Saturday, December 31, 2005

Amuzing! And a great SOUTH PARK reference in the headline.

The Globe and Mail: They'd take Halifax (then we'd kill Kenny)

Terrence and Philip watch out!

Quick! Hide Celine, Mike Myers, and the Stanley Cup! Offer Brian Adams up in a POW exchange.

This is an interesting one. Read and you'll see.

I am surprised that the US was worried about a British invasion in the 1930's.

Good diversion....

Happy New Year's Eve!


Friday, December 30, 2005

The Battle for the Undecideds

Click here for the latest SES poll completed with tracking from December 28th.

This is the first major tightening of the race. Liberals 35% and Conservatives 34%. Statistically tied.

Hard to tell whether this is fall-out from the annoucement of the RCMP investigation into the alleged income trust taxation leak. The interesting thing to me is that in Atlantic Canada the CPC up-tick is at the expense of the NDP, and in Ontario and Western Canada it seems that Liberal support is now bleeding to the CPC.

If there is any silver lining for the Liberals and all supporters of SSM it is the number of undecideds, which has remained steady at 16% nationally and unchanged in each region.

Thus, the second stage of this campaign becomes the "Battle for the Undecideds".

I am worried.


Much A Do About Anything?

The Globe and Mail: Trading offers few clues for RCMP trusts probe:

Some are saying this could be the nail in Paul Martin's coffin....

I am not ready to make that prognostication. I think my thoughts are best summed up by the following quotes that appear at the end of this article:

“While the Minister of Finance ought to have better controlled the flow of information, I am doubtful that there was any criminal impropriety on his behalf,” said Jeffrey Singer, a corporate lawyer at Stikeman Elliott in Toronto who works on trusts. “There may have been violations of securities laws by those that traded on the basis of this information, if selectively made, but this is not clear cut and so I suspect few if any securities commissions will pursue this.”

Added Tom Caldwell, chairman of Caldwell Securities Ltd.: ``My gut feel is that by the time the smoke clears and a lot of money's wasted, I don't think you're going to find any clear villains.”
So, what will we have at the end of all this? Wasted taxpayer money... No clear answers... and possibly a new minority government formed by Harper....

Thanks Jack!

Again, I am not ready to say this is the final straw for Paul Martin's house of cards... but I am calling it significant. I thought it was close before, and this certainly made it closer.


Thursday, December 22, 2005

A rare peek inside....

Just read Warren Kinsella's post from yesterday (Dec. 21). It is juicy, take a read for yourself, but perhaps give this article a read for some context. It is not the article Warren mentions and copied in his blog, but it gives you almost the same info.

Is WK a prophet or a disgruntled former insider? You'll have to be the judge. I for one am leaning in his direction.

Warren Kinsella:

"Reading this CP story reminds me of an encounter I had with a senior Martinite on the night of the Stoney Creek Liberal nomination meeting, which - as everyone knows by now - was rigged to humiliate Sheila Copps. It was evident to me, the minute I set foot in the place, that the fix was in. So here's the exchange I had with the Martin factotum, who we will call Mike.

He: 'Hi, Warren.'

Me: 'Hi, Mike.'

He: 'Nice to see you here.'

Me: 'Yeah, I bet.'

He: 'What do you think?'

Me: 'I think you are about to fuck over a woman who has been part of the heart and soul of the Liberal Party for twenty years. I think you ought to be ashamed of yourselves.'

He grinned. Back in those days, The Board were the very personification of arrogance and conceit. Mike thought it was all very funny.

Before he could say anything, however, I asked him this: 'So, are you going to kill her?'

Mike looked shocked. 'What do you mean?'

'Are you going to kill her, Mike? Because, after this farce is finished tonight, you're going to be wishing you did. You're going to wish you killed me, too. Because, Mike, you aren't going to be able to shut us up. The media are going to call us up, and invite us to write columns, and ask us to go on TV. And we will do what you did: we will go after you, over and over and over. Relentlessly. And you won't be able to complain, Mike, because we will merely be doing what you did to Jean Chretien.'

He stammered.

I said: 'The only way to shut us up now, Mike, is to kill us.'

And so it went. Sheila was done in by Paul Martin's thugs, that night, and the Liberal Party of Canada was the only murder victim. I, like Sheila, am providing advice to people I like - in whatever party they belong to. Liberals, Tories, New Democrats, Green candidates. I, like Sheila, know the best thing that could happen to the Liberal Party of Canada is a loss - and, as soon as possible thereafter, the departure of Paul Martin and his coterie of well-paid thugs.

