Monday, April 30, 2007

Defense Pool

If you're like me and your hockey pool isn't going great, why not try your luck at the "Gordon O'Connor shuffle pool". Simply pick who the next Minister of Defense will be and when the shuffle will occur and I will use some arbitrary method to pick a winner.

And if you think Harper is a big Tammy Wynette fan and will stand by his man on this one, well then, feel free to pick 2014 for the shuffle...or pick a Liberal to be the next Minister of Defense.

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"By now, we've got to get used to Ralphisms"

Just when you thought the guy was gone for good, Ralph Klein in back in the news:

However, Klein said Sunday that people misheard him during his heavily improvised three-minute speech. He had actually been speaking about a protected parks area near Rocky Mountain House from which a documentary film crew was banned. As premier, he intervened.

"I recall my executive assistant coming to me and saying, 'You know, the natives have been drinking there for years and years there, why can't we shoot a film there,'" he told the crowd, according a recording by CHUM-TV.

Ralph, however, has come up with a very reasonable defense:

Former premier Ralph Klein firmly denied reports he slurred natives at an awards banquet this weekend, insisting he had referred to people drinking water, not alcohol.

Ahhh...that explains it.

He also took the opportunity to explain his famous BSE flap when he said ranchers should "shoot, shovel and shut up", by saying he meant "ranchers should shoot...movies. Near where those natives drink...water."


Sunday, April 29, 2007

Just In

Justin Trudeau has squeaked out the Papineau Liberal nomination with a first ballot win.

Good news in my opinion. The LPC could use some young blood, and Justin's star power makes up for the loss of Belinda. Best of all, it gets a true hard line federalist in the Quebec caucus (if he wins...).

As for his critics, the man had to work for his nomination which is the way it should be.

UPDATE: Antonio's predictions may have been a tad off, but he does have the final vote tally:

Trudeau 640
Deros 327
Giordano 217

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Friday, April 27, 2007

A Fortnight to Forget

Stephen Harper hasn’t had many bad days since becoming Prime Minister but, boy, the last two weeks have been tough ones for him.

The rough patch all started last week with the taxpayer funded stylist turned psychic fiasco (she really should have seen it coming). Sure, it’s not a big deal, but it’s one of those quirky little mini-scandals like Romanian Strippers which gives the opposition parties a guaranteed joke in every stump speech from now until the end of the next campaign.

Then there’s been the environmental file which was going to be a headache no matter when it came to a head. John Baird’s Martin-esque hyperbole probably discredited some very legitimate economic concerns surrounding the Liberal Kyoto plan. Having the Tory plan leak out in advance (possibly breaking Canada's securities laws) didn’t help matters at all, especially since it led to a rushed release. As for the plan itself? Well, take a look at the less than enthusiastic response it has generated.

Worst of all, the Tories took a big hit on Afghanistan, which is guaranteed to be an issue during the next campaign. The Globe's front page story on blacked out torture documents was bad for optics, regardless of who edited the documents. The week-long game of "deal or no deal" left opposition leaders, pundits, and probably quite a few Tory Cabinet Ministers confused. It's unclear when this "deal" was signed, if it was signed, who negotiated it, what it entails, if it changes the status quo, or who knew about it when.

O'Connor himself has been crippled beyond repair and paying homage to Paul Martin's famous escalator scrum, by doing an elevator scrum, likely wasn't the best way for him to announce this deal. At the very least he could have let Peter McKay know beforehand...

As for the fall-out, well, just take a look at the CTV wire story and count the number of times "contradiction" and "incompetence" appear. For a government that prides itself on decisiveness and messaging, this has certainly been a week Harper would love to put behind him.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Mean Value

With Decima and the Strategic Counsel releasing new polls yesterday, I figured I'd average them in with the most recent Ipsos and SES numbers:

CPC 35.25%
Lib 30.25%
NDP 15.75%
BQ 9%
Greens 9%

Hard for anyone, outside of maybe the Greens, to be overly excited about those numbers.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Paint it Black

(warning: This post has been edited by the department of Foreign Affairs for national security purposes)

In a fairly remarkable front page story in today's Globe & Mail, Paul Koring reveals that Canada's New Government knew that "torture and abuse were rife in Afghan jails", despite claims to the contrary. The Foreign Affairs department also blacked out parts of the documents released under access to information that claim the situation is getting worse in Afghanistan (even though there was no national security reason to remove this information). For example, the sentence "the overall human rights situation in Afghanistan deteriorated in 2006" was removed completely.

results of this report should be very disconcerting for all Canadians.


