Friday, May 20, 2005

A good dissection of Harper's failure...

The Globe and Mail: Harper's big gamble turns up snake eyes

I think this article does a good job of laying out a synopsis of why Harper failed in his attempt to boot the Liberals and force a federal election.

The whole article is worth a read...

In particular I found the following passages to be the most salient:

The first questions about the Harper strategy began to surface after Prime Minister Paul Martin pledged in a speech to the nation to hold an election within 30 days of the report of Mr. Justice John Gomery. In his televised response, Mr. Harper kicked off what was to become a pattern of personal irritation, calling the Prime Minister a sad spectacle.

Later, he told the Commons that Mr. Martin's career was going down the toilet, and, in perhaps the most controversial remark of all, accused the Prime Minister of waiting for two cancer-stricken MPs to get sicker so they could not make the budget vote.
I did take at least one exception with the article and that was this assertion:

Some also believe that Mr. Harper failed to anticipate the New Democratic Party's departure from the coalition that was set against the government. A budget deal between the NDP and the Liberals left Mr. Harper with only the Bloc Québécois as his partner in bringing down the government.

If Harper truly failed to anticipate that one, he is a moron and ought to lose his leadership. Liberal-NDP coalitions, at least in the last 50 years have been a mainstay of Liberal minority governments. Even I saw that one coming. Harper had to know that was coming down the pike.

This one I do agree with, and for the general public this is a bit of a "peek behind the curtain", but I am hearing that moderate Tories knew this was brewing:

That coalition was one of the reasons Ms. Stronach cited for her departure. But those close to her also say that Mr. Harper's treatment of her played a larger role.

Ms. Stronach, and the many followers who helped her to a second-place showing at the party's leadership convention last year, felt frozen out of decision-making. It is a complaint that many others in the party, including some Ontario Tories, also express.
On the outside, publicly it sounds better for Stronach to say she was dismayed by the "dangerous" liaison with the Bloc. However, the real straw that broke the camel's back was Harper's treatment of moderate voices in general and internal rivals in particular. Perhaps Harper saw the problems the Chretien-Martin Liberal turf-wars had caused and thought it best to deal with Ms. Stronach and the progressive wing in a decisive "decapitation" or at least "neutralizing" fashion?

If there was a viable alternative at the time for Paul Martin would he have stuck it out with Chretien for so long? Hard to say.

What keeps MacKay from bolting? Answer: His Dad. (Follow the link, 7th graf from the bottom of the article).

That's the same reason Martin wouldn't have jumped ship, Pops.

In Stronach's case, her father had very little power to keep her in the Tory camp. In fact, his political leanings made her more comfortable with the decision - he ran under the Liberal banner (unsuccessfully) in the federal riding of York Simcoe in 1988.

Anyhow, I usual....

I think last night's vote was:

-Good in the short term for Canada-Quebec Unity.
-An event that may add fuel to the "western alienation" fire.
-A set-back politically for Harper and the Tories.
-A short-term win for the Liberals, but could be the beginning of the end, depending on how Gomery ends.
-A big win for Layton's leadership of the NDP.
-A minor set-back for the BQ, but could be good for Duceppe's shot at the PQ leadership and eventual Premiership of Quebec.

A. Liberal

Thursday, May 19, 2005



They survived, and the Speaker had to vote to break the tie.

Final tally 153 yes 152 No.

A. Liberal

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

A little confirmation of my thoughts of a few days ago...

The Globe and Mail: Martin's white knight

Specifically, this quote from Strategic Counsel Chairman Allan Gregg:
Strategic Counsel chairman Allan Gregg said the Tories may have been hurt by their efforts to shut down the Commons and Mr. Harper's angry criticism of the Liberals.

"Every time Harper gets ahead in the polls, he immediately pulls back. If you look at the pattern of 2004 [election], you can hypothesize that that's exactly what's taking place," he said.

Two points for Al and A.L.!

A. Liberal

New Poll Numbers | Poll finds Liberal support edges ahead of Tories

New poll conducted by the Strategic Counsel, I believe that is Allan Gregg's organization, confirms the suggestion that the Liberal support has rebounded in recent days.

It shows the Liberals gaining 6% since their last poll to 33% nationally, with the Conservatives dropping one to 30%.

Again what is most striking are the numbers in Ontario. Liberal support is at 43% (up 9 points) and Conservative support has slumped to 30% (down 5 points).