Some houses can be renovated, some houses you need to tear down and start over. This one is a tear-down."
Hmmmm..... Interesting isn't it?


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

It's a good day in Indy

Merged police force, gay rights approved |

It is a good day for progressive politics, pragmatism, and human rights in Indianapolis today.

I hadn't really been following this story as it progressed, and so I was pleasantly surprised this morning to read the front page story.

It is now a little safer to be a gay or lesbian Hoosier living in Indianapolis. You can rest assured that you will not be evicted, or fired simply for being gay/lesbian.

As for the police force, I have been saying since I moved here the first time in 1999 that it seemed silly to have two police forces patrolling the same jurisdiction. But hey what did I know!


Monday, December 19, 2005

Calgary Grit's joke of the week

"Conservative Stephen Harper promises to eliminate funding for the Canadian Military. In order to provide Canadians with greater choice, Harper proposes that every citizen be given $100 per month to spend on 'whatever sort of weaponry they choose.' 'It's not a tax break,' claims Harper 'It's a Military Plan.'"

Bart credits a reader for this joke, and I credit Bart as my source material for this post.

Well done!


Friday, December 16, 2005

Pres. Bush says 'Congress sees the same intel that I do'... turns out that's not true either!

Senator Diane Feinstein did a little digging into GWB's assertion that the Congress and Senate got a look-see at the same intelligence that the President and his staff saw in the build-up to the war in Iraq.

She adroitly asked a fellow named Alfred Cumming, Specialist in Intelligence and National Security.

This is what he came back with.

Turns out the President and the administration routinely does not share all of their intelligence material, sources or estimates with their colleagues in the Legislative branch.

Now, I scanned the document quickly and nowhere does it specifically mention the pre-war Iraq intelligence, but many other sources have asserted that the there were numerous points of omission and added emphasis in the material presented to Congress by the White House when compared to the original material delivered to the White House by the CIA and other intelligence gatherers.

So, this doesn't completely close the case on the Bush administration, but it certainly punches a few holes in their paper thin line of defense. And, it is absolutely plausible that the Senate (read JOHN KERRY and JOHN EDWARDS) received different intel than the White House did.

Man, there was a guy I was arguing with intensely in my grad-school class last year about the Iraq war intelligence. He kept insisting that "they all saw the same intelligence", and I knew it couldn't be true.

I win.


Thursday, December 15, 2005

This just in from our flying pig weather helicopter.... Hell has frozen over! I repeat, Hell has frozen over!!

Holy Crap! He actually owned up for it today. Well, sort of....

See for yourself

President Discusses Iraqi Elections, Victory in the War on Terror:

When we made the decision to go into Iraq, many intelligence agencies around the world judged that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction. This judgment was shared by the intelligence agencies of governments who did not support my decision to remove Saddam. And it is true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong. As President, I'm responsible for the decision to go into Iraq -- and I'm also responsible for fixing what went wrong by reforming our intelligence capabilities.
Must be one heck of a snowball fight going on way down there.

So now can all the psycho right-wingers stop saying there were Ws of M D?


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Paul Wells on Harper's Senate Plan | Inkless Wells

Paul Wells takes on Harper's plan in a succinct and clear manner.

See for yourself, below.

Harper's elected Senate plan

It's a dog. I'm sorry, but electing senators, absent any other reform, will ensure that the composition of the Senate, with its wild regional disparities, will never change.

Once elected, senators will gain new democratic legitimacy and, therefore, prestige.

Provinces with extra senators will refuse to give them up (look at the mauling premiers took in 1992 when they offered to give senators up under the Charlottetown accord, which Stephen Harper opposed). Provinces with too few senators can never hope for more.

So this newly-'legitimate,' oldly-misconstructed senate will immediately begin competing with the Commons. Incidentally, are senators going to be elected for a single term that will last until they're 75? Guess we know who'll win fights with the Commons then.

There are fixes that make a problem worse. This is one of them
Most times I am proud of my felllow UWO alum... this is one of those most times.


Plug in your numbers and you too can get a dysfunctional Parliament

Check out this site.

It allows you to input poll numbers and see how the numbers translate into seats in the House of Commons.

For some of you, this is old-hat, you've been at this since the beginning of the Canadian blogosphere.... That is so Election 2004!!

For the rest of you novices... this is sure to be just plain fun.


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Debate Bingo

Debate Bingo.

