on the new Liberal ad entitled, Liberal Leadership (September 20, 2008)
Yes, it is the worst political ad ever made. It makes you feel uncomfortable for Dion while you are watching it. This ad makes Dion look like such a flaming nerd that it has me feeling really really bad for ragging on him now. Puts me in a terrible moral predicament. I'm really annoyed with the Liberal Party over this.
But the most memorable quotes of the week were ones that the quoted thought were buried.
Who can forget Gerry Ritz' comedy routine:
During a conference call with scientists, bureaucrats and political staff on Aug. 30, Ritz made several off-colour jokes about the outbreak.
After fretting about the political dangers of the Listeria scare, Ritz quipped: "This is like a death by a thousand cuts. Or should I say cold cuts."Then when told of a death in Prince Edward Island, Ritz said, "Please tell me it's (Liberal MP) Wayne Easter."
-CTV.ca, September 17, 2008
That still grosses me out. Days later.
Then we have the wacko Conservative candidate from Toronto who resigned on Sunday. He thought he could hide all sorts of disgusting comments he made on his blog by making it "members only". Yay for google cache! I'm not going to post his comments but you can find the worst ones and the links to the caches here.
And for my patient readers who just wanted some video, here's one that is fairly amusing (quite amusing if you are a B-star G. geek like myself). It's called 'Harper is a Cylon':
Saturday, September 20, 2008
In a desperate move to distract the public from Dion's lack of leadership and his flip-flop on the Green Shift, the Liberals issued a press release accusing the NDP of having a secret deal with the Marijuana Party.
The accusation is of course, ridiculous. The NDP's (very appropriate) response was:
"This is pure fantasy," campaign spokesman Brad Lavigne said. "The New Democratic Party has made no such deal with any other party or with any individual ... This is nonsense, absolute nonsense." -CTV.ca, Sept 20, 2008I applaud Lavigne's restraint. My reaction would have been something like "What the @$#% have they been smoking over there?"
Just because Dion and the Liberal Party need to form coalitions with fringe parties to get elected, doesn't mean the NDP does as well.
And before they started throwing around accusations, the Liberals really should have made sure that their asses were covered on this issue.
The Dion Liberals just issued a press release entitled “Layton must come clean on Marijuana Party deal”. The same release, word for word, could have been issued raising questions of the Dion Liberals and their ties to the Marijuana Party.
Liberal Leader Stephane Dion has not “come clean” with Canadians about the terms of his deal with the former Marijuana Party Marc-Boris St-Maurice.
The former leader of the Marijuana Party, who ran against Prime Minister Paul Martin in the 2004 general election, quit and joined the Liberals in 2005.
“I believe that if any party will ever legalize marijuana in Canada, it is the Liberals," St-Maurice said in a statement, “And I hope to bring my knowledge and expertise on this issue to help the Liberal Party develop new policies, programs and legislation which address the marijuana situation.”
(CBC.ca , February 28, 2005)
St-Maurice also donated $1000 to Stephane Dion’s leadership campaign. SOURCE
Aside from the blatant hypocrisy on the part of the Liberal Party, this whole thing is just bizarre.
I mean, they are attacking the NDP on marijuana? Really? There's no story here. There are no secrets. The NDP isn't hiding anything. The NDP policy on the decriminalization (not the same as legalization btw) of marijuana has been publicly available since it passed at one of our conventions (cannot recall which one). New Democrats, and a vast number of Canadians, don't think it's right that people should go to jail with gang-bangers and hardened criminals for smoking pot.
There are serious criminals out there (ENTER cocaine smuggler who supported Dion's leadership...double zing) who the police need to be able to focus on. I live in East Vancouver where my car gets broken into at least once a week (not an exaggeration unfortunately). I want the police after those people rather than some hippies who get together to smoke pot and listen to Grateful Dead records.
As for Dana Larsen and Kirk Tousaw, they deserve a lot of credit for stepping down as candidates to avoid doing what Marc Emery and the Liberal Party are doing now: sensationalizing the marijuana issue during a federal election to take attention away from issues that Canadians are actually concerned with.
While Canadians are deeply concerned about our economic and environmental future, they are not listing marijuana policy as one of their top vote-determining issues. But Marc Emery, leader of the Marijuana Party, desperately wants their attention. So, Emery the pot crusader teamed up with the Liberals to concoct wild stories about make-believe pacts with Jack Layton. Lay off the hallucinogens buddy.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Easy for him to say from Kamloops.
