Friday, June 29, 2007

Your Daily Herald

Via the Liberal mole, comes some behind the scenes actual comments in private feedback forum the Calgary Herald set up to poll subscribers on a range of issues. The following are all actual comments Herald subscribers made about their paper:

Personally, I'd be happy if they stopped using wikipedia as a source for front page stories.


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Indecision '08

For those curious how the political stock markets are calling the US Presidential campaign:

Dem Nominee
Clinton 49.3%
Obama 30.5%
Gore 8.7%
Edwards 5.3%

Republican Nominee
Giuliani 32.5%
Thompson 31.2%
Romney 22.5%
McCain 8.5%


I'll Take that Bet!

KINGSTON, OTTAWA -- A defiant Gordon O'Connor said yesterday he has no intention of quitting as Defence Minister, and warned his critics not to assume he is about to turfed from the portfolio in a widely expected cabinet shuffle.

"I can assure you of one thing: I'm not retiring and I'm not resigning," Mr. O'Connor told reporters at a military conference in Kingston. "And if you want to run a pool, go ahead. You're going to lose."

I'll put 20$ down on August 10th in the pool!

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Whatchu Talkin About?

Macleans had some fun with google site search to find out what topics got the most play on Stephen Harper's website over the past year. For those keeping track, the environment narrowly edged out crime, taxes, accountability, health care, child care, and, in a bit of a surprise, "dancing with the stars".

So, I figured I'd run my site through the machine and see what I've been blogging about.

-Not only does he win the hamburger poll and the golfing poll, but Stephen Harper tops the equally scientific Calgary Grit poll with 1440 references. That leaves him miles ahead of Jack Layton (215), Stephane Dion (95), and Gilles Duceppe (65).

-Among Liberals, Dion is edged out by Joe Volpe (180), Gerard Kennedy (1380), and Michael Ignatieff (175). Hot on his heels are Jean Lapierre (83) and Garth Turner (42). [note: Unlike Garth Turner's blog where the only thing Garth Turner has ever talked about is Garth Turner].

-Much like Stephen Harper, I don't have a lot of time for Harper Cabinet Ministers. Peter Mackay (83) and Rona Ambrose gets decent ink (48), while Jim Flaherty (19), Lawrence Cannon (22), and Gordon O'Connor (19) have earned a bit of my time. But Maxime Bernier (9), Carole Skelton (1), and Jean-Pierre Blackburn (1) haven't exactly been setting the blogosphere on fire.

-I am, of course, always ready to blog about the important issues of the day, such as the Shane Doan kerflufle (4), Stephen Harper's stylist (11), and Jack Layton's "big ass" comments (4). [note: in fairness, "big ass" comments on this blog could be in reference to a lot of things including, ironically enough, Jack himself]

-On the historical side, Joe Clark (98) beats Pierre Trudeau (63). However, Justin Trudeau (38) does best Ben Mulroney (15).

-On a lighter note, Britney Spears drew 5 mentions, Paris Hilton got 6, and Prince Harry got 4. Lindsay Lohan has never been mentioned on this blog (...until now).

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Divide the Right

Via Ken Chapman comes news of Link Byfield's new right wing Albertan party - the Wild Rose Party.

So, for those keeping track, that gives Alberta:

The Alberta Alliance
Social Credit
The Wild Rose Party
The Alberta Party
The Separation Party

On the right side of the spectrum.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Random News

None of these stories really catch my eye, but if anyone wants to comment, go nuts!

1. Stephane Dion, who voted in favour of Harper's Quebec as a nation resolution, wants Harper to clarify what Dion and most of the Liberal MPs actually voted for.

2. The federal building fire sale that I'd always thought was a fairly dumb idea could be hitting a snag.

3. Say it ain't so, Joe.

4. The Hill Times wades into the great NASCAR debate.


Saturday, June 23, 2007

Let's Try That One Again

Two women? Three Jim Dinning supporters? Two Calgarians? My, how it must have pained Ed Stelmach to announce this Cabinet shuffle.

Cindy Ady becomes Hector Goudreau's parliamentary secretary associate minister in tourism - presumably he'll still handle the booming Grimshaw tourism industry while she focuses on the less important Calgary efforts. She's also responsible for the Vancouver Olympics which is kind of a burn for Mark Norris, if you think about it. Yvonne Fritz becomes Ray Danyluk's parliamentary secretary associate minister for urban and housing issues. Once again, Ray will work hard to get Elk Lake its second traffic light, while Yvonne will focus on that boring housing issue that Ed keeps hearing people from Calgary whine about.