Brought to you by your friendly neighborhood NDP war-room.


Is it Martin or Wilkins we should be worried about?

The Globe and Mail: U.S. ambassador rips Martin over Kyoto

This is interesting. Martin gets ripped by David Wilkins over his comments against Mr. Bush at the Montreal conference on Climate Change. Yep, we heard it.

But, here is what I think is the most interesting part of this article:

Stephen Clarkson, a professor political economy, argues the White House has set its sights on regime change for the first time in North America since John Kennedy's battle with former PM John Diefenbaker in 1963. With supporters from the National Rifle Association to Friends of the Family taking a public stance against recent Canadian policy, Prof. Clarkson argues the Bush administration is looking for a change on Parliament Hill.

But unlike in the days of JFK, he predicts such a move will surely backfire.

Unlike Mr. Kennedy, The Bush administration is extremely unpopular in Canada. According to a recent poll by the Pew Research Center, 75 per cent of Canadians say they have a less favourable view of the U.S. since Mr. Bush's re-election.

But, Prof. Clarkson says such a stance will surely give the Liberals a boost.

“It certainly diverts the attention from beer and popcorn,” said Mr. Clarkson, in reference to a Liberal gaffe last weekend, suggesting some parents would spend Conservative child-care dollars on other things.
That is the part I like. I hope he's right, because that's not the take I took....

I think many Canadians are becoming acutely aware of our embarassing reputation as ardent anti-Americans. As such, I think any blatant anti-Americanism by any party will likely not play well with the majority of the electorate.

Now, I still think Martin's comments were not that bad... while it seems that the US may have made more progress outside of Kyoto than we have within it.... most Canadians probably think we're better at the environmental thing than our friends south of the border. What I was worried about was the fact that he may well have "poked the bear". Getting the US riled up enough to prompt an angry public response, let alone two responses is not good.

It wasn't really Martin's comments that worried me, I was more worried about the response it got. I don't think the Liberals want anything or anyone to bring attention to their alleged "anti-American" tendencies.

But, Professor Clarkson posits that I am incorrect in my thinking.

Let's hope so.

Stephen Harper seemed to be concerned with seeming too close to the US and the Bush administration.

During the 2004 election campaign, Mr. Martin consistently portrayed Conservative Leader Stephen Harper as a right-wing extremist for his sympathies to the Bush administration's policies. Mr. Harper has been doing everything possible to distance himself from Washington during this election campaign, however.

The Conservative Leader sent an open letter this week to the right-wing Washington Times newspaper, repudiating much of a recent glowing commentary that painted a potential Conservative win as “a rare foreign event that manages to put a smile” on Mr. Bush's face.

Mr. Harper also said Tuesday a Conservative government would not join the American-led war in Iraq, as some opponents have contended.
Interesting indeed!

A. (Cautious) Liberal

OK, so I guess we deserve this right...?

Click here for the full story.

So it seems that at least one hardcore religious right-wing-nut has stuck his nose in the Canadian federal election.

Should we be angry?... probably. Especially, if you dislike the hard-right social conservative elements of US Politics. If you are like me and you think the political environment in Canada is a breath of fresh air compared to the US, because of the absence of religion in politics - you should be concerned.

Do we deserve it? Maybe, since we were all pretty vocal about the US Presidential election of 2004. Now, we may not have meddled in it in such a way, but I am guessing I wasn't the only Canadian with boots on the ground in the election. Though, I do live in the US at present so I guess I have an excuse.

What makes this different from Clinton coming into Canada and talking nice about the Liberals, or our commitment to Kyoto (though paltry so far)? Or Bono coming to praise Paul Martin (last time)?

I am not sure it's different.

But, what is important to note in all of this, is how closely tied the hard-right elements of both Canadian and US politics really are.

His very attentive listeners were challenged by Reed to “get on your work boots and tennis shoes and go out there like it all depends on you, pray like it all depends on God and let’s usher in the greatest victory in the history of this country.”

A few Conservative candidates from the Toronto region also attended the event, including Ontario PC Jim Flaherty, John Carmichael, Rondo Thomas, Michael Mostyn, and Tim Dobson.

So, Harper may have softened his image, but you can bet the wing-nuts are still alive, active, and noisy inside the Conservative Party of Canada.

Let me be clear, (in the words of PM the PM), I am not against politicians letting it be known that they practice one religion or another, or visibly attending church/synagogue/mosque etc. What I can't stand is when a political position can only be defended as "it's God's will". Sorry, you've lost me. That's why I am so annoyed by the religious right's attempts to influence our election.