Here is a clip from the interview contained in a video made by yours truly (it would have been too boring to post the clip on its own):
After the radio interview, Sommerfeld spoke to the Kamloops Daily News further indicating his support for offshore drilling.
The Kamloops Daily News does not keep their articles up on their website longer than a day. But here is the text of the article on Summerfeld that was published in the Kamloops paper on Wednesday, September 17th:
So just what is the Liberal policy on offshore drilling?
Offshore drilling supportable: Sommerfeld
Lifting a longstanding moratorium on offshore drilling in West Coast waters would not be inconsistent with the Liberal Green Shift, the party’s local candidate said Tuesday.
Ken Sommerfeld said B.C. should be able to develop its offshore oil and gas reserves just as Alberta can exploit the oil sands.
He made the comment in an interview on CHNL radio, responding to a question from a caller: Would you favour drilling off the West Coast if it were possible?
“If it’s possible to do it, I would support it,” Sommerfeld later told The Daily News. “I don’t think the moratorium on economic activity is the way to move forward at this point.”
Offshore drilling takes place around the world, he noted. If it can be done safely and in an ecologically sound manner, then why not?
“It has to be ecologically sustainable,” he said. “I wasn’t trying to suggest we should move in and start drilling willy-nilly.”
The NDP’s Michael Crawford wondered how drilling offshore could be compatible with the Green Shift.
“Is this the shift or are we getting the shift?” he asked. “It looks shifty to me.”
Crawford said federal Liberals have stated in the past they will respect the moratorium, however the party’s official stand is unclear.
“We’re really clear: We’re not going to drill off the West Coast,”
Crawford said. “It would produce terrible environmental degradation,”
he said. “It doesn’t make any sense to us.”
Sommerfeld maintained that the Green Shift doesn’t seek to restrict fossil fuel use. Instead the plan proposes to tax fuels at the source and channel revenues into conversion to cleaner technologies.The B.C. government began lobbying for the moratorium to be lifted when the Liberals still governed in Ottawa and renewed its efforts when the Conservatives attained power.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Jason Cherniak just reported that the NDP has an anti-semitic candidate by the name of Stacey Douglas. It's obvious that Cherniak salivates over every negative rumour that comes out about the NDP, but he should really do more diligent fact-checking before he hits the "publish" button. Especially when his only source is another hyper-partisan Liberal blogger.
The actual NDP candidate for Scarborough-Agincourt was nominated last night. His name is Simon Dougherty and he was uncontested. (I bet as soon as he realizes his mistake Cherniak will be madly googling poor Dougherty)
Ha. This totally made my day.
Here are screenshots of the post in case Cherniak deletes it:
Cherniak needs to either get rid of this post or explain why he posts things that aren't factually accurate.
Cherniak has taken it down. But here is a screenshot of the post in the feed on Proggressive Bloggers. Go vote for it!
UPDATE 3- By special request
So if you look in the comments, you will see that Cherniak has reposted his defammatory post and requested that I update as well. I will indulge him. Sorry I did not update as soon as you posted your update Jason, but I couldn't stay home watching your blog and hitting the refresh button every few seconds, as I had an energizing Jack Layton event in Vancouver to go to.
Here is the link to the Elections Canada site where you can see who the confirmed candidates are. If you download the list, you will see that Dougherty is listed as the NDP candidate for Scarborough-Agincourt. Just a tip: until they are posted on this list (not too hard to find btw- surprised that you didn't locate it yourself), or another official-type list, people should not be reported as candidates unless you were at the nomination meeting to witness their candidacy yourself. But thank you for letting us all know that someone else got it wrong too. That's much better than say, apologizing.
UPDATE 4- Now I am annoyed
Jason Cherniak is a child. He has now changed the name of his post to read "NDP fired candidate who was anti-Israel." No apology for getting it wrong or leaving his smear up for a whole day. And he has left the body of the post intact so now it seems like the NDP went and fired her yesterday (not the case). On top of this he has changed the date and time of his original post. Somebody is trying to get to the top of the feed readers. Tsk.
The Comox Valley Record reports on a news conference that Duncan held on Friday, September 12 (two days after Harper's announcement):
He also responded to questions about controversy caused by Conservative leader Stephen Harper’s statement that the Canadian Forces would finish their combat role in Afghanistan by 2011. It stirred the ire of one parent, whose son was killed while serving overseas.
When asked what his position is on the CF’s continued role in Afghanistan, Duncan said he simply couldn’t say right now.