Take Two

The second Liberal Ad is similar to the first, adding the Al Gore glacier, a cute baby, and a few words from Stephane Dion.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Liberal Mole Crosses the Floor

Tory emission plan faxed to Liberals

Bag 'O Links

-Lots of Afghanistan news. The Liberal motion to set February 2009 as the withdrawal date will be voted down tonight thanks to the NDP even though 2/3 of Canadians agree with it. Gordon O'Connor, meanwhile, is in trouble for the treatment of prisoners, and Dion has some egg on his face for an odd proposal.

-After going 7 for 8 in first round predictions, I'll go with the Ducks, Sharks, Sabers and...I dunno...let's say Sens.

-Looks like the Clean Air Act is dead, although I wouldn't be surprised to see one of the opposition parties bring the amended version back on an opposition day.

-The sexy centrists are no'll be Royal versus Sarkozy in the French election run-off.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Walk the Walk

In today's paper, the Edmonton Sun published the answers from party leaders to 20 questions about how environmentally friendly they live. Not too surprisingly, Stephen Harper declined to participate ("my stylist never picks out make-up which has been tested on animals").

While Jack Layton and Stephane Dion certainly appear to be living environmentally friendly lives, Elizabeth May is in an ecosystem of her own. Consider the following:

-She doesn't own a car or a bicycle...she tricycles
-She owned a pony as a child [not relevant, but I keep thinking of this]
-Her household does not flush the toilet "unless necessary"
-toilet paper is the only paper product she buys
-She buys second-hand clothes
-Her daughter "rejected the offer of a new TV for Christmas because, even though ours was broken, she insisted we try to get it fixed to avoid an unwanted landfill item."

Speaking of May, Jane Taber may have set a record for most anonymous Liberal sources ever used in an article, in today's piece criticizing the Dion-May pact.


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Mandatory Blogging

Two topics which I just could not go without some comment:

1. My bestest bud Rob Anders will have to go through with a nomination after a judge denied the request to delay it on the grounds that "[Rob] cannot fairly and effectively fight a new nomination battle while performing his duties as a sitting MP in a minority government." Uh-huh. This from a man who, according to Hansard, has not uttered a single word in the House on Commons since last spring.

That last little fact and many more like it, can be found in Don Martin's Saturday Herald column titled "pulseless Anders stayin' alive".

[As an aside, I found it amusing to see the Herald cite "wikipedia" as their source for Saturday's front page story on dwindling resource revenues]

2. I'm hesitant to comment on this because, quite frankly, whatever Stephen Harper's taxpayer-funded stylist does in her spare time really isn't relevant to the controversy. So long as she picks out a nice tie, combs Stephen's hair, and gives him his bath, I don't really care if she's communing with Mackenzie King's mother on the side.

And if she is giving him advice? Well, given the tactical moves Harper has made over the past year in a half, she's worth every penny he we are paying her.

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Manitoba Votes

The writ has been dropped in Manitoba for a May 22nd vote. This has, obviously led to speculation that there won't be a federal spring election because federal party leaders always look out for Manitoba when it comes to election timing. Right? Right? Right?

As for the vote itself, above and beyond finding Winnipeg on the map, I don't think there's much I can add. There are some smart sounding people in Coyne's comments section who can likely shed a bit of light on the vote. The common consensus is that the NDP fortunes are sagging a bit but Gary Doer's personal popularity can likely keep them in government. Hugh McFadyen (whose name I have no clue how to pronounce) leads the Tories and also seems to be viewed quite favourably, while the Liberals...well...their 54 year election drought likely won't be ending this time.


Friday, April 20, 2007

Alberta's NDP Budget

Those outside of Alberta may have missed it, but something truly remarkable happened in our province yesterday (no, not the snow storm or the Flames win - both small miracles in their own right).

