Saturday, April 30, 2011

Scared straight

A desperate, scared Stephen Harper asks Liberals to support him.
And in other news:

La di dah

Royal wedding fanatics must check out Tom and Lorenzo for all their great photos and commentary about The Bride, The Guests, The Hats, The Maid of Honour, The Ceremony -- they loved every minute.
Here's Kate:

As Alexander McQueen goes, I didn't think it was an outstanding dress -- the lace made her bust look lumpy, though the bustle in the back was a nice effect.
When it comes to dresses, sister Pippa stole the show, wearing another McQueen with a more high-fashion look. Tom and Lorenzo felt this dress with its unique neckline and cap sleeves would likely have more influence on wedding gown style in the long run.

And the flower girls were cute.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Yes, I find it annoying too

I'm a more linear type of person myself, and I prefer to read in one direction rather than two. But I had to install a somewhat new format for the comments in order to enable some moderation options. And now my comments are displayed with the first ones at the end and the most recent ones at the top. I don't like it but there doesn't seem to be any way to flip this.
Sorry about that.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Why I still believe in the Liberals

The thing I've always liked about the Liberals is exactly what some other people seem to hate about them -- basically, they don't believe in anything. They have no ideology.
The way I see it, that's a good thing. And its been good for Canada.
It means the Liberals seldom do something just because they "believe" in it.
Instead, they do what we want them to do. And isn't that the essence of democracy, really?
They steal other parties' good ideas. Wanting nothing except to be popular, the Liberals figure out what people want, what people like, and what people need. Then that's what they do.
So if prairie farmers want the Canadian Wheat Board, we get it. If immigrants want to bring their families here, they can do it. If people across the country want medicare, they get it. If people want corporate donations eliminated from politics, then the Liberals give the parties a public subsidy instead. If people want everyone treated equally under the law, then that's what the institutions of society will be set up to do. If women want access to abortion, they'll get it. If Canadians want a national day care program, then the Liberals will give that to us too -- or would have, except for Jack Layton.
Best of all, the Liberals really do want everybody to get along. Nobody is allowed to get too greedy, they don't give the banks or the churches or the unions or the developers everything they want. No wedge issues, no attempts to gain political advantage by trash talk, trying to make one group of Canadians hate another group of Canadians. No backhanded slams against the arts, or the sciences, or civil servants, or the poor, or the rich, or immigrants, or judges, or corporations, or whatever. They don't do attack ads very well.
I'm oversimplifying, I know. But I think one reason the Liberals have run the country for much of the last 150 years, is that they have done mostly the right things for Canada.
Not because THEY believe in it, but because WE do.

Boogeyman Jack

The scary soshalust hordes are already inspiring the media to write some resoundingly stupid stories about bond trader vigilantes.
Here's Andrew Steele in the Globe and Mail: Will Layton raise your mortgage payments?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Silver lining to the Orange Crush

Ekos calls it a JackQuake.
Evidence suggests that the NDP vote is actually firming up and they continue to hold a sizable advantage on second choice. They may not have reached the ceiling of this JackQuake which is shaking the country.
The silver lining to the Orange Crush is that the Conservatives are dropping almost as fast as the Liberals.
Maybe its a reflection of the kind of cynicism that Steve V was talking about the other day, "a plague on both their houses" kind of reaction to the Conservatives and the Liberals.
But maybe we're also seeing a change in the way politics is done in Canada, a change that says, Hey, I'm going to try something new.
I'm going to vote for the guy I like. A guy who says he won't stop until the job is done:

Well, maybe that's not really so new after all.

Sanity test

Anyone who takes Donald Trump seriously as a candidate for President of the United States is certifiably nuts.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Whose strategy now?

Well, seems like Canadians are actually listening to Ignatieff's message about voting strategically to get rid of Harper.
Of course, its not exactly working out the way we imagined it would. But still...