This was obviously a move of desperation because you'd have to look long and hard for the last time a Canadian Premier shuffled his Cabinet before getting a mandate to govern from provincial voters (educated guess - Harry Strom was the last one to do it). And while it's going to look like a panicked move, politically speaking, burning his promise of a smaller Cabinet was likely worth it to try and stop the bleeding in Calgary.

In a related story, a new Ipsos poll has the voting intentions right where they were at the last provincial election but this still marks a noticeable fall for Stelmach since taking over, and should be somewhat disconcerting for him given that the Alberta Liberals always poll low between elections when those being phoned get a little confused between the provincial and federal parties. The regional breakdowns are also quite interesting since the Tories are actually doing better in Redmonton than in Calgary. Go figure.

Finally, Link Byfield is planning to start yet another fringe party in Alberta since “If we don't create one, the Liberals will win by default.” If the right in Alberta had its act together, they'd merge the four or five right wing parties into one viable entity and go to Preston Manning on bended knee asking him to be their leader. If that happened, Alberta would probably be set up for the same type of three way race we saw in Quebec this spring.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

If You're Not Busy...

Given the strenuous workload intergovernmental affairs has been for Rona Ambrose, maybe she should consider this.

I hate to beat a dead horse, but sometimes the posts just write themselves.


Thursday, June 21, 2007


Freakonomics is one of the more interesting reads to come out in recent years (although that might just be the statistician in me speaking). The book's website has a good blog that manages to put up 2 or 3 interesting posts a day. Well worth a visit during those slow months of summer when political blogs (like this one) scramble to find content to post about and end up just posting links to mildly interesting blogs instead.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Signs your boss has more faith in Gordon O'Connor than in you

Does anyone else find it odd that Canada's Minister of intergovernmental affairs hasn't said a single word about the all out war being waged between three Premiers and the federal government? Especially when one is considering suing her government?

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Peace in our Time - Day 93

Have-no provinces only want their fair share: MacDonald

Federal minister tears strip off Newfoundland Premier

Calvert not backing down from lawsuit against feds

I know it's petty to say I told you so. But when it's Jim Flaherty on the other end, I don't really feel that bad about it.

So Jim. I told you so.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Myron Thompson Retires

A parliamentary institution announces he won't run again...

Bill Graham makes it official too...could mean Bob Rae running in a by election if the election keeps getting pushed back.


Monday, June 18, 2007

Monday Morning Briefing

1. For a fun time, be sure to check out the Gerrymandering game.

2. Saturday's Globe profile echoes the Right Side Up hypothesis that Harper runs into trouble once he runs out of scripting.

3. The blogs are up in a roar over the news that the Conservatives will be sponsoring Pierre Bourque's (from "news" site, car on the Canadian NASCAR circuit. This is definitely surprising news; I wasn't even aware Canada had a NASCAR circuit. Still, it makes a certain degree of sense - if you enjoy watching cars go around and around in circles for hours, I can see how the Conservative Party would appeal to you.

My favourite quote from the story is via Diane Finley:

The minister won't say how much money the sponsorship of the race car is costing the Conservative Party: "That would be Pepsi telling Coke what its recipe is."

I'm not sure I fully understand her analogy in the first place, but given their historical dominance of the market, I for one, don't think Coke has too much to fear from Pepsi.

4. The always insightful Paul Jackson has some musings on why Albertans don't like the provincial Liberals:

Liberal Leader Kevin Taft, who is not a shark, but in an aquarium full of these preying creatures, sees victory ahead in the next provincial election.

If so, my friends, put your wallets in a safety deposit box, because a Liberal government will ransack taxpayers, and lead our province into Depression-era debt.

Why do you think Albertans have never elected a Liberal government since the First World War era?

Because we have long memories.

So lock up your daughters, as the Broadway musical proclaimed.

Yes! I can't tell you how many times I've door knocked for the ALP and heard angry voters berate me with shouts of "damn that Rutherford!" or "**** Sifton, screwed our province!".

5. I noticed an add by the government of Nova Scotia against Harper re: the Atlantic Accord in my Globe & Mail this morning...