Remember the complaints by some on the right about Flaherty's 6-8% increase in spending? Well, yesterday, Lyle Oberg brought in the first Stelmach budget which calls for an unprecedented 17% increase in spending. This may very well make Alberta's Progressive Conservatives the authors of one of the most free spending budgets in Canadian history. After years of gargantuan surpluses, it is projected to shrink to $2.2 billion this year, $1.4 billion in 2008 and $925 million in 2009...that's assuming no out of budget spending and oil prices which match the forecasts. Most alarmingly, instead of banking the surpluses to the Heritage Fund, 2/3 of all surpluses will be spent onto miscellaneous new projects while only 1/3 will actually be saved.

Despite the massive spending, there's no real focus. No plan to make Alberta's Universities world class. Not a penny for the environment. No plan to diversify the economy. No tax cuts. No end to the health care premiums. Not since the Alexei Yashin contract has so much been spent for so little return.

But enough from me, I'll let Rick Bell do the talking:

This is a mess. The Tories cannot say it is a mess because they created it.

Many Albertans, and many Calgarians, cannot say it is a mess because they supported the making of the mess, where loyalty to the Tories trumped common sense.

But make no mistake about it. The numbers aren't lying. In the richest province in the land, we have a mess.

So naturally, there's all kinds of spending on catch-up construction, though off the top there is a big caution.

A good chunk of change is for projects already approved and announced. Lyle Oberg, the finance minister, admits there isn't a "huge amount" for new projects.

And well over a billion bucks covers the costs going through the roofs not yet built because the Tories, in their wisdom, wait to bang nails big-time until the economy is good and hot.

The most interesting thing about this budget is that it opens up a ton of space for the Liberals to pass the Tories on the right (appropriate since as Transport Minister, Ed Stelmach proposed moving the "fast lane" on highways to the right). A focus on long term planning, the Heritage Fund or tax cuts right now from the ALP could very well force a few on the right to hold their nose and vote the very least it would make it very hard for them to justify their continued support of the PCs.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Thursday News Round Up

1) Harper has announced he will be appointing barley farmer Bert Brown to fill a Senate vacancy. Bert Brown is, of course, famous for plowing the following phrase into his field in the 1990s: "Triple-E Senate or else...appoint me and screw the effective and equal part of it".

2) After Rona Ambrose's initial Green Plan was met with scorn and ridicule leading to her departure from the file, the Conservatives are planning to release a new and improved Green Plan which...wait for it...weakens the targets set out in their first plan. Either the Tories are trying to dampen expectations, or this is their election trigger.

3) Speaking of the environment, John Baird went before the Senate today to claim that meeting our Kyoto targets would lead to a massive recession, unemployment, sky-rocketing gas prices, the cancellation of Hockey Night in Canada, and the closing of all Tim Hortons coast to coast.

4) I don't think we'll see the Greens stand down in St. Catharines but the mere fact that some of their members are talking about not running a candidate is exactly why I thought the Dion-May deal was a strategic coup de force for the Liberals.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Extreme Makeover - Taxpayer Edition

"We promise to clean up government...and give it a haircut."
-Conservative campaign promise?

It's been confirmed that Canadian taxpayers are paying for Stephen Harper's fashion consultant who "helps him perfect his look, including managing his wardrobe and general grooming".

While I'm a tad concerned that our Prime Minister has not yet mastered his own "general grooming", I can wholeheartedly endorse this move. Anyone who has observed the many vests of Stephen Harper will agree that this is an expense well worth the as of yet undisclosed money it costs. The man represents Canada around the world and, given his fashion sense, this money has to potential to prevent countless international incidents.

On a personal note, while this will likely mean fewer "Stephen Harper looks goofy" blog posts, I feel this will be offset by the pottential for many "Stephen Harper's stylist" jokes.


Monsieur President

The Liberals have a new TV ad out today and, after skewering their french radio ads last week, I can safely give this one the thumbs up.

Even though it's an ad about the environment, it's not really an ad about the environment. This is undeniably a response to Tory messaging that Dion is a weak leader, so we see him leading the international climate change conference, bringing countries together, and having the "President" label in front of him as he triumphantly bangs the gavel to applause. It's hard to deny those aren't good optics that paint Dion is a very favourable light.

There are also six radio ads up on the site - three in English, three in French. The first two are on poverty which is a nice change from the all environment all the time focus. The third is a translation from the brutal french radio spot that attacked Harper for attacking Dion.

The first two French radio spots are direct translations from the English poverty ones. The third is on the environment incredulously asking about Harper's road to Damascus conversion to the environment.