“To predict in 2008 what we might do in two years is too early ... to say definitely what we would do,” said Duncan.
I wonder how other Conservatives feel about Harper's new withdrawal date.
Harper probably has a tighter leash on the rest of the Conservative candidates but we can easily guess what they think based on previous comments. Here's one example:
Conservative MP Russ Hiebert, parliamentary secretary to Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor, said “artificial deadlines” for a troop withdrawal would “let down our allies.”
“Is that the legacy we want to have for our Afghanistan mission, that we did not get the job done? Setting a deadline for the Canadian Forces to withdraw right now would send a clear and dangerous signal to the Taliban. For the sake of the Afghans, our mission cannot be measured simply by the number of years or months we have invested." -Toronto Star, April 20, 2007
There are countless other examples of Conservative MPs saying that we cannot just "cut and run" if you go looking for them. Any regular QP watchers will recall that that has been their standard line for any MP who deigned to question them on an exit strategy. Paul Wells featured a research quiz last week and readers left tons of "we cannot cut and run" quotes in the comments section.
I don't buy for a second that Harper, if re-elected, will withdraw in 2011. Even if he does, the cost of this war is already unacceptable. From the Gazette today:
The Afghan war is going to end up costing the Defence Department more than $22 billion, both in actual money spent on the mission and future payments to rebuild equipment and provide long-term care for veterans, a military conference heard Wednesday.
And Harper would have us believe that he is the only one who can save us from economic doom. Without his $50 billion in corporate tax cuts and his costly war, we could have been in a much stronger position to weather the economic storm that is coming. We could have invested in health care, the green economy, child care...The list of things we could have done with $72 billion is long.
When the numbers on Afghanistan come out, I think Harper might have a harder time selling himself as a responsible spender.
Looks like there are other Conservative candidates having problem with the Tory message box. This time on the economy. Jerad Gallinger posts on candidate Gerry Labelle:
In an interview today with Radio-Canada, Conservative candidate Gerry Labelle blasted the Harper economic record, stating that Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s attitude toward Ontario has been “horrible.”
“That’s not how you do things,” he said, referring to Minister Flaherty’s statement earlier this year that Ontario is the “last place” in Canada businesses should invest.
“It’s the federal government, so you’re not supposed to have favourite provinces, you treat everyone equally,” continued Mr. Labelle.
Labelle also characterized his party’s environmental plan as “insufficient” and said about the Tories’ recent cuts to cultural programs that, “If there is a fault that I think the Conservatives have, it’s that they explain things poorly.”
29 years ago today the Liberal Plane came into the world. Taking its first flight on September 18, 1979. SOURCE
Let’s look back to that day:
- Canadian families gathered around their TVs to enjoyKing of Kensington, Mork & Mindy and to get the nightly news from Knowlton Nash and Lloyd Robertson (some things never change).
- And what news it was! The Iranian Revolution. The Fall of Pol Pot. Margaret Thatcher wins election and Ronald Reagan begins his long shot bid to become President of the United States. In our own backyard Prime Minister Joe Clark struggled to make his minority government work and a chastened Pierre Trudeau announced his resignation.
- Stephen Harper was 20. Stephane Dion was 24. Jack Layton was 29. Nathan Cullen was 5. Craig Oliver was 41.
- The world wide web, Britney Spears, compact discs, Sidney Crosby, VHS, the Canada Health Act, and Motley Crue did not exist.
Over those 29 years the Liberal Plane has lived a lot: 22 years in the Persian Gulf, a stint with Federal Express and, in recent years, working with Air Inuit.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY LIBERAL PLANE!
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
During a conference call with scientists, bureaucrats and political staff on Aug. 30, Ritz made several off-colour jokes about the outbreak.
After fretting about the political dangers of the Listeria scare, Ritz quipped: "This is like a death by a thousand cuts. Or should I say cold cuts."
Then when told of a death in Prince Edward Island, Ritz said, "Please tell me it's (Liberal MP) Wayne Easter."
Easter is the Liberal agriculture critic and has called for Ritz's resignation over his handling of the outbreak, which was linked to a Maple Leaf Foods meat processing plant north of Toronto.
I wonder, does Harper "set the tone" for his cabinet ministers too?
First, there was nothing really credible on health care. It is one of Canadians' top three issues and the Green plan really showcases their inexperience and lack of understanding on this file. There was not one mention of how to address the shortage of family doctors- the problem that many Canadian health care woes stem from.