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

And the Winner is...

The Hill Times has published their annual "hillies", "best of", "Peter MacKay is hot awards", or whatever other name you want to call them. Here are some of the highlights from this year:

Sexiest Male
1. Peter MacKay
2. Maxime Bernier
3. Scott Brison

Sexiest Female
1. Ruby Dhalla
2. Rona Ambrose
3. Helena Guergis

Best Dressed Male
1. Scott Brison
2. Maxime Bernier
3. Rahim Jaffer

Best Dressed Female
1. Belinda Stronach
2. Rona Ambrose
3. Helena Guergis

Worst Dressed Male
1. Myron Thompson
2. Brian Jean
3. Stephen Harper
[Michelle Muntean clearly isn't earning her pay]

Worst Dressed Female
1. Sylvie Boucher
2. Libby Davies
3. Sue Barnes

Best Sense of Humour
1. Peter Stoffer
2. Monte Solberg
3. Todd Russell
[Maybe if Monte brought back his blog he'd win this one]

Best House Orator
1. Stephen Harper
2. Michael Ignatieff
3. Ralph Goodale

Best Cabinet Minister in Question Period
1. John Baird
2. Jim Flaherty
3. Peter MacKay

Best Opposition MP in Question Period
1. Michael Ignatieff
2. Ralph Goodale
3. Gilles Duceppe

1. Rahim Jaffer
2. Scott Brison
3. Pablo Rodriguez

Best Up-and-Comer
1. Navdeep Bains,
2. Mark Holland
2. James Moore

Biggest Self-Promoter
1. John Baird
2. Pierre Poilievre
3. Denis Coderre

Cabinet Minister with Most Influence in Cabinet
1. Jim Flaherty
2. Jim Prentice
3. John Baird

Male MP with the Best Hair
1. Pablo Rodriguez
2. Scott Brison
3. Maxime Bernier

Female MP with the Best Hair
1. Helena Guergis
2. Rona Ambrose
3. Ruby Dhalla

Friday, June 15, 2007

At Issue

The National did their end-of-term political run-down last night. Here's what the pannel had to say:

Best Political Play
Coyne: Bill Casey jumping ship.
Gregg: Dion’s deal with Elizabeth May
Hebert: Justin Trudeau running in a tough riding and winning the nomination himself.
Russo: Harper not calling an election

Worst Political Play
Coyne: Opposition parties passing the Kyoto Bill
Gregg: Conservatives handling of the environmental file
Hebert: Charest going ahead with the tax cuts after winning the election
Russo: Gilles Duceppe’s in-and-out of PQ leadership

Significant Political Event
Coyne: Flaherty’s budget
Gregg: Ascent of the ADQ
Hebert: The G8 Summit
Russo: Afghan detainee issue

Under Reported Political Event
Coyne: Alberta-BC trade deal
Gregg: Deterioration of federal-provincial relations
Hebert: Quebec moving down the road to a challenge to the Canada Health Act
Russo: Stagnant polls
[ed note: I think Russo and Gregg need to have the meaning of “under-reported” explained to them]

Most Overrated Politician
Coyne: John Baird
Gregg: John Baird
Hebert: Jim Flaherty
Russo: Michael Fortier

Big Idea out there for Harper
Coyne: Tax points in exchange for federal power (“I’m tempted to say Conservatism”)
Gregg: Pacific Gateway
Hebert: Environment
Russo: Income splitting

Who we’ll be talking about in one year…
Coyne: Maxime Bernier
Gregg: Jim Prentice and aboriginal file
Hebert: Alberta Liberal leader Kevin Taft (“and I did look up his name”)
Russo: Philip Couillard

Stump the Panel - Which of these people is an MP?

Hugh Guthrie
Chris Charlton
Daniel McKenzie
Elijah McCoy
Honora McKendrick

[On the plus side, I got this one right…however I wasn’t aware that Chris was a female, so I’m not sure I can get full credit]

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Calvert Goes All In

Lorne Calvert and, now possibly Danny Williams, have decided to call Harper's bluff and may sue over the new equalization formula. To me, it seems like Calvert's holding a 2-7 off suit, because I can't for the life of me see any sort of legal justification for his claim. Even if natural resources are a provincial jurisdiction, there's no reason they can't be included in the equalization formula.