That popping sound

Boom goes the EKOS poll dynamite:
Graves said the figures could conceivably bring the NDP, led by Jack Layton, more than 100 seats in Parliament. The poll indicates that Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives could win around 130 seats.
But that's not a majority in Parliament, raising the prospect that the NDP could form a coalition with the Liberals and Layton could become the party's first prime minister.
That popping sound you hear is a million Conservative wingnut heads exploding.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

"Who do you trust to govern the country?"

Ignatieff asks "who do you trust to govern the country?" Its the basic question of any democracy.
Iggy has spent this campaign connecting with Canadians, but the polls are not giving him much encouragement. I'm hoping events like this will help turn that tide.

Halifax, NS Visit to IWK Health Centre / Visite au Centre de santé IWK

Montréal: Dialogue sur Facebook et au Presse Café // Live chat on Facebook and at the Presse Café" />

Toronto, ON: Khalsa Day Celebration // Célébration du jour du Khalsa

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Voting strategically at Project Democracy

I just added the Project Democracy widget to the sidebar. They list some key contests for strategic voting:
In Prairie Dog magazine, Paul Dechene uses Project Democracy charts to summarize some other key Regina ridings.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Can Ignatieff get out the vote?

With NDP support a mile wide but an inch deep, the question for Liberals this weekend at the advance polls and next Monday will be, can they get their vote out?
Liberals stayed home in droves in 2008 rather than vote for Dion, leading to one of the lowest turnout elections ever. Liberal campaign co-chair David Smith talks about Liberal campaign volunteers working to get the Liberal vote out:
"They know it's a battle, they know it's a challenge, and they know we are behind to the Tories, but they are pumped and we'll go all out right to the end"

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

How stupid do they think we are?

Saskatoon MP Brad Trost has let another cat out of the bag about the Conservative decision to pander to its pro-life base by cutting off funding to Planned Parenthood.
Now all the Conservative powers-that-be are perishing the thought.
William Stairs, chief of staff in Oda’s ministerial office said in an email to the Star late Wednesday that despite Trost’s claim, no decision has yet been made on Planned Parenthood’s application because CIDA is “still reviewing the file.” . . .
Conservative officials called an urgent news conference with reporters at 1:30 a.m. in Newfoundland to distance the party from Trost’s controversial comments. Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s spokesman, Dimitri Soudas, referred to Trost as a “backbencher” and said he was mistaken to say a decision had been made . . . “I honestly don’t know where he got his information,” Soudas said.
Oh, really? But we've heard from Trost before and he did seem to know what he was talking about then.
Fool me once....

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Rise up

Steve V is exactly right -- carting Martin and Chretien along on the Liberal campaign now is pointless and actually counterproductive to the message that Iggy is the new leader.
The Rise Up line was terrific.
What the Liberals need now is a new series of "my vision of Canada" ads, to build momentum.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

What have they been smoking?

Tonight I heard the At Issue panel on CBC News suggesting that Jack Layton could come second in the election.
Now, Jack is a nice fellow, and the press will always like him because there's no way he's ever going to be in charge of their careers. But still -- why would Chantal Hebert and Andrew Coyne think that the party supported by fewer than one in five Canadians is somehow going to elect more MPs than the party supported by one in three Canadians, the Liberals?
What have those two been smoking?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Gazebo in the middle of nowhere