Would have liked to have seen this a bit earlier but, better late than never.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007


The latest Decima poll confirms the SES Easter poll that had the Tory lead down to 3. I haven't been able to find any detailed breakdowns as of yet, but the Bloc are at a shockingly small 29% in Quebec. Both Ipsos and the SC should have new numbers out in the next week or two, and that will help confirm if in fact the Tory lead has shrunk down to a mere 3 points.

Also of note in the Decima poll is that the Greens are at 11%. I think most people will concede that 11% is mostly parked votes. So, you know, if Elizabeth May were to implicitly endorse another party leader that might kind of help some of those fence sitting Greens with their decision. I'm just saying...

In other news, SES has an interesting "what if" poll out about a world without the temporary ad hoc rainbow coalition known as the BQ. The bottom line - Jean Lapierre probably did the Liberals a big favour by setting up the BQ, because their vote would be dripping everywhere but to the Liberal Party.


New Digs has gotten a face lift and, no, contrary to popular rumour, there is no green stripe anywhere on the site.

The interface looks similar, but there's a lot of media there including a wide range of podcasts for anyone wanting to workout to the sweet sound of Stephane Dion's voice.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Birthday Wishes

For anyone feeling nostalgic, Don Newman had a good interview with Jean Chretien today (which you should be able to download here, sometime this evening). The main focus was on the Charter but, of course, talk drifted on to things like Harper, re-opening the constitution, the Liberal-Green deal, Dion's leadership and a host of other issues.

Le p'tit gars will be on Duffy tomorrow.


In The News

-I have to give a thumbs down to Ontario's MMP referendum. I'm not completely against electoral reform, but when you have party leaders writing the party list, you have a situation where MPPs are being appointed which strikes me as being completely against the principle of having an elected house.

-Buzz is the Liberals will be releasing TV ads this week.

-The Hill Times has a good run down of the backroom mechanics going on in Parliament regarding key legislative bills and (of course) election timing.

-For anyone interested in drafting an essay dealing with the impact of technology on modern debate, check out this contest.

-Don Baird had a column in the Herald last week talking about the Alberta Liberal Party's "attack on Stelmach" plan of action.

-Stories like this, would seem to lend some credence to the theory that the May-Dion deal is targeted not so much at Peter MacKay, but rather at Jack Layton.

-Elizabeth May mentioned this little old blog on QP yesterday. Since she's let the cat out of the bag, I guess I can announce what has long been rumoured. Liz and I have signed a pact whereby she refers to me as a "funny blogger" and I do not call her decision to run in Central Nova "mind numbingly stupid". I'm sure this move will be controversial, but we feel it will be mutually beneficial.

-In one of my all time favourite inadvertent transitions, a CTV news story the other days on Canadians being overweight was followed by an add for Tim Horton's new triple chocolate donuts.


Sunday, April 15, 2007

Random Weekend Speculation

Anyone else think we're going to get another round of constitutional talks if the Tories gets a majority government?

Given a few in passing musings by Harper on this in the past, the talk of limiting federal spending powers, and the current political climate in Quebec, I'd certainly answer that question with a oui.


Friday, April 13, 2007

May I have this dance?

The big news today is the announcement that the Liberals will not run a candidate in Elizabeth May's riding which is a shocking surprise for anyone who has been living in Bolivia the past three months. Actually, calling it "Elizabeth May's riding" is charitable since it's still going to be Peter MacKay's, even with this deal.

But, regardless, it's an interesting alliance, since the Greens and Grits are giving each other some added legitimacy by doing this. From an economical sense, the Liberals stand to lose 18 grand a year from the $1.75 per vote they'd get in Central Nova (probably less since May would siphon votes off, they save the money it takes to run a campaign and they get the ginormous influx of...dozens of Green voters in Saint-Laurent–Cartierville).

So the real trade-off comes from the legitimacy aspect and I do tend to think the Liberals come out on top here, if only because it gives Dion's environmental platform an implicit vote of confidence and helps out the inevitable "vote Liberal to stop Harper" messaging we'll see the last weekend of the campaign.

The trade-off is obviously that it gives the Greens a bit more credibility. And everyone has a different opinion as to which party that hurts most.

[Coyne's got an interesting take, touching on the optics of beeing seen as moving too far left]

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

W. E. Coyote to investigate Roadrunner anvil scandal

I know the Conservatives are trying to cut unemployment. And I know there aren't a lot of job openings for "separatist politician" these days. But I'm not sure if a former PQ Cabinet Minister was the best person for Michael Fortier to hire to look into Liberal polling contracts.