More likely, the upcoming provincial election in Saskatchewan and Calvert's sagging poll numbers are the catalyst behind this. However, after declaring the end of "the long, tiring, unproductive era of bickering between the provincial and federal governments", having several provinces sue the federal government, certainly can't be good optics for Harper.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Henninger Chokes


Calgary Elbow
Cheffins (Lib) 46%
Henninger (PC) 38%
Reed (Gre) 6%
Greydanus (AA) 4%
Brown (NDP) 3%
Grover (SC) 2%
Willerton (Ind) 1%

Drumheller- Stettler
Hayden (PC) 58%
Dooley (Lib) 14%
Davidson (SC) 12%
Rew (Ind) 7%
France (AA) 5%
Wigmore (Gre) 3%
Bough (NDP) 1%

Full analysis tomorrow but, for now, let me say: I could get used to this...

A few morning after thoughts...

-Don't read anything into this as far as the federal voting intent in Alberta.

-On a completely self-indulgent point, I'm fairly pleased I managed to call Elbow nearly bang on.

-That said, my Drumheller predictions sucked. Liberal Tom Dooley won 9 of 13 polls in Drumheller, but got absolutely obliterated outside of the city. If there's any doubt about the Tory base, look no further than Big Valley, home of the creationist museum, where the Tories beat the Liberals by a 35 to 1 margin. I'd say rural Alberta is set to march behind the PCs yet again.

-There are still some positives for the Liberals to take out of the Drumheller byelection. If they can break through in some of Alberta's small to mid sized cities, there are ridings to be won outside of Calgary and Edmonton.

-How much does it suck to be an Alberta Alliance member today. Sure, Elbow was always a write-off for them. And, sure, they didn't have a very strong candidate running in Drumheller-Stettler but...fifth place? In the heart of rural Alberta, they lost to the "NEP Party", a party that hasn't existed for thirty years, and a crazy pro-Alberta independence independent candidate. Ouch.

-The news isn't much better for the NDP, coming 5th in Elbow and 7th in Drumheller.

-The win in Elbow will be huge from a momentum stand-point for the ALP and should help them attract volunteers and candidates over the next year, leading up to the next election.

-While it's dangerous to read too much into byelections and stupid to extrapolate those results to other ridings...what the heck, let's give it a try.

Adjusting the Elbow vote through to the rest of the City of Calgary, gives the Liberals 8 seats next election, the PCs 8 seats, and leaves 7 as too close to call (within 5% either way). Given the Liberals need at least 15 seats in Calgary to have any chance of forming government, that shows there's a still a long way to go...but at least they're in the game.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Red wave

I'm about ready to call it. Liberals win calgary elbow. Up 2791 to 2135 with a third of the polls to go.


Cheffins up in 11 of first 12 polls in. A very promising start...

Out of the Blue?

One of the most hotly contested byelection campaigns in Alberta's history wraps up tonight as Calgary Elbow residents vote for the MLA to replace Ralph Klein. The Tories have burned through $200,000 of taxpayer dollars to send out pamphlets across the province, they've re-re-re-re-announced funding for a South Calgary hospital, and they even rolled Jim Dinning out last week to drum up support for his next leadership bid Brian Henninger's campaign. In an absolutely bizarre twist, Henninger seems to be running on an "anti-Ed" platform, promising to choke the Premier if elected. The election is being hyped as Ed Stelmach's Alamo and an Ederendum, with the conventional wisdom being that we're in store for a photo finish.

There will be less suspense for the Drumheller vote tonight, in a riding the PCs have traditionally won by 6-1 or 7-1 vote ratios. But, if Elbow is Stelmach's Calgary litmus test, Drumheller is his rural one and it will be interesting to see if any erosion has occurred in the party base.

I was out in Drumheller on the weekend with some other Liberals to help door knock and I must say I was absolutely blown away by the support for Liberal candidate Tom Dooley in the poll I was in. For the first hour, I honestly felt like I was in the GTA, rather than rural Alberta (well...maybe that's pushing it...let's say Edmonton). I wouldn't be at all surprised if Tom picks up a few polls in Drumheller due to his personal popularity and anger over the Balzac water transfer. The rest of the riding is still pretty anti-Liberal (damn that Sifton! damn that Rutherford!), but just getting a candidate of Tom Dooley's local profile to run for the ALP gives them some credibility in rural Alberta. Oh, and I can't let a post about the Drumheller byelection pass without mentioning John Rew who is...well...I'll let his website speak for himself.