How many of their activists will try to pass themselves off as "regular Canadians"?


Hidden Agenda?!?!?!

Check out this link for Stephen Harper's frank thoughts on social conservatism.

I will post my thoughts later.


Monday, December 12, 2005

Liberal Party's communications director takes a page out of Mike Harris' playbook.

So yesterday on one of the Sunday morning talk shows, Scott Reid, the LPC's Communications Director mused that there is nothing to stop any parent from blowing Harper's $25 a week on popcorn and beer, instead of on child care.

This harkens back to the difference in the two plans. Harper wants to give parents $1200 a year for kids under 6. The parents will be free to use this money in whatever way they see fit.

The Liberal plan is to invest in a national child care strategy that includes federal funding for daycare facilities.

The difference is that in the Liberal plan the money is guaranteed to go to child-care, whereas the Harper-plan has no such guarantee.

So, Scott Reid made a bad move and took something out of Mike Harris' playbook.

Mike, darling of the Conservative Party that he is/was said the following:

Think things have gotten better in the '90s? A completely new family-values style of morality is doing its best to ensure that shame still hovers over unmarried pregnancy. Only one month ago, for instance, Ontario Premier Mike Harris stated that pregnant women on welfare, who for the most part are single, would no longer be getting their $37-a-month pregnancy supplement because he figured they spent it on beer.
So, how is it different? On one hand we have a Conservative challenger stating that parents should be trusted to care for their children and trusted to spend their money as they see fit. On the other hand we have a Conservative Premier who said that un-wed mothers couldn't be trusted to do the same.

Which one is it folks? We're waiting.....

But, really it was a poor choice of words for Scott Reid, and he should be called to account for it.

That said, who didn't think of that as one way to spend the money? I would spend it on a new iPod or a ski vacation myself!

Come to think of it, if we are gonna get $500 credits for kids athletic/physical activities can we spend it on their plane ticket and lodging for a spring break ski trip? Just asking....


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Point to Warren Kinsella: nice point.

Warren Kinsella, disgruntled Liberal in exile that he is, made this very astute post today.

It was 16 years ago today that Marc Lepine did this.

Not one of our nation's aspiring leaders, to my (and Warren's) knowledge mentioned this terrible tragedy that kicked off a movement and a national awareness of the issue of violence against women.

Too bad.

I am not suggesting that this is a missed political opportunity; rather, the silence regarding this very important tragedy in our history from those who wish to lead us, is really deafening.

Those who died:

1. Genevieve Bergeron, 21.
2. Helene Colgan, 23.
3. Nathalie Croteau, 23.
4. Barbara Daigneault, 22.
5. Anne-Marie Edward, 21.
6. Maud Haviernick, 29.
7. Barbara Maria Klueznick, 31.
8. Maryse LeClair, 23.
9. Annie St-Arneault, 23.
10. Annie Turcotte, 21.
11. Anne-Marie Lemay, 27.
12. Michelle Richard, 21.
13. Maryse Laganiere, 25.
14. Sonia Pelletier, 28.

(Yes I took this list from Kinsella, but if the perpetrator's name is on this post, I feel it is important for his victim's names to appear.)


Monday, December 05, 2005

Almost wide open comments....


Today I opened the comments up to registered users of and

It used to be no comments, then I went to members of the blog, and now I am at registered users.

I doubt I will go further as I am not a big fan of people who leave anonymous comments, if you can't sign at least a pseudonym to your comments, then they don't belong here.

Enjoy and comment away.


When is it fair to measure traction and resonance?

A few days ago, I was alerted to CPAC-SES's daily tracking polls for the Canadian Federal Election.

So now, every day I get a new email with the latest national numbers.

Pretty cool.

Now I got this one today:

If the election were held Sunday night, it would have likely yielded the exact same result as the previous election. Based on the tracking completed Sunday all three major parties registered the same support as the election in June 2004 (Liberal 37, Conservative 30, NDP 16).

The Bloc as of Sunday night registered 13% support (one point higher than the last election) and the Green Party 5% (one point higher than the last election).

Sunday was a particularly good day for both Stephen Harper and Jack Layton. Their performance scores for Sunday were up while the Paul Martin's daily evaluation slid. Also of note is that the percentage of Canadians who are unsure who would make the best PM has continued to climb and is now at 22%.