You see, optics is everything. And the optics of having a separatist decide if an embarrassing judicial inquiry into Liberal polling practices is necessary, might lead the casual observer to think this is pretty much a good old fashioned witch hunt ("Are you now or have you ever been a member of Earnscliffe?"). And if the said inquiry head doesn't even know the name of the auditor general at his first press conference, the casual observer might think he's not exactly the most qualified man for the job.

That's not to say that it isn't worth looking into this. After all, public tax dollars should never be spent on partisan polls. I think we can all agree that public tax dollars should only be spent on non-partisan things (like, investigating your predecessors' polling practices or taking out ads against Danny Williams).

UPDATE: Oops...

Liz Thompson over at The Gazette did better than dozens of staffers at the Liberal Research Bureau, none of whom managed to dig up this fact about Daniel Paillé, the Tories' new pay-for-play separatist Earnscliffe-slayer, which everal reporters
discovered yesterday after 3 minutes on the Google machine:


In short, this is the worst example of vetting in Canadian politics since somebody hired Jean-Daniel Lafond's wife. This guy Michael Fortier's turning out to be a real 40-watter, ain't he?

It's a Very Complex Decision

A lot of people will no doubt try and spin Belinda Stronach's decision to quit politics as a blow to the Liberal Party. But I think we should take a moment of silence for the people this retirement will affect most - the blogging Tories. When you think of the hundreds of jokes at her expense they've posted over the past two years and the thousands of insightful comments those posts have generated ("you're sexist!", "no I'm not!"), this is clearly the biggest loss to the blogosphere since Jean Lapierre resigned his seat.

UPDATE: As many have pointed out, the highlight of the CBC wire story:

Lower-profile MPs who are not running again are Jean Lapierre from the Quebec riding of Outremont and Bill Matthews from the Newfoundland riding of Random-Burin-St. George.


Monday, April 09, 2007

They work hard for their money

Apparently the provincial PCs have been cashing their bonus cheques to the tune of one million dollars over the past year. I don't have a problem with MLAs getting paid more for doing extra work but when it's nearly doubling their salary and the "work" being done requires air quotes to describe it? I dunno...

In other News

-I know SES has become the new oracle for many bloggers but if we're going to toss aside Angus Reid for being ridiculously low, we need to concede that these numbers do seem a bit more favourable for the grits than the other polls out there right now. That's not to say they aren't encouraging or even that the true numbers lie outside of the margin of error, but I'd want to see a few more polls confirming this before concluding that we're back to a statistical tie.

-Adam Daifallah has an interesting take on the Quebec election results.

-I'm telling you, when I see stories like this, I'm more convinced than ever that Paul Hellyer and the Canadian Action Party are poised for a breakthrough next election.

-Two thirds of Canadians favour electing judges which is absolutely shocking considering what a dumb idea that is. I'm pretty sure that if they reflecting on it for a bit, most would change their opinion quickly.

-More doom and gloom environmental reports

-Finally, my first round picks: Sabers, Devils, Rangers, Sens, Flames, Ducks, Sharks, Canucks

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Provincial Matters

Unless you're a hockey fan, it figures to be a pretty slow news weekend. So I thought it might be a good time for a little election speculation. However, it certainly seems to me that there's a speculatory imbalance with all the hype being on the federal vote, so I figured I'd take a looksy at some of the provincial elections coming up this year. I'm certainly not an expert in the intricacies of Newfoundland or Manitoban politics, so this is more of an open thread for those closer to the action to give their two cents on the local scene.


October 10th, 2007 will be voting day as Dalton McGuinty guns for a second term against the tory Tory. The latest SES numbers have the Liberals ahead, although not at their 2003 numbers quite yet:

Lib 41
PC 33
NDP 17

Despite the early flack for broken promises, I'd be surprised to see McGuinty lose this one.

Newfoundland & Labrador

King Williams seems to be the safest Premier in Canada these days, with opinions polls showing him miles ahead of an opposition in disarray. Despite a recent by election win by the Liberals, this should be another walk in the park for Danny as he runs on his anti-Ottawa platform.