In Quebec the Bloc is down 8 points to 48%, the Liberals have rebounded 9 points and are at 25%, and the Conservatives have also jumped 6 points to 14%.

The sample size was 50% larger than most polls, getting responses from 1500 Canadians, and they are claiming its accuracy as +-2.5%. The poll was conducted May 12-15.

The date is significant, and could explain some of the Bloc's drop-off in support. This was conducted after the release of the questionable report published by separatist academics suggesting that Quebec would be in much better economic health as a sovereign nation. This report was widely criticized pointing to the political agenda of the academic and their BQ/PQ backers. Perhaps le citoyen de Quebec are wising up and finding a better place to park their anger-votes?


Tuesday, May 17, 2005

That's gonna hurt!

These snips are taken from Belinda Stronach's statement before the National Press Gallery earlier today. I point them out because I believe they are the most important things she said in terms of an upcoming campaign (if it does in fact come soon), one because it is damaging to Harper's leadership and national image and the other because it really underlines the sentiments of Canadians if one is to believe these are reflected in the Ipsos-Reid poll of May 7.

OK roll the tape... Stephen you may wish to put on some protective gear....

It is now the moment to stand and be counted because the consequences are serious. I've been uncomfortable for some time with the direction the leader of the Conservative Party has been taking.

I tried to the very best of my ability to play a constructive role within the Conservative Party to advance issues that really mattered to Canadians in cities, to women, to young people, to many Ontarians.

But regret to say that I do not believe the party leader's truly sensitive to the needs of each part of the country and how big and complicated Canada really is.

Hold it there for a second... you see it's not particularly scathing but it fans some coals that are glowing across Canada, and even within the Conservative party itself.

Let's move on...

Also, by forcing an election before the Conservative party has grown and established itself in Quebec, the hold over Quebec of the Bloc Québécois can only grow into the vacuum. The result will be to stack the deck in favour of separatism and the possibility of a Conservative government beholden to the separatists.
She hinted at this in more veiled language in the first few paragraphs as well...
The political crisis affecting Canada is too risky and dangerous for blind partisanship. I watch and listen and feel that the interests of individuals or parties are often placed above the national interests. The country must come first.
The bottom line is that the power of her statement is that she is taking a page right out of the classic political handbook - that is articulate something that many people are thinking but not everyone is saying. Only this time, this (former) Conservative MP is not suggesting that shopkeepers keep the gay workers in the backroom out of sight. Rather, she is suggesting something a little more noble and patriotic - saving Canada from the separatist hordes at the gates....

A. (happy) Liberal

Not so fast... Harper!

The Globe and Mail: Stronach crosses floor to join Liberals

Holy Crap!

Having kids is supposed to change everything...

In the same way, this changes everything in this fragile minority parliament...

A couple thoughts that I think we're going through now (subject to swearing in) Minister Stronach's mind:

-I won in a bellweather 905-belt riding that has been a Liberal seat until I won. Holding this seat now is not guranteed.
-Polls are saying that Ontarians and a majority of Canadians do not want an election right now.
-Recent polls show the Liberals with a 12% lead in Ontario.

What does this mean to her relationship with Mr. MacKay?

This obviously moves the needle further in favour of the Liberals in this game of parliamentary chicken, but is it really better for Paul Martin's Liberals to wait for an election? What other fit will hit the sham between now and then?

I love Parliamentary politics, its so freakin interesting!

A.Liberal | Conservative attack ads call PM 'desperate | Conservative attack ads call PM 'desperate'

It will take at least a few days to see which side wins this one...

As Paul Martin is asking for a return to the high-road, the Tories are unleashing their attack ads.

It is clear to me that the Grits knew about the attack ad buys and put together with the climate of the Commons recently, took a gamble on the "high-road" strategy.

Again, I think it's a masterful move, but maybe I am reading too much into a series of unrelated events. But hey, this is politics.

Monday, May 16, 2005

The Globe and Mail: Tories will call truce if vote fails

The Globe and Mail: Tories will call truce if vote fails

It seems the Tories have decided to tone it down a bit... Seems they may have read the tea leaves and decided that one day of turning the House of Commons into a circus was probably something Canadians could handle but two-three days, well that was plain crazy... Besides that, it wasn't playing well outside the party faithful.