Byelections are weird creatures and hard to predict. Between low voter turn-out and the absense of any real polls, you're really going on gut alone so any predictions almost ensure the predictor will look like an idiot afterwards. That said, here are my entries in a pool I'm in...maybe I'm being a little overly optimistic for the home team, but what the hell:

Calgary Elbow

Liberals 45%
PC 38%
Alliance 7%
Greens 6%
NDP 3% (The NDP will no doubt receive a boost by having Brian Mason run in both ridings)

PC 45%
Liberals 22%
Alliance 18%
Greens 6%
Social Credit 4%

I'll be down at Cheffins headquaters tonight and, having just now learned how to do mobile blogging, will post the vote totals from Elbow and Drumheller as soon as they come in [since I expect all of my Ontario readers will be up late, eagerly awaiting the results].


The Carp Hits the Fan

I won't pretend to understand how equalization works. I won't pretend to understand if the "opt back" to the Atlantic Accord is the same or different than the original Atlantic Accord. I won't pontificate on the pros and cons of side deals with the provinces. I won't speculate on the legitimacy of the Senate holding up a budget, or of provinces suing the federal government.

But I will say that the optics of the atlantic disord we're seeing right now are very very bad. One MP down. Another wavering. Peter MacKay butting heads with his boss. A non-blowhard Premier from Atlantic Canada going to war with Harper. Plunging poll numbers out east.

Remember how Atlantic Canada punished Chretien and the Liberals in 1997 over cuts to EI? I'm betting a few Tory MPs out east are feeling a little nervous right about now.

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Ted Morton is the (Straw) Man

The feud between Dave Bronconnier and Ed Stelmach descended into self-parody over the weekend with Bronco taking offense to Ted Morton calling Calgary the best city in Canada. Here's the blow by blow:


"Calgary by itself is a good but not a great city," [Morton] told delegates.

"What makes Calgary a great city -- the best in Canada as far as I am concerned -- is what surrounds it."


Bronconnier said the speech was more proof that Calgary's issues are an afterthought for provincial leaders.

"I think it's ironic from a rural MLA living in Calgary to tell an audience that Calgary is not a great city -- of course I take offence to that," he said.

"It was absolutely uncalled for -- they're trying to divide and conquer."
Following the speech, Bronconnier confronted Morton and "gave him a piece of my mind."


Morton, the MLA for Foothills-Rocky View west of Calgary who lives in Varsity, said the mayor over-reacted to the remarks, going "ballistic" for no good reason.

"Dave is so self-absorbed and thin-skinned that he's capable of misinterpreting things and taking them out of context," he said.

"I think what you're seeing is a deteriorating relationship between Dave Bronconnier and every other official that tries to work with him."

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The best argument against the CHUM takeover...

...comes in the form of the Globe & Mail editorial in support of a CTVglobemedia's take-over bid.


Monday, June 11, 2007

Henninger on Stelmach

Last week, I decided to take a break from bashing Ed Stelmach, to allow Ed Stelmach to bash Ed Stelmach.

Today, I cede the podium to Brian Henninger, who is running for Stelmach's PCs in Tuesday's incredibly important Calgary Elbow by election:

CALGARY — Brian Heninger’s message at a doorstep in Calgary-Elbow seems downright bizarre from a candidate running for a party that has governed Alberta for more than 35 years.

“I’d choke our premier,” Heninger says to the disgruntled voter, the latest in a string of citizens who have expressed frustration with Progressive Conservative Premier Ed Stelmach.

With friends like these...


Ed Stelmach has weighed in and he agrees that Ed Stelmach should be choked:

According to reports, [Henninger] told a constituent at the door he would like to "choke" Stelmach. The premier said that kind of enthusiasm is exactly what he wants in his MLAs.

Ed should be careful what he wishes for, because if things continue like this, he may find himself with a few more "enthusiastic" MLAs in his caucus...

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

When Harry Met Cherie

I just got back from a weekend in Drumheller, helping out on the by election campaign there. Between that, Bronco versus Morton, Elbow by election mania, Paul Jackson's idiocies, Gordon O'Connor, and the Ontario election, there's a lot to blog about. But it will all have to wait because of the news story that has gripped Calgary and, dare I say it, the world, over the past few days. I am, of course, referring to Prince Harry's visit to Cowboys last week and the fairy tale romance that has resulted from it.