Remember the bridge to nowhere in Alaska, the earmark that finally triggered America's gag reflex about pork barrel government spending?
Well, now Canada has the $100,000 gazebo in the middle of nowhere -- just one of the Muskoka projects built with G8 money that Parliament had apparently thought was going to be used to improve border crossings.
The Globe and Mail has posted a blistering editorial thundering that the AG report into the G8 expenditures "must be released, immediately."
But actually, it doesn't matter anymore what the final report says -- now that we know that at least some of the auditors in Fraser's office thought the Harper Conservatives were using the G8 as an excuse for unaccountable, old-boys-club pork barrel spending, any mealymouthed exoneration in the final version will be seen for the whitewash it is.
The Toronto Star editorial doesn't even bother asking for the final version of the report:
The much-ridiculed ersatz Muskoka lake the Conservatives commissioned for the G20 in Toronto wasn’t the only example of spending like “drunken sailors,” to quote Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff. Clement’s constituents also got $1.1 million for trees and sidewalk upgrades 100 km away from the Huntsville site. Another $745,000 for civic amenities in towns nearly 70 km away. $274,000 for public toilets 20 km away. And a $100,000 gazebo an hour’s drive away. What any of this had to do with the summits is anyone’s guess.
That’s the problem for the Conservatives. We may not see the final version of Fraser’s report before the vote, but what we already know is bad enough: A party now trying to wrap itself in the mantle of fiscal rectitude threw millions around for dubious political reasons.

Great line of the day

Montreal Simon predicts the way the Harper Conservatives will try to "correct" the Auditor Generals G8/G20 funding report:

Sunday, April 10, 2011

You had a choice, sir

Just in time for Tuesday's debate, we find out that the Serious Responsible Protectors of the Taxpayer's Purse -- the Harper Conservatives -- secretly hiked the pay of their political staff and improved their severance pay provisions.
Nice work if you can get it, I guess.

Another Carson cover-up

Alison puts it together -- convicted felon Bruce Carson was the man in the Prime Minister's Office who was handling the Afghanistan file, at the time when the PMO was ordering Canadian diplomats not to send in critical reports about the way that Afghan prisoners were being treated.

Rant of the day

John Cole writes about the US budget deal -- I’m Not Disheartened, I’m Pissed:
. . . we’ve talked about the Ryan plan to gut medicare and medicaid and give the proceeds to the rich while feeding the warpig, and it is important to recognize this is not some one-off. This is what they want. They are also coming for your pension, they are after your social security, they want to destroy your union so you can not organize against them, they will go after your minimum wage next, they want to get rid of the EPA so their donors can pollute your water, air, land, and food and not have to worry about being punished, they want to deregulate Wall Street more so they can screw you again and not face any consequences, they want to tell you what you can do with your body, and they are spending lots of time and money making it harder and harder for you to vote. The Ryan plan isn’t an isolated incident, it was just shots fired on another front. If you are disheartened by the budget deal the other night, which is one small skirmish in a big war, you probably should just give up and go buy yourself a ton of lube.
Its a war we would have to fight in Canada, too, if Harper gets his majority -- "just watch me" would be the new Con motto.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Still more campaign photos

Conception Bay South, NL: visit to Tim Horton's and Orange Store / Visite au Tim Hortons et Orange Store à Conception Bay South
Conception Bay South

Hamilton Rally Rassemblement à Hamilton

Ralliement à Brossard // Rally in Brossard, QC

Iggy is winning the rallys and the campaign stops, but his biggest challenge is yet to come -- getting Canada to view him as a potential Prime Minister. In the Toronto Star, Bob Hepburn writes:
Both Ignatieff and Harper are polarizing figures in federal politics. But after five years as prime minister, Harper is a known commodity, with all his strengths and weaknesses already well established in voters’ minds and with three national campaigns under his belt as Conservative leader.
Ignatieff, however, is still relatively new to national politics, untested in the heat of a federal campaign.
That’s why Ignatieff, who has emerged over the first 12 days of the election as a surprisingly smooth, confident-sounding campaigner compared with Harper’s peek-a-boo-style of campaigning, must score a decisive win in next Tuesday’s leaders’ debate on English-language television.. . .
On Tuesday, Ignatieff will get his best chance to sell himself to Canadians. It won’t be easy, but it can be done.
“Ignatieff has to speak and act like a prime minister” in the debate, says Jim Gray, a Toronto presentation skills coach and author of How Leaders Speak. “His goal should be to get the audience to readily imagine him in that role. It all starts with the rationale: How would Canadians be better off under Ignatieff than Harper. He needs to establish the rationale early on — simply, clearly and confidently — and keep going back to it.”
Gray, who has coached politicians over the years, says Ignatieff is improving as a communicator. “He’s more relaxed on the campaign trail, more engaging, more real. That’s how he must be in the debate.”