My thought is that this gamble was causing some blowback to the Tory camp. That, and while Paul Martin may have been "dithering" as a minority PM he's turned out to be one wily politician in the run-up to this impending election.

I think it's masterful... Letting the Tories look ridiculous and like political opportunists, willing to sell their souls to the BQ-devil in order to move to the other side of the Commons. Taking the high road after the public hears of 3 days of Tory/BQ antics shutting down the government.

Don't get me wrong the Grits are playing political games... they're just doing a better job winning the PR battle.

Well, at least the question will be settled in 3 days!

A. Liberal

Friday, May 13, 2005

Ipsos-Reid National Poll-Released May 7, 2005

Liberals (32%) And Tories (31%) Virtually Tied Nation-Wide -- But Grits Take Strong 11-Point Lead In Seat Rich Ontario (44% vs. 33%)

Here is an Ispos-Reid Poll, again pointing to significant Ontario Liberal numbers.

Toronto, ON – According to an Ipsos-Reid national survey of 1000 Canadians conducted from May 3rd to May 5th, 2005 and provided exclusively to CanWest/Global, the national Federal political horserace remains tightly contested between the Liberals (32%, up 2 points) and the Conservatives (31%, down 2 points) compared to a poll released exactly a week ago. However, it would appear that the Liberals have benefited the most in the past week as they have vaunted to take a commanding 11-point lead in the seat-rich and volatile province of Ontario (44% vs. 33%).

Also noteworthy is the public's attitude toward the Tories push for an election...

Majority (58%) Believe Conservatives’ Motive For Election Is Power Lust – Not Sincere Belief That They Can No Longer Support “Corrupt” Government



Liberal bounce-back? SES Poll results

NationState 2005Q2 Ballot.pdf (application/pdf Object)

In a recent post I asked, where are all the polls? There have been a flurry of them since.

This link above opens a .pdf of two polls conducted by SES Research, the polling company that conducts all of CPAC's polls. The document illustrates the differences between the two polls and shows that the Liberal Party has gained back some of the support it lost. The two polls were taken between April 14-18 and April 30 - May 4th.

A couple of important developments have taken place in that time period, the publication ban on the Gomery inquiry was lifted, Prime Minister Paul Martin addressed the nation, promising an election within 30 days of the Gomery report delivery, and the Conservative-Bloc alliance began to rattle the cage.

What is most striking (to me) in these poll results is the following:

-Liberal party numbers up almost 5% nationally.
-Conservative Party numbers down more than 8% nationally.
-NDP up 3% nationally.
-In the Atlantic, big shifts, with the Liberals moving up 8 points, and the Conservatives down more than 10 points.
-Not much change in Quebec for the Liberals, but the BQ lost 3 points and the Conservatives dropped 4. The NDP seemed to pick up all of these points.
-Ontario is edging back into safe territory for the Liberals again and the Conservatives have dropped more than 13 points. These points seem to be traded almost 2:1 in the NDP's favour.
-Out west the Liberals have gained points and the Conservative numbers have crested, coming back to 41%. Those who parked thir votes with the NDP seem to have come back to the Liberals again.

Factors that ought to be considered in reading the tea leaves (in my opinion):

-Every day for the last week since this poll was conducted the Gomery inquiry continues to deliver body blows to the Liberals and Martin in particular.
-The BC provincial election has become much tighter in recent days (so I am hearing) and this is essentially just a contest between the provincial wings of the Liberal and NDP parties. Fluctuations in voter mood in that province could be skewing the "west" numbers, which may account for the movement in the west from the NDP to the Liberals and back.
-The recent shenanigans in the House of Commons are going to have one of two effects on the public, they'll believe that all politicians are clowns and they've turned the Commons into a circus, or they will think that Paul Martin's Liberals are relentlessly and maybe even unscrupulously clinging to power. The interpretation depends on how you intend to vote, methinks.

One danger in all of this is that all of the happenings - the adscam itself, the Conservative's soul-selling deal with the BQ, the Liberal party's deal with the NDP, and the recent, repeated paralysis of Commons perpetrated by the Con-BQ alliance - could seriously depress voter turn-out... and THAT would be terrible for Cana

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

How will your MP vote?