But there was an even more peculiar ommission.
The Greens say that one of their three main principles is "grassroots democracy" but nowhere in their platform do they mention electoral reform. Could it be that they have given up on fighting for proportional representation? If they haven't given up on PR, they have at least moved it so far back that it gets no mention in the eight-page document. Even their plan to raise the GST gets a mention.
A few words that do feature prominently throught the platform: Green tax Shift.
Yup. It's looking more and more like May and the Green Party are committed to their coalition with the Liberal party in a long-term kind of way. It seems like less of a Liberal/Green love affair and more like an engagement. I wonder when the wedding is. Day before E-day perhaps?
I also wonder how the Green Party base feels about all of this. Not the members who have caught a whiff of relevance and are now robotically loyal (even when May makes anti-choice comments). But I wonder about the people who were there before Elizabeth May. The people who have worked tirelessly election after election to bring democratic reform to the forefront. I want to know how they feel.
I'm so inspired that I'm going to take a page out of Jack's book and take Harper on on the economy myself. Conservatives think that they can hit the panic button in a time of economic crisis and call all other people fiscally irresponsible and we are just supposed buy that. Harper wants us to believe that since he and his friends all look like a bunch of bankers, that they are unquestionably the best equipped to manage the economy.
It's late as I write, so I will keep this short, but here are a couple of points that I have to make on the subject before I can sleep tonight (new levels of nerdiness, I know). I will leave it to you readers to comment with other examples of Conservative mismanagement.
Point #1. Harper's record is not super. A recent study by economist Jim Stanford done for the CCPA shows that "the Harper government has become the first elected federal administration to experience a decline in average national productivity during its entire term in office since Statistics Canada began gathering productivity data in 1961." The study points to three major reasons for the decline:
1. The energy and commodity boom, which has undermined productivity in resource industries by luring companies to exploit increasingly marginal deposits.
2. The negative impact of the high Canadian dollar (which tends to follow oil prices) on high-productivity manufacturing jobs.
3. The importance of low-productivity service sectors (such as retail and hospitality) in new job creation. These are the only sectors relatively immune from the negative effects of the high dollar.
“We’ve had three strikes against our national productivity, and they’re all related to the Harper government’s acceptance of Canada’s new status as an energy ‘superpower.’ By endorsing the high dollar and abandoning Canadian manufacturing, this government has done more damage to our national productivity than any other government in our postwar history,” Stanford concludes.
Point#2- Stephen Harper spends like a drunken sailor when it comes to dishing out to his friends. Harper gave away $50 billion in the form of corporate tax cuts. $50 billion. Here are a couple of interesting posts from The Progressive Economics Forum about the cost of Conservative tax cuts. In discussing the tax cuts for 2006 and 2007 alone, Erin Weir points out that:
Had the federal government not adopted these tax cuts, it could instead have doubled its support for healthcare, post-secondary education, and social assistance. This point would be worth remembering next time someone claims that medicare is inherently unsustainable.
Point #3- Stephen Harper resorts to gimmicks instead of revealing a real plan. From a great article in the Ottawa Citizen (featured in my earlier post):
Yesterday, Harper said that Layton's plan to expand medical schools was unaffordable, but the cost is $200 million a year. Harper is prepared to spend $600 million a year to reduce the price of diesel and aviation fuels by two cents a litre. Which plan offers the bigger benefit to Canadians? Layton also wants to forgive the student loans of doctors who choose the vital, but less remunerative, area of family medicine. It's the sort of incentive that should have already been enacted by a thinking Conservative government.
Now, Harper has promised $750 to first-time home-buyers. Since there were an estimated 30o,ooo first-time home-buyers last year, Harper's plan works out to $225 million a year. More than Layton's health proposal and arguably not as useful; the decline of the manufacturing sector, and the effect that it has on other Canadian jobs, has placed and will continue to place a large segment of potential first-time home-buyers in a financial situation that frankly, $750 isn't going to do much for. People need to be able to afford to buy a home before they can reap the benefits of a tax credit.
Bottom line is that people need jobs, and we need a plan to create sustainable jobs to weather this storm. Not a bunch of gimmicky tax cuts.
Canadians need real economic leadership and I only see it coming from one place.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Stéphane Dion's campaign plane, a headache from the start, had to stop for an emergency landing in Montreal Tuesday night when a generator lost power.Not such a clever joke now, is it LiberalTour?