It's weird - politicians who are adored outside of their home provinces like Bernard Lord and Jean Charest are usually reviled at home, while those who turn into punch lines like Danny Williams and Ralph Klein are the ones who cruise to record majorities.


Lorne Calvert will certainly be tempted to take a page from Premier Williams and wage war on Ottawa during the next campaign. Despite an economic boom, after 16 years in power, voters seem to be tiring of NDP government and the Sask Party (slogan: "Just like the old PCs, minus the kick backs!") has routinely been ahead in the polls over the past year. They are led by Brad Wall who I doubt anyone outside of Saskatchewan has ever heard of.


You probably want to check out Hack's blog for the low down on Manitoba politics, but it certainly sounds like the opposition are poised to knock off Gary Doer here.


Pat Binns is the Premier. Above and beyond that, I really don't have anything insightful to say about the state of PEI politics. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

UPDATE: OK, here's some news on PEI.


My money is on 2008 for the next election but it could be joining the 007 club if Ed Stelmach decides he wants to get his own mandate. It has been 36 years since the last government change here so, even by Alberta standards, we are due. The Liberals have their sights set on a Calgary breakthrough as the former farmer Stelmach is seen to be anti-Calgary in many circles (those circles usually comprising of Jim Dinning supporters). But with an electoral map which favours rural Alberta dramatically, it would take one heck of a stumble for the Tories to fall out of power.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

They'll Go Neg

The Liberals have released three new radio ads in Quebec which attack Harper for going negative. It's not quite as bizarre as the "they'll go neg" ads the Conservatives ran after Christmas last year since those ads accused the Liberals of going negative before the Liberals ran negative ads but, at the same time, those ads did get a few corruption shots in at Martin whereas these new ones come across as sounding fairly lame. Here are the translated transcripts from Antonio:

Ad Un
“If Stephen Harper is convinced his accomplishments up to now are so good, would he spend all his money on negative ads about Stephane Dion? What do you think?”

Ad Deux
“In 2007, do we really prefer a politician like Stephen Harper, who spends his time denigrating his opponent, or a passionate man like Stephane Dion, who is concerning himself with the challenges of the 21st century? Which one is making us take a step backward?”

Ad Trois
“If Stephen Harper and the Conservatives attack Stephane Dion, is it because they are afraid of something? Afraid of his ideas maybe? Afraid of his Green Plan? Afraid…to lose power?”

I guess the plan is to try and get the message across that Dion is a better person than Harper and more honourable which may not be an awful message in itself. But at the time when more and more people are whispering that the Liberals can't take a punch, there's probably a better way to emphasize Dion's character. Maybe a direct message from the guy himself.

Now, I'm not opposed to attack ads on Harper - far from it. It's just that, in Quebec, there are a lot of good issues they could be attacking Harper on rather than "he runs attack ads". The environment, foreign policy, child care, broken promises...pick a social issue and he's probably off side from most Quebecers on it.

Running a negative ad which basically says "my opponent runs negative ads because he has nothing constructive to say" kind of invites most rational radio listeners to say "aren't the Liberals running negative ads saying that the Conservatives run negative ads because they have nothing constructive to say, because the Liberals have nothing constructive to say?" [actually, screw that. I'm confused just reading that last sentence and I wrote it. Maybe radio listeners won't make that connection].

I'm sympathetic to the fact that most of the people who used to handle our Quebec ads are in jail these days but surely there's someone in the province who could have done better than this?

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Random News Clips

1) Harper has finally delivered on the disappearing fifth priority, a wait times guarantee. Huzzah! Well, that is, he's made sure provinces will guarantee one procedure. Yes, O-N-E. I'm not a doctor but I figure there can't be more than, what, 3 or 4 known medical procedures out there so this is clearly a monumental step forward.

2) The Macleans 50 have waded into the never ending PR debate. I say this only because I know poli-sci geek types enjoy debating this sort of thing and I suspect that that demographic makes up a large percentage of my readership.

3) Bharat Agnihotri was tossed from the Alberta legislature yesterday.

4) Lucienne Robillard, one of the most low key Cabmins over the past decade, has announced her retirement. This certainly is shaping up to be a "changing of the guard" election for the Liberal caucus, win or lose.

5) My Edmonton residency may limit the Calgary content of this blog so to try and fix this imbalance, I present the national anthems from last night's Flames game. This is in the same league as Roseanne Barr. Oh, and while we're talking about music videos on YouTube, this is the greatest remix parody ever.