SamesexVoting0206.pdf (application/pdf Object)

Interesting .pdf available from the Globe and Mail website. This shows how each MP has indicated they will vote if and when the Same-sex Marriage Bill comes to the floor. Though with all the political shenanigans, I am not so sure when this will happen. Also, this is a little out of date as it has Edmonton MP David Kilgour still sitting as a Liberal, when in fact he left the party in March.

Its a shame really... if Harper is able to form a majority it will be dead in the water. While he hasn't said that his party would repeal it if passed and they eventually formed the gov't, its pretty certain that it wouldn't be on their legislative agenda.

As an aside, where are all the freakin poll numbers?


Saturday, May 07, 2005

Midwest Thunderstorms...

I have to tell you that I really think thunderstorms in the midwest are just beautiful.

Now, the ones that come with hail, not so much. The ones that accompany a tornado... heck no.

But the classic, rolls in late afternoon on Saturday after spending a day working in the yard... those ones are priceless.....

Right now (GEEK ALERT) I am blogging from my garage, where I am sitting in a lawn chair watching the rain, enjoying a cold Canadian beer, and putting the wireless internet to good use.

Yep, I am a geek. But hey mom, if you're reading, I am at least getting some fresh air right!?!

Later all.


Friday, May 06, 2005

What does all this have to do with the USA?

Well, if you've been a reader of this blog for a while (though I really can't tell if even one person other than me is)... you know that I originally started this focusing on personal ideas as well as US politics.

So, now I am concentrating on Canadian politics. Why?

It's getting pretty raucous in Canada's House of Commons, and it would seem to me that we could be on the brink of seeing a major change in ideological direction in Canada.

I personally hope not, but the adscam is what it is, and the government only serves at the pleasure of the voters as expressed through the confidence of the House.

Hang on for the ride... it should be entertaining at the least.


The Globe and Mail: Government tactics rile Tories, Bloc

The Globe and Mail: Government tactics rile Tories, Bloc

Interesting part of this whole debate for the procedural geeks like me:

Taken from the article:
Queen's University professor C.E.S. Franks, author of The Parliament of Canada, said it is "doubtful" the motion is a matter of confidence because it is essentially procedural, and "it's clear that procedural motions cannot be motions of confidence."

He said the Governor-General would have the right to intervene only if the Prime Minister ignored an explicit no-confidence motion or was defeated on the budget.

So I have to ask, what constitutes a no-confidence motion?

I will have to defer to my lawyer friends on this one. I will try to get back to you soon.....


Thursday, May 05, 2005

The Globe and Mail: Blair wins British election, BBC reports

The Globe and Mail: Blair wins British election, BBC reports

Here's hoping that the exit polls turn out to be correct. Though, a healthy decrease in Labour's majority would be just desserts for his unabashed support of Bush's foray into Iraq. | Liberals plan to die on budget if brought down | Liberals plan to die on budget if brought down

New strategy out of the Liberal Party of Canada camp, seems pretty gutsy to me.

This produces 3 possible outcomes as I see it:

-Budget goes down, parliament is dissolved and Paul Martin's Liberals get to campaign on a theme that says "Harper and the Tories are against social investment... (insert program in budget here)". Harper and the Tories then have to begin the campaign on the defensive, spending the first 5-7 days articulating that they didn't vote against the budget, they voted against the Liberals, might be tough for them to gain the mighty "mo".

-Budget passes with slim support, Liberals are able to count on 3 Independent MPs and/or health issues of 2 Conservative MPs & the Speaker. This makes it still possible for the C's to pull down the government on their terms but partially takes away Liberal advantage of using the budget as the campaign issue in their favor. Though, they could still stump on the idea that the C's are against social investment because they voted against the budget.

-Budget passes with broad multi-party support, C's vote for the budget (as they originally said they would, in its pre-NDP-deal form). But, eventually (likely sooner than later) the government is toppled by a Bloc or Conservative non-confidence motion. This would completely eliminate the budget as a campaign issue because the C's voted for it, and they could say so, making the adscam the central reason they go to the people. The Liberals would be forced on the defensive early on. This also gives the Conservative party the timing lever, though it could be argued they own it anyway.

I think the Liberals would like to see option 1 or two play out, but would prefer option 1.

The Conservatives would be foolish not to go for option three, in my humble opinion.


Wednesday, May 04, 2005

My buddy is a writer!

Check this out, good story by a friend of mine, who IS a writer.
Two Lives, Michael Croley