-Globe and Mail September 16, 2008 at 9:21 PM EDT
Tough day to be a Liberal. After a couple days of the Liberal message being sidelined because the big story on the Liberals is that they aren't really very interesting, their gas guzzling jalopy of a plane breaks down.
But on the plus side, this will likely get Dion a TV spot today. And as Liberal bloggers are pointing out, Dion needs all the help he can get.
Impolitical writes about yesterday's CTV broadcast
Well, in an interesting development from CTV, they decided that when presenting their overview of all the campaigns on the national broadcast tonight to cover Harper, Layton & Duceppe and then take a commercial break. Then they did a piece on the Liberals later on at about the 18 minute mark in. So in effect, people might have been left wondering...well, what about the Liberal campaign today? Anyone who turned off the set after seeing coverage of the first three campaigns would have missed the coverage of the Liberal day. They might have thought that's all there was. Intriguing news management by CTV.
That's not "intriguing news management" that's just how the media treats the fourth party. Get used to it.
If you haven't read Randall Denley's article in the Ottawa Citizen entitled:
yet, go read it. I've never seen a journalist stand up to the established order of things like this. The tide must be turning, winds of change blablabla... But seriously, I think I am going to frame this story.
Here are my favourite snippets:
It's early in the campaign, but neither Dion nor his Green Shift policy seem to be registering with Canadians. If the Liberal leader can't show some sign of life in the polls, this election will be about choosing the next official Opposition. The NDP's credentials there are arguably stronger than the Liberals'...
One might reasonably ask what, other than habit, makes the Liberals the automatic alternative to the Conservatives. After all their years in government, the Liberals still retain an aura of credibility -- but is it deserved?
The Paul Martin era, brief though it was, squandered the image Liberals had spent more than a decade building up. Their tough money guy turned out to be a woolly-headed ditherer. Then the Liberals amazed the public, and probably themselves, by choosing as leader the candidate who was the fourth-most electable on their slim list. They topped that with the Green Shift, a policy that is not entirely without merit, but also one that is pretty nearly impossible for their candidates to explain and for the public to understand. Why does all of this guarantee the Liberals at least a second place finish?
Voters who do not support the Conservatives need to ask themselves what they want to achieve in this election. At a minimum, it has to be an opposition that will do its job and effectively critique Conservative policies.That's a tough one for the Liberals. As the official Opposition, the Liberals were pushed around by the Conservatives, either voting with them or not showing up for crucial votes.
Great analysis. I wholeheartedly agree. For a detailed look at what Denley is talking about in terms of the Liberals' job in opposition, I will refer you to my earlier post. Enjoy.
Monday, September 15, 2008
What kind of Liberal arrogance makes a person forget that he and his Liberal caucus sat through the last parliament and not only allowed the Harper agenda to become a reality, but actually assisted it vote after vote? I love how Liberals act like what they do while they are in parliament is somehow less important what they say they want to do in parliament during an election.
But Dion is not getting away with it. No. Not on this blog. With very little digging I found this handy-dandy list of Liberal accomplishments in the last parliament (thank you ndp.ca):
Who's the real Harper-helper? Hmmm? (and who's the master of alliteration?)
Harper’s agenda: Kill NDP motion to ban cosmetic pesticides
Liberals helped by: Voting with Harper (16 May 2006)
Harper’s agenda: Extend the combat mission in Afghanistan from 2007 until 2009
Liberals helped by: Voting with Harper (17 May 2006)
Harper’s agenda: Permit replacement workers in federal workplaces
Liberals helped by: Voting with Harper (21 March 2007)
Harper’s agenda: Kill NDP motion for withdrawal from combat mission in Afghanistan
Liberals helped by: Voting with Harper. (30 April 2007)
Harper’s agenda: Kill NDP motion to restart study of electoral reform
Liberals helped by: Voting with Harper (2 May 2007)
Harper’s agenda: End Canada’s involvement in Kyoto
Liberals helped by: Abstaining (24 October 2007)
Harper’s agenda: Cut $5.3 billion a year from public services
Liberals helped by: Abstaining (31 October 2007)
Harper’s agenda: Stop a package to help the ailing manufacturing and forestry sector
Liberals helped by: Abstaining (14 November 2007)
Harper’s agenda: Put $50.5 billion in giveaways to profitable corporations ahead of child care, poverty alleviation and First Nations
Liberals helped by: Abstaining four times (4, 10 and 13 December 2007)
Harper’s agenda: Reinstate "security certificates" opposed by human rights advocates
Liberals helped by: Voting with Harper (6 February 2008)
Harper’s agenda: Link passage of crime bills to confidence in the government
Liberals helped by: Abstained (12 February 2008)
Harper’s agenda: Get his third budget passed. A budget that doesn't offer a cent for child care or skyrocketing drug costs, but steals $55 billion in surplus employee contributions to the Employment Insurance fund.