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

StealthCon Crowds

Last election, we had the StealthCon candidates -- people running for the Conservatives to represent constituencies who refused to attend any constituency debates. It was Canada-wide ploy obviously orchestrated by the Conservative party even though none of the candidates ever admitted what Ottawa was telling them to do. (And H/T to RossK for inventing the term.) Their disappearing acts during the campaign may have disappointed their voters, but it certainly turned out to be useful practice for after the election when nobody could find Conservative MPs to say boo about anything.
Now we're seeing the 2011 version -- lets call them the StealthCon Crowds.
These are the mythical crowds of enthusiastic Conservative supporters who are supposedly turning up to cheer for Harper at every stop, those "big crowds" of invisible Canadians who are apparently turning out in droves for Harper's appearances, but none of the media is apparently able to see them.
I don't think the Cons will be seeing then on May 2.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Great line of the day

From BigCityLib:
Harper and Co. spend more time vetting the kids that show up at their rallies then they do their closest advisers.
And how many more times are the media going to solemnly quote that tired old "overzealous staffers" excuse?

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Big Red Tent

The Liberal Platform has been released and its "big red tent" theme is going to be a great one. It's a positive, forward-looking document that epitomizes "liberal" values:
Our platform in this election has one overriding objective: to make equal opportunity a reality for every Canadian, whether you live in a big city, a small town, a remote community, a farm or a fishing village.
We will invest in quality, affordable child care for every young family that needs it. We will help every family with the costs of college or university, so your kids can be ready for the jobs of tomorrow. We will help families take time off from work to look after sick loved ones at home. We’ll strengthen universally accessible health care for all, and build on the Canada Pension Plan so everyone can retire in security and dignity. We’ll also have a new tax credit to help with the up-front costs of renovations to make your home more energy-efficient.
Finally, since opportunities for Canadians are now global, we will promote Canadian success overseas and stand up for the proud ideal that a citizen of Canada is truly a citizen of the world.
Steve V writes
I feel like this party has found it's rallying cry, and I know I'm not alone. Many of us railed against this and that, our meandering positions, lack of clear focus. Victory or defeat aside, it feels like we have found something to support, the Liberals have finally armed themselves with a slew of ideas to convey a message.
A week ago, Iggy was was 2,000 "likes" behind Harper on Facebook -- today, Iggy is at 47,418, compared to Harper's 45,684. So Iggy is now 2,000 ahead. And the Liberals as a party are still ahead of the Cons -- there are now 12,474 who like that big red tent, compared to 11,684 for the blue machine.

Saturday, April 02, 2011


One week into the campaign, and suspicion is increasing that Harper is snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
QMI agency Michael Harris:
According to the latest Nanos tracking poll, Stephen Harper has managed something of a miracle: He has raised Michael Ignatieff from the political dead.. . . If Harper goes on to blow a near double-digit lead when this campaign began (either to win another minority or hand one to the other side), his substitution of messaging for communication will bear a large part of the responsibility. The prime minister uses language to create facts, not to convey them.
In the Globe and Mail, Adam Radwanski says
What Mr. Ignatieff is doing, with surprising effectiveness thus far, is challenging the campaign model that Mr. Harper and his strategists have turned into the modern orthodoxy.
In place of rigid message discipline, the Liberal Leader is venturing into any number of unscripted and unpredictable situations. He’s taking more questions from reporters and from the public than he needs to; he’s throwing himself at the mercy of hostile restaurant-goers; he’s laying down challenges to the Tory Leader over Twitter.
Having seemed previously to lack stamina, Mr. Ignatieff appears to be actively enjoying the rigours of the hustings. And that sense of energy is rubbing off, not least on media looking to turn a potentially dreary campaign into a more compelling story.