Polling December 2 to December 4, 2005 (Random Telephone Survey of 1,200 Canadians, MoE ±2.9%, 19 times out of 20). Percentages may not add up to 100 due to rounding. Our tracking polls allow for a daily barometer on the activities of the respective campaigns. Longitudinal tracking charts on all measures can be found at the SES website at

All values in parenthesis are changes from our November 13th national survey.

Decided Voters
LIB - 37% (+3)
CP - 30% (+2)
NDP - 16% (-4)
BQ - 13% (-1)
GP - 5% (+1)
*18% of Canadians were undecided (+4)

In Quebec:
BQ - 49% (-5)
LIB - 30% (+6)
CP - 12% (+3)
NDP - 6% (-2)
GP - 4% (NC)

Best PM
Martin - 28% (-1)
Unsure - 22% (+9)
Harper - 19% (-3)
None - 12% (+1)
Layton - 10% (-6)
Duceppe - 6% (-1)
Harris - 2% (-2)

Leadership Index (Daily composite of the Leaders' Trust, Competence and Vision)*
Martin - 73 (-9)
Harper - 57 (+8)
Layton - 33 (+8)
Duceppe - 31 (+1)
Harris - 8 (0)
* Change for this measure is from yesterday's composite score.

On the SES website (, we post updated daily longitudinal tracking chart, regional breakdowns and details on the questions and the methodology each afternoon. Watch PrimeTime Politics at 8 pm EST (Monday to Friday) to get a detailed briefing of the numbers.

For any media use of the polling data, we need to clearly identify the sponsor (CPAC). Please refer to the research as the CPAC-SES Nightly Tracking.

Feel free to forward this e-mail.

Nikita James Nanos, CMRP
President & CEO
SES Research

Thanks Nik, and cheers to you bud!

Some think these numbers indicate that Harper's message and skillful 1st week may not be paying any dividends...

The latest headlines in the Globe, CBC, and CTV say (paraphrasing here) "Harper's campaigning well and still setting the agenda, but it doesn't seem to be taking hold."

I think it could be a little premature to suggest that the Conservative Party's strategy is not working. But how long is long enough?

Weigh in people, let me know what you think in your comments.


Friday, December 02, 2005

Need a fix?

If you're a political junkie like me click here for daily polling by SES and CPAC.

They use an impressive sample size and you can even sign up to get an email alert every time they publish new poll data.

Kind of like this site from the 2004 U.S. Presidential election. I admit it, I went for my fix every day....


What Bush wants....

Gift from Canada?

Harper is pro-America, NO WAY!

Being realistic, this is just an editorial from "America's Newspaper" and a guest column at that. But, if I were in the Conservative's brain-trust, I wouldn't be linking to it on our website (and they haven't so far), and I would not be talking about it at all.

If I were the Liberals, I would get it out there through back-channels.

There's also nothing really new in there, just confirms what most of us knew already.

It is interesting how this guy from the CATO Institute frames the debate as such a stark contrast, when in reality both the Liberals and the Conservatives are trying to stay close to the middle of the ideological spectrum.

My cynical liberal mind says the CATO institute does this because they wouldn't want to concede in any way that perhaps progressive economic and social policy can work.



Thursday, December 01, 2005

Battling on tax-cuts...

Here is the article from the Globe on the competing tax-cut proposals from Harper and Martin.

The decision is between a cut to the consumption tax (GST) which you get only if you spend money (and everyone spends money), and a cut to middle-class income taxes. In perspective note that some people (lower income) spend a greater percentage of their money on non-taxabale items (food, medical, etc.) than others and will reap little benefit from such a tax. Martin's proposal (via Goodale) will raise everyone's personal exemption, and lower the middle class tax brackets by a percentage point.

What I find important about Harper's proposal is not so much the policy idea but rather the pattern it is setting in the election. The Globe hits on this here:

It is the second day in a row the Conservative leader began with a major policy announcement — Wednesday he promised a new office of public prosecutions.

The strategy is an attempt to set the political agenda for the daily news cycle and to force the Liberals to react instead of following their own game plan.

Speaking with reporters, Mr. Harper said he will have more tax cut announcements throughout the course of the campaign.
That is the important piece. The Liberals need to recognize this and get in front of the Conservatives and even usurp a proposal or two to get control of the campaign agenda and consequently the news cycle.

If they don't they will be paying response and catch up the whole time and it will be a long 55 days.


The Liberal party's blog just got better today

Check out the progress of his November 30th posts, in my mind his (Feschuk's) comments today helped him redeem himself for the drivel posted yesterday.