Liberals helped by: Ordering all but 10 MPs to abstain from the vote (4 March 2008)
Harper’s agenda: Stay in power by defeating a NDP non-confidence motion criticizing the Conservatives for rejecting an all-party bill that environmental groups called the "breakthrough bill" to tackle climate change.
Liberals helped by: Abstaining (10 March 2008)
Harper’s agenda: Extend Canada’s military role in Afghanistan until 2011
Liberals helped by: Negotiating an extention to the mission and then voting with Harper on it (13 March 2008)
Harper’s agenda: Kill a Liberal bill to give a $5,000 tax deduction to parents who save for their children's education.
Liberals helped by: Abstaining from the vote (13 March 2008)
Harper’s agenda: Stay in power by defeating a NDP non-confidence motion against the decision to give a massive $50.5 billion tax break to profitable corporations while ordinary people pay a greater share of taxes.
Liberals helped by: Voting with Harper (2 April 2008)
Harper’s agenda: Defeat an NDP motion to stop changes to the Immigration Act giving the minister authority to treat immigration applicants unfairly.
Liberals helped by: Voting with Harper (9 April 2008)
Harper’s agenda: Pass S-203, a weak animal cruelty law that critics say will let animal abusers walk free.
Liberals helped by: Voting with Harper (9 April 2008)
Liberals have been whining since they lost in 2006 about all the things Paul Martin could have done had he just had more time in government. In fact, the Liberals I know have been insufferable with that line to the point that I wonder if they have all been centrally programmed to deliver the Liberal messaging anytime anyone mentions the NDP or Jack Layton. Anyways, the point is that Paul Martin had control over this country's finances for more than a decade and failed to deliver on his promises parliament after parliament. Jack stood up to the Liberals and told it like it was in the 2006 election. He didn't tell people to vote Conservative. The Liberals and their history of corruption and inaction sent their voters running all on their own.
The least the Liberals could have done was suck it up after they lost and tried to do their job as Official Opposition. Instead they let Harper walk all over them while the NDP was left, often on their own, standing up to the Conservatives on the issues that Liberals are supposed to care about.
Now that its vote-getting time, Dion is talking about the need for people to unite against Harper. Liberals still seem to think that scaring progressive Canadians into holding their nose and voting Liberal is a sure-fire way to get more Liberal votes. Even after they tried it and had only marginal success in 2006. Maybe it will work for them. But the polls don't show it working all that well. Probably because many progressive Canadians are tired of just being "anti-Harper." We want to vote for something.
Besides, people are figuring out that strategically voting for the Liberals is the best way to elect Conservatives in many ridings. And as the voters of Vancouver-Kingsway found out the hard way, even if you do elect a Liberal in your riding, you really can't be sure of what you are getting.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Here is a roundup of my favourite videos of the week. No Jason Cherniak, your weird home-made conspiracy theory video set to the theme song from the X-Files did not make the cut. I'm not even going to link to it. (Note to readers : if you google it anyways, prepare to be freaked out in a way that he probably did not intend.)
Looks like CTV's Rosemary Thompson and I have the same take on the emergence of Liberal protesters at NDP events. In this clip, she reports on the NDP rally in Toronto on Saturday and the appearance of Liberal protesters. She notes that with the New Democrats gaining on them in the polls, the Liberals may have to worry about holding onto their Official Opposition status. Protesting NDP events is evidence that they are indeed worried. Keep up the good work Young Liberals who thought you were being so clever.
Also on CTV, Jack Layton's TO rally speech. It's a gooder.
Abbreviated awesome version:
I of course love the NDP ads. Whoever made them is wicked creative. They are the most refreshing negative political ads I've ever seen (not just because they are about Stephen Harper):
Ok. I admit it. The Harper-hancuffs video is pretty funny:
But Harper's people shooing away the media- while they were rolling- is pretty funny too:
And of course the star video of the week:
Meanwhile, I can't find a good video featuring Stephane Dion. Likely because the most interesting thing he did all week was get pooped on.
Can't wait for week two. Bring it.