To recap, for those who haven't been following this captivating story, Prince Harry paid a visit to a local bar in Calgary and flirted with a waitress. I know when I recap it, it sounds trivial so I'll let the professional journalists weigh in on it:

"As the night went on, the soldier who is third in line to the throne - and the server - who was once in line for the title of Canada's hottest bartender - spent the small hours chatting."

Tale as old as time...

The Herald also provides some other important information:

-Cherie's favourite body part is her tummy.
-she "plans to be a playboy bunny or Playmate in 3 or 4 years". [ed note: try 3 or 4 weeks after this...]
-the owner of Cowboys think Cherie would look good on the one dollar bill.

And that's just Saturday's story. Today's Herald has two stories on the Prince and the various rumours the Herald has started about him. The Sun shows their usual class on the front page seen below. And even the Globe and...well...everyone else have jumped on the Harry and Cherie bandwagon.

While I've always been opposed to the Monarchy, I do think I would reconsider my stance if we could start our own Canadian line of royalty, with Harry as king and Cherie as his Queen. This would be a good compromise between those who want a Canadian head of state and those who believe our head of state should be from a completely different country few Canadians have any emotional association with.

Anyways, since using "Prince Harry", "Playboy playmate", and "hottest bartender", are gold for my google search keywords, I intend to follow this romantic fairy tale quite thoroughly over the coming days years.

Monday Morning Update: The news story hits Day 5, with another front page Herald story. The Globe talks to a historian. And the Sun reports that Cherie is disappointed Harry didn't show for a date with her (after she sold an exclusivity deal with a British tabloid).


Friday, June 08, 2007

This week's BQ QP questions, summarized in 5 words

"Bring back the sponsorship program"

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Senators are out, and so is Senate reform

1. The Green Party environmental platform calls for a dreaded carbon tax and higher gasoline prices. Sure, it'll be unpopular, but if people are serious about meeting Kyoto (and the Greens certainly are), you'll only get there with hard line tactics like that.

2. On the international scene, G8 leaders have agreed to consider thinking about perhaps maybe possibly wanting to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2050. And people laughed when Harper said he'd be instrumental in bridging a compromise...

3. I'm not sure if this helps or hurts Dion's status as a "leader" or a "hero", but Liberal Senators are shelving Harper's Senate reform bill for now.

4. Bill Casey is gone from the Tory caucus. I seem to remember a few commentators being hard on Dion for booting Comuzzi for breaking party ranks on a budget vote in March...I invite them to weigh in.

5. I've got to hand it to SDA for the "IOC rapes gay nazis" description of the new London 2012 Olympic logo.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Stelmach on Stelmach

Ed Stelmach is, yet again, in trouble for unethical donations - this time, from a landfill site that donated $10,000 to Stelmach's leadership campaign. Now, Ed did return the donation...six months after he received it and three months after winning the PC leadership. And in fairness, by this government's standards, that certainly qualifies as "rapid response".

Now, if you're saying I'm being too partisan and shouldn't be so hard on Ed Stelmach, I'll turn to someone far more impartial than myself. A man called "Honest Ed" by many:

"The donation might have been legal, it certainly was not ethical."

Again - Ed Stelmach's assesement of Ed Stelmach:

"it certainly was not ethical"

I've got a say - if the Alberta Liberals have a video or audio clip of Stelmach saying "it certainly was not ethical", they've just got their "I'm entitled to my entitlements" moment for the next election campaign. Splice in a few shots of Eddie bumbling and some Calgary Herald/Sun headlines and you've got yourself a winner, right there.


Protecting Anders

For those not following the story closely, a judge ordered the Conservative Party to re-hold the nomination meeting in Calgary West, after it was found that the rules were rigged to ensure an Anders win back last fall.

So, after being ordered to do this, the Tories decided to slant the rules to ensure an Anders win. And, because of this, it looks like everyone's favourite MP will be acclaimed, since the candidates vying to replace him have dropped out, blaming the nomination rules.

At first, I was a bit surprised. I mean, why are the Conservatives so keen on protecting such an embarrassing MP. A man who has been muzzled and appears to have no function or purpose in Ottawa. But, then I saw this news story and it became apparent that Rob is still hard at work for Canada's New Government ;-)

OTTAWA — Canada has denied a visa to South African anti-apartheid leader Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who was to have been the keynote speaker at a fund-raising gala in Toronto on Tuesday featuring an opera about her life.