6) Since today seems a little news-lite, I'll simply add, on a completely off topic note, that Arrested Development rocked, and that anyone who enjoys quality television should pick up the DVDs. Oh, and while I'm off topic, let me say that I loathe people who take the elevator down one floor when there are stairs right next to it. Just thought I'd mention that.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

In the News

1) The Hill Times has the Pat Martin idiocy of the week:

Last week MPs debated at length whether or not MP Pat Martin was allowed to refer to Agriculture Minister Chuck Strahl as "Il Deuce", the Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini.


"We do call him Il Deuce, but it's important to note that I did not call the minister a fascist. I implied that he was acting like a fascist..." [said Martin]

2) Speaking of media hungry politicians, Danny Williams is aghast that Stephen Harper would dare run ads criticizing him...a mere two days after he ran ads criticizing Harper. Uh-huh.

3) Check out Coyne on the latest Vendu Vendu controversy. It's weird that no one picked up on this back in February when the ads first aired.

4) The media took a tour of the death star yesterday...the Liberal Party really needs to improve its fundraising abilities because the cash flow advantage is making life a whole lot easier for the Tories.

5) The Liblogs Youtube ads are getting a lot of media play today. And due to their unhealthy obsession with all things Cherniak, the Blogging Tories are giving them even more publicity. Anyways, here's my favourite, similar to a post I did last week:

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Monday, April 02, 2007

The Sasquatch

Stephane Dion says it's a myth. Stephen Harper said they did exist but he had Myron Thompson shoot them all last week. Stephane Dion didn't want Myron to go wandering in the woods with a shootgun.

Why go back?

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ALP Convention

This weekend was the Alberta Liberal Party's annual convention held in the city they are expecting a big breakthrough in next election - Calgary (no, that's not my patented sarcasm, I'm serious).

I drove down with Daveberta which allowed me to get a good three hour information session on SU politics. Other bloggers in attendance include PTimH, David Swann, and Darryl Raymaker.

The convention was extremely well organized with, I must say, I great selection of food (mmm...pie...). The workshops focused on election readiness in anticipation of the upcoming provincial election, expected in early 2008.

Surprising even myself, I managed to wake up in time for the Saturday breakfast and listened to Keith Brownsey who is certainly a member of the church of Warren judging from his repeated urgings to go negative early and go negative hard. His recommendation of a TV buy to show 5 or 10 second video clips of Stelmach stumbling over his words makes sense to me; just like the Tories are trying to define Dion before he can define himself, it would make sense for the ALP to use the same tactic. Even a cheaply produced add with a limited buy would generate enough earned media to make it worthwhile.

Saturday evening entertaining included a trip to Heritage Park (I presume so that we could see what the city looked like the last time there was a provincial Liberal government). That was followed up with the unnoficial youth CPAC hospitality suite.

All the media reports I saw were quite positive of the convention and it certainly seems like the party has its act together - candidates are being nominated and the debt is being widdled down quicker than Ed Stelmach's credibility. The real litmus test will be the two by-elections expected this spring, including Ralph Klein's old seat in Calgary Elbow which is certainly winnable for the Liberals.

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Bloggers Hotstove

I played hooky for one of the election readiness workshops at the ALP convention this Saturday to phone in to the Quebec election post-mortem bloggers hotstove with Antonio, Tasha, and our host Greg.

I'll have a full convention recap up tomorrow but, I must say, all the talk this past month about the Quebec election has me yearning for an Alberta provincial election worth talking about.

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LaP Returns?

Wow. Very interesting story over at

MONTREAL: Sources close to Jean Lapierre indicate that the former federal Liberal Quebec lieutenant is eying a return to politics. Lapierre has privately indicated to his most trusted advisers that he's eager to get back into the game and will toss his hat into the ring for PQ leadership should Andre Boisclair step down as the party's leader following their third place showing last week.

Although his most recent involvement was with the federal Liberals, Lapierre is the former co-founder of the Bloc Quebecois and has many connections among sovereignists who would no doubt support the charismatic media personality's bid should he choose to run. Lapierre has expressed interest in merging the PQ with Quebec Solidaire, to form a new permanent rainbow coalition among separatists he feels can return the movement to its left wing roots and make a legitimate run for government during the next federal election.

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