But I haven't yet come up with an accurate way to describe this blog. I'm open to suggestions. Even from all the new Green friends I've made with posts like this and this. It doesn't have to be flattering, or even positive. If it's entertaining enough, I'll use it.
Oh and for those of you who are wondering where the cartoon went: scroll down, way down, keep scrolling...
The cartoon is back.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
There once was a guy named Stephen
With artists he would get even
He couldn't dance or sing
So he cut their funding
To lock the hick-vote that he'll be receivin'
I know, I know. It's a stretch. You think it's easy to make rhymes?
The plan calls for:
- An end to hidden fees with laws requiring full disclosure of charges by banks, cellphone operators, and other companies, including the unfair practice of charging more for cellphone text messages.
- A ban on ATM fees "so you don't have to pay to get your own money," Layton said
- A tough price monitoring agency and a fuel prices ombudsman to "stop gas companies from having the arbitrary power to gouge Canadians."
- A cap on interest rates and fees charged by "fringe banks" on so-called "payday loans."
- A five per cent over prime cap on credit card interest rates
Friday, September 12, 2008
I suppose this group has arisen from voters' (especially young voters) frustration over our antiquated electoral system but the only thing less representative than a first-past-the-post system, is an FPTP system that's been $%&@'ed with.
The more people trust this vote swap, the less representative the vote will be. The thing runs on the honour system for christssakes. This is an election people! People are not always honest. Especially people on the internet (see my earlier evidence of this phenomenon).
I'm a pretty honest person (brutally honest usually) and I'm still tempted to scam Liberals out of their votes through this system. But I won't. Because I care too to much about Canadian democracy. And because one look at my facebook profile would probably scare Liberals away anyways.
But I wouldn't put it past those interweb-saavy Tories. They are wily.
And the Greens. This is their big chance. Yesterday, the vote swap group had a list of ridings that needed specific votes. The list told us to vote Green in six ridings where the Greens didn't come in second (and not even third or fourth in most of them) and have no hope of winning. But we were supposed to believe that voting Green there is the best strategy for beating the Conservatives. With strategy like that one wonders if Conservatives aren't behind this thing. That would be a whole new level of wily. FYI- the list is gone now, after I and others made a massive fuss over it. Seriously, your friendly neighbourhood Dipper Chick took on the big bad creator of the group (actually he's very polite- probably a nice guy) and now the list is no more. That's power.
Questionable strategic value aside, the biggest flaw in this vote swap system lies in the group's major premise: that anyone but a Conservative is A-ok. That is one of the biggest fallacies that exists in Canadian politics. Sometimes I wonder if mass amounts of Canadians have sustained head injuries causing severe memory loss and amnesia that have made them forget the right-wing Liberal governments of the 1990's. If so, I am sorry for being so insensitive to your ignorance. But the fact remains- the Liberal Party is not left-wing. They are not the answer to stop all the things you don't like about Harper.
The Liberal governments of Jean Chretien and Paul Martin bled our social services dry causing the crises we have today in health care, post-secondary education, and numerous other important Canadian Institutions that they pretend to care about at election time. They did nothing on the environment, allowing polluting industries to spiral out of control. Many Liberal MPs even voted against same sex marriage. This is not a progressive bunch.
As for the Green Party, they have many conservatives in their ranks. And under Elizabeth May, they have become nothing more than Liberal cheerleaders. But my regular readers already know what I think of May and the Green Party. Here's a treat for those of you who don't.
New Democrats are the only ones who have been consistently progressive. They are the true founders of our universal health care system, they have always defended human rights (even when those rights are unpopular), they stood up to Harper against the mission in Afghanistan when others would not, and they look out for ordinary Canadians. Take note vote swappers who are fed up with our FPTP system- New Democrats are the only party in the HOC pushing for a more representative electoral system.
So when I think about stopping Harper, only one party comes to mind. Makes strategic voting so much simpler.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
What is funny is that others have posted this clip, the video was likely made by a Tory, and Buckdog is the only blogger who is being threatened.
Here's a link to the National Post article on the whole ordeal.
Some are saying that the clip is taken out of context. But here is a transcript that I put together from the original source:
Man asking question: "First of all, if all you seem to agree that the environmental costs need to be internalized and a carbon tax is one way of doing that. Why is there so little political will for a carbon tax? That's the first part."The ending sentence that was cut off in the video was probably cut off because it includes indirect support for the Liberal plan.
Radio announcer: "Hang on, let's get an answer to that. Why is there so little political will?"