Monday, June 04, 2007

Monday Morning Round Up

1. Oh, sure, he's all "Mr. I Can Take a Punch" until Harry Rosen uses him in a cartoon. Watch out Aislin!

[Reader Challenge: A big kudos to whoever can find a picture of the ad online. An even bigger kudos to whoever can find some sort of proof that Stephen's stylist has picked out Harry Rosen clothing for him in the past.]

2. With PEI, Manitoba, and (for now) Quebec, all behind us, the eyes of election aficionados turn next to Ontario. SES has it in a dead heat:

Liberal 29.8%
Tories 29.8%
NDP 16%
Greens 9.3%

That, in itself, isn't too bad, but it's not a good sign for McGuinty that he ties Tory on the "best Premier" question and that wrong track beats right direction 46% to 35.3%.

I still think McGuinty will win, but both Ontario and Saskatchewan should be interesting to watch this fall.

3. Down in the States, the Dems held a New Hampshire debate on Sunday, with Edwards going after the top 2. Speculation continues about Al Gore. And for Republicans finally have a candidate able to run a credible law and order campaign.

4. This week's Hill Times has an article about Tory staffers being less than pleased about being banned from facebook. Perhaps most interesting is that Stephen Taylor is their source for defending the government position in the story (at the same time his blog hypes the new blogging Tories facebook application).

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Saturday, June 02, 2007

Great Moments in Spin III

OK, that's provincial and municipal. Time for federal:

The leaders reacted harshly after the Commons question period where Harper challenged the credibility of Liberal Leader Stephane Dion because he hasn't served in the military, and took a shot at deputy leader Michael Ignatieff because he lived outside the country for three decades.

"I will just say it is true I have never served in the Armed Forces," Harper replied when Ignatieff noted that Harper had not served in the military either. "I consider that an experience in my life that I have missed, but I can say I have always lived and worked and paid my taxes in this country."


When Dion pressed O'Connor to voluntarily resign since the prime minister "doesn't have the courage" to fire him, Harper defended the retired brigadier-general as he has in the past, by emphasizing O'Connor served in the military for 32 years.

"And when the leader of the opposition is able to stand in uniform and serve his country, then I will care about his opinion of the performance of the minister of national defence," Harper added.

Other rules for when you are allowed to criticize Canada's New Government:

-Only first nations people can question Jim Prentice's performance at Indian Affairs

-Only doctors may cast doubt on Tony Clement's vision for Health Care

-Only MPs with personal stylists can criticize the Prime Minister

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Great Moments in Spin II

If I'm going to hit Stelmach, I guess it's only fair to hit his nemesis too. From Mayor Dave Bronconnier's letter to Calgarians:

"Until Thursday, April 19, I was hoping to be able to send you a list of the much-needed infrastructure projects The City of Calgary would be fast-tracking, projects that would have enabled us to begin catching up with a level of growth never before experienced by a Canadian City.

The list would have included beginning the west and southeast new lines of the LRT; more police, fire and EMS services; more buses and CTrain cars, widening and repairing roads; more parks upgrades and maintenance; more parks rec centres and sports facilities."

So...a feud over strings being put on 85 million dollars has cost the city billions and billions of dollars of projects. Uh-huh. Bronco should just have gone all out and continued:

"The list would also have included filling every pothole in the city, the abolition of municipal taxes, instantaneous snow removal, paving the streets in gold, a chocolate fountain in every backyard, and a first line centre for the Flames..."

[Full disclaimer: I'm doing some data analysis for a rival mayoral campaign.]

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Friday, June 01, 2007

Great Moments in Spin

EDMONTON - Premier Ed Stelmach isn't surprised by a recent poll showing his support slipping, particularly in the province's two largest cities.

"There's a lot of pressures on Alberta today," Stelmach said Tuesday. "Anything from taking longer to get to work because of congested roads, to issues tied to housing, more people moving to the province -- this is a result of Alberta growing economically."

Yes...Ed Stelmach is losing support because Alberta's economy is booming. Uh-huh. I guess like all Premiers, Mr. Ed has his fingers crossed for a recession to boost his popularity?

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