Elizabeth May: "(inaudible [all the politicians are scared to death]) ...to mention the word tax and they think Canadians are stupid and cannot...and I fundamentally agree with that assessment. But most politicians think that if you say we're going to put on a carbon tax and reduce your income tax, they don't think they can sell it. Its all about votes."
I don't think that the context changes a thing.
I'm with you brother Buckdog. Stay strong.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
The Green Party TM
Worse than just a single-issue party, the Green Party is nothing more than a brand name. Kind of like Nike. You want to believe that if you buy brand name running shoes that you will be more fit and look cooler, and that some how they are better than other shoes. But rip off the swoosh and you have an inferior product made by a company with questionable ethics. Branding the Green Party as 'fresh' and 'new' while it is identified, through its name, as an advocate for one of the most topical issues of our time is a marketing ploy. The Liberals have been using their brand name to trick progressive Canadians out of their votes for decades. This tactic is neither 'fresh' nor 'new.'
Back in Realityland the Green Party is a mess of an organization. Because of its lack of defined social principles, the Green Party is home to disaffected protesters from all parties. It is a place where people who are not team players can go to feel like 'big fish' and young rebels can feel uh, rebellious. It may have been about raising issues on the environment in its inception but they have never been as effective at their stated goal as New Democrats have, who are actually running to form government.
David Suzuki was quoted today saying:
“I can't wait until there is no Green Party,” Dr. Suzuki was quoted as telling the Toronto Star.
“As long as there's a Green party, the implication is that the Greens somehow have a stranglehold on this issue; they're the ones that worry about the environment so the other parties can worry about other things. I don't think it's a ghetto subject.”
Elizabeth May is not Progressive
People worry about Harper's hidden agenda or the fact that Dion keeps changing his Green Shift proposal, but May is the sketchiest of all. It's hard to tell what she actually stands for, other than the environment, because she has a different line depending on who she is talking to. She tries to cast herself as more evolved than the old-school politicians, but her backroom shenanigans with Stephane Dion are as old as it gets.
May uses her gender as an issue when it suits her politically but she has slapped women's rights in the face with her anti-choice comments. Her "I don't think a woman has a frivolous right to choose" comment compelled prominent feminists Like Judy Rebick to withdraw their support for her.
She supports Liberals:
But even as Ms. May vehemently denied she is co-operating with the Liberals, an email surfaced showing Ms. May cheering on a Liberal candidate. This morning at 9:19 a.m., Ms. May sent an email to Brent Fullard, the new Liberal candidate in Whitby-Oshawa, Ont., and copied the email to a broad range of reporters and politicians.“I cannot help myself!!! GOOD LUCK BRENT!!!,” writes Ms. May in response to a Liberal press release announcing Mr. Fullard's candidacy.Courtesy of Jason Cherniak, we see that Elizabeth May endorsed Liberal candidate, Bryon Wilfert, and that her endorsement is on his campaign literature(!!!):
-Globe and Mail, Monday Sept 8, 2008
Her endorsement (highlighted above) reads:
As Executive Director of Sierra Club of Canada, I worked closely with Bryon Wilfert when he was Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment, Stéphane Dion. He was unfailingly helpful in work at the Environment Committee and in work to prepare for the United Nations Climate Conference. Now that I lead a different political party, I am still happy to attest to this commitment.Imagine being Joe Greencandidate in that riding. Must be rough.
Leader, Green Party of Canada
She also tried repeatedly to woo (more) Conservatives to the Green Party. In her attempt to gain entrance into the leaders' debate, May ambulance-chased every rogue MP that surfaced in the last parliament- some of them, deeply conservative.
Former Conservative MP Garth Turner, who campaigned with May in the London by-election, admitted that he had talks with Elizabeth May about joining the Greens before he joined the Liberals.
May proclaimed former long-time Conservative MP Bill Casey, "an honourary Green."
The long and short of it is that May and the Green Party are not progressive, and they are massive hypocrites for trying to wave the flag of democracy over the debate issue. True defenders of democracy don't play games for their own personal gain at the expense of Canadians' right to vote for the candidate and political party of their choice.
Elizabeth May is a severe opportunist and I feel terribly sorry for all those who fall for this highly sophisticated ploy.
Suggested further reading:
-Dan Baril- Former Green Party strategist (also a former Conservative strategist) ripping apart May's reaction to being initially excluded from the debates.
-Mia Rabson from the Winnipeg Free Press on how undemocratic May and her political games are.
Elizabeth May calls Canadians "stupid." Nicely done.